By Katie Kieffer
Forget roses. This Valentine’s Day, give her a gift that shows you love her whole body and soul. Give her a gun.
Your Valentine—whether she’s your wife, girlfriend, daughter or sister—deserves something very special. What could be more sentimental than a tool she can use to defend herself? When you give her a gun, you will be showing her that she is extremely precious and valuable to you.
Of course, you don’t want to just hand her a Glock and say “Happy Valentine’s Day!” That would be neither wise nor thoughtful. Here are a few tips on how to make your Valentine’s Day gift both safe and meaningful:
For the Girl on the Fence
If your sweetheart is not so sure she likes guns, a pink AR-15 might be pushing it for a Valentine’s Day gift. You don’t want to scare her away from the idea of owning a firearm. So, ease her into the idea of owning a special tool for self-defense.
For example Bling Sting makes stylish and practical pepper spray keychains that are decorated in red, pink, black or diamond bling. She can attach one of these “charms” to her purse or key ring for an extra dose of protection.
Along with a fabulous pepper spray, you could give her a gold-plated chain with a small charm in the shape of a handgun. She’ll feel edgy and tough… and by the time her birthday rolls around, she’ll be asking you for the real deal so she can truly protect herself from an assault. And, just for fun, give her chocolates in the shape of ammo with a note that says: “Bite the Bullet! XOX!” (Be willing to bite the bullet yourself after this horrible pun.)
For the Gun Newbie
For a gal who is already a Second Amendment supporter, you won’t need to win her over. Nevertheless, if she hasn’t spent much time handling firearms you will want to help educate her. Unless she already owns a gun and is extremely comfortable using firearms safely, give her a gift certificate to a gun safety and firearm self-defense course before you give her a gun.
For the Gun Intermediate
Your sweetheart has handled firearms before and she’s already taken gun safety courses. She’s ready for her very own firearm. Since you’ll want to make sure that her gun fits well in her hand, you’ll need to ruin the surprise and take her to the gun store with you. Buying a gun is kind of like buying an engagement ring—it’s helpful to have the girl along with you because, unfortunately, her hands are not removable.
For the Gun Goddess
For the woman who knows more about guns and ammo than you do (though you’ll never admit it), a gift certificate for a conceal carry class along with a practical conceal carry holster or concealment tank top would be the perfect gift. A thigh holster is much sexier than a delicate, lacy negligee when you explain that you’re giving her this gift because you want to protect your most valuable asset—her.
A gun or a gun-safety class is so much more meaningful than a teddy bear. When you give her a self-defense tool, you’re offering her a constant reminder of how much you value her and a present that will last far longer than a vase of red rosebuds.
By Katie Kieffer
Thomas James Perkins is a stud. If he weren’t an octogenarian, I’d ask for his hand in marriage because he courageously and eloquently defends free market capitalism.
Perkins is the founder of the Silicone Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). He is also the ex-husband of the world’s reigning best-selling author alive: American novelist and San Francisco resident Danielle Steel.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal published a three-paragraph op-ed by Perkins in which he defended free market economics. The liberal media, especially the Silicone Valley tech blogs, went up in arms. HOW could he have the audacity to defend capitalism?!
Perkins basically expressed disappointment in “a rising tide of hatred of the successful,” including his ex-wife Steel. Despite the fact that she had donated millions of dollars to the San Francisco community, Perkins bemoaned that the San Francisco Chronicle continued to libel Steel as a ‘snob.’ He compared the attack against the successful one percent in America to fascist Nazi Germany’s attack on the Jews.
Valley Wag, a Gawker Media gossip blog about Silicone Valley celebrities, called Perkins’s op-ed: “one of the most disgustingly tone deaf statements on class tensions we’ve ever seen.” Media Bistro was appalled WSJ had the gall to “allow” Perkins to voice his opinion. Salon used imagery to compare Perkins to a villain in the movies. And on and on.
It’s interesting how quick these bloggers were to attack a capitalist. After all, most of them probably idolize one of the biggest free market entrepreneurs of all time: Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple. If they took the time to read Walter Isaacson’s terrific biography of Jobs, they would learn that Jobs was a capitalist, not a socialist.
Perkins has a point. Progressives are looking for a fight; an unreasonable and puerile war against self-made success. Remember how on the 2012 campaign trail, Obama said: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.” And remember how he said the same thing but in a different way last week during his 2014 State of the Union address?
Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by; let alone to get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all. So our job is to reverse these trends.
Since he can’t blame Bush any longer, Obama is now trying to blame his historically slow recovery on the greed of the rich who cling to their profits, while offering a “solution” of more government intervention. In fact, Obama has had five years to reverse the trends of rising poverty and unemployment.
His “new” ideas sound exactly the same as those he peddled back in 2008. For example, during the 2014 SOTU, Obama said: “one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy.” Oh, really? Well then why hasn’t he approved the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline? Keystone XL could mean thousands of jobs and it would help the U.S. move away from dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
The U.S. State Department has thrice indicated that the XL pipeline is environmentally safe, but apparently that is not good enough for Obama. He’d rather tell the American public during his SOTU that “solar” holds the future for American energy. (He conveniently forgot to name all of the solar companies that went bankrupt after receiving taxpayer dollars.)
Why do you think it’s possible for Obama to receive cheers and applause when he says: “Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it so we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.” After all, we all rely on and need energy in some way. If it weren’t for companies like ExxonMobile and Chevron, we would not enjoy the same high quality of life.
Obama can get away with attacking big oil because he is not interested in telling the truth. With a complete straight face, he exaggerates the potential of solar. Without a twinge of guilt, he encourages Americans to envy the rich instead encouraging them to work harder and aspire toward their own self-made success.
We need more men and women like Tom Perkins who are willing to speak up and defend the truth about economic freedom. Remember: sticks and stones can break your bones but the words of a progressive can never hurt you.
By Katie Kieffer
It’s January. If you resolved to lose weight, forget the cotton ball diet. To become a lean, mean muscle machine: eat venison.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo feign to keep us healthy and safe by restricting our dietary choices and attacking our constitutional right to use guns for hunting and self-defense. Both men are dead wrong about health, hunting and guns.
Bloomberg chastises folks who slurp sugary soda pop while lambasting hunters who eat organic, lean, high-protein venison. Meanwhile, Cuomo has been known to holler at the top of his lungs: “No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer!” Cuomo’s claim is completely irrelevant. You could need ten shots to defend yourself and your family from intruders.
Elites with an entourage of armed guards like Bloomberg and Cuomo prioritize their own political power over our health, safety and freedom. Here are some reasons why you should include more venison—and hunting—in your diet and lifestyle:
Venison is Healthy: Venison is high in protein (there are 24 grams of protein per four ounces of venison) and low in saturated fat (1 gram per four ounces). Venison supplies more iron than beef. Venison also provides you with high levels of B vitamins and all of the ten essential amino acids. Venison is naturally organic and thus free of antibiotics, inoculants and growth supplements. Plus, venison is low in both cholesterol and calories.
Conservationist hunting is the most merciful way to kill an animal: In the wild, animals die slow and painful deaths by starvation, disease, or the claws of a predator. Instead of letting an animal die slowly and painfully in Nature, hunters offer a quicker death with less pain and allow animals to serve a higher purpose.
Deer hunters do not kill to mutilate. Rather, hunters kill deer for purposes that include putting food on the table and balancing the animal’s population. Thus, the deer serves a noble purpose instead of rotting or becoming carrion. In addition to the meat, other parts of the animal can also serve a higher purpose. The deer’s hide can be utilized for a rug or for clothing. The pelt, or the skin layer, can be made into leather.
We have an over-population of deer: Bloomberg likes to label hunting rifles as “assault weapons,” as if hunters were out to assault deer. In truth, humans will be assaulted by animals if conservationist hunters do not keep their populations in check.
TIME Magazine reported in December that Coyotes are threatening New York City while black bears are stressing out parents and pet-owners in New Jersey; our population of over 30 million white-tailed deer and 5 million feral pigs is becoming a nuisance: deer cause traffic accidents that kill around 200 Americans a year and feral pigs cause $1.5 billion of annual damage to residential areas.
Here’s an idea: give Bloomberg a pet feral pig as a present. Within ten minutes he’ll be hollering for hunters to rescue him!
Hunting helps you learn about and appreciate nature: As you hunt for your food, you’ll learn about the deer and the surrounding flora and fauna. You’ll naturally educate yourself on the deer’s habitat; rutting behaviors; how they care for their young; and the vegetation that they eat. You’ll learn how to attract them and, in the process of gutting them, you will learn about the animal’s anatomy. Overall, hunting helps you learn so much about the animal that you’ll develop a deep sense of appreciation for the beast that gives you its meat for your sustenance. You will conserve the animal’s population—while enabling the animal to serve a higher purpose.
Stick to your resolution to become healthier in the New Year. But instead of cotton balls, consider a healthier diet—The Deer Meat Diet. In addition to nurturing your own body, you will be caring for Mother Nature.
Note: Due to potential complications with toxoplasmosis, pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant should avoid eating venison.
By Katie Kieffer
Prediction: 2014 will be an amazing year for you and me. To borrow a line from Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, I predict 2014 will be: “Happy, Happy, Happy.”
We’re less than one week into the New Year, and I can already tell that 2014 has wondrous things in store. For nearly six years, independent and conservatively-minded Americans have endured the grey skies and choppy waters of the Obama administration. Now, I feel like the tide is finally turning. A new sun is rising. The smell of joy is in the air.
In Genesis, when Noah wanted to see whether the floodwaters had abated, he sent out a dove to search for land. Finally, the dove returned to Noah with a sign of hope: an olive leaf. Duck Dynasty’s recent success in weathering a storm of false controversies is the sign that gives me so much hope for 2014; Duck Dynasty’s success is our olive leaf.
Last January, many Americans had never even heard of A&E’s hit family-centered reality show, Duck Dynasty. However, this changed in December of 2013 when the star and founder of the family’s duck call business, Phil Robertson, was temporarily suspended for speaking his mind in support of traditional marriage. At first, the future for the show was murky. Soon, however, everyday Americans who were outraged by A&E’s intolerance for free speech launched peaceful protests. Phil was promptly welcomed back to the show.
A&E did the right thing, but not necessarily for the right reasons. (The network certainly did not want to lose the profit it was pulling from cable’s top-rated reality television program.) However, the monetary and viral success of Duck Dynasty is a ray of hope at a time when the economic and cultural news (think ObamaCare and Miley Cyrus) sounds less than uplifting.
Duck Dynasty’s success and the sell-out of their merchandise in stores before Christmas proves that most Americans still believe in family, faith and free speech; we value entrepreneurs; we’re not politically correct; and, we stick to our guns.
The Robertson family is prospering because, at core, they represent the values that most Americans hold—but have been told to repress. Even as a federal judge recently upheld most provisions of New York’s SAFE Act, which attacks our Second Amendment right to self-defense, Duck Dynasty’s success is a reason for optimism. Guns and love will solve crime—not liberal silliness.
Ironically, while the media has tried to destroy Duck Dynasty and all that it stands for by associating Phil Robertson with vitriolic language, the exact opposite is true. Last year, Robertson told Spectrum TV that A&E was trying to make their show look more obtuse than it really was, and he put a stop to it: “I asked the [editors]: ‘What’s the point of the fake bleeps?’ …[They added bleeps] like someone had used profanity, but no one had used profanity. …If we’re not using profanity, why make it look like we’re using profanity? What is the point? …So they quit doing that.”
By sticking to their guns, both literally and metaphorically, the Robertsons have found success. Even as we speak, they are launching a new gun line and Phil Robertson’s book, “Happy, Happy, Happy” has been flying off the shelves. The family inked a lucrative deal to roll out a new line of guns in 2014—a deal that Forbes calls: “a warning shot to A&E” because the gun line deal excludes A&E from all direct profits and puts the Robertson family in a position of greater financial independence.
So, hang in there my friends. Stick to your guns (both your values and your rifles) like the Duck Dynasty clan and you’ll have a happy and prosperous 2014.
By Katie Kieffer
Raise your champagne flûte and make a New Year’s toast to the entrepreneurs who made bubbly—once a drink of kings—available for mass imbibing.
It’s vital to know the entrepreneurial story behind everyday indulgences that we consume such as iPads; electric Christmas lights; or champagne. Our president likes to say that entrepreneurs “didn’t build” their companies on their own. Actually, entrepreneurs do build their companies on their own, and champagne is a fine example.
Sparkling wine was once a luxury exclusively for the wealthy and noble. It took two pioneering female entrepreneurs to make champagne a delight that we all enjoy.
By law, the only sparkling wine that can be called “Champagne” with a capital “C” is that which is produced from the terroir of France’s wine region of Champagne. Early winemakers in the Champagne region struggled to manipulate their unique climate and produce traditional red wines. Cold winters altered the fermentation process, causing bubbles to form in the wine, which ended up being a boon to winemakers once they figured out how to handle this new type of vino.
Women were not allowed to run their own businesses in France in the early 1800s. The only way a woman could become the chief executive officer of her own profitable entrepreneurial venture was if she became a widow. (Single and married women were to rely on their fathers and husbands for income.) When 27-year-old Barbe-Nicole Clicquot’s husband tragically died in 1805, she made the best of her unfortunate situation, literally turning sour grapes into sweet Champagne.
Madame Clicquot was the first winemaker to successfully mass-produce bubbly and put it in the hands of common people all over the world, including Americans. The French word for “widow” is “veuve” and Veuve Clicquot was pioneering and industrious until she was a year shy of ninety.
Madame Clicquot’s heir recently told the Associated Press that Veuve Clicquot was “the first businesswoman in France and maybe the whole of Europe.” She invented the first rosé (pink-colored) Champagne as well as the very first Champagne label in the world (Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin). Champagne makers still use her House’s ingenious procedure known as “rilling” to prevent sediment from forming in bottles through rotation.
A young Frenchwoman named Louise Pommery was left a widow when her husband Alexandre died. Like Madam Clicquot, Veuve Pommery decided to become an entrepreneur and support herself. She was also very successful, and we have her to thank for inventing “brut” or dry Champagne. Even today, the world’s first and second biggest Champagne makers are LMVH (the owner of Veuve Clicquot) and Vranken-Pommery.
There are between 44 and 57 million bubbles in the average 750 ml bottle of champagne. That’s a lot of bubbles! It’s inspiring to know that this pressurized, effervescent drink, which is nearly as fun to pop as it is to sip–is the product of entrepreneurial women who found themselves in hard situations and dug themselves out—while creating jobs and a terrific product—on their own.
Obama would surely say these women did not achieve their feats on their own—but we know the truth and tomorrow night we’ll proudly toast to freedom, lower taxes and pro-business regulations that will allow many more young men and women to become prosperous entrepreneurs.
Champagne widows turned their personal losses and challenging climate into one of the world’s biggest business success stories. In our own tough economic climate, these stories offer hope that we too can overcome our hardships and achieve financial independence if we work hard and think resourcefully.
Cheers! To free enterprise, which creates careers and empowers pioneers!
By Katie Kieffer
Looking to celebrate Christmas in a ‘Happy Holidays’ America? You’re in luck. America has an opulence of her very own Christmas traditions that are both fun and spiritually fulfilling.
A new Pew poll finds that younger Americans do not practice Christmas the same way as their parents and grandparents. Only 39 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-29 say they celebrate Christmas as a faith-based feast. In contrast, 66 percent of Americans over the age of 65 celebrate Christmas as a faith-centered holiday.
One reason why younger people may celebrate Christmas in a secular way is: they have not had a chance to experience the season’s beautiful, holy and peaceful traditions. As a young woman, I’m very appreciative to my older relatives for sharing their Christmas traditions with me from the time I was a little girl. I would like to encourage other parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to pass along their Christmas traditions to their younger friends and family members.
American Christmas traditions can make the holiday more festive and pleasurable. More importantly, our traditions will help us find a deeper meaning in Christmas and feel a stronger appreciation for our country; our founding fathers; and each other. Here are some places to start:
Bake Martha Washington’s Christmas Cake
At Mount Vernon, George and Martha Washington celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday. The attended church services and also threw delicious feasts for friends and family. One of their favorite desserts was “Martha’s Great Cake.” Mrs. Washington’s original recipe, which she wrote by hand, calls for 40 eggs; five pounds each of flour and fruit; and four pounds each of butter and sugar. Oh yes, and half a pint of cream sherry and a dash of brandy!
Martha’s recipe yields too much batter for the average American throwing a Christmas party. However, if you do a simple Google search for “Martha Washington’s Great Cake” and you will find many modern (and smaller) versions of the recipe. Consider inviting your grandchildren, nieces, nephews or even neighbor children over to make Martha’s cake. Pour the batter into cupcake tins so they each have their own cake; top with candles, and then celebrate the birthday of Christ—just like our first American President.
Celebrate Customs of Your American Immigrant Ancestors
Most of us trace our roots back to a combination of European immigrants who came to America in pursuit of a better, freer life. Over the years, these immigrants melded their European Christmas traditions with new customs that they developed in the New World. Whether your ancestors are English, Irish, German, Swedish, or Scottish, your family has its own Christmas traditions. Consider practicing one or two of these customs at your house this year. You’ll instill an appreciation for the spirituality of the American settlers in the young people in your family.
My mother’s side is Polish-American and every Christmas Eve, my 100% Polish grandfather led us in a Polish Christmas tradition. He is now deceased, but my grandmother and mother carry on his tradition. We break and share “Oplatki” or “Christmas Wafers,” which are thin, tasteless rectangular white wafers engraved with an image of faith, such as the infant Jesus; an angel; or the Star of David.
Breaking bread is a symbol of communion, peace and forgiveness. The Oplatki ceremony involves breaking and sharing the wafers; praying; reading the Gospel; and giving each person a turn to voice thanks and good wishes toward their fellow dinner guests. Yellow and pink-colored Oplatki wafers are shared with the family pets or animals, such as dogs, cats and horses.
String Up Christmas Lights
We take Christmas lights for granted today and don’t necessarily see them as a sign of “faith,” but lights have a strong American and religious heritage. Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb; he also invented the first “string” of Christmas light bulbs in the late 1800s, which he strung around his Menlo Park lab as a way to show off his invention during the Christmas season. By 1900, Christmas lights were available, but only to the wealthy because one string cost the equivalent of $300 in today’s money. In a tribute to free enterprise, mass production made Christmas lights affordable to the middle class.
A string of Christmas lights also hails to the faith and hope of early Christians who used the light of fire as a sign of their belief during the dark and gloomy winter months. Candles in Christmas trees; Yule logs; and Advent candles are examples of the early Christians’ “Christmas lights.” Capitalism, which I’ve shown glorifies God, has allowed us to produce fire-safe lights for everyone—from the poorest to the richest—to brighten their homes and yards as a sign of their hope and faith.
Jingle bells, jingle bells. Dashing over amber waves of grain!
By Katie Kieffer
A confident woman who speaks her mind is a powerful force for good, and newly crowned Miss World Megan Young is unafraid to speak her mind on sex, marriage and life.
Young was born in the United States (Virginia) to a Filipino mother and an American father. When she was a young girl, her family moved to the Philippines. Young was crowned Miss Philippines 2013 and, last month, she was crowned Miss World 2013.
One month before she was crowned Miss World, Young was interviewed by the local television network ANC. She told the host: “I’m pro-life, and if it means killing someone that’s already there, then I’m against that of course. …I’m against abortion.”
ANC Host: What about contraception?
Young: “Well, I don’t engage in stuff like that as of now. I think that sex is for marriage.”
Host: Wow! Very good! Ok, divorce?
Young: “I’m actually against divorce because I’ve seen, of course, that in my family. So, I think that if you marry someone, that should be the person you should be with forever.”
Host: Now a woman as gorgeous as yourself, how do you say ‘no’ to sex?
Young: “You just say ‘no.’ That’s it. I mean, if they try to push you, then you step away because you know that that person doesn’t value you; doesn’t value the relationship as much; and if the guy is willing to, you know, to sacrifice that, then that means a lot.”
It is so refreshing to see a young, high-profile woman take a stand with complete confidence on her values, just as it was refreshing to hear Super Bowl champion Matt Birk speak out on life.
During the competition for Miss World, Young stressed her desire to stand by her “core values” and lead others toward social unity. Her integrity and willingness to stand by her beliefs attracted the judges’ attention. Although she was not as tall as many other contestants (Young is 5’7’’), she came out on top by (in her words), “thinking tall.” We all need to think tall. By speaking our minds with calm confidence, we can influence others in a positive way, just like Young.
Another example of gentle words that change the world are the words of everyday Americans who volunteer their time to pray and counsel outside abortion clinics across the country. In Minnesota alone, sidewalk counselors with Pro-Life Action Ministries have saved the lives of 90 babies so far in 2013 and a total of 2,900 babies since the organization was founded. These counselors peacefully stood outside of abortion clinics and offered counseling and brochures to young women who were about to abort their babies. As a result, they successfully convinced thousands of mothers to change their minds and keep their babies. They prayed for and offered encouragement to young, frightened and overwhelmed women whose boyfriends or family members were pressuring them to commit abortion. They also directed young women to pre-natal care, financial resources and adoptive resources that could help them manage their pregnancy.
Young women who face an unplanned pregnancy often feel like they are all alone. They do not realize what their options are, or they feel pressured to choose abortion because it seems like the best option available. They are unaware of all the pro-life doctors, nurses and ultrasound specialists who will volunteer their time to help them keep the baby themselves, or give it up for adoption. They also do not realize the negative health consequences, both physical and psychological, that can come from an unnatural delivery that ends in death.
Speak your mind with confidence and kindness like Miss World, Megan Young, and you will touch hearts.
By Katie Kieffer
Every time Pope Francis opens his mouth on gays or women, journalists twist his words. Why?
In this country, we believe in free speech and religious freedom, as expressed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is concerning that journalists, whose livelihood depends on free speech, constantly run headlines distorting the Pope’s words and thus attacking religious free speech.
These journalists don’t even realize that when they distort Pope Francis for profit (wild headlines make money), they hurt themselves by chipping away at freedom. Journalists are not pastors. Why can’t they be content to let people express their faith for God as they see fit?
Recently, the Pope said this: “When I meet a gay person… If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers.”
The Pope’s words sound very loving and Christ-like without endorsing gay behavior in Catholic priests. Here, the Pope is conceding that he, as a human being, cannot judge another human being’s heart. The Pope is articulating the Catholic belief that only God can judge our hearts and we are all brothers and sisters, made in the image and likeness of Christ.
Pope Francis also recently excommunicated a priest named Father Greg Reynolds and TIME ran a sob story, giving former-Fr. Reynolds the chance to call the Pope “inconsistent.” Actually, the Pope was being quite consistent. Catholic priests take a vow of celibacy. It would not have mattered if Reynolds were gay or heterosexual.
The Catholic Church expects its priests to honor their commitments. If Reynolds wants to be a different sort of pastor, there are many other religions where he could do so. He did not need to take a vow of celibacy; he chose to.
Another Pope Francis line that the media loves to twist, is the line below, to say that the Pope believes women should be priests:
“We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of women within the Church. The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions.”
Here, the Pope is holding women up as the powerful leaders that they are, welcoming them into the Catholic Church, and asking others to do likewise. First, if Pope Francis believed women should be priests, he would explicitly say so. Second, being a “priest” would not glorify women in the way that Christ glorified women:
One of Jesus’ favorites was Mary Magdalen. The Pharisees looked down on Magdalen as a “sinner” (Luke 7:39) and thought Jesus should shun her. But Jesus loved Magdalen and admired her enormous humility, repentance and faith. He let her kiss his feet and told the Pharisee named Simon:
“Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet; but she with tears hath washed my feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them.” (Luke 7:44)
To Magdalen, Jesus said: “Thy faith hath made thee safe, go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)
Jesus held Magdalen up on a pedestal as a woman of superior virtue, as he did with his mother, Mary. He did not make Magdalen an “Apostle.” In a sense, he raised her above the Apostles. After he died and rose, Christ appeared to Magdalen outside the tomb. He honored her with this very special visit and entrusted her to tell the Apostles what she had seen instead of appearing to the Apostles himself. That tells you how highly Christ held Magdalen.
The Apostles Mark, Luke and John permanently transcribed Christ’s high esteem for Magdalen in their gospels for all those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. John writes how the Apostles listened intently as Magdalen told them: “I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.” (John 20:18) The way Mark, Luke and John write about Magdalen is feminist—if feminists want to pay attention. Even at a time in history when men dominated, the male Apostles had no problem proclaiming how they viewed women like Magdalen as equals in holiness and leadership.
Christ did not reward faith and love with “leadership titles” as we do here on earth. Rather, he rewarded faith and love with eternal happiness, as he told the repentant robber who hung next to him on a cross: “Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Journalists who twist the Pope’s words should think about why they are obsessed with attacking the Pope’s right to express his faith. It is crucial to respect the right of Catholics to be openly Catholic and not watered-down Catholic, because this will ensure that we all continue to have the ability to express our beliefs in peace, whether we are Catholic or not. To remain free, we must let others say things we disagree with.
By Katie Kieffer
Reagan took vacations. Bush took vacations. Obama LOVES taking vacations. It would not be so annoying to watch Obama vacation if it did not seem like he’s always vacationing—even when he’s supposed to be working. We are still waiting for Obama’s “big recovery” to recover the jobs and wealth we lost during the recession. (The average American has yet to recover 55 percent of their household wealth since the recession.) For all we know, when he is not vacationing, he is imbibing cold beer and smoking e-cigarettes while the rest of us work our tails off.
Dear Mr. President: The next time you decide you need a rest from all the rest you already seem to get on-the-job, here are three friendly suggestions for how you could enjoy your time off:
1.) If you must to go on vacation, take a hunting trip.
You don’t even need to hunt. Have some beef jerky. Play cards at night. Eat eggs, bacon and pancakes with fresh maple syrup and then watch the sun rise from the comfort of a tree stand in the morning. Relax and sip hot coffee from your thermos while you listen to hunters give you a lesson on how to safely clean and store your firearm.
You would benefit from spending time around responsible gun-owners. I think you would quickly realize why you need to start defending the Second Amendment: Guns save lives whereas your executive orders that unconstitutionally regulate firearms simply make it easier for criminals to prey on the vulnerable.
2.) Spend a sunny afternoon during your vacation sitting alone by a quiet stream or a bubbling brook.
If you sit there long enough, you will learn a valuable leadership lesson on being flexible and listening to the marketplace. I recently heard a powerful speech by Jill Johnson, president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services. Johnson shared how, as a teenager, she had a “wake up call” when she spent a few hours sitting by a rushing stream. As she watched, it struck her that the water succeeded in reaching its destination by being flexible. Every time the water encountered a barrier such as a large rock or a fallen tree branch in the middle of the stream’s path, the water simply moved around the barrier. The water did not try to “change” the rock or the stick; it adjusted its course and flowed around the barrier without missing a beat.
Mr. President, I think that if you sit by a stream and watch how successful the water is—because it is flexible—you too will realize that to be a strong leader and to put our country’s economy on the path to job creation you must be nimble. You have spent nearly five years chipping away at a metaphorical rock, trying to change our country—which was founded on freedom, entrepreneurship and faith—into a socialist and secular country.
Your stubbornness in redistributing wealth is getting us nowhere. Your persistence in keeping America’s corporate tax rate as the highest among G20 economies is not creating jobs. It’s time for you to humble yourself, become flexible and exhibit a virtue that you tell us we need to exhibit: “The courage to change.”
3.) Visit a free country where adults are not treated like babies.
Whether you visit a remote island or take a rocket ship to an undiscovered planet, you need to experience how peaceful and happy people become when their government respects their God-given, natural rights and freedom.
The Constitution did not make you the commander-in-chief of cradles. Your job is not to walk around with a basketful of blankies, pacifiers and warm bottles to make us feel safe and comforted. We don’t need you to burp us. We don’t need you to hold our hand when we cross the street. We don’t need you to tuck us in at night and read us a bedtime story. We need you to enforce the law of the land and leave us free to live the way our Maker and our country’s founders intended for us to live: Freely.
P.S. Be sure to send a postcard from your next vacation!
By Katie Kieffer
A wimp waits until a man is dead to sue him. Obama waited to sue Apple co-founder Steve Jobs until he was dead. Because Obama knew he could never win while Jobs was alive, given Jobs’ celebrity status, fearless personality and enormous charisma.
This lawsuit matters to you—whether you love Apple products like iPhones, iPads and MacBooks or you can’t stand Apple products and you prefer other tech brands. If Apple loses this fight, any consumer who believes in competition and wants the best product for the lowest price will suffer. Apple has been going head-to-head with the Obama administration’s Department of Justice for over a year and the stakes are high for all of us.
Obama knows that Americans will blame him and the Democrats for the struggling economy and high unemployment in the midterm elections unless he convinces them otherwise. Obama’s go-to scapegoat has always been “big oil.” His latest scapegoat is “big Apple.”
Apple has long been one of the world’s most valuable companies, up there with Exxon Mobil; Obama likely thinks that he has a chance of winning votes for Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections if he can convince American consumers that he is “defending” them from a conspiring corporation with a well-timed, high-profile lawsuit.
If Steve Jobs—a lifelong Democrat, beloved by Americans of all stripes—were still alive today, I doubt Obama would dare to publicly distort Jobs’ vision or attack Apple. Jobs was a capitalist and therefore his true life story and his company pose threats to Obama’s socialist platform. Thus, Obama’s administration has been out to distort Jobs and destroy the company he built.
On April 11, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would sue Apple and five major book publishers on charges that they violated anti-trust laws by conspiring to raise the price of e-books.
Here’s the catch: Apple and the five publishers were not conspiring to artificially raise the price of the e-books. They were merely switching from an outdated “wholesale pricing model” for print books to a so-called “agency model” that is better suited for e-books. At the time, Amazon monopolized e-book sales, controlling 60 percent of the market. To this day, Amazon continues to monopolize the e-book market.
I believe that the agency pricing model (spearheaded by Jobs) would help writers and book publishers stay in business in the digital era and thereby give consumers more choices by allowing new retailers (like Apple) to enter the market and compete with Amazon. Apparently, Obama did not want competition. He did not want consumers to have choices. He wanted to bring yet another industry under government control. So, Obama’s DOJ sued Amazon’s competitors in order to further strengthen Amazon’s e-book monopoly.
On July 10, a lone judge, ruling without a jury—declared Apple guilty of violating antitrust laws by conspiring to raise the price of e-books. The deck was stacked against Apple from the very beginning, with the judge, Denise L. Cote, delivering a pre-trial opinion that she believed Apple would be found guilty.
When Apple’s attorney, Orin Snyder, asked Cote to retract her pre-trial opinion, she denied his allegation that she was pre-dispositioned to rule against Apple. Then, low and behold, without any evidence, she declared Apple guilty of anti-trust violations.
Thankfully, Apple is holding strong and plans to appeal this unjust verdict. “So sue me, right.” Obama once quipped on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Obama deserves a taste of his own medicine after suing Apple and its co-founder Steve Jobs when it was too late for Jobs to defend himself. Maybe someone should file an anti-trust lawsuit against Obama for attacking the free markets and protecting Amazon’s monopoly.
It’s Undeniable: Amazon Has a Monopoly
The purpose of anti-trust laws is to promote and maintain market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies, including setting unnatural prices that inhibit free competition. When Apple collaborated with publishers, I contend that it did not violate anti-trust legislation because Apple’s agency-pricing model actually brought more competition and consumer choices into an e-book market that was—and still is—monopolized by Amazon.
Back in 2009, Amazon was a lone shark, controlling 90 percent of the e-book market. By April of 2012, even after Apple and others had entered the market, Amazon still controlled the majority (60 percent) of the e-book market. Barnes and Noble controlled 25 percent and Apple commanded a scant 15 percent. Yet Obama’s administration sued Apple, the smallest player, for conspiring to undermine Amazon.
Unlike traditional printed books, you can’t physically hold an e-book in your hands; you must purchase a special “e-reader” or tablet to peruse them. Amazon’s e-reader is called the Kindle. So, when Amazon monopolizes the e-book market, it also helps guarantee that people will be more likely to purchase its e-reading device.
Consumers, writers and book publishers have been unhappy with Amazon’s monopoly for some time. From a consumer perspective, Amazon’s monopoly lessens technology options. The Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook are not exactly the best options for e-book readers. As of December of 2012, CNET News rates the fourth-generation iPad tablet as the “best full-sized reading tablet” and even the second generation iPad outdoes comparable Android offerings.
Publishers were also unhappy with Amazon’s “wholesale pricing model” because it cannibalized their print businesses. As Jobs explained to his biographer, Walter Isaacson: “Amazon screwed it up. It paid the wholesale price for some books, but started selling them below cost at $9.99. The publishers hated that—they thought it would trash their ability to sell hardcover books at $28. So before Apple even got to the scene, some booksellers were starting to withhold books from Amazon. So we told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you [publishers] want anyway.’ But we also asked for a guarantee [per a most favored nation clause] that if anybody else is selling the books cheaper than we are, then we can sell them at the lower price too. So they [publishers] went to Amazon and said, “You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.’”
Jobs further explained: “We were not the first people in the books business. Given the situation that existed [Amazon’s 90 percent monopoly], what was best for us was to do this akido move and end up with the agency model.”
Competition always creates more options for consumers. When publishers can stay profitable and new retailers can enter the e-book market, there are more quality options for readers. And when retailers like Apple can enter the market, they will innovate and offer alternative e-reading devices like the iPad so that Americans have more high-tech options for reading e-books than buying an Amazon Kindle.
Jobs’ Vision Was to Save Journalism, NOT to Rip Off Consumers
Jobs saw an opportunity to provide consumers with more choices. He knew he could turn a profit by competing with Amazon—but money was not his goal. Jobs’ main goal was to save high-quality print media from going extinct in the modern digital era where fewer consumers will pay for printed newspapers and books because they can get so much information and entertainment for free online.
I think Jobs intuitively understood that if major publishers can’t afford to pay writers and journalists, consumers suffer. I think Jobs understood that without media watchdogs, free speech deteriorates and the government is no longer accountable to the people.
For example, Jobs considered the New York Times to be one of the finest newspapers in America and he wanted to save its journalism for future generations. Isaacson writes: “Jobs was particularly interested in striking a deal with the New York Times, which he felt was a great newspaper in danger of declining because it had not figured out how to charge for digital content. ‘One of my personal projects this year, I’ve decided, is to try to help—whether they want it or not—the Times,’ he told me in early 2010. ‘I think it’s important to the country for them to figure it out.’”
Despite being a Democrat, Jobs also had great success working with Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of News Corp., which owned conservative-leaning media giants like the Wall Street Journal and the Fox News Channel. So, I believe that Jobs’ over-arching vision in implementing the agency model was to preserve all high-caliber media.
Dear Mr. President, please stop favoring Amazon. She already monopolizes the e-book market and consumers deserve choices.
Key pages referenced from Walter Isaacson’s biography, “Steve Jobs:” pp. 503-04, 531 and 533-34.