U.S. Vets Dying for Obama's Attention
Nothing says "thanks for your service to our country" like serial abandonment. But that's the most some veterans can hope for under this administration, which may be at the heart of one of the worst cases of medical neglect America has ever seen. "We need a new sense of urgency," Barack Obama insisted back in 2007, on the hundreds of thousands of veterans waiting for health care.
Turns out, it's actually the man who campaigned on the issue who needed the urgency more. Despite warnings from the Bush administration, the GAO in 2012, and just last year from House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), it seems President Obama hasn't lifted a finger to help the thousands of former military members waiting months for medical attention through the VA -- and in 40 of those cases, dying before they received it.
Under fire from all sides, the White House is scrambling to explain how seven years went by without this deadly incompetence ever reaching the President's desk. Unfortunately for Press Secretary Jay Carney, nobody's buying the White House's old standby that "we get our news just like the rest of you." In an administration with the greatest communication and intelligence tools at its disposal, it's just a little too much for the American people to swallow. After Benghazi, Fast and Furious, ObamaCare, the IRS, and NSA, the President's surprised face isn't fooling voters.
Neither is his manufactured outrage, which comes and goes with each scandal faster than you can say "White House damage control." In 2012, the President claimed to be furious over the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. When ObamaCare broke every record for inefficiency, he insisted "nobody's madder than me that the website isn't working as well as it should." After news broke that the IRS was targeting its own conservative taxpayers, the President says, "Americans are right to be angry about it." Now the administration says nobody is "more outraged about this [VA] problem" than the President (a point the victims' families would surely dispute). Yet for every outburst, every public indignation, the anger quickly fades to indifference -- or worse, hostility.
While their loved ones were begging to see doctors for heart conditions, viruses, and even cancer, the very government that was supposed to be caring for these patients was faking waiting times and covering it up by shredding documents. "Two weeks" for an appointment turned into a year, until finally, Dr. Sam Foote, a VA employee, couldn't stand it any longer and blew the cover off the story.
And for 40 families -- and countless others -- it will still be too late. Their loved ones died, not in the line of duty, but waiting for the kind of care their sacrifice should have afforded them. After more than a decade of war, America's veterans have all kinds of needs. And how does their country express its appreciation? By ignoring them. None of this should come as a surprise, especially not from an administration that's spent the last five years using the military as a mule for its illicit agenda. The President's own Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, said in his book that "the only military matter, apart from the leaks, about which I ever sensed deep passion on his part was 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"
We see those same backwards priorities today. Honorable veterans are dying while dishonorable traitors get sex changes. While the President ignores the crises of military suicide rates, sexual assault, and even VA neglect, the Obama Pentagon is working overtime to give national security leaker Bradley Manning the ability to live out his sentence as a woman. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave the Army the green light to work out a transfer agreement with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which offers the kind of hormone therapy Manning demands.
Meanwhile, the men and women who served our nation with integrity are wasting away on "special lists," excluded from care. And if the administration will desert America's bravest when it comes to health care, what's to keep the government from putting conservatives on a similar "list" where they, too, would be denied care? Folks, this is the face of government health care. And in this administration's hands, it is a system that -- through incompetence, a political agenda, or both -- continues to be the President's greatest weapon.
Bible Ban a Testament to District's Intolerance
The Bible used to be the curriculum in our schools -- now it isn't even allowed in the classroom! Fortunately, that's about to change in Florida's Broward County, where a teacher wrongly ordered a fifth grader to hand over the Good Book during the class's free reading time. "I noticed that he [Giovanni] has a book -- a religious book -- in the classroom," Swornia Thomas told his parents. "He's not permitted to read those books in my classroom."
On the contrary, Liberty Institute pointed out, students are well within their rights to read Scripture. "Banning religious books like the Bible violates Giovanni's civil rights to religious free speech and free exercise," said Liberty Institute's Hiram Sasser. "The school's actions exemplify the hostility to religion that the U.S. Supreme Court has condemned."
Faced with a lawsuit from the child's parents, Broward County reconsidered. Liberty Institute cheered the decision and hope it emboldens other parents to fight back in the face of Christian censorship. Until then, our friends at Liberty pledge to continue monitoring the school system "to ensure that their actions toward student religious liberty match their words."
Marriage Rulings Par for the Courts
Oregon and Pennsylvania didn't have much in common -- until this week. Separated by thousands of miles, the two states united in outrage over the courts' decisions to strike down their marriage laws barely 24 hours apart. In Oregon, the 10 year-old marriage amendment was toppled in district court, where the state's attorney general refused to defend it.
Like a dozen black-robed activists before him, Judge Michael McShane argued, "Because Oregon's marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution." The state's failure to defend its own constitution, and the failure of an openly homosexual judge to recuse himself, demonstrate what an overreach this decision was. The deluge of rulings hit Pennsylvania next, where Judge John Jones wrote one of the harshest opinions yet, insisting that laws affirming natural marriage should be discarded "into the ash heap of history."
While both judges cited the Supreme Court's June decisions as a rational basis to destroy marriage, the high court said nothing that would give a federal judge the right to redefine marriage. In an interesting twist, both rulings came down within hours of Politico's new polling -- which showed that a clear majority of likely voters in swing states (52-48%) are digging in on their support of natural marriage.
Obviously, the Left's strategy of forcing this agenda through the courts is backfiring -- and it's only a matter of time before the country begins to discard the opinions of unelected judges on the same ash heap where Jones tried to send marriage. Just as the country has never accepted the Supreme Court's declaration of a "right" to destroy unborn human life in Roe v. Wade, we will never accept the Court's assertion of a "right" to change the definition of our most fundamental social institution. The courts can ignore natural law, or even suppress it, but they will never succeed in subduing it.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.