Indiana’s experiment with Common Core is over.
Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation today requiring the state to come up with its own academic standards, making Indiana the latest state to pull its support for the national education standards known as Common Core.
“I believe our students are best served when decisions about education are made at the state and local level,” the Republican governor said, adding:
“By signing this legislation, Indiana has taken an important step forward in developing academic standards that are written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers, and are uncommonly high.”
Indiana was among the first states to adopt Common Core standards in 2010 when Mitch Daniels, another Republican, was governor. Pence, elected two years later, has watched as Indiana became a battleground in the fight over the standards.
Pence’s signature comes 10 days after the Indiana legislature voted to remove the state from Common Core.
Heritage Foundation education analyst Brittany Corona praised Pence for ending the “one-size-fits-all national standards,” and setting a precedent for the other 45 states currently under Common Core to follow. Corona said:
“Indiana now has an opportunity to improve on its previous state standards – which were among the best in the nation – by utilizing those standards in conjunction with standards from other high-performing states such as Massachusetts. Most importantly, Indiana’s actions put educational decision-making back in the hands of Hoosiers, where it belongs.”
At least 15 other states aren’t using, or have grown increasingly wary of, Common Core. The map below shows the current status of states that never adopted the standards, downgraded their involvement, or paused implementation.
House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled their new “Investigation of Benghazi” website which appears to be a Benghazi file repository of committee reports and other declassified publications related to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty and Diplomat Sean Smith.
In a couple of brief paragraphs the website explains that the mission of the House Republicans is to discover what occurred on that night in Benghazi and to uncover exactly what the Obama administration is attempting to cover up:
Shortly after the attack, House Republicans asked the Obama administration to explain to the American people the Administration’s actions leading up to and during the attack itself, as well as the fact that publicly-available information consistently contradicted Administration accounts describing the cause and nature of the attack. Our fight for answers and justice continues today.
For over a year now, House Committees have engaged in serious, deliberate, and exhaustive oversight investigations of what led up to this tragic event, what happened that night, and why the White House still refuses to tell the whole truth. All of the unclassified information and findings from this ongoing investigation can be found on this website.
This page continues to be updated as more information becomes available. The most recent update was made on January 29, 2014.
One of the most interesting sections of the new repository is titled House Committee on Foreign Affairs and includes the following files:
* “Benghazi: Where is the State Department Accountability?” September 18, 2013
* “Terrorist Attack in Benghazi: The Secretary of State’s View,” January 23, 2013
* “Benghazi Attack, Part II: The Report of the Accountability Review Board,” December 20, 2012
* “Benghazi and Beyond: What Went Wrong on September 11, 2012 and How to Prevent it from Happening at other Frontline Posts, Part I,” November 15, 2012
4/23/13 Interim Report 5 Cmte Letter
* Outgoing: 04.23.13 – POTUS, Five Committee letter re Benghazi
05/27/13 OIG Continued Concerns
* Incoming: 05.10.13 – OIG, Dep. IG Harold Geisel, Under review RE Continued concerns with ARB report
* Outgoing: 05.10.13 – OIG, Dep. IG Harold Geisel, Continued concerns with ARB report
* Outgoing: 09.27.13 – OIG, Dep IG Geisel, Questions on OIG ARB Review
05/29/13 Status of ARB-Cited Employees
* Incoming: 08.23.13 – State Dept, RE. Status of ARB-cited employees
* Outgoing: 05.29.13 – State Dept, Sec. Kerry, Status of ARB-cited employees
10/30/13 Benghazi Annex Response
* Incoming: 10.30.13 – DOD, Hagel, RE. Benghazi Annex response
* Incoming: 11.12.13 – State, Kerry, RE. Benghazi Annex response
* Incoming: 12.11.13 – CIA, RE. Benghazi Annex response
* Outgoing: 2013-10-30 DEI & Royce to Brennan-CIA – Benghazi Annex response
* Outgoing: 2013-10-30 DEI & Royce to Hagel-DOD – Benghazi Annex response
* Outgoing: 2013-10-30 DEI & Royce to Kerry-DOS – Benghazi Annex respons
10/30/13 Rewards for Justice Program
* Incoming: 11.15.13 – State Dept, Kerry, RE. Benghazi Rewards for Justice
* Outgoing: 10.30.13 – State Dept, Kerry, Benghazi Rewards for Justice
11/19/13 Benghazi Four Employment Status Update
* Incoming: 01.17.14 -State Dept, RE. Benghazi Four Employment Status Update
* Outgoing: 11.19.13 – State Dept, Kerry, Beghazi Four Employment Status Update
* Outgoing: 12.13.13 – State, Follow-up on status ARB-cited employees
The list of other available reports is quite extensive but many of them are heavily redacted. The page should prove to be a valuable resource for anyone investigating the Benghazi terrorist attack.
From an anxious New York Times:
Fund-Raising by G.O.P. Rebels Outpaces Party Establishment
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE | FEB. 1, 2014
Insurgent conservatives seeking to pull the Republican Party to the right raised more money last year than the groups controlled by the party establishment, whose bulging bank accounts and ties to major donors have been their most potent advantage in the running struggle over the party’s future, according to new campaign disclosures and interviews with officials.
You would never know it from the New York Times’ vapid and long-winded article, but according to FEC filings on Friday Tea Party groups and conservative SuperPACs raised about three times more money than the Republican establishment SuperPACs did in 2013.
The shift in fortunes among the largest and most influential outside political groups, revealed in campaign filings made public late Friday, could have an enormous impact on the 2014 election cycle…
Yes, for one thing it might have motivated the sudden change in tone from the Republican leadership about ramming through amnesty this year.
Groups representing the party establishment, like Karl Rove’s Crossroads, are struggling to bring in the level of cash they raised in 2012, when Crossroads spent more than $300 million in a failed effort to defeat President Obama and retake the Senate, leaving donors grumbling that their dollars had been wasted.
Meanwhile, insurgent conservative groups like the Tea Party Patriots – emldened by activists’ fury over compromises that Republican leaders have struck with Democrats on federal spending – now have formidable amounts of cash to augment their grass-roots muscle…
The Times goes on to numb us into submission for another 19 paragraphs, many of which are devoted to bashing the Koch Brothers.
So we will turn to Breitbart for a more succinct summation:
GOP War on Conservatives Backfires
By Mike Flynn | 2 Feb 2014
On Friday, every political campaign had to file its 2013 year end report with the FEC. The reports delivered two big surprises. The Democrats are dominating the Republicans in fundraising. More surprising, perhaps, though, is that Tea Party and conservative SuperPACs raised around three times as much as GOP establishment SuperPACs. The DC GOP may have started the war against the Tea Party, but it won’t finish it…
Whatever strategy the DC GOP is employing… clearly backfiring. All the official Democrat campaign committees collectively raised around $200 million in 2013. The Republican committees raised just over $170 million. This disparity comes when the GOP hold on the House is solid and the party stands a very real chance of taking control of the Senate. It ought to be swimming in donations. The long-standing GOP advantage on fundraising has evaporated.
The most interesting data from Friday’s reports is the surging financial strength of conservative SuperPACs. Karl Rove’s three SuperPACs collectively raised $6.1 million last year. The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, where I am Political Director, alone raised $6.4 million. The four largest conservative SuperPACs raised $20 million. GOP establishment SuperPACs raised just over $7 million.
Donors haven’t stopped giving. They have just stopped giving the Republican party…
This is what happens when you try to bypass your base. Just as with elections, political positions have consequences.
I may offend some people by the words in this post, but, oh well, it is not like I have not stepped on toes before. So, if you are overly sensitive, or expect that certain words can never be uttered or written you can start whining now. I am well past fed up with the Left and the aim to destroy dissent, free speech, and this nation, and I will not surrender the language to them.
After Sen. Tim Scott R-SC was called a “dummy” by the head of the South Carolina NAACP The NAACP, which has devolved from being a needed civil rights group to being a gang of thuggish Left-Wing race baiters has now doubled down of this hateful, racist language
The NAACP isn’t apologizing to Tim Scott for calling him a puppet. In a statement, it argued that the label reflected that Scott, one of the Senate’s two black members, hasn’t honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. because he’s been “echoing the position of the far right.”
The organization was defending comments by one of its most prominent officials, North Carolina NAACP president William Barber II, who had called South Carolina’s junior senator a ventriloquist’s “dummy” for the GOP.
“Dr. King emphasized love and justice rather than extremism. Unless we stand for justice we cannot claim allegiance to or pay homage to Dr. King,” the NAACP said in a statement to Fox News. “In a state such as South Carolina, politicians, whether they be black or white, should not be echoing the position of the far right.”
See, they are calling Senator Scott an Uncle Tom because, TOLERANCE! Apparently anyone seeking to honor Dr. King now must get the expressed approval of the ideological slave masters of the NAACP. Which brings me to a new slogan I think fits the NAACP, and most other Left Wing groups to a tee! It might sound offensive, but anyone who thinks will understand that I am condemning the NAACP and their Ideological War on Black Conservatives. So here it is, a slogan that truly fits the NAACP and it’s attitude towards Blacks Americans that think for themselves. Nigger, Know Your Place!
The citizen control lobby keeps trying to strip Americans of their unalienable rights, and liberty lovers keep punching back twice as hard.
Two Republican legislators propose eliminating the license required to carry a concealed handgun in Ohio, a change one describes as an effort to put Second Amendment rights on the same footing as others in the Bill of Rights.
The bill, introduced Wednesday by Reps. Ron Hood of Ashville and Matt Lynch of Bainbridge Township in Geauga County, would allow any person who is at least 21 years old to carry a concealed firearm, so long as they are not legally prohibited for some reason from having guns.
Lynch said the bill is an effort to treat the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment with the same freedom as other rights.“The right in the Second Amendment is the only one in the Bill of Rights that you have to get permission for,” Lynch said.
“You don’t have to have a speech license or a worship license or a freedom of the press license,” he said. “This is designed to put the Second Amendment on equal footing.”
The law would not end restrictions on taking firearms into certain restricted areas, but would end concealed carry licensing restrictions. Constitutional carry is becoming a more popular cause in the past year, as many Americans rebel against the thought of more citizen control laws. The common sentiment seems to be that not only are proposed citizen control laws counterproductive, but the current laws are too restrictive and should be rolled back.
This reality seems to be shocking to citizen control cultists, who can’t seem to grasp the basic concept that citizens want more liberty, not less.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking GOP member of the Senate Budget Committee, said Thursday that Senate Republicans plan to filibuster the budget deal that House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) cut with Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
The deal passed the House 332-94, with 62 Republicans and 32 Democrats voting against it. The bill is expected to come up for votes in the Senate early next week, either Monday or Tuesday.
The type of filibuster Sessions spoke of is not the traditional “talking filibuster” like the one Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) launched earlier this year to protest Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama’s drone policies. It is a procedural filibuster, The Hill reports, that would require Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to at least twice obtain 60 votes to pass the bill.
“They’ll need 60 votes on cloture and 60 votes on the budget point of order,” Sessions said, according to The Hill.
Since there are only 55 Democrats in the U.S. Senate, Reid will twice need at least five Republicans to break from their party and support the budget deal. Reid may need more Republicans if liberals like Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) or Bernie Sanders (I-VT) oppose the deal because it does not extend unemployment benefits. Considering 32 Democrats voted against the deal in the House, it seems plausible Reid may lose at least one, maybe two Democrats in the Senate.
Senate Republicans largely seem unified against the bill. As of late Thursday, not one Senate Republican confirmed suppot of the plan.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will vote against it, and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn and GOP conference chairman John Thune have indicated their opposition to it as well. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) has said he opposes it. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Sessions each oppose it too.
Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), who usually support similar measures, have each announced their opposition.
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is undecided as of this point, and while Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) – easily the Senate’s most liberal Republican – has said he is leaning “yes,” he has not yet committed to voting for the deal, citing concerns with military pension cuts in it.
Appropriators like Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have not committed either, according to Roll Call.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Majority Whip in the Senate, confirmed to reporters on Thursday that the Democrats need GOP votes to make this happen.
“We need Republican votes to pass the budget agreement, period,” Durbin said. “We need at least five, and I’m hoping that there’ll be more than that. There are not five who Republicans have announced they’re for it, I mean to my knowledge, and I hope there are many more than that, and they’re just holding back for any number of reasons.”
While the deal is more likely to pass the Senate than not, the question becomes about which Republicans – if any – Reid will be able to attract to support the Ryan budget deal.
Bernard Goldberg joined Bill O’Reilly Monday night to address what he believes is a “potentially fatal split” in the Republican party’s immediate future. He said that if the tea party keeps rejecting anyone who isn’t basically Ted Cruz for the 2016 presidential nomination, the party’s going to be in some big trouble and invite in a strong Democratic victory.
O’Reilly framed the fight as a “classic moderate Republican versus hard-right Republican” feud, and Goldberg rejected the “ideological rigidity” of people who will sit on their hands and refuse to vote for a Republican presidential nominee if they aren’t sufficiently conservative enough. And this is what led Goldberg to accuse these tea partiers of being the real RINOs in the GOP.
“As far as the tea partiers are concerned, anybody to the left of Ted Cruz is a RINO… but you know what? The real RINOs are the real people in the tea party and on the hard right, because they have made it clear over and over again that their allegiance is not to the Republican party, but to their particular brand of conservatism, so they’re the RINOs.”
O’Reilly suggested Cruz, if he ran, could rally the nation behind him if Obamacare continues to be a disaster, but Goldberg said anything short of “horrendously bad” will not be enough to help them. He also warned that if someone like Cruz gets the nomination, “every registered Democrat will vote, and that’s a recipe for a Democratic victory?”
Watch the video below, via Fox News:
Several Democratic senators are calling on the Obama administration to delay enforcement of the health care law’s individual mandate, joining their Republican colleagues in saying it would be unfair to penalize Americans for failing to buy insurance when the primary sign-up website doesn’t work.
The Democratic dominoes began to fall quickly Wednesday, after Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., circulated a letter urging President Obama to extend enrollment beyond March 31, 2014.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in a statement released late Wednesday, said: “I believe, given the technical issues, it makes sense to extend the time for people to sign up.”
Shaheen and several moderate Democrats supporting her, including Pryor, are up for re-election in 2014, and no doubt taking note of the widespread discontent with the launch of HealthCare.gov.
But political motivation aside, the sudden support from moderate Democrats for delaying the mandate threatens to force President Obama’s hand.
Republicans are already crafting bills to delay the requirement on individuals to buy health insurance. The GOP has the numbers to pass such a proposal in the House; with 15 Democrats, they might be able to muscle something through in the Senate.
Then Obama would have to decide whether to veto.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who is not up for election next year, is working on a bill that would delay the IRS penalty for one year for anyone who does not get insurance.
This comes as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., drafts a separate bill to delay the requirement until the system has been certified as working for six straight months.
The White House, while defending the health care law and vowing to fix the problems with the website, has not explicitly ruled out the possibility of delaying the individual mandate. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, also backed Shaheen’s call in a written statement Wednesday.
“I have repeatedly said this law is not perfect and have proposed changes to make it work for Alaska families and small businesses,” he said. “Given the recent website issues, I also support extending open enrollment season. I want to work with the administration to ensure that individuals are not unfairly penalized if technical issues with the website continue.”
Other Democratic senators that spoke out in support of Sheehan Wednesday include Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina.
Shaheen, in her letter to Obama wrote: “As website glitches persist, we are losing valuable time to educate and enroll people in insurance plans. I also fear that people that have tried, and failed, to enroll online may become frustrated and not return to the website to try again at a later date. … Allowing extra time for consumers is critically important so they have the opportunity to become familiar with the website, survey their options and enroll.”
Other Democrats were less gentle in their complaints.
“The president should man up, let us know who was responsible, who was in charge here and fire them,” Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., said.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said “somebody ought to get fired.”
Editorial pages in newspapers across America have been similarly rough on the roll-out, and the law itself.
Obama’s hometown newspaper, The Chicago Tribune, wrote: “The bugs aren’t just in the software. They’re in the law itself.”
Amid the complaints, the administration says its newly hired team of specialists is working around the clock to fix the site. Officials also met Wednesday with top insurance industry executives.
The meeting included representatives from insurance giants like Humana, Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
A statement from America’s Health Insurance Plans described it as a “positive and productive meeting” that allowed CEOs to give an “on-the-ground perspective of how open enrollment is proceeding,” including the “ongoing technical challenges.”
Not all Democrats are joining the call for a delay.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urged the administration to fix the problems but stick to the current set of deadlines.
Some analysts claimed that individuals would have to sign up by mid-February in order to be registered by the end of March and avoid the IRS penalty. But a White House official said Wednesday that is not the case, and the deadline continues to be March 31.
House Republicans passed their stopgap funding bill Friday to keep government open while terminating the new health care law, setting up a final showdown next week with Senate Democrats and President Obama who have firmly rejected the GOP approach.
The 230-189 vote, which split almost exactly along party lines, is the precursor to the big action next week, when the Democratic majority in the Senate is expected to strip out the health care provisions and send the bill back to the House – where Republicans will have to decide whether they can accept it at that point.
All sides are racing to beat a Sept. 30 deadline, which is when current funding for the federal government runs out. The new measure would fund the government through Dec. 15, essentially at last year’s levels, and would leave the budget sequester cuts in place.
But Republicans on Friday also attached two amendments to the final bill — one to direct how government spending is prioritized in the event the Treasury Department bumps up against its borrowing limit in the coming weeks, and another that strips out funding for President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, which would effectively stop its implementation.
“The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner, who rallied with fellow Republicans after the vote in a show of unity that seemed designed to quell speculation about a rebellion within the House Republican Conference.
Republicans said the move was designed to put some Democratic senators on the spot. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor named several who are up for re-election next year, including Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and Alaska Sen. Mark Begich.
Democrats said the bill was an outrage that exposed Republicans’ true intention of trying to force a government shutdown.
“It is a wolf in wolf’s clothing,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. “Either you don’t know what you’re doing or this is one of the most intentional acts of brutality you’ve cooked up.”
Rep. Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the House spending committee, said limiting government funding now would immediate consequences, such as preventing federal authorities from being able to help out as Colorado recovers from devastating floods.
Democrats urged the GOP to negotiate with them to raise taxes in order to spend more.
Republicans countered that if they’d wanted to shut down government, they wouldn’t have brought any bill to the floor.
“We are pragmatists. We know we have to pass bills to fund government. Thus this bill,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, Kentucky Republican.
Forty-three House Republicans on Thursday endorsed legislation that would keep the government open while defunding ObamaCare.
The sponsorship total reveals that there is a significant bloc of opposition to a plan from GOP leaders that would avoid a government shutdown by requiring that the Senate take a vote on the healthcare law.
Conservatives decried that plan as a “gimmick,” forcing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and his team to push back a vote until at least next week.
The new measure from Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) gives House conservatives the hardline approach they have been seeking by tying the extension of basic government funding to a one-year delay in ObamaCare.
It comes just two days after House GOP leadership pitched to their conference a gambit that would require the Senate to vote on a bill defunding ObamaCare before passing a continuing resolution (CR) on government spending.
Supporters said the plan would force vulnerable Senate Democrats to take a tough vote on healthcare. Any strategy to thwart ObamaCare must involve the upper chamber, they argued.
But conservatives rejected the idea, predicting it would have no effect on the healthcare law.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a leader in the defund ObamaCare movement, blasted House Republicans earlier this summer for taking “empty, symbolic” votes to stop ObamaCare, and many conservatives are heeding his call for real action.
Graves’s more tenacious alternative had 42 co-sponsors upon its introduction. That creates a big problem for GOP leaders, who can only afford 16 Republican defections on any bill that is solidly opposed by Democrats, including a stopgap spending bill.
Speaker John Boehner on Thursday acknowledged the challenge ahead for passing a bill to keep the government funded after Oct. 1.
“There are a lot of discussions going on about how to deal with the [continuing resolution] and the issue of ObamaCare, so we’re continuing to work with our members,” Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a Capitol press conference.
“There are a million options that are being discussed by a lot of people,” Boehner said. “When we have something to report, we’ll let you know.”
Graves’s bill differs from leadership’s plan in several ways. For one, it would fund the government for one year instead of the three months proposed by Cantor.
The conservative measure would essentially implement the House-passed budget by increasing defense spending above sequestration levels while cutting domestic agency spending below the sequester for 2014. This feature should attract defense hawks in the GOP who are otherwise worried about a full-year CR.
In hard numbers, Cantor’s plan would keep the government on a top-line level of $986 billion as dictated by the 2013 sequester. The Graves bill would use the $967 billion level called for by the 2014 sequester, which called for deeper cuts.
Graves’s proposal drew support Thursday from Heritage Action and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the architect of the original conservative defunding plan.
“The House should pass this legislation immediately and send it to the Senate,” Lee said in a statement.
Enough is Enough
Republican leaders in Greenville County introduced a resolution this week to replace RINO Lindsey Graham as U.S. Senator.
Greenville County (S.C.) Republicans have introduced a resolution condemning liberal U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for acting in a manner ”fundamentally inconsistent with the principles of the South Carolina Republican Party.”
The resolution – introduced to a cheering crowd earlier this week at a GOP executive committee meeting – blasts Graham on a number of fronts, including his votes to confirm liberal, pro-Obamacare Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, his support of amnesty for illegal aliens and his backing of U.S. President Barack Obama’s “cap and trade” energy tax hike.
In fact the document lists nearly thirty examples of Graham’s treachery, concluding he “should be replaced as Senator for the State of South Carolina at the earliest possible electoral opportunity.”
Texas Republicans are pushing back against a move by Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to attempt to force the state to receive permission from the federal government before it can make changes to its voting and election laws.
In the administration’s first response to last month’s Supreme Court ruling that wiped out a major provision of the Voting Rights Act, Holder asked a San Antonio-based federal court to force Texas to get Justice Department approval before changing their election rules.
The high court’s 5-4 decision gutted the part of the Voting Rights Act under which all or parts of 15 mainly Southern states had been required to submit all voting changes for approval from Washington before they could take effect.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said Thursday the Obama administration seemed to be “sowing racial divide” and accused the administration of joining Texas Democrats with an eye on the 2014 elections.
“These judges are going to base their decision on the law and the facts,” Abbott told the Brownsville Herald. “(Holder’s announcement) seems to be more political theater than it does any kind of legal statement.”
Abbott, who is running for governor, said there is “no need to have any uncertainty” about the legitimacy of the state’s the 2014 elections calendar. Next year’s primaries are scheduled for March 4.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz released a statement following Holder’s announcement accusing him of continuing the Justice Department’s “longstanding pattern of refusing to follow the law.”
“Likewise, Holder continues to attack voter ID laws, even though the Supreme Court has concluded that voter ID laws are supported by multiple interests that are ‘unquestionably relevant to the State’s interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,’” Cruz said.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn accused Holder of trying to go around the high court. “This decision has nothing to do with protecting voting rights and everything to do with advancing a partisan political agenda,” Cornyn said.
Holder, during a speech to the Urban League in Philadelphia on Thursday, said that based on evidence of racial discrimination presented last year in a redistricting case in Texas, “we believe that the state of Texas should be required to go through a preclearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices.”
In its filing in San Antonio, the Justice Department said that “in every redistricting cycle since 1970, courts have similarly found that one or more of Texas’ statewide redistricting plans violated the voting guarantees of the Constitution or provisions of the Voting Rights Act.”
A three-judge panel in San Antonio has been looking at Texas voting maps for state and congressional redistricting since 2011, when the court threw out boundaries drawn by a then-GOP supermajority in the statehouse.
An ensuing legal battle between the state and a coalition of minority rights groups upset the 2012 elections in Texas, delaying party primaries that ultimately used temporary maps drawn by the court.
“Once again, the Obama Administration is demonstrating utter contempt for our country’s system of checks and balances, not to mention the U.S. Constitution. This end-run around the Supreme Court undermines the will of the people of Texas, and casts unfair aspersions on our state’s common-sense efforts to preserve the integrity of our elections process,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement.
Holder’s action was praised by minority rights groups, with the NAACP lauding the “necessary” move “for the United States to come to the aid or minorities in Texas.”
“We are simply ecstatic that the Attorney General has decided to join us in a continuing effort to thwart the implementation of a discriminatory redistricting map,” NAACP Texas State Conference President Gary Bledsoe said in a statement.
And, of course, better at college football too, but Stacy McCain focuses on the patriotism shown in this Gallup Poll
Interestingly, the poll also shows that Southerners (89%) are more proud of their country than people in the Northeast (81%).
Hell, yes. Freedom. ’Murka.
We are also better looking, but I am not one to brag. My humility IS one of my best traits ya know!
As the technologically sophisticated U.S. faces the increasing threat of an electromagnetic pulse attack from a man-made, high altitude nuclear explosion or an “inevitable” massive solar flare, Republicans in the U.S. House are trying to prepare a defense.
They are proposing legislation to protect the vulnerable U.S. electrical grid from an attack so cataclysmic 90 percent of Americans could be affected, including many who would face starvation
The legislation aims to get the federal government to ensure that vital hardware and other devices are installed in the national grid system to protect critical infrastructure such as systems that supply water, food, fuel, communications, transportation, financial transactions and emergency services.
The protection would be employed by hardening the grid to ensure that it can be brought back should it be subjected to such an event.
The alternative, said Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who will introduce the legislation called the SHIELD Act, could leave the nation without electricity for months and possibly years and affect some 90 percent of the American people, subjecting them to starvation and death.
SHIELD stands for Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act.
“This is a problem big enough to be seen but small enough to fix before an EMP happens,” Franks said at a news conference.
He was accompanied by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has been outspoken in recent years on the threat of an EMP attack.
Gingrich believes an EMP event is the greatest national security threat facing the United States today.
Franks explained that the U.S. is not more vulnerable than before but has “become a victim of our technological sophistication and scientific advancement.”
“Why does the U.S. need to be vulnerable to such a threat?” he asked. “EMP is the ultimate cyber security threat.”
In terms of coping with external man-made threats, Franks pointed out that Congress has seen to it that the military’s triad of land, sea and air assets has been hardened against the prospect of an EMP attack. Yet, the military is 99 percent dependent on the national grid, making it difficult for it to respond in the event of such an attack.
He pointed out that at the cost of two B-2 strategic bombers, the U.S. could fix the grid so that it could come back in short order should it be brought down.
“The SHIELD Act is a bill that goes in the right direction,” he said.
The legislation passed the House in the last Congress but never made it through the Senate.
Sources on Franks’ staff said that they are actively looking for a Senate version, possibly to be introduced by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.
The SHIELD Act would amend the Federal Power Act to encourage cooperation between industry and government in developing and implementing standards and processes needed to address the shortcomings and vulnerabilities of the grid to a major EMP event.
It does not include provisions to deal with cyber-security threats which legislators decided to leave to a separate bill. However, Franks said that an EMP attack, whether natural or man-made, would be “the ultimate cyber-security threat.”
The legislation also would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority to develop standards but won’t preclude industry from developing its own.
“This increased authority is necessary to protect the entire grid,” a congressional fact sheet on the SHIELD Act said. “Some industry stakeholders may develop these standards on their own, but unless the entire grid is uniformly resilient to EMP, cascading effects of blackouts resulting from stakeholders that did not protect their entities from EMP will most likely still cause rolling blackouts and massive outages.
“Some industry stakeholders may not view EMP as a credible threat (e.g., Southern stakeholders may not feel threatened by solar storms because of their relative latitudinal protection,” the fact sheet said. “Therefore, we cannot rely on voluntary action by industry stakeholders to protect against this threat.”
The legislation also offers “hardware-based solutions,” available at minimal cost. The hardware will automatically react to an EMP disturbance, removing the “guessing-game” operators currently face.
“If we are going to be serious about avoiding such a catastrophic event” as an EMP, “a priority on this legislation is greater than defense spending,” Gingrich said.
“We can literally see a civilization crash,” he said, referring to the U.S. dependency on the grid’s technology-based infrastructure.
He pointed out that the people of the Netherlands have a particular problem with their dikes. If repair is neglected, he said that more than 40 percent of the country would be underwater. Consequently, he said, there is no question in their minds to maintain the dike system because of this alternative.
The same should apply to the U.S. ensuring protection of the U.S. electrical grid system.
“We could lose 90 percent of the population if an EMP only hit the U.S,” Gingrich asserted.
The U.S. then would have “massive needs of foreign assistance” if no other country were affected.
“That would mean we’d lose our sovereignty,” Gingrich declared.
Peter Vincent Pry, staff director of the original EMP Commission that first revealed the threat of an EMP hit on the nation’s critical infrastructures, pointed out that Russia and China and even North Korea would be the only countries prepared for an EMP event. In effect, they would emerge as the new world leaders.
If the U.S. became disabled from an EMP attack, “is that what we want?”
“The problem,” Franks said, “is fixable.”
Earlier this week, WND reported Maine became the first state in the nation to pass legislation ordering its grid to be hardened against an electromagnetic pulse event.
The law not only requires preparation against a natural or man-made EMP, it encourages other states to take a similar initiative, since the federal government has refused to make the potential for an EMP event a priority.
The Act to Secure the Safety of Electrical Transmission Lines was introduced by Maine Rep. Andrea Boland, D-Sanford.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: “The good thing going for Cory Booker, if he’s the candidate, Steve, is that we don’t have any African Americans in the United States Senate, which I think is a disgrace. You know, it’s one of the reasons I voted for my friend Michael Steele when he ran because I think we ought to have some. It’s absurd in this country, it’s absurd, Steve.”
Anyone spot the glaring problem with that statement? I guess Matthews never heard of Senator Tim Scott? To be fair Matthews catches his mistake, but what about the overtly racist comment he makes? Admitting he votes based on skin color? What about judging on character and not color?
I would love to see Congress come up with a meaningful immigration reform bill, but the biggest problem is this, CONGRESS! Let’s face it, Congress cannot do much that makes any sense. If Congress set out to fix your flat tire, it would take a month, cost you 12 billion dollars, and all four of your tires, plus your spare would be flat after they finished. Congress is completely incompetent, and you can trust me, I have worked for a corporate restaurant chain or two, I know incompetence.
Every time I hear some talking head talk about the importance of immigration reform, I nod in agreement then the realization hits me. Any bill’s success would depend on the government doing what it has refused to do for decades now. They talk about making those who are here illegally pay back taxes. Really? Sounds good, except for this. the same buffoons telling us this are also the same buffoons who tell us we cannot deport those here illegally because we cannot find them. So, we can’t find them to boot them out, but we can find them to collect back taxes? Sure, sure, we can also look at buying that bridge in Arizona while we are at it.
If we want, as a nation, to remain a nation, we MUST fix our border issues. The biggest issue regarding border security, and fixing our immigration system is national sovereignty. Frankly, most of Congress could not care any less about that. Democrats see a huge voting block, and we know Democrats will always put securing political gain over patriotism. Republicans also see a huge voting block that they think they can win over. Of course, too many Republicans think that they can out Democrat Democrats, which, of course they cannot. So, instead of anything that might fix the problem, we get bills that run over 1,000 pages, and that create more bureaucracy and we know that will only make the solution as bad as, if not worse than the original problem.
Now, here is where I would usually give some advice to Congress on how to FIX the problem. I might say we must not even speak of amnesty, in any form, we must not talk about paths to citizenship until we secure the border. That must be the first step, because we are simply encouraging more to come here to take advantage of whatever amnesty gets passed. I could tell them to round up the worst illegals, felons, gang members and either boot their asses out or lock them up somewhere. I could tell them to streamline the process that LEGAL immigrants have to go through. I could advise them to look for solutions for those who have been here a long time, or whose parents brought them here AFTER, and only AFTER those steps are taken. I could tell them many things, but, would these idiots listen? No, because they are more concerned for exploiting the problem than they are in fixing it, and that is why I hold out no hope in anything meaningful coming out of the Gang of Eight A.K.A. Ochos Stupidos.
Republican lawmakers are launching an investigation into claims that the Environmental Protection Agency, while giving preferential treatment to environmental groups, made it harder for conservative groups to obtain government records.
“According to documents obtained by the Committees, EPA readily granted FOIA fee waivers for environmental allies, effectively subsidizing them, while denying fee waivers and making the FOIA process more difficult for states and conservative groups,” wrote Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Darrell Issa and Sens. David Vitter, Chuck Grassley and Jim Inhofe in a letter to the EPA.
Citing a report by The Daily Caller News Foundation, Republicans are asking the EPA to hand over all Freedom of Information Act fee waiver requests, responses to requests, and FOIA officer training materials since the beginning of the Obama administration.
Lawmakers are also asking for all communications regarding FOIA fee waiver requests or appeals under the Obama administration.
The free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute obtained documents showing that since January 2012, the EPA granted fee waivers for 75 out of 82 FOIA requests from major environmental groups and only denied seven of them, giving green groups a 92 percent success rate.
At the same time, the EPA rejected or ignored 21 out of 26 fee waiver requests from conservative groups.
“The startling disparity in treatment strongly suggests EPA’s actions are possibly part of a broader effort to collude with groups that share the agency’s political agenda and discriminate against states and conservative organizations,” the lawmakers wrote. “This is a clear abuse of discretion.”
Republicans are tying the EPA to the broader controversy over the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups.
“We know the Obama EPA has completely mismanaged FOIA, but granting fee waivers for their friends in the far-left environmental community, while simultaneously blocking conservative leaning groups from gaining access to information is really no different than the IRS disaster,” said Vitter.
Acting EPA administrator Bob Perciasepe announced Thursday that he was asking the inspector general to look into the matter.
“I am going to get an independent look at all that information so I can get a determination,” said Perciasepe, adding that the agency’s shift to an online system often means that groups are not charged any fees even if they are not formally waived.