Catholic bishops to Obama: Good try but no cigar
When it comes to mandatory contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the nation's Catholic bishops won't budge an inch.
New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, initially said he would study President Obama's newest variation of the requirement. That didn't last long. Now, it's no sale unless the mandate is lifted from any person of faith who objects to facilitating contraception coverage for employees.
The bishops' position is essentially unchanged from what they said in August through their general counsel Anthony Picarello when they blasted the requirement that private insurance plans cover contraception, calling the mandate "unprecedented in federal law and more radical than any state contraceptive mandate."
They criticized the narrow "religious employer" exception to the mandate, explaining that it provides "no protection at all for individuals or insurers with a moral or religious objection to contraceptives or sterilization," instead covering only "a very small subset of religious employers."
The bishops called the plan "nationwide government coercion of religious people and groups to sell, broker or purchase 'services' to which they have a moral or religious objection." They said the plan represents "an unprecedented attack on religious liberty."
A second look at 'The Third Jihad'
by Jeff Jacoby
DID THE New York City Police Department use "terrible judgment," as Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, when it showed a documentary about Islamist extremists -- The Third Jihad -- to more than 1,400 officers undergoing counterterrorism training?
You might think so if you took your cues from a New York Times editorial calling the documentary a "hate-filled film about Muslims," or from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which declared that it "defiled our faith and misrepresented everything we stood for."
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser fervently disagrees. Jasser is a former US Navy officer and a past president of the Arizona Medical Association. He is also an observant Muslim, a Wisconsin-reared son of Syrian immigrants deeply grateful for the freedom and tolerance his parents found in America. Ever since 9/11, he has been fighting the Islamist extremists whose goal is to destroy that freedom and tolerance.
"As a devout Muslim I saw it as my responsibility to expose the radicals," Jasser says in The Third Jihad, which he narrated. "I resented that they were exploiting the religion I love."
After al-Qaeda's murder of 3,000 Americans, Jasser recalls in the film, "I had expected to see Muslims in America taking to the streets and protesting against [Osama] bin Laden. Instead, in the years that followed, we saw many Muslim leaders standing up to defend or support the radicals." So he launched the American Islamic Forum for Democracy to defend American values, promote the separation of mosque and state, and expose the Islamist agenda behind certain influential Muslim organizations.
The best-known of those organizations, CAIR, describes itself as a civil-rights group. In reality it is anything but. Its founders were linked to the terror group Hamas and several of its officials have been convicted or deported on terrorism-related charges. In the Holy Land Foundation terror-funding trial, as former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former CIA Director Jim Woolsey recounted recently, CAIR was designated by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator. The Third Jihad shows news footage of CAIR's national legislative director refusing a reporter's request to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah. That is par for the course -- CAIR wouldn't even condemn bin Laden until more than two months after 9/11 -- and helps explain why the FBI severed its ties to CAIR.
Far from being an indiscriminate attack on Islam or Muslims, The Third Jihad consistently distinguishes between Islam's peaceful, moderate mainstream and the totalitarian jihadists who seek a global Islamic theocracy. The documentary's opening lines are unambiguous: "This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are radical."
But where those radicals hold sway, liberty and pluralism are endangered. "Have you ever stopped to think about what would happen if the Islamists won and their version of Sharia law was put into place?" Jasser asks. The 72-minute film depicts the chilling consequences: Subjugation of religious minorities. Abuse of women. "Honor" killings. Anti-gay brutality. Stifling of free speech. Support for terrorism.
Bin Laden may be dead and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed behind bars, but a key message of the film is that jihadists pursue their goal of a West dominated by radical Islam with undiminished fervor. "On my website we talk about the Islamic state of North America by 2050," says Imam Abdul Musa, a prominent Islamist interviewed for The Third Jihad.
Demonstrators outside New York's city hall protest the showing of 'The Third Jihad' to NYPD officers. Yet the city's only Muslim councilman, who defended the film as 'factually accurate and important,' refused to attend the protest.
Radical groups like CAIR use the calumny of anti-Muslim bigotry to defame those who warn of Islamist militancy. Fear of being smeared has intimidated too many politicians and journalists, which is why the Zuhdi Jassers of the world -- devoted Muslims who are pro-American, pro-democracy, and anti-Islamist -- are inestimable allies in the war against the jihadists.
Happily, he is not fighting alone. During the recent furor over the film, New York City Councilman Robert Jackson, a Muslim, refused to toe the CAIR line. "I initially thought from reading about it that it cast a negative image on all Muslims," he said. "In my opinion it does not. It focuses on the extreme Muslims that are trying to hurt other people." Similarly, the American Islamic Leadership Coalition issued a strong statement defending The Third Jihad as "factually accurate and important."
You needn't take their word for it. Watch the film for yourself at TheThirdJihad.com, and gain crucial insight into one of the central struggles of our time: the war of ideas within Islam.
Sarah Palin Rocks CPAC Crowd
Last time Sarah Palin was in Washington D.C. she was riding on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle with the Rolling Thunder. Saturday evening, Palin addressed thousands of CPAC attendants to close out a busy weekend jam packed full of conservative ideas. She was welcomed to the stage by a standing crowd of activists and raucous applause.
"To me the conservative movement has never been stronger or smarter,” Palin said. “We’ve been waving a bold banner that shouts ‘Don’t Tread on Me.’”
Although she touched on topics ranging from energy policy, the economy, unemployment, foreign policy, pro-life issues, troops overseas and the GOP presidential primary race, she kept the focus on President Obama’s failures during his time in Washington D.C. She pointed out that during his State of the Union Address, Obama hardly mentioned unemployment or out of control entitlement spending.
“We want your administration to end,” she said. “We believe real recovery can’t get underway until government gets out of the way.”
Palin said Obama has a skewed view of America as a politician from Chicago now tucked away in Washington, scratching the backs of his friends through “capitalism of connections” while Americans outside of the beltway suffer. Congressmen become “plutocrats,” she said, adding that they don’t just benefit off the of the government themselves, but spread the wealth around to their friends too. Palin charged that crony capitalism is at the root of American’s economic problems.
“This [Washington D.C.] is the playground for the government rich and they’re hoping that you work really really hard to keep her going.” She said. “Life around here is really good materially, our permanent political class is content. They are immune from the realities the rest of us face.”
She painted Washington D.C. as a wetland, rather than a swamp, and said it’s time to drain the corruption in order to regain a strong American economy, making it clear government spending will not create jobs.
“They [government] don’t mine, they don’t drill, they don’t harvest, they produce nothing,” she said. “The President wants to raise taxes so he can redistribute wealth. We want to cut taxes to create more wealth.”
She credited the tea party for being outside of the status quo in Washington and praised them for be being willing go to Congress and fight for small government ideas.
9/11 "Truther" called out
Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson’s Monday interview with radio host Scott Ledger has been burning up Twitter. The hour-long conversation about the “Truther” movement pitted Ledger, a believer in conspiracy theories about 9/11, against Carlson, a no-nonsense journalist who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. “I deal in facts,” Carlson told Ledger, “and you don’t have any.”
Truthers, he said, “tend to give off this feeling of, like, great frustration. Like ‘I see the truth, no one else gets this. Everyone should see this but I’m the only one who does.’ … It makes me sad that otherwise smart people could fall for nonsense like that.”
“I’m not defending the U.S. government,” Carlson explained. “I’ve lived in Washington for 27 years. My dad worked for the U.S. government. I hate the U.S. government in a lot of ways. … I’m merely saying a single thing, which is there is no evidence that the U.S. government, its employees, Americans of any kind had anything to do with 9/11 other than responding to it.”
“Nineteen hijackers did this,” he said, “al Qaida has taken credit for it, Osama bin Laden has said ‘I did this,’ [and] we have a pretty clear understanding of where the money came from. We know a lot about this, right?”
Pressed by a conspiracy-minded Ledger to account for the claims of assorted self-described experts and self-anointed eyewitnesses, Carlson won the day.
“What do you make of the fact that a number — close to ten different people — received messages or calls from the airplanes, from the hijacked airplanes that flew into the Pentagon, and the Trade Center buildings, and into Shanksville, Penn., from passengers saying ‘we’ve been hijacked by Arab men’?
“Is that all made up? Were those people part of the conspiracy too? What do you make of that?”
The News: Children Behaving Badly
By Rich Kozlovich
Some months back I read a commentary about the official lies promoted by the Soviet government that was a complete reversal of historical fact. The commentator bemoaned the fact that this has continued into current times and that so many of the youth had been so indoctrinated by these lies they were incapable of understanding the truth. He went on to say
“At the same time we continually hear official lies in Russian daily life, reminiscent of the lies in the Soviet Union during Stalinism and in the post-Stalin period,”….“The truth can hardly stand up to the total impact of so many lies. A young man once said to me of the Prague Spring: ‘That was when the Czechs attacked us.’ …“Brought up on lies, a society cannot mature or take on responsibility. It is an adolescent society, with all the characteristics of adolescence—needing a leader and his imitators, being aggressive and quick to take offence, simultaneously lying and trusting.”
Almst forty years ago I had an acquaintance who had been in the Czech army when the Soviet Union sent its tanks in to crush the Prague Spring. The only reason he wasn’t there at the time was because he was on leave and had traveled to visit relatives in the U.S.A. So when the Soviets came into Czechoslovakia he never went back. He knew “everything” including the “fact” that Hitler and Stalin never signed a non-aggression pact. He confidently and smugly laughed saying, “you don’t really believe such a thing do you?” As if Stalin could ever commit such a heinous act. Here was a guy defending the very oppressors he was fleeing. Why? Because he had been indoctrinated since the end of WWII into believing Stalin was a great man. Indoctrination from a very young age can make someone as foolish as ideology can make smart people stupid.
Does this sound insane? Remember, even today there are revisionists who claim that Stalin didn’t really kill all those people; and if he did kill them; he did it to stop the really insane communists from killing more. And this is after all the monstrous facts have been made public. Why do people continue to believe things that actually defy all factual history and the evidence of their own eyes? Ideology! It is true that ideology makes smart people dumb!
As I watch the world, read the news and watch as little of it as I can on TV, I have concluded that the lefties may be right about IQ. Lefties are always trying to publish studies that show that leftists have a higher IQ than conservatives. Well…..I’m not so sure they aren’t right. Why? Because in order to bring reality into line with what they believe requires an enormous level of mental ability and logical gymnastics that must be mentally and emotionally exhausting in order to make the insane things they say and do seem right. Conservatives only have to concern themselves with what is right and what is wrong based on what they see; as in one and one is two. Try making it three or four or fifty without sounding insane. At this only the left can excel; making insanity seem rational to the casual observer.
I watched O’Reilly this week - I can’t take too much of O’Reilly because I think he’s a phony - and he had Monica Crowley and Alan Colmes on. Colmes did the five things that are common among the leftists. He wouldn’t stop talking, he interrupted, he talked over everyone, he subtly changed the subject and spewed out logical fallacies by the minute.
Changing the subject is one of fallacies they use constantly in order to prevent a response to their already insane views. If you doubt me watch Geraldo when he is on and Bob Beckel on The Five. They won’t shut up and they won’t let others have their say without zings that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. At least Geraldo is charming....Beckel is.....well.....Beckel. This is a common problem. They’re talking when they should be listening. They remind me of unruly children, and like all unruly children a good slap would do them a world of good.
It really is true….…“Brought up on lies, a society cannot mature or take on responsibility. It is an adolescent society, with all the characteristics of adolescence—needing a leader and his imitators, being aggressive and quick to take offence, simultaneously lying and trusting.”
That is the left. That is what we see on the news. Children behaving badly! That must be why the Main Stream Media identify so readily with the youthful losers in the Occupy Wall Street movement versus the rest of the country that readily identifies with the adults in the Tea Party Movement.
The elderly hit hardest by Obama's funny money system: "As I have noted previously, the Fed’s policy of acting to hold interest rates well below free-market rates in recent years has had the effect of greatly diminishing the earnings of people who rely on interest income. Such people include especially many retirees who do not wish to hold risky assets with substantial variability of earnings. In the past, many retired people have held the bulk of their wealth in the form of bank certificates of deposit, bonds, and bond-heavy mutual funds, hoping that their incomes would be secure and predictable when they were no longer working. The Fed’s actions in recent years have taken a heavy toll on such people’s earnings." [And you aint seen nothing yet]
There is a big new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)