PROPERTY RIGHTS AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

PROPERTY RIGHTS AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

The following is an article which appeared in IMPRIMIS, a publication of Hillsdale College, written by Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale, and one of the great thinkers and proponents of Liberty in America today.

In the face of the erosion of both our property rights and our religious liberty, I feel that this is an extremely important piece and should be read by anyone who cares about either.  It is long, and like most pieces from Larry Arnn, full of historical references, but I urge you to read it, and to pass along the lessons to your children, grandchildren, family, friends and neighbors.
Continue reading “PROPERTY RIGHTS AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY”

John Stossel: I Can Balance The Budget

By John Stossel

The Congressional Budget Office says the current year’s budget deficit will be a record $1.5 trillion. It also says that over the next decade we’re on track for annual deficits of “only” $768 billion. I suspect the CBO has hired Rosy Scenario to do the bookkeeping, but let’s take that number at face value.

I’m now going to balance the budget, with the help of some experts.

I’ll begin with things I’m most eager to cut. Let’s privatize air traffic control. Canada did it, and it works better. Then privatize Amtrak. Get rid of all subsidies for rail. That’ll save $12 billion.

End subsidies for public broadcasting, like NPR. Cancel the Small Business Administration. Repeal the Davis-Bacon rules under which the government pays union-set wages to workers on federal construction projects. Cut foreign aid by half (although we should probably get rid of all of it). So far, that’s $20 billion.
Oops. That doesn’t dent the deficit. We have to do much more.

So eliminate the U.S. Education Department. We’d save $94 billion. Federal involvement doesn’t improve education. It gets in the way.

Agriculture subsidies cost us $30 billion a year. Let’s get rid of them. They distort the economy. We should also eliminate Housing and Urban Development. That’s $53 billion more.

Who needs the Energy Department and its $20 billion sinkhole? The free market should determine energy investments.

And let’s end the war on drugs. In effect, it’s a $47 billion subsidy for thugs in the black market.

I’ve already cut more than six times more than President Obama proposed in his State of the Union address. His freeze of nondefense discretionary spending would save only $40 billion.

But my cuts still total only $246 billion. If we’re going to get rid of the rest of the CBO’s projected deficit, we must attack the “untouchable” parts of the budget, starting with Social Security. Raising the retirement age and indexing benefits to inflation would save $93 billion. I’d save more by privatizing Social Security, but our progressive friends won’t like that, so for now I’ll ignore privatization.

The biggest budget busters are Medicare and Medicaid, and get this: the 400 subsidy programs run by HHS. Assuming I take just two-thirds of the Cato Institute’s suggested cuts, that saves $281 billion.

How about the Defense Department’s $721 billion? Much of that money could be saved if the administration just shrank the military’s mission to its most important role: protecting us and our borders from those who wish us harm. Today, we have more than 50,000 soldiers in Germany, 30,000 in Japan and 9,000 in Britain. Those countries should pay for their own defense. Cato’s military cuts add up to $150 billion.

I’ve now cut enough to put us $2 billion in surplus!

Can we go further?

“Repeal Obamacare,” syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock said.
Reason magazine editor Matt Welch wants to cut the Department of Homeland Security, “something that we did without 10 years ago.”

But don’t we need Homeland Security to keep us safe?

“We already have law enforcement in this country that pays attention to these things. This is a heavily bureaucratized organization.

“Cut the Commerce Department,” Mary O’Grady of The Wall Street Journal said. “If you take out the census work that it does, you would save $8 billion. And the rest of what it does is really just collect money for the president from business.”

As the bureaucrats complain about proposals to make tiny cuts, it’s good to remember that disciplined government could make cuts that get us to a surplus in one year. But even a timid Congress could make swift progress if it wanted to. If it just froze spending at today’s levels, it would almost balance the budget by 2017. If spending were limited to 1 percent growth each year, the budget would balanced in 2019. And if the crowd in Washington would limit spending growth to about 2 percent a year, the red ink would almost disappear in 10 years.

As you see, the budget can be cut. Only politics stand in the way.

John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network. He’s the author of “Give Me a Break” and of “Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.” To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com

Is Rudy Giuliani a Conservative?

Is Rudy Giuliani a Conservative?

The article below shows what the mainstream media and the Democrats don’t want you to know about Rudy Giuliani. Tax cuts, crime control, strong leadership are all part of his quiver. But there is more. And, the way the media has portrayed him has not been accurate. This article gives you chapter and verse about the policies, philosophy and actions of Rudy Giuliani. It is the actions and the positive results of those actions to look at.

Take a look at them and think about President Hillary, or President Obama. Really scary is the FACT that Al Gore WILL be running for president as the candidate of the no-nothing Democrats.

Republicans and our nation need a responsible leader for our nominee We need a winner than shares of principles. Thanks to our legislative leaders and Governor Schwarzenegger, California will be an important part of the decision making process. Lets make the most of it. Feel free to forward this article to your friends and associates. Send it to bloggers.

What do you think about the 2008 race? Should we nominate the strongest candidate with our principles? Write your thoughts directly on the web site for all to see and discuss. while this is a longer article than usual me the California Political news and Views to publish, it is a worthwhile read for serious political people and those concerned about the future of our nation.

The above are thoughts from my friend Steve Frank. I am in full agreement.

(full disclosure: I am a strong supporter of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani for President)

Steven Malanga, writing in The City Journal says that Giuliani is indeed a conservative. This is a rather lengthy article, but gives a lot of information on the former Mayor.

Excerpts:

Not since Teddy Roosevelt took on Tammany Hall a century ago has a New York politician closely linked to urban reform looked like presidential timber. But today ex–New York mayor Rudy Giuliani sits at or near the top of virtually every poll of potential 2008 presidential candidates. Already, Giuliani’s popularity has set off a “stop Rudy” movement among cultural conservatives, who object to his three marriages and his support for abortion rights, gay unions, and curbs on gun ownership. Some social conservatives even dismiss his achievement in reviving New York before 9/11. An August story on the website Right Wing News, for instance, claims that Giuliani governed Gotham from “left of center.” Similarly, conservatives have been feeding the press a misleading collection of quotations by and about Giuliani, on tax policy and school choice issues, assembled to make him look like a liberal.

But in a GOP presidential field in which cultural and religious conservatives may find something to object to in every candidate who could really get nominated (and, more important, elected), Giuliani may be the most conservative candidate on a wide range of issues. Far from being a liberal, he ran New York with a conservative’s priorities: government exists above all to keep people safe in their homes and in the streets, he said, not to redistribute income, run a welfare state, or perform social engineering. The private economy, not government, creates opportunity, he argued; government should just deliver basic services well and then get out of the private sector’s way. He denied that cities and their citizens were victims of vast forces outside their control, and he urged New Yorkers to take personal responsibility for their lives. “Over the last century, millions of people from all over the world have come to New York City,” Giuliani once observed. “They didn’t come here to be taken care of and to be dependent on city government. They came here for the freedom to take care of themselves.” It was that spirit of opportunity and can-do-ism that Giuliani tried to re-instill in New York and that he himself exemplified not only in the hours and weeks after 9/11 but in his heroic and successful effort to bring a dying city back to life.

The entrenched political culture that Giuliani faced when he became mayor was the pure embodiment of American liberalism, stretching back to the New Deal, whose public works projects had turned Gotham into a massive government-jobs program. Even during the post–World War II economic boom, New York politicians kept the New Deal’s big-government philosophy alive, with huge municipal tax increases that financed a growing public sector but drove away private-sector jobs. Later, in the mid-1960s, flamboyant mayor John Lindsay set out to make New York a poster child for the Johnson administration’s War on Poverty, vastly expanding welfare rolls, giving power over the school system to black-power activists, and directing hundreds of millions of government dollars into useless and often fraudulent community-based antipoverty programs. To pay for all this, Lindsay taxed with abandon. The result: sharply increasing crime, a rising underclass inclined to languish on welfare rather than strive to uplift itself, a failing school system that emphasized racial grievance and separateness, and near-bankruptcy.

Giuliani ran New York City, a hotbed of liberal welfare state politics before his tenure, as a true conservative.

By the time Giuliani challenged Dinkins for a second time, in 1993 (his first try had failed), the former prosecutor had fashioned a philosophy of local government based on two core conservative principles vastly at odds with New York’s political culture: that government should be accountable for delivering basic services well, and that ordinary citizens should be personally responsible for their actions and their destiny and not expect government to take care of them. Giuliani preached the need to reestablish a “civil society,” where citizens adhered to a “social contract.” “If you have a right,” he observed, “there is a duty that goes along with that right.” Later, when he became mayor, Giuliani would preach about the duties of citizenship, quoting the ancient Athenian Oath of Fealty: “We will revere and obey the city’s laws. . . . We will strive unceasingly to quicken the public sense of civic duty. Thus in all these ways we will transmit this city not only not less, but far greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

In New York, where generations of liberal policy had produced a city in which one in seven citizens lived off government benefits, in which lawbreakers whose actions diminished everyone else’s quality of life were routinely ignored or excused, in which the rights of those who broke the law were often defended vigorously over the rights of those who adhered to it, Giuliani’s prescriptions for an urban revival based on shared civic values seemed unrealistic to some and dangerous to others. The head of the local American Civil Liberties Union chapter described Giuliani’s ideas on respect for authority and the law as “frightening” and “scary.” But New Yorkers who had watched their city deteriorate were more frightened of life under an outdated and ineffective liberal agenda. Giuliani rode to victory in 1993 with heavy support from the same white ethnic Democratic voters who, nearly a decade earlier, had crossed party lines even in liberal New York to vote for Ronald Reagan.

To those of us who observed Giuliani from the beginning, it was astonishing how fully he followed through on his conservative principles once elected, no matter how much he upset elite opinion, no matter how often radical advocates took to the streets in protest, no matter how many veiled (and not so veiled) threats that incendiary figures like Al Sharpton made against him, and no matter how often the New York Times fulminated against his policies. In particular, offended by the notion that people should be treated differently and demand privileges based on the color of their skin, Giuliani was fearless in confronting racial extortionists like Sharpton. Early in his tenure, he startled the city when he refused to meet with Sharpton and other black activists after a confrontation between police and black Muslims at a Harlem mosque. And though activists claimed that Giuliani inflamed racial tensions with such actions, there were no incidents during his tenure comparable with the disgraceful Crown Heights riot under Dinkins, in which the police let blacks terrorize Orthodox Jews for several days in a Brooklyn neighborhood.

As to taxes and business incentives:

Giuliani’s efforts to revive entrepreneurial New York naturally focused on unleashing the city’s private sector through tax cuts achieved by slowing the growth of government. Giuliani preached against New York’s lingering New Deal belief that government creates jobs, arguing that government should instead get out of the way and let the private sector work. “City government should not and cannot create jobs through government planning,” he said. “The best it can do, and what it has a responsibility to do, is to deal with its own finances first, to create a solid budgetary foundation that allows businesses to move the economy forward on the strength of their energy and ideas. After all, businesses are and have always been the backbone of New York City.”

When Giuliani took office, the city’s private sector was experiencing the worst of times. After four years under Dinkins, it had shrunk to its lowest level since 1978, losing 275,000 jobs—192,000 in 1991 alone, the largest one-year job decline that any American city had ever suffered. Not coincidentally, Gotham also had the highest overall rate of taxation of any major city and a budget that spent far more per capita than any other major city. Despite that, and despite billions of dollars in tax increases during the Dinkins years, New York could barely pay its bills, and Giuliani, immediately after taking office, faced a nearly $2.5 billion budget deficit.

Giuliani’s first budget, submitted just weeks after he took office, stunned the city’s political establishment by its fiscal conservatism. To demonstrate his disdain for the reigning orthodoxy, when the New York Times editorial board urged him to solve the budget crisis with tax and fee increases that a Dinkins-era special commission had recommended, Giuliani unceremoniously dumped a copy of the commission’s report into the garbage and derided it as “old thinking.” It was a pointed declaration that a very different set of ideas would guide his administration.

As far his response during the attack on this country on 9/11:

Today, Americans see Giuliani as presidential material because of his leadership in the wake of the terrorist attacks, but to those of us who watched him first manage America’s biggest city when it was crime-ridden, financially shaky, and plagued by doubts about its future as employers and educated and prosperous residents fled in droves, Giuliani’s leadership on 9/11 came as no surprise. What Americans saw after the attacks is a combination of attributes that Giuliani governed with all along: the tough-mindedness that had gotten him through earlier civic crises, a no-nonsense and efficient management style, and a clarity and directness of speech that made plain what he thought needed to be done and how he would do it.

Like great wartime leaders, Giuliani displayed unflinching courage on 9/11. A minute after the first plane struck, he rushed downtown, arriving at the World Trade Center just after the second plane hit the South Tower, when it became obvious to everyone that New York was under attack. Fearing that more strikes were on the way—and without access to City Hall, the police department, or the city’s command center because of damage from the attacks—Giuliani hurried to reestablish city government, narrowly escaping death himself as the towers came down next to a temporary command post he had set up in lower Manhattan. “There is no playbook for a mayor on how to organize city government when you are standing on a street covered by dust from the city’s worst calamity,” one of his deputy mayors, Anthony Coles, later observed.

Giuliani understood that he needed not only to keep city government operating but to inspire and console as well. Within a few hours, he had reestablished New York’s government in temporary headquarters, where he led the first post-9/11 meeting with his commissioners and with a host of other New York elected officials on hand to observe, prompting even one of his harshest critics, liberal Manhattan congressman Jerrold Nadler, to marvel at the “efficiency of the meeting.” Within hours, the city launched a massive search and recovery operation. Some half a dozen times that day Giuliani went on TV, reassuring the city and then the nation with his calm, frank demeanor and his plainspoken talk. As the nation struggled to understand what had happened and President Bush made his way back to Washington, Giuliani emerged as the one public official in America who seemed to be in command on 9/11. He became, as Newsweek later called him, “our Winston Churchill.”

To me, this is a good indication of how he would behave as a “war President.” Rudy also has the benefit of appealing to Democrats and independents, as well as Republicans.

I know he won’t be popular with religious and social conservatives who consider social conservatism to be paramount. As far as I am concerned this country needs in 2008 a strong, conservative, ethical,independent and fearless leader who can rally not only the American people to the cause of protecting freedom, but the entire free world, and, especially, someone who recognizes the threat to our freedom. As Steven Malanga concludes in his article

These are impressive conservative credentials. And if social and religious conservatives fret about Giuliani’s more liberal social views, nevertheless, in the general election such views might make this experience-tested conservative even more electable.

Read the whole article.

 

Why America can’t win the war against Jihad

Why America can’t win the war against Jihad

Prof. Paul Eidelberg, a political scientist, author and lecturer, co-founder of The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy published an essay in Israel National News about why the U.S. is not prepared to defend itself against the threat of Islamic Jihad.

He states, in part:

College-educated, pseudo-humanists of the media have eroded American resolve. A poll just days after 9/11 showed that 76 percent of Americans said they would support military action against Al-Qaeda even if it meant 5,000 troops would be killed. Today, a majority no longer identifies the war in Iraq as part of the wider War on Terror. Moreover, less than 10 percent supports military action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Why don’t college students know that a nuclear Iran would dominate the Middle East and the oil resources of the Persian Gulf? Why don’t they know that a pacifist Europe, already Arabized, would succumb to nuclear blackmail? Why don’t they know that the loss of Europe would wreck America’s economy and radically curtail the scholarships and funding on which the education and careers of these college students ultimately depend? Why is there this ignorance?

Relativism closes their minds. By denying the existence of evil, relativism erodes America’s confidence in the justice of its cause against Islamic terrorism. Like the mandarins of the BBC, those of CNN, ABC, NBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post choke on the word “terrorists.” To avoid being “judgmental,” these opinion-makers prefer to call terrorists “guerrillas” or just plain “activists.” But this is not all.

Relativism has degenerated into “moral reversal.” The clearest example of this metamorphosis is the media’s coverage of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Whereas the victim, Israel, is portrayed as the villain, the villains – Arab terrorists – are portrayed as the victims. This moral inversion is conspicuous on university campuses, where Israel has been demonized. But so has President George Bush been so demonized. It is precisely on those campuses where the anti-war movement has flourished. What is singularly significant, the anti-war movement facilitated the victory of the Democratic Party in the recent November elections.

Exceptions notwithstanding, the Democratic Party of today differs radically from that of Franklin D. Roosevelt or even of John F. Kennedy. The difference between today’s Democratic Party and the floundering Republican Party is not merely political; it’s also cultural. The Democratic Party now includes powerful anti-American elements. Some call them the “cosmopolitan Left.” I think it’s more accurate to call them the “anti-National Left” – the same Left that now dominates Europe and Israel.

I find it incredible that Americans do not recognize the very real threat facing our culture and way of life. So much has been published by writers such as Stephen Emerson, Daniel Pipes, Lawrence Wright, Walid Shoebat, Nonie Darwish, Bat Yeor and others about what Jihad is all about. Why is it that the educated elite, mostly on the Left, don’t recognize the threat? The doctrine of uncritical multiculturism and moral relativism will destroy the American way of life.

Prof. Eidelberg further writes:

Although America has always been multicultural, its ethnic diversity was based on a tradition of freedom, self-reliance and self-restraint modulated by Judeo-Christian ethics. Today, multiculturalism has been tainted by the dispiriting moral nihilism of academia. The most prestigious universities have educated America’s political, diplomatic and media elites, an increasing number of which are anything but champions of the American political tradition. American democracy is in trouble.

Since the American government is not about to curtail the freedom of expression on which the universities and the media depend – and which Muslims exploit – America can hardly win the war against its most dangerous enemy and still retain its reputation as a democracy.

I am more optimistic and feel that ultimately Americans will rise to the challenge. I just hope it isn’t too late.

Read the whole article.

 

The Real Agenda of the ACLU

The agenda of the ACLU is not what it may seem. The Claremont Institute has an interesting article written by Daniel C. Palm and Tom Krannawitter.

Los Angeles County was under assault last week from the American Civil Liberties Union, threatening a lawsuit unless the County removes a small cross from its seal. Stories of the ACLU attacking America’s moral beliefs and institutions—from the Boy Scouts to local communities which dare display a nativity scene at Christmas—have become so common that many Americans merely shrug their shoulders instead of raising an eyebrow. But these battles are worth paying attention to, because they lay bare the radical “progressive” agenda driving the ACLU.

The Southern California ACLU chose to pick this particular fight after its recent victory in Redlands, California, where they threatened to sue about a cross and a church on that city’s seal. City officials were aware of ACLU successes in similar cases in Illinois and New Mexico, and, facing a budget deficit of $1.2 million, they capitulated, replacing the cross and church with a tree and house.

ACLU supporters then called attention to the L.A. County seal, which includes a symbol of the Hollywood Bowl, a cross, and two stars. This panel of the seal reflects the Christian roots of the county named after “the queen of the angels,” as well as the Hollywood Cross, which has stood near the Hollywood Bowl for more than eighty years and is one of LA County’s most familiar icons.

But while the seal is historically correct and geographically correct, three of the five Los Angeles County supervisors agreed with the ACLU that it is not politically correct. The cross must go. Mike Antonovich, one of the two dissenting votes on the County Board of Supervisors, is leading the resistance against the ACLU’s bullying tactics, emphasizing the seal’s constitutionality and rightness, as well as the massive costs of replacing it on stationery, badges, and signs. Whether he can prevail over the minds of his fellow supervisors remains to be seen.

What is it that drives the ACLU to attack public symbols of religious faith and morality with such vengeance?

From its inception, a powerful faction within the ACLU has been determined to remake America along “progressive,” if not communist lines. ACLU founder, Roger Nash Baldwin, had close ties with communist movements in the U.S. Two of the ACLU’s first board members, William Z. Foster and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, would go on to become prominent members of the Communist Party USA. In the 1920s, Baldwin developed a deep admiration for the recently founded USSR. His biographer, Robert C. Cottrell, writes that Baldwin, “like many other Western intellectuals, seemed to view the Soviet leaders as superprogressives of a sort.”

Making America into a “progressive” or proto-Soviet state would require two fundamental changes: First, constitutional limitations on government power had to be removed. Second, moral, free, self-sufficient citizens needed to be transformed into needy, subservient citizens dependent on government. Removing God from the American mind advances both goals.

The distinction between a government of limited powers and one of unlimited powers rests on the source of rights. If men are endowed with rights from God, then the power of government ought to be commensurate with its purpose, which is limited to the protection of those God-given rights. If rights come from government, on the other hand, then any limitation on government power is a limitation on rights. It is no coincidence that the worst modern tyrannies have been rigidly atheistic, amassing power by claiming the more power government has, the better off the people under it will be.

People who are fiercely independent, who take care of themselves, their families, and their businesses, don’t like government bossing them around or trying to nanny them. A culture of dependency and victim-hood must be created if big, “progressive” government is to be successful. The best way to create that culture is to sap the moral will of the people, and break the first institution of moral instruction, the family.

In America, religion and morality have been mutually reinforcing. Anyone seeking to corrupt the morals of America would want to drive religion out of the public square. George Washington once remarked, “of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” He warned about those who purport to be patriots, but who undermine “these great pillars of human happiness.”

But as Washington worried about the prospect of America losing religion and morality, the ACLU delights in it. As its record shows, the ACLU will not rest until every remnant of moral faith has been jettisoned from the public square and the public mind.

The fight in Los Angeles County is about much more than the appearance of its seal. It presents to us the question of how we understand ourselves. Will we look up to the “laws of nature and of nature’s God,” as stated in the Declaration of Independence, for the source of our freedom, our rights, and all that is good? Or will we look to government? The position of the ACLU is clear. Let us pray, in public places, that their view does not prevail.

The ACLU wants to change America. It wants to remove our spiritual heritage from public consciousness. It is a subversive organization and it must be stopped from carrying out its agenda.

The Cross on the County Seal

The Cross on the County Seal

In 1957 Los Angeles County redesigned its County Seal. The Seal was designed to reflect a broad spectrum of icons of significance in Los Angeles. Among the items included on the County Seal were the Hollywood Bowl and a very small cross to signify an old Los Angeles landmark – a cross atop a hill near the Hollywood Bowl. The cross was also an homage to the missionary origins of Los Angeles, whose original name was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciúncula.”
Continue reading “The Cross on the County Seal”