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Chris Cuomo ~ Our Rights Do Not Come From God

Chris Cuomo: ‘Our Rights Do Not Come From God’

Cal Thomas
2/19/2015 12:01:00 AM – Cal Thomas

..the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.” (John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961)

It isn’t often that a member of the media reveals the philosophy behind his political ideology, but last week, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo outed himself. In an exchange with Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore about Moore’s refusal to adhere to a federal appellate judge’s order to ignore the state constitution and begin granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Moore said “…our rights contained in the Bill of Rights do not come from the Constitution, they come from God.”
Cuomo disagreed: “Our laws do not come from God, your honor, and you know that. They come from man.”
Obviously, Cuomo flunked civics. Does he really believe that man is responsible for bestowing rights, and can therefore take those rights away as he sees fit? That a right bestowed today by a governing body of mere mortals can be invalidated by another body, say, following an election? That my rights and yours are as fluid as quicksilver and dependent on who sits in the big chair in Washington?
It is not a new debate, but a debate worth renewing.
The framers of the Constitution clearly understood that in order to put certain rights out of the reach of government, whose power they wished to limit, those rights had to come from a place government could not reach.
Thomas Jefferson understood this well enough to write in the Declaration of Independence that our rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are “endowed by our Creator.” He added in the next sentence that the purpose of government is to “secure these rights.”
When government believes it can create or take away rights, it becomes a god unto itself and potentially endangers those rights. The only way to preserve them for ourselves and our posterity is to acknowledge they come from a higher place.
The English jurist, William Blackstone, who once studied in American law schools, understood this. Blackstone was a contemporary of America’s Founders, who referred to him more than any other English or American authority. It wasn’t until the middle of the last century that the Supreme Court began repudiating Blackstone and started making law and creating rights.
As noted on the website Blackstone Legal Fellowship, “Blackstone called this concept (of endowed rights) ‘ultra vires,’ which means it is beyond the authority of man to write a law that violates God’s law. Blackstone also said that law is fixed, it is uniform, and it is universal. It does not change based on who the president is, or who holds judicial positions. It is the same law for everyone at all times and in all places.”
The distinction between manmade law and laws that emanate from God is critical. Did civil rights legislation grant rights to African-Americans, or did they already possess those rights and government merely got around to recognizing them? Is not the Authority Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. frequently appealed to higher than any court or Congress?
If those rights were granted by government, the day might come when the cultural winds and public opinion shift and they could be taken away by the same institution that granted them. If they were endowed, then government has no right to create or remove them.
Man enacted laws sanctioning same-sex marriage. Judge Roy Moore argues that a Higher law, including for human relationships, should prevail, a Higher law that man cannot impeach. I believe he’s right.
Secular progressives believe in a “living Constitution” that constantly “evolves” to serve the people. The Founders (and Blackstone) believed the people are best served when they conform to laws established by God.
One doesn’t have to believe in God for this to work, but the alternative potentially puts the rights of everyone in peril should one group, or class, fall out of favor.

This is why Chris Cuomo is wrong about the source of our laws and Judge Moore is right.

Fact Checking California Journalism

Fact Checking California Journalism

Fact-checking journalism comes to California’s public radio airwaves and websites this summer with the launch of PolitiFact California, a partnership of Capital Public Radio and PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning website started by the Tampa Bay Times.
“We’ve found a great partner with Capital Public Radio to bring innovative fact-checking journalism to California voters around the state,” said PolitiFact Editor Angie Drobnic Holan.
The agreement marks a new chapter as the first PolitiFact state website launched in partnership with a radio news organization.
“This first-of-its-kind media partnership with PolitiFact is a natural fit for our role as a watchdog of California state government,” said Joe Barr, director of news and information for Capital Public Radio. “As the capitol press corps in Sacramento continues to dwindle, we’re proud to enhance our Capitol coverage.”
The partnership will launch in the summer of 2015, just in time for the 2016 political season, at www.politifact.com/california.
PolitiFact California reports will be distributed to more than 30 radio stations in and near California, reaching 3.2 million listeners each week through the Capital Public Radio Network.

PolitiFact California’s journalism also will be featured and promoted on PolitiFact.com, joining seven other PolitiFact state-based fact-checking websites. Those state sites include partnerships with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Austin American-Statesman, the Concord Monitor, the Miami Herald, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Providence Journal.

Obama’s Change To The Definition Of ‘Spouse’ Is Going To Have Far-Reaching Consequences

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Obama’s Quiet Change To The Definition Of ‘Spouse’ Is Going To Have Far-Reaching Consequences

Political Reporter

The Obama administration re-defined the word “spouse” Tuesday to include gay couples.

The Department of Labor quietly issued a new 52-page regulation, to be published in the Federal Register Wednesday, updating the term “spouse” to include gay couples so that gays now get job-protected leave from work to care for their gay partner or partner’s children or parents under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The new definition applies to all gay couples who were legally married in states where gay marriage is legal, regardless of whether or not they now live in states where gay marriage is not legal. The IRS also adopted this “place of celebration” definition of residency after the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down at the Supreme Court.

The regulation is rife with progressive editorializing:
“The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) revises the regulation defining ‘spouse’ under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993,” the regulation states. “Because of the Supreme Court’s holding in Windsor that section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, the Department is no longer prohibited from recognizing same-sex marriages as a basis for FMLA spousal leave.”
“…the Department is aware that the language surrounding marriage is evolving and that not all married individuals choose to use the traditional terms of husband or wife when referring to their spouse.”

“The Department intended the proposed definition to cover all spouses in legally valid marriages as defined in the regulation regardless of whether they use the terms husband or wife. The Department adopts the definition of spouse as proposed.”

“Legal recognition of same-sex marriage has expanded rapidly and the Department anticipates that the number of States and countries recognizing same-sex marriage will continue to grow.”

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California High Speed Rail to Ruin – Video

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Published on Feb 6, 2015
California’s once state-of-the-art highway system, built during the three decades following World War II, is in desperate need of attention.

Year after year, the state’s highway system supports more than 300 billion vehicle-miles traveled by its’ close-to-50-million drivers. For years now, highway officials have been voicing concerns about disrepair and maintenance needed. Unfortunately Governor Brown has been focused on his $68 billion high-speed rail pet project with no completion date in sight instead of California’s #1 mode of transportation–highways. Taxpayers’ money would be better spent on a road to somewhere than a road to ruin.

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California’s top-two primary hasn’t lived up to reformers’ hopes

California’s top-two primary hasn’t lived up to reformers’ hopes

By John Sides February 11

California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly has taken some artistic liberties with the state flag. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
California’s top-two primary, instituted for the first time in 2012, has made many hopeful that it would encourage moderate candidates to run and thereby reduce political polarization. The early analyses of California’s experience have not born out those hopes. Now, a new round of research conducted after the 2014 election reexamines the primary’s impact — and reaches much the same conclusion. You can find this research in the new issue of the California Journal of Politics and Policy. Below is some of the research that bears most directly on the question of polarization. See the issue for much more.

Thad Kousser:

Did the new rules implemented by California’s top-two system change the electoral game in the statewide primaries of 2014? This article looks first at overall turnout dynamics before focusing on the closely contested races to gain a spot on the November ballot in the governor’s, secretary of state’s, and controller’s races. Drawing on an original analysis of polling data as well as interviews with candidates themselves, I find that the top-two shaped the field of candidates who entered the primary, the partisan ballot designations that they chose, and the campaign tactics that they employed. Yet the new rules did not, in the end, discernibly alter the outcomes of the 2014 primaries.

Doug Ahler, Jack Citrin, and Gabriel Lenz:

An experiment conducted by the authors (2014) found that the top-two primary first used in California in June 2012 failed to achieve its sponsors’ goal of helping ideologically moderate candidates win. This paper explores why. A primary reason is that voters are largely ignorant about the ideological orientation of candidates, including the moderates they would choose if proximity voting prevailed. We document this in congressional races, focusing on competitive contests with viable moderate candidates. Our results have a straightforward implication: for the top-two primary to mitigate polarization, moderate congressional candidates would have to inform voters about their moderation to a far greater degree.

Eric McGhee:

California has recently changed the way candidates are nominated in its primaries. The reform was designed in part to encourage cross-party collaboration and moderate the state’s policy agenda. In this paper, I look specifically at the impact of the reform on business regulation issues, as measured by the legislative scorecards of the California Chamber of Commerce. I find that Democrats, but not Republicans, have indeed tended to be more moderate on these issues both recently and under similar reform conditions over a decade ago. But it is difficult to find firm evidence that would credit the reform for these changes. Moreover the Chamber’s policy agenda as a whole is not clearly more successful under such periods of reform. Instead, this business agenda—and by extension, the willingness of Democrats to support it—seems tied solidly to unified or divided partisan control of government.

Jonathan Nagler:

California’s Top Two Primary in 2012 gave voters the chance to cross party lines to vote for the candidate of their choice in what was the equivalent of a two-stage election with run-off. The top two vote getters in each race, independent of party, proceeded to the general election. Using a panel survey design I examine the behavior of voters under this system at both the primary (first) stage and general election (second) stage. I estimate how many voters chose to cross party lines, and how many did so for strategic reasons. I then examine how voters behaved when faced with different scenarios in the general election regarding the availability of their preferred candidate, or any candidate representing their party. I find that surprisingly few voters crossed party lines, and relatively few who did so did so for strategic reasons. If such low levels of crossover continue, the impact of the top two primary on candidate ideology will likely be small. At the general election stage, voters who were faced with two candidates of the opposing party often chose to simply abstain from such races at a high rate.

John Sides is an Associate Professor of Political Science at George Washington University. He specializes in public opinion, voting, and American elections.

© 1996-2015 The Washington Post

Would More Religion Make America A Better Place

Would More Religion Make America A Better Place?

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Most Americans say their religious faith is important in their daily lives and think the nation would be better off if they practiced that faith more often.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 53% of American Adults think America would be a better place if most people attended religious services on a regular basis. Just seven percent (7%) think the country would be worse off, while 30% believe more religious attendance would have no impact on society. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.
But 33% believe the government today discriminates against people of religious faith. A plurality (44%) disagrees. Twenty-three percent (23%) are undecided.
Forty-one percent (41%) of Americans also think the Supreme Court is too hostile toward religion, and half believe rulings by judges in recent years have been more anti-religious than the Founding Fathers intended.
Fifty-seven percent (57%) say it’s not possible to have a health community without churches.

The national survey of 800 Adults was conducted on January 26-27, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.
Eighty percent (80%) of voters view the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion as Very Important, but 54% see the government as a threat rather than a protector of their rights.
The more important their religion in their daily lives, the more likely Americans are to agree that regular religious services would make the country better. The more often Americans attend their respective houses of worship, the more likely they are to agree.
Older Americans generally think more religion would be better for the country compared to those who are younger.
Blacks believe more strongly than whites and other minority adults that the country would benefit from more religious attendance
Adults who say religion is Very Important in their daily life are much more likely than those who say it is less important to think the government discriminates against religious people. Evangelical Christians are the most likely to believe this, while Americans of other faiths generally disagree.
Fifty-two percent (52%) of all Americans say there’s not enough religion in the schools, compared to 11% who say there’s too much.
Seventy-six percent (76%) believe Christmas should be celebrated in public schools, and 72% say religious symbols such as Christmas nativity scenes, Hanukkah menorahs and Muslim crescents should be allowed on public land.
Americans support women in the pulpit and in senior leadership positions within the church. But they are more hesitant when it comes to supporting openly gay and lesbian religious leaders.
Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe the government should not be allowed to prosecute religious leaders for comments that criticize government and social policies that violate the basic beliefs of their religion.

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The national survey of 800 Adults was conducted on January 26-27, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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