Monday, December 31, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013

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CALL TO CATHOLIC ACTION: DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE REQUIRES COURAGE & PRESERVERANCE

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ CALL TO CATHOLIC ACTION: DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE REQUIRES COURAGE & PRESERVERANCE ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ By Deacon Keith Fournier + Catholic Online (www.catholic.org) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ To limit marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory now, nor has it ever been. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ True marriage is the preeminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions. It is a relationship defined by nature itself and protected by the natural law that binds all men and women. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Almost weekly there is another assault on marriage. The efforts of an activist wing of the homosexual community, what I call the "homosexual equivalency movement", have reframed the debate and are engaged in a Cultural Revolution. They have been joined by eager collaborators in the Judiciary and elected officials who believe they are some kind of new "liberators" when, in reality, they are injuring the common good. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The leaders of the homosexual equivalency movement insist that homosexual sexual practices are morally equivalent to the sexual expression of marital love between a man and a woman. They further insist that the State make homosexual relationships legally equivalent to marriage. They are dedicated to building a society where the positive law of the Nation forces us all to call to be a marriage what can never be a marriage - or face the police power of the State. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The truth about marriage is not simply a "religious" construct. The Natural Law reveals - and the cross cultural history of civilization affirms - that marriage is between a man and a woman, open to children and intended for life. Marriage is the foundation for the family which is the privileged place for the formation of virtue and character in children, our future citizens. The family is the first society, first economy, first school, first civilizing and mediating institution and first government. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ In his apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Charity, Pope Benedict summarized the duty of the Catholic faithful when confronted with this assault on authentic marriage: "Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself." That means you and me. We must defend marriage and the family! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Catholic Church wrote these words in 2003, "The Church's teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives." ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The loaded language of the homosexual equivalency movement is now used by the main stream media. The verbal engineers of the Cultural Revolution have them to use their Orwellian newspeak. It was a subtle and strategic effort. First came the distinction between so called "traditional' Marriage and all other "marriages". ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I warned many with whom I co-labor in this struggle to defend true marriage not to use the term "traditional" as an adjective. There were a number of reasons I opined about the dangers of this propaganda ploy. All have proven to be correct. First, the phrase "traditional marriage" sounds like those who defend true marriage want to turn the clock back and live in the past. It paints us as opposed to progress. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that those who seek to redefine the word marriage and then destroy the institution which is the cornerstone of civil society are simply involved -knowingly or unwittingly - in a return to a pagan practice and are unleashing anarchy in the social order. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Next, I warned against ever using the word "marriage" when referring to homosexual (or "gay") partnerships. This warning did not come from some personal hostility toward persons with same sex attraction but out of a desire for verbal integrity. Homosexual relationships simply cannot constitute a marriage. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ As a lawyer and activist of many years I know that in the battle to change culture, the softening of the language is the most effective early action before a wholesale assault is waged in the courtrooms, the legislatures and the media. I also know that such language softens and eventually destroys the vigilance of those who are caught unaware of its ruthless and corrosive effect on the long term struggle. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Finally, I warned of the use of "rights" and "freedom" language. I know that this vocabulary is the greatest weapon in this new Cultural Revolution. When the effort to legalize the killing of innocent children in the first home of the whole human race, their mothers womb, was couched in the language of "privacy", "choice" and "freedom" the effort advanced and the infamy was accomplished. Every procured abortion is the taking of an innocent human life no matter what the newspeak of the age calls it. It is always and everywhere wrong. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ There is an accelerating effort to make homosexual partnerships the equivalent of marriage and use the Police Power of the State to enforce such a restructuring on the rest of civil society. The language of the Anti-Right to Life movement is being used. When sexual behavior between two men or two women is viewed as the foundation of a "right" to marry and those who oppose this equivalency movement are characterized as being against the "freedom" to marry and "equal rights", the revolutionary plan is obvious. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I am disappointed that some who sincerely desired to defend marriage as what it is were so ill prepared and began themselves to fall into these carefully orchestrated verbal traps intended to pave the way in the propaganda battle in order to open the doors to the proponents of the contemporary Cultural Revolution. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ True marriage is the preeminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions. It is a relationship defined by nature itself and protected by the natural law that binds all men and women. It finds its foundation in the order of creation. Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they create a "right" to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The institutions of government should, when acting properly, defend marriage against those who would redefine it. Government has long regulated marriage for the common good. For example, the ban on polygamy and age requirements were enforced in order to ensure that there was a mature decision at the basis of the Marriage contract. In now "redefining" marriage, these renegade Justices and their complicit public officials have imperiled the stability of our society and struck a blow against the common good. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ For Judges or legislatures to grant some feigned legal equivalency to co-habiting paramours (homosexual or heterosexual) and then confer governmental benefits upon them does not further freedom it undermines it. It also does not serve the common good it injures it. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ To limit marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory now, nor has it ever been. Homosexual couples cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its very definition. To now "confer" the benefits that have been conferred in the past only to stable married couples and families to homosexual paramours is bad public policy. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The effect of this new legal alchemy is not a true marriage and it will never satisfy those who have been deluded by its false claim. In this new "alchemy", the "officials" of the State have now taken upon themselves the "power" to change the truth. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Theologians and Philosophers speak of ontology as the science or philosophy of being. For example, a rock is a rock and not a cabbage; a man is a man and a woman is a woman. Marriage is ontologically between a man and a woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to children and formative of family. These new cultural alchemists are as fraudulent in their claims as their ancestors who claimed to be able to change cheap metals into gold. History will one day record that their claims were destructive and false. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The enforcers of this new order, whether ruling from the bench or misusing their office in the Legislative and Executive branch, unchecked by any balance of power, have simply followed what the legal positivists have long proclaimed, "The law is what the courts say it is." They have also joined a cultural revolutionary force more potentially lethal to the common good than Chairman Mao's reign of terror was to mainland China. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Make no mistake; those who claim that accepting the new Cultural Revolution is a matter of "tolerance" are the most intolerant. They have unveiled their long planned strategy of forcing their brave new world on the rest of us and will allow no dissent. Notice how intolerant they are of those who, though respecting the dignity of every person, including homosexuals, also insist that marriage is what it is and not what some renegade Court or misguided legislature redefines it to be. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will who recognize the vital role that marriage and family serve in the formation of a truly just society must be courageous and persevere. We will be pilloried and persecuted. We must be morally coherent and live a unity of life. Finally, as good and faithful citizens concerned for the common good we need to ask every man and woman running for the Presidency of the United States where they stand on marriage and whether they will defend it against the new cultural revolutionaries. - - -

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HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT'S HOMILY FOR VESPERS

Pope Benedict's Homily for Vespers
Pope Benedict's Homily for Vespers

ANGELUS: A PRAYER FOR ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE WORLD

Angelus: A prayer for all the families of the world
Angelus: A prayer for all the families of the world

CRESCENDO - MORE THAN 100 PREGNANCY CENTERS EXPECTED TO PARTNER & SCREEN PRO-LIFE SHORT FILM DURING ONE-NIGHT DEBUT EVENT ON FEB. 28, 2013 --- OVER 581 WOMEN CHOSE NOT TO ABORT THEIR BABIES & EMBRACE MOTHERHOOD AFTER SEEING THE FILM

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Short-Film Crescendo Called a Powerful Pro-Life Tool | LifeNews.com ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Short-Film Crescendo Called a Powerful Pro-Life Tool | LifeNews.com ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ CRESCENDO - MORE THAN 100 PREGNANCY CENTERS EXPECTED TO PARTNER & SCREEN PRO-LIFE SHORT FILM DURING ONE-NIGHT DEBUT EVENT ON FEB. 28, 2013 --- OVER 581 WOMEN CHOSE NOT TO ABORT THEIR BABIES & EMBRACE MOTHERHOOD AFTER SEEING THE FILM ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Los Angeles, Calif. (December 27, 2012) – WINDOW TO MY WORLD BLOG ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Movie to Movement™ (www.cpcmovie.com), who partnered with the producers of Bella, an award-winning film that touched lives around the world inspiring women to choose life for their unborn, announces the release of its brand new short film, Crescendo.On February 28, 2013, the movie with a similar and powerful message, will release on more than 100 screens during a special one-night event that will aim to raise over $1 million for pregnancy centers around the country. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “We are urging everyone to join together and celebrate the incredible potential of every single human life,” says President/Founder of Movie to Movement, Jason Jones. “Over 581 women chose life after seeing Bella and we know that Crescendo will continue to inspire a global movement that transcends time and cultures to communicate the dignity and worth of the human being.” ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Based on a true story, Crescendo is set in the 18 th century Holy Roman Empire where a series of events turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary experience for a woman whose life will never be the same. Written and directed by Alonso Alvarez, the film stars Ali Landry, Montserrat Espalde, Patrick Nuo, Jennifer Cadena. With Eduardo Verastigui serving as executive producer, the film was shot entirely on the Universal Studios back lot and has already seen success in the film festival circuit having recently received the Crystal Heart award at the 2011 Heartland Film festival and won top short film honors at the Hollywood Film Festival. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Accolades and support have poured in from various ministries and organizations in response to the 15-minute short film’s powerful message of love, hope and redemption. Heartbeat is encouraging pregnancy centers around the country to climb on board for one the most unique events of the year. “I encourage every pregnancy help organization to bring the blessings of Crescendo to their own community for the grand premier on February 28,” says Peggy Hartshom, President of Heartbeat International. “This film is riveting and it’s powerful and life affirming finale will stay in your heart. What a unique, enjoyable, and beautiful way to raise a much needed million dollars to save and change lives in our pregnancy help centers, clinics and housing ministries!” In conjunction with the one-day event, many women are coming forward to share their personal stories of how movies like Bella changed their lives and the lives of their unborn forever. "It’s funny how one moment can change your life forever,” says Crissy Stanley as she reflects on the first time she saw Bella. “Movies have a way of working their way from the screen, and into your heart. The cast reminds you of family, and the story reminds you of, if not mimic's your life. The message follows you, and inspires you; you've become one with the meaning as you pass it to inspire others. It's a powerful thing. Because of Bella, I decided to choose life and am now the proud mother of beautiful twins, who are my ‘miracle babies’ that I can’t imagine my life without.” ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Crescendo hopes to serve as a source of encouragement for women, save lives and impact millions. For additional information, to book a screening or get involved please go towww.movietomovement.com or www.cpcmovie.com. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ MOVIE TO MOVEMENT +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Movie to Movement™ was created to promote a culture of Life, Love & Beauty. They do this through the production of their own films, as well as sharing others. Movie to Movement believes that film is today’s most influential medium and that they can change culture, but first they must change Hollywood. By supporting Movie to Movement™ promoted and produced films viewers are supporting good films and send a message to Hollywood that more need to be made. For more information on Movie to Movement please visit www.movietomovement.com. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ THE FOLLOWING IS "THE 40 FILM", ANOTHER PRO-LIFE MOVIE TRAILER:

LONGING FOR THE DAYS...BACK IN THE USSR --- SAME-SEX 'MARRIAGE', STATE-SPONSORED CHILD KIDNAPPINGS, & FORCED PUBLIC REPARATIVE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN: THE U.S.A.'S TAXPAYING POPULATION, MORAL DECLINE, SAME-SEX OFFENDERS, & THE PERSECUTION OF FREE, VIRTUOUS, & MORAL CIVIL SOCIETIES

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ LONGING FOR THE DAYS...BACK IN THE USSR --- SAME-SEX 'MARRIAGE', STATE-SPONSORED CHILD KIDNAPPINGS, & FORCED PUBLIC REPARATIVE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN: THE U.S.A.'S TAXPAYING POPULATION, MORAL DECLINE, SAME-SEX OFFENDERS, & THE PERSECUTION OF FREE, VIRTUOUS, & MORAL CIVIL SOCIETIES ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ BY JENNIFER ROBACK MORSE Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 1:48 PM ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Advocates of same-sex “marriage” present the idea as a step forward for tolerance and respect. But recent developments place that interpretation very much in doubt. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Legalizing same-sex “marriage” is not a stand-alone policy, independent of all the other activities of the state. Once governments assert that same-sex unions are the equivalent of marriage, those governments must defend and enforce a whole host of other social changes. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Unfortunately, these government-enforced changes conflict with a wide array of ordinary liberties, including religious freedom and ordinary private property rights. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ It began with the persecution of Catholic Charities in Boston. The archdiocese eventually closed down its adoption program, because the state of Massachusetts insisted that every adoption agency in the state must allow same-sex couples to adopt. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Recently, a Methodist organization in New Jersey lost part of its tax-exempt status because it refused to allow two lesbian couples to use their facility for a civil union ceremony. In Quebec, a Mennonite school was informed that it must conform to the official provincial curriculum, which includes teaching homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ At last report, the Mennonites were considering leaving the province rather than permit the imposition of the state-sponsored curriculum on their children. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ And recently, a wedding photographer in New Mexico faces a hearing with the state’s Human Rights Commission because she declined the business of a lesbian couple. She didn’t want to take photos of their commitment ceremony. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The underlying pattern is unmistakable. Legalizing same-sex “marriage” has brought in its wake state regulation of other parts of society. The problem is sometimes presented as an issue of religious freedom, and so, in part, it is. But the issue runs deeper than religious freedom. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ McGill University professor Douglas Farrow argues in his book A Nation of !@#$% that redefining marriage allows the government to colonize all of civil society. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ If same-sex couples can marry each other, they should be allowed to adopt. Anyone who says otherwise is acting against the policy of the state. If same-sex couples can have civil unions, then denying them the use of any facility they want for their ceremony amounts to unlawful discrimination. When the state says that same sex couples are equivalent to opposite-sex couples, school curriculum will inevitably have to support this claim. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Marriage between men and women is a pre-political, naturally emerging social institution. Men and women come together to create children, independently of any government. The duty of caring for those children exists even without a government or any political order. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Marriage protects children as well as the interests of each parent in their common project of raising those children. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Because marriage is an organic part of civil society, it is robust enough to sustain itself, with minimal assistance from the state. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ By contrast, same-sex “marriage” is completely a creation of the state. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Same-sex couples cannot have children. Someone must give them a child or at least half the genetic material to create a child. The state must detach the parental rights of the opposite-sex parent and then attach those rights to the second parent of the same-sex couple. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The state must create parentage for the same-sex couple. For the opposite-sex couple, the state merely recognizes parentage. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ In her essay in The Meaning of Marriage, Seana Sugrue argues that the state must coddle and protect same-sex “marriage” in ways that opposite-sex marriage does not require. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Precisely because same-sex unions are not the same as opposite-sex marriage, the state must intervene to make people believe (or at least make them act as if they believe) that the two types of unions are equivalent. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Public schools in California are soon going to be required to be “gay friendly.” A doctor has been sued because she didn’t want to perform an artificial insemination on a lesbian couple. A private school is in trouble for disciplining two female students for kissing. All in the name of supporting the rights of same-sex couples to “equality” with straight couples. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The fact that opposite- and same-sex couples are different in significant ways means that there will always be scope for the state to expand its reach into more and more private areas of more and more people’s lives. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Perhaps some people think it is okay to shut down Catholic adoption agencies, because the Catholics have it coming to them: The Church’s enemies are many. Perhaps some people don’t care for Methodists, and don’t care whether they lose their tax-exempt status. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ But the Mennonites? These are the most inoffensive people on the planet. They have been pacifists for centuries. Their continued existence here in North America is a testimony to the strength of our ideals of religious tolerance and pluralism, in all the best senses of those terms. But now, in the name of equality of same-sex couples, the Mennonites are being driven out of Quebec. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Perhaps you think people have a natural civil right to marry the person of their choosing. But can you really force yourself to believe that wedding photography is a civil right? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Maybe you believe that same-sex couples are entitled to have children, somehow. But is any doctor they might encounter required to inseminate them? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Advocates of same-sex “marriage” insist that theirs is a modest reform: a mere expansion of marriage to include people currently excluded. But the price of same-sex “marriage” is a reduction in tolerance for everyone else, and an expansion of the power of the state. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Jennifer Roback Morse is the senior fellow in economics at the Acton Institute and the author of Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village, newly reissued in paperback. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

U.S. FEDERAL JUDGE HALTS OSAMA'S BIRTH-CONTROL POLICY FOR DOMINO'S PIZZA FOUNDER CITING 'SUBSTANTIAL BURDENS' & MORAL HARM TO PLAINTIFF'S EXERCISE OF RELIGION

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ U.S. FEDERAL JUDGE HALTS OSAMA'S BIRTH-CONTROL POLICY FOR DOMINO'S PIZZA FOUNDER CITING 'SUBSTANTIAL BURDENS' & MORAL HARM TO PLAINTIFF'S EXERCISE OF RELIGION +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ By Elise Viebeck - 12/31/12 02:13 PM ET +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ A federal judge has ordered a temporary halt on the Obama administration's birth-control coverage policy for Tom Monaghan, the Catholic billionaire who founded Domino's Pizza. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Federal District Court Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff issued the decision Sunday, less than two days before the policy would have taken effect and exposed Monaghan to fines for non-compliance. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "Plaintiff has shown that abiding by the mandate will substantially burden his exercise of religion," Zatkoff wrote. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "The government has failed to satisfy its burden of showing that its actions were narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest. ... This factor weighs in favor of granting Plaintiffs' motion." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Monaghan recently filed suit against the policy, which requires most employers to cover a range of birth-control methods in their health plans. Churches and houses of worship are exempt, and employees of religiously affiliated institutions such as Catholic schools will be able to obtain birth control directly from their insurance company, also without a co-pay. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The accommodation does not cover employers who are personally religious and object to their employee health coverage serving as a vehicle for forms of birth control they disagree with, such as the morning-after pill. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The suit comes on behalf of Monaghan and Domino's Farms, a Michigan office park he owns, not Domino's Pizza. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ It is one of more than 40 challenges pending against the mandate, many of which come from employers who run secular businesses. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Monaghan also founded Ave Maria University, a Catholic college in Florida, and Legatus, a group of Catholic business leaders. Both organizations have already filed suit over the mandate. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Supporters of the requirement say birth control is essential component of most women's healthcare and should be covered by insurance to make it as affordable as p

TEXAS JUDGE APPROVES BAN ON PLANNED PARENTHOOD FUNDING

Texas Judge Rules State Can De-Fund Planned Parenthood | LifeNews.com
Texas Judge Rules State Can De-Fund Planned Parenthood | LifeNews.com
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ TEXAS JUDGE APPROVES BAN ON PLANNED PARENTHOOD FUNDING ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ By Chris Tomlinson - Associated Press ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas may cut off funding to Planned Parenthood’s family planning programs for poor women, a state judge ruled Monday. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Judge Gary Harger ruled that Texas may exclude otherwise qualified doctors and clinics from receiving state funding if they advocate for abortion rights, Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for the Texas attorney general, said. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The state long has banned the use of state funds for abortion but had continued to reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics for providing basic health care to poor women. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “We are pleased the court rejected Planned Parenthood’s latest attempt to skirt state law,” Ms. Bean said. “The Texas attorney general’s office will continue to defend the Texas Legislature’s decision to prohibit abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving taxpayer dollars through the Women’s Health Program.” ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Representatives for Planned Parenthood did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The Women’s Health Program provides checkups and birth control to 110,000 poor women a year. Planned Parenthood clinics were treating 48,000 of those women. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Planned Parenthood has brought three lawsuits over Texas‘ so-called “affiliate rule,” arguing it violates the constitutional rights of doctors and patients while also contradicting existing state law. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Last week, the group asked Judge Harger for a temporary restraining order against enforcing the ban until a judge can decide its case to overthrow the rule. Judge Harger rejected the request. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Another hearing is scheduled with a different judge for Jan. 11, at which Planned Parenthood again will ask for an injunction to receive state funding.

SANDY HOOKER'S ABORTION EFFECT: U.S. SEEING SLOWEST POPULATION GROWTH SINCE 1930 | LIFENEWS.COM

Abortion Effect: U.S. Seeing Slowest Population Growth Since 1930 | LifeNews.com

IS INTERNATIONAL PLANNED PARENTHOOD ABETTING CRIMINAL ACTIVITY & TERRORISM?

Is International Planned Parenthood Abetting Criminal Activity? | LifeNews.com
Is International Planned Parenthood Abetting Criminal Activity? | LifeNews.com

U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE REPORT ON BENGHAZI TERRORIST ATTACK OF 09/11/12 FAULTS U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT, FALLS WAY SHORT & COMPLETELY FAILS TO EVEN MENTION THE CHILD KIDNAPPINGS & INTERNATIONAL CHILD TRAFFICKING COOK COUNTY JUDGES & ATTORNEYS INVOLVED IN MEGRAHI'S RELEASE, OR U.S. SEN. TED STEVENS' MURDER, OR U.S. REP. JESSE JACKSON, JR.'S (D-IL) ATTEMPTS AT LIBYAN FUNDING FOR THIRD AIRPORT IN WILL COUNTY, ILLINOIS

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ CALLS FOR SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE BENGHAZI TERRORIST ATTACK GAINS STEAM +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 12/31/12 + By Chris Zane + IMPEACHOBAMACAMPAIGN.COM +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Congressman Frank R. Wolf, along with over twenty-five co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, has introduced House Resolution 824 to create a Special Committee to conduct a real investigation into the attack on the Benghazi consulate and CIA safe house. Wolf and others want to know why Barack Obama sent little if any help to save the four brave Americans who lost their lives and why this fact was covered up. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ According to Congressman Wolf: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “The select committee I am proposing should draw from the existing congressional investigations by including the chairman and ranking member of each committee of jurisdiction—Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, Armed Services and Oversight and Reform—as well as five additional Republicans appointed by the Speaker and two additional Democrats appointed by the Minority Leader.” +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Congressman Wolf continues: “We owe it to the families of the victims, and the American people, to fully investigate the terrorist attack.” +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ With the public’s help, let us hope Congress can finally get to the bottom of exactly what happened in Benghazi on September 11. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE REPORT ON BENGHAZI TERRORIST ATTACK OF 09/11/12 FAULTS U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Published December 31, 2012 FoxNews.com ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ A scathing Senate committee report on the Benghazi terrorist attack faults the State Department for failing to adequately respond to mounting security threats in the lead-up to the assault. The report says the facility was woefully under-protected at a time when the region, according to a top department official, was "flashing red" -- yet security was not improved, and nobody recommended the compound be shut down. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The report, produced by the Senate homeland security committee and obtained by Fox News, follows the release of a State Department-commissioned review earlier in the month. Both are highly critical of the department. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "It is so clear that (the Benghazi compound) is dangerous and what happened was due to extremely poor security," Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said Monday. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The Senate report noted the "large amount of evidence" in the months preceding the attack that Benghazi was "increasingly dangerous and unstable," with an attack on Americans becoming "much more likely." ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "While this intelligence was effectively shared within the Intelligence Community (IC) and with key officials at the Department of State, it did not lead to a commensurate increase in security at Benghazi nor to a decision to close the American mission there, either of which would have been more than justified by the intelligence presented," the report said. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The report said it was "widely understood" that the Libyan government could not adequately protect U.S. personnel, yet the State Department did not move to fill the "security gap." The Senate committee said "no security standards" applied to the Benghazi post --there were "few meaningful physical barriers," according to the report. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Despite the increasing threat in the region and the apparent vulnerability of the compound, the Senate committee said it appears nobody recommended closing the facility or even temporarily shutting it down. "That was a grievous mistake," Lieberman said. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The investigation turned up details that show "a shocking irresponsibility to protect American diplomatic personnel in Benghazi," Lieberman added. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The report also cites past internal State Department reports recommending security measures dating back years that were not widely implemented. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ State Department Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy told lawmakers that Libya and Benghazi were "flashing red" by the time of the attack, Lieberman said. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Fox News' Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.

HUGHES SYSTIQUE, INC. SUES CHINESE HACKERS WHO REFUSE TO GIVE BACK WEB DOMAIN TO COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION IN MARYLAND, USA

Courthouse News Service
Courthouse News Service

Sunday, December 30, 2012

RON PAUL'S NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE TO CONGRESS: FOLLOW THE CONSTITUTION

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ RON PAUL'S NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE TO CONGRESS: FOLLOW THE CONSTITUTION +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ by Ron Paul + 12/30/12 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ As I prepare to retire from Congress I’d like to suggest a few New Year’s resolutions for my colleagues to consider. For the sake of liberty, peace and prosperity I certainly hope more members of Congress consider the strict libertarian-constitutional approach to government in 2013. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ In just a few days, Congress will solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. They should read Article 1 Section 8 and the Bill of Rights before taking such a serious oath. Most legislation violates key provisions of the Constitution in very basic ways, and if members can’t bring themselves to say “no” in the face of pressure from the special interests, they have broken trust with their constituents and violated their oath. Congress does not exist to serve the special interests. It exists to protect the rule of law. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I also urge my colleagues to end unconstitutional wars overseas. Stop the drone strikes. Stop the covert activities and the meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. Strive to observe good faith and justice towards all nations, as George Washington admonished. We are only making more enemies, wasting lives and bankrupting ourselves with the neoconservative interventionist mindset that endorses preemptive war that now dominates both parties. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ All foreign aid should end, which is blatantly unconstitutional. While it may be a relatively small part of our federal budget, for many countries it is a large part of theirs and it creates perverse incentives for both our friends and enemies. There is no way members of Congress can know or understand the political, economic, legal and social realities in the many nations to which they send taxpayers’ dollars. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Congress needs to stop accumulating more debt. U.S. debt monetized by the Federal Reserve is the true threat to our national security. Revisiting the parameters of Article 1 Section 8 would be a good start. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Congress should resolve to respect personal liberty and free markets. Learn more about the free market and how it regulates commerce and produces greater prosperity ever than any legislation or regulation. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Understand that economic freedom is freedom. Resolve not to get in the way of voluntary contracts between consenting adults. Stop bailing out failed yet politically connected companies and industries. Stop forcing people to engage in commerce when they don’t want to, and stop prohibiting them from buying and selling when they want to. Stop trying to legislate your ideas of fairness. Protect property rights. Protect the individual. That is enough. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ There are many more resolutions I would like to see my colleagues in Congress adopt, but respect for the Constitution and the oath of office should be at the core of every single member’s of Congress due in 2013. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

GROVER NORQUIST: RAISING TAXES ISN'T COMPROMISE

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ GROVER NORQUIST: RAISING TAXES ISN'T COMPROMISE +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "All Obama has done for the last four years is clamor for higher taxes to spend more money," the president of Americans for Tax Reform told CNBC. "The only time we've beat him back on spending at all was during the debt-ceiling crisis." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Norquist said Obama was "willing to save $1 trillion by not occupying Iraq for the next decade. He wanted to count that like not continuing the War of 1812 was his budget cut."

NORQUIST BLESSES FUTURE AARON SCHOCK RUN FOR ILLINOIS GOVERNOR

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Norquist blesses future Aaron Schock run for governor | Mobile Washington Examiner +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ NORQUIST BLESSES FUTURE AARON SCHOCK RUN FOR ILLINOIS GOVERNOR +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ By Jenny Rogers +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., perhaps the only member of the House who can give Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., a run for his money in a sit-ups contest, addressed rumors of him running for governor of Illinois in 2014 during an appearance on ABC earlier this month. Schock said he hasn't made up his mind, but people are looking for "something different" after having four of their last six governors go to jail. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "Somebody new, somebody younger, somebody honest," he said. "I think I fit those bills." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ GOP types have had mixed reactions to the speculation. Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady called his future "unlimited," while the conservative Club for Growth recently told the Washington Times that Schock is an "awful way to re-energize the GOP." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ But Grover Norquist is all for a Schock gubernatorial run. "Illinois needs a serious low-tax guy," he told Yeas & Nays. "Schock is one." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The only downside to a Schock governorship, in Norquist's mind, is that he'd no longer have the fun of kicking Illinois around as an example of "how the world works poorly when it's run by big government." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "We could still make fun of California," Norquist said.

U.S. SENATOR MARK KIRK (R-IL), A U.S. NAVY VETERAN, RETURNS TO UNITED STATES' SENATE THURSDAY

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ U.S. SENATOR MARK KIRK (R-IL), A U.S. NAVY VETERAN, RETURNS TO UNITED STATES' SENATE THURSDAY ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 12/30/12 + By SCOTT PAULSON + EXAMINER ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk, 53, who has been away from the House of Representatives for nearly one year will return to the United States House on Thursday, according to a Sun-Times report released on Sunday. It is being reported that the senator’s return after recuperating from a state-sponsored biological terror attack resulting in a stroke last January 21 will be highlighted by a greeting from Vice President Joe Biden. The plan is for the senator to walk up the steps of the United States House of Representatives to be greeted by Biden. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ During the 11 months away from his job, Sen. Mark Kirk has engaged in publicly-reported intense rehabilitation which has paid off in great measure in terms of the senator’s physical recovery from the attack. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ In an extremely challenging 2012 for Sen. Kirk, he reportedly had to endure three brain surgeries followed by intense therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago after having been released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Since last Jan., the senator has stayed informed and engaged with his senate responsibilities, but he has not physically returned to the Senate floor during this time. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Throughout the year, Kirk released several YouTube videos in which he publicly displayed his progress by discussing his progress and talking about his job in Congress. Additionally, he made one public appearance on Nov. 4 in which he walked up 37 steps at the Willis Tower for a charity event.

HANDS OFF OUR CHILDREN

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ BODY OF MISSING GEORGIAN SOLDIER FOUND IN SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Body of missing Georgian soldier found in southern Afghanistan - Threat Matrix ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Body of missing Georgian soldier found in southern Afghanistan - Threat Matrix ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ GEORGIA SENATOR NANCY SCHAEFER & HER HUSBAND WERE MURDERED AFTER GIVING THIS SPEECH ABOUT U.S. CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES & THEIR STATE-SPONSORED TERRORIST INTERNATIONAL CHILD, SEX, HUMAN, & DRUG TRAFFICKING KIDNAPPING/RENDITION SCHEMES +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

FEDS DISPUTE $2 MILLION BOND OF EX-FBI 'SPY HUNTER' ROBERT LUSTYIK

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ FEDS DISPUTE $2 MILLION BOND OF EX-FBI 'SPY HUNTER' ROBERT LUSTYIK ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 12/30/12 + By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Federal prosecutors and lawyers for a former FBI “spy hunter” from Sleepy Hollow are feuding over whether ex-agent Robert Lustyik should remain free on bail in his international conspiracy case. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Lustyik, who is charged in Utah and alleged to have orchestrated a scheme to derail a federal fraud probe in exchange for lucrative payoffs, was allowed to return home on a $2 million bond secured by his Westchester County home by Oct. 12, prosecutors said in a letter to Lustyik’s lawyer this month. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ However, in the letter to attorney Ray Mansolillo, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City said prosecutors “could find no indication on the property records that the residence is currently securing Mr. Lustyik’s $2 million bond.” ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ If no evidence of the bond is presented, prosecutors said, “we will have no choice but to notify the court of this violation of his conditions of release.” ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Mansolillo could not be reached for comment in recent days. But in a voice message to The Journal News last week, the lawyer said that “the $2 million has been pledged time and time and time again. I filed a note with the chief judge there that their actions were frivolous and just an attempt, a constant attempt, to keep my client imprisoned pending trial.” ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “They weren’t successful at the beginning because they lied about it, and they’re not going to be successful about it now,” Mansolillo said. “He has met his conditions.” ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ It was the latest twist in an already complex case, in which much of the legal wrangling — including the status of the bail dispute —remains under wraps due to an order from U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell sealing most of the material because of the sensitive nature of the cloak-and-dagger case. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The government charges that Lustyik, 50, and childhood friend Johannes Thaler, 49, a former Tarrytown resident, tried to thwart an unrelated fraud probe into defense contractor Michael Taylor. Prosecutors allege that Lustyik sought to have Taylor enlisted as a confidential government source to derail the fraud probe, which charges that Taylor defrauded the government in a $54 million defense contract in Afghanistan with his company, American International Security Corp. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Taylor, a Special Forces veteran, remains jailed in that case. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Prosecutors subsequently indicted Lustyik and Thaler, alleging they sought to collect $200,000 and a cut of lucrative international contracts secured by Taylor’s company. Both remain free while the case moves forward — at least for now. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Prosecutors cited dozens of text messages and emails in their indictment. On Oct. 25, 2011, they said Lustyik emailed Thaler that “taylor is looking for a way to take care of me so I said u n I r working together on these and he said he will be sending money ur way.” Later, he said Taylor “has 2 contracts they r about to sign. I think he might want to give us 200 gs.” +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Defense lawyers have maintained that prosecutors took the communications out of context, and noted that Thaler is a ladies-shoes salesman at Macy’s, and hardly an international conspirator. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ They said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah, which was investigating the Taylor fraud case, simply stumbled onto Lustyik’s unrelated efforts to secure Taylor as a confidential government source and have refused to admit their mistake. They said Thaler did travel to the Middle East to meet Taylor, but only to seek assistance in starting his fledgling Tarrytown-based energy company. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Meanwhile, prosecutors have moved to disqualify Mansolillo as Lustyik’s lawyer, claiming the attorney arranged a meeting between Lustyik, Taylor and former colleagues at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, where Mansolillo once served as an agent. They claim the purpose of the meeting was for Lustyik to push the DEA to sign Taylor on as a source. In court papers, Mansolillo denied that he took part in the meeting, arguing that he “did not participate in the meeting but only made introductions. Prior to the disclosure of classified documents,” and “left the room as he felt his presence was inappropriate.”

ILL-NOISE PENSIONS REACHING CRITICAL MASS - DOOMSDAY RECKONING APPROACHES $100 BILLION/$17.4 MILLION PER DAY

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ILL-NOISE PENSIONS REACHING CRITICAL MASS - DOOMSDAY RECKONING APPROACHES $100 BILLION/$17.4 MILLION PER DAY +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ By Sara Burnett - Associated Press +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ CHICAGO — Illinois, a state with a reputation for political wheeling and dealing, backroom handshakes and 11th-hour bargains, is dragging its feet on the one deal needed to solve its biggest crisis in a generation. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Lawmakers will convene again the first week in January in hopes of fixing the nation’s worst case of underfunding of state employees’ pensions, a problem approaching $100 billion and mounting by $17 million per day. On the table are solutions that other states adopted as long as five years ago. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ California and New York — states that, like Illinois, lean Democratic and have strong state-employee unions — already took unpopular, tough-love measures to pass pension reform. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ So have Kansas and Rhode Island — which in recent years kept Illinois company by having set aside barely half the money needed to fund their pensions — and dozens of other states. Among the changes are higher retirement ages, asking workers to contribute more and switching to 401(k)-style plans. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Critics blame Illinois’ situation on procrastination, budgetary “gimmicks” and frequent raids on state-employee retirement funds to pay for other state expenses. Others blame an unwillingness to take on the unions, which help keep Democrats in power in President Obama’s home state. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ But it’s a problem decades in the making, through nearly a dozen Republican and Democratic governors and through legislatures controlled by both parties, dating back to before Illinois changed its constitution in 1970 to prohibit reductions in state employee retirement plans. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “Nothing has changed in 40 years,” said Elaine Nekritz, a suburban Chicago Democrat and chairman of the House Pensions Committee, who called for an end to “excuses” when rolling out another proposal to solve the problem this month. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Getting a deal done will most likely require lawmakers to do things practically unheard of: Democrats would have to anger loyal union supporters, while Republicans would have to support a plan they think will lead to a tax increase. But without a fix, the payment the state has to make to its pension fund each year will continue to grow, leaving less money for things like education and health care that already have seen big cuts. By 2016, Illinois would be spending more on pension payments than on schools, the governor’s office estimates. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ To many political veterans, the challenge is less a financial problem than a cultural one. They say the main reason behind the inertia is the same as what got the state into the mess in the first place: Illinois’ particular adherence to the maxim that it’s always easier to give than to take away, hence promising money to state employees while also spending it elsewhere. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “It’s that culture of ‘Where’s mine?’” said Richard Dye, who contributed earlier this year to a damning, high-level assessment of Illinois’ state finances, citing the famous two-word phrase that now-deceased newspaper columnist Mike Royko nominated as Chicago’s motto. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “There’s a lot of attention to taking care of everybody and not the fiscal conservatism of ‘How are you going to pay for that?’” added Mr. Dye, an economist at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “The fundamental thing is the shortsightedness.” +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Gov. Pat Quinn says he was “put on earth” to solve the problem, and that the upcoming session offers the best opportunity in his lifetime to do so. He gave lawmakers a deadline of Jan. 9, the end of a one-week legislative session when several dozen lame-duck lawmakers can vote without worrying about facing voters again. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Union officials have offered lawmakers a deal, agreeing to contribute more to their own pensions if the state makes its full contribution each year and closes some tax loopholes for corporations. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “For decades, they had the choice of raising adequate revenue or cutting back on spending,” said Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “They found a third way, and that third way was habitually using pension funds like a credit card.” +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++