A Forgotten Promise

When he ran for office in 2008, President Obama promised not to raise taxes on any family that earned less than $250,000. Then candidate Obama stated, “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” (from Townhall.com) Well, I guess that promise has been added to the list of broken promises.

Today, Heritage.org posted a story about tax increases that occurred in 2013 and tax increases planned for 2014.

The article reports two new taxes for 2014:

  • Obamacare’s individual mandate. Beginning in 2014, it’s mandatory to purchase health insurance. If you don’t, you’ll pay a penalty that dramatically increases over time. It starts at $95 or 1 percent of your income (whichever is greater). It rises to $325 or 2 percent of income in 2015, and $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016.
  • Obamacare tax on insurance companies. If you liked seeing your premiums go up, you’ll love this new tax on health insurers—which they are most likely to pass on to you.

The article also posted a list of the 2013 tax increases. The Social Security payroll tax for workers went from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent for everyone–regardless of whether or not they earned $250,000.  Also increased were various taxes on high earners–marginal tax rates increased, deductions decreased, investment taxes increased, and inheritance taxes increased. Excuse me for being totally politically incorrect here, but keep in mind that taxes on people who do not work but collect welfare or other government handouts did not increase. Keep in mind that when you tax an activity it decreases, and when you don’t tax an activity it increases. These kinds of tax increases do not encourage economic growth–they stifle it.

The article reminds us:

President Obama promised the American people a “balanced approach” of tax increases and spending cuts to reduce deficits and debt. He achieved the tax increase portion of that approach. Now Congress needs to force him to follow through on the spending cuts.

Until we see spending cuts, the economy will continue to grow much more slowly than it is capable of growing. The combination of high taxes and over regulation by the government is the biggest obstacle to a much needed economic recovery.




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The Impact Of The “Lie of the Year”

Yesterday CNN posted an article detailing some of the impact of the 2013 Politifact “Lie of the Year.”

The article reminds us of one of the deals made in order to pass ObamaCare:

Lest people forget, passage of the Affordable Care Act happened in part because Obama struck a deal with a single Catholic holdout: Bart Stupak, D-Michigan. Stupak agreed to vote for the bill in exchange for an executive order protecting conscience rights and preserving the Hyde Amendment‘s ban on the use of federal funds for abortion. Stupak had insisted on an amendment. Instead, he took the President’s word.

The President’s promise to protect conscience rights for American Catholics was broken quickly when HHS wrote the mandate that all health insurance policies written under ObamaCare must include coverage for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.

The article reports:

This came after the President assured Catholics in his commencement address at Notre Dame that he would “honor the conscience of those that disagree with abortion and draft a sensible conscience clause” and after assuring Congress that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience protections will remain in place.”

…In the words of Stupak, “I am perplexed and disappointed that, having negotiated the executive order with the President, not only does that HHS mandate violate the executive order, but it also violates statutory law. I think it is illegal.”

The President is largely responsible for this invasion into the conscience rights of Catholics and other Americans who do not support abortion, but those in Congress who voted for the bill (without having read it) also need to be held responsible. ObamaCare is bad for the economy–it will be very expensive to implement–and it infringes on the religious rights of Americans. We have a Congressional election coming up in less than a year. I strongly suggest that any member of Congress who voted for and supported ObamaCare be voted out of office. I doubt we can repeal ObamaCare–the President would veto any repeal that reached his desk–but a new Congress may be able to defund it or change it enough to make it palatable to all Americans.

It is interesting to me that CNN,, usually a strong ally of the President, posted this article. There is a bit of a disclaimer at the top of the article explaining that it was written by Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association and is the founder and editor-in-chief of AltCatholicah, a Web magazine devoted to the exploration of faith and gender. Even so, CNN posted the article.



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Disarming A Stuffed Monkey To Make Our Airplanes Safe

Sometimes you just wonder at the level of common sense being exhibited by some people. There was an incident that I personally witnessed last week in a government office where a person’s pocket knife was declared a weapon and he was asked to leave the office. It was a small pocket knife. He made no effort to conceal it–it was clipped onto his pocket. I seem to be living in a part of the country where people carry pocket knives, but evidently you can’t take a pocket knife into a government office–even if it’s a public office. Well, a recent TSA incident tops that.

KING5.com in Washington state reported earlier this month that a women who has a small business selling unique sock monkey dolls had a two-inch toy pistol belonging to her “Rooster Monkburn” cowboy sock monkey confiscated by the TSA.

The article reports:

The TSA agent told May she would have to confiscate the tiny gun and was supposed to call the police.

“I said well go ahead,” said May. “And I said really? You’re kidding me right, and she said no it looks like a gun.”

“She took my monkey’s gun,” said May, who has retained her sense of humor.

“Rooster Monkburn has been disarmed so I’m sure everyone on the plane was safe,” she said. “I understand she was doing her job but at some point doesn’t common sense prevail?”

In the end, the agent did not call police and May did get her other sewing supplies back.

On Monday, the TSA issued a statement, saying “TSA officers are dedicated to keeping the nation’s transportation security systems safe and secure for the traveling public. Under longstanding aircraft security policy, and out of an abundance of caution, realistic replicas of firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags.”

I don’t want to encourage the TSA agent, but I can think of things in an ordinary sewing kit that would be more dangerous than a two-inch toy pistol. I doesn’t say a lot about the level of common sense of the TSA that the agent thought it necessary to confiscate a two-inch plastic toy.

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Preparing For The Winter Olympics

The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia. The amazing part of that is that Sochi has a sub-tropical climate with low temperatures in January averaging 49 degrees. However, there is a nearby cluster of mountains that will provide the venue for winter snow sports. However, security may be a concern.

Today CBN News reported a second terrorist attack in Volgograd, a city just 400 miles from the site of the Winter Olympics. Volgograd is a key hub for transportation in the area of the Winter Olympics.

The article reports:

Recently a terrorist leader called for attacks against civilian targets in Russia, including at the winter olympics. The attacks have raised security fears for the safety of travelers headed to the games in Sochi in February.

Christopher Swift, Georgetown University Adjunct Professor of National Security Studies said, “I think the Russian government has something to fear and that is the potential loss of face, the potential embarrassment to them if this terrorist syndicate is able to pull off one or more major terrorist events.”

Volgograd is an important train link from Moscow to Sochi. Both cities are located near the unstable North Caucasus region where Islamic terrorists have been fighting a brutal rebellion for the past two decades.

We need to remember that terrorists do not care about injuring or killing innocent people. The Winter Olympics would be an ideal place for them to strike. I hope the Russian security people are able to protect the lives of the Olympic athletes.


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The Kickoff For The Silly Season

Generally speaking, the silly season is the four to six-month period before a major election when you are deluged by television and radio ads and phone calls from various candidates. It is a time when you have to look behind everything you hear to see who is putting the information out there and if there is any money involved in your hearing it. If you are a low-information voter, you will probably be totally mislead by the process. If you are a high-information voter, you may be slightly wiser, but you will be sick of the entire process by the time the election arrives. Right now we are in the run-up to the November 2014 Congressional elections, but the day after that election, the 2016 presidential election campaign begins. Actually, it has already begun.

Today, John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about a New York Times article about Benghazi. The New York Times is already preparing the way for Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2016. It is preparing the way by rewriting the history of Benghazi in a way that scrubs out any lies or mistakes made by the Hillary Clinton State Department and places the blame for the death of Ambassador Stevens anywhere but on Hillary Clinton.

The article at Power Line reports:

The Times, attempting to shore up Hillary Clinton’s 2016 candidacy, tries to show that the attacks on American facilities in Benghazi that took place on September 11, 2012, were not orchestrated by al Qaeda. The paper’s reporter reaches this conclusion, as Paul and Tom show, by simply ignoring most of the relevant facts. Further, the paper tries to resurrect the theory that an obscure YouTube video had something to do with the death of four Americans. Sure, that’s highly plausible: for the first time ever, movie critics were armed with mortars.

The article at Power Line asks three basic questions:

1. Why didn’t Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, respond to any of Ambassador Chris Stevens’ several requests for increased security?

2. Where were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the night of September 11, 2012, and what orders, if any, did they give?

3. Why haven’t the perpetrators of the murders been found and punished?

I’m not likely to vote for Hillary Clinton for President, but I still would like to see those questions answered before she runs for office.

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The Government Seems To Be Getting Even More Intrusive

On Friday, CNS News posted a story about a man arrested for driving a car with a secret compartment.

The article explains:

The Ohio law passed last year prohibits, “designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, prohibit operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.”

This seems to be a law against an intention rather than an actual crime. There were no drugs in the compartment. When I was a teenager, I knew someone who rerouted the air conditioning in his car to create a refrigerator in the glove compartment. I suspect he kept beer there, but he was old enough to buy beer; and if the bottles are not open, having them in the car is not illegal. Would his refrigerator have been cause for arrest in Ohio?

The article further explains:

Just days before Thanksgiving, 30- year old Norman Gurley was pulled over for speeding, but Ohio State Troopers noticed wires running to the back of the car he was driving.

“During the search, they noticed some components inside the vehicle that did not appear to be factory,” Lt. Michael Combs told WKYC-TV.

“We actually figured it out and followed the wiring and we were able to get it open,” said Combs.

I have a problem with this law. If there had been anything in the compartment, the police would have had every right to arrest the person, but I don’t see how they can justify arresting a man for driving a car with a secret compartment with nothing in it. I believe this is another chapter in the growing story of our government’s assault on our rights as Americans.

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The Rug And The Camel

Recently Shoshana Bryen, Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center; former Senior Director for Security Policy, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) spoke to the Center for Security Policy’s National Security Group Lunch on Capitol Hill regarding the Iran Deal and its outlook for Israel and US-Israel Relations. She offered a lot of insight into the recent negotiations between the United States and Iran:

Here is her speech (taken from YouTube):

I realize this is not a short video, but it is well-worth listening to.

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A&E’s Statement Regarding Duck Dynasty

A&E has decided to include all of the Robertson family in the filming of upcoming episodes of Duck Dynasty. This is an interesting decision for a number of reasons. First of all, cynics will complain that it is strictly about money. Well, it probably is–A&E is in business to make a profit. That is NOT a sin. Second of all, A&E ignored the wishes of the gay and lesbian community in making that decision. That tells me that although the gay and lesbian community is very vocal, very involved politically, and quite capable of making a lot of noise, they do not represent the vast majority of Americans. I am in full support of gay and lesbian people not being discriminated against, but I am also in full support of those who hold Biblical beliefs on the practice of homosexuality not being discriminated against. It’s a cliche` to say, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” but that is what people who believe in the Bible need to do. I do not support laws that endorse the gay lifestyle (for instance, I support civil unions in order to allow gay couples to have access to the legal privileges they require, but I do not support gay marriage because I do not want to see Pastors in Bible-believing churches forced to perform those ceremonies). I have no problem with gay and lesbian people demanding respect, but they also need to extend that respect to those who disagree with their lifestyle.

This is the statement that A&E released (from NewsBusters):

 As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principals.

That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson. While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the “coarse language” he used and the mis-interpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would “never incite or encourage hate.” We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.

But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.

So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family.

We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.

Phil Robertson has the right (as does any other American) to voice his opinion. Whether you agree with him or not, he is entitled to his opinion. A&E as a private employer also has the right to fire him because they feel he does not represent their views. He may not represent their views, but evidently he does represent the views of many Americans. That is why he still has a job.

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The Chickens Are Coming Home To Roost

This was posted on Facebook by a friend of mine. I have no way of verifying it, but I think it is worth sharing because it is quite possible under the law:

369 HORIZON DR N. Fort Myers Fl. 33903

RE: OBAMACARE– A comment posted on the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare FB page:
“I actually made it through this morning at 8:00 AM. I have a preexisting condition (Type 1 Diabetes) and my income base was 45K-55K annually. I chose tier 2 “Silver Plan” and my monthly premiums came out to $597.00 with $13,988 yearly deductible!!! There is NO POSSIBLE way that I can afford this so I “opt-out” and chose to continue along with no insurance. I received an email tonight at 5:00 P.M. Informing me that my fine would be $4,037 and could be attached to my yearly income tax return. Then you make it to the “REPERCUSSIONS PORTION” for “non-payment” of yearly fine. First, your drivers license will be suspended until paid, and if you go 24 consecutive months with “Non-Payment” and you happen to be a home owner, you will have a federal tax lien placed on your home. You can agree to give your bank information so that they can easy “Automatically withdraw” your “penalties” weekly, bi-weekly or monthly! This by no means is “Free” or even “Affordable.” Kinda sheds a lot of light on all of the arming and beefing up of arms for all of the domestic departments INCLUDING the IRS now doesn’t it? There’s a war coming folks….

Is this what we want from our government?

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A Letter From A Veteran About The Budget Deal

This post is taken from The Blaze. It is a Facebook post and a letter to Paul Ryan from a veteran:

FB Friends,

I’m still mulling this Paul Ryan budget deal that stole money from every military retiree (past, present and future). This morning, upon opening my email, I noticed I had a letter from Congressman Paul Ryan…and it was begging me for an “emergency end of the year donation.” It only proves what we already know. The folks in Washington are indeed clueless. Instead of hitting the delete button, I decided to call Congressman Ryan out on his audacity and lack of self-awareness. I sent the following to him. I’m also posting it on the FB USAF Chiefs page as an open letter to the Congressman. If you’re a retiree, I will tell you we may have lost the battle, but not the war. If you’re inclined and find it worthy, let’s flood social media with this letter and see if we can get some traction. Thanks.

To Congressman Paul Ryan
Today at 8:19 AM

Congressman Ryan,

Please note that this request by you for a cash donation from me is extremely unfortunate and very ill-timed. You see sir, I am one of the military retirees your “bipartisan” budget just impacted. You and every Republican (both in the House and Senate that voted to pass this travesty betrayed and broke trust with me and everyone like me. You may not know us by name, but we’re the people, Congressman, who answered our Nation’s call, some of us at a very early age to willingly serve YOU and others LIKE YOU so you could safely attend college and pursue your personal ambitions without fear of harm.

You might also want to note that for at least 20 years, my brothers-in-arms answered that call of duty EVERY SINGLE DAY, without fail, without complaint, without enough money to sustain our loved ones we had to leave behind while we DID OUR JOB in every corner of the Earth. And for that service, we were given absolute assurance our so-called retirement benefits would be protected by law. The very law you shattered in your zeal to impress your Democratic cohorts in your back room deal–with the enemy. Yes, I said it. The liberal Democrats are an enemy to the American people and our Nation. Your lack of judgement and eagerness to compromise on the backs of us who protected you is sickening. Congressman, you and every Republican that voted for injuring military retirees have engaged in a complicit, sordid affair with the Democrats who’s objective has always been to dismantle the military. By climbing into their bed on this issue, you have confirmed you are absolutely no better than they and have proven it with your vote.

Congressman Ryan, the audacity which you display is noteworthy, but to unceremoniously snatch earned money from a small group that has added so much more value than the paltry $6B you looked to “save” (which is all smoke and mirrors and you know it), is reprehensible and insulting.

We have, despite the hardships, meager salaries and harsh conditions, have performed with honor and excellence…in silence, which is something most members of Congress have no idea about doing. Our job approval was, is and always be better than yours. We knew our mission and we got it done, then handed it off to a new generation in better shape than we found it.

Your ability to look us in the eye, take money from us (apparently there was ZERO, other source of waste within the federal government that you could have recovered this money from…right, got it), while simultaneously holding your hand out to beg (with passion) for our cash is stunning. Your actions have proven you do not have the tremendous intellect you’ve sold the American people on. I say, with all seriousness, Congressman, what you lack in intellect and spinal rigidity, you make up for in cajones.

I hope you and your cowardly, Republican “colleagues” hear a message from me loud and clear. You will NEVER receive another cent of financial support from me. Further, if you happen to be at a Capitol Hill dinner or at a K Street cocktail party with RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Rep. Ron Barber, Sen. Jeff Flake or Sen. John McCain, I would be honored if you communicate with them that I am launching an effort to ensure NONE of you traitorous “representatives of the people” ever receive another vote from a military retiree. Remove me from your contact lists.

Chuck Wooten,
Chief Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret)

He says it better than I could.

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Does The U. S. Constitution Still Matter?

On Monday, Forbes Magazine posted an article about entitled, “President Obama’s Top 10 Constitutional Violations of 2013.” Most of these violations have to do with ObamaCare, but there are a few that do not that are interesting.

The article lists the top 10:

1. Delay of Obamacare’s out-of-pocket caps.

2. Delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate.

3. Delay of Obamacare’s insurance requirements.

4. Exemption of Congress from Obamacare.

5. Expansion of the employer mandate penalty through IRS regulation.

6. Political profiling by the IRS.

7. Outlandish Supreme Court arguments.

8. Recess appointments.

9. Assault on free speech and due process on college campuses.

10. Mini-DREAM Act.

Please follow the link above to read the details of each item. The two items that are most disturbing to me are the misuse of the IRS for political purposes and the recess appointments made while Congress was technically in session. The Obama Administration has shown by its actions that it has little respect for the U.S. Constitution as the basis for our government. I will be very happy when this crew is voted out of office.

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An Unconstitutional Solution To A Horrific Event

Yesterday The Blaze reported that Connecticut gun owners have begun registering their guns in order to comply with new gun laws that will go into effect on January 1.

The article reports:

Charles Gillette, who was registering magazines, told the news station that he would have a problem with it if the state was trying to ban the magazines or firearms, but said “if they want to just know where they are, that’s fine with me.”

However, not one gun owner who was registering firearms or magazines said they think the new laws will reduce gun violence.

“If people are going to do things illegally, they’re not going to be here registering their gun,” Jared Krajewski, another resident registering firearms, said.

For now, in Connecticut, the law is the law. The new gun control measures were put into place following the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Common sense tells us that those who have nefarious future plans involving their guns will not be in line registering those guns. All this law does is put a new restriction on law-abiding gun owners–it will have no impact at all on those people who choose to ignore the law. Newtown was a horrible tragedy, but this law may be setting the stage for an even more horrible tragedy–potentially letting criminals know which households have the means to defend themselves if they are robbed.

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The Cost Of A Scientific Hoax

I guess I am a global-warming denier. I am convinced that climate change is an ongoing thing that is not necessarily related to man’s activity. I really don’t think we are important enough to have a major impact on the climate of the earth. However, I do support clean air, clean water, and recycling. I just don’t support global warming as an excuse to make everyone (except the people who profit from it financially) miserable. Well, that is happening again.

Investor’s Business Daily reported today that the price of electricity is soaring due to government regulation.

The article reports:

In November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ Electricity Price Index hit 202.284, an all-time record and nearly 20% higher than just six years ago.

This might strike some as strange, given the private-sector shale-fracking boom going on in the Midwest, Northeast and Texas, which has led to soaring new domestic supplies of natural gas and oil.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as recently as 2008 the U.S. produced 2.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Today, it’s 12.3 billion cubic feet and growing fast — truly astounding growth.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is on the verge of producing more oil than it ever has, and domestic sources now outstrip foreign ones. Thanks to fracking, more’s on the way.

But as energy booms, electricity prices are going up.

…Electricity is now one of the most regulated goods in the U.S. Thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s sweeping powers to regulate C02 — a power we can’t find anywhere in the Constitution — electricity is becoming a very expensive commodity.

And it’s about to get even more so. According to the Institute for Energy Research, EPA rules put in place to please environmentalists will remove 34,705 megawatts of coal-based energy capacity off our market.

Think about it: That’s equal to about 10% of what we now produce with coal being removed from the grid.

The new regulations are forcing coal plants to close and be replaced with less efficient and less reliable green energy–wind and solar–that are more expensive to generate. The increased cost is then passed on to the consumer–us. As the Obama Administration forces Americans down the path of green energy, our European neighbors are abandoning that path due to unreliable energy and the cost of green energy. Unfortunately, it may take us a while to learn that lesson.

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Laws Gone Crazy

Breitbart.com posted a story today about the preparation California schools are currently making for new transgender laws in schools.

The article reports:

With a law that spells out the rights of transgender students in grades K-12 set to take effect in California, school districts are reviewing locker room layouts, scheduling sensitivity training for coaches, assessing who will sleep where during overnight field trips and reconsidering senior portrait dress codes.

But administrators, counselors, teachers and school board members also are watching and waiting. The law, the nation’s first requiring public schools to let children use sex-segregated facilities and participate in the gender-specific activities of their choice, could end up suspended within days of its Jan. 1 launch if a referendum to repeal it qualifies for the November ballot.

I don’t disagree with the idea of protecting transgender children from bullying or from being discriminated against, but I do wonder how a kindergarten child can be transgender. I have met very few kindergarten children who can make up their mind on such a complex issue.

Meanwhile, the children of and in the mainstream are being exposed to things in kindergarten and lower grades that they really don’t need to be exposed to.

The article reports:

“We don’t know what’s going to happen when kids come back from their holiday vacation,” said Republican state Sen. Steve Knight, who voted against the law. “Are there going to be 15-year-old girls talking in the bathroom and in walks a boy? What are they going to do? Scream? Run out?”

The California School Boards Association is acting on the assumption that the law will stand and that, even if it does not, existing state and federal anti-discrimination laws, as well as year-old California Interscholastic Federation rules under which athletes may petition to play on a sports team that does not correspond with their biological sex, already compel schools to accommodate transgender students.

The association has advised schools to handle requests on a case-by-case basis and with parental input, if possible, but to be prepared to make private changing arrangements both for transgender students and for classmates who might object to dressing with them.

I think it’s time for the rational parents in California to either home school their children or send them to private school. This is ridiculous. I wouldn’t want my teenage daughter to run the risk of having a boy walk in while she is using the ladies’ room. If he needs a separate facility, that is fine, but if he is still walking around with male equipment, he does not belong in the ladies’ room.

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Let’s Follow Their Example

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by Hassan al Banna in 1928. The bylaws of the Muslim Brotherhood state include the following:

“The Muslim Brotherhood is an International Muslim body which seeks to establish Allah’s law in the land by achieving the spiritual goals of Islam and the true religion which are namely the following:

…F) The  need to work on establishing the Islamic State:

G) The sincere support for a global cooperation in accordance with the provisions of the Islamic Sharia.

The above is taken from the Official Muslim Brotherhood Website on 9/7/2010. It is referenced in the book, Shariah The Threat to America published by the Center for Security Policy in 2010.

Yesterday the Washington Post posted a story stating that the military government of Egypt has declared that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist group. The military government of Egypt is correct. The Muslim Brotherhood was formed in Egypt as an antidote to the secularization of Turkey after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. The stated purpose of the Muslim Brotherhood is to form a worldwide caliphate under Sharia Law. It is implied in their by-laws that overthrowing existing governments is an acceptable means to this end. The military government of Egypt understands that fact and chooses not to be overthrown.

The article reports:

Deputy Prime Minister Hossam Eissa said that, in response to the bombing (a bombing Tuesday in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura), the government had decided to classify the organization as a terrorist group. Eissa did not provide evidence that the Brotherhood was involved in the bombing or any other recent attacks on security forces in Egypt.

“Egypt was horrified from north to south by the hideous crime committed by the Muslim Brotherhood group,” Eissa said, according to the AP. “This was in context of a dangerous escalation to violence against Egypt and Egyptians [and] a clear declaration by the Muslim Brotherhood group that it still knows nothing but violence.”

“It’s not possible for Egypt the state nor Egypt the people to submit to the Muslim Brotherhood terrorism,” he added.

On Wednesday, a Sinai-based jihadist group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, or Ansar Jerusalem, claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s bombing, which killed 15 people, including 11 police officers, in one of the deadliest such attacks in Egypt in years.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not a peaceful organization. The government of Egypt has realized that. It is time America woke up and realized the danger the Brotherhood represents to America.

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If You Don’t Understand The Problem, Your Solution Won’t Solve It

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article yesterday about the new Dodd-Frank rules regarding mortgages that will go into effect on January 10.

The article points out that because Congress chose to ignore the actual cause of the problem, the new rules will not solve the problem. The article cites comments by Diane Katz of the Heritage Foundation.

The article reports:

As Katz points out, Washington’s response to the financial crisis of 2008 rests on the premise that the housing bubble and subsequent crash were the fault of unscrupulous mortgage lenders who took advantage of naive, uninformed consumers. In reality, she says, “lenders and borrowers were responding rationally to incentives created by an array of deeply flawed government policies.”

What were these policies? Primarily, (1) artificially low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve, (2) the massive subsidy of risky loans by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, (3) and the low-income lending quotas set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Rather than admit that the government was a major part of the problem, Congress simply directed the focus elsewhere, passed laws that will not address the problem, and continued on its way.

The article reports:

At the heart of the new regulation is a requirement that lenders ensure that borrowers have the “ability to repay” a mortgage. Borrowers will now have the right to sue lenders for misjudging their financial fitness. Borrowers may also assert a violation of the ability-to-repay requirement as a defense against foreclosure, even if the original lender has sold the mortgage or assigned it to a servicing firm.

The impact of this new scheme is obvious. As Katz says, it “will raise the costs and risks of mortgage lending” and thereby result in less credit availability.

I wonder if you lie about your income on your mortgage application if you still have the right to sue.

Diane Katz sums up the problem:

The 3,500 pages of new mortgage regulation will not guarantee that a housing bubble and collapse will not happen again. Nor can such inflexible standards possibly keep pace with the constant changes in market conditions. But it will constrain the availability of credit and increase the costs. Such a regime eviscerates the fundamental principles of a mortgage “market,” thereby punishing consumers more than protecting them.

The federal government gets more power to regulate and the American people pay the price.

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Things That Make You Appreciate The Country We Live In

Yesterday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story about Shezanne Cassim, a young man from Minnesota who has lived and worked in Dubai for the past seven years. He works for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mr. Cassim is currently in a maximum security prison in Dubia. His crime–making a YouTube video that mocked Dubai teenagers. Admittedly, it is bad manners to mock your host country, but putting people in maximum security prison for satire seems a little extreme. Mr. Cassim and four other men will be serving a one-year prison term for their offense. The video is posted at Hot Air. Follow the link above to view it.

The article reports:

It’s easy to joke about this, but it’s no joke to Cassim and his family. It’s outrageous of Dubai to have locked up Cassim for even a day, let alone for eight months — and adding another year in maximum security is absurd. Dubai and UAE want to position themselves as a modern, cosmopolitan oasis in the Middle East, but this suggests that they’re just another oppressive totalitarian state with enough money to buy good PR. The US should have demanded his release months ago, and his continued incarceration should be a high-profile story for anyone who cares about even rudimentary freedoms, such as the freedom to laugh.

The Cassim family spoke to CNN this morning in an attempt to raise Shezanne’s profile here in the US:

This story should be shouted from the rooftops in America. Why isn’t this story on the front page of all of our major newspapers? Where is our government? Do we have any international clout at all these days?

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The Court Steps In To Protect Religious Freedom

One of the disputed aspects of ObamaCare is the mandate that forces religious organizations to violate their religious principles in providing abortion and contraception services to their employees. The mandate has been challenged both by religious organizations and by corporations owned or run by people whose religious belief prohibits either contraception or abortion.

CBN News reported today that a number of religious organizations have been successful in obtaining relief from that mandate through the court system.

The article reports:

A federal judge grants almost 200 evangelical ministries relief from the Obamacare abortion mandate while their cases proceed through the courts.

The Becket Fund announced the ruling calling it an early Christmas present that came just more than a week before the January 2014 deadline that would have forced the ministries to either abandon their beliefs about the sanctity of life or face crippling fines.

The class-action lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate include all the non-exempt religious  organizations providing health benefits through GuideStone Financial Resources of the South Baptist Convention and are included in the courts protection.

There is little doubt that the question of whether or not religious organizations should be forced to provide insurance for these services will eventually reach the Supreme Court. It will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court decides.

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It Was A Dark And Stormy Night…

I love the Peanuts cartoon. If you read the cartoon, you know that Snoopy is perpetually writing a novel. Many of his novels begin with “It was a dark and stormy night…” That is what the latest episode of the ObamaCare saga reminds me of.

National Review is reporting today that over the weekend, without telling anyone, in the dark of night, the Obama Administration has moved the deadline to sign up for ObamaCare.

The article cites a Washington Post story as its source:

Sources told the Post that the 24-hour extension has been built into the online system and is intended as a precaution in the event that the the problem-plagued website sees a surge of traffic from individuals looking to sign up at the last minute, and buckles under the weight.

The extension, said the sources, cannot be overridden by insurance companies if they object to it. It is the latest of several last-minute, ad hoc rule changes issued by the administration, including last week’s announcement that individuals whose insurance plans were canceled may receive an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate

Please note that none of these changes are being sent through Congress and they are simply decided on by the Obama Administration. What happened to the legal process of passing and amending a law? Where is the Constitution in this? Why isn’t Congress complaining about being left out of a large part of the implementation of this law?

Have we entered a period in our history when laws are changed in the dead of night without anyone other than the Administration having any input?

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Manipulating The Numbers To Disguise Increased Spending

Breitbart.com posted an article today about the budget compromise recently reached by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray. Congressman Ryan continues to defend the proposed cuts to veteran’s retirement pay. Before I continue, I just want to mention that cutting retirement pay for veterans is breaking a contract that was made with them when they agreed to serve in our military for twenty years or more.

Now, back to the actual point–the spending cuts in this budget do not reduce the deficit–they are math gimmicks.

The article reports:

As Breitbart News has reported, Ryan’s and Murray’s budget deal does not reduce the deficit. In fact, the deal raises the deficit by at least $15.5 billion because of a series of gimmicks that Ryan and Murray employed in the accounting of the deal — namely, double counting of savings like the tactic which was employed in Obamacare, and the failure to include an estimate of the interest on the borrowed money for the first couple of years of increased spending. These are only a few among a series of other misleading statements Ryan has made about the deal.

Congressman Ryan claims that the changes in military pensions are simply a ‘small adjustment.’ The facts do not back up that statement.

The article reports:

Ryan characterized the change as a “small adjustment” in the next paragraph, even though he admitted it could affect veterans by as much as $100,000 or more over their lifetimes, depending on when they retire.

That’s a serious broken promise.

The article reminds us:

In his op-ed, Ryan did not address the proposal in the House of Representatives gaining significant attention already from Reps. Martha Roby (R-AL) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Roby’s and Fitzpatrick’s plan would restore pensions for all military veterans and offset the savings those cuts create with savings from closing a loophole allowing illegal aliens access to the Refundable Child Tax Credit. Closing that loophole would save $7 billion — more than enough to ensure that the Pentagon gets the money it needs to buy top-notch military equipment.

Why are we taking money away from our military veterans and giving it to illegal aliens? Is this where we want to go?


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The Power Of Public Opinion

Regardless of how you feel about the comments of Phil Robertson, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from his comments and the various reactions to those comments. The latest lesson is that every voice in America is important, and when those voices combine, they have power.

The Blaze is reporting today that Cracker Barrel Restaurants have reversed their decision to remove some Duck Dynasty items from their stores.

The article at The Blaze included a copy of Cracker Barrel’s statement:

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Dear Cracker Barrel Customer:

When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done.

You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong.

We listened.

Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores.

And, we apologize for offending you.

We respect all individuals right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different.

We sincerely hope you will continue to be part of our Cracker Barrel family.

There were more people who agreed with Phil Robertson’s right to express his opinion than were willing to condemn him for that opinion. The thing that I believe those who were willing to condemn Mr. Robertson forgot was his background. He is a simple man who grew up in a small town in the old south. His views reflected that upbringing. The uproar was unnecessary.

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As 2013 Draws To A Close

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line today that included the following graph:


The graph is from a website called Real Science. The article at Real Science states that 2013 will go down as one of the coldest years in history since 1895. The graph shows the average temperatures recorded at all NOAA USHCN stations from 1895 to the present.

The article at Real Science mentions the following:

NOAA will reporting something very different, because they subtract up to 1.7 degrees from older temperatures. Essentially all reported US warming is due to a hockey stick of temperature adjustments, which makes the past appear to be much colder than what the thermometers measured at the time. (They of course do not mention this in their press releases.)

I don’t know if the earth is warming or cooling. What I do know is that man is not important enough in the grand scheme of things to significantly impact the earth’s climate. Those who are shrieking that we are all going to die unless we give money to dictators in underdeveloped countries are really not primarily concerned about the planet. They have other priorities. I would like to  mention that most of the civilized countries in the world  have taken steps to curb pollution of all kinds. The idea of penalizing countries for being civilized is someone’s very bad idea for redistributing wealth worldwide. The way to prosper poorer countries is to give them freedom and property rights, but somehow that never gets mentioned by the global warming crowd.


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