How Do You Solve a Problem Like Conchita.

Originally posted on The Last Wire:

(TIME) Good news for Marco Rubio fans! The junior Senator from Florida is ready to be President, according to, um, the junior Senator from Florida himself. Rubio may or may not be ready to hold the most powerful job in the world, but one thing is clear: He’s certainly prepared to run for it, at least in the modern Republican Party. If there was any doubt on that score, it was settled during an interview on ABC News on Sunday, when he checked one of the most important boxes on any GOP hopeful’s job application: declaring that he did not, could not, would not, believe that climate change is real.

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Word of God.

dc2014

 

Oh no!

What’s to become of Detroit?

A shout out to the State of Nevada today.

Bloomberg Business Week reporting:

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A state judge on Thursday ordered the Nevada Division of Insurance to release some documents sought by two media groups involving the backgrounds of workers who help people navigate the state health insurance exchange.

Ruling from the bench after a two-hour hearing, District Judge James Wilson also ordered the state to pay costs and attorney fees, saying the division’s delays in complying with the public records law amounted to stonewalling.

The records were sought by conservative magazine National Review, which sued after months of being denied by the agency. The Las Vegas Review-Journal joined the lawsuit. The media groups wanted to determine if anyone with a criminal history had access to people’s personal information.

The Silver State, unlike its Congressional delegation, seems to be more concerned over the people of Nevada, than the Federal government’s and Democratic Party’s political agenda.

Kudos to Judge Wilson. I’m sure he’s made Harry Reid squirm a bit.

Congress passed a Farm Bill

The bill is 949 pages and at a projected $956 billion total cost over the next ten years it delivers welfare and subsidies at a rate of $1,007,376,100.00 a page. Roughly 80% of that $956 billion is going to food stamps and government feeding programs, but we’ll call it a “Farm Bill” because that’s easier to market than calling it a “Gargantuan Entitlement Bill”. There’s about $200 million dollars a year to “help” companies like McDonald’s and Fruit of the Loom with their ad campaigns, a new $20 million crib for a absurdly wasteful and redundant catfish inspection program, and a billion dollars a year in “loans” to three sugar producers to make sure that Americans pay roughly twice what the rest of the world pays for sugar. Calling it the “Runaway Pork-Barrel Bill” would work, but we’re not doing that either. We’ll call it the “Farm Bill”.

The bill enjoys broad bi-partisan support. There’s nothing quite like a huge, drunken spending spree to bring Congress together. It’s like a ten year long Kardashian Christmas shopping outing on steroids, but at least Kris’ kids use their own money.

It is expected that the President will sign the “Farm Bill” into law.

Love is in the air in DC.

Hidden among the many pages of this “Farm Bill” is this:

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the farm bill, argues that it “further expand markets for agricultural products at home and aboard, strengthen conservation efforts, create new opportunities for local and regional food systems and grow the biobased economy.”

The farm bill creates a new 15-cent tax on every live cut Christmas tree sold, to create a board to promote Christmas trees.”

Wait… we need a Federal board to promote Christmas trees?

Why?

Christmas trees seem to be doing fairly well on their own, except for those instances where government disallows their presence that is.

How are Christmas trees going to be promoted by the very same government that seeks to interfere with the very idea of the traditional Christmas celebration at every opportunity?

Will there be Federal PSAs showing loving Hasidim families in Boro Park putting the finishing touches on their brightly-lit Christmas trees just in time for Shabbat?

Commercials showing atheists enthusiastically shopping for the proper decorations for their “Seven Days From January 1st” tree?

Does anyone know all the lyrics to “O Tannenbaum” in Farsi?

What’s with a Federal tax on Christmas trees?

More importantly, doesn’t that tax target a specific subset of the population?

Isn’t this a tax on the practice of Christian beliefs?

What kind of crazy idea is that?

Where are ideas like that rooted?

Certainly not in Progressivism/Liberalism, those guys will undoubtedly see the promotion of Christmas trees by the Federal government as a violation of their beloved separation of Church and anything that happens in this galaxy.

Who would impose a tax on a nation’s Christian population’s ability to celebrate their Christian beliefs?

From Encyclopædia Britannica:

jizya, also spelled jizyah, Arabic jizyah , head or poll tax that early Islamic rulers demanded from their non-Muslim subjects.

Islamic law made a distinction between two categories of non-Muslim subjects—pagans and dhimmis (“protected peoples,” or “peoples of the book”; i.e., those peoples who based their religious beliefs on sacred texts, such as Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians). The Muslim rulers tolerated the dhimmis and allowed them to practice their religion. In return for protection and as a mark of their submission, the dhimmis were required to pay a special poll tax known as the jizya.

Obama has set in place a jizyah on Christians.

Mind you, I know that it was Congress who actually drafted the imbecilic law, but Obama has been pushing the idea for years now.

So, the Federal government, via a tax on a traditional practice of people who celebrate the occasion of the Birth of Our Lord and Savior, will now take it upon itself to “market” a religious symbol?

Unlikely.

More than likely, they will change the idea of a Christmas tree to the more socially acceptable “Holiday tree”, and start the process of regulating the Christmas tree industry by requiring that all semblance of religiosity be removed from all places where varieties of live-cut pine trees are sold in November and December.

Then again, are we surporised?

Didn’t we see something odd in the way that Obama subtly moved away from using the term “freedom of religion” and toward the highly unsettling “freedom to worship”.

Is that significant?

Catholic Online believes so:

The change in language was barely noticeable to the average citizen but political observers are raising red flags at the use of a new term “freedom of worship” by President Obama and Secretary Clinton as a replacement for the term freedom of religion. This shift happened between the President’s speech in Cairo where he showcased America’s freedom of religion and his appearance in November at a memorial for the victims of Fort Hood, where he specifically used the term “freedom of worship.” From that point on, it has become the term of choice for the president and Clinton.

In her article for “First Things” magazine, Ashley Samelson, International Programs Director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, stated, “To anyone who closely follows prominent discussion of religious freedom in the diplomatic and political arena, this linguistic shift is troubling: “The reason is simple. Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It’s about the right to dress according to one’s religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelize, to engage in the public square. Everyone knows that religious Jews keep kosher, religious Quakers don’t go to war, and religious Muslim women wear headscarves-yet “freedom of worship” would protect none of these acts of faith.”

~~~~

Let’s be clear, however; language matters when it comes to defining freedoms and limits. A shift from freedom of religion to freedom of worship moves the dialog from the world stage into the physical confines of a church, temple, synagogue or mosque. Such limitations can unleash an unbridled initiative that we have only experienced in a mild way through actions determined to remove of roadside crosses, wearing of religious t-shirts and pro-life pins as well as any initiatives of evangelization. It also could exclude our right to raise our children in our faith, the right to religious education, literature or media, the right to raise funds or organize charitable activities and the right to express religious beliefs in the normal discourse of life.

We’ve long lived in a nation where the ACLU is at the forefront of the fight to eliminate Christian prayer from our schools, by using their interpretation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, while simultaneously defending Muslim’s rights to pray in the very same school, by using the Free Exercise Clause. Two ideas separated by a comma, and meant to protect the individual freedom of the exercise of religious beliefs, not to attack them.

We’ve long lived in a nation where crosses are removed from memorial sites because they are deemed offensive to people who do not believe what they stand for. That’s like me finding images of Spongebob Squarepants so offensive that I demand their immediate removal from all public places. I don’t believe that Spongebob exists, so he doesn’t bother me.

Now, we live in a nation where Christians will be forced to pay a tax in order to celebrate one of the longest-standing traditions of the holiest of our Holy days.

But this is not this government’s only jizyah.

An earlier jizyah is being challenged in Court even as we speak, and whether the United States Supreme Court will present groups like The Little Sisters of the Poor the choice to show submission to the government in order to be allowed the “freedom to worship”, or be denied, by force of government, the freedom to live in accordance to their calling and their most deeply-held religious beliefs, will say much about this nation’s future.

For the Little Sisters of the Poor, it will either be Obama’s jizyah or their ministry.

There’s no way that it can be both.

When in the Course of human events…

Update 2/8/14

From National Review’s The Corner, 2/6/2014:

Highlighting the importance of religion and the liberty to freely practice it as central to the United States’ prosperity, President Obama touched on both domestic and international policy areas during his annual National Prayer Breakfast speech. “Around the world, freedom of religion is under threat,” the president Thursday in his annual speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.

This of course, is the same man whose Department of Justice “filed a legal brief opposing a religious exemption to the (contraception) mandate for the University of Notre Dame”, who is seeking to deny the Little Sisters of the Poor the same exemption.

Perhaps Mr. Obama should pay closer attention to the attacks on the freedom of religion of the people of The United States being conducted as a result of his own policies, by the members of his own administration.

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