This is the kind of stuff I used to read about in biographies of people who survived persecution in the Soviet Union and other communist countries. Â I can’t believe it’s happening here, and so many Americans are still asleep!
Remember when you lived in that America where you had freedom of expression? Well, itâ€™s easy to imagine that the old America doesnâ€™t exist any more with the story of the Secret Service agents that harassed a Twitter user because he dared criticize President Obama.
Tom Francois is an outspoken critic of President Obama on Twitter and has some 12 thousand followers that watch his every Tweet. (@Tom_Francois) But apparently his fans arenâ€™t the only ones hanging on his every Tweet.
As Tom found out, the Secret Service has blown in a â€œfollowâ€ to Tomâ€™s feed, too. But instead of laughing as Tom makes funny photoshopped, anti-Obama images and reveling in Obamaâ€™s many scandals, the Secret Service was watching and making plans to come pounding at his door to harass him for his political opinions.
On April 11, 2013, he heard relentless pounding on his door shouts of “Police!” The officers introduced themselves as members of TheÂ Secret ServiceÂ and asked if they could “take a look around.”
Since Tom had nothing to hide (and he didn’t want any return visits) – he complied fully with their request. He even signed a consent to search his premises AND an “Authorization To Review Medical and Mental Health Records!”
They asked Tom if he ever left his state or traveled to Washington, D.C.
One Agent asked Tom if he has any intentions of “whacking” the President.” To which Tom replied- “Of course not. I wish him no harm. I disagree with his policies and actions and I make no bones about it. It’s my First Amendment Right and I intend to exercise it.”
When I spoke to Tom he said, “Yes, I am EXTREMELY critical of Obama in my posts, but I never cross the line and threaten his being. EVER. It’s just the idea of Obama’s Secret Service intruding on my life when they knew I wasn’t really a threat.”
The Secret Service had a thick FBI file- filled with screenshots of hundreds of posts. Said Tom, “I flat out told them ‘I have NEVER threatened Obama’s life! Yes, I despise him as you can plainly see, but I have that right!’ They actually ADMITTED and agreed with me that I hadn’t threatened Obama.”
They had run a background check and discovered that Tom legally owned two guns- and they asked to see them. Tom showed them his firearms. They asked, “Are they loaded?” Tom replied in the affirmative. “What good are guns if they aren’t loaded?”
So why harass Tom? “The Secret Service officers claimed that “they were concerned that since I have a largeÂ TwitterÂ following, and the things I said could be acted upon by some nut case out there! What the hell? They turned my life upside down for THAT?”
Tom didn’t refuse the search because they just would have gone and gotten a warrant. “They would have proceeded to tear my house apart. No thanks. I have nothing to hide. They left empty-handed and my house is still intact.”
When they left Tom’s house, one Secret Service Agent ‘advised’-Â “Keep in mind, if you step over the line, we’ll come back for your guns.”
After the “visit” to Tom, the Secret Service also visited Tom’s 22 year old daughter- terrifying her and making her fear for her father’s safety. She asked them what they were going to do with the information about her Dad.Â They said they were going to “turn it over to Eric Holder- he has the last word on what to do, if anything.”
Notice that the raid on this innocent American came only four days before the Boston marathon bombing. While Islamic extremists were planning to kill people in Boston, the government was all worried about a Twitter user that made funny photoshopped pictures of Obama.
At the time, the arrest almost seemed secondary to the actions that the school was taking, but now that arrest is the story that is front and center as prosecutors move forward in actually pursuing the charges against the student. To be honest, I really assumed that the charge (obstruction of an officer) would be dropped.
According to a report byÂ WTRFÂ the prosecuting attorney is moving forward with that charge and a judge is allowing the case to move forward. Fourteen year old Jared Marcum could face up to a $500 fine and up to a year in jail (weâ€™ll seriously hope that isnâ€™t a real possibility) if found guilty.
According to theÂ report, the arresting officer alleges that when Jared refused to stop talking he hindered the officers ability to do his job and that is where the obstruction arrest came from. Iâ€™m guessing a 14 year old kid who felt intimidated was trying to explain himself, but letâ€™s throw him in jail for good measure.
Under the Gang of 8â€™s backroom immigration deal with Senators Schumer, Corker and Hoeven, formerly illegal immigrants who are amnestied will be eligible to work, but will not be eligible for ObamaCare. Employers who would be required to pay as much as a $3,000 penalty for most employees who receive an ObamaCare healthcare â€œexchangeâ€ subsidy, would not have to pay the penalty if they hire amnestied immigrants.
Consequently, employers would have a significant incentive to hire or retain amnestied immigrants, rather than current citizens, including those who have recently achieved citizenship via the current naturalization process.
Beginning in January,Â businessesÂ with 50 or more full-time employees, that do not currently offer healthcare benefits that are considered â€œacceptableâ€ by the Obama administration, must pay a penalty if at least one of their workers obtains insurance on a new government-run â€œexchange.â€ TheÂ penaltyÂ can be as much as $3,000 per employee.
Many employers have been preparing to cope with the new regulations byÂ slashing the hours of full-timers to part-time status. Since â€œfull-time,â€ in the language of ObamaCare, is averaging 30 hours per week, employers will, in general, receive the penalty if they have 50 or more employees who are working an average of 30 hours per week.
If the immigration bill becomes law, many employers could receive incentives of hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire amnestied immigrants over American citizens. In addition, these newly legalized immigrants could work â€œfull-time,â€ an advantage for companies and businesses as well, while employers could lay off or diminish to â€œpart-timeâ€ status, American workers.
A Louisiana lawman is livid over the federal governmentâ€™s decision to cut off funds for two programs to help troubled young people, all, he says, Â because he refused to sign a pledge to bar prayer or any mention of God at their meetings.
Julian Whittington, the sheriff of Bossier Parish, La., told Fox News the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights defunded $30,000 for their Young Marines chapter as well as a youth diversion program.Â Federal officials objected to a voluntary student-led prayer in the departmentâ€™s youth diversion program and an oath recited by the Young Marines that mentions God, according to Whittington, who blasted what he considers the governmentâ€™s Â â€œaggression and infringement of our religious freedoms.â€
â€œWe were informed that these are unacceptable, inherently religious activities and the Department of Justice would not be able to fund the programs if it continued,â€ Whittington told Fox News. â€œThey wanted a letter from me stating that I would no longer have voluntary prayer and I would also have to remove â€˜Godâ€™ from the Young Marineâ€™s oath.â€
â€œI flat said, â€˜Itâ€™s not going to happen,â€™â€ he told reporters. â€œEnough is enough. This is the United States of Americaâ€”and the idea that the mere mention of God or voluntary prayer is prohibited is ridiculous.â€
Whittington further emphasized that heâ€™s more concerned about the censorship than he is the lost funds.
â€œThe money is not the issue,â€ he stated. â€œItâ€™s the principle of the matter. What is going on here? Who is dictating what can or canâ€™t be said in Bossier Parish?â€
Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington was greeted with loud applause and shouts of â€œAmenâ€ when he said he will not remove God from the Young Marines program during its 27th class graduation ceremony today.
The program has lost about $30,000 in federal funding because of a voluntary prayer cadets recite.
â€œHe doesnâ€™t need the politicians,â€ Lindea McCroix, whoâ€™s 9-year-old daughter Savannah Truelove graduated. â€œGod will take him through it.â€
The department has never received a complaint about the voluntary prayer, which states â€œâ€¦ I will set an example for all other youth to follow and I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon my God, my Country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marinesâ€¦â€
The prayer has been a part of the program since its inception 10 years ago. A random audit showing the federal funding sparked the controversy.
â€œWeâ€™ve never had one complaint from anybody for anything,â€ Whittington said, noting the department tried to compromise with the Department of Justice, which said God must be removed in order for federal funding to continue.
â€œI said, â€˜Keep it. Weâ€™re not doing it. Game over.â€
On Thursday the Examiner providedÂ an exclusive reportÂ indicating that theÂ Obama administrationÂ had implemented a covert program beginning in 2009 that was intended to spy on conservative, evangelical Christian churches.
That program involved infiltration — sending in government operatives to join churches for the purpose of data collection. The government snoops would keep their eyes and ears open for criticism of the Obama administration, talk of Tea Party participation, conversations about gun ownership, and a number of other issues.
But aÂ special report issued today by Fox NewsÂ indicates that the program went far beyond infiltration and snooping. The IRS was used to harass Christian churches if they were identified as places where large numbers of anti-Obama citizens congregated for worship.
The Obama administration, according to the report, considered any public criticism of administration policies to be political in nature and should therefore impact whether or not these congregations were allowed to gain or keep their tax exempt status.
What most people don’t realize is that the IRS has been acting as the speech police for decades. Ever since 1954, when then-Senator Lyndon Johnson pushed for a law enabling the IRS to punish non-profits who opposed him politically, the IRS has been in the business of government censor. Whatâ€™s worse is that one of the biggest targets of this censorship has been religious people and houses of worship. In fact, one of the IRSâ€™s first targets in the 1950s was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was subjected to a searching IRS audit because of his religious advocacy for civil rights for African-Americans.
The IRS of course has the crushing power to deny or revoke the non-profit status of a synagogue, church, or mosque if it says something the IRS decides is too “political.” But it can also put houses of worship and other religious organizations through the wringer of intrusive, costly, and time-consuming audits.
There are two ways the targeting works. One way is for an outside group, often one that is anti-religion, to file a complaint asking the IRS to investigate a church they donâ€™t like. The IRS responds to the complaint by opening an investigation and asking the church often hundreds of questions about its activities, with the threat of revocation of non-profit status. This is what lawyers call â€œselective enforcementâ€ and it is unconstitutional. No one should be singled out in this way, especially because of collusion between the IRS and outside groups with an ax to grind.
The second way the censorship starts is for IRS officials to take their lead from high government officials, including the President, to decide which groups to target for disfavor. This is apparently what happened to the â€œtea partyâ€ groups, but religious groups have also been targeted in this way.
Don’t believe it? Just ask Billy Graham. Last fall, the famed Christian evangelist publicly advocated on behalf of a ballot measure in his home state of North Carolina, taking a position that the President and other high government officials publicly opposed. The tax man was knocking at the door almost immediately. And while the expensive, time-consuming audit eventually ended without any finding of wrongdoing by Graham, a message was sent to every other religious group that might oppose government policy: the IRS can use its audit powers to harass you or shut you down simply for saying what you believe. That kind of intimidation is wrong–and unconstitutional.
A landmark Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act has set up a stand-off between Republican-led states and the Obama administration over controversial voting laws that until now had been stalled.
The 5-4 ruling on Tuesday addressed a 1960s-era provision that largely singled out states and districts in the South — those with a history of discrimination — and required them to seek federal permission to change their voting laws.
The court ruled that the formula determining which states are affected was unconstitutional.
In doing so, the court potentially opened the door for certain states to proceed with voter ID laws and other efforts that to date had been held up because of the Voting Rights Act. Prominent among those are voter identification laws in Alabama and Mississippi.
The Voting Rights Act is what unscrupulous Attorney General Eric Holder used to block states from implementing voter ID laws aimed at combating election fraud. The Left relies on fraud to win closely contested elections.
[…] Â The ruling recognizes that widespread systematic voting discrimination is a distant memory. Today black Americans fully participate in the democratic process by voting, running for, and winning elective office at every level of government up to and including the highest office in the land.
But this is bad news for the race industry which thrives on making mountains out of molehills.
Predictably, leftist demagogues and community organizers across the fruited plain are howling now that a key tool they used to frustrate electoral integrity efforts has been taken away.
How have we gotten to the point where government can force private companies to pay for controversial services like abortion from another private company? Â Whatever happened to the freedom to VOLUNTARILY decide which products and services you want toÂ purchase, and from whom?
In a move that sends the message that her role is a powerful one, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has required health insurers to include Planned Parenthood as an â€œessential community providerâ€ along with other doctors and health facilities in their networks.
Paul Bedard at theÂ Washington Examiner (WE)Â reportsÂ that most of Planned Parenthoodâ€™s 750 health and abortion clinics in the country will be covered by ObamaCare. Sebelius’ command means that health insurers who wish to participate in the state health care exchanges must cover services by Planned Parenthood, as well as other â€œessential community providers,â€ such as AIDS clinics, pain management facilities, and alternative medicine providers.
[…] Â Â Though ObamaCare is not, technically speaking,Â supposed to cover abortions, the fact that Planned Parenthood has always had significant support from Sebelius, and is already an important player in the â€œnavigator systemâ€–assisting insurance advisers in signing Americans up for the exchanges–is a real concern for Americans seeking limited government and those who are pro-life.
Planned Parenthood, which she deems as an “essential community provider,” is part of the long list of local organizations that insurers are required to partner with. (Others,Â Bedard says, include lesbian and gay centers, family planning clinics, and “holistic” centers.)
“We’ve never covered these sorts of thing,” a Wisconsin provider told Bedard. He, like most health care representatives, is probably horrified at the prospect of collaborating with an organization which (when it isn’tÂ lobbying for infanticide) is on trial forÂ government fraudÂ andÂ botched abortions. Unfortunately for Americans, Sebelius — not Congress — decides what belongs in state exchanges. And if herÂ past relationshipsÂ are any indication, taxpayers are in for even more surprises when ObamaCare goes into effect January 1.
Revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups for discriminatory treatment, and leaked confidential information about those groups to a left-wing outfit, ProPublica, should make us think twice about the White Houseâ€™s plans to give the IRS even more authority â€” over our medicine cabinets.
Thatâ€™s right. The IRS is being put in charge of enforcing the presidentâ€™s health care law, Obamacare. The controversial law fills 2,801 pages; its various regulations, another 13,000. This mountain of paper forms a stack seven feet high, or, laid end to end, a paper trail stretching for two and a half miles. And it turns out no federal agency is given a more important role in implementing all that red tape than the IRS, the recipient of no fewer than 47 new duties and enforcement powers under the law.
Those duties include imposing tax penalties on individuals and businesses, and providing tax subsidies to millions of people who buy insurance through government â€œexchanges.â€ According to the IRS inspector general, the new health care powers and duties â€œrepresent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years.â€
Hmm. Are we really prepared to put our health insurance system under the same agency that, as weâ€™ve learned from the targeting scandal, took 1,138 days to approve just one non-exempt groupâ€™s tax application?
[…] Â If citizens who hold a disfavored political view are already being harassed with excessive paperwork requests and delays, whatâ€™s preventing politically motivated IRS bureaucrats from leaking sensitive health information to groups like ProPublica, or subjecting those with disfavored medical conditions to discriminatory audits?
[…] Â One of the many troubling facts to emerge from the targeting scandal has been the incredibly personal nature of the questions asked of groups applying for non-profit status. The IRS made some groups disclose all of their employeesâ€™ resumes, as well as information about the nature of personal relationships between employees. They even demanded to know the contents of a religious groupâ€™s prayers. If this level of detail is required for a rather simple business matter, determining tax-exempt status, imagine what the tax bureaucrats will do with our intimate health-related information.
What on earth do a bunch of paper pushers need with AR-15’s and shotguns?
Rep. Jeff Duncan, a Republican Congressman from SC, has started a bit of a firestorm on Twitter. Duncan is the Homeland Oversight Chair, and during a recent tour of a DHS facility, the congressman noticed IRS (yes, the Internal Revenue Service) agents training with AR-15 style rifles.
Why you might ask? Well thatâ€™s a good question, and the congressman has the same ones. Itâ€™s been known that the Department of Homeland Security has been bulking up their guns and ammo reserves for sometime now. However, this is the first report weâ€™ve gotten of IRS agents getting in on the action. Now, the IRS does have armed enforcement agents, and they have for a long time, but why they now need tactical training is a serious question.
â€œWhy do IRS law enforcement agents need standoff capability that you would have with a long rifle or with a weapon similar to an AR-15?Â Theyâ€™re generally investigating tax evasion, fraud and money laundering.Â We think of the IRS as an audit agency more than doing the type of law enforcement where they have to use an AR-15.â€
Duncan said the IRS has the resources of the federal government, including the FBI, if they come into a situation where they feel like they need a SWAT team.
“I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.
That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient.”
It would appear that his tune has changed since becoming president:
During his speech in San Jose, California on Friday, President Obama took one question from the press on national security monitoring of Americans. Without any sense of irony whatsoever in the aftermath of the IRSâ€™ targeting of conservatives, the administrationâ€™s stonewalling on Benghazi, the Department of Justiceâ€™s targeting of reporters, the Department of Health and Human Servicesâ€™ leveraging of private organizations for Obamacare public relations cash, and the Environmental Protection Agencyâ€™s secret email addresses, Obama unloaded this line:
If people canâ€™t trust not only the executive branch but also donâ€™t trust Congress, and donâ€™t trust federal judges, to make sure that weâ€™re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then weâ€™re going to have some problems here.
Obama acknowledged that the U.S. government is collecting reams of phone records, including phone numbers and the duration of calls, but said this does not include listening to calls or gathering the names of callers.
“Nobody’s listening to the content of people’s phone calls,” Obama said.
The Investors Business Daily editorial board opines:
Barack Obama is now not only following George Orwell’s model in his newly uncovered domestic spying practices; he’s copying one of the most shocking aspects of the dystopian society Orwell conjured: telling people the exact opposite of the truth with a straight face.
[…] Â When a president who promised “the most open and transparent administration in history” must now scramble and assure the country that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” it exposes a grave breach of trust.
AÂ poll released Monday showsÂ that despite the uproar over the National Security Agencyâ€™s newly leaked surveillance programs, a majority of Americans are fine with the agency’s pervasive reach. Still, a sizable majority is opposed to the vast NSA surveillance net.
The snap poll comes courtesy of the Pew Research CenterÂ and the Washington Post. After asking 1,004 American adults for their opinions on NSA surveillance programs like the newly revealed tech-spying program PRISM, pollsters found that 56 percent of Americans have no objection.
That’s the most pressing question. The civic negligence required to reach this point is the thing that most disappoints me about my fellow citizens, who ought to throw out every last member of Congress complicit in the metastasizing surveillance state. I am serious. Look up your representative. In a letter or phone call, demand they take a stand against this, on penalty of you voting against them in a primary or general.
That’s how change happens when the president who promised it turns out to have lied.
We don’t knowÂ if the federal government has a similar order for AT&T or any other carrier. Or if they’re spying on Americans’ emails as well. Why? That isn’t the sort of thing President Obama thinks he needs to tell us, and Congress persists in giving him that latitude. Americans, who haven’t been objecting to any of this in large numbers, aren’t even demanding to know whether or not their government is assemblingÂ the most sophisticated surveillance state in human history.
Has fear of terrorism done this to us?
Whatever the cause, the current behavior of the American electorate does not befit a free people.
A veteran member of the U.S. Army Band said he is facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party.
Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a 25-year Army veteran and conservative Christian based at Fort Myer in Washington, believes his outspoken opposition to gay marriage prompted higher-ups to take a closer look at his beliefs. The recipient of an Army Commendation Medal and a soloist at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford, Sommers said his core beliefs are enough to mark a soldier for persecution in todayâ€™s military.
[…] Â Sommersâ€™ troubles began last April when he was told to remove pro-Republican, anti-Obama bumper stickers that were on his privately owned car.
The stickers read: â€œPolitical Dissent is NOT Racism,â€ â€œNOBAMA,â€ NOPE2012â€ and â€œThe Road to Bankruptcy is Paved with Ass-Fault.â€ That sticker included the image of a donkey.
His superior officer told the solider that the bumper stickers were creating â€œunnecessary workplace tension.â€
â€œThe types of stickers on your car were creating an atmosphere detrimental to morale and were creating unnecessary workplace tension,â€ the officer wrote in an Army document obtained by Fox News. â€œA Soldier must balance their personal feelings with the mission of the U.S. Army. Even the slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.â€
Attorney Wells said once he got involved, the military backed off of filing a formal reprimand.
â€œHeâ€™s allowed to have those bumper stickers on his car,â€ he said. â€œThe DoD regulation allows it. There was nothing obscene about it.â€
During the summer months, Sommers came under fire for reading the works of Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and David Limbaugh.
Sommers was reading Limbaughâ€™sÂ â€œThe Great Destroyerâ€Â backstage at a U.S. Army Band concert at the U.S. Capitol. A superior officer told him that he was causing â€œunit disruptionâ€ and was offending other soldiers.
â€œI wasnâ€™t reading aloud,â€ he said. â€œI was just reading privately to myself. I was told they were frowning on that and they warned me that I should not be reading literature like that backstage because it was offensive.â€
Sommers said he was told to refrain from reading the book â€œwhile in uniform or within sight of anyone from the band.â€
â€œThis is the first time since (my superior officer) indicated I had offended others with my choice of reading material, that I was officially counseled about it,â€ he said. â€œThe statement took my breath away. I was speechless.â€
In spite of those incidents, the Army promoted the soldier in September to the rank of master sergeant. But the promotion would also mark the launch of an effort by the military to punish the soldier.
His promotion coincided with a controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A. The companyâ€™s president told a reporter that he was â€œguilty as chargedâ€ when it came to supporting traditional marriage. Gay rights activists pounced- calling for a boycott of the Christian-owned company. And some Democratic officials vowed to block Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants in their cities.
In response to that, Fox News Channel host Mike Huckabee launched a national Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to rally support for the restaurant chain.
â€œI was inspired by Gov. Huckabeeâ€™s appreciation day,â€ Sommers told Fox News. â€œAnd since I wasnâ€™t able to participate in the event, I decided to serve Chick-fil-A at my promotion party.â€
Itâ€™s a long-standing tradition within the U.S. Army Band for promoted soldiers to host a party for their fellow troops. So the soldier decided to have Chick-fil-A cater the meal.
â€œMy family likes Chick-fil-A and we like what they stand for,â€ he said. â€œI can make a statement and at least express a religious point of view at my promotion party â€“ theoretically without any fear of reprisal.â€
The soldier also tweeted about the party: â€œIn honor of DADT repeal, and Obama/Holderâ€™s refusal to enforce DOMA act, Iâ€™m serving Chick-fil-A at my MSG promo reception for Army today.â€
He also tweeted to radio host Mark Levin: â€œ@Marklevinshow â€˜luv ya, Mark! Fellow Virginian & MSG, Army. Being promoted today, serving Chick-fil-A @ reception in honor of DADT repeal.â€
Both tweets were cited in an official military document.
â€œAs a Soldier you must be cognizant of the fact that your statements can be perceived by the general public and other service members to be of a nature bordering on disrespect to the President of the United States,â€ the document stated.
Sommers said he paid for the party with personal money, not government funds.
â€œI had no idea a Chick-fil-A sandwich would get me in trouble,â€ he said.
He was later summoned by a superior officer, who the soldier said is openly gay, and was told that unidentified individuals were offended by the tweets and some considered them to be racist.
Sommers was reprimanded, threatened with judicial action and given a bad efficiency report. An investigation was also launched.
â€œItâ€™s an obvious attempt to set him up and force him out of the military,â€ Wells said. â€œThey recently did an NCO evaluation that effectively torpedoed his chance at promotion and he could be forced out of the Army.â€
On Saturday, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin urged soldiers to post pictures of themselves reading books written by conservatives like Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and David Limbaugh. Palin did so after an “outrageous” report surfaced that revealed the U.S. Army was punishing a soldier for reading books written by conservative authors.
“Whether you agree or disagree with this soldierâ€™s opinions, I think we can all agree that the apparent retribution he faced for proudly reading certain authors is outrageous,” Palin wrote.
A member of the U.S. Army Band who said he was reprimanded for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his personal car, serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at a party and reading books written by conservative authors like Sean Hannity is now facing Article 15 charges â€“ which cropped up shortly after he went public with his complaints.
Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a decorated soloist with the Army Band, is being charged under a federal law that permits commanding officers to conduct non-judicial proceedings for minor offenses.
Sommers is accused of giving a superior officer the wrong date for a doctorâ€™s appointment. Heâ€™s also accused of failing to carry out an order. In order to comply with that order, Sommers would have had to disclose private information about his autistic sonâ€™s medical records.
The charges were handed down one day after Sommers told Fox News that he was facing discrimination and persecution because of his conservative political and religious beliefs.
â€œThe timing does seem strange,â€ retired Navy Commander John Bennett Wells told Fox News. â€œItâ€™s suspicious. No matter whatâ€™s happening it looks like a graduated attempt to build a case against him on some really ridiculous charges.
Wells is representing the 25-year veteran who, until last summer, had a spotless record.
Common Coreâ€™s English standardsÂ stressÂ nonfiction over literature. By grade 12, 70 percent of what studentsÂ readÂ should be informational rather than literary.Â Supporters of the guidelines say an increased focus on informational texts will better prepare kids for post-college employment.
Many of these nonfiction texts come from government websites and promote the findings of various government agencies.
Some might find the texts a bit dry. (And thatâ€™s without including â€œKenyaâ€™s Long Dry Season.â€)
Here are a few recommended informational texts.
â€œInvasive Plant Inventory,â€ by the California Invasive Plant Council. This is just a list of invasive plant species in California.
â€œRecommended Levels of Insulation,â€ by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While assuredly a fascinating read, The DC News Foundation was unable to review â€œRecommended Levels of Insulation,â€ because the websiteÂ was hacked.
â€œFedViews,â€ by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. This report from 2009 explains that the federal stimulus helped to stabilize the economy and asserts that there is no link between deficit spending and inflation.
I must admit that I would have been too embarrassed to teach Julia Alvarezâ€™s sexually explicit novel, In the Time of the Butterflies, to the college students I have taught for over twenty years, much less to ninth- and tenth-graders, as many Georgia high school teachers have been instructed to do.
Some high school teachers also have a problem with its overtly feminist and leftist-leaning ideology. The men are portrayed as weak drunkards, continually cheating on their wives.
For example, there is a drunken New Yearâ€™s celebration of â€œthe triumphant announcement.Â Batista had fled!Â Fidel, his brother Raul, and Ernesto they call Che had entered Havana and liberated the country.â€ No indication in the novel that Fidel and Raul turned out to be tyrants, or Che a mass murderer.
The novel has explicit descriptions of masturbation and intercourse, but Iâ€™m too embarrassed to quote those.
The novel is taken straight from Common Coreâ€™s â€œText Exemplarsâ€ for ninth and tenth grades.Â Although the â€œexemplarsâ€ are officially intended to be suggested readings, educrats take the suggestions literally.Â They know that they have to prepare students for theÂ national testsÂ being rolled out in 2014/2015.
[…] Â Even my question in private to the school board member (who claimed to love â€œliteratureâ€) about the fact that informational texts like EPA directives will be replacing a large percentage of literary works was met with the retort, â€œSo how many times do you use Beowulf?Â Graduates need to learn how to read informational texts in order to be able to read instructions at work.â€
No doubt, high school students sharing his opinion would rather read Alvarezâ€™s unchallenging polemical and titillating prose than Beowulf or Paradise Lost.Â Â No doubt, her novel will bring them up to speed on politically correct figures and sex tips.Â The accompanying EPA directives will teach them how to scan boring texts for required instructions at their â€œ21stÂ centuryâ€ jobs where they will do tasks that require little concentration or independent thought.
When I walked into this yearâ€™sÂ Oregon Adolescent Sexuality ConferenceÂ in Seaside, Oregon, one of the first things I encountered was a table manned by three young teen boys. On the table was a collage that included many depictions of totally bare female genitaliaâ€”obviously pornographic and, one would think, illegal.
The collage included a drawing of a woman circa 1950 declaring, in the most base terms, what a womanâ€™s private parts should smell like. It also included a drawing of a pigtailed little girl riding on a tricycle with the word â€œVagina!â€ written above her, and another drawing of a young female child standing by a rose, with the word â€œVaginaâ€ written below her on a chalkboard.
â€œEveryone can come insideâ€ are the words visible along the outer edge of the piece, which appeared to be a decoupaged plate.
The boys smiled nervously as hordes of teens, who had arrived for what some described as a field trip, passed the display table. Planned Parenthood was on the steering committee of this conference.
The booth belonged to Youth for Education and Prevention of Sexual Assault (YEPSA), a supposedly teen-led initiative from Eugene, Oregon. At a booth whose stated mission was the prevention of sexual assault, I could only wonder why the teen boys would be manning a table containing graphic pictures of female genitalia, suggesting that â€œeveryone can come insideâ€ a pigtailed little girl on a tricycle.
With that question in mind, I checked on the Internet and found that the group puts on performances, the first of which wasÂ The Vagina Monologues. The students stated they just finished a run of a play that they wrote about the life struggles of a transgendered woman. They have a transgender education panel coming up, and they do art shows around teen sexuality and gender.
Day two of the conference found me very reluctantly attending a workshop led by YEPSA entitled â€œYou Say Porn, I Say Porn!â€
The program description did not even begin to touch the stark reality of the session. â€œTo porn or not to porn, that is the question. YEPSA will be leading the masses through the very exciting world of pornography.â€ The session was held in a large room, filled with teens and adults. It started with a soft porn video commercial.
About 10 teen facilitators lined up across the front of the room and introduced themselves. They gave their names and the pronoun they prefer (â€œI prefer â€˜she,â€™â€ â€œI donâ€™t have a preference but I identify as male,â€ etc.). This was in keeping with a theory emphasized over and over at the conferenceâ€”that gender is fluid and is determined only by the person in question and how that person feels at that particular time about his or her gender. In others words, biology has nothing to do with gender.
[…] Â This is just a sampling of the plan that Planned Parenthood has for our teens. Check out our website atÂ www.stopp.org, where I will be writing for several weeks on the unbelievably inappropriate materials and scenarios that were presented at this conference.
Oregon Education Department â€œsexuality education expertâ€ Brad VictorÂ prides himselfÂ on the fact that Oregon has the â€œmost progressive sex education laws in the nation,â€ and brags about how he easily slid Oregonâ€™s explicit Administrative Rule under the radar as a consent item at the state board level. The plan is that other states will follow suit. Many are already deeply embroiled in Planned Parenthoodâ€™s sex education. Those who are not embroiled are targeted.
But as we pointed out inÂ our last editionÂ ofÂ The Wednesday STOPP Report, Brad Victor also demonstrated that if parents will speak out at every level, sex education can be easily derailed in a school districtâ€”even one where the programs are already firmly in place. The sooner parents start their challenges, however, the better.
Jim Sedlakâ€™s bookÂ Parent Power!!Â is available free of charge on our website. It is a brilliant instructional tool that lays out the plan that parents can follow to get Planned Parenthood out of local schools. It is a plan that has been proven to work time and time again when parents follow it. Read Jimâ€™s book today and take action!
The IRS scandalÂ is deepening as a new tape has been released today showing a disturbing phone call the Internal Revenue Service placed to a non-profit organization.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a pro-life legal group, made the audio available today of IRS officials telling a group that provides support to women in abusive pregnancy situations to keep its faith to itself. In the recorded phone conversation, an IRS agent lectures the president of the organization about forcing its religion and beliefs on others and inaccurately explains that the group must remain neutral on issues such as abortion.
ADF is providing legal representation for the group â€” which did not receive its tax-exempt status until last week after waiting nearly two and a half years after applying for it.
â€œThe IRS is a tax collector; it shouldnâ€™t be allowed to be the speech and belief police,â€ said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. â€œThe current scandal isnâ€™t new but has merely exposed the abuse of power that characterizes this agency and threatens our fundamental freedoms.â€