Month Archives: November 2009

In the Know…

by Krystle Gabele

November 30, 2009

Here’s some articles of interest for your post-Thanksgiving enjoyment.

Winston Churchill: 30 November 1874

by Robert Morrison

November 30, 2009

Winston ChurchillI never wanted to be a fly on the wall. I saw the original Sci Fi cult classic, The Fly, and it gave me the creeps. A scientist was trying to enter his newly-invented transporteryou know, like the ones later made famous on Star Trek. He thought to have himself broken down to his atomic particles and reconstructed later, elsewhere. Except a fly got into the ointment. Our scientist friend came out, uh, changed.

I never wanted to be a fly on the wall, but I do admit Id like to have had Inspector Walter Thompsons job. Inspector Thompson spent nearly twenty years guarding the life of Winston Churchill. The Scotland Yard policeman got an unparalleled opportunity to observe greatnessup close and personal.

A friend just gave me a copy of Assignment: Churchill, Walter Thompsons fascinating 1955 memoir. Thompson describes himself as tough as a telegraph wire as a young police officer. He had to be. Many a time, he waded in to hostile mobs and menacing would-be assassins.

One of eleven kids born in a London slum, Tommy Thompson dropped out of school at age 8 to help support his family. If this is how English grammar school dropouts can write, I suggest all English lads be put out at eight.

Thompson hilariously describes how he and Winston rode camels in Egypt with the great Lawrence of Arabia in 1921. On a camel, Thompson says, theres nothing to reach for but the sky. And the line leading to the ring in the camels nose has the same effect as a bell rope in a dead castle. Later in that same trip, Winston, the most garrulous of men, enters Jerusalems Garden of Gethsemane. There he remains, silent, for hours.

Thompson claims what no other writer Ive ever read claims about Winston Churchill: that he was a practicing Christian. Thompson, clearly a believer himself, says that Churchill loved all the simple people. And he hated every form of unfairness.

Winston was a terrible pilot, Thompson said. He mastered every part of the new art of flying except takeoffs and landings. His driving was little better. Thompson describes Winstons attempt to jump the queue trying to catch a ferry at Dover. He drove up on the sidewalk. The English Bobby who collared the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Britains No. 2 political post) and forced him back into line, leaned into the car and said very quietly, very icily: Sir, you will try to keep it in the road, wont you?

How to square Winstons hatred of unfairness with such antics? Well, he once had to make up with a valet who had quit in a huff. You were rude to me, Winston complained, knowing he had no time to find another. Mr. Churchill, you were rude to me. Unrepentant, Churchill answered impatiently: I know. But Im a great man.

Thats not as bad as it sounds to our American ears. Great men in England are men who have the care of the state in their hearts. They are expected to lay down their own lives unhesitatingly for the protection of the Realm. This Churchill did not once, but many, many times.

Back to that fly. We all know about perversions of science. Those transporters in science fiction movies rely on the belief that man is nothing more than an accidental collocation of atoms. Those science fiction writers are brute materialists.

It was such men that Churchill had in mind when he warned, in 1940, that if the British failed to stand up to Hitler, then all that we have known and loved would sink into the abyss of anew dark age, made more sinister and perhaps more protracted by the lights of perverted science.

We see just such perverted science today when people argue that we can cure all disease by scavenging the bodies of embryonic human beings for their stem cells. We see the perversion of science when people like Princetons unethical bioethicist Peter Singer argue for killing handicapped children up to one year of age.

It is just such brute materialists, I fear, such purveyors of perverted science who will be named this week to President Obamas new bioethics advisory commission.

Churchill, in his long career, went from being one of the Queens cavalry subalterns fighting Islamist dervishes in the Sudan to summit meetings at Potsdam, in defeated Germany, where atomic weapons were first discussed. He never lost sight of mans spiritual nature. From London, he spoke to our University of Rochester (N.Y.) on 16 June 1941:

The destiny of mankind is not decided by material computation. When great causes are on the move in the world, stirring all mens souls, drawing them from their firesides, casting aside comfort, wealth and the pursuit of happiness in response to impulses at once awe-striking and irresistible, we learn that we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time, and beyond space and time, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.

We are spirits, not animals. And it is our duty to resist the abuses of perverted science. I thank God for the life and work of Winston Churchill, born this day in 1874.

Religious Persecution in India Should be on President’s Agenda

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 24, 2009

Official Washington is all atwitter about the state dinner to be given tonight to Indias Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. There have been newspaper articles filled with stories of guest lists, menus and the anecdotes of past dinner attendees.

India is a large nation, in geography and population. Its friendship with the United States benefits both countries, and all Americans should welcome its respected PM to our shores.

India is also a nation rife with problems that dwarf those in our own: Massive corruption that stultifies economic growth and robs the poor of needed resources; endemic poverty affecting tens of millions; a weak educational system, fraught with caste-system bias; nearly 300 million Dalits, or untouchables, viewed in Hindu theology as sub-human and treated with contempt by their own society. Sexual slavery and human trafficking also present profound and enduring challenges to all conscientious Indian political leaders.

Religious persecution in India is also on the rise. Such Web sites as Open Doors, Catholic Online and Voice of the Martyrs provide chilling descriptions of what happens to Christians who stand for their faith in areas where devout Hindu and Muslim activists are determined to squash Christian faith violently.

Consider just one example, this one detailed in the UKs Guardian newspaper:

We cannot now return to the village as the murderers would be on the streets with more hatred and anger for us.” So said a witness after testifying last month in a courtroom in Kandhamal district in India’s eastern state of Orissa, which was the scene last year of ferocious violence against Christians carried out by mobs incited by extremist Hindu nationalists. The case saw three men acquitted of hacking to death a non-Christian tribal leader who tried to stand up to the mobs, and burning to death an elderly widow. They were convicted for destroying evidence, but sent home on bail, pending appeal. (Orissas Forgotten Victims, November 23, 2009).

Family Research Council hopes that President Obama will raise the issue of anti-Christian persecution with Prime Minister Singh. To PM Singhs credit, he has made strong statements against anti-Christian violence, noting that Christianity is part of Indias national heritage (www.oikumen.org/gr/news, October 20, 2008) and condemned the anti-Christian assaults in the province of Orissa (www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com, August 29, 2008).

But as events of recent days indicate, much more must be done. It is in Americas interest for us to press our friends to live to the principles of human dignity and religious liberty to which they are sworn. By doing so, we are standing true to our own principles, and standing with those suffering for owning the Name of Jesus.

Senate Votes to Proceed with Abortion Funding Debacle

by JP Duffy

November 22, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2009

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Maria Donovan, (866) FRC-NEWS

Washington, D.C.- Tonight, in a partisan vote, the U.S. Senate voted to proceed to Senator Reid’s version of the government takeover of health care. Among the several objectionable items included in this bill; like the public option, employer and individual mandates, is the government funding for elective abortion, which is the most onerous and morally objectionable. Additionally the bill provides subsidies for private plans that cover elective abortion. The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to include elective abortion in the public option and subsidize health plans in the government run exchange that cover elective abortion.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins responded with the following comments:

Forcing Americans to buy government approved health care insurance is arguably unconstitutional. Forcing Americans to fund abortion within the government plan is without question unconscionable. Disregarding the conscience concerns of the vast majority of Americans, the U.S. Senate, voted to proceed to Senator Reid’s new health care takeover bill. Recent polls including a CNN poll released last week shows more than 60% of Americans are opposed to the bill’s provisions that would create the largest expansion of abortion since the 1970s.

Instead of including the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts amendment passed in the House to prevent this government expansion of abortion, Senator Reid included a watered down version of the Capps provision which would flood the coffers of the abortion industry. The Senate should instead adopt the Stupak-Pitts language which would maintain the status quo first established over 30 years ago. Additionally, the Reid bill undermines conscience protections for pro-life health plans and doctors.

It was disappointing to see pro-life Senators Bill Nelson (D-NE) and Bob Casey (D-PA) vote to advance a bill that will vastly expand abortion in America with federal dollars. The burden to protect taxpayers and the unborn from a massive expansion of abortion, as provided for in this bill, now rest upon the shoulders of Senators Nelson and Casey. It is imperative that they stand on principle. ”

-30-

Stupak-Pitts Amendment Speaks Truth to Power

by Chris Gacek

November 20, 2009

There is much gnashing of teeth by abortion supporters over the inclusion of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment in the Speaker Nancy Pelosi health care bill H.R. 3962. Bart Stupak, Michigan Democrat, and Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican, succeeded in amending H.R. 3962 so that no government funds can be used to pay for abortion. Claims that Stupak-Pitts is out of line with current law or that it is unconstitutional are simply false.

The Stupak-Pitts amendment (Stupak-Pitts) combines two principles. First, it contains the core principle of the Hyde Amendment that the government not encourage abortion through direct funding or subsidization of the cost of plans that cover elective abortion. Second, Stupak-Pitts refuses to accept deceptive schemes in which funds deposited into a common pot are claimed to be separate. Stupak-Pitts recognizes the obvious truth that money is fungible. Hence, Stupak does not swallow the deception that government subsidized insurance policies covering abortion do not involve the government in the promotion or encouragement of abortion through subsidies.

Anyone with an ounce of foresight on the Left should have seen this coming. The current principle in federal law a la Hyde is that the United States government does not pay for abortions (with exceptions of mothers life, rape and incest) or pay for the cost of any plan that covers abortion. This principle even carries over to the private plans purchased by government employees. Now, if, as the Democrats want, the government is going to dominate, micro-regulate, and subsidize the nations health care system both government run and privately insured then the question of how the Hyde principle will apply to these new programs arises immediately.

The answer is that Hydes logic runs the gamut of all the new health care expenditures and programs. Therefore, Stupak-Pitts carries Hyde forward and refuses to buy into the accounting gimmicks that would give the Democrats cover for funding abortions. Speaker Pelosi had a choice. She could either allow a vote on Stupaks amendment, or she could accept the defeat of her health care bill. She chose to allow a vote on Stupak-Pitts, and her side lost. To strip Stupak-Pitts from the bill now would be highly dishonest, and, if Stupak-Pitts can count votes, it will lead to the defeat of Obama-Pelosi health care in the House.

As for the claims that Stupak-Pitts is unconstitutional, they are wrong as well.

The major constitutional point here is that the Congress is given wide discretion in deciding how to spend money and fund or not fund certain activities. This is true even if the activity in question rests on the exercise of a constitutional right. The old saw is that merely because there is freedom of the press, the government doesnt have to buy a writer a printing press, paper, and ink. The abortion-promoting members of Congress need to tell us why the government should buy them their equivalent of a printing press.

The argument that Stupak-Pitts violates Establishment Clause principles is absurd. Stupak-Pitts establishes no church or a favored religious organization. It apparently came as a shock to Lynn Woolsey and Diana DeGette that Catholics are allowed to vote and petition their government. While considering whether to import Guy Fawkes Day to the American calendar, they and their acolytes have issued various threats and slanders against the Papists. Such claims probably wont sway Justice Kennedy. Furthermore, you dont have to be a Christian to be pro-life. Even atheists can read ultra-sounds. Ask Bernard Nathanson, a physician and founder of the modern abortion movement whose viewing of fetal ultrasounds led him to reject abortion.

A series of liberal activist constitutional claims are also made against Stupak-Pitts. Equal Protection Clause. Substantive Due Process. Privacy. All the usual suspects. In other words, the gamut of the Were liberals and we dont like this law, so its unconstitutional arguments. Unfortunately for the Stupak opponents, each of these claims could be made against the Hyde Amendment, and the 1980 decision upholding the Hyde Amendment, Harris v. McRae, has stood for 30 years. Furthermore, the public has held constant in its disapproval of government endorsement and promotion of abortion since Hydes first enactment.

Of course, all these arguments are academic in some sense. What matters these days is the amount of raw judicial power that can be exercised by the Supreme Courts judicial activists and policy makers. Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor will vote to overturn Hyde & Stupak. It boils down to Justice Kennedy - - again. Aint life grand in a judicial oligarchy?

Obama the Unready

by Robert Morrison

November 20, 2009

President Obama is said to be taking his time, carefully weighing all alternatives, calibrating our response to the situation in Afghanistan with precision and judgment. The point of all these statements is to reinforce the Obama administrations theme that George W. Bush rushed off pell-mell and did not assess the situation properly before committing U.S. troops.

Not since the famed King Ethelred the Unready have we seen such a long, drawn-out, and public process of decision-making. Despite his name, however, this ancient English king was not called the unready because he was unprepared. The word comes from Middle English and means he was ill-advised.

That appellation certainly fits today. We have seen a succession of unconfirmed, unconfirmable czars comes and go. The latest departure has been Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director. She cited Mao Zedong as her favorite political philosopher. If any adviser in any conservative administration had listed some notorious mass murderer as a political model, the roof of the press room would have fallen in.

Now, part of President Obamas delay must be attributed to the kind of advisers he has chosen and the kind of advice they are giving him. One of these, Bruce Riedel, recently spoke at Tel Aviv University. Riedel is a senior fellow at the liberal Brookings Institute and a former CIA official.

Riedel is telling the President that we are fighting a losing battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan and that with our forces bogged down there, we are incapable of responding militarily to the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon. Israelis need to understand that there’s going to be a huge drain on resources, attention and capital [in Afghanistan], and that will have implications, Reidel said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post.

Well. One has to wonder if Bruce Riedel has ever read U.S. history. In World War II, there were many who thought—for less than 24 hours—that we had too much on our hands fighting Japan to enter into a war with Nazi Germany. President Roosevelt responded with speed not just to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but also to Hitlers subsequent declaration of war on the U.S.

To meet those combined threats, the United States had to resort to a draft. We eventually put in uniform one in every 11 Americans. (Today, that figure is less than one in two hundred.) Americas industrial capacity made us the Arsenal of Democracy. During the war, Britain tripled her output, excelling both Germany and Russia, who merely doubled theirs. Japan, incredibly, saw a four-fold increase in production. And America? The United States increased its war production twenty-five times.

Does Bruce Riedel, or any of President Obamas timorous advisers, have any idea of the capacity for greatness that this country possesses? My diplomatic history prof, Norman A. Graebner, used to tell standing room only lecture halls that the United States was like the great boxer, Joe Louis.

We had power to spare.

If this nations life is threatened by murderous mullahs in Tehran, or by Al Qaeda harboring Taliban in Afghanistan, we can do what we have to do. Who else will protect us? The UN?

Trial by Terror

by Tony Perkins

November 19, 2009

In a heated exchange with the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder stood by his decision to jeopardize—not only New York City, but 200 years of American traditionby launching the trial of the century against 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other terrorists in the Big Apple. Holder insists that New York is the best venue to obtain justice, but as Senators on both sides of the aisle argued, prosecuting terrorists minutes from the graveyard they dug for 3,000 innocent U.S. victims is dangerous, misguided, and unnecessary. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was the most visibly upset. Were making history here, Mr. Attorney General…bad history. Rather than leave the terrorists fate to a military tribunal, Holder is rolling the dice with a jury of civilians who—with a single not guilty verdict—could exonerate men who committed an act of war against our nation. Essentially, the decision boils down to a global PR stunt to showcase Americas fairness. Its more than a little ironic, then, that both Holder and President Obama have already determined the outcome. Failure is not an option, Holder said. If thats the case, why bother with a trial that endangers the city, shows disdain for our military, prolongs the process, and wastes millions of taxpayer dollars ($75 million a year for security alone)? This entire charade besmirches the memory of every 9-11 victim and family—and, more than that, it disrespects every soldier, living and dead, who put on a uniform to fight in the war these villains started.

Seven Score and Six Years Ago

by Robert Morrison

November 19, 2009

Today is the 146th anniversary of Lincolns Gettysburg Address. I was reminded of this date yesterday when I took some visitors from Australia and New Zealand to visit the Lincoln Cottage in Northwest Washington. President Lincoln spent almost a quarter of his four-year term at this rural getaway. He and his family spent summers and early fall days there in 1862, 1863, and 1864. It was at this refugea retirement home for old and disabled soldiers—that he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation during that fateful summer of 1862.

Lincoln was not the featured speaker at the dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery that cold November day in 1863. That honor had been reserved to Harvards former president, Edward Everett. Everett was regarded as the greatest orator of that age of great oratory.

Everett, a former Secretary of State, and former ambassador to England, was certainly a distinguished speaker. His resume looked a lot more impressive than prairie lawyer Lincolns did.

Edward Everett had also been the Vice Presidential candidate of the Constitutional Union party in 1860. Lincoln and the Republicans had defeated that ticket and two others to claim the White House in that most important election.

Imagine this: You are President of the United States. You have been invited to give some appropriate remarks at a cemetery dedication, but you are not the main attraction. And the one who will be the main attraction was Number Two on a rival political slate. It would be like President Obama being invited to tee-up a major address to be delivered by Sarah Palin. We could hardly blame the President if he blew the occasion off.

Lincoln did no such thing. He accepted his diminished status eagerly. He was an unusual kind of politician. Once, General George B. McClellan returned from a family wedding and passed by the parlor of his home. There, President Lincoln, Secretary of State Seward, and Lincolns young aide John Hay had been patiently waiting for their Commanding General to return. McClellan ignored the waiting guests and went right upstairs to bed. Hay asked the President how he could stand being treated with such contempt. Lincoln replied: I will hold General McClellans horse if he will only bring us victories.

At Gettysburg, Lincoln began his brief remarks with an almost biblical cadence: Fourscore and seven years ago. The poetic opening brought his listeners back not to the adoption of the Constitution, but to the Declaration of Independence.

Lincoln had said he never had a single political idea that did not derive from that document. The great civil war Lincoln memorialized in that address was a test of the proposition proclaimed in the Declaration that all men are created equal.

This is, arguably, the central proposition of American history. Its what we are contending over in the health care fight right now. For those who believe that the destruction of human life in the womb is a fundamental right of choice, abortion is a service. And they want to make sure that such services are fully covered in mandatory government-controlled health plans.

For those of us who affirm that the right to life was endowed by our Creator, and enunciated by that Declaration, another Lincoln quote is appropriate. Lincoln in 1858 said the Founders believed that nothing stamped in the divine image was sent into the world to be trod upon. We believe unborn children are so stamped.

Abraham Lincoln never had to go to Delaware to meet the flag-draped caskets of fallen American soldiers. When he lived at the Soldiers Home, those caskets came to him. Daily, forty bodies of Union soldiers were brought to this quiet refuge and interred on the grounds.

At Gettysburg, Lincoln called for a new birth of freedom for our country. He said we should highly resolve that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Several days later, a letter came to the White House. The Honorable Edward Everett wrote the President: I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.

Today, 146 years later, it would be good to take two minutes to read those immortal words again.

Obamas Abasement

by Robert Morrison

November 19, 2009

Once again, the Internet is alive with pictures of the President of the United States bowing low before some foreign monarch. Barack Obama first showed the world his behind as he bowed before the odious King of Saudi Arabia at a London summit last winter. That was bad. The king of Saudi Arabia rules a desert fiefdom where those who convert to Christianity are beheaded while the regime looks the other way. Bibles are banned. Jews are not allowed even to enter the country.

That bow was atrocious. But Obamas low bow before the Emperor of Japan over the past weekend was bad enough. Barack Obama apparently never memorized the Pledge of Allegiance as a boy. He has told us many times of his grade school education in Indonesia and how his devoted mother taught him U.S. constitutional law before dawn. Apparently, he never learned …and to the republic for which it stands…

To secure our Independence and to found a new republic, a country where We the people ruled, was the Glorious Cause for which the Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. How actually to be republicans with a small r was not easy.

George Washington helped in countless ways to teach us patriotism, republicanism, and self-government. He is justly revered as the Father of our Country. But he wasnt right in every detail. When the new federal government commenced in New York City in 1789, the President and Lady Washington—as his devoted wife was called—held regular public levees. At these receptions, the ladies and gentlemen of New York society would enter and bow before the President and the First Lady. President and Mrs. Washington would bow to their guests.

Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Representative James Madison were horrified by this ceremony. Didnt we just fight and win a revolution to be rid of such trappings of monarchy, they fretted.

Twelve years later, Mr. Jefferson walked to his own inauguration as our third President in the newly constructed Capitol in Washington, D.C. After that ceremony, he walked down Pennsylvania Avenue to the freshly painted Presidents House. It was this First Citizens walk that the newly inaugurated Jimmy Carter re-enacted in 1977. That was the last of President Carters actions I could praise.

From Jefferson on, no bowing to Presidents. Andrew Jackson introduced a fascinating new chapter in the history of Presidential bows. At his raucous inauguration on March 4, 1829, the newly widowed Jackson bowed low before the assembled multitude. Clad all in black, his bow was dignified and stately. It confirmed the arrival of Jacksonian democracy.

Abraham Lincoln fought a long and desperate Civil War defending the idea that government of the people, by the people and for the people should not perish from the earth. When he visited Richmond, Virginia, in April, 1865, just days after Confederate leader Jefferson Davis fled the city, an old man rushed up to the President and bowed before him. This former slave saw Master Lincoln as his Moses. Lincoln gently admonished the old man: You must not bow to me. It is not right. Bow only to God, Lincoln said.

That was a good rule for Americans for more than a century. Prime Minister Winston Churchill met President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard the USS Augusta off Newfoundland in August, 1941. Churchill called the United States the Great Republic. When he approached the Commander-in-Chief, he bowed and handed FDR a letter of introduction from King George VI. Churchill hardly needed this. As a lifelong monarchist, however, he recognized that he was only the head of the government in Britain—the Kings first minister—whereas Roosevelt was Chief of State as well as head of government.

Churchill the half-American Briton understood the differences between republics and monarchies better than Barack Obama does.

When Churchill came to visit FDR in the White House in those stern days after Pearl Harbor, he was taken to worship at Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia. It was there, on New Years Day 1942, that he first heard The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Churchill loved the hymn so much that he decreed it should be played at his own funeral. It was. There, in St. Pauls Cathedral in 1965, Britains monarch stood and listened with thousands of mourners to hear the greatest of her subjects eulogized with a hymn to a republic.

Obviously, the President of the United States must deal at the highest levels with monarchs. No one expects our President to treat allies Chiefs of State with disrespect. Japan, unlike the tyrannical Saudi Arabia, has been a true and loyal U.S. ally since World War II.

The problem is that Barack Obama seems not to understand what a republic is and how the President of the United States should conduct himself when traveling abroad. This is not surprising. He thinks American history began with his election. He said his election would mark the time when the oceans ceased to rise. King Canute, a Danish king of England known for his wisdom, famously went to the seaside and commanded the tide not to rise. And laughed at his toady advisers when they and he got soaked. The problem today with Obamas abasement is that he degrades all of us and we all get soaked.

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