” . . . The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Since the Supreme Court affirmed (in the District of Columbia v. Heller) that the Second Amendment applies to individuals, there’s not much room in that statement for a need to justify *which* arms to keep and bear.
In fact, you have the right to your guns because of the inalienable right to life, not in spite of it. The right to defend your life is a corollary of the inalienable right to life, which is actually the right not to be killed.
“But,” someone asked me last week during an online discussion, “what about owning an AK-47, an armored tank, or even nuclear weapons?”
A gun or a tank in my neighbor’s yard is not a threat to my life, liberty or property until it’s pointed at me, by an imminent threat or in actuality.
On the other hand, nuclear materials are a real threat to the possessor and those around him, even without a trigger. Because they give off dangerous radiation and decompose (making them even more dangerous) it’s not unreasonable to regulate who may and may not possess nuclear materials, how they’ll be manufactured, stored and transported. Governments may ethically limit their possession because, like biological or chemical weapons, they’re hard to contain, much less accurately aim. They all are able to threaten people nearby, downwind and may even harm future generations.
Inalienable rights aren’t decided by government, much less personal opinion. They are negative and necessarily hierarchical. You may not enjoy a liberty that endangers the life of another, and the government can’t limit rights without prior evidence of a clear infringement of another’s rights.
(For more on rights and ethics, see “Why Ethics?“)
We may not ever solve the problem of an irresponsible tabloid press and sensation-seeking media, since the freedom of speech is too important to infringe. But we do have power over those we license as physicians.
Dr. Walt Larimore enters the vaccine debate in his blog, not by suggesting forced vaccination, only the regulation of physicians. I wouldn’t support the recommendation without some leeway — I’m certainly not going to approve of every vaccine without a time trial in this very diverse lab that is the United States.
However, Dr. Larimore and his guest author, Dr. Russell C. Libby, are right to raise the ethical and medic0-legal responsibility of physicians who are licensed by the State and who advocate against good science and medical standards.
From the article:
“State medical boards must decide if the actions of healthcare practitioners who advocate against vaccination and undermine the public health efforts of their communities warrant investigation and intervention. There are a number physicians and other licensed healthcare professionals who trivialize and discourage immunization, whether it be for philosophical, financial, or self-promotional reasons.
“When the patients they influence contract preventable disease and have bad outcomes or they cause the spread to a vulnerable population, they should be held liable for malpractice. If it is in the midst of an outbreak or epidemic, medical boards need to sanction or suspend licenses.”
I’ve spent quite a bit of time — especially over the last week – attempting to educate interested people (including a family member) about the safety and usefulness or efficacy of vaccines. My motto for these arguments has always been that, “Truth will out,” and, “If we’re right, we should be able to teach and convince.”
However, within the last week, an irresponsible Texas radio host trotted out the discredited and un-licensed doctor who fabricated the MMR/autism fraud and a Canadian newspaper published a hit piece on Gardasil. (You can find them easily on Google – I won’t give them “hits” from my page.)
When licensed physicians – men and women who should know better – spread demonstrable lies, even after being found guilty of fraud or when demonstrably spreading harmful misinformation, there should be consequences.
You’ve got to see this! From the blog, rebel.md:
“The same boards that treat doctors like criminals during our “secure board examinations” blatantly copy each other’s press releases. They’re more than “fellow members of the community of medical boards”, they’re in collusion against their own diplomats. Each board claims they are independently responding to their individual specialties, but they are clearly well-organized as a single entity against us. I’m not sure what the CEO of the ABP does for that $1.2 million salary, but writing original press releases doesn’t appear to be within his scope.”
You’ve heard it said that Doc So-and-So is “Board Certified,” right? That means that he (or she) has taken a test or two – the Board exams for his (- assume I’ve said, “or she,” from now on) specialty – and maintains a certain level of credentialing and Continuing Medical Education (CME). While not mandated by law, in many cases, it’s a necessary hoop through which to jump if a doc plans to get hospital privileges or insurance contracts.
For Family Physicians, that used to mean that we took 50 hours of CME each year and re-took our Boards each 6 or 7 years. (The “security” around those “secure board examinations” became so onerous that I was fingerprinted several times on the day I took my third set: Once on entry to the exam room, once when I returned from lunch and then when I returned from a trip to the bathroom. They graciously supplied facial tissues, since we weren’t allowed to bring in our own into the room. In fact, we were required to place purses, wallets, etc., in a locker during the exams!)
Over the last 7 or so years, the American Board of Family Physicians has phased in a convoluted system of make-work and extra tests to assure our “Maintenance of Certification” or “MOC.” (Believe it or not, that’s a trademarked name, belonging to the American Board of Medical Specialties, the overlord of all Certifications.) It’s expensive and time consuming and frankly, is of no practical use other than as a source of the CME, which we were getting anyway. That didn’t stop the Boards from attempting to convince the Feds that our licenses and/or pay should be tied to their certification.
And the profit is a big deal. MOC is a great source of revenue for the Boards, which used to only receive our $1000 or so when we took the Boards. Now, they make much more. In 2010 (according to the latest tax form I can find), the ABFM took in $24Million from family docs, paid the President of the Board just shy of $800,000, socked away $12M in “excess” revenue, and has over $72 M in assets. Family docs who work hard don’t earn 1/4 of what Dr. Puffer is paid.
Many of us refuse to play any more. When I resigned from the American Academy of Family Physicians, I decided to drop the pretense of Board Certification, also. The MOC process was impossible for my practice as a locum tenens, working in other doc’s offices.
And I’m not alone in my dissent. See Dr. Charles Kroll’s video on the corruption within the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), here, and the letter from Dr. David D Fitzpatrick at the Authentic Medicine blog.
Well, the ABIM, unlike the ABFM which jumped on MOC before all the other specialties, sort of heard its members and has pledged to hold its fees stable (and struggle along on $43 Million a year in revenues) and delay a couple of requirements. The ABIM even apologized!
Well (again), the ABFM and the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) certainly heard that! And they evidently were in the same meeting when it happened. How else to explain the fact that each sent out nearly identical letters to their members, including 120 matching words in phrases from 9 to 31 words long?
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.
Take 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
Early voting for the 2014 General Election is October 20 – 31 — Take your picture ID and vote Republican!!!
Here are the Comal County Early Voting Locations:
Main Location: Comal County Elections Office
178 Mill St. Ste. 101
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Oct 20-24: 8am – 5pm
Oct 25: 7am-7pm
Oct 26: 11am-5pm
Oct 27-31: 7am-7pm
Temporary Branch Early Voting Locations for this election:
Bulverde/Spring Branch Library – 131 Bulverde Crossing,
Bulverde, TX 78163
Oct 20-24: 8am-5pm
Oct 25: 7am-7pm
Oct 26: 11am-5pm
Oct 27-31: 7am-7pm
CRRC Building – 1909 FM 2673, Canyon Lake, TX 78133
Oct 20-24: 8am-5pm
Oct 25: 7am-7pm
Oct 26: 11am-5pm
Oct 27-31: 7am-7pm
Garden Ridge City Hall – 9400 Municipal Parkway, Garden Ridge, TX 78266
Oct 20-22: 8am-5pm
Oct 23: 8am-4:30pm
Oct 24: 8am-5pm
Oct 25: 7am-7pm
Oct 26: 11am-5pm
Oct 27: 7am-5pm
Oct 28-31: 7am-7pm
“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.
Here’s a link to the ruling https://www.texasallianceforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/HB2-Stay-Ruling-CLEAN.pdf
Unfortunately, the Court allowed the El Paso abortion business to stay open, even though currently half of women seeking abortion travel to near-by New Mexico abortion businesses. Those women who go to the El Paso business will not have the protections guaranteed other women in Texas:
“Because of the long distance between El Paso and the nearest in-state abortion clinic, as well as the doubt that Jackson casts on whether we may
look to out-of-state clinics, the State has not shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits of the challenge to the physical plant requirements of
the ambulatory surgical center provision as applied to El Paso. Thus, the district court’s injunction of the physical plant requirements of the ambulatory surgical provision will remain in force for El Paso.”(Page 29)
Hopefully, women (and men) will protect themselves from unintended pregnancies now that more travel is involved to reach the abortion business sites.
If there is a market for the abortion businesses in other areas of the State, they will adapt. And Texas will prove whether or not there’s that market.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
I’ve had privately insured and Medicare patients – and at least two families visiting our town from Canada – ask me to keep records about one or another history or ailment. I told them I’d do my best, but explained the legal problems with Medicare laws. Since 1997, doctors have been prosecuted for refusing to allow Medicare auditors to see everything in the office. One woman doctor was arrested for refusing to unlock a drawer in her (private?) desk.
And now, the IRS wants control of your medical care.
The confidentiality of the medical relationship and records has to be maintained or patients will not disclose the true nature of their problems. This results in harm to the patient and prevents the physician from truly helping the patient.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
The latest wins came this month, when the Office of Personnel Management announced that government-contracted health insurers could start covering the cost of gender reassignment surgeries for federal employees, retirees and their survivors, ending a 40-year prohibition. Two weeks earlier, a decades-old rule preventing Medicare from financing such procedures was overturned within the Department of Health and Human Services.
Unlike Obama’s support for same-sex marriage and lifting the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on openly gay troops, the White House’s work to promote transgender rights has happened mostly out of the spotlight.
Some advances have gone unnoticed because they also benefited the much larger gay, lesbian and bisexual communities. That was the case Monday when the White House announced that Obama plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In other instances, transgender rights groups and the administration have agreed on a low-key approach, both to skirt resistance and to send the message that changes are not a big deal, said Barbara Siperstein, who in 2009 became the first transgender person elected to the Democratic National Committee.
A January hearing featured the muffled coos of a toddler in the back row. A 2-year-old Honduran girl named Jennifer Tatiana came in the arms of her mother. The child was the respondent in the case, as those headed for a possible deportation are called. At the government’s request, a venue change was granted to Atlanta where the mother now lives.
Jennifer Tatiana sucked her thumb through the proceedings.
Southwest border apprehensions: (Oct. 1- May 31) 323,675, a 15 percent increase from fiscal year 2013.
Rio Grande Valley (South Texas) border apprehensions: (Oct. 1-May 31) 163,542, a 74 percent increase from fiscal year 2013.
Southwest border apprehensions of Other-than-Mexican citizens: (Oct. 1 – May 31) 162,757, 50 percent of the total Southwest border apprehensions.
Rio Grande Valley (South Texas) border apprehensions of Other-than-Mexican citizens: (Oct. 1-May 31) 122,070, 75 percent of total Rio Grande Valley apprehensions.
Mexico’s Human Rights Commission estimates that at least 20,000 migrants get kidnapped every year in Mexico, often with the assistance of local police or other officials. The gangs hold the migrants and demand hundreds or even thousands of dollars for their release.
There is one big problem with Holder’s plan to fund legal representation for illegal aliens: It violates federal law. Federal immigration law (8 U.S.C. §1229a) lays out the rules governing removal proceedings in the immigration courts, which are administrative courts run by the Justice Department, not Article III federal courts. Under Section 1229a(b)(4)(A), aliens have the “privilege of being represented, at no expense to the government, by counsel of the alien’s choosing.” Thus, there is no question illegal aliens can be represented by lawyers in immigration removal proceedings, but it also is clear representation cannot be at the expense of the government.
The White House will honor 10 young adults on Tuesday who came to the United States illegally and qualified for the president’s program to defer deportation actions.
Each person has qualified for the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, which delays removal proceedings against them as long as they meet certain guidelines.
They will be honored as “Champions of Change,” the White House said in a statement Monday because they “serve as success stories and role models in their academic and professional spheres.”
They emigrated from Mexico, Colombia, Morocco, India, Taiwan and the Philippines, and many of them work in professions related to immigration policy or have helped launch initiatives that promote reform.
The honorees have all worked to support comprehensive immigration reform in some way. They include a ThinkProgress writer and two people involved with Mi Familia Vota, ”a national non-profit organization working to unite the Latino community and its allies to promote social and economic justice through increased civic participation” by, among other things, ”expanding the electorate through direct, sustainable citizenship, voter registration, census education, GOTV and issue organizing in key states.”
Bercian Diaz said they found corruption in the Mexican government.
“They were asking for 500 pesos, 600 pesos. The federals took that money from us,” she said.
She said the Mexican federal police and immigration officers asked for money to “turn the other way.”
“The immigration officers took 1,500 pesos,” Bercian Diaz said.
“I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in the ability of Republican members of Congress to divine the thoughts and insights of children in Central American countries,” Earnest answered. “My point is, I’m not sure this withstands a whole lot of scrutiny.”
As it turns out, the Republican explanation does withstand a whole lot of scrutiny. Recent days have been filled with anecdotal reports, from local news outlets in Central America to major American newspapers, citing immigrants who say they came because they believe U.S. law has been changed to allow them to stay. And now comes word that Border Patrol agents in the most heavily-trafficked area of the surge, the Rio Grande Valley sector of Texas, recently questioned 230 illegal immigrants about why they came. The results showed overwhelmingly that the immigrants, including those classified as UACs, or unaccompanied children, were motivated by the belief that they would be allowed to stay in the United States — and not by conditions in their homelands. From a report written by the agents, quoting from the interviews:
“The main reason the subjects chose this particular time to migrate to the United States was to take advantage of the “new” U.S. “law” that grants a “free pass” or permit (referred to as “permisos”) being issued by the U.S. government to female adult OTMs traveling with minors and to UACs. (Comments: The “permisos” are the Notice to Appear documents issued to undocumented aliens, when they are released on their own recognizance pending a hearing before an immigration judge.) The information is apparently common knowledge in Central America and is spread by word of mouth, and international and local media. A high percentage of the subjects interviewed stated their family members in the U.S. urged them to travel immediately, because the United States government was only issuing immigration “permisos” until the end of June 2014…The issue of “permisos” was the main reason provided by 95% of the interviewed subjects.”
. . . Several Republican senators cited the Border Patrol report in the hearing with Secretary Johnson last week. Johnson said he had not seen the paper. “The document you read from, I have never seen,” Johnson told Republican Sen. John Cornyn. “It’s supposedly a draft document. I don’t know that I agree with the assessment there.”
“Well, they’re interviews with 230 of the people detained coming across the border,” Cornyn said.
“I’m not sure I agree that that is the motivator for people coming in — for the children coming into south Texas,” Johnson answered. “I think it is primarily the conditions in the countries that they are leaving from.”
This Bill hasn’t passed, and the article doesn’t indicate that it has much chance. However, isn’t this news just one more (giant) magnet for illegal aliens?
(And wouldn’t the rest of the US have to subsidize Medicaid?)
While Congress drags its feet on immigration reform, New York State lawmakers are mulling an immigration bill of their own: It would grant state citizenship to some noncitizen immigrants, including undocumented residents, allowing them to vote and run for office. Under the New York Is Home Act, noncitizen residents who have proof of identity and have lived and paid taxes in the state for three years could apply for legal status that would let some qualify for Medicaid coverage, professional licensing, tuition assistance, and driver’s licenses, as well as state and local—but not federal—voting rights. The responsibilities of citizenship would also apply, including jury duty.
Wonder if this group may be the answer to our border problems?
The Texas State Guard is one of three components of the Texas Military Forces (TXMF), operating under the command of the Adjutant General of Texas and the Governor as Commander-in-Chief of all state military forces. The TXMF includes the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard.
The mission of the Texas State Guard (TXSG) is to provide mission-ready military forces to assist state and local authorities in times of state emergencies; to conduct homeland security and community service activities under the umbrella of Defense Support to Civil Authorities; and to augment the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard as required.
Headquartered at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, the TXSG functions as an organized state militia under the authority of Title 32 of the U.S. Code and Chapter 431 of the Texas Government Code.
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.
Of the 168,000 caught illegally entering the United States in the Rio Grande Valley from October, 2013 to May, 2014, 33,000 were “unaccompanied” minors. Since 75% are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, we are also supposed to believe that they traveled the entire length of Mexico not only without their parents, but without the Mexican authorities even noticing.
In the meantime, many have reported physical and sexual abuse in “shelters.”
The root cause of the influx is obvious. Our President is aware of the lawlessness and is using the children in a in a political ploy to beat at the resistance to immigration reform in the US. (“Obama delivered a commencement address at a technical school in Worcester, where he said 30 to 40 percent of the students were children of immigrants.”)
And now, we hear that ICE releases 90% of the children to “sponsors.” Not just with family members, but with “friends* already in the country. Who is to say what happens to the children when the authorities can’t even keep up with their whereabouts? Are they being further abused and trafficked?
No one knows. There doesn’t seem to be any way – or any effort? - to track them once they are released.
The simplest and most urgent need would be to close the border to more illegal crossings. At the same time, we must convince Mexico to stop ignoring the passage of hundreds of thousands illegally making their way through that country. We should also begin to track at least the minors we have already taken into custody after they are released. Finally, we must return these children and families to their homes in their own country.
This is not the time for hyperbole and political grandstanding, but for practical action. My concern is not only that our national security and sovereignty is severely compromised: If our current immigration and border control policies result in human trafficking and child abuse, we may see a lasting international debacle.
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.
George Rodriguez explains the new #RPT Immigration plank. Hint: there’s a reason it was placed in the “Sovereignty” subsection.
Opposing them were citizen delegates — taxpayers, consumers and ordinary citizens who see their lives growing more difficult because the American dream is slipping away. They saw the “Texas Solution” as a cheap-labor plank masquerading as Hispanic outreach that would complicate an already out-of-control immigration crisis.
Grassroots conservatives over the past year also began to realize that the “Texas Solution” was light on enforcement. Given that over 160,000 illegal immigrants have been detained on the South Texas border since October 2013, these conservatives knew that any immigration solution must start with border security.
The new party platform truly addresses immigration in several ways.
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.