Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 09:42

Will Republicans Risk a Government Shutdown to Defund ObamaCare?

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The next step in the implementation of ObamaCare — open enrollment in state insurance exchanges — begins on October 1. Coincidentally, that is the same day that the federal government will run out of operating funds unless Congress passes a continuing resolution (CR) to keep it running. And some congressional Republicans are hoping to take advantage of this confluence of events to starve the healthcare law to death, even if it means risking a government shutdown.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), for instance, has introduced an amendment to the CR currently under consideration that would cut off all funding for ObamaCare.

“If we want to stop this train wreck from hitting hard-working American families, the time to do so is now,” Cruz told Fox News Channel’s Special Report. Otherwise, he argued, “it will remain with us forever.”

As of this writing, Cruz’s amendment has 29 cosponsors, including the three highest-ranking GOP senators: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas), and Senate Republican Conference chairman John Thune (S.D.).

Of course, any of these cosponsors could eventually vote for the CR even if the amendment fails. “For Cruz’s effort to have teeth,” observed FreedomWorks, “the Republican senators must all be committed to absolutely refusing to vote for any spending bill that contains funding for ObamaCare.”

To that end, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is asking his colleagues to join him in signing a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) stating that they will not support any legislation that funds ObamaCare.

“This is the last stop before ObamaCare fully kicks in on January 1 of next year for us to refuse to fund it,” Lee told Fox and Friends.

“If Republicans in both houses simply refuse to vote for any continuing resolution that contains further funding for further enforcement of ObamaCare, we can stop it. We can stop the individual mandate from going into effect,” he said.

In fact, it’s even simpler than that.

“All appropriations must start in the House, which means that a simple majority of this body by itself could arrest many of these disturbing developments [e.g., ObamaCare] simply by marshaling the courage and determination to just say ‘no’ by pulling the purse strings shut,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said on the floor of the House of Representatives. “If we fail to do so, I believe that we are allowing our nation to drift dangerously toward a constitutional crisis with grave implications to the rule of law and to the survival of American liberty.” (Emphasis added.)

More than 60 House Republicans have signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) asking him not to bring any bills that would fund ObamaCare to the floor, and some have declared flatly that they will not vote for any such legislation.

“ObamaCare today is destroying jobs and our economy, and we must get rid of it,” said Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.). “We must repeal ObamaCare, and that’s the bottom line. We must defund it. We’re going to have one shot to do so, and that’s in the continuing resolution, and I will not vote for a continuing resolution that continues to fund ObamaCare.”

Not all Republicans are convinced of the wisdom of this approach. The leadership in both houses, various other old-guard politicos, and even some budget hawks have been either noncommittal or actively opposed to what they view as holding the CR hostage to an unachievable objective.

Referring to ObamaCare, Boehner said, “We will continue to do everything we can to defund it, to repeal it and to make sure that the American people aren’t put through this horrific experience.” But when pressed by CNSNews.com as to whether “everything” includes using the CR to dry up the funds, Boehner merely replied, “We have not made any decisions about how we’re going to deal with the CR.”

This, among other reasons, is why Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) recently wondered aloud whether House Republicans “have the guts to fight” ObamaCare.

The CR battle “is our last big effort,” she declared. “Can we do it? Yeah, it’s possible, but I think the signals I’m reading out of the Republican leadership to me aren’t encouraging.”

In the upper house, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told Public Radio International that using the CR to defund ObamaCare is “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.”

Burr is concerned that an impasse over the CR will lead to a government shutdown, which he experienced as a congressman in 1995. Most of the blame for the shutdown was attached to congressional Republicans, which may have contributed to President Bill Clinton’s reelection the next year.

“Some of these guys need to understand that if you shut down the federal government, you’d better have a specific reason to do it that’s achievable,” Burr elaborated. “Defunding the Affordable Care Act is not achievable through shutting down the federal government.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told talk show host Michael Medved that threatening to shut down the government is a bad idea because “most Americans are really tired of those kinds of shenanigans here in Washington.”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), too, spoke out against the possibility of a government shutdown.

“You’re going to set an expectation among the conservatives in our party that we can achieve something that we’re not able to achieve,” Coburn told the Washington Examiner. “It’s not an achievable strategy. It’s creating the false impression that you can do something when you can’t. And it’s dishonest.”

“You’re not going to stop the funding, but what you will do is shut down the government,” Coburn said. That strategy, he averred, “is a good way for Republicans to lose the House.”

Lee, however, has pointed out repeatedly that he’s not seeking to shut down the government. He wants Congress to offer President Barack Obama a CR that funds everything except ObamaCare and see if Obama is willing to take the blame for shutting down the government over a law that his administration has, by its actions, admitted is “not ready for prime time.”

Lee’s superiors in the Senate do not, unfortunately, see things that way. While publicly remaining mum on his position on Lee’s letter, McConnell is privately opposed to it and has been working to convince other senators not to sign it — or even to withdraw their signatures if they have already signed it, according to the Weekly Standard.

The magazine reports that McConnell’s behind-the-scenes efforts have been successful. Of the 17 senators who had signed Lee’s letter, five — four of whom are cosponsoring Cruz’s amendment — asked for their signatures to be removed: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Boozman (R-Ariz.), Cornyn, Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). (Thune remains a cosigner.)

Staunch ObamaCare opponents consider the battle to defund the law a defining moment for Republicans, separating those who merely talk about repealing the healthcare law (and perhaps vote for symbolic repeal bills) from those who are serious about saving America from socialized medicine.

As Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, told The Hill: “Any Republican who votes to give Obama a single penny to implement ObamaCare is part of the problem and should be defeated.”
Photo of U.S. Capitol

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dr. Boyce: Was Integration a Good Thing for Black People? Probably Not

by Dr. Boyce Watkins
This week, I took a visit to Atlanta and once again stopped by the birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I reached back into the life of Dr. King to understand what made him great, and what we must do to continue the extraordinary work that he and his colleagues began so many years ago. As I sat on his porch, I closed my eyes and imagined his mother carrying him to the front door. I wondered how many Sundays the family sat on that same porch after dinner, and how many days Dr. King spent wondering if it might be possible for him to fulfill his dreams and personal ambitions.
I also thought about integration. I carefully studied the old pictures of Auburn Street, where Dr. King was born. I saw images of proud black business owners, in their finest clothes, driving fancy cars. Of course not everyone was doing well, but we were certainly better at making our own money. I read about how Martin Luther King Sr., Dr. King’s father, maintained a disciplined household, where education was the highest priority and protecting the family unit was paramount.
Most importantly, I walked away convinced that one of the most valuable things that Dr. King’s father gave him was pride. Martin Luther King Sr. taught his son at an early age that inequality was entirely unacceptable, and that the terms of integration should be such that you are able to engage in fair trade without allowing yourself to be subjugated.
So, years later, we have achieved at least half of Dr. King’s dream of integration: We can shop where we want, eat where we want and get almost any job at the big fancy corporation down the street. Many of us earn more money than we could have in a segregated society and are given opportunities that are more consistent with our chosen skill sets.
The problem for our community, I humbly submit, is that we did not properly negotiate the terms of our integration. The pride that Dr. King’s father instilled in him is lost for millions of youth who are being educated by people who don’t care about them. Integration, for the most part, was simply prolonged assimilation, like moving into someone else’s home and giving up the keys to your own. You are happy to be moving into a bigger house, but soon realize that you can’t go into someone else’s house and move around the furniture. Also, while you’re renting a room, they are paying the mortgage, which means that their kids (not yours) are going to own the house when all the hard work is done.
Many of us see the golden carrot of a higher salary without understanding the risk that is inherent in allowing your family to depend on the descendants of your historical oppressors. Even the most educated among us are raised to sell our services to bidders who extract our best and brightest like oil being lifted from the soil of Nigeria. People with six figure jobs are living paycheck-to-paycheck, further heightening the economic dependency that makes you impotent when it’s time to stand up for your rights. Like an intelligent woman who marries a wealthy man, you must ensure that you still have something to hold onto in the event that your relationship turns into an abusive one. Sadly, however, many of us have thrown economic caution to the wind.
I argue that integration didn’t work in our favor because there is a difference between giving up a portion of your economic sovereignty in exchange for a true partnership vs giving up nearly everything to allow yourself to become an occupied state. For example, if I were to give up my business and “integrate” myself into the management of a large company, I would probably be a very different (and more highly paid) man from the one you are hearing from right now. In fact, I’d probably be speaking a different political language altogether because few majority white institutions would allow me to speak the way I do in public (just ask Syracuse University, where I put my academic freedom to the test).
So, the conclusion is not that integration is always a bad thing. Integration can be a wonderful thing, since white Americans have hoarded most of the nation’s resources (due to our oppression), and integrating gives us an opportunity to have a piece of the American pie. But integrating in such a way that makes you dependent on others can put your socio-economic security at risk.
Years after achieving the “dream” of integration, we have seen our poisoned and misguided financial chickens coming home to roost. When the 2008 economic crisis hit America, whites took a small hit and soon recovered, but black wealth dropped by over half. Also, black unemployment hit levels that we haven’t seen in over 30 years. The young men who should be heading our families are filling up the jails and prisons, and our public schools have become prisons with training wheels. There is nothing pretty about this form of integration, where even our best, brightest and strongest are in no position to help those of us who are struggling.
The fact is that we must critically assess the extraordinary work of Dr. Martin Luther King while simultaneously realizing that his work was not complete. He died at the young age of 39 years old, and was speaking boldly about the importance of economic sustainability as a critical component to achieving true equality in a capitalist society. As a finance professor myself, I am hopeful that we realize that this was probably the most significant part of Dr. King’s vision, and that it is the conscientious and intelligent allocation of economic resources that ultimately serves as the key to many of your most fundamental rights as an American.

As a community, each of us has a responsibility to teach our children entrepreneurship as an important part of their long-term economic survival. Learning to run your own business is as important as knowing how to grow your own food. We must embrace educational excellence as if our lives depended on it, but ensure that our children are taught black history and family values that they are not getting in class. We must target our spending to black-owned businesses whenever we can, and embrace the importance of saving, investing and ownership. Finally, since many of us spent $200 last month at Walmart without blinking, this means that we can certainly afford to give $15 to our favorite black-owned organization.
It’s time for a new way of thinking as it pertains to money and education. Ownership, wealth-building and self-sufficiency should be part of the consistent black national discourse. By re-inventing ourselves in a productive way, we can turn our darkest hour into one of the greatest periods in black American history. The time for us to do this is NOW.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Any Teacher Cheating with Our Children Must Go To Jail!!!!!!

Should a Group of Teachers Go to Prison for Cheating? Atlanta Protesters Yelling Racism

The city of Atlanta has been rocked by a cheating scandal that has ripped the city to its core. Dozens of teachers and administrators face years in prison for cheating on a standardized test, a punishment that is unprecedented in the American school system. Now, if you’re a teacher that is even remotely connected to a cheating scandal, you could end up behind bars with killers, drug dealers and other people who’ve done terrible things.
But there are residents in Atlanta who are standing up in protest of the incident, saying that sending teachers to prison for cheating is the kind of example that would only be set in a racist state that seeks to incarcerate African Americans. Georgia governor Nathan Deal is also the same governor who recently announced that he would not support an integrated prom in the state.
“The community is saying this is wrong. We’re treating these educators like they’re criminals, like they’re drug dealers, like they’re gangsters,” said Timothy McDonald III, pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church and a member of Atlanta’s Concerned Black Clergy. “Yes, fire the ones who cheated. But this is over-reaching.”
A grand jury has indicted 35 educators in the Atlanta school district, including former Superintendent of the Year, Beverly Hall. The conspiracy reached a total of 58 schools, and because state money was involved, the group has been charged with the kind of racketeering activity that is normally used to convict gangsters. Even a secretary has been indicted. Hall is being hit with an additional theft charge because her salary rose as the tests scores improved.
“I think a lot of people were fairly neutral on (the cheating scandal),” said Nathan McCall, an Emory University lecturer and writer. “And once they began to see the visuals of these educators as criminals, the history of strained race relations between blacks in the city of Atlanta and whites in the rest of the state, began to resurface.”
The state spent years investigating Atlanta public schools after determining that the rises in test scores were “statistically improbable.” Former Governor Sonny Perdue then appointed two special investigators to look into the alleged discrepancies. Former Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers was part of the committee, which reviewed 800,000 documents and conducted 2,100 interviews. He says that he was in tears after hearing about teachers being forced to cheat on exams.
“We had teachers faint in our interview room,” he said. “The thing I remember most was talking to some of the teachers who had been mistreated, mostly single moms. And it’s heartbreaking. They told of how they had been forced to cheat. One told me, ‘Mr. Bowers, this is a big joke. You can’t imagine how badly I feel. I cheated. I was forced to cheat. I had no choice. I spent my days as a teacher combing hair, brushing teeth, making sure children had something to eat….I taught third grade, and I cheated. If my father were alive, he would be so ashamed he wouldn’t know what to do.’ “
But the Atlanta cheating scandal is not unique. In an education space that is now determined by high-stakes testing, cheating appears to be rampant. In 2011 USA Today studied test scores across six states and found 1,600 cases of improbable test gains.
All of the educators who’ve been indicted are African American. This was shortly after Georgia Governor Nathan Deal suspended six elected school board members, five of whom are black. Some say that the real theft is occurring in the governor’s mansion.
“They’re all connected,” McDonald said. “If you look at Clayton County, DeKalb County, Atlanta, these are overwhelmingly majority African-American school districts. This is not about the children. This is about money. Every school system has contracts. This is about folks getting their hands on those contracts.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The N word is still alive and well!!!!


Kansas GOP Official Apologizes For “N!gger Rigging” Comment
A Republican county commissioner says he won’t resign over racist remarks he made during a public meeting last week.jim gile kansas

Saline County Commissioner Jim Gile (R) used the term “n!gger rigging” when discussing hiring an architect to work on a local building. Although Gile has apologized, he refuses to leave his position.

From the Salina Journal:

In a recording made by County Clerk Don Merriman of the study session, Gile, who is white, can be heard to say the county needed to hire an architect to design the improvements rather than “n!gger-rigging it.”
His comment brought laughter from others in the room. Salinan Ray Hruska, who attends most commission meetings and study sessions, asked Gile what he said.
“Afro-Americanized,” Gile replied.
“He’s like that congressman from Alaska,” Commission Chairman Randy Duncan can be heard to say of Gile’s comment.

Gile says that he made a mistake when he used the term and intended to say “jury-rigged”, which makes even less sense because “jury rigged” has a totally different meaning than “n!gger rigged.”

“I am not a prejudiced person,” Gile told the Salina Journal. “I have built Habitat homes for colored people.”

Gile apologized for his comment prior to a Tuesday commission meeting. Understandably, Democrats in the area are questioning on whether Gile should resign from office.

Kansas Democratic Party spokesman Dakota Loomis thinks that Gile may not be fit to serve. .

“It’s shocking in this day and age that he would use this type of language and find it to be such a non-issue,” Loomis said. “He needs to take a real hard look at how he represents the people in Saline County. This demonstrates a complete and utter lack of awareness. It calls into question his fitness to serve.”