Category Archives: Featured Political News

Obama willing to meet Iran’s Rouhani at UN

Official_Photo_of_Hassan_Rouhani,_7th_President_of_Iran,_August_2013

Official_Photo_of_Hassan_Rouhani,_7th_President_of_Iran,_August_2013

The White House has expressed the President Obama is willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN, offering the possibility of warming relations between the two nations that have been at odds since the 1979 revolution in Iran. This is undoubtedly in response to a less militant veneer that Rouhani has brought to his office, since the end of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s departure. The change in posture in Iran has been credited to Rouhani being more “moderate” than his predecessor, however as far as Iran’s nuclear aspirations are concerned, it is important to remember that he had been instrumental in advancing the nuclear program in that nation for years.

While Obama may be open to trusting the new leadership in Iran, Israel is not so sure. The Israelis are acutely aware of Rouhani’s history in regard to Iran’s nuclear program, and are assuming that the new president is going to attempt to use a softer touch to get what the leaders in his nation want – nuclear capability. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also pointed out that Rouhani’s claims that he does not intend to continue work on acquiring a nuclear weapon are “deceptive”.

“The Iranians are spinning stories in the media so that the centrifuges can keep on spinning,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The true test is not in Rowhani’s words, but in the actions taken but the Iranian regime, which—while Rowhani is giving interviews—continues to push its nuclear program.”

Refusal to Answer

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FOIA MA State Police Letter2

The official Massachusetts State Police statement on the 5 men and 2 women arrested for trespassing near the largest man-made water reservoir in the U.S. just days after the Boston Marathon bombings is “no comment,” but that’s not the end of the story.

Publicly, MSP cannot legally release the names or other information about the 7 individuals because they haven’t been officially charged with any crimes, despite the state police department’s efforts to reverse that decision by a magistrate judge from the East Hampshire District Court which serves Belchertown, MA where the reservoir is located.

Clerk Randal Smith would not release the date of the judicial review of the clerk’s decision, citing statutes that require information be withheld from the public until a complaint is filed. Radio host and blogger Michael Graham has a bit more information, as provided by MSP Spokesperson David Procopio:

“In summary, the Quabbin case has not advanced at the Belchertown District Court since the original MSP appeal in May. At that time, the Assistant Clerk Magistrate determined that there was probable cause, yet ruled that no complaint would be filed. Subsequent to that finding, because we believe the complaint should issue so that there is a record of a charge against these individuals, we requested judicial review of the clerk’s decision (basically asking that a judge at the court review the case and issue the complaints).

We think it is important to create a record within the judicial system that the individuals were observed trespassing at a critical infrastructure site at an odd hour (around midnight or so) and gave the stated reason that they had professional and academic interest in engineering and wanted to observe the water storage structure.

Since that time, we have made periodic inquires to the court to determine the status of the case. After receiving your inquiry, we made inquiry of the court again today. Today’s inquiry resulted in the court telling us that the case will be heard by the Belchertown District Court Justice on either September 25th or October 2nd. When the appeal is heard, the Justice may make a summary finding or take it under consideration for a future finding.”

Perhaps the intense confidentiality and confusion related to the MSP complaint and any information on the individuals involved can be explained by the “on-going criminal matter” as described in the Freedom of Information Act request response from the Office of Chief Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts State Police. See page 2 of the response below.
FOIA MA State Police Letter 1

Major media outlets have largely ignored any follow-up on this story, originally reported at CDN in May 2013. Shortly after the trespassing incident, padlocks were cut at an aqueduct in the area that provides drinking water for the greater Boston area.
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To see the early coverage of the trespassing incident, click here:

Questions Remain After 7 Arrested For Trespassing

Massachusetts State Police Unhappy With Clerk Decision
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Georgia showing that both sides are wrong on Voter ID

Nick Gray (CC)
Nick Gray (CC)

Nick Gray (CC)

It’s been five years since Georgia enacted its Voter ID law, and it seems that the dire consequences predicted by the liberals have not happened. Contrary to their claims that the law would disenfranchise thousands of minority voters, the fact is that black and Hispanic voter turnout has increased dramatically, outpacing population growth.

Conversely, the law has not caused the discovery of rampant voter fraud either, as predicted by conservatives. While that may deflate the argument in other states that would seek to pass similar laws, the statistics do not necessarily prove there is no such thing as voter fraud. As the argument has gone in states where ID is not required for voting, proponents of Voter ID laws state they cannot prove there is fraud because no one is required to prove their identity in order to vote. The fact that Georgia has not seen cases of voter fraud since requiring ID doesn’t prove there were never cases of it in the first place. It merely proves that since people have to prove their identity in order to vote, they haven’t had any cases of people attempting to cast fraudulent ballots.

As for disenfranchising any voters, there were some voters whose ballots were not counted. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

Still, the law has had real and measurable effect for some voters: Since November 2008, the ballots of 1,586 Georgians didn’t count because of the law. (They arrived at the polls without a photo ID, cast provisional ballots, and did not return later with the required ID.) Overall, 13.6 million votes were cast in the state during the same period.

By the numbers, that works out to approximately 0.01% of all votes cast in Georgia since November 2008 were not counted as a result of people failing to comply with the Voter ID law there.

George W. Bush commemorates the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s March on Washington

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Office of George W. Bush

Dallas, Texas
August 28, 2013

STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH

Laura and I are proud to join our fellow Americans in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

When Reverend King came to Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1963, his purpose was to hold our Nation to the standards spelled out in the Declaration of Independence. He called all of us to live up to that document’s fundamental promise and the underpinning of our founding – that all of us are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with thousands gathered around him, Dr. King looked out over the American capital and uttered simple, powerful words that changed the hearts of millions. The dream he had spread a message of hope, justice, and brotherhood that took hold in the hearts of men and women around the world.

Our country has come a long way since that bright afternoon 50 years ago; yet our journey to justice is not complete. Just to the East of the Lincoln Memorial, where President Obama will speak on Wednesday, stands the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. There on the National Mall our President, whose story reflects the promise of America, will help us honor the man who inspired millions to redeem that promise.

Dr. King was on this Earth just 39 years, but the ideals that guided his life of conscience and purpose are eternal. Honoring him requires the commitment of every one of us. There’s still a need for every American to help hasten the day when Dr. King’s vision is made real in every community – when what truly matters is not the color of a person’s skin, but the content of their character.

Laura and I thank the King family and all who work to carry on the legacy of a great man and the promise of a great Nation. May we continue to march toward the day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected. And may God continue to bless America.

Martin_Luther_King_-_March_on_Washington

Wikipedia

#MakeCollegeAffordable backfires for liberals

Donkey Hotey (CC)

Donkey Hotey (CC)

Donkey Hotey (CC)


As Obama, the campaigner-in-chief, started a bus tour today touting his new plan to make college affordable, Twitter users decided to voice their own thoughts on his ideas. Like many liberal initiated hashtags, this one was hijacked by conservatives that are apparently fed up with government interference in all facets of life.

makecollegeaffordable1

Of course the free market option was brought up, as was the logical result of easy loans for students. The more money the government makes available for students to borrow, the more colleges will charge for their services. Then there was one that points out something that really should remain in the back of the minds of everyone. Is this latest tour just another ploy to get the public focused on anything but the myriad of scandals that have been dogging this administration from practically the very beginning? That very well could be part of the case, but the most likely reason for this little tour is to solidify support of younger voters that have been straying away from the Democrat party.

makecollegeaffordable2

Then there is Tim Wells (@rightwingnerd) that offers a couple priceless tidbits. Yes, Obama is interested in getting the student vote, but he’s also interested in keeping academia happy with him, especially since ObamaCare isn’t so popular on at least one campus. So, take from one pocket, while putting something in the other would be the theme for this trip. Also, pointing out the obvious, Wells shows that a college degree is not necessarily what one absolutely must have to be a success in life. BuzzFeed even offers a list of particularly successful folks that actually dropped out of school. One even made it to the White House.

Now, if you really want to find out about Obama’s new idea to tie federal aid packages to actual college costs, by all means take a look. However, one has to remember that this is an Obama plan. In order to be implemented, it will probably have to be shoved down the throats of the members of Congress, while they are told that they have to pass it to know what’s in it. There will be many promises about how it will help to reduce the costs of higher education, but because it is injecting more government money into the mix, it’s a fair guess that the schools will do exactly what was said previously – it will undoubtedly cause increases in tuition rates. And finally, there will be many corrections on the actual cost of the program, and eventually the CBO will come back with numbers that exceed initial estimates by trillions of dollars. Of course, those are all just guesses on how this will turn out, but educated ones, since we’ve heard this line before.

Sharpton says Cruz has been a Senator forever

Michael Fleshman (CC)

Michael Fleshman (CC)

Michael Fleshman (CC)


Ok, so it was a slip of the tongue, on-air on MSNBC. But, that doesn’t make it any less amusing, and who can pass up an opportunity to point out the stupidity of anything Al Sharpton happens to say?

It’s no secret that Ted Cruz is trying to make a preemptive strike against what probably should be considered inevitable complaints about the fact that he wasn’t born on U.S. soil. Not unlike John McCain, Cruz was born outside of the country, but is a U.S. citizen by merit of the fact that his mother is a U.S. citizen. Yes, this is the point where birthers should be shutting up about Obama, and possibly apologizing to everyone for all the rumors they sent flying over his citizenship status. As far as U.S. law is concerned, citizenship follows the mother – if your mother is a U.S. citizen, you could be born on the Moon, and still be a U.S. citizen. So, that whole “where was Obama actually born” thing shouldn’t have been the question – if there were questions to be raised, it should have been over his mother’s citizenship status at the time of his birth.

But this isn’t about picking on birthers. It’s about pointing out yet another in the long line of stupidity that we see practically daily from Sharpton. He started his career in the spotlight with a lie, so it makes sense that he should continue to keep trying to make himself relevant with silliness. One should not forget that he came to the political scene via the over-the-top political talk show “The Morton Downey, Jr. Show” in the 1980’s, pushing the sensational case of Tawanna Brawley. She lied about being raped by white men, but when she finally admitted that, instead of Sharpton going up in smoke, Downey was left holding the bag. Sharpton went on to play the race-baiting game to this day, and Downey’s television career went downhill fast.

As for Cruz, not only did Sharpton try to play the citizenship issue – in spite of it not being an issue in the first place – but he also decided it was good idea to say that the Senator is a “radical by choice.” Well, perhaps this one should be turned around on the old man trying to keep some semblance of relevancy. Would it really be such a bad thing if Cruz adopted that term? What is really wrong with running a campaign on being a conservative radical? There’s no doubt there’s at least one heavy-hitting conservative commentator out there that would say it would be a great idea. Maybe Cruz needs to look at what Alfonzo Rachel has to say about embracing our radical conservative roots. Cruz could run a campaign that suggests the radical notion of smaller government, free markets, lower taxes, real economic recovery, and maybe even a sensible energy policy – especially since we haven’t had an energy policy in years. Yes, Cruz is a radical. Now to see if he’ll actually embrace that concept, instead of letting the left use it as a weapon against him.

For your amusement, take a look at Sharpton pointing out that Cruz has been a Senator since birth – according to “experts” no less!

IRS Lerner in hot water over emails

Ray Tsang (CC)

Ray Tsang (CC)

Ray Tsang (CC)


Lois Lerner, the woman who decided to plead the Fifth in a Congressional hearing even though she was completely innocent of wrongdoing, might not be so innocent after all. Apparently she had been using her personal email for work communications. Of course many Americans do this in private industry, but given her position, that is not permitted, at all. For what should be obvious reasons, many governmental employees are forbidden from using personal email accounts for work communications, and vice versa. This has been an issue not only in the IRS, but throughout the entire administration, especially in the context of what happened in Benghazi when Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered. Now, it seems that Lerner may be guilty of the same questionable activities as other administration department members.

Fox News reports:

House Republicans on Tuesday asked an IRS official at the center of their probe into the agency targeting Tea Party groups for documents related to her personal email account, after learning she allegedly used the account for official business.

The request from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to official Lois Lerner states she sent documents related to her official duties from her IRS email account to an account labeled ‘Lois Home.’

“This raises some serious questions,” wrote committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “To understand the extent to which you may have used a non-official email account for official purposes, … we request that you produce all documents and communications housed in your msn.com account.”

Issa suggested such activity could violate federal records requirements, creates difficulties in filing Freedom of Information Act requests and “frustrates congressional oversight obligations.”

Beyond logistical issues for discovery in a Congressional investigation into the activities of Lerner’s office in regard to conservative organizations, this new development does not help her in her claims of innocence. Lerner should not be surprised if members of Congress start thinking that these communications were intentional, with the express purpose of hiding information. At the very least, it sheds doubt on her professionalism.

GOP Dreams of 2016

Gage Skidmore (CC)

Gage Skidmore (CC)

Gage Skidmore (CC)


It’s just a few years down the road, so of course it’s time for the potential GOP candidates for the presidency to start posturing, preening, hinting, and overtly stating that they intend to toss their proverbial hats in the ring. On the latter, sort of, there is the infamous Donald “I’m going to run and then drop out early” Trump. This time, (like all other times?) he’s saying he’s got his money, and he’s ready to spend it to get the prize. Of course, some could say that a move to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. would be slumming for the billionaire.

“If I made a decision, I’d spend a lot,” he said in an interview with ABC News, acknowledging the race would likely cost half a billion dollars or more. “If I did it, I’d spend whatever it took.”

It’s early, so who knows? Maybe dear old Donald will end up dropping out before the race even really begins.

Gage Skidmore (CC)

Gage Skidmore (CC)


What GOP primary circus would be complete without Rick Santorum? It’s no surprise that he’s already glad-handing in Iowa – maybe hoping for another at-least-a-little-more-fruitful victory there this time around. But will he be able to keep the momentum once he breaks out of the bible-belt? Given his current vocation – CEO of a Christian film company – the better money is on a tepid response from the not-so-religious right.

Bob Jagendorf (CC)

Bob Jagendorf (CC)

Yes, it is very early to be talking about he presidential primary, but there are already polls out there – ones that are undoubtedly at least a little disturbing to the ones that are showing early interest in running. And maybe Santorum and Trump missed the headlines about Chris Christie – he’s leading in a couple presidential polls. Again, it’s early. Also, the likelihood that the GOP will end up attempting to go “Big Tent”, draw in as many middle-ground voters that are disillusioned with Obama, and attempt to be welcoming of anyone leaning even slightly right – or at least giving a damn about freedom – is about as likely as the devil starting a snow-cone business in hell. So, Christie probably should frame those news stories, and save them for posterity. That popularity isn’t likely to last once the calls of RINO start again in earnest about him.

Obama Executive Order: Doctors to Screen All Individuals Ages 15 to 65 Years for HIV

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Executive Order — HIV Care Continuum Initiative


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EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

ACCELERATING IMPROVEMENTS IN HIV PREVENTION AND CARE IN THE UNITED STATES THROUGH THE HIV CARE CONTINUUM INITIATIVE

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to further strengthen the capacity of the Federal Government to effectively respond to the ongoing domestic HIV epidemic, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. Addressing the domestic HIV epidemic is a priority of my Administration. In 2010, the White House released the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy (Strategy), setting quantitative goals for reducing new HIV infections, improving health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. The Strategy will continue to serve as the blueprint for our national response to the domestic epidemic. It has increased coordination, collaboration, and accountability across executive departments and agencies (agencies) with regard to addressing the epidemic. It has also focused our Nation’s collective efforts on increasing the use of evidence-based approaches to prevention and care among populations and in regions where HIV is most concentrated.

Since the release of the Strategy, additional scientific discoveries have greatly enhanced our understanding of how to prevent and treat HIV. Accordingly, further Federal action is appropriate in response to these new developments. For example, a breakthrough research trial supported by the National Institutes of Health showed that initiating HIV treatment when the immune system was relatively healthy reduced HIV transmission by 96 percent. In addition, evidence suggests that early treatment may reduce HIV-related complications. These findings highlight the importance of prompt HIV diagnosis, and because of recent advances in HIV testing technology, HIV can be detected sooner and more rapidly than ever before.

Based on these and other data, recommendations for HIV testing and treatment have changed. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that clinicians screen all individuals ages 15 to 65 years for HIV, and the Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines for Use of Antiretroviral Agents now recommends offering treatment to all adolescents and adults diagnosed with HIV.

Furthermore, ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act provides a historic opportunity for Americans to access affordable, quality health care. The Act is expanding access to recommended preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs, including HIV testing, and, beginning in 2014, insurance

companies will not be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, including HIV. Starting October 1, 2013, Americans can select the coverage that best suits them through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, and coverage will begin January 1, 2014.

Despite progress in combating HIV, important work remains. Since the publication of the Strategy, data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that there are significant gaps along the HIV care continuum — the sequential stages of care from being diagnosed to receiving optimal treatment. Nearly one-fifth of the estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States are undiagnosed; one-third are not linked to medical care; nearly two-thirds are not engaged in ongoing care; and only one-quarter have the virus effectively controlled, which is necessary to maintain long-term health and reduce risk of transmission to others.

In light of these data, we must further clarify and focus our national efforts to prevent and treat HIV infection. It is the policy of my Administration that agencies implementing the Strategy prioritize addressing the continuum of HIV care, including by accelerating efforts to increase HIV testing, services, and treatment along the continuum. This acceleration will enable us to meet the goals of the Strategy and move closer to an AIDS-free generation.

Sec. 2. Establishment of the HIV Care Continuum Initiative. There is established the HIV Care Continuum Initiative (Initiative), to be overseen by the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy. The Initiative will mobilize and coordinate Federal efforts in response to recent advances regarding how to prevent and treat HIV infection. The Initiative will support further integration of HIV prevention and care efforts; promote expansion of successful HIV testing and service delivery models; encourage innovative approaches to addressing barriers to accessing testing and treatment; and ensure that Federal resources are appropriately focused on implementing evidence-based interventions that improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum.

Sec. 3. Establishment of the HIV Care Continuum Working Group. There is established the HIV Care Continuum Working Group (Working Group) to support the Initiative. The Working Group shall coordinate Federal efforts to improve outcomes nationally across the HIV care continuum.

(a) Membership. The Working Group shall be co-chaired by the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy and the Secretary of Health and Human Services or designee (Co-Chairs). In addition to the Co-Chairs, the Working Group shall consist of representatives from:

(i) the Department of Justice;

(ii) the Department of Labor;

(iii) the Department of Health and Human Services;

(iv) the Department of Housing and Urban Development;

(v) the Department of Veterans Affairs;

(vi) the Office of Management and Budget; and

(vii) other agencies and offices, as designated by the Co-Chairs.

(b) Consultation. The Working Group shall consult with the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, as appropriate.

(c) Functions. As part of the Initiative, the Working Group shall:

(i) request and review information from agencies describing efforts to improve testing, care, and treatment outcomes, and determine if there is appropriate emphasis on addressing the HIV care continuum in relation to other work concerning the domestic epidemic;

(ii) review research on improving outcomes along the HIV care continuum;

(iii) obtain input from Federal grantees, affected communities, and other stakeholders to inform strategies to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum;

(iv) identify potential impediments to improving outcomes along the HIV care continuum, including for populations at greatest risk for HIV infection, based on the efforts undertaken pursuant to paragraphs (i), (ii), and (iii) of this subsection;

(v) identify opportunities to address issues identified pursuant to paragraph (iv) of this subsection, and thereby improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum;

(vi) recommend ways to integrate efforts to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum with other evidence-based strategies to combat HIV; and

(vii) specify how to better align and coordinate Federal efforts, both within and across agencies, to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum.

(d) Reporting.

(i) Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Working Group shall provide recommendations to the President on actions that agencies can take to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum.

(ii) Thereafter, the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy shall include, as part of the annual report to the President pursuant to section 1(b) of my memorandum of July 13, 2010 (Implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy), a report prepared by the Working Group on

Government-wide progress in implementing this order. This report shall include a quantification of progress made in improving outcomes along the HIV care continuum.

Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Barack_Obama_Signature

BARACK OBAMA

 

SOURCE: The White House

101 Million: Food Aid Recipients Now Outnumber Private Sector Workers

food-stamps-right-lane-gustav-westwegojpg-b36c5fa9776fc547

food-stamps-right-lane-gustav-westwegojpg-b36c5fa9776fc547

What’s the Democrats’ secret to success? Astoundingly novel ideas, “hope and change,” transparency, ethical behavior, job creation, or effective foreign policy?

Ahhhhh… wrong on all counts! It’s because they give away money that doesn’t belong to them using government coercion.

Gander at this wreckage of an economy, which comes via CNS News:

The number of Americans receiving subsidized food assistance from the federal government has risen to 101 million, representing roughly a third of the U.S. population.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that a total of 101,000,000 people currently participate in at least one of the 15 food programs offered by the agency, at a cost of $114 billion in fiscal year 2012.

That means the number of Americans receiving food assistance has surpassed the number of private sector workers in the U.S..

Of course, the more people on welfare, the better the government, right? But as Ronald Reagan said best: “We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”

Until we get rid of the notion that people are entitled to no-strings-attached welfare, this nation will continue to be trapped in economic stagnation. Let’s take a look at some recent figures:

  • “Since January 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as president, the United States has seen 54 straight months with the unemployment rate at 7.5 percent or higher, which is the longest stretch of unemployment at or above that rate since 1948″… [CNS News, July 5th. 2013]
  • “Of the 11.8 million jobless Americans in June, 4.3 million had been out of work six months or longer. There were 1 million fewer long-term jobless than last year, but their ranks remain way above the previous high-water mark of 2.8 million in 1983.” [Huffington Post, July 5th, 2013]
  • “[T]he number of people not in the labor force which in March soared by a massive 663,000 to a record 90 million Americans who are no longer even looking for work… And even worse, the labor force participation rate plunged from an already abysmal 63.5% to 63.3% – the lowest since 1979! [ZeroHedge, April 2013]
  • “The total number of people in the United States now receiving federal disability benefits hit a record 10,962,532 million in April, which exceeds the 10,815,197 people who live in the nation of Greece.” [CNS News, May 2013]
  • “As the president began the first year of his second term, the U.S. poverty rate rose to a level not seen since the 1960s… The Census Bureau says that 50 million Americans, roughly one in six — almost 17% — are living below the poverty line… apparently 20% of the nation’s children are living in poverty.” [IBD, April 2013]

That’s “compassionate” policy for you nowadays: not creating jobs or growing a prosperous middle class, but “spreading the wealth around.” Since 51% of the nation isn’t paying federal income taxes, and 49.1% of households are receiving some form of welfare, it’s safe to say that one half of the nation is literally looting the other half through government.

Abortion debate returns to Texas legislature

Used with permission. Copyright Felicia Winfree Cravens

Governor Rick Perry has called another special session in Texas to consider the abortion issue again. Protesters on both sides of the debate swarmed around the state capital, in the hope of swaying the legislators inside.

As reported by the Washington Post:

Used with permission. Copyright Felicia Winfree Cravens

Used with permission. Copyright Felicia Winfree Cravens


With 30 days and the majority of state lawmakers on their side, Republicans are almost assured success as they seek to pass restrictions that would ban abortions starting 20 weeks after fertilization and require clinics performing the procedure to meet costly new requirements that could put many of them out of business.

“The Texas Legislature is poised to finish its history-making work this year by passing legislation to protect the unborn and women’s health,” Gov. Rick Perry (R) said in a statement.

In the first special session, the measure didn’t make it to the Senate for final approval until the last day, giving state Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) the window — and the national stage — to filibuster the measure to defeat.

“I was lucky enough to be able to make the choices in my life that I knew would work for me,” Davis told supporters Monday, responding to Perry’s suggestion that, as a teenage mother herself, she should’ve “learned from her own example.”

The new versions of the bill — House Bill 2 by state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker) and Senate Bill 1 by state Sen. Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) — are headed for committee hearings.

The “costly new requirements”, if the new bills are similar to SB-5, include requirements that all clinics has physicians on staff that also have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility, and increased accountability for the clinics and their employees to ensure the safety of patients. Additionally, all penalties are levied against physicians and clinics, not patients. SB-5 cited fetal pain as the purpose of the legislation. It was not mentioned that according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, 1.5% of all abortions in 2006 were performed after the 20-week limit being considered in Texas, or that complications increase significantly the longer a woman waits to have an abortion.

The risk of death associated with abortion increases with the length of pregnancy, from one death for every one million abortions at or before eight weeks to one per 29,000 at 16–20 weeks—and one per 11,000 at 21 or more weeks.

Used with permission. Copyright Felicia Winfree Cravens

Used with permission. Copyright Felicia Winfree Cravens

While protesters against this legislation may want to claim that they are for women’s health, objecting to increased oversight and accountability in clinics does not exactly square with that ideal. Also, given the low number of women that tend to have abortions at that stage of pregnancy, and the increased probability of complications, including death of the woman, the argument tends to fall flat. After the Kermit Gosnell case in Pennsylvania, it would have been hoped that all women, regardless of their opinion on abortion, would want to do anything to prevent similar situations from happening again, which is exactly what the current bill under consideration would do. Time will tell, but if there are no significant changes on the floor in the Texas legislature, this measure will undoubtedly pass, and will not be stolen again by an unruly mob.

Famed singer butchers anthem at gay pride event

Jason H. Smith (CC)

Jason H. Smith (CC)

Jason H. Smith (CC)

The meat dress she infamously wore to the MTV Music Awards a few years back is far less rancid than some of the reprehensible things that have come out of pop star Lady Gaga’s mouth. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise the anything-for-attention media darling would have no qualms about replacing key phrases in our National Anthem to create an alignment with her own skewed philosophy.

That is exactly what she did during an appalling rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner to begin a gay pride gathering in New York City recently. Not only did she change the words — and meaning — of the anthem just days before Independence Day, she held firmly to a rainbow flag all the while. Apparently making a reference to the recognizable symbol of homosexual culture, Gaga’s performance swapped “flag of pride” for “banner” in the song’s penultimate line. The most egregious edit came at the very end, though, when she described her vision of America: “O’re the land of the free,” she continued, “and the home for the gay?”

Homosexual activists have rightly been very celebratory in light of recent Supreme Court decisions in their favor. Though I wholeheartedly disagree with the redefinition of marriage, I understand much of this nation is on board with these changes and have an absolute right to speak out in their defense. When one of the cause’s most prominent voices rewrites the National Anthem to uphold a position many find immoral, though, it is incumbent on the rest of us to hold her accountable.

There is no question many in the movement do not want mere equality for gays — which they have had all along — but superiority. Gaga’s irresponsible performance proved just that by admitting she sees a “home for the gay” at the apparent exclusion of everyone else. Should any other group — especially one heavily populated by either whites or Christians — dare use patriotic sentiment to champion a separatist cause, its members would be mercilessly and justifiably chastised. When the otherwise unpardonable act is perpetrated on behalf of the influential homosexual lobby, however, one struggles to hear even the hint of disapproval from major media.

Click here to get B. Christopher Agee’s latest book for less than $5! Like his Facebook page for engaging, relevant conservative content daily.

 

Fifth Scandal Breaks: NSA’s Massive Operation to Mine Internet & Cellphone Companies for Data

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The New York Times, Huffington Post, and the Atlantic are blasting the Obama administration for multiple NSA-related scandals. It is going to be hard for their readers to miss and not be impressed.

The current Internet environment is now such that those who were only tagging along in support of President Obama due to peer pressure may finally be peeled away. A breaking news story showing the NSA and FBI engaged in massive surveillance through 9 Internet programs should help spread this negativity towards the U.S. government in general like a contagion.

What is the latest scandal, which should toss even more fuel on the fire?

The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.

The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year, when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes, the only members of Congress who know about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues. …

So with no further adieu, here’s the liberal paper-of-record on a sweeping NSA program that implies all American citizens are suspected of terrorist ties:

The Obama administration is secretly carrying out a domestic surveillance program under which it is collecting business communications records involving Americans under a hotly debated section of the Patriot Act, according to a highly classified court order disclosed on Wednesday night.

The order, signed by Judge Roger Vinson of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in April, directs a Verizon Communications subsidiary, Verizon Business Network Services, to turn over “on an ongoing daily basis” to the National Security Agency all call logs “between the United States and abroad” or “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”

The order does not apply to the content of the communications.

The left-wing blogosphere has gone nuts… wait, gone nutsier, after the New York Times reported what Glenn Greenwald of the left-wing Telegraph scooped them on. Huffington Post ran the feature image of this post on its front page, to the chagrin of hordes of lefty drones. Screen-Shot-2013-06-06-at-5.07.23-PM-562x380

Here is one excerpt from the HuffPo-ran AP article that shows we are not talking about a mere conflation of Obama and Bush:

James Bamford, a journalist and author of several books on the NSA, said it’s very surprising to see that the agency tracks domestic calls, including local calls. In 2006, USA Today reported that the NSA was secretly collecting a database of domestic call information. However, some phone companies denied any involvement in such a program.

Bamford’s assumption was that the uproar over a separate, post-9/11 warrantless wiretapping program and the departure of the Bush administration meant that the NSA had been reined in.

“Here we are, under the Obama administration, doing it sort of like the Bush administration on steroids,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press. “This order here is about as broad as it can possibly get, when it comes to focusing on personal communications. There’s no warrant, there’s no suspicion, there’s no probable cause … it sounds like something from East Germany.”

Assuming that at least some HuffPo readers think East Germany was bad, that’s pretty strong criticism to publish on the big blog’s pages. Another non-righty site Atlantic Wire also had some caustic words for the Obama admin in a piece called “Phone Sex, Banks & Google for Emails: The NSA Spying Is Bigger Than Verizon”:

And the NSA isn’t just collecting the things we say. It’s also tracking what we buy and where we go. In 2008, The Wall Street Journal‘s Siobhan Gorman reported that the NSA’s domestic data collection “have evolved to reach more broadly into data about people’s communications, travel and finances in the U.S. than the domestic surveillance programs brought to light since the 2001 terrorist attacks.” That means emails records, bank transfers, phone records, travel records.

…And the NSA would never abuse its awesome surveillance power, right? Wrong. In 2008, NSA workers told ABC News that they routinely eavesdropped on phone sex between troops serving overseas and their loved ones in America. They listened in on both satellite phone calls and calls from the phone banks in Iraq’s Green Zone where soldiers call home. Former Navy Arab linguist, David Murfee Faulk described how a coworker would say, “Hey, check this out… there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out.” Faulk explained they would gossip about the best calls during breaks. “It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, ‘Wow, this was crazy.'”

The coup-de-grace is an opinion piece from the tissified New York Times that has to be seen to be believed. Here’s just a taste of what the editorial board had to say:

Within hours of the disclosure that the federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.

Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability. The administration has now lost all credibility. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.

John Nolte is quite right about the mainstream media not breaking one of the big scandal stories; but if there is a time for anything, it is for the conservative right to coax the left into unifying with them on civil liberties issues. It is outstanding that the left-wing punditocracy has turned to this extent on not just the President, but also acknowledges some basic principles the American right have been clamoring about for years! There is not a ‘but’ coming… take it and appreciate it for a change.

If right and left can agree on the importance of civil liberties, and see through the transparent abuse of the “war on terror” as a justification to deprive citizens of rights, then not all is lost. Maybe lefties will eventually be much more open to truths that were discovered hundreds of years ago with the founding of this country.

Quite simply, the Founders had it right. Citizens own the government and should be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It is the police’s job to investigate crimes with tools respecting the rights of citizens and to prevent crimes based on publicly acquired knowledge.

Police do not have a mandate to trample the rights of citizens and to treat them as if their lives are open books for ‘authorized’ bureaucrats or officials to read. In a bit of coincidence, Orwell’s 1984 was written 64 years ago. It should be taken as a warning.

When every American citizen is suspected of being a terrorist, there can be no privacy and no respite from the state’s intrusions. Democrats who say they care about civil liberties: Can you hear me now?

This article was adapted and extended from an IJReview article.

Obama’s First-Term Track Record on Civil Liberties & Why It Matters Now

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The Rutherford Institute does just a fantastic job cataloging President Obama’s numerous infractions against civil liberties, which extend back to before he was president.

As John Whitehead explains, the president has shown himself to be a supporter of civil liberties infringements time and time again. Of particular interest, the president reversed himself in 2008 and supported granting telecoms retroactive immunity for breaking federal laws in conjunction with Bush-era domestic spying. As the CNET article Whitehead cites explains:

Sen. Barack Obama is taking heat from liberal supporters for changing his position on granting phone companies involved in President Bush’s domestic spying program retroactive immunity for breaking federal laws.

Previously, Obama opposed any immunity for the telecom companies. In February, Obama voted on a Senate bill against retroactive immunity. And when asked for CNET News.com’s 2008 Technology Voters’ Guide whether he supported “giving (phone companies) retroactive immunity for any illicit cooperation with intelligence agencies or law enforcement, ” he answered “No.”

During the primary, Obama vowed to fight such legislation to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, the Times story said. But now he has switched his position to support a compromise bill that was worked out between the White House and Democratic Congressional leaders.

So when candidate Obama knew that his presidential election was in the bag, he was already reversing himself on his civil libertarian stances. What really mattered to Obama was appearing like an outsider; but even the backing of huge banking establishments like Chase and Goldman Sachs, and later General Electric and Google, should have been a dead giveaway that this man’s image did not match what he was there to do: loot the Treasury and change the American tradition of respecting individual rights.

The Obama track record is important because it shows that the violations of civil liberties happening right now are not anomalies. The IRS scandal of targeting tea party, conservative, Christian, pro-Israel and pro-Constitution groups is not a fluke. The DOJ going after the phone records of the AP and Fox News reporter James Rosen is not a fluke.

The EPA waiving fees on Freedom of Information Act requests much more often for progressive groups than for conservative groups is not a fluke. HHS strong-arming companies falling under Obamacare authority to contribute money to a “charity” is not a fluke. The NSA gathering phone records for both foreign and domestic calls is not a fluke.

The president has portrayed himself as a community change-agent fighting against the system. In reality, he is the ultimate user and abuser of the system to implement authoritarian measures and to infringe on civil liberties.

More importantly, the abuse of civil liberties can always be expected whenever the government operates without media and democratic accountability. Big government is always bad government.

What we are seeing are not even separate scandals, but a scandalous government seeking to “fundamentally transform” the country into one where such rewarding of political allies and punishment of friends is the standard operating procedure of the government.

That is why the government wants to disarm the people. That is why it wants to regulate everyone’s property down to the toilet water and the light bulb. That is why it wants everyone enrolled in a government healthcare system where bureaucrats like Kathleen Sebelius can act like a death panel deciding who lives and who dies.

That is why the same IRS that was targeting conservatives will be enforcing the penalties and will have access to people’s medical records. That is why Obama’s re-election team and Google are virtually the same people, and the search engine is harvesting everything people do on their servers.

This is not big government run amok; this is how big government runs. And the sooner all Americans can stop their partisan bickering long enough to acknowledge it, the better off we’ll all be.

Cross-posted at IJReview.com.

The Government Will Now Compel Your Spit To “Bear Witness Against” You

Swab DNA Now

 Swab DNA Now

The United States Supreme Court has taken away your Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate and “bear witness” against yourself. The government has been given the right to “compel” your DNA to “indict” you without a “Grand Jury”—even if the arrest is a minor charge!

If you think violent criminals receiving more protection than victims is insane, that’s nothing compared to what the high court has done to citizens—again.

The Supreme Court’s latest 5-4 ruling on Maryland v King, or as I prefer to label the ruling: “Abusive Encroachment of Power by the Government Over the People,” has further violated innocent, law-abiding citizens by giving police power to contravene the Fifth, as well as the Fourth, Ninth and Fourteenth by swabbing the mouths of every arrested American—no matter the reason—for DNA samples that will enter national databank records.

1984

According to Justice Kennedy–never trust anyone with that last name– the ruling allows police to swab violent criminal’s mouths, i.e. rapists and murders such as Alonzo Jay King of Maryland, who’s DNA matched that of a rape victim.

King is a violent criminal, but the court ruling does not protect the public from violent thugs like King.

Not according to Justice Kennedy:

The advent of DNA technology is one of the most significant scientific advancements of our era. The full potential for use of genetic markers in medicine and science is still being explored, but the utility of DNA identification in the criminal justice system is already undisputed. Since the first use of forensic DNA analysis to catch a rapist and murderer in England in 1986…law enforcement, the defense bar, and the courts have acknowledged DNA testing’s ‘unparalleled ability both to exonerate the wrongly convicted and to identify the guilty.’ It has the potential to significantly improve both the criminal justice system and police investigative practices.

 

Yes, DNA testing has saved the lives of falsely accused and matched DNA to victims. But technology used in violent criminal cases must never invade the lives of private citizens without just cause. Monday’s ruling will flow further into states, giving police power to swab the mouths of all arrested citizens, on any charge, including non-violent crimes.

Justice Kennedy’s statement about DNA collecting is a sham. Yet Kennedy insists:

The Act also limits the information added to a DNA database and how it may be used. Specifically, “[o]nly DNA records that directly relate to the identification of individuals shall be collected and stored.” No purpose other than identification is permissible: “A person may not willfully test a DNA sample for information that does not relate to the identification of indi-viduals as specified in this subtitle.” Tests for familial matches are also prohibited.  (“A person may not perform a search of the statewide DNA data base for the purpose of identification of an offender in connection with a crime for which the offender may be a biological relative of the individual from whom the DNA sample was acquired”). The officers involved in taking and analyzing respondent’s DNA sample complied with the Act in all respects.

 

With all due respect your Honor, once DNA is placed into national databanks, the government will assume the right to do as it wishes with our identification. And Kennedy admits:  “All 50 States require the collection of DNA from felony convicts,” so this latest ruling is just another way to monitor citizens.

Person of Interest

Americans no longer have privacy.


Police state

To make the violation sound respectful, Kennedy claims swabbing won’t violate the Fourth, because it’s not as invasive as a blood test: “A buccal swab is a far more gentle process than a venipuncture to draw blood. It involves but a light touch on the inside of the cheek.”

That’s akin to a dentist telling patients that having every tooth extracted will prevent the possibility of one ever having to endure painful gum disease.

Justice Kennedy audaciously claims DNA swabbing is equal to “fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”

Swab Squad

Excuse me Justice, but no it’s not. When I was born, I was foot and finger printed, as are all Americans. My birth certificate records those prints. My mother adores “those sweet little feet” on that certificate. My driver’s license has my photograph—I dare any cop to show that photo to the public and the country will witness a swabbing like it’s never seen! When I came of age, I acquired a Social Security Card. I have school records (I wish I could pull an Obama with my math records!) from kindergarten through college—with more unattractive photos, depending on the year and stage of life— tracking my whereabouts for decades.

The only swabbing record is at my OBGYN, a place the government never wants to enter unless is desires to experience the full-force pain of labor!

So give me a break Justice Kennedy! I’m recorded, processed, filed, photographed, licensed, and documented. How much more does the government need; my blood? No, it wants my DNA if I’m ever arrested for something absurd.

I’m only a threat to my fellow fashion occultists when the hoard of us maneuver into clothing and shoe tug-of-war combat aggression at designer sample sales in New York City. We fashionaholics swab the floor with each other over high end one-of-a-kind luxury pieces of clothing. No cop has ever had the guts to get in the middle of that!

Seriously, it’s bad enough public schools now scan children’s irises without parental consent to monitor school children.

Iris and cameras

How far will America go with Soviet-style tactics against free born citizens?

Scalia answered that question:  

The Court disguises the vast (and scary) scope of its holding by promising a limitation it cannot deliver…The Court repeatedly says that DNA testing, and entry into a national DNA registry, will not befall thee and me, dear reader, but only those arrested for ‘serious offense[s]…’ At the end of the day, logic will out. When there comes before us the taking of DNA from an arrestee for a traffic violation, the Court will predictably (and quite rightly) say, ‘We can find no significant difference between this case and King.’ Make no mistake about it: As an entirely predictable consequence of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason…Today’s judgment will, to be sure, have the beneficial effect of solving more crimes; then again, so would the taking of DNA samples from anyone who flies on an airplane (surely the Transportation Security Administration needs to know the ‘identity’ of the flying public), applies for a driver’s license, or attends a public school. Perhaps the construction of such a genetic panopticon is wise. But I doubt that the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection. I therefore dissent, and hope that today’s incursion upon the Fourth Amendment, like an earlier one will someday be repudiated.

 

This court ruling completely violates the Bill of Rights. The moment any individual’s mouth is swabbed, they lose their rights to the Fifth. Refusal to speak is useless when police can compel your DNA to speak against you, no matter what you do or don’t do, for the rest of your life!

Justice Scalia notes: “Americans despised the British use of so-called ‘general warrants,’” so Americans framed the Constitution with a Bill of Rights to protect us against unreasonable arrests.

We the People

Let’s face facts Americans: Swabbing the mouths of all arrested citizens turns America into a “Logan’s Run” society of monitored people.

irs flag

Welcome to America’s version of the KGB. Now please, open your mouth and spit.

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