It’s no secret that Christmas has been under attack by secular groups for the past several years, with court challenges to nativity scenes becoming nearly as much a seasonal tradition as the crèches that have graced cathedrals, churches, and chapels for more than a century throughout America. This year two national religious organizations, the Christian Defense Coalition and Faith and Action, decided to take the fight for Christmas all the way to the Supreme Court — not with a legal challenge, but with a live nativity scene set up for all to see in front of the nation’s judicial building. The November 30 display, which included live animals along with actors in key roles from the biblical account of Christ’s nativity, was actually a parade of sorts that wended its way past the U.S. Capitol building before arriving in front of the Supreme Court building before noon. A press release by the groups explained that the display was part of the “Nativity Project,” a nationwide campaign designed “to share the message of Christmas and also to confront the erosion and hostility toward public expressions of faith, especially during the Christmas season.”
While Congress abides in gridlock, as Republicans and Democrats debate tax policy, and the SuperCommittee admits failure over deciding how to tame the mounting federal deficit, the fight against American liberty remains a bipartisan war. Conservative and liberal elites seem to share a common theme: The American people are too free for their own good. Indeed, for those in the elite ranks of Washington politics, the concept of liberty is regrettably similar: Those on both the Left and the Right continue to stomp on the Founders’ vision of a free America.
The Cato Institute has discovered a proposal by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to institute one of the most intrusive regulations yet in the food processing industry. This proposal, which was published for comments in the Federal Register on September 15, is laying the groundwork for setting federal targets for the reduction of salt levels in various foods. The Federal Register notice observes that “taste for sodium is acquired and can be modified.” The regulation, if implemented, would affect directly the salt level in products that Americans buy at grocery stores or in restaurants. (The public comment period ended November 29.) The original purpose of the Food and Drug Administration at the time of its creation 105 years ago was to prevent the sale of adulterated or misbranded drugs. The problem that led to this law was false or misleading information about what was in the drugs sold to the public. These days, almost every product sold in a grocery store has on its label extensive information about the calories, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and other data about the food. And these labels can be helpful. Americans who inform themselves about medical research or receive instructions from private physicians actively seek this information. But this doesn't mean that more strict regulations are beneficial. (Even the labeling laws would not be necessary if laws were strictly enforced against fraud.)
It seems the only way to find out what a politician really thinks is to wait until he leaves office. No longer concerned with obtaining either votes or campaign contributions, he is then free to reveal his true beliefs — and often does. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), for example, announced on Monday that he would be retiring at the end of his term. The next day, reports the Daily Caller, he signed on as a cosponsor of Rep. Phil Roe’s (R-Tenn.) bill to repeal ObamaCare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a bureaucracy Roe called “the real death panel” in the healthcare law in an interview with the conservative news site in March. Frank thus became the 12th — and by far the most prominent — Democrat, and the 212th congressman overall, to cosponsor Roe’s bill. IPAB is a 15-member panel appointed by the President to keep Medicare costs under control, thereby keeping the deficit in check. “The board would cap the total amount of money Medicare recipients could receive for care,” the Daily Caller explains. Should a beneficiary require care whose cost exceeds the amount set by IPAB, he would simply be out of luck. “Basically, there’s a certain amount of money that’s allocated for Medicare spending each year,” Roe told the Daily Caller. “Once you hit that amount that’s been appropriated, this board, this bureaucratically appointed board, can then decide, not based on quality or need, but based on strictly cost.”
Responding to a new analysis published Monday, the White House denied charges that President Obama's "official business" trips (paid with taxpayer money) to presidential swing states were actually for campaign events. White House officials suggested that the study overlooks the fact that Obama "expanded the political map dramatically" in 2008, which created a notable spike in the number of battleground states. According to the Wall Street Journal, which published the exposé, when the President jets to Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday to promote his jobs agenda ("official business") — including a renewal of a payroll tax cut — he will log his 56th event in a swing state this year, vaulting him well ahead of President George W. Bush’s record-breaking swing-state campaign drive in 2003. Obama’s excessive campaign politicking has been a magnet for Republican criticism, as conservative politicians and pundits criticize the President for exerting more effort toward his 2012 reelection campaign than toward working to fix the nation’s high unemployment and stagnant economic growth.
In what may become the second arm of a federal pincer strategy aimed at judicially nullifying state laws, leading Democrats in Congress have proposed a new bill that may void the various state statutes enacted recently to combat the growth of the illegal alien population. As has been thoroughly covered in The New American, the Obama administration has filed suit in several federal courts challenging the constitutionality of laws passed by state legislatures that have drawn the attention of the media for their more controversial provisions. To date, the complaints filed by the Department of Justice (typically with the Department of Homeland Security listed as a co-plaintiff) have named as defendants the Attorneys General of the states whose laws they are seeking to set aside. This latest effort by the federal government to redraw the lines of power laid out by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution would authorize the Department of Justice to file suit against state and local governments suspected of using racial profiling to carry out the new anti-illegal immigration laws passed by legislators.
”I do not choose to run for Congress in 2012.” With those words, the denouement of the often combative 16-term congressional career of Barney Frank began. In a statement released to reporters, the only openly homosexual member of Congress announced his intention to avoid the complications that his candidacy would have faced because of redistricting in his home state of Massachusetts.
The Federal Reserve Bank and five other central banks across the world cut the "temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap arrangements" rate for central bank borrowing nearly in half, from just over 1.00 percent to a bit more than 0.50 percent, according to a November 30 Federal Reserve Bank press release. Stock and commodities markets rallied all day with the news, with the Dow Jones Industrial Index gaining 490 points on the day. The swap rate is the interest rate the Federal Reserve charges foreign central banks to borrow dollars from the Fed. A lower interest rate makes it easier for European and Japanese central banks to go further into debt. "The purpose of these actions is to ease strains in financial markets and thereby mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses and so help foster economic activity," the Federal Reserve claimed. In plain English, that means the central banks' answer to the European debt crisis is to make it much easier to borrow more money and get deeper into debt. That's a bit like a bunch of doctors agreeing that the solution to the pain in a patient's eye is to push the ice pick further into his eye. The European Central Bank and the national central banks of Canada, Switzerland, Japan, and the U.K. also lowered their swap rates. This will have the effect of burgeoning the money supply, meaning existing money will purchase less and less goods for an equal price — inflation.
“New Company Policy: We Are Not Hiring Until Obama Is Gone.” Those words are plastered across every truck owned by U.S. Cranes LLC of Waco, Georgia — not as a threat but as a recognition of the fact that, as owner Bill Looman told ABC News, “overregulation and the cost of complying with federal mandates has [sic] caused many of his customers to shut their doors.” As a result, he has been forced to lay off three of his nine employees. “I’ve got people that I want to hire now, but I just can’t afford it,” Looman, whose company operates cranes at construction sites, told Atlanta’s WXIA-TV. “And I don’t foresee that I’ll be able to afford it unless some things change in D.C.” “The way the economy’s running, and the way my business has been hampered by the economy, and the policies of the people in power, I felt that it was necessary to voice my opinion, and predict that I wouldn’t be able to do any hiring,” he added. His chosen method of voicing his opinion was to place his “not hiring” message on his company’s trucks and post photos of the signs on his personal Facebook page about six months ago. Until recently, the response was overwhelmingly positive (although he did receive a perfunctory visit from the Secret Service after someone reported him to the FBI as a threat to national security). Then last week “one of the photos went viral on the Internet,” according to WXIA; and that is when all the controversy began.
Despite the best efforts of the Occupy Wall Street protesters to sabotage Black Friday Christmas shopping, the National Retail Federation reported that shoppers spent a whopping $52 billion over the weekend after Thanksgiving. OWS had hoped to launch protests that would stop the frenzy of consumerism, but alas, the lure of spending prevailed.