John F. McManus
All visitors to Rio de Janeiro, certainly including the 35,000 arrivals for the 2012 Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, can’t help but notice the imposing “Christ the Redeemer” statue overlooking the city. Brazil’s most famous landmark, the structure sits atop the 2,300-foot mountain named Corcovado. Built over nine years, the completed monument was opened to the public in 1931. But it has a long history.
President Obama’s June 15 decree freeing at least 800,000 young illegal immigrants from possible deportation should be debated far more on executive overreach than on problems resulting from years of poor policing of the nation’s borders. The fact that Obama did by executive order what Congress refused to legislate should raise a fundamental question: Where does a President derive power to make law?
The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."
Late in 2011, U.S. funding for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was cut off because the agency had conferred legitimacy on Palestine as a nation. Two U.S. laws, one passed in 1990 and another in 1994, mandated that such funding could not be directed to UNESCO or to any UN agency that recognized statehood for the region controlled by the Palestine Liberation Organization. This action delivered a heavy blow to the UN agency that receives 22 percent of its budget from the United States. But the Obama administration has stated its intention to have America's taxpayers again be forced to pay tens of millions each year to the organization.