Representative Jim McDermott (D-Wash) directed pointed criticism at the FBI's focus on Islamic terrorists. His criticism was sparked by a bus ad that featured photos of 16 suspected terrorists that the agency is trying to apprehend. McDermott's beef is that all 16 of the suspects featured in the ad are Islamic.
“I find it highly offensive that the FBI is concentrating on Muslims to the exclusion of other racial and religious groups,” McDermott said. “Our anti-terror campaign needs to be more balanced.”
Whether an anti-terror campaign could be more balanced is problematic. All but two of the FBI's top 32 most wanted terrorism suspects are Muslims. An FBI spokesman explained that “the bus ad isn't intended to be a comprehensive capsule of the Agency total efforts. It is just a snapshot aimed at informing citizens.”
McDermott wasn't mollified by the FBI's explanation, insisting that “they aren't trying hard enough. Going after the guys who are setting bombs and hijacking airlines is obvious and easy. What about the more subtle threats posed by groups like the TEA Party that the IRS has ferreted out?”
The Congressman pledged “to work with my colleagues in the House to draft legislation that will end the discriminatory bias that has characterized our policy thus far. At the very least, there ought to be target quotas to produce a wider array of ethnic, racial, and religious terrorist suspects.”
NSA Calls Encrypted Data Threat to Nation's Security
The National Security Agency's widespread warrant-less snooping was justified by Director, General Keith Alexander, as “an essential component of our efforts to protect the Government from hostile adversaries.”
“The idea that we should obtain warrants before we gather vital intelligence is absurd,” Alexander asserted. “Should a soldier on the battlefield obtain a warrant before he pulls the trigger on his rifle?”
Alexander pointed to the large volume of encrypted data flowing through domestic Internet and phone lines as proof that the threat is real and imminent. “The fact that a person would send an encrypted email is, by itself, an indication that nefarious activities may be underway,” Alexander maintained. “I mean, if you're not doing anything wrong why are you going to the extra trouble of encrypting your communications? Innocent people don't behave this way.”
The idea that data might be encrypted in order to foil criminal attempts to steal it failed to impress the General. “It should be obvious that encrypting communications is exactly what a terrorist would do,” he said. “Honest people should avoid emulating this behavior. Acting in such a suspicious way in order to protect personal information selfishly places one's own interests ahead of the national interest. Such misplaced priorities ought to raise a red flag. At the very least, those who do encrypt their communications can't blame us for watching.”
Late Term Abortion Ban Assailed
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (H.R. 1797) would ban would ban most third-trimester abortions. The legislation was introduced by Representative Trent Franks (R-Az) to prevent atrocities like those committed by Kermit Gosnell who was convicted of murdering babies that survived his attempt to abort them.
Representative Gwen Moore (D-Wisc) called the bill “an abomination that callously places a feigned concern for the pain and suffering of a fetus ahead of the rights and dignity of women. It is unconstitutional, cruel, and simply the wrong thing to do.”
Moore was not alone in her negative evaluation of the legislation. Several fellow Democrats were equally irate. Representative Charlie Dent (Pa) called it “stupid.” Representative Jerrold Nadler (NY) characterized it is “morally outrageous.” Representative Louise Slaughter (NY) saw it as “cowardly.” Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY) argued that “these fetuses are not our constituents. We have no obligation to protect their interests. The women trying to abort them are the ones who vote us into office. This bill is reprehensible.”
Despite strenuous opposition, the bill passed the House by a vote of 229-196, mostly along Party lines. Representative Moore insisted that its enactment would “condemn millions of unwanted children to lives of poverty and neglect. If we force these pregnancies to go to term many of the women this law oppresses will abuse these children. Is avoiding the momentary pain of a 20-week-old fetus worth a lifetime of suffering?”
A Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) issued by the President's senior advisers promised that the legislation would be vetoed should it reach the President's desk. “No right is more fundamental than a woman's right to terminate her own pregnancy,” the SAP read. “The President is determined that it will remain inviolate as long as he holds the office.”
In related news, former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton lamented the fact that her maternal grandmother was the unwanted child of teenaged parents who did not have access to Planned Parenthood services. “The suffering and humiliation that could've been averted had such services been available is incalculable,” Clinton declared.
No Time for Background Checks, Napolitano Says
While it took a “Freedom of Information Act” filing to learn that the Department of Homeland Security has ceased doing background checks on illegal aliens applying for “special status” under President Obama's “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” Executive Order, Secretary Janet Napolitano says “it's no big deal.”
“Truthfully speaking, there just isn't enough time for us to check the thousands of applications we have received,” Napolitano admitted. “With all the other stuff on our plate we had to figure out what to let slip through the cracks. It was our assessment that screening immigrants for criminal records was something we could afford to let go.”
The number of background checks foregone is bound to increase if the immigration reform bill making its way through Congress passes. The bill would put an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants on the path to citizenship. The prospect that there may be criminals among them didn't faze Napolitano.
“Our Statue of Liberty invites the 'wretched refuse' of the world to come to America,” Napolitano pointed out. “In my mind, the most wretched of refuse would be criminals. The fact is, a lot of the early settlers in America were criminals given the choice of being hanged in England or emigrating to America. Clearly, criminals played a role in building this country. So, the notion that we ought to screen them out kind of flies in the face of a long history of open borders.”
IRS Awards Employees $70 Million in Bonuses
Despite the fact that the federal budget sequester does not provide funds for bonuses, acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel has agreed with the employees' union to pay $70 million in bonuses.
“As you may know from reading the papers, many of the Agency's employees went above and beyond the law to implement President Obama's wishes regarding intensified scrutiny of dubious political groups,” Werfel said. “We feel that this kind of pro-active mindset is worthy of extra recognition and extra compensation as a way of motivating the desired work ethic among the Agency's personnel.”
A research paper prepared by Andreas Madestam (Stockholm University), Daniel Shoag and David Yanagizawa-Drott (Harvard Kennedy School) confirmed Werfel's assessment of the IRS's effectiveness, concluding that “the difficulties faced by TEA Party activists may have sufficiently blunted their impact in the 2012 elections and could possibly have been large enough to have enabled the reelection of President Obama.”
The announcement of the bonuses didn't sit well with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the IRS. “Given the IRS's constant complaints about being short of resources I don't see how they can go beyond the budget allocated to them under the sequester,” Grassley wondered.
Werfel agreed that “Senator Grassley is free to wonder all he wants, but we will do whatever we deem necessary to maintain the effectiveness and morale of the Agency.” Werfel hinted that should Grassley proceed to do more than wonder “the IRS has the tools to defend itself from unwanted interference.”
NY Attorney General Wants Cell Phone “Kill Switch”
Disturbed by courts upholding the right of citizens to use their cell phones to video tape the police in action, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants cell phone manufacturers and service providers to install “kill switches” that can be remotely activated by the police.
“The fear that they could be video taped without their knowledge is inhibiting law enforcement personnel in the conduct of their official duties,” Schneiderman contended. “It's hard to do your job when someone is looking over your shoulder. It's doubly hard if every misstep is going to be recorded and used against you.”
Schneiderman also argued that “unauthorized videos introduce an element of confusion to the narrative. Instead of having a single, clear picture of events there could be multiple conflicting versions. Our ability to convict apprehended suspects could be seriously hindered.”