The federal bench, more and more, determines the policy of federal and state government. So it is an indication of conflict over the direction of our nation that President Obama appointed Caitlin Halligan, who is General Council of the District Attorney’s Office in the City of New York, to the post of judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Republicans in the Senate, however, blocked that appointed by preventing cloture.
Halligan, who had been Solicitor General for Elliot Spitzer, the disgraced former Governor of New York, had engaged in the sort of legal advocacy that placed her on the extreme of American politics. Among the activist cases that she supported were these: Pro-life groups that are engaged in opposing abortions are guilty of extortion; colleges are proper in using race as a criteria for admitting students; illegal immigrants should be allowed back pay for labor disputes in our country; the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to use the Clean Air Act to regulate the so-called “Greenhouse Gases”; and gun manufacturers may be sued for crimes committed with the weapons they made.
Although President Obama said that he was “deeply disappointed” in what he described as Republican obstructionism, in fact in the vote for cloture in the Senate, which requires 60 votes, Obama could muster only 54 votes, and the President could not even get every member of his own political party to support a procedural measure like cloture.
Residents of western Michigan need fear terrorists no more. Courtesy of a Homeland Security grant, 13 counties are now prepared to thwart any and all terrorist attacks with… snow-cone machines. According to the Greenville Daily News, the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC), “a federal- and state-designated agency responsible for managing and administrating the homeland security program in Montcalm County and 12 other counties[,] … recently purchased and transferred homeland security equipment to these counties — including 13 snow cone machines at a total cost of $11,700.” (WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids puts the price tag at a mere $6,200.) WMSRDC got the money for the machines and other equipment via a grant from the Michigan Homeland Security Program.
Six of the top seven GOP presidential candidates addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition December 7, with only Ron Paul being excluded from the forum by organizers because of the Texas Congressman's opposition to all foreign aid.
An organization in Britain dedicated to protecting women from so-called honor crimes has reported a massive increase in the practice, noting that Muslims and other religious minorities committed more than 3,000 such crimes in Britain in 2010. Although a police spokesman offered the politically-correct statement that "honor crimes" cross all religious and cultural boundaries, statistics show that Muslims commit the vast majority of them — which are often honor killings. Honor killings are becoming increasingly common in the United States as well.
High on the agenda of President Obama is the exportation of America’s homosexual activism to other nations. On December 6 the President issued a memorandum indicating that he would use U.S. agencies and foreign aid to press forward this strategy. In the White House memorandum, the President claimed that he was “deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT [Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender] persons around the world,” and was therefore “directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.”
Among the specific actions Obama directed overseas agencies to take were to:
• Interfere in the affairs of foreign nations that attempt to criminalize homosexual behavior. Obama directed U.S. officials and agencies working abroad to “strengthen existing efforts to effectively combat the criminalization by foreign governments of LGBT status or conduct and to expand efforts to combat discrimination, homophobia, and intolerance on the basis of LGBT status or conduct.”
• Prioritize the efforts of homosexuals seeking special status. The President directed the Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security to ramp up their sensitivity training so that federal officials and agents “can effectively address the protection of LGBT refugees” and “expedite resettlement of highly vulnerable” homosexuals.
The U.S. Senate has returned to the debate over whether the proceedings of the Supreme Court should be televised. Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have cosponsored the Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2011. The measure was introduced on December 5, 10 years after the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act was authored by Senator Grassley and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
A companion bill of identical name was introduced in the House the following day by Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). That bill is currently under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.
The legislation, presented on Monday, would "permit television coverage of all open sessions of the Court unless the Court decides, by a vote of the majority of justices, that allowing such coverage in a particular case would constitute a violation of the due process rights of 1 or more of the parties before the Court."
Setting aside the rare reference by anyone in Congress to the protection of constitutional civil liberties, there is the more interesting question of whether or not the Congress has the constitutional authority to mandate anything to one of the other branches of the federal government.
In a letter sent last week to members of the state legislature, Alabama's Attorney General recommends repealing key provisions of the state's well-publicized anti-illegal immigration statute.
Attorney General Luther Strange suggests the repeal of at least two of the law's more controversial sections, both of which are currently not being enforced per an injunction handed down by a federal appeals court. Specifically, the sections suggested for scrapping include one that makes it a crime for illegal aliens to be to be detained while not in possession of proper immigration documentation, and another mandating that the state's public schools maintain a registry of their students' immigration status.
In the memo dated December 1, Strange set out his purpose in making the recommendation for removal of elements of the state statute: "My goals are to (1) make the law easier to defend in court; (2) assist law enforcement in implementation; and (3) remove burdens on law abiding citizens. All while not weakening the law."
In October, both of these portions of the law (HB 56) were blocked from being enforced by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sitting in Atlanta. The Obama administration sued Alabama, asserting that by enacting the law the state legislature and Governor violated the Constitution by legislating in an area over which the federal government has exclusive authority.
As the White House released a memorandum outlining President Obama’s strategy for promoting homosexuality globally, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was busy hectoring the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva with the same discordant anthem. Speaking on behalf of the President, Clinton exhorted the UN body concerning the evils of “gay and lesbian discrimination,” reported the Associated Press, “declaring the U.S. will use foreign assistance as well as diplomacy to back its insistence that gay rights are fully equal to other basic human rights.”
Harkening back to rhetoric she used over 15 years ago at a UN confab on women’s rights, Clinton “compared the struggle for gay equality to difficult passages toward women’s rights and racial equality,” noted the AP, “and she said a country’s cultural or religious traditions are no excuse for discrimination.”
“Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” intoned Clinton. “It should never be a crime to be gay.” The Secretary of State’s UN audience included a healthy representation of officials whose cultures are repulsed by the immorality of homosexual acts, and where the retribution for such behavior is wont to reach beyond civilized boundaries.
Hillary made it clear that anything less than the civil — if not loving — embrace of gays, lesbians, transvestites, and other “LGBT persons” wouldn’t fly in an increasingly global community patrolled by U.S.-funded and -encouraged anti-discrimination police.
Democrats are reportedly thrilled by Newt Gingrich's recent rise in the polls and hopeful that he will be the Republican nominee — because they believe that President Obama could easily defeat Gingrich. The Democrat most noticeably excited about the prospects of a Gingrich nomination is Nancy Pelosi, who worked with Gingrich for many years. Talking Points Memo (TPM) explains,
The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks began releasing documents last week related to what it calls the “mass surveillance industry,” a little-known but expansive underworld of contractors offering tools for governments — from brutal dictatorships to more moderate Western states — to monitor citizens and hunt down dissidents. Furious activists reacted to the revelations by calling for stricter controls and measures to hold the firms accountable as “accomplices” to mass murder.
The information released so far covers over 150 companies spanning more than two dozen nations. The documents highlight the nature and growth of a multi-billion-dollar industry that, in addition to supplying espionage assistance to the most murderous regimes on earth, has been quietly turned against citizens in supposedly “free” countries as well.
“Who here has an iPhone? Who here has a Blackberry? Who here uses Gmail? Well you are all screwed,” WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange told a press conference in London announcing the new project. “The reality is intelligence contractors are selling right now, to countries across the world, mass surveillance systems for all of those products."