Syte Reitz

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world…….

Browsing Posts tagged Supreme Court

What the Appointment of a Supreme Court Justice Means

 

In the light of Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment as Justice of the Supreme Court yesterday, two very profound statements must be shared —

  • U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s remarks on the Senate floor immediately preceeding the Senate vote to confirm Judge Barrett, and

  • Justice Barrett’s remarks immediately after being sworn in:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s remarks before Senate confirms Judge Barrett:

The Senate will render one of the most consequential judgements it can ever deliver.

We will approve a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.

Since the ink dried on the Constitution, only 114 men and women have been entrusted to uphold the separation of powers, protect people’s rights, and dispense impartial justice on the Supreme Court.

In a few minutes, Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana will join their ranks.

This body has spent weeks studying the nominee’s record. We’ve examined fifteen years of scholarly writings. About one hundred opinions from the Seventh Circuit. And testimonials from legal experts running the gambit from close colleagues, to total strangers.

There have been one on one meetings for every Senator who wanted one. And a week of intensive hearings.

All of it has pointed to one conclusion: this is one of the most brilliant, admired, and well-qualified nominees in our lifetime. Intellectually, Judge Barrett is an absolute all-star.

She graduated number one in her class at Notre Dame Law School. She clerked on the second highest federal court and the Supreme Court. Then she returned to her alma mater and became an award-winning academic.

Judge Barrett’s mastery of the Constitution gives her a firm grasp on the judicial role.

Constitution of America, We the People.

She has pledged to ‘apply the law as written, not as she wishes it were.’ Her testimony, her writings, and her reputation confirm a total commitment to impartiality.

And the nominee’s personal integrity and strength of character are literally beyond reproach.

She earned the highest rating from the left leaning American Bar Association.

They marveled at the, quote, ‘breadth, diversity, and strength of the positive feedback [they] received from judges and lawyers of all political persuasions.’

If confirmed, this daughter of Louisiana and Indiana will become the only current justice with a law degree from any school not named Harvard or Yale.

She’d be the first mother of school-aged children to ever sit on the Court. By every account, the Supreme Court is getting not just a talented lawyer, but a fantastic person.

We’ve heard moving testimony from former students whom Judge Barrett went out of her way to help and to mentor. Her past clerks describe an exemplary boss. Her fellow scholars describe a winsome, respectful colleague who is tailor made for the collaborative atmosphere of the Court.

By any objective standard, Judge Barrett deserves to be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

The American people agree. In just a few minutes, she’ll be on the Supreme Court.

Two weeks ago, a CNN journalist made this observation. ‘Let’s be honest — in another [political] age… Judge Amy Coney Barrett would be getting 70 votes or more in the U.S. Senate because of her qualifications.’

Now, we know that’s not going to happen.

These are not the days when Justice Scalia was confirmed 98-0 and Justice Ginsburg was confirmed 96-3. And by the way, I voted for both Ginsburg and Breyer. It seems like a long time ago now.

We spent a lot of energy in recent weeks debating this matter. I think we can all acknowledge that both sides in the Senate have parallel oral histories about the last thirty or so years.

Each side feels the other side struck first — and struck worst – and has done more to electrify the atmosphere around here about confirmations.

Now, predictably enough, I think our account is based off what actually happened. I was there, I know what happened.

I’ve laid it out earlier, and I’ll talk about it again so the American people understand how we got to where we are.

It was the Senate Democrats who spent the early 2000s boasting about their brand new strategy of filibustering qualified nominees from a Republican president.

They were proud of it. They found a new way to halt the process. Stop those crazy right wing judges that Bush 43 was going to send up.

They pioneered it because they knew what the precedent was at that point. At that point as we discussed before, it just wasn’t done. Or you could do it, but you didn’t.

And the best evidence that you shouldn’t do it was the Clarence Thomas nomination, confirmed 52-48. And all of us know that any one of us in this body has a lot of power to object. So, if any one of the 100 senators at that time – including people who were opposed to Justice Thomas, like Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy – could have made us get 60 votes and Clarence Thomas would not have been on the Supreme Court.

That’s how strong the tradition was, until the Democratic Leader led the effort in the early 2000s to establish the new standard.

Well, after establishing the new standard, they got weary of it. And in 2013 the so-called nuclear option was implemented because Republicans were holding President Obama’s nominee’s to the same standard that they themselves had created.

So, when the shoe got on the other foot they didn’t like it too much. It was too tight.

Senate Democrats, both in 1992 and 2007, helpfully volunteered how they would have dealt with a nominee like we did in 2016.

The then-Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Joe Biden, helpfully volunteered in 1992 when Bush 41 was running for re-election, that had a vacancy occurred, they wouldn’t have filled it.

There wasn’t a vacancy, but he just helpfully volunteered how they would deal if it if they had one.

Well, to one-up him, Leader Harry Reid and his friend the Democratic Leader said 18 months before the end of the Bush 43 period, if a vacancy on the Supreme Court occurred they wouldn’t fill it. That’s a fact.

What we’re talking about here are the facts of how we got to where we are,

I understand my Democratic friends seem to be terribly persuaded by their version of all of this. All I can tell you is: I was there, I know what happened. And my version is totally accurate.

The truth is, on all of this, we owe the country a broader discussion.

Competing claims about Senate customs cannot fully explain where we are.

Procedural finger pointing does not explain the torrent of outrage and threats which this nomination and many previous ones have provoked from the political left.

There are deeper reasons why these loud voices insist it is a national crisis.

It’s a national crisis when a Republican president makes a nominee for the Supreme Court.

Catastrophe looms right around the corner. The country will be fundamentally changed forever. When a Republican president makes a Supreme Court nominee.

They have hauled out the very same tactics for fifty years. Some of the opposition’s more intense, but the doomsday predictions about the outcome of nominating these extremists like John Paul Stevens, David Souter?

Why, somehow, everyone knows in advance that nominations like Bork, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett are certain to whip up national frenzies… while nominations like Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan are calm events by comparison.

This blaring asymmetry predates our recent disputes. And it comes, my colleagues, from a fundamental disagreement on the role of a judge in our republic.

We just have a fundamental difference of opinion. We just heard the Democratic Leader name all of these things that are threatened by this nominee. It sounds very similar to the tunes we’ve heard before.

We, like many Americans, want judges to fulfill a limited role the Constitution assigns to them: Stick to text, resolve cases impartially, and leave policymaking to the people and their representatives, which is what we do here.

We just spent four years confirming brilliant, qualified constitutionalists to the Supreme Court and lower courts who understand their roles.

53 circuit judges, over 200 judges in total, and we’re about to confirm the third Supreme Court Justice. What they all have in common — brilliant, smart, and know what a judge is supposed to be.

But the left thinks the framers of our country got this all wrong. They botched the job. 

The people who wrote the Constitution didn’t understand what a judge ought to be. As several Senate Democrats have reaffirmed in recent days, they find it quaint and naive to think a judge would simply follow the law.

Scalia used to say if you want to make policy, why don’t you run for office? That’s not what we do here.

Gorsuch said we don’t wear red robes or blue robes. We wear black robes. What they want is activist judges. They’ve made it quite clear. The Democratic Leader just a few minutes ago made it quite clear.

So what they are looking for is a small panel of lawyers with elite educations to reason backward from outcomes and enlighten all the rest of us with their morals and political judgment. Whether the Constitution speaks to the issue or not. They know best what’s for us. No matter what the Constitution or the law may say.

And for the last several decades, in many cases, that’s what they have gotten. One activist decision after another, giving us subjective preferences of one side of the force of law.

Across a wide variety of social, moral, and policy matters that a healthy society would leave to democratic debate, the personal opinions of judges have superseded the will of the people.

Now, they call that a success, and they want more of it.

President Obama actually was refreshingly honest about this. He said he wanted to appoint judges who had empathy. Think about that for a minute. What if you are the litigant before the judge — for whom the judge does not have empathy? You’re in tough shape. So, you give them credit for being pretty honest about this. That’s what they’re looking for. The smartest, leftist people they can put to make all the decisions for the rest of us, rather than leaving it to the messy democratic process to sort these things out the way the framers intended.

And that is clearly why we have taken on such an outsized, combative atmosphere with regard to these confirmations. That’s why they have become so contentious, because they want to control not only the legislative body but the judicial decisions as well. 

Let me just say this — there is nothing innate about legal training that equips people to be moral philosophers.

And incidentally, as I just said, that’s why these confirmations have taken on such an outsized, unhealthy significance. The remarks we just heard from across the aisle show exactly why the framers wanted to stop the courts from becoming clumsy, indirect battlefields for subjective debates that belong in this chamber and over in the House and in state legislatures around the country.

The left does not rage and panic at every constitutionalist judge because they will simply enact our party’s policy preferences. Any number of recent rulings make that very clear.

Their problem is that every judicial seat occupied by a constitutionalist is one fewer opportunity for the far left to go on offense.

At the end of the day, this is a valid debate. 

The difference of opinion on the judicial role is something the Senate and our system are built to handle. But there is something else our system cannot bear. As you have heard tonight, we now have one political faction essentially claiming they now see legitimate defeat as an oxymoron.

Our colleagues cannot point to a single Senate rule that’s been broken. They made one false claim about committee procedure which the parliamentarian dismissed.

The process comports entirely with the constitution.

We don’t have any doubt, do we, that if the shoe was on the other foot, they would be confirming this nominee. And have no doubt if the shoe was on the other foot in 2016, they would have done the same thing. Why? Because they had the elections that made those decisions possible. The reason we were able to make the decision we did in 2016 is because we had become the majority in 2014. 

The reason we were able to do what we did in 2016, 2018, and 2020 is because we had the majority. No rules were broken whatsoever. So all of these outlandish claims are utterly absurd, and the louder they scream, the more inaccurate they are.

You can always tell, just check the decibel level on the other side. The higher it goes up, the less accurate they are.

Our democratic colleagues keep repeating the word illegitimate as if repetition would make it true.

We’re a constitutional republic. Legitimacy does not flow from their feelings. Legitimacy is not the result of how they feel about it. You can’t win them all, and elections have consequences.

And what this Administration and this Republican Senate has done is exercise the power that was given to us by the American people in a manner that is entirely within the rules of the Senate and the Constitution of the United States.

The irony indeed. Think about how many times our Democratic friends have berated President Trump for allegedly refusing to accept legitimate outcomes he does not like. How many times have we heard that? ‘President Trump won’t accept outcomes he does not like.’

Well, they’re flunking that very test right before our eyes. That’s their problem. They don’t like the outcome. Well, the reason this outcome came about is because we had a series of successful elections. One of our two major political parties increasingly claims that any political system that deals them a setback is somehow illegitimate.

And this started actually long before this vacancy, as we all know. Over a year ago, Senate Democrats sent the Court an amicus brief that read like a note from a gangster film. They wrote: ‘The Supreme Court is not well… Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured’…’

In March, the Democratic Leader stood outside the Court and threatened multiple Justices by name. ‘You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions!’ ‘You will pay the price!’
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That’s the Democratic Leader of the Senate in front of the Supreme Court mentioning justices by name and in effect saying, if you rule the wrong way, bad things are going to happen.

For multiple years now, Democrats in this body and on the presidential campaign stump have sought to revive the discredited concept of court-packing.

Every high school student in America learns about Franklin Roosevelt’s unprincipled assault on judicial independence. Now the left wants to repeat it.

And former Vice President Biden, who spent decades condemning the idea here in the Senate, obediently says he’ll look into it.

Most importantly, the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg said last year: ‘nine is the right number.’

That’s the vacancy we’re filling right now. I don’t think any of them have quoted her on this issue lately, have you? Ruth Bader Ginsburg said ‘nine is the right number.’

These latest threats follow decades of subtler attempts to take independent judges and essentially put them on political probation.

How many consecutive nominees have Democrats and the media insisted would, quote, ‘tip the balance’ of the Court?

Has anyone tallied up how many hard right turns the courts have supposedly taken in our lifetimes?

All this ominous talk is a transparent attempt to apply improper pressure to impartial judges.

Rule how we want, or we’re coming after the Court. Vote how we want, or we’ll destroy the Senate.

These have been the Democratic demands. This is not about separation of powers. 

It’s a hostage situation.

Elections come and go. Political power is never permanent.

But the consequences could be cataclysmic if our colleagues across the aisle let partisan passions boil over and scorch the ground rules of our government.

The framers built the Senate to be the nation’s firewall.

Over and over, this institution has stood up to stop recklessness that could have damaged our country forever.

Tonight, we are called to do that again.

Tonight, we can place a woman of unparalleled ability and temperament on the Supreme Court.

We can take another historic step toward a judiciary that fulfills its role with excellence, but does not grasp after power that our constitutional system intentionally assigns somewhere else.

And we can stand loud and clear that the United States Senate does not bow to intemperate threats.

Voting to confirm this nominee should make every single Senator proud.

So I urge my colleagues to do just that.”

Justice Barrett’s remarks:

Thank you. Thank you so very much. Thank you all for being here tonight and thank you, President Trump for selecting me to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. It’s a privilege to be asked to serve my country in this office, and I stand here tonight, truly honored and humbled.

Thanks also to the Senate for giving its consent to my appointment. I am grateful for the confidence you have expressed in me and I pledge to you and to the American people that I will discharge my duties to the very best of my ability. This was a rigorous confirmation process. And I thank all of you, especially Leader McConnell and Chairman Graham for helping me to navigate it. My heartfelt thanks go to the members of the White House staff and Department of Justice who worked tirelessly to support me through this process. Your stamina is remarkable, and I have been the beneficiary of it.

Jessie and I are also so grateful to the many people who have supported our family over these last several weeks. Through ways both tangible and intangible, you have made this day possible. Jesse and I have been truly awestruck by your generosity. I have spent a good amount of time over the last month at the Senate, both in meetings with individual senators and in days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The confirmation process has made ever clearer to me one of the fundamental differences between the federal judiciary and the United States Senate. And perhaps the most acute is the role of policy preferences. It is the job of a Senator to pursue her policy preferences. In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside. By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give into them. Federal judges don’t stand for election, thus they have no basis for claiming that their preferences reflect those of the people.

This separation of duty from political preference is what makes the judiciary distinct among the three branches of government. A judge declares independence, not only from Congress and the President, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her. The Judicial Oath captures the essence of the judicial duty. The rule of law must always control.

My fellow Americans, even though we judges don’t face elections, we still work for you. It is your Constitution that establishes the rule of law and the judicial independence that is so central to it. The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or favor and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences. I love the Constitution and the Democratic Republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it. Thank you.

 
 

 

Soggy Solstice?

 

While the President of the United States in on the verge of  a scandal equivalent to Nixon’s Watergate,
…..and…..
the Supreme Court of the United States is on the verge of a historical decision on ObamaCare that will redefine the powers and balance of government in the United States,
…..and…..
the Catholic Church, the largest religious denomination in the United States is calling for prayer for liberty  “in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,”

what do you think made the front page of MSNBC news?
The Soggy Solstice.
Newsflash: It rained in England.

The 0.1 of 1% of Americans who are pagans will be very happy to know.
The rest of us, 100% Americans, 80% Christians, and 25% Catholics, can find the real news elsewhere.

P.S. For the 80% Christians: Come to the Fortnight for Freedom tonight; 7 PM July 21st, 2012, at the Wisconsin State Capitol, on the State Street steps.

Now that Obama’s Buddy (Putin) is Back

or

Putin Sworn in as Russia’s President Amid Protests

or

“Attempts to shut people’s mouths with the help of a police baton are senseless and extremely dangerous.”

My photo op with Vlad Vladimirovich Putin

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Putin Summarized

So let’s summarize this “democratically elected” Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s background…
  • This guy belonged to the KGB.
  • He was in charge of surveillance of the student body of Leningrad State University.
  • For Russia, he’s interested in “sovereign democracy,” with no similarity to the American or British political systems.
  • Putin sought to increase Russian military presence in the Arctic.
  • He signed the Kyoto Protocol, under which Russia was not faced with any mandatory cuts, but other nations were.
  • He resumed long-distance flights of Russian strategic bombers.
  • Putin criticized the United States’ “monopolistic dominance in gobal relations.”
  • He opposed the U.S. missile shield in Europe.
  • Vladimir sought to strengthen Russian ties with the People’s Republic of China, to participate in joint Russian-Chinese military exercises.
  • Many experts believe Putin is trying to set up an Asian version of OPEC with Red China as an anti-NATO bloc.
  • Putin helped Iran with the construction of its first civilian nuclear power facility.
  • He enjoyed warm relations with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.
  • He re-established stronger ties with Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
  • Putin openly asserted tough new role for Russia in international politics, resembling the old role of Russia; the toughest speech from a leader of Russia since the time of the Cold War (Munich speech, 2007).
  • Putin Criticized the policies of the U.S. and NATO, condemning the “unipolar model of international relations as flawed and lacking moral basis.”
  • Putin condemned the hypocrisy of countries trying to teach democracy to Russia.
  • Putin maintains state-owned and state-controlled television.
  • Gorbachev accused Putin of suppression of news media and or election rules counter to the democratic ideals he has promoted.

Putin’s Recent Power

Putin sworn in

Putin was President of Russia for two consecutive terms, from 2000 to 2008.  Due to constitutionally mandated term limits, he could not run for a third term.  His right-hand man Medvedev ran instead, and appointed Putin as his Prime Minister for the past 4 years.  Now, after “sitting out” one term, Putin is again eligible for two more terms, this time 6-year terms, through 2024. This “election” has effectively put Putin (and his right-hand-man Medvedev) in control of Russia for up to 24 years.

Protests Against Putin – “For Fair Elections”

Moscow Rally, December 2011

Putin’s potential return was protested last winter by young urban professionals and successful middle class Russians through several demonstrations from December 2011- March 2012.  Demonstrators (up to 160,000 per event) demanded “Fair Elections”  after Putin’s candidacy was announced. About 1,000 people were arrested.
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Crackdowns Continue

Helmeted police clubbing demonstrators

On May 6, 2012, one day before Putin’s inauguration, 20,000 demonstrators protested and tried to march toward the Kremlin.  Helmeted riot police beat back the crowds with batons and detained more than 400 people. More than 100 of them under age 27 were issued draft notices, the Interfax news agency reported.

Today, May 7, 2012, about 1,000 protesters  tried to protest along Putin’s  motorcade route to the Kremlin.
Putin’s response was unprecedented security measures in the center of Moscow, where streets were closed to traffic and passengers were prevented from exiting subway stations.  Over 700 people have been detained.

 

The Passing of the “Nuclear Suitcase”

Putin's "Nuclear Suitcase" (1999)

The Kremlin ceremony of passing the “nuclear suitcase” from outgoing leader Dmitry Medvedev to Mr Putin was overseen by Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, news agency Interfax reported.

Widely seen as a relic of the Cold War stand-off between Moscow and Washington, the suitcase accompanies the Russian president on all his foreign trips.The Australian

“Back in the U.S.S.R.”

USSR flag

In the light of above facts, how can anyone call Russia a democracy today?
We are back in the USSR.

I come from a Lithuanian family displaced by Soviet (U.S.S.R.) occupation, annexation, deportation of 120,000 people in 1940, followed by attempted sovietization of Lithuania.

I can only hope and pray for the Russian people today, as well as for the rest of us. An old Soviet brand of autocracy seems to be creeping back into the government of Russia, against the wishes of the Russian people, and under the guise of democracy.  Putin continues to quote democracy, while defying all democratic principles shamelessly.

Attempts to shut people’s mouths with the help of a police baton are senseless and extremely dangerous. –  Gennady Zyuganov, Communist Party leader.

When even a Communist Party leader criticizes Putin’s heavy-handed autocracy, you know tyranny is afoot.
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Tyranny:  arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.
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Lithuania’s Take on Putin

Lithuanian Flag

Lithuania, previously a small, trampled neighbor of Russia’s,  now an independent  sovereign nation, has had much experience living at the foot (and at times under the foot) of  Russia.  For Lithuanians, watching developments in Russia is essential for survival.
The Lithuania Tribune has an interesting analysis, Now that Vladimir Putin is back, by Girnius.
Girnius points out:

Girnius

The ex-state security officer (Putin was in the KGB) is inclined to see hidden enemies and conspiracies where others only see coincidences. The level of suspicion of Putin and his supporters will only increase. Now that the opposition has become more active, it will not stop, maybe even get stronger, especially if the opinion of some observers happens to be true that the protests in response to the fabricated election results showed to the Russian people that the king was naked, that, despite the talks about the ruthless government of Putin and their own qualms, the Kremlin was vulnerable.

Even in the most favourable conditions it is naive to expect good relations with Russia. The imperial mindset is rooted so deeply in the ruling layers that Moscow simply doesn’t know how to communicate normally with its neighbours, especially the post-Soviet countries.
The caution expressed by Girnius towards Putin is not evident the the US.
As President Obama continues to pal up with Vladimir Putin behind out backs, half of America naively continues to support Obama.
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Obama and Putin

Last month, President Barack Obama’s private message to Putin was overheard:
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Apparently President Obama has secret plans with Vladimir Putin for nuclear arms reduction.  Plans in  defiance of the will of the American electorate, since Obama tells Vladimir secretly that he will “have more flexibility after his election”.
Obama’s secret defiance of the American electorate constitutes a traitorous violation of the Constitution of the United States, and a violation of President Obama’s oath of office, to protect that Constitution.
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America is Asleep

Despite evidence of Barack Obama’s secret and traitorous alliance with Vladimir Putin, half of Americans participating in Gallup polls continue to support Barack Obama for President.
So, unless some straw-grasping explanation for the invalidity of Gallup polls can be imagined (could Gallup be biased, like the bulk of the media?; or perhaps do conservatives refuse to participate in polls, thereby skewing the results?) – unless the validity of Gallup polls can be questioned,  it appears that America is asleep and is in complete ignorance of the dangers at our doorstep.

 

More Tyrants

Putin is not the only autocrat taking over and expanding powers of government in 2012.
The number of autocratic tyrants is increasing.

Election 2012;
Stay Tuned!

The November 2012 election will determine whether the United States reverses Obama’s present path toward expanding government power and increased spending.  Many interesting events are coming up very soon, which will determine America’s future:
  • The Wisconsin recall election June 5, 2012 – will determine on a State level whether expanding government or austerity will be chosen by the American people.  Wisconsin’s election will influence similar battles coming up soon in other States.
  • The Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare is also coming up in June — will President Obama’s largest attempt at expanding government control and mandates be upheld, or will it fail?  ObamaCare is also President Obama’s largest attempt at expanding Planned Parenthood and abortion.
  • The Republican Primary nominee should also crystallize in June; by June, Mitt Romney may have the 1144 delegates needed for the nomination.  If not, there could be a very unpredictable and exciting convention.
  • June also brings the release of the movie 2016, a movie produced by the producer of Schindler’s List, based on the New York Times best-seller by Dinesh D’Souza.  The movie documents theories of Barak Obama’s anti-colonialism (and his resulting hatred for America).  If this movie becomes a box office hit, it could landslide the election.
  • Finally, November brings the actual election, which will determine whether Barak Obama remains President of the United States.

One Less Tyrant

Obama's Flexibility

Let us hope, work, and pray that Election 2012 is a fair election, that Americans realize what is at stake, and that Vladimir Putin’s buddy Obama loses the traitorous “flexibility” he promised Vladimir Putin after the election, because Obama has been removed from office.

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The world needs one less tyrant. The world needs a model for responsible spending, a negation of the self-destructive abortion agenda, and a new and serious model for self-governance.  America, originally based on Judeo-Christian principles, still has the option to return to those Judeo-Christian principles and to provide that model for the world again.
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May God Continue to Bless and Guide America!

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