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Political Devotions - Conservative Alerts, News and Commentary
Thursday, September 23, 2004
It's a Felony, Kenneth
Topic: Election / Voting
[Please note: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Charles Johnson, editor of the premier warblog Little Green Footballs, has issued a call to action on Rathergate. LGF currently receives 100,000 to 200,000 visits a day. If I were Dan Rather, I'd be scared -- scared as an innocent armadillo being hunted by a pack of sadistic Republican rednecks on a too-hot Texas afternoon, as Dan might say. Here's part of the sample letter for your congressional rep or senator:
I believe that somewhere in this great nation there is someone who is guilty of perpetrating a crime, a crime against the American people. They are guilty of the crime of election fraud, guilty of attempting to influence the upcoming presidential election through deceit and misrepresentation. Such an attempt is abhorrent and must not be tolerated.

As I write this, CBS is asserting that the content of the memos has been vindicated by virtue of some 30 year old opinions, carefully selected opinions at that. They are defending forgeries with selected opinions!

I am writing to you to request that you support a Justice Department inquiry into this event. I want to know who it was that made the attempt to influence my vote by providing fraudulent documents to CBS. I want to know how and why CBS broadcast this fraudulent message to millions of American voters without sufficient safeguards to ensure the veracity of the story. Such actions by the media cannot be simply rationalized away.

A crime has been committed. Right now, CBS is abetting that crime. Media source confidentiality does not apply when the source provides blatantly false information in the commission of a crime.

We cannot, we must not, allow an attempt such as this, to subvert our electoral system, to go uninvestigated and unpunished. Turning a blind eye will only encourage more outrageous acts in the future. I expect you, as my representative, to pursue this travesty to its rightful conclusion.
The entry includes legislator contact links or, as always, you're welcome to use the Ten Minute Lobbyist's Basic Contact Links.

Posted by Tim at 11:28 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Hate Speech Against Homeschoolers
Topic: Education Monopoly
[Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Michelle Malkin brings us an amazing story of Education Monopoly hate-mongering:
The public school establishment hates homeschoolers. They've smeared the movement as a conspiracy of conservative Christian zealots. They've scoffed at homeschooled kids as social pariahs. They've painted homeschooling parents as uneducated and negligent.

And now, under the guise of preparing students for a violent terrorist attack, educators in one public school district are casting homeschoolers in the role of bomb-detonating militants.
She quotes the Muskegeon Chronicle's story on the drill:
"The exercise will simulate an attack by a fictitious radical group called Wackos Against Schools and Education who believe everyone should be homeschooled. Under the scenario, a bomb is placed on the bus and is detonated while the bus is traveling on Durham, causing the bus to land on its side and fill with smoke."

This is not a joke. A taxpayer-funded drill is using public school students to enforce anti- homeschooling bigotry under the guise of preparing for terrorism. Terrorism by whom? By Islamic jihadists who hijack planes and incinerate kids headed to Disneyworld. Islamic terrorists who take hundreds of children hostage in Beslan, force them to drink their own urine and shoot babies in the back. Islamic terrorists who groom toddlers as suicide bombers.

Our enemies are Islamic extremist murderers. Except if you happen to attend the Muskegon County, Mich., schools, where the menacing faces of terrorism belong to parents who make untold sacrifices to give their children the best education they know how by schooling them in the loving environment of their own homes.

I recall the Islamist-sympathizing admonition included in the National Education Association's touchy-feely, post-Sept. 11 curriculum: "Do not suggest that any group is responsible" for the terrorist attacks, one tip for parents and teachers urged. Unless, it should be amended, you can work an anti-homeschooling hate angle into the lesson.

When President Bush's education secretary, Rod Paige, likened the NEA in jest to a "terrorist organization," teachers' union officials and the media became completely unhinged. How dare he make such an odious comparison, they gasped. How dare he make light of the real terrorists, they fumed.

"I can tell you what my first response was: Scary. That's really frightening," said Diana Garchow, a special-education teacher at Highland Elementary School in Bakersfield, Calif., to the Associated Press after Paige's remarks. "It's scary that you can't voice an opinion in this country without being called a terrorist. . . . I don't care if it was a joke or what it was, that was a totally inappropriate comment."

Paige was forced to apologize to teachers. What about the Muskegon County, Mich., school system? Will its public education militants apologize to homeschoolers for taking an intolerant swipe at their beliefs? Or will this politicized "Wackos Against Schools and Education" terror drill be coming to a classroom near your
If you would like to express your opinion to the guilty parties, the Happy Homeschooler has contact information here.

Posted by Tim at 12:14 PM EDT
Friday, September 17, 2004
Vote Early
Topic: Election / Voting
[Important Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

An alert from President Bush:
The election is less than seven weeks away and our momentum is building.  As I travel the country, the crowds are big and the mood is upbeat.  There is real excitement for our agenda, and I know that this enthusiasm will mean a tremendous turnout.

On Election Day, you may be one of many who will be working the polls, driving voters to their polling locations, or making Get Out the Vote calls.  Our message must be: No matter what you're doing, be sure to vote.  The stakes are high.

Starting today, you can request your ballot by mail, and soon you can cast an early ballot at early vote locations in your area.  If you're going to be busy on November 2nd, I encourage you to take this opportunity and vote early.  There's even a special page on our campaign website to make the process easier.


Using this link, you can get your Absentee/By Mail ballot request or find a list of early voting locations near you.  By casting your vote early, you can avoid lines at the polls on Election Day and still be sure your voice is heard in this important election.

This election is critical for our nation. 

The choice is between winning the war on terror by defending the homeland, taking the battle to the terrorists and fighting them where they live and train - or retreating to a pre-9/11 worldview that treats acts of terrorism as a law enforcement issue.

The choice is between a practical approach that puts doctors and patients in control of health care decisions or a government-run system that would cost more than $1.5 trillion and put bureaucrats in charge.

The choice is between an economic agenda that recognizes America's economy is growing, but can do more, or an agenda that raises taxes, increases regulations and stifles our economic recovery.

Your vote is important to winning and to building a safer world and a more hopeful America.  I hope you will take the opportunity to vote early - either by mail or in person.


Posted by Tim at 1:50 PM EDT
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Suicide by Stupidity: How John Kerry Would Destroy Western Civilization
Topic: Nuclear Terrorism
[Important Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

In a recent editorial, The Wall Street Journal analyzed the Kerry-Edwards nuclear arms control policies. The policy as to North Korea is laughably naive. The policy as to Iran is flat- out insane:
Mr. Edwards recently said that a Kerry Administration would allow Tehran to fire up its Russian-built nuclear reactors, and even provide them with fuel, so long as the mullahs agreed to let the international community repossess the weapons- usable byproducts.

This too is the triumph of hope over experience. Just yesterday the member countries of the International Atomic Energy Agency were meeting in Vienna to discuss the next steps in response to nearly 20 years of Iranian deception. Two years ago an Iranian resistance group alerted the world to Iran's previously undeclared nuclear sites, and subsequent inspections have provoked a familiar pattern of bluster and lies that practically screams "bomb program."

Henry Sokolski of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center points out that the fresh nuclear fuel that Messrs. Kerry and Edwards want to give the mullahs is already halfway along the enrichment process toward being weapons-usable. With sophisticated and hidden enrichment capabilities of the type we know Iran already has, the country could be within days of having a bomb core were it to seize and divert the reactor fuel. In any case, the mullahs are currently ruling out the possibility of a Kerry-Edwards type deal, demanding to be recognized as a normal nuclear nation with a right to control all stages of its nuclear fuel cycle.

IAEA member states are increasingly frustrated by the mullahs' deceptions and may be ready to refer them to the U.N. Security Council for sanctions by next time the IAEA meets in November. We wish we could be more confident that the Bush Administration was working on pre-emptive military options should they become necessary. But at least it has refused to accept the inevitability of a Persian nuke. "We're determined that they're not going to achieve a nuclear-weapons capability," says Undersecretary of State John Bolton.

The essence of the Kerry-Edwards proposals, by contrast, is that if Iran and North Korea have a history of dealing in bad faith it's because we Americans aren't being cooperative enough. "The idea that there's a big bargain out there that the Iranians will live up to is nutty in light of the last six months," says the Nonproliferation Center's Mr. Sokolski.

So Americans really are getting a proliferation policy choice presented to them this November. If voters think that arms-control agreements like those in the 1970s and during the Clinton years are the best way to rein in rogue states with nuclear ambitions, they should vote for the Kerry-Edwards ticket.

Posted by Tim at 2:58 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Tell CBS to Come Clean
Topic: Election / Voting
[Important Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

The Media Research Center has a demand for the Rathergate network:
ALEXANDRIA, Va. --- Media Research Center President
Brent Bozell today challenged CBS News to apologize to the American people for its false and misleading reporting on President Bush's National Guard service, as well as to come clean with the public and expose the people who forged documents that falsely cast Bush in a negative light.

     "Until CBS atones for its complicity in this character assassination attempt of President Bush, the letters `CBS' will stand for `Can't Believe Squat.' With every Watergate-like denial, the integrity of CBS News continues to crumble," Bozell said.

Evidence Against CBS News Has Continued To Mount

  • As CNSNews.com first reported, and NBC,
    Washington Post, Fox News Channel and others have repeated, independent experts say CBS's "memos" appear to have been produced by a modern word processor, not a 1970s typewriter.

  • Both CNN and the Washington Times have quoted other independent experts who declared that the signatures on the documents could well be forgeries.

  • The Los Angeles Times found Major General Bobby Hodges - who CBS claimed to be its key source - who revealed he had never seen the documents, had only had them read to him, and upon seeing them declared they were fakes.

  • Both Jerry Killian's widow and son have stated publicly he would not have written these memos. CBS refused to put Killian's son on the air after interviewing him, and also refused to interview others whom Killian recommended because they were "Bush supporters."

  • The CBS News story did not disclose that one of its key sources, former Texas Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes, is a major fundraiser for the Kerry campaign and that he has raised the campaign $500,000. Nor did the accusations that Barnes is not telling the truth - coming from his own daughter, no less! - ever see the light of day on CBS.

  • The Dallas Morning News reported over the weekend that the commander who supposedly was blamed for pressuring a subordinate to "sugar coat" Bush's record had retired 18 months before he was said to have applied such pressure.

     "The CBS story is a hoax and a fraud, and a cheap and sloppy one at that.. It boggles the mind that Dan Rather and CBS continue to defend it. Dan Rather and CBS need to be reminded that the cover-up is always worse than the crime. Just ask Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton," Bozell said.

If you would like to demand an apology and full disclosure from CBS, the National Legal and Policy Center has comprehensive contact information.

Posted by Tim at 3:30 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 3:32 PM EDT
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Comforting Beslan, Confronting Islam
Topic: World War IV
[Important Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

We who believe in a just God can take some small comfort in the knowledge that the Islamic terrorist scum who were killed in the process of torturing and murdering Beslan's children are now facing an eternity of torture in Hell. But our comfort is not the priority.

If you would like to donate to a fund to benefit the surviving victims of the Beslan massacre, you can do so here. Money cannot erase the horror permanently imprinted on these children's minds, but it is something. It's a kind gesture. It's not enough, but it is what we can do.

Several commentators have stated Beslan is a turning point in the war. This may be so. Islamic terror's most staunch supporters, and its most ardent appeasers, are having a tough time justifying this kind of depravity. Yet, for the morally weak, righteous indignation fades. Three years ago, after 9-11, the nation was virtually united behind a President who promised to take the battle to the Islamic terrorists. Today some 42% of the population is prepared to elect to that high office John Kerry -- an opportunist who, a generation ago, gave testimony that effectively aided our enemies while advancing his own political interests.

Will the world's moral outrage over Beslan sustain? It's possible, but doubtful.

Nevertheless, in his most recent essay for National Review Online, Victor Davis Hanson does find hope in the fallout from Beslan, and again masterfully articulates the rationale for confronting, not appeasing, evil:
Ask yourself: What do a Russian ten-year-old, a poor black farmer in Darfur, an elderly pensioner in Israel, a stockbroker in New York, and a U.N. aid worker in Afghanistan have in common? In the last three years, they have all died in similar ways: Unarmed and civilian, they were murdered by a common cowardly method fueled by a fascist ideology.

The recent slaughters in Russia were the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back of excusing or explaining away radical Islamic terror. If the Estonians can break away from post-Soviet oppression and free themselves from Russian authoritarianism without slaughtering schoolchildren and blowing up airplanes, then the Chechens can as well -- but only if they wish to create democracy rather than an Islamic fascist state.

But there is something else going on here besides the cloak of so-called Chechen nationalism. The perversion not of religion per se,
but of Islam; the singular method of suicide bombing rarely found elsewhere; the frequent resort to the unique grotesquery of beheading; the now-common display of abject incompetence on the battlefield coupled with craven slaughter of the noncombatant and civilian aid worker. At some point, the leaders of the Western world (if there are any left besides George W. Bush and Tony Blair) are going to look at all this madness worldwide and come to the bitter conclusion that there is a disgusting pattern: Not every Muslim is a fascist terrorist, but almost every fascist terrorist is a Muslim. Killers are not screaming "Hail Mary" when they machine gun children in the back, slit the throat of airline stewardesses, or blow pregnant women up on buses across the globe. And they are not the subjects of condemnatory fatwas in Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Their grievance is not really Russian imperialism, or the 5 to 10 percent of the West Bank under dispute, or black African encroachment on Arab land, or purported French insensitivity to legitimate Islamic pride, much less an American "crusade" to harm Muslims.

All these issues and the hundreds of others -- from the right to build a reactor in Iran to the desire for a semi-autonomous Chechnya -- in theory could be discussed, argued about, and adjudicated through democratic dialogue.

But that is impossible. For you see,
the real problem is the democratic dialogue itself-- unknown in the Arab Middle East and much of the Islamic world, and a hindrance to both sharia and the pan-Arabist thug with epaulettes and sunglasses. Yet consensual government alone is the key to ending failed statist economies, gender apartheid, religious intolerance, state- controlled media, and tribalism. It alone might stop the self-induced misery and with it the tedious scapegoating of "the Jews and America."

Much of the Islamic Middle East continues to blame others for its own induced catastrophe, apparently unaware -- thanks to the lever of oil it didn't discover, doesn't know how to develop, and uses to intensify rather than alleviate its poverty -- that its entire culture is becoming an international pariah. Islamic young men on European flights are looked at with distrust; they are not welcome in Russia. China wants none of them. They are wary of visiting India. Australia learned from Bali. The whole world is watching -- in disgust.

In short, the suicide bomber, the improvised explosive device, the car bomb, the televised beheading, the wacko fatwa, the sleazy propaganda streamer on the Internet, the new cult of death -- all cowardly and lethal phenomena -- these are now the innovations that the world associates with the Middle East in lieu of gene research, car production, or computer breakthroughs.


Some insist that this war is only against a few "crazy" extremists and that it cannot be won by force. That is half true. In fact, millions of young Middle Easterners are watching Islamic fascists to learn whether to applaud or condemn them -- and that decision in places like Najaf, Fallujah, Kandahar, Madrid, Grozny, and Ramallah sadly hinges as much on resolute force as it does on "sensitive" understanding. There are millions we must help, but there are also thousands of wannabe Osama bin Ladens and Mohammed
Attas who have neither minds nor hearts that anyone would want to win over.

In a war against such killers, it is the proverbial "Them or Us." Islamic fascists are not crazy -- however crazy they sound -- but evil, as their evil work confirms. We do not need more lectures about the impossibility of winning a postmodern conflict, about al Qaeda's not following the laws of Clausewitz or being immune to our way of war. In fact, we can and have defeated them. Keep doing that and the "hearts and minds" of others in the region, whom we are already helping, will mysteriously prove more open to dialogue.

Fail again like we did on September 11 -- and the entire United States Treasury could not buy the good will of an Islamic Street once more gone mad with delight for having felled the Great Satan.

Posted by Tim at 7:58 PM EDT
Friday, September 10, 2004
Planned Parenthood's Illegal War
Topic: Cultural Civil War
[Important Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

Dawn Eden is doing the Lord's work at her fine blog, The Dawn Patrol. Her investigative pieces on Planned Parenthood are all must- reads, but her latest is one of particular import:
Yesterday's post featured Planned Parenthood Golden Gate's black T-shirt declaring "WARNING: PRESIDENT BUSH IS HAZARDOUS TO WOMEN'S HEALTH"--today, I give you the white version. Since it's the PP affiliate's best-selling item, naturally they're offering some variety. Besides, the red on white is a nice metaphor for the blood of the innocents.

What nerve of Planned Parenthood, a tax-exempt organization barred from taking a position on a candidate, to mount a nationwide campaign to oust President Bush--especially when his administration alloted it a record $254.4 million for the fiscal year ending June 2003.

After I wrote yesterday about PP's blatantly flouting tax laws, a reader phoned the IRS to complain. The IRS representative was very interested--especially when the reader said that PP had already been the subject of a similar complaint from a California law firm.

Apparently, the IRS looks very unkindly upon organizations that continue to flout the law while a complaint against them is under investigation.

This abuse by a pro-abortion nonprofit is an important issue, because pro-abortion groups keep a close eye on pro-life nonprofits such as Priests for Life, to the point that they can't even appear to endorse or oppose a candidate. On a similar note, Planned Parenthood begins its manifesto "Vision for 2025" by deriding "people who count themselves among the religious right" for trying to "control the polical agenda." For that organization to then act as a law unto itself, thinking that it can break the rules with impunity, is hypocrisy. Add to that the fact that it's soaking us taxpayers to the tune of over a quarter-billion a year, and we have good reason to demand an end to its tax-exempt status.
The entry includes contact information for the IRS, and more examples of illegal political activity you can cite when lodging your complaint.

Posted by Tim at 12:37 PM EDT
Thursday, September 9, 2004
Fight Media Newspeak
Topic: World War IV
[Important Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

More fine work from Michelle Malkin:
The third anniversary of Sept. 11 is upon us. We remain at war -- and the media remain in denial.

How many times have you picked up a newspaper and read about terrorist attacks perpetrated not by Muslim terrorists, but by generic "militants" or "guerrillas" or "rebels" or, as Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes noted the Pakistan Times called them, "activists"?

Contrast the media whitewashing of our Islamofascist enemies with the press coverage of the Waco, Texas, siege in 1993 -- which constantly reminded us that David Koresh and his Branch Davidian followers were members of a "peculiar religious sect" (New York Times, March 3, 1993) and "a group of religious zealots with a known propensity for violence" (Washington Post, March 2, 1993) who were steeped in a "culture of Christian extremism" (San Francisco Chronicle, April 20, 1993).

A Nexis search of the terms "Branch Davidian" and "religious" and "cult" in The New York Times for the year 1993 yielded 151 hits. The vast majority of these references were in headlines and news articles, as opposed to editorials, letters or book reviews. A Nexis search of the terms "al Qaeda" and "religious" and "cult" in The New York Times for the year 2004 yielded just one article -- a magazine piece in March.

The mainstream media pounded President Bush for trying to explain that the War on Terror is unwinnable in a conventional sense. The mainstream press itself proves the president's point every time its reporters disguise the deadly fanatical nature of our opponents in this global war. How are we to win a war against blood-spattered enemies whom our own free press continues to protect through politically correct sanitization?

It wasn't no-name militants or wayward guerrillas who have butchered, beheaded and slaughtered thousands of innocents over the last three years alone.
The rest of the column lays out highlights from the long litany of Moslem atrocities perpetrated over the past 25 years, and offers this rebuke: "They tell us to `never forget.' First, let's stop misremembering"

No reasonable person would dispute the importance of the press in a democracy, but there is no formal checks and balances system in place to reign in the Fourth Estate when it abuses its power. Complaints from conscientious consumers can, however, make a difference. Next time you see Islamic terrorists euphemized into "militants," "guerrillas," "gunmen," "rebels" or "activists," take ten minutes to send a complaint to the outlet's ombudsman or a letter to the editor. The press' liberal bias may be endemic and incurable, but it should not be uncontested.

Posted by Tim at 4:18 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
Forbes on Iran
Topic: World War IV
(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

It's a rare occasion when I can voice an "Amen" to every idea presented in an editorial, but that is the case with this recent Steve Forbes piece:
The news from Iran is grim. This Islamic dictatorship--the biggest source of terrorist training and financing in the world and the nation that's doing all it can to stir up trouble in already combustible Iraq--is clearly on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power. The clerical fascists running the country have dropped just about all pretense of their atomic programs being energy-related only. Tehran announced in July that it had resumed making the centrifuges needed to produce highly enriched uranium, a key ingredient for nuclear bombs. It is, in essence, tearing up last fall's agreement with the UN International Atomic Energy Agency to keep its nuclear program transparent and to do nothing that could be construed as developing nuclear weapons.

Iran, more than Iraq or the reorganization of our intelligence agencies, is the crisis flashpoint in our war against Islamic fanaticism. What to do? John Kerry's advisers and many Bush Administration officials think we should deal directly with Iran. The Europeans would support us. The goal: to persuade Iran--through cash, trade agreements (its economy is a mess) and pats on the back--to halt its nuclear arms program. These so-called realists in this instance are the dreamers, the fantasizers.

Why wouldn't Iran go nuclear? Our ten-year dawdle over North Korea's nuclear adventurism hammers home to Tehran's corrupt, totalitarian-minded thugs this inescapable conclusion: Nukes mean respect, mean security--and they grant blackmail power to shake down billions in booty from the U.S. and other Western moneybags.

The implications of a nuclearized Iran are appalling. Fanatics in Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere will be emboldened to undermine existing governments. Israel may well feel the need to strike, just as it did against Iraq's nuclear facility in 1981.

The all-too-real possibility of a violent Israeli reaction--Israel has long considered Iran's black- robed fascists to be its ultimate enemy--may be the only possible deterrent to Iran's final nuclearization. But that's not likely, given that the mullahs have probably dispersed their nuclear capabilities around the country. Iran, moreover, is not defenseless; it has missiles that can hit Israel.
Read the whole essay for the rest of Forbes' analysis, and his proposed solution. Could someone explain to me again why we can't elect this guy president?

Posted by Tim at 11:46 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Questions for Moslems, and Liberals
Topic: World War IV

[Important Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

In the aftermath of the Beslan massacre, Dennis Prager has some questions:
According to The New York Times, when the terrorists took over the Russian elementary school, they shouted "Allahu akbar" ("Allah is the greatest").

Does this surprise you, dear reader? Does it shock you that the people who deliberately attacked a school and then systematically shot and blew up little children did so in the name of Islam?

Unfortunately, the question is rhetorical. Having targeted little children for death, there is no atrocity, no barbarity, no act of evil that the human race cannot imagine fanatical Muslims committing.

. . .

First, is there anything in Islam or in the way Islam is now taught and practiced that dulls the conscience and thereby enables many religious Muslims to engage in or support atrocities that other groups, religious and secular, find inconceivable?

Second, the laudable condemnations of Islamic terror made by the Islamic Center notwithstanding, why are there virtually no public demonstrations of Muslims against the unspeakable evils committed by its adherents?

And while posing questions, here are two for liberals: Why are almost the only people asking these questions aloud conservative and religious? Where are you when it comes to acknowledging evil?

Yes, some people do shoot children, and good people have a right to ask why.
Some questions I would add: Do you think people who torture, rape and murder Russian children would hesitate for one second to use nuclear weapons or other WMD against American children? Should they be allowed to develop those weapons, and be allowed virtually unfettered entry into this country?

Posted by Tim at 3:00 PM EDT
Friday, September 3, 2004
Send an 'I Vote Values' Message
Topic: Election / Voting

[Important Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

CitizenLink has set up a powerful CapWiz form you can use to send a brief but important message:
Election Day is fast approaching -- and as those running for office seek to secure your votes, there's an important message you can send them.

This year, I'm voting my values.

Don't underestimate the importance of this simple statement: Candidates need to know that when they look to line up your support, you're going to be looking past the slick advertisements and election-year promises and focusing instead on how their values line up with yours. And that's going to be the criteria on which you cast your ballot.

We've made it easy for you to send this message, loud and clear, to a whole host of people who need to hear it: your congressman and senators, your governor, your state elected officials -- and Ed Gillespie and Terry McAuliffe, the chairmen of the Republican and Democratic National Committees.

We've even composed the simple message for you to send: "I'm voting this year, and I'm voting my values." (If you'd like to change that message and compose your own, just delete what we've written and write type out your own thoughts.)

To send this message -- which will take no more than a few keystrokes -- visit the CitizenLink Action Center at the link below.


Posted by Tim at 2:28 PM EDT
Thursday, September 2, 2004
A Call to Obedience - for Clergy
Topic: Election / Voting

[Important Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

An important alert from Focus on the Family's CitizenLink, concerning the push to encourage pastors to preach on participation in the upcoming election:
Clergy Urged to Preach on Voting Values

Focus on the Family and Prison Fellowship are asking pastors to set aside Sundays in September and October to preach about the importance of taking part in November's election.
Focus on the Family has earmarked Sept. 12 as iVoteValues Sunday, encouraging preachers across the country to urge their congregations to register to vote and to vote their values at the ballot box.

And Focus isn't the only pro-family group stressing the importance of voting to churchgoers: Prison Fellowship has launched what it's calling the National Preaching Initiative.

"Christians can't be content to be the silent majority any longer," explained Peter Brandt, senior director of government and public policy at Focus on the Family. "Statistics have shown, in election after election, that believers have stayed home in alarmingly high numbers and that's got to stop if we are to have even a sliver of hope of returning righteousness to government.

"We have a civic and spiritual duty not only to vote, but to be careful to spend those votes on the candidates whose values most closely align with our own."

In that light, Brandt said, it is crucial for pastors and church leaders to educate their congregations about the values that matter to God.

"Some pastors have avoided addressing these topics from the pulpit because they don't think it's appropriate, while others worry that it might cost them their nonprofit status," he said. "Our goal is to show them that civic responsibility is an appropriate topic for a Sunday morning and to assure them that it's perfectly OK to talk about it."

To help pastors to prepare for iVoteValues Sunday, Focus' iVoteValues.org Web site offers sermon outlines and a detailed explanation of what topics can be addressed in church without running afoul of the law. Visitors to the site can also request a Voter Impact Toolkit, which contains promotional posters for churches, a stand-up easel with voter registration forms and a voter resource guide and a letter from Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family.

Prison Fellowship is also offering sermon outlines for pastors who take part in the National Preaching Initiative -- a project that urges clergy to dedicate four Sundays in September and October to preaching on marriage, sexual intimacy, God's natural order and our role as citizens.

Michael Snyder, senior vice president of Prison Fellowship and head of the Christian worldview group the Wilberforce Forum, said it is time that the church and Christians got back to the basics.
"The church as a whole no longer understands even the very basics about Gods design for living and in terms of God's design," he explained. "We have four simple elements that apply to everyone, whether you're a believer or not."

The message of the sample sermons is, first, that the church needs to understand what marriage really is and that the counterfeits that exist today do not amount to marriage. Second, that sexual intimacy is only meant to be expressed in the safety and bonds of marriage. Third, that through sexual intimacy in marriage comes children and therefore a family. And finally, that family is the institution that God created to raise healthy, productive citizens for the benefit of society as a whole.

The importance of that message, Snyder said, cannot be overemphasized.

"Frankly, the church has just as much sexual sin as the rest of society and it is very sad because in effect, it paralyzes the body of Christ from wanting to engage (in the battle for our culture,)" he said. "In essence we want the church to take the log out of its own eye before we start trying to correct the very bad vision of those who have an agenda on the other side."

In addition to the four sample sermons, the National Preaching Initiative Web site offers information about the Federal Marriage Amendment, research materials and articles from Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson's "Breakpoint Commentary."
The alert lists links to each of the sites it mentions. If you believe your pastor would consider preaching on civic involvement during the runup to this the most crucial of American presidential elections, be sure to e-mail him the link to this alert.

Posted by Tim at 1:54 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 1, 2004
On Goodness and Ingratitude
Topic: Quality Punditry
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The unparalleled moral clarity of Dennis Prager is again displayed in his most recent column:
Of all the ugly human traits, ingratitude -- the refusal to acknowledge the good that has been done for us -- is probably the ugliest.

Yet its awfulness is only exceeded by its ubiquity. In fact, it is ingratitude that characterizes much of the world's -- including many Americans' -- attitude toward the United States.

Think about it. Without America:

The world would collapse into economic and moral chaos. Cruelty and economic depression would dominate the planet. Vast unemployment and social dislocation would ensue, followed by various forms of secular and religious totalitarianism.

No one would stop the Chinese from conquering Taiwan.

No one would come to Israel's aid when Iran and other Muslim states attempted to destroy that country.

No one would come to South Korea's aid as North Korea invaded and probably prevailed over South Korea, making it a formidable Stalinist force in East Asia.

Japan would rearm and probably seek nuclear weapons to counter emboldened Korea and China.

Russia would probably recommence imposing its will on its neighbors.

Islamic terrorism would increase exponentially -- everywhere, including inside Europe -- as its only real opposition disappeared.

It is American idealism coupled with its dominant economic and military power that alone prevents evil from drowning the world. The many fools of the Left who devote their lives to curbing American power -- from those who manage editorial pages and the news media, to the academics who warn generations of students against American power, to leftist billionaires like George Soros -- do not understand this.

The world's nations should be thanking God or whatever they believe in for America. Instead, most of them celebrate the United Nations, which actually abets evil and increases human suffering.

. . .

One great lesson of American history is that one does good in this world because it is right to do good, not because the recipients will be grateful. We Americans must therefore never judge the rightness of our actions on how much gratitude or censure we receive. So long as we remain the most blessed country on earth, it is our duty to do as much good as we can. In fact, if we don't, we will cease to be blessed.

But the ingrates still deserve the contempt of decent people.
Read it all to discover to whom Dennis presents this year's Ingrate of the Year Award.

Posted by Tim at 11:45 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
More on H.R. 235
Topic: Legislation
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A new alert from Concerned Women for America:
Protect America's Churches!

Can you imagine sitting in church and your pastor preaches on the sanctity of life and the importance of maintaining marriage as one woman and one man and the following week your church is contacted by the IRS and told that it will lose its tax-exempt status and has to close its doors? Unfortunately, this is a possibility and without your help could become a reality for America's churches.

H.R. 235 is legislation sponsored by Representative Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) to end this assault on religious freedom and free speech. His bill would restore free speech to America's churches by clarifying an area of tax law that is currently used to bully churches into silence on political issues. Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code states that churches can not participate in political speech or else their tax-exempt status may be revoked. This law violates our Constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of worship. This law gives the IRS an easy lever with which to bully churches that try to put their faith into practice.
The alert includes links and sample messages for the relevant elected officials, plus a link to a sample letter pastors can send to their Representatives.

Posted by Tim at 9:43 AM EDT
Monday, August 30, 2004
The Blood-Chilling Facts
Topic: Nuclear Terrorism
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I have a lot of admiration for the work of Graham Allison, author of the new book Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, so I was pained to learn he has become an advisor to John Kerry, whose record betrays a consistent aversion to the use of force to protect the US.

Nevertheless, the book contains some crucial facts Americans must begin to face, and in his most recent column, George Will gives them a showcase:
The next four years will be the most dangerous in the nation's history because the 9/11 attacks were pinpricks compared to a clear and almost present menace. This year's pre-eminent question, beside which all others pale, is: Which candidate can best cope with the threat of nuclear terror?

. . .

The only serious impediment to creating a nuclear weapon is acquisition of fissionable material - - highly enriched uranium (HEU) or plutonium. In 1993, U.S. officials used ordinary bolt cutters to snip off the padlock that was the only security at an abandoned Soviet-era facility containing enough HEU for 20 nuclear weapons. In 2002, enough fissile material for three weapons was recovered from a laboratory in a Belgrade suburb. Often an underpaid guard and a chain-link fence are the only security at the more than 130 nuclear reactors and other facilities using HEU in 40 countries.

Allison says that at least four times between 1992 and 1999 weapons-useable materials were stolen from Russian research institutes but recovered. How many thefts have not been reported? The U.S. Cold War arsenal included Special Atomic Demolition Munitions that could be carried in a backpack. The Soviet arsenal often mimicked America's. Russia denies that ``suitcase" nuclear weapons exist, so it denies reports that at least 80 are missing. Soviet military forces deployed 22,000 tactical nuclear warheads -- without individual identification numbers. Who thinks all have been accounted for? Russia probably has 2 million pounds of weapons-useable material -- enough for 80,000 weapons.

In December 1994, Czech police seized more than eight pounds of HEU in a parked car on a side street. A senior al Qaeda aide's proclaimed goal of killing 4 million Americans would require 1,400 9/11s, or one 10-kiloton nuclear explosion -- from a softball-sized lump of fissionable material -- in four large American cities.

Of the 7 million seaborne cargo containers that arrive at U.S. ports each year, fewer than 5 percent are inspected. Fewer than 10 percent of arriving noncommercial private vessels are inspected. Given that 21,000 pounds of cocaine and marijuana are smuggled into the country each day, how hard would it be to smuggle a softball-sized lump of HEU on one of the 30,000 trucks, 6,500 rail cars or 50,000 cargo containers that arrive every day?

Intelligent people can differ about all that Allison says. But campaign time is becoming scarce for intelligent differing about how to prevent some American Ground Zero from becoming so poisoned by radiation that no one will be able to come within four miles of it.

Posted by Tim at 11:20 AM EDT
Friday, August 27, 2004
Suicide by Stupidity: Visas for Terrorists Still Available
Topic: Homeland Security

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Informed Americans have long wondered as to whose side the State Department is on in the war on Islamic terror. In a recent column, Joel Mowbray keeps us guessing:
Loophole exploited by the 9/11 hijackers remains open

If al Qaeda wants to strike on U.S. soil before the elections, it still has available to it a gaping loophole it exploited pre-9/11: Saudis' easy access to U.S. visas.

Despite supposed reforms implemented by the U.S. State Department, current statistics--obtained exclusively by this columnist--reveal that nearly 90% of all Saudi visa applicants get approved. To put this in perspective, applicants in most other Arab nations--the ones that didn't send us 15 of 19 9/11 hijackers--are refused visas three to five times more often than Saudis. (State refused multiple requests for comment.)

. . .

State has made some progress, such as doubling the number of names on the watchlist and breathing more life into pre-9/11 programs to identify non-watchlisted individuals who should be barred from the U.S.

What State has neglected to do, however, is enforce the law in Saudi Arabia.

Because of a provision in the law known as 214(b), all applicants are presumed ineligible for a visa until they establish their eligibility. This is supposed to be a high bar to clear, and in most countries, it is. Just not for Saudis. That's why nearly 90% who apply still get approved.

Eight of KSM's 27 handpicked operatives were prevented from entering the United States because of 214(b). Yet the same law that kept out almost one-third of the original 9/11 cell was not applied in Saudi Arabia--and it still isn't today.

If State wanted to get tough on Saudi visa applicants, they would have unfettered discretion to do so. Denials made by a consular officer are not appealable, which means a visa could be denied simply because a Saudi is young, single, and unemployed--the profile of the person least likely to qualify under 214(b) and the most likely to be a terrorist.

State, however, has shown no willingness to put security first. It vehemently opposed Congressional attempts to tighten Saudis' access to visas, and it only closed Visa Express under duress. Late last year--as originally reported here this January--the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh sent a cable to Washington advocating a re-loosening of restrictions on Saudi visas.

With 15 of the 19 hijackers and continued al Qaeda bombings and beheadings, the question must be asked: what additional evidence does State need before deciding to enforce the law?
The question I would ask is: Given this series of transgressions, and the general culture of appeasement and diplomatic naivete at Foggy Bottom, why has Congress not already stripped the State Department of its power to issue visas?

If you would like to ask that question of your Senators and Representatives, and ask them to make visa issuance a law enforcement matter, not one of diplomacy and customer service to foreign tyrannies, feel free to use our Basic Contact Links.

Posted by Tim at 1:43 PM EDT
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Middle East History
Topic: World War IV
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For anyone who wants a good understanding of the Middle East and why Israel is an important front in the war on Islamic terror, here are links to two concise and articulate analyses by Empower America and David Horowitz.

Twenty Facts About Israel and the Middle East

The world's attention has been focused on the Middle East. We are confronted daily with scenes of carnage and destruction. Can we understand such violence? Yes, but only if we come to the situation with a solid grounding in the facts of the matter-facts that too often are forgotten, if ever they were learned.

...In sum, a fair and balanced portrayal of the Middle East will reveal that one nation stands far above the others in its commitment to human rights and democracy as well as in its commitment to peace and mutual security. That nation is Israel.

A Middle East History Primer

What is the crime of the Jews that they should not have been welcomed into this unpromising desert -- a tiny sliver of the Turkish Empire -- from the very beginning? What is the crime of the Jews that their infant state should have been attacked by five Arab armies on the day of its creation? What is the crime of the Jews that these Arab states should have continued their war for fifty years without a peace in sight? What is the crime of the Jews that these Arabs should make Jewish women and children the targets of their suicide bombers, and that their leader should call for millions of "martyrs" to plow into the heart of the Jewish sliver to blow up its inhabitants once and for all?

Their crime is that they are Jews....

Posted by Tim at 12:57 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
The Next FMA Battleground
Topic: Legislation
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An alert from Focus on The Family's CitizenLink:
Ask House Members to Support the FMA

Round 2 in the battle to preserve traditional marriage is set for next month.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote soon -- possibly during the week of Sept. 20 -- on the Federal Marriage Amendment. The bill, H.J. Res. 56, is nearly identical to the legislation that was voted down in the Senate earlier this summer.

Success in the House is more likely, but still will require the efforts of family advocates like you. That's why we've identified some representatives whose votes would help the bill pass; we urge you to contact them, if you live in their state, and ask them to support the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Each week for the next several weeks, we will publish a new list of 25 names from different states. If no one from your state is listed today, we encourage you to check back.
The alert includes this week's list of 25, complete with easy-to-use e-mail forms for contacting each Rep.

Posted by Tim at 2:24 PM EDT
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Pull The Plug on Taxpayer Funded Bias
Topic: Cultural Civil War
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On the November 8, 2002 edition of PBS's "Now," Bill Moyers gave the following commentary:

The entire federal government -- the Congress, the executive, the courts -- is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate. That agenda includes the power of the state to force pregnant women to surrender control over their own lives. It includes using the taxing power to transfer wealth from working people to the rich. It includes giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment and control the regulatory agencies meant to hold them accountable. And it includes secrecy on a scale you cannot imagine.

Above all, it means judges with a political agenda appointed for life. If you like the Supreme Court that put George W. Bush in the White House, you will swoon over what's coming. And if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture...

So it's a heady time in Washington, a heady time for piety, profits and military power, all joined at the hip by ideology and money. Don't forget the money... Republicans out-raised Democrats by $184 million and they came up with the big prize: monopoly control of the American government and the power of the state to turn their radical ideology into the law of the land. Quite a bargain at any price.

Did you enjoy that tirade? I hope so. You paid for it.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS and NPR, in 2003 received a $363 million federal appropriation, representing a whopping 45% increase in federal funding in just four years. In return for this largess, taxpayers have received, among other choice moments: obnoxious and biased screeds like the one from Moyers, a TV special that even the ultra-liberal New York Times called an "Islamic infomercial," NPR's blacklisting of premier Islamic terror expert Steven Emerson, and reporter Nina Totenberg's expressed wish that Jesse Helms' grandchildren would get AIDS.

Recently Andrei Codrescu, on NPR's "All Things Considered," mocked Evangelicals' belief in the rapture of the saints, offering that "[t]he evaporation of 4 million [Evangelicals] who believe in this [Christian] crap would leave this world a better place."

Even if CPB's outlets had no bias, it would be superfluous. A National Taxpayers Union article puts it well:

When CPB was created in 1967 -- before the Internet, before satellite television, before VCRs or DVDs, before cable TV with hundreds of channels -- a stronger case could be made that there was a public benefit to subsidize other voices and programming. Now, with the media explosion of the past quarter century, there is little justification left for public subsidies.

Why continue to underwrite Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse when viewers can watch the Food Network (where the latter often appears)? Why subsidize history programming on PBS when viewers have the History Channel or can rent history documentaries at their local video store? Along with all the stations on free radio, listeners can tune in over the Internet to hundreds of stations all over the world. And for less than $10 a month, listeners can receive the 100 channels of XM Radio in their cars and homes.

It's time to stop feeding this left-wing dinosaur. Use the Ten Minute Lobbyist's Basic Contact Links to ask your representatives to remove all taxpayer funding from CPB and let it prove itself in the free marketplace of ideas, where dinosaurs tend to become quickly extinct.

Posted by Tim at 11:47 AM EDT
Monday, August 23, 2004
Redefining Poverty

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Here are some excerpts from the executive summary of a revealing report on American poverty by the Heritage Foundation:

The average "poor" person, as defined by the government, has a living standard far higher than the public imagines. The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.

Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.

[So someone like me who owns no DVD player or working dishwasher is what, sub-poor? -- Ed.]

Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry, and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family's essential needs. While this individual's life is not opulent, it is equally far from the popular images of dire poverty conveyed by the press, liberal activists, and politicians.

. . .The good news is that the poverty that does exist in the United States can readily be reduced, particularly among children. There are two main reasons that American children are poor: Their parents don't work much, and their fathers are absent from the home.

One point the executive summary does not mention is what an insult such a redefinition of the term "poverty" is to those who are truly poor around the world. We in the pampered West have real problems understanding concepts like "poverty" and "evil," but those who have actually lived with them, like the New Europe nations formerly under Soviet domination, know what these terms mean, in a way that we, without the same experience, cannot.

The summary concludes:

Yet, although work and marriage are reliable ladders out of poverty, the welfare system perversely remains hostile to both. Major programs such as food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid continue to reward idleness and penalize marriage. If welfare could be turned around to encourage work and marriage, the nation's remaining poverty would quickly be reduced.

Posted by Tim at 10:47 AM EDT

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