Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Washington Post: Why this black defender of the Confederate flag says slavery was ‘a choice’

Karen Cooper says slavery was "a choice"
By Peter Holley, Jun. 30, 2015, Washington Post

For many Americans, the Confederate battle flag is an unmistakable symbol of slavery and oppression.

But for Karen Cooper, a black woman who was born in New York but later settled in Virginia, the flag embodies something else entirely.

“I actually think that it represents freedom,” the ardent tea party supporter says in a video interview that’s been making the rounds online. “It represents a people who stood up to tyranny.”

[I am a black South Carolinian. Here’s why I support the Confederate flag.]

Cooper is a member of the Virginia Flaggers, an activist group that rejects the idea that the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism and hate.

The group was formed in response to a decision to remove Confederate flags from public view in several locations, including a Confederate memorial chapel on the grounds of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond and city light poles in Lexington, The Washington Post’s Susan Svrluga reported last year.

More: www.washingtonpost.com

USA Today: Greece asks for new bailout — its third — at 11th hour

By Kim Hjelmgaard, Jun. 30, 2015, USA Today

Greece requested a third bailout from the eurozone Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to secure a debt deal before its financial-crisis-era bailout expires and it defaults on a loan from the International Monetary Fund, one of its three international creditors.

The two-year deal, if accepted, would allow Athens a new bailout from the eurozone's European Stability Mechanism, its $560 billion rescue fund. European finance ministers were expected to discuss the proposal in a conference call at 7 p.m. Brussels time (1 p.m. ET).

The last-minute development comes as Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Tuesday that his country would not make a debt payment to the IMF by a midnight deadline, setting the stage for a showdown with its creditors ahead of a national referendum Sunday on its membership of the euro currency.


More: www.usatoday.com

Politico: Ted Cruz unloads on Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul in new book

By Manu Raju, Jun. 29, 2015, Politico

Ted Cruz’s campaign against his Republican colleagues — especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — is getting increasingly personal.


The freshman senator from Texas has never shied from attacking the men and women whom he works alongside each day. But Cruz, lodged in the middle of the 2016 GOP presidential pack, is taking his criticism of fellow Republican senators to a new level — rhetorically and in his new book out Tuesday, “A Time for Truth.”

Cruz accuses McConnell and GOP leadership of maneuvering to dry up his fundraising and plant hit pieces in the press aimed at hurting him politically. He says GOP leaders cowered from joining him in big fights over the debt ceiling, Obamacare and gun control, accusing his colleagues of “mendacity” and capitulating to Democrats to avoid bad headlines.
 

More: www.politico.com

A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America by Ted Cruz available on Amazon

San Jose Mercury News: California Gov. Jerry Brown signs contentious vaccine bill into law

ABC7
By Tracy Seipel and Jessica Calefati, Jun. 30, 2015, San Jose Mercury News

SACRAMENTO -- Ending months of speculation, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed into law Senate Bill 277, which requires almost all California schoolchildren to be fully vaccinated in order to attend public or private school, regardless of their parents' personal or religious beliefs.

California now joins only two other states -- Mississippi and West Virginia -- that permit only medical exemptions as legitimate reasons to sidestep vaccinations.

The clamor around the elimination of the "personal belief exemption" heated up in California after a measles outbreak started last December at Disneyland.

By the time they declared the outbreak over in mid-April, state health officials confirmed 136 measles cases in California. That's something that Sens. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento and his SB 277 co-author Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, say could have been prevented if more Californians, particularly those in communities with low-vaccination rates, were fully immunized.


More: www.mercurynews.com

Fox News/AP: New York formalizes ban on fracking, ending 7-year review

By Associated Press/Fox News, Jun. 29, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York formalized its ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing for natural gas on Monday, concluding a seven-year environmental and health review that drew a record number of public comments.

"After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative," Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said in announcing the decision. "High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated."

In its decision, the DEC noted that more than 260,000 public comments were submitted on its environmental impact study and proposed regulations, an unprecedented number. The agency said most of the comments urged it to severely restrict or prohibit fracking.


More: www.foxnews.com

NBC: Chris Christie Joins Presidential Race

By Andrew Rafferty, Jun. 30, 2015, NBC

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie promised a campaign of "big ideas and hard truths" when he formally entered the presidential race during a rally at his old high school on Tuesday.

"We need to have strength and decision making and authority back in the Oval Office. And that is why today I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America," Christie said during a rally at Livingston High School in New Jersey.

The often blunt Republican played up his penchant for straight talk during his announcement, promising to honesty "whether you like it or not."

"I mean what I say and I say what I mean and that's what America needs right now," Christie said.

Christie said he has spent the past 13 years "fighting for fairness" as a U.S. attorney and governor, and now is ready to fight for the entire United States.


 

More: www.nbcnews.com

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Hill: NBC cuts ties with Trump

By Jesse Brynes, Jun. 29, 2015, The Hill

NBC is cutting its ties with Donald Trump over the 2016 Republican presidential candidate's recent remarks over immigrants.

"Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump," the network said in a statement Monday.

NBC also said it would no longer air the "Miss USA" and "Miss Universe" pageants on its network, which are produced with Trump.

The network has faced pressure to formally cut ties with Trump amid the controversy over comments he made at his presidential launch event earlier this month.

“They’re sending people who have a lot of problems,” Trump said of illegal immigration. "They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."


The remarks prompted Cristian de la Fuenta, the Chilean actor scheduled to host this year's Miss USA pageant, to quit. He described Trump as "a clown."


More: www.thehill.com

Sunday, June 28, 2015

AP: Christie to embrace underdog role as he launches 2016 bid

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri
By Jill Colvin, Jun. 28, 2015, Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie enters the race for president this week, he'll do so as an underdog.

The launch of the Republican governor's White House campaign is the culmination of years of groundwork that began even before his landslide re-election to a second term as governor in 2013, but one nearly felled by scandal and a descent from his standing as one of the nation's most popular state leaders to a politician whose approval ratings have reached record lows at home.

It's a reality Christie and his supporters are ready to embrace, not that they have a choice.

"Clearly, he's got some uphill work to be done," said Ken Langone, a co-founder of Home Depot and one of Christie's most vocal cheerleaders. "But I think it can be done."

In recent months, Christie's team has tried to re-establish him as a credible candidate chock-full of policy prescriptions. His aides and supporters talk about his charismatic personality, quick wit and plain-spoken manner, which they believe can win over voters at town hall events and on debate stages.

With so many candidates in the field — Christie will be the 14th major Republican to enter the race, with two more likely before summer's end — and no clear front-runner, they say they can forge a path to the GOP nomination.


More: www.ap.org

Huff Post: NASCAR Chairman: Ban Confederate Flag At Races

By Jenna Fryer, Jun. 27, 2015, Huff Post

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — Calling the Confederate flag an "insensitive symbol" he personally finds offensive, NASCAR chairman Brian France said the sport will be aggressive in disassociating the symbol from its events.

"We want to go as far as we can to eliminate the presence of that flag," France told The Associated Press on Saturday. "I personally find it an offensive symbol, so there is no daylight how we feel about it and our sensitivity to others who feel the same way.

"We're working with the industry to see how far we can go to get that flag to be disassociated entirely from our events."

Earlier this week, NASCAR said it backed South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's call to remove the Confederate flag from state capitol grounds, and noted that it bars the flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity.

But banning it on race track property is a much larger task for NASCAR, which began as a Southern sport and many of its fans still embrace the flag. It flies atop campers and at camp sites at many races as fans spend entire weekends in either the infield or surrounding areas of track property.


More: www.huffingtonpost.com

CBS: Feds warn of potential July 4 attacks targeting law enforcement

By CBS/AP, Jun. 26, 2015

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin Friday warning of potential attacks against law enforcement officers and the military during the July 4th holiday, CBS News has learned.

The bulletin is not related to Friday's attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait.

However, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says his department is encouraging law enforcement "to be vigilant and prepared" ahead of the holiday in the U.S. following those three attacks.


More: www.cbsnews.com

Washington Examiner: Carly Fiorina: Marijuana legalization 'is a very bad idea'

Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty/USA Today
By Catalina Camia, Jun. 27, 2015, Washington Examiner

DENVER — Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina came to Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana, and said legalization was a bad idea.

"While I do in general support states rights, and the voters of Colorado have made a decision," Fiorina told reporters after her speech at the Western Conservative Summit, "I would also very quickly add that I think the legalization of marijuana is a very bad idea. I think it's misleading to young people in particular when we tell them smoking pot is like drinking a beer. It is not."


Marijuana was legalized in Colorado first for medical use in 2000 and then recreational use in 2012. Both policies were approved by the voters in ballot initiatives. Since then Washington state, Oregon and Alaska have followed suit. Marijuana is legal for medicinal use in seventeen other states.

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO is not only a staunch opponent to recreational drug use, but she also cautioned against using the drug for medical purposes. A cancer survivor herself, she spoke of how her doctor warned her against mixing cannabis with her cancer treatment.


More: www.washingtonexaminer.com

RELATED: Report: The Legalization of Marijuana In Colorado: The Impact

Saturday, June 27, 2015

IJ Review: Walmart makes ISIS cake, refused Confederate flag cake

AP/ABC News: Jeb Bush Schedules Meetings With Pastors in Charleston, SC

By Thomas Beaumont, Jun. 27, 2015, Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa - Jeb Bush plans to meet with black pastors in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday — part of a rescheduled visit to the state after he cut short an earlier stop because of the church shooting.

The Republican presidential candidate was in Charleston as part of his campaign kickoff on the day that nine people were shot to death during a prayer meeting at a church. Bush was staying not far from the scene of the shooting.

Bush then canceled the rest of his visit, which included a town hall meeting focusing on military issues.

His campaign says Monday's meeting with the ministers will be closed to the media. Later that day, Bush plans to visit a pharmaceutical company in the Columbia area.


Source: www.abcnews.go.com

NBC News: 2016 Candidates React to Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Ruling

More: www.nbcnews.com

Fox News/Opinion: America urgently needs a balanced budget. Here's how to get there

Rep. Vernon Buchanan/AP/Steve Nesius
By Rep. Vernon Buchanan, Jun. 27, 2015, Fox News

A disturbing new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warns that America’s growing debt could choke economic growth and lead to a death spiral from which there is no recovery.

The CBO’s report should give new energy and urgency to the call for a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment.

The national debt is a ticking time bomb that threatens every American, young and old. It currently exceeds $18 trillion and is projected to top $27 trillion within the next decade.

The growth of so-called mandatory spending – programs that run on autopilot – will drive much of the increase in our debt over the coming years.

These programs will leave little room for funding key priorities such as national defense, economic development and veterans’ services.

I have long argued that a Balanced Budget Amendment is the best solution to this imminent fiscal crisis. It was the very first measure I introduced as a member of Congress and a cause I continue to champion as a member of the House Budget Committee. We must force Washington to balance its books.

Forty-nine out of 50 states, including my home state of Florida, have balanced budget requirements.

In Florida, we make the tough choices in our budget every year as part of our obligation to be responsible stewards of the taxpayers’ money.

Why should Washington be held to a different standard?

There is good news for those who believe in a balanced budget and a return to fiscal sanity.

This year, for the first time in over a decade, both the House and the Senate passed a federal budget that actually balances, reduces spending by more than $5 trillion, and creates 1.2 million new jobs. It also calls for Congress to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.


More: www.foxnews.com
 
Republican Vern Buchanan represents Florida's 16th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is currently serving his fifth term in the House of Representatives and is Florida's only member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He also serves on the House Budget Committee.

Washington Examiner: Chief Justice Roberts: Why not polygamy too?

By Pete Kasperowics, Jun. 26, 2015, Washington Examiner

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts argued in his dissent in Friday's same-sex marriage case that by saying gay marriages are constitutional, the Court may be heading down the road toward legalizing polygamy.

Roberts was one of four dissenters in the case, and argued that the Court's majority opinion goes too far in prescribing law in an area that had been left to the states. He also said it raises significant questions, including whether states have a right to define marriage as being between two people.

"Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective 'two' in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not," Roberts wrote. "Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world."

"If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one," he wrote.


More: www.washingtonexaminer.com

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Right Scoop: Boom! Trump Tweets Out Letter Banning Univision From His Golf Course

By The Right Scoop, Jun. 26, 2015

Trump is not to be outdone and is not going to allow these leftist Hillary shills get away with their attacks on him.

A few minutes ago he tweeted out this letter banning all officers and representatives from Univision from his big golf course in Miami. But that’s not the best part. Read what’s at the bottom of the letter:

 

More: www.therightscoop.com

ICYMI: CNN: Supreme Court strikes down law in Jerusalem passport case

By Arian de Vouge, CNN, Jun. 8, 2015

(CNN)The Supreme Court struck down part of a federal statute Monday that allowed Americans born in Jerusalem to record in their passport "Israel" as the place of birth.

The 6-3 decision is a victory for the Executive, and a loss for Congress and the 12-year-old boy caught in the middle of a separation of powers dispute.

For the last 60 years, the United States policy has been to recognize no state as having sovereignty over Jerusalem.  The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal over California's Proposition 8 on jurisdictional grounds. The voter-approved ballot measure barring same-sex marriage was not defended by state officials, but rather a private party. This ruling cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California to resume, but left open-ended the legal language of 35 other states barring same-sex marriage.


More: www.cnn.com

ABC 7: CA Assembly Passes School Vaccination Bill

By Associated Press, Jun. 25, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California's Assembly has approved the hotly contested Senate Bill 277 requiring that nearly all public schoolchildren be vaccinated.

It's one of the last major obstacles before one of the nation's strictest vaccine bills heads to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.

The bill aims to increase immunization rates after a measles outbreak linked to Disneyland in December sickened over 100 people in the U.S. and Mexico.

The measure passed on a bipartisan 46-30 vote after weeks of vocal opposition, with thousands of parents donning red shirts in protest of the bill at the Capitol.

The Senate already approved the bill once, but still must approve amendments before it is sent to the Democratic governor.

Brown has not said whether he would sign the bill authored by Democratic Sens. Richard Pan of Sacramento and Ben Allen of Santa Monica.

Members of the California Assembly on Thursday were taking up a hotly contested bill requiring nearly all public schoolchildren to be vaccinated, marking its last major legislative obstacle before possibly reaching the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill aims to increase immunization rates after a measles outbreak linked to Disneyland in December sickened over 100 people in the U.S. and Mexico.


More: www.abc7news.com

Daily Caller: Fox News Reaches ‘End Of The Road’ With Bob Beckel, Sends Him Packing

By Al Weaver, Jun. 25, 2015, Daily Caller

After months of speculation, Fox News announced Thursday that they have parted ways with “The Five” co-host Bob Beckel after a five-month absence from the network.

The news, which was first reported by Mediaite and confirmed by a network spokesperson, comes after Fox announced in April that Beckel had entered rehab for his addiction to prescription pain medication after back surgery earlier this year. Beckel had not appeared on the show since February 16.

According to a statement from Fox News Executive Vice President Bill Shine, Beckel “took tremendous advantage” of the network’s “generosity,” and the network had simply come “to the end of the road” with the much-maligned co-host.

“We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold ‘The Five’ hostage to one man’s personal issues,” Shine said in a statement. “He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him.”

More: www.dailycaller.com

Fox News: Supreme Court: Same-sex couples can marry in all 50 states

By Fox News, Jun. 26, 2015

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide, in a historic decision that invalidates gay marriage bans in more than a dozen states.

Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. But in a 5-4 ruling, the court held that the 14th Amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples and to recognize such marriages performed in other states.

The ruling means the remaining 14 states that did not allow such unions, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court's previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996.

"No union is more profound than marriage," Kennedy wrote, joined by the court's four more liberal justices. He continued: "Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right."


More: www.foxnews.com

Thursday, June 25, 2015

CNN: Supreme Court saves Obamacare

By Ariane de Vogue and Jeremy Diamond, Jun. 25, 2015, CNN

Washington (CNN)Obamacare has survived -- again.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court saved the controversial health care law that will define President Barack Obama's administration for generations to come.

The ruling holds that the Affordable Care Act authorized federal tax credits for eligible Americans living not only in states with their own exchanges but also in the 34 states with federal marketplaces. It staved off a major political showdown and a mad scramble in states that would have needed to act to prevent millions from losing health care coverage.

"Five years ago, after nearly a century of talk, decades of trying, a year of bipartisan debate, we finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few but a right for all," Obamasaid from the White House. "The Affordable Care Act is here to stay"

In a moment of high drama, Chief Justice John Roberts sent a bolt of tension through the Court when he soberly announced that he would issue the majority opinion in the case. About two-thirds of the way through his reading, it became clear that he again would be responsible for rescuing Obamacare.


More: www.cnn.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The New York Times: Bobby Jindal Enters Presidential Race, Saying ‘It Is Time for a Doer’

NYT
By Manny Fernandez, Jun. 24, 2015, The New York Times

KENNER, La. — Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is Louisiana’s first nonwhite governor since Reconstruction but whose popularity plummeted as the state struggled with a $1.6 billion shortfall, announced Wednesday that he is running for president in 2016.

Mr. Jindal, 44, an Indian-American, joins the crowded field of Republican contenders in what even his supporters call a long-shot candidacy.

Standing before a giant American flag at an event center in this New Orleans suburb, Mr. Jindal presented himself as a policy writer whose résumé — as a two-term governor and a former congressman who once led the state health agency and the University of Louisiana system — sets him apart. He said that Louisiana cut the number of “government bureaucrats” by more than 30,000 positions, and that the state now had the highest population in its history, with more people moving to Louisiana than leaving it.

“There are a lot of great talkers running for president already,” Mr. Jindal said, adding: “We’ve had

Mr. Jindal, who took office in 2008, has kept a low profile on the national stage compared with Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and other Republican candidates and likely candidates. And his approval numbers in the state have fallen sharply as he nears the end of his tenure amid criticism that he has been more focused on laying the groundwork for a presidential run than on Louisiana’s fiscal troubles.


More: www.nytimes.com

CNN: Lindsey Graham: Niece went to school with shooting suspect

By Maeve Reston, Jun. 24, 2015, CNN

(CNN)Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham said his niece, Emily, was in an 8th grade English class with Dylann Roof, the suspect in the Charleston church massacre.

"He was quiet, strange, very unsocial and everyone thought he was on drugs," Graham, a U.S. Senator from South Carolina, said of the suspect in an telephone interview with CNN, relaying the description from his niece Emily and sister Darline Graham Nordone.

Graham, who is on his way to Charleston, said his niece did not recall Roof making any statements that were related to race.

"I just think he was one of these whacked out kids. I don't think it's anything broader than that," Graham said. "It's about a young man who is obviously twisted."

"No one at home [in South Carolina] believes this represents us. We don't want to be judged by him," Graham said.


Source: www.cnn.com

The Hill: Ann Coulter: Nikki Haley 'an immigrant' who doesn’t understand Confederate flag

By Mark Hensch, Jun. 24, 2015, The Hill

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter said on Tuesday night that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is unqualified to deal with her state’s use of the Confederate flag because she’s an "immigrant."

“I’d really like to like Nikki Haley since she is a Republican, but on the other hand, she’s an immigrant and does not understand America’s history,” Coulter told host Kennedy on her Fox Business show Tuesday evening.

“You think immigrants can’t understand history?” Kennedy asked.
“Well, she doesn’t,” Coulter responded. “The Confederate flag we’re talking about never flew over an official Confederate building.”

“It was a battle flag — it is to honor Robert E. Lee,” she added. “Anyone who knows the first thing about military history knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army.”

Haley's parents are Indian Sikhs who came to the United States before she was born in Bamberg, S.C. 


More: www.thehill.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

ABC News: Here's Where the 2016 Candidates Stand on the Confederate Flag Issue

By Arlet Sanez, Jun. 22, 2015, ABC News

The Confederate flag flying on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol has become a flashpoint after nine African Americans were shot dead in a Charleston church last week.

The GOP's 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, urged the state to remove the flag, calling it a "symbol of racial hatred."

The 2016 presidential candidates have been asked to weigh in on whether the flag should be removed from the grounds, prompting some to call for its immediate removal while others have said it’s a decision left to the people of South Carolina.

ABC News reached out to all of the declared and potential 2016 candidates for their positions on the Confederate flag in South Carolina. Here’s a look at where the candidates stand on the issue.

President Obama agreed:


More: www.abcnews.go.com

Monday, June 22, 2015

CNN: Walmart to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise

By MJ Lee, Jun. 22, 2015, CNN

(CNN)Walmart, the country's largest retailer, will remove all Confederate flag merchandise from its stores, the company told CNN Monday.

The announcement is the latest indication that the flag, a symbol of the slave-holding South, has become toxic in the aftermath of a shooting last week at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina. Gov. Nikki Haley announced in a Monday afternoon news conference that she supports removing the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds.

Walmart.com currently carries the Confederate flag as well as attire featuring the flag's design, such as T-shirts and belt buckles.

"We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer. We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the confederate flag from our assortment -- whether in our stores or on our web site," said Walmart spokesman Brian Nick. "We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell. Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly -- this is one of those instances."


More: www.cnn.com

NBC: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley Calls for Removal of Confederate Flag From State Capitol

By Elisha Fieldstadt, Jun. 22, 2015, NBC News

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state Capitol Monday.

"Today, we are here in a moment of unity in our state, without ill will, to say it is time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds," Haley said during a news conference attended by Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott and other state leaders.

The announcement was met by applause and cheers from those in attendance.

The flag wasn't lowered to half-staff along with the other flags at the Statehouse after nine people were killed at a historic African American church Wednesdaybecause doing so is under the authority of the state's General Assembly — and so is taking it down.

Authorities have said the shooting was a hate crime, and a white supremacist website that may be linked to shooter Dylann Roof shows images that apparently show him holding the flag.


More: www.nbcnews.com

Sacramento Bee: Drug companies donated millions to California lawmakers before vaccine debate

By Jim Miller, Jun. 18, 2015, Sacramento Bee

A subplot to the vociferous debate over the student vaccination bill moving through California’s Capitol is opponents’ allegations that the effort reflects the influence of the pharmaceutical industry.

Critics of Senate Bill 277, which would eliminate the personal belief and religious exemptions for schoolchildren, accuse the measure’s supporters in the Legislature of doing the bidding of donors who make vaccines and other pharmaceuticals.

The bill’s proponents and drug companies dismiss the charge. The companies’ lobbyist filings for the first quarter of this year as well as legislative committee reports show no connection between the pharmaceutical industry and SB 277.

“We aren’t pushing this bill behind the scenes,” said Priscilla VanderVeer, the senior director for communications for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, the industry’s main trade group. The group has no taken no position on SB 277, although the group has long backed vaccinations as sound public health policy, she said.
 

More: www.sacbee.com

Baltimore Sun: O'Malley presses for stronger gun laws, Confederate flag removal

By John Fritze, Jun. 21, 2015, Baltimore Sun

Promising to "rebuild the heart of America's cities," former Gov. Martin O'Malley used an appearance at a meeting of the nation's mayors on Sunday to call for a federal ban on assault weapons and stricter regulations on gun purchases.

O'Malley, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, told the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors that the massacre at a black church in South Carolina last week demanded action from Washington.
How many senseless acts of violence do we have to endure as a people before we stand up to the congressional lobbyists of the NRA?- Former Gov. Martin O'Malley

"I heard some elected officials say this week, 'laws can't change this,'" O'Malley told the group in San Francisco.

"Actually, they can," he said. "How many senseless acts of violence do we have to endure as a people before we stand up to the congressional lobbyists of the NRA?"

More: www.baltimoresun.com


RELATED: Confederate Flag Bill Debate, April 12, 2000

 

NBC: First Read: Jeb Bush Leads the GOP Pack

By Meet The Press, Jun. 22, 2015, NBC

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.

Jeb leads the GOP pack

A brand-new national NBC/WSJ poll finds Jeb Bush leading the crowded Republican presidential field, with 22% of GOP primary voters saying he's their first choice. He's followed by Scott Walker at 17%, Marco Rubio at 14%, and Ben Carson at 11%. While Jeb had a similar five-point lead in our April NBC/WSJ poll, you see his current position has strengthened when you look inside the numbers of this new poll. (It was conducted during the buildup and coverage of Bush's official presidential announcement on June 16.) The latest survey shows him ahead among self-identified conservative GOP primary voters -- when he was in third place in April behind Rubio and Walker. And as we unveiled on Sunday, 75% of Republican primary voters in our new poll say they could see themselves supporting Bush -- up from 70% in April and 49% in March. Bottom line: While Jeb has plenty of potential problems to overcome (his last name, his positions on immigration and Common Core, his desire to run a general-election campaign instead of one aimed at GOP primary voters), this poll is very good news for him.

Who gets left off that first debate stage?

The NBC/WSJ poll measured 16 GOP candidates in our horserace question. And here are the 10 Republicans who make our poll's Top 10 -- the criteria being used for the first GOP debate in August -- and the six who get left off:

  1. Jeb Bush 22%
  2. Scott Walker 17%
  3. Marco Rubio 14%
  4. Ben Carson 11%
  5. Mike Huckabee 9%
  6. Rand Paul 7%
  7. Rick Perry 5%
  8. Ted Cruz 4%
  9. Chris Christie 4%
  10. Carly Fiorina 2%
  11. Donald Trump 1%
  12. Lindsey Graham 1%
  13. John Kasich 1%
  14. Bobby Jindal 0%
  15. Rick Santorum 0%
  16. George Pataki 0%
More: www.nbcnews.com

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Salon: Bill Maher slams Ann Coulter over immigration, asks how “imaginary friend Jesus Christ” would feel about her attitude

By Anna Silman, Jun. 20, 2015, Salon.com

Ann Coulter was on “Real Time with Bill Maher” last night to promote her anti-immigration book “Adios, America!” — which claims that there are 30 million undocumented immigrants in the US — and as expected, Maher didn’t go easy on Coulter. “What about your imaginary friend Jesus Christ? Would he be OK with this attitude?” asked Maher, to which Coulter responded “Of course. You don’t need to take homeless people to bed to prove you’re a Christian. This is our home.”

Maher reminded Coulter that official government data suggests the number of undocumented immigrants in the country is closer to 12 million, to which Counter responded that she believes her own estimate is still low. “The point and issue is, should America’s immigration policy be used to benefit the people already here, or should it be benefitting Pakistani push-cart operators — illiterate in their own language, never mind ours — who come here, go on welfare, commit terrorism, engage in crimes?” asked Coulter.


 

More: www.salon.com

Related:  New Book by Ann Coulter: "Adios America"

OANN/Reuters: Bush Rejects Rubio Swipe That Governors Not Ready To Run U.S. Foreign Policy

Source: Gage Skidmore/Flikr
By Steve Holland, Jun. 21, 2015, OANN/Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Thursday rejected a contention from Republican rival Marco Rubio that a governor would not be able to manage U.S. foreign policy if elected president in an early sign of their 2016 battle to come.

Bush, who is exploring a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, sought to allay concerns about his conservative credentials at a forum run by a conservative magazine, National Review.

Rubio, a first-term Florida senator, has gained some early momentum in his own race for the Republican nomination for the 2016 election by touting his foreign policy credentials, which includes membership on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Governors can certainly read about foreign policy, and take briefings and meet with experts, but there is no way they’ll be ready on Day One to manage U.S. foreign policy,” Rubio told the Des Moines Register last weekend.

More: www.oann.com

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Roll Call: Lindsey Graham Welcomes Donald Trump to the Race - “This will take care of itself.”

By Nicole Puglise, Jun. 16, 2015, Roll Call

Lindsey Graham didn’t sound worried by Donald Trump entering the 2016 presidential race Tuesday.

“I think it is a dream come true for people in the business,” he said of the newest entrant into the crowded GOP field, causing a pack of reporters to break out in laughter.

“Here’s the simple answer. His fate is in the hands of the voters like mine. … He believes in the private market, so do I. All his campaigns are basically businesses trying to sell themselves. He’s a larger-than-life character, but he has the same challenges as everybody else. Can he get enough investors, can he get enough buyers.

“This will take care of itself.”


More: www.blogs.rollcall.com

Thursday, June 18, 2015

ABC News: Woman to Grace New $10 Bill, First Time in More Than 100 Years for Female Face on American Note

By Devin Dwyer and Jordyn Phelps, Jun. 17, 2015, ABC News

It's time for a change.

Treasury officials say Alexander Hamilton no longer fits the bill for the $10 note, and plan to replace him with the face of an American woman or women.

The move, part of a planned upgrade for all paper currency, represents the first time in more than a century that a bill will have a woman on it. Hamilton's face will continue to be on some of the new notes, slated to enter circulation in 2020 -- a year that marks the 100th anniversary of women’s gaining the right to vote.

“The new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century that features the portrait of a woman,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on a call with reporters Wednesday.

But the woman who will replace Hamilton remains a mystery, at least for now.

That’s because the Treasury Department is asking the public to weigh in on the new design and what woman –- or women –- should get her face on the bill before reaching a decision later this year. They are using the hashtag #TheNew10 to collect suggestions and launching a website:TheNew10.Treasury.Gov.


More:  www.abcnews.go.com

RELATED: Politico: Save Alexander Hamilton!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

960 The Patriot: The Seth Leibsohn Respones To Marijuana Email

Monday, June 15, 2015

ABC News: Jeb Bush Announces 2016 Presidential Campaign: 'I Will Run To Win'

By Candice Smith, Jun. 15, 2015, ABC News

Today, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush put an end today to months of speculation and announced his 2016 presidential campaign.

"We are 17 months from the time for choosing," Bush told a cheering audience in Miami. "The stakes for America’s future are about as great as they come. Our prosperity and our security are in the balance. So is opportunity, in this nation where every life matters and everyone has the right to rise."

In attendance were members of his family, including wife, Columba, his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, his children and their spouses, and all of his grandchildren. His brothers, Neil and Marvin Bush and their wives also were in attendance. The two former presidents in the Bush family -- George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush -- were not on hand for the event though Bush tweeted a photo of himself calling his father before his speech:


More: www.abcnews.go.com

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Washington Post: Mitt Romney gives a brutal PowerPoint critique of Obama’s foreign policy

By Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, Jun. 12, 2015, Washington Post

PARK CITY, Utah — Ever since Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama in 2012, it has become a mantra in the Republican Party that on foreign policy especially, “Romney was right.”

In a stuffy mountain lodge here Friday night, Romney joined the chorus. Dusting off a page from his management consulting playbook, the former Republican nominee delivered a speech by PowerPoint to more than 200 corporate CEOs and other attendees of his annual ideas festival about what he deemed (and titled his slides): “The Most Consequential Obama Foreign Policy Mistakes.”

Slide by slide, Romney ticked through 20 mistakes, from Obama’s “Middle East apology tour” to the president’s lack of support for Iran’s green revolution to the administration’s infamous “reset” with Russia.

“With all that bad news, is it not true that arguably President Obama is the worst foreign policy president in history?” Romney asked. “I think he is.”


More: www.washingtonpost.com

Friday, June 12, 2015

CNS News: $2.1T: Tax Revenue for FY15 Hit Record Through May; Gov't Runs $365B Deficit

By Ali Meyer, Jun. 12, 2015, CNS News

(CNSNews.com) - Inflation-adjusted federal tax revenues hit a record $2,103,987,000,000 for the first eight months of the fiscal year this May, but the federal government still ran a $365,156,000,000 deficit during that time, according to the latest Monthly Treasury Statement.

Each month, the Treasury publishes the government’s “total receipts,” including all revenue from individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, social insurance and retirement taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), unemployment insurance taxes, excise taxes, estate and gift taxes, customs duties, and “miscellaneous receipts.”

In constant 2015 dollars, the $2,103,987,000,000 that the federal government collected from October through May in fiscal 2015 was $170,187,740,000 more than the $1,933,799,260,000 it collected in October through May in fiscal 2014.


More: www.cnsnews.com

Newsmax: Putin Keeps Pope Waiting Over an Hour for Vatican Meeting

By Melanie Batley, Jun. 11, 2015, Newsmax

Russian President Vladimir Putin kept Pope Francis waiting for more than an hour for talks at the Vatican, a rare breach of protocol for world leaders meeting with the pontiff.

According to The Associated Press, Putin arrived an hour and 20 minutes late having made a stop at the world's fair to see the Russian pavilion and taking time for a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

The issue of Ukraine was raised during the brief, closed-door meeting. Afterward, the Vatican issued a statement saying "The Holy Father affirmed that it is necessary to make a sincere and great effort to forge peace," CNN reported.

But some feel the Pope has not taken a strong enough stand on the issue of Russia's involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth Hackett, said the United States would like to see the Pope voice greater concern about Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

More: www.newsmax.com

Daily Beast: McCain Moves to Stop President Rick Perry From Torturing Anyone

By Tim Mak, Jun. 10, 2015, Daily Beast

Some Republicans—including 2016 hopefuls Rick Perry and Rick Santorum—are still willing to use “enhanced interrogation techniques.” But if John McCain’s bill passes, they won’t get a chance.

The ability of future presidents—whether Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, or other politicians yet unknown—to employ torture as an American interrogation technique will be firmly and finally ended should a measure proposed Tuesday by Senators John McCain and Dianne Feinstein be accepted.

The legislation represents a bookend to more than a decade of debate over what the Bush administration called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which were brought to graphic light in December with the publication of a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee that detailed abuses committed during the years following the 9/11 attacks.

The new bipartisan legislation, attached to the annual defense policy bill that Congress considers, would ban the use of torture or cruel treatment by the military, the CIA—in fact all arms of the U.S. government.


More: www.thedailybeast.com

Bloomberg: Who's Laughing Now? Marco Rubio Mocks New York Times Article on His Finances

Credit: Charlie Spiering /Flikr
By Sahil Kapur, Jun. 12, 2015, Bloomberg

Florida Senator Marco Rubio joked with Republican bigwigs Friday about a recent New York Times article about his past financial struggles, which mentioned that he once spent $80,000 dollars on a "luxury speedboat."

Rubio has disputed that description and he turned it into a joke into before a Utah gathering hosted by Mitt Romney. "My wife and I have been blessed," Rubio deadpanned. "We've even been able to buy a luxury speedboat, cleverly disguised as a family fishing boat." The wisecrack won applause and laughter from the crowd.

"The latest attack by the New York Times and others," Rubio contended, "is that I'm not rich enough to be president."

That story—along with another article the Times ran several days earlier about traffic tickets accrued by Rubio and his wife—has been a boon to the senator's presidential bid, people close to him say. His campaign has been fundraising off the news pieces, and he even gained some sympathy from comedian Jon Stewart.

In Utah, the Floridian took a swipe at Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton over her own finances: "I do not have a family foundation that has raised $2 billion, some of it from foreign entities."


More: www.bloomberg.com

CNN: Democrats reject Obama on trade

By Deirdre Walsh and Eric Bradner, Jun. 12, 2015, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Sensing his free trade agenda was hours from a stunning defeat, President Barack Obama visited Capitol Hill in person on Friday morning to make a personal plea for his own party's support.

Democrats ignored him.

And now, the prospects for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the biggest free trade deal in history, to be finalized and adopted are grim, unless Republicans can find a way within days to revive the bills and rescue Obama's biggest second-term legislative priority.

The House overwhelmingly rejected the first in a series of trade bills Friday, with Democrats voting against a program that aids displaced workers — in large part because, under the chamber's procedures, its defeat meant the vote on the so-called "fast track" bill that followed was only symbolic, so the measure couldn't be sent to Obama's desk.

The vote provided the clearest evidence yet that, with 19 months left in his presidency, Obama's pulpit is less bully than it's ever been before.


More: www.cnn.com

The Los Angeles Times: What happened to the marijuana stigma?

By William J. Bennett and Seth Leibsohn, Jun. 12, 2015, Latimes.com

Twenty years ago, drug dealers were seen for what they were — criminal and dangerous elements in our society. They were shunned by the mainstream. People who sold marijuana were considered losers, in the business of harming our children. Parents warned their kids to stay away from those known to use drugs.

But thanks to the marijuana lobby, what was once scorned is hyped and celebrated — even as the drug has become more potent, with THC, the intoxicating chemical, present at much higher levels than in the 1990s. Dealers run state-sanctioned dispensaries, lobby to further legalize their product and receive positive media coverage when doing so.

The dangers have gone up and the stigma has gone down. And many in the Republican Party are aiding and abetting in this social collapse. Recently, two prominent California Republicans, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Rep. Tom McClintock, have taken the lead in helping reverse the long-standing consensus between both parties that marijuana, and other drugs, should remain illegal. A few of the potential 2016 Republican candidates for president are forcefully against legalization, but most have been all over the map on this issue.

Yet it is no more a Republican Party or conservative value than it is a Democratic Party or liberal value to help legalize, and thus expand the use of, a dangerous product.


More: www.latimes.com