A police chief in Wisconsin pleaded no contest Friday to a charge that he signed a local tea party leader up on gay dating, pornography and federal health care websites.
Prosecutors charged Town of Campbell Police Chief Tim Kelemen earlier this month with one misdemeanor count of unlawful use of a computerized communication system. The La Crosse Tribune reported Kelemen entered the plea in a deal that calls for the charge to be dismissed in two years if he doesn’t commit any new crimes, continues counseling and completes 40 hours of community service.
The charge stems from a feud between Kelemen and tea party leader Greg Luce. It began last fall when the tea party began holding protests on an interstate overpass in Campbell. Concerned the protests were distracting drivers, Kelemen persuaded the town board to ban signs on the bridge.
Kelemen told investigators Luce urged tea party supporters across the U.S. to bombard his department with harassing phone calls and threats in retaliation for the ordinance.
Kelemen told investigators he tried to get back at Luce this winter by using his name, address, phone number and email address to create accounts for Luce on homosexual dating, pornography and federal health care websites. He told investigators he didn’t think what he was doing was a big deal.
La Crosse police turned the case over to Monroe County authorities.
Luce told Monroe County Circuit Judge David Rice on Friday that Kelemen is getting away with a “slap on the wrist.” He said he thinks Kelemen has suffered a psychological breakdown and shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun or wear a badge again.
Kelemen didn’t address the court.
Luce has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the sign ordinance violates his free speech rights and demanding damages from Kelemen for stealing his identity. The town board has placed Kelemen on paid leave.
H/T Weasel Zippers
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said Friday that he sent a letter to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, charging him for all the illegals in his jail.
What happened next? The Ohio sheriff told Dana Loesch: “The federal government sends me a letter and said I violated a treaty of like, 1790.”
When Loesch asked for more information, Jones continued: “I sent him a bill for the prisoners that are in my jail. They came here illegally. I’ve not gotten any money from them, but I billed them so much. And I’ll tell you what I got in return: my life was threatened.”
Jones said he got a call from the FBI saying there were three sheriffs in the country that were going to be killed by the drug cartels, and he was one of the three.
Jones has also written a letter to President Barack Obama, “asking and pleading with him not to bring these people here to the state of Ohio, and to secure our borders.”
“We’ve had horrendous crimes here in this community,” Jones said. “We had a senior citizen, an elderly lady, molested by a teenager that came over from Mexico. We had another one molested – an eight year old girl. We’ve had drugs pouring in, more so than before the government said the borders were sealed. And we’re being run over by the drug dealers coming to this community. The violence has increased, and we’re a long way from the borders.”
Jones said his county spends eight to ten million dollars each month on welfare programs, which he called “free stuff,” and said that’s “some of the reason that they come here.”
“It’s a terrible, terrible tragedy,” Jones said. “People’s lives are being threatened. It’s in the state of Ohio, for crying out loud. We’re not in Arizona; we’re not in California.”
Jones said the administration is making it “too easy” for those wishing to harm America to cross into the United States.
“They’re going to walk in with backpacks. They’re going to put some dirty bombs together, [and] they’re going to do something really terrible. It’s too easy,” Jones said. “We don’t know who they are. They don’t have vaccinations. Our jails are full. They hit and run. It’s totally out of control, and it’s gotten worse just in the past twelve months.”
While Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber has brushed aside a video of himself arguing that Obamacare subsidies are only allowable in state-run exchanges as a “speak-o” – or verbal typo – a second audio tape has now emerged of Gruber making the very same comments yet again.
“That is really the ultimate threat – will people understand that gee, if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to be delivered to your citizens,” Gruber says in the audio clip, resurfaced by Morgan Richmond and John Sexton. “So that’s the other threat, is will states do what they need to do to set it up.”
Gruber made the comments in a public appearance at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco in January 2012. Gruber’s argument in the clip is even stronger that only state-run exchanges will be given premium tax credit subsidies.
At issue is a phrase written repeatedly in the Affordable Care Act that allows premium tax credit subsidies only for exchanges “established by the state.” Two appeals courts split earlier this week on whether the phrase makes subsidies in the 36 states that didn’t create their own exchanges illegal. Gruber, a chief author of the law, has repeatedly called the cases “nutty.”
But the audio recording is the second to emerge this week that shows that before the lawsuits were brought against the federal exchanges subsidies, Gruber appeared to believe that only states that ran their own exchanges would receive the payments.
In response, Gruber said his comments were a “just a speak-o – you know, like a typo.”
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price was arrested today as a result of a 13-count indictment which claims the powerful Texas Democrat took $950,000 in bribes. Wiley’s attorney, Billy Ravkind, confirmed that he was arrested early Friday morning and is in Federal custody. The indictment indicates Wiley received the bribes in the form of cash, cars and property and that he and his political operatives used the ill-gotten gains to commit tax and mail fraud. For the full indictment, please access the following link.
The indictment charges that, among other things, Price and his accomplices used his office and stature in a conspiracy to commit bribery concerning a local government receiving federal benefits, deprivation of honest services by mail fraud and aiding and abetting, conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service as well as subscribing to a false and fraudulent U.S. individual income tax returns.
“The indictment unsealed today alleges that for more than a decade, in a shocking betrayal of public trust, Commissioner Price sold his office on the Dallas County Commissioners Court in exchange for a steady stream of bribes,” U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña said.
John Wiley Price has been a lightning-rod for controversy for much of his political career for his bombastic and often racist statements. In 2013 he made headlines for getting into a very public battle with Dallas Country Sheriff Lupe Valdez over the promotion of a white man for a position previously held by a black woman. Perry argued that it would leave the seven-person command staff with only one African-American.
In February 2011 Price got into a a heated verbal exchange with Dallas lawyer Jeff Turner at a Dallas county commissioner’s meeting. Turner repeatedly called Price a ‘Chief Mullah’ and ‘tribal’, terms which Price took offense to and prompted him to ask Turner to speak to him in private. Price later stated that he interpreted “Mullah” as “Moolah”, similar to the racial epithet “Moulie.” The public confrontation resulted in a shouting match before Price asked out loud why all the speakers were white. When an audience member shouted, “You’ve asked respect of us. We demand respect from you,” Price said “All of you are white. Go to hell.” Price then exited the meeting and challenged the protesters to follow him outside. At this point security personnel ordered the court to be cleared.
John Wiley Price spent much of the 1980′s & 90′s as an “Al Sharpton of the Lone Star State,” leading numerous protests on racial-related issues. In 1991 during a protest, Price was accused of breaking the ankle of a white construction worker. In May 1992, Price was found not guilty of felony assault charges from the incident.
For twelve years, Price hosted a nightly radio show on KKDA’s “Talk Back, Liberation Radio.” According to his website, John Wiley Price continued in his crusade to educate the community by serving as host of Liberation Nation KNON 89.3 for more than six years thereafter.
Price’s colleagues indicted in the case include longtime executive assistant Dapheny Elaine Fain, political consultant Kathy Louise Nealy, and Nealy’s account manager Christian Lloyd Campbell. The face he showed to his constituents is one of a champion of the people, dubbing himself “our man downtown” on his web site. He also produced a promotional video as the investigations started, hitting on many standard Democratic Party themes.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Fain is expected to surrender to authorities Friday and that Nealy has been arrested. Campbell’s current status is not yet known.
“It erodes public confidence,” Diego Rodriguez, the lead agent in the FBI’s Dallas office, said of Price’s alleged activity. “The majority of public servants who work at the local, state and federal governments are honest.” Rodriguez added, “A small number have the agenda to “line their own pockets or those of friends and family and business partners.”
In June of this year the Dallas Democrat demanded that Texas taxpayers pay him “substantial monetary slavery reparations” to help him pay his legal bills while the FBI investigation ensued, which led to his arrest today on 13 counts of fraud.
On Thursday the IRS released a slew of draft 2014 tax forms. The new draft Form 1040 shows a new surtax line has been created for the payment of the individual mandate surtax – see line 61 of the 1040:
President Obama has repeatedly denied that the surtax is in fact actually a tax. The most prominent example was a heated exchange on ABC’s This Week in Sept. 2009, when George Stephanopoulos confronted Obama with a dictionary:
STEPHANOPOULOS: I – I don’t think I’m making it up. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary: Tax – “a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.”
OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but…
OBAMA: …what you’re saying is…
STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.
OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that.
Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion. [Transcript]
It was always obvious that the penalty for not complying with Obamacare’s individual mandate was just another surtax:
* The surtax is collected by, and enforced by, the IRS.
* As shown by the newly released draft Form 1040, the surtax is paid as part of normal income tax filing by taxpayers.
* The individual mandate surtax was written into tax law itself by the Obamacare statute.
* Revenues derived from the individual mandate surtax have always been scored by the Congressional Budget Office as tax revenue.
Famously, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out that the individual mandate surtax is in fact a tax. However, that does not compel conservatives to agree that Obamacare’s individual mandate is Constitutional. The same decision declared the individual mandate unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause. Conservatives can accept that this surtax is a tax increase without accepting the constitutionality of the individual mandate.
The Obamacare individual mandate non-compliance surtax is one of at least seven Obamacare taxes that violate the President’s “firm pledge” not to raise any tax on any American making less than $250,000 per year. Thorough documentation of Obama’s promise can be found here.
Another Obama record…
AMERICANS GETTING POORER – HOUSEHOLD NET WORTH IN DECLINE
The median household net worth under Obama is one-third what it was during the Bush years.
Under Barack Obama American households are worth two-thirds of what they were worth under George W. Bush.
The New York Times reported:
Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.
The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution – the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower. But during the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially.
The Russell Sage study also examined net worth at the 95th percentile. (For households at that level, 94 percent of the population had less wealth and 4 percent had more.) It found that for this well-do-do slice of the population, household net worthincreased 14 percent over the same 10 years. Other research, by economists like Edward Wolff at New York University, has shown even greater gains in wealth for the richest 1 percent of households.
Hat Tip Banafsheh Zand
It should come as no surprise then that Republicans overwhelmingly represent the middle class districts by almost a two-to-one ratio.
Illegal immigration protesters descended upon historic Boston on Saturday decrying Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s decision to offer shelter in the state to unaccompanied minors.
While Bree Sison of WBZ-TV estimated the crowd numbering in the hundreds, Boston.com described the area in front of the State House as “teeming with protesters,” noting that rally organizer Jeff Kuhner, host of WRKO’s The Kuhner Report, put the number closer to 10,000.
Sison did note that the rally was the largest she’s ever seen on Beacon Hill:
71 Retweets – 35 favorites
More from Boston.com:
This week, a state official said it remained “unclear” how many unaccompanied minors crossing the nation’s southern border illegally would be coming to Massachusetts and how many could stay in the state longer. The state has offered to house up to 1,000 children at one of two secure facilities for up to four months.
“These are not children,” Kuhner added, Boston.com reported. “When you say child, the implication is 4, 5, 6 [years old]. They’re teenagers – many of them are gangbangers… If you’re 15, you’re not a child. A child is 12 and under.”
“I’ve never seen any kind of a backlash like this before on any issue ever,” Kuhner said of Patrick’s decision, Boston.com noted. “People in this state are livid. They feel betrayed by the political elite.”
Here’s a portion of what Kuhner told the crowd:
Kuhner also noted what he saw as a diverse group:
“When I see this army in front of me, and I see them black and white, Hispanic, young, old, men, women, Americans, children, adults, rich, poor, veterans – our great veterans – legal immigrants like Jeff Kuhner, that when I raised the alarm, when I called out for all of you to come, and I see so many of you here standing by me shoulder to shoulder, I can’t tell you… how honored, humbled, and touched I am.”
Kuhner came to the United States in the 1990s on a work visa as he worked towards a Ph.D. Still a Canadian citizen, he was issued a green card in 2006. Kuhner said he is currently in the process of becoming a naturalized citizen, Boston.com noted.
@KrisWilliams81 went awesome!! Anti illegal immigration rally in Boston! We shut down two sidesof the common,
2:52 PM – 26 Jul 2014
28 Retweets – 14 favorites
Over 5000 people showed up today at the State House for the @TheKuhnerReport rally against illegal immigration!
1:29 PM – 26 Jul 2014
63 Retweets – 27 favorites
Anti illegal immigration rally in Boston!!
2:53 PM – 26 Jul 2014
25 Retweets – 13 favorites
Democrats were thrilled when John Walsh of Montana was appointed to the United States Senate in February. A decorated veteran of the Iraq war and former adjutant general of his state’s National Guard, Mr. Walsh offered the Democratic Party something it frequently lacks: a seasoned military man.
On the campaign trail this year, Mr. Walsh, 53, has made his military service a main selling point. Still wearing his hair close-cropped, he notes he was targeted for killing by Iraqi militants and says his time in uniform informs his views on a range of issues.
But one of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh’s 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained. An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution.
Senator John Walsh, Democrat of Montana, second from left, at a Senate National Guard Caucus breakfast in Washington. He was appointed last month to the seat vacated by Max Baucus and is running for election in November, hoping that his career in uniform remains an asset.
Mr. Walsh completed the paper, what the War College calls a “strategy research project,” to earn his degree in 2007, when he was 46. The sources of the material he presents as his own include academic papers, policy journal essays and books that are almost all available online.
Interactive Graphic: How Senator John Walsh Plagiarized a Final Paper
Most strikingly, each of the six recommendations Mr. Walsh laid out at the conclusion of his 14-page paper, titled “The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy,” is taken nearly word-for-word without attribution from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document on the same topic.
In his third recommendation, for example, Mr. Walsh writes: “Democracy promoters need to engage as much as possible in a dialogue with a wide cross section of influential elites: mainstream academics, journalists, moderate Islamists, and members of the professional associations who play a political role in some Arab countries, rather than only the narrow world of westernized democracy and human rights advocates.”
The same exact sentence appears on the sixth page of a 2002 Carnegie paper written by four scholars at the research institute. In all, Mr. Walsh’s recommendations section runs to more than 800 words, nearly all of it taken verbatim from the Carnegie paper, without any footnote or reference to it. In addition, significant portions of the language in Mr. Walsh’s paper can be found in a 1998 essay by a scholar at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a research institute at Harvard.
For example, Mr. Walsh writes: “The United States will have an interest in promoting democracy because further democratization enhances the lives of citizens of other countries and contributes to a more peaceful international system. To the extent that Americans care about citizens of other countries and international peace, they will see benefits from the continued spread of democracy.”
The Harvard paper, written in 1998 by Sean M. Lynn-Jones, a scholar at the Belfer Center, includes the same two sentences.
Mr. Walsh does not footnote or cite Mr. Lynn-Jones’s essay, titled “Why the United States Should Spread Democracy,” anywhere in his paper.
Both the Carnegie and Harvard papers are easily accessible on the Internet.
In an interview outside his Capitol Hill office on Tuesday, after he was presented with multiple examples of identical passages from his paper and the Carnegie and Harvard essays, Mr. Walsh said he did not believe he had done anything wrong.
“I didn’t do anything intentional here,” he said, adding that he did not recall using the Carnegie and Harvard sources.
Asked directly if he had plagiarized, he responded: “I don’t believe I did, no.”
On Wednesday, a campaign aide for Mr. Walsh did not contest the plagiarism but suggested that it be viewed in the context of the senator’s long career. She said Mr. Walsh was going through a difficult period at the time he wrote the paper, noting that one of the members of his unit from Iraq had committed suicide in 2007, weeks before it was due.
The aide said Mr. Walsh, who served in Iraq from November 2004 to November 2005, “dealt with the experience of post-deployment,” but acknowledged he had not sought treatment.
The master’s degree in strategic studies from the War College has benefited Mr. Walsh’s career: In a military evaluation the year after Mr. Walsh received it, his commander praised him for it, writing that he “leads his peers and sets example in maintaining continuous military education and training subjects pertinent to today’s leadership challenges.”
In September 2008, Mr. Walsh, a recipient of the Bronze Star, was appointed adjutant general of Montana’s National Guard by the governor. A subsequent military evaluation said his prospects for the post had been “bolstered” in part by his degree from the War College.
Located in Carlisle, Pa., the Army War College is a coveted career stop for ambitious officers, and its graduates since its 1901 founding include Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Patton and Norman Schwarzkopf. As with most military institutes, the War College emphasizes honor and integrity: Its current student handbook states that plagiarism will result in disenrollment and that discoveries of academic violations have led to degrees being rescinded and names being scraped off the bronze plaques honoring graduates on campus.
“Sooner or later, academic dishonesty will be discovered,” the handbook, known as the Communicative Arts Directive, warns.In 2012, Mr. Walsh stepped down as the head of the state’s National Guard after winning his first bid for elected office to become Montana’s lieutenant governor. From that position, he was appointed to the Senate this year by Gov. Steve Bullock.
The Senate vacancy arose after President Obama nominated Max Baucus, the veteran Democrat who planned to retire from Congress, to be ambassador to China. Democrats hoped that installing Mr. Walsh in February would strengthen the party’s position and efforts to retain the seat.
Mr. Walsh’s military record and centrist politics were seen as assets in the independent-minded state, and, as an incumbent senator, he would be better positioned to raise money for this fall’s election. Still, Mr. Walsh is trailing Representative Steve Daines, his Republican opponent, strategists on both sides say, and has trailed Mr. Daines in fund-raising.
Questions have previously been raised about Mr. Walsh’s résumé and conduct, though they were comparatively minor.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that he was reprimanded in 2010 for using his role as adjutant general to urge other guardsmen to join a private advocacy group, the National Guard Association of the United States, in which he was seeking a leadership role.
As a result he was denied a promotion from colonel to general, he acknowledged in January. In response to the matter, Mr. Walsh released about 400 pages of his military records, which detailed his service awards and was full of effusive praise from his commanding officers.
There has also been a discrepancy about where Mr. Walsh earned his undergraduate degree. He was listed in the biographical directory of Congress as having graduated in 1990 from the University at Albany, State University of New York, but actually earned his bachelor of science from what was then known as Regents College, an adult learning institute that issued degrees under the umbrella of the University of the State of New York.
Mr. Walsh changed the listing after the newspaper Roll Call ran an article about the matter, but did not offer an explanation publicly.The breadth of Mr. Walsh’s apparent plagiarism, however, is startling – and rivaled by few other examples in recent political history. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, was found last year to have presented the work of others as his own in a newspaper opinion article, a book and speeches. And Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. dropped his 1988 presidential bid when it was revealed that in campaign speeches he had used language similar to that of the British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock without attributing the remarks.
Mr. Walsh appears to have gone considerably further.
About a third of his paper consists of material either identical to or extremely similar to passages in other sources, such as the Carnegie or Harvard papers, and is presented without attribution. Another third is attributed to sources through footnotes, but uses other authors’ exact – or almost exact – language without quotation marks.
The senator included 96 footnotes in his paper, but many of them only illustrate this troubling pattern. In repeated instances, Mr. Walsh uses the language of others with no quotation marks, but footnotes the source from which the material came. In other cases, the passages appear in his paper with a word or two changed, but are otherwise identical to the authors’ language.
For example, in the first paragraph of his paper, Mr. Walsh writes of President George W. Bush: “During the 2000 presidential campaign Bush and his advisors made it clear that they favored great-power realism over idealistic notions such as nation building or democracy promotion.”
At the end of this sentence, which Mr. Walsh included without quotation marks, he footnoted a reference to a 2003 article in Foreign Affairs by Thomas Carothers, a prominent and highly credentialed foreign policy expert. Mr. Carothers’ essay read: “During the 2000 presidential campaign Bush and his advisers had made it clear that they favored great-power realism over idealistic notions such as nation building or democracy promotion.”
The only difference is that Mr. Walsh wrote “advisors” rather than “advisers” and did not use “had,” as Mr. Carothers did in his article.
In other instances, Mr. Walsh swaps a synonym for a word in the original document, and condenses sentences.
He writes on his second page: “There are deep disagreements about the appropriate theoretical framework, about whether democracy is simply an institutional arrangement for choosing rulers or an end in itself, about how to measure and evaluate democracy, and about the importance of prerequisites for democracy.
The footnote at the end of this sentence, presented without quotation marks in Mr. Walsh’s paper, is to a chapter by Robert L. Rothstein in a 1995 book of essays, “Democracy, War, and Peace in the Middle East.”
Mr. Rothstein’s sentence is slightly longer and uses “profound” rather than “deep,” but is otherwise identical.
Such copying of a footnoted source without quotation marks is specifically prohibited in the War College’s handbook.
“Copying a segment of another’s work word for word, then conveniently ‘forgetting’ to include quotation marks, but ‘remembering’ to cite the source,” is described as the second example of academic fraud in the handbook.
The first is: “Directly quoting another author’s work without giving proper credit to the author.”
“Plagiarism,” the handbook notes, “is a serious form of cheating that carries serious consequences.”
A working group of lawmakers appointed by Speaker John Boehner is poised to recommend deploying the National Guard, amending a 2008 law requiring a lengthy deportation process, bringing in temporary judges to reduce a legal backlog and new border security measures to the GOP version of an emergency spending bill planned for floor consideration before the August recess.
Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), the leader of the working group, briefed Republicans at a closed-door meeting Tuesday, reporting on their trip to Guatemala and Honduras over the weekend where they met with each country’s president and from which tens of thousands of unaccompanied children are streaming across the southern U.S. border.
“The presidents of both countries, I met with them, our group met with them, they want their children back,” he said. “They’re saying, ‘please, send our children back!’” said Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), a member of the working group and a key conservative lawmaker.
On the trip, the group was briefed by U.S. general John Kellly on the Mexico-Guatamala border. While witnessing individuals openly swim across the river border there, Kelly told lawmakers that drug cartels – some involved in financing terrorism operations – were directing and reaping the profits from sophisticated smuggling operations that had advertised the leniency of U.S. laws.
“There’s no doubt that the message went out, go cross the border now, the United States won’t do anything about it,” Granger told reporters after briefing colleagues. “That came, primarily, from the coyotes who were transporting these kids. These coyotes, it’s really something we weren’t prepared from, they sort of advertised – they actually advertise – as social workers. We’re going to help you take your kids out of the poverty and the danger they have in these countries and put ‘em in the United States where they will receive an education and be taken care of.”
Granger said she was surprised to learn that in Guatemala coyotes are charging between $6,000-$9,000 per person. Salmon said the group was told one coyote was making $50,000 a week smuggling children into the United States.
Since October more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have been detained illegally crossing the southern border into the U.S. The vast majority of the illegal minors are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Last week President Obama requested $3.7 billion in emergency appropriations to deal with the crisis, but Republicans have rejected the figure and set about crafting their own response.
“In terms of priorities, we’re on different planets,” Salmon said about the president’s border ask.
At a press conference following the meeting, Boehner himself was circumspect about his views on how to address the issue. Asked about his ideas for addressing the crisis, Boehner said “I’ve got lots of them.”
Rep. Hal Rogers, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee who is in charge of crafting the actual legislation to be considered on the House floor, declined to say how much the GOP bill would spend, but said it would be less than the $3.7 billion the president has asked for.
“Well, we’re trying to put together a bill, first off, that makes sense and we can afford and does the right thing – humanitarian-wise and regarding the border,” Rogers said. “I am hopeful as we go along that this will become a bipartisan effort – and bicameral.”
He noted that the goal is to pass the bill before the August recess.
In the hours before the working group makes its final policy recommendations, the key issue still under discussion are proposals to help secure the border. One option under discussion is language from a bill sponsored by working group member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
The bill has drawn fire from key immigration hawks, including the Heritage Foundation and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
McCaul said the bill was under discussion for inclusion in the proposal.
“Border security is part of this – a big part of this. The McCaul bill is going to be a big factor, that’s all I can tell you,” said Rep. John Carter (R-TX), another member of the working group.
“I think border security issues are going to be part of it,” Salmon said. “Whether it’s going to be that language or some other language remains to be seen.”
On the general approach of the group’s policy recommendations, McCaul said “We want to swiftly and humanely return them to their home. Only until we do that will we stop the flow. So we need a message of deterrence. We need to look at more border security measures. We’re going to need a surge of judges, whether it be retired judges or special masters to process these cases more expeditiously, because it takes four or five years now. We’re looking at all of those components and working with the countries of origin in terms of their capacity to take these kids back, and also with Mexico and Guatemala to help secure their southern border so they can’t make that journey through Mexico.”
He added, that as Boehner and others have pushed, the group will “certainly” be including the deployment of the National Guard in its proposal. Granger said that the National Guard proposal will be an important factor.
“We’ve got border patrol people trying to do a good job but they’re so overwhelmed by the number of people coming across that they’re taking care of children and filling out forms, and so we need National Guard to add more bodies to what’s happening at the border” Grander said, adding that immigration cases need to be adjudicated much more quickly.
“An average case with someone coming across the border illegally, going through the process we have will take between a year and half to as long as five years. Well with 57,000 unaccompanied children, that’s just unacceptable,” she continued. “So we’ve got to change that. Which means, changing not the process so much but adding the people that help with that process – more judges to hear those cases, there’s some – not adding permanent, but often time retired judges. There are different categories that can do that to make sure that that goes faster.”
Salmon reiterated the need to “plug the holes” with the National Guard, where Border Patrol has been moved to deal with children.
“It’s not that you have to have more people to catch them. But the cartels are playing bait and switch,” he said. “Make no mistake, it is the cartels that are basically overseeing these coyotes that are smuggling in the people and they are making a ton of money off of this.”
After the House GOP Conference meeting, members of the working group said they were on their way to meet with Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson.
The working groups’ recommendations will come as Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) works with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) on a separate bill to deal with the crisis by, in part, change a 2008 human trafficking law that has made removing unaccompanied minors from Central America very difficult.
The pair’s legislation would, according to Cornyn, “improve the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008, treating all unaccompanied minors equally and ensuring Due Process under the law in a timely, fair manner.”
According to Brady, the bipartisan bill has been “well-received” and many Republicans have pointed to the 2008 law as ripe for tweaks. Indeed, Salmon, one of the most conservative members on the working group, introduced a bill to alter the law last week.
However, the bill is drawing scrutiny from conservative outside groups who are anxious about the details of legislation drafted and enacted in a crisis environment.
A Mississippi man who took off following a traffic stop in Biloxi forgot that it’s important to look before you leap, and he ended up running into a police academy.
To make matters even worse for Roger Beasley Jr., there was an active training session taking place at the Harrison County Law Enforcement Training Academy when he dashed through the doors.
The 30-year-old apparently didn’t notice, or disregarded, the marked police cars that were parked outside the training facility.
After unknowingly running into the academy, Beasley was arrested on charges of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, resisting arrest, no driver’s license, careless driving, improper lane change, resisting arrest and failure to comply.
Days after IRS officials said in a sworn statement that former top agency employee Lois G. Lerner’s computer memory had been wiped clean, the agency put out word to contractors Monday that it needs help to destroy at least another 3,200 hard drives.
The Internal Revenue Service solicitation for “media destruction” services reflects an otherwise routine job to protect sensitive taxpayer information, but it was made while the agency’s record destruction practices remain under a sharp congressional spotlight.
Congressional investigators of the IRS targeting of conservative groups have been hampered by the unexplained destruction of emails and other records of Ms. Lerner, the former head of the IRS tax-exempt division and a central figure in the scandal.
The loss of Ms. Lerner’s hard drive also raised broader questions about why the tax agency never reported the missing records to the National Archives and Records Administration, as required by the Federal Records Act.
While those questions remained unresolved, IRS officials signaled plans to destroy tens of thousands of additional electronic records.
“After all media are destroyed, they must not be capable of any reuse or information retrieval,” IRS officials stated in the contract papers.
Frederick Hill, a spokesman for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is investigating the IRS scandal, said the committee has broad concerns about the agency’s record-retention practices.
Dan Epstein, executive director of the watchdog group Cause of Action, said rules require the archivist to sign off on the destruction of federal records.
“This solicitation, combined with the failure of the IRS to consult the Archivist about Louis Lerner’s hard drive, should put hesitation into any assumption that consultation with the Archivist is happening and prompt a thorough assessment of record retention at the IRS,” Mr. Epstein said Monday.
IRS officials did not respond to emails and phone calls about the solicitation, including whether the agency’s nonprofit division ever used the computers being destroyed.
Officials also declined to discuss how the IRS preserves records on computers targeted for destruction.
The agency estimates the need to destroy at least 65,464 magnetic tapes, 3,225 hard drives, 5,856 floppy disks and 708 reels, according to procurement records.
About 500,000 pieces of electronic data – including cassette tapes, reels, CDs, hard drives and USB media – have been collected since 2008, according to the IRS solicitation.
“Due to system changes, a significant amount of electronic portable media containing [personally identifiable information] and potentially sensitive but unclassified data such as taxpayer return information is being collected at IRS facilities and locked in secure storage areas awaiting destruction,” officials wrote in a statement of work attached to the solicitation.
The IRS disclosed last week that it relies on contractors to recycle computer equipment. The revelation was made in an affidavit filed in a federal lawsuit in Washington by True the Vote, a conservative group that says it has been scrutinized by the IRS.
Stephen Manning, IRS deputy chief information officer, said in federal court in Washington that officials tried but failed to retrieve Ms. Lerner’s records. He said the agency’s internal computer “help desk” received word on June 13, 2011, that the hard drive on Ms. Lerner’s laptop wasn’t working properly and subsequent efforts to preserve data “were unsuccessful.”
The computer has been wiped clean and recycled, he said, and officials have lost track of it because they don’t keep track of hard drives by serial number.
Ms. Lerner’s computer isn’t the only crash of a hard drive that congressional investigators have encountered in their attempt to reconstruct record trails.
Last week, Republican senators sent a letter to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero after receiving reports that an Environmental Protection Agency official’s hard drive had crashed just as congressional investigators began looking into questions about the EPA’s review of an Alaska mining project.
Investigators sought computer records of a former EPA official, Phillip North, who later fled the country. More than a year after his retirement, senators said, EPA officials belatedly told the National Archives and Records Administration that they failed to preserve Mr. North’s computer records.
“First the IRS, and now the EPA – these hard-drive crashes seem to be a growing epidemic throughout the administration,” Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican, said in a statement. “This ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse is getting ridiculous.”
The U.S. is sending $47 million in humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip to help tens of thousands of Palestinians there who have been forced from their homes since war broke out two weeks ago.
A State Department breakdown of the aid that was released Monday said nearly a third of the money – $15 million – will go to the United Nations’ refugee mission in Gaza.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was expected to discuss the aid with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in a meeting late Monday in Cairo.
Kerry arrived in the Egyptian capital only hours earlier in a U.S. push to help broker a truce between Israel and the militant group Hamas that controls Gaza.
President Obama’s un-Constitutional practice of lawlessly ignoring and rewriting laws to suit his left-wing political agenda has come back to bite his signature domestic achievement. Tuesday morning a federal appeals court dealt what USA Today describes as a “potentially major blow” to ObamaCare with a 2-1 ruling against the Obama administration’s end-run around Congress to disburse federal subsidies:
The appeals panel ruled that as written, the health care law allows tax credits to be offered to qualified participants only in state-run exchanges. The administration had expected most if not all states to create their own, but only 16 states did so.
The court said the Internal Revenue Service went too far in allowing participants in other states served by the federal exchange to qualify for billions of dollars in government assistance. The aid has helped boost enrollment figures to more than 8 million.
Once it became clear 36 states could not be bribed with federal dollars or bullied by the media into setting up their own ObamaCare exchanges, rather than go back to Congress to lobby for changing the law, President Obama blithely believed he could ignore and rewrite a law he signed after helping to usher it through a Congress dominated by Democrats.
If the ruling stands, those enticed into purchasing ObamaCare coverage with the help of untold billions in federal tax dollars will lose their subsidy in these 36 states. This is almost certain to force many ObamaCare recipients to drop coverage. The big question is how many of these people lost their affordable coverage after ObamaCare made the affordable insurance they were happy with illegal and cancelled those plans?
“We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance,” Judge Thomas Griffith said. “At least until states that wish to can set up exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for the millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly.”…
Michael Cannon, a Cato Institute health economist who helped devise the legal challenge, said the refusal by so many states to create health exchanges led to the court ruling. “This is popular resistance to the law,” he said.
For now, USA Today reports, everything is on hold. The Administration has already announced that the taxpayer-funded subsidies will continue to flow.
Although the ruling will have no impact while it is appealed – either to the full appeals court, which includes four Obama appointees, or to the Supreme Court – the result could be chaotic if ultimately allowed to apply nationwide.
While the political Left and mainstream media are almost certain to wring their hands over the roughly 5 million able-bodied Americans not receiving federal monies (the sick, elderly, disabled, and truly poor are covered by Medicare and Medicaid) paid for by other able-bodied Americans, the principle here is much larger and more important: The rule of law.
Moreover, as Michael F. Cannon of Forbes points out, the winners in this decision outnumber the losers 10 to 1. As many as 57 million Americans will now be out from under the punitive ObamaCare mandate, compared to the 5 million who will not see an increase of their health insurance premiums but will lose their illegal taxpayer-funded subsidies.
Cannon also reminds that the whole idea and original intent of awarding billions in federal subsidies only to those states that built their own ObamaCare exchanges, wasn’t accidental or a technicality. Throughout the law it is made clear that those subsidies are available only “through an Exchange established by the State.”
Congress’s intent behind shaping the law in this manner was to entice/threaten the states into building their own exchanges. After 36 states wisely refused, Obama rewrote the law and illegally awarded the subsidies anyway.
The Constitution is very clear that it is the job of the legislative branch (House and Senate) to write law. The Executive branch enforces the law.
Rather than enforce the law, Obama broke it by rewriting it.
The potential danger of the court’s allowing such a precedent is staggering.
The Obama administration will continue handing out Obamacare subsidies to federal exchange customers despite a federal court’s ruling Tuesday that the subsidies are illegal.
A D.C. Court of Appeals panel ruled Tuesday morning that customers in the 36 states that didn’t establish their own exchange and use HealthCare.gov instead cannot be given premium tax credits, according to the text of the Affordable Care Act itself.
But the White House said in response that it will continue handing out the billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that while the case continues to be battled out in the courts, the administration will continue to dole out billions in tax credits to federally-run exchange customers.
“It’s important for people all across the country to understand that this ruling does not have any practical impact on their ability to continue to receive tax credits right now,” Earnest said in a press briefing Tuesday.
A three-judge panel issued the ruling Tuesday, concluding 2-1 that the federal subsidies are illegal. The Department of Justice is seeking an en banc ruling from the appeals court, which would require all judges in the court to rule on the case. Eleven judges on the court would hear the case: seven Democrats and four Republicans.
That decision will likely also be appealed to the Supreme Court.