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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Senate Panel Backs Tax-Funded Abortions

With all the problems and controversies surrounding health care “reform”, it is rather unbelievable that Senate Democrats on the Finance Committee defeated two pro-Life amendments today, both on 10-13 votes.

The two amendments were offered by Utah’s senator, Orrin Hatch.

The first of his proposals would have ensured that no federal tax dollars would be used to pay for abortions. Our own Mike Crapo joined with Hatch in supporting the amendment. Unfortunately, the measure garnered only one Democrat vote (Sen. Conrad), with “Republican” Olympia Snowe supporting a broad expansion of taxpayer-subsidized abortions.

History demonstrates that “free” abortions increase demand; so we are talking not just about tax dollars here, or the conscience rights of American pro-Lifers who understand such use of their money to be a moral outrage. The heart of the matter is that this dark vote, if sustained by the Congress and President, will directly translate into a death sentence for thousands of preborn children. We’re talking about lives that would probably have otherwise been spared by mothers enticed into abortion by the lure of a “free” solution to their problem.

The other Hatch amendment would have afforded medical care providers with conscience protections – another item President Obama claimed to support in his national address earlier this month. Despite such rhetoric, the protections were rejected on the same 10-13 vote.

These votes do not bode well for the future of this nation, and mark yet another assault in the unrelenting war against preborn children being waged by the current national regime.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Democrat Two-Step on ACORN

Congressman Michele Bachman (R-MN) warned us that floor votes in the House and Senate to “defund” ACORN were just so much political cover. That is beginning to look like Speaker Pelosi’s plan.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA.) has called for a Justice Department investigation and congressional hearings into ACORN’s activities, potentially as an institution of organized crime. At first blush, it seems that ACORN fits many of the definitions of a criminal enterprise under federal RICO statutes.

It is outrageous, of course, that the organization has been seen aiding and abetting in schemes to evade taxes, promote prostitution and conceal the use of illegal immigrant children as sex toys. But the criminal activities of ACORN go well beyond those moral outrages.

It is an open secret that ACORN was an essential part of the Democrat Party’s registration/Get-Out-The-Vote machine last year. And it is indisputable that they made a substantial difference in electing Barack Obama to the presidency and expanding Speaker Pelosi’s base of power. Some of their electoral activities were probably legal; but other programs of voter registration and GOTV were blatantly illegal.

Some of their “nonpartisan” work in Idaho last year demands further scrutiny and analysis – especially in Boise and Canyon Counties. And, in fact, some of the anomalies in 2008 election returns point to the need for the Legislature to tighten up Idaho election laws to prevent fraud.
A wholesale investigation into ACORN is, therefore, more than a matter of saving tax dollars. It is necessary to protect the integrity of our democratic institutions. For a time, it seemed that the moment had arrived in Washington when a critical mass of integrity would produce results.

But just yesterday, two key Democrat leaders signaled that Bachman was more than a prophet. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that “Congress needs to gather more facts before it decides whether to cut off all federal funds for ACORN.” A person might have hoped that Hoyer was about to join David Vitter in the campaign to “get more information”.

But it appears that no investigation is to be launched. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he was “too busy” with “important” issues to undertake Senate hearings into the nefarious organization and its abuse of American taxpayers.

We applaud Idaho’s congressional delegation, including Walt Minnick, for voting to end tax funding of ACORN last week. But it is now obvious that greater action is necessary for those votes to mean more than political gamesmanship.

We will soon see what the Democrat majority is actually made of. There is no doubt that their hopes for retaining a congressional majority will be hurt if ACORN is removed from the battlefield of next year’s election; but the nation cannot stomach national leaders simply looking away from such blatant corruption.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Celebrate the Constitution With Prayer

Today marks the 222nd anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. On this day in 1787 delegates to the national convention signed and publicly presented a system of government designed to secure our common defense and common liberties.

We who have lived under its great blessings owe a great debt to our forefathers, who fought countless battles to preserve and defend its principles. Their great success can be measured by the fact that we live under the oldest governing document in the world. Such stability carries of the curse of taking things for granted.

A new column by the Honorable Phill Kline reminds us that the Constitution itself was not a given.

The delegates gathered in Philadelphia had wrangled with one another for months, failing to come to agreement on key provisions. At this critical hour of frustration, Benjamin Franklin rose for the first time in the convention to address his fellows. Given the rampant historical revisionism plaguing our public schools and discourse – it may surprise you to learn that Franklin rose to urge his fellow delegates to turn to God for help:

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not thought once of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered….I firmly believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel. I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business….”

It would be the height of arrogance not to appreciate the profound fact that the Creator answered those prayers.

And, given the multitude of internal threats to life and liberty we now face, it would be the height of folly not to recognize the profound need to petition that same Creator for help.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Truth Is Out There

With all the speeches, commercials and op-ed pieces, no doubt many Americans are confused about just how dangerous ObamaCare will turn out to be. After all, at some important level it really is hard to believe that the left-wing machine controlling Washington would really deny treatment to the elderly and infirm or re-direct “health care” dollars into killing babies.

Be encouraged. As Fox Moulder might say when facing similarly weird circumstances, “The truth is out there”.

This leftist plan to take over health care is not experimental: It may be a new concept for Americans – but Canada and Europe have long ago swallowed the blue pill. We can look at those nations to see how government-controlled health care really works.

Just two days ago, an outrageous story surfaced from England which coldly demonstrates the inherent evil of such a system. Miss Sara Capewell gave birth to a premature son in a government controlled hospital. When doctors learned that her baby was just 21 weeks old, they refused him any medical care.

His mother begged doctors to help the tiny baby – who was able to breathe on his own and was born with a strong heartbeat. But the doctors refused to admit him to the special care baby unit because government guidelines forbid medical care for babies born before 23 weeks’ gestation.
The government guidelines advise doctors that medical care for premature babies is “not in the best interests of the baby” and is not “standard practice”.

Little Jayden died in his mother’s arms some two hours after birth.

Welcome to the future.

President Obama took some denigrating shots at Sarah Palin the other night, but the truth is, Mrs. Palin is due some real credit for forcing America to face some very uncomfortable truths about ObamaCare.

Mrs. Palin authored a guest opinion for the Wall Street Journal this week entitled, “Obama and the Bureaucratization of Health Care”. In her piece she warns, “Common sense tells us that government’s attempts to solve large problems often create new ones.” Indeed.

Palin specifically challenges us to consider the ramifications of Obama’s proposal to cut “waste” from the Medicare program – through creation of an “Independent Medicare Advisory Council”. This unelected council of bureaucrats would work outside “normal political channels” to develop new guidelines for the treatment of the elderly and infirm. (And, we should correctly understand Obama’s "new-speak" to mean that these bureaucrats would be protected from citizens’ outrage and public accountability; put another way - this council will protect your congressman from responsibility when you call his office begging for your mother's life).

And how will these bureaucrats identify medical treatments or practices which are “wasteful”? Palin quotes from an interview Mr. Obama gave the New York Times in April of this year, in which he specifically stated that this council would focus on containing the biggest problem – that “huge driver of cost… the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives….”

Mr. Obama would have easily added the "wasteful cost" of treating premature babies to his list.

We know that Obama, Pelosi and their army of policy czars have long shunned the principle that all human life is priceless. Therefore, the only standard by which government will judge the value of a human life is utilitarian. Human beings who fit into the right bureaucratic grid will probably receive reasonable health care under the new system; but for those who do not – the picture is grim. It is likely they will be told their greatest social contribution is to be made through accepting a quiet death.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The President's Big Speech

Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, we all have to admit that the guy can give a heckuva speech. His voice is soothing, manners smooth; you find yourself wanting to believe him. And, after all, he is The President of the United States.

Yet the disturbing truth is that President Obama is a practiced and stylized “messenger of misinformation.” (Calling him a ‘liar’ is just rude).

President Obama turned to the America people, looked us straight in the eye from the most honored podium in American history … and tried selling us one more time on the wonders of his plan to remake American society through his health care “reform”. Here are some of the more obvious lies he tried selling us:

1. Mr. Obama said that his plan would be paid for through a massive cut in expenditures for Medicare and Medicaid: “Reducing the waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid will pay for most of this plan”. Yet, just two paragraphs earlier, Mr. Obama said, “That is why not a dollar of the Medicare trust fund will be used to pay for this plan.”So which is it? Are America’s elderly going to suffer if Congress whacks some $500 billion from the Medicare program to create a whole new entitlement program? While there is no doubt there are the time-honored “waste, fraud and abuse” in this program (like everything the government touches) – it is pretty darn hard to believe that a half-trillion dollars can be shifted out of the program without impacting some old woman’s ability to get the treatment she needs. You can decide for yourself whether the President’s claims that he will not raise taxes or deficits to finance his $900 billion expansion are at all credible; but please do so with a cold eye toward the historical record of Congressional fiscal irresponsibility.

And please bear in mind that there are grave moral consequences to an apparent ponzi-scheme approach to financing this whole fantastic project: Without adequate funding, this nationalizing of health care threatens the health and lives of those most dependent upon health care. The elderly and infirm will almost certainly face rationed health care as the federal government necessarily makes wholesale decisions about how to allocate insufficient public resources.

Given President Obama’s value system, there is every reason for the public to be scared about giving the federal government such incredible power.

End-of-Life care is one of the crucial issues at stake here. But there are two other vital deceptions launched by the President last night:

2. The President claimed that, under ObamaCare, “federal conscience protections will remain in place.” That statement demonstrates some amazing contempt for the intelligence of American voters. The fact is, President Obama has used his executive power to repeal the conscience protections enacted by President Bush; Obama has NOT replaced them and the current legislation does nothing to restore protections for America’s health care professionals.

3. Mr. Obama claimed, again, that his revolution would not include “federal funds to pay for abortions.” In this story line, Obama follows Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Idaho’s own Walt Minnick. These folks are happily arguing that ObamaCare will not allow tax funding for abortions because of the Hyde Amendment.

Anticipating such deceptions, Doug Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee issued a public statement last night, explaining that the Hyde Amendment has nothing to do with ObamaCare:

“In reality, the Hyde Amendment is not a government-wide law – it applies only to funds appropriated through the annual appropriations bill that funds the Department of Health and Human Services….[None] of the funds that would be expended by the public plan, and none of the funds that will subsidize the purchase of private insurance plans, will ever flow through an HHS appropriation bill. Therefore, none of the funds will be covered by the Hyde Amendment.”

You may be tempted to just shake your head at the complexity, the confusion. Who is telling the truth?

If you are tempted to take the easy path, why not pay critical attention to the motives of this president? His politics and values? He has advocated public funding of abortions throughout his public career. In soliciting the backing of Planned Parenthood, Mr. Obama pledged:

“[I]n my mind, reproductive health care is essential care. It is basic care, and so it is at the center, and at the heart of the plan I propose.”

We submit to you that Mr. Obama is working very hard to deliver on his dark promise.

The content and implications of ObamaCare are patently troubling to (almost) anyone armed with the facts . But it is perhaps even more disturbing that we apparently have a man in the White House with a conscience so coarsened that he can intentionally mislead Americans on matters so crucial; one can’t avoid being a bit scared at the display of such overweening self-confidence in his ability to pull it off.

It is obvious that our nation is in desperate need of God’s help.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Reflections on Kennedy's Bloody Legacy

Many have offered their perspective on Ted Kennedy’s death and the meaning of his life; such wide public discourse and reflection is appropriate because Kennedy was an over-arching political and cultural figure who played a large role in crafting the America in which we find ourselves. This badly tarnished icon of liberalism leaves behind a monumentally-lethal legacy.

There was a time when I supported Ted Kennedy for president because Jimmy Carter was just too conservative and incompetent to usher in a “progressive America”. But then came that baffling interview on “60 Minutes” – when Sen. Ted Kennedy, the standing knight of Camelot, could not put together a coherent answer to the simple question, “Why do you want to be president?”

My infatuation with the Kennedy mythos goes back to at least the 4th grade – when I wrote to the senator as part of a class project, asking for his autograph. (Of course, his top-drawer staff made sure I got one).

I say all that just to explain why I feel genuine discomfort over the life Ted Kennedy lived and pain over the disservice he offered to his country.

It wasn’t until the Lord rescued me from the sin of advocating abortion “rights” that I could begin to see Sen. Kennedy not as a legend, but as a truly tragic figure. In the years since, I have come to understand how truly dangerous he was.

Sen. Kennedy was an energetic and busy man with a long public record. I heard one report that he introduced some 2500 pieces of legislation over his career. But nothing else he did compares to the contribution he made in securing abortion rights. I believe a forceful argument can be made that he, more than any other single American, helped “mainstream” the murder of innocent children.

Perhaps that is why feminists tolerated his notorious abuse of so many women over his long life; why Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards mourned his passing with these words:“We will miss his heartfelt commitment to reform, his leadership in our effort, and most all, his friendship.”
She would not always have been so heartbroken, for Ted Kennedy was not always a radical champion of abortion. There was a day when Kennedy faithfully adhered to the basic tenets of his Catholic faith:

While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized – the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old. When history looks back at this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.”

This powerful statement of genuine idealism was written by Sen. Ted Kennedy to a constituent on August 3, 1971.

So how did Kennedy come to abandon such high principle to become among the most rabid champions of abortion? I don’t know the full story or its details; but I suspect his alcohol abuse and voracious sexual appetite played a substantial role. (It is not simply ironic that some of the strongest support for abortion rights comes from male predators who use legalized abortion to sweep away evidence of their abusive mistreatment of women).

What is most important, however, is the impact his “change of heart” had on America.

Given his place as heir to his brothers’ legacy, Ted Kennedy stood as the most influential and prominent Catholic lay American. (That unfortunate prominence was secured by John’s election as the nation’s only Catholic president). And, for over 30 years, Kennedy stood as a defiant monument, a national politician who claimed a Catholic heritage while simultaneously leading a rebellion against the most fundamental of Church teachings. And for over 30 years, his grasping hypocrisy focused bright stage lights on the ambivalence and impotence of Church leaders to effectively respond to his scandalous revolt. (An ambivalence which continued right through his funeral Mass this past weekend).

Through that long and sordid public drama, Kennedy served as a role model to many other ambitious politicians. His dark leadership made possible a whole generation of successful pro-abortion politicians who have combined to enshrine abortion “rights” at every opportunity. Without Ted Kennedy, we’d most likely not be suffering a Mario Cuomo or a Joe Biden or a Nancy Pelosi. And millions of Americans might be with us today.

I would submit that Kennedy’s role in legitimizing abortion is by far his greatest “contribution” to American society. It is a bloody and mangled legacy which will take generations to expunge.

-- David Ripley

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