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
I never thought I would live long enough to see a worse president than James Earl Carter, Jr., but President Obama has managed to destroy that hope. Priority number one for me this year is to make sure that Obama will be looking for a new job come January of next year.
The most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history salutes Planned Parenthood aka Worse Than Murder, Inc. Somehow he manages to do this without uttering the A word, but all Planned Parenthood supporters know that when it comes to the sacred right to kill their offspring, Obama will always have their back. Any pro-lifer who does not think that giving this man his walking papers is priority number one this year, take a good, long, hard look at this video.
Ah, Politicians tend to be most honest when they do not realize the public is hearing them. Case in point Mr. Obama in the video scene above which is destined for immortality in this campaign
One of the great farces in modern political times is President Obama’s “opposition” to gay marriage. His opposition is given with a wink and a nudge. One of the reasons gay marriage supporters haven’t pilloried Obama on this issue is that everyone knows that he is completely insincere in his convictions, or lack thereof.
Here’s further proof of that.
Obama’s top political advisers have held serious discussions with leading Democrats about the upsides and downsides of coming out for gay marriage before the fall election, a Democratic strategist who has discussed these matters directly with Obama’s campaign inner circle tells me.
This does not mean that it will happen, and there are plenty of reasons to assume it won’t. Indeed, it would be political malpractice if Obama’s top advisers didn’t discuss every permutation and possibility, no matter how far fetched. However, the fact that it has been discussed seriously at high levels means it’s not out of the question.
So Team Obama is basically poll testing his position on gay marriage. Presumably if they see there’s enough support, he can proudly finally come out of the closet.
It’s a good thing his likely opponent is a man who would never dream of running his positions before focus groups in order to come to the right conclusion.
Bristol Palin demonstrates that the political gene may run in the blood of the Palin women. On her blog she posted this open letter to President Obama:
You don’t know my telephone number, but I hope your staff is busy trying to find it. Ever since you called Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, I figured I might be next. You explained to reporters you called her because you were thinking of your two daughters, Malia and Sasha. After all, you didn’t want them to think it was okay for men to treat them that way:
“One of the things I want them to do as they get older is engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on,” you said. “I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”
And I totally agree your kids should be able to speak their minds and engage the culture. I look forward to seeing what good things Malia and Sasha end up doing with their lives.
But here’s why I’m a little surprised my phone hasn’t rung. Your $1,000,000 donor Bill Maher has said reprehensible things about my family. He’s made fun of my brother because of his Down’s Syndrome. He’s said I was “f—-d so hard a baby fell out.” (In a classy move, he did this while his producers put up the cover of my book, which tells about the forgiveness and redemption I’ve found in God after my past – very public — mistakes.) Continue reading
“Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore, take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day and to stand in all things perfect” Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesian 6: 11-13
Mr. Voris is exactly right. The American bishops are asking for a fight after having failed to feed, train and arm their military. There is no way a single letter, as well intentioned and necessary as it is, read from the pulpit on a single Sunday, urging us to call our elected representatives, is going to save our freedoms and protect our right to practice the faith that Christ handed to us. It will not help catechize the silly young woman mentioned in the Real Catholic video, nor will it educate the nation as to why the Church teaches abortion, artificial contraception and sterilization are evils.
I hate to say this but in many ways the bishops almost deserve to be ignored. Truth be told, they have lost an immense amount of respect among the devout laity (the non-devout obviously having no respect for them). This is not a loss of respect for the position, but for the men and the way they hold it; weak and timidly. The result is a wasteland of liberalism and heresy that is to be found in so many parishes across our nation. Now, after having the President of the US attempt to force them into committing mortal sin, they want the help of those few who actually believe, practice and uphold the faith to come to the rescue. Continue reading
No one is better than Gingrich in pointing out the wretched double standard of the Mainstream Media:
I want to make two quick points, John. The first is there is a legitimate question about the power of the government to impose on religion activities which any religion opposes. That’s legitimate. But I just want to point out, you did not once in the 2008 campaign, not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide. Continue reading
Daffyd at the blog Big Lizards has a post which spells out what everyone should understand now: ObamaCare in general, and the HHS Mandate in particular, was never about healthcare:
Never was it about health insurance for the poor and uninsured; it was always about the federal government seizing control not only of the health care of individuals but also nationalizing those state and local health programs already in place. ObamaCare was, first and last, a power grab by the federal government at the expense of states, local governments, and individual Americans.
So please, let’s not imitate Captain Renault in Casablanca — shocked, shocked to discover that Barack Obama has violated our First-Amendment right to freedom of religion! In fact, that specific mandate was at the heart of ObamaCare tyranny: a frontal assault on the Catholic church in particular, which is so virulently hated by the gay-activist and feminist wings of the Left.
The only element of this policy that should shock anyone is the unbelievably hamfisted way that Obama decreed it: A politically savvy politician would have patiently held off until after the election, giving himself two years to allow the furor to die down.
Instead, the president once again mistook unanimity among his left-liberal friends for a Progressivist “consensus” among the American people; he lives in a bubble of epistemic closure, talking only to true-blue believers on the left. I formerly gave him the nickname “Lucky Lefty,” because (a) he is left handed, (b) he is left-leaning, and (c) he was extraordinarily lucky. Well he’s still (a) and (b), but not so much (c) anymore, so I can no longer call him that.
Obama’s new nickname is “Bubble Boy,” honoring his world view. Continue reading
I don’t have much to add to what’s already been said on the subject other than to express my wonder at who President Obama thinks he is fooling. Granted I’ve already encountered vacuous leftists using the “but they don’t have to pay for it” talking point, but these are the types of people content to loyally follow Obama over the cliff anyway.
I just wanted to use this space to highlight a few other blogs that have written copiously about this subject. Ron Kozar thinks this has been something of a missed opportunity for Catholics.
One point, which cries out to be made but isn’t being made, is how stupid it is to buy insurance for something as inexpensive as contraception, even if one has no moral objection to it.
It’s like requiring your auto insurer to cover an oil change, with no deductible. Thus, rather than simply collecting the money from the consumer, the oil-change mechanic would have to employ a clerk to “process” your insurance and await an eventual check from your auto insurer. This kind of nonsense – mandating coverage for routine, inexpensive procedures, and relieving the consumer of the need to pay – is one of the larger reasons why the healthcare and health-insurance systems are so utterly out of control.
Another point that cries out to be made but isn’t being made is that the government shouldn’t be dictating the terms of health-insurance benefits to employers in the first place, regardless of the employer’s religion. The debate is being framed as a question about which package of coverages the federal government should mandate, rather than about whether the feds, or any government, should be dictating any terms at all.
Meanwhile, Jay Anderson has been on fire lately. He has several blogposts this week worth reading, so just read his blog. Needless to say, I agree that it is time to disinvite certain so-called Catholics to the supper feast of the lamb.
Finally, if you’re not reading Jeff Goldstein’s blog Protein Wisdom, you should be. Jeff is a Jewish, Santorum supporting, libertarian-conservative, and he’s done just as good a job of getting at why Obama’s actions are so tyrannical as anyone else. Here’s his take on the compromise.
The problem is, rules or laws that provide exemptions to specific identity groups are ripe for corruption — and there’s no more reason that the federal government should be able to direct insurance companies to provide free contraception that it should the Catholic church. And by making the accomodation a waiver or derivation, Obama is still asserting his own Executive authority to tell private companies how they must spend.
Catholics shouldn’t have to go on bended knee before the State and beg for a conscience exemption for providing the kind of coverage it wishes to provide. And the State should not have the arbitrary power to pick and choose who must follow laws, who gets waivers and exemptions, and so on.
Obama’s “accommodation” is meant solely to hide his underlying power grab: namely, the unstated authority of the State to set these kind of dictatorial demands on private industry, and by extension, on individuals.
Update III: The USCCB Pro-Life Director Richard Doerflinger and Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey agree with me that this “accommodation” or “compromise” is unacceptable. Sadly Sr. Keehan of the the Catholic Health Associate found this “satisfactory”. It looks like Obama will be happy that Sr. Keehan is on board. Of course, Planned Parenthood and Sr. Keehan agree.
Update II: Rumor confirmed. Insurance, that Religious Institutions pay into, will provide contraception, ie, it is still a violation of the First Amendment.
Update I: Rumor is that “Hawaii” compromise will be offered, but the bishops have already rejected this. So basically it’s a poor attempt at stalling and not really offering a solution.
The buzz this morning is that Obama is “caving in” to the pressure and will announce a “compromise” today at 12:15pm Eastern.
The news reports are saying that Religious Organizations won’t have to offer birth control, only the insurance companies that these Religious Organizations provide will offer birth control.
Yeah, that’s the compromise.
If these reports are true, this is dead on arrival. Changing the meaning of the words won’t do it.
Rick Santorum is taking some heat in various places for some remarks he made about the failure of the Left to understand where our rights come from. In this case, as in so many other positions Santorum expounds on throughout his campaign, his views are informed by a belief about human nature that was shared by America’s Founding Fathers and by all who believe man was Created by a loving God. First, let’s listen to what Santorum said that he is being criticized for, in some circles. Then, I’ll explain the main disconnect between those who agree with the views Santorum is expressing here and those who disagree with them .
When you marginalize faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given rights, then what’s left is the French Revolution. You are a bigot and a hater because there’s no rational reason. What’s left is a government that gives you rights. What’s left are no inalienable rights. What’s left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you’ll do, and when you’ll do it…and France became the guillotine. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re a long way from that, but, if we do, and follow the path of President Obama and his overt hostility to faith in America, that we are headed down that road.
The criticism is that Rick Santorum is using a “slippery slope fallacy” either to intentionally scare people or because of ignorance on his part. The slippery slope fallacy is also referred to as the Camel’s Nose:
When the camel’s nose enters the tent, can the rest of the camel be far behind?
In order for a slippery slope argument to be a fallacy, it must lack an argument for inevitability. Most people probably understand that the Camel’s Nose proverb is indeed a fallacy because most of us probably know that a camel may very well stick his nose into a tent without ever entering the tent. We might say it’s common sense. It does take some awareness of camel behavior to know whether or not this is a fallacy, and enough information is known by most people for them to recognize that the argument fails. The “nature of the camel” is something that one must know in order for the Camel’s Nose argument to be recognized as a fallacy. So it is with Rick Santorum’s argument about the HHS mandate. One must know something about human nature in order to understand that evil actions do set one’s feet on a path toward even more seriously evil actions.
If you do not have a good understanding of human nature, you will probably believe Rick Santorum’s argument is a fallacy. Naturally, you will come up with alternative explanations for his claim, such as that he is either ignorant or willfully scaring people. Logically speaking, if human nature is not at all what Rick Santorum believes it to be, then it would mean that he is ignorant. But if Rick Santorum is “ignorant” about human nature, then so is the Catholic Church and so are America’s Founding Fathers because his view is in keeping with both.
From the Declaration of Independence, we have a reference to human nature in the quote about Natural Law [Emphasis mine]:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
From the Catholic Church we can look to the Summa Theologica in which St. Thomas Aquinas explained that when man commits evil acts, he will develop a habit of evil, and when he practices virtuous things, he will develop virtuous habits. Certainly, we Catholics believe also that God’s grace is both necessary and available to us in this process, but most parents, Catholic or not, can tell you that letting a child get away with bad behavior will result in the child developing bad habits. So it is for each of us because we all have human nature. We should hope and pray that this is still common sense, because if it is not, America is in deep trouble.
As for Rick Santorum’s reference to the French Revolution, I have heard him make this case many times on the campaign trail. He underscores the difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution in the context of each country’s claim about where rights come from. As previously noted, the American Founders stated that our rights come from God by virtue of our being created by Him. Not so, with the French.
The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.
It is the above principle that Rick Santorum claims, and rightly so, that the Left in America believes in, as opposed to the American Founders’ contention that the fact that we have rights (our sovereignty) resides in the fact that we were created by God and that no nation may legitimately usurp those rights.
The claim of the Left is that it is important for the Obama Administration to force the Catholic Church to pay (through healthcare coverage) for contraceptives, including abortifacients, as a matter of “fairness” to women. This is generally what the Left in America claims to be about: “Fairness”. In this, they are claiming that they are “fair” and the Catholic Church is “not fair.” As such, they are claiming that Catholic teaching is unjust. They believe that they decide what is “just” and what is “unjust” and have decreed that the Church is opposed to their view of justice. If such a precedent were allowed to remain in “good standing” in American law, that the Catholic Church is unjust and must be oppressed wherever the state determines it to be unjust, could the guillotine really be so far away as Rick Santorum claims? This would be my only criticism of Santorum’s claim, that we are “a long way” from the guillotine.
It is precisely because so many in America, and certainly Santorum’s political opponents, fail to understand human nature and apply their erroneous understanding to their positions on the law that he will face a challenge in making the argument to the American people that the Left is not about “fairness” at all. Rather, they are about deciding for us what our rights are even though they are incompetent on the matter of human nature which was so clearly understood by those who Founded our country and penned the Bill of Rights based on that understanding.
We really do have a choice now, in this election, to choose the Constitution and the reasoning behind the rights it delineates, or to choose a view of rights that history has already shown us will lead to the guillotine.
I choose Rick Santorum.