Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What people are saying about the debate.

I watched the debate last night and thought it was pretty much a tie.  Maybe I had such low expectations of Donald Trump that all he had to do was not to say something really stupid that he would have to explain and walk-back the next day in order for me to think he did OK. I guess I graded on a curve. I think Trump came across less bombastic and less obnoxious than I expected.  Hillary came across as the unlikable slick contemptuous crooked political insider that I expected.

From the content of the policy positions they articulated in the debate, a reason I would not vote for Hillary is that I do not want a $15 minimum wage, so called equal pay-for-equal-work, government mandated profit sharing or the new government entitlement of paid maternity leave.  I would not vote for Donald Trump because, he was unclear and inarticulate in explaining his position on first-strike, his support for NATO, and his criticism of NAFTA.

Hillary lost a point in calling Trump a racist. Trump scored a point in advocating law and order in response to the recent racial riots across the country.  However, he lost a half point by advocating stop and frisk as a national policy. Trump could have scored a point by making Hillary defend Benghazi, the pay-for-play scandal,  the Clinton Foundation, and other Clinton scandals. He missed an opportunity. To be fair however, it would have been difficult the raise those questions.  The moderator should have asked Hillary about those things. The moderator asked Trump about his taxes and several other thinks that put Trump on the defensive and never asked any hard questions of Clinton. With a fair moderator, I think Trump could have clearly won the debate.

It seems I am in the minority in thinking the debate was essentially a tie.  The mainstream media seems to think Hillary won.  I think most of the media are in Hillary's pocket anyway however, and are predisposed to spin their analysis in  Hillary's favor.  I gave up expecting any objectivity from the mainstream press a long time ago, so I am not surprised. 

Here are what others are saying about the debate.

WashingtonPost: Clinton shifts the election in her direction
Donald Trump scowled and fumed and fussed and interrupted. On Monday night, he was forced to defend business practices that involved not paying workers and contractors, a tax plan that offers most of its benefits to the wealthy, the fact that he did not pay any federal taxes in some years (which he called “smart”) and the debt incurred by his businesses.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House
Rod-- After last night, one thing remains clear: Hillary is not fit to be your Commander in Chief.
In his leadoff answer, Mr. Trump warned that Ford was planning to slash thousands of American jobs to relocate small-car production to Mexico – a claim the company’s chief executive has denied. Mr. Trump insisted that he had not called global warming a hoax perpetrated by China, though he has said precisely that on Twitter. And Mr. Trump repeated numerous times that he was against the war in Iraq from the start, which is plainly contrary to the facts.

National Review, Morning Jolt with Jim Geragjty
It’s been enough of a topsy-turvy year where it’s quite possible Trump enjoys a surge; particularly for the first half-hour, he came across as a figure you could picture in the Oval Office. But there seems to be pretty broad consensus that she got a lot of attacks in, mentioned a lot of the unsavory or controversial parts of Trump’s record, and made him spend a lot of time on the defensive. He never got around to mentioning some of her weakest spots — the Clinton Foundation, allegations of favor-trading, Benghazi, her support for arming the rebels in Syria. He barely mentioned Libya. The word “e-mail” came up four times in ninety minutes. This morning he’s blaming the microphone. Last night on CNN, Corey Lewandowski blamed Lester Holt. But the person who has more control over Donald Trump’s debate performance than anyone else is . . . Donald Trump. No one else can go up there and make his argument for him. 
DetroitFree-Press: Clinton-Trump debate: The lies, and the candidates whotell them
Forget about how ill-prepared Trump was compared to Clinton, or how boorish he seemed, interrupting her and moderator Lester Holt over and over. Trump’s performance was so bad that he even continued it after the debate, when he lied about a lie he uttered in the back-and-forth: he denied that he’d said it made him“smart”that his tax returns would show he has often paid no federal taxes.

Tim Skow as posted to Facebook
 Hillary ... did well enough... May have even won the debate "BATTLE"... BUT.... she LOST the Election ''WAR''.... Trump wasn't overwhelming... But VOTERS know Hillary...and simply DON'T want to elect her. ..They're looking to see if Trump is a man they can live with, even vote for? Hillary did fine, BUT LOST! VOTERS found Trump as viable compared to Hillary. So she LOST!
No more .. NO LESS

Time: Diligent Hillary Clinton Upstages Donald Trump at Crucial Moment
Perhaps you can’t wing your way to the White House. At the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, authenticity proved to be no substitution for preparation. Strong words faded in the face of solid experience. And, in a campaign that has seen norms shattered, there was something comforting about at least one candidate behaving in expected ways — and speaking in coherent, complete sentences. The meeting came at a crucial moment, with six weeks before Election Day. The night’s potential impact had the senior advisers to both campaigns losing sleep in recent days. Only Clinton’s should feel comfortable as they crawl under the covers.
Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton edged her GOP rival Donald Trump in Monday's presidential held at Hofstra University before a television audience estimated at 100 million viewers, according to a Breitbart/Gravis "flash poll" conducted minutes after the debate ended.
Pat Caddell, the Democratic pollster and Fox News Insider, told Breitbart News that poll respondents said Clinton performed better at the debate; 48 percent said Clinton did a better job, compared to 43 percent, who said Trump did the better job.
"However, 95 percent of the people we contacted told us they were not going to change their vote based on the debate," Caddell said.

NBCNews: Analysis: Hillary Clinton's Studies for Debate With Donald TrumpPay Off
Clinton gained the upper hand early as Trump grew defensive over personal attacks, dissembled or contradicted himself on key issues, and reopened old wounds on gender and race along the way. He sniffed and huffed his way through the debate, calling Clinton's treatment of him "not nice" and insisting of her attacks, "I don't deserve that." Other times he was hostile, speaking over Clinton in an attempt to dominate her the way he overpowered his male rivals in the Republican primary. But the aggression that made him the big man on the primary debate stage made him seem small in the more sober general election format. And instead of trying to match Trump's force head-on, Clinton incited, dodged, and countered from the flank with the flair of a matador.

Dear MoveOn member,
In tonight's debate, Donald Trump alternately bullied, boasted, rambled, and lied. He cheered for failed and racist policies, from lowering taxes on the very rich to stop-and-frisk policing. Conventional wisdom among mainstream media is that the debate presented a stark contrast, and that Clinton won handily.1

Republican Donald Trump’s performance in the first presidential debate on Monday night was likely to bolster his supporters, but risked turning others off, interviews with undecided voters and experts in both parties said. “I feel that the way he talks to other people, the way that he addresses other people, can be extremely rude and extremely disrespectful, and I don’t think that’s the temperament we should be looking for in a president,” said Garrett Thacker, 30 years old, of Galloway, Ohio, who has voted for presidential candidates in both parties.

From Donald Trump:
You were the real winner tonight.
Without you, I never would’ve had the chance to get on that stage and fight for America. We won tonight’s debate -- and I am confident we will win it all on November 8.

From Hillary Clinton
A few minutes ago I walked off stage after taking on Donald Trump.
I hope I showed that I will never stop fighting for you or the people you love. But I need you with me. Your contribution right now is about much more than money -- it shows that no matter how hard this race gets, you'll still be there for me. Chip in $3 or more tonight and show that you're standing by my side.
WashingtonPost: The Daily 202: Why even Republicans think Clinton won the firstdebate  
The consensus that Donald Trump badly lost the first debate gelled overnight. Liberals predictably panned the GOP nominee’s performance on Long Island, but some of the harshest reviews are coming from conservative thought leaders who had been starting to come around.

CNN:Post-debate poll: Hillary Clinton takes round one
Hillary Clinton was deemed the winner of Monday night's debate by 62% of voters who tuned in to watch, while just 27% said they thought Donald Trump had the better night, according to a CNN/ORC Poll of voters who watched the debate.

WashingtonPost: What does it mean that Donald Trump lost the debate?
We already knew that Trump is remarkably incurious about policy, boasting about how he does not listen to experts or read much. We already knew where that led him, to ideas such as igniting a trade war, reinstituting torture — worse than waterboarding — and killing the innocent children of suspected terrorists. We also already knew about his temperament — that Trump had engaged in racist attacks on a federal judge and dangerous stereotyping of American Muslims, including a gold star family. We already knew he regularly demeans people based on their appearance or physical disabilities.  
We also already knew that Trump is the most dishonest and least transparent presidential nominee in recent memory, refusing to release his tax returns even though every presidential nominee for 40 years has done so and betting that a visit to Dr. Oz relieved him of responsibility for releasing more information on his health. We already knew that he was an uncommon liar. The Post has only been the latest outlet to attempt to record the full panoply of deceptions Trump tells on a daily basis, such as hisrecent claims that Clinton has “been silent about Islamic terrorism for many years,” and that he “never” proposed targeting Muslims.

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Haslam hosts Marco Rubio for fundraiser at governor's mansion

Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. Corker was present for the fundraiser, but Alexander had to return to Washington D.C. from East Tennessee on ...

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Monday, September 26, 2016

ObamaCare continues to crash: BlueCross BlueShield pulls out of Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville.

Times Free Press, 9-26-2016 - Tennessee's biggest health insurer is dropping its participation in the Affordable Care Act health exchange next year in the state's three biggest markets, cutting coverage of the 214,000 persons now enrolled in one of the so-called ObamaCare exchange plans by more than half.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced today that it will be withdrawing its ACA exchange plans in 2017 in the Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville markets to help limit its exposure to what has cost the Chattanooga-based health insurer nearly $500 million in losses in the past three years. ... the cutbacks is where ACA individual plans will be offered will likely require about 115,000 individuals to pick from new health insurers next year. (link)

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Conservatives tackle justice reform in Tennessee and politics makes strange bedfellows.

by Stacey Barchenger, The Tennessean - Is criminal justice reform a conservative issue? A group of thinkers, politicians, advocates and political donors gathered in Nashville Tuesday to answer that question with a resounding yes.

The conversation over wine and hors d'oeuvres at Nashville's Union Station Hotel turned to topics ranging from curbing court fees that prevent people from obtaining driver's licenses, thus capturing people in a cycle of repeat offenses and poverty, to providing jobs for people who are released from prison. Panelists also showed support for decriminalizing minor, non-violent offenses as a way to cut down the state's prison population.

"It's important that conservatives understand the reality of our criminal justice system," said Justin Owen, president and CEO of conservative thinktank the Beacon Center of Tennessee. "We want conservatives to understand what we've been doing for the past 30 years isn't working." (link)

Unlikely coalition tackles criminal justice reform in Tennessee

by Anita Wadhwani and Joel Ebert, The Tennessean, Sept. 20, 2016 -An unlikely coalition of Nashville businesses, social service and advocacy groups is launching an effort to reform criminal justice in Tennessee, where the incarceration rate is 11 percent higher than the national average.

Through the newly formed Tennessee Coalition for Sensible Justice, backers plan to pursue legislation initially focused on juvenile justice, lowering the rates of people returning to prison and changing sentencing guidelines for those convicted of crimes.

The coalition includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Tennessee Association of Goodwills, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Beacon Center of Tennessee, which advocates for smaller government.

"It's not about being tough or soft on crime, it's about being effective on crime," said Justin Owen, president and CEO of the Beacon Center of Tennessee.

My comment: I do not hold my opinions because I am a conservative but I am a conservative because I hold my opinions. I don't reject a policy position because it may be considered a liberal position.

I have for a long time had what some may call a "liberal" position on several issues.  Probably the most long-held and obvious of these is that I favor marijuana reform. I think it is nuts that we criminalize people for smoking a relatively harmless substance.  I have been an advocate of marijuana reform since the mid-seventies when I joined NORMAL.

Overtime, I have also come to think that there must be something terribly wrong with the American system of criminal justice which has one of the highest imprisonment rates of any free country in the world. I have come to think that the "tough  on crime" policies of Republicans may have been a mistake.

Also, liberals have been in the forefront of fighting for open government, open meetings, open records and transparency. I support those efforts that let citizen know what their government is up to. If this is a "liberal" position, then so be it.

My other "liberal" positions are not so much specific policy position as just a mind set that embraces defiance of convention and authority. I tend to think a little disrespect for the law is a healthy thing. I also tend to think that victimless crimes should not be crimes. I also don't like laws which ban strip clubs and I would not want to live in a community that banned liquor by the drink or wine in grocery stores. There is a certain segment of the religious right that makes me uncomfortable. I basically think people should be free to be deviants if they want to. I also think that on occasion the American Civil Liberties Union actually does defend our liberties.  I wish they were more balanced in whose liberties they defend but I often see their point of view.

A couple of years ago I attended a convention of CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee). There is nothing comparable on the left. Thousands of people from all across the country attend a three day convention to be inspired, motivated, challenged, and educated. Part of the CPAC experience is the exhibition hall where a couple hundred or more of exhibitors promote there product, publication, cause, or point of view. In 2013 I was pleasantly surprised to see probably a dozen organization promoting either drug policy reform or criminal justice reform.

I am a supporter of The Beacon Center and am pleased to see this organization has joining the cause of criminal justice reform.  This is one of those issues that regardless of ones political label, one should get behind simply because it is the right thing to do.

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Explaining US income inequality by household demographics

From AEI:

Bottom Line: Household demographics, including the average number of earners per household and the marital status, age, and education of householders are all very highly correlated with household income. Specifically, high-income households have a greater average number of income-earners than households in lower-income quintiles, and individuals in high income households are far more likely than individuals in low-income households to be well-educated, married, working full-time, and in their prime earning years. In contrast, individuals in lower-income households are far more likely than their counterparts in higher-income households to be less-educated, working part-time, either very young (under 35 years) or very old (over 65 years), and living in single-parent households.

The good news is that the key demographic factors that explain differences in household income are not fixed over our lifetimes and are largely under our control (e.g. staying in school and graduating, getting and staying married, etc.), which means that individuals and households are not destined to remain in a single income quintile forever. (Read more)

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First Tuesday guest for Oct. 10th is Congressman Phil Roe

Congressman Phil Roe
From Tim Skow:

1ST TUESDAY Members and friends

The 1st of the three Presidential Debates is a week away. Election Day on November 8th is a mere 7 weeks away! Between those 2 dates will be 2 insightful and powerful 1ST TUESDAY gatherings that are MUST SEE EVENTS !

Congressman Phil Roe, MD [TN-1] visits 1ST TUESDAY on Monday, October 10th. His TN-1 District boarders the battleground states of NC and VA. His Congressional committee duties provide Dr. Roe behind the scenes insights into the unraveling of Obamacare. As a TN doctor, he grasps the dire financial situation of the TN Healthcare Exchange.... If you missed it, 2017 premiums are going up 40% to 62% in TN !!!

Battleground states news and political insights! The latest ''Obamacare unraveling'' news! Impacts of Obamacare premiums soaring as Nov 8th arrives!

What if Trump wins? ...... What if Hillary wins? … AND MORE!

Monday, October 10th is a MUST SEE event ! Doors at Waller Law open at 11am. Lunch is $20 for 2016 Members / $25 for Guests. Program at NOON sharp! Expect this event to be a sellout ! Secure seating for you and guests at www.1sttuesdaynashville.com and click on ‘’Join Us’’.

SAVE THE DATES for these additional events ... details follow:

* SEPT 28th event featuring Alberto Gonzales book signing event at Waller Law
* OCT 12th event featuring Marsha Blackburn on behalf on Nashville candidates
* NOV 1st event featuring John Ryder return to 1ST TUESDAY with polling data

Invite those you know and secure your seats while they last for Monday, October 10th. Hope to see you SEPT 28th .... OCT 10th.... OCT 12th .... and NOV 1st !

Tim Skow

PS -- MARSHA BLACKBURN is doing an event for Nashville's Legislative candidates on WEDNESDAY, OCT 12th at the Sugartree Clubhouse on Woodmont Blvd. Look for your invite this week. Those bringing at least a $100 for their favorite candidate will have their 2017 dues for 1ST TUESDAY waived !!

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Alexander: Obamacare Exchange Is “Very Near Collapse.” Americans need immediate relief from the cost of health insurance and a lack of options on the Obamacare exchanges.

Published on Sep 7, 2016 -Today, Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander spoke on the Senate floor about the alarming number of health insurance companies leaving Obamacare exchanges and the need to act on behalf of Americans struggling with the cost of health insurance. Alexander said he intends to introduce legislation soon to “provide relief” from “the cost of health insurance and a lack of options on the Obamacare exchanges.”

Alexander said, “Unfortunately, I don't need to look any further than my home state of Tennessee to see how bad things have become. When Tennesseans woke up on August 24 and read the front page of our state's largest newspaper, they saw this headline: ‘Very near collapse.’ …What does very near collapse mean in the real world? This November, when Tennesseans are signing up for 2017 Obamacare plans, there will be fewer plans to choose from, and they'll be much more expensive. And this picture will be the same across the country.”

He continued, “Next year, Tennesseans will be paying intolerable increases. On average between 44% and 62% more for their Obamacare plans than they paid last year … And if you, the policyholder, don't pay all of that, then you, the taxpayer, will. Because a large portion of Obamacare premiums are subsidized with tax dollars. Surely it's no valid excuse to say that just because taxpayers are paying most of the bill that justifies having a failing insurance market where costs are so out of control that we may soon have a situation where no insurance company is willing to sell insurance on an Obamacare exchange.”

“Millions of Americans need relief from Obamacare,” Alexander said. “Here's the action that's needed: First, Americans need immediate relief from the cost of health insurance and a lack of options on the Obamacare exchanges. We should do that by giving states more flexibility to give individuals and their families options to purchase lower-cost, private health insurance plans outside of Obamacare and we should do that now. I intend to offer legislation that would provide that relief. That is only to deal with the emergency of next year, 2017. Second, we need a big, structural change in order to avoid a near collapse of our nation's health insurance market. If there's a Republican in the White House next year, we need to repeal Obamacare and replace it with step-by-step reforms that transform the health care delivery system, by putting patients in charge, giving them more choices and reducing the cost of health care so that more people can afford it. But if there is a Democrat in the White House, broad systemic structural changes will still be necessary. Republicans didn't create this problem, but we're prepared to solve it. ”

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Rep Blackburn Select Investigation Panel Markup on holding Stem Express in Contempt. Democrats walk out.

House panel votes to hold fetal tissue company in contempt 

The House committee set up to investigate Planned Parenthood on Wednesday voted to recommend holding a fetal tissue procurement company in contempt after Democrats walked out of the session in protest.

The panel voted to advance a resolution holding Stem Express in contempt for failing to provide all of the documents it was required to turn over under a congressional subpoena.

“A subpoena is not a suggestion,” said Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). “It is a lawful order and must be complied with.”

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hispanic Heritage Celebration with Special Guest U. S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales


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Latinos for Tennessee Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Let's Celebrate our Diversity, Including Diversity in Thought  

Nashville, Tennessee - Latinos for Tennessee, an organization dedicated to providing the Hispanic community in the state with information and resources on issues relating to faith, family and fiscal responsibility joins the rest of the country in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month - which provides a backdrop to celebrate Latinos' contributions to the state and the country in the arts, business, science, sports and politics, to name a few.

Although there is much that unites the Latino community, there are important differences that should not be lost as our country celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. Raul Lopez, Executive Director of Latinos for Tennessee elaborated:

"During this Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, let's also celebrate the diversity in thought of our vibrant and growing community. For many of us that have fled tyranny, statist and corrupt governments in search of economic opportunity, Hispanic Heritage Month is also an opportunity to celebrate the free enterprise system and the idea that anyone can rise in this country through hard work, perseverance and strong families - with limited government intervention," said Lopez.

Lopez went on to add: "The impact of the Hispanic community is just getting started. Latinos for Tennessee intends to continue being an important voice for Latino Tennesseans," concluded Lopez.

Latinos for Tennessee is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with a strong presence in Nashville, Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee. For more information on Latinos for Tennessee, please visit: http://latinosfortn.com

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Thursday October 6th is Bring Your Bible to School Day.

Thursday October 6th is Bring Your Bible to School Day. Sponsored annually by Focus on the Family, the event empowers students to take their Bibles to school as a visual way to share their faith with friends and celebrate their right to free speech.  

Sign up for the event and download free age-specific participation guides for students and get other resources, including student testimonies.

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Join me in signing the petition demanding the NFL require players to stand for the National Anthem

Dear Rodney,
We are working with our friends at S.T.A.N.D on a very important petition demanding the NFL
require players to stand for the National Anthem and show respect to our nation’s Flag.
The National Basketball League requires their players to stand but yet the National Football doesn’t. You will not see the disrespect Kaepernick has shown with players among any other sport and you will not see it among student athletes.
Please take this patriotic stand with us. Sign our petition asking the NFL to require players to stand during the National Anthem.
Kaepernick’s means of protesting is an insult to our nation as a whole. By not standing for the flag, he is protesting all of the sacrifices made (before) 1776 until now.
I come from a very patriotic family. I was raised to respect our flag, our country, our national anthem, and the men and women who serve and served before them.
Our nation is not perfect and has errored many times. And, despite strongly disagreeing with many of our current national policies – the death of 1,616 unborn babies today alone, same-sex marriage in all 50 states, teaching our children the LGBT agenda in schools and exporting the same agenda to other countries, and a list that could go on for daysI will always stand at attention to the flag during our Pledge of Allegiance and our National Anthem and even God Bless America. Hand over heart each time.
I respect the foundation our nation was built on, with the help of God as he led many of our founding father. I respect my Grandfather who served as a Frogman in WWII, and my other Grandfather who served in Korea, and also my brother who just spent 8 years overseas post 9/11. I respect firefighters, police officers, and our other first responders. These folks gain nothing to give everything. The least I can do and the very least NFL players can do is honor them and the nation they help build.
As you know, I pledge to use my voice to bring change in the areas I disagree with. You hear from me many times each week. I don’t have millions like Colin Kaepernick, but I still hound my politicians and I still show up at Congress for big votes. I try to do my part.
I am offended. My grandfather is offended. My brother is offended. The Santa Barbara Police Officer’s Association is beyond offended, rather irate.  
If you are like me and feel the NFL should require their employees to stand during the National Anthem, please take a moment and sign this petition.
It is more than my personal story or how Kaepernick’s disrespect flat out disturbs me. There are many other reasons why the NFL should require players to stand.
There is no freedom of speech for an NFL football player. Dallas Cowboys attempted to wear stickers on their helmets to show support for the fallen police officers of their city, the NFL stopped them. New York Giant’s players were fined for wearing shows and/or socks that honor victims of 9/11 on 9/11. If a NFL player or coach speaks negatively about a referee, that player or coach is fined or suspended.
Not to mention Kaepernick’s disrespect has caused division among players in the locker room and damages the NFL league brand.
Please take a moment to sign our petition now.
Thank you,
Gregory Mertz and the entire CitizenGO team
CitizenGO is a community of active citizens that seeks to defend life, the family and fundamental rights worldwide. To find out more about CitizenGO click here or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. This message is addressed to rodwilliams47@yahoo.com. If you do not wish to receive emails from CitizenGO, click on this link.
To contact CitizenGO, do not respond to this email, reply at this link: http://www.citizengo.org/en/contact.

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This isn't about transparency, it's about intimidation.

When voters in Missouri, South Dakota, Washington and Oregon go to the polls in November, they will vote on ballot measures that are cleverly marketed as legislation aimed at reducing “big money” and “outside influence” in local elections. If passed, what these measures would really do is limit the ability of nonprofits like ours to weigh in on policy matters we care about. This is an infringement of our First Amendment rights.

The South Dakota Government Accountability and Anti-Corruption Act is a good example. Also known as Measure 22, it would force nonprofit organizations to report the names and addresses of their donors to the state government, subjecting them to possible investigation by an unelected ethics board that is given the power to subpoena private documents and overrule decisions made by the state attorney general if the board disagrees.

Nonprofit organizations—like the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, National Rifle Association, churches, Boys and Girls Clubs and art museums—are legally allowed under federal law to take positions on legislative matters that impact their missions, as long as they do not financially or otherwise support candidates for office. Because they are not engaging in candidate campaigns, they are allowed to protect the privacy of their financial supporters. The South Dakota measure and others like it would overrule these protections.

The South Dakota legislation is part of a growing national trend. Since 2013, 17 states have considered, and five have passed, state laws to require donors to charitable groups and nonprofits working on issues—not campaigns—to report the names and addresses of their donors to the government.

Once collected, this information is posted on a public website for anyone to access. This might not sound like a big deal in today’s era of living our lives online, but some historical context is in order.

In the 1950s the state of Alabama tried to force the NAACP to turn over its membership list, with the result that segregationists could show up on the front lawns of those who supported the civil-rights movement. In NAACP v. Alabama (1958) the Supreme Court recognized the physical dangers this invited, and the threat to the First Amendment, which guarantees our right as Americans to express ourselves not only with words, but with actions and dollars as well.
Things have certainly changed since then, but we know from personal experience that violence directed at people who support controversial issues is still a real threat.

In 2011 the Goldwater Institute was engaged in a high-profile public dispute with local officials and the National Hockey League over the legality of a multimillion-dollar subsidy to Arizona’s hockey team. During that fight, hockey fans used property tax records to find the home address of the institute’s president, Ms. Olsen, and post it online. The next day a gutted rabbit was found on her porch and the animal’s blood smeared over her house.

In 2012 the Arlington, Va., office of Ms. Sharp’s nonprofit organization, the State Policy Network, was broken into and trashed. In 2013 the homes of our colleagues at the Wisconsin Club for Growth were raided in predawn, paramilitary-style assaults by the police who were looking for evidence that the group was illegally coordinating with the campaign opposing the recall of Gov. Scott Walker. But the group had not run one ad in support of Mr. Walker, sent one piece of mail, or made any phone calls; it simply spoke out in support of his union reforms. Staff at the Freedom Foundation in Washington state had their car tires slashed; an attorney at the Mackinac Center in Michigan was spat upon, the CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute’s home was vandalized, and so on.

Non-conservatives are also targeted. Last Thanksgiving a man went on a shooting rampage in a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, tragically killing three and wounding nine others. What if the state had forced Planned Parenthood to post a list of its donors online? How much worse and widespread could that tragedy have been?

Do we want America to be a country where government keeps public lists of law-abiding citizens because they dare to support causes they believe in? Every American has the right to support a cause or a group without fear of harassment or intimidation. Protecting donor privacy is essential to safeguarding that right.

Ms. Sharp is president of the State Policy Network. Ms. Olsen is president of the Goldwater Institute.

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Protecting Our Homeland

Phil Roe
by Congressman Phil Roe, M.D., 1st District of Tennessee - I want to begin this week’s column by sending my thoughts and prayers to those across the country, particularly Minnesotans, New Yorkers and New Jerseyans, who were targeted by senseless acts of terrorism over the weekend. Unfortunately, these attacks are seemingly becoming the new normal in our country, and it’s clearer than ever that these radical Islamic terrorists present a serious threat to our security. The cowards who carry out these acts are weak, and desperately want to change the way we live our lives. As Americans, we must unite in our resolve to eliminate this evil from our country and world.
Now, more than ever, we need to take strategic and concrete steps to protect and secure our homeland. That’s why House Republicans put forward a plan including 67 recommendations to keep Americans safe and free, both at home and abroad. This plan is a better way.

First and foremost, this proposal would help keep terrorists and other criminals out of the United States by securing our border and closing loopholes in our immigration system. I’ve repeatedly said that border security must be one of our top priorities, and fixing our broken immigration system will go a long way toward keeping Americans safe at home. Further, recent disclosures that at least 858 individuals were improperly granted citizenship by the Department of Homeland Security undermines the confidence Americans have in our country’s ability to keep us safe. These serious shortcomings must be addressed. Not all who wish to enter this country are violent criminals or terrorists, but it is well known our borders are not secure. We must be realistic about the fact there are individuals who will prey on and take advantage of this weakness.
Our proposal streamlines security programs and improves the way information about potential threats is shared. It takes steps to prevent domestic recruitment and radicalization and ensures there are plans in place to both respond to and recover from terrorist attacks. Additionally, law enforcement and first responders must have the tools and resources they need to respond to threats and attacks, and this plan includes proposals to provide those necessary resources. Still, Islamic terrorism isn’t just a threat to the United States; it’s a threat to the world, which is why we can’t fight this battle alone.

That’s why the Better Way plan includes measures to hold our allies accountable. We need buy-in from all peaceful nations to eliminate this threat and keep terrorists from bringing the battle to our shores. I strongly believe President Obama’s passive approach to foreign policy and his lack of strategy to defeat ISIS is partially why this and other terrorist organizations continue to have the ability to recruit and train new fighters. ISIS is not the “JV team” as President Obama has called them, and we need an aggressive plan to defeat this enemy in their stronghold. We also need our foreign allies to join us in winning the war of ideas. This war isn’t just a physical one; it’s a war we must fight from a physical and ideological perspective if we expect to win.

America is still the greatest country in the world, but there’s no question we’ve lost power on the world stage. Many of our allies question our leadership, and our enemies question our strength. This is a direct result of the Obama administration’s failure to keep their word and stand toe-to-toe with aggressors like Russia and Iran. In fact, just this week, the House is voting on a series of bills to bring transparency to our dealings with Iran by demanding a report on the finances of Iranian leaders and stopping future ransom payments by acknowledging the administration violated longstanding U.S. policy when they paid ransom in exchange for the release of Americans being held in Iran.
For almost eight years, the Obama presidency has led our country in the wrong direction, especially when it comes to national security. There is a better way, and you can read the full Better Way plan to make our nation strong and secure at better.gop.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Clinton Foundation Report On Watered Down HIV/AIDS Medication

From U.S Congressman Marsha Blackburn:

Clinton Foundation Report On Watered Down HIV/AIDS Medication
The Clinton Foundation has a long history of shady business practices and a complete lack of transparency.  My office first started looking into the Foundation in April 2015, and this week I released a 78-page report detailing its partnership with drug companies in the distribution of watered down HIV/AIDS medication in sub-Sahara Africa. You can read the full report HERE. I know that many of you have raised concerns about the Foundation over the years and I am working diligently to get answers.

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