CITIZENS ARE LYING TOO MUCH – IS THAT THE REAL PROBLEM?

Jamie Murguia’s article at TheNerve.org continues the discussion of citizens being put under oath when testifying before the SC General Assembly. Jay Lucas indicated in our meeting this week that this was a proposed rule that should be revisited; I took that to mean he agreed it was a bit much.

From Jamie’s article:

In a column last month, I questioned the constitutionality of a proposed House rule sponsored by Rep. Kris Crawford (R-Florence) that would require any individual testifying before a House committee to meet extensive disclosure requirements about the organization he or she represents. During the subsequent meeting of the House Rules and Procedures Ad-Hoc Committee, several members expressed similar concerns about the proposal’s constitutionality, and the it was withdrawn – although not without a fight.

The proposal was withdrawn, however, only to be replaced by a similar proposal sponsored by Reps. Bruce Bannister (R-Greenville), Kris Crawford, and Alan Clemmons (R-Horry). That proposal would require all anyone testifying before any House committee to first be sworn in by the presiding officer of the committee. Further, the new rule would allow any individual who “willfully gives false, materially misleading, or materially incomplete testimony under oath” to be found in “contempt of the General Assembly.” The law establishing “contempt of the General Assembly” allows for “a person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to contempt of the General Assembly is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined within the discretion of the court or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.”

It is maddening… WHO THINKS THIS IS A GOOD IDEA EXCEPT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY WHOSE ETHICS HAVE BEEN UNDER SCRUTINY FOR YEARS NOW? Like Jamie asks … does anything thin the problem is that the CITIZENS are lying too much?

Jamie asked for my thoughts for her article:

Martin raised an excellent point I hadn’t thought of. Basically it was this: Would the proposal apply equally to lawmakers? “If there were penalties attached that do not also cover every syllable that any legislator utters, either in a committee or on the floor of their respective body,” she said, “then this is a higher bar for citizens than for legislators.”

There’s a practical unfairness about the proposal, too, says Martin. “Citizens don’t have the luxury of being able to consult onsite, at the ready, taxpayer provided counsel to ensure there is no unintentional misstatement.”

Now it’s your turn to have a say. Read and understand the proposed rule, then contact your legislator in the House and have a chat. They seem to be getting ready to do this. In addition to your representative, special outreach to Bruce Bannister (R-Greenville), Kris Crawford (R-Florence), and Alan Clemmons (R-Horry). Ask those 3 guys if citizens lying in Columbia is REALLY the problem.

November 21, 2014  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Will you help our community?

A sad situation here in Spartanburg, as reported by Daniel J. Gross at SHJ:

TVs, jewelry, dressers, couches, food, clothing and all sorts of household items were piled high outside Archibald Rutledge Apartments on North Church Street as residents stood by in cold temperatures Monday, many wearing slippers and robes.

A bedbug infestation spurred the action, a process that is expected to take several weeks to clear rooms at the Spartanburg Housing Authority property for low-income elderly and disabled residents. Some tenants were angered by the way their belongings were treated and the way the process is being handled. “This is the most mismanaged fiasco I’ve ever seen,” tenant Royce Steele said. “It leaves you dazed and confused.”

Asked if the families will be reimbursed for the items that were once theirs, Dalton said “it’s difficult to associate who is responsible for this.”

Now … we can help.

The Spartanburg Housing Authority has issued a request for assistance for residents of the Archibald Rutledge Apartments. Due to a severe bed bug infestation in the building and extensive treatment to address the situation, many residents have lost some or all of their possessions. Residents of the apartments are elderly or disabled and are in need of the most basic items.

The Housing Authority is requesting assistance to help replace lost items for residents. Led by the United Way of the Piedmont, a number of faith organizations and non-profits, are contributing to the effort. If you would like to contribute, a list of needed items may be found on the Housing Authority website here:

http://www.shasc.org/cornucopia-of-giving/

All donated items must be new. Donations of items and financial contributions may be mailed or brought to:

Spartanburg Housing Opportunities
Spartanburg Housing Authority
201 Caulder Ave.
Spartanburg, SC 29306

We like shopping right? We like shopping when the weather gets cold since it feels Christmasy and cheery. So go shopping. Do it tomorrow, or this weekend. Bring your packages to the address above. Go in a group or with family members, make it an event. Below is the list of items needed. I hope that many of you will post in comments that you did this and it made your heart happy!

Shower curtains
Pots/pans
Dishes
Towels
Wash cloths
Eating utensils
Couches
Chairs
Ottomans
Recliners
Pillows
Blankets
Sheets
Laundry Baskets
Lamps
Lamp Shades
Coffee Tables
End Tables
Bookcases
Dressers
Clothing
Curtains
Rugs

November 20, 2014   Posted in: Uncategorized  2 Comments

Interview with Michael Cannon on the upcoming Obamacare SCOTUS case

Yes. Yes I am going to continue to post about Michael Cannon from Cato. Until he travels to SC and I can buy him lunch. I’m a fangirl.

Here is an interview he did with Sarah Kliff, clearly a fan of Obamacare. So educational!!! And … please note, as I remind you as often as I can … without Jim DeMint this is not in front of SCOTUS.

Had Jim DeMint not objected to waiving the nine-day process necessary to send a bill to conference, the severability clause could have been easily reinserted in conference. But he did; and it wasn’t.

Finally, there was the opportunity to reopen the bill to further amendments, including an amendment on the severability clause, to assuage Democratic moderates like Ben Nelson, after the manager’s amendment had been presented. But, again, this would have required chopping apart the “tree” constructed to block DeMint, and that would have kept the Senate in session until well past Christmas. So that wasn’t done either.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from this Cannon interview; please go to the link above and read the entire thing. I guarantee you’ll know MORE about the upcoming SCOTUS case than 99.9% of voters!

What I recognized was that this allowed states to block one of the three legs of Obamacare’s three-legged stool: the subsidies. And they could do so in a way that would increase pressure on Congress to re-open the law. So I started adding that into my list of reasons states shouldn’t establish exchanges.

What was happening here was, the senators and staff who wrote this language were just trying to put something together that would get 60 votes, so that they could go to conference with the House. To get 60 votes, they needed to create the expectation that states would be running the exchanges. That was crucial to get to 60 votes.

It may have been the case that, if this legislation had gone to conference, someone would have objected to the conditional nature of the Senate bill’s Exchange subsidies. That someone would have said, “This would knock out one leg of the three-legged stool! Did you pay attention to those town hall meetings in August? We can’t let the Tea Party grab onto this because they’ll blow up the whole thing! We have to change that!”

But that didn’t happen. When Scott Brown won, Democrats only had one bill they could get through Congress. That’s how this provision became law.

When the Obama administration decided to go beyond the very clear limits that the law imposes on its authority, the first thing that happened was, it disenfranchised voters in those 36 states that were electing state officials that promised to block the law. When the president rewrote the law that way, he effectively told millions of people, “Your vote doesn’t count.” That’s what this lawsuit is about.

Yes, you’re going to have some pressure from insurance companies to establish an exchange because they’re going to want those subsidies. But you’ll get even more pressure from opponents of this law than you got before. They’ll know not only was the president breaking the law, but they can block the individual mandate now. You might even get employers opposing an Exchange, saying, “Wait a second. We don’t want to be subject to the employer mandate when the people in the next state are not.”

What you’re asking is, “Can the president hand out money without congressional authorization?” Do we even have to ask that question? Or are you asking, “What if the president does it anyway?”

November 19, 2014  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Speaker Jay Lucas visits the Spartanburg Tea Party

We were so honored to have Speaker Jay Lucas as our guest, he was warm, and funny, and very direct in answering all our questions.

BIG thanks to Calvin Cowen who video’d the meeting and got this video up the next day!!!

Jay Lucas intro:

Jay Lucas answers questions sent in by our members:

November 19, 2014   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment

Spartanburg County Council November video

Contained here is the vote to end that disastrous policy of term limiting boards/commissions (but not actual elected officials of course!) Also the vote to support the delegation resolution re: the Local Government Fund.

Just load this up and let it play to see and hear what happens at County Council, and consider attending future meetings. It’s the closest we voters and taxpayer can get to the folks who spend a larger percentage of OUR tax dollars than Columbia or DC. We have a bigger voice, greater opportunity for discussion at the local government level than any other!

if you show up.

November 19, 2014   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Abbeville County School District, et. al., v. the State of South Carolina

Did you see the ruling the other day that has the SC legislature in a fluster? They’ll have to figure out right quick how to make school funding more equitable.

I have two suggestions right off the bat:

Mandate that funding to counties/districts go to the classroom and teachers, not the lavish planning conferences, football scoreboards, exorbitant admin salaries etc.

Move funds from these gigantic college budgets to public schools, let the colleges raise their own money. (MORE ON THAT BELOW)

Mandate consolidation of multiple school districts in a county to one district. The would be times six admin expense savings right away. Does someone want to do THAT math?

Eva Moore at Freetimes.com has a good article about the lawsuit and ruling:

When Archie Franchini was a principal at Estill High School in Hampton County School District 2 between 2001 and 2006, he says, the library media center didn’t have much money to buy new books. “There were a number of books that were outdated, that needed to be weeded,” he says. “I remember pulling a book off the shelf that said, ‘One day, man will land on the moon.’”

“There’s very little industry in Hampton District 2,” Franchini says. “So the tax base is very small, so the people living there are having to pay much more in property taxes — or they were at that time — than a homeowner elsewhere.” The results: old, cramped buildings; a lack of technology and supplies; difficulty finding teachers to teach things like math and science and special ed.

Inequities are found in schools across South Carolina, and have been for years. While some schools have state-of-the-art facilities, others have crumbling buildings. While some draw high-quality teachers from all over, others grapple with recruitment. Franchini says he ended up hiring a lot of teachers from foreign countries who struggled to adjust culturally.

But the inequities in South Carolina were so dramatic, the school districts came to believe, that students were being denied their constitutional rights.

“The South Carolina Constitution requires there be a system of free public schools that affords each student the opportunity to receive a minimally adequate education,” writes Chief Justice Jean Toal in a decision handed down Nov. 12. And it’s that requirement that formed the basis for a landmark lawsuit.

Read the rest of that FreeBeacon article, it’s not very long. and then … here is Rick Brundrett at TheNerve.org with an article entitled “USC, Clemson Sitting on Fat Reserves While Seeking Millions in New State Funds

South Carolina’s two biggest universities are once again asking the Legislature for millions in new state funding while sitting on far-larger reserves.

The University of South Carolina’s main Columbia campus wants an additional collective $10 million for fiscal 2015-16, which starts next July 1, for its “On Your Time” graduation program and Honors College. In its budget request submitted recently to the state Executive Budget Office, the state’s flagship university said if “no or insufficient funds are available to meet this budget request,” it will be “required to finance the maintenance of educational quality through tuition price increases for students and families.”

Yet the university, which has eight campuses statewide and a total student enrollment of about 47,000, entered this fiscal year with a $336 million “unrestricted net position,” defined in its year-end financial report as “resources available to the institution for any lawful purpose of the institution.” As of June 30, USC had nearly $366 million in cash and “cash equivalents.”

Well, what about Clemson?

Clemson University is asking for an additional collective $7 million in state funding next fiscal year for its “Focus on Student Success” graduation program, Center for Human Genetics and International Center for Automotive Research’s “Deep Orange” project. In its budget request for “Focus on Student Success,” which is aimed, like USC’s “On Your Time” program, at speeding up graduation rates, the upstate university said state investment in its project would “potentially save students and their families millions of dollars in tuition and fees.”

Yet Clemson started this fiscal year with a $114.9 million “unrestricted net position,” which is “available to the institution for any lawful purpose of the institution,” according to its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The university, which has a total student enrollment of more than 21,000, had nearly $177 million in cash and “cash equivalents” as of June 30.

What kind of cock-eyed reasoning is it when a university with MILLIONS of dollars in reserve is telling legislators to take more money from taxpayers in South Carolina, or we’ll have to raise our tuition … and school districts in parts of South Carolina have been languishing in squalor for 23 years?

Pretty shameful reasons.

November 19, 2014   Posted in: Uncategorized  4 Comments

GruberGate in 2:25 minutes

In case you know someone who needs to be caught up.

November 18, 2014   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Alternate plan emerges for fixing and paying for SC roads

Now instead of funding the Local Government Fund and returning the withheld taxpayer funds to the counties, legislators in Columbia are planning to dump more funding responsibilities on the counties.

Cassie Cope reporting at TheState.com:

An influential S.C. lawmaker wants to give control of roughly half of the state-owned roads to counties as a way to address the state’s multibillion dollar road needs.

Counties also would get more of the state’s gas tax revenues to pay for the upkeep of those roads, said state Rep. Gary Simrill, R-York, who chairs a special House committee tasked with reforming the state Transportation Department.

Simrill is considering other options as well, including letting voters decide in 2016 if they want to increase the statewide 6 percent sales tax by another penny to pay for roads. In addition, he wants to consider getting rid of the gas tax altogether, and instead applying the sales tax to gasoline.

Some county leaders aren’t thrilled by the road transfer idea. The roads they already own are expensive enough to maintain, and adding more would not solve the problem, they say.

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who won a second term earlier this month, has said she would veto a gas tax increase. And the GOP-controlled House is averse to tax increases.

Here’s a legislative update from SC Association of Counties (SCAC):

The road transfer proposal being considered by this committee will shift the responsibilities and costly maintenance and reconstruction expenditures to local governments. Local governments do not have the resources or the money to pay for these roads.

The Committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow, Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm in Room 521 of the Blatt building. Please view the Committee Roster by clicking here. You are urged to attend this important meeting and to contact your Representative prior to the meeting to express your concerns over this legislative proposal!

The SCAC Land Use, Natural Resources and Transportation Policy Steering Committee has taken a position to strongly oppose the transfer of state roads to the county taxpayers. This position will likely be adopted by the SCAC Legislative Committee the first of December.

It is imperative that you take action now by contacting your legislators.

Feel free to contact Owen McBride of SCAC at 1-800-922-6081 or omcbride@scac.sc with any questions.

November 18, 2014   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment

GOP STRATEGY TO STOP OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE AMNESTY EMERGING

It’s the topic of the week. Here is Matthew Boyle of Breitbart with a look:

A clearer picture of the strategy Republicans in both the House and the Senate will use to stop President Barack Obama’s planned executive amnesty in government funding bills is beginning to emerge.

The key point is that no matter what package emerges, there seems to be a consensus emerging among Republicans on Capitol Hill: There will be no funding for Obama’s planned executive amnesty. There’s a number of different ways that can happen.

First, there could be a short-term Continuing Resolution passed that funds all of government from Dec. 11—when current funding measures end—until shortly after the newly-elect Senate GOP majority takes office in early 2015. At that point, the Senate and House Republicans would block Obama’s planned immigration executive order in some fashion—either in a bill that funds all of the rest of government except for that or by splitting various Appropriations bills into different packages that separates funding the Department of Homeland Security out from the rest of government.

Another possibility is that there may be some kind of effort to cut the funding for Obama’s planned executive amnesty in the lame duck session of Congress now, but that effort would likely be thwarted as one of the last acts of outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Boyle has much more detail on these attempts, read more at the link above. And then … there’s THIS!

The biggest obstacle to stopping Obama has more specifically been House Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY). Rogers has been leading the charge for a long-term omnibus funding bill that pays for all of government, including Obama’s amnesty plans, through the end of the 2015 fiscal year which concludes in September. Rogers wants to forfeit Congress’ power of the purse, and until this weekend there was no clear reason as to why.

A Breitbart News investigation published on Sunday gives some indication of Rogers’ motivation: a major campaign contributor of his, defense contractor General Dynamics, is seeking the contract to print the documents required by Obama to implement executive amnesty at a facility in Rogers’ congressional district in Corbin, Kentucky. The facility, which already prints immigration documents like green cards, IDs, and work permits for legal immigrants, would—if the federal government enlists it in the event of an executive amnesty—print the work permits, ID cards, and Social Security cards needed for Obama to grant the executive amnesty.

Despicable. Utterly despicable.

Here is Hal’s DC office number, if you’d like to call and express your opinion:

202-225-4601

November 18, 2014   Posted in: Uncategorized  3 Comments

Possible GOP strategy for Obama’s immigration EO

BYRON YORK at the Washington Examiner has a good article that hits on two current topics – How to fight Obama’s immigration Executive Order and the budget. Which as many are noting, is really only one topic. But this article tosses in a little reality on the government shutdown.

A few excerpts:

… in light of the midterm results, some in the GOP are recognizing the original shutdown did not end up having the political effects that were once predicted.

First, the GOP response to Obama’s anticipated order. The only thing Republicans will do in the lame duck session — that is, before they take control of the Senate, and keep control of the House, in January — is to make sure a short-term government funding bill is passed by the time the current one expires on Dec. 11.

Then in January, with the GOP in control — and, presumably, Obama’s edict in hand — Republicans will work on crafting a new spending measure that funds the entire government, with the exception of the particular federal offices that will do the specific work of enforcing Obama’s order.

Republican sources liken the contemplated action to Congress’ move to stop the president from closing the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. In 2009, lawmakers denied Obama the money he would have needed to proceed. Guantanamo remains open.

Senate Republicans need to know more before deciding on a specific strategy. First, they don’t know how Obama plans to fund his action. Second, if most of the work is done through the Department of Homeland Security, Republicans will try to craft a measure to stop funding for the specific immigration operation without affecting any national security priorities.

… even if a move to counter Obama passes the Senate with 60 votes, the president will veto it. At that point, a shutdown battle could occur — but it would be a battle over shutting down the small part of the federal government tasked with enforcing the immigration order. Everything else would remain up and running.

That’s a far cry from what happened in October 2013. And now, in light of the GOP’s midterm victories, some Republicans are re-assessing that epic shutdown battle, too.

At the time, many pundits in both parties saw Republicans throwing away any chance of victory in the 2014 midterms. “[Republican] Party veterans say they are increasingly concerned that a prolonged standoff in Washington could damage their prospects for winning back the Senate in 2014,” the Washington Post reported on October 3, 2013, as the two-week shutdown was just beginning.

But look at what happened. The shutdown so deeply damaged GOP prospects that Republicans exceeded expectations in 2014, winning control of the Senate in spectacular fashion and making unexpected gains in the House. The shutdown was so terrible that some of those headstrong House Republicans who voted to defund Obamcare last year — Tom Cotton, Steve Daines, Shelley Moore Capito — are now headed to the U.S. Senate. (Cassidy too, if he wins.)

November 17, 2014   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment