OFFICE OF SENATOR TED CRUZ
185 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
THE LEGAL LIMIT: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S ATTEMPTS TO EXPAND FEDERAL POWER
Report No. 4:
The Obama Administration’s Abuse of Power
By U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the President’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat.
The President’s taste for unilateral action to circumvent Congress should concern every citizen, regardless of party or ideology. The great 18th-century political philosopher Montesquieu observed: “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates.” America’s Founding Fathers took this warning to heart, and we should too.
Rule of law doesn’t simply mean that society has laws; dictatorships are often characterized by an abundance of laws. Rather, rule of law means that we are a nation ruled by laws, not men. No one—and especially not the president—is above the law. For that reason, the U.S. Constitution imposes on every president the express duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
Rather than honor this duty, President Obama has openly defied it by repeatedly suspending, delaying, and waiving portions of the laws that he is charged to enforce. When President Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
In the more than two centuries of our nation’s history, there is simply no precedent for the White House wantonly ignoring federal law and asking others to do the same.
For all those who are silent now: What would they think of a Republican president who announced that he was going to ignore the law, or unilaterally change the law? Imagine a future president setting aside environmental laws, or tax laws, or labor laws, or tort laws with which he or she disagreed.
That would be wrong—and it is the Obama precedent that is opening the door for future lawlessness. As Montesquieu knew, an imperial presidency threatens the liberty of every citizen. Because when a president can pick and choose which laws to follow and which to ignore, he is no longer a president.
Governing by Executive Fiat
1. Disregarded 1996 welfare reform law in granting broad work waivers for work requirements of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).1
2. Implemented portions of the DREAM Act, which Congress rejected, by executive action.2
3. Ended some terror asylum restrictions, by allowing asylum for people who provided only “insignificant” or “limited” material support of terrorists.3
4. Allowed immigrants in the U.S. illegally, who are relatives of military troops and veterans, to stay in the country and get legal status.
5. Extended federal marriage benefits by recognizing, under federal law, same-sex marriages created in a state that allows same-sex marriage even if the couple is living in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.
6. Recognized same-sex marriage in Utah, even though the Supreme Court stayed the court order recognizing same-sex marriage in Utah and Utah said it would not recognize same- sex marriages performed before the stay.
7. Refused to prosecute violation of drug laws with certain mandatory minimums.
8. Issued signing statements, refusing to enforce parts of congressional-enacted statutes.
9. Illegally refused to act on Yucca Mountain’s application to become a nuclear waste repository.
1 Caroline May, Obama administration ‘guts’ welfare reform with new HHS rule, Daily Caller, Jul. 13, 2012.
2 Mark Krikorian, Today is A-Day, National Review Online, Aug. 15, 2012.
3 Reid J. Epstein, Obama administration ends some terror asylum restrictions, Politico, Feb. 5, 2014.
4 Julia Preston, Immigrants Closely Tied to Military Get Reprieve, N.Y. Times, Nov. 15, 2013.
5 Matt Apuzzo, More Federal Privileges to Extend to Same-Sex Couples, N.Y. Times, Feb. 8, 2014.
6 Charlie Savagejan, U.S. to Recognize Utah Gay Marriage Despite State Stance, N.Y. Times, Jan. 10, 2014.
7 Pete Williams & Michael O’Brien, Holder: ‘New Approach’ to reduce mandatory drug sentences, NBC News, Aug. 12, 2013.
8 Charlie Savage, Obama Takes New Route to Opposing Parts of Laws, N.Y. Times, Jan. 8, 2010.
9 Joel B. Pollak, Nuclear fallout: Yucca decision would affect immigration, obamacare, Breitbart, Aug. 14, 2013.
Falsely portrayed the Benghazi terrorist attack as a spontaneous protest against an anti- Muslim YouTube video,10 and then lied about the White House’s involvement.11
Illegally revealed the existence of sealed indictments in the Benghazi investigation.12
Failed to enforce the Magnitsky Act as required by law, by not adding Russian human rights abusers to a list of people not permitted to travel to or do business in the U.S.13
Killed four Americans overseas in counterterrorism operations without judicial process.14
Continued to give Egypt aid after the military took over its government, even though federal law prohibits aid to Egypt in the event of a coup.15
10 Bill Flax, Benghazi: Four Americans Died, Obama Lied, and the Press Complied, Forbes, Oct. 18, 2012.
11 Michael D. Shear, Email Suggests White House Strategy on Benghazi, N.Y. Times, Apr. 30, 2014.
12 Mike Levine, President Obama’s Surprise Revelation of Sealed Benghazi Indictment, ABC News, Aug. 9, 2013.
13 Obama’s Magnitsky Walkback, Wall St. J., Jan. 5, 2014.
14 Karen DeYoung & Peter Finn, U.S. acknowledges killing of four U.S. citizens in counterterrorism operations, Wash. Post, May 22, 2013.
15 White House says U.S. has not cut off aid to Egypt, Reuters, Aug. 20, 2013.
Granted a “hardship” exemption from the individual mandate for people whose health plans were canceled because their plans weren’t Obamacare compliant.16
Delayed the individual mandate for two years.17
Allowed individuals to buy health insurance plans in 2014 that did not comply with Obamacare.18 Extended this delay until 2016—past the mid-term elections.19
Extended the deadline to enroll in Obamacare.20
Illegally granted businesses a waiver from Obamacare’s employer mandate.21 Twice.22
Illegally continued the Obamacare employer contribution for congressional staffs.23
Illegally delayed the Obamacare caps on out-of-pocket healthcare payments.24
Illegally delayed Obamacare verification of eligibility for healthcare subsidies.25
Illegally required people to violate their faith via the Obamacare contraception mandate.26
As of May 2011, over 50% of Obamacare waiver beneficiaries were union members (who account for less than 12% of the American work force).27
16 Margaret Talev & Alex Wayne, Obama Lifts Health Mandate for Those With Canceled Plans, Bloomberg.com, Dec. 20, 2013.
17 ObamaCare’s Secret Mandate Exemption, Wall St. J., Mar. 11, 2014.
18 Stephanie Condon, Obama letting people keep canceled health plans for another year, CBSNews.com, Nov. 14, 2013.
19 Louise Radnofsky, Obama Gives Health Plans Added Two-Year Reprieve, Wall St. J., Mar. 5, 2014.
20 David Martosko, Busted! After promising ‘no delay’ in final Obamacare sign-up deadline, Obama administration unveils new ‘honor system’ extension through mid-April, Daily Mail, March 25, 2014.
21 Sarah Kliff, White House delays employer mandate requirement until 2015, Wash. Post, July 2, 2013.
22 Juliet Eilperin & Amy Goldstein, White House delays health insurance mandate for medium-seized employers until 2016, Wash. Post, Feb. 10, 2014.
23 Ezra Klein, In 2014, Congress gets Obamacare. Here’s how they’ll pay for it., Wash. Post, Aug. 1, 2013.
24 Avik Roy, Yet Another White House Obamacare Delay: Out-Of-Pocket Caps Waived Until 2015, Forbes, Aug. 13, 2013.
25 Avik Roy, Not Qualified for Obamacare’s Subsidies? Just lie – Govt. To Use ‘Honor System’ Without Verifying Your Eligibility, Forbes, July 6, 2013.
26 Joel Gehrke, Little Sisters of the Poor sue over Obamacare fines, contraception requirement, Wash. Examiner, Sept. 24, 2013.
27 Milton Wolf, Obamacare waiver corruption must stop, Wash. Times, May 20, 2011.
Ordered Boeing to fire 1,000 employees in South Carolina and shut down a new factory because it was non-union.28
Implemented a moratorium on offshore drilling after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill without statutory authority, and continued to enact new versions after federal courts repeatedly invalidated the moratorium.29
Treated secured creditors worse than unsecured creditors in the Chrysler bankruptcy.30
Terminated the pensions of 20,000 non-union Delphi employees in the GM bankruptcy.31
Had SWAT teams raid a Gibson guitar factory and seize property, on the purported basis that Gibson had broken India’s environmental laws—but no charges were filed.32
Government agencies are engaging in “Operation Choke Point,” where the government asks banks to “choke off” access to financial services for customers engaging in conduct the Administration does not like—such as “ammunition sales.”33
28 Steven Greenhouse, Labor Board Tells Boeing New Factory Breaks Law, N.Y. Times, Apr. 20, 2011.
29 Frederic Frommer, Government takes third attempt at drilling moratorium, Associated Press, Jul. 13, 2010.
30 An offer you can’t refuse, The Economist, May 7, 2009.
31 Emails: Geithner, Treasury drove cutoff of nonunion Delphi workers’ pensions, Daily Caller, Aug. 7, 2012; Report: Obama administration played key role in GM Bankruptcy as pensions cut for salaried workers, not unionized ones, Associated Press, Aug 16, 2013.
32 Deborah Zabarenko, Gibson Guitar CEO slams U.S. raids as “overreach”, Reuters, Oct. 12, 2011.
33 Frank Keating, Justice Puts Banks in a Choke Hold, Wall St. J., Apr. 24, 2014.
Executive Nominees and Personnel
- Appointed czars to oversee federal policy specifically because czars do not require Senate confirmation, earning criticism from stalwart Democrats such as West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd35 and Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold.36
- As of January 2012, 36 of the President’s executive office staff owed $833,970 in back taxes.37
- Made illegal “recess” appointments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board when Congress wasn’t in recess.34 Ignored the rulings of three federal courts of appeals that held those nominations unconstitutional.
- As of 2011, 311,566 federal employees or retirees owed $3.5 billion in taxes.38
34 Timothy Noah, Cordray’s Recess Appointment Sure Doesn’t Look Constitutional to Me, New Republic, Jan. 4, 2012.
35 John Bresnahan, Byrd: Obama in power grab, Politico, Feb. 25, 2009.
36 Jordan Fabian, Feingold questions Obama ‘czars’, The Hill, Sept. 16, 2009.37 Andrew Malcolm, 36 Obama aides owe $833,000 in back taxes, Investors Business Daily, Jan. 26, 2012.38 Richard Rubin, Number of Tax-Delinquent Government Workers Up 11.5%, Bloomberg, Mar. 8, 2013.
Free Speech and Privacy
- Circumvented the Freedom of Information Act, by requiring White House Counsel review of all documents to be released under the Freedom of Information Act that the Administration believed pertained to “White House equities”—and then delayed in producing many of these documents by FOIA’s statutory deadline, or didn’t produce them at all.40
- Got secret permission from the FISA Court to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and emails, permitting the NSA to search American’s communications in its databases.41
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking to monitor about 80% of U.S. credit card transactions.42
- Targeted Fox News reporter James Rosen by falsely labeling him a possible “co- conspirator” in a criminal investigation of a new leak.43
- Illegally targeted conservative groups for heightened IRS scrutiny.39
- Secretly obtained phone records from staff at the Associated Press.44
- Had meetings with lobbyists in coffee shops near White House to avoid disclosure requirements.45
39 Greg Sargent, Conservatives have themselves a real scandal on their hands, Wash. Post, May 10, 2013.
40 Mark Tapscott, ‘Most transparent’ White House ever rewrote the FOIA to suppress politically sensitive docs, Wash. Examiner, Mar. 18, 2014.
41 Ellen Nakashima, Obama administration had restrictions on NSA reversed in 2011, Wash. Post, Sept. 7, 2013.
42 Richard Pollock, CFPB’s data-mining on consumer credit cards challenged in heated House hearing, Sept. 13, 2013.
43 Another Chilling Leak Investigation, N.Y. Times, May 21, 2013.
44 Mark Sherman, Gov’t obtains wide AP phone records in probe, Yahoo News, May 13, 2013.
45 Eric Lichtblau, Across From White House, Coffee With Lobbyists, N.Y. Times, June 24, 2010.
Other Lawless Acts
Aided drug cartels instead of enforcing immigration laws—as found by a federal judge. Border Patrol agents, multiple times, knowingly helped smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.; “the DHS is encouraging parents to seriously jeopardize the safety of their children.”46
Illegally sold thousands of guns to criminals, in the operation known as Fast and Furious,47 and then refused to comply with congressional subpoenas about the operation.48
Dismissed charges filed by Bush Administration against New Black Panther Party members who were videotaped intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling station during the 2008 election.49
Argued for expansive federal powers in the Supreme Court, which has rejected the Administration’s arguments unanimously 9 times since January 2012.50
Sued Louisiana to stop school vouchers and keep low-income minorities trapped in failing schools.51
Threatened to arrest military priests for practicing their faith during the partial government shutdown.52
Muzzled the speech of military chaplains.53
Sued fire departments saying their multiple-choice, open-book written employment tests were racially discriminatory.54
Gave 23,994 tax refunds worth more than $46 million to aliens here illegally using the same address in Atlanta, GA.55
46 Stephen Dinan, Border Patrol helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the United States, Wash. Times, Dec. 19, 2013.
47 DOJ Inspector General, A Review of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters, Sept. 2012.
48 Jerry Seper & Stephen Dinan, GOP sues to force Obama, Holder compliance on Fast and Furious, Wash. Times, Aug. 13, 2012.
49 Kevin Bohn, Justice Department drops charges in voter intimidation case, CNN.com, May 28, 2009.
50 Senator Ted Cruz, The Legal Limit: The Obama Administration’s Attempts to Expand Federal Power; Senator Ted Cruz, Addendum – More Cases on Obama DOJ’s Expansive View of Federal Power; Senator Ted Cruz, Addendum 2 – More Cases on Obama DOJ’s Expansive View of Federal Power.
51 Obama, Holder Stand in Louisiana Schoolhouse Door, Investors Business Daily, Aug. 30, 2013.
52 Alex Pappas, Priests threatened with arrest if they minister to military during shutdown, Daily Caller, Oct. 4, 2013.
53 George Neumayr, Muzzling Military Chaplains, The American Spectator, Jan. 9, 2013.
54 Editorial: Firehouse flunkies, Wash. Times, Mar. 7, 2011.
Other Abuses of Power
Released a mentally ill Guantanamo detainee,56 who had been a high-risk al Qaeda fighter in jihad combat since the 1980s.57
Backed release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.58
President Obama told NASA administrator to “find a way to reach out to the Muslim world.”59
Claimed the Fort Hood shooting was “workplace violence” rather than terrorism.60
Signed a stimulus bill that spent money on bonuses for AIG executives,61 and then acted shocked and outraged at the bonuses.62
Gave $535 million to Solyndra, which went bankrupt; Solyndra shareholders and officials made substantial donations to Obama’s campaign.63
Reneged on a campaign promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term in office.64
Increased the national debt more in one term than President Bush did in two terms.65
Extended mortgage assistance to people who bought multiple homes during the housing bubble.66
Proposed rules that would have decimated family farms, by prohibiting children under 18 from doing many forms of farm work.67
55 Terence Jeffrey, IRS Sent $46,378,040 in Refunds to 23,994 ‘Unauthorized’ Aliens at 1 Atlanta Address, CNSNews.com, June 21, 2013.
56 U.S. judge orders release of mentally ill Guantanamo prisoner, Yahoo News, Oct. 4, 2013.
57 The Guantanamo Docket: Ibrahim Othman Ibrahim Idris, N.Y. Times.
58 Jason Allardyce & Tony Allen-Mills, White House backed release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, The Australian, July 26, 2010.
59 Alex Pepper, White House, NASA, Defend Comments About NASA Outreach to Muslim World Criticized by Conservatives, ABCNews.com, July 6, 2010.
60 Aaron Goldstein, Obama Still Doesn’t Get 9/11, American Spectator, Sept. 11, 2012.
61 Dana Bash & Ted Barrett, Bonuses allowed by stimulus bill, CNN.com, Mar. 18, 2009.
62 Helene Cooper, Obama Orders Treasury Chief to Try to Block A.I.G. Bonuses, N.Y Times, Mar. 16, 2009.
63 Bankrupt solar company with fed backing has cozy ties to Obama admin, Daily Caller, Sept. 1, 2011.
64 Josh Gerstein, 5 unmet promises of President Obama, Politico, Oct. 16, 2012.
65 Mark Knoller, National Debt has increased more under Obama than under Bush, CBSNews.com, Mar. 19, 2012.
66 Prashant Gopal, Boom-Era Property Speculators to Get Foreclosure Aid: Mortgages, Bloomberg, Mar. 5, 2012.
67 Washington Elitists Want to Take Over the Family Farm, Investors Business Daily, Apr. 26, 2012; Dave Jamieson, Child Labor Farm Rules Scrapped by White House Under Political Pressure, Huffington Post, Apr. 27, 2012.
Former “safe schools czar” has written about his past drug abuse and advocated promoting homosexuality in schools.68
Nominated Timothy Geithner—who had significant tax issues69—to head the Treasury Department, which enforces tax laws.
Reneged on campaign promise to broadcast healthcare reform negotiations on C-SPAN.70
Reneged on a campaign promise to wait five days before signing any non-emergency bill (at least 10 times during first 3 months in office).71
Unilaterally, increased the minimum wage for federal contract workers from $7.25 to $10.10, via executive order.72
Cancelled all White House tours after sequestration—purportedly saving $18,000 per week—even though President Obama had spent more than $1 million in tax money to golf with Tiger Woods one weekend a few weeks before.73
Adopted pro-union “ambush election” rules.74
Pressured Ford to pull an anti-auto-bailout TV ad.75
Actively, aided in George Zimmerman protests.76
Tried to seize a privately owned motel when guests used illegal drugs at the motel.77
Shut down the Amber Alert website, while keeping up Let’s Move website, during the partial government shutdown.78
Gave supervised release to a convicted criminal (an alien here illegally) who later killed a nun in a DUI.79
68 Maxim Lott, Critics Assail Obama’s ‘Safe Schools’ Czar, Say He’s Wrong Man For the Job, FoxNews.com, Sept. 23, 2009.
69 Jonathan Weisman, Geithner’s Tax History Muddles Confirmation, Wall St. J., Jan. 14, 2009.
70 Chip Reid, Obama Reneges on Health Care Transparency, CBSNews.com, Jan. 7, 2010.
71 Jim Harper, The Promise That Keeps on Breaking, The Cato Institute, Apr. 13, 2009.
72 Ed Henry, Obama to sign executive order raising minimum wage for federal contractors, FoxNews.com, Jan. 28, 2014.
73 Tom Blumer, Our Petty, Country-Be-Damned President, PJ Media, Mar. 8, 2013.
74 Senator John Thune, NLRB’s ambush elections would hurt local businesses, The Hill, Apr. 19, 2012.
75 Daniel Howes, WH Pressures Ford to Pull Bailout Ad, FoxNews.com, Sept. 27, 2011.
76 Documents Obtained by Judicial Watch Detail Role of Justice Department in Organizing Trayvon Martin Protests, Judicial Watch, July 10, 2013.
77 George Will, When the looter is the government, Wash. Post, May 18, 2012.
78 Update: Let’s Move Website Works Fine – Obama plays Politics with Lost Children, shuts down Amber Alert website, The Right Scoop, Oct. 6, 2013.
Shut down an Amish farm for selling fresh unpasteurized milk across state lines.80
Spent $7 million per household in “stimulus funds” to connect a few Montana households to the Internet.81
Spent $205,075 in “stimulus” funds to relocate a shrub that sells for $16.82
Fired an inspector general after investigating an $850,000 AmeriCorps grant received by a nonprofit run by former NBA star and Obama supporter Kevin Johnson (now mayor of Sacramento).83
79 JW Forces Release of DHS Report on Illegal Alien Charged with Killing Virginia Nun in August 2010 Drunk Driving Incident, Judicial Watch, Mar. 4, 2011.
80 Stephen Dinan, Feds shut down Amish farm for selling fresh milk, Wash. Times, Feb. 13, 2012.
81 Nick Schulz, How Effective Was The 2009 Stimulus Program?, Forbes, July 5, 2011.
82 Thomas Cloud, Shovel Ready in San Fran: $205,075 to ‘Translocate’ One Shrub from Path of Stimulus Project, CNSNews.com, Apr. 12, 2012.
83 Susan Crabtree, Allies of official fired by Obama mount defense, The Hill, June 24, 2009.
OFFICE OF SENATOR TED CRUZ
185 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
1st AMENDMENT AT RISK
Campaign puts ‘gay rights’ behind Constitution
‘Supremacy clause’ would reaffirm religious, speech, personal rights
Published: 26 mins ago
Bob Unruh About |
The cases are well-known: The Colorado baker in trouble because he declined to violate his own faith and promote same-sex “marriage” with his work, the Washington florist who made the same decision, and the New Mexico photographer who actually was fined by the state for turning down a request to promote lesbianism with her services.
People more and more are finding themselves in that no-win situation, where they have a strong Judeo-Christian faith and belief in the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman – but are faced with the demands of city or county “nondiscrimination” laws that bulldoze through their beliefs with a requirement to endorse and support those alternative lifestyles.
An attorney whose work on constitutional issues is well-known says such conflicts shouldn’t happen. Matt Barber, vice president for Liberty Counsel Action, tells WND that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is supreme, and that local ordinances that demand people violate its precepts must fall.
But there are those across the United States who may, believe it or not, place their own agenda on a plane above the Constitution, and therein lies the conflict, he noted.
Not complicated. How about a clause that can be adopted as a separate ordinance or inserted as part of an existing nondiscrimination regulation that simply would point out that it is the First Amendment that is supreme?
That the idea being suggested by Scott Lively, of Defend the Family, who has a long record of advocating for the biblical definition of marriage and family.
He’s proposing “The First Amendment Supremacy Clause.”
It states, “In no circumstance shall sexual orientation regulations superseded the First Amendment rights of individuals, churches and religious organizations to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion. For the purpose of this statute religious organizations are those whose policies or culture are substantially influenced by religious values, including but not limited to Christian bookstores, adoption agencies, hospitals, businesses, social organizations and student clubs on college campuses.”
He explains that would allow municipalities or other branches of government to adopt those nondiscrimination laws demanded by homosexuals – without infringing on the constitutional rights of citizens.
Lively said there are efforts already under way in several states to begin the process to install such a provision, and more are expected.
“It is our right as Christians to speak the truth of the Bible, and to operate in religious liberty,” he said. “The First Amendment was designed to protect the speech and acts of Christian citizens.”
But he said in today’s America, the politically correct has assumed great power, and even some judges are deciding to opt for the “civil rights” of homosexuals and strip the constitutional rights of Christians.
“The focus of this … is to shift our focus back to what’s really at stake,” he said. “What’s really at stake in our culture are the fundamental First Amendment rights.”
He said it’s obviously best if localities don’t adopt privilege for homosexuals.
But if they are in place, adding the “Supremacy Clause” can right a lot of wrongs, he said
The Family Policy Institute of Washington has noted, “Around the country bakeries, doctors, counselors, court clerks and wedding photographers have been victims of the war on intolerance; specifically because of their beliefs about sexuality and marriage. All along the way, those tightening the noose around the neck of religious freedom have claimed to be allies … That’s changing. Now that they feel they have the upper hand, they no longer feel the need to be tolerant.”
The organization pointed to a developing scenario in San Antonio, on which WND has reported.
There, city officials want their city nondiscrimination plan to ban from participation in city government anyone who has “engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of …. sexual orientation, gender identity.”
“That’s right, folks. If you are a person who has ‘demonstrated a bias, by word or deed’ against people based on things such as religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, you are unfit for public office.”
The family group continued, “On its face, this is simply absurd. This is exhibit A in the case that some people are educated beyond their intelligence. This language quite clearly excludes everyone, including those currently on the city council, from being on the city council.”
The organization said, “I’m sure San Antonio will thrive under the leadership of Tarzan, who, after a global search, was found to be the only person eligible for public office because, by virtue of being raised by monkeys, he had truly never considered the questions of faith and religion long enough to develop a ‘bias.’”
Lively noted that when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were drafted, the first right on the agenda was religious liberty for Americans. But now there are cases where universities demand Christian clubs allow atheists as leaders because of “nondiscrimination” laws. And others.
Lively said the adoption of the proposed clause either would fix many of the problems, or it would let citizens know where their lawmakers stand.
“Even in liberal cities, legislators are not going to want to be seen by the public as favoring [First Amendment restrictions],” he said.
Sally Kern, a state lawmaker in Oklahoma City, said she and several others in her Oklahoma City community are working on adding the provision to local regulations already there. Similar moves are under way in a couple of other states too.
Kern told WND that such a move could address – and prevent – a lot of the controversies that are arising now as same-sex “marriage” is pushed by Washington more and more – in the military, for states, for federal workers and such.
She said traditional marriage advocates there are even looking at the option of taking the idea statewide.
A statement of intent that accompanies the clause says it is “designed to ensure that the
first principles of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, namely religious liberty and freedom of expression, are preserved and honored as essential values deeply rooted in our history and laws, as against the claims and reach of the newly invented category of law known as Sexual Orientation Regulations.”
The explanation continues, “It is the purpose of this legislation to clearly recognize and affirm that laws and policies based on sexual orientation, gender identity or like terms have no power to infringe upon or otherwise restrict the inalienable rights of Americans which are enshrined in the First Amendment, and which many generations of our citizens have shed their precious blood to protect.”
The clause does not “prohibit laws or policies designed to protect homosexuals and other persons who define themselves by the practice of non-traditional sexual conduct from discrimination.”
And it is only triggered when “a claim is asserted that SORs should trump the First
Barber told WND the bottom line is that no one in America should have to make such a statement.
But he said the campaign for same-sex recognition is a “juggernaut that does not seek balance. They demand mandatory affirmation.”
“Freedom of religion should automatically trump any notion of so-called gay rights, a new fangled idea that people should get preferred status based on sexually deviant behaviors,” he said.
He noted that during the framing of the Constitution, homosexuality would not have been considered a “right,” but “an infamous crime against nature.”
Scott Lively Launches Campaign To Create An Amendment To The First Amendment (joemygod.blogspot.com)
THE BLAZE by JASON HOWERTON (MY TWO SENSE: I must say that most of the women in these photos don’t look as though they’ve ever wanted to have sex with a man, so, what are they yelling about? As for the rest, and after the hails for satan, I can’t imagine anyone thinking abortion is acceptable. First of all, it’s nothing to do with reproductive health. Secondly, it’s nothing to do with anybody’s health except for the innocent baby. Thirdly, it’s all about being free enough to whore around without self-respect and an iota of consciousness to practice safe sex or abstain all together. There is no conscience involved in abortion. No medical necessity is involved in 99% of pregnancies. When a woman is willing to kill her own baby without a thought to giving it life through adoption, that woman is one of the most selfish human beings on this earth. It is unconscionable and inconceivable what those women are willing to put another life through to make their own more convenient. And convenience is the truth of what abortion is really all about! JM)
Watch: Abortion Supporters Chant ‘Hail Satan!’ While Pro-Life Activists Sing ‘Amazing Grace’ Outside Texas Capitol
Jul. 2, 2013 11:44pm
The abortion battle in Texas was still raging Tuesday as both abortion supporters and pro-life activists flooded the State Capitol to make their voices heard. The Texas House and Senate reconvened briefly for a special session called by Gov. Rick Perry.
One of the more bizarre tactics used by pro-abortion activists involved chanting “Hail Satan!” to harass a pro-life crowd as they sang “Amazing Grace.”
Texas blogger Adam Cahm was able to capture the “Hail Satan” chant on video. Watch it here:
“It’s been a very interesting day at the Texas State Capitol. Cahnman’s Musings hasn’t been following the hearing. Instead, we’ve been participating in the surrounding events,” he writes. “LetTexasSpeak has been doing a live broadcast from the rotunda where women have been sharing their abortion related testimonies. The pro-abortion crowd has responded with repeated chants of ‘hail Satan.’ It’s taken us all day to get a video recording…”
Obviously, it is much more likely that the abortion supporters were chanting “Hail Satan!” to mock pro-lifers rather than actually hailing Lucifer, but anything is possible.
And there was plenty of discussion about “Hail Satan” on Twitter. Twitchy has the details.
The pro-abortion crowd also brought some really interesting signs to the rally (Some are offensive):
A recess was called for the Texas Legislature until July 9.
The proposed bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require that the procedure be performed at ambulatory surgical centers, mandate that doctors who perform abortions obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles and that even nonsurgical abortions take place in a surgical center.
Only five out of 42 clinics in Texas qualify as ambulatory surgical centers and they are in major metropolitan areas. Many clinics would need to relocate to meet ventilation requirements and to have the space required for operating rooms and hallways.
Similar measures have passed in other states, but many are tied up in court. Mississippi’s only abortion clinic remains open pending a federal lawsuit over the requirement for doctors to have admitting privileges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Pro-Abortion Crowd Chants ‘Hail Satan’ (radio.foxnews.com)
Texas abortion battle heats up as activists ‘Hail Satan!’ (washingtontimes.com)
Pro-Abortion Wingnuts Chant “Hail Satan” at Pro-Life Women (1800politics.com)
WND by BOB UNRUH (MY TWO SENSE: It never ceases to amaze me-no, confound me, how simple-minded those on the left can be. There is not one shred of evidence that connects the Tea Party to domestic terrorism and absolutely no evidence of Tea Party groups indulging in violence or strong-arming others in the way the White House thugs do. This maneuver is just that—a tactic designed to spread fear and hatred against those who want nothing but to keep America free. It’s unthinkable that Obama’s campaign to malign the Tea Party is working, but what’s unfathomable is that folks take the charges as facts when there has never been an iota of proof and not one incident that directly relates an act of violence to the Tea Party. What this poll has done is to ask questions that are designed to elicit responses that skew the outcome toward a favored premise. What questions did poll takers use? What people did they use? What political party did they use? What socioeconomic group did they use? How many more questions used were geared toward the favored outcome ! When poll-takers want to support a claim/hypothesis they use an old statistical model of trick questions that result in a predetermined outcome. That’s typical for those on the Obama band wagon! Facts are facts, and I dare anyone to substantiate those claims of the Rasmussen poll. This warring tactic, and the fact that Obama supporters are so easily swayed is no proof. Regardless of how many times a lie is told, it never becomes truth. If it weren’t so bad for the future of this country, I’d say let them go down in flames and see for themselves just how bad things will get if we allow it. I’m tired of this game of progressives making mincemeat out of Conservatives because it’s the only way they can win. I’m tired of the lazy asses who sit idle and suck up false information because it’s easier than looking for the truth. And I’m tired of being on this sinking ship with a terrific view of a sure-to-come, future that is taking us all down! It’s beyond time to stand up and fight this warring collective. Either tell the media what you think of this evil tactic or join the opposition because you are of no use to the rest of us. JM)
Tea party called ‘top terror threat’ in U.S.
Poll: Obama supporters fear political movement more than radical Islam
Published: 1 hour ago
One in four of those across America who support President Obama believe the tea party is the biggest terror threat to the United States, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll.
The survey was conducted over last weekend and included 1,000 likely voters. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points, with a 95 percent level of confidence.
It asks a number of questions about America’s security on topics include nuclear weapons, an anti-missile defense shield – and just exactly who is the nation’s top terror threat.
Twenty-six percent of Obama’s supporters say that would be the tea party – the grass-roots political effort to limit the size of government, get bureaucrats out of the average family’s life, and crack down on corruption and graft.
“Among those who Strongly Approve of the president more fear the tea party than radical Muslims,” the survey report said.
Across the nation, about half of the voters believe radical Muslims are the bigger terrorist threat.
The telephone survey revealed 51 percent of likely U.S. voters think radical Muslims are the bigger threat today to the U.S. Thirteen percent of those across the nation put the tea party in that category, and another 13 percent say other political and religious extremists are the danger.
Six percent point to local “militia” groups and 2 percent say Occupy Wall Street is the threat.
“Among those who approve of the president’s job performance, just 29 percent see radical Muslims as the bigger threat. Twenty-six percent say it’s the tea party that concerns them most. Among those who Strongly Approve of the president, more fear the tea party than radical Muslims,” the report said.
“As for those who disapprove of Obama’s performance, 75 percent consider radical Muslims to be the bigger terrorist threat. Just one percent name the tea party,” Rasmussen reported today.
Rasmussen reported that it was curious that even though the “Occupy” movement targeted the upper “1 percent” in the nation, members of that group “are more likely than others to see the tea party as the bigger terror threat.”
“Among those who earn six-figure incomes, 21 percent consider the tea party the bigger threat, while just two percent say the same of the Occupy movement. Among Americans who earn less than $30,000 a year, 12 percent see the tea party as the bigger threat, and seven percent say that description best applies to the Occupy movement,” the poll revealed.
The report said conservatives “overwhelmingly” view radical Muslims as a danger while liberals are split between radical Muslims and the tea party.
A full 1 in 5 government workers “see the tea party as the nation’s bigger terror threat. Twelve percent of private sector workers hold that view.”
Two-thirds of the respondents believe terrorist groups soon will get nuclear weapons, including half of that group that believes it is “very likely.”
Rasmussen: Obama supporters fear tea party more than radical muslims (bizpacreview.com)
Who do we fear? Radical Muslims or the Tea Party (beaumontenterprise.com)
26% Of Obama Voters See Tea Party As Biggest Terror Threat (redstate.com)
Immigration Bill Easily Clears Key Senate Test
Jun. 24, 2013 7:03pm
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sweeping immigration legislation has cleared a key Senate hurdle with votes to spare, signaling likely passage later in the week for stepped-up security along the border with Mexico and a chance at citizenship for millions living in the country illegally.
The vote was 67-27, well above the 60 needed to advance.
The vote came as President Barack Obama campaigned from the White House in favor of the measure, while outnumbered conservative critics attacked it without letup in speeches and electronic appeals.
Senate passage on Thursday or Friday would send the issue to the House, where conservative Republicans in the majority oppose citizenship for anyone living in the country illegally.
Featured image via Getty
Senate faces key vote on immigration (wtvm.com)
Senate faces key vote on immigration (enews.earthlink.net)
Schumer predicts mass demonstrations if… (thehill.com)
MegaVote for Illinois’ 12th Congressional District: (ilchristiannews.wordpress.com)
The GOP will wither and die, supporters threaten, if it fails to pass reform measures.
The scare tactics on the immigration bill moved into a higher gear on Sunday. Senator Chuck Schumer, a member of the Gang of Eight who designed the comprehensive bill now before the Senate, says that Republicans will face massive demonstrations and be politically punished if they fail to pass something similar in the House.
Schumer told Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union that “this has the potential of becoming the next civil-rights movement.” He went on to warn that if Speaker John Boehner tries to bottle up the bill or eliminates a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, “I could see a million people on the mall in Washington — on the platform would not be the usual suspects but the leaders of business, the leaders of the Evangelical movement, the leaders of high tech as well as most Americans pressuring the House to act. I think they’re going to have to act whether they have a majority of Republicans [in the House] or not.”
Speaker Boehner announced last week that he would not support any immigration bill that didn’t accord with the “Hastert Rule,” which holds that a majority of the majority party must support a measure for it to be brought to the House floor.
The very real prospect that House Republicans won’t pass the Senate bill without making major changes of their own has many in the news media warning that failure could mean the very death of the GOP. Sunday, on CBS’s Face the Nation, the first question that host Bob Schieffer asked Alabama senator Jim Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee and a critic of the Gang of Eight bill, was a blatantly political one:
Do you think Republicans get it on immigration? Because people like Lindsey Graham are saying if you don’t do something, reaching out to Hispanics, you — it might not — you might not need to run anybody for president next time, because with the demographics changing in this country, it’s going to be impossible to elect a Republican president if you don’t get substantial Hispanic support.
Senator Sessions gamely pointed out that a new Congressional Budget Office study has found that the Gang of Eight bill would probably reduce illegal immigration by only 25 percent. “And CBO concludes that the legal immigration will be dramatically increased and we’ll have — in addition to that, we’re going to have lower wages and higher unemployment according to the CBO analysis of this bill,” Sessions said. “Why would any member of Congress want to vote for a bill at a time of high unemployment, falling wages, to bring in a huge surge of new labor that can only hurt the poorest among us the most?”
Polling numbers on immigration vary enough that one can find support for nearly every position on the issue. But what is clear is that the country isn’t waiting with bated breath for a comprehensive immigration bill. In a January 2013 Pew Research survey of voter priorities, immigration came in 17 out of 21 issues, falling below “moral decline” and the “influence of lobbyists.” Only 44 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Democrats thought it a top priority. In 2007, the last time Congress debated illegal immigration, a full 69 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats thought it a top priority.
What killed immigration reform then was Ted Kennedy’s insistence on keeping union priorities in the bill, as well the secrecy surrounding the legislation. The bill was written behind closed doors, bypassed the Judiciary Committee, and was rushed to the floor for a vote. Then-senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico, an early backer of the bill, told the New York Times that the secrecy of the process left people confused and “caused it to flop.”
This time around, the bill did go through Judiciary Committee hearings, but the bill that passed that committee has now been superseded by 1,200 pages of amendments offered up by Republican senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota. Senators will barely have time to read much of the bill before the floor vote that Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled for June 24.
And it’s not even clear that Hispanics who want immigration reform believe that a path to citizenship is the most important part of any reform package. Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas), the son of a Cuban immigrant, says it’s a myth that Hispanics insist on including amnesty (or something resembling it) in any bill. He told me last week that his own polls showed that 68 percent of Hispanics in Texas supported more border security; when they were asked if they supported a pathway to citizenship or work permits without citizenship, a plurality of 46 percent of Texas Hispanics supported the permit system and only 35 percent favored a pathway to citizenship. “It’s a fraud being perpetrated on Republicans — that citizenship is the linchpin of immigration reform,” he says. “In reality, it’s the linchpin of Democratic efforts to expand their voter base.”
Comprehensive immigration reform is always the path Democrats insist we follow as the price for their backing any reform effort. But there are other ways to approach reform.
Indeed, the cause of reform could be fatally undermined if a comprehensive bill passes the Senate on short notice without adequate debate and little time to explain it. House members will be understandably miffed that they are expected merely to vote on what the Senate dumps into their lap.
It’s telling that the scare tactics deployed by the proponents of comprehensive immigration reform all revolve around politics: massive rallies on the Washington Mall and an angry Hispanic electorate. In reality, it might be the folks using the scare tactics who are the ones running scared. Maybe they’re afraid that the longer their bill is debated and the more sunshine it’s exposed to, the less likely the American people are to support it.
— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO.
Schumer’s shameless spiel (powerlineblog.com)
The Senate’s serial contempt (counterjihadreport.com)
I hate to interrupt NSA-gate, but we’ve been fed lies about IRS-gate (legalinsurrection.com)
APNewsBreak: Ohio State president jabs Notre Dame, Roman Catholics, SEC in recorded remarks
Published May 30, 2013
Ohio St. president takes shots at ND, Catholics (espn.go.com)
APNewsBreak: OSU head jabs Notre Dame, Catholics (seattletimes.com)
OSU head jabs Notre Dame, Catholics (newsnet5.com)
OSU President Apologizes For Notre Dame Jab: ‘Those Damn Catholics’ (cleveland.cbslocal.com)
Golson banned for ‘poor academic judgment’ (espn.go.com)
Holder to House Committee: I Don’t Really Know Anything About AP Scandal (And I’m Not Sure When I Recused Myself)
May. 15, 2013 6:29pm
Attorney General Eric Holder appeared for the sixth time before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, asked to speak about the IRS’ admission that it has been targeting conservative organizations and the Department of Justice secretly seizing two months of phone records from the Associated Press.
Unfortunately, though, Holder divulged almost nothing.
The attorney general’s opening statement consisted of an overview of the Department of Justice’s “achievements” and “priorities,” before saying they could be “threatened” by budget cuts related to sequestration.
But in response to repeated questions by Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) about the DOJ seizing phone records from the Associated Press, Holder said: “I was not the person involved in that decision…I am not familiar why the subpoena was constructed in the way it was because I was not involved in the case…” etc. He also often noted that there is an ongoing investigation that prevents him from commenting.
Lawmakers then attempted to determine who authorized the subpoena if not Holder, and the attorney general said he would “assume” that the deputy attorney general did after he recused himself from the case, and received confirmation during the hearing that Deputy Attorney General James Cole indeed did authorize the subpoenas.
Representative Spencer Bachus (R-AL) was one of the lawmakers to glean some new information from the attorney general.
While we know Holder has recused himself from the case, Bachus’ questions reveal that apparently Holder doesn’t know when exactly he did so.
“On what date did you recuse yourself?” Bachus asked.
“I’m not sure, I think it was towards the beginning of the matter,” Holder responded.
“Isn’t that sort of an unacceptable procedure? The statue says that the attorney general shall approve the subpoena. There was no memorandum, no email — when you recused yourself, was it in writing, was it orally? Did you tell someone, did you alert the White House?” Bachus probed.
“I would’ve told the deputy attorney general,” Holder replied, though he said there would be no record of it in writing.
Holder said the FBI’s criminal investigation of the IRS could feasibly include civil rights violations, false statements and potential violations of the Hatch Act, though he couldn’t say by or for whom.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) was particularly disturbed by Holder’s actions, saying “the actions of the department have, in fact, impaired the First Amendment.” To this, as with the rest, Holder provided a limited explanation.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) was one of several lawmakers to suggest Holder and other administration officials travel to the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and reflect on the phrase “the buck stops here.”
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) held up a picture of Tyrone Woods, one of the four Americans killed in Benghazi, then a photo of Brian Terry, a U.S. border patrol agent killed with an illegal gun tied to Operation Fast and Furious, asking whether there was anything the government could have done to prevent the loss of life.
When Holder prevaricated, Forbes grew agitated and said the only way we can prevent equal corruption in our health care system is for our personal health information never to be sent to the IRS in the first place. Because once the government inevitably overreaches, there is a clear precedent that no one will be held accountable.
Holder caught lying again: No Written Recusal on AP Phone Record Seizure (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
Holder Removed Himself From Decision To Subpoena AP (huffingtonpost.com)
AG Holder Recused Himself in AP Toll Records Case (talkleft.com)
Holder recused himself from leaks investigation, announces IRS probe (nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com)
Wait Until You See the Media Matters Talking Points on the DOJ/AP Story That Even Made HuffPost Say ‘Wow’
May. 15, 2013 9:08am
The left-leaning Media Matters actually put out talking points for those who want to defend the Justice Department for secretly obtaining two months’ worth of Associated Press phone records.
The Media Matters Action Network, the lobbying arm of Media Matters for America, said the situation “raises important questions about the balance between a free press and effective national security,” but that the talking points were “for those interested in pushing back against partisan attacks.”
Here are some of the key points Media Matters offers (including mentions of the Bush administration):
• If the press compromised active counter-terror operations for a story that only tipped off the terrorists, that sounds like it should be investigated.
• It was not acceptable when the Bush Administration exposed Valerie Plame working undercover to stop terrorists from attacking us. It is not acceptable when anonymous sources do it either.
• Did Republicans in Congress who are now exploiting the situation to score political points oppose the media shield law that likely would have protected the Associated Press in this situation?
• For a flashback to the Valerie Plame affair, which involved the Bush Administration revealing classified information about Valerie Plame’s CIA employment with the media and led to the exposure and endangerment of her overseas sources, click here for a rundown of the key players and here for a timeline.
This was the Huffington Post’s response:
This is what the talking points look like:
Why Does Media Matters Have Tax Exempt Status? (iowntheworld.com)
WPost Revives Its Plame-gate Smear (consortiumnews.com)
Obama Administration Under Siege From 3 Huge Scandals: Here’s Why It Could All Come Crashing Down
May. 14, 2013 8:52am
In just one week, President Barack Obama’s political machine has switched from endless campaign to survival mode. And for the first time in Obama’s presidency, the damage to his regime may be permanent.
Three revelations have come together like an avalanche. First, there was a Benghazi hearing that proved beyond any reasonable doubt that this administration is feckless, dishonest, and cravenly politicized. But in its aftermath on Friday, an executive branch information dump dropped another bombshell: the IRS does indeed target and intimidate conservative groups.
This appalling admission from a senior IRS official was obviously meant to slide into the news cycle and dissipate over the weekend. This unseemly public relations gambit has become a hallmark of the Obama approach to all issues, regardless of their importance to the nation. Deny or delay, spin and win.
And, to the discredit of our electorate, it has worked—until perhaps now.
As the country was still reeling from the gut-wrenching testimony of three Benghazi whistleblowers and the IRS mea culpa, yet another log was thrown onto the bonfire of the Obama administration’s credibility. Yesterday the Associated Press broke a news story that Obama’s Justice Department collected phone data on dozens of AP reporters as part of a national security leak investigation.
Such sweeping intrusion upon a news organization’s privacy—exposing all its sources and chilling all speech in the process—makes a mockery of the Constitution’s guarantee of not “abridging the freedom of speech.” We can now add the First Amendment to the butcher’s bill of Obama administration overreach and nascent autocracy.
These three scandals have encircled the Obama administration. They threaten to turn the President’s second term into an ongoing partisan dogfight as the GOP pushes for answers that could trigger investigations, resignations—yes, possibly even impeachment, depending on what is found.
Here’s a brief rundown of the current debacles facing Obama:
1) IRS as a Political Weapon
The IRS singled out and harassed conservative political groups, including during the election year of 2012. The mere mention of the IRS understandably sends a jolt of anxiety through most Americans, so the implications of this conduct for Tea Party and other conservative groups are obvious. This was the worst kind of dirty politics, and an affront to even the most basic trust in government.
While the IRS admitted this egregious conduct, already there have been lies peddled about the depth and scope of this malfeasance. At first we were told that the breaches were limited to low-level civil servants in a few field offices. But that was also false, as we now know Washington DC-based IRS officials were involved too.
The familiar script from Obama and his phalanx of public relations protectors in the White House—that the IRS abuses are not political, and only those who want answers have any political motivations—sounds increasingly obtuse, and pathetic. All the obfuscation on these issues come from the same direction, and benefit the same side of the political aisle.
And ultimately, incompetence and ignorance are poor excuses for a chief executive. The president can only claim he didn’t know what his agencies were up to so many times before someone asks the President that all important question– what would you say, you do here?
2) Frontal Assault on the First Amendment
If a free press is the foundation upon which representative government is built, the Obama administration has allowed the Department of Justice to take a sledgehammer to it. The wholesale investigation of a major news outlet like the Associated Press undermines the intent and spirit of laws meant to promote the discourse necessary for democracy.
And this sets a very dangerous precedent. Unknown to much of the public, there is no special exception for the media to publish classified government information, nor are there hard-and-fast statutory constraints on calling members of the press to divulge their sources under pressure of subpoena. If Obama’s DOJ can do this once, there is no reason they can’t make it standard operating procedure. That would mean bye-bye, fourth estate.
Until now, the federal government has been generally aware of the tension that exists between national security and the First Amendment. Not this administration. Leakers, at least the ones not authorized from the White House itself, are punished severely.
At this early stage, it seems likely the Obama administration recognized that, despite its loud proclamations of outrage, no arrests have been made over the string of national security leaks over the past two years. In order to make it look like they take all leaks seriously, and to send a message to any prospective whistleblowers, Obama officials probably decided to go all in after one unauthorized leaker without the benefit of White House connections. That frenzied effort may have led to the unprecedented, secret seizure of Associated Press records.
3) Benghazi Lies Laid Bare
While the audacity of hyper-partisanship from Obama is jarring, it’s not shocking. So much about this administration, and for so long, has been venal, petty, and undignified. The most recent iteration of the Benghazi hearings solidified those feelings and left even the most ardent administration supporter defending the indefensible. But many questions remain:
Who made up the story about the YouTube video? Was Hillary Clinton incapable of calling her own employees to find out what happened? Where was President Obama during the 8-hour attack? What is being done to bring the attackers to justice? These are just some of the unknowns that require continued investigation despite the administration’s efforts at stonewalling.
It’s impossible to tell at this point what the consequences of these scandals will be for the Obama administration. To be sure, more information on the IRS targeting, DOJ snooping on journalists, and Benghazi is certain to come out. And while it will be damning overall, we can’t yet tell whether the sum total will be an ironclad implication of President Obama or his cabinet.
But if this administration can get away with using federal agencies to stifle political dissent, harassing and spying on journalists, and lying about the origins, actions, and aftermath of a terrorist attack, America is no longer worthy of the Constitution left to us by the Founders.
It’s time for answers and accountability. The dignity and future of the Republic hangs in the balance.
An Interview With Barack Obama About The IRS Scandal, AP Phone Records And Benghazi (philosophers-stone.co.uk)
Survival Mode: 3 Huge Scandals Could Bring Down Obama Admin (1800politics.com)
Graham to Obama: IRS targeted BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse, too (newsobserver.com)
Graham to Obama: IRS targeted BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse, too (charlotteobserver.com)
AP Exclusive: IRS knew tea party targeted in 2011
Story user rating:
FILE – In this Aug. 2, 2012 file photo, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Douglas Shulman testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Oversight Committee. The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON (AP) – Senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups as early as 2011, according to a draft of an inspector general’s report obtained by The Associated Press that seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner.
The IRS apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. The agency blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware.
But on June 29, 2011, Lois G. Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, learned at a meeting that groups were being targeted, according to the watchdog’s report. At the meeting, she was told that groups with “Tea Party,” ”Patriot” or “9/12 Project” in their names were being flagged for additional and often burdensome scrutiny, the report says.
The 9/12 Project is a group started by conservative TV personality Glenn Beck. In a statement to the AP, Beck suggested that the revelations were hardly news to him and other conservatives.
“In February 2012, TheBlaze first reported what the IRS now admits to – that they unfairly targeted conservative groups including the 9/12 project,” Beck said, citing his website and TV network. “It is nice to see everyone else playing catch-up and finally asking the same questions that TheBlaze started raising over a year ago.”
Lerner instructed agents to change the criteria for flagging groups “immediately,” the report says.
The Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration is expected to release the results of a nearly yearlong investigation in the coming week. The AP obtained part of the draft report, which has been shared with congressional aides.
Among the other revelations, on Aug. 4, 2011, staffers in the IRS’ Rulings and Agreements office “held a meeting with chief counsel so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue.”
On Jan, 25, 2012, the criteria for flagging suspect groups was changed to, “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement,” the report says.
While this was happening, several committees in Congress were writing numerous letters IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman to express concern because tea party groups were complaining of IRS harassment.
In Shulman’s responses, he did not acknowledge targeting of tea party groups. At a congressional hearing March 22, 2012, Shulman was adamant in his denials.
“There’s absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people” who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman said at the House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing.
The portion of the draft report reviewed by the AP does not say whether Shulman or anyone else in the Obama administration outside the IRS was informed of the targeting. It is standard procedure for agency heads to consult with staff before responding to congressional inquiries, but it is unclear how much information Shulman sought.
The IRS has not said when Shulman found out that Tea Party groups were targeted.
Shulman was appointed by President George W. Bush, a Republican. His 6-year term ended in November. President Barack Obama has yet to nominate a successor. The agency is now run by an acting commissioner, Steven Miller.
The IRS said in a statement Saturday that the agency believes the timeline in the IG’s report is correct, and supports what officials said Friday.
“IRS senior leadership was not aware of this level of specific details at the time of the March 2012 hearing,” the statement said. “The timeline does not contradict the commissioner’s testimony. While exempt organizations officials knew of the situation earlier, the timeline reflects that IRS senior leadership did not have this level of detail.”
Lerner’s position is three levels below the commissioner.
“The timeline supports what the IRS acknowledged on Friday that mistakes were made,” the statement continued. “There were not partisan reasons behind this.”
Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s oversight subcommittee, said the report “raises serious questions as to who at IRS, Treasury and in the administration knew about this, why this practice was allowed to continue for as long as it did, and how widespread it was.”
“This timeline reveals at least two extremely unethical actions by the IRS. One, as early as 2010, they targeted groups for political purposes. Two, they willfully and knowingly lied to Congress for years despite being aware that Congress was investigating this practice,” Boustany said.
“This is an outrageous abuse of power. Going after organizations for referencing the Bill of Rights or expressing the intent to make this country a better place is repugnant,” Boustany added. “There is no excuse for this behavior.”
Several congressional committees have promised investigations, including the Ways and Means Committee, which plans to hold a hearing.
“The admission by the agency that it targeted American taxpayers based on politics is both shocking and disappointing,” said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “We will hold the IRS accountable for its actions.”
The group Tea Party Patriots said the revelation was proof that the IRS had lied to Congress and the public when Schulman said there had been no targeting of tea party groups.
“We must know how many more lies they have been telling and how high up the chain the cover-up goes,” Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for the group Tea Party Patriots, said in a statement Saturday.
“It appears the IRS committed crimes and violated our ability to exercise our First Amendment right to free speech. A simple apology is not sufficient reparation for violating the constitutional rights of United States citizens. Therefore, Tea Party Patriots rejects the apology from the Internal Revenue Service,” Martin said. “We are, however, encouraged to hear that Congress plans to investigate. Those responsible must be held accountable and resign or be terminated for their actions.”
On Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration expected the inspector general to conduct a thorough investigation, but he brushed aside calls for the White House itself to investigate.
Many conservative groups complained during the 2012 election that they were being harassed by the IRS. They accused the agency of frustrating their attempts to become tax exempt by sending them lengthy, intrusive questionnaires.
The forms, which the groups have made available, sought information about group members’ political activities, including details of their postings on social networking websites and about family members.
In some cases, the IRS acknowledged, agents inappropriately asked for lists of donors.
There has been a surge of politically active groups claiming tax-exempt status in recent elections – conservative and liberal. Among the highest profile are Republican Karl Rove’s group Crossroads GPS and the liberal Moveon.org.
These groups claim tax-exempt status under section 501 (c) (4) of the federal tax code, which is for social welfare groups. Unlike other charitable groups, these organizations are allowed to participate in political activities, but their primary activity must be social welfare.
That determination is up to the IRS.
The number of groups filing for this tax-exempt status more than doubled from 2010 to 2012, to more than 3,400. To handle the influx, the IRS centralized its review of these applications in an office in Cincinnati.
Lerner said on Friday this was done to develop expertise among staffers and consistency in their reviews. As part of the review, staffers look for signs that groups are participating in political activity. If so, IRS agents take a closer look to make sure that politics isn’t the group’s primary activity.
As part of this process, agents in Cincinnati came up with a list of things to look for in an application. As part of the list, they included the words “tea party” and “patriot,” Lerner said.
“It’s the line people that did it without talking to managers,” Lerner told the AP on Friday. “They’re IRS workers, they’re revenue agents.”
In all, about 300 groups were singled out for additional review, Lerner said. Of those, about a quarter were singled out because they had “tea party” or “patriot” somewhere in their applications.
Lerner said 150 of the cases have been closed and no group had its tax-exempt status revoked, though some withdrew their applications.
Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatap
© 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
AP Exclusive: IRS knew tea party targeted in 2011 (cnsnews.com)
Firestorm Over IRS Targeting of Patriot Groups (dprogram.net)
Why the IRS Abruptly Apologized to the Tea Party (theatlanticwire.com)
IRS apologizes for targeting tea party groups (cnsnews.com)
IRS Controversy Goes From Bad to Worse (huffingtonpost.com)
AP Exclusive: IRS knew tea party targeted in 2011 (boston.com)
IRS Knew Tea Party Targeted in 2011 (foxnews.com)
IRS targeted Tea Party groups as early as 2011 (salon.com)
Are Journalists and Academics Purposefully Re-Writing the Bible to Make It a ‘Tool of Progressive Social Change’?
Mar. 13, 2013 11:54am Billy Hallowell
The mainstream media’s handling of issues pertaining to religion has always received a fair bit of scrutiny from conservatives and people of faith, alike, as outlets are generally perceived as lacking understanding about these important cultural structures. And academics and entertainers, too, are frequently accused by conservatives of being biased against both religious sentiment and right-of-center perspectives.
Believing that these sectors work diligently to expand left-leaning policies and ideologies, an intriguing, yet controversial, question has arisen: Are journalists, academics and Hollywood elite purposefully re-writing the Bible to make it a tool of progressive social change?
A new report by the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute (CMI) entitled, “Rewriting the Bible: The Gospel According to Liberals,” tackles this very subject, alleging that entertainers, journalists and professors, alike, are re-writing the Bible and using it to their ideological advantage.
Written by Paul Wilson, a fellow at CMI, the report charges that these parties — regular targets of conservative angst — have been reworking holy scriptures in an effort to drive home liberal ideals. TheBlaze was given a sneak-peak at the report before its release later this afternoon. We will be sharing some portions of the document to showcase what readers can expect to find within its text.
Vice President Joe Biden (L) places his hand on the Biden family Bible held by his wife Jill Biden as he takes the oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayo during and official ceremony at the Naval Observatory on January 20, 2013 in Washington. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)To begin, let’s explore Wilson’s main contentions about Hollywood, the mainstream media and left-learning politicians:
When they aren’t actively denigrating religion, liberal journalists, entertainers, and politicians use faith as a weapon to bludgeon conservatives. They decided to reinterpret and rewrite the Bible to prop up their brand of politicized theology, claiming, as Huffington Post’s Mike Lux did, that “it is overwhelmingly supportive of … liberal, lefty, progressive values.” At The Washington Post, Marxist ideas have been attributed to the Acts of the Apostles and Jesus’ parable of the talents became a class warfare lesson. The Huffington Post told readers that the Bible champions homosexuality “if only we’re reading it correctly,” to the point of depicting Jesus on the cross with the word “faggot” replacing “INRI.” At the pro-abortion site RH Reality Check, a writer misinterpreted Genesis passages to argue that the Bible supports abortion. Whatever the left-wing cause, chances are the left and their media allies have subverted the Bible to justify it.
On the media front, CMI pointed to a number of issues that purportedly show bias . . .(Read More)
Other Must-Read Stories:
Scandal! ‘Religious’ nuts snatching birth control
ACLU refuses to identify culprits in outrageous letter pleading for money
Published: 20 hours ago
Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.
“Religious extremists” are withholding birth control from American women!
Or are they?
A fundraising email from American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony D. Romero tried today to put the fear of “religious extremists” in organization supporters, warning that those people have been denying contraceptive coverage to women.
When WND asked the ACLU to provide further details to substantiate its claims, the ACLU sent a polite note to WND refusing to explain the fundraising email reference to those “religious extremists” who have been denying contraceptive coverage to women, and also those who have been instituting “outrageous voter suppression tactics.”
WND had asked for an explanation, as the issue of contraception coverage remains undecided by the U.S. Supreme Court, where it will likely end up.
But in an early indication of that group’s attitude, Sonya Sotomayor, one of Barack Obama’s appointees, decided just this week that a company owned by religious people and operated on their Christian principles must, in fact, pay for those coverages or face crushing penalties.
Sotomayor ruled in a case elevated to the high court by Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., and Mardel Inc, and five members of the ownership family that Obamacare’s requirements that they pay for contraceptives such as the abortifacient morning-after pill take precedence over religious beliefs.
Among the court documents in the 40-some cases already brought against Obamacare’s “abortion mandate,” the president’s team repeatedly has claimed the companies must pay for the services, arguing that they have no religious expression rights where a corporation exists.
Hobby Lobby – long known for abiding by its owners’ Christian principles to the point that stores are closed on Sundays so workers may attend church and spend time with their families – argued that “to provide insurance coverage for certain drugs … [that] … can cause abortions” would violate the owners’ religious rights.
Nonsense, wrote Sotomayor, who handles emergency appeals from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She said the applicants didn’t meet the standard required for such relief.
Sotomayor added that they must pay up or face penalties while they continue arguing in lower courts for their religious rights.
Several other district judges have ordered that abortion mandate not be enforced against individual companies until the dispute is resolved, but the government is appealing those decisions.
So who are the “religious extremists” denying coverage?
“Thanks for the inquiry, but we have to pass,” the ACLU told WND.
Romero also noted that his organization fought “for people targeted by outrageous voter suppression tactics,” but the ACLU provided no details to support that claim.
In fact, WND’s comprehensive report on vote fraud noted that Democrats “took liberties with the law Republicans would never dare attempt and obstructed voter-integrity efforts at every turn, while the vast political-media-entertainment-education-union-nonprofit complex went all in to promote Obama’s narrative.”
It explored those reports of Obama getting 100 percent of the vote in some precincts, the use of absentee ballots, and documented reports of 24 million invalid or inaccurate voter registrations, 1.8 million dead voters and 2.75 million registered to vote in more than one state.
The report said, “Countless cases of confirmed vote fraud were reported in this cycle and the Obama team repeatedly rode the razor’s edge of legality in pushing voters to the polls.”
It cited Democrat Patrick Moran, son of longtime U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, who was caught on video by James O’Keefe’s Veritas Project telling an undercover journalist how to commit vote fraud.
Other Veritas videos showed Obama campaign officials in Texas, New Jersey and New York providing multiple forms to journalists posing as voters so that they could vote in two or more states.
Fox News is reporting on a number of cases involving Democrats who may end up in jail because of vote fraud.
“So is vote fraud real? Yes. Did it occur in this election? Yes. Was it enough to steal the election? In reality, although no single instance or aspect of vote fraud was likely enough to tip the election for Obama, the aggregate of their corrupt activities – including illegal campaign donations, taking advantage of states without voter ID requirements, military ballots delivered too late, as well as the laundry list of elements identified in this report, may well have been,” the WND report said.
“Even had there been no vote fraud at all, the Obama administration stole this election: By virtue of the media monopoly Obama and his team enjoy, they have been able to lie, deceive and suppress damaging information throughout Obama’s entire first term. They have taken countless billions in taxpayer dollars to enrich their friends and union allies under the pretext of ‘stimulating’ the economy and conducted a campaign of unprecedented viciousness against the Republican candidate while protesting vociferously in those few instances when Obama received richly deserved criticism.”
Romero also wrote that he fought for “same-sex couples trying to reverse the inequality and injustice that has persisted for far too long.”
But he didn’t mention the hundreds of other “philias,” such as pedophilia and necrophilia, which Congress noted during its debate over America’s “hate crimes” law or explain why advocacy would be on behalf only of same-sex couples and no one else.
He told constituents, instead, he’s confident of the fights “we can take on … and win” in 2013.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/scandal-religious-nuts-snatching-birth-control/#eV6KH3SHgPE0zC4A.99
- Supreme Court Refuses Emergency Request to Block Obama Contraception Mandate (cnsnews.com)
- Injunction denied in contraception case (politico.com)
- Feds open investigation into Obama money (bobusnr.wordpress.com)
Only 7% of Detroit Public-School 8th Graders Proficient in Reading
Crowd cheers President Obama at Daimler Detroit Deisel plant in Redford, Mich., Dec. 10, 2012 (AP Photo)
(CNSNews.com) – In the public schools in Detroit, Mich., according to the U.S. Department of Education, only 7 percent of the eighth graders are grade-level proficient or better in reading.
Some public school teachers in the City of Detroit and around the state of Michigan are reportedly taking a vacation or a sick day today to protest right-to-work legislation likely to be approved by the state legislature. Under current law, Michigan public school teachers must pay dues to the teachers’ union. If the right-to-work law is enacted, Michigan public-school teachers will be free to join the union and pay dues to it if they wish, but they will also be free not to join the union and not to pay it dues.
Detroit public-school eighth graders do even worse in math than they do in reading, according to the Department of Education. While only 7 percent scored highly enough on the department’s National Assessment of Educational Progress test in 2011 to be rated “proficient” or better in reading, only 4 percent scored highly enough to be rated “proficient” or better in math.
Statewide in Michigan, only 32 percent of public-school eighth graders scored grade-level proficient or better in reading, and only 31 percent scored grade-level proficient or better in math.
68 percent of Michigan public-school eighth graders are not proficient in reading and 69 percent are not proficient in math.
Over the past decade, Michigan’s public school have shown no improvement at all in teaching children how to read. In 2002 just as in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Education, only 32 percent of Michigan public-school eighth graders scored proficient or better in reading.
The state’s public schools have made a slight improvement in teaching math. In 2000, only 28 percent of Michigan public-school eighth graders were proficient or better in math. By 2011, that had inched up to 31 percent.
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- Only 7% of Detroit Public-School 8th Graders Proficient in Reading (cnsnews.com)
- Gov. Lincoln Chafee: It’s Not ‘Tradition’ to Call It a Christmas Tree (cnsnews.com)
- State posts new ratings for public schools (rep-am.com)
- Why Does the U.S. Department of Education Support Privatization? (dianeravitch.net)
- Global study of student scores a mixed bag for US (cnsnews.com)
- Dan Walters: High school grad rates tell a tale (sacbee.com)
WND EXCLUSIVE by BOB UNRUH (Wish I could remember the twit that argued with me that Obama was not supported by Communist Party, USA! JM)
Communist Party USA celebrates Obama win
Praises blacks, Hispanics, women for working together to defeat ‘white people’
Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.
“An enormous people’s victory.”
That’s how the political party of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels jubilantly celebrated the results of the 2012 presidential election in the United States, which will put Barack Obama in the White House for another four years.The comment was in a report to the Communist Party USA national committee from the party’s chairman, Sam Webb.
“We meet on the heels of an enormous people’s victory. It was a long and bitterly contested battle in which the forces of inclusive democracy came out on top. The better angels of the American people spread their wings,” he wrote in the online report.
He said blacks, Hispanics and women worked together to defeat “racist … white people” and that it now is time for the Communist Party USA to work on the foundations established by Obama on issues regarding the environment, homosexual marriage and minorities to its potential.
“If anything the vote … is an insistent call for action on the most pressing problems facing the working class and people. That is the election’s mandate,” he wrote. “This was not a vote in favor of destroying social programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; or rolling back domestic spending; or resolving the budget crisis on the people’s backs.
“It was instead a vote for jobs, housing relief, health care, withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, an end to U.S.-led wars in the Middle East, preservation of the social safety net, health care access, reproductive rights, and equal pay for women, infrastructure renewal (an issue that took on greater importance after megastorm Sandy), marriage equality, a larger commitment to public education, a tax system in which the wealthiest families and corporations pay a much larger share, reform of our punitive and anti-democratic immigration laws, a reduction in unconscionable inequality, a legislative and electoral system that isn’t awash with corporate money,” he wrote.
Webb was convinced the CPUSA was integral to the election results.
“Our contribution was both ideological and practical. Nearly every member and leader was involved. Our work gives us much to build on as we throw ourselves into the post-election battles,” he wrote. “In every state and city our political relationships are broader and deeper; our presence and prestige are on a new level.”
And he accused Republicans of trying to manipulate the vote.
“While many things went into Obama’s victory, what was notable was the ability of the democratic movement to turn back Republican efforts to suppress the vote; what was of great import was the determination of the people’s movement (with labor in the lead) to reach, educate, and turn out tens of millions of American voters on Election Day; what not surprising was the continuing, strategic, and sometimes underappreciated role of the African American people (93 per cent voted for the president) in the front ranks (at the head in many instances) of the struggle for progress and democracy.”
He said the immediate obligations of Congress now are to renew tax reductions for the “middle class” and raise taxes on the “rich.” Then the U.S. must launch a green-designed program to rebuild coastal areas destroyed by the hurricane. And third would be to give people more unemployment benefits.
“The president is the most popular politician in the country. Nobody has the political and moral authority that he has. He isn’t a radical, but by the same token to classify him as a run-of-the-mill capitalist politician doesn’t fit either. Of the Democratic Party presidents of the 20th century, none had the deep democratic sensibilities that he possesses. It is crucial that he lead this struggle,” he said.
“But he can’t and won’t do it alone. He needs a mass movement that will nudge him forward as well as have his back as he goes up against recalcitrant Republicans, big sections of monopoly capital, and wavering centrist Democrats in Congress in this and in subsequent battles.”
He said it’s the duty of communists, socialists and others to develop that movement.
“Our main task is to build broad people’s unity, guarantee the participation of the key social and class forces, counter the right-wing narrative with a working-class and people’s narrative, and bring forward an alternative program.”
He continued: “What stood out in the election was the power of unity and diversity. That may seem contradictory, but it was the interaction of the two that turned what could have been a defeat into a people’s victory. Had Latinos not voted in such significant numbers in Nevada, Colorado and Florida, it is hard to see the president’s path to victory. Had African Americans not turned out in record numbers it is tough to see how the president could have won in most of the battleground states. Had labor not mobilized its membership to vote in Ohio and other Rust Belt states, it’s a stretch to see the president emerging triumphant on election night. Likewise, had single young women not cast their ballots in large numbers, it is difficult to visualize his victory.”
And he launched a diatribe against whites.
“It is easy to dismiss white people, including white workers, as not only racist, but also backward on a range of issues, such as peace, gun control, reproductive rights, gay marriage, and so forth,” he wrote. “Looking at the white vote in this election provides ample evidence for this claim.
“Worse still, close to 65 percent of white men cast their vote for Romney. What motivated them can’t be reduced to race alone. A substantial number of white people, I’m sure, bought the idea that in an underperforming economy Romney would be a better steward than the president. And there were other issues that motivated them to vote for Romney as well,” he said. “But, at the same time, for many of them, racism must have either taken up the biggest space in or is closely entwined with the bundle of resentments and wrong understandings that accounts for their voting behavior.”
CPUSA reports that it is time for its ideals to surge forward.
While Marxism was conceived by Marx and Engels and “has served as a guide for working class and national liberation movements,” it is its affirmation by Vladimir Lenin, Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro that validates it, he wrote.
- Communist Party USA celebrates Obama win (wnd.com)
- You know you’re in trouble when … (wnd.com)
- Batman Shooter: Manchurian Candidate Programmed by Evil Therapist (dprogram.net)
Now media giants battle each other on Benghazi
News organizations file conflicting accounts of story
Published: 1 day ago
Aaron Klein is WND’s senior staff reporter and Jerusalem bureau chief. He also hosts “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio. Follow Aaron on Twitter and Facebook.More ↓
A just-released Associated Press account of the Benghazi attack contradicts a possibly false or misleading Reuters article claiming to quote a protester by his first name who described a supposedly popular demonstration against an anti-Muhammad film outside the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
The Reuters article claiming a popular protest against a Muhammad film is also contradicted by vivid accounts provided by the State Department and intelligence officials describing how no such popular demonstration took place. Instead, video footage from Benghazi reportedly shows an organized group of armed men attacking the compound, the officials sai
Now the AP has assembled an account of the Benghazi attack based on first-person witnesses.
Reports the AP: “It began around nightfall on Sept. 11 with around 150 bearded gunmen, some wearing the Afghan-style tunics favored by Islamic militants, sealing off the streets leading to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. They set up roadblocks with pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, according to witnesses.
“The trucks bore the logo of Ansar al-Shariah, a powerful local group of Islamist militants who worked with the municipal government to manage security in Benghazi, the main city in eastern Libya and birthplace of the uprising last year that ousted Moammar Gadhafi after a 42-year dictatorship.
“There was no sign of a spontaneous protest against an American-made movie denigrating Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. But a lawyer passing by the scene said he saw the militants gathering around 20 youths from nearby to chant against the film. Within an hour or so, the assault began, guns blazing as the militants blasted into the compound.”
That account contrasts sharply with a Reuters report from Sept. 13 – two days after the attack – describing a supposedly popular protest outside the U.S. mission and even claiming to quote a protester.
Reads the Sept. 13 Reuters report: “Accounts from Libyan and U.S. officials, and from locals who watched what began as a protest on Tuesday against a crudely made American film that insults the Prophet Mohammad spiral into violence and a military-style assault on U.S. troops, point to a series of unfortunate choices amid the confusion and fear.”
The article quotes one protester and only by his first name, described as “a 17-year-old student named Hamam, who spoke to Reuters at the devastated compound on Wednesday.”
Reuters quotes “Hamam” as saying, “When we had heard that there was a film that was insulting to the Prophet, we, as members of the public, and not as militia brigades, we came to the consulate here to protest and hold a small demonstration.”
“Hamam” further claimed that a rumor had spread that a protester had been wounded by firing from inside the U.S. mission, and so Hamam and many others went off to retrieve guns which, Reuters reported, like many Libyans, they keep at home for security.
WND reported on Friday the Reuters account is now seemingly contradicted by the news agency’s latest reporting.
On Wednesday, Reuters broke the story that officials at the White House and State Department were advised by emails two hours after the Benghazi assault that the Islamic terror group Ansar al-Sharia had claimed credit for the attack. The emails described an armed assault on the U.S. compound.
Reuters reportedly obtained three emails dispatched by the State Department’s Operations Center to multiple government offices, including addresses at the White House, Pentagon, intelligence community and FBI, on the afternoon of September 11.
The first email came 20-30 minutes after the attack. It carried the subject “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack.” That email said “approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well.”
A second email, headed “Update 1: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” said that the Embassy in Tripoli had reported that “the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi had stopped and the compound had been cleared.”
A third email carried the subject line: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”
The sections of the emails quoted by Reuters don’t mention any popular protests.
What really went on at Benghazi ‘consulate’
Like scores of news articles worldwide, the Reuters piece repeatedly referred to the attacked U.S. compound in Benghazi as a “consulate.”
However, as WND was first to report, the building was not a consulate and at no point functioned as one. Instead, the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi served as a meeting place to coordinate aid for the rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East, according to Middle Eastern security officials.
Among the tasks performed inside the building was collaborating with Arab countries on the recruitment of fighters – including jihadists – to target Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.
The distinction may help explain why there was no major public security presence at what has been described as a “consulate.” Such a presence would draw attention to the shabby, nondescript building that was allegedly used for such sensitive purposes.
Since the mission was attacked last month, countless news media reports around the world have referred to the obscure post as a U.S. consulate. That theme continues to permeate the media, with articles daily referencing a “consulate” in Benghazi.
U.S. officials have been more careful in their rhetoric while not contradicting the media narrative that a consulate was attacked.
In his remarks on the attack, Obama has referred to the Benghazi post as a “U.S. mission.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has similarly called the post a “mission.”
A consulate typically refers to the building that officially houses a consul, who is the official representatives of the government of one state in the territory of another. The U.S. consul in Libya, Jenny Cordell, works out of the embassy in Tripoli.
Consulates at times function as junior embassies, providing services related to visas, passports and citizen information.
On Aug. 26, about two weeks before he was killed, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens attended a ceremony marking the opening of consular services at the Tripoli embassy.
“I’m happy to announce that starting on Monday, August 27, we are ready to offer a full range of consular services to Libyans,” stated Stevens at the ceremony in Tripoli. “This means non-immigrant visas, as well as assistance to Americans residing in, or visiting, Libya.”
The main role of a consulate is to foster trade with the host and care for its own citizens who are traveling or living in the host nation.
Diplomatic missions, on the other hand, maintain a more generalized role. A diplomatic mission is simply a group of people from one state or an international inter-governmental organization present in another state to represent matters of the sending state or organization in the receiving state.
The State Department website lists no consulate in Benghazi.
Last week, the State Department gave a vivid account of Stevens’ final day during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It was disclosed that about an hour before the attack began, Stevens concluded his final meeting of the day with a Turkish diplomat. Turkey has been leading the insurgency against Assad’s regime.
Last month, WND broke the story that Stevens played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials.
Stevens served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya. The jihadists were sent to Syria via Turkey to attack Assad’s forces, said the security officials.
The officials said Stevens also worked with the Saudis to send names of potential jihadi recruits to U.S. security organizations for review. Names found to be directly involved in previous attacks against the U.S., including in Iraq and Afghanistan, were ultimately not recruited by the Saudis to fight in Syria, said the officials.
Stevens and three other American diplomats were killed on Sept. 11 in an attack blamed on Islamists.
One witness to the mob scene in Libya said some of the gunmen attacking the U.S. installation had identified themselves as members of Ansar al-Shariah, which represents al-Qaida in Yemen and Libya.
The al-Qaida offshoot released a statement denying its members were behind the deadly attack, but a man identified as a leader of the Ansar brigade told Al Jazeera the group indeed took part in the Benghazi attack.
Al-Qaida among U.S.-supported rebels
As WND reported, questions remain about the nature of U.S. support for the revolutions in Egypt and Libya, including reports the U.S.-aided rebels that toppled Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya consisted of al-Qaida and jihad groups. The U.S. provided direct assistance, including weapons and finances, to the Libyan rebels.
Similarly, the Obama administration is currently aiding the rebels fighting Assad’s regime in Syria amid widespread reports that al-Qaida jihadists are included in the ranks of the Free Syrian Army. Earlier this month, Obama announced $50 million more in aid to the Syrian rebels.
During the revolution against Gadhafi’s regime, the U.S. admitted to directly arming the rebel groups.
At the time, rebel leader Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi admitted in an interview that a significant number of the Libyan rebels were al-Qaida fighters, many of whom had fought U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but he added that the “members of al-Qaida are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.”
Adm. James Stavridis, NATO supreme commander for Europe, admitted Libya’s rebel force may include al-Qaida: “We have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al-Qaida, Hezbollah.”
Former CIA officer Bruce Riedel went even further, telling the Hindustan Times: “There is no question that al-Qaida’s Libyan franchise, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, is a part of the opposition. It has always been Gadhafi’s biggest enemy and its stronghold is Benghazi. What is unclear is how much of the opposition is al-Qaida/Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – 2 percent or 80 percent.”
In Syria, meanwhile, the U.S. may be currently supporting al-Qaida and other jihadists fighting with the rebels targeting Assad’s regime.
In August, WND quoted a senior Syrian source claiming at least 500 hardcore mujahedeen from Afghanistan, many of whom were spearheading efforts to fight the U.S. there, were killed in clashes with Syrian forces last month.
Also last month, WND reported Jihadiya Salafia in the Gaza Strip, a group that represents al-Qaida in the coastal territory, had declared three days of mourning for its own jihadists who died in Syria in recent weeks.
There have been widespread reports of al-Qaida among the Syrian rebels, including in reports by Reuters and the New York Times.
WND reported in May there was growing collaboration between the Syrian opposition and al-Qaida as well as evidence the opposition is sending weapons to jihadists in Iraq, according to an Egyptian security official.
The military official told WND that Egypt has reports of collaboration between the Syrian opposition and three al-Qaida arms, including one the operates in Libya:
Jund al-Sham, which is made up of al-Qaida militants who are Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese;
Jund al-Islam, which in recent years merged with Ansar al-Islam, an extremist group of Sunni Iraqis operating under the al-Qaida banner and operating in Yemen and Libya;
Jund Ansar al-Allah, an al-Qaida group based in Gaza linked to Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Syria.
U.S. officials have stated the White House is providing nonlethal aid to the Syrian rebels while widespread reports have claimed the U.S. has been working with Arab countries to ensure the opposition in Syria is well armed.
‘How can a single Christian stay at home on Election Day?’
Dr. Dobson tells faithful to vote, take friend with them, for sake of children
Published: 21 hours ago
Vote, and take a friend with you, for the sake of our children.
That’s the plea from Dr. James Dobson of FamilyTalk radio broadcasts.
In today’s Family Talk newsletter, he follows up on the request from martial arts champion, television and movie actor Chuck Norris, who with his wife, Gena, recently released a public service announcement asking Christians to vote.
They noted that there were some 30 million Christians who did not vote in the 2008 election, and Barack Obama won by 10 million, bringing into the White House his plans for open homosexuality in the U.S. armed forces, nearly unlimited abortion on demand and other policies.
Dr. Dobson, who does not advocate for or against individual candidates in this year’s election as a representative of FamilyTalk, noted the situation in which the nation finds itself approaching the 2012 election.
- The nation “is … in a moral and spiritual freefall.”
- “Religion liberty … is under assault like never before.”
- “Christians are being required to pay for abortions through their health insurance.”
- “Twenty-one countries [in the Middle East] are in turmoil.”
- “Israel’s very existence continues to be threatened.”
- “Iranian analyst Alireza Forghani boasted … [Jerusalem] will soon become a mass ‘graveyard.’”
“Given the state of the world and the decline of our country, how can a single Christian stay at home on Election Day? The stakes are simply too high,” Dr. Dobson wrote to constituents.
“If you’re among those eligible voters who haven’t determined whether you’ll even bother to make your voices heard on Election Day, I want to urge you – in the strongest possible terms – to rethink your position!” he said.
“In a sense, every election is a ‘crossroads,’ especially when it involves the selection of national leadership. Whether directly or indirectly, our president, congressmen and senators will establish life and death policies on our behalf and our children. These decisions will have an impact long after our elected officials have left office. In the following quadrennial, for example, the next president may make at least two appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed, each of them will be appointed for life. Given the unprecedented power of the court today, the selection of those justices could have a profound effect on the country for decades,” he said.
He said issues even as fundamental as whether the Constitution of the United States will be protected are being decided.
“May I suggest that you not only vote on November 6th, but that you try to take one or more people to the polls with you?” he continued.
But most importantly, he said, “your trip to the polls must be preceded by a time of earnest prayer. Pray that the Lord would grant you wisdom as you prepare to cast your ballot. Pray that His will would be accomplished in the election and that the leaders of His choosing would win their respective races. And pray that those who hold positions of authority over us, both now and after the election, would hear the voice of God and seek His face as they embrace the numerous responsibilities placed upon them.”
It was only a short time earlier that Chuck and Gena Norris created a public service announcement to encourage people of faith to vote in this election.
The video has gone viral, being viewed by millions. There’s no doubt of its influence, even though it does not endorse a presidential candidate, because of the impact of previous statements from Norris that were endorsements.
During the 2008 election, Norris wrote of his endorsement of Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who was holding support from about 8 percent of voters, according to Rasmussen Reports, which is considered one of the most accurate tracking polls.
Within a couple of days, the time it took for the Norris column to make the rounds of the blogs and media sites, Huckabee’s support rose to 10 percent. It was his first time ever in double digits, and within another day it was at 12 percent.
Huckabee’s campaign also reported a surge in campaign contributions – of about $550,000 – just days after the Norris endorsement.
In the video, Gena Norris says, “President Reagan went on to say that ‘You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.’”
Then there’s an embedded section with Reagan stating, “We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”
The following is the PSA:
“We know you love your family and your freedom as much as Gena and I do,” Chuck Norris said in his appeal to Americans. “And it is because of that we can no longer sit quietly or stand on the sidelines and watch our country go the way of socialism or something much worse.”
Gena urged Christians to register and cast their votes on Election Day to ensure “our voices will be heard.”
Chuck recalled the cautionary words of great patriots on the subject of preserving liberty: “As Edmund Burke said, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing.’
- Dr. Dobson’s Handbook of Family Advice by Dr. James Dobson (unlimitedbookshelves.com)
- Dobson blasts ‘vicious’ GOP opposition to Akin (wnd.com)
- Dobson Blasts ‘Vicious’ GOP Opposition to Akin (conservativebyte.com)
Snark, interruptions, ‘derisive sneering’
Published: 12 hours ago
In short, he said, it was a “cranky old man debating a polite young man.”
Chris Wallace said Vice President Joe Biden was “openly contemptuous” of the GOP candidate for his office, Rep. Paul Ryan, and said he’d never quite seen such a performance.
It all happened tonight at the vice presidential debate as Biden tried to make up ground in the presidential race that had been lost a week earlier by Barack Obama in his debate with GOP candidate Mitt Romney.
Analysts on site of the debate described Biden’s actions as “smirking” and “mugging.”
On one of the most controversial issues raised for debate, Ryan promised that a Romney-Ryan administration would be pro-life in its policy, unlike the Obama administration now that supports abortion at will “without reservation and with taxpayer funding.”
He also said he opposes the “assault” on religious rights being implemented by those installing Obamacare as a takeover of health care decision-making – citing the dozens of lawsuits brought by religious individuals against the government over its demand they fund abortifacients.
Vice President Joe Biden said he personally believes that life begins at conception, but wouldn’t do anything to stop others from taking the lives of the unborn.
The arguments came the only meeting of the two candidates for the No. 2 office.
“Our faith informs us of everything we do,” Ryan said. He said his Catholic faith plays a role in his position, but reason and science complete his position.
“I believe life begins at conception. The policy of a Romney administration would be to oppose abortion except in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother,” he said.
Biden also said he was “practicing Catholic” but he would “refuse to impose his beliefs on equally devout Christians…”
“Unlike my friend here, the congressman, I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that women can’t control their bodies. That’s a decision between them and their doctor,” Biden said.
Biden repeatedly laughed while Ryan was speaking, and interrupted and talked over the congressman, who remained largely serious on the issues under discussion, abortion, war, and national security, and waited for Biden to complete his statements before expressing his own comments.
On the issue of Syria, Biden said “the facts” are that Obama is working with people in the region to identify who would provide a government when Bashir al-Assad falls.
“We are doing it exactly right,” he said.
Ryan said the fact that Obama did not act sooner against Assad means that al-Qaida now has gained a foothold in Syria.
“Meanwhile, about 30,000 Syrians are dead,” he said.
On Benghazi, and the terror attack that killed four Americans, Biden blamed the intelligence network for telling the Obama administration the violence was sparked by a film project critical of Islam.
Ryan questioned why Obama spent two weeks defending that story, when intelligence sources at this point are saying they knew immediately it was a terror attack.
On the question of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, Biden said the Obama administration was exactly right, working with other nations on sanctions.
He accused Ryan of wanting “to go do war.”
And Biden said although he could not talk about classified information, he “was confident” the U.S. “could deal a serious blow to the Iranians.”
Ryan said the red line is that Iran cannot be allowed to gain a nuclear weapon, and he explained when Iranian leaders see the U.S. as weak and undecided, they will not divert from their stated goal of having such weapons.
Biden called Ryan’s comments a “bunch of stuff.”
He said Iran doesn’t have a weapon to install fissile materials in, even if those materials were being developed.
By Ryan contended that Iran actually now is “four years closer to a nuclear weapon.”
On the economy, Biden boasted of rescuing General Motors, making sure of tax cuts for the middle class and trying to “level the playing field.”
He accused Ryan of holding hostage more tax cuts for the middle class.
Ryan pointed out that in Scranton, Pa., Biden’s hometown, when Obama took office the unemployment was 8.5 percent. But he said now it’s 10 percent.
He noted that the economic growth in the U.S. is far below where it should be, and is falling further. And he said Obamacare’s 21 taxes include 12 that hit directly at the middle class.
He defended Romney, who was criticized for stating that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay income taxes.
“As the vice president knows,” Ryan said. “Sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”
Ryan noted the billions of dollars Obama spent on cars in Finland, other projects in China and the like.
“I know you’re under duress,” Ryan told Biden.
They disagreed over each other’s plans, with Biden repeating the claim Romney wants a $5 trillion tax cut, something Ryan said was incorrect.
“Look, who do you want to trust on this?” Biden said, looking straight into the camera.
“This is what politicians do when they don’t have a record to run on,” Ryan said, explaining the strategy then was for them to make people afraid – and want to run away from someone.
- Snark, interruptions, ‘derisive sneering’ (wnd.com)
- Brit Hume: Joe Biden ‘Looked Like a Cranky Old Man Debating a Polite Young Man’ (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Brit Hume: Blowhard is a rude and ‘cranky old man’ (utsandiego.com)
- Revenge of the Biden (prospect.org)
- Ryan Shone When He Wasn’t Interrupted (nationalreview.com)
- Fox News Analysts on Who Won the Vice Presidential Debate (foxnewsinsider.com)
WND EXCLUSIVE by BOB UNRUH (For every child, present in the classroom, taxpayer dollars are given to that school. Is this a reason for government and the DOE to stop home-schooling? You bet it is! JM)
State takes custody of children over socialization
Judge says academic competency irrelevant to homeschooling fight
Published: 17 hours ago