Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WORTH A VIEWING

I didn't see it originally air, but David Letterman interviewed the president of the Idaho Tea Party. The interview is embedded in the following:

DAVID LETTERMAN GIVES THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT “the best showcase it’s ever had?” The quality of the recording is only fair, but easy enough to follow.

It's the best, fairest coverage the Tea Party has ever received on network television.

TEA PARTY DEFINED

I just read an article from the Washington Examiner that, in my opinion, really nailed the essence of the Tea Party movement as well as the crux of the 50-50% ideological divide in our country.
Over the past 14 months, our political debate has been transformed into an argument between the heirs of two fundamental schools of political thought, the Founders and the Progressives. The Founders stood for the expansion of liberty and the Progressives for the expansion of government.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Tea-partiers-embrace-liberty-not-big-government-89556562.html#ixzz0jm5YYOYL

WHO SAID IT?

"We cannot be guided by political ideology but by scientific evidence."

Yup. Obama on his big speech today on allowing oil drilling off of our coasts.

Unbelievable.

This speech could have been said by Palin herself.
WASHINGTON – Reversing a ban on oil drilling off most U.S. shores, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced an expansive new policy that could put new oil and natural gas platforms in waters along the southern Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and part of Alaska.

Speaking at Andrews air base outside Washington, Obama said, "This is not a decision that I've made lightly." He addressed the expected outcry from disappointed environmentalists by saying he had studied the issue for more than a year and concluded it was the right call given the nation's voracious thirst for energy and the need to produce jobs and keep American businesses competitive.
Read more at Associate Press.

This is yet one more GOP policy that he has found he had to embrace, despite his deep convictions and rhetoric during the campaign. Notice he said that "This is not a decision that I've made lightly. I've studied the issue for more than a year and concluded it was the right call given the nation's voracious thirst for energy and the need to produce jobs and keep American businesses competitive." Hmm. I thought that he had all the answers when he came in. Like Gitmo, he hadn't faced the harsh realities that surface when looking at issues while seated in the Oval Office before talking about moral urgencies and so forth. Things look a lot different when you're faced with the facts.

A NEW DAY

Is it a New Day for the Tea Party? Take a look here at this description of a Provo, Utah's Tea Party event and coordinator's time with a CNN reporter. He a journalist I can respect....especially if he writes the story he promised. I found this at instapundit.com (which has some pictures with it)
DAVID KIRKHAM SENDS THIS TEA PARTY REPORT FROM UTAH:

Last night an reporter from CNN travelling with the Tea Party Express showed up at our shop to talk about the Tea Party Express that was coming through Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah today. (I was the local organizer for the Provo event). I gave him a tour through our shop and then took him for a drive up the canyon in one of our cars. We talked the entire time. We ended up speaking for about 4 hours. At the end of our conversation, he dropped a bomb, “You know, I decided to come and find the facts about you guys for myself. The facts are the facts. Keith Olberman is way out in left, crazy field! You guys aren’t anything like the media has portrayed you.” I replied, “I know.” He told me he was then going to write a story on the “real” Tea Party people he met on his travels through Nevada, Utah, and Colorado.

This morning the Tea Party Express stopped in Provo. We had about 500 people show up. I introduced Mayor John Curtis who was just elected to office (off-year elections for the cities here). He inherited a 5 million budget shortfall. The first thing he did was cut funding for the Miss Provo Pageant. He said they were welcome to have the pageant–just not on the city’s dime. He then asked the city employees to pick 5 guys from each department to figure out where they could save money in the budget–and they DID! He balanced the budget without raising taxes a penny, just like he promised before he was elected. He left his business to run for mayor. He obviously brought his business skills with him. There are some great ones out there.

The comment of the day (Provo) came from a reporter who asked me, “I am trying to take a picture of a counter protester’s sign and I can’t find one. Do you know where any are?”

In Salt Lake over 1000 people attended. A total of 2 counter protesters showed up. They left after 10 minutes.

I spoke with several media people today. This morning I was on KSL radio, in the afternoon I was on PJTV (coming soon, I gave you a shout out!) and tonight I was on ABC Channel 4 News. The Channel 4 News anchors were most respectful and exceptionally nice both on the air and off the air. Throughout the day I spoke with more print journalists than I can remember. I have hopes all these flared emotions of late will temper. It was a great day.
It's a beautiful thing when the truth comes out. It's a beautiful thing to trust that truth will prevail in the end. This story isn't over but it's turned a corning.

After Good Friday comes Sunday!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A PICTURE CAN TELL IT ALL

L.A. TIMES: Two presidents visit U.S. troops: The styles of Barack Obama and George W. Bush in photos.

Take a moment to look at the pictures. It says a lot about the 2 men.

Monday, March 29, 2010

IMPRESSIVE INTERVIEW

I just listened to a very impressive Blogging Heads.TV interview.

It was impressive in that you had two people with views that were not entirely meshed, but they weren't screaming at one another. One thought TARP wasn't as bad as some say, and the other thought the legislators were very irresponsible about it.

The beautiful thing about it was that it was a true dialogue. Each respected the other's opinion and seemed to really be looking for consensus in an area that they disagreed. It brought out the arguments that you hear on both sides (far right and centrist) in respectable discourse. There was no yelling and the interrupting was polite. I wish we could see more of this on network or cable news. I don't know why TV news programs think that's it's either helpful or entertaining to see pundits with talking points spar in their two windows. That's usually when I change the channel.

I think that the most reasonable Americans want to have a respectful debate. We want to find the real answers. We want common sense solutions that come not from a radical agenda but thoughtful reasoning, taking the best ideas from everyone. There is more common ground out there that anyone would imagine, if you look deeper into people's opinions.

For instance, in the above interview, they started being on opposite sides of a contentious topic, but in the end there was more common ground than not. It just took time to flush out the crossover. Both had their opinions, but neither had to be "right" at the expense of the other.

WOW, REAL BIPARTISANSHIP

For once, there is a bipartisan effort on something in this Congress.

327 House members tell Obama to make U-turn on US-Israeli relations

We'll see what President Obama does with that.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

YET AGAIN

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but yet again, a large Tea Party protest's attendance was grossly underestimated by CNN. At least this time they actually reported that it happened! I have yet to see it on other MSM (but I haven't looked that hard).

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Maybe this is why....

Grim News: Majority Says Tea Party More in Touch With Reality Than Congress
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of U.S. voters believe the average member of the Tea Party movement has a better understanding of the issues facing America today than the average member of Congress. Only 30% believe that those in Congress have a better understanding of the key issues facing the nation.
The "grim" is obviously sarcastic to most of the article's readers, but I'm sure there are many in the beltway and MSM who would read it literally!

Friday, March 26, 2010

SNUBBED

In a gesture absolutely unbecoming of the President of the United States, whomever that is, Obama didn't eat dinner with Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel last night. I read at Gateway Pundit,
Benjamin Netanyahu was left to stew in a White House meeting room for over an hour after President Barack Obama abruptly walked out of tense talks to have supper with his family, it emerged on Thursday. The snub marked a fresh low in US-Israeli relations and appeared designed to show Mr Netanyahu how low his stock had fallen in Washington after he refused to back down in a row over Jewish construction in east Jerusalem.

… (Mr. Obama) immediately presented Mr Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands designed both to the end the feud with his administration and to build Palestinian confidence ahead of the resumption of peace talks. Key among those demands was a previously-made call to halt all new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.

When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Mr Obama rose from his seat declaring: “I’m going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls.” As he left, Mr Netanyahu was told to consider the error of his ways. “I’m still around,” Mr Obama is quoted by Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper as having said. “Let me know if there is anything new.”
It's hard to believe how quickly the relationship of one of our closest allies has deteriorated in 15 months of one presidency. The world is changing in so many ways. We went to war to become an ally of Iraq, but we're snubbing Israel over a dinner and are on track to lose a close ally that we've had for generations. Maybe that's the real reason Obama opposed the Iraq war. He doesn't want an ally in the Middle East.

Read the whole article for more interesting analysis.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

MAKES YOU THINK

While I don't like to get all Armageddon on you, the news of the day makes it hard not to think about it. Since I use this blog as a place to flush out my reactions to things, I'm going to take the risk of sounding crazy and alarmist as I think these things through.

I've been thinking about some of these things in the back (or middle and sometimes front) of my mind for awhile, but today I heard a verse from the Bible that moved it to the front of my thoughts again.
So Lot went out "Hurry and leave the city! The Lord is about to destroy it!" But they thought Lot was joking. Genesis 19:14
It's not that I think for a second that God is joking when He says that Jesus is coming back and there will be a reckoning according to the prophecy in the Bible, but I sometimes do in the sense that whenever I contemplate that this could be the time, I tell myself that's a joke. People have thought this for every generation, and we are again. But, I can't help but see some pretty startling parallels to the state of the world and the...
(Funny and ironic aside . Fox News, in the background, just showed Obama talking in Iowa. He said, "You know what they're calling this? Armageddon! Can you believe that? Armageddon! Do you see hail falling from the sky?")
....prophecy of the time people call Armageddon. I guess I'm not the only one talking about this!

A week or so ago when this type of thinking was swirling in my head, I started looking some things up. I was hearing more of Obama being called, "The One" and so forth. Usually it was in a sarcastic way, referring to how he was truly looked to by some during the campaign. I looked again to the classic "Signs of the End of the Age" verses in Matthew 24, beginning at verse 3.
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives [I love that the details of location are added], the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?"

Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains."
There is no one that can deny that things that look like this have taken place over and over again since Jesus was here....since the beginning of time. I'm not sure that people have claimed themselves that "I am the Christ', but there have been several key figures in history where people have looked to them as such, and I suspect that the dictators and/or prophets looked at themselves that way. I'm sure there have been many over time, but I'm thinking of figures in recent generations such as Hitler, Mussolini, and now Obama. These are leaders that peopled followed in a cultish way. So, it is clear we have been experiencing things described as the "birth pains."

Labor can be very painful and take a long time, as many a woman knows. And there is false labor, too. So, some of the "signs" might be false signs, looking like the end time signs but not really being them. But at some point, the labor is complete. The intense pain is followed by unparalleled joy as the new baby is put into the mom's arms. I see this as joining Jesus after the end comes.

Like the boy who cries wolf, the "false labor" makes it harder to accept or recognize the real labor when it comes. I think that's what I thought of when I heard Genesis 19:14 today (sited above), that when the people heard the warning, "Hurry and leave this city! The Lord is about to destroy it!", they thought Lot was joking. And, at the same time that we are to be watchful and see the signs, Jesus also precautions,
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Matthew 24:36
Like God warned through Lot, He warns again through Jesus,
"So when you see standing in the holy place, 'the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel-let the reader understand- then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains..."
In Daniel, the words "abomination that causes desolation" is sometimes translated "the rebellion that causes desolation."

Because the difference of the "false labor" and "real labor" is "when you see standing in the holy place, 'the abomination that causes desolation'" , I looked up abomination, rebellion, and desolation in the dictionary.
Abomination means: a thing that causes disgust or hatred or a feeling of hatred.

Rebellion means: an act of violent or open resistance to an established government or ruler.

Desolation means: a state of complete emptiness or destruction.
I heard earlier today that in light of the fact that Obama has decided to appease other countries and not put the harshest of sanctions on Iran, it is likely that Iran will have a nuclear bomb before the end of Obama's presidency. I think that war again Israel with a nuclear weapon would definitely be an act of violence, caused by hatred, of open resistance to an established government or ruler that would cause a state of complete emptiness or destruction.

I'm almost done here. The last pieces of scripture and ideas I'll leave this entry with is from Daniel.
"He will speak again the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. (3.5 years)." Daniel 7:25
3.5 years is nearly a president's terms. Obama is trying to change laws, the ways laws are passed, and the interpretation of the Constitution. Then, in Daniel 9:27, it says,
"He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven." (7 years). In the middle of the 'seven"(3.5 years) he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."
In the end, it is no joke that the end is coming and it will just as He says. With Israel coming so much into the forefront and America weakening, and Iran getting the bomb, most of a term of our presidency is 3.5 years and 2 would be about 7 years, I think it's not out of the realm of reason to be watchful.
"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door." Matthew 24:32-33

HOW

Even after the House vote hurdle, President Obama continues to spend countless hours focusing on health care - trying to make the cause to the American people that it's a good thing for them and us as a country.

The problem is that he continues the talking points. We've heard them over and over and rejected them. They complain that Republicans have warped the message and used scare tactics to deceive the people.

They could fix that if they'd just say how these promises of goodies would happen. But they can't, b/c it won't.

Also, they can't even honestly say that kids won't be denied b/c of preconditions b/c someone goofed and didn't put that language into the bill as it was passed. Whoops. They assure the public that will be easily fixed in the "fixes" but come on! That was an actual good piece of it. It wasn't one of the dirty details, but a pillar of the hope in it. How many other "unintended" problems are there in this massive bill, if they can't get this pillar of their argument right? Their excuse is that it is such a massive bill that such oversights will pop up! Duh!!!! That's one reason we don't want a 2000 page bill. The missing items or typos will be legislative and enforcing problems later to be taken advantage of in even more lawsuits.

Ugh. This is far from over.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ATTACKS

I have the news on, but I'm not listening to closely. The one word I keep hearing over and over in almost every story is "attack." Cyber attacks, anti-Obamacare attack on Congressmen, attacks on police in Hemmit, CA. There may be more, even, but that's all I can think of right now.

They're all disturbing. I'm particularly annoyed with the anti-Obamacare threats toward Congressmen who voted for healthcare. The hallmark of the Tea Parties is non-violence. This report of threats is very troubling and destructive. There are ways to protest; peaceful gatherings, contacting Congressmen, and the ballot box. Threatening someone's life or lives of their families is reprehensible. I hope that those crazy people don't give the left more fodder to justify their earlier claims of crazy tea partiers. The threats are insane and crazy. The tea party movements and its members are not.

People will blame this on people like Glen Beck and Limbaugh for their fear tactics. Let's keep it a revolution of ideas and words.

I haven't heard every piece of this. It may be (hopefully) being overstated. I think I heard something about threatening to set them on fire. I think the "fire" analogy just might be an analogy. They are going to get fired in November. Resorting to threatening their family in any way, however, is completely over the top and criminal.

The other "attacks" in the news today are troubling also, but that's for another time.

BACKING OFF

After reading some more context for the comments made by Senator Dick Durbin sited in my previous entry, I'm looking at it a little differently.

Durbin's comments made it sound like the GOP was just going to vote "no" on the reconciliation pieces, leaving the bill as is, which is abominable in my mind, given all the special deals in it. It's going to be important for the Senate to get it passed the way Pelosi and gang want it so that there isn't a bigger rift between the democrats themselves.

The article that gave me more context for Durbin's comments regarded the ways Republicans plan on stalling the vote. Their proposals sound good to me, and would improve things. Their proposed amendments will likely make sense to a lot of people, and would like to seize the opportunity to get things a little better before it's imposed on us. Here is the article I read in full. I've put in bold the parts that I thought a majority of Americans could rally for:
WASHINGTON – In a final drive to thwart President Barack Obama's health care remake, Republican senators plan to force Democrats to run a gantlet of politically dicey votes before they can finish a companion bill to the landmark law.

Voting was expected to start late Wednesday on a full list of Republican amendments to a "sidebar" bill making changes Democrats agreed to in the main legislation already signed by Obama. Major components of the "fix" legislation include scaling back a tax on high-cost insurance plans opposed by labor unions, closing the coverage gap in the Medicare prescription benefits, and higher taxes on upper-income earners.

But Republicans have other ideas. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., wants a vote on his amendment to prohibit coverage of Viagra for sex offenders. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH, wants savings from Medicare cuts plowed back into the health care program for seniors, instead of being used to expand coverage to the uninsured. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., wants to gut penalties on employers whose workers wind up getting taxpayer subsidized coverage.

Democrats are vowing to bat down the GOP amendments one-by-one. Should they lose on any major financing component, the bill would have to go back to the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has put members on notice they may be needed to vote on any changes that get through the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat accused Republicans of refusing to accept the finality of the health care overhaul.

"This is a political exercise for too many on the other side of the aisle," said Sen. Dick Durbin. "We're going to tell our people back home, 'It's time to govern. It's time to lead.' "

Durbin appeared on NBC's "Today" show Wednesday with GOP Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who had said last year he believed the health care overhaul would turn out to Obama's "Waterloo."

"America doesn't want a broken presidency," said Durbin, D-Ill.

DeMint did not back down, saying "Americans are very angry," not only with the substance of the sweeping health care bill Obama signed into law Tuesday, but also with the process Democrats used to muscle it through Congress.

The fixes under consideration by the Senate were demanded by House Democrats as their price for passing the mammoth overhaul legislation that will extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans over the next decade.

"They're hoping that Americans don't notice this is another power grab," DeMint said of Democrats. "So we're going to bring these issues up." He accused Democrats of breaking "a lot of protocols" in the Senate and said he couldn't imagine Republicans working very hard to cooperate with Obama and Democrats on other issues.

As he put his signature on the bill at a celebrative White House ceremony, Obama declared "a new season in America" and hailed an accomplishment that had been denied to a line of presidents stretching back more than half a century.
Approval of the fix-it bill at the end of this week is virtually assured, since it's being debated under fast-track budget rules that allow passage with a simple majority instead of the 60 votes usually required for action in the 100-seat Senate. Democrats control 59 Senate seats.

That didn't stop Republicans, who are unanimously opposed, from using the floor debate that began Tuesday afternoon as an opportunity to repeat the accusations they've lobbed at Obama's health legislation for the past year: that it raises taxes, slashes Medicare and includes a burdensome and constitutionally questionable requirement for nearly all Americans to carry health insurance.

The main suspense surrounding this week's debate is whether the fix-it bill can emerge from the Senate unchanged. If it does, it can go straight to the president for his signature, since it's already passed the House. If the Senate changes it even in a minor way, the legislation would have to go back to the House to be passed again, a prospect House leaders are prepared for but say they don't expect.

Although the battle may soon be over on Capitol Hill, opponents already have launched a campaign from the outside, with 13 state attorneys general suing Tuesday to overturn the legislation on grounds it is unconstitutional.

And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., served notice Tuesday of the GOP's continued campaign against the legislation going into the fall election season. "The slogan will be 'repeal and replace,' 'repeal and replace,'" McConnell said.
Obama planned to sign an executive order Wednesday affirming existing law against federal funding of abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the woman's life. A critical bloc of anti-abortion Democrats in the House had pledged to vote against the health care package unless given greater assurances that it would not amend current law.

In a last-minute deal, Obama agreed to issue the order to get their votes.
As demonstrated by my own switch in attitude, the key is that the "fixes" the GOP are looking are getting wide publicity vs. simply the stalling part. And the publicity would be needed just as much for people who will access such news, such as people who pay attention to places such as Instapundit and Fox News as those who will never change their minds.

In the meantime, the details of the bill could be published (since it never was before it was passed). It may be that even some democrats will be shocked at some of the pesky details that make it slimy.

TEND TO AGREE

The headline on Yahoo News! today was

Senate on health bill's final chapter, maybe

It begins,
WASHINGTON – The No. 2 Senate Democrat accused Republicans Wednesday of refusing to accept the finality of health care changes, a day after President Barack Obama signed the most sweeping medical system remake since Medicare. "This is a political exercise for too many on the other side of the aisle," said Sen. Dick Durbin. "We're going to tell our people back home, 'It's time to govern. It's time to lead.' "
While I'm not happy with the health care bill right now, either, I'd rather see them quickly pass the reforms so that we're not left with a bill that leaves in the special deals. The deal is cr*@, but will be law if it's not improved and would include those special deals which would be irresponsible of the Republicans.

The key is to get the dems out and new common sense folks in for the 2010 election, repeal it, and start over.

Time to move on, in terms of this bill. Now fight Cap & Tax and other craziness.

Monday, March 22, 2010

UH HUH

Here's one revelation. What will be the next one?

Exempted From Obamacare: Senior Staff Who Wrote the Bill

SOURCE OF GOOD POV

If my posts resonate with you, today is a good day to take a look at instapundit.com. There are several articles that stir something in me, but there are too many to comment on. The perspectives from the writers at many of the links are interesting and informative and some are even hopeful. You'll be able to tell by the lead in the links what's interesting. You might even get hooked like I am to perusing it every day - many times a day.

The fight and the hope isn't over. It's just begun.

GOOD MORNING

Is that the title for this post that you'd expect from me, given the news of yesterday? It's not what I would have expected from me. I've read a couple of links from instapundit.com this morning that have really resonated. I'm sure they will be the basis for more blog entries today. But the first is this (the first paragraph),
And so now we have it.

I thought I might need to try my small part to cheer people up and calm them down, but for once I have underestimated the American people. People, by and large, seem not only calm but absolutely determined. Everywhere I have looked this morning the reaction seems to be more or less the same: a nation of steely-eyed missile men. These Marxist bastards have no idea what is coming for them. No idea.

Laugh while you can, Monkey Boys.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

JUST A THOUGHT

I have read an article or two this morning that indicates this vote continues to be a nail biting horse race, even hours before the vote.

I got to thinking. What if several of undecided, including the "leaning yes" representatives calculate a midnight hour shift in their calculations of victory in November.

The general conviction of the dems voting for it believe that while the bill is unpopular now, it's b/c no one really understands it, and soon they'll start receiving the benefits and be so happy. Also, they believe they'll be able to move on to other more popular topics like jobs etc.

But, what if it doesn't pass? What if they don't have the 216 votes, even without the undecided vote in question? Then, the second half of the dems rationalization won't come into play. The reps who vote "yes" will continue to be chastised and kicked out in November b/c the people will never get to see "how good it is for them." If they don't have 216 firm votes, is the risk of the bill actually losing worth the political cost, when you're wavering anyways? You can ardently believe the rationalization that folks will forget and forgive by November when they see the "fruit" of it, but if us people never see the "fruit", it's political suicide.

I might contend that is political suicide to vote "yes", regardless, but the calculation of political cost would be a bit different if an undecided thought that they weren't the deciding vote and it was likely to actually not pass.

And, regarding "deciding votes," I read that Pelosi said behind closed doors that they actually need 217 votes, b/c none of the undecideds want to be the "deciding vote."

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

In a PJ Media article that is looking at the Constitutional challenges that the health care bill being voted on today would face, I was challenged by an idea that I never thought about before.

The article has a lot to do with the law in Idaho that explicitly forbids the government from restricting its citizens to makes its own decision in regards to health care by a fine. It has lots of good information and worth a read....but the part that stuck out to me was the following,
The first line of Article I, Section 8 states, in part:

The Congress shall have Power To … provide for the … general Welfare of the United States … [Emphasis added.]

Notice that this first sentence does not say, “The Congress shall have the Power to provide for the general welfare of the citizens of the United States.”

Every time the phrase “United States” is used in the Constitution, it denotes the federal (or central) government. This is clearly seen in Tenth Amendment where the “United States,” the “states,” and “the people” are three distinct concepts:

Amendment 10 The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. [Emphasis added.]
This quote from the article along with one of the comments,
The problem with all of this reasoning is that the people who will interpret the law, and apply their interpretation, may not see the Constitution in such clear terms. Remember, the “Constitutional” right to an abortion was found by the Supreme Court, and they also have managed to distinguish between the First and Second Amendments, making one apply to the Federal government, and state and local government also, while the other only applies to the Feds. Amazingly, the Amendment that begins “Congress shall make no law…” applies to the states and locals also, while the Amendment that ends “the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” only applies to the Federal government, even though the wording is much more vague and seems to imply *no one* shall infringe those rights. If the Dems want the courts to, and the courts comply, protection of the right of free speech will somehow mandate compulsory health insurance. Trust me, they’ll find a rationale for this. It won’t make any sense to ordinary people, but then so much of what they do already doesn’t.
If you take those two points together and apply it to the first amendment, it puts a very different flavor to it than is usually applied. The first amendment reads,
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I've always thought that the 1st amendment was a faulty argument to not allow any type of religious expression, such as a nativity scene on government property because there should have to be an actual law prohibiting the expression, which is not allowed anyways, in a circular fashion, in order to restrict citizens from placing religious symbols on government property.

The thought provoked by the above quotations (especially points in bold) made me think of the 1st amendment in even a different way. What if, according to the language, "Congress shall make not law...," the states are allowed to make laws regarding the expression of religion? Congress (federal) can't make a law, but a state can because the Constitution doesn't prevent them from; in fact Congress isn't allowed to make a comment regarding religion at all.

We have used the phrase, "Separation of Church and State" so many times referring to this amendment that people neglect to truly understand and realize the implications of the actual wording of the amendment itself.

I don't think it was a mistake, either, for the founders to allow the states to make those decisions about issues in the first amendment. That seems counter intuitive today, but think about it.

The states were supposed to be loosely affiliated with the federal govt. As you get closer to the people, the laws become more specific to that local group. That way, citizens and individual communities can live how they want to, even if that means having prayer in schools or whatnot. No restrictions to their rights. If people don't like it, they can move to another state....or they can use the process of having laws being drafted by the people in a local election, using propositions to supersede the legislators in the state. California does this all the time. The people are the check and balance for any rights being trampled on. And, if it went to court, the federal government could never ultimately make it easy for the states to justify denying the people that vote.

You wouldn't have the same "melting pot" that we have today. More than likely, cultural groups would bind together even more than they do now, creating laws that apply particularly to their mindset. That already happens in some ways when you look at places like China Town, Little Armenia, Utah, Quakers etc. This would take that tendency to stick with people who share your values one more step, in that in some states, communities could say how they want things. City by city, county by county. In one city, Christmas could be celebrated freely, and in another it couldn't.

Like I said, it's counter intuitive, counter cultural, and uncharacteristic of how our nation has developed over time, but when you look at the words of the 1st amendment, it's interesting to consider how things would be different if you applied it only to the federal Congress and not the states. It'd be the ultimate "power to the people." You'd actually have a free country where communities could be free to express themselves in all venues as they'd like. This would definitely change the texture and sense of our rights as citizens of a state and the blending of cultures in our society.

This is not an essay on whether taking the 1st amendment in this direction is a good idea or not, but it is interesting for me to think about. We'll see if and how this concept of separating the powers of Federal govt, state govts, and the people's votes, in the context of health care is interpreted in all of the amendments that pertain to it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

FIGURES

It's late in the day - nearly 10 p.m. in the East coast, and finally I finally saw an article about the tea party protest on Yahoo! News via AP Press. I should have known, though. They were waiting for something nasty they could write up about it, when and if they brought it up.

Tea party protesters call Georgia's John Lewis 'nigger'

My emphasis in bold and my comments in [brackets].

WASHINGTON — Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol , angry over the proposed health care bill, shouted "nigger" Saturday at U.S. Rep. John Lewis , a Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death during an Alabama march in the 1960s.

The protesters also shouted obscenities at other members of the Congressional Black Caucus
[I'm sure it wasn't limited to the Black Caucus. If you're angry and being ignored, many will resort to getting louder and calling names] lawmakers said.

"They were shouting, sort of harassing," Lewis said. "But, it's okay, I've faced this before. It reminded me of the 60s. It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean."

Lewis said he was leaving the Cannon office building across from the Capitol when protesters shouted "Kill the bill, kill the bill," Lewis said.

"I said 'I'm for the bill, I support the bill, I'm voting for the bill'," Lewis said.
[well, that's helpful. incite them even more. At least you listened enough to abruptly confront them]

A colleague who was accompanying Lewis said people in the crowd responded by saying "Kill the bill, then the n-word."

"It surprised me that people are so mean and we can't engage in a civil dialogue and debate," Lewis said. [you mean it surprised you that so many want to engage in civil dialogue with their representatives. With all due respect, don't forget this started with letters, phone calls, and town halls. Your arrogance and dismissal is what has driven protesters to the street, yelling as loud as they can b/c they just want to be heard....and listened to. Engage in the dialogue. Don't tell us what's good for us.]

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver , D- Mo. , said he was a few yards behind Lewis and distinctly heard "nigger."

"It was a chorus," Cleaver said. "In a way, I feel sorry for those people who are doing this nasty stuff - they're being whipped up. I decided I wouldn't be angry with any of them."

Protestors also used a slur as they confronted Rep. Barney Frank , D- Mass. , an openly gay member of Congress . A writer for Huffington Post said the crowd called Frank a "faggot."
[yes, that's much worse than calling me, 3000 miles away sitting at my computer reacting to the direction of my country a "mean, uncivil, hateful, racist, ugly - all in this article - and there are more like stupid, idiot, radical, unhinged and so on".]

Frank told the Boston Globe that the incident happened as he was walking from the Longworth office building to the Rayburn office building, both a short distance from the Capitol. Frank said the crowd consisted of a couple of hundred of people and that they referred to him as 'homo.'

"I'm disappointed with the unwillingness to be civil," Frank told the Globe. "I was, I guess, surprised by the rancor.
[why?! It's been out there for a nearly a year! Get your nose level and look around.] What it means is obviously the health care bill is proxy for a lot of other sentiments, some of which are perfectly reasonable, but some of which are not."

"People out there today, on the whole, were really hateful," [no, just really mad and angry] Frank said. "The leaders of this movement have a responsibility to speak out more."
[you see, sir, that's your mistake. There are not leaders b/c this is true grassroots. You should applaud the peaceful assembly to make a point.]

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Capitol on Saturday as the House Democratic leadership worked to gather enough votes to enact a health care overhaul proposal that has become the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's domestic agenda. Most were affiliated with so-called tea party organizations that originally sprang up during last summer's protests of the health care proposals. [actually, it started before that, if you were watching]

Heated debate has surrounded what role race plays in the motivations of the tea party demonstrators. During protests last summer, demonstrators displayed a poster depicting Obama as an African witch doctor complete with headdress, above the words "OBAMACARE coming to a clinic near you." Former President Jimmy Carter asserted in September that racism was a major factor behind the hostility that Obama's proposals had faced.

The claim brought angry rebuttals from Republicans.

On Saturday, Frank, however, said he was sorry Republican leaders didn't do more to disown the protesters.
[don't worry, they'll disown you, soon]

Some Republicans "think they are benefiting from this rancor," he said.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D- S.C. , said Saturday's ugliness underscored for him that the health care overhaul isn't the only motivation for many protesters.

"I heard people saying things today I've not heard since March 15th, 1960 , when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus," Clyburn said. "This is incredible, shocking to me."
[well, you're right that healthcare isn't the only thing they're mad about - but it ISN'T racial issues, either]

He added, "A lot of us have said for a long time that none of this is about healthcare at all. It's about extending a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful." [I had to read that many times before I was certain what his point was. For me, the fundamental right of the less powerful is peaceful assembly.]

( James Rosen contributed to this story.)
I have no doubt that someone said what it says they said. But there were 15,000 (lowest estimate by attender - 40,000 (highest estimate by attender) people there! There were no fights, no rioting, no fire, no violence. A handful of people said some nasty words to someone who has been ignoring them and dismissing them, even though he supposedly represents them. If you're going to make a big deal about the "ugliness", show the beauty too. People and families have travelled across the country on their own dime to get heard by their representatives. They're holding their leaders accountable to them, insisting that they hear them. If they won't answer their phone, or come to their town halls, then they'll come to you. This is not going away anytime soon.

Aha! It's much later now than when I wrote the bulk of this post, but I had to add this comment by Glen Renyolds from Instapundit. It makes me feel good.
And several readers note a conundrum for the media — since they ignored the anti-ObamaCare protests, it’ll be awkward for them to suddenly start running stories about charges of racism at those nonexistent protests.
I'll end my browsing of this before-the-vote-counting stories until tomorrow. That's when it really counts.

CAN I CRY?

It makes me so sad. The only place I could find coverage of the March 20, 2010 March on Washington D.C. by the Tea Partiers was from blog-type cell phone video and pictures, and Fox News. I checked out CNN and ABC and they had nothing, but ABC did have an article on a Don't Ask Don't Tell protest that brought 150 people!

From what I read earlier, there were around 20,000 people there. I heard estimates of up to 30,000. And, I saw pictures and descriptions to back up those numbers.

A few moments ago, I was checking out the MSM again and MSNBC actually had an article on the protest. I linked it but I guess I can just copy it here, b/c it's just a couple paragraphs and no pictures.

TEA PARTY PROTEST SCENE
Posted: Saturday, March 20, 2010 4:15 PM by Domenico Montanaro
Filed Under: Congress
From NBC's Luke Russert and Shawna Thomas
Located at the West Front of the Capitol in the grassy area below the steps, are according to two Capitol Hill Police officers between 1,500 to 2,000 Tea Party protesters.

They are loud, vocal and many hold signs that say, "Kill the Bill" and "Don't Tread on Me."

Mike Pence (R-IN) and Tom Price (R-GA) have addressed the crowd and currently Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) is stirring them up into a tizzy.

Tea partiers are also trickling into the halls of the House builidngs wearing 9/12 tshirts and Marco Rubio pins. They have lists of undecideds whose offices they're trying to visit. Talking to a few who came up from Florida, they say they're here to preserve their and their children's freedom.
The part in bold is what makes me want to cry, "according to two Capitol Hill Police officers between 1,500 to 2,000 Tea Party protesters." It's 10-20 times that many, if not more.

It makes me sad because it's a lie. It's not representing the truth. These days, words seem to be the same as truth. If they say it enough, they think it's true. "They" being MSM, Obama Administration, Pelosi, and so forth.

One of the comments that confirms the effects of misreporting is:
1500 people is all they can pull out on a Saturday, a really nice Saturday. I think the bag has been dipped a few times too many. Even Batty Bachmann can't pull in any more than this anymore.
There are two things about that comment that stand out. One is that the under stated numbers are giving him a false view of the event, and two, the fact that he's thumbing his nose at a couple thousand people is telling too. At the last March on Washington, there were thousands, but it was reported as hundreds. At least now, they can tell it's upwards of a thousand. And, MSNBC had a 2 paragraph blurb buried in their "politics" section of the news. I hunted for even a buried article about the protests at ABC and CNN and couldn't find one.

For pictures of the protest and reporting from people who were there, look here:

ANN ALTHOUSE HAS MORE PICS FROM THE WASHINGTON, D.C. PROTEST, courtesy of Meade.

More here.

Also, there are more at instapundit.com that are simply imbedded into the site, versus being a link to another site.

Friday, March 19, 2010

BEFORE OUR EYES

Before our eyes, the people that the electorate has put in power are ceasing to acknowledge who they represent and what their job is.

The Heat is On: Congressman’s Office Says Constituent Calls Are ‘Harassment’

This article speaks for itself and is worth a read. No matter your political leanings, this has to bother you.

THIS IS COOL

I've been hoping that Democrats who vote "NO" on health care reform would realize the political benefit of it. I'm glad to see today that in St. Louis they are saying that expicitly:

OPERATION DEM RESCUE: The St. Louis Tea Party will defend Democrats who vote “no” on Obamacare.

There is still time for freedom to win.

WHO KNEW?

Who knew how strongly I felt about my own pro-life views? Not me. Ever since I read that the Catholic church is relenting on the abortion issue in the health care reform, I have been steaming.

Someone can talk until their blue in the face that the existing Hyde Amendment covers the concerns of pro-life persons, but I won't believe it. Here's why. Just add the little line they want to clarify it unconditionally. The fact that they won't shows that they know there is a loophole.

Admittedly, during my lifetime, I have fallen on both sides of the pro-choice vs. pro-life position on abortion. When you're a teen or a parent of a teen, I think your views on the political side of abortion can be challenged. When a girl is on the cusp of her life and gets pregnant, people just want "it" to go away. She could easily be tempted to want to "erase" her mistake and move on with her life plans. Whether you're in that position or not, you can imagine it among your peers and can imagine the heartbreak of their parents. In that case, it's easy to justify a pro-choice position. I thought to myself, "I would never have an abortion myself, and if I were in the position of being a friend of someone in that position, I would counsel against it, but that efforts to legislate morality were futile b/c people would find a way to do it anyway, but they would be in a more harmful environment." I looked at it like Prohibition and its failure to prevent alcoholism. It just made it an even more hidden and dangerous reality, likely causing more harm that good.

My opinion was half hearted because I felt like I should be pro-life (politically), but for the reasons above I wasn't certain of my position.

As I met people who worked in Christian centered family planning facilities, and heard some of their stories, I came to realize the harm done not only to the baby, but the mom as well, as she deals with her decision to abort her pregnancy. Instead of aborting her pregnancy, she comes to realize that she killed her baby.

This experience was never more potent until I heard a woman on T.V. speak of her experience. She had an abortion, and because of health reasons, it had to be on an ultra sound. She actually looked. It was still early in her pregnancy, but she said that she could see the baby struggle as its life was terminated. She was devastated as she realized what she'd done, and now she is a pro-life advocate. She could see that she killed a baby. She cut a life short.

I came to understand fully that abortion is not like prohibition. It is murder. Still, however, I wasn't willing to place my energies toward a political solution. I'm more likely to want to contribute to pro-life counseling, but I have never been in a pro-life march or something like that.

BUT SEEING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SET ASIDE THEIR CONVICTIONS ON ABORTION, ELIMINATING THE GUILT OF SO MANY WHO LOOK TO THE PRIESTS FOR THEIR GUIDANCE ON MORALITY, AND THE DECISION'S IMPLICATIONS ON THE HEALTH CARE BILL, I JUST EXPLODED INSIDE.

I realized that while I have had a half hearted opposition to the current state of affairs on the interpretation of a woman's rights, the thought of actually paying for it with the money God has asked me to wisely steward, I just can't handle it.

This is not a Roe vs. Wade disagreement. This is about opening the door to being forced to pay for something you abhor and feel morally opposed to. It's like asking us to use our taxes for porn to be published. I suppose that's a form a free speech and expression, but don't ask me to condone it or pay for it. And, abortion is even worse for those who are strongly convicted that it's not a "choice" but murder.

I pray that God protects our right to steward our money in a way that does not compromise our morality. Jesus says, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's to give to God what is God's." I will pay my taxes, despite my disagreement with its stewardship...to a point. The life of those babies are God's, not Caesar's.

NOT GOOD

Cracks appear in abortion front against healthcare reform

When the Catholic church can be swayed on an abortion issue, there is trouble.
The Catholic Health Association, which represents more than 600 Catholic hospitals in the US, came out earlier this week in favor of the president’s plan, arguing that comprehensive reform is a “moral imperative.” On Wednesday, 60 Catholic nuns representing most of the nation’s 59,000 nuns sent a letter to Congress, also urging passage of the bill.
It makes you wonder what they were tempted by to be wishy washy on such a paramount issue for them.
Increasingly, abortion foes – including high-profile Catholic organizations and members of Congress – are saying that while the language aimed at preventing use of federal funds for abortion is not perfect, the bill is still worth passing as a first step.
As a first step? Isn't that the same as "giving the enemy a foothold"? There sure is a lot of flip flopping on moral imperatives during this aministration, and it's spreading!
Congressmen break ranks. In addition, some Catholic Democrats in Congress who oppose abortion have begun to peel away and signal either definite or likely support for the president’s plan, which is the Senate-passed version, plus fixes (none of them abortion-related). “At this point, I’m confident the Senate language upholds my pro-life values,” said Rep. Charlie Wilson (D) of Ohio on a conference call Thursday.
Fortunately, not all Catholics have given up their convictions.
The one-two punch represents an extraordinary display of dissent against the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the official leadership of the US church, which favors universal healthcare but opposes the president’s plan over the abortion issue.
And there is still hope that not even the Catholic democrat's blessing will ultimately matter in passing the bill.
Staunch opponents hold firmOpponents of abortion rights have been running ads in the districts of members like Wilson and Congressman Kildee, trying to persuade them to vote against healthcare reform. They are now expanding their campaign.
The group Americans United for Life Action (AUL) has devoted more than $350,000 to the campaign. Despite signs that Obama’s campaign to pass reform has momentum, AUL president Charmaine Yoest says she still doesn’t see how House speaker Nancy Pelosi gets the 216 votes she needs to pass the bill.

“This is tight enough that she’s really got to get every person she needs to get this over the finish line,” says Ms. Yoest.
Hang in there Congressman Stupak! There will be a reward on the other side of the persecution!
Stupak himself says he has suffered for his advocacy, calling his life a “living hell” in an interview with The Hill newspaper. “People saying they’re going to spit on you and all this,” he says. “That’s just not fun.”
He may not feel it inside the beltway, but around the country, many are cheering him on!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

OBAMA/MSM KNOT IS SHREDDING

You've probably seen the polls that show that Obama now has a higher "not approve" than "approve" rating for how he's doing his job.

Usually, the MSM will cover for him, making excuses and what not. But, this time, with the balance now tilted, with more disapproving than approving, some of them, are noticing and reporting on it. The article that prompted this post was from the L.A. Times and is called,
New Gallup Poll finds Americans suddenly souring more on Obama; Now, why could that be?, by Andrew Malcolm
Notice the word, "suddenly." The only part of this that is sudden is the attention the MSM is willing to pay to it. Just the picture they picked is worth taking a look. It captures his arrogance and top down attitude well.

The reporting sounds like someone who is struggling to come to grips with Obama's popularity,
Now, a new Gallup Poll finds, Obama's public approval rating has suddenly fallen to the worst level since he took office however many years ago that seems. He was right around 70% in January of 2009.

Today, Gallup reports, the ex-senator has plunged to a 46% approval rating.

Today, even more disapprove of his presidency, 48%. That seems right down there in the Sarah Palin neighborhood.
....but is now taking a closer look to see why that might be. It turns out there is quite a bit out there not to like.
The only possible reason to explain this drop is the public does not like the president's NCAA tournament picks. Or maybe the fact that the administration's $787 billion economic stimulus plan has stimulated unemployment up to 9.7%.

Unless this dramatic poll drop perhaps has a little something to do with Obama's determined drive to....

...push through/down/up/over/into the $940 billion healthcare legislation that seems to have dominated virtually every moment of his public thought and talk for months
.
He doesn't spare Pelosi or Reid, either,
Oh, speaking of Congress, the new Gallup Poll also finds that barely 16% of Americans approve of its job while 80% (as in eight out of every ten Americans) now disapprove of the work being done by both bodies and their Democratic leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Both of whom are up for re-election in November.

We don't know Pelosi or Reid's NCAA picks. So perhaps their unpopularity is somehow also tied to their dedicated drive for this healthcare legislation. Or their inability to effectively direct the large Democratic majorities Americans elected in 2006 and then again in 2008 to provide change.
It really feels like the Obama colored glasses are coming off at least a few in the MSM.

THAT'S HELPFUL

A little bit ago, the text of the reconciliation bill for the health care bill was posted online for the agreed to 72 hours. I actually went to read it.

The table of contents is the most useful part. But, the text is a joke. Here's a sampling:
(C) in subparagraph (D)—
(i) in the matter preceding clause (i),
19
by striking ‘‘$750’’ and inserting ‘‘$695’’;
20
and
21
(ii) in clause (i), by striking ‘‘$750’’
22
and inserting ‘‘$695’’.
23
(b) THRESHOLD.—Section 5000A of such Code, as
24
so added and amended, is amended—
25

I figure if it's not in the Table of Contents, then it's not something being amended. I didn't see one reference to any of the sweetheart deals or other earmarks.

When do we get to see the actual words of the Senate bill that is being amended with "fixes"? The amendments mean very little if you don't have the original to compare it to.


DISSED

I think that Robert Gibbs just dissed the CBO. The question from the press regarded the fact that the reason some dems are holding back their vote is that they aren't convinced that the CBO estimate takes into consideration the long term savings and cost of the bill. Gibbs proceeded to say that the CBO most often comes in short as to the savings realized on these things. He essentially said that they're counting on the savings numbers being higher than reported....and I suppose at the same time they're counting on the spending costs being lower.

And then, in their routine double speak, he ended by saying that Obama has the utmost respect for the CBO's analysis and is glad that they're waiting for those numbers.

Whatever.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CNN CALLS SLAUGHTER MOVE SLEAZY

CNN ON HEALTHCARE: Jack Cafferty: Pelosi ‘Beyond Sleazy’ For Endorsing Slaughter Solution.She's done it.

Pelosi has driven a CNN anchor to give a scathing report of Pelosi for invoking the Slaughter Solution to deem the health care reform bill passed in the House. Even those who might like the contents of the bill are disgusted by the process. The stench is going to last awhile.

Like a skunk, it's putrid, until it's not. One day, the dems might get past this debacle b/c the progressive tilted MSM can't help itself, but even they are starting to show signs of disgust and nose plugging for the time being. I sensed it on the Today Show, too. No matter how "good the bill is for us", no one likes Congress defying the will of the majority of the people.

OH(IO) BOY!

The first headline I saw on Yahoo! News today was:

Kucinich will support Obama health overhaul

Kucinich better watch out. This is going to inflame the Tea Partiers in Ohio, or even elsewhere. People are willing to travel hundreds of miles for protest. There is a Tea Party Express bus headed toward Washington DC for a huge Washing DC protest on tax day. They leave on March 27. It's traveling through the North, picking up people in Minnesota and I assume Ohio; if not, I'm sure they'll make a detour. I bet it will be covered by even the MSM. Despite themselves, they're starting to pick up on the anti-vote sentiment of the majority of the nation.

Even though it's not until March/April, Dems who vote for it will see how strong the sentiment is, even after the vote. I think it will eventually resonate how mad people are and that their November re-election is indeed in jeopardy, despite promises by Pelosi and Obama. November is a few months away yet, but people will still be angry enough to hold them accountable.

Let's just say that Obamacare ends up being a success. Despite their fears, people love it (as the dems are counting on). November won't be soon enough to be sure about that. I think that people are barely starting to realize that the effort in Iraq was worth it, but it's taken years! I don't think that any amount of money SEIU and MoveOn.org gives to the dems is going to make a difference. I believe it'll only make the growing Tea Party contingency madder and more convinced that the union and lobby supported campaigns pervert the process.

It's going to be the dems who hold out and give a "NO" vote that are going to be spared - dem or not. Any scandal or negative campaigning will be known for what it is - arm twisting and intimidation that is happening now. Many will be even more impressed that "NO" voters held out, despite that type of pressure.

Evidence of the damage that will be done to Kucinich (yay on Obamacare) and the benefit that will go to Rep. Steve Driehaus of Cincinnati (nay on Obamacare) is revealed in the insightful analysis of the health care reform process from the The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I SEE A TREND HERE

For someone who touted transparency as a core value during his campaign, Obama sure hasn't shown any signs of authenticity of such a conviction.

We have seen this clearly over and over throughout the health care debate. From the lack of CNN coverage, to the upwards of 1000 page bill that no one got to read before they voted, to the added pages that no one even had a chance to read even if they were speed readers, to marked absence of the language of the bill being on the internet for all to see, and to the closed door meetings.

Then, there is Climategate. While the original manipulation of data used to promote and justify global warming may or may not have been known by the Obama Administration, their silence about their revelations is another effort in hiding the truth from the public. Today, Obama's "Inconvenient Truth" is the lack of integrity in the data and conclusions regarding global warming theories. By not bringing it fully out into the light, he is once again obstructing transparency.

And, then again this evening, I read yet one more very telling, if not troubling, example of our president's lack of need for transparency.

This time it regards the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). I'll copy and paste the article and highlight the parts that were most interesting to me. Mainly, it's the EU's concern toward the lack of transparency in the trade agreement versus Obama's lack concern.

Europe trashes ACTA as Obama praises it, By Nate Anderson
Earlier this week, we noted that the major parties in the European Parliament had all agreed on a resolution trashing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the secret process that has been hashing it out. That resolution has passed Parliament by a huge margin—633 yes votes, 13 no votes, and 16 abstentions.

The Greens/EFA coalition praised the vote. Greens MEP Carl Schlyter of Sweden said that "ACTA risks becoming known as the Absence of Commission Transparency Agreement... The EU cannot continue to negotiate on ACTA if the people are not allowed to take part in the process. It is also a totally absurd and unacceptable situation if MEPs, behind closed doors, have to ask the Commission about the content of the agreements we are supposed to vote on."

Christian Engström, the lone Pirate Party rep in Parliament, summed up the vote as an "epic win" that showed "the European Parliament is not a doormat."

The resolution demanded complete access to the ACTA negotiating texts, and it threatens a lawsuit if the European Commission fails to turn them over. Parliament was particularly miffed that the process has taken place in such secrecy, when major international IP treaties have in fact been negotiated much more openly at venues like WIPO and the WTO.

The resolution doesn't call for an end to ACTA, but instead a limit to the core principles of counterfeiting and piracy—broad new enforcement measures like Internet disconnection should not be a part of it.

The Commission speaks

The EU Commissioner for Trade, Karel de Gucht, tried to head off the vote this week by telling Parliament that he heard their concerns.

"The Commission is in favour of releasing the negotiating documents as soon as possible," he said. "However, a few ACTA negotiating parties remain opposed to an early release. I strongly disagree with their approach, but I can not unilaterally breach a confidentiality commitment. My credibility as a negotiator is at stake. Nevertheless, I will see to it that at the next negotiating round, in April, the Commission will vigorously push its negotiating partners to agree to release the text and I will raise European Parliament concerns bilaterally with ACTA parties like the US I am scheduled to meet before then."

He also offered more detailed briefings with any MEP who wants one, and he pledged that "three strikes" would stay out of the deal. "I am aware of the concerns expressed by some of you about the introduction of a compulsory 'three strikes rule' or a 'graduated response' system to fight copyright infringements and Internet piracy," he said. "Let me be very clear on this, so there is no room for ambiguity... The EU does not support and will not accept that ACTA creates an obligation to disconnect people from the internet because of illegal downloads."

As we have reported, the current (leaked) ACTA draft would require that ISPs have some policy in place to "address the unauthorized storage or transmission of materials protected by copyright." A footnote provides a single example of such a policy: "providing for termination in appropriate circumstances of subscriptions and accounts in the service provider's system or network of repeat infringers."

Internet disconnection isn't mandatory, but it is currently encouraged by ACTA.

Obama on ACTA

As Europe's politicians were calling for transparency and limitations, President Obama went to the US Export-Import Bank and made a speech in which he praised ACTA. Yes, it was mentioned only once, but the treaty was picked out by name, and without qualification.

"What’s more, we’re going to aggressively protect our intellectual property. Our single greatest asset is the innovation and the ingenuity and creativity of the American people," said Obama. "That’s why USTR is using the full arsenal of tools available to crack down on practices that blatantly harm our businesses, and that includes negotiating proper protections and enforcing our existing agreements, and moving forward on new agreements, including the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement."
I hate that he will say, "we're going to aggressively protect our intellectual property", but does not "aggressively protect our freedom."

DEFINING POVERTY

I read a lead on instapundit before I left for church this morning.

MAKING POVERTY PERMANENT.

I didn't read the link at that time, but then the sermon today made me think of it again, and so I came back and read the whole article.

The sermon today was from Mark 14:1-9, where the woman poured expensive perfume onto Jesus. Verse 3 reads,
While he was in Bethany, reclining at ther table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Those at the table were upset by this presumed waste. Verse 4 & 5 reads,
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.
The part that comes next is what reminded me of the instapundit link. Verses 6-8 read,
"Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me."
Now, back to the article, President Obama Makes Poverty Permanent The writer of the article, William M. Briggs, is not making the identical statement that there will always be poor among us, but rather that President Obama is changing the very definition of poverty to ensure that there will always be poor among us,
His administration will create a new index of poverty, one which slides upwards as all income increases. This guarantees “poverty” will always be with us. This act of will creates an eternal class of the “poor” from which there can be no relief.
The essence of this new index is described in an article from the National Review
This week, the Obama administration announced it will create a new poverty-measurement system that will eventually displace the current poverty measure. This new measure, which has little or nothing to do with actual poverty, will serve as the propaganda tool in Obama’s endless quest to “spread the wealth.”

Under the new measure, a family will be judged “poor” if its income falls below a certain specified income threshold. Nothing new there, but, unlike the current poverty standards, the new income thresholds will have a built-in escalator clause: They will rise automatically in direct proportion to any rise in the living standards of the average American.

The current poverty measure counts absolute purchasing power — how much steak and potatoes you can buy. The new measure will count comparative purchasing power — how much steak and potatoes you can buy relative to other people. As the nation becomes wealthier, the poverty standards will increase in proportion. In other words, Obama will employ a statistical trick to ensure that “the poor will always be with you,” no matter how much better off they get in absolute terms.
Obviously, as Jesus said, "there will always be poor among you," but what a shame for our country to view wealth and poverty in such a half empty way. We are soooo blessed in America. Even the poorest in America are richer than everyone in certain third world countries. To say that someone is poor because they can only afford 1 car instead of the 2 that their neighbor can, is a sham. Generationally, the American Dream says that your kids will be better off than you are. I think that many fear that will not be true for our kids, due to the escalating and out of control deficit.

Maybe, the premise of the article is backwards and instead of ensuring there will always be poor people, his new poverty index is ensuring that there will always be people Obama (or any president or congress) can define as rich. That is, our children can be defined as "rich" since in comparison to their generation's median income, they have comparably more, even if they have much less than their parent's generation. This is important so that the government can continue to say they are only taxing the "rich among us."

So in my example of the poor person today being the one with 1 car instead of 2, in the next generation, the person with 1 car is now defined as rich, if those who previously could buy one can own none. That is very convenient for a "tax the rich" mentality.

Friday, March 12, 2010

TIMES ARE A CHANG'N

When you see Dana Carvey on Leno making fun of Obama, you know that times are changing.

Another thing that interests me in this Instapundit link to the NBC Leno interview is that it appears to be embedded into just a regular guy's blog entry. His remarks are good, too.

SUMS IT UP

This morning I read the following headline:

OBAMA DELAYS ASIA TRIP TO DEAL WITH HEALTH CARE

The content of the article wasn't what propelled me to write this post. It was the headline, itself. For me, it sums up Obama's tendency to postpone foreign policy for social policy, or more specifically for now, to put off world issues for his health care reform.

Maybe it's even broader - postponing everything for his health care reform, including dealing with the economic collapse.

On a different topic, but related to Obamacare, I watched an interview on PJTV that was heartening to listen to. I hope it gets wider coverage.

Their lead was: PJTV: Brandi Milloy interviews an Obama cousin who’s a physician, and not an ObamaCare fan.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

EVEN IN SAN FRANCISCO

It's so easy to get mad when court decisions or laws are made that you believe are contradictory to the founder's intentions. But sometimes..... they do get it right.....even in San Francisco.
03-11) 11:36 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- The words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are an appeal to patriotism, not religion, and do not violate the separation of church and state, a federal appeals court ruled today - the same court that declared the pledge unconstitutional in 2002.

In a separate ruling, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in San Francisco upheld the placement of the national motto, "In God We Trust," on coins and currency. The language is patriotic and ceremonial, not religious, the court said
.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/11/BAS71CEC9F.DTL#ixzz0huAP150a

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

THE MARK

Revelation 13:16-17
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on this right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number if his name.
At the risk of being apocalyptic, I can't help but see the potential of Senator Schumer's scheme of using a National ID for immigration reform as being a precursor to "the mark", spoken of in Revelation 13:16-17 quoted above and Revelation 14: 9-10
"If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury..."
In an article linked by instapundit, I read
Lawmakers working to craft a new comprehensive immigration bill have settled on a way to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants: a national biometric identification card all American workers would eventually be required to obtain.
Ever since 9/11, I have sensed this type of thing was on its way. At that time, cows were being branded with microchips. Dogs were getting microchips implanted into them so that their owners could find them. For quite some time much of commerce is transacted with a bar code and scanner.

It takes an emergency to affect massive change. I figured the threat of terrorism would be as good of an excuse as any to give everyone a tamper proof id mechanism to stave off illegal immigration or admittance of a terrorist to an airport etc. Also, with an inflation threat looming, I could see our currency becoming moot and we'd have allowances on our ID mark. Can you imagine? It would be a spread-the-wealth ideologist's dream. Think of it. The government could equally allocate a portion of the nation's (worlds'?) wealth onto each person's ID mark. Every purchase would be a debit on your balance.

Senator's Schumer's suggestion of a national ID card comes closer to the materialization of such of thing as I've yet seen. The tagline from the source I referenced is
Once in place, watch for this national ID to regulate access to financial services, housing, medical care and prescriptions—and, of course, serve as an internal passport.
It may start as a card, but wouldn't it be more practical to just have it be on your person? After all, you don't always have a pocket or a purse available.

A GOOD QUESTION

I challenge you to identify the context for which this statement/question is:
“I suggest that the task force recommend our model to the United Nations rather than us adopting the United Nations model,” he says in a phone interview. “The American model is the best in the world, so our question is: Why seek the lowest common denominator?”
These days the first thing that comes to mind is health care, but there are other fronts, too, in which the Obama Administration seems to advocate and embrace the policies and methods of the United Nations or European models.

The above quote pertains to an article from the Christian Science Monitor on Fishing Rights.

Following is the quote that immediately preceded the above reference one.
Marine spatial planning (MSP), according to the United Nations, is “a public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that usually have been specified through a political process." That kind of government-speak scares Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs at the reel-and-rod maker Shimano. Mr. Morlock points to references by the ocean task force to “one global sea” as evidence that what’s really being proposed are broad changes to America's user-funded conservation strategy, potentially affecting even inland waters.
What part of American civilization are they not going to try and control?

On the topic of fish and environmentalists, one issue that troubles me greatly is the policy in California to divert the farm waters, not from pollution or something that would hurt the crops, but rather to a little fish' water supply that is becoming an endangered species. Using the water to nourish the crops in the fertile Central Valley may cause the extinction of a little fish. Their solution? Let the crops die. What a waste. Those crops feed the nation and the world. Not only are the crops destroyed, but the farmers' and their workers' livelihood as well. And, that is not to mention the increased cost of produce across the nation as we have to rely even more on South America and other fertile lands to provide our fruits and vegetables. Have we not learned that relying on other countries for our essential needs makes us vulnerable to those countries' whims. I'm thinking of oil. America is abundantly blessed with natural resources. We should be able to use them. Use them wisely, but use them. God created them for our use. Everything on this earth is made for the sustainment of the whole. The earth evolves as necessary, adapting to the changes in its character, due to disasters, changing climate, and so forth. We don't need to be intentionally intervening in the earth's natural process of adaptation to circumstances. (I think there is an analogy here for our financial crisis, but I digress).

In Genesis 1:28-30,
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all creatures that move on the ground - everything that has life in it - I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

He did not say, "I give the government the job of ruling over the fish of the sea..... everything that has life in it." The world's leaders are taking this view, however. I think that despite any of their best intentions, it's dangerous and destructive to give a piece of humanity this type of control, when God, Himself, gave it to all sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.

The earth and civilization has endured for millennia without our intentional intervention (vs. responsible use) of its natural resources. The natural resources of this earth are a blessing from God. Why is it that as a civilization we find it beneficial to sacrifice human life for the greater good when we will not sacrifice a little fish for the greater good of the millions of people who rely on the crops that come from the blessing of the very fertile land in the Central Valley? Species have come and gone for all of time. If one day, the earth is destroyed, it will be upon God's return. We are promised that it will one day.
Revelation 21:1 says,
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea."
I am NOT advocating poor stewardship and waste of these blessings, but I am advocating the allowance for their free use. Commerce and charity can help to distribute them, but the control is not with "the few."

As I searched the internet for a reference to the California fish protection policy, I found one with the headline, Tiny fish threatens to turn California’s Central Valley into Dust Bowl
To date, the Obama administration has shown little interest in reversing a policy that favors fish over farmers.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

AND NOT ONLY THAT

From instapundit.com, I just read:
HAS OBAMA LOST BOB HERBERT? “The Obama administration and Democrats in general are in trouble because they are not urgently and effectively addressing the issue that most Americans want them to: the frightening economic insecurity that has put a chokehold on millions of American families. . . . Instead of focusing with unwavering intensity on this increasingly tragic situation, making it their top domestic priority, President Obama and the Democrats on Capitol Hill have spent astonishing amounts of time and energy, and most of their political capital, on an obsessive quest to pass a health care bill.”

Posted at 2:30 pm by Glenn Reynolds
He already has himself knee deep (neck deep) into the health care debacle, but you'd think that Obama would at least make jobs and the economy his next huge push - at least for show, if nothing else. Certainly, he has said he would, but since when has his words been reliable as representing reality?

But, it is not only health care that is distracting him from focusing on the economy (and I'm talking about things other than raising taxes and spending our money) Alas, today I read this headline: Obama to push climate change in White House meeting

The headline speaks for itself. Maybe he senses that if he waits any longer, the controversies and increased skepticism about the facts surrounding the climate change theories will erase his chance to socialize the entire world with Cap and Trade. Does he not see, however, that the more he rejects the will of the American people, the more he is going to antagonize his fellow democrats (thanks to the town halls!) who are key to his transforming of America (and the world)?

COME TO THINK OF IT

As I contemplated my last post, I considered the possibility that the progressives ultimate goals are not a conspiracy theory, but open and transparent to anyone listening and looking. There are examples and examples of self described progressives who espouse the priorities and heros of their platform.

People with a different world view (Capitalists and lovers of independence) look at it as a "conspiracy" because the goals are so outrageous and seemingly evil. But, if you look closely - and even not so closely - at their words and actions, their intentions are clear. They are not apologetic because their beliefs are like a religion. They don't think of themselves as wrong or evil. They see themselves as superior thinkers and are deceived by their pride. One indication of their superior thinking is that they are shocked when their comments are seeing as somehow not politically correct. Often, when exposed, they find themselves surprised when they realize that their words were not politically correct. They then find themselves having to justify or re-tailor their comments to remain relevant in the conversation.

Later, I will try to find and add some concrete examples of what I'm talking about, in terms of their unashamed self-identification with outrageous and radical views that move us toward a more communistic paradigm.

FED AUDIT

Fed Audit Bitterly Opposed By Treasury

This headline caught my attention. I don't think anyone should be surprised by the fact that the Treasury wouldn't want the Fed to be audited. As I skimmed the article, one line really stuck out to me.
A lack of independence, he said [senior Treasury official] , could lead to inflation and otherwise undermine progressive priorities.
The name of the treasury official couldn't be named specifically because,
Under the briefing's ground rules, the officials could be paraphrased but not quoted, and the paraphrase could not be connected to a specific official.
The words, "AND OTHERWISE UNDERMINE PROGRESSIVE PRIORITIES" are what jumped out. Granted, I watch plenty of Glen Beck to be hyper sensitive to references to people clinging to "progressive priorities", but much of what Glen Beck has put forth have been eerily proved right.

A while back, I watched a video called "The Obama Deception", which was a very conspiratorial look at the progressive movement to create a World Order. The Fed played a big role in the conspiracy. It is captivating but nearly 2 hours long. Here is a 10 minute trailer for it.

Back when I watched it before, it intrigued me, but I tried to not get sucked into the conspiracy theory. But, events unfolding this year make me want to take a second look. The key, however, is that the results of their conspiracy theory are not pre-determined by man. Even if these conspiracy theorists are correct in their assumptions, they probably did not take into account the silent majority , the Tea Party movement, in reigning in the powers that think they have a free ride to their progressive thinking World Order. As their vision of health care reform and Global Warming theories break down due the vigilance and courage of the American people and other courageous whistleblowers, the ambitions of the Progressives may very well be true - in fact, they likely are, given what I've read and seen - but their success is not necessarily the end of the story. Light outshines darkness and the darkness forgets about that.

Update: I just read another link from Instapundit regarding the Fed that just adds a little more spice to the allegations of the power of the Fed to transform the world.

VACANT: “The Federal Reserve has quite a few vacancies – indeed, it appears that Obama will soon be able to name a majority of its seven governors.”

Sunday, March 7, 2010

BEAUTIFUL

There is nothing more refreshing and beautiful than a hard heart turned toward God, toward Jesus. Today is Sunday and I just read a very moving article in the Wall Street Journal about Mosab Hassan Yousef, the author of "Son of Hamas".

Here is a man, the son of a leader in Hamas, who was gripped by the powerful redemptive message of the Gospel, who converted to Christianity, despite great cost.
'I absolutely know that in anybody's eyes I was a traitor," says Mosab Hassan Yousef. "To my family, to my nation, to my God. I crossed all the red lines in my society. I didn't leave one that I didn't cross."
It's an inspiring article to read, and I'm tempted to purchase the book. While I'm not going to quote the entire article here, I'll give you a taste.
The book, a Le Carréesque thriller wrapped in a spiritual coming-of-age story...

"Simply my enemies of yesterday became my friends. And the friends of yesterday became really my enemies."...........

During those quiet years he met a British cabbie in Jerusalem who gave him an English-Arabic copy of the New Testament and invited him to attend a bible study session at their hotel. "I found that I was really drawn to the grace, love and humility that Jesus talked about," he says in "Son of Hamas."...........
Many will say that the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are one and the same - both coming from the same Father Abraham. But Mohab understands that the message in Islam is a lie, promoted first by Mohammad, and that it is a lie that imprisons its people.
"The problem is not in Muslims," he continues. "The problem is with their God. They need to be liberated from their God. He is their biggest enemy. It has been 1,400 years they have been lied to.".....

Do you consider your father a fanatic? "He's not a fanatic," says Mr. Yousef. "He's a very moderate, logical person. What matters is not whether my father is a fanatic or not, he's doing the will of a fanatic God. It doesn't matter if he's a terrorist or a traditional Muslim. At the end of the day a traditional Muslim is doing the will of a fanatic, fundamentalist, terrorist God. I know this is harsh to say. Most governments avoid this subject. They don't want to admit this is an ideological war.
One might wonder how he reconciles there being both a God of Islam and a different unique God of Christianity, when a major tenant of both is that there is only one God. For me that reconciliation comes from my belief in the existence of satan - the great deceiver. In essence, one could argue that the God of Islam is actually Satan.

Mohab also understands the power of Jesus in people's lives to change them.
"I converted to Christianity because I was convinced by Jesus Christ as a character, as a personality. I loved him, his wisdom, his love, his unconditional love. I didn't leave [the Islamic] religion to put myself in another box of religion. At the same time it's a beautiful thing to see my God exist in my life and see the change in my life. I see that when he does exist in other Middle Easterners there will be a change.............
The redemptive power of Jesus is beautiful even in the context of one life, but here we see the redemptive power of Jesus in a way that could save not only one's life, but the fate of the entire world.
As the son of a Muslim cleric, he says he had reached the conclusion that terrorism can't be defeated without a new understanding of Islam. Here he echoes other defectors from Islam such as the former Dutch parliamentarian and writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
How refreshing to see someone shine light on the darkness. How sweet are the feet of him who brings good news......