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.
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.
As Egyptians prepare for massive protests against the U.S. government-backed Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohamed Morsi, the Obama administration is set to deploy hundreds of American troops to Egypt. While more than a few analysts have argued that U.S. forces will be used to continue propping up â€œIslamofascistsâ€ in the Middle East, authorities from both governments claim the soldiers are merely being sent as part of a nine-month international â€œpeacekeepingâ€ scheme.
To add insult to injury, Obama is telling Egyptian Christians to quietly submit to dhimmitude (second-class status) where they cannot own property, are forced to pay the jizya (extortive taxes for “protection” from the mob), surrender their religious liberties andÂ live in constant fear of beatings, prison, rape, forced “marriages” and conversions, and even execution if one of their Muslim neighbors decides to falsely accuse them to settle a score or try to extort a bribe.
As Egyptians of all factions prepare to demonstrate in mass against the Muslim Brotherhood and PresidentÂ Morsiâ€™sÂ rule on June 30, the latter has been trying to reduce their numbers, which some predict will be in the millions and eclipse theÂ TahrirÂ protests that earlier ousted Mubarak.Â Â Among other influential Egyptians, Morsi recently called on Coptic Christian PopeÂ TawadrosÂ II to urge his flock, Egyptâ€™s millions of Christians, not to join the June 30 protests.
While that may be expected, more troubling is that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt is also trying to prevent Egyptians from protestingâ€”including the Copts.Â Â The June 18thÂ edition ofÂ SadiÂ al-BaladÂ reports that lawyer RamsesÂ Naggar, the Coptic Churchâ€™s legal counsel, said that during Pattersonâ€™s June 17 meeting with PopeÂ Tawadros, she â€œasked him to urge the Copts not to participateâ€ in the demonstrations againstÂ MorsiÂ and the Brotherhood.
[…] Â Among other things, underÂ Morsiâ€™sÂ rule, the persecution of Copts has practically been legalized,Â Â as unprecedented numbers ofÂ Christiansâ€”men, women, and childrenâ€”have been arrested, often receiving more than double the maximum prison sentence, under the accusation that theyÂ â€œblasphemedâ€ Islam and/or its prophet.Â Â It was also underÂ Morsiâ€™s reign that another unprecedented scandal occurred: the St. Mark Cathedralâ€”holiest site of Coptic Christianity and headquarters to the PopeÂ TawadrosÂ himselfâ€”wasÂ besieged in broad daylightÂ by Islamic rioters.Â Â When security came, they too joined in the attack on the cathedral.Â Â And theÂ targeting of Christian childrenâ€”for abduction, ransom, rape, and/or forced conversionâ€”has also reached unprecedented levels underÂ Morsi.Â Â (For more on the plight of the Copts underÂ Morsiâ€™sÂ rule, see my new bookÂ Crucified Again: Exposing Islamâ€™s New War on Christians.)
Yet despite the fact that if anyone in Egypt has a legitimate human rights concern against the current Egyptian government, it most certainly is the Christian Copts, here is the U.S., in the person of Ms. Patterson, asking them not to join the planned protests.
In other words, and consistent with Obama administrationâ€™s doctrine, when Islamistsâ€”including rapists and cannibalsâ€”wage jihad on secular leaders, the U.S. supports them; when Christians protest Islamist rulers who are making their lives a living hell, the administration asks them to â€œknow their placeâ€ and behave likeÂ dhimmis, Islamâ€™s appellation for non-Muslim â€œinfidelsâ€ who must live as third class â€œcitizensâ€ and never complain about theirÂ Â inferior status.
The radical, Marxist Environmentalist agenda has always been about destroying capitalism and industry. Â It has nothing to do with “saving the planet.” Â Since the “science” facade of Global Warming is quickly falling apart, their goal is to impose their agenda by force as quickly as possible before the game is up.
So much for the denials. An administration that throughout its 2012 election campaign denied it was waging a War on Coal has now come out and publicly declared its intention to shut down coal-fired power plants â€“ putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work and sending electricity prices skyrocketing.
This is not what the American people voted for.
[…] Â Obama made clear in his speech that he intends to impose regulations on existing coal plants that can only be met through carbon capture and storage (technology that doesnâ€™t exist on a commercial scale), switching to natural gas, or shutting down completely.
Coal still producesÂ 37 percentÂ of U.S. electricity. AÂ Heritage Foundation analysisÂ found that implementing Obamaâ€™s proposed regulation on existing coal plants would destroy more than 500,000 jobs, slash the income of a typical family of four more than $1,400 a year, and increase electricity prices at least 20 percent.Â Price spikes could be much higher in states that depend heavily on coal-fired power plants, especially in the Midwest.Â President Obama once famously explained that he intended to make electricity prices â€œnecessarily skyrocket.â€
Under pressure from environmentalists, President Barack Obamaâ€™s new plan to tackleÂ global warmingÂ relies on executive power to corral power plants.
The president calls for theÂ EnvironmentalÂ Protection Agency to â€œexpeditiouslyâ€ set limits on carbon dioxide emissions for new and existing power plants, a move that will be hailed by environmentalists and decried as debilitating by the struggling coal industry.
â€œTo accomplish these goals, President Obama is issuing a Presidential Memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants,â€ states the Obama plan.
[…] Â Obamaâ€™s announcement comes at a time when cracks are starting to show in the science surrounding global warming, as global temperatures stopped rising about 15 years ago.
Congress is taking action on religious liberty in the military, a story that wasÂ originally reportedÂ by Breitbart News. New legal language passed a key committee this week and next goes to the full House and then the Senate; it could become federal law later this year.
[…] Â The first amendment was offered by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). It protects the rights of chaplains to speak and pray in a manner consistent with their faith, such as ending a prayer in Jesusâ€™ name. This amendment passed by voice vote.
A second amendment was offered to create â€œatheist chaplains,â€ as Breitbart NewsÂ reportedearlier this week. This mockery of the chaplaincy was proposed by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), pushed by groups often hostile to Christians and observant members of other faiths. The committee rejected this amendment by a vote of 43-18. The military already provides secular counseling to service members, while chaplains are by definition religious and spiritual counselors.
The third amendment is the most consequential. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) offered an amendment specifying that the religious speech and actions of all service members is a protected right, and that the Department of Defense will enact regulations to allow and accommodate those beliefs in both word and deed.
The Obama Administration â€œstrongly objectsâ€ to a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have protected the religious rights of soldiers â€“ including evangelical Christian service members who are facing growing hostility towards their religion.
The amendment was authored by Rep. John Fleming, R-La. It would have â€œrequired the Armed Forces to accommodate â€˜actions and speechâ€™ reflecting the conscience, moral, principles or religious beliefs of the member.â€
The Obama Administration said the amendment would have a â€œsignificant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.â€
â€œWith its statement, the White House is now endorsing military reprimands of members who keep a Bible on their desk or express a religious belief,â€ Fleming told Fox News. â€œThis administration is aggressively hostile towards religious beliefs that it deems to be politically incorrect.â€
The White House released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on H.R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014. Â […]
The SAP includes a veto threat: â€œâ€¦if the bill is presented to the President for approval in its current form, the Presidentâ€™s senior advisers would recommend that the President veto the bill.â€
In other words, Obama says he will veto any bill that forbids his appointees or officers from telling a soldier that he cannot mention Jesus during prayer or have a Bible on his desk, or that keeps those appointees from telling a chaplain (who is an ordained clergyman) what religious teachings he is allowed to give in worship services, or what spiritual counseling he can give to another soldier.
Ambassador Ken Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, tells Breitbart News:
President Obama is waging a war on religion. He and Chuck Hagel are denying the most basic rights to those who put their lives on the line to protect all of our rights. It is shameful and appalling. I am confident that congressional leadership will show courage to stand up for our troops against this radical assault on religious liberty in the military.
This is the most compelling expression yet of the aggressive approach of the Obama-Hagel Defense Department to soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who are observant Christians or devout members of other peaceful faiths, as seen in Breitbart Newsâ€™Â previous reportsregarding the unconstitutional infringements of one of Americaâ€™s most treasured, fundamental rights.
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.
At the moment, there is just one, singular force holding back the IRS from making an all-out, systematic assault on conservative Americans as a way of life in this country. That force is the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Were theÂ bodyÂ not in GOP hands, the IRS targeting of a significant number of citizens for their political beliefs would have already fallen from the headlines. No hearings would be held. No one would be asked to resign. Or if they were, it would only be for show, as the agency continued to target anti-government Americans with Washington’s tacit approval.
Such a one-party system can be arranged, starting this week, as the Senate begins debating the immigration bill. It’s merely a matter of demographics. If amnesty is given to 11 million illegal aliens by Congress, the shift to an America one-party state will accelerate at warp speed.
That’s because the amnesty isn’t really for 11 million people, but for over 30 million. If amnesty for the 11 million illegal aliens currently in the country passes, within a decade, Rosemary Jenks, a lawyer with NumbersUSA tells me, at least 17 million additional people will qualify for permanent legal status, the first step in the pathway to citizenship. They will come as part of the “family unification” process that will allow today’s illegal aliens to bring their family members here. These people would be eligible to enter the country not decades from now, but in the decade after the immigration bill as currently proposed in the Senate passes. Jenks says her estimate of close to 30 million illegals and their families gaining permanent legal status within the coming decade is actually conservative.
[…] Â Republicans and conservatives like to kid themselves that the values they hold in common with largely Hispanic illegal aliens of today could somehow make them competitive with this demographic if they mollified them with amnesty, but that won’t work.
A mind-blowing 75 percent of Hispanics tell Pew they want bigger government with more services. Contrast that with just 41 percent of the American public that says it wants bigger government with more services. (Some 45 percent of the general American population wants smaller government with fewer services. For Hispanics, it’s 19 percent.)
This Hispanic love affair with big government isn’t a short-term result of the Great Recession. It isn’t a temporary product of the first-generation poverty; immigrants, legal or otherwise, have always struggled through in America. This affection for big government is uniquely cultural for Hispanics, and so strongly embedded that it apparently persists for generations.
Some 81 percent of first-generation Hispanic immigrants tell Pew pollsters they prefer big government. In the second generation, it’s 72 percent. By the third generation, the number is just shy of 60 percent. Contrast that, again, with the mere 41 percent of the general American population that feels the same.
Conservative or Republican candidates have no way to win this class of voter except to offer him an all-powerful government that provides for more of his needs than the one their Democratic opponent is offering. Otherwise, they’ll lose large portions of this vote — for generations. Once former illegal immigrants start voting, an amnesty granted a decade before by a bipartisan majority will be but a distantmemory.
It must be fun for liberals to manipulate Republicans into focusing on hopeless causes. Why donâ€™t Democrats waste their time trying to win the votes of gun owners?
As journalist Steve Sailer recently pointed out, the Hispanic vote terrifying Republicans isnâ€™t that big. It actually declined in 2012. The Census Bureau finally released the real voter turnout numbers from the last election, and the Hispanic vote came in at only 8.4 percent of the electorate â€” not the 10 percent claimed by the pro-amnesty crowd.
[…] Â In raw numbers, nearly twice as many blacks voted as Hispanics, and nine times as many whites voted as Hispanics. (Ninety-eight million whites, 18 million blacks and 11 million Hispanics.)
So, naturally, the Republican Partyâ€™s entire battle plan going forward is to win slightly more votes from 8.4 percent of the electorate by giving them something they donâ€™t want.
As Byron York has shown, even if Mitt Romney had won 70 percent of the Hispanic vote, he still would have lost. No Republican presidential candidate in at least 50 years has won even half of the Hispanic vote.
[…] Â The (pro-amnesty) Pew Research Hispanic Center has produced poll after poll showing that Hispanics donâ€™t care about amnesty. In a poll last fall, Hispanic voters said they cared more about education, jobs and health care than immigration. They even care more about the federal budget deficit than immigration! (To put that in perspective, the next item on their list of concerns was â€œscratchy towels.â€)
Also, note that Pew asked about â€œimmigration,â€ not â€œamnesty.â€ Those Hispanics who said they cared about immigration might care about it the way I care about it â€” by supporting a fence and E-Verify.
Who convinced Republicans that Hispanic wages arenâ€™t low enough and what they really need is an influx of low-wage workers competing for their jobs?
Maybe the greedy businessmen now running the Republican Party should talk with their Hispanic maids sometime. Ask Juanita if sheâ€™d like to have seven new immigrants competing with her for the opportunity to clean other peopleâ€™s houses, so that her wages can be dropped from $20 an hour to $10 an hour.
A wise Latina, A.J. Delgado, recently explained on Mediaite.com why amnesty wonâ€™t win Republicans the Hispanic vote â€” even if they get credit for it. Her very first argument was: â€œLatinos will resent the added competition for jobs.â€
“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.
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€
The program is code-named PRISM, and the Post reports that it was established in 2007. According to the report, the nine companies that “participate knowingly” in the program are Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.
Remember when President Obama publicly demonized Fox News as “destructive” to the nation because they wouldn’t play lapdog like the other networks? Â Turns out he was just laying the groundwork to isolate them from public sympathy so his vendetta against them could be justified.
Charles Krauthammer, Tucker Carlson, Kirsten Powers, Bret Baier discuss DOJ targeting Fox reporter and his parents:
Newly uncovered court documents reveal the Justice Department seized records of several Fox News phone lines as part of a leak investigation — even listing a number that, according to one source, matches the home phone number of a reporter’s parents.
The seizure was ordered in addition to a court-approved search warrant for Fox News correspondent James Rosen’s personal emails. In the affidavit seeking that warrant, an FBI agent called Rosen a likely criminal “co-conspirator,” citing a wartime law called the Espionage Act.
Rosen was not charged, but his movements and conversations were tracked. A source close to the leak investigation confirmed to Fox News that the government obtained phone records for several numbers that match Fox News numbers out of the Washington bureau.
Further, the source confirmed to Fox News that one number listed matched the number for Rosen’s parents in Staten Island.
Rosen’s father, attorney Myron Rosen, told FoxNews.com he found the records seizure to be “downright ludicrous.”
“My son and his wife call us all the time, and we talk about grandchildren,” he said. “We don’t talk about nuclear proliferation.”
He continued: “The fact that they had our phone records, it shows how crazy they are, how desperate.”
The revelation has had a chilling effect on reporters’ ability to gather the information and sources they need:
Anchor Greta Van Susteran took to Twitter to express her frustration with the secret monitoring, saying friends and family won’t call or email anymore out a of a fear of being watched.
“Now that the word is out that Obama Admin seizes Fox phone records, my friends won’t call me at work and since the Obama admin also seizes personal cell and email, my friends wont’ call or email,” Van SusteranÂ tweeted.
The news of more Fox News’ monitoring comes weeks after the Associated Press revealed the Justice Department had secretly monitored 20 personal and private phone lines used by AP reporters and editors. In addition, CBS News Investigative Reporter Sharyl Attkisson said yesterday that her work and personal computers had beenÂ compromised.
For awhile, it looked like the White House wanted just to control “the narrative.” But its seizure of AP phone records and surveillance of Fox employees now show its real aim: to control the news.
[…] Â Â The latest news that the Justice Department investigated Fox News reporter James Rosen and two other newsmen in the normal course of their investigative reporting on a national security matter â€” coming on the heels of their seizure of Associated Press phone records â€” suggests an administration obsessed with controlling the news itself with a heavy hand reminiscent of totalitarian regimes.
The AP flap has drawn a properly outraged response from the news agency, because the White House’s obsessive efforts to find leaks cast such a broad, indiscriminate net against reporters just doing their jobs.
First they came for Fox News, and they did not speak outâ€”because they were not Fox News. Then they came for government whistleblowers, and they did not speak outâ€”because they were not government whistleblowers. Then they came for the maker of a YouTube video, andâ€”okay, we know how this story ends.Â But how did we get here?
Turns out itâ€™s a fairly swift sojourn from a president pushing to â€œdelegitimizeâ€ a news organization to threatening criminal prosecution for journalistic activity by a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, to spying on Associated Press reporters. In between, the Obama administration found time toÂ relentlessly persecuteÂ government whistleblowers and publicly harass and condemn a private American citizen for expressing his constitutionally protected speech in the form of an anti-Islam YouTube video.
Where were the media when all this began happening? With a few exceptions, they were acting as quiet enablers.
[…] Â Itâ€™s instructive to go back to the dawn of Hope and Change. It was 2009, and the new administration decided it was appropriate to use the prestige of the White House to viciously attack a news organizationâ€”Fox Newsâ€”and the journalists who work there. Remember, President Obama had barely been in office and had enjoyed the most laudatory press of any new president in modern history. Yet even one outlet that allowed dissent or criticism of the president was one too many. This should have been a red flag to everyone, regardless of what they thought of Fox News. The math was simple: if the administration would abuse its power to try and intimidate one media outlet, what made anyone think they werenâ€™t next?