"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse." — James Madison
This weekend, we saw Palin-palooza in Washington, D.C. when Sarah Palin spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and Linsanity across the nation when Jeremy Lin, on the grandest basketball stage, scored 38 points against the Los Angeles nation and got the sports world in a buzz.
Though Palin showed this weekend that she could generate the enthusiasm the other presidential candidates could not and proved again that nobody captures the heart of Republicans more than she does, there was chatter among some in the GOP establishment — even those who saw the speech and the crowd reaction with their own eyes — that Palin did not do any better or any worse than the other candidates.
This is demonstrably false.
Such silly-talk would be the equivalent of sportswriters writing that Lin performed poorly last week in New York and the Knicks won despite his poor performance.
The difference between sports and politics is that nobody in sports can write such nonsense because everyone watches the same game. And if someone did write such nonsense, they would be resoundingly mocked and run out of the profession — that is in and of itself enough of a deterrent to keep sportswriters honest
Furthermore, sportswriters can hate or love teams or players but they still have to objectively write about what happened on the field of play. Again, because everyone is watching the same game.
But in politics, the chattering class and many of those who write about it have the gall to try to convince people that “x” happened when “y” occurred.
In a more interconnected world — made more possible by the proliferation of social media — this will be harder to do.
I wish politics had a deterrent or check similar to that in sports, in which writers and commentators would not dare to pen something that went against what everyone saw.
In any event, one thing was clear this weekend: LIN Nation was out in full force, and anyone who tells you otherwise is not being honest.
Notre Dame Reverses Course on Obama
Twenty-five Notre Dame faculty members--led by the university’s top ethics expert, and including some of the school’s most eminent scholars--have signed a statement declaring that President Barack Obama’s latest version of his administration’s mandate that all health insurance plans in the United States must cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions, is “a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand."
The statement—put out on the letterhead of the University of Notre Dame Law School--is also signed by leading scholars from other major American colleges and universities, including Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, Brigham Young, Yeshiva and Wheaton College.
“The Obama administration has offered what it has styled as an “accommodation” for religious institutions in the dispute over the HHS mandate for coverage (without cost sharing) of abortion inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. The administration will now require that all insurance plans cover (“cost free”) these same products and services. Once a religiously affiliated (or believing individual) employer purchases insurance (as it must, by law), the insurance company will then contact the insured employees to advise them that the terms of the policy include coverage for these objectionable things.
This so-called “accommodation” changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy. It is certainly no compromise. The reason for the original bipartisan uproar was the administration’s insistence that religious employers, be they institutions or individuals, provide insurance that covered services they regard as gravely immoral and unjust. Under the new rule, the government still coerces religious institutions and individuals to purchase insurance policies that include the very same services.
It is no answer to respond that the religious employers are not “paying” for this aspect of the insurance coverage. For one thing, it is unrealistic to suggest that insurance companies will not pass the costs of these additional services on to the purchasers. More importantly, abortion drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptives are a necessary feature of the policy purchased by the religious institution or believing individual. They will only be made available to those who are insured under such policy, by virtue of the terms of the policy.
It is morally obtuse for the administration to suggest (as it does) that this is a meaningful accommodation of religious liberty because the insurance company will be the one to inform the employee that she is entitled to the embryo-destroying “five day after pill” pursuant to the insurance contract purchased by the religious employer. It does not matter who explains the terms of the policy purchased by the religiously affiliated or observant employer. What matters is what services the policy covers.
The simple fact is that the Obama administration is compelling religious people and institutions who are employers to purchase a health insurance contract that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization. This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand. It is an insult to the intelligence of Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other people of faith and conscience to imagine that they will accept an assault on their religious liberty if only it is covered up by a cheap accounting trick.
Finally, it bears noting that by sustaining the original narrow exemptions for churches, auxiliaries, and religious orders, the administration has effectively admitted that the new policy (like the old one) amounts to a grave infringement on religious liberty. The administration still fails to understand that institutions that employ and serve others of different or no faith are still engaged in a religious mission and, as such, enjoy the protections of the First Amendment.”
Prof. Carter Snead, a professor of law at Notre Dame, was one of the lead organizers of the statement, which was published on his official law school letterhead. Notre Dame's top ethics expert, Snead serves as director of the university's Center for Ethics and Culture, a position to which he was appointed by Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame.
In 2009, Father Jenkins awarded President Barack Obama an honorary Notre Dame Law degree.
Some of the other distinguished Notre Dame faculty who signed the statement condemning Obama’s mandate are Prof. Patrick Griffin, chairman of Notre Dame's History Department; Prof. Richard Garnett, an associate dean; John Cavadini, director of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life; Christian Smith, director of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society; Prof. Paolo Carozza, director of Notre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights; Prof. Philip Bess, Notre Dame’s Director of Graduate Studies; and Father Wilson Miscamble, a professor of history.
Other leading organizers of the letter included Prof. Robert George of Princeton and Prof. Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School.
When Obama received his honorary degree at Notre Dame's May 17, 2009, commencement, he vowed to respect the conscience rights of those who believe abortion is wrong.
“Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women,” said Obama. “Those are things we can do.”
Many Catholic bishops and lay leaders had criticized Notre Dame's decision to grant Obama an honorary degree — pointing to his long-standing position in favor of legalized abortion on demand, which included going so far as to oppose a law in the Illinois state senate that would have simply said that a baby born alive in that state was entitled to the same rights under the U.S. Constitution as any other born "person."
In their statement released late Friday, the 25 Notre Dame faculty members and the many other prominent scholars from other institutions who joined them said that Obama’s sterilization-contraception-abortifacient mandate--even with Obama’s proposed adjustments on Friday--remains an “assault on religious liberty and rights of conscience.”
“The administration will now require that all insurance plans cover (‘cost free’) these same products and services,” said the scholars. “Once a religiously-affiliated (or believing individual) employer purchases insurance (as it must, by law), the insurance company will then contact the insured employees to advise them that the terms of the policy include coverage for these objectionable things.
“This so-called ‘accommodation’ changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy,” they said. “It is certainly no compromise. The reason for the original bipartisan uproar was the administration’s insistence that religious employers, be they institutions or individuals, provide insurance that covered services they regard as gravely immoral and unjust. Under the new rule, the government still coerces religious institutions and individuals to purchase insurance policies that include the very same services.”
The statement also said that Obama’s latest iteration of the regulation is “an insult to the intelligence of Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims” and “cannot stand.”
“The simple fact is that the Obama administration is compelling religious people and institutions who are employers to purchase a health insurance contract that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization,” the scholars said. “This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand. It is an insult to the intelligence of Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other people of faith and conscience to imagine that they will accept an assault on their religious liberty if only it is covered up by a cheap accounting trick.”
My confidence in the moral values of the College of Our Lady is being restored.
The Obama Administration and Media Maters.
According to The Daily Caller an internal Media Matters For America memo obtained by The Daily Caller reveals that the left-wing media watchdog group employs an “opposition research team” to target its political enemies. Included in the list of targets are right-leaning websites, conservative think tanks, prominent financiers and donors, and more than a dozen specific Fox News Channel and News Corporation employees.
“We will conduct extensive public records searches and compile opposition books on individuals,” declares the memo, likely written in late 2009. Investigations, it says, “will focus on the backgrounds, connections, operations and political and financial activities of the individuals.” (RELATED: Media Matters sources, memos reveal erratic behavior, close coordination with White House and news organizations)
One of those singled out for scrutiny in the memo is PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, a self-described libertarian. Thiel “directly funded, through a small government group, prior racist attack videos by James O’Keefe, the right-wing operative who staged the recent ACORN video sting,” states the memo. “Thiel’s role in funding such attacks has gone completely unremarked and largely uninvestigated.”
“An opposition research team will serve to hold Thiel and others like him accountable.”
In addition to Thiel, the memo contains this list of “preliminary targets”:
- Fox News Channel
- Fox Business Network
- Fox News’ websites
Conservative news sites
Conservative think thanks
- The Heritage Foundation
- American Enterprise Institute
- Cato Institute
News Corp executives
- Rupert Murdoch
- Chase Carey
- David DeVoe
- Lawrence Jacobs
- James Murdoch
- Peter Thiel
- Richard Mellon Scaife
- Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
- John M. Olin Foundation
- Koch Family Foundations
Fox News executives
- CEO Roger Ailes
- Senior vice president Michael Clemente
- Vice president of news Sean Smith
- Vice president of new editorial product Jay Wallace
- ·Fox Business Network executive vice president Kevin Magee
- Glenn Beck
- Sean Hannity
- Bill O’Reilly
Fox senior production and corporation staff
- Hannity executive producer John Finley
- On the Record executive producer Meade Cooper
- O’Reilly Factor senior executive producer David Tabacoff
- Fox & Friends executive producer Lauren Petterson
- Carly Fiorina
- David Vitter
- Eric Cantor
- John Boehner
- Mitch McConnell
- Michele Bachmann
- ·Steve King
“In all likelihood,” the memo concludes, “we will produce volumes of useful data week after week.”
The FBI Targets Constitutionalist
The FBI held a press conference last week on a terrorist alert bulletin, which it sent to every federal, state and local law enforcement agency across the country. Unfortunately, that bulletin continued a trend of "terrorist profiles" issued since Barack Hussein Obama has been in office. This particular alert identified such broad ideological characteristics that it can be construed to include the activities of tens of millions of law-abiding Americans.
The FBI counterterrorism division report concluded that those who believe that our government has exceeded its constitutional limits or are protesting for restoration of constitutional integrity might pose a threat. By that definition, anyone associated with the "Tea Party movement" is suspect, and that's the problem with this sweeping and politically motivated "bureaucrap."
Make no mistake: There are some deadly anti-government socialist and fascist radicals in America. For example, consider the man who launched someone's political career in 1994 -- Obama mentor William Ayers, who was previously the leader of the Weathermen, a murderous group of radical "useful idiots." They bombed the U.S. Capitol twice, the Pentagon, the Department of State, several federal courthouses, plus state and local government buildings -- with intent to kill. Unfortunately, the FBI never assembled sufficient evidence to convict Ayers. (Lucky break for Obama's career!)
Or how about Obama's radical, racist, hate-spewing pastor, Jeremiah Wright? This is the man who married the Obamas and baptized their children; the same man who regularly sermonized about "the US-KKK-A" with assertions that "The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color;" the man who said that the U.S. government "gives [black people] drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strikes law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, g-d d--- America!"
Does that constitute a threat to the government?
The aforementioned FBI alert focused on the so-called "sovereign citizen" movement, which the FBI believes may have more than 500,000 members -- though it has no leaders, no membership roster, no organization at all. There is a "sovereign citizens" website which notes boldly, "We do NOT endorse non-payment of taxes or violence to achieve these changes. We do NOT endorse giving up a social security number and we do NOT endorse violence against the police or the government."
According to the FBI, some of those associated with this movement are engaged in crimes like underpaying taxes and other fraud, none of which should be classified as terrorism. According to a Reuters report on the press release, "Legal convictions of such extremists, mostly for white-collar crimes such as fraud, have increased from 10 in 2009 to 18 in 2011, FBI agents said."
I did the math, and that's an increase of eight convictions.
Meanwhile, more than 5,200 of Obama's Occupy movement radicals were arrested in 2011, many for violent offenses, and some of those directed at police.
This is not to say that the FBI didn't have reason to warn law enforcement agencies. In May of 2010, two sociopaths, one of whom had mentioned "sovereign citizen" on a website, murdered two Arkansas police officers. But there are much more significant threats to uniformed officers.
I can assure you that most federal, state and local law enforcement personnel abide by their oath to "support and defend the Constitution" and are steadfastly accountable to that oath. In other words, they understand that broadly labeling as "terrorists" those who support constitutional limits on government is offensive to that oath.
However, we now have an established Obama-era pattern of applying such broad labels, which began in 2009 when the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis issued a report on "Right-Wing Extremism." It claimed that those who use terms including "patriot" or "constitutionalist," and "link their beliefs to those commonly associated with the American Revolution," are a threat. It even went so far as to identify returning war veterans as "potential threats."
That report was so repulsive that it received a prompt rebuke from liberal Democrat Bennie Thompson, then chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Republican Peter King, its ranking member. Thompson wrote, "This report appears to raise significant issues involving the privacy and civil liberties of many Americans. Freedom of association and freedom of speech are guaranteed to all Americans.. I am disappointed that the Department would allow this report to be disseminated to its State and local partners. ... I am dumbfounded that I&A released this report."
Thompson protested that the DHS report "blurred the line" between legal and illegal activity.
At the time, DHS spokesperson Amy Kudwa claimed the report was not finished and had been recalled: "This product is not, nor was it ever, in operational use." That notwithstanding, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano defended the report and insisted, "We do not — nor will we ever — monitor ideology or political beliefs. We take seriously our responsibility to protect the civil rights and liberties of the American people." (Trust her, she's from the government!)
However, such monitoring is not the contiguous prerogative of DHS, but that of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. This is why the latest national alert issued by the FBI should raise many red flags with overseers in the House and Senate.
So, given the current FBI profile, if these "terrorists" are members of an organization with no leaders, no membership and, in fact, no organization, how exactly are they to be distinguished from law-abiding political activists who believe our government has exceeded its constitutional authority? How are they to be distinguished from patriotic Americans who advocate for the restoration of constitutional integrity and proper limits on the role of government? There are plenty of us who, in the course of our objections to the erosion of the Rule of Law, might make "references to the Bible, The Constitution of the United States, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, or treaties with foreign governments."
What purpose does this FBI memo really serve?
In October 2011, DHS attempted to make amends by publishing a training guide for "Countering Violent Extremism." In that directive, Section 2 notes, "Training should be sensitive to constitutional values," and it asserts, "training should support the protection of civil rights and civil liberties as part of national security. Don't use training that equates religious expression, protests, or other constitutionally protected activity with criminal activity."
Perhaps Obama's executive appointees to the FBI should adopt a similar policy and — unlike his appointees at DHS — abide by it. In the meantime, we are waiting for objections from oversight committee Republicans concerning Obama's latest attack on Bible-citing, Constitution-abiding Patriots.
Watch out the despot Obama is rising and he is using every power of the federal government to support his program of radical transformation.