Written by Tom Fitton
Did you ever think there would come a day in this country when the federal government would compare a person speaking about “individual liberties” to a member of the Klu Klux Klan? Unfortunately, such is the state of affairs in Obama’s America.
Judicial Watch recently obtained “educational” materials from the Department of Defense (DOD) depicting conservative organizations as “hate groups” and advising students to be aware that “instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.”
The documents repeatedly cite the leftwing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a resource for identifying “hate groups.” (More on this contemptible group here.)
Pursuant to our original Freedom of Information (FOIA) request, filed on April 8, 2013, JW sought from DOD: “Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to the preparation and presentation of training materials on hate groups or hate crimes distributed or used by the Air Force.”
And here’s what we have received so far: 133 pages of lesson plans and PowerPoint slides provided by the U.S. Air Force. Included in these documents is a January 2013 Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute “student guide” entitled “Extremism.” The document is marked “for training purposes only” with the instruction “do not use on the job.” Highlights include:
In April 2013, following a terrorist shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters that occurred in August 2012, Judicial Watch filed multiple FOIA requests to determine what, if any, influence SPLC’s branding of hate groups had on government agencies.
On its website, the SPLC has depicted FRC as a “hate group,” along with other such mainstream conservative organizations as the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, and Coral Ridge Ministries. At the time of the shooting, FRC president Tony Perkins accused the SPLC of sparking the shooting, saying the shooter “was given a license to shoot … by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
Though the document released by Judicial Watch was obtained from the Air Force, it originated in the Pentagon, and is likely to have been used throughout the military.
After all, the language used by the DOD to characterize conservative Americans is eerily similar to descriptions used by the Internal Revenue Service to target “Tea Party” and conservative organizations, slamming these groups with unnecessary audits, releasing their confidential financial information and stonewalling the tax-exempt applications of organizations deemed hostile to the president’s Big Government agenda.
The Obama administration has a nasty habit of equating basic conservative values with terrorism. And now, in a document full of claptrap, its DOD suggests that the Founding Fathers, and many conservative Americans, would not be welcome in today’s military.
After reviewing this document, one can’t help but worry for the future and morale of our nation’s armed forces. And for our national security in general!
Consider this. At a time when the FBI is purging its training materials and organizational vocabulary of any term that might offend radical Islam – say, for example, the term “radical Islam” – the federal government has no problem tagging American citizens who believe in traditional American values with labels like “extremist” and “hateful.”
Make no mistake. The ramifications of these types of activities go far beyond hurt feelings. The Obama administration labels conservatives “extremists” to delegitimize opposition to its radical socialism and to justify government oppression against them. (See IRS.) And the Obama administration’s refusal to plainly identify and focus on radical elements within Islam demonstrates a willingness to overlook real threats to our security in the name of political correctness.
Well that didn’t take long. A little more than 60 days after the United States Supreme Court invalidated a key portion of the Voting Rights Act that required certain jurisdictions to obtain “pre-clearance” from the Department of Justice (DOJ) before enacting changes to election laws, Attorney General Eric Holder filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas over its voter ID law.
As reported by Politico:
Attorney General Eric Holder will sue to challenge the Texas voter ID law, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
The Justice lawsuit will allege that the Texas law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which was among the elements of the law that remains in effect after the Supreme Court invalidated the preclearance requirements in June.
Justice will also seek to intervene in a separate lawsuit against Texas over the state’s redistricting laws, arguing that the state should still be forced to submit to federal preclearance.
“Today’s action marks another step forward in the Justice Department’s continuing effort to protect the voting rights of all eligible Americans,” Holder said. “We will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights.”
For the attorney general to use the phrase “eligible Americans” to describe the people the DOJ intends to protect is simply laughable. Voter ID laws have only one purpose: To make certain that every vote cast is legitimate. The purpose of the DOJ lawsuit is political. Liberals, specifically the Obama campaign organization, is focusing on turning Texas “blue” or Democratic. And to the degree that liberals rely on illicit votes to get elected, voter ID is a hindrance to their plans. Hence, the new lawsuit from politician Holder.
(We saw this playbook in action in 2012. Click here for more on the DOJ’s scheme to try to steal elections for liberal candidates, including the president himself, and JW’s legal counter-campaign.)
Texas Governor Rick Perry labeled the DOJ’s lawsuit “an end run” around the Supreme Court. That sounds about right. Barack Obama and Eric Holder have rarely allowed the Constitution or the rule of law to obstruct their plans. So they are certainly not going to let a Supreme Court ruling stand in their way.
Our friends over at Pajamas Media, former Justice Department officials and election integrity experts J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky, have done a great job tearing apart the government’s legal arguments. (You can check out their analysis here.)
J. Christian Adams has characterized the government’s complaint as the work of “a progressive snake oil salesman,” noting that Holder has populated the DOJ’s Voting Rights division with attorneys that have “streaks of radicalism.” Click here for his full report compiled by Pajamas demonstrating how Holder has so egregiously politicized this Justice Department.
With respect to the federal government’s case against Texas, Hans Von Spakovsky, now with The Heritage Foundation, maintains that the Holder DOJ is engaging in a little fuzzy math to “distract” the public and, presumably, the courts. For example: citing minority population statistics that include convicted felons, illegal aliens, and individuals who are explicitly prohibited from voting, in order to beef up the numbers of people who the government claims could be “disenfranchised” by the Texas voter ID law.
Hans also points out that the DOJ justifies its lawsuit based upon examples of discrimination dating back to 1927. He closes with this recommendation for Texas public officials: “Texas needs to fight this case the same way South Carolina fought Justice over its voter-ID law — and won.”
Folks, this is a legal battle that can be won and must be won if we are to protect the integrity of our electoral process. As you know, Judicial Watch has been fully engaged in this epic battle, supporting voter integrity measures in states across the country, including Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania and, yes, South Carolina. You can be sure we will be active in Texas as well.
If our nation’s Department of Justice won’t stand for the rule of law, JW will step up to the plate.
How bad is Obamacare? In July, President Obama himself unilaterally rewrote the law. Why? Businesses started cutting hours, slashing benefits and reducing staff to avoid paying hefty $3,000 per-employee penalty/fine/tax – whatever you want to call it – mandated by Obamacare.
And what did the Obama administration do? It simply announced that the employer mandate, scheduled to go into effect in January 2014, would be delayed one year.
“We have listened to your feedback,” Treasury official Mark Mazur said on July 2, announcing the delay in the implementation of the employer mandate, “and we are taking action.”
Is anyone buying the claim that the Obama administration’s move was in response to listening to feedback from American business? Didn’t think so.
This is about politics. Hardest hit by the resulting job cuts were low-wage employees, a key voter demographic for Democrats. Remember, we’re heading into mid-term election season. The last thing the president needs is for his loyal base to abandon the Democrats’ cause at a time when he cannot afford to lose seats in Congress.
But regardless of the president’s reasons, the key question is this: Does he have the authority?
Per The New York Times, “Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and an author of the health law, questioned whether Mr. Obama had the authority to unilaterally delay the employer mandate. ‘This was the law. How can they change the law?’” he asked.
There is no provision in the law allowing for a delay. And, as pointed out by former judge Michael McConnell in the Wall Street Journal, who compared the president to King James II, Obama cannot simply refuse to enforce laws he doesn’t like (no matter the reason).
McConnell makes two key points on the matter:
“Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution states that the president ‘shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.’ This is a duty, not a discretionary power. While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so.
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which advises the president on legal and constitutional issues, has repeatedly opined that the president may decline to enforce laws he believes are unconstitutional. But these opinions have always insisted that the president has no authority, as one such memo put it in 1990, to “refuse to enforce a statute he opposes for policy reasons.”
(Obviously the president’s position on the employer mandate is not constitutionally based. His administration successfully defended his law’s constitutionality to the Supreme Court.)
While delaying the employer mandate, the president did not rewrite the law to delay the “individual mandate,” which requires nearly all Americans to have Obama-approved health insurance by that same date or pay a tax penalty.
As a result, many Americans are caught in the middle. They are obligated to have Obama-approved health insurance, but their employers are not obligated to provide it, at least for another year. As a result, these Americans will be forced to purchase Obama-approved health insurance on an Obamacare-created health insurance exchange or pay the tax penalty. Either way, they’re out-of-pocket.
As you well know, Judicial Watch objects to the employer mandate, the individual mandate, and the entire Obamacare law. In fact, JW filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court making the argument that the mandate to purchase health insurance is flagrantly unconstitutional.
We also understand that, under the U.S. Constitution, the law can only be changed by legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president. President Obama evidently wants to delay at least some of the ill effects of his health care scheme until after the 2014 congressional elections. But politics do not trump the Constitution or the rule of law.
For this reason, we are seeking to mount a challenge to Obamacare based on the president’s attempts to rewrite the law. And you might be personally able to join in this legal effort.
If you are going to have to purchase Obama-approved health insurance (which would have been covered by the employer mandate) through an Obamacare-created health insurance exchange or pay a tax penalty because your employer is dropping or does not provide health insurance, you may have a claim to challenge President Obama’s unilateral rewriting of the law.
President Obama has repeatedly defied the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law to pave the way for his Big Government agenda. This is one action we can take together to stop him. Please consider joining JW’s cause if you are eligible. And I’ll be sure to update you on the progress of our legal efforts in this space.
In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.
Until next week…
Tom Fitton, President
Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation's public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach.