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Archive for the ‘Policy’ Category

Taking on the Times – Dana Loesch & NRA

Principles of Economic Prosperity

LAW and ORDER President

Pathological liar, Susan Rice is back: http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2017/04/05

 

Common Sense in California: http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2017/03/30

 

A disgrace of a Senator is representing US: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/04/05/slumber-party-oregon-democrat-occupied-senate-floor-to-protest-gorsuch-says-the-n2308987

 

Meanwhile…back at the TRUMP Administration and all across America…Law and Order is being restored.

 

Sessions accelerates the deportation of imprisoned illegal aliens: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/31/ag-jeff-sessions-unveils-program-to-accelerate-deportation-of-imprisoned-illegals/

 

Numerous illegal alien sex offenders are caught trying to sneak back across the border: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/04/01/100-sex-offenders-caught-single-border-sector-fiscal-year/

 

Porn-watching federal employees can now be fired: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2017/04/03/veterans-group-hopeful-accountability-act-will-finally-allow-va-to-fire-pornwatching-employees-n2307625

 

ICE catches numerous criminal aliens in the “sanctuary” Pacific Northwest: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/04/04/ice-snatches-84-criminal-aliens-pacific-northwest/

 

TRUMP defunds UN agency complicit in mass abortion: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2017/04/04/trump-ends-funding-for-united-nations-population-fund-n2308506

 

The illegal immigration rate is dropping here:  http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/04/04/march-illegal-immigration-lowest-17-years-dhs-chief/ AND here: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/04/04/illegal-immigration-fell-67-percent-trump-says-fmr-border-chief/

 

BUILD THE WALL! http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/04/05/wall-cut-illegal-crossings-94-says-fmr-border-chief/

 

Americans for Liberty PAC

A Political Action Committee for Conservatives who uphold the US Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers

Lanny Hildebrandt MBA CPA

1615 4th Street

La Grande OR  97850

(541) 963-7930

Fax (541) 963-7750

Email [email protected]

 

Gorsuch, Democrat Hypocrisy on Display

This really grates. No principles whatever, just take advantage in whatever way presents.

Trend in Right-to-Carry laws

Setting the Record Straight – Elections and Outreach

GREAT AGAIN!

Just repeal it…you can’t fix this thing: http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2017/03/07

 

The Democrat response to Trump’s incredible speech: http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2017/03/05

 

He’s not our President (because we’re form Mexico!) http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2017/03/04

 

Trump and his people are keeping promises…on these issues:

 

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS – Trump is relocating judges to speed deportations: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/03/10/report-trump-relocating-immigration-judges-speed-deportations/

 

DRAIN THE SWAMP – AG Sessions seeks resignations of holdover U.S. Obama attorneys: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/10/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-seeks-resignations-46-us-attorneys/

 

IMPROVE EDUCATION – Return control of education to parents and local school boards: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/10/texas-rep-roger-williams-co-sponsors-bill-end-u-s-education-department/

 

DREGULATION – Trump is deconstructing the administrative state: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/06/trump-unravelling-regulatory-state/

 

VOTER FRAUD – Thousands of dead “voters” are removed from the rolls in West Virginia: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/06/departed-voters-trimmed-west-virginia-rolls/

 

GUN RIGHTS – Lead ammunition is making a comeback: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/03/interior-secretary-zinke-day-one-repeals-obama-era-lead-ammunition-ban/

 

JOBS – Exxon plans to create 45,000 jobs: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/07/president-trump-praises-exxon-mobil-for-plan-to-create-45000-jobs/

 

JOBS – Home Depot plans to add 80,000 employees: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/08/more-trump-jobs-boom-home-depot-to-add-80000-employees/

 

JOBS – The construction and manufacturing sectors see major job gains in February: http://www.breitbart.com/economics/2017/03/10/february-jobs-gains-rocket-unemployment-steady/

 

Americans for Liberty PAC

A Political Action Committee for Conservatives who uphold the US Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers

Lanny Hildebrandt MBA CPA
1615 4th Street
La Grande OR  97850
(541) 963-7930
Fax (541) 963-7750
Email [email protected]

Dorchester Conference

The Oregon Trail Of Political Patronage

 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown And AG Ellen Rosenblum Blaze The Oregon Trail Of Political Patronage

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2017/02/13/blazing-the-oregon-trail-of-pinstripe-patronage-gov-kate-brown-attorney-general-ellen-rosenblum/#1ade4adc2318
As the state contemplates an income tax hike, Oregon’s elites line their pockets with taxpayer money.
In 2016, as politicians across America were fleeing voter wrath, Oregon’s governor and attorney general were blazing an unlikely trail – accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from businesses with state contracts.
Since 1940, at the federal level, individuals and entities negotiating or working under federal contracts are prohibited from giving political cash to candidates, parties or committees. In Oregon, however, this political patronage is perfectly legal, at least for now.
Our analysis at American Transparency (OpenTheBooks.com) found 207 state contractors gave $805,876 in campaign cash to Governor Kate Brown ($518,203) and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum ($287,673) since 2012. These businesses hold lifetime state contracts worth at least $2.6 billion. State contractor donations to the governor and attorney general represent 57 percent of current cash on hand in their campaign committees.
We found the data by looking at a universe of companies or their affiliated employees funding Brown or Rosenblum’s campaigns since 2012. We then matched those company names with the contract database provided by the State of Oregon. It’s a trail of conflicts of interest paved with campaign cash and contractor payments.

We found 41 law firms holding state contracts with a lifetime value of nearly $50 million who gave political donations to Rosenblum ($196,093 in donations) and Brown ($89,958 in donations) since 2012. Oregon outsources legal work to these firms despite Rosenblum’s Department of Justice employing up to 1,228 staffers at an annual taxpayer cost of $74 million. Why put state employees to work when you can outsource it to potential donors? By comparison, the Attorneys General of Illinois and New York have 875 and 1,685 employees respectively.
State campaign disclosures show that firms themselves, or their affiliated partners, principals, and employees gave the following:

  • Markowitz Herbold PC – $25,084 in campaign donations to the governor and AG. Separately, the firm received new and amended state contracts valued at $13 million from 2013-2015.
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP – $16,331 in campaign donations to the governor and AG. Separately, the firm held state contracts worth a lifetime value of $2.995 million.
  • Stoll, Stoll, Berne, Lokting & Shalchter PC – $15,617 in campaign donations to the governor and AG. Separately, the firm held contracts worth a lifetime value of $2.71 million.
  • Tonkon Torp LLP – $6,560 in campaign donations to the governor and AG. Separately, the firm held contracts worth a lifetime value of $2 million.
  • Ball Janik LLP – $4,600 in campaign donations to the governor and AG.  Separately, the firm held state contracts worth $1.11 million over their lifetime that were initiated, modified, or amended during 2011-2015.

Before publishing, we pressed the five law firms for confirmation, comment and context. While three responded, only Ball Janik confirmed their contracts.
We also found major U.S. corporations who reaped Oregon state contracts worth millions of dollars in lifetime value while each business, or affiliated employees, gave campaign cash to the governor or AG since 2012. Some of these businesses include Alaskan Air (contracts worth $25 million); AT&T ($32.4 million); Hewlett Packard ($38.5 million); Microsoft ($15.6 million); Pitney Bowes ($9.8 million); Verizon ($57.2 million); FedEx ($82 million); CH2M Hill ($129.9 million); and PacificSource Health ($82.4 million).

A few more examples:

  • Portland General Electric (PGE), a $1.9 billion annual revenue Fortune 1000 public utility distributing electricity to 44 percent of the Oregon population contributed $31,000 to Gov. Kate Brown and $7,000 to AG Rosenblum’s political committees since 2012. According to state disclosures, PGE held state contracts worth $254,258 in lifetime value.
  • Pharmaceutical companies, Eli Lilly & Co. ($11,000) and Pfizer ($15,000) gave a total of $26,000 to Brown.
  • Professional Credit Service has a state contract for debt collection with a lifetime value of $10 million. Joseph Hawes, CEO, gave $24,500 to Brown during a period when the firm’s contract was amended and extended.

Oregon is home to Native American groups who hold state contracts worth $36.7 million in lifetime value. These groups are also significant political donors with campaign donations of $140,000 since 2012. Brown received $123,000 while Rosenblum received $17,000.
Six Native American groups who contributed are Cow Creek Band of Umpqua ($85,000); Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde ($25,000); Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians ($11,500); Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation ($8,500); Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation ($6,000); and Confederated Tribes of Coquille ($4,000).

Even in Illinois, where the number one manufactured product is corruption, it is illegal for state vendors with contracts over $50,000 to give campaign donations to statewide office holders. The 2011 Illinois law barred this “pay to play” practice in which contractors give campaign donations to powerful statewide office holders.
At a time when Oregon is considering an income tax hike, elected officials should consider revamping public integrity laws to match the federal statute – or at least Illinois ethics. Voters might appreciate an effort to pioneer reform rather than blazing a trail of political patronage costing taxpayers millions.

 

 

Adam Andrzejewski (say: And-G-F-Ski) is the CEO of OpenTheBooks.com – the mission is to post ‘Every Dime, Online, In Real Time’ of all public spending at every level of Federal, State and Local government across America.

 

 

Methodology/Disclaimer:
Upper-bound contractual payment limits are not actual billings or state payments. To the extent that the information contains government errors, our report will reproduce those errors. No quid pro quo or illegal activity by any elected official, company or individual referenced in this editorial is implied or intended. All state contract information referenced was produced via the Oregon Open Records law by the State of Oregon. Kate Brown was elected Oregon Secretary of State (top auditor) in 2008 and assumed to Governor in February 2015. Ellen Rosenblum was appointed Attorney General in June 2012 and twice won reelection

Mia Love at March for Life

This is why the pro-life movement is destined to win. One of the best speeches ever.

Big Joe at “Womens March” – viral video

President Trump Cabinet Picks

  • Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus 
  • Senior Counselor to the President: Steve Bannon
  • National Security Adviser: Michael Flynn
  • Attorney General: Jeff Sessions
  • C.I.A. Director: Mike Pompeo
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: Nikki Haley
  • Education Secretary: Betsy DeVos
  • Deputy National Security Adviser: Kathleen McFarland
  • White House Counsel: Don McGhan
  • Health and Human Services Secretary: Tom Price
  • Transportation Secretary: Elaine Chao
  • Treasury Secretary: Steven Mnuchin
  • Defense Secretary: James Mattis
  • Commerce Secretary: Wilbur Ross
  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Ben Carson
  • Homeland Security Secretary: John F. Kelly
  • Labor Secretary: Andy Puzder
  • Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt
  • Small Business Administration: Linda McMahon
  • Energy Secretary: Rick Perry
  • Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson
  • Interior Secretary: Ryan Zinke
  • Agriculture Secretary: TBD [Butch Otter, Sid Miller, Sam Brownback, Dave Heineman]
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary: TBD [Jeff Miller, Pete Hegseth]

Trump Victory Tour – Cincinnati Speech

A Message from Bill Courier, ORP

Good evening,

Wow, we are getting national attention with our GOTV effort and seem to have really struck a nerve with the Democrat Party.  I wanted to update each of you on the ongoing media hype regarding our GOTV calls and inactive voter surge.  On Friday and throughout the weekend a series of automated calls were made to thousands of Republicans who were already registered but have been placed on the inactive list by the Secretary of State.

The voice message was simple and direct: ““Voter registration records have been reviewed in your county and there is a possibility that you or someone in your household may have had their voter registration marked inactive. If you have not received your ballot yet, this may be the reason. The Oregon Republican Party wants you to be able to vote in next Tuesday’s election. In the 2010 election, Republican Chris Dudley lost his race for governor by just over 1 percent. Last May, another Republican race ended in a tie vote, and was literally decided by a dice roll. Don’t let our state’s future be determined by a roll of the dice. You may be the deciding vote. Contact your county elections office immediately. By going directly to the elections office, you can reactivate your registration, pick up your ballot, and vote on the spot.”  (Some early calls used a slightly different script)

Incredibly, Secretary of State Jean Atkins has tried to spin this as voter suppression, with the liberal media echoing her false narrative.  But Oregon voters know better!  They are thanking the ORP for alerting them of their status and providing information on how to get their ballots to vote!

Our plan is working and people are engaging.  County elections clerks are reporting a burst in phone calls and increase in ballot pickups as a result of being notified that they were on the inactive voters list.  These calls never told callers their vote wouldn’t count or that they were not registered.  This was a complete fabrication on the part of the Secretary of State and the Democrat Party. 

We need your help.  If any of you recorded the KOIN 6 news broadcast where the Secretary of State asked people to “just ignore the calls” please let me know.  That IS voter suppression and it needs to be addressed.  Kevin Hoar and I were watching when the video was pulled down and the narrative was changed.   It really is important to get a copy of the original video if anyone has it recorded.

Today is a very exciting day for Oregon Republicans!  We have great candidates for our statewide offices, our federal offices, House seats, Senate seats, county commissioners, mayors, city councilor, and on down the ballot.   Many have worked very hard on the Defeat97 campaign.  The ORP has sent out over 200,000 mail pieces for candidates, thus saving them thousands of dollars.

Each and every one of you has had a part in our successes and we can’t thank you enough.  The time has come to start turning this state around and we couldn’t do it without your support. 

If you want to read the articles regarding the overreaching and inflammatory rhetoric about our GOTV automated call, please click on these links:

https://pjmedia.com/trending/2016/11/06/is-oregons-democrat-secretary-of-state-trying-to-suppress-the-republican-vote/?singlepage=true

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/11/06/oregon-democrats-media-spread-false-story-that-state-gop-robocall-told-voters-their-votes-wont-count/

https://oregon.gop/orp-chair-statement-reactivating-inactive-republicans-2016-11-04

https://oregon.gop/orp-chair-reacts-to-sec-of-state-discouraging-republican-voters-2016-11-04

We’re on our way!

Winning Oregon Together,

Bill Currier, Chairman

Oregon Republican Party

Lies, Lies, and More Lies

Here are the three big ones in this video:

  1. Republicans basically agree with Democrats on Obamacare (not a single Republican voted for it).
  2. Competition in the insurance industry does not work (that is the only approach that will work).
  3. Under Obamacare, premiums will drop 3000% (it has fallen by neither 3000% or $3000. Premiums and deductibles are way up).

Trump: “Contract with the American Voter”

  1. Propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress
  2. Institute a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health)
  3. Require for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.
  4. Institute a five year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service
  5. Create a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
  6. Institute a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.
  7. Announce intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.
  8. Announce withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  9. Direct Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator.
  10. Direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.
  11. Lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.
  12. Lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.
  13. Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.
  14. Cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.
  15. Begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.
  16. Cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities.
  17. Begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.
  18. Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.
  19. Work with Congress on a Middle Class Tax Relief And Simplification Act.An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief, and lifting the restrictions on American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the middle class. A middle-class family with 2 children will get a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced from 7 to 3, and tax forms will likewise be greatly simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35 to 15 percent, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can now be brought back at a 10 percent rate.
  20. Work with Congress on a End The Offshoring ActEstablishes tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free.
  21. Work with Congress on a American Energy & Infrastructure ActLeverages public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years. It is revenue neutral.
  22. Work with Congress on a School Choice And Education Opportunity ActRedirects education dollars to gives parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.
  23. Work with Congress on a Repeal and Replace Obamacare ActFully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and lets states manage Medicaid funds. Reforms will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA: there are over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want to speed the approval of life-saving medications.
  24. Work with Congress on a Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act.Allows Americans to deduct childcare and elder care from their taxes, incentivizes employers to provide on-side childcare services, and creates tax-free Dependent Care Savings Accounts for both young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.
  25. Work with Congress on an End Illegal Immigration ActFully-funds the construction of a wall on our southern border with the full understanding that the country Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall; establishes a 2-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, and a 5-year mandatory minimum for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions or two or more prior deportations; also reforms visa rules to enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.
  26. Work with Congress on a Restoring Community Safety Act.Reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating a Task Force On Violent Crime and increasing funding for programs that train and assist local police; increases resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.
  27. Work with Congress on a Restoring National Security Act.Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment; provides Veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values
  28. Work with Congress on a Clean up Corruption in Washington Act.Enacts new ethics reforms to Drain the Swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics.

Must Read-Guns and Drugs

A perspective based on facts…not democratic spin.
There are 30,000 gun related deaths per year by firearms, and this number is not disputed.   U.S. population 324,059,091 as of Wednesday, June 22, 2016.

Do the math:   0.000000925% of the population die from gun related actions each year.   Statistically speaking, this is insignificant!

What is never told, however, is a breakdown of those 30,000 deaths, to put them in perspective as compared to other causes of death:

.    65%  of those deaths are by suicide which would never be prevented by gun laws

.    15%  are by law enforcement in the line of duty and justified

.    17%  are through criminal activity, gang and drug related or mentally ill persons – gun violence

.    3%  are accidental discharge deaths

So technically, “gun violence” is not 30,000 annually, but drops to 5,100.  Still too many?  Well, first, how are those deaths spanned across the nation?

.    480 homicides (9.4%)  were in Chicago

.    344 homicides (6.7%)  were in Baltimore

.    333 homicides (6.5%)  were in Detroit

.    119 homicides (2.3%)  were in Washington D.C.  (a 54% increase over prior years)

So basically, 25% of all gun crime happens in just 4 cities.   All 4 of those cities have strict gun laws, so it is not the lack of law that is the root cause.

This basically leaves 3,825 for the entire rest of the nation  –  or about 75 deaths per state.  That is an average because some States have much higher rates than others.

For example, California had 1,169  –  and Alabama had 1.

Now, who has the strictest gun laws by far?   California, of course, but understand, so it is not guns causing this.  It is a crime rate spawned by the number of criminal persons residing in those cities and states.   So if all cities and states are not created equally, then there must be something other than the tool causing the gun deaths.

Are 5,100 deaths per year horrific?   How about in comparison to other deaths?  All death is sad and especially so when it is in the commission of a crime but that is the nature of crime.  Robbery, death, rape, assault  –  all are done by criminals and thinking that criminals will obey laws is ludicrous.  That’s why they are criminals.

But what about other deaths each year?

.  40,000+ die from a drug overdose – THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THAT!
.  36,000 people die per year from the flu, far exceeding the criminal gun deaths

.  34,000 people die per year in traffic fatalities (exceeding gun deaths even if you include suicide)

Now it gets good:

.  200,000+ people die each year (and growing) from preventable medical errors.    You are safer in Chicago than when you are in a hospital!

.  710,000 people die per year from heart disease.   It’s time to stop the double cheeseburgers!
So what is the point?   If Obama and the anti-gun movement focused their attention on heart disease, even a 10% decrease in cardiac deaths would save twice the number of lives annually of all gun-related deaths (including suicide, law enforcement, etc.).   A 10% reduction in medical errors would be 66% of the total gun deaths or 4 times the number of criminal homicides  ……  Simple, easily preventable 10% reductions!

So you have to ask yourself, in the grand scheme of things, why the focus on guns?   It’s pretty simple.  Taking away guns gives control to governments.

The founders of this nation knew that regardless of the form of government, those in power may become corrupt and seek to rule as the British did by trying to disarm the populace of the colonies.    It is not difficult to understand that a disarmed populace is a controlled populace.

Thus, the second amendment was proudly and boldly included in the U.S. Constitution.   It must be preserved at all costs.

So the next time someone tries to tell you that gun control is about saving lives, look at these facts and remember these words from Noah Webster:  “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.   The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword, because the whole body of the people are armed and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.    A military force at the command of Congress can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power.”

Remember, when it comes to “gun control”, the important word is “control”, not “gun”.

Surprisingly, these are not the statistics you hear about from the media or from the White House.

Interfaith Group Asks US Government to Reject Report that Stigmatizes Religious Americans

Dear Mr. President, Senator Hatch, and Speaker Ryan:

We are a diverse group of American faith leaders from all political, religious and ideological perspectives. We write to you as the authorities responsible for appointing members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

We wish to express our deep concern that the Commission has issued a report, Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Non-Discrimination Principles with Civil Liberties, that stigmatizes tens of millions of religious Americans, their communities, and their faith-based institutions, and threatens the religious freedom of all our citizens.

The Commission asserts in its Findings that religious organizations “use the pretext of religious doctrines to discriminate.”

What we find even more disturbing is that, in a statement included in the report, Commission Chairman Martin Castro writes:

“The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”

We understand that people of good faith can disagree about the relationship between religious liberty and antidiscrimination laws in our country, and how that relationship should best be structured. These questions have to do with issues critical to the common good such as marriage, the family, contraception, abortion, and the source of human dignity.

At the same time, we are one in demanding that no American citizen or institution be labeled by their government as bigoted because of their religious views, and dismissed from the political life of our nation for holding those views. And yet that is precisely what the Civil Rights Commission report does.

The genius of American democracy is that it invites everyone into the public square, on the basis of full equality, to contend over the laws and policies that reflect our values and our understanding of the common good. In our system it is they–free citizens and voluntary institutions–that inform and drive the debate over the public good, a debate that the national government should not prejudice or distort.

The construction of our Constitutional settlement–this great experiment, as our first president called it–was in substantial part due to the religious ideas of the founding generation. The very foundation of our nation’s notion of equality—and in turn, the foundation of our various laws against discrimination—is the radical religious truth claim that “all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

Each of us opposes hateful rhetoric and actions. We believe in the equality of all Americans before the law, regardless of creed or community. But we are both determined and unafraid to speak the truth about beliefs we have held for millennia. A robust and respectful debate over ideas is not something harmful to be demonized. Rather, debate is good for our democracy, and should be encouraged. Slandering ideas and arguments with which one disagrees as “racism” or “phobia” not only cheapens the meaning of those words, but can have a chilling effect on healthy debate over, or dissent from, the prevailing orthodoxy. Such attacks on dissent have no place in the United States where all religious beliefs, the freedom to express them, and the freedom to live by them are protected by the First Amendment.

We are grateful particularly to President Obama for his willingness to recognize that the religious and moral dimension of our laws is not only unavoidable, but has long served the cause of civil rights:

Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

(Call to Renewal, Building a Covenant for a New America, 2006).

In light of this, we call upon each of you to renounce publicly the claim that “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” are “code words” or a “pretext” for various forms of discrimination. There should be no place in our government for such a low view of our First Freedom—the first of our civil rights—least of all from a body dedicated to protecting them all.

We look forward to your reply.

Signed:

Most Reverend William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore
Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Bishop Gérald J. Caussé
Presiding Bishop
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson
President
Zaytuna College

Charles Haynes
Vice President
Newseum Institute

Russell Moore
President
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Southern Baptist Convention

Leith Anderson
President
National Association of Evangelicals

Ron Sider
Distinguished Professor of Theology
Eastern University
Founder and President Emeritus
Evangelicals for Social Action

Frank Madison Reid, III
Bishop
The African Methodist Episcopal Church

Anuttama Dasa
Governing Body Commissioner
Minister of Communications
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)

Bishop Gregory John Mansour
Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn

Kit Bigelow
Religious Freedom Advocate

Cheryl Mitchell Gaines, J.D., M.Div., Senior Pastor
Regeneration House of Praise

Mohamed Magid
Imam at the Adams Center
Chairman, Interfaith Peace Corps

Nathan J. Diament
Executive Director for Public Policy
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

Reverend Eugene F. Rivers III
President
Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies

Jacqueline C. Rivers
Executive Director
Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies

Thomas Farr
Director, Religious Freedom Project
Georgetown University
President, Religious Freedom Institute

36 Times Obama Said …

Repeating a lie over and over is done to give it credibility, but it remains a lie nevertheless.

Putting an end to government slush funds

I don’t think it’s right that a government agency, such as the Department of Justice, (DoJ), can go after a private entity and basically extort money for activist organizations as part of a settlement agreement.  And yet that is what’s happening.

For example, over the past few years, DoJ has negotiated settlement agreements with banks who contributed to the mortgage crisis almost a decade ago. But instead of dedicating the entirety of this money to paying down our debt or improving public services, the Justice Department has allowed these banks to meet some of their settlement obligations by donating money to nongovernment organizations. This is, by definition, an appropriation of funds–as the Constitution clearly states, “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.”

Furthermore, some of the groups that have benefited from these “donations” have no relation to the mortgage crisis, rather, they were chosen to receive these funds because they serve liberal and political objectives. Evidence even suggests that activist groups actually lobbied DoJ for this funding, indicating a clear political motive in the doling out of these settlement funds.

The Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) has directed nearly a billion dollars to activist groups entirely outside of Congress’s spending and oversight authority. This is wrong and the House just voted to stop this abusive overreach when it passed the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act of 2016 (H.R. 5063). This important bill ensures that settlement money goes either directly to victims, or to the Treasury where your elected representatives decide how it is spent. It’s time we rein in this President and the abusive tactics of the bureaucracy.

I will continue to work on legislation in the House that returns the proper balance of authority to our federal government, and prevents further abuse of power by the President and his administration.

It is an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.

Best regards,

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon’s Second District


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