The marine who lifted the two-week-old baby of an Afghan ally to safety from over a barbed wire fence at the Kabul airport in August, Lance Cpl. Hunter Clark, is reportedly under investigation by the military for partisan political activity. Clark’s potential crime? He accepted previous President Donald Trump’s invitation to appear onstage during a “Save America” rally in Georgia last Saturday.
Clark is part of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The baby’s father, Hameed, had been assisting the Marines with evacuation efforts. For the past five years, Hameed had served as a linguist and cultural advisor to the U.S. military. Clark’s efforts allowed Hameed’s newborn daughter to escape the fray and receive immediate medical treatment before being evacuated with her family to the Phoenix, Arizona area, as reported by AZ Family.
“That day I handed over my baby to a total stranger,” said Hameed. “The only thing I trusted is that he was a Marine, and that my daughter would be safe.”
Hameed said that he hoped to one day meet Clark.
“Oh my God. I’d give him a hug. He literally saved my daughter’s life,” said Hameed.
Task & Purpose first reported on the investigation. A spokesman for the unit, Captain Kelton Cochran, explained that they were investigating to determine if Clark’s appearance and speech violated any Department of Defense (DOD) policies.
“The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) has initiated a command investigation regarding LCpl Hunter Clark’s attendance at the event last weekend to determine if any DOD policies were violated,” said Capt. Kelton Cochran, a spokesman for the 24th MEU. “Any details pertaining to this incident are not releasable while the investigation is being conducted.”
Though Cochran didn’t elaborate on which DOD policies were potentially violated, DOD policy updated a month into the Obama Administration in February 2008 does prohibit active-duty service members from speaking or appearing before a partisan political gathering. The potentially-relevant aspects of the policy are reproduced below:
A member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not: […] Participate in partisan political fundraising activities[…], rallies, conventions (including making speeches in the course thereof), management of campaigns, or debates, either on one’s own behalf or on that of another, without respect to uniform or inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement. Participation includes more than mere attendance as a spectator. […]Speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.”
However, there is a certain degree of ambiguity afforded to this DOD policy:
Activities not expressly prohibited may be contrary to the spirit and intent of this Directive. Any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security (in the case of the Coast Guard) or any component of these Departments with a partisan political activity or is otherwise contrary to the spirit and intention of this Directive shall be avoided. (emphasis added)
Clark reportedly comes from a military family and attended school in Perry, Georgia.
Clark’s moment on stage was brief. He was overcome with emotion as he stated that he was the individual who saved the infant. He added it was one of the greatest things he’d ever done in his life.
“I’m here fromWarner Robins, Georgia. I am the guy that pulled the baby over the wall, and it’s definitely probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever done in my entire life,” said Clark. “I just want to thank all of this support from all of y’all, it just really means a lot. And I’m glad to be home now today, thank you.”
Clark exited the stage to resounding applause and chants of “USA!” from the audience.
Trump introduced Clark after he’d announced that they’d reserved 13 seats in the front row of the rally to honor the 13 service members who lost their lives in the Kabul airport terrorist attack.
“Our hearts go out to the families of every service member that we have lost – and I have spoken to a lot of them. These are great, great people,” said Trump.
Democrats are clamoring for immediate action to avert a financial crisis which would be blamed on Republicans, just because. Meanwhile, the Republican campaign conservatives aren’t showing much enthusiasm for this rare possibility of achieving significant fiscal reform.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen rolled out the traditional arguments for raising the debt limit in the Wall Street Journal. Raising the limit doesn’t authorize additional deficit spending, which is true, as far as it goes. But it does ratify the overspending that has occurred, which keeps the ball rolling for spenders.
But she whiffs on the real point. The greater danger to our credit-worthiness would be to continue the present course. As our indebtedness climbs to stratospheric levels and interest rates return to normal, our fundamental ability to service the debt becomes questionable, as our geopolitical rivals well know.
America is going to pay its debts. Yet in an obvious attempt to bullrush Republicans into compliance without conditions, Secretary Yellen warns that any failure could cause economic damage so severe as to be permanent.
Indeed, the titanic struggle over the 2011 debt limit increase, which resulted in a $2.1 trillion spending cut, caused a significant downturn in financial markets. However, spurred by the spending cut and the vitality of America’s private sector, all the losses and more were made up within the year.
Yellen notes that Congress has raised or suspended the debt ceiling 80 times since 1960, so it must be no big deal, right? But what’s wrong with this picture?
All 80 times, the effect was to increase America’s borrowing capacity. It has never been reduced. The routine, expected raising of the debt limit is the enabling mechanism that has allowed us to slide into treacherous financial territory.
Republicans have never had a better opportunity to break this self-perpetuating cycle. Democrats are on a world record spending binge. Their majorities are slim and fractious. They desperately need Republican cooperation.
So Republicans are threatened with being saddled, again, with responsibility for the dreaded government “shutdown”. Previous shutdowns prohibited WW II veterans from visiting their DC memorial and prevented the viewing, even from the highway, of Mount Rushmore.
But government employees and beneficiaries were exempted. Nonessential employees got the best deal of all. They were furloughed but promised a complete pay reimbursement after the “shutdown.” Road trip!
Both Yellen and Biden insist that raising the debt ceiling in the past was bipartisan. That doesn’t make it right, of course. Still, the claim holds true only if you consider a 98.8% negative Democrat vote on the three debt ceiling bills during the George W. Bush administration to be “bipartisan.“
But the screws on Republicans get tightened anyway. “I can’t believe Republicans will let the nation default“ by not raising the debt limit, Chuck Schumer mourned at a recent press conference. As usual, the Chuckster was making it up.
Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress. They don’t need a single Republican vote to do whatever they wish. They could have simply included the debt limit provisions in a budget resolution, a reconciliation bill not subject to the filibuster and thus not requiring Republican votes to pass.
Schumer instead moved the debt limit to regular legislation requiring 60 votes so that Republicans could be blamed for its failure. Democrats understandably don’t want the political blame for pushing our nation deeper into debt. But why should Republicans bail them out when the budget-crushing Biden era spending bills have passed with almost exclusively Democrat support?
Based on their record when in power, Republicans may not be sincerely interested in living within our means either. If they are serious, they must learn from past mistakes. Previous budgetary reforms included in debt limit bills have failed because they were later amended or ignored.
This time, Republicans must demand limitations that are self-activated and self-enforced, not subject to congressional amendment, at least for a time certain. Congressional proposal of a debt-limiting constitutional amendment should be on the table.
For common sense fiscal conservatives, this is our time. Success requires boldness and bravery.
Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.
A coalition of Arizona’s legislators are asking Governor Doug Ducey to press the Biden-Harris Administration harder about the ongoing border crisis. The legislators submitted a letter to Ducey on Tuesday, reminding him that President Joe Biden has neglected Arizona and the American people in terms of the border and refugee crises. In particular, the legislators asserted that Biden still hasn’t answered Ducey’s requests for resources to manage the swarm of illegal immigrants. They also lambasted the Biden-Harris Administration for using American taxpayers’ dollars to house, feed, and provide health care to illegal immigrants while ignoring Americans in need, such as homeless veterans, and while making greater demands of Americans, like mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.
What’s more, the legislators accused the Biden-Harris Administration of disregarding female military service members and Border Patrol agents who have been sexually assaulted and harassed by illegal immigrants. It is unclear what incidents the legislators were citing; AZ Free News was unable to locate public reports indicating that this has occurred.
The FBI and local law enforcement are investigating multiple cases across various bases in the country where Afghan refugees have assaulted or harassed women or young boys, either sexually or physically.
Last month, Judicial Watchdiscovered in records obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that dozens of unaccompanied migrant children were physically and/or sexually abused or assaulted from January to February while under the government’s care. The legislators also asserted that the Biden-Harris Administration’s inaction on the border is indicative of a true intent to have an open border policy, though the administration has claimed otherwise.
Those that signed onto the letter were State Representatives Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu City), Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), Walter Blackman (R-Snowflake), Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), Judy Burges (R-Prescott), Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott Valley), John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction), Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa), Steve Kaiser (R-Phoenix), David Cook (R-Globe), Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale), Beverly Pingerelli (R-Peoria), Brenda Barton (R-Payson), Kevin Payne (R-Peoria), Frank Carroll (R-Sun City West), John Kavanaugh (R-Fountain Hills), Shawnna Bolick (R-Glendale), Tim Dunn (R-Yuma), and State Senators Sonny Borrelli (R-Lake Havasu City), Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff), David Livingston (R-Peoria), Sine Kerr (R-Buckeye), Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), and Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert).
As of press time, Ducey hasn’t issued a public response to the letter.
Read the entirety of the Republican legislators’ letter below:
The invasion of America’s southern border has become a national emergency. We are witnessing a surge like we have never experienced before. In April of this year, you took the lead and asked President Biden for resources to assist in the influx of illegal immigrants. To this day, the Biden-Harris administration continues to ignore the safety of our citizens and has allowed the nation’s border to be overrun.
The Biden-Harris open border policy is destroying our country. We expect the president and his administration to assist our homeless veterans and struggling citizens. Instead, he is using federal tax dollars to house, feed, and provide health care to thousands of illegal immigrants who have willfully violated our laws. This administration is demanding that all Americans must get vaccinated for COVID-19. Yet, they make no such demand upon the thousands coming into our country illegally. Moreover, we will not tolerate the Biden-Harris administration’s disregard of female military servicemembers and Border Patrol agents who endure sexual assault and harassment from illegal immigrants.
This willful invasion on our nation must end immediately. The duty to stop the illegal flow across our southern border rests solely on the federal government. The Biden-Harris administration’s resistance, and utter failure, to fulfil its responsibility is a disgrace.
If the Biden-Harris administration does not care about the well-being and safety of its citizens, then it is up to the State of Arizona to do what it can. We respectfully urge you to consider declaring a state of emergency, utilize the National Guard to assist as permitted to secure Arizona’s southern border, and immediately seek support from the Mexican government to assist the state in stopping this unprecedented surge.
Arizona officials including Governor Doug Ducey honored 17 fallen law enforcement officers at the 47th Annual Arizona Peace Officers Memorial Service Wednesday evening. The somber ceremony was also attended by the families and colleagues of officers who died in the line of duty.
“Through the countless dangers Arizona’s officers face, they have shown nothing but fearlessness and heroism,” said Ducey in a press release. “As we honor the officers who have fallen, we also recognize how they lived — with an unwavering dedication to keeping our communities safe.”
The memorial service honored fallen officers from across the state and their families. The event is typically held in May, but the last two memorials were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor read the names of the following officers at tonight’s memorial service:
Officer Clayton Joel Townsend, Salt River Tribal PD, End of Watch (EOW): 1/08/2019 Officer Paul T. Rutherford, Phoenix PD, EOW: 3/21/2019 Border Patrol Agent Robert M. Hotten, US Border Patrol, EOW: 10/06/2019 Detention Officer Gene “Jim” W. Lee, Maricopa County SO, EOW: 10/30/2019 Border Patrol Agent Luis Pena Jr., US Border Patrol, EOW: 12/23/2019 Officer David W. Kellywood, White Mountain Apache Tribal PD, EOW: 2/17/2020 Commander Greg S. Carnicle, Phoenix PD, EOW: 3/29/2020 Detention Officer Alvin Ramirez, Avondale PD, EOW: 6/07/2020 Officer Michael E. Lee, Navajo Division of Public Safety, EOW: 6/18/2020 Investigator Esther Charley, Navajo Division of Public Safety, EOW: 6/22/2020 Officer Jason W. Judd, Peoria PD, EOW: 7/01/2020 Sergeant Ernie Quintero, Maricopa County SO, EOW: 7/06/2020 Detention Officer Kevin Fletcher, Maricopa County SO, EOW: 7/06/2020 Officer Alfonso H. Murrieta, Dept. of Homeland Security CBP, EOW: 7/09/2020 Detention Officer Miroslaw Mroczkowski, Maricopa County SO, EOW: 7/15/2020 Officer Bryan R. Brown, Tohono O’odham Nation PD, EOW: 8/27/2020 Officer Peter Anthony Mannino, Tucson PD, EOW: 5/17/2009
“Our law enforcement officers and their families know that when they leave home every day, they may not come back. They don’t let that—or anything—stop them from serving their communities, state and country. My deepest gratitude goes to all our officers for their commitment to keeping our state safe, and my prayers are with all the officers who laid down their lives to protect fellow Arizonans.”
The Arizona Supreme Court will not decide until at least Friday afternoon whether to allow Attorney General Mark Brnovich to bypass the normal appeal process with his challenge to Monday’s ruling by a Maricopa County judge who found dozens of new laws or amendments to existing laws unconstitutional.
Until then, the status quo remains in place, according to Justice Ann Scott Timmer, who signed an order Wednesday denying the attorney general’s emergency motion to stay the Sept. 27 ruling by Judge Katherine Cooper. The decision to deny the requested stay was made after Timmer conferred with five other justices, she noted in the order.
Among other things, Cooper’s ruling means school districts and charter schools can mandate mask wearing, state universities cannot require COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of in-person attendance, and teachers cannot be sued for organizing walkouts, based on the judge’s finding that all or part of four budget reconciliation bills (BRBs) signed by Gov. Doug Ducey violate the Arizona Constitution.
According to Cooper, the constitution requires the title of each legislative bill to properly identify a single subject matter, so unrelated provisions are not combined into one bill. But the attorney general calls Cooper’s ruling “legally erroneous” and argues the four BRBs are constitutional.
“Each of the provisions contained therein relate directly or indirectly to the subject of the title. And each of the provisions contained in SB 1819 are germane to the subject contained in its title—state budget procedures,” the State argues in the petition for transfer to case from the Arizona Court of Appeals and directly to the Supreme Court.
Such a transfer is warranted due to the impact of Cooper’s ruling which nullified 58 provisions of state law slated to take effect Wednesday, according to the petition.
“The trial court’s ruling carries significant implications for the operation of state government and the State will continue to suffer harm if the trial court’s ruling is not swiftly overturned, allowing the challenged provisions to immediately go into effect,” the petition states. “Extraordinary circumstances exist here and warrant immediate Supreme Court review.”
The court of appeals has set deadlines for briefing in its court just in case the Supreme Court denies the transfer. However, legal observers told AZ Free News that bypassing the court of appeals would be in the interest of judicial economy, as whoever loses there will immediately petition for review to the Supreme Court.
Timmer gave the various plaintiffs until 5 p.m. Thursday to respond to the State’s petition to transfer the appeal out of the Arizona Court of Appeals. The State’s attorneys then have until 3 p.m. Friday to file an optional reply.
The attorney general’s petition also proposes a series of deadlines for filing additional briefings if the justices grant the transfer. Those deadlines would keep the new laws and amendments on the sidelines until at least Oct. 18.
Effected by Cooper’s title / single subject ruling are Sections 12, 21, and 50 of HB2898 (K-12 Education), Sections 12 and 13 of SB1824 (Healthcare), and Section 2 of SB1825 (Higher Education). She also ruled the entire 55 pages of SB1819, the Budget Procedures bill, void due to the same violation.