Ignoring protests from residents and a resolution from state legislators calling for the state’s seasonal celebratory tree to be called by its Christmas designation, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee insisted that the blue spruce that graces the Statehouse this year be referred to officially as a “Holiday Tree.”
According to the Associated Press, Chafee, who changed his party designation from Republican to Independent in 2007, said that eschewing the term “Christmas” is in line with the principles laid down by Rhode Island founder Roger Williams that the state would supposedly be a place where religion and government are to be kept separate.
“I’m just continuing what other governors have done,” Chafee told the Boston Herald after a ceremony dedicating a separate “holiday tree” to soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I just want to make sure I’m doing everything possible in this building to honor Roger Williams.” To be sure, noted the AP, Chafee’s immediate predecessor, Republican Governor Donald Carcieri, “used both holiday tree and Christmas tree in his correspondence. Other governors have made no specific reference to Christmas at all with invitations to ‘holiday celebrations’ featuring a ‘tree lighting.’"
Welcome to Paul Blair’s world. The 48-year-old Blair, pastor of the Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, is a small business owner, husband, and father, and a former offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. He played his college ball for the Oklahoma State Cowboys and recently declared himself a Republican candidate for the Oklahoma state Senate, District 41.
Blair (who has been previously interviewed in The New American) offered in a campaign flier one reason for his decision to run for public office: “We must stop the overreach of the federal government. We must stop the crippling debt that is crushing our nation.”
Here’s a switch! The ACLU has come down on the side of students in Brownsville, Texas, who were told by the local school district that they should not openly display their rosaries. As reported by the San Antonio Express newspaper, the ACLU’s Texas franchise is “looking into whether the Brownsville Independent School District’s policy on wearing rosaries and crosses is violating students’ religious rights.”
In a statement ACLU spokeswoman Lisa Graybill said that under the “First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Texas’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act, students’ right to wear articles of faith in school is indisputably protected.”
Officials of Brownsville’s Simon Rivera High School assured the usually secular legal watchdog group that it had not ordered students to remove the rosaries, but had merely asked them to make them a little less obvious, noting that the wearing of the Catholic faith symbol has been tied to gang affiliation. In fact, local police chief Oscar Garcia told the Express that students at Rivera had been seen wearing homemade rosary-like accessories around their heads and waists to show off their gang connections.
Commentators continually draw attention to the “steadiness” that Mitt Romney has shown vis-à-vis the GOP presidential primary contest. Romney, they point out, has “steadily” maintained his first place position. Yet never do these same commentators point out that while most of the race’s “frontrunners” have come and gone — Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain — Ron Paul has steadily remained fourth place or better, depending on the polls.
In this “An Honest Look At…” series, I have sought to show that in spite of their protestations to the contrary, each of the GOP presidential candidates exhibits a penchant for the ideology of Big Government. Each is either ignorant of or indifferent to the secret of American liberty, a secret that lies within the fact that our national government is supposed to be a federal government, a government to which our Constitution assigns but a few specific “powers.”
As this final edition of the series establishes, it is in the person of Ron Paul alone that the Republican Party’s rhetoric of liberty becomes incarnate.
Let’s begin by examining Paul’s positions on domestic policy.
In the midst of allegations of police brutality and police aggression at the OWS protests, the U.S. Senate approved a bill that is said to “explicitly create a police state”: the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA, passed by a vote of 93 to 7, virtually stated that all of the United States may be considered a battlefield, and therefore the American military is permitted to indefinitely detain any American perceived to be a threat.
Several amendments were proposed by both Democrats and Republican Senators, which would have deleted the dangerous provisions that would allow the indefinite detention of American citizens. While most of those amendments were overwhelming voted down, a single compromise amendment was passed that was intended to quell fears that American citizens may be imprisoned indefinitely, though skeptics remain uncomfortable with the final outcome.
In an interview Thursday night with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Herman Cain’s lawyer repeatedly dodged questions as to whether his client had carried on 13-year affair with a woman the candidate describes as a “friend.” Earlier that day, the influential New Hampshire daily, the Union Leader, reported that the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO had paid money to a woman claiming to have carried on a long-term extramarital affair with Cain.
The Ron Paul for President campaign has released a withering two-minute video entitled Newt Gingrich: Serial Hypocrisy. The video chronicles Newt Gingrich's hypocrisy on the issue of the housing bubble and lobbying, as well as his advocacy of an individual health care mandate and cutting a pro-global warming legislation television advertisement with Democrat Nancy Pelosi.
CNBC Host Larry Kudlow noted on his show December 1 that the video "has gone completely viral. Completely viral. It's running everywhere." Indeed, the video received some 250,000 views on YouTube.com within the first full day of its release. More importantly, the video has received coverage on most of the national television networks and newspapers across the nation, bringing the real number of views into the millions. In addition, it has received the attention of television stations in early primary states such as New Hampshire.
When Newt Gingrich was asked in the November 9 CNBC presidential debate what he did to earn $300,000 from mortgage giant Freddie Mac, Gingrich claimed: "I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible." But the Wall Street Journal reported December 1 that Gingrich had not only praised the Freddie Mac model in a 2007 interview on the mortgage giant's website but said that "these are results I think conservatives should embrace and want to extend as widely as possible."
The interview with Gingrich is no longer available on the Freddie Mac website, but it is available on several Internet archive websites that capture what websites used to post.
The Wall Street Journal story noted that "The interview was published by Freddie Mac as part of a regular campaign to educate the public — and Washington — about its brand." And by "educate the public," the Wall Street Journal meant promote the continuance of its policy of accelerating the housing bubble.
In the April 24, 2007 interview with Gingrich, the former House Speaker had the following praise for Freddie Mac and the whole GSE (Government-Sponsored Enterprise) concept:
A recent Pew Research Center study proved that there was in fact truth to assertions made by Ron Paul’s supporters that he was being “blacked out” by the media. That study compiled a list of 52 mainstream news sources and discovered that Paul received significantly less media coverage than all of the other candidates, including Tim Pawlenty, who dropped out of the race because of his campaign’s lack of progress. That blackout continues it seems, as the Republican Jewish Coalition’s GOP 2012 panel, set to take place on December 7, will not include Ron Paul.
“As Mike Allen previewed in Playbook, the event will allow the seven candidates taking part — Ron Paul is not attending — 35 minutes each to speak,” writes Maggie Haberman for Politico.
Currently, it’s unknown whether Paul was not invited or declined the invitation, but Adam Kredo of Washington Jewish Week said of Paul’s absence, “Note that Texas Rep. Ron Paul, no good friend of Israel, will not be in the house.” That statement appeared on the Republican Jewish Coalition’s website.
Kredo’s assertion that Paul is “no good friend of Israel” is based on Paul’s philosophy that the United States should be less involved in Israel’s affairs.
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has just barely been able to have his voice heard in the Republican Party’s presidential primary race, so low are his polling numbers. Yet, still, he is a candidate that, not unlike every other such candidate, proudly proclaims his commitment to liberty and, hence, “limited government.”
But is Huntsman really who he claims to be?
This is the question with which we must concern ourselves. As we will see, just a brief look at Huntsman’s utterances and deeds discloses in no time that, in his case, appearance is eons apart from reality.
To Huntsman’s credit, as Governor of Utah he presided over tax cuts — sales taxes especially — and a simplification of the overall tax code. For this, the Cato Institute lavished praise upon him. Yet lest we hastily exploit this fact as proof of his commitment to smaller government, we would be well served to note that the very same libertarian-friendly think tank criticized Huntsman for having “completely dropped the ball on spending, with per capita spending increasing at about 10 percent annually during his tenure.”