Obama’s Approval Sinks. What Would it Be if They Asked About Religious Liberty?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. Official White House Photo.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. Official White House Photo.

CNN recently polled Americans’ approval of President Obama’s job performance.

It turns out that President Obama’s approval ratings have now sunk lower than the approval ratings of former President Bush. The article I’m citing makes a big deal about that, but it’s really a non-sequitur since former President Bush hasn’t been on the hot seat for quite a while now, and Americans tend to wax nostalgic about former presidents.

President Obama’s approval ratings fell most sharply in the areas of illegal immigration, ISIS and surveillance.

The latter is particularly important, because the issue of surveillance cuts into the base that elected President Obama. I think it reflects his failure to live up to campaign promises in this matter.

I wonder what the poll numbers would be if the poll had included questions about religious freedom. I agree with some of the things President Obama has done and disagree with others. But his attack on religious freedom via the HHS Mandate is a total deal breaker for me. It would be a deal breaker with any president, of either party.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. In fact, if the 2014 election results mean anything, President Obama has single-handedly scuttled the Democratic Party base among Catholic voters.

Another area I’d like to see polling firms ask about is legal immigration. Do We the People approve of the current immigration policies of our government? In fact how many of us know about the immigration policies of our government?

I can tell you that corporate greed and its demand for cheap labor and good relations with certain countries for purposes of commerce decides immigration policy, including policies concerning illegal immigration. Campaign rhetoric aside, these policies do not change, no matter which party wins the election. The welfare and opinions of the American people don’t figure into it.

From Breitbart:

A CNN poll released Wednesday shows that George W. Bush is not only more popular than President Obama, a majority of Americans now view the former president in a positive light. A full 52% see Bush favorably, compared to just 43% who do not. Only 49% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Obama. The same number, 49%, do not.

Obama’s job approval numbers also took a serious dive in the CNN poll. Just last month, the president sat at a 48% approval rating, with just 47% disapproving. Not great, but he was at least above water. Today Obama is upside down a full 7 points, with just 45% approving of his job and a clear majority of 52% disapproving.

That’s an 8 point drop.

On the specifics of his job, other than race relations, Obama is upside down, sometimes by huge margins, in every category: economy 46-53;  ISIS 32-63;  race relations 50-47;  Climate Change 41-49;  illegal immigration 36-60;   government surveillance 29-67;  health care 44-54; foreign affairs 43-55;  terrorism 45-51.

Since last month, Obama’s numbers have worsened considerably on the specific issues of ISIS, immigration, and surveillance.

 

FBI Flies Surveillance over Me and Thee

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by DonkeyHotey https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by DonkeyHotey https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/

I wonder if the government is going through our lingerie drawers when we’re out of the house.

That’s about the only thing they seem to be missing in their zeal to pry into what Americans are doing.

We all know about the government scooping up our cell phone calls and emails. We also know that they monitor our bank accounts to see if we withdrawing our money in suspicious ways. It’s even a federal crime to withdraw your own money from your own bank account in a “structured way.” You don’t have to commit any other crime. All you have to do is withdraw your own money from your own account in the wrong way.

Now it turns out that the FBI hires fleets of airplanes from dummy companies that it’s created to fly surveillance over Americans. The FBI says that these planes are “not equipped” to fly surveillance over me and thee. They are, rather used for “operational” activities.

So, we have a question, and that question is, do we believe the FBI?

Is this is all shades of Cold War spy stuff turned on the American people? Is the FBI running a U2 spy plane deal like those our country once flew over Communist countries?

We did that because Communist leaders said things like “We will bury you,” to America, and they had the bomb and an air force and missiles and a navy and World War II had proven they knew how to fight.

Is the FBI now running the same kind of surveillance on little old us?

If the FBI turns out to be engaging in a U2 scenario against the American people — and given what we already know the government is doing to us, that’s a fair question — I can’t help but wonder which American managed to scare the government so badly that it is so afraid of its citizens.

Our government is increasingly an isolated bubble of group think whose decision-making positions are held by graduates of a few schools and members of a few think tanks and organizations who all know one another. They are as separated from the American people as a lone fisherman, living on the banks of the Amazon.

They not only don’t know anything about the people of this country, they have contempt for us. If you doubt that, just replay a couple of the comments made by President Obama and Governor Romney in their respective campaigns. If you take them at their words, you can only conclude that We the People are a bunch of unwashed ignoramuses to both of them.

They not only have contempt for us, they are, if all this surveillance means anything, afraid of us.

The real question here is does law enforcement exist to enforce the law and maintain the pubic safety in the interests of domestic tranquility, or does it exist to control the American people? If it turns out that the FBI really is surveilling the American people, U2 style, then I think the answer is clearly the latter.

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology — all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.

The planes’ surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge’s approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. The FBI said it uses front companies to protect the safety of the pilots and aircraft. It also shields the identity of the aircraft so that suspects on the ground don’t know they’re being watched by the FBI.

In a recent 30-day period, the agency flew above more than 30 cities in 11 states across the country, an AP review found.

Aerial surveillance represents a changing frontier for law enforcement, providing what the government maintains is an important tool in criminal, terrorism or intelligence probes. But the program raises questions about whether there should be updated policies protecting civil liberties as new technologies pose intrusive opportunities for government spying.

U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed for the first time the wide-scale use of the aircraft, which the AP traced to at least 13 fake companies, such as FVX Research, KQM Aviation, NBR Aviation and PXW Services.

Even basic aspects of the program are withheld from the public in censored versions of official reports from the Justice Department’s inspector general.

The FBI also has been careful not to reveal its surveillance flights in court documents.

“The FBI’s aviation program is not secret,” spokesman Christopher Allen said in a statement. “Specific aircraft and their capabilities are protected for operational security purposes.” Allen added that the FBI’s planes “are not equipped, designed or used for bulk collection activities or mass surveillance.”

But the planes can capture video of unrelated criminal activity on the ground that could be handed over for prosecutions.

Some of the aircraft can also be equipped with technology that can identify thousands of people below through the cellphones they carry, even if they’re not making a call or in public. Officials said that practice, which mimics cell towers and gets phones to reveal basic subscriber information, is rare.

Details confirmed by the FBI track closely with published reports since at least 2003 that a government surveillance program might be behind suspicious-looking planes slowly circling neighborhoods.

Former Oklahoma Rep Randy Terrill Begins Prison Sentence

Rep Randy Terrill. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives File Photo.

Rep Randy Terrill. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives File Photo.

My former colleague Representative Randy Terrill surrendered to authorities today. He is beginning a one-year prison sentence for bribery. He will also pay a $5,000 fine.

Rep Terrill and I fought one another to a fare-thee-well over immigration laws that he passed. Other times, on other issues, we agreed with one another.

But the important thing to me is not the issues. It is the tragedy of seeing someone I know go to prison. I will pray for Randy. He can come back from this and live a good life. I hope that is what he does.

From kfor.com:

OKLAHOMA CITY – A former State Representative turned himself into authorities Friday morning to begin service his sentence for his political bribery conviction.

Randy Terrill’s surrender comes exactly one week after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals upheld his conviction.

He will be transferred to a state prison where he will serve one year for the crime.

He also has to pay a $5,000 fine.

His co-defendant, former State Senator Debbe Leftwich, is serving one year of probation.

 

Crisis Pregnancy Centers are Under Attack for Saving Lives

Copyright:  Mother and Unborn Child Care. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright: Mother and Unborn Child Care. All Rights Reserved.

Two days ago, the California Assembly passed a bill attacking crisis pregnancy centers. Among other things, this new law would require crisis pregnancy centers to refer women for abortions.

The President of the United States has staked his administration’s legacy on an attempt, through the HHS Mandate, to force Catholic ministries and Christian businesses to pay for contraceptives, including abortifacients.

Christian small business people are being threatened with life-destroying fines and the loss of their livelihoods if they will not bake cakes and provide flowers for gay weddings. This is being called discrimination on the part of these small businesses, even though it is nothing of the sort.

They do not discriminate against any group of people. They offer service to all, including homosexuals. What they do not want is to participate in this one type of event which violates their religious faith.

Why are these things happening?

Why is it so important to those who hold different viewpoints from traditional Christianity to force Christians to violate their faith?

The answer is that in terms of practical reality, it isn’t. Crisis pregnancy centers do not stop women from choosing an abortion. “Choice” co-exists with crisis pregnancy centers.

What crisis pregnancy centers do is offer life-saving alternatives to abortion. Unlike the scrape ‘em and street ‘em abortion clinics, crisis pregnancy centers are in for the long haul. They help women throughout their pregnancies and afterward.

Birth Choice of Oklahoma, the crisis pregnancy center where I volunteered, also has a home where women can stay during their pregnancies. We have women who come back to bring their adult children who they chose not to abort because of Birth Choices’ ministry to them in a desperate time of their lives.

These women are grateful beyond words for their children’s lives. Grateful, too, for the lives of their grandchildren. They realize now what they would have lost if they had chosen to kill their baby. They are grateful to the people who helped them and supported them so that they could chose life instead of death for their child.

That doesn’t answer the question as to why crisis pregnancy centers are under attack, why a President has staked his administration’s place in history on an attempt to narrow and ultimately destroy the First Amendment, why the existence of Christian small businesses who don’t want to violate their faith is such a cause of rage and hatred.

Pro life people have used the business model to explain the attacks on crisis pregnancy centers. After all, abortion is a big, profitable business. It turns out that doctors who kill can make a killing doing their worst.

So, pro life people posit that abortionists attack crisis pregnancy centers because these centers cost them business. It is all a matter of  the doh rey mi.

The trouble with this explanation is that it doesn’t explain why a president would destroy his own place in history, just to attack religious freedom. It doesn’t explain why destroying every small business person who does not want to participate in gay weddings must be ground to dust.

There’s more afoot than money in this desire to punish and destroy competing voices in the march to cultural nihilism. It appears that the something lying at the bottom of this sewer of coercion is far simpler and pure in its evil than greed.

I think what we are dealing with is a desire to destroy faith itself. Every time a Christian is forced by government power to chose between following Christ and doing what the government commands, one of two things must happen. The Christian either bows low before government and denies Christ, or they chose Christ and defy the government.

If they deny Christ, the demons and devils rejoice, and Christian witness in our society dies another death. If they chose Christ, the government swings into action to either bring them to heel or destroy them. Either way, the lesson is plain for every other Christian to see: Following Jesus can cost you everything you have. The government will attack you with all its might, and the media and the howling Christian haters will support them in doing it.

Worse, other Christians will mostly just stand by and let it happen by making a Niemoller choice that, since this isn’t happening to them personally, they can pretend that it doesn’t matter all that much.

Crisis pregnancy centers have been under attack from those who want to destroy Christian voices in the public sphere for quite a while now.

I would think that of all the voices the darkness wants to silence, crisis pregnancy centers would head the list.

Crisis pregnancy centers give the option of choosing life to women who have been offered nothing but the option of death as a solution for their problems. Crisis pregnancy centers save babies’ lives. They also save young women from murdering their own child.

Crisis pregnancy centers are a light, shining in the darkness, and the darkness, as it always does, hates the light.

Every time you write a check in support of Mother and Unborn Child Care, you are choosing life. You are, whether you know it or not, choosing Christ.

Every volunteer hour you spend in service to Mother and Unborn Child Care is an hour given to the light against the darkness.

Every child you save, every mother you save, sets in motion a line of life that goes forward into the generations to grandchildren, great grandchildren and on.

You are helping young women chose life and by doing that you are saving the life of a child, and you are saving a young women from killing her own baby, and you are saving her patrimony.

Of course, the darkness attacks crisis pregnancy centers. Of course, this darkness wants to force those who have given so much to the service of life to bow before the baals.

Breaking us — and make no mistake about it, everything I have described is an attempt to break us — and our witness for life is, in the twisted minds of those who listen to the darkness and follow after it — breaking Him. It is another Calvary, only this time it is in the hearts of believers.

I urge everyone here to open your check books and write checks that say no to the darkness and yes to the light. Mother and Unborn Child Care needs our support to continue its life-giving work.

Supporting Mother and Unborn Child Care is an opportunity for you. You can, by writing a check, save  generations of life, defend young women from being coerced into murder, and light a small flame that drives back the darkness, just a bit.

Is there anything more important you can do with your money?

Do you have the opportunity to do this much good with your hard-earned cash in any other way, any other place?

If not, I urge you to take full advantage of the opportunity that is before you tonight and support life.

Thank you.

To donate to Mother and Unborn Child Care, go here.

To learn more about Birth Choice of Oklahoma, go here.

Why Weren’t the Laws Concerning Minors Followed in the Duggar Case?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

I haven’t paid much attention to the case of Josh Duggar.

I never watched the cable reality show that brought his family to fame. I am neither a fan nor a hater of this family. They just aren’t on my radar.

When Josh Duggar’s juvenile records were revealed, my mind was elsewhere. I was vaguely aware that the situation surrounding Mr Duggar had developed into another round of the culture wars, but nothing more.

Then, I realized that, based on what I’d read, Mr Duggar did not receive the legal protection that he was entitled to as a minor offender. That made the situation interesting to me.

Here’s what little I know.

Josh Duggar, who is a member of a large family that has a successful reality tv show, evidently engaged in some sort of sexual touching of young females when he was 14 years old. His father subsequently filed a report with the police about this behavior. There is no reported history of repeat offense.

Josh Duggar is now an adult. He is married and has children of his own. The police report from his past has surfaced. This police report has become a means of attacking the philosophy and religion of his family. This has led to a media feeding frenzy.

My questions about this do not concern the treatment Mr Duggar is receiving from the media. I am wondering why, since he was a minor at the time these things occurred, his records were made public in the first place.

There is a reason for sealing the judicial and criminal records of minors. That reason is simply that minors can and often do commit criminal acts and then never do it again. Adolescent offenders are actually likely to go on to lead productive lives.

I personally know people who committed crimes when they were minors and who have lived long productive lives as successful members of the community. I grew up with these people. Their actions as youthful offenders in no way represents who they are now. They, quite literally, grew out of their violent adolescence and went on to live productive and respectable lives.

Our juvenile justice system is based in part on the understanding that minors, in particular adolescents, have an enormous capacity for positive growth. They are in fact and in truth, children. Their ways are not fixed. With proper intervention and with love, they can and they often do, change entirely.

That is why we do not put minors in adult prisons and do not, with a few exceptions for specific violent crimes, try them as adults. It is also why we seal their records.

The reasoning behind sealing the records of adolescents who commit crimes or who have various problems is that adolescents are not fully formed adults. They are not culpable for their actions in the same way that an adult would be. They also have a much greater potential for successful and life-long reform than an adult would have.

Sealing an adolescents’ records is a way of giving them a second chance. When they grow up to be productive adults who do not repeat the behaviors that got them into trouble, it is considered that they have demonstrated successful reform. Sealing their records, or even expunging their records, is a way our legal system has of giving minors a second chance at life.

My question in the Duggar situation is why wasn’t this done with his records?

I understand that he and his situation are being used as a weapon in the culture wars. I also understand that these culture wars are ruthless. Josh Duggar’s past is a tactical weapon. It will be used as a tactical weapon. The law does not enter into that.

However, the law still exists. Josh Duggar was a minor at the time of these offenses. So far as I know, there is no record of a repeat offense. Why was the law not applied to Josh Duggar as it is to other juvenile offenders?

His records should have been sealed. In fact, they probably should have been expunged.

Culture wars aside, the legal protections that are available to minor offenders were, for some reason, denied Josh Duggar.

There are a lot of other questions I could ask about this, but I’m not so sure they’re pertinent. I honestly don’t want to know the details of what he did that got him into this situation. I also don’t care if his family’s television show stays on the air or not.

What concerns me is that he was himself a minor child when these events took place and his rights as a minor offender were, for reasons unknown, denied him. As I said, there is a purpose for these laws, and it is a good purpose.

Contrary to prevailing perceptions, most adolescent offenders actually do grow out of their problems. A recent PBS documentary claimed that as high as 80% of youthful offenders never repeat their crimes. 

Actors Steven McQueen, Marc Wahlberg, Robert Mitchum and Merle Haggard are all entertainment industry examples of juvenile offenders who reformed. I’ve seen many adolescent offenders grow up and live productive lives.

The culture wars’ feeding frenzy notwithstanding, I have a question as to whether or not Mr Duggar’s legal rights as a minor offender were violated. So far as I know, we are dealing with a police report rather than a conviction, and this police report concerns the actions of a 14-year-old offender. If there are extenuating circumstances which required that his records not be sealed, I do not know about them.

This situation raises questions about youthful offenders and how they are treated generally. Most youthful offenders will not repeat their offenses. As Mr Duggar’s situation illustrates, youthful offenders who later become prominent citizens may in fact be facing a kind of social and cultural life sentence for their offenses if we do not seal their records.

Do we want to allow youthful offenders second chances, or do we want to treat them the same as we do adults?

That’s a question we need to consider. The situation with Josh Duggar illustrates just how serious it can become.

 

My Dead Will Stay Undecorated.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by David Goerhing https://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by David Goerhing https://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/

It’s Memorial Day.

Our big plan was to load Mama in the car and go on our annual cemetery safari, trotting around the state to put flowers on the graves of our dead family. We usually end up running into relatives we haven’t seen in a while for impromptu graveside reunions. We also enjoy the drive.

But springtime plans in Oklahoma are always subject to the weather. This year, the weather says that smart Okies stay off the highways.

Saturday night was another go round of storms and flooding. My husband went to vigil mass. The kids watch Mama every week so I can go to mass.

But, for some reason, I got sick. It was a funky sickness. I was just suddenly soooo tired that I told him I was too tired to go to mass. I know that sounds odd, but this was a tidal wave of tired, kinda like somebody reached out and thunked me on the head and said, “You ain’t goin’ to mass tonight.”

He went on, I stayed home, and the tornadoes and rains moved in. I ended up in the shelter with Mama while he was stranded on high ground, watching the flood waters roil around him.

In the midst of all this, Mama lost her teeth. Or rather, I should say that she hid her teeth and forgot where she hid them. We still haven’t found them.So it was tornado sirens, floods and hoisting a little old lady in and out of a storm shelter; all with an unending background of “I want my teeth.”

When my husband called, he said he was taking shelter from the floods in a car wash. I didn’t say anything to him. He wasn’t in a laughing mood. But between the teeth and sheltering his car from the floods in a car wash, I had a good laugh. I still laugh when I think about it.

Nobody was hurt. My husband was the only one who even got wet. Mama has gotten so she enjoys the drama of going to the shelter, kind of like a little kid. The only losers are our dead family, who, due to more incoming weather, will remain flowerless.

Here are a few videos of the good times for your amusement and amazement.

YouTube Preview Image

This is an area where we normally enjoy family recreation.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Dems for Life Calls on Hillary to Open Up Democratic Party to Pro Life People

Photo Source: Wikimedia, by Voice of America. Public Domain.

Photo Source: Wikimedia, by Voice of America. Public Domain.

I know what you’re going to say, so let me say it for you.

Fat chance.

Democrats for Life of America has issued a press release calling for Hillary Clinton to bring back the big tent and open up the Democratic Party to pro life people.

Now, for the response I know many of your are thinking: Fat Chance.

I am aware, in ways that most of the rest of your can only guess at, just how entrenched the pro abortion position is in the upper levels of the Democratic Party. I also am aware, again as I think most of you are not, that this does not represent the thinking of many Democrats.

The Rs and the Ds are alike in many ways. One of the most significant is that the upper reaches of both parties are far removed from the rank and file. In fact, the upper reaches of both the R and the D view the rank and file as rubes to be manipulated and managed.

So, if the upper reaches of the Democratic Party are so entrenched in abortion, is it really a “fat chance” deal to try to change it?

No.

Here’s why.

Somebody changed it in the first place.

The Democratic Party was pro life back in the 70s and early 80s. Again, I know this as most of you don’t. I have what you might call insider knowledge of how these deals came down and how we got where we are. I know because I helped create this monster.

Now, back to Democrats for Life’s call for Hillary Clinton to open up the big tent. I think their target is well chosen. Secretary Clinton is pro choice, no doubt about that. I don’t expect her to change on that, although I have to tell you, I pray for it. But she’s not a Christian-hater like President Obama appears to be. She isn’t a bigot.

Unlike President Obama, who has attacked religious freedom, President Clinton supported and signed laws guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. Both Clintons have been consistent respecters of religious freedom in their public behavior. This isn’t rhetoric. They have a track record.

Of all the Democratic candidates, I think Hillary Clinton is the best bet for opening up the party and allowing Democrats to think and let think once again.

Do not take this post an endorsement for Hillary Clinton. I will not endorse any candidate in the upcoming race. I will not make public statements about how I’m going to vote. I don’t vote straight party. I will say that much, but that is all.

My purpose in writing Public Catholic is not to promote more of the political heresy. It is to get Christians to think past the political heresy and follow Christ. Period.

That means I will step on toes from time to time. When I say that Hillary Clinton — who is the D that the Rs love most to hate — is the best bet for religious freedom within the Democratic party, that’s an honest assessment.

Will it work?

From my experience, calling people to follow their better angels never works in the short term. It is not — ever — a quick fix. But if you’ve got the guts and the persistence to keep doing it, you will find that it always works in the long run.

Not with everybody. There will always be people who cling to their dark side. But people respond to higher calls with incredible courage and power if they come to trust the caller.

I support this call to change the party. I have always supported it, and I imagine that I always will. If we can convert the Democratic Party, we can win this fight for life. If we do not convert the Democratic Party, the fight will never end.

It’s as simple as that.

Here’s the full press release from Democrats for Life of America.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT: Kristen Day
(202) 220-3066

May 7, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – – Democrats For Life of Americais urging presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to open the Big Tent of the Democratic Party to pro-life voters and to support neutrality on the issue of abortion in the Democratic Party Platform. The current platform not only supports abortion, but also supports taxpayer funding of abortion.

“Secretary Clinton once recognized that people ‘have deeply held differences of opinion about the issue of abortion, and she said she respected ‘those who believe that there are no circumstances under which any abortion should ever be available.’  We are asking candidate Clinton to open that door and issue in a new era of respect and inclusion for Democrats who hold these views,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America.  “For the good of the party, we must re-open the big tent to include Democrats who support life from conception to natural death.”

In 1978, the Democratic Party held a 292-seat majority in the U.S. House, which included 125 pro-life Democrats.  Increased partisanship over the pro-life issue—including the rejection of pro-life candidates within the Democratic Party—caused many of the pro-life Democratic districts to elect Republican candidates.  In fact, the number of pro-choice Democrats in the House has essentially remained around 167.  It is the number of pro-life Democrats that decreased from 125 to only a handful, leaving Democrats overall with only 188 members.

“Since the 1992 shunning of pro-life Democratic Governor Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, the Democratic Party has alienated its pro-life base.  Polls consistently show that about one-third of Democrats—that’s 21 million Democrats—oppose abortion,” said Day.  “If we are going to increase our base to win back the majority and keep the White House, our Democratic nominee must recognize the contributions of pro-life Democrats within our party and the diverse position of Democrats on the issue of abortion.”

That diversity of opinion is as follows:

  • 61% of Democrats support parental consent for minors seeking abortion (Gallup, 2011);
  • 60% of Democrats support a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion (Gallup, 2011);
  • 84% of Democrats support informed consent (Gallup, 2011);
  • 49% of Democrats support an ultrasound requirement (Gallup, 2011);
  • 59% of Democrats support a ban on partial-birth abortions (Gallup, 2011).

“We are asking Secretary Clinton and any other Democratic presidential hopeful to embrace a platform that fully represents all Democrats, not just those who support abortion,” said Day.  “In the 2008 election, about one-quarter of Obama’s supporters self-identified as pro-life.  These numbers are not trivial; they exceed many prominent and well-represented constituencies in the party.  Electoral success for the party nationwide will depend on the enthusiasm of all Democrats, including pro-life Democrats.”

-30-

 

Senate Punts on Obama Trade Deals. The people Lose Again.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. Official White House Photo.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. Official White House Photo.

The United States Senate once again abrogated its responsibilities in favor of letting the Prez do it.

This, my friends, is how we got the imperial presidency. Congress accedes its responsibility because the vote is too “hot” or, as in this case, the corporatist interests want the deal that’s being done.

The Senate gave up the right to amend the Prez’ trade deals and just let him, you know, Rule.

Who’s the loser in all this? Why, you and me, of course. When the Rs and the Ds get together on their corporatism, we always end up in the dirt.

We might all stand on the West Coast and wave our jobs good-bye.

From the Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — The Senate advanced President Barack Obama’s trade agenda Thursday, voting to end debate on bill that would grant the administration power to fast-track massive new pacts through Congress.

A number of senators objected to the process, complaining that they were unable to get votes on amendments they deemed essential to making sure that looming deals with 12 Pacific Rim nations and Europe live up to promises of helping U.S. workers.

But 62 of their colleagues disagreed and voted to halt debate anyway, setting up passage of the fast-track bill by the end of the week.

… Fast track, formally known as Trade Promotion Authority, would allow the president to cut trade agreements with other nations, then advance them through Congress with expedited procedures that allow no amendments, filibusters or delays, guaranteeing him simple majority votes.

 

 

Breaking: Federal Court Forces Notre Dame to Follow HHS Mandate

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Scott Gulbransen https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdunlvrebel/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Scott Gulbransen https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdunlvrebel/

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the University of Notre Dame’s appeal against the HHS Mandate today.

In a brazen disregard for the First Amendment, the Court argued that the “burden” on the government to re-write the HHS Mandate to allow the Catholic University of Notre Dame to follow the dictates of its faith was too high. The court also said that the “burden” on Notre Dame of being forced to violate its faith and abandon the free exercise of religion which is the guarantee of every American was just not all that important.

They didn’t put it in those words, and I am deliberately writing it in purple prose. But that is the essential meaning.

The court ruled that an agency rule written by a back-room committee of abortion industry insiders trumps the First Amendment guarantee of the free exercise of religion. It based this ruling on the bizarre opinion that abiding by the Constitution of the United States placed an undue burden on the government of the United States.

Here is what they said, without my interpretation and in their own little words:

“The very word ‘accommodation’ implies a balance of competing interests,” the court noted.

“And when we compare the burden on the government or third parties of having to establish some entirely new method of providing contraceptive coverage with the burden on Notre Dame of simply notifying the government that the ball is now in the government’s court, we cannot conclude that Notre Dame has yet established its right to the injunctive relief that it is seeking before trial,” the court said.

 

Two Bad Presidents Made Iraq into the Petri Dish that Grew ISIS.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Fotis Bobolas https://www.flickr.com/photos/fbobolas/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Fotis Bobolas https://www.flickr.com/photos/fbobolas/

How did Iraq become the cesspool that birthed ISIS?

Who made this mess?

We did.

We did it under the one-two punch of back to back bad presidents.

It’s popular for the Ds to point at the totally unnecessary war in Iraq as the cause of the situation there. They are, of course, right.

It’s equally popular for the Rs to point at the premature withdrawal from Iraq as the real cause of the mess. They are, of course, also right.

The point?

This country has suffered two bad presidents in a row. They each increased the divisiveness in the body politic and managed to convince a large part of the electorate that they only govern on behalf of others and not them. What’s worse, these two presidents have both made mistakes that led us directly into the conflagration that has been occurring in the Middle East.

We had no reason to go to war with Iraq in the first place. The reason we were given — weapons of mass destruction — was not true. The CIA either gave bad intel to President Bush, or they lied to him. You decide for yourself which you think it was.

The finest thing President Bush ever did was man up and tell the truth about this. He admitted that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was his Bay of Pigs. He learned that what Dwight Eisenhower called the “Military Industrial Complex” was massaging intel in order to drum up wars.

I don’t know if he ever understood the full meaning of this or not. All I know is that he did stand up and tell the truth when the truth needed to be told.

Enter President Obama. This president has not been the mindless shill for the military industrial complex that many of his predecessors were, but he was evidently flying blind when he decided to pull our troops out of Iraq. This action created the vacuum that allowed ISIS to grow like a parasitical infection.

So, Rs and Ds, who’s to blame?

President Bush got us into a quagmire. We were, if anyone cares to remember, supposed to go into Iraq, whip them good, cowboy style, and then go home. What we ended up with was a big mess that set us up for decades of occupation, bleeding out the lives of our young men and women on a daily basis.

I watched a few television specials about the so-called tactics being used in Iraq and I was sickened to see American lives wasted in this way. The idea appeared to have been to send our troops out to drive along a road. If they got through, fine. If they got killed, then they were heroes, and well, the manufacturers of body bags thank you very much.

That’s not a tactic. It’s certainly not a strategy. It’s not even good police work.

We were faced with unending decades of this slow bleed of our people’s lives in Iraq because a bad president followed the bad intel of the CIA and got us into a totally unnecessary war. The fact that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy did not and does not justify this nation going to war. American lives and American treasure should never be so cavalierly spent.

President Obama pulled us out of the quagmire, but he left behind a mess that has turned into a massive and on-going war which is being waged against civilians on a mass scale and appears to be an attack on civilization itself. President Obama was not so naive about the CIA as his predecessor, but he has been naive in the extreme about the people of the Middle East.

President Bush made the mistake of thinking that they were just like us. President Obama has made the mistake of thinking that they are just like him.

I would guess that I’ve made just about everyone reading this angry. I know well the depth of the loyalties that Public Catholic readers have to the R and the D.

I’m going to throw this open for you to discuss. Feel free to talk about it in any way you wish so long as you refrain from name-calling and degrading individual people or groups of people. I include elected officials in this. Disagree with them all you want. That is the American way. But leave their kids, dogs, mothers, sex lives, and inner souls alone.


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