Oddly, President Obama chose to analogize education by Catholics and Protestants to segregation during his trip to Northern Ireland:
"Because issues like segregated schools and housing, lack of jobs and opportunity--symbols of history that are a source of pride for some and pain for others--these are not tangential to peace; they’re essential to it. If towns remain divided--if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs--if we can’t see ourselves in one another, if fear or resentment are allowed to harden, that encourages division. It discourages cooperation."
Of course, it's ironic that the most divisive President in American history should go to Ireland and condemn division. But it also raises questions: Does this signal hostility to Catholic education in America -- or hostility to religious education in general?
It's clear -- from his ObamaCare abortifacient/contraceptive mandate to his efforts to cut charitable deductions -- that the President sees government as the only really legitimate actor in civil society. But his willingness to characterize education by religious orders as enabling division and discord is an unpleasant reminder of his hostility to any social force with potential to check the power of Big Government.
Thousands of concerned Americans gathered on the Capitol lawn Wednesday to protest the IRS's targeting of conservative organizations. It was all part of the "Audit the IRS" rally, organized by the Tea Party Patriots organization, where attendees unleashed their outrage at the IRS, the President, the media, and others they found complicit in the scandal. The pending immigration bill and NSA surveillance found their way into the conversation, the latter of which elicited shouts of "Barack O'Nixon" at times.
Notable speakers included Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Mike Lee (R-UT) as well as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Glenn Beck, and members of those groups targeted by the IRS.
One of those targeted was Becky Gerritson, president of the Wetumpka, Alabama, Tea Party, who won the admiration of many with her gripping testimony before a Congressional hearing. She fired up the crowd at today's rally, saying "Liberty is rooted deep in the marrow of the American soul" and called for Congress to "defund the IRS."
Crowd favorite Ted Cruz caused a stir, saying "The New York Times told me the Tea Party was dead. The IRS told me the Tea Party was dead...They were right to be afraid." He also urged individuals citizens who think they've been targeted by the IRS to email his office.
Rand Paul gave brief remarks as well, joking that he'd asked to borrow Harry Reid's cell phone in order to protect himself from NSA surveillance.
As the IRS rally on the West Lawn was taking place, a smaller crowd gathered on the East Lawn to watch Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) press conference denouncing the immigration bill. The Capitol Hill police caused a bit of a stir early on, reportedly trying to prohibit protestors on the West lawn from crossing over. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus made an appearance at the immigration rally, mingling with the crowd and telling them "We appreciate everything you guys are doing."
All in all, it was a day for thousands of Americans to unleash some of their pent-up frustration brewing over IRS targeting, NSA surveillance, and other Obama Administration scandals. Most of them simply said they had come to hold their government accountable.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday told GOP lawmakers that he would adhere to the “Hastert Rule” on immigration reform and not hold a vote without the support of a majority of the caucus. "I don't see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn't have a majority support of Republicans," Boehner told reporters following a closed-door House GOP conference meeting, where he offered a similar message to his members.
Most of the so-called security triggers in the bill are paper tigers. The requirement that those applying for amnesty have clean criminal records in fact allows for two misdemeanor convictions and, like most of the triggers, can be waived by the Department of Homeland Security. Senator John Cornyn of Texas has sought to have those with drunk-driving convictions excluded, but he is meeting resistance — Senator John McCain called the Cornyn amendment, which modestly strengthens other security provisions as well, a “poison pill.” The bill as written excludes only those with three or more drunk-driving convictions — “habitual” drunk drivers.
Likewise, the fines for illegal immigrants contemplated by the Gang of Eight can, under the current bill, be waived by DHS, and the collection of unpaid taxes applies only to levies already assessed by our dear friends at the IRS. The main security provisions of the legislation require only that DHS draw up a plan for security. (That is classic Washington: a plan to have a plan.) The much-vaunted requirement that DHS achieve 90 percent effectiveness for border security requires only self-certification by the DHS; in the unlikely event that DHS does not give itself a passing score, the only result under the law would be the creation of a commission to study the problem. Completing a border fence is left to the discretion of the DHS, which does not support doing so. Likewise, the requirement that the federal government institute a system of controls on those who overstay their visas — which already is a legal requirement and has been since 1996 — is left largely to the discretion of DHS.
Rubio issued a statement explaining his 'no' vote (Thune's plan wasn't "specific" enough), but the truth is that none of the 'gang' members are willing to abide a meaningful enforcement-first trigger. Thune's plan could have been packed full of details, and Rubio still would have voted no. Rubio has repeatedly stated that the current bill needs more muscular border security provisions -- but not this one, apparently. None of that will fly in the House as things stand today, which brings us back to my analysis of Democrats' calculus in all of this. Meanwhile, a new CNN poll shows support for the bill sitting at a tenuous 51 percent, despite a slanted question that (a) mentions border security first, and (b) uses a euphemism for 'illegal immigrants.' The same survey shows that a super-majority of Americans believe border security should be the government's top priority in crafting immigration reform legislation. How do the Senate's actions reflect the will of the people?
I'm once again reminded of Rep. Raul Labrador's plan, which is the best idea I've seen to date. Real enforcement first, followed by a fair and just legalization process for most immigrants who are here illegally. But if the lukewarm Cornyn amendment is a bridge too far for Schumer and company, Labrador's offering is in a different universe altogether. The fact that it happens to adhere more closely to the wishes of most Americans than the gang's proposal is somehow reduced to an afterthought. Finally, the CBO has determined that the gang of eight bill would reduce deficits by nearly $1 trillion over 20 years. Although there are credible arguments for why reform would boost the US economy, that figure may be a little tough for many conservatives to swallow -- particularly in light of the bill of goods CBO was forced to produce on Obamacare. Click through for Allahpundit's explanation about how CBO's calculations may be roughly accurate...in the relative short term.
The Tea Party Patriots, one of the groups targeted by the IRS, has organized a rally on Capitol Hill Wednesday to push back against big government bullying and corruption. Media mogul Glenn Beck will speak along with Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul. Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann is expected to be there with Tea Party leaders from all over the country.
The theme of Wednesday's event is, "Audit the IRS." The rally comes as IRS employees are expecting to receive $70 million in bonuses.
Despite allowing Barack Obama to launch his political career in his living room way back in the day, Bill Ayers is calling for the now President to be charged with war crimes. To be fair however, Ayers did call for every president in American history to be tried for the same thing.
Bill Ayers, former University of Illinois professor and co-founder of the violent anti-war group Weather Underground, said Tuesday that President Barack Obama should be put on trial for war crimes, according to RealClearPolitics.
"Every president in this century should be put on trial," Ayers told Charlie Stone on RealClearPolitics' "Morning Commute." “Every one of them goes into an office dripping with blood and then adds to it. And, yes, I think that these are war crimes. I think that they’re acts of terror.”
Ayers, whose Weather Underground bombed police stations, the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon during its anti-Vietnam War crusade in the 1960s and 1970s, said he'd give Obama a failing grade based on his presidency's policy and politics. Nevertheless, Ayers said he likes the president.
"He's a curious person. One of the things I like about him is he's curious. He wants to know things. He asks questions, he's not just charming, he's also interested. He reads," Ayers said. "I liked him personally -- he's a really good guy."
Ayer's slight change of heart is not surprising considering Obama threw him completely under the bus when new media pointed out his connection to the domestic terrorist back during the 2008 presidential election.
On another note, what exactly has Ayers been up to? Accepting invitations to be a prestigious visiting scholar at universities of course.
Administrators at Minnesota State University – Moorhead (MSUM) announced late last month that former Weather Underground co-founder and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers has been selected as the 2013 “visiting scholar” by the school’s College of Education and Human Services.
Dr. William Ayers… will be the 2013 College of Education and Human services Visiting Scholar,” read the Feb. 25th campus-wide announcement.
Ayers accepted the prestigious award while delivering a campus-wide lecture entitled “Teaching from the Heart: Education for Enlightenment and Freedom.”
Hot questions, timely topics, timeless principles. Welcome to Townhall Magazine’s July 2013 issue! Check out an exclusive sneak peek of a few stories that made our pages, including our cover feature on military academy families.
Order Townhall Magazine today for these can't-miss articles:
--*Cover Story*: Choosing the military academies isn't just about education--it's a call to serve. Experience two families' journeys through military academy life. *Scroll down for an exclusive excerpt of the article!*
--“How Liberals Twist Language”: In recent history, we've seen the Left hijack and manipulate language to win battles. It's time the Right wakes up to the deception, writes Katie Pavlich.
--"10 Founding Fathers You've Likely Never Heard Of": Theirs was a manly cause, as many lost everything battling for American independence.
--"Hillary's Troubling Legacy": Hillary Clinton is currently the darling of Democrats and their 2016 hopes, but should she be? Her record should cause all Americans concern.
--"Life or Death in 30 Seconds": 30 seconds is usually the amount of time pro-life sidewalk counselors have to arm women with life-changing information.
--"Closing Argument": S.E. Cupp checks in with Rep. Paul Ryan.
Remember, our print features are generally 100 percent exclusive ... most won't run in full online!
Excerpted from Townhall Magazine's July cover story, "Called to Serve," by Marybeth Hicks:
July marks the launch of basic training at America’s five Federal Service academies—the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, the United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, the United States Coast Guard Academy at New London, Conn., and the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York.
Each academy has its own lingo and its own traditions for installing new servicemen and women. Induction Day—or “I Day,” as it’s known at Annapolis—is always July 1, a day of celebration and anticipation that starts with head shaving and uniform distribution and ends with tearful goodbyes from parents and families.
Similarly at West Point, “R Day” —for Reception Day—marks the start of six weeks of grueling cadet training that the Army calls “challenging,” though most of the people who go through it call it “hell.”
After a welcome ceremony for families and new cadets, the Air Force allows a full 90 seconds for families to say their goodbyes before whisking “Doolies” off to their new reality as Air Force trainees. The atmosphere is the same for Coast Guard cadets beginning “Swab Summer” and Merchant Marines entering plebe summer.
The start of these summer sessions, which last six or seven weeks and include exhausting physical training, rigorous military exercises and tedious hours of marching in the hot, summer sun, marks only a benchmark along a journey that, for some, began in childhood with dreams of attending an academy. What will follow are four years of equally challenging academic and professional training as America’s future military officers are molded to lead our armed services. ...
From the age of 14, Tyler Sharp wanted to be a Navy SEAL. Attending his brother’s college graduation, Tyler, the youngest of Lou and Brad Sharp’s three sons, mentioned to an aunt his fascination with the SEALs, and she encouraged him to pursue the US Naval Academy as a way to achieve his dream. “She told him the best route was to enter the academy,” recalls Tyler’s mother, Lou Sharp, “because no matter what he decided to do later, he would always have that great education.”
For most boys, a middle-school aspiration like becoming a SEAL morphs into something else—a dream of a professional sports career, or perhaps the notion of becoming an important political leader.
But not Tyler. The Williamston, Mich., teenager took that suggestion from his aunt, researched his goal, and set his sights on entering the Naval Academy. His parents simply went along for the ride on Tyler’s journey.
The only military connection in Tyler’s family was an uncle, retired Navy Capt. David R. Sharp.
“We weren’t a military family,” Lou says. “We raised our boys to respect this nation and love their country, but we didn’t push or even suggest that they join the military. That would have to come from them. So for Tyler to have this dream of being a SEAL at such a young age was all his idea.”
“The next step was to learn more about the Navy SEALS,” Lou remembers. “He was just a little guy, but he was always very driven. So I found a SEAL mom, a woman I knew in town, and her son came home to visit, so we took Tyler to see him. They talked for two hours and afterward I said, ‘Do you really want to be a SEAL and go to the Academy?’ And he said, ‘More than ever.’”
Tyler didn’t leave any part of his plan to fate. As a high school freshman, he learned exactly what achievements, skills and experiences the Navy would want to see in an applicant, and he set about fulfilling those requirements in his high school career.
“Tyler didn’t know anyone else who was pursuing a dream like his so figured out on his own what he needed to do. He found out that you need to be well versed in different things— you need to be a good speaker, a good leader. He was a great athlete—not the top star but an asset to any team. He figured he would need to know how to swim so he joined the swim team. He ran cross-country and track. He also wrestled because he thought that would be a good thing,” Lou says.
“He took science and math classes because he knew that would help him be prepared,” she recalls. “And then Tyler started doing triathlons because he knew that sort of activity would be important. He ended up being on the triathlon team at the academy and being the captain, but he didn’t know that would happen. His mind was set on all these different things that he knew he would need in order to become a SEAL.”
Applying for USNA’s Summer Seminar for rising high school seniors launched the entry process for Tyler. “He didn’t have a Plan B,” Lou says. “He never applied anywhere else for college and, to be honest, as parents, this made us a little crazy. But he was just determined that he would go to Annapolis, even if it meant taking a long route to get there.”
Unsurprisingly, a long route wasn’t necessary. In his senior year at Williamston High School, Tyler was nominated for appointment to the Naval Academy by GOP Rep. Mike Rogers as well as by Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow. He entered USNA on July 1, 2006, with uncharacteristically little fanfare.
“Tyler didn’t want a graduation party or any attention about going to the Academy,” Lou says. “It was always the means to end. It was the path to becoming a SEAL.”
That path seemed assured, given Tyler’s stellar career at USNA. Majoring in Oceanic Engineering—one of the academy’s most difficult courses of study—and captaining the triathlon team were only part of his duties. He also rose through the ranks of Midshipmen, serving as a “striper,” or battalion commander, in his First Class (senior) year.
As his USNA graduation approached, Tyler submitted his top preferences for placement, as all graduating Midshipmen must do. SEALs was still the goal; his No. 1 choice. Tyler’s second choice was Surface Warfare Officer (SWOs), another demanding and prized placement, to be sure, but not the dream he had pursued with such passion for 12 years.
But his dream would have to wait.
Despite being under heavy scrutiny from both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill and all over the country for inappropriately targeting conservative groups, IRS employees are about to receive $70 million in bonuses.
The Internal Revenue Service is about to pay $70 million in employee bonuses despite an Obama administration directive to cancel discretionary bonuses because of automatic spending cuts enacted this year, according to a GOP senator.
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says his office has learned that the IRS is executing an agreement with the employees' union on Wednesday to pay the bonuses. Grassley says the bonuses should be canceled under an April directive from the White House budget office.
The directive was written by Danny Werfel, a former budget official who has since been appointed acting IRS commissioner.
"The IRS always claims to be short on resources," Grassley said. "But it appears to have $70 million for union bonuses. And it appears to be making an extra effort to give the bonuses despite opportunities to renegotiate with the union and federal instruction to cease discretionary bonuses during sequestration."And how is this even possible? Through unions and government bureaucracy.
Office of Management and Budget "guidance directs that agencies should not pay discretionary monetary awards at this time, unless legally required," IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge said in a statement. "IRS is under a legal obligation to comply with its collective bargaining agreement, which specifies the terms by which awards are paid to bargaining-unit employees."
Eldridge, however, would not say whether the IRS believes it is contractually obligated to pay the bonuses.
"In accordance with OMB guidance, the IRS is actively engaged with NTEU on these matters in recognition of our current budgetary constraints," Eldridge said.
The National Treasury Employees Union did not respond to requests for comment.
Even though President Obama threatened to veto this bill hours before it passed the House of Representatives because he considers it to be “an assault on a woman’s right to choose” and “a direct challenge to Roe vs. Wade,” this is nonetheless still very good news for the pro-life community. Politico reports:
The House Tuesday passed a bill that would ban most abortions nationwide after 20 weeks. The most far-reaching abortion legislation in the House in a decade, it was passed 228-196 mostly along party lines.
The vote is largely symbolic: The bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate. And the White House has already threatened to veto the“fetal pain” legislation, which is based on the controversial assertion that a fetus can feel pain at that stage of development.
But Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), the bill’s sponsor, didn’t find that discouraging. He pointed to the last time Congress passed a bill of this scope, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. That bill fell short and faced court battles before it finally became law.
“I think if you hearken back to partial-birth abortion … everybody said you know, it’s not constitutional, it can’t pass, it can’t go anywhere, and it took time to do that and it even had to succeed a presidential veto. But it eventually did,” Franks said.
Meanwhile, the Pro-Life Susan B. Anthony List released the following statement:
“Congress has taken an important first step toward making sure we stop abortionists like Kermit Gosnell and his horrific abortion clinic and procedures. The House listened to the overwhelming majority of Americans, men and women, who instinctively recoil at the dehumanizing and degrading practice of late-term abortion,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the SBA List. “This pro-woman, pro-science, Constitutional bill deserves an immediate vote in the U.S. Senate. It’s simple: children capable of experiencing unimaginable pain from abortion must be protected across the country.
“The big abortion industry cannot defend late-term abortions. Americans are disturbed by the callous nature of this practice, the disgusting clinic conditions in Pennsylvania, Delaware and other states, the 330,000 abortions Planned Parenthood of America performs every year as it receives half a billion in taxpayer dollars, and the repeated harm women experience as a result of their exploitation. Women and the unborn deserve better than abortion, and making late-term abortions illegal is a simple step in that direction. Votes have consequences. Congress should take note we're pulling together our 2014 target list tonight.”
For what it’s worth, according to a recent Gallup poll, 80 percent of Americans believe third trimester abortions should be illegal.
Must Watch: Senator Explains Why He Changed From Being a Democrat to Being a Republican | Katie Pavlich