New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, aka Mayor-E Poppins, certainly seems proud of the “Nanny-City” he is attempting to finalize before he leaves office. But no spoon full of sugar for his wards! First he came for the salt, then cigarettes and soda. Now Bloomberg is leading a national campaign called “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” – attempting to ban guns across the country.
But it was just last week that violence surged in New York City in one of the bloodiest weekends in years –within 48 hours 25 people were shot. Coupled with the strictest gun laws in the country, what occurred in NYC raises serious doubts about the viability of Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative restricting our Second Amendment rights. Looks like the criminals didn’t get the memo on the anti-gun laws you passed there, Mr. Bloomberg. At least no large sodas were spotted.
New York isn’t the only city with exploding violence. Over the weekend, more than 10 people were shot in Chicago. Ever notice that the cities with the tightest gun laws have the most violence? It’s almost as if taking guns away from the law-abiding citizens means only criminals will have them . . .
While Bloomberg has been throwing millions of dollars at candidates who support his anti-gun initiative, he should be putting his efforts into NYC gang control. Unfortunately Bloomberg thinks it’s his job to take rights away from citizens who obey the laws, instead of standing up to those who break them.
The Boy Scouts of America voted yesterday to end its ban on gay kids and teens joining the organization. This was the right decision, not only because the majority of its members supports it, but because our nation benefits when youth are “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent,” regardless of their sexual orientation.
Erick Erickson over at Red State has a different take on it. He believes that because the Boy Scouts have chosen to no longer discriminate, “the moral component to the Scouts will collapse in favor of knot tying, tent pitching, and badge collection.” Erickson says that while being gay is not a sin, acting on it is—a statement with which I agree. Sex of any kind outside the confines of marriage is a sin.
Erickson’s premise however, that admitting sinners or potential sinners causes an organization to lose its ability to teach morality, is ridiculous. Erickson declares that churches should “not turn away gays.” But, if Boy Scouts cannot admit gays and teach morality, how can churches accept gays and still preach the Gospel “in the context of teaching healthy morality and character” to worshippers? If we follow his reasoning, Erickson himself is incapable of teaching morality and character to his children. He has admitted gays into his social circle and does “not worry about [his children] interacting with and having gay friends.”
I am an Eagle Scout and participated in a scout troop sponsored by the LDS Church. In fact, the LDS Church sponsors more BSA troops than any other organization. In a statement after the vote, the Church pointed out that they have never precluded gay boys from participating in scouting activities as long as they live up to the moral code.
Jesus reminded us that we are all sinners, “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a first stone.” As Christians, we are constantly striving to be better, to “go and sin no more,” and organizations like the Boy Scouts help us—all of us—on this journey.
In a world all too often filled with hate, by accepting gay kids, the Boy Scouts demonstrate love—a tenant of every major faith—and for that, I applaud them.
Could it be true? Has Obama fallen victim to the second term curse? That remains to be seen, but the outlook is rather promising… for us. Through his first term right up until two weeks ago the president seemed untouchable. Yet now, Jay Carney and Obama’s spin team must wage a daily game of whack-a-mole, trying to squash one scandal only to have another pop up.
September 11, 2012 – four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The Americans called for help, radioed in their position, and hoped for backup—it never came. Somewhere between Ambassador Chris Stevens’ harrowing call that they were under attack and his death and that of three other Americans, a special operations rescue team was called off; exactly who made that call, we still don’t know. In the immediate aftermath, the State Department and the White House claimed it wasn’t a terrorist attack, but rather a demonstration in response to an anti-Islam video. Talking points were scrubbed and Americans were intentionally misled in a purely political play designed to secure Obama’s re-election.
Next, we have officials at the IRS targeting conservative groups as far back as 2009. A government agency attacking others on a basis of political belief is reprehensible and should not be tolerated at any level; especially when that agency is the universally despised IRS. This was not just an isolated, obscure event at the bureau in Cincinnati; it now appears to be by design with national implications—and, let’s not forget that these are the guys responsible for enforcing Obamacare. Facts are still coming out, but it’s clear that the Obama administration knew about this in April, if not before. Was he hoping this would pass just as the others? Or did they sit on this information and then release it this week in an attempt to drown out the Benghazi coverage? How calculating are they?
Lastly, we have the most recent scandal wherein the Department of Justice ‘secretly’ pulled phone records of Associated Press reporters. The AP found this out on Friday and went public on Monday, calling it “a massive and unprecedented intrusion”. The DOJ says they were investigating the source of a national security leak in 2012, and had to look into reporters and their information gathering. This may be the most damning episode in ‘Down Goes The Administration’. The AP and other media outlets are furious. Obama’s presidency will not survive if the love affair between him and the press goes sour.
Am I surprised? No. From the Fast and Furious operation that left Brian Terry, a border patrol agent dead; to Solyndra, where $535 million in taxpayer went straight to Obama’s friends and supporters in a textbook case of crony corruption, this Administration has never played by the rules, respected the truth, or honored its promises of transparency. Of course, nothing has changed from the first term to the second term. Why would it? He’s gotten away with this behavior for over four years.
I’m not sure if any of these scandals will end up sticking to the Teflon President. Keep in mind, that all of the current scandals happened during Obama’s FIRST term and I’ve gotta say, I’m afraid to find out what’s in store for his encore.
Yes, former South Carolina Governor was kind of a laughing stock after it was revealed that he had disappeared to Argentina for a few days to spend time with his “soul mate.”
And yes, his press conference to explain himself was one of the most painful political moments in history– actually more painful than the infamous Rep. Enid Greene Waldholtz 5-hour press conference of 1995. (Long before the days of YouTube, unfortunately, I couldn’t find video of it.)
But, defying conventional wisdom and the odds, Sanford has been elected to represent the 1st district of South Carolina in a special election.
Sanford was one of the revolutionaries of 1994. I was lucky enough to have a front row seat to the early days of the Republican Revolution and to watch the likes of John Shadegg, Sam Brownback, Steve Largent, Mark Neumann, Matt Salmon, and Mark Sanford work to implement the mandate that they felt they carried to reform Washington.
They fought Newt when he tried to compromise with Clinton. They held the line on spending, leading to the one time in 40 years that federal spending actually went down in real dollars (although it was for only one year). They were the true believers.
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Sometime after Mark Sanford was elected Governor of South Carolina, he graciously accepted an invitation to speak at a conservative conference in Reno, NV. The conference organizers were awe-struck when he insisted that he travel alone, in coach, and refused a car service. He flew into Reno by himself (no entourage, no security detail), grabbed a cab, and checked himself into the hotel. It was quintessentially Mark Sanford – low key, regular guy.
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Congress needs more Mark Sanfords. Yes, he is flawed. But few great leaders are not flawed in some way. They are human.
What I know is that the country will be better off with Mark Sanford back in Congress.
With everything from the Kentucky Derby, to Cinco de Mayo, to the next tweet from Lindsay Lohan, keeping up on the economy takes focus. We’re so distracted by a plethora of side issues that it’s hard to focus on the real ones. Like the talking dog from the movie “Up” we can…
…get distracted. Allow me to pull you back to reality where we’re dealing with defective policies, excessive unemployment, and a stagnant economy.
Back in 2009, the Obama Administration predicted that today’s unemployment rate would be just over 5%. The president said his plan would save or create millions of jobs by increasing spending to the tune of $831 billion. That “stimulus” plan, with its shovel-ready jobs, failed miserably and became the laughing stock of his first term.
On Friday, the Department of Labor reported that the economy added 165,000 jobs in the month of April, while unemployment dropped slightly to 7.5%. The private sector added 186,000 new jobs, while government jobs decreased by 11,000. On the surface – and according to the media – this seems to somewhat resemble the “recovery” Obama described. They want us to believe this “recovery” has been consistent, the economy is growing, and unemployment is declining steadily – which is not the case.
Let’s look beyond the numbers, starting with this four-year low 7.5% unemployment rate. To be completely clear, the employment rate didn’t fall because of any uptick in hiring. Instead, it fell because frustrated Americans gave up looking for work. The number of Americans in the labor force has dropped to a record 63.3%. How does that 7.5% sound now?
Seemingly, this administration lacks the capacity to perform the task at hand. They still hope for recovery, but continue to pursue and implement bad policies. The economy should be number one, two, and three on the list of tasks for this administration. Instead, they’re focused on taking guns away from law-abiding citizens, giving morning-after pills to children, and pretending – again – that they’re going to close Guantanamo.
We’ve blinked and lost focus on the critical issues.
The “spring swoon” is in effect and we’ve got to pay attention. We can blame our distractions on the media for its lack of proper reporting, but what about the president? He has no excuse for his negligence and utter disregard for the real issues. Eyes front, Mr. President!
When my kids were small, they’d cover their eyes and think that because they couldn’t see the world, the world couldn’t see them. It was cute. It’s not so cute when the President of the United States does it though.
President Obama told Americans repeatedly that al Qaeda was “on the run.” Even the day after four Americans were murdered by terrorists in Benghazi, Obama told supporters in Las Vegas, “a day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead.” On September 18 and numerous other occasions, Obama said al Qaeda had been “decimated.” He continued the War-on-Terror-is-so-over-I-won’t-even-use-the-word-terror theme throughout his campaign.
Unfortunately, as many of us knew at the time, and as the Boston Marathon bombings made clear, that’s not true. No matter how gifted a speaker Barack Obama believes himself to be, he cannot will something to be true simply by saying it out loud.
It appears that the Obama Administration’s strict denial of reality is also partly to blame for the FBI and intelligence failures surrounding the Boston bombings. Following a September 2011 story in Wired Magazine, “FBI Teaches Agents: ‘Mainstream’ Muslims are ‘Violent, Radical,’” 57 Muslim advocacy groups wrote a letter to Obama Administration officials complaining about “the federal government’s use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims.” Instead of asking why these groups weren’t directing their energy towards the jihadists around the world who use the Quran to incite violence and murder thousands of innocent people, Obama’s people promptly “pulled more than 700 documents and 300 presentations,” scrubbing from its counterterrorism training mentions of Islam, Muslim, Hamas, and jihad—which is now referred to as “violent extremism.” Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism specialist with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies tells the Washington Times, “the fact is, religion has been expunged from counterterrorism training. The FBI can’t talk about Islam and can’t talk about jihad.”
Well, if the Commander-in-Chief is claiming the War on Terror is over and you remove Muslim extremism as a red flag then it’s no wonder the FBI missed the fact that jihadist Tamerlan Tsarnaev posed a threat to America. Obama wants Islam and terrorism not to be connected, so he ties the hands of our intelligence community and forces them to operate as if they aren’t. Does this make you feel safer?
The same disregard for reality can be found in his approach to domestic issues. As predicted by its opponents, the health care law has been disastrous. Even the author of the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Max Baucus, sees “a huge train wreck coming down” with the law’s implementation. In a press conference yesterday however, an extraordinarily out-of-touch Obama said, “and there will be stories that can be written that say, oh, look, this thing is not working the way it’s supposed to, and this happened and that happened. And that’s pretty much true of every government program that’s ever been set up…But if we stay with it and we understand what our long-term objective is…if we keep that in mind, then we’re going to be able to drive down costs; we’re going to be able to improve efficiencies in the system; we’re going to be able to see people benefit from better health care. And that will save the country money as a whole over the long term.” No acknowledgement of the concerns expressed by small business people, no answers to questions raised by Senator Baucus and others. “Everything is fine because I say that it is fine. My presidency has been a roaring success because I want it to be.”
America is not safer, our economy is worse and the man charged with protecting us and leading our recovery says things like, “it’s not optimal,” and “glitches and bumps.”
My kids figured out that we could see them by the time they reached their 3rd birthday. It’s time for Barack Obama to uncover his eyes and see the world for what it is. Before he hurts our country even more.
Earlier this week, America watched the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Present at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, were the four living former presidents, as well as the current president. It was the second time all five men have been together. It was first time the differences between them were so obvious.
Bush 43 spoke with warmth, humor, and class – three words that describe him perfectly. At the end of his speech, he was so moved by his love for this nation that he could barely get out his last two words, “God bless.” He spoke them with tears in his eyes, and obvious love in his heart.
Bush 41 spoke from his wheelchair, his health not being what it once was. After receiving a standing ovation, he stood for a few moments with the help of his son and wife – a huge smile of gratitude on his face.
Honorary member of the Bush family, Bill Clinton, expressed his genuine affection for 41, 43, and Barbara Bush. He also joked about 43 painting him in the nude (I guess he still can’t keep his pants on – sorry, I couldn’t help it), and in a moment that seemed off-script, exclaimed “I LIKE President Bush!” It’s no secret that Clinton’s two favorite ex-presidents aren’t the ones from his political party.
Carter spoke briefly, in his uniquely uncomfortable way, starting by mentioning the disputed 2000 election that propelled Bush into office. He spent the rest of his speech praising Bush’s humanitarian work.
Obama, as usual, spent a large portion of his speech talking about himself. On a day meant to honor the man he’s spent years blaming for his own failures, Obama focused on his membership in the “Presidents’ Club,” and how hard his job is. Ironically, though, he spoke one of the most apt lines of the day when he said, “He takes his job seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously.” Too bad Obama doesn’t realize that the opposite is true in his case. It was an amazing contrast. Three friends filled with love for their country, flanked by an awkward old man in sunglasses and a selfish narcissist.
Overall, it was a great day for a great man. I’m grateful to President George W. Bush for his service to this nation and I look forward to visiting his library in the near future.
It’s been a tragic week for America. Boston was terrorized during what is normally a joyous occasion – its annual marathon. The Boston Marathon is prestigious. You must qualify to enter. Runners dream about it. Even some who don’t want to run it, use its qualifying time as a benchmark when setting goals for other races. On Monday, for many athletes, their dream-come-true became a nightmare when two bombs went off near the finish line. At least three people are dead, with more than 100 injured.
Two days later, a fertilizer plant in Texas exploded. At this time, that tragedy doesn’t appear to involve criminal activity or terrorism. The explosion, which registered as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake, caused severe damage within a five-block radius. Dozens or more are feared dead and hundreds are injured.
Much of this blog, like all political blogs, focuses on what divides us. Not today. Our fellow Americans are hurting. We empathize with their sadness and fear and wish to soothe their pain. During times like these we often ask ourselves what we can do. We can donate blood, money, or time to charitable organizations. We can also be thankful for what we have. I’m thankful for my five wonderful children. I’m thankful for their good health and for my own. I’m thankful for the freedom we enjoy that is uniquely American. I’m thankful that I can make a living doing what I love, and that, in my small way, I’m helping preserve our American freedom for future generations including my own children.
What are you thankful for? In Boston on Wednesday night, many Bruins fan found a way to express their gratitude a mere two days after chaos struck their city – they sang the national anthem at the top of their lungs. You can hear the Boston accents while they sing with pride, with love, and with gratitude for the things that weren’t lost on Monday. They got back up together – and we can join them.
Sequestration, North Korea threatening to start a nuke fest, a budget passed 92 days late…and last night The White House partied like it was “1999.” Since 1978, the Memphis Soul performance at the White House has showcased America’s finest talent and this year’s event surely did not disappoint.
Let’s face the facts – the era of prosperity and scenes of lavish parties thrown by the Reagans, Clintons and Bushes trumpeted prosperous economic times. Now, times have changed for millions of Americans—instead of Memphis Soul, the night should have been called the “Washington Blues”.
Our “Party President” lives in a fantasy world; his empathy is selective and his actions are suspect. Cutting border patrols, White House tours and other government programs, Obama then spends millions of taxpayer dollars on parties and vacations.
Sure, Obama is giving back five percent of his salary to the treasury – a whopping $20,000—to show his “sacrifice” to a nation that is already trillions of dollars of debt. But even Obama needs a vacation from his weekends of golf on the taxpayer’s dime, right?
The President should be ashamed after Tuesday night’s extravagant display. While the likes of Justin Timberlake, Queen Latifah and Cyndi Lauper crooned, the only thing missing was Prince on stage alongside the other musical glitterati. If the president wants to party like it’s 1999 he should get the unemployment rate to what it was in 1999– 4.1%.
His scripted speeches on the teleprompter, claim that he knows Americans are hurting, but his actions and off-the-cuff remarks make it clear, Barack Obama doesn’t have a clue about the average taxpayer’s daily struggles. Barack, the music stopped playing a long time a ago, you’re the only one dancing. The party’s over.
In the late 90’s I staffed then-Congressman John Shadegg on his Budget Committee assignment. Now-Governor of Ohio, John Kasich was the Chairman of the committee.
At the beginning of each February, there was a buzz of anticipation as we waited for the President to release his annual budget – which was delivered to the Hill packaged in three or four separate books. We would pull all-nighters combing through tables and language to see what trickery President Clinton was using to try to mask deficits for as far as the eye could see.
Alas, it is April 10, and Obama is just now getting around to releasing his budget. It says something about a person – who voluntarily ran for election to a job that has legal requirements – but ignores laws and rules. The President is, by law, required to release a budget in early February. But Obama thumbed his nose at the law, and our nation, and decided that getting a March Madness bracket done and shutting down the White House to visitors was much, much more important.
How can we expect Obama to get serious about fiscal restraint when he doesn’t respect the process enough to do the basics of his job?
Republicans in the House should set up working conference room, put Obama’s budget on the table, and invite the President over to go through the budget line-by-line, like he promised he would.
“And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.” (Presidential Debate, Sept. 28, 2008)
Of course, they’d be waiting there, by themselves, for a long time…