A couple of disturbing bits of reporting have arisen regarding efforts to protect the heaping pile of putrid excrement known as "Ryancare". It seems that the GOP establishment is going after Mark Meadows and others who might break ranks with the Speaker. And Trump unfortunately might be getting in on the act.
David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner reported, “President Trump has told Republican leaders that he's prepared to play hardball with congressional conservatives to pass the GOP healthcare bill, including by supporting the 2018 primary challengers of any Republican who votes against the bill.
“Sources told the Washington Examiner that Trump made that threat in a White House meeting on Tuesday with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and other members of the House GOP whip team that helps line up votes.”
Longtime observers of the political Trump figured the president would eventually threaten to punish intra-party opponents of something he favors. We just didn’t know it would come this soon.
“If negotiations don't reach fruition as the bill readies for a floor vote, Republican insiders said, watch Trump's tweets and travel schedule for signs that he's dispensed with the carrots and brought out the stick to try to get wayward members on board,” Drucker added.
Drucker’s article mentions Rep. Mark Meadows as one of Trump’s potential targets, since the North Carolina representative and chairman of the Freedom Caucus is seen as one of the leaders of the conservative resistance to Ryan’s bill.
Breitbart reported a few days ago that Ryan is using the American Action Network to fund ads against conservatives who oppose his awful healthcare bill. Members of the House Freedom Caucus are intended targets; and Meadows leads that group.
In addition, Daniel Horowitz is reporting at Conservative Review that the American Action Network is funded by Big Pharma, a major beneficiary of Obamacare. That partially explains the GOP establishment's desire to save Obamacare even while publicly claiming to seek its repeal.
Folks really need to be looking at the Constitution Party. The GOP utterly stinks. Repeal via reconciliation should have taken place six weeks ago.
Much of North Carolina's establishment media, including our friends at the News and Record, continually harp on the issue of HB 2. They behave as if the matter of religious liberty for orthodox Christians is not an issue.
A fellow named Anthony Esolen would disagree. This gentleman is a pre-eminent Christian conservative thinker and writer who is a professor of English at Providence College in Rhode Island. He has recently been the victim of a lynch mob gathering around him because of certain things he has written. This is happening in spite of the fact that Providence is a Catholic college. Rod Dreher provides some of the details. Even though Esolen is protected by tenure, he still has been at risk.
Esolen and other purveyors of Christian culture have watched the devotees of a new religion called "diversity" pack the treasures of our cultural heritage into storage boxes and relegate them to the attics and basements of the academy. Access may be permitted for private study—much as Soviet researchers were allowed guarded access to books in Old Church Slavonic or on the lives of the saints—but, say the Diversity Police, such books are not fit for public consumption or for fair presentation in the public marketplace of ideas. Indeed, some might prefer to throw them in the dumpster or just burn them up for good.
This suppression is carried out under the banner of "diversity" or "multiculturalism," which ironically claims that all cultures are equal while it derides Judeo-Christian culture—and will eventually denigrate any other culture that doesn't support the cookie-cutter diversity agendas of the LGBT lobby. Those who do not affirm gender theory and racial identity politics are homophobic, hateful, "on the wrong side of history," and therefore expendable.
And so, Dr. Esolen, Providence College's most prolific, popular, widely known, and widely read professor, but one who dared to criticize the lack of true diversity at his college, must be destroyed. Rod Dreher and others have written in detail about the shameful Esolen affair at Providence.
But Esolen is not alone—in more ways than one. Many other teachers, at schools small and large, have been harassed, punished, and even silenced for their adherence to orthodoxy. Not many years ago, I had lunch with two gifted professors, from two different schools in Virginia, who both suffered at the hands of the academy because their Christian views had been discovered in Touchstone articles. And we likely do not know the half of it. If all the tales of academic persecution by the devotees of "tolerance" and "diversity" were to be told, how many pages would they take up?
There was news recently that Republican members of the North Carolina General Assembly had teamed with leftist Attorney General Josh Stein to announce a bill to tighten state restrictions on the prescribing of controlled substances.
Officials are justifiably concerned about the number of deaths due to heroin overdoses. That is an appropriate concern, although it is primarily a law enforcement and criminal justice issue. Heroin has flooded our country because the legalization of marijuana in several states has cut into the profits of the Sinaloa cartel that engages in the distribution of illegal drugs. The heroin epidemic was essentially caused by liberal policy-making in other states. Our open borders with Mexico, previously maintained by the federal government, has exacerbated the situation, of course.
The bill proposes to require that doctors consult a statewide computer registry every time they prescribe a controlled substance of any kind. It proposes they limit the amount they prescribe, and forces them to prescribe electronically. And of course, it levies yet another annual fee against physicians to accompany the numerous other annual fees we must pay.
The theory is that people who use prescription narcotics will inevitably progress to seek and use heroin. I strongly doubt that previous inappropriate use of prescription medications is the primary cause in the vast majority of heroin cases. One article suggests that some of the folks who previously used prescription narcotics are using heroin because it is cheap and easier to access.
In any case, the Republicans ought to know that anything Josh Stein advocates is likely to be horribly wrong.
Requiring the physician to use an electronic database, pay a fee and convert to electronic prescribing is yet more regulation of the health care sector. The Republicans claim to want deregulation, but they have a fetish for regulating health care. They repeatedly impose requirements upon physicians and medical practices. In my own sector of the economy, their claims to cut regulation are but a theoretical fantasy. They continue to pour it on.
It is true that some physicians over-prescribe controlled substances. But the solution is not to impose onerous requirements on everyone for all controlled substances. More targeted solutions would be appropriate.
The measures proposed in the bill would require additional time-consuming, inefficient steps for prescribing certain medications that are not even typically abused. It would penalize physicians who are not part of the problem. And it likely would not reduce deaths due to heroin to a major extent.
The bill does not do anything with regard to patient expectations or demands for narcotics. Americans have become acculturated to ask for (or demand) "something for pain" or "something for my nerves" over a period of many generations.
And in fact, the federal government encourages patient demands for narcotics. Hospitals must achieve Joint Commission accreditation in order to receive Medicare reimbursement. And the Joint Commission demands that hospitals inquire with patients about pain, and manage it. This requirement nearly creates a de facto burden to treat pain with narcotics, because the information solicited must be acted upon. The federal government is therefore a driver of opioid overprescribing and overuse. And corporate entities that employ physicians-- i.e., hospital systems-- also encourage overprescribing because they excessively emphasize patient satisfaction even when patient expectations are inappropriate. Physicians are now penalized by their employers if they do not give patients what they want and expect.
This push to make it difficult to prescribe narcotics is controversial in some quarters because some patients genuinely need this type of treatment. There is an agenda to move away from narcotic prescribing; and that is justified in many instances. But this effort spurs much debate because some patients and providers need to be able to use these drugs. (HT: Fred Gregory)
The animated version of "Beauty and the Beast" was released by Disney approximately 25 year ago. It was a wonderful film, even though they managed to shade it with contemporary feminist perspectives.
The new, live version to be released soon is reportedly going to incorporate a gay character, a gay kiss and a gay story line. It is a version that parents with any sense of responsibility will not bring their kids to see. People who claim to be Christian really need to refrain from paying to see this movie.
But what has happened to Disney? It used to be the embodiment of wholesomeness and family-friendly entertainment. Now, it is in the gutter, with the rest of the popular culture shaped by the establishment media.
Walt Disney died 51 years ago. He was a Congregationalist Christian (and therefore, part of a liberal mainline tradition). But he was conservative and expected his company's output to be squeaky clean.
Disney is now a publicly traded company that controls ABC and ESPN-- two other fallen media companies.
These two men have led Disney since 1984. Disney has essentially become a Jewish company.
Let's remember that three of the key values associated with contemporary Judaism are cultural relativism, sexual liberationism and radical feminism.
Kevin MacDonald has pointed out that Jewish Americans are massively over-represented within the media (by a factor of 2,000 percent!)-- to the extent that they control a large slice of the establishment media. In fact, MacDonald points out that media values are essentially Jewish values. He states that "the attitudes and opinions favored by the media are those generally held by the wider Jewish community".
Disney has permitted the "Gay Days" event at Walt Disney World dating back to the 1990's. This began during Eisner's reign.
The last time I visited Epcot-- a couple of years ago in conjunction with a medical conference-- I was surprised to walk around the park to discover numerous vending carts were set up throughout to sell mixed alcoholic drinks. It was part of a theme event that Disney was promoting. The image of wholesomeness is now nearly gone.
Christians need to stay away from Disney's facilities and its products because of the values this company espouses, which profane the memory of its founder.
An article by S.A. Litteral, "Southern Baptists Versus the South", was published in the most recent issue of Chronicles. I found it interesting, and am taking the liberty of re-publishing it here:
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has over 15 million members. With over 46,000 churches, they are present in all 50 states (as well as several foreign countries). It is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Nonetheless, for nine straight years, the SBC has reported a net loss of membership.
Last summer, the SBC leadership sparked controversy within the church’s declining ranks by erecting a Golden Calf of political correctness.
At its convention meeting in June, the Southern Baptist leadership launched an all-out offensive against many of the church’s members by repudiating the Confederate Battle Flag. The attack was orchestrated by two of the SBC’s clergy.
Dr. James Merritt and Dr. William Dwight McKissic, Sr., are megachurch pastors and leaders within the Southern Baptist Convention. Merritt served as president of the SBC from 2000 to 2002. Merritt’s sprawling church is in his home state of Georgia, for which his Confederate ancestors courageously fought. Mc Kissic’s church, located in Texas, is one of the larger black churches within the SBC. Apparently, McKissic can speak in tongues, making him a Bapticostal. Both churches conduct services that are very theatrical, more reminiscent of Star Search than the small rural churches that are the backbone of the SBC.
I have no reason to doubt that these men truly love God; but they are lousy historians.
The SBC’s Resolution 7, “On Sensitivity and Unity Regarding the Confederate Battle Flag,” was the idea of McKissic, who thought it would be a way to commemorate the “Charleston Nine”—victims of the deranged psychopath Dylann Roof. Instead of having a moment of silence or performing an act of Christian charity (e.g., making a monetary donation to the families of the victims), he came to the conclusion that it would be better to insult tens of thousands of faithful members of the SBC. The connection between Resolution 7 and the murder of the Charleston Nine is this thin: Dylann Roof posed for a photograph with a Confederate flag. Of course, it is ridiculous to think that any SBC member, including those who honor their dead and the cause of Southern independence, would hesitate to condemn Roof’s actions in unequivocal terms.
I recently traveled through Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana, visiting family and national parks. Just about everywhere I traveled, there was some kind of hullabaloo to remove Confederate statues, flags, and even graves. In New Orleans, city leaders had filed a lawsuit to have statues of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee taken down. And in Mississippi, the state flag is constantly under attack. Even towns within Mississippi like Grenada have voted to take the state flag down from all city-owned property. I took my family to the Vicksburg National Military Park, and there I noticed that Confederate flags were missing from the gift shop. They were removed after the Charleston shooting.
The most disturbing part of my trip came when we stopped in Memphis, Tennessee. I have read several biographies of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, and I had an ancestor who served under him during the war; I wanted to visit his grave. Forrest and his wife are buried at the foot of a beautiful equestrian statue of the general in what used to be called Forrest Park. Now it is called Health Sciences Park. The first thing that I noticed in the park was that a mobile police camera had been mounted near the statue. There had been several acts of vandalism; “Black Lives Matter” had been spray-painted on the front of the base. Back in 2015, protesters even used shovels in an attempt to dig up Forrest and remove his remains. There are few crimes worse than the desecration of a grave. Memphis city leaders had voted to exhume the remains of Forrest and his wife, but their act of purgation was stopped by the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act. Myron Lowery, a member of the city council at the time of the vote, said, “It is no longer politically correct to glorify someone who was a slave trader, someone who was a racist on public property.” Perhaps Mr. Lowery was not aware of the fact that, before his death, General Forrest made great strides toward racial reconciliation with black Southerners. Charlton Heston gave a speech at Brandeis University in 2000 in which he observed, “Political correctness is tyranny, just tyranny with manners.” I think if Mr. Heston were alive today, he would agree that the proponents of political correctness have lost their manners.
Traveling through the South, one line in Resolution 7 stood out to me: “We recognize the Confederate battle flag is used by some and perceived by many as a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism, offending millions of people.” It is sad but true that some racist groups have used the Confederate Battle Flag as a symbol of white supremacy—just as they have used the Cross and the American Flag as symbols of their disgusting movement. Unfortunately, the people who use the battle flag for nefarious purposes are just as clueless about the history of the flag as the people who hate it. I have five ancestors who fought for the Confederate States of America (CSA), and I have always been interested in military history. What is known today as the Confederate Battle Flag was never used as the national flag of the CSA; it was used for battlefield communication. I still hear some people refer to the flag as the “Stars and Bars,” but that is also incorrect. The “Stars and Bars” refers to the first national flag of the CSA, which looked similar to the federal American flag—the “Stars and Stripes.” The Confederate Battle Flag is actually called the “Southern Cross.” It was four feet square with a red field, covered by a dark blue St. Andrew’s Cross. The 13 stars represent the states of the Confederacy, plus Kentucky and Missouri. The flag was approved by the Confederate War Department in 1861, and was famously used by the Army of Northern Virginia. At the start of the war, soldiers on both sides had similar uniforms and flags, which led to many instances of friendly fire on the battlefield. Communication during a battle is key; thus, to make it easier to identify friendly units through the fog of war, the Southern Cross was employed. That is all. The Confederate Battle Flag did not fly above the Northern slave ships bound for Southern ports.
Present-day ideologues forget that the act of secession was peaceful. However, President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South was indeed an act of war—a hostile act that caused other states to secede. Yet the Fire-Eaters of South Carolina and the Abolitionists of Massachusetts made up a small minority of Americans on either side of the Mason-Dixon Line. Nearly all of the documentary evidence indicates that Southern men volunteered in order to fight a second American revolution against a tyrannical centralized power. And the average Union soldier fought to save the Union. In reviewing the evidence, even James M. McPherson, a prominent, mainstream Civil War historian, admitted that “the letters and diaries of many Confederate soldiers bristled with rhetoric of liberty and self-government and the expressions of a willingness to die for the cause.” Novelist and historian Shelby Foote was more direct: “No soldier on either side gave a damn about the slaves.”
While researching this article, I read many blogs written by SBC leaders and thinkers, as well as articles written by official SBC news sources. All of their authors were very busy patting themselves on the back for a job well done in drafting and passing Resolution 7. So you would think that the leaders of the SBC would be willing to give an interview and discuss the details of the resolution. I called many of them, but only one was willing to speak to me about the issue. He agreed to be interviewed only if he was granted anonymity. It was an interesting conversation, and he was very frank about the topic, which I appreciated.
The pastor described the SBC’s denominational hierarchy as a pyramid. At the very top is the local church, and below that is the local association, which can comprise one or several counties depending on the population density of the area. Next, there is the state association, and finally, at the bottom, is the national convention. Even though the SBC can pass resolutions, no resolution has to be followed by the local churches, so long as the resolution has nothing to do with theology. The resolutions are merely suggestions; in reality, they are pointless. The pastor I interviewed was at the SBC convention, and he knew that the vote on the Confederate flag was coming up, since the proposed resolutions had been shared before the convention. He told me that it was a “very touchy subject” for many people who attend SBC-affiliated churches. Although Resolution 7 passed with over 90 percent of the vote, the outcome is not popular with the laity. When I asked him what he personally thought of the resolution, he told me that he thought it was just a public-relations stunt, an attempt to get attention. Since the resolution was not binding on the churches, it amounted to nothing more.
Toward the end of the conversation we talked about other resolutions—those passed over the years, and those that may come up in the future. I asked him, half in jest, “Do you think that they will ever take the word Southern out of the SBC?”
“Oh, it has already been proposed before.”
I couldn’t believe it. He added that one of the alternative suggestions had been the “Great Commission Baptist Church.” No more reminders of heritage; no memory of the past.
If the SBC refuses to obey the commandment to “Honor thy father and thy mother,” in order to appease people who have no desire to understand the SBC’s living connection to the South, what other compromises will its leaders be willing to make? What sort of gesture would please anyone who would demand that Southern Baptists dishonor their ancestors?
Resolution 7 had nothing to do with upholding Baptist doctrine or obedience to Scripture, and everything to do with political correctness. People like me who place Confederate Battle Flags on the graves of our ancestors are not defending slavery. We only want to recognize the sacrifices of our family members who fought simply to defend their homes. For them and for us, the battle flag has been a symbol of rebellion against an overweening centralized government. It has nothing to do with racism.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have both voted to approve the GOP's version of Obamacare "Repeal" and Replace. Two North Carolina Republican congressman-- Richard Hudson and George Holding-- sit on these committees. The media has reported both committees approved the measure on a party line vote, but I have not seen a specific breakdown. Did Hudson and Holding vote in favor? I suspect they might have.
Mark Walker's Republican Study Committee has taken a position on the legislation, arguing that certain changes might result in support by that committee:
Representative Mark Walker, head of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest group of conservatives in Congress, said RSC leaders might support the bill if two changes are made.
The first, proposed by Representative Joe Barton in the Energy and Commerce Committee, would bring forward the end of enrollment in Medicaid expansion by two years to January 2018. The second would make age-based tax credits for purchasing health insurance partially rather than fully refundable.
With those changes, “we’d be a hard ‘yes’,” Walker told reporters.
The committee's website lists a couple of requested amendments. All these changes sought by the Republican Study Committee, while worthwhile, do not even remotely fix all the serious problems associated with this legislation.
Ted Budd has been described as possibly one of the key figures in the fight against this bill. I have seen one quote from him that suggests he is skeptical of Paul Ryan's awful maneuver.
Mark Meadows is doing a great job. He deserves enormous praise.
Virginia Foxx has made a statement that sounds supportive of Ryan's bill. She is a former conservative who became an establishment Republican over the years.
We don't even need to guess how Burr and Tillis will behave.
Searching for the bright lights in the North Carolina GOP congressional delegation is a bit of a challenge. But it can happen, especially when one looks westward toward the mountains and foothills near Asheville. The vast majority in the delegation, however, are bought and paid for. The vast majority are seeking to protect their incumbency. And it is entirely possible that some have absolutely no idea what they are doing, and are blindly following leadership.