Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, in his New York Times column titled "Free to Die" (9/15/2011), pointed out that back in 1980, his late fellow Nobel laureate Milton Friedman lent his voice to the nation's shift to the political right in his famous 10-part TV series, "Free To Choose." Nowadays, Krugman says, "'free to choose' has become 'free to die.'" He was referring to a GOP presidential debate in which Rep. Ron Paul was asked what should be done if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Paul correctly, but politically incorrectly, replied, "That's what freedom is all about — taking your own risks." CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer pressed his question further, asking whether "society should just let him die." The crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of "Yeah!", which led Krugman to conclude that "American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions." Professor Krugman is absolutely right; our nation is faced with a conflict of moral visions. Let's look at it.
If a person without health insurance finds himself in need of costly medical care, let's investigate just how might that care be provided.
The City of New York Department of Education allows different sorts of groups to use school facilities for after-school activities. But is God allowed in any of those activities? Is God allowed at all on the campuses of New York City schools?
The Bronx Household of Faith outgrew its meeting places in private homes. It applied, in 1994, for the right to meet in Public School 15 in the Bronx for Sunday services. This started a long legal battle with the city, which just ended when the Supreme Court declined to review lower court decisions that had upheld the city of New York’s ban on the evangelical congregation using the school.
Ten years ago, it seemed the organization would win its fight. In a case in the Medford, New York School System, the Good News Club had won the right to use space in public school for after-hours activities even though prayer, Bible lessons, and scripture reading were included in those activities.
The Bronx Household of Faith could also take some heart from the fact that it was not the only religious organization that had been using school facilities. An estimated 60 churches in 2009 were using school facilities, and that number was growing. The city estimates that in the last school year 160 congregations used schools to meet. This is not free:
Donald Trump told Bret Baier on Fox News’ "Special Report” last Friday that he might still run for President this election cycle. "If I endorse somebody, I’m with that person," he said. "But if somebody else gets in who I think is somebody that I don’t think is appropriate for the job, [who] I don’t think would [do] well and would maybe not be a good president, and if the economy continues to be bad, I would run as an independent, yes."
Conservative radio talk-show host Glenn Beck eviscerated presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's phony conservative credentials in a December 6 interview, forcing a flagrant Gingrich flip-flop on subsidies and revealing Gingrich's support of an individual healthcare mandate, limits on carbon emissions, and ties to Freddie Mac during the housing bubble..
Beck led off the tough-but-cordial interview with a clip of Gingrich claiming that the federal government's regulation of healthcare was acceptable. "I’m a Theodore Roosevelt Republican," Gingrich said in the footage, "on health, where I come from, I’m a Theodore Roosevelt Republican and I believe government can lead and that regulatory leading is okay."
Beck responded in a civil but firm tone that "Regulation and the government scares the crap out of me, and I think most Tea Party kind of leaning conservatives. And Theodore Roosevelt was the guy who started the Progressive Party. "
It only went downhill from there for Gingrich, who came out for federal healthcare and OSHA-style regulations. Gingrich had tacked on the following conservative, market-oriented sound-byte to the end of his on-air reply justifying why federal intervention in healthcare is necessary: "I’m against government trying to pick winners and losers."
UPDATE: The House passed the REINS Act by 241-184 at 5:30 PM on December 7.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul continues to enjoy significant success in Iowa polls. In fact, according to the latest NBC/Marist Iowa poll, Dr. Paul is currently the only candidate who can beat Obama. Meanwhile, another Iowa poll shows he has significant favorability among the other candidates.
An Iowa poll published by the Des Moines Register shows Paul in second place with 18 percent of support, behind Newt Gingrich at 25 percent, but ahead of Mitt Romney at 16 percent. That same poll shows that Paul is considered highly favorable by registered Iowa voters.
Ron Paul’s presidential campaign website notes, “Paul’s Iowa support has grown in the last three Des Moines Register polls from 7 percent in June to 12 percent in October to 18 percent presently. Paul is also among those whose support did not wane over the period the poll was taken.”
When Brandon Burgess, CEO of ION Television, named the producers of the upcoming Republican presidential debate being cosponsored by Newsmax, in Iowa on December 27, he was ebullient in his praise: “ION, Newsmax and Mr. Trump are committed to host a serious presidential forum which will include some of the most reputable journalists and media people in the country.” The debate will be produced by veterans of CNN, CBS, and NBC News.
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy was no less enthusiastic: “With Donald Trump and the top-notch media and production team led by Eason Jordan [who was president of CNN's news gathering for 23 years] we have organized, we expect that the Newsmax ION 2012 Presidential Debate will have the largest audience of any Republican primary debate to date.”
Those named to the production team reflect Ruddy’s long-standing and friendly relationship with the mainstream media, which goes all the way back to when Ruddy started Newsmax with money and significant help from Richard Mellon Scaife, heir to the Mellon banking interests and one of the 250 wealthiest individuals in the world. Scaife owns and publishes the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which has been criticized for its overt bias in favor of Democratic political officeholders in Pittsburgh. Scaife was known for ignoring campaign finance rules, donating nearly $1 million to President Nixon’s reelection campaign in 1972 but escaping without ever being charged. He also endorsed Hillary Clinton in her run for the Democrat party’s nomination in 2008.
House Republicans, accelerating efforts to combat the frenetic influx of federal regulations that continue to flood the U.S. economy, passed the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) Friday, which would require all federal agencies to audit proposed rules more thoroughly before they are enacted, and make sure procedures for rulemaking follow proper steps. Federal courts would be more involved in the process, and regulators would be forced to examine potential costs and benefits of alternatives.
Opponents of the legislation claim it will emasculate environmental improvements, workplace safety, and the safety of children’s toys.
The 253-167 vote will move the regulation bill to the Democrat-led Senate, where analysts believe it is likely to be smothered. The White House vowed a veto before the vote took place, claiming the legislation would obstruct the federal government’s regulatory authority with unprecedented hurdles.
OMB Watch, a liberal advocacy group that monitors federal regulations and strives to make public the secretive actions of the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), blasted the bill in a press release. The organization’s president, Katherine McFate, stated, "Today, the House voted to bulldoze a half century of rulemaking procedures with the deliberately mislabeled Regulatory Accountability Act."
Five years ago Cross City, Florida, resident Joe Anderson decided to pay for and donate to Dixie County a granite monument that would make clear to future generations that America was founded upon the Judeo-Christian principles found in the Bible. Since 2006, the monument, which bears the Ten Commandments — along with the simple exhortation, “Love God and keep his commandments" — has stood silent witness in front of the court house in this tiny county in north central Florida. “I just thought it was a good thing to do,” Anderson recalled. “A simple thing to do.”
Anderson, however, did not count on the ACLU, which has made it a nearly exclusive campaign to denude the American landscape of all vestiges of its Judeo-Christian foundation. His “simple thing” has become a high-profile court case as the ACLU has demanded that the federal judiciary force the county to remove the monument. The secular group is supposedly acting on behalf of a non-resident who claimed to be offended by the display. “I never in my wildest dreams thought it would come to something like this,” said Anderson of the conflict over his humble testament to America’s Christian heritage.
In July a U.S. district court in Gainesville ordered the county to remove the monument, parroting the secularist argument that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on the establishment of a religion by government.
When Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, decided to team up with Donald Trump by asking him to moderate Newsmax’s upcoming Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, December 27, he explained: “Our readers and the grass roots really love Trump. They may not agree with him on everything, but they don’t see him as owned by the Washington establishment [or] the media establishment.”
The timing for the debate appeared to be perfect, coming just a week before the Iowa caucuses. Ruddy no doubt was counting on the debate to increase Newsmax’s influence among its conservative supporters, hoping to build on its already-significant Web traffic. Invitations went out to the Republican presidential candidates on Friday afternoon.
It didn’t take Ron Paul’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, long to respond. On Saturday morning, he issued the following statement: