government

What We're Thankful For

Still in the glow of Thanksgiving, and with an entire month of thankfulness ahead of us, it's a good time to reflect on what we're thankful for, especially in the rush and anxiety imposed on us by the world during what should be a holy and reflective season. Here are some of the things for which we should always be thankful and which should ground us when the season's unnatural stresses distress us. They are the three pillars of a successful Republic, based in Judeo-Christian, traditional values: First, and foremost, life, the primary right of all, to be born and live free from harm; liberty, to exercise our God-given natural rights, not rights from government or man; and family, the foundational core of civilized society, communities an nations.

From our friends at CatholicVote.org:

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Share this link via email and on your social media sites to remind people of what its important in life, especially this time of year.

Left Wing Economist Guru Krugman Admits To Death Panels In Obamacare; Amanpour's Reaction Sustains His Truth!

When conservatives, such as Sarah Palin, first brought up the fact that the health care legislation in Congress at the time, and eventually passed, included death panels, the Left threw a hissy fit (see Saul Relative at Yahoo! as an example). Her statement was called, "Lie of the Year," among many other unflattering things. So, where's the Left's outrage at economist Paul Krugman?  Mr. Krugman is the leading voice in America for government intervention in the economy. Liberals revere him and has won a Nobel Prize for economics. He writes frequently in the New York Times, where he deviates from economics to thrash conservatives, adding to his prominence among the ruling class elites who think they know everything and that they must control your decisions through an increasingly larger government. We he speaks and writes, the Left — activists and those in government — take heed.

Last weekend, on ABC's This Week, Mr. Krugman went well beyond what Governor Palin said about Obamacare — and it wasn't the first time either. Not only did he adamantly claim there were death panels, he was proud of it! He said the "death panels" — his term — will save the government money (see FoxNews.com) by denying and choosing which treatments will be funded (not to mention his call for a behemoth new national sales, or "VAT," tax). So, the hyper left should be furious at Mr. Krugman. Either he let the cat out of the bag, exposing Obamacare advocates as the real liars, or, if they truly believe there are no death panels, they should impale his intelligence as they did (and still do) to Governor Palin (see Ethel Fenig at American Thinker). 

Hear it all for yourself. The first video is from last weekend. But, remarkably, without much notice, he said the same thing in the spring without much attention paid to it. But don't believe me: Check the shock on liberal host Christiane Amanpour's face in the first video. A facial expression is worth more than a 1,000 blog posts.

 Krugman: Endorse the "Death Panels!" Amanpour: Darn it Paul, you're giving it away!

 Krugman: "Death Panels" will save money and make "binding judgements" on treatment!

When Talk Isn't Cheap: LI Campaign Communications Workshops Valuable Tool In Messaging

A lot of conservatives these days talk a lot about our country's problems and what to do about it. It always comes down to electing winning the battle of ideas by framing the issues and educating the electorate so we can elect the right people and/or getting the people already in to feel the heat. But talk is . . . well . . . you know what they say. But it doesn't have to be. Our friends at Arlington-based The Leadership Institute, the leader in training conservatives for careers and activism in campaigns, grassroots organizations, think tanks and public policy organizations (such as The Family Foundation), government, journalism, media (new and old) and all things politics and public policy, has two more Campaign Communication Workshops scheduled in Virginia this summer (yes, summer lasts through September 21). It had such a great turnout of Family Foundation supporters  its last field school in August in Arlington, that it has a special offer for Family Foundation supporters who attend either of the next two: In Virginia Beach on September 11 and in Radford on September 18

Here's who should attend and what they will learn at these workshops:

» How to communicate your values and ideas with the public while connecting on a personal level with individual voters. You will learn how to develop and deliver a compelling positive message and how to handle negative information as well.

» Ideal attendees for these Campaign Communications Workshops are volunteers, community activists, elected or party officials, current or future candidates, and campaign managers.

» This half-day session includes the following lectures:

• Presenting a Compelling Message

• Direct Voter Contact — Door-to-Door

• Handling Negative Information

» As a bonus, the Radford Workshop will offer additional sessions on Phone Operations and Getting YOUR Vote Out for those attendees who may want a full day of training — at no additional charge.

The workshop instructors are experienced campaign professionals, and among the faculty is Morton Blackwell, one fo the founders of America's conservative movement (he was the youngest Goldwater delegate at the 1964 Republican National Convention), as well as the founder and president of the Leadership Institute (read more about his legendary career).

Registration for the workshops is $20.00 and includes a light continental breakfast. (Early registration is only $10.00.) To register online, visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org. For further information, contact Christopher Doss at CDoss@LIMail.us or (703) 247-2000.

Now, for that Special Offer to Family Foundation members and supporters. Talk doesn't have to be cheap and it won't once you learn the valuable tools, tactics and skills LI's pros will impart to you in the workshops. But the cost can be, if not cheap, let's say, less expensive: Use the promo code "liberty"when registering online or when calling or e-mailing. The Leadership Institute will be happy to give you a discount and a very worthwhile session in campaign communications that you will be able to use effectively for a lifetime.

What Planet Is She On?

President Obama's top economic adviser, Christina Romer, said in her final speech in that capacity yesterday that "there is widespread agreement that the act (so-called stimulus bill) is broadly on track." Another Orwellian attempt to make true what is not by saying it is despite the instinctive knowledge by almost all not in denial that it is false. Truly galling, especially to the millions suffering from unemployment or underemployment. They are the ones from personal experience, not the ivory tower and its theoretical exercises — from whence Dr. Romer came and to where she returns (UC-Berkeley) — who truly know how off track the president's policies are. Here's how Americans For Prosperity President Tim Phillips expressed his anger in an e-mail today (the president in recent weeks has singled out AFP with vicious attacks): 

Today, the news media reported on the final speech of President Obama's outgoing economic advisor. What Ms. Romer said helps explain why our economy is so bad. Defending the failed $814 billion stimulus boondoggle, she actually said, "there is widespread agreement that the act (Stimulus bill) is broadly on track."

What planet is this lady on? Jobless claims are through the roof, unemployment is still almost 10% with 500,000 initial jobless claims, the stock market is plunging again, existing home sales fell 27% in August and new home sales fell 12% (always a key economic indicator), automobile sales fell 25% in August (we knew government run "cash for clunkers" was not genuine prosperity). I could go on.

Is the President's top economist leaving to go back to business in the private sector? Uh, no. She's going back to her academic perch at the University of California-Berkley. At least we just figured out the planet.

Reminds me of a famous quote that goes something like this: There are no experts in government. If there were, the private sector would've hired them by now. Ms. Romer and the Keystone Cops who comprise the Obama administration — most of whom have never worked in the private sector (Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog) — are, sadly,  fitting that bill.

Concerned About The Culture? Government Policies? The Direction Of Our Country? Here's What You Can Do!

Do you see things happening in our culture, government and even in the Christian community that concern you? Do you want to make a difference, but don't know where to begin? You can start by volunteering at The Family Foundation this summer. Since 1985, The Family Foundation has been at the forefront of critical public policy debates, helping Virginia citizens, lawmakers and business leaders better understand and apply to law the principles of life, marriage, parental authority, constitutional government and religious liberty. We are currently holding several Truth Project training sessions across Virginia to affect the hearts and minds in our culture and in the Christian community.

Non-profit and non-partisan, The Family Foundation of Virginia is the commonwealth's oldest and most influential family public policy organization. Our mission is to strengthen the family through accurate research and education, prompting civic activism and affecting public policy outcomes. The Family Foundation is proud to be associated with Focus on the Family and its network of nearly40 independent state policy councils.

Any college, high school or home schooled student looking to fulfill community service requirements for graduation or who would enjoy assisting us in our mission on a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly basis — we can use your help this summer (and beyond)! In fact, entire families, including  middle school students, provide great help to us regularly. If you are interested in public policy and the issues of the day that directly affect our culture, lives and values, then you will enjoy and be fulfilled by contributing your time to our shared cause.  

The Family Foundation headquarters is located across from the State Capitol in downtown Richmond. Parking is located only a few blocks from our office building and we can assist you with your parking fees in specific garages.

Responsibilities and duties include:

» Data Entry (basic computer skills, in office or at home);

» Mailings (production and processing);

» Database Management (basic computer skills); and

» Constituent Interaction.

If you are interested in volunteering your valued talent in order to advance the cause of traditional values in the Commonwealth, then please take a moment to e-mail Marie Edwards at marie@familyfoundation.org or call her at (804) 343-0010. Thanks!

The Score On Virginia's Congressional Delegation

In this day and age of unfathomable government largesse, and slick and sophisticated high-tech communications that allow politicians to paint themselves as anything but the people responsible for the unimaginable and crippling debt we face, it's good to know certain reliable and principled organizations keep watch on those in Washington spending America into third-world oblivion. Just as The Family Foundation Action keeps score on state lawmakers on a range of issues, the Club For Growth keeps score on the porkers in D.C.   It released its 2009 Congressional Scorecard last week and we peeked at how Virginia's delegation fared. Not to well, we're afraid. Here's the score on Virginia's 11 U.S. Representatives:

Bob Goodlatte, R-6th District: 99% (Rank-10)

Eric Cantor, R-7th District 92% (Rank-42)

Randy Forbes, R-4th District 81% (Rank-112)

Rob Wittman, R-1st District 80% (Rank-116)

Frank Wolf, R-10th District 72% (Rank-142) 

Glenn Nye, D-2nd District 44% (Rank-183)

Rick Boucher, D-9th District 22% (Rank-219)

Tom Perriello, D-5th District 11% (Rank-250)

Gerald Connolly, D-11th District 9% (Rank-256)

Jim Moran, D-8th District 6% (Rank-282)

Bobby Scott, 4% (Rank-297)

Senators Mark Warner (13%) and Jim Webb (10%) ranked 54th and 59th, respectively, which in the Mainstream Media qualifies them as "moderates." What's scary is that there are 41 U.S. senators who scored lower than Senator Webb's 10%. It's as frightening as the 138 who rank lower than resident Virginia radical liberal Rep. Bobby Scott — 138 U.S. representatives are worse than him! 

Change, anyone? With this crew actively participating in America's bankruptcy, change is about all that's left. (Click here to get the Club For Growth's score for all 535 members of Congress, the votes on which they were scored and other methodology.)

Wallbuilders Founder David Barton To Keynote Valley Family Forum Events May 24

The Prince William Family Alliance isn't the only regional Family Foundation affiliate proving that values voters not only never went away, but are, in fact, thriving. The Valley Family Forum, in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, also proves the point with its robust growth and vigorous activism. On Monday, May 24, it will host David Barton, founder and president of Wallbuilders — one of the nation’s leading experts on America's Christian heritage — at its Annual Salute To The Family. The bad news is that the event already is sold out. But there is good news: To accommodate the demand, it has added a luncheon with Mr. Barton from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m., Monday, May 24, at the James Madison University Festival Conference and Student Center, and tickets are still available! 

Mr. Barton is an award winning author, nationally acclaimed speaker, and advisor to legislators and educators. He draws from original sources to remind us about what made America an "exceptional" nation from our earliest settlers to today. Who were our Founding Fathers, and how did their faith influence the formation of our government? What are the key principles on which America was founded and prospered, and to which we must now return? Why is this great history now being deliberately ignored and even re-written, and why does it matter to us now?

The theme of his speech will be, "Keys to Good Government — According to the Founding Fathers." If you have never heard David Barton we encourage you to attend the Valley Family Forum Luncheon on May 24. You will learn more about our nation's history in a half hour from him than you probably ever did in school.

Seats are $25 per person or $200 for tables of eight. For reservations or more information, e-mail family@valleyfamilyforum.org or call 540-438-8966.

Virginia News Stand: May 6, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations A Goode Two-Pary Man

Former U.S. Representative Virgil Goode not only shocked the political world yesterday, he confused it as well, saying he joined the Constitution Party, but will remain a Republican. A new twist on political double speak?

We can't seem to stay out of the news, which is good. People, including the Mainstream Media, are paying attention to us. Case in point: The Richmond Times-Dispatch's ace capitol reporter, Jeff Schapiro, based the first article linked below largely on an e-mail alert we released yesterday. It's nice to know that even the Mainstream Media knows who to go to to get the pulse of Virginia's conservative movement. On the other hand, we remain a target for others, as Michael Paul Williams takes fruitless aim. But, unlike the old days, we can respond

I encourage you to take a gander at all that's here. It's one of our best News Stands ever, with lots of state news, including a fair interview with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli from WSLS-TV, and the reporter Jay Warren's observations of the AG in his blog. In the "What is our country coming to?" category, check out Phil Klein in Commentary. Some students were sent home from school for wearing USA shirts on Cinco de Mayo. We also have columns from such stars as Michael Barone, who discusses the important elections in Britain; Larry Kudlow on the debt crisis (here and abroad); and Michele Malkin on terrorists gaining U.S. citizenship. 

In National News, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) Senate Conservatives Fund decided to get involved in the Kentucky primary after all, especially have Dr. James Dobson was misled about one candidate's pro-life record. Also, the judge who ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional comes under scrutiny.

On a more uplifting note, we hope you all had a meaningful, thoughtful and reflective National Day of Prayer. We all need it right now.

News

*Top conservative activist sees McDonnell victories, work ahead (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

*Commentary: Cuccinelli flap a sign of religion encroaching on government (Michael Paul Williams/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Ex-Rep. Goode joins a third party, not leaving GOP (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Goode joins 3rd party (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

Goode explains why he joined Constitution Party (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Goode joins Constitution Party (Politico.com)

Louisa social worker to run as Democrat against Cantor (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

AG led food drive: 1.7 million pounds of food donated by Va. lawyers (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell wants jobs panel’s recommendations in October (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Gov. McDonnell: Virginia won’t create high-risk health pool (AP/WSLS.com)

Virginia's love-hate relationship with federal spending (Washington Post)

Video

Ken Cuccinelli sits down with WSLS to talk about first 100 days in office (5:03) (WSLS-TV10/WSLS.com)

Analysis

AG Cuccinelli’s first 100 days in office . . . what have we learned? (Jay Warren/Jay's Take Blog WSLS.com)

National News

Ruling won't stop National Day of Prayer this year (CNN.com)

Judge who struck down Day of Prayer criticized (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama wants work on immigration reform this year (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Bennett appeals to GOP to let him keep Senate seat (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Consumer rules, Fed audit next on Senate agenda (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Sen. DeMint endorses Paul in US Senate race in Ky. (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Banned in the USA (Philip Klein/American Spectator Blog)

A Spend-and-Borrow Debt Mess (Larry Kudlow/GOPUSA.com)

In Downcast Britain, a Pox on All Three Parties (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

The Jihadists' Deadly Path to U.S. Citizenship (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Repeal It!

Is it enough for elected officials to oppose President Obama's socialized medicine bill? Easy to vote no and beat your chest to say your vote stopped it, or, if it passes, that you weren't responsible. But what if it does pass? How many representatives and senators will actually work to repeal it the monstrosity? The Club For Growth wants to know. Perhaps the nation's premier free-market political action organization — it targets Republican primaries, especially in GOP districts, to get candidates committed to free enterprise nominated and then elected, and never backs away from challenging RINO incumbents — it has started repealit.org, a Web site for candidates, incumbents and even grassroots activists, to pledge to work to repeal the bill if passed, and not be satisfied to sit back and say, "There's nothing we can do now," because, after all, more government allows them more opportunities to bring home more pork.

Knowing the Club's success in knocking off candidates and incumbents committed to government's growth over the years, there likely will be a stampede "Honorables" and would-be's to the site. Still, it will be interesting to see which politicians actually put their reputations on the line. We hope the server can manage the traffic. We encourage you to ask your elected officials to sign on and to add your names as well.

Art In The Age Of Obama

Thanks to the alert by our friend Tea Party Jim, we now know the winner of the Public Option Please propagandagraffiti, Obama adoration, uhh, "art" contest. As Jim writes us:

The sickness of this kind of thinking is what is destroying this country. The thought that Washington, D.C., is the lifeblood of the nation is simply idiotic, but not surprising.

And apart from the misattribution of the quote, the doublespeak of the supposed Jefferson quote is nearly hilarious. "Without Liberty no happiness can be enjoyed by society" as the money quote to sell government rationed health care is simply Orwellian.

I can't add much more to that. Well stated, Jim. Gabriel Malor has something to say, too, at Ace of Spades HQ.

The winners are (although we thought liberalism doesn't have winners and losers, and that it makes everyone equal and happy):

First place and People's Choice winner, to an Amy Martin, with the perfectly understandable idea that our country is great because of Washington, D.C.:

publicoption1

Second Place, to Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (there's always a Tatyana involved in socialism, isn't there?), but lacking nothing in staged propaganda heart strings, and a bone to underappreciated photographers out there:

publicoption2

Finally, a disappointing, I'm sure, third place to the POTUS, represented by a Michael Cuffe, but it's my personal favorite, as well, and takes second to nothing in human adoration, if that's any consolation to him. After all, the bronze here is better than what he got at got at on his Olympics bid:

publicoption3

Same As It Ever Was: Cold War Cartoon Just As Applicable Today

This is a must see video. It's an entertaining cartoon, but don't let the kitsch of it underwhelm you. It's powerful. Created in 1948 to dispel the notion that socialism (communism) was the emerging modernity's panacea to prosperity and equality, it has uncanny relevance today. They shame of it all is that the contemporary comparison is not to a foreign power or movement, but to our own government! (Or at least those currently running it.) Read The Daily Capitalist blog for a bit more on it.

 Leave it to a cartoon to break it down for us, and well before "I'm just a bill" was made.

Another Exhibit In The Case For Less Government

There isn't much government does well. It wants to take over the entire health care industry and it can't even deliver Swine Flu vaccine. The one thing government does well, because it is constitutionally charged with doing so, is protecting us with a well-armed military. But even the military has its shortcomings when venturing out of its core function. Take the example of investigator Gary Zaetz and Arizona adventurer, Clayton Kuhles. Mr. Kuhles spends months of his own time and thousands of his own dollars each year searching for the remains of missing American service men. He hires Zaetz to do much of the detail work. Recently, Zaetz found the plane and remains of a World War II plane and crew missing for 66 years, despite the U.S. Army's inability to do so through that entire period (see Steve Friess of AOL's The Sphere).

This is not a slap at the military's recovery operations. It does the best it can with thousands of missing over decades of time spanning the entire world. (This plane was found in India.) But, it cannot be ignored that a single (and very patriotic and caring) man, who carries out his own searches, has had great successes. If someone like this can replicate what government is good at, why, then, shouldn't private entities be allowed to do yet more where government monopolies continue to fail its citizens?

About Last Night: Gala Was A Smash Hit

The nearly 1,300 pro-family Virginians who gathered at the Greater Richmond Convention Center last night at The Family Foundation of Virginia’s Annual Gala were treated to a fantastic evening of inspiration, motivation and topped off by a wonderful keynote address by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The host of the Fox News Channel hit Huckabee was in great form with an inspirational speech filled with philosophy, morality, Biblical principles, humor (lava soap, anyone?) and capped with a moving exposition as to what happens when people ignore the tragedies around them (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog).  Just a week before election day, it was abundantly clear that pro-family citizens are excited about the future and are mobilized to act. The energy in the convention center was palpable. From the beginning of the program with an inspirational rendition of our National Anthem by eight-year-old Alana Springsteen to the final special music by April Lee, no one could leave room last night not feeling excited about the future of Virginia and the future of The Family Foundation.

Governor Huckabee combined humor with personal stories and an emotional challenge to the crowd, encouraging them to fight for our freedom, regardless of the cost. Touching on his time as a pastor and then as a politician, he made it abundantly clear that there is no time when Christians should abandon politics and government. Instead, we must continue to fight for our values to ensure a prosperous future.

As Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb told the audience:

We look forward to election day this year with cautious optimism. One might even say we look forward to the future with hope for change. Yet, while we may anticipate electoral victory, we realize that it is just one small part of the cultural renewal that we seek, and there is so much more to be done. The Family Foundation has had one of the busiest years in our history, but the results on Election Day are not the completion of our work – just a new beginning. 

The Family Foundation Gala has become the largest pro-family gathering of its kind in Virginia and Governor Huckabee’s message was perfect for the evening. Joining the him in the program were our emcee, and new Chaplain to The Family Foundation's Pastors For Family Values, Bishop Earl Jackson; Speaker of the House Bill Howell, who introduced Governor Huckabee; and Pastor Jonathan Falwell of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, who gave the invocation and voiced strong support for the Family Foundation's work.

Also last evening, Delegate Glenn Oder (R-94, Newport News) was honored with The Family Foundation’s Legislator of the Year Award for his leadership on payday lending reform (see The Shad Plank). Delegate Oder showed principled leadership and an ability to work with a diverse coalition of organizations and legislators to get results on a tough issue. The compromise bill he was able to craft has significantly reduced the number of payday lending stores in Virginia and helped protect families from predatory lenders.

Virginia News Stand: September 29, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  The Return Of The Editorial Comic/Twisted Tax Logic

When a friend sent me a comic today today, I thought it would make a good addition to the blog. Then I remembered that I used to provide a link to one or more editorial comics each week. So, enjoy. You don't even have to click a link to get to it.

The big news in the campaign today is Democrat Creigh Deeds' continuing saga of twisted tax logic. He put up a television ad, then pulled it because he realized it didn't make much sense for Mark Warner to talk about Deeds lowering taxes yet continuing his (Warner's) policies (which raised them considerably). Yes, not too clear (see here).

Nationally, the Supreme Court will hear a case about Crosses in the Mojave desert. In Commentary, we have the excellent Thomas Sowell writing on the Obama administration's reputed brilliance, Bobby Eberle about the same's indoctrination of our children, and Bart Hinkle about property rights (or, the government trying to take them away). But, in what may be the most entertaining piece today, aside from the comic, is an article from the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot about socialists — who say they are misunderstood. Let them talk to the Obama administration.

News:

GOP candidates tout controlled spending, budget reform (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Jindal boosts McDonnell; Linwood Holton backs Deeds (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Howell decries Deeds' tax plan for roads (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Deeds New Ad Makes Mark Warner a Liar, Quickly Takes it Down (BearingDrift.com)

Deeds gambles on riding Obama's coattails (Washington Times)

Campaign issue No. 1 (Virginia Business Magazine)

House candidates face off during evening forums (The Daily Press)

Socialists say their true beliefs are being misconstrued (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

National News:

The Old Secular Cross? (Washington Post)

Public plan debate could pit Democrat vs. Democrat (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

Roanoke: Eminent-Domain Case Looks Like Kelo Redux (Bart Hinkle/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The Brainy Bunch (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

O.K. kids . . . Today's lesson: Sing Praises to Obama (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Editorial Cartoon:

lying pols

You Think ObamaCare Is Bad? Wait To You See The United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child!

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.

It's Switzerland, Stupid

In the debate over health care "reform," liberals point to models in England, Canada and other socialist countries as systems we should emulate, despite their abject failures and rationing. The next time a liberal tells you the Euros do it better, agree. Then add, "if you mean Switzerland." Switzerland?

Yes. It just so happens Switzerland has, perhaps, the best consumer driven approach to the health care marketplace. There are spots of consumer driven health care percolating here, such as "doc-in-box" services and clinics at chains such as Wal-Mart and CVS, which drive down prices for non-emergency care. But Switzerland is where it's at, according to Regina Herzlinger, the Nancy R. McPherson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard, no less, and author of Who Killed Health Care? (and this Washington Post piece).

She was the featured speaker today at the Tuesday Morning Group monthly meeting in Richmond. Here's how it works there, in a nutshell:

There is a government mandate: All citizens must buy health care coverage, because neither the government nor employers provide any! The result is massive competition and more than 80 insurance companies in that small nation. (What is the U.S. down to? Six, not including the government?) Even nuns in the mountains have formed insurance companies.

The policies have high deductibles so people are not tempted to use their insurance when you have an earache. People are forced to more cost effectively spend on their health care. This creates competition for services, just like any other trade, such as computers, phones, restaurants or clothes: Health care providers line up to provide the best service possible, or a niche service that's needed, at the best cost possible to win customers. Because customers pay out of their own pocket, there's no haggling by insurance companies and government to determine a price in which doctors must settle for their service. Instead, doctors set their own prices and if patients don't like it, they go to someone else. Insurance is used for what it is really intended — serious illness or injury.

The result is health care costs are 5 percent lower in Switzerland than here and takes up only 11 percent of GDP, while it accounts for 17 percent here. Not only that, insurance companies rebate you half your money if you stay healthy. They also create reinsurance pools among themselves to minimize risk.

But if the Obama administration doesn't want to look to the one European country that does it right — better, in fact than we do it now — maybe he'll stop apologizing for America long enough to look to a country we supposedly had to apologize to. Dr. Herzlinger pointed to an experiment in South Africa, of all places, where an insurance company paid clients to stay healthy. It motivated them to eat right, live a better lifestyle and exercise. The result is that the percentage of certain illnesses are lower in the RSA than in the USA.

One last observation by Dr. Herzlinger: If you think outsourcing of certain jobs is bad now, wait until socialized medicine is approved by Congress and the Obama administration. She predicts jobs and services will get exported to India, Singapore, Brazil, Costa Rica and Argentina.

Live From The GAB: TFF Asks Governor Kaine To Re-Look The Causes Of Poverty

We're live from the GAB's House Briefing Room where Delegate Bill Janis, The Family Foundation of Virginia, First Things of Greater Richmond and others are addressing the media and calling on Governor Kaine to add members to his poverty commission and look at different angles as to the cause of poverty, i.e., the governor thinks poverty is reduced by increased unemployment insurance. Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb is addressing the news conference: Solutions include more choice in education to give individuals a better chance. But the major factor is marriage! U.Va. sociology professor Brad Wilcox sent statistics that show clearly the major reason for poverty is lack of intact families. Childhood poverty could drop as much as 20 percent if we increased the marriage rate in Virginia. Each Virginia tax payers are on the hook for millions of dollars because of the results of family fragmentation.

Increasing the number of marriages and strengthening existing marriages is essential to decreasing poverty. Governor Kaine did not mention these at all when creating his commission. The Family Foundation sent the governor a letter yesterday asking him to make marriage a priority of his commission in its efforts to reduce poverty in Virginia.

The great thing about marriage is that it works and costs tax payers nothing! But divorce and illegitimacy does in crime, poverty and lack of education.

Now, Delegate Bill Janis is on: He starts by quoting then-candidate Barack Obama about the importance of fathers in children's lives. Hillary Clinton says, "It takes a village to raise a child." But it takes a dad!

The governor has set the table. We want a seat at the table and a responsible discussion. He now repeats stats from here. Two-thirds of poor children live in collapsed homes and results in higher proportions of poverty, teen pregnancy and crime. We spend a trillion dollars in means tested poverty programs every year. This doesn't count K-12 education, either.

This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. Forget about the Swine Flu, broken families are the real epidemic.

What can be done? First thing the government should do is do no harm. In 1996, the last time this country had a serious discussion on poverty was 1996 when President Bill Clinton signed the welfare reform act. The bill's language included as goals the stablization of families, promote marriage, encourage the maintenance of two-parent families and prevent and reduce out of wedlock families. We need to get back to addressing the goals.

We have $16 million in TANF funds in Virginia that was supposed to be earmarked for these goals, but are not being used for them. Why study the problem further when we know what the problem is? Even the Brookings Institute, a liberal think tank, says that a significant percentage of single moms and their families would be instantly lifted out of poverty if they were married to the fathers of their children.

We want to take this out of the realm of partisanship and politics. The governor has led. That's good. But if he wants to try to score political points, that's a shame. If not, we want to help him, those in this room. We started this in 1996, let's finish it now. There are federal funds available now, let's go get them.

Following The Leader Off The Cliff

It's beyond lame, now . . . the automatic, reflexive response by Virginia's liberals that not only do we need more taxes but that we can afford them. Regarding the former, it's that the "government doesn't have enough money," as if the people it is sucking it from does. That's the problem we're facing now, right? People have less money. Too bad. Government elites want whatever it is you have left. Regarding the latter, whether it's Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) pitching higher gas taxes or now Governor Tim Kaine pleading  for higher unemployment insurance taxes on businesses, it's always something about Virginia's taxes aren't as high as a neighboring state's or the national average or states that begin with letters never chosen in the final round on Wheel of Fortune, therefore we can afford them. As if the fact that Virginia may happen to have a particular tax lower than North Carolina, Maryland or Utah makes a difference as to whether it's justifiable on the merits to raise it .

The latest in this nonsense is the aforementioned tax on businesses that funds unemployment insurance for laid-off workers. Last week, during its veto session, the General Assembly rejected the governor's attempt to accept federal "stimulus" money for extended unemployment insurance payments. The main argument against accepting the money was that, after the two year federal funding period, Virginia would have been obligated to continue the expenditures at a level necessitating a large tax increase on the people that create the jobs to begin with — businesses, including small businesses (often family owned) which create most jobs.

According to Governor Kaine, as reported in yesterday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Virginia employers pays the second lowest annual amount of unemployment taxes in the nation." By that logic, let's raise every tax in Virginia in which we are in the bottom 10 percentile. Or 20 percentile . . . or heck, make it the 50 percentile. Don't want to feel too fortunate, here, do we?

In effect, they're saying let's give up our advantage in order to tax more people because other states are doing it. But isn't the idea to create an economic environment to recruit new business to Virginia and to encourage start-ups? But these liberals are saying, "We're not taxing our residents enough. If other states can do it, so can we!" Worse, they believe it!

Turns out though, Virginia isn't such a low tax state after all, the perception perhaps perpetuated as a ready excuse to raise taxes (we're under taxed, so ante up more). According to Scott Hodge of the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, Virginia's overall tax burden is one of the nation's worst, rivaling notoriously high-taxing New York, New Jersey, California and, even, "Taxachussetts." (So much for our low-tax advantage.) Hodges spoke recently on Freedom & Prosperity Radio and you can hear the interview here with other interesting statistics.

Either way — whether they believe there is "room" to raise taxes compared to other states or they selectively pick and choose taxes that are lower here by comparison in order to raise a sense that an increase won't hurt — Virginia's tax-and-spenders insist on following other states rather than leading. Never mind that it's following them right off the economic cliff.

Spending Transparency: Close To Two Major Victories, Keep Contacting Lawmakers

Spending transparency is one of our priority issues this session and the bills involved (SB 936 and HB 2285) have had a long and winding path thus far (as do most major reform efforts). Just as predicted, their paths are somewhat similar to eminent domain reform bills in 2007, with many twists and turns and near-death experiences. Although each committee vote has been non-controversial, the behind the scenes efforts have been exhausting to get it to that point, with great credit going to the two patrons — Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) and Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), respectively, and their co-patrons, particularly Senator Chap Peterson (D-34, Fairfax) and Delegate Joe Bouchard (D-83, Virginia Beach). There has been tweaking of the bills to avoid the inexcusably outrageous and bogus fiscal impact statements which would have made the bills cost prohibitive to implement, especially in these tight budgetary times. (Fiscal impact statements once served a good purpose — cautionary breaks for lawmakers on new programs or government administrative expenses. Now they are used as excuses to stop much needed reforms.)

Each bill has gone through numerous committee hearings, amendments and substitutes, been reported and refered to money committees and the House version even was sent to a Senate committee the Senate version had no part of (see here). (As it turned out, HB 2285 was sent to the Rules Committeebecause the Auditor of Public Accounts comes under legislative directive, or some such governmentese, but still begs the question why SB 936 didn't go that route.)

All that said, we are closing in on major victories, but it's not time to let down our collective guard. A final push is needed from concerned citizens who believe the government has a serious obligation to shine the light on where our tax dollars are spent. 

SB 936 unanimously passed the House Science and Technology Committee only to have another obstacle thrown in its path — a trip to House Appropriations tomorrow. Committee members Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William) and John Cosgrove (R-78, Chesapeake) tried to avoid the referral by asking for a vote to report straight to the House floor.

However, things look positive. Committee Chairman Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) told committee members the bill had to be referred to Appropriations to be vetted for costs, but that she would inform Appropriations Chairman Lacey Putney (I-19, Bedford) there are no costs associated with this bill. Appropriations meets tomorrow afternoon.

Indeed, Auditor of Public Accounts Walter J. Kucharski and Joe Damico, deputy director of the Department of General Services, both testified that the bill, offered in its third form, would have no fiscal impact on the state budget. Amazingly, the Department of Planning and Budget attached a fiscal impact statement to the bill claiming its original and subsequent amended versions would cost state government between $1.5-$3 million in new equipment and software, man-hours, and more employees. One small problem: no one asked the departments involved (read this about impact statements).

Earlier in the week, HB 2285 emerged with unanimous approval in the Senate Rules Sub-Committee on Studies and now is in the full Rules Committee which meets at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. 

Spending transparency is an important issue (read here) for many reasons: good government, accountability, taxpayer protection and the like (read here). It also will give us a clearer window into how often, how much and for what reasons nefarious profit making groups such as Planned Parenthood get our tax money! We are very close to victory on a major priority this session. Let's not take it for granted.

Contact Rules Committee members here (HB 2285) and Appropriations Committee members here (SB 936).

Social Networks And TFF

Social networking was one of the absolute strengths of Barack Obama's campaign for president. Understanding the new ways that the next generation communicates was key to his ability to reach and mobilize younger voters like no candidate in history. Using tools like Facebook (register for TFF page), MySpace, YouTube (see TFF page) and Twitter (see TFF page) is critical to getting a message out and, frankly, bypassing some in the Mainstream Media who can be antagonistic to our efforts.

The Family Foundation is joining this new media revolution once again. In 2007 we launched familyfoundation.org, which quickly became one of the most read political blogs in Virginia. 

Now, we are pleased to announce we are accelerating our move into the New Media. We have started Facebook and YouTube pages and are offering Twitter updates during the 2009 General Assembly Session (click on the links above to register).

Twitter is an opportunity for you to receive short, concise minute-by-minute updates of what is happening in the General Assembly. You won't have to wait for the "News at Six," or even for a more detailed blog update (which, by the way, we will also provide — faster than any other blog in Virginia).

You will hear the latest Dick Saslaw "foot-in-mouth" incident while the words are still hanging in the air! You will know the votes before they are recorded by the committee staff. You will hear the inside of the inside of the debate, political maneuvering and policymaking.

All in 140 words or less (wow, that is a big challenge).

To sign up for our "Tweets," simply click here.

Also, join the Friends of The Family Foundation Facebook Page. This is another place where you can network with other like-minded citizens. If you don't have your own Facebook page, you must register first (click here or above).

Perhpaps the most fun, especially for those who thrive on information and news, especially that which isn't covered by the Mainstream Media, is YouTube. There's no registeration involved. Simply click here (or above) to go to our new YouTube page and see videos by and about The Family Foundation and issues we work hard to advance. We already have several more to add, which we will do soon. We guarantee this will be a robust page, augmented by this blog. (If you haven't noticed, we like posting videos here, so the two sites are natural complements.)

We also plan to videotape 2009 General Assembly committee debates and then make relevant portions available here and on our YouTube page (we have our own videotaping capabilities now). This way you can watch, listen and see for yourself some of the things our opposition says and does, but which rarely gets reported. As they say, "If only more people knew." We aim to make sure more people will.

All of this effort is to ensure that you are a more informed citizen, and thus better prepared when you contact your legislators and when you vote. We hope you will be part of our new media and social networking efforts. A more connected grassroots via networking gets the word on events and news faster from blogs and YouTube, and soon, the public at large knows and the MSM can't ignore the story anymore.

We look forward to providing more opportunities like these to keep you instantly informed and active in your government and its policies that affect you and your families.