While U.S. lawmakers wrestle with high unemployment and a mounting federal deficit, 80 percent of them have no academic background in business or economics, according to a new study by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI). The study found that only 8.4 percent of U.S. lawmakers majored in economics, while 13.7 percent studied subjects related to business or accounting. The majority of Congress — 55.7 percent — studied law, government, or humanities. "How many members of Congress have an academic background that provided them with a basic understanding how the economy works? The answer, it turns out, is not many," the study concluded. Politico reported: On the Senate budget committee, five out of 23 members — about 20 percent — have a business/accounting or econ background, EPI research fellow Michael Saltsman told POLITICO. And on the House side, eight out of 37 members, or just over 20 percent, hold academic degrees in business or economics fields.
With the raising of the debt ceiling, the “official” federal debt immediately surged past a new and unwelcome benchmark: The national debt now exceeds 100 percent of the gross domestic product for the first time since the Second World War era. With the debt now at $14.58 trillion and climbing vertiginously every day even as the economy continues to stagnate, it will not be very long before the national debt reaches 200 percent and higher. In fact, with over $45 trillion owed to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid recipients both present and future, the actual size of the national debt is already more than four times the GDP. As for the so-called “cuts” enacted by this Congress, the long and rancorous debate produced essentially nothing. In exchange for statutory authority to raise the debt ceiling by another $2.4 trillion, the bill provides for cuts of only $900 billion, and for a special congressional committee to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings — over the next decade in projected future spending. In other words, the bill makes no meaningful cuts in the government while providing for another $1.5 trillion in debt over the next year or so — this in exchange for vague promises of a comparable amount in cuts spaced out over 10 years, while the debt ceiling is raised again and again. Such is the nature of “compromise” in official Washington.
For decades, the most common argument for legalized abortion has been that a pregnant woman should be able to choose whether or not to bring a child to term. But in China, there is no choice, as authorities in the People's Republic mandate abortions and sterilizations for couples that already have one child. And Vice President Joe Biden, who is personally "pro-choice," wants the Chinese to know he understands and is "not second-guessing" their one child per family policy. Speaking at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, yesterday, Biden was discussing America's debt problems when he made the following remarks, as published on the White House and U.S. Embassy websites: What we ended up doing is setting up a system whereby we did cut by $1.2 trillion upfront, the deficit over the next 10 years. And we set up a group of senators that have to come up with another $1.2 to $1.7 trillion in savings or automatically there will be cuts that go into effect in January to get those savings. So the savings will be accomplished. But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China. You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I'm not second-guessing — of one child per family.
The pervasive problem of political and religious bias in news reporting is often mocked by members of the media, but for those who have been the victims of such bias, the topic is no laughing matter. According to a report from the Media Research Center’s CNSNews, the new archbishop of Philadelphia raised the topic during a recent address to 10,000 pilgrims in Spain. And, according to CNSNews, Archbishop Charles Chaput did not hesitate to “name names” when it comes to identifying religious bigotry in the media: Chaput told the audience that, “In the United States, our battles over abortion, family life, same-sex ‘marriage,’ and other sensitive issues have led to ferocious public smears and legal threats not only against Catholics, but also against Mormons, evangelicals, and other religious believers.” “And with relatively few exceptions,” he said, “the mass media tend to cover these disputed issues with a combination of ignorance, laziness, and bias against traditional Christian belief.”  
It is 1991, and Yugoslavia, born of the ashes of WWI, is starting to break up. It is a violent affair that will be long, painful, bloody, and complex. Numerous wars in the multi-ethnic region will be fought, with Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia declaring independence from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia and, in turn, Serb minorities seeking independence from the last two regions. Slovenes, Croats, Bosnians (virtually all Muslim), and Albanians (largely Muslim) will battle Serbs. Croats and Bosnians will unite to battle them — then fight each other as well — then unite again; and Albanians will take up the sword against Macedonians. Muslims will burn churches, and minority populations will be purged from many of these regions. They are the first conflicts since WWII to be formerly deemed genocidal, and these wars will introduce English-speakers to a new term: ethnic cleansing. None of this was any surprise. Ethnic and cultural ties ultimately trump citizenship status just as family ties do. This is why East and West Germany were reunited two decades ago:
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) continues its attack on the constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech and religious expression as it targets school districts in Mississippi and Kentucky that have held to their long-time traditions of public prayer. On August 18th the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that the Wisconsin-based secularist group had sent a letter to the superintendent of the DeSoto County, Mississippi, school district, the largest in the state with 40 schools and 32,000 students, demanding that the district stop allowing prayers at school athletic events and high school graduations. “Prayer over the loudspeakers at football games is a constitutional no-no,” quipped FFRF spokeswoman Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The Supreme Court has spoken on this issue…. We’ve given them the law, and the law is incontrovertible. What they’re doing is illegal.” The Commercial Appeal noted that on “Friday nights, it’s customary for the football public address announcer to hand over the microphone to a student or teacher to pray before the home team’s band performs the national anthem.”  
The Obama administration has taken the next logical step in implementing its amnesty plan for illegal aliens. Having officially declared the DREAM Act law even though it failed in Congress, the administration is now reviewing 300,000 deportation cases with an eye toward stopping almost all of them. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the New York Times reported on Monday, is now using the prosecutorial discretion it received from ICE chief John Morton, who permitted the discretion in a memo last month and offered a DREAM list of criteria with which to exercise that discretion. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano cemented Morton's policy last week with a letter to Congress. Some cynics have noted that the cases the Times picked to represent the "victims" of this nation's immigration policy could have come straight from central casting.  
When Robert Welch coined the phrase, "This is a republic, not a democracy, let's keep it that way," he made an important contribution to American political debate and understanding. The Founding Fathers loathed democracy. The idea of unfettered majority vote was anathema to them. And that is why they constructed a Constitution that broke up government power into three separate branches —executive, legislative and judicial — and put strong restrictions on what the majority could do to the minority, and what the minority could do to the majority. The result was a constitutional republic, not a democracy. In a pure democracy, the majority has the power to destroy a minority. That's what happened in Germany in 1933 when Hitler's National Socialist Party was voted in by the majority. Hitler then consolidated his power into the Nazi dictatorship with its deranged racism and plans for world domination. All of this was stated by Hitler in his own book, Mein Kampf, which any German could have read.
What laws are we morally obligated to obey? Help with the answer can be found in "Economic Liberty and the Constitution," a 66-page pamphlet by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Hornberger offers a hypothetical whereby Congress enacts a compulsory church attendance law that requires children to attend church service each Sunday. Parents are penalized if their children fail to comply. Would there be any moral or constitutional legitimacy to such a congressional mandate? The law would be a clear violation of one's natural, or God-given, rights to life and liberty. As to whether it would be constitutional, we have to see whether mandating church attendance is one of those enumerated powers of Congress found in Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution. We'd find no such authority. Our anti-federalist Founding Fathers didn't trust Congress with religious liberty, so they sought to protect it with the First Amendment to explicitly deny Congress the power to mandate religious conduct. Suppose there's widespread popular support for a church-going mandate and the U.S. Supreme Court rules it constitutional; do Americans have a moral obligation to obey the law?
Many observers have long detected a fishy odor about the domestic terrorism plots the Federal Bureau of Investigation has busted, often to great fanfare, over the last decade. Frequently it appears that the government, through its informants, instigates the plots just so it can turn around and take credit for having stopped them in their tracks, thereby protecting Americans and, in the words of Glenn Greenwald, “proving both that domestic Terrorism from Muslims is a serious threat and the Government’s vast surveillance power — current and future new ones — are necessary.” Now, thanks to a yearlong investigation by Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkeley, those suspicions have been vindicated. Having “examined prosecutions of 508 defendants in terrorism-related cases,” Trevor Aaronson writes, the investigative team found that the FBI “now maintains a roster of 15,000 spies” — plus as many as 45,000 unofficial ones — “as part of a domestic intelligence apparatus whose only historical peer might be COINTELPRO, the program the bureau ran from the ‘50s to the ‘70s to discredit and marginalize organizations ranging from the Ku Klux Klan to civil-rights and protest groups.”
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