Tag Archive: politics

It’s to bad that Miss Louisiana, Brittany Guidry did not quote Cicero who said:

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. BUT IT CANNOT SURVIVE TREASON FROM WITHIN. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But THE TRAITOR MOVES AMONGST THOSE WITHIN THE GATE FREELY, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of GOVERNMENT itself. FOR THE TRAITOR APPEARS NOT A TRAITOR; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, HE APPEALS TO THE BASENESS THAT LIES DEEP IN THE HEARTS OF ALL MEN. HE ROTS THE SOUL OF A NATION, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A MURDERER IS LESS TO FEAR. THE TRAITOR IS THE PLAGUE.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero
(106-43 B.C.) Roman Statesman, Philosopher and Orator

Attributed. 58 BC, Speech in the Roman Senate

Bergdahl Is Said to Have History of Leaving Post

The Taliban released a video that shows the moment Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was handed to United States forces in eastern Afghanistan.
Credit Voice of Jihad Website, via Associated Press Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyShare This Page
WASHINGTON — A classified military report detailing the Army’s investigation into the disappearance of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in June 2009 says that he had wandered away from assigned areas before — both at a training range in California and at his remote outpost in Afghanistan — and then returned, according to people briefed on it.

The roughly 35-page report, completed two months after Sergeant Bergdahl left his unit, concludes that he most likely walked away of his own free will from his outpost in the dark of night, and it criticized lax security practices and poor discipline in his unit. But it stops short of concluding that there is solid evidence that Sergeant Bergdahl, then a private, intended to permanently desert.

Whether Sergeant Bergdahl was a deserter who never intended to come back, or simply slipped away for a short adventure amid an environment of lax security and discipline and was then captured, is one of many unanswered questions about his disappearance


Sue Martin, a friend of the Bergdahl family and owner of Zaney’s coffee shop, said, “There will be time to celebrate, but now is not the time.”Shaken, G.I.’s Hometown Waits for All the FactsJUNE 5, 2014
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, right, with a Taliban fighter in eastern Afghanistan.Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s Release Displays Captors’ Savvy Propaganda EffortJUNE 4, 2014
A sign outside Zaney’s, a coffee shop in Hailey, Idaho, announced Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release.Concern for Health of Bowe Bergdahl Drove Prisoner ExchangeJUNE 4, 2014
Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader, from Nevada, mounted a strong defense of the Bergdahl prisoner exchange.Washington Memo: Democrats Are Weary in Wake of Bergdahl CaseJUNE 5, 2014
President Obama with Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain during a press conference in Brussels on Thursday.Fears for Sergeant’s Life Led to Secrecy About Swap, Obama Official SaysJUNE 5, 2014
Dismay at Failure of Swap to Rescue More HostagesJUNE 5, 2014
The issue is murky, the report said, in light of Sergeant Bergdahl’s previous episodes of walking off. The report cites accounts from his unit mates that in their predeployment exercise at the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., he sneaked or crawled off a designated course or range either to see how far he could go or to see a sunrise or sunset.

The report is also said to cite members of his platoon as saying that he may have taken a shorter unauthorized walk outside the concertina wire of his combat outpost in eastern Afghanistan before he left for good, in an episode that was apparently not reported up the chain of command. The newspaper Military Times on Wednesday first reported that claim, also citing officials familiar with the military’s report.

But the report is said to contain no mention of Sergeant Bergdahl’s having left behind a letter in his tent that explicitly said he was deserting and explained his disillusionment, as a retired senior military official briefed on the investigation at the time told The New York Times this week.

Asked about what appeared to be a disconnect, the retired officer insisted that he remembered reading a field report discussing the existence of such a letter in the early days of the search and was unable to explain why it was not mentioned in the final investigative report.

Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to discuss the report or make it available.

Key Questions in the Release of Bowe Bergdahl
Sorting out the facts and the controversy surrounding the release of the lone American prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict.
“The Department of Defense does not discuss information contained within classified investigations,” he said. “The department is making every consideration regarding the disposition of its continued classification.”

The narrative about Sergeant Bergdahl over the past few days has undergone a rapid evolution based on accounts by current and former soldiers, which have grown increasingly dark. They have gone from saying he should not be treated as a hero because he was a deserter and blaming the subsequent search for him for every American combat death in the province over a three-month period, to alleging that there is evidence that he was trying to meet up with the Taliban.

Amid the controversy, an event in his hometown, Hailey, Idaho, to celebrate his return has been canceled. But the accounts of the investigative report, which was described as meticulous and thorough, suggest that even basic facts necessary to understand how he came to disappear have yet to be definitively established.

The people briefed on the “15-6 report,” named for the army regulation covering such investigations, described it on the condition of anonymity because it remains classified. The report was written by an investigating officer in July and August of 2009 after extensive interviews with members of Sergeant Bergdahl’s unit, including his squad leader, platoon leader, and company and battalion commanders.

The report is also said to contain no mention of any alleged intercepts of radio or cellphone traffic indicating that Sergeant Bergdahl was asking villagers if anyone spoke English and trying to get in touch with the Taliban, as two former squad mates told CNN this week in separate interviews; they both said they remembered hearing about the intercepts from a translator who received the report.

A leaked military activity report that contemporaneously logged significant events during the initial eight-day search for Sergeant Bergdahl says that at 10:12 a.m. on June 30, about six hours after he was reported missing, an unidentified man was overheard on a radio or cellphone saying that an American soldier with a camera “is looking for someone who speaks English.”

Still, the log says nothing about the unidentified man’s saying that the American wanted to get in touch with the Taliban.

California Drains Reservoirs in the Middle of a Drought
The state desperately needs water, yet federal policy sends huge ‘pulse flows’ into the Pacific to benefit fish.

May 23, 2014 6:52 p.m. ET
One of the worst droughts in California’s history has devastated more than a half-million acres of the most fertile farmland in America. In communities like Sacramento, “water police” go from door to door to enforce conservation measures. There’s even a mobile “app” to report neighbors to city authorities so they can be fined for wasting water.

With the Sierra snowpack at 4% of normal as of May 20, Californians will desperately need what little water remains behind its dams this summer. Authorities have warned some towns like Folsom—home of Folsom Lake—to expect daily rationing of 50 gallons per person, a 60% cut from average household usage.

Yet last month the Bureau of Reclamation drained Folsom and other reservoirs on the American and Stanislaus rivers of more than 70,000 acre feet of water—enough to meet the annual needs of a city of half a million people—for the comfort and convenience of fish.

Government officials who are entrusted with the careful management of our water squandered it in less than three weeks to nudge baby salmon toward the Pacific Ocean (to which they swim anyway) and to keep the river at just the right temperature for the fish by flushing the colder water stored in the reservoirs.

These water releases are so enormous they are called “pulse flows.” They generate such swift currents that local officials issue safety advisories to exercise extreme caution when on or near the rivers. While some of the water can be recaptured downstream, most is lost to the ocean.

In January pictures of a near-empty Folsom Lake on the American River made national news. Yet on April 21 the Bureau of Reclamation more than tripled water releases from the dams on that river from 500 cubic feet per second to more than 1,500 cubic feet per second for three days—sending more than 7,000 acre feet of water toward the ocean. Elevated releases have continued for “temperature control.” On April 14 a 16-day pulse flow drained nearly 63,000 acre feet of water from dams on the Stanislaus River.

Unrealistic laws like the Endangered Species Act administered by ideologically driven officials have now crossed from good intentions to dangerous policy, and the folly cries out for fundamental reforms.

The House twice has passed such reforms, most recently in February. HR 3964 would pave the way for hundreds of thousands of acre feet of new water storage across California and promote fish hatcheries and predator control as simple and inexpensive alternatives to protect endangered species. Sadly, it remains bottled up in the Senate.

An administration that has never been shy about asserting executive powers has the authority to stop these releases through provisions in the Endangered Species Act that allow a committee of officials to suspend them. It has failed to do so.

While homeowners parch their gardens and clog their showerheads with flow restrictors to save a few extra gallons of water, their government thought nothing of wasting 23 billion gallons to lower river water temperatures by a few degrees.

The frivolous and extravagant water releases from our dams last month mock the sacrifices that our citizens make every day to stretch supplies in this crisis. In turn, they undermine the government’s credibility and moral authority to call for stringent conservation and hardship by the people.

California’s chronic water shortages won’t be solved without additional storage. Despite an abundance of suitable and affordable sites, opposition from environmentalists and the laws they have wrought have delayed these projects indefinitely and made them prohibitively costly.

Until unrealistic laws like the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act are balanced to accommodate a new era of dam construction, our state and federal governments have a responsibility to manage our increasingly scarce water supply as carefully as we ask our citizens to do.

Perhaps, at least, the public can draw from this tragic waste a lesson in how unreasonable our environmental regulations have become, and how out of touch are the policy makers responsible for them.

Mr. McClintock, a Republican, is a U.S. congressman from California.

» Hillary’s History » Fresh Ink — GOPUSA)

Conventional wisdom suggests women voters overwhelmingly will support Hillary Clintonin her presumptive presidential bid in 2016.

But should they?

That’s a question all voters need to ask themselves before marching in lockstep to a Clinton candidacy. More to the point: What, exactly, has she done during her many years as a national figure to demonstrate strong and capable leadership?

Start with her role as first lady, where she failed early on to sell the far left’s dream of universal health care and spent the rest of her husband’s presidency on the arm of history.

Her two terms as a U.S. senator from New York — a state where she put down “roots” a full 13 months before the election — is remarkable only for not being that remarkable. It’s a conversation non-starter even among Clinton boosters.

Yes, her tenure as secretary of state made her America’s top diplomat and gave her a taste of foreign policy experience. The four-year assignment no doubt will feature prominently in her upcoming memoirs and presidential campaign.

But what did she do?

It speaks volumes that a State Department spokeswoman who was asked that question by reporters last month was embarrassingly unable to cite a single Clinton achievement.

The “accomplishments” Clinton is most remembered for actually are horrible failures of policy: her negligence in the deadly Benghazi attacks, and her refusal to place the African Islamist group Boko Haram on the terrorist group watch list.

Benghazi is a stain on Clinton’s record, and rightfully so. Four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador, died in a coordinated terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012, after their repeated calls for protection were ignored by Washington.

Clinton conveniently was shielded from post-attack media exposure (see Rice, Susan) but still played along with the bogus cover story concocted by the Obama administration to spin the bloody spectacle as spontaneous mob violence sparked by an anti-Islam Internet video.

Then, as the phony narrative was refuted by the facts, she became petulant, dismissive and — in the moment of her infamous Benghazi remark — positively unpresidential: “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference — at this point, what difference does it make?”

Based on what is known about the Benghazi scandal and cover-up, Clinton’s leadership was abysmal — an assessment unlikely to be improved by revelations from the latest congressional inquiry.

Then there’s Boko Haram, the radical Islamist group currently receiving international attention for its heinous abduction and threatened sale of several hundred Nigerian schoolgirls. Clinton could have dealt the organization a major blow by placing it on the terrorist watch list.

It wasn’t as if Boko Haram was an unknown entity. The group referred to as the “Nigerian Taliban” had been linked to the deaths of thousands of Christians during the past decade, and claimed responsibility for the 2011 U.N. bombing in Abuja.

Like the Taliban, the group despises all things modern, and reserves special hatred for the education of women. The name Boko Haram translates to “Western education is sinful.”

Intelligence organizations, including the FBI and CIA, and members of Congress urged the group’s placement on the list to enhance its global surveillance and cripple its funding.

But like Benghazi, Boko Haram’s rising prominence inconveniently flew in the face of the Obama administration’s narrative that global terrorism was on the run.

Instead of displaying fortitude and esprit de corps for abused women and girls, Clinton chose to emulate the administration’s dodgy, lead-from-behind strategy that has weakened America’s relations with allies and emboldened its enemies on the world stage.

Finally, women should question the legitimacy of Clinton’s feminist street cred.

This is the woman who, after all, not only protected her husband’s philandering for decades, but lashed out at his most high-profile victim, a then-22-year-old Monica Lewinsky, as “a narcissistic loony toon.”

It remains a mind-bending study in hypocrisy as to why Clinton and other so-called feminists — in a post-Anita Hill world — lionized a married man who had nine sexual encounters in the White House with a subordinate half his age, and lied about it on national television.

The prospect of Bill Clinton once again darkening the corridors of the White House should give pause to any Hillary proponent.

In 2016, America will need a chief executive to pull it from the morass wrought by eight years of muddled Obama policies.

America will need a commander in chief whose confidence internationally projects American strength and exceptionalism.

America will need a president who won’t compromise personal convictions for political convenience.

That’s a tall order. And Hillary Clinton falls woefully short.


Published on Clarion Project (http://www.clarionproject.org)
Efforts Mount to Gloss Over Islamist Ideology of Boko Haram

The reason that Boko Haram believes its kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian girls is justified is because of Islamist teachings that the taking of female slaves is justified during jihad. And this jihad is not limited Nigeria. In a recent video, its leader said it is at war with Christianity and democracy.

There are efforts to gloss over the fact that Boko Haram is inspired by Islamist doctrine. Comedian Dean Obeidallah writes that Boko Haram is not “Islamic” and the media shouldn’t describe it as “Islamist,” “Islamic terrorists” or anything of the sort.

Ahmed Bedier, former executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and current leader of United Voices for America, speaking at a press conference organized by Muslim advocacy groups to distance Islam from Boko Haram, said he was “tired of people coming on television asking, ‘Where does this ideology come from?’ ” His answer was that it “comes from nowhere.”

Yet, the leader of the same press conference, Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, the spokesman for the Dar Al Hijra mosque in Falls Church Va., said in reference to formally excommunicating Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau, “There is a great reluctance to excommunicate someone by extension. … It would be like convicting someone in absentia.”

Two days later, in a telephone interview, when asked to give sources from Islamic texts that contradict Boko Haram’s Islamist ideology, the interviewer reported that Abdul-Malik “quickly ended the call.”

CAIR and its allies work hard to cleanse the semantics of the media so the Islamist ideology isn’t a topic of scrutiny, but Boko Haram leader Abubaker Shekau wants the world to know that he is motivated by Islamic sources. For example, he said:

“If we meet infidels, if we meet those that become infidels, according to Allah, there is not any talk except hitting of the neck. I hope you, chosen people of Allah, are hearing. This is an instruction from Allah. It is not a distorted interpretation. It is from Allah himself.”

He also cites Islamic sources when justifying Boko Haram’s kidnapping of the Nigerian girls. Slavery of one’s adversaries, he says, is permissible during a jihad. The captives are the booty of war. Shekau explains, “There are slaves in Islam, you should know this, Prophet Muhammed took slaves himself during [the] Badr war.”

Shekau isn’t saying that it is permissible to take just anyone as a slave, but only those that belonged to the enemy. So how do these innocent girls qualify as seized enemy property? Because Shekau believes the jihad is not against an army, government or ethnic group but against Christianity, Western influence, democracy and Muslims that Boko Haram sees as impure.

Shekau declared, “To the people of the world, everybody should know his status, it is either you are with us mujahideen or you are with the Christians.”

He continues:

“We know what is happening in this world, it is a jihad war against Christians and Christianity. It is a war against Western education, democracy and constitution… This is what I know in Quran. This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution, Allah says we should finish them when we get them.”

Contrary to Bedier’s assertion that Boko Haram’s ideology “comes from nowhere,” it does come from well-established Islamic interpretations, even if most Muslims disagree with those interpretations (a mere 2% of Nigerian Muslims view Boko Haram favorably).

Shekau’s view is substantiated by IslamWeb, a popular website that endorses Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. In a 2002 fatwa (authoritative Islamic ruling), IslamWeb concludes:

“Islam left only one source for slavery that is enslavement in war and only legal war (i.e. against the non-Muslims). Indeed, the enslavement of prisoners of war was a part of warfare. So, Islam did not free the slaves of its enemies while its own followers are enslaved by those enemies and given the worst possible treatment.”

In another 2002 fatwa, IslamWeb specifies that females from the enemy camp can be taken as booty. It says:

“’the slaves that your right hand possesses’…includes the slave girls and slaves in general those who are under the control of a free Muslim. As a rule, the only channel of producing this segment of society is Jihad in the cause of Allah.”

It continues:

“At last, a Muslim has the right to have sex with a slave girl since she is “in the possession of his right hand.”

Islam Q & A is a website by Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid. He is an Islamic scholar that preaches in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and has two television shows.

In fatwa 10382, Islam Q & A states, “It is permissible for you to take concubines from among those whom you seized as war booty,” regardless of if one has a spouse. It says, “Islam allows a man to have intercourse with his slave woman, whether he has a wife or wives or he is not married.”

“The scholars are unanimously agreed on that and it is not permissible for anyone to regard it as haraam [prohibited] or to forbid it. Whoever regards that as haraam is a sinner who is going against the consensus of the scholars,” it rules.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi is another supporting source. He is the Islamist scholar that founded the Jamaat-e-Islami group in Pakistan and is continues to be referenced by Islamists around the world. The New York-based Islamic Circle of North America, one of the largest Muslim-American groups, continually cites him as a top authority on Sharia.

Maududi wrote, “And forbidden to you are the wedded wives of other people, except those who have fallen in your hands (as prisoners of war): This is the Law of Allah.”

Then there’s the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, based in California. In 2006, it issued a fatwa written by Dr. Hatem al-Haj, a member of its Fatwa Committee.

“God miraculously laid down a system by which all the tributaries feeding into the river of slavery would be cut off except for the captives of war,” AMJA’s fatwa rules (emphasis mine).

The fatwa’s author, Al-Haj, is also the Dean of the College of Islamic Studies of the Mishkah Islamic University of North America that is headquartered in Minnesota. Mishkau University also has branches in Detroit, Houston and Montreal and on-site activities in Tampa and Rutgers University in New Jersey.

All of these Islamic sources are in agreement. That doesn’t just “come out of nowhere,” as former CAIR official Ahmed Bedier insists.


Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.


- The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation – http://blog.heritage.org -

Will Ukraine’s Next President Be Able to Stop Russia’s Imperial Ambitions?

Ukrainians elected a new president Sunday, and his first challenge will be to chart a path out of the months of unrest and tensions with neighboring Russia.

Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire candy tycoon, declared victory with about 56 percent of the vote, according to exit polls. The “Chocolate King,” as he’s known, finished well ahead of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former Ukrainian prime minister, who had about 13 percent.

Under Ukrainian law, presidential candidates who receive more than 50 percent of the vote avoid a runoff. Poroshenko’s election marks the first time in Ukraine’s more than 20-year democratic history that one candidate managed to win such broad support.

Iryna Fedets, a native Ukrainian who is currently at Heritage as an Atlas Corps Fellow and visiting senior policy analyst, called Poroshenko a compromise between “old but known” and “new but unknown.” Poroshenko has expressed pro-European views and joined the wave of Euromaidan demonstrations [2].

“Now his most important challenge will be to protect the nation’s sovereignty and confront separatism and terrorism carried out by Russia in Ukraine,” Fedets said.

Helle Dale, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, called the election “a victory for the Ukrainian people” but said the newly elected president faces “massive challenges,” including economic reforms and maintaining independence from Russia.

>>> Q&A: Ukraine Presidential Election and Russia’s Next Move [3]

Prior to his candidacy for president, Poroshenko served two rivals in Ukraine politics. He was foreign minister in the administration of Viktor Yushchenko, then went onto become minister of economic development and trade in Viktor Yanukovych’s cabinet.

After months of protests, people turned out in force to vote in most of Ukraine. But those living in Crimea, which is occupied by Russia, and others in eastern regions of the country, were deprived of their right to vote, according to CNN [4].

Still, Heritage’s Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, praised the Ukrainian people for taking part in a democratic election.

“The Ukrainian election has been a slap in the face for Vladimir Putin and Moscow’s imperial ambitions,” Gardiner said. “The people of Ukraine have stood up to Russian aggression and intimidation and have sent a clear message that national sovereignty and self-determination are sacrosanct.”

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2014/05/25/will-ukraines-new-president-able-stop-russias-imperial-ambitions/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/2014-05-25-PetroPoroshenko.jpg
[2] Euromaidan demonstrations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euromaidan
[3] Q&A: Ukraine Presidential Election and Russia’s Next Move : http://blog.heritage.org/2014/05/24/qa-ukraine-presidential-election-russias-next-move/
[4] CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/25/world/europe/ukraine-crisis/

You’ll Never Guess Which Bill the Left is Suddenly Concerned About Reading

May 23, 2014 By TPNN Staff Writer

Forget about the need to pass a bill to see what’s in it, now Progressive Leftist Senator Bernie Sanders is demanding a bill that would hold people accountable in the deaths and mistreatment of our veterans at the VA be read and discussed prior to any vote being taken. (Watch Video Below)

In early March 2010, then Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said regarding Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill to see what’s in it.” That moment was a clear admittance that Congress, at least the vast majority of the members, do not read bills prior to passing them. In the case of the unAffordable Care Act, how could they? The bill was over 10,535 pages long.
Back in January 2009, her fellow Democrat John Conyers, who at the time was the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, had the following to say about reading bills, “”I love these members that get up and say ‘read the bill. What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” This type of callous attitude could be seen as akin to flipping off our system of government and job responsibilities as an elected official.

Every single Democrat member of Congress voted for Obamacare, without even reading it, because they viewed it as “Obama’s legacy.” Many also saw it as a segue to a single payer system. Joining them in this vote of a 10,535 page bill passed without being read was Progressive Leftiist Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont.

Although Sanders voted for Obamacare sight unseen and bill unread, he is now adamant that bills should be read and discussed before they are voted upon. That is the standard that Sanders is applying to Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s bill that would make it easier to fire anyone responsible for the backlog, falsification of documents, and the death of veterans as a result of these things.

Getting on his soapbox and turning his back on our veterans, Sanders made the following statement on the Senate floor.

“I happen to think that the bill that was passed in the House yesterday has many important provisions, which I happen to agree with, but as the senator from Florida knows, we have not held a hearing on this legislation. And some of us are old-fashioned enough to know that maybe folks in the Senate might want to know what is in the bill before we voted on it.”
In other words, Senator Sanders has no problems voting for a Democrat introduced bill that takes away the freedom and liberty of Americans. However, in the case of a Republican introduced bill that would bring justice for the veterans who were wronged by the VA, Sanders is suddenly ‘old-fashioned’ and wants to know what’s in it. To paraphrase, one could say that Bernie Sanders is opposed to both the freedom of Americans as well as to holding people accountable in the needless deaths of our veterans.

Ted Cruz: Democratic Senators Want to ‘Repeal the First Amendment’
May 22, 2014 – 4:08 PM
By Penny Starr

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told attendees at a Family Research Council pastors retreat that Senate Democrats want to limit free speech through amending the Constitution.
“When you think it can’t get any worse, it does,” Cruz said at the FRC’s Watchmen on the Wall 2014 event in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. “This year, I’m sorry to tell you, the United States Senate is going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment.”

Calling these “perilous, perilous times,” Cruz said Senate Democrats have said they are ready to vote on the amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 19 – “an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections.”

“Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has announced the Senate Democrats are scheduling a vote on a constitutional amendment to give Congress the authority to regulate political speech, because elected officials have decided they don’t like it when the citizenry has the temerity to criticize what they’ve done,” he said.

“They don’t like it when pastors in their community stand up and speak the truth,” Cruz said to an audience of hundreds of pastors from across the country.

“And I’ll note this amendment, which has 41 Democratic senators as co-sponsors – 41 Democrats have signed on to repealing the First Amendment,” Cruz said. “It explicitly says nothing in this new amendment shall abridge the freedom of the press.

“So the New York Times is protected, but it doesn’t say the same thing about the freedom of speech,” Cruz said. “It doesn’t say the same thing about religious liberty.”

Cruz said Democrats want to limit free speech.

“What it says is that politicians in Washington have unlimited constitutional authority to muzzle each and every one of you if you’re saying things the government finds inconvenient,” Cruz said.

Cruz was not scheduled to speak at the event but showed up to introduce one of the speakers – his father, Rafael Cruz, an ordained minister.

Cruz said his father embodied the American dream, having emigrated from Cuba, landing his first job as a dishwasher and going on to be a successful businessman.

Cruz related his father’s advice on preserving liberty in America.

“When we faced oppression in Cuba, I had a place to flee to,” the senior Cruz said. “If we lose our freedom here, where do we go?”


Hensarling’s ‘Choice’: Success Should Depend on Hard Work, Not Friends in Washington
Ken McIntyreMay 20, 2014 at 9:49 pm(19)
Until conservatives undo a system that grants favors to well-connected business interests, they will lack the “moral authority” to reform a social welfare state that traps too many Americans in poverty and dependence, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said this afternoon in a speech he bluntly acknowledged as “a call to action.”
In a half-hour address at The Heritage Foundation called “A Time for Choosing,” Hensarling described the need to decide between a “Main Street economy” that thrives on competition among hardworking Americans and a “Washington insider economy” where corruption and cronyism determine winners and losers.
“The Main Street competitive economy relies upon hard work, creativity, perseverance and ‘can do’ optimism to create wealth,” Hensarling said. “The Washington insider economy, in contrast, relies on earmarks, regulatory barriers to entry, subsidies, tax preferences, and political influence.”
Although he cited half a dozen examples of Washington-engineered unfair play in the economy, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee spent about a third of his remarks making a case for doing away with the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Unless Congress reauthorizes it, the federal charter of the 80-year-old “Ex-Im Bank” will expire Sept. 30.
Hensarling said:
Most taxpayers would be surprised to learn that this government-run bank takes their hard-earned money and lends it out to China and Russia – nations that openly challenge our economic and security interests. It also lends their money to oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It even lends taxpayer money to the likes of Congo, which has a demonstrated history of human rights abuses. I doubt most taxpayers believe this is either wise or fair. …
The real beneficiaries – the true face of Ex-Im – are multi-billion dollar corporations like GE, Ford and, of course, Boeing. That’s because more than 60 percent of Ex-Im’s financing benefited just 10 big corporations last year. …
These multi-billion dollar companies would do just fine without the Ex-Im Bank’s corporate welfare.
Before focusing on the Ex-Im Bank, Hensarling assailed other examples of what he called unfairness in the “insider” economy:
The tax code, which is used to pick winners and losers by doling out special privileges and preferential treatment. “We need a groundswell for fundamental tax reform,” he said.
Business subsidies, which the Washington establishment “pretends” amounts to little but – as Heritage’s chief economist, Stephen Moore, has noted — is more in the range of an “indefensible” $20 billion in direct income transfers. That’s about $200 million for each Fortune 100 company.
The farm program, actually a tangle of subsidies, quotas and other benefits – mostly for commercial farmers whose median household income tops $205,000. “The fair way to help family farmers is to strengthen private property rights, expand trade opportunities, kill the death tax and rein in the EPA,” he said.
Earmarks in the tens of billions of dollars for politicians’ pet projects, a budget game that could return absent “eternal vigilance,” he said. “I call on all Republicans in Congress to leave the earmark ban in place.”
Bailouts for automakers and Wall Street firms, a practice that favors those deemed “too big to fail” over those considered “too small to matter,” he said. “In America, if we lose our ability to fail, we’ll soon lose our ability to succeed.”
Bailouts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the once-unimpeachable housing finance entities “at the epicenter” of the financial crisis. “It’s time for the Republican Party to live up to its pledge to end Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and end their nearly $200 billion bailout, which is exactly what the PATH Act does,” Hensarling said, referring to his bill.
The Texas Republican then devoted more than 35 paragraphs and 1,600 words to demystifying the Export-Import Bank, expected to be the subject of one or more hearings before his committee as expiration of its charter nears:
I have no doubt that an overwhelming number of Democrats will support reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. They want to allocate credit in our economy as part of a political process. Democrats are always happy to subsidize corporate America as long as they can also regulate and control it.
Let them stand up for the Washington insider economy. But not us. Let us proudly stand for fairness. Let us proudly stand for the Main Street competitive economy. Today I call upon every Republican in Congress to let Ex-Im expire. Let the American taxpayers exit Ex-Im once and for all.
The smart and fair way to help American exports is with a conservative agenda: fundamental tax reform; strong free trade agreements; a freeze on most regulations; and greater American energy independence with projects like the Keystone pipeline.
Hensarling said ordinary Americans are discouraged and fed up with crony capitalism because it violates their sense of fair play:
Americans in the Main Street economy aren’t looking for or expecting a government bailout. They’re not looking for a subsidy, earmark, tax preference or legislated advantage. No, the good folks of the Main Street competitive economy simply want their success to depend on how hard they work in their hometowns, not who they know in Washington.
Republicans, especially conservatives, have an obligation to restore lost trust, he urged:
It is our opportunity and imperative to reform the corporate welfare state. It is both right and necessary. For then – and only then – will we have the moral authority and the people’s trust to reform the social welfare state. …
This is a call to action for Republicans and conservatives to reject the Washington insider economy and embrace the Main Street competitive economy – its fairness, its empowerment, its morality. And when we do, America’s future will be one of unparalleled freedom, opportunity and growth.
>>> Watch the Speech: A Time for Choosing: Main Street Economy vs. Washington Crony Economy


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