Friday, February 25, 2011

The Platitudes of Pigs

When you consider how well his musings peg the Obama administration, George Orwell seems more prophet than pundit. And Michelle Obama's farcical anti-obesity campaign draws an interesting parallel to one of his predictions.

We Americans realize that Michelle Obama thinks that she and the others in her husband's administration know better what is right for us and our children than we do, but it is incredibly insulting that she, her husband, and her children routinely enjoy a diet of expensive and often unhealthy foods while she tries to mandate that we routinely stuff bland carrots and celery sticks in our children’s craws.

You see, it's not just the fact that she routinely eats this stuff that makes it irritating-- it's the elitism and hypocrisy of it all. And Orwell pointed out the danger in accepting such inequality over sixty years ago.

Eating good-tasting and unhealthy food is an enjoyable vice for many Americans, First family included. Some people indulge too much or too often, as one could with any vice. But consider what Orwell had to say about vice and the ruling class. In Animal Farm, the ruling class of pigs forbids all consumption of alcohol among the members of the farm. Of course, what applies to the masses does not apply to the ruling class, so the pigs indulge in their own vices by frequently getting drunk in the farmhouse.

Then consider that the Obamas tell us that Americans need to tighten their belts and eat healthier, only to host lavish galas with copious amounts of unhealthy food and drink in their farmhouse, even as the economy is crumbling. The actions of Orwell’s “pigs” parallel those of our own "pigs" perfectly.

But the correlation doesn't end there. Note that in Animal Farm, anytime the lesser animals would question the pigs' actions, a pig by the name of Squealer would always come up with wild defenses of the ruling class. Well, the Obamas seem to have legions of their own "Squealers."

Recently, Michelle Obama came under conservative fire for eating a lavish meal of short ribs, a delicacy not normally known for its healthy qualities. But Randy Wyrick of Vail Daily quickly defended her order of "braised short ribs" as a healthy choice for the First Lady. "A braised short rib is a relatively lean cut of beef, braised with most of the fat cooked off. The 5-ounce serving runs about 600 calories, Liken said-- a far cry from the 1,500 calories it is accused of."

This information came from restaurateur Kelly Liken’s mouth, so we can go out on a limb and assume it’s true, despite the fact that other sources lay a serving of braised short ribs with a tally of 1,060 calories and 200% of a recommended daily intake of saturated fat. Of course, to do this, we also have to overlook that she was clearly enamored with the First Lady and would likely not want to damage her image or her health campaign, making Liken another possible “Squealer.” But though this might be enough to quell the conservative backlash, Wyrick frantically continues his defense to the point of ridiculousness.

He goes on to say, "A skier will burn off about 6,000 calories during the course of the day." So even if you don't buy that braised short-ribs are healthy, she's burning off well more calories than the critics say she's taking in. But of course, by that logic, cheeseburgers and fries must not be altogether bad choices for children, as they have much higher metabolic rates than adults and tend to be more active, meaning they more quickly burn calories and burn them more often. But increased activity doesn’t make cheeseburgers any healthier for kids, and it certainly wouldn’t make the hypocrisy of Michelle’s choice any easier to digest.

In the closing argument of his defense, Wyrick reminds us that she ate the ribs with a knife and fork, as if that should somehow change our opinion of the nutritional content of the meal. As if to say that what she did is nothing like a fat American eating ribs with his hands; it’s much more health-conscious and respectable.

It’s seems clear that he would say just about any damn thing to defend Michelle Obama.

But let’s be honest. Most of us really don’t care what the Obamas eat, though we’d certainly like for them to be a bit more frugal considering that battered taxpayers are picking up the checks. I think we’d settle to just have Barack and Michelle keep their noses in their own troughs, rather than demanding that Americans live in a way that they themselves would not.

William Sullivan

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

As The World Burns...

The Middle East is in a state of unprecedented upheaval that could plunge the world into war. Europe is in chaos due to vast budget shortfalls. Oil prices are poised to breach the ceiling previously known. The dollar is primed for collapse, and several currencies are being touted as a possible new trading standard.

Meanwhile, in America, public sector unions are fighting for their life to retain the influence they hold in deciding how public money will be spent. And their supporters are pulling out all the stops. Pro-union lawmakers are going AWOL and shirking the civic responsibility they have sworn to uphold. Our pro-union president is seeking to apply his federal influence in the fray, though he has no Constitutional right to do so. And pro-union lawmakers call for blood in the streets to get what they want.

But aside from unscrupulous union supporters, what is being done in Wisconsin is exactly how our government was meant to work. The state's budget shortfall has been directly linked to the collective bargaining rights of the unions in that state: strong-arming unions manipulated politicians to promise more in deferred benefits than it is possible to pay now that the bill is due. To reconcile this, officials have been elected by the people to plug the fiscal hole that the unions have created. To do this, Governor Walker of Wisconsin has suggested that public servants begin contributing 5.8% to their own pension funds, and that they pay for 12% of their healthcare premiums. Oh yeah, and the unions have to give up the collective bargaining rights that led to this mess in the first place.

This is all to be voted upon by elected officials, and it is constitutionally sound. Consider this to be our republic's way of giving shareholders, i.e., taxpayers, a say in how the business they have invested in is run.

Democrats are crying foul in this instance because Republican leaning police and firefighters in Wisconsin were not asked to make any such adjustments. It is as if they believe that unions and the entire public sector of Wisconsin should all be subject to equal accountability for the collective public pension problems, regardless of which segment caused the problems or which segments have performed better than others. (Need more proof that Democrats today are socialists?) But the fact is, it is entirely possible that the state funded teachers' pension is collapsing while that may not be the case for firefighters and cops who rely on city or county pensions.

The municipal troubles in our nation are incredibly different everywhere you look, so the problems in Wisconsin do not necessarily translate to problems in California, while problems in California don't necessarily translate to problems in Texas. And beyond that, Texas' problems don't necessarily translate to Dallas or Houston's problems. And even further beyond that, Houston firefighters' problems don't necessarily translate to Houston police officers' problems.

The issue certainly isn't black and white. So we need to be reasonable, and allow each city and state to take their own approach to handle the problems with public sector pay and benefits based on the type and severity of each problem. However, we also need to be steadfast in addressing these problems, because is clear that most municipalities, if not all, do have problems that endanger taxpayers.

If there is one universal flaw in public compensation, it is the very notion of the defined benefit. There can be no question that defined benefits cannot exist with birth rates and life expentancies as they are* without perpetually increasing tax liabilty. In my opinion, they must be amended across the board in favor of defined contribution plans. How quickly that transition must take place will depend upon the solvency, or lack thereof, of each municipality.

But we who would seek to amend troubled defined benefit programs are not calling for blood in the streets like the pro-union Democratic legislators that are so quick to decry the "hate speech" on talk radio while implicitly suggesting pure violence in the name of their cause. As much as we in the private sector would like to end public sector unions' noxious existence, we instead choose to elect politicians that would fulfill our wishes constitutionally, and right each ship, respectively.

And Walker is just doing what he was elected by the people to do; right the fiscal ship of Wisconsin. Of course, given that there are idiots among the protesting teachers holding signs that say "Egypt supports Wisconsin workers," maybe the proper action for Walker should be to just fire them all and hire from among the millions of unemployed to take their place. If teachers there think that protesting against a ~5% contribution to the retirement fund they will eventually collect is anything like revolting against a Middle Eastern Islamic dictatorship, the replacements could not possibly be any dumber than the teachers they already employ.

William Sullivan

* William G. Shipman, a leading global expert regarding Social Security, is one of many voices heralding the unsustainable nature of defined benefit plans, and is currently working with legislators to reform Social Security for the private sector. You will find incredible evidence of the flawed nature of defined benefits in today's world here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Separation of Church and State" Revisited

Few could forget Christine O’Donnell’s gaffe in the electoral debates last year. In an exchange with Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware, she and Coons came to blows on the matter of creationism and public schools, with Coons arguing that teaching creationism is not consistent with the separation of church and state. O’Donnell asked, “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?”

The audience of legal scholars and law students that witnessed O’Donnell’s “blunder” gasped, and it appeared to be a painful exchange for O’Donnell. After all, Americans that grew up in the last half-century would need to have lived under a rock to not know that the standard notion of “separation of church and state” is a derivative interpretation of the First Amendment. The audience obviously assumed that O’Donnell has been living under that rock. Or more likely, they thought her a right-wing zealot bent on pushing her religion on others.

But perhaps she meant to point out that our Constitution does not explicitly mandate a total “separation of church and state,” and that this modern interpretation is flawed. And if so, the scoffs of the audience were unjustified. History and the literal verbiage of the First Amendment suggest that she would be absolutely right.

“In Adam’s fall, We sinned all.” Though this is a phrase unfamiliar to many today, two centuries ago, in countless schools across America, legions of children uttered these words in their formative years while reading from the New England Primer. This continued for many years after the Constitution and its First Amendment were penned.

This phrase refers to Adam, the first of men according to Christian dogma. His sin is disobedience to the order of God in consuming the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and this, according to Christian theology, is the reason for the “mortal sin” that afflicts all of mankind. Thus, the children of our founding fathers, in our nation’s first public schools, were almost universally taught that the reason for our worldly plight is the ancient sin of the first human product of the “Creation” described in the Bible.

This fact alone should give us pause to reconsider the contemporary interpretation of the First Amendment as the “separation of church and state.” After all, why would the New England Primer have been used to nurture literacy and moral values in children of the United States if the First Amendment explicitly mandates that religion is to be barred from all educational institutions associated with the state? If it was such a high priority for the fellows who drafted the guidelines of the Constitution to make sure religion doesn’t penetrate our educational and public institutions, why didn’t they promptly march around the nation and remove books of religious nature from all schools, or tear down any religious maxims from all town halls and political offices?

The very simple answer is that the drafters of the Constitution did not mean to imply the absolute “separation of church and state” in the First Amendment, as contemporary interpretation insists. In fact, the phrase never appears as such in the Constitution. Rather, the First Amendment is a broad statement about personal and religious freedoms, and regarding religion, the actual wording is: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This, very literally, is meant to describe that the federal government shall not adopt a national religion to influence or oversee policymaking, and that personal religious beliefs and practices shall not be imposed upon by the federal government.

Take historian and academic Thomas E. Woods’ position on the matter. He describes that the First Amendment does not grant power for the federal government to “interfere in the church-state relations decided upon by the states…The amendment clearly says that Congress shall make no law pertaining to religion, not that Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, or Georgia make no law.” Indeed, in early American Massachusetts, for example, state law allowed for public funds to go to the church, but “no one in the early republic considered it a violation of the First Amendment, which was universally understood not to apply to the states.”

But at various points in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the words of the First Amendment regarding religion became twisted by various social dilemmas, most notably the iconic clash between creationism and evolution in the 1925 Scopes trial, which laid the modern foundation for the notion of “separation of church and state.” So as a result, what the founding fathers intended to be a safeguard against a possible American theocracy in the future became a total disassociation between religion and any institution affiliated with the “state.”

Tragically, this evolved misconception that the Constitution mandates a separation of church and state has resulted in the casualties of freedoms that the First Amendment actually intended to secure. In 1962, Engel v. Vitale declared that local school boards could not approve any forms of prayer in school, effectively taking from public school children the right to openly clasp their hands and pray, even if state and local governments should choose to allow it! This is a federal prohibition of their free exercise of their religion, and entirely antithetical to the framers intention for the First Amendment.

The reason for the hard-and-fast segregation between “church and state” in America has nothing to do with an actual implication of the First Amendment. This segregation exists only as a derivative assumption, loosely based upon the First Amendment and the product of semantic sleight-of-hand. And as a result, liberty, as it pertains to religion, is perpetually under attack.

It is absolutely imperative that we revisit the Constitutional merits of the notion, “separation of church and state.” The First Amendment is a crucial foundational principle, but it has been entirely corrupted by generations of PC thugs.

William Sullivan

Sunday, February 13, 2011

America's Necessary Obligations

Krauthammer hits it out of the park again. Despite blatant liberal hypocrisy (whats new?) on the issue, America has an obligation not only to its citizens but to the world to follow Krauthammers advice. Democracy and freedom unfortunately are not synonyms. Lets hope that the very likely possibility of Islamists ending up in control of Egypt does not come to pass. But since the Obama administration doesn't even have the fortitude to draw a line in the sand with Islamic fundamentalism in the U.S. backed Afghanistan government, it would seem foolish to hold your breath on Egypt.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

TIME Magazine Fails Again

It seems that TIME magazine does everything it can to capitalize on trending popularity, truth be damned. And thanks to a rising tide of conservatism in this country and the fact that the magazine is pot-committed to the Obama administration, they’ve stooped to a new low with their latest cover, “Why Obama [Heart] Reagan,” which shows smiling images of each president enjoying a friendly embrace.

Obviously, this is meant to capture the attention of young liberals that love Barack Obama, and validate their suspicions that he desperately seeks bi-partisanship with Republicans. Perhaps TIME expects that young liberals will buy just about anything if it’s said in the right tenor and from the right pulpit, and given the fact that a relatively unknown community organizer and junior senator became president on the wave of popularity among this group, I can’t say I blame them. But as far as older liberals and all conservatives, it’s amazing that TIME could have thought they could get this one by the goalie. It is nothing less than an insult to our intelligence, so inarguably untrue that it could only be the result of deliberate fabrication or the innocent result of the TIME editors' stupidity.

Any sane person could go on for hours about the differences between the two. Obama is a proponent of expansive and powerful government, while Reagan viewed such a government as the most dangerous threat to American liberty, and particularly when it comes to the healthcare industry that Obama just consigned to federal administration. Reagan believed America had a responsibility to foster the notion of individual freedoms and limited government by globally exercising "leadership through strength," whereas Barack Obama believes that he should bow to foreign diplomats and apologize for America’s arrogance by quietly homogenizing our position with the rest of the globe.

The two could not be any more different, and even if Obama did "learn" something from Reagan as this cover implies, there is not one shred of evidence that he implemented any of it. If TIME really wanted to correlate Obama with a figure of the late twentieth century, and if the magazine had an ounce of integrity, that cover would have read, “Why Obama [Heart] Carter.” It would be far more believable, and Americans would not have to look past the crisis in Egypt to see the parallel. Both have vocally demonized American-friendly regimes as “enemies of the people,” and both have effectively opened the door to allow fundamental Islamic theocracies to take power in opposition to Western freedoms and Israel.

William Sullivan

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lesser of Two Great Evils

With the events in Egypt dominating the news of late, a very disturbing story has slipped through the cracks. Said Musa, an Afghan physiotherapist and aid worker, is set to be hanged on February 11th. His crime? Converting to Christianity. Now one might say that although tragic, this type of behavior is unfortunately rather common place for the Taliban. The problem is that this heinous act is not being perpetrated by the Taliban but rather by the Afghan government. The same Afghan government which was set up by the United States and came to be at the cost of American soldiers lives.

Musa, who worked for the Red Cross, lost a leg to a landmine explosion in the 1990's and has worked ever since with amputees. He was arrested seven months ago and claims he has repeatedly been assaulted both physically and sexually by guards and inmates. A judge reportedly visited him on February 8th and said he had three days in which to convert back to Islam or be hanged. He has claimed he will not renounce his faith and he is willing to die(1). As of yet there has been no further reports on Musa.

There has been no evidence that the White House has tried to stop or even enquire about the scheduled execution. With Afghanistan receiving billions in aid from the U.S., it would seem that a few phone calls could easily persuade the powers that be to hand him over to the U.S. Evidently, upsetting the Muslims is just not worth this man's life, even though Afghanistan's own constitution states "Followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of law". Defense attorneys have either refused to take the case or have quit after receiving death threats. Still the Obama administration appears to have no interest of reaching out.

This begs the question: what are American troops still doing in Afghanistan? There was a time when American troops had a clear cut goal. It was to wipe out the extremists who were responsible for or who would support terrorism. But when the government in power follows the same ideology as the deposed Taliban, then why are American troops still fighting to keep one safe from the other. Over 1300 American soldiers have died fighting a group of people who openly supported and harbored those who would kill anyone who they deemed violated the teachings of Mohammad, and yet the same thing is occurring under the guise of a democratic "US friendly" regime(2). As it appears that the Karzai regime is merely the lesser of two great evils, it is time that a deep conversation begin regarding what our soldiers are really risking their lives for. If it is just to support what amounts to extremism under a different name, then a plan to bring them home should commence immediately.

Calvin Parker


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Race Before Reason

Rick Santorum effectively destroyed Sharpton's moral credibility a couple of weeks ago. Santorum had suggested that, as a black man and a constitutional lawyer who should be sensitive about civil rights, our president should be against abortion in all forms. Sharpton took exception to that, and was subsequently beaten down by the logic that spewed forth from Santorum's mouth.

Santorum suggested that unborn children are legally allowed to be killed and siphoned from their mother's womb for the same reason that slavery was tolerated: an obscure legal distinction about the value of their lives in society.

This makes perfect sense to most people-- but not Sharpton. Al goes on to suggest that this scenario is entirely different, because it was not a state of biological development that caused the obscurity for blacks; whether a fetus or an elderly, blacks were considered less worthy of civil rights than others. He goes on to question the humanity of the fetus, whether it has a heartbeat, or developed lungs, is crucial to the abortion debate.

Really, Al? Even many of the pro-choice abortion advocates I speak with or encounter blogging concede the fact that the fetus, after a certain point in fetal development, is a human life. And for those that are still wacky enough to argue otherwise, science, not religious doctrine, handily proves them wrong. After twenty weeks or so, a fetus can sleep, urinate, and respond rapidly to stimulus such as a bright light. This would also suggest the nervous development to feel pain. Yet pro-choice advocates would still suggest they be eligible for legal destruction?

Going even further, (as I'm sure Al knows, being a fan of Obama and all) our president failed to vote against infanticide, or partial birth abortions. Maybe Al should think about that. Our president has advocated the murder of a fully developed fetus, so in Obama's eyes, biological development, or any lack thereof, obviously isn't any concern of his. It is apparently his belief that a fully developed child lacks not only civil, but human rights until the moment he leaves his first home in the womb.

Santorum's points about the fetus’ lack of legal humanity certainly stand true. What about his contention that the unborn children of the black community are bearing the brunt of the savagery?

Not only is this a tragic fact, but destroying the unborn children of the black community has even been suggested as public policy by leaders such as Nancy Pelosi! She has suggested that abortion be a vital factor in her version of a “final solution” to stemming the social cost of welfare. And we certainly don’t have to remind Al Sharpton about the racial tapestry of the welfare recipients in this country. He’s made quite a comfortable living exploiting poverty stricken blacks.

And his reluctance to pay taxes for his success presents yet another blow to his moral credibility, this one being rather ironic. On one hand, he insists that the rich should pay heftier taxes in order to provide for the blacks in poverty that he and Obama wish to keep aborting at holocaustic levels. On the other, he refuses to pay the taxes that would be redistributed among the masses that he supposedly champions.

There is nothing to revere in the “Reverend” Al Sharpton. Rather, he seems to lack any semblance of a moral compass, clinging to race-baiting and defense of President Obama rather than embracing morality and reason.

William Sullivan

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Frontline in Defending Freedom of Speech

The militant elements of political correctness are persecuting Geert Wilders and robbing him of his right to free speech. He is heralding the threat fundamentalist Islam poses to Western societies, and for that, he is being slandered as a hatemonger in an attempt to silence him.

He seems to know what is at stake in this trial. As the trial resumed, he made this speech:

The lights are going out all over Europe. All over the continent where our culture flourished and where man created freedom, prosperity and civilization. Everywhere the foundation of the West is under attack.

All over Europe the elites are acting as the protectors of an ideology that has been bent on destroying us since fourteenth centuries. An ideology that has sprung from the desert and that can produce only deserts because it does not give people freedom. The Islamic Mozart, the Islamic Gerard Reve [a Dutch author], the Islamic Bill Gates; they do not exist because without freedom there is no creativity. The ideology of Islam is especially noted for killing and oppression and can only produce societies that are backward and impoverished. Surprisingly, the elites do not want to hear any criticism of this ideology.

My trial is not an isolated incident. Only fools believe it is. All over Europe multicultural elites are waging total war against their populations. Their goal is to continue the strategy of mass-immigration, which will ultimately result in an islamic Europe - a Europe without freedom: Eurabia.

The lights are going out all over Europe. Anyone who thinks or speaks individually is at risk. Freedom loving citizens who criticize islam, or even merely suggest that there is a relationship between islam and crime or honour killing, must suffer and are threatened or criminalized. Those who speak the truth are in danger.

The lights are going out all over Europe. Everywhere the Orwellian thought police are at work, on the lookout for thought crimes everywhere, casting the populace back within the confines where it is allowed to think.

This trial is not about me. It is about something much greater. Freedom of speech is not the property of those who happen to belong to the elites of a country. It is an inalienable right, the birthright of our people. For centuries battles have been fought for it, and now it is being sacrificed to please a totalitarian ideology.

Future generations will look back at this trial and wonder who was right. Who defended freedom and who wanted to get rid of it.

The lights are going out all over Europe. Our freedom is being restricted everywhere, so I repeat what I said here last year:

It is not only the privilege, but also the duty of free people - and hence also my duty as a member of the Dutch Parliament - to speak out against any ideology that threatens freedom. Hence it is a right and a duty to speak the truth about the evil ideology that is called islam. I hope that freedom of speech will emerge triumphant from this trial. I hope not only that I shall be acquitted, but especially that freedom of speech will continue to exist in the Netherlands and in Europe.