Killing charitable deductions slowly – the sunset of PEP and Pease

Roberta Flack’s 1973 hit tune “Killing Me Softly with His Song” comes to mind when writing about how the tax codes have dramatically changed effective January 1, 2013. Two of the major changes are charitable deductions under the Personal Exemption Phase-out (PEP) and the Pease deduction cap under 26 US Code § 68.

According to the Indiana University Foundation:

As of January 1, 2013, itemized deductions will be limited in several ways:

The Pease limitations will reduce the amount of certain itemized deductions high-income taxpayers can claim: either 3% of the taxpayer’s income over the modified adjusted gross income limit, or up to 80% of certain deductions (whichever amount is less).

The taxpayer threshold for claiming medical expenses as an itemized deduction will be increased from 7.5% of AGI to 10% (though individuals age 65 and older will continue to use the 7.5% threshold from 2013 to 2016).

As was the case in 2012, the option to deduct state and local sales taxes rather than income taxes will not be available.

Kelsey Snell from Politico wrote in December, 2012, “Tax rate increases aren’t the only way in which Democrats are aiming to collect more tax dollars from the rich — they’re also looking to resurrect a dormant pair of oddly named laws that targeted the wealthy for decades.”

Snell states:

Known as PEP and Pease, they’re a little bit like the original “Buffett rule.”

The Personal Exemption Phase-out, or PEP, and the “Pease” deduction cap — named for the late Rep. Don Pease (D-Ohio) — were introduced in the 1990s to try to help balance the budget by getting the rich to chip in more. PEP reduced the value of exemptions for high-income earners by as much as 2 percent for every $2,500 earned over a set amount. Pease limited itemized deductions for the wealthy.

Read more.

According to Barbara E. Little, an associate with New Jersey based Schnader Attorneys at Law in their Tax and Wealth Management Department and the Trust and Estates, Nonprofit and Higher Education Practice Groups.:

On January 2, 2013, President Obama signed into law the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” (ATRA). In this Alert, we explore the good news and the bad news that charitably minded individuals received with the passage of ATRA.

Bad News

Let’s start by getting the bad news out of the way. ATRA revived the itemized deduction limitations, also known as the “Pease Amendment” (named after Congressman Donald Pease, the amendment’s proposer in the 1990s). Under Pease, total itemized deductions are reduced by 3 percent not to exceed 80 percent, of the amount the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income exceeds the threshold amount – $250,000 for single filers, $275,000 for heads of household and $300,000 for married filing jointly (indexed for inflation). Charitable deductions are included in the limitation equation.

Depending on the taxpayer’s income level and other deductions, this limitation could adversely affect charitable contributions. For example, consider a married couple with $60,000 of itemized deductions ($25,000 mortgage interest, $10,000 state taxes and $25,000 charitable deduction) and an adjusted gross income of $450,000. The couple’s adjusted gross income exceeds the threshold by $150,000. The couple must reduce their total itemized deductions by 3 percent of $150,000 or $4,500.

The other bad news is that two charitable deductions were not extended: 1) contributions of book inventories to public schools; and 2) corporate contributions of computer inventory.

Good News

One piece of good news is that under ATRA, once again, individuals 70½ years of age or older may make tax-free IRA distributions to charitable organizations. The maximum distribution amount is $100,000 per individual, per tax year.

Speaking with a Florida donor to local charitable organizations he bemoans the fact that under ATRA his personal exemptions are eaten up by other, primarily tax deductions, thus limiting his charitable giving. He is concerned that ATRA is written so that non-profit organizations, many of which are faith based, will be irreparably harmed. With the passage of ATRA the new charity will be government and its ability to redistribute tax revenues to those non-profits it see as fit for public donations.

The new normal is “government charity” at every level.

Listen to Roberta Flack singing Killing Me Softly:

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/4mpqXu0z3wU”]

UN maps show, “more guns, less crime” is true internationally as well as domestically

Awr Hawkins discovered some maps created by the United Nations in 2007. The world maps depict levels of gun ownership and homicides. As Hawkins points out, “”[T]hese maps show, ‘more guns, less crime’ is true internationally as well as domestically.”

Hawkins states, “Since 1998, John Lott’s seminal work More Guns, Less Crime has been used to show that areas with the highest gun ownership in America experience the least crime on a per capita basis.” The United Nations appears to confirm Lott’s finding on a global scale. As has been stated time and again, the efforts to restrict law abiding citizens from owning firearms is all about control, not guns.

Crime and guns are inextricably linked. If you want to reduce crime, buy a gun.

Here are the maps presented by Hawkins:

Panhandling is the new normal in the City of Sarasota, Florida

Christian Ziegler wrote in an email, “It’s a true shame to see the City of Sarasota, at the expense of our tourism, local economy & city’s image, bow down to the ACLU in order to avoid a possible lawsuit.”

“As a person who works in and frequents downtown Sarasota on a daily basis, I have personally witnessed the spike in vagrant activity since the City Commission began taking away the tools that the local police use to fight the issue. I believe this is an issue the City Commission and local police should stand tough & work together to fight, not give-in, even if the city is being threatened by a lawsuit from the ACLU!” states Ziegler.

Ziegler has received hundreds of responses to his email, most supportive. The following are from City of Sarasota residents:

Mr. Ziegler,

I have more than just a single reason to move away from our beautiful Sarasota, and if I were younger I would stay and fight the ACLU, and get the bums out of our library. I was so turned off by the street people being allowed to wander around inside the library last summer that I began plans to move that same day. Sarasota is a beautiful city, but it needs some tough new leadership, and right now the wishy washy look the other way is not helping anybody. A shame for such an otherwise beautiful city to be headed to hell in a hand basket. I had planned to be here until I die, but now will die in Colorado instead. I am moving there into a home I just bought. 

Respectfully,

Dear Christian,

I own a small business and work downtown too. I avoid certain streets because I know they are hangout spots for vagrants. I used to walk to the post office to drop off any mailings, I don’t anymore.

I am very disappointed in our city’s commission poor decision, inability to stand up for our citizens over a counter culture that brings our city down, and they have made a mockery of our police department. I’ve watched these vagrants approach diners and ask for food or money at Cie La Vie. Okay so they have rights and freedom of speech. What about OUR rights as business owners, citizens and visitors?

There are numerous programs already in place in Sarasota where they can get assistance. These people that hangout in the parks all day do not want help. They are fine with the station they have assumed and this is their lifestyle. They know that they can now keep doing what they are doing and not get hassled. And now more will come.

I know where my vote is going March 12th and it will not be a liberal.

Thank you,

Lee Williams from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, “The City of Sarasota and the American Civil Liberties Union have signed a consent decree that stops police from “interfering with the exercise of First Amendment rights” when dealing with the homeless. The decree, a 60-day injunction, prohibits police from interfering with panhandlers — someone standing on a sidewalk soliciting assistance — unless they impede traffic, pedestrians or create an unsafe situation.”

Panhandlers are becoming more viable and aggressive within the City of Sarasota. Citizens have complained and yet the current City Commissioners have decided that panhandling is a free speech right.

Williams reports, “The consent decree follows the arrest of Jon Hill, a homeless man who was arrested of panhandling on U.S. 301. Hill was injured during his arrest, which he and his attorneys claim was the result of officers slamming his face into a squad car. The arresting officers say he intentionally threw himself forward during a struggle, striking his head on their squad car window.”

Hill spent five days in jail, until the ACLU got him released by filing an emergency petition — a writ of habeas corpus.

This may become a wedge issue in the March 12,  2013 Sarasota City Commission election.

Watch this “Voting for Dummies” video done by Politically Personal:

VIDEO: THE QUAD the conservative news show for high school and college students launched

Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA

Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, who is only 18 years old is the new leader of the conservative youth movement. He is challenging the Liberal and Progressive hold on our youth. His charisma, his intelligence, and his amazing understanding as to how to reach the youth of the country with the conservative message is something to behold.

Turning Point USA is a student run 501 C4 Non-Profit educational group, dedicated towards educating the youth about the realities of generational theft, and educating students across the country about fiscal responsibility living within ones means, and government transparency.

An email announcing the launch of THE QUAD Kirk states, “This is a weekly program that I feel will become very popular on YouTube.”

Watch the inaugural episode of THE QUAD:

Read Kirk’s column titled “How College is Harming American Entrepreneurship: A 19 Year Old’s View of Today’s “Bumper Bowling Generation“.

RUBIO’S REPUBLICAN ADDRESS TO THE NATION

Republican Address To The Nation

Remarks As Prepared For Delivery

Senator Marco Rubio

February 12, 2013

ENGLISH REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY

Good evening. I’m Marco Rubio. I’m blessed to represent Florida in the United States Senate. Let me begin by congratulating President Obama on the start of his second term. Tonight, I have the honor of responding to his State of the Union address on behalf of my fellow Republicans.  And I am especially honored to be addressing our brave men and women serving in the armed forces and in diplomatic posts around the world. You may be thousands of miles away, but you are always in our prayers.

The State of the Union address is always a reminder of how unique America is. For much of human history, most people were trapped in stagnant societies, where a tiny minority always stayed on top, and no one else even had a chance.

But America is exceptional because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious, and that everyone everywhere has a God-given right to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.

Like most Americans, for me this ideal is personal. My parents immigrated here in pursuit of the opportunity to improve their life and give their children the chance at an even better one. They made it to the middle class, my dad working as a bartender and my mother as a cashier and a maid. I didn’t inherit any money from them. But I inherited something far better – the real opportunity to accomplish my dreams.

This opportunity – to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life – it isn’t bestowed on us from Washington.  It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs.

Presidents in both parties – from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan – have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle class prosperity.

But President Obama?  He believes it’s the cause of our problems.  That the economic downturn happened because our government didn’t tax enough, spend enough and control enough. And, therefore, as you heard tonight, his solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.

This idea – that our problems were caused by a government that was too small – it’s just not true. In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.

And the idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle class taxpayers – that’s an old idea that’s failed every time it’s been tried.

More government isn’t going to help you get ahead.  It’s going to hold you back.

More government isn’t going to create more opportunities.  It’s going to limit them.

And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs.  It’s going to create uncertainty.

Because more government breeds complicated rules and laws that a small business can’t afford to follow.

Because more government raises taxes on employers who then pass the costs on to their employees through fewer hours, lower pay and even layoffs.

And because many government programs that claim to help the middle class, often end up hurting them instead.

For example, Obamacare was supposed to help middle class Americans afford health insurance.  But now, some people are losing the health insurance they were happy with.  And because Obamacare created expensive requirements for companies with more than 50 employees, now many of these businesses aren’t hiring.  Not only that; they’re being forced to lay people off and switch from full-time employees to part-time workers.

Now does this mean there’s no role for government?  Of course not.  It plays a crucial part in keeping us safe, enforcing rules, and providing some security against the risks of modern life. But government’s role is wisely limited by the Constitution. And it can’t play its essential role when it ignores those limits.

There are valid reasons to be concerned about the President’s plan to grow our government. But any time anyone opposes the President’s agenda, he and his allies usually respond by falsely attacking their motives.

When we point out that no matter how many job-killing laws we pass, our government can’t control the weather – he accuses us of wanting dirty water and dirty air.

When we suggest we strengthen our safety net programs by giving states more flexibility to manage them – he accuses us of wanting to leave the elderly and disabled to fend for themselves.

And tonight, he even criticized us for refusing to raise taxes to delay military cuts – cuts that were his idea in the first place.

But his favorite attack of all is that those who don’t agree with him – they only care about rich people.

Mr. President, I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren’t millionaires. They’re retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. They’re workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. They’re immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy.

The tax increases and the deficit spending you propose will hurt middle class families. It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs.

And it will hurt seniors because it does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security.

So Mr. President, I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.

Hard-working middle class Americans who don’t need us to come up with a plan to grow the government. They want a plan to grow the middle class.

Economic growth is the best way to help the middle class.  Unfortunately, our economy actually shrank during the last three months of 2012.

But if we can get the economy to grow at just 4 percent a year, it would create millions of middle class jobs. And it could reduce our deficits by almost $4 trillion dollars over the next decade.

Tax increases can’t do this. Raising taxes won’t create private sector jobs. And there’s no realistic tax increase that could lower our deficits by almost $4 trillion. That’s why I hope the President will abandon his obsession with raising taxes and instead work with us to achieve real growth in our economy.

One of the best ways to encourage growth is through our energy industry. Of course solar and wind energy should be a part of our energy portfolio. But God also blessed America with abundant coal, oil and natural gas. Instead of wasting more taxpayer money on so-called “clean energy” companies like Solyndra, let’s open up more federal lands for safe and responsible exploration. And let’s reform our energy regulations so that they’re reasonable and based on common sense. If we can grow our energy industry, it will make us energy independent, it will create middle class jobs and it will help bring manufacturing back from places like China.

Simplifying our tax code will also help the middle class, because it will make it easier for small businesses to hire and grow.

And we agree with the President that we should lower our corporate tax rate, which is one of the highest in the world, so that companies will start bringing their money and their jobs back here from overseas.

We can also help our economy grow if we have a legal immigration system that allows us to attract and assimilate the world’s best and brightest. We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally. But first, we must follow through on the broken promises of the past to secure our borders and enforce our laws.

Helping the middle class grow will also require an education system that gives people the skills today’s jobs entail and the knowledge that tomorrow’s world will require.

We need to incentivise local school districts to offer more advanced placement courses and more vocational and career training.

We need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice.

And because tuition costs have grown so fast, we need to change the way we pay for higher education.

I believe in federal financial aid. I couldn’t have gone to college without it. But it’s not just about spending more money on these programs; it’s also about strengthening and modernizing them.

A 21st century workforce should not be forced to accept 20th century education solutions. Today’s students aren’t only 18 year olds.  They’re returning veterans. They’re single parents who decide to get the education they need to earn a decent wage. And they’re workers who have lost jobs that are never coming back and need to be retrained.

We need student aid that does not discriminate against programs that non-traditional students rely on – like online courses, or degree programs that give you credit for work experience.

When I finished school, I owed over 100,000 dollars in student loans, a debt I paid off just a few months ago. Today, many graduates face massive student debt. We must give students more information on the costs and benefits of the student loans they’re taking out.

All these measures are key to helping the economy grow. But we won’t be able to sustain a vibrant middle class unless we solve our debt problem.

Every dollar our government borrows is money that isn’t being invested to create jobs. And the uncertainty created by the debt is one reason why many businesses aren’t hiring.

The President loves to blame the debt on President Bush. But President Obama created more debt in four years than his predecessor did in eight.

The real cause of our debt is that our government has been spending 1 trillion dollars more than it takes in every year. That’s why we need a balanced budget amendment.

The biggest obstacles to balancing the budget are programs where spending is already locked in. One of these programs, Medicare, is especially important to me. It provided my father the care he needed to battle cancer and ultimately die with dignity. And it pays for the care my mother receives now.

I would never support any changes to Medicare that would hurt seniors like my mother. But anyone who is in favor of leaving Medicare exactly the way it is right now, is in favor of bankrupting it.

Republicans have offered a detailed and credible plan that helps save Medicare without hurting today’s retirees. Instead of playing politics with Medicare, when is the President going to offer his plan to save it? Tonight would have been a good time for him to do it.

Of course, we face other challenges as well. We were all heart broken by the recent tragedy in Connecticut. We must effectively deal with the rise of violence in our country. But unconstitutionally undermining the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is not the way to do it.

On foreign policy, America continues to be indispensable to the goal of global liberty, prosperity and safeguarding human rights. The world is a better place when America is the strongest nation on earth. But we can’t remain powerful if we don’t have an economy that can afford it.

In the short time I’ve been here in Washington, nothing has frustrated me more than false choices like the ones the President laid out tonight.

The choice isn’t just between big government or big business. What we need is an accountable, efficient and effective government that allows small and new businesses to create middle class jobs.

We don’t have to raise taxes to avoid the President’s devastating cuts to our military. Republicans have passed a plan that replaces these cuts with responsible spending reforms.

In order to balance our budget, the choice doesn’t have to be either higher taxes or dramatic benefit cuts for those in need.  Instead we should grow our economy so that we create new taxpayers, not new taxes, and so our government can afford to help those who truly cannot help themselves.

And the truth is every problem can’t be solved by government. Many are caused by the moral breakdown in our society. And the answers to those challenges lie primarily in our families and our faiths, not our politicians.

Despite our differences, I know that both Republicans and Democrats love America. I pray we can come together to solve our problems, because the choices before us could not be more important.

If we can get our economy healthy again, our children will be the most prosperous Americans ever.

And if we do not, we will forever be known as the generation responsible for America’s decline.

At a time when one showdown after another ends in short-term deals that do little or nothing about our real problems, some are starting to believe that our government leaders just can’t or won’t make the right choices anymore.

But our strength has never come from the White House or the Capitol.  It’s always come from our people. A people united by the American idea that, if you have a dream and you are willing to work hard, nothing should be impossible.

Americans have always celebrated and been inspired by those who succeed. But it’s the dreams of those who are still trying to make it that sets our nation apart.

Tonight, all across this land, parents will hold their newborn children in their arms for the first time. For many of these parents, life has not gone the way they had planned.

Maybe they were born into circumstances they’ve found difficult to escape. Maybe they’ve made some mistakes along the way. Maybe they’re young mothers, all alone, the father of their child long gone.

But tonight, when they look into the eyes of their child for the first time, their lives will change forever. Because in those eyes, they will see what my parents saw in me, and what your parents saw in you. They will see all the hopes and dreams they once had for themselves.

This dream – of a better life for their children – it’s the hope of parents everywhere. Politicians here and throughout the world have long promised that more government can make those dreams come true.

But we Americans have always known better. From our earliest days, we embraced economic liberty instead. And because we did, America remains one of the few places on earth where dreams like these even have a chance.

Each time our nation has faced great challenges, what has kept us together was our shared hope for a better life.

Now, let that hope bring us together again.  To solve the challenges of our time and write the next chapter in the amazing story of the greatest nation man has ever known.

Thank you for listening.  May God bless all of you. May God bless our President. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

SPANISH REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY

Buenas noches. Soy Marco Rubio. Me siento bendecido por servir al estado de la Florida en el Senado de los Estados Unidos. Quiero felicitar al presidente Obama por el comienzo de su segundo mandato.  Esta noche, tengo el honor de responder a su discurso sobre el Estado de la Unión en nombre de mis colegas republicanos. Me siento especialmente honrado de estar dirigiéndome a nuestros valientes hombres y mujeres que prestan servicio en las fuerzas armadas y en cargos diplomáticos alrededor del mundo. Aunque están lejos de nosotros, siempre están en nuestras oraciones.

El discurso sobre el Estado de la Unión siempre es un buen recordatorio de que lo que tenemos aquí en los Estados Unidos es especial. Durante casi toda la historia, la gente ha estado atrapada en sociedades estancadas, donde la misma gente siempre se mantiene en la cima y todos los demás nunca tuvieron una oportunidad.

Pero los Estados Unidos es excepcional porque, aquí, creemos que cada ser humano, en cada una de sus etapas, es preciosa, y que todo ser humano tiene un derecho dado por Dios a llegar tan lejos como sus talentos y trabajo les permitan.

Como para la mayoría de los estadounidenses, este ideal es personal. Mis padres emigraron aquí en búsqueda de oportunidad para mejorar sus vidas y ofrecer a sus hijos la posibilidad de una vida mejor.  Ellos lograron ser parte de la clase media, mi padre trabajando de barman y mi madre de cajera y camarera. Yo no heredé dinero de ellos. Pero heredé algo aún mejor – la oportunidad de hacer realidad mis sueños.

Esta no es sólo mi historia. Aunque los detalles son diferentes para cada persona, cada estadounidense también tiene una historia especial.  Esta es la increíble historia de los Estados Unidos.

Esta oportunidad – de ser parte de la clase media o más, sin importar donde se inició uno en la vida – no provino del gobierno. Se trata de una economía vibrante en la que la gente arriesga su propio dinero para abrir negocios. Y cuando tienen éxito, emplean a más personas, que a su vez invierten o gastan su dinero, ayudando a otros a iniciar un negocio y crear puestos de trabajo.

Presidentes en ambos partidos – desde John F. Kennedy a Ronald Reagan – han reconocido que nuestra economía de libre empresa ha sido la fuente de prosperidad para nuestra clase media.

Pero el presidente Obama cree que es la causa de nuestros problemas. Él cree que nuestra crisis económica sucedió porque nuestro gobierno no cobró más impuestos, no gastó más ni controló más. Y, como lo escucharon esta noche, su solución es darle al gobierno más dinero para gastar.

Esta idea – que el gobierno siendo demasiado pequeño es lo que creó nuestros problemas – no es cierta. De hecho, la causa de nuestros recientes problemas fue una crisis de vivienda creada por las políticas irresponsables del gobierno.

Y, la idea de que un gobierno que gaste más es la mejor forma de ayudar a la clase media es una idea que ha fracasado siempre que se ha implementado.

Más gobierno no les ayudará a salir adelante.  Les mantendrá estancados.

Más gobierno no les brindará más oportunidades.  Les limitará.

Y más gobierno no inspirará nuevas ideas, nuevos negocios y nuevos puestos de trabajo en el sector privado.  Crea más incertidumbre.

Porque el gobierno crea reglas y leyes complicadas que un pequeño negocio no tiene el dinero para cumplir con ellas.

Porque le sube los impuestos a los dueños de empresas quienes después pasan el costo a sus empleados a través de menos horas de trabajo, salarios más bajos y la eliminación de puestos de trabajos.

Y es así como muchos programas del gobierno que se pronuncian a favor de la clase media, al fin los lastiman a ustedes.

Por ejemplo, el programa Obamacare estaba supuesto ayudar a las personas de clase media a obtener seguro médico.  Pero ahora, algunos están perdiendo sus planes de salud.  Y ya que Obamacare creó costosos requisitos para empresas con más de 50 empleado, ahora muchas de estas empresas no están empleando.  Y algunas incluso están despidiendo o reemplazando empleados de tiempo completo por trabajadores de tiempo parcial.

¿Ahora, esto significa que no hay un papel legítimo para el gobierno?  Claro que no.  Sí tiene un papel crucial en protegernos, hacer cumplir las reglas y ofrecernos cierta seguridad frente los riesgos de la vida moderna.  Pero ese papel lo limita nuestra Constitución.  Y nuestro gobierno no puede cumplir su papel esencial cuándo ignora esos límites.

Hay razones válidas para estar preocupados por el plan del presidente para crecer el gobierno.  Pero cuando algunos de nosotros cuestionamos la agenda del presidente, él y sus aliados usualmente responden atacando nuestros motivos.

Si se le señala que no importa cuántas leyes aprobamos, nuestro gobierno no puede cambiar el clima, se nos acusa de querer agua sucia y aire sucio.

Si sugerimos que debemos fortalecer nuestros programas de protección social, dándole más flexibilidad a los estados para manejarlos, él nos acusa de querer dejar a las personas mayores y discapacitadas para que se cuiden por sí mismas.

Y esta noche, él hasta nos criticó por negarnos a subir los impuestos para evitar recortes a nuestras fuerzas armadas – recortes que él mismo propuso, en primer lugar.

Pero su ataque favorito es que aquellos que no apoyan su agenda – sólo están preocupados por los ricos.

Señor Presidente, yo todavía vivo en el mismo vecindario de la clase trabajadora donde crecí. Mis vecinos no son millonarios. Son jubilados que dependen del Seguro Social y Medicare. Son trabajadores que tienen que levantarse temprano en la mañana e ir a trabajar para pagar las cuentas. Son inmigrantes que vinieron aquí porque estaban permanentemente sumidos en la pobreza en los países donde el gobierno dominaba la economía.

Los impuestos y gastos de déficit que usted desea le quitarán a los trabajadores de la clase media su aumento salarial, beneficios y tal vez incluso sus puestos de trabajo. Y lastimará a las personas mayores porque no hace nada para salvar a Medicare y el Seguro Social.

Entonces señor Presidente, no me opongo a sus planes porque quiero proteger a los ricos. Me opongo a sus planes, porque quiero proteger a mis vecinos.

Y personas como ellos que no necesitan un plan que haga crecer el gobierno. Ellos quieren un plan para hacer crecer nuestra clase media.

El crecimiento económico es la única forma legítima para ayudar a crecer la clase media. Desafortunadamente, nuestra economía se contrajo durante el último trimestre de 2012.

Pero si pudiéramos hacer que la economía creciera un 4 por ciento por año, se crearían millones de empleos para la clase media.  Y esto podría reducir nuestro déficit en casi 4 trillones de dólares durante la próxima década.

No hay ningún aumento de impuestos que pueda logar eso. Aumentando los impuestos no va a crear puestos de trabajo en el sector privado.  Y no existe un aumento de impuestos realista que pueda reducir nuestra deuda por casi 4 trillones de dólares.  Esa es la razón por la cual yo espero que el presidente abandone su obsesión de aumentar los impuestos y trabaje con nosotros para lograr este tipo de crecimiento real en nuestra economía.

Una de las maneras más rápidas en que podemos promover el crecimiento es a través de nuestra industria energética. La energía solar y del viento debe ser parte de nuestra estrategia.  Pero Dios ha bendecido a nuestro país con recursos naturales, incluso carbón, petróleo y gas natural. En vez de seguir desperdiciando el dinero del contribuyente en apoyar compañías en bancarrota como Solyndra, debemos abrir las tierras federales para explorar más energía en forma segura y responsable.  También debemos reformar las regulaciones para que sean razonables y basadas en el sentido común. Eso ayudará a crear mejores empleos para la clase media en la industria energética, y traerá de nuevo la producción industrial de lugares como la China.

Simplificando nuestro código tributario también ayudará a crear oportunidades para la clase media al hacerlo más sencillo para las pequeñas empresas que buscan contratar a nuevos empleados.

Y estamos de acuerdo con el presidente de que debemos reducir nuestros impuestos corporativos – que actualmente son entre los más altos del mundo – para que nuestras compañías tengan más incentivo para traer su dinero y puestos de trabajo aquí, desde el extranjero.

También podemos ayudar a que nuestra economía crezca si tenemos un sistema de inmigración legal que nos permita atraer a los mejores y más brillantes profesionales del mundo y asimilarlos a nuestra forma de vida. Necesitamos una solución responsable y permanente para el problema de los que están aquí ilegalmente. Pero primero tenemos que cumplir con las promesas del pasado, asegurar nuestras fronteras y aplicar nuestras leyes.

Más allá de estos temas, un sistema educativo que le dé a la gente las habilidades y conocimientos que necesitan para los trabajos de la clase media de hoy y mañana – es otra forma en que podemos fomentar el crecimiento de la clase media.

Necesitamos que los distritos escolares locales ofrezcan cursos de enseñanza más avanzados y con más formación profesional y entrenamiento para carreras.

Tenemos que ofrecer a todos los padres, especialmente a los padres de niños con necesidades especiales, la oportunidad de enviar a sus hijos a la escuela pública o privada de su elección.

Y porque la matrícula universitaria ha crecido tan rápidamente, tenemos que cambiar la forma en que pagamos la educación superior.

Yo apoyo la ayuda financiera federal.  Yo nunca habría podido ir a la universidad sin esta ayuda.  Pero la cuestión de estos programas no es sólo gastar más dinero; es de mejorarlos y modernizarlos.

La fuerza laboral de este siglo no debe aceptar las soluciones educativas del siglo pasado.  Los estudiantes de hoy no son sólo de 18 años de edad. Son los veteranos que regresan de la guerra. Son los padres solteros que deciden obtener la educación que necesitan para ganar un salario decente. Y son los trabajadores que han perdido los empleos que nunca volverán y necesitan ser re-entrenados.

Necesitamos ayuda estudiantil que no discrimine contra los programas de los que dependen los estudiantes de mayor edad – como cursos en el Internet, o programas que le dan crédito por experiencia laboral.

Cuando yo terminé mis estudios, debía más de cien mil dólares, una deuda que terminé de pagar hace apenas unos meses. Hoy, muchas personas enfrentan enormes deudas de préstamos estudiantiles.  Tenemos que encontrar una forma de dar a los estudiantes más información sobre los costos y beneficios de los préstamos estudiantiles que están pidiendo.

Todas estas medidas ayudarán a que crezca nuestra economía.  Pero no podremos sostener una clase media vibrante si no resolvemos nuestra deuda nacional.

Cada dólar que el gobierno toma prestado es dinero que no está creando puestos de trabajo al ser invertido en una empresa. Y la incertidumbre causada por la deuda es una razón por la cual muchas empresas no están contratando a nuevos empleados.

Al presidente le gusta echar la culpa sobre la deuda al presidente Bush.  Pero el presidente Obama creó más deuda en cuatro años que el presidente Bush creo en ocho.

La verdadera causa de nuestra deuda es que el gobierno ha estado gastando un trillón de dólares más de lo que recibe en impuestos cada año.  Por eso necesitamos una enmienda a la Constitución que requiere un presupuesto balanceado.

Y la gran parte de nuestra deuda se debe a programas con gastos controlados por la ley.  Uno de estos, Medicare, es especialmente importante para mí. Proporcionó a mi padre el cuidado que necesitaba para combatir el cáncer y en última instancia morir con dignidad. Y paga por el cuidado que mi madre recibe hoy día.

Yo nunca apoyaría ningún cambio a Medicare que haga daño a las personas mayores como mi madre que se encuentran actualmente en el programa. Porque cualquiera que esté a favor de dejar Medicare exactamente de la forma en la que está ahora, está a favor de su bancarrota.

Los republicanos ya hemos ofrecido un plan detallado y creíble que ayuda a salvar a Medicare sin afectar a los jubilados de hoy. ¿En vez de jugar juegos políticos con Medicare, cuándo el presidente va a ofrecer su plan para salvarlo?  Esta noche hubiera sido un buen momento para ofrecerlo.

Obviamente, enfrentamos otros retos. Todos sentimos el dolor tras la reciente tragedia en Connecticut.  Necesitamos lidiar con la violencia en nuestro país.  Pero disminuyendo los derechos constitucionales de los estadounidenses bajo la Segunda Enmienda no es la manera de hacerlo.

Y en el extranjero, los Estados Unidos sigue siendo indispensable para realizar las metas de libertad, paz, prosperidad y la protección de los derechos humanos. El mundo es más estable porque los Estados Unidos es el país más poderoso.  Pero no podemos seguir siendo la nación más poderosa, si no tenemos una economía sostenible.

En los dos años que yo he estado aquí en Washington, nada me ha frustrado más que el flujo constante de falsas opciones entre las que siempre se nos pide escoger – como las que el presidente presentó esta noche.

No tenemos que escoger entre un gobierno grande o las grandes empresas. En lugar de eso, necesitamos un gobierno limitado pero eficaz que permita a las pequeñas y nuevas empresas crear empleos para la clase media.

No tenemos que subir los impuestos para evitar los devastadores recortes a nuestras fuerzas armadas.  Los republicanos hemos aprobado un plan que reemplaza estos recortes con reformas responsables.

Para balancear nuestro presupuesto, no tenemos que escoger entre impuestos más altos o negarles a las personas la ayuda que necesitan del gobierno. En lugar de eso, vamos a permitir que la economía crezca para que estemos creando nuevos contribuyentes, en vez de nuevos impuestos, y para que nuestro gobierno pueda seguir ayudando a los que realmente necesitan ayuda.

Y la verdad es que todos nuestros problemas no pueden ser solucionados por el gobierno.  Muchos son causados por la descomposición moral en nuestra sociedad. Y las respuestas a estos desafíos se encuentran principalmente en nuestras familias y nuestras creencias, no en nuestros políticos.

A pesar de nuestras diferencias, yo se que ambos los republicanos y los demócratas aman a nuestro país.  Le pido a Dios que podamos unirnos a resolver nuestros problemas, porque las opciones ante nosotros tendrán un impacto profundo.

Si podemos hacer que nuestra economía crezca nuevamente, nuestros hijos serán como nunca los estadounidenses más prósperos. Y si no lo hacemos, entonces nosotros siempre seremos conocidos como la generación responsable por dejar caer en decadencia a los Estados Unidos.

En un momento cuando nuestra política ha venido convirtiéndose en un teatro, donde un enfrentamiento tras otro termina en operaciones a corto plazo que hacen poco o nada sobre nuestros verdaderos problemas, algunos creen que no somos capaces de tomar la decisión correcta.

Pero nuestra fortaleza nunca ha venido de la Casa Blanca o del Capitolio. Ha venido siempre de nuestro pueblo. Un pueblo unido por la idea americana de que, si uno tiene un sueño y está dispuesto a trabajar duro, nada debería ser imposible.

Aquí, celebramos a quienes tienen éxito. Pero siempre han sido los sueños de los que todavía están tratando de alcanzar el éxito que nos separa del resto del mundo.

Esta noche, en toda esta tierra, hay padres que abrazarán a su hijo recién nacido por primera vez. Para muchos de ellos, la vida no ha seguido el camino que habían planeado.

Quizás han nacido en circunstancias que han encontrado difícil de escapar. Quizás han cometido algunos errores en el camino. Quizás son madres jóvenes que están solas esta noche, porque el padre de su hijo se fue hace mucho tiempo.

Pero esta noche, cuando miren a los ojos de su hijo por primera vez, su vida cambiará para siempre. Porque en esos ojos verán lo que mis padres vieron en mí y lo que sus padres vieron en usted. Verán todas las esperanzas y sueños que alguna vez tuvieron para sí mismos.

Este sueño – de una vida mejor para sus hijos – es la esperanza de padres en todas partes. Muchos políticos aquí y en todo el mundo han hecho la promesa de que un gobierno más grande puede hacer realidad esos sueños.

Pero nosotros siempre hemos sabido mejor que esto. Desde nuestra fundación, hemos confiado en la libertad económica. Y por eso, éste es uno de los pocos lugares en el mundo donde estos sueños aún tienen la oportunidad de realizarse.

Cada vez que nuestra nación ha enfrentado grandes retos, nuestra esperanza de una vida mejor nos ha unido.

Ahora, dejemos que esa esperanza nos una nuevamente – para resolver los desafíos de nuestro tiempo y escribir el próximo capítulo de la increíble historia de la nación más grande que el hombre jamás ha conocido.

Gracias por escuchar.  Que Dios los bendiga a todos ustedes. Que Dios bendiga a nuestro Presidente. Y que Dios continúe bendiciendo a los Estados Unidos de América.

Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rand Paul (R-KY) will respond to the State of the Union speech

Earlier today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) rehearsed the Republican Address to the Nation. Senator Rubio is set to deliver a live response from the Speaker’s conference room in the U.S. Capitol, immediately following the President’s State of the Union address. He will pre-record the same speech for Spanish-language networks earlier this evening. At the same time Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) will give the TEA Party Address to the Nation from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Viewers will be able to watch Senator Paul’s speech live on the conservative website RedState.com.

Who will be the most watched: Marco or Rand?

Frank Hagler from Policy Mic reports:

For the third year in a row, two Republicans have been selected to give the GOP response to the SOTU address. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will give the “official” GOP response and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will give the Tea Party Express response. This unusual practice started in 2011.

After the Tea Party helped usher in a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, they began exercising their power in the party. The Tea Party Express tapped Michele Bachmann to give a response that was televised to the nation. Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer explained “The Republican Party doesn’t represent everybody in the Tea Party movement, and they certainly don’t speak for us.”

Scott Conroy from Real Clear Politics reports:

With Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul set to deliver the Tea Party’s third annual response to the State of the Union speech on Tuesday, the pressure is on for the group to prove its ongoing influence, particularly amid growing criticism from establishment Republicans who accuse it of promoting un-electable candidates at the larger GOP’s expense.

In an interview with RCP, Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer acknowledged the moment’s significance.

“I really think it’s more important than ever for us to do it this year because there have been reports of the Tea Party’s demise, but we’re absolutely still here and focused and engaged,” Kremer said. “The Republican Party doesn’t represent everybody in the Tea Party movement, and they certainly don’t speak for us.”

The TEA Party is flexing its muscles with the creation of the TEA Party Community website. Launched on February 2, 2013 the site now has over 109,000 members.

The struggle within the Republican party pits the old guard lead by Karl Rove, against the conservative faction lead by Senator Paul, Michele Bachmann and others. It was the old guard that gave Florida the likes of former Governor Charlie Crist who won the state house as a Republican, lost the race as an Independent for the US Senate seat currently held by Rubio. It is expected that now Democrat Crist will run against incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott in 2014.

Conroy notes, “Now, with Paul eager to rev up the Tea Party engine just as a new civil war against establishment Republicans appears on the horizon, the setting will look familiar.”

Perhaps now is the time for a civil war within the GOP?

Fertility (Dis)Figure(d) – A view from an American woman in Paris

Column by Nidra Poller (February 2013) an American journalist living in Paris, France. She is reporting on the movement in France to question where it is as a culture.

Fertility (Dis)Figure(d)

Un enfant quand je veux si je veux… The battle cry of the feminists marching for freedom from fertility—“a baby when I want one if I want one”—was ringing out in the streets of Paris when I came to live here in 1972. After lagging behind the United States, where the diaphragm + spermicide had been available to married women since the 1940s and oral contraception since 1957, France caught up with The Pill in 1967 and legalized abortion in 1975, championed by Auschwitz survivor and then Health Minister Simone Veil. The process has gone forward on all fronts, with generalized use of fail-proof methods, unfettered access to abortion when fail-proof fails, reimbursement across the board including, just recently, 100% free contraceptive pills for women 15 to 18.

Contraception and abortion alone could not bring about the desired transformation of the female condition. They were the technology. The metaphysics was what has become known as “gender studies.” In the early days of Women’s Liberation it was makeshift ideology peddled in volumes of look-alike fiction and non-fiction best sellers shouting that maternity was a drag, femininity a hype, sexual differences induced by cynical manipulation, love and marriage an extension of the military industrial complex, and men were chauvinist pigs. No more pink for girls and blue for boys. Sexually marked toys were not abandoned but switched: cars and trucks for girls, dolls and tea sets for boys. Women wanted, or were told they wanted, something called equality.

The harbingers of this “sexual revolution” were, more often than not, closet lesbians. Later we not only discovered that they were lesbians telling heterosexual women to kick their men in the balls and out of their lives, they were also playing stereotypical sexual roles in private, some as simpering mistresses to others more macho than any man could be.

In the space of one generation we went from the prohibition of pre-marital sex to promiscuity for all. The stakes were high for a young woman in the 50s. Sleeping around or, oh horrors, getting pregnant killed her chances of a good marriage… only way to climb the social ladder. Unmarried women could not be fitted for a diaphragm. There was no place to make love decently. When I was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin in 1952, female students under 21 were not allowed to live off campus. We were quartered in dorms, with 10 PM curfews. The lower classes and a dissolute bohemian minority did what they wanted and dealt with the consequences as best they could. Decent women waited to discover the pleasures or disappointments of conjugal life. Twenty years later, a young man with nothing to offer and nothing to lose, would mumble his momentary itch; if the chick dared to decline, he’d toss off a whiny “what’s the matter, you got hangups?” before shuffling off to another.

Teenage girls rushed to lose their virginity before getting their first bra. The boys they slept with had a pressing need for freedom. Don’t cramp my style, don’t try to hold on to me, I’m not into commitment. A girl who, for whatever reason, didn’t solve the fertility problem by taking The Pill was too much of a bother. Women were supposed to be liberated… meaning, available 24/24 with no strings attached. Somehow Women’s Liberation turned out to be an emergency exit for men, inclined to run out on their responsibilities and give in to their more shiftless instincts.

Well- educated, professionally accomplished, financially independent women made babies with a male friend or part time lover, with the clear understanding that the woman would assume 100% of the responsibility for raising and providing for the child. Looking back, it’s almost laughable to see how feminine they were! Liberated from drudgery they voluntarily opted for impossible burdens. A woman’s work is never done. Marriage was spurned or diluted by up-front adultery. Lovers and mistresses joined the family for dinner, children’s birthday parties, and family vacations. Wives and husbands moved in and out, and it was no more dramatic than changing seasons.

None of this nullifies the undeniable improvements in the lives of women, our chances for fulfillment in love, marriage, maternity, and a wide range of professions. No longer on the outside looking in, we can see for ourselves how the working world is organized, how power is won and exercised, how many seemingly fascinating jobs are less interesting than, for instance, taking care of babies. Today, young women deserve our help in re-examining the past to reconceive the equilibrium between biology and choice. They have heard enough about what was acquired. What about the losses?

Fertility is formidable. Connecting unbridled fertility to irresistible sexual pleasure is a work of genius. Is it true that primitive people did not make the connection between making love and making babies? Everything has been arranged to make young fertile men and women forget it… until it’s too late. The consequences are enormous. Mouths to feed, and a lifetime of responsibility. Women, until just recently, could be left holding the bag… unless the man voluntarily took his share of the burden and attendant joys. At the same time, women took the blame for sterility. In the understandable wish to get beyond all of that primitive stuff we have, of course, created new problems.

While reassuring women that the advantages of oral contraception outweigh the dangers, the French Health Ministry has issued warnings about 3rd and 4th generation contraceptives after a young woman suffered a debilitating stroke. But these dramatic risks are the visible peak of a throbbing ache that has never been addressed. Women who cannot bear the changes induced by oral contraceptives may be a minority but those who are uncomfortable with the effects associated with artificial hormonal activity are probably a silent majority. How does the body regain the intelligence of reproduction when it has been silenced for years by oral contraception or IUDs?

Fertility is a daunting challenge, a stunning competitor that interferes with our short and long term plans. It should not be treated as an enemy. Granted, we need some control over this magnificent life force that doesn’t exactly go with our current lifestyle. But if we smash it, suppress it, rough it up, and fail to honor it we wake up one day with a problem that few futurists imagined: drastic population decline. Just as a family can wither away and disappear in a few generations, a nation can lose its bid for posterity. We find ourselves with advanced societies collapsing on an upended age pyramid while the under-25 majority of retrograde populations are out in the streets throwing rocks and firebombs or drugging themselves on heroin and despair.

And then there is AIDS. Super safe birth control that theoretically allows for super carefree pleasure notwithstanding, the clumsy old condom was brought back into service.

Once and for all defined as progress, women’s liberation is stubbornly entrenched. Thinking women, happy to be involved in board meetings, business travel, financial transactions, and research projects, have pocketed the progress and ignored the twisted paths that take us away from our destination. The fine arts and literature, seemingly locked into the hysterical phase, do little to help women conserve or recover the delicate skills that help us nurture the masculinity of men. Women have used more clout to get the right to drive buses, work on automobile assembly lines and now, in the US, go into combat than to improve the balance between work, maternity, and child care.

We keep getting hit with the downside of our miracle solutions. For example, the two-for-one baby boom. I am not qualified to say whether the proliferation of twins is due to post-contraception sterility, pre-menopausal maternity or new techniques of assisted procreation, but it is troubling when every third stroller you pass on the street is a double. First, contraception has to be 99.9% reliable for women at the peak of fertility, then medical genius has to compensate for damaged fertility… there is a time for everything but who knows what time it is?

Un enfant quand je veux comme je veux. The motor of Progress must not idle. Having established the religion of free love, liberated women from the disgusting femininity-maternity couplet, placed abortion on the same level of noblesse as procreation, demanded parity everywhere from floor sweepers to CEOs, purified language of the despicable undifferentiated masculine collective, the battalions of Progress are back on the front lines and their battle cry is “A child when I want how I want.” Are homosexuals the latter day saints of love marriage and procreation? The issue of same-sex marriage is currently debated in the French legislature. Debate is a euphemism for the arrogant steamroller of the left wing majority, reveling in a no holds barred shouting match against the opposition. Deaf to the outcry of a huge segment of the population, indifferent to reasoned argument, secure in the certainty that President Hollande will not put the question to a popular referendum, the majority is having a ball.

The bill, in an inimitable French lace formulation, is called “mariage pour tous [marriage for everyone]. It actually means “marriage for no one,” in that the institution will be gutted and the shell decorated with garlands of flowers. Lurking behind this mariage nouveau is a devious plan for “procreation without biological borders.” With imperial disdain, a government, elected with a modest majority is dismantling the basic building block of society. Long stretches of the proceedings at the National Assembly are broadcast live on our equivalent of C-Span. Dozens of mini-Robespierres grab the microphone as if it were a whip and lash out at the Opposition, accused of homophobia, retrogradia, and obstruction of the wheels of History. Following the lead of Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, whose corn rows are meant to be an argument in themselves, deputies alternate revolutionary thunder with cooing over kitschy homosexual weddings with all the trimmings and heartfelt pleas for the children (hundreds? thousands? who knows?) who will finally bathe in the crowning glory of marriage for their homoparents.

Indulgent media visit the happy homes of happy homosexuals with their happy broods. No complaints from these child soldiers. Daddy plus Daddy makes a house a home. And aren’t two mothers better than one? Who are the dastardly reactionaries that would deprive innocent children of the dignity of married homoparenthood? How dare they insinuate that same sex parents are not as good if not better than heterosexuals? Who are they to say that marriage is the union of a man and a woman intending to make a family? Homosexuals deserve the same rights to marry and found a family as heterosexuals!

The opposition claims “mariage pour tous” is a Trojan horse: procreation-booster rights will inevitably follow the same-sex marriage & adoption bill. In fact, MAP (medically assisted procreation) for lesbian partners, included in an earlier draft of the bill, was withdrawn due to opposition within the majority party and the French electorate. It will eventually be tacked on to a family affairs bill initially promised for March, now postponed to October, pending—but not depending on—the recommendations of the Bioethical commission. Opposition deputies predict that males will demand and obtain, on the grounds of equality, legalization of surrogate motherhood. The majority cries Foul! You don’t want same-sex marriage so you drag in unrelated issues. False, shouts the opposition, and the memorandum shows what’s up your sleeve. For some reason the Justice Minister issued a memorandum last week notifying consular officials that recourse to surrogate motherhood– a criminal offense under French law– is not in and of itself grounds for refusal to naturalize the child.

Once these fait accompli children are brought to France, the father(s) will demand official filiation. Does the wish to have children–against the implacable laws of nature–justify cheating? Other subterfuges are detailed in a chuckling article in Le Monde.1 One member of a lesbian union hides all evidence of her partner during the adoption procedure. Then the two women raise the adopted child together… until they separate. The once-hidden partner now fears her ties to the child might be broken. Karim was the odd man out when his partner Yann fertilized a Ukrainian woman, but today they live happily with their five year-old twins in a remote village where friendly neighbors are satisfied to learn that that both men are “papas d’intention” [daddies by intention] of the children born via a “maman de naissance” [birth mommy]. Yann doesn’t like the term “maman porteuse” [carrying mommy]; it sounds too industrial. He says there’s nothing inspiring about the biological bond. “The act itself is shabby– masturbating into a test tube–and the consequences are a monstrosity.” I assume he means the pregnancy.
Members of the left wing parliamentary majority, infuriated by the Trojan horse argument of the opposition, cannot in fact justify the same-sex marriage juggernaut without the hidden procreative project. Back in 1999, their predecessors promised that the PACS [contract of civil solidarity], tailored to the needs of homosexuals, was the last and final stage. No marriage, no adoption, no procreation, no filiation. Of 142,738 contracts signed in 2012, 3,680 were male-male, 3,064 female-female, and 135,994 male-female. Did homosexuals shun the PACS because it was beneath them or because they weren’t really interested in forming more perfect unions? And what if a tiny minority of a tiny minority will actually take advantage of same-sex marriage? How can that justify the slapdash, sloppy, ill-considered, unjustified dismantling of marriage and filiation?

Can the impossibility of making children without a male and a female participant be solved by same-sex marriage, MAP, and surrogate motherhood? Isn’t it a way of forcing the children born under these circumstances to perpetuate the myth of homoparenthood? Neither our respect for homosexual friends and family nor individual examples of wonderful children raised by same-sex partners can resolve this dilemma. The question is what shall society encourage, allow, condone, facilitate, tolerate, forbid or punish.

The idea that a child needs a mother and a father is suddenly labeled reactionary! One might as well burn all the world’s literature and retool humanity into heartless robots. Who can deny the suffering of a child who loses a mother or a father by illness, accident, abandonment or divorce? Proponents of mariage pour tous claim the opposition is motivated by base prejudice against equality in marriage, while they stubbornly deny the inequality imposed on the children brought into the world via this misconception. An infant doesn’t need to be cradled against a mother’s breast and held in strong male arms? The orchestration of contrasting male-female sensations–muscles, odor, voice, rhythm, mentality– is a vital need for children. It has nothing to do with socially-imposed stereotypes; it is a corollary of the ineluctable reality that reproduction is only possible when a female ovule is fertilized by male sperm.

Advocates of same-sex marriage portray homosexuals as innocent victims of discrimination; there is nothing intrinsically distressing about their biologically sterile sexuality. Evil lies in the eyes of the beholder. End the social disapproval, costume homosexuals in bridal attire, and let them get on with their normal lives. The reality is far more complex. Honest acceptance of homosexuals does not exclude a guts rejection of their sexuality. In your face lurid gay pride, smoldering hostility to heterosexuals, coteries and rainbow flag nationalism can’t be ignored. The slogan on a banner carried in a Mariage pour Tous demonstration — “Une paire de meres est mieux qu’un père de merde” [a pair of mothers is better than a shitty father]—reminds us of the 70s: “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” When homosexuality was a disgrace, many hid their shame in heterosexual marriage; when coming out was in style, homosexuality was worn as a badge of honor. Many of the children raised in same-sex households today were born of heterosexual marriages that ended when one of the partners discovered his or her homosexuality. Children should not be dragged like rag dolls into these complications.

At a time when half the children born in France are technically out of wedlock, why would homosexuals be dying to get married? Why not create an institution that is truly adapted to their difference? No. If we don’t give them our marriage and turn ourselves into fish farms to provide them with progeny, we’re selfish reactionaries. Same-sex marriage, we are promised, will subtract nothing from marriage; it is the simple addition of one unjustly excluded category of citizens to the existing cohort. Though the opposition doesn’t have the votes to defeat the mariage pour tous bill, the National Assembly debate has the merit of casting light on its hidden consequences. The “simple” addition of same-sex unions nullifies marriage, makes spaghetti of filiation, axes the patronym, betrays the biological facts of procreation by deleting their representation in law and language, and dumps centuries of continuity into muddy confusion. The nation is sterilized. Justice Minister Taubira pours an acid smile on opposition deputies who object to some 200 radiations of the words (and the concept) “father and mother” from the Code Civil. Voyons, messieurs, it’s replaced by “parents.”(“Parents” means parents or relatives.) And what’s wrong with replacing “mari” and “femme” by the unisex “époux.”

The government and its majority are now spelling opposition “o-b-s-t-r-u-c-t-i-o-n.” No one must stand in the way of the forward march of History. Or should it be called Itstory?

We have reached the endpoint of a package of social changes that began in the sixties. Instead of reexamining the premises and consequences, today’s activists want to take us over the cliff. Before we can help our homosexual citizens, we have to ask ourselves why the femininity decried in women is acceptable when parodied by men. Why men were male chauvinist pigs but macho women can simultaneously be husbands to their female partners and mothers to “their” children. Why is everything organized so that young women at the most propitious time for childbearing use overwhelming contraception while women in their forties and same sex partners resort to every possible stratagem to have children?

And how can we maintain the prohibition against incest when Johnny Appleseed donors are spreading their sperm to the winds with no return address?

ABOUT NIDRA POLLER:

Nidra Poller is an American writer and translator who has lived in Paris since 1972. She has contributed to English-language publications such as The Wall Street Journal, National Review, FrontPage Magazine, and The New York Sun.

Poller has been described as a novelist, author of illustrated books for youth, and also a translator, notably of the philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas. Her writings include observations on society and politics, including the Muhammad al-Durrah incident and the Ilan Halimi trial.

Rubio Tweets “There is only one savior, and it is not me. #Jesus”

Senator Marco Rubio took offense at the Times cover title “The Republican Savior”. In response he tweeted “There is only one savior, and it is not me. #Jesus”.

rubio time magazine cover

The TIME magazine column “Immigrant Son” by Michael Grunwald notes, “But while Rubio is a child of immigrants, he’s also a child of the conservative movement, an ambitious ideologue and former political operative who speaks partisan Republican with the fluency of a native. (Romney, by contrast, spoke it as a second language.) Like Paul Ryan, a potential 2016 rival, he’s part of a new generation of lean and hungry conservatives who grew up in the anti-government Reagan era and entered politics after the scorched-earth Gingrich revolution. Bipartisan compromise is not usually his thing.” To read the entire TIME magazine story click here.

There are questions being raised about the future of America and the role partisan politics plays in creating a country divided. At a recent TEA Party Sarasota meeting one member stated, “the political parties were merely two squads on the same team”. Big government, more regulation and higher taxes have been embraced by both Republicans and Democrats. This has led to crushing debt, unfettered spending and more government control.

Can any one politician actually make a different when the party system works against any change or reform?

We will see if Rubio will remain independent in his actions or will become part of his party’s leadership. Will political power trump his moral compass as he becomes the “new voice” of the Republican party?

Early civilizations were well aware of the danger of pride and power and knew that this could destroy kings and empires if not held in check. And thus a philosophy was developed by the very wise Greco-Roman philosophers (lovers of truth) in order to help their rulers and themselves to be vigilant about their behavior, lest they destroy themselves by pride. And thus when any great general (be it an emperor-to-be, a war general, or any victor of a great battle) was honored by a great manifestation such as a triumphal entry into his city-state, a slave (a lowly of lowlies) would ride in the chariot with him and whisper in his ear that he should remember that “he is not a god, but a mortal human being”.

A lesson that all politicians must learn?

Media double standard fails women and democracy

By , President of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

This past election cycle, the mainstream media promoted the idea that the GOP engages in a “war on women.” Prominent women in the Democratic Party were able to take to the airways –often unchallenged – and spin the Republican positions on social issues as old-fashioned, sexist attitudes reminiscence of the 1950s. With the 2012 election a distant memory – the danger is real: sexploitation has reared its ugly head. The alleged culprit is a Democratic senator, and the legacy press couldn’t be more silent.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is embroiled in scandal. But if you read the New York Times or watch “NBC Nightly News,” you would never know it. Reports began surfacing last November from new media outlets – led by the Daily Caller – the New Jersey senator was allegedly engaging in sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, courtesy of the transportation and resort hospitality of a major campaign donor. The original Daily Caller investigation included an interview with two women from the Dominican Republic who told DC “they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, an expensive 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic. They claimed Menendez agreed to pay them $500 for sex acts, but in the end they each received only $100.”

Given the fact that these young ladies are engaged in an activity regarded as the ultimate degradation of women – and a sitting U.S. senator has been accused of taking advantage of their circumstances – it’s safe to say the old guard press would have been all over this story if the perpetrator were a Republican – leaving no stone un-turned to find the “Dirty Laundry” – as Sen. Menendez gets whitewashed in the spin cycle.  Enter the new media outlets – turning the tide, agitating the establishment and hanging them out to dry.

The evidence against Menendez began mounting last week as it was revealed that another woman had come forward. The non-partisan government watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) received an email from another young girl from the Dominican Republic, claiming she had slept with the New Jersey Democrat. All the more troubling is that her alleged sexual encounters began when she was only sixteen years old.

Where is the outrage from women’s rights groups? Where are the demands for answers from the 16 female Democrats serving alongside Menendez in the Senate? Why do the mainstream media remain silent over the accusations?

In America one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. So when serious allegations surface, especially when they come from more than one source, the press has an obligation to investigate the matter. In a Sunday, January 27th interview on ABC’s “This Week,” not one question was asked of Menendez about the prostitutes’ allegations, despite the fact that two days earlier it had become public that the FBI was investigating the senator’s alleged misconduct. The sources are credible enough for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but apparently not for the old guard press.

Menendez’s reputed fondness for hookers is only part of the story not being covered. Last week the senator’s contributor involved in this scandal had his office raided by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. Florida ophthalmologist   Salomon Melgen has been flying Menendez down to the Dominican Republic, providing the luxury accommodations and supposedly supplying the ladies of the night. The raid on Melgen’s office apparently jarred the memory of the New Jersey senator who ponied up nearly $59,000 to reimburse the Florida doctor for travel expenses incurred in 2009.

If the emails, FBI investigation and government raids aren’t enough red flags for the press, an investigation by the new media publication The Washington Free Beacon uncovered last November that Dr. Melgen owes over $11 million to the IRS. Melgen’s support for Menendez began during the 1990s when he was a congressman. Since Dr. Melgen’s troubles with the IRS began – his contributions to the New Jersey Democrat have dramatically increased.

Coincidence? Or a prominent political donor seeking favors? Unless the question is asked, we won’t know the answer.

Since the FBI investigation became public, a few local newspapers in New Jersey, New York and Miami have taken an interest. But a “Google search” of the scandal links only to new media outlets. The three broadcasts networks have wiped the scandal under the rug and the New York Times has apparently decided the story doesn’t fit their motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

Safe to say that if Sen. Menendez had an “R” next to his name this story would lead network broadcasts and frequent the front-page of the “paper of record.” But when you are a Democrat the legacy media and women’s rights group tend to bury their head in the sand – justice and journalism doesn’t fit their agenda.

Jason Stverak is the President of Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.

TRUE THE VOTE SUES ST. LUCIE COUNTY, FLORIDA

HOUSTON, TX. February 4, 2013 –True the Vote announced today that it filed a lawsuit against the St. Lucie County, Florida Supervisor of Elections, to enforce record inspection rights under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) and the Florida Constitution.

True the Vote demands that all records pertaining to the recent 18th Congressional District election and subsequent recounts between Rep. Allen West and Patrick Murphy be reviewed in order to perform a comprehensive third-party audit (True the Vote, Inc. v. Gertrude Walker in her official capacity as St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, Civil Action (No 2:13cv14046.)).

Watch the video announcement:

True the Vote seeks to compel St. Lucie County election authorities to grant complete inspection rights to all election records pertaining to the 18th District race and voter registration records under federal and state law. In addition, True the Vote demands that the court order the Supervisor of Elections to preserve all records. If granted access, TTV will determine a precise vote count, document any illegal participation in the election and offer solutions to prevent similar failures in future recounts.

“This dramatic recount was an extraordinary example of how our elections can suffer systematic failure,” True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said. “We run the risk seeing episodes like this becoming ordinary if citizens do not demand answers and hold election officials accountable. The American people own the voting system – we have the right to ask tough questions when we witness the failure of one of America’s core functions.

“The clock is ticking on the opportunity for a comprehensive, outside audit of this recount,” Engelbrecht continued. “Each passing day heightens the risk of critical documents being disposed of. If you thought voter fraud could erode America’s confidence in elections, unchecked incompetence in the vote tabulation process will destroy all faith remaining in our systems.”

“Gone are the days when Motor Voter is a law used only by a couple of special interest groups. The law requires physical inspections, I hope we reach a quick agreement,” attorney J. Christian Adams of the Election Law Center said.

On November 6, St. Lucie County election administrators admitted that ballot tabulation machines suffered a malfunction, preventing early vote totals from being properly counted. County workers were forced to hand-feed ballots into tabulation machines as a result.

On November 8, West demanded a full recount of early votes and copies of poll sign-in records to compare voter participation against ballots cast. West’s requests were denied and ignored, respectively.

On November 9, West demanded that a Florida state court impound all ballots and voting machines, but made no claims of the sort True the Vote makes today in federal court. West’s requests in state court were denied.

On November 10, St. Lucie County “unofficially certified” the vote count for CD-18 and publicly acknowledged “uncertainty” over the early vote totals. St. Lucie County called an emergency meeting to “recount all ballots cast during early voting.” The county later reversed itself, only performing a partial retabulation. After the partial retabulation, the lead for Patrick Murphy decreased.

On November 13, Defendant Gertrude Walker held a press conference admitting that her staff acted with “haste” and that “mistakes were made” throughout the tabulation and partial recount process. Florida Division of Elections auditors were dispatched to investigate how 799 votes disappeared or changed hands during the partial recount.

On November 16, Defendant Walker claimed to find 306 early votes in a box at her office that had not been counted. The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board ordered a recount of all early votes, with a deadline set for noon on November 18.

On November 17, the full recount operation was relocated to a privately-owned property. County workers were evicted from the premises late at night, suspending the recount until the next morning.

On November 18, County workers failed to meet the deadline, instead certifying the original November 10 tabulation, which officials claimed “uncertainty” over the accuracy of the results.

True the Vote later demanded to review poll books, “voter credit” lists, felon files and others to perform a comprehensive audit of the CD-18 tabulations. Inspection rights were not granted and so this lawsuit was made necessary.

“My clients are demanding that Walker immediately allow an in person public inspection of all records relating to the election in Florida’s 18th Congressional District between Allen West and Patrick Murphy,” local counsel Michael A. Barnett said.

True the Vote filed its complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida – Fort Pierce Division.

Click here to read True the Vote’s filing.

True The Vote (TTV) a nonpartisan, nonprofit grassroots organization focused on preserving election integrity is operated by citizens for citizens, to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.

True The Vote NOW (TTVN) is a public policy organization dedicated to reforming our voting systems at state and federal levels. True the Vote NOWpromotes solutions that increase citizen engagement and restore faith in our elections. For more information, please visit www.truethevotenow.org.

Voto Honesto (TTV) es una organización sin fines de lucro, no partidaria, enfocada en preservar la integridad en las elecciones y operada por ciudadanos para ciudadanos, ara inspirar y equipar a voluntarios para envolverse en cada una de las etapas del proceso electoral. TTT capacita a organizaciones e individuos a través de la nación para activamente proteger los derechos de los votantes legítimos, sin importar a que partido político perteneces. Para más información, por favor visite www.truethevote.org.

SENATOR RUBIO TO OPPOSE HAGEL’S CONFIRMATION FOR SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement announcing his intention to vote against the confirmation of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense:

“After carefully reviewing Senator Hagel’s record on a number of issues, I cannot support his confirmation as our nation’s next Secretary of Defense. I oppose his confirmation because of his views on U.S. policy toward Cuba, his past opposition to tough Iran sanctions, his questionable comments in the past about U.S. support for Israel, his support for direct, bilateral negotiations with North Korea and, most importantly, my belief that he will usher in a new era of austere defense budgets that will severely impede U.S. national security by hampering readiness and radically limiting the global force projection of our military.

“Senator Hagel served his country during the Vietnam War with great distinction and has an admirable record of public service. I also appreciate him taking the time to visit with me this week. Unfortunately, his policy views are too far apart from what I believe to be the way forward for preserving America’s proper role in the world as a force for security and peace. Now more than ever, I firmly believe the U.S. needs a robust military capability that includes a renewed commitment to our shipbuilding program, a reliable nuclear deterrent to defend against rogue nations and a nimble counterterrorism force able to confront the asymmetric warfare of the 21st century.”

Senator Rubio Discusses Hagel Nomination & Middle Class Opportunity on FOX News:

Dr. David McKalip, Enters District 4 St. Petersburg City Council Race

St. Petersburg, FL – St. Petersburg Neurosurgeon, Dr. David McKalip, has officially filed paperwork to run for St. Petersburg City Council, District 4. Upon filing his paperwork, Dr. McKalip said:

“St. Petersburg is a great city, but we can do more to make it the best place to live, work and visit in our nation. Our city is not living up to its potential and it is time for our government to change course so individual citizens can experience the opportunity and prosperity they each deserve. For too long politicians and special interests have expected the citizens to pay for their big projects and wasteful government. The people deserve a government that lives on a budget like they do. People are sick of politicians who never deliver on their promises while often harming the community they intended to help in the first place.”

Dr. McKalip continued, “I have long been impressed by the ability of individuals, small businesses, families and neighbors to provide the best quality of life in our city. The citizens will do better if they keep more of their hard earned money and live in a city without regulations that kill jobs and harm their freedom. If we embrace freedom, empower individuals and change direction in government, prosperity will spread to all.

I look forward to offering a true choice to the voters and engaging in a debate about the real issues that must be addressed now. I hope others will join me in making this race about the future of their city, St. Petersburg. Our citizens deserve it.”

Dr. David McKalip, M.D., is a highly respected neurosurgeon and community leader. St. Petersburg is Dr. McKalip’s hometown.

Department of Homeland Security states AR-15 Rifles “Suitable for Personal Defense”

A hat tip to Breitbart’s Awr Hawkins for pointing this out.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a “Personal Defense Weapons” Solicitation number HSCEMS-12-R-00011. The solicitation is for AR-15 rifles for Immigration & Customs Enforcement.

Part C of the solicitation states, “DHS and its components have a requirement for a 5.56x45mm NATO, select-fire firearm suitable for personal defense use in close quarters and/or when maximum concealment is required.” [My emphasis]

Hawkins reports:

According to New York state Senator Greg Ball (R), the Department of Homeland Security is seeking 7,000 self-defense weapons–all of which are AR-15 variants.

These are the very weapons Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Joe Manchin (D-WV), have been telling us nobody needs for self-defense. Apparently, DHS disagrees.

As I wrote on January 14th, a “Personal Defense Weapons Solicitation” was circulated within DHS describing an AR-15 variant as “suitable for personal defense.” Now, 7,000 such weapons are being sought.

DHS is also seeking 30 round magazines for use with all the rifles.

Tensions Abroad

WDW received the column below which was written by Matthys van Raalten, a Dutch citizen. It is reprinted with his permission. It is important to understand what is happening in the EU as member nations like Holland are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine for “multiculturalism”.

Tension Abroad by Matthys van Raalten:

The best way to understand what is going on in Europe, is to look at small details. The overall picture can be confusing. An outsider can be deceived easily by the intelligent political moves of its leaders. Just one example: PM Cameron of the UK says he wants a referendum about the European Union. Could this not be just a smart move, in order to stop the rising star of Nigel Farrage?

The real issues in Europe center around two themes: the development of a political union, by critics dubbed “EUSSR” and multiculturalism. Was all the work to liberate Europe just wasted, when the Europeans choose for a big bureaucratic semi-socialist state, ruled from Brussels and Strassbourg? What about the safety and the freedoms? Are the Europeans really going to sell that all by letting millions more Islamic immigrants come over?

Let’s have a look at some relatively small matters, in my home country; the Netherlands.

Last week, I wanted to buy a book with a work of Vondel, the country’s greatest poet. Joost van den Vondel lived from 1587 until 1679. This was an important period in Dutch history, as the country liberated itself from Spain in an eighty-year lasting war. Vondel is to the Dutch, what Shakespeare is to the English-language world, or Goethe to the German speaking world. He is our Ovid, and he also translated beautifully the works of Ovid into Dutch. He also composed plays about, among others, stories from the Bible. He was a devout Christian, without doubt one of our patriarchs. I could only find a single soft-cover book with a work by him in the city center of Amsterdam, in its most famous bookshop. Therefore, I turned to a large second-hand bookshop. They had a couple of writings by his hand, one about Joseph in Dothan for 1 Euro 50 only. Though I could have been happy that I had such a cheap buy, I was sad instead. Is this the fate of my heritage? Aren’t the Dutch people interested in their own cultural heritage any longer? I have been informed by the way, that there is very little in print of Vondel these days, so also in the future we shouldn’t expect the bookshops of Amsterdam to fill their shelves with his jewels.

Now let’s take a look at the Christian parties in Holland. Wilders says he wants to defend the Judeo-Christian foundation of our country. But what are the Christians themselves doing with their foundations? The Dutch political parties CDA (medium-large) and ChristianUnion (medium size) are hardly making a fist against the Left, who have already made abortion and gay marriage the new foundations of the new Dutch culture. Only the very small SGP party seems to be wanting to get back to our real roots, but they can’t make a fist, too small in size.

Status of Educational Choice Programs in Florida “Unclear”

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice has release the 2013 edition of “The ABCs of School Choice“. The report shows the strength and weaknesses of school choice in Florida.

According to the Foundation website , “Florida has two private school choice programs (special-needs vouchers, limited tax-credit scholarships). The state also has a charter school law and enables public virtual schooling. Limited open enrollment exists, both for intradistrict and interdistrict public school choice. ”

The Foundation notes:

The status of school choice in Florida is unclear. Unfortunately, in an unprecedented decision, the Florida Supreme Court struck down the state’s groundbreaking Opportunity Scholarships voucher program for children in chronically failing public schools. The court declared that the program violated the state Constitution’s education article, specifically the requirement to provide a “uniform” public education. Contrary to state supreme courts in Wisconsin and Ohio, the Florida court decided that the Legislature may not provide educational options beyond those in the public schools. Still, the court limited its decision to Opportunity Scholarships only, leaving untouched Florida’s other school choice programs.

Earlier in the same case, a Florida appellate court struck down Opportunity Scholarships under the state’s Blaine Amendment. That ruling ran counter to years of Florida Supreme Court rulings on the Blaine Amendment permitting “incidental” benefits to religious organizations as the by-product of programs designed to advance the general welfare. The Florida Supreme Court did not review that issue, and the validity of the appellate court’s holding is unclear under Florida law.” [My emphasis]

A constitutional amendment was on the November 2012 ballot to eliminate the Blaine Amendment but it failed to garner the votes to pass. Unions and even some TEA Party activists were against the amendment.

Florida’s two educational choice success stories are:

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Enacted 2001 • Launched 2001

Florida provides a tax credit on corporate income taxes and insurance premium taxes for donations to Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships for low-income students and foster care children and… Read More

John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program

Enacted as a Pilot Program 1999 • Expanded 2000

Florida’s John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program allows public school students with disabilities or 504 plans to receive vouchers to attend private schools or another public school. Read More

Despite the uncertainties surrounding vouchers, tax credit programs are completely consistent with the Florida constitution, even as interpreted by Holmes, because they involve private rather than public funds. –Quote from the Institute for Justice (April 2007)