Some of the most disturbing and well-organized political incidents in U.S. history are riots and civil unrest, such as what is now boiling in the state of Wisconsin, where leftist and unionist forces have commandeered the state capitol, Madison, and are demanding that Republican Governor Scott Walker bow to their demands for collective bargaining and other exorbitant government benefits and pensions.
Fred DuVal, a friend of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, has proposed a “Civility Institute” to promote compromise among opposing political parties and views. He believes the best way to start is by attempting to define “best practices and corrosive practices” in public discourse. DuVal puts it this way: “How do we nurture robustness on one hand and not in any way chill speech, and keep it in bounds that are not destructive to democracy? Will it change the nature of dialogue? That will be a tall order.”
The makers of the “Plan B” abortion pill want to broaden its reach to minors, and are asking the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to give the drug over-the-counter status to girls under 17 years old. As reported by FOX News, “Teva Pharmaceuticals, Plan B’s maker, submitted data from a study in which girls ages 11 to 16 used the drug to prove its effectiveness and safety. Girls under 17 currently need a doctor’s prescription to obtain the drug.”
As protests in Madison, Wisconsin dragged into their second week, both sides held support rallies for their cause across the country as the chaos spread to states such as Ohio and Indiana. Dozens of gatherings referred to as “solidarity events” were hosted across the United States to back the anti-reform Wisconsin demonstrators the week after protests started.
Six men were arrested in Mexico on February 23 in connection with last week’s murder of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Jaime Zapata. One of the men, Zetas cartel member Julian Zapata Espinoza, allegedly confessed to the killing, but claimed the attack was a case of mistaken identity. The arrest came as Mexican President Felipe Calderon announced a visit to Washington to meet with President Obama next week.
Despite the organization of massive union protests in Wisconsin in opposition to the "budget repair bill" proposed by Governor Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Assembly remained undeterred and passed the measure early this morning. The bill would raise the amount most state and local government workers pay for their healthcare premiums from about six percent of total costs to 12 percent, and it would raise their contributions for their pension benefits from less than one percent to almost six percent. It would also eliminate union collective bargaining for government employees for healthcare and pension benefits while allowing collective bargaining for salary increases not exceeding the increase in the Consumer Price Index.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney raised $4.7 million last year for his political action committee, Free and Strong America, and he shared some of that wealth through contributions to candidates for Congress committed to repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 — familiarly, if not affectionately, known as “ObamaCare.” Yet few have missed the irony of Romney campaigning now for repeal on the national level of the kind of healthcare reform he worked so hard to enact in Massachusetts. Romney has repeatedly been grilled about the similarities between “ObamaCare” for the nation and “Romneycare” for Massachusetts.
Perhaps the mainstream media was a bit too busy searching for violence within the Tea Party movement to notice that a Massachusetts Democrat said Tuesday it was time for the Wisconsin protesters to “get a little bloody.”
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Lloyd M. Krieger argues that while the Republicans in Congress are right to seek the repeal or defunding of ObamaCare, “the law has already yielded profound, destructive changes that will not be undone by repeal or defunding alone.” These changes, he says, can only be reversed by “active steps and new laws.”
Many Americans, including a growing number of political figures, claim to be conservatives. Not only do some attach this label to themselves, media operatives fasten it on a veritable parade of others, some of whom they wish to harm with the label and some of whom they seek to boost, however unworthily. But the wide-ranging views, some even contradictory, issued by these individuals should result in a good deal of head scratching. Why? Simply because, currently, there isn’t any commonly accepted definition of what it means to be a “conservative.”
As Congress nears its March 4 deadline for the expiration of the current continuing resolution that is funding the federal government, and budget negotiations between Congressional Republicans and Democrats are at a standstill, politicians are facing the reality of a potential government shutdown. For some, however, a shutdown could have potentially positive consequences.