The Benghazi hearings in the House have gotten under way with a bang, especially from Gregory Hicks, the number 2 American diplomat in Libya at the time of the Benghazi attack:
The No. 2 diplomat in Libya during the Benghazi attack testified Wednesday that he and many others knew the Sept. 11 assault was terrorism from the moment it happened, and he was shocked when the Obama administration said otherwise.
Hicks was the first person who was in Libya during the attack to testify publicly before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is investigating the Obama’s administration’s handling of security in Libya and response to the attack.
Hicks said he felt he was subject to retaliation for criticizing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice’s appearances on talk shows five days later in which she insisted the attack emerged from a protest against an anti-Islam video gone awry. Several days later, the State Department acknowledged there was no protest and it was a terrorist attack.
When Hicks returned to Washington for the funeral of ambassador Chris Stevens, who died along with three other Americans in the attack, Jones “gave me a blistering critique of my management style,” he said.
Well the law and common sense won a round in Texas:
In a summary judgment of a lawsuit filed last year by Kountze High School cheerleaders, State District Judge Steve Thomas ruled Wednesday the banners are constitutionally permissible. In a copy of the ruling obtained by CBS affiliate KFDM in Beaumont, Thomas determined: “The Kountze cheerleaders banners that included religious messages and were displayed during the 2012 football season were constitutionally permissable. Neither the Establishment Clause nor any other law prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events. Neither the Establishment Clause nor any other law requires Kountze ISD to prohibit inclusion of religious-themed banners at school sporting events.”
In October, Thomas granted an injunction requested by the cheerleaders allowing them to continue displaying religious-themed banners pending the lawsuit’s outcome. Thomas at the time said the district’s ban on the practice appeared to violate free speech rights. Continue reading
And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, and to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering. Then begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia, which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.
Thomas Jefferson-Letter to Samuel Kercheval (July 12, 1816)
President Obama begs to differ with Mr. Jefferson:
Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted. Continue reading
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
1 Kings 19: 11-13
One of the ironies of the Gosnell case is that a liberal Democrat, Kirsten Powers, is largely responsible for shaming the Mainstream Media into covering the Gosnell case. A supporter of abortion, who now believes that life begins at conception, she wrote a fiery series of columns in which she called out the media for their obvious bias in refusing to cover the Gosnell murder trial for fear of jeopardizing the right to abortion. Yesterday she called for banning late term abortions:
But Gosnell’s clinic was not illegal. It was a licensed medical facility. The state of his clinic was well known: there were repeated complaints to government officials and even the local Planned Parenthood. He wasn’t operating under the radar but in plain sight, and he received referrals from abortion clinics up and down the East Coast. Gosnell performed plenty of abortions within the 24-week limit in Pennsylvania and worked part time for a National Abortion Federation–accredited clinic in Delaware.
The woman Gosnell is on trial for allegedly killing, Karnamaya Mongar, perished during a legal abortion while she was 19 weeks pregnant. Gosnell was not forced to operate in the dark because of anti–abortion rights regulations. It’s the opposite: he was able to flourish—pulling in $1.8 million a year—because multiple abortion rights administrations decided that to inspect his clinic might mean limiting access to abortion. It’s all in the grand jury report, if you don’t believe me.
One of the bodies discovered in the raid of the clinic was of a 22-week-old baby with a surgical incision on the back of her neck, which penetrated the first and second vertebrae. The only thing that would make her death illegal would be if Gosnell failed to finish her off in her mother’s womb.
Does that statement make you uncomfortable? Good.
What we need to learn from the Gosnell case is that late-term abortion is infanticide. Legal infanticide. That so many people in the media seem untroubled by the idea that 12 inches in one direction is a “private medical decision” and 12 inches in the other direction causes people to react in horror, should be troubling. Indeed, Gosnell’s defense attorney Jack J. McMahon has relied on the argument that Gosnell killed the babies prior to delivering them, therefore he is not guilty of murder. His exact words were: “Every one of those babies died in utero.”
Gosnell is accused of aborting infants past the 24-week limit in Pennsylvania. But those same deaths – if done in utero – would have been perfectly legal in many states with sometimes abused health exceptions, which can include the elastic category of “mental distress.” Continue reading
American filmmakers made a documentary dealing with the issue of sex selective abortion and infanticide. The amount of this going on in the world is staggering. Estimates suggest that more girls are killed in India and China each year due to families wanting sons instead than are born each year in the US.
You would think that this is the sort of issue that everyone could agree on. Not so, however. Slate columnist Sital Kalantry chastises feminist groups for allowing themselves to be sucked in by a documentary which was apparently (gasp) made by pro-lifers:
It’s a Girl, a documentary about the tragic practice of sex-selection abortions in India and China, is being widely screened by pro-choice groups across America, including the New Jersey Chapter of the National Organization for Women and feminist groups on university campuses. It was an official selection for the Amnesty International Film Festival in 2012 and appeared in Ms. magazine’s feminist movies review. But as organizations and groups evaluate whether to screen this movie, they should be aware that the film’s director worked for Harvest Media Ministry, an organization that makes pro-life and other videos for church groups.
How did this happen? How did a movie linked to a pro-life group become the darling of the pro-choice community? The story involves clever disguises on the part of financing sources that managed to hide their involvement and pass off a movie about the horrors of sex-selection abortions as just a sympathetic movie about the plight of women in India and China. And the pro-life message is subtle enough that they got away with it. Continue reading
Peter Paul Cooney was born in County Roscommin, Ireland in 1822. He went with his family to America at the age of 5. Raised on a farm in Monroe, Michigan. Studying at Notre Dame it was perhaps fated that he would become a Holy Cross priest, although he wasn’t ordained until the age of 37. When the Civil War broke out Father Cooney was at Notre Dame. Although at 39 he was rather old for a military chaplain, he enlisted in the 35th Indiana Infantry, nicknamed the First Indiana Irish, and served 44 months, the entire War, with the 35th.
In a regiment of brave men, mostly Irish, Father Cooney stood out. After the battle of Murphreesboro the Colonel of the regiment, Bernard F. Mullen, wrote:
To Father Cooney, our chaplain, too much praise cannot be given. Indifferent as to himself, he was deeply solicitous for the temporal comfort and spiritual welfare of us all. On the field he was cool and indifferent to danger, and in the name of the regiment I thank him for his kindness and laborious attention to the dead and dying.
After the battle of Nashville, Brigadier General Nathan Kimball summed up the chaplain:
Of Father Cooney, chaplain of the Thirty-fifth Indiana, I commend him as an example of the army chaplin; meek, pious, and brave as a lion, he worked with his brave regiment in the valley of the shadow of death, affording the ministrations of his holy religion to the wounded and dying, and giving words of encouragement to his fellow soldiers.
Before battles, Father Cooney would stand before the regiment, lead the men in prayer and give them mass absolution. The commander of the Army of the Cumberland, Major General William S. Rosecrans, a fervent Catholic convert, was so taken by this that he ordered the Protestant chaplains in the Army to do likewise!
Father Cooney noted in his letters home to his brother that Protestant soldiers would often attend Mass, especially before a battle, and some of them converted. He believed that the courage of Catholic soldiers in the Army helped break down prejudice against the Faith that some of their Protestant fellow soldiers had originally harbored.
I have been for the last two months very busy in preparing the men to complete their Easter duty, otherwise I would have written oftener, to you. Our division consists of about twelve thousand men and there are Catholics in every regiment. Protestants attend the sermons by thousands in the open field. I have baptized
many of them and prejudice against to the Church is gone almost entirely.
A short time ago I baptized and gave his first Communion to the Major General commanding our division. He is now a most fervent catholic and his example is powerful over the men of his command. I have every assistance from him in anything that I require for the discharge of my duties. He is extremely kind to me. Continue reading
If you are a member of the NRA, Dave Perry, editor of the Aurora Sentinel, knows where you belong:
No more due process in the clear-cut case of insidious terrorism. When the facts are so clearly before all Americans, for the whole world to see, why bother with this country’s odious and cumbersome system of justice? Send the guilty monsters directly to Guantanamo Bay for all eternity and let them rot in their own mental squalor.
No, no, no. Not the wannabe sick kid who blew up the Boston marathon or the freak that’s mailing ricin-laced letters to the president. I’m talking about the real terrorist threat here in America: the National Rifle Association.
I’m not laughing. What the NRA did last week was no laughing matter. Aurora is a community that knows only too well the downside of prolific guns, of military weapons in the hands of crazy people, of a nation that’s gone so far off base when it comes to firearm regulations that common sense is beyond our reach. Continue reading
Hattip to Matt Achbold at Creative Minority Report. Margaret Colin is the honorary chairwoman of Feminists for Life. An accomplished actress, she has also been outspokenly pro-life. I can think of no occupation, other than abortionist, where the pro-aborts are more dominant that in the entertainment industry. It takes considerable courage to buck that trend, and I salute Ms. Colin. She is the daughter of a New York City cop, so perhaps courage runs in the family.
The modern travesty of Thomas Jefferson’s political organization to which you have attached yourself like a barnacle has the effrontery to call itself The Democratic Party. You are a Dem-o-crat. What’s the matter with you? Are you wicked?
Congressman Thaddeus Stevens (R. Pa.) to Congressman Alexander Coffroth (D. Pa.) in Lincoln.
Jefferson-Jackson dinners have long been a fixture of the Democrat party, although Jefferson had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of the Democrat party which was the handiwork of Old Hickory. Steve Yoder at Salon has a post, here, where he urges Democrats to dump their creator. I oppose this move. Although there are obvious differences between Jackson and the modern Democrat party, he established certain themes that have resonated in his party ever since:
1. Political Spoils-Andrew Jackson certainly did not invent the concept of firing workers in the Federal government and replacing them with members of his party, but he greatly expanded the concept and made it a fixture of American political life. The phrase political spoils was first used in reference to the wholesale firing of Federal workers by the newly elected Jackson. Government employees have ever since been one of the foundation stones of the Democrat party, only slowed a bit by the largely Republican initiated Civil Service reforms of the late nineteenth century.
2. Economic Ignorance-Andrew Jackson’s war on the Second Bank of the United States is a classic example of how politics can have a large negative impact on the economic life of the nation. With the Second Bank of the United States dead, state banks stepped into the breach to take over the lending throughout the nation on large private projects that had mainly been the responsibility of the Second Bank. Jackson’s policies led directly to the irresponsible printing of paper “money” by state banks, so-called “wild cat money”, and an orgy of speculation and unsound loans. This was ironic because Jackson always hated paper money, believing that the only sound money was coin in gold and silver. When the economic bubble caused by the creation of this new “money” collapsed, the panic of 1837 ensued, and the economy would not recover until 1843. It was the first great depression in American history. Economic illiteracy and the Presidency are always a bad combination, and the Democrats have a long history of placing in the White House men with economic ideas that run the gamut from bad to loony.
3. Class Hatred-In his veto of the bill by Congress rechartering the Second Bank of the United States, Jackson skillfully painted supporters as being a pack of Eastern and foreign investors and appealed to class prejudice against the rich:
It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society-the farmers, mechanics, and laborers-who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles.
Daniel Webster in his speeach on the veto in the Senate noted the political purpose of Jackson’s message: It manifestly seeks to inflame the poor against the rich. It wantonly attacks whole classes of the people, for the purpose of turning against them the prejudices and the resentments of other classes.
The appeals to class divisions have been part of Democrat standard political tactics ever since. Continue reading
“And Thou knowest O Lord, when Thou didst decide that the Confederacy should not succeed, Thou hadst first to remove thy servant, Stonewall Jackson.”
Father D. Hubert, Chaplain, Hay’s Louisiana Brigade, upon the dedication of the statue of Stonewall Jackson on May 10, 1881 in New Orleans
Something for the weekend. After the 150th anniversary of Chancellorsville only Stonewall Jackson’s Way, sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, seems appropriate. The song is a fitting evocation of the man, who, if he had not been mortally wounded at Chancellorsville, might well have with Lee brought about a war ending victory for the Confederacy at Gettysburg. I fully agree with Father Hubert that the death of General Jackson was probably a necessary factor in the defeat of the Confederacy. As a military team he and Lee were able to accomplish military miracles and with his death the Confederacy could still rely upon the endless courage of their ragged warriors and the brilliance of Lee, but the age of military miracles in the Civil War ended with the passing of Jackson.
The song was taken from a poem found on the body of a dead Confederate sergeant after the First Battle of Winchester, May 25, 1862: Continue reading
Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. One of my favorite Psalms is 127. It ends:
Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
The imagery is powerful and states an obvious truth: that our children are precious gifts from God. Sons as defenses from enemies at the gate has often been literally true throughout history and will likely be true again in the future.
A friend of mine recently died. He had led a somewhat rough life, had battled personal demons, and financial success had eluded him. However he was a hard worker and a skilled craftsmen, I hired him frequently to do work for me, and he did his best to be a good father. He had a great sense of humor and over the years he had helped quite a few people and organizations in my town. His extended family was big and brawling, often fighting each other, but always with an underlying love and care for each other. He died of a massive heart attack while working. He left a teenage daughter and debts, and that is about all. His large extended family rallied around the daughter and arrangements were made for her care by the family. His family completed the jobs that he had not been able to complete before his death. His funeral Mass was the best attended I can recall in our town and the atmosphere of grief, love and good humor was a great comfort to all. A life well led because the deceased, with all the mistakes he had made, always put his family first and did his best to help others. Continue reading