Category: Govenment


 

F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama

By JONATHAN WEISMANFEB. 24, 2015

Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, said that Democrats were lining up with President Obama in favor of the F.C.C. position on net neutrality. Credit Jabin Botsford/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Senior Republicans conceded on Tuesday that the grueling fight with President Obama over the regulation of Internet service appears over, with the president and an army of Internet activists victorious.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to approve regulating Internet service like a public utility, prohibiting companies from paying for faster lanes on the Internet. While the two Democratic commissioners are negotiating over technical details, they are widely expected to side with the Democratic chairman, Tom Wheeler, against the two Republican commissioners.

And Republicans on Capitol Hill, who once criticized the plan as “Obamacare for the Internet,” now say they are unlikely to pass a legislative response that would undo perhaps the biggest policy shift since the Internet became a reality.

Tom Wheeler, F.C.C. chairman, has been working for the last year on new rules for the Internet.F.C.C. Plans Strong Hand to Regulate the InternetFEB. 4, 2015
Internet Taxes, Another Window Into the Net Neutrality DebateFEB. 20, 2015
The F.C.C. chief, Thomas Wheeler, had proposed the faster speed standard earlier this month.F.C.C. Sharply Revises Definition of BroadbandJAN. 29, 2015
“We’re not going to get a signed bill that doesn’t have Democrats’ support,” said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. “This is an issue that needs to have bipartisan support.”

How Net Neutrality Works
The future of protecting an open Internet has been the subject of fierce debate, and potential changes to the rules by the Federal Communications Commission could affect your online experience. Video by Natalia V. Osipova and Carrie Halperin on Publish Date May 15, 2014.
The new F.C.C. rules are still likely to be tied up in a protracted court fight with the cable companies and Internet service providers that oppose it, and they could be overturned in the future by a Republican-leaning commission. But for now, Congress’s hands appear to be tied.

The F.C.C. plan would let the agency regulate Internet access as if it is a public good. It would follow the concept known as net neutrality or an open Internet, banning so-called paid prioritization — or fast lanes — for willing Internet content providers.

In addition, it would ban the intentional slowing of the Internet for companies that refuse to pay broadband providers. The plan would also give the F.C.C. the power to step in if unforeseen impediments are thrown up by the handful of giant companies that run many of the country’s broadband and wireless networks.

Republicans hoped to pre-empt the F.C.C. vote with legislation, but Senate Democrats insisted on waiting until after Thursday’s F.C.C. vote before even beginning to talk about legislation for an open Internet. Even Mr. Thune, the architect of draft legislation to override the F.C.C., said Democrats had stalled what momentum he could muster.

And an avalanche of support for Mr. Wheeler’s plan — driven by Internet companies as varied as Netflix, Twitter, Mozilla and Etsy — has swamped Washington.

“We’ve been outspent, outlobbied. We were going up against the second-biggest corporate lobby in D.C., and it looks like we’ve won,” said Dave Steer, director of advocacy for the Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit technology foundation that runs Firefox, a popular Web browser, referring to the cable companies. “A year ago today, we did not think we would be in this spot.”

The net neutrality movement pitted new media against old and may well have revolutionized notions of corporate social responsibility and activism. Top-down decisions by executives investing in or divesting themselves of resources, paying lobbyists and buying advertisements were upended by the mobilization of Internet customers and users.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
“We don’t have an army of lobbyists to deploy. We don’t have financial resources to throw around,” said Liba Rubenstein, director of social impact and public policy at the social media company Tumblr, which is owned by Yahoo, the large Internet company, but operated independently on the issue. “What we do have is access to an incredibly engaged, incredibly passionate user base, and we can give folks the tools to respond.”

Internet service providers say heavy-handed regulation of the Internet will diminish their profitability and crush investment to expand and speed up Internet access. It could even open the web to taxation to pay for new regulators.

Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, said the pro-net-neutrality advocates turned a complex and technical debate over how best to keep the Internet operating most efficiently into a matter of religion. The forces for stronger regulation, he said, became viewed as for the Internet. Those opposed to the regulation were viewed as against the Internet.

The Internet companies, he said, sometimes mislead their customers, and in some cases, are misled on the intricacies of the policy.

“Many of the things they have said just belie reality and common sense,” he said.

In April, a dozen New York-based Internet companies gathered at Tumblr’s headquarters in the Flatiron district to hear dire warnings that broadband providers were about to obtain the right to charge for the fastest speeds on the web.

The implication: If they did not pony up, they would be stuck in the slow lane.

“Tech companies would be better served to work with Congress on clear rules for the road. The thing that they’re buying into right now is a lot of legal uncertainty,” said Mr. Thune. “I’m not sure exactly what their thinking is.”

Mr. Thune said he was still willing to work with Democrats on legislation that he said would do what the F.C.C. is trying to accomplish, without a heavy regulatory hand: Ban paid “fast lanes” and stop intentional slowdowns — or “throttling” — by broadband companies seeking payment from Internet content providers.

But even he said Democrats were ready to let the F.C.C. do the job.

Correction: February 24, 2015
An earlier version of this article, using information from a Tumblr executive, misstated the location of the Tumblr boardroom. It is in the Flatiron district, not in the Flatiron Building.

Senate Democrats warn Netanyahu about ‘lasting repercussions’

Last Updated:February 24 @ 09:43 pm

By Jerusalem Post (Israel) February 24, 2015 12:16 pm

Two senior US Senate Democrats invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to a closed-door meeting with Democratic senators during his upcoming visit to Washington, warning that making US-Israeli relations a partisan political issue could have “lasting repercussions.”
Senators Richard Durbin and Dianne Feinstein extended the invitation “to maintain Israel’s dialog with both political parties in Congress,” according to a letter to the Israeli leader obtained by Reuters.

Netanyahu has faced criticism at home and abroad for his plans to address Congress on Iran’s nuclear program on March 3, just two weeks before Israeli elections. He accepted the invitation from Republican leaders in the US Congress, who consulted neither Democrats in Congress nor Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration.

“This unprecedented move threatens to undermine the important bipartisan approach towards Israel – which as long-standing supporters of Israel troubles us deeply,” the two senators wrote.

“It sacrifices deep and well-established cooperation on Israel for short-term partisan points – something that should never be done with Israeli security and which we fear could have lasting repercussions,” they said.

Durbin is the No. 2 Democrat in the US Senate. Feinstein, who has been in the Senate since 1992, is the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and a senior member of the Appropriations and Judiciary committees.

The letter was sent on Monday evening. Officials at the Israeli Embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.

All rights reserved

(c) 2015 The Jerusalem Post Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).

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The Patriot Post · http://patriotpost.us/digests/33147
Daily Digest
Feb. 13, 2015

THE FOUNDATION
“Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.” –James Madison, Federalist No. 10, 1787

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
The Selfie Debate Is Over1
A recent study2 at Ohio State University “showed that men who posted more online photos of themselves than others scored higher on measures of narcissism and psychopathy.” As Exhibit A, we submit the following:

The science is settled.

By the way, he played college frat boy with BuzzFeed on the same day Kayla Mueller was confirmed dead. Stay classy.

CNN Talkinghead: ‘Our Rights Do Not Come From God’3
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo debated Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore over rights and marriage, particularly regarding the recent kerfuffle over same-sex marriage in the Heart of Dixie. When Moore explained that marriage is a matter of law and rights that come from God, Cuomo vehemently disagreed. “Our rights do not come from God, your honor, and you know that. They come from man,” Cuomo insisted. Later he added, “That’s your faith, that’s my faith, but that’s not our country. Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise.” What utter hogwash. As Moore aptly noted, the Declaration of Independence is the law of the land, and it begins, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” But Cuomo isn’t just mistaken. He and his deceased father, Mario, and his brother Andrew, former and current governors of New York, hold a typical leftist view that government and not God creates rights. Therefore, those rights are subject to the whims of politicians because, as Chris Cuomo insisted, “Times change. Definitions change.” Such views are dangerous and completely antithetical to the foundation of our country. More…4

Last Summer, Obama Partied With Terrorists5
By what we can gather, the wedding Barack Obama attended last August was the bomb. The wedding between MSNBC anchor Alex Wagner and Sam Kass, a former White House chef, was kept hush-hush – probably because Obama was there with his pals and members of Weather Underground, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. The Leftmedia rag Gawker, which got the scoop, reports pair, who cavorted with leftist terrorists that bombed federal buildings in the ‘70s, “were likely invited due to their connection to Kass. Though the nature of their relationship with him is unclear, Kass resided for several years in Chicago, where Ayers and Dohrn live, and appear to have close mutual friends. In 2012, for example, the trio attended the same 22-guest wedding at a San Francisco art gallery.” Furthermore, it’s unlikely Obama ignored the duo, as he started his 1995 Illinois Senate bid from their house. This is further evidence that Obama considers himself above scrutiny, as he doesn’t have a re-election to win. But imagine the resulting 24-hour outrage machine if George W. Bush had a friend who bombed abortion clinics. More…6

IRS to Give Tax Benefits to Illegals7
The administration that says this year’s tax refunds will be delayed8 has enough time to give tax benefits to illegal immigrants. In a House hearing, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the IRS will start paying refunds to amnestied illegals. Koskinen said, “To be eligible for the earned income tax credit, you have to work. … To be able to apply for it, you have to have a Social Security number.” Barack Obama’s executive amnesty gives illegals Social Security numbers, though the Obama administration never estimated the impact of the program. As Koskinen put it, “I haven’t talked to the White House about this at all.” In response to this admission, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) told Koskinen, “That’s just outrageous. If Congress had passed a law doing exactly what the president did, we would have had not only an estimate of the costs, but we would have also been required to propose ways to pay for the programs. This is just another example of the administration operating outside the rule of law.” Furthermore, Obama’s action muddles the line between citizen and non-citizen, all in a cynical play for more Democrat votes. More…9

Don’t Worry, We Still Have Six Middle East Embassies10
Despite the closure of the U.S. embassy in Yemen, which follows the abandonment of embassies in Syria and Libya, the Obama State Department says not to worry. A reporter asked State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, “Is there a broader concern that you’re being – the U.S. is being run out of town in the Arab world?” Pish posh, she responded: “We certainly don’t look at it in that way. I would remind you that we were not the only country that moved our staff out of Yemen last night (so did the UK and France), and we have to take precautions to protect the men and women who are serving on our behalf. There’s no question that in each of the countries you’ve mentioned there’s a great bit of volatility, but that’s – the fact is that that’s what’s happening on the ground. It’s not a reflection of the United States and our engagement. It’s a reflection of the trouble and challenges happening in these countries.” On the contrary, it absolutely is a reflection of Barack Obama’s failed foreign policy.

For more, visit Right Hooks11.

RIGHT ANALYSIS
GOP Still Stymied by Democrat Filibuster12
The Republican plan to roll back Barack Obama’s immigration actions appears on the verge of collapse thanks to intra-party squabbling and a united Democrat opposition.

GOP congressmen originally called for passing a budget for the Department of Homeland Security that stripped out funding for immigration enforcement. The House passed its version of the bill last month with 10 Republicans joining all but two Democrats in opposition. The legislation is now mired in the Senate, where the GOP has failed to reach cloture three times. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will try again – perhaps three more times.

But there is virtually no possibility they can pick up the Democrat votes needed to overcome the filibuster before the Feb. 27 deadline for funding, and the Senate adjourned Thursday for a 10-day recess.

That’s why some House Republicans want the Senate to deploy the nuclear option and eliminate the filibuster so they can pass the bill. Not that such a move would win Obama’s signature. And few, if any, Senate Republicans support such a move, which they decried when Harry Reid did it for non-Supreme Court nominations.

Before calling for more cloture votes, McConnell began looking to House Speaker John Boehner to fix the situation. “We can’t get on it, we can’t offer amendments to it,” McConnell lamented. “And the next step is obviously up to the House.”

House Republicans see things differently. “I think the speaker’s position is that the House has already acted. It’s time for the Senate to act,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).

That’s putting it mildly. Boehner himself was far more colorful, saying, “The House has done its job. Why don’t you go ask the Senate Democrats when they are going to get off their a– and do something?”

The House GOP opposes restoring immigration funding to the bill. They appear motivated to challenge Obama’s abuse of power – as he clearly overstepped his constitutional authority when he made changes to immigration policy. Senate Republicans, however, are more interested in getting a DHS funding bill passed. Talk of considering some Democrat concessions has been circulating, but Democrats feel the wind at their backs and they’re likely to accept nothing less than a fully funded bill.

If appropriations run out, the DHS won’t be able to perform some of its functions – an unwelcome situation in a time of heightened terrorist activity. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) said, “If there is a successful attack during a DHS shutdown – we should build a number of coffins outside each Democratic office and say, ‘You are responsible for these dead Americans.’”

But what’s far more likely to happen is the Leftmedia and the public will blame Republicans. No matter the circumstances, no matter who’s in the majority, the Leftmedia does its job effectively in turning public opinion against the GOP.

Hence, the bickering going back and forth between House and Senate Republicans is unfortunate. To be at loggerheads on strategy this early into their majority doesn’t instill confidence in Republicans’ ability to lead. But the truth is, Obama will veto any bill that doesn’t preserve his amnesty. Republicans need to use that to their political advantage by putting the focus on Obama’s unconstitutional actions, even if they’re unable to stop him.

Inability to overcome the Democrat filibuster is something the 54 Senate Republicans will either have to get used to or find a strategy to surmount. They need to get things ironed out or their majority will be a short one. And the White House will grow further from reach as well.

Closer to Capitulation on Iranian Nukes13
The long-running game of nuclear cat-and-mouse between Iran and the rest of the world seems to be nearing its conclusion. Both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif say talks won’t be extended past the March 31 deadline. Then again, Barack Obama has long played fast and loose with deadlines when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program.

There are serious concerns about this prospective deal. Speaking from the left side of the aisle, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) worried such a pact could be enacted without the Senate’s approval and warned, “[T]he end result [of these negotiations] is more likely to be a North Korean situation.”

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, criticized the talks14 in remarks before the Senate Armed Forces Committee. “Nuclear talks with Iran began as an international effort, buttressed by six UN resolutions, to deny Iran the capability to develop a military nuclear option,” he recounted. “They are now an essentially bilateral negotiation over the scope of that capability through an agreement that sets a hypothetical limit of one year on an assumed breakout. The impact of this approach will be to move from preventing proliferation to managing it.”

In short, Obama has conceded the main point as he’s led from behind.

Yet Obama has come up with a new excuse for allowing Iran to get its way. He’s now sufficiently blinded by Islamophilia15 as to take Iran’s supreme leader at his word that “it would be contrary to their faith16” for Iran to build a nuclear weapon. That nonsense fits well with the narrative he’s still trying to sell about Islam being the Religion of Peace™, but history has repeatedly shown just the opposite – Obama’s ridiculous lecture about the Crusades17 notwithstanding.

The U.S. has eased sanctions against Iran, while the mullahs kept working on their nuclear program under the guise of peaceful use. It won’t be long before sanctions are gone and Iran has its nuclear bomb. Kissinger fretted that other Middle East nations could then engage in a nuclear arms race. It’s not inconceivable that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey could quickly follow Iran. If Iran has nukes, these nations will reason it’s in their own security interests to obtain them in order to balance their regional foe.

Nor should we forget the effect this would have on Israel, which is calling the nuclear deal with Iran “bad and dangerous.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned us before about Iran18, saying, “Iran is not your ally. Iran is not your friend. Iran is your enemy. It’s not your partner. Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel.” (He could have added the part about the “Death to America” chants that are a staple of Friday prayers in Tehran.)

Netanyahu has allies in Congress, where the sentiment to expand sanctions against Iran is much stronger. In the past, Israel has threatened to go it alone in destroying Iran’s nuclear program, and it may yet come to that. We’ll see what the Israeli leader says when he addresses Congress in March.

Regardless, by continually appeasing this rogue regime, Barack Obama has further destabilized the situation and once again shown his reverse Midas touch in world affairs.                                                                                                                                  OPINION IN BRIEF

Mark Twain (1835-1910): “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”

Columnist Charles Krauthammer: “Russia pushes deep into eastern Ukraine. The Islamic State burns to death a Jordanian pilot. Iran extends its hegemony over four Arab capitals – Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and now Sanaa. And America watches. Obama calls the policy ‘strategic patience.’ That’s a synonym for ‘inaction,’ made to sound profoundly ‘strategic.’ Take Russia. The only news out of Obama’s one-hour press conference with Angela Merkel this week was that he still can’t make up his mind whether to supply Ukraine with defensive weapons. The Russians have sent in T-80 tanks and Grad rocket launchers. We’ve sent in humanitarian aid that includes blankets, MREs and psychological counselors. How complementary: The counselors do grief therapy for those on the receiving end of the T-80 tank fire. … America was once the arsenal of democracy, notes Elliott Abrams. We are now its linen closet. … The line between the Washington prayer breakfast and the Ukrainian grief counselors is direct and causal. Once you’ve discounted your own moral authority, once you’ve undermined your own country’s moral self-confidence, you cannot lead. If, during the very week Islamic supremacists achieve ‘peak barbarism’ with the immolation of a helpless prisoner, you cannot take them on without apologizing for sins committed a thousand years ago, you have prepared the ground for strategic paralysis. All that’s left is to call it strategic patience.”

Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “At an event in London on trade policy, Scott Walker was asked about evolution. … As my National Review colleague Kevin Williamson notes, ‘Everybody wants to know what Scott Walker and Sarah Palin think about evolution, but almost nobody is asking what Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama think about homeopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy and the like.’ Even though such remedies have been given elevated legitimacy under the Affordable Care Act. Presidents have become avatars in the culture war being fought across the Internet and the airwaves, and nothing gives secular liberal journalists more of a buzz than exposing the alleged backwardness of those they consider backward. It’s a cultural wedge issue used by the very people who claim they hate cultural wedge issues. … When Barack Obama was asked when life begins, he responded that such questions are above his pay grade, even though a president is in fact paid to make myriad decisions which hinge on precisely that question. But liberal politicians are allowed such dodges precisely because liberal journalists know what the politician really believes.”

Comedian Conan O’Brien: “NBC has suspended Brian Williams for six months without pay. Williams said he’s not worried, because soon his veteran’s benefits will kick in.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

Links

http://patriotpost.us/posts/33125

http://news.osu.edu/news/2015/01/06/hey-guys-posting-a-lot-of-selfies-doesn’t-send-a-good-message/

http://patriotpost.us/posts/33119

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/18968

http://patriotpost.us/posts/33143

http://gawker.com/obama-secretly-partied-with-bill-ayers-last-summer-1684584845

http://patriotpost.us/posts/33137

http://patriotpost.us/posts/31877

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/11/irs-pay-back-refunds-illegal-immigrants-who-didnt-/

http://patriotpost.us/posts/33113

http://patriotpost.us/

http://patriotpost.us/articles/33144

http://patriotpost.us/articles/33135

http://www.wsj.com/articles/kissinger-on-iran-1423527223

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/33080

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/02/09/obama_according_to_irans_supreme_leader_it_would_be_contrary_to_their_faith_to_obtain_a_nuclear_weapon.html

http://patriotpost.us/articles/33004

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/netanyahu-iran-is-not-your-friend-iran-is-your-enemy/

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/33117

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/33132

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/33129

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/33126

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/33131

http://patriotpost.us/opinion

Misunderstanding ObamaCare’s Employer Mandate could be Costly for Small Businesses
BY ASHTON ELLIS
THURSDAY, AUGUST 08 2013

[W]hen it comes to the employer mandate, the key number is not whether there are 50 full-time workers – it’s whether the total number of hours worked for an employer is the equivalent of 50 full-time workers…

What if Congress amends a key part of ObamaCare, but doesn’t fix the underlying problem?

That could very well be the case if either of two bills passes to change the health law’s definition of a full-time employee.

As written, ObamaCare defines “full-time” as “an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week.” A company that employs 50 such workers or more becomes subject to the law’s employer mandate, which levies fines ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 for every full-time employee not offered health insurance.

To avoid the mandate and its fines, many small businesses are planning to cut employee hours to stay below the 50/30 threshold. One study by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center estimates that as many as 2.3 million Americans working hourly jobs in the restaurant, retail and services, and nursing home industries can expect fewer hours (and less pay) as employers increase reliance on part-time staff.

Still, the business community is chaffing at the 30 hour definition since the normal standard for full-time employment is working 40 hours per week.

So, in order to make ObamaCare fit reality, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representative Dan Lipinski (D-IL) have introduced identical pieces of legislation to amend the law’s full-time definition to 40 hours per week.

Both are called the “Forty Hours Is Full Time Act of 2013,” and would replace “30 hours” with “40 hours,” but retain the 50 full-time workers trigger.

The idea behind the amendment push is to “keep the usual 40 hour full-time work week in place without sacrificing the goal of providing affordable, quality health to Americans,” Lipinski said in a statement.

If only it were that simple.

Because of media reports about the shift to part-time workers and legislative bills like those proposed by Collins and Lipinski, there is a widespread misperception that ObamaCare’s employer mandate applies only to individuals who themselves meet the definition of a full-time employee, however many hours it is.

This misperception creates the impression that all a company needs to do to avoid the employer mandate is reduce its full-time workforce and spread out its work to a greater number of part-timers.

But a careful reading of the law reveals a different story.

The text of ObamaCare and subsequent regulations say there are two ways a company can reach the dreaded 50 full-time employee (FTE) threshold. One way is to have 50 individuals, each employed full-time.

The other way is to add the number of full-time positions to the total number of part-time hours worked. Every time the number of part-time hours worked is equivalent to one full-time employee, ObamaCare will treat those combined part-time hours as one full-time equivalent employee. If enough part-timers can be aggregated into the number of full-time equivalent employees needed to reach 50, then the employer mandate will apply.

In other words, “Switching from full-time to part-time workers of equal total hours worked may not avoid the employer’s responsibility for offering its workers health insurance,” notes Andrew Kurz of HealthReformTrends.com.

The problem with the Collins-Lipinski solution is that it ignores the fact that ObamaCare’s employer mandate is really a tax on business formation and growth, not just jobs. What the FTE count means is that there will now be a practical limit to the amount of hours a small business can pay for before it is hit with massive increases in compliance costs. For example, under the current 50/30 formula, the threshold that triggers the employer mandate becomes 1,500 hours of work paid a week.

Passage of the Collins-Lipinski bill does not fix this problem. Instead, all it does is increase the practical limit of pre-mandate business growth by a third. By changing the formula to 40 hours, but keeping the 50 full-time employee and FTE measures, the bill raises the triggering threshold to 2,000 work hours a week.

Any work paid for at or beyond this threshold brings with it tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in either fines or increased insurance costs.

Imagine the consequences. Depending on the business, once the mandate applies, it will take hiring many additional employees just to start making a profit again. This amounts to a huge tax on business growth as employers are forced to create new firms rather than expand an existing one, or forego expansion altogether. It could even stifle enterprise formation if the number of working hours necessary to make a business go falls between 50 full-time workers and a higher staff level that doesn’t escape the mandate’s profit-killing effects.

Either way, when it comes to the employer mandate, the key number is not whether there are 50 full-time workers – it’s whether the total number of hours worked for an employer is the equivalent of 50 full-time workers, however defined.

None of this is surprising if you remember that the whole point of the employer mandate is to force the private sector to pay for an expensive benefit that the government can’t afford.

That’s the essential problem with the employer mandate, and why the only economically prudent reform is to repeal it outright.

Choose to refuse: Say ‘no’ to PARCC/SBAC testing Michelle Malkin – Guest Columnist

http://michellemalkin.com/

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Michelle MalkinParents, you need to know that Common Core-aligned testing racketeers in your children’s schools are doing everything they can to marginalize you. You also need to know you CAN do something about it.

This is National School Choice Week, but I want to talk about parents’ school testing choice. Moms and dads, you have the inherent right and responsibility to protect your children. You can choose to refuse the top-down Common Core racket of costly standardized tests of dubious academic value, reliability and validity.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I’m reminding you of your right to choose because the spring season of testing tyranny is about to hit the fan. Do you object to the time being taken away from your kids’ classroom learning? Are you alarmed by the intrusive data-sharing and data-mining enabled by assessment-driven special interests? Are you opposed to the usurpation of local control by corporate testing giants and federal lobbyists?

You are not alone, although the testing racketeers are doing everything they can to marginalize you. In Maryland, a mom of a 9-year-old special needs student is suing her Frederick County school district to assert her parental prerogative. Cindy Rose writes that her school district “says the law requires our children be tested, but could not point to a specific law or regulation” forcing her child to take Common Core-tied tests. Rose’s pre-trial conference is scheduled for Feb. 4.

The vigilant mom warns parents nationwide: “While we are being treated like serfs of the State, Pearson publishing is raking in billions off our children.” And she is not just going to lie down and surrender because some bloviating suits told her “it’s the law.”

Pearson, as I’ve reported extensively, is the multibillion-dollar educational publishing and testing conglomerate — not to mention a chief corporate sponsor of Jeb Bush’s Fed Ed ventures — that snagged $23 million in contracts to design the first wave of so-called “PARCC” tests.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers raked in $186 million through the federal Race to the Top program to develop the nationalized tests “aligned” to the Common Core standards developed in Beltway backrooms.

As more families, administrators and teachers realized the classroom and cost burdens the guinea-pig field-testing scheme would impose, they pressured their states to withdraw. Between 2011 and 2014, the number of states actively signed up for PARCC dropped from 24 (plus the District of Columbia) to 10 (plus DC). Education researcher Mercedes Schneider reports that the remaining 10 are Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio and Rhode Island.

State legislators and state education boards in Utah, Kansas, Alaska, Iowa, South Carolina and Alabama have withdrawn from the other federally funded testing consortium, the $180-million tax-subsidized Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which administered field tests last spring to three million students in 23 states. In New Jersey, the parental opt-out movement is “exploding,” according to activist Jean McTavish. Many superintendents have conceded that “they can’t force a student to take a test,” NJ.com reports.

Last week, Missouri withdrew from PARCC, while parents, administrators and the school board of the Chicago Public Schools spurned PARCC in the majority of their 600 schools.

In California, the Pacific Justice Institute offers a privacy protection opt-out form for parents to submit to school districts. PJI head Brad Dacus advises families to send the notices as certified letters if they get ignored. Then, be prepared to go to court. PJI will help. The Thomas More Law Center in Michigan also offers a student privacy opt-out form.

Don’t let the bureaucratic smokescreens fool you. A federal No Child Left Behind mandate on states to administer assessments is not a mandate on you and your kids to submit to the testing diktats. And the absence of an opt-out law or regulation is not a prohibition on your choice to refuse.

Here in Colorado, the State Board of Education voted this month to allow districts to opt out of PARCC testing. Parents and activists continue to pressure a state task force — packed with Gates Foundation and edu-tech special interest-conflicted members — to reduce the testing burden statewide. For those who don’t live in PARCC-waivered districts, it’s important to know your rights and know the spin.

In Colorado Springs, where I have a high-schooler whose district will sacrifice a total of six full academic days for PARCC testing this spring, parents are calling the testing drones’ bluff about losing their accreditation and funding.

“The Colorado Department of Education is threatening schools to ensure that 95 percent of students take these tests,” an El Paso County parent watch group reports. “Be assured that MANY parents across Colorado — FAR ABOVE 5 percent in many schools — are refusing the tests, and not one school yet is facing the loss of accreditation, funding, etc. As long as schools can show that they gave a ‘good faith attempt to get 95 percent to test, they can appeal a loss of accreditation’ due to parental refusals to test.”

You also have the power to exercise a parental nuclear option: If edu-bullies play hardball and oppose your right to refuse, tell them you’ll have your kid take the test and intentionally answer every question wrong — and that you’ll advise every parent you know to tell their kids to do the same. How’s that for accountability?

Be prepared to push back against threats and ostracism. Find strength in numbers. And always remember: You are your kids’ primary educational providers.

COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malknblog@gmail.com.

Justice Roy Moore strikes a major blow against judicial tyranny Bryan Fischer – Guest Columnist

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Bryan FischerThe U.S. Constitution gives no jurisdiction whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to dictate marriage policy to the states. That’s the argument Roy Moore is making – and he’s on solid constitutional grounds in doing so.

Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court has taken a stand against judicial tyranny on the matter of natural marriage. And strikingly and importantly, he has called on the governor of Alabama to do the same.

Last Friday, another judicial activist, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade, overturned Alabama’s marriage amendment, which was passed in 2006 by a staggering 81 percent of voters. (The judge has stayed her own ruling for two weeks.)

Justice Moore says he will not recognize the federal court ruling, and he is calling on Gov. Robert Bentley to do the same. And the beauty of it is that he is doing it all on solid constitutional grounds.

In Justice Moore’s letter to the governor (which you can read here) he states the constitutional and legal facts plainly and correctly. The Constitution, he says bluntly, gives no jurisdiction whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to dictate marriage policy to the states.

“As you know,” Judge Moore wrote, “nothing in the United States Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage.” This, of course, is manifestly true. The authority to dictate marriage policy to the states is conspicuously absent from the list of powers “We the People” granted to the central government in Article I, Section 8.

In fact, the word “marriage” does not occur anywhere in the Constitution. You can read it front to back, back to front, upside down and in Sanskrit and you will find nary a mention of marriage anywhere in there, including the 14th Amendment, which was about slavery, not marriage. (On top of that, homosexual conduct was a crime everywhere in the United States at the time the 14th Amendment was enacted.)

All this means is that the issue of the definition of marriage is reserved, as Justice Moore correctly observes, to the states and the states alone.

“As Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I will continue to recognize the Alabama Constitution and the will of the people overwhelmingly expressed in the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment,” Moore wrote.

Here’s how Justice Moore concludes his letter to the governor: “I ask you to continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of this state and for our posterity. Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.”

Moore points out that 44 federal judges have already imposed their own view of morality on 21 states against the manifest will of the people as expressed at the ballot box, disenfranchising millions of voters in the process. The key to breaking the power of this out-of-control judicial tyranny is in the hands of our elected officials at the state level.

State justices can, as Justice Moore has done, defy unconstitutional federal rulings which have overturned marriage amendments. Governors, such as Gov. Bentley, can defy unconstitutional federal rulings by forbidding county clerks to issue marriage licenses which would be in violation of the state constitution. (First Amendment law firms such as the Alliance Defending Freedom have pledged to defend pro bono any clerks who refuse to issue same-sex licenses on grounds of conscience.)

Such actions would most emphatically not represent civil disobedience, but rather the best in civil obedience. An elected official can hardly be charged with rebellion when he is simply fulfilling the oath he took before God to uphold both the federal Constitution and the constitution of his own state.

What Justice Moore is advocating is not rebellion at all, but a call to quash the rebellion which has already occurred, the rebellion of federal judges against the limits imposed on them by our supreme legal document. With regard to federal judges, it is time, in Jefferson’s words, “to bind (them) down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Justice Roy Moore is showing us how. May his tribe increase.

Bryan Fischer hosts “Focal Point with Bryan Fischer” every weekday on AFR Talk (American Family Radio) from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Central).

PSA encourages kids to steal parents’ guns, hand over to teachers
A startling new anti-gun ad released by a San Francisco-based production company encourages children to commit a series of crimes by stealing their parents’ guns and turning them over to school officials. (Sleeper 13 Productions)
A startling new anti-gun ad released by a San Francisco-based production company encourages children to commit a series of crimes by stealing their parents’ guns and turning them over to school officials. (Sleeper 13 Productions) more >
By Jessica Chasmar – The Washington Times – Monday, December 22, 2014
A startling new anti-gun ad released by a San Francisco-based production company encourages children to commit a series of crimes by stealing their parents’ guns and turning them over to school officials, The Daily Caller reported Monday.

Sleeper 13 Productions released the controversial video on Dec. 13. It shows a pouty, young boy wandering into his parents’ bedroom, stealing a handgun out of their dresser drawer and then shoving it into his backpack.

The boy then carries what is presumably a loaded weapon into his classroom. After class, he approaches the teacher, takes the gun out of his backpack and slams it onto her desk.

“Can you take this away? I don’t feel safe with a gun in my house,” the boy says.

“Our children deserve a safe world,” the ad says. “Stop gun violence now.”

The video, first reported by The Blaze, has been met with sharp criticism from gun-rights activists on Sleeper 13’s Facebook page.

“Weapons theft, unlawful possession of a weapon by a minor, illegal concealed carry of a weapon, carrying a weapon onto school property, assault, and brandishing,” wrote Jerry Harlan.

On YouTube, the video had received more than 3,500 down votes, compared to its 31 up votes.

“Lot of people are afraid to share my PSA!” tweeted the ad’s director, Rejina Sincic. “If you are not a coward please share #gunviolence.”

Fred Rick Friedman questioned on Facebook: “So, when a child does this and accidentally kills himself or an innocent bystander, will Sleeper 13 Productions and Ragina Sincic be brought up on charges as an accessory? This has got to be one of the dumbest PSA’s put out by anti-gunners ever. Way to combat criminal violence…turn innocent children into felons.”

According to the credits, the video was shot at North Oakland Community Charter School in Oakland. The school’s executive director, Carolyn Gramstorff, told The Washington Times that officials did grant permission for the PSA to be shot there, but were not aware beforehand of its message. In light of the controversial video, she said the school is motivated to consider narrowing its screening process for allowing PSAs to be shot on campus.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/22/psa-encourages-kids-to-steal-parents-guns-hand-ove/#ixzz3MgVrALtb
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Obama administration claims a right to hide evidence before Supreme Court
| DECEMBER 10, 2014 | 5:00 AM
The United States v. June case boils down to this: Can the federal government actively conceal material evidence in order to escape liability?
The United States v. June case boils down to this: Can the federal government actively conceal…
Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in United States v. June, a case that has received little attention, but will have far-reaching implications. The case boils down to this: Can the federal government actively conceal material evidence in order to escape liability? Common sense says no. The Obama administration says yes.

June involves the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) and a doctrine called “equitable tolling.” Prior to 1946, the doctrine of sovereign immunity prohibited citizens from filing suit against the government. That all changed in 1946, when a military plane crashed into the Empire State Building, killing and injuring many civilians. Congress responded by enacting the FTCA, which waives sovereign immunity and allows citizens to sue the government in instances.

However, claimants must file a claim within two years of injury. Equitable tolling freezes those two years under certain considerations, like government officials hiding pertinent facts. Courts across the country have consistently applied the doctrine of equitable tolling to FTCA claims.

In the June case, a minor child was killed in a car crash when a median barrier failed. The barrier had failed safety crash testing; the government knew but installed it anyway. When the plaintiff investigated, the government would not make federal employees — who knew the truth — available for deposition until after the two year deadline to file. The government now argues that equitable tolling should not apply to claims brought under the FTCA. It maintains that it can avoid liability by hiding evidence and waiting for the clock to run out.

The June case raises serious issues for every government agency, especially the Veterans Administration, given the recent scandal where VA employees engaged in fraud and falsified records. If no whistleblower had come forward, VA employees could have waited out the clock. The VA has already demonstrated a propensity toward dishonesty and covering up. It needs no further incentives.

Importantly, some injuries are latent and may not appear for even years after the fact. Take, for instance, the example of veterans exposed to HIV and hepatitis by the VA during routine colonoscopies and dental work. Older vets, having no reason to be regularly tested, may not find out about their exposure until years later when HIV blossoms into full blown AIDS or when their livers malfunction. Moreover, in 2011 a Pittsburgh VA hospital’s water supply tested positive for Legionnaires disease but the hospital did not notify patients for over a year. Only after six patient deaths and 22 infections did the VA facility warn patients and distribute bottled water.

If government has its way in June, the VA and other government agencies would get off scot-free in similar situations. Say goodbye to transparency and the FTCA as we know it. A wrongdoer should not benefit by secrecy calculated to hide the truth and deprive harmed persons of their constitutional right to due process. Sunshine is the best disinfectant and the Supreme Court must rein in government abuse in June. After all, our laws do not allow private citizens to benefit from dishonesty and the same standard should be applied to government, too.

Ms. Miller Rotunda is Professor of Military and International Law at Chapman University and a former Major in the US Army JAG Corps; Admiral Carey is the President of the National Defense Committee; Mr. Carey is Executive Director of the National Defense Committee and a Captain in the Naval Reserves; Mr. Flynn-Brown is an attorney that specializes in military and veteran law. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions for editorials, available at this link.

Obama’s Endless Lies and His Media Accomplices
By Cliff Kincaid December 10, 2014 12:25 pm

Like the use of the word “chokehold” in connection with the death of Eric Garner, the term “torture” has been applied repeatedly by the media to the CIA’s treatment of suspected terrorists. These are examples of how left-wing forces in the Obama administration, the Democratic Party and the media try to control and manipulate the public debate in ways that demonize those defending our nation.
The purpose is to make the American people lose faith in the police and the intelligence community. But it is those using the loaded terms and language that deserve the scrutiny.

A notable exception in the “chokehold” coverage is Margaret Harding of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, who quoted Thomas Aveni, a retired officer and executive director of the Police Policy Studies Council, as saying about the video of Garner’s takedown, “The reason all these people are upset is because they don’t understand what they saw. People don’t understand what they’re looking at.”

She reported that Aveni, a police trainer in deadly and non-deadly force for more than 30 years, said that New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo did not use a chokehold on Garner, but rather a “lateral vascular neck restraint” or LVNR. The difference? “People can’t talk when they are being choked,” Aveni said.

The alleged use of “torture” against suspected terrorists is another example of how the media adopt a term that doesn’t apply to what is actually being described.

Jose Rodriguez, the author of Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives, says the term “torture” is inaccurate and that the CIA received guidance from the Department of Justice as to what procedures could be used to avoid “lasting pain or harm” to the detainees. Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA’s Clandestine Service, defends the “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Rodriguez writes in his book about how Obama’s CIA director Leon Panetta had declared to the Senate that the program had used “torture,” though he had not even been briefed on it.

The media campaigns against the police “chokehold” and the CIA’s “torture” techniques remind me of the communist “Ban the Neutron Bomb” campaign of the early 1970s. The “neutron bomb” was an enhanced radiation weapon designed to counter a Soviet tank build-up in Europe.

Despite the name, the “neutron bomb” was more humane than conventional arms. Appearing at an Accuracy in Media conference at the time, Sam T. Cohen, the inventor of the weapon, noted that it killed people painlessly through radiation rather than a blast with catastrophic consequences. But the Soviets thought it gave the U.S. an unfair advantage and successfully waged an “active measures” campaign, using the U.S. media, against it. Distorted coverage of the weapon led President Jimmy Carter to ban it from the U.S. arsenal.

In the same way, banning a “chokehold,” when it is actually something else, puts American police forces at a disadvantage with the criminal element. Outlawing “torture,” when the techniques were not torture, deprives our intelligence community of procedures that can actually save lives.

When we examined Panetta’s fitness for public office, we found that he was an opponent of the “neutron bomb” when he was a liberal Congressman from California. Perhaps this explains why he was picked for the important posts of CIA director and then Secretary of Defense. He was susceptible to disinformation then and was judged as somebody who could “go with the program” of Obama to ban interrogation techniques that gave the U.S. an edge in the war on terror.

The “torture” controversy also proves to be a diversion from discussing Obama’s alternative—the use of drones to shoot air-to-surface Hellfire missiles and literally obliterate suspected terrorists.

When terrorists die in drone strikes, they yield no intelligence data because they do not end up alive in U.S. custody. Plus, women and children die alongside them.

This is supposed to be more “humane” than alleged “torture” of the individual terrorists, who survive the “torture” and then get fat at Gitmo.

Obama gets away with this because the media, once again, are feeding out of his hands, eager to take his line on foreign affairs when it is nonsensical and counter to U.S. interests.

In his 2013 remarks to the National Defense University, Obama acknowledged that “…it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in every war. And for the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred throughout conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Obama declared, “…America’s actions are legal.” Case closed. That’s good enough for the media.

At the same time, he said, “I believe we compromised our basic values—by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.”

Obama’s flimsy justification for drone strikes is a self-serving memo generated by his own administration. It purports to explain why killing Americans does not violate the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution for U.S. citizens accused of crimes. The memo refers to U.S. drone aircraft as “contemplated lethal operations.”

Apparently, however, wiping out terrorists and their families, friends, and relatives, is not something that compromises our basic values.

The fact that Obama gets away with this deception says something about the gullibility of the American media.

It was appropriate that the Democratic Senate report on “torture” was released on the same day that Jonathan Gruber was testifying about lying to the American people regarding the benefits of Obamacare. The Senate report was another form of deception, designed to confuse and mislead about what Obama has used in place of interrogation techniques of terrorists. Obama doesn’t interrogate terrorists, he kills them.

Yet, we are led to believe Obama believes in American values and practices them.

The American people would see through the lies if only they could depend on a media that would lead them out of all the deliberate obfuscation.

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