Dr. Anthony Levatino performed roughly 1,200 abortions in his career as an OBGYN—some after the 20-week mark—before having a change of heart about the procedure when his daughter died in a car accident.
On Thursday he spoke before a Congressional committee about his experiences performing abortions and urged lawmakers to support a bill that would ban abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy. “These procedures are brutal by their nature,” Levatino said after explaining the grisly details of how an abortion is performed.
“I know when the subject is related in any way to abortion, the doors of reason and human compassion in our minds and hearts often close, and the humanity of the unborn can no longer be seen. But I pray we can at least come together to agree that we can and should draw the line at the point that these innocent babies can feel the excruciating pain of these brutal procedures,” said pro-life Republican Rep. Trent Franks, the prime sponsor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Indeed, as Levatino confirmed in his testimony, “If you refuse to believe that this procedure inflicts severe pain on that unborn child, please think again.”
Levatino's conclusion is perhaps most powerful, however. Quoting President Obama he says, "If there is just one thing that we could do that would save just one child don't we have an obligation to try?"
Although the president’s counterterrorism speech on Thursday may have been nothing more than an attempt to distract the American public and news media from the three scandals plaguing his administration, Sen. Saxby Chambliss believes the speech was significant in the sense that it will be “viewed by terrorists as a victory.”
The senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee said President Obama's national security speech will be "viewed by terrorists as a victory."
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) made the remarks in a statement released moments after Obama's speech. He focused his criticism on Obama's plans to move toward closing the Guantanamo Bay detainee camp.
"We knew five years ago that closing Guantanamo was a bad idea and would not work," Chambliss said. "Yet, today’s speech sends the message to Guantanamo detainees that if they harass the dedicated military personnel there enough, we will give in and send them home, even to Yemen.
Fifty-six of the 166 detainees are from Yemen--where AQAP operates. Republicans cautioned that the release of detainees to the country ‘still carries too great of a security risk’ given the fact that 25 percent of the detainees released from Guantanamo have gone back into the fight. But pressure is mounting on the Obama administration to close Guantanamo as the remaining prisoners have begun a hunger strike.
House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said that to close Guantánamo, he wants to know “what the president intends to do with those terrorist detainees who are too dangerous to release but cannot be tried; how he will ensure terrorists transferred overseas do not return to the fight, and what he will do with terrorists we will capture in the future.”
Was Kermit Gosnell really the outlier abortion-rights advocates would like us to believe? No—the real question seems to be, how many more Gosnells are out there? According to an Operation Rescue report released Wednesday, there’s at least one more in Texas.
Four former employees of this ‘house of horrors’ are speaking out, and as one would expect, the details are just as gruesome and shocking as those revealed during Gosnell’s trial.
"Houston doctor Douglas Karpen is accused by four former employees of delivering live fetuses during third-trimester abortions and killing them by either snipping their spinal cord, stabbing a surgical instrument into their heads or 'twisting their heads off their necks with his own bare hands'.
Other times the fetus was so big he would have to pull it out of the womb in pieces, Karpen's ex-assistant, Deborah Edge, said in an Operation Rescue video, which has prompted a criminal investigation into the doctor."
(This video contains graphic testimony but does not show any graphic images)
Equally disturbing in this case is that Operation Rescue filed a complaint with the Texas Medical Board against the abortionist, including a history of problems, photographs and whistleblower accounts, but it was dismissed on the grounds of “insufficient evidence.” Operation Rescue’s report documents the entire story.
“Douglas Karpen is so like Kermit Gosnell that it is uncanny, from the illegal late-term abortions, to killing babies born alive, to even the sewers clogged with fetal remains,” Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger said. “But the most disturbing thing is that we know there are others out there who are maybe even worse than Gosnell and Karpen, who just have not been caught yet. How many? There’s just no way to tell, but that thought should give everyone pause to think. Can we really afford to allow abortion clinics to run amok without accountability? When we do, we get places like Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors” and Karpen’s apparently illicit operation. The ones that pay the price for the lack of enforcement and oversight are those who can’t defend themselves from exploitation by men like them.”
Senator Marco Rubio railed against the Obama administration’s “culture of intimidation” today during a speech on the Senate floor. “In the span of four days, three major revelations have been made regarding the use of government power to intimidate those who are doing things the government doesn’t like,” Rubio said regarding news of Benghazi whistleblowers being threatened, the IRS targeting conservative groups and the DOJ secretly monitoring personal and work phone lines of AP reporters. “These are the tactics of the third world. These are the tactics of places that don’t have the freedoms and the independence that we have here in this country.”
But none of this is new, Rubio argued. “What we see emerging here is a pattern, a culture of intimidation, of hardball politics.” The Florida senator then pointed to the cases of Frank VanderSloot, the major Mitt Romney donor who was subjected to two IRS audits after being named on Obama’s enemies list, and ProPublica, the “progressive-leaning investigative journalism group” the IRS released the confidential applications of nine conservative groups to. “This is not just limited to the IRS, this is a culture of intimidation,” Rubio said. “There was South Carolina and Boeing who decided to relocate its operations … the NLRB came after them. … They were going after them because the union in Washington State was upset.”
This type of culture is what’s expected from an administration that’s “all about politics,” he argued—when an administration deliberately attempts to divide the American people on every issue and rewards political advantage.
“If the government has too much power, it almost always ends up destructive.”
Surprise, surprise: Obama is threatening to veto the Working Families Flexibility Act, which passed the House this week, because of what the WSJ describes as the White House’s “fealty to unions.” The bill, sponsored by Alabama Rep. Martha Roby, would reform the 75-year-old Fair Labor Standards Act to “allow employees to swap overtime pay for compensatory time off.” In other words, the flex time bill would give working parents the ability to more easily balance work and family responsibilities. Roby’s message about the bill in the GOP’s weekly address is simple: They ‘want to get Washington out of the way of how you use your time.’
“This week the House passed my bill, the Working Families Flexibility Act, which will remove an outdated and unnecessary restriction on private sector employees accruing comp time, or paid time off, in exchange for overtime.
This bill provides options for working moms and dads who need more time to take care of family responsibilities. It also demonstrates how applying conservative principles can help working Americans in their everyday lives.
What this bill doesn’t do is change the 40-hour work week or how overtime pay is calculated. The same protections that have been a part of labor law for decades remain, and we’ve added additional protections against coercion or unfair treatment. This bill also doesn’t add government regulation to the workplace - we have enough red tape as is.
A more flexible workplace isn’t a new concept. In fact, many employees in the public sector enjoy this benefit right now. That’s because in 1985 Congress passed a law allowing local and state governments to offer their employees the option of comp time.
So, why should the rules be different for employees in the private sector? Why should government workers have more freedom in the workplace than everybody else? And why is Washington restricting employers from offering certain benefits that government itself is free to offer?”
The White House’s opposition can only be understood in terms of the bill’s implications for the unions. And if you haven't figured it out by now, the AFL-CIO absolutely loathes the flex time bill and has been actively lobbying against it. WSJ’s scathing editorial on the matter breaks it down:
The politics at play here is White House fealty to unions. The only way for many private workers to obtain flex-time is if a union negotiates it as part of a collective-bargaining agreement. Unions routinely tout their ability to win such flexibility in their organizing drives, though pay raises and pension benefits are always higher priorities. But if workers can negotiate overtime pay for flexible work hours on their own, they have one less reason to join a union and pay the dues that fund Democratic campaigns.
With other major news like IRS targeting and Benghazi taking center stage, it will be difficult for this bill to get the attention it deserves, especially by liberal media. But modernizing the labor law to give working families more flexibility is something Republicans should fight hard for. And as the WSJ editorial states, “If Democrats intend to keep waging a war against flexible hours for women in the workplace, voters ought to know about it.”
After much heated debate in the Democrat-controlled legislature, Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper signed sweeping new gun laws in March—exactly eight months after the mass shooting in Aurora. The bills failed to attract a single Republican vote, however, and GOP lawmakers warned Democrats that ‘voters would make Democrats pay’—and polls at the time seemed to suggest as much:
“Importantly, Colorado voters do not believe these sweeping gun control measures will make them any safer. Two out three Coloradans (65%) say these new gun control laws won’t reduce crime or make the state any safer, while just a third say they will (32%).”
And there “very well could be political repercussions for supporting this legislation, as well. Nearly half (48%) of voters say they would be less likely to vote for their State Senator in the next election if he or she supports these gun control bills (40% more likely). There is strong intensity behind this as well – thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters overall say they would be much less likely to vote for him or her.”
Well, the time has come. Several Democratic lawmakers who played an influential role in helping pass the anti-gun laws are now the targets of recall efforts. Via Fox News:
Two groups are targeting state Rep. Mike McLachlan and state Sens. Angela Giron, Evie Hudak and John Morse. […]
Morse, the Senate president, pushed a more far-reaching proposal that called for holding owners, sellers and makers of assault-type weapons liable for havoc inflicted by their guns.
He pulled the bill upon realizing he didn’t have enough votes. But his efforts have still drawn the ire of the groups.
The petition drives are being organized by the organizations Pueblo Freedom and Rights Group. They will need signatures from 25 percent of the vote in each lawmaker’s district to trigger a special election.
Hudak, remember, drew the ire of gun-rights advocates after she lectured rape survivor Amanda Collins (who had a concealed weapons permit but was not carrying due to her college’s gun-free zone policy) during one of the hearings about rape statistics. She told Collins that even if she had had a gun, it wouldn’t have helped her because “chances are” he would have been able to get the gun from her and possible use it against her. Katie reported on the full exchange here.
The deadline for signatures is May 21.
"We're going to damn sure deal with these politicians here, if not with the recalls then in 2014. ... This momentum will carry us into 2014 and beyond, this legislation in Colorado has been so overreaching," Dave Saleh, who is working on recall efforts for McLachlan, told ABC News. Morse, Hudak and McLachlan won their seats by a slim margin.
The IRS “apologized” on Friday for flagging conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election cycle. IRS official Lois Lerner insisted, however, that the practice of singling out organizations with the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications was not politically motivated. She also said the “inappropriate” practice was initiated by “low-level” workers in Cincinnati, Ohio, unbeknownst to high-level officials. Yeah, or not:
Senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups as early as 2011, according to a draft of an inspector general's report obtained by The Associated Press that seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner.
The IRS apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was "inappropriate" targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. The agency blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware.
But on June 29, 2011, Lois G. Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, learned at a meeting that groups were being targeted, according to the watchdog's report. At the meeting, she was told that groups with "Tea Party," ''Patriot" or "9/12 Project" in their names were being flagged for additional and often burdensome scrutiny, the report says.
On Jan, 25, 2012, the criteria for flagging suspect groups was changed to, "political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement," the report says.
While this was happening, several committees in Congress were writing numerous letters IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman to express concern because tea party groups were complaining of IRS harassment.
In Shulman's responses, he did not acknowledge targeting of tea party groups. At a congressional hearing March 22, 2012, Shulman was adamant in his denials.
"There's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people" who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman said at the House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing.
Sen. Orrin Hatch suspects there are whistleblowers ready to come forward, which is why the IRS came out with this now. But the “apology” also came just days before an investigative report on the issue is expected from the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration. House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa issued the request last year after conservative groups complained of IRS harassment. Issa and Rep. Jim Jordan on Friday called the practice of targeting Americans because of their political beliefs “unconscionable” and said the Committee will “aggressively follow up on the IG report and hold responsible officials accountable for this political retaliation.”
After all, an apology won't make an issue of this magnitude just go away. As ABC's Terry Moran noted on Twitter, this is "truly a Nixonian abuse of power by the Obama administration." Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air adds to that point:
Update: How big of a deal is abusing the tax system to gain an advantage over the political opposition? Don’t forget that it was one of the charges in the Watergate articles of impeachment:
Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed of these agencies.
This conduct has included one or more of the following:
1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
That doesn’t make Obama guilty of the actions, but it does demonstrate the seriousness of the violation — and the fact that the Obama administration tried to shortstop the IG report with yesterday’s dog-and-pony show also demonstrates just how bad they know this will be.
America’s veterans are returning home only to fight another battle: collecting their service-related benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. According to VA documents obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting, veterans filing their first claim must wait more than 315 days —and in major U.S. cities like New York and Los Angeles they must wait twice as long. It wasn’t always this bad, however.
In 2009, the number of veterans waiting longer than a year for benefits was 11,000. That number reached 245,000 in December—a more than 2000 percent increase—and is expected to top one million this spring. So what’s the problem?
Darin Selnick, retired Air Force captain and former special assistant to the secretary of veterans affairs, says there are two main reasons why the backlog skyrocketed. First, Sec. Eric Shinseki loosened all the rules in 2010 for what a veteran could apply for, which led to a flood of new claims. And secondly, the VA didn’t prepare for it. “One of the things you learn in the military is ‘prior planning prevents poor performance’. He knows that. They knew it was coming. They knew the backlog would start spiking—they didn’t hire staff, they didn’t put in the procedure, they didn’t prepare for it. They just decided to open the floodgates without being able to handle the flood,” Selnick tells Townhall. “The real spike in the backlog is poor leadership, poor management, poor planning.”
It’s not as though Sec. Shinseki hasn’t been given the resources to properly address the problem, either. The VA’s budget has increased 40 percent in the last four years but the backlog issue has only gotten worse. “They’re using money like it’s going out of style,” Selnick says. “They haven’t done a good job of making sure they’re spending the money wisely and hiring the additional claims examiners to process the claims to get the backlog down.” There’s billions going out in contracts, travel, conferences, construction, IT and staff that are not directly related to the mission, he adds. For example, the documents obtained by CIR show that after spending four years and $537 million on a new computer system, 97 percent of all veterans’ claims are still on paper. At the regional office in Winston-Salem, N.C., the weight of all the paper files actually ‘exceeded the load-bearing capacity of the building itself’, causing the floors to bow.
Shinseki insists the backlog will be clear by 2015, but according to Selnick, this timeline isn’t acceptable. “The VA has the resources to fix this problem. They need to knuckle down and just do it and stop giving excuses,” he says, adding that people need to be held accountable. “Failure is not an option.”
Necessary reform at the VA will not take place if they feel they can get away with the status quo. This is why Selnick urges Americans to become informed and put the pressure on.
More information, videos and a petition are available MillionVetBacklog.com.
It starts with a replay of an ad Hillary Clinton’s campaign ran in 2008 that pictures a little girl sleeping. The narrator says, “It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep, but there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing—something is happening in the world.” The ad then cuts to video of the consulate in Benghazi burning. The words, “The call came…on September 12, 2012” appear over the footage and sounds of a ringing phone can be heard in the background. The screen goes black: “Security requests denied. Four Americans dead. And an administration whose story is still changing.”
The ad, obtained by ABC News, was supposed to run last fall during the final weeks of the campaign but never did. The spot was approved by RNC leadership but was pulled at the last minute over concerns from the Romney campaign that the ad would “distract from Romney’s efforts to focus on the economy.”
Really? They couldn't have attacked the Obama administration on both fronts?
As the gun-control debate raged on in the wake of the Newtown massacre, concerns about the future availability of ammunition and firearms intensified. The high demand led to unprecedented shortages of ammuntion, however. Empty shelves in gun stores, long backorders and drastic price increases have become the norm. Some police departments in California have even begun training with airsoft guns. Thus, reports that DHS was trying to buy up 1.6 billion rounds of ammo over five years have raised eyebrows.
Although DHS’ chief procurement officer Nick Nayak said in a hearing on Thursday that this figure isn’t correct, the actual number, which is closer to 750 million according to Nayak, is still too high for some lawmakers.
"It is entirely ... inexplicable why the Department of Homeland Security needs so much ammunition," Chaffetz, R-Utah, said at a hearing. […]
Chaffetz, who chairs one of the House oversight subcommittees holding the hearing Thursday, revealed that the department currently has more than 260 million rounds in stock. He said the department bought more than 103 million rounds in 2012 and used 116 million that same year -- among roughly 70,000 agents.
Comparing that with the small-arms purchases procured by the U.S. Army, he said the DHS is churning through between 1,300 and 1,600 rounds per officer, while the U.S. Army goes through roughly 350 rounds per soldier.
He noted that is "roughly 1,000 rounds more per person."
It didn’t take long for Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. Frank Lucas to introduce a bill in their respective chambers that would limit federal agencies from stockpiling ammunition. The Ammunition Management for More Obtainability (AMMO) Act “would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a report on the purchasing of ammunition available to the public,” the statement reads. “The AMMO Act would restrict agencies from obtaining additional ammunition for a six-month period if current agency stockpiles are higher than its monthly averages prior to the Obama administration.”
"President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights," said Inhofe. "One way the Obama Administration is able to do this is by limiting what’s available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition. As the public learned in a House committee hearing this week, the Department of Homeland Security has two years worth of ammo on hand and allots nearly 1,000 more rounds of ammunition for DHS officers than is used on average by our Army officers. The AMMO Act of 2013 will enforce transparency and accountability of federal agencies’ ammunition supply while also protecting law-abiding citizens access to these resources.”
Nayak said claims that DHS’ ammo purchases are helping ‘dry up the supply’ in the U.S. are “simply not true.”