November 2009


This Thanksgiving week, Congressman Mike Pence delievered the weekly Republican address to the nation. Pence’s optimism for the future, candid assessment of the present, and respect for those who went before us in this great country come through in this statement, which is one of the better Republican addresses.

By: Brian Sikma

Buried deep within the verbosity of the 1,990 page healthcare reform bill meandering to passage in the Democrat controlled Congress on Capitol Hill, is a significant provision that will cost the American people billions of dollars more in bailouts.  The recipients of this bailout will be unions such as the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees Internal Union.  These unions are struggling to sustain the insurance plans they have provided for retired union members.  By seeking to make the federal government the backstop for any insurance insolvency they face, the unions are refusing to acknowledge that they are the ones responsible for the situation they now find themselves in. 

Other provisions in the bill give unions standing to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services on healthcare matters and participate in some policy-making processes.  As programs are developed and contracts awarded as part of the massive reshaping of the nation’s healthcare system, it will be very hard for non-union organizations and businesses to effectively compete and win the new contracts.  If these unions cannot responsibly manage their own insurance programs, nothing makes them qualified to assist in a nationalized health insurance effort. 

Writing in the Huston Chronicle, a Texas-based attorney and healthcare expert has effectively sounded the alarm to the wide array of dangers posed by these relatively unknown and obscure provisions.

By: Brian Sikma

Long recognized as a measure of achievement, the Nobel Prizes are usually awarded to individuals who have labored diligently in a chosen field and can point to real accomplishments resulting from their work. With the announcement that President Barack Obama is the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, it appears that earning this distinction is becoming more a matter of good intentions and not substantive actions. Examining the current record of the President with respect to diplomatic affairs gives ample evidence that his recently awarded laurels may be a crown not quite fit for his head.

The circumstances surrounding this announcement are indeed interesting. The time period in which it is possible to nominate a person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize ended on February 1st of this year. The President was sworn into office a mere twelve days earlier. In that span of time the President did not give any major foreign policy speeches outlining his vision of a world without nuclear weapons. Inevitably, this creates a question mark around the thoroughness of the Nobel Committee’s deliberations because the reason they cited for giving the prize to the President was his dedication to a new era of international relations, and specifically a world without nuclear weapons.

Three previous presidents have earned the Nobel Peace Prize. In mediating a peaceful end to the Russo-Japanese War, and encouraging the adoption of an amiable treaty between the formerly warring parties, President Theodore Roosevelt won the prize in 1903. Not very long after that President Woodrow Wilson became a Nobel laureate for his work in forming the League of Nations, an unsuccessful post-World War I precursor to the United Nations. President Jimmy Carter earned the prize in 2002 in recognition of his numerous attempts at settling international disagreements and brokering uneasy truces.

Standing in somewhat stark contrast to the vigorous and diligent efforts of these previous presidential recipients of the Peace Prize is the current recipient. Notwithstanding the fact that when he was nominated for the prize he had done precious little work, and overlooking for a moment the fact that he still has done very little to earn a prize of this magnitude, President Obama’s record on international affairs is a dismal one. Since assuming office he has taken a global tour in which he apologized for American exceptionalism and our commitment to the core values that define us, offered his hearty personal support to the thug Hugo Chavez, refused to take a hard line with Iran’s maniacal leaders, left our allies in Europe hanging with the cessation of missile defense projects, and refrained from providing any public support for those who are fighting for the rule of law in Honduras.

These are not actions that deserve a prize or tend towards the maintenance of peace. They may be founded on good intentions but that cannot make up the unintentional damage that is now resulting from them. Appeasement and apology abroad and arrogance at home are not good policies. No prize, no matter how undeserved, can rescind the fact that unless our President alters his course, our nation will continue to earn friendship with those nations that do not matter and lose the friendship of those nations that count. It would be wise for the President to bear in mind that a committee in Norway is not responsible for the final judgment of his policies. Years from now history will show us what an unmerited prize cannot: decisions that placate the progressive left do not lead to the preservation of Western Civilization.