From the Washington Post:
LAS VEGAS — A veteran U.S. marshal wounded after a disgruntled Social Security recipient opened fire in a federal courthouse in Las Vegas has received the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Richard Joseph Gardner accepted the award Thursday at the Lloyd D. George Courthouse.
U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and Congressman Joe Heck presented Gardner with the honor.
Gardner was on duty at the courthouse in January 2010 when 66-year-old Johnny Lee Wicks opened fire in the lobby.
Gardner and other marshals and court security officers pursued Wicks across Las Vegas Boulevard.
Wicks was shot and killed in the street.
As American attention on terror is almost completely focused on overseas, a terrorist organization based in in the Middle East has established a second home base across the border in Mexico. Hizbollah, responsible for many attacks – including the deaths of 241 U.S. servicemen in the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, has set up an elaborate network throughout Mexico. The Islamic terror group is deeply embedded with Mexican cartels, able to easily penetrate U.S. border and funding its operations with untold millions in narco-dollars. Will the U.S. ever wake up and secure the border before Hizbollah strikes inside our nation? http://StandWithArizona.com
Plymouth, NH – Speaking at the Plymouth Senior Center, Newt Gingrich denounced President Obama’s recess appointments of three members of the National Labor Relations Board and a director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
“The answer to an imperial president is a Congress which stands on its own rights. And the correct response to what the president just did would be for the Congress to zero out and refuse to fund the National Labor Relations Board.
“The National Labor Relations Board now has a majority of members who were never confirmed by the U.S. Senate. This is a clear violation of the spirit of the law, and Congress has an obligation to defend our rights, and the correct way is the power of the purse.”
Yesterday Speaker Boehner issued the following:
Posted by Brendan Buck on January 04, 2012
President Obama today made an unprecedented “recess” appointment even though the Senate is not in recess – “a sharp departure from a long-standing precedent that has limited the President to recess appointments only when the Senate is in a recess of 10 days or longer,” according to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
It turns out that the action not only contradicts long-standing practice, but also the view of the administration itself. In 2010, Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal explained to the Supreme Court the Obama administration’s view that recess appointments are only permissible when Congress is in recess for more than three days. Here’s the exchange with Chief Justice John Roberts:
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: And the recess appointment power doesn’t work why?
MR. KATYAL: The — the recess appointment power can work in — in a recess. I think our office has opined the recess has to be longer than 3 days. And — and so, it is potentially available to avert the future crisis that — that could — that could take place with respect to the board. If there are no other questions –
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Thank you, counsel.
Speaker Boehner called the appointment an “extraordinary and entirely unprecedented power grab,” and noted that the position “had not been filled for one reason: the agency it heads is bad for jobs and bad for the economy.” Read his full statement here, and read the statement from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) here.
That’s a good start Mr. Speaker but let’s start calling these appointments what they really are INVALID!!!
Obama’s recess Appointments are INVALID! Obama Stomps the Constitution then takes a victory lap… Appointments are INVALID!
Is Obama a dictator? Some of his recent statements certainly indicate that he intends to act like one, at least in the strictest sense of the term.
On radio this morning, Glenn played audio of the President giving a speech declaring his intentions to operate without Congress as much as possible. He said that those he disagreed with were blocking any movement, and he would work without the Legislative Branch wherever he could if they were not in step with his agenda.
“Does anybody think that the reason that we got in such a financial mess, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in a generation, that the reason was because of too much oversight of the financial industry?”
(Every sane person ever would yell: YES!!!!)
Obama continued, “Of course not. We shouldn’t be weakening oversight, we shouldn’t be weakening accountability. We should be strengthening it, especially when it comes to living up to families like yours.”
“ And I refuse to take no for an answer,” he said.
“ It’s not your choice whether you get to take no for an answer or not. That’s not your role,” Stu chided.
Medicare is in dire need of reform. This week’s chart illustrates why the entitlement program is the largest driver of long-term runaway deficits. With the country’s population aging and increasingly dependent on health care, Medicare’s cost to taxpayers is projected to rise from $522.8 billion in 2010 to $932 billion in 2020.
The Heritage Foundation has long championed reforms for Medicare, most recently as part of Saving the American Dream. Heritage’s Bob Moffit recently outlined a two-stage approach to reform. The first step is saving the current program, then moving to premium support for Medicare, which is a variant of the defined-contribution system.
The issue is also getting more attention on Capitol Hill. Just this month Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a bipartisan framework for structural Medicare reform. Their plan “would establish a premium-support system of financing for Medicare,” wrote Moffit and Rea Hederman on The Foundry. “This policy is central to the transformation of Medicare into a consumer-based system relying on competition rather than bureaucratic fiat.”
Ryan, of course, already tried to transform Medicare earlier this year as part of his budget proposal. It created such an uproar among Democrats that their assertions were dubbed the “Lie of the Year” by Politifact and one of the “biggest Pinocchios of 2011” by fact checker Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post.
There isn’t anything false or misleading about Heritage’s chart. The numbers come directly from the Congressional Budget Office. And unless something is done, Medicare will be the biggest driver of future deficits.
“Could you be a criminal?”
State Department partners with Organization of Islamic Cooperation in what could lead to criminalizing free speech
“That could never happen here.”
When we shine a light on the conviction of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff in Austria for “denigrating religion,” that’s how some people respond.
Or when we warn about sharia law creeping into America. Or 85 sharia courts in Britain. Or “no go zones” in France.
And of course, our State Department would NEVER agree to a UN resolution that has the practical effect of criminalizing free speech, right?
The column below that recently appeared in Forbes (highlights added) is longer than we normally put out, but it is SO IMPORTANT that you be aware of what’s coming our way. Please take a few minutes to read it—because your first amendment rights may soon be in jeopardy.
Of course, that could never happen here.
Abigail R. Esman, Contributor
While you were out scavenging the Wal-Mart super sales or trying on trinkets at T iffany and Cartier, your government has been quietly wrapping up a Christmas gift of its own: adoption of UN resolution 16/18. An initiative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (formerly Organization of Islamic Conferences), the confederacy of 56 Islamic states, Resolution 16/18 seeks to limit speech that is viewed as “discriminatory” or which involves the “defamation of religion” – specifically that which can be viewed as “incitement to imminent violence.”
Whatever that means.
Initially proposed in response to alleged discrimination against Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11 and in an effort to clamp down on anti-Muslim attacks in non-Muslim countries, Resolution 16/18 has been through a number of revisions over the years in order to make it palatable to American representatives concerned about U.S. Constitutional guarantees of free speech. Previous versions of the Resolution, which sought to criminalize blasphemous speech and the “defamation of religion,” were regularly rejected by the American delegation and by the US State Department, which insisted that limitations on speech – even speech deemed to be racist or blasphemous – were at odds with the Constitution. But this latest version, which includes the “incitement to imminent violence” phrase – that is, which criminalizes speech which incites violence against others on the basis of religion, race, or national origin – has succeeded in winning US approval –despite the fact that it (indirectly) places limitations as well on speech considered “blasphemous.”
What’s worse, the measure codifies into the UN agenda support for the very notion democracies now wrestle with, and which threatens to destroy the very fabric of our culture: tolerance of the intolerant, or rather, the question of whether a tolerant society must also tolerate ways of life that are intolerant – that oppress women, say, or advocate violence against homosexuals, or force strangers to marry against their will. It is, in fact, this very concept that the OIC has long pressured Western governments to adopt in other ways, and that those supporting the adoption of Sharia law in the west have emphasized. Yet if we fall into that trap – as it appears we are – we will have lost the very heart of who we are.
The Good, The Bad…
Those who support the new measure rightly laud its recognition of the importance of free debate. and the inclusion of new clauses that call for “speaking out against intolerance, including advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” and “[foster ing] religious freedom and pluralism by promoting the ability of members of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to society.”
What opponents (rightly) find distressing are calls to adopt “measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief.”
(Additional clauses that call for countering religious profiling are also questionable, however civil rights organizations may feel about this, given the problems of Islamic terrorism in the real world. But that’s another matter.)
Oddly, Human Rights First, which previously loudly opposed the initiative for its limitation on “blasphemous speech,” is among those who now praise the newer version. In a statement, the organization opined:
Rather than imposing new restrictions on freedom of speech, which it does not, the new consensus resolution opens the door to an action-oriented approach to fighting religious intolerance. That is very consistent with the U.S. policies and practices – combat violence, discrimination and hatred without restricting freedom of speech. Resolution 16/18 urges states to train government officials to address religious tensions, to harmonize actions at local and national level, to raise awareness of negative stereotyping of persons, to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue, to foster religious freedom and to speak out against intolerance (among other recommendations). The only limitation on speech that is in the operative part of the resolution is incitement to “imminent violence”, which is in accordance with US law.
But others are less forgiving, noting, among other things, that the resolution does nothing to prevent the continued use of anti-Jewish materials in the schools of Saudi Arabia (where the Protocols of Zion are treated as fact, thereby absolving Saudis of charges of “racism”) or the ongoing persecution of Jews and Christians in numerous Muslim countries. And yet, ironically,it was exactly those same countries who initiated the motion, as put forth in its initial drafts by the General Assembly, with expressions of concern for “cases motivated by Islamophobia, Judeophobia, and Christanophobia.”
Indeed, as M. Zuhdi Jasser, an observant American Muslim and the founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, remarked in an e-mail, “Anyone who believes that Resolution 16’18 is some kind of a breakthrough is sadly being duped by the most obvious Islamist double discourse. The shift from ‘defamation’ to ‘incitement’ does nothing at all to change the basic paradigm where Islamist nations remain in the offen se, continuing to put Western, free nations on the defense.” Rather, said Jasser, “We should be putting Islamist autocracies on the defense and then simply reiterate that our First Amendment principles already protect the rights of all minorities — whether Muslim or otherwise — and that the best standard of free speech is the American one. Beginning to categorize speech as ‘incitement’ is a slippery slope that could open the floodgates for any post-tragedy analysis to indict what would otherwise be free speech absurdly as incitement in some far-fetched cause-effect analysis that would depend on proving that speech causes violence.”
It is, indeed, galling to think that we would enter into negotiations of any kind, with anyone, about the freedom of expression that is so central to our very way of life and the core of the founding of America. Ever.
The background to all of this, unsurprisingly, is an effort on the part of Muslim countries to limit what they consider to be defamatory and blasphemous speech: criticism of Islam, say, or insulting the prophet Mohammed – which, as we’ve learned, can mean anything from drawing a cartoon or making a joke in a comedy sketch to burning a Koran. Such acts – according to some readings of the Koran and, indeed, according to law in some IOC countries – are punishable by death. Hence the riots that met the publication of the so-called “Danish cartoons,” the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the murder of Theo van Gogh, and on and on.
… And The Deceptive
And here’s where Resolution 16/18 gets tricky.
Because who, exactly, arbitrates what is “incitement to imminent violence”? Violence by whom? If drawing a caricature of the Prophet incites violence by Islamic radicals to the tune of riots, arson, and murder, all sanctioned by the IOC itself – then drawing such a caricature (or writing a book like the Satanic Verses) will now constitute a criminal act. And that is exactly what the OIC was aiming for. It is also in direct violation of the principles of Western democracy – and the First Amendment. (Though it is crucial to note that any resolution passed by the General Assembly remains nonbinding, which makes you sort of wonder what the point of all this is, anyway.)
Moreover, since many would claim that the persecution of blasphemers is mandated by their religion, conflicts emerge between guarantees of free expression and the guarantee of freedom of religion and the practice of one’s faith. In othr words: your free speech allows you to insult my prophet: my freedom of religion compels me to kill you for it.
What was that about “incitement to violence”?
This is how the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation plays “Gotcha.
This is how the American government, however unwittingly, subsumes its own Constitution in deference ot the demands of the Islamic state.
It’s a dangerous game.
True, the Human Rights First position on the issue is significantly more optimistic:
“The U.S. will always enforce its own standards on freedom of expression; these are enshrined in this country’s Constitution. But its legal exceptionalism on freedom of spee ch does not necessarily mean that the U.S. administration needs to be diplomatically isolated when it comes to promoting globally the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, which many in the U.S. perceive to be core and founding American values. On the contrary, since the U.S. joined the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Obama administration has openly expressed its ambition to exert leadership within the U.N. body.
The U.S. demonstrated that leadership by securing the passage of Resolution 16/18 at the Human Rights Council and by moving immediately to show through the Istanbul Process Conference that states have tools at their disposal to combat violence, discrimination and hatred without restricting free speech.”
But note that word: “combat.” That same word appears in Resolution 16/18, which states “Understanding the need to combat denigration and negative religious stereotyping of persons, as well as incitement to religious hatred, by strategizing and harmonizing actions at the local, national, regional and international levels through, inter alia, education and awareness building.” (Emphasis mine.)
“Combat” implies warfare. Is that the language we want here? Is that one of the options under the vague and wide-open term “inter alia”? And are the “tools at their disposal” – education, interfaith dialogue, and debate — really going to “combat” hatred, especially when that hatred is disguised as proper adherence to one’s faith? When racist myths are taught as historical fact to children across a large swath of the globe?
As for that “faith” thing: it strikes me that those of no faith – atheists – are not addressed anywhere in t his resolution. Are they also to be protected from hate crimes? Is atheism among the ideas to be debated and taught in these awareness-raising sessions? If so, why is that not so stated? If not, why not?
Then there is the ongoing whimpering about the “targeting” of Muslims in non-Muslim countries. Actually, that “targeting” is largely mythical, or at the very least, heavily exaggerated. Throughout the world, from France to the Netherlands to Germany to the United States of America, the majority – by a large margin – of those hate crimes and incidents of discrimination perpetrated on the basis of religion target Jews. (another resource available here) And in virtually every case, the “extremism” in question has been Islamic extremism. (Though recent reports of the despicable behavior or ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel puts a new perspective on the matter.)
The Bigger Picture
But here’s the biggest problem: when the exercise of free speech leads to violence far beyond our control. It’s called “terrorism.” And neither the U.N. General Assembly nor the United States of America has the power to stop it. More importantly: by agreeing to curb speech that could lead to “imminent violence,” we in essence accept the blame for any terrorist acts against America (and the West). We agreed not to provoke, after all.
This, of course, is an unacceptable paradigm, and one we cannot allow to stand.
Integral to the greatness of America is the simple fact that no other country in the world places so sacred a value on free speech – indeed, on free expression – as does the United States. Holocaust denial, for instance, is verboten in Germany. Mein Kampf is banned in the Netherlands. France last week criminalized the denial of the Armenian genocide in Turkey (an act that resulted in widespread condemnation by the OIC, whose Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, had the audacity, days after the ratification of 16/18, to bluster that those who defend cartoons that mock Mohammed as “freedom of thought and expression” have no business limiting the speech of those who deny the Armenian genocide. “This is an indisputable and unacceptable paradox,” he declared). And so on.
Yet in all of this, America has stood strong in its defense of free speech – even blasphemous, hateful, racist, sexist, Pentecostal, homophobic, and ignorant speech. We must continue to do so, no matter what pressures we may face. Because in the end, limiting our rights to self-expression and – above all – the questioning of religious beliefs – will never help to make the world more peaceful – or more free.
Small business owners are being bogged down by burdensome regulations from Washington that prevent job creation and hinder economic growth. We must remove onerous regulations that are redundant, harm small businesses, and impede private sector investment and job creation.
Review of Federal Regulations
H.Res. 72 – Passed by the House (391-28) on February 11, 2011
Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act
H.R. 872 – Senate has taken no action to date
Energy Tax Prevention Act
H.R. 910 – Senate has taken no action to date
Disapproval of FCC’s Net Neutrality Regulations
H.J.Res. 37 – Senate has blocked a companion measure by a vote of 46-52
Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act
H.R. 2018 – Senate has taken no action to date
Consumer Financial Protection & Soundness Improvement Act
H.R. 1315 – Senate has taken no action to date
Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act
H.R. 2587 – Senate has taken no action to date
Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on The Nation
H.R. 2401 – Senate has taken no action to date
Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act
H.R. 2681 – Senate has taken no action to date
EPA Regulatory Relief Act
H.R. 2250 – Senate has taken no action to date
Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act
H.R. 2273 – Senate has taken no action to date
Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act
H.R. 3094 – Senate has taken no action to date
Regulatory Accountability Act
H.R. 3010 – Senate has taken no action to date
Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act
H.R. 527 – Senate has taken no action to date
H.R. 10 – Senate has taken no action to date
Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act
H.R. 1633 – Senate has taken no action to date
Fix The Tax Code To Help Job Creators
America’s tax code has grown too complicated and cumbersome. We need a tax code that is flatter, fairer, and simpler to ensure that everyone pays their fair share, lessen the burden on families, generate economic expansion, and create jobs by making America more competitive.
Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act
H.R. 4 – Signed into law by the President on April 14, 2011
3% Withholding Rule Repeal
H.R. 674 – Signed into law by the President on November 21, 2011
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act
H.R. 3630 – Senate has taken no action to date
Increase Competitiveness for U.S. Manufacturers
The more that American businesses export, the more they produce. The more businesses produce, the more workers they need. This means job creation. Expanding market access for U.S. made products will be a shot in the arm for businesses small and large and will create jobs.
U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act
H.R. 3078 – Signed by the Preisdent on October 21, 2011
U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act
H.R. 3079 – Signed by the Preisdent on October 21, 2011
U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
H.R. 3080 – Signed by the Preisdent on October 21, 2011
Southeast Arizona Resource Utilization & Conservation Act
H.R. 1904 – Senate has taken no action to date
Encourage Entrepreneurship and Growth
America has historically been on the cutting edge of innovation and technological development, but we are increasingly falling behind our global competitors. We must make it easier for existing businesses to grow and allow more start-up companies to flourish.
The America Invents Act
H.R. 1249 – Signed into law by the President on September 16, 2011
Veterans Opportunity to Work Act
H.R. 2433 – Signed into law by the President on November 21, 2011
Small Company Capital Formation Act
H.R. 1070 – Senate has taken no action to date
Small Banks’ Access to Capital Act
H.R. 1965 – Senate has taken no action to date
Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act
H.R. 2930 – Senate has taken no action to date
Access to Capital for Job Creators Act
H.R. 2940 – Senate has taken no action to date
Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act
H.R. 3012 – Senate has taken no action to date
Maximize Domestic Energy Production
The energy sector is crucial to our economic growth, and high energy costs have a major impact on job creation. We need policies that allow us to harness our abundant supply of natural resources in America, develop new sources of energy, and create jobs here at home.
Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act
H.R. 1230 – Senate has taken no action to date
Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act
H.R. 1229 – Senate has taken no action to date
Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act
H.R. 1231 – Senate has taken no action to date
Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011
H.R. 2021 – Senate has taken no action to date
North American-Made Energy Security Act
H.R. 1938 – Senate has taken no action to date
Pay Down America’s Unsustainable Debt Burden
The federal government is spending and borrowing so much that the United States will soon go broke. Washington’s spending binge has put our nation in debt, eroded economic confidence, and caused massive uncertainty for private sector job creators. It’s time to live within our means.
Budget for Fiscal Year 2012
H.Con.Res. 34 – Senate has not yet considered a budget of its own
H/T to Saul Anizis for reminding me about this…
Cyber star Guido Fawkes runs one of the liveliest blogs covering the British political scene. Recently Her Majesty’s Government implemented an austerity program that tries to deal with the staggering explosion in public expenditures that occurred under the late, and unlamented, Labour government.
But that doesn’t mean the governing classes, regardless of party, are going to suffer. It turns out that MP’s enjoy a staggeringly generous lunch subsidy, costing the British taxpayer roughly USD 13,000 per year:
Hungry? Fancy a rib-eye steak and hand-cut chips with béarnaise sauce served in the agreeable setting of a restaurant in an historic building on the riverside. Waited on by liveried waiters bringing silver service to white linen tables? It will cost our MPs a mere £7.80 and you’ll chip in £5.93 in subsidy for that lunch. We are all in it together.
Check out the full story at Order-Order.com
Photo courtesy of David Iliff, License CC-BY-SA 3.0
Citizens Outreach First Friday Events are legendary in Vegas… I’ve been to more than a few, in fact that’s where I met now Congressman Joe Heck for the fist time, and they are a great way to mingle with local Republicans and conservatives and get to know candidates and other VIP’s.
So if you’re planning on being in the Las Vegas area tomorrow please go and show Dean Heller and Joe Heck your support and maybe get your picture taken with mayor Goodman!
The next iteration of Microsoft’s Xbox may be a real game-changer for consumers’ living rooms.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the software giant a patent on December 27 for an “integrated gaming and media experience,” in which content could be recorded on a gaming console.
Here’s the essence of patent No. 8,083,593 according to the USPTO abstract:
A digital video recorder (DVR) application running alongside a television client component allows users to record media content on the gaming console. The DVR application also integrates itself with the console menu. Once integrated, users can record media content while playing games. Alternatively, users can record content when the gaming console is turned off. The recorded content can include television programming, gaming experience (whether local or online), music, DVDs, and so on. When in the recording state, users can also switch between various other media modes, whether gaming, television, and so on. More