Ken Blackwell

tcupol It is time to completely remake the Republican Party by returning to our core philosophy.

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Comment by Les C on March 18, 2010 at 10:56am
Living Under God
By Ken Blackwell

In 2002, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit cemented its reputation for left-wing judicial activism -- and drew nationwide outrage -- by ruling the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. The Supreme Court reversed that decision
 on a technicality, and last Thursday, the Ninth Circuit got to try 
again. This time it ruled in favor of the Pledge. But the big news is 
not that the Ninth Circuit came to its senses and aligned itself with every other court that has addressed the issue. The big news is that
 the Ninth Circuit did so in uniquely and dramatically conservative fashion.

Let me explain. There are two basic arguments for why "under God" is constitutional. One argument -- pushed by the Department of Justice at
 the Ninth Circuit, and adopted by every other court to uphold the Pledge -- is that "under God" is just an innocuous example of what the 
Supreme Court has called "ceremonial deism." This theory holds that there have been many references to God in our nation's history, but that over time, through rote repetition, these sorts of references have lost their religious meaning -- indeed, all meaning whatsoever – and are therefore harmless. Kind of like a doddering old relative who says embarrassing things, but no one minds because he doesn't know what he's saying.

The other argument -- pushed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which argued the case at the Ninth Circuit -- is that "under God" is neither meaningless nor a primarily religious statement, but an important statement of political philosophy. Specifically, when
Congress added the phrase "under God" to the Pledge, it was tapping into a venerable political philosophy of natural rights and limited government -- namely, the idea that our rights are inalienable because they do not come from the state, but from a "higher power" beyond the state.

The Becket Fund's legal brief on this point is a historical tour de force -- tracing the idea that government is limited because it is "under God" from the writings of Bracton and Coke in the 13th and 17th
centuries, to Blackstone and the Founders in the 18th, to Lincoln's Gettysburg address, and to the present day. Men are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights," said the Declaration of Independence; "[t]he fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this army," said General Washington of his troops; and the Civil War was fought "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom," said Lincoln's Gettysburg address. Thus, as the Becket Fund said, "From this history, it is incontestable that since even before the Declaration of Independence, it has been an important part of our national ethos that we have inalienable rights that the State cannot take away, because the source of those inalienable rights is an authority higher than the State." To strike down "under God" would not only be historically wrongheaded, but would also rule anathema the very political philosophy of limited government on which this country was founded.

Remarkably, in an opinion joined by the liberal Judge D.W. Nelson, the Ninth Circuit adopted the Becket Fund's argument: "The phrase 'under God' is a recognition of our Founders' political philosophy that a power greater than the government gives the people their inalienable rights. Thus, the Pledge is an endorsement of our form of government, not of religion or any particular sect." The Court continued: "The Framers referred to the source of the people's rights as the 'Creator,' the 'Supreme Judge,' and 'Nature's God' [citing The Declaration of Independence]. The name given to this unknowable, varied source was not crucial, but the source was a necessary prerequisite to the concept of limited government that formed the basis of our nation's founding."

In response, Judge Reinhardt, one of the Court's most liberal members, suffered what can only be called a judicial hissy fit. In a rambling, 133-page dissent, he called the majority's limited government argument "pure poppycock," first taking an irrelevant swipe at Sarah Palin, then derisively linking the majority's position to the Tea Party: "The majority's explanation of the phrase bears a suspicious resemblance to
the platform of the Tea Party movement, which proclaims itself to be a 'group of like-minded people who desire our God given Individual Freedoms which were written out by the Founding Fathers.'" In Reinhardt's view, it was "absurd" to think that "under God" was anything other than an attempt to "indoctrinate[] public schoolchildren with a religious belief."

Reinhardt's temper tantrum aside, it is remarkable to reflect on what has happened here. The most liberal court in the United States just struck a blow in favor of limited government, acknowledging that this nation is founded on the idea that our rights come from somewhere higher than the state -- from the "Creator," the "Supreme Judge," and "Nature's God." Contrary to what oversensitive atheists would have us believe, it is not unconstitutional for the government to refer to this political philosophy, even when using its traditionally theistic terms. Thus, this ruling safeguards not only the Pledge, but many other traditional references to God in the public square.

Champions of limited government everywhere should be celebrating this ruling (and the Becket Fund) for enshrining their most important philosophical point in the nation's most liberal court.
Comment by Les C on March 18, 2010 at 10:39am
This is overwhelmingly thought provoking. I am thankful that Ken Blackwell has brought this to our attention. Did anyone see this happening?
Comment by Les C on March 18, 2010 at 10:33am
Obama’s Scheme to Gut the Coast Guard
by Ken Blackwell

We should all know by now that the Obama administration’s plan to spend up to $200 million on civilian trials for terrorists is dangerous. It’s also wasteful. Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is a site perfectly suited to such trials—and detentions. If not there, then Adak, in the middle of the Aleutians would do just fine.

The Washington Post shows us why that $200 million is also a waste of money. The U.S. Coast Guard should play an important role in our homeland security. After all, that was the stated reason for moving the Coast Guard out of the U.S. Transportation Department and into the newly created Department of Homeland Security.

Liberals are forever going on about “first responders.” Well, the Coast Guard should certainly be considered first among the first responders. Yet, the Coast Guard has come on hard times. The Post recently reported that of 12 major cutters assigned to Haitian relief earlier this year, ten of them broke down. Three were forced to limp back into port.

The Obama administration plans to cut 1,100 active duty personnel from the Coast Guard, the smallest of our military services. Funds for port security—our first line of defense—will be cut by $100 million.

Even Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) calls the cuts in the Coast Guard’s budget “penny-wise and pound foolish.”

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) is the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee. Because of the administration’s cuts to the Coast Guard budget, their cutters will not be able to keep pace with the Navy in important combined missions. The average age of a Navy warship is 14 years, while that of a Coast Guard vessel is 41 years. New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans will now be less secure, Rogers charged.

Meanwhile, the Mexican drug war is heating up. Last weekend, two U.S. consular officials were murdered. Congressman Rogers noted that it was foolish to spend money on unnecessary civilian trials for terrorists and for increasing the DHS bureaucracy in Washington, D.C.

The incoming Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Robert Papp, has said he would have to consider cutting homeland security training and operations. This is tantamount to announcing to the terrorists “the coast is clear.”

We have an administration that is grossly wasting money. They have doled out hundreds of millions in failed “stimulus” funds. Many of these projects have been shown to be going to ZIP codes and congressional districts that do not exist.

This administration is even spending $900 million on the Palestinians, people who name public squares and schools after suicide bombers. But when it comes to basic homeland security, they are cutting.

Hearing stories about cutting cutters, and ships breaking down for lack of funds for proper maintenance, we cannot help but think of the infamous “hollowed out” military of the days of Jimmy Carter. But why is President Obama still following in Carter’s footsteps? He already has his Nobel Peace Prize!
Comment by Les C on March 12, 2010 at 12:22pm
Hail to the chief justice
By Ken Blackwell 03/12/10

When the young John Roberts was confirmed as Chief Justice of the United States in 2005, he declined to put those gold stripes on his robes. They’re the ones that the late William Rehnquist had devised to indicate his status as first among equals on the nation’s high court. “I’ll have to earn them,” Roberts said modestly. He just did. He gave a powerful rejoinder this week to President Obama’s unprecedented foray into demagoguery.

It’s more than a tempest in a teapot. Last January, President Obama took the unheard of step of criticizing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling during his State of the Union address. With most of the black-robed Justices seated in front of him, Mr. Obama went out of his way to knock the court’s 5-4 ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. The high court ruled, narrowly, that major parts of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law are unconstitutional. Mr. Obama stated, and liberal media outlets echoed his charge, that this would allow corporations and unions to give directly to campaigns.

The high court majority essentially found that you don’t lose your First Amendment rights because you are a business, or a union. You can still praise or criticize a candidate for public office. The McCain-Feingold Act was one of the worst infringements of free speech since the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. In very practical terms, that law gave the New York Times, CBS News, and the increasingly rabid MSNBC free rein, while putting a muzzle on non-profits like Family Research Council, National Right to Life Committee, and the Sierra Club.

In criticizing the court’s ruling, the president got it wrong. He mischaracterized what the court had done. That’s why—in one of the most memorable gestures in the history of the Supreme Court and of State of the Union addresses—Justice Samuel Alito silently mouthed the words: Simply Not True. Alito’s silent protest resounded throughout the nation. The Court did not say that corporations and unions may now give directly to candidates. It did not say that it’s okay for candidates to accept donations from foreign corporations. These activities are still against the law.

The chief justice waited several weeks—a decent interval—before giving his powerful response. Of course you can criticize the U.S. Supreme Court, the chief justice said in answering questions from law students in Alabama. It might even be your duty to criticize the rulings of the Court, he said. “If they think we’ve done something wrong,” the chief justice said, it can even be “an obligation to criticize what we do.”

But, he went on, “[the] image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court—according to the requirements of protocol—has to sit their expressionless, I think is very troubling.”

It is troubling indeed. The members of the Supreme Court are not potted plants. They are not supposed to sit there like wax figures while Barack Obama waxes indignant about their rulings.

Most of us can think of Supreme Court rulings that are outrageous. Dred Scott v. Sandford helped to drive this country into civil war. I would include Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casy in that list. The Kelo ruling that allows local governments to condemn your home and give it to private developers is another gross injustice.

Liberals surely cannot abide Bush v. Gore, the Court’s 2000 ruling that ended Florida’s endless election recount.

Read more:
Comment by Les C on March 6, 2010 at 8:00am
Game Changer? Not in the Way Intended
By Ken Blackwell

With our 24/7 news cycle, we tend to rush past important events all too quickly. No sooner did we see Chilean rescue teams aiding stricken Haitians than international groups were racing to Chile. At times it all seems a blur.

Let’s not rush by last week’s Health Care Summit at Washington’s historic Blair House. It was a great location for such a gathering. It was not held on Capitol Hill. Neither was it held in the White House. Blair House could serve as an excellent meeting ground between the Executive and the Legislative branches. Hats off to the event planners who chose this site.

President Harry Truman actually lived in Blair House for several years during the extensive renovation of the White House. Harry actually stuck his head out the window here when Puerto Rican terrorists tried to assassinate him in 1950. A White House policeman died defending the President.

An even more bizarre event occurred here in 1995, when Russian President Boris Yeltsin ventured out the door of Blair House in his underwear, hailing a cab for a pizza run. Stories of Yeltsin’s late night boozing were vigorously denied by the Kremlin: “It’s not true Yeltsin is drunk every night. He’s drunk every day. At night, he sleeps it off.”

The day-long Obamathon on Health Care needs to be analyzed with care. No sooner did we hear in the State of the Union Address about the need to focus on jobs, jobs, jobs, then we found ourselves back on health care. As if we haven’t talked enough about health care in the last year. Jobs--Joe Biden’s “three-letter word”--ought to be the focus on domestic policy, but it isn’t. And voters are not happy about that.

President Obama was described by almost everyone as highly intelligent, articulate, and professorial. But we knew all that going in. Conservative columnist Dennis Prager noted something that few have commented upon: The President was invariably addressed as “Mr. President.” He--on the other hand--routinely referred to conferees by their first names. How is that? “John, Chuck, Kathleen, Eric, Mitch.” It’s not a question of protocol or civility. It’s more than that.

The President claimed to be above it all when he slapped down Republican objections that the time had not been allotted fairly. The President spoke about one-third of the time, his congressional allies, the Democrats, spoke about one-third, and the Republicans got about one-third. When someone called his attention to the fact he had run over, he said: “I’m the President,” and it seemed he was making up the rules as he went along.

When House Minority Leader John Boehner raised the critical issue of federal funding of abortion under ObamaCare, the President petulantly waved it away, calling the question just “Republican talking points.”

How odd, especially when the Stupak Amendment banning federal subsidies for abortion passed the House by 240 votes--including all Republicans and 64 Democrats. Nothing the President or the Republicans proposed at this summit is likely to command such a strong, bi-partisan majority. And 
Rep. Bart Stupak is a Democrat.

Republicans should not object too strenuously, however, to the loosey-goosey rules of the Blair House health care summit. Behind their hands, they might have been saying to one another: “Give them more rope.”

Why is that? Well, it’s because the entire exercise was no game changer. The GOP had gone into the pow-wow with the President, his staff, and his strong congressional majorities, and had done pretty well. More than pretty well: They stood toe-to-toe with Obama the Progressive Paragon and came out unscathed.

We know that it was a great day for Republicans when even John Dickinson of the liberal blog, Slate, says this:

[It] wasn't a good day for congressional Democratstrategists involved in 2010 races, fence-sitting Democrats needed to see Obama change the political dynamic. He needed to show how health care reform could be defended and how Republicans could be brought low. He did neither. White House aides and the president himself said he was going to press Republicans for how their plans would work, but he did that only twice—and mildly. There was no put-up-or-shut-up moment.

We know President Obama doesn’t like Winston Churchill. In fact, he tossed the bust of Churchill out of the White House as one of his first official acts. But Churchill’s words could come as great comfort to the Republicans who attended the great Blair House summit: “Nothing is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”

Comment by Les C on February 16, 2010 at 6:35am
Does Obama Walk the Walk When It Comes to Christians and Jews?
By Ken Blackwell

It’s hard to call for an end to the culture wars when your own side is manning the barricades.

President Obama is big on civility. He talks a very good game. But his nominee for a top slot at the Department of Justice--Dawn Johnsen--is a leading exponent of incivility. Johnsen worked with the ACLU for years. And she joined ARM--the so-called Abortion Rights Mobilization--to strip the Catholic Church of its tax-exempt status because of its pro-life advocacy. The Catholic Church eventually won that case--but not until it had spent years and millions of dollars defending itself. The Catholic Church was just the biggest ARM target. If they had succeeded against the Catholics, they surely would have come after the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Association of Evangelicals, and The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.

If Mr. Obama is serious about civility he needs to withdraw Dawn Johnsen’s nomination. If she is confirmed, we will see a radical anti-Catholic, pro-abortion zealot influencing policy thoughout the Justice Department—but also policy throughout the entire federal government.

What we are witnessing right now is an anti-Christian programmatic pogrom. What is a “pogrom” it’s the word that describes anti-Jewish raids by Cossacks and others in czarist Russia, but a programmatic pogrom best describes what is happening right now. These are not isolated attacks. And while we no longer have Cossacks to threaten, we now have left-wing bloggers who actually call themselves Kossacks (after the Daily Kos).

In North Carolina, the Catholic college Belmont Abbey, is threatened with closure for its refusal to dispense contraceptives. Radicals are not impressed with the college president’s response: We don’t give contraceptives to female staffers--or to the monks! In this case, the local branch of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission smells discrimination.

In Washington, President Obama’s nominee to the federal EEOC, Prof. Chai Feldblum of Georgetown University, is blunt: If there’s a clash between the gay agenda and religious liberty, your liberties lose. If confirmed, she would be in position to pursue the pogrom nationwide.

On the West Coast, the Christian Legal Society (CLS) is under assault from the Hastings Law Center of the University of California. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Christian Legal Society v. Martinez this term. Radicals are trying to force CLS to accept officers who are openly homosexual. David French, speaking for the pro-family Alliance Defense Fund, says:

“The Left is trying to create a right that destroys a right. As of now, there is simply no widely recognized right of private citizens to join any private expressive association they want to join — regardless of their belief or conduct. In fact, even in the campus environment, only the courts of the Ninth Circuit have forcibly opened private associations to non-adherents.”

Creating rights to destroy rights. That sums it up well. The Supreme Court has already spoken to the issues raised in this case. In Boston, gay activists demanded to be included in the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. But the parade was organized and run by an Irish veterans’ group that did not want its message hijacked by homosexuals. In 1995, the Supreme Court slapped down their claim 9-0.

The Supreme Court also recognized the right of association of the Boy Scouts. The Court ruled in 2000 that James Dale could not force the Scouts to keep him as a Scout leader after he had declared his homosexuality.

All of these cases put great financial burdens on churches and private colleges and voluntary organizations like the Scouts and the Christian Legal Society. The threat of lawsuits by well-funded, media-backed Leftist activists forces too many groups to cave in to pressure. And all our rights suffer as a result.

President Obama is forever “reaching out” to Christian groups. He is happy to breakfast with Christians and defend himself from charges that he is a Muslim or a non-citizen. But when it comes actually to protecting the rights of Christians and Jews, where is his administration?

It’s hard to call for an end to the culture wars when your own side is manning the barricades. So far, Mr. Obama’s eloquent words are not matched by deeds. They remind me of the beefy Chicago Alderman who was told he needed to lose weight. He took up jogging. But he soon quit that, complaining that when you jog, “there’s nobody to knock down.” Is Mr. Obama’s idea of amity and concord one where we are all knocked down?

Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law. He is also chairman of Ohio Faith and Freedom Coalition
Comment by Les C on January 21, 2010 at 7:50am
Scott Brown: A Protestant Elected Pope?
by Ken Blackwell

I don’t know what Scott Brown’s religion is. Seven weeks ago, I didn’t know anything at all about Scott Brown. But his amazing victory in yesterday’s special election for the U.S. Senate was about as unlikely as a Protestant being elected Pope. That Fred Grandy line neatly summarizes the political upheaval that has occurred not only in Massachusetts, but in our country.

Going into 2010, President Barack Obama, though battered, still bid fair to be able to ram through his signature health care bill--and achieve the takeover of 1/6 of the U.S. economy. Add health care to his takeover of banking, home mortgages, college loans, major U.S. auto companies, and you would have a sea change in America’s constitutional order.

With Martha Coakley’s defeat, President Obama is now an ex-god. Last year, Newsweek’s Evan Thomas said Obama hovered over Normandy and the 65th anniversary celebrations of D-Day “like a sort of god.” No more.

This will actually be good for Barack Obama. From now on, he will have to take account of Americans’ reasonable objections to his agenda. This will force him to pay attention to critics. Under our system, Presidents propose, but Congress disposes. And Congress is going to be emboldened to ask more questions from now on.

President Obama’s record for intervening in statewide political races is now 0 and 3. He campaigned hard for Virginia’s Creigh Deeds last fall. Bob McDonnell crushed him. Obama appeared three times for New Jersey’s Gov. Jon Corzine. Another loser.

And now we have Massachusetts’ Martha Coakley. All three lost badly. In early December, Coakley was 30 points ahead in some polls. That Senate seat was described in the media as “the Kennedy seat.” But poor Patrick Kennedy kept trying to give it to “Marcia” Coakley. That was but one of a hundred gaffes.

Scott Brown caught the public mood when he told the unctious David Gergen: “With all due respect, it’s not ‘the Kennedy seat’ or the Democrats’ seat; it’s the people’s seat.” That one-liner turned the debate and the race around.

House and Senate leaders have been telling worried incumbents they can afford to walk the plank on health care. If their constituents revolt, President Obama himself will come to their districts and campaign for them.

With Coakley losing in Massachusetts, hundreds of skittish candidates are going to ask themselves: Do I really want Barack Obama campaigning for me? If all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put Coakley together again, how can I survive?

Now, ObamaCare itself is in doubt. Hundreds of “progressives” in public offices all over America must be quaking. They’re already afraid to call themselves liberals. What if the American people have gotten wise to progressive, too? And if ObamaCare can rally a strong enough opposition in Massachusetts--where a Republican has not been elected to the U.S. Senate since Edward Brooke in 1972--where will it be a winning issue?

Scott Brown was smart to campaign against civilian trials for terrorists. This issue clearly united Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. The Obama administration’s decision to give the rights of American criminal defendants to foreign enemy combatants is one of the worst decisions in American history. It cannot be defended. New England patriots--like patriots everywhere--recoil at the very idea.

Mary Matalin says when Mike Tyson knocks you out, your sense of taste is different. This morning, politics tastes different. Americans are coming together around some common-sense propositions.

Massachusetts voters yesterday firmly rejected the ugly politics of the liberal attack machine. That machine put out one of the worst campaign fliers in history. That flier falsely accused Scott Brown of wanting to turn away from the Bay State’s Emergency Rooms the 1736 victims of rape.

Clearly, this vicious, last-minute tactic backfired. It probably only served to remind people that with liberals controlling all aspects of government in Massachusetts, it is a sad commentary that there should still be 1736 rape victims.

Further, Coakley’s infamous comment that perhaps Catholics, and others of conscience, should not work in Emergency Rooms called to mind the old “No Irish Need Apply” signs that once disgraced Massachusetts’ factories and mills. The lady has a tin ear.

If Coakley had won, she would have supplied a gaffe-a-day to conservative blogs and cartoonists. When she called Red Sox hero Curt Schilling a Yankees fan, she showed how out-of-touch she was with the man--and woman--in the streets of the old Bay State. The bloody sock Curt Schilling wore as he hurled to victory in the World Series is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Coakley’s despicable campaign should be entered in the political Hall of Shame.
Comment by Les C on January 21, 2010 at 7:47am
Pro-choice is too kind a word for Obama’s latest nominee
By Ken Blackwell 01/20/10 at 1:15 am

Dawn Johnsen is President Obama’s nominee to head the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). It’s arguably the most important office at DoJ. OLC sets policy for the entire federal government.

When not serving in government, Dawn Johnsen spent her career promoting abortion-on-demand. She denies there is even such a thing as partial-birth abortion. Even the term, she maintains, is “intentionally provocative.” She does not think that “progressives”—that’s PC-speak for liberal—should suggest that abortion is ever a tragedy.

Dawn Johnsen even rejects Bill Clinton’s slippery formulation: “Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.” Dismiss for the moment that Bill and Hillary Clinton did everything they could in their eight years to promote abortion world-wide. The only places they made abortion rare were on the Moon and in Antarctica.

Even the Clintons’ basic premise was flawed. If abortion is “a fundamental constitutional right,” as they said in every official document, then why should it be rare? Is there any other fundamental constitutional right we want to be rare?

Hillary once said abortion is “wrong.” (Newsweek, Oct. 31, 1994). Only once. But she pressed governments around the world to legalize it. That’s an odd way to deal with something you think is wrong.

Dawn Johnsen doesn’t think abortion is wrong at all. She is all for it. She drafted the five lethal Executive Orders, which Bill Clinton signed within hours of taking the oath as president, to promote easier access to abortion. Clinton struck down Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Doctrine, allowing U.S. funds to go to Planned Parenthood and the UN Fund for Population. This order sluiced money to abortionists worldwide and even, as in China, to those who force women to have abortions.

Bill Clinton struck down Reagan’s order to Planned Parenthood to separate their so-called family planning activities from their abortion facilities. Under Bill Clinton—and up until the current day—teens can take devices and pills out one door and, when these fail, they are hustled back into the revolving door to the abortion center.

Johnsen goes much further in her pro-abortion militancy than even the Clintons; than even President Obama. She worked for years to strip the Catholic Church of its tax-exempt status. Why? Because the Catholic Church has never wavered in its outspoken defense of unborn children. Dawn Johnsen was part of the Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM ) that fought a legal battle for eight years in the courts.

ARM’s assault on religious liberty and free speech was the brainchild of Lawrence Lader, the co-founder of NARAL, for whom Johnsen also worked. Lader said “abortion is central to everything in life and how we want to live it.” Johnsen’s record puts her very much in that camp. She has even likened pregnancy to slavery.

The Catholic Church would not be the only target if Johnsen is confirmed. Many Protestant churches and associations take pro-life stances. These include the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). All of these church bodies could find themselves in the cross-hairs if Dawn Johnsen is confirmed.

We are very close to seeing a nationalized health care bill pass through Congress and sent to President Obama for signature. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has signaled us that the final bill that is being “ping-ponged” back and forth between Speaker Pelosi’s office and Sen. Harry Reid’s likely will include federal funding for abortion on demand. That’s bad enough. But we can see that if churches object to funding for killing the unborn, they could be targeted by Dawn Johnsen at the Office of Legal Counsel.

Chief Justice John Marshall famously said in McCullough v. Maryland that “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” That’s what Dawn Johnsen tried to do for eight years to the Catholic Church in America. That’s what she could do to your church if she is confirmed by the Senate.

Fear of losing their tax-exempt status has for too long kept Christian pastors from speaking out on the grave moral issues of the day. It shouldn’t be, but it is so.

Because of Dawn Johnsen’s pro-abortion extremism, because she has sought to impose a “chilling effect” on religious free speech, because she has tried to destroy churches, this ACLU lawyer should be rejected by the U.S. Senate.

Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. He serves on the board of directors of the Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union and National Rifle Association.

Tags: Abortion, ACLU lawyer, Bill Clinton, Congress, Dawn Johnsen, Dawn Johnsen Appointment, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Human rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Taxpayers Union, New York, Office of Legal Counsel, Pro-choice, Pro-life movement, Ronald Reagan, Social issues, UN Fund for Population, United States Senate
Comment by Les C on January 5, 2010 at 6:09pm
President Obama: How About Bowing to Reality?
by Ken Blackwell

The editor of the New Yorker was once asked about the hip, cool, insider writing that graced his journal. Didn’t its stylish prose go over people’s heads? “We don’t write it for the little old lady from Dubuque,” he replied. Not pitching your case to the little old lady from Dubuque, Iowa, became a hallmark of modern sophisticated liberalism--a liberalism more characterized by point-of-view than by policy point papers. So when the New Yorker’s Christmas week number hit newsstands, it was bound to attract attention.

The cover showed President Obama bowing to Santa. In their typical way, the editors of the New Yorker had captured not just the moment, but the year. Or have they captured in that cartoon bow the Age of Obama?

Was it only starchy conservatives, appalled traditionalists, offended republicans who groused when our bright new President bowed low before the Saudi king? It was his first foray into foreign summitry. Was there no one in his inner circle to tell him that the Saudi royal family is not very popular among--and this is key--Obama’s target audience of non-jihadist Muslims? The Saudi royal family jealously guards their title as Custodian of the Holy Places of Islam. They make pilgrims of the Hajj pay through the nose for the privilege of visiting those shrines. It is no unusual thing to see stampedes of panicked pilgrims in those areas and lives lost in the melees. Recall the deaths at Woodstock--but on an annual, predictable basis.

The Saudi royal family also funds the Wahhabi version of Islam worldwide. This version of Islam is the seedbed of jihadism. It’s a factor in our prisons and even in some stateside madrassas. If Barack Obama truly wants to promote a more tolerant Islam--the kind practiced by the good-hearted folks he recalls from his boyhood years in Indonesia--he couldn’t have picked a worse way of showing it.

There is only one bow I would like to see our President make. I’d like him to bow to reality. He appeared before a podium and a presidential seal in Hawaii. Tieless, he assured us that the failed Christmas Day attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was the work of an “isolated extremist.”

How did Obama know that? Very quickly word is coming out that the 23-year old Nigerian may well have been schooled by the same Imam who coached the Fort Hood shooter. Is it the extremists who are isolated? Or is Barack Obama isolated?

The charges against Abdulmutallab will doubtless include 288 counts of attempted murder. But if the jet jockeys terrorist wanted to kill only 288, he could have detonated his bomb over the Atlantic. He waited until final descent because he wanted to bring down that Northwest Airlines jet over the Detroit airport crowded with holiday travelers. The death toll might well have exceeded that of 9/11. On Christmas. Get the point?

Are there more young killers in the skies? Before he was read his Miranda rights, and given a taxpayer-funded lawyer, Abdulmutallab was our best source for information about the nature, extent, and future plans of the worldwide terrorist conspiracy bent on slaughtering Americans.

President Obama--in between Hawaiian snorkeling sessions and family outings to anti-American movies--said we were doing “all in our power” to meet this threat. I wanted to yell: “Where’s Joe Wilson now?” Even if we didn’t agree with the obstreperous South Carolina congressman who yelled “You lie!” during Obama’s September speech, we have to admit there’s an overwhelming temptation to yell when Obama says things that are patently untrue.

Of course, he is not doing all in his power to fight terrorism. He could give them military trials at Guantanamo Bay. That’s what the facility was designed for. That’s what it should be used for. That’s what a strong liberal President like FDR would do. Military trials for would-be killers during time of war is exactly how FDR treated captured Nazi saboteurs.

Congress should bow to reality. It can show it understands the nature of the terrorist threat better than the Executive. Congress has the power to deny any federal funds for civilian trials of enemy combatants. If President Obama clings to the isolated extremism of the ACLU, Congress can save him--and us--from the dangerous consequences of this folly. And if Congress refuses, the people can give them a reality check in November.
Comment by Les C on January 5, 2010 at 5:34pm
The Left Goes to War Against Science, Surrenders on Terrorby Ken Blackwell

Two ongoing trends I chronicled during 2009 highlight an ironic situation: Leftists remain tough on their domestic political opponents, while lax when it comes to our real common enemies.

As we recently saw with the Christmas airplane-bombing attempt, leftists seem bent on treating terrorists with kid gloves, insisting they receive rights normally reserved for U.S. citizens (even when this means failing to extract timely information that might save lives).

Conversely, leftists play “hardball” when their opponents are not terrorists or criminals, but instead, American businesses and industries. One such example is the left’s battle against Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used for more than a half century to make plastics more durable.

Though clearly less consequential than the war on terror, the Left’s war on BPA serves as a microcosm of the larger attempt to use “junk science” and litigation to redistribute wealth from job-producing American industries into the hands of trial lawyers and liberal special interest groups.

In this regard, the Left’s attempts are reminiscent of their past battle against the insecticide DDT. In the 1960s, many developing nation’s had nearly wiped out malaria, but it came back after DDT was banned. It did not matter that DDT was harmless to humans – and actually saved lives — the Left attacked it, ultimately causing 50 million preventable deaths.

Despite the fact that BPA has consistently been proven by the FDA to be harmless to humans — and despite the fact that the FDA is about to release a new study on the chemical in a few weeks — several media outlets (most notably the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the LA Times) have called on the FDA to rule that the chemical is dangerous — before the new study comes out. Talk about pre-judging a case…

Let me stress that BPA has consistently been proven to be harmless in humans. What is more, as I’ve previously noted, liberal special interests have a clear financial stake in attacking the chemical. Lastly, it is clear that numerous businesses which produce plastics ranging from sporting equipment to shatterproof water bottles, to eyeglass lenses, to CDs stand to lose significant amounts of money, possibly causing them to layoff employees in places such as my home state of Ohio, if BPA is banned.

To be sure, if the new FDA study fairly concludes the chemical is unsafe for humans (a conclusion that would contradict numerous prior studies), I would obviously agree that these products should be pulled. But that is precisely why this premature interference is so pernicious. Now that the jury has effectively been tampered with, what are the odds that the new study will, in fact, be accepted as fair? In fact, there is a very real danger we may be allowing media groups to establish science policy, without the benefit of science.

Leftists would be the first to cry foul if a criminal were presumed guilty, and they would object to the sort of “double jeopardy” which causes a product to defend itself indefinitely (or, until proven guilty). Yet, they seem to have no problem when the target is an American industry, not a terrorist or criminal. After all, a 2009 FDA study concluded BPA was safe. Apparently, that wasn’t the “right” conclusion. …If only leftists were as tough on terrorists as they are on American businesses.

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