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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.

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list

MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, February 27 through 29, 2012

Once again, Charles Krauthammer with laser-like clarity.


Obamacare turning U.S. into Venezuela


Publication: The Day

Published 02/18/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 02/17/2012 05:25 PM

Give him points for cleverness. President Obama's birth control "accommodation" was as politically successful as it was morally meaningless. It was nothing but an accounting trick that still forces Catholic (and other religious) institutions to provide medical insurance that guarantees free birth control, tubal ligation and morning-after abortifacients - all of which violate church doctrine on the sanctity of life.

The trick is that these birth control/abortion services will supposedly be provided independently and free of charge by the religious institution's insurance company. But this changes none of the moral calculus. Holy Cross Hospital, for example, is still required by law to engage an insurance company that is required by law to provide these doctrinally proscribed services to all Holy Cross employees.

Nonetheless, the accounting device worked politically. It took only a handful of compliant Catholic groups - Obamacare cheerleaders dying to return to the fold - to hail the alleged compromise, and hand Obama a major political victory.

Before, Obama's coalition had been split. His birth control mandate was fiercely opposed by such stalwart friends as former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and pastor Rick Warren (Obama's choice to give the invocation at his inauguration), who declared he would go to jail rather than abide by the regulation. After the "accommodation," it was the (mostly) Catholic opposition that fractured. The mainstream media then bought the compromise as substantive, and the issue was defused.

A brilliant sleight of hand. But let's for a moment accept the president on his own terms. Let's accept his contention that this "accommodation" is a real shift of responsibility to the insurer. Has anyone considered the import of this new mandate? The president of the United States has just ordered private companies to give away for free a service that his own health and human services secretary has repeatedly called a major financial burden.

On what authority? Where does it say that the president can unilaterally order a private company to provide an allegedly free-standing service at no cost to certain select beneficiaries?

This is government by presidential fiat. In Venezuela, that's done all the time. Perhaps we should call Obama's "accommodation" Presidential Decree No. 1.

Consider the constitutional wreckage left by Obamacare:

First, its assault on the free exercise of religion. Only churches themselves are left alone. Beyond the churchyard gate, religious autonomy disappears. Every other religious institution must bow to the state because, by this administration's regulatory definition, church schools, hospitals and charities are not "religious," and thus have no right to the free exercise of religion - no protection from being forced into doctrinal violations commanded by the state.

Second, its assault on free enterprise. To solve his own political problem, the president presumes to order a private company to enter into a contract for the provision of certain services - all of which are free. And yet, this breathtaking arrogation of power is simply the logical extension of Washington's takeover of the private system of medical care - a system Obama farcically pretends to be maintaining.

Under Obamacare, the state treats private insurers the way it does government-regulated monopolies and utilities. It determines everything of importance. Insurers, by definition, set premiums according to risk. Not anymore. The risk ratios (for age, gender, smoking, etc.) are decreed by Washington. This is nationalization in all but name. The insurer is turned into a middleman, subject to state control - and presidential whim.

Third, the assault on individual autonomy. Every citizen without insurance is ordered to buy it, again under penalty of law. This so-called individual mandate is now before the Supreme Court - because never before has the already inflated Commerce Clause been used to compel a citizen to enter into a private contract with a private company by mere fact of his existence.

This constitutional trifecta - the state invading the autonomy of religious institutions, private companies and the individual citizen - should not surprise. It is what happens when the state takes over one-sixth of the economy.

In 2010, when all this lay hazily in the future, the sheer arrogance of Obamacare energized a popular resistance powerful enough to deliver an electoral shellacking to Obama. Yet two years later, as the consequences of that overreach materialize before our eyes, the issue is fading. This constitutes a huge failing of the opposition party whose responsibility it is to make the opposition argument.

Every presidential challenger says he will repeal Obamacare on Day One. Well, yes. But is any of them making the case for why?

SUNDAY, February 26, 2012

"WHO'S AFRAID OF..." Maureen Dowd? 
This ultra-liberal columnist, whose regular rants come close to fulfilling the elements of Democratic output (Articulate, Arrogant, Asinine), has an interesting article in the NYTimes Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, SR p11, entitled "Ghastly Outdated Party".  Get it?  GOP.  But I'm not clear as to whether it represents expected "Shadenfreude" from that source...or whether she is expressing unconscious regret over the status of things, or whether she is "whistling going by a cemetery". 
Of course, at least in accepting her opinions as presented, she is wrong.  What we finally have in the Republican Primary season, however hard it is to watch, is the articulation of an actual CHOICE: a choice between a totally secular and mammoth government way of life reflective of Socialism, and a limited government / responsible citizenry approach written into our Constitution and its Bill of Rights.  Of course, the Republican Establishment is very uncomfortable with this situation...thriving very well under the present regime and not keen on changing much.  But Joe the Plumber is not at all comfortable...and is looking for a real choice. 
Well, here it is, Joe.  Just remember: "IN A DEMOCRACY, THE PEOPLE ALWAYS GET WHAT THEY DESERVE".



Although I admit to a little hyperbole here, the Church has for many years failed to engage its Catholics in the pews to assist in dealing with the challenges facing their Religion and the country as a whole.  A throw-back to the days of "Pray, Pay and Obey".  For a long time, the laity in general has not felt itself to be in a partnership with the Clergy / Hierarchy.  And so, they found other things to do on Sundays...and during the entire week as well. 

Now comes a plea directly from the Holy Father, in an address delivered to the Bishops of the Washington DC area during their visit to Rome recently.  Appearing in the March 2012 issue of Columbia (, it is entitled "A Critical Role To Play".  And it is right on point.  Let's see if this call for action finds its way onto the pulpits and into the homilies of our Bishops and Pastors.  The vast majority of American Catholics are awaiting such a CALL TO ACTION.


, February 25, 2012





FRIDAY, February 24, 2012


As I began thinking about another edition of "Around the World in 80 Opinions", I quickly came to realize that there is one common denominator to the most serious of the world's current dangers.  Certainly, "the poor will always be with us"; and the greed of the wealthy as well as of the lazy is an integral part of human nature; and humans cannot handle power without becoming corrupt and dictatorial.  Those are givens.

But what is the most serious of the entire world's current dangers is EXTREME / FUNDAMENTALIST ISLAM.  The Religion itself is noble and sacred, is an extension of the Judeo-Christian Faiths and prays to the same God.  But Fundamentalist Islam is not only a perversion of that Religion; but it is a also despotic political power that seeks to overthrow all other powers and systems of government together with their fundamental individual freedoms. 

This fact should be realized, articulated and countered world-wide by both the Western World and especially by Moderate Muslims - they who alone can bring this evil to heel and recapture their Faith - for their own welfare and for the safety of the world.  Until this goal is achieved, the West needs to engage this threat frontally, something that is only being done in a reactive way.  This is a much greater threat than Soviet Communism ever was.  And we have much fewer than 70 years to resolve it. 



THURSDAY, February 23, 2012

This is Clarity.


ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency

Washington State Upholds Pharmacists' Conscience Rights

Court Strikes Down Law on Dispensation of Morning-after Pill

TACOMA, Washington, FEB. 22, 2012 ( A federal court in Tacoma, Washington, struck down today a law that required pharmacists to dispense the morning-after pill in violation of their religious beliefs.

The court held that the law violates the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, a statement from the The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which co-represented the plaintiffs, explained.

Today's decision sends a very clear message: No individual can be forced out of her profession solely because of her religious beliefs, said Luke Goodrich, deputy national litigation director at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. If the state allows pharmacies to refer patients elsewhere for economic, business, and convenience reasons, it has to allow them to refer for reasons of conscience.

The plaintiffs in the case were a family-owned pharmacy and two individual pharmacists who refused in conscience to dispense Plan B (the morning-after pill) or Ella (the week-after pill).

In 2007, the Washington State Board of Pharmacy passed new regulations making it illegal to refer patients to neighboring pharmacies for reasons of conscience, despite allowing them to refer patients elsewhere for a wide variety of business, economic, or convenience reasons. Because of the regulations, one of the plaintiffs lost her job and another was told she would have to transfer to another state; the owner of the pharmacy faced repeated investigations and threats of punishment from the state board.

The Board of Pharmacy's 2007 rules are not neutral, and they are not generally applicable, the court declared. They were designed instead to force religious objectors to dispense Plan B, and they sought to do so despite the fact that refusals to deliver for all sorts of secular reasons were permitted.

The Board's regulations have been aimed at Plan B and conscientious objections from their inception, the court added. Indeed, Plaintiffs have presented reams of [internal government documents] demonstrating that the predominant purpose of the rule was to stamp out the right to refuse [for religious reasons].

TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, February 21 and 22, 2012

The U.S. Supreme is not final because it is infallible.  It is "infallible" because it is final.


Reverse decision that sold-out democracy

Published 02/22/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 02/21/2012 10:03 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court should seize the opportunity to reverse its misguided 5-4 decision in the Citizens United case, a ruling that has introduced unprecedented corporate and special interest spending into the presidential campaign, distorting the election process and inviting corruption. It will take only one changed vote to correct that mistake. The most likely switch is Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Last month the Montana Supreme Court rejected the underpinnings of the Citizens decision. By a 5-2 vote it upheld a century-old Montana anti-corruption law banning political expenditures by corporations. That state long ago learned the hard lesson that when corporations can buy candidates they also buy power. A century ago the so-called "Copper Kings" controlled elected officials in Montana and made sure they did the bidding of the mining industry.

In upholding Montana's law, that state's high court found itself in direct conflict with the Citizens ruling, which concluded that any laws limiting spending by corporations and other interest groups violated the Constitution's free speech protection. The U.S. Supreme Court had no choice but to order a stay of the Montana ruling, given the state court's refusal to follow the high court's precedent.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, is asking her fellow justices to use the Montana case to reconsider Citizens.

"Montana's experience, and experience elsewhere since this Court's decision in Citizens United … make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations 'do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.' A petition (to hear the Montana case) will give the Court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates' allegiances, Citizens United should continue to hold sway," wrote Justice Ginsburg.

The conclusion that allowing corporate money to flow unhindered into election campaigns would "not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption" was critical to the Citizens decision. If a majority of justices, when considering the Montana case and what has happened since their Citizens ruling, conclude that out-of-control campaign contributions do give rise to corruption and the appearance of corruption, that could trump the free speech argument and lead the court to reverse, or at least moderate, the Citizens decision.

The people of Montana know that unregulated corporate campaign money can corrupt a government. It's why the Supreme Court there stood by the state's law. And we are seeing how corruptive super-PAC money is on federal campaigns. Super Political Action Committees may now raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals to advocate for or against political candidates.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 332 groups organized as super PACs have reported total receipts of $98.7 million and total expenditures of $51.2 million in the 2012 election cycle. In the Republican presidential primary, Restore Our Future has raised $30.2 million to back Mitt Romney; Winning Our Future has invested $9.8 million in Newt Gingrich; and the group Red, White & Blue has spent $3.12 million on Rick Santorum.

With the Citizens decision eliminating limits on individual contributions, individual magnates are donating staggering amounts. It's not hard to conclude who will hold sway in a Romney administration, considering that $5 million of the pro-Romney Restore Our Future money came from just 25 tycoons and corporations, including $500,000 each from Oklahoma mining executive Joseph W. Craft and billionaire hedge-fund mogul Bruce Kovner.

Typically the campaigns use super-PAC money to purchase voluminous negative attack ads, often full of distortions, to try to destroy an opponent, a tactic Mr. Romney has frequently employed. In writing the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy stated these super PACs should remain independent of the candidates. In reality, former campaign aides staff many of the PACs, well versed on campaign strategies. These groups also lack the transparency Justice Kennedy expected.

The spending and corruptive influence will grow as the campaigns move to the general election.

President Obama, who rightly criticized the Citizens decision, has effectively sold out, signaling his campaign will cooperate and benefit from friendly super PACs. Obama campaign officials say they had no choice if they hoped to compete. We would have preferred the president stood on his principles.

Citizens was a terrible decision that has put our democracy up for sale. The Supreme Court should reverse it and again allow the use of reasonable campaign spending limits.

MONDAY, February 20, 2012

I knew that the Honeymoon of "Public Education Reform in Connecticut" could not last.


Battle lines forming over tenure issue

By JC Reindl

Publication: The Day

Published 02/21/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 02/21/2012 01:13 PM

Malloy plan to revise standards called unfair by teacher unions

Hartford - When Gov. Dannel P. Malloy unveiled the teacher tenure components of his public schools reform plan in his State of the State address earlier this month, initial reaction from state teachers' unions was mostly circumspect.

"I think we have a lot in common, but the devil is in the details," Mary Loftus Levine, executive director of the 43,000-member Connecticut Education Association, said shortly after the Feb. 8 speech.

Most criticisms that day concerned the governor's broad-brush interpretation of current tenure requirements. "Basically, the only thing you have to do is show up for four years," he said.

But that was almost two weeks ago. Teachers and union leaders have since pored over the specifics of the legislation Malloy and Stefan Pryor, the new commissioner of education, are proposing for this year's short session of the General Assembly. And those details, in their eyes, are looking rather devilish.

In an interview, Levine said her members will be out "in full force" at public hearings this afternoon and Wednesday at the Capitol to oppose what they consider the bill's worst parts: the weakening of teacher tenure and linking salary guidelines to new certification requirements and an evaluation system.

Levine called those proposals misguided, overreaching and offensive, and said they would make it less desirable to be a teacher in Connecticut.

"People are outraged at these proposals," Levine said. "There is no research-based evidence to prove that these plans will do anything to improve student achievement."

The 28,000-member AFT Connecticut is also preparing for what could be a tumultuous two days of hearings before the Education Committee. "Our members are very upset and very angry," union spokesman Eric Bailey said.

State Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, the education committee's co-chairman, said she is waiting until after the hearings to form an opinion on the tenure and certification proposals.

"We need that feedback from people in the education community as to what they envision any changes should be - if they want it," Stillman said.

'Too easy to get' tenure

The system of tenure for Connecticut public school teachers dates to the mid-20th century.

"It came about when teachers were fired for getting pregnant, for saying the wrong thing in classrooms, and so on," said Robert Rader, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and a supporter of the governor's tenure plan. "Teachers were let go for reasons that are now protected by law."

Under current education law, teachers attain tenure after working four years in the same district. Tenured teachers then get their contracts automatically renewed every year and can be dismissed only for one of six reasons: "inefficiency or incompetence," layoffs, insubordination, moral misconduct, disability or another "due and sufficient cause."

A tenured teacher facing a layoff can bump a nontenured colleague from his or her job. And tenured teachers can appeal their firing through a process involving a three-person panel with testimony that can stretch over 75 days or more.

Critics contend that, in practice, it can take a year or more in some districts to dismiss a tenured teacher, even one who is truly bad. They also say there are too many dismal yet not quite egregious teachers who become frozen into their jobs.

"The bottom line?" Malloy said in his State of the State. "Today, tenure is too easy to get and too hard to take away."

The governor's proposal would make it harder for teachers to get and keep tenure, and easier for districts to fire them. The backbone of the plan is a new, four-level performance scale: "Exemplary," "Proficient," "Developing" and "Below Standard."

To attain tenure, a teacher would need to achieve two "exemplary" ratings in three years, or a combination of three "proficient" or "exemplary" ratings in five years.

A tenured teacher would have regular evaluations and could be dismissed for just once scoring "below standard" or for being rated as "developing" for two consecutive years.

The proposal also allows districts to sack new teachers at will for up to a year instead of the current 90-day period.

Levine said the proposed standards are unfair to teachers, as members of other licensed professions generally don't lose their jobs after one bad evaluation. "This is another example of teacher-bashing and putting the blame where it does not belong," she said.

To shorten the dismissal process, a tenured teacher would appeal to a single arbitrator chosen by the teacher and the district superintendent. The hearing would then be limited to 30 days and eight hours of testimony.

Bill going too far?

The CEA says it wants to revamp outdated parts of the tenure system by shortening the appeals process and reducing the number of arbitrators, as the governor proposed.

But the association and AFT Connecticut argue that Malloy's bill goes too far, and would dissolve protections against teachers' jobs being threatened for personal or political reasons.

Joel Farrior, president of the Montville Education Association, is concerned that the tenure proposal could encourage districts to cut costs by jettisoning their veteran teachers at the top of the salary scale and replacing them with recent college graduates.

"Once you have that due process or tenure, it shouldn't be up for renewal -you've proven your worth," said Farrior, a social studies teacher at Leonard J. Tyl Middle School. "You could be the best teacher in the classroom and you're still not guaranteed to keep your job."

Many private-sector workers in non-union workplaces live with constant uncertainty about their employment. But Farrior says that stripping away teachers' job security will hurt the profession and, in turn, the students.

"If this is the direction you want, you're going to find fewer people who want to teach," he said.

In a phone interview Friday, Pryor said the tenure changes are intended to raise standards in the teaching profession and ensure that tenure is meaningful.

"Teachers ought to be held up as the tremendously valuable members of society that they are," Pryor said. "The system that we're designing aims of ensuring that."

Three certificate steps

This month, the state Board of Education agreed on a framework for teacher evaluations that would be linked to the performance ratings. The guidelines were put together by a council of teachers, principals, school boards and others.

The evaluation elements are 45 percent tied to student "learning indicators," with one-half of that based on standardized tests; 40 percent on observations of teacher performance; 10 percent on peer or parent surveys; and 5 percent on student feedback or "whole-school" learning indicators.

The governor's proposal also would replace the existing teacher certification system with three new steps: Initial, Professional and Master. Movement between the certifications would largely be determined by performance on the new teacher evaluations.

By either mid-2014 or mid-2015, school districts would have to base their teacher salary scales on the new certifications - no longer on an educator's years of experience or number of advanced degrees.

Current teachers, regardless of their time in the district, would start at year one in pursuit of the new "Master" Certificate, which would require at least three "exemplary" performance ratings over five years.

"The new system evolves the former system to one that is more linked to performance," Pryor told lawmakers at his confirmation hearing.

The CEA is worried that the new certificate system would give boards of education an incentive to set lower salaries.

Pryor denied any aim to shrivel teachers' pay.

"It is the case that there is limited correlation between the holding of a master's degree and teacher effectiveness," Pryor said in an interview. "We do believe it's important that school districts be able to account for other factors that may be even better indicators of teacher effectiveness."

Leo Facchini, a science teacher at New London High School, feels the reform proposal is an attempt to scapegoat teachers for the state's nation-leading achievement gap between students from low-income homes and their more affluent peers. Teachers can only influence a student's development to a point, he said.

"I think a lot of this stuff is a knee-jerk reaction to the low test scores," Facchini said. "If our test scores don't go up, it's not because we're not working hard or because we're doing anything wrong."

SUNDAY, February 19, 2012

Isaiah 43:18-19,21-22,24b-25.

"Thus says the Lord:
Remember not the events of the past,
   the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
   Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way,
   in the wasteland, rivers.
The people I formed for myself,
   that they might announce my praise.
Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob,
   for you grew weary of me, O Israel.
You burdened me with your sins,
   and wearied me with your crimes.
It is I, I, who wipe out,
   for my own sake, your offenses;
   your sins I remember no more."
The word of the Lord.


Click here to see the presentation.

To a certain proportion of the Citizenry of New London: STUPIDO. STUPIDO. STUPIDO.


Norwich to Coast Guard: We're here

By Claire Bessette

Publication: The Day

Published 02/18/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 02/18/2012 12:04 AM

Norwich - Even if the U.S. Coast Guard Academy doesn't expand into Norwich, residents can look for increased presence by academy cadets in the Rose City in the near future.

Academy Superintendent Rear Adm. Sandra L. Stosz spent more than two hours Friday having lunch with Norwich officials and touring the former Shipping Street area.

"This land is available," Mayor Peter Nystrom said as he and Stosz viewed the vacant lots between the New England Central freight rail tracks and the Thames River on Shipping Street. "It needs some things done, but it's suitable for any type of development."

The area is a former industrial district that once housed oil depots and factories. Nystrom met with owners of the major parcels Monday and told Stosz they are willing to discuss any uses the Coast Guard could make of the properties.

The meeting and tour were arranged to discuss possible Coast Guard Academy expansion into Norwich after New London voters in November rejected a plan to sell a portion of Riverside Park, located adjacent to the academy, to the Coast Guard. While Nystrom is on record as supporting the academy expansion in New London, he said if that can't happen Norwich wants to be considered as an alternative.

"Certainly Norwich was kind enough to offer that they are here and there are expansion opportunities here if that can't be accomplished in New London," Stosz said after luncheon and before visiting Shipping Street.

Norwich officials presented Stosz with a bouquet of roses, and city computer technician Nick Kingsley made her a braided sailor's bracelet, a craft he learned during 10 years working on a lobster boat.

In the corner of the City Hall conference room, a large sign - "Norwich Welcomes Coast Guard Academy" - stood on an easel. Nystrom and Stosz posed for photos in front of the sign.

Friday's discussion centered on more than the academy's future expansion. The parties discussed bringing the Coast Guard Jazz Band to Norwich for a waterfront concert this summer as part of the Rock the Docks series at Howard T. Brown Memorial Park at Norwich Harbor. Nystrom brought Stosz to the park after visiting Shipping Street.

Concert plans

The group also hopes to arrange a concert by the Coast Guard Band in the city's new Kelly Middle School Auditorium and to invite Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. - Coast Guard commandant and Kelly Middle School and Norwich Free Academy graduate - back to his hometown for the "homecoming" celebration, said City Councilor Charles Jaskiewicz.

Coast Guard cadets also will be invited to Norwich for education mentoring programs, community service projects and possibly to be paired up with local students learning to sail in a proposed sailing program at Norwich Harbor, Stosz said.

And the Coast Guard Academy baseball team could play a home game or two at Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium. The team's season runs through May, before the Connecticut Tigers minor league baseball team gets started.

"I'm overwhelmed with the hospitality that has been expressed here today for the Coast Guard Academy," Stosz said as the group prepared to visit Brown Park, where the outdoor summer concerts are held. "I've met a whole new group of people who support us."

ITS ABOUT ABORTION... the San Andreas Fault of American Society.


Every Catholic Bishop Opposes Obama Mandate, Lutherans Too

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | | 2/17/12 12:30 PM

Every one of the 181 Catholic bishops in the United States have now issued individual comments, statements or opinion columns condemning the new mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place forcing religious employers to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs.

Thomas Peters, who runs the American Papist blog, has been compiling the statements from each bishop since Obama first put the mandate in place last month.

“From Portland, Maine to San Diego, California; From Miami, Florida to Seattle, Washington,” Peters writes. “Every single Roman Catholic bishop in the United States has condemned in public the Obamacare HHS mandate — all 181 bishops who lead dioceses in the U.S. have spoken.”

“This is a simply incredible, unified, universal Catholic witness on this critical issue of religious freedom,” peters adds. “I am no longer able to find a single Roman Catholic bishop who has NOT spoken out against the mandate publicly. It is also my presumption that this conclusion applies to all Eastern Rite and Sui Iuris bishops in the U.S. It’s a complimentary sign of Catholic solidarity that so many Catholics across the country proudly helped me add their bishop’s name to this list.”

Peters has also compiled a listing of Catholic institutions that have spoken out against the mandate and that number is now at 30 and continues to grow.

But Catholics are not the only pro-life Americans upset by Obama’s attack on religious freedom by having them violate their conscience on pro-life issues.

Reverend Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, told members of Congress at a hearing on the mandate yesterday that Baptists are strongly opposed.

“We deem this recent government mandate as an infringement upon the beliefs and practices of various religious communities. Therefore, we voice our public objections in solidarity with those who cherish their religious liberties,” he said. “The decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to require virtually all health plans to comply with this mandate will have the effect of forcing many religious organizations to choose between following the letter of the law or operating within the framework of their religious tenets.”

He continued, “We add our voice to the long list of those who have championed their God-given right to freely exercise their religious beliefs according to the dictates of their faith, and to provide compassionate care and clear Christian witness to society’s most vulnerable, without government encroachment.

“I loathe the partisan nature of this discussion….I’m here for one reason, I am here because there is a narrow but very significant provision in HHS [regulations] that is I believe is very dangerous to religious people with our kind of convictions and I believe it’s also dangerous to any religious people who have unique convictions, so that’s why I am here,” Harrisons said.

John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, which includes about 400,000 members, called the mandate “a frontal attack on our religious liberty” and will be teaming up with Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and others next month for a Rally for Religious Liberty at the Missouri State Capitol.

Yeats noted that Missouri Baptist universities will be forced to deal with a ruling that “seeks to secularize the institutions of faith we have built for purposes of faith.”

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik,Director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University, said many people of the Jewish faith are also opposed.

“In refusing to extend religious liberty beyond the parameters of what the administration chooses to deem religious conduct, the administration denies people of faith the ability to define their religious activity. Therefore, not only does the new regulation threaten religious liberty in the narrow sense, in requiring Catholic communities to violate their religious tenets, but also the administration impedes religious liberty by unilaterally redefining what it means to be religious,” he said.

“The President’s spokesman recently when speaking about this subject said that what their concern is that they don’t want religious employers or organization restricting access to specific prescriptions etc. but of course those who have a religious objection are not seeking in America to restrict their access to it, what they are seeking is the freedom in their own right not to facilitate something that violates the tenants of their own faith,” Soloveichik said.

Laura Champion, M.D., Medical Director, Calvin College Health Services, said mainline Protestants also oppose the mandate.

She told the hearing: “Even when Americans hold vastly different views on the sanctity of life, this mandate raises a point that should be examined by all: do we value religious freedom in our country or not? Further, the mandate elevates contraception and abortive drugs to the level of preventative health care. They are not. Plan B and Ella should not be considered equivalent to cancer screening or vaccinations. Pregnancy is not a disease. This is a premise that I reject both religiously and medically.”

Champion added, “This is not about politics, this is not about contraception, and this is not about depriving women of health care. Rather, this is personal. This is about my daily life as a physician, a Christian, and a Medical Services Director. Whether I will be able as a physician to practice medicine within my belief system. Whether Calvin College will be able to continue its historic tradition of living out the faith it teaches. A government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people, should not force the people to violate their consciences.”

The panel that put together the mandate has been condemned for only having pro-abortion members even though polling shows Americans are opposed to the mandate.

More than 50 members of Congress banded together at a press conference to demand legislation to stop the new mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place forcing religious employers to pay for insurance coverage including birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry held a press conference with supporters of the bipartisan, bicameral Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. His legislation would protect the religious liberty and conscience rights of every American who objects to being forced by the strong-arm of government to pay for drugs and procedures recently mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Fortenberry bill currently has the support of approximately 220 Members of Congress and Senators, the most strongly-supported legislative remedy to the controversial HHS mandate. This measure would repeal the controversial mandate, amending the 2010 health care law to preserve conscience rights for religious institutions, health care providers, and small businesses who pay for health care coverage.

H.R. 1179 enjoys the endorsements of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Right to Life Committee, Americans United for Life, and other organizations. Numerous other organizations, including the Christian Medical Association and Family Research Council, have urged support of the bill.

Sen. Roy Blunt, a pro-life Missouri Republican, is putting forward the Blunt Amendment, #1520, again, and it is termed the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. According to information provided to LifeNews from pro-life sources on Capitol Hill, the Blunt Amendment will be the first amendment voted on when the Senate returns to the transportation bill. The amendment would allow employers to decline coverage of services in conflict with religious beliefs.

Republicans are moving swiftly with legislation, amendments, and potential hearings on the mandatethe Obama administration has put in place that forces religious employers to pay for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs for their employees.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement saying Obama’s revised mandate involves “needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions” and it urged Congress to overturn the rule and promised a potential lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates had been taking verbal swings at Obama for imposing the original mandate on religious employers, which is not popular in the latest public opinion poll and which even some Democrats oppose.

Congressman Steve Scalise has led a bipartisan letter with 154 co-signers calling on the Obama Administration to reverse its mandate forcing religious organizations to include drugs that can cause abortion and birth control in the health care plans of their employees.

The original mandate was so egregious that even the normally reliably liberal and pro-abortion USA Today condemned it in an editorial titled, “Contraception mandate violates religious freedom.”

The administration initially approved a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine suggesting that it force insurance companies to pay for birth control and drugs that can cause abortions under the Obamacare government-run health care program.

The IOM recommendation, opposed by pro-life groups, called for the Obama administration to require insurance programs to include birth control — such as the morning after pill or the ella drug that causes an abortion days after conception — in the section of drugs and services insurance plans must cover under “preventative care.” The companies will likely pass the added costs on to consumers, requiring them to pay for birth control and, in some instances, drug-induced abortions of unborn children in their earliest days.

The HHS accepted the IOM guidelines that “require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services” and those services include “FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling” — which include birth control drugs like Plan B and ella that can cause abortions. The Health and Human Services Department commissioned the report from the Institute, which advises the federal government and shut out pro-life groups in meetings leading up to the recommendations.

SATURDAY, February 18, 2012

We Report. You Decide.


ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency

New Book Points Out Pitfalls of Cohabitation

Study Shows 'The Ring Makes All The Difference'

By Father John Flynn, LC

ROME, FEB. 17, 2012 ( In many countries, cohabitation before marriage is the norm rather than the exception. This tendency is, nevertheless, something that increases the risk of martial failure, a recently published book warns.

In The Ring Makes All The Difference: The Hidden Consequences of Cohabitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage, (Moody Publishers) Glenn T. Stanton gathers together the results of a large amount of research on cohabitation and marriage. Stanton is the director for Family Formation Studies at the organization Focus on the Family.

In the United States more than 60% of marriages are preceded by some form of cohabitation, according to data cited by Stanton. This practice is even more marked in second marriages.

Cohabitation is more common among those without a college degree, and among those who are less religious. Parental divorce, the lack of a father or high levels of conflict between parents are all factors that lead to an increased incidence of cohabitation.

In considering what motivates young people to cohabit Stanton explained that, while the 1960s sexual revolution led some to consider marriage as an unnecessary formality that true love did not need, in more recent times couples have shunned marriage due to a fear of failing to live up to its ideals.

Many of marriageable age today lived through their parent's divorce and experienced it as a painful moment. Research does show a strong desire to marry among young people who choose cohabitation and they think that living together before marriage is a good way to avoid a future divorce.


Young people considering whether cohabitation will prepare them for marriage do not have to wait for answers from their personal experience, Stanton pointed out. There is already a wealth of research available on the subject.

Even if couples consider themselves practically married while they cohabit they still know that they are freer to end the relationship compared to those who are married. Without what Stanton termed the glue of marriage couples are more reluctant to invest time and resources into making the relationship flourish.

Marriage gives a couple a strong reason to make a personal commitment and investment to the union between the two. It also integrates the couple into their respective networks of family and friends in a much more solid and lasting way.

Studies have shown that cohabitating couples are more prone to excessive use of drugs and alcohol and that there are more fights or violence. One study found that the overall rate of violence for cohabiting couples is twice as high as for married couples and when it comes to severe violence it is five times greater.

Another drawback to cohabitation is the lack of fidelity. Most couples, says Stanton, expect sexual faithfulness, whether or not they are married. Many studies, however, have found that cohabitors have much higher levels of sexual infidelity than married couples.

It seems that if you want to give someone the experience of sexual opportunism with other partners, cohabitation is what you are looking for, Stanton commented.

While research has consistently shown that marriage is a wealth-building institution cohabitation is quite different. It is not just the uniting of incomes and resources that creates financial benefits, but the permanence and stability of marriage, according to Stanton.

Commitment vs. togetherness

Research has shown that wealth accumulation in cohabiting couples is closer to that of singles, rather than reaching the level of married couples. Cohabitors are more like roommates than a team, Stanton commented.

The level of commitment even affects such mundane matters as helping out with the household chores. One study revealed that a married man will spend up to eight more hours a week doing domestic work compared with those who cohabit.

Simply speaking, marriage provides an essential commitment that cohabitation does not and cannot provide, Stanton stated. That is why researchers consider cohabitation to being closer to singleness than to marriage. While cohabitation is an ambiguous statement about a couple, marriage, by contrast, is a strong statement about the status of the two people, not only to themselves, but also to the wider community.

This lack of commitment carries over even when a couple that has cohabitated eventually marries. Far from being a help in seeing if a couple is suitable for marriage, cohabitation prior to marriage increases by 50% to 80% the likelihood of an eventual divorce.

Stanton pointed out that sociologists have given a name to this phenomena, the cohabitation effect.

Without a clearly defined relationship a cohabiting couple can more easily fall into the habit of being more controlling and manipulative with each other. This leads to resentment and mistrust and carries over into married life.

Trying out the product before you buy, as if a future spouse is like some consumer item, is not the right way to go about ensuring a healthy marriage, Stanton urged. A message that needs to be much more widely spread in society today.

, February 17, 2012

ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency

Testimony at Congress From US Bishops' Freedom Committee Director

The Parable of the Kosher Deli

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 16, 2012 ( Here is the testimony of Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding the Obama administration regulations on health care coverage for abortifacients, sterilization and contraception. The testimony was given today before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the United States House of Representatives.

* * *

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee, for the opportunity to testify today.

For my testimony today, I would like to tell a story. Let’s call it, “The Parable of the Kosher Deli.”

Once upon a time, a new law is proposed, so that any business that serves food must serve pork. There is a narrow exception for kosher catering halls attached to synagogues, since they serve mostly members of that synagogue, but kosher delicatessens are still subject to the mandate.

The Orthodox Jewish community—whose members run kosher delis and many other restaurants and grocers besides—expresses its outrage at the new government mandate. And they are joined by others who have no problem eating pork—not just the many Jews who eat pork, but people of all faiths—because these others recognize the threat to the principle of religious liberty. They recognize as well the practical impact of the damage to that principle. They know that, if the mandate stands, they might be the next ones forced—under threat of severe government sanction—to violate their most deeply held beliefs, especially their unpopular beliefs.

Meanwhile, those who support the mandate respond, “But pork is good for you. It is, after all, the other white meat.” Other supporters add, “So many Jews eat pork, and those who don’t should just get with the times.” Still others say, “Those Orthodox are just trying to impose their beliefs on everyone else.”

But in our hypothetical, those arguments fail in the public debate, because people widely recognize the following.

First, although people may reasonably debate whether pork is good for you, that’s not the question posed by the nationwide pork mandate. Instead, the mandate generates the question whether people who believe—even if they believe in error—that pork is not good for you, should be forced by government to serve pork within their very own institutions. In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.

Second, the fact that some (or even most) Jews eat pork is simply irrelevant. The fact remains that some Jews do not—and they do not out of their most deeply held religious convictions. Does the fact that large majorities in society—even large majorities within the protesting religious community—reject a particular religious belief make it permissible for the government to weigh in on one side of that dispute? Does it allow government to punish that minority belief with its coercive power? In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.

Third, the charge that the Orthodox Jews are imposing their beliefs on others has it exactly backwards. Again, the question generated by a government mandate is whether the government will impose its belief that eating pork is good on objecting Orthodox Jews. Meanwhile, there is no imposition at all on the freedom of those who want to eat pork. That is, they are subject to no government interference at all in their choice to eat pork, and pork is ubiquitous and cheap, available at the overwhelming majority of restaurants and grocers. Indeed, some pork producers and retailers, and even the government itself, are so eager to promote the eating of pork, that they sometimes give pork away for free.

In this context, the question is this: can a customer come to a kosher deli, demand to be served a ham sandwich, and if refused, bring down severe government sanction on the deli. In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.

So in our hypothetical story, because the hypothetical nation is indeed committed to religious liberty and diversity, these arguments carry the day.

In response, those proposing the new law claim to hear and understand the concerns of kosher deli owners, and offer them a new “accommodation.” You are free to call yourself a kosher deli; you are free not to place ham sandwiches on your menu; you are free not to be the person to prepare the sandwich and hand it over the counter to the customer. But we will force your meat supplier to set up a kiosk on your premises, and to offer, prepare, and serve ham sandwiches to all of your customers, free of charge to them. And when you get your monthly bill from your meat supplier, it will include the cost of any of the “free” ham sandwiches that your customers may accept. And you will, of course, be required to pay that bill.

Some who supported the deli owners initially began to celebrate the fact that ham sandwiches didn’t need to be on the menu, and didn’t need to be prepared or served by the deli itself. But on closer examination, they noticed three troubling things. First, all kosher delis will still be forced to pay for the ham sandwiches. Second, many of the kosher delis’ meat suppliers, themselves, are forbidden in conscience from offering, preparing, or serving pork to anyone. Third, there are many kosher delis that are their own meat supplier, so the mandate to offer, prepare, and serve the ham sandwich still falls on them.

This story has a happy ending. The government recognized that it is absurd for someone to come into a kosher deli and demand a ham sandwich; that it is beyond absurd for that private demand to be backed with the coercive power of the state; that it is downright surreal to apply this coercive power when the customer can get the same sandwich cheaply, or even free, just a few doors down.

The question before the United States government—right now—is whether the story of our own Church institutions that serve the public, and that are threatened by the HHS mandate, will end happily too. Will our nation continue to be one committed to religious liberty and diversity? We urge, in the strongest possible terms, that the answer must be yes. We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to answer the same way.

Thank you for your attention.

MONDAY through THUSDAY, February 13 through 16, 2012

In the on-going and vital debate regarding Obama's decision about "contraceptives", absolutely no one except the Catholic Church is using the word "abortion" and "abortifacients"...despite the fact that that is the central issue. 

So, let me offer...and then dismiss...a nice little word to describe this approach by the Obama Administration, by the Media, by Planned Parenthood, and by all the females out there supporting that decision and its cynical "compromise"; DISINGENUOUS...when the proper term should be LYING BASTARDS.


SUNDAY, February 12, 2012

Bill Cosby "I'm 76 and Tired"

This should be required reading for every man, woman and child in Jamaica,
the UK , United States of America , Canada , Australia and New Zealand and
to all the world...
"I'm 76 and I'm Tired"

I'm 76. Except for brief period in the 50's when I was doing my National
Service, I've worked hard since I was 17. Except for some some serious
health challenges, I put in 50-hour weeks, and didn't call in sick in nearly
40 years. I made a reasonable salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my
income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, it looks as
though retirement was a bad idea, and I'm tired. Very tired.

I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who
don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take
the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy
to earn it.     
I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I
can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and
daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight
offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't
"believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning
teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the
genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and
Shari'a law tells them to. 
I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let
Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries use our oil money to fund mosques
and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in Australia , New Zealand ,
UK, America and Canada , while no one from these countries are allowed to
fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia or any other
Arab country to teach love and tolerance..  

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global
warming, which no one is allowed to debate.

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help
support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ
rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses
or stick a needle in their arm while they tried to fight it off?
I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of all
parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful
mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting
caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor. 

I'm really tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and
actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination
or big-whatever for their problems.

I'm also tired and fed up with seeing young men and women in their teens and
early 20's be-deck them selves in tattoos and face studs, thereby making
themselves un-employable and claiming money from the Government.

Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 76.. Because, mostly, I'm not
going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for
my granddaughter and her children.   Thank God I'm on the way out and not
on the way in.

There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us
sends it on!

This is your chance to make a difference.

"I'm 76 and I'm tired."

SATURDAY, February 11, 2012



ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency

Divorce and Children: New Study Confirms Irreparable Harm

Splitting Up Seen to Weaken All of the 5 Major Institutions of Society

By Father John Flynn, LC

ROME, FEB. 10, 2012 ( Each year in the United States over a million children are the innocent parties to the divorce of their parents. While divorce also hurts the parents it is the children who particularly suffer, according to recent research.

The findings come in a study published in January by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, The Effects of Divorce on Children, by Patrick F. Fagan and Aaron Churchill.

Drawing on a large amount of published research on the effects of divorce, their paper goes through a series of areas where divorce harms children. The first one regards parent-child relationships. As would be expected, divorce affects the ability of parents to relate to their children.

One study found that the stress caused by divorce damages the relationship between children and their mothers for as many as 40% of divorced mothers. This insufficiency is more marked by the time children are in high school and college.

In practical terms this means that after divorce, children receive less emotional support, financial assistance, and help from their parents. There is also a decrease in academic stimulation, pride, affection, and encouragement of social maturity. Fewer toys and more corporal punishment is another consequence for children of divorced parents.

Most, around 90%, of children remain with their mother following a divorce. It then becomes difficult for the father to maintain close ties, the study reported. In one study nearly half of the children said they had not seen their father in the past year.


Another aspect covered in the study by Fagan and Churchill is the effect of divorce on religious practice among children. They found that following divorce, children are more likely to cease practicing their faith.

This lessening of religious practice means that children suffer from a lack of the beneficial effects of religion, in areas as diverse as marital stability, education, income, and physical and mental health.

A section of the study looked at what happens to children's educational results following the divorce of their parents. At the level of elementary school there is an immediate decline in academic performance.

At high school level children from intact families have significantly better test scores compared to children of divorced parents. One example in the study was that by the age of 13 there is an average difference of half a year in the reading ability between children of divorced parents and children from intact families.

Other research cited included a study that found children from divorced families were 26% more likely to drop out of secondary school compared to children brought up in intact families. Moreover, even if a divorced parent re-married this did not remove the negative impact of the initial divorce on children's academic results.

The divorce penalty extends up to college. Fagan and Churchill reported one study that found only 33% of students from divorced families graduate from college, compared to 40% of those from intact families.

Given the impact on education, not unexpectedly those affected by the divorce of their parents also have a lower income and assets and a greater probability of experiencing economic hardship.

The social impact of divorce was another aspect discussed by Fagan and Churchill. Divorce not only imposes costs on families but also on government and society. Children of divorced families are considerably more likely to engage in delinquent behavior, to be involved in fighting, robberies, and substance abuse.


Divorce wreaks havoc on the psychological stability of many children, the study found. It referred to research carried out on seventh and eighth grade students that showed parental divorce was the third most stressful life event of a list of 125 life events. It was only surpassed by the death of a parent or close family member.

As well, this psychological impact is not passing. Even as adults, those who experienced divorce as children experience more emotional and psychological problems compared to those from intact families.

Higher levels of child abuse and neglect are further consequences of divorce. One study carried out in Brazil found that children in step-families with stepfathers were 2.7 times more likely to be abused than children in biologically intact households.

The concluding section of the study commented that unlike the divorced parents, who can often find relief following separation, children's suffering continues long after divorce. In fact, its effects continue for decades, as long as three decades.

Divorce has pervasive weakening effects on children and on all of the five major institutions of society -- the family, the church, the school, the marketplace, and government itself, Fagan and Churchill concluded.

With the high level of divorce in recent times these debilitating consequences will continue to be played out in the years to come. Not a comforting thought as Western society continues to witness continued attacks on family life and attempts to re-define marriage.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency

US Bishops: Obama's 'Compromise' Has No Clear Protection for Key Stakeholders

Today's Proposal Continues to Involve Needless Government Intrusion

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 10, 2012 ( The U.S. bishops say the proposal made today by President Barack Obama's administration regarding the mandate to cover abortifacients, sterilization and contraception continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions.

Obama's proposal came after widespread and energetic condemnation of the Jan. 20 announcement that employers must include abortifacients in the health care plans offered to their employees as part of preventative care.

The Catholic bishops have long supported access to life-affirming healthcare for all, and the conscience rights of everyone involved in the complex process of providing that healthcare, the bishops' statement began. That is why we raised two serious objections to the 'preventive services' regulation issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in August 2011, [and confirmed Jan. 20.]

All the other mandated 'preventive services' prevent disease, and pregnancy is not a disease, they observed. Moreover, forcing plans to cover abortifacients violates existing federal conscience laws. Therefore, we called for the rescission of the mandate altogether.

Then, the prelates explained, they opposed the burden placed on the consciences of insurers forced to write policies including this coverage; employers and schools forced to sponsor and subsidize the coverage; and individual employees and students forced to pay premiums for the coverage.

We therefore urged HHS, if it insisted on keeping the mandate, to provide a conscience exemption for all of these stakeholders -- not just the extremely small subset of 'religious employers' that HHS proposed to exempt initially.

Anything new?

The communiqué then explains what the president's proposal today implies.

First, he has decided to retain HHS's nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients. This is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern. We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty.

Second, the President has announced some changes in how that mandate will be administered, which is still unclear in its details.

The bishops said that a preliminary study of the proposal indicates that it would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write. At this point, it would appear that self-insuring religious employers, and religious insurance companies, are not exempt from this mandate. It would allow non-profit, religious employers to declare that they do not offer such coverage. But the employee and insurer may separately agree to add that coverage. The employee would not have to pay any additional amount to obtain this coverage, and the coverage would be provided as a part of the employer's policy, not as a separate rider.

The U.S. bishops said that these changes need careful moral analysis and moreover, appear subject to some measure of change.

But, they stated, we note at the outset that the lack of clear protection for key stakeholders -- for self-insured religious employers; for religious and secular for-profit employers; for secular non-profit employers; for religious insurers; and for individuals -- is unacceptable and must be corrected. And in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer's plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. This, too, raises serious moral concerns.

The bishops said that parts of the information on Obama's proposal are in writing and other elements have only been explained orally.

We will, of course, continue to press for the greatest conscience protection we can secure from the Executive Branch. But stepping away from the particulars, we note that today's proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.

FRIDAY, February 10, 2012



ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency

EWTN Taking Obama Administration to Court

Say Health Care Ruling Provides Only 2 Choices, Both Unacceptable

IRONDALE, Alabama, FEB. 9, 2012 ( The EWTN Global Catholic Network filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other government agencies, seeking to stop the imposition of a mandate that will force Catholic institutions to pay for contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs in employee health care plans.

EWTN is the first Catholic organization to file suit since the final HHS rules were published by the Obama administration on Jan. 20.

We had no other option but to take this to the courts, said EWTN President and CEO Michael P. Warsaw in a statement. Under the HHS mandate, EWTN is being forced by the government to make a choice: either we provide employees coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and violate our conscience or offer our employees and their families no health insurance coverage at all. Neither of those choices is acceptable.

The lawsuit was filed on EWTN's behalf by Mark Rienzi, Kyle Duncan and Erik Kniffin from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

We are taking this action to defend not only ourselves but also to protect other institutions -- Catholic and non-Catholic, religious and secular -- from having this mandate imposed upon them, Warsaw continued. The government is forcing EWTN, first, to inform its employees about how to get contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs, a concept known as forced speech. To make the matter worse, the government then will force EWTN to use its donors' funds to pay for these same morally objectionable procedures or to pay for the huge fines it will levy against us if we fail to provide health care insurance. There is no question that this mandate violates our First Amendment rights. This is a moment when EWTN, as a Catholic organization, has to step up and say that enough is enough. Our hope is that our lawsuit does just that.

The Becket Fund previously filed similar lawsuits on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, a small Catholic liberal arts college in Belmont, North Carolina, and Colorado Christian University, an interdenominational Christian liberal arts university near Denver. Both suits were filed prior to the HHS rules being finalized in January.

WEDNESDAY, February 8, 2012



What Love means to a 4-8 year old...

Slow down for three minutes to read this. It is so worth it.

Touching words from the mouth of babes..

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds ,

'What does love mean?'

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined

See what you think:

'When my grandmother got arthritis , she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.. So my grandfather does it for her all the time , even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.'

Rebecca- age 8

'When someone loves you , the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'

Billy - age 4

'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.'

Karl - age 5

'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'

Chrissy - age 6

'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'

Terri - age 4

'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him , to make sure the taste is OK.'

Danny - age 7

'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing , you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that.
They look gross when they kiss'

Emily - age 8

'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents
and listen.'

Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

'If you want to learn to love better , you should start with a friend who you hate , '

Nikka - age 6
(we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)

'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt , then he wears it everyday.'

Noelle - age 7

'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.'

Tommy - age 6

'During my piano recital , I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.

He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'

Cindy - age 8

'My mommy loves me more than anybody
You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.'

Clare - age 6

'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'

Elaine-age 5

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford .'

Chris - age 7

'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.'

Mary Ann - age 4

'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.'

Lauren - age 4

'When you love somebody , your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image)

Karen - age 7

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross..'

Mark - age 6

'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it , you should say it a lot. People forget.'

Jessica - age 8
And the final one

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry , the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard , climbed onto his lap , and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor , the little boy said ,

'Nothing , I just helped him cry'

When there is nothing left but God , that is when you find out that God is all you need. Take 60 seconds and give this a shot! All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent you this.

Heavenly Father , please bless all my friends in whatever it is that You know they may be needing this day! And may their life be full of Your peace , prosperity and power as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with You. Amen.

SUNDAY, February 5, 2012

Perkins: It's good to be king

Thomas S. Perkins, Random Ramblings

Publication: The Times

Published 02/02/2012 12:00 AM

A parable of the New Oz.

Once upon a time in the New Oz, the Emerald City by the Sea, there came to pass a new law, whereas the Old Council of Oz and its administrator were replaced by a powerful king, Finnochio The Just.

Now King Finnochio was a true and honest king and was happy to take his place in the history books as the first king of New Oz. He was so happy with the thoughts of replacing the old type of government that he started announcing new dictates, some even before he was inaugurated, for it is good to be king.

He ruffled some feathers of the nearby neighbor the Ancient Mariner Academy, whose realm within the kingdom of Oz was sovereign property, answering only to the great emperor in Washington, D.C. and not subject to the king's pronouncements.

The academy wanted to purchase some of the New Oz property, but, alas, the king sayeth "No way," no matter what our citizens want. "Forsooth" cried the mariners, we will negotiate with some of our other nearby neighbors to find space for our expansion. After much ado, the king was invited to visit the Ancient Mariner Academy and to speak with the emperor's representative, and to arrange for further talks, and an uneasy peace once again settled over the Emerald City by The Sea.

Now a further pronouncement by the king settled a small fortune on his general of the king's guard, Lady Alkali. Finnochio, saying "Yea and verily," it's good to be king, settled upon her a gift of three horses, five goats and six chickens, in answer to her claim of being harassed by a former member of the Council of Oz, Sir Michael of Bushwarts.

"Yoicks" cried the council, and upon deliberation, rescinded this proclamation, finding that the king was not so all-powerful as he had first thought. Now, during all this commotion, the general of the guard also lost three of her top captains of the guard, hence leaving the king's guard in turmoil.

Some say this was to her liking and some say not. As for Lady Alkali, she has remained silent on the subject, obviously not a politician. At this same time the king exiled the clerk of the kingdom and his assistant, leaving the kingdom's paperwork in disarray. It is good to be king!

The king, it has been rumored, has many more ideas for the Emerald City; he may propose the addition of the king's horse guard, with the steeds to be stabled in the municipal parking garage, with the stable cleaning assigned to the Council of Oz.

Also on the back burner might be a jousting festival to be held in the new skating rink next to the whale's tail, where the king would have the additional title of grand marshal. But, alas, the king has found it to be prudent to run his ideas before the Council of Oz before making any new statements. But, it's still good to be king!

Meanwhile, in the nearby hamlet of Watercress, the people shake their heads in awe and envy, saying, "How come they have all the fun? It really must be good to be king!"

Now, after all this, the somewhat subdued king sits in his tower, pondering what new and exciting pronouncements he can issue to keep the good citizens of New Oz happy. After all, it is good to be king!


SATURDAY, February 4, 2012


Two developments that have occurred during the last two weeks have highlighted once again the long-standing festering wound which is now turning into national sepsis: ABORTION. 
First, the Obama administration promulgated a Federal Law that would require Catholics and Catholic institutions to provide abortion-causing drugs as part of their health ministries - totally in opposition to Catholic teaching and to Catholic conscience.  This, a direct attack on Constitutional Freedom of Religion, was never reported in the craven lay press as involving Abortion...but only "contraception" and "womens' health".  This was immediately attacked by U.S. Catholic Bishops, by the clergy of other Faiths and by their laity.  It will lead to a prolonged legislative and legal battle that will further distort our body politic in this watershed year and beyond, as the topic has done since the immoral and unconstitutional Roe v Wade decision.  In any case, "This will not stand". 
Secondly, the action and then reaction of the Komen foundation regarding Planned Parenthood was obviously founded on the actions of the Abortion factory outlet that is Planned Parenthood...but never acknowledged by either side in this tawdry spectacle. 

This sequence demonstrates two things. First, that a very large segment of females (a gender, not the honored status of "women") continue to condone and to practice the killing of an incontrovertibly human being for their own narcissistic "freedom".  For that, I can only recall the Biblical admonition: "Vengeance Is Mine, Sayeth the Lord.  I Shall Repay".
Second, that the Internet and its progeny have re-introduced a new age of mob rule.  For that, the rest of us will have to mobilize. 

And then there is the effect, present and future, on the national and the world economy for many decades to come.  The article posted below addresses that specter.     


ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency

Demographic Free-fall
Low Fertility and Economic Crisis

By Father John Flynn, LC

ROME, FEB. 3, 2012 ( Sustainable development is the imperative of the 21st century and cannot be achieved without improving reproductive health: words expressed at a recent executive board meeting by UNFPA executive director Babatunde Osotimehin, according to a Feb. 1 press release.

UNFPA is the United Nations' agency responsible for promoting family planning, including contraceptives and access to abortion. Reducing fertility is, according to the director, key to ensuring economic success.

But this is an affirmation increasingly contradicted by events. Japan is one of the clearest examples of this. The latest official figures show that Japan's population is projected to fall by 30%, to below 90 million, by 2060.

By that date those aged 14 or under will be less than 8 million, compared to 35 million aged 65 or older, Reuters reported, Jan. 30.

The fertility rate, the expected number of children born per couple, is expected to reach 1.35 in 2060 from 1.39 in 2010, well below the 2.08 needed to keep the population from shrinking.

The projections are based on the 2010 census and there were three estimates: moderate, optimistic and pessimistic, made by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, according to a report published Jan. 31 by the Daily Yomiuri Online.

The forecast released corresponds to the moderate estimate and will see 39.9% of the population being 65 or over by 2060.

Even before the latest figures came out there was widespread concern over the economic implications of Japan's low fertility rate. Moreover, what is happening in Japan is a foretaste of what will occur in other mature economies.

A Jan. 12 report by Reuters cited Ajay Kapur, a strategist for Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong, as saying that stock markets are worried about demographic trends in almost every developed market.

Not unique

He said it would be a crucial error to think that Japan's economic stagnation in the last two decades was something unique.

In the next five years, all of the 18 developed countries for which Deutsche has property market data going back more than half a century will see a decline in their working age population ratios, the Reuters article noted.

A combination of fewer people in the workforce and high levels of indebtedness leads to a very adverse economic environment, Kapur warned.

The aging population means that a serious reform of the social security and tax systems will be needed in Japan, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura at a press conference held Monday, according to a Feb. 1 report by the Daily Yomiuri Online.

In 1960 one retiree was supported by 11.2 workers. In 2010, one retiree was supported by only 2.8 workers. By 2060, it is expected there will be just 1.3 workers per retiree.

Many other countries are struggling to deal with the consequences of a below-replacement fertility rate.

Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou, warned that the country's lack of children is a serious national security threat, the Guardian newspaper reported, Jan. 23.

In 1951, the average Taiwanese woman had seven children. In 2010, the fertility rate was 0.89. While currently about 14 of the population is over 65, this number could double in just a couple of decades.

Currently seven working people support one retiree, but by 2045 this will have plummeted to just 1.45, according to the Guardian report.

Rapid ageing means declining labor input and, in the long term, suggests population will fall, which will slow the economy, said Ma Tieying, an economist at DBS Bank in Singapore.

His warning came in a report on the dire economic implications of low fertility in Taiwan published Jan. 25 by Bloomberg Businessweek

One generation

Another expert who recently spoke out on the issue is Sarah Harper, director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford. She said that the European Union will see an average increase of 23% in pension costs by the middle of the century, according to a Jan. 31 report by the Independent newspaper.

The greatest pressure, however, will not be on Europe, but on Asian and Latin American countries that are also experiencing rapid declines in fertility. Europe, Harper pointed out, has had over a century to adapt to these changes, but most developing nations will have just one generation.

The rapid decline in Latin America, in part thanks to the programs sponsored by the United Nations, is evident in two recent examples.

A Jan. 25 report published by Prensa Latina said that it is likely the population will be in decline by 2025. According to Juan Carlos Alfonso, director of the Population and Development Research Center, by that time 26% of the population will be in their sixth decade.

Meanwhile, a Jan. 15 report by U.S. National Public Radio, said that from an average of six children per woman 50 years ago Brazil now has a lower fertility rate than the United States, at 1.9 per woman.

Such rapid and dramatic declines will inevitably bring about severe economic and budgetary problems, a far cry from sustainable development.

FRIDAY, February 3, 2012



Memo to the Catholic Bishops

To the Members of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops:

It may have taken a few days to sink in, but by now you should all have realized that President Obama has opened a massive assault on the Roman Catholic Church in America the likes of which none of you have ever experienced and for which few of you have prepared.

My guess is only a handful of you believed it could come to this. This is America, after all, where the "first freedom" listed in the First Amendment is religious freedom. When next you gather you might usefully conduct a poll as to how many really believed such a thing could happen.

Most of you are good men, and some extremely good men, but you have never been in a struggle with the government the likes of which your brothers in other places have endured. The American government has always been at least an ally of the Church's social teachings, right? Sure, there is the problem of some Democrats pushing for late-term abortions, and of some academics arguing that the tax exempt status of all churches is an unconstitutional "establishment of religion."

But you just laughed off the idea that the government could actually threaten your very existence.

That is, however, what has happened with the promulgation.

"What came down was the most sweeping and restrictive set of regulations that we’ve seen,” Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory said of the new Health and Human Services Department regulations mandating that all health insurance plans provide for contraception, including sterilization and the "morning after" pill.

"We cannot --we will not-- comply with this unjust law, declared Archbishop Olmsted in Phoenix, in a bold letter to his flock that implied what former United States Senator Rick Santorum openly declared the only option on my radio program Wednesday: "Civil disobedience." Here is my full exchange with Senator Satorum on the subject:

HH: I read the letter from Archbishop Olmsted of Phoenix on the air. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles has written a new article in First Things. It’s shocking, actually, what’s going on. Should this be a centerpiece of whoever the nominee’s campaign is?

RS: I talked about it in every speech I’ve given today. And here’s what I said, though, Hugh. I said that I took issue with the Catholic Bishops Conference, because Hugh, you may remember, they embraced Obamacare.

HH: Yes.

RS: They embraced it and said…here’s what I said to them. Be careful when you have government saying that they can give you rights, that you have a right to health care, and government’s going to give you something, because once you are now dependant on government, they, not only can they take that right away, they can tell you how to exercise that right, and you can either like it or not. And that’s the problem. That’s what the Catholic Bishops Conference didn’t get, that there’s no free lunch here, folks. If you’re going to give people secular power, then they’re going to use it in a secular fashion. And that’s why, you know, I hate to say it, but you know, you had it coming. And it’s time to wake up and realize that government isn’t the answer to the social ills. It’s people of faith, and it’s families, and it’s communities, and it’s charities that need to do this as it has in America so successfully for so long.

HH: Rick Santorum, what do you advise Catholic hospitals, Catholic colleges, Catholic…the centers of poverty assistance, the adoption agencies? What do you advise them to do in the face of, as Archbishop Olmsted said, we cannot comply with this unjust law?

RS: Civil disobedience. This will not stand. There’s no way they can make this stand. The Supreme Court, eventually, this thing’s going to get to the Supreme Court just like the ministerial hiring issue that was just decided by the Supreme Court the other day. And it was a 9-0 decision that said the Obama administration can’t roll over people of faith when it comes to hiring. Yet in the face of that decision, this radical, secular government of Barack Obama continues to have faith be the least important of the 1st Amendment. And I just think they fight. They fight in the courts, and they fight by civil disobedience, and go to war with the federal government over this one.

Talk about tough love. Senator Santorum says it straight, and the taste is bitter. You were played. The left took your support for nationalizing health care and repaid your support with a conscience-enslaving requirement that the Roman Catholic Church pay for contraception, sterilization and "the morning-after pill."

Give it a year. The president's appointees will have you paying for abortions. That or pay the price of civil disobedience.

What that price might be is still vague. Fines and penalties? Loss of tax exempt status? Who knows? But keep in mind that this gang blindsided you on the regs, and they will work with Eric Holder's Department of Justice to blindside you on the enforcement as well. Payback time for all those Right to Life Marches and the controversies over who should receive the Eucharist.

To paraphrase the old saying, "Paybacks are (on the road to) Hell."

The central question is what will you do, and not next quarter or even next month, but right now? Sure, the letters went out, and appeals to the faithful have been made. Lawsuits are probably being explored. (They ought to have been filed yesterday, in the federal district court in the D.C. Circuit. Time's a wasting.)

But what are you going to do in the realm of politics. This isn't even a question of defending your own Church but of your duty to defend the unborn and the right of conscience and the free exercise of faith.

There is one step you must take.

You have to consider issuing a declaration obliging American Roman Catholics of good conscience to vote against the re-election of the president and every member of his party at every level. Do you want the regulations revoked? Then this is what you must do, and soon.

The Manhattan-Beltway elite media will shriek. The professional atheists and their allies who are your long-time opponents will scream. But if you are serious about your job of defending the faith, this is what you must do.

Whatever you decide to do, you need a media strategy much better than the one deployed in fits and starts across the country. Most Catholics are even now unaware of what just happened. Letters from the pulpit? That's it?

A suggestion: Task a cross section of senior bishops from cross the country, say Archbishop Dolan of New York, Chaput of Philadelphia, Olmsted of Phoenix and Gomez of Los Angeles, and dispatch them on a tour of many cities, at each stop holding a press conference and explaining what has happened and how they will be back with the specific resolutions adopted by the Conference.

"[Go to war with the federal government over this one," is how Senator Santorum put it, by which of course he meant the sort of non-violent war that Occupy protestors excel at before they become violent.

The bad news is that you are very timid by nature, lulled into complacency by a tradition of religious freedom that didn't exist when Charles Carroll risked all his massive land and wealth to sign the Declaration of Independence.

You are far from media savvy, and you are afraid of offending some Democrats in the pews. Get over it, or get over the Church's teachings, as it really has come down to a choice that cannot be postponed.

This is not your father's Democratic Party. This isn't even your Democratic Party, those of you who grew up proud of John F. Kennedy and even happy proponents of the Bishops' letters of the 1980s castigating Ronald Reagan on economics and defense issues.

These people want to destroy you, and behind their soft smiles and long meetings and densely-written regulations, there is an agenda, and your submission to the cultural values of the left is on it. Where was the president when this went on? Do you really think he didn't sign off on this? Has he returned any of your calls? Did you even try to call him?

Or did some in your number immediately set about figuring out why there was nothing you could do?

Understand, you could have this regulation pulled in a matte of days or weeks. But you would have to be bold, blunt and unwilling to "compromise." And you would have to go public against the president.

So, are you shepherds, or not? If so, protect your flocks.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Here's a HOT AND SOUR SOUP of domestic issues. 
After all the discussion about our being the Shining Beacon on the Hill, about being the world leader, about being "exceptional"...:THE FIRST RULE OF SERVICE IS SURVIVAL.  And that survival, as a robust and democratic nation recognizable to Americans, is no longer a given.  This is not only the opinion of Rick Santorum, the Casandra of Republican candidates for President, but the thesis of many books on the subject.  Two of these are:
"GREEDY BASTARDS!", by Dylan Ratigan;
"THE AGE OF AUSTERITY", by Thomas Byrne Edsall.
The elections of 2012 will represent a true watershed moment in our history.  A second term for Barack Obama may well produce a revolution, civil or otherwise.  The election of a Republican candidate anointed, bought and paid for by the Establishment (read "status quo") forces, will result in a critical loss of time in which to restore the nation's direction - probably with permanent consequences. 
Yes, the prime goal must be to unseat this President in November.  But Republicans and Independents must choose their candidate wisely.  My choice continues to be Newt Gingrich, a man of great intellect, relevant experience and reform-minded determination who could beat Obama and who would make the changes necessary to restore America to Americans. 

And now for some specifics:

  1. Free Enterprise is not synonymous with the unfetter march of robber barons.  Wall Street must be kept transparent and under some effective regulations.  The first time I heard of "derivatives" coming out of Wall Street in the early 1990's, I knew that such bets belonged in Las Vegas and not there.  And now we learn that even Freddy Mack was betting on mortgages defaulting while offering mortgages to people who had no business being considered for many of those mortgages.  
  2. Those wheelers and dealers who broke existing laws should be prosecuted and jailed.  Those firms that made and lost reckless bets with their clients' money should be allowed to matter how large. 
  3. The same rules regarding "insider trading" should apply to our fearless leaders in Washington, a concept which is a no-brainer...except for the morally challenged.
  4. And referring to the "morally challenged", our system of elections has deteriorated into a form aptly described by Irma Bombeck, wherein: "An organization is like a cesspool: the truly big pieces float to the top".  We must demand a U.S. Constitutional Convention to consider and refer to the States new Amendments addressing Election financing, Federal term limits and the legal position of Corporations - especially now that many corporations have become international and thus quasi - aliens. 
  5. The Federal Bureaucracy, that behemoth of self-perpetuating administrators who not only implement laws but who often modify and distort the intent of those laws, must be reformed consistent with the needs of a true democracy. 
  6. The "very poor" don't need a "safety net"...they need a pick and shovel and a task to perform.  Before all, they need a basic and relevant education - which they are not getting in our failed and cynical Public Education monopoly.  And yet they support overwhelmingly the Democratic Party, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Teachers' Unions.  Is this Idiocy...or What??
  7. The "Middle Class" cannot expect to continue in the same job as their fathers and grandfathers, just "because".  They must become and remain relevant to the needs of current society...not of the society of 50 or 100 years ago.  That means education, training, re-education and re-training...for life. 
  8. Meanwhile, globalization has not worked for this country...except for the many mega-corporations that  exported our jobs and opportunities to other countries at great profit for their shareholders.  Of course, the same "middle class" citizens who lost their jobs to these actions continue to provide the demand for the cheap, often inferior and sometimes toxic products from these foreign countries.  Is there a message here?
  9. If we are to participate in a global economy, the rules must reflect a level playing field, far from the current situation.  Otherwise, let's have a decade of "Fortress America" to debride and heal our national wounds. 
  10. The only rule for our participation in foreign affairs must be NATIONAL SELF-INTEREST, including pre-emptive self-defense against credible threats from whatever source.  And that must not include actions that only help our home-based but international corporate interests.  Our dependence on Middle East oil, and corporate efforts to continue that dependence in the face of domestic alternatives, is a case in point.
  11. We must solve the Immigration Problem.  We can do that by dividing the problem into two parts: the current part that we Americans had a large part in causing - by producing a great magnet for cheap labor and for illicit drugs; and the future part, to be controlled by our needs as a nation - and not by the needs and desires of others. The Dream Act is a step in the right direction for addressing the first part; and dropping the perjorative term "Amnesty" would be another.  Strict control of all our international borders, with the Army if necessary, is the first step to addressing the second, in addition to shutting the above magnets with enforced laws...currently not at all the case. 
  12. Mending and restoring the ruptured moral fiber of this Nation should be an imperative.  It must start with the family. It most be supported and encouraged in the schools.  It must involve choosing and espousing moral / ethical goals carefully and then fighting all-out for those goals.  The current scatter-gun approach of the Far Right, the Evangelicals and the religious Fundamentalists, is self-defeating.
Finally, let's read and re-read the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  We have departed substantially from many of those principles and our great detriment. WAKE UP, AMERICA.


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