SUPER TUESDAY WITH G.O.P.’S DEEPEST POCKETS
A seven-month, $220 million surge of spending on behalf of mainstream Republican candidates has yielded a primary battle dominated by Donald J. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, two candidates reviled by most of the party’s leading donors.
Now, as they approach a pivotal and expensive stage of the campaign, the two insurgent candidates — who have won the first three contests — appear to be in the best position financially to compete in the 11 states that will vote on Super Tuesday, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Saturday.
Mr. Cruz is the best financed candidate in the Republican race, beginning February with $13.6 million in cash on hand. Mr. Trump, a billionaire, has raised millions of dollars from small donors and lent himself millions more, including nearly $5 million in January. He paid out more than $11.5 million that month, the most sustained spending of his presidential bid so far.
The outcome is a rebuke to the party’s traditional donor class, which poured record-breaking amounts of money into the race last spring and summer in the hope of grooming a nominee with broad national appeal and a chance at winning over more Hispanic and other nonwhite voters. Instead, the candidates backed most lavishly by wealthy establishment-leaning Republican donors burned through much of the cash they accumulated last year, beginning the month deeply depleted. Those remaining in the race on Sunday, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, had less than $7 million in cash between them.
Jeb Bush, who entered the race last summer with more money behind him than every other Republican candidate combined, ended his campaign on Saturday with just $2.9 million in the bank and a fourth-place finish in South Carolina, a state the Bush family once considered a political stronghold.
Much of the donor class’s money was spent on a shootout among its favored candidates. Groups backing Mr. Bush, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Kasich and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey devoted almost three-quarters of the money they spent on negative advertising to attacking those other candidates rather than Mr. Trump or Mr. Cruz, according to the commission’s data. The outside group aligned with Mr. Bush, Right to Rise, spent an astonishing $34 million in January alone, with little impact on Mr. Bush’s own fortunes.
“The establishment G.O.P. is lying to itself. This election at its core is a rejection of their globalist economic agenda and failed immigration policies — and of rule by the donor class,” said Laura Ingraham, the conservative talk-radio host and political activist. “Millions want the party to go in a more populist direction.”
That proposition will be tested in the coming weeks, as Republican donors begin to organize more strategically against Mr. Trump. Our Principles PAC, a group devoted to highlighting his past support for Democratic positions like universal health care, higher taxes and abortion rights, is now spending significantly to persuade Republicans that Mr. Trump is not a reliable conservative.
On Saturday, filings revealed that Marlene Ricketts, a prominent Republican donor who previously supported the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, provided the group with $3 million in January. Richard Uihlein, a wealthy Chicago-area businessman and conservative patron, also contributed to the group.
Katie Packer, a Republican strategist overseeing Our Principles, said the group’s ads had helped reduce Mr. Trump’s margin of victory in South Carolina. “Our hope is that the field will winnow and conservatives will coalesce behind a candidate that believes in conservative principles and can unite the party,” Ms. Packer said. “We intend to keep the heat on in Nevada and the March 1 states and as long as it takes for that to occur.”
Mr. Kasich had just $1.4 million on hand at the end of January — virtually dry against the scale of modern presidential campaigns — while Mr. Rubio had $5 million, though both campaigns were expected to capitalize on strong showings in the first two contests. After spending tens of millions of dollars between them, the “super PAC” backing Mr. Kasich reported only $2.4 million in cash on hand, while the group backing Mr. Rubio had $5.6 million.
The disparity between traditional and insurgent candidates was echoed to some extent on the Democratic side, where Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont raised almost $6.5 million more than Hillary Clinton in January — the first reporting period in which his campaign has taken in more money. Virtually all of that money came from donors giving small checks.
But Mr. Sanders also spent heavily to win in New Hampshire and fight Mrs. Clinton to a virtual tie in Iowa, dropping $35 million in January, reports filed late on Saturday showed. He ended the month with less than half as much cash on hand as Mrs. Clinton.
A super PAC backing Mrs. Clinton, Priorities USA Action, also continues to stockpile cash, reporting $45 million in cash on hand at the end of last month. The group took in almost $10 million in January, including $3.5 million from James H. Simons, a retired hedge fund founder from New York.
Mr. Kasich and Mr. Rubio are now hoping to take advantage of Mr. Bush’s decision to quit the race, leaving them to divvy up his remaining large donors. Both have been heavily dependent on donors making large contributions: Mr. Kasich raised just 17 percent of his contributions from donors giving $200 or less in January, and Mr. Rubio 19 percent.
“South Carolina is the political equivalent of the parting of the Red Sea,” said Theresa Kostrzewa, a Bush fund-raiser in North Carolina, who predicted most of Mr. Bush’s supporters would flow to Mr. Rubio. “Republicans: This is your sign from God.”
Jeff Sadowsky, a spokesman for the pro-Rubio group, Conservative Solutions PAC, said on Saturday that he expected the race to “go on for quite some time.” The group is planning to begin what Mr. Sadowsky described as a “multistate, multimillion-dollar advertising effort” on Tuesday.
Mr. Kasich’s chief strategist, John Weaver, told reporters on Saturday that Mr. Kasich’s fund-raising had increased “dramatically” since his second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, but did not specify by how much. And Mr. Kasich faces perhaps the biggest challenge. He is bypassing this week’s Republican caucuses in Nevada, and he is counting on strong performances in Michigan, whose primary is March 8, and his home state of Ohio, which votes on March 15. He is not likely to have another attention-grabbing finish before those contests.
“We’re confident we’re going to get enough to run the kind of campaign we need,” Mr. Weaver said after results came in on Saturday. “The days of us being outspent 10 to 1 are over because of what happened tonight.” (Contributor: By Nicholas Confessore and Sarah Cohen for The New York Times - Maggie Haberman, Rachel Shorey and Thomas Kaplan contributed reporting)
This NY Times analysis suggests that money paves the way to the U.S. presidency — and lots of it. Intercessors understand that today’s political campaigns are very costly, with wide-range travel and constant media exposure. For people of faith, however, the most valuable currency is not gold and silver but character. Pray for God’s will to be fulfilled. Then, study the issues, and plan to vote.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Tim. 6:10)
ANTONIN SCALIA’S FUNERAL REFLECTS THE JUSTICE’S LIFE OF FAITH
Justice Antonin Scalia was prayerfully offered up by his son Paul and the nation’s political and legal elite Saturday in an ageless funeral Mass that set aside Washington’s usual lessons of power and celebrated devout Christian faith.
Vice President Biden, all of the living Supreme Court justices with whom Scalia served save one, congressional leaders and members of the legal establishment were among the thousands who attended a ceremony that Scalia himself might have designed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The occasion put aside — momentarily — the partisan battle over the court that Scalia’s death has occasioned and was remarkably free of the encomiums that usually mark the send-offs of Washington’s political class.
Instead, it followed the dictates of religion and placed the emphasis on the Christian promise of resurrection and the sinner’s need for God’s grace.
The Rev. Paul Scalia, a priest in the Diocese of Arlington, told the throng there was a purpose in gathering.
His father “was a practicing Catholic — practicing in the sense that he hadn’t perfected it yet. Or rather, Christ was not yet perfected in him.”
Because only those brought to perfection may enter heaven, Paul Scalia said. “We are here then to lead our prayers to that perfecting, to that final work of God’s grace.”
Scalia the Supreme Court justice was not prone to humility. He was revered and hated for his strident views, an unfailingly confident sense of right, his sharp-tongued critique of all things liberal, or modern, and a larger-than-life personification of conservatism.
The setting for his funeral was perfect in that sense — the largest Catholic church in North America.
It took all seven verses of “O God, Our Help In Ages Past”— and then some — for his wife, Maureen, his eight other children and his three dozen grandchildren to accompany his body to the altar. An angelic-sounding choir provided song, and it appeared that every priest in the region had donned a white robe to stand at attention.
The day before, 6,000 people, including President Obama, had filed past his flag-draped casket in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court. But before the casket crossed what Paul Scalia called “the holy doors,” the flag had been replaced with an ivory pall, and the powerful leader became supplicant.
Paul Scalia set the tone early in his 15-minute homily.
“We are gathered here because of one man,” the priest said. “A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more. A man loved by many, scorned by others. A man known for great controversy and for great compassion.”
He paused for the effect his father would have appreciated.
“That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth. It is He who we proclaim.”
It was a fitting service for Scalia, who died Feb. 13 at 79. He was a Catholic and was the member of the Supreme Court most vocal about his religion. He urged fellow intellectuals to be “fools for Christ” and once used an interview to underscore his belief in the existence of the Devil, whose latest maneuver, he said, “is getting people not to believe in him or in God.”
Scalia had made known his view that weddings and funerals, “but especially funerals, are the principal occasions left in modern America when you can preach the Good News not just to the faithful but to those who have never really heard it.”
The grand shrine became a (likely brief) demilitarized zone in the partisan wars that have raged since Scalia’s death about whether Senate Republicans will allow an Obama nominee to succeed Scalia. That replacement would tip the balance of the court to the left.
Biden sat in the front along with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. The rest of Scalia’s colleagues on the Supreme Court were there, too, along with two of the three retired justices: John Paul Stevens, 95, and David Souter, 76. Sandra Day O’Connor, 85 and in frail health, was not there.
Clarence Thomas, a fellow Catholic and the justice most ideologically aligned with Scalia, read Romans 5:5-11.
Of course, politics were not completely absent. Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) took time away from campaigning ahead of Saturday’s South Carolina Republican presidential primary to attend, and he and Thomas’s wife, Ginny, hugged in the center aisle. She has endorsed Cruz, who served as a clerk in the 1990s for then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.
And Obama’s decision not to be among the mourners has sparked condemnation from conservatives. He and first lady Michelle Obama paid their respects Friday at the Supreme Court, where they viewed Scalia’s casket and met privately with members of the family. Obama and Scalia were not close, and the White House has noted that Biden and Scalia had a personal relationship.
Scalia liked to attend parishes that offered traditional Latin Mass, and on Sundays he could be found at St. John the Beloved, near his home in McLean, Va., or St. Mary Mother of God in Chinatown. But his funeral Mass was conducted in English.
That a Catholic of his stature did not have his funeral Mass celebrated by a high-ranking cardinal or bishop but by his son was seen as important and sentimental, said the Rev. James Bradley, a D.C. priest who blogs on liturgy, homilies and church music.
“It’s quite a beautiful thing to celebrate your father’s funeral. We all dread doing it, but it’s significant,” Bradley said. “If a cardinal or bishop presided, they may feel bound to celebrate the Mass of a public figure. But his son, he celebrates as a Catholic.”
The family plans a memorial service on March 1 that will probably be filled with testimonials, but Scalia’s homily was personal and at times drew laughter.
Paul Scalia thanked God for blessing his father with “55 years of marriage to the woman he loved, a woman who could match him at every stage and even hold him accountable.”
He recounted how his father could not always call the children by the right name — “there are nine of us” — and told of how his father one Saturday afternoon had found himself in his son’s confessional line.
The elder Scalia quickly departed. “As he put it later, ‘Like heck am I confessing to you,’ ” Paul Scalia recalled. “The feeling was mutual.”
Paul Scalia’s remarks became political just once, when he noted that his father agreed that God’s blessings “could be lost when faith is banned from the public square or when we refuse to bring it there.”
One aspect of Scalia’s judicial rulings greeted his mourners. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who picket the funerals of the famous and infamous, were outside. In 2011, Scalia joined in the majority opinion that said the group had a First Amendment right to protest at funeral services.
“That was his duty to us,” the group said on Twitter. “Now we are doing our duty to him, and all the living pouring in to lie over his dead body.”
Chad C. Pecknold, a theology professor at the Catholic University of America, adjacent to the basilica, said Scalia was something of an ambassador for the Catholic Church.
He promoted the Red Mass, the annual celebration for judges and lawyers that some justices attend on the Sunday before their terms begin in October. And Scalia created a social-media storm when he attended Obama’s second inauguration wearing a hat modeled after one worn by Saint Thomas More, the patron saint of politicians and statesmen.
“This is a very important moment for Catholics in Washington,” Pecknold said.
In his homily, Paul Scalia cited a letter his father wrote that received attention this week when the American Conservative published it. It was praise for James C. Goodloe, a Presbyterian minister who presided at the funeral of Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr.
Scalia said flowery eulogies missed the religious significance of funerals.
“Even when the deceased was an admirable person — indeed, especially when the deceased was an admirable person — praise for his virtues can cause us to forget that we are praying for, and giving thanks for, God’s inexplicable mercy to a sinner.” (Contributor: By Robert Barnes for The Washington Post - Michelle Boorstein and Kelsey Snell contributed to this report.)
God rewarded Justice Scalia’s faith with a powerful spiritual witness through his funeral Mass. While hundreds attended, thousands (if not millions) more watched the televised proceedings. The focus was on Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Pray for the non-Christians who heard God’s word and felt the impact of the Gospel. Like Abel, Antonin Scalia, though he died, still “spoke” of God’s grace.
“By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.” (Heb. 11:4)
IMPACT OF DEATH OF JUSTICE SCALIA: SCOTUS TO HEAR TEXAS HB 2 ABORTION
The death of Justice Antonin Scalia will have an immediate impact on a Texas case scheduled for oral argument March 2nd at the U.S. Supreme Court. The court is set to hear a lawsuit claiming that a Texas law unconstitutionally limits access to abortions in the state.
As reported by Breitbart Texas in November, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari review of a challenge to provisions of Texas House Bill 2 (HB 2) in Whole Woman’s Health et al. v. Cole (now Hellerstedt), Comm’r, Texas DHS, et al (No. 15-274). It is set for oral argument on Wednesday, March 2.
Former Governor Rick Perry signed HB 2 into law in July of 2013. The issues before the U.S. Supreme Court pertain to provisions that Texas lawmakers say are designed to improve the quality of care for women and to improve the sanitary conditions of surgical centers used to provide women’s health services.
One of the provisions being challenged requires that abortion facilities comply with the standards already in place for ambulatory surgical centers. A second provision requires practitioners who perform abortions at the clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the facility.
Medical experts have previously testified that the requirements are reasonable and effective measures intended to improve the standard of care for women undergoing abortion procedures and to ensure women’s health and safety.
Opponents challenging the Texas law argue that the measures are designed to limit abortions by limiting women’s access to abortion clinics.
The questions before the U.S. Supreme Court include:
- Does a court err by refusing to consider whether and to what extent laws that restrict abortion for the stated purpose of promoting health actually serve the government’s interest in promoting health?; and
- Did the Fifth Circuit err in concluding that this standard permits Texas to enforce, in nearly all circumstances, laws that would cause a significant reduction in the availability of abortion services while failing to advance the State’s interest in promoting health-or any other valid interest?
Breitbart Texas reported in late June 2015 that the Supreme Court ruled to stay the order of a lower federal court requiring abortion clinics in Texas to close or remain closed. The order from the court in Whole Woman’s Health maintained the status quo while the court decided whether to decide the case on the merits on any appeal. Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito voted to deny the application for stay.
The law requires that abortion clinics must now meet the same operating-room standards as hospitals.
Pro-abortion groups call the legislation in Texas “sham laws” and complain they “are shutting clinics down and placing countless women at risk of serious harm,” as reported by Breitbart News.
At the time the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear the case, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton responded saying, “The common-sense measures Texas has put in place elevate the standard of care and protect the health of Texas women. The state has wide discretion to pass laws ensuring Texas women are not subject to substandard conditions at abortion facilities. The advancement of the abortion industry’s bottom line shouldn’t take precedent over women’s health, and we look forward to demonstrating the validity of these important health and safety requirements in Court.”
Now that Justice Scalia has died, the U.S. Supreme Court is evenly divided and there is a serious question as to whether the Court will uphold the Texas law. If the high court splits 4-4 on this decision, the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholding the Texas law will stand. The Fifth Circuit upheld on June 9, 2015, the strict restrictions on abortion clinic standards passed in HB 2 by the 2013 Texas legislature (14-50928) (although it modified on June 19 its opinion as it related to an McAllen abortion facility).
If the decision of the Fifth Circuit stands because there is an even split on the U.S. Supreme Court, states within the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, would then likely be able to continue to affect abortion issues until a new U.S. Supreme Court justice is confirmed. (Contributor: by Lana Shadwick for Breitbart News - Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor in Texas.)
Regular readers know we have been focused on March 2 for months as a major prayer target for next week’s Supreme Court hearing. Now, Justice Scalia gone, and intercessors must pray with the same faith, zeal, and positive outlook they had when he was alive and a strong pro-life voice on the High Court. God has not changed, and we know His will is for the protection of life. Pray accordingly.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct[a] your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6)
THE OBAMA ADMIN WANTS TO MAKE SURE NON-CITIZENS VOTE IN THE UPCOMING ELECTION
Several well-funded organizations — including the League of Women Voters and the NAACP — are fighting efforts to prevent non-citizens from voting illegally in the upcoming presidential election. And the United States Department of Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, is helping them.
On February 12, these groups filed a lawsuit in D.C. federal court seeking to reverse a recent decision by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The Commission’s decision allows Kansas and other states, including Arizona and Georgia, to enforce state laws ensuring that only citizens register to vote when they use a federally designed registration form. An initial hearing in the case is set for Monday afternoon, February 22.
Under federal law, the EAC is responsible for designing the federal voter-registration form required by the National Voter Registration Act, or Motor Voter, as it is commonly called. While states must register voters who use the federal form, states can ask the EAC to include instructions with the federal form about additional state registration requirements. Some states are now requiring satisfactory proof of citizenship to ensure that only citizens register to vote.
Under Article I, Secion 2 and the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, states have the power to set the “Qualification requisite for electors.” As with many issues, the Left disdains the balance the Framers adopted in the Constitution and objects to this delegation of power to the states. They prefer to see power over elector eligibility centralized in Washington, D.C.
So when Arizona sought to include citizenship-verification requirements with voter-registration forms, the institutional Left — including the League of Women Voters, People for the American Way, Common Cause, Project Vote, and Chicanos for La Causa — brought a lawsuit claiming that the EAC hadn’t approved such requirements. Incredibly, this fight over whether states can ensure that only citizens are voting went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2013 in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, a divided Court said that Arizona could not implement such a requirement unless and until the EAC agreed to change the instructions for use of the federal form to include the Arizona requirements.
However, the majority opinion in that case, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, stipulated that if the EAC refused Arizona’s request to accommodate the proof-of-citizenship requirement, the state could sue the EAC and establish in court that “a mere oath will not suffice to effectuate its citizenship requirement and that the EAC is therefore under a nondiscretionary duty to include Arizona’s concrete evidence requirement on the Federal Form.”
The Court went so far as to say that Arizona could also claim that a refusal by the EAC would be “arbitrary,” since the agency “has accepted a similar instruction requested by Louisiana.” Indeed, the Court noted, the EAC had ”recently approved a state-specific instruction for Louisiana requiring applicants who lack a Louisiana driver’s license, ID card, or Social Security number to attach additional documentation” to the federal voter-registration form.
Arizona asked, and a single bureaucrat at the EAC named Alice Miller, who was not an EAC commissioner, but only the acting executive director, denied the request. It’s not even clear that Miller had the right to make this — or any other — decision. At the time, a quorum did not exist on the bipartisan, four-member independent commission.
And that decision is starting to look even more suspect. It seems that Miller may not have been the one who actually made the decision after all. Sources inside the Justice Department tell me that, in fact, it was partisan, left-wing lawyers in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department who actually drafted the denial letter. This is significant for several reasons.
First, the EAC is supposed to be an independent federal agency. While the president is empowered to nominate commissioners for the two Democratic and two Republican commission slots, in practice the president consults with the majority leader of the Senate (Mitch McConnell) and the speaker of the House of Representatives (Paul Ryan), as well as the leaders of the minority party in both houses, to pick the nominees. Because the EAC deals with federal election administration, the legislation establishing the agency — the 2002 Help America Vote Act — was designed so as to provide the EAC with political balance and to be outside the president’s control.
Allowing lawyers for the highly partisan Voting Section to write agency policy obliterates all semblance of independence and bipartisan balance. The Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division has become one of the most controversial and ideological components in the entire U.S. government. It is the same cadre of lawyers that dismissed a voter-intimidation charge against members of the New Black Panther Party who physically threatened voters in Philadelphia to help President Barack Obama get elected in 2008; that has waged a war on voter ID and other election-integrity measures; and that has refused to enforce the Voting Rights Act in a race-neutral manner as called for by the plain text of the statute.
It was Voting Section lawyers who fought in federal court to keep Kansas from enforcing a similar state law to ensure that only citizens registered to vote. One of those lawyers, Bradley Heard, engaged in potentially unethical conduct when he tweeted on his private Twitter account his impressions of the federal judge after a hearing in Kansas. Justice Department lawyers are not allowed to use social media to share with the public confidential assessments about the cases on which they work. According to a source, Heard’s actions prompted a quick internal memo from DOJ ethics officials reminding Voting Section lawyers they may not take to social media to bash Kansas and talk about ongoing Justice Department litigation.
On the Twitter account that landed Heard in hot water, he calls himself a “Voting Rights Gladiator . . . Outside Agitator.” Before joining the Voting Section, Heard worked for a number of years at the Advancement Project, a radical left-wing voting organization. The Advancement Project has worked closely with the ACLU, NAACP LDF, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and other liberal advocates to oppose voter-ID statutes, felon-disenfranchisement laws, and citizenship-verification regulations, and has adopted extreme positions on many other state and federal voting-rights laws.
My sources tell me that Heard is the attorney who made and wrote the EAC’s decision to reject Kansas’s and Arizona’s request to modify the voter-registration form to include state requirements in the first place.
Once the EAC regained a quorum of commissioners and hired a new executive director, the agency reversed the previously announced policy and allowed Kansas and Arizona to include citizenship-verification requirements with the federal voter-registration form. In other words, the EAC wound up doing the right thing, in accordance with the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision.
Which brings us to the League of Women Voters lawsuit filed on February 12.
Kansas has asked to intervene in the case. Its pleadings make the same bombshell allegations outlined above: that partisan lawyers in the Voting Section wrote EAC policies that should have been written by the EAC, not an agency under the control of the President. It charges that:
. . . in the previous case concerning Kansas’s 2013 requested language, Kobach v. Election Assistance Commission, the United States Department of Justice drafted the response to Kansas’s 2013 request and presented that response to the States as if it were coming from the EAC itself. In effect, the Department of Justice commandeered the vacant ship that was the EAC and used that vessel to fight against the interests of the State of Kansas.
If these allegations are true (and based on the history of the Voting Rights Section during this administration, they may well be), then the Eric Holder–run Justice Department was actively engaged in blocking an independent bipartisan federal agency from allowing a state to verify that only citizens are registering to vote.
Like most federal agencies, it is the Justice Department that is supposed to defend the EAC when it is sued. Based on my experience working in the Voting Section, it would not surprise me if Bradley Heard and the other lawyers who may have tried to sabotage the Kansas and Arizona requests are now back on the case. Except this time, instead of writing policy for the EAC designed to thwart Kansas and Arizona, they may end up attacking the new EAC policy behind closed doors when they are supposed to be defending it in court. That’s a potential conflict of interest, especially because those lawyers — if they were acting in a policy-making capacity instead of a legal capacity when they implemented the EAC’s prior position — may be potential witnesses in the case.
It is a potential conflict of interest that District Court Judge Richard J. Leon should delve into deeply. He should ask Justice Department lawyers about it at the hearing on Monday, particularly if there are any signs that lawyers for the federal government appear to be taking a dive instead of defending the EAC’s sound decision.
And there is no question that Judge Leon should allow Kansas to intervene in this lawsuit to defend the EAC’s decision. All signs point to this Justice Department not conducting the type of high-quality, vigorous, professional defense it is obligated to provide. (Contributor: By Hans A. Von Spakovsky for National Review - Hans A. von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a former Justice Department lawyer.)
We have heard for years of voting irregularities and “stuffing the ballot box.” It now appears that the masks have come off, and open cheating is being condoned at the highest levels of our nation’s government. Pray for exposure of cheating and a crackdown on illegal voting activity. Our country was founded on the rule of law, and the laws are clear. Pray for honest leaders.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Ps. 46:1)
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT TURNS ITS BACK ON MIDDLE EASTERN CHRISTIANS
Islamist extremists are waging a religious persecution so severe that, as Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill stated in their historic joint statement last week, “whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated.” Nowhere does this obtain more than in Iraq and Syria, where Christian communities, a groundswell of prominent voices is now acknowledging, face genocide. On February 4, the European Parliament, with near-unanimity and solid socialist support, passed a resolution declaring that ISIS “is committing genocide against Christians and Yazidis” and “other religious and ethnic minorities.”
Despite a foreign-policy mandate to speak out against religious persecution, the United States government has so far been silent on whether this epic religious cleansing of Christians,Yazidis, and other minorities from the heart of the Middle East ranks among the gravest of crimes.
With pressure mounting, the State Department in October leaked word that an official genocide designation would be forthcoming but made clear that State would recognize only a Yazidi genocide and not one against Christians. This prompted Congress to mandate that Secretary John Kerry make a determination by March 16 on the precise question of whether “persecution . . . of Christians and people of other religions in the Middle East by violent Islamic extremists . . . constitutes genocide.”
While other administrations have committed the sin of silence where genocide was concerned, none has officially signaled that it believes a brutally persecuted and displaced minority is not suffering ongoing genocide. Yet that would be the effect of excluding the Christians from an official listing of genocide victims. Despite foreseeable harm this would cause these Christians, the administration appears on track to do just that.
Unnamed administration officials are proffering various arguments to justify omitting the Christians. All are flimsy, as seen below, and point to political motives.
THE HOLOCAUST MUSEUM REPORT
After entering a Nineveh town in August 2014, ISIS militants confronted a Christian woman and demanded that she convert to Islam. When she refused, as the woman, now a refugee in Kurdistan, reported to the Hammurabi Human-Rights Organization in Iraq, they grabbed her infant and dashed him to the ground, killing him, and took away her husband.
This case is not included in the Holocaust Museum report that purports to cover all minorities and that State Department officials say the administration is relying on to make its determination that only the Yazidis face genocide. Nor are any others from the volumes of Christian cases documented by Hammurabi, Aid to the Church in Need, the Assyrian International News Agency, the Vatican’s Agenzia Fides, and other Christian sources.
Entitled “Our Generation Is Gone: The Islamic State’s Targeting of Iraqi Minorities in Ninewa,” and made available in October by the Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, this report is not a thorough study of ISIS attacks on any minority but rather a narrowly constructed and superficial, 28-page “trip report.” It is based “largely on interviews” in Iraqi Kurdistan the prior month. The Museum’s fact finders, the report relates, “spoke with Yezidis, Shia Turkmen, and Shia Shabak whose loved ones had been killed or kidnapped” but apparently not with any similarly aggrieved Christians. Neither Christian leaders nor Christian documentation sources are cited in the report.
Its focus on events in Nineveh in summer 2014 seems designed especially for making a determination on Yazidi genocide, since this is where and when Yazidis were hit the hardest. I wholeheartedly agree that the Yazidis were and are victims of genocide. But Christians have also been under genocidal assault, and for a longer period, and in both Iraq and Syria. While the body count is not known, regional Christian leaders believe that many thousands of Christians have been killed in this. The Museum report contains no mention of any attacks against Christians in the Syrian part of the “caliphate.” On Iraq in the decade before 2014, it makes only passing reference to a handful of the innumerable mass murders of Christians by ISIS predecessors.
That several staff members of the Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center Center were previously with the Obama administration raises questions of whether this thin a report with such obvious limitations, released the same month as the department leak, was prepared in collaboration with the administration for a desired political outcome — namely, to include Yazidis while excluding Christians.
THE CHRISTIANS’ CHOICE
State officials say that the persecution of these Christians does not meet the “high bar” of the 1948 Genocide Convention because ISIS gave Christians a choice to avoid murder or deportation: They could convert to Islam or pay jizya, the Islamic tax. Forced conversion to Islam, of course, is itself evidence of religious genocide and is cited as such in the European Parliament resolution. (Contributor: By Nina Shea for National Review)
President Obama has made it clear that he and his administration are very concerned about Muslim refugee welfare and resettlement in the U.S., but he has said little or nothing about the plight of Christians and other minority groups that are being destroyed every day. Pray for God’s intervention in this worldwide genocide. Pray that Christian leaders will continue to speak out and be heard.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:35-37)
REPORT: U.S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS ‘UNCHALLENGED PRIMACY MAY BE COMING TO A CLOSE’
The United States’ aircraft carriers have always been an almost untouchable deterrent, steel behemoths capable of projecting the full weight of the U.S. military wherever they deploy. Yet while many militaries could never hope to match the U.S. carrier fleet in size and strength, countries such as China, Iran and Russia have spent recent years adjusting their forces and fielding equipment designed to counter one of the United States’ greatest military strengths.
A report published Monday by the Center for a New American Security, a D.C.-based think tank that focuses on national security, claims that the Navy’s carrier operations are at an inflection point. Faced with growing threats abroad, the United States can either “operate its carriers at ever-increasing ranges … or assume high levels of risk in both blood and treasure.”
The report, titled “Red Alert: The Growing Threat to U.S. Aircraft Carriers,” centers around China’s burgeoning military posture in the Pacific and on a term that is starting to appear with an ever-increasing urgency in defense circles: anti-access/area denial, or A2/AD. The term A2/AD centers around a concept that has long existed in warfare: denying the enemy an ability to move around the battlefield. Currently A2/AD strategy is as similar as it was when moats were dug around castles, except today’s moats are an integrated system of surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles, submarines, surface ships and aircraft all designed to push enemy forces as far away as possible from strategically important areas.
The report focuses on China’s capabilities because of its “emphasis on long-range anti-ship missile procurement.” This, coupled with its growing tech base, qualifies China as the “pacing threat” to the U.S. military. China, however, is not the sole architect of an A2/AD strategy designed to deter U.S. operations. In the Baltics, Russia’s naval base in Kaliningrad is known to house a sophisticated air defense network and anti-ship missiles. NATO commanders also have warned of Russian A2/AD buildup around Syria, as Russia has moved advanced surface-to-air missiles into its airbase there as well as a flotilla of ships with robust anti-air capabilities.
As other countries focus on creating sophisticated A2/AD bubbles by using new technology such as drones, advanced missiles and newer aircraft, the United States — by operating as it always has — is putting itself more at risk. According to the report, this is particularly relevant as carrier groups have reduced their long-range strike ability in lieu of being able to fly more air missions but at shorter ranges.
“Operating the carrier in the face of increasingly lethal and precise munitions will thus require the United States to expose a multi-billion dollar asset to high levels of risk in the event of a conflict,” the report says. “An adversary with A2/AD capabilities would likely launch a saturation attack against the carrier from a variety of platforms and directions. Such an attack would be difficult – if not impossible – to defend against.”
Last week, China’s A2/AD strategy made international news after satellite imagery showed the deployment of HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island, a disputed atoll in the South China Sea. Though small, the island is claimed by both Taiwan and Vietnam. The CNAS report classifies the HQ-9 as a short-range A2/AD threat but indicates that the movement of such systems into disputed territory in the South China Sea, if properly reinforced, is a potentially long-term problem for U.S. naval operations. Medium and long-range threats discussed in the report include land-based Chinese bombers and anti-ship ballistic missiles such as the DF-21D and DF-26. The two missiles “represent a significant threat to the carrier,” with an estimated range of 810 and 1,620 nautical miles, respectively. According to the report, if the DF-26 is as operational and as accurate as the Chinese say it is, the missile would be able to hit the U.S. territory of Guam.
While the report discusses possible countermeasures for a sophisticated A2/AD network, including the Navy’s future railgun project, the United States probably would employ a variety of systems and strategies, including hacking, to defeat the enemy threat. However, long-term strategies suggested in the report include putting U.S. combat power into systems such as submarines and long-range carrier-based drones. Submarines could evade A2/AD by remaining undetected, while carrier based drones — with their increased range — would give carriers much-needed standoff from potential A2/AD threats.
The United States “must re-examine the relevance of the carrier and its air wing and explore innovative options for future operations and force structure,” the report concludes. “If the United States is to maintain its military superiority well into the future, it cannot afford to do otherwise.” (Contributor: By Thomas Gibbons-Neff for The Washington Post)
Pray for our military leaders and planners. This is part of our nation’s military preparedness issue and our government’s priorities to maintain a strong and up-to-date defense system, as the Constitution explicitly defines. Pray for God’s mercy. Begin to intercede now for the fall elections and for God to give us leaders that reflect His values. Pray “Your kingdom come. Your will be done…”
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Ps. 127:1)
JOINT US-ISRAEL DRILL WILL HELP BUILD ‘REGIONAL STABILITY,’ SAYS IDF
The drill, held since 2001 and now conducted every two years, is taking place for the eight time.
A joint IDF-US European Command missile drill, dubbed Juniper Cobra 16, began Sunday, the military said.
The drill is aimed at improving cooperation and coordination between the two militaries, and training defenses against ballistic missile attacks.
The drill, held since 2001 and now conducted every two years, is taking place for the eight time. In 2014, more than 1,700 US soldiers arrived in Israel to practice missile defenses in computerized simulations.
“This drill provides an opportunity for both militaries for joint learning and training,” the IDF Spokesman’s Office said. “The drill is another step in strategic relations between Israel and the US, and will contribute much to regional stability.”
Brig.-Gen. Tzvika Haimovitch, commander of the IAF’s Air Defense Division, described Juniper Cobra 16 as a “central milestone in strategic ties between the countries, a defense alliance like no other in the world. This cooperation expresses commitment to the lives of civilians,” he said.
Gen. Mark L. Loeben, director of exercises and assessments in the US Air Force, said supporting Israel’s right to defend itself has been an integral part of US policy in the region for decades.
He said the exercise is at the top of EUCOM’s priority list for 2016. (Contributor: By Yaakov Lappin for The Jerusalem Post)
Pray that such joint training exercises will present a picture of solidarity between the U.S. and Israel and that the demonstration will give Israel and our nation strength in the Middle East.
“For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, ‘Peace be within you.’ Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.” (Ps. 122:8-9)
PLANNED PARENTHOOD ABORTION CLINIC FUNDING CUT BY WISCONSIN LAWMAKERS
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed two bills into law this week that limit funding for the Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion business.
One of the bills requires federal family planning grant money to be distributed to "less controversial" health clinics and departments in the state, meaning that abortion clinics in the state will be barred from receiving federal Title X funding.
The second piece of legislation requires abortion providers to seek reimbursements through the state's Medicaid program.
Walker signed the two laws while visiting Life Connection, a Christian pro-life group located in Mukwonago earlier this week.
Nicole Safar, director of government relations for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, told The Associated Press that although the new bills do not target Planned Parenthood by name, they are evidently meant to decrease the viability of the organization in the state.
"The law is directed just at Planned Parenthood. It's to cut our funding so we can't provide services," Safar claimed. "Legal action is certainly on the table. The law singles out Planned Parenthood."
Pro-life groups have praised Walker's recent move, with Pro-Life Wisconsin State Director Dan Miller calling the federal funding cut "fiscally and morally responsible."
"Cutting Planned Parenthood's public funding is a fiscally and morally responsible step that furthers a culture of life in the great state of Wisconsin," Miller said. "Pro-Life Wisconsin is grateful to Gov. Walker for signing into law legislation that respects the consciences of Wisconsin taxpayers who oppose public funding of abortion."
Walker said that the two new laws will protect women's health and taxpayer dollars in the Midwestern state.
"Today, we signed two bills into law that prioritize women's health while improving government and its services to the citizens of Wisconsin," the governor said, as reported by LifeSite News.
"These bills require [Department of Health Services] to apply for additional federal funding for women's health services to be obtained from less controversial providers and ensure prescription reimbursement processes are handled in a cost-based and transparent manner," he added.
Wisconsin joins a bevy of other states in attempting to decrease Planned Parenthood funding after a string of undercover videos were released last year showing executives with the abortion provider discussing the sell of aborted babies' organs, limbs and tissue.
The Christian Post reported Friday on The state of Kentucky's lawsuit against Planned Parenthood of Kentucky and Indiana this week to reemburse the state for $900,000 with Gov. Matt Bevin arguing the provider performed illegal abortions because it did not follow state licensing policies.
The complaint argues that Planned Parenthood performed 23 abortions from December 2015 to December 2016 in an "unlicensed abortion facility without hospital and ambulance transfer agreements."
"This administration will have no tolerance for the type of brazen disregard that Planned Parenthood has shown for both the safety of women and the rule of law," Bevin said in a statement.
"We will hold Planned Parenthood accountable for knowingly endangering their patients by providing illegal abortions at a facility that was not properly licensed nor prepared to handle an emergency," the governor, elected last November, added. (Contributor: By Katherine Weber for Christian Post)
Give thanks for the leaders in Wisconsin and Gov. Scott Walker for signing two bills into law that will deprive Planned Parenthood of taxpayers’ funding. These state-level battles aren’t over due to the full support the federal government, including President Obama and his administration, gives to abortion providers. Pray for a God-sent solution to stop the baby killing. Our hope is in Him.
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 121:1-2)
'HIGH TIME' FOR ABORTION TO BE HELD TO MEDICAL STANDARDS
Pro-lifers in Kentucky stand behind Governor Matt Bevin (R), who wants heavy fines for an abortion clinic that is apparently operating outside the law.
According to the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood Louisville has performed at least 23 surgical abortions without a license. In addition, Michael Janocik of the Kentucky Right to Life Association tells OneNewsNow an abortion clinic must have a transfer agreement with a local hospital and with an ambulance service, but instead of the latter, Planned Parenthood has a letter from the Jefferson County Ambulance Service telling them to dial 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.
"That's not what the law is trying to get at," Janocik asserts. "What the law is trying to do is to make sure that if you're performing a surgical procedure and you don't have the resource or the capacity to be able to deal with an emergency, in order to procure a license, you better have those transfer agreements in place so that you don't have a situation where a woman would be in a serious predicament with some sort of a problem with a surgery."
He says it raises another question: If a barber shop or restaurant can be heavily fined or shut down for not meeting health and safety standards, then why not an abortion clinic?
"Unfortunately, abortion has been … not held to the same standards as every other medical person in the profession, so I think it's high time," the pro-lifer tells OneNewsNow. "And I'm glad the governor's doing it, because it will certainly benefit the women of Kentucky."
The governor's lawsuit asks that heavy fines be levied against the Louisville Planned Parenthood. (Contributor: Charlie Butts for One News Now)
Pray that Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky will be successful closing these unclean, unlicensed abortion mills and that many pre-born babies will be saved from painful death. Pray that God, in His great mercy, will provide a national final solution to this unconscionable, violent, barbaric killing that has plagued our once-Christian nation for more than 40 years.
“For whoever finds [God] finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord; but he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death.” (Prov. 8:35-36)