TEA PARTY PATRIOTS:
Martin Schram: How the GOP endangered its own security (Quote by Jenny Beth)
“Jenny Beth Martin, founder of the Tea Party Patriots, was applauded and cheered after she derided Obama’s immigration executive actions (where reforms weren’t attempted) and especially when she said of Obamacare, “We still have the opportunity to repeal that!”
Huntley: Only legal gymnastics can save Obamacare
“…It’s hard to argue that politics — and a desire to protect the high court’s reputation and standing — didn’t figure in the 2012 ruling. A decision striking down the law as unconstitutional would have been vilified by President Barack Obama, Democrats and liberal mainstream media heavy hitters. Roberts decided that penalties to force people to sign up for insurance could be construed as a tax, and thus the law was constitutional under the government’s taxing authority. That was contrary to the vigorous protests of Obama and Democrats when the law was being written that penalties were not taxes. The issue now similarly comes down to the plain language in the law, this time over subsidies to low-income Americans buying Obamacare insurance. The health-care act says such subsidies go to those who buy insurance off an exchange “established by the state.” The problem for the law’s backers is that only 13 states and the District of Columbia established exchanges. Most states opted out because the law has been unpopular thanks to the way it was muscled through Congress with only Democratic votes and the falsehoods that got it passed — if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. How could the justices save Obamacare this time? An obvious way is to declare that the language in question would defeat the purpose of the law, to extend medical coverage to the uninsured. Denying aid would make insurance unaffordable to the more than 6 million Americans who get the subsidies. But Justice Antonin Scalia pointed out the unambiguous language, saying the law “means what it says.” What’s more, there’s evidence that the language was written to lure states into establishing exchanges. Liberals couldn’t envision that states might not accept free (to them) money from Washington. All this arguing over language — a penalty becomes a tax and a federal exchange should be no different from a state exchange — might make you wonder: Is the purpose of the high court to determine if a disputed law is legal or to find a way to make a challenged law legal? Clearly, liberals and Democrats believe the latter to be the case regarding Obamacare…”
GOP braces for ObamaCare win
“Republicans are under pressure to prove they can avert a massive healthcare meltdown if the party wins its latest ObamaCare battle in the Supreme Court this spring. Some of that pressure is being brought to bear, at least implicitly, by the justices themselves, who appear concerned over whether Congress can create a fully baked alternative plan if the court strikes down ObamaCare subsidies for 8 million people. Skepticism has also been growing within the GOP itself. “This is just going to be ugly no matter what we do,” GOP strategist Rick Wilson said. Conservative justices made it clear during arguments this week that they would be counting on Congress to limit the fallout in the event of a plaintiff victory in King v Burwell, an outcome that would erase billions of dollars worth of healthcare subsidies. “If the consequences are as disastrous as you say, then yes, I think this Congress will act,” Associate Justice Antonin Scalia told the Obama administration’s lawyer, Donald Verrilli Jr., during Wednesday’s arguments. The conservative justice’s nod to Congress sends a strong signal that the court will be paying attention to the GOP’s moves before June, raising the stakes for action. While top Republicans in the House and Senate said this week that they are nearing a consensus on their efforts to create a back-up plan for the subsidies, almost no details have been shared about the half-dozen plans unveiled in the last two weeks. Most of the proposals are drawing criticism from their fellow conservatives behind the scenes. “It’s a couple lines in an op-ed. Who knows what it really means? In some of those, they may not know, frankly,” said one conservative strategist and former Hill healthcare staffer. Creating even a temporary solution for ObamaCare subsidies is a huge dilemma for the GOP-controlled Congress. Some Republicans have even said, albeit quietly, that the party could be better off if the administration’s policy survives the Supreme Court challenge. “Then we won’t be put into a really difficult spot and can move on. There is something really appealing about that,” one GOP Senate aide said. As a matter of political reality, no GOP fallback plan can appear to extend — or even sign off on — ObamaCare in any way. Any bill that would put Republicans on the record upholding the Affordable Care Act would be untenable…”
Supreme Court Will Likely Uphold Affordable Care Act, Law Profs Say
7 Reasons Why Obamacare ‘Federalism’ Won’t Lead Anthony Kennedy To Join The Supreme Court’s Left In King v. Burwell
“Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a case with significant implications for the future of Obamacare. Most of the justices’ questions proceeded along expected lines. Most notable was a series of questions by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who questioned whether it would be constitutional for Obamacare to induce states to set up exchanges. If Kennedy’s fears are right—that federal subsidies for state-based exchanges are “coercive”—then he might side with the Obama administration in the case. But if you understand how Obamacare’s insurance markets work, it’s clear that Kennedy should side with Obama’s challengers…”
Indiana has a lot at stake in health care subsidy lawsuit
“Nearly 200,000 Indiana residents who purchased health insurance through a federal health exchange could lose the subsidies that help them afford the coverage under a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case argued Wednesday contends the Affordable Care Act allows subsidies only in states that set up their own insurance exchanges. Indiana is using an exchange operated by the federal government. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute says about 225,000 Indiana residents use an average of $4,110 in tax credits annually to buy coverage through the marketplace. The (Munster) Times reports (http://bit.ly/1G2uEfj ) an estimated 195,000 could become uninsured if the court rules for the plaintiffs. States without exchanges could establish them to continue receiving subsidies. But Gov. Mike Pence opposes a state-based exchange.”
ObamaCare Hail Mary
Liberals roll out more faux federalism to sway Justice Kennedy.
“Liberals must be nervous about the Supreme Court’s big ObamaCare subsidy case because last week they decided to throw one last Hail Mary pass to Justice Anthony Kennedy. We hope he or Chief Justice John Roberts don’t fall for it. During a week they hear oral arguments, the Justices typically hold a private conference on Friday morning in which they declare where they are leaning on the cases. Just in time for last week’s Friday conference, liberal scholar Abbe Gluck tried one more state’s rights gambit to pull Justice…”
GOP newbie Sasse driving Obamacare off-ramp
“Freshman Sen. Ben Sasse insists he’s not a leading man in the GOP’s script to replace Obamacare, but he’s playing a key set-up role just three months into his tenure on Capitol Hill. The Nebraska Republican filed legislation last week — the plainly titled “Winding Down Obamacare Act” — that would fill the gap should the U.S. Supreme Court rule the Obama administration is wrongly paying billions of dollars in tax subsidies to health care insurance customers in two-thirds of the states. Along the way he’s run into the problem the GOP will face: The Affordable Care Act is now so entrenched that undoing it, even if it comes through a court decision, could kick millions of Americans out of their coverage and leave Republicans in political danger. But trying to bridge the gap opens Republicans up to criticism from their right flank, which views it as propping up Obamacare. “Nothing that I’m proposing is a continuation of Obamacare, expansion or extension or fix,” Mr. Sasse said. “It’s transitional assistance for 6 million disrupted people, but the assistance comes entirely outside of Obamacare so that we can then have the big national conversation we need in 2016.” The court last week heard oral arguments in the case, with challengers saying the administration is breaking the law by paying tax subsidies to customers in states that rely on the federal HealthCare.gov exchange. The law says subsidies can be paid to customers in exchanges “established by the state.” The Obama administration says it cannot fix the “massive damage” that a loss before the court would cause, as an estimated 6 million people would drop coverage that’s no longer affordable, particularly healthy people who keep rates in check…”
Will it be IRS to the rescue for Obamacare?
“The taxman typically taketh, but he soon could be giving millions of Americans quite a bit—at least temporarily—if the Supreme Court kills a major feature of Obamacare. A leading tax expert says the Internal Revenue Service can, and likely will, let HealthCare.gov customers keep their Obamacare subsidies through the end of this year if the high court rules in June that those subsidies are illegal. And that six-month grace period in turn could ratchet up political pressure on Republican opponents of Obamacare to develop a plan to replace the valuable subsidies, which would be expiring right on the eve of the 2016 presidential primary season, instead of this summer. About 7.5 million HealthCare.gov customers are at risk of losing those subsidies, which help them pay monthly premiums for health insurance plans purchased through that federally run marketplace that serves 37 states. Experts predict that more than 8 million people would become uninsured next year after finding their plans too expensive without the subsidies, and after plan prices rise to compensate for the loss of customers. Plaintiffs in a case known as King v. Burwell argued at the Supreme Court on Wednesday that only customers of state-run Obamacare exchanges are eligible to receive such financial assistance, which comes in the form of federal tax credits. But the Obama administration argues that an IRS regulation that explicitly authorizes subsidies for HealthCare.gov customers is legal under the Affordable Care Act. The subsides are available to people with low and moderate incomes. Don Susswein, a principal in the national tax practice of the consulting firm McGladrey, said that the IRS has a long-standing practice of giving grace periods to people affected by court rulings that say an IRS rule or regulation is illegal…”
To avoid possible Affordable Care Act fines, Ascension Parish school system turns to Kelly services to hire its substitute teachers
“This school year, the Ascension Parish School Board turned the work of hiring substitute teachers to Kelly Educational Staffing, a division of the national employment agency. The motivation for the School Board was the difficulty — both financially and time-wise — of meeting requirements of the Affordable Care Act, which calls for providing health insurance for employees who work more than 30 hours a week, which substitute teachers sometimes do. The move is saving the School Board $358,000 a year, with other benefits being the recruitment and training of substitute teachers that Kelly Services provides. “They could provide us with better-trained substitutes and provide those substitutes with benefits relative to the Affordable Care Act,” said Randy Watts, director of human resources for the school district. Watts estimates the district employs anywhere from 200 to 300 substitutes on a monthly basis, filling in for those of the 1,470 regular teachers who can’t come to work for one reason or another. With payroll costs, worker’s compensation claims, payroll taxes and insurance costs to meet ACA requirements — an expense by itself estimated at $799,000 — the district was looking at an annual cost for substitute teachers of approximately $3.36 million, said Diane Allison, director of business services for the Ascension Parish school district. The agreement with Kelly is for $3,009,000 annually, she said. “We’re not going to do it if we don’t save money,” Allison said. And there were the logistical challenges of meeting ACA requirements as well, she said. “In our system, we didn’t have a way to track that easily,” Allison said of those substitute teachers who, over a certain time period, would work 30 hours or more a week. A department at Kelly Services’ headquarters in Troy, Michigan, handles that chore for more than 5,400 schools in 35 states, said Sandra Grant, district manager of Kelly Services in Baton Rouge, which works with the Ascension Parish School System. She points out that Kelly Services “never caps the hours of our employees.” “That’s beneficial (in a school setting) when the substitute can be there every day, so the kids can get to know them,” said Jennifer Williams, a senior staff support employee with Kelly in Baton Rouge.”
TOTAL NET EMPLOYMENT GAINS IN THE U.S. — SINCE THE RECESSION — STILL WENT TO FOREIGN-BORN
“The most recent jobs data released Friday continues the trend of net employment growth in the U.S. since the beginning of the recession going to foreign-born workers. Since the beginning of the recession in December of 2007 — it is believed to have ended in June 2009 — while the native-born population of Americans has experienced a net job loss, the foreign born population has seen net job growth. New, not seasonally adjusted figures, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics updated on Friday reveal that in December 2007 the number of foreign-born workers was 22,810,000. By last month, February, the number had increased to 24,741,000. The new data mean that overall, since the start of the recession, foreign-born workers have gained more than 1.9 million jobs. Meanwhile, in that same time frame, the native-born employed population decreased from 123,524,000 to 122,378,000 in February 2015, for a total employment reduction of more than 1.1 million. To be sure, however, native-born Americans experienced more job growth last month than their foreign born counterparts. While the foreign born employed population increased 188,000 the native-born employed population increased by 379,000. Both the native and foreign-born populations have increased since December 2007.”
Hispanics gaining jobs faster than other groups
Construction’s rebound seen as a big factor
AMNESTY ADVOCATES LOOKING TO CO-OPT ‘BLOODY SUNDAY’ SELMA COMMEMORATION
“Pro-amnesty advocates will try to co-opt Sunday’s commemoration of the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma–one of the most seminal moments in the civil rights movement and the history of the country–to again push the false narrative that amnesty for illegal immigrants is the new civil rights movement.The Alabama Coalition for Immigration Justice is mobilizing and will bus amnesty advocates for the march, which will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the seminal march for voting rights for black American citizens. According to AL.com, the group reportedly declared that, “throughout the weekend, immigrants will stand with thousands of others converging in Selma at this historic moment to affirm their role in the struggle against racism and oppression.” As Breitbart News has emphasized, “the civil rights movement of the 1960s was about ensuring that black Americans received all of the rights they were due as citizens of the United States while today’s pro-amnesty movement is about demanding full rights for non-citizens who entered the country illegally.” But that has not stopped amnesty advocates, like gay activists have tried to do with their movement, from trying to tie the amnesty movement to the black civil rights movement. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), for instance, has declared that the amnesty movement is “our Selma.” “This is our Selma and we will walk, we will march, we will be arrested, we will do anything and everything it takes to make sure families are protected in this nation,” Gutierrez recently said. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) recently invoked the voting rights and civil rights marches and said at an “Immigration Day Action” event that the amnesty movement is the civil rights battle for millennials. He also bluntly admitted that the amnesty movement “will decide who is in charge of this country for the next 20 or 30 years.” Even Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who was beaten on that fateful Sunday while heroically marching for voting rights that were being denied to U.S. citizens, has tried to tie the amnesty movement to the civil rights movement. He again did so again at a February 25 event at the Washington D.C. on the civil rights movement that left a Democrat in attendance dismayed. Donald A. Collins, a Democrat who lives in Washington, D.C., was disheartened that someone he considered a “true hero” was pushing comprehensive amnesty legislation. He pointed out that “not all African-Americans share this delusion” that the amnesty movement is the new civil rights movement…”
Immigration ruling shows lawyers playing venue shopping odds
“A federal judge’s ruling last month blocking President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action lays bare a pervasive practice in federal district courts: venue shopping. It is a game of odds in which lawyers pick a court to file their case where a judge or case law is likely to be more favorable. Law experts say venue shopping is commonplace in politically-sensitive cases as a way to advance a case toward the ultimate goal of a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. “Everybody does this to the extent they can,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration professor at Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York. When lawyers for Texas filed suit in Brownsville to block the president’s executive action on immigration, they knew they had a 50 percent chance the case would be given to U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, an appointee of George W. Bush who had previously spoken scathingly of Obama’s immigration policies. Hanen, who was assigned the case through an automated system, is one of only two judges in that division of the Southern District of Texas, so he hears half of all civil cases. The other is U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle, an appointee of Democratic President Bill Clinton. Not all district courts have just two judges. “They knew they would strike gold if they got in front of Judge Hanen,” said Kica Matos, spokeswoman for Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a national advocacy organization for immigrants. “This is a judge who has gone out of his way to express his anti-immigrant sentiments.”
New Zealander: Amnesty Is Obama’s Trump Card To Transform America
“Libertarian New Zealander, author and founder of the popular website, KeyWiki.org, Trevor Loudon is spending a lot of time lately telling Americans that “amnesty is the trump card” for President Obama to permanently transform America. Citing a speech in 2010 by White House consultant and radical leftist, Eliseo Medina, Loudon implores Americans to wake up before it is too late in this video interview. He says, with Mitt Romney losing to Obama in 2012 by 2 and ½ million votes, if Obama can succeed in legalizing “10, 15 or 20 million more votes, almost all of whom will vote Democrat,” Obama can lock in progressive electoral victories for the foreseeable future and “make it practically impossible for the Republicans to ever elect another president.” As for the Republican consultants who promote Hispanic outreach and the need for amnesty for future Republican victories, Loudon asks why would anyone listen to Karl Rove, “when he has lost so many elections.” Dismissing Rove as “a fool” who “spits on his base,” Loudon believes these consultants and Republicans are doing the bidding of the business community who want cheap labor. Loudon reminds viewers of what Lenin said, “the capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them.” Asking why new Latinos would be of higher value to Karl Rove and the political consultants than the 20 million conservative Christians currently not registered to vote, Loudon says Rove is demonstrating a “lack of understanding of political realities in his own country.” Deriding those Republicans or conservatives who still write off President Obama as “incompetent,” he says this is a “power play for control with no viable opposition” reminiscent of what happened in South Africa, Venezuela and Czechoslovakia, with public deception covering up the true nature of regime change…”
Analysis: Divided GOP empowers Dems in political minority
“Winners in a bruising struggle with Republicans over homeland security funding and immigration, minority Democrats had unity on their side, along with a politician’s understandable fear of terrorist attacks and the Constitution’s separation of powers. The tea party-aligned, bitter-end Republican losers had outrage, and in the House, an unbending unwillingness to compromise that some of their own rank and file judged counterproductive. The result was a rout that some Republicans say – and Democrats no doubt hope – portends poorly for their party. Republicans “have got to find a level of cohesion where we can at least pass legislation that we get to the president’s desk,” said Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida as the party’s attempt to roll back President Barack Obama’s immigration directives flamed out. “If we can’t do that, we fail to govern and we lose 2016.” Whatever the long-term implications of Republican divisions, the lessons of this one episode seem simple. In the current version of divided government, Republicans must avoid significant divisions of their own and have enough Democratic votes in the Senate to assure passage of legislation they favor. They hold the biggest majority in decades in the House. Yet on the pivotal vote of the struggle, an attempt by their own leadership to pass a three-week stand-alone funding bill, more than 50 defected, empowering Democrats…”
EXCHANGE: Agency helping immigrants with deferral program
“Expansion of a federal program that defers deportation for parents who are in the country illegally is expected to keep lawyers with the local Immigration Project busy this year. Executive Director Jasmine McGee said efforts are under way to help people understand changes in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program that could affect some of the estimated 2,500 McLean County residents in the U.S. illegally. “The interest and demand for help with paperwork will definitely be there,” said McGee, who took over as executive director several months ago. McGee works with three other staff attorneys to assist a population of 53,000 residents in the country illegally who live outside the Cook and surrounding counties. The new provision of the DACA program defers deportation for qualified parents of youths who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Parents must pass a criminal background check and have lived in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2010, for the deferral, which is renewable every three years. The meetings hosted by The Immigration Project in six Illinois cities will give people guidance on what documents they need for the deferrals. Lawyers also will advise against scams by lawyers and others who take advantage of immigrants who are in the country illegally, said McGee…”
Iowa agriculture summit splits GOP 2016 field on subsidies, immigration
“A day-long forum on agriculture here, where likely Republican presidential candidates courted Iowa’s farming industry, revealed sharp policy differences among the contenders, from immigration to energy subsidies. The nine White House aspirants used their turns on stage Saturday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds to blast President Obama and his administration as being heavy-handed and indecisive, arguing that a change in leadership is necessary to stimulate agricultural growth. Calling the Environmental Protection Agency “a pig in slop,” Jeb Bush said, “We have to begin to rein in this top-down driven regulatory system.” Asked how to achieve that, the former Florida governor said, “The first thing you do is you change presidents.” The industry-sponsored summit — in which each hopeful answered questions on energy, the environment, immigration and food safety in solo sessions with agriculture businessman Bruce Rastetter — highlighted the demands that Iowans place on candidates to pay attention to the state that hosts the first presidential caucuses. Saturday’s forum was one of a series of events on Iowa’s political calendar this spring and summer designed to draw the candidates to the state and take positions on its pet issues. Iowa has long pushed for federal support for its ethanol industry, and many people have argued that without the high-profile caucuses, the subsidies would have been harder to sustain. Fuel subsidies became a point of contention as Rastetter tried to draw support from a new generation of presidential hopefuls. While many of the prospective candidates said they backed the subsidies, the event was notable for the number of dissenters, with Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) being the most explicit, saying the Renewable Fuel Standard should be repealed. “The answer you’d like me to give is, ‘I’m for the RFS, darnit,’ ” Cruz said. “But I’ll tell you, people are pretty fed up, I think, with politicians who run around telling one group one thing, another group another thing, and then go to Washington and they don’t do anything they said they’d do.”
Quotes from 2016 hopefuls at Iowa agriculture forum
Top 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls return to Iowa to hone messages
“Potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates gathered Saturday in Iowa, polishing their messages on foreign policy and domestic issues such as immigration — even positioning themselves for a potential general election race. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that immigrants living in the country illegally must have an opportunity to legalize their status, a position largely at odds with his potential Republican presidential rivals. “This is the only serious, thoughtful way to deal with this,” Bush said at the Iowa Agricultural Summit in Des Moines. “No one I know has a plan to round up illegal immigrants and send them back.” He said “immigrants here need a path to legalized immigration” but that they must first clear such hurdles as learning English and paying fines. Bush has said a larger workforce based on legal immigrant labor is key to his goal of achieving 4 percent economic growth. He also proposes restricting family-based immigration to accommodate more workers. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, themselves potential 2016 GOP contenders, also spoke at the event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds but are calling for enforcement of existing immigration laws. In January, top GOP candidates were in the state, which holds the first caucus in the presidential voting cycle, for the Iowa Freedom Summit. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the Justice Department should investigate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account to conduct official business while she was secretary of state. Cruz said the agency should “absolutely” start an investigation to determine whether Clinton violated any laws, adding that it has an “obligation to do so.” Clinton is considered the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, though she has yet to announce her plans. Her extensive use of her own email account and private server has raised questions about whether she adhered to accountability rules. She has asked that her work correspondence be made public. Eight potential Republican candidates were scheduled to speak Saturday at the forum, hosted by Iowa Republican businessman Bruce Rastetter…”
In Iowa, GOP hopefuls share views on energy, Cuba, immigration
Iowa ag forum displays GOP rift on immigration reform
“The rift over immigration in the emerging Republican presidential field opened up publicly Saturday, as several potential candidates called for enforcement of existing laws while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham said those living in the U.S. illegally should have a path to legal status. The policy difference played out at a forum focused on agricultural policy, and will likely remain a key point of debate as the race for the 2016 Republican nomination unfolds. Immigrants are an important part of the workforce in agriculture and food processing in the early caucus state and around the country. Bush, Graham and seven other presidential prospects, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, were asked about their views on immigration and other topics by the host of the daylong public forum, Bruce Rastetter, an agribusiness magnate and GOP donor. “Immigrants that are here need to have a path to legalized status,” Bush said. “No one I know has a plan to round up illegal immigrants and send them back.” Graham, who helped craft bipartisan immigration legislation that passed the Senate in 2013 but died in the House, said he favored letting some of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally stay, if they met certain conditions, like learning English and paying taxes…”
Where corn is king: Jeb Bush, White House hopefuls address hot topic
Bush Outlines ‘Only Serious, Thoughtful Way’ To Deal With Illegal Immigration
“Former Governor Jeb Bush (R., Fla.) described providing a legal status to illegal immigrants in the country as “the only serious, thoughtful way” to conclude an immigration law reform that begins with securing the border. “Immigrants that are here need to have a path to legalized status,” Bush said when asked how he would overhaul immigration laws as president during the Iowa Ag Summit. “No one I know has a plan to deal with illegal immigrants, to say that they are going to be rounded up and taken away. There isn’t a specific plan. What we need to do is to make sure people pay fines, that they learn English, that they work, that they don’t receive government assistance, that they earn legalized status over the long haul, that they come out from the shadows so that they can be productive with a provisional work permit. This is the only serious, thoughtful way, I think, to deal with this.” Bush prefaced that statement by explaining his preference for tightening enforcement of immigration laws in the country. “It starts with recognizing that the rule of law is a sacred value in our country, that we need to enforce our border, we need deal with the fact that forty percent of our illegal immigrants come with a legal visa and they overstay their bounds; great countries ought to know where those folks are,” he said. “It has an e-verify system that is truly verifiable, that is something that businesses can take to the bank; and that we get that done first so that there is confidence moving forward that legal immigration will be easier than illegal immigration, because today I think a lot of people have big doubts about that.” Although Bush mentioned the need to track people who overstay their visas, it was former Governor Rick Perry (R., Texas) who received applause by stating explicitly that when someone’s visa expires “your time is up; you’re out of here.” Bush also said that the U.S. should change its policy of allowing people to immigrate based on who has extended family members already in the country, saying instead that the government should “dramatically expand, based on economic need, economic immigrants.”
GOP’s Bush touts outlier immigration vision in leadoff Iowa
“Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says that immigrants living in the country illegally must have an opportunity to legalize their status, a position at odds with his potential Republican presidential rivals. At an agricultural policy forum in Des Moines on Saturday, the likely GOP presidential contender says: “This is the only serious, thoughtful way to deal with this. No one I know has a plan to round up illegal immigrants and send them back.” Bush has said a larger workforce based on legal immigrant labor is key to his goal of achieving 4 percent economic growth. He also proposes restricting family-based immigration to accommodate more workers. Speaking at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are calling for enforcement of existing law…”
Jeb Bush on fixing the broken immigration system
“At the 2015 Iowa Agriculture Summit, Jeb Bush says undocumented immigrants “need to have a path to legalized status.”
Jeb Bush: ‘No,’ I Won’t Take Away DACA Benefits
Jeb: No, I wouldn’t end DACA. Why do you ask?
JEB TO IOWANS: ‘NOTHING IN MY RECORD’ SUGGESTS I’M A MODERATE
Huckabee calls for tougher immigration oversight
“Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says the United States should better restrict illegal immigration and seek to gauge why people want to move here. During an agricultural forum for 2016 presidential hopefuls in Des Moines on Saturday, Huckabee said the United States was not asking people seeking to immigrate here if they “love America.” Huckabee also offered support for maintaining the level of biofuels, such as ethanol, blended into gasoline. He said ethanol production helped support energy independence for the United States. The forum was hosted by Iowa Republican businessman Bruce Rastetter. Nine Republican presidential prospects were on the program, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.”
Santorum says US immigration system is not working
“Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says the immigration system in the United States is not working. Santorum spoke Saturday at a forum in Des Moines that focused on agricultural issues. It drew nearly a dozen Republicans considering a presidential campaign in 2016. Santorum says the country must better secure the border and create legal programs for workers with different skills. Santorum also is repeating his support for maintaining the amount of biofuels blended into gasoline. A 2007 law increases the volume of renewables blended into transportation fuel to 36 billion gallons by 2022. The federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2013 proposed reducing the increase. Leaders in Iowa say that would hurt the state’s economy…”
Walker: ‘I’m Not a Supporter Of Amnesty’
“Governor Scott Walker (R., Wis.) signaled a willingness to challenge potential presidential rivals over immigration policy, saying that, unlike some, he opposes amnesty, “I’m not a supporter of amnesty — I know there’s some out there [who do], and I respect their views on that — but I’m not a supporter of amnesty,” Walker said. “What I do believe going forward is that we’ve got to have a legal immigration system to this country that works.” Walker said that that the H2A visa program for foreign agricultural workers needs to be simplified and Walker made that comments following appearances from several other presidential hopefuls, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who defended the policies he helped negotiate in in the Senate’s Gang of Eight immigration bill, and former Governor Jeb Bush (R., Fla.). “Immigrants that are here need to have a path to legalized status,” Bush said when asked about what immigration policies he would support as president. “What we need to do is to make sure people pay fines, that they learn English, that they work, that they don’t receive government assistance, that they earn legalized status over the long haul, that they come out from the shadows so that they can be productive with a provisional work permit. This is the only serious, thoughtful way, I think, to deal with this.”
Parting gifts: Tough choices on immigration, Islamic State loom for Obama’s successor
“On his way out of Washington, President Obama will leave his successor a number of politically perilous parting gifts and force the next White House occupant to make highly controversial moves quickly on immigration, the fight against terrorism and other key issues. Two of Mr. Obama’s most notable recent steps — executive action on immigration and requesting new, formal authorization to wage war on the Islamic State — come with three-year time frames, meaning the next president, in the first 12 months of his or her tenure, will have to decide what to do with divisive leftover policies. Mr. Obama’s request for authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State would expire three years after it is passed by Congress, while the November 2014 immigration move grants a reprieve from deportation and legal work permits to illegal immigrants for 36 months. Other Obama policies, such as extensions of the Department of Education’s waiver program to states, freeing them from the No Child Left Behind school law, also are set to expire early in the successive administration, meaning the next president will be faced with a consequential decision on education within a year of taking office. With each of those policies, and the time frames associated with them, political specialists say Mr. Obama is trying to appear as if he’s getting things done while simultaneously putting pressure on Congress to do what he wants, such as on immigration. But with Congress deadlocked on immigration and struggling to pass Mr. Obama’s war authorization, much of the real pressure will fall to the 45th president, said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston who has written on presidential leadership…”
UC IRVINE STUDENT: US FLAG BANNED TO AVOID ‘TRIGGERING’ HURT FEELINGS AMONG ILLEGALS
“Students at the University of California Irvine (UCI) spoke to Breitbart News Sunday, sharing their shock and disappointment at recent legislation by six members of UCI’s Associated Students (ASUCI) to remove an American flag from their building’s lobby this past Thursday. A student who spoke with Breitbart News on condition of anonymity that she heard a member of the ASUCI discussing “the [American] flag and how it triggered people.” She then said she believed a major line of reasoning behind the legislation to remove the flag could have been a “precautionary step” to prevent a trigger situation where if someone is an “illegal citizen or [they] have citizenship issues, it makes them feel bad. “But me and my friends were like, ‘Dude, you’re in America. It’s the American flag,’” she added. The issue, according to her, was that the flag was placed in a common space, and she felt that if it were placed in a private area like a personal office, it would not have been a big deal. “And then there were people who were like ‘the flag triggers me’ — that was their exact wording, too.” She added: “Everything can be a trigger. How far is it going to go? If everyone says something bothers them about a shared space then that could be a problem because then there will be nothing on any walls.” UCI student Matthew Guevara, who sits on the Student Association board, authored the resolution (R50-70) to ban the U.S. flag from the association’s lobby wall. The resolution passed narrowly on Thursday in a 6-4 vote in favor, with two abstentions, but was overturned and vetoed on Saturday during a private meeting held by the Associated Student’s Executive Cabinet by a 4-1 vote. UCI administrators also issued a statement on Saturday following the vote to ban the flag, stating that they do not endorse what they described as a “misguided decision” by a political minority that they claim is not representative of the school nor the broader student body…”
American Flag Ban Vetoed by UC Irvine Campus Leaders (Follow up to previous story)
“A University of California Irvine student executive cabinet on Saturday vetoed a resolution banning the American flag from the lobby of the student government offices, KNBC-TV reported, noting a post on the school’s website. The post called the resolution enacted by undergraduate members of the legislative council earlier this week “misguided legislation”; in addition the post said it wasn’t endorsed by campus leadership or the University of California, KNBC reported. The executive cabinet oversees the legislative council, KTLA-TV reported. “The American flag is still proudly flying throughout our campus and will continue to do so,” the post read, concluding with sign off by the executive cabinet of the Associated Students – University of California…”
Vacationer in chief: Tens of millions spent on 38 Obama holidays
“The first family, Michelle Obama fresh from her annual Aspen ski vacation with her daughters, and President Obama back from a weekend of golf in sunny Palm Springs, Calif., have spent tens of millions in tax dollars to vacation, and they still have two more years to go, according to an accounting of their trips. As the first lady readies for a trip to Japan and Cambodia this month, Secrets calculated that the first family has racked up 38 holidays, working vacations, and fun trips like a date night in New York. They are on par to take at least 45 holidays before leaving office…”
JEFF SESSIONS LEAVES EPA CHIEF UNABLE TO JUSTIFY MONEY GRAB
“At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, Senator Jeff Sessions grilled EPA chief Gina McCarthy and left her unable to justify her money grab, showing that she could not explain whether climate change models were correct or not. The full transcript of the amazing exchange follows:
SESSIONS: I think EPA this year should be flat spending, or at least no more than 2.5 percent increase, you’re proposing a 6 percent increase. I mean, where does the money come from? Are you proposing to break the limitations?
McCARTHY: It is part of the president’s proposal, which is not going to buy into the bad policy of sequestration, but he’s designed the budget that can accommodate this. Senator, the one thing I want to say—
SESSIONS: Inflation rate in the United States is about 2 percent, so you want to have a three times the inflation rate increase in spending. I would suggest that when we go to our states, the group we have the most complaints about from our constituencies, whether it’s highway people, farmers, whether its energy people, is the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s an extraordinary overreach. You are apparently unaware of the pushback that’s occurring in the real world. I just want to tell you, I’m not inclined to increase your funding 6 percent above. So now you say that we’ve got a crisis and there are dangers out there. Let me ask you this: There was an article by Mr. Lomborg, who testified before the Budget Committee, from the Copenhagen Institute, and he quotes along with Dr. Pielke, from Colorado, that we’ve had fewer droughts in recent years. Do you dispute that?
McCARTHY: I don’t know in what context he’s making statements like that but I certainly can tell you about the droughts that are happening today.
SESSIONS: No, no, no, no. You can’t – I’m not arguing to you today that you are wrong about global warming because we have a cold spell. I’m asking you what are the data, don’t you know the worldwide data about whether or not we are having fewer or less droughts?
McCARTHY: I’m happy to provide it, but I certainly am aware that droughts are becoming more extreme and frequent.
SESSIONS: Are you aware that the IPCC has found that moisture content of the soil is, if anything, slightly greater than it has been over the last decades in their report? Are you aware of that?
McCARTHY: I don’t know what you’re referring to Senator, but I’m happy to respond—
SESSIONS: You need to know, because you’re asking this economy to sustain tremendous cost and you don’t know whether or not the soil worldwide is more moist or less moist?
McCARTHY: I don’t know, I don’t know where your cost figures are coming from, but if you take a look at—
SESSIONS: The IPCC. Second: what about hurricanes? We had more or less hurricanes in the last decade?
McCARTHY: There have been more frequent hurricanes and more intense. In terms of landing— those hurricanes on land, I cannot answer that question; it’s a very complicated issue.
SESSIONS: It’s not complicated about how many have landed; we’ve had a dramatic reduction in the number. We’ve had a decade without a hurricane class three or above.
McCARTHY: But sir, the scientists are not really considering that number to be significant. The subset is so small that you’re looking at, that you’re taking issues in science out of context. It’s not my job to be—
SESSIONS: Are you asserting that you have evidence that we have greater hurricanes around the world in the last decade than the previous decade?
McCARTHY: I am asserting that I have plenty of evidence, factual evidence from scientists who know this issue, that climate change is happening, it’s real, it’s happening now, and we need to take action to address it.
SESSIONS: Well, of course the climate is changing, Ms. McCarthy. I just asked you—you have been saying that there are more storms. Will you submit within a few days, it shouldn’t take long, to show we’ve had more storms in the last decade?
McCARTHY: I am able to submit all the science that we have. When you say we, what are you talking about? The U.S.?
SESSIONS: The world. The world.
McCARTHY: I am happy to submit the full breadth of science that we have behind climate; we’ve submitted it on many occasions, we’ll do it again…”
Obama’s Plan Will Kill Jobs, Hike Heating Costs
“Any Wisconsinites starting to wonder whether they are living through “The Long Winter,” as described by Laura Ingalls Wilder, will find no comfort in President Obama’s plans to cut the use of our most affordable and reliable sources of energy. Though we may not be relegated to heating our homes by burning twisted bundles of straw, the president’s plans to restrict use of our most economical fuels will not only increase the costs of driving, heating and lighting, they will reduce incomes and kill jobs. For Wisconsin, it works out to 20,000 fewer manufacturing jobs by 2023. How so? Natural gas, petroleum and coal provide nearly 80 percent of all energy used in the United States. Despite large subsidy and mandate driven growth rates, wind and solar satisfy only about 2.5 percent of our energy needs and do so at higher cost and with intermittent supply. And therein lies the problem. Eliminating conventional energy makes us pay more and get less. There are no magic wands here. When energy is more expensive, consumers spend more on it and less on other things. And producers must pay those higher energy costs as well. That raises the costs of lawn mowers, blenders and every other product people may want at the same time those people (i.e., the aforementioned consumers) have less to spend on those things. So, guess what? Fewer lawn mowers and blenders will be sold; and it takes fewer employees to make those lower quantities. Researchers at The Heritage Foundation used a clone of the Department of Energy’s big energy model and estimated the economic impact of the Obama administration’s broadly stated carbon targets. What we found is that, for Wisconsin, “fewer” means 20,000 lost manufacturing jobs. And this is after accounting for any increases in jobs manufacturing no-carbon or low-carbon substitutes and any gains from increased energy efficiency that the higher energy prices induce. That 20,000 figure is the net job loss. There are those who say (however indirectly) that those 20,000 newly unemployed workers need to take one for the team to prevent climate catastrophe. There are a couple of Grand Canyon sized holes in this argument. First, the associated claims of increasingly extreme weather are not borne out in the data kept by our own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration nor even by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s data keepers. There just aren’t any upward trends in hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts or floods. Nor is sea-level rise accelerating. Extreme weather events have been with us since there was us, and they will almost certainly continue regardless of rules from Washington, D.C. Second, cutting our emissions by even 60 percent (we are not on track for that) would moderate world temperatures by less than a tenth of a degree Celsius by the end of the century. Throw in a 60 percent cut from the rest of the developed world and any increase is cut by less than two-tenths of a degree. So to the 20,000 lost Wisconsin manufacturing jobs add those from the other 49 states, Canada, Japan, all of Western Europe, and the impact still would be an amount nobody could detect without a very accurate thermometer. If the lost jobs don’t buy us much on the global warming side, wouldn’t we at least get cleaner air? Since CO2 is colorless, odorless and nontoxic (and helpful to plant growth) we need to look at conventional pollution. The air has gotten cleaner even as energy production has risen dramatically. According to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, modern coal power technology cuts emissions of nitrous oxides by 86 percent, of sulfur dioxides by 98 percent, and of soot by 99.8 percent. If you want to, go ahead and worry about your own carbon footprint, but let’s not have Washington use its regulatory footprint to stomp out 20,000 manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin for no good reason.”
The Most Important Part Of The Unemployment Numbers; Those Not Looking For Work
“Last week’s employment numbers were good: 295,000 jobs added in the economy. The unemployment numbers were good, unemployment is now down to 5.5%. Still rather higher than we’d hope 6 years after the onset of a recession but still reasonable enough. And as Rogoff and Reinhardt have been pointing out, a recession that follows from a financial crash is indeed different this time. However, there’s another number entirely which is really at the heart of what policy makers are pondering over at the moment. And that’s not the number unemployed by the official definition, but those so discouraged at not being able to find work that they’re not even looking for work by that official definition. I discussed this in theoretical terms here, yesterday. Today we’ve got other people making much the same point in non-technical terms: The number of Americans participating in the labor force has been on a decline for the past few years. Nearly 33 percent of the Americans above age 16 are not part of the workforce, the highest number since 1978. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report issued recently has found 92,898,000 Americans above age 16 not a part of the labor force of the country as on February 2015. When President Obama took over the office in January 2009, nearly 80,529,000 Americans were not a part of the labor force. The number has increase by nearly 12 million over the last few years. Some of this is entirely benevolent. Stay at home Moms, students, those actually incapable of working (all those on disability for example) and so on. But we don’t think that this group has increased by 12 million in just these few short years. Rather, we think that at least some of these people have become so discouraged in their search for a job that they’re just not searching any more. And something we know from Europe is that people who become so detached from the labour market have a very hard time coming back into it if they ever do. The BLS says the aging of the baby boom generation is a key factor affecting the labor force participation rate. “In 2000, baby boomers were aged 36 to 54 years and were in the group with the highest participation rates: the prime-aged group 25 to 54 years old,” BLS wrote. “The participation rate for women in this group was 76.7 percent and for men was 91.6 percent, so that the overall participation rate of the group was 84.0 percent. The participation rate of the next-older age group, that 55 years and older, was 32.4 percent, so the difference between the two age groups was 52 percentage points.” It may actually be that. Just a lot of people taking early retirement. And good luck to them in their golden years. But this all feeds into the Fed’s decision of when to raise interest rates. As Paul Krugman points out the Fed has overestimated the unemployment rate at which inflation starts to pick up in the past. And we’d really rather it didn’t do that again and raise rates too early. However, it’s all complicated this time around as we’ve never actually had this sort of disengagement from the labour force in the US before. It’s been common enough in Europe but we just don’t know how Americans are going to react to the tightening job market. Will they come back into the labour force? That means that rates can stay lower for longer. Will they not come back? Then that means we might be (or at least should be) looking at an imminent rate rise…”
Americans participating in the labor force reduce to multi-year lows
Epic snows have meant economic woes across all industries
McConnell vows to raise debt limit without threat of shutdown or default
“Republicans will raise the government’s borrowing limit without threatening a default, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell guaranteed Sunday, placating the markets but potentially surrendering the party’s leverage as Congress gears up for another debt showdown. The current debt-ceiling holiday, to which Congress agreed a year ago, expires Sunday, starting the clock on debate and sending the Treasury Department scrambling to tap into its “extraordinary measures” to keep from breaching the limit. Budget analysts say Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has about seven months of spare room, meaning a deal would have to be reached by October or November. Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said on the CBS program “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Republicans may try to attach some of their priorities to the debate but won’t force another shutdown showdown as it has in the past. “I made it very clear after the November election that we’re certainly not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt. We will figure some way to handle that. And, hopefully, it might carry some other important legislation that we can agree on in connection with it,” he said. It was a major retreat from what Mr. McConnell and House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said four years ago when their party took control of the House and forced President Obama into a first round of debt negotiations…”
McConnell vows no debt default as deadline nears
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that the Republican-controlled Congress won’t allow the government to default as the Treasury Department quickly approaches its so-called “debt ceiling.” “I made it clear after November that we won’t shut down the government or default on debt,” the Kentucky Republican told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” McConnell’s promise came two days after Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Capitol Hill that the government loses its authority after March 15 to borrow money to cover approved congressional spending and that his agency would have to resort to “extraordinary measures” as a short-term solution. To be sure, McConnell acknowledged after winning a tough midterm election bid that voters were tired of an ineffective Congress that too often teetered on shutting down the government over bipartisan issues. “I hear your concerns,” McConnell said in his victory speech. Still, Congress came perilously close in recent weeks to at least partially closing the Department of Homeland Security when Republicans tried to tie funding for the agency to efforts to roll back President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Lew told Congress on Friday that he will start using the package of emergency measures he has used in the past to keep the federal government from going over the debt limit next week. The debt limit has been suspended for the past year, meaning that Treasury could borrow as much as it needed to keep the government running. But the limit will go back into effect on March 15 at whatever level of debt exists at that point. The nation’s debt currently stands at $18.1 trillion. Treasury can employ certain accounting measures to buy time to keep the government operating without facing a costly default on the nation’s debt. In his letter to congressional leaders on Friday, Lew said he would use the first of those measures on March 13, two days before the debt limit will be re-imposed. Lew said he would stop issuing on March 13 special-purpose Treasury debt that can be purchased by state and local governments to assist them in financing such activities as construction projects. The Congressional Budget Office, in a report last week, estimated that the various measures Lew can employ could put off the date the debt ceiling will have to be raised until October or November…”
Will the GOP demand something in return for debt ceiling hike?
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Sunday that Congress will not shut down the government or default on the United States’ debt obligations, but that Republicans might seek to attach unrelated legislation to an increase in the debt ceiling next week. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew wrote to congressional leaders last week informing them that the U.S. would reach the limit on borrowing on Monday, March 16. Starting Friday, the Treasury Department will begin taking extraordinary measures to continue financing the government. “I made it very clear after the November election that we’re certainly not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt. We’ll figure some way to handle that. And hopefully, it might carry some other important legislation that we can agree on in connection with it,” McConnell said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” President Obama has resisted previous Republican efforts to attach other legislative priorities to debt ceiling hikes but the GOP has successfully extracted spending cuts from Democrats in exchange. But the fight over the debt ceiling that came during the 2013 government shutdown hurt the Republicans’ standing among Americans, decreasing their appetite for confrontation. McConnell also weighed in on the news that the Department of Justice is preparing to file criminal corruption charges against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat. Asked whether Menendez should step down from his post as the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, McConnell said, “No charges have been brought yet. But typically when these kinds of charges are brought, people step aside from their leadership positions for a pendency of time. But that will be up to the Democratic leader, Senator Reid, to make that call.”
Mitch McConnell previews 2015 debt ceiling negotiations
McConnell: ‘We’ll figure some way’ to avoid government shutdown
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday vowed that Republicans would figure out a way to handle the nation’s debt ceiling in order to avoid a government shutdown. “The debt ceiling will be handled over a period of months,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” when asked if Republicans would vote to lift the debt ceiling. “The secretary of the Treasury has a number of what we call ‘tools in his toolbox,'” he added. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew wrote in a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Friday that he was preparing to take “extraordinary measures” to avoid defaulting on the country’s debt and urged Congress to act soon to raise the cap on borrowing. It was suspended last year, but takes effect again March 16. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last week estimated that the Treasury Department could hold off any missed payments until sometime in the fall, likely around October. “I made it very clear after the November election that we’re certainly not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt,” McConnell said Sunday, referencing last year’s midterms…”
Reviewing The Rubio-Lee Proposal For Tax Reform
Justice Kennedy gives hope to advocates of online sales tax
“Retail advocates got a boost this week from an unlikely source in their years-long battle to give states more power to collect sales taxes: the Supreme Court. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote Tuesday that it was time for the court to reexamine the position it has held for the last half century – that states can only collect from companies that have a physical location within their borders. Kennedy’s comment gave new hope to supporters of online sales tax legislation who have seen their priority stalled for many years on Capitol Hill. Those advocates still face an uphill climb in their efforts to boost sales tax collections for Internet purchases, but now believe they have new leverage over lawmakers and a new potential avenue for reaching their goal…”
Obama to call for more training, hiring of high tech workers
“Facing stubbornly stagnant wages, President Barack Obama has obtained commitments from more than 300 employers as well as local governments in 20 regions of the country to train and hire high technology workers in an effort to drive up higher-income employment. People familiar with the program inside and outside the White House said Obama is to announce the program, called TechHire, during a speech Monday to the National League of Cities. The initiative is designed to prepare U.S. workers for a growing number of technology jobs. According to the White House, of the 5 million jobs available today, more than half a million of them are in fields such as software development, network administration, and cybersecurity. Obama’s attention to technology comes as the unemployment rate is dropping, but wages still remain flat. According to the White House, the average salary for workers with high-tech skills is 50 percent higher than the average private-sector American job. The administration’s plan is for universities and community colleges to provide training, but to also rely on high-tech educational academies, some of which have entered into arrangements with cities to train workers in a matter of months and then help place them in jobs. The training academies undergo independent studies to confirm the rate of job placements. Under the plan, the federal government would provide as-of-yet unspecified federal assistance to help local governments leverage training for high-tech workers. The unemployment rate in February dropped to 5.5 percent but average hourly earnings rose just 3 cents to $24.78 from January. Raising wages has become one of the biggest challenges of the current economic recovery. “Helping more Americans train and connect to these jobs is a key element of the President’s middle-class economics agenda,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Jennifer Friedman said…”
Obama seeks to boost training for high-tech jobs
“President Obama will announce a 20-city drive to intensify job-specific training in the high-tech sector in a speech before the annual League of Cities conference in Washington Monday. Sources inside and outside of the White House confirm the approach is designed to be the one of the biggest federal-city efforts boosting non-college skills training in history. It is in addition to existing administration efforts to increase access to four-year colleges, through more student aide, and two-year community colleges, through subsidized tuition. Obama will announce commitments from 20 cities – among them New York, San Francisco, Louisville, St. Louis and Detroit – as well as emerging training companies/academies and big-name high tech firms to train and place graduates. The goal is to place 50,000 graduates into high-paying jobs. The White House has not announced a deadline to meet the goal. Those familiar with the initiative, which has been in development for more than a year, say it seeks to harness the potential of skills-specific job academies that train students for high-tech jobs in as little as three months. The concept behind the academies to is to sell prospective employers on an applicant’s merit instead of his or her academic pedigree. Theses centers, part of a for-profit desire to meet the needs of firms hungry for software developers and other technology workers, require students to attend all-day classes five days a week to immerse themselves in a specific set of skills. The White House has gathered commitments from several academies to train students in cooperation with the cities in which they operate and submit to regular outside audits to verify job placement success. The cities will also announce financial support that the federal government will augment. Specifics on federal financial support were unavailable. According to administration figures, roughly five million jobs remain unfilled and a sizable number of vacancies are linked to the so-called “skill gap” that means applicants do not possess the specific skills required. The administration asserts that up to 500,000 job openings are in the fields of software development, cybersecurity and network administration, fields with salaries up to 50 percent higher than average full-time work. “Helping more Americans train and connect to these jobs is a key element of the president’s middle-class economic agenda,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Jen Friedman told CBS News.”
Jeb Bush: Federal wind tax credit should be renewed for short period of time
A 16-year-old takes the new PARCC exam. Here’s her disturbing report.
“Marina Ford is a high-achieving sophomore attending Pinelands Regional High School in Tuckerton, New Jersey. All of her classes are either honors or Advanced Placement. Her favorite subject is English, and she loves to read and write. She ordinarily scores above average on standardized tests — and always does especially well on the English section. The 16-year-old says that she loves English because it “gives me the freedom to explain myself and my point of view on a subject.” Her dream: “becoming a lawyer and going to a college I am proud of.” Marina recently took the PARCC — the new Common Core test being given in a number of states this spring — and she was so upset with the experience that she decided to write about it in a comment on the website of Save Our Schools New Jersey. I am republishing this with permission… Here is Marina Ford’s report on taking the PARCC: “I am in 10th grade and in all AP and honors classes. I’ve been taking the PARCC because I was informed that it will help me on future tests such as the SATS and there was a rumor going around that you needed to pass the PARCC in order to graduate. I was completely and utterly misinformed. First of all, I am missing valuable weeks of preparing for my AP tests for a test that does not even remotely have purpose. I’ve been taking this exam on a Chrome book, which might I add are severely small and very difficult to type on. For the essays at the end of each test, I can not even use tab to indent my paragraphs yet an administrator in my school said that five-paragraph essays were expected. There were some major difficulties logging in and when it came to the actual test. I discovered that the questions were very vague and unclear. For example, it wanted me to click a sentence that best summarized Paragraph 14. I looked at the excerpt given to me and there were only 13 paragraphs. I assumed it wanted me to go back to a previous piece I read to answer that question. Next, I know for certain that there are at least three different versions of this English test. I got three reading excerpts (which were obnoxiously long and easily lost my attention) while some of my friends got only two reading excerpts and a three-minute video to answer questions on. Not to mention that the questions, if you can even understand them, have a few answers that may apply based on interpretation. I have been misinformed, and my self-confidence has been lowered as a result of this test, as I can not even remotely answer some of the questions. Also, my school has a block schedule so for the classes I actually can attend, there’s only half a class present so the teacher doesn’t start a new lesson. I can’t even fathom what the Algebra 2 test will be like. For starters, I’m only a little over halfway through my Algebra 2 course, yet I am expected to take a PARCC on it? We took the Algebra 2 PARCC pretest in class. I am ranked at [the top of] my class and I couldn’t answer one question on this pretest. These PARCC exams have done nothing but mess with my valuable class time and significantly lower my confidence in my competence as a student. A large majority of my classmates are not taking this exam seriously because it honestly feels like a joke. Also to the students who opted out in my school, they were lectured by the teacher and told to remain in the classroom for the full 90 minutes. They were only allowed a book or a pencil and paper or were told to “just rest your head” or “take a nap.” People don’t send their children to school to rest their heads or to take naps. They send them to learn.”
States to wield Missouri ruling on Common Core test group
“Opponents of Common Core have another tool to chip away at the embattled national education standards: a recent Missouri court ruling said the state’s membership in a group that creates the curriculum’s tests is unlawful. Lawmakers in Missouri and North Dakota are using a central Missouri county’s circuit court ruling, which was issued last month and likely will be appealed, to push back. Already, a House budget committee in Missouri stripped $4.5 million in the state’s budget proposal for membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of two groups that create Common Core tests. The Common Core standards were adopted by 45 states in recent years in an attempt to create rigorous goals for what students should learn in each grade to be ready for college and careers. But the standards have been a magnet for critics ranging from parents to Republican lawmakers, who say they were created without enough local input. Indiana was the first state to abandon those standards last year, and several others have followed suit. In states where a full-blown withdrawal was unsuccessful, some lawmakers have targeted the testing group memberships, but are meeting resistance from education departments that are unwilling to move away from Common Core standards and tests after years of pouring resources into their implementation. Missouri can still purchase Smarter Balanced tests, even if they stop paying dues and no longer are members of the group, according to Department of Elementary and Secondary Education spokeswoman Sarah Potter. But the ruling could interfere with states’ ability to cooperate on potentially cost-saving measures, according to Potter and Washington state education department spokesman Nathan Olson. He said his department’s legal counsel is “troubled by the judge’s equation of a consortium and an interstate compact. The two, as I’ve been told, aren’t equal.”…”
COMMON CORE KIDNAPPING: Parent Calls 911 After Public School Won’t Release Kid From Test
“Supporters of Common Core have encountered a public relations nightmare recently thanks to technical glitches, student boycotts and a slew of irate parents who are refusing to allow their children to sit for standardized tests. However, last week marked the first time officials at a taxpayer-funded school have allegedly attempted to confine a student for a Common Core standardized test after her parent arrived on campus to remove the child from class. The incident occurred at Brookshire Elementary School in Winter Park, Fla., reports the Orlando Sentinel. The unidentified mother showed up at Brookshire Elementary to pick up her daughter because she wanted to opt the fifth grader out of a Common Core-aligned writing test. School officials informed the mother that they would not allow her daughter to leave, according to the mother as well as a second parent, Jacqui Myers, who was at the school…”
Charter School in Miami Fails, but Proves Useful on Jeb Bush’s Résumé
What Would A Hillary Presidency Mean For Education?
Obama: Let our girls learn
“The president is pushing a global initiative for better educational opportunities for women.”
Obama: ‘Every girl deserves an education’
“The day before International Women’s Day, President Obama’s weekly address was an ode to his wife, first lady Michelle Obama. This week, the two launched a new initiative based around girls’ education. “Let Girls Lean” has a goal to “help more girls around the world go to school and stay in school,” Obama said in his weekly address. The president noted that six million girls who should be in school, but are not. “And that’s not an accident,” Obama said. “It’s the direct result of barriers, large and small, that stand in the way of girls who want to learn.” Any country that wants to partner with the U.S. is welcome to, Obama noted, so long as they know they “need to get serious about increasing the number of girls in school.” “I come to this issue as the leader of the world’s largest economy, and commander in chief of the world’s most powerful military, and I’m convinced that a world in which girls are educated is a safer, more stable, more prosperous place,” he added, noting that he is the father of two young women. “Every girl deserves our respect,” Obama said. “And every girl deserves an education.”
Netflix Recants on Obamanet
Proponents of net neutrality appear to be experiencing lobbyists’ remorse.
“Corporate executives choose their words carefully at investor conferences hosted by the large investment banks, and analysts listen closely to decide whether to drive share prices up or down. Presentations are preceded by required securities-law disclosures, heightening the pressure to speak only carefully considered thoughts. With that in mind, consider what David Wells, chief financial officer of Netflix, said last week at the annual Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. He disclosed that Netflix, one…”
Law Enforcement Officers Refute Obama Administration’s Justification For Ammo Ban
“Since announcing its proposed ban on commonplace 5.56 x 45 mm ammunition, the Obama administration has been careful to claim that this attack on gun rights is in the interest of law enforcement officer safety. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest continued this line of rationalization, stating: “This seems to be an area where everyone should agree that if there are armor-piercing bullets available that can fit into easily concealed weapons, that it puts our law enforcement at considerably more risk. So I’d put this in the category of common-sense steps that the government can take to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans while also making sure that our law enforcement officers who are walking the beat every day can do their jobs just a little bit more safely.” The administration should have bothered to consult with actual law enforcement officials before adopting this line of rhetoric, as police officers themselves are not embracing the ban. The Executive Director of the Fraternal Order of Police’s National Legislative Office, James Pasco, was quoted by the Washington Examiner as stating: “Any ammunition is of concern to police in the wrong hands, but this specific round has historically not posed a law enforcement problem.” FOP’s website describes the organization as “the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 325,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges.” Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke told WND.com: “I’m disgusted that this administration would use the safety and well-being of our nation’s law enforcement officers to accomplish their gun-control agenda by circumventing the Congress and circumventing the Constitution in rewriting this law… That’s all this is. They don’t fool me. No fraternal order of police, no sheriff is going to fall for this.” The same WND.com piece goes on to cite a public information officer with Georgia’s Cobb County Police Department. After speaking with a colleague regarding the AR-15 handguns the BATFE has deemed a threat to officers, the official noted: “I haven’t seen any, so I called our training range and asked, ‘In all fairness, has anyone ever taken one of those (AR-15 handguns) off the street?’… Any time a weapon like that would be used against an officer, there would be an officer-safety bulletin go out, and the range would be notified. If there was a situation where either they took one of these off the streets or an officer had been threatened with one of these weapons, we would immediately launch an internal memo, and we have never had any of those go out to my knowledge. So for Cobb County police, at this moment, this is not something we are so concerned about.” Police officer Brent Ball, a 17-year veteran of the force, told the News-Leader in Springfield, Mo., an AR-15 handgun would — contrary to the White House’s claims — be difficult for a criminal to conceal because of its size. “As a police officer, I’m not worried about AR pistols because you can see them,” he said. “It’s the small gun in a guy’s hand you can’t see that kills you.” Small guns do not fire the M855 cartridge. These comments shouldn’t be surprising, as in the 38 years the FBI has been keeping track of data on firearms used against law enforcement officers, there never been an instance of a law enforcement officer having been killed with the use of a .223/5.56 caliber handgun. Of course, it follows that there is no documented instance of an officer having been killed when an M855 round fired from a handgun penetrated the officer’s body armor. The Obama administration’s use of feigned concern for law enforcement officer safety in order to further its own radical gun control agenda is deplorable. The administration’s proposed ammunition ban has nothing to do with “common sense,” as Earnest claims. On the other hand, the way in which the administration has pushed the proposal does require an uncommon level of dishonesty and misinformation.”
Gun group takes aim at Obama AR-15 ammunition ban
$700,000 ad buy follows Second Amendment Foundation’s written legal threat to ATF
“The Second Amendment Foundation will launch a nationwide TV and radio campaign Monday aimed at exposing legal holes in President Obama’s executive actions to ban ammunition commonly used in AR-15 sport utility rifles. “We bought $700,000 of time on Fox News and Glenn Beck’s Blaze network,” Alan Gottlieb, the group’s founder and executive vice president, told The Washington Times in a Sunday telephone interview. “It’s aimed at getting our legal argument out to the public, and at getting support for a possible lawsuit.” The foundation’s one-minute commercial heralds 1 million Americans to call a toll-free number to voice their concerns, make a contribution and target Mr. Obama for “exercising another executive power grab.”
Rand Paul Launches ‘Stop Obama’s Ammo Ban’ Campaign
“Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is hoping to flood the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) with public comments in an effort to get the agency to back off of its “backdoor” attempt to ban the popular “green tip” bullet. “President Obama is determined to cement his anti-gun agenda into law,” begins a letter signed by Paul and posted to the website of his political action committee, RANDPAC. “I’m counting on your immediate action to help RANDPAC flood the agency with a message from America’s pro-gun majority,” Paul writes in his letter. BATFE is accepting public comment until March 17 on its proposal to ban .223 M855 “green tip” ammunition. The Obama administration backs the effort, arguing that it is needed because the bullets can pierce bullet-proof vests worn by police. “This seems to be an area where everyone should agree that if there are armor-piercing bullets available that can fit into easily concealed weapons, that it puts our law enforcement at considerably more risk,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this week…”
New Lawmakers Inform President Of Their Opposition To The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty
“On Monday, a group of 12 freshman Senators expressed their opposition to ratification of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty in a letter to President Barack Obama. Secretary of State John Kerry signed the UN ATT on behalf of the U.S. on September 25, 2013. In their letter, the new Senators cited an October 15, 2013 letter to the president signed by 50 Senators from the 113th Congress that outlined their concerns regarding the treaty in detail. Further the group wrote, “we pledge to oppose the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the U.S. as bound to uphold its object and purpose.” Altogether, 55 Senators in the 114th Congress have made clear that they oppose the UN ATT. The freshman Senators were led in their effort by two veteran opponents of the treaty, Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kans.). In joint press releases Tuesday, the pair further explained why staunch Senate opposition to the ATT is vital to American gun owners. Senator Moran noted, “Throughout this process, it has been disturbing to watch the Administration reverse U.S. policies, abandon its own ‘red line’ negotiation principles, admit publicly the treaty’s dangerous ambiguity, and hastily review the final treaty text.” Senator Inhofe made clear that “the president continues to mislead the U.N. by keeping the United States as a signatory nation of a treaty the Senate will not ratify. As threats to our security and that of our allies continue to grow, serious questions surround the treaty regarding its implementation and its effect on our ability to aid and arm our allies, and raises serious concerns regarding our Second Amendment rights.” In a portion of the release summarizing the six broad reasons for opposing the ATT given in the 2013 letter, the Senators Inhofe and Moran listed as one of their concerns: “The treaty includes only a weak non-binding reference to the lawful ownership, use of, and trade in firearms, and recognizes none of these activities, much less individual self-defense, as fundamental individual rights. This poses a threat to the Second Amendment.” This embodies much of the reason NRA’s opposes the treaty and has worked to limit its potential effect on American gun owners since the push for the ATT began in 2003. In an analogous move, 34 new members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to the president adding their names to the list of House lawmakers that oppose the treaty. The effort was led by longtime ATT opponent Representative Mike Kelly (R-Pa.). The House letter makes clear that language in the treaty “implies that treaty supporters seek to use it to impinge on the lawful ownership, use of, and trade in firearms.” Further, the letter explains, “we oppose the passage of implementing legislation that is necessary for [the treaty] to have any domestic effect. Lastly, as members of the House of Representatives, which is particularly invested with the power of the purse, we oppose the use of any funds to implement the Arms Trade Treaty.”
Obama: I First Learned About Hillary Emails ‘Through News Reports’ [VIDEO]
“President Obama confirmed Saturday that he learned about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email as secretary of state through the news. “When did you first learn that Hillary Clinton used an email system outside of official business while she was secretary of state?” CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante asked Obama during an interview on Saturday. “The same time everybody else learned it through news reports,” Obama said, confirming something White House press secretary Josh Earnest hinted at, but did not confirm earlier in the week. Asked if he was disappointed in Clinton’s private email use — a work-around which violated State Department rules, White House policy and potentially broke federal law — Obama demurred. “Let me just say that Hillary Clinton is and has been an outstanding public servant. She was a great secretary of state for me,” he said. “The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency, and that’s why my emails, the BlackBerry I carry around, all those records are available and archived,” Obama continued. “I’m glad that Hillary’s instructed that those emails that had to do with official business need to be disclosed.” Clinton only turned over 55,000 pages of emails from her personal email account — HDR22@clintonemail.com — in December. The State Department initially claimed that Clinton turned over the records after the agency requested them to improve its record maintenance. But it came to light on Thursday that State Department attorneys sifting through emails related to a House committee’s investigation into Benghazi set the wheels in motion to obtain the records. State Department officials began negotiating with Clinton attorneys for the emails as early as August…”
Obama says he learned of Clinton using private email through news reports
Obama claims he learned about Hillary Clinton emails ‘the same time everybody else learned it’
“President Obama broke his silence on Hillary Clinton’s private emails ordeal Saturday. Obama, Clinton’s direct supervisor during her four years as Secretary of State, claims he only learned of Clinton’s use of a private email address for official State Department business after the New York Times reported it this past week. “The same time everybody else learned it through news reports,” Obama told CBS’s Bill Plante in an interview Saturday, when asked how he learned about the apparent abuse of office. Clinton’s declining to use a government email address in favor of a nondescript email address and a “home-brewed” server while conducting government correspondence went against norms of government security and appears to have violated federal law regarding record keeping. “The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency, which is why my emails, the BlackBerry I carry around, all those records are available and archived,” Obama said. “I’m glad that Hillary’s instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed.” However, Obama declined to criticize his former secretary of state’s record. “Let me just say that Hillary Clinton is and has been an outstanding public servant. She was a great secretary of state for me,” Obama said, adding, “I think that the fact that she is putting them forward will allow us to make sure that people have the information they need.”
Clinton, the likely Democratic presidential candidate, has not commented on the ordeal in person. She did however take to Twitter late Wednesday night to say she wants her emails released…”
Former officials detail Obama administration email policies
“By relying exclusively on personal email to conduct official business, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton operated in a way contrary to the protocol White House officials and other cabinet agencies were told to follow, CBS News has learned. According to former senior officials in the Obama administration, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the White House was routinely rigorous in ensuring that staff knew that any work-related correspondence on personal accounts had to be referred to their work address. That meant, for example, that if agency officials were emailed about government business on their private accounts, they had to forward the email to their official White House email account or reply by including that address. Officials often walked around with two devices, for personal and work correspondence, and were put on notice that this was an oversight issue. The same held true for at least two cabinet agencies. According to a former senior cabinet official, the agency had regular briefings, including meetings with the Cabinet secretary and the General Counsel about email protocol. There was also a regular meeting every few months, specifically reminding employees about the email policies. They continuously cautioned that if officials, including the cabinet secretary, used personal email, they opened their personal email to any Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. According to another former official at different cabinet agency, it was conveyed to everyone — from the secretary on down — that if they didn’t want their personal email subpoenaed or subject to FOIA, they shouldn’t use it to conduct government business. The White House gave individual ethics briefings to Cabinet secretaries early in President Obama’s first term, but a former official familiar with that process declined to discuss the contents of those briefings and whether email protocol was included…”
Obama weighs in on Hillary Clinton’s private emails
“President Obama only learned of Hillary Clinton’s private email address use for official State Department business after a New York Times report, he told CBS News in an interview. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante asked Mr. Obama when he learned about her private email system after his Saturday appearance in Selma, Alabama. “The same time everybody else learned it through news reports,” the president told Plante. Mr. Obama’s comments follow a long week of media scrutiny surrounding Hillary Clinton’s private email address and the “home-brewed” server that hosted it. “The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency, which is why my emails, the BlackBerry I carry around, all those records are available and archived,” Mr. Obama said. “I’m glad that Hillary’s instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed.” Despite widespread criticism from Republicans who believe Clinton acted inappropriately, the president continued to defended his former Cabinet member’s record. “Let me just say that Hillary Clinton is and has been an outstanding public servant. She was a great secretary of state for me,” Mr. Obama said. Following the New York Times report Monday, the House Select Committee in charge of investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks issued a subpoena of Clinton’s private emails. Clinton herself took to Twitter late Wednesday in her first public statement regarding the clintonemail.com server controversy. “I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible,” the likely Democratic presidential candidate tweeted. The president reiterated his support of these actions. “I think that the fact that she is putting them forward will allow us to make sure that people have the information they need,” Mr. Obama said. Plante, who was a reporter covering “Bloody Sunday” for CBS News 50 years ago, sat down for an interview with the president to talk about the recent Clinton controversy, foreign affairs and the state of race relations in the United States. Watch more from the interview on CBS’ “Sunday Morning” and on “Face the Nation” Sunday.”
Obama: All my emails ‘are available and archived’
“President Obama was asked about Hillary Clinton’s secret emails during his trip to Selma, Alabama Saturday and said he did not know his Secretary of State was using a secret account until he read it in the news. The president also noted he does not follow Clinton’s practice of secrecy. “Mr. President, when did you first learn that Hillary Clinton used an email system outside the U.S. Government for official business while she was Secretary of State?” asked CBS’s Bill Plante. “The same time everybody else learned it, through news reports,” Obama said. Plante asked if Obama was disappointed to learn of Clinton’s practices. “Let me just say that Hillary Clinton is and has been an outstanding public servant,” Obama answered. “She was a great Secretary of State for me. The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency, which is why my emails — the Blackberry I carry around — all those records are available and archived, and I’m glad that Hillary’s instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed. Finally, when asked how Clinton’s secrecy squares with Obama’s pledge to run a transparent administration, the president said, “I think that the fact that she is putting them forward will allow us to make sure that people have the information they need.”
Trey Gowdy: Gaps of ‘months and months’ exist in Hillary Clinton emails
“Months long gaps exist in Hillary Clinton’s emails, according to Rep. Trey Gowdy. The South Carolina Republican, who is also the top Republican on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said Sunday emails Clinton’s camp has given to the committee have significant gaps in them. “There are gaps of months and months and months,” Gowdy said on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday. “And if you think to that iconic picture of her on a C-17 flying to Libya, she has sunglasses on and she has her handheld device in her hand. We have no emails from that day. In fact, we have no emails from that trip,” he added. The lack of emails from that trip, “strains credibility to believe that if you’re on your way to … to discuss Libyan policy that there’s not a single document that’s been turned over to Congress.” Gowdy said the committee is waiting to release information on the emails and how they pertain to the Benghazi investigation until they have all the emails they want and deem necessary, and are thus able to paint a full picture. However, for now, he has lost confidence in the State Department to determine what of Clinton’s emails are or are not public record. “Frankly, I’ve lost confidence in the State Department to make that determination,” Gowdy said. “They’re the ones who allowed this arrangement. They’re the ones who did nothing about this arrangement until they got a request from our committee.”
Trey Gowdy Says Turned Over Hillary Emails Contain ‘Huge Gaps’ — and Include Zero From Day This ‘Iconic Picture’ Was Taken
“Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) says there are “gaps of months, and months, and months” in the Hillary Clinton emails that have been turned over to Congress from her time as secretary of state. Clinton has been heavily criticized for setting up and using a private email system instead of a government email account during her tenure at the State Department. Gowdy said he’s also concerned that there were no emails from one specific day included in the trove of emails. “There are gaps of months, and months, and months. And if you think to that iconic picture of her on a C-17 flying to Libya, she has sunglasses on and she has her handheld device in her hand — we have no emails from that day,” Gowdy told CBS anchor Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” Sunday morning. “In fact, we have no emails from that trip,” he added. “So it strains credibility to believe that if you’re on your way to Libya to discuss Libyan policy, that there’s not a single document that’s been turned over to Congress. So there are huge gaps.” Gowdy said he has “lost confidence” in the State Department to maintain a public record for lawmakers and the American people…”
More questions raised in Hillary Clinton email controversy
Issa: Clinton could face criminal charges
“Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Sunday suggested that Hillary Clinton could face criminal charges if she knowingly withholds emails from congressional investigators. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Issa noted that “voluntary cooperation does not guarantee that it’s a crime not to deliver all” requested emails. “A subpoena, which Trey Gowdy issued, is so that in fact it will be a crime if she knowingly withholds documents pursuant to subpoena,” Issa said. The former House Oversight Committee chairman issued three subpoenas related to the 2012 Benghazi attacks, he said, acknowledging the House Select Committee on Benghazi last week subpoenaed all of Clinton’s emails during her tenure as secretary of State. Clinton last week called on the State Department to release the 55,000 pages of her emails that she self-selected and turned over. State has turned over about 900 pages to the committee. Issa argued that Clinton “wasn’t forthcoming two and a half years ago.” “She, in fact, hid the very existence of this until she was caught,” Issa said. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who sits on the House Benghazi committee, pushed back on CNN. “They issued a subpoena for records we already have,” Schiff said. “We’ve read them. There’s nothing in them.” “What is the law at the time? The law at the time was that she could use her personal email as long as she preserved it,” Schiff said, arguing “she clearly did preserve her emails.” “In my view, this was not provided in response to the The New York Times article or anything else. This was provided last year when a request went out to the state department and all former secretaries,” Schiff said. “She followed the law in place at the time, and I think that’s, I think, the relevant point.”
FEINSTEIN CALLS ON HILLARY CLINTON TO ‘COME OUT’ OVER EMAILS
Hillary Clinton Faces Test of Record as Women’s Advocate
Cruz: Menendez probe politically motivated
“Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) suggested Saturday that the Justice Department’s criminal corruption charges against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) are political retribution against the New Jersey Democrat for opposing the White House’s negotiations with Iran. Cruz made the allegations to a throng of reporters jammed into the corner of a tent outside the Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines without even having been asked about the Menendez criminal charges. “The announcement this week by the Justice Department that they were bringing charges against Bob Menendez — I will point out that the timing seems awfully coincidental that … in the very week that Bob Menendez showed incredible courage to speak out and call out President Obama for the damage that his policy is doing to our national security … the Justice Department announces they’re moving forward with the criminal prosecution,” Cruz said. “It raises the suggestion to other Democrats that if you dare part from the Obama White House, that criminal prosecutions will be used potentially as a political weapon against you as well,” he added. Menendez has been a vocal critic of the White House as the Obama administration has sought to wrap up delicate talks with Iranian leaders over the future of their nuclear program. The issue came to a head on Capitol Hill last week when Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked the Obama administration in front of Congress for its strategy on Iran. On Friday, news broke that the Justice Department was preparing to bring criminal charges against Menendez. “The timing is curious,” Cruz continued. “This investigation has been going on for over a year and yet the very week they announce a pending indictment comes within hours after Sen. Menendez showing courage to speak out against President Obama’s dangerous foreign policy that is risking the national security of this country.”
REPORT: DEM SEN MENENDEZ TO FACE CRIMINAL CORRUPTION CHARGES — AFTER OPPOSING OBAMA
FEDERAL CORRUPTION CHARGES: SENATOR MENENDEZ ALLEGEDLY INTERVENED ILLEGALLY IN DOMINICAN PORT SECURITY DEAL AND $9 MILLION MEDICARE OVERBILLING CASE
Is This the GOP’s ‘Anti-Hillary?’ Carly Fiorina Talks About Holding Clinton’s Feet to the Fire and a Possible 2016 Run
POLL: Race Relations Worse Under Obama
“A new poll shows that nearly half of Americans believe race relations have worsened over the course of the presidency of Barack Obama, the first half-black man elected to the White House. The CNN poll found 39 percent believe relations between blacks and whites have gotten worse, not better, since Mr. Obama took office in January 2009. Just 15 percent say relations have improved. In an interesting finding, 45 percent of whites think relations have worsened while just 26 percent of blacks think so. The survey of 1,000 adults was taken last month, before a Department of Justice report released this week found racial bias in the Ferguson, Mo., police department. In remarks after the report was released, Obama said the type of racial bias in Ferguson is not isolated. “I don’t think that is typical of what happens across the country, but it’s not an isolated incident,” Obama told The Joe Madison Radio Show on Sirius XM radio’s Urban View channel. “I think that there are circumstances in which trust between communities and law enforcement have broken down, and individuals or entire departments may not have the training or the accountability to make sure that they’re protecting and serving all people and not just some,” he said. He called civil rights “an unfinished project.”..”
Tim Scott: Race relations have not progressed under Obama
“Race relations under President Obama have not progressed, according to Sen. Tim Scott. “I would say that we have probably had a neutral position on progressing from a racial perspective in America over the last few years,” the South Carolina Republican said Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation. “We have not made as much progress as we would like to have seen,” added Scott, the only African-American to be elected to both the House and Senate as well as the firstblack senator from the South since Reconstruction. “The last six years have been challenging” for African-Americans, he said. Scott spoke live from Alabama, where he and other lawmakers were commemorating the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma.He said the solemn anniversary drew his attention to issues now facing African-Americans and the middle class, such as the community’s economic security…”
Obama signs law honoring civil rights marchers
“Participants in three civil rights marches a half century ago are being recognized with Congressional Gold Medals, the highest honor awarded by Congress. President Barack Obama signed legislation awarding the medals into law Saturday as he flew to Selma, Alabama, for commemorations of the Black Sunday protest march of March 7, 1965. On that day, many in a crowd of 600 were beaten bloody by state troopers as they tried to cross Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge on their intended march to Montgomery, Alabama. Shocking scenes of the brutality helped to galvanize the nation against racial oppression in the South and hasten passage of the Voting Rights Act that year. Two more demonstrations followed in Selma. In the last one, the demonstrators completed their march to Montgomery…”
Obama says America is still racist; Selma paved way for gays, Hispanics
Obama at Selma: ‘There Are Laws Across This Country Designed to Make it Harder for People to Vote’
“President Obama used part of his address at the 50th anniversary of the historic march to push expanded voting laws. “Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor,” said President Obama, according to prepared remarks of his address provided by the White House. “How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects. If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.” Elsewhere in his speech, Obama made the case that America had made great progress. “Just this week, I was asked whether I thought the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report shows that, with respect to race, little has changed in this country. I understand the question, for the report’s narrative was woefully familiar. It evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens that spawned the Civil Rights Movement. But I rejected the notion that nothing’s changed. What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it’s no longer endemic, or sanctioned by law and custom; and before the Civil Rights Movement, it most surely was,” said the president…”
Obama says voter ID laws can be barrier to the ballot box
FLASHBACK: Obama Claims Voter ID Laws Do Not Stop ‘Our Folks’ From Voting
“President Barack Obama excoriated voter ID laws in his remarks in Selma Saturday, saying the laws make it “harder” for people to cast a ballot — in contrast to what the president said about the laws just a few months ago. “Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor,” he said to the audience gathered for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Selma march. He added, “How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects. If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.” Former President George W. Bush, whose party and former appointees fought tooth and nail against the administration’s lawsuits to dismantle Voter ID laws in different states, sat with his wife Laura on stage as Obama delivered his speech. Back in October, however, Obama told Reverend Al Sharpton he did not think Voter ID laws kept people from voting…”
Report: Many released from Gitmo will resume fight against U.S.
“Some of the suspected terrorists released from Guantanamo Bay will rejoin the fight against the U.S. no matter what conditions the government tries to impose on them, the intelligence community concluded in a report last week that gives Republicans more ammunition to stop President Obama’s push to close the U.S. military detention center in Cuba. Detainees released and sent to volatile countries with no restrictions on their movements are the most likely to return to the battle, but some of those still being housed at the prison will find a way to rejoin the fight no matter what precautions are taken, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in the report. “Some detainees who are determined to reengage will do so regardless of any transfer conditions, albeit probably at a lower rate than if they were transferred without conditions,” the report said. The problem was worse under President George W. Bush, with more than 20 percent of the 532 detainees released on his watch confirmed to have rejoined the fight, and about 13 percent suspected of returning to the battlefield. Mr. Obama took office in 2009 vowing to close the prison within a year, but Congress imposed new restrictions, making it tougher to transfer them. That has helped reduce the recidivism rate but not eliminate it. Of the 115 detainees released on Mr. Obama’s watch, about 5 percent have been confirmed to have rejoined the fight, and less than 1 percent are suspected of returning to warfare…”
REPORT: FBI, DHS WARN LAW ENFORCEMENT ACROSS U.S. ABOUT TEENS JOINING ISIS
GOP Senate battles for Congress to have vote in Iran nuclear deal as talks resume, deadlines near
Mitch McConnell: Obama doesn’t want Congress involved on Iran
Obama on Iran: “If there’s no deal, then we walk away”