Archive for February 27th, 2009

Obama to Reverse Bush Abortion Regulation

Friday, February 27th, 2009

No surprise here. Between Obama’s track record on this and what he said while campaigning, I expect him to do everything possible to aid in the deaths of as many babies as possible.

President Obama wants to rescind a Bush administration rule that strengthened job protections for doctors and nurses who refuse for moral reasons to perform abortions.

A Health and Human Services official said Friday the administration will publish notice of its intentions early next week, opening a 30-day comment period for advocates, medical groups and the public. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the notice has not been completed.

The Bush administration instituted the rule in its last days, and it was quickly challenged in federal court by several states and medical organizations. As a candidate, Obama criticized the regulation and campaign aides promised that if elected, he would review it.

The news that he was doing so drew praise from abortion-rights supporters and condemnation from groups opposed to abortion.

“It would be a horrible move. These regulations were a long time coming,” said Tom McClusky, a vice president at Family Research Council. “What they seek to do is protect patients, nurses, doctors and other health care professionals from being forced to violate their consciences.”

McClusky and other abortion opponents said the Bush regulation clarified federal policies and raised awareness about the rights of medical providers to follow their consciences. But abortion rights advocates said it was vague and overly broad, and could reduce access to other services — allowing a drug store clerk to refuse to sell birth control pills, for example.

“I think it’s a wonderful step,” Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., who co-chairs the Congressional Pro-choice Caucus and has introduced legislation to overturn the regulation, said of Obama’s move.

“That rule was actually a poorly drafted last-minute attempt to, I think, restrict health care access and I think it would have had far-reaching and unintended consequences.”

Federal law has long forbidden discrimination against health care professionals who refuse to perform abortions or provide referrals for them on religious or moral grounds. The Obama administration supports those laws, said the HHS official.

The Bush administration’s rule adds a requirement that institutions that get federal money certify their compliance with laws protecting the rights of moral objectors. It was intended to block the flow of federal funds to hospitals and other institutions that ignore those rights.

But the Obama administration was concerned that the Bush regulation could also be used to refuse birth control, family planning services and counseling for vaccines and transfusions.

“The administration supports a tightly written conscience clause,” said the HHS official. “While we are concerned about the Bush rule, we also understand there might be a need to clarify existing laws.”

The administration will review comments from the public before making a final decision. Options range from repealing the regulation to writing a new one with a narrower scope.

Original Link.

“The Audacity of Irony – ‘Hope and Change’ Meet Reality” by Victor Davis Hanson

Friday, February 27th, 2009

We have seen irony before, when the moralist Jimmy Carter chastised us with sermons about our paranoid, inordinate fear of Communism and our amoral unconcern with human rights, even as the dividends of his policies were the Soviets in Afghanistan and the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran — and even greater global misery than before.

For the last 24 months a youthful Barack Obama has daily offered unspecified “hope and change” idealism — all set against the supposed cynical wrongdoing of the tired Bush administration. In the unhinged manner in which his supporters turned a center-right president like George Bush into some sort of sinister reactionary, so too they deified a rookie senator as the long-awaited liberal messiah.

How could irony not follow from all that?

For the past seven years the United States has seen no repeat of 9/11, although plots were uncovered and threats from radical Islam were leveled in serial fashion. The ability to intercept and hold terrorists overseas, to tap into cell-phone calls abroad, to detain terrorists caught on the field of battle, and to ensure that intelligence agencies freely swapped information was critical to our unexpected salvation.

Like Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Truman, and other wartime presidents (though none of the above witnessed 3,000 Americans butchered on the soil of the United States by foreign agents), George Bush, with strong bipartisan support, enacted new wartime protocols in the effort to protect the security of the United States. Only a fool would suggest that these homeland-security efforts were unnecessary, or that, in unprecedented fashion, they shredded the Constitution.

But such foolish criticism was exactly the sort leveled against the Bush security protocols by candidate Obama. And so almost at the minute he assumed governance, the now President Obama discovered that his Bush the Constitution-shredder had been a clumsy caricature of Bush the sober commander-in-chief. For Obama on the stump, the choices were endless; in the Oval Office suddenly only bad and worse. So the new president, the favorite of the ACLU, is now in the ironic position of maintaining the hated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reforms, keeping the repugnant Patriot Act, retaining “extraordinary renditions,” and continuing — task forces and promises aside — operation of the Gulag at Guantanamo.

There were many legitimate critiques of the Iraq war. But insisting, as Barack Obama did, that we invaded recklessly and in haste was not one of them. From the fall of the Taliban in December 2001 to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration deliberately and in public fashion sought debate in the Congress for over a year, received bipartisan authorization, and tried for months to win sanction from the United Nations.

In contrast, Barack Obama immediately upon entering office demanded the largest government expansion in the history of the nation. The staggering debt program will require nearly a trillion dollars in borrowing to fund all sorts of entitlements and redistributive efforts, and in revolutionary fashion redefine the role of government itself. Obama pronounced the current economic crisis the moral equivalent of war, and he wanted a national mobilization to meet it — pronto.

But unlike the Bush administration, which took 15 months to prepare the country for a real war in Iraq, the Obama administration gave the public only a few hours to read the final draft of the legislation before it was made into law. Where the polarizing partisan George Bush managed to obtain the vote of majorities in both parties to remove Saddam Hussein, the healing bipartisan Barack Obama lacked the support of even a single Republican in the House and won over a mere three Republicans in the Senate.

Liberals who once screamed that congressional opponents of the Iraq war were being unfairly tagged as unpatriotic by the Bush administration now yelled louder that the opponents of the Obama debt program were, in fact, unpatriotic.

Bush was pilloried for supposedly hyping al Qaeda in order to create a security state. Obama trumped that by proclaiming that the present recession is a catastrophe, a disaster, a Great Depression. He ceased his scare-mongering only when he had exhausted the vocabulary of doom. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” bragged Rahm Emanuel, reminding us that the envisioned Obama socialism could take root only if a climate of fear was created.

In foreign policy the irony is more telling still.

Obama on the campaign trail either did not grasp that Bush’s second-term foreign policy was largely centrist — or found it politically advantageous to ignore that fact. Either way, irony followed. The problem with Europe’s failing to get tough with Iran, or failing to fight in Afghanistan, or appeasing Russia, was not George Bush, but the nature of Europe. Bush inherited, he did not create, Osama bin Laden, Putin’s authoritarianism, Ahmadinejad’s Iran, Chávez’s Venezuela, Kim Jong Il’s North Korea, Qaddafi’s Libya, or the Dr. A. Q. Khan laboratory.

More often, Bush ameliorated, rather than exacerbated, these problems, by being both tough and, yes, multilateral — as friendly governments in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and India attested. Yet by demonizing George Bush — and that is how Team Obama prefaces each announcement of a new initiative — Obama has only set himself up for more irony. He can continue his first few weeks of damning Bush and emulating Jimmy Carter. But if he does, he will soon see another 9/11-like strike, more Russian pressure on Europe, more North Korean missiles, a bomb in Iran, the restarting of Dr. Khan’s nuclear franchise and its appendages in Libya and Syria, and a theocratic nuclear Pakistan.

One can make many criticisms of the Bush administration — occasional hubris, an inability to communicate its ideas, excessive federal spending, unnecessary bellicose rhetoric not matched always by commensurate action — but corruption is not really one of them. While the Republican Congress gave us Duke Cunningham, Larry Craig, and Mark Foley, the Bush administration itself was one of the most corruption-free in recent memory — no Monicas, no serial Clintongates, no pay-to-play presidential pardons, no shaking down donors for a library and a spousal Senate campaign.

So when Barack Obama of Chicago lineage — with former associates like Tony Rezko, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Mayor Richard Daley, and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright — began offering moral platitudes about his soon-to-be-enacted revolutionary ethics, we expected the irony that always follows such hubris and brings in its wake nemesis.

Now we are witnessing one of the most scandal-plagued incipient administrations of the last half-century. And these ethical embarrassments are doubly ironic. The Treasury secretary and nominal head of the IRS is a tax dodger. The egalitarian liberal Tom Daschle, who was going to make health care accessible for the masses, was caught hiding from the tax man tens of thousands of dollars in free limousine service. Reformist cabinet nominees like Bill Richardson (who has already withdrawn) and Hilda Solis cannot themselves follow the laws they were asked to enforce. The would-be performance czar, Nancy Killefer, did not perform on her taxes. We are now awaiting a third try for commerce secretary. The more Obama railed about his new no-lobbyist policies, the more he issued exemptions for the dozen or more insider lobbyists he hired.

The list of ironies could be expanded. Reps. Maxine Waters, Barney Frank, and Gregory Meeks — infamous for their Fannie Mae laxity — now interrogate supposedly incompetent or greedy bank CEOs. Nancy Pelosi, who demanded that the Speaker of the House in novel fashion receive a government-financed private jet, rails against government-enabled private jets. Bush supposedly politicized the White House, so in reaction Obama moves control of the census — the very linchpin of the American political system — for the first time into the White House. Big Brother comes not through tapping a terrorist’s phone, but, perhaps soon, through having the state collect and centralize everyone’s medical records or monitor the content of talk radio.

Why again the audacious irony of Barack Obama?

First, George Bush was not Judas Iscariot nor was Obama Jesus Christ. In the vast abyss between those two caricatures was plenty of room for hypocrisy. The more Obama claimed moral culpability on the part of the sober Bush, the more he proved his own — either by ratifying in hypocritical fashion many of the Bush policies or by reminding the public that if Texas perennially gives us spurs, six-guns, and bring-’em-on lingo, Chicago entertains us with the likes of Tony Rezko, the Daley machine, Rahm Emanuel, and Blago.

Second, Obama did not duly appreciate the sort of pernicious culture that permeates Washington in general, and the Democratic Congress in particular. While it was easy to say that Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham typified a culture of Republican corruption, the truth was always that they were just the flip side to Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank taking cash from Fannie Mae as it exploded, or Rep. Charles Rangel overseeing the tax code that he serially ignored, or Rep. William Jefferson stashing payoff cash in his fridge. A true messiah would have lamented the bipartisan rot in Washington, and then in Lincolnesque fashion figured out a way to clean up his own party first, and the opposition second.

The truth is that Americans don’t take well to self-appointed holy men like Woodrow Wilson or Jimmy Carter. Yes, we’ve had our rare saints, but they were reluctant moralists like Washington and Lincoln, who were recognized as such only after they had saved the nation and stoically endured slander by enemies in war and at home.

Obama can end his irony only when he accepts that he and his supporters were never saints, and his predecessor not a notable sinner, and then accepts that history will judge him on what he does rather than what he says he might do.

Original Link.

“Has Europe already been conquered by Islam?” by Nathan E. Jones

Friday, February 27th, 2009

“All is not well in the old world. There is a tremendous danger looming, and it is very difficult to be optimistic. We might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe. This not only is a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West. The danger I see looming is the scenario of America as the last man standing. The United States is the last bastion of Western civilization, facing an Islamic Europe. In a generation or two, the US will ask itself: who lost Europe?”

The quote is from Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker from the Netherlands, which he made in a speech at the Hudson Institute in New York on September 25, 2008. Wilders’ speech addressed the situation on the ground in Europe, the nature of Islam and a video he produced called Fitna.

Mr. Wilders’ speech (full text) and video (watch), while not specifically about Bible prophecy, brings to light many prophetic end-time events that students of Bible prophecy can easily recognize.

The Controversial Fitna

The 17-minute video Wilders made addresses the same warning as his speech—the rapid Islamization of Europe. The video uses only quotes from the Koran and Muslim teachers, news stories and scenes from Islamic events as proof that Europe is quickly becoming Eurasia.

Like a modern-day Paul Revere, Mr. Wilders has been allowed in Israel and the United States to call out his warnings of the impending Islamic takeover. But, in his own European Union, Wilders’ cry goes ignored by its leaders and raged at by liberal and Islamic groups. He’s even been denied entry into Great Britain, following the lead of Indonesia.

Mr. Wilders’ own Dutch government first attempted to prosecute him under Dutch anti-hate speech laws in June 2008, but failed. Again on January 21, 2009, his own court system ordered prosecutors to try him for hate speech, which if convicted, will land Wilders 16 months in jail and a fine of around $12,800. Court costs alone could eliminate his People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, which is most likely the intended tactic of silencing Wilders and eliminating his party’s influence.

Wilders’ Prophetic Warning—to Europe

If there’s any proof that the Netherlands and the European Union in general have already been taken over by Islam, the silencing of a warning by one of their own parliamentarians and the condemnation by European Union leaders are proof that the will to survive has truly been lost in much of Europe.

Fitna merely uses the Koran, news stories and Islam’s own practices to make people aware of what Islam’s intentions and rule would be like. And yet, European leaders have chosen to appease Islam and attempt to silence Mr. Wilders’ warning. Since appeasement always leads to subjugation by a totalitarian ideology, shouldn’t Europe soon be conquered by Islam?

I don’t think one particular European will remain compliant about Islamic takeover for very long. The Antichrist makes his scene like a peaceful, appeasing “dove” (Rev. 6:2), but, once in control, this native of “the people who destroy the Temple” (Dan. 9:26)—the Romans—conquers with a warrior’s spirit (Rev. 6:4). Clearly he will have taken Fitna‘s warning to heart.

What will this leader who believers in Christ call the “Antichrist” use to remove the threat of the Islamic takeover of Europe? Opportunity.

The Book of Daniel foretells the last Gentile world empire will be a confederation of nations (Dan. 2:41-43) that will arise out of the old Roman Empire (Dan. 7:7-8). And out of that confederation, the Antichrist will arise, using the revived Roman Empire as his base to conquer the world (Dan. 7:8, 23-25).

Half of the Roman Empire has quickly been reborn in the form of the European Union. The other half needed to complete the revival of the Roman Empire lies throughout a variety of Muslim nations from North Africa east around the Mediterranean Sea. Europe has been in negotiations with these countries in an attempt to create an economic union called the Mediterranean Union.

The battles of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 & 39 makes the scenario of a Mediterranean Union highly unlikely, though. With the Islamic nations crushed by Israel and God, the leader from the European Union wouldn’t need a Mediterranean Union. Islamic morale will have been shattered and religious dissolution over the existence of Allah will have set in. The European ruler would only have to make a treaty with the only nation left in the Middle East—Israel—which he does in Daniel 9:27, and just walk right into the already defeated Islamic nations and subjugate them. Once the revived Roman Empire is consolidated, the Antichrist will bring world war upon the rest of the world, eliminating any vestiges of rivaling totalitarianism like Islam and forcing the nations of the world into subjugation to his empire (Dan. 8:24; Rev. 6:2-8). He’ll have to contend with the other absolute ideologies like Judaism and Tribulation believers of Christ, which he does (Rev. 6:9-11; 7:9-14). But overall, the world will be his to force to obey a new religion unknown to his fathers—the worship of himself (Dan. 11:38; 2 Thes. 2:4).

The Antichrist’s final Gentile empire will be short-lived, though, for it will be utterly defeated by the return of the Messiah who will “set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44).

Other Warnings

Read more of Geert Wilders’ warnings to:
Jews | Islam | Europe | Israel | America

Original Link.

“The Right Not To Be Offended?” by David Harsanyi

Friday, February 27th, 2009

It’s a discredit to our national confidence that each time some impolite thought — perceived or otherwise — is uttered, sketched or typed, a faction of professionally offended Americans engages in a collective hypersensitivity meltdown.

It has been a long-standing custom for opponents to shut down debate by tagging adversaries with some dreadful labels. No one wants to be called a racist, a Commie or a neocon. It’s gotten to the point that the gatekeepers of the news walk so tepidly on the path of least resistance a journalist can’t even get a dirty joke in the newspaper.

Attorney General Eric Holder recently claimed that we, as a nation, have been cowards on the topic of race. And maybe he’s right. Some Americans are cowards. Other Americans — the ones in the media — worry that Al Sharpton might show up in their doorways and shake down their kids for allowance money.

Sean Delonas, cartooning at the New York Post, recently learned what happens when you inadvertently offend. He equated congressional authors of the so-called stimulus bill with that crazy rampaging chimpanzee (admittedly an unpardonable insult to our simian cousins). But some readers saw Barack Obama. So the situation has erupted into a massively stupid kerfuffle.

Now, I don’t doubt that many readers of this admittedly unfortunate cartoon legitimately were offended. So let’s, for the sake of argument, concede that the cartoonist is a raging racist. What now?

In protests this week, students at a New York college urged boycotts, began burning newspapers — a hop, skip and jump from burning books! — and demanded that anyone involved with the cartoon be fired. Fair enough.

But now the Rev. Al has ordered a meeting with the Federal Communications Commission so he — a man who has set off more chaos, loathing and racism in New York than any cartoonist — can discuss the ownership of the Post. The FCC, according to Sharpton, has acquiesced to meet in Washington.

As an antiquated government entity, the FCC controls the public airwaves and ownership of media companies. What if it meets with Sharpton and then moves against the New York Post’s owner?

We largely have avoided the corrosive trend of chilling free speech — though discussions about the “Fairness Doctrine” (and its derivatives), which allows government to dictate what opinions Americans should hear on the public airwaves, remains a hobbyhorse for some lefties.

A media outlet, of course, is under no obligation to print something that gratuitously offends readers, and it would be counterproductive for it to do so. But umbrage often is taken regardless. Should an angry conservative leader have met with the FCC to discuss the future of The Washington Post’s ownership when one of the paper’s cartoonists depicted an American solider as a suicide bomber a few years ago? Imagine the outrage such a move would have caused.

Recently, Geert Wilders — a Dutch politician who produced the film “Fitna,” which asserts that Islam is a threat to enlightened Western values — was refused entry into the United Kingdom because of that nation’s policy to “stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages.”

The British proved Wilders’ point about Islam’s influence by suppressing free expression. The case of Wilders, who is in the U.S. right now, offers a cautionary lesson.

Feel free to be indignant and hurt. Feel free to boycott and to cast nasty aspersions on the decency of those who offend you. But let’s keep government out of it. If we’re not careful, the war against offensive speech could morph into a war against free speech.

Original Link.

DHS Secretary Alarmed that Immigration Laws Enforced

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Excuse me?? Isn’t it her job to make sure immigration laws are enforced?? What is wrong with these people!!

From Michelle Malkin:

Oh, the open-borders crowd’s heads are exploding.

Under President Obama and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s watch, federal immigration agents had the nerve to — gasp! — enforce immigration laws.

How could this happen? Quick, launch an investigation! This must not be allowed to stand!

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Wednesday ordered a review of a raid at an engine plant in Washington State that resulted in the arrests of 28 people suspected of being illegal immigrants.

A high-level official in the Department of Homeland Security said that Ms. Napolitano had not been informed about the raid on Tuesday before it happened, and that she was seeking details about its planning and scope.

“She was not happy about it because it’s inconsistent with her position, and the president’s position on these matters,” said the official, who agreed to discuss the matter on condition of anonymity because the secretary had not authorized the conversation.

You can be sure the taxpayer-funded National Council of Raza will use all the earmark money it will be receiving to lobby aggressively for comprehensive shamnesty:

The National Council of La Raza urged supporters to call the White House and demand Mr. Obama lay out his immigration policy, while the National Immigration Forum said the raid was an unwelcome continuation of Bush administration policies.

“What are Latino and immigrant voters to think? They turn out in massive numbers and vote for change and yet ‘change we can believe in’ turns out to be ‘business as usual,’ ” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the forum.

He called for a halt to the raids while Homeland Security conducts its review of immigration policies.

As for the poor, innocent workers nabbed in the raid, guess what? The raid was the result of a gang investigation:

“Information derived from two gang members previously arrested in an ICE gang operation led to the initiation of the work-site investigation at Yamato Engine Specialists,” said press secretary Kelly Nantel. “Follow-up investigation uncovered a potentially large number of illegally employed workers. ICE conducted the operation in order to identify and if appropriate, apprehend any unauthorized workers and to further determine potential criminal activity.”

Homeland Security officials worried about gang and criminal activity?

This must not stand!

Original Link.

“The Taxpayers’ Mantra: No We Won’t” by Laura Hollis

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Last week I gave my take on the trillion dollar “stimulus” package Obama and the Congressional Democrats shoved down America’s throat – that 1100+ page leviathan that no one read before it was voted on. I warned that the “Keynesian” policies it supposedly reflected were long-since discredited, that it would throw us more deeply into economic chaos, that this was deliberate, that it was little more than a thinly disguised effort to socialize the entire American economy, and that one need only read 80 years of communist and socialist theory to see it for what it was.

Just one week later, what has happened? The markets reacted to the signing of the bill by falling over 300 points. Obama announced yet another multi-billion dollar “bailout” – this one allegedly for homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgages (and this despite a 40-60% redefault rate!). $75 billion for them, and $400 billion for who? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-government entities that deceptively repackaged and sold the worthless mortgage-backed securities (under pressure from special interest groups) that set this economic collapse in motion. And now the government is talking about nationalizing the banks.

Obama’s shills like to point to his poll numbers as proof of public support. Garbage. The markets – the only “poll” that matters – fell to a twelve-year low yesterday. They drop every time this guy opens his mouth. At this rate, by the end of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, we’ll be the Weimar Republic.

We are having hundreds of billions of our hard-earned tax dollars taken from us and given to the same organizations that got us in this mess, under the advice and counsel of the same irresponsible and deceitful politicians like Barney Frank and others who ignored warnings about the bad lending practices in the first place. And those same politicians now see fit to lecture us about patriotism and fiscal responsibility? This is a travesty so appalling that it should be prompting protests in the streets.

As hardworking, tax-paying Americans have watched this Obamadrama play out, they have become increasingly distressed, saying, “But what do we do?”

We start saying NO. Obama’s campaign mantra was “Yes, we can.” Here’s the new mantra for the American taxpayer: “No, we won’t.”

The Obama administration looks bold, calm and confident, but they have one primal fear, and it isn’t economic collapse. The Obamaniacs are terrified that Americans will see through the charade.

Obama and the Congressional Communists are counting on the American taxpayers to do what they have always done: gripe a bit, then hunker down, work even harder, and pay even more taxes. At the first hint of grumbling, they’ll pronounce the usual platitudes about “shared sacrifice,” “patriotism” and “belt-tightening.” They’ve already done that. But Americans have seen through it. Where’s the “shared sacrifice” if you’re cutting back to make your mortgage payment, and the government hits you up to pay some stranger’s mortgage as well? And it’s hard to call for belt-tightening when Congress clamors to sign the bill within hours of receiving it so that Nancy Pelosi can jet off to Rome for a private audience with the Pope, and President Obama can ride a taxpayer-funded 747 back to Chicago to take Michelle out for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. (What, there aren’t any restaurants in D.C.?)

When the grumbling gets a little louder than usual, when appeals to patriotism don’t work, they’ll ratchet up the next level of shibboleths: accusations of “greed,” “selfishness,” and (that trusty old standby) “racism.”

Americans’ response must be the same: “No. That won’t work anymore.”

What’s needed here is some good old-fashioned civil disobedience. The Fairness Doctrine is the best place to start.

Read the rest of the article here.