Happy New Year 2013

WASHINGTON — It’s “Auld Lang Syne” time again. Robert Burns is credited with “collecting” the lyrics for the old Scottish drinking and dancing ballad that’s become a traditional part of New Year’s festivities. The most memorable verses — “should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind” and the chorus, “for auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet for auld lang syne” — are often described as reminders of “the good old times” amid new beginnings. That’s a tough task this year. Saying goodbye to 2012 won’t be hard. But looking forward with hope for a better year in 2013 is a real challenge. Peering into a chasm from the edge of the “fiscal cliff” isn’t the way most of us wanted to end the first dozen years of the 21st century. We all know it’s the nature of government to grow in size, power and expense. But how many of us really expected that the fools in Washington would drown our progeny in a sea of deficits, debt and ever-higher taxes? Nobody I know expected the Internal Revenue Service to become the dominant fixture in our lives. As 2012 began, did anyone anticipate it would become “The Year of the Cover-up”? Who believed the year would end with more emphasis on banning personally owned firearms than deterring our adversaries from acquiring nuclear weapons? Did anyone anticipate that our constitutionally protected freedoms would fall under the purview of the United Nations? A year ago, who among us expected we still would face the prospect of prolonged global recession, radical Islamic chaos in the Middle East, and endless genocide in Syria? But as we ring out 2012 and welcome 2013, that’s where we are. So as we “take a cup o’ kindness yet for auld lang syne,” what should we expect in the new year ahead — apprehension or anticipation? Frequent readers of this column know I suffer from a severe case of chronic optimism. Clip and save this column until next year so you can rate my powers of prognostication: —Fiscal cliff. The potentates of pork on the Potomac will kick the can down the road without breaking their toes. Taxes will go up for all of us, and Warren Buffett will pronounce it to be a good thing. The incredibly selfish baby boomers will demand that their “entitlements” and “benefits” not be cut — but they will be anyway. Small businesses, the engine of our economy, will sputter — and find new ways to survive but not prosper. Washington’s political class will be glad 2013 is not an election year. Many will regret not following Sen. Jim DeMint into more productive endeavors. —The cover-ups. Hillary Clinton will recover from her concussion, but she won’t recall what she did or didn’t know about abysmal security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. John Kerry, the most anti-U.S. military secretary of state in history will try to sweep the mess under the rug while promising reforms — and dreaming up new ways to punish Israel. Attorney General Eric Holder will continue to cover up White House complicity in his “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation. —U.S. military. Personnel reductions, cuts in benefits and delays in replacing worn-out weapons and equipment will degrade the finest fighting force in the history of the world. Many combat-experienced troops who defended us and offered others the hope of freedom will join private companies to “backfill” current commitments in Afghanistan and Africa. Thanks to organizations such as Freedom Alliance, the American people will be reminded to keep our commitments to the men and women of our armed forces and their families and honor their service and sacrifice. —The ayatollahs. A failing Iranian economy and the collapse of Bashar Assad’s sanguinary regime in Syria will put increasing pressure on the hagiocracy ruling in Tehran. Though the Obama administration lacks the will to support a second “Green Revolution” in Iran, others will do so. It will be the last chance to prevent the ayatollahs from acquiring — and using — nuclear weapons. —The Second Amendment. Vice President Joe Biden’s “task force” will ignore the National Rifle Association’s advice to protect our children with armed security guards in our schools. Instead, the B-Team will recommend banning certain firearms based on cosmetics. America’s parents will respond with a dramatic increase in families opting to home-school. As we sing “Auld Lang Syne” this year, I will recall 2012 as the year the good Lord blessed Betsy and me with our 13th and 14th grandchildren. I’ll remember being welcomed home from difficult and dangerous places by loving family members who prayed for my safe return. I will be reminded of friends from Vietnam to Somalia to Iraq and Afghanistan — some departed, others still here — and be grateful for knowing them. For me, “Auld Lang Syne” isn’t about the “good old times”; it’s about good people. The lyrics are a reminiscence about not past events but relationships. It’s people who help us weather the tough times of life — and enjoy pleasant events. As we face an uncertain tomorrow, “Auld Lang Syne” is a reminder to stay close to those we love and who love us in return.

Tilting the Newtown ‘Conversation’

It’s too hard to try and make sense of a senseless event. Adam Lanza’s merciless slaughter in Connecticut has forced everyone with a microphone to insist we have a “national conversation” about why this happens. But this urgent need to talk is not an excuse for a reckless discussion. Sadly, that is where we’re headed, with pundits hysterical, naive or both. Predictably most in the media went straight to the Left’s Alpha and Omega: blaming excessive “access” to guns. It was also an excuse to open fire on the National Rifle Association. For example, author Joyce Carol Oates spewed on Twitter, “If sizable numbers of NRA members become gun-victims themselves, maybe hope for legislation of firearms?” Actress Marg Helgenberger, semi-famous for playing a cop on “CSI,” concurred, “One can only hope, but sadly I don’t think anything would change.” One professor at the University of Rhode Island found violence as the answer to violence. Erik Loomis tweeted “I was heartbroken in the first 20 mass murders. Now I want [NRA VP] Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick.” After an uproar, Loomis claimed, “I don’t want to see Wayne LaPierre dead. I want to see him in prison for the rest of his life” for “NRA terrorism.” Let us agree that every liberal – such as Loomis, Helgenberger, and Oates — has cause for outrage. So too does every conservative. No one enjoys a monopoly and the jockeying must stop. By the same token, let’s be serious. Lanza did not get violent because of guns. He used guns because he was violent. The proper place for guns in a violent society is something we should discuss. But if you want to solve the problem, you discuss the culture of violence in a nation enamored of death. Ours is a society imploding under an avalanche of violent video games, music, TV and movies. Surely, a serious “national conversation’ should go there. But so far, ABC and CBS and NBC aren’t doing stories about the violent content on their TV shows. Nor are they discussing violent movies on ABC (Disney) and NBC (Universal), or viciously violent dramas on the pay cable channel Showtime (owned by CBS). Fox News isn’t talking about Seth MacFarlane’s shoot-em-up Sunday night cartoons on Fox, and Rupert Murdoch pushed Obama on Twitter for “bold leadership action” on guns, but hasn’t tweeted a word about his own violent Hollywood sleaze. In short, our news media can’t really be trusted to evaluate all the cultural forces that the American people might blame. They refuse to acknowledge the effect of violent content on impressionable young viewers. They’re likely to cheer Big Gulp bans and the removal of soda machines from schools on behalf of the children, but they won’t tolerate any restriction on children gulping down their company products. That’s not to say that the entertainment conglomerates didn’t react to the Newtown shooting. Fox quickly announced it would pull new episodes of its Sunday night cartoons “Family Guy” and “American Dad,” as well as a rerun of a “Die Hard” parody episode of “The Cleveland Show” that was scheduled. There were no plot specifics disclosed, but the canceled new shows that were suddenly now too violent for the times were “holiday-themed episodes.” Anyone who follows the sicko MacFarlane cartoons knows that bloody shooting deaths are part of their formula to deliver shocked laughs. That is, when they don’t have a “funny” plot twist like a crazed horse stomping through an entire grandstand at the racetrack, killing a class of deaf second graders. Does that episode sound hilarious now, Fox Entertainment? Other shows were pulled for sensitivity. The SyFy network show “Haven” was pulled because it contained violence in a high school setting. TLC pushed back the premiere of its show “Best Funeral Ever” into January. Showtime decided to put disclaimers on the season finales of their violent shows — “Dexter,” the heroic serial-killer show, and “Homeland,” about terrorism. They announced, “in light of the tragedy that has occurred in Connecticut, the following program contains images that may be disturbing.” Harvey Weinstein’s company canceled the Los Angeles premiere for Quentin Tarantino’s ultraviolent western “Django Unchained,” scheduled for the Monday, after the massacre. Paramount toned down the gunplay in ads for their new Tom Cruise action movie, “Jack Reacher,” which opens with a sniper shooting down five people. They also delayed a high-profile Pittsburgh premiere (where the movie was filmed) on Saturday and planned a quiet screening later. Stop it, Hollywood. After every massacre, you do the same. Some show is edited, another one postponed, all with great fanfare, while the denizens of Tinseltown loudly voice their outrage at all this senseless violence. And as soon as the massacre is off Page One, they get back to business, polluting the culture and spoon-feeding the next Adam Lanza. L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

The Resurrection

At the very core of Christianity is the historical authenticity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. But for His resurrection, we would not be celebrating His birth. The Apostle Paul said, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” Christian apologist Josh McDowell spent more than 700 hours studying the subject of the resurrection and concluded that it “is one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted upon the minds of men, or it is the most amazing fact of history.” When a university student asked him why he was unable to refute Christianity, McDowell responded, “For a very simple reason: I am not able to explain away an event in history — the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The Old Testament prophets and Jesus predicted the resurrection. The resurrection was central to Christ’s preaching. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Well, do you? Many very smart people who set out to disprove Christianity, after examining the evidence, became firm believers. I offer a few highlights. Renowned Christian apologist Dr. Norman Geisler wrote, “The documentary evidence for the reliability of the New Testament is greater than that for any other book from the ancient world.” He concluded also that “highly reputable contemporary scholars date the New Testament books within the lifetime of eyewitnesses and contemporaries of the events.” Classical scholar Sir Frederic Kenyon said, “The last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established.” In addition, secular writings of Jewish historian Josephus, Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius, Roman author Pliny the Younger, and Greek satirist Lucian all refer to Christ. In his book “The Resurrection: The Unopened Gift,” Gerard Chrispin wrote, “There is an amazing accord between nearly all the friends and foes of Christianity, about the historical facts surrounding the life and death of Christ. … The fact that He died and three days later the tomb was empty is what the lawyer calls common ground. … Interestingly, one rarely meets a genuine historian who doubts the empty tomb.” Geisler said there is “more evidence Jesus died than that most important people of the ancient world ever lived.” While skeptics have long concocted elaborate theories to challenge that Christ died prior to His resurrection appearances, they all fail on critical examination. He was not drugged; He refused to take the common pain-killing drug offered crucifixion victims. He sustained a heavy loss of blood. He uttered an audible death cry. He was pierced in the side, and blood and water flowed out — a medical sign of death. Experienced Roman soldiers examined His body and were so sure of His death, they pronounced Him dead without breaking His legs to hasten the process in accordance with the customary practice. He was wrapped in 75 pounds of cloth and spices and placed in a sealed tomb guarded by soldiers. Even had He been alive, He could not have moved the heavy stone to escape, much less without being seen and stopped by the guards. Pilate assured himself Jesus was dead before turning over His body to Joseph of Arimathea to be buried. His grave clothes were left undisturbed. Naysayers have also failed to make their case for various alternative theories to Christ’s bodily resurrection. If Roman or Jewish authorities had removed the body, they could have produced it and nipped Christianity in the bud. The theory that the disciples stole the body is incredible because they were men who denied Christ and fled the scene in fear, not to mention that the tomb was heavily guarded. If the women had gone to the wrong tomb, the authorities would have gone to the correct tomb and produced the body. Also, had they and Peter been at the wrong tomb, they wouldn’t have seen the empty grave clothes. Paul wrote that Jesus was seen by more than 500 people, most of whom were still alive at the time of his writing and could have easily refuted him if he were lying. He appeared over a period of 40 days, on a number of different occasions before multiple witnesses. His appearances were interactive and long enough to be real and not illusions. He performed additional miracles and also walked certain witnesses through the Old Testament, pointing to passages that spoke of Him. He told witnesses He had “flesh and bones,” He ate fish in their presence, and He told his doubters to touch Him “handle me, and see.” But the most persuasive evidence for the resurrection is the transformed lives of the disciples. The Bible reports that when the authorities captured Jesus, “all the disciples left him and fled.” After He was crucified, they hid in an upper room and locked the doors. But McDowell points out that “something happened within days to totally change this group of cowardly followers into a bold band of enthusiasts who faced martyrdom without fear or hesitation.” Indeed, most of the disciples were martyred for affirming their faith, and not one of them recanted to save himself. Before the resurrection, Jesus’ brother James hated all that Jesus stood for; afterward, he preached the Gospel and wrote the Book of James, describing himself as “a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Peter, who had denied Jesus three times, defiantly proclaimed the Gospel after the resurrection in the very city he had denied knowing Him. He was ultimately imprisoned and crucified upside down. We celebrate Christmas because of the fact of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, “The Great Destroyer,” reached No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

The Year of “Our Savior” Obama

The year 2012 was defined by the calculated re-emergence of Obama worship, no matter how obvious his failures in office. After his re-election, the actor Jamie Foxx let it all hang out in a tribute at the BET Awards on November 25: “First of all, give an honor to God and our lord and savior, Barack Obama!” For that President Jesus gasbaggery, Foxx was selected as one of the winners of the Media Research Center’s Best Notable Quotables of 2012, a collection of liberal foolishness selected by 46 judges of distinction in the conservative media. Foxx won the “Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity.” But Foxx wasn’t alone in the idolatry category. Naturally, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews won the “Obamagasm Award,” failing to find a single flaw in his idol in a “Hardball” tribute on July 17: “This guy’s done everything right. He’s raised his family right. He’s fought his way all the way to the top of the Harvard Law Review, in a blind test becomes head of the Review, the top editor there. Everything he’s done is clean as a whistle. He’s never, not only broken any law, he’s never done anything wrong. He’s the perfect father, the perfect husband, the perfect American. And all they do is trash the guy.” Especially when he’s our lord and savior. CNN’s Piers Morgan won in the “Media Hero Award” category for his fawning over Bill Clinton at the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting on Sept. 25: “People see you putting on this event, they heard you at the convention make a barnstorming speech, an incredible speech … I was there. You electrified the place. And they all say, ‘Why do we have this goddamned 22nd Amendment? Why couldn’t Bill Clinton just run again and be President for the next 30 years?'” A prime time CNN personality announces Clinton should be President for Life, even as CNN and its media fans keep declaring the nonsense that this network abhors and rejects political partisanship. But journalists proclaiming their objectivity, no matter how ridiculous, is a daily event. The Denying the Obvious Award for Refusing to Acknowledge Liberal Bias went to New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, who grew angry on Feb. 16 when his newspaper was compared to Fox News in its partisan take on the news: “The word I want to use here … begins with ‘bull’ and ends in ‘it,’ and you can figure out what comes in between. I think it’s absolute pernicious nonsense … Fox News presents the news in a way that is deliberately skewed to promote political causes, and The New York Times simply does not.” The Romney family would disagree, perhaps recalling items like the 2,300-word Times front-pager by Trip Gabriel scorning Mrs. Romney’s enthusiasm for dressage, where “horses costing up to seven figures execute pirouettes and other dancelike moves for riders wearing tails and top hats.” Or take Times columnist Charles Blow, who won “The Politics of Personal Destruction Award” for denying Romney’s humanity on MSNBC on July 17: “This is the kind of man that Mitt Romney is. This man does not have a soul. If you opened up, you know, his chest, there’s probably a gold ticking watch in there and not even a heart. This is not a person. This is just a robot who will do whatever it takes, whatever he’s told to do, to make it to the White House.” Former ABC News political director David Chalian lost his job as Washington Bureau Chief of Yahoo! News for being caught on an open microphone on Aug. 28 during the GOP convention in Tampa, talking over a picture of Mitt and Ann Romney: “They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.” That quote won the “Ku Klux Con Job Award for Smearing Conservatives With Phony Racism Charges.” Obama is our savior, and Romney is happy with blacks drowning. Got it? But on the Left, it’s always easy to believe America is still mired in a deeply racist, imperialist history. MSNBC weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry won the “Quote of the Year” for offering her unique Happy Birthday to America on her July 1 show: “The land on which they [the Founders] formed this Union was stolen. The hands with which they built this nation were enslaved. The women who birthed the citizens of the nation are second class … This is the imperfect fabric of our nation, at times we’ve torn and stained it, and at other moments, we mend and repair it. But it’s ours. All of it. The imperialism, the genocide, the slavery, also the liberation and the hope and the deeply American belief that our best days still lie ahead of us.” But for MSNBC, that liberation and hope rests on their “lord and savior” Obama. L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

Alert: Big Win on Internet Regulation

Thankfully, the United Nations negotiations on Internet regulation collapsed in Dubai when the U.S. and Canada announced they would refuse to support or sign any treaty that gave the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) the power to regulate the Internet. They specifically rejected the efforts of Vladimir Putin’s Russia to control the Internet through international treaty. Russia had sought to give each country the power to manage the Internet within their own countries and Putin’s ally Toure, the head of the ITU, sought to charge Google and other content sites for any videos used internationally. The goal in these charges was to make it prohibitively expensive for Russians to download video from foreign providers. Russia had obtained support from a strong majority of world governments because each found it in their interest to suppress the Internet at home. Our hope was that the U.S. would block the treaty and it did! The death knell of Internet regulation is particularly welcome to us at Dickmorris.com. We have collected 100,000 petition signatures against the proposed treaty, which we first outed in our book, “Here Come the Black Helicopters: UN Global Governance and the Loss of Freedom.” Our book was the first to explain the threat of the treaty, which had previously been negotiated in secret behind closed doors. Coupled with the Senate rejection of the Treaty on the Disabled, these two new developments show success in rolling back the power grab of the U.N. Thank you for your help in blocking these treaties! To find out more about Dick Morris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 DICK MORRIS AND EILEEN MCGANN DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Merry Christmas, America-Haters?

When TNT was preparing its annual special “Christmas in Washington” with the president of the United States, you’d think the last star musician they would consider to join the official caroling would be Psy, the South Korean rapper. What on Earth is Christmasy about this man’s invisible-horse-riding dance to his dorky disco-rap hit “Gangnam Style”? It’s not exactly the natural flip-side to “O Holy Night.” But TNT couldn’t resist this year’s YouTube sensation. This inane publicity stunt backfired when the website Mediaite reported on Dec. 7 that Psy (real name: Park Jae-sang) had participated in a 2002 protest in which he crushed a model of an American tank with a microphone stand. But that’s nothing compared to the footage of a 2004 performance after a Korean missionary was slaughtered by Islamists in Iraq. These lyrics cannot be misunderstood. “Kill those f—-ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives … Kill those f—-ing Yankees who ordered them to torture … Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers … Kill them all slowly and painfully.” This isn’t just anti-American. It’s anti-human. Guess where this story first surfaced in the American media? CNN, from the same corporate family tree as TNT. It was posted back on Oct. 6 on CNN’s iReport, an open-source online news feature that allows users to submit stories for CNN consideration. The Korean one-hit wonder put out the usual abject careerist apology, but he weirdly said, “I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted.” Those darn lyrics and those darn people who misinterpret lyrics about killing Yankees’ mothers. It is like Barack Obama expressing regret for the awful things said about Susan Rice, ignoring the awful things said by Susan Rice. Psy is now a millionaire. As Jim Treacher wrote at the Daily Caller: “So far he’s made over $8 million from the song, about $3 million of it from the people he once wanted to kill.” Brad Schaeffer at Big Hollywood noted his own father fought for South Korea’s independence in the Korean War: “Had it not been for ‘f——-g Yankees’ like my Dad, this now-wealthy South Korean wouldn’t be ‘Oppan Gangnam Style’ so much as ‘Starving Pyongyang Style.'” (Gangnam is a posh district in the South Korean capital of Seoul.) Despite the controversy, neither the Obama White House nor the TNT brass felt it was necessary to send Psy packing before the Dec. 9 taping. On Saturday, ABC reporter Muhammad Lila merely repeated, “the White House says the concert will go on and that President Obama will attend, saying that they have no control over who performs at that concert.” What moral cowardice. On Monday morning, another pliant publicist, NBC correspondent Peter Alexander, calmly relayed that the White House did take control on the Psy front — on its own “We The People” website, where the people may post petitions to the president for their fellow citizens to sign. A petition asking Obama to dump Psy from the Christmas concert was itself dumped. Alexander explained: “But that petition was removed because the rules say the petitions only apply to federal actions. And, of course, the President had no say over who the private charity chose to invite.” This is double baloney. The White House hasn’t removed silly “federal action” petitions like the one asking to “Nationalize the Twinkie Industry,” or one to “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.” They removed one that they didn’t want people to sign. As for Obama having “no say over” who appeared on the TNT show, the president could easily declare he wasn’t going to share a stage with this America-hater. Or he could have obviously placed one phone call to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes (an Obama donor), and expressed the dismay of the President of the United States. Instead, the Obamas came and honored Psy. Yes, the president honored a man who despised America enough to want its citizens slaughtered. John Eggerton of Broadcasting and Cable magazine observed, “At the end of the taping, when the First Family customarily shakes hands and talks briefly with the performers, the First Lady gave Psy a hug, followed by a handshake from the President, who engaged Psy in a short, animated discussion — at one point Psy appeared to rock back with laughter — and patted the singer on the shoulder.” I never thought I’d ever view a Christmas special featuring a hideous hater of America celebrated by the President of the United States. L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

Atheist Attacks on Christmas

Bill O’Reilly asked this question on his Fox News program last week: “Why do I have to be the leader defending Christmas against its attackers?” O’Reilly was criticizing Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee’s renaming his state’s Christmas tree a “holiday tree.” Good question. It’s time for Christians to realize that their religion is under attack, and they had better start fighting to win the war for religious liberty in public opinion, in the courts and in the schools. The war against Christianity has been waged by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and similar groups. Their tactics use the threat of litigation, with the hope that supremacist judges will accept their reinterpretation of the First Amendment, as Americans have understood it for over two centuries. The re-election of Barack Obama has made this issue even more pressing. Throughout his first term, he waged a persistent campaign to secularize America, to push all religion behind church doors and to ban all mention of religion from every public place, park, building, military facility, school and speech. The public schools have become the front line in this battle to banish Christmas from celebrations, songs and events, and anti-Christmas public school rulings have been accelerating. Here are a few examples. Pennsylvania fourth-graders were prohibited from handing out religious Christmas cards to classmates, Massachusetts ninth-graders were told they could not create Christmas cards that depict a nativity scene, a Georgia school board deleted the word “Christmas” from the school calendar, Minnesota middle school kids were disciplined for wearing red and green scarves in a Christmas skit and for ending the skit with wishing all a Merry Christmas, and dozens of schools banned Christmas carols, in favor of songs such as “Frosty the Snowman” and “Winter Wonderland”. A New Jersey second-grader was prohibited from singing the pop song “Awesome God” at an evening talent show, and a Colorado school counselor changed the words of the Pledge of Allegiance on the public-address system from “one nation under God” to “one nation under your belief system” (that was, fortunately, overturned). A Massachusetts elementary school censored God from Lee Greenwood’s famous song, changing the line “God bless the U.S.A.” to “We love the U.S.A.” A first-grade girl in North Carolina wrote a poem for her school’s Veterans Day assembly honoring her two grandfathers who had served in the Vietnam War that included the sentences, “He prayed to God for peace. He prayed to God for strength.” The school censored the word God out of the poem before the kid read it. A Texas high school ordered the football coach not to bow his head or kneel when the team said a prayer before a game. Cranston High School West in Rhode Island banned a prayer banner that had hung on the auditorium wall for 38 years without complaint. The banner read in part: “Our Heavenly Father, Grant us each day the desire to do our best … Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win. Teach us the value of true friendship. Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High West. Amen.” A Plano, Tex. school banned an eight-year-old from handing out candy canes with Jesus’ name on them to classmates at a school holiday party, confiscated a girl’s pencils because they mentioned “God” and banned an entire classroom from writing “Merry Christmas” on cards to be sent to our troops serving in the Middle East. Litigation followed the action of a Texas high school that tried to forbid cheerleaders from displaying a banner at a football game with the Bible verse: “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” President Obama is a major part of the campaign to secularize America. For the fourth straight year, Obama again deleted God from his Thanksgiving Day address as he personally read it from the teleprompter into a camera. Of course, there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that requires this anti-Christmas nonsense. The purpose of all these actions is to mandate a religion of secularism, which is completely contrary to American history, heritage and constitutional law. Christians had better wake up and realize the threat of the secularists to the First Amendment. Our answer to the ACLU and atheist lawyers who are trying to change America should be the favorite words of Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ story, “A Christmas Carol”: “Bah, humbug!” Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, conservative political analyst and author of 20 books. She is the co-author, with George Neumayr, of the New York Times Best-Seller titled “No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.” She can be contacted by e-mail at phyllis@eagleforum.org. To find out more about Phyllis Schlafly and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at www.creators.com.

The Costas Anti-Gun Lecture Series

We know the news flash: On Saturday morning, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and shot himself in the head in the parking lot in front of his coaches. To liberals like NBC sportscaster Bob Costas, this was not just a crisis. It was also an opportunity. During the halftime of the Dec. 2 Sunday night game between Dallas and Philadelphia, Costas unfurled a wholly unexpected and condescending lecture about how gun owners who harm America with their “gun culture” never learn. He began by saying he didn’t want to hear “mindless” cliches about how this crime puts sports in perspective. Then Costas turned to Kansas City-based sports columnist Jason Whitlock, quoting how he found that our “gun culture” inevitably leads to senseless and violent confrontations. It is apparently alien to these pundits that a gun can save a life or defend a home. They only serve evil ends. “Handguns do not enhance our safety,” Costas quoted from Whitlock. “They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it. In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions, and their possible connection to football, will be analyzed … If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and (girlfriend) Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.” Right off the bat, a couple of observations: 1. Does the name O.J. Simpson ring a bell? 2. Had Nicole Simpson been carrying a gun, might she be alive today? Ditto Kasandra Perkins. Two more observations: 3. Why do so many in the entertainment world believe they are qualified as polemicists? 4. Why can’t we just watch football? Really, who asked Bob Costas to offer his very one-sided “perspective”? When liberals get arrogant like this, they assume they speak for all humanity. It is not surprising that there was an uproar in response. People are fed up with liberal pontificating. Costas on Tuesday replied it was a “mistake” to mention gun control on air Sunday because his choice of words “left it open for too much miscommunication.” That alone was bad enough, because there was no miscommunication. What followed was a doubling down on arrogance. He quickly snapped back at critics. “Sometimes the quality of those who oppose you speaks for itself,” Costas said. “I was told — I didn’t see it — that someone compared (the halftime segment) to blatantly racist comments.” Whoa. Rewind. Is this man a journalist? Who compared this lecture to racism? Costas tried to insist he wasn’t calling for a gun ban. “Here’s where I stand: I do not want to see the Second Amendment repealed … People should be allowed to own guns for their own protection. Obviously, those who are hunters.” But “access to guns is too easy in some cases. I don’t see any reason a citizen should be able to arm himself in some states in ways only police or military should — to have a virtual militia (bought by) mail order or gun shows.” This has zero relevance to the Belcher case. He was using a legally-owned handgun. Unsurprisingly, some of MSNBC’s liberal stars, past and present, found this political posturing very satisfying. Lawrence O’Donnell announced that he loved the Costas tirade and the Whitlock article, declaring it was the first football article he’d read in 2012. Former MSNBC (and every other network) star Keith Olbermann tweeted that conservative outrage was phony: “Amazing that all those ripping my friend Bob Costas about (the) Second Amendment would, had he taken opposing view, be defending him using the First.” That concept collapses upon itself. If Costas were prone to pompous right-wing halftime commentaries, he wouldn’t last five minutes at NBC Sports or NBC Anything Else. Just a few years ago, NBC was airing Olbermann himself as a pre-game and halftime analyst. There is never room for conservative opinion on these shows. Intoxicated by the attention, Whitlock tried to out-crazy Costas. In an interview on Monday, he insisted, “The NRA is the new KKK,” claiming the NRA’s work is gun-running and drug-running for black children. The “arming of so many black youths, uh, and loading up our community with drugs, and then just having an open shooting gallery, is the work of people who obviously don’t have our best interests” at heart, he spewed. Some liberals are just insufferable bores. Can’t they please let us watch football, and not their self-implosion? L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

Obama Barreling Toward Real Fiscal Cliff

Some commentators wonder why President Obama always engages in brinksmanship. Why can’t he meet Republicans halfway, like Clinton did, they ask. Let me try to respond. One blogger suggests that Obama prefers to play chicken, taking the nation right to the edge of a fiscal disaster because it will increase the likelihood that the GOP will cave. Perhaps, but there’s more to it. Many of us warned that Obama is not, by nature or ideology, a conciliator. He is not a centrist, and he’s not someone who is interested in the other side’s ideas. He knows what he wants to do, and he is hell-bent on doing it. He is not just playing hardball as a matter of strategy; he has no interest in compromise and is angling to get his way entirely. And he wants to further damage the Republican brand in the process. The way Obama probably looks at it is that Republicans will cave and he will either get most of what he wants, or the Republicans will hold fast and he can effectively blame them for taking us over the fiscal cliff. You’ll note that in none of these explanations is there a hint that Obama is motivated to do what is best for the country. He intends to act in his own best interests and those of his party, and decidedly against the interests of the GOP and, ultimately, the nation. To better understand what we’re dealing with and what the stakes are in these negotiations, let’s take a look at what people mean when they say we’re headed toward a fiscal cliff in January — as distinguished from the much bigger cliff we’re heading for if we don’t get our deficits and debt under control very soon. The immediate fiscal cliff includes the largest tax increase in a single year in our nation’s history ($494 billion), dangerous defense cuts via sequestration, a Medicare reimbursement fiasco and an expiration of federal funding for extended unemployment benefits. Despite these looming concerns, Obama hasn’t approached these budget talks in good faith, but in a way that even former defenders recognize is designed to result in an impasse. Indeed, Obama’s proposal is so manifestly unreasonable that even his own party – Democratic senators and congressmen — has consistently rejected less extreme versions of it in its unanimous votes against his budgets. Consider: He chose Timothy Geithner to be his lead negotiator. Geithner has repeatedly shown he is not serious about entitlement reform. He and the president have failed even to put a proposal on the table. Also, they’ve proposed no real short-term spending cuts, twice the level of tax increases Obama campaigned on, more stimulus spending, an intransigent demand for an economy-smothering tax rate increase on the “wealthy” as opposed to decreases in deductions, and the topper: a demand that Congress surrender to this reckless spender of a president its constitutional prerogative over spending limits. The upshot is that Obama is demanding Republicans agree to policies that will further damage the economy and ensure the nation’s financial demise even sooner than is now inevitable. Adding insult to injury, Geithner is arrogantly boasting that Republicans will cave. Republicans are agreeing to let Obama increase taxes (by reducing deductions for upper income earners) even with the anemic economy, but are demanding from him, on behalf of the nation, serious discretionary spending cuts and major structural entitlement reform. If Republicans cave in exchange for Obama’s vague, illusory, insincere promises to cut spending and reform entitlement down the road, they will be complicit in accelerating the nation’s fiscal destruction. Some painfully superficial analysts argue that Obama is right to offer an extreme position as his first volley, because that’s the way negotiations work. But Obama’s hardball offer is not merely a different approach to the shared goal of restoring the nation’s fiscal health. It unequivocally guarantees national bankruptcy while the Republicans’ proposal is designed to avert that disaster. Obama is playing chicken, all right, but he’s not driving his own car; he’s driving the United States of America. People can quibble endlessly over whether he is intentionally trying to harm America. The better way to frame it is that Obama is, by his own admission, trying to fundamentally transform America. His transforming vision means continuing to expand the welfare state, major tax hikes, increased spending and obstructing reform of our already insolvent entitlement programs, the major debt drivers that are leading us toward the real “fiscal cliff.” Obama’s policies in furtherance of his vision — as clearly laid out during the campaign and even more so during these “fiscal cliff” negotiations — left unchecked will complete the fiscal destruction of the nation. So if you insist, don’t call it intentional destruction. Call it, euphemistically, “the intentional fundamental transformation of America that will necessarily destroy her.” David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, “The Great Destroyer,” reached No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

Obamacare is Not a Sure Thing

Those who thought ObamaCare was set in concrete by Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision last June are in for a shock. December 14 is the new deadline (extended from November 16) for states to let the feds know, yea or nay, whether or not they will be setting up a health insurance exchange, which is the key to participating in the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Obama’s belief that the public would warm up to his signature legislation once it became the law of the land has proven false. The current Kaiser Family Foundation poll reports that only 38 percent of the public approves of Obamacare. Sixteen states, including Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio and Missouri have told the feds that they are declining to play ball. They have given notice to the federal government that they are refusing to set up a health exchange, which means it falls to the federal government to set up exchanges for those states. Only 17 states have committed to set up a health exchange as Obamacare expected, while the other states are still wrestling with their decision. Republicans and Tea Partiers are encouraging them not to set up an exchange. Among the good reasons for states to say No is that an exchange would cost each state between $10 million and $100 million a year, and that would require unwelcome tax increases. Ohio estimates that setting up its exchange will cost $63 million plus $43 million to run annually. A state-created exchange provides a mechanism for HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to impose one-size-fits-all rules on insurance products sold in the state. It also makes it easier for the federal government to regulate individuals and businesses in that state, collecting fines and taxes from some in order to give subsidies to others. Nevertheless, you can be sure that the blame will fall on state officials when Obamacare increases insurance premiums and denies care to the elderly. State-created exchanges will bring us higher taxes, fewer jobs and fewer doctors and health care providers. To add insult to injury, Obamacare’s mandates will drastically infringe on our religious freedom. If enough states refuse to create a federally controlled exchange, it will give the federal government the go-ahead to take on the task of building the exchanges. The feds would then have to figure out who is eligible and for what, a calculation that requires ascertaining family income, the number of family members and who may be eligible for different levels of benefits. One positive effect of states’ refusal to set up exchanges is that this might be a good way to reduce federal spending and debt. If all states declined, it is estimated that the federal deficit could be reduced by about $700 billion over 10 years. Can the federal government, big as it is, cope with this task? It can’t be easy, and it could take at least two or three years to build the technology since they are starting with Medicaid’s 1980s technology. Another way states can throw a roadblock in Obamacare and also reduce their own spending is by making a second decision not to sign on to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. The Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision assured the states of their right to say No to participation in this Medicaid expansion. Medicaid costs are already bankrupting state governments and increasing costs of private insurance. At the same time, Medicaid payments for services rendered are so low that patients have trouble finding physicians and other health providers who will accept them. It’s been estimated that Obamacare’s Medicaid provision could cost the states as much as $53 billion over the first ten years, and neither the states nor the federal government has the money to expand Medicaid. Medicaid is already layered with waste and fraud, plus the failure to convince us that it is a cost-effective way to deliver health care. Obamacare is a massive and costly double-barreled entitlement expansion. Overnight, Obamacare will add 30 million people to the government’s entitlement rolls, an overwhelming task even for the Obama administration. Tell your state legislators to reject their state’s health insurance exchange and also to reject an expansion of Medicaid. We simply cannot afford either liberal boondoggle. The esteemed commentator Thomas Sowell said it best: “It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication AND a government bureaucracy to administer it.” It doesn’t make sense. Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, conservative political analyst and author of 20 books. She is the co-author, with George Neumayr, of the New York Times best-seller titled “No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.” She can be contacted by email at phyllis@eagleforum.org. To find out more about Phyllis Schlafly and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at www.creators.com.