I have always found Mitt Romney to be a fairly indifferent orator, but he was on fire today, attacking the remarks made by Obama that Paul blogged about here.
President Barack Obama‘s campaign officials are trying to minimize the damage caused by his campaign-trail comments that downplayed entrepreneurship.
The push-back came midday when Obama’s press secretary, Ben LaBolt, tweeted out that “Romney apparently set to launch false attack. … Get the facts.”
LaBolt was trying to head off Romney’s new focus on Obama’s July 14 speech where he argued that entrepreneurs are dependent on government for success.
“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” Obama told the crowd, while urging tax increases and a larger role for government.
Romney’s strongest response came shortly after LaBolt’s tweet.
“I’m convinced he wants Americans to be ashamed of success … [but] I don’t want government to take credit for what individuals accomplish,” Romney told a cheering crowd in swing-state Pennsylvania.
“The idea to say that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn’t build Ford Motor, that Papa John didn’t build Papa John Pizza, that Ray Kroc didn’t build McDonald’s, that Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft … is not just foolishness, it is insulting to every entrepreneur,” Romney told the July 17 crowd in Irwin, Pa. Continue reading
As hard as it is to believe, even after four years of the inept comedy stylings of the Obama administration as a substitute for government, we still have in this great land people who continue to worship, as occurred in 2008, the South Side Messiah. Signs of this include the movie The Obama Effect, which reminds me of an old Stalinist propaganda movie with lesser production values, and this piece of tripe that our old friend Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels for the Faith so frequently that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, shines a light on at Midwest Conservative Journal:
Write about the Episcopal Organization long enough and every so often, you’ll run up against something that stops you cold. Seems that the Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones, who works at Trinity-Wall Street, just published a book entitled The Gospel of Barack Hussein Obama According to Mark. Here’s how Bozzuti-Jones blurbed the book at Amazon.com:
The Gospel of Barack Hussein Obama According to Mark is designed to initiate the reader into a meditation on what it means to be human, what it means to be a manifestation of God, and how Barack Obama is a unique and important manifestation of God’s desire for human flourishing. In a blend of words from his public speeches, imagined conversation, and fictional situations, the book highlights Obama’s real stance on social justice and, in particular, economic and political empowerment. It juxtaposes ancient Biblical form and contemporary reality, challenging the reader to see and seek God in all persons. “Our life-defining texts must be porous and we must be imaginative in our engagement with them. Let this book be a reminder not to so credit sacred texts or cultural icons that they lead us to hatred and violence in the name of God. When we see the Divine in another, we must name it. We must respect it. The practice demands nothing less than Love.
Um…okay. If you use Amazon’s Look Inside feature and read the first few pages of this thing, you discover a book that is so over-the-top that David Fischler thinks it might be a joke. I’m not so sure. Over at Trinity’s site, Bozzuti-Jones comments:
This is a project close to [Bozzuti-Jones’] heart. “It means a lot to me because this is my first self-published book, and there is something special about that: a book like this is truly mine in the sense that I struggled with it, I wrestled with it, and I ensured that it saw the light of day.”
It may surprise some to hear that it is not meant to be a political book. “I have tremendous respect for all people, no matter which side of the political spectrum they are on,” Bozzuti-Jones explained. “That said, I do believe that President Obama holds a significant place in American history and world history. What Barack Hussein Obama has accomplished is the fulfillment of the constitution of the United States: that all people are created equal, and so more than any other person in the last decades he has fulfilled the American dream.”
The book comes from Bozzuti-Jones’ incarnational theology. “I think oftentimes, as Christians and as a world, we don’t give sufficient credit to what it means to be born in the image and likeness of God. I think if more human beings could see the divine in the other, they could recognize that human beings can point to the divine in each other.”
Normally, this is where I’d say, “I got nuthin’.” Continue reading
One of the political experts I pay close attention to is Charlie Cook. His personal politics lean Democrat, but when it comes to predicting elections and reading political tea leaves, he has one of the best records among political mavens. I therefore assume that alarm bells were going off all over the Obama campaign when they read Cook’s column today in The National Journal:
We are past the point where Obama can win a referendum election, regardless of whether it is on him or the economy. The success of his campaign is contingent upon two things. First, when focusing on the narrow sliver of undecided voters, between 6 and 8 percent of the electorate, the Obama team must make its candidate the lesser of two evils. It has to make the prospect of a Mitt Romney presidency so unpalatable that about half of those undecided voters will begrudgingly vote for reelection. Polling focusing on the undecided voters reveals they are a deeply pessimistic and angry segment of the electorate and don’t particularly like either candidate (fitting, because they don’t tend to like politicians). But they show signs of being more conservative than not. One unpublished analysis gives Republicans a 10-point advantage on the generic congressional ballot test among those undecided about the presidential race. Close analysis of the numbers shows that Obama might have an edge with between a third and a quarter of the currently undecided bloc. That’s cutting things awfully close.
The second key is turnout. African-Americans look solid for Obama and very likely to vote in high numbers, but young and Latino voters’ turnout appears problematic. Obama’s recent announcement of a newly articulated Dream Act-light policy could help, but it is too soon to see any data showing measurable change. It is what many Latino voters wanted to see, though Obama did it less than five months before the election when it could have been done three years ago. After deportations had reached levels higher than those under George W. Bush, it could take a lot to drive up Latino turnout.
This election is hardly over: The totally unexpected could happen that changes everything. Unless the Obama team can discredit Romney, though, convincing voters that he is a ruthless, uncaring corporate buccaneer, this will be a hard election to win. Continue reading
Judging from this morning’s events, I can only assume that there is a Romney campaign mole high up in the councils of the Obama administration. Absent this, it is hard to understand why the Obama administration, less than five months from election day, thinks it is a brilliant idea to invoke Executive Privilege in order to block the turnover of documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal to the House:
President Obama has granted an 11th-hour request by Attorney General Eric Holder to exert executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents, a last-minute maneuver that appears unlikely to head off a contempt vote against Holder by Republicans in the House.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is expected to forge ahead Wednesday morning with its meeting on the contempt resolution anyway.
If the vote proceeds, Republicans have more than enough votes on committee to pass the resolution. However, Holder would not be considered held in contempt of Congress unless and until the full House approves the measure.
The move by Holder and Obama to lock down some requested documents only complicates the fight over the botched anti-gunrunning operation between the legislative and executive branches. Continue reading
The Obama administration, in its never-ending quest to embarrass itself and America, has insulted one of the pivotal figures in ending Communism in Europe, Lech Walesa:
According to the Wall Street Journal, Polish officials requested that Walesa accept the Medal of Freedom on behalf of Jan Karski, a member of the Polish Underground during World War II who was being honored posthumously this week. The request makes sense. Walesa and Karski shared a burning desire to rid Poland of tyrannical subjugation. But President Obama said no.
Administration officials told the Journal that Walesa is too “political.” A man who was arrested by Soviet officials for dissenting against the government for being “political” is being shunned by the United States of America for the same reason 30 years later.
Meanwhile, one of the recipients of the Medal was Dolores Huerta, the honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. So socialist politics are acceptable, but not the politics of a man who stood up and fought socialism.
The White House’s flippant response to the uproar caused the Polish president and prime minister to demand more thoughtful and personal reactions. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that the president has no plans to reach out to his Polish counterparts and has shrugged off the outrage in Poland. Continue reading
A few years ago I would have thought the title of my piece was too extreme- I bought into the charisma of Barack Obama- never publicly supported him- but I thought he was someone who could bridge some of the serious difficulties that pro-life Democrats faced within my political party. I read his books, I thought he respected the Catholic Church as much as a secular political liberal could be expected to. Around that time I was trying to work from the inside of the Democratic party- running for Florida State House as a pro-life Democrat, and later serving as Vice President for the Florida Democats for Life organization. This was also the time period where I was invited to become part of a national Catholic Democrats listserve which included such notaries as : Vicki Kennedy, Lisa Sowle Cahill of Boston College, Rev. William D’Antonio and Rev. Anthony Pogorel of the Catholic University of America, Peggy Steinfels of Fordham University, Rev. Thomas Reese of Georgetown, Vincent Miller of Georgetown/U. of Dayton, Dan Maguire of Marquette, Doug Kmeic of Pepperdine, Suzanne Morse of NCR, Chris Korzen of Catholics United, Alexia Kelly of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Steve Callahan of the AFL-CIO, and others (Eric LeCompte, Nicholas Carfardi, James Salt, Morna Murray, Fred Rotondaro, Kari Lundgren). I never agreed to keep all that passed before my eyes confidential, but I never publicly revealed the basic content until now.
My reason for going public now is due to the recent event where the Worcester Bishop Robert McManus weighed in to prevent Vicki Kennedy from speaking at the Anna Maria College commencement. The press I read portrayed the Bishop as being overly vindictive and Kennedy milked the rejection, playing innocent, as though she is doing nothing to try to upend the Catholic Church as we know it- as a Hierarchical Institution. It was my experience on the Catholic Dem listserve that Vicki Kennedy was essentially my nemesis. I defended the Church as a Hierarchy, and the official teachings on abortion et al, and she took me to task almost every time I wrote pro-orthodox Catholic commentary- with plenty of Amens from her fellow travelers on the listserve. I did receive a few positive private emails from some on the listserve, but on the whole it was a very discouraging experience trying to defend the Church as a convert, who would be at a total loss if the Catholic Church put no stock in the teaching authority of the Pope and the Bishops, and taught that contraceptives, legal abortion, and gay marriage were just fine and dandy things. So Soon after posting this on the listserve-
“It is deeply troubling to me that this Catholic Democrats listserve membership seems more intent on finding reasons to pull some kind of palace coup against the Catholic Church Magisterium and Hierarchy in general, than to address specific issues related to the Catholic interests in American politics. I am a convert to Catholicism, I knew what I was signing up for in becoming a Catholic, I accepted the teachings and authority lines as prescribed by the latest Catechism. I simply cannot understand why those who seem to relish openly trashing the Apostolic successors retain membership in the Church- that is something that I can only address as an appeal to someone else’s good conscience. Most of my family is of the Protestant variety, I understand that thinking and worldview but reject it, but they are acting in good conscience- they don’t believe what the Catholic Church teaches about her role, so they don’t invest in the Catholic narrative and authority line. Maybe what I’m finding here at Catholic Democrats are many good protestants but not orthodox Catholics as I understand things?
You can remove me from your rolls if it displeases many here that I don’t conform to the groupthink on display here, otherwise I will continue to offer my two bits to challenge the establishment views of liberal, anti-Catholic Hierarchical voices which parallel the hard Catholic Right- in their wrongheadedness- in my humble opinion anyway. One is certainly free to criticize the clerical/Hierarchical handling of sexual abuse cases over the years- but how this all fits in with being a Democratic Party member is something I can’t fathom. Tim Shipe”
My offer to leave was accepted after Vicki Kennedy wrote a smack-down on me; and shortly thereafter I severed my own Democratic party membership and ended my leadership role with Florida Dems for Life- I took Archbishop Chaput route of becoming a political Independent and remain such today.
To come up to speed- back a couple of years ago- I knew that the most powerful and connected Catholic Democrats in our country were interested in more than just getting more traction on Catholic social justice issues in our American political system- I would describe the agenda/mind-set of Vicki Kennedy et al for the most part as the following:
1. Obama embodies the Catholic social tradition- he’s a better guide than the out-of-touch Pope/Bishops 2. Democrats for Life leaders were not welcome – despite my own inclusion for a time- Kennedy seemingly successfully squashed the idea of Kristen Day being invited to be part of the listserve 3. The Bishops who were outspoken for advocating the primacy of the right to life for the unborn were demonized, mocked, ridiculed, and at times the idea of trying to bring on an IRS investigation on these type of Bishops was being encouraged by some ( especially if they dared to consider withholding Communion from Pro-choice Dem leaders) 4. Bishops were described as “self-designated custodians of ‘the tradition’”. 5. Catholic Dems could aptly be self-described for the most part as “intra-Catholic warriors” 6. The Clergy Scandals were to be used to help bring the end of the Bishops line of authority- teaching and otherwise 7. This authority should pass to those who know best- the secular-minded Catholic professors and their liberal political activist friends- since there really can’t be such a thing as a Holy Spirit-guided Catholic Church with Popes and Bishops playing a key role- I suppose they could still hold onto ceremonial roles like the Kings in Europe.
I can see clearly now that President Obama has been very conscious of this war for control within the Church- and his choice of Vice President and HHS Secretary- Biden and Sebelius, respectively, was a conspicuous power move to set in place the acceptability of dissenting Catholic leaders and thought into the mainstream of American societal structures and popular imaginations. The fact that Obama “evolved” on Gay Marriage with help from his Catholic buddy Joe Biden, and his determination to mandate contraception as a must-have “medicine” through the offices of Catholic Kathleen Sebelius- all of this plays right into the larger goals of the Catholic Democratic party elite. There has been no such evolution in his comprehension and compassion for the thousands of unborn humans killed every day in abortions, and the threat to religious liberties is finely focused on the authority of Catholic Bishops and the official teachings of the Catholic Magisterium. I believe the Catholic Dems elite would like to re-make American Catholic Bishops in the image of the Anglican church in England- with Obama playing a kind of King Henry VIII role in forcing power transfers ( counting on public/Catholic lay apathy).
My conclusion is this- I am not in disagreement with the Catholic Dems elite on an across-the-board basis- I am not a conservative ideologue any more than I am a liberal one. There are political issues where I go left and others where I go right or down the middle- I make the honest effort to stay as close to the official social doctrine teachings of principles, and even the prudential judgment application of those principles as the Bishops and Vatican officials advise. I find that the same powers-that-be that are given Holy Spirit assistance to teach firm principles, are also pretty darn good at putting forth ideas for applying those principles into the real world of political legislation and the like- but I acknowledge it’s not an exact science with one formula fits all simplicities, however. That’s how I would describe my own efforts in being a wanna-be orthodox, faithful Catholic on matters of social doctrine. Others may disagree- I have no doubt that the Catholic Dem elites I list above are well-intentioned- but I believe they are threatening great harm to many souls and to the future of our Catholic Church as the Hierarchical Institution – founded by Jesus Christ. Reforms should be taken up in a spirit that respects the obedience of Faith. I don’t abide by clergy abuses and incompetent administrative decisions made by Catholic bishops- but you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater- just as you don’t kill babies in the womb to solve the problems of women and their mates.
By this time I rather suspect that at least some of his campaign strategists, if not President Obama, are beginning to wonder if it was such a bright idea to pick a fight with the Catholic Church in an election year. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air gives us the details on 43 lawsuits filed simultaneously around the country today attacking the HHS mandate as blatantly unconstitutional:
Today’s Roman Catholic calendar lists May 21st as the feast day of St. Christopher Magallanes, a martyr killed for celebrating Mass during the Cristero War in Mexico. Perhaps Catholics today may want to recall St. Thomas More — the patron saint of lawyers, who was executed for refusing to agree to a mandate that gave Henry VIII the prerogative of defining religious expression in England. Dozens of Catholic institutions filed lawsuits today against the Department of Health and Human Services over its mandate and its narrow definition of religious practice:
Catholic archdioceses and institutions filed suit in federal district courts across the country Monday against the so-called contraception mandate, claiming their “fundamental rights hang in the balance.”
The plaintiffs include a host of schools and organizations, including the University of Notre Dame and the Archdiocese of New York. The lawsuits, though related, were filed individually.
The schools are objecting to the requirement from the federal health care overhaul that employers provide access to contraceptive care. The Obama administration several months back softened its position on the mandate, but some religious organizations complained the administration did not go far enough to ensure the rule would not compel them to violate their religious beliefs.
Kathryn Jean Lopez posts a brief statement from Timothy Cardinal Dolan, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and one of the chief critics of the HHS mandate:
We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress – and we’ll keep at it – but there’s still no fix. Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now. Though the Conference is not a party to the lawsuits, we applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It’s also a great show of the diversity of the Church’s ministries that serve the common good and that are jeopardized by the mandate – ministries to the poor, the sick, and the uneducated, to people of any faith or no faith at all. Continue reading
Some things truly do not need any commentary, but this is too sweet a target to forego the obligatory ducks in a barrel:
1. Somebody buy our rag, please!: Newsweek has been suffering financial woes for a very long time. Since 2007 it has lost 50% of its subscribers. I assume that the management at Newsweek now thinks they have nothing to lose from being an open arm of the Democrat party, rather than a hidden arm of that party, which was their usual mode of operation in the good old days, for them, when the magazine actually managed to make money.
2. Bubble people: The powers that be at Newsweek obviously live in an ideological bubble where calling Obama the First Gay President will help him. Most of the country does not inhabit that bubble.
3. Halo Twofer: The halo above the President is of course no accident. The folks at Newsweek regard Obama as a saint, if not higher in the celestial hierarchy. As for gays, they are by definition on the side of the angels, a somewhat patronizing attitude on TV these days where gays are trotted out to deliver lines filled with wit, wisdom and tolerance, occupying the slot previously alloted in television land decades ago to ministers, priests, nuns and rabbis.
4. Not a Put On: No clever satire is intended by Newsweek. They are in deadly earnest. More is the pity.
5. The meaning of Gay: Judging from my teenage daughter’s use of the term, “gay”, among the younger generation, frequently means “lame” or “weak”. In that sense Obama is most assuredly a gay president, albeit far from the first one. Continue reading
Of all the things in Obama’s
performance interview where he came out of the closet and ended his farcical opposition to gay marriage, his citation of the “golden rule” as one the impetuses behind his “evolution” was most revolting. Msgr. Charles Pope details why Obama’s usage of the golden rule as a prop was problematic.
It is a common problem today that people often present simplistic portraits of Jesus Christ to support a variety of agendas. And the portraits of Jesus are not only simplistic, they are incomplete (usually intentionally so), and fail to accept that Jesus cannot be reduced to a simple sentence or two.
I would argue this is what the President is doing here. As if to say, “Jesus, was basically a nice and affirming person, who spoke of Love, and so beautifully and taught us to do unto to others as we would have them do to us. “Surely,” the thinking goes, “this Jesus would affirm and rejoice over two Gay people getting “married.”” It is as if this were all Jesus was or said, “Love…Do unto others”. Never mind that he had some pretty high standards when it came to sexuality (Matt 5:27-30; Matt 15:19; Mk 10:11; Rev 22:15; Rev 21:8) Never mind that he told his apostles he had other things to teach them and would send his Holy Spirit, and never mind that His Holy Spirit inspired the Epistles writers like Paul to speak clearly in the ancient Biblical tradition about the sinfulness of homosexual activity, fornication, and adultery  “Never mind all that,” says the modern world, and our President, “I chose the Jesus who said only, ‘God is love, and be kind to one another.’”
Msgr. Pope also touches upon something that has always annoyed me, and that is the left’s depiction of the hippy Jesus.
The modern tendency on the left, from which the President speaks has been to reduce Jesus to a rather harmless hippie who went about talking about love and inclusion and healed people. Gone from this harmless and politically correct Jesus are volumes of verses that help complete the picture: a Messiah who claimed authority in our lives, who spoke quite clearly of sin, yes even sexual sin, and who warned repeatedly of the coming judgment, and the reality not only heaven, but of hell.
But Jesus is not either of these descriptions alone, he is both. Orthodoxy is in the balance, not choosing one or the other or tipping in one direction.
Much more at the link. Msgr. Pope discusses at length the heresy of picking and choosing the parts of Scripture one adheres to. Clearly the cafeteria is open, and Catholics aren’t the only ones at the buffet.
Cardinal Dolan yesterday released this statement regarding Obama’s announcement that he had “evolved” and now, as he did in 1996 when first asked about it, supports gay marriage:
May 9, 2012 WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following statement:
President Obama’s comments today in support of the redefinition of marriage are deeply saddening. As I stated in my public letter to the President on September 20, 2011, the Catholic Bishops stand ready to affirm every positive measure taken by the President and the Administration to strengthen marriage and the family. However, we cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society. The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better. Unfortunately, President Obama’s words today are not surprising since they follow upon various actions already taken by his Administration that erode or ignore the unique meaning of marriage. I pray for the President every day, and will continue to pray that he and his Administration act justly to uphold and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. May we all work to promote and protect marriage and by so doing serve the true good of all persons.
When the Tokugawa shogunate was stamping out Christianity in Japan, it made use of Fumi-e (stepping on pictures). Regime officials would place pictures of Jesus or Mary before suspected Christians and order them to step on them. Refusal to do so, if persisted in, would end in execution. In our own country we are seeing the growth of a movement just as antithetical in theory to Catholicism and traditional Christianity as the Tokugawa shogunate, and it finds its home in the Democrat party.
What we have seen over the past few decades is the evolution of the Democrat party into an overtly anti-Catholic party. The Obama administration is the culmination of this trend. This of course is deeply ironic, because the Democrat party is a major party in this country with the help of the votes of tens of millions of purported Catholics.
In the past four decades the Democrats, with honorable exceptions, have championed abortion which is anathema to the teachings of the Church. The embrace of homosexuality followed, which has caused governments around the nation to drive the Church out of adoptions because the Church refuses to arrange adoptions by homosexual couples. In California, a state wholly controlled by the Democrat party, homosexual indoctrination, masquerading as education, is now mandated in public schools. For cynical political purposes the Obama administration this year has proposed that Catholic institutions, and individual Catholic employers, be required to provide “free” contraceptive coverage, and is quite willing to run roughshod over the First Amendment to accomplish this goal. Now we have the President’s support of gay marriage, although, until he further “evolves” I guess, he “generously” stated his opinion that churches opposed to gay marriages should not be required to officiate at them. These changes in society are the modern Fumi-e by which believing Catholics and traditional Christians are made to renounce, in effect, the teachings of Christ step by step. Continue reading
In the early days of the Clinton presidency, Rush Limbaugh ran a song parody to the tune of “Whoot! There It Is!” called “Womb to the Tomb.” It was a reaction to the proposed “Hillarycare” healthcare reform efforts. The idea being that Democrats were hoping to create “womb to the tomb” government entitlement. Well, Barack Obama evidently didn’t realize that the song was a parody, because his campaign has now created a little slideshow called “The Life of Julia.” The slideshow presents the life of a fictionalized woman named Julia (perhaps the long lost lovechild of Barack and his fictional girlfriend Genevieve Cook) and contrasts how wonderful her life will be under the benevolent, loving care of life under Obama and contrasts it with the hollowed-out, wreck of a life that she will lead under Mitt Romney.
Here are some of the highlights:
Under President Obama: Julia is enrolled in a Head Start program to help get her ready for school. Because of steps President Obama has taken to improve programs like this one, Julia joins thousands of students across the country who will start kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.
Under Mitt Romney: The Romney/Ryan budget could cut programs like Head Start by 20%, meaning the program would offer 200,000 fewer slots per year.
At the risk of drawing Bob Beckel’s ire, Head Start isn’t quite the success liberals like to pretend it is, but this is just the beginning. At every stage of her life, Julia is helped by some big government program. According to team Obama, Julia would be a whimpering mess without the aid of big brother to help her. Yes, this is the party that pretends conservatives are waging a war on women, yet they seem to be under the impression that women are fragile flowers completely incapable of caring for themselves without the beneficent aid of a bloated government guiding their every step.
As revealing as this little slide show is about how Obama and his minions view the role of government, I think this part, showing Julia at age 31, is most significant: Continue reading
Matthew Archbold as well as the folks at Hot Air have done a fantastic job covering the story of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng. Matt discussed this story a few days ago.
Chen Guancheng is a blind human rights activist who has protested his country’s forced abortions and sterilizations. After months of beatings at the hands of his guards, Chen pretended to be sick and laid up in bed. He and his wife studied the movements of the guards, according to ABC News. In the middle of the night, Guancheng slipped past nearly 100 guards stationed around his home and escaped into the night.
Matt detailed the U.S. government’s less than enthusiastic embrace of Chen, and today we have learned more troubling details that indicate that the administration has betrayed Chen. Ed Morrissey relays this:
Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng says a U.S. official told him that Chinese authorities threatened to beat his wife to death had be not left the American Embassy.
Speaking by phone from his hospital room in Beijing on Wednesday night, a shaken Chen told The Associated Press that U.S. officials relayed the threat from the Chinese side.
Chen, who fled to the embassy six day ago, left under an agreement in which he would receive medical care, be reunited with his family and allowed to attend university in a safe place. He says he now fears for his safety and wants to leave.
Chen says that the U.S. government lied to him.
An American official denied that account. The official said Mr. Chen was told that his wife, Yuan Weijing, who had been brought to Beijing by the Chinese authorities while Mr. Chen was in the American Embassy, would not be allowed to remain in the capital unless Mr. Chen left the embassy to see her. She would be sent back to Mr. Chen’s home village in Shandong, where no one could guarantee her safety.
“At no time did any U.S. official speak to Chen about physical or legal threats to his wife and children. Nor did Chinese officials make any such threats to us,” Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokesperson, said in an e-mailed statement. “U.S. interlocutors did make clear that if Chen elected to stay in the Embassy, Chinese officials had indicated to us that his family would be returned to Shandong, and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification.”…
“At no point during his time in the Embassy did Chen ever request political asylum in the U.S.,” Ms. Nuland said. “At every opportunity, he expressed his desire to stay in China, reunify with his family, continue his education and work for reform in his country. All our diplomacy was directed at putting him in the best possible position to achieve his objectives.”
As Allahpundit says, this is a distinction without a difference. One way or the other Chen was led to believe that his wife’s life was in danger, or at the very least was threatened with physical harm. Either way, Chen was clearly upset.
“The embassy kept lobbying me to leave and promised to have people stay with me at the hospital,” he said. “But this afternoon, as soon as I checked into the hospital room, I noticed they were all gone.”
He said he was “very disappointed” in the U.S. government and felt “a little” that he had been lied to by the embassy.
At the hospital, where he was reunited with his family, he said he learned that his wife had been badly treated after his escape.
“She was tied to a chair by police for two days,” he said. “Then they carried thick sticks to our house, threatening to beat her to death. Now they have moved into the house. They eat at our table and use our stuff. Our house is teeming with security — on the roof and in the yard. They installed seven surveillance cameras inside the house and built electric fences around the yard.”
At this point it’s impossible to determine exactly what has happened, and whether or not the State Department and the Obama administration sold Chen out just to remain in China’s good graces. One would like to think the best of this president and assume that he would not betray a heroic dissident in order to keep an evil,authoritarian government happy. One would also have to be hopelessly naive to blindly make such an assumption.
Sometimes I feel like I am shooting the proverbial ducks in the proverbial barrel.
Everyone knows what Barack Obama’s campaign slogan was in 2008. No one seems to know what it will be for 2012. The White House has been cycling through catchphrases since announcing his reelection bid a year ago: Winning the Future, We Can’t Wait, An America Built to Last, An Economy Built to Last, A Fair Shot.
They seem to be looking for one to resonate — and the constant unveiling of new ones suggests that so far, none of them have. To communications experts, the kaleidoscope of slogans is the latest reflection of the difficulties finding and marketing a message that Obama has faced almost since his inauguration — another challenge that came with the shift from insurgent outsider to sitting president. “He’s all over the place,” said Bruce I. Newman, the Bill Clinton brand-messaging adviser whose “Bridge to the 21st Century” helped define Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign. Continue reading
Michael Walsh at National Review has a brilliant post about Obama’s bizarre election year strategy:
Many have commented that last week was the worst week (so far) for the Obama administration, but I don’t think the apparatchiks have quite yet realized how bad things are going to get for them. The decision to insult and attack the Catholic Church was spectacularly stupid, even as a crass political tactic, since there are some 77 million Catholics in the country, representing about a fifth of the population. True, Catholics tend no longer to vote as a bloc (the old FDR coalition has splintered as the Irish and Italians moved out of the cities and up in the world), but a thumb in the eye to one is a thumb in the eye to all, especially when that one is the Cardinal-Archbishop of New York.
Now it’s the judiciary’s turn, and that is likely to end equally badly for the president. Because this isn’t simply an attack on a judge or court because of one ruling; it’s a pre-emptive strike on a decision that has yet to be issued. Worse, it’s not really a blitzkrieg against even the Supreme Court but is rather a direct strike against the Constitution and the Founders. And a majority of Americans understand that the Constitution is the only thing separating us from tyranny on one hand and barbarism on the other. We’ve understood for a while now that Obama finds the separation of powers inconvenient, but this takes his will to power to a new level.
Which brings me back to my point from yesterday: The Punahou Kid is not used to being crossed, nor to being treated with anything less than obeisance. All his life, he’s gotten away with his lighter-than-air act, blissfully aware than even when provably duplicitous he’ll be able to skate, thanks to his protective horde of media buddies, led by Jake Lingle himself.
In the Leftist world-view, there is no yesterday, only the fierce urgency of now in the service of tomorrow — which they feel rightfully belongs to them. Which is why and how stories go down the memory hole, and why Obama will conduct his 2012 campaign by essentially running against himself and promising that next time, things will turn out better. The real “dog whistle” will be Obama signaling to his supporters that “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
The Great Equalizer in the battle between right and left is the Left’s congenital tendency to overreach, to let the mask of affability slip and to reveal themselves for what they really are. By now, the Obama administration’s overt hostility to the country as founded ought to be clear to everyone (for the Left, that’s not a bug, it’s a feature), and it’s mistaken its fleeting supermajority (the result of years of concerted media Bush-bashing) as carte blanche to act on it.
But there’s — thankfully — still a glass ceiling to this fashionable anti-Americanism. Obama was the first Democrat to win a majority of the vote since Jimmy Carter in 1976, and that was a mistake the electorate quickly rectified with the two Reagan landslides. Four years of Nancy Pelosi were all the populace could stomach and it’s likely that the same will be true of Barack Obama. As the Patient Deflection and Unaffordable Care Act demonstrated, even with a supermajority the Democrats still had to resort to bribery, prevarication and legalistic chicanery to get it passed Continue reading
Hattip to Allahpundit at Hot Air. Well, that didn’t take long. In response to Obama’s attempt yesterday to bully the Supreme Court in the ObamaCare case, here is what happened in a Fifth Circuit hearing today:
The panel is hearing a separate challenge to the health care law by physician-owned hospitals. The issue arose when a lawyer for the Justice Department began arguing before the judges. Appeals Court Judge Jerry Smith immediately interrupted, asking if DOJ agreed that the judiciary could strike down an unconstitutional law.
The DOJ lawyer, Dana Lydia Kaersvang, answered yes — and mentioned Marbury v. Madison, the landmark case that firmly established the principle of judicial review more than 200 years ago, according to the lawyer in the courtroom.
Smith then became “very stern,” the source said, telling the lawyers arguing the case it was not clear to “many of us” whether the president believes such a right exists. The other two judges on the panel, Emilio Garza and Leslie Southwick–both Republican appointees–remained silent, the source said.
Smith, a Reagan appointee, went on to say that comments from the president and others in the Executive Branch indicate they believe judges don’t have the power to review laws and strike those that are unconstitutional, specifically referencing Mr. Obama’s comments yesterday about judges being an “unelected group of people.” Continue reading
Obama gave us a preview today of the tactics he will use if the Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare.
In his first public comments about the case since the justices took it up last week, Mr. Obama appeared to be framing the political argument he would make should he have to face voters this fall after a loss at the high court.
“For years, what we’ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or the lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law,” he said at a news conference. The health-care case is a good example of just that, he said. “And I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”
White House officials have said they were reluctant to appear to lobby the Supreme Court, which is partly why the president didn’t speak out on the case until after it was argued before the court last week. Continue reading