A&E Fires Phil and More – Friday Digest

Posted on Fri 12/20/2013 by

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The Patriot Post ~

Publisher’s Note

This is our last Digest of 2013. As is our custom, we take leave between Christmas and New Year’s to be with our families. Our next edition will be on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014.

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

THE FOUNDATION

“Conscience is the most sacred of all property.” –James Madison

CULTURE, SCIENCE & FAITH

A&E Fires Phil

PP_PhilRobertson _2013-12-20-5b6e168a“Duck Dynasty” star and patriarch Phil Robertson came face to face with the political correctness police at A&E again this week when he dared to go “off script” during a GQ interview.

Last May, the network requested that the #1 show in cable TV history eliminate its references to God and guns, but Phil said no: “God and guns are part of our everyday lives [and] to remove either of them from the show is unacceptable. If we can’t pray to God on the show, then we will not do the show.”

Responding to a question about sin in the current edition of GQ, Phil replied in his colloquial manner, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there.” He then paraphrased 1 Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers – they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

The reaction from the two most infamous proponents of gender confusion and homosexual normalization was swift and predictable. The so-called “Human Rights” Campaign protested, “Phil Robertson’s remarks are not consistent with the values of our faith communities or the scientific findings of leading medical organizations. We also know that Americans of faith follow the Golden Rule – treating others with the respect and dignity you’d wish to be treated with. As a role model on a show that attracts millions of viewers, Phil Robertson has a responsibility to set a positive example for young Americans.”

Well, we think Phil did set a positive example for young Americans!

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation complained, “Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans … who support [them].” They accused Robertson of “vile and extreme stereotypes” and “hateful anti-gay comments.”

If you want a good resource for “what true Christians believe,” don’t start with GLAAD, start with Scripture. Both the Old and New Testaments are crystal clear on the subject, as Mark Alexander outlined in detail in his commentary, “Gender Identity, the Homosexual Agenda and the Christian Response.”

As for “the majority of Louisianans,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal clarified, “Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the state of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints – except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”

Indeed, A&E immediately surrendered: “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments. The A&E Networks have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”

Phil responded, “My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

The Robertson family responded, “We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. Phil’s … beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith. As a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm.”

In other words, they just put A&E on notice.

When it comes to opposing the homosexual agenda, Christians are now routinely condemned for speaking their beliefs. But the tyranny of political correctness is anathema to America itself, and enslaving all of us to a particular code of thought deemed acceptable to leftists is no different from any other kind of slavery.

If you’d like to let A&E know what you think, send an email to feedbackaetv@aenetworks.com. (Keep it clean.)

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NATIONAL SECURITY

The Snowden Chronicles and Another NSA Smackdown

PP_NSA_2013-06-12-chronicleA series of chain reactions that began in May with the release of highly classified information by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden continued this week. Snowden’s leaks have revealed the sheer ubiquity and volume of information gathered and stored by the government, and this latest backlash arrives in the form of a stunning collective setback for the intelligence community, notably, the National Security Agency (NSA). Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, issued a preliminary injunction barring the agency’s bulk collection of phone records, specifically, the so-called “metadata” associated with an individual phone call.

Metadata includes such information as the phone number called, the time the call was made, the duration of the call and, potentially, the location from which the call was made. Judge Leon ruled that the NSA’s metadata collection violates the Fourth Amendment’s proscription on unreasonable searches. However, the judge hedged his decision somewhat by staying his injunction order, pending an almost certain government appeal on the case.

By way of background, Congress first authorized bulk collection of phone records through the Patriot Act, which it passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Although special “FISA” courts were later established in 2006 to provide judicial oversight and authorization for intelligence collection operations, the enormity of the data collected renders this oversight largely moot: A single “authorization” to collect data can render millions upon millions of metadata records.

The controlling law up to this point has been the Supreme Court’s 1979 opinion in Smith v. Maryland, in which the court ruled that collection of metadata regarding a phone call did not violate the Fourth Amendment’s bar to unreasonable searches. Accordingly, critics complain that Judge Leon failed to follow the Supreme Court by not recognizing that metadata falls outside the Fourth Amendment’s “unreasonable search” prohibition, as annunciated in that decision, and that the judge is employing judicial activism in his ruling. One critic – a former assistant U.S. attorney – even went so far as to call the judge’s ruling “comically lawless.”

However, Judge Leon’s central point – roughly paraphrased – is that the methods, conditions and assumptions that rendered Smith are apples-and-oranges apart from today’s “privacy-expectation” landscape, and that the Smith court – which decided a case involving a single phone record on a single individual – could not possibly have foreseen the ways in which aggregate metadata is currently being used to violate all of America’s “reasonable expectation of privacy,” and thus Smith is largely useless in determining the constitutionality of a governmental action fundamentally different from the one in that landmark case.

Additionally, where Smith gave the government authority to access metadata only in a limited manner (“limited data on outgoing calls”) on one individual in a single case, the government has extended that authority over the years – especially after the Patriot Act – so that it has no limits, has a duration of at least several years and extends to every person in the U.S. Information gathered from billions of cross-referenced data files is of a fundamentally different quality and character from data gathered from a single-line “pen register,” as in Smith.

Moreover, the NSA and other intelligence agencies have even further extrapolated the authority granted in Smith by dragooning every major phone company into involuntary service. To quote Judge Leon, “It’s one thing to say that people expect phone companies to occasionally provide information to law enforcement; it is quite another to suggest that our citizens expect all phone companies to operate what is effectively a joint intelligence-gathering operation with the Government.” Indeed, in Judge Leon’s mind – and ours, for that matter – there is only one word for this constitutional overreach: unsatisfactory.

Finally, we note that the most tangible result of Snowden’s intelligence leak has been this: The leak, along with the government’s subsequent damage-control reaction, has resulted in the tacit acknowledgement that metadata is almost certainly being collected on every phone in America. Thus the government has inadvertently conferred standing upon every U.S. citizen to levy a constitutional suit against it. Accordingly, expect a lot more of these types of suits in the future, independent of Judge Leon’s controversial decision.

Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Police tracking cellphones

ECONOMY, REGS & TAXES

Income Redistribution: Winding Down QE?

PP_Money_2013-12-20-199142e2After five years and trillions of dollars, the Federal Reserve this week announced that it will begin scaling down its purchase of bonds and securities. The Fed began the practice – commonly known as “quantitative easing” or “QE” (or, for the non-financial types among us, essentially “printing money”) – in 2008 in hopes of stimulating the economy. Nearly $3 trillion later, the Fed says that beginning in January, it will cut its monthly purchase of Treasury bonds from $45 billion to $40 billion and its monthly purchase of mortgage-backed securities from $40 billion to $35 billion. While this is a promising announcement, the Fed also noted that future cuts are “not on a preset course.”

That’s too bad, because not only has QE failed to deliver the stimulus promised but it’s also become more problematic itself. Indeed, as one investment manager ominously noted, “The Fed is running out of stuff to buy.” While the announcement is a welcome one, we’ve heard promises before. Come January, we’ll see if the Fed makes good on its word or if QE cuts prove nothing more than an empty New Year’s resolution.

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

The Royal Obama Family Vacation

PP_ObamaLiar2013-12-05-605a40d3_mediumBarack Obama built his political career on lofty leftist ideals like “spreading the wealth around” and other classist rhetoric. He talks a lot about equality, but don’t expect him to lead by example. After spending more than a hundred million dollars on vacations this year, hobnobbing with the rich and famous in places like Martha’s Vineyard and on safari in Africa, King Barack is again taking his queen and princesses off to Hawaii for a 17-day vacation. He, Michelle and the girls will endure a $24,500-per-week oceanfront home with all the trappings – at our expense.

As in previous years, the cost of this wretched excess is somewhere between $5 and $25 million, depending on who’s counting what “travel expenses.” (If we include the deployment of a Pac Fleet carrier group to be at his ready, the cost jumps to about $100 million.)

Of course, this extravagant excursion is priceless for Obama, who hopes that if he keeps his head down for a couple of weeks it may stall the slide in his approval and trust numbers, now lower than any president in the first year of a second term since Nixon.

However, Obama’s litany of lies about ObamaCare are now the ineradicable trademark of his administration. Democrats in the Senate and House are now feeling the effects of his precipitous 35-point collapse in public trust, and they can only hope that their association with him will not bankrupt their political fortunes.

Obama thought he had mastered the “art of the BIG Lie” in order to deceive his constituents, but it turns out that he fooled himself.

BRIEF OPINION

For the Record

National Review’s Ed Haislmaier: “[T]he Obama administration has spent longer botching the implementation of Obamacare than the Roosevelt and Truman administrations spent fighting and winning the Second World War. America’s involvement in World War II began on December 7, 1941, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It ended 1,365 days later on September 2, 1945, with the surrender ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay. President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010. [Wednesday], December 18, 2013, mark[ed] the 1,366th day of post-enactment Obamacare implementation. Now, it is true that building the Hoover Dam – that icon of activist liberal government – did take a bit longer (four and a half years), but at the end of that process the Hoover Dam actually worked.”

Re: The Left

Columnist Michael Barone: “The Obamacare rollout that began nearly three months ago has proved more disastrous than all but a few critics of the legislation dared to predict. Polling shows increasing opposition to the legislation and to the credibility of Obama Democrats who, falsely, assured people they could keep their policies and their doctors if they liked them. The apparent skepticism of most voters that government could competently administer the health care sector seems to have been justified – and then some. Gallup reports that 72% of Americans see big government, not big business or big labor, as the biggest threat to the nation’s future – the highest number since the question was first asked in 1965. The Obama Democrats assumed Americans would embrace big government policies. They seem to have proved the opposite.”

Political Futures

Columnist Linda Chavez: “I saw one at the airport on Monday and then another in the elevator on Wednesday. I see them on the street, at coffee shops around town, often at the grocery. Now Obamacare supporters have adopted one as the face of their new public relations campaign. … The latest entry into the fashion craze is Pajama Boy, the now infamous, plaid-clad twerp pushing Obamacare on Twitter. … I don’t know what irritates me most about this phenomenon. Is it the lack of simple decorum? Or is it the infantilization of our popular culture? … [P]utting a young man in red flannel pajamas in order to convince 20-somethings to act responsibly wasn’t the most effective visual cue the Obamacare supporters could have chosen. When we depict young adults like infants, we shouldn’t expect that they will behave as grownups.”

For more, visit The Right Opinion.

CHRONICLE QUOTES

Upright

Columnist Charles Krauthammer: “The worst thing for Obama is he’s lost control of events. Normally, a president is hostage to events; a war, Hurricane Katrina or whatever. Here, the irony is that the event Obama is hostage to is Obamacare; it’s something he created. … And what people have learned is that it completely remakes health insurance, completely affects their lives and that is what Obama is suffering from. And it is going to be extremely hard for him to recover because the law is now rolling along as McConnell indicated, and can’t be stopped.”

Dezinformatsia

MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell: “We do know that James Madison would be aghast at interracial marriage. We do know that James Madison would be aghast at an integrated cabinet room in the White House, first with African-American members of the cabinet and now with an African-American president presiding over that cabinet.”

Braying Jackass

Radio talk-show host Bill Press: “[T]he essence of this Tea Party is a racist institution. It is born of the fact that they cannot stand the fact that a black man is president of the United States.”

From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File

Harry Reid: “I’m just like 150 million other people in America. My employer helps me pay for my health care.”

Demo-gogues

Nancy Pelosi: “Our view of the law is that it – if somebody is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation.”

Alpha Jackass

White House counselor John Podesta: “[White House officials] need to focus on executive action given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress.”

Village Idiots

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: “What the president really focused on was filling the gap and made a decision that’s uniquely American, which is to stick with the private insurance market and make sure the kinds of plans that existed in workplaces also were available to people regardless of what kind of job they had. The president felt it was better not to disrupt the entire marketplace, but really to focus on where we had a real gap in the system.”

Short Cuts

Comedian Jay Leno: “President Obama has named a top former Microsoft executive to run and fix the ObamaCare website. Hey, how about fixing Windows first?”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

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