July 21, 2014

Politico’s Coverage of Obama’s ‘LGBT Executive Order’ Ignores Left’s Withdrawal of Support for ENDA

President Obama signed an executive order on Monday which will force many religious organizations and their members to sever their service and business ties with the federal government if they wish to stay true to their beliefs.

The EO adds “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the bases upon which contractors cannot discriminate if they wish to continue doing business with Uncle Sam. Jennifer Epstein’s coverage at the Politico blithely assumed that everybody knows what “LGBT” means. The acronym is in her headline and content, while none of the four words comprising its meaning — lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender — appear anywhere in her writeup. Epstein also erroneously contended that “LGBT” advocates are still shooting for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), when the fact is that, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, they now oppose it. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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TEA Party Demands that Senator Portman Renounce Support for Cochran in Mississippi

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:54 pm

Could not agree more:

TEA Party Demands that Senator Portman Renounce Support for Cochran in Mississippi

Kent, OH – Tom Zawistowski, Executive Director of the Portage County TEA Party, reacted angrily to Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s claims in a Cleveland Plain Dealer article this week that he had no idea that the $25,000 from his PAC would be used by the Thad Cochran Campaign in Mississippi to air racially charged attacks on the TEA Party. Portman was quoted in the article as saying ” I believe using race as a political issue, as these ads apparently did, was wrong.”

Zawistowski, said “Isn’t it convenient Senator Portman, that you had nothing to say about the horrific, disgusting, totally dishonest racist ads run by Thad Cochran’s campaign until you were identified as having provide funding for this despicable human being Thad Cochran? Where was your moral outrage the days after the ads became public? You know that the TEA Party is made up of hard working, God fearing, Patriotic Americans who do NOT hate blacks or any other minority, yet you did nothing to defend those TEA Party members from these vicious attacks by a person you supported financially! You say that “the TEA Party activists . . . must come together to take back the Senate, yet you support a man who votes with Democrats most of the time, and who told black voter that the TEA Party is affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan and that we want to deny blacks the right to vote. Why in hell should we support someone like Thad Cochran after what he did? Why would you even suggest that the TEA Party do so? Why would you or any other Republican support anyone who would commit such a heinous act against Chris McDaniel A LOYAL REPUBLICAN????”

Zawistowski concluded by saying “Senator Portman, actions speak louder than words. You must renounce your support of Thad Cochran immediately and demand that he drop out of the race. You must demand that your fellow Senators who supported Cochran do the same. Not to do so would show that you in fact condone the actions of the Cochran campaign and that you do not respect either the TEA Party movement or black voters. There is no place in our government, let alone in the Republican Party, for such a hateful, racist, person. So we throw your challenge back in your face and that of the Republican Party. If you believe that we must win the Senate this year, meaning with true Republicans like Chris McDaniel, and if you want to win the White House in 2016, you need to come together with the TEA Party and the social conservatives and black and latino conservatives. For I assure you, if you do not choose the moral path at this critical time, we will never forget your and their role in this sordid event, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that Thad Cochran and every RINO like him loses in the fall.”

Odds are overwhelmingly high that Portman will not take any of the necessary actions. Ohio Republicans should do everything in their power to oppose any presidential campaign attempt Portman might make, and to oppose him in the 2016 GOP Senatorial primary if he chooses that route.

NYT, Apparently Other Press Orgs Complying With Hamas Coverage Restrictions

Sunday evening, Noah Pollak at the Weekly Standard noted that “Something important is missing from the New York Times’s coverage of the war in Gaza: photographs of terrorist attacks on Israel, and pictures of Hamas fighters, tunnels, weaponry, and use of human shields.”

That’s because Hamas has demanded that such photographs not be circulated. The Times is clearly complying, and without telling its readers that is coverage has been restricted. Pollak believes that the Times really doesn’t mind the overt censorship (links are in original; bolds are mine throughout this post):

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Priorities: As World Tensions Escalate, Schumer Pushes For Pet Meds Legislation

Let’s see. A rebel group pushing for separation from Ukaine has shot down a passenger plane, killing almost 300 aboard. Israel has invaded Gaza. Illegal immigrants are flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border, in at least one instance following a hail of protective gunfire directed at Border Patrol agents.

Meanwhile, in news concerning truly important matters, New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and fellow party member Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are focusing on what’s really important — prescription pet medication prices:

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Positivity: Bishop: Hobby Lobby case shows need to fight secularism

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Lincoln, Nebraska:

Jul 15, 2014 / 12:02 pm

Despite the recent Hobby Lobby court victory, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Neb. stressed the need for Catholics to continue to evangelize and fight against the prevailing culture of secularism.

“The victory is not unqualified and the fight for our religious liberty is not complete. Churches, hospitals, and universities are still threatened by the HHS contraceptive mandate,” Bishop Conley said in his July 11 archdiocesan column.

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby and similar employers cannot be forced to comply with the federal contraception mandate against their religious beliefs.

Craft giant Hobby Lobby and its owners, the Green family, had challenged a federal mandate issued under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which requires employers to offer health insurance covering contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can cause early abortions.

The Greens said that mandate would require them to violate their deeply-held Christian beliefs against facilitating abortion.

In his column, Bishop Conley said the repercussions of the Hobby Lobby decision have indeed established that “believers have a place in the public square – that all of us should be free to conduct our business without compromising our basic moral beliefs.”

However, the Supreme Court decision also relayed the overwhelming assertions of secularists, “whose loyalties lie more closely with unfettered sexual libertinism than with respect for fundamental rights of conscience, of religion, or of personal dignity,” the bishop said.

Although the fight for religious freedom in litigation is important, Bishop Conley suggested that the root issue is secularism.

“Religious liberty will be threatened in our nation as long as secularism is the prevailing cultural leitmotif.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

July 20, 2014

Juan Williams vs. Charles Krauthammer on Obama’s AWOL Leadership

Filed under: National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:09 am

On Fox News Friday, Williams defends the indefensible, and Krauthammmer nails him:

“The least the President can do is make a damned decsion for once in his life. …”

To Williams’s contention that the U.S. is already helping the Ukrainians, Krauthammer contends that all we have given them is MREs.

D’Souza’s Next Film

“America” was great, but he needs a follow-up.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Friday.

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Sunday evening, I ventured to a local theater to see Dinesh D’Souza’s America: Imagine the World Without Her.

It is an outstanding effort by a man who clearly loves his country and is deeply concerned that everything unique about it is slipping away — to the detriment of the entire world.

D’Souza correctly calls out and identifies the pieces of an orchestrated, five-front attack by those who wish to remake these United States. To do so, they must first convince enough of us to disregard and denigrate this nation’s accomplishments and its exceptional and unprecedented contributions to human well-being and dignity. That campaign, much of it embodied in Howard Zinn’s execrable textbook, A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present, a publication scandalously used in thousands of schools, is an attempt to shame each and every one of us into stifling our patriotic instincts, forgetting our national pride, and memory-holing any positive elements of this country’s founding. D’Souza correctly notes that liberty’s enemies cannot accomplish their desired transformation without tearing down what is already present.

The following, while no substitute for seeing the movie, summarizes the five themes of the left’s attack. The rebuttals which follow are largely D’Souza’s, but some are mine — so you’ll have to go to the movie to see which is which.

We stole much of our land from the Indians. As seen in the title of Zinn’s book, the revisionists’ narrative goes back to Christopher Columbus — which is pathetic, given that Christopher Columbus never landed in the U.S. More substantively, Indian tribes were continually remaking the U.S. map by conquering and either driving out or enslaving other tribes — but our doing so, which did not involve genocide or enslavement, was apparently the only malign enterprise.

What horse manure. D’Souza notes that the Sioux have turned down a $1 billion reparations offer because they will settle for nothing less than getting “their” areas of the Upper Midwest back. Somehow, we’re supposed to ignore the fact that they took that land from other tribes. The Indians, like virtually the entire rest of the world, subscribed to the “conquest ethic.” The U.S. was among the first, if not the first, nation on earth not to automatically impose colonialism, tyranny or worse on those it defeated in war.

We stole half of Mexico. Actually, we conquered Mexico, gave half of it back, and made American citizens of everyone living in the American Southwest — something the conquest ethic-driven Mexicans under Santa Ana would never have dreamed of doing had they somehow turned the tables.

Slavery stole the labor and lives of Africans. Slavery is indeed this country’s original sin. But our Founders, who knew that they could not have formed a full union at the time of the Constitution’s adoption unless they allowed the practice to continue, nevertheless sowed the seeds for its destruction in the nation’s founding documents. No less than Frederick Douglas declared that the Constitution was hostile to slavery.

The abolitionists, including Abraham Lincoln, capitalized on this disconnect when they sensed that the nation’s moral compass could be moved. It was, but not until a horrible, four-year war — a war D’Souza says is the “first time in history” a war was fought to end slavery — took the lives of over 300,000 Union and over 200,000 Confederate soldiers. My opinion: The impossible task of “reparations,” if ever undertaken, would have to include payments to those who whose relatives died to end slavery, or it would be objectively unjust.

Our military adventures have been about plundering the world for its resources. For starters, if that were so, there would be no Japan Inc., Korean corporate giants like Samsung (MacArthur had to retake almost all of what is now South Korea, which had been lost to Communist troops), or independent German corporations. We would have taken those countries over and run their industries ourselves. Today, Iraq’s oil would exclusively be our province. None of this is the case.

Until Vietnam, when a left-dominated U.S. Congress deliberately chose to abandon before it could become self-sufficient and self-defending, the best thing that could happen to any country in the long run was to lose a war with or be successfully defended by the U.S.

Capitalism is theft. The left seems to understand that much of this core argument no longer works. That’s because capitalism obviously creates wealth where none formerly existed — it apparently required high-tech liberals to prove this obvious point beyond doubt — and continues to lift people out of subsistence-level lives around the world at an astonishing rate. Their backstop is the ”you didn’t build that” argument made by the likes of President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. D’Souza reasonably asks, when businesses and their owners flourish, if they end up getting more in public benefits than those who don’t own or never built businesses. The answer, unless they engage in the cronyism game, is obviously “no.” So why should they be expected to hand over even more than the wildly disproportionate share they provide to fund public services?

D’Souza then moves to recent political history, particularly chronicling the influence of Saul “Rules For Radicals” (with an admiring nod to Lucifer) Alinsky. I wonder how many left-leaners might begin to question their beliefs if they realized that many of the strategies Alinsky developed arose from his acknowledged first-hand observations of the inner workings of the murderous Chicago mob?

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are indisputably disciples of Alinsky. Obama’s allegiance is plainly seen in his governance. Thus far, Hillary’s has been primarily visible in her college thesis, which proposed taking Alinsky to a new level. Then-Ms. Rodham believed that instead of radicals toiling as perpetual outsiders trying to coerce governments to do what they believe they should do, radicals needed to become the government.

Though I understand the limitations of time, this is where D’Souza fell down a bit. A friend who has seen the movie noted, and I agree, that many people leaving America will believe that “restoration,” D’Souza’s one-word theme for what genuine reform-minded Americans should be focusing on in the coming years, will be far more likely if Obama is somehow prevented from doing critical damage in his final years in office, and a Democrat, be it Mrs. Clinton or Lizzie Warren or anyone else, fails to win the White House in 2016. At best, that only slightly improves the odds.

In case anyone has missed it, a significant portion of the federal government’s bloated bureaucracy, whose interests have historically been job preservation and perpetuation, now sees its primary mission as carrying out the Alinsky agenda from within. Thousands of apparatchiks with the mindsets of Lois Lerner, Tom Perez, and Al Aremendariz pervade this government. There are no meaningful checks and balances on their actions and dictates. There never will be unless a massive downsizing of their size and influence takes place.

Recognizing current and future political dangers is important, and America does a great job of that. But it’s far from enough. We need a way out of the regulatory tyranny we see flexing its muscles virtually on a daily basis — and we need someone like D’Souza’s to cinematically expose its ugliness and suggest solutions.

July 19, 2014

Nanny State on Steroids

Filed under: Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:22 am

Michelle Obama’s overreaching attempts to get people to “eat healthier” have gotten creepy:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is suggesting major changes to grocery stores to “nudge” Americans to purchase healthier foods when they shop.

The agency commissioned an “expert panel” to make recommendations on how to guide the more than 47 million Americans on food stamps into spending their benefits on fruits and vegetables.

The group released an 80-page report this month presenting their ideas, which include talking shopping carts and a marketing strategy for grocery chains that would feature better store lighting for healthier items.

… “These strategies, in particular, draw on principles of behavioral economics to nudge consumers towards healthier choices,” the report said.

The panel came up with six preferred strategies: discount coupons for SNAP recipients; rebates of up to $60 for healthy purchases on EBT cards; buy one get one free deals for SNAP recipients; a targeted marketing plan to promote healthy food; a USDA loyalty card; and new specialized shopping carts.

… The cart would be color-coded, physically divided, and have a system installed so that when the shopping cart reaches its healthy “threshold” it would congratulate the customer.

There is no escaping people who want to treat us all like two year-olds, is there?

July 18, 2014

AP’s Crutsinger Thinks Today’s Econ News Was Good; Bloomberg’s Glinski, Not So Much

There were two pieces of significant economy-related news today. The first was that the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators increased for the fifth straight month, this time by 0.3 percent, while May’s increase was revised up to 0.7 percent. The second was that the University of Michigan’s preliminary June reading on consumer confidence came in at 81.3, a decline from May. Both results trailed expectations.

Predictably, the Associated Press’s Martin Crutsinger put a smiley face on the news, believing it shows that “that economic growth should accelerate in the second half of this year,” while Bloomberg News’s Nina Glinski was more sanguine, interpreting the confidence report as an indication that “Americans’ outlook for the economy dimmed.” Excerpts from both efforts follow the jump.

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As World Tensions Mount, State Dept.’s Psaki Tweets on Being ‘Smart, Savvy and Fashionable’

The Obama administration is probably wondering why so many people of all political stripes don’t believe that they take foreign policy seriously, up to and including charges that the president and his minions are doing the equivalent of fiddling as some parts of the world burn, and others threaten to.

I don’t see why would anyone think that (in case it’s not obvious, that’s sarcasm). After all, wasn’t Bush 43 press secretary Ari Fleischer linking to a friend’s column on men’s suits after the Bali bombings in 2002? And didn’t the London bombings in 2005 lead the otherwise hapless Scott McClellan to wax eloquent on the importance of tie-shirt coordination? The answer to both of those questions is, “Of course not.” But yesterday, on a day when Israel invaded Gaza, pro-Russian forces shot down a passenger airliner with almost 300 aboard, and diseases this country hasn’t seen in decades continued to be carried over the U.S. Mexican border by “Unaccompanied Alien Children” (that DHS’s term), State Department spokesman Jen Psaki tweeted on the dreadfully important topic of how you can be “informed” and fashionable (HT The Blaze):

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Latest PJ Media Column (‘D’Souza’s Next Film’) Is Up

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Sunday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

June Ohio Jobs Stats: 5.5% Unemployment; 13,500 Payroll Jobs Added; Workforce Shrinks Again

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:22 am

June’s Regional and State Employment and Unemployment News release tells us that Ohio’s unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent, that the state picked up 13,000 payroll jobs, and that its workforce shrunk by 4,800.

And once again, the state’s “honor roll” performance in “significantly” adding jobs, supposedly 29th in the nation in adding jobs during the past 12 months, really isn’t:

12monthJobGrowthByStateThru0614

“Ohio: We’re number 34!”

As to the workforce and payroll employment growth:

OhioUSandCbusLaborForceAndPRjobsTo0614

While the nation’s civilian labor force has increased a bit during the past 3-1/2 years — but by nowhere near enough to absorb all new potential workers, thereby causing millions of discouraged Americans to go to the sidelines — Ohio’s has shrunk.

In the three years ended in May (latest stats available), Metro Columbus’s labor force has grown, meaning the shrinkage in the rest of the Buckeye State has been even more severe than statewide stats would otherwise indicate.

The state’s payroll employment growth during the past 3-1/2 years trails the rest of the nation, while Metro Columbus’s beats it.

Take away Metro Columbus, and payroll employment growth in the rest of Ohio is less than two-thirds of that seen in the rest of the nation — and volumes have been written about how job growth since the recession ended has been completely unacceptable.