VP HOPEFULS RANKED AS OPPOSITES
With voter approval rates for Hillary Clinton averaging a negative 10.9 percentage points and those for Donald Trump at a negative 28.6 percentage points,it’s conceivable that their vice presidential choices will tip the scales for undecided voters in November.
The press and commentators analyzing both parties (except for some die-hard Bernard Sanders acolytes) generally agree that popular Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia is Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s ideal running mate — a well-mannered, modulated moderate from a key swing state.
The press and political sages have called Mike Pence the perfect ticket mate for Mr. Trump because he has stood firmly on the right in the U.S. House and in his current role as Indiana governor.
But what if Mr. Kaine is not the perfect model of a modern political moderate and Mr. Pence is not the Barry Goldwater of the modern conservative movement? By one measure, Mr. Kaine is not the moderate Democrat his backers suggest he is.
“The fact that Hillary Clinton selected as her running mate the most liberal elected official in all of Congress tells a lot about her real agenda,” said Dan Schneider, executive director of the American Conservative Union, which compiles a widely cited scorecard of legislators’ votes.
Going all the way back to 1964, when Lyndon B. Johnson selected Hubert H. Humphrey as his running mate, no vice presidential nominee has earned a perfect zero on the ACU rating system — not Humphrey on the Democratic ticket, not 1972 Democratic nominee Edmund Muskie (or “Crying Ed,” as Mr. Trump might have referred to him), not George McGovern’s running mate, Tom Eagleton (or “Crazy Tom,” as Mr. Trump might have called him), not President Carter’s vice president, Walter F. Mondale, nor Geraldine Ferraro, who was Mr. Mondale’s running mate when he was the 1984 Democratic presidential nominee.
The four most recent Democratic vice presidential nominees — Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards and Joseph R. Biden — are in double digits on the ACU scorecard, voting conservative at least some of the time while serving in Congress.
Was there ever a centrist on a Democratic ticket? You bet, said Mr. Schneider. “And the name will surprise you: Michael Dukakis’ running mate, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, earned an ACU lifetime rating of 40.5 percent.”
“Lloyd Bentsen was a true centrist,” the ACU executive director said. “His ACU rating is actually closer to [George H.W. Bush Vice President] Dan Quayle’s than it is to Tim Kaine‘s.”
Mr. Kaine, who rates a rock-bottom zero from the ACU based on his Senate voting record since his election in 2012, is clearly no Lloyd Bentsen, at least with ACU calibrations.
The scales of ideological interest groups like the ACU’s and its liberal counterparts are not the same, however. GovTrack also ranks legislative voting records but says it is nonideological and nonpartisan.
Mr. Kaine “ranks as the 11th most conservative of the 46 Democratic senators, according to GovTrack’s ideology analysis,” wrote GovTrack Insider’s Jesse Rifkin. “He was also further to the right of every other Democratic senator considered a possibility to become Clinton’s running mate, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sherrod Brown of New Jersey.”
Mr. Rifkin gave Mr. Schneider and the ACU their due, noting that the Democratic vice presidential candidate is “still further to the left than every Republican” now serving in the Senate.
The GovTrack writers also note that Mr. Kaine voted with Democrats 96 percent of the time in the last Congress. “That’s more than any Republican did in their own party.”
Is Mr. Pence the liberal nemesis he is cracked up to be?
The liberal American Civil Liberties Union slapped him with a measly 7 percent rating, and the NAACP gave him a mere 22 percent.
Like Mr. Kaine, Mr. Pence gets a legislative score of zero — but from NARAL Pro-Choice America, a leading pro-choice group. (Contributor: By Ralph Z. Hallow forThe Washington Times)
Vice-presidential candidates are chosen for political reasons. It’s called “balancing the ticket.” Sen. Tim Caine fully matches Hillary Clinton’s extreme liberalism and the Democrat platform. Gov. Mike Pence, a conservative evangelical, reflects the Republican platform. Pray that values voters will examine both party platforms and consider voting pro-life. The platform contrasts could not be more stark.
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live....”(Deut. 30:19)
ADMINISTRATION LOOKS TO TWEAK CONTRACEPTIVE MANDATE
Three months after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered both sides to seek out a compromise on Obamacare’s birth control mandate, religious nonprofits that oppose it are mobilizing to win the fight, while the administration is saying it’s ready to tweak the rules.
The Health and Human Services Department has asked the public to weigh in through next month on ways to ensure women get access to contraceptives including the morning-after pill and accommodate faith-based schools, hospitals and charities that refuse to pay for something they consider sinful.
Justices in May said they believe there’s a way to do both, and have asked the lower courts to oversee the efforts to reach a new deal.
But for the pro-life side, the only acceptable outcome is to be left out of it.
“Our position in the whole matter hasn’t changed, namely, that whatever the government or the insurance companies do, we want no involvement whatsoever in being the bridge between our employees and the objectionable coverage the government wants to provide,” said Father Frank Pavone, executive director of Priests for Life, which challenged the rules. “Therefore, the government cannot simply stand by its regulations in their current form.”
Several weeks into the feedback period, all but a handful of the 140 or so comments fielded by HHS have sided with the religious groups, saying the Founding Fathers expressly protected religious freedom. Yet rather than offering Solomonic solutions, many of the commenters are telling the government to provide the drugs and services itself.
“If contraceptive coverage is deemed so important by the government, then the government should offer that coverage directly to those employees who cannot obtain it through their religious employers,” a commenter from Maryland said. “This a simple and obvious solution.”
Hoping to press its advantage, Priests for Life said it has alerted a “few hundred thousand” supporters about the comment period and will hold webcasts and conference calls on the issue, so they can provide knowledgeable feedback to the government in the coming weeks.
The contraceptive mandate is part of the Obama administration’s policies in carrying out Obamacare. HHS said most employers must provide insurance that covers dozens of FDA-approved contraceptives, including birth control pills or the morning-after pill that some religions object to as sinful.
Houses of worship were exempt from the mandate, but religious-based charities, including some private schools or Catholic hospitals, were not. Instead, the government offered an accommodation requiring the nonprofits to opt out of the coverage through a written form, which would then trigger the insurers or the government to step in.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns dedicated to caring for the elderly, and a number of other charities objected, saying that signing the form made them complicit in providing the contraceptives they object to.
The administration still thinks its accommodation is consistent with a 1993 law designed to protect religious freedoms, though it said it won’t prejudge the outcome of the public comment period, which lasts until Sept. 20.
“Information gathered through this [request for information] will be used to determine whether changes to the current regulations should be made and, if so, to inform the nature of those changes,” said HHS spokeswoman Marjorie Connolly.
Mark Renzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said the best way for the government to settle the long-running debate is to provide contraceptives through Obamacare’s exchanges or other federal programs, carving the nonprofits out completely.
“I think it would take a whole lot of chutzpah for the government to say we’re going to stick to the current scheme,” he said.
Yet Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, which defended the mandate, said her organization and like-minded groups plan to weigh in during the comment period. While it is not clear what they will say just yet, the ACLU will not support any proposal “that takes contraception out of the employees’ comprehensive health plan.”
“Maybe some new ideas will emerge in the comments,” Ms. Amiri said. “Frankly, the government has bent over backwards trying to appease the employers in these cases.”
For its part, HHS says it is committed to respecting the beliefs of religious employers, though it also said that any solution must ensure that women “seamlessly receive full and equal health coverage, including contraceptive coverage.”
The nonprofits say that could be a problem, since they don’t want to be involved in any way.
“They want to make the coverage ‘seamless’ and as easy as possible for the employee,” Father Pavone said, “but the problem is that the more seamless it is, the more complicit we are asked to be.” (Contributor: By Tom Howell Jr. forThe Washington Times)
This is “the problem that will not go away.” Pray for Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life and all those who are standing fast against government opposition to sacrosanct religious convictions. Such convictions will not allow them to dispense contraceptive materials. The administration is determined to overcome. Pray for clear-cut victory, that religious freedoms will prevail.
“And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’”(Mark 12:17)
THE REALITY OF A PIPE DREAM
Socialism is still in vogue, regardless of its sorry record all over the world for the last century.The Free Stuff Army is on the march, especially in the United States.
There’s something about deploying the government as a mugger to obtain the fruits of someone else’s labor that appeals to the worst in us. But it invariably leads to poverty, dishonesty and even tyranny.
Years ago, I visited Jamaica when it was under a socialist government. Things had deteriorated. Trying to fool the people, the government ordered imported goods to be repackaged as locally produced.
I asked a guy in Kingston when I saw a bottle of Johnson & Johnson baby powder where the factory was, and he laughed and said, “There is no factory. They just rebottled the powder and slapped a ‘Made in Jamaica’ label on it.”
Instead of serving wine from California or Europe, the Jamaican restaurants featured reconstituted vintages labeled “Made in Jamaica” that could have doubled as industrial floor cleaners.
Eventually, the island’s government rejected much of the nonsense borrowed from Castro’s Cuba, and the Jamaican economy got going again.
A common myth perpetuated in academia and the media is that a straight-line axis would put the Nazis and Fascists on the far right and the Communists on the far left, with Socialists in the middle. But the Communists, Nazis and Fascists are all, in fact, on the far left under the umbrella term of Socialism. On the far right would-be anarchists who believe in no government. America, with its limited government and guarantees of individual liberty, is somewhere in between.
To sort this out, here’s a tale of two cows that I didn’t originate but did embroider a bit.
Anarchy:You have two cows. You sell milk at a price your neighbors want or they kill you and take the cows.
Fascism:The state takes both and sells you the milk.
Communism: The state takes both and gives you milk — but only if you have party connections or stand in the right line.
Nazism:The state takes both and shoots you if you’re Jewish, a gypsy or a troublesome Christian.
Socialism:The government takes one and gives it to someone else. Then they come for the other, accusing you of being selfish and hateful.
Finally, there’sCapitalism: You have two cows. You sell one for a fair price to your neighbor . and buy a bull.
Speaking of family matters, in the 1930s, J.D. Unwin, an Oxford anthropologist, released “Sex and Culture,” a study from every continent over 5,000 years. He found that all cultures throughout history honored marriage, and those that abandoned monogamy soon were depleted of energy and were destroyed. This helps explain the fall of Greece and Rome.
Now, why is this important? It’s because Socialism has been at war with marriage and the family since the late-18th century. The most prominent socialist thinkers, including Rousseau, Marx and Engels, promoted the sexual revolution in which marriage and family were devalued in order to eliminate loyalties other than to the state.
Like a stoned freak at Woodstock, Engels championed “free love,” the opposite of commitment and fidelity. Like most leftist thinkers, Marx, Engels and Rousseau were cads who betrayed their own wives and children.
Today’s socialists and progressives support not only more governmental redistribution but every aspect of the sexual revolution, from no-fault divorce to pornography, abortion, the ever-widening LGBTQ agenda and the legal assault on marriage. All of it leaves women and children at the mercy of the state. When families fail, the state grows to pick up the pieces.
As Hoover Institution scholar Thomas Sowell has observed, “The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.”
C.S. Lewis said that the left’s agenda is to make religion private and pornography public. That summarizes the ACLU’s ongoing legal campaign to fundamentally transform America from Bedford Falls into Pottersville.
During the 20th century, Europe flirted with every possible variety of socialism, making it the bloodiest century in history. On the positive side, the 20th is also known as “the American Century,” when we became the wealthiest, freest, most powerful nation in history. This was no accident. It resulted from a conscious will to be as free as possible from arbitrary power, recognizing where ultimate power lies.
In his farewell address, George Washington said that: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness.”
As America drifts from our spiritual origins, there are signs of the socialist disease: rising obsession with redistribution and sensate entertainment, loss of virtue and respect for innocent life, mounting public and private debt, and an ever-growing government.
But as Yogi Berra would say, “it ain’t over till it’s over.”
If enough Americans reassert our spiritual heritage and legacy of liberty and free market economics, we won’t succumb to Socialism. There is no reason apart from just giving up that America cannot continue to be a beacon of freedom. (Contributor: By Robert Knight forThe Washington Times- Robert Knight is a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union.)
This is a good warning article. Let us “watch and pray.” But we also acknowledge that America is close to succumbing to out-and-out socialism, if not communism, where the state rules and our U.S. Constitution is all but obliterated. This is not pessimism, but a call to much prayer. We urge all readers to study the political issues and platforms, then vote for the values you believe.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”(Phil. 4:8)
CLINTON MUST TESTIFY ON EMAIL, BUT IN WRITING
Hillary Clintonwill have to give testimony about her secret email server and account, but it will be in writing rather than in person, a federal judge ruled Friday, delivering a partial victory to the Democratic presidential candidate.
Mrs. Clinton will have until the middle of November — after the election — to answer those questions, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled.
But the State Department must quickly process and release any of the emails the FBI has recovered from Mrs. Clinton’s accounts that are sought in the open-records lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. Judge Sullivan said those must be released by Sept. 30.
The judge said Mrs. Clinton has “unique firsthand knowledge” of why she refused to use the department’s official email and instead set up a system that shielded her communications from public view for years. But the judge said putting a former Cabinet secretary under oath in person would be too burdensome when written questions would suffice. He also insisted that Judicial Watch be careful about the extent of its questioning.
“The Court directs Judicial Watch to propound questions that are relevant to Secretary Clinton’s unique firsthand knowledge of ‘the creation and operation of clintonemail.com for State Department business, as well as the State Department’s approach and practice for processing FOIA requests that potentially implicated former Secretary Clinton’s and Ms. Abedin’s emails and State’s processing of the FOIA request that is the subject of this action,” Judge Sullivan wrote, referring to Huma Abedin, one of Mrs. Clinton’s top aides who has already given testimony.
Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that has been trying to pry loose many of the details about Mrs. Clinton’s time as State Department secretary, argued for in-person testimony on the basis that it was the only way to handle follow-up questions that might arise.
The judge, though, said Mrs. Clinton has spoken publicly and left such a broad record that Judicial Watch can anticipate follow-up responses. He also left open the chance that Judicial Watch could come back to the court for follow-ups.
Judge Sullivan said Judicial Watch can take a sworn deposition from John Bentel, a former chief of the information management section that was supposed to handle Mrs. Clinton’s records.
Mr. Bentel, according to an internal investigation, told employees that Mrs. Clinton’s email arrangement had been approved by the department’s legal staff — a claim the investigators were unable to sustain — and told employees not to discuss the situation again.
Another State Department employee, Clarence Finney, who managed open-records requests for Mrs. Clinton’s documents, was excused from testifying. Judge Sullivan said it wasn’t clear what additional information he would be able to provide.
Despite being in charge of her correspondence, Mr. Finney was apparently unaware of Mrs. Clinton’s secret email account.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the ruling will help shed light on Mrs. Clinton’s behavior.
“We will move quickly to get these answers,” he said. “The decision is a reminder that Hillary Clinton is not above the law.”
But Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, told “Fox News Sunday” that Judicial Watch and Republicans on Capitol Hill are hounding Mrs. Clinton. Top House Republicans have sent a referral to the Justice Department to prosecute Mrs. Clinton for lying to Congress about her emails.
“I think what is being requested by my congressional colleagues is strictly a partisan witch hunt,” he said.
Mrs. Clinton exclusively used the email account tied to a server she kept at her home in New York for her government business. After being prodded by a congressional probe, she belatedly handed more than 30,000 messages she said were work-related back to the government in December 2014 — and deleted at least 30,000 other messages.
The FBI looked into the account and found Mrs. Clinton did mishandle classified information — but said no prosecutor would be able to make a case against her.
Still, the FBI found thousands of other work-related emails Mrs. Clinton didn’t turn over to the State Department. The FBI has since provided those emails to the department, which is working to catalog them by next week and to explain how it will make them public. (Contributor: By Stephen Dinan forThe Washington Times)
Please pray fervently for our nation. We ask each reader to work with your church, your prayer group, and with us to “Get Out the Prayer.” America’s major issue is not Mrs. Clinton or her email reporting practices. Our country’s challenges are first spiritual. Mrs. Clinton’s truth issues are a symptom not a cause. Pray for national spiritual renewal and revival in the Church.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”(Isa. 55:6-7)
HARD TRUTHS ABOUT INNER-CITY DYSFUNCTION
Growing up, I watched a lot of Westerns. In addition to the cowboy hero,the town sheriff was almost always a model of integrity. He stood for law and order against bank robbers, cattle rustlers and horse thieves all trying to disrupt the peace.
A contemporary and real-life version of those fictional characters is Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wis.
Sheriff Clarke has been trying to restore law and order after several nights of rioting following the shooting death of 23-year-old Sylville Smith by a Milwaukee police officer. Smith had a lengthy criminal record, longer than some people’s resumes. He should have been in prison.
Sheriff Clarke has appeared numerous times on the Fox News Channel, but not so much in other media. On Monday, The Washington Post carried a story about the riots and ignored Clarke, choosing instead to quote Milwaukee’s chief of police, Edward Flynn. I suspect that’s because Clarke speaks some hard truths, which many liberals do not want to hear.
In an appearance Monday on Fox, Clarke, who is African-American, offered his explanation for the major cause of riots in Milwaukee and other cities: “You know what encourages this? The growth of the welfare state. These are underclass behaviors. Seventy percent of the kids born in Milwaukee are born without an engaged father in their life. So I look at the progressive policies that have marginalized black dads. They push them to the side and say ‘you’re not needed.’ Uncle Sam is going to be the dad, he’s going to provide for the kids, he’s going to feed the kids. Uncle Sam has been a horrible father. Uncle Sam does not love these kids. He might keep a little food in their mouths and that is about it. But we all know the importance of an intact family, what it can do to shape the behavior of kids.”
Clarke called progressive policies “a total disaster,” not only in Milwaukee, but in Chicago, Baltimore, New York and elsewhere. “These progressive policies have hit the black community like a nuclear blast and until we reverse this government dependency, that’s what creates all of this and it encourages it by the way, along with some questionable lifestyle choices.”
His answer? “Until the black community does a self-evaluation and until they begin to self-criticize about some of the lifestyle choices they are making, this stuff is going to continue to fester.”
A young African-American man found by a TV camera during the weekend riot said: “The rich people, they got all this money, and they not trying to give us none.” Really? All of that tax money spent on anti-poverty programs for the last 50 years never trickled down to him? This poisonous attitude has been promoted by progressives and has not helped the poor rise above their circumstances.
This young man should talk to Clarke about changing his attitude. Some self-evaluation and an internal readjustment would do more for him than any anti-poverty program the Democrats could dream up.
Why do African-Americans continue to vote for liberal Democrats who have done little to help them and, in fact, often cause more harm than good?
Again, Clarke gets it right: “Until we push back against this progressive ideology, this dangerous ideology that has been very destructive to the black community and that’s what I’m trying to do -- it’s Job One right now in terms of messaging -- this thing is only going to get worse.”
Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. (Contributor: By Cal Thomas forFox News)
Give thanks for Sheriff David Clark of Milwaukee, Wis. Pray for his safety and for his message to be widely heard and understood. He is an African-American public servant who represents law enforcement and understands that the welfare state cannot bring freedom to a population steeped in “free” provision. The coming election is a vote for or against socialism.
“For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.” (2 Thess. 3:10-11)