Join us on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. to make our voices heard on this bad Iran deal. We are working to create broad coalition of organizations and speakers to come together against the Iran nuclear deal.
Jenny Beth Martin
We have created a toolkit to help you prepare.
The 42nd annual March for Life kicked off Thursday with an hour-long rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC, as hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists gathered beneath sunny skies and surprisingly warm temperatures to hear speeches from pro-life politicians and prominent movement leaders.
The rally opened with a benediction from Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, KY, who was flanked by both Catholic and Orthodox clerics as he led the crowd in prayer and asked God’s blessing on the March.
After the benediction, March for Life Chairman Patrick Kelly took the podium to welcome the marchers, taking special notice of their overwhelming youth. “When I look out on this enormous crowd, I see a tide turning in America,” Kelly said. “The March for Life is getting bigger and younger every year.”
“History is on our side,” said Kelly, “because history is always on the side of those who fight for human dignity and human life.” He said that after four decades, the March for Life “has become the largest human rights march in the world.”
March for Life President Jeanne Monahan Mancini elicited happy cheers from the crowd as she took the stage and asked, “What do y’all think about this weather?” Thursday’s mild conditions stood in marked contrast to the weather during last year’s march, which took place in near-zero temperatures with biting winds, putting marchers at risk of frostbite and causing electronics to fail due to the extreme cold.
“I’m so grateful” for all the pilgrims who traveled from around the country and around the world to join the march, Mancini said. She explained that this year’s theme, “Every Life is a Gift,” refers especially to babies with prenatal diagnoses of potentially disabling conditions like Down Syndrome who are aborted at a much higher rate than the general population.
“1.1 million babies per year, or one-fifth of babies in America are aborted every year. For babies with poor prenatal diagnosis, the abortion rate jumps to 85 percent,” Mancini said. “That’s just wrong, isn’t it?”
“The truth of the matter is that every life is a gift, regardless of if we have a disability or not… and let’s be honest – we all have disabilities,” she said. “Some of them are more obvious than others, but none of us are perfect.”
Echoing a theme that has been present at many events related to the march, Mancini highlighted the importance of social media, and urged the crowd to take out their cellphones and subscribe to the March for Life text service on the spot by texting GIVELIFE to 99000. “Social media is a huge part of getting the pro-life message out,” Mancini said. She asked the marchers to take photos throughout today’s events and “let the world know” about the March for Life and all the issues involved by posting them to social media with the hashtag #whywemarch.
“Speaking of social media,” Mancini added, “Apparently [Pope Francis] likes the March for Life!” She shared a tweet the Roman Catholic pontiff posted earlier in the day which read: “Every life is a gift. #MarchForLife,” and urged the crowd to reply to him with their thanks.
Mancini then introduced a number of politicians who took a quick break from debating a bill to bar taxpayer funds for abortion to show their appreciation for the pro-life marchers. Rep. Kathy McMorris-Rogers, R-WA, started things off. McMorris-Rogers heads the House Down Syndrome caucus and is herself the proud mother of a seven-year-old son named Cole who has Down Syndrome. “That extra chromosome has brought my family a whole bunch of joy,” McMorris-Rogers said. “Cole has reminded me anew of the value of every human life.”
“I’m proud to be a pro-life leader and a pro-life mom,” McMorris-Rogers said, to cheers. “Later on today in the House of Representatives, we will be passing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. We are holding the federal government accountable to protect your taxpayer dollars from funding abortion.” Any taxpayer subsidies for abortion providers, she added, are “a violation of the public trust.”
McMorris-Rogers promised that despite the GOP leadership’s eleventh-hour decision to refrain from voting on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban most abortions after 20 weeks, she and her pro-life colleagues are committed to its passage, along with the passage of a healthcare conscience rights act. “The Unborn Child Protection Act is so important because it shifts the debate” over abortion, and makes sure that people know the pain that unborn children feel is “very real and very wrong,” said McMorris-Rogers.
Senator Tim Scott, R-SC, told McMorris-Rogers, “The Senate will stand shoulder to shoulder with the House as you move forward legislation that protects life.” Taking on the tone and volume of a Southern preacher, Scott told the crowd that it was his conversion to Christianity that first made him realize the value of all human life. He then shared the story of how, while he was a small business owner, one of his employees became unexpectedly pregnant. “I did what I thought would be the right thing and took her to a Crisis Pregnancy Center,” Scott said. He said the love and guidance she was shown there inspired her to forego the abortion she’d planned on and have her daughter.
Chris Smith, R-NJ, co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, told the crowd: “We have a compelling duty to protect the weakest and the most vulnerable from the violence of abortion.” He admonished those who recommend abortion for babies with defects or disabilities.
“A prenatal diagnosis of disability should mean empathy, concern for the child and love,” Smith said, “not a death sentence.”
He praised the crowd of mostly millennials for their enthusiasm and called them “the next Greatest Generation.” He told them that the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would be voted on “within an hour or so.”
“That legislation is historic,” Smith said. “It will end our forced complicity, our funding of abortion.” He said President Barack Obama lied when he said his federal healthcare plan wouldn’t require taxpayer support for abortions. “We will not quit until we take abortion out of ObamaCare and make the Hyde Amendment permanent,” Smith pledged. He also vowed to do everything possible to ensure the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is brought up in the House for a vote, lamenting that babies who die during late-term abortions endure “agony beyond our wildest belief.”
Dan Lipinski, D-IL, was distinctive as the only Democratic elected official to take the stage. “I’m from Chicago, I’m a Bears fan, I’m a Democrat, and I’m pro-life,” Lipinski said, to wild applause. Lipinski said that the defense of human life is an issue that people of all political and religious persuasions should be able to agree on. “Everyone needs to come together to protect life,” Lipinski said. “Women deserve better than abortion.”
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, reminded the crowd that the unborn are not the only ones whose lives hang in the balance with the rise of the Culture of Death. “This year we face a lot of new threats,” Anderson said, citing in particular doctor-assisted suicide, which several states have taken moves toward legalizing. “We will stand up for those at the end of life just as we have for those at the beginning of life,” Anderson promised. As for abortion, Anderson said the momentum is on the side of protecting life. “According to the latest Knights of Columbus/Marist poll, 84 percent of Americans want significant restrictions on abortion,” Anderson said, “two-thirds of Americans say the nation’s abortion rate is too high, and a majority of Americans believe abortion is immoral.”
“No amount of propaganda can cover up or change the pain that women who have undergone abortions feel every day,” Anderson added. He concluded by announcing the Knights’ plan to provide ultrasound machines to Crisis Pregnancy Centers. “Almost every woman who sees her child in an ultrasounds chooses life,” he said.
Mancini then introduced Kathleen Wilson, who operates Mary’s Shelter, a chain of maternity homes in Fredericksburg, Virginia, who was received with deafening cheers by the audience. “I’m proud to represent the nearly 400 maternity homes in this nation,” Wilson said. “We exist to help women in desperate need. Women who have low self esteem, who have lost hope.”
Wilson said that many women who seek help from maternity homes have boyfriends or family members who are trying to force them to abort. She shared the story of one woman, Angela, who became pregnant via a horrific rape. Her friends and family urged her to get rid of the baby via abortion, but she had the baby with the help of Mary’s Shelter, and her child has brought her “absolute joy.” Wilson said Angela often asks, “If not for Mary’s Shelter, what would I have done?” She said that many women who come to the shelter cry after the birth, not because they are sad about the baby, but because they are thinking about what might have been, and realizing that the people in their lives didn’t want their precious children to be born.
Dr. Gracie Christie, a radiologist who specializes in ultrasound, said her favorite part of the job is working with expectant parents. “I get to be there for that awesome moment when a mother and father see their baby for the first time,” Christie said. “Ultrasound opens a window into the womb to see that moment when we are very tiny, but very much human and very much alive.”
But Christie said that ultrasound also has a dark side: We can now see telltale signs of defects that lead parents to abort. “This is the world we are living in: Children are choices, commodities, and those that are deemed defective are eradicated before birth,” Christie said. She said that when she sees signs of Down Syndrome on the ultrasound screen, she feels sick, because she knows that ninety percent of them will be killed by abortion. Of disabled children, Christie said: “They have a heart made for joy, a soul to cherish, and a right to simply exist.”
After Christie’s somber speech, the mood turned more lighthearted as the focus shifted to the march’s younger attendees. The crowd cheered as March for Life organizers announced the winners of the annual student contest, themed “Every Selfie has a Story.” They then introduced this year’s march leaders, the entire student body and faculty of Shanley High School in Fargo, ND. The entire school – 400 people in total, filled eight buses and drove 24 hours straight to carry the banner at the front of the march. Senior Julia Johnson said, “As a school, we are humbled and honored to have been selected to hold the banner for this year’s March for Life.”
“Our cause in defending life is a noble one,” Johnson told the crowd in a brief speech, showing poise and passion that belied her age. “We are living in a modern-day holocaust… that takes the lives of 3,000 babies each day, more than one million babies each year.”
Said Johnson, “It is our job to protect our brothers and sisters in the womb and their right to life. It is our obligation to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for value is not determined by size or age.”
“We are willing to fight for [life in the womb],” Johnson said. “We march to stop an injustice that has taken the lives of a third of our generation. This pro-life movement was not born out of hatred for our neighbors, but of love.”
Nancy Cruzer, Chicago regional director of Silent No More, shared an emotional story of being 5.5 months pregnant and informed that her baby had hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain.” Her doctor advised an abortion, and she complied.
“At the abortion clinic, no one asked how I was or explained what was happening,” Cruzer said. “I left the clinic with no body to bury, no grave, no funeral… No one brought meals, sent cards, no one called, because I was too ashamed to tell anyone what I had done.”
For years, Cruzer thought she had put the abortion behind her, but she was plagued by horrible nightmares. Finally, she became a Christian and joined a Bible Study for post-abortive women. She found peace, and the nightmares stopped. She named her baby Melanie. “I deeply regret my abortion and that is why I am silent no more,” Cruzer said.
In keeping with the theme of “Every Life is a Gift,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, then took the stage to recount the story of her son Gunner’s diagnosis with cystic fibrosis.
“In the last 6 years, my life has changed dramatically by Gunner’s entry into the world,” Hawkins said. She and her husband now make significant financial sacrifices to provide his costly medications, and they had to leave family and friends behind to move closer to his special doctors, but Hawkins said, “It’s worth it.” Now, she is pregnant with her fourth child and first daughter, Gracie. While she prays that Gracie will be healthy, she says she knows that if she has cystic fibrosis, she will have a big brother to help her through it and a family who loves her unconditionally.
Hawkins said she knows from experience how hard it is to raise a disabled child, and how intense the pressure can be to have a perfect baby. “But abortion and IVF don’t make these babies more perfect,” said Hawkins, “they destroy them.”
Hawkins concluded her speech with a question: Do you believe we will end abortion in this generation? Thousands of young marchers screamed, “Yes!”
“It is time to act like it,” Hawkins said, and led the crowd in a chant: “We are the pro-life generation!”
Sheriffs around the country are planning to march on the nation’s capital, hoping to send a message to President Obama and Congress that they oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants.
The Dec. 10 rally in Washington, D.C., is being organized by two sheriffs from Massachusetts – Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson and Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald.
They have challenged America’s other sheriffs, asking for at least 200 of them to join in paying a visit to the Capitol to make a stand against amnesty and plead for Congress and the president to secure the border. More than 20 have already signed up to participate, Hodgson told WND.
The march will culminate in a meeting with Republican leaders at the Capitol building regarding possible legislation to secure the border “once and for all.”
Hodgson has sent a letter to sheriffs nationwide asking them to join him in the rally.
He told WND he’s already heard from 20 to 25 sheriffs who have committed to join him on the trip to Washington. The letter states in part:
“As you know, the policies of recent years that encourage immigrants to illegally enter our country have created serious threats to our domestic and national security. The citizens of our nation are counting on the American Sheriffs to fulfill our oath to preserve law and order and live up to our responsibilities as guardians of the United States Constitution.
“Given the fact that 25 people are killed each day by illegal immigrants, and our schools are becoming overcrowded and more costly, our public health is threatened by new diseases and ailments introduced by people living in our communities illegally, and the fact that benefits are being given and violations of the law forgiven for a select group of non-citizens, makes clear our obligation to act now before we erode the confidence and the faith citizens have in Sheriffs across the country and throughout our history.”
Hodgson told WND that sheriffs across this country “are tired of being marginalized, either by the inaction of Congress or the overreaction by the president of the United States, who have put us in this situation.”
Hodgson said he started thinking about planning the march while at the National Sheriffs Association Conference in Dallas-Fort Worth earlier this year.
“One of the things I raised was that the people of the United States have always looked to the American sheriff as someone who looks out for public safety and they are not looked at in a partisan way, so it seemed to me we need to stand up to support the border sheriffs,” Hodgson said. “We all have become border sheriffs.”
He said President Obama’s 2012 executive order allowing illegals to stay in the country for two years and entitling them to a hearing, “caused all sorts of problems” for law enforcement.
“The word got out and the cartels realized immediately that was a great way to make money, and it has netted them millions and millions of dollars smuggling people to the border,” Hodgson said. “That was done with the stroke of a pen in June 2012, which was an election year.”
Obama chooses to act on ‘Revolution Day’
Now Obama is about to go even further, planning to announce a sweeping amnesty plan for millions of illegal immigrants Thursday evening.
Just after 12 p.m. Wednesday, the White House posted a Facebook announcement that reads as follows:
“It’s time to fix our broken immigration system. Tomorrow night (November 20th), President Obama will address the nation on new commonsense steps he’s taking to fix as much of it as he can. Tune in tomorrow at 8pm ET. “
Thursday’s date, Nov. 20, is significant, says William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration.
“November 20 is Mexican ‘Revolution Day’ or Mexican ‘Civil War Day’ which is the equivalent of America’s 4th of July,” Gheen said. “Obama’s choice of this date for his departure from his Oath of Office and the U.S. Constitution creates a permanent symbolic relationship between his actions and Mexico’s violent revolutionary and civil wars from 1910-1920.
“Obama is making a powerful and dangerous symbolic declaration to large Spanish media audiences today comparing his new immigration orders to the violent Mexican revolution and civil war,” Gheen continued. “Obama is timing his move to thwart the American public’s voice in Congress to coincide with Mexican Revolution Day and the Ferguson (grand jury decision) while CBS, ABC, and NBC will keep most U.S. citizens oblivious tonight.”
No proof for cited cause of ‘surge’
The problems with illegals were already intense before Obama’s 2012 executive order, but they exploded in the wake of that declaration, Hodgson said.
“The president said the surge at the border was from them trying to escape poverty and violent drug gangs. They have their issues, no question, but no one has ever been able to document that this was the cause,” he said.
He cited a report by the El Paso Intelligence Center, which he called “a bipartisan study done on this very issue,” that found no connection between increased crime and poverty and the surge at the border.
“We know homicides are down in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, but the point is the president did this. They are trying to place children all over the country. They have to hire translators, etc., and the costs are overwhelming,” Hodgson said. “We have one situation in Lowell, Massachusetts, where the mayor is saying, ‘Our schools are bursting at the seams. We just can’t afford this anymore.’
“Just the other day, we apprehended a (illegal) man 35 years old for a crime in one of our high schools. He had gray hair. This is the kind of nonsense that’s going on.”
Hodgson said he visited McAllen, Texas, this summer and saw firsthand the chaos that was being caused by a border that had been turned into a massive welcome mat. He also saw how it’s affecting the interior of the country.
“They were moving them out of the facility there so they could create bed space. Five plane loads were sent to Massachusetts,” he said. “One guy had all kinds of medical issues, and his treatment is going to be in the millions of dollars. Now that he’s being released from our hospital, they shipped him back to Texas and let him go. So these are the kinds of problems the American people aren’t being told of, but we see them every day.”
The Obama administration has essentially created a whole new class of people with special rights and privileges that are not available to law-abiding citizens, Hodgson said.
“They are exempt from certain laws. Now the president of the United States says, ‘I know you came here illegally, and I know you may have committed misdemeanor crimes after you came here, but I’m going to give you a work visa and allow you to stay here indefinitely,” Hodgson said. “When you have a president say he doesn’t care who comes into our country … that’s the beginnings of the breakdown of democracy.”
The concern is what kind of message amnesty sends to “the five million people waiting in line to get in legally,” Hodgson said.
“Congress is not acting. They are not doing what they should be doing, which is to secure our borders. That’s why I’m asking sheriffs to go to Washington,” he said. “Our cities are being overrun. So we’re saying to Congress, ‘Live up to your oaths.’”
If anyone can stand up for the rights of law-abiding citizens, the sheriffs can, he said.
“It’s our responsibility to enforce the laws, and we’re also responsible for protecting the constitutional rights of the people who elect us,” he said. “So this is a problem that affects all of us.”
Not all sheriffs on board
The National Sheriffs Association has the largest membership of any law enforcement group in America.
“They have come out and said they fully endorse every sheriff to stand up and speak out on this issue,” Hodgson said. “And we support the security of the border. Start with stemming the borders. That’s step one. And then manage what we have here in a very thoughtful political approach.”
But not all the nation’s sheriffs are against granting amnesty.
Sheriff Scott Jones of Sacramento County, California, released a video plea to the president this week calling for him to unilaterally declare “immigration reform.”
See video below in which Jones claims the president is “singularly” responsible for the immigration issue.
Gheen, of Americans for Legal Immigration, said he sees Jones’ message as counterproductive.
“Most sheriffs have better sense than that because they’re elected by the people,” Gheen said. “But, hey, you have to consider, it’s California.”
Hodgson was not sure if Jones would be joining his march on Washington.
“There are sheriffs that may have different points of view, but I can tell you the majority of sheriffs in this country are against amnesty, and they are absolutely in favor of getting our borders secured,” Hodgson said.
He said getting 200 sheriffs to join him in Washington in the middle of the holiday season won’t be easy, but he’s encouraged by the early response.
“I threw that figure out there as a challenge to the sheriffs. I’ve gotten several calls from sheriffs who have committed to us from as far away as Washington state, California, North Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania,” he said.
Sheriff Sam Page from Rockingham County, N.C., and Sheriff Jenkins of Fredrick County, Maryland, and Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona, are among those who have already committed to the effort.
Hodgson said he’s been involved in the immigration issue since 1999, shortly after he won his first term as sheriff of Bristol County.
“I’ve worked on both Republican and Democratic sides to try to get this issue under control, and I’m very familiar with how it’s become used as a political football. I’m as frustrated as anybody,” he said.
Bring in the Israelis
Hodgson said he has been calling for officials in Washington to bring in Israeli border security officials as consultants to help map out a comprehensive border security plan.
“Frankly… because nobody is better at border security than the Israelis,” he said.
He describes it this way for the uninitiated: If you were looking out your kitchen window and saw a strange man walking through your backyard, would you turn away and take your chances on whether that stranger meant harm or was “just passing through”?
“We’ve got criminals, gang members, drug dealers and now al-Qaida working with the cartels, and we have reports that ISIS could be doing the same thing,” Hodgson said. “Since when do we turn our back on that? You wouldn’t turn your back if someone you didn’t know was walking through your backyard. We need to know who’s coming in and who’s here.”
Hodgson said he believes there’s more to it than just Washington lacking the will to do what’s right. He believes the Obama administration has sinister motives.
“They want to build a socialist system,” he said.
And how do you do that?
“You overburden the existing system until it collapses,” he said. “We can’t let it happen. Our Founding Fathers would disown us if we let it happen.”
Gheen, of ALIPAC, said he had a suggestion that he wishes the sheriffs would consider when they pay a visit to the nation’s capital next month.
“If the sheriffs are heading to Washington, how about suggesting the sheriffs take some of their best men to D.C. and they use their power and ability to arrest the president of the United States?” Gheen said. “I think if the sheriffs are going to Washington on Dec. 10 and the president continues to violate the Constitution of the United States, that they should consider arresting the president of the United States. What if the sheriffs decided to use their power to do this?”
President Obama’s un-Constitutional practice of lawlessly ignoring and rewriting laws to suit his left-wing political agenda has come back to bite his signature domestic achievement. Tuesday morning a federal appeals court dealt what USA Today describes as a “potentially major blow” to ObamaCare with a 2-1 ruling against the Obama administration’s end-run around Congress to disburse federal subsidies:
The appeals panel ruled that as written, the health care law allows tax credits to be offered to qualified participants only in state-run exchanges. The administration had expected most if not all states to create their own, but only 16 states did so.
The court said the Internal Revenue Service went too far in allowing participants in other states served by the federal exchange to qualify for billions of dollars in government assistance. The aid has helped boost enrollment figures to more than 8 million.
Once it became clear 36 states could not be bribed with federal dollars or bullied by the media into setting up their own ObamaCare exchanges, rather than go back to Congress to lobby for changing the law, President Obama blithely believed he could ignore and rewrite a law he signed after helping to usher it through a Congress dominated by Democrats.
If the ruling stands, those enticed into purchasing ObamaCare coverage with the help of untold billions in federal tax dollars will lose their subsidy in these 36 states. This is almost certain to force many ObamaCare recipients to drop coverage. The big question is how many of these people lost their affordable coverage after ObamaCare made the affordable insurance they were happy with illegal and cancelled those plans?
“We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance,” Judge Thomas Griffith said. “At least until states that wish to can set up exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for the millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly.”…
Michael Cannon, a Cato Institute health economist who helped devise the legal challenge, said the refusal by so many states to create health exchanges led to the court ruling. “This is popular resistance to the law,” he said.
For now, USA Today reports, everything is on hold. The Administration has already announced that the taxpayer-funded subsidies will continue to flow.
Although the ruling will have no impact while it is appealed – either to the full appeals court, which includes four Obama appointees, or to the Supreme Court – the result could be chaotic if ultimately allowed to apply nationwide.
While the political Left and mainstream media are almost certain to wring their hands over the roughly 5 million able-bodied Americans not receiving federal monies (the sick, elderly, disabled, and truly poor are covered by Medicare and Medicaid) paid for by other able-bodied Americans, the principle here is much larger and more important: The rule of law.
Moreover, as Michael F. Cannon of Forbes points out, the winners in this decision outnumber the losers 10 to 1. As many as 57 million Americans will now be out from under the punitive ObamaCare mandate, compared to the 5 million who will not see an increase of their health insurance premiums but will lose their illegal taxpayer-funded subsidies.
Cannon also reminds that the whole idea and original intent of awarding billions in federal subsidies only to those states that built their own ObamaCare exchanges, wasn’t accidental or a technicality. Throughout the law it is made clear that those subsidies are available only “through an Exchange established by the State.”
Congress’s intent behind shaping the law in this manner was to entice/threaten the states into building their own exchanges. After 36 states wisely refused, Obama rewrote the law and illegally awarded the subsidies anyway.
The Constitution is very clear that it is the job of the legislative branch (House and Senate) to write law. The Executive branch enforces the law.
Rather than enforce the law, Obama broke it by rewriting it.
The potential danger of the court’s allowing such a precedent is staggering.
The Obama administration will continue handing out Obamacare subsidies to federal exchange customers despite a federal court’s ruling Tuesday that the subsidies are illegal.
A D.C. Court of Appeals panel ruled Tuesday morning that customers in the 36 states that didn’t establish their own exchange and use HealthCare.gov instead cannot be given premium tax credits, according to the text of the Affordable Care Act itself.
But the White House said in response that it will continue handing out the billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that while the case continues to be battled out in the courts, the administration will continue to dole out billions in tax credits to federally-run exchange customers.
“It’s important for people all across the country to understand that this ruling does not have any practical impact on their ability to continue to receive tax credits right now,” Earnest said in a press briefing Tuesday.
A three-judge panel issued the ruling Tuesday, concluding 2-1 that the federal subsidies are illegal. The Department of Justice is seeking an en banc ruling from the appeals court, which would require all judges in the court to rule on the case. Eleven judges on the court would hear the case: seven Democrats and four Republicans.
That decision will likely also be appealed to the Supreme Court.
As the Obama Administration continues to pump thousands of illegal immigrants into the interior of our nation, concerned Americans have been arriving in Murrieta, California, to protest the wave of illegal immigrants and the Obama Administration’s commitment to lawlessness that facilitates this surge of illegals.
In a recent townhall as Murrieta citizens voiced concern over the flood of illegals being introduced into the country, Murrieta Mayor Alan Long earned a roaring applause when he declared that his administration was working to log each and every manhour spent dealing with the illegal immigration issues so that he could send Washington “a big, fat bill.”
“We did identify the need for a funding code so that we could track every single hour that is spent on this. Now, at the end of this, do I have a plan to send Washington, D.C., a big, fat bill? You bet!”
Long’s speech was interrupted by a roar of applause. Finally, Long admitted, “Now, do I have any faith that it would be paid? No.”
Murietta has become a focal point of the immigration issue as protesters have successfully blocked Homeland Security busses who were transporting illegals further into the interior of the country to a detention facility in order to ease the burden on detention facilities closer to the border.
Police have released surveillance video that shows persons of interest in a “flash mob” robbery that happened at a 7-Eleven store in northeast D.C.
Police say the robbery occurred on Monday, April 14 at around 9:35 p.m.
On the video, about 20 people are seen entering a convenience store on the 4400 block of Benning Road – one right after another.
The video shows several unidentified subjects dashing out the store with what appear to be goods in their hands.
According to the police report, in a matter of about three minutes, the suspects took candy, snacks and soda before running out of the door. Police say the total value of the stolen merchandise was about $350.
No one has been charged with a crime at this time.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (202) 727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s TEXT TIP LINE to 50411.
Federal authorities say 25 people have been charged in a wide-ranging scheme to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicaid payments from the District of Columbia government.
U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen calls it the largest health-care fraud case in the city’s history. It involved bogus claims for home care services, a category of Medicaid claim that has grown dramatically in the city over the past eight years. Machen says fraud is largely responsible for the increase in those claims. The uptick in billings for home care – from $40 million in 2006 to $280 million last year – was part of what tipped off authorities to illegal activity, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said.
“We concluded that much of the growth was due to aggressive networks of fraudsters paying kickbacks to beneficiaries to manufacture false claims for nonexistent services,” Machen said, later adding: “Medicaid fraud in the District of Columbia is at epidemic levels.”
Among those charged Thursday was Florence Bikundi, 51, of Bowie, Md., the owner of a home care agency in suburban Maryland who had lost her nursing license and was ineligible to receive Medicaid payments. Authorities say that by using different names, she was able to bill the city for $75 million in Medicaid payments.
Prosecutors say many of the defendants persuaded patients to fake illness or injury so they could bill Medicaid for home care they didn’t receive. Some of those patients received kickbacks, authorities said, although no patients have been charged.
Machen said it wasn’t clear whether any of those payments went to legitimate home care services, but Bikundi was able to amass significant personal wealth, authorities said. Among the property seized from her were millions of dollars from 46 bank accounts, a 7,300-square-foot home valued at $927,000 and five luxury vehicles.
No attorney was listed in court records for Bikundi, who is in custody, and no one answered a call to her home Thursday afternoon.
Machen said there wasn’t any particular weakness in the district’s Medicaid program that made it vulnerable to bogus claims, and he noted that similar schemes have been perpetrated in other cities, including Detroit and Miami. The investigation is ongoing, and authorities said it was impossible to put a dollar amount on the fraudulent billings, although the indictments not involving Bikundi outlined schemes valued at less than $500,000.
“These numbers could likely grow. This is what we know so far,” Machen said.
A dozen people were charged in five federal indictments that were unsealed Thursday. Thirteen others were charged with fraud in D.C. Superior Court. All but three were in custody Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
Many of those charged are immigrants from Cameroon in west Africa, but authorities did not go into detail about their nationalities.
The retired American military commander who earlier said in a statement released to WND that Americans need to confront Barack Obama’s tyranny now is recommending the Egyptian model through which to do that.
The Egyptian model, Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely explained on a podcast of an Internet radio show, was that 33 million people stood up to their government and told officials no.
The result was that the Egyptian Muslim Brother was removed from power and then-President Mohammed Morsi was removed from office, Vallely explained,
His call for a massive march on Washington came recently on the WBTM (We Become The Media) show.
He was asked whether America can be restored as the shining light on the hill for freedom when the electoral process, which resulted in two presidencies for Obama in 2008 and 2012, “are known to be corrupt.”
Vallely said the absence of leadership in the White House and Congress makes it difficult, and he said, “I’m not even sure our traditional process will straighten our government out in time to save us.”
And he said processes like impeachment simply won’t happen.
Then he suggested the Egyptian model, and he said millions of Americans need to “stand up” to Washington “within the next 12 months.”
He said doing nothing is not an option, because Washington won’t fix itself and “hope is not a strategy.”
“We need something… a no confidence vote,” he suggested. And perhaps legislation that could create a national recall process.
“We need to get off our derrieres, march at the state capitol, march in Washington,” he said. “Make citizens arrests.”
He said when there are those who are “conducting treason… violating the Constitution, violating our laws,” it should not be overlooked.
“When you have a president and his team who don’t care about the Constitution, they will do anything they can to win,” he said.
Vallely has been immensely popular among tea party organizations that are seeking a way to restore the rule of law to Washington.
Among other things, they cite the Obamacare law, and the 15 or more times Obama has changed the law – without consulting Congress.
In a statement earlier to WND, Vallely said a vote of no confidence could be used.
The founder of Stand Up America, an organization that provides education resources for leaders and activists based on the values of the Founding Fathers, said:
“Clearly America has lost confidence and no longer trusts those in power at a most critical time in our history,” Vallely said. “It is true that not all who ply the halls of power fit under that broad brush, but most of them are guilty of many egregious acts and we say it is time to hold a vote of no confidence. It’s time for a ‘recall.’”
Vallely believes the “credibility of our current leadership is gone.”
Now, he said, “we listen to their excuses, finger-pointing, lies and all manner of chicanery.”
He admitted there is no legal authority in a vote of no confidence, but he argued it will “take back the power of discourse.”
“What else is our nation to do now that the ‘rule-of-law’ has effectively been thrown out the window by the Obama administration? How are we to trust our government anymore, now that lying and fraud are acceptable practices?” he asked.
Vallely believes impeachment likely wouldn’t lead to conviction and doesn’t solve the problem, anyway.
“Harry Reid still controls the Senate, so like in Clinton’s day, forget about a finding of guilty,” he wrote. “Incidentally, if Obama was found guilty and removed from office, Joe Biden would step in, Valerie Jarrett still wields all the power, and likely we get more of the same.”
The Constitution can be amended without going through Congress, he pointed out, but it would take too much time, “a luxury we just do not have it we are going to save our republic.”
“That brings us to the other word no one wants to utter, revolution. In our opinion, this is the least palatable option… Others talk about the military taking over as we saw in Egypt; again, we do not support this route,” he said.
Vallely listed a sampling of Obama’s broken promises and lies, crediting Peter Wehner at Commentary Magazine:
His promise not to allow lobbyists to work in his administration. (They have.)
His commitment to slash earmarks. (He didn’t.)
To be the most transparent presidency in history. (He’s not.)
To put an end to “phony accounting.” (It started almost on Day 1 and continues.)
And to restore trust in government. (Trust in government is at near-historic lows.)
His pledge to seek public financing in the general election. (He didn’t.)
To treat super-PACS as a “threat to democracy.” (He embraced them.)
His pledge to keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent. (It remained above 8 percent for the longest stretch since the Great Depression.)
To create five million new energy jobs alone. (The total number of jobs created in Obama’s first term was roughly one-tenth that figure.)
To identify all those “shovel-ready’ jobs. (Mr. Obama later chuckled that his much-hyped “shovel-ready projects” were “not as shovel-ready as we expected.”)
To lift two million Americans from poverty. (A record 46 million Americans are living in poverty during the Obama era.)
His promise to bring down health care premiums by $2,500 for the typical family (they went up)… allow Americans to keep the health care coverage they currently have (many can’t)… refuse to fund abortion via the Affordable Care Act (it did)… to respect religious liberties (he has violated them)… and the insistent that a mandate to buy insurance, enforced by financial penalties, was not a tax (it is).
Obama’s pledge to stop the rise of oceans. (It hasn’t.)
To “remake the world” and to “heal the planet.” (Hardly.)
To usher in a “new beginning” based on “mutual respect” with the Arab and Islamic world and “help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East.” (Come again?)
To punish Syria if it crossed the “red line” of using chemical weapons. (The “red line” was crossed earlier this year – and nothing of consequence happened.)
That as president “I don’t bluff.” (See the previous sentence on Syria.)
And of course the much-ballyhooed Russian reset. (Tensions between Russia and the United States are increasing and examples of Russia undermining U.S. interests are multiplying.)
And let’s not forget Mr. Obama’s promise to bring us together. (He is the most polarizing president in the history of the Gallup polling.)
Or his assurance to us that he would put an end to the type of politics that “breeds division and conflict and cynicism.” (All three have increased during the Obama presidency.)
And his counsel to us to “resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.” (Remind me again whose campaign allies accused Mitt Romney of being responsible for the cancer death of a steelworker’s wife.)
“It is time to recall the reprobates and reclaim the power of the people,” Vallely said. “We need to start with the White House and all of Obama’s appointees, especially Eric Holder… Then on to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi – the architects who shoved Obamacare down our throats. We also cannot forget John Boehner and company who openly castigate the tea-party caucus which are only doing that which they campaigned upon.”
Vallely quoted commentator Andrew C. McCarthy, who said that “absent the political will to remove the president, he will remain president no matter how many high crimes and misdemeanors he stacks up… and absent the removal of the president, the United States will be fundamentally transformed.”
Vallely noted that while the U.S. Constitution lacks a provision for a “recall” at the federal level, “there is nothing to prevent its use as a comprehensive de facto indictment and conviction for contempt of Congress, violations of oath of office and of the Constitution itself – for all the reasons stated in such a resolution.”
He warned of growing “tyrannical centralized rule” without action.
There may be advances in the 2014 elections, but will that be a solution?
“Obama is still the president, and his Cabinet and appointees still remain in power… Obama will just continue to subvert the Constitution he took an oath to faithfully protect. His track record shows us that no matter what the make-up of Congress is, he will twist his way around it with a pen and secure even more power reminiscent of a dictator,” Vallely said.
“When that does not work, he will manipulate the courts and law enforcement will be run by fiat, choosing winners and losers.”
Congress already is addressing charges that Obama is violating the Constitution.
WND reported when Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said Obama’s actions have reached “an unprecedented level, and we’ve got to do something about it.
“Assume that a statute said you had to provide two forms of ID to vote. Can the president require three forms? Can the president require one form? Can you suspend all requirements? If not, why not?” he said. “If you can turn off certain categories of law, do you not also have the power to turn off all categories of law?”
Gowdy cited Obama’s decisions to ignore certain immigration laws, even though Congress did not approve the changes. He also cited arbitrary changes to the Obamacare law and Obama’s “recess appointments” of judges even though the U.S. Senate was not in recess.
His proposal is for Congress to take the White House to court over the president’s actions, through a resolution proposed by Rep. Tom Rice, R-Ga., that would authorize the House to sue the Obama administration. It has 30 co-sponsors.
Rice said that because of “this disregard of our country’s checks and balances, many of you have asked me to bring legal action against the president.”
“After carefully researching the standing the House of Representatives has and what action we can take, I have introduced a resolution to stop the president’s clear overreach,” he said.
A Fox News interviewer asked Gowdy if Obama could refuse to enforce election laws.
“Why not?” asked Gowdy, “If you can turn off immigration laws, if you can turn off the mandatory minimum in our drug statutes, if you can turn off the so-called Affordable Care Act – why not election laws?”
Gowdy noted that a liberal law professor, Jonathan Turley, agrees.
WND reported Turley’s concerns earlier this month.
Turley has represented members of Congress in a lawsuit over the Libyan war, represented workers at the secret Area 51 military base and served as counsel on national security cases. He now says Obama is a danger to the U.S. Constitution.
He was addressing a House Judiciary Committee hearing Dec. 4. Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., asked him: “Professor Turley, the Constitution, the system of separated powers is not simply about stopping one branch of government from usurping another. It’s about protecting the liberty of Americans from the dangers of concentrated government power. How does the president’s unilateral modification of act[s] of Congress affect both the balance of power between the political branches and the liberty interests of the American people?”
Turley replied: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power.”
Turley explained that the “Newtonian orbit that the three branches exist in is a delicate one but it is designed to prevent this type of concentration.”
“There are two trends going on which should be of equal concern to all members of Congress,” he said. “One is that we have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama. We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are quite large that issue regulations. The Supreme Court said recently that agencies could actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction.”
Turley was appointed in 1998 to the prestigious Shapiro Chair for Public Interest at Georgetown. He has handled a wide range of precedent-setting and headline-making cases, including the successful defense of Petty Officer Daniel King, who faced the death penalty for alleged spying for Russia.
Turley also has served as the legal expert in the review of polygamy laws in the British Columbia Supreme Court. He’s been a consultant on homeland security, and his articles appear regularly in national publications such as the New York Times and USA Today.
WND reported that it was at the same hearing that Michael Cannon, director of Health Policy Studies for the Cato Institute, said there is “one last thing to which the people can resort if the government does not respect the restraints that the Constitution places of the government.”
“Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it,” he said.
“That is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate. If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws, then they will conclude that neither are they.”
Cannon said it is “very dangerous” for the president to “wantonly ignore the laws, to try to impose obligations upon people that the legislature did not approve.”
Several members of Congress also contributed their opinions in an interview with talk-show host Sean Hannity.
Vallely explained that a “no confidence” vote now “would also tell the world that we recognize the mess this administration has wrought upon the world and we do not support his actions. Despite what supporters of Obama say about our standing in the world, the world is laughing at us. We are not pleased!”
Without that action, he writes, “Obama will just continue to subvert the Constitution he took an oath to faithfully protect.”
Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier seems to think that gun-control laws don’t apply to the liberal elite. The police chief helped Sen. Dianne Feinstein acquire “assault weapons,” which are illegal to possess in the District, for a news conference early this year to promote a ban on these firearms, then tried to cover up the police involvement.
Now, a response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveals Chief Lanier’s shocking willingness to bend the rules for partisan and ideological purposes.
Feinstein wants guns
Lobbyist Chuck DeWitt emailed Chief Lanier on Christmas Eve last year. “Sen. Feinstein has asked us to bring examples of assault weapons used in the worst incidents over the past few years.” The CEO of the Lafayette Group told the chief that the guns would be put on display at a media event and asked, “Could you put me in touch with your person who would have any of these weapons?”
Chief Lanier’s response was not turned over.
However, a week after Mr. DeWitt’s request, Mrs. Feinstein’s press secretary, Tom Mentzer, asked the commander of the police department’s Crime Scene Investigation Division, Keith Williams, for 10 specific firearm models used in high-profile mass shootings, including a Bushmaster XM-15, Tec-9 handgun, Smith & Wesson M&P15 and a Glock 19 with a “high-capacity magazine.”
Since Cmdr. Williams did not have all the firearms the senator sought, Mr. DeWitt asked Philadelphia police to provide the missing ones, which meant bringing “the P15 and the Glock extended magazine” to Washington.
All of these firearms are illegal in the city – even on federal property – owing to the District’s law banning rifles with a detachable magazine and such features as a pistol grip or folding stock and all firearms with a magazines capacity of more than 10 rounds.
Chief Lanier wanted to help Mrs. Feinstein, but didn’t want the media to know.
Cmdr. Williams emailed Mr. Mentzer to put a “bug” in his ear that the police would “prefer that no mention of the fact that the weapons came from D.C. or were recovered by MPDC in the official language or speeches.” Mr. Mentzer replied, “By not mentioning where the weapons came from, we open ourselves up to the same charge against David Gregory.”
He was referring to the anchor of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” who knowingly procured an illegal 30-round magazine in the District as a stunt for his TV show, but was not charged.
The office of Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance W. Gainer coordinated bringing the illegal weapons onto Capitol Hill for Mrs. Feinstein’s dramatic Jan. 24 news conference introducing her new “assault weapons” ban.
Kathryn Stillman, the campus-access coordinator for Mr. Gainer, emailed Cmdr. Williams and Mrs. Feinstein’s staff to recommend the firearms be mounted on a board with zip ties so that Mrs. Feinstein could “point or even touch, but no need for any particular handling.” This was to ensure that it could be argued later that the senator never had “possession” of the illegal guns.
After seeing the weapons on display at the press event, I asked Mr. Gainer’s office about the legality and was told that the firearms were the property of the D.C. and Philadelphia police departments. A spokesman for Mrs. Feinstein, Brian Weiss, told me that his office ”coordinated” with the police and that “the weapons were under Washington MPD possession the entire time.”
But when I asked Chief Lanier’s spokesman, Gwendolyn Crump, about the guns, she refused to confirm they belonged to MPD. I followed up the next day with several more questions to Ms. Crump.
From the FOIA documents, I now know that she sent my second email to Chief Lanier, who then forwarded it to three people with notes.
Chief Lanier wrote to Philadelphia Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, “I am really disappointed in Terry [Gainer]. This is exactly why I didn’t want to participate.” She said to Mr. Gainer, “This is completely contrary to our agreement to participate in this event. We will not participate again.”
The chief wrote to lobbyist Mr. DeWitt, “So much for our agreement.” Mr. DeWitt replied: “Well, Ramsey and Feinstein followed our script, but who would have guessed that [Gainer] would burn us.” He drafted a response for the police to send to me and added in a note, “I don’t know how you put up with people like Emily…” Chief
Lanier replied, “Thanks, Chuck, unfortunately this will be the next tail wagging our dog for weeks.”
No special favors for Republicans
A week after Mrs. Feinstein’s publicity stunt, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina were refused permission to bring a hunting rifle and an AR-style rifle to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Mrs. Feinstein’s “assault weapon” ban.
The Republican senators sent a letter of complaint to committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, but were still forced to use just a photo of a standard wooden hunting rifle with a plastic pistol grip at the hearing in order to demonstrate that simply adding the ergonomic feature transformed the gun into one that would be illegal under her ban.
Mrs. Feinstein’s staff gloated: “I was gratified to hear Sens. Cruz and Graham complaining that getting weapons into their hearing today was ‘unworkable,’” Mr. Mentzer emailed Cmdr. Williams and another officer with a news story about the Republicans not being able bring in even a legal rifle. “I find you guys ENTIRELY practical, for the record.”
The police have yet to turn over a majority of the documents I requested. The FOIA officer wrote that she was “still searching” and “will release them, if any are located.”
The police stonewalling and cover-up are so that the public doesn’t find out that Chief Lanier enforces laws differently in the District, depending on whether you are a powerful liberal who opposes Second Amendment rights, like Mr. Gregory and Mrs. Feinstein, or an average American.
Tractor-trailer drivers will intentionally clog the inner loop of the Washington, D.C., beltway beginning on the morning of Oct. 11, according to a coordinator of the upcoming “Truckers Ride for the Constitution” rally.
Organizers of the three-day ride want to call attention to a litany of trucker frustrations and express their disapproval of national political leaders.
Earl Conlon, a Georgia trucker who is handling logistics for the protest, told U.S. News tractor-trailer drivers will circle the beltway “three lanes deep” as he rides with other participants to Congress to seek the arrest of congressmen for allegedly disregarding the Constitution.
The truckers circling I-495 will keep the left lane open for emergency vehicles, Conlon said, but “everybody that doesn’t have a supporter sticker on their window, good luck: Nobody in, nobody out.” The trucks will be going the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit.
D.C. commuters who wish to be allowed past the convoy must have “T2SDA” – an acronym for the event’s original name, “Truckers to Shut Down America” – written on their vehicle, he said.
“It’s going to be real fun for anyone who is not a supporter,” Conlon said, “[and] if cops decide to give us a hard time, we’re going to lock the brakes up, we’re going to stop right there, we’re going to be a three lane roadblock.”
Zeeda Andrews, a former country music singer helping promote the protest, said last week participants would present demands to congressmen – including the impeachment of President Barack Obama – and give the congressmen an opportunity to agree to the demands in exchange for canceling the ride.
But Conlon says that’s not quite right.
“We are not going to ask for impeachment,” Conlon said. “We are coming whether they like it or not. We’re not asking for impeachment, we’re asking for the arrest of everyone in government who has violated their oath of office.”
Conlon cited the idea of a citizens grand jury – meaning a pool of jurors convened without court approval – as the mechanism for indicting the officials.
“We want these people arrested, and we’re coming in with the grand jury to do it,” he said. “We are going to ask the law enforcement to uphold their constitutional oath and make these arrests. If they refuse to do it, by the power of the people of the United States and the people’s grand jury, they don’t want to do it, we will… We the people will find a way.”
It’s almost certain that anyone attempting to “arrest” a member of Congress would be arrested themselves for attempted kidnapping.
Conlon and Andrews say Obama committed “treason” by allegedly funneling weapons to al-Qaida-linked rebels in Syria. Members of Congress who support arming Syrian rebels, Conlon said, are accessories to the alleged crime. He identified House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., as politicians he will seek to arrest for alleged acts against the Constitution.
Andrews said last week 3,000 truckers had RSVP-ed to the event, and Conlon says he’s now lost count of the number. He says he’s receiving around 100 emails a day from prospective participants.
“What we want to do is go in nice and peaceful and keep it as peaceful as possible… but if they decide to get ugly with us we’re going to do what we have to do,” he said. “If all I get is one or two congressmen walked out of there in handcuffs, that will be a shot across the bow that will ripple across all branches of government… I hope they are all civil enough and brave enough to step out onto the congressional steps.”
Trucker-specific grievances behind the protest include Environmental Protection Agency fuel efficiency standards and the high cost of diesel fuel. State and local anti-idling laws as well as insurance companies purportedly requiring technological updates are among the irritations, as is the perceived deterioration of Fourth Amendment rights protecting truckers’ cabs.
Whether or not the truckers pack a punch to D.C. area traffic depends on the number and intensity level of participants. A similar three-day protest in 2007, against illegal immigration and competition from Mexican truckers, did not spoil commutes as feared, the Washington Examiner reported. A Facebook page advertising the upcoming ride has close to 50,000 likes.
In less than two weeks, thousands of truckers will descend on Washington, D.C., driving their big-rigs and calling for the restoration of a constitutional republic – but now their plan has taken a new twist: Their friends and families will simultaneously join other Americans rallying on overpasses across the nation for Obama’s impeachment.
The Truckers’ Ride for the Constitution movement has a new ally in their protest against what organizers say is corruption in government and a trashing of the Constitution. The group is teaming up with Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment to line the routes into Washington with flags during the Oct. 11-13 event.
Both Houses of Congress are tentatively scheduled to be in session Oct. 11.
Truckers Ride for the Constitution leader and organizer Zeeda Andrews, a country singer and former truck driver, said Overpasses Founder James Neighbors reached out to her, suggesting the two groups form an alliance. Neighbors said the partnership is a “natural” merger for a common cause.
“Thousands of truckers have seen us across America,” he said. “We’ve gotten emails from them, thanking us for waking them up. The biker ride in D.C. happened. Then, the next thing you know, the trucker thing did, and we got even more emails from truckers across the country, thanking us.”
He added, “We are going to be out on the overpasses and at truck stops, encouraging the truckers to head to D.C., to join in with the others. They, in exchange, are encouraging their families who are at home to join us on the overpasses.”
Facebook tries to shut truckers down
On Sept. 22, Facebook removed the truckers’ Facebook page, “Truckers to Shutdown America,” which had accumulated 86,000 “likes” within days of its launch.
“Political opponents attacked the Truckers to Shutdown America page within days, and they exploited a little known (to the public) feature on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter called ‘community standards’ flagging, which allows them to instantaneously shut down an account on these social media platforms,” the truckers group explained in a press release.
“[A]n administrator of the page offended someone by saying, ‘God bless you, and God bless America.”
According to the group, radio talk-host Pete Santelli, of “The Pete Santelli Show,” has indicated that he “intends to take legal action against YouTube and Twitter on behalf of all truckers, their supporters, as well as other members of the public who are similarly harmed by these unconstitutional ‘community standards.’”
While the truckers’ group says it has made numerous attempts to appeal Facebook’s decision, the page remains unpublished.
Now the group is planning a special delivery to Facebook’s corporate headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on the same day of the Washington, D.C., convoy.
“Ride for the Constitution will now organize a convoy to Facebook corporate headquarters… to coincide with the ride to Washington, D.C.,” the group explained. “We fully intend to arrive on corporate America’s doorstep with our original ‘community standards’ guideline in hand – the U.S. Constitution.”
The truckers also launched their website, RideForTheConstitution.orgv, and created a second Facebook page called, “Truckers Ride for the Constitution.”
‘Wake up the sleeping giant’
What do they intend to accomplish with a convoy into Washington and nationwide rallies on overpasses?
Neighbors explained, “The goal is to wake up the sleeping giant, the people of America.”
Truckers co-organizer Benn Pam said the rally will be quite a patriotic scene.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “There are going to be thousands of trucks on the highways, flying flags. There are all of those people who are in the Overpasses campaign flying flags. Between the two groups, we may be covering a good part of the national highway network.”
Andrews said more organizations are expected to join the rally, and she has “two other huge groups that will give me a conformation.”
But this event isn’t just another political rally. The joint venture has clear objectives. Neighbors said one goal is to pressure Congress to begin the impeachment process.
“In doing so, the people can force Congress to act to begin by removing Obama from office,” he explained.
He said his group will also protest “RINOs and progressive Democrats” before the 2014 midterm elections.
Andrews said she believes connecting with the Overpasses group will help achieve her group’s aims.
“We both want to see an end to the unconstitutional laws in this country,” she said.
By joining forces, she said, both groups will get more publicity and video footage of the event.
However, the group’s short-term goal is to see a three-day cessation of business. Organizers are asking Americans to pre-purchase food and other necessities before Oct. 11 to send a message to Congress.
“We want to see the dollar stop circulating for three days,” Andrews said. “What we also want to see is deregulation for the truckers and our Constitution restored. We want to get rid of unconstitutional laws like the National Defense Authorization Act and the Patriot Act.”
Andrews also said she has a list of grievances she plans to present to every member of Congress before the trucks leave Washington.
Time to rally, contact lawmakers
Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment national coordinator and co-founder Rick Halle said he’s hopeful that the event will get Congress to remember its commitment to the Constitution.
“The ultimate result would be for our representatives to start taking their oath to protect and defend the Constitution seriously,” he said. “At the very least, we will get the message out to others who believe, as we do, that government corruption is rampant and that they are not alone.”
However, Halle admitted that Congress will only feel pressure if enough people rally in the streets and make their voices heard by calling their lawmakers.
“We believe that we will also wake some people up so they start paying attention,” he said. “If enough people wake up and start contacting their representatives, then we believe that they will have no choice but to take notice.”
Some critics in the trucking industry have taken to Facebook to condemn the upcoming protest.
American Trucking Associations spokesman Sean McNally said his group opposes Andrews’ activities.
“The American Trucking Associations is not a sponsor of this ‘strike’ nor do we endorse or condone the activities of these few individuals,” McNally said. “ATA and the vast majority of America’s truck drivers will continue to deliver the nation’s most essential goods unabated even while we continue to work through whatever policy disagreements we have with Congress and the administration.”
But Andrews is undeterred.
She said, “I have the truckers that I need.”
Not too long ago, someone commented that although they loved the political content here, my Daley Babes offended them. One reason was I “only” featured “19-year-olds”. Well I have featured women of all ages, like this lady, who is 42. I feature a wide range of women, because there are many different types of beautiful/cute/sexy/desirable women. If anyone is offended, well, too bad. Yes this blog is foremost about politics, but, I like to offer humor, sports, and yes, hot women too. I hope a wide variety of readers can find something to enjoy here. that is why Ed and I do this
Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting.
The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.
Democratic and Republican leaders are taking the issue seriously, but first they need more specifics from the Office of Personnel Management on how the new rule should take effect – a decision that Capitol Hill sources expect by fall, at the latest. The administration has clammed up in advance of a ruling, sources on both sides of the aisle said.
If the issue isn’t resolved, and massive numbers of lawmakers and aides bolt, many on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain just as Congress tackles a slew of weighty issues – like fights over the Tax Code and immigration reform.
The problem is far more acute in the House, where lawmakers and aides are generally younger and less wealthy. Sources said several aides have already given lawmakers notice that they’ll be leaving over concerns about Obamacare. Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant.
Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat in leadership when the law passed, said he thinks the problem will be resolved.
“If not, I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, ‘Listen this is simply not fair to these employees,’” Larson told POLITICO. “They are federal employees.”
Republicans, never a fan of Democratic health care reform, are more vocal about the potential adverse effects of the provision.
“It’s a reality,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas). “This is the law… It’s going to hinder our ability with retention of members, it’s going to hinder our ability for members to take care of their families.” He said his fellow lawmakers are having “quiet conversations” about the threat.
Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner said the threat is already real, especially for veteran lawmakers and staff. If they leave this year, they think they can continue to be covered under the current health care plan.
“I’ve lost one staffer who told me in confidence that he had been here for a number of years and the thought of losing the opportunity to keep his health insurance on Dec. 31 [forced him to leave]. He could keep what he had and on Jan. 1 he would go into that big black hole,” said Bonner, who had already planned his resignation from Congress. “And then I’ve got another staff member that I think it will be a factor as she’s contemplating her future.”
Lawmakers and aides on both sides of the aisle are acutely aware of the problems with the provision. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have discussed fixes to the provision. Boehner, according to House GOP sources, believes that Reid must take the lead on crafting a solution. Since Republicans opposed the bill, Boehner does not feel responsible to lead the effort to make changes.
The Affordable Care Act – signed into law in 2010 – contained a provision known as the Grassley Amendment, which said the government can only offer members of Congress and their staff plans that are “created” in the bill or “offered through an exchange” – unless the bill is amended.
Currently, aides and lawmakers receive their health care under the generous Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. The government subsidizes upward of 75 percent of the premiums for the health insurance plans. In 2014, most Capitol Hill aides and lawmakers are expected to be put onto the exchanges, and there has been no guidance whether the government will subsidize those premiums. This is expected to cause a steep spike in health insurance costs.
There have been many options for fixing the problem discussed throughout the year, including administrative fixes and legislative tweaks. One scenario seen as likely on Capitol Hill would have OPM simply decide that the government could still subsidize insurance on the exchanges.
House Democratic leadership says the issue must be resolved.
“The leadership has assured members that fixing this issue is a top priority,” said one Democratic leadership aide. “This issue must be fixed by administrative action in order that the flawed Grassley Amendment’s spirit is honored and all staff and members are treated the same.”
It could be politically difficult to change this provision. The provision was put in the bill in the first place on the theory that if Congress was going to make the country live under the provisions of Obamacare, the members and staff should have to as well.
The uncertainty has created a growing furor on Capitol Hill with aides young and old worried about skyrocketing health care premiums cutting deeply into their already small paychecks. Some longtime aides and members of Congress, who previously had government subsidized health care for life, are concerned that their premiums will now come out of their pension.
If their fears are borne out, the results could be twofold. Some junior staff will head for the private sector early while more seasoned aides and lawmakers could leave before the end of the year so they can continue under the old plan.
Several lawmakers said departures could run the gamut from low-level staff to legislative aides, to senior aides and lawmakers. Capitol Hill is an attractive workplace for politically ambitious college graduates, but a core of Capitol Hill aides stick around for decades, serving as institutional knowledge, and earning prized retirement packages.
OPM, which administers benefits for federal employees, is expected to rule in the coming months on how congressional health care is to be administered.
OPM did not respond to a request for comment.
More than a dozen senior aides interviewed by POLITICO about the issue declined to be named out of fear for future job prospects. The problem is most acutely felt at the staff level, where aides make between $35,000 and roughly $170,000 and budgetary problems have all but stopped pay increases and bonuses. Lawmakers have questioned leadership aides about the future of their health care.
“Between the constant uncertainty surrounding sequestration, and the likelihood aides will soon be paying for the subsidy portion of their health care coverage, congressional office budgets are being squeezed once again, and it’s causing a lot of concern amongst chiefs of staff regarding how to best handle the situation,” said one chief of staff to a senior Democratic member of the House. “Do we give raises to junior level aides so they can afford to pay for their higher health care costs, and if so, where do we find the funds to do so? Additionally, leadership has been relatively silent in terms of providing guidance to offices, which is frustrating.”
There are other ways that aides can fully avoid this problem. If they’re married, they can join their spouse’s health care plan. If they are 65, they can go on Medicare.
But the focus right now is centered on lawmakers trying to figure out how to offset potential increases in premiums.
“I know other members are doing the same thing in terms of what we can do to offset [premiums],” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said. “You are particularly limited now because of course we’ve had the cuts in the [member office allowances] on top of this. You just don’t have a lot of options.”
Cole added, “A lot of the staff stays on largely because of the benefit levels and particularly if you’ve got people with families and it’s extraordinarily important to them… it’s just not right.”
An IRS staffer in Cincinnati told congressional investigators that a Washington official was the driving force behind the targeting of Tea Party organizations in 2010, and showed unprecedented interest in those groups’ tax-exempt applications.
Elizabeth Hofacre, the Cincinnati staffer, said that she started receiving applications from Tea Party groups to sift through in April, 2010. Hofacre’s handling of those cases, she said, was highly influenced by Carter Hull, an IRS lawyer in Washington.
Hofacre said that she integrated questions from Hull into her follow-ups with Tea Party groups, and that Hull had to approve the letters seeking more information that she sent out to those organizations. That process, she said, was both unusual and “demeaning.”
“One of the criteria is to work independently and do research and make decisions based on your experience and education,” Hofacre said, according to transcripts reviewed by The Hill. “Whereas in this case, I had no autonomy at all through the process.”
“I thought it was over the top,” she added, in interviews held by investigators in both parties from the House Oversight and Ways and Means committees. “I am not sure where it came from, but it was a bit unusual.”
Hofacre, who oversaw Tea Party applications from April, 2010, to October, 2010, said Hull eventually became slow to endorse her letters. She eventually took another position within the IRS that year, after dealing with what she called “irate” applicants.
“And I see their point,” Hofacre said. “Even if a decision isn’t favorable, they deserve some kind of treatment and they deserve, you know, timeliness.”
The investigators’ interviews with Hofacre and another Cincinnati staffer, Gary Muthert, cast some doubt on statements from the former acting IRS commissioner, Steven Miller, and other agency officials that the targeting of Tea Party groups was limited to Cincinnati.
They also show the tension that developed between officials in Cincinnati and Washington, especially after Lois Lerner – the D.C.-based director at the center of the targeting storm – placed the responsibility for the singling out on the Ohio office. Lerner was the IRS official who first disclosed, and apologized for, the targeting.
Hofacre told investigators that officials trying to blame the Cincinnati office were misleading the public on purpose.
“I was appalled and I was infuriated,” Hofacre said. “Because they are inaccurate, and everybody that has been making those statements should know they are inaccurate.”
Still, the interviews also contain few answers on who exactly ordered the targeting, and contain no suggestions that White House or Treasury officials – or even the top IRS brass – knew about the extra scrutiny.
Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration found that the IRS inappropriately screened for Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status, asked them inappropriate questions and kept some waiting for years for a verdict.
In addition to the congressional inquest, the tax administration inspector general is further investigating the targeting, as is the Justice Department.
The controversy swirling around the IRS has also only grown since the inspector general’s report came out almost a month ago, with a separate audit finding that the agency spent more than $4 million on a single conference in 2010.
Muthert told investigators that he started collecting Tea Party applications in March, 2010, and eventually sent seven cases to Washington after hearing officials there had shown an interest in those applications.
The number of cases he found ultimately grew from less than 10 to roughly 40, after broadening his search beyond “Tea Party” to include “patriots” and “9/12.”
Hofacre, the Cincinnati staffer charged with dealing with the Tea Party applications after they were found, said the 20 cases she was originally given mushroomed into 40 to 60.
Hofacre’s Ohio-based supervisor directed her to deal with the Tea Party cases. But it was unusual, Hofacre told investigators, for one agent to have such exclusive oversight of applications from one type of organization.
The Cincinnati staffer also said that the letters she sent to follow up with Tea Party groups asked for information about the groups’ rallies, emails and web sites.
Those questions, developed after her consultations with Hull, were pretty standard, Hofacre said.
But Hofacre added that she found one request from Washington – that they press groups for information on contracts they might have in the future – to be odd.
She also said that some requests she suggested came after she stopped working Tea Party cases in 2010 – like for donor lists – were “appalling.”
The Tea Party Patriots will organize a mass “Audit the IRS Rally” on June 19th in Washington, D.C. with local and national Tea Party groups to protest the IRS’s targeting of conservative organizations.
Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, told Breitbart News that the targeted witnesses that testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday “showed the IRS discrimination and abuse had very real consequences on the local coordinators of the groups affected.”
“These were not faceless, amorphous ‘groups’ but real Americans who wanted to peacefully assemble,” Martin said. “Those in the hearings this week are a sample of the thousands of Americans who have been affected by the thuggish tactics of the IRS.”
The Tea Party Patriots, a group that formed when the Tea Party movement officially launched in 2009, finally secured the permit to organize the event on Tuesday only after various delays. At one point in the permitting process, D.C. officials requested information from TPP in a serious of events the group’s leaders said would make “your blood boil” if “you despise government bureaucracy and big government in general.”
In an e-mail blast to local and national Tea Party groups on Tuesday, Tea Party Patriots noted that the rally, starting at noon on the 19th, was important because the IRS scandal is one that crosses party lines and impacts Republicans, independents, and Democrats.
“With all of mess and scandals that are going on in DC, we need to have a big presence to tell them that we aren’t going to take it,” Martin wrote. “We are focusing on the IRS because it is the issue that can cross both lines. No one likes the government abusing its power, and that’s the message we want to convey.”
The group emphasized that the “focus of the rally will be the IRS to try to reach the broadest audience that we can and gain as much support as we can” and asked local Tea Party leaders to “start spreading the word to your groups.”
The IRS has come under fire for deliberately targeting groups applying for tax-exempt status that had “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in their names. The agency naturally scrutinized Tea Party Patriots, a group that had raised concerns about IRS harassment before revelations came to light.
J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, said the abuse of power that he discovered while auditing the IRS was “unprecedented.”
“Together we stand with all of the groups and individuals who were affected and give our fellow Americans the opportunity to see more of the people who have been unfairly abused by the IRS,” Martin told Breitbart News. “We have been fighting for constitutionally limited government for over 4 years. The discriminatory tactics from the IRS and an abusive government will not intimidate us or stop us from fighting for the country we love.”