Is GOP caving on Obamacare? House Republicans have voted more than 25 times to repeal, defund, and dismantle Obamacare. Still, the mainstream media suggest that strategy meetings taking place now, led by House Speaker John Boehner, are aiming at compromise and not full repeal. Boehner says otherwise: "Our economy continues to struggle, and the president's healthcare law is making things worse-raising health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire workers. The only way to change this is by repealing Obamacare in its entirety. We voted to fully repeal the president's healthcare law as one of our first acts as a new House majority, and our plan remains to repeal the law in its entirety. Anything short of that is unacceptable." The Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare should come down in June, and we'll see then what really happens.
Chen's crime. Media coverage of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has been robust, but few of the media accounts include the real reason he is in so much trouble with the Chinese government. According to the Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD), "Chen went from village to village in Shandong Province collecting testimonies of tens of thousands of women who had been rounded up and forced to be sterilized or have abortions, even in the eighth month of pregnancy. He exposed some 130,000 forced abortions that took place in one year in that one province and filed class-action lawsuits on behalf of the victimized families. As a result he was sentenced to over four years' imprisonment." Chen was and is a "human rights activist," but he is specifically a pro-life activist, which for the mainstream media has become an inconvenient truth. Faith J.H. McDonnell, the IRD's religious liberty program director, put it this way: "Chen will no more be silent about the issues of forced abortion and sterilization in China while in America than he was in China. The Chens may cause some people to rethink long held convictions. Some disturbances are good for the soul."
The data are in. More policymakers are focusing on another ticking economic time bomb: unfunded pension liabilities at the state level. A Congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC) has released a report on the topic, authored primarily by the committee's vice chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), and the JEC's senior ranking Republican senator, Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). Though the federal deficit is about $15.7 trillion, this report-quoting the National Bureau of Economic Research-estimates the total debt of the nation to be more than $200 trillion, with unfunded pension liability a significant part of that. According to an op-ed Brady and DeMint wrote for The Wall Street Journal, "Years of overly optimistic growth projections, underfunding and overpromising by politicians have rendered many of these public pension systems effective toxic assets on states' books. Some jurisdictions around the U.S. already spend more money on retired workers than on current employees, and more on retired teachers than on existing students and schools." Brady and DeMint say Congress should make it clear that the federal government won't bail out the states if they are unable to solve this problem.
Preborn baby's pain. Abortion law is mostly a state affair, but Congress decides some laws of the District of Columbia. So last Thursday, members of a U.S. House subcommittee heard graphic testimony on a bill prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy within the district. In D.C., abortions are currently allowed up until the moment of natural birth. H.R. 3803, heard by the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee, would end those performed after 20 weeks. Three doctors, including a former abortionist, testified, and all said that preborn babies feel pain. Colleen Malloy, a pediatrician at Northwestern University who performs corrective surgery on children still in the womb, said those children receive anesthesia, just as adults undergoing surgery would. Anthony Levatino, a gynecologist who estimates he performed more than 1,200 abortions before becoming pro-life, described in graphic terms abortions performed at the 22nd week: "If you refuse to believe this procedure inflicts severe pain on that unborn child, please think again." H.R. 3803 has not yet been scheduled for a hearing before the full House Judiciary Committee.
Black pastors speak. The Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) wrote President Obama a letter last week asking him to reconsider his stand on same-sex marriage. "We cannot and will not remain silent while marriage, the most fundamental institution in our-and any-nation, is undermined by our own president while using Christian language and relating it to civil rights," they wrote. The CAAP also is taking issue with the "unacceptable" way gay activists continually link their issues with the civil-rights movement. "For activists, politicians-and now the highest office in the nation to link sexual behavior God calls sin to the righteous cause Martin Luther King gave his life for is abominable in and of itself," the Rev. William Owens Sr., CAAP's founder and president, wrote in a statement. "There is no civil right to do what God calls wrong."