Tag Archive: government


 

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.

ISIS abducts at least 90 from Christian villages in Syria
By Jerusalem Post (Israel) February 24, 2015 12:12 pmAMMAN- Islamic State militants have abducted at least 90 people from Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria, a monitor that tracks violence in Syria said on Tuesday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the abductions took place after dawn raids in villages inhabited by the ancient Christian minority near the town of Tel Tmar, a mainly Assyrian town, in the western countryside of the city of Hasaka, a city mainly held by the Kurds.

The latest offensive coincides with a push by Syrian Kurds in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border that began Sunday and has compounded losses for Islamic State.

The incident comes about a week after the release of a beheading video of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in the hands of IS.

A caption of the video released by Islamic State militants referred to the Coptics as “people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church.”

The victims, kidnapped in Libya, deepened Cairo’s concerns over security threats from militants thriving in the neighboring country’s chaos.

All rights reserved

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

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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Rumors: ISIS Captures Ramadi City, ‘300 Marines’ Trapped at al-Asad Air Base
By Jack Phillips, Epoch Times | February 12, 2015Last Updated: February 13, 2015 12:08 pm.

The city of al-Baghdadi in Iraq was taken by ISIS militants on Thursday, a few miles from an air base with U.S. Marines, according to Reuters.

But a rumor that was being spread on social media sites and several blogs said “300 Marines” were “trapped” at a nearby base, and it said Iraqi officials lost contact with them. Another rumor claimed that Ramadi city, located about 50 miles from al-Baghdadi was also taken, but that hasn’t been confirmed either.

Mainstream news outlets have not reported on 300 Marines–or any U.S. soldiers in Iraq–being “trapped” by ISIS, or the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIL.

UNCONFIRMED: There are initial reports of ISIS attack/capture of al-Asad air base in which there are over 300 U.S. marines

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.

Utah firing-squad proposal faces key vote Friday
The Associated Press – By By MICHELLE L. PRICE – Associated Press27 minutes ago

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Legislation that resurrects Utah’s use of firing squads to carry out executions faces a key vote Friday morning before the Utah House of Representatives.
The bill from Clearfield Republican Rep. Paul Ray barely won approval from a House committee last week, but it’s unclear if enough of the 75 members in the GOP-dominated House are willing to back the measure.
Ray argues a team of trained marksmen is faster and more humane than the drawn-out deaths that have occurred in botched lethal injections. His bill would call for a firing squad if Utah cannot get lethal injection drugs 30 days before an execution.
Critics say the firing squad is a gruesome relic of Utah’s Wild West past and would bring international condemnation upon the state. That criticism and excessive media attention was one of the reasons many lawmakers voted in 2004 to stop allowing condemned prisoners to choose death by firing squad.
A handful of inmates on Utah’s death row were sentenced before the law changed and still have the option of going before a firing squad in a few years once they have exhausted any appeals.
It was last used in 2010 when Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by five police officers with .30-caliber Winchester rifles.
For years, states used a three-drug combination to execute inmates, but European drug makers have refused to sell the drugs to prisons and corrections departments out of opposition to the death penalty.
Drug shortages and troubles with administering lethal injections have led several states begin revisiting alternatives over the past year
A bill to allow firing squad executions is working its way through Wyoming’s Legislature, while lawmakers in Oklahoma lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow that state to use nitrogen gas to execute inmates.
Ray has argued the firing squad is the fastest, most reliable method and the most humane way to kill someone.
The Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment, says that a firing squad is not a foolproof method because the inmate could move or shooters could miss the heart, causing a slower, more painful death. One such case appears to have happened in Utah’s territorial days back in 1879, when a firing squad missed Wallace Wilkerson’s heart and it took him 27 minutes to die, according to newspaper accounts.
If Utah’s House votes in favor of the proposal Friday, the bill advances to the Senate, where leaders have declined to say whether they’d support it.
Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, has discussed the idea with Ray, but he has not committed to signing the bill if it makes it to his desk, according to Herbert’s spokesman Marty Carpenter.
Carpenter has said Herbert supports Ray’s “efforts to try to address the situation, to try to address the potential situation that the state would be in.”

Daily Digest
Jan. 29, 2015

THE FOUNDATION
“[A] bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, 1787

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
After Undermining Cuts, Obama Plans More Spending1
Despite Republican budget cuts helping the nation boost its Index of Economic Freedom score2, Barack Obama worked to make sequestration as painful as possible – even though it was his idea in the first place. For example, he blamed the Republican budget for his drawdown of military strength to anemic levels. Not only that, an analysis of federal grants3 by Reuters and the Brookings Institution shows Obama funneling more money to states he won in 2012 than to states he didn’t. On average, blue states saw their federal dole decline 25% while red states saw the payout slashed 40%. As Congress banned the practice of earmarking funds, the executive branch picked up that power. It’s all been a strategy to further Obama’s “middle-crush economics4,” as he’s about to introduce a budget to Congress that lifts sequestration entirely. It’s for the middle class, leftists like Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) argue: “Arbitrary cuts through sequestration never made sense, and House Democrats have consistently supported replacing them with a smarter, more balanced approach to long-term deficit reduction. What our country needs is a growing economy that works for all Americans, not just the wealthy few.” But waging class warfare and then redistributing the loot on vote-buying schemes won’t accomplish economic growth.

CBO Says ObamaCare to Cost Less? Yeah, Right5
Two projections about ObamaCare in the Congressional Budget Office’s latest report6 will probably contradict each other. First came the breathless news that the government will spend 20% less7 than what the CBO first divined back in April. Now, the government is expected to spend $1.35 trillion from 2016 to 2025 – $2 trillion in expenses8 offset by income from penalty payments and other tax revenue. Here’s what CBS News has to say about it: “Consequently, the CBO reduced its 10-year cost estimate for Obamacare by $101 billion by making the following changes: It’s predicting the government will spend $68 billion less on Obamacare subsidies, spend $59 billion more on Medicaid, and bring in $97 billion more in revenues from projected changes in employer-based coverage. Additionally, the CBO is projecting the government will spend $5 billion more due to changes in estimated penalty payments and certain taxes collected.” In short, they are expecting businesses to pick up a larger portion of the nation’s health care tab. But the CBO also says 10 million Americans will lose employer-provided insurance9 during that same period. With the track record the federal government has on ObamaCare promises, expect to see a revision soon.

White House: Taliban ‘Insurgents,’ Not Terrorists10
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl wanted to know: What was the difference between the Bowe Bergdahl exchange11 with the Taliban and Jordan’s attempted swap12 of prisoners with ISIL? When Karl brought the question up at a White House press conference, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz responded that prisoner exchange is a “traditional end of conflict transaction.” But then Schultz said, “I would also point out that the Taliban is an armed insurgency. ISIL is a terrorist group. So we don’t make concessions to terrorist groups.” So if the full brunt of the U.S. military is thrown against a terrorist organization, it legitimizes the organization in the eyes of the Obama administration? This is just another example of Obama playing verbal gymnastics, obfuscating his foreign policy. As political analyst Charles Krauthammer observed, the Taliban “slits throats, it attacks busses, it drives car bombs into markets, and it’s not a terrorist group? Look, you can’t parody this administration.” Sad, but true. More…13

Narcissist in Chief Praises Himself 118 Times in Single Speech14
Can you ever get tired of hearing yourself talk, much less making it all about you? Not if you’re Barack Obama. The president made a stop in New Delhi this week to deliver a speech that was once again replete with personal pronouns. After analyzing the yawn-inducing remarks, Grabien reported, “Somehow in the span of just 33 minutes, Obama referenced himself 118 times.” They added, “For those keeping score at home, that’s 3.5 Obama references per minute.” Whether he’s demogugeing here at home, or proselytizing abroad, it’s never about “We the People,” as the beginning words of the U.S. Constitution make clear. It’s about “I, Barack Obama.” As if that weren’t embarrassing enough, the man actually believes he’s accomplished something.

Virginia Senate Defends Right to Bear Arms15
The proposal to restrict the Second Amendment rights of Virginians backfired on Governor Terry McAuliffe when he watched his bills die in committee while measures granting greater gun freedom moved forward. McAuliffe announced16 in December gun control would be a cornerstone of his administration, such as renewing Virginia’s expired law limiting handgun purchases to once a month. In what Philip Van Cleave, president of Virginia Citizens Defense League, called “an awesome day,” the commonwealth’s Senate Courts of Justice Committee rejected the governor’s bills and instead approved bills that would allow Virginians to get a lifetime gun permit and carry on school grounds if school is not in session. While Charles Cooke17 says McAuliffe signing these bills has about as much chance as a donut before Michael Moore, Virginia’s senate couldn’t have sent a stronger message. More…18

For more, visit Right Hooks19.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE
Support the NRA! This week, NRA Life members or those who have been members for five or more years, will receive National Board ballots in your NRA publication. I ask your support for a seasoned member of that board, my colleague Joe DeBergalis, an NRA Benefactor Life Member. Joe’s a career law enforcement officer in New York, but he has dedicated untold hours in support of the Second Amendment20 and the NRA, serving as Chairman of the NRA’s Education and Training Committee – there are now more than 117,000 certified Instructor and Coach members. He also serves as Vice Chair of Action Shooting and on the Executive, Finance, Law Enforcement, Legislative Affairs and Sport Shooting Committees. In addition to the NRA, Joe has promoted Essential Liberty21 nationwide. He is the founder of the very popular AR15.com Pro-AM 3 Gun Championship and works with numerous other 2A training and advocacy groups. Joe is an active opponent of the so-called NY SAFE Act and Leftist Michael Bloomberg’s gun control schemes22 in Colorado, California and across the nation. Check for your ballot in your magazine, or if you receive the magazine electronically, a ballot will be mailed to you via USPS. Support our friend Joe DeBergalis and make plans to attend the NRA Convention23 in Nashville, April 10-12, 2015.

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read Obama’s ‘Middle-Crush Economics’4, on the platform for his final years.

If you’d like to receive Alexander’s Column by email, update your subscription here24.

RIGHT ANALYSIS
Lynch Will Take Up Holder’s Torch of Injustice25
Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation last September, effective when a replacement is confirmed. On Wednesday, Congress conducted the first day of hearings with that nominee, U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch. And it appears she’ll pick up right where Holder left off.

Early in the hearing, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) explained, “[T]he Attorney General is the premier law enforcement officer … in America. He or she sets the tone for law in America, the commitment to law, and must resist politicizing law and do the right thing on a daily basis.”

And Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) lamented, “Public confidence in the department’s ability to do its job without regard to politics has been shaken, with good reason.”

Indeed, what a tone Holder set. To name but a few egregious activities from the last six years in which he served as Barack Obama’s criminal co-conspirator26, the AG trafficked illegal guns to Mexican drug cartels via Operation Fast and Furious27, tossed an airtight voter-intimidation case28 against the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia and sued Southern states over voter ID laws29. So he’s leaving big shoes to fill.

Enter Lynch, the current U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Grilled by Senate Republicans hoping to find that she’s “not Eric Holder,” Lynch gave every reason to believe that she’d endeavor to be his heir.

That isn’t to say she didn’t strike some euphonious political notes. Regarding law enforcement, she said it would be a priority to strengthen “the vital relationships between our courageous law enforcement personnel and all the communities we serve.” In fact, she added, “In my career, I have seen this relationship flourish – I have seen law enforcement forge unbreakable bonds with community residents and have seen violence-ravaged communities come together to honor officers who risked all to protect them. As attorney general, I will draw all voices into this important discussion.”

All well and good, but the relationship between communities and law enforcement has absolutely not flourished in the wake of Holder’s noxious race-baiting30 after police shootings in Ferguson and New York City. Notwithstanding Lynch’s conciliatory rhetoric, we find it hard to believe she’ll do much better. Obama wouldn’t choose her if she would.

So what about immigration? If the AG “sets the tone” for the nation, as Sessions accurately noted, what can we expect from the Justice Department after Obama’s lawless amnesty?

First, Lynch claims it was only a “temporary deferral” of enforcement and therefore not “a legal amnesty” – by which she means Obama didn’t grant amnesty. While she wasn’t part of crafting the policy, she doesn’t “see any reason to doubt the reasonableness” of the action.

Second, in a convoluted line of testimony, she seemed to contend that illegals have the right to work in the U.S. “I believe that the right and the obligation to work is one that’s shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here,” she said. “And certainly, if someone is here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace.”

Lynch did later clarify that there is currently a “legal framework” requiring proof of citizenship or eligibility for employment, but that hardly eases the concern we have over her “right to work” answer. The issue of “rights” for illegals is at the root of Obama’s lawlessness, and Lynch’s answer signifies that she’s in lockstep with the president. Shocking, we know.

And don’t think for a minute that any leftist actually believes a poverty plantation31 welfare recipient has an “obligation to work.”

Lynch cannot possibly restore trust between American communities and law enforcement when the law is based on nothing more than the political whim of the White House. Her answer regarding Holder’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court is illustrative: There are, she said, “rare instances” when the Justice Department may find “constitutional issues” with a law. This is Left-speak for selective law enforcement.

Unfortunately, though Sessions and a few other Republicans will oppose32 Lynch’s confirmation, it seems she will win enough votes to become the next attorney general. Worse, her quiet demeanor, diminutive stature (she’s all of five feet tall) and the fact she will be the first black woman to serve as AG (with the last name of Lynch, no less) add up to mean she could be both worse than Holder and harder to oppose.

Dropping Out of (Taxing) College (Savings)33
In less time than it takes to fill out a college application, Barack Obama dropped his plan to tax 529 college savings accounts in order to offer two “free” (ahem) years of community college. Just seven days after floating the idea in the State of the Union address34, the White House deduced that it had become such a “distraction” as to warrant abandonment.

Given this administration’s penchant for coming up with, and then bitterly clinging to, economically disastrous ideas (ObamaCare, anyone?), political resistance was quick and universal enough that even Obama couldn’t ignore reality.

You see, 529s are education savings plans that help families set aside money for college. While contributions are not tax-deductible on federal tax returns, distributions from the funds to pay for college are tax-free, making 529 plans highly attractive for families wanting to save for their children’s education. The problem – well, one among many – is that the president seemed to assume those who take advantage of these accounts are “rich,” defined in his parallel universe as those who make $250,000 per year. So taxing these accounts would be the obvious choice in Obama’s class-warfare utopia. Shared responsibility and all.

He grossly underestimated the backlash given how many middle-class people actually have college savings. As of last year, there were more than 12 million accounts, and the average balance was $19,774 – far less than the $240,000 the Obamas put into college savings for their private-school-educated daughters in one year alone.

Furthermore, according to the College Savings Foundation35, some 70% of 529 accounts are held by households earning less than $150,000 per year – hardly “rich.” Almost 10% are held by households making less than $50,000 per year, and nearly 95% of 529 plans are owned by households making less than $250,000 annually. The president can’t pass this one off as trying to tax the One Percent.

Still, demonstrating his ever-present disconnect from reality, he actually pitched his proposal as part of his “middle-class economics” plan. He defines this campaign theme as36 “the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”

In reality, Obamanomics means government calls the shots, fair share is forcibly relinquishing what you earn fair and square to those who do squat, and the rules are whatever the latest executive order says they are. It would be better known as middle-crush economics4.

Far from helping the middle class, Obama’s plan took direct aim at average Americans, as the truly “rich” often pay out of pocket for college and the poor are eligible for financial aid, something middle-class families are often deemed too well-off to receive.

The idea that anyone would propose such a middle-class-crushing tax seems ludicrous, but it’s par for the course when you’re trying to fund exponentially bigger government and running out of revenue sources.

The president must have realized things were bad when two of his top cheerleaders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), pleaded with him to drop the idea. They realized that nothing says “don’t re-elect me” quite like “I want to scalp your college savings.”

While some may call the plan a political blunder, at the end of the day it was simply a case of Obama exposing his true economic philosophy. As Robert Tracinski notes37, “The truly committed leftist looks upon our private savings as a vast reserve of capital unfairly withheld from its proper function of servicing the needs of the state.”

So don’t think the president’s money grab is over. Instead, be on the lookout for what he’ll try to commandeer next.

OPINION IN BRIEF

British novelist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963): “Again, the new oligarchy must more and more base its claim to plan us on its claim to knowledge. If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. This means they must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists, till in the end the politicians proper become merely the scientists’ puppets. Technocracy is the form to which a planned society must tend.”

Economist Stephen Moore: “The big news from [last] week’s State of the Union address is that the economic ‘crisis is over.’ Apparently, we’ve been rescued from a second Great Depression and everything this president has done to fix the economy has worked. All that was missing from Mr. Obama’s celebration was the old ‘Icky Shuffle’ end zone dance. This no doubt came as a bit of a shock to voters since the economy has been sickly for a long, long time. As recently as this fall, half of Americans were saying that the country is still in recession. Conditions have improved in the last six months for sure, with growth accelerating, inflation low and stable, hiring picking up and gas prices tumbling. Still, if things are as good as the White House says they are, why do we feel so bad? … Americans aren’t breaking out the champagne because they instinctively realize that an economic recovery built on trillions of dollars of debt, overspending, and trillions more in easy money is a house of sand. Mr. Obama’s only economic idea is to redistribute wealth via ever-rising taxes from the productive class and the job creators to everyone else. If Republicans let him, things will get worse for everyone before they get better.”

Columnist Ann Coulter: “The Republican leadership in Congress still hasn’t held hearings on why college is so expensive, although I proposed the idea two weeks ago. Of course, it’s been a month since the GOP took control of Congress, and they also haven’t voided Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, passed e-Verify, a fence bill or the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act. Democrats are on offense all the time, even when they’ve just had their legs cut off. They announce absurd agenda items and then indignantly demand to know why Republicans are refusing to deal with the free unicorn-rides proposal. Obama is a lame-duck president and, three months ago, his party was slaughtered in midterm elections. And yet, I gather that his State of the Union address consisted of a litany of insanely expensive, utterly pointless ideas. And Republicans fall for it every time. They consider it a major victory to come back with a free-market approach to surrender. In response to Obama’s ‘free’ community college idea, Republicans should say: We’re not giving you anything, and, in fact, we’re demanding answers from the entire ‘higher ed’ establishment. You’ll be surprised how liberating and fun it is to go on offense, Republicans.”

PJTV’s Scott Ott: “Meteorologists: If anyone gives you a hard time about your blizzard prediction, hold your head high. At least you’re not an economist.”

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/32751

http://patriotpost.us/posts/32716

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/28/us-usa-politics-spending-idUSKBN0L10F120150128

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/32722

http://patriotpost.us/posts/32742

http://patriotpost.us/posts/32681

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obamacare-will-be-cheaper-than-expected-budget-analysts-say/

http://patriotpost.us/posts/32662

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-obama-care/012715-736559-cbo-says-obamacare-will-push-10-million-of-employer-plans.htm

http://patriotpost.us/posts/32752

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/26253

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/01/28/jordan-isil-hostag/22453709/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/01/28/semantics-white-house-draws-rebuke-for-saying-isis-trade-bergdahl-swap/

http://patriotpost.us/posts/32724

http://patriotpost.us/posts/32721

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/mcauliffe-to-unveil-gun-control-measures-including-expanded-background-checks/2014/12/13/666f61f2-8146-11e4-8882-03cf08410beb_story.html

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/397301/terry-mcauliffes-gun-control-push-goes-down-flames-charles-c-w-cooke

http://hamptonroads.com/2015/01/va-senate-committee-defeats-gun-control-proposals

http://patriotpost.us/

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/5176

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/3467

http://patriotpost.us/articles/24992

http://www.nraam.org

http://patriotpost.us/manage/

http://patriotpost.us/articles/32749

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/29609

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/10531

http://patriotpost.us/digests/6382

http://patriotpost.us/articles/20538

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/31640

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/14816

http://www.sessions.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/news-releases?ID=A3B017BF-ED12-4C29-B64D-AF6234C722CF

http://patriotpost.us/articles/32741

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/32548

http://www.collegesavingsfoundation.org/pdf/PR-White-House-State-of-the-Union-2015.pdf

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/20/remarks-president-barack-obama-prepared-delivery-state-union-address

http://thefederalist.com/2015/01/28/anti-middle-class-economics-what-obamas-529-grab-revealed/

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/32736

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/32737

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/32730

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/32735

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/32733

http://patriotpost.us/opinion

Inside France’s Sharia No-Go Zones

If only the media and political elites fought jihad with the ferocity they have brought to bear to deny no-go zones. Madness. Everybody knows.

There is a tremendous controversy these days about the no-go zones in France. Fox News has apologized for covering them. Fox Report host Julie Banderas said: “To be clear, there is no formal designation of these zones in either country and no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion.” Yet while it may be true that there aren’t specific areas of France where non-Muslims are prevented from entering, there are many that, if they do enter, they must conform to Islamic norms.
This has been reported for years. The New York Times reported in April 2002, “Arab gangs regularly vandalize synagogues here, the North African suburbs have become no-go zones at night, and the French continue to shrug their shoulders.” And Newsweek said in November 2005: “According to research conducted by the government’s domestic intelligence network, the Renseignements Generaux, French police would not venture without major reinforcements into some 150 ‘no-go zones’ around the country–and that was before the recent wave of riots began on Oct. 27.
Just two weeks ago, the New Republic wrote: “The word banlieue (‘suburb’) now connotes a no-go zone of high-rise slums, drug-fueled crime, failing schools and poor, largely Muslim immigrants and their angry offspring.”
There is abundant evidence that there really are no-go zones, despite all the denial. See this video, and more: here is a video about how Muslims plotted to ambush Swedish police with firebombs. Another video shows riots that followed police trying to make an arrest in a Belgian Muslim suburb. Here is video of Muslim riots in Trappes, France. And here is a video showing the plight of the remaining French women in a Muslim-dominated area of France. Here is a video showing Muslim youths running amok in Paris. In Paris, Muslims firebombed a bus with fifty passengers inside, and Muslim riots are spiraling out of control in Sweden.
All this is well known. Journalist Soeren Kern here quotes numerous French journalists and others covering the no-go zones and speaking frankly about what they are. But now it is all about Fox News. Yet I have this on good authority from a Frenchman who has lived in Paris. He wrote this to me about the Sharia no-go zones in France:
In Paris you have areas where a large majority of the population is Muslim (Aubervillers where my in-laws are from, La Courneuve, Stain, etc.). These places are infested with drugs and Islamists, because unlike the USA, France’s Muslim community is the largest majority in prisons (over 70%). They go to prison as drug dealers and come out as Islamist drug dealers. And this is largely how they finance terrorist operations.

I have a very vivid souvenir of one night. My friend lives in one of the most dangerous places in France (La cite des 4000, in La Courneuve). I was about fifteen years old, and needed to go to his house to study for a test. Upon my arrival, ten Muslims were at his apartment door and would not let me enter, saying that they did not know me, and wouldn’t let me in. I was shocked at the idea that in France there would be any place where I was not able to walk freely – it was insane! I had to call my friend, who came down from his apartment and begged them to let me in.

And this is how it goes in these no-go zones. These Islamist gangsters steal, deal drugs, harass women who are not dressed properly, burn cars, and drink, and if you live there and ever complain, you will take a huge beating!
I have a friend whose sister was raped in an elevator. The family wanted to go to the police, but the thugs who raped her sister caught her brother and burned cigarettes on his tongue. They warned him that if he ever talked. They would all be finished. Girls get raped and burned in garbage cans in these places. Ilan Halimi was held captive for weeks in places like these.

There are no rules there, especially not for Jews. A Jew in these areas can take a beating at any time! The police do not go in unless they come with huge backup. If a police car gets lost there, it will get smashed to pieces! They provoke fires, so that the firemen come and get stoned!

But I can tell you that living in these places is no picnic, and all these fake politicians can go live there and see if they can hold on for 10 minutes.
That is true. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and other politicians who have claimed that there are no Sharia no-go zones should walk through some of the areas that are widely identified as such, and see how long they last if they are women with heads uncovered.
The mainstream media is once again failing the American people.
Source
Pamela Geller’s commitment to freedom from jihad and Shariah shines forth in her books

Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/01/inside-frances-sharia-no-go-zones/#7hY34Bc3FRG2doDd.99

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).

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