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  • Nasir Muhammad
    PatriotPost.US wrote: From: PatriotPost.US To:
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      "PatriotPost.US" <patriot-NA10341239@...> wrote:
      From: PatriotPost.US <patriot-NA10341239@...>
      To: nasirmuhammadconsulting@...
      Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 10:37:33 -0400
      Subject: 07-39 Digest

      The Patriot Post

      28 September 2007Patriot Vol. 07 No. 39    

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      ECUSA v. World Anglican Communion

      THE FOUNDATION

      “The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.” —George Washington

      PATRIOT PERSPECTIVE

      From George Washington to Vicky Imogene Robinson

      George Washington was a devoted Episcopalian. While he was not an outspoken evangelical like fellow Founders Benjamin Rush, Roger Sherman and Thomas McKean, he was a devout Christian.
      During the Revolutionary Era, General Washington served as a vestryman and had a designated pew at Pohick Church in Mount Vernon, Virginia, which he was instrumental in founding. Weather permitting, he frequently attended Christ Church in Alexandria, ten miles north of Mount Vernon (a two-hour trip by carriage).
      According to his family, Washington’s days began and ended with private devotions in his library, and he reserved most Sundays for family only, accepting very few visitors.
      George Washington’s adopted daughter, Eleanor Custis Lewis, wrote of his faith, “I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or pray, ‘that they may be seen of men.’ He communed with his God in secret.” (Matthew 6:5-6)
      The Episcopal Church, the American branch of the World Anglican Communion, has deep roots in American history. In the Colonial period, it was the official church of Virginia (1609), Massachusetts (1620), New York (1693), Maryland (1702), South Carolina (1706), North Carolina (1730) and Georgia (1758).
      The longest continually inhabited church in America is Brutton Parrish, established in 1715 adjacent to William and Mary College in Williamsburg. Revolutionary leaders including Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry attended Brutton when they were convened as members of the Virginia House of Burgesses. The earliest record of an Anglican Book of Common Prayer service on American soil occurred almost 200 years prior to the Revolution (19 June 1579), and was conducted by Sir Frances Drake’s crew.
      So, you ask, why the lesson regarding the heritage of the Episcopal Church?
      Because it is a regrettable case study of how liberalism has eroded the foundations of our great American heritage. As a fifth-generation Episcopalian, I have protested this erosion with vigor—alas, maybe too little too late.
      George Washington wrote that, should we want our liberty secure and freedom to endure, we must “acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, obey his will, be grateful for his benefits, and humbly implore his protection and favors.”
      Unfortunately, some 200 years after the American Revolution, most Episcopal Church leaders have abandoned the church’s venerable legacy and forsaken the Almighty’s providence. Leftists in the church endeavor to interpret the Bible eisegetically versus exegetically in order that it comport with their contemporary social agenda rather than its “original intent” —much as liberals interpret the so-called “living Constitution”.
      In other words, liberals reject the authority of the Bible, much as they reject the authority of our Constitution.
      In 1998, the decennial Lambeth Conference, a gathering of World Anglican Communion leaders representing 70 million Anglicans (the third largest communion in the world after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches) decreed clearly that homosexuality is “incompatible with Scripture” and rejected “ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”
      Then, in 2003, the “enlightened” U.S. bishops rebuffed the World Anglican Communion and codified their rejection of scriptural authority by ordaining Vicky Gene Robinson, a divorced father of two who now resides with his homosexual partner, as Bishop of New Hampshire. In turn, a year later, the World Anglican Communion called on the Episcopal Church to “repent.”
      (For a comprehensive exposition on this issue, read “Gender Identity, the Homosexual Agenda and the Christian Response.”)
      The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, head of the Church of England and primus inter pares or “first among equals” in World Communion standing, then issued a covenant affirming that national churches agree to maintain “biblical standards” of Anglican doctrine—in other words, abide by Scripture—but Williams’s actions have more to do with appeasement than conviction.
      Responding to Williams, Vicky Gene Robinson insists, “I think integrity is so important... I would feel better about the Church of England’s stance, its reluctance to support the Episcopal Church in what it has done, if it would at least admit that this is not just an American challenge. If all the gay people stayed away from church on a given Sunday, the Church of England would be close to shut down, between its organists, its clergy, its wardens...”
      Earlier this year, World Communion leaders set a 30 September deadline for Episcopalians to atone, or potentially suffer excommunication from the world churches.
      This week, the Episcopal House of Bishops conference attempted to reach a compromise, agreeing to “exercise restraint” (whatever that means) in regard to the ordination of homosexual bishops and to disapprove of “any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions,” explaining they did so “with the hope of mending the tear in the fabric” of the communion.
      Of course, the “tear” is not in the “fabric” of the communion but in the interpretation of God’s Word.
      Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, head of the Episcopal Church, offered this bit of accession: “We all hope that our sacrificial actions and our united actions at this meeting once again demonstrate to the wider communion that we treasure our membership and we treasure the other members of the Anglican community.” She added, “I have no doubt that the General Convention [in 2009] will revisit these issues.”
      Nonetheless, the decennial Lambeth Conference next July may pre-empt any highbrow pontifications by Episcopalians in 2009. As David Phillips of the Church Society notes, “The problem is that, at heart, [Schori’s statement] changes nothing. Most of these bishops are still committed to teach things that are contrary to Scripture.”
      As it stands now, the Episcopal Church may have bought itself some time, but it is no small irony that this Church, which prides itself as being a protagonist of the “social gospel movement” (particularly in regards to racial equality), is now at odds with mostly black bishops and archbishops from African nations. The prevailing, albeit unspoken, position of many American bishops is that these poor black souls are just not sufficiently educated or sophisticated enough to discern “the truth” in such matters.
      George Washington wrote, “The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institution may be abused by human depravity; and that they may even, in some instances be made subservient to the vilest purposes.”
      Such is the degeneracy within the once august institution of the Episcopal Church. Membership has declined to about 2.3 million nationally—far smaller than other mainstream Christian denominations.
      Perhaps such is also the plight of a church born out of wedlock. In 1534, when the Roman Catholic Church would not grant Henry VIII an annulment from his 25-year marriage to Catherine of Aragon, Henry broke with Rome and instituted the Church of England—which granted his divorce.
      Let us know what you think: Click here to comment on this section

      GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

      News from the Swamp: War debate

      The Bush administration submitted its request for $189 billion to wage the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2008, an amount somewhat higher than the annual cost of Hillary Clinton’s proposed healthcare plan. Of course, Democrats are still eager to obstruct. Attached to the defense-authorization measure is the infamous, completely unrelated and unconstitutional “hate crimes” legislation so adored by Ted Kennedy (D-MA). Democrats hope that President Bush will be forced to veto the defense bill he wants all because of an unacceptable provision granting special standing to homosexuals who are victims of a crime. Kennedy defended the amendment this time with a new rationale: “a shameful increase in the number of hate crimes committed against Muslims.” And nobody knows shameful like Ted Kennedy.
      Speaking of shameful, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-KKK) led a rousing chorus of hecklers aimed at Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Peter Pace. Gates and Pace appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding war funding and were ambushed by members of an anti-war group called Code Pink. According to The Washington Post, the chant went like this: “Byrd: Are we really seeking progress toward a stable, secure Iraq? Chorus: No! Byrd: Is our continuing occupation encouraging the Iraqi people to step up? Chorus: No! Byrd: Are Iraq’s leaders doing the hard work necessary? Chorus: No!” Even Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) chastised their behavior. Shameful indeed.
      As for the Democrat presidential candidates, in their “debate” this week they were asked, “[W]ill you pledge that by January 2013, the end of your first term... that there will be no troops, U.S. troops in Iraq?”, none would commit to do so. Barack Obama said, “I think it would be irresponsible.” Hillary Clinton waffled even more: “It is very difficult to know what we’re going to be inheriting.” John Edwards conceded, “I cannot make that commitment.” Code Pinkos are no doubt red in the face.

      Law of the Sea pushed again

      The Senate is close to ratifying the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, or Law of the Sea Treat (“LOST”), a decades-old international treaty to regulate the commercial use of the world’s oceans. President George W. Bush, much of Congress, the Navy, the Coast Guard, environmental groups, and oil companies support the treaty, stating that it guarantees the right to traverse certain regions that currently require permission from other governments. To date, more than 150 countries have signed on. Since 1983, it has been U.S. policy to comply voluntarily with the treaty portions relating to the traditional use of the ocean. We’re unclear on the problem this renewed push seeks to correct.
      Despite this wide array of support, there are still many who believe it is a severe blow to American sovereignty. For example, the “innocent passage” provision in the treaty allows the UN bureaucracy to oversee international shipping and could thus severely hamper America’s ability to combat terrorism at sea. President Ronald Reagan refused to sign the treaty in 1982, when our Navy had nearly 600 ships to guarantee our right of passage. Now, we have but 276 ships, and that number is slated to decrease. As Cliff Kincaid, president of America’s Survival, points out, “What we need are more ships, not more lawyers and not more international tribunals.”
      The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution in a pocket-sized booklet! Educate the public with this handy version of our founding documents! (Bulk pricing available)

      New & notable legislation

      President Bush has threatened to veto the renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) that is due to expire at the end of this year. TRIA is a government-funded program meant to take up the slack left by private insurers who will not protect against terrorism risk. President Bush reluctantly renewed the program in 2005, but now that he is finally eager to cut spending, the $10-billion program faces a questionable future.
      Republicans in Congress are working on legislation that would allow for the continued funding of government programs if a shutdown occurs due to budget fights between Congress and the president. Democrats oppose the measure because it takes away any leverage they might have in their game of chicken with President Bush over federal spending.
      House Democrats passed a $60-billion, five-year children’s health-insurance package by a lopsided 265-159 vote this week with the help of 45 Republicans. The package expands the State Children’s Health Insurance Program by $35 billion and will end up forcing the government to pay children’s health insurance for some families that can afford their own private coverage.
      President Bush has threatened a veto because the bill is too costly, not to mention that it’s unconstitutional. The House bill would need another 25 votes to be veto-proof, but the Senate is expected to pass a veto-proof version of the bill by week’s end, so the President will have to hold the line.
      The Washington Times reports, “House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), appearing with the Rev. Al Sharpton by his side, said he will convene hearings to investigate the handling of the Jena 6 case and prosecutions of blacks nationwide...Mr. Conyers, other members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and the family of one of the six black teens from Jena, [Louisiana], charged with beating a white student said the blacks were dealt with too severely.” And we were just thinking that a good congressional hearing featuring Al and Jesse would finally establish racial harmony.

      In the Senate: Who weeps for these?

      Sen. Ted Stevens (RINO-AK), long proud of being king of the earmarks, may have finally worn out his welcome in his home state. A burgeoning federal investigation into graft in Alaska has led to his front door. He’s been linked to oil services firm CEO Bill Allen, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to bribing state legislators. Representative Don Young, who, like Stevens, fiercely protects Alaska’s earmarks in the House, tried to secure funding for another bridge project near a 60-acre block of land owned by his son-in-law.
      The shame that Stevens and Young have brought upon their state has sufficiently turned off voters. Governor Sarah Palin is looking for a cheaper alternative to the famous “bridge to nowhere,” and voters appear ready for a congressional candidate dedicated to cutting spending, even if it means less pork for the state.
      Speaking of scandal, Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) will stay in the Senate until a judge decides on his attempt to withdraw a guilty plea stemming from his alleged solicitation of sex in a Minneapolis airport men’s room in June. Craig had said he would resign on 30 September, but the judge is not expected to reach a decision until late next week.

      From the Left: The New York Times moves on

      The New York Times decided this week that their buddies over at MoveOn.org should pay full price after all for their disgraceful ad denouncing Gen. David Petraeus. Lest we forget, MoveOn’s ad had the headline, “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” and the subhead, “Cooking the Books for the White House.” MoveOn paid the $65,000 standby rate for an ad that should have cost more than twice that to be guaranteed on the day requested by the advertiser. Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt wrote, “I think the ad violated The Times’s own written standards.”
      The fact that The Times has been such a vocal proponent of campaign-finance restrictions for everyone else makes this special arrangement just a bit hypocritical. Due to the ensuing firestorm caused by the ad, the Gray Lady acquiesced, and MoveOn has paid full price. Not surprisingly, MoveOn is calling on Rudy Giuliani’s campaign, which lobbied for the same ad rate for a counter ad, to pay full price as well.
      As for other media, MSNBC’s David Shuster blamed radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh for originating the “Betray Us” phrase. We thought the template was to blame Bush.

      MSNBC ambush

      Speaking of David Shuster, he sat in this week for Tucker Carlson’s MSNBC show. One of his guests was Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), on the show to discuss her criticism of MoveOn’s ad. Shuster challenged Blackburn by using a soldier’s death for the Left’s political gain (not exactly a new tactic). “Let’s talk about public trust. You represent, of course, a district in western Tennessee. What was the name of the last soldier from your district who was killed in Iraq?” Shuster asked. Completely taken aback, Blackburn said she didn’t know. Shuster closed in, giving the name of an 18-year-old soldier—a name that the family declined to publicize. He mocked, “[I]t’s a little surprising that you did not know the name of the last soldier killed in Iraq, who is only 18 years old, and yet you know so much about the MoveOn.org ad and the tactics you don’t like.” Beyond this sickening display of political “gotcha,” Shuster got his facts wrong—the soldier was not from Blackburn’s district. Shuster apologized for that “mistake.”
      Oddly enough, many congressmen who voted to condemn MoveOn have received phone calls asking for the name of the last soldier from their district killed in Iraq.

      Campaign trail: Keyes and Gingrich

      Perennial candidate Alan Keyes jumped into the Republican race for President this week, although his chances of victory are slim. His entry had virtually no affect on the current state of the race, either, though his presence could stimulate some worthwhile debate. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, however, still hovers around the sidelines, much to the consternation of a growing crowd of conservatives eager to see him get in the race. Gingrich maintains that $30 million worth of pledges from supporters would probably make him change his mind and enter the race.

      Columbia University: Whistlestop for despots

      This week, Iranian President and pinup-despot Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad addressed a packed house at Columbia University. Introducing the ruthless dictator, Columbia’s president, Lee Bollinger, axiomatically declared, “We do not honor the dishonorable when we open our forums to their voices.” Really? That’s funny, because judging from the outrage voiced, we think most Americans feel that’s exactly what happens when academia opens its doors to tyrants. Liberals cite the enshrinement of predictably outrageous remarks as the price paid for “intellectual freedom.” Incredibly, these smooth-brains keep straight faces when they offer despots a microphone, while denying the “free exchange of ideas” to those with differing worldviews.
      Contrast Columbia’s invitation of a murdering despot with the “warm” reception given to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by Stanford’s best and brightest. While Columbia was entertaining Iran’s autocrat, 3,000 free-thinking members of Stanford’s faculty were signing petitions vehemently opposing former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s fellowship to the prestigious Hoover Institution, a conservative think-tank affiliated with Stanford. One professor actually labeled Rumsfeld—who has devoted most of his life to crushing totalitarianism—a “fascist.” Stanford’s motto? “The wind of freedom blows.” No, what “blows,” sadly, is Stanford’s understanding of freedom.
      Or take Lawrence Summers, the ill-fated former Harvard president ousted for his accurate remark that research shows that fundamental biological differences between the sexes may explain why women occupy fewer top-echelon billets in math and science. Recently slated to address the University of California’s Board of Regents during a dinner engagement, Mr. Summers’s speech was cancelled following circulation of a petition casting him as a symbol of “gender and racial prejudice in academia.” The real “symbols of prejudice in academia,” however, are those offering platforms to rogue dictators while denying those platforms to those who disagree with liberal theology.
      Counterintuitively, we find ourselves agreeing with Ahmadi-Nejad on one point. Responding to Bollinger’s scolding—a preemptive attempt to inoculate Columbia from just condemnation—Ahmadi-Nejad remarked, “I think he was affected by the press and the media and the political pressure.” We couldn’t agree more.
      Let us know what you think: Click here to comment on this section

      NATIONAL SECURITY

      Warfront with Jihadistan: Snipers targeted

      Treasonous members of the Leftmedia continue to provide aid and comfort to the enemy. It is their M.O., after all. This week, The Washington Post publicized details on classified techniques used by U.S. snipers to target terrorists in Iraq. The techniques involve troops scattering items, or “bait,” such as detonation cord and explosives, in areas frequented by insurgents, and then targeting suspicious individuals who pick them up. Details of the program were described in court documents related to murder charges against three U.S. snipers accused of planting evidence on Iraqis they killed.
      While the murder charges are newsworthy and will wind their way through the U.S. military justice system, publicizing details of the “baiting” tactic is unconscionable. Enemy combatants are now tipped off to the technique, which will dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, its effectiveness. The Post’s story will further endanger our troops by entangling them in a legal spider web, causing them to delay their reaction times for fear of legal repercussions. As one sniper put it, “It’s our job out here to lay people down who are doing bad things.” Let’s let them do their job to the best of their ability.
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      Blackwater incident is muddy water

      As we reported last week, security contractor Blackwater USA is in hot water in Iraq for killing 11 Iraqis in a firefight on 16 September. The Iraqi government banned the contractor from operating in the country and raised further questions about American security firms. This week, however, Blackwater resumed security services for the State Department, which is working with the Iraqi government to find out exactly what happened—was Blackwater attacked or were their actions unprovoked?
      According to the State Department, Blackwater has been involved in 56 shootings this year—twice as many as other contractors. The Iraqi government plans to file criminal charges, even though security companies were granted immunity from prosecution in Iraq by U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer in 2004—a provision the Iraqi Parliament is seeking to overturn. Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered U.S. military commanders to take a harder line on any misdeeds by private contractors, saying they have authority to enforce the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice. “Commanders have UCMJ authority to disarm, apprehend and detain DoD contractors suspected of having committed a felony offense,” wrote Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England.
      We have been inclined to give Blackwater the benefit of the doubt in this incident, but details are emerging that make that harder every day.

      Iranian terrorist in custody

      Last week, American forces rolled up an important individual in the Kurdish north of Iraq. Mahmudi Farhadi, better known to his friends as General Farhadi of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force, is now in U.S. custody and, we hope, is receiving a vigorous and thorough interrogation.
      While details of Farhadi’s capture are sparse, one thing is certain: Farhadi was in a position to know a great deal about the individuals and the routes being used to funnel Iranian arms and support to the terrorists and thugs in Iraq. Given that Iranian technical know-how is behind the explosively formed penetrator bombs that are causing most American casualties, his capture is an important step toward reducing those casualties. We would like to have seen something like this much sooner—the United States has held incontrovertible evidence of Iranian lethal support to the terrorists and militias in Iraq since late 2003—but it’s a good start, and we hope this is merely the first of many such steps to come.

      Homeland Security: Another Patriot Act ruling

      The USA Patriot Act has taken another hit, this time from a federal judge in Oregon, who ruled that portions of the Act are unconstitutional because they “permit the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable-cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment.” Secret searches and wiretapping to gather criminal evidence were the specific targets of U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken.
      The suit was brought by a Portland attorney, a Muslim convert, who was secretly searched and wiretapped after fingerprints from the 2004 Madrid train bombing were misidentified, leading to Portland. The FBI subsequently apologized and the attorney was awarded $2 million, but he proceeded with a suit over the Patriot Act’s search and surveillance provisions.
      In other judicial news this week, a special military appeals court overturned a ruling by a lower court and will allow military tribunals to try Guantanamo detainees. The tribunals had been held up over semantics: Could “unlawful enemy combatants” (the measuring stick for such trials) be found specifically “unlawful”? Please.

      Profiles of valor: Airman Phillip King

      On 8 August 2006, in Ebrahimkhel, Afghanistan, just north of Kandahar, Air Force Senior Airman Phillip King was leading a convoy to help the Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan National Army (ANA) when a rocket-propelled grenade landed within five yards of his Humvee. A full-scale insurgent attack came right on its tail.
      Returning fire, King positioned his Humvee to shield the convoy against the incoming barrage. When a second RPG blast gave him a concussion, King persisted, exposing himself to intense enemy fire to direct defensive fire by Afghan soldiers. This allowed an ANA soldier to neutralize the enemy site using a hand grenade.
      As King led his team out of danger amid continued sniper fire, he discovered a second ambush site where Taliban forces had entrapped five Afghan soldiers with gunfire. King maneuvered his vehicle, freed the soldiers, then led the ANP and ANA troops to establish a perimeter.
      Still taking heavy fire from machine guns, small arms, and RPGs, King’s team called in air support. Just before it arrived, King again exposed himself to intense fire to mark the targets for the bombers, which effectively took out the Taliban position. Airman King’s actions saved the lives of more than a dozen Afghans and helped eliminate 20-25 Taliban militants. His team suffered no casualties.
      King, who volunteered for the 365-day Afghanistan deployment, called it “another day on the job.” The U.S. military called it heroism in ground combat. For his actions, Airman King was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for Valor.

      Immigration front: U.S. v. Illinois

      The Bush administration may—finally—be getting embarrassed over the flouting of immigration laws. They are suing Illinois over a new state law barring employers from voluntarily accessing a national database to verify that workers are legally present within the U.S. Ever notice how most of those favoring unfettered illegal entry across our nation’s borders will resort to any “heads we win, tails you lose” rationale? These defenders of the border-breaking “culture of lawlessness” contend that immigration is a matter for the federal government and that states and localities may not enforce any immigration laws at all, but then they turn around and claim that states and localities may legitimately enact laws protecting illegal aliens against enforcement of immigration laws.
      Let us know what you think: Click here to comment on this section

      BUSINESS & ECONOMY

      Income Redistribution: Obama to raise SS tax

      In 1789, Benjamin Franklin warned, “[N]othing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” In 2007, Democrats continue to add the descriptor “higher” to the certainty of taxes. Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama has officially stated that, if elected, he will raise the Social Security tax. Writing in a 21 September op-ed, Obama called the argument that “Social Security is fundamentally broken... an exaggeration.” Instead, describing the problems plaguing the system as “relatively small” and “readily solve[able],” he proposed abolishing the $97,000 Social Security tax cap and taxing income above that amount at the 12.4-percent rate. Apparently, it’s not enough that the top ten percent of households—those earning approximately $100,000 or more—already pay about 70 percent of all federal income taxes.
      Meanwhile a new Treasury Department report suggested the only way to “restore solvency permanently” to the Social Security system is to “reduce the present value of scheduled benefits and/or [to] increase the present value of scheduled tax increases.” The current White House steadfastly rejects any tax hike, but if Obama wins dibs on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2008, all bets are off, and Franklin’s words—with Obama’s edit—will prove truer still.

      Taxes and the Baltic Tigers

      Speaking of taxes, a recent Investor’s Business Daily editorial highlights a growing trend in Eastern Europe’s ex-communist nations: the low-rate flat tax. In the U.S., when a politician argues for lower taxes, the result is a drawn-out ideological debate. In Eastern Europe, such debates are unheard of. It’s simply assumed common knowledge that low, non-progressive tax rates are better for everybody (even for government revenues). There is good reason for this assumption: Formerly stagnant economies are flourishing and government revenues are increasing, even as tax rates are going down—flat-tax rates between ten and 20 percent are common, and rates are declining. The “Baltic Tigers” of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are perfect examples of economic growth, as they embrace the principles of a free economy and just tax laws. Apparently, it takes several years under an oppressive Marxist regime to give a nation a real taste for economic freedom.
      Their only mistake is to think that after their break with communism, they are now imitating the West. In reality, they are leading the way. Old Europe continues to commit economic suicide by attempting to preserve bloated welfare states, and even the United States could do worse than to heed the lesson of the Baltic Tigers. The specifics of the “flat tax” aren’t the point. The proposed “fair tax” would likely work just as well. As ironic as it may sound, we would do well to follow the example of Eastern Europe, rather than follow Western Europe’s socialist road to serfdom.

      UAW lets GM out of the healthcare business

      For the first time since 1976, Big Three automakers dealt with the wrath of the UAW as General Motors was struck this week. The brief two-day strike began after the parties extended negotiations nine days past the expiration of the previous contract.
      In return for a hefty contribution from the automakers (estimates peg the amount as being near $70 billion), the unions will supervise where healthcare dollars go. The fund, termed a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, will be opened by the automakers and continued through employer contributions. Ron Gettelfinger, UAW president, termed the amount as “enough to last 80 years.” However, similar funds at Caterpillar and Detroit Diesel ran out of money in far less time. With this VEBA fund now being put in place, it’s predicted Big Labor will strengthen its push for single-payer (read: taxpayer funded) healthcare.
      Also on the table were the issues of wages and job security. On those, GM held the line much more tightly, gaining the concession of a second, lower-wage tier for new hires from the UAW without guaranteeing an end to job cuts. Ratification of the deal is scheduled to take place this weekend, and similar deals are possible for Ford and Chrysler.
      Let us know what you think: Click here to comment on this section

      CULTURE

      Village Academic Curriculum: Don’t know civics

      American college seniors know astoundingly little about America’s history, political thought, market economy and international relations, according to a study for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, “Failing Our Students, Failing America.” Some 14,000 freshmen and seniors at 50 colleges and universities were asked 60 multiple-choice questions to measure their knowledge in those four subject areas. The overall average score for the approximately 7,000 seniors who took the American civic-literacy exam was a dismal 54.2 percent, an “F.” The average senior failed all four subjects, scoring less than 60 percent on each.
      Also among the study’s findings: 1) Colleges stall student learning about America’s history and institutions, advancing them at a slower annual rate than do primary and secondary schools; 2) the nation’s most competitive, expensive and highly rated colleges do not perform as well as less competitive, less expensive and lower-rated colleges; 3) students don’t learn what colleges don’t teach. The average senior had taken a total of only four college courses in history, political science and economics; 4) students who increase their knowledge about America’s history and institutions during college typically are more likely to register and vote and to engage in other civic activities than students who learn less such knowledge during college.
      If Americans do not know their own history, they cannot teach it to others. Poet George Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” It seems that in the coming decades Americans may be in for some hard lessons.
      Our latin moto is Veritas Vos Liberabit (VAIR-ih-tahss Vohss Lee-ber-RAH-beet) - The truth will set you free.
(Jesus speaking in John 8.31-32). These great items testify that truth is freedom!

      ‘Non Compos Mentis’: Rocky Mountain low

      Last week, a University of Florida student was tasered during a John Kerry speech. The student, known for pulling practical jokes, disrupted the speech and was subsequently removed by police. He vigorously resisted and got the taser treatment. Indeed, the phrase he howled as he wrestled with police, “Don’t tase me, bro!” will likely live long in the urban lexicon.
      At Colorado State University, the student paper published an “editorial” response to the incident, which read, “Taser this... F*** Bush.” The four-letter expletive was spelled out for all to see. “We felt it illustrated our point about freedom of speech,” the Rocky Mountain Collegian’s Editor-in-chief said. “I think we could write 250 words and ramble on and I don’t think anyone would pay attention.”
      Oh, people paid attention all right. According to the Associated Press, the newspaper has already lost $50,000 in advertising revenue and already has made budget cuts. Some staff members have already quit. Maybe next time the editors want to “get college students to talk about freedom of speech” they’ll be a bit more responsible.

      Frontiers of Junk Science: Warming Soros

      The research validating global warming is inconclusive to say the least, yet the Leftmedia constantly promulgates the notion that not only is there scientific “consensus” that the globe is warming, but that man is responsible. Upon verifiable analysis, it is clear that no such consensus exists. Furthermore, many scientists who claim that climate change is occurring are not practicing honest science, but rather are molding their results to suit the political conditions of their particular habitat. For example, NASA scientist James Hansen, who is now a certified global-warming alarmist, was not always a believer. In fact, in 1971 he warned that the most imminent environmental threat to humanity was the coming of another ice age (“U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming,” The Washington Post, 19 July 1971). Along came leftist sugar daddy George Soros, who gave Hansen $720,000 to encourage him to become NASA’s “whistleblower” on global warming, and voila!—position changed. It seems that the only growing evidence for global warming is that it’s more political opportunism than true science.

      Judge Fancy Pants Fallout Continues

      Even though Washington, DC, Judge Roy Pearson lost his frivolous $54-million lawsuit over a single pair of pants lost by the cleaners, his behavior continues to exact a toll on the family targeted in the suit. The Chungs have been forced to close their business, Custom Cleaners, due to revenue loss stemming from the ridiculous two-year debacle. In fact, the Chungs’ attorney recently issued a statement that revealed the immigrant family has closed two of their three dry cleaning stores since Pearson filed suit. They are turning their efforts now to their remaining business. We can only wish them the best with their remaining shop, Happy Cleaners. Meanwhile, Pearson’s idiocy continues to take a toll on him, as well. He awaits final word as to whether he still has a job. Happy trails.
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      And last...

      Barack Obama’s campaign made a strange headline this week: “Singles will check out eligible candidates at Obama rally.” The story details how singles in New York City were hoping Thursday’s Obama rally in Washington Square Park will “be a raging pickup scene.” One TV producer was looking for “a socially conscious liberal [guy]—probably a well dressed, well groomed hipster.” Our advice: For a well groomed guy, the place to be is John Edwards’ rally. Another hopeful female said, “Something like this naturally weeds out the losers for you.” If you’re referring to someone who agrees with Barack Hussein Obama that we should cut, run and lose in Iraq, then again, you’re at the wrong rally. Of course, if the Obama campaign keeps holding rallies for singles, they may find a new supporter in Bill Clinton.
      Veritas vos Liberabit—Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis! Mark Alexander, Publisher, for The Patriot’s editors and staff. (Please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families—especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.)
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