The TEA Party has proven that we are outside the influence of Party politics. We have demonstrated that we will work from within and for the Republican Party only as long as the Party will honor our principles.
However, I worry that many who have “gotten up off the couch” in the name of “Taxed Enough Already” are not well informed on the connection between inalienable rights and the social issues. Others don’t understand how and why Conservatives conflate those inalienable rights with small government and national defense.
Too many never get past the first three words of the Preamble of the Constitution:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
With six months to go before the first Primaries, let’s spend our energies on educating our fellow voters about Conservative principles, rather than tearing down the various candidates. We don’t have to settle on an “electable” candidate – yet. And we certainly don’t yet have to compromise on values.
Here’s where we are, according to Red State:
The Senate has already approved the TPA. On Friday, the House voted on it. The TPA portion was actually approved by a tiny majority, however it did not pass because it was tied to another provision: TAA, which failed miserably. In essence, the TAA is a multi-faced welfare program for those allegedly “hurt” by trade deals.
“TPA ensures that only 51 votes are needed in order to pass the TPP. If you don’t think Obama and the Chamber of Commerce can engage in some bi-partisan vote whipping, you are living in fantasy land.”
Pretty much whatever our politics, our client (sorry) lies in the past. Maintaining the programs of the Great Society? Returning to the vision of the Founders? Addressing as #1 priority the debt mountain we have built? Each of these is meritorious, and wherever our political lines lie for most of us each of them features. Point is not that they are misplaced priorities. It is simply that they hail from yesteryear. Left and right are stumbling into the future as their gaze is fixed on the past. (“How to bridge the Continental Divide; moving Camp David to the Valley; please, pols, start Asking Tomorrow’s Questions.” Nigel Cameron, President and CEO, Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies. )
“The shrill universal cry that we are at a “tipping point” is correct, but not as they would have us all believe, the tipping point that is fast approaching has to do with the old political and legal superstructures being torn apart from below by this powerful, complex, emergent force of scientific and technological evolution now unleashed. Reactionaries are doing all they can to bamboozle gullible people into helping support the status quo, to prop it up, which is unfortunate.” (Quote from C. James Townsend, in “The Singularity and Socialism, An interview with C. James Townsend” by BJ Murphy on Murphy’s “Serious Wonder” blog, distributed by the newslist/email of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology.)
This week, two email subscriptions I follow converged with a common warning that government is reacting to and protecting the past. Each, one from the right and one from the left, urge politicians to allow innovation and technology to frame the debate on the economy.
“Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment?” (William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, just after the more famous, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.)
The Senate took a House Bill, H.R. 1191, that originally amended ObamaCare (so that the IRS would know for certain that volunteer firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency personnel aren’t counted as employees) and changed it completely in order give birth to the “Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.”
It’s appropriate that a bill that originally amended ObamaCare was changed this way, since ObamaCare was passed in the first place by Harry Reid’s Senate amendment to a bill that as originally titled, “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009.”
From the Senate record:
SA 1140. Mr. CORKER (for himself and Mr. Cardin) proposed an
amendment to the bill H.R. 1191, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of
1986 to ensure that emergency services volunteers are not taken into
account as employees under the shared responsibility requirements
contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; as
Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Iran Nuclear Agreement
Review Act of 2015”.
SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW AND OVERSIGHT OF AGREEMENTS WITH
IRAN RELATING TO THE NUCLEAR PROGRAM OF IRAN.
The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.) is
amended by inserting after section 134 the following new
“SEC. 135. CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW AND OVERSIGHT OF AGREEMENTS
“(a) Transmission to Congress of Nuclear Agreements With
Iran and Verification Assessment With Respect to Such
“(1) Transmission of agreements.–Not later than 5
calendar days after reaching an agreement with Iran relating
to the nuclear program of Iran, the President shall transmit
to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership–
“(A) the agreement, as defined in subsection (h)(1),
including all related materials and annexes;
“(B) a verification assessment report of the Secretary of
State prepared under paragraph (2) with respect to the
“(C) a certification that–
“(i) the agreement includes the appropriate terms,
conditions, and duration of the agreement’s requirements with
respect to Iran’s nuclear activities and provisions
describing any sanctions to be waived, suspended, or
otherwise reduced by the United States, and any other nation
or entity, including the United Nations; and
“(ii) the President determines the agreement meets United
States non-proliferation objectives, does not jeopardize the
common defense and security, provides an adequate framework
to ensure that Iran’s nuclear activities permitted thereunder
will not be inimical to or constitute an unreasonable risk to
the common defense and security, and ensures that Iran’s
nuclear activities permitted thereunder will not be used to
further any nuclear-related military or nuclear explosive
purpose, including for any research on or development of any
nuclear explosive device or any other nuclear-related
“(2) Verification assessment report.–
“(A) In general.–The Secretary of State shall prepare,
with respect to an agreement described in paragraph (1), a
“(i) the extent to which the Secretary will be able to
verify that Iran is complying with its obligations and
commitments under the agreement;
“(ii) the adequacy of the safeguards and other control
mechanisms and other assurances contained in the agreement
with respect to Iran’s nuclear program to ensure Iran’s
activities permitted thereunder will not be used to further
any nuclear-related military or nuclear explosive purpose,
including for any research on or development of any nuclear
explosive device or any other nuclear-related military
“(iii) the capacity and capability of the International
Atomic Energy Agency to effectively implement the
verification regime required by or related to the agreement,
including whether the International Atomic Energy Agency will
have sufficient access to investigate suspicious sites or
allegations of covert nuclear-related activities and whether
it has the required funding, manpower, and authority to
undertake the verification regime required by or related to
“(B) Assumptions.–In preparing a report under
subparagraph (A) with respect to an agreement described in
paragraph (1), the Secretary shall assume that Iran could–
“(i) use all measures not expressly prohibited by the
agreement to conceal activities that violate its obligations
and commitments under the agreement; and
“(ii) alter or deviate from standard practices in order to
impede efforts to verify that Iran is complying with those
obligations and commitments.
“(C) Classified annex.–A report under subparagraph (A)
shall be transmitted in unclassified form, but shall include
a classified annex prepared in consultation with the Director
of National Intelligence, summarizing relevant classified
“(A) In general.–Neither the requirements of
subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (1), nor subsections
(b) through (g) of this section, shall apply to an agreement
described in subsection (h)(5) or to the EU-Iran Joint
Statement made on April 2, 2015.
“(B) Additional requirement.–Notwithstanding subparagraph
(A), any agreement as defined in subsection (h)(1) and any
related materials, whether concluded before or after the date
of the enactment of this section, shall not be subject to the
exception in subparagraph (A).
“(b) Period for Review by Congress of Nuclear Agreements
“(1) In general.–During the 30-calendar day period
following transmittal by the President of an agreement
pursuant to subsection (a), the Committee on Foreign
Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs
of the House of Representatives shall, as appropriate, hold
hearings and briefings and otherwise obtain information in
order to fully review such agreement.
“(2) Exception.–The period for congressional review under
paragraph (1) shall be 60 calendar days if an agreement,
including all materials required to be transmitted to
Congress pursuant to subsection (a)(1), is transmitted
pursuant to subsection (a) between July 10, 2015, and
September 7, 2015.
“(3) Limitation on actions during initial congressional
review period.–Notwithstanding any other provision of law,
except as provided in paragraph (6), prior to and during the
period for transmission of an agreement in subsection (a)(1)
and during the period for congressional review provided in
paragraph (1), including any additional period as applicable
under the exception provided in paragraph (2), the President
may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or
otherwise limit the application of statutory sanctions with
respect to Iran under any provision of law or refrain from
applying any such sanctions pursuant to an agreement
described in subsection (a).
“(4) Limitation on actions during presidential
consideration of a joint resolution of disapproval.–
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except as
provided in paragraph (6), if a joint resolution of
disapproval described in subsection (c)(2)(B) passes the
Congress, the President may not waive, suspend, reduce,
provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of
statutory sanctions with respect to Iran under any provision
of law or refrain from applying any such sanctions pursuant
to an agreement described in subsection (a) for a period of
12 calendar days following the date of passage of the joint
resolution of disapproval.
“(5) Limitation on actions during congressional
reconsideration of a joint resolution of disapproval.–
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except as
provided in paragraph (6), if a joint resolution of
disapproval described in subsection (c)(2)(B) passes the
Congress, and the President vetoes such joint resolution, the
President may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief
from, or otherwise limit the application of statutory
sanctions with respect to Iran under any provision of law or
refrain from applying any such sanctions pursuant to an
agreement described in subsection (a) for a period of 10
calendar days following the date of the President’s veto.
“(6) Exception.–The prohibitions under paragraphs (3)
through (5) do not apply to any new deferral, waiver, or
other suspension of statutory sanctions pursuant to the Joint
Plan of Action if that deferral, waiver, or other suspension
“(A) consistent with the law in effect on the date of the
enactment of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015;
“(B) not later than 45 calendar days before the
transmission by the President of an agreement, assessment
report, and certification under subsection (a).
“(c) Effect of Congressional Action With Respect to
Nuclear Agreements With Iran.–
“(1) Sense of congress.–It is the sense of Congress
“(A) the sanctions regime imposed on Iran by Congress is
primarily responsible for bringing Iran to the table to
negotiate on its nuclear program;
“(B) these negotiations are a critically important matter
of national security and foreign policy for the United States
and its closest allies;
“(C) this section does not require a vote by Congress for
the agreement to commence;
“(D) this section provides for congressional review,
including, as appropriate, for approval, disapproval, or no
action on statutory sanctions relief under an agreement; and
“(E) even though the agreement may commence, because the
sanctions regime was imposed by Congress and only Congress
can permanently modify or eliminate that regime, it is
critically important that Congress have the opportunity, in
an orderly and deliberative manner, to consider and, as
appropriate, take action affecting the statutory sanctions
regime imposed by Congress.
“(2) In general.–Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, action involving any measure of statutory sanctions
relief by the United States pursuant to an agreement subject
to subsection (a) or the Joint Plan of Action–
“(A) may be taken, consistent with existing statutory
requirements for such action, if, during the period for
review provided in subsection (b), the Congress adopts, and
there is enacted, a joint resolution stating in substance
that the Congress does favor the agreement;
“(B) may not be taken if, during the period for review
provided in subsection (b), the Congress adopts, and there is
enacted, a joint
resolution stating in substance that the Congress does not
favor the agreement; or
“(C) may be taken, consistent with existing statutory
requirements for such action, if, following the period for
review provided in subsection (b), there is not enacted any
such joint resolution.
“(3) Definition.–For the purposes of this subsection, the
phrase `action involving any measure of statutory sanctions
relief by the United States’ shall include waiver,
suspension, reduction, or other effort to provide relief
from, or otherwise limit the application of statutory
sanctions with respect to, Iran under any provision of law or
any other effort to refrain from applying any such sanctions.
“(d) Congressional Oversight of Iranian Compliance With
“(1) In general.–The President shall keep the appropriate
congressional committees and leadership fully and currently
informed of all aspects of Iranian compliance with respect to
an agreement subject to subsection (a).
“(2) Potentially significant breaches and compliance
incidents.–The President shall, within 10 calendar days of
receiving credible and accurate information relating to a
potentially significant breach or compliance incident by Iran
with respect to an agreement subject to subsection (a),
submit such information to the appropriate congressional
committees and leadership.
“(3) Material breach report.–Not later than 30 calendar
days after submitting information about a potentially
significant breach or compliance incident pursuant to
paragraph (2), the President shall make a determination
whether such potentially significant breach or compliance
issue constitutes a material breach and, if there is such a
material breach, whether Iran has cured such material breach,
and shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees
and leadership such determination, accompanied by, as
appropriate, a report on the action or failure to act by Iran
that led to the material breach, actions necessary for Iran
to cure the breach, and the status of Iran’s efforts to cure
“(4) Semi-annual report.–Not later than 180 calendar days
after entering into an agreement described in subsection (a),
and not less frequently than once every 180 calendar days
thereafter, the President shall submit to the appropriate
congressional committees and leadership a report on Iran’s
nuclear program and the compliance of Iran with the agreement
during the period covered by the report, including the
“(A) Any action or failure to act by Iran that breached
the agreement or is in noncompliance with the terms of the
“(B) Any delay by Iran of more than one week in providing
inspectors access to facilities, people, and documents in
Iran as required by the agreement.
“(C) Any progress made by Iran to resolve concerns by the
International Atomic Energy Agency about possible military
dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.
“(D) Any procurement by Iran of materials in violation of
the agreement or which could otherwise significantly advance
Iran’s ability to obtain a nuclear weapon.
“(E) Any centrifuge research and development conducted by
“(i) is not in compliance with the agreement; or
“(ii) may substantially enhance the breakout time of
acquisition of a nuclear weapon by Iran, if deployed.
“(F) Any diversion by Iran of uranium, carbon-fiber, or
other materials for use in Iran’s nuclear program in
violation of the agreement.
“(G) Any covert nuclear activities undertaken by Iran,
including any covert nuclear weapons-related or covert
fissile material activities or research and development.
“(H) An assessment of whether any Iranian financial
institutions are engaged in money laundering or terrorist
finance activities, including names of specific financial
institutions if applicable.
“(I) Iran’s advances in its ballistic missile program,
including developments related to its long-range and inter-
continental ballistic missile programs.
“(J) An assessment of–
“(i) whether Iran directly supported, financed, planned,
or carried out an act of terrorism against the United States
or a United States person anywhere in the world;
“(ii) whether, and the extent to which, Iran supported
acts of terrorism, including acts of terrorism against the
United States or a United States person anywhere in the
“(iii) all actions, including in international fora, being
taken by the United States to stop, counter, and condemn acts
by Iran to directly or indirectly carry out acts of terrorism
against the United States and United States persons;
“(iv) the impact on the national security of the United
States and the safety of United States citizens as a result
of any Iranian actions reported under this paragraph; and
“(v) all of the sanctions relief provided to Iran,
pursuant to the agreement, and a description of the
relationship between each sanction waived, suspended, or
deferred and Iran’s nuclear weapon’s program.
“(K) An assessment of whether violations of
internationally recognized human rights in Iran have changed,
increased, or decreased, as compared to the prior 180-day
“(5) Additional reports and information.–
“(A) Agency reports.–Following submission of an agreement
pursuant to subsection (a) to the appropriate congressional
committees and leadership, the Department of State, the
Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense shall,
upon the request of any of those committees or leadership,
promptly furnish to those committees or leadership their
views as to whether the safeguards and other controls
contained in the agreement with respect to Iran’s nuclear
program provide an adequate framework to ensure that Iran’s
activities permitted thereunder will not be inimical to or
constitute an unreasonable risk to the common defense and
“(B) Provision of information on nuclear initiatives with
iran.–The President shall keep the appropriate congressional
committees and leadership fully and currently informed of any
initiative or negotiations with Iran relating to Iran’s
nuclear program, including any new or amended agreement.
“(6) Compliance certification.–After the review period
provided in subsection (b), the President shall, not less
than every 90 calendar days–
“(A) determine whether the President is able to certify
“(i) Iran is transparently, verifiably, and fully
implementing the agreement, including all related technical
or additional agreements;
“(ii) Iran has not committed a material breach with
respect to the agreement or, if Iran has committed a material
breach, Iran has cured the material breach;
“(iii) Iran has not taken any action, including covert
action, that could significantly advance its nuclear weapons
“(iv) suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to
the agreement is–
“(I) appropriate and proportionate to the specific and
verifiable measures taken by Iran with respect to terminating
its illicit nuclear program; and
“(II) vital to the national security interests of the
United States; and
“(B) if the President determines he is able to make the
certification described in subparagraph (A), make such
certification to the appropriate congressional committees and
“(7) Sense of congress.–It is the sense of Congress
“(A) United States sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human
rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place
under an agreement, as defined in subsection (h)(1);
“(B) issues not addressed by an agreement on the nuclear
program of Iran, including fair and appropriate compensation
for Americans who were terrorized and subjected to torture
while held in captivity for 444 days after the seizure of the
United States Embassy in Tehran, Iran, in 1979 and their
families, the freedom of Americans held in Iran, the human
rights abuses of the Government of Iran against its own
people, and the continued support of terrorism worldwide by
the Government of Iran, are matters critical to ensure
justice and the national security of the United States, and
should be expeditiously addressed;
“(C) the President should determine the agreement in no
way compromises the commitment of the United States to
Israel’s security, nor its support for Israel’s right to
“(D) in order to responsibly implement any long-term
agreement reached between the P5+1 countries and Iran, it is
critically important that Congress have the opportunity to
review any agreement and, as necessary, take action to modify
the statutory sanctions regime imposed by Congress.
“(e) Expedited Consideration of Legislation.–
“(1) In general.–In the event the President does not
submit a certification pursuant to subsection (d)(6) or has
determined pursuant to subsection (d)(3) that Iran has
materially breached an agreement subject to subsection (a)
and the material breach has not been cured, Congress may
initiate within 60 calendar days expedited consideration of
qualifying legislation pursuant to this subsection.
“(2) Qualifying legislation defined.–For purposes of this
subsection, the term `qualifying legislation’ means only a
bill of either House of Congress–
“(A) the title of which is as follows: `A bill reinstating
statutory sanctions imposed with respect to Iran.’; and
“(B) the matter after the enacting clause of which is:
`Any statutory sanctions imposed with respect to Iran
pursuant to ______ that were waived, suspended, reduced, or
otherwise relieved pursuant to an agreement submitted
pursuant to section 135(a) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954
are hereby reinstated and any action by the United States
Government to facilitate the release of funds or assets to
Iran pursuant to such agreement, or provide any further
waiver, suspension, reduction, or other relief pursuant to
such agreement is hereby prohibited.’, with the blank space
being filled in with the law or laws under which sanctions
are to be reinstated.
“(3) Introduction.–During the 60-calendar day period
provided for in paragraph (1), qualifying legislation may be
“(A) in the House of Representatives, by the majority
leader or the minority leader; and
“(B) in the Senate, by the majority leader (or the
majority leader’s designee) or the minority leader (or the
minority leader’s designee).
“(4) Floor consideration in house of representatives.–
“(A) Reporting and discharge.–If a committee of the House
to which qualifying legislation has been referred has not
reported such qualifying legislation within 10 legislative
days after the date of referral, that committee shall be
discharged from further consideration thereof.
“(B) Proceeding to consideration.–Beginning on the third
legislative day after each committee to which qualifying
legislation has been referred reports it to the House or has
been discharged from further consideration thereof, it shall
be in order to move to proceed to consider the qualifying
legislation in the House. All points of order against the
motion are waived. Such a motion shall not be in order after
the House has disposed of a motion to proceed on the
qualifying legislation with regard to the same agreement. The
previous question shall be considered as ordered on the
motion to its adoption without intervening motion. The motion
shall not be debatable. A motion to reconsider the vote by
which the motion is disposed of shall not be in order.
“(C) Consideration.–The qualifying legislation shall be
considered as read. All points of order against the
qualifying legislation and against its consideration are
waived. The previous question shall be considered as ordered
on the qualifying legislation to final passage without
intervening motion except two hours of debate equally divided
and controlled by the sponsor of the qualifying legislation
(or a designee) and an opponent. A motion to reconsider the
vote on passage of the qualifying legislation shall not be in
“(5) Consideration in the senate.–
“(A) Committee referral.–Qualifying legislation
introduced in the Senate shall be referred to the Committee
on Foreign Relations.
“(B) Reporting and discharge.–If the Committee on Foreign
Relations has not reported such qualifying legislation within
10 session days after the date of referral of such
legislation, that committee shall be discharged from further
consideration of such legislation and the qualifying
legislation shall be placed on the appropriate calendar.
“(C) Proceeding to consideration.–Notwithstanding Rule
XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, it is in order at
any time after the committee authorized to consider
qualifying legislation reports it to the Senate or has been
discharged from its consideration (even though a previous
motion to the same effect has been disagreed to) to move to
proceed to the consideration of qualifying legislation, and
all points of order against qualifying legislation (and
against consideration of the qualifying legislation) are
waived. The motion to proceed is not debatable. The motion is
not subject to a motion to postpone. A motion to reconsider
the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to
shall not be in order. If a motion to proceed to the
consideration of the qualifying legislation is agreed to, the
qualifying legislation shall remain the unfinished business
until disposed of.
“(D) Debate.–Debate on qualifying legislation, and on all
debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith, shall
be limited to not more than 10 hours, which shall be divided
equally between the majority and minority leaders or their
designees. A motion to further limit debate is in order and
not debatable. An amendment to, or a motion to postpone, or a
motion to proceed to the consideration of other business, or
a motion to recommit the qualifying legislation is not in
“(E) Vote on passage.–The vote on passage shall occur
immediately following the conclusion of the debate on the
qualifying legislation and a single quorum call at the
conclusion of the debate, if requested in accordance with the
rules of the Senate.
“(F) Rulings of the chair on procedure.–Appeals from the
decisions of the Chair relating to the application of the
rules of the Senate, as the case may be, to the procedure
relating to qualifying legislation shall be decided without
“(G) Consideration of veto messages.–Debate in the Senate
of any veto message with respect to qualifying legislation,
including all debatable motions and appeals in connection
with such qualifying legislation, shall be limited to 10
hours, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the
majority leader and the minority leader or their designees.
“(6) Rules relating to senate and house of
“(A) Coordination with action by other house.–If, before
the passage by one House of qualifying legislation of that
House, that House receives qualifying legislation from the
other House, then the following procedures shall apply:
“(i) The qualifying legislation of the other House shall
not be referred to a committee.
“(ii) With respect to qualifying legislation of the House
receiving the legislation–
“(I) the procedure in that House shall be the same as if
no qualifying legislation had been received from the other
“(II) the vote on passage shall be on the qualifying
legislation of the other House.
“(B) Treatment of a bill of other house.–If one House
fails to introduce qualifying legislation under this section,
the qualifying legislation of the other House shall be
entitled to expedited floor procedures under this section.
“(C) Treatment of companion measures.–If, following
passage of the qualifying legislation in the Senate, the
Senate then receives a companion measure from the House of
Representatives, the companion measure shall not be
“(D) Application to revenue measures.–The provisions of
this paragraph shall not apply in the House of
Representatives to qualifying legislation which is a revenue
“(f) Rules of House of Representatives and Senate.–
Subsection (e) is enacted by Congress–
“(1) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate
and the House of Representatives, respectively, and as such
are deemed a part of the rules of each House, respectively,
but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be
followed in that House in the case of legislation described
in those sections, and supersede other rules only to the
extent that they are inconsistent with such rules; and
“(2) with full recognition of the constitutional right of
either House to change the rules (so far as relating to the
procedure of that House) at any time, in the same manner, and
to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of that
“(g) Rules of Construction.–Nothing in the section shall
be construed as–
“(1) modifying, or having any other impact on, the
President’s authority to negotiate, enter into, or implement
appropriate executive agreements, other than the restrictions
on implementation of the agreements specifically covered by
“(2) allowing any new waiver, suspension, reduction, or
other relief from statutory sanctions with respect to Iran
under any provision of law, or allowing the President to
refrain from applying any such sanctions pursuant to an
agreement described in subsection (a) during the period for
review provided in subsection (b);
“(3) revoking or terminating any statutory sanctions
imposed on Iran; or
“(4) authorizing the use of military force against Iran.
“(h) Definitions.–In this section:
“(1) Agreement.–The term `agreement’ means an agreement
related to the nuclear program of Iran that includes the
United States, commits the United States to take action, or
pursuant to which the United States commits or otherwise
agrees to take action, regardless of the form it takes,
whether a political commitment or otherwise, and regardless
of whether it is legally binding or not, including any joint
comprehensive plan of action entered into or made between
Iran and any other parties, and any additional materials
related thereto, including annexes, appendices, codicils,
side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and
guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related
agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the
agreement or to be entered into or implemented in the future.
“(2) Appropriate congressional committees.–The term
`appropriate congressional committees’ means the Committee on
Finance, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban
Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the
Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the
Committee on Ways and Means, the Committee on Financial
Services, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and
the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of
“(3) Appropriate congressional committees and
leadership.–The term `appropriate congressional committees
and leadership’ means the Committee on Finance, the Committee
on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Select Committee
on Intelligence, and the Committee on Foreign Relations, and
the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate and the
Committee on Ways and Means, the Committee on Financial
Services, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and
the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Speaker, Majority
Leader, and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
“(4) Iranian financial institution.–The term `Iranian
financial institution’ has the meaning given the term in
section 104A(d) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions,
Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (22 U.S.C.
“(5) Joint plan of action.–The term `Joint Plan of
Action’ means the Joint Plan of Action, signed at Geneva
November 24, 2013, by Iran and by France, Germany, the
Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, the
United Kingdom, and the United States, and all implementing
materials and agreements related to the Joint Plan of Action,
including the technical understandings reached on January 12,
2014, the extension thereto agreed to on July 18, 2014, the
extension agreed to on November 24, 2014, and any materially
identical extension that is agreed to on or after the date of
the enactment of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of
“(6) EU-iran joint statement.–The term `EU-Iran Joint
Statement’ means only the Joint Statement by EU High
Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign
Minister Javad Zarif made on April 2, 2015, at Lausanne,
“(7) Material breach.–The term `material breach’ means,
with respect to an agreement described in subsection (a), any
of the agreement, or in the case of non-binding commitments,
any failure to perform those commitments, that
“(A) benefits Iran’s nuclear program;
“(B) decreases the amount of time required by Iran to
achieve a nuclear weapon; or
“(C) deviates from or undermines the purposes of such
“(8) Noncompliance defined.–The term `noncompliance’
means any departure from the terms of an agreement described
in subsection (a) that is not a material breach.
“(9) P5+1 countries.–The term `P5+1 countries’ means the
United States, France, the Russian Federation, the People’s
Republic of China, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
“(10) United states person.–The term `United States
person’ has the meaning given that term in section 101 of the
Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment
Act of 2010 (22 U.S.C. 8511).”.
” . . . 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.