Over the past several weeks we have seen a significant increase in illegal immigration, as thousands of unaccompanied minors pour across what seems an invisible southern border into the United States. The mass immigration has, as to be expected, put an enormous strain on local resources, and it has heated up the immigration debate in the U.S.
Most liberals and conservatives miss the point, however, making the same old arguments we have all heard before. Liberals argue that we need to provide more welfare and assistance to these young immigrants, while conservatives would bus them to the other side of the border, drop them off, and deploy drones to keep them out.
Neither side seems interested in considering why is this happening in the first place. The truth is, this latest crisis is a consequence of mistaken government policies on both sides of the border.
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This week, supporters of religious freedom cheered the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. The Court was correct to protect business owners from being forced to violate their religious beliefs by paying for contraceptives. However, the decision was very limited in scope and application.
The Court’s decision only applies to certain types of businesses, for example, “closely-held corporations” that have a “sincere” religious objection to paying for contraceptive coverage. Presumably, Federal courts or bureaucrats will determine if a business’s religious objection to the mandate is “sincere” or not and therefore eligible for an opt-out from one Obamacare mandate.
Opponents of the Court’s decision are correct that a religious objection does not justify a special exemption from the Obamacare contraception mandate, but that is because all businesses should be exempt from all Federal mandates. Federal laws imposing mandates on private businesses violate the business owners’ rights of property and contract.
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This week, Americans will enjoy Independence Day with family cookouts and fireworks. Flags will be displayed in abundance. Sadly, however, what should be a celebration of the courage of those who risked so much to oppose tyranny will instead be turned into a celebration of government, not liberty. The mainstream media and opportunistic politicians have turned Independence Day into the opposite of what was intended.
The idea of opposing — by force, if necessary — a tyrannical government has been turned into a celebration of tyrannical government itself!
The evidence is all around us.
How would the signers of the Declaration of Independence have viewed, for example, the Barack Obama Administration’s “drone memo,” finally released last week, which claims to justify the President’s killing American citizens without charge, judge, jury or oversight? Is this not a tyranny similar to that which our Founders opposed? And was such power concentrated in one branch of government not what inspired the rebellion against the English king in the first place?
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In 2006, I invited the late General Bill Odom to address my Thursday Congressional luncheon group. Gen. Odom, a former NSA director, called the Iraq war “the greatest strategic disaster in American history,” and told the surprised audience that he could not understand why Congress had not impeached the president for pushing this disaster on the United States. History continues to prove the General’s assessment absolutely correct.
In September, 2002, arguing against a U.S. attack on Iraq, I said the following on the House Floor:
‘No credible evidence has been produced that Iraq has or is close to having nuclear weapons. No evidence exists to show that Iraq harbors al Qaida terrorists. Quite to the contrary, experts on this region recognize Hussein as an enemy of the al Qaida and a foe to Islamic fundamentalism.’
Unfortunately, Congress did not listen.
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President Barack Obama’s recent foreign policy speech, delivered at this year’s West Point graduation ceremony, was a disappointment to anyone who hoped the President might be changing course. The failure of each U.S. intervention thus far in the 21st century might have inspired at least a bit of reflection.
However, the President made it clear that interventionism and American exceptionalism would continue to guide his Administration in its final two years. The President said, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,” adding the dubious claim that “because of American diplomacy and foreign assistance, as well as the sacrifices of our military — more people live under elected governments today than at any time in human history.”
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Last week Americans were shocked and saddened by another mass killing, this one near a college campus in California. We all feel deep sympathy for the families of the victims.
As usual, many people responded to this shooting by calling for new Federal gun control laws, including the mental health screening of anyone attempting to purchase a firearm. There are a number of problems with this proposal. Federally-mandated mental health screenings would require storing mental health records in a government database. This obviously raises concerns about patient privacy and doctor-patient confidentiality, as well as the threat of identity theft. Anyone who doubts that these are legitimate concerns should consider the enormous privacy problems with the Obamacare website; some have even suggested that healthcare.gov be renamed indentifytheft.gov.
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President Barack Obama held a press conference last week to express his outrage over reports that the Veterans Administration was routinely delaying treatment to veterans, with some veterans even dying while on alleged secret waiting lists. The President said, “If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period.” He vowed that, together with Congress, he would “make sure we’re doing right by our veterans across the board.”
The President is right to be upset over the mistreatment of U.S. military veterans, especially those who return home with so many physical and mental injuries. Veterans should not be abused when they seek the treatment promised them when they enlisted. But his outrage over military abuse is selective. He ignores the most egregious abuse of the U.S. armed forces: sending them off to fight, become maimed and die in endless conflicts overseas that have no connection to U.S. national security.
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