Archive for January 20th, 2009

Hope, Expectations Soar Ahead of Obama Inauguration

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

WASHINGTON — For most of the public on the National Mall Tuesday, their best view will be of a jumbo television screen. Hundreds of thousands had filled into the 2-mile stretch of parkland hours before Barack Obama was to take his oath of office.

The outpouring of so many people — smiling people — to celebrate the inauguration of America’s 44th president by itself sends a signal about the expectations that will tug at Obama once he is sworn in Tuesday.

The president-elect throughout his campaign pledged to unite a country divided over the decision to invade Iraq, the handling of the economic crisis, religious beliefs, race and countless cultural wedges. And as Obama takes the oath of office outside the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, millions of people are prepared to give him that chance.

“This is the least partisan day of the whole year in this country,” said Kasey Pipes, former speechwriter for President Bush. “In some sense everyone is pulling for Obama. It’s a very unique moment in history and I think he’s going to take advantage of it.”

With Obama’s inauguration just hours away, thousands upon thousands of out-of-towners had descended on Washington, D.C., to attend the ceremony and parade Tuesday, and take part in the accompanying revelry over the weekend.

They filled nearly every patch of ground from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument for the celebrity-studded kick-off concert Sunday, and on Monday crammed into the space in front of the Capitol steps just to catch a glimpse of the spot where Obama will make history as the first black president.

As hope-filled spectators greet the incoming president, Bush will leave office with some of the lowest approval ratings in history. Hundreds of protesters in their final throes marched to the White House on Monday in opposition to the Iraq war. They threw about 40 pairs of shoes at the gate, mimicking the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad.

Bush’s legacy, though, is unclear, and even Obama has tried to temper expectations that he will right all the perceived missteps of the previous administration.

“I won’t pretend that meeting any one of these challenges will be easy. It will take more than a month or a year, and it will likely take many,” the president-elect told the throng of people at the Lincoln Memorial Sunday. “Along the way there will be setbacks and false starts and days that test our fundamental resolve as a nation.”

But that hasn’t stopped him from throwing what amounts to at least a $100 million inauguration bash for supporters, many of whom devoted themselves to his campaign.

Original Link.

“Pray Obama Fails” by Joseph Farah

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Many American Christians believe, as an article of faith, that we are to pray for the success of our leaders.

It has become a sort of conventional wisdom among soft-minded believers. The biblical proof-text for this misguided way of thinking is Romans 13:1-4:

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

“Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

What could be more clear-cut? At face value, it would seem the Bible is telling us government is a God-ordained good and that we are not to resist its terrors.

Many a coward has been bolstered in his conviction against challenging tyranny by not reading too deeply into the Scriptures. Yet, nowhere does the Bible ever suggest evil rulers are to be obeyed. When the rule of men conflicts with the commands of God, the Bible leaves no doubt about where we should stand.

That’s why I do not hesitate today in calling on godly Americans to pray that Barack Hussein Obama fail in his efforts to change our country from one anchored on self-governance and constitutional republicanism to one based on the raw and unlimited power of the central state.

It would be folly to pray for his success in such an evil campaign.

I want Obama to fail because his agenda is 100 percent at odds with God’s. Pretending it is not simply makes a mockery of God’s straightforward Commandments.

So you will not see me joining in the ritual of affirming Obama and his mission in public or private prayer this week – or any other week.

Instead, I uphold the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:14: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” And I take warning from Isaiah 9:16: “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.”

And please don’t tell me about “rendering unto Caesar.”

It’s important to consider the circumstances and the audience behind Jesus’ instructions to “render unto Caesar.” The Sadducees were attempting to trap Jesus into advocating open contempt for Caesar. He recognized their wicked and hypocritical little game and answered them with a totally truthful response that astonished everyone.

But think about it. There are two components to Jesus’ words. We are to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” but we are also to “render unto God the things that are God’s.” Well, everything ultimately belongs to God. But, most of all, this injunction by Jesus instructs us that government laws cannot trump God’s laws – ever.

If government commands you to do evil, as a Christian you must resist. There is no alternative. Citing the “render unto Caesar” line is an apologetic for accountability to God – nothing more, nothing less.

Furthermore, it needs to be pointed out that in America we don’t have a Caesar. Never have, never will. You see, our system of government is called a free republic, and it is based on the concept of constitutional self-government. We have no “rulers” in America – except ourselves and our God. We believe in the rule of law, not the rule of men.

This is an important distinction, not a semantic one.

Nowhere in the Bible does it teach us to obey evil rulers. Nowhere.

This is a time for principled biblical resistance, not phony Christian appeasement.

Original Link.

Border Agents Convicted of Shooting Smuggler to be Released March 20

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

President Bush commuted the prison sentences of former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean today.

The announcement came on the last full day of Bush’s presidency. The sentences for Ramos and Compean are scheduled to expire March 20 but there was no immediate explanation for the time period between today’s announcement and that date.

Two years ago, Ramos and Compean began serving sentences of 11- and 12- years respectively for a 2005 incident in which they fired on a drug smuggler as he fled back into Mexico after bringing 750 pounds of marijuana into the U.S. near Fabens, Texas.

As WND reported last week, the Department of Justice’s pardon attorney, Ronald Rogers, opened a file on the case and was considering recommending that the president commute the sentences.

Rogers said at the time the former agents apparently were not eligible for a pardon, which would nullify the punishment. But they might be eligible for a commutation, he said, which would result in a reduction of their sentences.

“Thank God for this commutation,” said Joseph Farah, editor of WND, who launched a petition and letter-writing campaign that re-energized the Ramos-Compean issue in the last 30 days of Bush’s term. “This will end the sleepless nights for their wives and children. This is the first step toward making these families whole, again.”

His petition collected more than 40,000 signatures by the time today’s announcement was made, and the letter campaign produced more than 3,000 FedEx letters to the White House.

“We can only thank Joseph Farah, Jerome Corsi and the staff at WorldNetDaily because from the beginning you have been with us and you never gave up on the case,” Joe Loya, Ramos’ father-in-law, said today. “Your reporting had a lot to do with the decision today by President Bush to commute the sentences.”

The petition had described how the agents “are now serving outrageously long prison terms for shooting and wounding, in the line of duty, a fleeing illegal alien drug smuggler trying to bring almost 800 pounds of marijuana into the U.S.”

The smuggler was granted immunity for his illegal activities in return for testifying against the agents. After the trial, it was revealed the smuggler participated in another drug run into the U.S. while he held immunity.

The law under which the agents were ordered to serve minimum 10-year sentences for using a firearm in the commission of a crime never had been applied to law enforcement officers.

Farah’s letter also noted several jurors complained they had been intimidated into voting “guilty” while they actually believed Ramos and Compean were innocent, yet the trial judge refused to set aside the verdict.

Among other factors raising public concern was the prosecutor’s statement that the sentences were too harsh.

The agents had attracted the support of a members of Congress, too. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., recently asked U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, the prosecutor in the case, to support a commutation in their sentences.

“As Johnny Sutton said in his own words, this punishment is excessive,” Rohrabacher said. “Millions of Americans, members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats have spoken.”

“It becomes a debate about punishment,” Sutton said on the CNN Headline News Glenn Beck Program May 18, 2007. “I have a lot of sympathy for those who say, look, punishment is too high, you know, 10 years. I agree.”

More than 150 members of the House of Representatives, including both Democrats and Republicans, have signed onto various resolutions in support of either a full pardon or a commutation of sentence for Ramos and Compean.

On the Senate side, John Cornyn, R-Texas, had released an open letter to the president pleading for their freedom. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also joined the effort.

The burden of the sentences fell heavily on the families of the agents. Ramos wife, Monica, reported just this month that there was an attempted hit on her life and that of her children when someone broke into their El Paso home and filled it with gas, trashing photographs and pummeling their dog.

The attackers, while she was away, stole various items, ripped cherished wedding pictures and family photographs and even left the gas turned on.

“It was very intentional in that somebody was trying to hurt us,” she said on a radio program.

“He’s in there because he was stopping a drug smuggler,” she said. “And yet my kids have to go through an extensive search when we see him. … We’re not able to have any physical contact with him while we’re there.”

In a special letter released to WND before the commutation was announced, Compean thanked his supporters, especially for the cards and letters during his incarceration.

He said he feared being forgotton.

“I truly believed people would forget all about us. Once we reported to prison, I was very happy to see how wrong I was. I have received thousands of letters from people all over the country. I have also received letters from other countries such as Italy and even a few from soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Original Link.

The Media: Obama’s Ministry of Propaganda?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

We have reported repeatedly on the media’s obvious, and in many cases, overt bias in favor of Obama during the presidential campaign. The press has taught Americans to hate all things Bush, and by extension, all things Republican and conservative.
Today, Mr. Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.
It will be interesting to see if the press will take Mr. Obama to task as they have done with President Bush, or will they merely become his “Ministry of Propaganda” (as some “reporters” already have)?
Let’s watch and see…

“Republicans Must Turn Down the Kool-Aid” by David Limbaugh

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

It’s going to take real courage the next four years for Republicans to swim against the tide and oppose Barack Obama — in whom so many have placed their hopes, almost to the point of idolatry. But if Obama governs in a way that’s consistent with his promises, the country’s future security and prosperity will depend on spirited opposition.

It’s bad enough for the liberal media to deify Obama, but it’s almost unbearable for right-wing commentators and politicians to jump on this bandwagon, as well, as if Obama’s personal attributes have blinded them to the policy dangers he represents.

During the Bush years, the left blamed Bush for the absence of bipartisanship, when, by any rational measure, they were the ones whose relentless vitriol made bipartisanship impossible.

Forgive the analogy, but their reversal of blame is reminiscent of a memorable scene in the movie “Animal House,” when fraternity hotshot “Otter” pressured the hapless legacy pledge, “Flounder,” into lending him his brother’s car. When Otter returned the car after having demolished it, Otter chastised Flounder for entrusting the car to him. “You (screwed) up. You trusted me.”

Now, after eight years of this poison, the same specious theme from the Bush bashers has found a new application: “Republicans must work with Barack Obama and restore a spirit of collegiality to Washington,” as if they have any moral authority to be lecturing, but even more importantly, as if a spirit of collegiality will solve America’s problems.

To be clear, I am not advocating that Republicans return the same mean-spirited partisanship with which the left pummeled Bush. But conservatives must not abandon their principles in pursuit of the seductive, illusory goal of bipartisanship.

You’d think this principle too sophomoric to articulate, and so do I — almost. But have you been listening to Republican politicians and “conservative” commentators lately behaving as if their eternal salvation depends on jumping aboard a train headed in the opposite direction from everything in which they profess to believe?

Of course the right should support Obama on things they agree with him on and never oppose him gratuitously for purely partisan reasons. Indeed, they should rejoice if Obama were to morph into a free market enthusiast, national security stalwart, champion of the unborn, and protector of our borders.

But such talk is academic, as the chances of Obama being substantively Reaganesque are less than his becoming obese, which means that during the next few years, the articulation of principled conservatism could never be more important. They must resist pressures for bipartisanship from those who will continue to use it as a weapon to intimidate principled opposition.

Read the rest of the article here.