Archive for Blaze.com
- Posted on December 13, 2012 at 2:23pm by BillyÃ‚Â Hallowell
Despite the evolution of societal trends, homosexuality continues to be intensely-debated on moral, spiritual and theological grounds. With the Bible traditionally viewed as a document that condemns the actions associated with same-sex attraction, some anonymous editors haveÃ‚Â set out to reinterpret scriptures to create a new translation Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Queen James BibleÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ that is favorable to gays and lesbians.
At first glance (and even when you dig beneath the surface), itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s difficult to discern who is behind the publicationÃ‚Â (the publisher of the bookÃ‚Â on Amazon is listed as Ã¢â‚¬Å“Queen JamesÃ¢â‚¬Â), as there is no organization overtly mentioned on the web site advertising the alternative Bible. That said, the editors, though unnamed, are bold in explaining their intriguing project.
An image of Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Queen James BibleÃ¢â‚¬Â (Photo Credit: QueenJamesBible.com)
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Queen James Bible resolves any homophobic interpretations of the Bible, but the Bible is still filled with inequality and even contradiction that we have not addressed,Ã¢â‚¬Â the web site notes. Ã¢â‚¬Å“No Bible is perfect, including this one. We wanted to make a book filled with the word of God that nobody could use to incorrectly condemn GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s LGBT children, and we succeeded.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The editors claim that the word Ã¢â‚¬Å“homosexualÃ¢â‚¬Â was not placed in the holy book until 1946. Their new version is purportedly a purer Ã¢â‚¬â€ at least in their view Ã¢â‚¬â€ take on the scriptures (although references to same-sex attraction were clearly in the Bible from its inception).
Taking into account the eight verses that are most frequently cited inÃ‚Â argumentsÃ‚Â against homosexuality and same-sex attraction, the editors amended them Ã¢â‚¬Å“in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.Ã¢â‚¬Â Because the King James translation is the most popular version of the Bible, it was selected to beÃ‚Â repurposed.
Why Ã¢â‚¬Å“Queen James?,Ã¢â‚¬Â you may be asking. According to those behind this new publication, KingÃ‚Â James VI and I, the man behind the Bible translation, was a bisexual (a fact that is historically debatable). WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll let the editors tell you in their own words:
Commonly known to biographers but often surprising to most Christians, King James I was a well-known bisexual. Though he did marry a woman, his many gay relationships were so well-known that amongst some of his friends and court, he was known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“Queen James.Ã¢â‚¬Â It is in his great debt and honor that we name The Queen James Bible so.
Among the verses that they changes was Genesis 19:5. Originally reading, Ã¢â‚¬Å“And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them,Ã¢â‚¬Â they amended it to, Ã¢â‚¬Å“And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may rape and humiliate them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The rationale for this change, as described by the BibleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s editors, is as follows:
We side with most Bible scholars who understand the story of Sodom and Gomorra to be about bullying strangers. Strangers were not well-treated or well-regarded at the time of Bible (hence so much of the Word urging the love and acceptance of others).
We know Lot asks that the men do not Ã¢â‚¬Å“knowÃ¢â‚¬Â the angel visitors Ã¢â‚¬Å“wickedly,Ã¢â‚¬Â (Genesis 19:7), in other words Ã¢â‚¬Å“brutally,Ã¢â‚¬Â which we understand to mean Ã¢â‚¬Å“rape.Ã¢â‚¬Â We know from Leviticus that one is not allowed to have sex with a beast, and angels are not human. Plus, the passage mentions the men of the city; Obviously women and children arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to be invited to a dominating and public rape, but we know there were women and children in Sodom because Lot had daughters. Rapes such as this one are common between men in prison; they arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sexual acts, they are power-dominating acts.
And as for Leviticus 20:13, which reads, Ã¢â‚¬Å“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them,Ã¢â‚¬Â yet another interpretation is given. The Queen James Version now reads, Ã¢â‚¬Å“If a man also lie with mankind in the temple of Molech, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Read more about the rationale for this verse and others over at Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Queen James BibleÃ¢â‚¬Â web site.
- Posted on September 3, 2012 at 1:05pm by BecketÃ‚Â Adams
President Barack Obama delivers remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House in this file photo. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Between conservatives focusing all their attention on the successes/failures of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and the left having a meltdown over the supposed Ã¢â‚¬Å“racismÃ¢â‚¬Â and unprecedented disrespect of Clint EastwoodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“Empty ChairÃ¢â‚¬Â routine, little attention has been given to an executive order issued last Thursday by President Barack Obama that targets industrial Ã¢â‚¬Å“efficiencyÃ¢â‚¬Â and carbon emissions.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Today, we are taking another step to strengthen American manufacturing by boosting energy efficiency for businesses across the nation,Ã¢â‚¬Â said President Obama.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This action will cut costs, increase efficiency, and help our businesses create strong, middle class jobs. Ã‚Â WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll continue to do everything we can to put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts,Ã¢â‚¬Â he added.
The order, which aims to increase the number of cogeneration plants in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2020 and slash carbon emissions by 150 million tons per year, is the administrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s latest effort to Ã¢â‚¬Å“deploy cleaner and more efficient energy production in the country by working around political resistance to climate change and Ã¢â‚¬ËœgreenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ energy legislation on Capitol Hill,Ã¢â‚¬Â Reuters reports.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Federal Government has limited but important authorities to overcome Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ barriers, and our efforts to support investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP [Combined heat and power] should involve coordinated engagement with a broad set of stakeholders,Ã¢â‚¬Â the order says.
Translation: If duly elected representatives of the people get in the way of Ã¢â‚¬Å“climate changeÃ¢â‚¬Â (formerly known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“global warming,Ã¢â‚¬Å“ formerly known as Ã¢â‚¬Âglobal coolingÃ¢â‚¬Â) legislation, work around them.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The man is legislating by presidential fiat!Ã¢â‚¬Â conservative author and radio show host Mark Levin said Friday. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is unconstitutional.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The order dictates that the Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency coordinate their actions to provide Ã¢â‚¬Å“policy and technical assistanceÃ¢â‚¬Â to states in order to ensure energy efficiency targets are being met.
What could possibly go wrong?
The order also Ã¢â‚¬Å“establishes a new national goal of 40 gigawatts of new combined heat and power capacity by 2020, a 50% increase from today,Ã¢â‚¬Â according to a statement from the White House.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Meeting this goal would save energy users $10 billion per year, result in $40 to $80 billion in new capital investment in manufacturing and other facilities that would create American jobs, and would reduce emissions equivalent to 25 million cars,Ã¢â‚¬Â the statement adds.
Sure, it sounds nice and (like most things in this administration) it promises a great return on investment, but are there any possible downsides to this executive order?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is a fiat from on high for these utilities to change the way they process energy Ã¢â‚¬â€ an enormous capital expense and many of them are going to close down,Ã¢â‚¬Â Levin argued. Ã¢â‚¬Å“And they only have eight years to do it as part of this Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcap-and-trade,Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢greenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ energy, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœclimate changeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ bull crap.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to see your bills go up, up, and up some more. And youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to see brownouts and one day blackouts,Ã¢â‚¬Â he added.
But more than the possible economic burden the order may cause, Levin takes umbrage with the fact that the president keeps issuing these types of orders.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The fact of the matter is he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the power to mandate this. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a king who decides, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœyou know what? You utilities, this is how youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to process energy.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Imperial president! Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ [T]he very nature of our government, our very constitution is under attack,Ã¢â‚¬Â Levin said Friday.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
Front page photo source courtesy the AP.
- Posted on June 21, 2012 at 12:58pm by MadeleineÃ‚Â Morgenstern
White House press secretary Jay Carney made an Ã¢â‚¬Å“angry phone callÃ¢â‚¬Â to a Fox News executive after the network aired a scathing video review last month of President Barack ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first three years in office, the New York Times reported.
According to the Times, Carney told Michael Clemente, Fox NewsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ senior vice president for news, that the video had crossed the line even for Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fox & Friends,Ã¢â‚¬Â the morning show where it aired. Two unnamed Democrats reportedly told the newspaper about the call, described as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“private conversation.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As The Blaze previously reported, the four-minute clip featured a series of Ã¢â‚¬Å“then and nowÃ¢â‚¬Â comparisons, including the national debt, jobless rate and gas prices. It was met with heavy criticism from both sides of the political spectrum: Media Matters said it Ã¢â‚¬Å“crossed a new ethical lineÃ¢â‚¬Â while Hot AirÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ed Morrissey questioned whether Ã¢â‚¬Å“a news organization [should] produce and publish attack ads like this?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Fox News Executive Vice President for Programming Bill Shine ultimately disavowed the video, which has been pulled from FoxÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s website.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The package that aired on FOX & Friends was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network,Ã¢â‚¬Â Shine said in a statement. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This has been addressed with the showÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s producers.Ã¢â‚¬Â
- Posted on February 10, 2012 at 4:21pm by MadeleineÃ‚Â Morgenstern
Kindergarteners at a Texas elementary school were sent home with lyrics to a pro-President Barack Obama song that included such lines as Ã¢â‚¬Å“Barack Obama is the manÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s our man, yes we can!Ã¢â‚¬Â
The song, part of a Black History Month program, was forwarded from a parent at Tipps Elementary School in Houston to Joe Ã¢â‚¬Å“PagsÃ¢â‚¬Â Pagliarulo, a nationally syndicated radio host and frequent fill-in for Glenn Beck. Included with the lyrics was an apparent memo to kindergarten teachers that said kindergarteners would be Ã¢â‚¬Å“requiredÃ¢â‚¬Â to learn the chant for the program [all spelling errors below are original]:
Attached is a chant about President Barack Obama.Ã‚Â All Kindergarteners will be required to learn the chant for the Black History program.Ã‚Â Please write how many you will need.Ã‚Â Keep one copy to practice with students at school.
The Barack Obama Song
Who is our 44th President?
Obama is our 44th President
Who is a DC resident?
Obama is a DC resident
WhoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s favorite team is the Chicago White Sox?
ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s favorite team is the Chicago White sox
Who really thinks outside the box?
Obama really thinks outside the box
Outside the box, Chicago White Sos
Who really likes to play basketball?
Obama really likes to play basketball
WhoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gonna answer our every call?
Every Call, Basketball
Outside the box, Chicago White Sox
WhoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s famous slogan is Yes we can?
ObamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s famous slogan is Yes we can
Who do we know is the man?
Barack Obama is the man
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s our man, Yes we can!
Every Call, Basketvall
Outside the box, Chicago White Sox
Who won a grammy for Ã¢â‚¬Å“Dreams of my FatherÃ¢â‚¬Â?
Obama won a grammy for Ã¢â‚¬Å“Dreams of my FatherÃ¢â‚¬Â?
Now can you guess whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a famous author
Barack Obama is a famous author
Famous Author, Dreams of my Father
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s our man, Yes we can!
Every Call, Basketball
Outside the box. Chicago White Sox
Who wants to go to college at Yale?
Malia & Sasha will go to college at Yale
WhoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll make sure they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fail?
Barack & Michelle know they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fail
They wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fail, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to Yale
Famous Author, Dream of my Father
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s our man, Yes we can!
Every Call, Basketball
Outside the box, Chicago White Sox
After receiving the lyrics, Pagliarulo sent the following email to Pam Redd, principal of Tipps Elementary School:
Dear Principal Redd,
Hi there.. my name is Joe Pagliarulo.. I go by Joe Pags on the radio.Ã‚Â I had a listener contact me today.. with the attached document.Ã‚Â IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m confused.Ã‚Â How exactly is holding this president up on high Ã¢â‚¬â€ indoctrinating little children to believe what YOU want them to believe about this president a good lesson for Black History Month.. WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s said in the document is nothing less that proselytizing YOUR feelings for the president.Ã‚Â You can love him.Ã‚Â You can vote for him.Ã‚Â You can be proud that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the first Black president Ã¢â‚¬â€ which would be appropriate for this monthÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s program.Ã‚Â But, you DO NOT get to tell the taxpayers who pay your salary that their kids have to genuflect to the alter youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve clearly built to this president.Ã‚Â IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d LOVE to have you on my show.Ã‚Â IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d LOVE for you to explain to those who pay your salary why YOUR political beliefs are the ones THEIR kids have to get in lock-step with.
Really looking forward to hearing from you.
Listen to Pagliarulo discuss the song during his radio program:
The Tipps Elementary principalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office would not comment on the matter, directing all inquiries to the communications department at the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.
Kelly Durham, the districtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s assistant superintendent for communications, defended the song during a telephone interview with The Blaze and called it Ã¢â‚¬Å“an instructional activity to honor Black History Month.Ã¢â‚¬Â The kindergartners will be perform it during an evening school program, she said.
Durham said each grade level was assigned a different historical figure to profile, and the kindergarteners got Obama Ã¢â‚¬â€ an appropriate figure because Ã¢â‚¬Å“heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the president of the United States.Ã¢â‚¬Â Durham said she knew one other grade level had been assigned Rosa Parks, but did not know who the remaining grades received.
She disputed the characterization that it was a Ã¢â‚¬Å“requirementÃ¢â‚¬Â for kindergarteners to learn the song, saying all students were given permission slips for their parents to sign before they were allowed to take part.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“As a parent, you would have the right to say I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want my child participating in this,Ã¢â‚¬Â Durham said.
She said she didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know whether the permission slips detailed what the activity would involve, and said she hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t heard whether any parents disagreed with the song. Of the schoolÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 194 kindergarteners, only 25 will be participating in the program Ã¢â‚¬â€ a number Durham said is typical for an evening school activity, and not necessarily reflective of parentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ feelings on the subject matter.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They [parents] understand that President Obama is the president and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the first African American president and February is Black History Month,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
Durham said she did not know who wrote the chant or whether it was approved by a school administrator before it was distributed to students. She told The Blaze the version used by teachers was Ã¢â‚¬Å“differentÃ¢â‚¬Â from the one sent to Pagliarulo, but said she did not know how.
Addressing the song on his show, Pagliarulo called it a clear case of Ã¢â‚¬Å“proselytizingÃ¢â‚¬Â and indoctrination.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Am I suggesting mentioning the first black president of the United States should not have been included in the program? No,Ã¢â‚¬Â Pagliarulo told The Blaze. Ã¢â‚¬Å“What IÃ¢â‚¬Ëœm saying is having your kids and mine bow down to his majesty and propping him up as Ã¢â‚¬â„¢the manÃ¢â‚¬Ëœ and Ã¢â‚¬â„¢yes we canÃ¢â‚¬Ëœ and Ã¢â‚¬â„¢thinking out of the boxÃ¢â‚¬Ëœ and Ã¢â‚¬â„¢answering every callÃ¢â‚¬Ëœ and pretending thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s somehow a lesson in black history is historically wrong and not the job.Ã¢â‚¬Â
This post has been updated with additional comments from the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.
We Will Not ComplyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢: Catholic Leaders Distribute Letter Slamming Obama Admin Contraceptive Mandate
This announcement may come as a shock to most Catholics Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but it shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t if you had read the Bible. I ask all Catholics Ã¢â‚¬â€œ do your rights for life come from God or does it from Government? Who is your God Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Jesus or Obama.
Obama would not be in office if not for Catholics and other disconnected Christians would not have voted for him At this point their are only two things left to do.
2. Vote for anybody but Obama Ã¢â‚¬â€œ assuming we even have an election!
- Posted on January 30, 2012 at 10:01am by BillyÃ‚Â Hallowell
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve covered the Catholic ChurchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ongoing battle with the Obama administration over contraception health care mandates for quite some time. Over the weekend, though, the stand-off took an unusual turn, as Catholic churches across America read a letter to congregants that perfectly encapsulated the churchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stance against the impending federal requirements.
The ChurchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s vocal arguments against the Obama administration are centered upon a Health and Human Services Department requirement that employers must include contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in health-care coverage. While this requirement doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t apply to houses of worship,Ã‚Â it will forceÃ‚Â Catholic colleges, hospitals and other Christian groupsÃ‚Â to provide these drugs despite their faith-based opposition to them.
Many of these organizations, despite not being, themselves, churches, are intrinsically rooted in religious belief systems that stand firmly opposed to medications and procedures that would terminate the life of an unborn child. These deeply-rooted moral codes, which drive the groupsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ work, will be impeded, Catholic leaders say, should the ObamaÃ‚Â administrationÃ‚Â continue with its planned mandate.
Recently, the federal government made one small concession surrounding the requirement, as officials decided to give church-affiliated hospitals and organizations another year before they will be forced to comply with the coverage restrictions.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,Ã¢â‚¬Â Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, recently said.
Over the weekend, the Catholic ChurchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s letter went beyond simply issuing oppositional rhetoric to media. Instead, priests read an open note to congregations across the country, dubbing the administrationÃ¢â‚¬Ëœs take on womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s health and religious violations as an attack on their faith. In the letter, Bishops highlighted what they called Ã¢â‚¬Å“an alarming and serious matter,Ã¢â‚¬Å“ as their words contended that the federal government has Ã¢â‚¬Âdealt a heavy blowÃ¢â‚¬Â to the Catholic population.
In it, Catholic leaders went on to say that the Church Ã¢â‚¬Å“cannotÃ¢â‚¬â€we will notÃ¢â‚¬â€comply with thisÃ‚Â unjust law,Ã¢â‚¬Â as it violates the Catholic conscience. Additionally, the church says that it is faced with a difficult decision Ã¢â‚¬â€ either comply and violate its faith or drop coverage for employees and suffer the consequences. The letter urges congregants to take action and to call Congress in an attempt to overturn the regulation.
While there were some variations in the letter, as it was personalized by each Bishop, hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the text that was sent out by the Bishop ofÃ‚Â Marquette (Michigan):
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be Ã¢â‚¬Å“of, by, and for the people,Ã¢â‚¬Â has just been dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people Ã¢â‚¬â€ the Catholic population Ã¢â‚¬â€ and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers,
including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employeesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those Ã¢â‚¬Å“servicesÃ¢â‚¬Â in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.
In so ruling, the Obama Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our NationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Obama AdministrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.
We cannotÃ¢â‚¬â€we will notÃ¢â‚¬â€comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture,
only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.
And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience,to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Obama AdministrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s decision.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Alexander K. Sample
Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample
Bishop of Marquette
This is the latest development in the spat between the federal government and the Catholic Church. While contraception is a major problem dividing the two parties, other developments have added to the relational deterioration. Among the developments, the Department of Health and Human Services decided to end funding to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last year.
Rather than continuing to allocate money to a special program the bishops group oversaw to assist victims of modern-day slavery (i.e. human trafficking), the administration, instead, chose toÃ‚Â give the funds to three non-Catholic groups. The bishops conference had refused to refer trafficking victims to receive contraceptives or abortions, so the American Civil Liberties Union sued and HHS decided to provide funds to groups that would refer women for these services.
Then thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gay marriage Ã¢â‚¬â€ another contentious issue. The administrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stance of not defending traditional marriage also contradicts Catholic teaching.
As for the health care regulation Ã¢â‚¬â€ a tenet that abortion-rights groups heralded when it was introduced last summer Ã¢â‚¬â€ thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no telling how the situation will end, as the Church seemsÃ‚Â adamant about its refusal to comply.
In September, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called the regulation Ã¢â‚¬Å“an unprecedented attack on religious liberty.Ã¢â‚¬Â In November, The Catholic Advocate PAC launched an attack campaign against the Obama administration as well. To these responses, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said late last year that the ChurchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“conscience thingÃ¢â‚¬Â puts woman at risk (yes, sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a Catholic).
In the end, there will be dire results, it seems, should the administration proceed as planned.
There have been a lot of clips circulating since the president delivered his State of the Union speech last night. But one clip in particular really set Glenn Beck off Wednesday morning. And it had to do with Obama announcing something he wants to do with executive power.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what Obama said (according to prepared remarks):
The executive branch also needs to change. Too often, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inefficient, outdated and remote. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy so that our Government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people.
You can watch it below starting at 50:36:
Beck called it a prime example of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Phillip Dru: AdministratorÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ a reference to the futuristic novel that shows the rise of a man becoming an American dictator. The author was close to Woodrow Wilson.
According to Beck, this is the clip everyone should be leading their newscasts with considering it shows Obama is trying at a power grab.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is so incredibly dangerous,Ã¢â‚¬Â Beck said on radio. Ã¢â‚¬Å“And itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so Cass Sunstein.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Do not give this man consolidated power!Ã¢â‚¬Â Beck declared. Ã¢â‚¬Å“How much more power does he need?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Co-host Stu noted some other irony: ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s saying he wants to make the executive much more leaner by asking for more power. IsnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t that odd?
- Posted on January 25, 2012 at 8:42am by BecketÃ‚Â Adams
ColumnistÃ‚Â Ryan LizzaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in-depth New Yorker article (Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Obama MemosÃ¢â‚¬Â)Ã‚Â examines some of the strategies and reasoning behind the Obama administrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s handling of the U.S. economy.Ã‚Â But unlike most op-eds, his column involves more than just speculation and conjecture. As one of theÃ‚Â articleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s chief resources, Lizza uses aÃ‚Â 57-page, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sensitive & ConfidentialÃ¢â‚¬Â memoÃ‚Â written by the economist Larry Summers in 2008.
For those unfamiliar with that name, Larry Summers is the former Director of the United States National Economic CouncilÃ‚Â for President Obama. And although heÃ‚Â resignedÃ‚Â from this position in November 2010, as the White HouseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s chief economist he Ã¢â‚¬Å“played a leading role in crafting the administrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s interventions in the economy,Ã¢â‚¬Â according to theÃ‚Â Wall Street Journal.
SummersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ influence being understood, this Ã¢â‚¬Å“sensitiveÃ‚Â and confidentialÃ¢â‚¬Â memo helps explain why certain economic strategies and initiatives have been adopted, and in many cases maintained, by the ObamaÃ‚Â administration. But it does a little more than that: the memo also sheds some light on why theÃ‚Â administrationÃ‚Â has failed to revive the economy.
SummersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 57-page memo isÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“striking for two reasons,Ã¢â‚¬Â writes Dean Baker ofÃ‚Â The Guardian. Ã¢â‚¬Å“First, itÃ¢â‚¬Â¦showed the economic projections that the administration was looking at when it drafted its stimulus package. These projections proved to be hugely overly optimistic.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Many critics would agree.
The other striking part of this memo is the concern with Ã¢â‚¬Å“bond market vigilantesÃ¢â‚¬Â. The memo discusses the need to focus on the medium-term deficit with the idea of reaching deficit targets by 2014. The highest deficit target listed in the memo for this year was 3.5% of GDP. The memo also includes calculations with a deficit target of 2.5% of GDP, and a balanced budget.
The deficit for the fiscal year that ended last October was 8.5% of GDP. Depending on how the payroll tax debate, the extension of unemployment benefits and a few other issues get resolved, the deficit is not likely to be very much lower in 2012.
This means that getting from a 2012 deficit near 8.0% of GDP to even the 3.5% target for 2014 would require some very serious budget cuts in an economy that will still be suffering from massive unemployment. The difference between a budget deficit of 8.0% of GDP and 3.5% of GDP is equal to almost $700bn annually.
So what does this mean?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In short, the Obama administration made plans that were quite obviously based on a far too rosy view of the economy,Ã¢â‚¬Â Baker concludes. Ã¢â‚¬Å“While this favorable assessment was the prevailing view at the end of 2008, what is inexplicable is why the administration never appears to have strayed from its original path Ã¢â‚¬â€œ even when it became clear that the economy was doing far worse than projected.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Just how poorly did Summers and the Obama administration Ã¢â‚¬Å“fail to graspÃ¢â‚¬Â the seriousness of AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economic situation?
The following are the most Ã¢â‚¬Å“stunning revelationsÃ¢â‚¬Â about what President ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economic team was thinking as the financialÃ‚Â crisis was blowing up (as compiled by Pethokoukis, with quotes from the 2008 memo itself):
Ã‚Â 1. The stimulus was about implementing the Obama agenda.
The short-run economic imperative was to identifyÃ‚Â asÃ‚Â many campaign promises or high priority items that would spend out quickly and be inherentlyÃ‚Â temporary. Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ Ã‚Â The stimulus package is a key tool for advancing clean energy goals and fulfilling a number ofÃ‚Â campaign commitments.
2. Team Obama knows these deficits are dangerous (although it has offered no long-term plan to deal with them).
Closing the gap between what the campaign proposed and the estimates of the campaignÃ‚Â offsets would require scaling back proposals by about $100 billion annually or adding newÃ‚Â offsets totaling the same. Even this, however, would leave an average deficit over the nextÃ‚Â decade that would be worse than any post-World War II decade. This would be entirelyÃ‚Â unsustainable and could cause serious economic problems in the both the short run and the longÃ‚Â run.
3. Obamanomics was pricier than advertised.
Your campaign proposals add about $100 billion per year to the deficit largely becauseÃ‚Â rescoring indicates that some of your revenue raisers do not raise as much as theÃ‚Â campaign assumed and some of your proposals cost more than the campaign assumed. Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã‚Â Treasury estimates that repealing the tax cuts above $250,000 would raise about $40Ã‚Â billion less than the campaign assumed. Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã‚Â The health plan is about $10 billion more costly than the campaign estimated and theÃ‚Â health savings are about $25 billion lower than the campaign estimated.
4. Even Washington can only spend so much money so fast.
Constructing a package of this size, or even in the $500 billion range, is a majorÃ‚Â challenge. While the most effective stimulus is government investment, it is difficult to identifyÃ‚Â feasible spending projects on the scale that is needed to stabilize the macroeconomy. Moreover,Ã‚Â there is a tension between the need to spend the money quickly and the desire to spend theÃ‚Â money wisely. To get the package to the requisite size, and also to address other problems, weÃ‚Â recommend combining it with substantial state fiscal relief and tax cuts for individuals andÃ‚Â businesses.
5. Liberals can complain about the stimulus having too many tax cuts, but even Team Obama thought more spending was unrealistic.
As noted above, it is not possible to spend out much more than $225 billion in the nextÃ‚Â two years with high-priority investments and protections for the most vulnerable. This total,Ã‚Â however, falls well short of what economists believe is needed for the economy, both in total andÃ‚Â especially in 2009. As a result, to achieve our macroeconomic objectivesÃ¢â‚¬â€minimally the 2.5Ã‚Â million job goalÃ¢â‚¬â€will require other sources of stimulus including state fiscal relief, tax cuts forÃ‚Â individuals, or tax cuts for businesses.
6. Team Obama wanted to use courts to force massive mortgage principal writedowns.
The next step in the housing plan is responsible bankruptcy reform along the lines of theÃ‚Â Durbin bill you cosponsored. This would allow bankruptcy courts to write down the principal ofÃ‚Â primary residences to the current market value. We recommend announcing this reform to beginÃ‚Â immediately following the close of the enhanced Hope for Homeowners period.
7. Team Obama thought a stimulus plan of more than $1 trillion would spook financial markets and send interest rates climbing.
To accomplish a more significant reduction in the output gap would requireÃ‚Â stimulus of well over $1 trillion based on purely mechanical assumptionsÃ¢â‚¬â€which would likelyÃ‚Â not accomplish the goal because of the impact it would have on markets.
8. Greg Mankiw, economic adviser to Mitt Romney, was dubious about the stimulus.
Greg Mankiw is the only economist we have consulted with who refused to name aÃ‚Â number and was generally skeptical about stimulus.
9. But the Fed was a stimulus enabler.
Senior Federal Reserve officials appear to be of the view that a plan that well exceeds $600 billion would be desirable.
10. IPAB was there at the very beginning.
There areÃ‚Â two possibilities for making tough decisions on the long-run budget, which could be done eitherÃ‚Â separately or together: creating an executive-branch Ã¢â‚¬Å“health boardÃ¢â‚¬Â (which focuses on one part ofÃ‚Â the issue) and a Congressionally chartered commission (which could focus more broadly).
11. The financial crisis wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just Wall StreetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fault.
A significant cause of the current crisis lies in the failure of regulators to exerciseÃ‚Â vigorously the authority they already have.
Perhaps more unsettling than PethokoukisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ list is the fact that the ObamaÃ‚Â administrationÃ‚Â has done very little to update any of these ideas. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s as if Summers set the tone in 2008, and nobody has looked back since.
Therefore, given what some have called aÃ‚Â naÃƒÂ¯ve (if not willfully ignorant) handling of AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economic crisis (based on just these eleven examples), is it any surprise that Obama administration has been set on all sides with severe criticism?Ã‚Â Consider from just one side ofÃ‚Â theÃ‚Â political spectrum, the conservative commentators who, although having once possessed Ã¢â‚¬Å“a surprising degree of hope and good cheerÃ¢â‚¬Â for his presidency, haveÃ‚Â denouncedÃ‚Â Barack Obama and his administrationÃ‚Â as abject failures:
In 2009, the president was a dinner guest in the home of conservative commentator George Will, according toÃ‚Â Lizza.Ã‚Â ByÃ‚Â 2011,Ã‚Â Mr. Will had declared President Obama a Ã¢â‚¬Å“floundering naÃƒÂ¯fÃ¢â‚¬Â and someone advancing Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lenin-Socialism.Ã¢â‚¬Â
InÃ‚Â 2009, Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer wrote that Obama could be Ã¢â‚¬Å“a president with the political intelligence of a Bill Clinton harnessed to the steely self-discipline of a Vladimir PutinÃ¢â‚¬Â who would Ã¢â‚¬Å“bestride the political stage as largely as did Reagan.Ã¢â‚¬Â ByÃ‚Â 2011, Mr. Krauthammer had written the president off as Ã¢â‚¬Å“sanctimonious, demagogic, self-righteous, and arrogant.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In 2009, the economist Larry Kudlow claimed that the president loved Ã¢â‚¬Å“to deal with both sides of the issue,Ã¢â‚¬Â when it came to business and the economy and that he Ã¢â‚¬Å“revels in the back and forth. And he wants to keep the dialogue going with conservatives,Ã¢â‚¬Â according toÃ‚Â Lizza. By 2010, Mr. Kudlow had accused President Obama of presiding over a government of Ã¢â‚¬Å“crony capitalism at its worst.Ã¢â‚¬Â
InÃ‚Â 2009, while commenting on the violence set off by IranÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rigged elections, the supposed Ã¢â‚¬Å“ReaganiteÃ¢â‚¬Â Peggy Noonan gushed Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mr. Obama was restrained, balanced and helpful in the crucial first days, keeping the government out of it.Ã¢â‚¬Â ByÃ‚Â 2011, Miss Noonan had declared the president Ã¢â‚¬Å“a loser.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Given the fact that the Summers memo only confirms what many these critics had already feared (i.e. that the Obama administration is woefully incompetent in regards to dealing with the U.S. economy), perhaps their Ã¢â‚¬Å“over-the-topÃ¢â‚¬Â criticism isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t that far off the mark.
Soros Warns of Ã¢â‚¬ËœRiots,Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢BrutalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Clampdowns & Possible Total Economic Collapse
George Soros is no stranger to Blaze readers. The billionaire currency speculator and philanthropist has long been in the news, especially since the fateful day in 1992 when he helped crash EnglandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economy. In fact, since that day, he has been commonly referred to as Ã¢â‚¬Å“the man who broke the bank of England.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Soros is shrewd, he has a keen eye for investments, and he knows how to play the markets. Therefore, when he makes a prediction, it might be safe to say itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worth a listen. After all, his predictions (among other things) have made him the multi-billionaire he is today.
So you might want to pay attention to a recent story from The Daily BeastÃ‚Â that claims George Soros is nervous about the future of the global economy and that he warns of dark things to come.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“At times like these, survival is the most important thing,Ã¢â‚¬Â Soros said.
As he sees it, the world faces one of the most dangerous periods of modern historyÃ¢â‚¬â€a period of Ã¢â‚¬Å“evil,Ã¢â‚¬Â writes the BeastsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ John Arlidge. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Europe is confronting a descent into chaos and conflict. In America [Soros] predicts riots in the streets that will lead to a brutal clampdown that will dramatically curtail civil liberties [emphases added]. The global economic system could even collapse altogether.Ã¢â‚¬Â
And to add a little color, Aldridge notes Soros says it all while Ã¢â‚¬Å“peering through his owlish glasses and brushing wisps of gray hair off his forehead.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am not here to cheer you up. The situation is about as serious and difficult as IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve experienced in my career,Ã¢â‚¬Â Soros told Newsweek. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are facing an extremely difficult time, comparable in many ways to the 1930s, the Great Depression. We are facing now a general retrenchment in the developed world, which threatens to put us in a decade of more stagnation, or worse. The best-case scenario is a deflationary environment. The worst-case scenario is a collapse of the financial system.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As mentioned in the above, and as The Daily Beast points out, SorosÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ warning is probably based on his natural market instincts as well as personal experience.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I did survive a personally much more threatening situation, so it is emotional, as well as rational,Ã¢â‚¬Â Soros said in reference to his personal experiences with both Nazi and Communist occupations.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The collapse of the Soviet system was a pretty extraordinary event, and we are currently experiencing something similar in the developed world, without fully realizing whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s happening,Ã¢â‚¬Â Soros said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Unrestrained competition can drive people into actions that they would otherwise regret,Ã¢â‚¬Â Soros said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The tragedy of our current situation is the unintended consequence of imperfect understanding. A lot of the evil in the world is actually not intentional. A lot of people in the financial system did a lot of damage without intending to.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wait a minute. Soros believes that the economic meltdown was the result of not just poor investments but honest-to-God Ã¢â‚¬Å“evilÃ¢â‚¬Â?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s correct,Ã¢â‚¬Â Soros affirmed.
Soros continued in this vein, each prediction getting darker and grimmer than the last.
He believes that the EU must be held together because Ã¢â‚¬Å“if you have a disorderly collapse of the euro, you have the danger of a revival of the political conflicts that have torn Europe apart over the centuriesÃ¢â‚¬â€an extreme form of nationalism, which manifests itself in xenophobia, the exclusion of foreigners and ethnic groups.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In HitlerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time, that was focused on the Jews,Ã¢â‚¬Â Soros said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Today, you have that with the Gypsies, the Roma, which is a small minority, and also, of course, Muslim immigrants.Ã¢â‚¬Â
It is Ã¢â‚¬Å“now more likely than notÃ¢â‚¬Â that Greece will formally default in 2012, Soros said. For this, he blames the EUsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ leadership and believes that eurozone leaders only know how to Ã¢â‚¬Å“do enough to calm the situation, not to solve the problem.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Soros then went on to talk about how the Occupy Wall Street movement has added to the ever-changing dynamics in the world economy. Debt, Wall Street and capitalism have been put under intense scrutiny and people are becoming increasingly angry.
As this anger intensifies, will the inevitable result be a spontaneous eruption of violence and riots?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes, yes, yes,Ã¢â‚¬Â Soros says, almost Ã¢â‚¬Å“gleefully.Ã¢â‚¬Â
However, according to Soros, worse than the riots and violence will be the government reaction.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It will be an excuse for cracking down and using strong-arm tactics to maintain law and order, which, carried to an extreme, could bring about a repressive political system, a society where individual liberty is much more constrained, which would be a break with the tradition of the United States,Ã¢â‚¬Â Soros said.
Perhaps because he sees such a dark future for the West, Soros has staked his Ã¢â‚¬Å“hopesÃ¢â‚¬Â for the global economy in Middle East and the Ã¢â‚¬Å“democraciesÃ¢â‚¬Â that are springing up over there.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“While the developed world is in a deep crisis, the future for the developing world is very positive,Ã¢â‚¬Â Soros said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The aspiration of people for an open society is very inspiring. You have people in Africa lining up for many hours when they are given an opportunity to vote. Dictators have been overthrown. It is very encouraging for freedom and growth.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Soros insists the key to avoiding cataclysm in 2012 is not to let the crises of 2011 go to waste, writes John Arlidge.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In the crisis period, the impossible becomes possible,Ã¢â‚¬Â Soros said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The European Union could regain its luster. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m hopeful that the United States, as a political entity, will pass a very severe test and actually strengthen the institution.Ã¢â‚¬Â