No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. -- Luke 16:13
There is no question that Jerry Sandusky is an evil man. His punishment was not nearly harsh enough - he should have been executed for his crimes instead of only sent to prison. Yet as angry as I am with Sandusky, I find the evil behavior of Penn State so-called "University" as well as other authorities to be even worse than Sandusky's behavior.
It is popular among conservatives, even Christian conservatives, to say that government is a "necessary evil." But Scripture makes it clear that government is not a necessary evil - it is a blessing our Father in Heaven has given to us to protect us from the wicked. Government does not bear the sword in vain, but is an avenger for the blood of innocents. God established earthly authority because it is absolutely necessary. (For more on this, see Romans 13:1-4.)
The problem is when government run by sinful men abandons its primary responsibility. A wicked government will not protect the innocent from the wicked, and will instead oppress the innocent. This is certainly not new, but this is what is at the heart of the rape scandal at Penn State so-called "University." This was not just a failure of those in positions of authority to protect innocent children from being brutally raped by a sexual predator, but the actions of institutions that are corrupt all the way to the core.
Let's be honest about what happened at Penn State. This was not the behavior of a lone sexual predator. Spiritually speaking, this was the ritualistic Satanic sexual abuse of children. Penn State allowed Sandusky to rape little boys because they did not want to harm the football program. In other words, Penn State placed the worship of money (mammon) above the worship of Almighty God. To protect their cash cow - their golden calf, if you will - Penn State covered up the sexual abuse and refused to bring Sandusky to justice.
But it went beyond the so-called "university." One of Sandusky's victims went to Karen Probst, the principal of Central Mountain High School where he was enrolled. Rather than stepping up as commanded by God to protect those under her care, this thoroughly corrupt government bureaucrat told him and his mom to go home and think about it. It was a complete betrayal of not only the victim, but of every single taxpayer who has ever paid a penny to keep the so-called "school" operating. Probst should be sitting in a prison cell next to Sandusky.
But the corruption does not even end there. The district attorney knew thirteen years before the rape scandal exploded into the public eye that there were serious and credible allegations of abuse against Sandusky. Nothing was done. This means that the very people who bear the primary responsibility for bringing sexual predators to justice and having compassion on the victims completely and utterly failed to protect Sandusky's victims. There are a number of people in that office who should also be sitting in a prison cell next to Sandusky for being accessories to rape.
Of course, the failure of Penn State so-called "University" is well documented. Joe Paterno and many others in positions of authority knew of the rapes since at least 1998, but did absolutely nothing to bring Sandusky to justice or protect his victims. Again, worship of money trumped the commandments of Almighty God. For Paterno's family to continue to defend him shows that they are every bit as evil and corrupt as he was.
To be brutally honest, I am surprised that none of Sandusky's victims or their families have attempted to assassinate the district attorneys, the police, the "university" trustees or the "public school" officials who failed to protect them from being raped. Vigilantism is an evil thing, but when those in authority - especially those in the criminal justice system - refuse to protect the innocent, what do you think is going to happen? This is not to excuse people taking authority that God has delegated to others for themselves in a spirit of rebellion, but when those entrusted by God with authority refuse to punish evil, it breeds chaos and anarchy.
The complete failure of authority at every level should serve as a lesson about the nature and role of government. While government itself is a blessing from our Heavenly Father, the people in government are sinners and prone to corruption. Government must be limited not because it is inherently bad, but because the men running government are sinners and prone to abuse their power. Nothing proves this more than the Penn State rape scandal.
When ObamaCare passed the Congress and was signed into law, anti-abortion groups said that it was a pro-abortion law and that anyone who voted for it cast a pro-abortion vote. Barack Obama proved them right when he issued a regulation forcing employers to provide contraception - including abortifacient drugs - to their employees. Statists always work incrementally, so it is a safe bet that this mandate will eventually include surgical abortions.
But statists do not like having their records exposed, so they will seek to use the force of government to silence those who criticize them. This is the whole point of "campaign finance reform." But that's not the end of the Left's effort to silence free speech they dislike, as one radical Leftist in Ohio has filed a frivolous lawsuit seeking to silence an anti-abortion group for telling the truth about his vote for ObamaCare.
The lawsuit by disgraced ex-Congressman Steve Driehaus has no merit and it is a failure of the legal system that a lawsuit so obviously frivolous was even allowed to proceed. In a sane and just society, Driehaus would be laughed out of court and his shyster of an attorney would be disbarred. Unfortunately, we do not live in a sane or just society.
But it is worse than a simple frivolous lawsuit - FoxNews.com reports that Driehaus even went to the extreme of threatening Lamar Advertising with criminal prosecution! That's right. A disgraced ex-member of the United States Congress attempted to pervert the criminal justice system to silence criticisms of his record in the context of a campaign for elective office. This frightening attack on our Constitution must not be allowed to stand.
Driehaus whined pathetically about "loss of livelihood." This is so laughable that it does not merit a serious refutation, much like Driehaus himself does not deserve any respect. Driehaus does not have a divine right to elective office. If the voters choose to remove him, for whatever reason, that is their right.
Furthermore, as I pointed out in the first paragraph of this post, voting for ObamaCare was a pro-abortion vote. Disgraced ex-Congressman Driehaus does not have a case, because no false statements were made by the Susan B. Anthony List. Driehaus simply does not want to have his record exposed and is trying to use the power of government to silence his critics - an action that proves his values are foreign.
We know that the terrorists hate us for our freedom, so any effort to attack free speech provides aid and comfort to al-Qaeda. What exactly does that make disgraced ex-Congressman Driehaus, according to Article III, Section III of our Constitution? The answer seems pretty clear to me.
Note:I sent a much shorter version of this to the Indianapolis Star.
The outrage over Richard Mourdock's remarks on abortion is completely overblown and there is a great deal of misinformation (not to mention outright lies) about what he actually said.
Let's get this clear: Mourdock never said rape is God's will. He was articulating his conviction that all human life should be protected, regardless of the circumstances of contraception.
Could Mourdock have worded his statement better? Yes. But who among us has not worded something poorly, wishing we could have explained ourselves more articulately? Come on, folks. Mourdock was asked a question and he answered it honestly. Don't we all complain about politicians always speaking in platitudes and not being honest with the voters?
The Indianapolis Star can sit on its carefully crafted moral high ground looking down on Mourdock for his choice of words, but it's easy to do that when you have copy editors and the ability to have your story go into print hours or even a full day after it is written.
Mourdock's position is intellectually and morally consistent. If the unborn child is a human being made in the image of God, why should it be acceptable to kill that child because of his father's crime? Of course, it isn't.
Of course, that's not the spin we're getting from the Left, who pretend to be shocked at this "new" position. Rachel Maddow said this on October 24 regarding the 2010 mid-term elections:
"(Republicans) ran five different candidates for the United States Senate that year who blew through what was previously even the anti-abortion movement's rough consensus - that even if you did want to make abortion a criminal offense in America, you would at least not force that government decision on women who got pregnant though rape."
That has never been the position of the anti-abortion movement, and Maddow knows it. Allowing for the rape exception has traditionally been the position of Republican candidates for elective office, but those people are not and have never been the same as the anti-abortion movement. Maddow must think no informed conservatives listen to her show, so she will never be called on it.
The reality here is that Joe Donnelly and his supporters are harping on a non-issue to distract from the facts. The fact of the matter is that of 1.2 million abortions, only 2% are due to rape. We're talking about a small number here.
While Donnelly and his supporters whine about how "extreme" Mourdock is, we should examine who the real extremists are. It has been well-documented that Barack Obama voted against a bill to criminalize infanticide. Donnelly supports Obama. Who is extreme here?
Let's also not forget that the Obama regime has used ObamaCare as a vehicle to issue regulations to force Christian parachurch organizations to distribute birth control, including abortifacient drugs. You can be confident that will extend to paying for surgical abortions as well, should Obama be re-elected.
Donnelly is desperately hoping that Mourdock's less than optimal choice of words to describe his position on protecting life will distract from his own record and his own positions. I hope Hoosiers are intelligent enough to reject this obvious red herring.
The Herald-Times has yet to report on Wanzer's outburst. Unfortunately, that is not a surprise. Once again, people in Bloomington and Monroe County have to go to an alternative news source for a big story. Fortunately, www.ConservaTibbs.com and the Monroe County Chronicle are here to expose what the H-T refuses to print.
And this is a big story. An elected official actually ripped up materials presented to her by citizens! Can you imagine the howling that we would hear from the Left if a Republican on the County Council or county Planning Commission were to show similar disrespect for his/her constituents and the First Amendment? You can be assured that if a conservative ripped up materials presented to him or her by constituents that the story would be plastered across the front page of the Herald-Times.
I said in my letter to Ms. Wanzer that she should resign from the School Board. At the very least, she should step down as president of the School Board, because she has proven herself unworthy of that office.
Elected officials are put into office by the voters to represent us, not to rule us. Our founding fathers set up a constitutional republic to this end. I do not expect elected officials to base every vote on what the constituents think. In fact, I prefer someone who stands by his or her principles (such as Democratic City Councilor Andy Ruff and Republican Congressman John Hostettler) to someone who practices "government by poll". I respect someone who has the courage to vote his or her convictions even if it might result in fewer votes or even losing an election.
What Wanzer did last week, though, was far beyond simple disagreement with constituents' objections and standing by her principles. Her actions were an outrageous show of contempt for all people residing within the boundaries of the Monroe County Community School Corporation. She broke the trust placed in her by voters and proved herself unworthy of elected office.
I originally wrote this letter on September 21, 2005. Sue Wanzer is up for re-election again in a three way race. She should not be re-elected, and her lack of respect for taxpayers is a big reason why.
I have confirmed with people who attended the September 20, 2005 MCCSC School Board meeting that during the meeting you tore up objections to the MCCSC budget presented to you by taxpayers.
I find this behavior to be an unacceptable breach of the trust that voters placed in you in the 2000 and 2004 elections. While I do not expect elected officials to always agree with objections made by their constituents, I do expect that elected officials will treat those constituents with respect and will listen to those objections.
Despite being encouraged to attend MCCSC budget sessions by friends, I have not done so. Part of the reason I have not attended is because I believe that you people on the School Board do not take those who disagree with you seriously. The only reason I see to attend these meetings is to speak directly to the voters via the television cameras in hopes that they will make a better decision in the next election.
Your inexcusable behavior, however, goes far beyond this expectation. You won the election, and I expect that you will implement the policies you believe to be in the best interests of MCCSC. What you did Tuesday night was to show contempt for your constituents and their sincerely held beliefs. Your behavior, while legal, is nonetheless a show of extreme disrespect for the First Amendment right to petition government for redress of grievances.
A breach of public trust of this magnitude necessitates action. I call upon you to resign from the MCCSC School Board. At the minimum, you should step down as president of the board. You have an opportunity to set an example for other elected officials as to how to behave. Whether or not you lead by example is your choice.
Here is an excellent post by Pastor Tim Bayly on the Dinesh D'Souza scandal. Be sure to scroll down and read Tim's excellent follow-up comment posted on October 21, 2012 at 8:51 a.m. The wreck of D'Souza's marriage is terribly sad on so many levels, not the least of which is the foolishness and abdication of responsibility by King's College.
They are at it again. Proving once again how completely deranged and unhinged they are, the eco-terrorist sympathizers at PETA have issued a fatwa, declaring a jihad against Nintendo for the Pokemon games. That's right. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has once again morphed into People for the Ethical Treatment of Pixels, fighting against "cruelty" against fictional animals in service of the demon Gaia. Does this foolishness know no end?
This is not new. PETA whined pathetically in 2009 about the killing of dogs in one of the Call of Duty first-person shooters. PETA whined pathetically again in 2011, this time about Mario's Tanooki Suit in Super Mario 3D Land. Does PETA not have enough to do advocating for real flesh and blood animals that they need to make utter fools of themselves whining about video games where not one single animal is even inconvenienced, much less harmed?
This is absolutely ridiculous. We still have dog fighting rings in which helpless animals are forced to maim and kill each other for the "entertainment" of depraved perverts in the audience. There are still legitimate concerns about the way animals are treated in so-called "factory farms" and there are still people who abuse their pets. The methods by which animals are killed by the fir industry continue to raise ethical concerns. With all of this going on, PETA/PETP is whining about a Pokemon game? Really?
I cannot believe I have to say this, but Pokemon is not real. Pokemon monsters do not exist, nor do Pokemon trainers. This is complete fiction in every possible sense of the word. Absolutely no animals (or humans for that matter) are harmed in the programming or manufacture of Pokemon games, nor are any animals harmed by people playing the games. In fact, the "animals" in the Pokemon games do not exist in real life - this is not even a video game representation of real animals, like the dogs in Call of Duty.
But see, this has nothing to do with animal rights or animal welfare. If the fools at PETA were legitimately concerned about animal welfare, they would not care about video games. This is about attention whores screaming "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!" This is about getting media attention and having their foolishness blasted around the Internet. Everyone knows that this jihad is a stupid waste of time and that this fatwa is completely meaningless. But the fools at PETA cannot resist the temptation to get headlines, even if they have to make themselves look like deranged lunatics in the process.
But there is something much more sinister happening here, in addition to these fools being a bunch of attention whores. There is literally a demonic edge to the idiocy spewed by PETA. You see, the fools at PETA worship the Earth. This is old-school paganism, with these people bowing to the demon Gaia. Because demon-worship is so deeply embedded in PETA, no Christian should even consider supporting this organization. This is not to say we should not be a good steward of the Earth that God has given us, which includes opposing cruelty to animals. But we must always do so with the attitude that we worship Almighty God, not the rocks and trees and animals that our Father has created.
The Holy Spirit warns us against the blasphemy of PETA in Romans 1:22-25. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Barack Obama, the standard bearer for the Democratic Party, supports and has defended infanticide. Obama opposed legislation that would make it illegal to kill a baby after he or she is born. Obama issued a regulation earlier this year under ObamaCare forcing Christian parachurch organizations to pay for abortifacient drugs, and if Obama is re-elected it is a safe bet that mandate will soon cover surgical abortion as well. Joe Donnelly enthusiastically supports Barack Obama, and Donnelly voted for ObamaCare. In this context, any discussion of Republicans being “extreme” on abortion is absurd on its face.
That won’t stop the Democrats from trying to hide their own truly militant position on abortion by attacking Republicans for being pro-life. Richard Mourdock said on October 23 that he did not believe abortion should be allowed in the case of rape and that all life is a blessing from God. Mourdock was asked a question and answered it honestly, something that we very rarely see in politics these days. Instead of trying to spin his position or trying to play the game of political correctness, Mourdock answered a question from his heart and was genuinely emotional in his response.
Democrats are shrieking hysterically over Mourdock’s answer, but there is nothing wrong with it. Unlike some “moderate” Republicans, Mourdock’s answer is intellectually consistent. If you truly believe that abortion is the willful, intentional termination of innocent human life, why would you allow those lives to be terminated as a punishment for the crimes of their father? Does the unborn child somehow become not human because his or her father committed a terrible crime that many people consider worthy of death?
The reality here is that Democrats are harping on 2% of all abortions, when over 95% of abortions are elective abortions. We have about 1.2 million abortions a year in this country and about 2% of those abortions are due to rape. The reason Democrats want to focus the debate on whether or not there would be exceptions for rape is because they want to hide the fact that they support the vast majority of abortions that are elective.
Furthermore, Democrats are radicals on the issue and were even before Obama. As you recall, President Clinton vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion. In a partial-birth abortion, the baby is delivered feet first until only the head remains inside the mother’s body. The skull is punctured, the brain ripped out and the skull crushed to deliver a newly-dead baby. With Clinton and Obama as their standard bearers, how can Democrats accuse Mourdock of being “extreme” with a straight face?
Folks, this is ridiculous. Now is not the time for cowardly “Republicans” to be attacking Mourdock, throwing him overboard or demanding that he “apologize” for his remarks defending the right to life for all unborn children. We have got to stop freaking out and having panic attacks every time our enemies throw a temper tantrum about something. Instead of forming a circular firing squad, we should be aggressively attacking Donnelly and Obama for their pro-abortion record. We need to win this seat and we need principled conservatives like Richard Mourdock representing us in the U.S. Senate.
Barack Obama was much more aggressive in the October 16 debate, after saying the previous week that he was "too polite" when he got shellacked by Mitt Romney in the first debate. Between his opening and his literal howler of a closing statement, the debate was much closer than last time, though Romney did win on substance. Some of Obama's whining was very unprofessional and certainly unpresidential.
Obama whined several times about Romney's proposal to de-fund Planned Parenthood, bringing it up several times without provocation. Obama lied about what PP does, claiming that the nation's largest abortion provider also does mammograms. That is simply not true, and Obama knows it. But to a more basic question - does Obama really think that federal funding for Planned Parenthood is going to swing votes toward him? It might excite militant feminists, but those people are already on his side.
Romney did an excellent job of taking Obama's record apart, noting that the official unemployment rate was 7.8% when Obama took office, is 7.8% now and is actually 10.7% when you include people who have dropped out of the workforce. (It is actually higher than that, but the point stands, nonetheless.) There are 3.5 million more women in poverty than when Obama took office and Obama took us from a $10 trillion national debt to a $16 trillion national debt. Picking up on a theme Newt Gingrich had used in the primary, Romney pointed out that when Obama took office, there were 32 million people on food stamps, compared to 47 million now.
Obama defended his record by saying that the middle class has been hit hard over the last 15 to 20 years. That would include the "boom" times when President Clinton was in office, would it not? Is Obama attacking the Clinton economic record? Apparently not, because Obama immediately contradicted himself by praising the Clinton economic record and claiming the nation created 23 million jobs during Clinton's time in office. Obama also claimed that the Clinton tax increase made the economy better, which makes no sense. I have never seen a coherent argument for why tax cuts harm the economy and tax increases help it.
Obama played the class warfare card against Romney, complaining that Romney had invested in Chinese companies. Romney pointed out that his money is in a blind trust (standard operating procedure for people running for President) and then asked Obama if he had looked at his pension plan. After Obama's unpresidential, unprofessional and pathetic whining that his pension is not nearly as large as Romney's pension, Romney pointed out that Obama is also invested overseas. Romney was not distracted by Obama's baiting and exposed his hypocrisy.
Romney also took Obama to task for his energy policy, bouncing off a question from the audience about whether or not Obama agrees with his energy secretary saying three times that it is not his policy to lower gas prices. Does Obama agree with the cabinet secretary he appointed? Obama did not answer the question, but since Obama appointed him it is safe to say that Obama agrees with him. After all, Obama said in 2008 that he did not have a problem with $4.00 per gallon gasoline, just with how fast it got that high.
Romney pointed out that Obama's energy policy matched his statement on gas prices, as Obama restricted oil production on federal land. Obama's bragging about increased oil production amounts to him taking credit for increased production on private land. Not only has Obama cut licenses and permits in half for federal land and waters, Romney said, but Obama actually brought criminal prosecution against the people who have dramatically increased energy production in North Dakota. As Romney said, the proof for Obama's strategy is the price at the pump, and it has increased dramatically over the last four years.
Romney's tax policy is simple and reasonable. He would allow a set amount of deductions for the middle class, allowing people to choose how they will use the allowed "pot" of deductions. Even better, he said he would eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for anyone making $200,000 per year or less, encouraging much-needed saving.
Romney was also effective on Libya, pointing out that Obama flew to a fundraiser immediately after the terrorist attack on our consulate in Libya, and wondering why the American public was not informed for days that this was a terrorist attack rather than a spontaneous reaction to a silly YouTube video. Was the administration misleading the public or were they incompetent? Obama was furious that Romney suggested he misled the American people, but that is exactly what Obama did - he flagrantly lied for a week about what happened in Libya.
Obama's apologists have been mocking gun-rights advocates for suggesting Obama would pursue gun control in his second term. Obama did not pursue gun control in his first term, they whine. But after Tuesday night, no one can credibly argue that Obama is not planning on more gun control in his second term. After all, he admitted he was going to push for that! Romney, for his part, nailed Obama on providing assault weapons to terrorist crime syndicates in Mexico, resulting in bloodshed and carnage.
Obama's closing statement was a real howler. Obama whined that there is this misconception that he believes government creates jobs. "That's not what I believe," Obama says. I literally laughed out loud at this statement. If Obama does not believe government creates jobs, what on Earth was the stimulus about? What is hiring more teachers, but hiring more government employees? I cannot believe he actually had the audacity to say that after he has bragged on his stimulus for four years and has been campaigning for another one.
Obama was more prepared for this debate, and fared better than last time. However, no amount of preparation or enthusiasm can change the fact that he is wrong on policy and that his policies have been bad for the country. Romney is right - we simply cannot afford another four years of Barack Obama.
Christian Citizens for Life sponsored a Rally for Religious Liberty on Saturday, opposing Barack Obama's mandate that all businesses provide contraception to their employees - including abortifacient drugs. There is no exception for Christian-owned businesses or parachurch organizations.
CS Lewis, author of the Narnia books, once said that "They'll tell you that you can have your religion in private, and then they'll make sure you're never alone."
That's what we're facing now. The Supreme Court invented a "right to privacy" in Griswold v. Connecticut, but that is not enough. The so-called "right" to contraception must now include other people being forced to pay for it by the federal government. Christian objections to chemical birth control and abortifacient drugs are irrelevant.
We organized the rally to say "no" to this egregious assault on our liberty and overreach of power by the federal government. We organized the rally to tell Barack Obama that he may not force us to provide something when we object to it on Biblical grounds.
It is important for Christians to stand in the city gates and say "NO" when government is in rebellion against God and His law, or when government infringes upon our right to worship our Father in Heaven. One way to do this is to attend a rally like the one we held on Saturday. Another way to do that is to vote, which I encourage all Christians to do.
CCFL is a non-partisan organization, so they cannot say what I am about to say, or endorse it. So this is my opinion and my opinion only. Mitt Romney is not the perfect candidate, but it is critical that we remove Obama from the Oval Office. Romney's Mormon religion should not prevent us from voting for him to get rid of Obama.
If you're going to run for office - especially a high office like U.S. Senate, Congress or Governor, you need to be able to explain your positions. You need to be able to articulate why you believe what you believe. If you cannot do that, you should reconsider whether you should be running for office.
Enter U.S. Senate candidate Rick Berg of North Dakota. Rachel Maddow had some fun on her show last week with Berg's bumbling and stumbling answers to whether or not he would allow for abortion in the case of rape.
Setting aside what you think about an exception in the case of rape, it drives me crazy when Republicans who hold this position are incapable of making a coherent intellectual case for it. It makes me think you are not prepared for the job of U.S. Senator when you cannot explain the philosophical foundations for what you believe. Of course, Maddow will never have anyone on her show who can make the intellectual case for this position, but still.
This is not an overly difficult question to answer, or at least it should not be difficult for someone who has spent any time at all thinking about his position on abortion. If the unborn baby is a human being made in the image of God, and if that baby should have all of the same legal protections as born persons, then the crimes of his or her father should not result in the death penalty for the baby. A U.S. Senate candidate who holds this position should be able to explain this.
I understand sometimes people are caught off guard. It happens to everyone, where we wish we could have said something we missed saying. But when you're asking the people of your state to elect you to "the world's greatest deliberative body" you should be prepared with an answer on hot-button social issues - especially in a year when that issue is hotter than it has been in years.
Note: I originally wrote this on March 25, 2009. I am re-posting because the fools at PETA are at it again, whining about video games where no animals are actually harmed. More on that idiocy in a few days.
Wolves and dogs have been a common enemy in video games for more than 20 years. In Altered Beast for the Sega Genesis, the player obtains power ups by killing dogs and picking up the orbs they leave behind. Wolves are a common enemy in role playing games such as the Final Fantasy and Dragonquest series. Dogs are far from the only animals that gamers have faced over the years, as players kill turtles, rhinos and moles in the Super Mario Brothers series. The list goes on and on, not to mention all of the humans players kill (or defeat) in various games.
Someone forgot to tell the extremists at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who are in a tizzy because of the realistic killing of dogs in the latest Call of Duty first-person shooter. PETA sent the game's publishers a "care package" with the hope that "perhaps the next Call of Duty game will have you unlock achievements for petting the dogs you encounter and going on walks or playing Frisbee with them." No word on whether these proposed scenes will take place in a marijuana-induced haze complete with visions from the earth goddess Gaia.
Of course, the dishonesty and hypocrisy of this statement is obvious to anyone who is at all informed about PETA, since one of PETA's long term goals is to eliminate pet ownership. PETA's Ingrid Newkirk said "Pet ownership is slavery. Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or be entertained by." Newkirk also said that "pet ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation."
I guess People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has morphed into People for the Ethical Treatment of Pixels. After all, no animals are actually harmed in Call of Duty, just as no humans are actually harmed despite the huge number of human characters the player is required to kill as he progresses through this game or similar first person shooters. News flash for PETA: video games are not real. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which howled in protest over the fact that players of the Grand Theft Auto sequel released last year could get their character drunk and then attempt to drive, might want to learn the same lesson.
PETA's idiotic letter is nothing more than an attention-grabbing LOOK AT ME moment that does absolutely nothing for animal "rights" or animal welfare. This circus distracts from real animal cruelty by whining about irrelevancies like a video game and promoting this circus-like atmosphere. This is why I say PETA is no different from the Westboro Baptist "Church" and that Ingrid Newkirk = Fred Phelps. The WBC pickets funerals because they're attention whores. PETA is exactly the same.
PETA espouses an extremist, radical ideology that I am never going to agree with, especially as a cancer survivor who is alive today because of biomedical research. In cases where they are reasonable - such as campaigns against dog fighting and inhumane conditions for breeding pets - they could garner some support even among those who disagree with them on the more extreme views the organization holds. But PETA doesn't care about animal rights or animal welfare. It's all about getting as much attention as possible.
If the federal government has the authority to mandate that employers provide contraceptive coverage, then the federal government has the authority to prohibit employers from providing that same coverage. Feminists need to be careful what they wish for when they try to get the federal government to force others to provide things for them.
Last week during a chat on HeraldTimesOnline.com, I asked Mark Stoops (incumbent Monroe County Commissioner who is running for the Indiana State Senate) whether he would be open to taking away corporate welfare for Planned Parenthood of Indiana, especially since they have a profit of over $900,000. His response was a predictably partisan attack on abortion opponents. Interestingly enough, in the middle of his diatribe he did not actually say whether he would vote to continue to fund Planned Parenthood or not.
I expected Stoops to disagree with defunding Planned Parenthood, but I was taken aback by the excessively partisan and aggressive nature of his response. I was surprised that a state senate candidate would so readily insult so many voters in his own district. Let's break down his response.
Planned Parenthood provides a vital service to low income women (and men, Scott) and access to preventative health treatment that is not available to people without health insurance
Is there no way to provide these services other than going through this nation's #1 abortion provider? Of course there is. PP apologists act as if Planned Parenthood is the only organization capable of providing services. Right here in Monroe County, we have county government's Futures Family Planning Clinic that provides the services Stoops mentioned in his response. We also have the Volunteers in Medicine clinic.
The extreme right's attack on Planned Parenthood is simply because they believe that government and religions have the right to tell women what they can do with their own bodies.
Rather than actually engaging on the issue of abortion, Stoops instead threw out partisan talking points. Is this what we need in a state senator? No, Mr. Stoops, no one is telling women what they can do with their bodies. Taking away Planned Parenthood's corporate welfare will not in any way infringe on a woman's alleged "right" to have an abortion. What it will do is protect Indiana taxpayers from being forced to fund an abortion provider. Stoops is not pro-choice in his response. This is a pro-abortion position.
I believe that it is un-American to think that a woman's body suddenly becomes the property of the government or her neighbor's religion the moment she conceives.
Again, more partisan talking points. This is what I would expect of an abortion rights advocate in a debate on a discussion forum, not a state senate candidate. Does Stoops realize he is insulting thousands of voters in his own district? It is a very unprofessional response that is unworthy of the Indiana State Senate.
But to answer Stoops on substance, no one is saying that a woman's body is the "property" of the government or any religion. What abortion opponents are saying is that she should not be permitted to murder her child. The unborn child is a person who also has a right to bodily autonomy and it should not be illegal to kill that child.
Here is where Stoops' response gets strange.
I also believe the government has no say in who marries who. That is a religious or personal matter between free individuals. The Indiana legislature is pushing to include discrimination in our state constitution by saying that marriage is only between a man and a women. We need to keep this institutionalized discrimination out of our state laws. Vote Democrat up and down the ticket!
What on earth does same-sex marriage have to do with government funding for Planned Parenthood?
First, the only way the marriage amendment will become part of the state constitution is if the people of Indiana approve such an amendment. Adding an amendment to the state constitution would not fundamentally change the situation for same-sex couples in the state, nor would it add any "discrimination" because the state already does not recognize same-sex marriage. Furthermore, any same-sex couple in the state can get married right now if they choose to do so - they just will not have their "marriage" recognized by state government.
But again, this has nothing to do with my question. Stoops is simply trying to excite the Democratic base to vote for him by bringing up a completely unrelated issue after his partisan diatribe about abortion "rights" and his attack on social conservatives. It was unprofessional and not worthy of the state senate. Surely the Democrats could have come up with someone who is more articulate and less confrontational who can represent all voters in the Indiana State Senate.
Since they did not do that, the choice is clear. Vote for Reid Dallas.
The Monroe County Council (controlled 5-2 by Democrats) patted itself on the back for a 2013 budget that had a deficit of "only" $275,792. The Herald-Times claimed that the councilors "unanimously praised" the budget, but Marty Hawk clarified on Facebook that she "did not 'praise' a budget that included moving a part of the budget into a fund that we can increase a tax to pay for it."
This is another example of an irresponsible Democrat-controlled county government spending recklessly. According to reports provided by the county Auditor's Office:
The total amended 2009 county budget had a deficit of $2,542,635.
The total amended 2010 county budget had a deficit of $919,556.
The total amended 2011 county budget had a deficit of $3,414,853.
The total amended 2012 county budget had a deficit of $876,497.
This is ridiculous. Over the course of the last five years, the Democrat-dominated county council has voted to spend $7,753,541 more than county government gets in revenue. It appears local government is taking lessons from Barack Obama in deficit spending. Is this the kind of leadership we need in county government?
We elect people to the county council to make the difficult choices with our tax money. Repeatedly voting to spend more than we take in is completely irresponsible. Am I supposed to be impressed with the fact that the 2013 budget - passed with an election less than four weeks away - has a much smaller deficit than previous years? Why is the Democrat-dominated council unwilling to pass a balanced budget?
We need a change in leadership in county government. We need to elect at least two of the three Republican candidates running for council to give the GOP a majority of seats on the council. A sweep would be even better, especially if the Republicans lose a seat due to the redrawn county council map. The Democrats have proven themselves to be irresponsible. We need to put some adults back in charge.
The Left is in a tizzy about Mitt Romney's statement that terrorism was not discussed in the 2008 presidential campaign. Rachel Maddow had some fun with it on her program and it is now turning into an Internet meme. You see, this is what is wrong with politics.
The key is Romney's follow-up statement: that a year later, the world changed. What would have changed the world in 2009?
What really happened here is obvious. Romney clearly meant there was not a discussion of terrorism in 2000. The world-changing event, of course, would be the war crimes committed on September 11, 2001.
The meme is that Romney is either an idiot who has no clue what he is talking about, or that he is just a liar. Both are silly. Romney said 2008 when he meant to say 2000. That's all. This is the kind of mistake that every single person on the planet, without exception, has made at some point or another. It is what those of us in the reality-based community call "a slip of the tongue."
But in today's hypersensitive, highly charged political atmosphere, this kind of error is not acceptable. If you make this error, you are a liar or a bumbling fool.
Folks, this is ridiculous. I am a hardcore literalist. I believe that the best way to interpret something - whether it be text or spoken word - is by taking it literally. Yet I am not so deranged as to say a word like "sunset" is a "lie" (the sun does not actually rise and set, after all) or that a meaningless slip of the tongue is an unpardonable offense. Chill out, have a glass of warm milk and take a nap. You're just embarrassing yourself with this kind of nonsense.
Unthinkable (starring Samuel L. Jackson as HHH and Carrie-Anne Moss as Agent Brody) could have been a good movie, but making it heavy on anti-American propaganda at the expense of a good story ruined it. Because this was a terrilble movie, I will spoil it. You have been warned.
We start with Steven Arthur Younger making a video revealing that he has made nuclear weapons and issuing demands to the U.S. government. First, the premise is nonsensical. The idea that a single individual is going to make four nuclear weapons, by himself in his basement, is silly. This kind of plot device is best used as a joke, such as when Steve Urkel made a nuclear bomb in a dream sequence on the ABC sitcom Family Matters twenty years ago.
So Younger intentionally allows himself to be captured. He shoots a police officer and then goes to a shopping mall, where he stands in front of a security camera before he is finally picked up by security. Why would he allow himself to be captured? Because he knows that America really is the Great Satan and that he will be brutally tortured. As Agent Helen Brody said, he wanted to prove that we really are what we profess not to be. Wow, that was subtle.
So we go through multiple torture scenes, although I do appreciate that the movie did not go all out with gore and become yet another Saw knockoff. Many of the worst things are either in shadow or they happen off-screen. As we approach the deadline, we need to find out where the nuclear weapons are, so the torture becomes worse. Then Younger's wife is brought in to be tortured in front of him. The others will not allow him to torture Mrs. Younger, so HHH murders her in front of him.
In an especially classy move, HHH suggests giving in to Younger's demands, suggesting that the American people would agree with him. Do I even need to get into why this is offensive? Why did this even need to be in the movie at all? (Of course, we all know why it was there.)
As the clock ticks away and the time when the bombs will detonate moves ever closer, HHH decides he must do the"unthinkable." (Name drop! Ha!) He brings in Younger's children, locks himself in the interrogation room with them, and prepares to torture them too.
OK, this is ridiculous. We have an obviously deranged sadist who has already beaten a fellow soldier to a pulp and murdered an innocent woman to make Younger fear him. Are we to believe that he would actually be allowed to lock himself in the torture chamber with Younger's children when even the other American agents are concerned that he actually will torture those children? Of course we are to believe this nonsense. After all, this movie's entire premise is that America is the Great Satan.
This is where the movie went off the cliff. It was not just HHH who wants to torture the children, it was a high-level government official who is determined to stop the nuclear bombs from exploding. The others have no problem with terrorizing the children with the threat of torture, even if they do not approve of actual torture. The anti-American diatribe was bad enough up to this point, but this is where it became downright offensive.
So why is HHH going to actually torture these children? Because he has figured out there are not three bombs - there are four nuclear bombs. HHH needs to get Younger to reveal the location of the fourth bomb. Of course, he does not actually bother to tell any of the other Americans about this until after they break into the torture chamber and stop him, because that would actually be a responsible and intelligent thing to do. If you have figured out there is a fourth bomb, why would you not bring this to everyone's attention immediately?
Of course, while they have the locations of three of the bombs, Great Satan America does not have the location of the fourth. It blows up and destroys Dallas. Yay! The terrorists win! The morons who wrote the script for this wretched movie probably threw a huge party when they came up with that as the ending.
This was not a thriller, with characters we can relate to along with an engaging plot. This was an anti-American diatribe that could have been written by Osama bin Laden himself. I do not watch movies so I can be beaten about the head and shoulders with political propaganda for 90 minutes. (Or, in the case of the absolutely dreadful Dances with Smurfs, two and a half hours.) Luring me in with the promise of an interesting thriller and then preaching to me for an hour and a half about how evil my country is does not help your cause.
Nelson Shaffer, Republican candidate for county commissioner, is a reform-minded candidate who wants your input in local government. He deserves your vote.
Right now, the county commissioners meet at 9:00 a.m., a time when most working people cannot attend. In my August 1 guest column calling for meeting times that are accessible to the public, I said local candidates should tell the voters where they stand on meeting times and that the Herald-Times should press those candidates for answers.
Shaffer posted on his Facebook page that he wanted the county commissioners' meetings to take place when working people can attend. Shaffer also sent a notice regarding his position to the H-T, which for some reason was ignored.
I appreciate the attention the Herald-Times has given the issue, including a front page news story and two staff editorials. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of information about where the candidates for county commissioner stand on open meetings.
If this issue is important enough to cover, why ask someone who is not running for re-election instead of the people who are running for commissioner and can change the policy? Why ignore candidates who reach out to inform voters of where they stand?
A 12-year-old girl suffered burns to one side of her body when a flash grenade went off next to her as a police SWAT team raided a West End home Tuesday morning.
"She has first- and second-degree burns down the left side of her body and on her arms," said the girl's mother, Jackie Fasching. "She's got severe pain. Every time I think about it, it brings tears to my eyes."
Medical staff at the scene tended to the girl afterward and then her mother drove her to the hospital, where she was treated and released later that day.
And here's the real kicker:
"A simple knock on the door and I would've let them in," she said. "They said their intel told them there was a meth lab at our house. If they would've checked, they would've known there's not."
A military death squad sent to assassinate a 14 year old girl? Wow, what a bunch of REAL MEN, these Taliban fighters are. These "men" are sub-human puddles of slime and filth. They need to be exterminated like the vermin they are. The world will be a better place when they are dead.
By the way, Jesus called people names too. He called Herod a dog, for example. So I'm pretty comfortable with my name-calling here. :)
I posted a picture to PhotoBucket and Twitter of a strange crosswalk design where the B-Line Trail crosses Sixth Street downtown. Granted, it is not nearly as silly as the traffic impeding devices on West Third Street but it is unusual. Why are the crosswalks so close together? Is it really too much to expect people walking down the B-Line Trail to walk less than ten feet to cross the street at the existing crosswalk?
Not only are drivers expected to stop at the four-way stop and yield to walkers (which is required by law as well as being good policy) but if someone is crossing Sixth on the B-Line they have to stop twice.
This, of course, brings up another issue: The mid-block crosswalks that are scattered along the B-Line. I understand that after the investment the city poured into the B-Line (the former railroad tracks that run through downtown) why they would want to make it easier to cross the street. But is it really necessary to force drivers to stop in the middle of the block, in between stop signs? That is a very unnatural traffic pattern that wastes gasoline - something the Peak Oil Task Force should be concerned about.
Bloomington is a very walker-friendly city, which is a good thing. I loved living downtown a decade ago and the city's layout makes it easy to get around downtown even if you park several blocks away. We could all stand to walk a little more. But the reality is that for those who are unable to live downtown (and even for those who do) driving is a fact of life. The mid-block crosswalks, the Third Street debacle, and the unmitigated disaster that the city has created on the east side reinforces the reputation of Bloomington's city leaders as out-of-touch hippies.
Redrawing districts for elected officials is almost always something that flies under the public's radar, with both the public and the media paying little attention to the process of drawing the maps and the end result of what the maps look like. But because these maps play a huge role in who gets elected - and therefore play a huge role in what gets passed as public policy - the public needs to pay closer attention to the maps and the news media needs to cover it more thoroughly. There are two maps here in Monroe County that merit closer review. I have posted these maps:
The Republican wave election of 2010 did not have much impact for Republicans in Monroe County, though Republicans did pick up a seat on the county council. The Democrats went from having a 6-1 majority to having a 5-2 majority. Apparently, that was not enough, so the maps had to be redrawn in the Democrats' favor.
Enter the new county council map, which replaces the map Republicans drew in 2005 to replace the gerrymandered maps drawn in 2001. For more on the 2005 redistricting battle, see my posts from the summer and fall of that year:
The new Fourth District moves Ryan Langley from the Second District into the Fourth District, setting up an incumbent vs. incumbent battle in a new district that much more heavily favors Democrats than Langley's current district. This was clearly drawn to get rid of Langley, forcing Republicans to pick up a newly open seat to replace the seat they are likely to lose two years from now. Republicans, to my frustration, have not uttered a peep about this.
While the county council maps are gerrymandered, the MCCSC School Board maps are simply obscene. The MCCSC districts actually have islands that are completely cut off from the rest of the district, surrounded on all sides by another district. I am not sure this is legal, but even if it is legal it is certainly a very badly drawn map. It is universally recognized as best practices that districts should be contiguous.
The only redeeming feature of the MCCSC maps is that School Board representatives are elected district-wide, rather than only in their district. So no matter how bad the maps are, it does not impact the election other than who is legally permitted to run in each district. However, the fact that this is getting no coverage is shameful.
Surely the Herald-Times has reporters who are capable of looking at the maps on the MCCSC website. One would think they would be curious about the district boundaries, especially since this is an election year. Most voters, even those who closely follow the news, are not going to go look up the district boundaries themselves, so unless the newspaper covers the issue, they will not know about it. By not covering the MCCSC district map scandal, the Herald-Times has failed the people of Monroe County and failed to hold elected officials accountable.
"Keep Obama in President, you know? He gave us a phone! He gonna do more!" - Obama supporter
A video of an Obama supporter screaming about "Obama phones" had gone viral, with conservatives mocking this woman across the blogosphere and on social media, but this brings up a much more important issue that shouldn't be swept aside by snarky comments about voters who feel entitled to whatever they can get from government. That issue is that Barack Obama does not care about the poor. He exploits and oppresses the poor for his own political gain.
"What? I thought the Democrats were advocates for the poor!"
That is simply not the case. This video represents how oppressive the welfare state is. I cannot laugh at this video. As I thought about it, I was close to weeping for this woman. She does not have hope for the future and for what she can accomplish for herself. Her dreams and ambitions are crushed, and her enthusiasm and excitement are directed toward a pathetic gift she got from the Obama regime. Not about what is best for the country, how we can balance the budget, how we can protect our nation from her enemies, or how the children of Cleveland can get a good education. It is about the Obama phone.
What Barack Obama wants is a permanent underclass stripped of their hope and dreams who will vote for him in order to keep the government benefits coming. He is not interested in upward mobility or helping people through a tough situation so they can prosper later. He is interested in a government-dependent voter base that he can rely on to will deliver votes to him election after election. If their lives get better and they are no longer dependent on government, they may vote on matters other than what they can get, and that may not work in Obama's favor. That is why the poor must be kept poor in perpetuity. It is a sick agenda.
In fairness to Obama, this has been going on long before he became President, and to some extent before he was even born. Remember "the ponytail guy" asking in 1992 how the President could see us as his children and take care of us? Bill Clinton loved that and ate it up. But while this oppression of the poor is not new, Obama has embraced and accelerated this process and has exploited it to the greatest extent possible for political gain. Obama should be embarrassed to see this video and to see this is what some of his supporters think of him - but this is exactly what he wants to see. That is just sad.
Barack Obama is correct when he says that it is unwise to return to the policies that got us into the recession of 2008. The problem is that Obama identifies the wrong policies as reasons for the economic collapse four years ago. The problem is not the Bush tax cuts. (I have never seen it explained how tax cuts caused the recession. How does allowing people to keep more of what they earn hurt the economy?) The problem is the Community Reinvestment Act.
The idea behind the CRA is a good one - help people get into homes. The problem is that the CRA involved government pushing banks to give loans to people who could not pay them back. When banks are making loans to people who cannot pay them back, what do you think is going to happen? Eventually the bill is going to come due. You can only shuffle worthless paper around for so long.
You can find out more about the Community Reinvestment Act below:
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) did the same thing with traditional banks. It encouraged banks to serve two masters -- their bottom line and the so-called common good. First passed in 1977, the CRA was "strengthened" in 1995, causing an increase of 80% in the number of bank loans going to low- and moderate-income families.
Fannie and Freddie were part of the CRA story, too. In 1997, Bear Stearns did the first securitization of CRA loans, a $384 million offering guaranteed by Freddie Mac. Over the next 10 months, Bear Stearns issued $1.9 billion of CRA mortgages backed by Fannie or Freddie. Between 2000 and 2002 Fannie Mae securitized $394 billion in CRA loans with $20 billion going to securitized mortgages.
By pressuring banks to serve poor borrowers and poor regions of the country, politicians could push for increases in home ownership and urban development without having to commit budgetary dollars. Another political free lunch.
CRA was meant to encourage banks to make loans to high-risk borrowers, often minorities living in unstable neighborhoods. That has provided an opening to radical groups like ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) to abuse the law by forcing banks to make hundreds of millions of dollars in "subprime" loans to often uncreditworthy poor and minority customers.
Any bank that wants to expand or merge with another has to show it has complied with CRA - and approval can be held up by complaints filed by groups like ACORN.
In fact, intimidation tactics, public charges of racism and threats to use CRA to block business expansion have enabled ACORN to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and contributions from America's financial institutions.
Using provisions of a 1977 law called the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Chicago ACORN was able to delay and halt the efforts of banks to merge or expand until they had agreed to lower their credit standards — and to fill ACORN’s coffers to finance “counseling” operations like the one touted in that Sun-Times article. This much we’ve known. Yet these local, CRA-based pressure-campaigns fit into a broader, more disturbing, and still under-appreciated national picture. Far more than we’ve recognized, ACORN’s local, CRA-enabled pressure tactics served to entangle the financial system as a whole in the subprime mess. ACORN was no side-show. On the contrary, using CRA and ties to sympathetic congressional Democrats, ACORN succeeded in drawing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into the very policies that led to the current disaster.
The pressure to make more loans to minorities (read: to borrowers with weak credit histories) became relentless. Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act, empowering regulators to punish banks that failed to "meet the credit needs" of "low-income, minority, and distressed neighborhoods." Lenders responded by loosening their underwriting standards and making increasingly shoddy loans. The two government-chartered mortgage finance firms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encouraged this "subprime" lending by authorizing ever more "flexible" criteria by which high-risk borrowers could be qualified for home loans, and then buying up the questionable mortgages that ensued.
“The private sector got us into this mess. The government has to get us out of it.” This is Barney Frank’s view of the current financial mess our country is in, and nothing could be further from the truth. Barney Frank has been a major supporter of every policy that got us into this mess, from the Community Reinvestment Act to President Clinton’s mandate for banks to extend a minimum number of “affordable loans.” Instead of blaming everything on the “Wall Street fat cats”, Barney Frank needs to be held responsible for his actions!
The mistakes did not stop at supporting these policies. After they were enacted and in place, Frank refused to admit that there was a problem. As Fannie and Freddie were taking on billions in subprime debt, Barney Frank continued to assure us that that there was no financial crisis and press for more affordable lending.
It all started, innocently enough, in 1994 with President Clinton's rewrite of the Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act.
Ostensibly intended to help deserving minority families afford homes — a noble idea — it instead led to a reckless surge in mortgage lending that has pushed our financial system to the brink of chaos.
Fannie and Freddie, the main vehicle for Clinton's multicultural housing policy, drove the explosion of the subprime housing market by buying up literally hundreds of billions of dollars in substandard loans — funding loans that ordinarily wouldn't have been made based on such time-honored notions as putting money down, having sufficient income, and maintaining a payment record indicating creditworthiness.
With all the old rules out the window, Fannie and Freddie gobbled up the market. Using extraordinary leverage, they eventually controlled 90% of the secondary market mortgages. Their total portfolio of loans topped $5.4 trillion — half of all U.S. mortgage lending. They borrowed $1.5 trillion from U.S. capital markets with — wink, wink — an "implicit" government guarantee of the debts.
Many monumental errors and misjudgments contributed to the acute financial turmoil in which we now find ourselves. Nevertheless, the vast accumulation of toxic mortgage debt that poisoned the global financial system was driven by the aggressive buying of subprime and Alt-A mortgages, and mortgage-backed securities, by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The poor choices of these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) -- and their sponsors in Washington -- are largely to blame for our current mess.
How did we get here? Let's review: In order to curry congressional support after their accounting scandals in 2003 and 2004, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac committed to increased financing of "affordable housing." They became the largest buyers of subprime and Alt-A mortgages between 2004 and 2007, with total GSE exposure eventually exceeding $1 trillion. In doing so, they stimulated the growth of the subpar mortgage market and substantially magnified the costs of its collapse.
It is important to understand that, as GSEs, Fannie and Freddie were viewed in the capital markets as government-backed buyers (a belief that has now been reduced to fact). Thus they were able to borrow as much as they wanted for the purpose of buying mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. Their buying patterns and interests were followed closely in the markets. If Fannie and Freddie wanted subprime or Alt-A loans, the mortgage markets would produce them.
The painful readjustments in the housing market are a direct result of failed government policies that fueled the housing bubble. A political bias that favored home ownership (through the tax code and programs such as the Community Reinvestment Act, coupled with the implicit — now explicit — federal guarantee of the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, led to a housing boom fueled by loans that were often not worth the paper they were written on. At the same time, ratings agencies, under the auspices of the SEC, vouched for the quality of these loans, allowing them to be bundled into new financial instruments and sold around the world. The Federal Reserve aided and abetted these distortions with loose monetary policies that distorted price signals, artificially boosted investments in the housing sector, and ultimately throughout the financial services sector as mortgages were securitized and repackaged for sale across the globe.
Despite the publicly voiced concerns of many of us — both in and out of government — about Fannie and Freddie, the GSEs’ defenders in Congress turned a blind eye to the inherent weaknesses in the system. The financial system held together as long as housing prices continued to increase. As the housing market weakened, it became evident that the value of mortgages underlying the new financial instruments was too low to meet the necessary financial obligations. As the true market value became evident, the market for these mortgage backed securities (originated by Fannie and Freddie) dried up as investors triggered a flight to safety. Considering the fact that many of these firms were leveraged by as much as 30-to-1, the retrenchment was severe.
So-called "community groups" like ACORN benefit themselves from the CRA through a process that sounds like legalized extortion. The CRA is enforced by four federal government bureaucracies: the Fed, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The law is set up so that any bank merger, branch expansion, or new branch creation can be postponed or prohibited by any of these four bureaucracies if a CRA "protest" is issued by a "community group." This can cost banks great sums of money, and the "community groups" understand this perfectly well. It is their leverage. They use this leverage to get the banks to give them millions of dollars as well as promising to make a certain amount of bad loans in their communities.
A man named Bruce Marks became quite notorious during the last decade for pressuring banks to earmark literally billions of dollars to his organization, the "Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America." He once boasted to the New York Times that he had "won" loan commitments totaling $3.8 billion from Bank of America, First Union Corporation, and the Fleet Financial Group. And that is just one "community group" operating in one city – Boston.
"You're seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on the abusive practices that got us into this in the first place," (Obama) complained earlier this month.
But what if government encouraged, even invented, those "abusive practices"?
Rewind to 1994. That year, the federal government declared war on an enemy — the racist lender — who officials claimed was to blame for differences in homeownership rate, and launched what would prove the costliest social crusade in U.S. history.
At President Clinton's direction, no fewer than 10 federal agencies issued a chilling ultimatum to banks and mortgage lenders to ease credit for lower-income minorities or face investigations for lending discrimination and suffer the related adverse publicity. They also were threatened with denial of access to the all-important secondary mortgage market and stiff fines, along with other penalties.
As Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times and Joshua Rosner wrote in “Reckless Endangerment,” the Fannie-and-Freddie debacle shows what happens “when Washington decides, in its infinite wisdom, that every living breathing citizen should own a home.”
Beginning in 1992, the government began pushing for more allocation of credit to lower-income borrowers. To meet affordable-housing goals set by Congress, the two mortgage giants steadily lowered their credit standards and began buying subprime loans or no-document mortgages — those for which verification of key data like income was absent. Subprime originators seized the opportunity to reap profits with dubious mortgages while shifting the risk to Fannie and Freddie — and the Treasury.
Whenever concern was raised about the increased risk, reforms would be blocked by powerful Fannie-and-Freddie backers in Congress, like Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank.
There is no doubt among serious people that Barack Obama is responsible for an unprecedented amount of debt that threatens our future as a nation. The financial disaster that Obama has inflicted on America is well-documented, so it is amazing to see Obama's groupies rush to his defense and screech "liar" when someone calls out Obama's reckless and irresponsible spending. How can you make this "argument" with a straight face? Let's review the budget deficits since 2001, the last year with a surplus. (2012 is estimated.)
You will notice that the deficit was going down under a Republican Congress, with the last budget passed by Republicans bringing us a $160 billion deficit. Then Democrats took over and the restraints on spending were gone.
And this is where Obama groupies start screeching "lie" and "liar" as loud as they can, blaming the 2009 budget on George W. Bush. Obama groupies forget several very important things. First, Obama voted for the 2009 budget. Second, Obama signed his failed "economic stimulus" package of over $800 billion in 2009. Third, Obama signed an omnibus spending bill of $400 billion in March of 2009. Every bit of this is public record.
Folks, we cannot keep doing this if we want America to survive, or at least survive in a way we would recognize instead of as a broken shell of a once-great nation. Prior to Barack Obama taking office, we never had a budget deficit over $500 billion. Since Obama has been in office, we have had a trillion dollars added to what would already be incredibly high budget deficits. We're headed for a financial collapse if we do not take a radically different path from the one Obama has led us down. According to Obama's own historical tables at WhiteHouse.gov, he will have added over $5 trillion (with a T) to the national debt by the end of his first term. This is unsustainable.
Does the American public want to save Social Security and Medicare? Does the American public want to preserve the programs they like? If that is the case, we cannot re-elect Obama, because "four more years" would lead to financial collapse. If the American economy collapses under the weight of Obama's crushing national debt, the entire world will follow and we will have a worldwide depression. The future of the world literally rests on how the 2012 election turns out. I may be less than pleased with how aggressive Mitt Romney will be in restoring fiscal sanity, but he will at least apply the brakes. Obama will hit the gas to speed us toward the cliff even faster.
After listening to the Rachel Maddow show on Thursday night, it was hilarious how desperate she was to cover for Obama. Her point? Incumbent Presidents always lose the first debate! LOL, Ms. Maddow. Really, LOL. Your guy got whipped. Playing games with statistics won't change that.
Peggy Welch has campaigned for 14 years as a conservative Democrat, which has been necessary for her to win in a Republican district. Voters in the new District 60 should be careful not to be fooled by these claims.
First, Welch is a Democrat from Bloomington. As such, she aligns herself with the most liberal elements of Bloomington's Democratic Party - the same political party that has proudly and enthusiastically funded Planned Parenthood with local tax dollars year after year for 13 years now. How conservative can someone be who is a Bloomington Democrat?
When push came to shove in 2011 and the Democrats decided to petulantly shut down legislative work by fleeing to Urbana, Illinois, Welch obeyed the orders of Pat Bauer and the teachers union and joined the Democrats. Welch blocked further legislative work by denying a quorum - an antidemocratic stalling tactic that eventually forced the House leadership to fine the Democrats who refused to show up for work.
According to Advance America's 2010 voting record (http://www.advanceamerica.com/pdf/VotingRecord2010.pdf) Welch voted for legislation that would have removed protection for taxpayers by requiring a referendum for a publicly funded construction project. This is not the record of a conservative.
Mitt Romney should have mentioned the Community Reinvestment Act when he talked about over-regulation of the banks. When you have government pushing banks to make loans to people who cannot pay them back, you're making disaster inevitable.
There was good news too. For months now, conservatives have literally begged Mitt Romney to be the guy he was in the primaries - aggressively attack Obama the way he attacked his Republican primary opponents. He did that last night. Keep pounding him, Governor Romney!
"War as a resolution of conflict is an obsolete idea." -- Nancy Pelosi on the Rachel Maddow show, 9/26/2012
The above quote by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi illustrates how dangerous much of the Democratic Party is to our national security. This comes just two weeks after the preplanned terrorist attacks on our consulate in Libya and the assassination of our ambassador, which saw an utterly shameful and cowardly reaction by Barack Obama. Instead of vowing to get justice against the terrorists and condemning the terrorists in no uncertain terms, Obama begged the terrorists not to blame him or the U.S. government for a controversial anti-Islam video posted to YouTube months ago. Obama then used his power as President to try to get the video censored.
I've driven this point into the ground, but this needs to be repeated again. The terrorist attack in Libya and the riots across the Muslim world had absolutely nothing to do with the YouTube video. The video was an excuse for the riots, not a reason for them. Had the video never been made, the terrorists would have fabricated some other "reason" to engage in mindless destruction and murder. This is about enforcing Sharia law worldwide and making all criticism of Islam and the "prophet" Mohammed illegal.
The reason Pelosi's statement is so incredibly foolish is that someone forgot to tell the terrorists. Pelosi's statement was made in a discussion of the war in Afghanistan. I would hope that the former Speaker of the House is not really this shockingly ignorant that she does not know this, but we were attacked on September 11, 2001.
Terrorists committed an act of war by hijacking airplanes and crashing them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth plane would likely have crashed into the White House had the passengers on that plane not fought with the terrorists and prevented a fourth attack. I am literally stunned that some people are so dim-witted that I actually have to write this reminder!
No, Ms. Pelosi, war is not "an obsolete idea." It is unfortunate, but sometimes war is necessary to fight the evil that exists in this world. War should be the last resort, and all efforts should be made to avoid war. I am greatly troubled by the use of "war" imagery in matters of law enforcement and we are often too war-happy in this culture. But the fact of the matter is that there are evil regimes, there are terrorists, and there are pirates who need to be fought and defeated. War will never be obsolete as long as there is evil in this world - and there will always be evil in this world. It is stupid, foolish and dangerous to think otherwise.
Barack Obama needs to answer for this, and Mitt Romney needs to aggressively challenge Obama for his own views on Pelosi's foolishness. Does Obama believe that "war as a resolution of conflict is an obsolete idea?" Is Obama willing to denounce Nancy Pelosi's worldview and dangerous and stupid just eleven years removed from 9/11? Let's be honest - there is virtually no difference between Pelosi and Obama on ideology or governing philosophy.
The Romney campaign needs to wrap Pelosi around Obama's neck and demonstrate that this foolishness, combined with Obama siding with the terrorists against free speech, is far too dangerous to continue. This is the opening to convince the American people that Obama is not fir to be President - and never was.
NBC News is pushing their "education nation" project again, and they got both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to offer their views on the subject. This demonstrates part of the problem with the debate over education, that it is taking place at all at the federal level. The federal government has no business being involved in education, which is best managed by communities and families at the local level with guidance from the state.
More importantly, the federal government has no Constitutional authority to be involved in education and the Tenth Amendment reserves that power to the states. Before we even get into specific policies, we need to have those policies decided at the appropriate place.
As to specific policies, I have said before that I am opposed to vouchers. They are an invitation to meddling by politicians and are therefore a threat to religious liberty. However, I support allowing parents to choose among local government schools as it would offer some of the benefits of vouchers - primarily making schools better through competition - without tying private schools to government.
Charter schools are a different story. Some children and teens may not fit in a traditional educational environment, and charters provide room for innovation. State government is right to promote them and the use of charter schools should be expanded. Furthermore, more charter schools are an incentive to existing government schools to get better through competition, just as government school choice would.
In addition to competition, there is something else that is badly needed. If we want the government schools to be successful, there will need to be better discipline. We need to stop punishing innocent by coddling the guilty. If a "student" is disruptive to the educational environment, it is morally depraved to allow him to deny other students the education they deserve by disrupting class and harassing or bullying classmates. Just as with prison, we need to develop the attitude that if you willingly give up your right to get an education, you can be removed from the schools.
Ultimately, this is up to the parents. A dear friend's daughters are home schooled, and they could recite the Presidents from Washington to Obama, in order, when they were five and eight years old. Their knowledge has only expanded since then, to the point that they are ahead of their government school counterparts by a wide margin. They are where they are in their education because their parents have made a commitment to that education,.
The problem our government schools face is that if the child does not care and his parents do not care, there is not very much the school can do about it. We can blame the schools all we want, but I am confident that most students can get a quality education in most government schools. But until we can get adults to understand the importance of a good education, all of our efforts will be in vain.
Joe Donnelly claims to be a fiscal and social conservative, and claims to be an independent voice in Washington. He is none of those things. In fact, as Crossroads GPS points out, when Barack Obama has needed Donnelly's vote, Donnelly has always "had Obama's back." Specifically:
Donnelly voted for Obama's trillion dollar "economic stimulus" package, which has utterly failed to revive the economy.
Donnelly voted to raise the debt limit five times, just as Obama wanted.
Donnelly voted for Barack Obama's trillion $ health care bill.
The last one is especially galling to conservatives who were deluded into thinking Donnelly shared their values on social issues. It was Obama's health care bill, after all, that the Obama administration has used to force Christians to fund birth control, including drugs that can act as abortifacients early on in pregnancy. Is this the vote of someone who is "pro-life," Mr. Donnelly? Clearly it is not.
See the new Crossroads video here:
After the 2004 election, Democrats were surprised by the role "values voters" played in George W. Bush being elected to a second term. Knowing they needed to change their image as a radically Leftist party on social issues, Democrats recruited phony "social conservatives" to run against incumbents. Combined with the Republicans' terrible record, it worked. Voters were fooled, and incumbent Republicans Chris Chocola and John Hostettler were defeated by Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth.
What should make Hoosiers think that Donnelly will change if he gets a promotion to the Senate after 6 years in the House? Obviously, that will not change. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, and Donnelly will continue to support the same destructive policies he has supported in the past. His voting record is out of step with Hoosier values and voters should send him the same message we sent Brad Ellsworth two years ago: We do not approve of your support for Barack Obama and you do not deserve to represent Indiana in the Senate.