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Monday, May 7, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood Presidential Candidate Will Liberate Jerusalem

Yes, the secular Muslim Brotherhood are showing their love for Jews once again. Is the world blind? Or is the world complicit? - Reggie

Global War on Christians in the Muslim World

Creeping Sharia
We hear so often about Muslims as victims of abuse in the West and combatants in the Arab Spring’s fight against tyranny. But, in fact, a wholly different kind of war is underway—an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.

The portrayal of Muslims as victims or heroes is at best partially accurate. In recent years the violent oppression of Christian minorities has become the norm in Muslim-majority nations stretching from West Africa and the Middle East to South Asia and Oceania. In some countries it is governments and their agents that have burned churches and imprisoned parishioners. In others, rebel groups and vigilantes have taken matters into their own hands, murdering Christians and driving them from regions where their roots go back centuries.

The media’s reticence on the subject no doubt has several sources. One may be fear of provoking additional violence. Another is most likely the influence of lobbying groups such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation—a kind of United Nations of Islam centered in Saudi Arabia—and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Over the past decade, these and similar groups have been remarkably successful in persuading leading public figures and journalists in the West to think of each and every example of perceived anti-Muslim discrimination as an expression of a systematic and sinister derangement called “Islamophobia”—a term that is meant to elicit the same moral disapproval as xenophobia or homophobia.

But a fair-minded assessment of recent events and trends leads to the conclusion that the scale and severity of Islamophobia pales in comparison with the bloody Christophobia currently coursing through Muslim-majority nations from one end of the globe to the other. The conspiracy of silence surrounding this violent expression of religious intolerance has to stop. Nothing less than the fate of Christianity—and ultimately of all religious minorities—in the Islamic world is at stake.

From blasphemy laws to brutal murders to bombings to mutilations and the burning of holy sites, Christians in so many nations live in fear. In Nigeria many have suffered all of these forms of persecution. The nation has the largest Christian minority (40 percent) in proportion to its population (160 million) of any majority-Muslim country. For years, Muslims and Christians in Nigeria have lived on the edge of civil war. Islamist radicals provoke much if not most of the tension. The newest such organization is an outfit that calls itself Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sacrilege.” Its aim is to establish Sharia in Nigeria. To this end it has stated that it will kill all Christians in the country.

Socialist Francois Hollande Wins French Presidency

This is disturbing news, to say the least. Hollande ran on a platform calling for more stimulus spending and he won. Are these people crazy? Are they intent on collapsing their economy? Of course, our leftist leader has already invited the Socialist to the White House. "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Europe is turning left but America must turn right in November! Yes, it is too late to put a conservative at the top of the GOP ticket but all of the House and one third of the Senate is in play and conservatives can be elected in those seats. - Reggie

French socialist Francois Hollande has won a clear victory in the country's presidential election.

Mr Hollande - who polled just under 52% of votes in Sunday's run-off - spoke of his pride at becoming president.

Admitting defeat, centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy wished "good luck" to Mr Hollande.

Analysts say the vote has wide implications for the whole eurozone. Mr Hollande has vowed to rework a deal on government debt in member countries.

Shortly after polls closed at 20:00 (18:00 GMT), French media published projections based on partial results giving Mr Hollande a lead of almost four points. Turnout was about 80%.

Jubilant Hollande supporters gathered on Place de la Bastille in Paris - a traditional rallying point of the Left - to celebrate.

People drank champagne and chanted: "Sarko, it's over!"

Mr Hollande - the first Socialist to win the French presidency since Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s - gave his victory speech in his stronghold of Tulle in central France.

He said he was "proud to have been capable of giving people hope again".

He said he would push ahead with his pledge to refocus EU fiscal efforts from austerity to "growth".

"Europe is watching us, austerity can no longer be the only option," he said.

After his speech in Tulle, Mr Hollande headed to Brive airport on his way to Paris to address supporters at Place de la Bastille. His voice hoarse, he spoke of his pride at taking over the mantle of the presidency 31 years almost to the day since Socialist predecessor Francois Mitterrand was elected.

"I am the president of the youth of France," he told the assembled crowd of tens of thousands of supporters, emphasising his "pride at being president of all the republic's citizens". "You are a movement that is rising up throughout Europe," he said.

Mr Hollande has called for a renegotiation of a hard-won European treaty on budget discipline championed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mr Sarkozy.

Read the full article

‘Real’ Unemployment Rate Remains at 14.5 Percent

Yesterday, I posted an article by James Pethokoukis saying the 'real' unemployment rate is 11.1% and today CNS News is saying it is 14.5%. I do not pretend to know which is correct but I believe the point is this: Obama and the media are cooking the books in order to 'report' unemployment below 8% in time for the election because no President has been re-elected with unemployment above 7.2%. - Reggie

( – The “real” unemployment rate – a broader, more inclusive measure of the country’s jobless picture than the one usually used – remained unchanged at 14.5 percent in April, as the economy created a paltry 115,000 jobs.

Known formally as the U-6 unemployment rate, this measure includes those formally counted as unemployed, those known to be marginally attached to the workforce, and those who are working part-time because they cannot find full-time work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U-6 unemployment rate remained flat in April at 14.5 percent – meaning some 22.8 million people are either unemployed, have stopped looking for work, or need full-time work but can only find part-time employment.

The U-6 rate is considered to be a more accurate measure of the unemployment picture because it includes a broader sample of those affected by poor economic conditions. By including both unemployed persons and those marginally attached, this measure captures people the BLS would normally count as out of the workforce.

Media and Political Permanent Class Attempt to Rewrite 2008 Election

This is an excellent piece detailing the continued efforts of the GOP Establishment to destroy genuine conservative Sarah Palin while exonerating their operatives from any mistakes or wrongdoing. We are reminded once again, that the GOP Establishment are not only Progressives but they are slime. - Reggie

Winston Churchill said “history is written by the victors.” But too often in politics, where professional tacticians want to preserve their permanent paychecks by deflecting their mistakes onto everyone but themselves, losers often desperately attempt to re-write history.

And that is exactly what GOP establishment operatives, aided and abetted by members of the mainstream media who want to preserve access to them, are now doing to the history of the 2008 presidential campaign, as they attempt to blame Palin--and, by association, non-establishment grassroots conservatives--for their own professional malpractice during that campaign.

In nearly every recent story written about Romney’s vice presidential selection process, a GOP operative is quoted saying something in the vein of “Palin’s shadow hangs over the selection process.”

For example, Sara Fagen, George W. Bush’s political director, told the Associated Press, “There's one thing the people in the Republican establishment agree on: There was clearly not a thorough thought process or vetting that went into the selection of Sarah Palin. They didn't ask the fundamental questions or spend enough time with her...”.

Bill Schneider, in a Politico opinion piece, wrote:

The Palin choice hangs over Romney like a sword of doom... Palin was probably the worst vice presidential choice in modern times. What was McCain thinking? Probably that he needed to shore up his conservative base, which distrusted McCain ever since he challenged conservatives’ ascendancy over the GOP in 2000. Remember McCain’s attack that year on Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as "agents of intolerance"?

The implication is that McCain lost the 2008 election because of Palin--that Palin was not qualified to be president and had no record of accomplishments. That narrative might help the résumés of the McCain handlers who mismanaged her, most notably Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace. However, it ignores certain key facts, such as how Palin enabled McCain to temporarily take the lead in the 2008 campaign, Palin’s record of reform as Alaska’s governor, and Steve Schmidt’s mismanagement of the McCain campaign -- especially his failure and/or refusal to fully vet candidate Obama.

Do they really believe Palin, who took McCain’s campaign off of life support and put it temporarily in the lead, was a worse vice presidential choice than Thomas Eagleton, Dan Quayle, or John Edwards? As Mark Levin said on his radio show, the establishment is trying to re-write history again because, if not for Palin, McCain would have been a bigger loser.

So how did this impression turn into its current establishment consensus?

The Origins of A False Narrative: Leave No Establishment Consultant Behind

Schmidt risked the farm--and the election -- on a gimmicky tactic that came up snake eyes.

Dan Savage Savages the Bible, Christianity and the Pope

Dr. Michael Brown
Should we be surprised when a gay activist famous for his bawdy sex column and known for his glorification of promiscuity attacks the Bible, ridicules Christian morality, and mocks the Pope in the lewdest of terms? Not at all.

Speaking to 3,000 high school students attending a journalism conference in mid-April, Dan Savage strayed from his appointed theme – anti-bullying – and launched into a tirade against the Bible, also castigating scores of Christian students who walked out during his presentation.

He said, “We can learn to ignore the ‘bull---’ in the Bible about gay people. The same way, the same way we have learned to ignore the ‘bull---’ in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore ‘bull---’ in the Bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waved Bibles over their heads during the Civil War and justified it.” After the students walked out in protest, Savage said, “It's funny, as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-a--- some people react when you push back.”

Two weeks later, on April 29th, he issued a clear apology for using the term “pansy-a---” to describe the walkout of the students but emphatically denied that he was attacking Christianity: “I did not attack Christianity. I attacked hypocrisy. [His emphasis.] My remarks can only be read as an attack on all Christians if you believe that all Christians are hypocrites. Which I don't believe.”

So, an attack on the Bible as a “radically pro-slavery document” which was also very wrong on human sexuality is not an attack on Christianity?

The same day Savage issued his apology, he launched into a similar tirade, this time while speaking in the chapel (!) of Elmhurst College in Illinois (once again, deviating from his anti-bullying topic). He also had some choice words for the Pope: “What the Pope is saying is that the only thing that stands between my [expletive deleted] and Brad Pitt’s mouth is a piece of paper....What the Pope is saying is that once we're all gay-married we're going to go extinct in a generation because once we're all gay-married, we're gonna forget which hole [expletive deleted] babies.” And I imagine that this was not an attack on Catholicism?

And there is this...


New Romney ad.

YouTube description: Yesterday, President Obama launched his campaign by telling Americans not to ask if they are better off than they were four years ago, but how they'll be tomorrow. This follows a jobs report that found more than 340,000 Americans dropping out of the labor force and an unemployment rate that remains unacceptably high.

Are We Satisfied? No!

New RNC ad.

Irreconcilable Budget Differences

We have the worst Democrat candidate in decades so this race should be a slam dunk for the GOP, right? Unfortunately, we have one of the worst and weakest GOP candidates in decades and because of that the incumbent may win. Well, this is the guy the Republican Establishment/Progressives wanted so if he loses they have no one to blame but themselves. Again. - Reggie

Mitt Romney continues to miss opportunity after opportunity -- when he should be meeting with House leaders to save the defense budget and move on reconciliation.

This week you're likely to hear a lot more about the death of one of the Beastie Boys and the French election than what Republicans are trying to do to save the Pentagon budget from the wrecking ball of sequestration. The reasons you won't hear about it are lessons for Mitt Romney, who remains oddly disconnected from what House Republicans are doing.

That's the first problem. Romney, the presumptive nominee, is rapidly earning the reputation attributed to the Palestinians almost forty years ago by Israeli Prime Minister Abba Eban: he never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Romney could be working closely with House leaders to pass legislation -- putting Senate Dems under the gun for killing the bills - to illustrate vividly how a Romney presidency would help save the nation from Obama's spending spree, reductions in military strength and over-regulation. But he isn't.

One of the biggest problems that will come to a head soon after the election is the result of last year's disastrous debt ceiling deal, which imposed about $600 billion in defense cuts (on top of the $400 billion Obama already made) over the next ten years. As I wrote here three weeks ago, sequestration imposes limits on future spending across the board, a decision made in perfect ignorance of whether we'd be cutting fat or muscle.

Moreover, sequestration spending cuts will result in the Pentagon breaching its contracts for major weapon systems. These breaches will end up costing as much (or more) to terminate the contracts as it would to actually buy the weapon systems for which the contracts were signed. And sequestration will cost a massive number of high-tech private sector jobs. (According to one study by Dr. Stephen Fuller of George Mason University, the sequestration cuts would cost almost 600,000 jobs and $35 billion in lost earnings in 2013 alone.)

Congressional sources tell me that Democrats are getting nervous about defense sequestration. But with Obama's continued threat to veto any bill that fixes the mess, they're not nervous enough yet to do anything to stop the coming train wreck. Fortunately, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Ca) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca) are stepping up to prevent it.

At four syllables, sequestration is too long a word to use in politics. The fix for sequestration McKeon and McCarthy have chosen is budget reconciliation (two words, eight syllables, beyond the attention span of 98% of the media). Nevertheless, it's a good idea that deserves our support.

Reconciliation is a tool that establishes a budget figure. It bases the figure on instructions to congressional committees to produce enabling legislation that will result in spending at that level. Working over the past few weeks, House committees have come up with legislation that will enable the Pentagon to be protected from the first year of sequestration spending cuts by cutting non-defense programs, from which this week's try at reconciliation proceeds.

The differences between House conservatives, trying to impose some fiscal discipline without sacrificing national defense on one hand, and Obama and Senate Dems who refuse to even consider a federal budget, are irreconcilable. The budget reconciliation measure that McKeon, McCarthy, and others are bringing to the House floor this week will illustrate just how irresponsible Obama and the Dems are. If only people pay attention to it.

This week, the House will pass a budget reconciliation bill that would prevent the sequestration of about $300 billion in defense budget authority that will come into effect in January and instruct the House committees (which have already passed the necessary bills) to make the reconciliation effective. The reconciliation bill will never see the light of day in the Senate.

Which brings us to the lessons for Mitt Romney.

First and foremost, the national security issue isn't critical to the presidential campaign, at least not yet. Obama has managed to push it off the stage in the moments he isn't spiking the ball about the death of bin Laden. In fact, the Republicans have lost their ownership of the defense issue.

In years past, Republicans were the “daddy party,” trusted with the defense of the nation and some grasp of the economy. Dems were the “mommy party,” concerned only with the welfare state and increased government control of the economy.

Now, after eight years of George W. Bush's self-imposed quagmire of nation-building and his oxymoronic “big government conservatism,” Republicans are trusted with neither national defense nor the economy. Obama is engaged in the most massive reduction of our military's capabilities in generations, and Republicans haven't yet been effective in even slowing him down.

If Romney were to get involved personally in the McKeon-McCarthy initiative, he could begin to recapture both issues. Defense spending can't be cut without the so far unaccomplished analysis of what the Pentagon needs to deter or defeat the threats we face. Sequestration cuts defense spending without regard to the threat matrix, and borders on the criminally negligent. It also reduces jobs and GDP without regard to the negative effects on the economy. And -- after the termination costs of breached contracts are paid -- sequestration won't reduce Pentagon spending nearly as much as claimed. Romney should make it his campaign theme all this week. It would gain a level of traction his campaign now lacks.

Romney is now trying to consolidate his influence over the national debate and take on Obama. That's a claim to leadership that he has to assert credibly. The other big lesson for him in the reconciliation debate this week is that Republican control of the House gives him a leadership tool that he has to use.

And there is this...

Marco Rubio Makes the Case for Mitt Romney

Florida senator talks budget crisis and foreign policy, steers clear of vice presidential rumors

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Allen West Speaks to the Broward Republican Executive Committee

YouTube description: Congressman Allen West speaks to the BREC (Broward Republican Executive Committee) at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Fort Lauderdale, FL

h/t The Right Scoop

Composite Americans

As usual, Mark Steyn takes a story from the headlines, tells us the irony of it and uses humor to keep us from breaking things out of frustration. During parts of this column, I laughed so hard, I cried. - Reggie

Mark Steyn
Have you dated a composite woman? They’re America’s hottest new demographic. As with all the really cool stuff, Barack Obama was doing it years before the rest of us. In Dreams from My Father, the world’s all-time most unread bestseller, he spills the inside dope on his composite white girlfriend: “When we got back to the car she started crying. She couldn’t be black, she said. She would if she could, but she couldn’t. She could only be herself, and wasn’t that enough . . . ”

But being yourself is never going to be enough in the new composite America. Last week, in an election campaign ad, Barack revealed his latest composite girlfriend — “Julia.” She’s worse than the old New York girlfriend. She can’t even be herself. In fact, she can’t be anything without massive assistance from Barack every step of the way, from his “Head Start” program at the age of three through to his Social Security benefits at the age of 67. Everything good in her life she owes to him. When she writes her memoir, it will be thanks to a subvention from the Federal Publishing Assistance Program for Chronically Dependent Women but you’ll love it: Sweet Dreams from My Sugar Daddy. She’s what the lawyers would call “non composite mentis.” She’s not competent to do a single thing for herself — and, from Barack’s point of view, that’s exactly what he’s looking for in a woman, if only for a one-night stand on a Tuesday in early November.

Then there’s “Elizabeth,” a 62-year-old Democratic Senate candidate from Massachusetts. Like Barack’s white girlfriend, she couldn’t be black. She would if she could, but she couldn’t. But she could be a composite — a white woman and an Indian woman, all mixed up in one! Not Indian in the sense of Ashton Kutcher putting on brownface make-up and a fake-Indian accent in his amusing new commercial for the hip lo-fat snack Popchips. But Indian in the sense of checking the “Are you Native American?” box on the Association of American Law Schools form, which Elizabeth Warren did for much of her adult life. According to her, she’s part Cherokee and part Delaware. Not in the Joe Biden sense, I hasten to add, but Delaware in the sense of the Indian tribe named in honor of the home state of Big F****in’ Chief Dances with Plugs.

How does she know she’s a Cherokee maiden? Well, she cites her grandfather’s “high cheekbones,” and says the Indian stuff is part of her family “lore.” Which was evidently good enough for Harvard Lore School when they were looking to rack up a few affirmative-action credits. The former Obama special adviser to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and former chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Panel now says that “I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group, something that might happen with people who are like I am,” and certainly not for personal career advancement or anything like that. Like everyone else, she was shocked, shocked to discover that, as the Boston Herald reported, “Harvard Law School officials listed Warren as Native American in the ’90s, when the school was under fierce fire for their faculty’s lack of diversity.”

So did the University of Texas, and the University of Pennsylvania. With the impertinent jackanapes of the press querying the bona fides of Harvard Lore School’s first Native American female professor, the Warren campaign got to work and eventually turned up a great-great-great-grandmother designated as Cherokee in the online transcription of a marriage application of 1894.

Read the rest of the column

Compulsory Blindness

Andrew McCarthy
The Obama administration is enforcing a false orthodoxy.

A few years back, I wrote a book called “Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad.” It was about being on the “front lines,” so to speak, of the battle against Muslim terrorism. I put “front lines” in quotes because, though the terrorists saw themselves as fighting a doctrinally ordained war of armed combat, we were treating them as mere criminals — such that our idea of a battlefield was the federal courthouse, and our idea of a commander was, well . . . me.

Misapprehending the dimension of the challenge — that it was war, not crime — was only one part of the story. The real willful blindness was government’s failure to examine the nature of the challenge. This, of course, involves the question of why things happen. To duck that question was reckless. A failure to understand the terrorists’ rationale made it impossible to grasp how pervasive the security problem was, how likely it was that additional mass-murder plots were in the offing, what kinds of targets were vulnerable, and what should be done to try to prevent attacks.

Still, things were better 20 years ago. If the book were to be written about today’s counterterrorism approach, I’d have to call it Compulsory Blindness: A Surrender to Violent Extremism.

See, however wayward our approach in the Nineties may have been, it was still possible to tell the truth, to fashion an accurate depiction of the phenomenon. To be sure, in the Clinton years, there was plenty of feel-good “Religion of Peace” drivel coming out of the White House, the State Department, and Main Justice. But back then, willful blindness was the familiar, tacit kind of conscious avoidance: Officials who should have known better passively avoided learning basic, uncomfortable facts. For the most part, though, they did not affirmatively obstruct those who were more industrious.

No one, for example, stopped me from eliciting sworn testimony from FBI agents and other experts that the concept of “jihad” stemmed from classical Islamic doctrine, and that its original meaning involved armed combat against unbelievers in order to fulfill the divine injunction to spread Islam. Regardless of what the politicians were saying in Washington, no one tried to stop us, in our New York courtroom, from proving that the terrorists had been animated by a supremacist ideology that was firmly rooted in Islamic scripture. No one prevented me from pointing out to the jury that the Blind Sheikh (Omar Abdel Rahman), whose various physical maladies rendered him unable to carry out terrorist acts, was nevertheless empowered to command the terrorist organization, solely because of his mastery of Islamic jurisprudence.

I marched into the courtroom every day for nine months and proved that there was an undeniable nexus between Islamic doctrine and terrorism committed by Muslims. The Blind Sheikh, the jury was allowed to learn, was not a fringe lunatic; he was a globally renowned scholar of sharia whose influence over a spate of international jihadist organizations was based on his doctorate from al-Azhar University, the world’s most influential center of Islamic thought. And when I demonstrated the straight-line, undeniable logic of the evidence — that scripture informed the Blind Sheikh’s directives; that those directives informed his terrorist subordinates; and that those subordinates then committed atrocities — the government gave me the Justice Department’s highest award.

Today, I’d be ostracized. No longer is the government content to be willfully blind. Today, it is defiantly, coercively, extortionately blind.

And there is this... Frank Gaffney talks about our blindness to Jihad here.

John Bolton: Handling of Chinese dissident is a 'train wreck'

Did the U.S. handle situation right in China?

Food Elite Proclaim Only Lab-Grown Meat Ethical to Eat

Honestly, the more of these types of stories I read the more I believe members of the media, academia, politicians, leaders, etc., are losing their minds! - Reggie

Last week in my discussion of the Food Elite’s war on meat, I mentioned that the New York Times issued a challenge to its readers to write 700 words or less explaining why it is ethical to eat meat. The contest has ended; the approximately 3,000 responses have been whittled down to 29 by Gwynne Taraska, the research director for the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University' and those 29 semi-finalists have been whittled down to six finalists by five esteemed members of the Food Elite: Mark Bittman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Andrew Light, Michael Pollan, and Peter Singer. The six final responses were then voted on by the readers.

It should come as no surprise that the six final essays have an overall disdain for meat and an assumption that eating meat, given the means of production we use today, is a wrong that must be justified, is harmful to the environment, and is harmful to human health. There was not a single response in the final six essays that took the position that eating meat is ethical without all the caveats about “sustainability,” impacts on the environment, or impacts on human health.

What is quite shocking, however, given that a research director at George Mason whittled down the original approximately 3,000 responses, is that the response that ended up winning entirely avoided the prompt. For the sake of our future, I would hope to God that any student at George Mason--or any other educational institution from high school through doctoral studies, for that matter--would be failed for writing an essay that flat-out ignored the prompt. Also, the one titled “For What Shall We Be Blamed – and Why?” should have been failed for reading like an example right out of Orwell’s "Politics and the English Language." Do yourself a huge favor and just skip reading it. If you insist on reading it, I warned you.

In the initial challenge to its readers, the NYT asserted there were plenty of arguments explaining why eating meat is unethical but, in their minds, not a single good argument about why eating meat is ethical. The winning response, then, posited that eating meat is, in fact, not ethical, except if produced in a certain way:

Is it ethical to eat meat? Some 40 years ago, I took a long break from eating any animals, but soon I will be able to eat meat again without any qualms, without worrying about my health, cruelty to animals, or environmental degradation. That’s because this autumn, 14 years after it was just a gleam in the eye of the Dutch scientist Willem van Eelen, the very first laboratory-grown hamburger is to make its debut.

That’s right, folks: the only ethical way to consume meat, according to the NYT and its readers, is if the meat is produced in a lab. And y’all thought “pink slime” was gross.

Paul Ryan Outclasses My Profs

The Georgetown gang that couldn't think straight.

Forgive the personal nature of the column, but after a week of cooling off, I cannot walk away from the asinine letter that nearly 90 Georgetown professors, including some of my very favorite former teachers, wrote to U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan before his attention-getting April 26 speech on the Hoya Hilltop. The letter is arrogant, ignorant, puerile, nasty, and dishonest.

Others such as George Weigel and William McGurn have masterfully answered the professors' ill-informed agit-prop. But in a small sense at least, I was the one who started this flap, so I'll weigh in at the risk of doing so less impressively than Weigel and McGurn.

Background: My Georgetown undergraduate degree was in a Theology/Government double-major, the former earned under the guidance of (among others) letter signatories John Haught, James Walsh, S.J., William McFadden, S.J., and Anthony Tambasco. I have kept in touch with three of them, enthusiastically recommended Haught's books, and spoken glowingly of them on occasions too numerous to count. Collectively, they taught me not just the substance of Christian theology but also an approach to scholarship, sorely lacking in this letter, which encouraged polite disagreement and rejected intellectual rigidity.

In my senior thesis in Theology, I had the temerity (as a Catholic-leaning Anglican) to explicitly challenge the idea that Catholic theology necessitates any particular economics or government programs or policies. Partly along the lines of insisting on rendering to Caesar those things that are Caesar's, I quoted even liberal theologians to the effect that "the Kingdom of God is not a program of social reform." Our faith can (and should) inform our political and policy considerations, I wrote, but it hardly offers explicit directives about how to structure welfare programs or whether it is a good idea to finance a particular project. We cannot ignore broad religious imperatives to care for the poor, but how to best do so is a matter on which faith is ill-equipped to dictate.

Fast forward to last May 5, exactly a year ago tomorrow. For my friends at Catholic Advocate, I wrote a column on exactly the topic that a year later has exploded into a national dispute between Rep. Ryan and the Georgetown 90. Unless I missed something, mine was the first piece in print that addressed these very issues of how Ryan's budget specifically might comport with Catholic social teaching -- especially the concept of "subsidiarity," which is the preference for pushing decisions and authority to the smallest, most close-to-home unit possible. After a detailed analysis both of the writings of Pope John Paul II and of Ryan's budget (a topic I also have deep experience with, as a former staff member of the House Appropriations Committee), here was my conclusion:

The point is not to say whether or not it will work, or whether it is wise policy, and the point certainly is not to say that Catholic teaching requires supporting the Ryan plan. The point is that, by being fully in accord with Catholic principles writ large, the Ryan plan can be adjudged on its merits as a serious contribution to the debate, without Catholics somehow worrying that it in any way violates the Christian imperative to care for "the least of these.

Catholic teaching does not endorse any particular program for elderly health care. But it does give guidance as to whether or not a program is within a broad range of acceptable outcomes. Applying the precepts of Pope John Paul II especially, one can conclude that the Ryan plan passes that test with ease.

So in a sense I started the public debate on the comportment of Ryan's budget with Catholicism. If I may suggest so, please note the humility of those assertions I made above, and (if you link to the whole column) of the entire argument. We conservatives never claim to have the only good or right Christian answer to how to help the poor, but many of us -- Ryan included -- do take seriously the Biblical injunction to do so. "Examine the details of [Ryan's] proposals," I wrote, "and you'll see stark examples of subsidiarity in practice. What American political liberals describe as an assault on Medicare and Medicaid is nothing other than subsidiarity applied to those programs in order to save them."

What we ask in return is a little respect (and humility) from those on the left who favor differing policy prescriptions. As we shall see, that respect, and certainly the humility, is sorely lacking in the letter from the Georgetown 90.

BUT LET'S EXAMINE how Ryan himself began to engage this aspect of the budgetary question. Nowhere has he made the arrogant claim that his budget is required or necessary according to Catholic teaching, nor has he overly aggressively cited Pope JPII's authority. Instead, in response to longstanding and repeated criticisms from some Catholic functionaries, the congressman last year engaged then-Archbishop (now Cardinal) Timothy Dolan in a dialogue on the subject. That dialogue was informed, it must be emphasized, by Ryan's background as a top think-tank aide to former Cabinet member and U.S. Rep. Jack Kemp, who (even while breaking widely from liberal orthodoxy on the topic) was almost universally respected for his deep concern for those in poverty or distress. Ryan has insisted all along, with no reason to doubt him, that his intentions are deeply imbued with a Kempian interest in helping the poor. (Ryan also did work for devout Catholic William Bennett, another longtime and thoughtful advocate of ensuring that "the least of these" aren't left behind.)

Dolan's whole reply was very much along the lines of this passage (my own emphasis added):

[Y]ou rightly pointed out Pope John Paul's comments on the limits of what he termed the "Social Assistance State." Your letter is correct in observing that the Church makes an essential contribution to society when she raises up moral principles to help guide and inform decisions about public policy in a compelling way. We bishops are very conscious that we are pastors, never politicians. As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, it is the lay faithful who have the specific charism of political leadership and decision (Lumen Gentium, 31; Apostolicam Actuositatem 13). The high call to public service which you have nobly answered entitles you and all our elected officials to our respect and constant prayer. Thanks to you and your colleagues for accepting that call.

This was a serious dialogue, mutually respectful and constructive. But Rep. Ryan wasn't out there randomly claiming Christ's mantle for his budget; instead, he seriously discussed the concerns of the faithful specifically when asked about them -- with the subject first getting major national attention after a Drudge link to an April 10 TV interview Ryan did. The interview was conducted by David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network. It was only in that context, and perfectly appropriate therein. Without notes, off the cuff, Ryan made this wholly unexceptional, entirely orthodox claim:

To me, the principle of subsidiarity, which is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best, having a civil society of the principal of solidarity where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community, that's how we advance the common good. By not having big government crowd out civic society, but by having enough space in our communities so that we can interact with each other, and take care of people who are down and out in our communities.

This should not have stirred up a hornet's nest, but it did. The Left cannot abide having a conservative make a moral claim, even with due humility, about our budgets; the Left cannot abide a challenge, even an unexceptional one, to their own claims to moral superiority.

Is Eugenics Reemerging?

Please, click on the link below to see two other videos, posters and read the rest of the article. We seem to be returning to the horrors of the past. - Reggie

Glenn Beck dedicated this past week to saluting heroes who have faced great odds and defied those who have sought to silence them — from Ted Nugent, to former NSA whistle-blowers, to the beleaguered Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Beck ended his week-long tribute with a profound program featuring children living, and more pointedly, thriving with disabilities.

The special was meant to underscore the devastating effects of Eugenics and the fact that these viable human beings would not have been given the opportunity to even come into existence at all if selective sterilization, abortion and euthanasia-driven policies were allowed re-entry into the American landscape. The fear is not so far-fetched either, given the nation’s troubling history with the controversial practice.

While Beck has been a steadfast opponent of the progressive policy, consistently arguing that the threat of its reemergence is growing under left-wing lawmakers, this particular segment was spurred by a recent appearance on the Dr. Phil program of a woman seeking permission to end her two disabled children’s (now adults) lives — both of whom are lingering in a vegetative state. The mother argued that medicinal euthanasia, like the kind once administered by the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian, is more humane than the alternative, which is to disconnect her children’s feeding tubes. Of course it is a heartrending situation for any parent to find themselves in, and one that will likely be exploited by leftists to support their view that the state should have control over who lives and who never gets to come into existence at all.

Read the full post and watch two more videos here.

Taking a scythe to the Bill of Rights

George Will
Controversies can be wonderfully clarified when people follow the logic of illogical premises to perverse conclusions. For example, two academics recently wrote in the British Journal of Medical Ethics that “after-birth abortions” — killing newborn babies — are matters of moral indifference because newborns, like fetuses, “do not have the same moral status as actual persons” and “the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant.” So killing them “should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.” This helpfully validates the right-to-life contention that the pro-abortion argument, which already defends third-trimester abortions, contains no standard for why the killing should be stopped by arbitrarily assigning moral significance to the moment of birth.

Now comes Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) with a comparable contribution to another debate, the one concerning government regulation of political speech. Joined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), 26 other Democrats and one Republican, he proposes a constitutional amendment to radically contract First Amendment protections. His purpose is to vastly expand government’s power — i.e., the power of incumbent legislators — to write laws regulating, rationing or even proscribing speech in elections that determine the composition of the legislature and the rest of the government. McGovern’s proposal vindicates those who say that most campaign-finance “reforms” are incompatible with the First Amendment.

His “People’s Rights Amendment” declares that the Constitution protects only the rights of “natural persons,” not such persons organized in corporations, and that Congress can impose on corporations whatever restrictions Congress deems “reasonable.” His amendment says that it shall not be construed “to limit the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association and all such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable.” But the amendment is explicitly designed to deny such rights to natural persons who, exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of association, come together in corporate entities to speak in concert.

The awful April jobs report: Is the ‘real’ unemployment rate 11.1%?

James Pethokoukis
Any way you slice or dice it, the April jobs report was terrible—and terribly disappointing. Employers added just 115,000 workers to their payrolls last month, way below the 180,000 Wall Street economists were expecting. Hiring has now slowed in three straight months. Job growth in March and April averaged 135,000, down from an average 252,000 per month in the three months to February. As IHS Global Insight explains: “Prior job gains at over 200,000 per month were inconsistent with the modest pace of recovery in overall output – GDP was up only 2.2% in the first quarter. It now appears that jobs have decelerated into line with GDP, rather than GDP accelerating to catch up with jobs.”

And JPMorgan put it this way: “The April employment report was softer than expected and signaled a downshift in labor market momentum.”

Sure, the official unemployment rate dipped a tenth of a point lower to 8.1%, but that’s only because people continue to drop out of the workforce at an alarming pace. That workforce shrinkage, as measured by the labor force participation rate, totally distorts the true unemployment picture. In fact, the participation rate is now at its lowest level since 1981! (For comparison purposes, the economy added 480,000 jobs back in April 1984, during the Reagan recovery.)

So what is the true state of the labor market?

click image for larger view

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Santelli Rips 'Media Complacency' For Bad Jobs Numbers Analysis

Media Matters, NOW unite to force Limbaugh off the air

“Start listening to Rush Limbaugh.” That was the message representatives from Media Matters for America and the National Organization for Women delivered to NOW chapter leaders in a secret, narrowly focused strategy session Wednesday night.

In audio of the NOW/MMFA strategy webinar obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller, the liberal organizations plotted the best ways to get the radio giant and veritable burr in their collective saddles off the air.

Go after the local advertisers

The key, according to Media Matters online outreach director Jay Carmona, is to target Limbaugh at the local level — specifically advertisers in local radio markets — but with an eye on his national sponsors.

“I will say, just going by the numbers, getting local stations to drop Limbaugh is actually a hard, more long-term campaign than just looking at getting local sponsors to drop,” she explained, adding that they do not need to get the conservative talker off every local station to make an impact.

The catch, however, is that women who are active with NOW and the men who support them — whom Limbaugh often needles as the NAGs (National Association of Gals) and the “new castrati” — are actually going to have to listen to his radio show in order to identify and target those local advertisers.

“The first thing you want to do is, I say, start listening to Rush Limbaugh,” Carmona advised.

"I know this is a really big thing to ask. It’s really difficult, but he is online from noon Eastern to 3 o’clock every weekday, although your local station may air at a different time,” she said, advising listeners to take notes, and then track and contact advertisers that broadcast during Limbaugh’s show.

Carmona recommended that Limbaugh’s opponents should contact the businesses privately — just in case the advertisement was a mistake — and to open lines of communication for potential negotiations.

She added that the only way they can know for sure if a company continues to buy ads on Limbaugh’s show is to “keep listening.”

Listening to Rush taxes their mental health

NOW and Media Matters have a support structure to keep morale up in the face of Limbaugh’s conservatism.

“If you listen as a group it is actually really empowering. So I know folks who are live chatting ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ on Facebook every day,” Carmona told call participants.

“Just make sure that you take some time to talk about why certain things he says are wrong or messed up with your group, and that can actually be super, super empowering to do that,” she continued.

“And that way, also, when somebody asks, ‘Do you even listen to Rush Limbaugh?’ which happens, you’ll be able to say, ‘Yes, do you want to know what he said today?’”

It’s wise, Carmona added, to take mental health breaks from the show.

“Make sure that you also, just in general — if something is freaking you out and you are feeling really bad listening to Rush Limbaugh — take a break. Give yourself the time and the space that you need to listen to the stuff because it can be difficult at times,” she said.

The strategy session focused on NOW chapters’ ability to focus on local advertisers, who buy time from broadcast affiliates rather than from Limbaugh’s carrier, Clear Channel, because “most local station affiliates make the bulk of their profit off of these local advertising dollars, so targeting your local advertisers really is how you get those local stations to drop Rush. And that is what you’re aiming for.”

Call participants also heard that targeting national advertisers can also be effective, but that the result won’t impact the local stations as much as Clear Channel itself.


Generalissimo Obama

Presidential rhetoric shows the antidemocratic strain in progressivism

One of President Obama’s most annoying habits is his tendency to mistake the 300 million people of the United States for soldiers in an army charged with national reconstruction. He, of course, is the general.

The tic is often barely perceptible, revealed subtly in those moments when Obama decries partisan politics for interfering with his plans; when he speaks of coming together for the common purpose of redistributing private income to—sorry, “investing” taxpayer dollars in—Democratic client groups; and during the rare occasions when he feels it necessary to address the nation on matters of national security and war.

Here is the president in August 2010, announcing the end of combat operations in Iraq: “And so at this moment, as we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad.”

The way to “honor” American heroes who serve overseas, Obama said, is “by coming together, all of us, and working to secure the dream that so many generations have fought for—the dream that a better life awaits anyone who is willing to work for it and reach for it.”

What does “coming together” mean? Why, silly, it means passing Obama’s domestic agenda: more money for education and job training and to “jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil,” and just happen to be owned by donors to the president’s campaigns. Missing from the 2010 speech was a line saying the path to heroism is through support for the Buffett Rule, probably because David Axelrod hadn’t yet come up with that particular gimmick.

The nation-as-army metaphor reemerged, dramatically, as the 2012 campaign began. Jonah Goldberg was justifiably disgusted at the message of this year’s State of the Union Address, in which the president suggested that Americans as a whole might take their cues from uniformed soldiers who are “not consumed with personal ambition,” “don’t obsess over their differences,” “focus on the mission at hand,” and “work together.”

Obama finds inspiration in the most hierarchical and selfless elements of military life. “Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example,” he said. We imagine all of us would have to buy health insurance. Taxes and spending would be high. A new Volt would sit in every driveway.

The commander-in-chief issued additional orders in recent days. When he unveiled his latest campaign slogan Monday, he told his supporters, and presumably the rest of the country, that it is time to march “Forward,” lemming-like, off a cliff.

Unemployment rate at 8.1%, only 115K jobs added, participation rate shrinks again to new low

The April jobs report fell short of analysts expectations, as only 115,000 jobs were added. Consensus expectations had been in the 165K-170K range, which still would have been below the rate jobs were added in February, January, and December. While the jobless rate dropped slightly, the number of jobs added came in short of March’s disappointing level:

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 115,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, retail trade, and health care, but declined in transportation and warehousing.

Both the number of unemployed persons (12.5 million) and the unemployment rate (8.1 percent) changed little in April. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.5 percent), adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (24.9 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and Hispanics (10.3 percent) showed little or no change in April, while the rate for blacks (13.0 percent) declined over the month. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.2 percent in April (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed at 5.1 million in April. These individuals made up 41.3 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has fallen by 759,000. (See table A-12.)

So how did the jobless rate drop? The same way it’s been dropping all along — people exiting the workforce:

The civilian labor force participation rate declined in April to 63.6 percent, while the employment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, changed little.

That’s a new 30-year low in the participation rate. Here’s the chart from the BLS for the last 30 years:

Uncle Sam's Unlimited Cell Phone Plan

No wonder we are broke! How many trillions of tax dollars are wasted each and every year?! - Reggie

From May 3rd

'Life of Julia': Welcome to Obama's Government Utopia

Campaign tool shows clear choice between dependence and individualism

Liz Cheney Eyes the Political Stage

Liz Cheney has been making the rounds at Wyoming political events this spring and her desire to move back to the state has Republicans from Cheyenne to Washington buzzing about a potential future campaign.

With little fanfare, Cheney, a former State Department official and the eldest daughter of the former vice president, has spoken at six events in different corners of the sprawling state this year. She has been especially busy on the GOP dinner circuit. Cheney has already hit four county Lincoln Day Dinners and keynoted the dinner following the Wyoming GOP convention last month. She also accompanied and appeared on stage with her father when he made his first public appearance following his heart transplant at the state convention.

Cheney is currently a McLean, Va., resident and there has long been speculation among Republicans that she would eventually run for office there. But Cheney, a mother of five, is seeing her oldest child off to college this year and, along with her husband Philip, has long considered returning to the state that her father represented in the House. They hope to buy a house in Jackson Hole, where her parents also have a residence, but the move is not a sure thing.

Still, Cheney’s schedule and some of her rhetoric suggests someone who is eyeing an eventual campaign.

“Let me tell you why Wyoming’s style of politics is so important,” Cheney said last month at the Park County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, according to the Cody Enterprise. “There is a personal touch here that gets amazing people into office.”

Talking to local radio station KGOS-KERM after speaking to Republicans at the Goshen County Lincoln-Reagan dinner, on the opposite end of the state from Cody, Cheney explained that her father was most proud of his days representing Wyoming.

“He has said to me that there is no title that he felt prouder of professionally than when he was called ‘The Gentleman from Wyoming,’” Cheney said, adding that her dad was also honored to serve as defense secretary and vice president.

Sounding every bit the aspiring politician, Cheney has demurred when asked about her ambitions.

“Right now, I’m focused on the presidential campaign and getting Mitt Romney elected,” she told the Cody paper.

Cheney declined to be interviewed by POLITICO.

But Wyoming politicos say local friends of Cheney are encouraging her to look at a run and helping her garner local press coverage by notifying Wyoming media outlets about her attendance at events. Few think she would be making stops in every corner of the state if she weren’t at least mulling a future run.

“She’s running up a lot of asphalt,” said Shawn Whitman, a Laramie native and former chief of staff for two Wyoming senators, of Cheney’s schedule. “This is planting seeds of thought in people’s minds. There’s nobody I know that goes to those events unless they have a position in the party or they’re trying to run for office.”

Friends of Cheney emphasize that she has no set plan to run and that she and her husband, an attorney, still need to reconcile issues related to their jobs and their children’s education before they can even move.

None in Cheney’s circle wanted to speak on the record, but her ambitions for public office have been more openly discussed of late as she treks back to Wyoming.

“She’s putting herself in a position now so she can eventually do it,” said one fellow Washington Republican.

Read the rest of the article

UPDATE: Earlier this morning on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Cheney if she is considering running for Senate in 2014. She deflected the question both times he asked. If I can locate the video of it, I will post it later. - Reggie