Some Americans have strong, sometimes unyielding preferences for Mac computers, while most others have similarly strong preferences for PCs and wouldn't be caught dead using a Mac. Some Americans love classical music and hate rock and roll. Others have opposite preferences, loving rock and roll and consider classical music as hoity-toity junk. Then there are those among us who love football and Western movies, and find golf and cooking shows to be less than manly. Despite these, and many other strong preferences, there's little or no conflict. When's the last time you heard of rock and roll lovers in conflict with classical music lovers, or Mac lovers in conflict with PC lovers, or football lovers in conflict with golf lovers? It seldom if ever happens. When there's market allocation of resources and peaceable, voluntary exchange, people have their preferences satisfied and are able to live in peace with one another.
Think what might be the case if it were a political decision of whether there'd be football or golf watched on TV, whether we used Macs or PCs and whether we listened to classical music or rock and roll. Everyone had to comply with the politically made decision or suffer the pain of fines or imprisonment. Football lovers would be lined up against golf lovers, Mac lovers against PC lovers and rock and rollers against classical music lovers. People who previously lived in peace with one another would now be in conflict.
OK, so conservatives have to be accused of fostering hatred with our alleged vitriol, the kind of vitriol which fuels the flames of violence, like we witnessed in Tucson except – well, except there wasn’t, and isn’t, a shred of evidence that the killer was influenced by any conservatives since a) he didn’t listen to or watch conservative programming and b) isn’t a conservative.
There is the hypothetical question: What if the perpetrator of violence were liberal? How would the media react then? How many would put Chris Matthews, Paul Krugman, Keith Olbermann and Co. on trial for creating the “atmosphere” of “hatred” so often ascribed to conservatives only?
In fact, it happened. One of Jared Loughner’s shooting victims was a local leftist activist, Eric Fuller, who last week was invited to ABC’s taping of an “American Conversation.” There, in front of all the cameras, he interrupted a local Tea Party activist by uttering what should be considered in this atmosphere to be a blood-curdling threat: “You’re dead!” Police considered these words serious enough to have him removed and involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
I finished Part 1 last week informing you that in just a single year, from 2008-09, Planned Parenthood received $363.2 million in government grants and contracts, a $13.6 million increase from the previous year, which resulted in 324,800 abortions.
I then left you to ponder this question, which Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, asked more than a year ago: "Why should people of conscience be forced to participate in any aspect of abortion?"
That is exactly where Washington is leading us unless this 112th Congress detours from forcing pro-life citizens to pay for abortions via Obamacare or the passing of some legislation like the Freedom of Choice Act.
Thank God the pro-life cavalry has come to Washington. But it needs our help to rally our representatives.
The contrast between what Illinois Democrats did last week and what Republicans have done in Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia and New Jersey, could not be clearer.
In Illinois, Democratic legislators and a Democratic governor pushed through a massive 67 percent personal income tax hike (and a 46 percent boost in corporate taxes), claiming an accompanying "cap" would mean no new spending. Sure.
Illinois is caught in a trap of its own making, agreeing with unions (the Democrat base) to pay exorbitant amounts of retirement and health benefits to public employees the state cannot afford. Governors in nearby states are inviting Illinois residents and businesses to move from Illinois. No doubt many will accept those invitations, taking their money and their jobs with them.
"It is with a heavy heart that I write to you about the senseless violence in Tucson today," EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock wrote as so many of us turned to Arizona and prayed for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' survival. We prayed for Giffords, her family, and those who were tragically affected by the civic gathering that ended in bloodshed. We gave thanks to God for brave men and women who kept the attack from being even bloodier.
When Giffords was shot in Tucson, it was a jarring confrontation with evil. A child, Christina Green, who was born on 9/11 and was interested in government at a young age, was murdered, as was a federal judge, John Roll, coming from Saturday-morning Mass.
You know their stories by now.
There were prayers. But there was also a lot of noise. Fingers pointed. Accusations made.
Within minutes of the news breaking that Jared Lee Loughner had killed six and wounded 12 in a rampage outside a Tucson safeway store, including a critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the news media immediately leapt to the conclusion that the harsh tone of our political discourse – led by conservative talk radio -- surely must be to blame.
That narrative turned out to be hogwash, but another one has emerged during the investigation into Loughner’s psyche, yet virtually no one wants to discuss it. Was the shooter inspired by the entertainment media?
Why would violent movies or music be left out of the rush to judgment? Perhaps it’s because pop-culture defenders never tire of arguing that no one can blame the “artists” – be they musicians, movie-makers or video-game manufacturers – for youth violence. So it becomes awkward, to say the least, that everyone’s discussing the need to curb a national appetite for angry rhetoric, when it was disturbing music and movies that were influencing Loughner’s mind, and they are ignored.
The liberal wizards, working their wonders at The New York Times and its clearinghouses in the major networks, cannot even dupe the American people with an absurd conspiracy theory anymore. In Dallas back in 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, a pious communist awash in the Marxist-Leninist bilge, shot President John F. Kennedy. In no time, the liberals had the nation focused on the "dangerous right-wing atmosphere" supposedly pervading Dallas. Soon all the talk was of "the paranoid style" of American politics. Oswald was almost forgotten. Doubtless, today there are fervent liberals living in haunts in Massachusetts and in Berkeley, Calif., who believe in their heart of hearts that the president was felled by Texas Republicans.
I agree with President Obama. When it comes to politicizing random violence, he and his supporters have been "far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than" they do. Recognition is the first step toward reconciliation. It's time to recognize the poisonous pervasiveness of the Blame Righty meme.
For the past two years, Democratic officials, liberal activists and journalists have jumped to libelous conclusions about individual shooting sprees committed by mentally unstable loners with incoherent delusions all over the ideological map. The White House now pledges to swear off "pointing fingers or assigning blame." Alas, the Obama administration's political and media foot soldiers have proved themselves incapable of such restraint.
President Obama is receiving uniform praise for his memorial remarks in Tucson, Ariz. Even conservatives are saying he hit the right notes, substantively and tonally. I agree, with a few qualifiers and gentle cautions.
Obama was eloquent in his tribute to the victims and appropriately acknowledged that "none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack ... or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man's mind."
More importantly, he said: "But what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. That we cannot do. ... Let us remember it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy; it did not."
There are many heroes who showed indomitable courage and grace under fire during this weekend's horrific Tucson massacre. Blowhard Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was not one of them.
If the White House has any sense, President Obama will stay far away from the demagogic Dupnik and his media entourage when he visits Arizona on Wednesday to memorialize the victims. Indeed, if the White House is truly committed to unifying the country, it will explicitly disavow Dupnik's vulture-like exploitation of the shooting rampage.
Within hours of the bloody spree, Dupnik mounted more grandstands than a NASCAR tour champion. A vocal opponent of S.B. 1070, the popular state law cracking down on illegal immigration, Dupnik immediately blamed Arizona for becoming a "mecca for prejudice and bigotry."
In the aftermath of the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and others, it is predictable that some self-centered politicians and political commentators quickly assumed the killer must have been provoked by political comments.
Following on that conclusion, they naturally argue (notwithstanding their exposure last week in the House to the reading of the Constitution, including the First Amendment) that whatever political words may have provoked him to his irrational violence should be silenced.
But as news organizations have begun to flesh out the interests and activities of the alleged psychotic killer, I am struck by several non-political factors that may have both shaped his mind and provoked his action.
Here's the House of Representatives new rule: "A bill or joint resolution may not be introduced unless the sponsor has submitted for printing in the Congressional Record a statement citing as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the bill or joint resolution." Unless a congressional bill or resolution meets this requirement, it cannot be introduced.
If the House of Representatives had the courage to follow through on this rule, their ability to spend and confer legislative favors would be virtually eliminated. Also, if the rule were to be applied to existing law, they'd wind up repealing at least two-thirds to three-quarters of congressional spending.
Imagine the Saturday morning of congressional aide Mark Kimble. Kimble told of going to a Safeway for a typical meet-and-greet event with his boss, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Kimble said he went into the store for coffee, and as he came out, Giffords was talking to a couple about Medicare and reimbursements, and federal judge John Roll had just walked up to her and shouted “Hi” – when a gunman opened fire.
Nobody in America should greet this scene with any other initial reaction than horror. Six people were killed, including Judge Roll, several retirees, and a nine-year-old girl. Over a dozen others were seriously injured in the carnage. Giffords was shot in the head and remains in critical condition. Sadly, shamefully, within just minutes, a nasty political spin was kicking in without any brake for decency or evidence. Conservatives were to blame.
In the aftermath of the senseless wounding of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, and the murder of six others, including U.S. District Judge John Roll and 9-year-old Christina Green, there will be many who will use this tragedy to advance their own political agendas.
Explanations will be sought and blame assigned. Necessary questions will be asked: Did the clerk at the Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson violate any laws in selling the Glock 19 9mm gun to the accused, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner? Loughner reportedly cleared an FBI background check. So why didn't that check discover what one Arizona official called Loughner's "mental issues" and should they have disqualified him from purchasing the weapon?
My wife, Gena, and I mourn with the rest of the nation over the murder and maiming of innocent citizens and lawmakers in Arizona this past Saturday morning. We, too, pray for the victims and survivors. It makes us even more passionate in our fight for human life and reminding the world that from the womb to the tomb, human life is precious and should be prized.
Last week, two questions dominated the political landscape regarding Obamacare. First, will the new 112th Congress repeal it? And secondly, if Obamacare didn't offer advanced directives for end-of-life planning (aka "death panels"), then why did the Obama administration just repeal a Medicare regulation and reference for it covered under the new health care law?
Those are both great questions. But the one question being overlooked by too many is this one: If the 112th Congress fails to repeal Obamacare, will it include "baby death panels" in the future? In other words, will taxpayer money be used to provide for abortions under the new universal health care law?
"You didn't fly here to celebrate me," Marco Rubio announced from the stage of the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.
The comment could have been received as a bit jarring coming from Rubio. Hours after being sworn in as a U.S. senator, this former insurgent candidate who bucked his party's national establishment to challenge their hand-crafted candidate -- Charlie Crist, the sitting governor at the time -- was presenting himself as nothing but a working man starting out in a new office. Here, the latest hot ticket in town, being talked about as any Republican presidential candidate's favored running mate, was turning the humble on high. This was the party to be at. Everyone seemed to drop by -- an impression one got as liberal Minnesota Sen. Al Franken posed for pictures with some of this tea party king's most loyal supporters.
Can you imagine the sheer audacity of outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sermonizing that repealing Obamacare would do "very serious violence to the national debt and deficit"? This is the woman whose four-year tenure as speaker saw the national debt explode from $8.67 trillion to $14.01 trillion.
She's the lady who boasted, "Deficit reduction has been a high priority for us. It is our mantra, pay-as-you-go." Such is the state of Pelosi's credibility that even 19 of her Democratic colleagues voted against her for speaker.
When it comes to a wide spectrum of issues, I'm not sure which planet Pelosi and her ilk of liberals inhabit, but the Obamacare fiasco takes their otherworldliness to another level altogether — and that's being charitable because it assumes they're innocently unaware of how wrong they are.
Fun fact: Bill Daley isn't the only new chief of staff in the White House with longtime ties to the Chicago Way. Yep, it's No Windy City Corporate Lawyer Left Behind Week in the nation's capital.
On the other side of the White House, deep-pocketed campaign finance mega-bundler Tina Tchen was named first lady Michelle Obama's new right-hand woman. Or rather, left-hand woman. The self-described "progressive" attorney from Chicago is taking over as chief of staff in the East Wing following the expected departure of Susan Sher. Tchen personally raised more than $200,000 for the Obama presidential campaign while a lawyer at white-shoe Skadden Arps. (No word on whether Mrs. Obama gave her the same anti-corporate lawyer, fat cat-bashing lecture she delivered on the campaign trail.)
Now, stick with me here as we diagram another Chicago shuffle. As usual, all roads lead to the Daley political machine:
Given the Democrats' track record of investigating Republican administrations, they will lack credibility when they protest Republicans investigating actions by the Obama administration. Oversight is a primary function of any Congress.
The new Republican House majority is expected to conduct several investigations. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has promised to lead six of them, including one that according to Issa's spokesman, Kurt Bardella, will focus on the "institutional culture of waste, fraud and abuse," within the federal bureaucracy. To be credible, these investigations must expose Republicans as well as Democrats because misspending the public's money is one of the few bipartisan activities remaining in Washington.
As we begin a new year, it may be useful to look back to one particular piece of advice that George Washington gave us in his farewell address. In paragraph 28, he reminded us that:
"It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?"
His point was that no matter how well designed our constitutional mechanisms may be, the healthy future of our nation would depend upon the maintenance of private virtue — that self-government is only possible if our national character, made up of each individual character, yearns and acts for a free country.