Month Archives: November 2011

Winston Churchill’s Well-Documented Life: November 30, 1874

by Robert Morrison

November 30, 2011

Trip Dyer, one of the brightest of all our FRC interns, challenged me when I told his class I thought Winston Churchill’s life was the most documented human life ever lived. Trip thought that it was likely that the present Prince William’s life has been better recorded. He may have had a point there.

We certainly didn’t have photographs of Winston’s minutes after his birth—seven months after his parents’ marriage—on this day in 1874. But we know he was born not in his parent’s fashionable London flat. Instead, after his mother’s riding mishap that day, he came into the world early. He was born at Blenheim Palace, the ducal estate of his famous Marlborough ancestors. They were not nearly so famous then as they would become. Winston would write four great volumes on the great Duke of Marlborough, who had defeated the armies of Louis XIV and who was a central figure in England’s “Glorious Revolution” of 1688-89. Many American Founders looked to that revolution as their model for our own.

Winston was intensely proud of his noble English forbears. But he was just as proud of his American antecedents. His mother, Jennie Jerome, was a beauty from New York, whose tycoon father owned the New York Times. Jennie’s ancestor was said to be Pocahontas. That American princess married an Englishman and captivated the royal court of her own day with her beauty and wit.

Winston’s father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a reforming politician, a Tory democrat, who was on track to become Prime Minister before he rashly challenged his party leader, Prime Minister Salisbury. Like Icarus who flew too close to the sun, Lord Randolph fell from the post of Lord Chancellor of the Exchequer—second highest in the House of Commons, never to rise again.

All his life, Winston would be dogged by his father’s spectacular flame-out. He was haunted by his father’s ghost, too. When, during World War I, Winston was cast out of the government, people shook their heads and said: Like father, like son. Unsteady. Winston was given the blame for the disastrous Dardanelles campaign. Tens of thousands of British, Australian, and New Zealand troops died in a vain attempt to knock the Ottoman Turks out of the war. The movie “Gallipoli” shows the horror of that ill-starred campaign. But Winston’s plan was never put into being. He was the scapegoat of others who resented his genius and his willingness to take a risk so that the long, bloody stalemate of trench warfare could be ended. Winston even then had a gift for the gripping phrase. Britain’s Tommies, he said, could be better employed in a flanking movement around the German front than to “chew barbed wire in Flanders.”

Throughout the 1930s, his “wilderness years,” Winston went unheeded. He was a voice crying in the wilderness, warning of the “Nozzie” peril. Instead, Prime Minister Chamberlain came back from Munich, promising “peace in our time.” His piece of paper, with Hitler’s signature upon it, lasted less than six months.

President Obama famously pitched the bust of Winston Churchill into the snow days after his arrival in the White House. That’s perhaps another reason I admire Winston so. Once hailed as “a sort of God,” by Newsweek’s Evan Thomas, no one today can tell you what Obama said at Normandy, just two years ago. I can tell you what Winston did there 67 years ago. He demanded to go over with the first of the landing craft. General Eisenhower—the five-star Supreme Commander—could not order Prime Minister Churchill to stay behind. But King George VI could. And he told Winston that if he insisted on exposing his life to such danger, then he, the King and Emperor, would go ashore with him. Only then did Winston relent. He got his chance, though.

Just weeks later, he made it to Hitler’s impregnable Siegfried Line. That line bristled with guns and land mines. Winston approached it with his famous Havana cigar between his teeth. He flashed his inimitable “V” for Victory sign. Then, winking at staff and reporters, he urinated on Hitler’s line.

President Obama prefers the piddling protesters of Occupy Wall Street. Say, Mr. President, I’d be happy to trade a CD of Winston’s speeches for a copy of that iPod you gave the Queen that contained all of your speeches.

President Kennedy thought better of Winston. He made him an honorary American citizen. He praised him with memorable words. “He marshaled the English language and sent it into battle.”

Indeed, he did. He faced down the menace of Hitler and he rallied the Western democracies to stand firm against an Iron Curtain.

I must have read dozens of books about the well-documented life of Winston Churchill. Only one ever said he was a Christian. Inspector Tommy Thompson of Scotland Yard in “Assignment Churchill” was emphatic. Winston always identified with the least of his brethren. He always thirsted for righteousness. No one else offered such a testimony. But Tommy Thompson spent nineteen years as Winston’s bodyguard, ready to lay down his life for his friend at any moment.

Perhaps he knew something we did not.

Eternal Father Strong to Save

by Robert Morrison

November 29, 2011

Do we think it will stop with banning crosses by the side of remote highways in the Utah desert? It will not. The atheizers will not rest until they have sandblasted all the crosses in American public life and bulldozed all references to Jesus on federal property.

I thought of this yesterday when I served as an usher at the Naval Academy Chapel. A dear friend had passed away suddenly.

Standing by the elevator, I could really study the stained glass windows in the chapel. The sun streamed through, brilliantly lighting the figure of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut. The 64-year old Farragut is shown lashed to the rigging of his ship, the USS Hartford, at the Battle of Mobile Bay. Fearless as he was, he suffered from vertigo. He is known to history for one great saying; “Da-n the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” Farraguts family wanted us to know that, salty sailor that he was, he was also a man of deep faith. So the well-thumbed prayer book of Admiral Farragut is encased in this Chapel.

What will the atheizers do with this Chapel? They can cover over the saying engraved in gold above the altar: Eternal Father Strong to Save. They can paint over the Tiffany stained glass figure of Jesus walking on the waters. They might leave 69—the numbers that tell us the window as a gift of the Academy Class of 1869. But the gold cross on the altar will have to go.

Once they have obliterated all signs of Christianity from the Chapel, it would be—like the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople—a formerly Christian site. That magnificent Byzantine structure was de-consecrated when the Turks conquered the city. The Turks turned it into a mosque. And todays votaries of the religion of peace informed Pope Benedict XVI he should not cross himself on entering the threshold, lest he provoke riots throughout what is called the Muslim world.

The atheizers will have to go further with the USNA Chapel. Thats because the very building is shaped like a cross. Originally, it was a Jerusalem cross, but in 1940, the new nave was added, extending the chapels length and increasing to 2,500 its seating capacity. Now, from the air, it looks like a Latin cross. How can that be tolerated by the tolerance lobby?

Well, the Blue Angels wont have to look down on that Latin cross, the Chapel where many of them worshipped, where many of them were married, and from where not a few Academy graduates were buried. It seems that the Blue Angels—along with other military precision jet flying teams—will be grounded. Budget cuts. This administration has $500 million to give to the PLO, the folks who invented airline hijacking for terror purposes, but it has no money for these American heroes.

The friend whose funeral we attended was a proud Navy wife. Her husband was one of the thousands who risked his life daily for our freedoms sake.

She once thanked me for a column I wrote, and asked me to plead with President Bush not to apologize for landing second seat on the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. With tears in her eyes, our friend said the NFOs—naval flight officers—never got the recognition they deserved. For the brave fliers and sailors of the Mighty Lincoln, their mission was indeed accomplished. Their commander-in-chief had nothing to apologize for. She was right. The president was wrong to apologize to members of the media who never flew, never served, and never understood.

Whether we are believers or not, every American should take alarm at the ceaseless attacks on religious liberty. Where is this administration in the Utah cross case? Does a president who delivers a Thanksgiving Address to the nation—without mentioning the One to whom thanks are offered—understand what he is putting at risk? The men who are launched daily—and nightly—from carrier decks may not themselves all be believers.

But without the believers in our armed services, no ship would sail, no planes would be launched, no submarines would dive.

The atheizers want a naked public square. But that is not what our all-volunteer military is defending. A naked public square cannot stand by itself. Nature abhors a vacuum. So does a people. The atheizers are only clearing the path for a militant faith, a religion that advances not with palm fronds laid in the path of a prince of peace, but with fire and sword.

For our friend, her heart was with her hero husband every time he slippd the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.

For her, for the thousands of other wives and families of our fliers, we sang as we departed that Naval Academy Chapel:

Lord, guard and guide the men who fly

Through the great spaces in the sky

Be with them always in the air

In darkning storms or sunlight fair

Hear us when we lift our prayer

For those in peril in the air.

Heres a Good One for the Dirty Jobs Show: Health Inspector of Illinois Abortion Clinics

by Cathy Ruse

November 29, 2011

The Thomas More Society reports that an Illinois judge yesterday ordered the doors of the Northern Illinois Womens Center to remain shut pending a formal public hearing. The abortion center lost its license some months ago after failing public health inspections, the first inspections in 14 years.

Lawyers at the Society say the inspections uncovered numerous health and safety violations, including:

  • Gynecological cannulas (surgical instruments inserted during abortion) stained with brown substance
  • Shoes stored inside open box of surgical gloves
  • Equipment used to sterilize medical instruments failed biological testing
  • All 3 operating rooms failed to ensure a sanitary environment
  • Box of opened surgical gloves stained with a dried brown substance
  • Failure to prevent contamination of surgical equipment
  • Operating rooms not staffed with a qualified Registered Nurse as required by law
  • Abortion practitioners without hospital admitting privileges

Heres hoping it wont take 14 years to close the place for good.

Medical Advances Wont End AIDS Without Behavioral Change

by Peter Sprigg

November 22, 2011

It was encouraging to read Michael Gersons column in The Washington Post recently on scientific advances which raise the prospect of Putting AIDS on the road to extinction. He is right to say, Religious conservatives have no objections to treatment and are neither shocked nor alarmed by circumcision.

However, he ignores two huge elephants in the room. The first is the role of behavior change in reducing infections. A Ugandan AIDS prevention official wrote in the Post in 2008 about his countrys success in dramatically reducing AIDS prevalence through use of the ABC messageAbstain from sex until marriage, Be faithful to your spouse, and use Condoms only if you fail at A and B. Gerson celebrates that the cost of treatment is now less than $350 per person; but Sam L. Ruteikara noted, Our successful ABC campaign cost just 29 cents per person each year.

Gerson noted that circumcision has reduced the risk of transmission from women to men, and that early treatment reduced transmission to a heterosexual partner. This may be encouraging for Africa, but is less so at home, where the CDC reports that more than half (53%) of all people living with HIV are men who have sex with men (MSM), the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily. Discouraging anal intercourse and sex with multiple partnerspractices not unique to homosexual men, but more prevalent among themare part of the only morally acceptable strategy to help America share in the end of AIDS.

Soup Kitchens and Bureaucrats

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 22, 2011

Bill McGurn’s piece in today’s Wall Street Journal describes how a wonderful ministry to the poor - the Morristown, New Jersey Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center - has now been declared a “retail” establishment by a local bureaucrat. As a result, the ministry could be hit with up to $150,000 in new annual costs. According to McGurn, this ministry “has grown into a network that links restaurants, corporate sponsors and community groups with volunteers from nearly three dozen church congregations, including this reporter’s. The result is a hot meal to anyone who comes to the door each noon, no questions asked.” In other words, it works - no wonder local government feels threatened by it.

A significant part of the new costs will come from the city’s ban on home-cooked meals being served at the Center; as McGurn asks, “Do you feel safer and better off now that we’ve protected you from home-baked apple pie?”

Anyone familiar with church budgets knows that for most churches, even when they work in consortium, this amount is untenable or at least difficult to reach. Even so-called “wealthy” churches are going through lean times, reducing their budgets, trimming hours for staff, and prioritizing resources such that some worthwhile activities are curtailed or canceled.

We can hope that Gov. Christie, whose commitment to fiscal sanity remains rare and refreshing, will take what action he can to stop this pristine example of government overreach.

McGurn closes with this: “On a 1995 trip to New Delhi, Hillary Clinton visited an orphanage run by Mother Teresa’s nuns. She came away impressed by the great love and care she found there. With no small irony, she noted it was a place that ‘would not have passed inspection in the U.S’.”

Having been to one of Mother Teresa’s orphanages in India, I can speak to the fact that while it is an older building complex, its cleanliness is first-rate and the children being cared for well-fed and happy. Watching severely disabled children being fed and bedded was an unforgettable experience. But for once I agree with Hillary Clinton: In our country, busybody regulators would no doubt close it. As McGurn says, “at least … in Morristown.”

Should Catholics Have a Conscience?

by Krystle Gabele

November 22, 2011

Recently, Hot Air reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi doesnt understand why the U.S. Catholic bishops are against requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptives, including known abortifacients. She belittles Catholics who object, conscientiously, to paying for or performing services that their church teaches are wrong.

Perhaps she should consider the Catholic Catechism, which says that Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. What could be more good than defending life? And what could be more evil than to disregard it, or denigrate those who seek to uphold it.

Even though the former Speaker is Catholic, she seems to have long forgotten that Catholicism is unequivocal in support of the sanctity of human life, from conception onward. This teaching is discussed throughout the Catechism, and there is even a section regarding the usage of abortifacients, and the Catholic Churchs stance against the use.

The Churchs teaching on this issue has a direct bearing on public policy. It is convenient to say, Im personally against abortion, but dont want to use my personal convictions to make laws. This is sad and silly: Our moral convictions inform our every decision, public or private; if one avers that personhood begins at conception, and believes this deeply, it should affect the way one legislates.

But as my colleagues Cathy Ruse and Rob Schwarzwalder have argued in their recent booklet, The Best Pro-Life Arguments for Secular Audiences, medical science and irreducible logic demonstrate that the embryo is a person and, if a person, deserving of legal protection.

As a Catholic, I am disheartened that Mrs. Pelosi would advocate against the sanctity of human life. God created life, and it is our role to protect the born and unborn. In fact, Mrs. Pelosi should be reminded of a passage in Jeremiah: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

As this passage indicates, God is the Author of life. If that is true, then one of governments most fundamental duties is to protect that which He has declared sacred. It is my hope that Mrs. Pelosi will come to recognize this truth.

A Snapshot from the House Health Subcommittee Hearing on Obamacares Contraceptive Mandate

by Jeanne Monahan

November 22, 2011

On Wednesday, November 2, Representative Pitts (R-PA), in his capacity as Chairman of the

Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health, convened a hearing to discuss the controversial HHS interim final rule on womens preventive services which forces all health plans to cover, with no cost-sharing, the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives, including drugs and devices that can destroy life.

Interesting moments from the hearing, Do New Health Law Mandates Threaten Conscience Rights and Access to Care? are included below, as well as a few fact checks and a link to the full transcript.

PROBLEMATIC PROCESS:

REP. PITTS: In issuing the rule, HHS acknowledged that it bypassed the normal rulemaking procedures in order to expedite the availability of preventive services to college students beginning the school year in August… I believe that on such a sensitive issue there should have been a formal comment period so that all sides could weigh in on the issue and HHS could benefit from a variety of views.

REP. BURGESS: The decision by Health and Human Services to issue an interim final rule, while that sounds like arcane Washington, what that means is that the transparency and accountability of the normal federal rulemaking process has now been circumvented.

…it didn’t really allow for the proper input and transparency of the normal federal agency process. The Affordable Care Act is a lot of pages of very densely worded instructions to federal agencies…there’s a reason that it does that because it allows the public to comment, and…before the rule is put forward it allows for the people to weigh in on it. But in an interim final rule…this thing can come out with the force of law in a relatively condensed period of time with maybe public input, but maybe it ignores public input.

COST IMPLICATIONS:

REP. BURGESS: We live under the rule of the Congressional Budget Office, and all of us on this — both sides of the dais know, we’re not allowed to score savings; we can only talk about cost…

Can you give us an idea of what kind of the range of costs — let’s just stick with oral contraceptives for right now. I know you’re interested in long-term contraception, but just for oral contraceptives right now, there’s a pretty wide variation of cost, is there not?

HATHAWAY

(Minority Witness OBYGN, Director of OB/GYN Outreach Services for Women and Infant Services Washington Hospital Center)

The brand name contraceptives probably run in the neighborhood of upwards of $50 per month. The generics are probably in the neighborhood of $30, or somewhere in that neighborhood…

REP. BURGESS: …[T]here is a cost differential of about $20 a month for a generic Ortho-Novum 1/35, Necon…and there’s another one called Seasonique that’s, according to research done by my staff, is $1,364 a year, so about $110 a month. So that’s a pretty wide discrepancy, isn’t it?

… the Institute of Medicine and the interim final rule says without regard to cost we have to provide all methods, now, across the board.

CONSCIENCE RIGHTS:

REP. WAXMAN: The question comes down to, what is the scope of the exception that church-provided insurance need not cover family planning? Well, I dont know why that should be even an exception. I disagree with the administration in providing that exception.

STEVENS (Majority Witness MD, MA (Ethics) Chief Executive Officer Christian Medical Association)

Virtually all medical professionals and student members we recently surveyed say its important to personally have the freedom to practice health care in accordance with the dictates of his or her conscience. Over nine out of 10 say they would not prescribe FDA-approved contraceptives that might cause death of a developing embryo…

The potential religious exemption in the conception — contraception mandate, exempting only a nano-sector of religious employers from the guidelines, is meaningless to conscientiously objecting health care professionals, insurers, and patients…The contraceptive mandate rule sweepingly tramples conscience rights, which have provided a foundation for the ethical and professional practice of medicine.

FACT CHECKS:

HATHAWAY: Using contraception is the most effective way to prevent unintended pregnancy.

Fact: Peer reviewed studies out of Sweden[1], the United Kingdom[2] and Spain [3] all agree that increased use of contraceptives coincides with an increase in abortions and sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Additionally, here in the United States, less contraceptive use correlates with fewer abortions. From 1995 to 2002, the rate of contraceptive use decreased from 64 percent to 62 percent [4] and abortion numbers decreased from 1,359,400 to 1,293,000.[5] Also see:

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/contraception/greater-access-to-contraception-does-not-reduce-abortions.cfm

REPPALLONE:

[B]ased on your clinical experience, do you believe that elimination of out-of-pocket costs for birth control pills and other forms of contraception would increase their use?

HATHAWAY: Most definitely. Most definitely.

Fact:A survey of sexually active women conducted by the Guttmacher Institute shows only that 12 percent report lacking access to contraceptives due to financial or other reasons.[6]

REP. BURGESS: Can you tell us, between Title X, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, how much money is spent on family planning by the federal government every year?

HATHAWAY: I dont know that number.

Fact: Contraceptives are widely available in the U.S. and already are heavily subsidized by the federal government; total public expenditures for contraceptive services were $1.85 billion in 2006. [7] Medicaid family planning costs during that time totaled $1.3 billion[8]. States additionally contributed $241 million for family planning in fiscal year 2006. Also in the same fiscal year, Title X, an additional funding stream for family planning, contributed another $215 million of taxpayer dollars for family planning services. [9] In more recent years, Title X costs have been as high as $317 million annually.[10]

Contraceptives are also covered by most insurance plans; nine out of ten employer-based insurance health plans cover the full range of contraceptives. [11]

READ FULL TRANSCRIPT

Click here for a more in-depth background on the topic see the FRC written testimony.

Click here to read FRC comments to HHS on the interim final rule.

Click here to read the FRC fact sheet.



[1]

Edgardh, K., et al., Adolescent Sexual Health in Sweden, Sexual Transmitted Infections 78 (2002): 352-6, http://sti.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/78/5/352

[2] Sourafel Girma, David Paton. The Impact of Emergency Birth Control on Teen Pregnancy and STIs.Journal of Health Economics, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2010.12.004

[3]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21134508

[4] Contraceptive Use, Facts in Brief, The Alan Guttmacher Institute (March, 2005), http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html. These numbers represent use among all women age 15-44, and thus, because many women in this age group would not be sexually active, the rate of use among sexually active women would be higher.

[5] L.B. Finer and S.K. Henshaw, Estimates of U.S. Abortion Incidence, 2001-2003, The Alan Guttmacher Institute (August 3, 2006) http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/08/03/ab_incidence.pdf

[6]R. Jones, J. Darroch and S.K. Henshaw Contraceptive Use Among U.S. Women Having Abortions, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 34 (Nov/Dec 2002): 294-303

[7]A. Sonfield, C. Alrich, and R.B. Gold, Public Funding for Family Planning, Sterilization and Abortion Services, FY 19802006, Occasional Report 38 (Jan 2008): 28-33.

[8] Guttmacher Institute, Facts on Contraceptive Use in the United States (August 2011): p. 1 (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contraceptive_serv.html).

[9] Ibid.

[10]Title II of Division D of The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-117), 123 STAT 3239.

[11]Guttmacher Institute, Facts on Contraceptive Use in the United States (June 2010): p. 1 ( http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html).

With Malice toward None, with Charity for All

by Christopher Marlink

November 22, 2011

Adding his voice to FRC’s own Rob Schwarzwalder, Joseph Sunde has a great response over at valuesandcapitalism.com to Rich Cizik’s recent take-down of conservative Christians. Where Cizik is contented to battle straw men, Sunde challenges him with actual ideas held by conservative evangelicals:

Its not that we think supply side economics create strong economies and benefit everyone across the economic spectrum (including, ahem, the poor). Its not that we think free exchange and accurate prices create opportunities for real, sustainable growth and economy recovery. Its not that we think the modern public education system hurts the poor and minimum wage laws lead to poverty traps. And its most certainly not that we think most progressive social programs lead to dehumanization, dependency and economic slavery.

No. Its because we have a fetish for fat cats and were brainwashed by clever marketing. Obviously

Then the money quote:

If Cizik is truly interested in a constructive conversation, he should recognize that it gets him nowhere to sideline our concerns about his pro-poor policies and elevate his progressive approach as the obvious fulfillment of the Sermon on the Mount. If he is really interested in persuading us toward his supposedly Christian outlook, he should start by explaining why and how these programs are, in fact, pro-poor, and how a proper Christian anthropology starts with coercion and manipulation. Instead of claiming our reasons to be purely political, he should explain how exactly his blatant desire to increase political power is somehow less so.

Lastly, because Cizik goes to great lengths to criticize FRC’s Values Voter Summit, I’ve got to add in this caveat from Sunde. It’s just golden:

(CAUTION: Having tuned in to many of the speeches at this years Values Voters summit, I myself am most certainly compromised by the events insincere, diabolical messaging. I am now nothing more than a pawn of big business and the Republican leadership, shamelessly cloaking my love for power and pet political causes in strategic Christian-y language. If you dare continue reading, do so with whatever discretion those wily conservative operatives have allowed you to keep.)

(Thank you Joseph for being part of our diabolical scheme. For those of you who want in, you’ll have to learn the secret handshake using the decoder ring in your box of breakfast cereal.)

What I find particularly troubling is the assumption, a priori, guiding Cizik’s critique. Specifically, that bad motives, political ambition or pure cynicism are guiding conservative Christians in the public square. In his own words:

The Family Research Council…and Christian conservative operatives advance a political agenda by suggesting that the priorities of corporations and the GOP fit snugly with the teachings of Jesus.”

Social conservative leaders have shrewdly recalibrated for an election in which the economy is the top concern for voters. ”

This might be good politics, but its bad theology.”

I don’t find Cizik’s criticism particularly helpful, because it doesn’t grapple with the real views of those with whom he’s at pains to disagree. But beyond that, I think it’s a represents the sad case of a man willing to besmirch his own legacy by assuming the worst of his brothers and sisters in Christ.

I disagree with Cizik, but I believe him sincere. Not evil. Not calculating. Just sincerely wrong. Would that he could extend to us the same charity. As Lincoln would say:

With malice toward none, with charity for all.”

Hold the phone…are we getting through to Chris Matthews?

by Christopher Marlink

November 21, 2011

You be the judge.

First, during Tony Perkins’ interview with Chris Matthews on the 11th, Matthews opens the segment with these words:

Tony, I’ve been thinking about you a lot. I do trust your conscience. You’re more conservative than me on cultural and moral issues, maybe, although I’m not sure. When it comes to actual morality, I think we may be closer than you believe.”

Matthews goes on, “I want to get to Tony here because I find him fascinating, because I do trust him.”

Then on Weekends with Alex Witt Matthews goes on a tear criticizing the President who gave him thrills just two years ago:

What are we trying to do in this administration? Why does he want a second term? Would he tell us? Whats he going to do in the second term? More of this? Is this it? Is this as good as it gets? Where are we going? Are we going to do something the second term? He has yet to tell us. He has not said one thing about what he would do in the second term. He never tells us what he is going to do with reforming our healthcare systems, Medicare, Medicaid, how is going to reform Social Security. Is he going to deal with long-term debt? How? Is he going to reform the tax system? How? Just tell us. Why are we in this fight with him? Just tell us, Commander, give us our orders and tell us where were going, give us the mission. And he hasnt done it.”

A smoking gun? Maybe not. But our character, our views, and our thinking are shaped over time by the company we keep and the people we trust. Here’s hoping Tony continues to rub off on thought leaders (left and right) in the mainstream media.

Occupy Wall Street: A Perspective

by Michael Ciandella

November 21, 2011

I recently saw a picture of an Occupy Wall Street poster that read, The Game of Capitalism Breeds Dishonest Men. Over the past three months, the Occupy movement has seemed to push a sentiment of anti-capitalism that has blocked city streets, cost local NYC businesses nearly half a million dollars, and created an atmosphere of hostility in various OWS protests across the country. Its a bit troubling to see such a movement that seems to go against every economic principle that has directed this country.

The more and more I see my Twitter feed full of the term #OWS or #OccupyDC, I become a little more disheartened. However, Ive recently come across a few articles that have made me feel a little bit better about my beliefs and show what economic principles this country runs on: capitalistic ones. In article on Mark Levins website, Gary Wolfram shows that, through the ages, capitalism seems to be the economic structure of choice. He points back to his experience as an educator. He would ask his students where they would like to be born, if they had the ability to chose. Never did students state that they would want to have grown up in North Korea, Zimbabwe, or Cuba. Time and time again, his students chose countries whose governments are based on free market principles that allow choice, competition, and growth.

According to Wolfram, The Wall Street protesters, in their hatred of capitalism, overlook things including the fact that over the last 100 years capitalism has reduced poverty more and increased life expectancy more than in the 100,000 years prior.While many may argue that these people are merely exercising their right to protest, it seems as though many of them do not even know what they are protesting about. One video Ive watched was an interview with a recent college graduate with a sign that read Throw me a bone - Pay for my tuition. The sentiment of the young man seemed to be one of protesting for the sake of protesting.

Another video showed a protester arguing about the racial inequality in the United States. Lilttle was even spoken of the economic inequality - his argument was geared towards various races mindsets towards others. Without any ideological coherence, the Occupy Wall Street movement has proven to be a showcase of those who do not see what capitalism has done for the United States.

It should also be stated, as a point of fact, that Wall Street is not an entity. It is a literal street with corporations that conduct business on a daily basis. From the arguments and protests that many have been making over the past two months, one might think that these OWSers are inclined to believe that Wall Street is actually an entity. To roughly paraphrase Herman Cain, in a speech at the 2011 Values Voter Summit in Washington DC, the policies of this administration are the reason for the economic problems in the United States today. The place these protesters should occupy is at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Cain certainly seemed to hit the nail on the head.

The current presidential administration in this country has taken the side of Occupy Wall Street, both verbally and legislatively, inching further and further away from capitalism. In just under a year from now, voters will have the chance to make a change in regards to the political makeup of the country. They will have a chance to occupy voting booths across the country. Seize that opportunity to occupy.

 

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