State Board of Education not disclosing vote to sue over H.B. 17

Carolina Journal – The North Carolina State Board of Education last month used a rare exemption to go behind closed doors and vote on a lawsuit against the state.

Board members have yet to disclose which members supported and opposed the lawsuit, a move that’s at odds with public meeting standards, said Jonathan Jones, director of the Sunshine Center of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition.

The board voted in closed session Dec. 28 to contest House Bill 17, legislation that, in part, strips certain administrative powers from the board and gives it to the state’s new school superintendent, Mark Johnson.

Under open meetings law, most public votes are held in open session, with just a handful of exceptions, Jones told Carolina Journal. Because legal discussions are protected under attorney/client privilege, a board can go behind closed doors to discuss an issue.

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GM, Walmart, Amazon Announce New Jobs Ahead of Trump’s Inauguration

The New American – First it was Amazon, announcing last week that it will be creating 100,000 new full-time jobs in the United States over the next 18 months. Said Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, “These jobs are not just in our Seattle headquarters or in Silicon Valley, they’re in our customer service network, fulfillment centers and other facilities through the country.” When in place Amazon will be employing nearly 300,000 people in the United States.

President-elect Donald Trump was pleased to take some credit, following his meeting with top Silicon Valley executives two weeks ago. Said Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer: “This announcement was made after the president-elect met with heads of several other tech companies and urged them to keep their jobs and production inside the United States. The president-elect was pleased to have played a role in that decision by Amazon.”

Of course, those plans had been in the works for months, reflecting Amazon’s continuing remarkable growth, but it was politically expedient to make the announcement just before Trump’s inauguration. Said James Cakmak, an equity research analyst: “The bottom line is they [Amazon] were going to create the jobs anyway, but it’s the messaging that has changed. [The company’s announcement] appears to calibrate to current political sensitivities.”

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Trump’s Challenge of NATO Riles Globalists

The New American – “Neither can the U.S. be expected to sustain an expensive role in an alliance [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO] whose chief role is to diminish European fear of a resurgent Germany.”

These may be the sentiments, though not the words of President-elect Donald Trump, who has called NATO “obsolete.” The words are those of the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick, who served as ambassador to the United Nations for President Ronald Reagan. In an article she wrote for the National Interest in the fall of 1990, it would appear that Kirkpatrick would have agreed with Trump’s bold assertion: “I said a long time ago — that NATO had problems. Number one it was obsolete, because it was, you know, designed many, many years ago.”

In her National Interest article, Kirkpatrck stated almost the same thing: “Many of the international military obligations that we assumed were once important are now outdated,” she observed, adding that it was “time to give up the dubious benefits of superpower status and become again an usually successful, open American republic.”

NATO was formed in a different era, in the aftermath of World War I, as the Stalin-led Soviet Union brought many countries in eastern Europe behind the tyranny of the “Iron Curtain” — nations such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. The Russian war machine appeared to many in the West poised to sweep across western Europe as well, taking over the western part of Germany, France, and perhaps even Great Britain.

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National Debt Increases by $1,054,647,941,626.91 in 2016

The New American – Data posted on the Treasury Department’s website indicates that the federal government’s total public debt outstanding increased by $1,054,647,941,626.91 during 2016. Treasury’s online charts show that the federal debt was $18,922,179,009,420.89 on Dec. 31, 2015, the last business day of 2015. On Dec. 30, 2016, the last business day of 2016, it had increased to $19,976,826,951,047.80 — an increase of more than one trillion dollars.

A summary of this data compiled by noted that the increase in the debt equaled $8,860.65 for each of the 119,026,000 households in the United States as of September, according to Census Bureau estimates.

Furthermore, in case anyone wants to place all of the blame for the debt increase on the Democrats, CNSNews noted that during 2016, while Democrat Barack Obama controlled the presidency, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.

This is significant, since, according to the Constitution, all bills for raising revenue must originate in the House of Representatives (Article I, Section 7), and Congress shall have power to borrow money on the credit of the United States (Article I, Section 8).

Consequently, even the most profligate occupant of the Oval Office cannot spend a dime or borrow a dime unless Congress gives its approval.

As anyone who has studied even basic economics has learned, the public debt is the cumulative result of budget deficits; that is, government spending exceeding revenues.

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Known ‘unknowns’ for the 2017 N.C. legislative session

Carloina Journal – At least two major “known unknowns” complicate predictions about the course of the N.C. General Assembly’s 2017 session.

I admit I’m not using “known unknown” in the exact same way as former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who helped popularize the term during a news briefing 15 years ago. But the same general principle applies.

We know this new General Assembly will reconvene at noon Jan. 25. We know lawmakers will draft and consider bills, including a new state budget. We know the legislature will aim to finish that budget by July 1 and wrap up much of the rest of its work shortly afterward. We also know from past experience that there’s a good chance lawmakers will miss the July 1 deadline.

These are all “known knowns.” It’s also helpful to consider the likelihood of “unknown unknowns.” These are developments no one has anticipated. Throw one of these curveballs into the mix, and all predictions could fall flat.

While one can plan for “known knowns” and realize that “unknown unknowns” might scramble those plans, it’s also useful to consider “known unknowns.” These are “factors we can be sure will shape the outcome but can’t confidently offer predictions about at the moment,” as defined by John Locke Foundation Chairman John Hood.

The two “known unknowns” that have attracted this observer’s attention involve new Gov. Roy Cooper and the state’s legislative election maps.

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Chicken Tax Makes Trucks Expensive and Unavailable

FEE – The other day my daughter, who is moving to Canada, and I were car-hunting at a Volkswagen dealership. During our conversation with a salesman, he told us that the Australian VW sells a superb high-end pickup truck called an Amorak that is not sold in Canada or the United States.

“Why not?” I asked. “That,” said the salesman, “is a long story. Google Volkswagen and Chicken Tax to get the answer.”

I did and here is what I discovered.

The Great Chicken War

The German Chancellor reported that half of his correspondence with President Kennedy was over chickens.

According to Wikipedia, the Chicken Tax is a 1963 tariff imposed by the United States on potato starch, dextrin, brandy and light trucks. It was a tit for tat response to tariffs imposed by France and West Germany on U.S. chickens. The period from 1961-1964 was actually known as the Chicken War.

Chicken was an expensive delicacy in Europe up until the sixties when cheap American chickens changed the status quo. Consumption rose, the American chicken, which accounted for almost of all chicken sales, dominated the market, and the price dropped.

The Dutch claimed that U.S chickens were being priced below the cost of production. The Germans accused the Yanks of “fattening chicken artificially with arsenic”. Tariffs were imposed, first by France and then by Germany. This resulted in a 25 percent decline in U.S. chicken exports.

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Federal Paperwork Wastes Equivalent of 13,000 Lifetimes

Woman businesswoman under stress missing her deadlines
FEE – We finally have an update on what the federal government thinks about its paperwork.

Federal reports are chronically late.

It had been two years since the White House Office of Management and Budget released its annual federal paperwork burden survey, the Information Collection Budget of the U.S. Government, when the 2015 and 2016 editions finally appeared in December.

In another recent example, the White House regulatory benefit/cost report to Congress, which appeared the day before Christmas Eve 2016, was the latest ever by two months.

In the meantime, it has been possible to track paperwork hours on an OMB database, as well as with the RegRodeo tool at American Action Forum.

But how nice to see the official publication, and the commentary, at last!

In its new 2016 Information Collection Budget of the U.S. Government (encompassing fiscal year 2015 data), the Office of Management and Budget, estimates that 9.778 billion hours was required to complete the federal paperwork requirements (from 22 executive departments and six independent agencies that have been historically subject to survey, see p. 7).

9.7 billion hours of paperwork took up the equivalent of 13,953 full human lifetimes.

The vast bulk of that, 7.357 billion hours, is attributable to the Treasury Department (lots of tax compliance).

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Millions Escape to States With Right-to-Work Laws and No Income Taxes

FEE – One highlight of the Christmas holiday season for me is the Census Bureau‘s release of its estimated population figures, as of July 1, for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

It’s always interesting to see which states have grown the most in the past year: for 2015-16 the fastest growers were Nevada and Utah at 2 percent and Florida, Idaho and Washington at 1.8 percent. It’s also interesting that an unusually large number — eight — of the states are estimated to have lost population in 2015-16: Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wyoming. In percentage terms, the biggest loser was Illinois, the home state of the outgoing president. Sounds like there’s some column material there.

Public policies can make a difference in whether states grow — or, like Illinois, decline. You can see how by aggregating the population data for states according to whether they have state income taxes and whether they have right-to-work laws. The following tables show the populations of such states in the 2010 Census and the 2016 Census estimates, together with the population increases in numbers and percentage.

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UN Speaks Out Against School Textbooks in America

Tell Your Senators and Congressman that you want the US out of the UN!

The New American – After the United Nations was exposed last year indoctrinating vulnerable Arab children at UN schools to wage jihad on Jews, the scandal-plagued global body is now meddling in the selection of textbooks for American students. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Of course, in America, school textbook selection has traditionally been a responsibility of individual teachers, schools, or perhaps a local school district elected and controlled by the community. Yet as the UN increasingly seeks more control and influence across every area of life, education and the minds of children are just the latest target — albeit an extremely important one for the furtherance of the UN’s controversial Agenda 2030 for global governance.

In fact, through the UN “education” agency UNESCO, the global body is seeking to dictate school textbook content to promote its agenda globally. And top UN officials regularly brag about seeking to shape the attitudes, values, ethics, and even spirituality of children worldwide.

The UN brouhaha involving textbooks in the United States began as a simple local matter that would not have attracted attention even one state over. On November 29, a student’s mother complained to local school-district officials about a social studies book being used in Norwalk public schools. The book in question, known as The Connecticut Adventure, came under fire for what critics called a “paternalistic,” “simplistic,” and “insensitive” comment on slavery in the state’s history.

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Supreme Court puts 2017 NC legislative election on temporary hold

News and Observer – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday put a court-ordered legislative redistricting and 2017 special election on hold while it reviews Republican legislators’ appeal in an ongoing lawsuit.

A lower federal court ruled months ago that the current legislative districts are an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, and it ordered the General Assembly to draw new districts by March 15 and hold a rare off-year election in altered districts in November.

Tuesday’s Supreme Court order puts everything on hold until Jan. 19 conference among the justices at which they will consider an appeal, seeking to keep the current legislative districts in place. The order notes that the lower court’s mandate for redistricting and a special election will go back into effect if the Supreme Court declines to hear the case.

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Representative Larry G. Pittman Comments on HB 2

January 9, 2017

As promised in my previous newsletter, now I want to give you my perspective on the fifth special session of the North Carolina General Assembly for 2016. This one was called to deal with a possible repeal of HB 2.

Gov. McCrory had made a deal with the Charlotte City Council that if they would repeal their ordinance over which we had passed HB 2, he would call the Legislature into a special session to consider repeal of HB 2. Let me say from the start, I was never part of any such deal, was never consulted about it, would never have agreed to it, and do not feel that I was or ever will be bound by it in any way.

Late in December, the Charlotte City Council tried to pull a fast one on us. They ostensibly passed a repeal of their ordinance, conditioned on our repeal of HB 2 by December 31, 2016. So the Governor, being true to his word, called the Legislature back into special session to consider a repeal of HB 2. Once we were in session, I joined Rep. Jeff Collins and Rep. Michael Speciale in protesting that session as unconstitutional. We considered it unconstitutional because there were no extraordinary circumstances to require us to be there, other than, perhaps, the Dec. 31 deadline that the Charlotte City Council sought to impose on the Legislature, which they do not have the authority to do.

Once we had a chance to get together in caucus, it was incrementally revealed to us that the supposed repeal of Charlotte’s offending ordinance was not complete. They did not repeal the whole thing. Therefore, we were called into special session under false pretenses on their part. As the evidence mounted that they were trying to hoodwink us, opposition to any repeal of HB 2 under those conditions began to spread among the Republican House Caucus until, eventually, even some of those of our number who want to repeal HB 2 were unwilling to continue to pursue the matter at that time, under those conditions. Eventually, our caucus voted not to move forward with such action. The majority of our members voted to gavel in, refuse to hear any bill to repeal HB 2, and adjourn sine die. Once Charlotte came to understand that they had been found out, they met again and enacted a full repeal of their ordinance, hoping we would move forward with our repeal. Those of us opposed to taking any such action argued that we were not called together by a full repeal of Charlotte’s ordinance, that they had no authority to set the Dec. 31 time limit on us, and that they should not be rewarded for their chicanery.

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The Islamization of Britain in 2016 “The realistic future for Britain is Islamic.”

Read the following and ask yourself: Will Islam be America’s future?

Gatestone Institute – Sharia courts administering Islamic justice in Britain are run by clerics who believe some offenders should have their hands chopped off, according to Muslim scholar Elham Manea. She described the prevailing attitude as “totalitarian” and as more backward than some parts of Pakistan.

Teaching children fundamental British values is an act of “cultural supremacism,” according to the National Union of Teachers, which wants to replace the concept with one that includes “international rights.”

More than 100,000 British Muslims sympathize with suicide bombers and people who commit other terrorist acts, according to a 615-page survey. Only one in three British Muslims (34%) would contact the police if they believed that somebody close to them had become involved with radical Islam. In addition, 23% of British Muslims said Islamic Sharia law should replace British law in areas with large Muslim populations.

Belmarsh maximum-security prison in London has become “like a jihadi training camp,” according to testimony from a former inmate. The government was accused of burying a report on prison extremism. The report warned that staff have been reluctant to tackle Islamist behavior for fear of being labelled “racist.”

Residents in Manchester received leaflets in their mailboxes, from a Muslim group called “Public Purity,” calling for a public ban on dogs.

Voter fraud has been deliberately overlooked in Muslim communities because of “political correctness,” according to a government report.

Police in Telford — dubbed the child sex capital of Britain — were accused of covering up allegations that hundreds of children in the town were sexually exploited by Pakistani sex gangs.

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What Puerto Rico Can Teach Us About Raising the Minimum Wage

FEE – This week, twenty states began implementing minimum wage increases that were passed during 2016. As the country waits to see how these increased wages this will affect the economy, the U.S. territories have already provided us with a grim example.

After the 2007 Fair Minimum Wage Act passed, each of the fifty states was required to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour in 2006, to $7.25 by 2009. Few Americans realize that this legislation was also applied to the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands, who were also forced to raise wages.

Unemployment in Puerto Rico surged and its GDP per capita declined by almost 7 percent.

When the minimum wage is increased, the private sector is responsible for finding the means to actually pay for these increases. Though many companies will be forced to raise prices in order to continue operating within their profit margins, some might be left with no choice but to lay off employees or dramatically cut employee hours.

Since minimum wage pay is typically associated with entry-level workers, if employers are forced to let these employees go, they will lack the skills necessary to quickly rebound in the job market. As a result, the unemployment rate begins to rise.

Real World Consequences

When minimum wage requirements are made at the city or state level, the losses experienced from high unemployment rates are offset in the local economy, since many who are unable to find work often relocate to an area where the minimum wage isn’t as restrictive.

However, for those living in U.S. territories, relocation is not as easy as it is for residents in the continental states. Without the flexibility to relocate, the economic catastrophe that resulted from the 2007 minimum wage increase was felt on a grander scale.

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Rep. Hudson Introduces National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill

Our Right to Arms

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

Amendment II of the U.S. Constitution

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

If, the U.S. Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, meaning the WHOLE U.S.A. and its Territories and the laws of any State shall not be contrary to the U.S. Constitution, are not the laws made by the States concerning arms not UNLAWFUL? Are not any and every law made by the U.S. Government and the State Governments concerning arms not an infringement of your right that the U.S. Government is suppose to protect? And since they are UNLAWFUL are they not null and void and therefore not LAW? – Fremont V. Brown III

The Washington Free Beacon –  Republican Rep. Richard Hudson (N.C.) on Tuesday introduced a bill that would require states to recognize each other’s gun carry permits.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 would address the patchwork nature of the country’s gun carry laws. Currently, each state decides which other states’ gun carry permits it will recognize. Some states recognize all other states’ permits, other states recognize no other states’ permits, and many fall somewhere in between. Gun rights advocates have long decried the web of local laws as confusing and unfair–one in which a wrong turn or missed exit could end in an otherwise law abiding gun owner unintentionally committing a felony.

“Our Second Amendment right doesn’t disappear when we cross state lines, and this legislation guarantees that,” Hudson said in a statement. “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is a common sense solution to a problem too many Americans face. It will provide law-abiding citizens the right to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits.”

Sources within the major gun rights organizations have consistently said that a national reciprocity law is among their top priorities, along with a pro-gun Supreme Court pick and reform, for the upcoming congress. Now, after announcing the bill had been drawn before the new year, Hudson has introduced his take on the proposal.

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EU Boss: Citizens Should Not Get to Vote on Important Issues

The New American – On his way out of office, the rotating head of the European Union Council called on EU leaders to stop letting citizens vote on important issues that could threaten the increasingly controversial super-state. Citing recent anti-establishment votes in Britain and Italy, the EU Council boss blasted the “adventures” of letting citizens decide the fate of their own nations in referenda. The EU boss drew a quick rebuke from advocates of self-government.

But while the comments shocked some analysts, the controversial remarks should not have been surprising — especially considering the EU’s long history of trampling all over voters to empower the super-state in defiance of the people’s will. The extremist sentiment also follows repeated warnings from European leaders that globalist fanatics in Brussels were plotting to destroy self-government and the nation-state on the road toward regional and then global “governance.”

The comments from the EU boss were crystal clear. “I am asking EU leaders to stop with adventures like the British and Italian referendums … on domestic issues which pose a threat to the EU,” said Slovak Prime Minister and EU Council boss Robert Fico as he passed the rotating reins of the EU Council to its next leader on January 2 of 2017. In essence, Fico was calling for citizens of European countries ensnared in the EU to lose their right to decide their own fate.

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Obama Sets Record for Federal Land and Water Seizures

The New American – President Barack Obama has set a new record for the amount of land and water seized by a single chief executive: over 553 million acres, or about 865,000 square miles. That’s 30 percent more acreage than the entire state of Alaska and over three times the size of Texas.

Nearly half of that acreage — 260 million acres — was seized in 2016 as Obama undertook what his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, called “audacious executive action” in an attempt to circumvent Congress. Last week, Obama designated over 1.3 million acres in Utah as the Bears Ears National Monument and 300,000 acres in Nevada as the Gold Butte National Monument. In late August, he quadrupled the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, an area off the coast of Hawaii, creating the world’s largest marine reserve — a move that could cost local fishermen $10 million a year by preventing them from fishing in those waters. In February, the president took 1.8 million acres of California to create three new national monuments. In addition, his Fish and Wildlife Service commandeered portions of Alaska equivalent to the size of New Mexico over the course of six months.

Obama claims the authority to engage in such land grabs, often against the express wishes of state lawmakers, under the Antiquities Act of 1906. That law gives the president the power to designate areas of the country as national monuments, putting them under federal jurisdiction and off-limits to development, mining, drilling, lumbering, or even recreation.

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From U.S. Constitution – Article 1 Section 8

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;

The so-called Federal Government ownership of large parts of the states, like the 84.5% of Nevada, has always bothered me as I can not remember reading anywhere that the Federal Government PURCHASED all of the land they claim to own from the states. Have I missed some deeds somewhere of the states selling such to the Federal Government? Shouldn’t the land that the Federal Government claimed once a state was formed from such land became the state’s property? Then sold back to the Federal Government for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings? – Fremont V Brown III

Three-judge panel blocks overhaul of elections board

Carolina Journal – A three-judge Superior Court panel has blocked the overhaul of the State Board of Elections until the case can go to trial or unless a higher court overturns a preliminary injunction.

Kellie Myers, Wake County’s trial court administrator, notified the state elections board staff Thursday afternoon.

The law, if it had taken effect, would have merged the State Board of Elections, the State Ethics Commission, and the lobbying section of the Office of the Secretary of State. The revamped elections board would have gone from the current five-member board, with all members appointed by the governor, to an eight-member board, with half the members appointed by the governor and the other half appointed by legislative leaders.

Earlier in the day, Superior Court Judges Jesse Caldwell of Gaston County, Logan Todd Burke of Forsyth County, and Jeff Foster of Pitt County heard arguments from attorneys for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and leaders of the GOP-controlled General Assembly — Senate leader Phil Berger of Rockingham County and House Speaker Tim Moore of Cleveland County — over a part of Senate Bill 4, which lawmakers passed during one of the mid-December special sessions.

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The Hill Regulation Issue Watch

House Republicans are coming out of the gate in the new Congress with a package of bills taking aim at the executive branch.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Friday that the House Republican Conference wants regulatory reform to be a lead initiative.

“As you know that is also one of the major objectives of the new administration, so we are not losing any time getting started on this,” he said.

Now in control of the new Congress, Republicans got to work quickly.

On Tuesday, the House passed legislation to allow Congress to repeal — in a single vote — any rule finalized in the last 60 legislative days. The Midnight Rules Relief Act amends the Congressional Review Act to let lawmakers bundle together multiple rules and overturn them en masse with a joint resolution of disapproval.

A day later, the House approved legislation to curb costly rules. The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act requires the House and the Senate to pass a resolution of approval, which the president must sign within 70 legislative days, before any major regulations can take effect. It covers regulations with an estimated annual economic impact of $100 million or more.

Those bills followed the approval earlier in the week of a larger rules package that included a procedural measure to let lawmakers target the pay of federal workers. The Holman Rule allows members of Congress to amend an appropriations bill and cut the salary of an individual employee down to $1.

Republicans say they are just getting started.

In the coming week, the House is expected to vote on a regulatory reform package of six bills that have passed the House in previous sessions of Congress.

The package includes Goodlatte’s Regulatory Accountability Act, which requires agencies to choose the lower cost rulemaking alternative when issuing new rules.

Also in the package is Rep. John Ratcliffe’s (R-Texas) Separation of Powers Restoration Act. Ratcliffe’s bill repeals the Chevron and Auer doctrines, which direct courts to defer to an agency’s interpretation of a statute when there are challenges over ambiguous rules.

The other bills in the package require agencies to calculate the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of new rules on small businesses, as well as publish timely information and summaries in plain English online for proposed rules.

Another bill, introduced by Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), would automatically block high impact rules — those with costs over $1 billion dollars annually — from taking effect for 60 days. It’s intended to give businesses and other entities the opportunity to challenge them in court.

Republicans’ anti-reg agenda is only part of what will be a busy week for Congress. Lawmakers also have a slew of confirmation hearings, with Republicans eager to have President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees ready to begin work when he is sworn in.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for U.S. attorney general.

Sessions will be back before the committee for a second hearing on Wednesday.

Hearings will also be held that day on four other Trump Cabinet nominees: Mike Pompeo for CIA director, Betsy DeVos for secretary of Education, Elaine Choa for secretary of Transportation and retired Gen. John Kelly for secretary of Homeland Security.

Republican Study Committee Introduces Plan to Replace Obamacare

The Washington Free Beacon – Patient-centered plan covers those with pre-existing conditions while attempting to lower costs. Shortly after the Senate voted to pass a budget resolution that would repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Study Committee introduced an alternative plan to replace it.

Led by committee chair Rep. Mark Walker (R., N.C.), the group unveiled its replacement legislation, which is called The American Health Care Reform Act of 2017 (AHCRA), sponsored by Rep. Phil Roe (R., Tenn.).

“The most impressive, and the most popular alternative health care legislation, both in the 113th and the 114th Congress, is Dr. Phil Roe’s American Health Care Reform Act,” Walker said. “Dr. Phil Roe is uniquely qualified to lead our efforts to restore sanity to health care, and change the focus of our system away from bureaucratic mandates to compassionate care for patients by trusted doctors—paid for in a responsible way.”

According to Roe, the legislation will make health insurance cheaper for small groups and individuals in three ways. The bill would allow people to buy insurance across state lines, allow people to have an association health plan, and would expand health savings accounts.

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Or do you agree that Health Insurance should be a TRUE free market, meaning the only government involvement is a State Insurance Commissioner to make sure the customer gets what they pay for – nothing more or less. Only a true open free market otherwise known as competition will lower the cost of Health Insurance.

Fraudsters Used Dead People’s Social Security Numbers for $29 Million in Wages

The Washington Free Beacon – Identity thieves used the Social Security numbers of hundreds of dead individuals to earn nearly $30 million, according to a federal watchdog.

The Social Security Administration’s inspector general found over $200 million in questionable earnings over a five-year period that were earned using SSNs of people at least 85 years old or individuals who are deceased.

“Although SSA had controls in place to prevent and detect SSN misuse, we found individuals were using elderly individuals’ identities for work purposes,” the audit released Tuesday said. “Our review of a sample of 126 elderly individuals showed that 37 of their identities had been used to earn about $4.6 million during Tax Years (TY) 2009 to 2014.”

The administration was only aware of eight instances where SSNs of elderly individuals were being used to earn wages. The inspector general uncovered more than 800 dead persons’ SSNs that were stolen by others to attempt to work legally in the United States.

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Congress Must Re-Set Department of Homeland Security Priorities: American Lives Depend on It

Heritage Foundation – In 2014, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had a total budget authority of $60.4 billion—which grew to $66.8 billion in 2016. This budget funds a diverse set of agencies that are responsible for a wide range of issues: counterterrorism, transportation security, immigration and border control, cybersecurity, and disaster response. Yet, DHS management of these issues is highly flawed, both in the finer details of its operations and in its broader priorities. Such failure has provoked a small chorus of critics to question the value of DHS as a whole, and whether the U.S. would be better served without it. Serious changes across all of its policy areas, a realignment of its priorities, and reform of the way DHS headquarters operates are imperative to fixing DHS. Heritage Foundation homeland security expert David Inserra details reforms to each major component of DHS with accompanying budget changes.

Executive Summary

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) needs substantial reform and improvement in order to fulfill its important roles in the areas of security, emergency preparedness and response, and enforcement of immigration laws. This will require changes in nearly every part of DHS, as well as a better prioritization of resources within each of the components and between the components. This executive summary provides key policy recommendations and corresponding budgetary changes for Congress to consider as it moves through the budgetary process.

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UN Security Council Res. 2334: A Victory of Jihadism

Gatestone Institute –

Led astray from their primary mission, these international organizations have become tools of corruption or terrorism, reinforcing global Islamic power. Those who vote are heads of state, motivated by interests and ideologies that are often criminal, and not all of which represent the opinions of their people whom they tyrannize, including those from European “democracies”.

In 1948-49, Egypt seized Gaza, Syria stood their ground on the Golan, and Transjordan colonized Judea, Samaria and the Old City of Jerusalem. Their Jewish inhabitants were killed or driven out by the Arab colonists, who seized their homes and destroyed their synagogues and cemeteries. Fighting ceased on armistice and cease-fire lines, there was no peace and no international borders were recognized.

Europe rushed to adopt the French position in 1973 and, along with the OIC, planned political measures designed to destroy the Jewish State by denying its sovereign rights and its cantonment on an indefensible territory. Resolution 2334 is now the icing on the cake of this policy, which forms the basis for a Euro-Islamic policy to merge in all EU political and social sectors, as well as in promoting globalism and the enforcement of the UN’s supranational decision-making powers.

In 1967, once again, the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan invaded Israel to destroy it, but this time Israel took back all the land that had been lost in 1949, that had become Judenrein [free of Jews], Arabized and Islamized. These were areas from which the Palestinian Jews had been driven out, and that Europe referred to as Jewish colonies. They are called Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

No European nation protested against the Islamic colonization of Jewish-Palestinian areas, the expulsion of their Jewish inhabitants and the seizure of their belongings, or against the persecution of Jews in Arab countries.

An artificial Palestinian Arab “people” was created in order to replace the people of Israel. A European army of forger-historians and Arab Christian dhimmis transferred the historic characteristics of the Jews onto them. Names of towns and regions were Islamized: Jerusalem was called Al-Quds and “the West Bank” replaced Judea and Samaria.

Israelis, guilty of existing, were expected to apologize for that, humbly to maintain their enemies and suffer their terrorism without protesting or defending themselves. Their crime? They refused to mingle with and disappear into dhimmitude by giving up their rights and their history to the people created by the Euro-Arab alliance to replace them.

It is the turn of Europeans to see a replacement population be created in their countries, with all the rights that are being taken away from them. It is their turn to be forced to renounce their national, historic, cultural and religious identity, to apologize and take the blame for existing. It is their turn to be forced to monitor their borders and guard their airports, their schools, their trains, their streets and their cities with soldiers. European governments that contemplated the destruction of Israel worked together with the enemies of Israel to destroy their own people, their sovereignty, their security and their freedoms.

The recognition of the legitimacy of Israel’s return to its homeland is the essential condition of Islamic peace with the world, because it will abolish the jihadist ideology.

UN Security Council Resolution 2334, adopted on December 23, 2016, politically reinforces UNESCO’s resolution that erased the history of Israel in its historical homeland in order to replace it with the Koranic version of the Bible.

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Apprenticeships Are Leading a Quiet Revolution in Higher Ed

Fee – There is a revolution happening in higher education. It’s happening without fanfare. It’s in what futurist investor Peter Diamandis might call the “deceptive phase”. This revolution is the rediscovery of a longstanding idea that somehow got lost in the last century or so: apprenticeship.

The Loud Nothing

Higher education is a popular target for reformers. For at least a decade there have been protests over student debt, which averages well into five figures per student (six figures is not uncommon). Blame is lobbed everywhere. Tuition has risen faster than any other good – more than 500% in the last few decades – fueled by growing demand fueled by subsidy and government-backed loans fueled by a belief that, without college credentials, everyone will be poor and have fewer career options. Ironically, credential-chasing is making people poorer and limiting their options.

More than half of college grads have no job or a job that does not require a degree. Employers find little to no value in whatever colleges are supposed to be teaching (which comes as a major surprise to grads; take a look at how they think they’re prepared vs. how employers think they aren’t).While pundits wring their hands with clueless frustration, the market is on the move.

Debates rage. Some propose forcing taxpayers to fork over even more money for more college for more people. Some propose caps on tuition, or student debt forgiveness, or new laws requiring employers to pay more. Some propose new subjects, teaching methods, programs, and efforts to cajole young people into majoring in whatever field is the economic fortune teller’s flavor of the month. “We need more STEM!” “We need more critical thinkers!” “We need more….”

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