In Illinois, newly elected Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has decided to use his authority as a state executive to decrease the power of public employee unions by reducing their ability to press non-union workers for dues.
He is the first Republican governor in the state since 1999.
Rauner claims that,
Government union bargaining and government union political activity are inextricably linked,” Rauner said. “As a result, an employee who is forced to pay unfair share dues is being forced to fund political activity with which they disagree. That is a clear violation of First Amendment rights and something that, as governor, I am duty-bound to correct.
For the Rauner, this is a first amendment issue by forcing people into union against their will, and then taking their money against their will should they choose not to join the Union. This places Rauner squarely in the right to work camp, and his actions pose to present the state with a serious battle over Union privilege versus the individual. The Wall Street Journal is supportive of the cost cutting and Constitutional measures he is taking. The Unions are crying foul for the violation of their “rights” but there is no Constitutional right to another person’s wages.
Rauner faces an uphill battle as entrenched Unions will fight back along with the complicit Democrat state legislature at their back.
Obama’s recent speech at the National Prayer Breakfast have touched off a firestorm. The offending statement was this:
Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.
This would not be controversial in one aspect if not for the fact that Obama will not describe Islamic Terrorists as Islamic Terrorists. His rationale is that such labeling hurts and offends those of that faith. However, he has no mercy for Christians or Jews in that regard if the Prayer breakfast speech is any indication.
Even his National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, bolsters this impression when she said the very next day:
But, too often, what’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective. Yes, there’s a lot going on. Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or the Cold War. We can’t afford to be buffeted by alarmism and an instantaneous news cycle. We must continue to do the hard work of leading a complex and rapidly evolving world, of seizing opportunities, and of winning the future for our children [emphasis added].
Apparently, the administration has forgotten that the Nazi’s and several religious imams were in alliance during World War II—the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is but one notorious example of this cozy relationship of common goals.
The problem with Obama’s remarks in particular are amplified by the fact that he will not note the religious aspects of ISIS, but will condemn the religious aspects of terror employed by “Christians.” The question one is forced to ask is: why the apparent favoritism to one Faith over another? Why single out Christians and not Muslims? It is a curious omission.
For the record, it is absolutely true that “Christians” terrorized people in the form of the KKK in our own country. My recent research on Ulysses Grant revealed that Grant used federal authority to put down terror in the South against the former slaves at the hands of the KKK. Among the atrocities were intimidation, hangings, murders, etc., of men, women, and children. These facts cannot be denied. We could easily point to many examples, including the Star Chamber of how religious fanatics use their faith to violate the rights of others.
When it comes to the Crusades and their moral equivalency to ISIS, Obama is simply incorrect as noted here, here, here, here, here, here, here. The history of the Crusades in all its negatives and positives (if you will) have been duly noted here:
It is generally thought that Christians attacked Muslims without provocation to seize their lands and forcibly convert them. The Crusaders were Europe’s lacklands and ne’er-do-wells, who marched against the infidels out of blind zealotry and a desire for booty and land. As such, the Crusades betrayed Christianity itself. They transformed “turn the other cheek” into “kill them all; God will know his own.”
Every word of this is wrong.
The idea of the Crusades, especially being against a people who identified as Muslim is historically difficult to decipher, especially when we consider Tom Holland’s thesis that their Prophet was not a congealed idea in their mind until very late in history. See his BBC documentary which raises the question (I think respectfully) here.
My favorite, and most reasonable, reaction to the President’s speech comes from Commentary Magazine where Peter Wehner pointed out that:
…but it’s also true that slavery and segregation were overthrown by those who justified their actions in the name of Christ. And if the president insists on making comparisons between Christianity and Islam, then it needs to be said that while Christianity has struggled with religious intolerance in its past, it has almost everywhere made its inner peace with religious tolerance and pluralism. On the other hand, true religious freedom has been quite rare in Muslim-majority communities throughout history. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It doesn’t mean that most Muslims embrace the version of Islam being practiced by ISIS. And it certainly doesn’t mean that individual Muslims can’t assimilate themselves in America. Millions do, and they are wonderful contributors to our nation.
But it does mean that in the here and now, the problems we see are emanating not from within Christianity but from within Islam.
Hence, we have the crux of the problem. There is no superiority when it comes to one Faith being better than another. Revelatory appeals to irrational utterances (that is beyond Reason) are plenary. No Faith can escape the use and abuse of the Word on High. Obama is right about past abuses of Christianity (for the most part—he’s woefully wrong about the Crusades which was a defensive “war”). But, he favors Islam so as to not offend while he offends Christians. How odd and how misplaced is his criticism.
The real divide is not which Faith is better or has been reformed, or will be reformed. The real divide is between Philosophy and Revelation. It is high time Reason brought Faith before its tribunal. And Obama fails to move us to the discussion most necessary to Our Souls.
From the WSJ:
ByLARRY P. ARNN
Feb. 4, 2015 7:15 p.m. ET
In summer 1940, as war raged, the British government sent several hundred children, including 3-year-old Martin Gilbert, to safety in Canada. The children berthed aboard the Duchess of Bedford in a 50-ship convoy, and after the destroyer escort turned back, the convoy was attacked by the Germans and five ships sank.
The Duchess sailed on safely, past the icebergs of Labrador, “marvelous for children to behold [and] among my first memories,” Gilbert wrote. Soon after, another boat with 77 children evacuees was sunk by the Germans, drowning them all, and the scheme was abandoned.
In summer 1944, Winston Churchill —who from the start had disliked the idea of sending British children overseas, calling it a “scuttle”—arranged for many of the young evacuees, including Gilbert, to return aboard an American troopship from New York.
Churchill specifically asked the Admiralty to make sure, amid other responsibilities in the aftermath of the Normandy landings, that there be enough life jackets for the extra children.
So began the life of Sir Martin Gilbert, who died at age 78 on Tuesday in London. He is best known as Churchill’s official biographer. He served as adviser to Prime Minister John Major and was soon after awarded knighthood in 1995.
Gilbert taught as a fellow of Merton College, Oxford. He wrote 88 books, including histories of the Holocaust, of the world wars and of the 20th century. Regarding the Holocaust, he said that the “tireless gathering of facts will ultimately consign Holocaust deniers to history.”
The Churchill biography is a thing of magnificence. It is the largest biography ever written, befitting one of the largest lives ever lived. It is now 25 volumes and more than 25,000 pages, with six document volumes that Hillsdale College, in Hillsdale, Mich., has been tasked with completing in his absence.
Churchill was prolific: hundreds of speeches, 50 books, and thousands of articles, memos and official minutes. Thus, Gilbert’s biography is monumental. To do this work, he had the “treasure trove” of the Churchill archives, traveled to public and private archives throughout Britain, and corresponded with hundreds of Churchill’s contemporaries, many of whom became his friends.
Gilbert utterly rebelled against the view that the facts of history change with time. In this way he agreed with the classics. He wrote the biography faithfully, from primary-source materials and with the greatest care to tell the story as it happened. Gilbert’s stewardship is significant, as Churchill is a man of our time and one of its greatest blessings.
I was privileged to work as research assistant to Gilbert on the biography in the 1970s and continue as his friend and colleague afterward. For years I witnessed and wondered at the care and energy he put into his work. He desired original sources, nothing less. “You must get everything. We must have it all here,” he once told me.
He would say, “You have a good memory, and I have a good memory; we do not rely upon our memories.” I learned to look things up again and again. If you used the term “perhaps,” his eyebrows would go up, and he would say, “Perhaps not!”
I have never known anyone so tireless in his vocation. Once he was stricken with Bell’s palsy, which paralyzed part of his face, yet he worked regardless, the same hours, holding his pen in one hand and in the other a handkerchief pressed against his mouth to keep it closed.
Gilbert’s Oxford tutor, the historian A.J.P. Taylor, told him in 1960 that “if you go in for historical research, you will work for weeks on end and find nothing.” Gilbert was persevering and fierce, but his manner never so.
He sought to give life and breath to history. In 1997, he said in an interview with C-Span that he wanted to be remembered “as someone who brought ordinary people, or people, into the equation, not merely governments and powers and themes, but human beings with flesh and blood and names and ages.”
Mr. Arnn is president of Hillsdale College.
Be looking for more of this as minimum wage laws take effect in many cities. In this iteration, The Daily Caller notes that a beloved San Francisco bookstore will have to close because minimum wage laws.
Back in November, residents of the city voted to increase the minimum wage gradually to $15 an hour over the course of three years. Though the wage hike was designed to help address income inequality, several businesses have already had to close.
Advocates of minimum wage laws argue that it is more humanitarian to force wage increases, but how humanitarian is it to cost someone their business or their job? We should note that Borderlands closure is but one of several since the wage increase law passed.