12/21 -Author Jill Tahmooressi, mother of United States Marine Corps veteran Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi who was jailed in Mexico for 214 days.

Blue Ridge Honor Flight Hosts Book Signing

(Hendersonville, NC- December 15, 2017) – Blue Ridge Honor Flight will host a book signing with author Jill Tahmooressi, mother of United States Marine Corps veteran Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi who was jailed in Mexico for 214 days.

In her book, When Light Prevails, Jill shares the actions and emotions she went through to secure her son’s release. For Jill, the book serves to recognize and extend gratitude towards the many, big and small alike who reached out to support and help during the tremendously scary and painful ordeal.

For those who followed Andrew’s fight for freedom back in 2014 on television, radio &/ media outlets or for those just hearing about it for the first time, the book is intensely riveting and revealing.

“I am sincerely grateful to the Western Carolina folks who stepped up mightily to help secure Andrew’s freedom with HonorAir championing the way. The letters the community sent Andrew, as well as the enormous financial support garnered of $20,000 to help with the legal bills will forever be remembered and cherished,” stated Tahmooressi.

The book signing will take place at the Henderson County Historic Courthouse on Main Street from 4-7pm on Thursday, December 21, 2017.

Blue Ridge Honor Flight is honored to now be flying WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans to their memorials in Washington, DC. The organization is now accepting applications for their April 28, 2018 flight from the Greenville Spartanburg Airport in conjunction with Honor Flight Upstate. Applications are available at blueridgehonorflight.com.

For more information about how to get involved in Blue Ridge Honor Flight, make a donation, or to get a veteran signed up for a flight, please visit the Blue Ridge Honor Flight website at blueridgehonorflight.com.

Time for the Media to get it right!

African American means people born in Africa and are now American citizens.. Americans of African descent are people born in United States as Citizens who’s ancestry is mostly African. There are WHITE African Americans and white Americans of African descent. If, you wish to talk about Blacks then called them Black. Black Americans for blacks born in the United States and are citizens. If, anyone is born in the United States and are citizens then they are AMERICAN no matter their color.

Meadows’ Statement on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Vote

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement on the House’s passage of the Conference Report accompanying H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

“Today is a momentous day for America. The forgotten men and women of our country voted to elect President Trump and a Republican Congress to fix our broken tax code that taxes Americans too highly, ships their jobs overseas, and directly undermines the fundamental principles that make America great. Passage of this bill is a monumental step toward doing just that. We’re giving the American people their money back. We’re making the country more competitive for job creation and wage growth. And we’re igniting the kind of economic growth that every American deserves.

 Tonight, as the Senate passes tax reform and sends the bill to President Trump’s desk, the American people will finally begin to see the results from the Congress they voted for on November 8, 2016. Hopefully, we’re just getting started.”

Buncombe’s Republican Commissioners stay real…

Buncombegop.com – From the chair Carl Mumpower – Somewhere between cynicism and narcissism is a place Republicans call realism. That’s where our three Buncombe Republican County Commissioners worked hard to land last night. They merit our support and encouragement.

The issue – whether to support a fantasy timeline on renewable energy for Buncombe County. May we suggest that narcissism is just a hop, skip and a jump from psychosis?

Here’s what our local daily had to say about the resolution – “After shooting it down at past meetings, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 in favor of the resolution at its Dec. 5 meeting, putting the county on the fast track to moving away from the burning of fossil fuels for its electricity and its vehicle fleet, and committing to only using clean and renewable energy for all county operations by 2030 and to all county homes and businesses by 2042. That is, in 25 years.”

Our Republican Commissioners were not resisting setting realistic benchmarks for energy efficiency. There were resisting ‘feel good’ timelines grounded in pretense.

Why does that matter? Because in a hard world good things do not come easily. Self-congratulations, proclamations and resolutions are more about motion than action. If we have a real problem, then we need real action.

Click here to read more.

The following video was added by the Tarheel Tea Party webmaster.

Reliance by U.S. officials on muslims to tell them about the threat of “terrorism” has led to America’s utter failure in this war.

The Islamic Movement’s Influence Operation at FBI/NYPD Began Years Ago
by John Guandolo, President, UTT
 
As UTT detailed last week in our article here, New York Deputy Commissioner John Miller made comments related to recent jihadi attacks in New York inconsistent with a factual understanding of Islam and sharia.
Mr. Miller did not randomly arrive at the conclusion that muslim men with sharia-adherent beards described as “religious” by their friends and family who then kill Americans while screaming “Allah u akbar” have “nothing to do with Islam.”
This incoherence is the intentional outcome of the Islamic Movement’s decades-long influence operation in the United States.
UTT frequently identifies significant penetrations of our system at the highest levels.  It is our intent today to give one specific example of how the reliance by U.S. officials on muslims to tell them about the threat of “terrorism” has led to America’s utter failure in this war and an inability to coherently deal with this threat.
In 1998, John Miller interviewed Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan for ABC News.  A brief clip of that ABC report can be found here.  John Miller was then vaulted to serving as the FBI’s Assistant Director for Public Affairs.
Let us go back to October 5, 2006 inside FBI Headquarters Bonaparte Auditorium.  The FBI’s Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Joe Billy and the Assistant Director for Public Affairs John Miller hosted a presentation by Dr. Irfan Shahid from the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.
FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Joe Billy (2006) lauds Dr. Irfan Shahid
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, besides being one of the richest men on the planet and previously having a seat on the boards of Time-Warner-AOL and News Corp through which he has significant impact in the enemy’s influence operation, is also a huge funder of the global jihad.
However, Dr. Shahid’s words speak for themselves.
The presentation began with John Miller glowingly introducing Dr. Shahid followed by Shahid providing a brief history of Islam.  He quickly discussed Islam’s growth from Mecca to Medina and then jumped to World War I, at which point he blamed the current jihad Against the entire world on Western imperialism/colonialism.  He made it clear that if non-muslims stop interfering in muslim affairs, the jihad would end.
Technically he is correct.  If we all submit to Islam and live under sharia, the jihad will end.
Responding to a question from a Special Agent serving on FBI Headquarters Executive Staff asking why the muslim community is not rejecting Al Qaeda like right-thinking Americans have rejected groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Shahid said:
“When you draw a comparison between the Ku Klux Klan and Al Qaeda this I think is not a fair comparison.  Because the Ku Klux Klan you refer to is racist, and I think that the Al Qaeda is not racist.  The Al Qaeda is a religious organization which believes that the faith and the people to which they belong have belong…You have to go to the causes and withdraw the causes (for Al Qaeda’s violence).”
Al Qaeda is a religious organization.  So, just submit to sharia and the Islamic Movement, and everything will then be fine.
FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs John Miller (2006) with Dr. Irfan Shahid
Shahid continued:  “From the point of view of Islam, the “suicide bomber” is a martyr.  I mean from his point of view he is a pious man who reads his Koran and who feels so much injustice has been done to his people, and his duty is to express his discontent.  He is not a soldier in a well-organized army where he can go to the battlefield and fight. He can do it individually.  So this is what he does.”
At the end of the Q & A, I asked the last question.
I summarized everything I heard during the presentation…
Al Qaeda is a religious organization.  “Suicide bombers” are Islamic martyrs and are justified in their conduct.   America is to blame for Al Qaeda’s actions and the muslims who blow themselves up killing innocent men, women and children.
I asked if maybe the problem might be that muslims are teaching what Al Qaeda says are requirements in Islam to children in Islamic schools and organizations across the globe.  Shahid again reiterated Al Qaeda is a “religious organization” and they do what they do because they feel “helpless” and have no other recourse.
Before it was all over, two FBI Assistant Directors presented the suit-wearing jihadi Shahid with the Jefferson Cup, in honor of Thomas Jefferson.
FBI’s Assistant Director for Counterterrorism awards Dr. Irfan Shahid the Jefferson Cup
You can’t make this stuff up.
The audio for these exchanges can be found on UTT’s weekly radio show here.  UTT encourages you to take the time to listen.
In the end, John Miller is simply one example of how not reading sharia for yourself and delegating the responsibility to “know all enemies” to a third party – who happens to subscribed to our enemy’s ideology – always results in catastrophic failure.
Abdurahman Alamoudi (in prison) was the senior Islamic advisor to President Clinton and was an Al Qaeda financier.
Anwar al Awlaki was called the “new face of moderate Islam” by the media, and was killed in 2011 by a U.S. government drone because he was the Al Qaeda leader in Yemen.
Senator John McCain traveled to Syria and met with people he called friends and allies who were actually jihadis.
In open testimony on Capitol Hill, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the Muslim Brotherhood as a “secular” organization which “eschewed” violence.
The facts indicate U.S. leaders are incapable of discerning friend from foe.  The most dangerous foes are the suit-wearing jihadis who sit inside our intelligence and national security organizations giving direct input into U.S. national security decisions.
This is why we lost the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq despite the fact the U.S. military crushed the enemy on the battlefield.
And it is why the NYPD’s John Miller says all of the attacks we are witnessing have “nothing to do with Islam.”

The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook

Politico – An ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah’s billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House’s desire for a nuclear deal with Iran.

Part I
A global threat emerges
How Hezbollah turned to trafficking cocaine and laundering money through used cars to finance its expansion.

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies.

Click here to read more.

A tweet from Congressman Mark Meadows

Meadows Applauds President Trump’s Regulatory Reform

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement on President Trump’s speech today at the White House, recapping the Trump administration’s progress in rolling back the regulatory state:

“Today’s speech from President Donald Trump represents the exact kind of culture change Washington, D.C. has desperately needed for so long. The American people are fed up with our government’s out-of-control regulatory state that puts the interests of insiders and bureaucrats ahead of everyday Americans on Main Street. They sent President Trump here to lead the charge in fixing it—and the President is delivering. As OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said, the administration has cut 22 old regulations for every new regulation issued. Business as usual is over.

 President Trump is right: ‘Unchecked regulation undermines our freedom.’ That’s why, in May, I introduced a bill in the House to codify the Presidents directive to eliminate two out of date, unnecessary regulations for every new regulation enacted. This measure would go a long way toward jumpstarting the economy, reforming our government’s approach to regulating, and changing the culture of Washington, D.C.

 This is what the forgotten men and women voted for. This is draining the swamp. I give the President a standing ovation for this initiative, and I wholeheartedly join him in his effort to ‘cut the red tape.’”

To read more about Rep. Meadows’ bill H.R. 2623, the Lessening Regulatory Costs and Establishing a Federal Regulatory Budget Act of 2017, click here.

This Founding Father Will Renew Your Hope for Liberty

FEE – John Dickinson was among America’s most important founders. He was a colonial legislator, member of the Stamp Act, Continental, and Confederation Congresses, chief executive of both Delaware (by a 25 to 1 vote; his being the only opposed) and Pennsylvania, president of the 1786 Annapolis convention that led to the Constitutional Convention, and among the most informed and seasoned statesmen to attend it. Historian Forrest McDonald wrote that, but for Dickinson and a few others, “the resulting constitution would not have been ratified.”

Penman of the Revolution

Despite his other roles, Dickinson was best known as the “Penman of the Revolution.” Perhaps his most important writings were his Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies. After publication as letters, beginning December 21, 1767, in the Boston Chronicle, they were republished as a pamphlet, reprinted in most colonial newspapers and read widely, making him America’s first homegrown hero. As we pass their 250th anniversary, we would again profit by recalling John Dickinson’s words promoting our liberty.

Click here to read more.

FREE COURSE: Origins of the American Revolution
An engaging introduction to the principles of the United States | taught by FEE Courses Click here to enroll.

Climate Alarmists Reinterpret Data to Make Sea Level Rise Worse Than It Is

The New American – Climate-change activists parading as scientists are at it again: falsifying data in order to show an alarming rise in sea level in the Indian Ocean. Australian scientists Dr. Albert Parker and Dr. Clifford Ollier detail the scientific skullduggery of the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) in their paper entitled “Is the Sea Level Stable at Aden, Yemen?”

Raw data from three key sea level recording sites in the Indian Ocean — Aden in Yemen, Karachi in Pakistan, and Mumbai in India — show a steady, gentle rise in sea level since monitoring began at the outset of the 20th century. But the raw data has been “reinterpreted” by the PSMSL to show a dramatic increase in sea level.

Admittedly, the PSMSL has a big job to do. As the keeper of all sea level measurements globally, it is their job to collect data from disparate sources worldwide and come up with sea level trends. In other words, the PSMSL is responsible for telling us if sea levels are rising, falling, or staying the same. This is a worthy endeavor.

Click here to read more.

Meadows, Johnson Introduce Bill to Eliminate Failed Obamacare Program

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced the Repeal Insurance Plans of the Multi-State Program Act (RIP MSP Act) on Tuesday — an effort to terminate Obamacare’s failing Multi-State Plan program.

Section 1334 of the Affordable Care Act requires the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to contract with at least two national health plans, one of which must be a non-profit plan, to compete directly with private plans in every state. These plans are called Multi-State Plans, or MSPs — and under current law, they are required to be available in all 50 states, as of 2017.

Multi-state plans were intended to drive competition on the health care exchanges. However, the program has failed to meet the Obama administration’s 750,000 enrollment projection or the 50-state statutory requirement. Only one state, Arkansas, has agreed to offer a MSP option in 2018, and it is likely that fewer than 2,000 Arkansans will participate. But the federal government is still funding the program at $10 million per year.

“This mandate is the definition of government waste. The program has failed to meet statutory requirements and is diverting necessary resources from what should be the OPM’s priorities, such as retirement and security backlogs. Congress needs to let the OPM focus on its job, eliminate this failed program and work to ensure health care is more affordable for all Americans,” – Sen. Ron Johnson.

“Multi-state plans were a poorly conceived provision of an even more poorly conceived bill, Obamacare,” Rep. Meadows said, “and repealing these plans would be a good step toward getting our health care system back on track. It makes no sense for the OPM to dedicate its finite resources toward the creation of government plans that clearly do little, other than stifling the competition our health insurance market so desperately needs. The OPM should not be in the business of contracting health insurance plans. I’m grateful to work with Senator Johnson on this bill as we seek to restore common sense, market-based principles to our health care industry that will bring premiums and overall costs down and help make quality care affordable for all Americans.”

Pearl Harbor: Hawaii Was Surprised; FDR Was Not

The New American – On Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japan launched a sneak attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, shattering the peace of a beautiful Hawaiian morning and leaving much of the fleet broken and burning. The destruction and death that the Japanese military visited upon Pearl Harbor that day — 18 naval vessels (including eight battleships) sunk or heavily damaged, 188 planes destroyed, over 2,000 servicemen killed — were exacerbated by the fact that American commanders in Hawaii were caught by surprise. But that was not the case in Washington.

Comprehensive research has shown not only that Washington knew in advance of the attack, but that it deliberately withheld its foreknowledge from our commanders in Hawaii in the hope that the “surprise” attack would catapult the U.S. into World War II. Oliver Lyttleton, British Minister of Production, stated in 1944: “Japan was provoked into attacking America at Pearl Harbor. It is a travesty of history to say that America was forced into the war.”

Click here to read more.

Millennials Get It Wrong about Socialism

FEE – Most Millennials have a positive view of socialism and communism, but they don’t have all the facts.

Last month’s 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution is an appropriate occasion to remind us of the human atrocities committed by communist regimes. But we also should take time to reflect on the progress that has occurred since the fall of the Soviet Union and its socialist economic system in 1991.

A recent poll of Millennials found that 51 percent of them identified socialism as their favored socioeconomic system, with an additional 7 percent identifying communism as their favored system. Only 42 percent favored capitalism.

Socialism Kills, Always

A socialist system naturally selects leaders willing to exercise coercion to see that the plans are carried out.

Most Millennials I’ve met—and I meet quite a few as a college professor—are nice enough people. Most have no desire to see their fellow humans suffer. So I’m left to conclude that they have no appreciation for how socialism actually works in the real world.Socialist regimes—through executions, intentional starvation, and brutal prison-work camps—killed more than 100 million of their own citizens in the 20th century. In places such as Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela the atrocities continue.

Click here to read more.

HR38 Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is just another infringement of our 2nd Amendment Rights.

We ALREADY have the right to CARRY ANY WHICH WAY (see below).   When will the infringements stop???   When will our Governments follow the CONSTITUTION?   By doing this Congress admits it can and quite correctly override a Unconstitutional State law. 

About Unconstitutional Federal Arms laws, regulations and rules.

Oath of Office: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
U.S. Constitution, Article VI, clause 3

Oath of Office  – U.S. Senators and Representatives

I, (name of Member), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God” (5 U.S.C. §3331).

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land states:

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.

Note: the people form the Militia, so the right is of the people, NOT the Militia.

The Second Amendment protects the rights of all citizens of the United States and its territories. And puts limits on the powers of the Federal and State Governments, plus EVERY other government in the United States. No Government can violate a citizens rights guaranteed to them under the U.S. Constitution.

Therefore, any and ALL Federal and State including any governments within a State, whose laws concern ARMS are infringements and are ILLEGAL under the U.S. Constitution and are therefore Null and Void as they are Unconstitutional. And this is the point of this paper. In order to be in compliance with they oath of office, our Senators and Representatives need to repeal all laws, regulations and rules concerning Arms. Please, keep in mind that the insane and criminal do not obey laws.

Unconstitutional Official Acts

16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256:

The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statute, to be valid, must be In agreement. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows:

The General rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of it’s enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.

Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it…..

A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it is superseded thereby.

No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.

Meadows Applauds POTUS for Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital & Meadows, HFC Members Call for Investigation into FBI’s ‘Special Treatment’ of Hillary Clinton

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement in support of President Trump’s announcement that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the undivided Capital of Israel:

“What a powerful statement it is, on the 50th anniversary of reunification, for President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the true, undivided Capital of Israel. I applaud the President for this decision and for delivering on yet another key promise he made during his campaign.

After 8 years of damage, constant undermining, and broken promises, the world will once again know that the United States stands, unwaveringly, alongside Israel.”


Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) joined several members of the House Freedom Caucus in calling for an investigation into the FBI’s special treatment of the Hillary Clinton investigation.

“This issue is not about any one individual,” Rep. Meadows said. “It’s about the fact that no American, regardless of wealth or political status, should be given a pass under the law. Every day we learn more and more concerning information that indicates Hillary Clinton was given special treatment by the FBI during their investigation last year. It’s time for Attorney General Sessions to start leading and appoint a second special counsel so that the American people can get the truth and the answers they deserve.”

“This will not improve with time,” Meadows continued. “The time for action is now, and there is a short fuse on getting the truth and the kind of answers the American people deserve.”

You can watch the video of the full press conference, including Rep. Meadows’ speech, here.

The Senate Voted to Kill Obamacare’s Individual Mandate. Why That Was a Wise Call.

The Daily Signal – Obamacare’s individual mandate to buy federally standardized health insurance is a tax, courtesy of the Supreme Court’s elaborate exercise in creative writing: National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012).

Legislators should judge a law by its results, not by good intentions. The record is clear: This particular tax is both unworkable and unfair. The Senate’s decision last week to repeal it is thus sound policy.

The individual mandate tax is not working. Its policy objective is to increase enrollment in private coverage and deter un-insurance.

To accomplish this goal, the law says that any person who does not buy an Obamacare plan would pay an annual tax penalty equal to 2.5 percent of their household income or $695, whichever amount is greater.

Click here to read more.

DACA Is Not What the Democrats Say It Is. Here Are the Facts.

The Daily Signal – Some members of Congress are threatening to block government funding unless Congress provides amnesty to so-called Dreamers—the illegal aliens included in President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which President Donald Trump is ending.

Responsible members of Congress should not give in.

Such an effort would be fundamentally flawed and would only encourage even more illegal immigration—just as the 1986 amnesty in the Immigration Reform and Control Act did.

Democrats portray the DACA program as only benefitting those who were a few years old when they came to the U.S. illegally, leaving them unable to speak their native language and ignorant of their countries’ cultural norms. Therefore, the reasoning goes, it would be a hardship to return them to the countries where they were born.

Click here to read more.

Congress Stalling Trump Ambassadors, Harming U.S. Effort to Combat N. Korea, Conduct Diplomacy

The Washington Free Beacon – Trump administration insiders are becoming increasingly concerned that a congressional holdup of key ambassador posts is beginning to interfere with critical American foreign policy efforts, particularly those to rally the international community against North Korea and its contested nuclear program, according to Trump administration insiders and congressional officials familiar with the situation.

Amid a global showdown over North Korea’s repeated and increasingly dangerous nuclear tests, Republican leaders in the Senate have declined to hold a vote on several of President Donald Trump’s picks for U.S. ambassador, most notably Richard Grenell, the former U.S. spokesman at the United Nations who was tapped in September to serve as the next American ambassador to Germany.

Click here to read more. Are you mad yet?

Trump Admin Orders Withdrawal From UN Migrant Accommodating Agreement

On Saturday, December 2, the Donald Trump administration alerted the office of the United Nations secretary-general that the United States of America is withdrawing from a UN agreement aimed at handling migrant and refugee issues.

“Today, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations informed the UN Secretary-General that the United States is ending its participation in the Global Compact on Migration,” the U.S. mission to the United Nations announced in a press release.

In September 2016, the UN General Assembly unanimously agreed on a resolution — the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants — that the organization’s member states would be committed to the document, which “reaffirms the importance of the international refugee regime and represents a commitment by Member States to strengthen and enhance mechanisms to protect people on the move,” as described in a UN statement on the goals of the policy. Click here to read more.

In 1 Chart, the Differences Between the House and Senate Tax Reform Bills

The Daily Signal – The House and Senate have now each passed different versions of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Both bills are a big improvement to America’s out-of-date tax code and could boost the economy by almost 3 percent, leading to more jobs and higher wages for working Americans.

Both bills cut taxes for individuals and businesses, largely repeal the state and local tax deduction, and allow businesses to invest more in the American economy through temporary expensing.

The bills now head to a conference committee where a unified bill will be crafted. Here are some of the major differences you need to know about: Click here to view chart.

Election protests could cause problems without an election board

  Carolina Journal – Municipal elections came and went, largely without issue. But the newly created Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement remains in limbo, and the potential for complications persist every day the board isn’t operating.

The General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper are embroiled in a legal fight, which began with the passage of Session Law 2017-6 in April, otherwise known as Senate Bill 68. The governor has long argued the merger of the election board and ethics commission into one bipartisan board is unconstitutional, but the General Assembly contend it’s within its power to merge the boards.

The law requires Cooper to appoint all eight members of the election board — four Republicans and four Democrats — but the governor has refused while the case is pending. The issue is expected to go before the N.C. Supreme Court.

Despite the continuing legal fight, the election board staff conducts day-to-day business.

“By statute, in single-county contests, the results are certified by the county boards of elections,” said Patrick Gannon, spokesman for the election board. “In multi-county contests, the State Board office has conducted all of its usual post-election audits and plans to issue letters to winning candidates in those contests.”

Certain functions are reserved for the board.

“One issue we are dealing with presently is the fact that there is no board to hear appeals of county board decisions on election protests,” Gannon said.

Without a board in place, election protesters wishing to appeal county board decisions must take their complaints to the Wake County Superior Court.

Another legal battle — this one involving the legislative redistricting — may affect upcoming state and local elections. The court case may continue past the February 2018 filing date for candidates, potentially delaying or disrupting the primary election.

“This agency, as it has up to this point, will continue to keep the courts and legislators aware of the time lines necessary to ensure elections are conducted lawfully and fairly,” Gannon explained. “The court is aware of the 2018 filing deadlines.”

Source: https://www.carolinajournal.com/news-article/election-protests-could-cause-problems-without-an-election-board/

Audit finds excessive use of state vehicles by DMV workers

Carolina Journal – A state Division of Motor Vehicles inspector violated agency policy by improperly collecting pay for a 3 ½-hour daily commute, costing the state $85,000. He attributed his misdeeds to working for “a paramilitary organization,” according to an investigative report released Tuesday by State Auditor Beth Wood.

Auditors called on the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General to perform a review of all assigned state vehicles to identify other potential commuting violations.

Responding to the audit, the state Department of Administration said its motor fleet management staff is installing GPS tracking systems in state-owned vehicles to increase monitoring. The computerized telecommunications devices should be in all vehicles by the end of the fiscal year.

The tracking devices are expected to eliminate unauthorized vehicle use, track fuel and miles driven, improve driver safety and liability concerns, decrease maintenance costs, help prevent vehicle theft, and increase accountability.

The Office of State Controller amended its policies in response to that situation, and the case of another DMV employee who received $5,616 in improper personal benefits from private use of a state car. The policy revision is to ensure management and supervisors know what daily activities an employee performs before approving their work time.

According to the audit, Tim McLawhorn of Washington, a DMV inspector in the License and Theft Bureau, was assigned to a duty station in Greenville.

But he drove to Raleigh daily, totaling 91,000 miles from January 2014 through December 2016, to work on special projects for the former DOT commissioner and deputy commissioner, neither of whom was named in the report. Kelly Thomas was commissioner during that time. Randy Dishong was deputy commissioner.

That commute violated a policy requiring employees assigned a state vehicle to live within 50 miles of the county line of their work station. McLawhorn was paid for commute time from Beaufort County to Raleigh. Combined with wear and tear on the vehicle, costs totaled $85,000, the audit said.

“When somebody tells you to do something, you just go do it. It’s a paramilitary organization, you don’t question people,” McLawhorn told auditors when asked about the infraction.

When his supervisor was asked why he approved the improper work time, he told auditors “you don’t really ask too many questions” when an employee is assigned to the commissioner’s office.

In the other case, Stacy Wooten of Winston-Salem, a DMV Central Regional Zone chief, used a state vehicle to commute from her home to the Winston-Salem office from January 2014 through January 2017. That violated state policy requiring employees to reimburse the state for personal use mileage through payroll deduction. Auditors called for Wooten to repay those costs.

In response, DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup said “it appears inequitable to require reimbursement after such a long period of time,” but the money either would be repaid or the employee’s W-2 statement amended to reflect the additional taxable income.

DMV issued a statement Tuesday acknowledging the “thorough audit of vehicle usage in the previous administration. As a result of this audit, we are working to strengthen our policies and procedures to ensure this does not happen again.”