Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Kansas Republicans pass law banning dismemberment abortions

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this decision

I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this message

This good news story of the day is from Life News.

They write:

The state of Kansas has been a haven for late-term abortions for decades and pro-life advocates there successfully lobbied the legislature to approve new legislation that would help put an end to some of them.

In a move that it tells LifeNews.com will transform the landscape of abortion policy in the United States, National Right to Life announced a major new component of the right to life movement’s 2015 legislative agenda with introduction in Kansas of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. The pro-life group says the wave of pro-life victories in the 2014 election helped set the stage for this first-of-its-kind legislation, which would protect unborn children from the brutality of dismemberment abortion.

“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur after the baby has reached these milestones.”

Now, Kansas has approved the bill.

This morning by a voice vote, the Kansas House gave first round approval to landmark pro-life legislation, Senate Bill 95,”The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.”

Kansans for Life Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp, thanked legislators for their diligence in tackling the issue, and enacting a sound law crafted to withstand constitutional scrutimy, that will stop a horrific procedure.

“With the introduction of the bill by lead sponsor, Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma), and 24 Senate co-sponsors, the bill generated immediate grass-roots support and passed the Kansas Senate, 31-9. After a final vote in the House, (possibly later today), SB 95 will head to Gov. Sam Brownback, who has promised his signature,” Culp said.

Culp explained that SB 95 bans a particularly gruesome abortion method in which a living unborn child in her mother’s womb is ripped apart by an abortionist using sharp metal tools. In the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the unborn child, “dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb.”[Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 958-959].

The bill was carried on the House floor by Rep. Steve Brunk (R-Wichita), with assistance on legal areas by former judge, Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee) – both pro-life leaders in the House.

This is not the first time that Kansas governor Sam Brownback has come through for pro-lifers.

Kansas governor Sam Brownback

Kansas governor Sam Brownback

Here are some of his other achievements:

As you might expect, abortions are down in Kansas.

I am a 3-point conservative, not just a social conservative. It really matters to me that a politician support fiscal conservatism and foreign policy conservatism as well. I never used to like Sam Brownback much because he used to be more fiscally liberal. But that all changed when he became governor of Kansas and turned into this tax-cutting machine – and he’s cutting government spending, too. Now I can’t find a thing wrong with him. He saves unborn babies and returns money to taxpayers, so they can afford to get married and to raise children. Families need the money more than government does.

I think if you’re going to make a Democrat cry, it makes sense to make them cry a lot. So why not do all the things that they don’t want you to do?

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58 Democrats boycott Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, and below you can find a round-up of reactions.

Here’s The Daily Signal summarizing why Netanyahi opposes the deal:

Netanyahu made the case before Congress that the White House’s efforts to negotiate a deal with Iran have about as much in common with the Camp David Accords as an SNL skit has with a State of the Union Address. The administration’s proposal is anything but a realistic plan for peace.

A real peace plan would demonstrate that all sides were committed to not adding more nuclear weapons powers to the Middle East. The deal as it stands does the opposite—it preserves the nuclear option for Iran—and as result will prompt other regional powers to hedge their bets and prepare to go nuclear as well rather than live in Tehran’s nuclear shadow.

The proposed multi-year moratorium doesn’t end concerns that Iran will build a bomb and put nuclear warheads on long-range missiles. Rather, under the agreement, Tehran can walk up to the edge of becoming a declared armed-nuclear state with a robust missile force and sit there. That hardly sets the condition for sure peace in our time.

Meanwhile, even the shaky stalemate proposed by the agreement rests on the assumption that Tehran won’t follow North Korea’s path to breakout status by cheating on the agreement and then abrogating the deal when it no longer suits the regime.

At the same time the price for Obama’s peace comes pretty high. Tehran demands significant and immediate sanctions relief. That means more money for a corrupt regime with one of the world’s worst human records to perpetuate strangled hold over the people of Iran.

Obama’s deal also means more money for Tehran to prop-up the likes of Hezbollah, Assad, Hamas, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and murderous unaccountable Shia militias in Iraq (which are as big a threat to the future of the country as ISIS). As one of the world’s premier state-sponsors of terrorism, enabling and emboldening Iran’s efforts to reshape the region by force of arms and slaughtering innocents doesn’t make the prospects for peace in the region any brighter.

All the partisan controversy and vitriol over Netanyahu’s speech cannot obscure that the White House has no good answers to the legitimate concerns he raised.

Breitbart News summarizes how the speech was received:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a passionate, inspiring, thoughtful, and “game changing” speech before the American Congress which lasted for about 45 minutes, during which time he was applauded 43 times, often for 15 seconds at a time. His words elicited many standing ovations.

The only other foreign leader to have spoken to Congress three times was Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister. In honor of that, Speaker of the House, John Boehnerplans to present Netanyahu with a bust of Churchill.

Netanyahu received wild applause when he said: “The world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.”

Israel’s Prime Minister again received rather thunderous applause and a standing ovation when he noted that Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was in the audience—and when he said: “My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, ‘never again!’ And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

At this point Congress outdid itself in term of applause and a standing ovation.

PM Netanyahu was greeted with a thunderous ovation when he first arrived and again after he was introduced.

And here’s Dennis Prager, writing at Investors Business Daily, explaining why Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu:

The prime minister of Israel is at the forefront of the greatest battle against evil in our time — the battle against violent Muslims. No country other than Israel is threatened with extinction, and it is Iran and the many Islamic terror organizations that pose that threat.

It only makes sense, then, that no other country feels the need to warn the world about Iran and Islamic terror as much as Israel.

That’s why, when Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the United Nations about the threat Iran poses to his country’s survival and about the metastasizing cancer of Islamist violence, he unfortunately stands alone.

Virtually everyone listening knows he is telling the truth. And most dislike him for it. Appeasers hate those who confront evil.

Given that this president is the least likely of any president in American history to confront evil — or even identify it — while Benjamin Netanyahu is particularly vocal and eloquent about both identifying and confronting evil, it is inevitable that the former will resent the latter.

Here is the list of 58 Democrats (House and Senate) who walked out of the speech.

And a number of top Democrats — including Vice President Joe Biden, whose job description includes the title President of the Senate — didn’t attend.

[…]At least 50 Democratic House members and eight senators who caucus with the Democrats said in recent weeks they wouldn’t attend the speech, many in protest to a move that they say is an affront to the president.

The full transcript of the speech has been posted by The Weekly Standard.

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Republicans legislators pushing good bills forward and blocking bad bills

What kinds of bills do Republicans pass? Let’s take a look at a couple.

The first story is about North Dakota Republican Senator John Hoeven, and it’s from the Washington Times.

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven (right)

Excerpt:

Senators approved the Keystone XL pipeline in a momentous vote Thursday as nine Democrats bucked their party leaders and joined Republicans in backing the long-stalled project, setting up an eventual showdown with President Obama, who has vowed a veto.

The vote marks the first major accomplishment for the Senate Republican majority, who carefully selected the pipeline to put at the top of the agenda in hopes of preparing Democrats for even bigger tests with Mr. Obama.

“This took a bipartisan effort to get done. That’s what the people want,” said Sen. John Hoeven, the North Dakota Republican who sponsored the legislation.

The 62-36 vote is a high-water mark for the pipeline, which had never before cleared the Senate on a binding vote, and just two months ago fell to a Democratic filibuster.

The bill still must be combined with a House version that passed the chamber this month before it heads to Mr. Obama.

This is a bill that creates jobs, lowers the price of gas, makes us less dependent on foreign sources of oil and it doesn’t harm the environment.

Having a job is good because when you earn your own success, you are usually happier than you would be receiving money from the government. Lower gas prices are good, because you can spend the money you safe on useful things, like date night with your wife, or maybe a gift for your mom or dad. Making us less dependent on foreign oil is good, because some of these nations we buy oil from don’t like us very much, and that’s putting it nicely. We really should not be buying oil from Venezuela, for example. And finally, it’s a good idea to conserve nature as it is, because we all like animals, trees, flowers, etc., and we should keep it all clean. A pipeline is safer for moving oil than using trains – fewer environmental disasters.

Next story is about Texas senator Ted Cruz, and it’s from the Daily Signal.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Excerpt:

Sen. Ted Cruz wants to protect taxpayers from political targeting by the Internal Revenue Service. The Texas Republican introduced legislation yesterday making it crime to engage in such behavior as questions still linger about the full extent of the IRS scandal.

This is not the first time Cruz has offered this type of legislation. In February 2014, he introduced amendments to the STOP Identity Theft Act. Those measures, however, were defeated by Democrats and did not make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Free speech is not a partisan issue. The IRS has no business meddling with the First Amendment rights of Americans,” Cruz said during last year’s debate.

With a new Republican Senate majority, Cruz is hopeful that this time the language will pass independently as a bill. In a press release, Cruz blasted the lack of action by President Obama and his administration in response to the IRS scandal.

“In May 2013, President Obama declared the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservative groups ‘intolerable and inexcusable,’ yet to this date no one has been held accountable for it,” Cruz said in a statement.

Cruz’s bill would make it a crime for any IRS employee to willfully target anyone based solely on political beliefs. Any employee found in violation would be subject to a fine, up to 10 years in prison, or both.

“This is a well thought out amendment to the IRS code to try and deter and punish the type of naked political targeting engaged in by Lois Lerner and other IRS employees,” said Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the election law reform initiative and senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

I think it’s a good idea for government not to be used as a weapon to punish people who want less government and more freedom. Don’t you?

Last one is about Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa, as reported by Doug Ross.

Iowa Congressman Steve King

Iowa Congressman Steve King

Excerpt:

“We’re extremely pleased that Congressman King has introduced the National Right to Work Act, intensifying a growing debate about labor law and worker freedom in our country. This legislation would enshrine the common-sense principle – already enforced in nearly half of U.S. states – that no worker should be compelled to join or pay dues to a union just to get or keep a job.

“In an age of legislative overreach, this is one of the shortest bills ever introduced. A National Right to Work Act does not add a single word to federal law. It simply removes language in the National Labor Relations Act that gives union officials the power to extract dues from nonunion workers as a condition of employment.

“Voluntary association is a quintessential American ideal and the case for Right to Work has always rested on the principles of employee freedom, but passage of a National Right to Work law will also pay economic dividends. Studies demonstrate that workers in Right to Work states enjoy greater private sector job growth and higher disposable incomes than their counterparts in states without Right to Work protections.

“The Right to Work principle is also popular with the public. Polls consistently show that 80 percent of Americans and union members support the principle of voluntary unionism.

“A National Right to Work Act enshrines worker freedom while providing significant economic benefits for workers. The National Right to Work Committee is mobilizing its 2.8 million members to call on their Congressperson to support the National Right to Work Act.”

Evidence shows that right-to-work states are more attractive to job creators, which results in lower unemployment in states that adopt right-to-work.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, Republican legislators blocked three pro-abortion bills.

If you missed my recent post on four good things that Republican governors are doing, I recommend reading that as well.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

If you want some good news, look to Republican governors

Let’s start with the leftist Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel – no fan of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

They write:

For the first time Thursday, Walker committed to drug testing recipients of BadgerCare Plus health coverage and also pledged free treatment and job training for those testing positive for drugs.

But the governor offered no details on how the state would cover the costs of that or the testing or whether he expected it to cost the state money overall, as a similar program did in Florida, or save tax dollars. The budget, he said in a statement, would also drop to four years from five the limit on how long a recipient could be in the Wisconsin Works, or W-2, program, the replacement in this state for traditional welfare.

“We know employers in Wisconsin have jobs available, but they don’t have enough qualified employees to fill those positions,” Walker said. “With this budget, we are addressing some of the barriers keeping people from achieving true freedom and prosperity and the independence that comes with having a good job and doing it well.”

The governor said the drug-testing proposal would apply only to able-bodied adults, not the elderly or children, and would include transitional jobs initiatives. Walker wants to test all FoodShare and BadgerCare applicants but limit the drug testing for unemployment benefits to certain applicants.

The idea expands on another requirement passed by Walker and Republicans in 2013 to make able-bodied FoodShare recipients receive job training.

Michigan Republican governor Rick Snyder has the same idea, and his bill was signed into law last month.

The Daily Signal reports on the latest effort by South Carolina Republican governor Nikki Haley to cut income taxes.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

They write:

The governor of South Carolina has proposed lowering the state’s income tax rate from 7 percent to 5 percent, accompanied by a 10 cent hike in the state’s gas tax.

In her annual State of the State address on Wednesday, Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., said the state’s income tax puts it at a competitive “disadvantage.”

“In order to keep the ball rolling in our economy, we must bring down our income tax,” Haley said.

She acknowledged that despite her desire to cut the income tax rate, South Carolina needs to invest in its infrastructure. Greenville Online reports that the South Carolina Department of Transportation “has rated almost half the state’s primary and secondary roads in poor condition.”

Haley proposed doing “three things at once that will be a win-win-win for South Carolina.”

The first would be lowering the income tax over the next decade, which amounts to a 30 percent reduction. The lower 5 percent rate would take South Carolina’s nationwide income tax ranking from 38th to 13th.

While the income tax rate would go down, the gas tax would increase by 10 cents over the next three years. Haley said that the revenue generated from this tax will go “entirely toward improving our roads.”

I have no problem with raising consumption taxes in exchange for cutting business and/or income taxes.

And here’s leftist ABC News discussing Kansas governor Sam Brownback latest proposal.

Kansas governor Sam Brownback

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback

They write:

Notable among them is a first-of-its-kind measure being drafted in Kansas, with the backing of the National Right to Life Committee, which would ban doctors from using forceps, tongs or other medical implements to dismember a living fetus in the womb to complete an abortion.

Proponents have titled the bill the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act and say it targets a procedure used in about 8 percent of abortions in Kansas.

“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life’s director of state legislation, Mary Spaulding Balch, who hopes the Kansas bill will be emulated in other states.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has vowed to fight the bill “every step of the way.”

That article has a few more pro-life measures being pushed by Republicans in other states, although Democrat governors are threatening to veto them.

The American Enterprise Institute talks about the job creation juggernaut created by Republican governor Rick Perry in Texas.

Texas Governor Rick Perry

Texas Governor Rick Perry

They write:

The Texas Workforce Commission released state employment data today for the month of December, and job growth in the Lone Star State continues to lead, and in fact carry the nation’s improving labor market as the chart above shows. Here are some highlights of the December employment report for Texas:

1. Texas ended the year with the state’s largest ever year-over-year payroll gain with the eye-popping addition of 457,900 new jobs between December 2013 and December 2014. That’s more than 1,700 new payroll jobs that were added every business day last year in the Lone Star State, and 220 new jobs every business hour or almost 4 new jobs added every minute!

2. In just the last month of December, which marked the 51st consecutive month of employment growth, Texas added 45,700 new payroll jobs, which was more than 2,000 jobs every business day, almost 260 jobs every hour, and more than 4 new jobs every minute! The strong job growth in December brought the state’s jobless rate down to 4.6%, the lowest Texas unemployment rate since May 2008.

[…]It’s a pretty impressive story of how job creation in just one state – Texas – has made such a significant contribution to the 1.169 million net increase in total US employment (+1,444,290 Texas jobs minus the 275,290 non-Texas job loss) in the seven year period between the start of the Great Recession in December 2007 and December 2014. The other 49 states and the District of Columbia together employ about 275,000 fewer Americans than at the start of the recession seven years ago, while the Lone Star State has added more than 1.25 million payroll jobs and more than 190,000 non-payroll jobs (primarily self-employed and farm workers).

So, what have we learned? We learned that if you like more job creation, fewer abortions, lower taxes and drug-testing welfare recipients, then you are a Republican. I’ll be doing posts like these regularly until the 2016 election, so that everyone understands what Republicans actually get done.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

Iowa senator Joni Ernst responds to Obama’s State of the Union speech

Iowa senator Joni Ernst

Iowa senator Joni Ernst

Here’s the video of the speech:

Transcript from The Weekly Standard.

Good evening.

I’m Joni Ernst. As a mother, a soldier, and a newly elected senator from the great State of Iowa, I am proud to speak with you tonight.

A few moments ago, we heard the President lay out his vision for the year to come. Even if we may not always agree, it’s important to hear different points of view in this great country. We appreciate the President sharing his.

Tonight though, rather than respond to a speech, I’d like to talk about your priorities. I’d like to have a conversation about the new Republican Congress you just elected, and how we plan to make Washington focus on your concerns again.

We heard the message you sent in November — loud and clear. And now we’re getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country.

The new Republican Congress also understands how difficult these past six years have been. For many of us, the sting of the economy and the frustration with Washington’s dysfunction, weren’t things we had to read about. We felt them every day.

We felt them in Red Oak — the little town in southwestern Iowa where I grew up, and am still proud to call home today.

As a young girl, I plowed the fields of our family farm. I worked construction with my dad. To save for college, I worked the morning biscuit line at Hardees.

We were raised to live simply, not to waste. It was a lesson my mother taught me every rainy morning.

You see, growing up, I had only one good pair of shoes. So on rainy school days, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry.

But I was never embarrassed. Because the school bus would be filled with rows and rows of young Iowans with bread bags slipped over their feet.

Our parents may not have had much, but they worked hard for what they did have.

These days though, many families feel like they’re working harder and harder, with less and less to show for it.

Not just in Red Oak, but across the country.

We see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and lost jobs. We see the hurt caused by canceled healthcare plans and higher monthly insurance bills. We see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they’ll be able to leave to their children.

Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like Obamacare. It’s a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions.

That’s why the new Republican majority you elected started by reforming Congress to make it function again. And now, we’re working hard to pass the kind of serious job-creation ideas you deserve.

One you’ve probably heard about is the Keystone jobs bill. President Obama has been delaying this bipartisan infrastructure project for years, even though many members of his party, unions, and a strong majority of Americans support it. The President’s own State Department has said Keystone’s construction could support thousands of jobs and pump billions into our economy, and do it with minimal environmental impact.

We worked with Democrats to pass this bill through the House. We’re doing the same now in the Senate.

President Obama will soon have a decision to make: will he sign the bill, or block good American jobs?

There’s a lot we can achieve if we work together.

Let’s tear down trade barriers in places like Europe and the Pacific. Let’s sell more of what we make and grow in America over there so we can boost manufacturing, wages, and jobs right here, at home.

Let’s simplify America’s outdated and loophole-ridden tax code. Republicans think tax filing should be easier for you, not just the well-connected. So let’s iron out loopholes to lower rates — and create jobs, not pay for more government spending.

The President has already expressed some support for these kinds of ideas. We’re calling on him now to cooperate to pass them.

You’ll see a lot of serious work in this new Congress.

Some of it will occur where I stand tonight, in the Armed Services Committee room. This is where I’ll join committee colleagues — Republicans and Democrats — to discuss ways to support our exceptional military and its mission. This is where we’ll debate strategies to confront terrorism and the threats posed by Al Qaeda, ISIL, and those radicalized by them.

We know threats like these can’t just be wished away. We’ve been reminded of terrorism’s reach both at home and abroad; most recently in France and Nigeria, but also in places like Canada and Australia. Our hearts go out to all the innocent victims of terrorism and their loved ones. We can only imagine the depth of their grief.

For two decades, I’ve proudly worn our nation’s uniform: today, as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. While deployed overseas with some of America’s finest men and women, I’ve seen just how dangerous these kinds of threats can be.

The forces of violence and oppression don’t care about the innocent. We need a comprehensive plan to defeat them.

We must also honor America’s veterans. These men and women have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms, and our way of life. They deserve nothing less than the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can be all be proud of.

These are important issues the new Congress plans to address.

We’ll also keep fighting to repeal and replace a health care law that’s hurt so many hardworking families.

We’ll work to correct executive overreach.

We’ll propose ideas that aim to cut wasteful spending and balance the budget — with meaningful reforms, not higher taxes like the President has proposed.

We’ll advance solutions to prevent the kind of cyberattacks we’ve seen recently.

We’ll work to confront Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

And we’ll defend life, because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society.

Congress is back to work on your behalf, ready to make Washington focus on your concerns again.

We know America faces big challenges. But history has shown there’s nothing our nation, and our people, can’t accomplish.

Just look at my parents and grandparents.

They had very little to call their own except the sweat on their brow and the dirt on their hands. But they worked, they sacrificed, and they dreamed big dreams for their children and grandchildren.

And because they did, an ordinary Iowan like me has had some truly extraordinary opportunities because they showed me that you don’t need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference. You just need the freedom to dream big, and a whole lot of hard work.

The new Republican Congress you elected is working to make Washington understand that too. And with a little cooperation from the President, we can get Washington working again.

Thank you for allowing me to speak with you tonight.

May God bless this great country of ours, the brave Americans serving in uniform on our behalf, and you, the hardworking men and women who make the United States of America the greatest nation the world has ever known.

You can find out more about Joni Ernst in this article from Yahoo News.

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