Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Judge orders DOJ to release Fast and Furious documents blocked by Obama

Katie Pavlich reports on it for Townhall.com.

Excerpt:

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit pursued against the Department of Justice by government watchdog Judicial Watch, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled documents being withheld from Congress under President Obama’s claim of executive privilege must be turned over. Obama made the claim on the same day Attorney General Eric Holder was voted in criminal and civil contempt of Congress in June 2012.

“This order forces the Obama DOJ, for the first time, to provide a detailed listing of all documents that it has withheld from Congress and the American people for years about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal,” Judicial Watch released in a statement.

The FOIA lawsuit has been ongoing for 16-months and is now proceeding after a lengthy delay. The Justice Department originally asked the court for an indefinite hold on a FOIA request from Judicial Watch, citing executive privilege and an ongoing investigation. That indefinite hold request was shot down more than a year ago.

The documentation DOJ is required to now turn over is a “Vaughn index” of “all requested Fast and Furious materials from a June 2012 Judicial Watch FOIA request.”

A Vaughn index must: (1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.” In ordering the DOJ to provide Judicial Watch the Vaughn index, the Court ruled, “In this circuit, when an agency is withholding documents under exemption claims, courts require that the agency provide a Vaughn index so that the FOIA requester – at a distinct informational disadvantage – may test the agency’s claims.”

“Once again, Judicial Watch has beat Congress to the punch in getting key information about another Obama scandal – this time, the Fast and Furious outrage,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “A federal court has ordered the Obama administration to produce information that could, for the first time, provide specific details who in the administration is responsible for Fast and Furious lies to Congress and the American people. This is a battle that put Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saw Nixonian assertions of executive privilege by Barack Obama, and a hapless Congress in face of all this lawlessness. Finally, we may get some accountability for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the countless others murdered as a result of the insanely reckless Obama administration program.”

Unfortunately, this is coming too late for Obama’s 2012 re-election contest, and the mainstream media is unlikely to report it, just like they failed to report the IRS scandal. But if we all share this story, it will help people to realize how lawless and corrupt this administration really is. It’s gangster government, as Michele Bachmann said. The crooks are in charge.

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Libertarian blogger endorses Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in 2016

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Here’s the post from Liberty Without Apologies blog. (H/T Well Spent Journey)

Excerpt:

I believe Scott Walker is the best possible candidate for the Republican 2016 election. I have believed this since before I moved to Wisconsin, and living here has solidified that belief.

I understand that Rand Paul is by far the most popular candidate for libertarians. I lived in Kentucky during Rand Paul’s primary fight against McConnell toady Trey Greyson, although I stayed home, as he was dominating in the polls. I did vote for him for Senate. I’m proud of my former Senator (I have since moved to Wisconsin, which has a conservative Tea Partier and a Marxist lesbian in the Senate) and think he’s doing a fine job.

He lists five reasons why he likes Walker.

Here are the first three:

1. Competence matters as much as ideology. I remember when Democrats enthusiastically elected a charismatic, ideological liberal with almost no real experience running anything. He then proceeded to screw up one of the most important left-wing issues so badly that Democrats barely even want to say the word “healthcare” anymore, let alone make you extravagant promises about it. Obama’s self-defeating hubris is the only reason we have a chance in 2016. If Obamacare had been a smartly devised system of creeping bribes like Medicare was, the fight would be over. Ideologically, I like Rand Paul, but I have simply no reason whatsoever to believe he would be a competent executive. He’s a risky unknown, and the Presidency is too important. If he turns out to be incompetent, four years of an incompetent executive ensures the liberty movement will be finished for years as a voice in the Republican Party and in American politics as a whole. Scott Walker’s proven he can establish the kind of record that makes limited government more popular, not less. We’re not talking about Chris Christie’s progressive Republicanism. We’re talking about a guy whose signature accomplishments are cutting off public employee unions and balancing the budget.

2. Institutions matter. If there’s one thing that characterizes Scott Walker’s tenure as governor, it’s disarming, defanging, and throttling institutions that serve as the source and foundation of left-wing power. We don’t just need someone who likes capitalism and freedom in the White House. We need someone who understands how the institution of government has been turned into a tool for destroying the right and creating reliable, government-worshiping, Democrat voters. I know Scott Walker understands this, because he’s made it central to his agenda while governor. And I know he doesn’t just understand it, he knows how to do it.

3. The federal bureaucracy has metastasized. Scott Walker has an army of boring, pudgy, bespectacled guys quietly doing everything they can to undermine and confound the progressive agenda at state bureaucracies. He knows who to get the right people doing the grunt work of reforming government. The greatest enemies a Republican President will face are the permanent employees in executive branch agencies, not Congressional Democrats. The petty functionaries that weaponized the IRS are smart, they are vicious, and they will fight. I know Walker knows they need to be fought, and I know that he knows how to win, because he’s winning his fights here in Wisconsin. I’d have more faith in Rand Paul if he’d been the governor of Kentucky and successfully fought the public school establishment or something, but he hasn’t been, so I don’t have it. Making speeches on the Senate floor is important, but it’s not the same as going through the laborious grind of cleaning out a bureaucracy that’s metastasized and is feeding on the body politic. Paul is probably more ideologically libertarian than Walker, but Walker’s won as many battles against government as you could hope to get out of any governor.

I think that in 2016 we should be looking at candidates who will take the fight to the Democrats. We don’t need another Mitt Romney. I want to see a candidate who sticks his neck out for what he believes in and comes out on top. Real accomplishments, this time. Not rhetoric. Why do we always have to care what our opponents think of us? Why not just beat them up and then be magnanimous in victory? If he runs for President on the platform of zeroing out manufacturing income tax, he will win. Every union worker will vote for him.

During the Christmas vacation, I read governor Walker’s new book, which was a Christmas present from my friend ECM. If you want to learn more about governor Walker, I recommend picking that up. I actually got the audio version, and it’s read by governor Walker himself.

Frankly, there is only one person running in 2016 right now who destroys government, and it’s Walker. I want to see them out of a job, or with their salaries and benefits chopped. No mercy. Walker is the man who can do it, because he’s done it. Over and over and over again.

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Narendra Modi (BJP) election win good for Indian economy, but scary for Christian minority

Map of India

Map of India – Modi was the leader in Gujarat state

From Asia News.

Excerpt:

“The electoral result, declared so far, indicates a landslide win for the BJP, which should propel the stock markets to new heights,” said Clifton Desilva, director of Altina Securities Pvt Ltd, as he spoke to AsiaNews about India’s election results and the BJP victory.

According to the latest projections, Modi’s party has 277 seats out of 543. The BJP and its coalition partners together now hold 336 seats. However, “Now that the BJP is likely to attain a sweeping mandate it does not have to depend on allies as was the case with the UPA government,” Desilva said. The UPA or United Progressive Alliance was the Indian Congress Party-led coalition that lost the election.

What is more, the BJP “has the reputation of being a business-oriented party,” Desilva noted. Thus, “all the big reforms that the UPA could not implement it is hoped that the BJP will implement them. [. . .] In fact the last five to six years we have seen the stock market sliding to new lows with the GDP [growth] slipping from 9.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent”.

Under a BJP administration, “it is expected that the investment cycle, which was stalled for various reasons, will get a kick start.” As a result, “projects worth over Rs 6 trillion (US$ 100 billion) that were stalled are likely to be revived, which will have a positive impact on reviving the growth of the Indian economy”, especially in terms of infrastructure, capital goods and banking sectors.

As soon as the BJP victory appeared to be a foregone conclusion, foreign governments rushed to congratulate the new leader.

But, Religious Freedom Coalition reports a concern.

Excerpt:

Advocacy officials say policies of the influential Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has contributed to an atmosphere of hatred towards Christians. The BJP is the ruling party in three of the five Indian states with laws that forbid forced religious conversions.

The legislation is frequently used to shut down churches or intimidate Christians who speak about their faith, according to rights activists.

The party has proposed stiffer penalties in one of those states, Madhya Pradesh, India’s second-largest.

Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, another BJP-ruled state with anti-conversion laws on the books, is “the poster child for India’s failure to punish the violent,” said Katrina Lantos Swett, vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Commissioner Mary Ann Glendon in a joint November opinion column.

While under BJP rule, Karnataka state had the country’s highest rate of attacks against Christians from 2010 through 2012, according to Christian estimates.

[...]National parliamentary elections are scheduled for May, and Narendra Modi is the BJP’s candidate for prime minister.

Hindu militants have expressed anger over the spread of Christianity in India, a predominantly Hindu nation of over 1 billion people.

In a reaction, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) made clear it was closely monitoring the situation saying it had urged believers to “Pray for God’s protection over all Christians living in Andhra Pradesh” especially “for pastors and Christian workers…that they would continue to place their trust in the Lord and engage in missions in spite of the present situation.”

It was also important to “Pray that the Lord would grant repentance to those who are instigating violence against Christians,” stressed the WEA, which claims to represent some 600 million evangelical Christians in 128 countries.

I want India to do well, and Modi’s pro-business record in Gujarat cannot be questioned. However, I am worried about his Hindu Nationalism and the price that Christians might pay for evangelizing, which is a normal part of the Christian faith. Hinduism is a non-cognitive religion, so they are not used to arguments and evidence. It’s a community/family/culture thing. So they don’t understand how a person can evangelize except by non-cognitive means, e.g. – bribes. I am worried especially for the Dalits and other low-caste Indians in this environment.

Please pray for Christians in India. Do it now.

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Not a smidgen: 100% of 501(c)(4) groups audited by the IRS were conservative

The Wall Street Journal reports.

Excerpt:

A Republican House committee chairman said the Internal Revenue Service targeted tax-exempt conservative groups for audits, widening the scope of GOP ire over the agency’s oversight of political activities.

House Democrats pushed back, saying Republicans were seeking to use the IRS controversy to score political points with their conservative base in an election year.

The IRS has been under scrutiny since an inspector general’s report last May found that the agency had targeted conservative groups for lengthy and heavy-handed review of their applications to become tax-exempt organizations under section 501(c) 4 of the tax code. The controversy led to significant management shakeups at the IRS and generated a slew of congressional investigations, some of which are still going on.

On Tuesday, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.) said his committee’s continuing investigation has found that the IRS also singled out established conservative tax-exempt groups for audits.

“We now know that the IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s,” Mr. Camp said in a statement. “At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information. Of these groups, 83% were right-leaning. And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100% were right-leaning.”

Obama says there is not a smidgen of corruption here. Do you agree?

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Chairwoman of Tea Party group targeted by IRS, ATF, FBI: “I refuse to be intimidated”

Real Clear Politics has the transcript.

Snips:

Nearly two decades of running our small business, my husband and I never dealt with any government agency, outside of filing our annual tax returns. We had never been audited, we had never been investigated, but all that changed upon submitting applications for the non-profit statuses of True the Vote and King Street Patriots. Since that filing in 2010, my private businesses, my nonprofit organizations, and family have been subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies.

In 2011, my personal and business tax returns were audited by the Internal Revenue Service, each audit going back for a number of years.

In 2012, my business was subjected to inspection by OSHA, on a select occasion when neither my husband nor I were present, and though the agency wrote that it found nothing serious or significant, it still issued fines in excess of $20,000.

In 2012 and again in 2013 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms conducted comprehensive audits at my place business.

Beginning in 2010, the FBI contacted my nonprofit organization on six separate occasions – wanting to cull through membership manifests in conjunction with domestic terrorism cases. They eventually dropped all matters and have now redacted nearly all my files.

All of these incursions into my affairs began after filing applications for tax-exemption. There is no other remarkable event, no other reason, to explain away how for decades I went unnoticed, but now find myself on the receiving end of interagency coordination into and against all facets of my life, both public and private.

Bear in mind, distinguished ladies and gentlemen of this sub-committee, these events were occuring while the IRS was subjecting me to multiple rounds of abusive inquiries, with requests to provide every Facebook and Twitter entry I’d every posted, questions about my political aspirations, and demands to know the names of every group I’d ever made presentations to, the content of what I’d said, and where I intended to speak for the coming year. The answers to these sorts of questions are not of interest to the typical IRS analyst, but they are of great interest to a political machine that puts its own survival above the civil liberties of any private citizen.

The whole video and transcript is worth a look.

What has been the response of the Democrats to these facts? Well, Obama has picked one of his campaign donors to investigate. And Obama insisted in a recent interview that there was not “a smidgen of corruption” in his autocratic socialist regime.

Obama blamed Fox News and said there was not even a smidgen of corruption. In other words, shut up because I am doing this for your own good, you peasants. Believe my lies, because I am your King.

Remember, Obama won the 2012 election in part through intimidation and persecution of these conservative groups, especially the ones like True the Vote that sought to prevent rampant voter fraud by Democrat voters.

It reminds me of a quotation from C.S. Lewis:

If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. . . . In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They ‘cash in.’ It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science. . . . Let us not be deceived by phrases about ‘Man taking charge of his own destiny.’ All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of others. . . . The more completely we are planned the more powerful they will be.
. . . .

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

C. S. LewisGod in the Dock

Democrats stand for the complete planning of everyone’s lives according to their own secular leftist values, and they want to grow government in order to achieve that control over society.

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