A group of homosexual activists comprised of both active and retired military personnel is suing the federal government to overturn the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman. The group wants the law changed so that homosexual “married” couples can receive the same benefits as traditional married couples serving in the military. Under DOMA, reported the Associated Press, “the Pentagon is required to ignore same-sex marriages, which are legal in six states and Washington D.C. and were legal for a time in California.” That denial of spousal benefits, “gay” groups argue, is in direct conflict with the lifting last month of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”— the law that barred homosexuals from serving in the armed forces. With full access to military service, homosexuals now want unrestricted freedom to pursue their lifestyle — including full access to all the rights and privileges enjoyed by normal military couples and their families. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a homosexual activist group whose specific focus is the U.S. military, filed the lawsuit on behalf of eight service members and their same-sex partners. The group’s director, Aubrey Sarvis, said that the suit was about “one thing, plain and simple … justice for gay and lesbian service members and their families in our armed forces rendering the same military service, making the same sacrifices, and taking the same risks to keep our nation secure at home and abroad.”
The good news is that Americans' distrust of government is at its highest level ever. It's good news because it shows the public recognizes how poorly we're being governed. Not much good comes out of trusting people who shouldn't be trusted — not much good comes out of re-electing them, either. Only 9 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling its job, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. That's one point higher than the percentage of Americans who said in a 2002 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll that they believe Elvis could still be alive. Asked if they approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling job creation, 58 percent disapproved, 35 percent approved, and 7 percent were undecided. Going back to 1890 on job-creation rates in the United States, Kevin A. Hassett reported in National Review magazine in August that Herbert Hoover and Barack Obama were the only presidents to have negative job creation during their first two and one-half years in office.
In his new book, Sovereignty or Submission, John Fonte identifies globalism as the latest evolutionary iteration of the “multiculturalism-diversity” that once infatuated the American elites. Just as they once promoted ethnic-racial-gender group consciousness as the antidote for all the ills associated with following the path of freedom and individual rights as set out by our Founding Fathers, the elites now proffer transnationalism and “global citizenship” as the newest cure-all. Fonte rightly recognizes both movements as antithetical to the core American concepts of republicanism and individual liberty. By 2009, Fonte writes, the world’s leading political actors were pounding a constant drumbeat of “global problems require global solutions.” Today, there are forces within and without the government of the United States that willingly dance to the globalist tune and genuinely believe that there is greater good in the enforcement of global laws and the establishment of a single world government than in the fostering of the timeless principles of freedom incorporated in the U.S. Constitution. John Fonte is a senior fellow and director of the Center for American Common Culture at Hudson Institute.
Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “History is a series of agreed-upon myths.” I’m not quite that cynical, but our history books do sometimes seem more like mythology than reality. In fact, in school we don’t even call the subject “history” anymore but “social studies” (socialist studies?). Yes, the victors write the history, and it’s pretty easy to see who has been winning the culture war for the last 100-odd years. “You’re a fascist!” It’s an accusation so common that I can only paraphrase Helter Skelter figure Charles Manson’s remarks about being “crazy” and say, there was a time when being a fascist meant something; nowadays everybody’s a fascist. Why, even the Online Etymology Dictionary, a source not generally known for hyperbole or any discernable sense of humor, has the following statement under the entry “fascism”: “1922, originally used in English 1920 in its Italian form (see fascist). Applied to similar groups in Germany from 1923; applied to everyone since the rise of the Internet.” Unfortunately, though, the term’s sloppy application didn’t start with the virtual world. It started with virtual history. If those commonly known as historians are right, Germany’s Adolf Hitler, Italy’s Benito Mussolini, and Spain’s Francisco Franco all were fascists, despite the fact that their regimes were very different ideologically.
Young people who are exposed to profanity on television and in video games are not only more likely to use profanity themselves, but also to engage in aggressive behaviors. Those are the findings of a new study published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) studied 266 middle school students in the Midwest, comparing their attitudes about profanity and aggression to their exposure to profanity on television programs and in video games. Participants were asked to identify their three favorite television programs and video games, and then rate each of them with respect to the amount of profanity. The study found that teens exposed to profanity through those mediums were more likely to resort to profanity themselves, as well as to exhibit aggressive behavior and physical violence. “Profanity is kind of like a stepping stone,” Sarah Coyne, the study’s lead researcher, explained to LiveScience.com. “You don’t go to a movie, hear a bad word, and then go shoot somebody. But when youth both hear and then try profanity out for themselves it can start a downward slide toward more aggressive behavior.”
This week the European Parliament awarded the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to key participants in the Arab Spring. The five recipients were chosen “in recognition and support of their drive for freedom and human rights.” The five are described in a press release announcing the award as “representatives of the Arab people.” The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named for the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, has been awarded by the European Parliament every year since 1988 to individuals or organizations that that multinational body believes “have made an important contribution to the fight for human rights or democracy.” The prize is accompanied by an award of €50,000. The named winners of the €50,000 prize are: Asmaa Mahfouz (Egypt), Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi (Libya), Razan Zaitouneh (Syria), Ali Farzat (Syria), and posthumously to Mohamed Bouazizi (Tunisia). The first prize was awarded jointly to South African Nelson Mandela and Russian Anatoly Marchenko. The prize has also been awarded to various individuals and organizations throughout its history, the first being the Argentine Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (1992).
John Banzhaf, the self-described “radical” law professor who has filed successful lawsuits against the tobacco and fast-food industies, has declared war on Catholic University. On the heels of his legal complaint against the university because it has reverted to single-sex dormitories, Banzhaf now claims, in a 60-page complaint with the Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights, that the school is discriminating against Muslim students because it does not officially sanction a Muslim student group. Banzhaf also claims that it is discriminating because it does not provide a place for Muslims to worship that does not have Catholic symbolism. The Complaint Banzhaf, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said the university’s discrimination against Muslims is clear because “an attempt was made to cover up the animus in such a decision against Muslim students, based solely upon their religion, by falsely claiming that the reason for the discrimination was that CUA ‘should [not] be sponsoring an organization that is not Catholic,’ whereas the University does in fact have a student organization for Jewish students.”
We are slowly being made aware of the intimate relationship that has existed between Barack Obama and financier George Soros since 2004 through casual mentions in two recently published books. In the first book, Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools, by Steven Brill, we find this interesting bit of political history on page 115: June 7, 2004. George Soros had a fund-raising cocktail party in his New York Fifth Avenue apartment for Barack Obama, guest of honor, who was running for the senate in Illinois who was black and had roots in Kenya. The question is: when and how did Soros become aware of Barack Obama? And why would an Illinois state senate race be of interest to a politically savvy New York financier? Obama’s autobiography, Dreams from My Father, written with the help of terrorist Bill Ayres, had been published in 1995. Soros may have read the book and decided then and there that Obama could be the next president. He was young, ambitious, a socialist, and an empty suit who could be easily controlled by a powerful enormously wealthy patron. Ron Suskind, in his new book, Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President, published by HarperCollins in 2011, tells of Obama’s friendship with Robert Wolf, UBS-America president, who had to deal with bundled mortgages, which later turned out to be worthless. Obama was then a U.S. Senator, and Suskind writes (p.24):
First it was “Yes, we can!” Then it was “Pass this bill!” Now the latest slogan from President Barack Obama is “We can’t wait.” Expressing his frustration with Congress’s failure to pass his American Jobs Act and other initiatives, Obama told a Nevada audience on October 24: “We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.” As The New American’s Raven Clabough reported the next day, Obama’s chosen means of circumventing the legislative process is to issue executive orders and other directives — at least one per week for the remainder of the year, aides said. Obama’s first orders after announcing his new policy were: (1) to use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to enable borrowers who owe more than their houses are worth to refinance at lower interest rates; (2) to reduce the size of student loan payments; and (3) to challenge community health centers to hire veterans. Only the third, an essentially meaningless gesture, is plainly within the President’s purview. The others — particularly the first, which could put taxpayers on the hook for trillions of dollars in loan guarantees — “would generally be subjected to” congressional approval, Clabough noted.
When Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) released his economic plan, which calls for eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, the howls of outrage from the media were predictable. Paul was accused of wanting to end the federal student loan program immediately and, therefore, of being anti-education. Paul responded to his critics with a cogent op-ed in USA Today in which he explained that he had merely proposed transferring the student loan program to another federal agency and has no intention of repealing the program in the short term. However, he added that, in his opinion, the program ought to be retired in the long term, arguing that “we will assist [students] the most by eventually transitioning student aid away from the inefficient and ineffective federal government and back to local governments and private market-based solutions — which simply work better.” Is Paul correct that federal student loans are a bad idea? Certainly it doesn’t make good financial sense for students to take on tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt in the present economy. Americans already owe about $1 trillion in student loans, and delinquency and default rates are on the rise. Reason’s Tim Cavanaugh wrote in 2010: