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.
The Nullify Now! tour sponsored by the Tenth Amendment Center has gained momentum since its inception last year and has effectively brought states rights to the forefront of political discussion amongst conservative groups. This past weekend, the tour made its way to Jacksonville, Florida, where state sovereignty was highlighted and asserted to be the last best hope against a federal government operating in an unconstitutional manner.
The all-day event at the Jacksonville Riverfront Omni Hotel, attended by approximately 250 people, featured an informative agenda and prominent experts on the subjects of constitutionalism and nullification.
The Tenth Amendment Center’s Francisco Rodriguez told The New American, “We were glad to see a broad array of people interested in these subjects, ranging from monetary policy to Agenda 21. There was a good response overall.”
Rodriguez also discussed his excitement at the launch of the Tenth Amendment committees, which he describes as “groups within groups” whose goal “is to get people engaged after the event, providing them educational classes on the constitution, the Tenth Amendment, and nullification.” Rodriguez added that his group is “looking forward to the committees being a big success.”
New York City's Comptroller, John Liu, long touted as a top-tier candidate to be the city's next mayor, has hit some stumbling blocks. Liu, the first Asian-American elected to citywide office, raised more than one million dollars in campaign donations in the first half of 2011, but the source of much of that political war chest is now being questioned. In an October 11 front-page story, the New York Times, which has in the past been a big booster of Liu, reports that its investigation of Liu's donors has uncovered troubling irregularities. The Times story by Raymond Hernandez and David W. Chen reports:
"Canvassing by The New York Times of nearly 100 homes and workplaces of donors listed on Mr. Liu's campaign finance reports raises questions about the source and legitimacy of some donations, as well as whether some of the donors even exist. Some two dozen irregularities were uncovered, including instances in which people listed as having given to Mr. Liu say they never gave, say a boss or other Liu supporter gave for them, or could not be found altogether." The story continues:
Two people who described attending banquets in which Mr. Liu appeared and posed for photos said that company executives who support him provided donations in the names of those in attendance.
"In addition," says the Times piece, "Mr. Liu is not complying with some basic campaign finance laws: To protect against so-called straw donors, the city requires that donor cards submitted with campaign contributions be filled out only by the person making the donation. In numerous instances in Mr. Liu's campaign, one person appears to have filled out cards for multiple donors."
Newt Gingrich emerged as the winner of the October 22 Iowa Faith and Freedom Forum, if measured by the level of audience applause. The Christian-right audience gave the thrice-married Gingrich several rounds of loud applause and an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end of his address.
Gingrich — a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives who began the presidential race with a devastating resignation by much of his campaign staff — had been judged not a viable candidate. He was even parodied several times on Saturday Night Live as a "curio from a bygone era." Yet Gingrich has gradually risen in the polls after performing well in recent debates, and has been scoring in the high single digits in national polls in recent weeks.
The national Faith and Freedom Coalition is run by former Pat Robertson functionary Ralph Reed, who served as head of Robertson's Christian Coalition. Both the Christian Coalition and the Faith and Freedom Coalition focus upon social issues such as the sanctity of marriage, abortion, and opposing the homosexual agenda.
The additional irony of the strong crowd enthusiasm for Gingrich (other than his personal life) is that the former House Speaker's record is far from the conservative crowd's well-known small government preferences. Gingrich's record has proven he's no friend of limited government, even though much of his rhetoric sounds good. As a Congressman, Gingrich voted with President Jimmy Carter to create the U.S.
Where does Herman Cain stand on abortion? In an October 19 interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, the GOP presidential candidate managed to paint himself into a corner on the issue, causing some conservative voters who had supported him to wonder if the self-described pro-life candidate is really subtly pro-choice.
Cain began the interview solidly enough, answering Morgan’s query, “What’s your view of abortion?” by declaring: “I believe that life begins at conception, and abortion under no circumstances.”
But then things began to go badly. Feigning disbelief at Cain’s response, Morgan baited the rookie politician, wondering, “No circumstance?” adding, “… because some of your fellow candidates qualify that — rape and incest, and so on. Are you honestly saying that … if one of your female children, grandchildren was raped, you would honestly want her to bring up that baby as her own?”
Cain told Morgan that “it’s not the government’s role or anybody else’s role to make that decision.” Using rhetoric that pro-life observers said made him sound like an abortion activist, Cain added that “it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. Whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t try to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.”
With practically each passing day, we are becoming ever more familiar with the recently identified PDS — Paul Derangement Syndrome. Also known as “Paulophobia,” PDS, it has now been determined, compels its victims to create for themselves an alternate reality, a parallel universe that is, in some critical respects, quite literally the mirror image of our own.
In the real world, those who are looking for a tireless, consistent champion of “limited government,” “individual rights,” “states’ rights,” and the like — i.e. “conservatives” and constitutionallist Republicans — know that there is but one person in the field of GOP presidential candidates to whom they can turn. That person, of course, is Congressman Ron Paul. In the real world, of this field of candidates, the former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, has a record that exposes him as the least likely of such candidates to advance these principles.
But in the parallel universe that the Paulophobe labors incessantly to create, Mitt Romney is the GOP’s “frontrunner” while Ron Paul is treated as if he is marginal at best, non-existent at worst.
Following Tuesday's Republican presidential debate, a number of different news sources scrambled to check the accuracy of a number of different statements made by the candidates. According to the Associated Press, some facts “took a bit of a beating” in the debate, ranging from assertions made regarding taxes to those involving Obama’s unpopular healthcare overhaul.
For example, while ObamaCare went through its usual round of scrutiny and criticism during the Republican debate in Las Vegas, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann indicated that ObamaCare has proven to be so controversial and so unpopular that even the Obama administration is beginning to rescind some of its support for the healthcare overhaul.
"Even the Obama administration chose to reject part of Obamacare.... Now the administration is arguing with itself,” said Bachmann.
While it is in fact true that there have been proposed changes to ObamaCare in an effort to provoke greater support from the American people, such as eliminating the long-term insurance program CLASS that is a part of ObamaCare, the administration has been an adamant defender of the healthcare plan overall.
As the drug war in Mexico continues to spill across America’s southern border, a disturbing development has emerged as law enforcement officers in Texas attempt to reign in cartel-related crimes: The cartels are now using children as young as 11 years of age in the commission of crimes.
Although the issues related to illegal immigration from Mexico have received less attention in the media in recent months, the cultural impact of Mexican crime and violence flowing freely into the southern United States remains unabated. Sometimes, the undermining of American sovereignty occurs in subtle ways. For example, a scandal has erupted recently in the border city of McAllen, Texas, where a high school teacher required her students to sing the Mexican national anthem and recite that nation’s pledge of allegiance. A teacher instructing her students to take these actions on Constitution Day simply makes the offense all the worse. As noted previously for The New American: “As the war between drug cartels continues to devolve Mexico into a failed state, Americans have good reason to be proud of their own national heritage — especially on Constitution Day. Constitutionalists note that the intentions of the teacher and school district aside, the imposition of a foreign anthem and oath on a day which ought to be devoted to the anthem and oath of these United States seems ill-conceived and poorly timed, at best.”
“Ron Paul has now walked the budget-cutting walk he’s been talking about.” The words of Investor’s Business Daily’s Andrew Malcolm sum up most commentators’ initial reactions to the Texas Congressman’s “Plan to Restore America,” and who could disagree? For decades Paul has been arguing that federal spending must be slashed, and on Monday, October 17, he laid out just how he intends to do that if elected President in 2012: Eliminate agencies, end foreign aid, repeal reams of regulations, cut military spending, reduce the federal workforce, and freeze mandatory spending. His expected results: $1 trillion in immediate cuts, followed by a balanced budget in three years. “Bold” — the word most commonly used to describe Paul’s proposal — is, perhaps, an understatement.
Both supporters and detractors praised Paul for being specific in what he would cut.
Cincinnati’s Fox19 station, for instance, said Paul’s plan “is the only full budget plan proposed thus far that proposes balancing the budget with actual cuts. Not, using fuzzy math with ‘cuts’ in defense spending that wasn’t going to be spent.”
“The contrast between the so-called super committee’s goal and Paul’s plan shows how pathetic official Washington’s gestures of fiscal responsibility are,” observed Jacob Sullum. “Paul’s detailed numbers refute the myth that the budget cannot be balanced without raising taxes while challenging his opponents to put up or shut up.”