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Faith Takes a Furlough

April 17th, 2015

From Tony Perkins’ Washington Update

In the military, our troops are used to navigating landmines. They aren’t used to having their own leaders plant them. That must be how it feels for religious service members, who are nervously stepping their way through a dangerous and hostile environment for faith — created by the same administration they serve.

Unfortunately, identifying the country’s threats hasn’t exactly been this President’s strong suit. In the same breath that he swaps terrorists for deserters and lets Iran off the hook, he turns the military’s internal firepower on expressions of religion. The culture of the military, once one of the proudest professions in the world, is a depressed one — with morale in a freefall and recruitment at its lowest levels in years. Gradually worn down by the seven-year war on religious liberty and decency, more men and women are opting to get out — or worse, never sign up in the first place.

In a front-page story for the Washington Times, Jacqueline Klimas expands on what FRC has said for years: that the military cannot sustain this long-term assault on its values. Our good friend Mike Berry from the Liberty Institute has seen the fallout first-hand. “I can’t tell you how many moms and dads I’ve spoken to who say, ‘My son or daughter wants to join the military, [but] in light of what you’ve described, I’m not sure I want to let them join the military anymore,’ and I don’t blame them. I would have serious reservations about my own kids joining.”

In a military where even Chaplains are punished for their faith, more service members have to be wondering: why are we here? These brave men and women in uniform are dying for liberties that they can’t even enjoy. Douglas Lee of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said, “I know people who get out, officers and chaplains, who’ve said, ‘I can’t serve the way I want to in this environment. People who’ve said, ‘Because of the religious liberty challenges I see, I think I’ll serve somewhere else.” The sacrifices of — not just the service members, but their families — must feel somewhat hollow now in a culture where you can’t even say, “Have a blessed day,” without triggering an investigation.

Then, of course, there are the double standards. Yesterday, we told you about the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) blaming the Bible, Constitution, and Declaration of Independence for “modern sexism.” It turns out, this training isn’t the only thing under review. In a surprising twist, FRC learned that the commander of DEOMI, the very touchstone of political correctness in the military, has been suspended in December for alleged “inappropriate touching.” You can’t even make this stuff up! It’s like the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention Officer, who was charged in 2013 with — you guessed it — sexual assault. And we wonder why the Pentagon has so many problems!

The DOD is having to address all of these issues of sexism, assault, relationship consent because Obama’s policies have sexualized the military to the point of complete and utter dysfunction. Unfortunately, this is a huge mess that the next President is not only going to inherit — but has to address. In the extremely dangerous and volatile world that President Obama has fostered by his own ineptness, we can’t risk having a military that is more concerned about the sexual advances of their members than advancing the military’s mission of fighting and winning America’s wars.

** Marriage means a lot more to society than the Left seems to realize. Get an inside look at why in Dr. Pat Fagan’s column, “Society Cannot Escape Negative Outcomes of Marriage’s Decline.”

*** Abortion and Trafficking: What Would Lincoln Have Done? Find out in Rob Schwarzwalder’s new Townhall.com piece, available here.

For the rest of this article and others, see: http://www.frc.org/updatearticle/20150416/faith-takes-furlough

Hillary’s Not the Candidate of Change . . . or Even ‘Keep the Change’

April 16th, 2015

From National Review’s Morning Jolt … with Jim Geraghty

Hillary Clinton told us, “Everyday Americans need a champion.” Apparently that champion doesn’t need to leave tips.

One of the great political mysteries of the early 2016 presidential campaign has been solved: Hillary Clinton did not leave a tip at the Chipotle restaurant she visited during her road trip to Iowa on Sunday.

“Her bill was $20 and some change, and they paid with $21 and left” without putting anything in a tip jar on the counter, Charles Wright, the manager at the Maumee, Ohio, Chipotle restaurant told Bloomberg.

Wearing large sunglasses, Clinton wasn’t recognized by any of the workers at the fast-food Mexican chain when she and Huma Abedin, the vice chairwoman of her presidential campaign, ordered a chicken burrito bowl, a chicken salad, a blackberry Izzy, and a soda.

Perspective: She didn’t even leave the change in the tip jar. I’ll put that in, if for no other reason than the fact that I have a pocket full of nickels and pennies at the end of the day . . . and if I end up coming back, I don’t want the wait staff spitting in my food.

Hillary defenders will instantly declare this to be an overhyped “Tip Gate” and insist that she’s being judged on unfair criteria, blah blah blah. Listen. The combined net worth of the Clintons is “anywhere from $100 to $200 million.” She can afford to tip, and she chooses to not leave a tip.

Right then and there, she’s got the opportunity to help out the people behind the counter at Chipotle, and she chose not to. We’re supposed to elect her because she’s going to be the “champion” of “everyday Americans,” but she decided she needs those coins, totaling less than a dollar, more than the staff does.

We found the one circumstance in which Hillary Clinton wants to limit spending.

Hillary Clinton, speaking to an audience at the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2012: “There are rich people everywhere, and yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own countries.” No shinola, Madam Secretary.

And now, the alternative perspective from a man I respect a great deal, ExJon:

Despite the low-rent behavior of this elderly multimillionaire and her live-in nurse, it’s time we had a national conversation on gratuities. Though I’m an impoverished soul who lives off bulk ramen and stolen ketchup packets, had I más dinero en el banco, I still wouldn’t tip at Chipotle or other fast-food restaurants.

When I’m at a restaurant with tableside service I leave 20%, varying by about five percent for exceptionally good or bad service. But when I have to slog up to a counter, give my order, correct my order, pay the creatively pierced mouthbreather, then pick up my own food — whom exactly am I tipping?

I’ll usually tip the help at my local hipster coffeehouse, but part of that is an investment for preferential treatment on my next visit. At sketchier joints I might showily toss in a buck so the help doesn’t add any special ingredients. (Always be kind to the ex-con preparing your food, kids.) But why should I pay above and beyond for service when I’m the guy providing the service?

Two points, ExJon. First, you’re not running for president as the big-hearted, generous crusader for the common people against the miserly one percent the way Hillary is.

Secondly, a long while back, you forgot to tip Trivago Guy, and he’s been stalking you ever since:

“I’ll select your lodging . . .”

Apparently some lefties have picked up the habit of leaving little pre-printed screeds against the practice of tipping, declaring that “I do not leave tips anywhere because the law governing tipping causes pay inequality” and the practice “encourages both customers and servers to stereotype and discriminate.”

Let me tell you something you don’t want to hear, anti-tip lefties: You’re cheap.

You like your money, and you don’t like giving up any more of your money than you absolutely must to get your burrito or meal or whatever good or service you just purchased. You can dress up your selfishness and tightfistedness in as many social-justice slogans as you like, the same way you dress up your burrito with toppings, but you’re not fooling anyone. You’re greedy. You want money, and you’re not willing to part with another 15 or 20 percent of the agreed price the way everyone else does, because you don’t care enough about the guy or gal who just served you. You aren’t really that compassionate. You aren’t really that appreciative of people who work hard. None of the servers who served you see your little note and nod appreciatively at your principled stand. They swear under their breath.

You’re worse than the non-tippers who you would call tightwads. Because the ordinary tightwads aren’t arrogant and selfish enough to claim that they’re doing the wait staff a favor.

‘Compassionate Conservatism’ Is Coming Back

This is smart politics on the part of Jeb Bush — emphasizing the compassionate focus on special-needs children, and emphasizing the option of vouchers and school choice for conservatives who want to see greater parental choice in education.

Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Thursday will attend [Mississippi] Gov. Phil Bryant’s bill-signing ceremony for the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act passed by the Legislature this year.

Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education supported the measure, which provides vouchers for parents of children with special needs to spend $6,500 a year in public money on private schools and services. The pilot program will cover 500 students the first year, then add 500 a year until it reaches the five-year mark, at which point it would have to be reauthorized by the Legislature. Mississippi has more than 66,000 public school students with disabilities, and ranks last in the nation for their graduation rate, at 22.5 percent.

While governor of Florida, Bush helped create a similar program, the first of its kind in the U.S. It started as a pilot project as well, but now more than 28,000 Florida special-needs children attend private schools using scholarships.

The Export-Import Bank, an Obscure but Useful Litmus-Test Issue

Look, if you’re not willing to ditch “unseemly, inefficient, and irrelevant” “corporate welfare” “in the business of subsidizing private companies with taxpayer dollars” . . . then you’re not serious about cutting government spending. The Export-Import Bank is the sort of thing that liberals and progressive Democrats would oppose if they believed their anti-corporate rhetoric, and it’s the sort of thing any free-market, as opposed to pro-big-business, Republican should oppose.

“Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a free-market nonprofit organization, today released a new web ad contrasting Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s longtime support for the Export-Import Bank with free-market champions willing to stand up against it. The new ad asks lawmakers who they stand with and urges Congress to allow the bank to expire.”

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The ad also notes that a number Republican presidential candidates and free-market advocates — including Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio, House Ways and Means Committee chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush — have announced that they would like to see the bank end. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell are in the position to allow the bank to expire on June 30th — by doing nothing.

For once, inertia is on our side!

ADDENDA: Democratic representative John Lewis, writing about Apple’s Tim Cook as one of the 100 most influential people in the world: “Tim is unwavering in his support of an individual’s right to privacy and is not only embracing equality and LGBT rights but advocating for change through his words and actions.”

Sure, sure, let’s not look too closely at Apple’s work in Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, where official government policies include jailing and murdering gays and lesbians.

For the rest of this article and others, see: http://link.nationalreview.com/view/547fcef63b35d0210c8db1742i0k1.30jl/642833f2

Whistling to Armageddon: Obama’s Pact With Iran

April 16th, 2015

From The Daily Signal 

(Photo: Carlos Ibarra/EPA/Newscom)

Congress is at odds with the Obama administration over the framework for a proposed deal with Iran regarding its nuclear program.

The administration says its approach to a negotiated deal is the best path to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapon capability … at least for the next 10-15 years. The deal under negotiation would have Iran limit its ability to enrich uranium and produce plutonium, cease use of certain nuclear facilities for the production of nuclear materials beyond that required for peaceful purposes (power generation and research) and allow international inspections. In return, economic sanctions would be lifted resulting in a flood of foreign investment and access to markets for Iran and an array of trading partners.

Though Iran’s pattern of behavior these past decades epitomizes the worst of tyrannical regimes, the agreed-to framework would leave in place all of its nuclear infrastructure.

Critics of this plan, including many members of Congress, say Iran’s 35-year history of misconduct, evasion of sanctions, local, regional and worldwide support of terrorism, unilateral attacks on Western targets and secretive pursuit of nuclear capabilities in clear violation of multiple agreements and conventions indicates it will continue to do so regardless of any agreement it signs this coming June.

As Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, observed in his recent speech to Congress, we must “fully understand the nature of the regime” if we are to “understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons.” Though Iran’s pattern of behavior these past several decades epitomizes the worst of tyrannical regimes, the agreed-to framework would leave in place all of its nuclear infrastructure, and none of the negotiations have even mentioned Iran’s missile development programs or its collaboration with North Korea on related technologies.

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Iran’s current ballistic missile capability enables it to threaten all of the Middle East, much of Central Asia and the eastern-most portions of Europe, including NATO ally Turkey. Israel and Saudi Arabia have long been concerned by this, especially given Iran’s recent aggressive reach into Iraq, Syria, and now Yemen, combined with its robust support of terrorist entities, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and tyrants, such as Bashar al-Assad. Iran is developing a missile with even greater reach, the Sajjil-2, which will bring half of Europe and Africa and nearly all of Asia within range. More ominously, the missile’s characteristics imply that it will be nuclear capable.

Given the Obama-pushed framework for dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Iran’s history of repeatedly violating such deals and Iran’s investment in advanced ballistic missile capabilities, it’s no surprise those concerned with the emergence and proliferation of nuclear weapons in the most unstable and dangerous region in the world are alarmed.

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Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey have all expressed intentions to develop or acquire their own nuclear arsenals should Iran or others in the region obtain such. Saudi Arabia would do so to maintain at least a balance of power with Iran, as well as pre-eminence within the Arab and Muslim worlds. Egypt, desirous of maintaining its status as a regional power, would follow as would Turkey, which has its own aspirations of being a major power in its troubled neighborhood.

In short, the path selected by the Obama administration is more likely to result in the very outcome it seeks to avoid.

Returning to Netanyahu: “So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet. This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.”

For the rest of this article and others, see: http://dailysignal.com/2015/04/15/whistling-to-armageddon-obamas-pact-with-iran/?utm_source=heritagefoundation&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=morningbell&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRojuajMZKXonjHpfsX56uksUaKylMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4GT8ZqI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFQrLBMa1ozrgOWxU%3D

Hillary: I Plan to Raise $2.5 Billion, Then Get Money Out of Politics

April 15th, 2015

From National Review Morning Jolt … with Jim Geraghty

It’s Tax Day. As Larry the Cable Guy would say, “Git ‘er done.”

Shot:

This campaign will begin on a small scale and build up to an effort likely to cost more than any presidential bid waged before, with Mrs. Clinton’s supporters and outside “super PACs“ looking to raise as much as $2.5 billion in a blitz of donations from Democrats who overwhelmingly support her candidacy.

Chaser:

Hillary Clinton called for a constitutional amendment to address the influx of “unaccountable money” in politics during her first official day of campaigning in Iowa.

“We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if it takes a constitutional amendment,” she said during an event at Kirkwood Community College in Monticello.

She added that campaign finance reform is one of the “four big fights” that her campaign is focused on.

Lord, make me pure, but not yet.

Hillary’s Campaign Strategy of Avoidance

So what’s the strategy behind Hillary’s van speeding away from reporters? Why is she attempting the world’s first covert campaign by an overwhelming favorite?

Talk about “runaway frontrunner.”

Run, reporters, run!

As the Des Moines Register puts it, “Hillary Clinton’s van has rolled up to a few Iowa destinations on the down low.”

After about an hour at the Jones St. Java House, Clinton exited the building and went toward a black vehicle, brushing off shouted questions about her candidacy.

“We’ll have lots of time to talk later,” she said.

Clinton then went to LeClaire’s downtown, where she took a walk with Mayor Bob Scannell, greeting onlookers and stopping into one shop.

In her first remarks of the campaign, she addressed the pressing issues of hedge-fund managers paying insufficient tax rates and the salaries of CEOS. Clearly, those CEOs don’t earn their pay the way she does with her $300,000-per-speech speaking fees or her $14 million book advance.

(According to salary.com, the median expected annual pay for a typical chief executive officer in the United States is $681,798, so 50 percent of the people who perform the job of chief executive officer in the United Sates are expected to make less than $681,798. For perspective, Bill Clinton made $17 million in public-speaking fees in one year and $106 million from 2001 to 2013. The CEO making that median salary would have to work about 25 years to make what Bill Clinton made in speaking fees in that year; a CEO making that median salary would have to work 155 years to equal Bill Clinton’s speaking-fee total over that twelve-year period.)

We established in a previous Jolt that what worries us conservatives doesn’t worry progressives, and vice versa: “By and large, the Republicans are worried about the right problems — the big problems: crazy people who want to kill us, a skyrocketing debt, a growing culture of dependency, an avalanche of red tape strangling the entrepreneurial lifeblood of the economy, and an unsecure border.”

Both conservatives and progressives look at America and see problems, but they see completely different problems. They dismiss with a shrug the problems that worry us most.

What’s the Democratic solution to the national debt? It’s not really a problem.

What’s the Democratic solution to Putin’s aggression? It’s not really a problem.

What’s the Democratic solution to the Islamic State? It’s not really a problem, we’re handling it fine through airstrikes.

What’s the Democratic solution to illegal immigration and an insecure border? It’s not really a problem, let’s pass an amnesty.

What’s the Democratic solution to children being raised without fathers? To the extent they address this, they insist it reflects low wages and economic factors.

Meanwhile, they turn to us and ask, “What’s your plan for dealing with the temperature rising a century from now? Why aren’t you concerned about micro-aggressions? What’s your plan to ensure every woman in America has access to affordable birth control? What are you going to do to stop people from being able to buy guns?”

Sometimes Democrats get really creative in finding new problems. Not so long ago, Hillary Clinton lamented the “fun deficit” in America and suggested the solution was sending adults to camps.

If Hillary sits down and does tough interviews — well, you’ll probably see something like the press conference about he private e-mail server. So the Hillary camp is going to keep her in front of small groups, handing softball questions.

We can expect Team Hillary to make a huge deal out of any perceived insult, something that they can claim represents sexism, woman-hating, or that tired perennial, the “war on women.”

Vast swaths of our public debate revolve around metronomic “Can you believe what this person said?” outrages. Any ill-tempered comment from any little-known “GOP lawmaker” anywhere in the country can set off a couple news cycles of ritualistic denunciation. Driving the guy at Mozilla out of his job is relatively easy. Making a figure so controversial that they’re metaphorically radioactive is easy.

Considering what liberals claim to care about, they have every reason to focus their fury upon militant Islam . . . but they don’t. Liberals claim to care about underprivileged children and the importance of education, so they have every reason to lash out at status-quo-defending teachers’ unions and demand public-school choice for every parent everywhere in the country . . . but most of them don’t. Liberals claim to care about low-income Americans, so they have every reason to oppose allowing more unskilled or low-skilled workers to enter the country illegally . . . but they don’t. Liberals claim they want to help the little guy, so they have every reason to want to reduce the amount of red tape and paperwork that a new small business faces . . . but they don’t. All of those tasks would require them doing something difficult — oftentimes, confronting a part of their own coalition for the status quo.

Two Oddities from the New USA Today Poll

Hey, USA Today . . . You didn’t even put Rick Perry or Bobby Jindal on your candidate list? You list Donald Trump, John Kasich, and Mike Huckabee, but not Perry or Jindal?

Also note this from the USA Today poll, next time you hear about how Obama’s got his mojo back:

Meanwhile, assessing the president who is already in the Oval Office, 48% of all those surveyed disapprove of the job Obama is doing; 42% approve. Those may be mediocre ratings, but they’re better than those for Congress: 77% disapprove, 11% approve.

Just 25% say the country is headed in the right direction, a significant drop from the 36% who felt that way in January.

ADDENDA: DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, suddenly telling Wolf Blitzer that abortion isn’t really going to be the decisive issue in this election: “Ultimately, at the end of the day, its unlikely that voters are going to be deciding who they’re going to vote for, for president [based on their position on abortion], and whether a candidate has their back on this issue, it’s more going to be on jobs and the economy.”

For the rest of this article and others, see: http://link.nationalreview.com/view/547fcef63b35d0210c8db1742hvgn.30et/f7af322e

Marco Rubio, casting himself as a leader for a new generation, is running for president

April 14th, 2015

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From the Tampa Bay Times

by Alex Leary

Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants whose rise in politics has been aided by charisma and a gift for speaking, entered the race for president on Monday, casting himself as a leader for a new generation of Americans worried about succeeding as past generations have.

“This election is not just about what laws we will pass. It is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be,” the 43-year-old Republican U.S. senator said before hundreds of supporters at Miami’s Freedom Tower.

“We Americans are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future,” he said. “Before us now is the opportunity to author the greatest chapter yet in the amazing story of America. We can’t do that by going back to the leaders and ideas of the past. We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them.”

He was drawing a direct contrast to Hillary Clinton, who got in the race on the Democratic side a day earlier.

But it was obvious, too, Rubio was making the case against his friend Jeb Bush, the 62-year-old former Florida governor and member of a political dynasty who has all but declared his candidacy.

“I have heard some suggest that I should step aside and wait my turn. But I cannot,” Rubio said, his supporters sending up raucous cheers. “Because I believe our very identity as an exceptional nation is at stake, and I can make a difference as president.”

He becomes the third official Republican to enter the race, behind Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Rubio chose as a backdrop the Freedom Tower, which decades ago was a government processing site for Cuban refugees — the “Ellis Island of the South” — emphasizing his family story and concern the American Dream is slipping away for too many.

“Why is this happening in a country that for over two centuries has been defined by equality of opportunity? Because while our people and economy are pushing the boundaries of the 21st century, too many of our leaders and their ideas are stuck in the 20th century,” he said, returning to the generational argument.

Behind him a large sign displayed his campaign slogan, “A New American Century.” Rubio was joined by his wife, Jeanette, and their four children.

His elderly mother, Oriales, was not in attendance; his father, Mario, died while Rubio was campaigning for Senate in 2010.

“In many countries, the highest office in the land is reserved for the rich and powerful,” Rubio said. “But I live in an exceptional country where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege.”

It was quintessential Rubio: flawless in delivery and steeped in the emotion of his family story. He is a conservative, but his friendly disposition and delivery makes him seem less ideological.

He did not dive much into policy but talked of reforming the tax code, repealing Obamacare and reducing regulations — all of which he said would grow jobs and the economy. He espoused a tough foreign policy, ripping “dangerous concessions” to Iran that threaten Israel.

Rubio is trying to re-create the balancing act that got him to the U.S. Senate, drawing from the activist tea party wing of the Republican Party and the establishment wing that wants to reach more voters, including Hispanics.

In a large field of candidates, his goal is to be the first choice of a lot of voters and the second choice of an even bigger group. But challenges await.

Rubio will have to raise money to compete and contend with a Republican base that reacted angrily to his role in writing the Senate’s 2013 immigration bill. He spent 2014 backing away from that legislation, but voters and rivals may not be willing to forgive him.

And then there is the Obama issue. One of the GOP’s primary attacks on President Barack Obama — who was also a golden-tongued first-term senator lacking legislative accomplishment — has been that he was unprepared for the job.

“It’s not a question of Obama ruining it for him. He’s laid the path and shown that the country is willing to elect a young minority,” said Stephen Helfman, 58, a lawyer in Miami who attended Rubio’s speech. “Obama just didn’t have the right vision. Marco has an incredible ‘new vision’ thing that we desperately need in this country.”

Helfman praised Bush, too, but added, “Jeb is probably one generation ahead. We need the youth that is in Rubio.”

Rubio came to national prominence in his 2010 U.S. Senate campaign against former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and has been working toward a presidential decision almost ever since, using a political action committee to build a stable of consultants and a national campaign donor base.

Looming large is Bush, who is traveling to early primary states and raising tens of millions at fundraisers, including one Monday in Vero Beach. Bush did not issue a statement about Rubio on Monday, though he hasn’t for others who have entered the race and he and Rubio shared a plane ride home Friday from an NRA convention in Nashville.

Few top elected Republicans were in attendance for Rubio’s speech, as many have lined up behind Bush. Audience members said they were torn between Rubio and Bush, but bought into the younger candidate’s message.

“Jeb is a perfect candidate, but Marco brings something fresh,” said Peter Leon, 52, who came to the United States from Cuba as a boy.

Rubio took the stage about 6 p.m., deliberately timed for the start of Bret Baier’s widely watched show on Fox News. He formally declared he was running at 6:13 p.m., the crowd exploding into chants of “Marco. Marco. Marco!”

He then sat down for an hourlong special hosted by Sean Hannity, surrounded by supporters. He’ll try to reach different audiences today, with interviews on ABC’s Good Morning America and NPR.

On Monday morning, Rubio officially informed campaign donors and his staff. He stressed that it was not an easy decision but that he felt he was “uniquely qualified” as a presidential candidate.

Rubio said he would mount an aggressive campaign but would continue to serve Florida in the Senate for the remainder of his term. He has said he will not keep the backup of running for re-election should his presidential run fizzle.

He has already missed a lot of votes and that will only grow. While campaigning in California recently, he missed a classified hearing on the threat presented by the Islamic State.

So far, Rubio has shown discipline of sticking to his message but attacks will come from all sides.

A Democratic group, People for the American Way, on Monday launched a Spanish-language radio ad to air in Miami and Denver, which said Rubio is “plain bad for our community,” citing his opposition to increasing the minimum wage.

The ad reflects the threat Rubio presents to Democrats should he win the nomination. Although his record on immigration is mixed, his Hispanic heritage could be a draw for the growing Latino voter base, who would be making history by elevating Rubio to the White House.

Rubio will return to Washington today for a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Iran, giving him a platform to highlight his hawkish side. Then he begins the hyper focus of raising money and visiting early primary states, including fundraisers Thursday in New York and Boston, and campaign events in New Hampshire on Friday. He will soon travel to Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada.

Rubio closed his speech by talking about his family and the time he would be away during months of campaigning.

“But I have chosen this course because this election is about them,” he said. “Theirs is the most important generation in American history. If we can capture the promise of this new century, they will be the freest and most prosperous Americans ever. But if we fail, they will be the first generation of Americans to inherit a country worse off than the one left for their parents.”

For the rest of this article and others, see: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/marco-rubio-will-announce-for-president-today-in-miami/2225233

Marco Rubio Runs for President on America’s Place in the World

April 13th, 2015

From The Daily Signal

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at CPAC on Feb. 27. (Photo illustrations: Kelsey Harris for The Daily Signal; this photo of Rubio: Gage Skidmore)

Marco Rubio, little more than four years into his first term in the Senate, is back home in Miami today. The Republican is scheduled to announce for higher office again, this time the presidency of the United States, with the city’s storied Freedom Tower as the backdrop.

It is a place that became synonymous with Cuban refugees—much like the family of Rubio—who sought freedom and a new life in America. Rubio sounds related themes in a video released Friday:

Turning His Focus to U.S. Interests

To the extent primary voters question the wisdom of putting forward another first-term U.S. senator for president, Rubio fans counter not only with his rise to the speakership of the Florida legislature but his engagement with key foreign policy questions in the Senate.

Last May, delivering the Republican address that counters President Obama’s weekly message on radio and online, Rubio boiled down his post-9/11 thinking on the subject:

Today, foreign policy is an important part of our domestic policy. And our economic well-being is deeply dependent on our national security. The problem is that President Obama doesn’t seem to understand this. Instead of shaping world events, he has often simply reacted to them. And instead of a foreign policy based on strategy, his foreign policy is based on politics.

Rubio routinely evaluates Obama’s defense and foreign policy decisions in commentaries for digital outlets such as Fox News and CNN.

In an April 9 piece for National Review Online, he castigates the president for weakness and neglect, paving the way for Cuban dictator Raúl Castro to participate for the first time in the Summit of the Americas—what used to be a gathering of the leaders of the Western Hemisphere’s democratic nations:

So far, the Castro regime has made a mockery of the president’s overtures to normalize relations. At this week’s gathering in Panama, President Obama should be forceful about demanding full respect for the Cuban people’s human rights; otherwise, he risks emboldening the dictator to escalate his repression because he believes the normalization will happen regardless. He should also meet with the Cuban dissidents who will be in Panama.

While decrying political repression in Cuba, Venezuela and elsewhere, Rubio identifies brutal Islamist terrorists such as ISIS as posing the biggest danger to America and the rest of the free world. He has supported Obama’s measures to meet the threat while also criticizing him as indecisive and slow to act.

Marco Rubio celebrates with his family at the ''Reclaim America Victory Celebration'' at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Nov. 2, 2010. (Photo: Mike Stocker/Sun-Sentinel/Newscom)

The Tea Party and Rubio’s Hawkishness

Rubio’s personal story—his father and mother fled pre-revolution Cuba in 1956, taking jobs as bartender and maid to get a foothold in the United States—is a triumphant American one of hard work and pluck. The couple settled for good in Miami after paying their dues in Las Vegas hotels when Rubio was an adolescent.

Russia’s recent re-insertion of its power into this hemisphere, reigniting a relationship with Cuba, provides an opportunity for Rubio to show his stuff, notes Mark Meckler, a pioneer in the Tea Party movement and now head of Citizens for Self-Governance. “That has got to be dead in his sweet spot.”

It’s an open question to what extent some tea party conservatives are willing to forgive Rubio for his lead role in Senate passage in 2013 of legislation they saw as granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. The senator later called the bill a mistake as the House refused to take it up, however, and many openly admire his other domestic policy positions and his dependably hawkish stands on national security.

Mention the words foreign policy, Meckler says in an interview with The Daily Signal, and Rubio is far and away the presidential hopeful seen by tea party conservatives as having invested the time and energy.

“If that becomes the driving primary issue, then it’s a big advantage for Marco Rubio,” Meckler says, adding:

The base is like the rest of the country. We’re all war-weary also. … Tea partiers don’t want to be engaged in interventions all over the world, but we don’t want to let the world go to heck in a handbasket either.

Tea party activists in Florida and elsewhere, however, came to see Rubio as unengaged with them on border security and other issues after his election, Meckler says. The disconnect is contrary to media depictions, he notes, and how Rubio treats the grassroots as a presidential candidate could be “his win-or-lose move” with them.

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2016 and Foreign Policy

Even if 2016 looks to be a national security and foreign policy election, others say, domestic concerns such as the economy tend to be uppermost on voters’ minds and a favored candidate rarely prompts second thoughts on foreign policy grounds.

In any case, age and length of time in Congress or a governorship aren’t the decisive factors, argues James Carafano, Heritage’s vice president for foreign and defense policy studies.

“Leadership on a strategic level is not about resumes,” Carafano says in an interview with The Daily Signal, citing President Lincoln during the Civil War as one dramatic example:

Abraham Lincoln was the greatest war president we ever had [but] other than throwing a tomahawk in the Black Hawk War, Lincoln didn’t have a smidgen of the political and military experience of his generals and Cabinet. And yet he was an extraordinary war leader. … It’s not so much about age, it’s not about resumes, it really is about the core and the quality of that strategic leader and the team they surround themselves with.   

Carafano says Rubio clearly communicates how a strong national defense prepares America to lead in the world and look after our interests, acting as neither aggressor nor isolationist. His rivals will say much the same, he adds.

“It’s going to be fundamentally about character,” Carafano says. “Is this the kind of commander in chief I’m going to trust my sons and daughters under  … who allows me to go to sleep at night and not worry about being murdered in my own bed? That’s what people are going to vote on.”

Carafano argues that Obama’s tenure proves that assembling some good hands can’t compensate for a president’s failures of leadership.

At home, Rubio has championed tax reform, a federal “wage enhancement” for the working poor, downsizing the federal workforce, defending religious freedom and exempting defense spending from mandatory budget cuts.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio joined Gov. Rick Scott in February 2014 to talk to a crowd of Venezuelans in Miami about Venezuela conflict impact on Florida families. (Photo: Michelle Eve/Newscom)

‘Living Proof of What America Stands For’

From his seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rubio has pushed for ways to stem the spread of ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups, the denial of human rights and the evil of human trafficking around the world. He has advocated greater controls to ensure that foreign aid is used in ways that reflect American “values and interests.”

“It’s going to be fundamentally about character,” @JJCarafano says of voters’ choice for president on national security issues.

In late January, as the Republicans regained control of the Senate, Rubio took a more direct hand in such issues as he assumed the chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues.

The first hearing he called was on Obama’s move toward normalizing relations with communist Cuba and what it would mean for the human rights movement there. He invited the testimony of dissidents, including a young woman whose father was killed by the Castro regime.

Rubio vowed that the subcommittee would apply “light and solutions” to problems such as “growing inhospitality for individual freedoms, deteriorating security environments, lagging competitiveness … and the promotion and support of democracy in places where individual freedoms are all but a dream, such as Cuba and Venezuela.”

Meckler says:

Rubio is an extraordinary spokesperson for the idea that America has to stand for something, and that America is unique, that America is exceptional. And his family—and obviously very recently—is living proof of what America stands for in the world, the shining light of liberty. He tells the story incredibly well. He is the best, most inspiring public speaker of the bunch.

In recent weeks Rubio has pointed to Cuba’s role in repression in Venezuela, the Obama administration’s lack of transparency on Cuba policy and the threat Russian President Vladimir Putin poses to his neighbors and the NATO alliance.

He clashed with Secretary of State John Kerry on whether the administration’s effort to secure a nuclear deal with Iran had undercut the strategy against ISIS.

“It’s very much a traditional conservative perspective on defense, which is the idea of peace through strength,” Quintana says. “The only way you are going to have global peace, or even come close to having a semblance of global peace, is by having a strong United States and a strong U.S. defense posture.”

‘Who Would We Stand With?’

Two years after joining the Senate, Rubio upped his game by hiring Jamie Fly, who was on the National Security Council and Pentagon teams under President George W. Bush, as counselor for foreign and national security affairs. At the time, Fly was executive director of the Foreign Policy Initiative, a nonprofit founded in 2009 to support U.S. engagement around the world.

In the past year and a half, Rubio spoke three times on the Senate floor on the crisis in Venezuela, where drug kingpins control the government and foment trouble with neighbors. He spoke twice on what he considers the administration’s inadequate strategy to defeat ISIS. And he spoke three times on the need to support Israel amid the conflict in Gaza or nuclear talks with Iran.

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“Israel represents everything we want that region of the world to be,” Rubio said in March 20 remarks lamenting the Obama administration’s “historic and tragic mistake” in its brusque treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He concluded:

If America doesn’t stand with Israel, who would we stand with? … What ally around the world can feel safe in their alliance with us?

According to his staff, official travel has taken Rubio to 16 nations, among them Afghanistan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Jordan, Israel, Libya, Haiti, Japan and Colombia.

The regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua reacted to Rubio’s criticisms of their abuses of their own citizens by barring him from traveling to those nations.

Rubio’s major addresses on foreign policy since late 2013 include two at other Washington venues plus one in Seoul, South Korea, and one in London.

For the rest of this article including the video mentioned above and other great articles, see: http://dailysignal.com/2015/04/13/marco-rubio-runs-for-president-on-americas-place-in-the-world/?utm_source=heritagefoundation&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=morningbell&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRojuqTOZKXonjHpfsX56uksUaKylMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4GTsFnI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFQrLBMa1ozrgOWxU%3D

Clinton’s stale presidential plan wrong for nation

April 12th, 2015

From The New York Post

By Michael Goodwin

More than five years ago, a Clinton confidant matter-of-factly described for me Hillary’s Plan. She would ­resign as secretary of state after President Obama’s first term, write a book and then run for president again.

Check, check, and, with Sunday’s official launch, check again. Her to-do list is complete.

She stuck like glue to The Plan, which required years of misleading blabber from her and Bubba that she hadn’t decided about 2016. Fish gotta swim, and a Clinton’s gotta run, so there was never an iota of doubt.

But time has marched on and the world has changed, making The Plan, and her, look stuck in the past. What the great Murray Kempton wrote in 1965 of John Lindsay’s first mayoral run — “He is fresh and everyone else is tired” — is not something anybody says of Hillary these days.

She’s been on the national stage for a quarter-century, though because of all the drama, it feels like we’ve lived through several lifetimes with her. Along the way, she’s reinvented herself more often than Madonna. While the spectacle of an aging hoofer trying to keep up with the kids is riveting, the kicks aren’t what they used to be and the odor of desperation is unavoidable.

— really?  The sweaty effort to appear fresh reinforces the suspicion that Hillary senses danger in the argument that she’s awfully close to her expiration date. It’s not merely a matter of age, though she will be 69 come next Inauguration Day, which would put her close to Ronald Reagan’s record.

The real issue is Clinton fatigue, a national exhaustion from having been-there-done-that too many times. Her husband’s popularity counts for something, but she’s already milked that cow dry.

She’s got to make a case that goes beyond just wanting the Oval Office. She’s got to earn it and I’m not sure she can.

Here’s another blast from the past — Monica Lewinsky is 41 and wants to reclaim her identity, making her a potential bombshell that could explode without notice.

The arrows, then, all point the same way: Hillary is past her peak and missed her best chance in 2008. Her two elections and eight years in the Senate had made her something bigger and better than a scorned first lady.She was ready to make history and the country was ready to help her. Then along came that fresh-faced senator from Chicago with a better game plan and a more convincing claim on history, and the brass ring eluded her grasp.

Her pain was understandably acute, and her willingness to join his team couldn’t have been easy. Shuffling off to Timbuktu while the big decisions were made in Washington was another stab in the back. But she endured, and even played along with his cockamamie foreign policies, a mistake that continues to damage America and her reputation.

That bad run of experiences could have forged her character into something admirable, but her performance so far has been a disaster. Instead of re-emerging as a smarter and more focused force rejuvenated by defeat and exile, she seems to have learned nothing and changed not a whit.

She still makes ­baby talk about breaking glass ceilings and other coded references designed to get her Pantsuit Posse out of their chairs, but it feels like a re-enactment rather than the real thing. After each bad review and each new scandal, the prospect of another usurper emerging from the shadows must give her panic attacks. Déjà vu all over again.

Will the left’s new darling, Elizabeth Warren, jump into the race? Will Martin O’Malley steal Iowa and puncture her balloon of invincibility?

What about Obama — will he help her or dump her? What price will she pay if she breaks with him on Iran or Israel? What mischief is Valerie Jarrett making?

Hillary would be crazy not to consider all those scenarios and a dozen others, but her first steps are depressingly robotic. Raise more money, hire more advisers, parse and calculate, hide behind her Praetorian Guard, rinse and repeat.

She’s older but not wiser and only a groupie could think it’s working. She’s become a gaffe machine and showed a tin ear by continuing to give paid speeches until a month ago. Then came the e-mail debacle, which evoked a universal “there she goes again” quality.

It brought back a souped-up carload of bad memories — her habitual secrecy, arrogance and, most damaging, dishonesty. If she had come out and simply said she set up a private server for government business because rules are for little people, she would have had the virtue of honesty.

But still constitutionally incapable of being straight, she concocted a silly lie about the “convenience” of carrying only one electronic device, which was promptly demolished when evidence emerged that she had both a BlackBerry and an iPad.

We still don’t know the full story of what she’s hiding in those e-mails, but already there are fresh wounds. Although no Democrat threatens her yet, recent polls in six swing states show that, in head-to-head matchups against a raft of Republicans, she is basically tied or trailing nearly all of them. She makes them all look good.Most revealing, Quinnipiac University also asked voters in Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania and Iowa whether she is honest and trustworthy. Only in Ohio were the numbers split evenly; everywhere else, either a majority or a clear plurality answered with a resounding “No.”

Given her long history, ­changing voters’ minds on something so basic as trust won’t be easy. Her best hope is to fire a withering barrage of mud against an incompetent Republican. Again, we’d be reliving the ’90s, with her spying a vast right-wing conspiracy behind every tree and playing the victim when it doesn’t work. Oh, what fun.

There is, of course, a long way to go until November of next year, and events, especially the growing world disorder, will likely reshape the campaign and the public mood numerous times. Like all the candidates, she’ll have to reshape her message, too — after she comes up with one.

So far, something about Hillary does not seem right for the present, let alone the future. Aides have been discounting the early going as a false measure, and assuring backers that she’ll right the ship once she launches.

Perhaps, but she is taking on much more water than they had expected, and her margin for error is shrinking fast. The polls suggest there is a tipping point with voters and inevitable stumbles and scandals could make 2016 look like 2008.

It could be that she’s star-crossed, and the gods will conspire against her again. After all, as Mark Twain observed, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

For the rest of this news story and others, see: http://nypost.com/2015/04/11/oh-hill-no-clintons-presidential-plan-is-growing-stale/

Ayatollah Khamenei Accuses WH of ‘Lying,’ Being ‘Deceptive,’ and Having ‘Devilish’ Intentions

April 10th, 2015

From the Weekly Standard

ayatollah_2146641b

Thomas Joscelyn

April 9, 2015 5:42 PM

President Obama has long known that the real decision maker in Iran is Ayatollah Khamenei, the so-called supreme leader. While other Iranian officials have negotiated with Western powers over the mullahs’ nuclear program, Khamenei’s opinion is the only one that really counts. It is for this reason that Obama began writing directly to Khamenei early in his presidency.

Earlier today, Khamenei broke his silence on the supposed “framework” the Obama administration has been trumpeting as the basis for a nuclear accord. Khamenei’s speech pulled the rug out from underneath the administration.

Khamenei accused the Obama administration of “lying” about the proposed terms, being “deceptive,” and having “devilish” intentions, according to multiple published accounts of his speech, as well as posts on his official Twitter feed.

Khamenei also disputed the key terms Obama administration officials have said were agreed upon in principle. Economic sanctions will not be phased out once Iran’s compliance has been “verified,” according to the Ayatollah. Instead, Khamenei said that if the U.S. wants a deal, then all sanctions must be dropped as soon as the agreement is finalized. Khamenei also put strict limits on the reach of the inspectors who would be tasked with this verification process in the first place.

Beginning earlier this month and in the days since, Obama and his advisers have attempted to portray the negotiations as major step forward. During an appearance in the Rose Garden on April 2, Obama said the U.S. and its allies have “reached a historic understanding with Iran.”

Khamenei does not agree. “There was no need to take a position” on the supposed deal before today, Khamenei said. “The officials are saying that nothing has been done yet and nothing is obligatory. I neither agree nor disagree [with any deal].”

“What has been done so far does not guarantee an agreement, nor its contents, nor even that the negotiations will continue to the end,” Khamenei elaborated.

“I neither support nor oppose it,” Khamenei reportedly said of the proposed deal. “Everything is in the details; it may be that the deceptive other side wants to restrict us in the details.”

It gets much worse.

When Obama announced that a “framework” for the deal was in place earlier this month, the administration released a fact sheet purportedly showing the agreed upon “parameters.” The White House said the terms outlined in the fact sheet “reflect the significant progress that has been made in discussions between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran.”

Khamenei would beg to differ.

“The White House put out a statement just a few hours after our negotiators finished their talks…this statement, which they called a ‘fact sheet’, was wrong on most of the issues,” Khamenei said, according to Reuters. Khamenei added that the fact sheet, which doesn’t match Iran’s understanding, exposes America’s “devilish” intentions.

Khamenei’s social media team emphasized many of these points on his official Twitter feed, which published quotes from his speech. One tweet reads: “It’s all about the details. The disloyal side may want to stab ‪#Iran in the back over the details; It is too early to congratulate. #IranTalks.”

A second tweet reads: “What’s been done so far secures neither the main deal nor its contents nor is it even clear whether ‪#talks will bear fruit & lead to a deal.”

In a third tweet, the Ayatollah calls into question the Obama administration’s integrity. The fact sheet was supposedly an example of the White House’s “lying.” Khamenei’s Twitter feed contains this post: “I trust our negotiators but I’m really worried as the other side is into lying & breaching promises; an example was White House fact sheet.”

A fourth tweet reiterates the point: “Hours after the ‪#talks, Americans offered a fact sheet that most of it was contrary to what was agreed. They always deceive & breach promises.”

Then there is the issue of sanctions relief. President Obama and other administration officials have stressed that economic sanctions will only be eased after Iran’s compliance with the terms of the deal has been verified by international inspectors.

During his speech on April 2, Obama said that sanctions “relief will be phased as Iran takes steps to adhere to the deal. If Iran violates the deal, sanctions can be snapped back into place.” Other “American sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program, will continue to be fully enforced.”

Khamenei is having none of it.

The supreme leader said that sanctions “should be lifted all together on the same day of the agreement, not six months or one year later.” Rhetorically, he asked: “If lifting of sanctions is supposed to be connected to a process, then why do we negotiate?”

Again, Khamenei’s Twitter feed emphasized the point: “All ‪#sanctions should be removed just when the deal is reached. If sanctions removal depends on another process then why we started to talk?”

Similarly, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said today that the sanctions should be lifted on the “first day” the deal is implemented.

The gap between the administration’s rhetoric on sanctions relief and the Iranian position is hardly surprising. Even before the administration announced the supposed framework for a deal earlier this month, Khamenei made it clear that all sanctions needed to be ended at the beginning of any deal.

During a speech on March 23, Khamenei said the phased approach to ending the sanctions was American “trickery.” Khamenei explained: “That is unacceptable because the lifting of the sanctions is part of the negotiations and not the result of the talks. Therefore, as the esteemed president [Rouhani] made clear, the sanctions should be lifted immediately after an agreement is reached.”

In his talk today, Khamenei also drew limits on the inspectors’ hypothetical reach inside Iran. “No unconventional inspection that’d place Iran under special monitoring is acceptable. Foreign monitoring on ‪#Iran’s security isn’t allowed,” his social media team quoted him as saying.

Khamenei drew red lines around Iran’s military sites, which are at the heart of the dispute over the regime’s nuclear work. “The country’s military officials are not permitted at all to allow the foreigners to cross these boundaries…or [to] stop the country’s defensive development under the pretext of supervision and inspection,” Khamenei said.

Obama administration officials, including the president, have said that they had work to do to conclude a deal. But Obama himself presented the “framework” as a “historic understanding” between the two sides.

There is no evidence in Khamenei’s rhetoric that this is true.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

For the rest of this article and other great articles, see: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/ayatollah-khamenei-accuses-wh-lying-being-deceptive-and-having-devilish-intentions_914336.html

Texas Judge Delivers Blistering Rebuke of Obama Administration Immigration Lawyers’ Misbehavior

April 8th, 2015

From the Heritage Foundation – The Daily Signal  

Hans von Spakovsky /

In an order issued late Tuesday, federal district court Judge Andrew Hanen refused to lift the preliminary injunction he had previously issued stopping the implementation of the immigration amnesty plan announced by President Obama last November.

And in a second order, an obviously infuriated Judge Hanen said that the “attorneys for the Government misrepresented the facts” to the court.

Judge Hanen issued his injunction on Feb. 16 in the lawsuit filed by 26 states in a Texas federal court. On Feb. 23, the Justice Department filed a motion asking Hanen to stay his injunction pending an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. On March 3, the Justice Department filed an “Advisory” with Hanen, informing him that between Nov. 20, when the president announced his new plan, and Feb. 16, when the injunction was issued, the Department of Homeland Security had begun implementing part of the president’s plan by issuing three-year deferrals to over 100,000 illegal aliens.

Justice Department Had Said Obama’s Immigration Plan Hadn’t Been Implemented

This despite the fact that the Justice Department had assured Judge Hanen on numerous occasions—both in court and in written pleadings—that no part of the president’s plan would be implemented until late February. In the Advisory, the Justice Department did not admit it had misled the court; it was just trying to clear up any “confusion” that might have occurred.

Judge Hanen obviously saw things differently.

In Tuesday night’s order on the injunction, Hanen said that he remained “convinced” that his original findings and rulings were correct and that for a number of reasons, “the decisions reached previously by this Court have been reinforced.”

For example, Hanen had based his injunction in part on the “abdication” by the administration of its duty to enforce federal immigration law. Hanen pointed out that “recent actions taken by the Government confirm that it has abdicated enforcement.”

U.S. Border Patrol agent Joe Gutierrez. (Photo: Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom)

One of those actions cited by Hanen was Obama’s reaction at a town hall meeting held after the injunction was issued to an individual upset over a deportation order. Obama said that any Border Patrol agents or Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials who didn’t follow his new immigration plan that halts deportations against those who qualify under his new plan would be punished: if “they don’t follow the policy, there are going to be consequences to it.”

According to Hanen, Obama’s message to federal law enforcement officials and the nation “is clear.” First, federal immigration laws that “officials are charged with enforcing, are not to be enforced when those laws conflict” with the president’s plan.  Second, “the criteria set out in [the president’s plan] are mandatory.” Third, if Department of Homeland Security officials “fail to follow the specified criteria, there will be consequences for this failure—just as there would be consequences if they were in the military and disobeyed an order from the Commander in Chief.”

In summary, “the chief executive has ordered that the laws requiring removal of illegal immigrants that conflict with [the president’s plan] are not to be enforced, and that anyone who attempts to do so will be punished.”

Hanen also dismissed the government’s claim that it would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not lifted. He concluded that “there is no pressing, emergent need for this program” and “the scales of justice greatly favor the States.”

Justice Department Lawyers Showed ‘Distinct Lack of Candor’

In the second order over the Advisory filed with the court, Judge Hanen presented a scathing analysis of the Justice Department’s misbehavior in misleading him over the implementation of the president’s amnesty plan:

This Court expects all parties, including the Government of the United States, to act in a forthright manner and not hide behind deceptive representations and half-truths. That is why, whatever the motive for the Government’s actions in this matter, the Court is extremely troubled by the multiple representations made by the Government’s counsel—both in writing and orally—that no action would be taken … until February 18, 2015.

Hanen said the representations made by the Justice Department lawyers “indicates a distinct lack of candor.”

The Justice Department lawyers may even be in trouble for their delay in telling Hanen about this problem: “the explanation by Defendants’ counsel for their conduct after the fact is even more troublesome for the Court.”

The Department told Hanen they were unaware there was a problem until they read his Feb. 16 injunction order, and that they then took “prompt” remedial action to inform the court, but Hanen said that “assertion is belied by the facts.” The Advisory was not filed until March 3, so for two weeks after the Feb. 16 injunction order, “the Government did nothing to inform the Court of the 108,081” deferrals that had been issued.

Instead, on Feb. 23, the government filed its “Motion to Stay” the injunction with Hanen, saying absolutely nothing in that motion about this problem. Instead, “mysteriously, what was included” in the Justice Department’s motion was a request that Hanen issue a decision by Feb. 25, within two days:

If this Court had ruled according to the Government’s requested schedule, it would have ruled without the Court or the States knowing that the Government had granted 108,081 applications … despite its multiple representations to the contrary … Yet they stood silent. Even worse, they urged this Court to rule before disclosing that the Government had already issued 108,081 three-year renewals … despite their statement to the contrary.

Hanen goes after the Justice Department lawyers even harder, especially their claims that they acted “promptly” to clear up any “confusion” they may have caused: “But the facts clearly show these statements to be disingenuous. The Government did anything but act ‘promptly’ to clarify the Government-created ‘confusion.’”

Judge: Justice Department Lawyers Didn’t Follow Professional Ethics

Hanen cites Section 3.3 of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the corresponding section of the Texas Rules, which require complete candor by a lawyer in his or her dealings with a court:

Fabrications, misstatements, half-truths, artful omissions, and the failure to correct misstatements may be acceptable, albeit lamentable, in other aspects of life; but in the courtroom, when an attorney knows that both the Court and the other side are relying on complete frankness, such conduct is unacceptable.

Because of the government’s misconduct, Judge Hanen considered striking their pleadings, and indicated that “under different circumstances,” he might “very well do so.” But he didn’t because, he said, that would effectively end the case.

The border wall runs several miles through a rural area east of Brownsville. (Photo: Bob Daemmrich/Newscom)

Because the issues at stake “have national significance and deserve to be fully considered on the merits,” Hanen concluded that “the ends of justice would not be served by striking pleadings in this case.” He warned the Justice Department, though, that his decision “does not bar such a sanction in the future should the facts and law warrant that action” and that his decision does not leave him “impotent to fashion an appropriate remedy” for the government’s misconduct.

In addition to granting the states’ request for early discovery, Hanen ordered the Justice Department to produce “any and all drafts of the March 3, 2015 Advisory” including all “metadata and all other tangible items that indicate when each draft of the document was written and/or edited or revised” as well as the names of any person who knew about the Advisory or the Department of Homeland Security activity, or reviewed it, and the date that occurred. He ordered that no documents, emails, computer records, hard drives or servers that have any information about this Advisory be “destroyed or erased.” And he gave the Justice Department only until April 21 to supply all of this information.

That is a tall order, but Judge Hanen is clearly determined to find out who knew about this deception, and may well consider personally sanctioning those lawyers or other officials who were involved once he gets that information.

This is another big loss for the government and gives the states the ability to question the credibility of the government in the appeal now pending. The Justice Department will go into the upcoming hearing before the Fifth Circuit with what the legal profession calls “unclean hands,” which is when lawyers engage in professional and ethical misconduct. That certainly will not help the government win its case.

For the rest of this excellent article and others, see: http://dailysignal.com/2015/04/08/texas-judge-delivers-blistering-rebuke-of-obama-administration-immigration-lawyers-misbehavior/

Reminder – April Meeting will be Thursday April 9th

April 7th, 2015

A quick reminder that our meetings are now on the second Thursday of the month and our April meeting will be this week on Thursday evening, April 9th.  Our SFSC College Republicans will be speaking.  Please plan to attend and invite family and friends.   Guests are always welcome and encouraged to attend.  We also have openings for new members in most precincts.  Please come to the meeting and ask any of our officers or members for additional information. Or give any of our officers a call or send an email.  See the contact information on the “About Us” page on our website.

AGENDA

Highlands County Republican Executive Committee

April 9, 2015

Sebring Elks Club, Sebring, Fl

5:00-6:30 P.M. Registration (optional Dinner)       Members and Guests

6:30 P.M. Call to Order                                            Kathy Rapp, Chairman

Invocation………………………………………………………………

Pledge of Allegiance………………………………………………

 

Guest Speaker –                                                          SFSC College Republicans

ROLL CALL                                                                  Ida Jackson, Secretary

Approval of Absences                                                 Ida Jackson, Secretary

Approval of Minutes of March 12, 2015

 

REPORTS:

Treasurer’s Report                                                     Treasurer Penny Kocarek

Vice Chairman’s                                                          Virgil Beato

Chairman’s Report                                                      Kathy Rapp

State Committeewoman                                             Joan Hartt

State Committeeman                                                  Earl Claire

Webmaster Report                                                      Earl Claire

Highlands Republican Womwn’s Network            HRWN

 

Old Business:

Lincoln Day Dinner (May 16, 2015)                        Rob Horne

LDD committee needs volunteers

for several tasks.  Please volunteer!

New Business:

Precinct Vacancies                                                      Chairman

 

Closing Remarks, Announcements and non-Agenda items

Adjourn                                                                          Chairman

Next Regular Meeting  (May 14, 2015)

Republican Executive Committee

Officers

Chairman
    Kathy Rapp
Vice Chairman
    Virgil Beato
Secretary
    Ida Jackson
Treasurer
    Penny Kocarek

State Committeeman
    Earl Claire

State Committeewoman
    Joan Hartt