Thursday’s federal court ruling to uphold a ban on therapy to young people with unwanted homosexual inclinations supports a blatantly unconstitutional position and is part of a ‘zero-sum game’ on the part of the gay lobby to force approval of their behavior in every corner of the nation, according to Liberty Counsel President and Chairman Mathew Staver.
Archives for August 2013
Three Martini Lunch 8/30/13
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Charlie Cooke of National Review react to the British Parliament rejecting a push to join the military action in Syria. They slam President Obama for suggesting that government activity is a better path to economic prosperity than letting the free markets work. And they shake their heads as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews claims that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons during World War II.
Who Are We Backing in Syria?
President Obama is unlikely to take any military action against Syria that will actually make a difference, but his administration is actively backing the radical Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda elements of the rebellion while leaving the Free Syrian Army high and dry, according to retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Vallely.
Vallely consults with military leaders of the Free Syrian Army and recently returned from a trip to Turkey that also included a heavily guarded trip to the rebel stronghold of Aleppo. He was in the region when the apparent chemical weapons attack took place. Vallely believes there should be military action to take down the Bashar Assad regime, but he says the “shot across the bow” approach floated by Obama would be pointless.
“Obama’s really not a very brave person so I don’t think he’ll take any brave action,” said Vallely. “He is known, even in the Middle East and Syria, for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood as he did in Egypt. His trend is toward supporting those elements also in Syria.
“The Syrian generals who defected, they all know this. They look at America as very weak, very impotent under our leadership right now,” he said.
As a result of his latest consultations, Vallely reports that the U.S. is actively providing support and logistics for the Muslim Brotherhood and salafist organizations like Al Qaeda, but the more democratic-minded Free Syrian Army is essentially ignored. So why are Obama and his advisers siding with the more radical elements?
“They continue to make international mistakes like they did in Libya and that they did in Egypt. So there’s a pattern of ineptness and a misunderstanding about why this administration would continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood and the radical Islamists, rather than the Free Syrian Army which is the true opposition force over there,” said Vallely, who believes Obama has not been hoodwinked by the Muslim Brotherhood but simply embraces its ideology.
“I think they approve of it. It’s their agenda to support the Muslim Brotherhood. You don;t have to look any further than what happened in Egypt. There’s a perfect example of how Obama screwed up royally and that’s why the military has come in. They basically want to decimate the Muslim Brotherhood, whose ambition is Sharia government,” said Vallely.
Polls suggest Americans are overwhelmingly against any military action in Syria. Vallely disagrees. He believes action should be taken against Assad but that it should be action that leads to a collapse of the regime.
“Western or other forces in the Middle East really need to neutralize the Syrian Air Force. Assad would fall in about 30 days if the air campaign would occur and knock out the jets and the helicopters,” said Vallely, who says the rebels don’t have a way of countering Assad’s air power. But he says the need to remove Assad from power couldn’t be more urgent.
“Rest assured, Assad is just as bad as Hitler was and the international community needs to do something. First they need to ground and neutralize the Syrian Air Force,” he said.
But if Assad falls and the U.S. is actively backing the radical elements of the rebellion, won’t that leave Syria in the hands of extremists and the Free Syrian Army out in the cold? Vallely says that’s a hasty assumption.
“The Free Syrian Army is better structured and organized than is thought. They have many professional individuals, from legal to financial to government policy planners. Remember, many of the defectors were not only military but they were also political bureaucracy-type people. So they’re prepared. They’ve already mapped out a plan for post-Assad,” said Vallely.
Three Martini Lunch 8/29/13
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Charlie Cooke of National Review are pleased to see a military jury sentence Ft. Hood terrorist Nidal Hasan to death. They also savage a Slate column suggesting people are bad if they send their kids to private schools. And they try really hard to figure out what Obama’s Syria policy is and what an attack might do.
Three Martini Lunch 8/28/13
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review celebrate the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. They also lament the huge percentage of single-parent homes, especially among blacks. And they discuss the ability of Democrats to embrace arguments for an attack on Syria that they vehemently condemned in the build-up to the Iraq War.
Same Rules for Washington
Members of Congress and their staffers may not be getting special breaks and benefits from Obamacare if two U.S. senators are successful in making official Washington deal with the same health care system every other American must navigate as the law gets implemented.
Earlier this month, in responding to the plea from lawmakers of both parties, the Obama administration granted certain exemptions and special subsidies for members of Congress and key staffers in order to ward off a mass exodus of veteran Hill aides.
But Senators David Vitter (R-La.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wy.) are now pushing legislation to force Congress to give up the special deal since it’s not part of the actual law and the law was never changed through the legislative process.
“It’s necessary because of this ridiculous rule issued by the administration that exempts members of Congress from certain parts of the sting of Obamacare. There’s a specific provision in Obamacare that says every member of Congress, every member of our staff, has to go to the exchanges just like the fallback position for all of the American people. Under this special rule, there’s a huge subsidy created out of thin air, it’s not in the statute, to take all the sting out of that move,” said Vitter. “I think that’s ridiculous and I think it’s exactly what the American people hate most about Washington, Washington creating special and favorable exemptions and rules for Washington and not the American people.”
Obamacare was passed entirely on Democratic votes but Vitter says members of both parties eagerly sought special treatment for themselves and their staffers.
“There was a lot of jockeying and lobbying behind the scenes for this special fix, this special rule for Washington, and unfortunately it was very bipartisan. There were a bunch of establishment Republicans in on the deal,” said Vitter, who says his ultimate goal is not to force misery on more people but to make lawmakers see what a bad deal Obamacare is for everyone and get them to drastically change or scrap the law.
The Vitter-Enzi law would also force the executive branch personnel to abide by the same terms of Obamacare as the general population. Democrats currently control the Senate, but Vitter says he plans to force a vote on this issue every chance he gets.
“We’re going to bring it up as an amendment on any number of bills until we get a vote, and we’ll keep trying until it happens,” he said. “This is pretty time-sensitive because this special insider deal, this special rule could go into effect by October 1, so we’re to start demanding a vote immediately.”
After so much lobbying for the special treatment from both sides of the aisle, Vitter knows he and Enzi might get a frosty response from their colleagues on this issue.
“I think you’re going to see two very different reactions. (There’s the) private reaction, in which case I think Mike and I will be chewed out by a bunch of our colleagues. That’s fine. I’m used to that,” said Vitter. “And then the public reaction when we force a vote when some folks who chewed us out will vote with us. I’m going to fight for a vote, as will Mike, so that everybody in the Senate gets to make a clear public stand, either with Washington or with the American people.”
Because the Obama administration quietly created the new rule, the Vitter-Enzi amendment would be the first actual vote on whether members and their staffers deserve special treatment. Most lawmakers haven’t been forced to publicly defend the policy they urged the administration to adopt. Vitter has a hunch how some members will try to justify it.
“Some of these folks are going to argue that it will create a ‘brain drain’ from congressional staff. Most folks in the real world who hear that argument react in two ways. First of all, are these the same brains that gave us Obamacare? If it’s the same brains we’re talking about, we can do without them,” said Vitter. “Secondly, yeah, that may be a problem but it’s a problem for America, not just for Washington. We need to fix those sorts of problems for America, not just for Washington.”
Vitter is also among a dozen GOP senators to support defunding Obamacare in connection with funding the federal government in the coming fiscal year. He admits winning a public relations battle with Democrats over a possible government shutdown, but he says lawmakers must seize every opportunity to stop what he believes to be a disastrous law.
“I think that’s a legitimate question about tactics. I’m for delay, repeal, defunding, anything in that direction that will work. I think we need to be very aggressive about it and take it a step at a time. I think the first step should be the U.S. House voting a government funding bill that also defunds Obamacare and send that to the Senate. Certainly, I would support that bill in the Senate,” said Vitter.
Three Martini Lunch 8/27/13
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review cheer two GOP senators for trying to stop lawmakers, staffers and administration officials from getting special treatment on Obamacare. They also cringe as Washington bids to host the 2024 Olympics. And they wonder why administration officials are so willing to reveal every conceivable detail about impending military strikes on Syria.
Three Martini Lunch 8/26/13
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are pleased to see Sen. Bob Corker pushing loudly for more congressional probing of the NSA. They also slam President Obama for saying there is no deficit crisis and any attempt to say there is is just Republicans trying to deny people health care. And they discuss the latest basic cable raunch, officially known as the MTV Video Music Awards.
March Like an Egyptian
For the past two years, Egypt has been witness to much political turmoil. From the ouster of Hosni Mubarak to the military coup against the Muslim Brotherhood, major change has come quite rapidly. And now, Mubarak has been released from prison. In honor of that news, the Capitol Steps bring back their 2011 parody, “March Like an Egyptian.” Our guest is Steps impressionist Mark Eaton.
In the Midst of Persecution
Christians in Egypt are under the worst persecution by Islamic radicals in recent memory, Syrian believers are displaced in massive numbers and the effort to assist them in both countries goes on despite tremendous upheaval in both nations.
Most of the recent attention has been focused on Egypt. Christians have been in the Muslim Brotherhood’s cross hairs since the 2011 Arab Spring, but the persecution has greatly intensified in the weeks following the July 3 coup that removed Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from power. The violence is a result of radical leaders blaming the coup on Christians. It’s a palpably false claim but it carries great resonance with those loyal to Morsi.
“Right now these militants are lashing out for any reason. What you’re going to find is that people use the political climate as an expedient excuse. People in Egypt just want to worship in freedom. They’re not pushing a political agenda,” said Dr. David Curry, the new president and CEO of Open Doors USA, one of the most prominent organizations ministering to the persecuted church.
“They are a minority. There are people, when they have political problems, will lash out at any minority they perceive to be part of that, but the church is not an organized faction in this political situation. They’re just the victims in this circumstance,” he said.
Curry admits the religious freedom for Coptic Christians and other believers has never been ideal in Egypt but he sees the current conditions as a “new low” and says no one is sure where this crisis is headed next. In the meantime, Curry says Christian businesses, churches and individuals are in very serious danger. He says the decision by the Coptic pope to cancel services for the first time since the fifth century was a smart one.
“I think what the pope of the Coptic Church was doing was just using wisdom because right now to be on the street in Egypt, even just wandering around doing your daily business, is a very dangerous proposition for believers of the Coptic stripe or any sort of Christian stripe,” said Curry. “So when you have services that are scheduled and people know where to attack, it could be very dangerous. We’ve had almost 50 churches burned to the ground or attacked in some way in Egypt, just in the last few days.”
Despite a justified fear for their lives and safety, Egyptian Christians are still shining brightly in the darkness surrounding them. Curry says one account typifies the depth of faith of those under fire.
“We had one believer who was really trying to exemplify the message of Jesus, that is to love your enemies, to be a servant. So he was trying to give bottled water and care and love to people who were protesting in the street, even though he knew some of those people were militants who might someday attack his business and his home and his church. And indeed some did, but he was trying to be a loving example and caring for people,” said Curry. “You see, these are people of real spiritual depth and faith on the ground and we’re hoping that America and the American people are going to rally behind them and support them in their freedom to worship.”
Curry says U.S. support needs to take multiple forms.
“Prayer is our first weapon. It’s a supernatural weapon, but we believe wholeheartedly in it. The second thing we’re asking people to do is to support the work that’s happening on the ground. Open Doors has teams on the ground in every major city of Egypt that are helping to support believers, that are trying to keep everybody safe and do anything we can do. That’s the kind of work we’re doing and we believe it’s going to pay big dividends in the years to come,” said Curry.
Open Doors USA also has a significant presence in Syria, where a civil war has been raging for two years between the Iran-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad and a patchwork of rebel groups ranging from respected military leaders to Al Qaeda-dominated Islamist factions. It’s another crisis for Christians, many of whom fled to Syria when the new government in Iraq began persecuting Christians. It’s a situation further complicated by this week’s government attacks that rebels allege were chemical weapons.
“What we’re concentrating on is trying to help and serve the millions of people who are now refugees. A great many of them are Christians who have been forced out by the forces that would be against them. We’re providing packages on the ground for food, for general supplies that they’re going to need,” said Curry, who also noted the possible use of weapons of mass destruction.
“Those things have been suspected and talked about in the past. This is a very clear example of the danger that is evident to these folks who are refugees, who are displaced and might be in a position to be persecuted for their faith,” said Curry, who struggles to see any end to the Syrian conflict in the near future.
“The government here in the United States is going to have to find ways to try to bring this to a more peaceful and swift resolution,” said Curry. “Otherwise you’re going to see millions more not just displaced internally within the country as is the case now but also added to the refugee numbers. It will be a major – maybe the major – humanitarian crisis, although it’s competing with Egypt right now.”