Letter to the Courier Journal

Louisville is the closest large city to my hometown of Seymour and the Louisville Courier Journal is the newspaper there. The Courier Journal’s editorial policy is reliably liberal, which may be why they are suffering a slow, steady decline in circulation. Their editorials often seem more suited to deep blue California or Massachusetts than to red Kentucky and Indiana. Last Sunday, they ran an editorial about the perpetually embarrassing (to them) Rand Paul. It begins in their usual moderate, even-handed tone.

The tea party has gone to Washington all right and the public is getting a good look at the toxic brew bubbling out of its cracked pot.

Unfortunately for Kentucky, once again it involves Sen. Rand Paul, a Bowling Green Republican with presidential ambitions who swept into office in 2010 on a wave of tea-party enthusiasm.

He’s devoting almost as much time to embarrassing Kentucky as he is making out-of-state campaign trips (Saturday, Las Vegas).

Wanting limited, constitutional government that lives within its means and doesn’t abuse the rights of its citizens is toxic and crack-pot. They quickly move on to the subject of the editorial.

Last week came the latest embarrassment, astonishing news that Sen. Paul employs a former radio shock jock and Confederate sympathizer Jack Hunter, who calls himself the “Southern Avenger,” has appeared in public in a Confederate flag mask, boasted of secessionist views and venerates John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln.

“John Wilkes Booth’s heart was in the right place,” Mr. Hunter explained in a 2004 commentary, according to the Washington Free Beacon, the conservative online news outlet that broke the story. “The Southern Avenger does regret that Lincoln’s murder automatically turned him into a martyr.”

Yeah, that probably is regrettable, under the extremist views of Mr. Hunter and his ilk.

But even more regrettable and astonishing is what Sen. Paul plans to do about it. Nothing.

“Are we at a point where nobody can have had a youth or said anything untoward?” he told the Huffington Post.

Sen. Paul is standing by his man, despite widespread denunciations and the virtually unanimous view of outside political observers — from left and right — that Mr. Hunter must go. Immediately if not sooner.

Let’s be clear here. Mr. Hunter, 39, isn’t just a low-paid flunky who fetches coffee and opens mail.

He is the social media director for Sen. Paul, earning $40,000 for seven months’ work, and helped Sen. Paul write his 2011 book “The Tea Party Goes to Washington.”

I won’t attempt to defend Jack Hunter. I doubt there are many of his views that I would agree with. The point I would like to make is that Rand Paul is hardly the first potential presidential candidate to have a controversial associate. There was one Barack Obama, who I recall had a few friends who might be considered extreme or even criminal. Somehow, I do not recall the Courier Journal running editorials about Mr. Obama’s associates, so I wrote a letter to the editor inquiring about the subject.

I was interested to read your editorial about Rand Paul’s associate Jack Hunter. It is certainly alarming that a man with such extreme views should be close to a potential presidential candidate. I wonder if you could provide me with the dates that you ran editorials about candidate Barack Obama’s unseemlier associates such as the Rev. Jeremiah “God d— America” Wright whose church he attended for 20 years and Bill Ayers, his neighbor who helped Obama launch his political career and just happens to be an unrepentant terrorist and murderer. I hope you can let me know when those editorials ran as soon as possible.
Thank you.

Somehow, I don’t think I am likely to get a response.

Courier Journal Endorses Lugar

Official photo of Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN).
Time for Lugar to go home

The Louisville Courier-Journal endorsed Senator Richard Lugar for the upcoming primary. This is no surprise since they always endorse the Democratic candidate in the general elections while endorsing the most Democratic minded Republican for the primaries. Actually, the editors unintentionally make a good case for supporting Lugar’s opponent Richard Mourdock.

During 36 years in the U.S. Senate, Republican Richard Lugar has built an impressive career as a conservative but rational member of Congress, respected for his knowledge on foreign policy and as the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Though he considers himself conservative, Mr. Lugar, 80, has developed a reputation for being willing to work with Senate Democrats. And he is the only member of Indiana’s Republican Congressional delegation with enough courage to refuse to sign Grover Norquist’s mindless anti-tax pledge, saying it ties lawmakers’ hands and adds to congressional gridlock.

Now Mr. Lugar is facing perhaps his toughest election challenge ever in Indiana’s May 8 primary from Republican Richard Mourdock, backed by tea party extremists who argue that the Senator is just not conservative enough. Observers are billing the race as one of several around the country where tea party activists are seeking to prove their movement is still politically potent.

Extremists are those people who believe that it is dangerous to spend $1 trillion more than we have every year and who believe in limited government. Real wackos there. I do not believe Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge is mindless. We did not get into our current mess because the American people are not taxed enough. We got into our mess because our leaders refuse to stop the government’s reckless spending.

Mr. Mourdock, 60, in his second term as Indiana state treasurer, offers little to inspire. His campaign provides a predictable laundry list of his stances on issues likely to appeal to the rightest wing of his party. He hates Obamacare, runaway federal spending, liberal U.S. Supreme Court justices and abortion. He loves the notion of securing U.S. borders and the right to bear arms.

That laundry list happens to be the opinions of a large percentage of the American people. I suspect the majority of my fellow Hoosiers would support every item on that list. I guess we’re a whole state full of extremists. I guess the editors of the Courier Journal support runaway federal spending and oppose securing our borders.

Haven’t voters learned anything from the last round of elections where tea party-backed candidates flocked to Congress and promptly jammed up the works with their arrogant refusal to compromise?

When you are in a car that is heading toward a cliff at 100 miles per hour and driver wants to keep going while you want to put on the brakes, slowing down to 50 miles per hour may be a compromise, but it is not a very good idea. The United States is heading toward a fiscal train wreck at warp speed and neither President Obama nor the Democrats in Congress are even willing to admit we have a problem, much less come up with any solutions. The Democrat-controlled Senate can’t even get around to making out a budget. What is there to compromise about? The Tea party backed candidates want to save the country. the Democrats want to fiddle while the country burns.

Hoosiers should value Mr. Lugar’s maturity and experience and select him over his GOP primary opponent.

On the contrary, Hoosiers should send Senator Lugar to a well-earned retirement.

Gun Sanity

There has been a terrible tragedy in Ohio. A young man went to Chardin High School and started shooting at the students. Three were killed and another two have been hospitalized.

Naturally, the Left has lost no time in exploiting this crime in order to push gun control, as witness this editorial in the Louisville Courier-Journal. This editorial, which they titled “Gun Insanity” is shameless and more than a little dishonest.I’ll give a few excerpts.

The shootings Monday at a suburban Cleveland high school that have now claimed three students’ lives will evoke widespread grief and horror, as they should. They will produce a search for motives and explanations, and there are already hypotheses regarding the teen-age shooter involving bullying, isolation and undetected personal problems. There will be discussion of the role of parenting and social media in such tragedies.What one can be absolutely certain of in today’s America, however, is that no serious political or public pressure will be brought to bear on the national madness that makes such slaughters not only possible but inevitable: an addiction to guns that is so sweeping that it all but prevents limiting access to firearms even by the millions of disturbed American adults and adolescents.

In a world that often emulates the United States, the American obsession with guns, and its Second Amendment that has been twisted to justify nearly unfettered private ownership of even the most powerful military and police firearms, is rejected by every advanced nation — and with good reason. In the January 2011 edition of the Journal of Trauma, researchers compared gun death rates in 23 advanced nations and found that the American numbers were by far the worst.The report noted: “Among these 23 countries, 80 percent of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States, 86 percent of women killed by firearms were U.S. women, and 87 percent of children [up to the age of] 14 killed by firearms were U.S. children.”

The Second Amendment has been twisted? Here is that amendment in its entirety.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

I don’t see how anyone would get the idea that the Second Amendment allows gun ownership, except that it is stated in plain English. The only people doing the twisting are activist judges who state the amendment means the precise opposite of its actual words.

Now, as to the level of gun deaths in the United States. I agree that too many people are murdered in this country. I wonder though, if the editors of the Courier-Journal have bothered to examine the evidence that the increasing number of states with concealed carry laws have been associated with lower crime rates, and see this chart. They might have noticed that the jurisdictions with the strictest gun control laws have the highest crime rates. They might also have observed that since Britain all but banned private ownership of firearms, the crime rate there has been exploding.

The editorial does end on a high note, at least to me.

No matter. There is no political will even to ban assault rifles and rapid-fire guns. Proposals to register guns, just like cars, don’t even get a hearing. States’ rights advocates perversely insist that local and state gun-control laws be superseded by higher authority.

Thank goodness. This, like so many other issues today, is a freedom issue.



Letter to the Editor

Speaking of the previous subject, I saw a letter in the Louisville Courier-Journal which illustrates the intellectual confusion that many seem to have on this subject. I don’t honestly know if the writer is being deliberately obtuse or if he really doesn’t get it. Here is an excerpt.

As staunch Americans who believe in the fundamental and individual independence of citizens, my wife and I believe that each individual has the God-given right to practice their own religion according to the dictates of their own conscience.

History tells us that the founding of this great country was powerfully based on the freedom of religion. Remember, too, that the freedom of religion doesn’t just mean the freedom to practice your own religion(s). It also means the freedom from the practices of someone else’s religion.

As a married couple, we decided not to have children. This decision will cost us $38,000 (according to the numbers on birth control put forth by the White House recently, and our own calculations of actual birth control costs).

Religiously influenced legislation against free access to birth control currently being introduced into Congress abrogates our rights to practice our religious beliefs according to our own consciences, by enshrining one group’s religious-based arguments into law. Our religious beliefs do not agree with this attack on the health of women everywhere.

The Catholic Church should no more be allowed to dictate the availability of birth control, than imams should be allowed to dictate criminal case law. Rabbis should not be allowed to ban pork and shellfish to all Americans, nor should Methodists be allowed to ban bourbon from the shelves of every store in America.

But the Catholic Church is not dictating the availability of birth control. The Church simply does not wish to be obliged to violate its own doctrine by government fiat. The writer states that he and his wife believe in religious freedom, yet they would deny the Catholic Church the right to practice its beliefs. The more accurate similes would be an imam forbidden to preach Islam, a rabbi forced to provide ham sandwiches to his synagogue, or the Methodists required to support the local taverns.

I think that people on the Left simply have an immature concept of freedom. They seem to believe that they should be free to do whatever they want, and everyone else should be free to provide them what they want. Freedom for me but not for thee.


Amish Jailed for Refusing to Pay Fines

Traffic sign alerting drivers for Amish Buggie...
Image via Wikipedia

I first saw this in my local newspaper, The Madison Courier. They didn’t have it on their website but the Courier Journal does.

MAYFIELD, KY.— Mose Yoder stood in Graves District Court Monday afternoon, rested his bearded chin in his hand and awaited the question from Judge Deborah Hawkins Crooks.

She told him he owed $158 in fines and court costs for refusing to display a bright orange-red safety triangle on the back of his horse-drawn buggy.

“Mr. Yoder, do you intend to pay that amount?” she asked.

He shook his head silently, and she sentenced him to four days in the county jail.

In all, Crooks sentenced nine Amish men to between three and 10 days in jail, beginning late Monday night, for their refusal to pay the fines on religious grounds.

The men said that paying the fines would amount to complying with a law they believe violates their religious strictures against wearing bright colors or trusting in manmade symbols for their safety.

“I don’t think it’s right to put somebody in jail for practicing their religious beliefs … but that’s what we’ll do if that’s what it takes to abide by the biblical laws,” one of the men, Levi Zook, said before the hearing, which was held in a courtroom packed with dozens of Amish men, women and children.

Now, I am sympathetic to claims of religious discrimination but that is not the case here. This is a matter of public safety. Having a safety triangle on the back of their buggies will make it less likely that someone in a car will hit them in the dark. Surely they should put aside their scruples for the safety of their neighbors. In any event other groups of Old Order Amish do comply with this rule.

The men belong to an especially strict sect known as the Old Order Swartzentruber. Other Amish groups — including another that also lives in this Western Kentucky county — do comply with the safety requirement.

It is not as if the state of Kentucky weren’t willing to accommodate their beliefs.

If it doesn’t, more Amish may be filling the local jail, which has special-ordered dark-colored jumpsuits out of respect for the men’s likely aversion to wearing the usual orange jumpsuits.

For their part, the Amish have suggested using lanterns and gray colored tape. The lanterns would work well enough at night but the state has argued they would not be as effective in daylight.

I would add that if they are interested in obeying Biblical laws, they should consider this passage by the apostle Paul.

1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (Romans 13:1-7)

And Peter.

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.  (1Peter 2:13-17).

They did not mean, of course, that you should obey any order or law if it goes against God’s law. But you should obey any reasonable law, especially when it is intended for public safety.


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