The Patriot Post® · Daily Digest
“[T]he Constitution ought to be the standard of construction for the laws, and that wherever there is an evident opposition, the laws ought to give place to the Constitution.” –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 81, 1788
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Barack Obama thinks it’s way too easy to buy a gun, and he wants to “fix” that. “As long as you can go in some neighborhoods and it is easier for you to buy a firearm than it is for you to buy a book – there are neighborhoods where it is easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable – as long as that’s the case, we’re going to continue to see unnecessary violence,” Obama warned at a town hall meeting at Benedict College. Clearly frustrated with Congress for not fully exploiting the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 to pass gun control, Obama complained, “I thought … what happened at Sandy Hook would make us think about it. You would have thought that’s got to be enough of a motivator. But we couldn’t get it done.” Without Congress, he said, “It is difficult to reduce the availability of guns.” That is his goal, after all. However, he added, “We’ve tried to get as much done administratively” as possible.
Indeed he has. The ATF is considering a ban on M855 ammunition, which is widely used in AR-15s. And “considering” is probably not strong enough a word, as the ATF recently published the new regulation in its 2014 Regulation Guide, released in January. When Townhall’s Katie Pavlich called them out, the ATF backtracked and claimed it was a “publishing mistake” – that the regulation was not finalized. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the ban won’t take effect, just that the ATF announced prematurely. Obama has 700 days, a phone and a pen. He won’t stop with green-tip ammo.
Speaking in Selma Saturday for the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march there, Barack Obama told marchers that today’s voter ID laws are commensurate with what plagued blacks 50 years ago. “Right now, in 2015, 50 years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote,” Obama complained. “As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act – the culmination of so much blood, so much sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence – the Voting Rights Act stands weakened, its future subject to political rancor. How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic efforts. President [Ronald] Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President George W. Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right to protect it. If we want to honor this day, let that hundred go back to Washington and gather four hundred more, and together pledge to make it their mission to restore that law this year. That’s how we honor those on this bridge.” Requiring that voting citizens prove who they are – just as if they were buying alcohol – is not “suppressing the vote.” That’s especially true in a nation in which Obama has just legalized nearly five million illegals. He’s misrepresenting history for political gain. More…
Read the headline and examine the picture of The New York Times’ front cover after political leaders commemorated the 50-year anniversary of the march at Selma, and you’d think the whole event was all about Barack Obama. The Times highlighted his quote, “We know the march is not yet over,” in the headline, and the photo of the event featured a white-shirted Obama linking arms with Rep. John Lewis, who was at the original march. Obama’s speech linked what happened 50 years ago to the recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Yet the Times’ coverage all but ignored the GOP presence at the march. George W. Bush was in the front line of marchers, but The Times cropped him out of the picture. The media lambasted GOP leaders for skipping the march, though Bush and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy were there. One notable absence was Hillary Clinton, who decided it was more important to attend a Clinton Global Initiative event in Florida than commemorate a seminal moment in the civil rights movement. The Left tried to co-opt the event for two purposes: First, to smear Republicans who stayed home. Second, to mold the civil rights narrative for political ends. And, as always, the New York Times helped them do it. More…
In the wake of the Justice Department’s predictable findings of racist police in Ferguson, Attorney General Eric Holder fired a shot across the bow. “We are prepared to use all the powers that we have, all the power that we have, to ensure that the situation changes there,” Holder said Friday. “That means everything from working with them to coming up with an entirely new structure.” In other words, the Ferguson Police Department is on notice. But not just Ferguson. “I hope [police departments around the nation are] listening to these comments, and understand the intensity with which the feelings are felt at the federal government level to ensure that we use all the tools that we can to make sure that what happened in Ferguson is uncovered and simply does not happen in any other part of the country,” Holder added. “But I also want to make people understand, there are 18,000 police departments in this country, and I think what we saw in Ferguson was an anomaly.” We’d say that’s a pretty clear sign of what will be on incoming AG Loretta Lynch’s agenda.
Hillary Clinton borders on paranoia when it comes to documenting her work, as if she considers transparency and oversight the enemy. In 1994, she said she didn’t even keep a diary. “It could get subpoenaed! I don’t write anything down,” she said. Recently, a video surfaced of a 2001 ABC report that shows Clinton saying she didn’t use email: “As much as I’ve been investigated and all of that, you know, why would I – I don’t even want – why would I ever want to do email?” But now, it turns out that crafty grandma was running her own email server – which can permanently delete emails. Head of the House committee investigating the attack on the Benghazi consulate in 2012, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), said Clinton has kept emails from his committee’s investigation. “There are gaps of months of months of months,” he said. “If you think to that iconic picture of her on a C-17 flying to Libya … we have no emails from that day. In fact we have no emails from that trip.” Unlike Lois Lerner’s emails, Clinton’s may be gone for good. As “clueless” as ever, Barack Obama distanced himself from the former secretary of state, trotting out his tired old excuse that he learned about the scandal “through news reports.” Sure thing.
For more, visit Right Hooks.
A funny thing happened in the South Florida city of Lake Worth. It appears the local government has given churches the idea they must pay a fee to exercise their constitutionally protected right to worship as they please. In fact, in a move that smacks of totalitarianism, one particular church was singled out for “observation” by a hoodie-wearing code enforcement officer who compiled an official Case Narrative that reads like a bad detective novel.
In the city’s crosshairs is a Southern Baptist institution known as the Common Ground Church. The church owns and operates a coffee house in the downtown area, and for the last three months it has used it to hold weekly worship services. Previously the congregation rented space at other facilities in the area.
Common Ground Pastor Mike Olive spoke with Fox News’ Todd Starnes and told him problems began arising last month following an encounter with City Commissioner Andy Amoroso. “After we opened up the coffee bar and started doing services, I heard that he told people we were anti-gay,” Olive told Starnes. “So I went to his shop to ask him about that.” Despite Olive’s insistence that his church is all about loving God and loving people, and that his message to the gay community “is the same as it is to the straight community,” Amoroso remained unconvinced, warning the pastor that he’d “better not have a church down there.”
Amoroso may have a personal axe to grind. According to the Keep the Faith News website, Amoroso runs a newsstand and a gay-pornography business in Lake Worth. Shortly after Olive and Amoroso’s meeting, an “anonymous complaint” was lodged, precipitating the compliance officer’s visit last month.
That city-code enforcement officer is Gerard A. Coscia, who spent two Sundays in a row watching Common Ground Church hold services at the Common Ground Coffee House. On Feb. 8, Coscia secretly filmed the service. The following Sunday he came back, handed Olive’s associate pastor his business card – and told him the church has one week to vacate the building.
As his report indicates, Coscia brought his inner author and CIA wannabe tendencies to the task. “I walked back to the Coffee Bar and was able to visualize, in my opinion what appeared to be a ministry in progress,” his report states. “There was the following going on inside the Coffee Bar: Someone speaking from a podium. A [sic] overhead TV or projection with scripture verse on it. Rows of people sitting in chairs on both sides like a gathering setting. People holding what appeared to be bibles or religious books as one had a cross on it.”
Coscia further revealed he conducted a Google search, discovering that the church actually existed at the address he investigated, that Olive was a preacher, and that there was a calendar of service times. Coscia’s ultimate analysis? “I inspected the property and found the following violations: Business rental property found without a current City of Lake Worth Business license, specifically to operate as a church, or a house of Worship.”
Lake Worth community sustainability director William Waters insisted the city had nothing against the church and was merely responding to the aforementioned complaint. Waters further claimed the city “couldn’t give preferential treatment to churches versus other businesses.”
A church thus becomes a business, and Waters explained that every business in the community received letters regarding permits and fees. Joan Abell, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, confirmed that reality, producing a letter from the city warning, “[I]t shall be unlawful for any person or business, directly or indirectly, to engage in or conduct any business profession or occupation in the city, without first making an application for, and having obtained a city of Lake Worth business license.”
Abell was upset, saying, “We’ve been there 99 years and we’ve never had to have a license. Where do you all of a sudden say the church has to have a license to gather and pray?”
After this story became national news, the city backtracked, denying claims it had threatened anyone. “This is entirely a big misunderstanding,” said Mayor Pam Triolo. “The city’s intention is not to penalize churches in any way, shape or form. No, there’s no fee to pray.”
The report by Coscia and the letter sent to Abell say otherwise.
Adding to the city’s woes is attorney Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, a law firm specializing in religious liberty. He sent a letter to City Manager Michael Bornstein, explaining that churches are not businesses and don’t need licenses to operate, that the city’s own laws exempt churches regardless, and that even the occupational licenses and taxes they are now attempting to collect “are an exclusive prerogative of the Florida legislature.” He asks the city to stop collecting business fees, refund those they have collected, and provide written assurance of both.
“Government employees are public servants and prohibited by the Constitution from inhibiting religious freedom,” he explains.
Nevertheless, the city insists the congregation still needs a use and occupancy certificate for “safety purposes” separate from the one for the coffee bar.
The Patriot Post spoke with Olive, who remains optimistic about his future in the city despite local blogger Wes Blackman taking him to task for a “ridiculous non-story,” one “giving our little City a black eye on the national stage.”
“We’re not mad at the city,” Olive explained. “I live here. I work here. We love the city and when people ask me why we’re giving the city a black eye, I tell them were not. The city has a black eye and we want be the ‘ice’ that brings healing to Lake Worth.”
Such healing may be temporary. Oliver also revealed that “police have told us we can’t hand out Gospel tracts because it violates Lake Worth’s panhandling law, which is one of the most aggressive in Palm Beach County.” Handing out what Christians believe is the word of God constitutes panhandling? You’ve got another “misunderstanding” to address, Mayor Triolo.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Monday signed right-to-work legislation, making “America’s Dairyland” the 25th state with laws preventing mandatory union membership and payment of dues. It’s both good for Wisconsin’s economy and is a feather in Walker’s presidential cap.
Through a section of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, states were permitted to enact legislation that allowed contracts to be signed between unions and businesses requiring workers at the particular company to pay labor fees, and legally binding those companies to fire workers who refused to join the union. Section 14B of this Act specifically noted that a right-to-work law would prevent such extortion.
Union members make up about 8% of Wisconsin’s current labor force. Just 30 years ago that number was 22%. Indeed, nationwide, labor unions are losing the muscle that once made them mighty – because their numbers have dwindled for the last three decades.
Walker’s tenure as Wisconsin governor has been marked by freeing the entire labor market from the chokehold of union membership. Upon his initial election in 2010, Walker went to work with the State Assembly to dismantle public-sector unions. The Wisconsin Act 10 eliminated collective bargaining for state workers, including teachers, addressed extravagant benefits and pension promises, and protected the state from a $3.6 billion budget deficit. That battle sent Walker to national prominence.
The 2011 Republican-led reform successfully implemented by Walker hit the same funding mechanism in public-sector unions as will now impact private-sector unions: forced dues payment.
Currently, detractors of right-to-work laws argue wage suppression will result without mandatory labor union representation. But that’s just not backed up by the facts.
For example, in 2012, Michigan became a right-to-work state under the leadership of Republican Governor Rick Snyder, also elected in 2010, and the Michigan Legislature. By 2013, its per-capita personal income rose to $39,215 from $38,291 in 2012. And by 2014, more than 8,000 teachers had made the decision not to pay union dues, while total union membership dropped almost two percentage points in the first full year of the law’s implementation.
It’s certainly interesting that as soon as people have the right to work without union interference union participation drops and incomes rise. It implies that, unless unions have some legal leverage enabling forced participation and extortion, they are undesirable and ineffective.
The reason is simple: Right-to-work laws give workers the opportunity to pursue employment without having to pay dues to unions, who frequently use that money to secure political power at the expense of worker protections. Right-to-work allows for greater access to jobs, while a government-mandated minimum wage prices some prospective workers out of those jobs. Which one makes more sense if creating jobs is the objective?
For more, visit Right Analysis.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
- Peggy Noonan: Stuck in Scandal Land
- Star Parker: Pass the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act
- Tony Perkins: Patriots Deflate Marriage
- Burt Prelutsky: Bait & Switch
- George Will: Obama Needs GOP for TPP
For more, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
The Gipper: “I’ve always believed that we are, each of us, put here for a reason, that there is a plan, somehow a divine plan for all of us.”
Columnist Peggy Noonan: “The press is painting all this as a story about how Mrs. Clinton, in her love for secrecy and control, has given ammunition to her enemies. But that’s not the story. The story is that this is what she does, and always has. The rules apply to others, not her. She’s special, entitled, exempt from the rules – the rules under which, as the Federalist reports, the State Department in 2012 forced the resignation of a U.S. ambassador, ‘in part for setting up an unsanctioned private e-mail system.’ Why doesn’t the legacy press swarm her on this? Because she is political royalty. They are used to seeing her as a regal, queenly figure. They’ve been habituated to understand that Mrs. Clinton is not to be harried, not to be subjected to gotcha questions or impertinent grilling. She is a Democrat, a star, not some grubby Republican governor from nowhere. … An aspect of the story goes beyond criticism of Mrs. Clinton and gets to criticism of us. A generation or two ago, a person so encrusted in a reputation for scandal would not be considered a possible presidential contender. She would be ineligible. Now she is inevitable.”
Columnist Star Parker: “Why do we need a new federal law to protect those whose religious convictions see marriage as it has been understood for our whole national history? Because a war is taking place in our country to delegitimize religion and to use every means of legal aggression to make it impossible for those with traditional biblical faith to live according to their convictions in their public lives. … Can it really be, now that homosexual activists have won victories to redefine the meaning of marriage, that anyone adhering in their public life to their traditional religious convictions breaks the law? Will one day a pastor preaching from the pulpit wind up in a lawsuit? Can it really be that it is not enough for homosexual activists to legally do what they want? That they won’t rest until those that refuse to accept these lifestyles are destroyed? This is not freedom and this is not America. This is a fight for the heart and soul of our country. Politicians who give lip service to American freedom but who will not fight for the very values that make our freedom possible, the values on which our nation was built, don’t belong in positions of leadership.”
Twitter satirist @weknowwhatsbest: “The [National Transportation Safety Board] scolded Harrison Ford for his emergency landing. Sure, he saved lives, but a golf course landing anywhere endangers Obama.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
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