Written by Phyllis Schlafly
It should have been a loud wakeup call in December when North Korea successfully launched a three-stage rocket delivering a payload in orbit around the globe. This event established North Korea’s credentials as having intercontinental ballistic missile technology. On December 23, North Korean officials announced that an analysis of the debris from the rocket shows it has the ability to reach the U.S. mainland.
North Korea’s test was a surprise to Americans, to the Obama Administration and to Congress because its last couple of tests had been failures. More alarming was the fact that the launch was a surprise to our intelligence community, which didn’t know the North Koreans had perfected this technology, and didn’t anticipate a launch.
There should have been an immediate demand that the Obama Administration fulfill its constitutional duty to “provide for the common defense.” What could be a more important duty, and a more pressing need for spending our tax dollars, than to save us from being incinerated by nuclear bombs?
Ballistic missiles combined with nuclear or chemical weapons are the way an evil enemy country without an airforce or military can project power outside of its borders and threaten the United States. Rockets and missiles are the weapons of choice for terrorists and rogue groups expand their reach of their weapons and threaten us.
An unprecedented number of countries have now acquired or are trying to acquire ballistic missiles armed with warheads of mass destruction. North Korea has more than two nuclear weapons and over a thousand ballistic missiles, and Iran has over a thousand ballistic missiles and is working as fast as it can to get nuclear weapons.
Homeland defense should not mean merely tidying up after a hurricane or tornado, housing a few thousand people in makeshift tents, and setting up food kitchens. North Korea’s successful missile launch dramatizes the fact that homeland defense demands that our government do something we cannot do for ourselves: have a functioning system that will shoot down enemy missiles before they kill Americans.
An operational U.S. anti-missile defense system is not only vital to save lives, but it’s the best deterrent to war and attack. We now know that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War at Reykjavik without firing a shot (as Margaret Thatcher famously said) when Reagan refused to abandon or trade away his plans for anti-missile defense.
The Nixon-Ford-Kissinger strategy for holding the giant Soviet missile threat at bay was MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction), i.e., our threat to retaliate and wipe Russia off the map. But MAD would be no deterrent to the terrorists because they are all too eager to commit suicide.
When President Reagan announced his plan to build an anti-missile defense, the Left went on the attack, calling it Star Wars and denying that it was possible to knock out an incoming missile in space, a feat often described as hitting bullet with bullet. Nobody any longer argues that an anti-missile defense doesn’t work, and the United States has had over 50 successes in its missile defense testing.
Israel proved the effectiveness and efficiency of anti-missile defense with its Iron Dome system, which by November 2012 had intercepted more than 400 rockets aimed at Israel’s population. Israel’s system was designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances up to 70 kilometers, and it accomplished its assigned task.
The United States has some missile defense interceptors in place but almost none to protect the eastern seaboard of our country. The United States needs to be equally protected and defended, from Alaska and Hawaii to our East Coast.
The United States spends about $700 billion annually on national defense, of which only one percent is spent on missile defense development and acquisition. We should strive for two percent of our defense budget in order to give anti-missile defense the priority and resources we so urgently need and to start a realistic modernization program.
The American people must be educated about the fact that a single nuclear weapon exploded a hundred miles above the United States could create electromagnetic pulse effects, thereby bringing our economy to a standstill. We could lose for many months all our electric power, communications, transportation, banking and other critical infrastructure systems.
That would be like a return to the 18th century. But we no longer have the agrarian society that supported Americans in those olden days because we now import the majority of our food. Because of the growing missile threat from hostile states and terrorists, the first duty of our government is to make deployment of a multi-layered missile defense system to protect the entire United States our urgent national priority.
While President Obama and Speaker John Boehner have been deciding how high to raise taxes, United Nations delegates partying in Doha, Qatar are planning to impose a new kind of tax on Americans. UN conferees have been discussing how they can start a global tax that would hit Americans hard.
The UN bureaucrats are not deterred by the fact that Americans should be protected by our U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 7, which specifies that “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” The greedy globalist UN bureaucrats have been conniving for about 20 years to bypass Congress and tax individual Americans, and now they think they have devised a formula to do this.
Their vehicle for this travesty is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UN convention delegates dream they can transform the economic structure of the world by a new global treaty using global warming fears (even though the globe has not warmed for the past 16 years).
UNFCCC’s executive secretary Christiana Figueres will call a “significant number of meetings and workshops” next year to prepare the new document. The plan is for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2014 to “convene leaders to mobilize the political will to ensure that the 2015 deadline is met” to start this global tax.
This new UN document will cap greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, and replace our use of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Government will be expected to subsidize green energy because plenty of evidence proves that alternate energy sources are far more expensive and cannot compete in the marketplace.
Obama gave a half-billion U.S. tax dollars to the solar-panel company Solyndra, which promptly went bankrupt and now is arguing about who will pay the $600-per-hour lawyers who worked on the deal. After Obama gave $133 million of a $249 million grant to a firm named A123 to make batteries for electric cars, that company went bankrupt, too, and has been auctioned to a Chinese company, Wanxiang Group.
The Doha delegates are salivating at the thought of creating a new $100-billion-a-year fund by imposing a first-ever global tax on the right to cause carbon dioxide emissions. This fund is to be headquartered in South Korea and sweetened by a gigantic flow of taxes on international monetary transactions, international shipping, and airline travel.
Agenda 21 is a document called the Declaration on Environment and Development and the Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests, which was signed by 178 governments including President George H.W. Bush in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. In 1995 President Bill Clinton followed up by an executive order that established a Presidential Council on Sustainable Development, giving globalist busybodies the excuse to work on it ever since.
Agenda 21′s goal is to “save the planet” and “sustain” life on Earth regardless of its adverse effect on human life and our standard of living. It is based on the very un-American notion that private property is “a social injustice since not everyone can build wealth from it.”
We certainly hope our Congress will reject any UN proposal to tax Americans or control our property rights. Farsighted Republicans adopted a Party Platform in Tampa Bay this year stating “We strongly reject the U.N. Agenda 21 as erosive of American sovereignty, and we oppose any form of U.N. global tax.”
To understand the relationship of Agenda 21 to taxes and property rights, you have to learn a new vocabulary of words and expressions. A basic dictionary of about a hundred words and phrases has been assembled by a group called Democrats Against Agenda 21, and here are just a few of the favorite words: climate change, Common Core curriculum, environmental impact, New World Order, outcome-based education, public/private partnership, quality of life, smart growth, social justice, growth management, high speed rail, land use policies, multi-use dwellings, sustainable development, and wildlands.
Agenda 21 lays down the rule that “Land . . . cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market.” The UN hopes to require every decision about property use to be based on environmental impact, global land use, and global population control and reduction, which means by the government, not by property owners.
The purpose of this UN attack on property rights is to reduce the U.S. standard of living to that of the rest of the world because the UN bureaucrats resent our prosperity using abundant energy. Agenda 21 was never approved by Congress or ratified as a treaty by the U.S. Senate, so Congress should have no trouble saying No to all UN tax or property restriction proposals.
When we list the areas that Barack Obama wants to “fundamentally transform” as he promised before his 2008 election, let’s not overlook his plans for education. They are as fundamentally transformational, costly and dictatorial as ObamaCare.
It’s well known that public schools are not graduating students as well-educated as formerly, that Americans score poorly on international tests, and that billions of federal dollars showered on public schools have not achieved any of the designated goals, which were to raise test scores and to eliminate the gap between higher income and lower income students. The Obama progressives want us to believe that the remedy is to turn over total control to the federal government.
That’s illogical and unacceptable, but it fits right in with Obama’s attitude that there is no higher power than the federal government. Now that Obama has been reelected, he will be able to accomplish this task with help from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a graduate of Chicago politics.
So the Obama Administration has latched onto a national education curriculum called Common Core that was launched by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2009. Those organizations have very official names as though they are government agencies, but they are actually private groups financed by foundations such as Gates and various corporations.
Their plan is to induce all elementary and secondary schools to accept a comprehensive national education system that will enforce a national curriculum. National standards will be locked in by the tests students must take called assessments, which in turn are tied to teacher evaluation. The standards instruct the teachers what to teach so their pupils can pass the tests and teachers can get positive evaluations.
This process bypasses parents and state and local school boards, and will fundamentally transform education by dictating what every child will learn and not learn. Of course, the Obama crowd loves this because a takeover of the education system could be as consequential as the takeover of banks “too big to fail,” or of General Motors, or of the health industry with ObamaCare.
No Child Left Behind was a step in this direction, but it allowed the states to set their own standards. Common Core, on the other hand, requires all states to adopt the same federally endorsed standards.
This will be achieved by carrot-and-stick methodology. The carrot is the offer of federal money, such as Race to the Top money granted if, and only if, the states first adopt the Common Core standards. The stick is the threat to withhold federal funds from states that don’t obey.
Cato Institute researchers have concluded that despite the claim that the adoption of Common Core standards is technically voluntary, “adoption will almost certainly be de facto involuntary, and the standards themselves ultimately federal.”
What some opponents are now calling “Obama Core” ought to be held unconstitutional because the federal government has no power over education under the Constitution. Furthermore, Obama Core is unlawful since it violates federal laws that specifically prohibit the federal government from having any sayso over curriculum or tests.
The essence of Obama Core is control of curriculum because that is where minds are molded and stimulated to higher levels of learning, and character is formed. The standards for Math and English Literature are the only two subjects that have so far been released, and even those were made public only after the majority of states had signed up to use Obama Core.
Many parents will recognize the Math standards as what is called Fuzzy Math, i.e., teaching very little arithmetic or standard algorithms, and class time wasted in having kids describe how they got their answers instead of teaching them the best way to get correct answers. The English and Literature standards are worse because they omit traditional and classical literature, confine kids to boring informational readings such as instruction manuals, and fail to teach cursive writing.
The so-called standards are set low enough for most students to pass the tests. Education commentators say that the graduation standards do not prepare students for college work, and some admit that the goal is only to move kids to two-year community colleges with open admission.
The Obama Core advocates are even planning to impose their standards on private schools. As the school choice movement grows, the attempt will be made to force any private or charter school that accepts public funds to adopt Common Core standards and have their students take the national tests.
Obama Core is a comprehensive plan to dumb down schoolchildren so they will be obedient servants of the government and probably to indoctrinate them to accept the leftwing view of America and its history.
The idea for massacring children in an elementary school or shooting up a mall filled with Christmas shoppers does not come from reading books, watching movies, or listening to music. Does the incitement for such unspeakable acts come from hours of role-playing violent video games?
As we speculate on what was going on in the mind of the murderer, the media are trying to blame his evil act on the lack of gun control. But the ownership of firearms or attending a shooting range do not desensitize someone to the cold-blooded murder of many children.
The act of mass, cold-blooded murder requires not only the idea for it, but also a desensitizing to the blood spattered result. Someone who murders dozens of children in an elementary school, as tragically occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, must have grown insensitive to the result or he would not have continued killing amid the horror.
A recent study found that the more someone plays violent video games, the more aggressive he is likely to become in real life. That study, released prior to its upcoming publication in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in March 2013, seems to report the obvious, but it needs to be said.
The mass murderer at the Newtown elementary school, Adam Lanza, had an existence that “largely involved playing violent computer video games in a bedroom,” as reported by the Telegraph in England. The British newspaper reported that Lanza had “spent hours playing violent video games such as Call Of Duty in a windowless bunker.”
The liberal media in the United States were slow to publicize his video game preoccupation, but finally Connecticut authorities confirmed that Lanza had been playing “graphically violent” video games. While growing up, one of his favorite games was the violent game called Dynasty Warriors. It is common for law enforcement to fail to disclose to the public the extent to which a mass murderer had been playing violent video games, as well as what psychiatric or illegal drugs he may have been using.
In the case of Adam Lanza, it was a plumber who worked in his house who told what he had witnessed to a British newspaper. The U.S. media have also been ignoring other facts about the 20-year-old Lanza such as his mental diagnosis, medication, and the fact that he didn’t have his father in the home because he had been divested of his father’s authority by a family court.
Few people over age 40 are aware of how extremely violent many of these video games are, and how many hours teenagers spend playing them. Even some bright students drop out of college due to an addiction to video games.
In an outrageous example of judicial supremacy, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2011 that the video game industry has a First Amendment right to sell violent video games even to minors. The case is Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, and it imposed a First Amendment prohibition on states from protecting youngsters against violent video games.
If that same case came before the U.S. Supreme Court today, it seems unlikely that there would be 5 votes (or 4 or even 3) for the ridiculous notion that training teenagers how to kill, and desensitizing them to the bloodshed they cause, is a First Amendment “right” that overrules parents’ rights over their own children. State legislators should pass laws to give the Supreme Court the opportunity to correct its mistake, and Congress should consider withdrawing this issue from federal court jurisdiction.
The Newtown elementary school is certainly not the only example of heinous crimes committed by young players of violent video games. A few days earlier in Oregon, video-game player Jacob Tyler Roberts massacred innocent people in a shopping mall in a manner reminiscent of a violent video game, and last summer there was a movie theater massacre killing 12 and injuring 58, by the suspect James Holmes, also a video game player.
In many of these terrible crimes, the perpetrator kills himself too, which makes the subsequent withholding of detailed information about his video game use unjustified.
A state legislature or Congress should immediately require full disclosure to the public of the violent game playing activity found on the murderers’ computers. Instead of scapegoating gun manufacturers, legislatures should require the violent video game industry to put big, clear warnings on their products as cigarette companies are forced to do.
The U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong in 2011 in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. This wasn’t a First Amendment case; it was a parents’ rights case and only Justice Clarence Thomas understood that.
The issue was a California law that would prohibit the $60 billion-a-year video game industry from selling hideously violent games to children without parental consent. Numerous other states and cities had unsuccessfully passed similar laws against selling violent video games to children, and now these games are wrapped nationwide by this recent Supreme Court ruling in the embrace of the Constitution.
The California law did not prohibit the video game industry from producing and selling these realistically violent games, and didn’t stop parents from buying or allowing their kids to buy them. The law said that merchants could not bypass parents and sell directly to children without parental approval.
As Justice Clarence Thomas explained in his eloquent dissent, it is “absurd” to suggest that the First Amendment’s “freedom of speech” includes a right to speak to minors without going through the minors’ parents. His dissent gives us a history lesson showing that the First Amendment was written in a society that assumed parents had absolute authority over the upbringing of their children “including control over the books that children read.”
The Court’s majority couldn’t see any difference between The Divine Comedy (assuming minors are capable of reading classic works of literature), or Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and teaching kids to role-play criminal acts such as torture and murder acted out on the screen in vivid color.
Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts pointed out that the Court’s decision now allows the industry to sell minors “games” that show victims “dismembered, decapitated, disemboweled, set on fire, and chopped into little pieces. . . . Blood gushes, spatters, and pools.”
There is a big difference between reading the printed page and role-playing criminal acts. Reading a book takes the words only as far as the reader’s own imagination. But video games blur the distinction between fantasy and reality, and train kids to be highly proficient murderers when they do go off the deep end.
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since the publication of her best-selling 1964 book, A Choice Not An Echo. She has been a leader of the pro-family movement since 1972, when she started her national volunteer organization called Eagle Forum. In a ten-year battle, Mrs. Schlafly led the pro-family movement to victory over the principal legislative goal of the radical feminists, called the Equal Rights Amendment. An articulate and successful opponent of the radical feminist movement, she appears in debate on college campuses more frequently than any other conservative. She was named one of the 100 most important women of the 20th century by the Ladies’ Home Journal.