By Joseph LaRue and Kerri Kupec, Alliance Defending Freedom
Opponents of the proposed amendment to Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act are putting the people of Arizona in a high-risk disaster zone when it comes to their First Amendment freedoms.
In America, we live by the basic principle that you don’t forfeit your religious freedom just because you step outside the four walls of your home.
Congress passed the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the legislation after which the Arizona RFRA is modeled, for that very purpose.
But the federal RFRA only applies to the federal government, and thus, a number of states, including Arizona, enacted their own versions to ensure this religious protection for their citizens.
Arizona’s RFRA, as it currently stands, does not contain the necessary specificity regarding who can use RFRA for protection if the government discriminates against them because of their religious faith. Contrary to the voices opposing protecting religious freedom for all Arizonans, Senate Bill 1062 and House Bill 2153, which were approved last week, will not allow people to do “whatever they want” in the name of religion.
The use of the amended RFRA will only come into play when the government’s law inhibits someone from freely acting in accordance with his or her faith, as has always been the case. And even then, sincerely held religious beliefs will continue to be balanced against state interests. So, Arizona will always be able to make certain things — like murder — crimes even if someone says that his religious beliefs require him to kill someone.
So, what happens in states that don’t have a clear RFRA? Elane Photography in New Mexico is a perfect illustration.
Elaine Huguenin, the Christian owner of Elane Photography, declined to photograph what two women called their “commitment ceremony.” The women had no trouble finding another photographer because plenty of them were clamoring for their business. But the couple sued Elaine’s business anyway, alleging that it had violated a law banning sexual-orientation discrimination.
Elaine, however, did not refuse the women because they identify as homosexual. She declined to photograph the ceremony only because she didn’t want to promote a message at odds with her sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage. So, Elaine asserted a defense under New Mexico’s RFRA, similar to Arizona’s current RFRA, saying that the government should not be able to force her to promote and participate in the ceremony when doing so violates her religious convictions.
But the ambiguity in New Mexico’s RFRA, like Arizona’s current one, allowed the New Mexico Supreme Court to hand down a strained interpretation that actually distinguished between Elaine as a photographer and Elaine as a small-business owner.
And because the government was not actually a party to the lawsuit, the court had wiggle room to ignore the state RFRA, even though the entire case dealt with a state law. Instead, as one of the judges wrote, “the price of citizenship” for Elaine was that she must be forced to violate her beliefs.
Did the legislators ever intend for such a messy interpretation? Probably not, but this is what happens with lack of clarity in a law — the type of ambiguity that SB 1062 aims to fix in Arizona. An old adage states, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” In states like New Mexico, that’s exactly what happened.
No Arizonan should be forced to choose between making a living and living free. An amended bill that provides a safeguard from laws that violate our First Amendment freedoms — while still letting government enact laws necessary to the common good — is a sensible one.
No court in Arizona should be able to tell you that a violation of those freedoms is just the “price of citizenship.”
Joseph La Rue is legal counsel and Kerri Kupec is legal communications director for the Arizona-based Alliance Defending
Republican candidate for governor Al Melvin issued the following news release on the religious freedom bill which Gov. Jan Brewer needs to sign soon:
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), also known as SB1062, protects the rights of every Arizonan to work and live according to their faith. It prohibits punishing someone because of their faith. It is common sense, it is good law, it was carefully crafted, it was supported by more than 90% of the Republicans in the Legislature, and I strongly urge the
governor to sign the bill. Al Melvin, speaking on SB1062.
Melvin spoke at a GOP candidate forum on Saturday and was the only candidate for governor to support SB1062.
“I was disappointed how fast my fellow Republican candidates for governor caved to the media and liberal pressure,” Melvin said. “Each of them offered excuses, but none of them were willing to stand up and publicly fight to protect the religious liberties of Arizonan citizens and businesses. said Melvin, adding They need to look past the media-driven hysteria and look at the bill itself. It is only two pages long and there is no excuse for them not to know better.”
Melvin went further, urging each of his opponents to reverse course and support the bill. “We all make mistakes, but real leadership means being able to admit when you are wrong
and correcting your course. You don’t have to spend 30 years in the Naval Reserves as I did to know how important course correction is.”
SB1062 modifies Arizona¹s existing protections and brings them into line with the federal religious freedom act. Furthermore, SB1062 added language to ensure additional protection against the frivolous use of religious beliefs as a defense against behavior that might be considered discriminatory.
The extremists on the left are using the same hysterical language they did when they opposed SB1070. But SB1070 turned out to be right for Arizona, the hysterics were proven to be nothing more than simple fantasy designed to whip up opposition, and the Arizona Legislature and Governor Brewer were both vindicated for passing and signing it. My hope is that Arizonans will rally to fight for this bill by contacting the Governor and asking her to sign it. If she does not, then I hope they will rally to my campaign so that we can elect someone
who will sign the bill in 2015.
Melvin serves as chairman of the Commerce, Energy and Military Committee and founded the highly successful Mining Caucus and Tourism Caucus. He has had along business career in international trade and transportation, is agraduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY and received his MBA degree from Thunderbird-School of Global management in Glendale. Prior to his election to the Senate, he taught college level courses as an adjunct, in economics, international business and management.
Melvin is a military veteran and graduate of the US Naval War College. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his service as Squadron Commander of COMPSRONTWO, then the
largest ship squadron in the US Navy (14 ships) basedat the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. In 1999, after 30 years in the US Naval Reserve, he retired as a Navy Captain, the equivalent of afull colonel.
He is a member of the VFW, American Legion, Military Officers of America and other military related organizations. Sen. Melvin is a life Member of the NRA National Rifle Association). He is a member of the Elks, Rotary and Knights of Columbus, and he remains a proud Eagle Scout (class of 1961).
Al and his wife Kou reside in SaddleBrooke in Pinal County, just north of Tucson and attend Santa Catalina Catholic Church in Catalina.
The left-stream media are reporting Governor Jan Brewer’s closest advisors are telling her to veto the religious freedom bill. This is an attempt to buffalo the governor and intimidate her to the point of succumbing to the radical homosexual agenda. If the report true, this explains the basic problem dogging the Republican Party — not only in Arizona, but nationally as well. So-called ”RINOs — Republicans In Name Only” — who do not believe in the party’s philosophy are willing to compromise with the Party of Control and move the culture backwards. Brewer must overcome these unwise messages and messengers and protect Christians in Arizona from the extremist homosexual agenda — which seeks to destroy the concepts of marriage and family and severely punish anyone who disagrees with them. The Arizona Legislature acted wisely to pass a bill to protect Arizonans from the ruinous legal attacks that are hurting Christians so badly in other states. Traditional value Arizonans vastly out-number the radicals many times over, but the extremists have the left-stream media and make the most noise. These bullies must not prevail; they must be defeated. We said it yesterday, and we’ll say it again today: SIGN THE BILL, GOVERNOR BREWER.
With a crowded field of eight Republicans running for governor, we can cross off two names for consideration of endorsements by The Arizona Conservative. Scott Smith, mayor of Mesa, and Secretary of State Ken Bennett are off our acceptable list. Both oppose religious freedom in Arizona.
Three state lawmakers also confirmed that they never deserved your support or an endorsement from The Arizona Conservative: Bob Worsley, Steve Pierce, and Adam Driggs. All of them voted for religious freedom in Arizona, then in a display of cowardice in the face of pressure by radical homosexual activists and extremist left-stream media, have expressed regret with their votes. Were they wrong when they voted for religious freedom? Or when they opposed it? How can you trust them in the future or know if they mean what they say and say what they mean? Will they ever stand behind their votes? Will they ever stand for anything?
Arizona deserves better. And the voters will find better in November. For now, five more have self-declared themselves undeserving of your vote.
Work isn’t a “faith-free zone” — but try telling that to Arizona liberals. There, the Left’s propaganda machine is in full force, cranking out one distortion after the next in what should be a non-controversial debate over religious liberty. The hysteria started late last week, when the state’s legislature gave the green light to a bill that protects business owners and other for-profit entities from being forced to provide a service that violates their beliefs. Like other states, Arizona was desperately looking for a way to shield companies like Hobby Lobby or Elane Photography who were ordered to surrender their personal convictions as a “price of citizenship.”
And while liberals try to paint the bill as “controversial,” the reality is that Arizona’s measure only strengthens the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) already on the state’s books. Unfortunately, the Left is looking at the bill through the skewed lens of same-sex “marriage,” instead of the many ways it could be applied to shield Americans of all faiths from religious censorship or coercion. They claim the measure would be used to deny homosexuals service of any kind — which is a selective reading meant to scare people into opposing a reasonable bill.
In reality, SB 1026 would level the playing field for private business owners, whose religious liberty has taken a backseat to the radical agendas of same-sex “marriage” and abortion coverage in recent months. Like most Americans, the Arizona legislature watched in horror when Christian bakers lost their shops over same-sex “weddings,” florists were hauled in front of human rights commissions, and Catholic nuns were forced to sue the government for the right not to cover contraception. In a subtle but devastating shift, the burden has shifted to business owners to prove they aren’t guilty of discrimination — when in fact, they’re just exercising their religious rights. (The same religious rights which, not-so-coincidentally, our nation was founded on.) We’ve watched the courts declare that people’s sincerely-held religious beliefs don’t permit them to run their privately-owned businesses accordingly.
Arizona leaders understand, as we do, that Americans shouldn’t have to leave their faith at home. Despite what the Left would have you believe, there’s no footnote in the Constitution exempting businessmen and women from their First Amendment rights. But in the brave new world of political correctness, too many liberals have graduated from the Chai Feldblum school of activism. Feldblum, the President’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission head famously said she “had a hard time coming up with any case in which religious freedom should win” in a clash with sexual liberty. But real equality — the kind the Left insists it wants — demands that everyone, not just a vocal few, have the ability to live and work according to their conscience. If you’re against the Arizona bill, then you’re really against First Amendment rights.
Arizonans will find out in the next day or two which side Governor Jan Brewer (R) is on. The state’s leader has until Friday to decide if Arizona will push back on the oppression of religious liberty — or join it.
Do the right thing and sign Senate Bill 1062. Protect those who disagree with the homosexual agenda — which is the majority of your constituency. Homosexuals only make up 1 percent of our population, but their pressure groups are monopolizing left-stream media hoping to intimidate you to get their way.
If they get their way, Arizona loses in many ways.
Failure to sign this bill will subject many, many Arizona business owners to abuse from homosexual activists and activist courts — including fines that can easily bankrupt small business owners and subject families to welfare subsistence.
Equally bad, failure to sign the bill will greatly damage the First Amendment’s free exercise of religion.
And disastrously, Arizonans would be subjected to compelled government speech. They would lose the freedom to disagree with things they find morally objectionable.
Nondiscrimination policies would trump the First Amendment and Arizonans would lose their rights of conscience. They would be forced to agree with the homosexual agenda’s radical plans to destroy marriage and family.
Furthermore, this part of the homosexual agenda’s attempt to re-define marriage in Arizona. It is part of their effort to qualify a ballot initiative to overturn our 2008 state constitutional marriage amendment.
Religious freedom and the homosexual agenda cannot co-exist. The First Amendment and discrimination policies cannot co-exist.
Protect Arizonans from undue punishment. Keep the government out of small business owner’s affairs.
Don’t forget this: 85 percent of Americans polled side WITH Elaine Huguenin, the New Mexico artist who declined to glorify a same-sex commitment ceremony and stands to suffer business-crippling fines. She and her husband have received death threats and all kinds of abuse from leftists and homosexual activists. Don’t let this despicable stuff happen here.
Sign the bill today. Protect our culture of freedom. Do not bow to the radical demands of radical people and the left-stream media.
If you’re fearful of the nasty ruckus the homosexual activists will cause … and if that is what is delaying your decision, sign the bill sooner rather than later. These left-wing fear-mongerers will raise a ruckus no matter when you sign the bill. Fascists will always try to punish people who disagree with them. So don’t delay.
Sign the bill today.
Ronald Reagan would have signed the bill last week. This is no time to go wobbly, governor.
Equality Arizona is leading a vicious campaign against the religious freedom protection bill awaiting Governor Jan Brewer’s signature this week.
The state’s most radical homosexual pressure group’s latest email message says if the governor does not veto “it will be legal to deny basic services and protections to LGBT Arizonans.”
That is a flat-out lie by the No. 1 left-wing propaganda machine in Arizona.
This bill is designed to protect First Amendment free exercise of religion from so-called “non-discrimination laws.” Those laws have already illegally compelled government speech, forcing Christian photographers, bakers, florists, and other businesses to violate messages and immorality they disagree with. One activist judge even went so far as to order a Christian businessman to support a message he finds immoral and pay homosexuals thousands of dollars to celebrate their lifestyle, which he disagrees with.
Christians are the victims of homosexual activists and nondiscrimination laws drafted to punish them. With fawning media sheep cheering them on, homosexual activists are falsely claiming incorrectly they are the victims. They are the people filing frivolous lawsuits attacking Christians for their scriptural beliefs.
Call Governor Brewer and tell her to stand up to the pressure group bullies and their cowardly media allies at Channel 12, the Arizona Republic, the Arizona Daily Star and other left-wing radicals … and sign this bill to protect Christians. Elected leaders must do everything they can to assure Americans their first liberty — religious freedom and free speech. The political Party of Control and its extremist allies want to destroy constitutional freedom and force Christians to confine their beliefs to home and church. This is the fascist challenge of our time, and it must be rejected.
The Federal Communications Commission plan to send “researchers” into newsrooms in order to observe how stories are selected and reported has sparked fears of government intimidation and censorship. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, said “the mere presence of agents of the government may exert a subtle pressure to slant reporting in a way that deters critical coverage of Administration policies.”
Ajit Pai, one of the FCC’s Commissioners, voiced his concern that “this claimed ‘information gathering effort’ to ascertain the ‘philosophy’ behind how those in the news media do their jobs could stifle dissent. It strikes me as beyond the scope of the Commission’s legitimate authority.”
Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce argued that “The FCC was created to ensure that broadcast media is competitive and is not monopolized by any one business entity or point of view. Sending personnel from the FCC into newsrooms to ask about their ‘philosophy’ and demanding to know who chooses which stories to report isn’t a necessary or appropriate method for carrying out the agency’s legally authorized responsibilities. It has the heavy-handed appearance of a tactic aimed at influencing how the news is reported.”
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler characterized these apprehensions as “the typical overreactions of those who are out-of-step with President Obama’s agenda for transforming this country. Our goal at this stage of the process is to obtain information on who is doing what. Media outlets that are doing a good job of covering essential information and meeting the needs of under-served populations can avoid duplicating the fate of Jay Leno whose excessive and inappropriate mockery of the President necessitated his involuntary exit from his cherished gig as host of the Tonight Show.”
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn defended the initiative saying that “we must emphatically insist that we leave no American behind when it comes to receiving the news that the Administration has determined is essential for them to hear. Finding out who is adequately doing this job and who is not must be the first step in any plan to reform how information is transmitted by media outlets entrusted with this public responsibility.”
First Lady Says Obamacare Needed to “Save Young People from Their Own Stupidity”
In an interview on the Tonight Show, Michelle Obama unveiled the latest effort of the Administration to induce young and healthy adults to sign up for health insurance by pointing out how stupid this target cohort is.
“If you look at how young people behave it’s clear that the vast majority of them are knuckleheads,” she asserted. “They can’t be trusted to do this simplest tasks—like making a sandwich—without hurting themselves. Their choices for leisure activities are typically dangerous and irresponsible—you know, smoking dope, getting drunk and then getting behind the steering wheel of a car. We’re trying to get the message to these youngsters that they need the insurance the Affordable Care Act requires them to buy.”
Michelle admitted that “the low enrollment rates for this group are a cause for concern. In hindsight, our expectation that these folks could be compelled to sign up of their own volition under threat of a penalty was probably overly optimistic. Educating them about their responsibility is a difficult and likely hopeless undertaking. We really need to find some way of making the sign-ups and the extraction of fees automatic.”
Perhaps, though, these young adults aren’t as clueless as the Administration thinks. True enough, they voted overwhelmingly for Obama. On the other hand, in a recent study, researchers from the Stanford University of Medicine found that among those suffering traumatic injuries, uninsured patients get better care than those who are insured. It seems that those with insurance are routed to hospitals on their plan while those without insurance are taken to the nearest trauma center.
This Week’s New Executive Orders
True to his word, President Obama bypassed Congress this week with a trifecta of new Executive Orders.
Concerned that trucking firms are “needlessly wasting money on gas-guzzling semi-trucks,” the President ordered haulers to “improve their MPGs.” As Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx explained, “no one cares more about this country and its well-being that President Obama. These truckers may be satisfied to fritter away costly fuel, but the President is not. Unless they clean up their act we will shut them down.”
In a bid to end the debate over global warming, President Obama issued an Executive Order declaring that “the science proving global warming is irrefutable.” Because the consequences of denying global warming are “severe” the Order bars any firm or individual that contests this irrefutable climate science from bidding on, or participating in, any work funded by the federal government.
On Wednesday President Obama corrected an omission from President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 State-of-the-Union speech by adding “freedom to enjoy sodomy” to FDR’s famous “four freedoms.” Previously, the four freedoms included freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. “Even though Americans’ right to pursue happiness could be construed to include this right—as it could be construed to include FDR’s list—for similar reasons it is clear to me that a more explicit enumeration is required to ensure that this right will never be abridged by those who refuse to participate under the guise of feigned religious objections by the practitioners and purveyors of intolerance.”
Administration Insists that Increase in Minimum Wage Will Increase Employment
The Obama Administration battled back against the Congressional Budget Office finding that boosting the minimum wage would cost the economy about 500,000 jobs.
In a “tweet” sent out to his followers, the President wrote “The notion that raising the price of labor will cause employers to purchase less of it is an out-dated misconception. Our research shows it will create 140,000 jobs.”
Jason Furman, Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers explained that “the biggest disincentive for getting a job is low wages. Right now with the minimum wage at only $7.25 per hour it makes more sense for people to go on welfare than go to work. We estimate that raising the minimum to $10.10 will inspire as many as 140,000 of these so-called ‘slackers’ to accept jobs they previously scorned.”
“With additional 140,000 persons receiving these higher wages we will pump over $30 billion into the economy, thus making the increase self-financing,” Furman contended. “Better paid workers will buy more stuff. This will lead to higher sales and profits for businesses. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
Asked why businesses would have to be compelled to pay higher wages if his theories are correct, Furman suggested that “the people running businesses may not be sophisticated enough to grasp the big picture. From their short-sighted and self-centered perspective, they think that holding down costs is prudent and efficient. They can’t comprehend the seemingly nonsensical reality that paying more for something is the path to greater efficiency at the collective level. Thus, we must force them to do what’s best for themselves and everyone else.”
William Dunkelberg, small business, entrepreneurship and consumer behavior specialist for Forbes magazine, called the President’s and Furman’s contentions “ludicrous and utterly inane. If it is to survive a business must hold its costs below its revenues. If we raise the cost of labor it creates a need for businesses to reduce their use of this input. The inevitable outcome is that fewer jobs will be offered.”
White House Puts Lid on Drone Killing Info
Complaining that “the release of information on the Administration’s use of drones to kill its enemies has led to unforeseen consequences,” Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney said “there will be no further information forthcoming about any aspect of this program.”
“The thinking was that the Administration’s aggressive use of this technology to counter threats to national security would be met with a greater sense of appreciation,” Carney opined. “Unfortunately, it has not. Instead it has resulted in a spiral of annoying questions from the media wanting to know too many details.”
“Some opponents of the President are raising accusations that these killings violate due process,” Carney said. “Others worry about the collateral damage to nearby innocent parties from using missiles to take out the intended target. These kind of distractions are impeding the President’s latitude to carry out actions he deems appropriate. It has become clear that a greater degree of secrecy would better serve our interests.”
Retiring NSA Snoop Says Eavesdropping Is Not Indiscriminate
General Keith Alexander, who is leaving his post as the Director of the Nation Security Agency next month, denied that the agency is spying on everyone. “We have not been indiscriminate in our selection of who to monitor,” Alexander maintained. “The Government pretty much knows who its enemies are.”
The General justified the huge volume of data being collected by alleging that “the dangerous persons we feel must be kept under surveillance easily exceeds tens of millions of individuals in this country alone. Sixty million people voted against President Obama in 2012. There are an estimated 270 million firearms in the hands of private citizens in the United States—obviously, many of these weapons are in the hands of the President’s opponents. Under such circumstances, it is prudent that we remain as alert and watchful as we can.”
Attention, aspiring young left-stream media/undocumented “journalists”! Yes, you!
Follow your career dreams at Channel 12/NBC in Phoenix.
No fussy editing to deal with. No editors at all!
Apply your talents to the left-wing cause of your heart’s desire — every single day!
I.e “fair and balanced news” for homosexual activists!
Work with left-wing activists Lin Sue Cooney, Brahm Resnik and Joe Dana. Learn from the best left-stream media/undocumented “journalists” going! Advocate for your pet left-wing cause to your heart’s content!
They’ll show you the ropes. How to devote 20 minutes of free advocacy for the homosexual agenda. How to trash religious freedom bills. And of course the obligatory, token 3-second and 5-second sound-bytes for hateful conservative lawmakers. How to dredge up Mormons for same-sex “marriage”! How to make up phony “statistics” about job-killing religious freedom bills. How to overlook the Christians who’ve lost their jobs because activist judges elevated local “nondiscrimination laws” over the First Amendment. How to tie the 2015 Super Bowl and homosexual NFL-bound football players into gratuitous mentions about religious freedom bills in Arizona. Lin will show you how to do the adoring interview of lesbian activists suing to overturn the will of hundreds of thousands of Arizona voters who passed the state marriage amendment.
Channel 12 is the positively best place to use your slanted skills! Agenda journalism is at its best at Channel 12.
We’ve mastered the art of trashing family policy counsel presidents … and completely gate keeping the other side of the story out of the story! We’re the pros! We set the standard.
Apply today! Remember, absolutely no editing is done to your work! No pesky editors demanding fairness. Only left-wing activists setting your agenda, writing your scripts, serving as props for your reports!
In fact, until Senate Bill 1062 awaits Governor Jan Brewer’s decision, no interviews are even required! Report for work first thing tomorrow morning! You’ll love our team atmosphere, comrade!
The Arizona Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would allow people to live and work according to their faith.
But, that’s not what you’re hearing from mainstream media outlets.
“The attacks are simply outrageous,” said Josh Kredit, legal counsel for the Center for Arizona Policy. “There is a purposeful effort to distract from the true meaning of this bill, which would protect religious freedom.”
The chamber passed the legislation 17-13. The House began debating the issue today.
Arizona Democrats claim the measure is a way to legalize discrimination against homosexuals. They sponsored eight hostile amendments in efforts to silence the bill, but Senate Republicans rejected all of them.
News outlets are referring to the legislation as the “service refusal bill,” or the “religious-based discrimination” legislation. One called it the “Turn Gays Away” bill.
But a more proper name might be: the “Keep Christians Outta Jail Bill.”
Arizona Sen. Steve Yarbrough, one of the bill’s sponsors, said it was the New Mexico photographer case that prompted SB 1062. The state Supreme Court ruled last year that a Christian couple must compromise their beliefs and photograph same-sex ceremonies “as the price of citizenship.”
“This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith,” Yarbrough said.
Sen. President Andy Biggs, a Republican from Gilbert, said the Democrats’ rhetoric was “misplaced.”
“Sometimes people’s rhetoric tends to inflame instead of explain,” Biggs told Fox News. “And I would suggest if there is going to be a backlash because of 1062, it won’t be because someone has read the content of this bill and recognizes that it is indeed tailored after Supreme Court cases dealing with First Amendment religious rights, it will because of the inaccurate rhetoric. That is my personal opinion.”
Kredit said those who oppose it are trying to minimize people of faith to the “four walls of their church.”
“It’s frightening to me,” he said. “Opponents need to answer why they are so hostile to religion. Do they want less freedom?”
Call Governor Brewer immediately to support religious freedom in Arizona!
Fred DuVal, a candidate for governor from the Party of Control, just issued a news release opposing this bill:
“If I were governor, I wouldn’t have waited for this bill to get to my desk. I would have stopped it before it passed. I would have made it very clear to the legislature that they shouldn’t bother sending me this legislation. This bill won’t solve any of the problems facing Arizona families; it won’t create jobs or improve education. In fact, it will be a job killer. It’s going to hurt our businesses and hurt our state’s reputation across the country — it’s just plain wrong.”
DuVal has it backwards. If this bill is NOT passed, it will be a job killer. People will lose their jobs if punished for opposing same-sex “marriage” — which the voters of Arizona already overwhelmingly opposed in the 2008 election. DuVal and the Party of Control are on the wrong side of history, marriage, and the economy. The people have already rejected the radical demands of the Party of Control for same-sex “marriage.”
John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Before he became president, Senator Barack Obama was a strident critic of George Bush’s use of executive orders to get around Congressional participation in policy making.
“The biggest problems we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch, and not go through Congress at all,” the then 2008 presidential candidate Obama said. “That’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”
The sharp contrast of this earlier sentiment with his current “have pen, will rule” stance was brushed aside as “a phony issue” by President Obama. “The crucial point is the ends to which the power is used. Executive orders that thwart social justice and progressive policies are clearly abusive. However, when it is clear that those wielding legislative authority refuse to support these goals it is incumbent on the president to shoulder the burden. So, I’d have to say that given the differing circumstances there is no contradiction.”
“In fact, as well-informed observers have pointed out, my post enactment amendments to the Affordable Care Act are both ‘wise and courageous,’” the president added. “As MSNBC’s Chris Matthews put it, ‘we have in President Obama a bold leader willing to break free of the chains of stale legalistic formalism and blaze a new path of governance.’ Why shouldn’t I use every means I can to ensure that the best policies are implemented?”
NSA’s Revenue Generating Potential Being Explored
The Obama Administration is reportedly evaluating the possibility of using data gathered by the National Security Agency (NSA) to help fund the government.
NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett says that “for too long we’ve been overlooking the commercial opportunities of this vast surveillance project. We know what web sites people have been visiting. We know who they’ve been calling on their cell phones. And in many instances we’ve been reading their emails. There has got to be a lot of businesses that would pay substantial sums to have a peek at this information.”
Ledgett speculated that “the obvious customers for purchasing this information would appear to be corporations seeking probable buyers of their products or services. But on the flip side we believe that there may be a market amongst persons wanting us to withhold release of data that might be inconvenient or embarrassing. We haven’t yet developed a refined plan for realizing the full revenue potential, but we are seriously exploring options.”
Jason Furman, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, sees the revenue potential as “a heretofore untapped resource. As changing lifestyles diminish the traditional methods of funding the government, as more people choose subsidized leisure over gainful employment, the idea that we can support the public sector by simply taxing productive effort is becoming out-dated. In our so-called ‘information age’ it seems fitting that we exploit the information the government has gone to such great lengths to acquire in order to help finance the government’s needs.”
Campaign Finance Law Enables IRS Harassment of Conservatives
The impetus behind the passage of federal laws to regulate contributions to political campaigns was the idea that this would prevent the surreptitious influence of big money in elections. By requiring donors identities to be disclosed to the Federal Elections Commission voters would be able to find out who was backing a candidate or a cause. That the government might use this information to punish dissent was overlooked.
Anonymity has long been a method by which persons critical of the government have protected themselves from retaliation. Pamphleteers of the American Revolutionary Era often used pseudonyms for this purpose. The failure of proponents of the campaign finance laws to consider why this was done has had pernicious effects.
Cleta Mitchell, member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Election Law, says that “many donors to conservative causes and candidates are showing up as targets of IRS audits. The increased frequency of this type of thing is disturbing. The message that is going to be taken from this is that daring to assist an opponent of the Democratic Party is an invitation to increased harassment.”
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen rebuffed GOP complaints saying that “there is nothing in the statutes that guarantees an equal distribution of audits among persons of various political leanings. If these GOP donors have done nothing wrong they have nothing to worry about.”
Mitchell wasn’t reassured, however. “An IRS audit is a grueling ordeal even when the taxpayer has totally complied with the complex tax code,” she observed. “By itself an audit is viewed as a punishment by the person undergoing the scrutiny. In the absence of probable cause one would hope that the selection of audit targets would be done in a random manner. That political factors might be used is abusive and tyrannical.”
President Urges Congressional Allies to Ignore Political Cost of Supporting His Agenda
With polls showing plunging support for his policies and programs, President Obama attempted to soothe the fears of Democrats facing reelection battles in November.
“The Democratic agenda is more important than whether any specific member of our Party wins in November,” Obama declared. “I’d even go so far as to say that whether we have a majority in either House after November is largely irrelevant. My executive authority is sufficient for the implementation of our agenda.”
Obama reassured that “those of you who are retired against your will by the voters of your state or district can count on me to find you a comfortable post within the executive branch.”
The president discounted the risk that “even should the Republicans gain a nominal majority in Congress I doubt we have much to fear. Many of the GOP leaders have privately assured me that we are on the same page with where we want to take the country. In some ways, allowing them to take over the Legislative branch could be optimal. I could still rule by executive order while they could futilely rant against my usurpation of their authority. Effective opposition would be totally neutralized.”
Not all Democrats were mollified by Obama’s reassurances. Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich) urged the President “to deploy the IRS to crack down on right wing political organizations in the months running up to the November elections. Short of secret arrests and assassinations, the IRS is the most potent weapon in the government’s arsenal. If we want to ensure that the champions of progressive policies can continue to hold onto the reins of power we need to use this weapon.”
Statistics from the 2012 election cycle appear to bear out Senator Levin’s perspective on the importance of the effective use of the IRS. During that cycle 100 percent of the political organizations subjected to IRS audit were conservative or “right-leaning” in their politics. While these right-leaning groups were otherwise preoccupied with fending off IRS harassment, President Obama sailed to reelection for a second term.
US Falls to 46th in Global Press Freedom Rankings
The annual report of Reporters without Borders rates the amount of “freedom of the press” that exists in each nation. In this year’s rankings the United States fell to 46th–meaning that 45 countries have a greater degree of freedom of the press than the U.S.
Included among the countries ranking as more free than the U.S. are former Communist nations (Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Latvia, and Romania) and third world nations (Jamaica, Costa Rica, Namibia, Cape Verde, Uruguay, Ghana, Belize, Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda, El Salvador, Samoa, Botswana, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Papua New Guinea).
Press Secretary Jay Carney said “the Administration has mixed feelings about these results. On the one hand, we are very happy with the kind of relationship we have with this country’s media. On the other hand, this ranking does give a negative impression, but at least we are ahead of Russia and China.”
Russia ranked 148th and China 175th in the report. Finland ranked 1st.
Homosexual Athlete as “Courageous as a Combat Soldier”
The public announcement of Missouri football player Michael Sam that he is homosexual was lauded as “courageous as a combat soldier” by Paulette Aniskoff, deputy assistant to the president and director of the Office of Public Engagement this past week.
“I’m not saying that our troops aren’t brave,” Aniskoff explained. “Sure, they could get shot or blown up, but this happens out of view in some far off land. Michael Sam’s homosexuality is on full public display right here in America. There’s no way for him to escape into anonymity.”
Ironically, “anonymity” regarding Sam’s sexual orientation is what he sacrificed by his unsolicited announcement. “That’s what makes his announcement so heroic,” Aniskoff insisted. “He gave up his privacy in a way that helps advance the president’s push to normalize homosexuality. Boys look to athletes as role models. If a high-profile player is homosexuality then it signals to every young man that being homosexual is okay, even admirable. In the grand scheme of things this accomplishes more than any soldier can achieve just by doing his job, even if he might be killed or wounded in the process.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire column for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties that our nation’s Founding Fathers tried to protect.
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