Promote humanity 1


By Tom Quiner

Abortion dehumanizes society.

Pornography dehumanizes society.

Increasingly, even political discourse is dehumanizing, vicious, and divisive.  It seems to me that the march of civilization should be in the direction of doing and saying things that make this world a more humane place.

Our march is slow.

Is Ann Coulter really advancing the cause of a humane world with rhetoric like this: “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to The New York Times building.”  I agree with Ms. Coulter on most political issues.  I’m concerned that her style, her rhetoric does more harm than good.

Did liberals advance the cause of a humane world with signs at Bush rallies that said:  “Save Mother Earth, kill Bush.”

The time has come for civil discourse

Did the late Senator Edward Kennedy advance the cause of a humane world with his speech condemning Supreme Court nominee, Robert Bork, with these words: “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy… President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.”

The answer in each of these cases is no.  Senator Kennedy’s rhetorical excesses, in particular, have poisoned judicial confirmation hearings to this very day.

I know ugliness and profanity are hip these days.  But intelligence is so much more interesting and effective.

Conservatives like me sometimes get fed up with liberals spouting what we feel are incoherent views.  And yet I know people with whom I disagree politically who are in the trenches helping people who need help.  I appreciate that.  I commend them.

Liberals are fond of saying that conservatives don’t care about people.  And yet I know conservatives in the trenches helping people who need help.  They’re not looking for attention, they’re just helping.  I appreciate that.  I commend them.

Abortion and pornography are two obvious dehumanizing poisons to our culture.  But so is our political discourse.

That doesn’t mean we can’t disagree.  It’s all in how we disagree.  When we disagree, let’s remember we’re disagreeing with people, and civility promotes the cause of humanity.

I’m certainly no saint, but I hope this blog makes the case for conservative causes with some intelligence and civility.

A triumph for political correctness 4


By Tom Quiner

The Supreme Court has decided:  Christian college students who wish to form a group sanctioned by Universities are not allowed to require that their members be Christian.  Even more, Christian groups may not require that their members abide by Christian principles.

All of this came about because of the court’s decision in the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.  Read the background on the case on my earlier post titled “Political correctness vs. common sense” (https://quinersdiner.com/2010/04/).

The liberal block of the court was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy.  They determined that a Christian group acted inappropriately in demanding that their members refrain from sexual activity outside of marriage, and that sexual relations be confined to only heterosexual married couples.  Specifically, the court said that the Christian Legal Society overtly discriminated against prospective members on the basis of religion and sexual orientation.

College students have been denied the right of freedom of association, a ringing triumph for political correctness over common sense.  Here is what Justice Alito, joined by Justices Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas, wrote in dissent:

Justice Alito's dissent

“The proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate.’ United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U. S. 644, 654–655 (1929) (Holmes, J., dissenting). Today’s decision rests on a very different principle: no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country’s institutions of higher learning.

“The Hastings College of the Law, a state institution, permits student organizations to register with the law school and severely burdens speech by unregistered groups. Hastings currently has more than 60 registered groups and, in all its history, has denied registration to exactly one: the Christian Legal Society (CLS).  CLS claims that Hastings refused to register the group because the law school administration disapproves of the group’s viewpoint and thus violated the group’s free speech rights.

“I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that today’s decision is a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country. Our First Amendment reflects a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U. S. 254, 270 (1964). Even if the United States is the only Nation that shares this commitment to the same extent, I would not change our law to conform to the international norm. I fear that the Court’s decision marks a turn in that direction. Even those who find CLS’s views objectionable should be concerned about the way the group has been treated—by Hastings, the Court of Appeals, and now this Court. I can only hope that this decision will turn out to be an aberration.”

I discussed the issue with a law student enrolled at Duke University.  I told him that my concern was that individuals unfriendly to Christian groups would be emboldened to join those groups just to agitate and disrupt the group’s Christian mission.  He countered that no one would want to subject themselves to such an effort, that no one would want to associate with people with whom they had such profound disagreements.

What do you think?

Are there enough evangelical atheists on college campuses, for example, who would band together to try to hijack a Christian group on a college campus?

Am I being too sensitive?  Or are the forces of political correctness that motivated to disrupt Christian and other conservative groups?

Common sense made difficult 2


By Tom Quiner

The “King of Pork” is dead.

[10byrd0628]

Senator Robert Bird of West Virginia died today.  I will leave it to others to honor (or pillage) his illustrious career.  I would, though, like to analyze the essence of Obamanomics in light of Mr. Byrd’s passing.

Mr. Byrd was an unapologetic supporter of pork barrel spending.  He considered his proudest achievement the billions of dollars he brought to West Virginia in Federal pork barrel spending.  He believed Federal spending was the ultimate stimulus to a state’s economy.  No one brought more “bacon” home to his state than Senator Robert Byrd.

So does federal stimulus spending really stimulate the economy?

No.  Read my post from June 21st (Is more big government really the answer?) for a discussion of federal spending as it applied to the Great Depression.

A new study by three economists from the Harvard Business School sheds new light on the impact of federal pork barrel spending on local economies.  Professors Lauren Cohen, Joshua Coval, and Christopher Malloy were stunned to discover that pork spending hurt more than it helped.

A few specifics:

• When a Senator becomes chair of one the top three congressional committees, his/her state experiences a 40 to 50 percent increase in pork spending.  The average is about 20 percent in the House.

• Rather than boosting capital expenditures, the average firm in those states reduced capital expenditures by roughly fifteen percent once the pork began to flow.  The researchers based their findings on 40 years worth of data.

• Firms significantly cut physical and R & D spending.

• Firms reduced employment.

• Firms experienced lower sales.

How could pork-barrel spending hurt instead of help?  The researchers theorize that the federal stimulus dollars crowd out spending the private sector planned to do itself.  The Tennessee Valley Authority of 1933 is one example.  Federal spending creates uncertainty, too, because the dollars may not be there tomorrow if their powerful Senator retires … or dies.

You can read the entire study here: “Do Powerful Politicians Cause Corporate Downsizing?

The essence of Obamanomics is that government spending creates jobs.  They may create government union jobs, but it comes at the expense of the private sector jobs and economic growth.  New research from Harvard rejects the underpinnings of Obamanomics.

The joke goes that “economics is common sense made difficult.”  With Obamanomics, the joke comes at our expense.

***

My condolences to Senator Byrd’s family on his passing.

Democrats owe Americans an honest budget Reply


By Tom Quiner

Is America heading in the right direction or the wrong direction?

According to poll results at www.RealClearPolitics.com, 61.7 percent of Americans say we’re heading in the wrong direction.  One year ago, the number was 48 percent.

Why is dissatisfaction growing?

Certainly some of the biggest concerns are runaway deficits and the unprecedented expansion of the federal government under President Obama and a Democratic Congress.

Moderate Americans are worried:  how can we possibly afford all the new spending and all of the new unionized government employees the President has added to the government payroll?

What could the President and Congress do to instill some confidence with the American people?  They could submit a balanced budget to the American people.

They could submit a budget that shows new fiscal restraint in government spending.

They could submit a budget that shows Americans we’re on a path back to solvency.

The President and Congress won’t do it.  Even more, they refuse to even submit a budget at all.

Let me put it in perspective.  The Democrats have escalated government spending way beyond the Bush years, way beyond anything America has ever seen.  The only question is whether Obama deficits will triple or quadruple Bush’s deficits from 2008 (although it is only fair to mention that Democrats also controlled Congressional purse strings since 2006).

Now Democrats are totally in charge.  What have they done?  They broke the bank and refuse to even offer up a budget of any sort for 2011.

We’re witnessing a repugnant act of political cowardice.  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer excuses their refusal to craft a budget on the grounds that it isn’t possible without the input of a “deficit commission” assembled by the President that won’t offer budget suggestions until, you guessed it, after the midterm elections in November.

My response is simple:  Congress spends the money; they’re ones who got us into this mess with assistance from the President; they owe it to the voters to present a budget now as they have historically done.

Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform, says, “It makes it appear that the whole point of the deficit commission from day one was to hide from what Congress is really doing and let Congressman run in the November election claiming to be for some imaginary budget restraint that they’re not actually ready to vote for.”

In other words, the whole thing is a con, once again at taxpayer expense.

Senator Judd Gregg, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, put it this way:  “The majority simply doesn’t want to highlight to the American people how much unpaid-for spending is planned for the next ten years, and how staggering our deficits will be as a result.”

Democrats have controlled government purse strings for three and a half years.  They owe the American people an honest budget for next year.  They need to show us how they plan to undo the structural damage they have done to our nation’s finances.

Their refusal to do so explains why 61.7 percent of Americans believe we’re headed in the wrong direction.

Their refusal explains why a staggering 71 percent of Americans (according to RealClearPolitics.com) disapprove of the job Congress is doing.

Let us reconsider ObamaCare 2


Last March 18th, Richard Foster, chief actuary for the Center Medicare and Medicaid Services, presented with Congress’ 2700 page health care bill. His job was to assess the impact ObamaCare would have on America. Unfortunately, Congress wasn’t interested in waiting for his analysis.

…We’ve been sold a bill of goods. ObamaCare tries to cheat the laws of supply of demand instead of letting supply and demand control costs and increase access to healthcare.

According to Medicare’s actuary, according to the Congressional Budget Office, according to health care benefit professionals, America will be poorer and unhealthier under ObamaCare.
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