The Unspoken Legacy Of President Obama

On Monday, The Daily Signal posted an article about President Obama’s legacy. It’s something that the press has not really highlighted.

The article reports:

In President Barack Obama’s second term, the Senate has confirmed more than twice the number of judicial nominees than were confirmed in President George W. Bush’s second term. This is due mostly to the fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., succeeded in eliminating the filibuster for judicial nominees (excluding the Supreme Court, at least for now) in November 2013..

The chart below illustrates how the elimination of the filibuster has impacted the nomination process:

Infographic by John Fleming

I am not a big supporter of the filibuster, but I am also not a big supporter of stacking the courts with judges with a political bias. That is what has been going on. Since many of the problems with ObamaCare will be decided in the courts, the Obama appointments to the lower courts could easily move America further to the left than Congress would have been able to do. Our Constitution was designed to create a representative republic. The idea was that laws would be made in Congress. People could hold their Congressman accountable and vote him out of office if they did not like the laws he supported. (Actually, that is not totally true. Initially, the House of Representatives was elected by the people, and the Senators were appointed by the state legislatures. In 1913, Congress passed the 17th Amendment, which called for the direct election of Senators. Up until that point, the state legislature could recall their Senator if he was not supporting bills that were in the interest of their state. The direct election of Senators changed the balance of power in the U.S. government and seriously diminished the power of the states against the much larger federal government.) Unfortunately, we have now reached a point where our courts are making laws. As the courts lean left, we may find ourselves living in a country with a very different form of government than what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

Some Quotes From Someone Who Played A Very Important Role In The Philosophy Behind ObamaCare

Yesterday Caintv posted an article which contained a number of quotes from Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the chief architects of ObamaCare. Mr. Emanuel’s views on aging are disturbing. Here are some of them:

Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.

But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

“…living as long as possible has drawbacks we often won’t admit to ourselves. I will leave aside the very real and oppressive financial and caregiving burdens that many, if not most, adults in the so-called sandwich generation are now experiencing, caught between the care of children and parents. Our living too long places real emotional weights on our progeny”

“…But parents also cast a big shadow for most children. Whether estranged, disengaged, or deeply loving, they set expectations, render judgments, impose their opinions, interfere, and are generally a looming presence for even adult children. This can be wonderful. It can be annoying. It can be destructive. But it is inescapable as long as the parent is alive. Examples abound in life and literature: Lear, the quintessential Jewish mother, the Tiger Mom. And while children can never fully escape this weight even after a parent dies, there is much less pressure to conform to parental expectations and demands after they are gone.”

“…My father illustrates the situation well. About a decade ago, just shy of his 77th birthday, he began having pain in his abdomen. Like every good doctor, he kept denying that it was anything important. But after three weeks with no improvement, he was persuaded to see his physician. He had in fact had a heart attack, which led to a cardiac catheterization and ultimately a bypass. Since then, he has not been the same. Once the prototype of a hyperactive Emanuel, suddenly his walking, his talking, his humor got slower. Today he can swim, read the newspaper, needle his kids on the phone, and still live with my mother in their own house. But everything seems sluggish. Although he didn’t die from the heart attack, no one would say he is living a vibrant life. When he discussed it with me, my father said, “I have slowed down tremendously. That is a fact. I no longer make rounds at the hospital or teach.” Despite this, he also said he was happy.”

…I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive.

I would agree that extending a life indefinitely with machines is a questionable activity. However, it is obvious from these statements that Ezekiel Emanuel does not appreciate life as a specific value–he values life according to what it can do. He seems to forget that we are called human beings–not human doings. Our value is in the fact that we are created in the image of God–not in what we can or cannot do. It is my belief that God is in charge of life and death and we tread on dangerous ground when we as people try to take those matters into our own hands. Unfortunately, ObamaCare reflects Mr. Emanuel’s point of view–not those of the Judeo-Christian nation that was America at its founding.

The Twisted Logic Of American Foreign Policy

Twisted logic in American foreign policy is nothing new. It has been going on for at least the last half century. However, every now and again it just seems to become even less logical than normal. Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review Online today about America’s alliance with the ‘moderate’ Muslims of Saudi Arabia. Admittedly, the Saudis have been important allies on numerous occasions–they have supported the use of the American dollar as the preferred currency in trading oil, they have been a strong enough member of OPEC to keep America from being totally raked over the coals in the oil price negotiations of that organization, and generally they have supported America when it suited their interests. However, there is another side of the story.

The article explains:

And let’s not kid ourselves: We know there will be more beheadings in the coming weeks, and on into the future. Apostates from Islam, homosexuals, and perceived blasphemers will face brutal persecution and death. Women will be treated as chattel and face institutionalized abuse. Islamic-supremacist ideology, with its incitements to jihad and conquest, with its virulent hostility toward the West, will spew from the mosques onto the streets. We will continue to be confronted by a country-sized breeding ground for anti-American terrorists.

The Islamic State? Sorry, no. I was talking about . . .  our “moderate Islamist” ally, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

But the confusion is understandable.

Islamic State terrorists have infamously decapitated three of their prisoners in recent weeks. That is five fewer than the Saudi government decapitated in August alone. Indeed, it is three fewer beheadings than were carried out in September by the Free Syrian Army — the “moderate Islamists” that congressional Republicans have now joined Obama Democrats in supporting with arms and training underwritten by American taxpayer dollars.

Are we really sure that we want to continue our support Saudi Arabia? They are the main supporters of Wahabi Islam. Saudi Arabia supports schools in America that use textbooks whose map of the Middle East does not include the country of Israel. One of the things that puts America in the position of almost having to support Saudi Arabia is the current government energy policies. Energy independence would allow America to make decisions in the international realm based on reality–not energy dependence.

The article reminds of the history of Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia is the cradle of Islam: the birthplace of Mohammed, the site of the Hijra by which Islam marks time — the migration from Mecca to Medina under siege by Mohammed and his followers. The Saudi king is formally known as the “Keeper of the Two Holy Mosques” (in Mecca and Medina); he is the guardian host of the Haj pilgrimage that Islam makes mandatory for able-bodied believers. The despotic Saudi kingdom is governed by Islamic law — sharia. No other law is deemed necessary and no contrary law is permissible.

It is thus under the authority of sharia that the Saudis routinely behead prisoners.

I happen to own the edition of the Koran “with English Translation of ‘The Meanings and Commentary,’” published at the “King Fahd Holy Qur-an Printing Complex” — Fahd was Abdullah’s brother and predecessor. As the introductory pages explain, this version is produced under the auspices of the regime’s “Ministry of Hajj and Endowments.” In its sura (or chapter) 47, Allah commands Muslims, “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks.”

Andrew McCarthy concludes:

And now Republicans in Congress have joined Democrats to support President Obama’s hare-brained scheme to train 5,000 “moderate” Syrian rebels. As every sentient person knows, a force of that size will have no chance of defeating the Islamic State or al-Qaeda — even if we charitably assume that many in its ranks do not defect to those organizations, as they have been wont to do. The rebels will similarly have no chance against the Iran-backed Assad regime. In sum, our government, nearly $18 trillion in debt, will expend another $500 million to school 5,000 “moderate Islamists” in military tactics that cannot win the war in Syria but could eventually be used in the jihad against the United States. Welcome to Libya . . . the Sequel.

Oh, and did I mention that the training of these “moderate” rebels will take place in “moderate” Saudi Arabia?

American foreign policy has stopped supporting the interests of America.

I Guess Everyone Has An Achilles Heel

Yesterday the New York Post posted an article about the ISIS fighters. They do have a weakness–they are afraid that if they are killed by a woman, they will not go to heaven. This is amazing to me. Despite what President Obama says, ISIS is an Islamic organization–they believe in Sharia Law–that is the reason they have no problem with killing infidels. However, it is interesting to me that a religion that treats women as badly as Islam does has spawned men who are afraid that if they are killed by a woman, they will not go to heaven.

The article in the New York Post reports:

A 27-year-old female Kurdish fighter named Tekoshin fighting in northern Iraq recently gloated to AFP: “I think [ISIS] were more afraid of us than of the men.” The Kalashnikov-toting fighter added: “They believe they’ll go to hell if they die at a woman’s hands.”

Some women who have fled the brutal oppression of ISIS have been organized into special Women’s Protection Units in Syria to do battle.

Hend Hasen Ahmed, a 26-year-old female fighter in Syria’s Kurdish region, told Britain’s Telegraph during the ISIS siege of Mt. Sinjar: “We are being trained to use snipers, Kalashnikovs, rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades … For myself and for my people, I will go to [Mount] Sinjar to either die or live there freely.”

Radical imams have invoked interpretations of Koran passages to recruit jihadists, promising them a trip to paradise and 72 brown-eyed virgins if they die in battle or in what’s considered a martyrdom operation.

Seeing a woman staring at them down the barrel of a machine gun apparently isn’t what they had in mind.

I have very mixed emotions about sending women into combat–I think it goes against the natural feminine instinct, but it does make sense to me to see women standing to defend their country–it reminds me of a mother bear protecting her cubs–not something you want to mess with. With superman it was kryptonite; with ISIS it is women fighting to defend their country. We need to find a way to use this to our advantage.

However You Feel About The Results, The Turnout Was Impressive

Yesterday, Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the rejection of separating from the United Kingdom by the voters of Scotland. In his article, Mr. Mirengoff refers to a previous article in which he listed his reasons for supporting Scottish independence. In that previous article, he points out that the majority of the people who represent Scotland in Parliament are Labor Party members. If Scotland were to leave the United Kingdom, the Labor Party would have a difficult time forming future governments in England.

Fox News reported on the referendum today. In an 85 percent voter turnout, Scots voted 55 percent to 45 to say with the United Kingdom.

Fox News reports:

Many saw it as a “heads versus hearts” campaign, with cautious older Scots concluding that independence would be too risky financially, while younger ones were enamored with the idea of building their own country.

The result saves Cameron from a historic defeat and also helps opposition chief Ed Miliband by keeping his many Labour Party lawmakers in Scotland in place. His party would have found it harder to win a national election in 2015 without that support from Scotland.

For his part, Cameron — aware that his Conservative Party is widely loathed in Scotland – had previously begged voters not to use a vote for independence as a way to bash his party.

The vote against independence keeps the U.K. from losing a substantial part of its territory and oil reserves and prevents it from having to find a new base for its nuclear arsenal, now housed in Scotland. It had also faced a possible loss of influence within international institutions including the 28-nation European Union and the United Nations.

The decision also means Britain can avoid a prolonged period of financial insecurity that had been predicted by some if Scotland broke away.

I am sure this issue will come up again in the future, but for now the United Kingdom is intact and has avoided the chaos and political turmoil that would have come with Scottish independence.

Another ObamaCare Promise Broken

CBN News is reporting today that under ObamaCare federal money will be paying for abortions, contrary to the Hyde Amendment passed in 1977. The Hyde Amendment bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion (with exceptions for rape and incest).

The article reports:

“One thousand-thirty six plans cover elective abortions and are subsidized by taxpayer funds,” Arina Grossu, with the Family Research Council‘s Center for Human Dignity, said.

“You not only can’t keep your doctor, you also can’t avoid supporting abortion if you’re a taxpayer in this country given Obamacare,” Ovide LaMontagne, general counsel of Americans United for Life, said.

The Hyde Amendment passed by Congress in 1977 has made it illegal for taxpayer money to pay for abortion. President Obama also pledged during negotiations over the Affordable Care Act that would continue.

Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said the opposite has happened.

“Obama promised up and down, right and left, that abortion would not be covered in the health care law, and that Americans could be assured on his promise that the Hyde protections that we’ve known since the 1970s would still be covered in the health care law,” Monahan told CBN News. “Well, unfortunately, we know now that President Obama has broken his promises.”

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J, has led efforts in Congress to stop the federal funding of abortion included in ObamaCare. A bill called HR7 has passed the House, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to let the Senate vote on its version of that bill.

Unfortunately, we have two more years of the Obama Presidency, so it may not be possible to change this until 2016. However, polls indicate that most Americans oppose abortion, so an educational campaign letting Americans know that their tax money is being spent on abortion might be a really good idea. In the short term, we can elect Senators that will remove Harry Reid from his position and who will allow a bill banning federal funding of abortion to move forward. It would be nice to have a President who kept his promises.

Politics Is More Important Than Action

We have been hearing for a while now that ISIS is a serious threat. President Obama has made a few speeches emphasizing the importance of recognizing and dealing with the threat. I suspect most Americans who are actually paying attention also believe that ISIS is a threat. So what does the Senate do?

Yesterday The Hill reported that Senate Democrats have decided to debate and vote on a broad resolution authorizing military strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after the election.

The article reports:

“We’re going to take up the construction of a new authorization for the use of military force. It’s long overdue,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

The authorization would focus narrowly on ISIS, likely bar the deployment of ground troops and set a one-year time limit on military action.

The plan to vote on a resolution specifically authorizing strikes against the extremist Sunni group could help reassure liberal Democrats nervous about supporting a measure that authorizes President Obama to train and equip moderate rebels in Syria.

Durbin announced the roadmap at a Democratic leadership press conference shortly before the chamber was scheduled to vote on a government funding measure that included the so-called Title 10 authority to train the rebels.

Durbin said he is pushing the measure with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

“This is one of the most important votes we can cast,” he said.

Durbin said the Senate would take up the measure when the pending authorization for training Syrian rebels expires on Dec. 11.

I guess the Senate Democrats believe that ISIS is a problem that can wait until after the election. That belief goes on my rather long list of reasons the Democrats in the Senate need to be voted out of office. If the threat of ISIS is as important as the President says it is, the Senate needs to figure out what it wants to do to counter the threat as soon as possible.

Move Along, Nothing To See Here

Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an article with the headline, “Fun with the Fed: Inflation is low, but the cost of living is up.” Meanwhile, CNS News posted the following graph yesterday:

Price of Ground Beef Hits All-Time High in November

It is hard for anyone who has been in a grocery store in the past year to believe that inflation is low.

The Washington Examiner reports:

From July to August, the “Core Consumer Price Index” did not move. That means zero inflation, if you use the measure of inflation the Federal Reserve uses when setting monetary policy. But core CPI omits volatile prices like food and energy. If you have a family, you’re probably pretty aware that food and utility bills are a big factor.

The result: The inflation measure that guides Fed decisionmaking has little resemblance to the inflation measure that guides family budgetmaking.

This is another example of the government manipulating numbers to get the desired result. Any resemblance to what is actually taking place and what the government is reporting is purely coincidental.

The Washington Examiner lists some of the price increases in the last year that impact families trying to live within their budget:

Food at home is up 2.9 percent.

Electricity is up 4.1 percent and gas bills are up 5.8 percent.

Coffee is up more than 50 percent from last year.

The article reports:

The net result is that life has gotten considerably more expensive for me since this time last year. I’m not saying this ought to guide our monetary policy. I’m just saying that core CPI doesn’t track the cost of living.

The House Of Cards Begins To Collapse

On Tuesday, the Daily Caller reported that the largest healthcare insurance company (with the lowest premiums) is dropping out of Minnesota’s ObamaCare Exchange because the government health-exchange is unsustainable.

The article reports:

PreferredOne Health Insurance told MNsure, the state-run exchange, Tuesday morning that it would not continue to offer its popular insurance plans on the marketplace in 2015. It’s “purely a business decision,” spokesman Steve Peterson told KSTP-TV. The company is losing money on administrative costs for plans offered on the bureaucratic and glitchy government exchange.

Part of the problem, according to PreferredOne, is that MNsure hasn’t even been able to verify its customers’ information. PreferredOne said that some of its customers have turned out not to even live in Minnesota.

Insurers are required to accept customers who’ve been approved by the exchange for coverage, but states and the federal government have been struggling for months to determine which applicants are actually eligible for the benefits.

Americans were told that if they liked their health insurance, they could keep it. Now people in Minnesota have lost their health insurance twice under ObamaCare and are facing large rate increases this fall. Can we please elect people to Congress who will make this monstrosity called ObamaCare go away. Enough is enough.

Did You Really Believe It Was About Global Warming?

Dr. Roy Spencer (a real NASA scientist) posted an article on his website today about next Tuesday’s UN climate conference in NYC (called Climate Summit 2014). Dr. Spencer lists ten ways to tell that the Climate Summit is not actually about climate. Please follow the link above the read the entire article–he makes great comments.

This is his list:

1. There is no way with current technology to get beyond 15%-20% renewable energy in the next 20 years or so….and even that will be exceedingly expensive.

2. The UN doesn’t care that global warming stopped 17 years ago.

3. The UN’s own climate models have grossly over-forecast warming.

4. Scientists and politicians have had to resort to blaming severe weather events on climate change.

5. The UN Climate Summit participants’ “carbon footprints” far exceed those of normal people…and they don’t care.

6. Leonardo DiCaprio, UN’s Messenger of Peace. Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize and crony capitalist.

7. The leaders of Australia, China, India, Canada, and Germany are opting out of Tuesday’s meeting.

8. A UN official admitted the climate goal was wealth redistribution. Naomi Klein has admitted what Obama, Kerry, and Clinton won’t admit: it’s about stopping Capitalism.

9. What they can’t admit is that global greening and increasing global crop productivity is the result of us putting some of that CO2 back where it was in the first place – in the atmosphere.

10. The UN’s climate reports exaggerate and misrepresent the science. For example, the warming of the deep oceans over the last 50 years is described in terms of gazillions of joules (which sounds impressive) rather than what was actually measured…hundredths of a degree (not so impressive).

On a radio show yesterday, I heard extreme environmentalists described as ‘watermelons’–green on the outside and red on the inside. Unfortunately, that makes sense.

The article concludes:

As I’ve said before, I really don’t care where our energy comes from, as long as it is abundant and inexpensive. But telling the poor they can only have concierge energy – if they can pony up enough money — will end up killing people. Lots of people.

And that’s what the U.N. should be concerned about…not having meetings in Bali and Cancun.

It’s time for America to stop funding the U.N. and kick all of its delegates and unpaid parking tickets out of New York City. I am sure we could find a better use for their rather large headquarters.

Sometimes Things Are Simply Just Not What They Appear To Be

There has been a lot of talk in the past week or so about violence on the part of National Football League (NFL) players. Child abuse, wife abuse, and general lawlessness are among the things commentators are claiming that NFL players are committing on a regular basis. The players are described as violent, totally out-of-control people. Well, how does this compare to the general population?

A website called fivethirtyeight posted a chart:

morris-datalab-nfl-vaw-1

Maybe we should worry more about the American people in general.

What Did You Learn In School Today?

In North Carolina, high school students are required to complete two courses entitled American History I: Founding Principles and American History II in order to graduate. Students also have the option of substituting Advanced Placement U. S. History (APUSH) for these two courses. So what does AP U.S. History teach? Let’s looks at some of the mechanics of how this whole process works.

A student who takes AP U.S. History will be given tests by his teacher during the school year. If he receives a satisfactory grade, he passes the course and gets credit for it. However, in order to get college credit for having taking an American History course, he has to pass a national test on the subject. The national test is designed by David Coleman, now president of the College Board, formerly the architect of the Common Core Standards.

According to the Course and Exam Description put out by the College Board about the AP History Course,the goal of the course is to teach the student ‘historical thinking skills.’ How about teaching them history instead?

Here are some of the questions and concepts taking from the booklet put out by the College Board explaining the goals and concepts in the AP History course. The quotes are taken directly from the teacher’s guide:

Describing the historical period of 1607-1754, the teacher’s guide explains:

The British-American system of slavery developed out of the economic, demographic,and geographic characteristics of the British-controlled regions of the New World.

…Reinforced by a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority, the British system enslaved black people in perpetuity, altered African general and kinship relationships in the colonies, and was one fact that led the British colonists into violent confrontations with native peoples.

Slavery was then, and still is, common in Muslim cultures. It was the Muslim slave traders who were capturing the slaves and selling them to the British and the British colonies. It was, later on, the British who ended the practice of slavery. Many Muslim cultures still practice slavery. It wasn’t and isn’t about the British and their colonies.

The AP History section on World War II is very limited. Among other things, it states:

Wartime experiences, such as the internment of Japanese Americans, challenges to civil liberties, debates over race and segregation, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb raised questions about American values.

No they didn’t. The internment of the Japanese was a violation of their civil liberties. It was wrong. However, it was understandable as a panicked response to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Many historians today view that internment as a serious mistake. The debates over race and segregation were needed–we were still a segregated society in many areas of the country as was most of the rest of the world. The military made great strides during this time in its acceptance of black soldiers. Not perfect strides, but definite progress in the right direction. The dropping of the atomic bomb ultimately saved American lives and the Japanese culture. Japan would have been totally destroyed by ground troops with heavy losses to American troops had we not forced their surrender with atomic bombs. The debate on these issues is a credit to American values.

There is no mention in the World War II summary of the German concentration camps and the people killed in them. There is no mention of D-Day and the risks (and reasons to take those risks) taken on that day. There is no recognition of the heroes of World War II.

There is no understanding in the AP History course of the greatness and uniqueness that is America. That greatness and uniqueness comes from the genius of our Founding Fathers and the Constitution they wrote. It seems to me that the students would be better served by spending their time studying the U.S. Constitution and the efforts and principles involved in writing it.

A Step In The Right Direction?

Yesterday the Washington Free Beacon posted an article about Mohamed Elibiary, who has left his position as a senior member of DHS’ Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). Mr. Elibiary’s recent statement that about the “inevitable” return of the Muslim “caliphate” may have played a role in his departure.

In October 2013, the Center for Security Policy posted an article about Mohamed Elibiary.

The article describes Mr. Elibiary’s role at the DHS:

Elibiary’s official functions have been the focus of congressional and media attention, particularly in light of his controversial associations with leading American Islamists.  These include the radical Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America and convicted Hamas fundraiser Shukri Abu Baker.

Troubling as such connections are, the implications of the policies Elibiary has espoused are even more worrying.  For example, Elibiary’s promotion of the narrative that the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists are “moderates” appears to have been influential in encouraging the Obama administration’s blindness to what is, in fact, an unbroken continuum between the ideology and goals of the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda.

Moreover, Elibiary has insisted that even the most basic information about the doctrinal drivers of jihadist terror be purged from U.S. government training materials. Pursuant to the guidance he has helped President Obama promulgate, even quoting the Brotherhood’s own written statements can be portrayed as “Islamophobia.”

The article includes a link to an An Annotated Interview with DHS Advisor Mohamed Elibiary, which explores some of his connections to the Holy Land Foundation and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr. Elibiary has done considerable damage to the security of America. His purging of government training materials of valid information about the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic goals for America will take years (and a willing administration) to correct. The difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and AlQaeda is method–not goal. The Muslim Brotherhood uses the American judicial system to quietly bring the principles of Sharia Law into America; Al Qaeda simply wants to conquer by physical destruction. Sending Mr. Elibiary packing is a step in the right direction, but he should have never been allowed anywhere near the Department of Homeland Security–he has strong ties to people whose goal is the destruction of America.

 

Protecting North Carolina Voters

Tonight the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association held a public meeting in the Stanly Hall Ballroom in New Bern to discuss the voter law recently passed in North Carolina. The speakers were Susan Myric of Civitas, Meloni Wray, Director of Craven County Elections, and Gary Clemmons, Chairman of the Craven County Board of Elections.

H.B. 589, the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA), aka the Voter Identification Bill, is the first comprehensive change to North Carolina election law in decades. H.B. 589 passed the North Carolina House of Representatives in April of 2013. In July the North Carolina Senate amended H.B. 589 and passed it. The bill then went back to the House of Representatives. The bill was ratified on July 26, and the Governor signed it on August 12. The ACLU, NAACP, and various other organizations promptly filed lawsuits against the bill, with Eric Holder later filing a suit against the State of North Carolina.

The lawsuits filed are objecting to the change in early voting–from 17 days to 10 days, the end of same day voter registration, and the end of out-of-precinct voting. There will be a hearing on September 25 in Charlotte regarding the change in the voting law.

Under the new law, voters must register to vote by October 10, 2014. This gives the Board of Elections the opportunity to verify the address of the voter. Under the new law, voters will be required to vote at their correct precinct based on their address as of 30 days prior to Election Day. In 2016, voters will be required to show an acceptable photo ID. In 2014 all voters will be asked if he or she has one of the acceptable ID’s for the purpose of voting. A list of acceptable photo ID will be provided for review at the polling location. Instructions will be given to voters without acceptable ID on how to obtain a no-fee photo ID from the NCDMV.

The request for photo ID when voting is not unreasonable. We live in a society where photo ID is required for many activities–purchasing cigarettes or liquor, to board an airplane, to cash a check, to receive government benefits, etc. It also makes sense to have voters register to vote in time for their addresses to be verified.

Hopefully, the Court will uphold this law, as it ensures that every vote counts by attempting to eliminate voter fraud.

Parents, Beware Of Misleading Statistics

The statistics and information in this article have been taken from the State of North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Website.

Since Common Core was introduced in North Carolina, people with a vested interest in its success have been reporting statistics to justify its existence. Some of these statistics look really good; but when you analyze the data, you find that things are not what they appear to be. In other words, the acceptable standard has been altered to make the results appear better than they actually are. (See chart below.)

aaaaDpiInfoaaaaDpiInfo2As you can see, Level 3 now includes what was previously the top half of Level 2. In October 2013, the State Board of Education adopted four academic achievement levels. In March of 2014, an additional achievement level was added, for a total of five levels. The current five levels are:

Level 1  Limited Command

Level 2  Partial Command

Level 3  Sufficient Command (State Proficiency Standard)

Level 4  Solid Command (College and Career Readiness)

Level 5 Superior Command (College and Career Readiness)

What was previously the top half of ‘partial command’ has been moved to ‘sufficient command.’

The new standards have not raised the educational achievement of North Carolina students. The reporting has not accurately reflected the impact Common Core has had on our students–they are not doing better–the method of reporting test scores has simply been altered to make it appear as if Common Core is providing a higher level of college and career readiness. As you can see from the charts above, that is not the case. The numbers have been changed to protect the politically connected.

Still Seeking The Truth

Today’s Daily Signal posted an article by Sharyl Attkisson about the scrubbing of the records turned over to the Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigating the attack on the Benghazi CIA annex. Sharyl Attkisson left the Washington bureau of CBS News after realizing that they were not interested in actual investigative reporting on the Obama Administration. She has continued her investigative reporting and has been one of the few people to continue the investigation into Benghazi.

The article reports:

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.

The story at the Daily Signal provides a detailed account of Secretary Maxwell stumbling on the operation one Sunday afternoon.

The story continues:

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

We need more people in Washington with integrity and fewer people who simply follow orders.

The article continues:

When the ARB issued its call for documents in early October 2012, just weeks after the Benghazi attacks, the executive directorate of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs was put in charge of collecting all emails and relevant material. It was gathered, boxed and—Maxwell says—ended up in the basement room prior to being turned over.

In May 2013, when critics questioned the ARB’s investigation as not thorough enough, co-chairmen Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Mike Mullen responded that “we had unfettered access to everyone and everything including all the documentation we needed.”

Unfettered? I don’t think so.

The article concludes:

Several weeks after he was placed on leave with no formal accusations, Maxwell made an appointment to address his status with a State Department ombudsman.

“She told me, ‘You are taking this all too personally, Raymond. It is not about you,’ ” Maxwell recalls.

“I told her that ‘My name is on TV and I’m on administrative leave, it seems like it’s about me.’ Then she said, ‘You’re not harmed, you’re still getting paid. Don’t watch TV. Take your wife on a cruise. It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016.’ ”

I hope the Congressional Committee investigating Benghazi has better ‘unfettered access’ than the ARB.

Justice Administered?

Yesterday the Washington Free Beacon reported that California State Senator Roderick Wright was convicted of eight felony counts including perjury and voter fraud and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. I wonder how many times people who are convicted of eight felony counts are sentenced to only 90 days in jail.

The article reports:

Senator Roderick Wright of Los Angeles was convicted in January of lying about whether he lived in the district he sought to represent, the first in a string of criminal proceedings against three state senators this year that effectively cost Democrats their two-thirds majority in the California Senate.

“This is not what I call a victimless crime,” said Judge Kathleen Kennedy, who denied Wright’s request for a new trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.

She said Wright was no longer eligible to hold elective office in California.

It’s time to clean up politics on all levels. Pay attention to the people in your area running for local offices, and if you see anything strange going on at your local voting place, report it.

 

The Basics Of ISIS

One of the things Vince Lombardi was remembered for is a speech he gave to the Green Bay Packers after they lost to a team that they should have easily beaten. The morning after the loss, he called a practice. As his team (normally a championship team) sat there, he picked up a football and said,“Okay, we go back to the basics this morning. . . . Gentlemen, this is a football.” Sometimes it is a really good idea to get back to basics.

Breitbart.com posted an article today listing seven facts about ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) that every American should know.

Here is the list:

1. ISIS Began in the 1990s

2.  ISIS is Led by a Man Released from a U.S. Detention Camp in 2009

3.  ISIS is the Richest Terror Organization in the World

4.  The Number of ISIS Fighters Has Tripled to 31,500

5. ISIS has an Estimated 2,000 Westerners in its Ranks

6.  ISIS Now Controls 35,000 Square Miles in Iraq and Syria

7.  In Addition to Beheadings, ISIS Has Carried Out Mass Executions and Rapes

Please follow the link above to the article at Breitbart.com to read the details. ISIS is a serious threat to Western Civilization. It would be to our advantage to recognize that fact.

It’s Easier To Rewrite History If You Delete The Actual Records

I never thought I would agree with Patrick Leahy {Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont)}, but in this case he is absolutely right. Eastman’s Online Geneology Newsletter posted an article yesterday about Senator Leahy’s fight to preserve court records that have recently been erased by the government due to a computer update.

The article reports:

“Wholesale removal of thousands of cases from PACER, particularly from four of our federal courts of appeals, will severely limit access to information not only for legal practitioners, but also for legal scholars, historians, journalists, and private litigants for whom PACER has become the go-to source for most court filings,” Leahy wrote Friday to US District Judge John D. Bates, the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AO).

A spokesperson for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said the removals were due to technical differences between the archives maintained by local courts and a new electronic case file system being adopted by the judiciary. The documents are still available on paper but were deleted from online access “without any warning to the public, and without prior notification or consultation with Congress,” according to Senator Leahy.

This may be a totally innocent event, but it is an example of how history can easily be rewritten because so much of our records are digital. When information was in printed books, revising that information was more complicated than it is today. The downside of record books is that there was a period in American history when courthouses would catch fire, burn quickly because of all the records in them, and those records would be lost. Now, in the electronic age, we face the challenge of losing electronic records because the electronic platforms change. When was the last time you watched a videotape rather than a DVD?

Thank you, Senator Leahy, for trying to save the deleted records. I am sure there will be many lawyers and genealogists who will be grateful for your efforts.

It May Be Legal, But That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good

On Friday, Bloomberg News reported a new venture by Cubic Designs, Inc., a division of Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. I don’t have a problem with people making a profit, but even when something is legal, I think you need to look at the consequences of your actions. Cubic Designs, Inc. makes platforms for maximizing usable floor space in warehouses. The company sent fliers to about 1,000 marijuana growers, offering to help the pot growers expand the number of plants they grow.

I would love to see people growing food indoors using this technology, not growing something that may be detrimental to our society. I understand that marijuana is a ‘money’ crop, but so was tobacco. I think that as Americans begin to see the impact of legal marijuana in the states where it has been legalized, we may have second thoughts about the wisdom of making marijuana legal. Meanwhile, we need businessmen who have a moral compass guiding their actions.

 

 

Why We Need Informed Voters

A representative republic (like America) needs informed voters in order to stay free. There is a real question in my mind as to whether or not we have those voters right now. President Obama is in campaign mode right now–that seems to be his default mode–and some of the things he is saying are so untrue that they are almost comical.

The American Spectator posted an article on Friday about President Obama’s recent comments on the economy.

The article quoted the President:

“By almost every measure,” he declared, “the American economy and the American workers are better off than when I took office.”

That may be what he believes, but the facts tell a different story.

The article reports some of the statistics:

…the Census Bureau reports that median household income in the United States, adjusted for inflation, is down by more than $2,000 since Obama’s first inauguration in January 2009.

…a sixth of the U.S. population is currently receiving food stamps, an increase in the participation rate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of 61 percent since 2008.

Rep. Kevin Brady, (R-TX), chairman of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, summarized the U.S. economy’s subpar recovery several months ago, in May: “Our economy has a real GDP growth gap of $1.5 trillion in this recovery compared with the average of other post-1960 recoveries. And that has left us with a private-sector jobs gap from the end of the recession of 5.7 million jobs.”

…August 25 report in Forbes by economist John Goodman documented via Federal Reserve surveys that Obamacare is a key reason for the nation’s persevering joblessness and declining levels of inflation-adjusted household income.

…Based on its August 2014 survey of manufacturers, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported that 18.2 percent of employers said they cut workers because of the Affordable Care Act versus 3 percent who hired more.

Similarly, 18.2 percent of employers said their proportion of part-time workers is higher because of Obamacare versus 1.5 percent who said it was lower.

President Obama is not responsible for the recession. However, his economic policies are responsible for the fact that the recession is still with us. Five years into the Reagan Administration, the country was rapidly climbing out of the Jimmy Carter ‘malaise.’ The voters chose to elect President Obama a second time and to send Democrats to the Senate. We can’t undo the Presidential election for another two years, but we can undo the Democrat control of the Senate and begin to put our country on the right economic path. It’s up to the voters to get out and vote and to change control of the Senate. We need people who understand economics who will block the crony capitalism and runaway spending that has been Washington’s way of doing things recently.

Media Bias Is Reflected In What You Hear Reported As Well As What You Don’t Hear Reported

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about a Muslim man who has killed four people in America as an act of retribution for U.S. military action against Muslims in the Middle East. The story was reported in some New York and New Jersey newspapers in August.

On August 21, nj.com reported:

According to court documents filed Wednesday in Washington state, where he is accused of killing three other men, Ali Muhammad Brown said he considered it his mission to murder 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin as an act of “vengeance” for innocent lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran.

“All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life,” he told detectives, according to the documents.

…Prosecutors say Brown is a devout Muslim who had become angered by U.S. military intervention in the Islamic world, which he referred to as “evil.” He also referred to drug use as inherently evil.

“During the interview Brown also stated that, as part of his beliefs, if a ‘man sees evil then he must take action against that evil’,” according to court papers.

Essex County authorities have characterized Tevlin’s June 25 murder as a robbery that turned violent when Brown fired 10 shots into the popular college student’s vehicle, which was stopped at a red light at the corner of Walker Road and Northfield Avenue in West Orange.

Why would the authorities characterize Brendan Tevlin’s murder as a robbery when Muhammad Brown told the authorities that he killed Brendan Tevlin and the other men because of his Muslim religion?

The article at Power Line reports:

Brown has a long criminal history that includes a prosecution for conspiracy to commit bank fraud in 2004. Authorities believed that Brown and 13 other men were using the bank fraud scheme to finance terrorist groups overseas, but were never able to prove where the money went, so Brown pled guilty to a single count and was released in 2005. So it is reasonable to infer that he has been a jihadist for a long time.

John Hinderaker at Power Line concludes:

Still, if you didn’t know better, you might think that national news outlets are leery of linking the words “serial killer” and “devout Muslim.” If Brown had told authorities he was a Tea Party member, I am sure we would have heard a lot more about him.

America has always had people who commit crimes and murder people for various reasons. What we have not been dealing with until the past fifteen years is people who live here and feel an obligation to murder Americans in the name of Islam.

Some Good News From The Middle East

There is not a lot of good news coming out of the Middle East these days, but there is some. CBN News posted a story today about SodaStream, the company that makes a do-it-yourself-at-home soda machine. The company is located in Mishor Adumim Industrial Park, just outside of Jerusalem, in Israel, in the West Bank. in a building that used to be a munitions factory.

The article reports:

According to Birnbaum (Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream), SodaStream is the “largest employer of Palestinian people in the world outside of the Palestinian Authority.”

“We employ 500 Palestinians here. Side by side, we have 350 Israeli Arabs and another 300 Israeli Jews. And we get along together. They’re not killing each other! They go to lunch break. We break bread together and we get to know each other,” he said.

SodaStream pays Israeli wages — four times what workers would earn in the Palestinian Authority, where unemployment is 30 percent.  And the workers say they’re happy, too.

Yousef Besharat is a Palestinian Arab who works at the factory. He told CBN News his salary helped him to build a home in just a year. He said there’s no discrimination between Jewish and Arab workers at the plant.

The article further reports:

Birnbaum gave CBN’s Ross a tour of the factory. He said he calls the room where they assemble the valves “the United Nations.”

“We have people from all over here. You’ll see Palestinians and Israelis. You’ll see Russian immigrants and Ethiopians, Bedouins, women and men. I love this hall,” Birnbaum said.

He introduced CBN News to the shift manager, whom he called “a wonderful Palestinian fellow who started as an entry level and built himself up here at SodaStream in the last few years to shift manager.”

Nabil Besharat is a father of six who has worked at the plant for four years. As shift manager, Besharat is in charge of about 25 people, including Jews and Arabs.

Nabil says he came to the company “for good opportunities, for a good job, for good money,” and he found those things here.

“We work here with Jews, with Christians, with Muslims — all — with Druze,” Nabil told CBN News. They don’t even mention the word conflict, he added.

Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where people of all faiths are welcome to worship according to their own tradition. It is wonderful to see that they are also willing to encourage Arabs and Jews to work together to manufacture a great product and to build bridges between the two cultures.