Controversy Budding Over White House Decision To Cut Chief Florist

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Renowned White House Chief Florist Laura Dowling left her position on the eve of Valentine’s Day last month, and the reason for her departure is not clear. The Washington Post reports that there is still no official statement concerning what precipitated her unexpected exodus, but sources say she was escorted from the building on February 13.

When the Post inquired with the first lady’s office, it received a terse reply: “Laura left her position earlier this year.” A short time later, the East Wing sent a slightly longer statement:

As Chief Florist, Laura Dowling and her team treated guests of the White House to their beautiful floral arrangements. Ms. Dowling’s creations were always lively and colorful, reflecting not only the season but the unique and historic rooms which they graced. No two arrangements were ever the same and each one left guests with a lasting impression of the elegance and history of the People’s House. We are grateful for her contribution over the years and wish her well.

Ms. Dowling released a statement through her attorney, published earlier this week:

After almost 6 years as Chief Floral Designer at the White House, I have resigned in order to pursue exciting new opportunities and explore my passion for floral artistry and design. Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be launching a new platform for my work as an author, speaker, instructor and design consultant that builds on the creative ideas and partnerships I’ve formed during my tenure there. It’s been such an honor to work at the White House and I will always be grateful for this incredible opportunity.

Dowling, a French-trained designer, had won her position as top florist in 2009 in a reality TV-style competition and had served in the White House since that time. She succeeded Nancy Clarke, who had been the chief florist for three decades.

The Post noted the contrast between Dowling’s no-fanfare/secret departure with that of other White House staff, like the “crust master” (the president’s words) pastry chef, Bill Yosses, and the family’s personal chef, Sam Kass, whom the president said ”left an indelible mark on the White House.” Mrs. Obama also wished Kass well in his future endeavors in the official White House statement.

The lack of comment by either of the Obamas regarding Ms. Dowling’s departure has caused rampant speculation as to the reason, with many concluding the first lady made the call.

The Post published a follow-up story Tuesday indicating that the first lady and Dowling clashed over matters of taste, with Mrs. Obama no longer liking the chief florist’s “fussy style.”

BizPac Review noted the similarity of the White House statement concerning Dowling’s departure with the language corporations use when they fire someone and do not want the public to know it. Couple that with Ms. Dowling sending her statement through a K Street attorney and a budding, true life, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue drama is in the offing.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Are Obama And Democrats Now Targeting Lawful Businesses?

U.S. Department of Commerce (Flickr)

 

Is the Obama Administration now targeting lawful businesses?

Mike Hawkins, owner of Hawkins Guns, LLC, received a notice from his bank on November 13, telling him his business account was going to be closed because he was a gun dealer. Upon visiting the bank, he was able to record a conversation with the bank official who said: “We don’t do firearms, ammunition, Uhm, (unintelligible), (unintelligible), auctioneers and check cashing companies.”

Hawkins also owns a private investigative business and, as a result, was able to look deeper into the matter and was shocked by what he found. He said:

There are many Americans across the country that have been affected by this. They may not have come forward yet, but the US Consumer Federation is getting numerous calls since my story broke and hopefully more people will come to the table with what has happened to them.

The Department of Justice released the following statement: “We do not target businesses operating within the bounds of the law and we have no interest in pursuing/discouraging lawful conduct.”

The Wall Street Journal published an article saying:

When you become a banker, no one issues you a badge, nor are you fitted for a judicial robe. So why is the Justice Department telling bankers to behave like policemen and judges? Justice’s new probe, known as “Operation Choke Point,” is asking banks to identify customers who may be breaking the law or simply doing something government officials don’t like. Banks must then “choke off” those customers’ access to financial services, shutting down their accounts.

The industries that seem to be targeted include 22 categories of business including, but not limited to: firework sales, tobacco sales, coin dealers, pawn brokers, pharmaceutical sales, and home-based charities and even “As Seen on TV” businesses.

It is true that some businesses within these categories can have questionable ethics and practices, which is true in any business. However, should banks be the judge in determining whether a business is operating within the law? Can the Obama Administration and the Department of Justice force the closing of businesses with which they disagree by shutting off their access to credit and banking services, without giving them their day in court?

Also, says the Wall Street Journal:

Unfortunately, the strategy is legally dubious. Justice is pressuring banks to shut down accounts without pressing charges against a merchant or even establishing that the merchant broke the law. It’s clear enough that there’s fraud to shut down the account, Justice asserts, but apparently not clear enough for the highest law-enforcement agency in the land to prosecute.

Alden Abbott of the Heritage Foundation describes Operation Choke Point:

Banks receive notifications from federal regulators, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the agency responsible for insuring bank deposits), that the government considers certain types of businesses “high risk.” Banks then are pressured, though the implied threat of government investigations, to sever ties with customers engaged in those enterprises.

In the past, banks have always worked hand in hand with law enforcement by reporting suspicious banking behavior to combat identity fraud, counterfeit debt and credit cards, and tax evasion and wire transfer fraud. However, law enforcement agencies are responsible for deciding whether suspicious activity represents actual criminal violations, not the banks. When these suspicions are realized, those accused have their day in court, as mandated by our Constitution. Now, the Justice department is punishing banks that refuse to shut down unpopular but legal industries–by threatening penalties.

Despite your political leanings, or your opinions about the businesses allegedly targeted by the Administration, we should all be concerned that a President or one political party can make decisions that affect the constitutional rights of all Americans without our input or the input of our elected officials. One day, you or your business could be targeted as well, regardless of which political party you support. Is this the United State of America, or Obama’s Nation?

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Can Obama Serve Another Term?

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I have heard from time to time that there are people in America who believe Obama is going to try to run for another term as President. I could see the theory flames being stoked this weekend as Obama invoked the “cut it out” gesture, slicing his hand in front of his neck while a small crowd at a Princeton basketball game cheered, “Four more years! Four more years!”

The last president to embark on a third term was the philanderer Franklin D. Roosevelt. I can understand why, when “free” unconstitutional programs of the federal government created during his presidency were helping out so many people.

In his 1944 annual address to Congress, Roosevelt created a second Bill of Rights under which “a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all…Among these are:

“We have accepted, the right to a useful and remunerative job…

“The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation…

“The right of every family to a decent home…

“The right to adequate medical care…

“The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment…

“The right to a good education.

“All these rights spell security.”

For this generation of college goers – most of whom have been taught revisionist history and who have not faced the “real world” where college loans are paid by the government, and federally-funded unconstitutional mandates have to be paid back by them and their children’s children – a great basketball game and “free college” is enough to buy their vote.

Many Caesars gave people bread for their tummies and games for their lust of entertainment. While they were diverted, their destiny as a nation was forever altered and eventually stolen.

George Washington started the 2-term tradition, as it was not unconstitutional at that time to serve more than two terms. FDR was the first president to break tradition by running for a third term.

Though Obama may enjoy the thought of another four years, I have not mentally owned that this will happen, or that it can be a possibility.

Not considering the amount of unconstitutional things this President has done, can Obama serve another term as President?  The answer is no, not without doing it criminally; and it is evidenced in the definitive language of the Constitution’s 22nd Amendment: “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.”

America, there is no second Bill of Rights. And it depends on you and your children to make sure the law of America is not altered.

 

Learn more about your Constitution with Jake MacAulay and the Institute on the Constitution and receive your free gift.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Calls For Obama’s Impeachment Could Well Grow Louder With Army’s Decision To Charge Bergdahl

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When President Obama agreed in mid-2014 to exchange five top Taliban leaders in U.S. custody for an American soldier held by a terror group in Afghanistan, prominent critics of the deal charged that the commander-in-chief had committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” and should be impeached.

At the heart of those early calls for impeachment were claims that Obama had broken federal law against supporting terrorists. A June 2014 post on WND quoted Fox News’ Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano:

“’We have a federal statute which makes it a felony to provide material assistance to any terrorist organization. It could be money, maps, professional services, any asset whatsoever, include human assets,’ [Napolitano] said.”

Colonel Allen West, a former member of Congress, called on Capitol Hill lawmakers “to draft articles of impeachment as no one is above the law in America.”

Joining in the stinging criticism of Obama’s questionable “Taliban Five” trade deal was the former assistant U.S. attorney who successfully prosecuted Islamic radicals behind the first bombing of the World Trade Center.

Andrew McCarthy argued that “transferring the five terrorists to Qatar in exchange for the release of Bergdahl ‘violates the law against material support to terrorism.’”

Commentator Matt Barber (whose columns frequently appear on Western Journalism) added his voice to the chorus calling for impeachment. Via CNS News:

Whether Obama is intentionally trying to overthrow his own government is open for debate. But that he is, ‘adhering to [America’s] Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort,’ is without question.

Those calls for Obama’s impeachment came after controversial details of the deal were made public last summer, but long before the Army’s investigation of the Bergdahl case was complete…and longer still before today’s announcement that the military is charging Bowe Bergdahl with desertion.

When President Obama formally and proudly announced Bergdahl’s release after five years in captivity, there was a high-profile Rose Garden celebration of sorts featuring Bergdahl’s parents. Fox News reminds us:

“Bob Bergdahl, who had studied Islam during his son’s captivity appeared with a full beard and read a Muslim prayer, while Bergdahl’s mother Jani embraced the president.”

Then the administration set about trumpeting its triumphant accomplishment in the media.

Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice — known for her adamant assertion that the Benghazi attack was caused by an Internet video — went so far as to praise Bergdahl on national television, hailing the newly freed soldier as having “served the United States with honor and distinction.”

Rice’s declaration that the release of this “honorable” soldier marked a “joyous day” seems all the more removed from reality now that the Army has determined to prosecute Bergdahl for willfully leaving his post in Afghanistan.

Appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” close to two months ago, retired Army officer, Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, claimed the Pentagon had determined to charge Bergdahl; but the White House was desperately trying to keep that fact from going public because it would embarrass Obama.

Some of Bergdahl’s platoon-mates in recent months have been outspoken in their claims that Bowe Bergdahl voluntarily walked away from his unit and put his fellow soldiers lives at risk when they conducted dangerous missions to try to locate him.

At a Wednesday afternoon briefing about the Bergdahl case, an Army spokesman said there are two charges being lodged: “desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty” and “misbevaior before the enemy” that endangered his fellow soldiers.

The next step in the case is for the Army to hold a preliminary hearing at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. If taken to a court martial and found guilty, Bowe Bergdahl could face life in prison.

The consequences for Barack Obama, beyond potential embarrassment and renewed political grief, are yet to be determined.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

White House Chief Of Staff Calls For End To Israel’s 50 Year ‘Occupation’ Of Palestine

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White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough delivered a strong message to the annual J-Street Israel conference in Washington on Monday, stating, “An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state.”

McDonough’s word choice of “occupation” is among the most strident language the Obama administration has used in the week since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won re-election. Obama’s chief of staff added, “The borders of Israel and an independent Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps. Each state needs secure and recognized borders, and there must be robust provisions that safeguard Israel’s security.”

President Obama used the same language to describe the current governing relationship between Israel and the Arab citizens living in the West Bank. In a joint appearance with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in 2013, Obama said, “The Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the daily indignities that come with it.”

Israel gained control of the West Bank, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula during the Six Day War in 1967. The conflict ignited when Egypt amassed forces on the Jewish nation’s southern border and allied with Jordan and Syria, which struck Israel on multiple fronts. Israel prevailed in the war.

Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1979 following the Camp David Peace Accords, and withdrew from the Gaza Strip, relinquishing local control to the Palestinian Authority in 2005. The Gaza Strip had been part of Egypt prior to 1967. Israel retained control of the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank from Jordan for security and territorial reasons. There was no Palestinian state prior to the 1967 War. Though Israel has turned over local control of communities in the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, as a result of the 1993 Oslo Accords, it has not been willing to cede complete governance of the territory to establish a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has stated on multiple occasions that the pre-‘67 borders are indefensible. Previous Israeli prime ministers have held the same view. When Jordan controlled the West Bank, the distance between its border through Israel to the Mediterranean Sea at its narrowest point was nine miles.

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Netanyahu has walked back a statement made the day before his election last week indicating there would be no independent Palestinian state on his watch, but has maintained the current leadership of the Palestinian Authority, which is allied with the terrorist group Hamas, dictates that the climate is not right for a peace deal at this time. President Obama reportedly told Netanyahu that the United States would still “need to re-assess our options following the Prime Minister’s new positions and comments regarding the two state solution.”

McDonough’s remarks at the J-Street conference, coupled with other statements by White House officials, indicate one aspect of the administration’s re-assessment may be to pull support for Israel at the United Nations, potentially paving the way for a U.N. imposed two-state solution.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom