Ben Johnson

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Pro-lifers should be concerned about Obama assassination list: Judge Napolitano

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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WASHINGTON, D.C., February 6, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the country’s leading legal experts and political commentators says that pro-life activists may have a personal reason to be concerned about a new Justice Department white paper outlining some of the criteria the Obama administration uses to select Americans it can assassinate without a trial -- because the administration has repeatedly labeled the pro-life movement as one of the primary sources of domestic terrorism. Some are asking specifically whether the policy could one day apply to the pro-life movement, gun enthusiasts, preppers, or small government conservatives.

"There are other memos out there -- you’ve seen them, I’ve seen them -- that suggest extreme religious views, people who are pro-life, some of those people could be considered to be domestic terrorists. Their names could be on watch lists. They could be monitored by the government," said Fox News journalist Shannon Bream Tuesday in the wake of the document's release. She asked Judge Andrew Napolitano, "How far can this be taken?" 

“This is all very dangerous stuff,” said Judge Napolitano, a constitutional scholar and author who taught at Seton Hall Law School for years before becoming FNC's legal expert.

Since 2011, when a drone strike in Yemen killed two U.S. citizens active with al-Qaeda, Congressional leaders and concerned citizens have asked what conditions the president believes justifies killing Americans without trial, by a drone or any other method. 

Under guidelines in a new document obtained by NBC News, theoretically any individual who holds beliefs a “high-level” government official deems threatening could be added to a hypothetical kill list.

Reporter Michael Isikoff obtained a 16-page white paper from the Justice Department outlining some, though not all, of the Obama administration's conditions. 

The DOJ white paper sets three criteria before the president could have an American assassinated: “(1) an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; (2) capture is infeasible, and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible; and (3) the operation is conducted in a manner consistent with the four fundamental principles of the laws of war governing the use of force"—i.e., "necessity, distinction, proportionality, and humanity."

However, these criteria are not as rigorous as they sound. For instance, the government's definition of “imminent” threat “does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

Capture would be deemed “infeasible” if it could not be “physically effectuated during the relevant window of opportunity” or if it posed “undue risk to U.S. personnel.”

To be deemed an “imminent threat,” a citizen must only have "recently been involved in activities posing an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States, and there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” 

Numerous government studies released during the Obama administration list the pro-life viewpoint, as well as other conservative views, as indications of potential domestic terrorists.

A recent government report, authored by Dr. Arie Perliger of West Point's Center for Combating Terrorism, claimed, “The Christian fundamentalist violent far right emerged from...the anti-abortion/pro-life paradigm.”

An April 2009 DHS report entitled Rightwing [sic.] Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” identified “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration” and opposition to same-sex “marriage,” as “the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”

"The memorandum said people who are pro-life, people who believe in the right to keep and bear arms, returning veterans, people who think the government is too big and the IRS is too powerful, could be characterized as domestic terrorists," Judge Napolitano said, offering an assessment that could be applied to many similar government reports. "Well, that group of people could characterize two-thirds of our country.”

“This one is carrying things to an extreme most Americans wouldn't recognize,” he said. “A fair interpretation of this 16-page document...is that the president of 'a high-ranking U.S. government official'...can kill anyone he wants – no matter what the laws say, no matter what the Constitution says, no matter what this president himself has said.”

The U.S. Constitution endows U.S. citizens with greater legal protections. “Unless you are actually pulling a trigger or are in moments of pulling that trigger or dropping a bomb, the government has an obligation to do its best to arrest you and charge you with a crime and prosecute you before it can indiscriminately kill you,” he added.

Napolitano is not the only one concerned. A bipartisan group of 11 U.S. Senators sent President Obama a letter demanding that he reveal “any and all legal opinions that lay out the executive branch's official understanding of the president's authority to deliberately kill American citizens” – something the president is bound by law to do. 

If he stonewalls, they threaten a “confrontation that could affect the Senate's consideration of nominees for national security positions.”

The first casualty would be John Brennan, the president's nominee for CIA director and one of the men who crafted the policy. Brennan refused to answer similar questions contained in a letter he received three weeks ago. 

Officials say the DOJ white paper contains some, but not all, of the administration's legal opinions about when it could kill an American citizen, or how an American is designated an imminent threat.

“Americans should definitely be concerned about these developments,” Patrick Krey, president of Catholic Attorneys for Life and Liberty (CALL), told LifeSiteNews.com. “Public officials in France recently discussed investigating citizens who hold views contrary to liberal social policy as exhibiting a dangerous 'religious pathology.' It will only be a matter of time before similar investigations get underway in this nation.”

“As each day passes,” Krey told LifeSiteNews, “it becomes more and more likely that those who express traditional Christian values will become targets of an emerging police state.”

The pro-life movement had a similar debate about whether the government could permanently detain pro-life "terrorists" under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). “The law is only as good as those who are sworn to uphold it,” wrote Dana Cody of Life Legal Defense Foundation, one of those who believed at present NDAA was not a concern. "And we will keep watching."

The Obama administration insists it has done nothing wrong in detaining, or killing, those who threaten the United States, regardless of citizenship.

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On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Obama administration's use of drone attacks against Americans "is consistent with federal and international law."

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise." 

Some on the other side of the aisle agree.

Bush administration UN Ambassador John Bolton, who is associated with the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, said the “Constitution I think is very clear” that the president's powers “are not judicially reviewable” and should be deployed by the executive branch alone, “as the Framers [of the Constitution] intended.”

But others disagree strongly with Holder and Bolton – and the leadership of both political parties.

“The problem is that to accept this position, you have to put complete trust in the competence, wisdom, and ethics of the president, his underlings, and their successors,” wrote Jacob Sullum of Reason magazine. “You have to believe they are properly defining and inerrantly identifying people who pose an imminent (or quasi-imminent) threat to national security and eliminating that threat through the only feasible means, which involves blowing people up from a distance.”

“If mere mortals deserved that kind of faith, we would not need a Fifth Amendment, or the rest of the Constitution,” he concluded.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Two Congressmen confirm: National 20-week ban on abortion will come up for a vote shortly

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill to end abortion in the United States after 20 weeks will move forward, and it will have the strong support of two leading pro-life Congressmen, the two Republicans told LifeSiteNews.com at the eighth annual Susan B. Anthony List Campaign for Life Summit on Thursday.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, told LifeSiteNews and the National Catholic Register that ongoing House discussions on H.R. 36, the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," will result in a pro-life bill moving forward.

"Very good language" is being put together, Smith told The Register. He told LifeSiteNews that he fully anticipated being able to support the final bill, because the House Republican caucus "wouldn't have something that would be unsupportable. Our leadership is genuinely pro-life."

In 2013, the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" easily passed through the House of Representatives, only to be stalled by a Democratic-controlled Senate. This year, an identical bill was halted by Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-NC, and other Republicans -- surprising and angering pro-life leaders who thought its passage was assured. That bill, H.R. 36, is now being rewritten so it can be voted on by the full House, though its final wording remains uncertain.

Some fear that the House leadership will modify the bill to mollify Ellmers. She and others objected that the bill allows women to abort a child after 20 weeks in the case of rape – but only if they report that rape to the authorities.

Pro-life activists say removing the reporting requirement would take abortionists at their word that the women whose children they abort claimed to be raped. Congresswoman Ellmers has publicly stated the House leadership is considering such a proposal.

Jill Stanek, who was recently arrested on Capitol Hill as part of a protest to encourage Republicans to pass H.R. 36, said that would be "a loophole big enough for a Mack truck."

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Congressman Smith said the bill will come to the floor shortly. "The commitment to this bill is ironclad; we just have to work out some details," Smith said.

He also noted that, while a vote on the 20-week ban has been delayed for nearly three months, "we did get the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act passed, and that would have been in the queue now, so we just reversed" the order of the two bills.

Congressman Smith spoke to both outlets shortly after participating in a panel at the Summit.

Another speaker was Rep. Steve King, R-IA, who also supports the 20-week ban.

"I can't think of what” language that is actively under consideration could make him rethink his support for the bill, King said. He also told attendees that the nation was moving in a direction of supporting life.

The outspoken Congressman declined to answer further, noting "that's asking me to anticipate an unknown hypothetical."

The annual Campaign for Life Summit and its related gala drew other high-profile speakers, including presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul, potential presidential hopeful Senator Lindsay Graham, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.  

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"Someone who doesn’t flinch at the dismemberment of babies is not going to flinch at the dismemberment of some evangelical baker’s conscience."
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Pro-lifers are winning. So now they’re coming for our cupcakes?

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

As I travel across Canada (and at times the United States) speaking on abortion and various facets of the Culture of Death, one of the things I hear often is a hopelessness, a despair that the West is being flattened by the juggernaut of the Sexual Revolution. There is a feeling among many people that the restriction of religious liberty, the continued legality of abortion, and the redefinition of marriage are inevitable.

This is, of course, one of the most prominent and successful strategies of the Sexual Revolutionaries—create an aura of inevitability while concurrently demonizing all those who oppose their new and mangled “progress” as Neanderthals on the cusp of being left behind by History. That inevitability becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because many people don’t realize that the various battles in the Sexual Revolution actually all correlate to one another—that what we are seeing now is the end game of an incredibly vast and well-planned cultural project.

It is because we miss many of these connections that we often cannot see, with clarity, how the culture wars are actually unfolding. I read with great interest a recent column by Rev. Douglas Wilson, eloquently titled “With stirrups raised to Molech.”

“We are now much occupied with the issues swirling around same sex mirage,” he writes, “but we need to take great care not to get distracted. Why have the homosexual activists gone all in on this issue? Why is their prosecutorial zeal so adamant? We went, in just a matter of months, from ‘let’s let individual states’ decide on this, to federal judges striking down state statutes, followed up hard by official harassment of florists, bakers, and photographers. Why the anger, and why the savage over-reach? And do they really think we couldn’t remember all the things they were assuring us of this time last year?”

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It’s a compelling question, and one that I’ve heard many Christians puzzling over recently. Why do the advocates of the Sexual Revolution despise those who disagree with them so viciously? It is partly because their cultural project does not, as they claim, consist of “living and let live.” It is about compulsory acceptance of any and all sexual behaviors, with tax-payer funding for the rubbers and pills they need to ensure all such behaviors remain sterile, and extermination crews to suction, poison, and dismember any inconvenient fetuses that may come into being as the result of casual coitus.

The ancient mantra “the State has no business in the bedrooms of the nation” has long been abandoned—the emboldened Sexual Revolutionaries now demand that politicians show up at their exhibitionist parades of public indecency, force schools to impose their so-called “morally neutral” view of sexuality on children, and force into silence those who still hold to traditional values.

Rev. Wilson, however, thinks that this loud and vicious war on conscience may be about even more than that. The pro-life cause, he notes, has been very successful in the Unites States. The abortion rate is the lowest it has been since 1973. Hundreds of pro-life laws are passing on the state level. The abortion industry has been successfully stigmatized. True, the successes are, for pro-lifers, often too feeble and not nearly adequate enough in the face of such unrestrained bloodshed. Nevertheless, the momentum has turned against the Sexual Revolutionaries who have championed abortion for decades—their shock and anger at the strength of the pro-life movement evident in pro-abortion signs at rallies that read, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this s**t.”

It is because of the pro-life movement’s success, Wilson muses, that the Sexual Revolutionaries may be coming at us with such fury. “If a nation has slaughtered 50 million infants,” he writes, “they are not going to suddenly get a sense of decency over you and your cupcakes. Now this explains their lack of proportion, and their refusal to acknowledge the rights of florists. Someone who doesn’t flinch at the dismemberment of babies is not going to flinch at the dismemberment of some evangelical baker’s conscience. This reveals their distorted priorities, of course, but it also might be revealing a strategy. Is the homosexual lobby doing this because they are freaking out over their losses on the pro-life front? And are they doing so in a way intended to distract us away from an issue where we are slowly, gradually, inexorably, winning?”

It’s a fascinating perspective. It’s true—and has always been true historically—that when one group of human beings is classified as nonhuman by a society as nonhuman and subsequently butchered, the whole of society is degraded. No nation and no culture can collectively and systematically kill so many human beings without a correlating hardening of the conscience. But on the pro-life front, there has been decades of fierce resistance, hundreds of incremental victories, and a renewed energy among the upcoming generation of activists. For the Sexual Revolutionaries who thought the battle was over when Roe v. Wade was announced in 1973, this must be a bitter pill to swallow indeed.

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Lisa Bourne

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‘Prominent’ Catholics attacking Archbishop Cordileone are big donors to Pelosi and pro-abort Democrats

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

Note: To sign a petition supporting Archbishop Cordileone, click here

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Big donors to the Democrat Party and pro-abortion Nancy Pelosi are among those publicly harassing San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for protecting Catholic identity in the area’s Catholic high schools.

A big-ticket full-page ad ran April 16 in the San Francisco Chronicle attacking the archbishop and calling Pope Francis to oust him for his efforts to reinforce Catholic principles in the schools.

A number of prominent San Francisco-area residents identifying as Catholic are signatories of the ad, and several are wealthy donors to Democrat entities and pro-abortion politicians, Catholic Vote reports.

Federal Election Commission records indicate Charles Geschke, Adobe Systems chairman and previous head of the Board of Trustees at the University of San Francisco, gave more than $240,000 to Democrat groups, as well as $2,300 to Nancy Pelosi and $4,000 to John Kerry, both politicians who claim to be Catholic but support abortion and homosexual “marriage.”

Also on the list is political consultant and businessman Clint Reilly, who gave nearly $60,000 to Democrat organizations, along with $5,000 to Barack Obama, whose administration vehemently promotes abortion and homosexual “marriage” and has continually opposed religious liberty. Reilly gave $4,600 to Pelosi as well.

Another individual in the ad attacking the archbishop who also gave big campaign donations to California pro-abort Democrats was Lou Giraudo, a former city commissioner and business executive who contributed more than $24,000 to Nancy Pelosi, $6,000 to Dianne Feinstein and $4,300 to Barbara Boxer.

Nancy Pelosi herself challenged the archbishop for his stance on Catholic teaching last year when she tried to pressure him out of speaking at the March for Marriage in Washington D.C., claiming the event was “venom masquerading as virtue.”

The archbishop responded in a letter that he was obliged “as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing ... especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.”

The April 16 ad attacking Archbishop Cordileone was the latest in an ongoing assault since the archbishop took steps in February to strengthen Catholic identity in the schools and clarify for faculty and staff in handbooks and contract language the long-standing expectation that they uphold Church principles. 

It said Archbishop Cordileone has “fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance” and called on Pope Francis to remove him.

“Holy Father, Please Provide Us With a Leader True to Our Values and Your Namesake,” the ad said. “Please Replace Archbishop Cordileone.”

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (CCC), a national association for priests and deacons, condemned Archbishop Cordileone’s harassers in a statement, saying the archbishop “teaches in conformity to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

“The character assassination and uncharitable venom being cast upon a bishop merely defending the doctrines of his religion is appalling and repugnant,” the CCC said. 

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“It is totally inappropriate, improper and unjust for the media and others to vilify and brutally attack him when he is doing precisely what an ordained minister and pastor of souls is obligated to do,” the group stated, “namely, speak the truth in season and out of season.”

Those behind the attack ad said the proposed handbook language was mean-spirited, and that they were “committed Catholics inspired by Vatican II,” who “believe in the traditions of conscience, respect and inclusion upon which our Catholic faith was founded.”

The Archdiocese of San Francisco denounced the ad upon its release, saying it was a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching and the nature of the teacher contract, and a misrepresentation of the spirit of the Archbishop.

“The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for “the Catholic Community of San Francisco,” the archdiocese responded. “They do not.”

The CCC pointed out that just as physicians are expected to be faithful to the Hippocratic Oath, bishops, priests, and deacons are expected to be faithful to the Church, its teachings and its authority, “since their objective is the salvation of souls, not a popularity contest.” 

In openly declaring their support for Archbishop Cordileone, the group urged the media and others to show “prudence, civility, and fair-mindedness” toward those with whom they disagree.

“He took an oath to be faithful to the Gospel,” the Confraternity stated of Archbishop Cordileone, “and in the words of the disciples in the New Testament, ‘better to obey God than men.’”

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