President Barack Obama has been taking lumps from Republicans for years over his support for Wall Street and health care reform, but today at the National Prayer Breakfast he claimed support from on high to defend two of his most controversial legislative achievements.
“And so when I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren’t discriminating against those who are already sick, or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren’t taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody. But I also do it because I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.'”
“I know the version of that Golden Rule is found in every major religion and every set of beliefs — from Hinduism to Islam to Judaism to the writings of Plato,” Obama added.
The president said he often falls to his knees in prayer, and emphasized the role of his religious values in determining where to lead the country.
“I’d be remiss if I stopped there; if my values were limited to personal moments of prayer or private conversations with pastors or friends. So instead, I must try — imperfectly, but I must try — to make sure those values motivate me as one leader of this great nation.”
Obama maintained that his call for the wealthiest to give up their tax breaks, he’s doing so out of economic necessity, but also in line with biblical teachings.
“And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense. But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,'” Obama said, noting Jewish and Islamic teachings say much the same thing.
Obama also defended foreign aid from assault, noting that it not just enhances the nation’s security — but fulfills the biblical requirement to look out for those who cannot speak for themselves.
“And when I decide to stand up for foreign aid, or prevent atrocities in places like Uganda, or take on issues like human trafficking, it’s not just about strengthening alliances, or promoting democratic values, or projecting American leadership around the world, although it does all those things and it will make us safer and more secure. It’s also about the biblical call to care for the least of these — for the poor; for those at the margins of our society.
To answer the responsibility we’re given in Proverbs to ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.'”
A new survey shows that Barack Obama is the most polarizing president in the last 60 years. As divisive as he is, the current occupant of the White House has simply exacerbated a trend towards disunity that has been developing for years.
A report released by Gallup on Friday shows that the partisan divide over Mr. Obama continued a record-setting pace for the third year straight. In 2011, the gap between his approval ratings by party was 68 percent, the highest for any third-year president on record. Even the liberal Washington Post headlined its report on the Gallup survey as, “Obama: The most polarizing president. Ever.”
The Gallup data show that while Mr. Obama has had the most polarized first three years in office, they also reveal that George W. Bush holds the top three slots for most divisive presidential years ever, occurring 2004-2007. This shows that the partisan antipathy is mutual. This is a recent phenomenon; eight of the top 10 most divided years have occurred from 2004 to the present.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Mr. Obama promised to heal the partisan breach. He said he would be a unifier, that he would reach across party lines, that he would forge consensus. Once he took office, however, armed with a hard-left agenda and backed by a supermajority in Congress, the arrogance of power overwhelmed the better angels of his nature. Those who questioned his policies were labeled extremists, or worse. Dissent was smacked down, Congress rammed through his contentious programs, and Democrats were punished for their conceit with a “shellacking” in the 2010 midterm elections.
Since 2011, bereft of his congressional amen corner, Mr. Obama has grown particularly contemptuous of the system. He has sought ways to expand the powers claimed by the executive and obeys only the laws that suit him. A compliant Justice Department fabricates thin rationales that convince none but those who would affirm anything Mr. Obama did anyway. This has had a particularly destructive impact on the bonds of trust and tradition without which our system cannot function. Some ask: If the president does not abide by the Constitution, why should anyone else?
Yet the problem is much deeper than Mr. Obama, and the decline in political legitimacy goes beyond the executive. Regard for Congress has been on a nosedive for the past 10 years. Members of both political parties give Congress a positive rating in the low teens, and approval from independents is a mere 7 percent. Gallup data for December 2011 showed 86 percent disapproval of Congress, which is a record high. Disapproval ratings for the Supreme Court are near records as well. According to a Gallup report released in September, the general sense of satisfaction over how the country is being governed has dropped from 59 percent in 2003 to a historic low of 19 percent.
These data demonstrate a growing undercurrent of discontent. The division in the country is narrow; there are many on each side. But the gulf is deep, and growing deeper. The question now is: Can any politician or party heal this rift, or has the United States truly become a house divided?
Attorney General Eric Holder vigorously denied a “cover-up” by the Justice Department over “Operation Fast and Furious,” telling a House panel investigating the botched gun-running program that he has nothing to hide and suggesting the probe is a “political” effort to embarrass the administration.
“There’s no attempt at any kind of cover-up,” Holder told lawmakers well into a hearing about whether he had been forthright in responding to requests of the House Oversight and Government Relations Committee led by Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
Issa threatens contempt proceeding against Holder if Justice fails to comply with Fast and Furious subpoenas Family of murdered Border Patrol agent files $25M claim against ATF GOP report: Justice officials were on top of Fast and Furious
“We’re not going to be hiding behind any kind of privileges or anything,” he said.
The hearing came after Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, his Senate partner in the probe, asserted that top Justice officials are covering up events surrounding the flawed gun-smuggling probe.
Issa made the accusation in a letter threatening to seek a contempt of Congress ruling against Holder for failing to turn over congressionally subpoenaed documents that were created after problems with Fast and Furious came to light.
Republicans also released a report in the hours ahead of the hearing claiming that Justice Department officials “had much greater knowledge of, and involvement in, Fast and Furious than it has previously acknowledged.”
Asked whether his assistants, Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler or Assistant Attorney Lanny Breuer, head of the department’s Criminal Division, ever authorized gunwalking or the tactics employed in Fast and Furious, Holder responded not to his knowledge.
“Not only did I not authorize those tactics, when I found out about them I told the field and everybody in the United States Department of Justice that those tactics had to stop. That they were not acceptable and that gunwalking was to stop. That was what my reaction [was] to my finding out about the use of that technique,” he added.
He added that he doesn’t think that the situation warranted the kind of response Republicans were giving after his department provided thousands of documents, and planned to deliver more.
Holder also rejected arguments that his handling of the case had lost him any support for the effort he was putting forth as attorney general.
“I don’t think the American people have lost trust in me. … This has become political, I get that,” he said.
But Holder also said no one has been punished “yet” in the case, despite the fact that lost guns from the operation ended up at the crime scene where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in December 2010.
Terry’s family has informed the U.S. government that it has six months to respond to its inquiry into Terry’s death or face a $25 million lawsuit.
In the botched operation, more than 1,400 weapons sold to low-level straw purchasers believed to be supplying Mexican drug gangs and other criminals were lost during tracking by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents. Another 700 firearms connected to suspects in the investigation have been recovered, some from crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S., including in Nogales, Ariz., where Terry was killed.
Holder said he didn’t learn about Terry’s murder until 24 hours after his death, and at the time did not hear that weapons tied to Fast and Furious were at the scene.
“I didn’t know about Operation Fast and Furious until the beginning parts of 2011 after I received that letter from Senator Grassley, I guess at the end of January and then that was about Operation Gun Runner. I actually learned about the Fast and Furious operation in February of that year.”
Holder told the committee, “I’m not sure exactly how I found out about the term, ‘Fast and Furious.'” He testified repeatedly that he never authorized the controversial tactics employed in the operation.
“There is no attempt at any kind of cover-up,” Holder said. “We have shared huge amounts of information” and will continue to do so, he said.
But Holder said under questioning that he has not disciplined anyone for his role in the controversial operation.
“No I have not as yet — as yet,” Holder said when questioned by Issa on the matter. “There have been personnel changes made at ATF. We obviously have a new U.S. attorney in Arizona. We have made personnel switches at ATF. People have been moved out of positions.”
Holder’s statements on the Justice Department’s role in the operation did not sit well with Republican lawmakers on the committee, who accused the attorney general of intentionally withholding key documents in the case.
“The conclusion that I come to is there are some things in there that’s being hidden that you don’t want us to see,” said Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind. “We have every right under the Constitution to check on what you’re doing… So for you to deny this committee anything like that is just dead wrong and I don’t think you’re going to find any way that you can do it.”
Burton went on to say that 93,000 documents related to the operation are being withheld by the Justice Department even though they’ve been turned over internally to the department’s inspector general, a political appointee, Burton said.
“And you’re saying, well, the separation of powers prohibits you from (delivering them to Congress). That’s baloney. That is just baloney,” Burton said.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, also questioned Holder’s having not discussed the case with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
“When people know that I’m going to be the subject of these kinds of hearings, you know six times and all that, nobody necessarily wants to get involved in these kinds of things or get dragged into it,” Holder responded.
Issa told Holder the committee will do what is necessary to obtain the information, “If you do not find a legitimate basis to deny us the material we’ve asked for.”
Holder said earlier during testimony that he would release additional materials “to the extent that I can.”
In Holder’s defense, Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., claimed the committee has “not obtained one shred of evidence that would contradict your testimony.”
“Not one witness, not one document, not one e-mail, and still some continue to suggest that you did personally authorize gunwalking and the tactics in Operation Fast and Furious.”
FORT HOOD, Texas – A military judge on Thursday delayed until June the trial for the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 in a 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood.
Maj. Nidal Hasan’s trial was scheduled to begin in March, but defense attorneys asked military judge Col. Gregory Gross to delay the start date until July to allow more time to comb through 60,000 pages of documents related to the case. They also said they needed extra time to allow an expert to examine their client’s background.
Hasan, 41, is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.
The Army major is accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32 after opening fire on soldiers — many of whom were preparing for deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq — at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009.
An investigation revealed that Hasan exchanged e-mails with now deceased al Qaeda leader Anwar al Awlaki before the shootings.
Al Awlaki, a US citizen, was killed in a US drone strike on Sept. 30 last year in Yemen.
Investigators, however, have concluded that Hasan acted alone in the shooting and was not operating under the direction of a terrorist group.
Hasan was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by a police officer during the shooting. He remains in jail.
Defense attorneys on Thursday filed a motion to force prosecutors to provide them with notes from meetings with President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and other high-ranking officials discussing the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting.
Hasan’s lawyers want access to the documents to determine if these conversations unlawfully influenced the decision to prosecute Hasan.
Prosecutors opposed the motion, and Gross said he would make a ruling on the issue at a later date.
By: Elmer Williams
In the past, people who were not citizens didn’t want everyone to know. Most
immigrants worked diligently on becoming citizens. The tides have turned
because the teachers can see who is and isn’t an American citizen by logging in
on their school websites. They know we are educating other countries’ citizens.
We give these law-breakers free lunch, free health care, and a free education.
I’m thinking about quitting my job since the government is promoting failure
I can’t blame the illegal aliens. I blame all the wimpy politicians and lawmakers
for not having the guts to stop the invasion. And if the police stop someone
who may be illegal, they can’t ask if he or she is a citizen because they may
be sued for being racist. According to the Center for Immigration Studies in
Los Angeles, some ([i]) “ruthless Salvadoran prison gang members have snuck back into town after having been deported for such crimes as murder, shootings, and drug trafficking”
I’m not talking about shoplifting and jaywalking. Some of these individuals are
committing violent crimes. And get this: police officers know who they are and
know that their mere presence in the country is a felony, but no officer dares
arrest these felons because there are laws in place, such as the sanctuary
policies, that prevent any officer from reporting immigration violations. Think
how ridiculous that sounds. It’s almost as if the government is trying to get
us all killed.
What makes anyone think terrorists don’t have the idea to cross through Mexico
and try to kill us all? It’s as if the world has gone mad. This wouldn’t make
any sense even to a ten-year-old, so we must ask why the government allows this
to take place. Again, political correctness is one of the problems because
these spineless politicians can’t stand the pressure from the Hispanic
organizations. They don’t have the backbone, courage, or fortitude to stand up
and do the right thing. We give them free healthcare and welfare assistance and
some people say it’s great that we can help the disenfranchised.
I have a question for you: how is it fair for citizens of this country to work
their whole lives, pay taxes, put money into social security, and save in their
401K plans just to see someone who hasn’t followed the laws and paid taxes get
free stuff? How about we take half of all Congress salaries and pensions and
half of the salaries of people who believe this is a great idea and donate them
to the poor and downtrodden to help these lawbreakers? This can be a little
annoying to hardworking taxpayers who are constantly being told that we can’t
afford tax cuts.
They say, “Don’t you have compassion for people? They love their families and want to make a better life for them.” Guess what? They don’t love their families any more than most Americans love theirs. Isn’t it the representatives’ job to protect each American’s right to the pursuit of happiness? They were elected to represent the people of this
country but they do a better job of representing people from other countries. Think
about how much money we’re spending on taking care of people from other counties.
Lynn M. Struter wrote an article on newswithviews.com that details the cost of illegal aliens. The article says ([ii]) we spend “$11 billion to $22 billion on other forms of welfare programs.” “Another $2.2 billion on food assistance programs such as WIC food stamps and free lunches.” “$2.5 billion a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens.” “$12 billion a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally.” “$17 billion a year is spent on education for American-born children of illegal aliens.” And “$3 million is spent a day to incarcerate illegal aliens.”
Struter goes on to discuss the over one million sex crimes per year committed by illegal aliens. Just because some of them want to make a better life for their families, twelve Americans a day die at the hands of illegal immigrants. Some politicians hope that if they legalize these immigrants, they will feel indebted enough to keep voting them into their sacred positions.
George W. Bush thought the guest worker program was a good idea. First of all, the illegal aliens are not guests because a guest is an invited person or party. They are lawbreakers who have not followed the laws of the land, so the guest worker program is a contradiction in itself.
Now that Barack Obama is taking over the country—and I mean literally taking over—he has shoved health-care down our throats and has tried to force us to pay for other people’s children. He wants to start the process of legalizing all the lawbreakers by giving them full citizenship. We don’t have the money to pay for all these wonderful ideas, but who cares as long as we feel good? I have never seen so many people work so hard to try to legitimize people who insist on breaking the law. I’m sorry, but
we are not saving any money on the cheap labor or the jobs that Americans don’t
want to do. Americans on welfare can be taken off food stamps and government assistance and be given these jobs. If we tell them we are going to help them get on their feet while they work, one of the requirements is that they must work. We are going to teach them life skills so they will learn how to fish and not always depend on someone else.