Bowe Ties Obama to another Foreign Policy Blunder
Stuck in a cycle of scandals, President Obama was ready to do anything to change the conversation -- including, we now know, unleashing five of the world's most deadly terrorists on the rest of society. Four days into the administration's large-scale distraction, the White House is probably wishing it were still answering questions about the VA. So far, the "feel good" story of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release from the Taliban doesn't feel good to anyone reading the steady drip of news about the five-year Taliban captive -- and the steep price Americans paid to return him.
Bergdahl's return has yet to trigger positive feelings from the men he served with, many of whom feel the soldier willingly deserted his post and put "thousands of lives in jeopardy" in the month-long search to bring the soldier back to the unit he abandoned (a crime punishable by death, according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice). At least six Americans were killed in the hunt for Bergdahl, an Afghan sympathizer who reportedly premeditated his disappearance. That detail is also corroborated by Jake Tapper's CNN report this morning, claiming that several troops who served with Bergdahl were asked to sign nondisclosure agreements. Emails allegedly sent to his parents before his 2009 capture paint a less than flattering image of the Sergeant so many sacrificed to save. "I'm ashamed to be an American... [T]he title of U.S. soldier is just the lie of fools. The horror that is America is disgusting."
While details of Bowe's capture and defection are still murky, the facts about his release are not. In one of the worst instances of lawlessness yet, President Obama negotiated Bergdahl's release without notifying Congress -- a fact not lost on even the most liberal of news outlets. MSNBC and CNN both took a break from playing defense for the White House to put administration officials in the hot seat. To Press Secretary Jay Carney, CNN's Joe Johns asked if on this issue the President thinks "he's above the law?" "Absolutely not," Carney replied.
Jeffrey Toobin piled on in a segment with a disbelieving Wolf Blitzer. "I think he clearly broke the law," the CNN contributor said. "The law says 30-days notice... The law is on the books, and he didn't follow it." So stunned was Blitzer that he said, "You realize, of course, you're accusing the President of the United States of breaking the law." As Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will tell you, this isn't exactly a first for the administration (more like a 77th).
Meanwhile, the people most outraged by the prisoner swap are the leaders Obama circumvented: Congress. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), both ranking members of their respective Armed Services Committees, were furious at the administration's latest crime. "Our joy at Sergeant Berghdal's release is tempered by the fact that President Obama chose to ignore the law, not to mention sound policy, to achieve it." Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was equally frustrated. "We have released five very dangerous individuals who will eventually find their way back into the battlefield. I think it sets very dangerous precedent." Just last year, Jay Carney was insistent that no decisions about Bergdahl would be made "without consulting with Congress." Now, six U.S. deaths and five free terrorists later, this exchange has turned out to be another adventure in Executive lawlessness.
And, let's not forget the horrifying double standard it represents. While the U.S. trades masterminds of terror for a man who "is a deserter," the same government is deserting two American babies yearning to breathe free in a deadly prison in Khartoum, Sudan. Where are the President's priorities? The conditions at Guantanamo Bay were like a five-star hotel compared to what Meriam Ibrahim is shackled in for her Christian faith. And what is the State Department's response to the pleas of this helpless American family? "We don't have time."
The same White House that insists it won't leave Americans behind has done exactly that in Benghazi, Mexico, Sudan, and Iran, where Pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned for two years. But then, the President also took an oath not to leave the law behind -- and we all see how that turned out.
Let Them Eat Cake!
Masterpiece Cakes isn't the first bakery liberals have tried to stick a fork in. The clash between religious liberty and same-sex "marriage" continues to explode in businesses across America, where shop owners, B&Bs, and bakers come to grips with this brave new world of political correctness. In Colorado, Jack Phillips is just one of the entrepreneurs caught in the crosshairs of the Left's stampede to the altar of same-sex "marriage." The owner of Masterpiece Cakes, like Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Arlene's Flowers, Elane Photography, and countless other vendors, is finding out how far homosexual activists are willing to go to demand compliance with their radical agenda.
After a two-year tug-of-war with the state's Civil Rights Commission, Phillips was ordered last Friday to bake cakes for same-sex couples regardless of his Christian beliefs. "I can believe anything I want," said Commissioner Raju Jaram, "but if I'm going to do business here, I'd ought to not discriminate against people."
Does the Commissioner really believe that? It appears so, because acting on his beliefs is exactly what Jack Phillips was doing. In the end, it's really not a question of acting upon your beliefs, it's whose beliefs will be allowed. Although Jack's customers could have gone to any number of local bakeries to order a "wedding" cake, two men decided to make an example out of Masterpiece and bully the business into violating their faith -- something Phillips refuses to do.
Rather than participate in a ceremony that goes against the Bible's teachings, Jack is abandoning cake making altogether. "We would close down the bakery before we would compromise our beliefs." And while homosexual activists might cheer about taking a bite out of his business, the Phillipses say they've made more than enough money from supporters to compensate for the loss. The bakery, Jack says, has been so overwhelmed by likeminded people buying his other sweets that he doesn't need to make cakes.
Unfortunately, Melissa Klein and her husband weren't so lucky. Liberal extremists drove Sweet Cakes by Melissa out of their downtown shop, where even her property has been vandalized by the "tolerant" side. The media has done its best to ignore the stories of these victims -- not because they don't exist -- but because liberals recognize their potential to swing the debate. But soon, even the press won't be able to hide from the profound loss of liberty that accompanies this forced march down the same-sex "wedding" aisle.
Soros Group Takes a Kick at the Ken
If you can't beat 'em, smear 'em. That seems to be Media Matters's far-Left M.O. for intimidating people who make compelling cases for conservatism. Its latest target? FRC's Ken Blackwell. In an interview last week, Ken talked about the latest shooting spree at the University of California and pointed back to the "crumbling of the moral foundation of the country" as a contributing factor to the recent spate of violence. Media Matters, a pet project of multi-billionaire George Soros, went on the attack -- accusing Ken of blaming same-sex "marriage" for the murders.
TruthRevolt immediately fired back at the wild distortion. "Blackwell never mentions same-sex marriage. Not once. His discussion... revolves around the generalized breakdown and destruction of sexual values. Blackwell's main point is with the hyper-sexualized, porn-obsessed society that we live in, Elliot Rodger's perception of what a relationship between a man and a woman comes from the "development of human sexuality in our culture."
Media Matters absurd stretch is just that. An absurd stretch to try and spin the words of someone they do not agree with so as to fit the narrative of the left-leaning organization." Once again, we see the Left twisting words in a debate that they can't win -- refusing to debate, and instead trying to silence the opposition. It's a systematic censorship without regard to the facts. And left unchallenged, it's the recipe for disaster where Americans' basic rights of speech and belief are concerned.
** For more on the Bowe Bergdahl controversy, check out my interview on "Bill Bennett's Morning in America" here.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.