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.
We've been covering two active and distinct State Department scandals -- both dating back to the Hillary Clinton era, and both featuring politically motivated cover-ups: First, the Benghazi attack, and second, the more recent revelations about numerous instances of improper department interference into sensitive internal investigations. The known Benghazi whistleblowers are named Hicks, Thompson, and Nordstrom. Then there's Inspector General investigator Aurelia Fedenisn, who's exposed quite a lot of nasty business that State Department higher-ups appear eager to bury. As punishment for his truth-telling, Gregory Hicks was harassed, reprimanded and demoted. Now Fedenisn is alleging that she, too, is facing the wrath of State Department brass. As Katie noted earlier (it bears repeating) the message she's inferred isn't complicated -- shut up:
The State Department investigator who accused colleagues last week of using drugs, soliciting prostitutes, and having sex with minors says that Foggy Bottom is now engaged in an “intimidation” campaign to stop her. Last week’s leaks by Aurelia Fedenisn, a former State Department inspector general investigator, shined a light on alleged wrongdoing by U.S. officials around the globe. But her attorney Cary Schulman tells The Cable that Fedenisn has paid a steep price: “They had law enforcement officers camp out in front of her house, harass her children and attempt to incriminate herself.”
Fedenisn's life changed dramatically last Monday after she handed over documents and statements to CBS News alleging that senior State Department officials “influenced, manipulated, or simply called off” several investigations into misconduct. The suppression of investigations was noted in an early draft of an Inspector General report, but softened in the final version...After the CBS News made inquiries to the State Department about the charges, Schulman says investigators from the State Department’s Inspector General promptly arrived at Fedenisn’s door. “They talked to both kids and never identified themselves,” he said. “First the older brother and then younger daughter, a minor, asking for their mom’s place of work and cell phone number … They camped out for four to five hours.”
Last week, Fedenisn provided CBS News with eight examples of the State Department white-washing or derailing probes into alleged wrongdoing among American diplomats stationed abroad. The accusations include reports of sexual assaults, prostitution, solicitation of minors, and drug use -- investigations into which were watered down or stymied altogether. Meanwhile, on a separate scandal front, the IRS is foisting more preposterous stories upon the public. Carol outlined the latest round of self-serving, "cringe-worthy" excuses from IRS official and Obama donor Holly Paz yesterday. I discussed the subject with Megyn Kelly on Fox News, noting that yet another element of the agency's dishonest cover story has crashed and burned:
Last night CBS' Investigative Reporter Sharyl Attkisson went on the O'Reilly Factor to discuss the latest developments with her strange personal and work computer activity. Four weeks ago when news broke about the Department of Justice secretly monitoring dozens of reporters and naming Fox News Correspondent James Rosen as a criminal co-conspirator, Attkisson mentioned that her computers had been acting as if they were compromised. We now know they were compromised and it looks like Attkisson knows
the Department of Justice who did it. Whoever was snooping around in her digital space wasn't looking for money or personal information, they were looking for information about what stories she was working on. Attkisson has been at the forefront of breaking stories on Operation Fast and Furious, Solyndra and Benghazi.
Afghanistan peace talks between representatives of the United States and the Taliban will take place on Thursday in Doha, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.Meanwhile, as the United States starts to heavily arm terrorist infiltrated rebel groups in Syria, we're learning the Al Qaeda arm fighting as rebels is the best armed.
Al Qaeda's affiliate inside Syria is now the best-equipped arm of the terror group in existence today, according to informal assessments by U.S. and Middle East intelligence agencies, a private sector analyst directly familiar with the information told CNN.As a reminder, Fort Hood shooter Nadal Hassan said just last week that he shot and killed more than a dozen U.S. soldiers on American soil in order to protect the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Concern about the Syrian al Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front, is at an all-time high, according to the analyst, with as many as 10,000 fighters and supporters inside Syria. The United States has designated al-Nusra Front as a terrorist group with links to al Qaeda in Iraq.
A military judge barred Army Maj. Nidal Hasan on Friday from arguing at his court-martial that he was legally acting to protect Taliban leaders when he killed 13 people and injured 32 others in a shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.What could go wrong? And what a slap in the face to Ft. Hood families.
Hasan, who's representing himself, has said the shootings were a premeditated "defense of others" to safeguard Mullah Mohammed Omar and other Taliban leaders in Afghanistan from attacks by the U.S. military.
When senior IRS officials first admitted to unfair and inappropriate targeting of conservative groups, they claimed the targeting was carried out by a few rogue agents in a Cincinnati office. Weeks and mounds of evidence to the contrary later, a new Rasmussen Report shows 70 percent of Americans believe the targeting of tea party groups came from Washington D.C. and the White House.
Only 17% believe that the IRS abuse was the result of low-level employees at the Cincinnati office. Seventy percent (70%) believe the IRS decision to target conservative groups was made in Washington, an increase of five points over the past month. That includes 29% who believe the decision was made at IRS headquarters and 41% who believe it was made at the White House.
The most interesting thing about the latest polling is the number of people paying attention to the scandal. After all, the IRS affects everyone.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 82% of voters nationwide are now following the IRS targeting story, including 44% who are following the story “Very Closely.” The overall number of voters who are following is up from 74% a month ago.
Mrs. Vanden Heuvel also informs MSNBC viewers that Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn is "anti-woman" for defending a baby's right to live in the mother's womb.
House Speaker John Boehner is not going to bring a comprehensive immigration-reform plan to the floor if a majority of Republicans don't support it, sources familiar with his plans said. "No way in hell," is how several described the chances of the speaker acting on such a proposal without a majority of his majority behind him. Boehner, R-Ohio, does not view immigration in the same vein as the fiscal cliff last December, when he backed a bill that protected most Americans from a tax increase even though less than half of the GOP lawmakers were with him, said multiple sources, who spoke anonymously to allow greater candor.
GB: Congressman, let’s start with a report today in the Washington Examiner. We’ve been talking about it throughout the program. David Drucker, who’s just made the jump over from Roll Call, reports that sources close to the Speaker’s office who understand what the machinations are inside the Speaker’s strategy moving forward, they say there is 'no chance' that Speaker Boehner will allow a comprehensive immigration reform bill, such as whatever emerges from the Senate, be it the Gang of 8 or what have you, he will not allow that to come to the floor of the House unless he knows that a majority of the Republican majority conference backs whatever the bill is going to be. Meaning he’s going to stand by the Hastert rule, which he has jettisoned on a number of occasions over the last year or so. Your reaction to those reports?
TC: Those reports, if true, reflect, in my opinion, Speaker Boehner simply reflecting the will of the House Republican Caucus. I don’t think you’d find a majority of support, even a small number of Republicans, voting for any kind of bill that has amnesty first and enforcement second…maybe. So I am not surprised by the report. I suspect it probably is correct, and it also reflects the Speaker’s oft-stated desire that the House will move forward trying to fix our broken immigration system on areas where we have bipartisan agreements. It’s just border security or improved E-verify programs or improved entry/exit visa programs, that those areas should not be held hostage towards a massive, complicated bill like what’s moving through the Senate right now.
GB: All right, Congressman, let me circle back to what you just said, because you said you don’t think that even close to a majority of your caucus, the Republicans in the House, would be able to support or vote for any plan that would put the legalization element first, and then enforcement second -- which is exactly what the Gang of 8 bill spells out. Are you saying that even if some measures are beefed up on the Senate side, if that basic one-two timetable sort of remains in place, it is dead on arrival in the House?
TC: That is my belief, Guy. Now in my short time in Congress, I have found myself wrong in my predictions about what the House would or would not do, but I believe that most House Republicans feel strongly that the basic problem with our immigration system is a failure of enforcement, and that’s not just border security, but internal enforcement through employment verification measures and visa problems and so forth. It’s partly with our, the way we grant visas for legal, permanent residents. You know, it’s focuses less on what it should be, which is skills and jobs and training. And you know, this is reflected by some senators as well. Ted Cruz has said repeatedly in the Judiciary Committee, and now on the Senate floor, that he wants common sense immigration reform to pass, as I think we all do. But the difference between a flawed status quo and an even worse proposed bill means that you should stick with the better of the two outcomes, which would be the flawed status quo than a bill that makes the situation worse.
"We’re the hammer on the back end. If the Republicans try to scuttle it, we’re the ones who can communicate to the Latino community who scuttled it."
Testifying Tuesday on Capitol Hill before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Director of the National Security Agency General Keith Alexander claimed that the NSA program and keeping of millions of phone records has thwarted more 50 terror attacks since September 11, 2001 in more than 20 countries.
Alexander stressed the NSA program is focused on terrorism and foreign threats, but that Americans involved in terrorism are looked at. Deputy Attorney General James Cole reiterated this claim, saying that in order to listen or obtain content of phone calls or emails, there must be probable cause a person is involved in terrorist activities.
"We don't get any content, we don't listen in on anybody's calls," Cole said.
"The program is not intentionally used to target any U.S. citizens," Deputy FBI Director Sean Joyce said. "The program is key in our counter terrorism efforts."
Joyce detailed some of the attacks that were stopped, including the plans of Afhgan-American Najibullah Zazi to bomb the New York subway system with backpack bombs. Zazi was arrested in 2009.
Perhaps it's just as well for the President's peace of mind that he and his family are on another taxpayer-subsidized international jaunt (the President attended the G-8 while his wife and daughters visited Ireland; they're then off to Germany where he will make a speech, before heading on a three-nation tour of Africa).
The news at home for Obama isn't pretty.According to a new CNN poll, almost half of Americans think the IRS targeting of conservatives was ordered by senior White House officials. And while last month, only 36% of independents thought the White House was behind the targeting, now more than half do. And it's hard for Democrats/MSM to blame this result on Republicans; no Republican has charged that the operation was directed from The White House.
Moral of the story? Once credibility erodes (as it has through the cascade of scandals that have surfaced over the last couple months), it's hard to "control the narrative" or convince even people as good and trusting as Americans to give you the benefit of the doubt.
It's ironic that Obama's approval ratings are now below those of the president he came to power demonizing. Perhaps there's some poetic justice in the fact that, whatever his political opponents (or other Americans) thought of George W. Bush, they never suspected his administration of ordering the targeting of law-abiding fellow Americans out of The White House.
The State Department investigator who accused colleagues last week of using drugs, soliciting prostitutes, and having sex with minors says that Foggy Bottom is now engaged in an "intimidation" campaign to stop her.
Last week's leaks by Aurelia Fedenisn, a former State Department inspector general investigator, shined a light on alleged wrongdoing by U.S. officials around the globe. But her attorney Cary Schulman tells The Cable that Fedenisn has paid a steep price: "They had law enforcement officers camp out in front of her house, harass her children and attempt to incriminate herself."Camping out in front of her house? Intimidating her kids? Sounds like these tactics follow the Obama administration whistleblower retaliation playbook perfectly.
Fedenisn's life changed dramatically last Monday after she handed over documents and statements to CBS News alleging that senior State Department officials "influenced, manipulated, or simply called off" several investigations into misconduct. The suppression of investigations was noted in an early draft of an Inspector General report, but softened in the final version.
Erich Hart, general counsel to the Inspector General, did not reply to a request for comment. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said last week that "we hold all employees to the highest standards. We take allegations of misconduct seriously and we investigate thoroughly." She also announced that the department would request additional review by outside law enforcement officers on OIG inspection processes.
CBS News' John Miller reports that according to an internal State Department Inspector General's memo, several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut "engaged in sexual assaults" on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's security detail "engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries" -- a problem the report says was "endemic."
The memo also reveals details about an "underground drug ring" was operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and supplied State Department security contractors with drugs.
Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator with the State Department's internal watchdog agency, the Inspector General, told Miller, "We also uncovered several allegations of criminal wrongdoing in cases, some of which never became cases."
Katrina vanden Heuvel: "MS, WI, TX, ND, AR, Have Become States of Misogyny of Bigotry" | Greg Hengler
Report: Boehner Won't Bring Immigration Bill to the Floor Without Majority of Republicans On Board | Guy Benson