Thursday, July 31, 2014

Israel: Freedom and Order

Even though I am religiously Catholic, I have followed the teachings of  Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.  He is a religious leader, philosopher, and professor. He also served as Chief Rabbi of England from 1991 through 2013.  He has lectured at universities around the globe, has met with the Catholic bishops as well as the Pope. He is one of the most thought provoking teachers of our time. 

This week he wrote an article regarding the conflict in Israel.  I hope you take the time to read it.  His article is one of the most eloquent pieces written on the topic.  Rabbi Sacks puts the Israeli conflict, and the need for the very existence of Israel into religious context.  He writes,  "What the Torah tells us early on is how humanity failed. They did so in two ways,  They created freedom without order.  Or they created order without freedom.  That is still the human tragedy."  He goes on to say that Israel answers the biblical need in the world for "freedom without anarchy, order without tyranny."

If you only read one article on this conflict, I suggest you read this one.  Here is the link:

You can follow Rabbi Sacks on Twitter at @rabbisacks  You can also find many of Rabbi Sack's lectures on YouTube.  Nothing like being able to attend a lecture given at Cambridge from your living room.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Israel.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Limiting Abortion With Science

The Republican Party is gearing up for the mid terms and part of that is figuring out how to position social issues.  Abortion has been a hot topic for democrats and frankly they out marketed republicans in the last cycle complete with their “War on Women” hashtag.

In the past republicans have run into the corner of the boxing ring to avoid the topic of abortion.  It’s a hot button issue and one which many women voters support the other side.  In the past, the argument against those who are pro-life has been to ridicule them for their religious beliefs, and then to declassify the baby into a “clump of cells.”

The republicans are finally using their “lady smarts,” (a Michelle Malkin phrase) and are planning on beating the democrats at their own game.  They realize they can’t win the abortion debate by making a religious case, they need to win by using science. 

The New York Times just ran an article discussing the republican plan.  See the article here:  These republican women are 100% correct.  Most women, when polled, are completely against abortion in later months.  They need to market accordingly.

What has changed?  Why aren’t many women buying the “clump of cells” argument anymore?  Simply, it’s the utilization of ultrasounds, specifically 3D ultrasounds, as well as the advances for babies born prematurely.

Time Magazine ran an article on June 2, 2014 about the advances science has made for the care of premature babies. See the article here:

What is amazing is that babies we never thought could survive are able to do so.  According to the article, in 1960 the survival rate for a 3.3lb baby was 28%, in 2010 it was 78%.  Things have drastically changed since Roe V Wade. Some other interesting stats from the article regarding premies: At 22 weeks survival is 5%, at 23 weeks survival is 26%, at 24 weeks survival is 56%, and at 25 weeks survival is 76%.  The New York Times published abortion restrictions by state:    9 states have no restriction on gestational age, 26 states restrict abortion at 24-26 weeks, 8 states restrict abortion at 22 weeks. What this means is that 43 of 50 states allow abortion on babies that have a high probability of surviving outside of the womb. The only difference between the premie babies in the article and the ones which are aborted, are that the mothers wanted them. This is something most pro-choice women can’t even justify.  There is no doubt when looking at these statistics, they are killing viable babies.

Although I disagree with the democrats on mostly everything, I do think they have republicans beat on marketing.  It’s about time that we take a page out of their book and use their tactics against them.  One thing they do successfully is chip away at a little at a time until they eventually get everything they want.  We won’t have the opportunity to make changes in abortion policy without winning the mid-terms.  We need to focus where we can win, and here we can win using science.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Third World Kids At Home

Last week a video of an African American woman went viral as she vented to news cameras about all of the money being used for the immigrant children who are flooding our border.  She rightly complained that her kids are in dire need for these resources, and they get nothing.  She thought the funds should be used to help our kids here at home.  This video was picked up by many conservatives , and she became the voice for the everyday American who is wondering why we are spending money we don’t have, on people who aren’t even here legally.  You can see her video here:

The chief argument I hear from liberals is “it’s about the children.”  They argue that these children are “refugees,” fleeing untenable situations.  Mind you, these children are primarily fleeing Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, none of these counties has been declared a war zone.  They argue that anyone opposed to letting in these children is “unchristian” and “heartless, “and dare I say “un-American.”

This made me ask the question: how bad is it really in their countries? Is it really worst than Detroit?  I really started wondering if the violence in El Salvador was as bad as it is in West Baltimore, home of the infamous show The Wire.

The first article I came upon makes the counterpoint to my argument.  They smartly compare crime in these countries to Chicago, since 80 people were shot there over the July 4th weekend.  One good thing about living near a city with high crime, we know how to look at crime stats. Chicago has a lot of people so the murder rate is actually way less than other cities if you look at it on a per capita basis. The only good thing about the article, is it gave the murder stats for Honduras (90 murders for 100,000 people), El Salvador (41 murders for 100,000 people), and Guatemala (40 murders for 100,000 people.) Here is their article:

True, Honduras has a high murder rate, but sadly, it’s pretty close to Flint, Michigan which tops the charts with 62 murders for every 100,000 people!  (These are all 2012 figures) The murder rate in Flint is certainly higher than El Salvador and Guatemala! Detroit comes in close at 55 murders for every 100,000 people. New Orleans ranks high at 53 murders for every 100,000 people.  Baltimore is up there as well at 35 murders for every 100,000 people. See all crime stats here:

If Obama is making the argument that these children are suffering from living in countries riddled with crime, I think the data supports that kids living in New Orleans, Detroit, Flint, and Baltimore, are living in more dire conditions than the kids in Guatemala and El Salvador.  In fact, the kids living in these US cities would have less crime moving to those countries!  Frankly, we should be ashamed that children here in the US are living in 3rd world, violent conditions.  By helping these immigrant kids, Washington is side stepping our own kids, living in their own war zone, to help kids who have entered illegally.

The lady in the video was 100% correct.  You need to clean your own house before you clean someone else’s.  We don’t have the money to help all of the children flooding our border, but if we are going to spend it anyway, we should spend it in cities like Detroit.  Whether or not we want to face it, we have our own 3rd world kids here at home.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Winning Elections At The Border

It is no secret that under President Obama this country has been polarized.  This makes it challenging during the election cycle as both parties struggle to both rally their base to go to the polls in large numbers, while simultaneously appealing to the ever important “independent voter.”  In this cycle, where there are few in the middle, accomplishing both of these tasks seems quite daunting.  However, it is imperative that the GOP get conservatives to the polls while getting those in the middle to vote for their candidates.

As a recovering democrat, I am surprised by the lack of marketing savvy by the GOP.  One thing you have to praise the democrats for is their ability to create clear marketing messages that stick. I do think the GOP has an uphill battle in that it is way more difficult to explain quantitative easing and inflationary monetary policy  in a catchy “war on women” style slogan.  But, if the GOP wants to win elections they are going to have to adopt Obama’s “laser like focus” (that was a joke just in case you are new to this blog), and utilize effective and simple messaging that appeals to a broad group of people.

The GOP has a huge opportunity that I hope they do not squander, and that is the issue of the tens of  thousands of illegal immigrants that have surged across our border recently.  I was listening to Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) take listener questions on CSPAN not long ago.  (For those who don’t know, when folks call into CSPAN they call on a phone line affiliated with their party, so you know their political affiliation up front.) Democratic caller after democratic caller was livid about all of the children coming across our border.  These democrats want help for the poor and downtrodden, and even they know deep down there is only so much money to go around.  One African American democrat complained that the unemployment rate was high enough for the black community and these illegal immigrants were going to exacerbate the issue.  Jeffies’ response was shocking.  He actually argued that the influx of illegal immigrants would actually help with unemployment.  No one calling in bought what he is selling.   In this space, the democrats have no spin, and no slogan, and frankly, they own this problem.

The GOP must use this opportunity to win the election cycle.  The democrats will want to talk about any other topic to keep them off message.  The border is something all Americans are angry about.  Regular democrats are upset because all of the programs they want to fund will not be funded.  Obama has just requested $2 billion dollars to throw at the most recent result of our unsecured border.   None of the money will even address the border, just the children who are already here.  The more money Obama seeks for illegal immigrants, the clearer it is that the programs many democrats seek to fund will lose dollars.  They also recognize that unskilled workers will be competing with these illegals for jobs.  Republicans have always wanted a sealed border and it’s something the base will support.

The GOP has been falsely represented by the democrats as the party of the wealthy.  They could easily change this if the republicans play these political cards correctly.  The message must include how the democrats have allowed this unprecedented influx of people, and how it will further hurt jobs and resources for all Americans who for once need to be given priority. This election won’t be won on responding to issues like equal pay, the war on women or paying “fair share,” it will be won at the border.