Jim is back today! Join him and Greg as they welcome FDA approval of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. They also wince as Virginia Republicans announce they will be holding their convention for selecting nominees for governor and other statewide offices in a bunch of Liberty University parking lots. And they have a lot of fun discussing Hillary Clinton’s foray into writing fictional thrillers.
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Join Jim and Greg as they highlight the best moments of Tuesday evening at the Republican National Convention, including a pardon, a citizenship ceremony, and rising GOP figure. They also lament the latest destruction and violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following a police-involved shooting a few days ago. And they react to a sudden call from CNN host Don Lemon for Joe Biden to condemn the violence in cities because “it’s showing up in the polling.”
Join Jim and Greg as they cheer Attorney General Bill Barr for calling out the “economic blitzkrieg” agenda of the Chinese Communist Party and hammering corporate America and big tech for turning a blind eye to China’s human rights horror show. They also wince as resurgent COVID cases seem to have job numbers sagging again. And they have fun with the news that very few Democrats will actually be in Milwaukee for the convention next month.
The Charlie Gard case in Great Britain is stirring fierce debate over whether parents ought to have the final decision for their children or whether the government or children themselves ought to have that power.
But this debate goes much further than the UK or whether the parents of an 11-month-old boy ought to be able to seek additional treatment for their son. In fact, one of the experts weighing in on behalf of the hospital in the Gard case says the American notion of parental rights is now more the exception than the norm thanks to action at the United Nations.
“Unlike the USA, English law is focused on the protection of children’s rights,” said Jonathan Montgomery, professor of Health Care Law at University College London told the Associated Press. “The USA is the only country in the world that is not party to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child; it does not recognize that children have rights independent of their parents.”
For family advocates in the U.S., that statement is troubling both in terms of its low regard for parents but also because it’s not at all true.
“If he asserts that children have absolutely no rights separate from their parents in the United States, he ought to lose his tenure,” said Center for Family and Human Rights President Austin Ruse, who is also the author of “Littlest Suffering Souls: Children Whose Short Lives Point Us to Christ.”
“Children do have some rights separate from their parents. They have rights in criminal law. They have rights in inheriting money. Even an unborn child has rights sometimes separate from his or her mother,” said Ruse.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child took effect in 1990. The U.S. never signed on but most nations have.
“The Convention on the Rights of the Child is one of these crazy UN documents that most of the world has signed and ratified and most of the world ignores it,” said Ruse.
However, it’s tenets concern Ruse greatly.
“The Convention on the Rights of the Child does separate the child from his or her parents in terms of all rights, which is one of the reasons the United States has never ratified it,” said Ruse.
“It also gives the child complete access to any form of information from any source. It’s a downright crazy document and it’s a good thing the U.S. has never ratified it,” said Ruse
Why doesn’t the U.S. sign it?
“The main reason the United States has never ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the same reason the U.S. has never ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on Persons with Disabilities, so on and so forth, is because they put us before treaty-monitoring bodies,” said Ruse.
Whether it’s asserting the rights of children or the superiority of the collective, progressive activists are outwardly calling for parents to have less influence in the lives of their children. In 2013, then-MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry sparked controversy with an ad for the cable channel that called for Americans to think of children as belonging to all of us instead of their parents.
“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children,” said Harris-Perry in the ad.
“So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments,” concluded Harris-Perry.
Ruse says the end game for these activists is obvious.
“The endgame of the sexual radicals is to destroy the family. There’s no question about that. It is radical individualism run amok. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is simply part of that,” said Ruse.
“The endgame is to supplant the family. It’s to supplant the church. At the French Revolution, the main idea was to overturn the traditional structures that kept people from being free, the family and the church. So this is all of a piece with those musty ideas from the French Revolution,” said Ruse.
After concluding Washington is incapable of solving some of America’s biggest problems over his 16 years in Congress, former Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., says a constitutionally provided convention of the states is the only realistic remedy to what ails us.
Article V of the Constitution allows for amendments through a convention of two-thirds of the states proposing changes that would then need to be ratified by three-quarters of the states. Currently, 34 states would need to get on board to force Congress to call a convention and 38 states would need to approve any proposed amendments.
“Before our constitutional convention, everything was decided through a convention like this,” said Coburn, who points out George Mason insisted on the inclusion of the convention of the states option after pointing out no government in history has ever given back power to the people.
Coburn further explained the process.
“You have to an application that aggregates (among the states). You have to have the same application everywhere. You can’t have one application for a balanced budget and one application for something else. You have to have 34 that say the same thing,” said Coburn.
The current push for a convention of the states calls for three amendments: one to balance the budget, one to rein in the reach of the federal government , and one to limit the length of terms in the House and Senate.
Coburn says a balanced budget amendment is desperately needed.
“We think the federal government ought to be fiscally responsible. They ought to have to live under the same accounting guidelines everybody else does and they ought to have to live within their means,” said Coburn. “That’s a balanced budget amendment but it also means you can’t just go and add mandates to the states to balance the budget. You have to make hard choices.”
Congress came within one vote of approving a balanced budget amendment in 1995, just months after Republicans won control of both chambers. The plan passed the House 300-132, but the 65-35 tally in the Senate was just shy of sending the amendment to the states.
The vote was really 66-34, but when it was clear the measure would fail then-Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, changed his vote to no so he would be eligible under Senate rules to reconsider the issue. A subsequent vote also failed.
Since 1995, no balanced budget proposal has come anywhere close to passing, and Coburn says that should come as no surprise.
“They don’t want to balance the budget, because then they have to make hard choices, then they have to be accountable to their electorate. If the electorate doesn’t like the choices that they made, they’ll replace them. It’s an insurance policy if I don’t have to have a balanced budget,” said Coburn.
“The easiest thing in the world is to spend somebody else’s money and that’s what they do every day. They spend our grandchildren’s money because we’re certainly not spending our own right now,” said Coburn.
Next on the amendment list is to “limit the scope and jurisdiction of the federal government.” Coburn says a ridiculous case from 1942 effectively gave the federal government to meddle far too intimately in our lives.
“An Ohio wheat farmer grew 18 acres more wheat than he was allotted, but he used every bit of it to feed his own cattle, his own family and used it for feed the next year. The federal government said that’s interstate commerce because you didn’t buy that 18 acres worth of wheat from somewhere else,” said Coburn.
“So they expanded the commerce clause and that is what has allowed the federal government to tell every state – in everything they do now – what to do,” said Coburn.
Coburn says returning power to state and local authorities also heightens accountability, pointing out it is much easier to get an appointment with your state representative than a member of the House or Senate.
Coburn cited a recent poll showing 86 percent of Americans don’t trust the federal government. He says that places America in a crisis that returning power to states and locales can help to address.
“When you quit trusting the central authority, then you will no longer follow its will. That’s called anarchy. So we have to take back our freedom. We have to re-establish the rule of law and make sure it’s followed. But also it has to have the integrity of the central government in terms of a limited federal government,” said Coburn.
The third and final amendment Coburn and his allies are pushing would limit lawmakers to 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and 12 years in the U.S. Senate.
“Prior to a Supreme Court ruling in 1994, 26 states had limited the terms of their members of Congress. In an Arkansas case, the Supreme Court decided that we as citizens can’t decide whether we want to limit the terms of our federal representatives. Well that’s ludicrous. So what you do is pass an amendment that puts a limit on the amount of time people can serve,” said Coburn.
Coburn says 12 states are already on board. He expects another 10-12 states to join the effort in the next 12 months and another 10-12 in the year after that, meaning a convention of states could take place within two to three years.
He is quick to stress that the convention itself cannot ratify the amendments. That role still belongs to the states. Coburn is bullish on that front as well, noting that Republicans are just 24 seats away from controlling the legislatures in 38 states.
Ultimately, Coburn believes the success or failure of this campaign will depend upon the courage to do what has to be done.
“Do we have the moral structure with which to make these hard decisions for the future or do we just let this train run out of control down the mountain? That’s the real question,” said Coburn.
“If you love your kids, you love your country, and you love your future, you ought to be about choking down the federal government and having it live within its means, lessening it’s impact on the economy so the economy can actually grow,” said Coburn.
Dr. Tom Coburn spent 16 years in Congress and quit because lawmakers refused to make tough choices to spare future generations the burden of crushing debt, and he is now calling for a Convention of the States so state and local leaders can do the work Washington politicians refuse to address.
Coburn served Oklahoma in the House of Representatives from 1995-2001. He was elected twice to the U.S. Senate before resigning in 2015. He is also the author of ” Smashing the DC Monopoly: Using Article V to Restore Freedom and Stop Runaway Government.”
Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides two ways for amendments to be enacted. The more common way is for both chambers of Congress to approve an amendment by two-thirds majorities, followed by three-quarters of the states ratifying the proposal. However, Article V also allows for two-thirds of states to convene and approve amendments which would still require approval by three-quarters of the states.
Coburn says business as usual in Washington proves politicians are not up to the task of reining in government.
“Everybody said things would change in 2010. Then they said things would change in 2014. Then they said things would change in 2016,” said Coburn, who contends there’s a very simple explanation for why those campaign promises are not kept.
“Most members of Congress are conflicted and the conflict is this: Do I do what’s best for the country and maybe lose my election or do I do what’s best for my political career so I can maintain my status as an elite?” said Coburn. “The desire for power, which our founders very well knew, trumps everything else.”
Among Coburn’s biggest frustrations is how public service has become a career for so many, rather than lawmakers serving for a brief time and then returning to their private lives.
“If you didn’t have career politicians, they wouldn’t be looking for the next office. It’s not the public service is in any way dishonorable. It’s that motives for most of those that run today is to get and hold and advance power,” said Coburn.
As a result he says people who want to make tough choices to tackle problems like debt and spending are scorned for putting their colleagues in a difficult position.
“Their peers say, ‘Don’t do that. We’ll have to make all these hard choices. We’ll get beat up here.’ What they need is an excuse to do the right thing” said Coburn.
“They need an excuse to be able to come home and say, ‘I’m sorry I had to cut this program because we have to balance the budget. It’s dishonorable to borrow against your children. We’re going to make these hard choices and if you don’t want to re-elect me it’s fine. I’ll be happy to go back to my real job,'” said Coburn.
“But the problem is two-thirds of the people in Washington have never had a real job,” said Coburn.
Coburn says the 1995 federal government shutdown is a perfect example of lawmakers refusing to stick to their principles and allowing government to spiral out of control. The Republicans eventually buckled in the face of intense media and political pressure, and GOP leaders have been very reluctant to even threaten such a move ever since.
Coburn was a House freshman at the time and says Republicans snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
“What we saw post-collapse of the Republican leadership was that the president was getting ready to cede the spending cuts that we wanted to make. Had we had those spending cuts, you wouldn’t be running half-trillion and trillion dollar deficits,” said Coburn.
“Leadership can either go on the basis of courage or on the basis of fear, and what you’re seeing in Washington from the career politicians is fear.” he said.
“If you’re going to shut the government down, don’t open it up until you’ve won everything you need to win. Take the heat and lose your slot. Is it better for a politician to lose an election and the country to be better off or is it better for the politician to maintain power and the kids that come after us suffer dearly,” said Coburn.
Coburn was re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, but walked away in January 2015 with two years remaining in his term. Was it because Congress was doing nothing to honor its promises to get the nation’s fiscal house in order?
“It was 100 percent (that),” said Coburn. “I had told the majority leader two years before I left that I was going to leave if things didn’t change, if we didn’t start addressing the real issues, if his leadership wasn’t going to address the real issues. If he didn’t put people in position to address the real issues, there’s no reason to stay there and participate and get an ‘Atta boy’ because you’re a senator but you’re not actually accomplishing anything for the future of our country,” said Coburn.
“Nothing happened so I went to him and said, “I told you I was leaving. I’m leaving.’ I did and it was a good decision because now I’m working on the solution big enough to solve the problem,and that’s the Article V amendments convention,” said Coburn.
He says this is America’s best chance to get the ship headed in the right direction.
“The real question for you and the average American family, whether you’re liberal or conservative, is who gets to decide. Is it an un-elected bureaucrat in Washington or is it you as a free citizen in this country,” said Coburn.