Last month, Alabama State Rep. Alvin Holmes (D) made some controversial and racially-charged statements that could cost him $100,000 if he is willing to put his money where his mouth is
During a legislative session discussion on abortion rights, Holmes speculated that members of the GOP would be supportive of abortion if their daughters were impregnated by black men. The elected official, who has served in the state house since 1974, then offered to pay $100,000 cash to anyone who could show him a “bunch of whites” who have adopted black children in Alabama.
Those comments sparked the formation of a group of families in Alabama who are easily able to disprove Holmes’ theory.
Faces of Families in Alabama is the name of the Facebook group dedicated to showing Holmes and the world that families – adoptive families – are not as racially divided as he believes. In less than a month, Faces of Families has earned more than 7000 “likes” on the social media outlet and photos are coming into the group daily, showing off the mosaic of families made up of all colors.
On Wednesday, Faces of Families in Alabama gathered on the steps of the State House to demonstrate just how many multi-racial, adoptive families were in the state. By all accounts, the rally was peaceful and positive.
After the group showed up, Holmes doubled down on his comments, telling a local television station, ”The majority of the white people in the state of Alabama are against adopting black children.” The group has asked for an apology from Holmes and some are calling for his resignation.
What about the $100,000 in cash that he offered to anyone who could show him a “bunch of whites” who have adopted black babies in Alabama?
It would appear that Faces of Families in Alabama met his challenge. One adoptive mom, Beverly Owings, who has a 13-year-old bi-racial daughter told the local ABC affiliate, “he should have to put his money where his mouth is.”
We did speak with Beverly Owings on Thursday afternoon and she confirmed that Holmes had been invited to attend the event, but did not appear. Beverly and her husband Jeromy, are parents to four adopted children, one is bi-racial children.
“This was not about money, but about changing Holmes opinion,” she told TheBlaze, “and about getting out the word about how many children are available for adoption in Alabama.”
A few hours after the rally, Holmes reportedly called into a local radio show where the Ownings were slated to be guests for 30 minutes to talk about the event. That appearance reportedly turned into a one-hour show with more call-ins than the station had seen in quite some time. We have requested a copy of the audio and will attach it when it comes available.
TheBlaze has made several calls to the offices and home of the representative. The state legislature is currently not in session and no voice mail messaging options were available on his home or district phone numbers. When we get a response from Holmes we will update this story.
Eric Gurr is a 48-year-old Ohioan and a lifelong Republican. He was born and raised in Hamilton, a suburb of Cincinnati. Mr. Gurr is the CEO of a computer consulting firm based in West Chester, Ohio. He is married and has three children as well as two grandchildren. He and his family reside in fast-growing Liberty Township. He has never run for political office before.
Oh, and he just happens to be challenging House Speaker John Boehner in the Republican primary for Ohio’s 8th congressional district.
Mr. Gurr was kind enough to grant yours truly an exclusive interview.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview, Mr. Gurr.
So did you go to college in Ohio? How does your family feel about your decision to run for high public office? What prompted someone who has never run for political office before to decide to challenge one of the most powerful elected officials in the country?
ERIC GURR: I went to college at The University of Cincinnati. I started out in mechanical engineering in 1983, then switched to computer related. I dropped out in ’87 and have worked with computers, programming, and related endeavors since that time.
My family has been very supportive of my decision.
What prompted me to run was the realization that since 2008 Mr. Boehner had slowly pulled away from my views and what I thought was in the best interest of the nation long-term. I was not in favor of the TARP programs and I still think our monetary policy is on the wrong track.
Syria was the tipping point. I thought that war with Syria was a terrible idea. Essentially it is a very high-risk proposition with little or nothing to be gained. I also believe strongly that the immigration bill was a bad bill at the wrong time. It makes no sense at all to add to a workforce burdened by high unemployment and underemployment.
When I started putting all of these things together I realized that Speaker Boehner has just been in Washington too long. Publicly elected servants should serve a few terms and then leave lest they become forever detached from their constituents. Over time this leads to a moderation not only in positions and policy, but in passion for the fight. Inside that beltway, conservative values (both economically and socially) are seen as “extreme.” We as the base of the GOP have no desire nor need to apologize for these conservative principles as they have served the nation quite well for over 200 years.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: What are your thoughts on the multiple scandals that have engulfed the Obama administration – IRS, NSA, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, etc.?
ERIC GURR: The IRS scandal is the biggest scandal to hit this country since Watergate. The most feared institution has been used for political purposes. I find it highly improbable that Ms. Lois Lerner acted of her own volition. I am stunned that the Democrats don’t seem to understand the gravity of this situation. This scandal needs to be investigated until we know absolutely everything.
The NSA is not permitted to spy on citizens without a proper warrant. I think that the Constitution is quite clear on this. I know there are many who say that this invasion of privacy protects us all, but where does that end?
I also believe Benghazi is a real and serious scandal. If we follow the timeline it appears that we first received word of an attack at 10:00 PM. If the State Department didn’t send help they must answer the question: why? The canned response is that the main thrust of the attack happened at 4:00 AM and the forces would not have had time to get there. But there is no way they could have known when the next attack was coming.
Fast & Furious was probably a well-intended venture that spiraled out of hand. But when our own agents are shot with these weapons I think some answers should be expected. The attorney general has some real inconsistencies in his statements to Congress and needs to be brought back on the carpet. If we cannot trust the attorney general to follow the laws, who can we trust?
ROBERT ELLIOTT: How do you feel about the recent efforts of House and (some) Senate Republicans to defund Obamacare?
ERIC GURR: I think Ted Cruz and others supporting him are on the right track. With control of only the House there are few tools left in the tool box. It will be no consolation for Republicans to say in three or four months, “We told you this would happen.”
The bill is axiomatically prevented from working for several reasons. The biggest reason being that there is no addressing of the supply side in the bill. If you want to lower cost while increasing demand for services you must first address the supply. It takes years to become a doctor. So the first portion of a serious bill like this would have been to delay for eight years while you fund an increase in the number of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers and equipment. This bill added an anti-science and anti-technology excise tax of 2.3 percent. If the GOP is somehow successful in the endeavor and at least delays implementation by a year or two the economy will rebound, job growth will ensue, and we will have a clearer picture of what needs to be done to reform existing systems. If some of the old guard in the GOP leadership continue to delay and obfuscate, we’ll never get the opportunity to explain to the American people (the few who still support the bill) how damaging it is to the long term economic viability of the nation.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: Candidates who seek to unseat incumbents are almost always at a financial disadvantage. This is especially true in your case, since you are taking on such a powerful and high-profile incumbent in the Speaker of the House. How much cash do you think your campaign will need to raise in order to mount a credible challenge? And how do you plan to raise it? Have you considered a “money-bomb” type of event?
ERIC GURR: Money is the challenge. I’ve been contacted by people all over the country suggesting a “money bomb” type of event. I have tried to contact a few of the conservative outlets, but have been told I must be “vetted” first. Over the past two weeks I’ve tried to respond to as many online requests as I can and that’s starting to produce. The website gurrforcongress.com is averaging over 300 visits per day. I’ve tried to analyze the situation in the 8th congressional district of Ohio and the good news is that millions of dollars probably won’t be needed. Speaker Boehner can only bombard the voters with so much information. I’ve figured I’ll need about $300,000 to make a serious challenge. Although it sounds like a lot, the reality is if I can get a few thousand people to donate $25 – $50 I’ll be in a strong position. In order to become competitive with his fundraising machine I’ll have to look outside the district. With a solid drive and $100,000 or so I think I can pull that off.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: How do you feel about term limits? If elected, would you pledge to serve only a certain number of terms?
ERIC GURR: I’m in favor of term limits but much more in favor of politicians keeping their word. I would not serve more than four terms and prefer to serve three, then be challenged in a primary to get the word out about new candidates. If you lose, you lose. If not, the next year there are a few candidates the public has come to know who can run for the seat and I would drop out. There is absolutely no chance I would serve more than four [terms]. A citizen legislator must be a citizen first. If you stay in Washington for 15 or 20 years, you have become a professional politician.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: How would you work to tackle the federal budget deficit? Assuming you plan to support spending reductions, are there any areas that you think should be off-limits to cuts?
ERIC GURR: The deficit should be cut in two phases. In the first phase I would propose to Congress cutting 3% across the board with an exemption for Social Security and Medicare. Then I would push hard for a significant cut in the capital gains tax. This tax cut has historically increased revenue. I would also delve deeper into cuts for the EPA, agricultural subsidies, and even the Department of Education. All of these agencies have poor track records recently and have seen their budgets bloated beyond any reasonable level of growth.
Defense spending is worth a look, but I don’t know that I would commit to any cuts at this point. It’s not that I think there isn’t room, it’s just that I know when you have a certain level of access to information you may be inclined to change your views. I am in favor of missile defense but not in favor of a large standing army with bases spread across the world.
The American people have felt the pinch for five years and I think it is time for Washington, D.C. to share in a little of the belt tightening.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: Would your campaign like to communicate a direct message to potential donors and/or Republican primary voters in your district?
Frank Milillo, Eric Gurr’s campaign manager:
As many of you may have heard, Hamilton native Eric Gurr is challenging John Boehner in the May primary for the Ohio 8th district U.S. congressional seat. Many of us have supported Mr. Boehner over the past 20-plus years, but I think many of you now agree it’s time for a change. Eric is a principled conservative and wants to cut spending, lower taxes to promote jobs and economic growth, and put an end to the ill-conceived Obamacare.
It is difficult to defeat a politician as entrenched in Washington culture as Mr. Boehner has become. He has nationwide donations and deep pockets. But we believe the people of Ohio deserve better, and with your donation of as little as $25 we can get the word out and make a hopeful and helpful change for the people of Ohio and the United States of America.
To donate, please visit the campaign website at gurrforcongress.com
Orr if you prefer, you can send a check to:
Gurr For Congress
7182 Liberty Centre Drive, Suite O
West Chester, Ohio 45069
Pacific Legal Foundation’s legal challenge to Obamacare received important backing in the form of an amicus brief filed by Congressman Trent Franks, R-Arizona, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, joined by several dozen other members of the House.
The amicus brief was filed Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in PLF’s case, Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
“We are grateful for this powerful support from Congressman Franks, a leading authority on the Constitution, and from many other key lawmakers,” said PLF Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II. “This support from members of the House is especially significant because PLF’s lawsuit defends the constitutional authority of the lower chamber, the legislative body that is closest to the people. We argue that Obamacare was enacted in a way that deprived the House of its authority to ‘originate’ new taxation. By extension, taxpayers were deprived of a core constitutional protection against reckless and oppressive use of the federal taxing power.”
In addition to Representative Franks, House members who have joined the brief as amici in support of PLF’s Obamacare challenge include: Michele Bachmann (MN); Joe Barton (TX); Kerry L. Bentivolio (MI); Marsha Blackburn (TN); Jim Bridenstine (OK); Mo Brooks (AL); K. Michael Conaway (TX); Steve Chabot (OH); Jeff Duncan (SC); John J. Duncan, Jr. (TN); John Fleming (LA); Bob Gibbs (OH); Louie Gohmert (TX); Andy Harris (MD); Tim Huelskamp (KS); Walter B. Jones, Jr. (NC); Steve King (IA); Doug Lamborn (CO); Doug LaMalfa (CA); Bob Latta (OH); Thomas Massie (KY); Mark Meadows (NC); Randy Neugebauer (TX); Steve Pearce (NM); Robert Pittenger (NC); Trey Radel (FL); David P. Roe (TN); Todd Rokita (IN); Matt Salmon (AZ); Mark Sanford (SC); David Schweikert (AZ); Marlin A. Stutzman (IN); Lee Terry (NE); Tim Walberg (MI); Randy K. Weber, Sr. (TX), Brad R. Wenstrup (OH); Lynn A. Westmoreland (GA); Rob Wittman (VA); and Ted S. Yoho (FL).
Obamacare: A massive tax bill that started on the wrong side of the Capitol Building
PLF’s challenge focuses on the individual mandate, which requires nearly all Americans to buy a federally prescribed health insurance plan or pay a penalty to the federal government – a charge that the U.S. Supreme Court identified as a “tax” in its 2012 ruling on Obamacare.
Because Obamacare’s individual mandate is a tax – and, indeed, Obamacare includes more than $500 billion in new taxation, in all – the law should have been initiated in the House, where Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution says new taxes must “originate,” in order to keep the taxing power close to the people. However, in defiance of this constitutional requirement, Majority Leader Harry Reid launched the law in the Senate, by taking an entirely unrelated House bill on housing for veterans, stripping it, and inserting the language that became Obamacare.
Obamacare’s fiascos aren’t new: They started with the violation of the Origination Clause
“The current attempts to roll out Obamacare are frankly a fiasco,” said Beard. “These chaotic problems are symbolic of how, from the first, this law was foisted on the American people in a rushed and arbitrary way that ignored the careful and considered process laid down in the Constitution. The Constitution’s requirement that new taxes must start in the House is not a dusty formality. It’s an important safeguard for taxpayers, and for care and deliberation in the enactment of new taxes. Because this mandate was violated so flagrantly with Obamacare, and because the individual mandate is so central to Obamacare’s structure, our suit argues that the entire law must be struck down.”
Plaintiff Matt Sissel: “I am grateful for this support from members of the House”
Matt SisselPLF attorneys represent Matt Sissel, a small business owner who chooses to pay for medical expenses on his own, rather than buy health insurance. He objects on financial, philosophical, and constitutional grounds to being ordered by the federal government to purchase a health care plan he does not need or want, on pain of a penalty tax.
“I’m in this case to defend freedom and the Constitution,” said Sissel. “I am grateful for support from members of the House in this important litigation. I strongly believe that I should be free – and all Americans should be free – to decide how to provide for our medical needs, and not be forced to purchase a federally dictated health care plan. I’m very concerned that Obamacare was enacted in violation of the constitutional roadmap for enacting taxes, because those procedures are there for a purpose – to protect our freedom.”
An artist and self-employed business owner, Matt is also a soldier in the Army National Guard, and has more than eight years of service. He spent two years in Iraq as a combat medic, the second of which he volunteered for, providing medical care to the sick and wounded. On top of those duties, his second year was spent training and advising the Iraqi military. During his second tour, he received the Bronze Star for his service.
The case is Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. PLF’s opening appellate brief, a detailed litigation backgrounder, video, and a podcast may be found at PLF’s website: pacificlegal.org.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul took to Fox News Sunday to declare his legal opposition to the NSA’s surveillance programs. “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level,” Paul said.
“I’m going to be asking all the internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit,” Paul told host Chris Wallace. “If we get ten million Americans saying we don’t want our phone records looked at, then maybe someone will wake up and something will change in Washington.”
Like many lawmakers, Paul drew a distinction between targeted surveillance and the blanket surveillance revealed this week.
“They are looking at a billion phone calls a day,” Paul said. “That doesn’t sound to me like a modest invasion of primary, it sounds like an extraordinary invasion of privacy.”
“I have no problem if you have probable cause, you target people who are terrorists, and you go after them,” Paul continued. “But we’re talking about trolling through billions of phone records… That is unconstitutional.”
Paul also said he would introduce the Fourth Amendment Restoriation Act, though he offered few details about the still-hypothetical legislation.
“If you talk to young people who use computers every day, they’re absolutely with me,” Paul said. “What I spend on my Visa each month, that’s my business, where I spend it, and whether I read conservative magazines, whether I subscribe to Fox News, or whether I subscribe to Yahoo or Google – what I do with my private life is my private life. If you suspect me of a crime, have probable cause.”
“So much of our life now is digitalized, that we have to protect it from a snooping government,” Paul said. “We’ve now got a government that appears to target people based on their political beliefs. I don’t want my phone records being given to an administration I can’t trust.”
Paul remembered that the public outrage against SOPA and PIPA legislation last year were somewhat successful in pushing back the laws, and predicted that if people reacted with similar severity to the current surveillance measures, they would be successful in repealing them.
Watch the interview here, via Fox News:
Appearing on CNN Wednesday, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward said a “very senior person” at the White House warned him that he would “regret doing this,” referring to his outspoken criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of the impending forced cuts known as the sequester.
“I think they’re confused,” Woodward told CNN host Wolf Blitzer. Woodward apparently went on to criticize Obama further over the sequester the same day he received the warning from the White House.
“It makes me very uncomfortable for the White House to be telling reporters, you are going to ‘regret’ doing something that you believe in,” he added. “It’s Mickey Mouse.”
TheBlaze’s Becket Adams has more details on the feud between Woodward and the White House:
Bob Woodward on Wednesday accused President Barack Obama of acting with a “kind of madness” in his handling of the automatic spending cuts set to take effect Friday.
He continued, turning his attention to the White House’s recent claim that spending cuts would prohibit it from deploying aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf.
“Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?’” Woodward said.
“Or George W. Bush saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to invade Iraq because I can’t get the aircraft carriers I need’ or even Bill Clinton saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to attack Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters,’ as he did when Clinton was president because of some budget document?” he added.
Woodward initially started his fight with the White House after he accused the Obama administration of “moving the goal posts” in its budget negotiations with Republican lawmakers. He also reported in his book, “The Price of Politics,” that the automatic spending cuts were actually Obama’s idea – and now he wants to avoid them at all costs.
A day after The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward insisted he was “threatened” by a senior White House official, a former Clinton aide turned columnist says his publication was once threatened by the Obama White House as well.
Lanny Davis, formerly a special counsel to President Bill Clinton, told WMAL’s Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor that a White House official once threatened to have The Washington Times’ White House credentials revoked over columns Davis had written.
Davis says his editor “received a phone call from a senior Obama White House official who didn’t like some of my columns, even though I’m a supporter of Obama. I couldn’t imagine why this call was made.”
The White House aide allegedly told Times editor John Solomon, “that if he continued to run my [Davis’] columns, he would lose, or his reporters would lose their White House credentials.”
Last week, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling warned Woodward in an email that the reporter would “regret staking out” the claim that Obama’s “asking for revenues is moving the goal post,” according to copies of the emails obtained by Politico.
Woodward characterized that statement as a threat in interviews on Thursday.
Some genius said this last night:
I think there is a push to kill this story before other reporters realize they have a story if they report their own experiences.
As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Woodward called a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim,” The Washington Post reporter was told.
Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified. I wrote Saturday night, asking the official to stop e-mailing me. The official wrote, challenging Woodward and my tweet. “Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron,” the official wrote.
I wrote back:
“I asked you to stop e-mailing me. All future e-mails from you will be on the record – publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you. My cell-phone number is… If you should decide you have anything constructive to share, you can try to reach me by phone. All of our conversations will also be on the record, publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you.” I haven’t heard back from the official. It was a step not taken lightly because the note essentially ended our working relationship.
Given that Woodward is now being called old and brokedown by David Pflouffe, and the Juicebox Mafia has picked up the “senile” message they’re putting out there… I would in fact say efforts are being made to insure Woodward “regrets” having correctly reported Obama’s ownership of the sequester.
Incidentally, credit where credit’s due: Sexton has stayed on this subject – ownership of the sequester – when most people (such as myself) considered it not interesting enough to stay on.
Flashback To 2009: