Posted by: theheartlander | April 12, 2011

Obama wants to control your access to credit

The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill passed last year contains something every bit as dictatorial — and dangerous — as Obama’s unconstitutional “czars.”

I found out about it in an email I received from Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) [boldface and first hyperlink added by me]:

This week I introduced commonsense legislation to reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Better consumer protection is a shared goal of most lawmakers, but included in the Dodd-Frank Act passed by Congress last year was the CFBP, a new bureaucracy with the power to significantly affect the availability of credit. I introduced legislation this week that would restructure this new government agency so a variety of viewpoints would be considered when making rules to regulate the banking industry – rather than just the viewpoint of a single, unelected director. My bill would replace the single CFPB Director with a Senate-confirmed five-person commission – similar to the leadership structure of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Allowing a single unelected official to define their own jurisdiction and regulate vast segments of our economy without accountability or restraint is a “reform” that should be rejected.

My legislation would also allow Congress to better monitor the actions taken by the Bureau so banks and credit unions can continue to make responsible loans to creditworthy borrowers by subjecting the CFPB to the regular appropriations process. The Dodd-Frank Act currently allows the CFPB director to set his or her annual budget by withdrawing funds directly from the Federal Reserve, rather than going through the annual Congressional appropriations process like most independent agencies. The CFPB has more power and authority than almost any independent agency in history and asking them to present a budget to Congress for approval is a very modest request. Click here to read more about the legislation and click here to view my comments about this legislation at a hearing with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

I attended a recent town meeting held by Sen. Moran, and was extremely impressed with not only his amazing comprehension of financial matters, but his ability to explain them to laypeople such as me. I have always been impressed with his passionate commitment to fiscal responsibility; Moran has been working hard for Tea Party principles since before there was a Tea Party. He was one of the few Republicans to fight Pres. Bush and the House Republican leadership on the Medicare prescription drug program — despite representing a district with a huge over-65 population.

Moran, a small-town native, is a former banker himself, and understands very well how utterly vital access to credit is for families and businesses. His bill, S. 737, has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Meanwhile, over in the House of Representatives, Rep. Michele Bachmann introduced legislation to repeal the whole Dodd-Frank Act:

Dodd-Frank grossly expanded the federal government beyond its jurisdictional boundaries. It gave Washington bureaucrats the power to interpret and enforce the legislation with little oversight,” said Rep. Bachmann….

“Dodd-Frank also failed to address the taxpayer-funded liabilities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” said Rep. Bachmann. “Real financial regulatory reform must deal with these lenders who were a leading cause of our economic recession. True reform must also end the bailout mindset that was perpetuated by the last Congress. I am proud to work towards repeal of Dodd-Frank because Congress must protect the taxpayers, instead of handing out favors to Wall Street.”

Rep. Bachmann’s legislation has been endorsed by the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity. Original co-sponsors include Rep. Darrell Issa (CA) of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Todd Akin (MO), Rep. Tom McClintock (CA) and Rep. Bill Posey (FL).

That bill, H.R. 87, has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

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Posted by: theheartlander | April 11, 2011

Ann Barnhardt, AMERICAN

Just to be clear:  This blog, West for the West, is NOT authorized by Allen West. I am a woman in Kansas who supports Allen West, and I have never had any contact whatsoever with Allen West or anyone on his staff.

With that little reminder out of the way, let’s move on to today’s post.

This video (in two parts) has been raging like wildfire across the Internet for a week. I apologize for being late.

But I’m a firm believer in “better late than never” — and if you haven’t seen it yet, it would be a crime of negligence for me not to post it.

 

I picked up the video over at Michelle Obama’s Mirror, to which you might want to pay a visit. Her background and comments on the video are great. I also recommend a visit to the YouTube channel of Ann Barnhardt herself.  What an amazing, awesome lady.

We are turning a corner, folks. Just as we’ve changed the budget narrative from spending to cutting, we are now changing the narrative regarding Islam from one of “tolerance” to one of wholehearted resistance. Just as the public has finally seen the real, snarling face of public-sector unions,  people are finally waking up to see the real, murderous face of Islam.

The face of the resistance? Ann Barnhardt.

Hat tip: Dewey from Detroit at RedState

Posted by: theheartlander | April 10, 2011

Ryan’s Roadmap: Call for a moral revolution

From Michael A. Walsh, at the New York Post:

Lost in the reaction to Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future” budget resolution — which seeks to reform “entitlements,” abolish ObamaCare, retire the national debt and put the country again on a sound financial footing — is the plan’s moral underpinning. Simply put, Ryan is asking Americans to grow up, stop whining and take back control of their destinies from the nanny state.

Finally, somebody has started an adult conversation in Washington.

“Our debt problem is not just a fiscal challenge involving dollars and cents,” the Wisconsin congressman said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, as he was formulating his plan. “It’s a moral challenge involving questions of principle and purpose . . . A government that would solve problems without limit must necessarily have power without limit to do it.”

Democrats have been quick to grasp the moral — and mortal — challenge Ryan’s “roadmap” poses to their New Deal/Great Society conception of government. On cue came a circus parade of sound-bite donkeys, led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, each braying that Ryan’s proposals are “extreme” and the cuts “draconian” and that, naturally, the GOP wants to kill the elderly, children, women and minorities.

Restructuring the tax code, fixing Medicare and Medicaid to ensure their solvency, cutting corporate welfare, jettisoning the “green jobs” bedtime story — all these reforms strike at the heart of the cozy Washington establishment protected for decades by a national media obsessed with the chimera of “bipartisanship.”

This largely imaginary concept, which posits that no differences between the political parties are too big to be papered over, has fueled much of our national discontent over the last two decades. It has resulted in one half-measure (minuscule cuts in “discretionary spending”) or half-baked notion (Bush’s No Child Left Behind act, prescription drugs for seniors) after another being forced upon the body politic. And it has put us where we are today.

Some commentators on the left have gotten the message.

“If the GOP gets behind his proposals in a serious way, it will become for the first time in modern memory an intellectually serious party — one with a coherent vision to match its rhetoric of limited government,” wrote Jacob Weisberg in Slate. “Democrats are within their rights to point out the negative effects of Ryan’s proposed cuts on future retirees, working families and the poor . . . but the ball is now in their court.”

Which brings us back to the moral issues. What, if anything, do we owe “future retirees” that those retirees ought not to have provided for themselves? What, if anything, does society owe “working families” in a functioning capitalist system? What, if anything, does society owe “the poor” that charity cannot provide and that, in any case, ought to be voluntarily offered instead of coerced?

And what does any of this have to do with a federal government of limited enumerated powers?

These things can and should be vigorously debated; they aren’t issues that were permanently settled in 1936 or 1965. If we can no longer afford a vast welfare state (and the evidence is that we can’t), then what is the “moral” response — not to real or imagined needs but to lack of means?

The answer won’t be pleasant for some. “Morality” doesn’t simply dictate that the nation’s productive taxpayers allow themselves to be bled dry in the name of some vague notion of “fairness” or, worse, “economic justice.”

Rather, morality must apply universally, not just to so-called protected classes. Indeed, the notion of “protected classes” is something that should be seen for what it is — fundamentally un-American — and dispensed with. Either we are all in this together or we really have become “two Americas” — the givers and the takers.

President Obama’s infinite budgetary horizon of trillion-dollar deficits needs to be called what it is — electoral bribery — and stopped. There’s nothing humane about a system whose unspoken purpose is to keep people dependent, resentful and impoverished.

Is Ryan’s plan perfect? Of course not. But the perfect should never be the enemy of the good, especially when the system is failing the country so signally. Ryan’s plan is groundbreaking not for its number-crunching but for changing the subject from process to principles, which is where the next election needs to be fought.

If the Republicans are to have any chance against the billion-dollar Obama campaign gearing up to crush them next year, they’d better wise up — fast.

Paul Ryan and Allen West have had very different careers — but it sure sounds to me like they’re on the same wavelength. Both of them are all about restoring limited, Constitutional government; and both of them are genuine, principled leaders who believe in being honest with the American people about the challenges we face.
Posted by: theheartlander | April 8, 2011

America, this is your single-payer future

“Public option.” “Individual mandate.” “State insurance exchanges.” Blah, blah, blah. Does anyone seriously doubt that the crazy, unworkable, half-private, half-government system of Obamacare is anything other than a way to put private insurance companies out of business so that eventually we will all be forced into a single-payer government system (i.e., socialized medicine)?

If there are still any doubters out there, they should listen to the socialists’ own words:

 

Britain’s single-payer National Health Service gives us a scary preview of the kind of things we’ll see in America if we don’t repeal Obamacare: everything from less technological innovation to lower cancer survival rates to reduced access to treatment for chronic diseases.

But that’s not all. Wesley Smith, at his Secondhand Smoke blog, writes:

Not only are there terrible waits for care, but less-sick people are often given priority in the daily surgery over those in more immediate need to meet bureaucratically imposed checklists. From the [Telegraph] story:

The most seriously ill patients in the NHS have become the victims of “neglect” as surgeons are forced to focus on hitting waiting-list targets for pre-planned operations, leading emergency doctors warn. In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, the presidents of the Royal College of Surgeons, the College of Emergency Medicine and other leading medical associations call on [government] ministers to redress the balance to ensure that such patients receive “the highest levels of supportive care”.

They argue that while the NHS has succeeded in reducing waiting times for pre-planned operations in recent years, this has come “at the cost of relative neglect of the needs of the patients admitted as emergencies”. Often, those in greatest need are having their surgery “squeezed in at the end of the day”, they say. “Surgeons know the service could be much better,” they write. Cutting waiting times became a priority for the NHS after Labour came to power in 1997 with a pledge to take 100,000 patients off the waiting lists..

In today’s letter, the doctors write: “In many surgical departments the on-call team is not freed from other commitments and has elective operating lists and clinics, leaving emergency patients to be squeezed in at the end of the day.” In addition, such patients are often sent to “inappropriate wards” where their needs cannot be properly met.

All of which just goes to prove the adage:
To err is human; to really foul things up requires a bureaucracy.

Obamacare is creating 159 new offices, agencies and programs.

Only one thing to do: REPEAL IT!

Posted by: theheartlander | April 7, 2011

Hey, let’s help al-Qaeda!

Oh, wait. We already are.

From Jihad Watch:

Algeria is concerned by a noticeably increased Al-Qaeda presence in neighboring Libya and worried militant groups could lay their hands on weapons circulating in the country, a senior official said on Tuesday.Abdelkader Messahel, Algerian Deputy Foreign Minister said he was worried “particularly through the increasingly noticeable presence of AQIM (Al-Qaeda’s north African wing) in Libya and the increasingly noticeable circulation of weapons which can be exploited by terrorist groups.”

Addressing a news conference after meeting Britain’s Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, Messahel said a prolonged conflict in Libya risked destabilizing the Sahel region.

“Everybody has noticed, and we are not the only ones, that there are a lot of weapons circulating in Libya and this situation, if it persists, will aggravate the situation in the Sahel,” he said.

Messahel stressed Algeria’s opposition to foreign military intervention in Libya, which it has said goes beyond the United Nations resolution allowing foreign states to intervene to protect civilians.

Messahel isn’t the only one fearful. Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said that American intelligence had picked up “flickers” of terrorist activity among the rebel groups.  From London’s Telegraph via Vlad Tepes Blog:

…[T]he emerging plan being discussed for the political future of Libya [is being] undermined by the growing military doubts over the make-up of the rebel groups.“We are examining very closely the content, composition, the personalities, who are the leaders of these opposition forces,” Admiral Stavridis said in testimony [last week] to the US Senate.

Oh, so now we’re examining who those rebel leaders are. Nice to know we’re staying on top of things.

But even aside from our intelligence findings, we’ve got word straight from the horse’s mouth. The East Austin Voice relays this report which also comes from the Telegraph (say, why do we have to rely on the British press to get these stories, anyway?):

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

…al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against “the foreign invasion” in Afghanistan, before being “captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan”. He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.

US and British government sources said Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996.

Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military’s West Point academy has said the two share an “increasingly co-operative relationship”. In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG members made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of “the stage of Islam” in the country.

But it gets worse. Regardless of how much or how little “official” overlap there may be between the two organizations, al-Qaeda is taking full advantage, as it always does, of the chaos. Uncoverage has this story which, I must warn you in advance, may make sleep difficult tonight:

Last week, the President  Deby Itno  of nearby Chad was sounding the alarm that Al Qaeda operatives were  taking advantage of the chaos caused by the NATO bombings. They are buying Muammar Gaddafi’s chemical weapons. They are reportedly being sold by the Libyan rebels who were able to pillage the nerve gas shells and other containers after the storage areas were bombed by the coalition.

This week, President Idress Deby Itno tells the weekly Jeune Afrique that Al Qaeda of the Islamic Magreb has also obtained surface-to-air missiles.

“The Islamists of al-Qaeda took advantage of the pillaging of arsenals in the rebel zone to acquire arms, including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries in Tenere,” a desert region of the Sahara that stretches from northeast Niger to western Chad, Deby said in the interview.

“This is very serious. AQIM is becoming a genuine army, the best equipped in the region,” he said.

His claim was echoed by officials in other countries in the region who said that they were worried that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) might have acquired “heavy weapons”, thanks to the insurrection.

“We have sure information. We are very worried for the sub-region,” a Malian security source who did not want to be named said.

AQIM originated as an armed Islamist resistance movement to the secular Algerian government.

It now operates mainly in Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, where it has attacked military targets and taken civilian hostages, particularly Europeans, some of whom it has killed.

“We have the same information,” about heavy weapons, including SAM 7 missiles, a military source from Niger said.

“It is very worrying. This overarming is a real danger for the whole zone,” he added.”

The U.K. Telegraph also has sources confirming weapons going to Al Qaeda from Libya.

“Eight Toyota pickup trucks crossed into Chad, across Niger and into northern Mali from desert armouries in eastern Libya. Algeria warned that al-Qaeda’s North African wing, al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM), had seized shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles in Libya.

Intelligence reports said Russian-made anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades, Kalashnikov heavy machine guns, Kalashnikov rifles, explosives and ammunition were stacked on the pickups.

“A convoy of eight Toyotas full of weapons travelled a few days ago through Chad and Niger and reached northern Mali,” the official said.

“We know that this is not the first convoy and that it is still ongoing. Several military barracks have been pillaged in this region [eastern Libya] with their arsenals and weapons stores and the elements of AQIM who were present could not have failed to profit from this opportunity.”

Of course, Allen West foresaw this kind of thing.

West [cited] three recent operations similar in nature to Libya: Lebanon, Bosnia, and Somalia. In all of these operations, West maintains, the military objectives were not clear and American forces were under different command entities, chosen for political reasons not tactical purposes. Oh yeah, another thing they had in common, West reminds us, was that none of them ended well.

West asks several questions… regarding our operations in Libya:

1)    Who are the rebels?

2)    Where did the rebels get their weapons from?

3)    What is the rebels’ command structure?

4)    Why was the attack launched while Congress was on a week-long recess?

… and launched while our “president” was jetting off to Rio.  You’d think that in wartime — with not one, not two, but now, three “kinetic military actions” going on — that maybe, just maybe the “commander in chief” could be bothered to spend some time in the War Room.

I just hope our country can hang on until we have as Commander in Chief the man who knows the enemy’s global battle plan better than anyone else — and will go through hell with a gasoline can to save us from it.

Posted by: theheartlander | April 6, 2011

Allen West wows the locals

On his Washington Post blog, Chris Cillizza raves about Allen West’s speech to the annual banquet of the local Republican Party of the District of Columbia:

D.C. Republicans may have made a surprising choice in having the very conservative, tea party Rep. Allen West (R) keynote their Lincoln-Douglass Dinner [last] Thursday night. But West proved an adept politician, tailoring his speech almost perfectly for the audience.

In contrast to the bombastic speeches he’s given at other events, West delivered a measured, historically rooted case for black involvement in the Republican Party, with a focus on urban issues. He got a standing ovation for his support of school vouchers in D.C., which passed the U.S. House on Thursday, and he showed familiarity with many local Republican candidates and issues.

“Republicans are making progress in the black community in the city of D.C.,” he declared. He said that many black voters would privately express their frustration with Obama but were afraid to say it out loud: “It’s time for the whispering to stop.”

“He laid out a classic black conservative argument,” said Richard Ivory, founder of the blog HipHopRepublican.com. Ivory said that, in crafting such a D.C..-centered message, the Iraq veteran West proved himself to be a true military strategist.

Oh, yeah.

Good golly, Miss Molly, some days I wake up and I still can’t believe my fellow Americans elected this creep to the White House:

President Obama said Tuesday he would not sign a budget agreement to keep the government running that cuts funding for Planned Parenthood and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“There can be some negotiation about composition,” Obama told reporters…. “What we can’t be doing is using last year’s budget process to have arguments about abortion, to have arguments about the Environmental Protection Agency, to try to use this budget negotiation as a vehicle for every ideological or political difference between the two parties.”

Well, Barry, I heartily agree that the government shouldn’t be shut down over disagreements about Planned Parenthood and the EPA.  So get the hell out of the way and quit obstructing the budget cuts that the majority of the American people want!

Riders included in the House budget bill would, among other things, defund Planned Parenthood and remove the EPA’s authority to regulate “greenhouse gases” blamed for climate change.

Let’s be clear, Barry. The plain fact is you’d rather shut down the government than allow We the People and our Congress to defund an organization that was founded by a eugenics fanatic, targets black babies for destruction, breaks the law, and aids and abets child molesters. And you’d rather shut down the U.S. government than lose your ability to use the EPA to destroy what’s left of the U.S. economy all for the sake of some mythical theory whose top proponents were caught red-handed committing gross scientific fraud.

“What we can’t do is have a my-way-or-the-highway approach to this problem,” Obama said.

Well, look who’s talking! That’s rich. Just rich.

“If you’re a small business right now and you’re counting on a small business loan, it may make a difference in whether or not you can keep that business going. And you find out you can’t process it for three or four weeks, or five weeks or six weeks, because of some bickering in Washington? What does that say about our priorities? It doesn’t make sense.”

Damn right it doesn’t make sense…  that our president is willing to hold every small business, every family, in America hostage — for the sake of his beloved baby-killers at Planned Parenthood and his beloved economy-killers at the EPA.

Shameful.

At least 858 U.S. soldiers have died in the Afghanistan war since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009. That equals 60.13 percent of the 1,427 American soldier fatalities so far in the ongoing 10-year war in that country. For the 858 U.S. deaths since Obama’s inauguration, 791 have been combat-related. This means that for the 1,241 combat-related deaths that occurred since the Afghanistan war began in October 2001, about 64 percent happened in the two years since Obama took office.

Last year was the deadliest for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, with 497 combat and non-combat fatalities. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs), or homemade bombs, continue to be the number one killer of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

The Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, which border Pakistan and have been the central focus of U.S. military operations in recent years, continue to be the deadliest regions for American soldiers.

You think the increase in American fatalities might have anything to do with our increasingly wacko rules of engagement (ROEs)?

[ROEs concern] things like how far out cones must be placed to demarcate where firing can begin for vehicles that are suspected being threats, whether troops in contact can return fire, when they can return fire, under what conditions specific combined arms weapons systems can be employed (mortars, CAS, etc.), and so on and so forth.  A JAG [Judge Advocate General, or military lawyer] typically accompanies at least Battalion level deployments and certainly regimental deployments in order to create and help enforce all of those localized rules.  Welcome to the enlisted man’s life.

[A]s for how the overarching rules have come to bear on the enlisted man’s life in Afghanistan… [an] example comes from Washington Examiner.

To the U.S. Army soldiers and Marines serving here, some things seem so obviously true that they are beyond debate. Among those perceived truths: The restrictive rules of engagement that they have to fight under have made serving in combat far more dangerous for them, while allowing the Taliban to return to a position of strength.

“If they use rockets to hit the [forward operating base] we can’t shoot back because they were within 500 meters of the village. If they shoot at us and drop their weapon in the process we can’t shoot back,” said Spc. Charles Brooks, 26, a U.S. Army medic with 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, in Zabul province.

Word had come down the morning Brooks spoke to this reporter that watch towers surrounding the base were going to be dismantled because Afghan village elders, some sympathetic to the Taliban, complained they were invading their village privacy. “We have to take down our towers because it offends them and now the Taliban can set up mortars and we can’t see them,” Brooks added, with disgust.

Here are some comments Allen West made on the subject in an interview with Frank Gaffney on Gaffney’s Secure Freedom Radio broadcast of September 11, 2009. West said:

“Recently… we lost four U.S. Marines who were working as advisers with the Afghan military — something I used to be doing — and one of the critical things is that, when you go in and get contact with the enemy, normally the reaction time for you to get any kind of [air] support [is] a minute to two minutes. But, see, now… the people that are engaged on the ground have to go through wicket after wicket after wicket, up the chain of command, to get approval for this support. So what just happened… they were pinned down by Taliban who were intermixed with civilians, and even the reporter said the women and children were carrying, resupplying, ammunition to the Taliban. Not-so-innocent civilians.

“So, when we say these things, the enemy is listening, too. They listen to CNN, NPR, what have you. So they know these rules of engagement. We have created a gap that they can exploit. So now they know that they can pin our troops down because there is an elongated response time…

“The Taliban knows that if they don’t have weapons [on them], they can drive up, they can get intelligence, take surveillance on our checkpoints, they can be outside our gates and count numbers of vehicles on convoys, and what have you, because they know that as long as they don’t “show hostile intent,” [they] can stand up there with binoculars and call in mortar fire on a base….

“You have to go through a lawyer — the lawyer’s on the battlefield — anytime there’s an engagement, the report has to go through some type of legal review… We have brought this sense of law enforcement onto a very fluid, modern battlefield, where you have a non-state, non-uniformed belligerent. All these restrictions — when you apply them, you lose lives.”

West had much more to say on the subject, and on his ideas for better ways to prosecute the war — indeed, ways that offer perhaps the only hope of winning the war — in a brilliant speech at the Center for Security Policy. It’s one of his most important speeches. I urge you to click on the link and take the time to listen to it.

Posted by: theheartlander | April 3, 2011

Obama needs to get a clue from the president of Chile

This is so awesome.

From LifeSiteNews:

A group of 37 pro-life organizations active at the United Nations presented an award to Chilean President Sebastián Piñera Echenique last Saturday in an event that was covered by the country’s television networks and other major media. Dan Zeidler, coordinator of the International Committee for the Protection of Life, praised the pro-life policies of the Chilean government as he handed the award to Piñera, pointing out that the country’s prohibition of all surgical abortions is accompanied by the lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America.

“We celebrate that more Chilean women have given birth more safely than ever,” Zeidler said. “Chile is a good example for other countries of the world that are trying to reduce their maternal mortality to reach the Millennium Development Goals of the UNO (United Nations Organization).”

The International Protect Life Award was given to Piñera not only for his country’s complete prohibition of the killing of unborn children, but also because his government has maintained policies that care for women facing difficult pregnancies and promote the value of human life in television campaigns.

The government’s “Committed to Life” program offers assistance to women who face financial challenges and other problems during their pregnancies. The “Chile Grows with You” advertising campaign features a pregnant woman with the slogan, “My (unborn) child hears and experiences the world just as I do. We’re connected!” The ad says: “An invitation from the government to protect children.”

President Sebastian Pinera of Chile (right), receives the International Protect Life Award from Dan Zeidler, coordinator of the International Committee for the Protection of Life.

On President Piñera’s own official website, he says:

“It is…  not enough to say that we are in favor of life and against abortion. If we want to be consistent with our principles, we must be able to provide emotional, psychological and practical help and support to those women who are vulnerable, because they have to deal with a pregnancy under difficult conditions.”

President Piñera has supported and/or launched a number of initiatives aimed at ensuring that society stays family-friendly.

“Many have discussed the effects on employment of the six month postnatal maternity leave program. It is true, there are consequences for employment, but let’s look at the other side: what is the value to a child of spending the first six months of life with his or her mother, given that this is the most vulnerable time of their life, and also the period of greatest potential?”

In his concluding remarks upon acceptance of the International Protect Life Award, President Piñera said:

“I accept this award on behalf of all Chilean women, especially Chilean mothers, because it motivates and encourages us to continue working towards a society that has body and soul.”

A society that has body and soul.

Would that the president of the United States were committed to that same ideal!

President Allen West will be.

Posted by: theheartlander | March 31, 2011

Today is “Terri’s Day”: Remembering Terri Schiavo

Today is the sixth anniversary of Terri Schiavo’s murder.

I can already hear people objecting to that choice of words – so let’s just get that issue out of the way right off the bat. Murder is the deliberate killing of a human being. Terri was a human being, and her killing was deliberate.

The dirty secret of the murder of Terri Schiavo was that the American euthanasia movement had been itching for a long time for a court case garnering national attention that would do for the euthanasia movement what Roe v. Wade did for the abortion movement. To achieve that, they needed a “perfect storm” of the same three elements that made the legalization of abortion possible: 1. Hard-core activists, along with activist lawyers and judges;  2. ideologically sympathetic media who would carry water for the activists by taking their lies at face value and repeating them over and over; 3. an uninformed public, with ambivalent feelings about the issue, and thus, ripe for exploitation by agenda-driven media.

In Terri Schiavo, activists saw the same potential that pro-abortion lawyer Sarah Weddington had seen so many years earlier in a young, vulnerable Norma McCorvey, a.k.a. Jane Roe.

Both the judge who gave the order for death by dehydration and the attorney who had argued for it had multiple personal and professional connections with “right-to-die” organizations and, significantly, with the hospice where Terri was held.  Judicial ethics require that a judge with such a strong bias on an issue recuse himself from any case revolving on that issue. Judge George Greer failed to do so. And he has never been disciplined in any way for this violation.

Perhaps we should say that March 18 was the sixth anniversary of Terri’s murder – for that is when, by Judge Greer’s order, the murder began. A murder that was dragged out over nearly two whole weeks — and in full view of the whole world. With her mother and father, sister and brother desperately trying to save her — and police officers forcibly blocking their way. Most human beings survive only three or four days without water, a week at most. But Terri was young, physically healthy and had a fierce desire to live. It took thirteen days to kill her.

How could this happen in a civilized nation? The same way such atrocities always do — with the help of some very big lies. Again, the parallel with the abortion movement: Just as the abortion movement relied on lies – for instance, the lie that Norma McCorvey had been raped (she hadn’t); the lie that a baby in the womb is just an undifferentiated clump of cells (in reality, all major organs are present within a few weeks, and heartbeat can be detected as early as 18 days); the lie that thousands of women were dying from illegal abortions (the true figure was in the dozens) – so too the euthanasia movement lied through their teeth about Terri Schiavo.

The biggest lie – the one the media repeated over and over until most people believed it – was that Terri was “brain dead.” When people finally started seeing through that lie – Terri, after all, was not even comatose, much less near death – they came up with a new one: that she was in a “persistent vegetative state” — an outdated term that is as inaccurate as it is demeaning, and has been much misused and abused.

To push their agenda, the media expertly played on people’s deep-seated fears for themselves – fears of disability and helplessness, fear of losing control over their lives, fear of “being a burden” – all of which had nothing to do with the particular individual, Terri Schindler Schiavo, and what she was experiencing. The media subtly got millions of people subconsciously projecting their own personal issues onto a particular woman in Pinellas Park, Florida.

Never shown in the lamestream media were the video clips of the real, actual person Terri Schiavo responding to music, attempting to talk, beaming at her mother, laughing at her dad’s jokes. Euthanasia activists would say that Terri’s reactions in these film clips are just “reflexes.” (Just as pro-abortion activists who are shown the film “The Silent Scream” say that the baby’s frantic efforts to get away from the abortion instrument are nothing but “reflexes.”) I have always been particularly offended by such dismissive labeling because of my affection for a dear friend’s son – I’ll call him Carl – who’d suffered, as a toddler, an accident that deprived him of oxygen and left him profoundly disabled, much like Terri. (He died ten years ago, of natural causes.) Carl’s expressions, gestures and vocalizations were extremely similar to Terri’s; the first time I saw the video clips linked above, I felt almost as if I were watching Carl.

Perhaps that personal connection explains why I did what I did in March 2005. On the day of  Judge Greer’s fatal decision, I listened to Sean Hannity on the radio interviewing Randall Terry, who’d been asked by Terri’s family to coordinate the lobbying efforts in the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, while the family and hundreds of supporters were down in Pinellas Park at the hospice where Terri was being held. Sean asked Randall to tell his listeners what they could do. Randall said simply, “Come to Tallahassee. Come to Tallahassee.”

So I did.

I’ll save for another time the chronicle of all the things I witnessed during those four days in Tallahassee as Terri lay dying 250 miles away. For now, I’ll just say that rarely have I seen good and evil, distilled down to their essences, in such clear, sharp juxtaposition. I’ll give one example. Fighting for the good was then-State Senator Dan Webster, who introduced and worked indefatigably – but unsuccessfully – for a bill that would have made life the state’s “default mode” in cases where an incapacitated person had no written directive and his or her family members disagreed about what to do. (This of course would have applied to Terri, and so would have saved her life.) I will never forget Webster’s compassion nor his untiring effort to secure justice.

On the side of evil, I will never forget the female state legislator who, brusquely passing me in a Capitol hallway, barked at me, “We can’t afford to keep all these people alive!”  Her outburst was not only inhuman, but in Terri’s case, just plain stupid – since Terri’s parents and siblings were begging simply to be allowed to take Terri home and care for her at their own expense for the rest of her life. Although nothing mitigates the cruelty behind that legislator’s comment, it’s worth pointing out that it’s quite possible she didn’t know that Terri’s family planned to care for her themselves, because there was a total media blackout of many crucially important facts such as that one.

The best information resource was and is the website that was set up by supporters of Terri and her family during an earlier legal battle, a site known then as Terri’sFight.org. After Terri’s death, the site changed, both in name and in purpose (more on that below), but it still contains valuable historical documentation of all the facts of Terri’s case, including a concise but comprehensive timeline. A quick perusal of it gives one an idea of how many disturbing issues there were that the lamestream media couldn’t be bothered to explore.

For example, after Terri’s mysterious collapse that deprived her brain of oxygen for a time and left her profoundly disabled, her husband, Michael, brought a medical malpractice lawsuit that resulted in a large award to be used for Terri’s care and rehabilitation. Terri did receive physical and speech therapy, and was relearning how to feed herself, and how to speak. But then, despite the progress she was making, after only a few months of therapy, Michael suddenly ordered all therapy terminated. Why?

A good investigative journalist would have wanted to dig into that – but the “mainstream” media did not.  Neither did anyone seem to be interested in asking why Terri, who had no terminal illness, was put in a hospice. Hospices are supposed to be for terminally ill patients, generally with a life expectancy of less than 6 months. Terri was physically healthy; what was she doing there? And why was she put in a back room, with the blinds closed 24/7, not allowed out of her room, and deprived of amenities that the other patients in the hospice had access to? Did the fact that Michael’s lawyer was on the board of that hospice (and indeed was chairman of the board when Terri was placed there) have anything to do with the whole arrangement?

Sworn affidavits by 35 doctors and six other medical professionals were submitted to Judge Greer; each and every one was dismissed or ignored. Most of these affidavits certified — under oath — the specialist’s professional opinion that Terri was not in a “persistent vegetative state.” And every single one of them testified that Terri would have benefited from further therapy, which Michael had abruptly discontinued many years earlier. As for the video clips of Terri, which show so vividly how aware and responsive she really was, Judge Greer never saw them; he is physically blind. Again, why didn’t he recuse himself, since the video clips were so important to the case? (A diagnosis of PVS ought not be a death sentence, but unfortunately, in Terri’s case, it ended up being a pivotal issue.)

Why wouldn’t Michael Schiavo give Terri a divorce, as Terri’s parents begged him to do? Michael had been living with another woman since 1994 and had two children by her — yet he wouldn’t divorce Terri and leave her in the care of her parents. Terri’s parents encouraged him to move forward with his life, marry his girlfriend, and leave Terri to them. They even told him to just keep the rest of the malpractice settlement – take anything you want, just let Terri live!! But he wouldn’t. Why not?

So many questions that never got asked. And stories that never got told (except in conservative outlets), such as this one:  On that horrible day of March 18, before the final order came down from Judge Greer, one of the Schindler family’s lawyers, Barbara Weller, spent a lot of time visiting with Terri in her room, while, in the world outside the hospice, every possible legislative, executive and judicial approach was being frantically pursued in a race against the clock — a clock that had been set ticking by one cranky, unjust Florida district judge. Later, that evening, Weller described the hours she had spent with Terri that day to millions of listeners on talk radio. An excerpt:

The most dramatic event of this visit happened at one point when I was sitting on Terri’s bed next to Suzanne [Terri’s sister]. Terri was sitting in her lounge chair and her aunt was standing at the foot of the chair.  I stood up and leaned over Terri.  I took her arms in both of my hands.  [Terri’s family had been keeping Terri informed, gently but honestly, about what was going on — and Terri already knew what severe hunger and thirst feel like, because Michael had had her feeding tube removed a couple of times in the past.]  I said to her, “Terri if you could only say ‘I want to live’ this whole thing could be over today.” I begged her to try very hard to say, “I want to live.”

To my enormous shock and surprise, Terri’s eyes opened wide, she looked me square in the face, and with a look of great concentration, she said, “Ahhhhhhh.”  Then, seeming to summon up all the strength she had, she virtually screamed, “Waaaaaaaa.”  She yelled so loudly that Michael Vitadamo, Suzanne’s husband, and the female police officer who were then standing together outside Terri’s door, clearly heard her. At that point, Terri had a look of anguish on her face that I had never seen before and she seemed to be struggling hard, but was unable to complete the sentence.  She became very frustrated and began to cry.

I was horrified that I was obviously causing Terri so much anguish.  Suzanne and I began to stroke Terri’s face and hair to comfort her.  I told Terri I was very sorry.  It had not been my intention to upset her so much. Suzanne and I assured Terri that her efforts were much appreciated and that she did not need to try to say anything more.  I promised Terri I would tell the world that she had tried to say, ”I want to live.”

To my mind, the worst lie, other than the “brain dead” lie and the “vegetative” lie and the “she wouldn’t have wanted to live” lie, was the lie about death by dehydration. Over and over, Michael and the people he’d recruited to present his case to the media told us that dehydration is a painless, benevolent way to die. How utterly monstrous.

It’s true that when someone is dying of cancer or some other degenerative disease, the body eventually starts shutting down, and in the late stages, is unable to process food and water; indeed, trying to force food and water on someone whose organs are shutting down can cause pain. But Terri was physically healthy. She had no terminal disease. She only had a feeding tube because, after Michael had discontinued her therapies years earlier, it was safer and more comfortable for her to get her food by tube than by mouth. But there was nothing wrong with her digestive system; she needed food and water just as you and I do.

When a healthy person like you, me or Terri is deprived of water, they do not die peacefully; they die one of the ghastliest deaths there is. Dehydration typically kills people in a few days. Terri’s agony – dragged out for nearly two weeks – is unimaginable.

One more fact that you won’t hear in most media: Terri was not an isolated case. Because of the family conflict, and because the euthanasia movement needed a high-media-profile case to set a precedent, Terri’s ordeal ended up getting extraordinary attention. But death by starvation and dehydration is shockingly common in American hospitals and nursing homes – in some cases, even in direct violation of the patient’s official, written directive; in some cases, even in violation of the family’s unanimous wishes.

What Terri’s family went through is so horrible I can hardly bear to contemplate it. Once the ghastly media circus around their daughter’s excruciating death was over, one might have expected them to get as far away from the eye of the public as possible, and try to somehow put their lives back together.

But it was faith that got them through their hideous ordeal, and their faith continued to guide them in the days and weeks afterward. Within a short time, they set up the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation, keeping the old terrisfight.org web address but transforming it into the site for the new Foundation, which is dedicated to educating people, advocating in the political sphere, and above all, helping other families who find themselves in similar situations to what the Schindlers went through, i.e., threatened with the involuntary death of a disabled family member. The Schindlers have made this outreach their life’s work. Terri’s father, Bob, has since gone to his reward in heaven, but her mother, Mary; her brother, Bobby; and her sister, Suzanne, are carrying on the mission.

The organization continues to grow more and more sophisticated and effective, and is now called the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network.  It includes a nationwide network of doctors and lawyers who volunteer to help families at no cost, plus the Schindlers do writing, public speaking and lobbying. Bobby, in particular, has testified before state legislatures and appeared before countless other groups to speak out on behalf of the medically dependent, disabled and incapacitated. One of the long-term goals is “establishing Terri Schindler Schiavo Neurological Centers to provide care for brain injury victims and support for their families.” As with the anti-abortion branch of the pro-life movement, anti-euthanasia advocates know that it’s not just about fighting death, it’s about affirming life — offering a loving, winsome vision, along with real, practical options for people.

In keeping with that positive, life-affirming outlook, the organization has instituted an annual benefit concert. (Last year, the first, starred Randy Travis.) This year’s concert, in Kettering, OH (near Dayton), will star the Beach Boys! (For information and tickets, go here.) Doesn’t get much more sunny and life-loving than that!

 

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