Less than a week after a New Orleans suburbanite petitioned the White House to allow Louisiana to secede from the United States, petitions from seven states have collected enough signatures to trigger a promised review from the Obama administration.
By 6:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, more than 675,000 digital signatures appeared on 69 separate secession petitions covering all 50 states, according to a Daily Caller analysis of requests lodged with the White House’s “We the People” online petition system.
A petition from Vermont, where talk of secession is a regular feature of political life, was the final entry.
Petitions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas residents have accrued at least 25,000 signatures, the number the Obama administration says it will reward with a staff review of online proposals.
The Texas petition leads all others by a wide margin. Shortly before 9:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, it had attracted 94,700 signatures. But a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday afternoon that he does not support the idea of his state striking out on its own.
“Gov. Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it. But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
A backlash Monday night saw requests filed with the White House to strip citizenship rights from Americans who signed petitions to help states secede.
And in a similar nose-thumbing aimed at Texas’ conservative majority, progressives from the liberal state capital of Austin responded Monday with a petition to secede from their state if Texas as a whole should decide to leave the Union.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) released the following letter this afternoon to House Republican Members and Members-Elect outlining his commitment to leading the House majority in listening to the American people, and carrying the GOP’s “banner of freedom, economic opportunity and limited government.” An electronic version of the letter, released in advance of tomorrow’s House leadership elections, can be downloaded here.
November 13, 2012
Two years ago, as we prepared for the opening sessions of the 112th Congress, I vowed our Republican majority in the House of Representatives would be an outpost in Democratic-controlled Washington for the priorities of theAmerican people. The idea was that we’d be the vanguard for the like-minded GOP White House and Senate that would arrive after 2012.
We find ourselves today with a different mission. For the foreseeable future, we will be the last line of defense in Washington for the American people against a government that spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much when left to its own devices.
Americans re-elected President Obama and a Democratic majority in the Senate. But they also re-affirmed our majority in the House. Indeed, tempered by a few painful losses, the historic freshman class of 2010 returns nearly intact, joined by some new Members-elect who are certain to further invigorate our conference.
Together with the 30 Republicans who will serve in 2013 as governors of their states, we have the responsibility – and opportunity – of carrying our party’s banner of freedom, economic opportunity and limited government into the future.
Some would have us roll that banner up and tuck it away.
That isn’t going to happen.
A better approach is to hoist the banner high, true to our principles, with adetermination to govern and serve responsibly. We serve the American people, millions of whom entrusted us with themajority – and that’s what they’re counting on us to do.
Our core principles are strong, and enduring. They are the principles upon which a great nation was built. And they are the principles upon which, in time, a stronger, prosperous America will be built as well.
Our party doesn’t need new principles. What it needs is a new plan – a strategy that speaks to Americans from all walks of life, and properly conveys our passion for reforms that preserve and renew the American Dream.
Problems in our party’s infrastructure for campaigns and elections must be diagnosed and remedied to ensure our resources are fully deployed in support of our principles.
And most importantly, we need to redouble our commitment to the pillars of the reform agenda for which our majority has fought and sacrificed, and endured.
Here’s what I have in mind. It boils down to four parts, which I’m eager to discuss further with you this week.
Our economic vision of pro-growth tax reform with fewer loopholes and lower rates for all – and entitlement reforms critical to reducing the primary drivers of our debt – represent not just a path to avert the “fiscal cliff,” but also the basis for solutions to the biggest problem our country faces. The debt is the greatest challenge our country faces – a direct threat to our children’s future. It can only be solved with economic growth. Raising tax rates, as President Obama proposed on the campaign trail, will hurt our economy, making the problem worse.
As I said last week, 2013 must be the year we enact significant tax reform andentitlement reform to begin the process of solving our debt problem. Our first challenge of the new Congress is to deal successfully with the final challenge of the current Congress. That means averting the fiscal cliff in a manner that steers clear of increased tax rates and encourages economic growth instead.
As I also said last week, the president’s health care law – which adds a massive, expensive, unworkable government program at a time when our debt already exceeds the size of our whole economy – must remain on the table. The president’s re-election means it’s the law of the land at the moment – but we can’t afford ObamaCare, and we can’t afford to leave it intact.
I’ve long maintained that there are three possible routes to repeal of ObamaCare: the courts, the presidential election, and our constitutional responsibility for oversight. With two of them having come up short, the third and final of these becomes more important than ever.
Private-sector job growth eluded us during President Obama’s first term, in part because of the regulatory juggernaut that looms over small businesses. The president’s second-term almost certainly will bring a renewed zeal on the part of the White House to implement through regulation what the president has been unable to impose on job creators through legislation. Our constitutionalresponsibility for oversight of the Executive Branch – and our readiness to move legislation that prevents excessive regulatory meddling in our economy – will be critical in the coming year as our economy struggles to grow.
Our oversight activity need not be limited to oversight of the Executive Branch. With the president’s re-election, a continued stream of Obama-appointed judges at the district and appellate level is guaranteed. We should not be hesitant to exercise our constitutional oversight responsibility in circumstances in which judicial overreach has occurred or threatens to occur, particularly when it poses harm to our economy.
Just as we’ll be ready to say where we disagree with President Obama and his Democratic-controlled Senate, we must also be prepared to identify areas inwhich we agree or see opportunity for common ground. In 2011, trade was one such area, resulting in the enactment of important Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Korea, and Panama. The year or two ahead may bring the opportunity for even more significant trade agreements involving the Pacific region. A Democratic-controlled House stalled such achievements for years at the expense of U.S. jobs; our Republican majority must ensure they advance.
Warning signs are flashing on the dashboard for our party. Some of the problems are tactical in nature; others are strategic. We can’t ignore them and expect to assemble a winning electoral coalition in the future.
We need a state-of-the-art political infrastructure fueled by rock-solid data that can be relied upon to turn out voters when we need them in the places they’re needed most. We need accurate survey data, and technology in place that will ensure such data is put to use. And as I noted earlier, our strategy at all levels must be aimed at reaching potential voters from all walks of life. That doesn’t mean changing our principles; it means changing our approach.
While challenges lie ahead for our party, opportunities clearly exist as well. From the House to the Senate to the 30 states who will have a Republican governor in 2013, wehave a very deep bench of leaders eager for the chance to take our country in a different direction. My leadership style is to recognize the unique talent and potential of every member of our team, and put members in a place where they can grow and succeed. Some of the policy frontiers that lie ahead offer possibilities as well. On immigration, for example, we have an opportunity to offer innovative solutions rooted in our enduring principles.
IN SUMMARY: A MAJORITY THAT MATTERS
Commitment to principle provides clarity of purpose that is essential to successful leadership. With it comes the confidence to articulate not just what we’re against, but what we are for.
When in 2007 I became House Republican Leader, one of my first and toughest duties was handing Rep. Pelosi the Speaker’s gavel on Opening Day. I did so with a gentle note of caution for the incoming Democratic majority.
“The value of a majority lies not in the opportunity to wield great power,” I said, “but in the chance to use limited power to do great things.”
Having served as Speaker now for two years, I believe more strongly than ever thatthis must be our test. The American people need us to act courageously, think selflessly, and lead boldly. Having humbled us with their confidence, the American people deserve nothing less.
I ask that you give me the honor of serving as your Speaker as we stand to meet that test.
Although America carried President Obama confidently into a second term last Tuesday – not everyone is jumping for joy at the prospect of four more years.
Tens of thousands have put their names to secession petitions in 20 states, asking that they peacefully become independent from the rest of the country.
The documents have been lodged on a government website We The People – and Texas has almost enough people behind its petition to warrant an official White House response.
Along with the Lone Star state, petitions were filed from Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee. So keen are the folks in Georgia for a separation, that they filed their petition twice.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of these states voted for Republican nominee Mitt Romney although petitions were also lodged in Democrat strongholds such as New York and Oregon.
Federal District Court Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan, issued an opinion yesterday evening granting a motion for Preliminary Injunction that effectively halts enforcement of the HHS mandate against Plaintiffs Weingartz Supply Company and its owner and president, Daniel Weingartz. The motion was brought by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Erin Mersino, TMLC’s lead counsel on the case who presented the oral argument in support of Plaintiffs, commented, “The federal court has found that our clients have a likelihood of success and would be irreparably harmed by the unconstitutional overreaching of the HHS mandate. This is not only a victory for our clients, but for religious freedom.”
The HHS mandate refers to regulations adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services that forces employers, regardless of their religious convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.
In ruling for the Weingartz Plaintiffs, Judge Cleland emphasized that “[t]he loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.” He concluded, “The harm in delaying the implementation of a statute that may later be deemed constitutional must yield to the risk presented here of substantially infringing the sincere exercise of religious beliefs. The balance of harms tips strongly in Plaintiffs’ favor. A preliminary injunction is warranted.”
What’s past is prologue. We know what we will get from a second Obama term because we’ve all endured his first term. We know how well he kept his 2008 campaign promises. Do we really believe he’ll keep his 2012 promises?
Do we believe the word of a man who promised he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class, but then slammed the middle class with a massive tax hike in the form of Obamacare (and don’t forget that his own lawyers argued before the Supreme Court that the individual mandate is a tax)?
Do we really believe he won’t raise taxes even more on every American in order to pay for his wasteful spending and his crony capitalism?
Do we believe that the same president who increased the debt in his first term by more than all the first 41 presidents combined will suddenly decide to cut the deficit in his second term?
Do we believe that the president whose reckless spending led us to the first credit rating downgrade in our nation’s history will suddenly become a responsible fiscal manager if we reelect him?
Do we really believe that a president who promised us that job creation was his number one priority despite month after month of dismal job numbers now has a credible “plan” for the job growth that eluded him for the past four years?
Do we believe that the same president who shut down the Keystone Pipeline and blocks domestic oil and natural gas development at every turn is somehow going to reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and lead us to energy independence?
Do we really believe that our country’s national security is safe in the hands of a president whose administration denied security and assistance to our consulate under attack on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on America, and then blamed that consulate attack and the death of our ambassador on a “spontaneous” protest over an obscure YouTube video despite all the real time evidence to the contrary?
Do we believe that a president who was caught on a hot mic telling the Russian president that he would have “more flexibility” after his reelection is being honest about his plans for a second term?
We know what we will get from a second Obama term. We will get the same failed policies. We will get Obamacare locked into law without any chance of undoing this dangerous legislation and any chance to seek real patient-centered health care reform. We will get a debt crisis. We will get more inflation and higher gas prices. We will get tax increases. We will get fewer jobs. We will get more small businesses collapsing under the weight of higher taxes and unfair regulation. We will get more corruption and crony capitalism favoring the Obama administration’s friends. We will get less domestic energy development and increased dependence on terrorist sponsoring foreign regimes for our energy needs. We will get a “blame America first” foreign policy that bows to our enemies and snubs our friends like Israel and leaves America and the world less safe. We will get less opportunity and security for ourselves and for our children.
In 2008, Barack Obama promised to fundamentally transform America. And for all his failures and broken promises, that’s the one thing he has delivered on. He’s transformed us from a nation of hope to one of anxiety. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Tuesday is our chance to turn things around.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have offered a credible alternative to Barack Obama’s failed policies. Governor Romney understands how the free market works. His pro-growth economic policies will benefit all Americans. He has promised to move us toward energy independence, deficit reduction, and responsible entitlement reform that honors our commitment to our seniors and keeps faith with future generations. Governor Romney deserves a chance to lead. President Obama had his chance. He’s failed, and we can’t afford to go backwards.
We must also remember the many good Republican candidates who are running for the House and Senate this year. They deserve our support as well. If you are like me, you have watched these campaigns, learned about the candidates, and know where they stand despite the skewed lens of a partisan media bent on keeping liberal leadership in power. We saw the destruction a Democrat controlled White House, House, and Senate brought us after the 2008 election. Our country can’t afford that again. Your vote is the only safeguard against that happening.
On Tuesday, please vote for Governor Mitt Romney and the commonsense conservatives running for office in your states.
Voting is our duty and our right. We must never forget the immense sacrifices generations of Americans, including our brave men and women in uniform today, have made to give us this right. And we must never forget the duty we owe to generations of Americans yet to be born to exercise our right to vote prudently. The White House and control of the Senate is in the balance in this election, and every vote will count.
I firmly believe it is our responsibility to restore this country and secure the blessings of liberty and prosperity for our children, just as it was secured for us. This is our sacred duty to the past and to the future. We will succeed in this so help us God.
God bless you and God bless America.
With an Alaskan heart,
Here is a coal barge on the Ohio River, today.
I note that they are flying the Gadsden flag.
I hope they and their families, and other like-minded folks in Ohio and Pennsylvania, vote to end the self-inflicted war on American energy production.
Thanks to ChicagoBoyz reader Bob Skinner for the picture. Bob half-expected our Commander in Chief to call in a drone strike on these guys, partly for the yucky coal, but mostly for the flag.
This election is a nail biter. I am struggling not to obsess.
God bless America.
Originally appeared HERE
Two leaders in the European home education movement, a father from Sweden and a German mother, drew tears from the audience as they told a packed conference room about life in exile and the heart-rending decision to flee abroad. While each of their stories was unique, both parents were forced to escape from their homelands due to relentless government persecution when they refused to stop homeschooling.
The presentations were made during a Friday workshop at the first-ever Global Home Education Conference (GHEC), held in Berlin, Germany, bringing together around 200 homeschooling leaders, policy makers, parents, human rights activists, and pro-family forces from every corner of the world. Meeting here this weekend, they say the plan is to join forces in the battle to protect the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of children.
Today, parental rights over the education of children are almost universally recognized. Even the controversial United Nations’ so-called “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” concedes that “parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children,” as more than a few activists at the conference have pointed out. But under certain totalitarian regimes, as well as in Sweden and Germany, that is not always the case.
Jonas Himmelstrand, the chairman of the GHEC, is the president of the Swedish Home Education Association (ROHUS). He also lives in exile, having fled to Finland as a “homeschooling refugee” after the Uppsala municipality adopted a restrictive view on homeschooling — a process that began even before the national government passed a law purporting to ban home education in 2010.
Thousands of black-clad Russian nationalists marched through central Moscow on Sunday, marking a “National Unity Day” holiday created by Vladimir Putin by calling for an end to his rule and voicing hostility to ethnic minorities.
Putin instituted the holiday in 2005 to replace the annual Soviet-era celebration of the Bolshevik revolution. But civil rights activists say his own flirtation with ethnic nationalism has stoked a rise in far-right violence, and is partly to blame for the hijacking of the holiday by hardline militants.
The marchers, mainly young men with closely cropped hair in black leather jackets, shouted “Russia without Putin” and anti-immigrant slogans, carrying Russian Orthodox icons, waving imperial flags and chanting “Russia for Russians”.
President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has devoted an unprecedented number of bureaucrats to finalizing new anti-coal regulations that are set to be released at the end of November, according to a source inside the EPA.
More than 50 EPA staff are now crashing to finish greenhouse gas emission standards that would essentially ban all construction of new coal-fired power plants. Never before have so many EPA resources been devoted to a single regulation. The independent and non-partisan Manhattan Institute estimates that the EPA’s greenhouse gas coal regulation will cost the U.S. economy $700 billion.
The rush is a major sign of panic by environmentalists inside the Obama administration. If Obama wins, the EPA would have another four full years to implement their anti-fossil fuel agenda. But if Romney wins, regulators will have a very narrow window to enact a select few costly regulations that would then be very hard for a President Romney to undo.
When John Silber died, age eighty-six, at the end of September, he was at work on an essay for The New Criterion. I was very much looking forward to the piece. It was to be a review of Martin Duberman’s new biography of the left-wing historian Howard Zinn (1922–2010), the author of the anti-American bestseller A People’s History of the United States. John had often crossed swords with Zinn at Boston University, where Zinn was a professor and where John reigned as President from 1971 to 1996 and then as Chancellor until 2003. Duberman’s biography is certain to be an exercise in hagiography, probably of the fawning variety, and John’s anatomy of the book and its subject promised to be a piquant addition to his library of salubrious polemic.
I deeply regret that John did not complete the review, but I was not surprised. I had spoken to him just a couple of weeks before his death. He was as cogent and cheerful as ever but was clearly fighting a formidable battery of ailments. I was abroad when the news came that he had died. I returned a few days later to find a brief letter from him informing me that his illness was terminal and thanking me for our friendship. It was written two days before his death.
If we lay aside our customary editorial voice in these notes, it is because John was such a close personal friend. I had first met John some time in the late 1980s, but it was not until after I published my book Tenured Radicals in 1990 that we became friends and ideological allies. A look at my files shows that I have well over one hundred letters from John—only occasionally in the last couple of years did he resort to email—and there are nearly as many from me to him. I mention this because it highlights one of John’s signal characteristics: his intellectual and personal responsiveness. Some of his letters are brief notes bringing an article or author or event to my attention. Many are responses, often quite detailed, to something I’d written. There was, I am grateful to report, a certain quantum of praise. There was also, I am even more grateful to report, plenty of criticism. John was one of the contributors to our series on “The Betrayal of Liberalism” in the late 1990s. His essay was about what he regarded as the “core of liberalism”—more about the term “liberalism” in a moment—and he began by making the point that true liberalism cherishes candid criticism because such corrections are aids to enlightenment. “Socrates,” John wrote, “taught us to prize those persons of knowledge, candor, and good will who challenge our views, and to be especially grateful when we are shown to be mistaken. For then we exchange a false opinion for a truer one.”
This is a point that will be familiar not only to readers of Plato but also to readers of John Stuart Mill. John understood Mill’s limitations. We were at one in our admiration for James Fitzjames Stephen’s Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, a devastating attack on what we might call Mill’s libertarianism. (“Complete moral tolerance,” Stephen wrote in that book, “is possible only when men have become completely indifferent to each other—that is to say, when society is at an end.”) When I published my book Experiments Against Reality in 2000, John wrote me not one but two long letters. One dilated on things he liked about the book. The other was full of pointed criticisms of my treatment of Mill. He wrote two letters, he explained, because he did not want his criticisms to obscure his praise. (He didn’t have to add that he also wanted to be sure that his commendation did not obscure his criticisms.)
It must have taken hours for John to compose those two letters. Yet that was the proverbial tip of the iceberg. I was hardly the only recipient of such generous intellectual attention. Some years ago, I had occasion to see some of the assessments he wrote for BU faculty who were up for promotion or tenure. They were extraordinary for their penetration, detail, and breadth. John did not weigh in on faculty in the sciences, but in history, philosophy, literature, and kindred subjects in the humanities, he ranged in a masterly fashion.