Commentary - p27

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-- An Open Letter to the Congress and the President of the United States
-- In Japan, the Picture Isn't So Stupid
-- Police are not required to defend you - their duty is to defend the law
-- Florida HB-285
-- Pause a moment, reflect back to these actual cuts from history! Do you remember?
-- Obama radio critic finds talk show time slashed


 An Open Letter to the Congress and the President of the United States

2/13/2009 - The herritage Foundation

For the last 35 years, educators and analysts at The Heritage Foundation have been intimately involved in the nation’s great public policy debates. In all that time, we have never encountered legislation with such far-reaching and revolutionary policy implications as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act currently before Congress. And never have we seen a bill more cloaked in secrecy or more withdrawn from open public exposure and honest debate.

In addition to being the single most expensive bill ever proposed, this measure calls for a massive expansion of the federal government’s reach into the day-to-day life of virtually every citizen, business and civic organization in the nation. That, in itself, should be the subject of an extensive public conversation and thoughtful debate. Instead, we have seen Congressional leaders schedule snap votes on a 1,434-page bill that no one—repeat, no one—has had a chance to read in its entirety, much less digest and deliberate.

This bill has been advertised as an economic stimulus bill—despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office estimates it will actually weaken our nation's long-term economic growth. While the stimulative utility of the bill is, at best, questionable, it would unquestionably rewrite the social contract between the American people and their government. For example:
  • The bill reverses the bipartisan and highly successful welfare reforms of 1996 and drastically expands the welfare state. For instance, it will start rewarding states for adding people to their welfare rolls, rather than for helping them find gainful employment. And contrary to long-established practice, it will entitle able-bodied adults without children to receive cash assistance.
     
  • It does extreme violence to the concept of federalism—bailing out states that have spent irresponsibly at the expense of taxpayers in states that have been fiscally prudent.
     
  • It greatly shifts the responsibility and power over health care delivery and decision making from individuals to government. Among other things, it would create a new federal health board to decide which medical services are “effective” in America, paving the way for government effectively to overrule the clinical decisions of private physicians.
     
  • It deliberately censors religious speech and worship on school campuses by prohibiting use of any “stimulus” funds for facilities that are used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school of divinity.


The list goes on. These and similar provisions will mean fundamental changes in our society. In many instances, the bill would establish policies that directly challenge widely held American values.

We are appalled that Congress is even contemplating such profound changes with so little openness and due diligence. In the past, major policy changes in our welfare system, or health care, or trade policies, etc., were always, quite properly, preceded by extensive public conversation and full debate. That is how a democracy should make important decisions.

The failure of Congress and the Administration to allow that debate is damaging to our democracy. Both chambers of Congress suspended their budget rules to push it along. And both the President and the leaders of the House and Senate have violated their solemn promises that the bill would be available for several days of public review prior to voting, so that the American people might have a chance to learn what is in the bill and to make their views known to their elected officials.

This reckless approach to governance can only undermine public faith in our elected officials and our government as a whole. We call on Congress and the Administration to live up to their promises and stated ideals, and give the democratic process a chance to work.
 
Sincerely,

Ed Feulner Signature

Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
President
The Heritage Foundation

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 In Japan, the Picture Isn't So Stupid

By Ayako Doi
Sunday, November 16, 2008; B03

Like millions of Americans, I watched the scene in Chicago's Grant Park on election night, as President-elect Barack Obama delivered his victory speech, with a real sense of hope that something fundamental was changing. A few hours later, I began receiving e-mail messages from friends in Europe who were overjoyed by the choice American voters had made.

And the next day, the world's excitement was visible in news stories, photos and television images broadcast from around the globe -- with one striking exception.

Surfing Japanese news Web sites for commentaries on the Obama victory from a key U.S. ally, I was taken aback by the skeptical, even negative, tone that prevailed. "Obama Likely to Stress Importance of China," read one headline in the mass-circulation daily Yomiuri Shimbun, implying that the new administration will relegate Japan to the foreign policy back seat. The economic daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun fretted about the likelihood that the Democratic president and Congress may concoct a massive rescue package for troubled U.S. automakers and about the potential fallout for the Japanese car industry. Everyone seemed to agree that Obama, who has talked about withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq to concentrate on Afghanistan, may well put pressure on Japan to send ground troops to the latter country -- something the nation's postwar pacifist leaders don't feel prepared to do.

The most astounding article appeared in Sentaku, a monthly magazine with a reputation for objectivity and solid analysis. Writing in anticipation of an Obama victory, the magazine raised most of the same charges the Republicans had leveled against the Democratic candidate, including Obama's associations with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former Weather Underground leader William Ayers and "communist and socialist professors." It called him "the most dubious character in history to occupy the White House." Criticizing Obama's foreign policy statements as "abstract" and "strings of empty words such as 'consultation' and 'cooperation,' " the article concluded that under Obama, the United States would lose its position of global leadership and drag the world into "enormous chaos."

As the realization that Obama will soon be the most powerful man in the world has sunk in, Japanese opinion of him seems to be warming up. Newspaper editorials have begun expressing more hope that he'll do well in combating the global economic crisis. The first public opinion poll, released last week by the left-leaning Asahi Shimbun newspaper, showed that 79 percent of Japanese had favorable feelings about Obama himself. But even so, only 41 percent thought that his election would lead to an improvement in U.S.-Japanese relations.

Why are the Japanese feeling so much less positive about an Obama presidency than the rest of the world?

Japanese media seem concerned that officials there have few contacts with Obama or his advisers and that Obama doesn't seem to know much about Japan. As the world's second-largest economy and a close U.S. ally, Japan should have no problem communicating its wishes and concerns to Washington. But the Japanese strongly believe that only personal connections can affect U.S. policies.

The Japanese may also be anxious about Obama because of his party affiliation. The last time there was a Democrat in the White House, Japan's huge trade surpluses with the United States made it a favorite whipping boy for many U.S. politicians. The Clinton administration, which had made fixing the economy "Job One," demanded that Japan set numerical targets for importing U.S. products. And it tasked its abrasive trade representative, Mickey Kantor, with keeping up the pressure as Tokyo resisted what it perceived as a demand for managed trade. Tokyo's then-ambassador to Washington, Takakazu Kuriyama, said he had never seen so much distrust between officials of the two governments in his 30-plus years of diplomatic service.

China has replaced Japan as the main target of Washington's ire over trade in the past few years, and trade hasn't been a major point of contention between Tokyo and Washington for some time. But the latest financial crisis, which the Japanese media always refer to as "U.S.-originated," seems to be reviving memories of the Clinton-era "trade war."

The Japanese strongly associate Democrats with protectionism, which may make Obama seem problematic. "Concerns of Resurgent Protectionism," a Japanese Industrial Daily headline proclaimed as it reported his victory. Japanese manufacturers with plants in the United States also worry that American labor unions' clout may increase under the Democrats. Many Japanese managers of U.S. subsidiaries "have had a hard time because of their unions' anti-management attitudes," a Japanese business analyst in Washington told me. "It's natural that they think Republicans are easier to deal with."

Then there's the issue of anti-Americanism. On a recent trip to Japan, I was stunned by the critical views of U.S. policies that I heard in conversations with friends and on television talk shows. On any given day, there are dozens of commentators on Japanese TV talking about all sorts of American ills. One media industry insider told me that people who are perceived as pro-American just don't get invited on the air these days.

But the main cause of the current round of America-bashing is no doubt the Bush administration's opening to North Korea. When Washington dropped its policy of not negotiating with Pyongyang and began actively seeking a deal on nuclear weapons development last fall, the Japanese went crazy. Many feared that if the United States struck a deal without addressing the issue of the abductees -- at least 17 Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korean agents in the 1970s and '80s -- Pyongyang would never give a credible account of what has happened to them. Japanese blogs called for the dismissal of Christopher Hill, the U.S. negotiator with North Korea; some have even taken to referring to him derisively as "Chris Jong Hill."

Tokyo successfully sold the usually antiwar Japanese public on its decision to send refueling tankers to the Indian Ocean in support of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and noncombat troops to work on reconstruction projects in Iraq by implying that those actions were vital to retaining U.S. protection from North Korea's increasingly capable missiles. So a Japanese sense of having been betrayed by Washington may be understandable. But it is disturbing that no senior politician, journalist or scholar in Japan has had the courage to say that it is in the country's interest to go along with the U.S.-backed six-party talks to put a halt to Pyongyang's nuclear program and integrate North Korea into the community of nations -- or that a "solution" to the abduction problem is likely to be found only in that context. But during my recent trip, I saw that this is such an emotional issue for the Japanese that it's almost impossible to have a rational discussion. Meeting with old friends or conversing over the dinner table with relatives, I was accused of being an apologist for U.S. policy and naive about Kim Jong Il's ruthlessness.

Two days before the U.S. elections, Japan's public television network, NHK, aired a documentary on Japanese diplomats in Washington. It showed them cultivating connections with Asia policy advisers to the Obama and McCain campaigns, trying to find out what the next U.S. president would expect from Japan and to preempt anticipated demands for fresh military and financial contributions from Tokyo. It showed them suggesting what Japan could offer instead as an essential partner in global affairs, such as economic assistance in reducing poverty and help in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Only by making these efforts, the diplomats believed, could Japan avoid becoming irrelevant to U.S. foreign policy in an Asia increasingly dominated by China.

The reaction from viewers was stunning. The overwhelming majority of the many comments NHK received criticized both the diplomats' actions and their objectives, the program's producer said. "Why do we have to cuddle up to Washington so much?" they asked. Or, "Why can't we just be happy with ourselves and stop caring about what the U.S. thinks of us?"

So while the rest of the world may be cheering the Obama presidency, Japan is decidedly ambivalent about yet another change in Washington. Japanese leaders will, of course, do all they can to get along with the new Democratic president and Congress. But they'll be facing an increasingly introverted public at home, whose opinions of America are about as high as George W. Bush's approval ratings.

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 Police are not required to defend you - their duty is to defend the law

Most of the time, this means the police cannot intervene until after a crime has been committed, or one is in progress.


So where does that leave you and every other law-abiding citizen? It leaves you at the mercy of every criminal, drug addict, mugger, murderer, rapist, looter or rioter ...unless you have some means of self- defense. While it may be of some small consolation to you or your next of kin should the police be lucky enough to apprehend the criminal who assaults you, it would be much better if you could avoid being a victim.

That is why , in this increasingly lawless society of ours, many people are now beginning to realize the important role of self-defense and the right to keep and bear arms.
For more than two centuries, arms in the hands of the civilian population of the United States helped to prevent crime and maintain law and order. Since the advent of gun control, presumably to make America a safer place in which to live and work, crime rates have skyrocketed. The United States became a safer place to work only if your trade happened to be robbery, drug dealing, murder, mugging or mayhem.
For the rest of us, however, America became a much more dangerous place to live, work and play. The government's answer to this problem is the same answer it has for every problem it creates: more of the same.

So instead of recognizing its error, it heaped on more and more gun control until now it is against the law in many states to defend yourself. Instead of defending your hard-earned property, you are told to flee your home and turn it over to the criminals. Those who choose to defend what is theirs often end up behind bars while the criminal "plea bargains " his way through our revolving door court system.

What's the solution? Give us back our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. And give us our right of self-defense without fear of prosecution by a legal system so bent on protecting the rights of the criminals that the rights of the law-abiding are being trampled. The Citizens Self-Defense Amendment would give law-abiding Americans the right of self-defense; the right to defend themselves, their friends, their loved ones and their property. If your Congressman hasn't agreed to support the Citizens Self-Defense Amendment, ask him why not. And ask him if he cares more about the rights of criminals than the rights of hard-working, law-abiding citizens like you and me.

You can reach your Congressman and U. S .Senators in Washington by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202/234-3121. Or call us at Gun Owners of America and we will tell you where your Congress- man and Senators stand on the issue of self defense. We will also tell you how you can help bring law and order back to your community.

Our number is 1-800/552-9944. Remember, the police are outnumbered 100- to-1; the courts are so backlogged they are letting known drug dealers, rapists and even murderers plea bargain their way back onto the streets to deal, rape and murder again. America's gun control laws keep guns out of the hands of responsible, law-abiding citizens. They do not keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

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 Florida HB-285 Sponsored by -

Rep Mitch Needelman (R-Melbourne) in the House; Carey Baker (R-Eustis) and Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) in the Senate.

1. Amends the Emergency Management Powers Act to prohibit the governor from ordering or authorizing the seizure, taking, or confiscation of firearms that are lawfully possessed, unless a person is engaged in a criminal act.

2. Amends the Emergency Management Powers Act to prohibit any public official from ordering or authorizing the seizure, taking, or confiscation of firearms that are lawfully possessed, unless a person is engaged in a criminal act.

The bill passed the House 116-0 and passed the Senate 40-0

Special thanks go to Senate President Tom Lee (R-Brandon) and House Speaker Allan Bense (R-Panama City) for helping move this legislation.
 

SENATE (CO-SPONSORS)
Senators J.D. Alexander (R),
Mike Haridopolis (R),
Burt Saunders (R),
Steve Wise (R)
HOUSE (CO-SPONSORS)
Thad Altman (R);
Dennis Baxley (R);
Fred Brummer(R);
Donna Clarke (R);
Faye Culp (R);
Gayle Harrell(R);
Will Kendrick (D);
Paige Kreegel (R);
John Legg (R);
Dave Murzin(R);
Dwight Stansel (D)

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 Please pause a moment, reflect back to these actual cuts from history!  Do you remember?

1. In 1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by a Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40.

2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

3. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

4.During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

5. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

6. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

7. In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

8. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

9. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

10. In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

11.On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers.  Thousands of people were killed by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

12.In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

13. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us, airport security screeners are no longer allowed to profile Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.  They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, secret agents who are members of the President's security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winner and former Governor Joe Foss, but leave Muslim Males between the ages 17 and 40 alone because that would be profiling.  As the writer of the award winning story "Forrest Gump" so aptly put it, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Write your congressmen and tell them to forbid the courts from examining the profiling argument.  Our Country and our troops need our support!

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 Obama radio critic finds talk show time slashed

Program host: 'I'm just trying to bring to light what he's said'

January 01, 2009    By Bob Unruh    © 2009 WorldNetDaily

Politically active Barack Obama supporters in Michigan have tried to silence criticism of the president-elect on a talk program at a community radio station by cutting its air time, the program host says.

Officials with radio station WRHC told WND the dispute involved talk show host Martin Dzuris' coverage of local issues as well as national issues.

But Dzuris explained in a lengthy interview with WND he attended at least one meeting where radio station officials discussed specifically how to reduce Dzuris' criticism of Obama, which has linked Obama's statements taken directly from his speeches to Marxism.

Dzuris said one issue raised was Obama's call in a Colorado Springs speech for a Civilian National Security Force, an issue on which WND has reported.

In that speech, Obama insisted the U.S. "cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set" and needs a "civilian national security force."

Dzuris, who spent the first half of his life under communist rule in Czechoslovakia, told WND, that concept isn't new at all.

"We called them the 'peoples' militia' (in Czechoslovakia)," he told WND.

He said he's reviewed Obama's speeches in light of his upbringing under a Marxist-type government and discussed those issues on his program.

"I'm just trying to bring to light what he's said," Dzuris told WND. "I'm just taking what he says, his influences, background," he said. "I lived all those things."

He said he was born in Czechslovakia and defected in 1989.

Radio station administrator Kim Pruitt confirmed that a number of individuals within the board structure of the 100-watt community station are active campaigners for Obama. But she said a recent decision that sparked Dzuris' outrage to cut his show from two hours to one hour wasn't made on that basis.

She said Dzuris show had been extended from one hour to two months ago in order to allow time for discussion of "local events." She said, however, Dzuris didn't fill the additional time with local issues.

"The situation was he actually was not spending very much time on the local events and he was spending time on the national events. Elections were of interest to him," she said.

So a decision was made by a programming committee to reduce the program time, she said.

Dzuris appealed to the full board of directors for the station, which included some members of the programming committee, and ultimately they compromised and restored another 30 minutes of his program time, Pruitt confirmed, even though there are those in the station's coverage area who would "like to see him off the air."

WND e-mails and telephone messages for the chief of the station's board, as well as Obama's transition team, did not generate a response.

One board member, Dave Repetto, was contacted by WND but declined to discuss the issue. He referred WND to coverage in the area Three Oaks and New Buffalo newspapers.

In the New Buffalo Harbor Country News, Dzuris said, "I was told to tighten up my show, but no help or suggestions were given to me about how to do this, and I feel the real reason my time on the air is being reduced is because of my political views that differ with many people on the board of directors and programming committee."

Former station program director Linas Johansonas agreed.

"This issue is about content," Johansonas told station committee members, according to the News. "I've had board members tell me that they hate Martin's guts. This decision is political, and I hope you can get past that and see the good Martin does in the community."

Dzuris confirmed to WND he attended a program committee meeting in which members vocally expressed their opposition to the program's political position including its criticism of Obama.

But fellow program host Dennis Snow said that wasn't an issue.

"If you want to call Obama a communist on the air, you have a right to do that, and I'll defend to the death your right to do that, even though I don't agree with that," Snow said in the News report. "I know you feel we're all a bunch of liberals here, and that we're ganging up on you by reducing your time on the air, but that's not true. I just really feel your show would be better if it was one hour instead of two hours, that's all."

Dzuris said the move to reduce his show time came after Obama volunteers, including some from the station, concluded a round of several thousand telephone calls in the region trying to generate support for the Democrat.

People would respond that they weren't voting for Obama and then reveal they got information about Obama's links to unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, his Saul Alinsky influences and other factors, from Dzuris' program.

"On the programming committee, there are people, one that presented the motion, the other seconded the motion to cut my show … many of them were involved as volunteers in our local Obamam campaign," Dzuris told WND.

"They've been after my show. Now it came to a head," he said.

Many questions about Obama's stated plans for a National Civilian Security Force that is at least as powerful and well-funded as the U.S. military remain unanswered.

But Obama's new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has said there will be a mandatory "force" for Americans.

"If you're worried about, are you going to have to do 50 jumping jacks, the answer is yes," Emanuel told a reporter who was podcasting for the New York Daily News.

WND also reported when the official website for Obama, Change.gov, announced he would "require" all middle school through college students to participate in community service programs.

That proposal, however, was changed suddenly after a flurry of blogs protested children being drafted into Obama's proposal. The new wording reads, "President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in under served schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps.

WND also previously reported on a video of a marching squad of Obama youth.

The apparent censorship also raised questions about the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," which, if re-adopted in Congress, could be used to severely limit conservative talk radio in the U.S..

It would require broadcasts over the public airwaves to give equal time to opposing political views. For talk radio, which boomed after the law's repeal in 1987 by building an audience devoted to conservative talk, the law's return would decimate the industry's marketability.

Many fear the "Fairness Doctrine" would drive talk radio hosts – like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage – out of business.

As WND reported, ATI-News President Brad O'Leary examined Obama's legal and organizational attempts to silence media detractors during the presidential race and found, "Obama has shown a stunning lack of tolerance for free speech throughout the course of this campaign."

Obama's presidency, he said, could "allow the Democrats to snuff out any broadcasters with whom they disagree."

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