Norbert Hofer, the candidate for Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ), won 36.4 per cent of the vote, and will face an independent candidate in the final vote next month.
It was the Freedom Party’s best result in a national election and comes after a campaign that focused on the impact of the migrant crisis…
Exclusive Data Analysis: GOP Primary Turnout Up 8.7 Million Votes, More Than 60 Percent In 2016 Versus 2012 – Breitbart
Newly compiled data after the New York Republican primary shows that among the states that have voted so far in 2016, GOP primary and caucus turnout is up well more than 8 million votes and well more than 60 percent over 2012’s process.
Top GOP officials say that the intense interest in the GOP primary throughout the year so far only serves to benefit the Republican nominee in November, whoever it ends up being.
In total, so far, nationwide the GOP has seen an increase of 8,719,041 votes in 2016’s primaries, caucuses and conventions over 2012’s primaries, caucuses and conventions….
The Increasing Instability of Obamacare – National Review
United Healthcare’s announcement that it is pulling out of most of the exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – a.k.a. Obamacare – is one of many indications of the law’s continuing instability.
United made this decision for obvious reasons: It was losing too much money, with no prospect of a quick turnaround. The company reported that it lost $475 million on plans sold in the ACA’s exchanges in 2015 and expects to lose another $650 million in 2016…
Rape Trees, Dead Migrants And The Consequences Of An Open Border – Breitbart
Many of the most caring people in the U.S. think they are helping the poor from Latin America by leaving our Southwest border wide open between ports-of-entry, but they are not. Several of the transnational criminal organizations (cartels) operating in Central America and Mexico make an estimated one-third or more of their profits from illegal immigration. Specifically, two groups below Texas, the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels, are largely fueled by the trafficking and smuggling of human beings.
The brutality of these criminal groups, from incinerating innocents in a network of ovens to their near complete control of state and local governments, is largely paid for by funds generated from illegal immigration – a shadowy economic engine that is only possible because we refuse to properly secure our border with Mexico….
Former Senator Announces Upcoming Marriage To Man 50 Years His Junior Nearly 20 Years After His Wife Died – The Blaze
Former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford announced that he will be marrying a man 50 years younger than himself almost 20 years after his wife passed away from leukemia, according to an op-ed that was published in the New York Times Sunday…
Nebraska Abolishes Civil Forfeiture – Daily Signal
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, has signed a major state forfeiture bill into law. Like New Mexico before it, the Cornhusker State now requires a criminal conviction before property can be forfeited.
Civil forfeiture is the law enforcement tool, which allows property suspected of being involved in, or derived from, criminal activity to be seized by police, sheriffs, and federal agents. It was ramped up in the 1980’s as a means of combatting the drug trade and organized crime, with the goal of stripping kingpins of their assets and ill-gotten gains.
Thirty years later, though, forfeiture has morphed into a system that is far more often used to seize relatively small amounts of cash, that stacks the deck against property owners fighting to get it back, and that encourages profiteering by law enforcement authorities….
Obama Infuriates The Brits As He Threatens To Send UK ‘To The Back Of The Queue’ If They Vote To Leave The European Union – Daily Mail
President Barack Obama told Britain today that it would have to ‘go to the back of the queue’ if it leaves the European Union, then tries to negotiate its own trade deal with the United States.
A US-UK trade agreement is not going to happen ‘any time soon,’ Obama said during a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron….
Solar Developer SunEdison In Bankruptcy As Aggressive Growth Plan Unravels – Reuters
SunEdison Inc SUNE.N, once the fastest-growing U.S. renewable energy company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday after a short-lived but aggressive binge of debt-fueled acquisitions proved unsustainable.
In its bankruptcy filing, the company said it had assets of $20.7 billion and liabilities of $16.1 billion as of Sept. 30.
SunEdison’s two publicly traded subsidiaries, TerraForm Power Inc (TERP.O) and TerraForm Global Inc (GLBL.O), are not part of the bankruptcy. In a statement, the companies, known as yieldcos, said they had sufficient liquidity to operate and that their assets are not available to satisfy the claims of SunEdison creditors…
Governor Enables 200,000 Felons To Vote In November – WorldNetDaily
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe promised Friday to use an executive order to restore voting rights to felons, an announcement that leaves the Republican-dominated legislature – some of whom have opposed an overturn to the Civil War-era prohibition – in the cold…
Anyone capable of feeling sorry for socialists might start with Bernie Sanders. After a de facto tie in Iowa was counted as a loss, his overwhelming victory in New Hampshire went down as a tie:
Hillary Clinton is expected to leave New Hampshire with just as many delegates as Bernie Sanders, even after he crushed her in Tuesday’s presidential primary.
Sanders won 15 delegates with his 20-point victory Tuesday while Clinton won nine.
But Clinton came into the contest with the support of six superdelegates, who are state party insiders given the freedom to support any candidate they choose…
[A]s it stands, the superdelegate support gives Clinton a total of 15 New Hampshire delegates.
During his victory speech Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders said that America is “based on a simple principle, and that principle is fairness.” Ignore for a moment the sound of Thomas Jefferson rolling over in his grave and instead be happy for Sanders that his dream was put into practice after the New Hampshire votes were counted.
Sanders might have won his blowout victory because he campaigned harder, and was more effective in crafting a message the voters wanted to hear. He might just be a better politician than Shrillary. But thanks to this political application of his own notion of economic justice, they get the same benefit anyway. It’s called “equality.”
Following Ted Cruz ‘s Monday victory in Iowa, Ben Carson’s campaign claimed the Texas senator leaked information that the former neurosurgeon was suspending his campaign just before the votes were cast.
According to Time, several members of Carson’s staff have brought forward evidence “alleging misconduct by the Cruz campaign.”
Carson’s Iowa director Ryan Rhodes reportedly received text messages from Mike Huckabee supporters claiming “the Cruz speakers at our caucus announced Carson was suspending his campaign for a while after caucus. They did this before the vote. Same thing happened at another caucus. Sounds like slimy Cruzing to me.”
Additionally, a precinct chair in Muscatine sent Carson’s team an email claiming that a Cruz supporter told the precinct “Ben Carson was taking a break after Iowa, and then stated, ‘so you might want to rethink wasting your vote on him.’”
“That is really quite a dirty trick,” Carson told reporters late Monday night. “That’s the very kind of thing that irritated me enough to get into this quagmire.”
Furthermore, campaign manager Ed Brookover called Cruz’s alleged actions “the lowest of low in American politics,” while Carson’s Iowa co-chair state representative Rob Taylor noted that, “this is horseshit.”
The Cruz campaign has denied any wrongdoing.
Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign is rejecting Ben Carson’s assertion that it torpedoed his chances in Iowa’s Republican caucuses Monday night.
“On the Ben Carson allegation, it’s just false,” said Rick Tyler, the Cruz campaign’s communications director, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We simply as a campaign repeated what Ben Carson had said in his own words,” he continued. “That’s not a dirty trick.”
“He said after Iowa he was going to go back to Florida for a couple of days and then he was going to go to D.C. for the prayer breakfast,” Tyler added. “And what that told us was he was not going to New Hampshire.
“That was really surprising by a campaign who was once leading in Iowa saying he’s not going to come to New Hampshire. That’s a news item.”
Carson criticized his Republican presidential rivals, without naming names, for “dirty tricks” in Iowa.
The retired neurosurgeon lashed out following tweets from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who also serves as co-chairman of Cruz’s national campaign. King said departing Iowa is “the equivalent” of suspending an Oval Office bid after Carson returned home to Florida that evening.
Tyler also argued that GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump made several decisions that blunted his own Iowa momentum.
“It hurt him,” he said of Trump’s decision to skip the last Republican presidential debate before the Iowa contest. “I don’t think it hurt him badly, but it definitely hurt him.”
Tyler then charged that Sarah Palin’s endorsement of the outspoken billionaire last month did not boost his standing with voters.
“[It gave him] no real bump,” he said of the backing from the former Republican vice presidential nominee.
Cruz celebrated his win in Iowa as a “victory for the grass roots” late Monday after conquering the first-in-the-nation caucuses there.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who was considered the front-runner to replace John Boehner, stunned his Republican colleagues Thursday by abruptly withdrawing from the race, throwing the leadership battle into chaos.
McCarthy’s decision, announced moments before Republicans were set to nominate their candidate, will postpone the vote for speaker. McCarthy had been running against Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Daniel Webster, R-Fla., before he dropped out, and it’s unclear whether other candidates will now step forward.
While McCarthy, R-Calif., faced vocal opposition from some conservative members and groups, he was thought to have more than enough support to win the party’s nomination in the vote initially set for Thursday. Fox News is told McCarthy, in revealing his choice, simply told colleagues it was not his time.
His withdrawal rattled fellow lawmakers, particularly allies in leadership. But addressing reporters afterward, McCarthy said he thinks the party needs a “fresh face.”
“If we are going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to help do that,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got to be 100 percent united.”
He said he will stay on as majority leader.
Chaffetz, speaking shortly afterward, said McCarthy’s withdrawal was “absolutely stunning.” Chaffetz said he would remain in the race. “I really do believe it is time for a fresh start,” he said.
Practically speaking, Republicans’ overriding interest is to find a candidate who can muster an absolute majority on the House floor in a full chamber vote, originally set for Oct. 29. While McCarthy was likely to easily win the nomination, it was unclear whether he could muster a majority – of roughly 218 members – once lawmakers from both parties vote for speaker.
McCarthy gave no indication of dropping out earlier in the day. “It’s going to go great,” McCarthy said Thursday morning. But he later suggested he was concerned he’d only be able to win narrowly in a floor vote later this month.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said McCarthy actually felt he couldn’t reach 218. Still, he said McCarthy’s backing will be the “most important endorsement” for whoever seeks the post.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, swiftly put out a statement saying he would not run, while saying he’s “disappointed” McCarthy dropped out.
Conservative groups, meanwhile, cheered the decision. FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon said in a statement that McCarthy “dropped out of the Speaker race because of the House Freedom Caucus and grassroots pressure… This is a huge win for conservatives who want to see real change in Washington, not the same go along get along ways of Washington.”
He was referring in part to a decision Wednesday by the conservative House Freedom Caucus – with its 30-40 members – to back Webster as a bloc.
The speaker’s race already has seen several curveballs since Boehner suddenly announced his retirement at the end of the month and McCarthy swiftly positioned himself as the presumptive next in line.
Shortly after announcing his candidacy, McCarthy was seen to stumble in a Fox News interview where he appeared to link Hillary Clinton’s dropping poll numbers to the congressional Benghazi committee. His comments fueled Democratic charges that the committee is merely political, which GOP leaders deny.
Amid the backlash over McCarthy’s Benghazi remarks, Chaffetz entered the leadership race over the weekend.
Republicans have nearly 250 members in the House and on paper have the numbers to win against the Democrats’ nominee, likely Nancy Pelosi. But if the winning Republican nomineecomes out with a tally short of 218, he or she will have to spend the next several weeks trying to rally support to get to that number.
In a curious development, Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., also sent a letter to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., urging a full vetting of all leadership candidates to avoid a repeat of 1998, when the conference selected then-Rep. Bob Livingston in November to succeed outgoing House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It then emerged Livingston had been conducting an affair. Jones asked that any candidate who has committed “misdeeds” withdraw.
Asked by FoxNews.com to elaborate, Jones said he doesn’t “know anything” specific about any of the candidates, but, “We need to be able to say without reservation that ‘I have nothing in my background that six months from now could be exposed to the detriment of the House of Representatives.'” He said he wants to make sure the candidates have “no skeletons.”
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 248 to 177 on Friday afternoon to approve a bill that would give a born baby who survives an abortion the same protection under the law as “any person who comes to a hospital, clinic, or other facility for screening and treatment or otherwise becomes a patient within its care.”
Under the bill, the Congressional Research Service explained in its official summary of the legislation, “An individual who commits an overt act that kills a child born alive is subject to criminal prosecution for murder.”
The bill would also “require any health care practitioner who is present when a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion to: (1) exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and (2) ensure that such child is immediately admitted to a hospital.”
Five Democrats voted for the bill, and all 177 votes against it were cast by Democratic members. One member, Rep. John Garamendi (D.-Calif.), voted present, and eight members, including three Republicans and five Democrats did not vote.
Among the members who voted against this bill that would clarify that it is an act of murder to kill a baby who survives an abortion were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.), Rep. Jackie Speier (D.-Calif.), and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D.-N.Y.)
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R.-Ariz.), who was joined by 98 co-sponsors. These included Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R.-Tenn.), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R.-Mo.), and Rep. Kristi Noem (R.-S.D.).
“The Born Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act protects little children who have been born alive,” Rep. Franks said in a speech on the House floor before the vote. “No one in this body can obscure the humanity and the personhood of these little born alive babies.”
“The abortion industry labored all these decades to convince the world that unborn children and born children should be completely separated in our minds, that while born children are persons worthy of protection, unborn children are not persons and are not worthy of protection,” he said.
“But those who oppose this bill to protect born alive babies now have the impossible task of trying to join born children and unborn children back together again and then trying to convince all of us to condemn them both as inhuman and not worthy of protection after all,” he said.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney spoke against the bill on the House floor.
“I stand in strong opposition to this punitive and intrusive bill,” she said.
“This is politics at its most manipulative and politics that should never be permitted to come between a patient and her doctor,” she said.
“This bill attempts to criminalize legal medical care and punish millions of women by rolling back reproductive choices. It wages a kind of guerilla warfare against Roe v. Wade by threatening doctors with jail time for providing care to their patients.”
It looks like the thousands of protesters outside the U.S. Capitol may have persuaded at least one Congressman to rethink Obama’s nuclear deal.
Speaker John Boehner reportedly has agreed to vote on a resolution introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL). The resolution will state that Obama has not complied with the law by not submitting the full Iranian nuclear deal to Congress.
Looks like pressure from the House conservative Freedom Caucus membership has forced House Speaker John Boehner to agree the House will not pass a resolution disapproving of President Obama’s Iran deal. Instead, the House will apparently vote Friday on the resolution introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), which will state that Obama has not complied with the Corker-Cardin law because he has not submitted the full Iranian nuclear “agreement,” which that law explicitly defines to include all “side deals,” between third parties (including the Iran-IAEA side deals).
The House is also anticipated to now vote on a second resolution, which would state that because the President has failed to submit the “agreement” defined by Corker-Cardin, the President has no corresponding authority to lift any existing Iranian sanctions.
The move by Boehner came after Freedom Caucus members threatened to vote down a planned resolution disapproving of the Iran deal, leaving the House on record as approving the deal. This threat was designed to leverage Boehner via potential political embarrassment, and encourage GOP leadership to consider the Roskam alternative, which will both delay congressional action on the Iran deal, as well as provide a stronger legal basis upon which to challenge any presidential action lifting sanctions.
A “staggering betrayal” is how one pro-Israel activist in Washington describes any use by the Democrats of a filibuster to prevent the Iran deal from getting a full vote next month in the Senate.
That is emerging as the goal of the backers of President Obama’s contract with the mullahs. They want to block the measure from getting a vote in the Senate at all, which would leave Obama with a free hand to release billions to the Tehran regime.
The activist, Omri Ceren, who is The Israel Project’s managing director and has been working the story for months, says that would be a “stab in the face.” He notes that “Americans by a 2-1 margin want Congress to reject the bad Iran deal.”
The pro-Israel community, he says, has “worked in a bipartisan fashion with Congress to give the president breathing room for negotiations while protecting legislative prerogatives.” He thinks the Senate Democrats therefore owe Americans an up-or-down vote.
As this drama drags on, however, it’s not all that clear that we’ll see that vote. For it to take place, 60 senators must agree to cloture. At the moment, the Washington Post counts only 57 senators against or leaning against the deal.
This could change, of course. Only 33 senators are for or leaning for the deal. That leaves 10 undecided. If it does go to a vote, and the Senate votes to reject the pact, the president could veto it. At that point, even more votes against the deal would be needed to override. So it’s none too soon to think about what happens after.
One possibility is a round of recriminations among supporters of the Jewish state. Did Prime Minister Netanyahu misplay his hand? Did the American Israel Public Affairs Committee blunder by announcing a multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign?
Already some are complaining that such a boast energized Iran’s supporters. For my part, I wouldn’t waste a New York nanosecond on that kind of handwringing. No opponent of this deal – least of all Israel’s elected leadership – is going to owe anyone an apology.
Moreover, if Obama fails to win a simple majority of either the Senate or the House or both, a startling situation is going to emerge. The administration is going to have to implement a pact that voters couldn’t block but still oppose.
That would be a ghastly situation for the Democrats – worse even than what happened after SALT II, the arms pact President Carter inked at Vienna with the Soviet party boss, Leonid Brezhnev, whom the American president kissed at the signing.
Mr. Carter ended up withdrawing the treaty from consideration in the Senate, where it stood no chance of ratification. SALT II was one of the reasons Mr. Carter lost the next election to Ronald Reagan (who honored the treaty only until the Kremlin violated it).
The Iran accord is different from SALT II, in that the Iran pact is not being submitted as a treaty. The whole constitutional setup, which is supposed to put the burden of proof on the president submitting the treaty, has been turned on its head.
In this deal, not only the Senate but the House must muster the votes to block the deal or it goes through automatically. If a resolution of disapproval is then vetoed by Obama, the deal still goes through.
But if Obama is left with a deal that is opposed by a majority of either the Senate or the House, the Democrats will be stuck with it. They will then be on the defensive with every hostile move Iran makes with the $150 billion the mullahs are going to get.
No doubt they’re going to try to skate through it. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper has reported an amazing lack of reaction by the Obama administration and others to rocket attacks from Syria that last week struck northern Israel and that were initiated by Iran.
Those rockets are but a wake-up call to what lies ahead, just in time for a presidential election. That’s the next big fight if this deal goes through, defeating the candidate of the Democratic Party that appeased Iran. Staggering betrayal, indeed.
In December 2014, Utah Senator Mike Lee warned that Obama’s illegal executive amnesty would create an easy loophole for illegal aliens to register to vote thereby compromising our election system. On Thursday, two Secretaries of State testified before Congress that Obama’s illegal amnesty would indeed lead to more illegals voting.
Obama’s illegal amnesty creates a significant loophole since illegal aliens will, under Obama’s plan, be able to get drivers licenses and social security numbers. The Washington Times details the testimony of John Husted, Secretary of State in Ohio, and Kris Kobach, Secretary of state in Kansas.
Husted said that mass voter registration drives often lack the resources to fully pay attention to the verification of someone’s immigration status. When the individual is asked if they would like to register to vote and they can produce a drivers license and social security number, which Obama will allow illegal aliens to have, then the result will be more illegals voting, despite the fact that such action is illegal.
“It is a guarantee that it will happen, “ Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said regarding an increasing number of illegals voting in elections. He added that illegals have pointed to being asked by workers at the Department of Motor Vehicles if they would like to register to vote as the reason that did register, then did indeed vote.
Of course, Democrats are accusing Republicans of simply wanting to suppress the right to vote, even though according to the Constitution, illegals do not have the right to vote.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting delegate to Congress representing the District of Columbia, demonstrated that she is in need of a history lesson based upon her criticism of Republicans. Norton said, “The president’s executive order gives immigrants the right to stay – immigrants who have been here for years, immigrants who have been working hard and whose labor we have needed. The Republicans may want to go down in history as the party who tried once again 100 years later to nullify the right to vote. Well, I am here to say they shall not succeed.”
Perhaps Norton needs to brush up on her history since it was the Democrat Party who implemented Jim Crow laws in an attempt to prevent voting by blacks, just as it was the Democrats who enslaved blacks and fought to maintain the practice of slavery.
Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Massachusetts Democrat, took another dishonest path with his defense of Obama’s illegal amnesty by claiming that it’s doubtful that illegal aliens would risk voting since getting caught could get them deported. He added that votes by illegals would be an “insignificant part of an election.”
This disingenuous statement by Lynch is proven to be an egregious lie based upon polls by both the Washington Post and Pew Research Center which determined that illegal aliens are hyper-partisan with an overwhelming majority identifying as Democrats.
Well, the movement to oust Boehner fell one vote shy of its mark today, as crybaby John was chosen Speaker of the House again. These are the cowardly, self-serving assclowns in the GOP who have betrayed their consitutents and turned their backs on the principles upon which their party was built.
Boustany Jr., Charles
Duncan Jr., John
Herrera Beutler, Jaime
McMorris Rodgers, Cathy
Contact these useless, political hacks and let them know how you feel about their complete lack of courage and integrity.
Here are the few, brave individuals who actually took a stand against the disease known as “moderate Republicanism” in our House of Representatives.
Contact these honorable folks and tell them how much you appreciate their efforts in the face of overwhelming odds.
Capitol Switchboard: 1-202-224-3121.
A pair of documentary filmmakers have reportedly been working on a project detailing the struggle illegals face in coming to the U.S., as well as the impact this constant flow of intruders is having on American citizens.
In researching the new documentary, Luke and Jo Anne Livingston say they have spoken to numerous illegals to gain a firsthand perspective of the ongoing border crisis. Jo Anne recently shared some of the disturbing insights resulting from these conversations with her Facebook community.
She said the couple, along with numerous other conservative advocates and anti-amnesty legislators, have spent time at the source of the influx along the Texas-Mexico border.
“Luke spent 8 days on the border,” she wrote. “We talked to a doctor about the diseases coming in unchecked by by any medical personnel.”
Livingston asserted that she actually read proposed legislation that would strip judges from issuing any penalties to illegals who refuse to show up for immigration hearings.
“The judge can only set another hearing and another hearing and another hearing,” she wrote, “into infinity.”
Perhaps the most outrageous claim in her post alleges that pro-amnesty Democrats are exploiting illegals to perpetuate widespread voter fraud.
Livingston wrote that, prior to the 2012 presidential election, “the illegals were handed voter registrations and told they would be sent to states with NO ID check for voting.”
Upon receipt of the document, she insists aliens were told that, if they “did not show up and vote the democratic [sic] ticket, they would be arrested and deported.”
This astoundingly bold move, she concluded, was used time and again to stack the electoral deck against Republicans in the election.
Could Georgia’s 10th Congressional District runoff take a page from the Mississippi U.S. Senate race?
Tim Bryant spoke on the radio the other day about a mailer he received urging Democrats to vote for trucking executive Mike Collins in the Republican runoff in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Paul Broun. Collins is running against minister Jody Hice, whose comments about Islam, women and gays have caused a stir.
A reader sent us the mailer itself, which we present above. It was attached to an absentee ballot application. The argument:
“Due to the gerrymandering of our Congressional district, it is nearly impossible for a Democrat to get elected… We, as citizens of the 10th Congressional District, cannot afford a Congressman like Jody Hice. Why you ask? Here are just a few reasons why Hice is too radical to represent us in Washington.”
The mailer does not say who paid for it – and the only reported outside spending on mailers in the race has been by a gun rights group for Hice – so we can’t say for sure it is the Democrats. Hice was willing to assume in a fundraising appeal:
“Democrats are trying to do in Georgia what they did in Mississippi. We must not allow liberals to decide another Republican election.”
He’s referring to the Thad Cochran-Chris McDaniel GOP runoff last month, in which crossover votes from black Democrats appeared to provide the incumbent senator’s slim margin of victory.
An IRS employee was suspended for 100 days for using his job at the agency’s help line to try to convince callers to vote for President Obama, a government watchdog agency announced Thursday.
The employee, whose name wasn’t mentioned in the announcement from the Office of Special Counsel, admitted to using his job for political purposes and agreed to the settlement that involved a 100-day suspension.
“OSC’s complaint alleged that, when fielding taxpayers’ questions on an IRS customer service help line, the employee repeatedly urged taxpayers to re-elect President Obama in 2012 by delivering a chant based on the spelling of the employee’s last name,” the investigative office said.
The OSC also announced a U.S. Postal Service employee was fired after he ran for seats in Congress and solicited donations to his campaign, violating the Hatch Act that limits government employees’ ability to get involved in politics.
That man, Marcus Lewis, ran despite being warned against it by the OSC, leading to a series of personnel hearings that resulted in the Merit Systems Protection Board demanding he be fired.
The judgment against the IRS employee, meanwhile, was the third instance where the tax agency has run afoul of the Hatch Act in recent months.
The OSC announced in May that the Dallas office of the IRS had to be warned after complaints that it was “commonplace” to have pro-Obama screensavers on computers, and to have campaign-style buttons and stickers at the office.
And an IRS employee in Kentucky served a 14-day suspension for blasting Republicans in a telephone conversation with a taxpayer.
The House will vote on a continuing resolution that will keep spending at sequester levels and defund Obamacare.
Leadership announced the plan to the Republican conference at a meeting Wednesday morning.
“This week the House will pass a CR that locks sequester savings in and defunds Obamacare,” Speaker of the House John Boehner told reporters at a press conference after the meeting. The CR will fund the government until the end of the year.
House leaders had initially proposed a legislative procedure by which the House would have voted on the same thing, except the CR portion and the health-care portion would have been separated.
House leaders felt that, given that the Senate will almost definitely vote against the Obamacare portion, separating the two parts made it more likely that a CR would be passed with spending at sequester levels.
That plan met with huge pushback from the more conservative faction of the party who saw it as a “trick,” and leadership backed off.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said he had never seen the conference so “united” as they headed toward this vote.
It is all but inevitable that the necessary votes will not be found in the Democratic Senate to defund Obamacare, but Boehner declined to say what would happen if and when the Senate sends the bill back to the House, looking very different than when it left.
“The fight over here has been won… It’s time for the Senate to have this fight,” Boehner said, declining to “speculate” on what the Senate might do.
What will not happen, Boehner said, is a government shutdown, which is what would happen if the Senate and the House could not come to an agreement and pass a CR to fund the government past Sept. 30.
“There should be no conversation about shutting the government down,” Boehner said. “That’s not the goal… There is no interest in our part in shutting down the government.”
Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana said that if Senate Republicans like Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, who have been clamoring to defund Obamacare using the CR, are unable to rally the necessary votes to do so, then the back up plan is to pass a clean CR and trade a debt ceiling raise for a one year delay of Obamacare.
“We’d much rather defund it,” Fleming said, “but if we can’t, then we want to delay it.” Fleming said, however, he himself was not sure if he could vote for the CR without the defund component.
Teachers in Kenosha, Wisconsin – the third largest school district in the state – have voted overwhelmingly to free themselves from the clutches of the teachers union, the Kenosha Education Association, which will now disband. Thanks to the reform bill, Act 10, pushed by Governor Scott Walker, public employee unions are limited to bargaining over base pay, and must be re-certified every year.
Erin Richards of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes:
Teachers in Kenosha, as well as in Milwaukee and Janesville, all came under the authority of Act 10 starting July 1 when their teacher contracts expired. Under the law, the unions are required to file for annual re-certification by Aug. 30 if they wished to remain a recognized bargaining unit. (snip)
Christina Brey, speaking for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, downplayed recertification, calling it just another hoop for local unions to jump through.
Much more interesting details are provided by the MacIver Institute:
The Kenosha Education Association (KEA), the state’s third largest teachers union, was officially decertified on August 31, 2013 according to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.
Mark Belling, who broke this story on Thursday, said that the decertification came after a recent vote by members in which only 37 percent voted to reauthorize the union.
KEA is the largest teachers union to disband since Act 10 was signed into law in 2011. The union had 2,400 members according to their website. Act 10 limited collective bargaining rights for public employees and required public unions to have an annual vote to recertify.
Let it sink in for moment: only a little more than a third of the Kenosha teachers wanted the union. By disbanding the union, their income goes up as they no longer are forced to pay dues, a large portion of which are then laundered into campaign funds for Democrat candidates. I do not know the exact amount of dues paid by Kenosha teachers, but I do know that teachers union dues typically are more than a thousand dollars a year.
If Act 10 reforms were adopted nationwide, the involuntary collection of money from government workers, and the laundering of said funds into Democrat campaign funds would be attenuated.
I am pro-choice when it comes to union membership. End the involuntary servitude to the union bosses.
After a one-woman filibuster and a raucous crowd helped derail a GOP-led effort to restrict Texas abortions, Gov. Rick Perry announced Wednesday that he’s calling lawmakers back next week to try again.
Perry ordered the Legislature to meet July 1 to begin 30 more days of work. Like the first special session, which ended in chaos overnight, the second one will include on its agenda a Republican-backed plan that critics say would close nearly every abortion clinic across the state and impose other widespread limits on the procedure.
“I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas,” Perry said in a statement. “Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn.”
The first session’s debate over abortion restrictions led to the most chaotic day in the Texas Legislature in modern history, starting with a marathon filibuster and ending with a down-to-the wire, frenetic vote marked by questions about whether Republicans tried to break chamber rules and jam the measure through.
The governor can convene as many extra sessions as he likes and sets the agenda of what lawmakers can work on. Also listed on the session’s agenda are separate bills to boost highway funding and deal with a juvenile justice issue.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who oversees the flow of legislation in the Senate, hinted that another special session was coming when he told lawmakers “see you soon” after the first session adjourned.
Many of the same abortion rights groups that staged Tuesday’s night’s protests took to Twitter on Wednesday, promising they had more in store.
The entire process starts over, with bills that must be filed by individual lawmakers, undergo a public hearing and be passed out of committee before they can be considered by both chambers.
Still, supporters are likely to draft a measure similar to the one that nearly passed during the first special session. It sought a statewide ban on undergoing the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the point at which anti-abortion activists claim a fetus can feel pain – despite a lack of scientific evidence to support that.
That bill also would have forced many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities to be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. Doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.
Democrats put their hopes of thwarting the bill Tuesday in the hands of Wendy Davis, a state senator clad in pink running shoes, for a daylong attempt to talk the bill to death. Over the duration of the speech, Davis became a social media star, even becoming the subject of a tweet from President Obama for her efforts.
But just before midnight, Republicans claimed she strayed off topic and got help with a back brace – two things that are against filibuster rules – and cut her off.
That cleared the way for a vote.
But when Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst shouted into the microphone, trying to call the final votes, nobody seemed to hear him. Some 400 supporters jammed into the gallery had taken their feet with a deafening roar, drowning out his voice. It was, as some claimed, a “people’s filibuster” – an attempt by protesters to finish what Davis had started more than 11 hours earlier.
“Get them out!” Republican Sen. Donna Campbell shouted to a security guard. “… I want them out of here!”
As the crowd clapped and shouted “shame, shame, shame,” Dewhurst gathered Republican lawmakers around Secretary of the Senate Patsy Spaw to register their votes. Democrats ran forward, holding up their cellphones, which showed it was past midnight.
But Dewhurst and other Republicans insisted the first vote was cast before midnight by the Legislature’s clock and that the bill had passed.
By the time decorum was restored and the 19-10 vote in favor of the measure was recorded, the clock read 12:03 a.m. Confusion took over: The Republicans had passed the bill, but did it count? Were the votes tallied in time?
Reporters checked the Senate’s official website and saw the vote registered on Wednesday, after the deadline. But a short time later, the website was updated to show the vote on Tuesday. Sen. Chuy Hinojosa produced two official printouts of the vote, each showing a different day for the same vote.
After protests from angry Democrats, senators met privately with Dewhurst for more than an hour. Eventually, he returned to the then-empty Senate chamber and declared that while the bill had passed, he didn’t have time to sign it, so it wasn’t approved. In return for declaring the measure dead, Democrats promised not to question the date of the vote any further.
While altering a public record is illegal, stopping the clock to allow for a vote or changing the journal before it is published are long traditions in the Texas Legislature and unlikely to lead to a prosecution.
The law’s provision that abortions be performed at surgical centers means only five of Texas’ 42 abortion clinics would remain in operation in a state 773 miles wide and 790 miles long with 26 million people. A woman living along the Mexico border or in West Texas would have to drive hundreds of miles to obtain an abortion.
Conservatives and anti-abortion campaigners joined Dewhurst in condemning the “unruly mob” for violating the Senate’s decorum by screaming obscenities at Republican backers of the bill.
Texas Democrats, though, see an opportunity to capitalize just months after setting up a grassroots organization called “Battleground Texas” with a $36 million cash infusion. And they circled around Davis — the teen mom turned Harvard Law School grad whose Twitter followers rocketed from 1,200 to 83,000 in just 24 hours.
“As Sen. Wendy Davis most powerfully emphasized, Democrats are not afraid of a fight,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas Democratic Party chairman. “Last night was a turning point in that story of Texas.”