Tea Party Patriots Ordinary citizens reclaiming America's founding principles.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Supreme Court rules on Hobby Lobby and union dues

John Hinderaker at PowerLine reports on the two Supreme Court decisions:


Conservative Supreme Court Majority Prevails In Two Key Cases

Today the Supreme Court issued its last two opinions of the term. Justice Alito delivered both opinions, and both were decided on 5-4 votes. Both decisions were eagerly awaited. In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Court ruled that as applied to closely held corporations, the the contraceptive mandate imposed on employers by Obamacare violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In Harris v. Quinn, the Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the collection of an “agency fee” to pay for union activities from home health care workers who do not want to join or support the union.
Both of these cases have been viewed as highly significant; Harris, for example, has been characterized as a potential death blow to the union movement. We will have more to say about these decisions after having had an opportunity to study the opinions, but my preliminary impression is that in both cases, the Court ruled narrowly. For example, it did not reach Hobby Lobby’s First Amendment arguments, and it applied Harris only to home health care workers who work for the people they care for, and not to “full-fledged” public employees. It may be that neither is as much a landmark decision as conservatives had hoped, or as liberals had feared.
#  #  #

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Crush the tea party in GOP primaries

Art credit: illinoisreview.touchpad.com

Allahpunditat Hot Air has this to say about the Tuesday primaries and Tea Party losses:

Outside groups spent $23 million to crush the tea party in GOP primaries this year

To be clear, the $23 million here is on top of the cash spent by each GOP incumbent’s own campaign. It doesn’t include a dime of what, say, Mitch McConnell’s operation dropped to defend his seat. This is crony money, showered on establishment candidates to make sure the gravy train keeps running.

The scope of the effort to suppress activist-backed candidates has been broader and costlier than is widely understood, covering at least 20 House and Senate primaries from North Carolina to California, and from coastal Mississippi to the outer tip of Long Island. The loose coalition of establishment forces encompasses two dozen advocacy groups, industry associations and super PACs that have raised and spent millions on behalf of Washington’s chosen candidates.

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said the “quote ‘establishment’” had successfully divided up the primary map this year to avoid duplicating one another’s efforts…

Nearly a third of the establishment money has come from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The business lobby’s spending in this year’s toughest primaries has about equaled the $7 million that the conservative Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund have spent together on the most fractious elections — excluding races, like the Senate campaigns in Arkansas and Alaska, where there’s been no meaningful clash between establishment-sanctioned outside groups and the activist right.

Among other big establishment spenders: Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, the National Association of Realtors, and the Main Street Partnership, which vowed months ago to “beat the snot” out of conservatives in primaries and which used to be called the “Republican Main Street Partnership” before it dropped the troublesome “Republican” part. (The NRA also kicked in some money for Thad Cochran, do note.) What’s galling about this isn’t the amount spent or the fact that centrists would rise to meet a challenge from the right on ideological terms. The Club for Growth spends boatloads of money on elections too, after all. What’s galling, especially in the Cochran/McDaniel race, is the sense of how transactional the incumbent’s relationship with his money men is. That’s the real lesson from Mississippi, writes Jay Cost. There was nothing particularly ideological driving Cochran or the Mississippi GOP establishment. This was business. As always, as always, Republicans present themselves as one thing and then behave as something else [emphasis added]:

Cochran is a classic example of the disconnect. He has been in the Senate for nearly forty years. To what lasting conservative triumph is his name attached? I cannot think of any, nor can I think of any fight against the liberal agenda in which he was a crucial ally. Instead, his claim to fame – as he proudly advertised during the campaign – was leveraging his seniority to steer government largesse to Mississippi…

Read the rest here.
# # #

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Letter to cleveland.com on the EPA

Art credit: epaabuse.com

From Cleveland.com the other day:

EPA rules on carbon emissions forcing out much-needed coal plants: Letter to the Editor

By Other Voices 
on June 19, 2014 at 10:14 AM

I read recently a major utility company said during the polar vortex it turned to coal to generate the additional power we needed – and saved customers more than $100 million than if it had used other fuels!

Many of the plants that rose to meet that challenge are slated to close in the coming year under the latest in a never-ending wave of EPA rules for carbon  dioxide emissions; they won't be available when the next inevitable cold snap (or heat wave) arrives, even though technology is making the use of coal cleaner year by year.
And the EPA continues to implement regulations that with a very few exceptions
will end the use of coal in America's newest power generation plants – abandoning what has historically been our most cost-efficient way of producing electricity. That will mean higher electricity prices for everyone, as utilities are forced to shift to generation fuels such as natural gas that over time have shown greater price volatility.
This misguided approach to regulation is setting up our nation for an economic
disaster. Congress needs to assert its authority under the Constitution as the
setter of public policy and bring the EPA under control.
Ralph King,
King is co-founder of the Cleveland Tea Party Patriots.
# # # 

Those "lost" emails

From Sense of Events:


Friday, June 20, 2014

The dangerous Democratic assault on free speech

Art credit: Thinkstock

Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin published this op-ed the other day in the Washington Examiner

The dangerous Democratic assault on free speech


David Brown was imprisoned for 18 months because he demonstrated against rising taxes. Author James Callendar spent nine months in jail for writing a book critical of the government. Newspaper editor Benjamin Franklin Bache was arrested for criticizing the president but died before his trial, while printer Anthony Haswell spent two months in jail for republishing passages from Bache’s writings.
These men did not live in some Third World dictatorship. They lived in the United States during one of the darkest periods of our history; a time in which freedom of speech was restricted by the federal government following passage of the Sedition Act of 1798. Given recent events, it appears Democrats are keen on recreating some of that oppression. In an accelerating campaign to silence the voices of those with whom they disagree, the administration of President Obama and members of his party in Congress have undertaken the most audacious effort in more than 200 years to squelch those who dare to disagree.
The most recent example comes in the form of a proposed amendment to the Constitution, S.J. Res. 19, which would rewrite the IRSt-amendment">First Amendment by giving government the power to restrict free speech in the political arena. Supported exclusively by Democrats, it serves as an end-around to long-standing law that says unequivocally that money is the same as speech and would restrict how much money individuals, organizations and candidates may raise and spend in elections.

Concurrent with this is the ongoing abuse of power by certain members of Congress who are using their taxpayer-funded offices as a platform for attacking private citizens and pressuring government agencies to begin criminal actions against people who exercise their First Amendment rights. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has repeatedly taken to the Senate floor, the Senate Gallery and other venues to vilify Charles and David Koch for taking positions on issues that differ from his.
But if one agrees with Reid, the senator is gracious enough to praise that person by way of his Senate office. Such is the case with Tom Steyer, a billionaire Democrat and environmental activist who has pledged to spend $100 million to fight “climate change,” in the 2014 election cycle. Coincidental with Steyer's financial pledge, Reid led more than half of his fellow Democrat senators in a nearly 15-hour-long gabfest on the Senate floor promoting Steyer's pet issue.
No less outrageous is how Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., pressured the IRS and the Department of Justice to commence criminal investigations of certain tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups that were abiding by the law while exercising their right to free speech.
The spark that lit this fuse of intimidation, coercion and abuse was struck before the 2012 elections, when the IRS began a systematic campaign of targeting certain organizations seeking tax-exempt status, compelling applicants to divulge the nature of their prayers and reading material, among other things. This targeting had the effect of silencing those who wanted only to engage in constitutionally protected speech but were prevented from doing so by the Obama administration.
These actions represent the biggest threat to free speech since the late 18th century, when Americans were arrested, fined and thrown into prison for the crime of disagreeing with their government. It is a hideous blot on U.S. history but the Obama administration and Senate Democrats are actively engaged in finding new ways to restrict our freedom of speech through executive fiat and rewriting the most important part of the Bill of Rights.
The First Amendment contains those personal freedoms most precious to Americans: religion, assembly, redress of grievances, the press and speech. They, more than any other liberties, are the bedrock of the exceptional nature of the American founding. But if government can decide that free speech is no longer a fundamental liberty, we have lost the means to fight for all the others.
Jenny Beth Martin is a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner?
 # # #

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

IRS budget cuts and Tea Party Patriots

Art credit:ctj.org.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, reports that

The House Appropriations Committee is set to OK an IRS budget of $10.9 billion, $1.5 billion under President Obama's request for fiscal year 2015, reducing the agency's budget to 2008 levels.
The goal is to keep the tax agency focused on its “core duties,” and eliminate efforts to judge the political activities of tax-exempt groups and brake its implementation of Obamacare.

Below are the bill highlights about the IRS:
. . . Included in the bill is $10.95 billion for the IRS – a cut of $341 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $1.5 billion below the President’s budget request. This will bring the agency’s budget below the sequester level and below the level that was in place in fiscal year 2008. This funding level is sufficient for the IRS to perform its core duties, including taxpayer services and the proper collection of funds, but will require the agency to streamline and make better use of its budget.

In addition, due to the inappropriate actions by the IRS in targeting groups that hold certain political beliefs, as well as its previous improper use of taxpayer funds, the bill includes the following provisions:

-- A prohibition on a proposed regulation related to political activities and the tax-exempt status of 501(c)(4) organizations. The proposed regulation could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of many non-profit organizations and inhibit citizens from exercising their right to freedom of speech, simply because they may be involved in political activity.

-- A prohibition on funds for bonuses or awards unless employee conduct and tax compliance is given consideration.

-- A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs.

-- A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights.

-- A prohibition on funding for the production of inappropriate videos and conferences.

-- A prohibition on funding for the White House to order the IRS to determine the tax-exempt status of an organization.

-- A requirement for extensive reporting on IRS spending.

ObamaCare –The bill also includes provisions to stop the IRS from further implementing ObamaCare, including a prohibition on any transfers of funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to the IRS for ObamaCare uses, and a prohibition on funding for the IRS to implement an individual insurance mandate on the American people.

It's unbelievable that there would be a need for some of these prohibitions, such as the one that would prohibit funds that "target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights". And words like “inappropriate” and “consideration” are vague and subjective, especially when the goal is to rein in lawless behavior. Who knows if the Senate will pass it. Maybe it could stall ANY funding until the IRS manages to "find" Lois Lerner's vanishing emails. But maybe the budget cut is a teeny tiny start. Anyway, you can read the rest here.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cantor’s defeat and the push for amnesty

Art credit: Oneoldvet.com

Lots of pundits have been weighing in on the fallout from Eric Cantor’s stunning defeat in last Tuesday’s primary to Dave Brat. Thomas Sowell has this perspective on the GOP elite’s position on amnesty “immigration reform”:
Apparently the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives -- which is to say, House Speaker John Boehner and [soon to be former] Majority Leader Eric Cantor -- thinks that amnesty is not amnesty if you call it "immigration reform" and toss in some fig-leaf requirements before the amnesty kicks in.
Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed almost entirely in terms of what can be done to help those who have broken the law. Some want to help a little and some want to help a lot. But amnesty lite is still amnesty.
Some people seem to think that amnesty is not amnesty if you throw in requirements for citizenship. Amnesty is not some esoteric concept. It means that you are not going to be punished for breaking the law -- and that simply brings laws into contempt. Denying citizenship is not a punishment because crossing the border illegally does not entitle you to citizenship. Providing a legal status short of citizenship is not punishment either.
There is no requirement for either amnesty or for citizenship that President Obama cannot ignore or dilute unilaterally, as he has ignored or diluted existing immigration laws, as well as other laws. Barack Obama is the biggest reason to pass no immigration "reform" laws until after he is gone.
It doesn't matter what immigration policies you believe in if you don't control your borders -- and the vast numbers of minors flooding across our borders today show that the Obama administration has no intention of controlling the borders. They are more concerned with controlling the border guards and ordering them not to take pictures that show the public what is happening.
If you are serious about controlling the borders, then you pass laws to control the borders first. Some years later, after you can see whether the border has been controlled or not -- you can start discussing what our national immigration laws should be.
Otherwise, "comprehensive" immigration reform means granting some form of amnesty up front and promising to control the border later. How many more times are we going to fall for that bait and switch fraud?
Read the rest here
Steven Hayward at Power Line speculated on the possibility of President Obama issuing executive pardons to ALL illegal immigrants. After the mid-terms, of course.
Let’s look down the road a bit from here.  We know that President Obama is enamored of executive power.  He said on climate change that he wouldn’t wait on Congress, and we saw last week his bold use of the Clean Air Act to impose a regulatory scheme that Congress would never pass.  He’s said much the same thing about immigration.  So what might he do?
How about this: after the election next fall, especially if the GOP takes the Senate and with an eye to the 2016 election prospects for Democrats, Obama might well decide to use his pardon power to grant a blanket pardon to all illegal aliens presently in the United States.  This would not, strictly speaking, be a legal abuse; the president’s pardon power is unconditional in the Constitution.  But you can imagine the firestorm it would generate.
. . .  I think the odds of a blanket amnesty-by-pardon are much better than people think. Some enterprising reporter ought to ask about this at a White House press conference some time soon.
But yesterday, a caller to Rush Limbaugh raised an interesting legal point:
CALLER: I just want to point out a problem with [Steven Hayward’s] pardon theory.. . . The theory is you can be pardoned for prior actions and you can't be punished for them. But assuming that you're still in the United States and you still don't have a legal right to be here, you're immediately as guilty after the pardon as you are before the pardon.
RUSH: I don't think so.
CALLER: It doesn't give you a status to stay in the United States.
RUSH: Well, Mr. Hayward thinks it does. By the way, you're the first guy who said you can't do it. I've run it by a lot of people. Yeah, there's no constitutional prohibition against something like that because --
CALLER: Well, you can, if they were not in the United States and you pardoned them and they didn't come back illegally, they would be free. But assuming they're still in the United States and they're still here illegally, they're immediately guilty for actions that happen after the pardon.
RUSH: You can pardon somebody for all future.
CALLER: Actually, I don't think that's true. I don't think you can immunize --
RUSH: Well, even if you can't, by pardoning the fact that they are here illegally, the next day they don't start being illegal all over again, it's been pardoned. You're thinking they can only be pardoned up to that day. Right?
CALLER: Right. You can be pardoned up to that day, but if you don't have a legal right to be inside in the United States, you're not a citizen --
RUSH: Well, then how did Bill Clinton pardon Marc Rich and then say, and, by the way, you can never come back to this country?
CALLER: Well, what he said is Marc Rich is pardoned for these acts which have happened before.
RUSH: Right.
CALLER: If you violate the law after you've been pardoned, you're not immune. You're subject again for the acts that occurred after the pardon.
The rest of Rush’s segment is here
Here's the bottom line from Steven Hayward for all of us, as we head into the mid-terms:
Therefore, a modest suggestion: every GOP candidate—especially for the Senate—should force Democratic candidates on the record before the campaign on the question of how they would respond if President Obama uses his pardon power to grant amnesty to every illegal alien currently in the country.  Get them on record now, ahead of the election.

 # # #

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Reports of the death of the Tea Party are premature


From the Washington Post:

Eric Cantor succumbs 

to tea party challenger Tuesday