Conflicting Values, Conflicting Rights

October 16th, 2014

 

We are in a time of great conflict on social issues. Both sides hold deep-seeded beliefs. Often the rights of the two sides clash. Ideally we should try to reach resolution based on respect, fairness and a reliance on constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

 

Unfortunately, those in power sometimes believe that the other side doesn’t have rights, even constitutional ones. The Obama administration declared that the right to free birth control trumps the right to free expression of religion.

 

The most egregious example recently occurred in Houston. A lawsuit was filed against the city over recently enacted gay rights legislation. The city filed a subpoena against 5 ministers who are not party to a lawsuit. They wanted sermons, e-mails, texts and any other material that commented on the legislation, the mayor or homosexuality. After creating a political firestorm, the mayor backed off a bit but still wants them to turn over everything on the legislation. The idea that the government can compel private citizens, not involved in criminal or civil litigation, to turn over personal documents is unconscionable.

 

While my examples are of liberals attacking conservative Christians, this hatred goes both ways. No person who loves liberty and democracy should ever try to demonize their opponents and take away their constitutional rights.

 

And a Child Shall Lead

October 12th, 2014

 

The Nobel Peace Prize is by far the most controversial of all the awards. Last year it went to an organization few people have ever heard of. The year before it went to the European Union. We all remember Barack Obama getting one for no apparent reason.

 

This year they got it right. The award was shared by an Indian who founded a children’s rights organization and 17 year old Malala Yousafzia. Malala first became known when, at age 11, she started writing an anonymous blog about living under Taliban rule. They banned girls from getting educated and destroyed hundreds of girls’ schools. Her blog led to her becoming a well- known activist for girls’ education. Two years and a day before receiving the prize the Taliban tried to assassinate her. Fortunately she was able to recover from her wounds. Now she and her cause are known throughout the world.

 

It is much easier to relate to the suffering of an individual than a large group. Just as The Diary of Anne Frank illustrated the horrors of the holocaust, Malala’s story shows how millions are suffering under the reign of terror imposed by radical Islam.  

 

Ebola

October 10th, 2014

 

It is hard to avoid seeing and reading about Ebola. Doing a Google search gets 123 million hits. In comparison, Obamacare gets 9 million hits.

 

Africa is going through a disaster right now. We should do whatever we can to help. However, the vast majority of attention is focused on Ebola in America. Respected experts say that we are not at serious risk. I know one of these experts. She has even done research on the Ebola virus.

 

If there isn’t a serious risk, then why all the hype? The government takes much of the responsibility. We have seen it fail time and time again. However, the Center for Disease Control CDC) is not your typical bureaucracy. It is staffed with passionate scientists dedicated to their work. Government’s attempts to reassure the public are falling flat. We have heard too much spin, exaggeration and outright lies.

 

The media also deserves some of the blame. They are deliberately blowing this out of proportion. The only thing that matters is ratings. No wonder it is hard to tell the so-called professional media from the bloggers, pundits and crackpots. It is no surprise that NBC tried to hire a comedian (Jon Stewart) to host Meet the Press.

 

We have been down this road many times. In the last few years we had SARS, Avian Flu and Mad Cow disease. The expected disasters never came to pass.

 

Election Update

October 4th, 2014

 

The election will be held a month from today. I had planned to wait awhile to do an update but there have been some interesting developments. Unlike prior forecasts, I will call every race. Remember that Republicans need to pick up 6 seats to gain control of the Senate.

 

Alaska – Despite outspending his challenger more than 5 to 1, Democratic incumbent Mark Begich is trailing in many of the polls. It is unlikely that a Democratic incumbent can catch up in a red state. Give this to the Republicans.

 

Arkansas – Mark Pryor is in exactly the same situation as Begich. This should be another GOP pickup.

 

Colorado – Things are a little more confusing than in Alaska and Arkansas. However, Republicans are continuing to gain momentum nationwide and it looks like Democrat incumbent Mark Udall will suffer the same fate as Begich and Pryor.

 

Georgia – This is an open seat for the GOP but I expect them to hang on to it.

 

Iowa – This has been the tightest race in the country. However, the country’s most famous pig castrator, Joni Ernst, has opened a slight lead. This is a Republican upset.

 

Kentucky – There has been a lot of excitement over the possibility of Mitch McConnell being ousted from office but that won’t happen.

 

Michigan – At one time it looked like Republicans might have a chance but the Democrats will keep this seat.

 

Montana – After having to replace their candidate, the Democrats are in bad shape and will lose this seat.

 

New Hampshire – It looked like former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown might win but incumbent Jeanne Shaheen should keep her seat.

 

North Carolina – Democrat Kay Hagan looked to be vulnerable but should keep her seat.

 

South Dakota and West Virginia will both be GOP pickups. That gives them 7 seats and control of the Senate. However, there are still two races to cover.

 

Louisiana – They have a jungle primary. All office seekers run in the general election. If nobody gets 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff of the top two candidates in December. Incumbent Mary Landrieu should win the jungle primary. A runoff will be required. Since the race won’t affect who controls the Senate, Republicans will lose interest and Landrieu will keep her seat.

 

Kansas – This has been a bizarre year but nothing compares to the goings on in Kansas. Republican incumbent Pat Roberts is considered by many to be too old and out of touch. Democrat Chad Taylor was doing poorly in the polls and withdrew. This left Independent Greg Orman as the only challenger. Although the GOP is desperately trying to prop up Roberts I believe Orman will get the win. He has not stated which party he will caucus with, but did say he will go with whoever is in the majority. Since I expect that to be the Republicans, Roberts loss won’t have any impact.

 

So there you go. I will give myself one more chance to change my mind before the election.

 

The Secret Service

October 2nd, 2014

 

Nobody has a job description like a Secret Service agent.  If there is a shooting, they are supposed to become human shields. Their job has never been harder. They must deter threats ranging from international terrorists to domestic kooks. It is sad to see that they are not up to that job.

 

Recently a man carrying a knife was able to scale the White House fence, enter an unlocked door and run through the White House. He even passed the stairs to the family quarters. Fortunately the Obamas weren’t home and nobody was injured. An attempt was made to cover it up by stating he was captured at the door.

 

There was an equally alarming incident just a couple of weeks ago. President Obama was allowed to ride in an elevator with an armed security guard who had multiple felony convictions.

 

The director has understandably resigned. It is important that a new director be found that can reestablish the previously high standards of the organization. Traditionally there has been little congressional oversight. That also needs to change.

 

During my lifetime there have been six assassination attempts on presidents or presidential candidates. I sincerely hope never to see another one.