Driver… Optional

California Approves Trials of Autonomous Cars

Driver … optional, is the goal of a new law in California. Written with the help of Google, Inc., a new law signed by Governor Jerry Brown, approves a self-driving prototype for use on California highways. Google has modified a Toyota Prius by adding video cameras, laser equipment, radar sensors, and a failsafe mechanism that allows the driver to assume control by grabbing the steering wheel or hitting the brakes. It is believed that, in a few years, driverless cars will make California highways safer and reduce accidents due to driver inattention dramatically. When he signed the new law, Governor Brown said, “Anybody who gets into a car and finds the car driving itself is going to be skittish at first, but they will get over it.” His words got me thinking.

Driver Judgment

DWI is an offense that can cost one their privilege to drive. A drunk has demonstrated atrocious judgment and as a driver has proven he or she cannot be trusted to make good decisions regarding personal safety or that of the public. Drunks have proven that they are more interested in the immediate “party” than in the long-term consequences they may cause. Drunks need driverless cars; they will be safer. If a driver allows the car to run out of gas, he will never reach his destination and his ability and judgment will be seriously questioned. Such a driver needs, not only a driverless car, but one that can make rational decisions for him. No driver can blame any other driver if his vehicle runs out of fuel. After all, he’s the current driver. Speeding is a serious offense for a driver. Speeding shows a disregard for public and personal safety. Speeding, when repeated, will cost a driver financially and perhaps even his license. A speeder is an unsafe driver and should be taken off the road. One need not be an engineer to be a driver. Fortunately, driver skills do not include manufacturing or re-manufacturing the vehicle in order to travel to a destination. If they did, most of us would be walking. The Federal Government considers itself America’s driver. As driver, it gives us its full attention and declares that we could not get where we want to go without it, but government’s driving record is suspect, at best. Drunk with power, Government does not consider the pain and long-term consequences of its decisions. Invariably, laws that are well-intended have consequences that were not anticipated. The euphoria of the moment in “winning” or “passing” legislation overrides the seriousness of the consequences. Case in point? Nancy Pelosi, “…we have to pass the Bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Spoken like an out-of-control party-girl, DWI and deserving to lose the license to drive. As driver of the economy, government has incurred debt that is so high that if it was to be paid at the rate of $1.00 per second, it would take over 500,000 years to pay it off…and that is only if it incurred no more debt from this moment. America has run out money, out of gas, and blaming a predecessor doesn’t solve the problem and won’t get us to our destination. Under the current “driver,” the debt has increased by over $64,000 per taxpayer. Warnings of impending doom if spending isn’t slowed have gone completely unheeded. A driver who speeds and does it despite warnings can expect to lose his license. ‘Nuff said! Being a driver does not entail designing and building a personal car. Driving and engineering are distinctly different. Government is now mandating what size soda we purchase, restricting the class fundraiser from using the traditional chocolate bar, pitting one American against another based on “class” in order to gain or retain power, killing babies at a rate unheard of in human history, and redefining the term “family.” Americans don’t need a bureaucrat to drive (read that, MEDDLE) our personal decisions for us.

A Driverless America

What Washington needs is to test-drive a driverless America; an America where government’s hands are not on the steering wheel, its feet are not on the pedals, its vision, attention, and “skill” is limited or totally removed. Government is unnecessary for the successful navigation of life for most Americans. We want to be our own driver. I know that a driverless America is a scary proposition for liberals, bureaucrats, and Washington-addicts. But, to paraphrase Governor Brown, “Anybody who sees American freedom and ingenuity and finds out government has not created it is going to be skittish at first, but they will get over it.” Until then, we will have to settle for being the designated driver!!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T… RESPECT

Respect Is More Than A Song

“Respect” was an Aretha Franklin hit when I was young enough to care. Respect is vital to governance. Respect is vital to negotiation of any sort. Respect is fundamental to relations between governments and among leaders. Lack of respect is what America is experiencing across the Muslim world at the present time. One year ago, when he spoke at the United Nations, President Obama was heralding a new day in relations between the Muslim world and the United States. He sought respect that he believed had been lost. His assistance in the “Arab Spring” has allowed radical Islamists to gain control in several countries including Egypt, once one of our strongest allies and now deemed “not an ally” by the President himself. Has his policy gained the respect he sought and was certain it would foster?

Leading From Behind

Mr. Obama has followed a policy of “leading from behind” and this year’s speech at the UN acknowledged his “following” UN leadership and bringing together international support instead of promoting the leadership of the United States in the world—his sworn duty. Mr. Obama believes that reducing the US role in the world will improve our image, gain respect, and promote peace. When Mr. Obama was running for President four years ago, he promised “a new beginning with Iran.” There is no doubt that his approach has been diametrically different, but has it worked? Has America gained the respect of Iran? While he was speaking at the UN, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp Aerospace Division for Iran, was announcing that Iran has designed and developed a drone that has a range of 1250 miles. That range allows Iran to reach most of the Middle East including Israel with the drone. Iran has made it clear that its intent is to have a drone with attack capabilities. The announcement and even the timing of the announcement seem to indicate a lack of respect for Mr. Obama, a lack of respect for his message, and an absolute lack of respect for America. One has to question the success of the policy. What the left-wing media doesn’t tell the American people, and what this Administration doesn’t tell the American people is that appeasement is viewed as weakness in the Muslim world; it does not foster respect. If there is no respect, there is no fear and conversely, if there is no fear, there is no respect. In an American urban environment it’s called, “street cred.” If you don’t have it, you are in serious trouble. Our “street cred” under this President has eroded for the entire time he has been in office. Respect for America is nil.

A “Bump” In the Road

Mr. Obama’s reference to the killing of the American Ambassador to Libya as a “bump” in the road was appalling. His dismissive term lacks respect for the Americans who died, among other things. In previous times, such an act would be considered an act of war and retribution would follow. America would never allow respect to be abandoned. This Administration has chosen to excuse the radical Islamists and blame a video that was made and released months before September 11. The video was not the issue, the date was the target. There was no fear, no respect given to American interests in Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere across the OIC states. The belief that America would not respond under this President was expected and correct. His “respect” for them worked to their advantage. As to the video the President, the Secretary of State, and the entire Administration continues to use as the scapegoat for the current problems, the Islamists have used perceived affronts to their prophet to advance a radical political agenda for years. The so-called “outrage” is nothing new. Author, Salman Rushdie knows something about Muslim extremists. He said, “It’s not for the American Government to regret what American citizens do.” Continuing to apologize to radical Muslims instead of holding them responsible for behavior that is criminal is an offensive display of weakness, lack of leadership, and lack of respect for the United States by its elected leader. While President Obama has gone out of his way to defend Muslim sensibilities, he has offered no such support for Christian sensibilities for the persecution suffered at Muslim hands. Has such a policy gained us any respect? Instead of meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the genuine anxiety and distress of Israel regarding Iran, he chooses to visit with Joy Behar and the girls at The View (where is the feminist outrage at his “eye-candy” remark). Again, the perception of weakness and disengagement is displayed to a hostile adversary. Disrespecting allies and apologizing to adversaries is an assault on American sensibilities. President Reagan demonstrated that respect comes from strength, not weakness. Leadership is never “from behind.”

Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes

I’m Not Lying, This Isn’t What It Looks Like

There is an old story about a wife who catches her husband in an adulterous act. His immediate response to her is, “Don’t believe your lying eyes. This isn’t what it looks like.” Seems to me that our government and our left-wing media are telling us the same thing over and over and over again, don’t believe your lying eyes. We see our Diplomats killed in an obvious terrorist attack, but we are told not to believe our lying eyes, it wasn’t what it looked like. Two weeks later, the government backs away from its initial lying stance because the evidence of what actually happened is overwhelming and the position cannot be defended. So now, we can believe those lying eyes.

Pakistan

On September 22, Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour of Pakistan said this to an applauding news conference, “”I announce today that this blasphemer, this sinner who has spoken nonsense about the holy Prophet, anyone who murders him, I will reward him with $100,000. I invite the Taliban brothers and the al-Qaida brothers to join me in this blessed mission.” But, America, don’t believe your lying ears. This isn’t what it sounds like. The government of Pakistan told us not to believe our lying eyes, that Bilour’s statement was personal and not a statement of his party or of the current administration. Bilour’s response? Bilour said, “I am a Muslim first, then a government representative.” And therein is the problem. This Muslim speaks like many (certainly not all) that we hear every day. The message they deliver is hate, not peace, but our government and left-wing media tells us not to believe our lying eyes and lying ears.

Egypt

In an interview with The New York Times anticipating his upcoming address to the United Nations General Assembly, the new President of Egypt, Islamist Mohammed Morsi , was very clear that Egypt is a different nation that it was just a few months ago. He asserted that it is not possible to judge Egyptian behavior by the cultural standards of America. But be careful, what you see and hear may be lying to you… Morsi praised President Obama for moving “quickly and decisively” to support the Arab spring overthrow of authoritarian leaders, but called on America to change its approach to the Muslim world, saying “Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region.” Morsi accused American Administrations of taking “a very clear biased approach against something that (has) very strong emotional ties to the people of the region that is the issue of Palestine.” What are my lying ears hearing now? Was that an Israel reference? Was he lying? Mr. Obama announced the Egypt is no longer an ally, though we supply billions of taxpayer money to them. Our Embassy is stormed, our flag ripped from its mast, a jihadist flag raised, and chaos reigns for many hours in Cairo. But, the media and the Administration says, “Don’t believe your lying eyes.”

Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Over the past 4 years Muslims have been portrayed as victims, and even now, it is a video, amateurish at best, that has “victimized” them for their faith. America is accused of lying about Islam. We are accused of lying about their peaceful nature. But what does the record show? Christians are being killed across the Muslim world in a deliberate genocide, encouraged, and taught by the “best” interpreters of the Koran. The world should be up-in-arms, but we are told the incidents are isolated and we should not believe our lying eyes. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, based in Saudi Arabia, has 56 member nations and says it is the the collective voice of the Muslim world, ensuring to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world. It is second in size only to the United Nations itself. There is no lying when it expresses hostility toward the West in general and Israel in particular. Have you ever heard a leader of this Islam Organization condemn Islamic lying about violence, much less the violence itself perpetrated against anybody? During this Administration, particularly, this group has been incredibly successful in introducing a new word into our vocabulary, “Islamophobia.” The term is intended to be emotional and to elicit a response of disapproval. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s effusive apology, the American Embassy in Cairo’s news release, and the President’s own words illustrate the effectiveness of their campaign. However, if one steps back and looks at the actions, not the words, of the members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, “Islamophobia” pales in comparison to the atrocities committed by its members against Christians and other minority-religions in the member states. Somebody’s lying…

Where’s Our Apology?

How is it OK for the Egyptian government, in its outrage, to issue arrest warrants for Pastor Terry Jones and for Nakoula Basseley Nakoula? My lying ears heard that. But, how is it that we say nothing, demand nothing when Sheikh Yousef al-Badri, a member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, associated with the primary Islamic institute of al Azhar University, calls for the “spilling of the blood” of Muslims who convert to Christianity, causing them to live in hiding under the constant threat of vigilantism and death from fundamentalists? And he has done it multiple times! Your lying ears have probably not even heard about that! Where is our outrage? It is reported by United Nations human rights investigators, that more than 300 Christians in Iran have been arrested, just since 2010. Are they lying? According to the investigators, there is a “climate of fear” that exists among Christians in Iran. There is no question of persecution, but don’t believe your lying eyes or lying ears. A suicide bomber in Baruchi, Nigeria attacked St. John’s Catholic Church during Mass yesterday, killing 2, wounding 45, and destroying the church. More than 680 people have been killed in that region alone since January. Nigeria is 40% Christian, the largest percentage of any Muslim-majority country. A group called, “Boko Haran” which means “western education is sacrilege” has vowed to kill all Christians. Their actions suggest they are not lying. Have you heard the same kind of apologies from any OIC member as our government has offered them? Have you heard anyone from our left-wing media even probe for such an apology? But don’t believe your lying eyes or your lying ears… Then there is Sudan. The government of Sudan exists in the north of the country. It is Sunni Muslim. It has, for decades, sustained persecution of Christian and animist minorities in the south. Our left-wing press calls it, “civil war,” but, again, they are lying. What is happening is simply the systematic killing of anyone who does not embrace Islam. Reports from the United Nations indicate that between 53,000 and 75,000 innocent civilians have been displaced from homes and buildings that have been looted and destroyed. You’ve seen some video of the “rebels” in the south being killed, but you are told not to believe your lying eyes. Not only do we not hear apologies proffered by OIC members for atrocities, our Administration defends their outrage. Worse, our own left-wing media doesn’t ask for apologies or even ask probing questions because it might offend and compromise the reelection of its anointed president. The left-wing media is good at manipulating your eyes and ears to desensitize the lying.

Conspiracy of Silence

There is a conscious and virulent conspiracy of silence surrounding this president and his policies in the Muslim world. The violent expressions of religious intolerance experienced there are not reported or are not considered matters of concern, only our apologies to those whom we have “offended.” When Barak Obama schedules visits to The View and The Letterman Show to campaign and publicly shuns a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, our staunchest ally, his priorities seem obvious and must be questioned. In a week when we, the American public, will listen to speeches haranguing us, our culture, and our religion, our President will be yukking-it-up with his TV cronies rather than shoring up the most important alliance in the region. But don’t believe your lying eyes. The policy of appease and apologize has to stop. If allowed to its logical conclusion, it will cost Americans our deepest held freedom. But don’t believe your lying eyes.

Romney was 47% Right

Romney’s 47% Quote

“47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.” That quote from Mitt Romney has been seized by media left (now we know, out of context) and used as a club to beat the GOP candidate for a week now. The quote has been used to whip up the very people to whom Romney referred (the 47%) to believe that he is an uncaring, disconnected, aristocrat who will make sure they stay poor, and if they aren’t poor now, he will see to it that they become poor. Of course, the left-wing media immediately began to cite and focus upon social security recipients as if they were the entire 47% and the ones who would suffer most under a Romney Administration. But Romney wasn’t that far off in his estimation and context is everything. He was with Republicans talking about his campaign, at that time, for the GOP nomination. 100% of the left-wing media did not, has not, and will not put his remarks in that context because it does not advance their Obama-re-election campaign effort. In the same manner, 100% of the left-wing media won’t discuss Obama’s “redistribution” comments without context. Obama is not the President of 100% of the people by his own estimation, comments, and behavior. He is only the President of, maybe 47% of the people who, in his estimation, have not, “had a shot” at the American dream. He sees his role as their Messiah and the left-wing media agrees. To Mr. Romney’s 47% comment, almost every poll puts those who will vote for Mr. Obama no matter what at just under 50%. Mr. Romney’s comment was that he knew that he would never win them over, so his effort, focus, and the money he hoped to raise that night, would be used to appeal to everyone else.

47% Is About Right

Many people have written about Romney’s 47% quote. It has been parsed, misquoted, amplified, interpreted, and disparaged. What has not been said is that it is pretty accurate! First of all, know that Social Security, for the largest percentage of Americans is not an entitlement. We that have worked have paid our own money into that fund. When we retire, we’re not receiving a government hand-out, we’re just getting our own money back (and the interest rate it has earned over our work-lives is shameful). With that said… It is demonstrable that the percentage of people who are on so-called “Entitlement Programs,” members of the 47%, are likely Democrat voters and Obama will receive their vote, no matter what. Big Government is their source of income and they will vote to maintain their income. Similarly, government employees, including teachers, make up a sizeable percentage of the 47% and, are likely to vote Democrat for the same reason. Labor union leaders have negotiated sweetheart-deals from the Democrats exempting a huge percentage of their membership from Obamacare, so union members are more likely to vote Democrat. Liberals have purposely splintered minority groups so that each minority percentage can be counted in the 47% Democrat column. The common thread among all these voters is an economic one. Each group is dependent, if tax money is used to provide them income or benefits, and Romney is right, they will vote their pocketbook. It is not my intent to cite specific percentages of people in each group and specifically how much they contribute to the 47%, the math is not the issue. The issue is government dependence versus independence. Why doesn’t Romney simply state, “I meant what I said, not what you have said I said?” Let the difference between their views again be made clear. The people who will vote to re-elect Obama are more likely to be government-dependent than those who do not. Romney was at least 47% right!

Nothing New Under the Sun

New Evidence of Jesus’ Wife?

A “new” piece of “evidence” has been made public by Harvard Professor, Dr. Karen King. According to King, 4 words, in Coptic script, written on a 1.5” X 3” fragment of papyrus translate to, “Jesus said to them, my wife.” The fragment is said to date to the fourth century. Dr. King was good enough to say that this new “evidence” does not prove that Jesus was married, but that it is evidence that early Christians believed that Jesus was married. Really? Four words on a document written, as an educated guess, in the fourth century provide new “evidence” of what early Christians believed about Jesus? Really??? Now my cynical mind wants to know why this new “evidence” hasn’t surfaced until now. And, how objective is Dr. Karen King in her analysis? Are there any agendas that might be playing out?

Who is Dr. Karen King?

Well, let’s look at objectivity first, shall we? Dr. King is, according to her bio, “Karen L. King was appointed to the Divinity School in 1998 and from 2003 to 2009 served as the Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History. In October 2009, she became the first woman appointed as the Hollis Professor of Divinity, the oldest endowed chair in the United States (1721). Trained in comparative religions and historical studies, she pursues teaching and research specialties in the history of Christianity.” Dr. King is also an author, her books include The Secret Revelation of John; The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle; What Is Gnosticism?; Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity (with Elaine Pagels); and Revelation of the Unknowable God. Other publications include Images of the Feminine in Gnosticism (ed.) and Women and Goddess Traditions in Antiquity and Today (ed.). King revealed this new “discovery” in a paper delivered to a group of about 300 “academics” in Rome. Interestingly, the Vatican made no mention of her new “discovery” in any of their media releases about the some 60 papers that were presented. According to King, the fragment belongs to an anonymous collector who hired her to translate and analyze it. There was no detail given on how the fragment was originally discovered or where or under what circumstances. Tests run on the papyrus, ink, and language seem to indicate no obvious fraud. So… what’s the problem? Simply that Dr. King has indicated a predilection to Gnosticism, which directly contradicts the Jesus of the Bible. That predilection needs to be revealed when her work on Jesus is presented. Not doing so is deceptive. The academic fear is that if the agenda is revealed, the report is degraded. They are right!

The Hypocrisy of “Evidence”

Secular society and media wants, so badly, to prove that Jesus was not Divine; that there is no God; that there are no absolutes; that faith is only for the uninformed, the uneducated, and the unsophisticated. So, a tiny fragment of a document of unknown origin, submitted by an anonymous owner, to an academic who has a bias toward Gnosticism, whose translation and analysis of 4 words is presented as “proof” that Jesus was married and is welcomed as NEW evidence. And that doesn’t require “faith?” Really? So… what’s new? Nothing, absolutely nothing. This sort of ploy is nothing new at all. Publishing a story under a sensational headline, only to find that the story lacks substance when examined happens every day. Headlines like, “The Chicago Teachers Strike is About the Children” are similar in substance. The DaVinci Code was a vastly popular novel. The novel purported to present a “new” Jesus. But, the Jesus presented in the novel was a Gnostic Jesus. The book’s popularity was driven by the desire of the faithless to destroy the Biblical Jesus. Dr. King’s paper is no different. Gnosticism is not embraced by most Biblical scholars, just those who have the preconception that there are no absolutes; therefore, the Biblical Jesus could not be true. Sounds like the difference between liberals and conservatives in politics doesn’t it?

Ronald Reagan Tribute

Bel Air Presbyterian Church

What Constitutes and Enemy?

Definition of Enemy is Simple

“Enemy” according to Merriam-Webster has three nuanced meanings:

  1. one that is antagonistic to another; especially : one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent
  2. something harmful or deadly
  3. a : a military adversary or b : a hostile unit or force

According to the President, Egypt is not an American ally, “but we don’t consider them an enemy.” The comment is particularly disturbing since President Obama had a personal hand in removing former leader, Hosni Mubarak, who, while certainly not perfect, WAS a reliable ally for the United States. The United States gives in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion to Egypt in Foreign Aid. Because of our debt, in reality, we are borrowing $1.5 billion (mostly from China) to give to Egypt. And now, though we don’t consider them, “an enemy,” Egypt can’t be counted among our allies? Does anybody else see something wrong with this picture? The new President of Egypt has publicly condemned the violence in Libya, but has done nothing to limit the anti-American demonstrations which continue to grow in number and intensity in Cairo. He has shown no willingness to protect Americans or American interests. One must remember that President Mohammed Morsi is the new elected leader of Egypt has been endorsed by President Obama. Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood which has vowed to overthrow every Arab state with western ties (sounds like an “enemy” talking). It may be accurate to see Egypt as no longer an ally, but to view them as other than an “enemy” at this point may well be, naïve.

Leading From Behind

Mr. Obama’s foreign policy of “leading from behind” is, obviously, an abject failure. Bullies see appeasement as weakness; that is a fact of human nature. Our policy, under this Administration, was set in early 2009, when the President travelled the world apologizing for American success to every enemy, every potential enemy, every suspected enemy, and every former enemy. The President’s policy of weakness is now, to quote his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, “coming home to roost.” It has come to public attention that the President has not met with his National Security Advisors in over a week. When one of his staff was questioned about that fact by a reporter from the Washington Post, a reporter who had worked for the Bush Administration, the staffer remarked that unlike Bush, Obama didn’t need briefing in person, he could read a summary paper and know all that was necessary. If one does not believe that one has an enemy, that sort of behavior is predictable. But as President of the United States, one knows, intuitively, that enemies exist. Events of the past couple of days seem to indicate the President has been more concerned with fundraising and campaigning than being President and we believe that is poor policy. In 2008, during his first presidential campaign, Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard (published in the New Yorker), “…I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters, I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.” Should we be concerned about such arrogance now that his policies are actually driving world events? Would an enemy of the United States be empowered by such a policy? It has been reported that the State Department had credible intelligence that the attack on the consulate in Benghazi was likely to occur, perhaps 48 hours or more, before it happened. It has also been reported that the President has attended less than 50% of the scheduled Security briefings. If those figures are true, a policy of inattention has been fatal. What does it take to be called, “Enemy” by this Administration? Behavior in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, and Iran certainly meets the “antagonistic” definition. The wanton attack and killing of four Americans in Benghazi was certainly “harmful and deadly.” No one who has an ounce of credibility could possibly claim that we do not face a “hostile unit or force” if not a true “military adversary” which is the third definition of an enemy. One cannot help but wonder how the Administration’s policies define an “enemy.”

Presidents Obama and Carter

The similarities of this Administration and the Carter Administration are striking. Jimmy Carter is a nice man, so is President Obama. We have no doubt that Carter’s motives were pure and good, we’d like to believe the same of President Obama. But, as we witnessed, under Carter’s leadership the United States grew weaker, and so it is with the President. Carter, like the current Administration, denied the enemy and pursued a foreign policy of unilateral restraint. We remember the results. It was during that time that Khomeini came to power in Iran and the American hostages were seized…not unlike Benghazi. It was during that time that Nicaragua developed a dictatorship modeled after Cuba….not unlike Chavez in Venezuela. Carter had policies that struggled with defining the “enemy” and so does Mr. Obama. The enemy that Ronald Reagan inherited when he became President was gargantuan. From hostages in Iran to lines at the gas pumps, American policies had been exposed as failures. We were stunned when we realized we our military strength had been decimated and our economic strength was compromised. We had lost confidence in ourselves and our government. Our next President, whoever he may be, must change the policies of weakness and restraint into strength and freedom. Defining the enemy is not hard, dealing with the enemy is the challenge.

Shall this Republic Stand?

Is Our Culture Self-Destructive?

It brought us together for a moment. We wept as we watched it play out on television. We swelled with pride as we watched firefighters and law enforcement rush into a dust cloud, not knowing whether they would emerge, and many did not. We heard reports of individual heroism as persons gave up their lives to save another. We listened to the cell phone calls of husbands and wives saying their last farewells. We watched in horror as people jumped from burning buildings to certain death on the sidewalks below. Our culture was under attack. We headed for our places of worship. We openly prayed. We embraced strangers in emotional responses. National pride swelled in our breast. Nationalism was exhibited everywhere one looked. Flags were more plentiful and were flown more often. Lapel pin flags were worn proudly. Patriotism was “in.” Political adversaries stood on the steps of the American Capitol and sang together. “Let’s Roll” became a national slogan. The American culture was on display. Culture is how we view things and how we do things. Culture is what we, as a people, expect, give, reward, and punish. It is our “way,” our style, our very basis for interaction. Culture is the sum total of our established habits. And, it is culture, conscious or unconscious, that steers or propels us as a community toward an end result. For a few moments, on 9/11 our way, our style, our established habits, our true and traditional culture surfaced and we were united. We were Americans and we were proud. But, as we remember 9/11 years later, one has to wonder, has our culture become self-destructive?

United By Values or Divided by Hyphen?

This nation and its culture was founded by people whose hearts and minds were energized by the hope of personal freedom and responsibility. They believed, taught, promoted, and shared values founded on Biblical principles. Upon their core values they built a cohesive and strong nation that has played a unique role in world history; a nation that has become the most powerful (by any standard) known by man; a nation that has served the world (by any standard) more nobly than any other. The Founders of this nation established a culture in which they were enabled, not entitled. Opportunities were sought, outcomes were not guaranteed. Yet today our culture seems more an “association” of special interest groups held together by increasingly less cooperation and possessing a fading memory of our roots, strengths, and reason for being. History is being rewritten in order to train younger generations to believe that the founders of this nation were wicked not wonderful, fiendish not faithful, defilers of freedom not defenders of freedom. A new culture has been introduced and is being advanced. The 9/11 event that brought us together, if only for a moment, is now a debated “issue” with some saying America deserved what it received and worse. We are no longer attuned nor aligned for accomplishment. Autonomy is valued over accountability. Dissatisfaction and discontent is rampant. A condition we call, “Aggressive Apathy” has enveloped us. “I don’t know and I don’t care, as long as I get mine” has become the prevalent culture statement. It appears that the culture of today may well lead us to destruction. The political conventions have just ended and the culture differences could not have been made any more obvious. The candidates continue to raise money at a pace never seen before. Media ads destroying the ideas, character, and whatever-else-is-necessary of opponents are saturating the airwaves. The culture war is on and America has never been more polarized in its history. There is no argument that the ethnic composition of our nation has changed and continues to change rapidly. There is no question that our world has become “smaller” because of technology and we are more interdependent as nations and people groups than ever before in history. However, the culture of the hyphen that divides us is killing us. The victims that were killed on 9/11 were not referred to as African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Polish-Americans, or any other “Something-dash-Americans” until media analysis began days later. Until that moment, those who died or were injured were simply “Americans.” The unified reference is what brought us together and the hyphen reference is what is tearing us apart.

Can Our Culture Survive?

One of the goals of the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack was to disrupt the American economic system, the heart of our culture. The World Trade Center was chosen as a target because it was the economic hub of the world. The terrorists viewed (and still do) American success as unfair, corrupt, and something to be destroyed. The culture-envy political philosophy has an identical view. Capitalism, as an economic system, is not perfect, but it has been proven again and again that it is far superior to any form of socialism. It was Winston Churchill who said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Make no mistake, if allowed to prevail, European socialism will replace American capitalism and the economic goal of the extremists attacking in 2001 will be an accomplished fact. The victims of the 9/11 attack will have been just that, victims. There will be no ultimate good that will have come from their sacrifice. Likewise, the life of every Armed Forces hero given in the last decade to preserve our freedom will have been for naught. Nothing less than our personal freedoms, our way of life, our traditional values, our economic system, our culture is at stake when you vote. Shall this Republic Stand? It is up to you… “Never Forget!”

We Fight

Americans For Limited Government

Our friends at Americans For Limited Government produced this video. Please take a minute to watch it. We believe you will be glad you did. Thanks to Rick Manning.

GAO Slaps HHS

HHS Tried to Circumvent Congress

On the day the “Show in Charlotte” began, the General Administration Office caught the Administration in what is either a blatant lie or incredible incompetence. It relates to ignoring an inconvenient requirement under law….having the HHS notify Congress of a rule change. In 1996, The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Act (TANF) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The block grants are administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Back on July 12, HHS issued “guidance” to states regarding waivers to the work requirement for welfare recipients for which states may apply. It is important to note that the “guidance” was not issued in response to any change in the law enacted in 1996. HHS just unilaterally tried to change the rules and circumvent Congress in its process. This is the same HHS that has tried to use “rules” to force faith-based organizations to furnish birth control and abortions to its employees. I won’t bore you with references to specifics (be glad to provide them if you ask), but suffice it to say that when a Federal Agency (including the HHS) changes or implements a rule regarding legislation passed by Congress, it is required to submit the rule to Congress and the Comptroller General before it can take effect. HHS didn’t bother to do either when it issued its “Information Memorandum” back in July.

HHS Waives Work Requirements

When challenged by Republicans, Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary, was almost indignant in his defense of the Administration and the HHS, “Those requirements are fundamental to gains made in the past 15 years for moving people from welfare to work. This administration opposes any effort to undermine work requirements. The changes proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services are designed to accelerate job placement by moving Americans from welfare to work as quickly as possible. “There will be no waivers of the time limits in the law, and only waivers with compelling plans to move more people off of welfare to work will be considered. This policy will allow states to test new, more effective ways to help people get and keep a job,” Well, the GAO, after completing a thorough analysis of HHS actions, would beg to differ. Lynn Gibson, General Counsel for the GAO, wrote in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, “We find that the July 12 Information Memorandum issued by HHS is a statement of general applicability and future effect, designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy with regard to TANF….Accordingly, given our conclusions above…the Information Memorandum is subject to the requirement that it be submitted to both Houses of Congress and the Comptroller General before it can take effect.” When running for the Presidency in 2008, then candidate Obama, in a famous forum moderated Pastor Rick Warren said, ”…one of the things that I am absolutely convinced of is that we have to work as a centerpiece of any social policy…not only because — not only because ultimately people who work are going to get more income, but the intrinsic dignity of work, the sense of purpose…we were made for work, and the sense that you are part of a community, because you’re making a contribution, no matter how small to the well-being of the country as a whole. I think that is something that Democrats generally, I think, have made a significant shift on.” The HHS Directive is a direct contradiction to that position. Now, it would appear one of three things is true; someone lied in 2008, someone is lying now, or the President has no control over his HHS Secretary and her implementation of his vision. Whatever the scenario, the result is disturbing.

Scary But Successful Strategy

In 2008, Senator Obama needed to appear to be centrist in order to get elected, but his administrative policies have exposed his far-left heritage. The Administration has a “community activist” strategy that it has employed from day one. The strategy is really very simple, brassy, but simple. To use a football metaphor, “A good defense is a great offense.” The HHS used it here. It works this way. Take positions that are absolutely untenable, the more radical, the better. If no one challenges, and it slips by, the agenda wins big. If challenged, give ground and retreat. Appear truly surprised and apologetic. In order to appear reasonable, opponents will allow some parts of the untenable position to remain in the “spirit of compromise” and the agenda has moved forward by whatever increment remains. This Administration has mastered the strategy. It is how Obamacare was passed which even involved intimidating the Supreme Court. It is has been used by the HHS, the EPA, the DOL, and even in the Budget Control Act. By creating confrontation and unreasonable consequences (sequestration decimating of our military), the Administration and its supporters know that compromise will force conservatives to give up some of the budget balancing demands they hold dear. Republicans have always seemed reluctant to engage in conflict. The HHS tried to take advantage of that trait. Republicans have always wanted to be seen as civil and cooperative. The HHS, obvoiously, has no inclination to show such restraint. This Administration’s policies are extreme and far out-of-the-mainstream, but unless every single rule, change, order, policy, or Bill is challenged, the Administration strategy will continue. And far too often, it will be successful. The HHS just proved it again.