Women Deliver, a global conference on maternal health, has tapped pro-infanticide philosopher Peter Singer and partial-birth abortionist LeRoy Carhart to train family planning advocates. While the conference purports to address health needs of poor women and an “unmet need” for contraception, many sessions promote unregulated abortion up to birth.
C-FAM, an international pro-family group, expects this will cause trouble for speakers like Melinda Gates. Last year, the wife of billionaire Bill Gates elicited pledges from presidents to advance her family planning campaign within their countries by promising it will not include abortion or population control.
C-FAM will report on Women Deliver as it meets May 27 – 31 in Kuala Lumpur.
“Women Deliver is billed as a next step in Melinda Gates’ campaign. Gates assured supporters that her campaign has nothing to do with abortion or population control. Yet the speakers and workshops at Women Deliver advocate practices — like unlimited abortion — that will increase maternal and newborn deaths,” said Wendy Wright, C-FAM’s Vice President for Government Relations and Communications.
C-FAM also discovered the often-repeated statistic that 220 million women have an “unmet need” for contraception — a powerful advocacy point — is inflated. A study by the Guttmacher Institute reveals the duplicity.
“Guttmacher adds the number of women who choose not to use contraception to the group of women who cite lack of access — and claims the combined group of women have an ‘unmet need’ for contraception. Most of these 220 million women will not use contraception regardless of its availability because of side effects, personal opposition, infrequent sexual activity, they just had a baby or are breastfeeding, or their partner is opposed,” said Wright.
“Women Deliver encourages tactics that increase unsafe abortions. One campaign backs the inferior drug misoprostol for bleeding after childbirth over a superior medication — because misoprostol can be used for abortions. The goal is to get abortion drugs into nations where abortion is unacceptable or illegal,” Wright said.
U.S. health secretary Kathleen Sebelius will also speak at Women Deliver. Sebelius imposed a contraception/abortion mandate against employers that has sparked 50 lawsuits for violating constitutional rights. Her close ties to late-term abortionists as governor prompted accusations that she shielded abortionists from prosecutions.
Senate Democrats are looking to paint a recent Republican fracas between Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) as further evidence of an obstructionist GOP whose recalcitrance is bogging down budget negotiations.
When Paul and Cruz called to block Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray’s (D-WA) unanimous consent request to move to a budget conference, McCain blasted members of his own party:
For four years, four years, we complained about the fact that the Majority Leader… would refuse to bring a budget to the floor of the United States Senate… all of us patted each other on the back and we were so proud we did the budget and by golly, now we’ll move with the House of Representatives and we will have a budget— hopefully at least begin negotiations with the House of Representatives…
So what do we keep doing? What are we on my side of the aisle keep doing? We don’t want a budget unless we put requirements on the conferees that are absolutely out of line and unprecedented.
If my colleagues on this side of the aisle think that we are helping our cause as fiscal conservatives by blocking going to a conference on the budget, which every family in America has to be on, because of certain requirements that they demand, then we are not helping ourselves with the American people at all.
Cruz fired back at McCain on Wednesday: “The senior senator from Arizona [McCain] urged this body to trust the Republicans.” Cruz explained, “Let me be clear, I don’t trust the Republicans. I don’t trust the Democrats and I think a whole lot of Americans likewise don’t trust the Republicans or the Democrats because it is leadership in both parties that has got us into this mess.”
Murray attempted to leverage the squabble to paint Republicans—not Democrats—as the party standing in the way to the Senate finally moving forward on a budget after years of inaction:
It has now been 59 days since the Senate and House have both passed our budget resolutions. The American people are now expecting us to get together and do everything possible to bridge the partisan divide and come to a bipartisan deal—and Senate Democrats are ready to get to work…
…instead of scrambling to find new excuses for their budget conference flip-flops, Senate Republicans should realize that their opposition to bipartisan negotiations is simply not sustainable and should come back to the table.
The Democrat-controlled Senate has not passed a budget since 2009.
President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (AP Photo)
(CNSNews.com) – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday during a press conference on Capitol Hill that the buck doesn’t stop with President Barack Obama on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal, because he cannot “know about everything that is going on in every agency of government.”
“Well, the president doesn’t know about everything that is going on in every agency of government,” Pelosi said in response to a reporter asking, “Doesn’t the buck stop with him (Obama)? Shouldn’t he have known about all of these things, but he says he didn’t know about any of this?”
“Should Mr. Boehner have known, because this is his neighboring district in Cincinnati where the IRS office is? I don’t think you can hold him accountable for what happened in that IRS office,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi was asked whether the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups will hurt the Democrats in the 2014 elections, since the scandal happened on Obama’s watch.
Pelosi pointed to President George W. Bush, who appointed IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, who served at the agency until November 2012.
“You say it happened on his watch. It happened on the appointment of the head of the IRS, who was appointed by President Bush,” Pelosi said. “His length of stay extended into President Obama’s stay, but I think that that points to the fact that, why is this a politicized issue, because we all are concerned about how the IRS does what it’s supposed to do, supports the law, but does not do it in a selective way.
“I’ve said before, what they did was wrong, the inspector general has said over and over it is not illegal, but the committee wants to challenge the inspector general on his findings, so that will unfold,” the congresswoman said.
“But again, the IRS is an independent agency, so the inference to be drawn from it happened on his watch is that it happened on his watch the way some other cabinet and agency of government would,” Pelosi said. “No. This is an independent agency, headed up by a Bush appointee.
“What they did was wrong. We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Selective review – we don’t like it on our side. We don’t like it on their side. It has no place.”
A reporter then asked, “Doesn’t the buck stop with him (Obama)? Shouldn’t he have known about all of these things, but he says he didn’t know about any of this.”
Pelosi said Obama should not be held accountable any more than speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“Well, the president doesn’t know about everything that is going on in every agency of government,” Pelosi said. “Should Mr. Boehner have known because this is his neighboring district in Cincinnati where the IRS office is? I don’t think you can hold him accountable for what happened in that IRS office.”
“I think that obviously the public will make its decision about it, but that’s it,” she said. “A Bush appointee – under his leadership this happened. It was wrong. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
President Obama said he was “outraged” to learn about the IRS subjecting Tea Party groups to greater scrutiny when applying for tax-exempt status, but he said he only learned about it when it was made public by an IRS apology on May 10.
That apology, given by IRS official Lois Lerner, came ahead of the Treasury inspector general’s audit, which revealed groups with names such as “patriot,” and “Tea Party,” were targeted during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
In a hearing before the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform on Wednesday, Shulman, who visited the White House at least 118 times during his tenure, said he “certainly did not believe” he ever had conversations about the scandal with the president.
If you’re looking for ways to help residents in Oklahoma, the following relief organizations are working in the area:
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross has several shelters open in Oklahoma and Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles have begun delivering hot meals throughout the affected areas. The Red Cross is also working to link loved ones in Moore who are OK through a website called Safe and Well. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, donate online, or donate by phone at 1-800-RED CROSS.
The Salvation Army is activating disaster response teams and mobile feeding units to help residents and rescuers in Moore, Okla., as well as in other locations in the Plains and the Midwest that were impacted by tornadoes. Donate online or text STORM to 80888 to contribute $10 to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts or make a donation by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY. If you’re sending a check make sure you put the words “Oklahoma Tornado Relief” on the check, and mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK., 73157.
Los Angeles-based international relief agency Operation USA announced it’s providing emergency aid where needed to community-based health organizations across Oklahoma. Donate online, by phone at 1-800-678-7255, or by check made out to Operation USA, 7421 Beverly Blvd., PH, Los Angeles, CA 90036. You can also donate $10 by texting AID to 50555. Corporate donations of bulk quantities of disaster-appropriate supplies are also being requested.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief says it has deployed at least 80 volunteers to respond to severe weather in Oklahoma. Those interested in helping can make a tax-deductible donation to the BGCO’s Disaster Relief ministry online or call (405) 942-3800. You may also send checks to: BGCO Attn: Disaster Relief 3800 N. May Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73112.
Some good news amid the bad:
On @cbsthismorning, Okla Lt Gov says Search Rescue teams found 101 survivors overnight.
After over 40 minutes of evasion in Penny Pritzker’s confirmation hearing as Secretary of Commerce, the committee finally heard about the failure of Pritzker’s Superior Bank in 2001 due to subprime lending.
“What do you have to say to the depositors?” Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the Ranking Member on the committee, asked her, asking about those who lost their money and still have not been repaid. Pritzker said that she regretted the failure of the bank but had learned important lessons from it for the future.
Questioning then passed to Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who quickly expressed his hope that she would be confirmed.
The “maybe” challengers for the Senate seat held by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, have moved from Ashley Judd — who decided against a run weeks ago — to Heather French Henry, Miss America for 2000.
“I’m not saying no yet, but I’m not saying yes,” Mrs. Henry said to The Hill. “I certainly see myself, in the future, in some sort of political office.”
She’s just not sure if 2014 is the year, Mrs. Henry said. Still, she’s being “urged,” she said in The Hill.
“There’s not a day that goes by that someone doesn’t mention it,” including “people in higher political positions,” she said. “[But] I have in no way, shape or form solicited any comments or any advice from anyone on any Senate race.”
Mrs. Henry is the wife of former Kentucky Democratic Lt. Gov. Steve Henry.
Democrats have been struggling to find a suitable challenger for Mr. McConnell. Miss Judd turned away from the opportunity, citing family reasons. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is a likely strong contender for Democrats, but she has yet to decide whether she’ll run.
Former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Douglas Shulman. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
(CNSNews.com) – Former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Douglas Shulman said he believes he did not have any conversations with the White House about his agency’s targeting of conservative groups that had applied for tax-exemption status.
After the hearing’s star witness Lois Lerner refused to testify today by pleading the Fifth Amendment, members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform trained their focus on Shulman, who visited the White House at least 118 times during his tenure at the IRS.
“118 times you were at the White House, 132 members of Congress contact you about this information, 42 major news stories about this very subject and you told Congress a year ago, ‘I can give you assurances nothing is going on, everything’s wonderful, we’re not targeting conservative groups,’” Rep. Jim Jordan said (R-Ohio). “This is unbelievable.”
“Are you sure you didn’t talk to anyone at the White House about this issue, Mr. Shulman?” Jordan said.
“I am absolutely sure I did not talk to anyone,” Shulman said.
“118 visits, it didn’t come up in a conversation after 132 members of Congress contacted you about it, are you sure you didn’t bring it up with anybody at the White House?” Jordan repeated.
“Not to my memory and it wouldn’t be appropriate,” Shulman said. “So I certainly believe I did not have any conversations.”
Shulman also came under fire for failing to notify Congress that the IRS was targeting conservative groups.
Shulman said he first learned of the practice in May 2012, but never alerted Congress even though he had testified on March 22, 2012 that there was “absolutely no targeting,” going on. Shulman remained IRS commissioner until November 2012.
On Wednesday, Shulman said it was “standard procedure” to not alert Congress and let the Inspector General handle it.
“My standard procedure as head of the IRS is, when I knew something that sounded of concern—as the chairman called ‘smoke’—and I didn’t have all the facts, I didn’t know what was on the list, exactly how it was used, were there liberal groups as well as conservative groups?” Shulman said. “I didn’t have the facts. And it was in the hands of the IG, the IG would do a thorough review of the matter and when he had all of the facts would report that to the IRS, to the Treasury and to the Congress.”
“So at that point, I didn’t have anything concrete, I didn’t have a full set of facts to come back to the Congress or the committee with,” he said.
“You act as if something was a paramount concern to the Congress, paramount concern to the chairman of the top investigative committee in the Congress, and you find out information and you know it was a concern, did you get upset when you heard from Mr. Miller?” Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) asked.
“I felt comfort that the IG was going to look into it,” Shulman said.
The IRS has come under a firestorm since Lerner apologized for singling out conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status on May 10, ahead of the public release of an Inspector General report that detailed the practice.
The IG audit, released on May 14, confirmed that groups with names including “Tea Party,” “Patriots” or “9/12 Project” were put on a separate “Be On the Look Out” (BOLO) list, subjected to lengthy personal questionnaires during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
President Barack Obama (AP Photo)
That report, however, though scheduled for release in September 2012—just months before the 2012 presidential election—was delayed, it was revealed during Wednesday’s hearing.
Emails between oversight committee staff and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) were presented, showing that the Inspector General delayedreporting its findings to Congress.
Committee staff asked TIGTA repeatedly beginning in September 2012 about their report, asking, “…You mentioned your report would be ready in September. Any update for us?”
TIGTA repeatedly said the work was ongoing. One response even blamed a final exam for its delay.
“Sorry for the delayed response,” an email from TIGTA read on Dec. 20, 2012. “I was studying for a final . . . We will be able to offer a substantive briefing, i.e., the facts, findings, recommendations, and outcomes by March.”
The committee continued to ask for a briefing with TIGTA about the audit. But when Lerner apologized for targeting conservatives on May 10, the committee felt blindsided.
“The fact that this information is now public and we have not been briefed despite my repeated requests over so many months is completely unacceptable,” committee staff said.
“The IRS issued a press statement without our knowledge, consent, or even advance notice,” TIGTA said.
What’s next for the investigation could include a special prosecutor, said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.). “If this committee is prevented by obstruction or by refusal to answer the questions that we need to get to the bottom of this, you will leave us no alternative but to ask for an appointment of a special prosecutor, or appointment of a special committee, to get to the bottom of this,” Lynch said.
“The power to tax is the power to destroy,” said Chairman Darryl Issa (R-Calif.). “The power to grant tax status is, in fact, an enhancement of the rights and liberties of our speech.”
“That is what is at stake here,” he said. “And it wouldn’t matter one bit if a different group was targeted.”
In case you missed it, here’s Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s statement at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday before voting NO on the SchMcRubioGrahamnesty amnesty package backed by GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.
“They ought to be able — just like a church, just like a charity — to have the right to opt out of a provision that infringes on their religious beliefs,” said Kyle Duncan, who will argue before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the Green family, the founders of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and a sister company, Christian booksellers Mardel Inc.
The Greens contend that emergency contraception is tantamount to abortion because it can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. They also object to providing coverage for certain kinds of intrauterine devices.
Lower courts have rejected Hobby Lobby’s claim, saying that for-profit businesses aren’t covered by an exemption added to the law for religious organizations. That exemption applies to churches themselves, but not to affiliated nonprofit corporations, like hospitals, that do not rely primarily on members of the faith as employees.
In a decision issued late last year, a federal judge concluded simply, “Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations.”
But U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton in Oklahoma City also wrote that “the court is not unsympathetic” to Hobby Lobby’s dilemma and that the question of compelling employer health coverage for certain procedures “involves largely uncharted waters.”
Hobby Lobby is the most prominent of many businesses challenging the HHS Mandate, and it is the first to be heard by a federal appeals court. Arguing the administration’s case, will be the U.S. Department of Justice.
The case is before the 10th Circuit and is being heard by all nine judges, instead of the typical three-judge panel, signifying the case’s importance.
JERUSALEM (AP) — The United States and Israel raised hopes Thursday for a restart of the Middle East peace process, despite little tangible progress so far from U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s 2-month-old effort to get Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.
As they met in Jerusalem, Mr. Kerry praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the “seriousness” with which he is looking at ways to revitalize peace hopes. Mr. Kerry expressed optimism without outlining any concrete strategy for ending a stalemate between the two sides that has seen them hardly negotiate one-on-one at all during the past 4½ years.
“I know this region well enough to know there is skepticism, in some quarters there is cynicism, and there are reasons for it,” Mr. Kerry told reporters. “There have been bitter years of disappointment. It is our hope that by being methodical, careful, patient — but detailed and tenacious — that we can lay on a path ahead that can conceivably surprise people and certainly exhaust the possibilities of peace.”
“That’s what we’re working towards,” said Mr. Kerry, who met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later Thursday in Ramallah on the West Bank.
Mr. Netanyahu said his conversation with the top American diplomat would touch on mutual concerns about Iran and Syria.
“But above all,” he said, “what we want to do is restart the peace talks with the Palestinians.”
“It’s something I want, it’s something you want,” Mr. Netanyahu told Mr. Kerry. “It’s something I hope the Palestinians want as well, and we ought to be successful for a simple reason: When there’s a will, we’ll find a way.”
The visit, Mr. Kerry’s fourth trip to the Jewish state since taking office as secretary of state in February, coincides with deepening pessimism from Palestinian officials about the new peace push. They are planning to resume their campaign of seeking membership in key international organizations as early as next month in a bid to put pressure on Israel into offering some concessions.
Without major U.S. pressure on Israel, the outlook seems bleak. The most immediate divide concerns the issue of Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — lands that Israel conquered in the 1967 Mideast war and that the Palestinians hope to include in their state.
While Palestinians praised Mr. Kerry’s efforts, they said there has been little progress ahead of what they believe to be a June 7 deadline for action. They already are beginning work on a “day-after” strategy.
“We don’t have unrealistic expectations. We know the immensity of obstacles,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official. “If it doesn’t work, of course we have our own plans.”
The Palestinians say there is no point in negotiating while Israel continues to build Jewish settlements. More than 500,000 Israelis now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, making it increasingly difficult to partition the land between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel also captured the Gaza Strip in 1967, though it withdrew from the territory in 2005.
The Palestinians have demanded that Israel freeze settlement construction and accept the pre-1967 frontiers as the baselines of a future border. While previous Israeli leaders have used the 1967 lines as a starting point for talks, Mr. Netanyahu says negotiations should begin without any preconditions.
When President Obama took office in 2009, he took a tough line against the settlements and prodded Israel into a partial construction freeze. But Israel refused to extend the freeze, and a short-lived round of negotiations in 2010 quickly collapsed. Mr. Obama similarly tried unsuccessfully to press Israel into accepting the 1967 lines as a base line for talks.
Fed up with the impasse and disillusioned with Mr. Obama, the Palestinians last fall won recognition from the U.N. General Assembly as a nonmember state, an upgraded diplomatic status that gives them access to key U.N. bodies. The U.S. was one of just eight countries that sided with Israel in opposing the bid.
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