If You Click Right Here, Ladies and Gentlemen, You’ll Find Yourself In Another World…

As I said to a like-minded friend today, clicking on the Huffington Post site is like entering a completely different universe. It is not just that the contributors have different opinions; they do not even speak the same language. And when they come across a fact they cannot contort, they just ignore it.

Shortly after my conversation with my friend, I went on “HuffPo” to do some research for another piece I am writing, and of course the page was full of stories about Judge Vinson’s decision on Obamacare. As usual, when the Left doesn’t get what it wants, it gets nastier than a toddler who’s been denied a lollipop—and makes about as much sense.  Ethan Rome is no different. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ethan-rome/florida-health-care-decis_b_816567.html

Rome completely ignores the fact that millions of Americans have opposed this law from the beginning. They opposed it while it was being debated, and they opposed it on November 2, when they voted to end the steel grip the Dems had around the throats of the people.  The Left, even with their dirty politics, strong-arming tactics and the adoration of the media, lost big that day, and they still cannot get over it. They continually underestimate the intelligence –and misunderstand the core values—of the American people.  Rome talks about the Republican politicians bringing this suit, when it was in fact 26 states—over half of the country—that joined the lawsuit against Obamacare. How many people, how many states, have to speak out against something before they are heard?  Now, I ask Rome and the rest of his ilk, who is really ignoring the needs of the people?

Rome is so busy bashing Vinson as a “GOP extremist” that he doesn’t even bother to address a crucial part in the judge’s ruling. The entirety of Obamacare was declared unconstitutional because it lacks a severability clause. Vinson was very clear about this in his decision, pointing out that it was a very difficult case to decide because he recognizes that healthcare reform is needed. He would have kept other parts of the law—good and bad—in place, if they could have been severed from the mandate that everyone purchase healthcare.  Vinson’s decision was not judicial activism, it was the opposite.  Instead of blaming this judge, Rome should blame the lawmakers who churned out 2,000 plus pages of crap but left out that crucial piece.

No one is arguing against healthcare reform; no one is saying that insurance companies should deny people because of pre-existing conditions. But millions are saying that it can be done another way, and the Left doesn’t want to hear that.


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The Spin is (Still)Making Me Nauseous


When I first saw the Time cover depicting then President-elect Obama as the second coming of FDR, my immediate reaction –nausea—was based on the unabashed and absolute adoration that the mainstream media had been heaping on him throughout the campaign.  As I thought about it, however, my disgust deepened with the realization at how very clever the spin was–it went much deeper than the top hat, sharp suit and classic convertible. It was Time’s capitalization on the fact that so many Americans are misinformed about FDR and his role in the end of the Great Depression. His domestic policies in that dire situation helped ease some of the pain, but it was America’s participation in WWII that pulled us back from the precipice and heralded in a golden age. For the War, as horrifying as it was, put Americans back to work;  the urgency created by a very real threat of world domination by the Nazis  brought out the best in American innovation and transformed the U.S. into a global super power in just four years. But many Americans don’t know this; they associate FDR, not with his socialist leanings, but with his charisma and beautifully eloquent wartime speeches that accompanied America’s return to prosperity and victory. And Time capitalized on this ignorance to keep Obama on the pedestal.

I truly believe that Barack Obama would not have been elected had the American voter paid more attention to the implications of what he was saying (and not saying) on the campaign trail, and less attention to the sycophantic “journalists” who abandoned the last shred of impartiality to push their progressive agenda.  That was the landscape that made us ripe for that 2008 issue of Time.  Now, two years later, the bloom is off the rose and even the media was not able to save Obama from a well-deserved shellacking. But the spin doctors have already come up with an even more nauseating response. They are now comparing Obama to his ideological (and highly successful) antithesis: Ronald Reagan. And there is evidence that many people are swallowing this bunk. http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/01/time-traveling-lib-mag-transforms-obama-from-socialist-fdr-to-conservative-reagan/

And the bunk has gone global. The Council on Foreign Affairs newsletter has published an article entitled The Gorbachev Predicament, in which its author, University of Amsterdam professor Artemy Kalinovsky, compares the leadership style of Barack Obama with that of Mikhail Gorbachev. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/node/67183?cid=nlc-this_week_on_foreignaffairscom-012011-untitled-012011 The two men, he writes, are “conciliatory by nature”. Obama, conciliatory? Until a few months ago, he was focused only on ramming his progressive agenda down everyone’s throat.  It was only after he saw his chances for a second term going up in smoke that he showed any willingness to compromise.  

But that aside, one might ask how Kalinovsky compares Obama and Gorbachev without drawing parallels between this country and the U.S.S.R. Answer: he doesn’t.  “Both Obama and Gorbachev came to power because there was a broad domestic consensus for change, and their initial appeal was based in part on their ability to attract support across the political spectrum.”  A broad domestic consensus for change? He is comparing a socialist totalitarian society that had kept people in shackles (ideologically, physically, and financially) for generations, with Americans who were sick of President Bush (whose unpopularity, I might add, had much to do with eight years of negative press by the same media mentioned above).  The people of the U.S.S.R. knew what change they wanted: freedom; Americans didn’t know what they wanted, and so they fell for the nebulous “Change You Can Believe In.”

At the end of the article, Kalinovsky grudgingly acknowledges that “Even with all its problems, the U.S. today is not the Soviet Union of 1987.” Really? Thanks for letting us know. Perhaps he should be telling that to his leftist friends, because if they had their way we would soon be waiting in line for toilet paper.

And if I get any more nauseous, I’m going to need a compazine.

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….and Now for the Good News

We are constantly inundated with bad news, via TV, radio, and the web; so much so that’s it’s easy to start believing the worst of the world, and of people. Yet miracles and incredible acts of heroism are happening under our jaded noses, each and every day.  

In the face of the horrific natural disasters like the flooding in Australia and Brazil, as well as the heinous acts of men like alleged Tucson murderer Jared Lee Loughner, several miracles and amazing acts of bravery have occurred in the past few weeks.  Since I believe we’re all in need of some uplifting news (I know I am!), I thought I’d list some of them here…

*Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun diagnosed in 2001 with Parkinson’s disease at the tender age of 40, has been cured through the intercession of the late Pope John Paul II. After the Pope (who also had the disease) passed away in 2005, Simon-Pierre prayed for him to intercede on her behalf. On June 3, she woke up completely cured. She has been given a clean bill of health by the Vatican’s medical specialists, who have declared it an “official” miracle. This is not the first miracle attributed to John Paul II; one more and he is headed for sainthood.

*Cops rescued 11-year-old Long Islander Sarah Thalhammer when she fell through the ice while trying to save her friend’s Maltese puppy. Thalhammer and the puppy—Ace Ventura—were shaken but unharmed. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/officials_rescue_year_suffolk_girl_pkc6T66Ld01w19C9zfAJ2K

*And let’s not forget the miraculous recovery of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Ten days after being shot in the head, she is breathing on her own, responding to commands, and even gave her husband Mark a ten-minute neck massage. Her doctors have acknowledged her progress as a miracle.

Sometimes, one person’s tragedy is someone else’s miracle…

*Dorwan Stoddard: the 76-year-old man was killed in the January 8 massacre in Tucson after throwing himself on top of his wife Mary to protect her from the madmen’s bullets. http://azstarnet.com/news/local/article_ddeec327-f8ab-520e-ac52-511252af1166.html

* 13-year-old Australian Jordan Blake told a man who had stopped to rescue him and his family to save his younger brother first. Minutes after his 10-year—old brother was pulled to safety, Jordan and his mother where swept away by the rapids. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/special-reports/teenager-swept-away-after-saving-his-brother-from-toowoomba-floods/story-fn7kabp3-1225986169850

* The youngest victim of the Tucson tragedy, Christina-Taylor Green, donated her corneas, saving the eyesight of two other children.

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Appreciate the Tough Times, If Only Because They Wake Us up to the Good Stuff

I am not advocating misery or martyrdom, but sometimes when we have it too good for too long, we become complacent and unappreciative.  But as Michael Goodwin of the Post points out, despite all this country has been through–and is continuing to go through–we still have so much to be grateful for.


A Blessed Thanksgiving to everyone.


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Obama’s Plan to End Bipartisanship Succeeds at Last!

Left, Right agree: Obama’s G-20 performance worst ever

posted at 3:00 pm on November 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

First, let’s hear from the usual suspects.  The Wall Street Journal looks at Barack Obama’s performance at the G-20 summit as well as his trip to Seoul and pronounces it the worst ever for an American President.  The editors are disgusted by the performance, but in the end say failure was the right outcome:

Has there ever been a major economic summit where a U.S. President and his Treasury Secretary were as thoroughly rebuffed as they were at this week’s G-20 meeting in Seoul? We can’t think of one. President Obama failed to achieve any of his main goals while getting pounded by other world leaders for failing U.S. policies and lagging growth.

The root of this embarrassment is political and intellectual: Rather than leading the world from a position of strength, Mr. Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner came to Seoul blaming the rest of the world for U.S. economic weakness. America’s problem, in their view, is the export and exchange rate policies of the Germans, Chinese or Brazilians. And the U.S. solution is to have the Fed print enough money to devalue the dollar so America can grow by stealing demand from the rest of the world. …

The world also rejected Mr. Geithner’s high-profile call for a 4% limit on a nation’s trade surplus or deficit, which would amount to new political controls on trade and capital flows. This contradicts at least three decades of U.S. policy advice against national barriers to the flow of money and goods. We don’t like to see U.S. Treasury Secretaries so completely shot down by the rest of the world, except when they are so clearly misguided.

But this is the Wall Street Journal, Obama’s defenders will say.  The capitalists at the WSJ don’t like Obama anyway.  Well, that’s certainly true, as the Journal has provided one of the few substantial media platforms that has bothered to look critically at Obama’s performance rather than his public-relations profile.  But how about looking 3,000 miles west to San Francisco, the heart of Nancy Pelosi-style progressivism, to see how his G-20 performance looked from that perspective?  Interestingly, it looks as though Obama has truly delivered consensus when one reads the San Francisco Chronicle editorial from yesterday’s edition:

Shellacked at home, shellacked abroad. President Obama’s Asia trip is extending a losing streak with the latest setback – a refusal by other major financial powers to follow his lead to revive the global economy.

The president’s nostrums, which began with a call for stimulus-style pump priming by other nations, had evolved into a plan to ease wild swings in currency values and overboard trade imbalances. But he got next to nothing in showdown meetings with other leaders of the G-20 nations, or major economic powers. U.S. leadership, once taken for granted, has all but vanished, and no one’s in charge.

Of course, as the Chronicle notes later in the article, Obama could hardly be said to be providing a lead to follow.  He arrived at the G-20, fresh from his rebuff from Seoul over a trade agreement that George Bush had wrapped in a tidy bow three years ago and Democrats rejected, insisting that the industrialized nations refrain from currency manipulations — while defending the second round of quantitative easing that the Fed introduced to do just that.  Obama learned the hard way that few people will follow a “Do as I say, not as I do” model of leadership, and may end up touching off a currency war as a result.

In 2008, we warned about the dangers of putting a man in the White House with no executive, military, diplomatic, or private-sector experience.  It should shock no one to find that American leadership has utterly vanished on the international stage when we elect someone incapable of providing that leadership.  The lesson from both the Right and Left coasts’ media is that Barack Obama is in way over his head and doesn’t have a clue how to get back to the surface.

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Like Oil & Water (or why Sharia Law is contrary to all things American)

· Thursday, November 11, 2010 There has been much heated debate about whether to allow Sharia law in the United States, particularly in matters relating to marriage and the family. Both sides point to the fact that Islamic law — for better or for worse — is already operating in several other countries, but unfortunately, the arguments of both sides are so often reduced to simplistic sound bites. Those against Sharia law usually point to its harsh criminal penalties; those in favor of it argue that the United States — a country that prides itself on religious tolerance — is discriminating against Muslims by not recognizing Islamic law. But it is not as simple as either side makes it sound. There are several complex matters at issue here — most notably balancing the interests of American society with the right to religious expression. Politics aside, could Sharia law work, legally and logistically, in America?

There are several basic premises upon which the United States was founded in order to promote a free society. One of the most important of these is religious freedom; first, that the laws of the nation would be secular and that the government would not “establish” a religion (separation of church and state), and second, that people living here would be free to worship as they see fit, or not at all. These concepts are embodied in the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. But as the Founders declared in their writings — and as U.S. courts have upheld ever since — rights are not absolute and must be limited in order to preserve the society as a whole. The most well-known example is the exception to Free Speech: one cannot call “fire!” in a crowded theater, because of the inevitable panic that would ensue, endangering the lives of others.

The same is true of religion. The Founders were quite clear on the point that while there could be no abridgment of thought or belief in one’s religious faith, there can and will be limitations placed on one’s actions. Actions in the name of religious worship, when they conflict with the laws of the United States, are not protected. There are several aspects of Sharia law that would prove problematic in this country.

One example is Sharia’s acceptance of polygamy. A recent Der Speigel article regarding Germany’s application of Sharia law illustrates this issue. Under Sharia law, a man is allowed several wives. German courts will adjudicate such a case, determining whether the wives are entitled to support, a portion of the husband’s pension or estate in the event of his death. In the U.S., however, this would create enormous conflict, given the fact that polygamy has been illegal since the 19th century. In fact, in recent years several polygamist Mormon communities have been raided and disbanded by the government. If American courts were to recognize and afford protection to polygamist relationships created under Sharia law, this would no doubt give rise to numerous equal protection lawsuits by Mormons who believe in polygamy as part of a faith-based lifestyle.

Another central concern regarding Sharia law is its treatment of women. There have already been several cases in which U.S. courts have refused to enforce Sharia in family matters on the grounds that it violates public policy. Most recently, Judge Joseph Charles of New Jersey refused to grant a Muslim woman a restraining order against her husband, who she claimed had sexually abused her. The basis for the judge’s ruling was that the husband had no “intent” to rape her, but was simply following what he believed to be his right under Sharia law. Indeed, under Sharia law it is considered a wife’s duty to make herself available to her husband at all times, as he is not allowed to seek sexual gratification outside the marriage. Not allowing him such access is considered a threat to the core of the marital relationship and a basis for a husband’s denial of financial support. However, under the laws of the state of New Jersey, when a man forces himself on any woman — even his wife — it is rape. Therefore, the Appellate Court overturned Charles’ ruling and the husband was arrested for his crime. In fact, in the past several years more states have moved toward applying the same penalty for spousal rape as when the rapist is a stranger. To allow a separate justice for husbands — or less protection for wives — under Islamic law is in contravention of every notion of equality on which the U.S. legal system is based.

Another example is In the Matter of Ramadan, the 2006 New Hampshire case in which a Muslim husband sought to enforce in that state an Islamic divorce decree. The couple married in Lebanon, but had since lived in several places, including New Hampshire. Under Sharia law, a husband may divorce his wife by telling her three times that he wishes to dissolve the marriage. In this case, the husband, after telling his wife he wished to divorce her, traveled to Lebanon to obtain the decree. While he was gone his wife filed for divorce and financial support in New Hampshire family court. When the husband ignored the action, the court awarded the wife everything she had petitioned for. The New Hampshire court would not recognize divorces obtained in other jurisdictions because the couple had been domiciled in New Hampshire when the divorce was initiated. A state is not going to afford recognition to Sharia law when it does not even afford that recognition to another state.

Alimony is another aspect of family law which is treated completely differently under Sharia than in American courts. Under Sharia law, marriage begins with the creation of a contract. Under this contract, a woman is entitled to maintenance by her husband, meaning that during the marriage he has to support her according to his financial means. If divorce is commenced, the man is required to support his wife during the iddat, or waiting period. Once the divorce is final, however, a man is not required to provide any financial support to his ex-wife, regardless of her circumstances. Only if it has been included in the original marriage contract is a woman entitled to support after the dissolution of the marital relationship.

Alimony in the United States, on the other hand, varies from state to state; for example, some states base alimony on the length of the marriage, including common law unions. In some states fault is a factor; in others, alimony is based solely on financial need. Support is usually terminated when the party receiving support remarries. But the fact remains, alimony is a matter to be determined either by the court or through mediation on a case by case basis.

There is also a discrepancy in the laws concerning child custody. Under Sharia law, the mother retains physical custody of the children during the “years of dependence.” When they reach a certain age, usually 7-9 years for boys and 9-11 years for girls (although this varies among different schools of Sharia), the father takes physical custody. A woman can also lose custody of her children if she remarries or converts to another religion. In the U.S., the standard in all matters relating to children is “the best interests of the child.” Would Muslim women in this country, if deprived of their children once they have reached a certain age, have recourse in American courts? If not, this would no doubt be a concern of American jurists, particularly in cases of alleged abuse.

Several other countries were faced with similar dilemmas, and they have allowed Sharia courts to operate alongside their own judicial systems, in the form of arbitration. Israel and India, for example, recognize Sharia courts, despite the religious disputes that exist in their countries between Muslims and non-Muslims. However, their decisions can be appealed to the high courts, and may be overturned if they violate basic rights or the laws of the land. But in England, where Sharia courts adjudicate civil matters under the Arbitration Act of 1966, their existence is being hotly contested. Human Rights groups, such as One Law for All and Iranian Solidarity, argue that these courts and tribunals have created parallel legal systems in which Muslims are deprived of the rights enjoyed by others living in England. These tribunals operate by consent of the parties, mediating cases involving family issues such as divorce, alimony and child custody. But Iranian Solidarity and other groups point out that Muslim women — who are often at a grave disadvantage under Sharia law — are under immense religious and social pressure to “consent.” In addition, these decisions are as binding as any in a secular court, so there is no hope of appeal if the decision is unfair.

There is little reason to assume that in the United States, whose legal system is so similar to England, the application of Sharia law would be any different. Another critical factor is the very different natures of religious versus secular law. Whereas religious laws — such as Sharia — remain unchanging, the laws, mores, and what is considered “just” in America is constantly in flux. No one would dispute that the U.S. has often fallen short of the ideals contained in its Constitution, but most would agree that jurists and legislators alike continue to strive to reach those ideals. One area in which we have made great strides as a nation is the equality of women. To allow a particular group of women — be they Muslim or otherwise — to be governed under a separate law that could be construed as inequitable, would no doubt be unpalatable to many Americans.


D.M. has a Juris Doctor from New York Law School and is a freelance writer and editor from New York City.

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Journalists Tell Obama to Put His Money Where his MouthWas (in 2008)

“I’d rather be a really good one-term president,” Barack Obama once said in an interview with Diane Sawyer, “than a mediocre two-term president.” Well, those words are now coming back to haunt him in the form of a Washington Post Op-Ed.

Post contributors Douglas E. Shoen and Patrick H. Cadell (Democrats who worked for Presidents Carter and Clinton, respectively) have called on President Obama to announce “immediately” that he will not be running for re-election in 2010.

Citing Obama’s floundering on how he wants to govern and the “shellacking” the president and his cronies took in the midterm elections, Shoen and Cadell write that the only way Obama can make good on his campaign promises to end bipartisanship and bring real “change” to Washington is to put the country’s future above his own political and personal gain. It’s a novel idea for most politicians, let alone one who was once touted as a modern-day Messiah, and Schoen and Cadell make an excellent case for it.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/12/AR2010111202846.html?sid=ST2010111203190 Of course, others could make an even better case for him resigning now, but that another story.

In the meantime, commentators across the pond are weighing on the “symbiotic” relationship between Obama and George W. Bush. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/us-politics/8131268/The-Decider-returns-to-haunt-Mr-Nuance-as-George-W.-Bush-eclipses-Barack-Obama.html “There could have been no Obama without Bush,” Toby Harnden argues in the Telegraph” and only Obama’s stumbles could have made Bush look good again so quickly.” The implications of Harnden’s statement are huge, that in effect Obama was never all that great and that he was propelled to stardom, not due to his own merits, but to the shortcomings of someone else. Indeed, much of Obama’s shortcomings (his lack of experience, his socialist leanings, to name a few) were overlooked because so many people wanted someone other than Bush. Of course, a big part of both the global hatred of Bush and adoration of Obama was the result of  media spin, so it’s sweet irony that now that same media is turning the tables.

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