Within the annals of ‘you can’t make this stuff up’, Congressman Eric Cantor and his colleagues in the House GOP “Leadership” have decided to travel the country in an effort to educate Americans on what it means to be an American. Lawmakers who swear oaths to protect and defend our founding document only to violate its precepts time and again, lawmakers who have not served a day in uniform risking life and limb to defend the right of Congressmen to speak their minds and act like fools, lawmakers who routinely ignore the will of their constituents and spend a lifetime living off the public trough aim to tell us what it means to be an American.
I appreciate that this is a publicity tour to support the policy agenda of providing amnesty to thirty year-old “child” illegal aliens. Whether or not you agree with the underlying goal misses the point. In a land, perhaps the only land, that values individual liberty above all else, what right does any one of us have to tell another of our fellow citizens that we know better what it means to be an American? One might consider calling Congressman Cantor 202-224-3121 and asking him that very question.
by United States Senator Ted Cruz (R – Texas)
On Sunday, June 30, millions of Egyptians turned out to protest President Mohamed Morsy and his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated regime. Fed up with his disastrous economic mismanagement and systematic disregard for constitutional freedoms, the Egyptian people took to the streets to demand his resignation. “Leave! Leave!” they chanted in what may have been the largest demonstration in the history of the Middle East — if not the world.
It was a breathtaking scene — and potentially a watershed moment. Unlike the angry, disaffected youth who raged through the Arab Spring in 2011, these crowds, like those in the recent protests in Turkey, were made up of middle-class citizens protesting against a regime with an unpleasant tendency to trample on the rights of women, Christians, and Jews — and to stifle the independence of the press and judiciary, ruining the economy in the process. While there has been some unfortunate violence, the Tamarod (“Rebel”) movement is also organizing demonstrations, gathering signatures of no confidence in Morsy’s government (it has gathered 22 million already), and threatening additional civil disobedience in the form of strikes if Morsy does not step down.
One would expect to find the United States standing firmly with these people. Surely, after our long and lonely search for secular and democratic partners in the Arab world, we could find some common ground with them. Surely, we could see the value of an administration in Egypt that could act as both a southern bulwark for Israel and a much-needed partner in countering the terrorist outposts in the Sinai and Horn of Africa. And surely, we could help support a government that could stand as an example for struggling states like Libya and Iran — one that proves Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East are not predestined to live in oppressive theocracies.
Tragically, America has been relegated to the sidelines. The number of U.S. Embassy personnel has been reduced, and a travel warning has been issued for Americans in Egypt — and for good reason. The people protesting in the streets were not only carrying anti-Morsy signs. They were also carrying signs with slogans like “Obama Supports Terrorism” and “Obama Supports Morsy,” as well as pictures of the American ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, with a large red “X” through her face. Some of these were set on fire. On Friday, Andrew Driscoll Pochter, an American college student who was in Egypt to teach English to schoolchildren, was stabbed to death as he took pictures of the protesters.
In what has to be one of the most stunning diplomatic failures in recent memory, the United States is — in both perception and reality — entrenched as the partner of a repressive, Islamist regime and the enemy of the secular, pro-democracy opposition.
It did not have to be this way.
When Morsy was elected a little more than a year ago, President Barack Obama could have expressed strong reservations about a member of the Muslim Brotherhood taking control of the country. He should have also been more aggressive about using American aid to extract concessions from the Egyptian government on human rights, as well as economic and political reform. Instead, Obama made a personal call to congratulate Morsy, characterized his election as a “milestone” in Egypt’s progress toward democracy, and pledged $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer-funded aid. In the ensuing months, Morsy received a steady stream of assistance from the United States in the form of arms sales, unconditional financial aid, and visits from high-level officials such as Secretary of State John Kerry — all of which enhanced the strength and legitimacy of his regime.
Emboldened by U.S. support, Morsy consolidated his power — removing the traditionally pro-American military leadership, imposing an Islamist constitution, marginalizing the judiciary, and turning a blind eye to brutal attacks against religious minorities, including Coptic Christians and Shiite Muslims. Morsy also began to agitate for the release of the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, who orchestrated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Offensive remarks describing Jews as “bloodsuckers” and “the descendants of apes and pigs” soon came to light. Still, the United States continued to place its resources at his disposal — apparently on the grounds that a budding Islamist dictator with a healthy hatred of Israel and America was the appropriate recipient of Abrams tanks and B-16 bombers.
More recently, as opposition to Morsy coalesced around the Tamarod movement, the Obama administration missed the opportunity to support its efforts and further the vital interests of the United States without firing a shot. Instead, the sole priority seems to be to defuse the situation and preserve the status quo. Ambassador Patterson has assumed the leading role in implementing this policy, meeting with members of the opposition not to encourage them to pursue a true secular democracy in Egypt but to try to persuade them to tone things down. Patterson has said she is “deeply skeptical” of their movement.
Obama, traveling in Africa on the eve of the protests, offered no words of support. Instead, he admonished the demonstrators to remain peaceful and made the tepid recommendation that Morsy engage in a “constructive conversation” about reform, since the president of the United States could not take a side in this debate.
The president’s comments fall into an all-too-familiar pattern. We are witnessing a moment of real opportunity for reform in Egypt right now, just as we witnessed hopeful moments in Iran in 2009 and Syria in early 2011. In both cases, meaningful change might have been encouraged through robust economic and moral support for the protesters and diplomatic pressure on the regime. But in both cases, the United States opted for a policy of strategic silence.
The result? In Iran, we saw the window for change snap shut as the mullahs brutally crushed the protests and accelerated their nuclear weapons program. In Syria, hopes that President Bashar al-Assad would turn out to be a reformer proved groundless and the situation descended into chaos. Today, some 100,000 Syrians have been killed, and both Hezbollah and al Qaeda are engaged in a vicious civil war — one the president is now dragging the United States into, albeit with no clear purpose or strategy.
Hopefully, we can avoid repeating the same mistake yet again in Egypt. As we prepare to celebrate the 237th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence this week, halfway around the globe Egyptians may witness the birth of their own freedoms. It is a great pity that Obama’s policies have provoked so much hostility toward the United States from the very people we should most want to support — and it would be an even greater pity if his accommodation of the Morsy regime helped the Egyptian leader remain in power. Since the president has refused to act, Congress should move quickly to freeze all aid to Egypt that is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. We should treat with great caution any proposal to deploy U.S. forces to Egypt in response to these events. And we should find the courage to speak out forcefully on behalf of those advocating secular democratic reforms in Egypt.
Originally published at http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/eyeonfreedom/Obama-stalker-in-chief
Last week, it was revealed that the United States government is creating electronic dossiers on its citizens. This presents a stark contrast with our traditions where law enforcement and national security personnel peer solely into the lives of individuals intent on doing us harm, not the population writ large. Rather than doing the investigative legwork necessary to convince a neutral third party that such snooping is warranted and reasonable, the government argues that it is perfectly legitimate to create such dossiers and obtain warrants to read them only after it has discovered information that it considers interesting. Of course, given that the government holds the keys to the proverbial file cabinet, it doesn’t really matter whether some third party agrees that the government ought to be able to read the contents of the files contained therein. Further, how would anyone outside the government really know whether their file has been read? Therein lies the crux of the problem.
On Friday, President Obama proclaimed that if we do not trust the executive branch (aka President Obama) and we do not trust Congress (after he finished telling us how awful they are) and we do not trust the courts (that informed me I am responsible for paying for Sandra Fluke’s birth control though in her case I will pay happily) “we are going to have a serious problem.” Well heck yes Mr President, we do have a serious problem!
We have learned that the NSA is collecting Americans’ phone records, emails, audio and video chats, transferred files and credit card records. If news reports are accurate, the data is so refined that the NSA is even capturing keystrokes as they are typed. This is in addition to an administration that is capturing Americans’ health records and will begin to capture information concerning Americans’ driving habits beginning next year. If liberals had their way, the administration would begin capturing information about gun ownership as well. This data is in addition to the copious financial records collected by the IRS. We are told the NSA data snooping program has helped stop terrorist attacks. Yet, with all this information, it took an astute street vendor to prevent a bomb from exploding in Times Square. Two terrorists who managed to kill and injure scores in Boston, hid out for one week within one mile of the explosions only to be discovered by a guy who left his house for a smoke!
Consequently, many are concerned about the amount of information the federal government is accumulating about the behavior of law abiding American citizens and the potential for abuse. We are witnessing this abuse unfold with the IRS targeting of President Obama’s political adversaries. There are reports that the administration may have targeted CIA Director General David Petraeus, a critic of the administration’s policy in Libya. NSA employees may have eavesdropped on individuals with whom they had personal grudges. During Congressional testimony, Attorney General Eric Holder refused to answer in an open hearing whether the NSA targeted members of Congress as part of their surveillance program. It makes one wonder whether there is a reason Speaker Boehner has been rather muted in his criticism of the Obama administration of late.
President Obama suggested recently that “you can’t have 100% security and 100% privacy.” Perhaps that is true. On the other hand, in his dissent of a recent Supreme Court case that upheld Maryland’s collection and storage of prisoner DNA unrelated to solving the particular crime for which the prisoner was charged, Justice Antonin Scalia noted
“Make no mistake about it: because of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason. This will solve some extra crimes, to be sure. But so would taking your DNA whenever you fly on an airplane … (or) taking your children’s DNA when they start public school.”
Justice Scalia may have been summoning his inner Benjamin Franklin
”Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.”
Several months ago, I published a column on this blog about the Orwellian nature of the Obama administration. The Obama Presidency – George Orwell’s 1984 Redux. Allowing the federal government to maintain a database of our DNA, blow a gush of air beneath our skirts when we board an airplane and know all manner of our personal private information may help the government predict future crime. Then again as the Times Square attempted bombing and the Boston Marathon bombings demonstrated, it may not. What it will do is allow the government to increase its control over our lives.
At Ohio State University, President Obama suggested that some will “warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner.” I agree. Justice Scalia concluded
“It may be wise, as the court obviously believes, to make the Leviathan all-seeing, so that he may protect us all the better. But the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would not have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection.”
Count me among those men!
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) June 10, 2013
During an impromptu moment in the third hour of a recent nationally syndicated radio show, three doctors, practicing three different specialties, located in three different areas of the country called to bemoan the future of their profession under Obamacare. They spoke about how doctors are being driven from private practice into hospital practices by disparate reimbursement rates because hospital groups are easier for the government to control. They spoke about how hospitals are given financial incentives to reduce care to patients in a method similar to the unpopular HMO model of care promoted by the Clinton administration. They spoke about how increased electronic record keeping burdens are meant to calibrate and manage patient care so as to reduce the cost of care to the government rather than improve the quality of outcomes. Remember when Dr Obama told you to take the blue pill instead of the red pill? One doctor even spoke about how the Veterans Administration denies hip and knee replacements to young veterans. Since the “shelf life” of a prosthetic hip is 10-15 years, a young veteran would require more than one during the course of his lifetime.
This is occurring under the backdrop of rising private health insurance premiums, rising Medicare premiums, businesses large and small dropping full-time employees so as to minimize their health insurance burden under Obamacare, reports that 3/4 of policyholders could be hit by massive taxes on “Cadillac” health plans, labor unions relinquishing support for Obamacare and liberal media cheerleaders worrying that the failure to implement health insurance exchanges might turn the public against Obamacare even further as the cost of creating these exchanges continues to rise. An author of Obamacare in the United States Senate worried recently about a coming “train wreck!” even as President Obama proclaimed that most people are “already experiencing most of the benefits of the [Un]Affordable Care Act, even if they don’t know it.” These “benefits” include the loss of care for subsidized enrollees in California’s health insurance exchange, Covered California. Enrollees must not like their doctors very much because many will not be allowed to keep them!
Yet, rather than running for the hills allowing the Democrats that championed Obamacare’s passage to wear it as an albatross around their necks, Republican “leaders” in Congress seek to strengthen Obamacare while simultaneously negotiating to exempt themselves and their staffs from its effects. In a moment of obvious frustration, Chip Roy, Chief of Staff to Senator Ted Cruz, suggested in a private email leaked to an online newspaper, “The message [stinks]! We oppose Obamacare. Period. We will repeal it. Period.”
During this period of prolonged high unemployment where nearly 10 million Americans have left the workforce, it has become clear that even if Congress or the Obama administration were to grant an individual or a group an exemption from the mandates of Obamacare, there is no escaping its effects on the broader economy. Yet, rather than concentrating their efforts on plans to scale back Obamacare or directing voters’ attention to all of the ill effects that it will bring, many Republicans in Congress are focused on immigration reform proposals that were not a focal point of the recent election and barely 5% of the electorate consider important. Considering that the cost of Obamacare continues to be revised upward and the federal debt approaches $17 trillion, voters are puzzled as to why many Republicans are laboring to pass a $6 trillion boondoggle instead of fighting to scale back Obama’s nearly $2 trillion health insurance mess!
Given this administration’s recurring difficulty embracing the truth, it is amazing that Republicans do not push back more forcefully and more often against President Obama’s attempts to ‘fundamentally transform’ America. Chip Roy is incorrect. The Republican message does not stink. It is nonexistent.
The Message Stinks! http://t.co/HoclVDdZtB
— American Thinker (@AmericanThinker) May 30, 2013
May 19, 2013
The Internal Revenue Service scandal now devouring the Obama administration — the outrageous use of the federal taxing authority to target tea party and other conservatives — certainly makes for meaty partisan politics.
But this scandal is about more than partisanship. It’s bigger than whether the Republicans win or the Democrats lose.
It’s even bigger than President Barack Obama. Yes, bigger than Obama.
It is opening American eyes to the fundamental relationship between free people and those who govern them. This one is about the Republic and whether we can keep it.
And it started me thinking of years ago, of my father and my uncle in Chicago and how government muscle really works.
Because if you want to understand The Chicago Way of things in Washington these days, with the guys from Chicago in charge of the White House and the federal leviathan, there’s one place you start:
You start in Chicago.
My father and uncle ran a small business, a supermarket on the South Side. Uncle George worked in the front, my father in the butcher shop in the back. My uncle had been a teacher. My father had plowed his fields with a mule.
They were immigrants who came here from Greece with nothing in their pockets but a determination to work, and the belief that here, in America, no other power could roll in with tanks and put their boots on the necks of their children.
My father and uncle, like the rest of the family, valued education and books and free political debate. And so at large extended family Sundays, we’d all sit around the dinner table, many uncles and aunts and cousins, young and old.
There were conservatives and socialists, Roosevelt Democrats and Reagan Republicans and a few bewildered, equivocal moderates in between, everyone squabbling, laughing, telling stories.
No matter whose house we were visiting, the TV was never turned on after dinner. Instead, we’d have coffee and fruit and dessert and argument. We had different views, we loved each other, and even strangers who showed up were expected to join in, to debate education, the presidency, social issues, the war, drugs, bluejeans, long hair, baseball, everything.
Uncle Alex was the uncle who told us young people how best to make our points. He ran a snack shop in the Bridgeport neighborhood — the legendary home of Chicago mayors and Democratic machine bosses.
“Don’t wait for a ticket,” he’d say, and puff on his cigar, always in a white shirt and tie, on those family Sundays. So we’d just jump in when we could, like the rest.
One Sunday, I must have been 12 or 13, I decided to ask what I thought was an intelligent question that was something like this:
We talk politics every Sunday, we fight about this and that, so why aren’t you politically active outside?
Why don’t you get involved in politics?
There was an immediate silence. The older cousins looked away. The aunts and uncles stared at me in horror, as if I’d just announced I was selling heroin after school.
You could hear them breathing. No one spoke. I could feel myself blushing.
Someone quickly changed the subject to some safe old story. It could have been the one about how our grandfather named the family mule — a white, big-headed animal — after President Truman. My sin seemed forgotten.
But I couldn’t forget it. I couldn’t understand how we could argue about politics over baklava and watermelon and coffee, but not put it into practice.
We could support a political candidacy, we could donate or work for one or another politician that we agreed with.
This is America, I said.
“Are you in your good senses?” said my father. “We have lives here. We have businesses. If we get involved in politics, they will ruin us.”
And no one, not the Roosevelt Democrats or the Reagan Republicans, disagreed. The socialists, the communists, the royalists, everyone nodded their heads.
This was Chicago. And for a business owner to get involved meant one thing: It would cost you money and somebody from government could destroy you.
The health inspectors would come, and the revenue department, the building inspectors, the fire inspectors, on and on. The city code books aren’t thick because politicians like to write new laws and regulations. The codes are thick because when government swings them at a citizen, they hurt.
And who swings the codes and regulations at those who’d open their mouths? A government worker. That government worker owes his or her job to the political boss. And that boss has a boss.
The worker doesn’t have to be told. The worker wants a promotion. If an irritant rises, it is erased. The hack gets a promotion. This is government.
So everybody kept their mouths shut, and Chicago was hailed by national political reporters as the city that works.
I didn’t understand it all back then, but I understand it now. Once there were old bosses. Now there are new bosses. And shopkeepers still keep their mouths shut. Tavern owners still keep their mouths shut.
Even billionaires keep their mouths shut.
One hard-working billionaire whose children own the Chicago Cubs dared to open his mouth. Joe Ricketts considered funding a political group critical of Obama before last year’s campaign. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, made it clear that if the Cubs wanted City Hall’s approval to refurbish decrepit Wrigley Field, Ricketts better back off.
It happened. He backed off. It was sickening. But it was and is Chicago.
And now — with the IRS used as political muscle and the Obama administration keeping that secret until after the president was elected — America understands it too.