Monthly Archives: April 2013

Four Award Winning Journalists who Agree with Governor Palin’s #WHCD Sentiments

by Whitney Pitcher

palin walters

The response to anything Governor Palin tweets, writes, or says is often akin to Pavlov ringing the bell to feed his dog. She tweets, and the hounds come running. The Governor’s tweet on Saturday rightly calling out the “Let Them Eat Cake” mentality of both the “a**clown” press and politicians in DC garnered a lot of pearl clutching fauxrage from the Left and some of  the “me too” pseudo-conservatives. Some wrongly deemed her a hypocrite for calling out the White House Correspondents’ Dinner self-absorption and decadence in the time of financial hardship for much of the nation. However, Governor Palin never attended the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, as she was giving a pro-life speech at the time of the 2011 dinner. Did she attend the brunch in the morning or the after parties following the dinner? Yes. However, using Palin’s critics logic, this means that President Obama cannot criticize the House of Representatives because he once was part of the Senate–which is tangentially associated with the House per our Constitution. I’m not going to hold my breath for the Governor Palin’s critics to turn their fire towards President Obama though.

Prior to and following Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, at least four award winning journalists have essentially agreed with Governor Palin’s sentiments. Usually I could care less about a journalists’ opinion, but if there are several of them who agree that the event has become a largely gratuitous,  narcissistic, and out-of-touch, it is worth noting. Additionally, if these are journalists who are have won the respect of their peers, yet are criticizing their profession’s self-absorption, that is also worth noting.

Tom Brokaw, who has won numerous journalistic awards and has attended the event in the past,  compared the present-day WHCD to Versailles and said that he’s seen “more dignity at my daughter’s junior prom”.  Ron Fournier wrote at the National Journal that the Washington is “never more out-of-touch” than during the weekend of the dinner. Fournier’s comments are especially pertinent as he won the Merriman Smith Memorial Award presented at the 2005 Correspondents’ Dinner.   There has been no hue and cry about the hypocrisy of these journalists.There shouldn’t be, just as their shouldn’t be for Governor Palin. Brokaw and Fournier are just more self-aware than their peers.

Today, award winning journalist Barbara Walters noted disappointment that the event has become more and more about movie stars, and that’s why she didn’t attend. Additionally, today Lee Strobel, noted Christian apologist and award winning former investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune, tweeted:

All of these individuals echoed Governor Palin’s sentiments of the self-indulgent, incestuous, and out-of-touch nature of the event. It isn’t any wonder she compared Washington D.C. to reality television during her CPAC speech last month. It’s almost as if Washington D.C. has become “The Real World on the Potomac” except the press and politicians (minus the examples listed above) have yet to “stop being polite and start getting real”.

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How the Federal Government Has Gone “Animal Farm” on the Right to Privacy

by Whitney Pitcher

animal farm

In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, two young pigs–Napoleon and Snowball– take control of the farm when  Old Major, a boar, dies. As part of their “revolution”, the pigs create a series of laws for all the animals of the manor. One of these laws is “all animals are equal”. As the pigs gain more and more control and manipulate their fellow animals even further, the series of laws devolve into a single law–all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. In some ways, this seems to be the law written by our governmental leaders today. Looking at the events of the month of April alone, our government seems to have written an overarching law– “all people deserve privacy, but some people deserve privacy more than others”.

Last Friday, President Obama became the first sitting president to speak at a Planned Parenthood event. In his demagogic speech, the President highlighted the Roe v. Wade decision and its affirmation of a woman’s  “right to privacy”. Later in his speech, he tried to characterize pro-life legislation as wanting to come between a woman and her doctor. However, when it comes to the privacy of gun owners, the President and some members of the Senate of both parties believe that the government could come between a woman or man and her or his doctor when it comes to asking questions about guns in the home. The gun control legislation that was ultimately defeated earlier this month would have made exceptions to HIPPA laws (laws that were made to protect patients’ privacy) allowing for more mental health information to be entered the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  Why is it OK for a woman’s right to privacy to be respected when it comes to abortion, but not when it comes to the second amendment?

When Boston police and federal officials were searching for Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev earlier this month following the horrific bombing at the Boston marathon, they went house-to-house searching for the suspected bomber, as depicted in this video:

As my friend Stacy Drake at Conservatives4Palin wrote in a post last week:

The images of what happened in Boston last Friday should disturb any Constitution-loving American. The very reason the Fourth Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights was to protect Americans from overly broad search and seizures. The Amendment states that authorities must have “probable cause” before searching “persons, houses, papers, and effects.” As in, they or another witness saw the suspect run into a house, or they had good intelligence that suspect was hiding in a specific location. That wasn’t the case and the FBI and police over-stepped their legal boundaries, according to the Fourth Amendment.

She is absolutely right. While, yes, officials were looking for a terror suspect, there were no search warrants issued. There was not “probable cause” that the folks who were led out of their homes at gunpoint were guilty of anything . Meanwhile, as more information has come out about the Tsarnaev brothers, it is unknown whether or not they had taxpayer funded cell phones, These cell phones may have been used to help coordinate and communicate the attack. The reason given? The FCC said that answering such questions would violate privacy laws. Why were the Tsarnaev brothers’ privacy seen as more important than that of other Bostonians? Why was the innocents’ privacy violated while the privacy of the accused was protected?

Additionally, the House passed a cybersecurity bill (CISPA) on April 18th, which would allow the federal government to collect information from corporations without a warrant and essentially nullify whatever privacy policies those companies had in place. Supporters of the bill believe this would help ward off hackers, but its vague language could very easily lead to an abuse of power. The bill is essentially dead in the Senate, but this is not the first time that members of the federal government have tried to usurp the fourth amendment when it comes to the internet, nor will it be the last. Additionally, the bill is rife with potential cronyism. Congress is trying to infringe on constitutional rights to pad their own pocketbooks.

Again, the federal government has a privacy double standard. Earlier this month, with unanimous support from both chambers of Congress and the president, a key portion of the STOCK Act was repealed. This means that legislative and executive staffers do not have to disclose their potential conflicts of interests, such as stock holdings, online. Congress, the President, the Vice president, and candidates would have the option of putting such information online, but it would no longer be mandatory. While Congress is trying to push legislation that could potential make private information available to the government, the government has decreased the amount of information–information that allows constituents to hold their leaders accountable–accessible to the public.

Those who write the laws should not be above the laws, but what should we expect from people who think they are “more equal” than the rest of us?

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Sarah Palin Rips Obama’s Pro Baby-Murdering Agenda

Sarah Trig Todd Palin

By Gary P Jackson

Today President Barack Obama addressed members of the baby murdering death cult Planned Parenthood. Obama is the first sitting president in history to do so. He called the murder of innocent children “women’s health care” and said “God bless you” to the murderers. Of course, there was no mention of Gosnell at this Klan rally. From his vile speech:

As long as we’ve got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way. Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.

Disgusting. Am I the only one who has noticed the ONLY choice a democrat wants an American to have is the choice to murder an innocent child. When it comes to actual healthcare, these evil barbarians don’t want you to have any choice whatsoever.

Sarah Palin weighed in on this evil man:

There’s no such thing as a coincidence. Today I’m looking forward to speaking at a pro-life women’s resource center in Nevada. I intend again to remind women that we are strong enough and capable enough to choose life and work together to create a culture that empowers everyone to live to the fullest.

How ironic that on this same day President Obama will be headlining a gala event for the highly controversial and repeatedly discredited organization Planned Parenthood. He’s the first sitting president to speak to them, but then again he’s also the first president who is so radically pro-abortion that as a state senator he refused three times to vote in favor of legislation that would simply provide medical attention to babies born alive from botched abortions.

Considering the role Planned Parenthood has played in looking the other way while the mass murdering abortion doctor Gosnell butchered babies born alive from his horrific infanticide procedures and abused his women patients, it’s perhaps not surprising that this same president sees nothing wrong with allowing his name to be so openly associated with this organization.

Please take a look at the following excerpt from Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism” for information about the racist and eugenicist origins of Planned Parenthood, then ask yourself again why in the world our president would “bless” the cruel underlying efforts of an organization like this.

Do you want him to spend your family’s hard earned tax dollars funding this culture of death? Surely there are people of good conscience within Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion centers who will feel the imperative within themselves to find other ways to help women in their time of need. There are so many better answers than merely eliminating the most precious, promising ingredient we have on earth – innocent human life. May efforts to cull the defenseless and vulnerable not be “blessed,” instead may God bless those who decide that respecting a culture of life in America is the only way to get us out of the mess we’re in.

~ Sarah Palin

Sarah included this link:

Margaret Sanger, whose American Birth Control League became Planned Parenthood, was the founding mother of the birth-control movement. She is today considered a liberal saint, a founder of modern feminism, and one of the leading lights of the Progressive pantheon. Gloria Feldt of Planned Parenthood proclaims, “I stand by Margaret Sanger’s side,” leading “the organization that carries on Sanger’s legacy.” Planned Parenthood’s first black president, Faye Wattleton — Ms. magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in 1989 — said that she was “proud” to be “walking in the footsteps of Margaret Sanger.” Planned Parenthood gives out annual Maggie Awards to individuals and organizations who advance Sanger’s cause. Recipients are a Who’s Who of liberal icons, from the novelist John Irving to the producers of NBC’s West Wing. What Sanger’s liberal admirers are eager to downplay is that she was a thoroughgoing racist who subscribed completely to the views of E. A. Ross and other “raceologists.” Indeed, she made many of them seem tame.

Sanger was born into a poor family of eleven children in Corning, New York, in 1879. In 1902 she received her degree as a registered nurse. In 1911 she moved to New York City, where she fell in with the transatlantic bohemian avant-garde of the burgeoning fascist moment. “Our living-room,” she wrote in her autobiography, “became a gathering place where liberals, anarchists, Socialists and I.W.W.’s could meet.” A member of the Women’s Committee of the New York Socialist Party, she participated in all the usual protests and demonstrations. In 1912 she started writing what amounted to a sex-advice column for the New York Call, dubbed “What Every Girl Should Know.” The overriding theme of her columns was the importance of contraception.

A disciple of the anarchist Emma Goldman — another eugenicist — Sanger became the nation’s first “birth control martyr” when she was arrested for handing out condoms in 1917. In order to escape a subsequent arrest for violating obscenity laws, she went to England, where she fell under the thrall of Havelock Ellis, a sex theorist and ardent advocate of forced sterilization. She also had an affair with H. G. Wells, the self-avowed champion of “liberal fascism.” Her marriage fell apart early, and one of her children — whom she admitted to neglecting — died of pneumonia at age four. Indeed, she always acknowledged that she wasn’t right for family life, admitting she was not a “fit person for love or home or children or anything which needs attention or consideration.”

Under the banner of “reproductive freedom,” Sanger subscribed to nearly all of the eugenic views discussed above. She sought to ban reproduction of the unfit and regulate reproduction for everybody else. She scoffed at the soft approach of the “positive” eugenicists, deriding it as mere “cradle competition” between the fit and the unfit. “More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief issue of birth control,” she frankly wrote in her 1922 book The Pivot of Civilization. (The book featured an introduction by Wells, in which he proclaimed, “We want fewer and better children…and we cannot make the social life and the world-peace we are determined to make, with the ill-bred, ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens that you inflict on us.” Two civilizations were at war: that of progress and that which sought a world “swamped by an indiscriminate torrent of progeny.

A fair-minded person cannot read Sanger’s books, articles, and pamphlets today without finding similarities not only to Nazi eugenics but to the dark dystopias of the feminist imagination found in such allegories as Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. As editor of The Birth Control Review, Sanger regularly published the sort of hard racists we normally associate with Goebbels or Himmler. Indeed, after she resigned as editor, The Birth Control Review ran articles by people who worked for Goebbels and Himmler. For example, when the Nazi eugenics program was first getting wide attention, The Birth Control Review was quick to cast the Nazis in a positive light, giving over its pages for an article titled “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need,” by Ernst Rüdin, Hitler’s director of sterilization and a founder of the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene. In 1926 Sanger proudly gave a speech to a KKK rally in Silver Lake, New Jersey.

One of Sanger’s closest friends and influential colleagues was the white supremacist Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy. In the book he offered his solution for the threat posed by the darker races: “Just as we isolate bacterial invasions, and starve out the bacteria, by limiting the area and amount of their food supply, so we can compel an inferior race to remain in its native habitat.” When the book came out, Sanger was sufficiently impressed to invite him to join the board of directors of the American Birth Control League.

Let us never forget, Margaret Sanger, the darling of the democrat party to this day, called Negroes “human weeds” as saw abortion as a way to eliminate the entire black race. Pure.Unadulterated.Evil.

Read more here.

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Remembering Music Legend Richie Havens

Richie Havens

By Gary P Jackson

On Monday the world lost a true music legend, guitar slinger Richie Havens.

Richie, who was 72, died of a heart attack at his home in Jersey City. The family will be posting information online about a memorial service. According to Haven’s website, Richie never fully recovered from kidney surgery two years ago. He was born Richard Pierce Havens on January 21, 1941.

Many know Richie Havens as the artist who opened Woodstock in 1969. Richie opened the three day music festival with over two hours of music. He actually ran out of songs, and improvised what would become one of his most famous pieces Freedom which he based on the old spiritual Motherless Child.

The first record album I ever bought was Johnny Cash’s Live from Folsom Prison and the second was one of those K-Tel deals that included Melanie Safka’s Lay Down and Richie Havens’ Minstrel from Gault. While that is a good version, I’ve always been partial to this live version, like all of Richie’s songs, he puts everything into this:

Minstrel is a song about war, one of several in his song book, another is Handsome Johnny. Over the years, Richie added more lyrics to the song.

Another favorite is Richie’s rendition of George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun:

He added a lot of his soul to everything he played.

In 1992 Richie played himself on an episode of the hit TV series Married with Children entitled: Rock of Ages. The story line had Al Bundy [Ed O’Neill] entering and winning a shoe selling contest. The prize is a first class ticket to Hawaii which the family turns into four stand-by’s.

The Bundy’s end up at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport where Al decides to masquerade as an aging 60s rock star “Axle Bundy” from the group Shoes and Socks. He ends up hanging out with a group of real rock stars: Richie Havens, Spencer Davis [Spencer Davis Group], John Sebastian [The Lovin’ Spoonful], Robby Krieger [The Doors], Peter Noone [Herman’s Hermits], and Mark Lindsay [Paul Revere and the Raiders]. They end up doing a video for “Old Aid

Richie’s music will live forever and continue to delight.

I leave you with the beautiful High Flying Bird recorded in 1974, a song about loss and hurt:

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What the Senate Could Learn from Illinois about Internet Sales Taxes

by Whitney Pitcher

internet sales tax

The Senate  is poised to vote on the Orwellian-sounding “Marketplace Fairness Act” next week. This bill would institute an “internet sales tax” and could be seen as a gateway to a national sales tax. Also, in many ways it would allow federal government to expand individual states’ powers over businesses outside of a state. As the Heritage Foundation explains:

They seek enactment of [the Marketplace Fairness Act] so that states can prefer in-state businesses over out-of-state businesses in the kind of anti-competitive economic discrimination the U.S. Constitution was in part adopted to prevent. As the U.S. Supreme Court has stated, “[p]reservation of local industry by protecting it from the rigors of interstate competition is the hallmark of the economic protectionism that the Commerce Clause prohibits.”

This bill would require that states without a state sales tax to collect sales taxes on internet purchase on behalf of states that have sales taxes. This additional regulation is of great expense to smaller businesses. When the bill was introduced in the previous session of Congress, then Senator Jim DeMint cautioned against it:

The burden on Internet entrepreneurs could be staggering. There are already nearly 10,000 state, local and municipal tax jurisdictions to navigate nationwide.

Just complying with a single state’s tax laws costs small businesses disproportionately more than larger firms that can afford accounting and technology teams to help them work through these arcane laws. A 2006 PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that tax-compliance costs for small businesses (those having $1 million to $10 million in annual sales) are nearly 2.5 times greater than those of larger firms. For businesses under $1 million in sales, those costs explode to 16 cents on every dollar of revenue.

And woe to online sellers if they have a dispute with one of the many states that will be unleashed to tax them. A small business owner in South Carolina could face simultaneous audits from California, New Jersey and Hawaii, with no political recourse.

Proponents of the bill point to exemptions for businesses with less than a million dollars in annual sales, but as Senator DeMint referenced, the impact on small businesses making $1 to $10 million annually is more onerous than for bigger businesses. Even Democratic Senators, like Oregon’s Ron Wyden, have seen the potential for such taxation to not only make government bigger, but also to drive businesses out of the country:

 “What concerns me, especially after the legal analysis I received from the Congressional Research Service, is I think the way this bill is going to work, people are going to end up calling it the shop Canada bill or maybe the shop Mexico bill or, what is even more ominous, the shop China bill.”

The Senate needs to look no further than the home state of one of bill’s co-sponsors, Dick Durbin. In 2011, Illinois passed a similar law called the Main Street Fairness Act. What did the bill do? It drove businesses out of Illinois and generated far less state revenue (tax dollars) than expected, as an Illinois Policy Institute op-ed in the Chicago Tribune early this month notes: 

 After the law was enacted, businesses fled. Overstock.com and Amazon.com ended their relationships with Illinois-based marketing affiliates. Chicago-based CouponCabin moved to Indiana. And FatWallet.com, which had been headquartered near Rockford for three years, skipped the border to Wisconsin.

“The so-called Amazon tax was misguided,” said Brent Shelton, a spokesman for FatWallet.com. “(It) did little to increase the competitiveness of the local merchants it was purportedly designed to protect. It’s primary result was to cause businesses like ours to leave the state.” Each of these companies took with them people, jobs and money.

And the $150 million?

The actual money generated by the law was much less.

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, the law generated just $3.8 million between July 2011 and January 2012. The state was on pace to net $6.4 million from the tax by the end of the fiscal year. This law, billed by one of Illinois’ top political leaders as a step toward solving Illinois’ economic and fiscal problems, failed to achieve even 5 percent of its intended target.

Just as Senator Wyden noted, the “Marketplace Fairness Act” could drive businesses overseas. Illinois has shown that a similar state law has driven businesses across state borders. What’s to say that a federal law wouldn’t do the same? Also, as with many forms of taxation, revenues rarely reach anticipated amounts. Why should states collect taxes on behalf of other states? What about potential constitutional violations,which the Heritage Foundation warns against and the state of Illinois experienced? Those are all questions we should ask the 75 Senators who voted in favor of a non-binding resolution for internet sales taxation last month. Let’s hope they’ll learn a lesson from the microcosm of America’s financial problems–Illinois–and vote “no” on the actual bill.

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“Compassionate” Conservatism Has Always Been With Us

by Whitney Pitcher

boston1

Last weekend, President George W. Bush gave a rare interview with the Dallas Morning News in which he predicted that “compassionate conservatism” would make a comeback:

Asked what message he’s sending to the GOP, Bush reverted to broad descriptions of freedom. He steered clear of giving his party specifics on how to rebuild, but he said that he stands by “the principles that guided me when I was president.”

“These are principles that need to be articulated and defended as time goes on,” he said.

For Bush, “compassionate conservatism,” much derided by the party’s harder-edged tea party adherents, is still a powerful draw.

He predicted a renewed interest in the philosophy, which he described as “the idea that articulating and implementing conservative ideas leads to a better life for all.”

President Bush is wrong. This week has proven that compassionate conservatism isn’t poised for a comeback . It has always been with us, and it’s not found in big government programs like Medicare Part D, which Bush touts later in the interview. It is found in the American people.

Between the responses to the horrific bombing at the Boston marathon on Monday and the awful explosion at a fertilizer plant on Wednesday night, Americans have shown awe-inspiring true compassion—not because of big government, but because of big hearts.

So many stories of compassion have emerged from the Boston Marathon bombing. Carlos Arredondo, a Costa Rican immigrant who was handing out flags to spectators at the race helped the wounded injured by the blast and helped removed barricades so first responders could treat the injured. Physicians who were running the race stopped and helped the wounded. Some runners finished the race and kept running to the local hospitals to give blood.

Following the massive explosion last night in West, Texas, similar stories of compassion emerged. Some lost their lives in an ultimate display of compassion. An off-duty firefighter,who worked for the Dallas Fire Department, not even the West Fire Department, made the ultimate sacrifice in rushing to the scene to assist in fighting the blaze. Two West volunteers firefighters also gave their lives to save the lives of others. Hundreds of Texans donated blood, many waiting in lines that wrapped around the building, in nearby Waco to help the victims of the explosion.

Those are just a small cross section of the compassion seen in Americans just this week. Their response did not require a taxpayer funded government program, but simply a loving heart. As I wrote recently in post about Peter Schweizer’s expose on food stamps, by definition, compassion is not a product of policy:

 The very etymology of the word “compassion” indicates that it cannot be provided by government. The word, compassion, really means to suffer with. How much can government empathize with the poor when their campaign accounts are being padded while their cronies’ profits rise? Additionally, government cannot be compassionate with other people’s money. American is known for being very generous. A study published last August noted that Americans gave over $214 billion to charity in 2008. “Red” states comprised the top eight states for charitable giving, while “blue” states made up the seven least charitable states. This is what compassion is–giving of one’s own money to help those in need. It isn’t using taxpayer dollars to perpetuate poverty while politicians’ cronies profit.

Perhaps it is better said as a paraphrase of the LL Cool J’s song, ” don’t call it a [compassionate conservative] comeback; it’s been here for years”. True “compassionate conservatism” (that deserves the term, not the supposed “compassionate conservatism” of President Bush) has been around for years. It is organic and not coerced through taxation. It is powerful. Voluntary generosity and a heartfelt desire to help those in need is as American as apple pie and baseball, and they don’t require a government agency to distribute.

Note: This post has been updated for clarification.

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Congress Clouds the Already Weak Transparency of the STOCK Act;Updated

by Whitney Pitcher
CapitolBuilding
At the end of last week without even a vote, both the House and the Senate approved a repeal of a portion of the STOCK Act.  The STOCK Act, signed into law last Spring, is a transparency and ethics law aimed primarily at Congress and their staff. The law requires those individuals to disclose their conflicts of interests (such as stock purchases) and  prohibits the use of non-public information for private profit. However, the bill also applies to many higher ranking federal employees as well. With the repeal of the portion of this bill (if signed by the President),  two components of transparency will become opaque, as detailed by the Sunshine Foundation (emphasis added):

The bill enacted last year would require already public financial disclosures of senior congressional and executive branch officials to be put online in order to prevent or root out insider trading. There were concerns that some provisions of the bill were overbroad and would put some government employees at risk. Rather than craft narrow exemptions, or even delay implementation until proper protections could be created, the Senate decided instead to exclude legislative and executive staffers from the online disclosure requirements.  

The sweeping exemption goes even farther than critics of the disclosure requirements requested. For those to whom online disclosure would still apply (the president, vice president, members of Congress, congressional candidates and individuals subject to Senate confirmation) the Senate bill made electronic filing of the information optional and struck the requirement that online information be searchable, sortable and downloadable, making even the disclosures that remain in the bill tepid and relatively unusable.

Even prior to the aforementioned legislation, implementation of the STOCK Act had already been delayed multiple times. Additionally, the bill was not even available for public consumption on the  Library of Congress website until after the measure was approved by Congress. Imagine that–a bill that would repeal transparency passed through Congress in a non-transparent manner.

In today’s data-driven, information age, if such government information is not online, it is essentially useless to the American public. How will constituents be able to hold their leaders and their leaders’ staff accountable if such information in not available online? If such online disclosure is merely optional, there is little motivation for politicians to be voluntarily transparent.

The STOCK Act was the ultimately a hybrid of two bills proposed by Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. When the STOCK Act was being discussed in Congress, Governor Sarah Palin called the bill ” particularly weak” because they did not require Congress to disclose their stock purchase or trades immediately. Governor Palin supported a more stringent bill from Congressman Sean Duffy,which would have required all Congressmen to create blind trusts or disclose stock trades within three days. Duffy’s bill never made it out of committee.

The research and work of Peter Schweizer led to such legislation being seriously considered at all. Legislation banning insider trading never got any traction until Schweizer’s book Throw Them All Out was released in 2011. Schweizer called the passage of the STOCK Act a “victory”, but noted that the bill did not go “nearly far enough to deal with the problems of cronyism and corruption that we face.”

What must Governor Palin and Peter Schweizer think of the non-transparent weakening of an already weak bill?

The STOCK Act only received 5 “nay” votes total between the House and the Senate when it passed in early 2012. Why did a bill that received overwhelming support now engender such an overwhelming response for its weakening? Why didn’t the co-author of the original bill, Senator Gillibrand, call for at least a legitimate vote on the weakening of her bill? Why did Congressman Duffy, who proposed a stronger piece of legislation, not reject such a bill?

It seems that the political forecast in Washington D.C. remains cloudy with little chance of sunlight and transparency.

Updated:President Obama has now signed this bill only further confirming that the “most transparent  administration” is nothing but.

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What’s More Important to You–Our Children or an A Grade from NARAL?

by Whitney Pitcher

life-sign

On Monday, President Obama gave a demagogic speech urging Congress to pass gun control legislation.  In doing so, he asked a hypothetical question, “what’s more important to you–our children or an A grade from the gun lobby?” True to form, the President posed a false choice. Ironically, in survey research and legal proceedings, the type of question the President posed is known as a double barreled question, meaning the potential answers are not mutually exclusive.  Protecting children and the second amendment are not mutually exclusive. Many NRA-backed politicians and many NRA members fight for the second amendment in part because they wish to be able to defend their children in the same way that the Secret Service is able to defend the President’s children.

How about a question that isn’t double barreled, Mr. President and your gun control allies? What’s more important to you–our children or a Grade A from the abortion lobby? NARAL Pro-Choice America grades politicians on how “pro-choice” they vote, they and endorse candidates.  President Obama received their endorsement for President twice, even before Hillary Clinton dropped out of the race in 2008. Obama is actually more supportive of abortion than NARAL. In 2006, NARAL did not oppose the Born Alive Infant Protection Act that protected children who survived an abortion. While the Senate approved this by a unanimous voice vote, a nearly identical bill had been presented in the Illinois legislature a few years prior, and Obama opposed it as an Illinois state senator.

NARAL has other allies outside of elected office. Planned Parenthood sees NARAL as a “partner for women’s health and rights”. Despite the claim that these organizations support women’s rights, both have opposed a ban on sex-selected abortion.  To them, it is fine for a woman to choose to have an abortion simply because her unborn baby is a girl, yet they claim to stand for women’s rights? In their annual report released in January, Planned Parenthood indicated that they performed a record number of abortions in 2011 and nearly a million abortions from when President Obama took office in 2009 through the end of 2011. The media are pro-choice in their coverage of these horrors of abortion, and they often choose not to cover it. Meanwhile, some media outlets choose to consider children as collectively “ours” as society, not as children who belong to their parents.  First things first, however, in order for children to “belong to us “or to their parents, they cannot belong to the medical waste bin. What’s more important to you?

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Margaret Thatcher’s Great Leap

by Whitney Pitcher

Margaret Thatcher 01

With Margaret Thatcher’s passing on Monday, scores and scores of obituaries, tributes, and diatribes have been written. These have run gamut from honoring her as the savior of Britain to celebrations that Thatcher–the wicked witch– is dead. Some did not approve of her tough-as-nails approach to labor unions and her privatization of industry. Others cheered her liberty driven policies that helped turn the Britain around from the economic stagnation of the 1970s and her partnership with President Reagan that helped defeat communism in eastern Europe. A politician’s legacy goes beyond his or her specific policies and outcomes to their impact on culture and ideology. Margaret Thatcher’s conviction was shaped by those whom she admired, and those who admire her continue to be shaped by her legacy today.

Thatcher’s childhood was not one of privilege. She grew up the grocer’s daughter in a fairly ordinary town–not particularly urban or rural, affluent or poor- and often attended city government meetings with her father. Her father was her biggest political influence on her, but others were of influence to her during her formative years as well–including C.S.Lewis and Winston Churchill. In her book, The Path to Power, Thatcher notes that the writings of C.S. Lewis ” had the most impact upon [her] intellectual religious formation” and that Lewis’s book Mere Christianity ” went to the heart of the appalling disparity between the way we Christians behave and the ideals we profess”. During World War II, Thatcher, then Margaret Roberts, became especially fond of Churchill whom she would always count among her heroes. Also during that time, her family ended up being one of several families to house a Jewish girl to protect her from the Nazis in Austria.

Thatcher always loved politics and was involved in conservative clubs while attending college. However, she first received a degree in chemistry at Oxford, studying under Dorothy Hopkin who later would receive the Nobel prize for chemistry. Thatcher would work as a research chemist for a food manufacturer that invented soft serve ice cream. Thatcher’s true passion though was politics, and she pursued a degree in tax law that proved to be the next stepping stone on her path to power.

Thatcher first won a seat in parliament in 1959 and noted in her book The Path to Power the influence of a fellow female MP–Irene Ward. Thatcher was the mother of young twins when she first took office and contemplated her role of wife, mother, and politician:

The pull of a mother towards her children is perhaps the most instinctive emotion we have. I was never one of people who regarded being ‘just’ a mother or indeed ‘just’ a housewife as second best. Indeed, whenever I heard such implicit assumptions made before and after I became Prime Minister it would make me very angry indeed. Of course to be a mother and a housewife is a vocation of a very high kind. But I simply felt that it was not the whole of my career. A phrase that Irene Ward, MP for Tynemouth, and I often used was that ‘while the home must always be the centre of one’s life,it should not be the boundary of one’s ambitions.’

Thatcher’s ambitions knew no bounds. Her conviction was shaped by those whom she admired–from her dad to C.S. Lewis to Irene Ward. While in many ways Thatcher is ideal feminist outcome, she rejected feminism. In fact, Thatcher famously said that she owed nothing to women’s lib and compared feminism to a poison. She was keenly aware of her femininity though and famously noted what she was able to accomplish as a leader. She noted, “if you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman”.

Although she did break a glass ceiling, the toughest ceiling she shattered was the “class ceiling” to use a phrase from Governor Palin’s wonderful tribute to Thatcher. She rose from humble beginnings to become the most powerful woman in the world. Along the way she took on the elites in politics, as Palin highlighted:

 In taking on “Those Grandees,” she wasn’t afraid of having strong opinions and fighting for them — something the establishment often found distasteful. British ambassador Sir Anthony Parsons recalled a conversation about this: “She said, ‘You know, Tony, I’m very proud that I don’t belong to your class.’ I said, ‘Prime Minister, what class do you think I belong to?’ She said, ‘I’m talking of course about upper-middle-class intellectuals who see everybody else’s point of view and have none of their own.’”

Upon taking the reins as leader of the opposition in 1975, Thatcher called out the elites in her own party for “sneering at ‘middle class values'”. Instead Thatcher called for putting the people first and seeking the support of all classes of Britons.

During her tenure, Thatcher cut the top tax rate more than in half and reduced inflation from  more than 25% to 2.5% by 1986. She secured the Falkland Islands from the Argentinians and worked side-by-side with Ronald Reagan to help defeat communism in eastern Europe. However, her legacy extends beyond the policies and to those whom she inspired. As she said herself, she doesn’t make little jumps, but great leaps, and those leaps helped pave the way for those admire her today and in the future:

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Peter Schweizer’s Report Details “Compassionate Corporatism”

by Whitney Pitcher

On Friday, FoxNews ran a second “Boomtown” special featuring Stephen Bannon and Peter Schweizer and highlighting the research done by Schweizer’s Government Accountability Institute on food stamps. The federal government currently funds 126 separate anti-poverty programs, ranging from Medicaid to Pell Grants to food stamps. Since President Johnson declared the “war on poverty” in the 1960s, $15 trillion has been spent to combat it. Despite this, there are still 50 million Americans in poverty, including 20% of all children. 47 million are on food stamps–more than 15 times as many as in 1969. Anti-poverty programs have expanded greatly under the guise of “compassionate” conservatism and unveiled socialism. These programs, intended at least in word, to be a safety net for the poor, have actually become a hammock for large corporations. In essence, such programs are really “compassionate” corporatism.

Below is a table from a CATO Institute report detailing the failures of programs aimed at fight poverty:

During the Reagan administration, welfare spending remained relatively constant only to jump from about $200 billion a year to $300 billion a year during President George HW Bush’s tenure. During President Clinton’s two terms, welfare spending remained constant at around $300 billion a year. However, while President George W. Bush was in office, welfare spending jumped to around $500 billion a year by 2008. This upward trend has continued under President Obama.  According to Schweizer’s report, both Bushes and Obama expanded eligibility for food stamps specifically. The welfare reform championed by Speaker Newt Gingrich and signed by President Clinton reduced the number of people on food stamps from 25.5 million to 17 million between 1996 and 2000. In the next four years under President Bush however, those numbers grew again from 23.8 million Americans under the more palatable Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This was the “compassionate” conservatism touted by President Bush, but who really received the compassion?

Former Bush speechwriter, Michael Gerson defined compassionate conservatism as “the theory that the government should encourage the effective provision of social services without providing the service itself.” Additionally, the Bush White House claimed that faith based organizations would be empowered to provide these services, but in practice, it was large corporations–like JP Morgan–who were empowered. Schweizer’s report details the role of JP Morgan in food stamp programs. When they acquired Citicorp Electronic Financial Services in 2003, they also received the contracts of what is now nearly half of all states EBT (akin to a food stamp debit card) programs. Since they became involved in the EBT business, JP Morgan has more than tripled their donations to Congressional members who sit on the Agriculture committees (The Department of Agriculture administers the program). Additionally, President Obama received more than $800,000 in campaign contributions from JP Morgan, which he promptly rewarded with an expansion of SNAP through the “stimulus” program and further expansion in 2010. What has this yielded for JP Morgan? According to Schweizer, they have made more than half a billion dollars off of SNAP since 2004, and their profit is expected to grow as SNAP continues to expand.

The very etymology of the word “compassion” indicates that  it cannot be provided by government. The word, compassion, really means to suffer with. How much can government empathize with the poor when their campaign accounts are being padded while their cronies’ profits rise? Additionally, government cannot be compassionate with other people’s money. American is known for being very generous. A study published last August noted that Americans gave over $214 billion to charity in 2008. “Red” states comprised the top eight states for charitable giving, while “blue” states made up the seven least charitable states. This is what compassion is–giving of one’s own money to help those in need. It isn’t using taxpayer dollars to perpetuate poverty while politicians’ cronies profit.

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