I’m not going to discuss the nature of the president’s weekly radio and Internet address in this forum, although you can read about it here if you like; I think Allahpundit’s admonition to the GOP will suffice for now. I am, however, very interested in this video which is notable for two reasons. (1) Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) debunks the myth peddled by the White House and others that the president’s budget proposal is somehow a “compromise,” and (2) why the Republican alternative is a serious, credible plan that will “improve people’s lives” because it actually balances the budget.
Take a look:
Kevin and Guy brought you the broad details of the president’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget earlier this week. However, a closer examination of the proposal reinforces the obvious: it is decidedly “unimpressive.” Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer elaborates:
Now the bad news. The cards laid down by the White House are quite unimpressive. The 2014 budget is tax-and-spend as usual. The actual deficit reduction over a decade is a minuscule $0.6 trillion — out of a total spending of $46.5 trillion. And every penny of this tiny reduction comes from tax hikes. Nothing from spending cuts, which all end up getting spent elsewhere.
Moreover, where’s the compromise? The Obama budget calls for not only more spending than the GOP’s, but more than the Democratic Senate’s as well. For just fiscal 2014, it even contains $160 billion more spending, and $128 billion more deficit, than if the budget — that Obama purports to be cutting — were left untouched!
What’s more, Dr. K blows the cap off the president’s much-lauded and publicized “entitlement reform” proposal:
True, President Obama has finally put on the table, in writing, an entitlement reform. This is good. But the spin, mindlessly echoed in the mainstream media, that this is some cosmic breakthrough is comical.
First, the proposal — “chained CPI,” a change in the way inflation is measured — is very small. It reduces Social Security by a quarter of a penny on the dollar — a $2,000 check reduced by a five-dollar bill.
Second, the change is merely technical. The White House itself admits that the result is simply a more accurate measure of inflation. It’s not really cutting anything. It merely eliminates an unintended overpayment.
Finally, the president made it clear that he doesn’t like this reform at all. It’s merely a gift to Republicans. This is odd. Why should a technical correction be a political favor to anyone? Is getting things right not a favor to the nation?
As I noted earlier, the president’s fiscal blueprint raises taxes, increases spending, and doesn’t make a serious effort to reform entitlements. Perfect. By contrast, the Paul Ryan budget doesn’t raise taxes, cuts the deficit, and eventually achieves balance. Is it perfect? No. But at least it addresses the major drivers of our debt in a serious and pragmatic way.
Anyhow, this much is clear: the president is uncommitted to cutting unsustainable government programs or putting America back on a path to solvency. For all his charm and charisma, he will not (indeed, cannot) address these issues during his second term. Of course, the president’s proposal wasn’t exactly shocking (I seriously doubt anyone thought he was going to confront the fiscal challenges of our time in writing, much less address them), but this should be a major wake-up call. We’re stuck with anti-growth, tax-and-spend policies for at least the next four years. Thus it goes without saying how important it is that we elect a conservative president in 2016. The hour is already getting late.
I thought this day would never come. The MSM can no longer pretend they didn’t “hear” about the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell (ABC News’ Terry Moran even tweeted last night that the murderer in question “is probably the most successful serial killer in the history of the world”). But still too many networks have failed to report on the details of the case.
That being said, the indispensable pro-life website Life News has compiled a list of the ten most horrific revelations to emerge from the trial -- many of which have gone unreported.
Warning: The eye-witness testimony below is nauseatingly graphic and deeply upsetting:
1) A young woman who worked at Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic as a teenager testified that she saw a baby’s chest move even after the gruesome snipping procedure Gosnell used to end the baby’s life. “The chest was moving,” she testified. The baby was so large that another worker even took a cellphone picture of it. Prosecution experts, based on the picture, say the baby was well past 24 weeks, the legal limit for abortion in Pennsylvania.
2) Another former employee described how she heard a baby scream during a live-birth abortion. “I can’t describe it. It sounded like a little alien,” he testified, telling a judge and Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas jury that the body of the child was about 18 to 24 inches long and was one of the largest babies she had seen delivered during abortion procedures at Gosnell’s clinic.
3) Stephen Massof, who does not have a medical license, described how he jabbed medical scissors into the backs of babies’ necks to kill them. He assisted Gosnell in “snipping” the spinal cords of babies, calling it, “literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.”
4) According to a news report, Massof told the jury that women were often given drugs to speed up delivery of the baby so the abortion/infanticide could take place: He testified that at times, when women were given medicine to speed up their deliveries, “it would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place.”
5) One day after a former employee described how she heard a baby scream during a live-birth abortion, another worker at the Kermit Gosnell “House of Horrors’ abortion clinic testified that she saw a baby “jump” when she snipped her neck in an abortion. “It jumped, the arm,” she said, showing the jury by raising her arm.
6) Another Gosnell clinic worker testified that she took photos of one particularly large baby, referred to by prosecutors as “Baby A,” with her cell phone that was estimated to be about 30-weeks gestation. Baby A had been delivered alive into a toilet where she cut the baby’s throat.
7) Baby A was described as being so large that his feet and arms hung out over the sides of the shoebox they put him in. Gosnell actually joked about the baby’s size saying, “This baby is big enough to walk around with me or walk me to the bus stop.”
8) Prosecutors have cited the dozens of jars of severed baby feet as an example of Gosnell’s idiosyncratic and illegal practice of providing abortions for cash to poor women pregnant longer than the 24-week cutoff for legal abortions in Pennsylvania. In her opening statement to the Common Pleas Court jury, Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore mused that the jars of feet were some kind of bizarre “trophy” Gosnell kept.
9) Gosnell’s sister-in-law testified that it was it was part of her cleaning duties to dispose of the large bottle on the suction machine that would fill with blood and fetal remains. She would pour the blood and baby parts into the sink and grind them up using the garbage disposal.
10) It was revealed that on the night patient Karnamaya Mongar died the emergency exit was found to be locked and down a hallway crammed full of broken office furniture and other debris. Workers could not find the key as emergency personnel sought a way to get their Code Blue patient out of the facility and into an ambulance.
We are a nation of laws and Gosnell is innocent until proven guilty. But after reading the testimony of so many of those who worked in the “clinic,” it’s probably safe to conclude he’s going to prison for a very long time -- or worse.
Exit question via Patheos: Why was this House of Death not inspected for 17 years? Indeed, how could this barbarism possibly have gone on for so long? The answer I’m afraid is all too predictable.
Correction: The author initially didn't include points nine and ten by mistake. The article has since been updated.
The Grand Old Party finds itself in a seemingly impossible position these days. In short, if Republicans officially abandon their “core principles,” social conservatives -- led by Mike Huckabee and others -- will presumably “walk”. On the other hand, if Republicans re-affirm their support for traditional marriage, they risk alienating moderate voters and expanding their ranks. So what exactly should they do?
Well, The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has some advice for religious conservatives hoping to shape the debate (via The Hill):
Tony Perkins says religious conservatives should stop donating to the Republican Party until it clarifies its position on social issues.
The president of the Family Research Council, a top religious political group, said Thursday night that conservative activists should withhold their political donations to Republicans until the party decides where it will stand on social issues.
Tony Perkins, in an email sent to his supporters, criticized the Republican National Committee over a report released last month that suggested the party should reconsider its messaging on same-sex marriage to appeal to younger voters.
"Until the RNC and the other national Republican organizations grow a backbone and start defending core principles, don’t send them a dime of your hard-earned money," Perkins said in the email, a copy of which was obtained by CNN.
"If you want to invest in the political process, and I encourage you to do so, give directly to candidates who reflect your values and organizations you trust — like FRC Action."
Incidentally, Perkins isn’t convinced if and/or when the GOP comes out in favor of marriage equality the gesture will attract more young people to the party. In fact, he argues, it will have the opposite effect:
Perkins says that the RNC proposal will only drive away young voters who do not support same-sex marriage.
"Instead of trying to appease millennials, Republicans should try educating them on why marriage matters," Perkins wrote. "There’s an entire group of 'Countercultural Warriors' full of compelling young leaders who are all going to the mat to protect marriage."
He is unequivocally correct on one point. As noted in the article above, a CBS News poll conducted last month showed 46 percent of millennials “do not believe gay couples should be allowed to wed.” I admit this surprised me. We often hear in the media and elsewhere that young Americans -- including young Republicans -- are moving decidedly to the left on marriage issues. (This is certainly true to a certain extent). But what often goes unprinted and unreported is the plurality of young people who still (and will always) support traditional marriage for religious or personal reasons. Fortunately for Perkins, the RNC is reportedly drafting a resolution in California this week re-affirming the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage, but I suspect the debate is far from over -- and perhaps it’s only just beginning.
This article in the Los Angeles Times is just too darn good to ignore. Epic fail, Mr. Mayor:
After New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg unveiled his plan to ban the sale of sodas larger than 16 ounces, comedian Jon Stewart complained that the proposal "combines the draconian government overreach people love with the probable lack of results they expect."
It turns out the "Daily Show" host was on to something.
New research shows that prompting beverage makers to sell sodas in smaller packages and bundle them as a single unit actually encourages consumers to buy more soda — and gulp down more calories — than they would have consumed without the ban.
Not only would thirsty people drink more, but circumventing the big-drink ban by offering consumers bundles of smaller drinks also would mean more revenue for the beverage purveyors, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE. The sales boost would probably offset the added cost of producing more cups, lids and straws to hold those extra drinks, the researchers found.
The results reveal "a potential unintended consequence that may need to be considered in future policymaking," wrote the study authors, psychologists from UC San Diego.
“Unintended consequences” should be a staple of American liberalism. The do-gooders always and invariably think they know what’s best for us -- i.e., what kind of light bulbs we should use, cars we should drive, and, yes, how much soda we should drink. Not unlike the horrendous anti-Second Amendment legislation signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (which was so poorly written and ill-advised that the bill unwittingly banned law enforcement officials from carrying high-capacity magazines), the Bloomberg soda ban, if implemented, would reportedly have encouraged consumers to drink more soda. You can’t make this stuff up.
Indeed, “banning” harmful things makes for wonderful politics sometimes, but in the rush to Do Something to protect the public poorly thought out proposals more often than not range from the unhelpful to the farcical. This is not to say that obesity in America isn’t a serious problem -- it certainly is -- but government mandates from on high seem to be the very worst way to force people to live healthier lives. But good luck trying to sell that idea to Mr. Bloomberg. He’s a committed Nanny, and I don’t expect him to re-evaluate or modify his positions anytime soon.
It’s too early to tell if this legislation will go anywhere, but here’s to hoping it will eventually. Per the Reno Gazette-Journal:
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to give businesses tax breaks for donating money to fund school choice scholarships for disadvantaged youth.
Sandoval’s legal counsel, tax chief and interim school superintendent presented SB445 Tuesday to the Senate Revenue Committee. No action was taken.
Administration officials say 14 states have adopted similar legislation.
The bill would give businesses a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for money donated to a scholarship organization. The organization would then make grants to disadvantaged youth to attend private schools or receive homeschooling materials.
Total tax breaks for the program would be capped at $5 million a year, and officials say it would not reduce money for K-12 education.
But others say the money would still come out of the state general fund and somebody’s budget.
This sounds to me like a pretty reasonable and sensible idea: create an incentive for businesses to invest in the children of tomorrow without allocating resources away from public schools. What’s not to like? Yes, critics obviously disagree with the premise of the legislation, insisting money will inevitably come from “somebody’s budget.” But even if that is the case (a big if), the initiative should at least be debated -- not least because it would give children living in poverty a chance to attend private or parochial schools. Not every student can excel in a traditional public school setting, and considering Nevada -- according to at least one study -- ranks among the bottom of the barrel vis-à-vis state’s providing quality educations to their residents, lawmakers need to do something. This proposal is a win-win for businesses and students alike. No wonder Nevada’s teachers union already opposes it.
The mainstream media’s lack of coverage and lack of interest in the trial of “Doctor” Kermit Gosnell is not surprising. But kudos to columnist Kirsten Powers for shedding light on their stunning negligence:
A Lexis-Nexis search shows none of the news shows on the three major national television networks has mentioned the Gosnell trial in the last three months. The exception is when Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan
hijacked a segment on Meet the Press meant to foment outrage over an anti-abortion rights law in some backward red state.
The Washington Post has not published original reporting on this during the trial and The New York Times saw fit to run one original story on A-17 on the trial's first day. They've been silent ever since, despite headline-worthy testimony.
Let me state the obvious. This should be front page news. When Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke, there was non-stop media hysteria. The venerable NBC Nightly News' Brian Williams intoned, "A firestorm of outrage from women after a crude tirade from Rush Limbaugh," as he teased a segment on the brouhaha. Yet, accusations of babies having their heads severed — a major human rights story if there ever was one — doesn't make the cut.
You don't have to oppose abortion rights to find late-term abortion abhorrent or to find the Gosnell trial eminently newsworthy. This is not about being "pro-choice" or "pro-life." It's about basic human rights.
The deafening silence of too much of the media, once a force for justice in America, is a disgrace.
Powers’ main point is a valid one: whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice does not matter in this particular case. This is ultimately a matter of preserving and protecting innocent human life. And the media’s obvious indifference to the suffering and killing of born alive infants is difficult to bear. Of course, liberals love to finance and raise awareness about causes that shelter helpless animals or feed starving children in third world countries (two admittedly noble endeavors), but when clear injustices occur at home -- and don’t advance their “abortion on demand” narrative -- they are conspicuously silent. Why am I not surprised?
But more to the point, an infant who can scream and jump outside his/her mother’s womb is a human being -- and therefore should unquestionably be granted citizenship rights. This is something one would hope every American with a soul and conscience could agree upon. (Sadly that’s not the case). Meanwhile, any television network that refuses to bring these harrowing details to light (yet unfailingly reminds the public that Republicans are waging a “war on women”) should be treated with contempt. What about the real war on living, sentient human beings? Do they really have nothing to say about that?
The more I read about this trial and the actions of one sick and twisted man -- and his cowardly and ultimately weak-kneed staff -- the more I realize how far the MSM will go to hide what really goes on behind closed doors in some of the nation’s so-called “abortion” clinics. Thankfully, though, actual journalists aren’t letting them get away with it.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul recently wrapped up his speech (and a Q&A session) at Howard University in Washington, D.C. wherein he discussed “the importance of outreach to younger voters, as well as minority groups.” In particular, among other things, he touched on the benefits of federalism, school choice, and de-criminalizing certain drugs laws -- the latter topic garnering him thunderous applause in an otherwise relatively subdued auditorium.
But perhaps the primary objective of his public appearance at Howard -- as evidenced by his willingness to speak at the historically black college -- was to show (a) how Republican policies can and will serve as the antidote to unsustainable debt and deficits, and (b) how many Americans are slipping into poverty and hopelessness under the policies of the current administration:
The Democrat promise is tangible and puts food on the table, but too often doesn’t lead to jobs or meaningful success.
The Republican promise is for policies that create economic growth. Republicans believe lower taxes, less regulation, balanced budgets, a solvent Social Security and Medicare will stimulate economic growth.
Republicans point to the Reagan years when the economy grew at nearly 7% and millions upon millions of jobs were created.
Today, after four years of the current policies, one in six Americans live in poverty, more than at any other time in the past several decades.
In fact, the poor have grown poorer in the past four years. Black unemployment is at 14%, nearly twice the national average. This is unacceptable.
But far more importantly, Paul discussed how historical revisionism has hurt the GOP’s image in the eyes of many, if not most, African-Americans. For example, the vast majority of those living in the Deep South during the late nineteenth and early-to-mid twentieth centuries -- namely, those whom supported black voter suppression, poll taxes, literacy tests, and the like -- were Democrats. Republicans, by contrast, have a long and oft-ignored history of supporting equality under the law and black empowerment. Admittedly, Paul argued, Republicans have done a terrible job raising awareness about this important and rich part of our national history, but that doesn’t mean it never happened. He said,
The Republican Party’s history is rich and chock full of emancipation and black history.
Republicans still prize the sense of justice that MLK spoke of when he said that “an unjust law is any law the majority enforces on a minority but does not make binding upon itself.”
Republicans have never stopped believing that minorities, whether they derive from the color of their skin or shade of their ideology should warrant equal protection. …
I think what happened during the Great Depression was that African Americans understood that Republicans championed citizenship and voting rights but they became impatient for economic emancipation.
African Americans languished below white Americans in every measure of economic success and the Depression was especially harsh for those at the lowest rung of poverty.
The Democrats promised equalizing outcomes through unlimited federal assistance while Republicans offered something that seemed less tangible-the promise of equalizing opportunity through free markets.
Now, Republicans face a daunting task. Several generations of black voters have never voted Republican and are not very open to even considering the option.
When asked by a student later on, in effect, if Paul associated with or subscribed to the views of the Party of Lincoln or the Party of Reagan (thus implying that the GOP had somehow “evolved” over the course of the last 150 years), the Kentucky Senator sought to convince him that “both” parties were indeed inseparable and one in the same. Therein, he said, is the biggest challenge facing the GOP today: convincing minority groups over time that Republicans have never abandoned their core principles of liberty, equality, and opportunity for all. This will be an uphill battle of persuasion, to be sure, but I think it’s safe to say that Senator Paul’s speech is a very good first step -- and will hopefully move the conversation forward in a positive way.
There’s been a great deal written about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher since her death at age 87 earlier this week (Guy and Carol offered their thoughts, respectively, here and here), but I wanted to direct your attention to a rather lengthy piece written by historian Paul Johnson that was published in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago.
The first paragraph alone, I think, captures the extraordinary life of an extraordinary leader in a way that really drives home her legacy:
Margaret Thatcher had more impact on the world than any woman ruler since Catherine the Great of Russia. Not only did she turn around—decisively—the British economy in the 1980s, she also saw her methods copied in more than 50 countries. "Thatcherism" was the most popular and successful way of running a country in the last quarter of the 20th century and into the 21st.
That’s pretty impressive. How else could the “Iron Lady” possibly hope to be remembered? And to think she accomplished all this -- and more -- at a time when the very thought of a woman leading Great Britain in the twentieth century, let alone profoundly impacting and shaping world events, was universally rejected is remarkable. Case in point:
Among Tory backbenchers there was a growing feeling that Heath must go. Thatcher was one of his critics, and she encouraged the leader of her wing of the party, Keith Joseph, to stand against him. However, at the last moment Joseph's nerve failed him and he refused to run. It was in these circumstances that Thatcher, who had never seen herself as a leader, let alone prime minister, put herself forward. As a matter of courtesy, she went to Heath's office to tell him that she was putting up for his job. He did not even look up from his desk, where he was writing, merely saying: "You'll lose, you know"—a characteristic combination of bad manners and bad judgment. In fact she won handsomely, thereby beginning one of the great romantic adventures of modern British politics.
The date was 1975, and four more terrible years were to pass before Thatcher had the opportunity to achieve power and come to Britain's rescue. In the end, it was the unions themselves who put her into office by smashing up the James Callaghan Labour government in the winter of 1978-79—the so-called Winter of Discontent—enabling the Tories to win the election the following May with a comfortable majority
Of course, as Mona Charen points out, "the least interesting fact" about Lady Thatcher is that she was, after all, a woman. But that was irrelevant. And perhaps that’s the very reason why -- 22 years after she retired from public life -- she’s still so reviled by the Left.
But in the end, her achievements don’t need to be embellished or romanticized; her legacy speaks for itself. What’s more, she rose to power not because of her family connections or nepotism (indeed, she did not grow up well-connected or wealthy) but through hard work and grim determination. In other words, there’s a reason why she has inspired so many young people (not just women) both in America and Great Britain to get involved in politics and fight for conservative principles. And I suspect, as long as freedom and liberty are under assault, she will continue to do so for generations to come.
The indefatigable Ron Paul is certainly keeping busy these days. In truth, since his departure from the Republican presidential primary last year, we haven’t really heard much from him. But at least now we know why: the former congressman’s been spending his days designing and refining his own unique, libertarian-themed homeschool curriculum. Fox News has more:
Ron Paul is retired from public office but has found a new way to spread his libertarian message – an online, home-school program that is based on the “history of liberty” and teaches the “biblical principles of self-government.”
The former Texas Republican congressman and three-time presidential candidate is offering the program, called the "Ron Paul Curriculum," free to parents and students in kindergarten through fifth grade. However, Paul, following his own belief in a free-market economy, is charging those wishing to continue through the 12th grade.
The 77-year-old Paul -- whose spirited 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns inspired legions of young libertarians -- has assembled a faculty-staff that includes author Tom Woods.
“For people who have been wondering what Ron Paul has been up to since retiring from Congress, then here’s your answers,” Woods said in announcing the start of the program. “This, I am convinced, will prove to be Ron Paul’s most significant contribution to the cause of liberty.”
Notably, the curriculum will not include textbooks -- the focus instead will be on primary documents -- in part because traditional, state-sanctioned course materials are supposedly dumbed down and “screened by committees”:
The program includes instructional videos to help teach the eclectic curriculum -- with generic classes ranging from reading to note-taking to public speaking, as well as more Ron Paul-esque courses like Austrian School economics. From the candidate whose online support base helped drive his campaigns is also a class on how to start a YouTube channel.
Paul, a Libertarian presidential candidate in 1988, has also brought on Gary North, his first Capitol Hill research assistant, to be development director of the Ron Paul Curriculum.
Not missing an opportunity to question authority, the Paul team dismisses the program’s lack of government accreditation and textbooks, which they say are “screened by committees.”
Congressman Paul never really struck me as an outspoken advocate for education reform; I do, however, remember him absolutely railing about the debt, the deficit and the unprecedented federal spending binges of the past two administrations. But this new initiative certainly jibes with (and perhaps even serves as one possible solution for) his outspoken distaste for wasteful government spending on American public schools. And while it’s hard to know exactly how many parents will take advantage of his free, K-5 curriculum when it finally launches, my hunch is that many liberty-minded American families -- many of whom are sick and tired of the status quo -- might give it a shot. Here’s the introductory video for those interested in learning more: