It’s Not Cool To Cherry Pick Scripture

With Easter approaching and the Astroturf groundswell for same-sex marriage at its apex, I thought I’d put in a plug for the Bible, whose integrity and timeless principles are under increasing assault in our culture. In fact, what sparked this column was a warning by a nationally prominent Republican to his party that it ought not go “Old Testament” and oppose same-sex marriage. I don’t want to turn this column into a rant about same-sex marriage, but I cite this example to illustrate a common tendency to bifurcate the Old Testament and the New Testament and to paint Jesus Christ as a figure of unqualified, open-armed tolerance and non-judgmentalism. The more one studies the Bible with an open heart and a receptive mind the more he realizes it is a fully integrated and divinely inspired work. First, let’s dispense with the myth that one’s belief in or rejection of the Bible is a matter of intelligence, as opposed to his worldview, heart and attitude. There are millions of brilliant believers throughout the world. Let’s also recognize that Christian “faith” does not require us to suspend our rational faculties or ignore evidence. To the contrary, our faith is based on an abundance of credible, compelling evidence. Yes, faith is absolutely indispensible to Christianity, but it is wholly compatible with our God-given critical capacities. People decry and ridicule the Bible as full of superstition, bigotry and incredible supernaturalism, yet eagerly embrace their own superstitions that often require more faith to believe than biblical truths. Their God-void entices them to spiritualize and idolize environmentalism, full-blown Darwinism, astrology, pagan mysticism and any number of other politically correct beliefs, while scoffing at biblical Christianity. The same type of person who will sit enraptured by stories of Nostradamus allegedly prophesying about (Adolf) “Hister” seems unaware of or unreceptive to far more impressive detailed prophesy in the Old Testament that has been fulfilled in history. Others don’t reject the Bible in toto, but cherry pick scripture out of innocence or for purposes of political expedience. Especially prevalent are efforts to ridicule the Old Testament, as with the above-cited example, and to recast Jesus as one who was open to all ideas and who rejected the supposed harshness of the Old Testament. Unlike certain cultural icons today, Jesus didn’t preach what people’s itching ears wanted to hear. He didn’t cater his sermons to curry favor with the popular culture. He articulated a higher standard of morality than even the Old Testament did. More importantly, He did not reject but wholeheartedly endorsed the Old Testament generally and specifically. He didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He said that “until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished,” “the scriptures cannot be broken,” and, “I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Jesus also affirmed the historicity of many important events recorded in the Old Testament, which many today dismiss as mere allegory or pure fiction, such as the creation of Adam and Eve, the flood, Jonah and the whale, the miracles of Elijah, and the miracles of Moses in the wilderness. His sinless life and His teachings, crucifixion and resurrection didn’t render the Old Testament irrelevant but affirmed it as pointing to Him. New Testament writers also affirmed the authority of the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul said, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Both Old Testament and New Testament writers asserted they were speaking on God’s behalf and that what they were recording was factually and historically true. Moses said his writings were from God, and the Old Testament prophets claimed to be speaking the words of the Lord. Luke said, “Since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Peter said, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” Paul said, “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” It’s bad enough that some people are caving to cultural pressure to dismantle traditional values, but could we please not throw the Bible overboard in this frantic stampede to be loved by the culture? 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 2013 CREATORS.COM

Skipping an Abortionist’s ‘House of Horrors’

The liberal media know an abortion outrage when they hear it. Sadly, they only seem to hear them from the mouths of Republican candidates, and it only takes a statement to outrage the press. Can’t they find a single abortion outrage inside an abortion clinic? Such is their radicalism that nothing, absolutely nothing regarding this gruesome procedure raises their eyebrows, never mind their ire. One emerging story proves the degree to which our “objective” media’s views on abortion are dogmatic and extreme. Abortionist Kermit Gosnell is on trial in Philadelphia, and not just for killing babies outside the womb, but also for killing a mother through reckless use of anesthesia. Network TV coverage of the trial? Zero on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, NPR and PBS. CNN’s entire coverage seems to be one sentence from Jake Tapper on March 21. The New York Times wrote one story before the trial began on March 19 (buried on page A17). The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today couldn’t be “national” newspapers and report this trial. They’re not unaware of it. CBS aired one story after the initial clinic raid in 2011. NBC offered 50 words. CBS even passed along that Gosnell’s clinic was described as a “house of horrors.” Now it’s in court, and the networks can’t find any horrors. Take the Associated Press report, which appeared on CBSNews.com: “The amount of drugs given to Karnamaya Mongar — at least as suggested by the nearly illegible clinic note — was likely to put her in a coma,” said Dr. Andrew Herlich, a medical school professor. Mongar was a very sympathetic figure. A native of Bhutan, she weighed less than 100 pounds, spoke no English and had lived for decades in refugee camps in Nepal before coming to America four months before her death. But the storyline wasn’t lining up with the media’s feminist prejudices. Their “war on women” narrative didn’t include her. I’ll give you a story that falls in line with the media’s narrative supporting the plight of women: On Nov. 14, 2012, NBC News aired a report from Ireland, where Indian immigrant Savita Halapanavar died of blood poisoning after seeking an abortion. NBC blamed the government because the woman and her husband “pleaded for an abortion but were refused, because the fetus still had a heartbeat. This is a Catholic country, they were told.” NBC never returned to the story as hospital officials reported previous “terminations” to save the mother’s life and denied a “Catholic ethos.” To listen to this network is to conclude that abortionists don’t kill women. Catholics do. You can also see the anti-Catholic animus determining which trials are newsworthy in Philadelphia. On May 23, 2012, the “CBS Evening News” began with the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, accused of covering up child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Scott Pelley wasn’t shy about letting the prosecutor speak as she compared the Catholic Church with the Nazis at Nuremberg. But when a pro-lifer uses Holocaust metaphors for an abortion clinic, he is condemned. The trial testimony is graphic and should make “choice” advocates sick to their stomachs. Again, see the AP: “A medical assistant told a jury Tuesday that she snipped the spines of at least 10 babies during unorthodox abortions at a West Philadelphia clinic, at the direction of the clinic’s owner.” Later, AP mangled the medical facts: “Abortions are typically performed in utero.” When babies are killed over a toilet, as alleged in this trial, this is not an “unorthodox abortion” of a “fetus.” This is a baby who is born and then murdered. Liberals claim to revere “science,” but this trial is not about tiny “zygotes.” It’s about viable babies. It gets more grotesque at every turn. Clinic assistant Adrienne Moton testified she took a photo of the child described as “Baby A” with her cell phone before Dr. Gosnell took the baby out of the room. “I just saw a big baby boy. He had that color, that color that a baby has,” Moton said in court. “I just felt he could have had a chance. … He could have been born any day.” Another Gosnell assistant said the abortionist joked about one child he murdered: “This baby is big enough to walk around with me or walk me to the bus stop.” But the AP reported that Gosnell sat serenely in the courtroom, undisturbed by the accusations. He’s not alone. ABC, CBS and NBC piled up 96 stories on Todd Akin’s medically inept comments on rape and abortion and also wallowed in outrage over Richard Mourdock’s remarks on God’s will and a child conceived in rape. Their pro-life rhetoric was sold as a major scandal. It’s unbelievable that Dr. Gosnell’s trial for his actions inside his “house of horrors” haven’t drawn one network story. 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 2013 CREATORS.COM

Expose and Oppose Obama’s Radical Appointees

No matter what progress Republicans may make in electoral politics over the coming years, it will be difficult to roll back the steady march of liberalism that has taken place inside our cultural, bureaucratic and legal institutions — from academia to regulatory agencies to the Department of Justice — but we have to try. A good place to start would be to oppose Obama’s radical appointees, the latest being his appointment for secretary of labor, Thomas Perez. Radical liberals are characteristically activists, strategists and organizers. Their plan to infiltrate and dominate academia was hardly spontaneous, and its effects have hardly been sporadic. Peruse any university course catalog and notice the kinds of political tripe that pass for core studies. The same phenomenon occurs throughout the nation’s regulatory bureaucracies. Liberals have managed to place so many ideologically charged people inside powerful administrative agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, that these institutions tend to be radicalized from the bottom up. The radicals pursue their radical agenda no matter how out of phase it is with the will of the majority of Americans — as if the majority even has a clue or has time to apprise itself as to the kinds of things going on. But it’s not just that we have a disproportionate number of leftists populating our institutions and agencies. This imbalance wouldn’t matter so much if their every action weren’t driven by ideology and if they played by the rules. But they often see their calling as being not so much to perform their assigned tasks as it is to use their positions to effect radical societal changes. They don’t have the same reverence for the Constitution and the rule of law as conservatives. They view things through an ideological prism and act in deference to their ideology and their political ends more than their conservative counterparts. They see themselves as activist agents for change, as crusaders with the lofty goal of advancing an agenda so morally superior that they don’t think twice about bending and twisting rules and selectively interpreting laws and regulations to serve their agenda. These radicals will continue to pursue their mischief irrespective of the political appointees overseeing their operations, but let’s not fool ourselves; the appointees do matter — some do more than others — and can make a difference over the long haul. Justice Department and Labor Department appointees are two glaring examples. Department and division heads set policy and set the tone. Through their radical prism, leftist Justice Department honchos are often blinded to such legitimately noble principles as equal protection of the laws. To them, equal protection doesn’t mean equal protection for everyone; it means avenging past wrongs on behalf of historically aggrieved minorities (real and perceived) and not just according those groups preferential treatment but affirmatively discriminating against others — e.g., whites — who they believe are not entitled to equal protection. In his handling of the voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party alone, Attorney General Eric Holder proved that he believes that civil rights laws do not exist for the protection of whites from infringement by other groups. Neither he nor his important lieutenants believe in enforcing voting laws in a race-neutral manner, equal protection be damned. Former members of the Justice Department’s civil rights division have attested to that fact. Columnist Quin Hillyer reports that though Thomas Perez wasn’t working in this division when the original decision was made to dismiss the case against the New Black Panthers, “his direct involvement in, and hands-on management of, what amounted to a cover-up of the decision’s origins should alone be disqualifying for any Cabinet post.” Do you think the American public, even rank-and-file Democrats, would approve of significant divisions of the Justice Department and Labor Department being turned over to radicals like Perez, who believes in using his position to install 113 fellow radicals in career positions at the civil rights division, to impose racial quotas when the law doesn’t permit it, to oppose voter ID laws on spurious, manufactured racial grounds, and to harass states such as Arizona merely for trying to assist the federal government in enforcing laws this administration refuses to enforce? We have to do a better job of exposing radicals and preventing them from overthrowing our constitutional guarantees from inside our government. Sean Hannity, Quin Hillyer, Michelle Malkin and others have stepped up to the plate to expose the radicalism of Perez and other Obama appointees who are dismantling our institutions brick by brick. Others of us need to do a better job in this regard. When a president appoints radicals who disrespect the Constitution and rule of law and believe they can be manipulated at will to serve their political ends, he forfeits any traditional deference to which his appointments might otherwise be entitled. Perez must be opposed. 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 2013 CREATORS.COM

The Coming Obamacare Backlash

It’s worth remembering that President Obama decided not to let his new Obamacare scheme take effect until 2014. At the time of its passage in 2010, it seemed politically wise to delay its implementation. Republicans won the election of 2010 and lost that of 2012. But the full impact of the new law will begin to become apparent in 2014 and the effect will be horrific, deeply damaging the Obama Administration and the Democrats who backed it. The main brunt of the impact will be on premiums for health insurance coverage. They will skyrocket in very short order. The Heritage Foundation estimates the increases by state. Here’s a sample of how much higher premiums will rise:

  • California: 42-69 percent
  • Florida: 61 percent
  • Georgia: 61-100 percent
  • Illinois: 61 percent
  • Michigan: 35-63 percent
  • New Jersey: 39 percent
  • North Carolina: 61 percent
  • Ohio: 55-106 percent
  • Pennsylvania: 39 percent
  • Texas: 35-63 percent
  • Virginia: 75-82 percent

Why such draconian increases? Heritage ascribes it to two provisions of the new law. The first restricts health insurers from charging any one age group more than three times the premium it charges any other one. This 3:1 ratio (typically between the older, non-Medicare portion of their covered population and the young group) is the brainchild of the social planners. The actual figure is about 5:1 — it costs about five times as much to insure older patients than younger ones. Since, obviously, companies are not going to cut the premiums for the older patients, they will increase them for the younger ones so they can meet the 3:1 ratio. This is a big increase for younger families. The second provision that pushes up premiums is the tendency of the new law to kill its customers with kindness by requiring all manner of illnesses and treatments to be covered, and covered generously. Mental health, dental care and more are all required in any policy. And the law restricts any effort by insurance companies to limit the utilization of these services. So the premiums will rise for everybody. The result of this premium inflation will be that more and more employers will refuse to continue to cover their workers and will find it far cheaper to pay the penalties in the law than to underwrite the vastly more expensive policies. Tens of millions of Americans will lose their insurance and have to buy coverage from the insurance exchanges Obama is creating — at a multiple of their current premiums. The Obamacare subsidies are limited and will not begin to make up for the increased costs. And, to make matters worse, employers will be obliged to pay a 65-dollar annual tax per employee to subsidize catastrophic coverage for the most expensive patients. Obama’s real goal, of course, is to destroy employment-related insurance and force everyone into the insurance exchanges. This will lay the basis for a single payer, government funded, socialized medicine in the United States: His stated goal. The political consequences of these premium increases are going to be horrific. Voters will realize how fraudulent Obama was in predicting average premium cuts of $2500 per family. And the full dimensions of this misguided law will become apparent. The result will be a gradual and continuing erosion of Obama’s favorability until he gets his clock cleaned in the 2014 election. Normally, of course, sixth-year elections are a total wipeout for the incumbent party. FDR lost a hundred seats in the House in 1938. Truman lost control of Congress in 1946. Eisenhower lost more than a dozen Senate seats in 1958. Nixon/Ford suffered massive losses in 1974. Reagan lost the Senate in 1988 as did Bush in 2006. Only Clinton, with Republicans self-destructing over impeachment, avoided severe losses. Obama will fall victim to the general trend, but his losses will increase as the economy fails to recover and health insurance becomes unaffordable. 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 2013 DICK MORRIS AND EILEEN MCGANN DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Beware of the New Elites

James Carville famously kept the 1992 Clinton campaign on message with the simple refrain, “It’s the economy, stupid!” That’s just as true for politicians today as it was two decades ago. However, many politicians, particularly Republicans, tend to misunderstand all that Carville’s phrase encompasses. It’s not just about economic growth. Fairness is a big part of the equation. Most Americans see both growth and fairness as important. Today, just 35 percent of voters believe the economy is fair to middle-class Americans. Only 41 percent believe it is fair to those who are willing to work hard. Some politicians, particularly Democrats, are better at acknowledging the importance of fairness, but they have a pretty limited definition of what it means. They complain about income inequality but ignore the larger context. For most Americans, the context is very important. If a CEO gets a huge paycheck after his company received a government bailout, that’s a problem. People who get rich through corporate welfare schemes are seen as suspect. On the other hand, 86 percent believe it’s fair for people who create very successful companies to get very rich. In other words, it’s not just the income; it’s whether the reward matched the effort. People don’t think it’s a problem that Steve Jobs got rich. After all, he created Apple Computer and the iPad generation. But there was massive outrage about the bonuses paid to AIG executives after that company was propped up by the federal government. On a more routine basis, most Americans are offended by the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street. The practice of working for the government to network and then cash in with a firm that needs your government contacts is seen as fair only by those who practice it. The revolving door hints at the larger problem. The United States is supposed to be a land of opportunity, where everyone can pursue their dreams. Throughout our history, many have started with nothing and risen to the top. But those on top today are busy rewriting the rules to limit entry into their club. In her recent Daily Beast column, “America’s New Mandarins,” Megan McArdle describes a new elite that rates education credentials more highly than any other skills. In this world, having a Harvard diploma means more than being willing to work hard or contributing something of value. Most Americans don’t share this view. Only 3 percent believe Ivy League schools produce better workers. Given a choice between a worker who gets more done and someone who has a higher level of education, only 9 percent think the person with the higher level of education should be paid more. Seventy-one percent place a higher value on the person who gets more done. In the New Mandarin world described by McArdle, the best jobs are reserved for those who attended the most prestigious schools. Entry into such schools is restricted to those with wealth and connections. The rest of us are expected to trust the elites to decide what’s fair. A better approach is to focus on what people accomplish. That gives everyone a chance to succeed. It is one essential ingredient to creating a society that is fair to the middle class and to those who are willing to work hard. To find out more about Scott Rasmussen, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 SCOTT RASMUSSEN DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Time To Opt Out of Creepy Fed Ed Data-Mining Racket

Last week, I reported on the federal government’s massive new student-tracking database, which was created as part of the nationalized Common Core standards scheme. The bad news: GOP “leadership” continues to ignore or, worse, enable this Nanny State racket (hello, Jeb Bush). The good news: An independent grassroots revolt outside the Beltway bubble is swelling. Families are taking their children’s academic and privacy matters out of the snoopercrats’ grip and into their own hands. You can now download a Common Core opt-out/disclosure form to submit to your school district, courtesy of the Truth In American Education group: https://truthinamericaneducation.com/uncategorized/ccss-parent-opt-out-form/ Parents caught off guard by the stealthy tracking racket are now mobilizing across the country. Echoing families across the city, Big Apple public advocate Bill de Blasio blasted the tracking database in a letter to government officials, according to the New York Daily News: “I don’t want my kids’ privacy bought and sold like this.” On Wednesday, prompted by parental objections, Oklahoma state representatives unanimously passed House Bill 1989 — the Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act — to prohibit the release of confidential student data without the written consent of a student’s parent or guardian. As I noted in last week’s column, the national Common Core student database was funded with Obama stimulus money. Grants also came from the liberal Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which largely underwrote and promoted the top-down Common Core curricular scheme). A division of conservative Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. built the database infrastructure. A nonprofit startup, “inBloom, Inc.,” evolved out of the strange-bedfellows partnership to operate the invasive database, which is compiling everything from health-care histories, income information and religious affiliations to voting status, blood types and homework completion. But it gets worse. Research fellow Joy Pullmann at The Heartland Institute points to a February Department of Education report on its data-mining plans that contemplates the use of creepy student monitoring techniques such as “functional magnetic resonance imaging” and “using cameras to judge facial expressions, an electronic seat that judges posture, a pressure-sensitive computer mouse and a biometric wrap on kids’ wrists.” The DOE report exposes the big lie that Common Core is about raising academic standards by revealing its progressive designs to measure and track children’s “competencies” in “recognizing bias in sources,” “flexibility,” “cultural awareness and competence,” “appreciation for diversity,” “empathy,” “perspective taking, trust (and) service orientation.” That’s right. School districts and state governments are pimping out highly personal data on children’s feelings, beliefs, “biases” and “flexibility” instead of doing their own jobs imparting knowledge – or minding their own business. And yes, Republicans such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush continue to falsely defend the centralized Common Core regime as locally driven and non-coercive, while ignoring the database system’s circumvention of federal student privacy laws. Why? Edu-tech nosy-bodies are using the Common Core assessment boondoggle as a Trojan horse to collect and crunch massive amounts of personal student data for their own social justice or moneymaking ends. Reminder: Nine states have entered into contracts with inBloom: Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Louisiana and New York. Countless other vendors are salivating at the business possibilities in exploiting public school students. Google, for example, is peddling its Gmail platform to schools in a way that will allow it to harvest and access families’ information and preferences — which can then be sold in advertising profiles to marketers. The same changes to federal student privacy law (known as FERPA) that paved the way for the Common Core tracking scheme also opened up private student information to Google. As FERPA expert Sheila Kaplan explains it, “Students are paying the cost to use Google’s ‘free’ servers by providing access to their sensitive data and communications.” It’s a Big Brother gold rush and an educational Faustian bargain. Fortunately, there is a way out. It starts with parents reasserting their rights, protecting their children and adopting that old motto from the Reagan years: JUST SAY NO. Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

Spring Break, Sexual Predators, Cartels and Your Kids

A registered sex offender and convicted child rapist is being observed by South Carolina cops in the presumed deaths of two young women, including a New York teenager who disappeared while on spring break in Myrtle Beach nearly three years ago, Fox News just reported. Each year, more than 1.5 million students go on spring break, spending $1 billion on their spring flings. According to a University of Wisconsin study, 75 percent of those college men and 43 percent of the women are daily intoxicated during that week. And 1 in 5 of those women and 3 in 4 of those men are on the hunt for sexual encounters. But here’s the news flash: So are sexual predators, and several of the top destinations for spring breaks have become hot spots for them. Any wonder why? Remember this, too: More than one-third of people who commit sex offenses against youths are younger than 18. Seven percent of them are girls. More than 66 percent of rape victims between the ages of 18 and 29 claimed to have known their attacker. And according to the U.S. State Department, rapes “commonly but not exclusively occur at night or in the early morning hours, and often involve alcohol and the nightclub environment.” But if you think Americanized resorts south of the border are the way to go, think again. Tom Crosby, AAA Carolinas’ vice president of communications, told Fox News, “We get a lot of people traveling to Cancun, but Mexico is the place with the most (safety) uncertainty.” Ross Thompson, co-founder of the travel safety company Mayday360, warned that the greatest hazard for U.S. college students in Cancun is that they “act like they are still in the U.S. and that the U.S. law will protect them. That’s wrong, and that can add up to disaster.” Stratfor, a global intelligence company, just published its “Spring Break in Mexico 2013: Security Risks and Travel Tips,” reporting: “While many people do travel to Mexico safely (approximately 150,000 U.S. citizens travel to the country each year), there is a misconception that cartels want to avoid interfering with the profitable tourism industry, or that they only target Mexican citizens. This simply is not true. … Many popular spring break locations foreigners perceive as having ‘acceptable’ levels of crime have experienced violence related to the drug wars raging in Mexico. Firefights between federal police or soldiers and gunmen armed with assault rifles have erupted without warning throughout Mexico, affecting mountain villages, large cities like Monterrey, and resort towns like Acapulco and Cancun.” According to the State Department, of the roughly 100,000 spring breakers who will travel to Mexico, “the vast majority” will enjoy their vacation, but “several may die, hundreds will be arrested, and still more will make mistakes that could affect them for the rest of their lives.” Stratfor says that if travel to Mexico is planned or necessary, visitors would be very wise to heed the following: “—Do not drive at night. “—Use only pre-arranged transportation between the airport and the resort or hotel. “—If at a resort, plan on staying there; refrain from going into town, particularly at night. “—If you do go into town (or anywhere off the resort property), do not accept a ride from unknown persons, do not go into suspicious-looking or run-down bars, do not wander away from brightly lit public places and do not wander on the beach at night. “—Stop at all roadblocks. “—Do not bring anything with you that you are not willing to have taken from you. “—If confronted by an armed individual who demands the possessions on your person, give them up. “—Do not bring ATM cards linked to your bank account (among other things, an ATM card can facilitate an express kidnapping.) “—Do not get irresponsibly intoxicated. “—Do not accept a drink from a stranger, regardless of your sex. “—Do not make yourself a tempting target by wearing expensive clothing or jewelry. “—Do not venture out alone, but bear in mind that being part of a group does not guarantee safety.” But maybe the best and wisest thing for us to do is simply to quit risking lives and limbs for a week of self-indulgent ecstasy. Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven C. McCraw has the best tip here: “Underestimating the violence in Mexico would be a mistake for parents and students. Our safety message is simple: Avoid traveling to Mexico during spring break and stay alive.” What I’ve learned about today’s college-aged adults is that they are compassionate and want to better their world. So why not try one of the volunteer-based alternative spring break ideas mentioned on About.com’s “Student Travel” page? And how about parents offer to pay for these life adventures rather than for those that place our kids at risk? Conservation and home building projects with United Way or Habitat for Humanity are always looking for volunteers. Or check with local churches about their mission trips to rebuild lives or aid the poor inside or outside our country. Regardless of your or your child’s destination, when traveling within the U.S. and its territories, always search a five-mile radius for sex offenders and other criminals at online national registries and watchdog sites, such as https://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/registry and https://www.criminalpages.com. There are more than 400,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S., so the worth of the national registry is obvious, but keep in mind that those lists are not exhaustive. And no list can offer protection from a first offense, so don’t ignore your conscience and instincts. I’m not trying to be an alarmist; I’m just tired of people staring at common sense and discarding it like a joker from a deck of cards. You know the saying, “If you play with fire, you get burned.” It’s also good to remember that a spark neglected can rage into an inferno. Time to wake up, America! Times are changing. Just because it’s spring break doesn’t mean sexual predators and criminals take the week off. Fire takes no holiday. Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook’s “Official Chuck Norris Page.” He blogs at https://chucknorrisnews.blogspot.com. To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 CHUCK NORRIS DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Let’s Build on the Paul Filibuster

The Republicans had better not squander the good will Sen. Rand Paul purchased for them in his filibuster over the Obama administration’s potential use of armed drones to kill non-enemy combatants in America. I am not simply referring to the constitutional issue of whether the president can engage in such acts, though that’s very important. I believe the significance of Paul’s filibuster transcends the drone issue. It was about challenging the administration’s lawlessness and accountability across the board and his runaway spending and statism. It was about championing freedom, God-given rights and the Constitution. Under questioning, Attorney General Eric Holder has simply refused to give a straight answer about these questions and acts as though the administration has a superior right to hold such matters close to the vest and as though Congress, let alone the American people, doesn’t have a say in them or any right even to be apprised. Paul’s filibuster sparked an excitement and enthusiasm we haven’t witnessed since the blue funk descended on conservative America after Obama’s re-election. Twitter was on fire, and conservatives were positively energized. I have sensed a general despondency among conservatives, born of their incredulity that voters could elect someone whose policies are so obviously damaging the country and who seems to continue to escape accountability for his actions. They have also been dispirited because they are skeptical — to put it charitably — that Republican officeholders are fighting for them. But the Republicans’ refusal to back down in the sequestration fight — despite Obama’s calculated, fraudulent predictions of apocalyptic consequences from sequester cuts — has given conservatives some renewed sense that we’re still in the game. Paul’s 13-hour soliloquy has taken it, even if only temporarily, to a new level. Conservatives can see we still have elected representatives who are in this fight and are unwilling to stand still as Obama continues his quest to fundamentally change the nation into something the Founding Fathers wouldn’t recognize. No sooner had I decided on the lead paragraph of this column than I read that Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of a number of Republicans dining with President Obama while Paul was protesting his actions, had condemned Paul’s filibuster. After having dinner with the entertainer in chief, Graham said, “This idea that we’re going to use a drone to attack a citizen in a cafe in America is ridiculous.” Well, Sen. Graham, how about the idea that the Senate is getting ready to confirm a nominee for CIA director who insists on turning a blind eye to the radical ideology of terrorists aimed at destroying the United States? Is that ridiculous, Sen. Graham? In the meantime, Republicans must be united in their resolve to stand up to President Obama on the nation’s fiscal and solvency crisis. They need to build on, rather than undermine, the groundwork they established in the sequestration negotiations and with Sen. Paul’s filibuster. President Obama is nothing if not the consummate community organizer. He has specific (and alarming) goals in focus and is always strategizing. Sen. Graham et al. would do well to remember that. Politico hints at what Obama has up his sleeve, and Graham and his cohorts seem to be playing right into his hands. It reports that Obama always knew Republicans wouldn’t bend before the sequestration deadline but that he’s confident they’ll accede to more revenues in time — in their pattern of caving, provided he keeps the pressure on. One former Democratic strategist said Obama has always miscalculated where the power among Republicans lies and has approached those who aren’t so weak-kneed as others. Well, perhaps Politico was prescient here in anticipating an Obama overture to Republicans who might bend at dinner. No matter how many liberal commentators insist to Bill O’Reilly that Obama really supports specific spending cuts, the fact is that he has had four-plus years to take the lead or even follow the lead on this critical issue and he’s refused. Then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner revealed that the administration had no plans to reform entitlements in his congressional testimony. Obama’s projected budgets have been consistently reckless. His actual deficits have all been immorally astronomical. He extracted tax increases and still refuses to play ball on spending. Neither he nor his Democratic Senate will even submit a budget, and he’s even demanding more spending. His only budgetary interest is in further punishing the rich and further expanding entitlements. If he does succeed in extracting more revenues, it will reward his spending to date and just encourage him to spend more. Any Republicans gullible enough to believe Obama’s tall tale that he wants a “balanced approach” need to wake up and join the reality community of those who are planting their feet in the ground to resist Obama’s upcoming propaganda blitz to make them cave. Do not even think about capitulating. You will have enormous support if you fight — and the response to Sen. Paul’s filibuster is but a foreshadowing of what is to come if you hold firm. 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 2013 CREATORS.COM

Spare the Hype of ‘Budget Armageddon’

Barack Obama’s strategy going into the scheduled sequestration was to hit the panic button, over and over again, putting the very Obama-friendly media into a heavy rotation of disaster metaphors.

“Hours, now, until massive government cuts go into effect that could impact every American. Jobs vaporizing, flights delayed, even criminals walking free,” warned ABC morning anchor Josh Elliott. On screen were the words “BUDGET ARMAGEDDON.”

The only people being released from jails were about 2,000 illegal immigrants who were facing deportation. The Department of Homeland Security released them, citing “looming budget cuts.” That’s just more gamesmanship. Put another quarter in the panic jukebox.

“Like the asteroid headed to earth, they’re coming! Eighty-six billion in automatic budget cuts. And don’t bother trying to duck,” hyped CNN anchor Carol Costello. “So we let these draconian budget cuts take place. You know who’s going to suffer the most? It’s not going to be Congress. It’s not going to be the president. It’s going to be us.”

“Kids without vaccines, schools without teachers and massive airport delays — we’ll show you the worst-case scenario for government spending cuts,” CBS morning host Charlie Rose read off the Panic Prompter.

It sounded a little like Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters” when he was whimsically warning: “Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together … mass hysteria!”

Media Research Center analysts reviewed all of the 88 sequestration stories on ABC, CBS and NBC from Feb. 14 through March 1 when the “cuts” took effect and found 58 (66 percent) were dominated by panic nonsense, without a second of rebuttal of common sense. Another 10 stories offered the same hyperbole but at least included a few seconds of the skeptical view that the sequestration reductions weren’t huge and their effects were being overhyped.

But for people who read newspapers, there was another worst-case scenario coming.

“The good news is the world doesn’t end March 2. The bad news is, the world doesn’t end March 2,” liberal lobbyist Emily Holubowich told the Washington Post. “The worst-case scenario for us is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens. And Republicans say: ‘See, that wasn’t so bad.'”

There is no daylight between the views of liberal lobbyists and the national news media.

This was the same game Bill Clinton played against the conservatives in Congress in the mid-1990s. The liberals are always presumed to have the upper hand in the blame game because the liberals have a very large Blame Machine known as the media.

ABC’s Jack Smith unloaded this dire warning at the end of 1995: “Monuments and national parks are shut. So are museums. A long-awaited rare exhibit of the Dutch painter Vermeer at the National Gallery, eight years in the making, is closed. And the shutdown now has a human face. Joe Skattleberry and his wife Lisa both work for the government. Both have been furloughed. They can’t afford a Christmas tree.”

Please suspend all reason and try to avoid wondering how two federal workers couldn’t spare $50 for a Christmas tree. Smith reported this a week into the shutdown and before paychecks were even delayed.

On Jan. 2, 1996, future “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley compared budget negotiators to bombers: “In April, terrorists tried to kill them. Today, politicians stopped their paychecks. In Oklahoma City’s Social Security office, they’re being ordered to work for nothing. … The bomb broke Beverly Rankin’s ankle. Politics is breaking her bank.”

They called this a “newscast.” It sounded more like CBS started a super PAC to run negative ads against Newt Gingrich. They wonder why a strong majority now tells pollsters that the media is guilty of favoring one side. The favoritism isn’t just obvious it’s completely shameless.

We’ve lived through four years of Obama, and as the federal government overspent us into trillion-dollar deficits every year, no reporter hit a panic button. The Federal Reserve is printing money like it’s making Monopoly games, and no journalist is reporting with their hair on fire. The tax burden on most Americans went up this year, and no one took a camera and a microphone to interview someone who’ll get by on a few less thousand dollars this year.

Our journalists talk like they’re not only willing marionettes for the Obama panic message but like they’re addicts for ever-growing government. Every potential spending limitation is portrayed as a dire and cruel assault on the suffering. In the statist mindset of the media elites, an American can never suffer from more government, only from less.

Americans won’t feel these GOP-made disasters because they won’t happen. They will, however, remember the hype. Perhaps the press will understand why only 6 percent of the public finds them “very trustworthy.”

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 2013 CREATORS.COM

Rotten to the Core, Part III: Lessons from Texas and the Growing Grassroots Revolt

Texas is a right-minded red state, where patriotism is still a virtue and political correctness is out of vogue. So how on earth have left-wing educators in public classrooms been allowed to instruct Lone Star students to dress in Islamic garb, call the 9/11 jihadists “freedom fighters” and treat the Boston Tea Party participants as “terrorists”?

Here’s the dirty little secret: Despite the best efforts of vigilant parents, teachers and administrators committed to academic excellence, progressive activists reign supreme in government schools.

That’s because curriculum is king. The liberal monopoly on the modern textbook/curricular market remains unchallenged after a half-century. He who controls the textbooks, teaching guides and tests controls the academic agenda.

That is how the propagandistic outfitting of students in Islamic garb came to pass in the unlikely setting of the conservative Lumberton, Texas, school district. As Fox News reporter Todd Starnes noted this week, a 32-year veteran of the high school led a world geography lesson on Islam in which hijab-wrapped students were banned from using the words “suicide bomber” and “terrorist” to describe Muslim mass murderers in favor of the term “freedom fighter.”

Madelyn LeBlanc, one of the students in the class, “told Fox News that it was clear her teacher was very uncomfortable lecturing the students. ‘I do have a lot of sympathy for her. … At the very beginning, she said she didn’t want to teach it, but it was in the curriculum.'”

But the headline-grabbing injection of moral equivalence into social studies and American history is just the tip of the education iceberg.

Top-down federalized “Common Core” standards are now sweeping the country. It’s important to remember that while teachers-union control freaks are on board with the Common Core regime, untold numbers of rank-and-file educators are just as angered and frustrated as parents about the Big Ed power grab. The program was concocted not at the grassroots level, but by a bipartisan cabal of nonprofits (led by lobbyists for the liberal Bill Gates Foundation), statist business groups and hoodwinked Republican governors. As I’ve reported previously, this scheme, enabled by the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” funding mechanism, usurps local autonomy in favor of lesson content and pedagogical methods.

One teacher described a thought-control training seminar in her school district titled “Making the Common Core Come Alive.” A worksheet labeled “COMMON CORE MIND SHIFTS” included the following rhetorical muck:

—The goal of curriculum should not be the coverage of content, but rather the discovery of content. … If done well, Common Core will elevate our teaching to new heights, and emphasize the construction of meaning, while deepening our understanding of our students.”

—”In our classrooms, it is the students’ voices, not the teachers’, that are heard.”

Blah, blah, blah. In practice, Common Core evades transparency by peddling shoddy curricular material authored by anonymous committees. It promotes faddish experiments masquerading as “world-class” math and reading goals. Instead of raising expectations, Common Core is a Trojan horse for lowering them. California, for example, is now citing Common Core as a rationale for abandoning algebra classes for 8th graders. Common Core’s “constructivist” approach to reading is now the rationale for abandoning classic literature for “informational texts.”

Claims that Common Core bubbled up from the states are bass-ackward. A shady nonprofit group called “Achieve Inc.,” stocked with federal-standards advocates who’ve been around since the Clinton years, designed the materials. They were rubber-stamped by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and subsidized by the Gates Foundation.

In states like Texas, which rejected Common Core, similar secretive alliances prevail. The Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative, a nonprofit group led by government officials, designed the “CSCOPE” curriculum now used in 80 percent of the state’s schools. The state Board of Education, local schools and parents were denied access to the online CSCOPE curriculum database — which was exempted from disclosure rules. In fact, dissemination of the lessons was considered a crime until earlier this month. Only after parents and teachers across the state blew the whistle on radical CSCOPE lesson plans (including designing a new flag for a socialist lesson) did the state take steps to rein in the CSCOPE zealots.

Grassroots activists in Indiana, Alabama, Utah and nearly a dozen other states are now educating themselves and their state legislatures about the centralized education racket, whether it’s under the guise of Common Core or any other name. Last week, in response to a passionate parent-driven protest, the Indiana state Senate passed legislation to halt Common Core implementation. Anti-Common Core bills are moving through the Alabama state legislature, where lawmakers are especially concerned about how Common Core’s intrusive database gathering would violate student privacy.

As Texas goes, so goes the nation. The fight against the federalization of academic standards is a national education Alamo.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM