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Harsh and critical

RPT Elephant shooting duoMy brother told me that if I want to make a difference in politics, I need to be more critical and stop trying to be “nice” or “balanced” with these posts. What do you think?

In the past, I’ve written open letters to our elected Republican legislators. I made up that little graphic, above and wrote post after post about the way we “Eat our own” and “Shoot our own.” I’ve written about “Susurrus I,”  “Susurrus II” and the “Deja vu.” (“Susurrus III” is still an unpublished draft in my files. When it came right down to it, I couldn’t bring myself to be that critical and air the dirty laundry of the Party.)

There was even one post headline where I cussed: “Lies, Damned Lies and Scorecards.”

However, those posts made me uncomfortable. I believe I will continue to try to follow the advice of these little Gems I’ve posted on my front page:

 Emotional noise is destructive to education according to David Horowitz. It’s just as destructive to government, politics and policy and getting along with our friends and neighbors.

We Conservatives can split hairs finer than Baptists – or the Galatians and Ephesians to whom the Apostle Paul wrote 2000 years ago. Apostle Paul had good advice when he admonished us to edify one another and to gently correct our opponents.

 

Don Quixote, Ted Cruz and the Windmill

Update, January 25, 2016 Read about the endorsement from Governor Perry

“I wanted to talk about him, who he was, see if I could get a handle on Ted Cruz the man, not Cruz the caricature I’d seen through the political lens. What I found was a very different person than what I had been led to believe.”

******

Look, my hobby is tilting at windmills. My theme song often seems to be “To Dream the Impossible Dream,” but let’s be honest. No matter how much we want to overturn Obama’s amnesty EO, Ted Cruz​​ did no one any good on Saturday except Harry Reid, who got the chance to play with to his Senate majority- and with the nuclear option for judicial nominees – for an extra 48 hours.

 

If you’re willing to trade lifetime appointments to the Federal bench, the fight to fight would have been the “Amendment in the form of a Substitute” for the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org/2014/12/rep-amash-congress-last-night-gave-massive-new-citizen-surveillance-powers-to-the-president/)   with its incremental addition to legal infringement of our 4th, 5th Amendment rights snuck in at midnight, too late to read. (Now that you have a chance, read Section 309.)

 

Then, if you just wanted to shame someone for something, how about that last? Both the Cromnibus and the IAA were last minute re-worked drafts that virtually no one had the opportunity, much less the time, to read. We the People were promised by the Republicans that we would get 3 days to read EVERY Bill. These two Bills should have made that promise absolutely front and center on every Republican mind.

 

Come to think of it: Did Cruz give us a chance to evaluate his resolution before the vote???

 

“How Government Killed the Medical Profession”

Contrast the Hippocratic ethic in which a physician recommends treatment to his patient, based on his best medical judgement in the patient’s interest, with that of the “veterinary ethic,” where decisions are made by the “payor” — or owner. Now, consider the effect of Government regulations which arbitrarily force doctors to learn protocols and guidelines (rather than adjust to the patient’s course of illness), to fit a patient’s illness into International Clinical Diagnoses (out to the nth decimal place) and which withhold payment when a patient becomes ill enough to need readmission to the hospital within 30 days of the last admission.

In an article published online by Cato, Dr. Jeffery Singer lays out the history of the destruction of Medicine as  a profession. In the past, Dr. Singer described the ethical transition toward the “veterinary ethic.”

Each of these articles is worth your time and consideration. The first article gives one of the best explanations of the Government move to “coding” of medical diagnoses in exchange for payment “reimbursement,” on through the forced move to Electronic Medical Records without evidence that patients will benefit and Accountable Care Organizations which assign patients to employee “providers.” The second, earlier article, reviewed the necessary change in medical ethics to allow doctors to practice without – or in contradiction to – their conscience.

Forget patient autonomy, long elevated by the lawmakers, lawyers and  Ph.D’s (in the name of “Bioethics”) above the traditional physician Hippocratic values of beneficence and its foundation, non-maleficence. In the world of Government medicine, your life is in the hands of the “payor:” the Golden Rule of “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

 

 

 

NEJM admits “ObamaCare” isn’t “Affordable” without subsidies

The New England Journal of Medicine has some free articles you might want to read this week. (I’m afraid you will have to register – will you let me know if you do?)
The first asserts that we’re stuck with ObamaCare – but it calls ObamaCare, “ObamaCare.” The author, Jonathan Oberlander, Ph.D, also acknowledges that the only way the ACA (the Affordable Care Act) is “Affordable” is if the Federal government hands out cash subsidies. In fact, if the Supreme Court rules that the language of the law forbids subsidies in States that don’t have their own exchanges,

Here’s an excerpt:
“The calendar cannot be turned back to 2009. The ACA has made some irreversible changes in U.S. health care.

“Even if they have unified control of the federal government in 2017, Republicans will confront the reality that Obamacare has redefined U.S. health policy and the terms of the debate. In practice, future repeal legislation would probably not scrap the whole ACA, but rather remove specific provisions and remake other policies to conform to a more conservative vision. A Republican President could, through waivers and other means, undermine Obamacare in important ways, but he or she could not eliminate it.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to hear a case (King v. Burwell) challenging the legality of providing premium subsidies in federal exchanges is crucial to the GOP precisely because the chances for legislative repeal of Obamacare are so remote. The Court can seriously damage the ACA in a way that congressional Republicans cannot. A decision to prohibit subsidies for helping the uninsured to purchase coverage in the 34 states that have federally run exchanges would destabilize the health insurance marketplaces and unravel the individual and employer mandates in those states, exacerbating the already large disparities in insurance coverage among states. It would cause both a sizable increase in the uninsured population and sizable losses for the insurance industry and medical care providers as millions of Americans lost their health coverage.  Such a ruling could, in turn, produce enormous pressures on affected states and Congress to adopt measures to stave off those outcomes. Yet the ACA’s shaky political foundations would complicate policymakers’ responses, and Obamacare’s opponents would be emboldened to resist any fixes. A ruling against federal subsidies could have a spillover effect, dampening the chances for Medicaid expansion in some states. (Emphasis mine)

 

The ACA appears to be on track to destroy the financing of health care in our country, whether or not it is fully implemented.

 

Dreams of 2017

What “executive priorities” would you like to see implemented by Executive Order of the new Republican President, beginning January 20, 2017?

Even as a “dream,” it’s not easy to write all this. It’s easy to see the objections and possible pitfalls. I need help. I suggest not enforcing any law that can’t be justified in 2 to 3  sentences, using “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and a plain reading of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. No “penumbras,” no nuances. Make it plain and transparent enough that even Gruber’s criteria of  “the stupidity of the American voters” is met.

Same 90 day deadline Obama set for his immigration fiat?

Here’s a short list:

  • Close the border.  Should we deport the “over-stayers” and those on Obama’s “deferment” lists?
  • The IRS should phase out, shut down, beginning with Obamacare enforcement.
  • The Secret Service will limit it’s scope to protection of dignitaries.
  • Tell the EPA, OSHA, EEOC, HHS, Education Energy and others to plan on shutting down as States take over their functions – the way the States want to do those functions.
  • Foreign aid should be held until Congress makes new, individual appropriations.
  • Any aide that goes to abortion-favorable services stops immediately.
  • ?????

 

Congressional Majorities – Historic “swing”

Senate majorities historic NYTTake a look at what the New York Times calls the swing. (Their site has more detail than my little pic.)

The majorities have been too large and too long on the Dem’s side. It’s time for more conservative, small government, pro-family, pro-life, and pro-security government from the Right.  We’ve made a good first step

The Ethics of Quarantine

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . .”

Yes, I’m using the Declaration of Independence to explain the ethics of quarantine. In fact, I suggest that the inalienable rights to life, liberty and “the pursuit of happiness” actually requires that a “just government” quarantine people who endanger the life of others, while doing as much as possible to preserve the rights of those who are quarantined.
The threat of the Ebola virus has spurred the discussion about quarantine in the United States, due to the high mortality rate of the disease. We’ve forgotten the quarantines of the past and most people are unaware of the existence of Presidential Executive Orders concerning formal lists of “Quarantinable Diseases.”
Inalienable or fundamental rights are negative rights. Consider the proverb that “Your (inalienable) right to swing your fist ends at my nose.”
Negative rights are limited to prohibiting action, in contrast to positive rights, which would force others to act for our benefit. That means that we have the right not to be killed, enslaved, or coerced into acts by others – you have the right to swing that fist as long as you don’t hit anyone else by intention or accident.

However, when a third party’s action or negligence threatens to infringe on our fundamental rights we have the right to protect ourselves and our fellow citizens, in the form of government, have a duty to assist us.
This protection should involve the use of the least force possible, for the least time possible, and we must take care not to become guilty ourselves of unnecessarily infringing the inalienable rights of others by abusing the government enforcement of quarantine. When government acts to limit the liberty of people by quarantine, it is imperative to ensure that there is a real threat to the lives of others, to limit the time of quarantine to the time the person is a possible threat, and to protect the lives of those people by providing food, shelter and medical assistance for those who can’t provide for themselves.
Not only is it ethical to implement restrictions on people coming to this country from areas where the disease is epidemic, it is the duty of government to protect the right to life of our citizens by implementing procedures for involuntary quarantine within our borders.

The Insider – FeatureID 383

Read this article for a history (you probably don’t know about)  of the many attempts and failures in healthcare reform over the last 20+ years.

In 2001, Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, brought a tax credit bill to the House floor and passed it over objections of congressional liberals favoring Medicaid expansion. In the Senate, however, Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) blocked the tax credit bill twice. Nonetheless, as a political matter, conservatives were playing offense on health care policy for the first time in memory. While small, the proposal was a psychological victory for those who wanted to fix health care with more free markets.

via The Insider – FeatureID 383.

False “leaders” call for martial law

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/50158577

Occasionally speaking of herself in the third person, Joann Fleming, the self-proclaimed head of an East Texas “Tea Party” group, led a press conference at the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday. The Fleming gang demanded that Governor Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott order a Special Session of the Texas Legislature (cost: well over $1 Million) in order to spend the Rainy Day Fund (cost: up to $4 Billion) and that the Governor declare martial law (cost: immeasurable).

 

 

Fleming (“. . . if you’re like me, your brain will be screaming to you . . .”) shrilly  stated that the Federal government has no right to tax Texans “except when they have declared war or a state of emergency” and that “Maybe we can’t count on our State officials to protect us, either.” Calling Texas a “sanctuary State,” Fleming ignored the fact that Governor Perry “alienated some potential supporters after his push to ban so-called “sanctuary cities” in Texas.”

 
Failed 2014 Republican Congressional candidate, Katrina Pierson, who once called  a US Marine Captain “deformed” because of his war injuries, took the stage to complain that 50% of Texas’ budget comes from Federal dollars! Where does she think “federal dollars” come from?  In fact, through 2010, Texas was a “donor State.  Since then, Texas received a bit more than Texas taxpayers sent to Washington – if you count Medicare, Social Security and the money that supports the military in our State. Sounds like pay back to me.

 

 

Another member of the gang, a lawyer, said that the Governor (and Attorney General?) had been getting bad legal advice. When asked what difference this plan would make, since Texas can’t legally deport illegal aliens, the lawyer suggested that the Governor should ignore the law, order the Guard and DPS to deport illegal aliens, and bypass Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He said that the worst that could happen is that President Barack Obama and Holder could sue.

 

 

Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution:

“No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”

 
Under the usual circumstances, the National Guard is under the command of the President of the United States, rather than control of the Governor. As explained by the (far-right wing) Red State last year, the National Guard is not the “militia” of the several States. Instead, the men and women serving in the Guard are considered ‘troops.”

 
It is true that in times of “imminent danger” the Governor may declare a state of emergency and call up the Guard for duty within the State. You may even remember that in 2010, then-US Attorney General Napolitano told Governor Perry that if he wasn’t happy with the 250 troops sent to the Texas border, he was welcome to call them up himself and pay for it.  Unfortunately, the current US Attorney General is Eric Holder.

 

 

The emotional demand by one woman, Alice Linahan of Women on the Wall, that Governor Perry and General Abbott “Show us that you’re actually different from Obama,” sums up the cognizant dissonance of the entire press conference.  The gang seems to have no understanding of how quickly President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder ignore the law, at the same moment that they condemn it.

 

I say “fertilization,” you say “conception”

Forty years ago the words “fertilization” and “conception” meant the same thing to doctors, lawyers, and embryologists alike: the joining of the 23 chromosomes in the sperm with the 23 chromosomes in the oocyte (“egg”) to form a new complete, unique human organism. “Contraception” was defined as any method that worked before the existence of the embryo by preventing fertilization. These were the hormonal treatments and devices that prevent ovulation of the egg and condoms, diaphragms and sterilization that serve as “barriers” between the sperm and egg.   Drugs and devices that may or may not end the life of the embryo after fertilization were legally and correctly called “abortifacients.”

 

However, legalized abortion and the ability to accomplish fertilization through in vitro methods led to new legal definitions of “pregnancy” and “conception” as beginning at implantation rather than fertilization.   Even in vivo, healthy human embryos in healthy mothers were deprived of legal protection as human beings for at least the first 5 – 10 days of their lives, the window of opportunity for implantation when the developing embryo grows to hundreds of cells organized in 2 or 3 recognizable tissue layers and interact with the mother’s body in ways that may affect the timing of birth or risk of diabetes and other health concerns. Possible abortifacients that work after fertilization but before implantation were redefined as “emergency contraception.”

 

In spite of what you may have heard on the news, the June 30, 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) didn’t deny birth control for anyone. Everyone may still purchase his or her own FDA-approved birth control.  SCOTUS simply ruled that the government can’t force some employers to buy things that they believe are immoral.

 

In fact, Hobby Lobby only asked to be exempt from purchasing insurance plans that paid for specific drugs and devices used for “emergency contraception.” Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare” or ACA), the company purchased insurance that included true forms of contraception, including,

  • Those that prevent ovulation by preventing the normal ups and downs of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, such asBirth-control pills with estrogen and progestin (“Combined Pill”),Birth-control pills with progestin alone (“The Mini Pill”),Birth control pills (extended/continuous use), Contraceptive patches, Contraceptive rings,Progestin injections, andImplantable rods

and

  • Those that act as “barriers” to fertilization by preventing the union of sperm and egg: Male condoms, Female condoms, Diaphragms with spermicide, Sponges with spermicide, Cervical caps with spermicide, Spermicide alone, Vasectomies, Female sterilization surgeries, and Female sterilization implants.

The problem is that regulations written by the Obama Administration mandated that all insurances pay for all pregnancy “preventatives” approved by the FDA, including drugs and devices that may function after fertilization to end the life of the new human embryo:

  • Pills that mainly delay ovulation but may impair implantation and development of the placenta if fertilization takes place, such as over-the-counter Plan B and generic levonorgestrel tablets, and ella, which requires a prescription, and
  • Devices that mechanically and hormonally make the uterus inhospitable to implantation by the embryo, such as intrauterine devices like the copper-T, Mirena, and ParaGuard. These are inserted up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse to prevent implantation and then left in place to prevent fertilization and implantation for as long as 5-10 years.

 

 

Although the words we use do not change the fact that the human embryo is the same human life before implantation as after, they can change his or her legal status.

 

 

 

 

 

IRS to Pay $50,000 in Leaking of Marriage Group’s Tax Return, Donors

No punitive damages because the IRS guy plead the Fifth!

Forget ideological issues.  This is not about marriage. It’s intimidation and theft of information that the Federal government forces us to give them at the point of guns.

The leak of confidential tax records should be a crime. Isn’t it time for criminal charges against one of these “leakers?”

 

Testifying under oath in a deposition as part of the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Meisel invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself and declined to disclose the identity of his “conduit.”

To get at that fact, Eastman said, the National Organization for Marriage has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to grant immunity from prosecution to Meisel.

The $50,000 to be paid by the IRS represents actual damages NOM incurred responding to the illegal disclosure, not punitive damages, since the marriage group was unable to prove disclosure of the confidential records was deliberate after Meisel took the Fifth.

Meisel provided the marriage group’s tax data to the Human Rights Campaign, documents found as part of the investigation show. HRC is among organizations and activists advocating same-sex marriage that routinely describe NOM as a “hate group” or “anti-gay” for making the case for preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

via IRS to Pay $50,000 in Leaking of Marriage Group’s Tax Return, Donors.

Republicans, the Tea Party, and November

Because of the run-off win by incumbent Mississippi Republican Senator Thad Cochran, there is a renewed effort to split the “Tea Party” from the Republican Party.

Forget for a moment that Senator Cochran was backed by the very Conservative former Governor Haley Barbour and appealed to voters who weren’t traditional Republican voters. (Or that Chris McDaniel voted in the 2003 Democratic Party Primary.)

 

The question is who will elect the winners – and choose the Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House –  in November, 2014?

 

I‘ve addressed this false divide and question in the past.

 

 

We Republicans are the Tea Party. If you look at the Tea Party, you will see the Conservative foundation, the remnant that have opposed “centrists” and “moderates” for years. We are the ones who have known all along what the Dems relearn each election cycle, but some of our own never seem to: Americans are conservative, to the right of center. When all the couch potatoes woke up last year, we were the ones who were here to welcome them and give them somewhere to start.

Some of us sat out the 2006 and even 2008 elections to “teach them a lesson;” that they need to legislate like Republicans if they want us to support them. Where Republicans turned out to vote, we held offices. Where the Republican voters were no-shows, we lost ground and offices. In a few cases, Republicans crossed over in the name of Chaos and strong conservatives were narrowly defeated in the Primaries, leaving us with a choice between a RINO, a Democrat or an under vote. We ended up with candidates chosen by the least knowledgeable voters.

Well, that was successful, wasn’t it?

 

If there is a move to form a “Third Party,” let it be after the November elections.

Lawless County Clerk

Ignoring the law, another County Clerk unilaterally decides to issue marriage licenses. This is how the law has been undermined in California and other States. (And why it’s important to vote “down-ballot.”

That was on display in Colorado on Wednesday afternoon, when the county clerk in the liberal city of Boulder announced she would issue same-sex marriage licenses even though the 10th Circuit — which along with Colorado and Utah includes, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming — stayed its decision pending appeal. The state’s attorney general declared the licenses invalid because Colorado’s gay marriage prohibition is still the law, but Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall said she would continue to issue them until stopped by a court.

via Federal Court Rules That Gay Couples Have Constitutional Right To Marry.

Cheering free speech Supreme Court decision, Christian doctors warn of government enforcement of ideology : Resources : Christian Medical & Dental Associations

The 15,000-member Christian Medical Association, which along with other faith-based organizations had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case examining free speech and assembly rights, lauded the decision announced today in the case, McCullen v. Coakley.

“The Court simply reaffirmed that the First Amendment’s protection of peaceful speech and assembly is a cornerstone of this nation,” explained CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens. “Hopefully such decisions will begin to address the alarming growth of coercive assaults on the free speech of anyone deemed not politically correct by the government.”

The brief, submitted by the Christian Legal Society, sought to counter a Massachusetts law that had attempted to ban peaceful pro-life speech on public sidewalks, by prohibiting many citizens from entering a public street or sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion facility.

“The fact that the government was bent on not only banning peaceful speech and assembly, but also penalizing its citizens with fines and jail, demonstrates the type of coercion that can happen when governments decide to enforce their own ideology,” stated Dr. Stevens.

via Cheering free speech Supreme Court decision, Christian doctors warn of government enforcement of ideology : Resources : Christian Medical & Dental Associations.

“Buffer zone” Unconstitutional #Stand4Life #Prolife rules

This should have been obvious, but now it’s the ruling of the Court. Good news

Developing: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a Massachusetts law banning abortion-clinic protests within a 35-foot buffer zone violates the First Amendment rights of protesters, SCOTUSblog reports.

The court was unanimous in its judgment. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the opinion (PDF) for the court.

An earlier Massachusetts law had established a six-foot “no approach” zone around abortion clinics that barred leaflets, signs and counseling of persons within the zone absent their consent. It was replaced in 2007 with the new law generally barring people from public sidewalks and public ways within 35 feet of abortion clinics. (People entering the clinics, employees, police and people who happened to be walking by were exempted.)

SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein has this analysis: “The upshot of today’s ruling is that an abortion clinic buffer zone is presumptively unconstitutional. Instead, a state has to more narrowly target clinic obstructions. For example, the police can tell protesters to move aside to let a woman through to the clinic. But it cannot prohibit protesters from being on the sidewalks in the first instance. If in practice protesters still are obstructing the entrance, then it can consider a broader restriction.”

via 35-foot buffer zone for abortion-clinic protests violates First Amendment, SCOTUS rules.

 

From the majority opinion:

But petitioners do not claim a right to trespass on the clinics’ property. They instead claim a right to stand on the public sidewalks by the driveway as cars turn into the parking lot. Before the buffer zones, they could do so. Now they must stand a substantial distance away. The Act alone is responsible for that restriction on their ability to convey their message.

 

Updated to add the quote. BBN 6/26/2014 10:45 AM

All nine justices reject recess appointments in Noel Canning case – The Washington Post

UPDATE: A few quick observations. First, the central holding of the opinion for the Court is that the Senate gets to determine when the Senate is in recess, provided the recess is of sufficient length. This is significant in that it gives Congress the ability to prevent recess appointments.

Second, none of the justices were willing to accept the position of the Obama Administration, which was unnecessarily extreme. In choosing the make the recess appointments in the way it did, such as by not following precedents set by prior administrations (including Teddy Roosevelt) and filling some Board spots that the Senate never had time to fill, the Administration adopted a stance that was very hard to defend, so it could not attract a single vote.

via All nine justices reject recess appointments in Noel Canning case – The Washington Post.

Texas Ethics Commission Law & Regulation on Lobbying

You’ve probably seen the emails, Twitter posts and Facebook comments about the Texas Ethics Commission charges against Michael Quinn Sullivan (@MQSullivan) of Empower Texans (ET)/ Texans for Fiscal Responsibility for failure to register as a lobbyist.

 

According to my own personal scorecard, Mr. Sullivan and I agree about 95% of the time. I’ve heard him speak at Republican Women meetings and have followed his website and social media posts. (He and I disagreed on the 2013 scorecard.) He claims he’s a journalist and is protecting the rest of us from being silenced. However, Mr. Sullivan earns about $130,000 a year, and he solicits donations to help him influence Texas legislators.  In fact, Mr. Sullivan has registered as a lobbyist in the past. When did he stop being a lobbyist, and how did he determine that he was no longer a lobbyist?

The Texas Ethics Commission has made mistakes in the handling of this complaint, including closed door meetings, gag orders (or the equivalent), and there have been delays and down-right stalling when it comes to allowing MQS to confront the two legislators who filed the complaint against him. I’ve long objected to the need for filling out that paperwork, including my occupation and employer, when I buy a pin or meal at a New Braunfels Republican Women meeting.

 

Today, Mr. Sullivan had his hearing at the Texas Ethics Commission. It was live-streamed on the Internet (here). Mr. Sullivan refused to testify, repeating “On the advice of counsel, I’m not testifying today.” For hours.  In my opinion, that’s not brave and definitely not helpful.

 

In the long run, this is a question about the law. The State of Texas has published its rules and regulations. Even though I’m not a lawyer, the law and regulations seem clear to me. You can read them here.

 

DETERMINING WHETHER LOBBY REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

Lobby registration is required if a person meets either one of two thresholds: the “compensation and reimbursement threshold” or the “expenditure threshold.” A “person” required to register may be a corporation, partnership, association, or other type of business entity as well as an individual. See Entity Registration.

COMPENSATION AND REIMBURSEMENT THRESHOLD

Under current Ethics Commission rules, a person who receives, or is entitled to receive under an agreement under which the person is retained or employed, more than $1,000 in a calendar quarter as compensation or reimbursement to lobby must register as a lobbyist. 1 T.A.C. § 34.43. (Compensation and reimbursement must be added together to determine whether registration is required. Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 103 (1992).) Compensation for certain communications, however, does not count toward the compensation threshold even though the communications may be intended to influence legislation or administrative action. SeeEXCEPTIONS FROM REQUIRED REGISTRATION, in this guide. Also, a person who crosses the compensation threshold is not required to register if lobby activity constitutes no more than five percent of the person’s compensated time during a calendar quarter. See EXCEPTIONS FROM REQUIRED REGISTRATION, Incidental Lobbying.

Compensation to Prepare for Lobbying. Compensation received for preparing lobby communications (for example, compensation attributable to strategy sessions, review and analysis of legislation or administrative matters, research, or communication with a client concerning lobbying strategy) is counted toward the compensation threshold. 1 T.A. C. § 34.3. If a person engages in preparatory activities, but does not actually communicate to influence legislation or administrative action, registration is not required. Id. A person employed by a lobbyist (or a person employed by the lobbyist’s employer who works under the lobbyist’s direction) to assist the lobbyist in nonclerical lobby activities must be listed as an assistant on the lobbyist’s registration. See Reporting Assistants.

You can look up the lists of lobbyists at the website, too.

The accusation that I object to is the claim that the TEC will come after the rest of us next. Not unless we are compensated (paid) for our lobbying and it’s a condition of our employment. Today, one of my friends on Facebook made the claim that the pro-life group, Texas Right to Life, is next. However, at least one of the lobbyists for TRTL registers during odd-numbered years.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I’m on the Board of Directors of Texas Alliance for Life. At least two of our employees are registered.)

Edit: http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/loblst09_04.htm  Mr. Sullivan was registered in 2009. BBN, 6/26/14 7:55 AM.

Choice vs. Prayer (obscene gesture) #Stand4Life

Today is the one year anniversary of mob and chaos that Leticia Van de Putte and Wendy Davis initiated and encouraged when the Texas Senate began to vote on a law to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks and require doctors who perform abortion to have privileges at a nearby hospital and to use the FDA guidelines that they agree to use before becoming eligible to This was the response of one woman to prayer and a crucifix last year at the Texas Legislature.

The women were following the leader of a man who shouted, “Whose choice?” by chanting “My choice.”It strikes me as odd that every time I witnessed one of these chanting/response sessions, a man was leading the women. That’s not the version of feminism I expected.

 

This picture came from a video that I took on July 2, during House testimony on HB5, which later became law prohibiting abortion after 5 months and protecting women who chose to undergo abortion.

Cropped Choice vs prayer2

New Braunfels Republican Women mentioned on Alex Jones’ Infowars

NBRW logoWe’ve made it to the big time, Ladies!  via » Web Filtering Company Launches Purge of Libertarian, Conservative Media Alex Jones’ Infowars:

Other sites besides Infowars.com have also been miscategorized by Blue Coat.

In the past, the company also labeled New Braunfels Republican Women, the web site of conservative commentator Carolyn Gargaro and Reunion Ministries as “pornography.”

 

To be fair, at one time there was a pornography site using the initials as NBRW.  You can see our website at NBRW.com and our Facebook page is here.

Open Letter to Legislators on “A minor border crisis”

I’ve sent a copy of this letter to all my State legislators (slightly edited for each):

What can we do to help moderate what appears to be the makings of an international crisis due to the numbers of families and vulnerable, unaccompanied children entering our country?

Please see this post about the issue at WingRight.org, “A minor border crisis.” I am concerned that the unaccompanied minor children in these stories are being used in a political ploy designed to beat away at the resistance to “immigration reform.” Whether that is true or not, they are suffering physical and sexual abuse and abandoned due to the inadequate system in place at this time.

As to the “practical action” that I mention in the blog post, perhaps we could utilize the systems for handling refugees that the State of Texas built after Katrina.

Our goal should be to return these children and families with minor children to their homes in their own country immediately after they are caught and funding for the effort should come from the Federal government. Since I’m not sure we can count on this Administration to agree, Texas must take the lead.

I’m offering to work as a volunteer anywhere I can be of assistance, whether as a doctor and/or doing the “scut work” in coordination of the effort.

Thanks!
Beverly

Medicaid backlog creates payment hassles for physicians | Medical Economics

And the docs will pay if the patient doesn’t qualify . . .

 

Though 6 million new patients have enrolled for Medicaid coverage due to expansion of the program, media reports say that nearly half of those enrollment applications have yet to be processed.

Because of the bureaucratic backlog, physicians might get stuck waiting even longer on Medicaid reimbursements for patients who have yet to receive authorization. In addition, practices may incur costs from patients who signed up for but were denied Medicaid coverage.

via Medicaid backlog creates payment hassles for physicians | Medical Economics.

What Cantor’s Defeat Means « Commentary Magazine

Perhaps that #RPT Immigration plank wasn’t a fluke, after all. This is much bigger than the Tea Party, alone. Or the Tea Party is bigger than anyone thought!

 

Eric Cantor wasn’t supposed to lose. His own pollster had him up by, get this, 34 points the other week. He’d raised nearly $5 million, and in the past two weeks spent $1 million against his rival’s $79,000. Not enough.

**********

So is this a case of the Republican Right eating one of its own to prove a point? Perhaps. Or it could just be he was hit by a perfect storm of anti-Washington sentiment and his own advocacy for an immigration bill that made him a whipping boy for ratings-hungry radio chatters. He lost touch with the voters in his own district and was done in.

via What Cantor’s Defeat Means « Commentary Magazine.

About Those RPT Convention Votes and Immigration

Raise your hand if you were one of the delegates to the Republican Party of Texas Convention who voted for the plank but didn’t have a clue what you were voting for. I didn’t think any of you did. I certainly knew what I was voting for.

In case you were incompetent or driven by ugly emotions when you voted on the Platform – and for those who weren’t there but are hearing from the media and even some Republicans: Here’s the Immigration Plank we voted into the Platform: http://wp.me/p1FiCk-1cj and here’s my review of the controversy on the floor of the Convention: http://wp.me/p1FiCk-1ce

The press has been running an increasing number of articles about the crisis in our State resulting in the arrest of over a 1000 people a day in the Rio Grande Valley alone – 148,000 in 7 months, compared with 60,000 caught in Arizona. Over 47,000 of the Rio Grande detainees were minor boys and girls, some as young as 8 years old, since last October. 75% are from El Salvador, Guatemala, and the Honduras, countries other than Mexico.

I don’t fully support only two of the many points in the new plank. For one thing, I’m not convinced about ending in-state tuition for young kids who are brought here before 15 years old who go on to graduate from our high schools. Although I do worry that we are drawing those minors numbered above. In addition, I’m concerned about new Federal data banks and the usefulness of E-verify.

However, I agree with the bulk of the Plank, especially the call for a secure border. I agree with the suggested cooperation between law enforcement branches and relieving ranchers from the fear that they and landowners will face crippling civil suits if a trespasser is harmed on their land while in the country illegally.

I’ve seen some confusion about this line: “Contiguous physical barrier coupled with electronic, infrared and visual monitoring.” That’s support for a fence that’s actually on the border where the two countries meet, rather than miles in. It’s not a call for a continuous fence all along the border, but one where it’s needed and supplemented by actual people and technology where they are needed.

My main sticking point was the Committee report’s appearance of asking for a “provisional visa program,” that apparently started with “the participant’s” application from within the country by people here illegally. That’s why I decided that the plank is a good compromise for our Party. I strongly approve of the statement that “Any form of Amnesty should not be granted, including the granting of legal status to persons in the country illegally”

Edit: cleaned up grammar and typos, 6:22 AM 6/10/14 – BBN

Immigration Plank of Republican Party of Texas Platform 2014

Amendment to Preliminary 2014 Platform of the Republican Party of Texas Submitted by Peter Batura, SD 17

http://www.netarrantteaparty.com/wp-content/uploads/immigration-plank.pdf

America is proudly a nation of immigrants. Throughout our history, our nation has attracted productive, industrious and gifted people to America because she is exceptional, and those immigrants and their descendants helped make America the world’s unrivaled economic and military superpower. It remains imperative to create fair and consistent procedures that will again enable freedom-loving, hard-working and law-abiding immigrants to join us, by providing them an efficient, practical method of legal entry, so they can lawfully take positions where their labor is needed, without exploitation or harassment.

Our national interests are poorly served by our broken, embattled, and outdated immigration system, and patchwork attempts to mend its deficiencies will not prepare us to continue to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex global economy that demands the legal movement of people to fill jobs at all skill levels. An efficient, profamily and market-based system will provide a more workable solution that is compassionate, equitable and respects the rule of law.

But by failing to create a rational and effective system that encourages and facilitates legal immigration to the benefit of the nation, Congress has forced states to deal with the consequences of a broken immigration system, including human, sex and drug trafficking, the direct criminal activities of cartels and gangs. This situation must end so America can, once again, enjoy the fruits of a vibrant and beneficial system of legal immigration.

In addition, with 92 million Americans not working, the labor force at 36-year low and a lethargic economy, the United States of America can ill-afford a guest worker program designed to depress wages.

The following outlines specific actions needed to address these critical issues:

• Secure the borders through

o Increasing in the number of border security officers
o Increasing joint operations and training with local law enforcement, DPS and the Texas State Guard
o Contiguous physical barrier coupled with electronic, infrared and visual monitoring

• Ending In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants

• Enhancing state smuggling laws

• Prohibiting sanctuary cities

• Prohibiting the knowing employment of illegal immigrants

• Providing civil liability protections for landowners against illegal immigrants

• Protecting the ability of law enforcement officers to inquire of the status of someone in custody

• Modernizing Current Immigration Laws to address the following:

o Any form of Amnesty should not be granted, including the granting of legal status to persons in the country illegally
o We support replacement of the current employment visa system with an efficient cost effective system
o We support ending country of origin quotas
o We support ending the annual green card lottery

• Once the borders are verifiably secure, and E-Verify system use is fully enforced, creation of a visa classification for non-specialty industries which have demonstrated actual and persistent labor shortages.

On the Immigration Plank of the Republican Party of Texas

I am proud of the heritage of our Republican Party of Texas as welcoming citizens of all backgrounds who hold faith, family and freedom as our principles and who ask others to simply follow the law.

 
Now, I’m hearing – and reading on Facebook – that it’s the fault of myself and the Republican Party of Texas that ObamaCare was forced on us at midnight on New Years’ Day *and* that it’s my fault that there are (an estimated) 12 Million illegal aliens have entered and are currently residing without status in the US.

 
Absolutely, unequivocally: NO!

 
This exact line of “reasoning” from the Chair of the Platform Committee, Tom Mechler, is what made me join the fight against what came to be known as the “Provisional Visa Program,” but was formerly the “Texas Solution.” Until Mechler made these claims, I was hoping for a blending of the positions of the two groups. (I was even called a “liberal” on a post on this blog.)

 
It’s not our fault! We have petitioned our State and Federal Legislators, our Governor, our Party. Some few of our citizens have joined patrols and militias and have been vilified. This week, many of us took our time and effort to testify to the subcommittee considering the Immigration Plank.

 
They didn’t listen. Instead, the leaders who initiated the battle over the “Texas Solution” engaged in overt gamesmanship.

 

 

The language that was printed under the heading of the “Minority Report” failed because the vote in Committee, actually on a motion to replace the language we later saw as the “Committee Report,” was a tie. At 15-15, there was no 50%+1 majority vote and the previous language prevailed. I had been told that the Chair voted to break the tie, when in fact the motion failed because he did not vote.  TJ Scott, the delegate to the Committee from SD 14, led the “minority.”

 

 

Rather than allowing Mr. Scott, the author, to read the “Minority Report,” Chairman Mechler chose his man to read the “minority report.” Mr. Ramsey (SD 7), moved to immediately amend the Committee’s report, jumping right over the** “minority report.” (Ramsey even claimed to be the author, but was forced to retract that claim from the stage.  He later said that he was talking about being the author of the amendment.)

 
I believe that TJ spent nearly all day Friday trying to determine the proper procedure. He did exactly what he was told was the correct thing. He was misled.

 
In fact, I was the first to turn in an amendment (and the 6th), but the Chair decided that the order of amendments were submitted meant nothing. The only thing that mattered was getting to a microphone first. Then, he gave the mic to Mechler, who gave it to Ramsey.

 

 

 

Fortunately for all of us, one of our members was able to win the battle of the microphones and presented an amendment that was truly a compromise. (I’ll publish the new Immigration plank as soon as it’s online.)
The newest argument is that the Delegates passed the Amendment without knowing what we were voting for. (Totally ignoring that they voted for what Chairman Munisteri repeatedly called “the Ramsey language,” presented the same way, without a paper copy.) That is certainly not true for me. The clerk read the entire amendment out loud and we were able to read along with her. I was able to understand what I was voting for and trust that the bulk of the delegates who voted with me are just as capable of understanding.
There is no call for deportation in the Final 2014 Platform. There is a demand that the magnets which draw the illegal aliens to our State be ended. There *is* approval of a guest worker visa when needed. It does not micro-manage the details of the visa.

 
(BTW, doesn’t it seem odd that some people are demanding a “living wage,” while others advocate adding millions of low-income workers through a guest worker program?)

 

 

Finally, I hope that the Republican Party of Texas will post the Final 2014 Platform on-line so that we can all review exactly what we are discussing. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to read the Platform for common ground, rather than the differences.

We Republicans remain the Party of life, liberty and property. We are the Party which best defends the Constitution of the State of Texas and the United States and faith, family and freedom!

*** Edited 6/8/14 at 9:48PM to correct the statement that Mr. Ramsey moved to amend the “minority report, by inserting “the Committee’s report, jumping right over the.” Of course, Mr Ramsey made the motion to amend the Committee’s report, after reading the minority report.

Update at 10:40 PM, clarification about that tie vote in the Committee.

The Texas Solution – just some thoughts

going to convention keep it redIt looks as though one of the big fights at next week’s biennial State Convention of the Republican Party of Texas will focus around the “Texas Solution,” a plank in the 2012 Platform. (See below **)  As usual, I have an opinion or two to share.

Of course, as a 2014 delegate, I’m not sure how I’m going to vote until I see the drafts.  I do know that – as in the past – I won’t allow one plank – or even several planks – to overcome my support for the only Party that protects life, liberty, property and is unquestionably the best defender of vulnerable life and marriage. If I’m willing to work with the Party, rest assured that I will be more than happy to work on common ground with the people in the party who have different opinions.

 

I do agree with most of the 2012 Texas Solution. I am most concerned with maintaining our Republican Party support of the rule of law rather than expediency and appeal to emotion. For the most part, I disagree with the parts that were left out, along with the Solution’s call to end birthright citizenship “without exceptions.”

 

I was a member of the 2012 Platform Committee. Due to pressure from influential Texans, we voted on the Solution at the very last minute, when we had no time to debate or win support proposed amendments. Our report was due at the printers at a given time, so we had a strict time line.

 

 The Committee narrowly voted against an amendment (made in spite of that deadline) that would have added a requirement that the process for a worker’s permit begin in the applicant’s country of origin.  If we support allowing them to apply at an office in the US, we not only repeat the mistake of the Reagan amnesty of 1986 (encouraging an influx of illegal aliens hoping to qualify), we increase the vulnerability of the current illegal alien.  Applicants would have to walk into a government facility, admit to being here illegally (whether they entered illegally or over-stayed a visa) , and our laws would need to either punish (fines), forgive or ignore his admission that he broke the law.

I am in favor of a very few exceptions to the above in the case of young adults who were brought here by parents when they were minors, but reached the age of majority.  In those cases, the applicants don’t actually admit to breaking laws and we don’t have to ignore the rule of law.

 

 

However, I’m firm on the opinion that minors should live with their parents, even if the parents go back to their home country.

 

I disagree with the people who want to shut down immigration completely and those who want to end birthright citizenship (although minors with citizenship would need to go home with their parents at the end of the work visa until they aren’t minors).  I also disagree with those who hold that people who have permits shouldn’t be allowed to bring their families. Our Party supports the family.

 

You may notice that I haven’t given links or names of the people who are talking about the Texas Solution. That was on purpose, because I don’t want to add to what is already acrimonious in-fighting.  These are truly “just some thoughts” of my own. What do you think?

 

 

**The Texas Solution as it appeared in the final 2012 Platform of the Republican Party of Texas:

The Texas Solution – Because of decades-long failure of the federal government to secure our borders and address the immigration issue, there are now upwards of 11 million undocumented individuals in the United States today, each of whom entered and remain here under different circumstances. Mass deportation of these individuals would neither be equitable nor practical; while blanket amnesty, as occurred with the Simpson-Mazzoli Act of 1986, would only encourage future violations of the law. We seek common ground to develop and advance a conservative, market- and law-based approach to our nation’s immigration issues by following these principles:

1. Secure Our Borders – The U.S. Border must be secured immediately! We demand the application of effective, practical and reasonable measures to secure our borders and to bring safety and security for all Americans along the border and throughout the nation.
2. Modernize the United States Social Security Card – We support the improvement of our 1936 Social Security card to use contemporary anti-counterfeit technology. The social security card will not be considered a National ID card for U.S. citizens.
3. Birthright Citizenship – We call on the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of the United States to clarify Section 1 of the 14th amendment to limit citizenship by birth to those born to a citizen of the United States with no exceptions.
4. Create an Effective and Efficient Temporary Worker Program – A national Temporary Worker Program should be implemented to bring skilled and unskilled workers into the United States for temporary periods of time when no U.S. workers are currently available. The program should also require:

• Self-funding through participation fees and fines;
• Applicants must pass a full criminal background check;
• Applicants with prior immigration violations would only qualify for the program if they paid the appropriate fines;
• Applicants and/or Employers must prove that they can afford and/or secure private health insurance;
• Applicants must waive any and all rights to apply for financial assistance from any public entitlement programs;
• Applicant must show a proficiency in the English language and complete an American civic class;
• Temporary Workers would only be able to work for employers that deduct and match payroll taxes;
• All participants would be issued an individual Temporary-Worker Biometric Identification ard that tracks all address changes and both civil and criminal court appearances as a defendant.

Vote David Dewhurst for Texas Lieutenant Governor

Vote for DewhurstVote for David Dewhurst as Lieutenant Governor of Texas in the Republican Primary Runoff May 27, 2014!

 

David Dewhurst led the Texas Senate to pass strong legislation for Texas that so many other States haven’t been able to pass:

He held the line in 2003 when Dems ran to New Mexico and in 2011 when Doggett wrote Federal law specifically to prevent Texas from receiving education funds,

Tort reform for everyone, not just doctors like me,
The Defense of Marriage Act, followed by a DOMA amendment to Texas’ Constitution,
The Woman’s Right to Know Act requiring a 24 hour waiting period and informed consent for elective abortion,
Prioritized family planning funds, so Planned Parenthood was defunded,
Requirements that abortions after the 15th week be performed in an Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) followed by a law requiring that all abortions be performed in ASC’s,
Doctors who perform abortions must have admitting privileges with in 30 miles of the business,
Abortion businesses must offer the patient a sonogram and explain the findings,
Minors having an abortion must obtain parental consent and an afadavit that the person signing the consent is who they say they are,
A ban on 3rd trimester abortions in 2005, followed by a ban on all abortions after 5 months, except when the mother’s life is in danger.

And in case you missed it, Texas’ State spending is down from 2002 levels, when adjusted for inflation and population growth.  We have the lowest or second lowest debt per capita in the nation and the bulk of it is self-supporting by users, tolls, etc. 79% of our State debt is pensions. Look at independent reports like that last link and the State Comptroller’s reports.

My endorsements for Republican Primary Runoff Election 2014

Lieutenant Governor – David H. Dewhurst

Attorney General  –  Dan Branch

Agricultural Commissioner – Sid Miller

Railroad Commissioner –  Wayne Christian

Comal County Precinct 4 County Commissioner  Jen Crownover

Any questions?

Early Voting Today, Primary Run Off

VOTE

Did you know that Comal County Voters can vote in any of the Early Voting locations in your Texas County?  Did you know that the sites are open 7 AM to 7 PM, today?

If you happen to pass one of the Comal County Early Voting places while out and about today, you can stop in and vote, even if it’s not your usual voting location. (Take your photo ID!)

I hope you will vote for these people:  Lt. Governor: David Dewhurst,  Attorney General: Dan Branch, and Comal County Commissioner, Precinct 4: Jen Crownover.

Here are the four Early Voting locations in Comal County:

Comal County Elections Office
178 E. Mill St. Ste. 101, New Braunfels, TX 78130

Bulverde/Spring Branch Library
131 Bulverde Crossing, Bulverde, Texas 78163
Church In The Valley
14181 Hwy 306, Canyon Lake, Texas 78133

Garden Ridge City Hall
9400 Municipal Parkway, Garden Ridge, Texas 78266

The Texas Republican Primary Run Off Election Day is Tuesday, May 27.  On election day, you will have to go to your particular precinct voting site.

 

Sen. Deuell challenges Texas Right to Life over “slanderous” ads | Dallas Morning News

Remember: Senator Bob Duell was instrumental in convincing the medical community to adopt voluntary procedures to protect patients and families affected by the Texas Advance Directive Act, even though actual amendments to the law have been blocked by the very people attacking him.

How much “freedom” does a third party Political Action Committee have in their paid ads? Is it wrong to challenge them legally when the ads are blatantly false?

In this case, the ad opens by implying that Senator Duell is responsible for the too-short 10 day period allowed to find alternate care when the family or patient disagrees with the doctor at the end of life.

Senator Duell was not in the Senate when the Texas Advance Directive Act was passed in 1999. Members of the PAC, Texas Right to Life, were present and lobbied in favor of the Act.

In contrast, Senator Duell has for years been a strong advocate for amendments that would have increased the power of families to protect their loved ones in the case of disputes with the doctor.  The amendments would have changed the waiting period to at least a month before any disputed decisions by the doctor would take effect.

As to the challenge, Senator Duell has excellent support for his case:

The Texas Catholic Conference and Catholic Bishops of Texas, who supported Deuell’s bill, have debunked the claims. They said that Texas Right to Life “has tried to stoke fear through ridiculous claims of non-existent death panels and assertions that doctors are secretly trying to kill patients. Both claims are absurd.” The Catholic Conference also ripped Texas Right to Life for spreading “fabrications” about the position of Catholics on the issue.

via Sen. Deuell challenges Texas Right to Life over “slanderous” ads | Dallas Morning News.

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