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RAPID RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section.  It will offer fresh, quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in this rapid-fire world of ours.  Of course, as in military campaigns, a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction.  Charge that to "the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or military campaign must maintain to be effective.  But the mission will always be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.  That's all I promise.
GS

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list


FRIDAY, September 30, 2011

I AGREE.

GS

==================================================
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency
==================================================

US Bishops See Common Sense in Immigration Development

Prelate Stresses Need to Respect Family Ties

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 30, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops are praising a government move to direct immigration-enforcement resources toward criminals, rather than immigrants who are considered low-priority for deportation.

Los Angeles' Archbishop José Gomez, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Migration, affirmed this in a Thursday letter to Secretary Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security.

The archbishop summarized the development of the decision, and noted positive steps, including an interagency working group established between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, which will review some 300,000 cases in the removal pipeline. He also praised an announcement that all immigration-related agencies, such as border protection personnel, will receive formal guidance on the policy.

Archbishop Gomez added: The U.S. Catholic bishops ask that as you further develop the criteria to review the approximately 300,000 cases in the removal pipeline, and as you consider individuals prospectively for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion who are not yet in the removal pipeline, that you prioritize: (1) families, as defined under current federal immigration law; (2) vulnerable populations, including the mentally and physically disabled and victims of crimes; (3) children and individuals who were brought to the United States as minors, through no fault of their own; (4) pregnant and nursing women; (5) those with long-term presence in the United States and other equities, such as U.S. citizen children or spouses and contributions to their communities through their work, faith communities, among other means, and (6) clergy and religious who serve in faith communities.

The prelate said the decision embodies the kind of common-sense, compassionate immigration policies that can serve to simultaneously enforce federal immigration law while respecting the dignity and vulnerabilities of the migrants in our midst.


THURSDAY, September 29, 2011

TIME FOR ANOTHER EDITION OF "A POX ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES!"

GS


WEDNESDAY, September 28, 2011

"Idiocy is continuing to do the same thing over and over...and expecting different results."
Albert Einstein.


Costs of health insurance surge in 2011 | News from southeastern Connecticut
http://www.theday.com/article/20110928/BIZ03/309289972/1044#.ToLm5Vz-TM0.email


TUESDAY, September 27, 2011

AM I JUST A SHILL FOR CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER(letters at charleskrauthammer.com)?  No. But his work always presents a logic and a realism rarely found in the production of the rest of the mainstream media...especially during election seasons - which are now perpetual. See his most recent article: "The Return of the Real Barack Obama", in The Day Saturday Sept 24, 2011, pA7.

GS


MONDAY, September 26, 2011

Given the state of our personal affairs and those of the nation and the world, we can use all the help we can get...from whatever source.  Please check out my section under "Abortion, Morality and Ethics", sub-section "Catholic Church" for relevant discourse regardless of your spiritual / religious bent.

GS


SUNDAY, September 25, 2011

Whether a Communist plot or a far-left Liberal (ie Obama) or Socialist or "secular humanist" plot...or just the plain result of 40 years of STUPIDITY and lack of common sense in and outside of our schools,  "they" are succeeding in a grand way.
I would just substitute Abortion for homosexuality, since in the vast majority of cases the latter has been shown to be a biologic variant beginning in the womb. 
This reminds me of the German people in the 1930's:witnessing but not understanding what was going on.  Scary, especially if the 2012 elections don't turn it around.  Because then, we may well have another civil war.  Remember: the largest standing army in the world, by far, is the American People.

GS

http://www.therightscoop.com/open-thread-grinding-america-down/


SATURDAY, September 24, 2011

Every time I am reminded of this, my comment is always WOW.  Thomas Jefferson should be considered the Abraham of this nation.

GS

>
>                THOMAS  JEFFERSON
>                             At 5, began studying under his cousins  tutor.
>
>                       At 9, studied Latin, Greek and  French.
>
>                       At 14, studied classical literature and  additional  languages.
>
>                      At 16, entered  the College of  William and  Mary.
>
>                       At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under  George  Wythe.
>
>                       At 23, started his own law  practice.
>
>                      At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of  Burgesses..
>
>                    At 31, wrote the widely circulated "Summary View  of the Rights of   British America  " and  retired from his law  practice.
>
>                       At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental  Congress.
>
>                       At 33, wrote the Declaration of  Independence  ..
>
>                      At 33, took three years to  revise   Virginia  ’s  legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and  a statute for Religious  Freedom.
>
>                       At 36, was elected the second Governor of   Virginia  succeeding  Patrick  Henry.
>
>                       At 40, served in Congress for two  years.
>
>                       At 41, was the American minister  to   France  and  negotiated commercial treaties with European  nations along with Ben
>         Franklin and  John  Adams.
>
>                       At 46, served as the first Secretary of State  under George  Washington.
>
>                       At 53, served as Vice President and was elected  president of the American Philosophical  Society.
>
>                       At 55, drafted the  Kentucky  Resolutions  and became the active head of Republican  Party.
>
>                       At 57, was elected the third president of  the  United  States  .
>
>                       At 60, obtained the   Louisiana  Purchase  doubling the nation’s  size.
>
>                       At 61, was elected to a second term as  President.
>
>                       At 65, retired to   Monticello  .
>
>                       At 80, helped President Monroe shape  the   Monroe  Doctrine.
>
>                       At 81, almost single-handedly created  the   University  of   Virginia  and  served as its first  president.
>
>                      At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the  Signing of the Declaration of  Independence  .
>
>              John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House  for a group of the brightest minds in the nation  at that time. He made this statement: "This is  perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence  ever to gather at one time in the White House  with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson  dined alone."
>
>             When we  get piled upon one another in large cities, as  in Europe, we shall become as corrupt  as  Europe  .
>         >>>  Thomas Jefferson
>
>             The  democracy will cease to exist when you take away  from those who are willing to work and give to  those who would not.
>         >>> Thomas  Jefferson
>
>             It is  incumbent on every generation to pay its own  debts as it goes.  A principle which if  acted on would save one-half the wars of the  world.
>         >>> Thomas  Jefferson
>
>             I predict  future happiness for Americans if they can  prevent the government from wasting the labors  of the people under the pretense of taking care  of them.
>         >>> Thomas  Jefferson
>
>             My reading  of history convinces me that most bad government  results from too much  government.
>         >>> Thomas  Jefferson
>
>             No free man  shall ever be debarred the use of  arms.
>         >>> Thomas  Jefferson
>
>             The  strongest reason for the people to retain the  right to keep and bear arms is, as a last  resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in  government.
>         >>> Thomas  Jefferson
>
>             The tree of  liberty must be refreshed from time to time with  the blood of patriots and  tyrants.
>         >>> Thomas  Jefferson
>
>             To compel a  man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation  of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is  sinful and tyrannical.
>         >>> Thomas  Jefferson
>
>             Thomas  Jefferson said in  1802:
>            I  believe that banking institutions are more  dangerous to our liberties than standing  armies.  If the American people ever allow  private banks to control the issue of their  currency, first by inflation, then by deflation,  the banks and corporations that will grow up  around the banks will deprive
>         the  people of all property - until their children  wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers  conquered.
>


WEDNESDAY through FRIDAY, September 21 through 23, 2011

...and on, and on, and on.  As I have said many times: in this country...born and bred of revolution, war, civil war,  racial injustice, world war, regional imperialism, depression, more world war, cold and hot wars, assassinations, more wars, and a breakdown in civil society / education in the last 40 years...things are going to have to get worse before they have a chance of ever getting better - unless we have entered the decline and fall of America with more wars - civil and otherwise.  And I'm an optimist!

GS

OIL - You better be sitting down when you read this !!!!!!

As you may know, Cruz Construction started a division in North Dakota just 6 months ago.

They send every Kenworth (9 trucks) we had here in Alaska to North Dakota and several drivers.

They just bought two new Kenworth's to add to that fleet; one being a Tri Drive tractor and a new 65 ton lowboy to go with it.

They also bought two new cranes (one crawler & one rubber tired) for that division.

Dave Cruz said they have moved more rigs in the last 6 months in ND than Cruz Construction moved in Alaska in the last 6 years.

Williston is like a gold rush town; they moved one of our 40 man camps down there since there are no rooms available.

Unemployment in ND is the lowest in the nation at 3.4 percent last I checked.

See anything in the national news about how the oil industry is fueling North Dakota's economy?

Here's an astonishing read. Important and verifiable information:

About 6 months ago, the writer was watching a news program on oil and one of the Forbes Bros. was the guest.

The host said to Forbes, "I am going to ask you a direct question and I would like a direct answer;

how much oil does the U.S. have in the ground?" Forbes did not miss a beat, he said, "more than all the Middle East put together."

The U. S.. Geological Service issued a report in April 2008 that only scientists and oil men knew was coming, but man was it big.

It was a revised report (hadn't been updated since 1995) on how much oil was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota,

western South Dakota, and extreme eastern Montana..

Check THIS out:

The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to

eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates

it at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable( 5 billion barrels), at $107 a barrel,

we're looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion.

"When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see their jaws hit the floor.

They had no idea.." says Terry Johnson, the Montana Legislature's financial analyst.

"This sizable find is now the highest-producing onshore oil field found in the past 56 years," reportsThe Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

It's a formation known as the Williston Basin, but is more commonly referred to as the 'Bakken.'

It stretches from Northern Montana, through North Dakota and into Canada.

For years, U. S. oil exploration has been considered a dead end.

Even the 'Big Oil' companies gave up searching for major oil wells decades ago.

However, a recent technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken's massive reserves,

and we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And because this is light, sweet oil,

those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 PER BARREL !!!!!!

That's enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 2041 years straight.

And if THAT didn't throw you on the floor, then this next one should - because it's from 2006 !!!!!!

U.. S. Oil Discovery - Largest Reserve in the World

Stansberry Report Online - 4/20/2006

Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world.

It is more than 2 TRILLION barrels. On August 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction.

In three and a half years of high oil prices none has been extracted.

With this motherload of oil why are we still fighting over off-shore drilling?

They reported this stunning news:

We have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth.

Here are the official estimates:

8 times as much oil as Saudi Arabia

18 times as much oil as Iraq

21 times as much oil as Kuwait

22 times as much oil as Iran

500 times as much oil as Yemen

and it's all right here in the Western United States !!!!!!

HOW can this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this? Because the environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil! Again, we are letting a small group of people dictate our lives and our economy. WHY?

James Bartis, lead researcher with the study says we've got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East, more than 2 TRILLION barrels untapped. That's more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today, reports The Denver Post.

Don't think 'OPEC' will drop its price even with this find? Think again! It's all about the competitive marketplace, it has to.

Think OPEC just might be funding the environmentalists?

Got your attention yet? Now, while you're thinking about it, do this:

Pass this along. If you don't take a little time to do this, then you should stifle yourself the next time

you complain about gas prices, by doing NOTHING, you forfeit your right to complain.

Now I just wonder what would happen in this country if every one of you sent this to every one in your address book.

By the way, this can be verified. Check it out at the link below !!!!!!

http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911 <http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911>

Curz Construction:
http://www.cruzconstruct.com/services..php <http://www.cruzconstruct..com/services.php>


MONDAY and TUESDAY, September 19 and 20, 2011

Folks, this is very good.  Guess whom I favor at this time.

GS

Front-runners Mitt Romney, Rick Perry define two wings of Republican Party

By Philip Rucker | The Washington PostSun, Sep 18, 2011

The Republican Party has produced as front-runners for the presidential nomination two men just three years apart in age but who otherwise are about as different as possible — in style, substance, biography and their appeals to voters.

One was born into a privileged family in a tony Michigan suburb; the other, onto a flat expanse of West Texas dirt with no indoor plumbing. One spent his youth tooling around his father’s car factory; the other, selling Bibles door to door so he could afford to buy a car. One excelled at Harvard University, simultaneously earning law and business degrees and swiftly climbing the corporate ladder; the other, his hope of becoming a veterinarian dashed when he flunked organic chemistry at Texas A&M University, joined the Air Force.

Where Mitt Romney is obedient and cautious, Rick Perry is bombastic and spontaneous. If they had attended the same high school, they probably would have hung out at opposite ends of the hallway. Their relationship today is said to be frosty, if there is one at all.

“In every single possible way, they come from different worlds,” said Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, who advised Romney in his 2008 race but is unaffiliated in the 2012 race. “You can see the playbook pretty clearly here: It’s populist against patrician, it’s rural Texas steel against unflappable Romney coolness, conservative versus center-right establishment, Texas strength versus Romney’s imperturbability, Perry’s simplicity versus Romney’s flexibility.”

In making their pitch to Republican voters, Romney and Perry both say their life experiences have prepared them for the presidency and for the onerous task of nursing the country’s ailing economy. Romney is campaigning as a steady, capable grown-up who can fix anything that needs fixing; Perry, as a passionate, principled leader who can channel the ire of a frustrated electorate.

The twin forces within the Republican Party are neatly manifested in the two candidates. Romney represents both the party’s upper-crust establishment and the state — Massachusetts — that for so long has been the GOP’s boogeyman. Perry represents the angry grass roots that are giving the party new energy and he personifies the state — Texas — that for a generation has been the GOP’s soul.

Just as Obama’s 2008 victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton helped define the modern Democratic Party, Republicans, in choosing between Romney, Perry or perhaps someone else, will make a powerful statement about the GOP’s identity.

Relating to voters

Romney, a former consultant who founded a successful private-equity firm, seems at his best discussing the intricacies of how businesses grow. When he announced his 59-point economic plan, Romney began by saying that “this is going to be a conversation” and proceeded to speak extemporaneously for half an hour with just one page of hand-scribbled notes.

It’s when Romney tries to relate to average folks or banter about trivial things that he can struggle. His critics poked fun at snapshots he posted to his Twitter account showing him aboard Southwest Airlines and eating a Subway sandwich. When Romney posed for a picture with the staff of a ’50s-themed diner in New Hampshire over the summer, he pretended one of the waitresses had pinched his backside. His attempt at a practical joke left those around him puzzled.

Perry tends toward just the opposite. When he gave a short speech on jobs in California recently, he was so focused on reading from the notecards he carried to the podium with him that he didn’t seem to notice that a woman in the bleachers had passed out under the hot sun or that people were shouting for paramedics.

It’s in relating to people that Perry seems most at ease. He routinely puts down elites. In last week’s debate, Romney dismissed Perry’s jobs record as luck, saying that governing a state with plentiful oil resources was akin to being dealt a poker hand of four aces. Perry shot back on the stump in Iowa:

“I grew up in a house that didn’t have running water until I was about 5 years old. My mom and dad were both tenant farmers. For sure, I was not born with four aces in my hand.”

Perry does little to hide his disdain for Romney’s state.

“I would no more consider living in Massachusetts than I suspect a great number of folks from Massachusetts would like to live in Texas,” Perry wrote in “Fed Up!” “We just don’t agree on a number of things. They passed state-run health care, they have sanctioned gay marriage, and they elected Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barney Frank repeatedly — even after actually knowing about them and what they believe!

“Texans, on the other hand, elect folks like me. You know the type, the kind of guy who goes jogging in the morning, packing a Ruger .380 with laser sights and loaded with hollow-point bullets, and shoots a coyote that is threatening his daughter’s dog.”

Romney and Perry’s uneasy relationship dates to 2006, when Romney, then the Republican Governors Association chairman, hired Castellanos to work for the RGA. Perry viewed that as an affront, since Castellanos was also working for Carole Keeton Strayhorn, an independent who was trying to unseat Perry that year.

The next year, Perry endorsed Rudolph W. Giuliani over Romney in the presidential race. In his 2008 book about the Boy Scouts, Perry accused Romney of excluding the Scouts from volunteering at the 2002 Winter Olympics, which Romney ran.

Republicans close to Romney and Perry said that reports of their animosity are overstated and that in reality they never had much of a relationship at all. Romney supported Perry’s reelection campaign last year and, when he visited Texas this spring, before Perry was openly considering a presidential run, lavished praise on the Texas governor.

Defining influences

On the campaign trail now, both men tell inspirational stories about their fathers. One is a tale of ambition and achievement; the other, of honor and minimalism.

Romney’s father, George, was born to American parents in Mexico but grew up poor, hopscotching the American West, and eventually learned to be a lath-and-plaster carpenter.

“My dad never had the time or money to put together a college degree, but the fact that he was a lath-and-plaster carpenter didn’t keep him in America from becoming head of a big car company — they made Ramblers — and then also becoming governor,” Romney said recently at a New Hampshire town hall meeting, not mentioning that his father never realized his ultimate ambition, to be president.

The story Perry tells of his father, Joseph Ray, is markedly different. “My dad was a tail-
gunner in World War II,” Perry recently told a veterans group. “He flew 35 missions over Nazi hell Germany in 1944 and ’45. He helped liberate millions from tyranny. When he came home, he didn’t seek acclaim or credit. He just wanted to live in peace and freedom — just farm a little corner of land in Paint Creek, Texas.”

That corner of land is where the mischief-making, eager-to-please “Little Ricky” was raised. Growing up, Perry says, the only world he knew was Paint Creek. “I learned the values of hard work and thrift and faith,” he said Friday in Iowa. “The American dream was available to me because America was never set up as a class society.”

At a piano recital when he was 8, Perry met Anita Thigpen, who, 24 years later, would become his wife. When he got to Texas A&M, Perry joined the Corps of Cadets and was elected as one of A&M’s five yell leaders. Perry said he learned there was more to college than fraternity parties — “Quite frankly, I struggled,” he said recently — and graduated with a degree in animal science. To this day, he kneels down to pet dogs when he sees them.

Perry joined the Air Force, piloting transport aircraft from 1972 to 1977, although he was never called into battle.

Perry has said that at age 27, when he returned to Paint Creek to work the family’s cotton farm, he was “lost, spiritually and emotionally.” He pondered his purpose but found God. And, in 1984, he launched what would become a nearly three-decade political career. He won 10 straight elections — state representative, agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and, when George W. Bush became president, governor.

“It’s a whole package,” David Carney, Perry’s chief strategist, said in a recent interview. “This is not manufactured. That’s what makes Rick Perry who Rick Perry is.”

Romney doesn’t talk about flying cargo planes — he didn’t serve in the military — or going from rags to riches. He’s always had the latter. The places he has lived — Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; Belmont, Mass.; Park City, Utah; La Jolla, Calif.; and Wolfeboro, N.H. — have almost nothing in common with Paint Creek.

The biography Romney shares with voters is one of bullet points on what by any measure is an impressive résumé:

Learned French during two years in France as a Mormon missionary. Married his high school sweetheart, Ann, at age 22. Graduated from Brigham Young University and gave a commencement address to his class. Completed law and business degrees in four years at Harvard.

Became a rising star in the management consulting world. Founded Bain Capital. Helped invest in or acquire companies such as Staples, the office-supplies retailer. Turned around the struggling 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Was elected governor of Massachusetts. Ran for president.

“I don’t have all the answers to all the problems that exist in America and around the world,” Romney has said. “But I know how to find the answers, and I also know how to lead.”

It is perhaps in the area of personal style that the two men are most different.

Consider how they approached the rite of eating a corn dog when they visited the Iowa State Fair last month. When a fair vendor handed Romney a vegetarian corn dog, he politely took it, turned his back to the cameras following him, took a delicate bite from the side and hurried along so he wouldn’t be photographed sticking the deep-fried foot-long in his mouth.

Perry, meanwhile, took a big bite of his corn dog, top first, photographic evidence of which raced around the Internet.

“A guy gave me a corny dog and it looked beautiful,” Perry recalled a few days later in South Carolina. “I took a big ol’ bite out of it and I thought, it kind of has an odd taste. He said, ‘It’s a vegetarian one. How do you like it, sir?’ ”

Stirring his audience of apparent meat lovers, Perry continued his riff.

“Let’s see,” he said, “I think [I ate] boiled egg on a stick and finished up with pork chop on a stick. So I got my protein that day!”


SUNDAY, September 18, 2011

MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY ARE ALWAYS IN THE NEWS, but usually in an uninformed and fear-mongering way. 

Now come two articles, one on Medicare (in addition to my offerings regarding ObamaCare in this section), and one on Social Security.

Folks, this is not rocket science. All it requires is political courage...an oxymoron if there ever was one.

GS


SATURDAY, September 17, 2011

ON THE UNITED STATES, INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS.

Three recent articles published in The Day (www.theday.com) careen between clarity and fog on these matters. "Persistence: There Is No Return To A 9/10 Mentality", by Glenn Sulmasy (Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, pE1), is a study in clarity. The article in the same edition, "A Flawed Remembrance" by Alex Roberto Hybel is the opposite. And then there is the recent article published on Friday, Sept. 16 entitled "U.S. Weighs Limits Of Terror Fight", by Charlie Savage (pA4).  This is another ode to "Foggy Bottom", our Department of State which continues to immerse itself in "the laws of war" and to "reach out to European allies" while learning nothing from history.  To these latter observers, the fog will only lift if and when our homeland and our citizens are again attacked - this time with much greater consequences...for us and for the entire world.

GS



FRIDAY, September 16, 2011

PLEASE READ A CONCISE SUMMARY OF WHY "FREEDOM OF RELIGION" IS NOT "FREEDOM FROM RELIGION", WHICH IS TOXIC TO ALL RELIGIONS AND TO SOCIETY ITSELF.
ALSO, TRY TO HELP CUT DOWN A BLATANT ATTEMPT TO FOSTER THE KILLING OF HUMAN BEINGS AS A "HEALTH ISSUE", INCLUDING "MENTAL HEALTH".  THAT ARROGANCE PUTS US ALL AT RISK, FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE.

GS

==================================================
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency
==================================================

Russian Orthodox Leader Defends Europe's Roots

Says Excluding Christianity Isn't Path to a Friendlier Continent

ROME, SEPT. 15, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Excluding signs of Christian civilization from Europe does not make it a place friendlier to non-Christians, says a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's department for external Church relations, made this claim when he spoke at the opening session of an OSCE meeting on anti-Christian violence. The meeting was held Monday in Rome.

There is a simple axiom, understandable to every educated European, Hilarion proposed. European civilization is a culture that has developed on a Christian foundation. Today Europe, and indeed the entire OSCE region, has acquired a clearly expressed multicultural nature, having become a place of contact between peoples and religions from all over the world. Yet, does this mean that the cultural and religious diversity of Europe definitely threatens her Christian roots? Not at all.

The metropolitan pointed to a basic danger of attempting to use religious diversity as an excuse to exclude signs of Christian civilization from the public and political realities of the continent, as though this would make our continent friendlier towards non-Christians.

In fact, he said, this separation endangers the representatives of any religion.

I am convinced that society, which has renounced its spiritual heritage under the pretext of the radical separation of religious life from public life, becomes vulnerable to the spirit of enmity in relation to representatives of any religion, Hilarion stated. This indeed does create an atmosphere of intolerance in relation to Christians, as well as to representatives of other traditional religions.

The Russian Orthodox representative went on to illustrate his point with several examples, including regulations in Spain for primary school sex education, in which pupils are indoctrinated with views on sexual relations which are totally inconsistent with the religious beliefs of their parents. Other examples are attacks on the Christian defense of unborn children, the dying, or marriage between one man and one woman, he noted.

People who ignore or infringe on the rights and legitimate interests of Christians are often guided by secular maximalism, that is, they proceed from the notion that religion is no more than the personal affair of the individual and does not have a social dimension, he explained.

Metropolitan Hilarion acknowledged that a model of peaceful inter-civilizational coexistence is a difficult theoretical and practical task. But, he said, a model is needed not only in the OSCE region but also throughout the world, including those places where Christians feel themselves to be especially vulnerable.

==================================================
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency
==================================================

US Bishops: Defend Conscience Before Sept. 30

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 15, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Only two weeks remain for U.S. citizens to protest conscience violations found in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services directives for health insurance.

The U.S. bishops have asked citizens to express their concern to the HHS before the Sept. 30 deadline.

On Aug. 1, the HHS issued an interim final rule that will require virtually all private health plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptives, sterilization procedures, and related patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.

These are listed among preventive services for women that all health plans will have to include without co-pays or other cost-sharing -- regardless of whether the insurer, the employer or other plan sponsor, or even the woman herself objects to such coverage.

The bishops have made material available to evaluate the HHS rule and to respond.


TUESDAY through THURSDAY, September 13 through 15, 2011

THE AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE deserves the support of all Americans who believe in those two principles.

GS

Dear George,

This week the ACLJ has filed two amicus briefs at the Supreme Court on critical issues facing our nation.

Arizona has the second largest per capita population of illegal immigrants in the nation. It is a challenge they live with every day. Where the federal government failed, they took action and the Obama Justice Department sued them for it.

Now the ACLJ is stepping in to help, and we have brought the support of nearly 60 Members of Congress and nearly 60,000 American citizens with us.

We have just filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in support of Arizona’s illegal immigration law and the right of states to govern within their borders – including defending those borders.

Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona has signed onto our brief along with Senator Jim DeMint, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Randy Forbes, Thaddeus McCotter and 55 more elected leaders from across the nation. Find the full list of elected officials and more about our argument to the Supreme Court here.

The Supreme Court must take this case. The Obama Justice Department’s suit against the Arizona immigration law challenges not only this law but also similar laws being enacted by states across the country.

Laws like the one enacted in Arizona are not anti-immigrant, they actually act in favor of legal immigration and the aspiring American citizens who choose to come here legally. As I discussed recently, and like so many Americans, I am the grandson of an immigrant. A legal framework that enables the legal immigration process is very important to me and America’s heritage.

We have the privilege of raising our children in the greatest country this world has ever known, and we must protect and defend it … and them.

The second amicus brief we filed at the Supreme Court of the United States in a constitutional case dealing with what is broadcast on television when children are likely to be watching.

In a filing at the high court, we're defending a ban on television indecency. Our amicus brief defends existing law that bans public indecency, whether in person or on broadcast television.

As we argue in our amicus brief, “An indecent television broadcast is essentially an indecent public display.” The high court should make sure that any decision it hands down should reaffirm the laws that already exist in all fifty states. You can learn more about this case and download a copy of our brief at ACLJ.org.

While the ACLJ defends our fundamental rights in courts across the nation and around the world, we continue to focus on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Thank you for continuing to stand with the ACLJ and our work.

Jay Sekulow
ACLJ Chief Counsel


MONDAY, September 12, 2011

Replacing Obama: Where His Challengers Stand on Pro-Life Issues

Dear LifeNews.com Readers,

Recently, we sent to you the exclusive and extensive listing LifeNews.com has compiled of the pro-abortion actions President Barack Obama has taken in two and a half years since taking over the White House. But, it's not enough to merely condemn Obama for what he's done without offering you information about potential replacements.

Today, LifeNews is pleased to provide you a sample of information about the Republican presidential candidates and their stances and actions they've taken on the pro-life issues that matter to you. Because LifeNews is the only news outlet dedicated solely to covering abortion, bioethics issues like human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, and efforts to protect the elderly and disabled from euthanasia and assisted suicide, we've covered each of the candidates extensively on where they have positioned themselves.

But, before we get to those articles on the candidates, we need to remind you that LifeNews can't continue to provide tens of thousands of informative and educational news stories about these candidates or any other pro-life topics without your help. Please go here to make an online donation to support this pro-life news and information ministry. Our action alerts, our educational resources, and our pro-life news has LifeNews.com saving lives and empowering pro-life people to save lives. Please send a donation today to help us keep going!

Thankfully, pro-life voters have numerous pro-life options when it comes to finding a candidate to replace Obama in next year's presidential elections. Below, we have listed each candidate alphabetically and some of the recent stories we've done at LifeNews. You can find many more on your favorite candidate by going to LifeNews.com and searching for "2011 candidate name" and putting the right candidate in the search.

Michele Bachmann:
Michele Bachmann Hits Planned Parenthood at Faith Conference
Bachmann: “Devastating” Miscarriage Shaped Pro-Life Abortion Views
Bachmann: Christian Writer Francis Schaeffer Shaped Pro-Life Views

Herman Cain:
Herman Cain Blasts Planned Parenthood, Abortion Biz Attacks Him
Herman Cain: Defund Racist Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz
Herman Cain Reaffirms Pro-Life View After Not Signing Pledge

Newt Gingrich:
Newt Gingrich Makes 2012 Republican Presidential Bid Official
Gingrich Also Hits Romney on Not Signing Pro-Life Pledge
Likely GOP Presidential Candidates Want Planned Parenthood De-Funded

Jon Huntsman:
Jon Huntsman: No Truce on Abortion, Touts Pro-Life Record
Huntsman Confirms Opposition to Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Pro-Life Ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Announces GOP 2012 Campaign

Ron Paul:
Ron Paul Would Sign Planned Parenthood Funding Ban
Ron Paul Blasts Obama Forcing Coverage of Abortion, Birth Control
Catholics for Ron Paul Effort Supports His Pro-Life Stance

Rick Perry:
Rick Perry Gets A Grade on Abortion From Texas Pro-Life Groups
Rick Perry Signs Pro-Life Pledge on Abortion, Judges
Texas Gov. Rick Perry Signs Bill De-Funding Planned Parenthood

Mitt Romney:
Mitt Romney Reasserts His Pro-Life Position on Abortion
Mitt Romney Still Faces Questions Over His Pro-Life Stance
Mitt Romney Makes 2012 Republican Presidential Bid Official

Rick Santorum:
Pro-Life Sen. Rick Santorum Seeks GOP Presidential Nod
Santorum: Abortion to Blame for Some Social Security Problems
Santorum Picks Up Endorsement From Iowa Pro-Life Activist


The presidential election next year has the power to shape the future of abortion for decades -- as the next president may have Supreme Court appointments who could determine the future of Roe and the status of legal abortions for many years. With a tenuous pro-abortion majority on the high court now, a pro-life president gives unborn children real hope for change.


SUNDAY, September 11, 2011

Subject: At a Tennessee Football Game---not a joke
 
Christianity is now the target of persecution...
 
I FIND IT INTERESTING THAT A HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL CAN SEE THE PROBLEM, BUT OUR SOCIETY CANNOT.

Tennessee Football

This is a statement that was read over the PA sytem at the football game at Roane County High School , Kingston , Tennessee by school Principal, Jody McLeod
 
"It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games, to say a prayer and play the National Anthem, to honor God and Country."
 
Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a Prayer is a violation of Federal Case Law. As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it "an alternate life style," and if someone is offended, that's OK.
 
I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity, by dispensing condoms and calling it, "safe sex." If someone is offended, that's OK.

I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a "viable! Means of birth control." If someone is offended, no problem...

I can designate a school day as "Earth Day" and involve students in activities to worship religiously and praise the goddess "Mother Earth" and call it "ecology.."

I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depicts people with strong, traditional Christian convictions as "simple minded" and "ignorant" and call it "enlightenment.."

However, if anyone uses this facility to honor GOD and to ask HIM to Bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, then Federal Case Law is violated.

This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical.
Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone, except GOD and HIS Commandments.

Nevertheless , as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical. I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression.

For this reason, I shall "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," and refrain from praying at this time.

" However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank GOD and ask HIM,in the name of JESUS, to Bless this event, please feel free to do so.. As far as I know, that's not against the law----yet."

One by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another and began to pray.

They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed at the concession stand and they prayed in the Announcer's Box!

The only place they didn't pray was in the Supreme Court of the United States of America- the Seat of "Justice" in the "one nation, under GOD."

Somehow, Kingston , Tennessee Remembered what so many have forgotten. We are given the Freedom OF Religion, not the FreedomFROM ReligionPraise GOD that HIS remnant remains!

JESUS said, "If you are ashamed of ME before men, then I will be ashamed of you before MY FATHER.."


SATURDAY, September 10, 2011

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

A date seared in the collective experience of all Americans...and especially of those who lost loved ones in the events of that day. One identical theme we hear from those left behind is that there is no forgetting, no closure, no healing. 
Any of us who have witnessed the passing of loved ones can relate to that - to a point. But the grief and sadness of these people seem to be a world apart.  I believe that the reason for this is that they and we were not allowed initially to express the white - hot rage that welled up in us at the time.  We were immediately told that we should "forgive", in the Judeo-Christian model.  The failure to traverse that important step left a scar in all of us...and a festering wound in the hearts of the 9/11 families.
That was and is unfortunate.  Yes: "Vengance Is Mine, Sayeth The Lord. I Shall Repay". Yes:.."Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us...".  Yes: "Wrath and anger are hateful things...".  Yes: Peter must forgive his brother's sins "not seven times, but seventy-seven times" according to the Lord Jesus. 
Yes, but God gave us free will.  Most of us will do the right thing, in time and in our own way.  But meanwhile, let us have and acknowledge our rage over the actions of the bestial creatures around us.  Only then can the healing produce a strong scar and not a perpetually festering wound. Let us all pray that that time comes soon for us.  Meanwhile, those who have passed on are in Good Hands.


GS


TUESDAY through FRIDAY, September 6 through 9, 2011

So what have we learned in 2,066 years?
 
"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled,
public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be
tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be
curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work,
instead of living on public assistance."

- Cicero - 55BC

Evidently, nothing.


SUNDAY and MONDAY, September 4 and 5, 2011

It's been a busy summer, with trips and reading, reading and trips.  tThe following are short and trenchant remarks on the state of a number of topics, supported by references for your documentation, if desired. 

The National Labor Relations Board has become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Obama Administration.  And Unionism is running rampant, expecially in the public sector.  This has, of course, always been true of the Teachers' Unions.  And they are all overplaying their hands.  See: 1) a recent WSJ editorial regarding the NLRB requiring employers to display posters about the 76 year old right to unionize; 2) the Hillsdale College bulletin entitled Imprimis, the 5-6/11 edition about the arrogant attempt of the NLRB to affect the Boeing Corp. decision to build a facility in a right to work State; 3) Dick Ahles article in The Day, 8/27/21; 4) Red Jahncke's article in The Dady Sept. 3, 2011; 5) the WSJ editorial dated August 26.  And there are more.

1) the NYTimes article, Sept 4, on the predicted failure of technology gimmicks to improve teaching and learning in the classroom; 2) a parent's primer for the constantly failing New London, Ct. schools...in The Day Sept. 4; 3) Class Warfare, book review in the NYTimes August 21; 4)  a way for new teachers to avoid the usual feudal education system; 5) "Super Teachers Alone Can't Save Our Schools, in WSJ Review, August 13-14.  And there are more.

1) "Vatican Denies Claims by Ireland on Abuse...", in NYTimes Sept 4; 2) Bishop Finn of Kansas City,Mo. found to have delayed public notificaion of clergy abuse in his Diocese...at this late date in the scandal; 3) and then there was the 60 Minutes interview with Archbishop Timothy Dunn of NYC a short time ago: a bit too approachable, but still inscrutible, treating Morley Safer with kid gloves - and a stiff arm, answering all challenges to Church Doctrine with nothing but "because"...I was Underwhelmed!

GS


SATURDAY, September 3, 2011








THURSDAY and FRIDAY, September 1 and 2, 2011

"Lest We forget..."  GS

==================================================
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency
==================================================

US Bishops on Deficit Debate: How Will the Poor Be Treated?
Remind Politicians That It's Not About Which Party Wins

WASHINGTON D.C., SEPT. 1, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops are reminding government that reducing the debt is a moral issue, and one that will be measured not by which party wins, but by how the poor are treated.

Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, New York, and Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, leaders of the international and domestic policy committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), affirmed this in a statement Wednesday.

Addressing the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the bishops stated: The moral measure of this historic process is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how the jobless, hungry, homeless and poor are treated.

We understand that the fiscal status quo is unsustainable, with mounting deficits and growing debt for our children, the bishops wrote. We also recognize the economic and moral importance of creating jobs with decent wages and spurring economic growth as essential strategies to improve our economy, decrease poverty and reduce future deficits and debts.

The question is how to fulfill the demands of justice and moral obligations to future generations and protect the lives and dignity of those who are poor and vulnerable.

Not the time

The bishops cautioned against substantial cuts to programs that serve families working to make ends meet and escape poverty.

They said that it is not the time to weaken the national safety net or to make disproportionate cuts to programs that can help low and moderate income families avert crisis and live in dignity.

They also spoke about the danger of undermining programs of international aid, an essential tool to promote human life and dignity, advance solidarity with poorer nations, and enhance global security.

And the bishops cautioned against cuts to funding for refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance programs.

Bishops Hubbard and Blaire observed that shared sacrifice by all is necessary, and advocated the elimination of unnecessary military and other spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly.


SUNDAY through WEDNESDAY, August 21 through 31, 2011

By Lou Pritchett, Procter & Gamble

A LETTER FROM A PROCTER  AND GAMBLE EXECUTIVE TO THE PRESIDENT* THE LAST
SENTENCE IS THE  MOST CHILLING (with Snopes.com<http://snopes.com/> support)

Lou Pritchett is one of  corporate America 's true living legends-an
acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the  world's highest rated
speakers. Successful corporate executives  everywhere recognize him as the
foremost leader in change management..  Lou changed the way America does
business by creating an audacious  concept that came to be known as
"partnering." Pritchett rose from soap salesman to Vice-President, Sales and
Customer Development for  Procter and Gamble and over the course of 36
years, made  corporate history.

              AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have  lived and unlike any of
the others, you truly scare me.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I  know nothing about you.


You scare me because I do not know how you paid for  your expensive Ivy
League education and your upscale lifestyle and  housing with no visible
signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative  years of youth growing
up in America and culturally you are not an  American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or  met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military  experience, thus don't
understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and 'class',  always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you  have aligned
yourself with radical extremists who hate America     and you refuse to
publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see  America fail..

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the  'blame America '
crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a  European style country
where the government sector dominates  instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our healthcare system with a
government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to  responsibly capitalizing on
our own vast oil, coal and shale  reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American  capitalist goose that
lays the golden egg which provides the highest  standard of living in the
world.

You scare me because you have begun to use  'extortion' tactics against
certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party  shrinks from challenging you
on your wild and irresponsible  spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to  or even consider
opposing points of view from intelligent  people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you  are both omnipotent and
omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass  on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to  silence the Limbaugh's,
Hannitys, O'Reillys and Becks who offer  opposing, Conservative points of
view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over  governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second  term I will probably
not feel safe in writing a similar letter in your second term.

Lou Pritchett

*
This letter was sent to the NY Times but they never  acknowledged it.
Big  surprise. Since it hit the Internet, however, it  has had over 500,000
hits. Keep it going. All that is necessary for evil to succeed Is that good
men do nothing.. It's happening right  now.*

http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/youscareme.asp


THURSDAY through SATURDAY, August 18 through 20, 2011

It is time that we asked George Bush to step aside so that Obama can get his presidency going.

Here's an opinion piece by Chuck Green who writes "Greener Pastures" for the Denver Post Aurora Sentinel...one of the more liberal papers in the country. Additionally, Mr. Green is a lifelong Democrat...so this is a rather stunning piece...

Obama is victim of Bush's failed promises!
Barack Obama is setting a record-setting number of records during his first term in office:
Largest budget ever. Largest deficit ever. Largest number of broken promises ever.
Most self-serving speeches ever. Largest number of agenda-setting failures ever. Fastest dive in popularity ever!

Wow! Talk about change.

Just one year ago, fresh from his inauguration celebrations, President Obama was flying high. After one of the nation's most inspiring political campaigns, the election of America 's first black president had captured the hopes and dreams of millions. To his devout followers, it was inconceivable that a year later his administration would be gripped in self-imposed crisis.

Of course, they don't see it as self-imposed. It's all George Bush 's fault !

George Bush, who doesn't have a vote in congress and who no longer occupies The White House, is to blame for it all.

He broke Obama's promise, to put all bills on the White House web site for five days before signing them.

He broke Obama's promise, to have the congressional health care negotiations broadcast live on C-SPAN.

He broke Obama's promise, to end earmarks.

He broke Obama's promise, to keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent.

He broke Obama's promise, to close the detention center at Guantanamo in the first year.

He broke Obama's promise, to make peace with direct, no precondition talks with America 's most hate-filled enemies during his first year in office, ushering in a new era of global cooperation.

He broke Obama's promise, to end the hiring of former lobbyists into high White House jobs.

He broke Obama's promise, to end no-compete contracts with the government.

He broke Obama's promise, to disclose the names of all attendees at closed White House meetings.

He broke Obama's promise, for a new era of bipartisan cooperation in all matters.

He broke Obama's promise, to have chosen a home church to attend Sunday services with his family by Easter of last year.

Yes, it's all George Bush's fault! President Obama is nothing more than a puppet in the never-ending failed Bush administration.
If only George Bush wasn't still in charge, all of President Obama 's problems would be solved. His promises would have been kept, the economy would be back on track, Iran would have stopped its work on developing a nuclear bomb and would be negotiating a peace treaty with Israel . North Korea would have ended its tyrannical regime, and integrity would have been restored to the federal government.

Oh, and did I mention what it would be like, if the Democrats, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, didn't have the heavy yoke of George Bush around their necks? There would be no ear marks, no closed-door drafting of bills, no increase in deficit spending, no special-interest influence (unions), no vote buying (Nebraska, Louisiana).

If only George Bush wasn't still in charge, we'd have real change by now.

All the broken promises, all the failed legislation and delay (health care reform, immigration reform) is not President Obama 's fault or the fault of the Democrat-controlled Congress. It's all George Bush's fault !

Take for example the decision of Eric Holder , the president's attorney general, to hold terrorists' trials in New York City. Or his decision to try the Christmas Day underpants bomber as a civilian.

Two disastrous decisions.

Certainly those were bad judgments based on poor advice from George Bush!

Need more proof?

You might recall that when Scott Brown won the election to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts,  capturing "The Ted Kennedy Seat", President Obama said, Brown's victory was the result of the same voter anger that propelled Obama into office in 2008. People were still angry about George Bush and the policies of the past 10 years. And they wanted change.

Yes, according to the president, the voter rebellion in Massachusetts, was George Bush's fault.

Therefore, in retaliation, they elected a Republican to the Ted Kennedy seat, ending a half-century of domination by Democrats. It is all George Bush 's fault !

Will the failed administration of George Bush ever end, and the time for hope and change ever arrive???

Will President Obama ever accept responsibility for something/anything?
( Chuck Green is a veteran Colorado journalist and former editor-in-chief of The Denver Post.)

It's Bush's Fault!


WEDNESDAY, August 17, 2011

Well, it's happened again.  I go on vacation, have free time, read a lot of newspapers from other parts of the country, and come back with more opinions.  Here goes...

That's all for now, folks.  These vacations are invigorating!

GS


THURSDAY through TUESDAY, August 11 through 16, 2011

FOLKS, A LARGE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ARE AGAINST ABORTIONS, AND ESPECIALLY LATE-TERM ABORTIONS.  MEANWHILE, RECENT REPORTS NOTE THAT THE SEX OF A FETUS, A HUMAN BEING, CAN BE DETERMINED VERY EARLY IN GESTATION, THAT EARLY "SELECTIONS" CAN BE MADE AMONG MULTIPLE FETUSES, AND THAT ABORTIFACIENT "MORNING AFTER PILLS" ARE NOW AVAILABLE OVER THE COUNTER...ALL PROVIDING MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE ABOMINATION OF ABORTION.  THE ARTICLE BELOW NOTES THAT THERE IS SOME HOPE OUT THERE.  PLEASE HELP.

GS

Dear George,

Together we are having a tremendous impact in the fight to protect life, religious liberties, and our national security. We had an online goal of 72,000 signatures representing the 72% of Americans that support the Ground Zero Cross. We now have over 84,000 online signatures! Thank you for standing up for the Cross.

Today, there is so much turmoil in the world, and we look for opportunities to push back and stand firm for the essential values you and I share. I want you to know that together, we are having a tremendous impact.

In just the last month, the ACLJ has:
•    Convinced the City of New York to reverse its earlier decision and to now allow the showing of a 9/11 documentary at several city parks.
•    Persuaded the United Nations to prohibit countries from relying on Shariah law to impose restrictions on religious expression and free speech.
•    Defended the call for a public day of prayer in Texas against a Freedom From Religion Foundation lawsuit – a lawsuit the court dismissed, agreeing with our amicus brief, filed that same day.
•    Seen another appeals court declare ObamaCare’s individual mandate unconstitutional. We provided a critical amicus brief representing 74 Members of Congress and over 70,000 ACLJ members.
•    Defending life by filing an amicus brief on behalf of 41 Members of Congress and over 25,000 of you supporting Indiana’s right to defund Planned Parenthood.
•    Obtained justice for a persecuted Christian family in Pakistan after a member of their family was brutally murdered for his faith, ensuring that his killers were brought to justice.
•    Protected the free speech rights of pro-life pregnancy centers, by obtaining a temporary order preventing an unconstitutional New York City law from going into effect – a law that threatened to shut down our pro-life clients.
•    All while continuing to defend faith and liberty here at home and around the world.

Thank you so much for taking action in these cases and making each victory possible.

But in order to continue our efforts, we need your continued support. Last month, I told you about our Matching Challenge – a group of donors who have agreed to match, dollar-for-dollar, any donations we receive online through August. We need your support today.

Please double your impact and make your tax-deductible contribution now by following this link to our secure donation page on ACLJ.org.


We only have until August 31st to meet our $750,000 goal. We are still several hundred thousand dollars short of our goal, and we will not be able to take full advantage of this incredible opportunity unless you and ACLJ members continue to stand with us in these important victories.


We are in a multi-front war in defense of life, religious freedom, and our national security here in the United States and around the world.

•    Israel continues to be in the crosshairs at the United Nations and is continually attacked for defending its borders; the ACLJ is actively defending Israel in several cases.
•    In protecting the Ground Zero Cross from an atheist lawsuit, we are filing an amicus brief, representing nearly 100,000 Americans.
•    We are defending the Ten Commandments at the Supreme Court on behalf of a judge who displays the Ten Commandments as part of a “Philosophies of Laws in Conflict” poster on his courtroom wall.
•    Planned Parenthood is being held accountable for its actions in a hundred million dollar fraud suit – a case that could effectively shutdown Planned Parenthood in California – our new court filings are due in the next few weeks.
•    Our legal team is preparing to present oral arguments next month in our case challenging ObamaCare in federal appeals court in D.C.
•    We are stopping the shut down of pro-life pregnancy centers in New York, Baltimore, San Francisco, and other cities across the country from an unconstitutional law being pushed by Planned Parenthood.

It is crucial that we have the necessary resources to continue each one of these battles.


With the deadline for our Matching Challenge quickly approaching, we need your generous support more now than ever.


Help us reach our $750,000 goal by making a generous tax-deductible donation today. Every $100 becomes $200 in the fight for faith, life, and liberty.


Thank you for your continued support as we continue this fight.


Sincerely,

Jay Sekulow
ACLJ Chief Counsel


WEDNESDAY, August 10, 2011

THIS IS US!

Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary. We know we take responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others.

HOWEVER, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was NOT the senior citizens who took:

The melody out of music,
The pride out of appearance,
The courtesy out of driving,
The romance out of love,
The commitment out of marriage,
The responsibility out of parenthood,
The togetherness out of the family,
The learning out of education,
The service out of patriotism,
The Golden Rule from rulers,
The nativity scene out of cities,
The civility out of behavior,
The refinement out of language,
The dedication out of employment,
The prudence out of spending,
The ambition out of achievement or
God out of government and school.
And we certainly are NOT the ones who eliminated patience and tolerance from personal relationships and interactions with others!!

And, we do understand the meaning of patriotism,
and remember those who have fought and died for our country.


Just look at the Seniors with tears in their eyes and pride in their hearts as they stand
at attention with their hand over their hearts!

YES, I'M A SENIOR CITIZEN!

I'm the life of the party....... even if it lasts until 8 p.m.

I'm very good at opening childproof caps.... with a hammer.

I'm awake many hours before my body allows me to get up.

I'm smiling all the time because I can't hear a thing you're saying.

I'm sure everything I can't find is in a safe secure place, somewhere.

I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

Yes, I'm a SENIOR CITIZEN and I THINK I am having the time of my life!


Spread the laughter

Share the cheer

Let's be happy

While we're here.
Go Green - Recycle Parliament and bring back Guy Fawkes


TUESDAY, August 9, 2011

THE WORLD HAS PROBLEMS.  YOU WANT SOLUTIONS?

Now, was that so hard?

GS


MONDAY, August 8, 2011

More On The Debt Deal: Before the ink is dry, another blot on our "leaders".

GS

No Taxation without Representation
August 2, 2011

Bob Eisenbeis is Cumberland’s Chief Monetary Economist. Prior to joining Cumberland Advisors he was the Executive Vice President and Director of Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Bob is presently a member of the U.S. Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee and the Financial Economist Roundtable. His bio is found at www.cumber.com.  He may be reached at Bob.Eisenbeis@cumber.com.

Now that I have your attention, despite the political euphoria that will likely accompany the deal to raise the debt limit, a more careful examination suggests that once again our elected officials have opted for policies dictated by their desire to ensure their reelection rather than caring for the needs of the country.  Before delving into those issues, however, I want to address some concerns that a few readers raised about my last commentary, which focused on the “fairness” issues surrounding the debt debate.

That piece generated a lot of comments, many of them passionate. While the vast majority of responses were favorable, some accused me of selectively citing data that might be interpreted as arguing that high-income people were bearing an “unfair” proportion of the tax burden, while ignoring data on the proportion of income earned and wealth distribution.  My point in that piece was that simply looking at the data on tax burdens doesn’t help one to judge what is or is not “fair.”  That is a value judgment and a political assessment and is not one that I tried to make.  The comments, however, did pique my curiosity and triggered a more in-depth look at the facts.

I must confess that my intuition wasn’t confirmed.  Let me just cite a few key figures.  In that piece, I noted that variations in revenues collected by the government were essentially unrelated to variations in the highest marginal tax rates.  In addition, the most recent data suggested that those in the top 5% of the income distribution paid 59% of the personal income tax collected and those in the top 1% paid 38%, while the bottom 50% paid 2.7%.  Looking at the distribution of income, comparable data from the IRS show that the top 1%, who paid 38% of the taxes, earned 20% of the income and the top 5%, who paid 59% of the taxes, earned 34% of the income.  In contrast, the bottom half earned 12.5% of the income but paid only 2.5% of the taxes.

The assumption of the critics was probably that the top income brackets earned a larger share of the income than they paid in taxes, but that is not borne out by the data.  I would also note as an aside that out of a population of over 300 million people, 1.4 million tax filers were in the top 1% of adjusted gross income.  Seven million returns were filed by those in the top 5% of adjusted gross income distribution while 70 million returns were filed by the bottom 50% of the income distribution.  Any way one cuts it, the few are carrying the many, and the fairness issue that is bothering some special interest groups is whether the few should assume even more of the burden.

Now what about the distribution of wealth?  Much has been made recently about the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few.  Again, the facts are informative.  From 1920 through 2007, the share of wealth held by the top 1% of the population peaked in 1929 at 44%.  That share then fell steadily to a low of 20% in 1976.    The share increased gradually and peaked at 39% in 1995 before falling off again to 35% in 2007.    While information is not readily available about what taxes the wealthy pay, it does seem that the wealthy are not in a significantly different position today than they were in the 1920s and in the mid-1960s.  Indeed, the distribution of wealth holdings has varied significantly over time but hasn’t steadily increased as some might have guessed.

The bottom line from this more in-depth exploration of the data shows that looking at either the wealth distribution or the distribution of income taxes paid relative to income earned doesn’t indicate that the wealthy are either significantly better off than they were a long time ago or that they are paying disproportionately less in taxes relative to income earned.  What this implies for the debt discussion is that focusing on the distributional dimensions of the revenue side of the deficit issue is a second-order problem.  It is a diversion of attention from the critical issues of establishing criteria for determining the appropriate size of government and bringing government spending down more in line with revenues received.

Against this backdrop, it is appropriate to take both Republicans and Democrats to task for their conduct in dealing with the current debt crises and how they have chosen to frame the issues.  The present debt extension agreement makes only token cuts and punts on the critical issue, which is the projected unconstrained growth in entitlement spending.  It leaves all the hard decisions for the future and makes a trivial dent in the yearly federal deficit, while continuing to add to outstanding public debt.

Keep in mind that the number being thrown around as the cut in the deficit represents only the incremental effects that the sum of the “promised” spending reductions (over the next 10 years) would have on the need to issue additional government debt.  The cuts hardly dents what the new debt issuance needs will be and they are far from eliminating the yearly deficits.  The numbers also don’t include the present value of those cuts and hence ignore the time value of money and the fact that a dollar of cuts today is worth more than a dollar of cuts in the future.  Furthermore, most of the so-called cuts are only “promises” (and those promises are dependent upon the ability to deliver future spending cuts).  Truth-in-government would say that the Congress should come clean and tell us what the estimated cumulative total of the remaining yearly deficits will be and what the likely need will be for increases in the debt ceiling in the future. The requests for  increases won’t be long in coming, and the ten-year horizon for addressing the key issues will arrive long after this and the next debt-ceiling crisis.  On net, both sides settled for an agreement that does little to address the key problems, though it may preserve some cover during the upcoming election season.  This is short-termism at its worst.

Having castigated Congress in general, let’s focus next on the Republicans.  Due to Tea Party influence, a line was drawn in the sand concerning cuts in spending and raising taxes as a way to partially address the mismatch between spending and revenues. This is all well and good, but they played Russian roulette with domestic and international financial markets.  In the end they took the easy way out by accepting small cuts in domestic spending, whereas the real problems lie with entitlements, namely Social Security and healthcare spending.  In short, the Republicans got relatively little of substance for the taxpayer, except for highly-valued political ammunition to use in the coming election when compared with the risks their actions posed for the country.

As for the Democrats, their objective was to grow the budget and fund its increase with more taxes, thus avoiding the need to address either the entitlements issues or the rationale for continuing other pet spending initiatives.  Theirs was a cake-and-eat-it approach.

But perhaps the group that deserves the most criticism is the recipients of entitlements, and in particular Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  These are mainly the elderly and, to be totally transparent, that group includes me and some of my Cumberland colleagues.  To be sure, we relied upon payments promised to us by legislators long departed, who didn’t put in place the necessary funding to deliver on those promises.  We relied upon the promises and despite the many warnings we failed in many cases to provide sufficiently for our own retirement and healthcare needs.

Our predecessors created a Ponzi scheme that would make Bernie Madoff proud.  They pledged tax revenues to be collected from future generations under the assumption that the population would continue to grow and that more people would always be available to fund the programs.  This is just like assuming that housing prices will always go up, and we know what that is costing us.  Now, however, the pool of future taxpayers is smaller than the present one, and the burdens they must assume are proportionately greater.  In short, this is “taxation without representation.”

The current recipients claim they have paid into the plan, which they have.  But their payments were not contributions that prefunded their own retirements or their need for medical services.  Rather they were part of a pay-as-you-go scheme.  Their tax payments were given to those who already retired or had medical needs.  Now, the present generation of retirement age also refuses to recognize this problem, which is on track to absorb the whole of projected government revenues and then some.  Instead we seek to do what our parents did by passing on an even more burdensome set of obligations to our children and grandchildren.

If this isn’t “taxation without representation” then I don’t know what is.  We are making commitments today for those who will have to pay but who do not have a say in what those burdens are.  Not only does this go against the grain of the sentiments that helped to trigger the American Revolution, it is also naïve to think that future generations will continue to honor promises made by past generations.  What makes us believe they won’t simply decide to renege on the promises we have forced upon them when the choice might be whether or not to put food on the table for their own families?

We can’t continue to grow government and transfer payments forever, and the time to address those issues is now, while they are still manageable.  Nor can we avoid the problem by cutting only discretionary spending, as is the approach in the current deficit agreement.

Unfortunately, the course taken by the leaders of both parties and the administration fails on all counts. They have placed us on the risky path of financial fragility rather than stability.  A ratings downgrade might be the needed wake-up call for the country, our politicians and its senior citizens.

 Bob Eisenbeis, Chief Monetary Economist



SUNDAY, August 7, 2011

Afghanistan.  Please see my Rapid Response offering for July 5, 2011, and many other related comments in recent years.  If we no longer have a strategic national interest in that "graveyard of empires", we should get out - Now.  If we do, that national interest should be clearly articulated to the American people and to our boys fighting and dying there, and we should fight an unlimited war to destroy the Taliban and any supporters by all means at our disposal, including the total and permanent destruction of the opium crop and the overthrow of the Karzai government.  The choice of the Afghan people would be a democratic secular Muslim nation under a guaranteed decades-long American protectorate...or death.  The nations surrounding that strategic region could accept that reality on the ground...or could themselves be targets of any number of painful American reactions.  By contrast, it would be obscene to the American and Afghan peoples for this country to continue in the same current feckless direction.  President Obama, this is your Vietnam.  Don't Just Stand There, Do Something!"...and do it right this time

A vital reference in this decision is a book by Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald entitled "Crossing Zero: The Afpak War At the Turning Point Of Americn Empire" (Open Media Series, City Lights Books, San Francisco, Ca., 2011).

GS


FRIDAY and SATURDAY, August 5 and 6, 2011

AMERICA THE DISABLED.

America's political system barely works any more, having been captured by ideologues on both sides of the political spectrum and clearly for sale to the highest bidder.  We need a Federal Constitutional Convention to correct this, a difficult process which will be resisted by the same "leaders" who got us here. 

Meanwhile, we citizens still do have the vote, still used by only 60 - 65% of the electorate even in Federal elections...a disgrace for the "greatest democracy in the world".   Regarding Democrats, too many of them are entrenched in a view of the country that never really worked and that we can certainly no longer afford.  They are un-educable.  Regarding Republicans, the best I can do is to refer the reader to my comments made on the day following the November 2010 election (see Rapid Response for Wednesday, November 3, 2010, posted on this site).  The 2012 election is for the Republicans to lose if they don't reconcile.  The result is, of course, in the hands of the Independents...who are clearly paying attention while plowing through the mounds of bills on their kitchen tables.

GS


THURSDAY, August 4, 2011

HERE IS THE FIRST OFFERING ON A NEW TOPIC, "AMERICA THE DISABLED", WHICH WILL BE FOLLOWED BY MANY MORE DURING THE NEXT 15 MONTHS LEADING TO THE MOST IMPORTANT FEDERAL ELECTIONS IN THE LAST 20 YEARS.  THE FORMAT WILL BE DIAGNOSIS AND PRESCRIBED TREATMENT.

The following articles, written by Patrick Michaels for Forbes magazine, represent one indication of why important segments of American manufacturing can't - or won't - compete in the new world market.  It's as if physicians, armed with antibiotics, were still insisting on bleeding the patient.

GS

THE REST OF THE STORY….  This is short and real eye opening.  Read it and weep….

THIS LITTLE CAR COSTS OVER $42,000.  It’s not cheap to go green, but that isn’t the half of it.

Patrick Michaels is a senior fellow in Environmental Studies at the Cato Institute and the editor of the forthcoming Climate Coup: Global Warming's invasion of our Government and our Lives.

His Forbes column on the Chevy Volt is a case study in the nexus between big government corruption and big business rent-seeking.

Michaels briefly recaps the well-known consumer fraud in which GM has touted the Volt as an all-electric mass production vehicle on the supposed basis of which its sales receive a $7,500 taxpayer subsidy, which still renders it overpriced and unmarketable.

Michaels notes that "sales are anemic: 326 in December, 321 in January, and 281 in February." There seems to be a trend here.

Michaels adds that GM has announced a production run of 100, 000 in the first two years and asks what appears to be a rhetorical question "Who is going to buy all these cars?"

But wait! Keep hope alive! There is a positive answer to the question.
Jeffrey Immelt's GE will buy a boatload of those uneconomic GM cars. Here the case study opens onto the inevitable political angle: Recently, President Obama selected General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair his Economic Advisory Board.

GE is also awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power.

Consequently, and soon after his appointment, Immelt announced that GE will buy 50,000 Volts in the next two years, or half the total produced.

Assuming the corporation qualifies for the same tax credit, we (you and I) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one else wants, so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants.

And this guy is the chair of Obama's Economic Advisory Board? But of course! Michaels includes this hilarious detail in his case study:   In a telling attempt to preserve battery power, the heater is exceedingly weak. Consumer Reports said their tests averaged a paltry 25 miles of electric-only running, in part because it was testing in cold Connecticut.

The [GM] engineer at the Auto Show said cold weather would have little effect. It will be interesting to see what the range is on a hot, traffic-jammed summer day, when the air conditioner will really tax the batteries. When the gas engine came on, Consumer Reports got about 30 miles to the gallon of premium fuel; which, in terms of additional cost of high-test gas, drives the effective mileage closer to 27 mpg. A conventional Honda Accord, which seats 5 (instead of the Volt's 4), gets 34 mpg on the highway, and costs less than half of what CR paid, even with the tax break.

The story of the GM Volt deserves a place in the Harvard Business School curriculum... but of course, it won't. It's a classic tale of the GOVERNMENT deciding what the public needs, not the marketplace.

PS: What is one of the reasons for this? Why... to keep the UAW in business, because Obama owes them for his election.

Starting to make sense yet?  Now do you understand the corruption of the big government – big business partnership?
And guess who pays for all this corruption?

- - - - - - - - - -

Chevrolet: Where Federal Subsidies Run Deep
Mar. 31 2011 - 3:45 pm

The Chevrolet Volt sure is innovative. It’s Motor Trend’s “car of the year.” But whether it will be successful is another story.  If it’s so great, why can’t it roll on its own four wheels without a shove from us taxpayers?

The Volt has managed the nifty trick of being produced, in part, by the government and being subsidized by the government at the same time – a riff straight out of Atlas Shrugged. That’s Ayn Rand’s allegorical tale about how metastasizing government destroys society (which will appear as an amusing indie film on — yes — April 15).

Buy a Volt and you get to take $7,500 off of your federal tax liability. Obviously this money doesn’t go directly to the government or to General Motors’ new stockholders (or should we say “riskholders”?), but it does make the $41,000+ sticker a bit less shocking.

Apparently that’s not enough. Instead of the tax credit (for which not all buyers can qualify), Washington has upped the ante, now wanting $7,500 cash for every purchaser. That’s in President Obama’s proposed budget, and in legislation being circulated by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).  Just last week, Vice President Joe Biden sang the praises of this subsidy at an Indiana battery plant, noting that it would work like the “cash-for-clunkers” program.  Remember that one, where you were awarded approximately $4,000 for having your perfectly serviceable used car summarily executed?

According to GM, the Volt is in great demand. It spends, on average, less than two weeks on the dealer lot — the lowest dwell time of all GM models. But only 281 cars were sold last month; quick sales are what happen when supply is restricted.

What is holding GM back? It might be the weather. Debuting any car that relies even partially on electric propulsion at the beginning of winter isn’t a good idea.  Optimal performance is when it is neither too cold (the heater is a big draw off the batteries) or too hot (ditto for a/c).  With few exceptions deliveries have been made where the weather is “springtime for GM in America.”

The cynic in me thinks that GM was very leery of introducing the Volt in large numbers where it is cold.  When the battery is depleted (or when driven at very high speeds), the premium-gas internal combustion engine powers the car, but its fuel mileage suffers from having to shove around 400lbs of batteries.

In fact, the distribution map of Volt deliveries makes it seem like GM consulted with some long-range weather forecasters, many of whom, months ago, predicted that the upcoming winter in the eastern U.S. would be both cold and interminable. Unfortunately, they were right.

As a result of the Volt’s scarcity, some dealers have been tacking on hefty surcharges.  Consumer Reports, which is probably pretty good at haggling, paid $5,000 over the sticker.  A dealer writing on the car site Edmunds.com claims to be marking them up $20,000.  An unscientific sample of Volt owners indicates that nearly a quarter paid $10,000 or more above the sticker.

So much for the subsidy winding up in the buyer’s pocket.  Isn’t it odd that the average dealer markup may be just about equal to the subsidy? The tax credit or direct subsidy will make the Volt much more attractive when the supply doesn’t support the surcharge.

But will this vehicle ever sell in volume? Any way you look at it, the Volt is a niche car that is not likely to sell well.  As GM has written to me, their “customer is looking for technology that fits their lifestyle of daily commuting, wants the latest in automotive technology, and wants to decrease their dependence on gasoline.”

Translation:  Volt buyers are likely to use the car primarily in short-distance commutes,  are “early adopters” of new technologies (i.e. affluent), and, given that there are other cars out there that probably will get just as good fuel economy when driven under diverse conditions, our customers want to show off how virtuous they are.

You can buy two 41-mpg Honda Insights, loaded, for $39,800. The Insight will (uncomfortably) carry 5, one more passenger than the Volt’s battery pack will allow.

But, wait, we’re talking about the “car of the year” here. That alone should make anyone ask why it needs a subsidy.

Beware.  Motor Trend has a history of bestowing this prize on path-breaking vehicles that have yet to be tested by real drivers in a hostile world.

The 1971 Chevrolet Vega won this award. It now holds second place in Car Talk’s “worst car of the millennium” competition.   I agree.  Mine rusted before my very eyes and when I got rid of it, four fenders and two engines later, the green monster was getting 50mpq (that’s miles per quart of 40-weight oil).

In 1976 it was the Dodge Aspen. It’s in seventh place on Car Talk. My parents’ Aspen was the only vehicle in which I have ever become carsick while driving.

And then there was the 1980 Chevrolet Citation: according to Forbes.com, the fifth worst car ever made.

So why should we subsidize the Volt?  If they are so in demand that dealers can charge thousands over the sticker price and still they are flying off the lots, just build the cars and they will come.

There’s no need for GM and our modern corporatist state to prove Ayn Rand correct. Enjoy the show and hope that it remains fiction rather than prophecy.


MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, August 1 through 3, 2011

“Wha Hoppen”…

The recent months saw a contentious debate between conservatives and far left liberals over the role of Federal Government and the future health of this nation.  It was sharp and divisive because it had to be…and because this debate should have happened twenty years ago – right after the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the end of the Cold War.  It was then that our national priorities should have been re-set, as they had been after the end of WW ll.  Instead, the worst elements of our free enterprise system took hold (read “greed”), where Wall Street became LasVegas, where unbridled “consumerism” became the national goal (something Vladimir Putin recently termed “a parasite on the world” with some justification)…leading to today’s problems even if 9/11 and the subsequent wars had not occurred.  What we have now goes deeper than the fairly accurate analysis that follows from the Washington Post (below).  Rather, it should be seen as a Constitutional Crisis that can only be dealt with by means of a Constitutional Convention designed to re-work our method of electing our Federal representatives…allowing much less power for money effectively to buy elections, as is now the case.  Meanwhile, what has emerged from Washington in recent days  - as one legislator put it – is not a solution, but a deal.  The solution is appropriately in the hands of the American electorate in November, 2012: a clear choice between limited and responsible government proposed by conservatives and Republicans…and ever-expanding and irresponsible government as proposed by far left liberals and Democrats.  Yes, “it’s the Economy, stupid”.  But the present and future state of our economy is and will be directly tied to the outcome of this choice for decades to come…and perhaps permanently for the future of America.

GS

The debt ceiling fight: What we learned
By Chris Cillizza | The Washington Post – Mon, Aug 1, 2011.

Assuming leaders in the House and Senate can wrangle majority support for the debt ceiling deal they cut with the White House on Sunday, it appears as though the debate that has consumed Congress — and the political class — for the better part of this year is, finally, over.
 
Looking back, there are several lessons to be learned for both parties going forward. A few of those lessons are below. If you’ve got lessons learned of your own, use the comments section to offer them.

* Home field advantage matters: The turf on which any battle or game is being fought matters. It’s true in war, sports and politics. The debt ceiling debate proved that once again as Republicans took advantage of the fact that on matters of spending, debt and the size of government there is an innate sense among the electorate that the GOP is better equipped to make the right decisions. Republicans knew from the start that they started from a position of relative strength because of those general perceptions and, as a result, were willing to push harder and stick closer to their original negotiating position.
 
* Mismatched stakes = mismatched result s: Democrats feared default far more than Republicans did. Democratic Members of Congress, almost to a person, saw default as the first step of an international econonomic catastrophe with wide-ranging consequences for the country. There was a significant faction of congressional Republicans who, well, didn’t. Republicans knew that Democrats wouldn’t ultimately accept default as an outcome while Democrats couldn’t say the same of Republicans. The stakes of the debt ceiling fight were decidedly mismatched, a fact that virtually ensured that the final deal would be more slanted to the GOP.
 
* Presidents are pragmatists: The idea that Obama wouldn’t ultimately cut some sort of deal was a misread of the role of the presidency when it comes to these sort of high-profile showdowns. Nine times out of ten, a president will choose the pragmatic rather than the ideological approach when the pressure is on. Why? Because the baseline expectation that most people (read: voters) have of the chief executive is to keep the trains running on time. Failure to do so carries huge political risks. On the rare occasion that a president picks up his ball and goes home — Bill Clinton during the 1995/1996 government shutdown — it’s because they see a direct path toward political victory in doing so. That wasn’t the case here and so Obama took the pragmatic path.
 
* Nancy Pelosi=relevant: Talk that Pelosi was largely irrelevant in the debt ceiling fight misses the mark in one significant way. She was able to keep her Democratic caucus entirely unified against House Speaker John Boehner’s compromise bill on the debt ceiling, forcing him to first postpone a vote and then cobble together a majority by adding conservative candy that made the bill even less palatable as a middle ground. Then Pelosi made another power play, this one with the White House as she refused to say on Sunday whether or not she could deliver the necessary Democratic votes for the compromise. Message(s) sent.
 
* Kicking the can (still) works: While Obama and congressional leaders will undoubtedly tout their willingness to address the nation’s debt problems in a serious way once (if?) this compromise deal goes through the House and Senate, it’s clear with the creation of the super committee that they have kicked some of the toughest — and least politically popular — decisions down the road. Cutting Medicare and defense spending, if it ultimately comes to that, less than a year before the 2012 election will be a true “face the music” moment. Will Congress and the White House blink?
 
* This is the beginning, not the end: What the debt ceiling fight amounted to was the first major skirmish of the 2012 election. It’s now obvious just how differently the two parties see the way forward when it comes to healing the economy. That’s a good thing for voters since the choice in 2012 will be crystal clear. How big should the government be? What should it do/not do? What’s the best way to kickstart the economy? The two parties have markedly different answers to each of those questions, answers that were fleshed out to some degree during the debt ceiling debate. The work of the next 15 months for the two parties will be to further explain to voters where they stand and why they’re right.


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