Friday, February 28, 2014

Having trouble with Obamacare? Senator Reid says you're lying.

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) stated on the Senate floor earlier this week that all the stories we're hearing about ObamaCare are simply lies. 

"Despite all that good news," Reid told President Obama, "there's plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they're being told all over America."

Reid cited the television ad featuring Julie Boonstra, a leukemia patient who lost her insurance, then got a new Obama-approved one where the premium went down, but the out of pocket costs skyrocketed to the point she could not afford the medication she needed - some of which was no longer even covered under her new "government improved" insurance. 

But according to the compassionate Reid, her story is nothing more than a dubious ploy by the billionaire Koch brothers, who paid for her ad. "The leukemia patient whose insurance policy was canceled and could die without her medication, Mr. President, that's an ad being paid for by two billionaire brothers," Reid lamented. "It's absolutely false. Or the woman whose insurance policy went up $700 a month--ads paid for around America by the multibillionaire Koch brothers, and the ad is false."

These stories are being made up out of "whole-cloth," he added.

Oh, really? It is not my imagination Mr. Reid, that my health insurance plan - which I liked and was promised dozens of times I could keep - was cancelled. I was given a new insurance program that covers things I do not need, nor necessarily want to even support. Yes, the monthly premium went down a little, but my deductible went up several thousand dollars. That means I would have to be really, really ill to work my way through that deductible before my government-approved insurance will pay for anything. 

And bonus, I've been informed that this new policy I was handed is only good for one year. I will then have to go into an even more rigid government-approved plan, which my insurance company warned me would be much higher in premiums, though the outrageous deductibles will remain the same.

By the grace of God, I am healthy. But for people like Julie Boonstra, I cannot imagine having to attempt paying for unaffordable life-saving medications out of my own pocket and then being told by the government that I have nothing to gripe about  because my premium went down a few dollars - and then being called a liar on top of it.

Just like Ms. Boonstra, or the millions of other people who have lost their promised insurance under Obamacare, I am not a liar. Shame on you, Senator Reid, for putting your precious quest for power above real human lives.

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Government, not the Church, is the real oppressor

Pope Francis – named Person of the Year by Time Magazine and gay rights magazine, The Advocate – is a hero to some because they think he’s abandoning Catholic doctrine to modernize an “outdated and oppressive” Church. In reality, the Pope is underscoring true Church teaching, and given our country’s rapid slide into actual oppression by an ever-expanding and godless government, maybe we could learn something from what the Church has to teach.

At its core, the Church founded by Christ expresses the dignity of every human being, from conception to natural death. This God-given dignity is so profound that inherent in it is our freedom to love God by choice, not force. It doesn’t get less oppressive than that.

The Church teaches also that, while God’s law is supreme, government is a necessary function that we’re duty bound to obey, provided it doesn’t endanger God’s law, in which morality itself is based. Christ in fact commands us to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” But key to this is the Church’s emphasis that our intrinsic rights to life, liberty and happiness – including our rights of conscience -- come from God, not man, and that government is the servant, not the master, of its citizens.

Acknowledging this, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Our rulers can have no authority over such natural rights…the rights of conscience we never submitted.” Indeed, government can protect these rights – as our Constitution does – but it cannot play master by taking away the rights it didn’t create in the first place.

Yet this is largely what our current government is doing. The HHS mandate, for example, along with recent court decisions that force private Christian business owners to provide services for same-sex “weddings”, and government’s recent attempt to prohibit Catholic Mass for active military members, all aim to separate people from their morals, rebranding them as servants not of God, but of the State.

Government could also learn something from the Church about our duty to the poor. The Gospel instructs us to use our God-given talents not only to provide for ourselves, but to help others. Christ commands us to give generously to those in need, and the Church emphasizes through the principle of subsidiarity that our help to the poor should come first and foremost from us individually and in smaller groups, not delegated to big government alone. By its own wisdom, this teaching establishes a safeguard of limited government and personal freedom. Rejecting it accomplishes the opposite.

Of course, any compassionate society should have certain public safety nets to help the truly down and out, but our country has become a mammoth welfare state. In the 50 years since the War on Poverty was declared, we’ve spent $20 trillion and record numbers are now dependent on government. Still, last month President Obama announced wishes to expand welfare even more.

In the name of helping the poor, these failed policies encourage ever more people to abandon their God-given means of productivity in favor of public assistance, whether by need or by choice. Regarding the latter, it’s a simple truth that the more government gives, the less citizens need do for themselves, and the less inclined they become to do so.

Does this make any of us free? No. By complacently allowing government practices that squash the dignity of self-sufficiency, we invite government’s oppression over us. A society dependent on government is enslaved to it, and little by little, God-given freedoms are replaced with government-imposed edicts. The 40,000 new state and approximately 70,000 federal regulations approved last year alone is a testimony to that.

Ironically, those who most loudly protest the Church today do so on the grounds that their freedoms are somehow stifled by her, not by government. Because government is permissive of things like abortion and other evils that the Church asks us to reject, she is seen as the oppressor, despite that no one is forced to comply with her.

But to this mindset, the freedom to do what we want takes priority over doing what’s good for us, especially concerning our eternal salvation. And how can this so-called freedom be ensured? By marginalizing the Church and ridding society of God so we may live unencumbered by anything that might make us feel uncomfortable about the choices we make.

What we get in place of God, though, is a government that wants to be our god -- one that will gladly strip us of our rights to pursue what’s good for us morally, and impose its will on us instead. In fact, to achieve this power, removing God is essential (a fundamental tenet of Communism, by the way) because unbridled power of the State is incompatible with the true teachings of God.

Which side is our current government on: the side of God-given human dignity and freedom, or the power of the State? One need only look at its actions – including its silence on adamant attempts at the 2012 Democratic National Convention to remove God altogether from the party platform – to answer that. And as long as today’s citizens continue rendering more to Caesar than to God in the name of a complacent, misguided concept of freedom, we’re going to squander real freedom right out of existence.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Does Obama's weakening of our military make us more secure?*

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld condemned President Barack Obama for showing such "weakness" that American adversaries are growing bolder by the day.

Rumsfeld, author of the new book, "Rumsfeld's Rules," told John Bachman on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum" that the United States is not spending enough money on the military.

"The greatest security threat [to America] is the fact that the United States is behaving in a way that is sending a signal of future weakness," he said. "In the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson administrations, we were spending 10 percent of gross domestic product on defense. Today, we're spending less than 4 percent and the entitlements have ballooned."

"There's no way we can keep on spending trillions of dollars we don't have. So that vacuum we're creating is going to be filled, and it'll be filled by countries that don't have our values and clearly are adverse to our interests."

Rumsfeld, who was secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush, said Iran's ayatollahs are determined to build a nuclear weapon, which will set off a dangerous Middle East arms race.

"You very likely are going to end up seeing other countries in the region develop nuclear weapons," Rumsfeld said. "And there are other countries that are perfectly capable of it, and there are countries around the world that are willing to assist them with nuclear programs. And that is not a good thing for the world."

Rumsfeld warned that Saudi Arabia and Egypt would soon want to arm themselves with nuclear bombs.

The former defense secretary also attacked the Obama administration for announcing that it was pulling out all its troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, sending a message to Taliban terrorists that the war-torn country is ripe for another takeover.

"The president never should have said we'll be leaving on a certain date because it tells the Taliban, wait a while and then you can come in and take over," he told Newsmax TV, adding that the country was "on a good path forward and it has been placed in jeopardy unnecessarily."

He also warned of what life could be like in Afghanistan if the Taliban gains power again. "They used the soccer stadiums to cut off people's heads. Women couldn't go out in the street without a male member of their family, they couldn't go to school. They were a vicious government."

Rumsfeld also said the United States should not have offered to give aid to the Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime and then gone back on its promise. "Either you keep your mouth shut, [and] if you say something then by golly you'd better live up to it, and we did exactly the wrong thing."

Syria may be a no-win situation because Iran is helping to fight the rebels by supplying fighters to President Bashar Assad's forces while the Russians are selling them arms, he said. "The implication that, when it was over Assad could still be there, is obviously a deterrent to anyone opposing Assad."

But Rumsfeld said the United States can bounce back and become a world leader once again.

"We do not need to go into decline," he said. "I expect that what we'll see is self-correction taking place because we ought not to leave a vacuum that is filled by people that fundamentally don't have our values and are against our interests."

Source: Newsmax, Feb. 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pew Study: Christians Are The World’s Most Oppressed Religious Group* – Restrictions, harassment, and intimidation towards people who practice their religion increased in every major region of the world in 2012 except the Americas, with Christians the major target, says a new report by the Pew Research Center.

“Muslims and Jews experienced six-year highs in the number of countries in which they were harassed by national, provincial or local governments,” the study found, but Christians continue to be the world’s most oppressed religious group, with persecution against them reported in 110 countries.

A recent report by the Christian group Open Doors noted that “North Korea remains the world’s most restrictive nation in which to practice Christianity,” followed by Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen.

More than “5.3 billion people (76% of the world’s population) live in countries with a high or very high level of restrictions on religion,” Pew noted, “up from 74% in 2011 and 68% as of mid-2007.”

A fifth of the world's nations (20%) also experienced religious terrorism or sectarian violence in 2012, Pew researchers found, which was “up markedly from 2007 (9%).”

President Obama expressed hope that the “Arab Spring” would give rise to greater religious freedom in North Africa and the Middle East, which has had the world’s highest level of hostility towards religion in every year since 2007, when Pew first began measuring it. However, the study finds that these regions actually experienced the largest increase in religious hostilities in 2012.

Across the six years that Pew has conducted the study, Christians were being harassed for their faith in 151 countries and Muslims in 135. Together they represent the world’s two largest religious groups and more than half of the world’s population.

Jews, who make up less than 1% of the world’s population, experienced religious persecution in 95 countries. Researchers also found an increase in religious harassment in countries where Hindus, Buddhists or followers of other traditional religions predominated.

"Among the world's 25 most populous countries, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Pakistan and Burma (Myanmar) had the most restrictions on religion in 2012,” the report stated. Pakistan had the highest level of social hostilities involving religion, while Egypt had the highest level of government restrictions on religious practice, Pew found.

Religious persecution

Syria, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand and Burma rose to the “very high” level of social hostility towards religion last year.

Women were harassed about the way they dressed due to religious reasons in almost a third of all countries in 2012 – up from less than 7 percent in 2007.

This is the fourth report by Pew Research Center analyzing the global issue of freedom to practice religious beliefs. “As part of the original study, published in 2009, Pew Research developed two indexes – a Government Restrictions Index and a Social Hostilities Index – that were used to gauge government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion in nearly 200 countries and territories,” Pew says.

That first report created a baseline for each country, broken down into five geographic regions. Subsequent reports have looked at changes in restrictions and hostilities in the individual countries, as well as in the regions to which they belong.