Saturday, February 15, 2014

It is time to impeach Obama for failing to faithfull execute the laws of the United States.

This week President Obama announced the Affordable Care Act mandate for medium sized businesses will be delayed again.  This time until 2015. This makes the 28th change by the White House to the Affordable Care Act without consent of Congress.  This is serious.  When a law says something will take effect on a date certain, the President has no authority to delay it a year. The President is willfully failing to follow the Constitution.

Now, I am totally opposed to the Affordable Care Act. I want it repealed in its entirety and replaced with a patient-centered, market-driven system of health care.  I would support Congress delaying implementation.  That would send a signal that Obamacare has flaws and when that new date arrived, Congress could delay it again and again and with each congressional delay, repeal would be less a dramatic and traumatic vote.  When the White House delays it however, that does not force Congress to admit an error and it does not sent the same message. An administrative delay seems less of an admission of failure. The delay delays the pain of the act so that the failure of the ACA is less a campaign issue. If the medium sized business mandate kicked in prior to the 2014 elections, more people wold lose their insurance or see their insurance premiums rise and realize Obamacare is a failure and this would help Republicans.  The President should not be allowed to time the effective date of a legislative act to influence elections.

Obama's twenty-eight changes to Obamacare is a major power crab.  If this is allowed to stand, Democrats may come to regret it.  If Obama can make 28 changes to the ACA without consent of Congress then when a Republican is someday elected to the presidency, he may make 28 changes or more or simply suspend the law without congressional consent. What if a Republican wanted to arbitrarily abolish the corporate income tax?  I think that would be good policy but where would the President get authority to do that?  The same place Obama got the authority to make 28 changes to the Affordable Care Act. Those who only care about the policy outcome and not the process are destroying what has made America unique as a stable democracy governed by the rule of law. Once we abandon the rule of law, a President may just decide to delay the next election until a date more favorable to his party or he may just suspend Congress.

Congress will not impeach and remove from office America's first Black president. They just won't. I do not know how far Obama would have to go before his supporters turned on him. However, knowing that the Senate will not convict should not keep the House from beginning the process. Obama is in violation of his constitutional oath "faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. He has willfully corrupted and manipulated the legislative process of the United States.  It is time to impeach.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Lamar Alexander continues to push to deregulate higher education

Colleges and Universities are more and more coming under the control of Washington. Along with accepting students with federal aid grants and loans comes a massive load of regulations that keeps growing. Not all of the push for regulations and control is coming from liberals.  “The conservative senators, from my party, they’re sometimes the worst,” Senator Lamar Alexander said recently, describing how he has to remind his colleagues that they are “the party of federalism, the 10th amendment” when they want to impose conservative ideas on how colleges should be run across the country.

Lamar Alexander is pushing to deregulate colleges and universities from massive regulatory and reporting requirements. The following article explains:

A New Deregulatory Push

Inside Higher Ed, February 13, 2014, by Michael Stratford, WASHINGTON -- The last time the Higher Education Act came up for a vote in Congress in 2008, Senator Lamar Alexander trotted out a five-foot stack of cartons onto the Senate floor to show the enormity of existing regulations governing higher education.

Now that lawmakers are once again contemplating how to rewrite that massive piece of legislation -- which authorizes, among other things, the $150 billion-a-year federal student aid program -- Alexander is returning to his props. (Read more)

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Guns in Parks passes Senate 26-7. See how they voted.

Today the "guns in parks" bill passed the Senate by a vote 26-7.  In 2009 the state passed a guns in parks bill but gave city and county governments the ability to opt out of the new law. Nashville was one of those cities that opted out, banning all guns in parks.

This session, Sen. Stacy Campfield proposed SB 1496 which permits a person with a handgun carry permit to carry a firearm in any state, county or municipal park or other recreation area and deletes provisions allowing local governments to prohibit carrying in parks. 

All Republicans senators voted for the bill except for Doug Overby of Maryville.  The six Democrats who voted against the bill were Charlotte Burks, Lowe Finney, Thelma Harper, Doug Henry, Jim Kyle, and Reginald Tate.

The House has delayed consideration of the bill to, according to House Speaker Beth Harwell, make the language “a little more palatable to our local governments.”

“We believe in Second Amendment rights. We want to be sensitive of that," said Harwell. "We also want to be very sensitive of the fact that local governments have their place to play as well. These are local parks financed by our local government, patrolled by our local governments, so I think they should have some say,” she said.

Republican Governor Bill Haslam has said he has concerns about the bill.

I myself am not concerned that people with handgun carry permits are carrying guns in parks. The bad people with guns you have to worry about do not have handgun carry permits and they are not deterred by a "no guns allowed" sign.  I favor Campfield's bill. On the other hand, I would not oppose some limited leeway to let cities have the authority to ban guns in child play areas or at concerts where alcohol is served or at sporting events. I think those situations are different than a trail in an isolated area.

One of the arguments that does not impress me is that the State telling cities what they may and may not do is the same as the Federal government dictating to the states what they may and may not do. Many liberals will make that comparison and allege that conservatives who want to limit the authority of cities are hypocritical when they themselves oppose the Federal Government dictating to States.

There is major difference. States have sovereignty; cities do not. The federal government is a creation of the states, states are not a creation of the cities within the state.  Any power a city has is because it is granted by the state. The power of the federal government is power relinquished by States to the federal government. The Federal government can not abolish a State; a State could withdraw the charter of a city. Federal is to State, is not the same relationship as State is to city. It is not the same at all.

The State is within its rights to ban a city from granting protected victim status to homosexuals, to let the decision on approving charter schools reside with the State, or prohibiting a city from banning guns in city parks.

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AMP debate to be broadcast tonight on Channel 5+

Tonight (Thursday, Feb. 13) at 7:00PM on Channel 5+ (Channel 250 on Comcast) there will be a replay (in its entirety) of last night’s Amp discussion/debate.  I was not there but have been advised  to watch it.

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Sen. Jim Tracy moves to block AMP. Says, "We don't have enough state funds as is."

Sen. Jim Tracy moves to block Amp funding

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Senate passes the debt limit. Alexander and Corker support fillibuster. Vote no on debt hike.

Yesterday after cutting off debate on voting on raising the debt ceiling, the Senate passed a bill raising the debt limit. Apparently GOP leaders wanted to allow Senate Democrats to be able to pass the debt limit hike by a simple majority of 51 votes.  If there had not been a filibuster then all 45 Republicans could have voted against the measure and it would have still passed.  However, Ted Cruz of Texas filibustered the bill which required 60 votes to cut off debate.  That meant five Republicans had to join the Democrats to do that. 

They got their five:  Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn , Orrin Hatch, John Thune, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins.  All other Republican Senators voted against cutting off debate. McConnell and John Cornyn both have primary challenges from the right and this gives their opponents campaign ammunition to use against them.  (link)

I understand the logic of Republicans who wanted to pass a clean debt ceiling bill. It goes like this: Democrats have said they will not accept any bill that has spending cuts attached to raising the debt limit. If Republicans pass a debt limit increase with cuts, the Congress will not pass it and we will have a government shut down, possibly a down grading of the government bond rating and all kinds of other bad things.  If Democrats hold firm and do not accept cuts, we will default on the debt of the United States. That would be a disaster and Republicans would get the blame and pay for it in the next election.  Instead of wining some elections and taking the Senate, Republicans may lose seats. It is better to let the clean debt ceiling bill pass and concentrate on winning elections and taking the Senate. Then, once we have a majority then we can cut spending.

I understand the logic, I just disagree. With a national debt of $17.5 trillion dollars, we have more debt than we can sustain. Payment on the debt and entitlements take the biggest chuck of the budget. We must deal with spending or doom lies ahead anyway. Republicans should have passed a debt limit hike with spending cuts, then mounted a massive public relations advertising campaign urging the Democrats to pass it and avoid a government shut down and economic disaster. The blame for the economic crisis should have been placed on the Democrats for being intransigent on any spending cuts. Republicans must be willing to present their arguments to the American people.  Republicans must fight back. If Republicans will stand and fight, I believe fiscal responsibility can be a winning argument.

I am supporting Lamar Alexander in the upcoming primary election.  I am very pleased he was not one of  those who broke rank and joined the five Republicans who joined the Democrats in capitulating on the debt ceiling.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

School Board meeting of 2-11-14: Push forward with Pre-K. Register gets a lower grade.

The school Board produces great agendas with all the attachments that the school board members get. You can get your own copy of the 185-page agenda at this link.

Below are news reports of this meeting:

School Board Applauds Register Despite Slightly Lower Directors’ Grade 

The Nashville Scene, by Andrea Zelinski, Wed, Feb 12, 2014-  Despite awarding their director of schools a slightly lower evaluation score than last year, the Metro Nashville School Board praised Jesse Register’s efforts leading the district over much of the last calendar year. In a joint evaluation using a 5-point scale, the board awarded him a 3.68. While the score slipped from years past, this evaluation for the first time factored in student and system performance. The year before he earned a 3.93.

School board signs off on turning Nashville schools into pre-K hubs

The Tennessean, by Joey Garrison, Feb. 11, 2014 - Nashville Director of Schools Jesse Register’s plan to expand prekindergarten over the next four years earned a key first win on Tuesday, with the Metro school board voting unanimously to transform two elementary schools into new pre-K hubs. Ross Elementary School in East Nashville and Bordeaux Elementary School in North Nashville will become new model centers next year serving only 4-year-old pre-K students. Students who attend those schools will be reassigned to other area elementary schools.

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The Metro Council meeting agenda for Feb. 18th is now available.

The Metro Council meeting agenda for Feb. 18th is now available. Get it at this link.

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Gov. Haslam on Common Core: Don't back down now.

The Tennessean, Feb. 12, 2014- His state is surrounded by Republican governors who have grown hesitant of Common Core - either outright condemning the new education standards or at least wavering in support. 

Leaders of South Carolina, Indiana and Louisiana make up that list. 

But Gov. Bill Haslam, another Republican in a similarly red state, is leaving little room for negotiation as conservative-led legislative attempts mount in Tennessee to roll back the standards or delay the companion Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test. His message is much the same as it was last summer: Don't back down now. 

"I can't speak for all my Republican governor peers, but I actually feel pretty strongly about it, mainly because Tennessee has such a poor history of having high enough standards," Haslam said. 

The governor, appearing before The Tennessean's editorial board last week, said he has no problem with proposed bills that would prohibit the sharing of data collected from the new testing. But Haslam, a Common Core supporter, has concerns about both withdrawing from the standards and test and postponing their roll out, which some Republican lawmakers are pushing ahead of Common Core's 2014-15 implementation. (continue reading)

My Comment:  I have followed this issue carefully and I am with the governor on this. We need to improve education in the nation and especially in Tennessee.  America is losing  its standing in the world and our competitive advantage. Education is only one of the components in our decline but it is an important one. Education is in crisis. I believe we need a national program to improve standards and something approaching standardization so that when an "A" student leaves Tennessee, he is not an "F" student in some other state. I like that Common Core can achieve elevation of expectations and a means of standard comparisons and that it did not originate out of Washington.  I did share privacy concerns with Common Core critics and am pleased to see that those concerns are being addressed.

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Judge Rejects Mark Winslow's Defamation Case Against Rep. Fleischmann and Chip Saltsman

Mark Winslow
A Nashville judge has thrown out a 3-year-old defamation case filed by former Chief of Staff of the Tennessee Republican Party Mark Winslow against U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and Chip Saltsman. In January 2011 Winslow filed suit against the state party, Fleischmann and Chip Saltsman claiming Fleischmann obtained confidential documents about his severance pay from the party and used the information in campaign ads critical of Robin Smith's management of the Tennessee Republican Party. Smith was running against Fleischmann in the hotly contested 2010 primary.

The suit asked for $750,000 in damages. Winslow claimed in his suit that he has not been able to get employment with other Republican groups or candidates. In November, the state GOP settled with Winslow, the details of that settlement not disclosed.

Circuit Court Judge Joe Binkley Jr. disagreed with Winslow's claim of defamation, saying the ads did not constitute defamation because Winslow was a public figure, what was said about him was  true and there was no proof Fleischmann or Saltsman acted out of malice. Maybe the Party settled too quickly.  I hope they didn't settle for much. I hate the thought of my contributions to the party being used to settle a suit that ended up being thrown out for lack of merit.

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No Annexation without Reprensentation

From: Tennessee Freedom Coalition
TFC Chairman Andy Miller Speaks Out Against Forced Annexation
Urges Citizens to call their State Representatives and Senators

Nashville, TN:  Today, Andy Miller, Chairman of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, released the following statement regarding current legislation before the Tennessee General Assembly.

“For years, Tennesseans have been subjected to the incorporation whims of cities wishing to add property to their municipal districts.  These property owners have been drawn into cities without their consent and taxed for services they have been slow to receive.  Their County Governments have been complicit in these actions as they continue to receive a portion of the municipal taxes paid by these property owners for 15 years.”

Miller continued, “The Tennessee Freedom Coalition is vehemently opposed to this kind of abuse of power and the fact that property owners are not allowed to vote on whether they wish to be incorporated.  This violates the very principle of freedom that we cherish in Tennessee.”

Tennessee is one of only three remaining states in the Union that allows this kind of confiscation without a vote.  For years, Bill Haupt of Mt. Juliet has led a movement to eradicate this practice from the Volunteer State once and for all.  But he and his group have been opposed by the Tennessee Municipal League, a lobbying group representing Tennessee cities that gives tens of thousands of dollars to Tennessee lawmakers.

Miller concluded, “I call upon the members and committees in both chambers to expedite the legislation currently being sponsored by Rep. van Huss and Rep. Carter and Sen. Crowe and Sen. Watson.  This is the right thing to do and now is the time to do it.”

Michael Harrison, Chair: Phone (615) 741-7480

David Alexander: Phone (615) 741-8695
Joe Armstrong: Phone (615) 741-0768
Kevin Brooks: Phone (615) 741-1350
Karen Camper: Phone: (615) 741-1898
Craig Fitzhugh: Phone (615) 741-2134
David Hawk: Phone (615) 741-7482
Gerald McCormick: Phone (615) 741-2548
Steve McDaniel: Phone (615) 741-0750
Gary Odom: Phone (615) 741-4410
Dennis Roach: Phone (615) 741-2534
Charles Sargent: Phone (615) 741-6808

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House votes to raise the debt limit. John Boehner must go! How the TN delegation voted.

The House today voted to raise the debt limit again, without wrestling any spending concessions from Democrats and the administration. The vote was not close. With a vote of 221 to 201 the motion carried with 16 votes to spare. The Tennessee delegation voted along party lines; all republicans voting "no" and Democrats Jim Cooper and Steve Cohen voting "yes."

Twenty-eight Republicans broke ranks and voted with the 193 Democrats who voted to raise the debt limit. Only two Democrats voted "no."  Notable Republicans who voted "yes" included Republican Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. While I have been hesitant to say it was time for the House to elect a new speaker, I think now it is time for Boehner to go! 

This was a major capitulation and betrayal on the part of Boehner who in 2011 established what has become known as the “Boehner Rule” which said any debt ceiling increase was must be offset by an equivalent spending cuts. I can understand the reluctance to possibly shutting down the government again this close to the 2014 elections. However, I think Republicans should have stood firm and at least got some spending concessions from the Democrats. Instead, Boehner rolled over and played dead.

I think Paul Ryan, Marsha Blackburn, or Diane Black would make a good House Speaker. In the Senate, Senator Ted Cruz has said he would filibuster the measure to force a 60-vote threshold.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Southeast Nashville Conservatives' Breakfast special guest Ben Cunningham

Southeast Nashville Conservatives' Breakfast
  Saturday, February 15
8:30 - 9:00 am Social/Breakfast,  9:00-10:00 am Program
Shoney's (Antioch), Bell Road @ Cane Ridge Road, I-24E Bell Road Exit
  Guest Speaker
 Ben Cunningham
Founder & President Nashville Tea Party

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SEIU Local 205 endorses Mary Mancini

SEIU Local 205 today announced their endorsement of Mary Mancini in the Democratic primary for the District 21 State Senate seat. That seat is currently held by the retiring Senator Douglas Henry. Mary Mancini and Jeff Yarbro are seeking the Democratic nomination. No Republican has, as of yet, declared but one is expected to do so soon.

SEIU Local 205 is the largest public sector union in Nashville, representing their members in Metro Government, Metro Schools, Nashville Electric Service, and Metro Development and Housing Agency and some employees in private sector companies in Davidson County, mostly working in health care. 

While both Jeff Yarbro and Mary Mancini are very liberal, Mancini comes across as more leftist than Yarbro. Most observers think Jeff Yarbro has the best chance of winning the seat. 

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Middle TN Republican Women guest is Diane Black. Feb.14.

The Middle TN Republican Women are pleased to announce a very special guest speaker for our luncheon on February 18, Representative Diane Black.
 Diane Black

 Congressman Black represents Tennessee's 6th district, which includes 19 counties.
Please join us at: Frost Brown Todd Law Offices, Pinnacle Building, 19th Floor. 150 Third Avenue South
RSVP by Friday, February 14, 2014 to Stachia Graham at
Lunch is $15/member, $20/guest. Membership is only $25/year.

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Senate passes the Farm Bill. Alexander votes "Aye;" Corker votes "No."

The Senate has now passed the negotiated final version of the Farm Bill, voting 68 in favor and 32 opposed . Opposition to the bill primarily came from eight liberals unhappy with the modest food stamp cuts and 24 and the Senate's 45 Republicans who either thought the cuts did not go far enough or had a principled opposition to the the concept of welfare for farmers and central economic planning. Sen. Lamar Alexander voted for the bill and Sen. Bob Corker voted against it.

One of the things disappoint me about Republicans is their support of agriculture central planning and welfare for farmers. We should not pay rich Hollywood farmers and Wall Street farmers for not growing crops on their farms. We should embrace a free market in agriculture. Republicans who rail against government control of health care and advocate a market approach to health care turn around and support government central planning in agriculture and price-fixing. They rail against welfare queens and support welfare for farmers.

Because many farmers vote for Republicans, many Republicans support the central planning status quo and welfare for farmers that is our agriculture policy. I assume some Republicans voted for this farm bill however, not because they are buying votes or support the bad policy of economic central planning, but simply because this is the best bill they could get. If I were voting on this bill however, I would have voted against it and I would vote against it every year no matter how much it cut food stamps.  As misguided and wasteful as I think food stamps are, I am more offended by economic central planning and paying so-called farmers to not grow crops. 

Among the Senate Republicans who voted against the bill were Ted Cruze (TX), John McCain (AZ), Mike Lee (UT), Rand Paul (KY), Jeff Session (AL).

Among the Republicans who supported the bill were Orin Hatch (UT), Mitch  McConnell (KY), and David Vitter (LA). To see how all Senators voted on the bill, follow this link.

The Tennessee House Republican congressional delegation were also split on the bill. To see how the house voted, follow this link.

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