theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Darwin Can Teach Government

By Emily Malina,Kara Shuler

   Charles Darwin's revolutionary ideas about evolution are once again making waves, but this time in a way that offers governments and other organizations a tool for overcoming systemic challenges through the evolution of the way work is done.
   Darwin's theory of natural selection was simple but significant: Variation occurs naturally within any population, and nature will favor and spread characteristics that are advantageous for survival. Like a species, a workforce can go through a similar evolutionary process driven by individuals with unusual but favorable behaviors. These outliers, or "positive deviants," sometimes bend the rules, but their practices enable their success and survival in the workplace.    Organizations can nurture this positively deviant behavior through a process that already is helping to solve public health, nutrition, education and business problems across the globe.
   This positive deviance approach is grounded in a systematic process that includes identifying outliers and the specific behaviors that contribute to their success, and then scaling those behaviors across the workforce. It can be especially useful when other efforts have failed to bring about the desired results, and it is more effective when the issue requires behavioral change instead of technical solutions.
This approach differs from more-traditional problem-solving methods in that it is:
Inside-out: It seeks local solutions to local problems, looking to internal ideas instead of external leading practices.
Upside-down: It considers inputs from all levels of the organization's hierarchy.
Backwards: It focuses on what is working rather than on what is broken.
   The first step is pinpointing your outliers through measurable performance data. Next you must tease out the positive deviants' replicable behaviors through structured observation and interviews to discover how they achieve success when their peers have not. Then the positively deviant behaviors should be amplified across the workforce through carefully designed interventions and grassroots activities.
   Two case studies of the positive deviance approach help illuminate its power in combating a wide spectrum of vexing problems:
   A stubborn hospital "superbug": Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly referred to as MRSA, is a dangerous infection that stubbornly resists antibiotics such as penicillin and amoxicillin. Unfortunately, the most severe and life-threatening cases of MRSA typically originate in a hospital setting. Despite efforts to reduce the infection and mortality rates of MRSA in the United States--including comprehensive educational campaigns and hygiene protocols--MRSA has been a seemingly intractable problem. Instead of decreasing, the infection rate increased 32-fold between 1976 and 2004.
   Aided by nonprofit organizations such as the Plexus Institute and the Positive Deviance Initiative, trained positive deviance researchers used infection data to track down outliers, ultimately leading the researchers to small but effective deviations in protocol that contained the spread of MRSA at hospitals, including 153 Department of Veterans Affairs facilities. Examples include nurses disposing of hospital gowns in new and unusual ways, male clinicians ditching their neckties and priests "gowning" their bibles. Once identified and scaled across the workforce, these unconventional but highly effective behavioral changes reduced MRSA infections by as much as 75 percent.
   Burned-out prison guards: The prison environment, with its stressful conditions and psychological burdens, has historically resulted in high absenteeism and early retirement among guards. In one Danish facility, guards clocked 20 days of unannounced missed work days over the course of a year and retired at an average age of 48. Previous efforts to stem this problem, such as stricter sanctions for missing work or incentives that encouraged guards to seek mental-health services, were unsuccessful.
   Danish prison-system officials looking to address this problem began by observing the behaviors of resilient guards, those with five or fewer days of missed work. They found that ambiguity in inmate-intake protocols allowed for positive deviants to emerge. The rule called for guards to gather background information from new inmates, and the common approach was an interrogation-style interview. Instead, the deviant guards offered inmates a tour of the prison facility and engaged them in a conversation. This small but powerful difference not only better equipped the guards to deal with the stresses and mental challenges of their jobs but also improved behavior of the inmates under their supervision, as evidenced by fewer violent threats and greater enrollment in treatment programs.
As these examples make clear, rebels with a cause exist within the fabric of various kinds of organizations. They are hiding in plain sight within the workforce, silently and slowly helping their organizations evolve. They represent an untapped resource for government leaders to jumpstart the evolutionary process within their organizations and help them solve their most challenging problems.

Surge of black violence called 'urban terrorism'

'Large numbers of kids coming downtown … with guns'


byColin Flaherty

(Editor’s note: Colin Flaherty has done more reporting than any other journalist on what appears to be a nationwide trend of skyrocketing black-on-white crime, violence and abuse. WND features these reports to counterbalance the virtual blackout by the rest of the media due to their concerns that reporting such incidents would be inflammatory or even racist. WND considers it racist not to report racial abuse solely because of the skin color of the perpetrators or victims.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The links in the following report may contain offensive language.

Indianapolis? A hot bed of black mob violence?
Yes, really: With dozens of episodes over the last five years, Indianapolis has to be near the top of any list of cities with sustained, violent, extensive and numerous cases of black mob violence.
This “crisis” of “urban terrorism,” as the new chief of police calls it, is now a regular feature of life in this Midwestern city once thought to be a haven from racial turmoil.
The latest examples are focused downtown at the Circle Centre Mall – a gleaming display of downtown redevelopment when it opened in 1996. This multi-story story retail center, connected by covered walkways to nine hotels and the convention center, was once anchored by Nordstrom.
It also features a complex of movie theaters currently playing Broken City and Django Unchained.
Today, Nordstrom is gone. As are many of the restaurants and shops. The rest of the mall and the surrounding area is increasingly hazardous – and empty – following a series of black mob riots featuring hundreds of people. Here is the latest from this month:
See the Big List of black mob violence.
“Two large groups of youth came storming out of the mall, and we overheard them talking about going to get something to eat. Then the next thing we know, one group followed the other group, got about a block and a half down the street and gunshots went off,” said the Rev. Horatio Luster.
Earlier in the month in the same mall, members of the black mob attacked police officers trying to break up several large fights. Four were arrested and one subdued with a taser.
These are just two of more than a dozen recent episodes of racial violence in Indianapolis. More than 100 police officers are expected to be on duty at the mall this weekend.
“You have large numbers of kids coming downtown, which makes it difficult for us to babysit them,” said Rev. Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based anti-violence group. “Now they are coming down with guns.”
Public Safety Director Troy Riggs says he does not like arresting people, but if this violence persists, the city might have to do just that.
Many of the disturbances happen after the mall closes at 9 p.m., reported local news outlet WISH TV, where “every weekend” there are fights.

Police and local media attribute the problem to “unruly teens” – which local residents say is politically correct coded speech for black people.
The police chief says he wants to close down the food court earlier at the mall. Then he says he wants to solve the root cause of the black mob violence, but he does not say what that root cause might be.
These episodes of racial violence in Indianapolis are just some of the hundreds of examples of black mob violence and lawlessness documented in the book “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence and how the media ignore it.”
More and more residents of Indianapolis say black people are almost exclusively the perpetrators of violence downtown. They point to numerous videos online as proof and they wonder when leaders of local black groups are going to talk about that.
Lori, a former official in the Indiana state prison system, said the problem of racial violence is getting worse because no one wants to talk about it:
Same old news story, same out-dated promises, only spoken by different people and a different date. None of the past “action plans” have worked – yet, taxpayers have been cashing Administrative pockets since 1998. Stop pointing at the symptoms but not the cause, while the community pays for that political correctness. We all know which group is committing these crimes, we all know which group is responsible for the violence, and we all know that lipstick on a pig is still a pig.
Several posters to local news sites blamed the racial violence on white racism:
Racists can go around and act like whites have no responsibility for the problem. Let’s just enslave a race for hundreds of years, not give them rights for another 100 years, and assume that all of the social problems that come with that treatment will go away in 50 years. Smart thinking there
In 2010, Al Sharpton visited Indianapolis to protest the police beating of a black person.
In 2011, organizers of the Black Expo held a rally and forum to protest the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black man shot and killed by a neighborhood watch captain now awaiting trial in Florida.
“During the course of the forum, an audience member boldly asked if African-Americans should launch an armed struggle,” wrote panelist Brandon Perry in the Indianapolis Recorder. “I hope I’m wrong about this, but the ‘gasps’ came from a few who seemed to advocate armed conflict against racists or the government.”
The annual Indiana Black Expo in downtown Indianapolis is often the site of racial violence. In 2010, eight people were shot near the Circle Centre Mall following the Expo. This is the worst in a series of episodes of racial violence during the Black Expo stretching over a 10-year period. One local newspaper said the Black Expo was “inescapably linked to violence.”
The event now requires hundreds of police officers on foot, in car and on horseback to keep the streets safe after thousands of people from the Black Expo leave the downtown convention center.
Last March, large groups of black people on the streets of downtown fought and five people were shot.
City officials, local media and Expo organizers may downplay the lawlessness of downtown Indianapolis. But YouTube is full of rap videos featuring black people from Indianapolis reveling in murder, violence, theft and drug dealing. They even brag about it in videos that cannot be embedded because of the language.
The violence is all too much for Indianapolis attorney Abdul Hakim-Shabazz.
“There is a criminal element in this town that consists primarily of young black men,” said Hakim-Shabazz in his website Indiana Barrister. “The recent attacks on the Monon; the perpetrators were young black men. The ‘Pop It Off Boys’ gang; young black men. The most high ridden crime areas of the city, who are the bad guys? Say it with me, they are usually young black men.
“Indianapolis, you have a problem. Your problem is young, black men who are out of control.”
Rev. Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition would like to see more police downtown – just like they do during Black Expo where “we don’t have these kinds of problems because we have the things in place that will prevent this.”
Harrison is in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with Vice President Biden to discuss gun control.
See the Big List of black mob violence.



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Feds accused of fomenting 'blood in our streets'

'God, Guns and Constitution' leader fears 'civil unrest' coming

byTaylor Rose

   WASHINGTON – The highest levels of the U.S. government are fomenting “civil unrest” that soon could leave “blood in our streets,” a key Christian pastor said Tuesday at a pro-Second Amendment rally in Washington.
Rev. William Owens Jr., director of community outreach for the Coalition of African-American Pastors and leader of God, Guns & the Constitution, said America has in many ways has passed the point of no return and its citizens will have to be “chastised” before they awaken to the reality of their situation.
His goal now is “strengthening the [righteous] remnant.”
At the foot of the Capitol Tuesday, Owens was joined by other leaders to pledge to protect the Second Amendment and the Christian principles of America’s founding.
   Owens was joined by Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America; Eric Pratt, the group’s communications director; Day Gardner, founder and president of the National Black Pro-Life Union on Capitol Hill; and William Cook, founder and executive director of the Black Robe Regiment.
“From what we see in our mail, hear from our members, we are at the line in the sand moment,” Larry Pratt told WND after the event.
The leaders said their assembly was “in response to President Obama’s proposal of 23 executive actions to curb gun violence.”
   Larry Pratt said Obama’s moves have “renewed and even awakened … the determination to get politically involved and resist what is being crammed down our throat by an illegitimate government.”
“The entire federal government acts as if we have no Constitution at all, as if there were no limits to anything they could do,” he said. “It never seems to cross their mind that there are very few things they are allowed to do. We are dealing with a systemic problem of illegitimacy across all branches of government.”
Owens said the goal of today’s event was “to raise awareness that you wouldn’t have a Constitution without guns and you wouldn’t have the need to protect this land without God.”
“So you have to have God in the midst of every picture that exists,” he said.
Owens said the problem with violence doesn’t rest with guns but with people.
He believes America is dealing with an “evil.”
   It is not “guns and not ink pens, it is not cars, it is evil,” he said. “For when we forsake God’s purpose for why this country was formed and for why it is here, anything can be turned into evil, including an ink pen.”
He said, “Ink pens sign a lot of laws that are evil.”
Owens challenged a common gun-control mantra of needing “common sense gun control” such as restricting the size of magazines.
“What is common sense? [The anti-gun left] want to take a word and say, ‘This is what common sense is.’”
He called for a return to the faith of the Founders.
   “We have a form of godliness, but we deny the power thereof,” he said.
He injected a measure of hope, however, saying a “righteous remnant still exists that is not going to cowtow or subjugate themselves to the things of men … because they are going to be compelled to stand for the Truth that they have a relationship with.”
   In America, he said, authorities “have put the Bible and prayer out of schools” and “replaced them with condoms.”
“What is happening now is that our schools are actually being targeted by those who are deranged, those who are evil and those who are trouble,” he said.
Cook named abortion as another evil.
“Is there any hope to answer [the problems of society]? The answer is a resounding no, so long as we tolerate abortion and we view children as a liability,” he said.
He renounced any notion that simply not partaking in an abortion or somehow being morally opposed without action negates one’s responsibility.
   “Our unwillingness to contend with [abortion] makes us willing accomplices,” he said.
Asked by WND if America is largely a nominal Christian country, considering how many people vote for big government and anti-Christian and non-Christian leaders, Owens said, “That is absolutely correct. I think that is why we are being judged.”
   “Christianity is being brought to the test room, and that is why [school shootings] are happening,” he said.
Pratt also chimed in on the problem of apathy.
“Apathy has been a real problem, but I think there is a possibility that that is going away as the government is literally pushing us more and more … and then the government may realize they have awaken the sleeping giant,” he said.
Pratt does have hope for a political revival, because he sees “a resistance that is definitely across the country, but it is noticeable in certain counties where the people have elected sheriffs that have interposed themselves between themselves and federal agents.”
He said the government is “not going to restrain itself.”
   “Only a sheriff with his armed deputies and perhaps on occasion a posse that he can summon that can stand against the federal government,” he said. ‘It is happening already where sheriffs are arresting federal agents.”
Pratt dismissed any notion that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution invalidates state or local laws that contradict federal law.
   “The Supremacy Clause only affects those areas Article 1 section 8 and when the federal government acts outside of those very limited areas it is illegitimate,” he said.
Pratt advises Second Amendment activists to focus hard on “getting involved with their sheriff and get the best sheriff elected.” He describes local involvement as a “keystone to getting our country back.”
Owens said it’s not that complicated. 
   “Our object should be to stay true to God, because our home is not America, but we must stay true to God while we are in America,” he said.
Owens is not alone in believing America is under judgment.
   In the aftermath of 9/11, there were repeated calls by political leaders, businessmen and media personalities to respond to the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center by building taller and grander – following in the footsteps of ancient Israel as recorded in Isaiah 9:10, wrote bestselling author Jonathan Cahn in “The Harbinger,” which also is being presented in DVD format as “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment.”
   Most notably, the very next day, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle delivered an address to a joint session of Congress in which he actually cited and quoted Isaiah 9:10, explaining: “That is what we will do. We will rebuild.”
And on the fourth anniversary of 9/11, Sen. John Edwards, a candidate for vice president at the time, delivered a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus, framing his entire address around Isaiah 9:10.
   The message of the bestselling Christian book of 2012 and the bestselling faith movie is that America is re-enacting an ancient drama played out thousands of years ago when Israel’s leaders did not repent and turn back to God after a limited strike on the land. Instead, their words are recorded in Isaiah 9:10, proclaiming they would simply rebuild bigger and better. The result was eventually the destruction of the nation.
   Both the book and the documentary present a series of remarkable parallels between the judgment of ancient Israel and events impacting America since 9/11.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Obama calls for citizenship for illegals

President says time has come for GOP, Dems to 'work together'

In others words let's give the illegals a free ride for the full scale invasion of our nation...
theodore miraldi


byTaylor Rose

    WASHINGTON – In the wake of the U.S. Senate’s “Gang of Eight” announcement on immigration reform yesterday, President Barack Obama traveled to Las Vegas today to deliver his proposals on immigration reform.
   “I am here because most Americans agree that it is time to fix a system that has been broken for way too long,” he said. He added it is time to tackle immigration reform, for immigration strengthens “our economy and our country’s future."

   Placing emphasis on bipartisanship, Obama said, “The differences are dwindling and a consensus is growing.”
Despite the years of partisanship, the president today said he felt the time has arrived to where Republicans and Democrats can “finally work together.”
   Using the Kennedy-Bush amnesty plan of 2007 as a model, Obama said the infrastructure for “consensus is already in place” and he wants Congress to work immediately and take a vote on the measures “right away.”
   While Obama admits those he’s helping have broken the law, he said, “They are not looking for any trouble” and “they are members of the community.”
   He said the U.S. needs to make certain everyone is playing “by the rules,” but he insists “in order for immigration reform to work,” there must be a pathway to citizenship.
   The president’s reasoning is that to lose these immigrants would be “bad for the economy.” He said many illegal aliens currently are studying for high tech positions but upon their graduation, they will leave America and travel to other countries with their skills.
   Additionally, the president elaborated on other requirements needed for comprehensive immigration reform – elements almost identical to the proposals of the Gang of Eight from the U.S. Senate.
   He said requirements for amnesty would include passing a background check, paying taxes, “going to the back of the line” and learning to speak English so that “they can earn their way to a green card and eventually citizenship.”
   He also adds the nation needs to keep up enforcement and create a national system to figure out who is eligible to work and who is not.
   Though the president promised to enact comprehensive immigration reform and never did, he still said in his first administration he worked to “patch up the worst cracks in the immigration system.”
   The push for “comprehensive immigration reform” has not been without opposition. U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said yesterday, “The president has demonstrated he will only enforce the laws that he likes.”
   Additionally, Congressman Steve Stockman, R-Texas, said, “I will not be supporting the Senate’s proposed ‘immigration reform’ should it reach the House. I cannot and will not support any immigration reform proposal that institutes an amnesty program or does not begin with a comprehensive plan to secure the borders.”
   He continued, “It rewards law breaking and encourages a new flood of illegals, perpetuating the very problems it claims to solve.”
   He also echoed the point of many other anti-illegal immigration activists by saying, “Our nation’s failed experiments with amnesty have proven it only encourages more illegals willing to wait it out for their turn at free citizenship.”



Stockman Warns Obama: No gun control, No Compromise

Articles of Impeachment would be forthcoming if other measures fail to stop President Obama from infringing upon the Second Amendment by Executive Order.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Stockman (R-Texas 36th) released the following statement Monday afternoon.

   The White House's recent announcement they will use executive orders and executive actions to infringe on our constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms is an unconstitutional and unconscionable attack on the very founding principles of this republic.
   I will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary, including but not limited to eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment.The President's actions are an existential threat to this nation.
   The right of the people to keep and bear arms is what has kept this nation free and secure for over 200 years.
The very purpose of the Second Amendment is to stop the government from disallowing people the means to defend themselves against tyranny. Any proposal to abuse executive power and infringe upon gun rights must be repelled with the stiffest legislative force possible.   Under no circumstances whatsoever may the government take any action that disarms any peaceable person – much less without due process through an executive declaration without a vote of Congress or a ruling of a court.   The President's actions are not just an attack on the Constitution and a violation of his sworn oath of office – they are a direct attack on Americans that place all of us in danger. If the President is allowed to suspend constitutional rights on his own personal whims, our free republic has effectively ceased to exist.

Immigration Reform News and Impact on US Homeland Security January 28, 2013

Immigration Reform News and Impact on US Homeland Security January 28, 2013

  • Senate Gang of Eight Releases Amnesty Plan
  • President Obama to Reveal Amnesty Plan Tuesday
  • Montana House Passes Anti-Sanctuary Bill
  • Congressional Leaders Voice their Support for Amnesty
  • VAWA Reintroduced Without U-Visa Expansion
  • Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will Remain in Presidential Cabinet

Senate Gang of Eight Releases Amnesty Plan

America the FreeIn anticipation of the President’s speech on immigration tomorrow in Las Vegas, a group of eight Senators released their proposal for amnesty legislation today. This so-called Gang of Eight includes Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Bennet (D-CO), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ). The proposal, remarkably similar to the failed amnesty bill of 2007 (S.1639), is only in outline form at this time; no legislative language was released with it.

The first component of the bill is a large-scale amnesty for the entire illegal alien population in the United States, roughly 11-12 million. The Senators' outline states, "our legislation will provide a tough, fair, and practical roadmap to address the status of unauthorized immigrants in the United States…." The outline calls for illegal aliens to "register with the government," undergo a background check, pay a fine and back taxes in order to “earn probationary legal status." This status will allow these newly amnestied aliens to live and work in the United States. According to the plan, those with a "serious criminal background" or others who threaten national security will be ineligible and subject to deportation.

Under the Senators' plan, the government will grant this probationary status to illegal aliens immediately, and then require that certain border security measures be implemented (see below) before the probationary aliens can get a green card. The plan reads: "Once the enforcement measures have been completed," individuals with probationary legal status will be required to:

  • "go to the back of the line" (although they have been living, working, and going to school in the United States for years), pass an additional background check,
  • pay taxes (as every legal immigrant is already required to do),
  • learn English and civics, and
  • demonstrate a history of work in the United States in order to "earn" the opportunity to apply for a green card.
The Gang of Eight suggests that their plan will not grant public benefits to illegal aliens who receive amnesty. The outline reads: "Current restrictions preventing nonimmigrants from accessing federal public benefits will also apply to probationary immigrants." However, under existing law, nonimmigrants (as probationary aliens would be) are in fact eligible for certain benefits, such as Social Security and coverage under Obamacare. The cost to American taxpayers will only increase as these probationary aliens receive green cards and are eligible for any remaining benefits.In addition to this "amnesty for all" provision, the Gang of Eight plan calls for special paths to citizenship for minors and those working in agriculture. This signals the Senators' intent to include in their legislation some form of the DREAM Act and AgJOBS—bills Congress has repeatedly rejected.Regarding enforcement, the Gang of Eight outline calls for an "effective" employment eligibility verification system, but makes no mention of mandating the use of E-Verify, a critical component of the 2007 amnesty bill. The outline also makes a cursory statement about the need to improve border security by providing the Border Patrol with the latest technology (including drones), infrastructure, and personnel needed to prevent, detect, and apprehend every illegal alien who crosses. And, like other bills enacted over the years, the outline requires the implementation of the entry-exit system provide for in law, but only requires the system at air and sea ports, not land ports and there is no requirement that the system must be biometric.In addition to granting amnesty and implementing certain border security measures, the Gang of Eight also proposes to increase legal immigration. First, despite the fact that 22 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed, the Gang of Eight remarkably proposes creating another guest worker program (on top of numerous existing ones) to bring in additional cheap foreign labor. Second, the Gang of Eight also proposes giving green cards to foreign graduates of U.S. universities, even though they will compete directly with U.S. graduates. Finally, the Senators’ plan proposes to reduce family and employment-based backlogs (presumably by increasing the rate of immigration and/or increasing the caps) in order to allow amnestied aliens to apply for green cards more quickly.In sum, the Gang of Eight amnesty proposal stands out for two reasons. First, it is virtually identical to the failed amnesty bill of 2007. Americans so forcefully opposed that bill that their calls to the Senate in June of 2007 shut down the Capitol switchboard. Secondly, the Senators’ proposal entirely ignores the painful lessons of the 1986 amnesty. In the 1986 amnesty bill, Congress granted amnesty to the entire illegal population and promised enforcement of the laws, yet the enforcement never came and the illegal population quadrupled in 20 years. The Gang of Eight, however, appears to be optimistic that their proposal will somehow work when others have failed. They promise to ensure that their plan is a "successful, permanent reform to our immigration system that will not need to be revisited."

President Obama to Reveal Amnesty Plan Tuesday

On Friday, the White House announced President Obama will be unveiling his comprehensive immigration reform proposal, which includes a "path to earned citizenship" for illegal aliens, during a speech scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada Tuesday. (White House Press Release, Jan. 25, 2013)White House Press Secretary Jay Carney indicated the proposal being unveiled Tuesday is based on previous amnesty plans released by the President. (The Hill, Jan. 25, 2013) In May 2011, the President gave a speech pushing comprehensive immigration reform in El Paso, Texas, calling for amnesty (including the DREAM Act), and stapling green cards to diplomas. (White House Press Release, May 10, 2011) There the President also insisted U.S. borders were secure and joked that the only thing that would appease true immigration reformers would be to create an alligator-laden moat. (Id.)News of the pending speech came on the heels of the President meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss his amnesty strategy at the White House. (Id.) Those in attendance—all pro-amnesty Democrats—included Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (CA), Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (TX), Rep. Ben Luján (NM) and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (IL). (The Hill, Jan. 25, 2013) According to Rep. Becerra, "The President expressed a great sense of urgency and that comprehensive immigration reform, including an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, is his top legislative priority." (Rep. Becerra Press Release, Jan. 25, 2013)FAIR remains opposed to all efforts to grant amnesty or any other form of legal status to illegal aliens. To find out how you can make your voice heard, view our latest action alert here.

Montana House Passes Anti-Sanctuary Bill

Last week, the Montana House of Representatives passed House Bill 50 (HB 50) which prohibits local governments from enacting or enforcing sanctuary policies. A sanctuary policy bars local police from asking suspects about their immigration status or reporting them to immigration authorities. HB 50 now moves on to the Senate for consideration.At the Judiciary Committee hearing on HB 50, the bill's author, Representative David Howard, stated that he drafted the bill to protect Montanans and discourage illegal aliens from making Montana their home. (Great Falls Tribune, Jan. 15, 2013). Howard also authored Legislative Referendum (LR) 121 which prohibits illegal aliens from receiving taxpayer funded state benefits. Montanans approved LR 121 by almost 80 percent of the vote in November 2012.Shahid Haque-Hausrath, executive director of the Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance, an opponent of HB 50, claims HB 50 is not necessary because "Montana does not have an immigration problem." ( Fox News, Jan. 16, 2013). To the contrary, in 2010, FAIR released a study entitled "The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers" that reported the annual state and local fiscal costs borne by Montana taxpayers resulting from illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children is $32 million. (2010 FAIR Study).Dan Stein, FAIR's President, applauded Howard's efforts. "Rep. Howard’s bill ensures common sense state-federal enforcement practices for those of us who believe in the rule of law and the restoration of an immigration law that works. Americans are tired of paying for the same old political games designed to reward, promote and encourage illegal immigration." ( Fox News, Jan. 16, 2013).Recognizing that sanctuary policies are a growing impediment to combating the wave of illegal aliens residing in the country, in 1996 Congress barred local ordinances that prohibit employees from providing information on illegal aliens to federal officials. Nonetheless, cities have found a loophole by instituting sanctuary policies that prohibit the collection of immigration data in the first place. To name a few, these cities include Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Diego. HB 50 would prevent the same from occurring in Montana.

Congressional Leaders Voice their Support for Amnesty

Pro-amnesty congressional leaders continue to echo President Obama's calls for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes amnesty for illegal aliens. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who has previously said he will refuse to consider an immigration bill that lacks a pathway to citizenship, last week issued an official list of his top ten policy objectives for the new session of Congress. (Las Vegas Sun, Jan. 18, 2013; see also Roll Call, Jan. 22, 2013) "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" ranked number one. (Roll Call, Jan. 22, 2013)Sen. Rubio (R-FL) also continued his campaign for amnesty last week during an appearance on the Mark Levin radio show. (See Mark Levin Recording, Jan. 23, 2013) As described, his proposal—like Harry Reid’s and previous amnesty bills in the past—includes a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million illegal aliens in the United States. (Id.; see also FAIR Legislative Update , Jan. 22, 2013)Not surprisingly, pro-amnesty Congressional leaders in the Republican-controlled House have also aligned themselves with Sens. Harry Reid and Marco Rubio. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told a group last week that "we’re going to have to deal with [immigration]" and expressed support for the "Gang of Eight," a bipartisan group of Senators in charge of drafting immigration reform legislation including a pathway to citizenship. (The Hill, Jan. 26, 2013) "I think they basically have an agreement," Boehner said. (Id.) "I don’t know all the pitfalls in it, but it's in my view, the right group of members….My theory was, if these folks could work this out, it’d be a big step in the right direction." (Id.)During an interview last week, former Vice Presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) mentioned immigration as an issue where Republicans and Democrats can work together. (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 23, 2013) "I’ve long believed in immigration reform," Rep. Ryan said, "and I think there are other Republicans who do so as well." (Id.) The week prior, Rep. Ryan voiced his support for the "principles [Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has] outlined." (Huffington Post, Jan. 14, 2013)Off Capitol Hill, more Republican leaders are jumping on the amnesty bandwagon, voicing support for proposals like that of Sen. Rubio. Last weekend, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Congress to "get comprehensive immigration reform back on the agenda" on CBS' "Face the Nation." (National Review, Jan. 20, 2013) Rice, who specifically named Rubio as a Republican leader on the issue, insisted that comprehensive immigration reform would give the Republican Party the “broad appeal” that it needed. (Id.; see also FOX News, Jan. 21, 2013)Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush also weighed in with an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, supporting amnesty and advocating for the DREAM Act. "The U.S. must find a fair way to deal with its 11 million illegal immigrants," he wrote. "Crossing the border illegally must have consequences. At the same time, we must recognize that children who were brought here illegally have committed no crime and in most instances know no other country." (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 24, 2013)Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has indicated his committee will begin hearings on immigration legislation in February. (Sen. Leahy Press Release, Jan. 16, 2013)

VAWA Reintroduced Without U-Visa Expansion

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was reintroduced last week in both chambers of Congress. Notably, with regard to immigration, the new bills do not include language increasing the number of U-visas. (CQ Today, Jan. 22, 2013)The 112th Congress did not renew VAWA, despite bipartisan support for reauthorization in 2000 and 2005, in part because of a standoff over the U-visa program. (Id.) In the last Congress, the Senate-passed version, S. 1925, included a provision that would increase the number of U-visas by tens of thousands. (FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 19, 2012) House Republicans objected to S. 1925 on technical grounds—known as a "blue slip problem"—because the Senate bill contained a revenue raising provision to pay for the visa expansion. (CQ Today, Jan. 22, 2013)Specifically, they argued this made the bill unconstitutional because the U.S. Constitution instructs that all revenue raising legislation must originate in the House. (Art. I, sec. 7) These differences were not resolved by the end of the 112th Congress, causing the legislation to expire.The new bills, however, removed the U-visa expansion and the associated revenue provision. Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT), the author of S. 1925, announced "we introduce the bill today without [the U-visa increase] provision" and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) confirmed the House bill's language matched, stating "[t]here is no increase in the number of available U visas." (CQ Today, Jan. 22, 2013)Congress created the U-visa in 2000 to allow immigrant victims of domestic abuse to obtain temporary legal status if they help prosecute their abusers. (INA § 101(a)(15)(U)) Instead, the open-borders lobby has manipulated this law to create a de facto amnesty to illegal aliens. (See FAIR Policy Statement; FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 19, 2012)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Immigration Debate Gears Up

  theodore miraldi 

   It is imperative that any new Immigration Reform have cogent elements that spell out that the 11.1 million illegals have broken Federal Laws, and will be required to pay their debt in full before getting any social assistance from this nation.
   There are numerous financials stresses that will come into play by including 11.1 million illegals into our already acute
financial crisis. One might first ask, is it right or fair to diminish our ability to help a growing sea of Baby Boomers
retiring and needing assistance they have already invested in, or rewarding those who by intent crossed our borders in defiance of Federal Laws.
   This is no more than another amnesty creating yet another welfare population that in part has no intention of contributing to the public good. This has been no less than an invasion of American soil by a foreign force.
   What is troubling is our present administration's canard regarding this issue  grounded in votes and not the healthy state of our Republic.
   We are all for legal immigration, why should law breakers get a pass. Would the Feds look the other way if you didn't pay your taxes? Hell no!
   We can't afford to inflate our social systems for those who are not deserving.

Russia Poised To Achieve Nuclear Superiority Over U.S.

putinsunglass   In his second term as Russian president, Vladimir Putin has made the rebuilding of Russian military forces, including its nuclear striking capabilities, a top priority.
   Advanced missiles, bombers, and submarines are either on the drawing board or coming into operational service, just as the United States is on the verge of drastic cuts in its armed forces.   Of the three legs of Russia's nuclear triad (air, land, sea forces), attack submarines carrying newly designed intercontinental ballistic missiles are receiving special attention.   Moscow is seeking first to equal and then overtake the United States in nuclear weaponry, according to a now retired military weapons and terrorism analyst.
   "Over the long haul, Russia is on the right track to achieve "parity," and ultimately surpass the U.S." in nuclear capability, particularly if threatened budget cuts slash the military budget of the United States, said Rick Norris, a veteran of the U.S. Army, Defense Intelligence Agency, and a recognized expert in weapons and counterterrorism.
   Norris' made these remarks after this writer contacted him about the effectiveness of Russia's newest ballistic missile submarine, the Yuri Dolgorukiy, which has just entered service in the Russian navy.   The Yuri Dolgorukiy, named after an early Russian military hero, is the first of the Borei class of attack submarines to enter into service, and is scheduled to be joined "in the near future" by the Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh, according to a recent RIA Novosti report [] .In all eight ships of this class are to be completed.   On board the Yuri Dolgorukiy is Russia's most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, the Bulava ("Mace"), which is described as "low flying", "hypersonic," weapon with multiple warheads.   The "low flying" aspect of the Bulava is especially dangerous. During the Cold War, U.S. military experts believed that the Soviet Union was capable of launching a "low flying" missile attack which could destroy, with very little warning, the national leadership of the United States, according to Norris. Specific measures were developed that would ensure the survival of at least part of the American leadership, including the practice of at least one person in the presidential succession always out of the Washington, D.C. area, Norris said.   The Bulava is meant to be an improvement on earlier Soviet capabilities. Each of the ten warheads has its own guidance system and is capable of changing altitude and course to evade anti-missile defenses. The Borei class submarines will be able to eventually carry as many as 20 Bulava missiles, Norris stated.   Moscow plans to use the Borei class submarines in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Already Moscow has reintroduced regular submarine patrols of the U.S. coast, which "should be cause of some concern," said Norris.   Russia is also working to improve the strike capabilities of other aspects of its nuclear "triad." In addition to modernizing its current bomber fleet, Moscow is developing a next generation long range strategic, possibly stealthy, bomber, referred to as PAK DA. Along with its submarine patrols, Russian bombers are again prowling along U.S. borders.   Another, and somewhat ambitious, revival of Cold War weaponry is the planned return of the missile train. In the Soviet era, certain trains would carry ballistic missile launching facilities along with passenger, mail, and freight cars. The missile trains were difficult to detect except that three locomotives were required to pull the extra load.   Russian scientists and technicians are now working on a nuclear-powered locomotive which remove the necessity of using three engines as well as refueling requirements. A prototype of a gas turbine locomotive, which could also pull a missile train, has already been built and successfully tested.   Moscow is serious in its intension to regain its place as a nuclear power. The political impulse influencing Russia's rearmament may be detected in a Tweet sent out by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and attracted Norris' attention. Rogozin made the Tweet after the acceptance into the Northern Fleet of the Yuri Dolgorukiy. Its message: "Tremble, bourgeoisie! You're done with."

Obama Calls Out Rush Limbaugh and Fox News for Creating a Toxic Partisan Environment


David Mamet: Obama’s gun control policy is Marxist

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet: Obama’s gun control policy is Marxist

Patrick Howley

   In a recent column, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet suggested President Barack Obama is a Marxist who seeks to determine the “needs” of the citizenry.
   “All of us have had dealings with the State, and have found, to our chagrin, or, indeed, terror, that we were
not dealing with well-meaning public servants or even with ideologues but with overworked, harried bureaucrats. These, as all bureaucrats, obtain and hold their jobs by complying with directions and suppressing the desire to employ initiative, compassion, or indeed, common sense. They are paid to follow orders,” Mamet wrote.
   “Rule by bureaucrats and functionaries is an example of the first part of the Marxist equation: that the Government shall determine the individual’s abilities. … President Obama, in his reelection campaign, referred frequently to the ‘needs’ of himself and his opponent, alleging that each has more money than he ‘needs.’ But where in the Constitution is it written that the Government is in charge of determining ‘needs’?”
Mamet went on to criticize Obama’s recent executive actions on gun control.

Read more:

WND report blows Iran nuke program wide open

byReza Kahlili

   News of an explosion at one of Iran’s nuclear facilities – broken exclusively by WND – is exploding around the world, with independent confirmation and international response pouring in.
   On Sunday, for example, Israel’s acting defense minister called the news “welcome,” and a German newspaper said its own source in Tehran confirmed the report, even while Iran is trying to keep the news under wraps.
   WND’s exclusive report revealed an explosion last Monday deep within Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility destroyed much of the installation, trapping scores of people, including scientists and workers, many of whom are foreign nationals.
   According to a member of the security forces at the site, both elevators and the emergency exit had collapsed, and the regime fears loss of lives due to possible radiation after the explosion.
   The information comes through Hamidreza Zakeri, a former member of the regime’s intelligence ministry.
Get the inside story in Reza Kahlili’s “A Time To Betray” and learn how the Islamic regime “bought the bomb” in “Atomic Iran.”
   The Iranian regime further believes the blast was sabotage and the explosives could have reached the area disguised as equipment or in the uranium hexafluoride stock transferred to the site, the source said. The explosion occurred at the third centrifuge chambers, with the high-grade enriched uranium reserves below them.
   At midnight Sunday, Tehran time, however, all regime-controlled media published a two-line announcement by the deputy of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Shamsoldin Berberoodi, that no explosion had taken place at Fordow.
   Iran does not want word of the sabotage to leak out because it would badly damage its negotiating position in talks with the 5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany), WND’s source said. Indeed, the two-line announcement said the reports of the explosion are meant to bring pressure on Iran at the talks.
   The regime’s defense ministry, which runs the country’s nuclear program, has dispatched the drill team from the Revolutionary Guards Khatam al-Anbia base to the site, the source said, but as of today no progress had been made to reach those trapped within.
   According to the source, the regime has enforced a total blackout on the media and the families of the employees who work at the site. The security forces have also created a security zone around the site to control access and manage the rescue efforts.
   The source said the regime’s security forces have attacked many moderate media offices, shutting down their activity and Internet sites. There is no information if these attacks were related to the Fordow explosion.
   The site, which is about 300 feet under a mountain and immune to airstrikes and most bunker-buster bombs, is the Islamic regime’s main site, with its more than 2,700 centrifuges to enrich uranium to the 20 percent level, raising international concern about Iran’s nuclear bomb program.
   WND’s Jan. 24 report on the sabotage was covered internationally on Sunday with Israeli Acting Defense Minister Avi Dichter stating that, “Any explosion in Iran that doesn’t hurt people but hurts its assets is welcome.”
Israel’s biggest daily, Yediot Ahronot, led its Sunday paper with a headline: “The most significant incidence of sabotage in the Iranian nuclear program to date.”
   As reported by Globes Online out of Israel, “Yediot Ahronot cites U.S. conservative website ‘WND’ as reporting … that former Iranian Republican Guard commander Reza Kahlili, recruited by the CIA and who defected to the U.S., claimed that Iranian sources reported a huge explosion last Monday at Fordow’s centrifuges room. They claim that the explosion destroyed a significant portion of the facility and that 240 workers were trapped underground.”
   The Jerusalem Post mentioned WND’s report and added a quote from Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Project at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies, who noted that Iran is enriching uranium to 20 percent at Fordow, “and it raises concerns because it is buried deep in a mountain.”
   Germany’s Die Welt published the report with a headline, “Expert reports severe explosion at nuclear plant.”
“According to a report by Iran expert Reza Kahlili on the Iranian nuclear facility of Fordow, a few days ago a huge explosion took place which destroyed large parts of the plant,” Die Welt said. “Kahlili says he got this information from a former Iranian intelligence official.”
   Die Welt, with sources close to the German intelligence agency BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), corroborated the WND report by stating that now, Welt am Sonntag (a well-respected German Sunday newspaper) “has received information from an Iranian intelligence service contact confirming that the explosion had actually happened and that 190 workers at the nuclear plant were cut off from the outside world.”
   The German newspaper Spiegel also gave big coverage to the story, along with others worldwide, including the Times of London.
   Interestingly, the Israeli DEBKAfile, known to be close to Israeli intelligence in covering the WND story, stated that on Jan. 24, Israeli Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Military Intelligence Director Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi ceremonially promoted “Col. G.,” commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal, to the rank of major general in recognition of his unit’s “outstanding covert operations.”
   As reported Jan. 21, also exclusively on WND, the Iranian regime’s intelligence ministry had received information from an alleged spy planted inside Israel’s spy agency, Mossad, that Israel and certain Western countries, quite aware of Iran’s nuclear bomb program and believing time is of the essence, have drawn up plans for covert operations to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, thereby avoiding a large-scale war.
   Regime officials held two high-level meetings on Tuesday afternoon, one at the presidential building and the other at the supreme leader’s residence. The source for this information could only say that all high-level officials participated in the meeting with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and that it lasted till about 9:30 p.m. Tehran time.
   Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated in recent years, and last year saboteurs struck the power supply to the Fordow facility, temporarily disrupting production. A computer worm called Stuxnet, believed to have originated in the United States, also set Iran’s plans for nuclear weapons back substantially.
   Any blow to the Fordow facility would be a huge blow to the regime because, despite severe international pressure and sanctions, it has refused to halt the 20 percent uranium-enrichment process at this site. It takes only weeks to further enrich the stock at the 20 percent level to weapon grade for a nuclear bomb.
Sources in the Islamic regime previously have revealed exclusively to WND the existence of:

Rand Paul: Was Benghazi op running guns?

Senator says evidence from catastrophe suggests a political operation went awry

byTaylor Rose

   WASHINGTON – The Obama administration appears to be covering up a gun-running scheme in Benghazi that fell apart when jihadists attacked the U.S. mission there, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others, charges Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Paul said he’s concerned by the “lack of security in advance of the attack, how they responded to the attack and the political coverup after the attack.”
   Paul said the evidence suggests political motivations throughout, and it appears that a larger agenda was at work.
In an interview with WND, the senator said his “suspicion, although I don’t have any proof, is that guns were being smuggled out of Libya, through Turkey and into Syria.”
“And that may be what the CIA annex was doing there,” Paul said, “and the coverup was an attempt to massage and get over this issue without getting into the gun trade.”
   His comments came in the wake of congressional hearings in which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally was questioned about the calamity on her watch.
Paul said he “was very surprised she had never read any of the cables.”
“I found it to be inexcusable,” he said. “It is her job and … it is a dereliction of duty.”
   Clinton claimed she didn’t see a classified State Department cable sent Aug. 16 that said the Benghazi consulate could not defend against a “coordinated attack.”
   Paul made headlines during the hearings when he grilled Clinton on her “failings” regarding the Benghazi attack.
“I think that ultimately, with your leaving, you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11,” he told the secretary of state during the hearing.
   He also told Clinton that if he “had been president at the time of the attack” he would have “relieved” her of her post.
He noted there were many human judgment errors, “but no one was fired.”
“The people who make judgment errors need replaced, fired, and no longer in a position of making these judgment calls,” he said.
   “Not to know of the request for security, really, I think, cost these people their lives. Their lives could have been saved had someone been more available, someone been aware of these things, more on top of the job.”

See the exchange:

   He said the backdrop is that the attack was a consequence of America’s interventionist foreign policy.
“We should really be thinking to whom we give weapons,” he said.
   “For years we gave weapons to the mujahedeen and bin Laden when they were fighting the Soviets. So we were in favor of radical jihad for over a decade,” he said.
   He suggested the Obama administration is making a similar mistake “in a slightly different fashion by giving F-16s and Abrams tanks to Egypt.”
   When asked if he has any reason to believe Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., will be a better secretary of state than Clinton, Paul said, “I think they’re identical, and they’re identical to many of the Republicans.”
He said it appears the parties in Washington are not that far apart on some issues.
   “They all agree that we should be involved everywhere around the world and that we should give unlimited weaponry to every side of every conflict all around the world and that we should extend foreign aid without conditions,” he said.
As such, many committee hearings in which problems are supposed to be discussed “are simply a love fest,” he said, because of the philosophical agreement between Republicans and Democrats on those subjects.
   “That is a part of the problem and while [in the Senate], I will be a lone wolf” to advocate for a new foreign aid system that he thinks would help prevent future abuse of American aid, he said.
He wants to make aid conditional
   “Countries should prove to us that they are willing and able to protect our embassies, they ought to turn over anybody who was involved in the attacks on our embassies as in Libya or as in Pakistan, they ought to free the man who helped us get bin Laden, Dr. Shakeel Afridi,” he said.
   Further, it’s “economic nonsense” to continue borrowing money from China that is then handed out to other nations.
On the topic of Syria, he said, “It’s plausible that we’ve armed people in civil wars that we didn’t know who they were.”
He pointed out the possibility that al-Qaida has been armed at U.S. expense there.
Al Nusra and other extremists among the rebels in Syria possibly are connected to al-Qaida, he said.
   “If we are giving arms, which we deny that we’re giving arms, they say that we’re only giving them to the good guys,” Paul said. “In the middle of a war-torn area, I don’t know if you’re giving a Minnesota multiphasic psychology test to everybody you’re giving arms to. I think it’s pretty difficult to determine who your friends are and who your foes are, who is extreme and who is not. When they come up asking for a rocket launcher, they’re probably acting like they’re your best friend.”
   He said it largely will be up to the members of the U.S. House to continue investigating Benghazi.
“Many on [the Republican] side probably think it’s done, and many Republicans agree with Democrats that they’re fine with the foreign policy continuing as it is,” he said.
   However, he said if the House “had some gumption, they can call people who were in the annex to hear their testimony and bring forth Ambassador Rice to talk about the coverup and military commanders.”
As a practical matter, he said the “military should be in charge of embassy security in countries that are emerging from civil war, and not the State Department.”
He said the equipment and personnel for the U.S. to use military force should be stationed nearby.
   WND previously has reported on the discoveries about the Benghazi scandal, including when Paul asked Clinton during the congressional hearings about the weapons transfer operations. She responded, “I will have to take that question for the record. Nobody has ever raised that with me.”
In it was September when WND broke the story that Stevens played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials.
   According to the 39-page report from independent investigators probing the attacks at the diplomatic facility, the U.S. mission in Benghazi was set up without the knowledge of the new Libyan government, as WND reported.
   WND also exclusively reported the facility may have violated the terms of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which governs the establishment of overseas missions. Like most nations, the U.S. is a signatory to the 1961 United Nations convention.
   Article 2 of the convention makes clear the host government must be informed about the establishment of any permanent foreign mission on its soil: “The establishment of diplomatic relations between States, and of permanent diplomatic missions, takes place by mutual consent.”
   According to the State report, there was a decision “to treat Benghazi as a temporary, residential facility,” likely disqualifying the building from permanent mission status if the mission was indeed temporary.
   And WND reported in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice may have deliberately misled the public when she went on television news shows and called the facility that had been targeted a “consulate.”


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Colorado lawmakers endangering religious rights

'Civil union' strategy pushing state off 'moral cliff'

byJack Minor

DENVER – Democratic lawmakers in Colorado are pushing their state off a “moral cliff” with a civil union bill that puts the state on record as opposing religious liberty, according to critics.
The proposal is an attempt to maneuver around the state constitution, which defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, the critics charge.
“We just hurled the state of Colorado over a moral cliff. This is a major step toward seriously eroding the practice and the concept of marriage in Colorado and the family,” said state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, one of the two Republicans on the Judiciary Committee who voted against the bill.
Lundberg said the bill proposed this year is “even more striking than last year in that they refused an amendment I put up that would exempt private child placement agencies from being impacted by this law.”
“The Democrats refused, saying anyone who is going to place a child in foster care or adoption situations in Colorado cannot refuse a same-sex couple because of moral or religious convictions,” he continued. “They must comply with this force of law.”
Kelly Fiedorek, an attorney with one of the largest civil and religious rights defense organizations in the nation, the Alliance Defending Freedom, warned the state is on thin ice.
“It’s important for all Colorado citizens to notice that this bill fails to protect religious freedom, which is a constitutionally protected right that is one of our first liberties,” Fiedorek said.
Fiedorek testified this week before the Colorado state Senate Judiciary Committee against Senate Bill 13-011, which would legalize civil unions.
Despite the states’ constitutional definition of marriage, the committee approved the plan anyway in response to lobbying by Gov. John Hickenlooper and “gay” activists.
Supporters of the bill say it simply provides legal protections for same-sex couples to enter into contractual arrangements and will not infringe on the religious rights of anyone in the state. They point to a section in the bill stating that no priest, minister, rabbi or other official of a religious institution is required to certify a civil union in violation of their right to free exercise of religion.
However, Fiedorek says the religious exemption is so narrowly tailored it leaves vast numbers of Coloradans with no protection of their religious rights.
“This bill as currently drafted fails to protect the religious rights of conscience for Christians who are not official ministers of their church. Religious liberty is not confined to the four walls of the church but extends to everybody.”
Another concern is the bill affords no protections for wedding-venue owners, clerks and recorders, bed-and-breakfast establishments, bakeries, photographers, caterers, deejays and others who may be forced to violate their consciences and actively participate in same-sex ceremonies.

Fiedorek cited the case of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Bake Shop in Lakewood, Colo., who is facing discrimination charges after he refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple even though the civil union bill has not become law.
“It’s important that all residents be able to live according to the dictates of their conscience,” she said. “He didn’t refuse service to this couple because of their sexual orientation, his refusal was based solely on his religious beliefs as to what constitutes marriage and he is now being persecuted for those beliefs.”
Hickenlooper and Democratic lawmakers attempted to pass the bill in the last legislative session but failed when Republican lawmakers essentially ran out the clock. WND reported Hickenlooper then called the legislature back into a special session in an attempt to pass the bill but failed again. This year, Democrats control both the state House and Senate chambers, so the bill is expected to pass handily.
Fiedorek argued the measure compels citizens to violate their conscience.
“You can’t compel speech,” he said. “For example it would be unfair to ask an African-American photographer to shoot a wedding where the wedding party wore white robes of the KKK. He has the right to not use his artistic abilities as a photographer in a way that compromises his deeply held beliefs. The same standard applies to a person who believes marriage is between a man and woman.”
Colorado business owners have already been forced to surrender some rights after the previous governor signed legislation eliminating gender-specific bathrooms and locker rooms.
In 2008, Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter signed “emergency legislation” that allows men to freely use women’s restrooms and locker rooms by simply asserting they are transgendered.
The bill states business owners and managers of restaurants, gyms, barber shops, massage parlors and public facilities “of any kind whether indoor or outdoor” cannot deny a person employment or access to a facility based on gender identity or the “perception” of gender.
It defines sexual orientation as a person’s orientation toward heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgender status or “another person’s perception thereof.”

WND has reported similar cases in which individuals and companies were told their First Amendment rights did not apply with respect to sexual orientation.
  • A Christian couple in New Mexico was fined nearly $7,000 and told by a judge that states had the right to force Christians to violate their faith as a condition of doing business. The couple had refused to photograph a lesbian “commitment ceremony.” The judge said the couple’s religious rights were not violated because they could choose to vocally condemn the women while taking pictures during the ceremony.
  • Hands On Originals was investigated by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission for refusing to print a T-shirt promoting a local “gay” pride event. The head of the commission told WND that while a “gay” printing company had the right to refuse to print literature critical of the “gay” lifestyle, the same protections do not necessarily extend to Christians.
Fiedorek said cases such as these highlight the need to ensure that everyone has protection for their religious liberties, not just members of the clergy.
“One point that is important to recognize is that the religious protections in the bill are not only inadequate and fail to protect the people of Colorado, but the extreme narrowness of those protections is prejudiced towards those who have deeply held religious beliefs about marriage.”
State Sen. Lundberg told Democrats it was hypocritical for them to refuse religious exemptions when their own bill has discrimination written into it.
“When I was calling for the exemption for child placement organizations, Sen. Pat Steadman who sponsored the bill said no to the amendment because that would be allowing discrimination to occur and he was not going to do that,” Lundberg said. “I pointed out to him the bill itself has discrimination written into it by saying that two sisters or close relatives can’t be a part of a civil union. However, it’s quite clear that they’re simply saying it’s my way or the highway in that respect.”
Fiedorek asserted that guaranteeing religious protections for individuals will not have a detrimental effect on the ability of same-sex couples to obtain service in states with civil unions or same-sex marriages.
“In every jurisdiction that has passed civil unions and same-sex marriage laws these couples are finding individuals and organizations who are willing to solemnize and certify their unions and celebrate with them,” she said. “They are not having any problems in finding people to assist them and yet they are proposing legislation that does not protect everybody. We need to protect everyone, not just a select few.”
Lundberg takes issue with those who claim the civil union bill is a reasonable attempt at compromise because it does not permit “gay” marriage.
“They insist that this is legislation does not equal marriage because the Colorado constitution says marriage is between one man and one woman, but the reality is this bill is a mirror image of marriage in Colorado law,” he explained. “It’s a very comprehensive piece of legislation that affects every area of Colorado law that makes a civil union as identical to marriage as possible within existing Colorado statutes.”
Although the bill exempts members of the clergy from having to perform same-sex ceremonies, there is a loophole in the exemption that could prove problematic. The bill does not specifically prevent the government from penalizing, withholding benefits from or refusing to contract with clergy, religious organizations or institutions that adhere to deeply held religious beliefs about sexual unions.
While clergy could refuse to perform same-sex ceremonies, they might not be able to prevent “gay” couples from using their facilities for ceremonies conducted by someone else.
Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel noted that after Hawaii passed a civil union bill that contained a religious exemption with language similar to Colorado’s bill, complaints were then brought against churches to the Hawaiian Human Rights Commission over their refusal to allow civil-union ceremonies.
Barber said the property loophole is an issue that legislators need to address and they should pass legislation clarifying the religious exemption applies to religious property as well.
Could churches in Colorado be forced to allow same-sex couples to use their facilities based on the language in the civil union law?
“Absolutely,”Barber said. “That’s the nature of the homosexual activist lobby; they like to use the legal system to force their radical agenda on the rest of us.”
Barber said the issue “is whether the anti-discrimination laws would be triggered if [someone] were to refuse to rent a facility to a same-sex couple.”
“The laws provide an exemption for ministers to refuse to perform the ceremonies, but there is no property exemption,” he said.
Barber said the domestic partner law, as worded, “puts churches in the crosshairs if they refuse to rent to a same-sex couple.”
“Domestic partnerships are basically marriages in everything but name, and for many religious institutions it violates their deeply held beliefs,” Barber said. “Churches and other religious facilities should have a First Amendment right to use their property and open it up for whomever they see fit when we are talking about behaviors such as homosexuality which is contrary to the Bible.”
Barber said the homosexual lobby is attempting to use civil union laws to get a foot in the door and ultimately require churches to perform same-sex ceremonies.
“This isn’t about same-sex couples having the right to marry,” he said. ‘It is about denigrating marriage and forcing the church to renounce its biblical position on sexual behavior under penalty of law.”
Lundberg also noted that supporters are being dishonest by claiming that civil union bills are a way to find compromise and common ground among people who have a disagreement over the issue.
“They will never be satisfied with a civil union,” he said. “What they want is the right to the word marriage. During the last session I asked Steadman if this bill would satisfy him. He said, ‘No, if I can get same-sex marriage passed, I will go for that.’