A Dangerous Executive Order

The Daily Signal posted an article today about President Obama’s latest Executive Order. The President claims that the order will bar federal contractors from practicing “discrimination” on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. That sounds good, but there are some problems with it.

The article reports:

Today’s executive order does not contain any religious liberty protections—though it does retain an older federal regulation that permits religious organizations that favor employment of co-religionists to continue such practices. But there is no protection for organizations that hire based on mission—not on affiliation—to continue to do so. This in effect excludes taxpayers who hold conscientious beliefs about sexuality that run counter to Obama’s from being eligible for federal contracts funded with their own tax dollars.

The article also explains the solution for this Executive Order:

In response to this executive order, Congress has an opportunity to protect religious liberty and the rights of conscience. Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. The government should be prohibited from discriminating against such groups or individuals in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting.

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act—sponsored by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, in the House (H.R. 3133) with more than 100 co-sponsors of both parties and sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee, R – Utah, in the Senate (S. 1808) with 17 co-sponsors—would prevent the federal government from taking such adverse actions. Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience fosters a more diverse civil sphere. Indeed, tolerance is essential to promoting peaceful coexistence even amid disagreement.

We have always had transgendered people with us. They should be treated with respect. However, people with religious convictions should also be treated with respect. The right of conscience has always been a part of American law–from abortion law to gender issues. The Executive Order President Obama signed today is an affront to the freedom of all Americans–it does not respect their First Amendment right to practice and live according to their religious beliefs. Someone needs to read the U.S. Constitution to all of the people in Washington .

Senatorial Wisdom From Massachusetts

A Senator from Massachusetts made an insightful statements about the future of our nation. That Senator was Daniel Webster.

Senator Daniel Webster stated:

“There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government.”

Holly Robichaud posted an article in today’s Boston Herald illustrating the wisdom of that statement. She lists the ways you could destroy America from within:

The first step would be to jeopardize the country’s financial stability. Increasing the national debt by $7 trillion is a good starting point, and letting the debt keep growing until it overtakes the country’s gross national product is the death knell.

Another way to unbalance our finances is to encourage everyone to become dependent on government handouts instead of being self-
sufficient. When takers outnumber taxpayers, the system will collapse.

The second step would be to destroy U.S. credibility abroad. Spying on our friends doesn’t help our relationships.

…Another step would be to toss out our governing principles. Ignoring our Constitution along with the two other equal branches of government destabilizes the fabric of our society. Changing laws by executive fiat rather than the legislative process undermines our democracy. Our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution so no one person could dictate. The document empowers the branches of government so there are checks and balances. Without them, we become a dictatorship.

Lastly, you would neglect one of the basic principles: protect the people. Thomas Jefferson said, “A nation without borders is no nation.” Allowing people from other countries to hop, skip and jump over the border is a nonviolent invasion.

The obvious conclusion is that our destruction is happening as America watches television and tunes out politics. Unless the American voter wakes up and begins to pay attention and get involved, we will see Senator Webster’s prediction come true.

The Religion Of Peace In Mosul

In case you had any illusions about being a Christian and co-existing with Muslims, the recent events in Mosul, Iraq, should end them rather quickly. Yesterday CNN posted an article about the the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria‘s (ISIS) takeover of Mosul.

The article reports:

On Friday, the al Qaeda splinter group issued an ultimatum to Iraqi Christians living in Mosul — by Saturday at noon (5 a.m. ET), they must convert to Islam, pay a fine or face “death by the sword.”

A total of 52 Christian families left the city of Mosul early Saturday morning, with an armed group prohibiting some of them from taking anything but the clothes on their backs.

“They told us, ‘You to leave all of your money, gold, jewelry and go out with only the clothes on you,’” Wadie Salim told CNN.

Sharia Law requires that Christians either convert to Islam or pay a tax called a jizya. Paying the tax is done in such a way that the Christian shows submission to Islam. It involves a blow to the neck of the head of the family, recognizing that the tax is paid for the privilege of keeping his head.

The killing of Christians by Muslim is advocated in the Koran. The Koran states:

It is He who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to triumph over every religion. (Q48:28)

What ISIS is doing is according to Sharia Law. It is Islam according to the Koran. Islam and Democracy are not compatible, and Islam and Christianity cannot co-exist.

The Planning For The Hamas Attack On Israel Must Have Gone On For Some Time

CBN News posted an article today about the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The article mentioned the tunnels going from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

The article reports:

The tunnels are designed to infiltrate communities close to the border. Gaza is about a mile away and some of these tunnels are more than a mile long and 60 feet deep with multiple exits. It proves Hamas has been planning this for a very long time.

The article explains the strategy of Hamas being used in the war:

Meanwhile on Sunday, 13 IDF soldiers died in an attack on one Hamas stronghold in Shejaiya. More than 100 Palestinians were killed in the incident, both terrorists and civilians. 

For three days, Israel warned residents by phone calls and leaflets to get out of harms’ way, while the Hamas interior minister told them to stay there. 

“Hamas is effectively conducting self-genocide,” Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said. “They’re placing their women and children around missile launchers, shooting rockets at Israel [and] waiting for us to retaliate in order for them to kill their own, and that’s what’s happening.”   

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said using civilians as human shields is part of Hamas’ strategy.

“They have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so the rest of the world will condemn them,” he said.

Middle Eastern terrorists have long used the media to aid them in their cause. The thing to remember when hearing stories of the war between Israel and Hamas is that Israel is using the Iron Dome to protect its citizens and its military. Hamas is using civilians to protect its military and its weapons. That alone illustrates the values of the two sides.

Status Update On Common Core In North Carolina

Representative Larry Pittman is a member of the North Carolina General Assembly. This is his update on the status of Common Core in North Carolina:

Common Core…what really happened. Okay, most of you probably know that I am the one who started the fight against Common Core in the NC House by running a study bill. I actually wanted to go ahead and run a bill that would just get rid of Common Core, plain and simple; but not enough legislators knew enough about it to get on board with that. So I had to settle for a study bill, instead. Of course, since none of my bills were allowed to be heard in committee, they put forward a larger study bill which included establishing a study committee, instead. Michael Speciale and I were allowed to serve on that committee.
The study committee produced a very weak bill, which appeared to be about getting rid of Common Core, but which I felt actually left open the possibility of simply rebranding it. This bill was authored by Sen. Tillman, who had asked early on in the meetings of the committee whether we couldn’t just take the name Common Core out of our statutes and call it something else. I went ahead and voted to report it out of committee, but knew I would have to work to improve on the bill.
Michael Speciale, Bryan Holloway, and I were doing just fine making the bill stronger, when all of a sudden, Craig Horn, who had expressed support for Common Core early on, showed up at one of our meetings with a different version that removed some of the language I had written into the bill. So I submitted another version that added my language back into the bill. As I recall, this happened twice. In all, I submitted four versions of the bill before Craig agreed to leave my language in it.
Before we were through, Craig wrote something like 23 versions of the bill. The final version still had my language in it that would make sure that going back to Common Core and simply rebranding it was not an option. I never said or intended that if a way of doing something that was in Common Core happened to be a good idea we couldn’t use it; but I was urgent about making sure that if we did, we should reword it to avoid copyright violations. My main concern was that whatever we do would end a lot of the foolishness that is in Common Core. I was insistant upon not using assessment sources that were tied to Common Core. I also wanted to make the commission we were creating permanent, with the idea that it would be a watchdog to make sure DPI and the State Board of Education did not pull another fast one on us like Common Core, and that we never get ourselves entangled with further federal control of our education system.
Well, the result of all this work was HB 1061, which passed the House with a strong majority. When SB 812 came over from the Senate, we also got strong support in the House to remove the weak language of that bill and replace it with what was in HB 1061. This, too, passed the House with a strong majority. If we could have gotten the Senate to go along with us, I could assure you that we would be driving a stake through the heart of Common Core in North Carolina.
When the Senate failed to concur with the House version of SB 812, that caused the issue to be sent to a conference committee. As the one who started all of this, you might expect that I would be on that conference committee. However, I was not allowed to serve on it. Michael Speciale was on the committee, and I’m sure that he did his best to contend for what we had done. I appreciate him so much, and he should be commended for his efforts. However, he was outnumbered and outvoted.
The end result is a bill two pages shorter than HB 1061. The lack of those two pages is the result of the Senate insisting on removing everything I had put into it to make clear that continuing with Common Core is not an option. The bill as we finally passed it does repeal Common Core from our statutes, and has the potential to lead to the end of Common Core in our State. In the end, I had to vote to concur because I felt that if we didn’t pass something this year, it would be next to impossible to come back next year and start from scratch. At least with this bill, we do have a basis for coming back later to push for further reforms, if need be. While it does not call for rebranding Common Core, I fear it leaves that option open. So we must be watchful and ready to resist such an outcome.
Finally, considering what was removed from the bill, and considering the fact that Gov. McCrory, a strong advocate of Common Core, has already essentially said that he can sign it because it doesn’t change anything, I do not have a lot of confidence about what will happen. I got this thing started because I heard the cries of parents and children who have been victimized by Common Core. I heard from some teachers who sounded the alarm, also, and was told about many other teachers who were afraid to speak of their opposition to Common Core for fear of losing their jobs. If that is the case, something is really rotten about the whole affair. I fear that, in the end, the voice of wealthy special interests spoke louder than the voice of the people who suffer under the curse of Common Core. While good could come from what we finally passed, I believe the opponents of Common Core should stay on the alert. We haven’t necessarily won yet. There may be more to do.

Please do your homework on Common Core. If you are not a parent with children in school, talk to a parent who has helped their child with Common Core math homework. Aside from being an unconstitutional federal takeover of education, the Common Core includes data mining of children without proper security protection of the information. It also includes questions asked of the children regarding their parents’ religious beliefs and gun ownership. That information is none of the school or the government’s business.

Teach Your Daughters Well

I will admit to being an incurable romantic, but somehow I think it was safer to be a romantic in my day. The American Thinker posted a story yesterday about how a naive American high school girl almost became a terrorist. She wasn’t going to kill anyone–she was just going to act as a nurse to help wounded terrorists back to health.

The story (told through the eyes of her neighbor) describes nineteen-year-old Shannon Conley as  a local girl born and raised in normalcy. After a rocky high school career resulting in a GED, she went to college and was working as a certified nurses aide. She met a thirty-two-year-old Tunisian terrorist who wanted to marry her and bring her to live in Tunisia.

What the story reports about Miss Conley shows her to be a bit odd:

Miss Conley doesn’t seem to have been interested in speaking with the Mosque elders. (She admitted the only things she knew about Islam were learned online.) Instead, despite having converted to Islam, she hung out at Faith Bible Church. People there thought she was trying to blow the place up. According to her, she first went there to learn about Christianity and then had fun scaring them.

…Miss Conley seems more concerned about pleasing Terrorist Fiancé than following Islam. According to Islam, you need the father’s permission to marry. Miss Conley’s dad was wise enough to give an emphatic “no” when Terrorist Fiancé skyped him to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Yet, far from being bound by religious conviction, Miss Conley shrugged that off to fly to meet Terrorist Fiancé anyway.

When Miss Conley headed for the airport, her father called the U.S. Marshals.

The author of the article attributed Miss Conley’s conversion to the type of mind control used in abusive relationships.

The author states:

…I think her case has more in common with domestic violence victims.

Women who become victims of domestic violence fall into classic types. A significantly older man preys on a teenaged or young 20s girl. Miss Conley’s 19. Terrorist Fiancé is 32.

The victim is usually attracted to the abuser’s powerful personality and makes her life revolve around him. Miss Conley was moving halfway around the world and giving up all her family.

The abuser engages in mind control to get his victim to follow his every whim. Miss Conley was even willing to kill her own countrymen for her fiancé. Yet, Miss Conley said she didn’t want to kill anyone personally. She preferred to nurse the terrorists back to health. Terrorists enjoy killing people; abused women blindly serve their man.

This should be a warning to all parents of daughters–teach your daughters about healthy and unhealthy relationships. Keep communication lines open and watch for signs of unhealthy relationships. I think it is okay to believe in Prince Charming as long as you understand that he is a fictional character.

Wandering Away From Your Stated Purpose

Anyone who reads this site regularly knows that I am not a fan of the United Nations (U.N.). I think they have been taken over by a bunch of tin-horned dictators and need to be shut down and kicked out of New York City. Just the uncollected parking ticket revenue could reinvigorate the New York City budget! The current members list of the U.N. Human Rights Commission illustrates how far the U.N. has fallen from its original noble purpose ( to prevent further “generations from the scourge of war”, “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights” (“equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small”), “establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained” and “promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom”.). The current members of the U.N. Human Rights Commission include Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. Cuba and Venezuela are run by dictators who routinely ignore human rights, and Saudi Arabia does not allow religious freedom.

A website promoting a petition to remove the U.N. from all Israeli territory points out:

Furthermore, a notable subgroup UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) has been a) found to be storing weaponry for an internationally recognized terrorist organization and b) time and again shows that it does not treat various groups equally or respect international law despite these two things being at the core of the UN’s founding charter.

The amazing part of the story is that they gave the weapons back to Hamas:

Here is the UNRWA’s “apology” for allowing rockets to be stored in one of their schools in Gaza and here is a follow-up article stating that they did not turn said weapons over for destruction to UN forces or some other legal body that respects human rights but rather gave them back to Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization that has to date committed numerous war crimes and various human rights violations according to the fourth Geneva Conventions.

It really is time to send the U.N. packing. They are not aiding the cause of peace.

Australia Gets It Right

Investors.com posted an article yesterday about Australia’s move to end its carbon tax.

The article reports:

Australia’s carbon tax has been in effect since 2012, when Labor Party Prime Minister Julia Gillard was in office.

But it’s come apart under Liberal Party Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Both of the country’s legislative bodies voted last week to repeal, a promise Abbott campaigned on.

Needless to say, environmental groups are very upset about the repeal. The article states that taxing carbon dioxide emissions is pointless and harmful to the economy.

The article reminds us:

A University of New England study found that under a $23 per-ton carbon tax, “Australia’s real GDP may decline by 0.68%, consumer prices may rise by 0.75% and the price of electricity may increase by about 26%.”

These costs might have value if cutting CO2 emissions actually achieved anything. But it wouldn’t.

Let’s get this straight one more time. Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring trace gas. Humans exhale it, plants breathe it.

It is not toxic, nor is it a pollutant, unless its atmospheric concentrations reach so high — 40,000 parts per million rather than the 400 parts per million now found in our air — that it crowds out the oxygen humans need to breathe.

Yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas and, according to speculation, higher concentrations will cause a greenhouse effect that will warm the planet. But reality has not cooperated with the computer models that have predicted the heating of the planet.

Why are the environmentalists so willing to collapse the economies of free-world countries for science that is unproven?

Why American Isolationism Is A Really Bad Idea

On July 18th, Gates of Vienna posted an article explaining why ignoring the establishment of a caliphate in the Middle East is a major mistake. In the eyes of Muslims who believe in the Koran, there are certain privileges that come with the establishment of a caliphate and the existence of a caliph in charge of that caliphate. I need to explain here that there are no ‘moderate Muslims’ who believe in the Koran–the Koran makes very clear that the obligation of Muslims is to wage war on the infidels. There are many ‘moderate Muslims’ who discount what the Koran says and have no desire to wage war on the infidels, but unfortunately, they tend to be rather quiet.

The article at Gates of Vienna explains the dangers of a Muslim caliphate. The article quotes Egyptian-American scholar of Islam and Middle East history Raymond Ibrahim:

The very existence of a caliphate would usher a state of constant hostility: Both historically and doctrinally, the caliphate is obligated to wage jihad, at least annually, to bring the “disbelieving” world under Islamic dominion and enforce sharia law. Most of what is today called the “Muslim world”-from Morocco to Pakistan-was conquered, bit by bit, by a caliphate begun in Arabia in 632.

A caliphate represents a permanent, ideological enemy, not a temporal enemy that can be bought or pacified through diplomacy or concessions — economic or otherwise. Short of agreeing either to convert to Islam or live as second-class citizens, or “dhimmis” — who, among other indignities, must practice their religions quietly; pay a higher tax [jizyah]; give way to Muslims on the street; wear clothing that distinguishes them from Muslims, the start of the yellow star of David required for the Jews by the Nazis during World War II; have their testimony be worth half of a Muslim’s; and never retaliate against Muslim abuses-the jihad continues.

A caliphate is precisely what Islamists around the world are feverishly seeking to establish — before people realize what it represents and try to prevent it. Without active, preemptive measures, it is only a matter of time before they succeed.

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch is also quoted in the article:

And now it [the caliphate] is here, although it is by no means clear, of course, that The Islamic State will be viable or long-lasting. If it is, however, the world could soon be engulfed in a much larger conflict with Islamic jihadists even than it has been since 9/11. For in Islamic law, only the caliph is authorized — and indeed, has the responsibility — to declare offensive jihad against non-Muslim states. In his absence, all jihad must be defensive only, which is why Islamic jihadists retail laundry lists of grievances when explaining and justifying their actions: without these grievances and a caliph, they have to cast all their actions as responses to Infidel atrocities. With a caliph, however, that obligation will be gone. And the bloodshed in that event could make the world situation since 9/11, with its 20,000 jihad attacks worldwide, seem like a harmless bit of “interfaith dialogue.”

Unfortunately, there will come a time in the near future when America and Western Europe will have to stand up to a Muslim caliphate. It will have to be done before the population demographic in Europe changes enough to make it automatically part of the caliphate. If we wait too long, the Muslim population in Western Europe will reach a point where it represents the majority of the people in Western Europe. At that point, America (and Canada) will stand alone.

Even Uninformed Voters Won’t Believe These Statements

Yesterday the Washington Free Beacon posted a video showing Democrat’s recent statements about the security of our southern border. The video is also found at YouTube.

The fact that Washington is not effectively handling the border crisis is bad enough, but do they have to insult our intelligence in the process?

It’s Not Your Father’s History

On July 10, Stanley Kurtz posted an article at National Review about the changes being made to advanced placement (AP) U.S. History under the Common Core program.

The article reports:

The new AP U.S. History Exam has been issued under the authority of David Coleman, president of the College Board and, not coincidentally, architect of the Common Core.  We are witnessing a coordinated, two-pronged effort to effectively federalize all of American K-12 education, while shifting its content sharply to the left.

So what is different about the content? Because the questions on the exam are being kept secret, we really don’t know.

The article reports:

While the College Board has publicly released a lengthy “framework” for the new AP U.S. History Exam, that framework contains only a few sample questions.  Sources tell me, however, that a complete sample exam has be released, although only to certified AP U.S. History teachers.  Those teachers have been warned, under penalty of law and the stripping of their AP teaching privileges, not to disclose the content of the new sample AP U.S. History Exam to anyone.

This is clearly an effort to silence public debate over these heavily politicized and illegitimately nationalized standards.  If the complete sample test was available, the political nature of the new test would become evident. Public scrutiny of the sample test would also expose potential conflicts between the new exam and existing state standards.  This is why the College Board has kept the test secret and threatened officially certified AP U.S. History teachers with severe penalties for revealing the test.

American history is now a matter of secrecy?

The article compares the roll-out of the new A.P. History exam to the roll-out of Common Core:

The public should also insist that the College Board release its heretofore secret sample AP U.S. History test for public scrutiny and debate.  There is no excuse for withholding this test from the public.

Just as the Common Core became an established fact before most American parents, lawmakers, and school districts even knew it existed, the new AP U.S. History Exam is about to entrench a controversial and highly politicized national school curriculum without proper notice or debate.  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and a full understanding of our founding principles are on the way out.  Race, gender, class, and ethnicity are coming in, all in secrecy and in clear violation of the Constitution’s guarantee that education remain in control of the states.

The time to oppose the new AP U.S. History Exam is now.

If our children are not taught the good things about America and what it stands for, they will not preserve the republic. It’s time for all parents and grandparents to get involved.

Thank God For The Israel Defense Forces

The Times of Israel posted an article yesterday about an attempted attack by Hamas terrorists on civilians at Kibbutz Sufa. The terrorists emerged from a tunnel, ready to attack, realized they had been spotted, and attempted to go back into the tunnel. That is the point at which Israeli aircraft bombed the tunnel entrance.

This is the link to the article above to see the YouTube video of the attack:

The article reports:

The tunnel is part of a network of underground channels, laboriously dug, as offensive lanes into Israel. In June 2006 two Israeli soldiers were killed in an ambush that began via a tunnel in the same region, and a third, Gilad Shalit, was captured and taken back to Gaza. His exchange, five and a half years later, for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, is considered one of Hamas’s crowning achievements.

In the years since that assault several complex tunnels have been discovered, including, most recently, one that was found and bombed on the eve of Operation Protective Edge.

Lerner said he did not believe the attack was a significant shift in the tide of the 10-day-old campaign.

During the time that Mohamed Morsi was President of Egypt, terrorists had pretty much free rein in the Sinai Peninsula. I suspect that many of these tunnels were dug during that time. The only way that Israel can be secure is to make sure these tunnels are caved in and there is not underground access to Israel for terrorists.

A Hidden Cost Of ObamaCare

On Monday, Forbes Magazine reported on a little-known aspect of the ObamaCare law.

The article reports:

Want to know what’s happening with Obamacare? Good luck finding out. The White House recently adopted a new approach for updating Americans on the country’s most consequential law. I call it the “needle in a haystack” method: Bury the announcement in hundreds of pages of regulations and hope no one finds it.

The White House tried a test run several weeks ago. Hidden in the midst of a 436 page regulatory update, and written in pure bureaucratese, the Department of Health and Human Services asked that insurance companies limit the looming premium increases for 2015 health plans. But don’t worry, HHS hinted: we’ll bail you out on the taxpayer’s dime if you lose money.

Crony capitalism, anyone? But it’s more than crony capitalism–the White House wants to keep insurance premiums down because the health insurance rates will be released before the mid-term elections.

The article concludes:

These may not be the only examples where the administration has lawlessly rewritten Obamacare without letting the American people know. The law created at least 11,000 pages of new regulation, with more added every day. The White House got caught this time—but they’ll have plenty of other chances to hide the truth.

It’s up to the voters to inform themselves and act accordingly.

The Statistics Are Consistent

Hot Air is reporting today that crime rates have dropped in Detroit since the population started arming itself. Detroit PD chief James Craig has spent the past six months encouraging locals to arm themselves.

The article quotes Chief Craig:

Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies in 2014 than during the same period last year, 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30 percent fewer carjackings. Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns.

Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.

This is not a unique situation. Generally speaking, civic minded citizens are the people who obey gun laws–criminals do not. The stricter the gun laws the more defenseless the citizens are. The thought of an armed victim does actually discourage some criminals.

 

Positive Unintended Consequences In The Middle East

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about the Israeli invasion of Gaza. He mentions in the article that Israel did not go into Gaza until the latest attempt to broker a diplomatic settlement broke down.

The article reports:

According to Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, spokesman for the IDF, the ground offensive began at 10 p.m. Israeli time. It involves dozens of infantry, armed core, and artillery units, as well as air and naval support. Israel plans to call up additional reservist troops to bolster the 50,000 called up already.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Lerner’s statement is that the IDF’s activities along the southern part of the Gaza Strip are being coordinated with Egypt. Lerner did not elaborate on the extent of the cooperation.

As I suggested here, Egyptian cooperation is one reason why this Israeli offensive may produce more thorough and lasting results than previous ones.

If Obama had gotten his way, the Muslim Brotherhood would still run Egypt, and Israeli-Egyptian cooperation against Hamas would be out of the question.

Because the Egyptian military stood up to the Muslim Brotherhood, the people in Israel may eventually be safer from Hamas.

 

Anyone Can Make A Difference

NewsMax reported yesterday that the initiative to stop the automatic gasoline tax increases in Massachusetts has made it onto the November ballot. The effort to get this on the ballot was a true grassroots effort.

The article reports:

Having secured a position on the fall ballot and with little money to propel it, the initiative to thwart an automatic rise in the gas tax by linking it to inflation could have an impact on other states if Bay State voters pass it this fall.

As Barbara Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, told Newsmax, “Any time a tax cut passes in blue-state Massachusetts, it gives hope to taxpayers everywhere. In other words, if we can do it, so can they.”

Veteran Massachusetts political consultant Holly Robichaud told Newsmax: “You have to remember that Massachusetts is the birthplace of the American Revolution and citizen outrage against ‘taxation without representation.’ And that’s about what happened here last year.”

She was referring to a vote in the overwhelmingly Democratic Massachusetts Legislature for a $500 million tax package. Buried within the package was the 3 cents per gallon tax increase. But far more significantly, the package also included language stating that the gas tax would now be linked to inflation.

“That means when inflation goes up, so does the gas tax — automatically, and without a vote by elected representatives,” Robichaud explained. “Theoretically, it could rise to infinity and beyond.”

Her view was strongly seconded by veteran tax battler Edward F. King, chairman of King Information Systems, founder of Citizens for Limited Taxation, and a Republican candidate for governor in 1978.

This is good news for Massachusetts residents, but it also an example of how ordinary citizens can undo the mischief that politicians do.

The article reports how it was done:

Although the potentially explosive linkage of the gas tax hike to inflation was largely ignored in the press, Robichaud, with her political ear to the ground, called a meeting at her Scituate home. Over Chinese food, activist Republicans, including former U.S. House candidate Marty Lamb, state Rep. Geoff Diehl, and GOP State Committeeman Steve Aylward plotted how to stop the tax link to inflation from becoming law.

Out of the meeting came language for a proposed statewide initiative that would not repeal the gas tax increase, but decouple it from inflation. As Robichaud explained, “We wanted the debate to be about automatic tax hikes. I think the debate on the principle is more important than 3 cents.”

Without this initiaitve (and hopefully a victory in November), the gas tax would have risen automatically without any legislator having to take responsibility for the increase–a politician’s dream and a taxpayer’s nightmare.

How To Avoid Finding The Truth

This is a recording of Catherine Engelbrecht, the head of True The Vote, being interviewed on a radio station about the investigation into IRS targeting of conservative organizations. The recording is posted at YouTube.

The bottom line in what Ms. Engelbrecht is saying is that neither the FBI or the Justice Department has interviewed her or anyone from True the Vote about the fact that they were targeted by the IRS. It might be a good idea to remember that when President Nixon tried to use the IRS against his enemies, the IRS told him to go pound sand. Unfortunately the organization has forgotten that its first responsibility is to the citizens of America–not the politicians.

The only people making progress in the investigation of the IRS are True the Vote and Judicial Watch. That is a sad commentary on our government.

Misleading The Public For Political Gain

President Obama’s ratings are falling through the floor, and the Democrat needs a rallying cry to avoid being thrashed in November. They think they have it–free birth control (and abortion drugs).

NJ.com is reporting today that 35 Democratic senators in Congress have sponsored a bill they call “Not My Boss’s Business Act.” The obvious question here is, “If it’s not my boss’s business, why does he have to pay for it?” However, the real bit of information that the people screaming about the Hobby Lobby decision have overlooked is the fact that Hobby Lobby refused to pay for only four out of twenty forms of contraception. The company has funded, and will continue to fund the other sixteen.

An article posted at the Daily Caller about the move to undo the Hobby Lobby decision yesterday concludes:

In other words, while most Americans, except those with religious or moral objections, will happily share in the costs of a poor women’s birth control, few would see any reason to pay for contraceptives for Senators Murray, Boxer, or the vast majority of American women. Paying for their own birth control will neither deny them access nor violate their rights. You might say it is an outrage to contend otherwise.

 

 

Securing The Border Is A National Security Issue

The Blaze posted an article yesterday reminding us that all of the people rushing across the southern border of the United States are not fleeing violence in South America–some are hoping to create violence here.

The article reports:

“We have limited resources,” said the agent (a Texas Border Patrol agent), who was not authorized to speak publicly. “It’s frustrating for all of us and there’s no doubt that we have OTMs [Other Than Mexicans] coming from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and other parts of the world that we are very concerned with — these guys won’t be turning themselves into Border Patrol like the family units or children. I expect we’ll see more the OTMs of special interest this year and next, now that they know they can get in easier and they won’t be turned back home.”

Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, is also spoken in parts of Afghanistan and India. People coming from these parts of the world are considered persons of special interest because of their potential connections to extremist groups in those regions, the agent said.

“We’ve found Korans, prayer rugs and many other unusual items at the border that certainly raise concern,” the agent said.

How many Americans will die before the current White House does something to close our borders?

The Other Side Of The Story

There has been some outrage about the reduction in force of our military which has caused soldiers in combat to receive pink slips. While that is not really the way to do things, a friend of mine on facebook does a very good job of explaining the background of the situation. This is her post:

A retention board has cut 233 staff sergeants who have been at least twice passed over for promotion and who have served for at least 15 years. (Cpl. Sonia N. Rodriguez/Marine Corps)

Nearly three in 10 Marine staff sergeants considered by the service’s first Staff Sergeant Retention Board held in June were denied further service.

In all, the board considered 798 Marines, said Lt. Col. Rory Quinn, Manpower and Reserve Affairs’ End Strength Retention Optimization Group and Enlisted Assignments section head. Of those, 233 were cut. Another 565, or about 70 percent of those who went before the board, were retained. Those not retained will have their end of active service date changed to Jan. 31, 2015.

The board was limited to screening only E-6s who have been passed for promotion at least twice and have served 15 or more years, ensuring all those cut from the service will be eligible for the Temporary Early retirement Authority program. TERA offers Marines a retirement pension at a reduced rate, based on rank and years of service.

Until late 2013, Marines who made staff sergeant were permitted to remain in uniform through a 20-year retirement, barring any career-ending malfeasance, like a conviction for driving while intoxicated. Amos said those Marines would receive retirements regardless of manpower cuts.

As a result, some Marines considered the switch controversial. But Marine officials say it did not “break faith” with Marines or their families during the drawdown, which will cut the service from a wartime high of 202,000 to 174,000 by the end of 2017.The new policy remains true to Amos’ original remarks, they say, because the boards only considered staff sergeants eligible for TERA, which is still retirement. A similar reversal of policy was made for majors who for years were also permitted to remain in uniform through 20 years, regardless of their competitiveness for promotion.

While TERA isn’t a full 20-year retirement, Marines who opt for the program may still receive thousands of dollars per month for the duration of their retirement, based on rank and years of service.

The reduced pension is calculated by multiplying 2.5 percent of base pay by the number of years served, then subtracting 1 percent for each year under 20 served. So a staff sergeant with 15 years in would get $14,316 per year or about $1,193 per month.

Marines separated by the boards could also in theory opt for Voluntary Separation Pay, which can be offered to any Marine with more than six years of service. Marines who are TERA-eligible, however, are strongly advised to opt for the reduced pension over VSP’s lump-sum payout. While VSP can offer a generous one-time payout which breaks six-figures, Marines will be forgoing tens of thousands of dollars or more over the course of their retirement.

The retention board convened for the first time this year because not enough staff sergeants participated in voluntary force shaping measures like TERA.

“Recent reductions in authorized end strength structure have resulted in excess inventory in many military occupational specialties at the grade of staff sergeant,” according to Marine administrative message 242/14, which announced the board May 19.

As the drawdown got underway, staff sergeants proved one of the most stubbornly overpopulated ranks, in great part because of the practice that allowed them to remain in uniform even if they were not competitive for promotion. While that was great for Marines who made staff sergeant, it caused frustration among younger service members.

The introduction of annual Staff Sergeant Retention Boards may be a tough break for some staff noncommissioned officers, but it will be a breath of fresh air for junior Marines in bottle-necked MOSs. With a shrinking force, junior enlisted Marines in some MOSs became frustrated by extremely slow times to pick up rank. Some were in MOSs that remain closed to promotion over the long term, meaning even the best among them could find themselves hitting up or out limits and pushed out of the service. In recent years, occupations caught in that bureaucratic breach included several in the infantry, such as 0369, which in 2012 was entirely closed to promotion to gunnery sergeant. It has opened a bit since then.

Fewer staff sergeants should help those competing for gunny. Also, clearing the backlog of staff sergeants and creating vacancies for sergeant to move up will have a trickle-down effect that will have a positive influence on career and promotion prospects for corporals and lance corporals, despite a continuous drop in the overall number of Marines.

Whether boards will be held each year is dependent on an analysis of staff sergeant populations in that given year. However, more boards are likely.

“Future analysis will always determine the final answer, but at this point it is reasonable to say that as long as there is a drawdown ongoing, programs like TERA will continue to be offered on the voluntary side and boards like the [Staff Sergeant] Retention Board and Majors Continuation Board will be examined during each annual planning cycle,” Quinn said.

It is definitely tacky to fire people in combat zones, but my friend Pamela, who is a former Marine, tells the other side of the story.

Another Significant ObamaCare Court Case

Yesterday National Review Online posted an article about a current court case that represents a significant threat to ObamaCare. Halbig v. Sebelius (since renamed Halbig v. Burwell, for the current HHS secretary) was argued before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court in March. The case involves the government subsidies paid by the exchanges included in ObamaCare.

The article states:

If the Supreme Court ultimately finds that the Obama administration violated the law in doling out those subsidies, it could force a wholesale revision of Obamacare. In January, The Hill quoted a key Obamacare supporter as saying that Halbig was “probably the most significant existential threat to the Affordable Care Act.” Jonathan Turley, a noted liberal constitutional-law expert at George Washington Law School, recently agreed, writing in the Los Angeles Times that Halbig “could leave Obamacare on life support.”

…The Halbig plaintiffs — individuals and small businesses in six states that didn’t establish state exchanges — argue that the Obama administration is breaking the law by offering those tax subsidies in all 50 states. The plaintiffs argue that if the subsidies hadn’t been offered in their states, they would have been exempted from the individual-mandate penalties of Obamacare because they couldn’t have afforded to pay for health coverage.

I have no idea how this case will be decided. The writer of the article believes that if the case is decided against ObamaCare it will force Congress and the President to make positive changes in the law (particularly if a Republican Congress is elected).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to rule on this case within the next week.

 

Should We Take Up A Collection To Buy The Federal Government New Computers?

The Blaze posted a story today about another federal government agency whose hard drive crashed in the middle of an investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. This is getting comical.

The hard drive in question belongs to April Sands, a former employee at the Federal Election Commission who resigned in the spring after admitting to violations of the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act limits political activities of federal employees, specifically prohibiting them from engaging in political activity while on the job or from government offices.

The article reports:

Issa (Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)) noted that while Sands admitted to violating the law, the FEC just recently told Congress that it could not recover her hard drive, which made it impossible to seek criminal charges against her.

“Recent information obtained by the committee suggests that the FEC OIG could not pursue criminal prosecution for the misconduct because the attorney’s hard drive had been recycled by the FEC,” Issa’s letter said.

As a result, Issa asked the FEC to provide information to his committee by July 28. That includes all documents related to the hard drive loss, and documents detailing the FEC’s practices for retaining information on computers.

The FEC is an independent agency, but Sands’ emails clearly indicated she favored Obama’s re-election in 2012. Before the election, she tweeted things like:

“Our #POTUS’s birthday is August 4. He’ll be 51. I’m donating at least $51 to give him the best birthday present ever: a second term.” In another tweet, she said anyone supporting Republicans is her “enemy.”

“The bias exhibited in these messages is striking, especially for an attorney charged with the responsibility to enforce federal election laws fairly and dispassionately,” Issa wrote.

The article includes a letter written by Issa to Federal Election Commission Chairman Lee E. Goodman, which shows some of the tweets sent by April Sands during regular work hours. There is also a document showing how and when information requested by the Oversight Committee was to be submitted. Unfortunately, because of the computer crash that information seems to be lost.

The federal government would probably have fewer computer crashes if there were more honest people in the current administration.