The New York Times and CBS has come out with a new poll that shows Americans have a strong mistrust of government. Almost 90% of Americans do not trust government to do the right thing and almost three quarters say that they believe the nation is on the wrong track. As the poll probes deeper into what Americans believe the government ought to do, partisan differences appear. Nearly 9 out of 10 Democrats believe that the distribution of wealth in the country should be fairer, while 2 out of three independents agree with that, though only 1 out of 3 Republicans believe that to be true. This poll also showed that a significant percentage of Americans support the “Occupy Wall Street” movement while a much smaller percentage support the Tea Party Movement.
Gallup has come out with a poll this September that may narrow down discontent with government more. The overwhelming majority of Americans, 2 out of 3, have a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of confidence in local government — a percentage that has remained very stable over the last fifteen years. A clear majority of Americans, 57%, feel the same way about state government, although that confidence did nosedive in 2009. Faith in the federal government, by contrast, is very low.
Another September Gallup Poll sheds light on part of the reason for the low confidence in the federal government. Since 1979 Gallup has asked respondents “Of every tax dollar that goes to the federal government in Washington, D.C., how many cents of each dollar would you say were wasted?”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is asking the U.S. District Court in San Diego to grant constitutional rights to killer whales who perform at marine parks. Targeting SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the lawsuit of the animal rights group charges that harboring whales for public entertainment purposes violates the 13th Amendment ban on slavery, indicating that animals should possess the same rights as American citizens.
The suit’s "plaintiffs" comprise five killer whales, Tilikum and Katina based at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, and Corky, Kasatka, and Ulises at SeaWorld in San Diego, California. "All five of these orcas were violently seized from the ocean and taken from their families as babies," insisted PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.
"By any definition, these orcas are slaves — kidnapped from their homes, kept confined, denied everything that's natural to them and forced to perform tricks for SeaWorld's profit," Jeff Kerr, PETA’s general counsel, averred, adding, "The males have their sperm collected, the females are artificially inseminated and forced to bear young which are sometimes shipped away." In pleading its case, the group wrote on its blog:
If Herman Cain is elected President, America’s soldiers are not going to be coming home from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq anytime soon. To the contrary, they can expect more foreign deployments than they are experiencing today under the Obama administration. Asked his view of foreign policy, presidential candidate Herman Cain told NBC’s Meet the Press host David Gregory that he’s most impressed with the opinions of establishment neoconservatives, though he said he was unfamiliar with the term “neoconservative”: “I’ve looked at the writings of people like Ambassador [John] Bolton,” Cain said October 16. “I’ve looked at the writings of Dr. Henry Kissinger and K.T. McFarland, someone I respect.” All three are establishment neoconservatives and have been Council on Foreign Relations members — internationalists of the first order — who are among the “experts” most interested in expanding America’s foreign wars.
Asked about his views on the Iraq War and if he was familiar with the neoconservative movement, Cain told Gregory, “I’m not familiar with the neoconservative movement.... I don’t think the war in Iraq was a mistake, because there were a lot of other reasons we needed to go to Iraq and there have been a lot of benefits that have come out of Iraq. Now that being said, I don’t agree with the President’s approach to draw down 40,000 troops and basically leave that country open to attacks by Iran. Iran has already said that they want to wait until America leaves.... I would want to leave American troops there if that was what the commanders on the ground suggested, and I believe that that’s what they are saying.”
Rev. Mark Collins of Yorktown, Texas, enjoys a national reputation as a portrayer of George Washington. Since July 4, 2002, Rev. Collins has formally played the role of George Washington at numerous historical re-enactments for churches, the military, schools, rallies, political parties, parades, and “home schooling” events (such as “Frontier Days”). Among his film credits, Rev. Collins portrayed George Washington in The Revolution, a 13-hour mini-series for the History Channel in 2006. He has also been cast as George Washington in a soon-to-be released DVD of the documentary entitled “Behold a Pale Horse,” which includes frank assessments of the direction and future of our Republic from several prominent leaders in the “freedom movement.”
The decisive role of earnest prayer answered by God’s Providence was vividly illustrated as the bedrock moral principle in the life of George Washington when Rev. Collins dramatically portrayed General George Washington before the mesmerized attendees of the “Business & Professional” Chapter luncheon meeting of The John Birch Society in Houston, Texas, on Friday, October 21, 2011. This reporter witnessed the noteworthy event.
Faced with widespread criticism of his once-vaunted “9-9-9” tax scheme, former pizza maker Herman Cain has changed a few ingredients. 9-9-9, readers will recall, was an attempt to simplify America’s Byzantine tax system by replacing the current system of graduated income and corporate taxes with three flat taxes, all assessed at 9 percent: a personal income tax, a corporate income tax, and a national sales tax. Social Security and Medicare taxes would be eliminated, and a bewildering array of deductions and schedules would be abolished. Today’s misnamed “progressive” tax system would be replaced by a simple, straightforward levy that would allegedly reduce both the time and expense of paying taxes for both individuals and corporations. Such a system — especially in comparison with rival Rick Perry’s newly-announced 20 percent flat tax, might seem like a beleaguered taxpaying public’s deliverance.
But others have done the math and concluded that, for many Americans, Cain’s new tax would constitute a tax increase. The Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan Washington think tank, claims that, far from relieving the tax burden on America’s middle class, Cain’s scheme would raise taxes on roughly 80 percent of American families.
The Obama campaign announced Monday that former lobbyist and veteran Democratic attorney Broderick Johnson will serve as senior adviser to the President’s 2012 reelection team. Before founding a communications company this spring, Johnson worked for the powerhouse lobbying firm Bryan Cave LLP, where he represented a number of high-profile clients, including FedEx, Comcast, Microsoft, and TransCanada, the Calgary-based energy company planning to build the controversial 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline which would transport Canadian crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf Coast. Johnson has some experience in campaign politics, as he was "closely involved" in past Democratic presidential bids, and in 2008, he "served as an informal advisor to the Obama presidential campaign," according to his communications firm’s website.
"I accept this opportunity to join the senior staff of the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign with great pride and a strong sense of duty," Johnson said in a statement. "We must reelect the President in order to build an economy that rewards hard work and restores economic security for the middle class and that provides an opportunity to families working hard to rise above poverty."
"Broderick joins the campaign with the insight of many years of experience in public service and on campaigns, including the 2008 campaign," applauded Jim Messina, campaign manager for Obama’s reelection team. "Broderick will be an invaluable advisor to the campaign as well as our representative at key events around the country."
It wasn’t long after World War II ended that U.S. troops were once again involved in another foreign war. This time, however, there was a notable difference. After North Korea invaded the South in 1950, President Truman intervened with U.S. combat troops in a United Nations “police action.” There was no congressional declaration of war. There was not even the slightest pretense of consulting Congress.
On five different occasions, the United States had declared war on other countries: the War of 1812, the Mexican War (1848), the Spanish-American War (1898), World War I (1917), and World War II (1941 against Japan, Germany, and Italy; 1942 against Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania).
That Congress issued these declarations of war doesn’t necessarily mean that they should have been issued. It just means that it was recognized that a major military engagement called for a real declaration of war by the Congress according to Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution.
But not only did over 36,000 American soldiers needlessly die in the Korean War when we entered that conflict under the auspices of the UN, the results of this unconstitutional action are still with us today. Since the armistice was signed in 1953, a day has not gone by when the United States has not had thousands of troops stationed in South Korea. There are at least 25,000 U.S. soldiers still in Korea, some no doubt the grandchildren of the soldiers who fought in the Korean War.
Critics note that the Obama administration is forging ahead with its mission to make the U.S. Congress absolutely obsolete. The latest endeavor involves circumventing Congress in order to push the President's housing and student loans agenda.
Earlier this year, Obama indicated that he would bypass Congress when he felt it necessary in order to achieve his goals. Appearing before the radical Hispanic group La Raza in July, the President admitted that it is “very tempting” to do things his own way. He later made similar assertions before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, proclaiming, “There are times where — until Nancy Pelosi is Speaker again — I’d like to work my way around Congress.”
A Florida elementary school principal has been targeted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFR) for promoting a regular prayer gathering at his school. On October 11 the Wisconsin-based secular watchdog group sent a letter to Ben Wortham, superintendent of the Clay County school district near Jacksonville, to complain about the weekly “Prayer Around the Flagpole” meetings that principal Larry Davis was allowing at Clay Hill Elementary School. FFR was particularly alarmed that Davis had promoted the prayer meeting, which is led by local pastors, in a school newsletter to staff members.
“Our prayer around the school’s flagpole event is to pray for the nation, for each other, and for the school,” Davis explained in the newsletter. The principal referred to a Pastor Steven Andrew of USA Christian Ministries, whom he said was “calling Christians nation-wide to bring back the Holy Bible and Christian prayer to schools.”
In the memo, Davis quoted Andrew as saying that the First Amendment was meant “for Christianity, not other religions,” and that America’s Founding Fathers “fought for God’s unalienable rights of Christian life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Declared Andrew in a September press release, “Freedom comes from obeying God. Let’s get active to bring back the Holy Bible and Christian prayer to schools.”
I have a theory about the canary in the coal mine. I expect that before it died of asphyxiation, it would panic and chirp loudly and vigorously at the prospect of its coming demise. It would then fall silent, and pass out, and its change in behavior would warn the miners that the air in the mine had become foul.
The use of canaries in coal mines to warn miners of the danger of accumulating noxious vapors is not just an "old wives' tale." As recently as the 1980s, miners in the UK used the birds to warn of danger. The practice was described by the BBC, which noted that, beginning in 1911, tradition held that two canaries should be "employed by each pit."
The canaries served to warn miners of danger until 1986 when the British government decided to replace them with modern electronic equipment, to the disappointment of the miners. But until that time, the canaries kept the miners safe, changes in their behavior warning of the coming of danger.
Today, in America, the canary in the political coal mine is panicking, and like the miners of old, we should take heed.