Archive for March, 2010

“The Democrats’ Hypocrisy Is Staggering” By John Lott

Friday, March 26th, 2010

With legislation encompassing almost 3,000 pages, it will take time to find out exactly what the mandates in the newly passed health care law mean for America. After all, it wasn’t until the end of last week that the reconciliation bill was even made public. But here’s something we already have uncovered. And it’s shocking. — In addition to all the special favors doled out to various congressional districts, it turns out that the congressional staff who wrote the health care bill put in special favors for themselves, too.

While everyone else in the United States — from the top corporate executives to the grocery store checkout clerk — will be forced to buy their insurance through heavily regulated state-run exchanges, the health care bill excludes one group: the leadership and committee staff. Yes, that’s right. The very people who wrote up this bill are refusing to be included themselves. Given the narrow definition of “congressional staff” on page 158 of the health care bill, the Congressional Research Service memo believes that courts will not require “professional committee staff, joint committee staff, some shared staff, as well as potentially those staff employed by leadership offices” to go through the exchanges. President Obama and his family are also exempt from the law.

Insurance plans will only be allowed in these exchanges if they meet rules governing benefit packages, quality standards and measures of uniformity of enrollment procedures. And it doesn’t stop there they must also meet the rules about provider networks, the right kind of rating system, outreach, reinsurance and risk adjustment, and a variety of other federally determined processes. If these regulations are so wonderful, Americans have a simple question: what is it that Democrats know about the state-run insurance exchanges that make them want to avoid them?

The answer seems obvious. These regulations will raise costs, not lower them as the president promised, and lower the quality of medicine that policyholders receive.

Jim Manley, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman tried to put the best spin on this by telling Politico that they didn’t want language that would have required “people like legislative counsel, Architect of the Capitol, etc.” to be included in the exchanges. Though he made it sound like this was a matter of technical language, there remains the fundamental question of why anyone, especially somebody putting together and advocating this very bill, should be exempt in the first place. These public servants must to be governed by the same rules that the rest of us mere mortals have to obey.

Democrats have no obvious explanation about why this provision was quietly inserted into the health care bill. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) warned that he and other Republican Senators tried to fix the problem of staff being excluded from the rules. “I tried to fix this inequity along with senators Grassley, Burr and Vitter, but Majority Leader [Harry] Reid obstructed our effort,” Senator Coburn said.

Obviously, the Democratic leadership knew full well that the bill they passed on Sunday with such fanfare is going to make things worse for the vast majority of those who are already insured. There is no other reason why the staff that wrote this bill would exempt themselves. The anger over the Democrats’ hypocrisy should be deafening.

John R. Lott, Jr. is a FoxNews.com contributor. He is an economist and author of “More Guns, Less Crime” (University of Chicago Press, 2010). The book’s third edition will be published in May.

Original Link.

Congressional Staffers Complain About Double Standard in Health Care Law

Friday, March 26th, 2010

As we have pointed out all along, the health care you are going to be forced to use is not mandated for the president, his staff or top congressional leaders and their staffs. They will continue to use the insurance they have now. No public insurance pools for them.
So the question, again the one we have been asking along, still stands; if this health care reform is so good, why did our “leaders” exempt themselves from it?

Come 2014, all 100 U.S. senators, all 435 representatives in the House and every one of their personal aides will have to go to the newly formed state exchanges for health insurance — just like everyone else in the country who isn’t covered by their employer.

But select congressional leadership staffers — some of whom wrote the health insurance act — won’t. And neither will White House staffers and Cabinet members — nor the president himself. They will be allowed to keep their current plans, which are offered to all other federal employees.

And now many congressional aides who like their current health insurance policies and will be forced to switch are asking: Why?

They want to know: If an exchange is good enough for them, why isn’t it good enough for the people who wrote the plan? Why isn’t it good enough for the president and his Cabinet?

Original Link.

Face of Jesus Christ on Shroud to Come to Life Through Graphic Computer Technology

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Face in the Shroud

This is really cool.

The world will have an extraordinary opportunity to look upon what may be an undistorted, never-before-seen, moving 3-D portrait of a man who many think may be the crucified Jesus Christ.

In just one week, graphic experts will bring to life an imprint on the holy relic known as the Shroud of Turin, believed by millions to be the burial shroud of Christ.

The Shroud of Turin bears the full-body, back-and-front image of a crucified man that is said to closely resemble the New Testament description of the passion and death of Christ. The 14-foot cloth long has posed mysteries because of its age and its negative image of a bloodstained and battered man who had been crucified. Believers claim it to be the miraculous image of Jesus, formed as he rose from the dead.

The History Channel will air “The Real Face of Jesus?,” a special two-hour event that premieres March 30 at 9 p.m. EST. It aims to bring the world as close as it has ever come to seeing what Jesus may have actually looked like.

Computer graphics artist Ray Downing of Studio Macbeth used today’s most sophisticated electronic tools and software in a yearlong effort to recreate the face imprint on the Shroud of Turin.

“The presence of 3-D information encoded in a 2-D image is quite unexpected, as well as unique,” Downing said. “It is as if there is an instruction set inside a picture for building a sculpture.”

OK, this is important to understand. Put simply, almost all two dimensional drawings contain only two dimensional data. The shroud is a two dimensional drawing, but contains 3 dimensional data. Not such a big deal today, but quite a feat for the time period detractors claim the shroud was made in.

The shroud was either created by a genus, with the mind of a computer and the drawing ability of a graphics plotter, or it is the actual burial shroud of Jesus Christ. Those are about the only choices left.

As an engineer, I deal with drawings every day. I’m not an expert, such as a draftsperson or graphic artist would be, but I know that it’s only been within the last two decade that computers became powerful enough to render two dimensional data into three dimensional drawings.

Graphic of Face from the Shroud

Going back to my previous statement, an artist would not only have to be able to visualize, or render two dimensional data accurately into three dimensional data, something that takes massive computer power to do today, but he would also have to be able to draw it, just as perfectly as he envisioned it, something only high quality, precision plotters are capable of today. There would be no way to “erase” any errors in his work once he started rendering it on the linen cloth. If it was done in stages, as it would be impossible for a human to render an image this complex in one sitting, the shroud would most likely show imperfections where he left off on one day and resumed it the next. The odds of a person being able to do these things are, for all practical purposes, impossible.

I’m not Catholic, so as a “relic”, the shroud doesn’t mean as much to me as it would to practicing Catholics. With that said, I do find it a fascinating possibility that we might be looking at an image of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

He told WND some scientists debate whether 3-D information is provided in the shroud.

“It’s so unusual to find this kind of information – in ancient cloths, photographs, paintings, drawings and etchings – it’s so unusual that some think it’s a miracle and some doubt it’s even there,” he said. “The people who say it’s not there haven’t examined it for themselves. Disbelievers disbelieve it. Believers think it’s a miracle ”

Downing used similar computer graphics techniques in 2009 to create moving images of Abraham Lincoln in “Stealing Lincoln’s Body.” He said in “The Real Face of Jesus?,” viewers will learn how artists used the technology to build the figure.

“There comes a time in the show where there’s a climax where we actually reveal the face of Jesus,” he explained. “What you’ll see is a very, very close shot of Jesus in the tomb, and then he comes to life.”

Downing said there are two lessons within the story of the shroud.

“There is the story of the shroud which, artistically and scientifically, is the story of a transition from two dimensional to three dimensional. But there is as well the story of the man in the shroud, and a record of His transformation from death to life,” Downing observed. “The two stories are intertwined; they seem to be one and the same.”

In 2009, Downing and the History Channel traveled to see John Jackson, a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs who runs the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado, to learn more about the science of the cloth from the man who has studied it first-hand.

In 1978, Jackson led a team of American scientists which was given exclusive access to the Shroud of Turin for five days of intensive scientific examination. Jackson has continued his analysis of that data until the present time.

“People are so fascinated by this because there’s a real possibility that this might be the historic burial cloth of Jesus,” Jackson told WND. “If it’s the burial cloth of Jesus, then it would also be the resurrection cloth. Suddenly, you have a physical object – here we are 2,000 years later – that conceivably could just bring us right into the Easter tomb.”

Jackson said the shroud shows all the blood wounds that are recorded in the gospels. Among Jackson’s findings he cited:

* Bloodstains on the shroud are real, and the blood has not been degraded by heat.

* Historians say the stains are consistent with crucifixion, including puncture wounds from thorns and scourge marks from a Roman whip.

* A puncture wound in the man’s side is consistent with a Roman spear. And the wound marks showing nail holes through the wrists and heels are consistent with Roman crucifixion.

* A textile restorer, Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, in 2002 announced the stitching found in the material had been seen in material from only one other source: the ruins of Masada, a Jewish settlement destroyed in A.D. 74. And the herringbone weave was common in the First Century but rare in Middle Ages.

“It would seem that it’s pretty unique,” Jackson explained. “Crucifixion was done quite a bit in the Roman Empire. It was their way of controlling the population that they wanted to subjugate. But the crown of thorns, according to the gospel accounts, was something that was invented for Jesus because of his claim of being King of the Jews. He was also scourged as well. There was no record that the other two men who were crucified along with Jesus had it happen to them.”

Jackson said generations upon generations of people have passed on the shroud, and much of the information about the origins of the burial cloth was not passed along with it.

“So you just have a degradation of what you know about this cloth,” he said. “So you have to rely upon scientific archeology of the cloth to bridge over some of that ignorance and tie things together.”

The shroud’s detractors seem to want an unbroken evidence chain in order to substantiate the claims of this being Jesus’ actual shroud, but unfortunately the apostles didn’t bag it in a clear plastic bag, sealed it with red tape and label it with a Sharpie marker “Jesus’ Burial Shroud”.

No amount of information is ever enough for those wishing to disprove God and His plan of Salvation for Mankind.

Body Under the Shroud

Original Link.

History Channel “The Real Face of Jesus?”.
Studio MacBeth.
Ray Downing’s Website.
The Shroud of Turin Website.
Shroud of Turin Story.
The Turin Shroud Center of Colorado.
“Shroud of Turin” From Wikipedia.

Other Posts:
Face on Shroud of Turin Evident on “Hidden” Side – “Not a Medieval Painting or Photographic Rendering”.
Study by Statisticians Refute Conclusion of Shroud Carbon-14 Dating.
The Face in the Shroud – True or Not, Still Fascinating.
Italian Scientist Claims to Have Reproduced the Shroud of Turin.

Amnesty – Next on Liberals’ Agenda

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

No surprise here.

The head of an immigration enforcement PAC says in the aftermath of their healthcare victory, Democrats will push forward with another controversial agenda item — getting amnesty passed — in order to create millions of new Democratic voters.

According to William Gheen, the vast majority of Americans are opposed to amnesty — but he believes that just as with healthcare reform, President Obama and other liberal Democrats are prepared to move forward with the legislation anyway.

“Congressman [Luis] Gutierrez [of Illinois], their big leader in the House of Representatives, made it very clear that pushing through an unpopular bill like healthcare was their warm-up and preparedness run for a more unpopular push for amnesty,” says the president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC.

Original Link.

“Not Your Mother’s Senior Prom” by Bryan Fischer

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

It’s a perfect storm of judicial activism, secular fundamentalism, and weakness in educational leadership.

As a result, we have now been told by a hyperactive federal judge that students who engage in sexually abnormal practices have a First Amendment right to bring their sexually abnormal dates to a high school dance, and there’s not a thing schools can do about it. This is not your mother’s senior prom.

Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Glen H. Davidson ruled that Itawamba County Agricultural High School in Fulton, Miss., violated Constance McMillen’s First Amendment free-speech rights because the school has had a policy in place for some time that if students bring a date to the senior prom, the date must be a member of the opposite sex. He didn’t order the school to reinstate its canceled prom, but only because a privately sponsored prom is in the works. Plus, something called the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition is hosting a prom for gay and lesbian students from all over the state. (See related news story)

The school’s policy is just good common sense, and in alignment with the understanding of gender that has undergirded civil society from time immemorial, ever since God created mankind “male and female,” according to Genesis 1:27.

Further, the school retained the right to establish certain appropriate dress code policies for dance attendees.

Ms. McMillen is an open lesbian and wanted to wear a tuxedo to prom and bring a lesbian date. The school said no.

Unfortunately, the school collapsed like a cheap tent in a stiff breeze as soon as the ACLU threatened a lawsuit, and canceled the senior prom altogether rather than showing enough spine to stand up to these schoolyard bullies. Liberty Counsel offered school officials the finest pro bono legal representation available, but the school did not even return Liberty’s phone calls.

Judge Davidson said the school violated Ms. McMillen’s right to free speech. This is utterly absurd. Ms. McMillen has been talking non-stop to anybody who will listen, and the school has made no effort of any kind to stop her from doing so. She’s been on The Early Show, The Wanda Sykes Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, has done countless media interviews, and has 400,000 fans at the Facebook page set up for her by the ACLU. DeGeneres even presented her with a $30,000 college scholarship. We should all be lucky enough to have our rights violated so egregiously.

Wrote Judge Davidson in his opinion: “The Court finds this expression and communication of her viewpoint is the type of speech that falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment.”

This, Judge Davidson, is not a matter of free speech at all. “Speech,” after all, is “speech” — not behavior or conduct. And further, what business is it of the federal government — any branch of the federal government — to tell rural schools anywhere how to run school dances? You will look in vain for any mention of proms, tuxedos, or sexual orientation in the federal Constitution.

A judge who had not drunk deeply of the spirit of judicial activism and political correctness would simply have tossed this case out of his courtroom before it ever got heard. He would have told the ACLU to go away, instructing them that the Constitution gives the central government no authority whatsoever to tell tiny rural schools how to manage social events.

The ACLU, now empowered to push every school in the nation around, will now go after school after school and pressure them to normalize homosexual behavior, using senior proms as their battering ram. That ultimately is what this is about: forcing schools to treat non-normative sexuality as it if were the moral equivalent of normative sexuality, and at the same time shredding what remains of the Judeo-Christian value system on which this nation was built.

The ACLU claims that it just wanted Ms. McMillen to be treated equally. Well, in point of fact, she was being treated with absolute equality by the school. The same policy — if you want to bring a date, the date must be of the opposite sex — applied to every student in the school. There wasn’t one rule for Ms. McMillen and a different rule for everybody else. If she wanted to bring a date, she could, on the same basis as every other student in the school. You can’t get any fairer and more equal than that.

What this makes clear is that the ACLU is not after equal rights for homosexuals — they want special rights. Ms. McMillen already had equal rights, but that was not good enough for the tyrants at the ACLU.

The ACLU claims to be pro-choice. But apparently that only applies if you make choices of which they approve. If you don’t, they will haul you into court and get a judge to spank you and order you to make the choice the ACLU wants you to make. Itawamba County school officials can be forgiven for wondering about what happened to their freedom of choice here.

The ACLU can’t stop lecturing us about the evils of imposing our values on other people. Yet here they are, gleefully forcing their values down the throat of an entire school district, aided and abetted by a federal judge. Who is forcing their values on whom here?

And the ACLU is not done here yet. Now they’re going to court in an attempt to pick the pockets of the taxpayers of Itawamba County for damages and attorneys’ fees.

Let’s hope school officials elsewhere will stand up and fight rather than weakly capitulating to the immoral demands of homosexual activists. The American Family Association, among many other pro-family groups, stands ready to help. After all, this country belongs to the people, not the thugs at the ACLU — and it’s time we told them so.

Original Link.

“Healthcare is NOT a ‘Right'” by David E. Smith

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Like many Americans across the nation, I watched intensely as Congress debated and ultimately passed the onerous healthcare “reform” bill Sunday evening. One main point of contention is the idea — affirmed by some radically “progressive” lawmakers — that healthcare is a “right.” This is nothing short of socialistic propaganda.

The implicit claim in the assertion that healthcare is a “right” is that it is a constitutionally protected right. All experts agree that healthcare is neither a constitutional nor a legal right. In America we understand that our rights to the free exercise of religion, to speak freely, to bear arms, and to be secure from unwarranted search and seizure come from God.

To see the difference in government-mandated healthcare and real rights, look at how they are exercised. Historically, American citizens have been free to exercise their real, constitutionally protected rights — or not — as they see fit.

For example, the government does not compel citizens to attend church in the name of religious freedom. The government does not compel citizens to own a gun in the name of the Second Amendment. And the government does not force citizens to engage in the political process in the name of free speech.

In contrast, our radically “progressive” friends are eager to compel every American using the heavy hand of government to exercise their so-called “right” to healthcare. Should we celebrate the passage of a bill that in the service of non-existent rights actually diminishes our liberty?

What is really at issue is not whether healthcare is a “right,” but whether citizens have a right to taxpayer-funded healthcare. What other cherished American “right” has ever required that we diminish another’s liberty? Does the right to free speech require newspaper owners to print every op-ed and editorial? Does the right to bear arms require the government to arm its citizenry? Does the freedom of religion require government-funding of churches, mosques, and synagogues? Of course not!

Why then, does this “right” to healthcare require the government to take from some to give to others? When in the history of our country have we had to secure a right by trampling on the liberties of others?

Make no mistake…that is exactly what is happening with this government takeover of the healthcare industry. This new healthcare “right” will be forced on every American; and it will be made possible — in the words of Karl Marx — by taking from citizens “according to their ability” and giving to others “according to their needs.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Both Sides Claim Victory in Lesbian Prom Ruling

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

OK, I’m a bit confused about this one. The judge cited a First Amendment violation. The first amendment says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Exactly were are lesbian prom dates covered?? I’m guessing this judge will cite some kind of “free speech” thing, although I’m sure that’s not what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment.

In February, Constance McMillen, an 18-year-old lesbian student at Itawamba Agricultural High School, approached school officials and asked if she could bring her girlfriend to the prom. Administrators said no, then cancelled the prom, citing distractions caused by the situation. The ACLU then sued in an effort to force the district to hold the event.

On Tuesday, a federal judge said while the school violated McMillen’s First Amendment rights, he was not going to force the school to hold the prom, saying it “would only confuse and confound the community” to require the district to step back in a sponsorship role. Judge Glen Davidson did say he will hold a trial at a later date.

Steve Crampton with Liberty Counsel concurs. “I think it was the right ruling, and it was asking an awfully lot to try to force the school to sponsor a prom when it had withdrawn its sponsorship,” says the attorney. “All in all I think this is the correct outcome. Frankly, I’ll be surprised if this case ends up going to trial.”

According to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, McMillen’s attorneys do not plan to appeal the ruling, but will seek compensatory damages against the Itawamba Independent School District. They told the Daily Journal that the ruling establishes a national precedent for same-sex couples who want to attend their proms.

Original Link.

Terrorists Could Use Explosives in Breast Implants to Crash Planes, Experts Warn

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Still think we can make peace with this people?
Try to understand…Islamic terrorist want to kill you…Period!!

Female homicide bombers are being fitted with exploding breast implants which are almost impossible to detect, British spies have reportedly discovered.

The shocking new Al Qaeda tactic involves radical doctors inserting the explosives in women’s breasts during plastic surgery — making them “virtually impossible to detect by the usual airport scanning machines.”

It is believed the doctors have been trained at some of Britain’s leading teaching hospitals before returning to their own countries to perform the surgical procedures.

MI5 has also discovered that extremists are inserting the explosives into the buttocks of some male bombers.

“Women suicide bombers recruited by Al Qaeda are known to have had the explosives inserted in their breasts under techniques similar to breast enhancing surgery,” Terrorist expert Joseph Farah claims.

The lethal explosives called PETN are inserted inside plastic shapes during the operation, before the breast is then sewn up.

The discovery of these methods was made after London-educated Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab came close to blowing up an airliner in the U.S. on Christmas Day.

He had stuffed explosives inside his underpants.

Hours after he had failed, Britain’s intelligence services began to pick up “chatter” emanating from Pakistan and Yemen that alerted MI5 to the creation of the lethal implants.

A hand-picked team investigated the threat which was described as “one that can circumvent our defense.”

Top surgeons have confirmed the feasibility of the explosive implants.

Explosive experts allegedly told MI5 that a sachet containing as little as five ounces of PETN could blow “a considerable hole” in an airline’s skin, causing it to crash.

Original Link.

“The Lasting Images of Healthcare Reform?” by Michael G. Mickey

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

In my last commentary entitled “Seeing the Spin? ” I highlighted the mainstream media’s efforts to paint a portrait of everyone opposed to healthcare reform as radicals, racists, homophobes and the like. I believed then, and do to this day, it was nothing less than pro-liberal propaganda, the intent of which was and is to silence disagreement with the agenda of the current leadership in Washington – the leadership that acted in arrogant defiance of the will of the American people on 3-21-10 when it voted in favor of making what many have dubbed Obamacare the law of the land, which President Obama will make official today by signing the legislation into law.

By now I’m sure everyone has read at least one story of how violent, raucous, disruptive and menacing protesters against healthcare reform behaved in Washington leading up to the House’s late night vote, but does anyone other than me wonder where all the video footage of this outrageous behavior is?

Where is the footage of police officers decked out in riot gear having to beat the angry mobs back? Where is the footage of tear gas being deployed to bring those rowdy, hate-filled Tea Partiers under control? Hmmmm.

The focus of every news network in the western hemisphere was on Capitol Hill where we’re told this outrageous behavior occurred. The news media was on-scene in droves precisely when all of this purported madness was going on and yet, in spite of it, catching the Tea Party crowd’s media-hyped madness was apparently impossible to do, akin to catching good footage of Sasquatch rummaging through your trash can. Think about it.

Are we to believe that all we’ve heard went on, which has conveniently cast an “ugly shadow” over the GOP, the Tea Party Movement and conservatives in general, wasn’t captured on film by even one of probably hundreds, if not thousands, of network news cameras in the area? Apparently so.

Are we to believe that the protesting crowds gathered around Capitol Hill were comprised almost exclusively of violent, sordid and repugnant characters, hatemongers, racists, and homophobes? Absolutely and some quality video footage, particularly if the audio portion captured all of the hate-filled rhetoric we’ve heard was flying around in Washington, would’ve lended a great deal of credibility to the Left’s media coverage suggestive of same. But alas, gosh darn it, no one thought to dispatch a camera to capture the evidence! Imagine if you will a pile of liberal journalists all dying to get their hands on something to beat up on conservatives about and none of them – not even one – had the good sense to grab some evidence to show the American people what the ‘ugly face’ of the Right looks like? PLEASE!

Wake up and smell the coffee this fine morning, America! The fact you’re not seeing video footage of scenes like that isn’t because the Left didn’t bother to film everything taking place in and around Capitol Hill the night the Democratic Party betrayed the American people in furtherance of their own interests. The only reason you’re not seeing all that bad behavior you’ve heard so much about on a near constant loop on liberal news outlets is simple to figure out. Much like getting video footage of the elusive Loch Ness Monster sunbathing, it’s hard to capture clear footage of a needle lying in a haystack – even when you’re standing in the middle of it! Are you with me thus far, people? Don’t buy the hype because that’s all it is – background noise designed to interrupt the American people’s focus on an issue that is going to impact us all, potentially very negatively in the future.

The reality on the ground, here in the real world? Higher taxes are coming. Bigger government is coming along with a larger budget deficit. Meanwhile, the absolute right of the American people to determine the course of our nation’s future is being torched by the Left! These are issues we are, and rightly should be, concerned by. We can’t afford to lose sight of that. If we do because the Left is making much ado about nothing, trying to silence us by making us believe we don’t want to be associated with those mean ole’ hate-filled Tea Party people, they are going to defeat us time and time again. And who are we? Who is “us”?

When I refer to “us”, I’m not talking about us as members of the GOP, Tea Party Movement, Christians, or any other group. I’m talking about us as in the vast majority of voting Americans, most of whom are conservative people, something which gets blurred at times due to political party alliances, some of which have been handed down to us like family heirlooms. Am I right or am I right?

I know people right now who vote exclusively based on a candidate’s party affiliation. Why? Because they are registered to vote as a Democrat or Republican, of course. And why is that true? Sometimes for no better reason than their parents held allegiance to that party forty years ago! We all know people like that, don’t we? They head to the polling booths like worker bees every time they’re opened but have no idea what the person they’re voting for actually stands for! They’re simply there to punch the ticket in accordance with family tradition. That has to stop, people! Believe it or not, what is right or wrong for our nation isn’t exclusive to any political party and, largely thanks to liberal mainstream media bias, we can’t afford to make our decisions based solely on what we see on television and read in the newspapers.

I posted video to my site yesterday of Democrat and activist Al Sharpton saying, in a television interview filmed during coverage of the ‘historic’ events of 3-21-10, that America overwhelmingly voted in favor of socialism when it voted for Barack Obama in 2008. As Al put it in so many words, Barack Obama has never been vague about what his plans were for America! He promised change, we voted for change and now we’re getting change! President Obama acknowledged this in his healthcare reform victory speech when he said, “This is what change looks like.”

I hate to admit it, but Sharpton is right. Like many other conservatives, some Christian and some not, I questioned President Obama’s self-confessed affinity for Marxist professors from back in his college years, his many ties to racist, radical and anti-semitic individuals, not to mention his former membership in Chicago’s socialist New Party leading up to his election. Sadly, however, the Leftist media machine provided more than enough cover for President Obama to duck behind, drowning out the warning cries and here we are! Hopefully, having already come at a heavy price, our lesson is learned, that lesson being we, as in all of us, need to take advantage of the resources available to us here in the information age and do everything within our power to know something about the people we vote to be influential leaders in our nation.

What images will you carry away from this experience?

As President Obama has acknowledged, we have traveled down a long road to get to where we are today, the day that the best healthcare system in the entire world will be signed away to an uncertain future.

What does the future of healthcare look like for us? I don’t know but as someone who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder struggling and, thus far, winning a battle not to become a diabetic, a father who has a 22-year-old daughter struggling to win an ongoing fight against melanoma, I’m more than a little apprehensive concerning the impact Obamacare is going to have on my future, as well as the impact it is going to have on people I know and love. This is especially true in light of the fact that virtually no one outside the Obama administration seems capable of forecasting a bright future for medicine in the United States or our wallets as a result of what the Democrats have done against our will – an act so despised that President Obama is going to go on a campaign-style tour of America in an effort to sell us on it, which the mainstream media is going to stream into our ears until they start to bleed, which will be bad as we can no longer afford to be ill or injured in the United States.

What I hope those who were and remain opposed to healthcare reform will refuse to carry away from the events of recent days is the ugly image the mainstream media is striving to project upon us, both because it isn’t a truthful assessment of our character and due to the content of a Fox News story investigating all the claims of unruly and indecent behavior.

According to the Fox News story, rumors of protesters hurling “anti-gay and racist epithets” at lawmakers are being challenged by Tea Party supporters. A black Tea Party activist from Nevada named William Owens, for example, is quoted in the story as saying, “Never did I hear any type of racial slur.” Owens wasn’t alone. The story reports that “Kay Fischer, a protester from North Carolina, said she was watching the black lawmakers walk by and, like Owens, heard nothing of the sort.” YouTube videos of the black congressmen in question walking by have audio of people yelling for them to “kill the bill” and nothing more according to the story.

And then there was the much-ballyhooed insult hurled at gay Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank. According to the aforementioned Kay Fischer, it was Barney Frank who first used colorful language in that incident. The following is an excerpt from the story describing that encounter:

She [Kay Fishcher] said she and a half-dozen other protesters were waiting outside a committee room in the Longworth House Office Building on Saturday for about 45 minutes when Frank finally emerged. He was mobbed by reporters, she said, and the protesters started shouting things like, “Kill the bill.” Then she said Frank snapped at them.

“He looked at me and said, ‘F— you,'” she said.

Shortly after that, she said, a tall man with brown hair, who hadn’t been chanting with the other protesters at all, walked up and said “fag” to Frank.

This has started to sprout some conspiracy theories.

Fischer said the protesters immediately admonished him and told him not to say things like that.

“I have gay friends. … There were a bunch of people moaning like, ‘Oh God,'” she said.

But she said the guy “disappeared” quickly and that was the end of it.

Fischer said she has no idea where he came from, and alleged he was a plant, though she couldn’t prove it.

“I think it was staged,” she said.

Talk about an overhyped incident! One guy – literally ONE – insulted a congressman who had first cursed at someone else, a woman no less, and subsequently walked away and this is what the liberal news media is using to paint all healthcare reform opponents in a negative light? Ladies and gentlemen, as a retired police officer I can tell you that I have been called far worse for far less and, unlike Barney Frank and the Democrats, I promise you I was acting in the best interests of those I had sworn an oath to protect each and every time.

Stay strong, American people! Stand up for the things you believe in regardless of how much baloney the mainstream media feeds you suggestive that you’re something akin to insane for having deep reservations about healthcare reform if not outright contempt for it!

None of us are under any obligation to agree 100% with one another on any topic of concern or discussion. Isn’t that a large part of what has set us apart from nations all over the world for over 200 years now? Our ability to exchange ideas freely? To debate our positions held, even if we occasionally scream over top of one another in the process?

At the end of the day, isn’t everything we debate and disagree on, from healthcare to religion to all things political in nature, about our values and beliefs, all of us hoping to do what is best for our nation? I certainly hope and pray so.

The moment we, as a nation, stop standing up for the things we believe in, demanding that the Constitution be held in the highest of esteem with our elected government officials acting in a manner representative of our collective will, our beloved Republic with its rich history of success and prosperity will be no more.

“The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.” -Samuel Adams-

Original Link.

Gay Jesus Play Called Blasphemous

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

The liberal left, from the “hollowed” halls of “higher” education, have chosen to take yet another stab at Christians; this time by portraying Jesus as a homosexual. (Hat tip to Hal).

STEPHENVILLE, Texas – Security will be increased at Tarleton State University when a play in which Jesus is portrayed as gay will be presented on Saturday.

The production called “Corpus Christi” is being directed by student John Jordan Otte, who says he wants to offer a play that portrays tolerance and unconditional love.

Critics say the play is blasphemous.

School police Chief Justin Williams says university officers will be assisted with security by police in Stephenville, a city of 17,000 located 70 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio has said the play will be allowed because the school is committed to protecting and preserving freedom of thought, speech and expression. [unless it’s Christian, then, of course, it would be banned. -ed]

A scheduled student production that is part of an undergraduate theatre class at Tarleton State University will consist of four different one-act plays. All material is chosen, acted, produced and directed by students. It is a class assignment and not a university production.

One of the plays, “Corpus Christi,” is set in modern times in Texas and depicts a gay man whose life the playwright parallels to that of Christ in an attempt to seek higher awareness of Christ’s difficulties and torments. According to theater critics and the playwright, the overall theme is about tolerance and acceptance.

The university understands that the student’s selection of this particular material is offensive to some members of the Tarleton community. We value civility and always regret the use of words or actions that offend others.

“Having lived in Stephenville for more than 20 years, I am very committed to this community and I take care when selecting productions,” said Mark Holtorf, associate professor of theatre at Tarleton.

According to Holtorf, “The performance of “Corpus Christi” is being done in an advanced directing class. It is a class assignment, not a play intended for the general public. It is not part of our theatre season. The play was selected by a student, paid for by a student and will be performed by students as a part of that class.

“As a faculty member, it is my role to help students consider the implications of their choices, and I have done that in this case. However, it is not my role to censor the students’ selections of material for an advanced class. I must hold that freedom of artistic expression as a cornerstone of education. The First Amendment of the Constitution grants that freedom to all. If we censor one, we censor all.”

Public universities are expected to provide for students, faculty and staff the same constitutional freedoms afforded the general public, particularly in such areas as freedom of thought, speech and expression. Perhaps nowhere in our society are these freedoms more debated than in the fine arts. It is the case from time to time that a public university will be the site of a particular play, a specific speech, an art exhibit or reading of a piece of literature, poetry or prose that is viewed both within and without the university as offensive to some, as art by others.

Tarleton has reviewed this matter with legal counsel and confirmed that free speech is protected on the campuses of Texas public universities.

“The law clearly supports the students in the exercise of their rights granted under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” according to The Texas A&M University System Office of General Counsel. In addition to the students’ rights, there are important academic freedom rights of the faculty involved.

Tarleton State University understands that some persons may be offended by a performance, speech or other form of expression on campus. At the same time, the university as a public institution of higher learning is committed to protecting and preserving the freedoms of thought, speech and expression.

Original Link.

Pray for PFC Bowe Bergdahl Who is a Captive in Afghanistan

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Julia emailed us to ask us to pray for Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.

We need to pray for PFC Bergdahl. Julia specifically asked that we pray:
1) That God would give him strength, that He would guard Bowe’s heart, mind, body and soul.
2) That Bowe would stand strong in Jesus.
3) That Bowe would come home safely, SOON.
4) That to God will be the glory.

Please join me in praying for PFC Bergdahl, his family & friends and for all the brave people of our armed services who keep us protected.

Honor our Military.

“A NEVER ENDING SIMCHA – THE TWO BAR MITZVAHS FOR BARUCH SHLOMO” by Fern Sidman

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

As reported in the last issue of The Jewish Connection, a special Bar Mitzvah celebration was held on Rosh Chodesh Adar, Sunday February 14th, for a very special boy named Baruch Shlomo HaLevi Gershbein, but is appears that yet another Bar Mitzvah was held for this much loved boy on Sunday, March 7th and was organized in conjunction with the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and Mishkan. As previously reported, Baruch Shlomo was diagnosed with autism and PDD-NOS as a toddler and while his severely limited verbal and comprehensive skills may militate against his pronunciations of the appropriate blessings, his family was determined to afford him the same opportunity as other Jewish boys of his age.

On Sunday morning, February 14th, 50 plus guests including family and friends gathered at Congregation Khal Bnei Yisroel located in the Midwood section of Brooklyn to partake in the glorious celebration. As Baruch Shlomo completed his stalwart attempt to recite the blessings, a palpable joy filled the synagogue as the congregation burst forth with strains of “Siman Tov u’Mazel Tov” the traditional words sung at a simcha (joyous occasion). “I have known Baruch Shlomo since the day he was born and I can sincerely say that he is a simply adorable boy who radiates a certain “Chein” (charm and love) and his infectious smile lights up the world” said Frimet Tzirel Rosenblatt, a close family friend. Among those thanking the assemblage for their unwavering support and encouragement were Baruch Shlomo’s parents, Rabbi Steven Gershbein, Baruch’s mother Chaviva Gershbein, his paternal grandparents, Stanley and Carol Gershbein of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and his great Aunt Lila of Oceanside, New York.

During his speech, the boy’s father, Rabbi Steven (Shmuel) Gershbein (a noted Brooklyn attorney specializing in representing the civil rights of the handicapped community as well as a rabbi dedicated to opening up the riches of Judaism to special needs individuals) spoke of the joys and challenges of raising a special needs child. “Baruch Shlomo have never given me a moment of sorrow. He gives me no pain. He has only given me joy. Raising a special needs child is hard. It is challenging and anyone who tells you that it is not an arduous, back breaking and soul crushing task is not telling the truth. While the challenges are indeed far greater than in raising a non-special needs child, so too are those moments of intensified sweetness when your autistic child permits you to make eye contact and your heart swells with love”, he said.

The synagogue event was made even more lively by the musical stylings of Rabbi Hazan and Yankel Glazerson.

On Sunday, March 7th, those sentiments were repeated as Baruch Shlomo was treated to yet another joyous Bar Mitzvah celebration organized in conjunction with The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and Mishkan. Nearly 100 people including more than three dozen profoundly handicapped and special needs individuals assembled to declare a hearty “Mazel Tov” to Baruch Shlomo and his family. Special dignitaries were also present including Vic and Paula Zorros, Rabbi Chaim Prussman of Beth Shifra, Rabbi Alexander Guth (luthier to the Gedolim) and Professor Morris Wurm. Performing during the gourmet meal served on that day was the incomparable group, Ta Shma. Their presence made that occasion even more memorable for all involved.

During his speech entitled, “The Handicapped and The Strong”, Rabbi Gershbein described the truly handicapped as “those who do not understand how to relate to the special needs community”. He said that “the strong are the autistic and the retarded who try so hard despite their perceived limitations”. He also heaped praise and accolades on the parents, siblings and caregivers of special needs individuals.

Rabbi Chaim Prussman of Beth Shifra, who is renowned for organizing free sedorim and meals for the poor on Passover and throughout the year, is also a Cohen and as such delivered a special benediction and invoked Hashem’s compassion for Baruch Shlomo, his family and all of the guests.

One of the representatives of the JBFCS and Mishkan said, “This was a very interesting experience for us. By working with Rabbis Gershbein and Prussman, we were able to put together an event which was actually inclusive of the families of these (individuals with special needs) young men and women as well as sensitive to the traditions of Judaism. We hope to take what we learned today and be able to hold future gatherings which comply with Orthodox law and lore.”

In honor of this most auspicious Bar Mitzvah, Rabbi Prussman of Beth Shifra along with The Law Offices of Steven L. Gershbein, Esq. and Ohel Chaya (an organization founded to promote autism awareness) donated more than one hundred stuffed animals and puppets based on the themes of the upcoming Passover holiday. Every attendee was able to take several for himself and/or family members and each person present received a cupcake with a “B” for Baruch written in icing after partaking in an exquisite gourmet meal.

Members of the clergy representing various denominations were also in attendance and expressed just how impressed they were by the “love in the room” and each committed himself to be of service to the handicapped communities of Borough Park and Flatbush in the months and years to come. “This is the first traditional Jewish event that I’ve ever attended and I am so incredibly inspired by this holy community of wonderful people”, said a well known minister of the Crown Heights community. “Because of what I’ve witnessed here today, I will be involving my congregation in volunteer efforts to aid people in wheelchairs starting this Sunday”, he continued.

Spearheaded by Rabbi Gershbein, a new group is in formation that will encourage the clergy at large to be more inclusive of the blind, deaf and otherwise special needs community in religious life. Several prominent clergy members have already volunteered to sit on the organizing and steering committees “The group will not address religious issues directly”, declared Rabbi Gershbein, “but will advise men of the cloth, so it will not violate the edict of Rav Soloveitchik ZT’L”, he continued. “We are thrilled at the fact that my son’s bar mitzvah could inspire so many people of so many different backgrounds and faiths to become active in our very special community. May Hashem continue to give us all the strength and courage to do His will and may we spread genuine compassion and kindness to all humanity, and, by doing so, bring The True and Complete Redemption”.

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Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

Netanyahu Pushes Back, Says Jerusalem ‘Not a Settlement’

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Obama is bound and determined to demonize the Israelis.

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented dueling positions on Jerusalem construction Monday, underlining a recent spat between the allies while simultaneously suggesting the incident is behind them.

Israel recently announced new housing plans for east Jerusalem, the part of the city Palestinians want for a future capital, drawing unusually sharp criticism from the Obama administration. Clinton renewed that disapproval on Monday, telling a pro-Israel audience that provocative Israeli land policies in areas claimed by the Palestinians are not in Israel’s long-term interests and undermine U.S. credibility as a mediator.

Speaking later in the day to a crowd of nearly 8,000 pro-Israel activists at the same forum, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, including hundreds of congressmen and senators, Netanyahu did not budge from his position that building anywhere in Jerusalem is an Israeli right.

But at the same time both sides appeared to be indicating that while differences may remain, the spat — unique in recent memory for its harsh rhetoric and public nature — should not be allowed to further mar ties or delay the launch of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The spread of Jewish homes on land claimed by the Palestinians threatens the Obama administration’s first attempts at shuttle diplomacy intended to establish an independent Palestinian state, Clinton said in her speech, and makes it hard for the United States to be an honest broker.

“Our credibility in this process depends in part on our willingness to praise both sides when they are courageous, and when we don’t agree, to say so, and say so unequivocally,” Clinton said. She also criticized Palestinian incitement to violence.

President Barack Obama has remained out of the fray as Clinton and other U.S. officials have rebuked Israel for its announcement of new construction in Jerusalem, which came while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the country. It embarrassed Biden, a staunch supporter of Israel, and led to new stress in relations between Washington and its top Middle Eastern ally.

Obama agreed to see Netanyahu on Tuesday at the White House — Obama’s first meeting with the Israeli leader since the severe diplomatic breach over the housing announcement this month. But it will be closed to reporters, an unusual choice when hosting a close ally and a sign that suggested the rift may not be entirely healed.

“New construction in east Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides want and need,” Clinton said. “It exposes daylight between Israel and the United States that others in the region hope to exploit,” and undermines what she called an essential U.S. role as mediator.

The AIPAC crowd responded with notably more enthusiasm to Netanyahu’s assertion that Jews had been building in Jerusalem for 3,000 years and that Israel would continue to do so.

“Jerusalem is not a settlement. It’s our capital,” Netanyahu said to a prolonged standing ovation.

The neighborhoods Israel has built in east Jerusalem are an “inextricable” part of the city, the Israeli leader said, and will remain part of Israel under any peace agreement.

“Therefore, building in them in no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution,” he said. Israel does not want to rule over Palestinians, he said, while calling on Palestinian leaders to begin talks.

But despite the clashing positions, Israel and the U.S. both appeared to signal that the spat should not further delay Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

In her speech, Clinton assured Israel that the U.S. administration’s commitment to its security and future is “rock solid.” And after she met the Israeli leader Monday, Israeli officials termed the talks “friendly” and said both the United States and Israel were interested in leaving the rift behind and getting talks started quickly. A statement from the State Department also said the goal was to “move to direct negotiations as soon as possible.”

Clinton said talks with Netanyahu on action Israel can take to restore confidence were under way.

Some Israeli officials say that while there will be no formal building freeze, construction may be restricted, as in a partial 10-month West Bank construction freeze that Netanyahu has already enacted.

The steps have not been made public, but officials say another element is agreement to discuss all outstanding issues in the indirect talks that the United States is to mediate. Those would include the future of Jerusalem, borders, Jewish settlements and Palestinian refugees.

Clinton got loud approval when she talked tough on Iran — an issue on which there is more agreement between Israel and the United States. Both countries believe that Iran wants nuclear weapons, that it could be able to develop them soon and that such weapons would pose a grave threat. The secretary said the Obama administration would not accept a nuclear armed Iran and is working on sanctions “that will bite” as a deterrent.

In his speech, Netanyahu said that should Iran obtain nuclear weapons, “Our world would never be the same.”

“The Gaza Siege Myth” by Chris Schang

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

One of the most flawed and consistently repeated errors in the Israeli and Palestinian conflict is that Israel is somehow holding Gaza in a siege and because of that it suffers as a result of Israeli aggression. The truth of the matter is that nothing could be further from the truth. The YNetNews website recently had an article that covered this topic and it is timely considering the increased pressure the U.S. is presently pushing on Israel. The YNetNews article reports:

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is set to arrive in Israel to visit the Gaza Strip amidst demands to end a so-called siege on the terrorist-controlled territory. Yet one has to ask what siege, or blockade, he is referring to, with 738,576 tons of humanitarian aid being transferred into the Gaza Strip in 2009.

Further:

Moreover, the UN has provided $200 million in Gaza Strip aid following a military operation that reportedly claimed 1,300 fatalities amongst a population of less than 1.5 million – meanwhile, notwithstanding plans to raise more funds, it has provided only $10 million to natural disaster victims in Haiti as of the end of January, an earthquake that claimed the lives of over 230,000 people and affected over 3 million. Of course, that is without mentioning that Haitians have not been attacking an innocent nearby civilian population for a near decade.

The facts being presented in the YNetNews article are very interesting in that Gaza presently and I would say has done so for a long time now, received more aid than current crisis centers around the rest of the world are receiving in light of devastating natural accidents like the earthquake in Haiti. The problem with the Palestinians is that they have not used the money they have been given to better the future of their citizens. The fact is the bulk of the aid money has been used to buy more arms in order to further attacks on Israel. Then what is remaining is usually funneled into secret accounts of the corrupt Palestinian leadership. Yasser Arafat’s widow is still the last I heard still receiving millions of dollars a year from aid money in order to support her and her children who live in luxury outside the Palestinian area. This is simply a gross abuse and waste of the taxpayers money that comes from the rest of the world. There’s an old saying that you can’t get help unless you help yourself. I think this old saying is appropriate to describe the Palestinian situation because they have simply not helped themselves and demanded that aid money be used for humanitarian projects that would alleviate the conditions in Gaza. But as long as the fanatical terrorists maintain their iron grip on Gaza there is no light at the end of the tunnel for the average Gazan who would simply like to move on with their lives in peace.

The YNetNews article also detailed the “lie” bought by the international community despite the evidence contrary to what is currently being promoted in reference to a siege on Gaza. The news report went on to mention:

The international community has bought into a bold-faced lie about an Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip while ignoring the facts on the ground. International humanitarian aid has been flowing rapidly into the Gaza Strip for years and in no way stopped after Operation Cast Lead, as 30,576 aid trucks entered the territory in 2009. In 2009, 4,883 tons of medical equipment entered the Gaza Strip. Just last month, a new CAT scan machine was brought into the Strip.

So from these facts on the ground we can easily see that the “siege” on Gaza is a myth perpetuated by the Palestinians and international community in order to pressure Israel. The facts on the ground just simply do not support the myth that is being promoted in order to cast Israel into a negative light. But as usual, people are not interested in the truth, they are simply looking for more ammunition to act out their anti-semitic aggression towards Israel. This has simply got to stop. The truth is being discarded for a lie, and aid money is simply being dumped into a bottomless pit. Back when Israel vacated the Gaza strip and turned it over to the Palestinians it was widely reported that many of the greenhouses that were used to produce a substantial amount of agriculture products as well as jobs were systematically destroyed by the Palestinians rather than using them to better the overall situation of the average Palestinian. The Palestinians destroyed these greenhouses simply because of their bottomless hatred towards Israel and the Jews. This was a classic case of where the Palestinians could have taken a step forward to improve their lives, economy, jobs, etc. but instead they chose to shoot themselves in the foot instead by destroying the greenhouses. In fact, the Palestinians have done this kind of stuff so much in the past it is surprising that they have any toes left.

Another myth perpetuated by the Palestinians and international community is that Gaza has been turned into the world’s largest prison. The fact on the ground is quite different as outlined by the article:

The Gaza Strip has also been referred to as “the world’s largest prison”, implying that residents are not being able to exit the territory. Yet in 2009, 10,544 patients and their companions left the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Israel, and last week alone nearly 500 patients and companions from Gaza entered Israel for treatment.

The truth of the matter is that the Palestinians have used unfettered access into Israel as a means of carrying out suicide attacks and other acts of violence. They simply have no one but themselves to blame for Israel closing some roadblocks and entry points into Israel as keeping them open compromises the security of Israel as a whole. The Palestinians and international community continue to perpetuate lies about Gaza and the Israeli behavior towards them without mentioning why these events have occured.

Meanwhile, US government officials such as Congressmen Keith Ellison and Brian Baird, both of which visited Sderot with the Sderot Media Center, have promoted the idea of a “Gaza Siege.” They must be ignoring the fact that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged $900 million in aid to be sent to the Gaza Strip following Operation Cast Lead. A USAID and DOD report calculating the aid sent to the quake-raved Haiti noted that, as of last month, all US government programs provided just over $700 million in aid, nearly $200 million less than to the terrorist-controlled Gaza Strip.

It is noteworthy that U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison is an open moslem and has anti-semitic behavior towards Israel. He is an African-American Catholic convert to Islam. It is not surprising that people like him would continue to support the “lies” about Israeli behavior on Gaza in light of the truth we have already covered. The fact of the matter is that the situation in Gaza and even the West Bank will not improve until corruption is halted and most importantly until the Palestinians themselves decide to help themselves rather than running around shooting themselves in the foot. As long as the world community continues to play surrogate mother to the Palestinians, they will continue to play into the “myths” of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. One way to protect yourself from falling into believing these satanic lies is to educate yourself on the truths of the situation and not to believe everything you read in the media, which is blatantly liberal and unsurprisingly anti-semitic towards the Israelis. Only until the world community continues to stop supporting the Palestinans and buying the “lies” will change be possible. Even then that is very unlikely as long as fanatical Islamic terrorist groups continue to control the Palestinian areas.

Let us continue to pray for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem, that the world looks for the truth and does not buy the satanic lies anymore. The continued promotion of these lies breeds a victim mentality that is easily seized upon by the terrorists who hope to keep pthe Palestinian people in bondage which leads to antagonizing the Israelis. The constant barrage of anti-semitic media and TV shows to the general Palestinian population as well as to little children does nothing to encourage a healthy relationship that will ultimately lead to a peaceful co-existence between both sides. These acts of hatred will only continue to inflame the fires of hatred and lead to further bloodshed. Let us continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as the Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who can bring this troubled region back to genuine peace.

God bless.

Original Link.

Choice, Life Groups Slam Obama Order on Abortion Funding

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

As I said in an earlier post, the proposed executive order forbidding the use of federal funds for abortions, is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. At best, it creates a bureaucratic and accounting nightmare, and at worst, it changes nothing in the original legislation.

Pro-choice and pro-life groups on Sunday strongly denounced a deal by pro-life Democrats and President Obama to ensure limits on taxpayer money for abortion services, outlined in a Senate health insurance overhaul now on the verge House approval.

Abortion rights supporters chastised the president, saying he caved on his principles by agreeing to issue an executive order that strengthens limits on abortion. Abortion opponents, on the other hand, said Obama’s pending order does nothing to prohibit spending on abortion services as provided in the Senate bill.

The National Organization for Women issued a statement that it is “incensed” Obama agreed to the deal sought by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., and other lawmakers who argued that the Senate health care overhaul allowed public funding for abortions. The lawmakers had been the key votes to stopping passage of the massive government plan.

“Through this order, the president has announced he will lend the weight of his office and the entire executive branch to the anti-abortion measures included in the Senate bill, which the House is now prepared to pass,” reads a statement from NOW.

“President Obama campaigned as a pro-choice president, but his actions today suggest that his commitment to reproductive health care is shaky at best. … We see now that we have our work cut out for us far beyond what we ever anticipated. The message we have received today is that it is acceptable to negotiate health care on the backs of women, and we couldn’t disagree more,” the group said.

The National Right to Life Committee argued that seven objectionable pro-abortion provisions in the Senate bill are unchanged.

“The executive order promised by President Obama was issued for political effect. It changes nothing. It does not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill. The president cannot amend a bill by issuing an order, and the federal courts will enforce what the law says,” the group said.

Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund President Marjorie Dannenfelser said the group was revoking its “Defender of Life” award to Stupak, which was to be awarded at its Wednesday night gala.

“We were planning to honor Congressman Stupak for his efforts to keep abortion-funding out of health care reform. We will no longer be doing so,” Dannenfelser said. “Let me be clear: any representative, including Rep. Stupak, who votes for this health care bill can no longer call themselves ‘pro-life.'”

Stupak, who led Democratic lawmakers opposed to the Senate bill, made an announcement of a deal Sunday afternoon, surrounded by a handful of Democratic lawmakers who had held out their “yes” votes in exchange for a guarantee of no public funding for abortion.

Original Link.

“What Price Victory?” By Liz Peek

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

President Obama and his Democratic colleagues in Congress are celebrating the passage of a health care bill, heedless of the wound that their struggle has inflicted on the United States. The ugly battle has cost the president his popularity and his credibility, and has undermined the country’s confidence in our legislative process. It has distracted from efforts to right our economic ship and put our citizens back to work. Worst of all, just as Baby Boomers came to distrust government during the Vietnam War, so will a new generation now be forever skeptical of our country’s body politic.

Did President Obama ever have doubts? Did those protesters heckling his motorcade or taunting members of Congress penetrate that shield of self-assurance? Did voters who spurned his candidates in recent elections jiggle his equanimity? Who knows? Certainly he did not, perhaps could not, allow himself to waiver. Instead, Obama became so dug in on his quest to pass a health care bill that the impact of the conflict and the quality of the legislation became insignificant.

I have seen this before. As an analyst on Wall Street, I and my peers would occasionally find ourselves on the wrong side of a stock recommendation. Given our influence, changing an opinion could have serious consequences; it was not easy to lurch from “buy” to “sell.” We could get locked in, knowing that the ground under us was eroding as facts and prospects changed. The longer it went on, the more we forged fact from fantasy and plugged the holes in our arguments with doughy generalizations. I remember the look — that look of bulldog certainty – on the faces of analysts holding fast to a losing proposition.

President Obama has had that look for months. He must know that this bill is a dud. It contains no real reform of the inefficient way medical treatments are charged to consumers and insurers, the ultimate source of spiraling costs. The projected fiscal benefits are bogus; honest analysis shows that the legislation will add to our deficit and drive up medical costs. No sane person can possibly imagine that we will provide medical care for an additional 30 million people without straining our health care infrastructure and pushing prices of doctor visits and medicines higher. Responsible people who have championed this bill have willfully ignored the fiscal tomfoolery because they believe passionately that we should have universal health care in this wealthy country. In their view that is justification enough for this bitter year-long battle.

The full consequences of the health care bill will become visible over time. I doubt they will be positive; most likely the expense will vastly exceed expectations, as was the case for Social Security and Medicare. Let us hope the legislation will eventually be changed to incorporate ideas that could actually lower costs, such as assuring that people have some “skin in the game” in their health care expenditures. Doubtless there will be subtle rationing in treatments; the country’s aging population more or less guarantees that process in any case. Overall, though certainly it will help those without coverage today, the bill just passed will likely mean less satisfactory health care for the majority of Americans.

The consequences near term are hard to gauge. The country is still trying to recover from a terrible financial crisis; millions are out of work and the last readings on consumer confidence were not encouraging. The health care bill will add to our tax burden and raise the cost of hiring workers. It has used up much of the federal government’s incremental taxing capacity. At the same time, states and cities across the country face crippling fiscal deficits that will also necessitate higher taxes and may lead to public sector layoffs. These challenges are not simple; political leaders will need widespread support from voters to make tough decisions. There will need to be sacrifices. Unfortunately, the country is not in a compliant mood. The bitter battle has drawn hard lines in the political sand – ironic for a president who campaigned on a promise to reduce partisan frictions.

Was it worth it? Boosters laud passage of the health care bill as an historic event. Yes, it is – and so was the Charge of the Light Brigade.

Liz Peek is a financial columnist and frequent Fox Forum contributor.

Fox Forum is on Twitter. Follow us @fxnopinion.

Original Link.

“Obamacare Is the Next Roe v. Wade” By James P. Pinkerton

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Once again, the big issue is abortion. And while the happy-days-are-here-again headlines will be playing big in the mainstream media in the wake of the House health care vote, the cold reality is that once again, Democrats have chosen a politically risky course, which will likely further alienate them from the center-right majority in the country. Indeed, the tricky tactics used by the Democratic majority in Congress to enact Obamacare in 2010 will be remembered alongside the Supreme Court’s divisive decision on Roe v. Wade back in 1973. In both instances, conservatives did not start these political-cultural battles, but in both instances, conservatives are destined to win them.

The dam broke loose in favor of Obamacare on Sunday afternoon, when Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) announced that he was supporting the legislation, after all. Stupak had been arguing for months with his fellow Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, over pro-life protections in the bill–specifically, the absence of a blanket prohibition against federal funds being used to finance abortions. For months, Stupak had insisted that he and as many as 11 fellow Democrats could not vote for the bill as written and passed by the Senate in December, because of those missing abortion provisions. And for a while, it seemed that Obamacare might founder on that issue. Indeed, as recently as Saturday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a letter: “With deep regret, but clear in our moral judgment, we are compelled to continue to urge House members to oppose the Senate bill unless these fundamental flaws are remedied.”

The “fundamental flaws” that the bishops identified were not remedied because pro-choice Democrats were just as firm the other way–and pro-choicers are far more numerous and powerful inside the Democratic Party. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said on Saturday that 50 Democrats would walk away from the deal if the Democratic leadership made any concessions to Stupak on abortion.

But on Sunday, Stupak blinked. Of course, he would prefer to say that he squeezed a vital concession out of the White House; President Obama announced that he would issue an Executive Order codifying the funding prohibition. Immediately thereafter, as part of an obvious arrangement, Stupak and many of his Democratic allies went to the microphones to announce their support for Obamacare. “I’ve always supported health care reform,” said Stupak. But he added, “There was a principal that meant more to us than anything, and that was the sanctity of life.”

But many close observers don’t believe that Stupak’s deal with Obama protects that sanctity. That’s the opinion of most Right to Life leaders, including William Saunders, senior vice president of legal affairs for Americans United for Life Action, who dismissed the efficacy of Obama’s Executive Order in Sunday’s edition of The Washington Examiner; Saunders noted that it could be overturned by the courts at any time, or simply rescinded by the president. Saunders concluded: “Congress failed to deliver a statutory prohibition on abortion funding in health care reform, and an executive order cannot do the job.”

We will find out soon enough, of course, but if history is a guide, it won’t be long before pro-choice activists find some legal or regulatory way to poke holes in Obama’s figleaf of an Executive Order. And then, of course, will come the political backlash from the broad middle of the country. Most Americans don’t like to think about the abortion issue, but when the issue heats up, the majority gravitates to the conservative side of the issue.

That’s been the story of the past four decades, although liberals never saw it coming. To get a glimpse of their thinking, we might go back to The New York Times editorial in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision, published on January 24, 1973. Needless to say, The Times supported the decision, calling it “a major contribution to the preservation of individual liberties,” but what’s interesting is how wrong the Times was about the future direction of abortion politics. The “verdict on abortion provides a sound foundation for final and reasonable resolution of a debate that has divided America too long,” The Times wrote, even as Catholics and evangelicals–once pillars of the Democratic Party–were starting to mobilize against the Court decision. And that was a major reason why the old New Deal coalition broke up.

The enduring power of that conservative backlash was noted, and lamented on the 30th anniversary of Roe by journalist William Saletan, a writer for the liberal Slate.com, in a book entitled “Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War.” As Saletan observed, “The people who hold the balance of power in the abortion debate are those who favor tradition, family, property . . . Liberals haven’t won the struggle for abortion rights. Conservatives have.”

The next year, of course, pro-life George W. Bush went on to win re-election to the presidency, and Republicans made substantial gains in Congress. The Republican hegemony cracked up over Iraq and the economic meltdown in 2006 and 2008, but, as we have seen since then, the natural conservative majority–newly energized by the Tea Parties of 2009–is quickly reconstituting itself.

That’s why so many analysts expect to see huge Republican gains in the coming midterm elections this November. As House Minority Leader John Boehner reminded his forces on Sunday, “A ‘yes’ vote for this government takeover of health care is a ‘yes’ vote for sending hard-earned tax dollars to pay for abortions.” That will hurt, out in the Heartland.

But of course, the fight will go on much longer than that. The abortion issue, like life itself, refuses to go away.

James P. Pinkerton is a writer and Fox News contributor. He is the editor/founder of the Serious Medicine Strategy blog.

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Health Care Costs Reduced By Spending $1 Trillion?

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Only in fuzzy (read that as fake) government math, does spending more money reduce cost.

“We have failed to listen to America,” said Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, leader of a party that has vowed to carry the fight into the fall’s midterm elections for control of Congress.

Republicans attacked the bill without let-up, warning it would harm the economy while mandating a government takeover of the health care system.

“The American people know you can’t reduce health care costs by spending $1 trillion or raising taxes by more than one-half trillion dollars. The American people know that you cannot cut Medicare by over one-half trillion dollars without hurting seniors,” said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich.

“And, the American people know that you can’t create an entirely new government entitlement program without exploding spending and the deficit.”

To pay for the changes, the legislation includes more than $400 billion in higher taxes over a decade, roughly half of it from a new Medicare payroll tax on individuals with incomes over $200,000 and couples over $250,000. A new excise tax on high-cost insurance policies was significantly scaled back in deference to complaints from organized labor.

In addition, the bills cut more than $500 billion from planned payments to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and other providers that treat Medicare patients. An estimated $200 billion would reduce planned subsidies to insurance companies that offer a private alternative to traditional Medicare.

The insurance industry warned that seniors would face sharply higher premiums as a result, and the Congressional Budget Office said many would return to traditional Medicare as a result.

Original Link.

Bloody Sunday, 2010: House OKs Health Bill

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

More on the government takeover of the health care industry.

Democrats in the House needed 216 votes to pass the Senate’s version of a sweeping health-care package Barack Obama has been pushing with all his presidential might.

They tallied 219.

Democrats hailed the vote as a landmark victory.

“Today is the day that is going to rank with the day we passed the civil rights bill in 1964,” said Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. “Today we’re doing something that ranks with what we did with Social Security or Medicare. This is a day of which we can all be proud.”

“This is an American proposal that honors the traditions of our country,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., summing up the initiative in one word: “opportunity.”

“I know this wasn’t an easy vote for a lot of people. But it was the right vote,” added President Obama. “This isn’t radical reform. But it is major reform. This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health-care system. But it moves us decisively in the right direction. This is what change looks like.”

Republicans in Congress, however, who voted in a solid block to oppose the measure that many argue grants the federal government far too much power at far too much of a cost, blasted the bill during the debate as the “mother of all unfunded mandates.”

“The American people know you can’t reduce health-care costs by spending $1 trillion or raising taxes by more than one-half trillion dollars. The American people know that you cannot cut Medicare by over one-half trillion dollars without hurting seniors,” said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. “And, the American people know that you can’t create an entirely new government entitlement program without exploding spending and the deficit.”

Promoters of the bill have long touted the millions who will be added to health-care rolls and claimed that long-term, the trillion-dollar bill will eventually lead to deficit reduction.

Critics say that the bill’s supporters have used accounting tricks to keep hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses out of the fine print. They cite several strikes against the reform attempt, from the cost of yet another taxpayer-funded entitlement to the general principle that nowhere in the U.S. Constitution – which sets limits on the federal government’s powers – is there an authorization to force people to buy the health-insurance program a federal bureaucrat picks out.

Above all, Republicans countered Pelosi’s contention that the health-care bill is “an American proposal that honors the traditions of our country.”

“This debate is not about the uninsured; it’s about socialized medicine,” argued Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., on the House floor. “Your multi-trillion-dollar health-care bill continues the Soviets’ failed Soviet socialist experiment. It gives the federal government absolute control over health care in America. … Today Democrats in this House will finally lay the cornerstone of their socialist utopia on the backs of the American people.”

Leading up to today’s historic vote, Speaker Pelosi was widely reported as scrambling to secure enough support to pass the legislation.

Her efforts were bolstered earlier in the day when a key contingent of holdout Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., struck a compromise with the White House on the issue of abortion funding.

Assured that the president would issue an executive order restricting federal dollars from funding abortion, Stupak and several pro-life Democrats who had been sitting on the fence sided with their party peers in voting for the legislation.

“Following the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered),” the text of the planned executive order reads. “The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges. Under the Act, longstanding Federal laws to protect conscience remain intact, and new protections prohibit discrimination against health care facilities and health care providers because of an unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.”

“It’s with the help of the president and the speaker we were able to come to an agreement to protect the sanctity of life in the health-care reform,” Stupak announced to reporters. “There will be no public funding for abortion in this legislation.”

Republicans, however, warn that Stupak made a tenuous trade-off at best, one that could easily come back to bite abortion opponents.

“That is not the rule of law. That’s the rule of man. One man can sign an executive order and one man can repeal that again, the president of the United States,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., appearing on “Fox News Sunday” before the deal was announced. “So for those of us in the pro-life movement – and my Democrat friends who are pro-life – that doesn’t cut it. An executive order is not something that is permanent law.”

“From a pro-life prospective, I find absolutely no comfort in this executive order,” added Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa. “This puts the fate of the unborn in the hands of the most pro-abortion president in history.”

Leading up to today’s vote, the legislation was widely and loudly opposed by a growing grassroots movement of Americans concerned that a government takeover of health care would violate both the U.S. Constitution and personal liberty.

Tens of thousands of people descended on Washington yesterday, lining up in circles around the Capitol, in protest of a Obama’s trillion-dollar plan to take over health care across America.

Actor Jon Voight joined the protests and was blunt in his assessment of the plan and of Obama:

“It is a runaway train for him. And he has no way to put on the brakes. It is very clear that he will turn this country into a socialist America and his bullying and his arrogance can’t stop,” Voight said.

Several states and a multitude of rights organizations have also committed to challenging “Obamacare” in court on issues ranging from the basic unconstitutionality of a requirement to buy health insurance to the secret meetings Obama has held with his supporters such as Planned Parenthood.

Since the central health-care bill has already cleared the Senate, today’s vote will send the overhaul bill to Obama for his signature as early as tomorrow.

Original Link.

House Votes to Pass Health Care Bill, Send ‘Fixes’ Back to Senate

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

As predicted, the Dems have rammed government run health care down our throats. Against the will of the majority of Americans, against all common sense, they have passed this massive take over of our medical care.
The damage is done and is most likely irreversible.
The Democrats, who opposed federal funds being used for abortions, were bought off in the eleventh hour by a promise of an “executive order” from Obama, prohibiting them. This is, of course, smoke and mirrors, as any executive order can be undone as quickly and easily as it is done. I fully agree with Rep. Joe Pitts, R-PA, who said it puts “the fate of the unborn in the hands of the most pro-abortion president in history.” The Blue Dog Democrats were idiots for accepting this.
The so-called “reconciliation” bill aimed to “fix” provisions in the Senate bill, may not ever come to be. It has to be approved by the Senate, and it I’m not mistaken, go back to the house for reconciliation for any changes the Senate may approve. It’s chances of making it to Obama’s desk are actually very slim. I may be wrong, but I can’t see the Senate voting to undo what they wanted in the first place.
There is a bright spot in all this; we can kiss the Democratic party good-bye in November and again in 2012. This will cost them horribly. Regrettably, it will cost the rest of us even more. I believe that our nation, as we know it, is gone.

A bloc of pro-life Democrats turned out to be the linchpin to passage of the Senate’s massive health insurance overhaul Sunday night, as President Obama cemented a 219-212 victory with a pledge to issue an executive order “clarifying” abortion language in the Senate bill.

The House also voted 220-211 to support a “reconciliation” bill aimed to “fix” provisions in the Senate bill that many House Democrats opposed but viewed as better than nothing.

The Senate was scheduled to begin debate on those “fixes” on Tuesday, the earliest day that Obama would sign the original legislation.

The president delivered a statement after the vote, calling the “reform” the “right thing to do” for families, seniors, businesses, workers and the future and “another stone firmly laid in the foundation of the American dream.”

“The United States Congress finally declared that America’s workers and America’s families and small businesses deserve the security of knowing that here in this country neither illness nor accident should endanger the dreams they worked a lifetime to achieve,” Obama said in the East Room of the White House as Vice President Joe Biden stood beside him.

“We proved that this government, a government of the people and by the people, still works for the people,” he said. “I know this wasn’t an easy vote for a lot of people but it was the right vote.

“This isn’t radical reform, but it is major reform. This is what change looks like,” Obama added.

Thirty-four Democrats voted against the Senate bill, whose passage turned out to be incumbent upon the president satisfying pro-life Democrats like Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., who insisted on stronger restrictions on abortion than the Senate’s bill.

The Senate bill allows insurance companies who participate in a planned government-run exchange to provide abortions but attempts to create separate accounts for those using federal subsidies who might seek abortion services.

Stupak had claimed he had at least seven votes with him against the Senate bill. They turned out to be more than enough to make or break the bill. On Sunday afternoon, he said the president’s promise of an executive order was enough to win over the group, even though pro-choice groups slammed Obama as a sell-out to their cause and pro-life groups said the order would change nothing in the Senate bill.

Republicans too called the executive order a toothless regulation that does not have the force of law and can easily be overturned with a strike of the pen.

After the vote for passage, GOP lawmakers sought to send the Senate bill back to the House committee with language asking for additional protections against tax-funded abortions like those successfully proposed by Stupak in the House legislation that passed in November.

The president’s executive order does “absolutely nothing to mitigate or change” in any way the Senate’s provisions on abortion accounts, said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.

But Stupak, who was greeted with shouts of “baby killer,” responded that Republicans were merely trying to kill the bill, not save lives.

“The motion is really a last-ditch effort of 98 years of denying Americans health care,” Stupak said. “It is the Democrats who have stood up for the principal of no public funding of abortions. It is Democrats through the president’s executive order that ensure the sanctity of life is protected.”

House leaders on both sides of the aisle gave impassioned pleas before the final vote Sunday night, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praising Obama’s leadership and House Minority Leader John Boehner warning congressional members against defying the will of the American people.

Clearly angered by the impending vote, Boehner shouted at lawmakers that they can not go back to their constituents and claim to have read the bill, saved money, created jobs or acted openly in their pursuit of the legislation.

Saying the actions taken by the House to get the bill passed discredits the Congress, Boehner, R-Ohio, slowly raised his voice as he demanded lawmakers answer simple questions.

“Can you go home and tell your senior citizens that these cuts in Medicare will not limit their access to doctors or further weaken the program instead of strengthening it? No, you can not,” Boehner said to shouts of support from his GOP caucus. “And look at how this bill was written. Can you say it was done openly, with transparency and accountability without backroom deals struck behind closed doors, hidden from the people? Hell, no you can’t.”

Boehner warned lawmakers that they will have to face the music if they vote for the legislation.

“In a democracy you can only defy the will of the people for so long and get away with it,” he said.

Despite his dire warnings, Boehner was followed by Pelosi, who earned an equally passionate response from her Democratic colleagues.

“We all know, and it’s been said over and over again, that our economy needs something, a jolt and I believe that this legislation will unleash tremendous entrepreneurial power to our economy,”Pelosi said. “Imagine a society and an economy where a person could change jobs without losing health insurance, where they could be self-employed or start a small business. Imagine an economy where people could follow their passions or their talent and without having to worry that their children would not have health insurance.”

Pelosi pledged the new legislation would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and save $1.2 trillion in its second 10 years, numbers predicated on unlikely scenarios, including Congress’ withholding its authority to make discretionary spending changes to the bill and future Medicare savings.

But Pelosi said when it comes to health care, all politics is personal for Americans, including those who are denied coverage for illnesses they already have when they try to sign up for insurance.

“It’s personal for millions of families that have gone into bankruptcy under the weight of rising health care costs. Many, many, many, a high number percentage of the bankruptcies in our country are caused by medical bills that people can not pay,” Pelosi said.

“Being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing medical condition,” she added.

After the vote, Democratic leaders spoke to the press. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the majority whip, called Pelosi the most “tenacious” person he’d ever met. He added that the bill is “a giant step toward the establishment of a more perfect union.”

“I consider this to be the civil rights act of the 21st century because I do believe this is the one fundamental right that this country has been wrestling with now for almost 100 years,” Clyburn said.

Earlier, the House voted 224-206 to approve the rules for debating the Senate bill. House Republicans did all they could to slow the increasingly inevitable march toward the overhaul and were joined by 28 Democrats who voted with Republicans against the rule for debate.

Once the fixes bill goes back to the Senate, lawmakers were expected to approve a series of “fixes” aimed at getting rid of special deals for some districts and states, including the “cornhusker kickback” for Nebraska and others made to win Senate support.

Obama will have to sign the Senate bill into law before any fixes bill goes to the Senate under rules designed to enable Democrats to pass the bill with 51 votes, thus avoiding a Republican filibuster. Democrats control 59 of the Senate’s 100 seats, one vote shy of the number needed to overcome bill-killing filibusters from a united GOP.

But senators have given no guarantees they will pass the fixes, which are strictly the wishes of House Democrats.

Any reconciliation package that does get sent to the Senate is facing a block — or at least a delay — from Senate Republicans who will try to use “hundreds” of amendments to stop the fixes.

“We’re not going to try to drag this out forever with amendments, but I do think it’s important to try to amend some portions of the bill and at least use the amendment process to demonstrate to the American people some of the things that are still wrong with this bill,” said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

Much may hinge on the judgments of an unelected figure, Senate Parliamentarian Allan Frumin, who will enforce the so-called “Byrd rule,” named after the Democratic senator from West Virginia. The rule holds that any provisions in a reconciliation bill that do not firstly and chiefly affect the budget must be stricken from the measures.

“There are some provisions that have — clearly, (the Congressional Budget Office) has scored as having zero or no budgetary consequence,” said Bill Hoagland, a one-time aide to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. “They’re not important, they’re not significant in the grand scheme of things. But just to have one would be enough to create the point of order and, if sustained by the chair, would create this situation where it would have to go back to the House again.”

Of course, the parliamentarian’s rulings are not the final word in the Senate. That authority belongs to the president of the Senate, currently Vice President Joe Biden.

Leading Democrats hinted on Sunday that they may invoke Biden’s authority to shut down the GOP.

“We’re going to deal with honest amendments on substance that meet the test of the Senate rules,” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “But there is going to come a point when the American people and the people in the Senate are going to say this really isn’t about substance, it’s all about politics. Now let’s make a final decision, up or down vote.”

Republicans may also argue that select provisions of the bill impact Social Security, and if that argument carries the day, it would, under Senate rules, effectively kill the bill.

Original Link.