"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fighting Back Against Obama's Job-Killing Policies

As the economy continues to flounder, I continue to hear Obama and his administration deny any responsibility whatsoever for the terrible economic conditions. He and his people continue to tout their "job proposals" and take credit for supposedly turning things around and saving us from a depression. The truth is, Obama's job-killing policies are directly responsible for the economic mess we are in today. The new taxes and regulations his administration has pushed for are toxic to private sector job growth and have stunted what should have been a normal recovery from the 2008-2009 recession.

The two most pressing political problems facing our country right now are the poor economy and the ballooning national debt. These issues are not unrelated, as the deficit grows much more quickly in a sluggish economy. Obama has failed miserably on both counts. He has made no effort whatsoever to address entitlement reform or to push for serious debt reduction and spending cuts. After all, attacking the GOP plan for wanting to throw granny out on the street is much easier than bothering to present your own plan! Under his "leadership," our country has lost its AAA bond rating -- a well-deserved downgrade. He has pushed for tax increases, played political games with the debt ceiling, masterminded huge stimulus bills full of waste and corruption, and pushed through a health care bill that puts a tremendous financial and regulatory burden on employers. Under the "leadership" of his crony Harry Reid, the U.S. Senate went for years without passing a budget (one of the most basic duties given to Congress is to pass a budget annually).

Most of the above items should be common knowledge to people with a passing familiarity with politics and current events. What is not common knowledge to many people, I fear, are the many job-killing regulations that Obama's administration is putting into place behind the scenes. Many of Obama's top administration officials are "czars" who were never confirmed by Congress to begin with and have a free hand to reshape our country's regulatory policies in a radical direction. I highly recommend reading this article in National Review, which highlights 10 of the worst Obama economic policies and what Republicans in Congress are trying to do to stop these policies from taking effect. The Wall Street Journal is another great source for understanding why Obama's policies are hurting our economy so much.

It is vital for Obama to be defeated in 2012. But in order for that to happen, people need to know just how destructive his policies have been to our country economically. They need to know that he isn't just unlucky; there is a direct link between his policies and our current problems. I would encourage you to take the opportunity to bring up some of the facts from the article linked to above next time you are in a conversation with someone about the economy. By educating ourselves and others about how the economy works and what policies create jobs and what policies kill jobs, we can make a difference for our country. If our country is going to have a future of freedom and prosperity, we MUST get someone in the White House with fiscal sanity who understands how a free market economy works.

On a somewhat related note, National Review published a great article last week discussing the issue of global warming. The myth of man-made global warming, or "climate change" as it is now officially designated, has become a political club in the hands of power-hungry politicians. It is the basis for myriad anti-growth economic policies that are contributing to our national joblessness, including several of the ones mentioned in the previous article. I recommend this article as a relatively concise summary of the problems with the "science" behind Obama's global warming policies.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Heh heh

Earlier this year sometime, the College Democrats of America released a video of some college students giving reasons why they are Democrats.  I found a parody of it.  My favorite line: "Because through government, we can do things that we can't do as individuals...like take other people's money."  Zing!

Original video:

The new and improved parody...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer of Mercy Recap

First...please watch the video of Kelly Stauffer's testimony about her abortion when she was 14 years old. It is found in the previous post and since I posted it just before this one, I don't want it to be overlooked! It is one of the most emotionally powerful statements I've ever heard.

I wanted to give you a recap of the amazing week we have had at Summer of Mercy 2.0! The week-long event kicked off last Saturday evening with a rally at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD. There were a number of powerful speakers, including Wendy Wright, former president of Concerned Women of America, and Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. (If you have the time and inclination, I would highly recommend checking out Father Pavone's 30-minute speech here.) But by far the highlight of the evening was the extraordinary testimony from a Philadelphia woman named Keisha, who showed up at Carhart's clinic to have a late-term abortion but changed her mind and decided to keep her baby after talking to Dr. Grace Morrison and several other caring women standing outside the clinic that morning. Dr. Morrison and other pro-life activists have provided a great deal of assistance to Keisha -- both financial help and pre-natal care -- and Keisha is now the proud mother of a new baby girl named Kayden. Keisha was hoping to be in attendance that evening, but the recent birth of her daughter prevented that, so a video presenting her story was shown on the big screen instead. A smiling Keisha had nothing but gratitude for the "beautiful people" who helped to save her daughter's life. (You can find the video of her story by clicking on the Summer of Mercy video page here and scrolling down to the first link under the heading "July 30th- Opening Rally.")

Unfortunately, my wife and I were unable to attend the the Sunday evening Youth Rally, but among the attractions that evening were a live ultrasound shown on the big screen and a live performance by Christcentric (a hip-hop group whose members attend my church) of their new song "Fight For the Children." (See the video of their performance here.)

Throughout the week, Summer of Mercy participants kept daily vigils outside of the clinic at 8:00 am, 12:00 noon, and 7:00 pm. The Monday morning and Friday evening crowds were sizable, exceeding 300 people. One of the exciting stories of the week was Leroy Carhart's decision to shut down the clinic for the week due to the Summer of Mercy protests. My pastor, Charlie Baile, gave an impassioned speech at the Friday evening vigil, which was followed by pizza and fellowship outside the clinic. (See the video of Pastor Charlie's talk here.)

Throughout the week, every effort was made to keep the protests as peaceful and prayerful as possible. Each meeting was begun on our knees in prayer. There were no shouting, graphic signs, or angry slogans. The protests showed a remarkable unity across denominational lines, with Catholic, Presbyterian, Bible, Episcopal, Sovereign Grace, and non-denominational churches all taking an active part. Operation Rescue, which has been involved in the Summer of Mercy, stated on their website that about 3/4 of the people involved in the Summer of Mercy event were area residents who had never before participated in a pro-life street rally. (Operation Rescue's website also has lots of photos and further details about the events of the past week.) We had some success in outreach to those in the immediate community. The owner of a local ice cream shop in close proximity to the clinic at first expressed anger and told us to stay away from his property, but when someone from the Summer of Mercy talked to him personally and explained what Carhart was doing, he changed his tune dramatically and even offered to let us use his shop's bathroom during our vigils! He also kept his shop open late each evening so we could buy ice cream after our evening protests. Other local business owners expressed support for what we were doing, offering to sign our petition to the Maryland Board of Physicians to shut down Carhart's clinic and even participating in the protests! One of my friends also had the opportunity to speak to some of the security guards patrolling the area and explain to them why we were there. The Montgomery County Police Department did a great job assisting us and making sure we caused as little disruption of traffic as possible. Overall, I felt our group maintained a great witness to the community.

The pro-choice crowd was also staging a counter-protest called "Summer of Choice" this past week, but their numbers were paltry in comparison with ours (at least every event I attended). I saw a few pro-choice activists on the other side of the street holding signs now and then, but that was about it. More creepily, groups of three or four of them would walk up to us when we were praying and videotape us or write down notes about us on a notepad. We were under strict instructions not to engage them in any way and to avoid shouting back (or giving any response whatsoever other than a smile) if they shouted at us, but it was never an issue at any meeting I attended during the week.

One of the final events of the week was the "Cross 4 Life" event. All of us showed up outside the clinic at 2:00 this afternoon, wearing red shirts and holding red pieces of paper saying "Prayer for the Protection of Life." We then spread out from the clinic and covered two major streets, standing in the form of a giant cross with each local church covering a different section of road. It was so exciting to see such a huge tide of red shirts -- I'm not very good at estimating the size of large crowds, but I would guess anywhere from 600 to 1,000 people were there. The road I was standing on -- Route 118 Germantown Road -- is one of the biggest arteries through Germantown, which is now the largest city in Montgomery County. So there is no question that we were forcing people to take notice. Best of all, a friend of the pro-life movement who owns a small plane agreed to fly over the area during the rally to take aerial photos of the Cross 4 Life. I am excited to see them and will certainly post them on here when they come out. At the end of the event, it started pouring down rain and we all got soaked, but I saw nothing but smiles on everyone's faces!

Please continue to pray! The Summer of Mercy events may be coming to an end, but our work here in Germantown is not done as long as Carhart's clinic stays open. After being closed for the week, Carhart's clinic is re-opening tonight and the killing of babies resumes tonight and tomorrow. We continue to maintain a pro-life presence outside of the clinic tonight and are hoping for a large turnout tomorrow morning again. Pray for Carhart and his staff, for the women who are going in to have abortions and for those who have already had abortions, for those taking a public stand for life outside of the clinic, for local pregnancy centers that provide hope and alternatives for women who need help. Most of all pray for God to change people's hearts and open their minds to see the evil of abortion, especially the late-term variety that Carhart performs.

And please sign the online petition to revoke Carhart's medical license in Maryland! I would encourage everyone to sign, but especially people who live in Maryland. The online petition is only showing a small number of signatures at the moment, but hundreds of people attending the rally have signed in person so the total number of signatures is much higher than what is showing on the website right now.

Must-See Video From Summer of Mercy 2.0!

Kelly Stauffer - Summer of Mercy 2.0 from Michael Martelli on Vimeo.

Please check out this amazing video testimony from Kelly Stauffer, speaking at the Summer of Mercy rally outside Carhart's clinic in Germantown, MD on Friday evening. Kelly had a 3rd-trimester abortion when she was 14 years old. She vividly describes the horror of feeling her unborn child kicking and somersaulting inside her womb and then feeling the child go still after the lethal dose was injected into her stomach. She describes the sick feeling she had going back to her hotel that night knowing she was carrying a dead baby -- a baby she was responsible for killing. She recounts the coldness and indifference of the abortion clinic staff as she delivered her dead baby over a toilet in a janitor's closet. She recounts the deep guilt and depression she experienced over the next decade of her life, including suicidal tendencies and bulimia. Finally, she tells the story of how she came to experience God's forgiveness through attending a Catholic retreat for women struggling with post-abortive depression. She is now happily married with a 18-month-old daughter and is an outspoken advocate for the rights of the unborn. This honest, courageous, and humble woman has one of the most emotionally powerful stories you will ever hear!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Washington Post Slanders Pro-Life Activists

Well, the Summer of Mercy has reached the ears of The Washington Post. They have weighed in with two recent "news stories" about Carhart and the Germantown protests -- two laughably biased reports filled with deceptions and inaccuracies. The most recent contribution of the paper to the Germantown late-term abortion debate is this July 31st gem entitled "Abortion Is Topic of Dueling Protests in MD." This ostensibly innocent news report is a textbook example about how the press distorts the facts and manipulates public opinion under the pretense of objective reporting.

The astute reader will notice that the report identifies the number of pro-choice demonstrators as "around 180" but makes no mention of the number of pro-life demonstrators, presumably an attempt to marginalize the pro-life opposition to Carhart. In fact, attendance at the first pro-life rally outside of the clinic on Monday morning was significantly higher than 180 -- I attended it and am confident there were at least 300 people there. The opening rally of the Summer of Mercy at Covenant Life Church had probably twice that number. Also, participants in the "Summer of Choice" are positively described as "pro-choice" and "supporters" of local physician Leroy Carhart. By contrast, participants in the "Summer of Mercy" are never positively referred to as "pro-life" or "supporters of life," only as "abortion foes" or "antiabortion demonstrators."

It only gets worse from there. The article does everything possible to discredit Keisha, the Philadelphia woman scheduled to have a late-term abortion at Carhart's clinic but who chose to keep her baby instead after talking with some pro-life activists outside of the clinic. The author quotes Carhart as saying that Keisha was a "plant" by "antiabortion forces" and leaves the accusation hanging without further comment. Is it too difficult for a paper with the resources of The Washington Post to do a little simple investigation to verify Keisha's story and determine whether or not Carhart is lying? Apparently so. But in the meantime the author subtly pushes this angle, noting sinisterly that the woman "identified herself only by her first name," as though her wish to preserve some level of privacy for herself and her family disproves her claims. (Any other time, The Post would be trumpeting the importance of preserving a woman's right to privacy to the ends of the earth!)

No mention is made of the fact that Keisha was all smiles in the video interview as she held her newborn baby and that she expressed thanks to the pro-life women outside of the clinic for the help they offered her, mentioning two specific women by name who had befriended her. She and her boyfriend referred to the pro-life activists as "beautiful people" with "good hearts" who made them "feel comfortable." No mention is made of the fact that pro-life activists referred her to organizations in Philadelphia who provided her with free pre-natal care and resources, continued to stay in touch with her up to the present day, and raised more than $1,100 to help with her financial needs at their opening night rally (which I attended). Of course, those details would not be helpful in furthering The Post's desired narrative, so the article merely makes the curt comment that "abortion foes" "talked her out of" having her abortion. As though a group of fast-talking activists manipulated her into a rash decision.

The article repeats a blatantly false claim originally found in a fawning profile the newspaper did of Carhart a week earlier: the claim that "all of the late-term abortions Carhart has done in Germantown have involved fetuses with abnormalities." Keisha specifically stated in her video that Carhart said nothing to her about any "fetal abnormalities" prior to her scheduled abortion -- her reason for the abortion had nothing to do with any actual or perceived health problems with the baby. This example alone disproves Carhart's ridiculous claim -- and not only does the article fail to mention this very important point that Keisha's baby was perfectly healthy and normal, but it twists Keisha's words in order to mislead its readers into thinking the opposite. Completely out of context, it quotes Keisha as saying "I just thank God that I had a healthy daughter," as though this occurrence was a source of unexpected relief for her!

Further belying Carhart's claim is the pro-life activist who helped Keisha choose life, Dr. Grace Morrison. She has been standing outside the clinic every week since Carhart came to Germantown in December, and said that out of the 27 women going into Carhart's clinic for abortions that she has spoken to over the past six months, only 1 of those 27 had an unborn baby with "abnormalities." In two articles in a row, The Post chose to take Carhart's claim at face value without doing even the most basic investigation into it or bothering to present any of the opposing evidence.

After discussing Keisha, the article seizes another opportune moment to caricature the pro-life activists, using a quote from Carhart to claim that they were "subjecting" the patients to "harassment." If these activists are so threatening, then why would Keisha even have stopped to talk with them in the first place, much less have been swayed by their advice? In fact, Dr. Morrison said that since Carhart's arrival in Germantown, 13 women have chosen not to go forward with scheduled abortions, at least temporarily, after conversations with pro-lifers outside of the clinic! If these activists were the hateful, angry people The Post claims, then why would any of these women have given them the time of day?

But the most disgraceful and inexcusable slander in the article comes near the end, when the author writes, "Because he [Carhart] wants to expand services, he has become a top focus of antiabortion groups. His friend and mentor, Kansas doctor George Tiller, was fatally shot by an abortion opponent in 2009." In two simple sentences, the author presents a close link between the activists peacefully protesting outside Carhart's clinic and a crazed madman who killed another abortionist two years ago in a state thousands of miles away. Tiller's murder was an evil act committed by a rogue killer that was strongly condemned by every pro-life group in the country, including the ones involved in the Summer of Mercy. That murder flew in the face of everything the pro-life movement stands for. We believe life is precious and should be protected. I have attended numerous pro-life rallies in the Germantown area over the past few months, and I have not witnessed a single expression of hatred or violence against Carhart or pro-choice activists. Over and over again, I have heard pro-life leaders pray for Carhart and plead that God would give him a change of heart. I have not heard any vicious personal attacks or expressions of hatred against him. Over and over again, I have heard it emphasized that our protests must be peaceful and demonstrate love and compassion. Both 40 Days for Life and the Summer of Mercy banned the use of signs with graphic images and encouraged us not to respond when heckled by pro-choice activists. At a rally a few months ago, we were interrupted by loud, disruptive chants by pro-choice activists claiming we "don't care if women die." We responded by spontaneously singing "Amazing Grace." Our pro-life protests are legally and constitutionally protected and have been conducted under the watchful eye of the Montgomery County Police Department. There is no link whatsoever between any of the groups currently involved these protests and the murder of George Tiller in Kansas, and there is absolutely no reason for the author to make this false association in his news story except raw prejudice against the pro-life position.

The story about Carhart that I linked to above is just as flagrant an example of propaganda. The author, Lena Sun, writes so glowingly of Carhart one might suppose she has an actual crush on him. He is described as a "grandfather and retired Air Force surgeon general" who "speaks softly" in an "understated manner." His "voice is weary" after a long, hard day of serving patients, but he remains "committed" to his important work. Unlike most abortionists who refuse to perform late-term abortions, Carhart is a brave man who doesn't care about "social stigma." (Insert the obligatory reference to the killing of George Tiller in Kansas and the association of the entire pro-life movement with his murder.) Many other doctors look up to him and "have asked to train with him." Despite persecution from those evil pro-life activists, Carhart's "tenacity" led him to work as an abortionist full time despite living in constant fear for his safety and his life. Still, their viciousness has created a stigma which makes him and other abortionists often feel "isolated," fearful of being "targeted by protestors." Often "you feel like you're alone in the world," quoth the good doctor, whose other interests include "adoption counseling" and pap smears for gay and transgendered people. (Insert obligatory reference to how he ONLY does late-term abortions "if the medical situation warrants.") Indeed, from this article it would be hard to understand how such an All-American Grandfather and All Around Good Guy could be considered remotely controversial, much less how he manages to attract hundreds of protestors outside his clinic week after week.

In fact there are some reasons why Carhart is controversial, although you'll never find out about them from reading The Washington Post. This pdf document from the http://kickoutcarhart.com/ website summarizes much of this information. Let's start with the fact that Carhart is under investigation by the Maryland Board of Physicians for making some very specific false claims on his application to practice in the state. He claimed he was an emergency room physician, but he hasn't had hospital rights in nearly 25 years! He also claimed he was a university professor even though this information too was more than a decade out-of-date, and omitted more than a decade of pertinent information related to his controversial practice of late-term abortions in Nebraska and Kansas. He is under criminal investigation back in his home state of Nebraska, based on sworn testimony by former employees of illegal activities occurring in his clinic. This testimony includes claims of "unlicensed employees... conducting medical tasks, illegal post-viability abortions, drug violations, financial malfeasance," the use of unsterilized and unclean medical instruments, and the failure of Carhart to follow even the most basic rules of personal hygience such as washing his hands between patients. After his Nebraska clinic partially burned, apparently due to unsafe storage practices, he tried to continue to perform abortions using a generator and extension cord until government authorities shut him down! Worst of all, in January 2005, a 19-year old girl with Down syndrome named Christin Gilbert died as a result of a botched 3rd-trimester abortion. Gilbert's death resulted from an infection that could have been avoided if she had received proper care. More information on this can be found here.

Let's cut to the chase. What does Carhart actually do that is so controversial? Well, he performs a nice humane procedure known as "Dilation and Evacuation" that involves sticking a needle into a woman's belly to inject poison into the "fetus." The woman goes back home for two days to wait for the "fetus" to die. Then she returns to the clinic, where the abortionist uses forceps to remove the arms and legs of the "fetus." Then the tiny skull of the "fetus" is collapsed so it can be easily removed. Finally the remaining remnants are suctioned out of the uterus. If the "fetus" is older, sometimes it will be delivered whole into a toilet rather than being dismembered. Carhart routinely does this procedure in the third trimester, and legally he can do it in Maryland up until the ninth month of pregnancy, long past the point of viability. Sometimes the "fetus" is still alive at the time the abortionist begins the pleasant process of dismemberment, and there is abundant evidence it can feel pain. Much more information about this, including photos, diagrams, and descriptions, can be found here. Fellow late-term abortionist Martin Haskell testified in court: "Typically when the abortion procedure is started we typically know that the fetus is still alive because either we can feel it move as we're making our initial grasps or if we're using some ultrasound visualization when we actually see a heartbeat as we're starting the procedure." He goes on to say that often the "fetus's" limbs are removed while the "fetus" is still alive. Carhart himself testified back in 2004 that frequently in the process of performing these late-term abortions the "fetus" was delivered whole and alive, but added that he thought "removing the brain contents eventually would [kill the baby]." Well, thank goodness for that.

As you can see, there are a lot of relevant facts about Dr. Carhart's history and abortion practices that paint a slightly different picture than The Washington Post profile of a kindly, soft-spoken grandfather who just wants to help women. It is disheartening for those of us fighting so hard against Carhart's brutal late-term abortion practice to read such biased reporting from the most influential media outlet in the area. With news organizations like The Washington Post shaping public opinion, it is hard to believe that anyone is willing to identify as pro-life.

I suppose all those pro-choice activists carrying signs saying "Dr. Carhart is my hero" and "We love Dr. Carhart" are perfectly within their legal rights. But what kind of a sick, twisted individual would choose a man like this to be his or her hero? The pro-choice community hides behind euphemisms and vague language like "women's rights," "choice," and "reproductive services." The thing they want to avoid at all costs is any description of what is actually happening in abortion. The truth is our greatest weapon, and their greatest enemy. And so we fight on, until the whole world knows the real truth about "late-term abortions," until justice is really administered in this country for ALL.