Monday, November 30, 2009

Social Marxist Indoctrination coming to the University of Minnesota Education Department?

Marxist ideology under the guise of multi-culturalism is being pushed at the University of Minnesota's Education Department. Katherine Kersten in a column in last week's Star Tribune highlights this latest attack on Western values.

Kersten notes that
In a report compiled last summer, the Race, Culture, Class and Gender Task Group at the U's College of Education and Human Development recommended that aspiring teachers there must repudiate the notion of "the American Dream" in order to obtain the recommendation for licensure required by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. Instead, teacher candidates must embrace -- and be prepared to teach our state's kids -- the task force's own vision of America as an oppressive hellhole: racist, sexist and homophobic.
So this task force which thinks teacher's "lack of cultural competence" contributes to poor academic performance by minority students. The answer? Indoctrinate future teachers in radical ideas related to race, class and gender.

The task group is part of the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative, a multiyear project to change the way future teachers are trained at the U's flagship campus. The initiative is premised, in part, on the conviction that Minnesota teachers' lack of "cultural competence" contributes to the poor academic performance of the state's minority students. Last spring, it charged the task group with coming up with recommendations to change this. In January, planners will review the recommendations and decide how to proceed.

The report advocates making race, class and gender politics the "overarching framework" for all teaching courses at the U. It calls for evaluating future teachers in both coursework and practice teaching based on their willingness to fall into ideological lockstep.

The first step toward "cultural competence," says the task group, is for future teachers to recognize -- and confess -- their own bigotry. Anyone familiar with the reeducation camps of China's Cultural Revolution will recognize the modus operandi.

What form should this re-education take?

The task group recommends, for example, that prospective teachers be required to prepare an "autoethnography" report. They must describe their own prejudices and stereotypes, question their "cultural" motives for wishing to become teachers, and take a "cultural intelligence" assessment designed to ferret out their latent racism, classism and other "isms." They "earn points" for "demonstrating the ability to be self-critical."

The task group opens its report with a model for officially approved confessional statements: "As an Anglo teacher, I struggle to quiet voices from my own farm family, echoing as always from some unstated standard. ... How can we untangle our own deeply entrenched assumptions?"

The goal of these exercises, in the task group's words, is to ensure that "future teachers will be able to discuss their own histories and current thinking drawing on notions of white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, and internalized oppression."

Future teachers must also recognize and denounce the fundamental injustices at the heart of American society, says the task group. From a historical perspective, they must "understand that ... many groups are typically not included" within America's "celebrated cultural identity," and that "such exclusion is frequently a result of dissimilarities in power and influence." In particular, aspiring teachers must be able "to explain how institutional racism works in schools."

Kersten points out that this is indoctrination pure and simple. Orwellian in nature.

After indoctrination of this kind, who wouldn't conclude that the American Dream of equality for all is a cruel hoax? But just to make sure, the task force recommends requiring "our future teachers" to "articulate a sophisticated and nuanced critical analysis" of this view of the American promise. In the process, they must incorporate the "myth of meritocracy in the United States," the "history of demands for assimilation to white, middle-class, Christian meanings and values, [and] history of white racism, with special focus on current colorblind ideology."

What if some aspiring teachers resist this effort at thought control and object to parroting back an ideological line as a condition of future employment? The task group has Orwellian plans for such rebels: The U, it says, must "develop clear steps and procedures for working with non-performing students, including a remediation plan."

And where necessary do it surrepticiously.

And what if students' ideological purity is tainted once they begin to do practice teaching in the public schools? The task group frames the danger this way: "How can we be sure that teaching supervisors are themselves developed and equipped in cultural competence outcomes in order to supervise beginning teachers around issues of race, class, culture, and gender?"

Its answer? "Requir[e] training/workshop for all supervisors. Perhaps a training session disguised as a thank you/recognition ceremony/reception at the beginning of the year?"

When teacher training requires a "disguise," you know something sinister is going on.

Multiculturalism is really social Marxism. Whether it's the Cultural Revolution in China or re-education in Cambodia, the goal is the same -- rid students of their "bourgeoisie" ideas.

This is the "soft despotism" of the Left in American society. Guns aren't being used to force compliance but threat of not getting a teaching job is.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Catholic, Evangelical and Orthodox leaders issue bold statement on critical moral issues and ultimately civil disobedience. Add your name as well.

A number of leaders in the Christian community - evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox - have signed the "Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience". It's a lengthy statement on Christian engagement in the culture and responds to the three critical areas of current social contention -- abortion and life issues, marriage and efforts to redefine it, and religious freedom and growing efforts to infringe on religious freedoms.

A summary of the Declaration on their webpage states:

Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:

  1. the sanctity of human life
  2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
  3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Maybe the most significant and new aspect of the statement is that it's a bold statement that they will not be forced to violate Christian convictions on important matters like abortion and marriage.

"Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; not will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage an the family. We will fully ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's. but under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God's."

The Declaration raises the specter of civil disobedience. Christians will not be forced to participate in immoral activities.

I think it's new and significant that this concern is being raised front and center by a growing number of prominent individuals and church leaders across all denominational lines. I think the battle lines are being drawn between Christians and a culture and society which embraces values hostile to Christian values.

Individuals can add their name to the list of signers here.

What Thanksgiving is all about - The pilgrims and history of Thanksgiving Proclamations in America.

David Barton from Wallbuilders has put out this brief summary of the history of Thanksgiving in America. He looks at the pilgrims and then the history of Thanksgiving proclamations in America.

In this time of revisionist history and political correctness it's always important to remind ourselves where our forefathers came from and what we have to be thankful for.

Celebrating Thanksgiving in America

The tradition introduced by European Americans of Thanksgiving as a time to focus on God and His blessings dates back well over four centuries in America. For example, such thanksgivings occurred in 1541 at Palo Duro Canyon, Texas with Coronado and 1,500 of his men; 1 in 1564 at St. Augustine, Florida with French Huguenot (Protestant) colonists; 2 in 1598 at El Paso, Texas with Juan de OƱate and his expedition; 3 in 1607 at Cape Henry, Virginia with the landing of the Jamestown settlers; 4 in 1619 at Berkeley Plantation, Virginia; 5 (and many other such celebrations). But it is primarily from the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving celebration of 1621 that we derive the current tradition of Thanksgiving Day.

The Pilgrims set sail for America on September 6, 1620, and for two months braved the harsh elements of a storm-tossed sea. Upon disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they held a prayer service and then hastily began building shelters; however, unprepared for such a harsh New England winter, nearly half of them died before spring. 6 Emerging from that grueling winter, the Pilgrims were surprised when an Indian named Samoset approached them and greeted them in their own language, explaining to them that he had learned English from fishermen and traders. A week later, Samoset returned with a friend named Squanto, who lived with the Pilgrims and accepted their Christian faith. Squanto taught the Pilgrims much about how to live in the New World, and he and Samoset helped forge a long-lasting peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. Pilgrim Governor William Bradford described Squanto as “a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . and never left [us] till he died.” 7

That summer, the Pilgrims, still persevering in prayer and assisted by helpful Indians, 8 reaped a bountiful harvest. 9 As Pilgrim Edward Winslow (later to become the Governor) affirmed, “God be praised, we had a good increase of corn”; “by the goodness of God, we are far from want.” 1011 – America’s first Thanksgiving Festival. Ninety Wampanoag Indians joined the fifty Pilgrims for three days of feasting (which included shellfish, lobsters, turkey, corn bread, berries, deer, and other foods), of play (the young Pilgrim and Wampanoag men engaged in races, wrestling matches, and athletic events), and of prayer. This celebration and its accompanying activities were the origin of the holiday that Americans now celebrate each November. The grateful Pilgrims therefore declared a three-day feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends

However, while the Pilgrims enjoyed times of prosperity for which they thanked God, they also suffered extreme hardships. In fact, in 1623 they experienced an extended and prolonged drought. Knowing that without a change in the weather there would be no harvest and the winter would be filled with death and starvation, Governor Bradford called the Pilgrims to a time of prayer and fasting to seek God’s direct intervention. Significantly, shortly after that time of prayer – and to the great amazement of the Indian who witnessed the scene – clouds appeared in the sky and a gentle and steady rain began to fall. As Governor Bradford explained:

It came without either wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in abundance, as that ye earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith, which did so apparently revive and quicken ye decayed corn and other fruits as was wonderful to see, and made ye Indians astonished to behold; and afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. 12

The drought had been broken; the fall therefore produced an abundant harvest; there was cause for another thanksgiving. The Pilgrim practice of designating an official time of Thanksgiving spread into neighboring colonies and became an annual tradition. 13 And just as those neighboring colonies followed the Pilgrims’ example of calling for days of thanksgiving, so, too, did they adopt their practice of calling for a time of prayer and fasting. The New England Colonies therefore developed a practice of calling for a day of prayer and fasting in the spring, and a day of prayer and thanksgiving in the fall.

The Thanksgiving celebrations so common throughout New England did not begin to spread southward until the American Revolution, when Congress issued eight separate national Thanksgiving Proclamations. (Congress also issued seven separate proclamations for times of fasting and prayer, for a total of 15 official prayer proclamations during the American Revolution. 14)

America’s first national Thanksgiving occurred in 1789 with the commencement of the federal government. According to the Congressional Record for September 25 of that year, the first act after the Framers completed the framing of the Bill of Rights was that:

Mr. [Elias] Boudinot said he could not think of letting the session pass without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings He had poured down upon them. With this view, therefore, he would move the following resolution:
Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer. . . .
Mr. Roger Sherman justified the practice of thanksgiving on any single event not only as a laudable one in itself but also as warranted by a number of precedents in Holy Writ. . . . This example he thought worthy of a Christian imitation on the present occasion. 15

That congressional resolution was delivered to President George Washington, who heartily concurred with the request and issued the first federal Thanksgiving proclamation, declaring in part:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. . . . Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 . . . that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection. 16

That same year, the Protestant Episcopal Church (of which President Washington was a member) announced that the first Thursday in November would become its regular day for giving thanks, “unless another day be appointed by the civil authorities.” 17 Following President Washington’s initial proclamation, national Thanksgiving Proclamations occurred only sporadically (another by President Washington in 1795, one by John Adams in 1799, one by James Madison in 1814 and again in 1815, etc.); 18 most official Thanksgiving observances occurred at the state level. In fact, by 1815, the various state governments had issued at least 1,400 official prayer proclamations, almost half for times of thanksgiving and prayer and the other half for times of fasting and prayer. 19

Much of the credit for the adoption of Thanksgiving as an annual national holiday may be attributed to Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a popular lady’s books containing poetry, art work, and articles by America’s leading authors. For nearly three decades, she promoted the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day, 20 contacting president after president until Abraham Lincoln responded in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of that November. The Thanksgiving proclamation issued by Lincoln was remarkable not only for its strong religious content but also for its timing, for it was delivered in the midst of the darkest days of the Civil War, with the Union having lost battle after battle throughout the first three years of that conflict. Yet, despite those dark circumstances, Lincoln nevertheless called Americans to prayer with an air of positive optimism and genuine thankfulness, noting that:

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. . . . No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, Who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. 21

That remarkable Thanksgiving Proclamation came at a pivotal point in Lincoln’s spiritual life. Three months earlier, the Battle of Gettysburg had occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. It had been while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he first committed his life to Christ. As he later explained to a clergyman:

When I left Springfield [Illinois, to assume the Presidency], I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. 22

The dramatic spiritual impact resulting from that experience was not only visible in Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation (and also his 1864 call for a day of prayer and fasting) but especially in his 1865 Second Inaugural Address.

Over the seventy-five years following Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, presidents faithfully followed Lincoln’s precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day (but the date of the celebrations varied widely from proclamation to proclamation). In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of each November, and in 1941, Congress permanently established that day as the national Thanksgiving holiday. 23

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, remember to retain the original gratefulness to God that has always been the spirit of this – the oldest of all American holidays. (Below are representative examples of the scores of Thanksgiving proclamations penned by various Founding Fathers.)

[Congress] recommended [a day of] . . . thanksgiving and praise [so] that “the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and join . . . their supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, to forgive [our sins] and . . . to enlarge [His] kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” 24 Continental Congress, 1777 – written by SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION SAMUEL ADAMS AND RICHARD HENRY LEE

[I] appoint . . . a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God . . . to [ask] Him that He would . . . pour out His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel; that He would . . . spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth; . . . and that He would establish these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue. 25 GOVERNOR THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1779

[I] appoint . . . a day of public thanksgiving and praise . . . to render to God the tribute of praise for His unmerited goodness towards us . . . [by giving to] us . . . the Holy Scriptures which are able to enlighten and make us wise to eternal salvation. And [to] present our supplications...that He would forgive our manifold sins and . . . cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth. 26 GOVERNOR JOHN HANCOCK, 1790

Monday, November 23, 2009

Is government run health care a good idea? Here's an interesting perspective from Jay Leno.

Will turning over to the government our health care system a good idea? Considering our experience with the government running the postal service I'd say definitely not.

Here's Jay Leno's take.
"The Postal Service announced last week the Post Office lost $3.8 billion last year. ... I've got a good idea. Let's put the government in charge of healthcare! Fantastic idea!"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Something liberals and conservatives can agree on -- health reform bills won't help keep costs down for middle class families.

The more one learns about the health reform bills the more concern one should become concerned.

A review of the House health care bill finds a massive marriage penalty for middle and upper middle income families. The result? An incentive not to get married in order to obtain health insurance. One observer said this will destroy marriage in the middle class just as welfare did for the poor.

Then there are analyses by a University of Minnesota economist and others that the health bills will not drive costs down for middle income families.
While both bills guarantee access to health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions, neither one will do much to improve the affordability of health coverage for moderate to middle-income Americans in the individual market, according to wonks and critics across the political spectrum.

In fact, some Americans eligible for proposed federal subsidies may fall into the category of "under-insured" because they would spend more than 10 percent of their income — a widely used affordability standard — for premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

So, despite all the historic efforts to clean up the individual health-insurance market, consumers could continue to be priced out of the market — and they could be penalized for not having insurance, potentially adding insult to injury.

"All that guaranteed issue is, by definition — and people forget this — is you are given a price for the insurance policy," said Stephen Parente, a University of Minnesota health economist who helped develop health policy for Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. "It doesn't change the fact that you might not be able to afford an insurance policy, at which point you are effectively denied."

Liberal analysts also worry about the question of affordability for moderate to middle-income people.

"Some people will be helped but there are going to be some people that fall just out of the benchmarks," said policy analyst Lynn Blewett, director of the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the U of M.

Economists, policy analysts and congressional aides are still sorting through the details of the new 2,074-page Senate bill, but bills from the Senate Finance Committee and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee were similar in laying out how subsidies or credits would work. Both bills call for subsidies for folks earning up to 400 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines, although they vary on percentages of cost-sharing.

"Today we're carefully considering the provisions outlined in the bill that was introduced last night [Wednesday]," said Jess McIntosh, a spokeswoman for Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., who is a member of the HELP committee. "We're pleased that the merged bill has some marked improvements compared to the Senate Finance bill, including coverage for an additional 2 million people and lower premiums for families above 150 percent of the poverty level. Unfortunately, the bill has higher premiums than the Senate Finance bill for families between 133-150 percent of the poverty level."

Subsidies and caps
A Congressional Budget Office's analysis of subsidies [PDF] in the House's Affordable Health Care for America Act breaks down the share of premiums and out-of-pocket costs per income level. Higher-income individuals would pay no more than $5,000 in out-of-pocket costs (in addition to premiums) while families would pay no more than $10,000.

At the low end, a family of four with annual household income of $30,000 would on average spend no more than 4 percent of income on the insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs, and 97 percent of the premium would be subsidized. But once household income for a family of four reaches $54,000, the family's premium and cost-sharing would be 11 percent of income — exceeding the point where many analysts consider a moderate-income family to be under-insured. The total share climbs to as much as 18 percent for families of four making $78,000 to $90,100. (See chart below.)

In fact, what we have is a worsening of the health care crisis. For what purpose? One could say naivete or maybe a desire to create the circumstances where the government steps in and takes over the entire health care system. The push for socialism via the health care system is on.

Reid government run health care bill contains abortion fee option.

The minority leader in the US House John Boehner points out that Reid government run health care bill in the US Senate bill includes an "abortion premium" fee.

Just like the original 2,032-page, government-run health care plan from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) massive, 2,074-page bill would levy a new “abortion premium” fee on Americans in the government-run plan.

Beginning on line 7, p. 118, section 1303 under “Voluntary Choice of Coverage of Abortion Services” the Health and Human Services Secretary is given the authority to determine when abortion is allowed under the government-run health plan. Leader Reid’s plan also requires that at least one insurance plan offered in the Exchange covers abortions (line 13, p. 120).

What is even more alarming is that a monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run health plan. It’s right there beginning on line 11, page 122, section 1303, under “Actuarial Value of Optional Service Coverage.” The premium will be paid into a U.S. Treasury account – and these federal funds will be used to pay for the abortion services.

Section 1303(a)(2)(C) describes the process in which the Health Benefits Commissioner is to assess the monthly premiums that will be used to pay for elective abortions under the government-run health plan and for those who are given an affordability credit to purchase insurance coverage that includes abortion through the Exchange. The Commissioner must charge at a minimum $1 per enrollee per month.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Abortion back in Senate Health Care Bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has brought back abortion into the health care debate by opening the door for its coverage in federal health care programs.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) has rejected the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts Amendment and has substituted completely unacceptable language that would result in coverage of abortion on demand in two big new federal government programs," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee. "Reid seeks to cover elective abortions in two big new federal health programs, but tries to conceal that unpopular reality with layers of contrived definitions and hollow bookkeeping

The bill grants the secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to determine whether federal money is being used to fund abortions under the public plans, but doesn't ban those plans from offering the coverage. Reid's bill also explicitly requires insurers to separate private premiums from any public subsidies used to pay for that coverage to assure taxpayer dollars aren't used to fund the procedure - which is prohibited by the Hyde Amendment.

One way to understand what's up is the reaction of pro-abortion supporters. They're fine with the Reid language.
California Rep. Lois Capps, who tried to hatch a compromise on the Energy and Commerce Committee, commended Reid's language, saying, “I am pleased that the Senate has adopted a reasonable, common ground approach on this difficult question. It appears that their approach closely mirrors my language which was originally included in the House bill."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So what does the Harvard Medical School Dean think of Obama and Pelosi's health care bill? Disaster.

Of course, all those right wing conservatives dislike what President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are trying to do to our nation's health care system. What about somebody from the medical establishment? Say Harvard Medical School. Here's what the dean thinks.

Dr. Jeffrey Flier in a Wall Street Journal op/ed piece said the following about the Democrats’ healthcare “reform” legislation.

“ [the] controversy heads toward a conclusion in Washington, it appears that the people who favor the legislation are engaged in collective denial. …In discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that ... the final legislation ... will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it. Likewise, nearly all agree that the legislation would do little or nothing to improve quality… “Worse, [the] legislation would undermine any potential for real innovation … by overregulating the health-care system… There are important lessons to be learned from recent experience with reform in Massachusetts. Here, insurance mandates similar to those proposed in the federal legislation … increased total spending.”

Friday, November 13, 2009

The most effective advocates for limited government? Surprise. Obama and liberal Congress.

The effects of President Obama and the liberal Congress' push towards socialism is showing up in a significant shift in the public's attitude towards more government. The most recent evidence is a Gallup Poll showing that less than 50% of Americans don't think it's the responsibility of the federal government to guarantee healthcare coverage for all Americans nor is it the federal government's responsibility. 47% of Americans say it is. The significant fact is how much support has dropped for government involvement in health care.
More Americans now say it is not the federal government's responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage (50%) than say it is (47%). This is a first since Gallup began tracking this question, and a significant shift from as recently as three years ago, when two-thirds said ensuring healthcare coverage was the government's responsibility.

Do You Think It Is the Responsibility of the Federal Government to Make Sure All Americans Have Healthcare Coverage, or Is That Not the Responsibility of the Federal Government?

What's significant is support for the federal government's involvement in health care has dropped 22 percentage points from a high of 69% in the fall of 2006 to now 47% in the fall of 2009. The shift has accelerated in the last year from 54% support to now 47%.

With polls, it's always hard to know what's driving people's attitudes and whether they will last. I wonder if Americans are having second thoughts about the move towards socialism, European style. If so that's a very hopeful sign because we lose lots with socialized medicine. Costs and taxes rise and the overall quality of health care under socialized health care declines.

The bottom line?

The wording of the healthcare bill the House passed last Saturday explicitly states that one of the bill's purposes is to provide "affordable, quality healthcare for all Americans."

The current poll results indicate that, with the renewed healthcare debate since Obama took office, Americans have become less convinced that it is an appropriate goal for the federal government to take on the responsibility of ensuring that all Americans have healthcare coverage. It is possible that the current debate has increased the average American's awareness as to the nuances of the various roles the government could play in the healthcare system, helping make the generic "make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage" sound less appealing. Plus, the current debate may have produced more skepticism among Americans that the government's role in healthcare could or should be this broad.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spitzer to Give Lecture at Harvard Ethics Center - LOL!

My first reaction on reading about disgraced former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer speaking at Harvard's ethics center was to laugh out loud at the ridiculous irony of it. Even the former madam whose escort service provided Spitzer with high-end hookers recognized the irony in a letter of protest to the center, referring to him as a "man without ethics."

But what the story underscores is no laughing matter. It shows how ethically bankrupt so-called ethics centers really are, steeped as they are in a worldview devoid of any rational, objective basis for ethics or morality, that is in fact openly hostile to the mere suggestion that there IS an objective basis for ethics and morality.

That the Harvard ethics center would bring in someone like Spitzer to speak on ANY subject reveals how unqualified it is to say anything about ethics.

Bravo Bishop Tobin! Bishop Responds to Congressman Kennedy on abortion and relationship to Church

In a direct, pointed and yet concerned public letter, Bishop Tobin of Rhode Island responded to Congressman Patrick Kennedy who said it's not a big deal if he disagrees with the Church's position on abortion. To use Kennedy line: “The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.”

The Bishop's response?
Well, in fact, Congressman, in a way it does. Although I wouldn’t choose those particular words, when someone rejects the teachings of the Church, especially on a grave matter, a life-and-death issue like abortion, it certainly does diminish their ecclesial communion, their unity with the Church. This principle is based on the Sacred Scripture and Tradition of the Church and is made more explicit in recent documents.

After supplying a list of church documents, which out line membership in the Catholic Church and respecting positions of the Church, Bishop Tobin writes:

There’s lots of canonical and theological verbiage there, Congressman, but what it means is that if you don’t accept the teachings of the Church your communion with the Church is flawed, or in your own words, makes you “less of a Catholic.”

But let’s get down to a more practical question; let’s approach it this way: What does it mean, really, to be a Catholic? After all, being a Catholic has to mean something, right?

Well, in simple terms – and here I refer only to those more visible, structural elements of Church membership – being a Catholic means that you’re part of a faith community that possesses a clearly defined authority and doctrine, obligations and expectations. It means that you believe and accept the teachings of the Church, especially on essential matters of faith and morals; that you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish; that you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly; that you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially.

Congressman, I’m not sure whether or not you fulfill the basic requirements of being a Catholic, so let me ask: Do you accept the teachings of the Church on essential matters of faith and morals, including our stance on abortion? Do you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish? Do you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly? Do you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially?

In your letter you say that you “embrace your faith.” Terrific. But if you don’t fulfill the basic requirements of membership, what is it exactly that makes you a Catholic? Your baptism as an infant? Your family ties? Your cultural heritage?

Is the Bishop being "Holier than thou"? Absolutely not.
Your letter also says that your faith “acknowledges the existence of an imperfect humanity.” Absolutely true. But in confronting your rejection of the Church’s teaching, we’re not dealing just with “an imperfect humanity” – as we do when we wrestle with sins such as anger, pride, greed, impurity or dishonesty. We all struggle with those things, and often fail.

But he's not going to one's imperfections be an excuse for deliberately, repeatedly rejecting the Church's teaching.

Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category – it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you’ve re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you can’t chalk it up to an “imperfect humanity.” Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.

Congressman Kennedy, I write these words not to embarrass you or to judge the state of your conscience or soul. That’s ultimately between you and God. But your description of your relationship with the Church is now a matter of public record, and it needs to be challenged. I invite you, as your bishop and brother in Christ, to enter into a sincere process of discernment, conversion and repentance. It’s not too late for you to repair your relationship with the Church, redeem your public image, and emerge as an authentic “profile in courage,” especially by defending the sanctity of human life for all people, including unborn children. And if I can ever be of assistance as you travel the road of faith, I would be honored and happy to do so.
Thomas J. Tobin
Bishop of Providence

Though not a Catholic, I applaud the Bishop's forthrightness. It's too bad this doesn't happen in the mainline Protestant world. Then again some mainline Protestant church bodies don't seem to have a big problem with abortion.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What do economic and social conservatives have in common? A lot.

There are occasionally running debates between social and economic conservatives over the need for an alliance between the two groups. This happens most particularly in the Republican Party. Some economic conservatives are annoyed at social conservatives or at least view social issues as a nuisance. And some social conservatives believe economic issues are not that important and if they are don't necessarily subscribe to a conservative view of the issues.

I believe that both economic and social conservatism flow from a worldview rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition. And in order to have a just and healthy society, both must be incorporated into social policy.

The Heritage Foundation has come out with a series of short essays on the topic entitled, "Indivisible: Social and Economic Foundations of American Liberty."

It deals with topics like the rule of law, life, free exchange, marriage, profit, family, wages, religion, international trade, culture, property, environment and education.

If we truly want a free society, one where liberty flourishes, the moral and economic components must be acted upon in society. To do so will address the most significant social problems which are generally used by the Left to promote the expansion of government involvement in all areas of life.

I would argue the Left's, big government proscriptions will ultimately not solve the problems they seek to address but will in fact make them worse. That the needs of children, the poor, the sick and vulnerable can only effectively be addressed when conservative social and economic policies and activities are acted upon. This entails for poverty fighting initiatives the encouragement of marriage, a vibrant economy, and engagement of civil organizations and individuals in assisting persons in need.

I'm excited to see the Heritage Foundation address the vital linkage between economic and social conservatives.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What else was in the awful health care bill passed by US House? Family redefinition provisions for one.

The approximately 2,000 page health care bill passed by the US House under the cover of dark last Saturday evening continues to be reviewed for all the bad stuff it contained. Dramatic expansion of government control and regulation of our nation's health care system is the most obvious, but not surprisingly there were a lot of other left wing social agenda items included. Among them family redefinition provisions.

These were highlighted in a story posted on the left newsblog Minnesota Independent.

They correctly conclude that the focus of pro-life and social conservatives was the battle over abortion coverage mandates in the bill. But then go on to point out a number of provisions slipped in by homosexual activists "unnoticed".

While abortion politics dominated conservative opposition to the health care reform package that barely passed the U.S. House on Saturday evening, several measures in the bill that are beneficial to LGBT Americans largely went unnoticed — especially by conservatives.

The Human Rights Campaign reports it successfully lobbied to get five provisions important to the LGBT community included in the final bill.

Currently, the government doesn’t track health disparities based on sexual orientation and gender identity like it does for race, economic status, marital status, age and a number of other characteristics. The bill that passed the House would add those categories to the government’s data collection practices and would for the first time be able to determine health disparities. That would enable the government to direct funding for research and public health efforts to address those disparities. A similar bill has been offered in Congress, the Ending Health Disparities for LGBT Americans Act.

The House bill also contains language from the Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act. Employer-paid health benefits for a domestic partner are taxed by the federal government as income but benefits for spouses are not. That means same-sex couples that utilize their employers’ health plan pay income taxes that married couples do not. The bill that passed the House on Saturday would fix that inequity.

An important disparity in the treatment of HIV is remedied in the bill. In order for people living with HIV to qualify for Medicaid programs they must have a diagnosis of AIDS — which often comes after years of living with the disease. The new legislation would enable states to qualify individuals who are newly diagnosed with HIV disease for Medicaid programs. That policy is included in the bill as the Early Treatment for HIV Act.

Strong protections to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in health insurance and in the health care system also made it into the House bill.

Finally, the bill provides funding for comprehensive sex education programs that include relevant information for LGBT students.

The provisions show homosexual activists are once again turning to government as a vehicle for indoctrinating young students.

They point out the attention of many social conservative groups was on the mandating of abortion coverage and justifiably so. Stopping efforts which would have codified the power of the state and use of our taxpayer dollars to kill, eventually, millions of unborn children, was of supreme importance.

That, however, doesn't negate the significance of many of provisions which seek to redefine and thus undermine the basic structure of the natural family. This is, of course, where homosexual activists ultimately want to go.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Is love all children really need? In other words, is that now the definition of a marriage?

I spoke to a University of Minnesota graduate class last week. The discussion was on what's best for children. I said kids need a mother and a father. One of the students said what's really important is parents who love one another, whether same or opposite sex; a favorite argument of homosexual marriage advocates.

My view is certainly love is an important element in a marriage and in the raising of children, but there's more to parenting than parents liking and caring for one another. There's also providing the unique contributions which only a mother and a father can bring to their child's life; something homosexual couples can not provide. By definition the biological mother or father is missing from a same sex parenting couple. Is that important? Certainly. Here's a brief article
pointing that out.
Proponents of same-sex marriage believe love is all children really need. Based on that supposition, they conclude it’s just as good for children to be raised by loving parents of the same sex, as by loving parents of the opposite sex. But that basic assumption—and all that flows from it—is naively simplistic and denies the complex nature and core needs of human beings.

According to decades of research, the ideal family structure for children is a two-parent, mother-father family.(1,2,3) That research consistently shows that children raised in such families are more likely to thrive—psychologically, mentally, and physically—than children reared in any other kind of family configuration.

Extensive research also reveals that not only mothers, but also fathers, are critical to the healthy development of children. Swedish researchers reviewed the best longitudinal studies from around the world that assessed the effects of fathers on children’s development. Their review spanned 20 years of studies and included over 22,000 children, and found that fathers reduce behavioral problems in boys and psychological problems in girls, enhance cognitive development, and decrease delinquency.(4)

It’s clear that children benefit from having both a male and female parent. Recent medical research confirms genetically determined differences between men and women and those fundamental differences help explain why mothers and fathers bring unique characteristics to parenting that can’t be replicated by the other sex. Mothers and fathers simply aren’t interchangeable. Two women can both be good mothers, but neither can be a good father. One-sex parenting, whether by a single parent or a homosexual couple, deprives children of the full range of parenting offered by dual-sex couples.

Only mother-father families afford children the opportunity to develop relationships with a parent of the same, as well as the opposite sex. Relationships with both sexes early in life make it easier and more comfortable for a child to relate to both sexes later in life. Overall, having a relationship with both a male and female parent increases the likelihood that a child will have successful social and romantic relationships during his or her life.(5)

The research on the positive influence of homosexual headed households on children is flawed, limited and put children at risk of negative outcomes.

Moreover, existing research on children reared by homosexuals is not only scientifically flawed and extremely limited (6,7,8) but some of it actually indicates that those children are at increased risk for a variety of negative outcomes.(6) Other studies find that homosexually parented children are more likely to experiment sexually, experience sexual confusion, and engage in homosexual and bisexual behavior themselves.(5,6,9) And for those children who later engage in non-heterosexual behavior, extensive research reveals they are more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders, abuse alcohol and drugs, (10) attempt suicide, (11) experience domestic violence and sexual assault, (12) and are at increased risk for chronic diseases, AIDS, and shortened life spans.(13,14,15)

It shouldn’t be surprising that studies find children reared by homosexuals are more likely to engage in homosexual behavior themselves (16,9,17) since extensive worldwide research reveals homosexuality is primarily environmentally induced. Specifically, social and/or family factors, as well as permissive environments which affirm homosexuality, play major environmental roles in the development of homosexual behavior.(18,19,20,21) There’s no question that human sexuality is fluid and pliant.(22) Consider ancient Greece and Rome—among many early civilizations—where male homosexuality and bisexuality were nearly ubiquitous. That was not so because most of those men were born with a “gay gene,” rather because sexuality is malleable and socially influenced.

Same-sex marriage no doubt will increase sexual confusion and sexual experimentation by young people. The implicit and explicit message of same-sex marriage is that all choices are equally acceptable and desirable. So even children from traditional homes—influenced by the all-sexual-options-are-equal message—will grow up thinking it doesn’t matter whom one relates to sexually or marries. Holding such a belief will lead some—if not many—young people to consider sexual and marital arrangements they never would have contemplated previously....

To date, very little research exists that assesses long-term outcomes for homosexually parented children. According to Charlotte Patterson, a self-proclaimed, pro-same-sex-marriage researcher, there are only two longitudinal studies of children raised by lesbians.(23) And no long-term studies of children raised by homosexual men. A professional organization dedicated to the welfare of its patients cannot and should not support drastic change in social policy based on just two, small and non-representative longitudinal studies.

The conclusion is children certainly need love but they also need their mother and father.

Certainly homosexual couples can be just as loving toward children as heterosexual couples, but children need more than love. They require distinctive qualities and complementary natures of a male and a female parent. The accumulated wisdom of over 5,000 years concludes that the ideal marital and parental configuration is composed of one man and one woman. This time-tested wisdom is now supported by the most advanced, scientifically sound research available.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Will homosexual marriage be a big wedge issue in the 2010 Minnesota Governor's race? Let's hope so.

It's interesting that all DFL candidates for governor in Minnesota have staked out a position more liberal than the majority of voters in Maine. They support homosexual marriage.

Eric Black in a MinnPost column entitled, "All DFL guv candidates back gay marriage: A wedge issue in the making?" points out the uniformity of DFL candidates for governor in favor of homosexual marriage. And as the title points out, this could be a wedge issue in the governor's race. My response is: I certainly hope so.

The unanimity of DFL gubernatorial candidates on the issue points out the influence homosexual activists have on the DFL party and apparently none of the candidates have moral sensibilities on the nature of marriage being between a man and a woman. And if they do or did, they've certainly been submerged by political ambition. They realize they can't be the DFL candidate for governor if they don't toe the line on homosexual marriage.

Some are more outspoken on this than others.
Some of the Dem candidates bring this up even in their brief two- or three-minute summaries of what they will do as governor. Former state Rep. Matt Entenza features prominently in the "issues" section of his campaign website that he co-authored the first bill that would have "redefined the legal definition of marriage to explicitly include two persons of the same gender." Others don't bring it up unless asked. But when asked, all say they will sign a same-sex marriage bill, although I gather the most current term for the idea is "marriage equality" (which is not an unreasonable term, but certainly has the whiff of the political Marketing Department about it).

None of the Republican gubernatorial candidates favor legalizing same-sex marriage.

In other words, leaving aside for the moment the Independence Party nominee (there are still no publicly known candidates from that party), the 2010 election will offer Minnesotans a fairly clear choice on, among other issues, gay marriage.

This story is all about movement, specifically movement on the political thinkability of gay marriage. If it seems intuitively obvious that the DFL would nominate a gay marriage advocate for governor, allow me to point out that it is unprecedented. With one possible exception, no major-party nominee for governor of Minnesota has ever been four-square for legalizing same-sex marriage.

The possible exception is state Sen. John Marty, who was the DFL nominee in 1994 and who is running for the nomination again this year (and who says that he expects to sign marriage equality into law within about three years). Marty says he has favored full equality for gays for many years, and did so in 1994, but doesn't recall whether his published positions that year included explicit reference to marriage....

Black interviews DFL state Senator Tom Bakk from the Iron Range who says he now supports homosexual marriage but believes economic issues will be the key ones in the upcoming election.

I think economic issues will be key in lots of people's minds, but marriage will be important to many people as well.

I would argue the two are intimately related. Unless we have strong marriages we won't have a strong economy. The family is the foundation of our economic system. If families are breaking up that ultimately leaves our economy vulnerable. So it's short sighted, at best, to think it's just about the economy and ignore what's happening to marriage and families. Homosexual marriage is an arrow pointed right at the heart of the institution of marriage in our society.

Interesting take on the elections.

Here's an interesting election analysis by Margaret Carlson with Bloomberg. Formerly with Time magazine, she's not a conservative pundit. She points out that an enormous anti-incumbent mood is brewing and Republicans aren't interested in moderate candidates. Which means very conservative candidates will be put up in 2010.
There are many ways to think about Tuesday’s election, some of which are completely wrong. “The real story here is, I think, this thing is ambiguous,” White House adviser David Axelrod said. That’s true only if ambiguous is a synonym for frightening.

There’s one piece of good news for Democrats. They won in New York’s 23rd congressional district for the first time since the mid-19th century, largely because Republicans were in turmoil. NY23 might suffice as a face-saving story offered by Democratic mouthpieces, so long as they don’t actually believe it or foist it on the boss in the Oval Office.

The Democrats’ problems concern direction and mood; the Republicans’ loss in the 23rd showed a weakness of tactics. They weren’t prepared to succeed in driving out the establishment Republican candidate and didn’t have a strong alternative in Doug Hoffman, a charisma-less accountant with the smarts of a fifth grader. Conservatives will surely field a better candidate in 2010. Congressman-elect Bill Owens would be wise to rent, not buy, in Washington.

As hard as it may be for the GOP to contain Sarah Palin (R- Facebook), Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and their various allies, it’s a lot harder to deal with a public that’s losing faith in government to improve their lot.

According to exit polls in both Virginia and New Jersey, more than 85 percent of voters said they were worried about the country’s economy. While Obama didn’t create the economic meltdown, it’s his to cure....

She concludes:

With polls showing government in remarkably low esteem and falling, running in 2010 is likely to be easier as an outsider of either party than as an insider. Incumbents should be afraid, very afraid.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"The Worst Bill Ever" and is history about to repeat itself?

That's the headline from a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on the House Health Care bill. After looking into the bill I can see why the author would have those sentiments.

It's a massive expansion of government control and regulation of health care system which constitutes roughly 15 to 20% of our nation's economy. While the US has been slipping and sliding in a more socialist direction over the past several decade, this bill constitutes an aggressive movement in that direction.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reportedly told fellow Democrats that she's prepared to lose seats in 2010 if that's what it takes to pass ObamaCare, and little wonder. The health bill she unwrapped last Thursday, which President Obama hailed as a "critical milestone," may well be the worst piece of post-New Deal legislation ever introduced.

In a rational political world, this 1,990-page runaway train would have been derailed months ago. With spending and debt already at record peacetime levels, the bill creates a new and probably unrepealable middle-class entitlement that is designed to expand over time. Taxes will need to rise precipitously, even as ObamaCare so dramatically expands government control of health care that eventually all medicine will be rationed via politics.

Yet at this point, Democrats have dumped any pretense of genuine bipartisan "reform" and moved into the realm of pure power politics as they race against the unpopularity of their own agenda. The goal is to ram through whatever income-redistribution scheme they can claim to be "universal coverage." The result will be destructive on every level—for the health-care system, for the country's fiscal condition, and ultimately for American freedom and prosperity.

•The spending surge. The Congressional Budget Office figures the House program will cost $1.055 trillion over a decade, which while far above the $829 billion net cost that Mrs. Pelosi fed to credulous reporters is still a low-ball estimate. Most of the money goes into government-run "exchanges" where people earning between 150% and 400% of the poverty level—that is, up to about $96,000 for a family of four in 2016—could buy coverage at heavily subsidized rates, tied to income. The government would pay for 93% of insurance costs for a family making $42,000, 72% for another making $78,000, and so forth.

At least at first, these benefits would be offered only to those whose employers don't provide insurance or work for small businesses with 100 or fewer workers. The taxpayer costs would be far higher if not for this "firewall"—which is sure to cave in when people see the deal their neighbors are getting on "free" health care. Mrs. Pelosi knows this, like everyone else in Washington.

Even so, the House disguises hundreds of billions of dollars in additional costs with budget gimmicks. It "pays for" about six years of program with a decade of revenue, with the heaviest costs concentrated in the second five years. The House also pretends Medicare payments to doctors will be cut by 21.5% next year and deeper after that, "saving" about $250 billion. ObamaCare will be lucky to cost under $2 trillion over 10 years; it will grow more after that.

• Expanding Medicaid, gutting private Medicare. All this is particularly reckless given the unfunded liabilities of Medicare—now north of $37 trillion over 75 years. Mrs. Pelosi wants to steal $426 billion from future Medicare spending to "pay for" universal coverage. While Medicare's price controls on doctors and hospitals are certain to be tightened, the only cut that is a sure thing in practice is gutting Medicare Advantage to the tune of $170 billion. Democrats loathe this program because it gives one of out five seniors private insurance options.

As for Medicaid, the House will expand eligibility to everyone below 150% of the poverty level, meaning that some 15 million new people will be added to the rolls as private insurance gets crowded out at a cost of $425 billion. A decade from now more than a quarter of the population will be on a program originally intended for poor women, children and the disabled.

Even though the House will assume 91% of the "matching rate" for this joint state-federal program—up from today's 57%—governors would still be forced to take on $34 billion in new burdens when budgets from Albany to Sacramento are in fiscal collapse. Washington's budget will collapse too, if anything like the House bill passes.

Then taxes.

• European levels of taxation. All told, the House favors $572 billion in new taxes, mostly by imposing a 5.4-percentage-point "surcharge" on joint filers earning over $1 million, $500,000 for singles. This tax will raise the top marginal rate to 45% in 2011 from 39.6% when the Bush tax cuts expire—not counting state income taxes and the phase-out of certain deductions and exemptions. The burden will mostly fall on the small businesses that have organized as Subchapter S or limited liability corporations, since the truly wealthy won't have any difficulty sheltering their incomes.

This surtax could hit ever more earners because, like the alternative minimum tax, it isn't indexed for inflation. Yet it still won't be nearly enough. Even if Congress had confiscated 100% of the taxable income of people earning over $500,000 in the boom year of 2006, it would have only raised $1.3 trillion. When Democrats end up soaking the middle class, perhaps via the European-style value-added tax that Mrs. Pelosi has endorsed, they'll claim the deficits that they created made them do it.

Under another new tax, businesses would have to surrender 8% of their payroll to government if they don't offer insurance or pay at least 72.5% of their workers' premiums, which eat into wages. Such "play or pay" taxes always become "pay or pay" and will rise over time, with severe consequences for hiring, job creation and ultimately growth. While the U.S. already has one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the world, Democrats are on the way to creating a high structural unemployment rate, much as Europe has done by expanding its welfare states.

Meanwhile, a tax equal to 2.5% of adjusted gross income will also be imposed on some 18 million people who CBO expects still won't buy insurance in 2019. Democrats could make this penalty even higher, but that is politically unacceptable, or they could make the subsidies even higher, but that would expose the (already ludicrous) illusion that ObamaCare will reduce the deficit.

Government takeover of insurance.

• The insurance takeover. A new "health choices commissioner" will decide what counts as "essential benefits," which all insurers will have to offer as first-dollar coverage. Private insurers will also be told how much they are allowed to charge even as they will have to offer coverage at virtually the same price to anyone who applies, regardless of health status or medical history.

The cost of insurance, naturally, will skyrocket. The insurer WellPoint estimates based on its own market data that some premiums in the individual market will triple under these new burdens. The same is likely to prove true for the employer-sponsored plans that provide private coverage to about 177 million people today. Over time, the new mandates will apply to all contracts, including for the large businesses currently given a safe harbor from bureaucratic tampering under a 1974 law called Erisa.

The political incentive will always be for government to expand benefits and reduce cost-sharing, trampling any chance of giving individuals financial incentives to economize on care. Essentially, all insurers will become government contractors, in the business of fulfilling political demands: There will be no such thing as "private" health insurance.

Expansion of government involvement in health care

All of this is intentional, even if it isn't explicitly acknowledged. The overriding liberal ambition is to finish the work began decades ago as the Great Society of converting health care into a government responsibility. Mr. Obama's own Medicare actuaries estimate that the federal share of U.S. health dollars will quickly climb beyond 60% from 46% today. One reason Mrs. Pelosi has fought so ferociously against her own Blue Dog colleagues to include at least a scaled-back "public option" entitlement program is so that the architecture is in place for future Congresses to expand this share even further.

As Congress's balance sheet drowns in trillions of dollars in new obligations, the political system will have no choice but to start making cost-minded decisions about which treatments patients are allowed to receive. Democrats can't regulate their way out of the reality that we live in a world of finite resources and infinite wants. Once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, medical rationing is inevitable—especially for the innovative high-cost technologies and drugs that are the future of medicine.

Mr. Obama rode into office on a wave of "change," but we doubt most voters realized that the change Democrats had in mind was making health care even more expensive and rigid than the status quo. Critics will say we are exaggerating, but we believe it is no stretch to say that Mrs. Pelosi's handiwork ranks with the Smoot-Hawley tariff and FDR's National Industrial Recovery Act as among the worst bills Congress has ever seriously contemplated.

In the last line, the author mentions the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill which was passed at the beginning of the Great Depression. Many "credit" Smoot-Hawley with extending and deepening the Great Depression. Is history about to repeat itself?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fraud in New Jersey governor's race? Sounds like it already.

Will or are we already seeing fraud in the New Jersey governor's race? That's what John Fund of the Wall Street Journal is already hearing. Here's what Gary Bauer wrote concerning Fund's concerns which were written the day before Election Day.
John Fund of the Wall Street Journal wrote yesterday that Democrats may already be trying to steal the New Jersey election. According to Fund, Garden State Democrats are taking advantage of a new law on mail-in voting, while pressuring local election clerks to not scrutinize the signatures on the ballots too closely – “the only verification procedure allowed.”

But, according to Fund, “On some 3,000 forms the signature doesn’t match the one on file with county clerks.” Nevertheless, Democrat lawyers are demanding that the secretary of state “instruct County Clerks not to deny applications on the basis of signature comparison alone.”

How bad is the potential problem? According to one campaign worker in Camden “more than fifteen times the normal number of voters are casting absentee ballots in Camden this year.” Worse yet, Fund writes that ACORN workers were spotted going into a hospital near Newark with blank absentee ballots and leaving with completed ballots. While these so-called “messenger ballots” may be legal, the potential for fraud and abuse is obvious. I hope Republican Chris Christie has an army of poll watchers and lawyers on duty today to stop another election from being stolen.

If the election in New Jersey is close, these ballots may determine the outcome – and we know how that is likely to go. Every time I see Al Franken in the Senate I am reminded of just how important it is for every conservative to vote.

The great abortion and euthanasia power grab. Pelosi and Obama's health care bill.

Most of the national coverage and debate over the health care bill focuses on cost to taxpayers and government control over health care decisions. What the bill will also do is imbed taxpayer funding for abortion in our nation's health care system and put in place a framework for encouraging euthanasia. Here's a description of what the bill will do put out by the Human Life Alliance.
Today, Nancy Pelosi unveiled the updated health care reform bill. Talk about scary! The new bill is very similar to HR3200 as it was amended with the Capps amendment before Congress adjourned for the summer. This 2000 page bill is available online but let me highlight some of the main concerns that we have with it:

Abortion Funding: H.R. 3962 replicates the Capps amendment, passed in the Energy and Commerce Committee.
The bill clearly does not incorporate the Hyde amendment. Instead it accomplishes the opposite of the Hyde amendment which prohibits funding for abortion through government programs. The newly created public option will be authorized to pay for abortions. While the Hyde amendment prohibits funding for coverage that includes abortion, H.R. 3962 establishes an accounting gimmick to justify subsidizing private plans that cover abortion.

School Based Health Clinics:
School health clinics will be mandated. While a new provision prohibits the use of school based health clinic grants for abortion, there is no language regarding abortion referral or facilitating an abortion at another location.

Indian Health: Division D of H.R. 3962
reauthorizes the Indian Health Service (IHS) without a permanent ban on abortion funding. The Senate passed a ban on abortion funding (Vitter Amendment) in the last Congress, but the House did not consider the bill - reportedly due to concern that an abortion funding ban might be successfully attached in the House. The language in H.R. 3962 links Indian Health Service (IHS) funding for abortion to the Health and Human Services Appropriations bill for the given year. This arrangement replicates what is currently in law, but does not reflect the Vitter amendment. Therefore, the current bill will only restrict IHS abortion funding if the Hyde amendment is in effect.

Assisted Suicide: Section 240 of H.R. 3962 requires insurance companies to provide information related to "end-of-life planning" to individuals seeking enrollment in insurance offered on the health insurance exchange. Although the section has several provisions that say the materials provided shall not include assisted suicide, euthanasia and mercy killing, there is a concerned because these terms are not defined, and broader protective language adopted earlier in the Energy and Commerce Committee version has been removed. The broader language was necessary because Oregon and Washington have laws permitting what is commonly thought of as assisted suicide, but those same state laws specifically say that what is done in their state is not assisted suicide. This creates a huge loophole that means
H.R. 3962 will require the distribution of end of life materials that will likely include information about assisted suicide options in states such as Oregon and Washington.

Call and write your senators and your representative and tell them to vote
NO on the health care reform bill. Tell them you do not want to pay for abortions or end of life counseling that includes assisted suicide or euthanasia!!
So here we have another effort by liberals to foist their abortion agenda on the entire nation with President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi leading the charge.

Monday, November 2, 2009

YouTube post heard around the world.

A couple of weeks ago a couple of Minnesota conservative groups invited in Lord Christopher Monckton, a past adviser to Margaret Thatcher and global warming skeptic, to address the Climate Change Treaty being worked on by the UN and scheduled for a meeting in December in Copenhagen.

It looks like another effort to impose a misguided, disastrous response to the supposed global warming threat. (There's new evidence that the environment may now be cooling but that's another issue.)

Monckton came in and spoke at Bethel University on what this Treaty might actually do. A short snippet of his remarks was posted on YouTube and from there it went everywhere. As of early last week it had gotten over 1.4 million hits.

Here's an overview of the issue by an Australian writer whose piece, entitled "Has Anyone Read the Copenhagen Agreement?", was published at the Wall Street Journal.

This is another illustration of the power of the new media. Info gets passed along to millions of people with the click of a mouse.