The president and CEO of The Associated Press, Gary Pruitt, said Sunday the Justice Department breached the Constitution by seizing its phone records of two months after the organization ran a story about a foiled terror plot in Yemen last year.
The department "issued a secret subpoena for the phone toll records for 21 AP phone lines and these were phones lines for reporters, direct lines, cell phones, home phones but also the office numbers," Pruitt said on CBS News' "Face the Nation." "So over 100, approximately a hundred journalists used these telephone lines as part of newsgathering and over the course of the two months of the records that they swept up, thousands upon thousands of newsgathering calls were made."
The department did not follow its own rules in its efforts to find out who may have leaked information to the AP, Pruitt added. "They are required to narrow this request as narrowly as possible so as to not tread upon the First Amendment. And yet they had a broad, sweeping collection, and they did it secretly. Their rules require them to come to us first but in this case they didn't, claiming an exception, saying that if they had it would have posed a substantial threat to their investigation. But they have not explained why it would and we can't understand why it would." more >>
Break the cycle of fatherlessness, set high standards for yourself, serve those in need, and stop using racism as an excuse for lack of excellence, President Barack Obama told the graduates of Morehouse College, an all-black male college in Atlanta, Ga.
The tradition at Morehouse, Obama said in his Sunday commencement address, is not just to produce smart graduates, but men of strong character.
He began with a quote from former Morehouse President Benjamin Mays: "It will not be sufficient for Morehouse College, for any college, for that matter, to produce clever graduates … but rather honest men, men who can be trusted in public and private life – men who are sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings, and the injustices of society and who are willing to accept responsibility for correcting [those] ills." more >>
The Chicago Department of Public Health has placed billboards featuring teen boys with "pregnant" bellies throughout the city, as part of a newly launched campaign to prevent teen pregnancies.
Called "Unexpected," the campaign targets particularly the areas that have the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the city and neighborhoods. Such billboards have been put up mostly at L stations, Chicago's rapid transit system, and bus stops.
While the incidence of teen pregnancy decreased about 33 percent in Chicago between 1999 and 2009, the city still has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest teen birth rates among major metropolitan areas – 57/1,000 live births. Chicago also ranks first and second in the country for the highest number of gonorrhea and chlamydia infections among adolescents 15-19 years of age. more >>
With three full-blown scandals currently surrounding the Obama administration, there are too many "-gates" to name just one. There is the cover-up of the fatal Benghazi terrorist attack, the IRS targeting conservatives, and the Justice Department spying on members of the press. The level of corruption is so high right now; it is like Saul Alinsky is running the White House.
Alinsky, the radical activist who wrote Rules for Radicals, which he dedicated to Satan, taught the radical left to use dishonest tactics in order to achieve their agenda – "by any means necessary." He advocated lying and harassing those with opposing viewpoints. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton were deeply influenced by Alinsky. Alinsky biographer Sanford Howitt has said Alinsky influenced Obama's 2008 election campaign, and that Obama followed in his footsteps as a community organizer. Alinsky's son David wrote in an article that appeared in the Boston Globe, "Obama learned his lesson well. I am proud to see that my father's model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we his approach his 100th birthday." Obama revealed a few years ago that his years training as a community organizer at Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation, "gave him the best education of his life." He has quoted Alinsky in speeches.
Four Americans died during the Benghazi attacks, and it is now coming out that the White House knew the embassy needed more security, and knew terrorists were targeting it, but did nothing. Three whistleblowers have come forward, in spite of being threatened with demotions, to tell Congress that the administration knew at the time of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's public comments that the Benghazi terrorist attack was connected to terrorists, and they in fact deleted out those references in her talking points, revising them 12 times. One of the whistleblowers, Gregory Hicks, who was the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya during 2012, is a Democrat, not exactly someone who has anything to gain for partisan reasons. more >>
Americans are the biggest losers from the slew of scandals now rocking the White House, but who are the biggest winners? Iran, North Korea, Syria, China, and Russia. If US foreign policy seemed spineless and muddled in confronting bad actors before the Benghazi-IRS-AP scandals surfaced, the US just became that much more irrelevant to its archrivals and antagonists on the world stage.
Unfortunately, the trio of scandals comes at an extremely dangerous time. The ever-unpredictable North Korea just fired three short-range guided missiles. Much more ominously, Russia is reverting to a Cold War mindset in ways far more serious than the recent arrest of alleged CIA operative Ryan Fogle. Russia is doubling-down on its strategy of backing its Syrian client, and the stakes couldn't be higher.
Russia recently sold advanced Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles to Syrian President Bashar Assad. These missiles, outfitted with an advanced guidance system, effectively empower Syria to thwart any attempt by international forces to help Syrian rebels with a naval embargo or no fly zone. Upping the ante even more, Russia sent at least a dozen warships to its Tartus naval base in Syria, according to a Wall Street Journal report last Thursday. Russia has also declared its intention to complete its sale of the S-300 advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Syria. The S-300 is a state-of-the-art system that can intercept fighter jets and cruise missiles at a range of about 124 miles and would therefore – if actually delivered to Assad – represent a game-changer that disturbs the current military balance of power in the Middle East. That is undoubtedly a red line for Israel, and Israel takes its red lines seriously, as it has shown with airstrikes on Syrian targets to prevent the transfer of sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah. more >>
Why do Conservatives insist on getting in their own way? They couldn't have asked for a better week, one White House scandal following another like so many tumbling dominos. Yet rather than simply sit back and watch the administration self-destruct, Tea Party groups are planning to rally in front of IRS buildings on Tuesday in cities across the country. Demonstrations that can interrupt the current news cycle, which is almost too good to be true! Why do conservatives want to lose so often?
The Scandal-Palooza of the past week doesn't just have legs; it has momentum. Like Usain Bolt, it's fast and seemingly unstoppable. Just when you think it's over, it comes back even stronger. It's the White House seizing AP phone records so as to control the news cycle after an al-Qaeda terror plot was foiled in Yemen. It's the IRS withholding tax exempt status for Tea Party, conservative, and pro-Constitution groups, and asking the most invasive and personal questions. It's Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius raising money for Enroll America, a private nonprofit organization formed for the purpose of encouraging Americans to sign up for insurance this fall, while CEOs and bigwigs of corporations are subjected to her Obamacare mandates. And, of course, Benghazi…
(As Seton Motley of Less Government reminded me on my radio show, this list doesn't include Operation Fast and Furious and the murder of Brian Terry or the EPA FOIA request scandal. Add them.) more >>