April 25th, 2012
Supreme Court justices took a dim view of the Obama administration’s claim that it can stop Arizona from enforcing immigration laws, telling government lawyers during oral argument Wednesday that the state appears to want to push federal officials, not conflict with them.
The court was hearing arguments on Arizona’s immigration crackdown law, which requires police to check the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally, and would also write new state penalties for illegal immigrants who try to apply for jobs.
The Obama administration has sued, arguing that those provisions conflict with the federal government’s role in setting immigration policy, but justices on both sides of the aisle struggled to understand that argument.
The Arizona law requires all police to check with federal officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. The government argues that is OK when it’s on a limited basis, but said having a state mandate for all of its law enforcement is essentially a method of trying to force the federal government to change its priorities.
“These decisions have to be made at the national level,” he said.
But even Democratic-appointed justices were uncertain of that.
The Obama administration was on its firmest ground when it argued Arizona should not be allowed to impose state penalties such as jail time against illegal immigrants who try to seek jobs.
Federal law chiefly targets employers, not employees, and Mr. Verrilli said adding stiffer penalties at the state level is not coordination. He said Congress’s 1986 immigration law laying out legal penalties was meant to be a comprehensive scheme, and Congress left employees untouched — and Justice Sotomayor seemed to agree.
“It seems odd to think the federal government is deciding on employer sanctions and has unconsciously decided not to punish employees,” she told Paul D. Clement, who argued the case on behalf of Arizona.
A decision is expected before the end of the court’s term this summer.
Only eight justices were present for the arguments. Justice Elana Kagan recused herself from the case, presumably because she was the Obama administration’s solicitor general in 2010, when the law was being debated in Arizona.
Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the measure into law, was present for the arguments, as were members of Congress who follow the immigration issue: Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, the top Democrat on the House immigration subcommittee, and Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who has fought for an immigration crackdown.
April 25th, 2012
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) took to the Senate floor today to draw attention to a video of a top EPA official saying the EPA’s “philosophy” is to “crucify” and “make examples” of oil and gas companies - just as the Romans crucified random citizens in areas they conquered to ensure obedience.
Inhofe quoted a little-watched video from 2010 of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official, Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz, admitting that EPA’s “general philosophy” is to “crucify” and “make examples” of oil and gas companies.
In the video, Administrator Armendariz says:
“I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting, but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said:
“It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them.
“Then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”
Snotty-nosed Leftist Brat Al Armendariz, EPA apparatchik
“It’s a deterrent factor,” Armendariz said, explaining that the EPA is following the Romans’ philosophy for subjugating conquered villages.
Soon after Armendariz touted the EPA’s “philosophy,” the EPA began smear campaigns against natural gas producers, Inhofe’s office noted in advance of today’s Senate speech:
“Not long after Administrator Armendariz made these comments in 2010, EPA targeted US natural gas producers in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming.
“In all three of these cases, EPA initially made headline-grabbing statements either insinuating or proclaiming outright that the use of hydraulic fracturing by American energy producers was the cause of water contamination, but in each case their comments were premature at best – and despite their most valiant efforts, they have been unable to find any sound scientific evidence to make this link.”
In his Senate speech, Sen. Inhofe said the video provides Americans with “a glimpse of the Obama administration’s true agenda.”
That agenda, Inhofe said, is to “incite fear” in the public with unsubstantiated claims and “intimidate” oil and gas companies with threats of unjustified fines and penalties – then, quietly backtrack once the public’s perception has been firmly jaded against oil and natural gas.
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April 25th, 2012
The Washington Post / Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney likes to talk on the campaign trail about how his father “grew up poor,” but that’s not the whole story.
The father of the presumptive Republican nominee, George Romney, grew up in a family that suffered financial losses and enjoyed prosperity. The elder Romney pursued an upwardly mobile path to become chairman of American Motors Corp. before being elected governor of Michigan.
Mitt Romney’s reference to his father’s financial hardships provides a way to blunt perceptions among voters that his vast personal wealth makes him insensitive to the concerns of Americans who are struggling. He joins a long parade of politicians who have played down their wealthy pedigrees while playing up their humble family roots in hopes of convincing voters they can identify with their concerns.
With economic concerns on the minds of most Americans, Romney and President Barack Obama already are jockeying for an edge. Obama generated a flurry of headlines last week by saying, “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.” Many viewed that as a shot at Romney despite an Obama spokesman’s denials.
On Tuesday night in Manchester, N.H., after another string of primary victories, Romney recalled the hardships his father faced growing up.
“I’ll tell you about how much I love this country, this extraordinary land, where someone like my dad, who grew up poor and never graduated from college, could pursue his dreams and work his way up to running a great car company,” Romney told the crowd. “Only in America could a man like my dad become governor of the state in which he once sold paint from the trunk of his car.”
George Romney was born July 8, 1907, in Chihuahua, Mexico, where his parents and other Mormons had moved to avoid persecution and U.S. laws against polygamy.
“At 5 years old, Dad and his family were finally living pretty well. They had a nice home and a small farm, and Dad even had his own pony, called Monty,” Mitt Romney wrote in his book “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.”
George Romney’s father was Gaskell Romney, a carpenter who led a prosperous life in a Mormon colony in Mexico, according to the “The Real Romney,” a book written by two Boston Globe reporters. But turmoil from the Mexican revolution later forced the Romneys and other Mormon families to flee back to the United States.
The family suddenly went from owning a large Mexican ranch to being nearly penniless, and the family moved from house to house in California, Idaho and Utah as they struggled to build a new life.
“Dad used to regale us kids with claims that one year in Idaho his family lived on nothing but potatoes — for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Mitt Romney recounted in his book.
Over time, though, Mitt’s grandfather became prosperous, building some of the finest homes in Salt Lake City, according to the Globe book, but along with many other Americans suffered financial setbacks during the Great Depression.
“He never took out bankruptcy, which he could have done several times,” George Romney wrote of his father, according to the Globe book.
George Romney worked as a plasterer during high school and later attended four colleges, but he never graduated. He spent two years as a Mormon missionary in England and Scotland. His first exposure to politics was in 1929, as an aide in Washington to Democratic Sen. David I. Walsh of Massachusetts.
He went on to work at ALCOA and the Aluminum Wares Association. His first job in Detroit came in 1939 when he was local manager of the Automobile Manufacturers Association.
He later became head of American Motors and Michigan’s governor. Romney gave up the governor’s office in 1969 to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Nixon administration.
His father’s success ensured a more privileged path for Mitt Romney, who was raised in the posh Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills and attended an elite prep school before he went on to the business and law schools of Harvard University.
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April 25th, 2012
By ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A sergeant will be discharged for criticizing President Barack Obama on Facebook in a case that called into question the Pentagon's policies about social media and its limits on the speech of active duty military personnel, the Marine Corps said Wednesday.
Sgt. Gary Stein will get an other-than-honorable discharge and lose most of his benefits for violating the policies, the Corps said.
The San Diego-area Marine who has served nine years in the Corps said he was disappointed by the decision. He argued that he was exercising his constitutional rights to free speech.
"I love the Marine Corps, I love my job. I wish it wouldn't have gone this way. I'm having a hard time seeing how 15 words on Facebook could have ruined my nine-year career," he told The Associated Press.
Gary Kreep, an attorney for Stein, said he would pursue administrative appeals within the Marine Corps but anticipates the effort will fail. He said he planned to file an amended complaint in federal court.
"As long as he wants to pursue this, we will be supporting him," said Kreep, who is executive director of the United States Justice Foundation, an advocacy group.
The Marines acted after saying Stein stated March 1 on a Facebook page used by Marine meteorologists, "Screw Obama and I will not follow all orders from him." Stein later clarified that statement, saying he would not follow unlawful orders.
Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo, the commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, said in a brief statement Wednesday that evidence supported an administrative board's recommendation to discharge Stein.
Tom Umberg, a former Army colonel and military prosecutor, said Stein persisted even after being warned.
"The Marine Corps gave him the opportunity to think about his actions, yet Sgt. Stein continued to undermine the chain of command," said Umberg, who was not involved in Stein's case. "I think his purpose was to leave the Marine Corps in a dramatic fashion in order to begin a career in talk radio or what have you."
Umberg believes the decision to discharge Stein will have limited impact because the vast majority of Marines would never consider such postings.
"I think 99 percent of the soldiers and Marines currently on duty understand the duties of supporting the chain of command and understand their rights of free speech are limited," he said. "To that 1 percent who don't know their rights to free speech are limited once they take the oath, this is a loud and clear message."
During a hearing, a military prosecutor submitted screen grabs of Stein's postings on one Facebook page he created called Armed Forces Tea Party, which the prosecutor said included the image of Obama on a "Jackass" movie poster. Stein also superimposed Obama's image on a poster for "The Incredibles" movie that he changed to "The Horribles," military prosecutor Capt. John Torresala said.
At the hearing this month at Camp Pendleton, Torresala argued that Stein's behavior repeatedly violated Pentagon policy and he should be dismissed after ignoring warnings from his superiors about his postings.
The military has had a policy since the Civil War limiting the free speech of service members, including criticism of the commander in chief.
Pentagon directives say military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement.
Commissioned officers also may not use contemptuous words against senior officials.
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April 25th, 2012
BLS Note: Most powerful video message yet; It's everything we have been preaching about boiled down into a searingly true 4 minute message.
The environmental agenda has been infected by extremism—it's become an economic suicide pact. And we're here to challenge it On Earth Day, visit http://www.freemarketamerica.org/