Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Obama Justice Department Tells Court to Shield White House Visitor Logs From Full Disclosure and FOIA Law

/PRNewswire/ -- Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that the Obama Justice Department advanced the erroneous claim in an April 21, 2010, court filing that Secret Service's logs of White House visitors are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As Judicial Watch noted in its original complaint filed on December 7, 2009, this claim "has been litigated and rejected repeatedly" by the courts.

The Justice Department filing comes in Judicial Watch's FOIA lawsuit seeking records for all visitors to the White House from January 20, 2009, to the present. On February 22, 2010, Judicial Watch filed a "Motion for Partial Summary Judgment" in its lawsuit, noting that the rule of law and court precedent do not support the position of the Obama administration:

"At issue here is whether Secret Service visitor logs are agency records subject to the Freedom of Information Act ('FOIA'), 5 U.S.C. SS 552. To date, every court that has reached this issue has concluded that the requested documents are agency records and must be processed in response to a properly submitted FOIA request. As no disputes of material fact exist as to the nature of the records, summary judgment as to this straightforward legal issue should be entered now."

Noting court precedent, Judicial Watch argued in its motion that the visitor logs were "created by" the U.S. Secret Service and that they remain "under agency control." Judicial Watch also noted that the U.S. Secret Service had released the visitor logs in response to previous FOIA requests from Judicial Watch and other parties, further demonstrating that these records are under the control of the U.S. Secret Service and subject to FOIA.

However, Obama Justice Department lawyers countered in their court filing that "the district court cases on which [Judicial Watch] relies for a contrary conclusion were incorrectly decided," and stuck by their argument that the visitor logs "are not agency (Secret Service) records subject to FOIA." Justice Department lawyers also repeated the blanket argument that to release these records could compromise national security and praised the Obama administration's efforts to "voluntarily" release some White House visitor logs to the public. (In 2009, the Obama White House began to release, in order to settle related litigation, a select number of Secret Service visitor logs to the public. However, tens of thousands of other records continue to be withheld in defiance of FOIA law.)

The Obama White House admits in the new court filing that it is taking records from the Secret Service in order to ensure that they are not disclosed under FOIA. The Obama administration speculates that there would be "dire national security consequences" if certain White House visitors are disclosed. The Obama White House wants to be able to withhold visitor logs until as long as 12 years after President Obama leaves office.

On October 27, at the request of the White House, Judicial Watch staff visited with senior White House officials led by Norm Eisen, Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government, to discuss Judicial Watch's pursuit of the visitor logs. During the meeting, White House officials offered to make some accommodations to Judicial Watch on the visitor logs and encouraged Judicial Watch to publicly praise the Obama administration's commitment to transparency. However, the White House refused to abandon its legally indefensible contention that the visitor logs are not subject to FOIA law, prompting Judicial Watch's lawsuit.

"The Obama administration would undermine a key transparency law in order to keep White House visitor logs secret," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Only the Obama administration could offer to release pre-scrubbed White House visitor logs while withholding tens of thousands of other records and call it transparency. President Obama has violated his campaign promises of openness and transparency. We hope the court will do what it has done on previous occasions and uphold FOIA law."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hispanic State Legislators Condemn Arizona Bill SB 1070

/PRNewswire/ -- National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) joins the national community in calling on Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, to veto a piece of Arizona legislation that is illegal, wasteful of state resources and in direct violation of American values and the Constitution. In a letter to Governor Brewer, NHCSL President, Iris Y. Martinez (IL.), wrote,

We stand firmly in calling for a veto of SB 1070. The bill is legally flawed in its encroachment upon Constitutionally-established federal immigration enforcement activities, and endangers all Arizonans by diminishing common notions of fair, legal law enforcement.

"This bill smacks of a poorly-motivated attempt to codify racial and ethnic profiling and harassment into law," wrote Senator Martinez.

NHCSL calls upon the Governor to join the national community in working to identify comprehensive solutions to legally address the influx in undocumented immigrants - by working within the confines of the Constitution and cooperating with community leaders and the federal government in the absence of Congressional action on comprehensive immigration reform.

SB 1070 is yet another example of the dire need for comprehensive federal immigration reform. A federal law is needed to enhance border security, require employers to enforce immigration laws and level the playing field for law-abiding employers and workers by creating a pathway to citizenship, and treating immigrants humanely.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hospice Advocates to Congress: Protect Access to Compassionate & High-Quality End of-Life Care

/PRNewswire/ -- Today 450 Hospice Advocates from across the country took part in the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's (NHPCO) Capitol Hill Day 2010 by meeting with their U.S. Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill and encouraging policy makers to preserve and protect access to compassionate, high-quality end-of-life care for all Americans.

Thousands of additional Hospice Advocates participated in NHPCO's Virtual Hill Day 2010 from their home communities by making phone calls and sending emails to their Members of Congress that furthered echoed the hospice community's message. NHPCO Hill Day and Virtual Hill Day participants emphasized the value of hospice in their communities and reacquainted Congress with the unique structure of the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

"In the aftermath of health care reform, NHPCO's Capitol Hill Day 2010 was just the beginning of our efforts this year to educate Members of Congress on the hospice community's value and uniqueness as compared with other health care provider groups. Over 1.4 million patients and their families depend on compassionate end-of-life care from hospice programs in communities throughout the country," said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. "It is important that Congress know the importance of hospice to their constituents so they can take an active role in preserving compassionate end-of-life care for generations to come."

Over the past two years, the hospice community has been facing rate cuts on two fronts -- regulatory cuts enacted in October 2009 that eliminated a key component of the Medicare hospice reimbursement known as the Budget Neutrality Adjustment Factor (BNAF) and more recently, cuts slated to be implemented in 2013 as a result of the health care reform bill passed last month. This year, Hospice Advocates are working together to educate policy makers on how the hospice community will be impacted by the combined 14.3% reductions.

"Two cuts are too much for the hospice community," Schumacher added. "If these cuts stay in place, services will be reduced, programs will suffer, and the dying won't get the care they need."

At the Hill Day kickoff pep rally, NHPCO demonstrated its on-going commitment to engage and rally Hospice Advocates nationwide to educate their Members of Congress about the hospice community. The program started with rousing words of encouragement and support from Congressional hospice champions, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR.) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-3rd-OR.). This year, Virtual Hill Day participants were able to watch the remarks live over the Web while simultaneously tweeting and Facebook chatting to each other and NHPCO staff in attendance.

The organization also unveiled the rebrand of its lobbying affiliate, The Alliance for Care at the End of Life (ACEOL). The ACEOL is now doing business as NHPCO's Hospice Action Network - the name originally coined for its interactive, online community earlier this year. Through social media resources such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the Hospice Action Network has already developed an ever-growing online advocate base of over [X] people from all over the country. In tandem with traditional outreach methods, these Hospice Advocates are using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to interact with each other, educate the general public and policy makers about the impact of health policy on hospices in their communities.

"We are very excited about the rebrand of our lobbying affiliate. The Hospice Action Network will have all of the strengths of the Alliance, but will also allow us to use innovative and interactive strategies to grow our advocate ranks nationwide. This new identity will allow our Hospice Advocacy efforts to evolve into a national grassroots movement. The Hospice Action Network will not only support professional lobbying on Capitol Hill, but also serve to enhance the important advocacy work that hospice providers are doing in the trenches back home," Schumacher said.

Democrats Finally Admit Premiums Will Rise Under Government Takeover of Health Care

After Democrats Spend One Trillion Dollars, Health Insurance Will be More Expensive
Today, the New York Times reports Democrats are scrambling to prevent the predicted health insurance premium increases that are coming for millions of families as a result of their big government health care overhaul. Just one month after becoming law, Democrats, “fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years,” are attempting to “fix” the new law that they promised would make health care more affordable. Unfortunately, when it comes to fixing health care, Democrats invariably rely on giving the government more authority and control.

Americans and Congressional Republicans have repeatedly cited the rising cost of insurance as their number one concern related to health care, but after spending one trillion dollars, cutting Medicare by one-half trillion dollars and increasing taxes by over one-half trillion dollars, the Democrats’ health overhaul law fails to make coverage more affordable. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has repeatedly warned that the Democrats' plan would increase premiums, something the Democrats now realize, as reported by the New York Times. Conversely, CBO predicted the Republican Alternative would actually lower premiums without increasing the deficit, cutting Medicare, or raising taxes.

Impact on Individual Market Premiums in 2016
 Under Various Democrat Proposals According to CBO


Change in Premiums Compared to Current Law Projections

Senate Democrats’ Bill (H.R. 3590)*

$2,100 increase

House Democrats’ Bill (H.R. 3962)**

$1,900 increase

House Republican Bill (H.R. 4038)***

$1,050 decrease

President Obama asserted that under the Democrats’ scheme, “you're going to be able to get lower costs.” The President and Congressional Democrats also promised under the new law seniors’ Medicare would be unharmed, middle class taxes would not go up and the law would not increase the deficit. In the rush to score a political win, what else weren’t the Democrats being forthcoming about?

* CBO Letter to Senator Bayh November 30, 2009
** CBO Letter to Chairman Rangel November 2, 2009
*** CBO Letter to Republican Leader Boehner November 4, 2009

Ways and Means Republican Press Office

Congressional Pay Grows 15 Times Faster Than Social Security Checks

/PRNewswire/ -- Seniors who retired in 1990 with the average Social Security benefit have seen their annual payments increase by just $4,967 over the past 20 years. During the same time period, members of Congress have awarded themselves pay raises totaling $77,400 per year - a whopping 1,458 percent more than seniors.

The analysis was conducted by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors advocacy groups with 1.2 million supporters.

According to the Social Security Administration, a senior receiving the average Social Security benefit in 1990 received $554.50 per month. A TSCL analysis found that the same senior is receiving a monthly benefit of $968.40 today, due to the annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) intended to help seniors keep up with inflation.

                   1990          2010          INCREASE,       SENIORS
                                               1990 - 2010
                                               (IN DOLLARS)

   AVERAGE SENIOR         $6,654       $11,621          $4,967         N/A

      HOUSE OF
   REPRESENTATIVES       $96,600      $174,000         $77,400       1,458%

      SENATORS           $98,400      $174,000         $75,600       1,422%

*Note: Members of the House of Representatives have had a greater salary increase than Senators since 1990 because their base pay in 1990 was slightly lower.

For the first time since the automatic Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) was introduced in 1975, seniors are receiving no COLA this year. Lawmakers, however, receive an automatic pay raise each year without having to cast a vote for it; instead, they would have to vote to block their annual pay raise. Lawmakers continue to enjoy massive wealth - a 2008 study by the Center for Responsive Politics reported that fully 61 of 100 senators were millionaires.

"This is a perfect example of the two types of rules we've gotten too used to seeing - those that politicians make for themselves, and those they make for the rest of us," said Daniel O'Connell, chairman of The Senior Citizens League. "As lawmakers enjoy their six-figure incomes, they've too often turned a blind eye to the desperate plight of America's seniors, who are struggling harder than ever to make ends meet."

TSCL supports H.R. 4720, the "Taking Responsibility for Congressional Pay Act," introduced by Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. The bill currently has 27 co-sponsors.

The proposal would cut congressional pay by five percent next year, representing the first pay cut for lawmakers since the Great Depression. The $8,700-per-lawmaker cut would save taxpayers more than $4.6 million.

TSCL encourages its members to contact their lawmakers and request that they co-sponsor the bill.

"Although the majority of lawmakers are happy with the status quo, more than two dozen have already supported a congressional pay cut. We believe that these lawmakers - truly great role models who are willing to endure personal sacrifice during these difficult economic times - deserve our gratitude," said Shannon Benton, TSCL's executive director. "Therefore, we will post the names of all of this bill's supporters to our website, at"

With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League ( is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. TSCL is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association.

Monday, April 19, 2010

NYT: Obama's Economic Team Already Calculating VAT Revenue

/PRNewswire/ -- President Barack Obama's economic team is already calculating government revenues from a possible Value Added Tax (VAT), according to the New York Times.

Article excerpt:

But since any Social Security plan would probably preserve benefits for those nearing retirement, it would not help the administration achieve its goal of reducing the deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product, from 10 percent, within a decade.

One way to reach that 3 percent goal, by the calculations of Mr. Obama's economic team: a 5 percent value-added tax, which would generate enough revenue to simultaneously permit the reduction in corporate tax rates Republicans favor.

The reported VAT calculations may explain President Obama's recent attempts to alter the terms of his central campaign promise - a promise that no family making less than $250,000 per year would see "any form of tax increase".

Twice in the past ten days, Obama has claimed his pledge applied only to income taxes. In his April 10 Weekly Radio Address, Obama said:

"And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000. That's another promise we've kept."

In a speech on the evening of April 15, Obama repeated the truncated promise:

"And one thing we haven't done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year -- another promise that we kept."

In the interest of transparency, Americans for Tax Reform respectfully asks President Obama to immediately release the reported VAT calculations or deny such calculations exist.

Americans for Tax Reform is a non-partisan coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups who oppose all tax increases. For more information or to arrange an interview please contact John Kartch at (202) 785-0266 or by email at

Friday, April 16, 2010

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder at the U.S. Constitution Project Awards Dinner

/PRNewswire/ -- Thank you, Ginny [Sloan]. It's good to be with you, and it's a privilege to join you in celebrating the extraordinary contributions and achievements of tonight's honorees, George Kendall and Ambassador [Thomas] Pickering. Congratulations to you both.

I'm especially grateful for this opportunity to tell the Constitution Project's leadership and membership how much I appreciate your commitment to the cause of justice, to the promise of equal justice, and to our nation's most essential and enduring values.

On behalf of the Department of Justice, let me thank you, in particular, for your strong support of the Access to Justice Initiative that we launched last month. This new office -- led by Harvard Law Professor Larry Tribe -- reflects an historic assurance that expanding access to legal services is, and will continue to be, a national priority. With the same dedication that you showed in calling for this initiative, I have no doubt that many of the attorneys and advocates gathered in this room will contribute to its success.

As we look toward this future, and toward the progress we seek to realize, I'd like to talk with you tonight about the unprecedented challenges that -- together -- we must overcome.

Just yesterday, I had the chance to discuss some of these challenges with the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Justice Department has serious responsibilities -- none more serious than keeping the American people safe -- and our approach to these responsibilities understandably provokes robust debate, and even criticism. Now, as I look around this room, I realize that, just like yesterday, I'm speaking to some who have not always agreed with the entirety of our approach when it comes to protecting our national security. In fact, one of the things I've learned over the last year is that it simply is not possible, as Attorney General, to make everyone happy. But, despite this fact, I also know that everyone in this room shares a common goal: the goal of protecting America's safety, America's interests and America's values, by adhering to the rule of law. So tonight, let me tell you exactly where I stand when it comes to meeting this essential goal.

Let's start with one stark fact: We are a nation at war. In this war, we face an intelligent, nimble and determined enemy.

Let me assure you: I know the seriousness of the threat we face. I know that -- both in distant countries as well as within our own borders -- there are people plotting to kill Americans. I begin each day with a briefing on the latest, and most urgent, threats made against us in the preceding 24 hours. And I go to sleep each night thinking of how best to keep our people safe.

Like every person sitting in this room, like the President and those who serve this Administration, and like every Member serving in our Congress, I am determined to win this war. I know we can, and I am certain we will. But victory and security will not come easily. And they won't come at all if we approach this work by adhering to a rigid ideology or narrow methodology.

But just as surely as we are a nation at war, we also are a nation of laws. This means that the government's powers are defined both by our tangible laws -- the Constitution, statutes, court precedents -- and also by the basic principle of the rule of law. Within this framework, I believe we must do everything within our legal power to protect the American people. Just as on a battlefield, every arm of the government must use every appropriate weapon available to win this war. I know that some of those weapons may be unpopular. But when it comes to protecting the American people, the charge that we are "coddling terrorists" is no more accurate than the equally vehement cry that we have "rubber stamped the Bush Administration's counterterrorism policies." In fact, we would be derelict in our most basic duties if we did not rely on the full scope of our law enforcement, intelligence, military and diplomatic capabilities to keep the American people safe. This means we must use both statecraft and war craft, both our criminal justice system and our military authorities, both our civilian courts and our military commissions, to defeat our enemies. The best traditions of our country -- of a responsible, respectful government, of the rule of law, of the neutral administration of justice -- call for this.

The Administration's -- and the Justice Department's -- commitment to using every available tool to fight terrorism also reflects a simple fact about the war in which we are now engaged: we face a variety of threats, threats that require us to be both aggressive and innovative.

It is no exaggeration to describe our federal justice system, which was established by Article III of our Constitution, and our military commissions not just as tools, but as weapons against those who seek to do us harm. Both enable us to target and incapacitate terrorists. Both also allow us to achieve justice and ensure accountability for violent acts against us. When selecting between these two weapons, the choice should be based on a case-specific assessment of the threat at hand, the evidence in possession and a careful consideration of what will best allow us to achieve justice. That choice is not always easy to make or easy to publicly explain, especially because court rules and intelligence equities sometimes make it impossible to discuss in an open forum the reasoning for a particular decision. But I can tell you tonight about some of the differences between the two fora.

It says something, though, about the quality of the debate when the idea of using both the Article III justice system and military commissions has become deeply controversial. This Administration rejects the false choice critics would have us make, because if we were to exclusively follow only one path while blocking the use of the other, we would undoubtedly fail in our fundamental duty to bring every terrorist to justice. That is simply not an outcome we can accept.

For example, the proposal by some respected leaders in Congress to ban completely the use of civilian courts in prosecutions of terrorism-related activity obscures some basic facts and allows campaign slogans to overtake legal reality. The reality is this: Since 9/11, more than 400 individuals have been convicted of terrorism or terrorism-related offenses in civilian courts. Without civilian law enforcement and civilian courts, we would be denied the use of what has been our most effective weapon for disrupting, dismantling and defeating terror plots. It would hinder our ability to secure actionable intelligence, and to enlist international cooperation, in our fight against terrorism. It would deny us the means to punish the guilty and deter those who would commit crimes against us. And it would be a disservice to the history of our civilian justice system. There's no question that if such a plan advances, it would seriously harm our national security.

Just look at what our civilian courts have helped to achieve. Over the past year, I am proud to say that the Justice Department, working closely with our partners in the intelligence community, was extraordinarily successful in disrupting plots, obtaining intelligence and incapacitating terrorists. And our ability to use our criminal justice system -- including civilian courts -- was a key part of this success.

For example, we detected and disrupted a plot to detonate explosives in Manhattan's subways. Najibullah Zazi has already pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in this case, and we have also charged several of his associates with participating in the plot and related crimes.

We secured a guilty plea from David Headley for assisting in the deadly attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and for plotting another attack in Denmark. As part of his plea, Headley has already provided valuable intelligence to the government about terrorist activities abroad.

Through the hard work of our federal law enforcement officials, we have obtained the cooperation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was charged in civilian court with attempting to bomb an airliner as it landed in Detroit last Christmas. Although I obviously cannot discuss the intelligence he has provided, I can tell you that it has been not just valuable, but actionable.

We convicted Aafia Siddiqui of attempting to murder U.S. military and law enforcement agents in Afghanistan. Siddiqui is a Pakistani physicist who, when captured in Afghanistan, was found with explosives, as well as information about nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and descriptions of U.S. landmarks. She later opened fire on U.S. personnel. The Justice Department under the Bush Administration indicted her in civilian court in 2008, and she was convicted two months ago in New York.

These are just a few of many successes that resulted from the combined efforts of experienced prosecutors, intelligence agents, and the President's national security team. Each has made America safer.

On the other hand, military commissions are also useful in the proper circumstances, and we need them, too. Those who denigrate these commissions must remember that, while federal courts can handle most terrorism prosecutions, in some cases, military commissions are not only appropriate, but also necessary to convict and neutralize terrorists. Last year, the Obama Administration spent a great deal of time and effort working with Congress to revise the commission rules to ensure that they are consistent with the rule of law. Congress has taken extraordinary steps to reform and improve these commissions since they were first introduced.

The truth is that the reformed commissions draw from the same Constitutional protections that underlie our civilian courts -- the key difference being that, in commissions, evidentiary rules reflect the realities of the battlefield and the difficulties of conducting investigations in a war zone. I have faith in the framework and promise of our military commissions, which is why I've referred six cases to the reformed commissions for prosecution. And I expect to refer additional cases.

There is, quite simply, no inherent contradiction between using military commissions in select cases while still prosecuting terrorists in civilian courts. As I have said, no matter what one thinks of the bigger questions surrounding the debate about courts and commissions, it is important to understand their practical differences and how they must affect the choice of forum.

First of all, the commissions only have jurisdiction to prosecute individuals who are affiliated with al Qaeda, the Taliban, or affiliated forces. That means members of other terrorist groups -- such as Hamas, Hizbollah or the FARC -- may not be tried in military commissions. Neither can the likes of Hosam Smadi or Michael Finton, two lone wolf terrorists who, though inspired by al Qaeda, were not part of it when they attempted to blow up buildings in our country last year. And, under current statute, military commissions may not be used against U.S. citizens like Anwar Awlaki or Jose Padilla, no matter what kind of horrendous acts they commit.

Second, our civilian courts cover a much broader set of offenses available than the military commissions, which can only prosecute some violations of the laws of war. In addition to the many federal statutes for terrorism-related offenses, prosecutors can also make use of other charges -- like making false statements to investigators, passport or document fraud, or firearms offenses -- to convict suspected terrorists. This means that terrorist plots can be disrupted even while evidence to prove terrorism charges is still being collected. It means the government can rely on a range of levers to secure suspected terrorists' cooperation -- something that has repeatedly produced useful, actionable intelligence. And it means that civilian courts can provide just punishment for a broader range of bad acts.

Third, our civilian courts have well-established rules, significant experience and more than 200 years of precedents. In short, they have a reliability that establishes credibility. Although I'm confident we've done a good job of reforming and improving military commissions, they do not, yet, have the same time-tested track record of civilian courts.

Fourth, there is the issue of international cooperation. Our civilian courts are well respected internationally. Our allies are comfortable with the formal and informal mechanisms to transfer terrorism suspects to the United States for trial in civilian court. As we prove the effectiveness and fairness of military commissions, I expect our allies will take notice. And I hope they will grow more willing to cooperate with commission trials.

It is unfortunate and unhelpful that some of these facts have been obscured as we engage in a national conversation about how best to prosecute terrorism offenses. As I have said, I know there are different views on how best to approach our national security work, and we should have a legitimate and robust conversation about it. But in listening to the recent debate, I've heard language that, frankly, seems calculated to scare people rather than to educate them. Such distortion is unfair to the dedicated men and women who serve in our law enforcement and intelligence communities. We should not stand by as the hard work of the FBI and other federal and state law enforcement officials, as well as career prosecutors, is marginalized and maligned. These men and women serve our country honorably -- just as our military personnel are doing overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Their work helps protect our country from terrorists, and they deserve our gratitude and our respect. Without them, government simply could not meet its most critical and basic responsibility of protecting American lives.

Meeting this responsibility has never been more difficult. In this time of war, we must pursue victory in a way that's pragmatic, effective, aggressive and true to the principles enshrined in our founding documents. The security of our country -- and the protection of its values and ideals -- is our shared concern. And it must become our common cause - one that unites us, strengthens us, and extends our nation's greatest traditions. You can, you must, remain leaders in that effort.

Thank you.

Political News You Can Use

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Richard Viguerie: Tea Party Represents Revolt of the Middle Class, Unfettered New Force

/PRNewswire/ -- Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of, told hundreds today at the Constitutional Tea Party's April 15th rally at Yowell Meadows Park in Historic Culpeper, Virginia their activism could be America's last chance to restore the Founding Fathers' vision for America.

"The Tea Parties are an unfettered new force of the middle class tapping into the anger and disappointment felt not only towards Republicans and Democrats, but most major American institutions such as Wall Street, education, Hollywood, the media, big labor, and others who have betrayed their public trust," said Viguerie.

"This new force, unlike most conservative leaders, is unfettered by old relationships and ties," said Viguerie.

Viguerie expressed his belief that the principles and philosophy championed by the Tea Parties constitute a fourth leg of the conservative movement.

"For 35 years, the conservative movement has made do with three legs -- foreign policy, social conservatism, and fiscal conservatism," reflected Viguerie. "It may take ten years, but this revolt of the middle class is the fourth leg the conservative movement has been waiting for."

"God may have given America one last chance to restore the vision of our Founding Fathers and empower citizens over their government," stated Viguerie.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Battle-weary House Dems eye short weeks, easy votes ahead of election

House leaders are preparing a schedule of short weeks and relatively easy votes over the next seven weeks as they aim for a smooth entry to election season.

Read more:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Judicial Watch Statement Regarding the Pending Retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

/PRNewswire/ -- Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement in response to today's announcement of the pending retirement of Justice Stevens:

"President Obama needs to replace Justice Stevens with a person who will apply the Constitution strictly and not substitute their own political beliefs for the rule of law. If President Obama nominates an 'empathetic' liberal judicial activist, he will have a fight on his hands. With looming constitutional challenges ranging from Obamacare to new rights for foreign terrorists, the United State Senate should ensure that only a justice who will strictly interpret the U.S. Constitution is approved. Given the stakes, every U.S. Senator should know that the upcoming Supreme Court vote will be as closely watched as their votes on Obamacare. Tea Party activists ought to be paying close attention to this nomination."

Schlafly: Obama Would Be Foolish to Leave Supreme Court Without A Veteran

/PRNewswire/ -- Phyllis Schlafly, president and founder of the conservative grassroots public policy organization Eagle Forum, made the following remarks after Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the last military veteran serving on the high court, announced that he will retire:

"The vacancy resulting from Stevens' retirement is significant because it means that the Supreme Court is at risk of being left without a single military veteran. For as long as I can remember, the U.S. Supreme Court has included at least one military veteran.

"Considering President Obama's weak and highly unpopular track record on national defense issues, specifically his decision to try known terrorists in criminal court rather than in military tribunals and his recent announcement about U.S. nuclear disarmament, it is critical that President Obama replace a military veteran judge with another military veteran judge. If President Obama can make this happen, it will certainly be a winner with American voters, but if he does not, it will reinforce his commitment to ideology alone and further erode the American people's confidence in their president."

"In the midst of two wars, we must protect our military from radical, anti-military judicial nominees. President Obama would be foolish to leave the Supreme Court without any veterans."

"The U.S. Senate, both Democrats and Republicans alike, should not allow President Obama to thumb his nose at our armed services by replacing the last decorated veteran on the Supreme Court with a non-veteran. Our brave men and women who risk their lives for our nation's security deserve better."

For more information on Eagle Forum and the courts, please visit

FRC Action Statement on Congressman Bart Stupak's Retirement

/PRNewswire/ -- Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins made the following comments following the retirement announcement of Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mich.):

"For two decades Rep. Bart Stupak stood firm for the pro-life cause. It is a shame that he will leave Congress remembered more for his vote on the Obama health care bill, the largest abortion promoting piece of legislation in the last 30 years.

"Rep. Stupak's fall lies directly at the feet of the Democratic congressional leadership and President Obama, who pushed their support of government funding of abortion over the principles of pro-life Members of their own party. Although Rep. Stupak certainly is responsible for the decision he made to endorse the Obama plan, the severe demands his President and Party placed on him were untoward and unremitting.

"FRC Action will continue to work with pro-life Members of both parties to protect the mothers and unborn children targeted by President Obama's health care overhaul."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Washington Physicians Launch Medicare Meltdown Petition Drive

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Medicare is breaking down and needs lasting repair, Washington physicians have told the state's Congressional Delegation. Now the state's physicians are launching a petition drive with their patients to help prevent a Medicare Meltdown.

The petition urges Congress to fix the flawed payment formula that threatens care for Washington's 897,000 Medicare recipients, including senior citizens and people with disabilities, and 337,000 military family members covered by TRICARE.

"The final blow to access to care resulted from Congress adjourning for its Spring recess without taking action to stop a 21.2% cut in Medicare payments for physicians' services. Current payment levels don't cover the cost of many services now," stated Dr. Deborah J. Harper, President of the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA). The WSMA represents over 9,600 physicians and surgeons across the state.

"For a Medicare patient, a doctor can mean everything: independence, hope, and security," said Dr. Harper. "But Medicare patients are feeling anything but secure about the future of their health care. Every year for a decade, physicians and other practitioners have faced steep Medicare cuts that jeopardize our ability to care for our patients."

Each year Congress slaps a temporary Band-Aid on the problem, postponing a steep cut to a later date. The most recent cut went into effect on April Fools' Day, and Congress is expected to place another temporary patch on the problem when it reconvenes next week. It would be the third patch this year alone. "This ongoing uncertainty hurts patients and their doctors. Patients need to know their doctor will be there when they need them," added Dr. Harper.

As of today, over 40 state medical associations have joined in the petition drive.

"Our seniors, patients with disabilities, and military families deserve better than the on-again/off-again health plan Medicare has become," said Dr. Harper. "The only acceptable solution is for Congress to repeal the flawed Medicare formula and replace it with a stable, fair funding mechanism that reflects the true cost of providing care."

Physicians report their Medicare patients routinely ask them if they know of other physicians -
both specialists and primary care - who will see and care for them. Finding doctors to care for new Medicare patients is a constant struggle, they say.

Physicians will be inviting their patients to join the grassroots effort to save Medicare by signing the online petition. A link to the easy-to-complete online petition is at