By Jerry Shenk
Regrettably, sadly, there's a history of religious bigotry in my family -- Germans on both sides -- some of whom continued to fight the Thirty Years War until their deaths. My maternal grandparents (long departed) never voted until 1960. They registered for the first time in order to vote against a Catholic for president. I thought the family's religious bigotry had died out with my grandparents, until a much younger, very liberal family member recently treated me to an apparently rehearsed, out-of-the-blue, shocking, gratuitous riff on Mitt Romney, and, more specifically, Mormons and Mormonism.
It was nasty, ugly stuff, containing no context other than Romney's imminent presumptive Republican nomination for the presidency, and the diatribe included no attempt to explain how Romney's LDS faith negatively informed or influenced him as the governor of Massachusetts, as founder and head of a very successful business, or as the manager who saved the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. One suspects that we will hear far more of this sort of thing as we approach November and the other campaign becomes less confident and more desperate.
It was a very disheartening experience. I'm conservative, so, naturally, liberal relatives consider me to be the close-minded, non-inclusive, intolerant one. They should be more introspective and far more objective.
For decades, the American left has aggressively attempted to redefine constitutionally enumerated rights to favor one or more groups over others. If the Declaration of Independence were to be rewritten by today's liberals, it might begin something like this:
American progressives hold these truths to be self-evident:
* All cultures and religions are equally meritorious (except for Christianity)
* There is no objective truth (until and unless progressives declare the truth)
* You cannot legislate morality (Therefore, everything is "moral" -- except Christian morality)
* Progressives celebrate diversity and are tolerant, inclusive, and accepting of all fellow humans (except conservative, white and Christian people)
* Progressives are intelligent, thoughtful, reality-based, and benevolent
Objective? Diverse? Inclusive? Thoughtful? Reality-based? Benevolent? Not really. Progressives -- liberals -- are the worst offenders of their own axioms when they talk about the "evils" of those who dispute liberal versions of facts, policy, or, especially, morality. The bigotry liberals direct toward those with whom they merely disagree is staggering.
Liberals believe in free speech, unless it offends someone's tender sensitivities (meaning only that liberals disagree with it). They protest the "wealthiest 1%," but exempt from their condemnations billionaire liberals and wealthy movie and rock stars, most of whom share the same ideology. Many liberals believe corporations -- and capitalism itself -- to be evil, even though the capitalist system and many of the corporations of which they disapprove have created the products and standard of living liberals enjoy.
But the American left reserves its ugliest bigotry for Christians. When liberals speak or write about practicing Christians, especially evangelical Christians and, in this presidential election year, Mormons, no slander is unacceptable and no religious custom is off-limits. America's most prominent liberal has condescendingly denigrated Christians as "bitter clingers" to guns and religion. Liberals have (seriously) asked: "Do All Evangelical Leaders Believe Gays Should Be Put to Death?" They worry about reports that evangelicals are voting in record numbers. And they invent scenarios which question whether religious convictions resonate in the political arena. Every Christian, of any age or gender, is fair game for liberal animosity -- or left-wing redefinition. Liberals bash Christians with impunity, because Christians are...well...Christian, and behave in a Christian manner from which liberals fear no reprisal. Ironic, huh? And opportunistic, too.
No one on the left would dare speak of Muslims the way they do about Christians. Doing so would violate the liberal orthodoxy of multiculturalism, but, more importantly, such behavior might invite retaliation from some in the Muslim community. Apparently, there is nothing like a savage history and a continuing, credible threat of violence to immunize a group from liberal animus, to focus the liberal mind, and to encourage liberals to attend to their own affairs. Muslim societies, even those relocated in Western nations, remain immune to liberal criticism despite traditional, institutional toleration of misogyny, honor killings, pederasty, brokered and arranged marriages of children, and genital mutilation, among other distasteful practices. One suspects that if Christians were to hack off a few heads in response to the treatment they receive from liberals, they'd face far less liberal hostility -- at least openly.
If anyone were to describe blacks, Latinos, and women using the same sort of ugly stereotypes that liberals use to characterize Christians, liberals would be, rightly, angry and offended. But so would be conservatives. The point of an identical reaction from their ideological opposites escapes the left, which reserves for itself, alone, the "moral authority" to detect, condemn, and punish the most minute, even imagined examples of racism and ethnic or gender slurs, but only those which target black, gay, Hispanic, and female victims who embrace liberal orthodoxy. Liberals do not consider black, gay, Hispanic, and female conservatives "authentic." Accordingly, these do not merit liberal concern. In fact, the perceived political apostasy of minority and female conservatives and Christians has made them liberal targets.
Sadly, liberals will not consider, much less accept, that their shabby treatment of Christians is as ugly, ignorant, and offensive as the behavior of those who resisted the integration of blacks into American society. Though they are frequently both, liberals do not see themselves as either hypocrites or bigots.
They're too busy muttering liberal platitudes and insisting that the people they demonize pick up the tab for their liberal "generosity."
Why America has so much wasteful litigation
But if Jefferson’s decimal coinage concept was a good idea that quickly spread around the world, another idea that developed here at that time was lousy: the so-called American Rule, whereby each side in a civil legal case pays its own court costs regardless of outcome. This was different from the English system where the loser has to pay the court costs of both sides.
The American Rule came about as what might be called a deadbeat’s relief act. The Treaty of Paris (which ended the American Revolution) stipulated that British creditors could sue in American courts in order to collect debts owed them by people who were now American citizens. To make it less likely that they would do so, state legislatures passed the American Rule. With the British merchant stuck paying his own court costs, he had little incentive to go to court unless the debt was considerable.
The American Rule was a relatively minor anomaly in our legal system until the mid-20th century. But since then, as lawyers’ ethics changed and they became much more active in seeking cases, the American Rule has proved an engine of litigation. For every malpractice case filed in 1960, for instance, 300 are filed today. In practice, the American Rule has become an open invitation, frequently accepted, to legal extortion: “Pay us $25,000 to go away or spend $250,000 to defend yourself successfully in court. Your choice.”
Trial lawyers defend the American Rule fiercely. They also make more political contributions, mostly to Democrats, than any other set of donors except labor unions. One of their main arguments for the status quo is that the vast number of lawsuits from which they profit so handsomely force doctors, manufacturers, and others to be more careful than they otherwise might be. Private lawsuits, these lawyers maintain, police the public marketplace by going after bad guys so the government doesn’t have to—a curious assertion, given that policing the marketplace has long been considered a quintessential function of government.
The reason for this is that when policing has been in private hands, self-interest and the public interest inevitably conflicted. The private armies of the Middle Ages all too often turned into bands of brigands or rebels. The naval privateers who flourished in the 16th to 18th centuries were also private citizens pursuing private gain while performing a public service by raiding an enemy’s commerce during wartime. In the War of 1812, for instance, American privateers pushed British insurance rates up to 30 percent of the value of ship and cargo. But when a war ended, privateers had a bad habit of turning into pirates or, after the War of 1812, into slavers.
Predictably, the American Rule has spread exactly nowhere since its inception at the same time as the decimal coinage system. There is not another country in the common-law world that uses it. Indeed, the only other country on the planet that has a version of the American Rule is Japan, where a very different legal system makes it extremely difficult to get into court at all.
The United States has more lawyers and more lawsuits, per capita, than any other country. But lawsuits don’t create wealth, they only transfer it from one party to another, with lawyers taking a big cut along the way. Few things would help the American economy more than ending the American Rule. Texas reformed its tort law system a few years ago and the results have been dramatic. Doctors have been moving into the state, not out of it, and malpractice insurance costs have fallen 25 percent. And remember, good ideas always spread.
The workers Obama shafted
While Team Obama promotes fables to indict Romney, the incontrovertible stories of the current administration's economic malpractice are finally getting out. In 2010, I first reported on how Obama's UAW bailout threw tens of thousands of nonunion autoworkers under the bus. It's the ongoing horror story of some 20,000 white-collar workers at Delphi, a leading auto parts company spun off from GM a decade ago.
As Washington rushed to nationalize the U.S. auto industry with $80 billion in taxpayer "rescue" funds and avoid contested court termination proceedings, the White House auto team and the Treasury Department schemed with Big Labor bosses to preserve UAW members' costly pension funds by shafting their nonunion counterparts.
In addition, the nonunion pensioners lost all of their health and life insurance benefits. The abused workers -- most from hard-hit northeast Ohio, Michigan and neighboring states -- had devoted decades of their lives as secretaries, technicians, engineers and sales employees at Delphi/GM. Some workers have watched up to 70 percent of their pensions vanish.
"I worked for 34 years at GM/Delphi Corp. When Delphi went bankrupt, we lost everything," Dana Strickland of Michigan wrote me. "Because I was salaried (middle management), we lost our pension and health insurance. I did not belong to the union, so GM/Delphi could have cared less. I have never felt so betrayed. We never hear this brought to the public's attention. People need to know how we were screwed, while the Obama administration kissed up to the union."
"I'm one of the Delphi Salaried Retirees that lost the health care, life insurance and 67 percent of the pension I was promised in retirement after working hard for 40 years," Charles Stone of Michigan e-mailed. "Words cannot describe the frustration and let down these events have thrust on my family's lives, and to have GM's rescue all sugar-coated in the current political environment is like putting lipstick on a pig. ... We will continue to fight to right this grievous wrong."
Tom Rose of Ohio added: "I am one of the 20,000 salaried retirees that lost all of my health care and -- in my case -- a 40 percent pension cut. So I am now paying increased health care costs with fewer pension dollars and contributing what is left to our lawsuit to correct this injustice. Meanwhile, the politically connected union has their full pension and 90-plus percent of their health care. You have hit upon the key question: How can our own federal government pick winners and losers amongst its own citizens?"
Through two costly years of litigation and investigation, the Delphi workers have exposed how the stacked White House Auto Task Force schemed with union bosses to "cherry pick" (one Obama official's own words) which financial obligations the new Government Motors company would assume and which they would abandon based on their political expedience. Obama's own former auto czar Steve Rattner admitted in his recent memoir that "attacking the union's sacred cow" could "jeopardize" the auto bailout deal.
In June, 20 months after a federal judge first ordered the government to cooperate, the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association broke through the administration's information stonewall and dislodged 62,000 pages of documents in their lawsuit to right the administration's wrongs. As The Daily Caller reported on Tuesday, the documents included "internal government emails (that contradicted) sworn testimony, in federal court and before Congress, given by several Obama administration figures. They also indicate that the administration misled lawmakers and the courts ... and that administration figures violated federal law."
Meanwhile, the Delphi workers who got shafted are getting in the faces of the administration and the public with a new web ad produced by conservative advocacy group Let Freedom Ring. They are asking, "Why, Mr. President? Why?" They -- and America -- deserve answers and justice, not more Bizarro World smears and fantastical bedtime stories.
Obama Regime Tries to Hide Its Funding of Racist La Raza
Liberals are never more sanctimonious than when denouncing “racism.” Yet the most explicitly racist organization imaginable — La Raza (The Race), which explicitly exists to advance the interests of Hispanics at everyone else’s expense — snuggles affectionately if sometimes secretively in bed with the ultra-liberal Obama Administration. Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch reports:
On July 18, 2012, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeking access to records detailing taxpayer-funded grants provided by the Centers for Disease Control to the National Council of La Raza (The National Council of “The Race”).
The lawsuit was necessary due to Obama’s vaunted “transparency”:
HHS acknowledged receiving our request on December 13, 2011, and was required by law to respond no later than January 26, 2012. However, as of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, HHS has failed to respond in accordance with FOIA law.
La Raza’s agenda goes beyond granting ever more special perks to illegal aliens. It appears to share the more openly sinister MEChA’s aspiration of driving all non-Hispanics out of the Southwest and splitting it off from the United States.
Judicial Watch investigated a radical Mexican separatist school in Los Angeles, California, called Academia Semillas Del Pueblo. (You can read our report here.) And who did we find pumping good money after bad into this failing school? The National Council of La Raza, and another radical organization called M.E.Ch.A., or Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán or Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán. (Taxpayers also paid the tab to the tune of $1.6 million per year.)
This extremely unsavory organization receives taxpayer funds in part because it has friends at the very top of the dung heap.
Cecilia Muñoz previously served as Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza. So she was, in effect, a lobbyist for illegal aliens and their Mexican separatist friends. Because her appointment would have violated Barack Obama’s lobbyist ban, the president granted Muñoz an “ethics waiver” so she could join his administration as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. (Muñoz now serves as the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.)
According to a Judicial Watch investigation, federal funding for the National Council of La Raza nearly tripled from $4.1 million to $11 million in FY 2010, the year Muñoz joined the Obama administration.
To the extent that La Raza advocates the foreign conquest of American territory, funneling our money into it constitutes treason. No wonder Obama won’t cough up the documents.
Don’t hold your breath waiting from his accomplices in the “mainstream” media to show any interest.
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