Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cruz says liberals must love Obama!

The Hill ^ | July 5, 2015 | Mark Hensch 31 0 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Sunday that liberals should be thrilled with the United States under President Obama.

“If I was leftist, I would love Barack Obama,” Cruz said on NBC’s “Meet the Press." “He has advanced the leftist, progressive agenda more than any other president.”

Cruz, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said that late last month the Supreme Court took actions to help implement policies Obama favors.

“They stopped being an umpire and started being a player in the game,” Cruz said of decisions on ObamaCare subsidies and same-sex marriage.

“It is profoundly troubling when you have Supreme Court justices not following their roles and becoming legislators,” he said. “It is the judges that have politicized these debates.”

The Texas senator especially took issue with the Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26.

“Marriage has always been a question for the states,” Cruz said. “Under the Constitution, there was a mechanism for resolving our differences."

A Conservative Firebrand From The Start, Ted Cruz Always Had A Plan ^ | 7/3/15 | Ailsa Chang 

Boldness comes more naturally to Ted Cruz than compromise. Barely through his first year in the Senate, the Texas Republican bucked his party leaders and became the public face of a government shutdown while standing up for conservative ideals. Rewind three decades back, and you'd find Cruz selling a similar message as a teenager in Houston.
You could say Cruz ran with a gang in high school. Their colors were blue jacket, white shirt, red tie. They called themselves the Constitutional Corroborators. And their leader was the head of a conservative think tank named Rolland Storey, who took them around Houston to perform.
"He would introduce them and say, 'They're now going to write down memorized sections of the Constitution. Word for word,' " said Winston Elliott, who helped coach the young recruits.
The Constitutional Corroborators would roll into Rotary Clubs and other civic groups — and they'd be armed with easels.
"On cue, they would stand at the easel, and each write out on the easel a major section. And then, when they finished, [Storey] would say, 'Now each of you explain that section of the Constitution,' " Elliott said.
This is how Ted Cruz the teenager spent much of his spare time — hanging out two nights a week with a think tank in Houston called the Free Enterprise Institute.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...


New Geography ^ | 07/04/2015 | by Richard Morrill 

The deindustrialization of the United States has been widely considered to be a major force in shaping the economy. It’s one thing to measure where decline has been greatest but where has manufacturing survived or even grown? I use Bureau of Labor Statistics data on manufacturing jobs by county for 1967 and 2014. The results were so surprising that I at first could not believe it.
In 1967 the US had 19,423,000 manufacturing jobs, 25% of an employed labor force of 76 million, while in 2014 there were 11,900,000 such jobs, constituting only 8.3 % (that is one-third of the 1967 share).
Almost 12 million is still a lot of jobs, and higher productivity probably means that the sheer amount of stuff produced may not have fallen, but the role of manufacturing in employment has certainly shrunk and as we shall see, greatly relocated.
I reproduce a large table, because it is so interesting, indeed so astounding. There are three sections, first counties with over 25,000 manufacturing jobs in 2014 ( there were far more in 1967), then counties with over 50,000 jobs in 1967, but under 25,000 in 2014, and third, a few counties with over 4000 manufacturing jobs in 2014, and where these were a high share (over 40%) of the local labor force.
These were the some of the winners from geographic relocation. I also map these changes. The maps include three additional sets of counties: counties with between 10 and 25,000 jobs in 2014, counties with between 25 and 50,000 jobs in 1967, and counties from 33 to 40% in manufacturing in 2014. These groups are summarized in Table 1.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Health Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases for 2016

NYT ^ | July 3, 2015 | ROBERT PEAR 

WASHINGTON — Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives.

The Oregon insurance commissioner, Laura N. Cali, has just approved 2016 rate increases for companies that cover more than 220,000 people. Moda Health Plan, which has the largest enrollment in the state, received a 25 percent increase, and the second-largest plan, LifeWise, received a 33 percent increase.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Karl Marx and the Revolutionary Roots of Redefining Marriage

Catholic World Report ^ | July 3, 2015 | Anne Hendershott 

Monument to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (Photo: | stavrida); right: "Takedown" (2015) by Dr. Paul Kengor
While most commentators credit the sexual revolution and the Stonewall uprising of 1969 as the “beginning” of the gay rights movement that led to last week’s Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision, the reality is that the roots of the movement to drastically change the definition of marriage can be traced back to 1848 and the publication of Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto. Proclaiming that the “abolition” of marriage and the family was central to the fundamental transformation necessary to implement a “just society,” Marx wanted to transcend what he called “bourgeois” marriage, replacing it with a redefined marriage—a form of marriage that “moves beyond marriage.” For Marx, who predicted that “the bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course,” the goal was always to move “beyond marriage.”
Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage (WND Books, 2015), a new book by best-selling author Paul Kengor, points out that “Marx showed blatant contempt for marriage not only in his public writings but in his private actions.” Tracing the roots of the “anti-family” movement through the history of socialists and communists—including Marx, Friedrich Engels, Margaret Sanger, Wilhelm Reich, and Herbert Marcuse—Kengor calls same-sex marriage a “Trojan horse for the far Left to do what it has always wanted to do: take down the natural, traditional biblical family and attack religion in the process.”
Kengor believes that the “takedown” of the traditional family unit has always been the goal of the same-sex marriage movement, and points to the ways in which Marx’s personal lifestyle redounded to the kind of revolutionary state that he not only wanted but needed for his own lifestyle. In 1862, Marx wrote a letter to Engels, his writing partner, noting that every day his wife expressed a wish to die; such was her misery. Later he asserted to Engels, “Blessed is he who has no family.” Quoting Aristotle’s statement that: “Men start revolutionary changes for reasons connected with their private lives,” Kengor concludes that “whatever Marx and Engels lived and meant with their writings, their ideological inheritors would not hesitate to seek to alter or abolish the family, marriage, the parental function, home education, and anything and everything else that stood in the way of their new utopia.” (p 30).
Chronicling the progression of the Marx-Lenin redefinition of the family, Kengor identifies how radicals from each decade throughout the 20th century attempted to implement Marx’s utopian world—one in which the State usurped the role of the family. From Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control League to Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse’s polyamorous relationships. Kengor helps us understand that the Supreme Court decision on marriage is just one more step toward the elimination of marriage because if marriage can mean “anything” then marriage becomes meaningless.
Marxist attacks continue todayThere are several of Marx’s ideological inheritors active today, with some of them even teaching on Catholic campuses. In 2004, Sociology Professor Jodi O’Brien at Seattle University—a Jesuit-led school, gave a speech titled “Seeking Normal?” [PDF] promising to end all culturally accepted definitions of family. Appropriating Marxist language, O’Brien cautioned the audience to “pay more attention to the meaning and significance inscribed in particular cultural institutions, in this case, the institution of marriage…Feminist scholars, myself included, have been deconstructing the institution of marriage for decades; successfully demonstrating the tremendous social and economic burden this small unit (the 'couple') carries in a corporate capitalist economy.” (14)
Likewise, Georgetown University Law Professor Chai Feldblum has appropriated this Marxist language for theBeyond Marriage movement she has led for more than a decade now. In the statement Beyond Same Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for all our Families and Relationships Feldblum claims to “seek access to a flexible set of economic benefits and options regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender/gender identity, class, or citizenship status…We declare ourselves to be part of an interdependent, global community…The struggle for same sex marriage rights is only one part of a larger effort to strengthen the security and stability of diverse households and families.”

For Feldblum, the goal is to “separate benefits and recognition from marital status, citizenship status, and the requirement that legitimate relationships be conjugal.” The Beyond Marriage movement promises the creation of “powerful and vibrant new relationships, coalitions, and alliances across constituencies—communities of color, immigrant communities, LGBT and queer communities, senior citizens, single parents families, the working poor, and more—hit hard by the greed and inhumanity of the Right’s economic political agendas.”
In addition to Georgetown University’s Chai Feldblum, the Beyond Marriage statement was co-authored by several Catholic college professors including Judith Plaskow, Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College; Manolo Guzman, Sociology Professor at Marymount Manhattan College; Ann Russo, Professor Women’s Studies at DePaul University; and Julie Shapiro, Professor of Law at Seattle University.
Polyamorous Percolations”Some of those who signed the Georgetown University’s Beyond Marriage statement are also part of the newer movement to legitimate polyamorous relationships—the next logical step in redefining marriage—or moving “beyond marriage.” One of the signatures was from a group called “Polyamorous Percolations”—a group of polyamorous activists who have been lobbying for years for the right to plural relationships that will grant them all of the benefits of marriage in their “beyond marriage” world. The group sells tee-shirts on with slogans on them including “Whoever Said You Can’t Have your Cake and Eat it Too, Obviously Never Had Dinner at Our House” and the best-selling “Two’s Company, Three’s a Family”. There is also women’s underwear which reads: “Illegitimate Wife,” and coffee mugs which read: “The Best Part of Waking Up is Polyamory in Your Cup.”
Polyamorous advocates have been celebrating Chief Justice John Roberts’ predictions about plural marriage in his dissent to the June 26th decision for same sex marriage in Obergefell vs Rogers. Claiming that Justice Anthony Kennedy has “offered no reason at all” to prevent polygamous unions, Roberts wrote:
Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective ‘two’ in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite sex marriage to same sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world.
It nearly impossible to deny that Justice Kennedy has opened the door for plural marriages when he wrote that “the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy.” And, not surprisingly, polyamorous advocates are seizing the moment. One of these advocates posted an article, “Polyamory Is Next, and I'm One Reason Why”, extolling the polyamory lifestyle on The Federalist site. At first read, it seems more like a satirical piece as one keeps waiting for the author, Sara Burrows, to admit that it is all a joke. But, there is no joke—except on the readers of The Federalist who usually visit the site for political content but were delivered a description of a polyamorous couple celebrating their lifestyle.
While it is difficult to take Burrows seriously—as her writing still seems more satire than serious—Burrows blogs at “Polyamory Diaries” andrhapsodizes about her polyamorous lifestyle. Burrows also posts her thoughts on polyamory on Facebook, claiming to be happy for same-sex couples who want to be married but drawing from the same Marxist language used by Professor Jodie O’Brien to complain: “I'm glad the definition of which adults are acceptable in our society is expanding, but how about expanding it further to include people in non-monogamous relationships.”
In the 1920 Marxist classic, Communism and the Family, Aleksandra Kollontai, the Bolshevik regime’s leading feminist wrote of a hoped for communist utopia when the family would “wither away…not because it is being forcibly destroyed by the state, but because the family is ceasing to be a necessity’” (Takedown, p 39). Kollontai believed that the family—like marriage, like property—would “be transcended and thus abolished as a matter of course.” Justice Anthony Kennedy has helped to bring us yet another step closer to the “utopia” that Marx envisioned so many decades ago.

Martin Niemöller: "First they came for the Socialists..."

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum ^ | Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) 

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The quotation stems from Niemöller's lectures during the early postwar period. Different versions of the quotation exist. These can be attributed to the fact that Niemöller spoke extemporaneously and in a number of settings. Much controversy surrounds the content of the poem as it has been printed in varying forms, referring to diverse groups such as Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Trade Unionists, or Communists depending upon the version. Nonetheless his point was that Germans—in particular, he believed, the leaders of the Protestant churches—had been complicit through their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution, and murder of millions of people.
Only in 1963, in a West German television interview, did Niemöller acknowledge and make a statement of regret about his own antisemitism (see Gerlach, 2000, p. 47). Nonetheless, Martin Niemöller was one of the earliest Germans to talk publicly about broader complicity in the Holocaust and guilt for what had happened to the Jews. In his book Über die deutsche Schuld, Not und Hoffnung (published in English as Of Guilt and Hope)—which appeared in January 1946—Niemöller wrote: "Thus, whenever I chance to meet a Jew known to me before, then, as a Christian, I cannot but tell him: 'Dear Friend, I stand in front of you, but we can not get together, for there is guilt between us. I have sinned and my people has sinned against thy people and against thyself.'"
Further Reading
James Bentley, Martin Niemöller: 1892–1984 (NY: Macmillan Free Press, 1984).
Victoria Barnett, For the Soul of the People: Protestant Protest under Hitler (NY: Oxford University Press, 1992).
Wolfgang Gerlach, And the Witnesses were Silent: The Confessing Church and the Jews (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2000).

Fed to Mandate that Cars “Broadcast Speed and Location Data” Promise Not to Use it Against You!

free thought project ^ | July 3, 2015 | Justin Gardner 

Federal government is currently crafting a mandate that would require all new vehicles to “talk” to each other continuously. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to submit their proposed “connected car” rule by the end of this year.
Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology has been developed by top automakers over the past decade and is ready for commercialization. It uses a combination of Wi-Fi, GPS data, and sensor data collected by the vehicle to transmit a signal on speed and position 10 times a second.
Like so many technologies, V2V is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it has great potential to reduce car crashes, which claim 37,000 lives a year in the U.S. It also means that your driving data will be broadcast openly, making it easy for interested parties to intercept this information.
“V2V ups privacy concerns because it essentially broadcasts a vehicle’s location and speed, as well as some information about where a vehicle has been previously, to anyone within range. And while Department of Transportation officials told the GAO that “V2V communication security system would contain multiple technical, physical, and organizational controls to minimize privacy risks—including the risk of vehicle tracking by individuals and government or commercial entities,” regulating who can use V2V data and for what would fall outside the Department of Transportation’s span of control. It would essentially require legislation by Congress.”
Considering the mass surveillance being carried out by the National Security Agency and other agencies, it is highly unlikely that authorities would ignore this potent source of information. Local governments could use the data to track those they consider “bad actors.”

Sheriff Arpaio Speaks: Got Donald Trump's Back; I’ve Been Working On Obama Birth Certificate ^ | July 2, 2015 | Joe Arpaio 

Sheriff Joe Arpaio was interviewed by Investigative Radio's Aaron Klein and defended Donald Trump's comments on illegal immigration. Sheriff Arpaio also brought up the Obama identity document fraud issue. The full interview is scheduled to air Sunday night at 7:00 PM ET on AM-970. ( audio excerpt embedded below )
Arpaio added that Trump “did talk about the birth certificate in the past.”
“You know I’ve been working on that. So I don’t know. I guess you got to be politically correct when you run for office,” he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Donald Vindicated: Random killing Trumps San Francisco's sanctuary city policy!

American Thinker ^ | 07/04/2015 | Thomas Lifson 

The horrific murder of a pretty young woman by an illegal alien at a prime tourist location in San Francisco is validating the argument of Donald Trump on the influx of violent criminals, and causing at least some local media reflection in arguably the nation’s most politically correct city. This morning edition of the San Francisco Chronicle website (which reflects the newspaper’s front page to some extent) gives prominent placement to Trump’s contention that the murder of Kathryn Steinle shows that he’s right.

And the digital-only SFGate site gives him even more prominent play, using an unflattering picture.

update: Well, well, well. Here is the print edition of the paper this morning:

Donald Trump
, who ignited a firestorm over comments he made in his Republican presidential campaign announcement calling Mexican immigrants rapists and killers, seized on San Francisco’s Pier 14 killing to rail against illegal immigration and call for stronger border control Friday.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...