The Valley Family Forum, a grassroots network chapter of The Family Foundation, will hold its 10th Annual Shenandoah Valley "Celebration of God and Country Dinner," Friday, May 13, at 6:30 in Harrisonburg at the James Madison University Festival Conference and Student Center. The keynote speaker is Bishop Earl Jackson, founder of Exodus Faith Ministries, the former Chaplain of The Family Foundation's Pastors for Family Values, and current candidate for the U.S. Senate (see Virginia Virtucon). Bishop Jackson is a retired Marine and Harvard-educated attorney, and a popular speaker seen frequently on national cable news programs. Reservations are available now for complete tables or individual tickets. Each table seats eight at $25 per person. To make a reservation, e-mail the Forum at email@example.com or call Dean Welty at (540) 438-8966. Business sponsorships are also available at varying levels.
Today, a second federal judge in as many months ruled Obamacare unconstitutional (see Avik Roy at The Apothecary blog at Forbes.com). That's two lawsuits involving 27 states against the federal government's healthcare takeover and two rulings that it is unconsitutional. Perhaps the most devastating aspect of Judge Roger Vinson's decision is that he ruled the entire law is unconstitutional because the offending portion — the individual mandate that forces Americans, for the first time in history, to buy a product — is not severable. In other words, when the law was drafted, in its legislative sloppiness, the U.S. Senate did not include a clause that declared if any part of it was ruled unconstitutional, the remainder of the law remained in effect. Even Judge Henry Hudson, of the Eastern District of Virginia, who was the first judge to rule Obamacare unconstitutional, refused to go that far. But Judge Vinson did not enjoin the law (see 21StateLawSuit.com), either.
Much like Judge Hudson's opinion, however, Judge Vinson said the law goes well beyond the limits of the Commerce Clause and any High Court precedent. He wrote:
The individual mandate exceeds Congress’ commerce power, as it is understood, defined, and applied in the existing Supreme Court case law.
Here is Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's reaction:
I am heartened by the fact that another federal judge has found that the individual mandate forcing citizens to buy private health insurance is unconstitutional. The judge also found that the individual mandate could not be severed from the remainder of the law, so he declared the entire act invalid.
Constitutional principles have scored another victory today. Liberty has scored another victory today.
I congratulate Florida Attorney General Bondi, former Attorney General McCollum, and the attorneys general and governors who joined the Florida suit, on their victory.
Here is Governor Bob McDonnell's reaction:
Judge Vinson's ruling is yet another strike against the individual mandate specifically, and the entire federal health care law generally. For the second time in as many months, a federal judge has found that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority by mandating that citizens of this nation purchase a commercial product or else face a penalty.
Judge Henry Hudson reached a similar conclusion in his December ruling on the Commonwealth's challenge to the Act. However, Judge Vinson's decision goes one step further. The Judge also ruled that the individual mandate component is not severable from the overall Act in which it is contained, meaning that this one unconstitutional provision renders the entire bill void.
I agree with both Judge Vinson and Judge Hudson that the individual mandate is clearly unconstitutional. However, this matter is far from settled. Today's decision adds to the growing uncertainty surrounding federal health care reform. That uncertainty is leaving states, businesses and individuals unable to properly plan for 2014 and the scheduled implementation of this new law.
For this reason I reiterate my request that the Department of Justice join with the states to request fast tracking the challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the final decision regarding its constitutionality will ultimately be determined. All parties involved, no matter where they stand on this measure, should support moving this issue to its final stage, and bringing finality to a complicated matter that will have an impact on every state, employer and citizen of this nation.
As we speculated previously (here and here), Jamie Radtke, the organizer of the successful Virginia Tea Party convention in October, will run for office. Specifically, for the U.S. Senate in the 2012 Republican primary, eschewing a 2011 primary opportunity in the 10th Virginia Senate district against GOP incumbent John Watkins. At least, today, she filed the official paperwork to declare her candidacy for that office (see Anita Kumar at Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). In a statement, she said:
I am the mother of three young children, and my first priority is both to protect them today and protect their future. I truly worry about what the next five years holds for our children and the nation, given this climate of reckless and immoral spending. Someone must step into the gap so that our children and America are not crushed in the coming years under the weight of insurmountable debt and debilitating taxes.
The front runner is former governor and senator George Allen, who lost the seat in 2006 to the incumbent, Democrat Jim Webb. Delegate Bob Marshall and Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart also are considering a run. Hampton Roads businessman Bert Mizusawa, who lost the GOP second district House nomination to now Representative-Elect Scott Rigell, also may throw his hat in the ring. However, former 11th district Representative Tom Davis seems to have taken himself out of consideration, preferring instead, "to have left Congress undefeated and unindicted. You like to keep it that way."
Despite a recent election where Americans rejected their radical agenda, Congressional Democrats, during a lame duck session, are trying to force an end to the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy regarding open homosexuals serving in the military. While the economy still struggles and nearly 10 percent of Americans are out of work as we approach Christmas, Congress focuses on repaying their shrinking base.
To learn more about this battle, Family Research Council Action (see Tom McClusky at FRC's The Cloakroom blog) will host a live national video Webcast tomorrow, December 2, at 1:00 p.m., entitled, Mission Compromised: How the Military is Being Used to Advance a Radical Agenda.
Veteran military commanders, Members of Congress, and policy experts will join FRC President Tony Perkins . . .
to assess the Pentagon's study on the impact of open homosexuality on combat effectiveness and readiness. ... and discuss the report's shortcomings and plans by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to rush a vote during the lame-duck session of Congress without thorough hearings and testimony by battlefield commanders (see entire alert).
According to FRC, the Defense Authorization Act, on which the U.S. Senate may soon vote, not only would force open homosexuality on the military if enacted, it also will turn military medical facilities into abortion centers. Since the vote is expected to be very close, it's vital that you encourage your friends and family to tune into this live Webcast. Participants also will learn how they can help to stop this last ditch attempt by outgoing liberal senators to force a liberal social agenda onto the military.
In addition to briefing on the significance of this legislation, guests will answer viewer questions via SMS text or e-mail. Guests include: Gen. Carl Mundy, former Commandant of the Marine Corps; Sgt. Brian Fleming, Afghanistan war veteran and Purple Heart recipient; Douglas Lee, Chaplain (Brigadier General, Ret.); Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis, (Ret), Senior Fellow, National Security, Family Research Council; Cathy Ruse, Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, Family Research Council; and Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, Family Research Council.
Virginia U.S. Senator Jim Webb is a key vote in this fight. (Virginia's other U.S. Senator, Mark Warner, has indicated he supports repealing "don’t ask, don’t tell"). Because of the nature of this crucial vote, we have partnered with CitizenLink (see "DADT" article by Catherine Snow) and FRCAction on this ad running now throughout the commonwealth. Please listen and share this link with as many people as you can.
Virginia's two U.S. Senators, Jim Webb and his junior, Mark Warner, (click to contact), despite their protestations to the contrary — and sophistry about being "raging moderates" — proved they are not "fiscal conservatives" when they voted Tuesday night against a modest reform that would have banned earmarks for one year. But when you also have voted for a half-trillion dollars in new taxes and $1 trillion in new spending in a government takeover of the health care industry, what's several billion dollars more? The issue was an amendment by U.S. Senator Jim Demint (R-S.C.) to ban earmarks for one year. House Republicans last week adopted a policy as a caucus that no member would offer an earmark for a year until earmark reform could be worked out. House Democrats followed suit with a vague promise of their own to ban earmarks (but who needs an earmark when you can ram through a trillion-dollar health care takeover), but I digress. The vote was 68-29 against the Demint amendment, with 15 Republicans joining all but four Democrats (see the list) to defeat it. However, it was the first time a majority of Senate Republicans supported the measure. Politico.com reports on the vote here, in an article entitled "The Senate's proud porkers."
So, while their political brethren in Richmond went on a fiscal diet, actually cutting spending down to 2006 levels in the recently passed Virginia budget, Senators Warner and Webb continued to pig out in Washington. Should make them a hit at the annual Virginia Pork Festival in Emporia, should they attend. But some would say the pork festival is in Washington and is an on going affair — with Virginia's two senators among those having the most fun.
Senator Jim Demint asked Congress for a timeout on pork spending. Senators Webb and Warner, though, were having too much fun at the trough to stop.
Our friends at Americans For Prosperity have released this reminder about Code Red tomorrow to convince the U.S. Senate to defeat the so-called health care "reform" bill. If you cannot go to Washington, D.C., then rally in front of the nearest offices of Virginia's U.S. Senators, Jim Webb and Mark Warner (click their names to get nearest office locations):
Tomorrow is the day — Dec. 15 — of the Code Red Rally on health care. We hope to see you here in Washington, D.C., in Upper Senate Park at 1:30 p.m. wearing RED!
Or, if you cannot make it to Washington, go to YOUR local U.S. Senate office at 1:30 p.m. your time.
Join Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D., Sen. Jim DeMint, Laura Ingraham, AFP President Tim Phillips and our 15 coalition partners as we tell the Senate: "Hands off our health care!" The Democratic leadership is trying to get to a final vote this week, so the timing couldn't be better for us to take this stand.
If you cannot make it to Washington or to your local Senate office, please call your Senators' offices at 1:30 p.m. You can make a difference tomorrow!
Let's make sure they hear from all of us tomorrow.
Not exactly, but I did check out the health care bill protest in front of the Richmond offices of Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb that started at noon and ended at 2:00. I arrived at Webb's office around 12:45 to a crowd of about 50 people. There were plenty of signs and flags — U.S. and Gadsden (i.e., Don't Tread On Me!). There was also a fair amount of horn blowing. Cars that is. Lots of drivers signaling their agreement. As for human spouting, there wasn't any. A nice, jovial, peaceful, conversational crowd, although an occasional agitator swung by to try to stir trouble. They were mostly ignored. Senator Webb's staff was very accommodating. They let people enter the office and provided us with forms to fill out to express what we were there for. One protester in the office writing his comments asked a staffer if he knew about an amendment that would require the 2,000-plus page Senate bill to be read in its entirety on the floor. He said, yes, and that the senator was in favor of that. We'll see if there's such an amendment, if it passes and what Senator Webb's eventual vote is. I asked him a procedural question and we had fun comparing General Assembly procedures to the U.S. Senate.
Then there was the phone. It didn't stop ringing. The poor receptionist couldn't get any work done.
"Good afternoon, Senator Webb's office. Yes, we're taking a poll on that today. Okay, against the health care bill? And your name, please. ..."
Call after call.
After mingling and promoting "Virginia's best political blog" ("I should know because I write it,"was my catch line) and walked down to Senator Warner's office, which is in a high rise. Very analogous to the two men. Webb, who fashions himself one of the common folk with his Southwest Virginia roots, has an office at street level. Warner, Mr. High Tech, very Northern Virginia high end, is waaaaaaaaaaay above it all in the SunTrust building. A staffer gave one of the organizers a pile of sheets that had room only for name, address, a box to check if you want to get on his e-mail list, and your concern. That's it. Small boxes and no more. At least Webb let you write to your heart was content. Not Senator Warner. He should at least learn the value of appearances.
There were more people at Senator Warner's office, although people walked the six or so blocks back and forth between the two, and lots of car honks (Main Street is busier than Franklin, anyway.) More networking on my part. Another great crowd, including former Virginia Senator Eva Scott of Amelia County. Everyone was concerned, but not panicked.
So, what if the Senate clears its first hurdle Saturday? Not to worry, but only to work harder. The process is long. Floor amendments, negotiations,procedural tactics, conference committee with the House, more debate and votes. The longer it plays out, with nothing to show for it, and the closer November 2010 gets, the hot passions of the left may very well turn to cold feet.
Probably not too many of you have heard the name of Erroll Southers, but he is President Barack Obama's nominee to head up the Transporation Safety Administration (see Federal Times). As it turns out, once upon a time, Southers used his access to government records to spy on his ex-wife's boyfriend (see Washington Post). Unfortunately, that makes him a natural fit for the Obama administration. Not only does he have the Obama requisites of cheating and government Big Brother control, but he's not committing to rule out unionization at the TSA. So he has the radical ideological pedigree, too. That issue alone flipped the U.S. Senate to Republican control in the unprecedented 2002 mid-term election. It's not surprising that in an era when the treasury secretary cheated on his taxes (and a sycophant Senate cowed) and the president hired an avowed communist for his White House staff (Van Jones), among the many Maoists (Anita Dunn) and other controversial appointments, that this incident from Southers' past practically fails to register. After all, the only thing at stake is national security and individual liberty. Maybe if the administration cared more about real security threats than about appointing people with dubious backgrounds, President Obama's government would be less dysfunctional.
We're accustomed to liberal attempts to redefine the natural order of life. However, in the Age of Obama, those attempts no longer come through persuasion, but through power accumulated from corruption and incompetence purported to be the "best and brightest."
Here's an important and urgent alert from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. Please read it and take the action it requests, including following the link below and signing the petition against the so-called federal "hate crimes" bill — soon to be voted on in the U.S. Senate — which will create special classes of rights for homosexuals and clamp down on religious free speech.
The Senate Will Vote To Silence You!
The enactment of so-called "hate crimes" legislation is a long stated objective of the homosexual agenda. It is one step closer to being law and may be voted on this week.
Senate leaders attached the hate crimes legislation to a military funding bill, knowing it would put those who oppose this dangerous bill in a precarious position, vote for giving special protections to homosexuals or vote against funding for the troops. Democratic leaders believe passing their liberal agenda takes precedence over keeping our armed services safe.
The House voted 281 to 146 in favor of extending special federal protection to homosexuals as part of the $680 billion Defense Authorization bill and it is now going to come up for a vote in the Senate — likely this week!
We need your help to stop it.
What "hate crimes" legislation does is lay the legal foundation and framework for investigating, prosecuting and persecuting pastors, business owners, and anyone else whose actions reflect their faith.
The religious liberty protections in the bill are flimsy and when Republicans attempted to strengthen them, they were voted down by Democrats.
The act would establish a new FEDERAL offense for so-called "hate crimes" and add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as protected classes. It will mandate a separate federal criminal prosecution for state offenses.
The American credo calls for equal justice under the law, not equal justice unless you happen to be homosexual, then you get special treatment. ALL people deserve to be protected from crime, not just certain groups.
Sign our Petition TODAY to say equal protection under the law means equal protection for ALL. Please join the over 80,000 people who have already signed this petition.
If you think ceding your freedom to choose your doctor to the government is bad, or forcing medical professionals to perform services contrary to their religious beliefs (such as abortion) is reprehensible, or eliminating employees' rights to a secret ballot in determining union representation is undemocratic, or the suppression of free speech through the re-institution of the "fairness" doctrine is unconstitutional, or if any of the other numerous proposals of government consumption of individual and family rights under consideration by the fringe left that controls Washington, D.C., concerns you — as they all should — then just wait until you hear about the . . .
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
If you think Washington controls too much of our lives now (not to mention what might happen in the next four years) wait until decisions about your child come to you from New York. No, the capital isn't reverting to the Big Apple, where it was when George Washington took the first presidential oath of office. But if the U.S. Senate approves the UNCRC, and the U.S. becomes a party to it, you may want to hesitate before you sign your children's permission slips or allow them to go to camp until you hear from the U.N.
In fact, the order won't come from U.N. HQ in New York, but from Geneva, Switzerland, where a U.N. commission will sit. These are the same clowns who gave us five-year-old masturbation.
Okay, enough from me. Let's turn it over to Terry Beatley of Lancaster, who is with ParentalRights.org, a Web site you should see to further educate yourself on the most serious assault on parental rights in American history.
The same folks that once put Syria in charge of its human rights commission and advocate for teaching five-year-olds masturbation, want to tell you how to raise your children.
Come this General Assembly, Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown) will co-patron a resolution for Virginia to formally oppose this treaty's ratification by the U.S. Senate. If ratified, it will represent the greatest loss of state and national sovereignty in our nation's history.
There also is federal legislation: H.J. Resolution 42 and S.J. Resolution 16, the parental rights amendment, would guarantee the rights of parents to raise their children without government interference. Ask your representative and U.S. Senators Mark Warner (804-739-0247) and Jim Webb (804-771-2221) to co-sponsor this legislation, and for the senators to oppose the the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
U.S. Senator Jim Demint (R-S.C.) spoke on the Senate floor last night during the debate on the "hate crimes" legislation. He was one of the few to brave the Politically Correct — that is, Intolerant — liberal Senate mob. It is worth the view. He also blogged about it. Check out his blog, here.
Senator Jim Demint tells liberals what they don't want to hear — the truth about their big government control grab, intolerance, and their curtailing of First Amendment religious freedom and free speech rights.
He hasn't been in office for a week, yet the misfit Al Franken has reverted to form, making jokes at the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor (per AOL news wire, here). Perry Mason jokes, of all things. Probably because he's so out of his depth he has no clue what to ask. He is a product of TV, after all, so, most likely, that's the basis for his frame of legal and political references. What's next, a quote from President Jed Bartlett (West Wing)? Webster. Clay. Taft. Dirksen. Franken. Embarrassing! The dumbing down of the U.S. Senate (and the country), a monumental achievement not worthy of celebration. (If you haven't done so, our Al Franken poll remains open. Click here to vote and comment.)
Tomorrow, the citizens of the freest nation in the world will once again choose their leader. This time, however, it seems certain that the choice is not just about a person or a party, but about the very essence of our nation.Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that has a quarter century record of voting to protect human life in its most vulnerable form, or a candidate that believes it is in the nation's best interest to allow newborn children who survive late-term abortions to simply die. Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is worth defending, or a candidate that believes the definition of marriage is malleable.
Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes parents should have the option to send their children to whatever school they wish, public or private, or a candidate that believes teaching sex education to kindergartners is good for America.
Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes hard working families should be free to keep more of their hard earned incomes, or a candidate that believes continuing to allow families that freedom is bad for America and that income should be redistributed as the government sees fit.
The differences between John McCain and Barack Obama are staggering. You can read more about these differences at The Family Foundation Action Web site (click here). (Also while there, review the Congressional voter guide that shows the vast differences between candidates for U.S. Senate, Jim Gilmore (click here) and Mark Warner (click here), and Congressional races.)
But in truth, this election is not simply about the issues listed above. It is about freedom. It is about the freedom to make decisions about our families, our incomes and our faith that the government has no business being involved with. It is about whether or not the document that "holds these truths to be self evident" is still relevant in our society.
We are not ready to give up on the Founding Fathers vision! We are not ready to turn our lives over to a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., to determine what my health care needs are, how we can or cannot live our faith in the public square, how our families' income should be spent, or how the very institutions on which society is based are defined.
This nation and its Judeo-Christian heritage are worth getting up early, standing in line, bringing a family friend or neighbor or fellow church member along with us, and casting our ballots for the candidates who believe in the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage and the freedom to prosper. This nation is worth ignoring the prognosticators, the polls, and the media's overwhelming and blatant disregard for facts and truth — and the blatant and below the belt attacks this year on candidates of faith, who respect life, traditional marriage and traditional values.
In short, it is worth your vote. Please, tomorrow, vote. Vote for the God ordained values and truths that our society must protect in order to survive.
Tomorrow, pray, vote, then go home and pray more.
For those of you who have missed the vulnerable former state senator and candidate for governor Russ Potts, current candidate for the U.S. Senate Mark Warner enticed him to crawl out from under his rock yesterday for an endorsement. Potts, known by conservative Virginians for his blatant hostility to anything pro-life or pro-family as the past chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, was more than happy to take "Potts shots" at former Governor Jim Gilmore, Warner's opponent. Since his failed candidacy for governor in 2005, Potts has yet to see a Republican he likes.
One would assume that Warner already had the massive Potts vote locked up, all 2 percent of it, in his run for the U.S. Senate, but I guess he wanted another "radical centrist" to add to his list of endorsements. Of course, anyone familiar with Potts (or Warner for that matter) knows there is nothing "centrist" about him. He's just a frustrated and bitter former state senator who was pummeled in his statewide run and saw the writing on the wall in his own district, forcing him to resign.
Here's hoping that life is better for Russ under that rock and that from here on out he stays under it.