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Monday, June 30, 2014

Escalation Makes a Comeback

Anyone who knows anything about the 1960's, knows well that one of the most common themes of the news during that decade was "escalation".  Escalation was the process whereby the initially tiny number of US troops involved with the conflict in Vietnam grew to just under three quarter of a million.  The increases in troop levels were small at first and they grew larger and larger as time went on.  With the end of the Vietnam era, most people thought that the concept of escalation was gone for good.  In fact, American military doctrine calls for the employment of large numbers of troops to carry out a mission so that the opposition does not have the time to adapt and can be overpowered.

This is why I find it so troubling that president Obama is bring escalation back for another try.  Just last week we heard Obama tell us that there would be no boots on the ground in Iraq.  That was followed within two days by the announcement that there would be 300 American troops going to Iraq, but that they would just be there to protect the embassy and some other American installations.  Today, Obama's White House announced that there would be 200 more troops going immediately, and these troops are not limited to embassy protection.  These new guys are going to be used to help the Iraqis bring the fight to the ISIS terrorists.

It may be that the correct policy here is for the US to have no troops in Iraq.  It may be that the correct policy is for the US to have 100,000 troops in Iraq.  I do not address that issue.  I just know that there needs to be an overall policy decision and that decision is needed NOW, not next week or next month, but NOW.  President Obama has to tell the American people how he plans to respond to events in Iraq, and he has to tell us all the truth.  It is worse than terrible for him to tell us "no boots on the ground" on day one and then to send two different groups of hundreds of men within a week of that announcement.

America deserves the truth, even if Obama has trouble saying the words.


Piling on the Lies

As I survey the media response to the Hobby Lobby decision, I have to say that I am particularly taken with the piece written by that paragon of propaganda Sally Kohn at the Daily Beast.  According to Kohn, the Supreme Court relied on "junk science" in order to reach its ruling.  Here is the essence of her supposed point:

Both companies say they don't object to all contraception, simply drugs or intrauterine devices that prevent pregnancy after fertilization, contraceptive methods that folks on the right mislabel and malign as "abortifacients." That characterization is factually, scientifically untrue.

Did you know that was junk science?  Of course not, since it is not.  The contraceptive methods that gave rise to the case work by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall.  That is a fact; it is not open to dispute.  For those who believe that life begins upon fertilization, this process is the equivalent of an abortion.  In fact, for those people it is an abortion.  That is not difficult to understand.  I bet that even Sally Kohn understands this.  Kohn, however, does not like the label "abortifacient" applied to the process.  We all understand that too, but her personal likes and dislikes regarding the use of the word does not render the process of understanding the issue "junk science".  The usage of a word is never junk science.  No one could argue in good faith that the people who object to the use of contraceptives that kill a fertilized egg are insincere.  Are we really to accept Kohn's argument that the word used to describe that process is what is key to the decision?  Are we really to believe that Kohn is that dumb?  No.  This is just more propaganda from a master propagandist.

The decision by the court this morning was not of major importance.  It will not limit in any way the availability of ALL birth control methods to the people who work for the plaintiff companies.  The only issue is that the law passed by the Democrats and signed by Bill Clinton made clear that the federal government could not force religious employers with sincere objections to the process to pay for these abortions directly.

I think there needs to be a new name for the stuff that people like Sally Kohn put out there in cyberspace:  how about "junk commentary"?

Who Knew?

According to the Washington Post, president Obama "announced he is redirecting immigration enforcement from the interior of the United States to the border."

There's immigration enforcement in the interior of the USA?  Who knew?

That Did Not Take Long

In near record speed, the Democrat National Committee and its chairman Debbie (the "Mouth") Wasserman Schultz came forward with a twisted and dishonest explanation of the Hobby Lobby decision issued by the Supreme Court a few hours ago.  According to the Mouth, the decision shows that Republicans want to control women's bodies. 

That claim would be pretty funny if it were not so typical of the dishonest approach that the Mouth takes to nearly every issue.  First of all, the Supreme Court considered regulations put into effect by Democrats and how those regulations were affected by a law passed by Democrats and signed into law by another Democrat Bill Clinton.  The Republicans were not involved with the suit in any way.  But the truth did not matter to the Mouth.  She is out there with her talking points gabbing away.

The sad thing is that there are probably millions of people who will hear liars like Debbie the Mouth and assume that they are telling the truth.  It is truly a disgrace that a national party would have as its chair someone with so little regard for the truth.  Of course, if we consider the nation's highest ranking Democrat and his regard for the truth, I guess it is not surprising to see Debbie the Mouth follow her leader in action.


Hamas Kills the Three Teens

We just learned that the Israelis have discovered the bodies of the three teenagers who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists.  The kidnapping led to a major search effort by the Israelis over the last two weeks.  During that time, Israel identified the kidnappers as members of Hamas, the terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip.  Although the Palestinian Authority at first denied any involvement by Hamas, they have now agreed that the kidnapping was carried out by Hamas.  Of course, the PA adds that this was done without direction from the leadership of Hamas.  So how do they know that?

The truth is that Hamas was and remains a terrorist organization.  It needs to be punished for this latest heinous act.


Hobby Lobby Case Hits Obamacare Mandate

The Supreme Court ruled this morning in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, and it held that the Obamacare mandate for employers to provide certain contraceptive coverage in health insurance violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.  That act requires the federal government not to impinge upon the religious practices or beliefs of persons in the USA except under certain rules.  The rule relevant to the Hobby Lobby decision is that the government must use the least restrictive method to achieve its goals.  The rules under Obamacare required Hobby Lobby to provide health insurance coverage to its employees that included free provision of 20 different types of birth control.  Four of the twenty are the equivalent of early abortion.  The owners of Hobby Lobby have a religious objection to abortion and do not want to cover these four.  The government would not relent on the requirement for coverage, so Hobby Lobby either had to violate its religious principles and provide the coverage or else face enormous fines for non-compliance. 

In its decision, the Supreme Court first held that despite the fact that Hobby Lobby is a corporation, it is a person under the terms of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Under the normal legal definitions, a "person" includes a corporation.  The government argued that corporations could not have religious beliefs.  Perhaps the strongest argument against that position was the government's own decision to consider non-profit corporations to be exempt from the mandate on religious grounds.  Once the corporation was recognized as a person, the rest of the analysis was inevitable.  Clearly, the government could have used less restrictive methods to achieve its end of getting contraceptive coverage for the Hobby Lobby employees.  In fact, the government offered such a less restrictive alternative to those non-profit corporations that it exempted on religious grounds.

There are two important points that must be made here about this ruling:  first, this is not a big deal.  It is true that Obamacare rules were struck down, but only in the context of certain employers.  This will not have any major effect on Obamacare.  The second point is that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 was passed by a Congress controlled by the Democrats and then was signed by president Bill Clinton.  When you hear from the liberal pundits about how this is a terrible restriction inflicted on women by those evil conservatives at the Court, remember that it was the Democrats and Clinton who passed the law that required this result in the first place.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Just Another Day in Paradise (or on the Way There)

Just when you think that we have hit rock bottom, something comes along that makes things appear worse.  The news was released today that ISIS has carried out the execution today of nine men who were part of what president Obama would call the "vetted moderate opposition" in Syria.  These are nine men who fought as part of the rebel cause against the Assad regime, but they did not accept ISIS leadership of the rebels.  In fact, these nine men also fought against ISIS, although that is just a claim made by ISIS itself.

What makes today's executions special is that ISIS decided not just to execute these nine men; that would be bad enough.  No, ISIS decided to crucify these men.  As I write this, the men are nailed to crosses in two locations in Syria.  They may still be alive suffering the horrible fate of those who get crucified, or they may have mercifully died already.

There is no question that the manner of execution was chosen by ISIS as a warning to those who would oppose that movement.  The message is clear:  any opposition will result in a most horrible and painful death.

Perhaps the most amazing part of this story is that the ISIS fighters believe that they are acting on behalf of Allah, their God.  I do not pretend to be an expert on Islam.  I do know enough, however, to feel confident that nothing in that religion calls for the slaughter of co-religionists who are your political opponents.  Remember, ISIS consists of Sunni Moslems.  The men who are being executed are all Sunni Moslems.  This is not even sectarian violence resulting from differences in religious beliefs.  It is just plain murder for political purposes.  It is slaughter to instill fear into those who might oppose ISIS.  It is the triumph of the worst in humanity over anything that might be called good.