Despite Indiana’s Backlash, Arkansas Passes Religious Liberty Bill + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Wed 04/01/2015 by


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“Every thing useful and beneficial to man, seems to be connected with obedience to the laws of his nature, the inclinations, the duties, and the happiness of individuals, resolve themselves into customs and habits, favorable, in the highest degree, to society. In no case is this more apparent, than in the customs of nations respecting marriage.” –Samuel Williams, The Natural and Civil History of Vermont, 1794


Despite Indiana’s Backlash, Arkansas Passes Religious Liberty Bill

The country is rending itself apart over the once noncontroversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The federal RFRA was introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and signed into law by Bill Clinton, but now, MSNBC host Ed Schultz can’t talk about the law without cutting off the microphone of Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson. After Indiana sparked this heated debate by passing a RFRA, Arkansas lawmakers passed its version of the RFRA Tuesday.

State Rep. Bob Ballinger, who sponsored the bill, told The Washington Post, “This legislation doesn’t allow anybody to discriminate against anybody, not here. The bill does just the opposite. It focuses on the civil rights of people believing what they want to believe, and not letting the government interfere with that. … This is not a conservative or liberal thing. Most people agree that religion should be protected under heightened scrutiny standards, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Vast swaths of Americans now believe the rights enshrined in the First Amendment do not deserve to be interpreted by the courts through strict scrutiny – which will ensure any law is interpreted to allow for the most personal Liberty. It’s a sad day for Sikhs who wear kirpans, Native Americans who collect eagle feathers and churches fighting zoning laws. And leftists claim they’re tolerant and multicultural. More…

Third Deadline Blown in Nuclear Talks With Iran

The Iran nuclear talks have become the Obama administration’s last hope for some kind of diplomatic success. And last night’s blown deadline is another painful reminder that the JV team in the White House is bungling U.S.’s influence abroad. A State Department official said, “The truth is, you can dwell on Yemen, or you can recognize that we’re one agreement away from a game-changing, legacy-setting nuclear accord on Iran that tackles what every one agrees is the biggest threat to the region.” Whatever happened to no deal is better than a bad deal? For months, Iran has played with the carrot the West has dangled before it. In exchange for not developing nuclear weapons, the West would lower sanctions against the Middle East shadow empire. But yesterday’s deadline was blown, according to The Wall Street Journal, because the two sides couldn’t agree on a timetable for lifting sanctions and what Iran could do with its nuclear program in the future. The hard deadline for a comprehensive deal is June 30 – a few embarrassing weeks away. More…

Don’t miss Mark Alexander’s analysis on the United States’ negotiations with Iran that will be coming out later today.

Harry Reid – Another Master of the BIG Lie

In 2012, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor and made a serious and unsubstantiated allegation about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney: “Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t.” Reid knew this was a BIG Lie, which would gain traction for the Left’s class warfare game. Asked this week for his thoughts on that episode – specifically that his remarks had been called “McCarthyite” – Reid shrugged and replied, “Well, they can call it whatever they want. Romney didn’t win, did he?” Reid’s smug gloating is beyond unmitigated arrogance, and speaks volumes about the Left’s approach to politics. The ends always justify their means.

Kerry Gets Eight Out of Four Pinocchios

John Kerry has a long history of phony “seared memories.” From Christmas 1968 in Cambodia to the “very first climate hearings in the Senate,” Kerry just makes stuff up. The Washington Post “fact checker” took on the claim about the Senate climate hearings only to discover that “Kerry was not even a participant in the most important hearing of that time; he simply spoke at a hearing that took place the following year. And yet, like Brian Williams claiming to have come under fire in Iraq, Kerry has repeatedly placed himself at the center of the action – and the narrative.” Not only that, a follow-up article reveals that the hearing was not, as Kerry at another time asserted, deliberately scheduled on the summer’s hottest day, nor was it “sweltering” in the hearing room. Leftists regularly assert that weather isn’t proof of climate – unless they need it to be. The fact checker concluded, “Frankly, this now puts Kerry’s statements in an even a worse light. Not only did he place himself at a hearing he did not organize and attend, but he described witnessing events that did not happen.” That’s par for the course with Kerry.

EPA’s McCarthy (Sort of) Makes the Case for Approving Keystone

Gina McCarthy is working overtime to ensure her final 22 months as head of the EPA take America back to the Stone Age succeed in radically curtailing fossil fuel emissions via regulatory fiat – regardless of the economic ramifications. And if that means opposing the Keystone pipeline to make a political point, so be it. When asked on Monday by Politico’s Mike Allen, “Would the Keystone pipeline be a disaster for the climate?” McCarthy retorted, “No, I don’t think that any one issue is a disaster for the climate, nor do I think there’s any one solution to the climate change challenge that we have.” The EPA’s point of contention, it claims, has to do with the likelihood that giving Keystone a thumbs up will encourage future development. As The Hill explains, “Keystone’s climate impact was the focus of a letter the EPA sent in February to the State Department, which is evaluating whether to approve the Canada-to-Gulf Coast oil pipeline, which would carry oil sands from Alberta. The EPA said that with oil prices so low, Keystone might spur more oil sands production than would happen without the pipeline.” What’s needed is economic mobility, but this administration’s feckless desire is to drive energy costs artificially higher. Clearly, Keystone would undermine that attempt, and this administration is willing to forgo the project’s obvious dividends – which includes no major climate implications, by McCarthy’s own admission – to achieve its goal. More…

For more, visit Right Hooks.


Hillary: Oh, That Email? I Deleted It All

Thanks to Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration, it’s apparent how insufficient are the laws designed to bring transparency and oversight into government affairs.

Over the weekend, longtime Clinton lawyer David E. Kendall sent a letter to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, responding to its March 4 subpoena. In it, he admitted the Clinton machine deleted all the email from Hillary Clinton’s now infamous email server. All the scrambled notes, all the dispatches and updates that marked Clinton’s time as the nation’s chief diplomat are gone. In response, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) summoned the former secretary of state before the committee to privately answer for her actions.

In his letter to Clinton’s lawyer, Gowdy wrote, “The Committee believes a transcribed interview would best protect Secretary Clinton’s privacy, the security of the information queried, and the public’s interest in ensuring this Committee has all information needed to accomplish the task set before it. … We continue to believe Secretary Clinton’s email arrangement with herself is highly unusual, if not unprecedented.”

Hillary better beware the Ides of March. It wasn’t an email server that took down a Caesar, but by hiding information from the public she’s signaling she wants to be treated as a king.

And what a scheme she had.

It wasn’t apparent at first what Clinton’s strategy was. When news of the private email server became public, Clinton announced she wanted transparency – she wanted the emails in the public record.

But the email server was built for privacy, as it was designed so that it could be completely wiped. In a press conference March 10, Clinton said she sent and received a little over 60,000 messages from the server. Some 30,000, she insisted, contained state business. She disclosed those messages, she claimed, “and the server will remain private.”

The politician positioned herself as a sound defender of the public good. “And I feel that I’ve taken unprecedented steps to provide these work-related emails. They’re going to be in the public domain. And I think that Americans will find that, you know, interesting.” Interesting? Interesting? Her emails are not useful, she says, not necessary for the accountability of American government. It’s sophomorically interesting, a passing trifle.

But her lawyer, Kendall, in his letter to the House, laid her political strategy bare: At the end of her tenure, she dumped 50,000 pages worth of email on the State Department to sort out.

At that time, Clinton wiped her server clean, which could be obstruction of Congress if she did so after Oct. 28, 2014 – the date when Clinton was instructed by the State Department to turn over her public records.

“[T]he Department of State – which has already produced approximately 300 documents in response to an earlier request seeking documents on essentially the same subject matters – is uniquely positioned to make available any documents responsive to your requests,” Kendall told the Benghazi select committee.

And now, Hillary can simply deflect any criticism of her time as madam secretary. She doesn’t have the information. Why are you looking there? Anyone from the public will have to contend with the bureaucratic State Department. She wiped her hands of the matter.

In her March 10 press conference, Hillary Clinton said the email controversy was out of her hands: “[M]y direction to conduct the thorough investigation was to err on the side of providing anything that could be possibly viewed as work related. … That is the responsibility of the individual and I have fulfilled that responsibility, and I have no doubt that we have done exactly what we should have done.”

We can debate whether Hillary Clinton broke the law. Former government officials in charge of releasing documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act say she did. Take, for example, former FOIA official Daniel Metcalfe, who said Clinton’s private email server was a “blatant circumvention of the Freedom of Information Act.” But will the woman ever face justice for her crimes against the American people? She has too many political friends. Hillary is too big to fail.

This is why it’s time to rip apart the veil shielding government officials from the public eye. Shrewd politicians like Clinton simply skirt the law to avoid scrutiny. Administrations like Barack Obama’s chip away at the right of the public to access information – even as its mantra is transparency.

In Kendall’s letter, he told the House, “Like other agencies, the State Department places the obligation of determining what is and is not appropriate for preservation on individual officials and employees.”

The State Department’s own policies place the fox guarding the henhouse. And this provides an opportunity for the Republican Congress. Bolster the Freedom of Information Act. Show what big statists do in the dark by allowing the public to shout it from the rooftops.

Catch this administration – from its secretaries of state to its president to the lowly FOIA Denial Officer – contradicting what they said with what they’ve done in practice.

Martin O’Malley Emerges to Challenge Hillary

Only weeks ago, the person regarded as the most popular non-Hillary Clinton Democrat presidential contender was über progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Warren, however, told the “Today” show this week, “No. I’m not running, and I’m not going to run.” Perhaps that’s pol-speak for “Let me see what happens.” After all, if Clinton wins the nomination, Warren may be on the bottom of the ticket. Other challengers include, no kidding, Joe Biden, as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.

But another contender waits in the wings, indicating every way but smoke signals that he’s plotting a run. He has yet to form the usual “exploratory committee,” though his intentions are clear.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley appeared with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” where O’Malley declared the nation needs “new leadership,” slyly implying that Hillary isn’t it. “History is full of times,” he continued, “when the inevitable frontrunner is inevitable right up until he or she is no longer inevitable.”

A little later O’Malley said, “Let’s be honest here. The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed around between two families.” Hedging lest he overstep, he added, “*any* two families.” As if there are any besides the Clintons and Bushes currently in that category.

Many Democrats have been hoping for a non-Hillary candidate for some time. Surveys find a majority of Democrats want Hillary to run against strong primary competition. And New Hampshire Democrat Party chairman Ray Buckley said he “fully anticipate[s] … a very robust primary.”

But those feminist-for-Hillary roots (and claws) go deep, and, on the same “This Week,” O’Malley was warned about ruining Hillary’s chances.

Jennifer Granholm, former Michigan governor and senior adviser to Ready for Hillary PAC, said Hillary “is comfortable enough to withstand a primary.” But Granholm perhaps isn’t so comfortable. She followed up, “And Martin O’Malley … I was thinking he might make a nice member of a President Clinton administration, so he better watch it.”

“I think he and anybody else – she would welcome into the mix,” Granholm continued. “That would be healthy. But I also think ultimately, she’ll be the next president.” Typical. Feminists want it all without working for it.

At this point, O’Malley may be Hillary’s foremost challenger, as scary as it might be for him.

O’Malley’s first major political venture was the mayoralty of Baltimore. Winning it in 1999 was considered quite a coup since Baltimore is a majority-black city. His platorm included decreasing the crime rate, increasing performance in public schools and improving health care delivery. What he actually achieved is a matter of dispute.

To reduce crime, O’Malley adapted New York City’s COMPSTAT accountability program for Baltimore, calling it CitiStat. Every call received by law enforcement is entered into a database that is regularly analyzed in “accountability sessions.” Good results win praise, bad ones bring trouble. Of course, the system itself promotes fudging, and his claim to have reduced crime by a third was criticized on that basis. As time passed, CitiStat was adopted by other departments, notably public schools.

In 2007, O’Malley became the governor of Maryland. During his two terms, he followed the best of progressive ideology: tax, spend, repeat.

On his blog he relates a telling story that demonstrates his philosophy and reaction to it. He called a heating company and the woman on the other end asked his name. “O’Malley,” he replied, “like the out-going governor.” “Ah, yes,” she said, “the tax man.”

O’Malley sure did raise taxes: Sales taxes, gas taxes, income taxes, sin taxes (alcohol and tobacco), indirect taxes (minimum wage hikes and public funds for illegal aliens), and so on. During the 2012 gubernatorial election, when O’Malley was term-limited out, Republican candidate Larry Hogan hit Democrats hard using the mantra of O’Malley’s 40 tax hikes. Hogan won the general election.

As The Washington Post reports, O’Malley’s tenure brought a “string of policy changes that will endure long after he departs.” Same-sex marriage, illegal aliens eligible for in-state tuition, higher minimum wage, no more executions, and the kicker: “It’s harder to buy a gun.” In Maryland, that’s saying something.

Education spending reached “record amounts” (though that’s virtually always true even if the increase is small); crime declined impressively (as it did almost everywhere in the U.S.) and the number of people covered by subsidized health care increased dramatically. His supporters say, See? All these were accomplished by, as the Post puts it, “the very tax increases that became so reviled.”

“I’ve done what I think is the right thing to do for the common good of the people I serve,” O’Malley said. Leftists always claim to be doing the practical thing to help people.

On the other side of the ledger, businesses and residents left the state in droves, and Gov. Hogan is left to pick up the pieces.

Whoever Republicans choose to run as the party’s candidate could face some iteration of Martin O’Malley, if not O’Malley himself. He’s smart, he’s ruthless and he already has the media in his pocket – all while Hillary disintegrates. It may end up being a tougher fight for the Democrat nomination than Hillary ever wanted.

For more, visit Right Analysis.


For more, visit Right Opinion.


American statesman John C. Calhoun (1782-1850): “The government of the absolute majority is but the government of the strongest interests; and when not effectively checked, is the most tyrannical and oppressive that can be devised… [N]o free system was ever farther removed from the principle that the absolute majority, without check or limitation, ought to govern.”

Columnist Ben Shapiro: “Same-sex marriage, it turns out, was never designed to grant legal benefits to same-sex couples. That could have been done under a regime of civil unions. Same-sex marriage was always designed to allow the government to have the power to cram down punishment on anyone who disobeys the government’s vision of the public good. One need not be an advocate of discrimination against gays to believe that government does not have the ability to enforce the prevailing social standards of the time in violation of individual rights. There are many situations in which advocates of freedom dislike particular exercises of that freedom but understand that government attacks on individual rights are far more threatening to the public good. You do not have a right to my services; I have a right to provide my services to whomever I choose. If you believe that your interpretation of public good enables you to bring a gun to the party, you are a bully and a tyrant. So it is with the modern American left, to whom freedom now means only the freedom to do what it is the left wants you to do at point of gun.”

FRC president Tony Perkins: “The reality is, if there weren’t a hostility toward faith, there wouldn’t be a need for RFRAs. As Americans, we have a proud tradition of respecting each other’s differences. But, under the policies and influence of the Obama administration, religious intolerance, especially toward Christians, has grown significantly. The various states that have passed RFRAs are simply extending the same courtesy of tolerance to men and women of faith that the Left now enjoys. As even the Wall Street Journal points out in its defense of Indiana’s bill, ‘The paradox is that even as America has become more tolerant of gays, many activists and liberals have become ever-more intolerant of anyone who might hold more traditional cultural or religious views.’ The Left is no longer satisfied with coexistence. They want to demand acceptance from others – and use the heavy hand of government to get it. They don’t just want to have their cake and eat it too – they want to force Christians to make their cake before they do. … What is unfolding [in Indiana] shows the source of true intolerance: those who want the government to punish people for freely living according to their beliefs.”

Fred Thompson: “Obama said, ‘I have a very business-like relationship with Netanyahu.’ Considering what he’s done to American businesses over the last 6 years, I have to agree.”

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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