Following the ongoing discussion of Libya on this blog, we highlight here a recent op-ed in the Washington Post by David Ignatius, who argues that although there has been progress over the past two years to stabilize the fledgling Libyan government, the Benghazi disaster has seriously undermined that progress to the point that Libyan requests for additional assistance by the United States have been met by Republican opposition in Congress, who are still questioning the Obama administration about what truly happened on September 11, 2012.
According to Ignatius:
Congressional Republicans deserve much of the blame. The GOP has staged more than a year of near-hysterical attacks about alleged failures and coverups involving the Sept. 11, 2012, assault on the U.S. compound in Benghazi that left four Americans dead. The relentless GOP sniping and second-guessing had the inevitable consequence: Nobody wanted to risk another Benghazi; U.S. diplomats hunkered down at the embassy in Tripoli; and Libya policy went in the deep freeze.
Here’s how bad the Libya phobia has become: When the Department of Homeland Security recently began drafting a rule that would allow Libyan students and workers to come to the United States for education and training, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) thundered that “it is shocking that the Obama administration is turning a blind eye to real terrorist threats that exist in Libya today.” And Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) denounced the move as “unbelievable.”
The messaging on this is strikingly similar to that regarding Obamacare: specifically, the Obama administration could not own up to the website failure and postpone the launch because Republicans had largely predicted the pending disaster. In short, the Obama administration did not want to absorb the political blow of a fulfilled Republican prophecy. . . .
But Ignatius’ claim is noteworthy for its literally deadly implications: foreign policy fiascos that result in dead Americans ought not to be investigated by Congress lest the administration act recklessly in the future to avoid political risk. “Deserve much of the blame” is not simply a statement of political cause and effect, even assuming such physics eliminated free will and what we normally call leadership or the lack thereof. “Deserve much of the blame” is an Ignatius moral condemnation that is simply breathtaking.
And, of course, compare this editorial with the one crowing about how brilliant Obama was to hand over the military and nation building to the United Nations.
The fascinating thing about “brilliant pundits” is that even with the archive of the digital world, there’s no accountability.
Leviathan and the Welfare State
AFLC Advisory Board member Andrew C. McCarthy’s latest essay in National Review, entitled “The Republican Embrace of the Welfare State,” confronts the disease from within the dying corpus that is our constitutional republic — a view from inside out as the deadly secretions of the Leviathon eat away at a rotting carcass that doesn’t yet know it is a carcass.
McCarthy’s description of the Republican establishment’s embrace of the welfare state is an excellent parallel to Diana West’s fascinating new book, American Betrayal. As West notes at the outset of her book, the ability of an emperor’s court and subjects to abide by the myth of the royal clothes even to the point that they will escort the myth — yea, clinging tightly to the royal garments lest they become soiled — as it passes through the mud.
The difference of course is that the court faithful no longer just hush the naively honest child who calls out the truth — instead, the small voice of reality is pummeled to near death with ad hominem and exile to the margins.
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Libya and the “Way Forward”
According to recent news reports, Libya is on the verge of civil war. Interestingly, The New York Times published an op-ed that was a fair reporting of Libya’s erupting chaos and anarchy. Until the penultimate paragraph.
Arguably due to space limitations and a goal not to deal with the past but the “way forward,” the op-ed remarkably ignores the U.S. and French handiwork in deposing the tyrant Gadhafi, a policy that was essentially clueless.
Indeed, the last two paragraphs touch upon some relevant political subjects worth noting:
The cancellation of some military aid to Egypt could grant President Obama a novel opportunity to redirect some of the funds withheld from Egypt toward institution building in Libya without the need for Congressional approval. To date, the Obama administration has been hamstrung by Republican obstruction on Libya, which has focused on scoring political points through endless investigations of last year’s attack on the United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
Mr. Obama should now seize this opportunity to create a virtuous precedent by switching his financial support from those who have perpetrated a coup to a country that might suffer one.
Just some quick thoughts:
- It is odd to plant in an op-ed in such a naked form the argument that President Obama could redirect cancelled Egyptian foreign aid to Libya. Can Obama just rewrite that by fiat? Perhaps, but what if the authorizing legislation was a $3 billion aid package to Egypt?
- “Institution building in Libya?” We have to send in a team of black ops to kidnap some al-Qaeda leader who has been parading around in public in Benghazi for months and then rush out as the Arab Street goes nuts and we’re going to institution build in this country? We can’t even institution build in Detroit. Shall we even mention the Obamacare website portal?
- President Obama is “hamstrung by Republican obstruction on Libya?” And, how pray tell have the “feckless” Republicans done that – by investigating how four Americans were murdered, including an Ambassador, on what is effectively American soil?
- To the real point in the last paragraph. We must show our support for the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood, abandon Egypt (there is the aid issue, not so naked any more) and support, well, just support something in Libya . . . we’re still not sure what it is we’re supposed to support but we do know we’re not to support the Egyptian interim government . . . . Really?
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Political Correctness Run Amok: California Public School Bans American Flag on “Cinco de Mayo”
On May 5, 2010, three plaintiff students and two other students from Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California, wore to school various items of clothing (t-shirts, shorts, shoes) that depicted the American flag or American-flag like motifs (i.e., stars and stripes). That day, some students at the school were celebrating the Mexican holiday known as Cinco de Mayo. School officials approved the Cinco de Mayo celebration, which was co-sponsored by M.E.Ch.A, a school-sanctioned student movement that rejects the assimilation of Chicanos into American culture. Moreover, the students participating in the Cinco de Mayo celebration were permitted to wear clothing that had the colors of the Mexican flag.
During lunch that day, Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez—also a defendant in this case—approached the students and directed them to turn their American flag t-shirts inside out. School officials were responding to complaints from some students described by Rodriguez as “Mexican American or Mexican students.” After shutting down the pro-American students’ speech, school officials claimed that the students’ pro-America message was objectionable because, referring to the Mexican students, “this is their day.”
In short, school officials intentionally restricted the American students’ patriotic speech on May 5, 2010, because they believed that the message conveyed by their patriotic clothing would offend some Mexican students because it was Cinco de Mayo. Indeed, school officials enforced the clothing restriction even though they had no objective evidence that the students were causing any disruption—let alone a material and substantial one—to the operation of the school.
On June 23, 2010, AFLC Senior Counsel Robert Muise, along with co-counsel, filed a civil rights lawsuit challenging the school’s speech restriction, arguing that it violated the United States and California Constitutions. On November 8, 2011, a federal judge presiding in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that the school officials did not violate the Constitution by restricting the students’ patriotic speech. The judge stated, “Upon review, the Court finds that based on these undisputed facts, the school officials reasonably forecast that Plaintiffs’ clothing could cause a substantial disruption with school activities, and therefore did not violate [the First Amendment].” In his ruling, the judge relied primarily upon cases that upheld restrictions on the Confederate flag in public schools, claiming that it was a symbol of racism.
AFLC appealed the lower court’s ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. And this Thursday (10/17), AFLC Senior Counsel Robert Muise will present oral argument before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit.
Without exception, the celebration of the American flag should be protected no less than its desecration. Indeed, it is a poor lesson in American civics to ban the American flag as a polarizing racist pariah when competing symbols of nationhood are at issue.
Unlike the Confederate flag, the American flag is not—and should not—be viewed as a symbol of racism. Blocking the display of the Confederate flag in a public school, as in the cases relied upon below, is at least nominally justified by the fact that many people view that flag as a symbol of race hate mongering. No such claim can be made about the American flag in an American public school.
In fact, the American flag symbolizes unity and promotes a public school’s goal of providing students opportunities to celebrate their cultural heritages. Proudly overcoming the flames that briefly enveloped it, the history and heritage of our “star spangled banner” has found unanimous Supreme Court respect as the “symbol of nationhood and national unity.” See Tx. v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 413 (1989); see also id. at 427, 429 (Rehnquist, C.J., dissenting) (amplifying the concept); Id. at 436 (Stevens, J., dissenting) (adopting the phrase and amplifying the concept). A student’s patriotic pride in the flag—and the unity it heralds—does not attack other cultures and should not be discouraged as somehow representing a symbol of divisiveness—let alone violence.
American public schools cannot logically ban the American flag for any duration or reason. Such a ban contradicts the fundamental objectives of our public school system. Indeed, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the role of public education as a unifying social force and the basic tool for shaping democratic values. As noted by the Court, a public school is “the most powerful agency for promoting cohesion among a heterogeneous democratic people . . . at once the symbol of our democracy and the most pervasive means for promoting our common destiny.” McCollum v. Bd. of Educ., 333 U.S. 203, 216 (1948).
Public schools represent “a most vital civic institution for the preservation of a democratic system of government,” Abington Sch. Dist. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 230 (1963), and are the primary vehicle for transmitting “the values on which our society rests,” Ambach v. Norwick, 441 U.S. 68, 76 (1979). Thus, public schools should inculcate fundamental values necessary for the maintenance of a democratic political system.
As a result, America’s pre-eminent symbol of principled unity and pride—the American flag—should not have to be stowed away in students’ lockers on days designated to celebrate the nationalistic pride of any other nation or culture. If these precedents have any practical meaning, then school officials—anticipating any form of discomfort from competing political views—should be prepared to inculcate in their student populations the spirit and magnificence of the First Amendment’s place in the shaping of democratic values. Cf. Hills v. Scottsdale Unified Sch. Dist. No. 48, 329 F.3d 1044, 1055 (9th Cir. 2003) (stating that “it is far better to teach students about the First Amendment . . . about why we tolerate divergent views” than to suppress speech and noting that “[t]he school’s proper response is to educate the audience rather than squelch the speaker”).
This means respect for the flag, respect for the Nation, and respect for the speech rights of all American students. Promoting divisive policies that exalt hostility to national pride subverts the vital role that public schools are meant to serve, and it undermines—indeed violates—fundamental constitutional principles.
As noted, the Supreme Court has repeatedly acknowledged the public school systems’ role as a unifying force—a basic tool for shaping democratic values and cohesion within a culturally and racially diverse student body—and a means for promoting our common destiny. The school district’s decision to censor the display of the American flag challenges—indeed, it contravenes—that goal.
In W.V. State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), the Court spoke directly to the Nation’s educators, recalling their mission to teach civics by example:
That they are educating the young for citizenship is reason for scrupulous protection of constitutional freedoms of the individual, if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes.
Id. at 637. And consistent with this “scrupulous protection of constitutional freedoms,” the Court further emphasized that “[i]f there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.” Id. at 642 (emphasis added). Here, when the School Officials prohibited plaintiff students from wearing t-shirts depicting images of the American flag at Live Oak High School on May 5, 2010 (Cinco de Mayo), that “fixed star” in our constitutional constellation was obscured and an official orthodoxy proscribed.
In sum, because the decision below does not “scrupulously protect” fundamental constitutional rights, it must be reversed.
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Avoiding the Truth about the Atrocities of the Syrian Rebels
Turns out, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), relying on a lying, discredited, and conflicted “researcher” named Elizabeth O’Bagy, who claimed that the Syrian rebels were all about peace, freedom and representative government, are about as pathetically wrong as one could be. When even a leftist Muslim Brotherhood loving organization like “Human Rights Watch” cannot avoid the truth about the atrocities of the Syrian rebels, you know things are really gruesome.
But, more importantly, the real question is: If these reports are true, and HRW could know of the Syrian rebels’ murderous ways, did not our defense intelligence apparatus know of them as well? And, If they did know of them or recklessly disregarded them and yet Obama and his “national security team” still supplied the murderous rebels with weapons and material support, how in the world is that not a criminal act under the law?
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AFLC Month in Review: September 2013
AFLC is pleased to report to you each month our significant activities and accomplishments, all of which are made possible by your generous support. Here are the highlights for September 2013:
- On September 4, AFLC filed its response in opposition to a Detroit area transit agency’s (SMART) motion for summary judgment, arguing that the factual record developed through discovery and SMART’s contorted and inconsistent arguments reveal that SMART’s restriction on our clients’ proposed “Leaving Islam?” advertisement clearly violated the Constitution. On September 17, AFLC filed its reply brief in support of its motion for summary judgment.
- In a free speech victory, a Michigan state circuit court judge issued a final order dismissing with prejudice a notorious pro-abortion politician’s frivolous defamation lawsuit against a young, pro-life mother for allegedly making defamatory comments about her in a campaign video. AFLC forced the dismissal by arguing that the allegations were baseless and nothing more than a politically-motivated attack.
- In a YouTube video that has since gone viral, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise responded to critics of AFLC’s public policy initiative, American Laws for American Courts (ALAC), which is model legislation that was drafted by AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi. The video has become so influential that that the state director of Act for America! in Texas plans to distribute a DVD copy to each of the 150 state legislators.
- On September 18, Muise presented oral argument in New York federal court in opposition to a motion to dismiss AFLC’s federal civil rights lawsuit filed against several officials from The State University of New York (SUNY-Buffalo) for violating the free speech rights of a pro-life group on the university’s campus. Earlier in the month (September 3), AFLC filed its response to the defendants’ motion.
- On September 19, AFLC filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in D.C. federal court, asking the court to halt the enforcement of the recently announced regulations enforcing the Obamacare contraceptive services mandate against religious organizations. AFLC filed the motion on behalf of Priests for Life and several of its employees, including its National Director, Fr. Frank Pavone.
- On September 23, Muise gave a speech at the “Kickoff Rally” for “40 Days for Life” in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Muise discussed the importance of fighting for a “Culture of Life” in America.
- On September 23, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi joined Tom Trento of the United West to discuss AFLC’s groundbreaking report of CAIR’s global criminal money laundering operation out of their D.C. offices, in which CAIR has received millions of dollars from oil-rich Gulf Arabs, the same sources who were also financing the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- In a recent a report published by CAIR that purported to identify dozens of organizations “dedicated to promoting anti-Islam prejudice in America,” AFLC and its Co-Founders and Senior Counsel Yerushalmi and Muise were listed as being part of the “inner core” of the “Islamophobia network.”
- On September 26, Muise presented oral argument before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in defense of Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Captain Paul Fields, who was summarily punished for objecting on religious grounds to an order mandating officer attendance at an Islamic proselytizing event held at a local mosque.
- On September 30, the U.S. Supreme Court held a conference to consider whether to grant AFLC’s petition for a writ of certiorari, which asks the Court to review and reverse the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that dismissed the case of Crystal Dixon, a former administrator at the University of Toledo, Ohio, who was wrongfully fired for expressing her personal views on homosexuality in an op-ed in a local newspaper.
Thank you for your support, past and present. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.
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Government “Shutdown” — A Fight for Our Constitution
The political process created by our Constitution was designed to cabin the power of the federal government, and this is particularly true when it comes to raising revenue (i.e., taxes) — an act that Americans have abhorred since the very first Tea Party in Boston.
Our Founders certainly understood this well by requiring, through Article I, section 7 of the Constitution, “All bills for raising revenue [to] originate in the House of Representatives,” the chamber that is most responsive to the electorate.
The Federalist No. 58 “defend[ed] the decision to give the origination power to the House on the grounds that the Chamber that is more accountable to the people should have the primary role in raising revenue.” United States v. Munoz-Flores, 495 U.S. 385, 395 (1990). And this remained true even after the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified in 1913, which required direct election of U.S. Senators by popular vote.
Thus, in this debate over the government “shutdown,” it is the President and the Senate (via Harry Reid) that are acting contrary to our Constitution in their childish attacks of the House for doing its constitutional duty. In sum, it is “we the people” who should stand alongside the House in its efforts to maintain our constitutional republic.
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Obamacare Contraception Mandate “Moving Forward” during “Shutdown”—Yet Obama’s Lawyers Don’t Want Courts Ruling on Its Constitutionality
Today, the federal government — due to an alleged lack of funding to the Department of Justice — asked the judge handling AFLC’s federal lawsuit challenging the Obamacare contraception mandate on behalf of Priests for Life to delay the case. When the government lawyer handling the case for the Obama administration sought AFLC’s concurrence in their motion for a stay, we told the lawyer that we would agree to the stay so long as the government agreed to stay the enforcement of the challenged mandate as against Priests for Life until the court has had a chance to rule on the merits. The Obama lawyer refused. Consequently, the government wants, for some indefinite period of time, to stay proceedings that challenge what we know to be an unconstitutional government mandate that violates Priests for Life’s fundamental rights; yet, the government won’t agree to stay the mandate pending a resolution of the serious legal questions raised in these same proceedings. Thus, we filed an opposition today to the government’s motion.
Indeed, yesterday, President Obama, anticipating the government shutdown, which, somewhat ironically, is a result of a dispute over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act—the very law at issue here—stated, in relevant part, as follows:
So let me be clear about this. An important part of the Affordable Care Act takes effect tomorrow no matter what Congress decides to do today. The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. That funding is already in place. You can’t shut it down. This is a law that passed both houses of Congress; a law that bears my signature; a law that the Supreme Court upheld as constitutional; a law that voters chose not to repeal last November; a law that is already providing benefits to millions of Americans in the form of young people staying on their parents’ plan until they’re 26, seniors getting cheaper prescription drugs, making sure that insurance companies aren’t imposing lifetime limits when you already have health insurance, providing rebates for consumers when insurance companies are spending too much money on overhead instead of health care. Those things are already happening. (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/09/30/statement-president).
Thus, according to President Obama, even though the government wants to “shut down” this litigation for the duration of the government shut down, it is not willing to “shut down” the government mandate that is at the heart of this litigation and will seek to enforce it against Priests for Life when the bell tolls to ring in the New Year (the mandate takes full effect against Priests for Life on January 1, 2014).
In the final analysis, per President Obama, the mandates of the Affordable Care Act, which includes the contraceptive services mandate, are “moving forward . . . funding is already in place.” Thus, if the government is going to force private citizens to abide by mandates that violate fundamental constitutional rights, then the government should have to defend those mandates in a court of law.
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CAIR — a Full-throated Participator in “Civilizational Jihad”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the largest and best funded Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas front group in the U.S. Much has been documented by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding this organization’s ties to the terrorist funding mechanism at work in this country. Even more importantly, court records and public documents have exposed CAIR’s full-throated participation in “Civilizational Jihad”– which the Muslim Brotherhood itself describes as a stealth approach to using America’s liberties and freedom to destroy it from within. Thus, CAIR presents itself as an American Muslim civil rights organization when in fact it is more likely to victimize Muslims than provide legitimate legal counsel.
Moreover, AFLC’s investigation during the course of two separate federal civil cases involving CAIR (in one case as a defendant and another as a plaintiff), AFLC has uncovered a systematic criminal money laundering scheme involving violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act and tax laws. See also.
What turns out to be a footnote in this CAIR saga is the fact that the FBI quite famously and publicly announced it would have nothing to do with CAIR, even though it is “America’s largest Muslim civil rights organization” precisely because of the evidence of the organization’s ties to terrorism, yet the FBI cannot even control some of its rogue offices throughout the country that refuse to follow this national directive by continuing to mingle with the CAIR jihadists. This rather embarrassing state of affairs where the right hand of the government uncovers evidence that an organization is an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the largest terrorism funding network in the U.S. and announces a “no-contact policy” while the left hand jumps in bed with the jihadists is hardly new, but it has certainly caused Congressman Frank Wolfe renewed concerns as expressed in this most recent letter to the new director of the FBI.
What is fascinating but hardly surprising is that the media also treats CAIR with respect as a legitimate non-profit fighting for Muslim civil liberties (this media respect includes Bill O’Reilly of Fox News). That of course is absurd given what AFLC has uncovered about CAIR beyond the Muslim Brotherhood connection. So it was that just last week CAIR announced with great fanfare a “new” report on Islamophobia and named dozens of organizations and individuals as part of this network of “hate.” The key to the report other than a rather trite naming of the so-called Islamophobes, which including the likes of Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh, was the claim that these organizations and individuals were tied together by streams of money in the form of charitable donations. See here for The Washington Post‘s article on the report.
It is worth noting that a big part of the report was an ad hominem attack on AFLC and its co-founder and Senior Counsel, David Yerushalmi, for the ground breaking work drafting the state legislative initiative working its way around the country called American Laws for American Courts (ALAC). In effect, this model legislation says something very simple and what should be unobjectionable: no foreign law or foreign judgment may be given effect in a state court if that foreign law or foreign judgment violates the U.S. Constitution or the state constitution. The Muslim Brotherhood types attack the law because they know that sharia (i.e., Islamic law), which is often the law of the land in whole or in part in most Muslim countries, is constitutionally offensive in that it treats non-Muslims and women like second class citizens, among other insults (like imposing death sentences on “apostates” and “blasphemers”). They understand full well that if Americans actually learn how ugly, and indeed how dangerous, sharia is, ALAC will continue its march into law in state after state. (You can watch a 12-minute video explaining the law in the context of the attacks made against it by the Muslim Brotherhood and the willful idiots on the Left that parrot their new-found Islamist friends).
And, the most laughable aspect of the media’s coverage of CAIR’s “Islamophobia Report” is that they are taking their cue about financial transparency from an organization that is criminally non-transparent as regards its financing from the oil-soaked and blood-stained tents of the Muslim world in Arabia as set forth on this blog and by the Daily Caller report, which is based upon AFLC and Yerushalmi’s discovery work in several federal cases involving CAIR.
The real question we continue to repeat here is why is the Department of Justice relating to CAIR with anything but a federal grand jury?
Kenyan Mall Jihadists Have Ties to United States
As we read more about the ongoing murderous attack by Muslim jihadists on the Kenyan upscale mall, where the terrorists purposefully avoided murdering Muslims, we learn from the now-terminated al Shabaab Twitter account the names of the jihadists and where they’re from. Looks like at least six were from American cities . . . .
According to reports, the jihadist group claiming responsibility for the attack declared that it was retaliation for Kenya’s involvement in the ongoing conflict in Somalia. Note that it was not long ago that U.S. Somalis were speaking out against CAIR and its minions who in turn were trying to brow beat the small Somali community in the U.S. (mostly based in Minneapolis) to not cooperate with American officials who were trying to track young Somali Muslim men who were disappearing from their homes on their own little haj to fight jihad in Africa. For reference: