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The Democrats have lost on sequestration

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Published on: April 28, 2013

Elaine Thompson/AP

The Democrats have lost on sequestration.

That’s the simple reality of Friday’s vote to ease the pain for the Federal Aviation Administration. By assenting to it, Democrats have agreed to sequestration for the foreseeable future.

Recall the Democrats’ original theory of the case: Sequestration was supposed to be so threatening that Republicans would agree to a budget deal that included tax increases rather than permit it to happen. That theory was wrong. The follow-up theory was that the actual pain caused by sequestration would be so great that it would, in a matter of months, push the two sides to agree to a deal. Democrats just proved that theory wrong, too.

In effect, what Democrats said Friday was that in any case where the political pain caused by sequestration becomes unbearable, they will agree to cancel that particular piece of the bill while leaving the rest of the law untouched. The result is that sequestration is no longer particularly politically threatening, but it’s even more unbalanced: Cuts to programs used by the politically powerful will be addressed, but cuts to programs that affects the politically powerless will persist. It’s worth saying this clearly: The pain of sequestration will be concentrated on those who lack political power.

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Obama Bashes GOP on Immigration at Bush Library Address

At the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, President Obama and former President Clinton took to the podium to praise Bush – and in the process, stump for their version of immigration reform. Trying to leverage Republicans into handing over their principles by suddenly singing odes to the president he labeled the root of all evil, President Obama gushed over Bush “reaching across the aisle to unlikely allies like Ted Kennedy” with regard to his immigration reform effort.

He continued: “Seven years ago, President Bush restarted an important conversation by speaking with the American people about our history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And even though comprehensive immigration reform has taken a little longer than any of us expected, I am hopeful that this year, with the help of Speaker Boehner and some of the Senators and members of Congress who are here today, that we bring it home.”

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Boston and the future of Islam in America

People pray at at the Imam al-Khoei Foundation in New York, January 3, 2012. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

One of the central questions surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings is whether they portend a larger wave of terror attacks by homegrown Islamic radicals. The culprits, two brothers of Chechen origin, one of whom was a naturalized U.S. citizen, had both lived in the country for more than a decade. While the older brother is reported to have been sullen, resentful and ill at ease in his adopted country, the younger brother was by all accounts a well-mannered kid, whose main vice was marijuana. Many fear that if these two men could turn viciously against the country that gave them refuge, the same might be true of at least some small number of their co-religionists.

I grew up in a Muslim household in New York City’s polyglot outer boroughs, and the Tsarnaev brothers strike me, in broad outline, as recognizable figures. The younger brother’s Twitter feed, which has attracted wide attention, reads like dispatches from the collective id of at least a quarter of my high school classmates. Also recognizable is the brothers’ lower-middle-class but gentrifying Cambridge milieu, which bears a strong resemblance to the neighborhood in which I was raised. So like many Americans of Muslim origin, I’ve been struggling to understand what exactly went wrong in their heads. How could a “douchebag” and a “stoner” and here I’m paraphrasing the words of the Tsarnaev brothers’ acquaintances and friends ‑ have committed one of the most gruesome terror attacks in modern American history? We might never have a good answer to this question, and certainly won’t have a good answer anytime soon. But what we can do is get a sense of what we do and don’t know about U.S. Muslims, and what it might mean for our future.

Although I can’t claim to be representative of U.S. Muslims as a whole, my experience leads me to believe that America’s Muslim community will grow more secular over time. My parents are originally from Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country of 150 million that is currently in the throes of a violent clash over the role of Islam in public life. While Bangladesh has made impressive strides in a number of social indicators in recent decades, its poverty has sent large numbers of migrants to India, the Persian Gulf, Europe, Southeast Asia and, over the past two decades in particular, the United States.

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People in the South are not so fat after all — and they lie less (New Study)

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Published on: April 14, 2013

The South often gets tagged with having the most obese population.

But it doesn’t appear to be true, a University of Alabama at Birmingham study suggests.

The study recently published in the journal Obesity found that there’s a significantly higher percentage of obese people in a region of central and northwest states including Minnesota, Kansas and North and South Dakota.

“What we found is the West North Central region has about 41 percent obesity compared to 31 percent obesity in the southern region that includes Alabama and Mississippi,” said George Howard, professor in the Department of Biostatics at UAB. “By the way, 31 percent is not a good thing — but it’s not at the bottom.”

How did Southerners get such a fat reputation? Apparently because they are more truthful.

The notion that the South is the fattest comes primarily from a nationwide telephone survey done by the Centers for Disease Control, in which the surveyor asks for height and weight, among other things, Howard said.

That survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), shows the South as the most obese, with Mississippi and Alabama, the number one and two fattest states respectively.

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1980s Nostalgia: Poll Finds Reagan Beats Obama in a Landslide

Ronald Reagan, shown in his office when he was president, would win if he ran against Barack Obama, a new poll shows.

President Obama has been struggling to push his agenda through Congress and boost his popularity, but now there is another bit of bad news for him to chew on: A poll indicates that Obama would lose an election to Ronald Reagan, the champion of conservatism, if such a choice were possible today. And it would be a landslide.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans would choose Reagan, according to a survey conducted by Kelton Research for the National Geographic Channel. Reagan, a Republican who won the elections of 1980 and 1984, would even capture 51 percent of voters aged 18 to 34, even though young people were a key constituency for Democrat Obama in 2008 and 2012.

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Texas Rep. Stockman: ‘The best way to honor Baroness Thatcher is to crush liberalism’

Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman says the best way to honor the legacy former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is to “crush liberalism.”

“What are you doing this morning to defeat liberal politicians?” Stockman asked at the end of a statement released Monday morning by his office.

Thatcher, who died of a stroke Monday at age 87, was a conservative stalwart, fervent anti-communist and a close ally of President Ronald Reagan.

“While many mourn, Baroness Thatcher reminded us ‘I fight on I fight to win,’” Stockman said in statement. “The best way to honor Baroness Thatcher is to crush liberalism and sweep it into the dustbin of history.”

Recalling Thatcher’s history a “one of the greatest champions of human freedom,” Stockman compared Thatcher’s tenure to that of President Barack Obama.

“Like Barack Obama, Baroness Thatcher inherited a country that was demoralized, economically broken and bankrupted by expansive government. Unlike Obama, Baroness Thatcher restored prosperity and optimism,’ Stockman said. “Where Obama has failed, Baroness Thatcher succeeded. While Obama forges chains of dependency and government bloat, Baroness Thatcher took a sledgehammer to the machinery of liberalism.”

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“The Moral Foundations of Society” a Lecture by Margaret Thatcher

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Published on: April 8, 2013

Margaret Thatcher was born in 1925 and went on to earn a degree in chemistry from Somerville College, Oxford, as well as a master of arts degree from the University of Oxford. For some years she worked as a research chemist and then as a barrister, specializing in tax law. Elected to the House of Commons in 1953, she later held several ministerial appointments. She was elected leader of the Conservative Party and thus leader of the Opposition in 1975.

She became Britain’s first female prime minister in 1979 and served her nation in this historic role until her resignation in 1990. In 1992, she was elevated to the House of Lords to become Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. The first volume of her memoirs, The Downing Street Years, was published in 1993 by HarperCollins.

In November 1994, Lady Thatcher delivered the concluding lecture in Hillsdale Center for Constructive Alternatives seminar, “God and Man: Perspectives on Christianity in the 20th Century” before an audience of 2,500 students, faculty, and guests. In an edited version of that lecture, she examines how the Judeo-Christian tradition has provided the moral foundations of America and other nations in the West and contrasts their experience with that of the former Soviet Union.


The Moral Foundations of the American Founding

History has taught us that freedom cannot long survive unless it is based on moral foundations. The American founding bears ample witness to this fact. America has become the most powerful nation in history, yet she uses her power not for territorial expansion but to perpetuate freedom and justice throughout the world.

For over two centuries, Americans have held fast to their belief in freedom for all men—a belief that springs from their spiritual heritage. John Adams, second president of the United States, wrote in 1789, “Our Constitution was designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” That was an astonishing thing to say, but it was true.

What kind of people built America and thus prompted Adams to make such a statement? Sadly, too many people, especially young people, have a hard time answering that question. They know little of their own history (This is also true in Great Britain.) But America’s is a very distinguished history, nonetheless, and it has important lessons to teach us regarding the necessity of moral foundations.

John Winthrop, who led the Great Migration to America in the early 17th century and who helped found the Massachusetts Bay Colony, declared, “We shall be as a City upon a Hill.” On the voyage to the New World, he told the members of his company that they must rise to their responsibilities and learn to live as God intended men should live: in charity, love, and cooperation with one another. Most of the early founders affirmed the colonists were infused with the same spirit, and they tried to live in accord with a Biblical ethic. They felt they weren’t able to do so in Great Britain or elsewhere in Europe. Some of them were Protestant, and some were Catholic; it didn’t matter. What mattered was that they did not feel they had the liberty to worship freely and, therefore, to live freely, at home. With enormous courage, the first American colonists set out on a perilous journey to an unknown land—without government subsidies and not in order to amass fortunes but to fulfill their faith.

Christianity is based on the belief in a single God as evolved from Judaism. Most important of all, the faith of America’s founders affirmed the sanctity of each individual. Every human life—man or woman, child or adult, commoner or aristocrat, rich or poor—was equal in the eyes of the Lord. It also affirmed the responsibility of each individual.

This was not a faith that allowed people to do whatever they wished, regardless of the consequences. The Ten Commandments, the injunction of Moses (“Look after your neighbor as yourself”), the Sermon on the Mount, and the Golden Rule made Americans feel precious—and also accountable—for the way in which they used their God-given talents. Thus they shared a deep sense of obligation to one another. And, as the years passed, they not only formed strong communities but devised laws that would protect individual freedom—laws that would eventually be enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

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Margaret Thatcher dies aged 87 (A Woman Who Changed The World)

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher, who has died at the age of 87. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Margaret Thatcher, the most dominant British prime minister since Winston Churchill in 1940 and a global champion of the late 20th century free market economic revival, has died.

Her spokesman, Lord Bell, said on Monday: “It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning.

“A further statement will be made later.”

Downing Street announced that she would receive a ceremonial funeral with military honours at St Paul’s Cathedral.

David Cameron, who is cutting short his trip to Europe to return to London following the news, said: “It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher’s death. We’ve lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton.”

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People Not In Labor Force Soar By 663,000 To 90 Million, Labor Force Participation Rate At 1979 Levels!

Things just keep getting worse for the American worker, and by implication US economy, where as we have shown many times before, it pays just as well to sit back and collect disability and various welfare and entitlement checks, than to work .The best manifestation of this: the number of people not in the labor force which in March soared by a massive 663,000 to a record 90 million Americans who are no longer even looking for work. This was the biggest monthly increase in people dropping out of the labor force since January 2012, when the BLS did its census recast of the labor numbers. And even worse, the labor force participation rate plunged from an already abysmal 63.5% to 63.3% – the lowest since 1979! But at least it helped with the now painfully grotesque propaganda that the US unemployment rate is “improving.”

People not in labor force:

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The End of Marriage in Scandinavia (Logical Conclusion of “Gay” Marriage)

MARRIAGE IS SLOWLY DYING IN SCANDINAVIA. A majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock. Sixty percent of first-born children in Denmark have unmarried parents. Not coincidentally, these countries have had something close to full gay marriage for a decade or more. Same-sex marriage has locked in and reinforced an existing Scandinavian trend toward the separation of marriage and parenthood. The Nordic family pattern–including gay marriage–is spreading across Europe. And by looking closely at it we can answer the key empirical question underlying the gay marriage debate. Will same-sex marriage undermine the institution of marriage? It already has.

More precisely, it has further undermined the institution. The separation of marriage from parenthood was increasing; gay marriage has widened the separation. Out-of-wedlock birthrates were rising; gay marriage has added to the factors pushing those rates higher. Instead of encouraging a society-wide return to marriage, Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.

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US banks shaken by biggest fund withdrawals since 9/11

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Published on: March 29, 2013

Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP

US Federal Reserve is reporting a major deposit withdrawal from the nation’s bank accounts. The financial system has not seen such a massive fund outflow since 9/11 attacks.

­The first week of January 2013 has seen $114 billion withdrawn from 25 of the US’ biggest banks, pushing deposits down to $5.37 trillion, according to the US Fed. Financial analysts suggest it could be down to the Transaction Account Guarantee insurance program coming to an end on December 31 last year and clients moving their money that is no longer insured by the government.

The program was introduced in the wake of the 2008 crisis in order to support the banking system. It provided insurance for around $1.5 trillion in non-interest-bearing accounts with a limit of $250,000. It was aimed at medium and small banks as the creators of the program believed bigger banks would cope with the crisis themselves.

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Same-Sex Marriage: We’re Playing Chess, Not Checkers

In our sometimes misguided efforts to expand our freedom, selfish adults have systematically dismantled that which is most precious to children as they grow and develop. That’s why I am now speaking out against same-sex marriage.

By the way, I am gay.

A few days ago I testified against pending same-sex marriage legislation in Minnesota’s Senate Judiciary and House Civil Law Committees.

The atmosphere at these events (I’ve also testified elsewhere) seems tinged with unreality—almost a carnival-like surrealism. Natural law, tradition, religion, intellectual curiosity, and free inquiry no longer play a role in deliberations. Same-sex marriage legislation is defended solely on grounds of moral relativism and emotions.

Pure sophistry is pitted against reason. Reason is losing.

Here’s the problem: The national discussion of same-sex marriage treats the issue like a game of checkers, where opponents can quickly gain each other’s pieces without much forethought about the consequences. This unreflective view of the discussion has prevented any real debate.

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Wrong Side of History? (Why We Are DEFIANTLY Pro Traditional Marriage)

Originally published on The Family Policy Institute of Washington Website

You’re probably aware that the Supreme Court is hearing cases on the constitutionality of laws defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. You’ve probably also heard talking heads insist that public opinion has shifted, that same-sex marriage is inevitable, and 50 years from now everyone will wonder what the big deal was.

This is for those of you who may be a bit unsettled by all of it. You’re not crazy. The world may be going mad, but not for the first time. In the words of the apostle Paul, “professing to be wise they became fools.”

To better understand what’s going on, re-read the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. When the crowd is gathered and the emotions are highest, that is the moment at which the peer pressure is greatest. Only the child, who was unaware of the peer pressure, had the courage to state the obvious.

The path of least resistance is to go along to get along. That’s why so many people choose it. But you just can’t make yourself do it. It isn’t so much about being true to yourself as it is about being true to what is true. You anchored yourself to the concept of truth, which means that not every idea is brilliant. It isn’t that you have a personal vendetta against those that disagree, you just recognize that if nothing is true, then everything is true…which is completely unworkable.

Over time, you came to be thankful for the fact that, by virtue of having an anchor, there were some places you couldn’t go and some ideas you couldn’t embrace. It has actually saved you a lot of trouble. But now everyone is so angry about it.

If you sympathize with this sentiment, let’s remind ourselves of why we have an anchor at all.

We don’t make the rules. Sure we can decide speed limits and tax rates, but with respect to the laws of the universe, we are subject, not lord. We may not like them, but and we cannot change them.

We could pass a law banning gravity because it discriminates against wingless creatures, but the moment we launched ourselves off a building to celebrate our independence from it we would simply reinforce the limits of our legislative authority.

Natural marriage flows from the laws of nature. It is not a uniquely valuable relationship because people gathered in their caves eons ago and launched a campaign to stigmatize people attracted to the same sex. Marriage between a man and a woman is uniquely valuable because we are a gendered species. It is a biological reality that every child has a mom and dad. The fact that it is ideal for children to have both parents in their lives flows from nature, not from hatred of non-parents. For those who are offended by this reality, their issue is not with you.

The ideas that parents are interchangeable will not survive because it cannot survive. It cannot survive because it is inconsistent with reality. Fathers cannot mother, and mothers cannot father.

Truth is not concerned with or affected by our preferences. I may find it inconvenient that I cannot eat only corn dogs and expect to be healthy. Even if I framed my body’s need for vitamins and minerals as discrimination and intolerance of my tongues orientation, and even if I convinced many to join my protest, my heart attack would not care. Nor would it care that my intentions were good. My body was designed in a way that I cannot control or change. It is in my best interest to accept it rather than fight it.

For those of us who live life with an anchor, we have done so, in part, because we understand that we cannot trust our feelings. They are, by definition, unreliable. The ability to analyze what is true despite how we feel is part of what separates us from animals.

The other thing about feelings…they go away. Whether you’re motivated, joyful, or angry, no feeling lasts forever. If your conclusions about what is true are determined by your feelings, your view of reality will constantly change. This also explains why support for same-sex “marriage”, such as it is, cannot last.

Nevermind the fact that nearly every poll ever taken has wildly overstated real support for redefining marriage, the fact that a fevered emotional climate with intense social pressure to conform or be ostracized was necessary to gain support for their position also guarantees its collapse.

The cultural infatuation with everything gay will not last forever. When the emotional leverage is gone, they’ll have to argue for the benefits of a genderless world with interchangeable parents on the merits. Good luck with that.

If you feel anxiety about all of this, please try to relax. Don’t stop caring and don’t stop working. There is much pain to be averted by being as close to truth as possible, and each of us plays a critical role in that struggle. But don’t ever be concerned that this battle is lost forever.

The idea that 500 years from now, civilizations will see this as the moment in human history when everyone came together and realized you could do whatever you wanted with whomever you wanted and it didn’t matter so long as everyone consented and had good intentions is fantasy.

We are not the first people to be asked to conform to intense social pressure, nor will we be the last. But hopefully we will provide a great example to the next generation of grace under fire and the benefit of having an anchor.

You may be on the wrong side of the peer pressure, depending on the group you’re with or the channel you’re watching, but you’re not on the wrong side of history.

Time obliterates the fictions of opinion and confirms the decisions of nature.

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Civil Rights Activist: ‘No Comparison’ Between Civil Rights, Gay Rights Movement

Williams Owen

Civil rights activist Rev. William Owens, who is founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, said Tuesday there is no comparison between the civil rights movement and the gay community’s fight for same-sex marriage.

“I marched and many other thousands of people marched in this same location years ago on the claim that we were being discriminated against, and today the other community is trying to say that they are suffering the same thing that we suffered, but I tell you they are not,” said Owens, who gathered on the National Mall with other traditional marriage supporters in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Supreme Court met Tuesday to consider Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. However, the Associated Press reported that the high court could dismiss the case with no ruling at all.

Owens said that as a black man, he cannot change the color of his skin.

“Every morning I wake up, I look in the mirror, and I see a black man, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change the color of my skin,” he said.

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How Nixon Won Watergate

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Published on: March 26, 2013

This month, I spoke at an event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Watergate scandal with some of its survivors at the National Press Club. While much of the discussion looked back at the historic clash with President Nixon, I was struck by a different question: Who actually won? From unilateral military actions to warrantless surveillance that were key parts of the basis for Nixon’s impending impeachment, the painful fact is that Barack Obama is the president that Nixon always wanted to be.

Four decades ago, Nixon was halted in his determined effort to create an “imperial presidency” with unilateral powers and privileges. In 2013, Obama wields those very same powers openly and without serious opposition. The success of Obama in acquiring the long-denied powers of Nixon is one of his most remarkable, if ignoble, accomplishments.

Obama has not only openly asserted powers that were the grounds for Nixon’s impeachment, but he has made many love him for it. More than any figure in history, Obama has been a disaster for the U.S. civil liberties movement. By coming out of the Democratic Party and assuming an iconic position, Obama has ripped the movement in half. Many Democrats and progressive activists find themselves unable to oppose Obama for the authoritarian powers he has assumed. It is not simply a case of personality trumping principle; it is a cult of personality.

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