Life is hard for this little guy: when Hawk was just weeks old, he suffered a brain hemorrhage, followed by a seizure that led to a blood clot disorder, a feeding tube and vision impairment.
But Hawk’s life has been getting better thanks to cannabis oil, which he has been taking three times a day for months. It started when Katie traveled to California to see what cannabis oil could do for her son.
“We just saw instantly a huge difference, the light behind his eyes, his awareness of what else was in the room…and he could see other people and he was aware,” Harrison said.
For Harrison, cannabis oil is a miracle.
There is just one problem with this miracle. Access to this miracle is crime. Cannabis oil, or CBD, comes from cannabis plants which can’t legally be grown here in Georgia.
But a bill in the Georgia House aims to expand the number of conditions that can be treated with cannabis oil, and it would have allowed more THC, the chemical in cannabis that can get you high, to be incorporated into medicine.
“THC (A) would be legal, which is the acid form of THC, before you heat it up and decarboxylase it. That’s something that Hawk takes, so that would help us,” Harrison said.
And the bill would have allowed cannabis oil to be cultivated here in Georgia. But while making its way through the Georgia House it was stripped down completely, making it tough for thousands of parents like Harrison to offer their kids relief.
“It’s just such a tiny piece of legislation when you do that, when you limit it so much, when you could be helping so much more. It seems like another cowardly act,” Harrison said.
For Harrison, her hope now resides in stories like these. Stories that explain to people that CBD oil isn’t kids smoking marijuana, but medicinal oil that is transforming children and adults who suffer from various conditions from epilepsy to cancer, and PTSD.
Harrison has made it her mission to keep fighting and to educate people about the wonders of CBD oil.
“As they hear Hawk’s story…you sort of see their face change, like, ‘oh, ok when you explain it that way’ or ‘when you really break it down, I understand it better now,’ then they’re more for it,” she said.
Last week, BenSwann.com reported on the plight of Kevin McGill, a sanitation worker and family man who was arrested and sentenced to 30 days in jail after he began his trash collection shift too early one morning in violation of an obscure Sandy Springs, GA ordinance aimed at preventing trash collectors from disturbing homeowners. According to MyFoxAtlanta, the City of Sandy Springs had a change of heart after McGill’s story went viral on the internet. Consequently, the balance of his jail sentence, which he had been serving on weekends, has been excused, and his sentence of probation has been suspended.
The Sandy Springs solicitor issued a statement, which said, “There are times when taking a step back provides the opportunity for better perspective. In retrospect, the actions of the court with regards to Mr. McGill’s sentence for violating the city’s noise laws, was disproportionate to a first-time offense. As such, the court has amended its sentence to time served and further probation suspended… City ordinances are implemented for the protection of quality of life within a community. The adherence to these laws is important, and the City is obligated to enforce these laws, which includes imposing sanctions against those individuals who break the law.”
McGill told MyFoxAtlanta that he had showed up early that day at 5 AM in an effort to complete his route before city construction crews began their work in the area, which blocked some residences on his route. Said McGill, “So I decided one day when I went by and no trucks was out there early in the morning to get that carrying out the way before everybody came to work, because I was having so many near misses that I thought I would get it out the way and just go on about and do the rest of my work, and that’s when somebody called and took a picture, and everything went from there.” The Sandy Springs, GA noise ordinance restricts trash pickups to the hours between 7 AM and 7 PM.
WASHINGTON—February 15, 2015 – When Naghmeh Abedini married her husband Saeed in Iran, she never dreamed she would raise their future children as a single mother in Boise, Idaho, while her husband languished for years in an Iranian prison.
A native of Iran, Naghmeh and her family left when she was nine years old and spent a year in California before relocating to Boise. Her father was educated in the United States and obtained his master’s degree at Oregon State University prior to taking his family out of Iran. “He had a green card,” says Naghmeh, “We were not refugees.”
The real reason they left Iran, however, was due to the radicalization of their Muslim faith in the school system. “My brother was being brainwashed in elementary school,” says Naghmeh, “They started war recruiting for Jihad when he was eight years old.” Students were told that if they died for the cause they would “get to meet God.” They were forced to run through active mine fields as a school exercise. The land mines would occasionally detonate. “The government arrested any parents who complained,” says Naghmeh, “So our parents quietly packed up and left.”
Her parents were unhappy with the school system in California, also, and hoped a move to a smaller city would help preserve their culture and Muslim faith. Within ten years in Boise, however, both of Naghmeh’s parents, along with herself, her brother, and a sister had converted to Christianity.
In 2001, Naghmeh spent a year in Iran. Just before she returned to Boise, her cousin invited her to a government-approved Christian church service. She heard Saeed Abedini speak and was intrigued by his passion, so she introduced herself and asked him if he would watch out for her cousins. Later, she learned that Saeed was a pastor and a leader of the growing house church movement. He was also a former Muslim who once desired to kill Christians, but he converted in 2000. When she returned to Iran in 2003 for another visit, the sparks flew between them. He proposed marriage in June of that year, and they were married in Iran the following June in a government-sanctioned Christian church.
The Abedini’s life together in Iran was cut short when the country experienced a regime change in 2005 and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rose to power. Known for his religious hardline stances, Ahmadinejad was a main figure in the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran party, usually shortened to Abadgaran and widely regarded as the political front for the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Revolutionary Guards.) The latter group was designated as a terrorist organization by the United States in 2007.
After Ahmadinejad was elected, the church the Abedinis married in was forced to close, as were other Christian churches in Iran, despite current law allowing the peaceful gathering of religious minorities. Overnight, Christians were seemingly not welcome or tolerated in the country, so the couple moved together to Boise. Their daughter Rebekka was born in 2006 and their son Jacob arrived in 2008, the same year Saeed became an ordained minister through the American Evangelistic Association.
In 2009, the entire family decided to visit Iran together and see Saeed’s family, as it had been four years since he had seen his parents who had yet to meet their grandchildren. When the Boise-based Abedini family arrived at the airport to fly home to Idaho, Saeed was arrested by Iranian intelligence police. “Please leave Iran,” Saeed told his wife and children, “It will make it easier on me.”
Saeed was placed on house arrest for a month in his parents’ home while investigators determined whether or not he was still establishing Christian church groups. Before he was released, the police advised him to focus on humanitarian efforts—a move that inspired Saeed to use his grandfather’s land and an existing building to open an orphanage in the Iranian city of Rasht.
Back in Idaho, Saeed began a three-year process riddled with paperwork hurdles and setbacks in an attempt to open the orphanage he envisioned. He visited Iran ten more times in an effort to complete the approval process for the orphanage. Naghmeh, Rebekah, and Jacob joined him in October 2011, as the Abedinis were convinced that the orphanage was close to being opened. “We really wanted our kids to be able to meet the orphans,” Naghmeh recalls. However, by February 2012, the approval was still pending. The Abedinis returned to Boise once more. Four months later, Saeed traveled to Iran to finish the orphanage once and for all. “That was the last time I saw him,” says Naghmeh.
He was due to return to Boise on July 29. However, on July 27, Saeed was arrested on a bus in Turkey after looking at land in Georgia. He was placed under house arrest once again. The Iranian government seized his U.S. Passport and he was questioned for months about his activities, without being charged with a crime.
He thought he would be able to resolve his detainment with one last interrogation, scheduled for September 26 at a location to be determined by a 9:00 a.m. phone call that same day. However, Revolutionary Guards forces raided his parents’ house in Tehran at 6:00 a.m. and took Saeed to an unknown location. Four days later, it was revealed that he was in solitary confinement at the notorious Evin Prison. Saeed was accused of “corrupting a whole generation against Islam,” a reference to his pre-Revolution house church activities.
Saeed was charged with undermining the national security of Iran. At his trial on January 21, 2013, Saeed and his attorney were only given one day to make their defense. He was convicted by Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, and sentenced a week later to eight years in prison. Revolutionary Court trials are not public, there is no jury, and a single judge decides the cases—which are final and not eligible for appeal. Details about court proceedings are revealed at the sole discretion of the court. The government says it will release Saeed if he converts back to Islam, but he refuses.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is representing Naghmeh and her children. “This is a real travesty—a mockery of justice,” said ACLJ’s Executive Director Jordan Sekulow. “From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release. Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights.”
Saeed Abedini has been reportedly beaten and tortured during his incarceration and is now housed in the Rajaei Shahr prison in Karaj, his sudden move a possible indication of defiance toward President Hassan Rouhani by the Revolutionary Guard. Saeed is denied any electronic or voice communications with the outside world, but his parents visit him almost weekly, bring him letters from home, and send his letters out—including one to President Obama just before this year’s National Prayer Breakfast.
Naghmeh is hopeful due to extensive support from Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, as well as remarks made by President Obama, that her husband’s release will be secured during upcoming negotiations with Iran. “We’re in a good place,” she says, “If Iran wants to make a deal, I want to make sure Saeed is not left behind.”
Gwinnett County, GA- John Blue, a Georgia father who was accused of hitting a state welfare worker’s vehicle with his van and abducting his children, was recently found not guilty and he now wants charges filed against the worker who made the accusation.
Last June, a worker from Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services came to Blue’s home to speak with his girlfriend and take Blue’s two sons into protective custody. Prosecutors later claimed that the worker had been wearing an ID badge, but Blue said that the state worker had not identified herself.
The worker accused Blue of ramming her car with his van before leaving with his children. Blue had insisted since his arrest that he had never hit the worker’s car and claimed she was actually the one who used her vehicle to hit Blue’s van. Blue also said his girlfriend and sons told police that he did not hit the worker’s car and claimed that those statements went ignored.
A statewide alert called Levi’s Call was issued after Blue left the scene. He later surrendered to police and his children were found with their grandparents in South Carolina.
Blue was accused of “illegally abducting” his children and was originally charged with aggravated assault, reckless conduct, and two charges related to fleeing with his children. A judge later dropped the charges regarding Blue interfering with the state’s attempt to take custody of the children. Last week, a jury found Blue not guilty of the assault charges after less than 45 minutes of deliberation.
Blue has been released from prison, but said that he lost his business- an interior design store- as well as his home after having to spend seven months in jail. “I lost all my tools and equipment and my whole livelihood because of a lie told by DFCS,” Blue told local news station WSB-TV.
Blue is currently living in his van while attending various job interviews and said that he wants the worker who accused him to face charges. “I sat in jail for seven months because someone lied on me,” Blue said. “If I was charged with aggravated assault and didn’t do anything, let her stand before the same people.”
Duluth police and Georgia’s DFCS were unavailable to make a comment about the case on Monday.
WASHINGTON, October 10, 2014–Former firearms instructor and decorated Air Force veteran Timothy Arnold stood for sentencing before Chief Judge Lisa Godbey Wood on October 9, 2014 at the United States District Court of Southern Georgia. Arnold received a sentence of 22 months behind bars and a fine of $168,000 for what many people close to the case believe is the result of a highly unethical investigation without merit.
Advised to not speak in his own defense at the trial, Arnold gave this statement at his Thursday morning sentencing, “I think it is very obvious how much I love this country. During my 20 years in the military, I was given missions and tasks that I did not agree with, but I did them. I do not agree with this guilty verdict, but I believe in this country. I will continue to do the same thing I have always done, and that is live with integrity. Preserving my reputation and my honor means more to me than it probably does to the average person. Now that I have lost my cherished Second Amendment rights, I have also lost the way I make my living. I must focus on protecting and providing for my wife and our little daughter…” Arnold choked up, unable to finish his statement.
As previously reported on BenSwann.com, Arnold’s charges included conversion (embezzlement,) manufacturing firearms, and illegally dealing firearms. According to multiple affidavits by other agents and witnesses, lead investigator Special Agent Wendell Palmer assembled no true elements of crime but broke multiple Air Force Policy Directives. Most damaging to Arnold’s case were the gross misrepresentations the witnesses say Palmer applied to their unsigned statements used during the trial. Palmer also confiscated personal firearms, records, and other property without providing a receipt. When his superior, Colonel Kristine Blackwell, was asked to intervene, she reportedly turned her back and laughed.
Alarmed by this “less than professional” investigation, many fellow agents and members of law enforcement interviewed by Palmer registered official complaints with the Air Force Inspector General (IG) before Arnold’s case went to trial. This information was not disclosed to the judge or the jury. It is unclear whether or not the IG has responded to the complaints of its OSI agents by opening an investigation of its own. One complaint stated, “I am extremely concerned for what I believe to be a misstatement of facts, improper evidence accounting procedures, and unsubstantiated allegations.”
Palmer declared to multiple witnesses during interviews that he believed Arnold was manufacturing fully automatic and silenced weapons and abusing the government credit card to do so. “I did not feel this information was correct, and felt it was inappropriate for Palmer to make such a statement during an ongoing investigation,” said a fellow agent. Another complainant said, “Upon reading Palmer’s documentation of my interview, I wish I had insisted on doing so (providing a written statement) as he took significant liberty with information I provided and did not account for important details I made sure to convey.” In simple terms, it appears Arnold was framed—but for a crime that didn’t exist.
A Congressional inquiry into this matter was originally requested through Rep. Jack Kingston’s (R-GA) office in 2011, but it was Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) who actually opened one this year.
Arnold has 30 days to report to the Bureau of Prisons and begin his sentence. Congress has 30 days to get something done about it.
WASHINGTON, October 6, 2014–Decorated Air Force veteran and firearms expert Timothy Arnold was convicted in the United States District Court of Southern Georgia on January 21 of manufacturing and dealing in firearms without a license, transporting illegally-acquired firearms to a state in which he did not reside, dealing firearms across state lines without a license, and theft of government property by conversion. The prosecution, led by Assistant United States Attorney Fred Kramer, claimed Arnold was running a “black market operation” while he was a well-known firearms instructor with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, Georgia. FLETC is part of the Department of Homeland Security and trains law enforcement officers for 91 federal agencies, including the U.S. Park Police and U.S. Marshals Service.
Arnold was employed as Chief of Firearms and Tactics for AFOSI while serving the last few years of his twenty-year career in the Air Force. Upon his retirement in 2009, the Air Force requested that he remain in his position in a civilian capacity and continue to perform all of his duties—tactical instruction, course development, equipment purchasing, and an extensive travel schedule. His activities and purchases were overseen and approved by his direct superiors on a monthly basis, as they had been for years. One thing that did change frequently, however, was the identity of his bosses. Turnover was routine and each department head arrived with very different ideas regarding the nature of their position. Arnold was known for having high expectations for his FLETC students and high standards for his training curriculum. Many witnesses in his trial testified that his training certainly saved lives during operations overseas. They said he was one of the best firearms instructors in the Air Force. Arnold prided himself on creating realistic scenes using costumes and props to simulate real-life scenarios that protective services agents might face in the field. His job required him to buy civilian equipment for those classes—and his superiors pressured him at the end of every fiscal year to spend all remaining funds of his operating budget, that sometimes totaled $120,000. This is common practice in federal agencies whose directors fear a surplus will cut their Congressional funding for future years.
Firearms were not just Arnold’s profession, they were also his lifelong hobby. His expertise garnered countless unsolicited requests from co-workers, members of law enforcement, friends, and family to assemble guns for them. Most of the time, he would advise them as to what parts they should order and then Arnold would assemble them into a working firearm—as a favor or for a trade. “The investigators were not able to find a trail of money from me profiting from my supposed firearms business,” Tim Arnold says, “Because I never made any money off of it. I never claimed to be a business or advertise. I did it for fun and as a favor to people in my life.” However, a jury in a civilian court found Arnold guilty of illegally manufacturing and dealing firearms. Of note, the legal definition of manufacturing implies objects are created from raw material. What Arnold did, and what many other gun enthusiasts in this country do, is actually firearms assembly, a legal endeavor. A few months before the AFOSI investigation into Arnold’s activities began, he was busy working on customizing an AR-15 platform rifle to replace the outdated MP-5 sub-machine guns that protective service officers currently use in the field. “Obtaining new parts to service those military weapons is nearly impossible,” Arnold says, “And a weapon with more maneuverability in tight quarters would reduce training time, as well as cost of replacement parts, saving the Air Force money.” Arnold’s prototype made its way to a training in New Jersey where it was mistaken for an illegal weapon. A review of the investigation itself reads like a comedy of errors, which makes Arnold’s conviction all the more surprising. Lead investigator Special Agent Wendell Palmer directly violated countless Air Force Policy Directives, including the interrogation of a subordinate as part of a criminal investigation, which is a conflict of interests; failing to read Arnold his rights during any of the interrogation sessions; ghostwriting statements from Arnold and all other witnesses; and failure to provide receipts for property, firearms, and records seized from Arnold, other witnesses, and even the Sig Sauer Academy in New Hampshire where Arnold worked as an adjunct instructor while on administrative leave.
Sig Sauer Academy Executive Director Adam Painchaud, also an AFOSI Special Agent, initiated a complaint against Palmer to the Air Force Office of Inspector General. Six witnesses signed separate affidavits detailing accounts of Palmer’s unethical conduct, including the Witness Statements riddled with errors, omissions, and misrepresentations that Palmer wrote himself. Several active OSI Agents offered to provide verbal testimony, afraid of the retaliation that a paper trail might bring. During the trial, Painchaud was slated to be the star witness for the defense. “I had the ability based on my firsthand, expert knowledge of the matters involved to dispute the charges against Arnold,” says Painchaud. Instead, he was prevented from testifying and Judge Lisa Godbey Wood threatened to charge him with contempt of court due to allegations from the prosecution that he inappropriately questioned another witness in the hallway outside the courtroom. “My testimony would have been instrumental,” Painchaud says, “The jury never got to hear it because I never got to testify. This is not how our system is supposed to work.” Painchaud was later cleared of the contempt allegations, as well as conduct unbecoming of an agent, after a separate investigation by AFOSI revealed his innocence.
“Uh oh, SpaghettiOs.” 23-year-old Gainesville, Georgia woman Ashley Gabrielle Huff was released from Hall County Jail on Thursday September 18 after residue, found on a spoon in a car in which she was a passenger, tested positive for SpaghettiOs, rather than crystal meth. According to Gainesville Times, she was arrested on July 2 by the Gainesville Police Department on felony meth possession charges when the encrusted spoon was found, as officers believed the dried spaghetti sauce to be residual meth particles. She maintained her innocence from the beginning, pointing out immediately that the spoon had been used for its intended purpose — eating food, rather than as drug paraphernalia.
Initially, Huff, who had never before faced felony or drug-related charges, was released from jail through a drug court program, but was reincarcerated on August 2 after she missed a scheduled appointment. She remained in jail for 47 more days, as she could not afford to post bond, before crime lab results confirmed her claim that the spoon residue was indeed spaghetti sauce, rather than meth. Prosecutors subsequently dropped the felony charges against Huff. Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh issued a dismissal notice, which said, “The Crime Lab report showed no controlled substances on the spoon submitted for testing.”
Chris van Rossom, a public defender who was assigned to Huff on Aug 11, told Gainesville Times, “From what I understand, she was a passenger in a car and had a spoon on her, near her, and I guess the officer, for whatever reason, thought there was some residue… She’s maintained all along that there’s no way in hell that’s any sort of drug residue or anything like that.” Van Rossom explained Huff’s side of the story, saying, “I think she said it had been SpaghettiOs.”
Prior to her release, Huff’s attorney had chosen to move forward with a plea bargain, despite her innocence, in an effort to get her out of jail as quickly as possible. In the article “The Case Against Plea Bargaining,” Timothy Lynch from The Cato Institute argued that plea bargains themselves encourage prosecutors to threaten defendants with terrifying charges in an effort to get them to waive their right to a trial, noting that over 90% of criminal cases are never tried before a jury. Huff’s attorney Chris van Rossom told Gainesville Times, “I think what the unfortunate part about her case is that she was probably willing to take the felony to close out her case so that she get out of jail, even though she always maintained innocence.” The lab results ultimately exonerated Huff in the nick of time, preventing her from potentially pleading guilty to a crime she did not commit.
Atlanta, Ga. – Gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment can cheer for Georgia as the state’s governor signs into law a bill that expands, not limits, gun rights.
The National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm called the bill “the most comprehensive pro-gun reform legislation introduced in recent state history.”
The bill widens the scope of public places where licensed gun owners are allowed to carry.
According to Fox News, changes to state law include allowing those with a license to carry a gun into a bar without restriction and into some government buildings that don’t have certain security measures. It also allows religious leaders to decide whether it’s OK for a person with a carry license to bring a gun into their place of worship.
Under the bill, school districts would now be able, if they wanted, to allow some employees to carry a firearm under certain conditions. The bill also eliminates the fingerprinting requirement for renewing weapons carry licenses.
Does this bill fully restore 2nd Amendment rights to it’s citizens? No.
But recently, Gun rights activists have been losing pro-gun legislation in Republican controlled states like Tenn. (see here) and in S.C. (see here).
It’s refreshing to see the momentum moving in the right direction in Georgia. There is more work to be done in Georgia. Hopefully, S.C. and Tenn. will follow Georgia’s example but with the current legislators in power that’s not going to happen.
Still the question at hand is this: Why should we ask the government’s permission to exercise a right we already have?
Why do I need to pay the state so I can carry a firearm to protect myself and my family?
The simple truth is state regulations on firearms are unconstitutional.
Americans must remain vigilant on this issue because powerful people want to take gun ownership away. People like retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
Recently, Stevens argued for a 5-word change to the Second Amendment: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms – when serving in the Militia – shall not be infringed,” adding the middle section.
People like Stevens are a direct threat to our freedom. But I have 4-words for Stevens: “Come and Take It!”
Don’t expect Americans to hand over their guns without a fight!
ATLANTA, March 18, 2014- Establishment Republicans joined democrats Monday in an effort to destroy a bill that would have placed a massive thorn in the President’s healthcare law from within the state of Georgia.
“That eleventh hour betrayal effectively killed the bill, but it could still be brought back to life by amendment of companion legislation,” said HB707 chief sponsor Representative Jason Spencer. “I will identify the Republican Benedict Arnolds, the King George the Third and his myrmidons who ship wrecked my path breaking, patriotic bill (HB707) to prevent the federal Leviathan from commandeering the machinery of state government or resources to enforce ill-conceived federal health insurance mandates. A patriot saves his country from his government. HB707 would have been the first occasion in a century to draw a constitutional line against state complicity in endless federal encroachments.”
Republican senators Staton, Chance, B. Miller, F. Millar, J. Murphy and Renee Unterman all voted along with Democrats to table the bill in the Senate, which effectively killed it at that moment.
Georgia, having a Republican super-majority, illustrates a prime example of Republican legislators using campaign rhetoric against Obamacare to win reelection, but refusing to actually legally stop the federal healthcare mandate when given the chance.
UPDATE: Legislators attached the previously dead bill as an amendment to an unrelated piece of legislation as a last effort to pass it through to the Governor. The maneuver succeeded and the legislation will now move to the governor for signature. However, the legislation is now grossly watered down.
If you live in Savannah, Georgia and want to rent out your home, get ready to pay a fine!
45 cease-and-desist notices were sent to the city’s residents who posted their homes on various vacation rental websites like AirBNB and VRBO. Such sites allow homeowners to rent their entire house, or just one room, to tourists for short periods of time.
Savannah resident Mark DeWitt was threatened with a $1,000 fine after he listed his home on a vacation rental website. City officials told the man he was subject to the fine because his property is not zoned for inns or B&Bs. DeWitt, however, thinks he should not be subject to the same guidelines as traditional hotels and B&Bs since he does not serve breakfast or advertise his “business” with signage.
After going to court to protest the fine, a judge ruled against DeWitt. The Savannah resident said, “We’ve appealed the judge’s decision. We were the first ones the city really went after.” He thinks the city should encourage vacation rentals as a way to add value to residential neighborhoods, many of which are currently ridden with foreclosures and abandoned homes.
DeWitt said, “I bought a house on 41st Street for $34,900, I put $70,000 in it and now it’s worth $175,000. From an investment standpoint, I really feel that it’s going to encourage investors to buy these homes that are distressed and improve them if it was allowed.”
Savannah officials have considered collecting taxes from short-term rental property owners. But as of right now, it is unclear how a happy medium will be reached between the city and homeowners like DeWitt. Many continue to assert that there is nothing wrong with renting out rooms to tourists in order to make some extra money.
ATLANTA, Mar. 4, 2014 – Yesterday, the Georgia state House of Representatives passed a bill which bans the state from participating in significant portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). House Bill 707 (HB707), introduced by Rep. Jason Spencer, pushes back against the ACA in five ways. It passed the house in a late-night vote of 115-59.
According to Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin, “While Georgia can’t fully stop Obamacare on its own, it can serve as a pretty major roadblock to implementation,” he said. “And as more states get on board with this strategy, it will pull the rug out from under it. Bills like this will end Obamacare from the bottom up.”
1. Prohibits any state agencies, departments or political subdivisions from using resources or spending funds to advocate for the expansion of Medicaid. This provision works hand-in-hand with HB990 to make it more difficult to expand Medicaid. HB990 would require legislative approval for expansion of the program, barring the governor from doing it by executive order.
2. Prohibits the state of Georgia from running an insurance exchange.
3. Refuses and federal grant money for the purpose of creating or running a state insurance exchange.
5. Prohibits the Commissioner of Insurance from investigating or enforcing any alleged violation of federal health insurance requirements mandated by Obamacare.
These provisions creates impediments to the implementation and execution of Obamacare in Georgia. We have seen the difficulties created by the number of states simply refusing to set up exchanges. The ACA was predicated on state cooperation. By refusing to help, passage of the bill puts the federal government in an almost impossible position. It never intended to run the healthcare system alone, and ultimately, it can’t do it without state help.
Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed recently, when pointing out that if a number of states were to refuse to participate with the ACA in a wholesale fashion, that multi-state action would “gut Obamacare.”
The provision prohibiting the Georgia insurance commissioner from investigating or enforcing violations of federally mandated health insurance requirements will prove particularly problematic for the feds.
Insurance commissioners serve as the enforcement arm for insurance regulation in the states. The federal government has no enforcement arm. It assumed the state insurance commissioners would enforce all of the provisions of the ACA. So, when people have issues with their mandated coverage, they will have to call the feds.
At this point, it remains unclear who they will even call. Issues the Georgia insurance commissioner will not address include prohibiting a denial of insurance for preexisting conditions, requiring dependent coverage for children up to age 26, and proscribing lifetime or yearly dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits.
“Disputes over these mandates arise under federal, not state law,” HB707 sponsor Rep. Jason Spencer said. “The federal Department of Health and Human Services can be expected to seek to commandeer the machinery of Georgia’s commissioner of insurance to enforce them or to investigate alleged violations because at present there is no federal health insurance agency and Congress is not likely to create one given the substantial opposition to Obamacare.
Under HB707, the feds won’t be able to do that. They’ll have to figure out how to do it themselves.
This provision stands on solid legal ground under the anti-commandeering doctrine. It rests primarily on four SCOTUS cases: Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), New York v. US (1992), Printz v. US (1997) and National Federation of Businesses v. Sebelius. (2012) The Printz case serves the cornerstone. Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia asserted that commandeering is incompatible would the constitutional system.
“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”
Leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will be going after President Obama because they believe that he has not done enough for minorities with regards to his judicial nominations. They claim that many of the president’s nominees promote policies that are racist.
The CBC lawmakers also assert that Obama has not made a significant effort to promote black judicial leadership on Capital Hill. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said there is an “appalling lack of African American representation” among Obama’s nominees.
According to the White House, 18 percent of Obama’s confirmed judges have been African American — this figure is relatively high compared to past presidents. 8 percent of George W. Bush’s confirmed judges were African American; Clinton’s rate was 16 percent.
But the CBC is not satisfied.
The Hill reported, “The president’s relationship with black lawmakers on Capitol Hill is more complicated that it sometimes appears. While the CBC’s underlying support for Obama has been unwavering, many have also expressed disappointment that he hasn’t fought harder for the liberal policy priorities that propelled him twice into the White House.”
The CBC is most upset about Obama’s nominations in Southern States like Florida and Georgia.
The group is particularly concerned about Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs, whom Obama named for the federal bench last month. While Boggs was a state legislator several years ago, he voted to keep the Confederate symbol on the Georgia state flag. Many in the CBC think that symbol is anti-black and represents hate.
Obama’s only African American judicial pick in Georgia was DeKalb County State Court Judge Eleanor Louise Ross. She “has raised the Democrats’ eyebrows for a different reason.” Rep. John Lewis of the CBC said of Ross, “I understand she’s a Republican.”
Lewis said Obama should have considered other black women for nominations in Georgia. He said, “Black women in Georgia hold a higher [voting] percentage than any group – higher than white women, higher than white men, higher than black men. And there’s a lot of Democratic [black] women – members of the bar – that are very, very good. And they should have been taken into consideration.”
The CBC plans to publicly express sharp disapproval of Obama’s appointments soon.
We will keep you up-to-date on this situation as news breaks.
NASHVILLE, Janurary 15, 2014– Tennessee state lawmakers are pushing a new piece of legislation, which if passed, will gut the implementation of Obamacare in the state.
Sen. Mae Beavers (R – Mt. Juliet) and Rep.Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) announced Monday that they will sponsor bills to resist implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Tennessee. Based on similar legislation already introduced in Georgia (HB707) and model legislation drafted by the Tenth Amendment Center, SB1680 and its House companion bill would prohibit any cooperation by the state or its agencies in implementing or administering the federal health care program.
From the bill:
“No powers, assets, employees, agents or contractors of the state, including any institution under control of the University of Tennessee or the Tennessee board of regents, or any political subdivision, municipality or other local government entity shall be used to assist in implementing the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, or any subsequent federal amendment to such act…”
Tenth Amendment Center national communication director Mike Maharrey says.
“The federal government has no constitutional authority to create or run a national health care system. On top of that, why would you want them to? Why would you want a monopoly on healthcare, any more than you would want a monopoly on grocery sales? Especially a monopoly run by an entity as incompetent as the federal government,” he said. “We know the feds counted on the states to do the heavy lifting. We know the number of states refusing to create exchanges created problems. If enough states simply say, ‘No,’ this monstrosity will collapse under its own weight.”
South Carolina legislators spoke Monday at a rally in support of their own Obamacare nullification legislation. The crowd swelled to more than 400 in the cold rain. Senators Tom Davis and Lee Bright spoke alongside Matt Kibbe (President of DC think-tank, Freedom Works) and Rep. Bill Chumley.
The Tennessee bill will effectively nullify Obamacare.
“This action, especially in conjunction with similar steps being taken in other states, has the effect of nullifying ObamaCare,” he said. “If the feds cannot even build an appropriate website or keep their promises to consumers, they will be extremely hard-pressed to implement the other provisions for this program within our boundaries,” said Pody.
Georgia, South Carolina and now Tennessee are among the many states taking new measures to block the federal healthcare law.
State Representative Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) will hold a press conference on next Monday, December 16th, in the south wing of the Georgia Capitol building. Representative Spencer and several other legislators will meet to discuss two bills that will be introduced in the upcoming 2014 legislative season.
“The bill’s main thrust is to prohibit state agencies, officers and employees of the state from implementing any provisions of the Affordable Care Act, leaving implementation entirely in the hands of the federal government, which lacks the resources or personnel to carry out the programs it mandates,” said Rep. Spencer.
The bill’s bite is rooted is anti-commandeering doctrine. This doctrine, which has been well established by the United States Supreme Court (Printz v. United States), dictates that the federal government cannot force state legislatures to enforce federal laws.
According to Justice Scalia’s majority opinion in Printz v. United States, state legislatures are not subject to federal direction. Although Congress may enforce its own laws, they may not force the states to carry out their duties in such laws. According to the Court, the Constitution establishes a system of dual sovereignty where states and the federal government exercise concurrent authority. Giving Congress the power to force states in to service would greatly enhance federal power, and the Court ruled this could not stand.
“Also, we will be asking the Attorney General or a special appointed counsel to file a lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of Georgia in federal court to overturn NFIB vs. Sibelius (Obamacare),” said Rep. Spencer.
The recent surge of nullification around the country can be attributed to the Tenth Amendment Center, which is a national think-tank focused on keeping the federal government in check. The think tank has been pushing states to nullify unconstitutional federal gun laws, the NSA and Obamacare.
Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) national communications director Mike Maharrey suggested that a large-scale effort would be coming in 2014. “Kudos goes out to all the people in South Carolina who have worked the past year to get things this far. And kudos to Jason Spencer for stepping up to support their effort. Our contacts here at the Center tell us to expect at least ten other states considering similar legislation in 2014, but it’s going to require people getting on the phone with their state reps and senators to make that happen.”
This story will be updated with a copy of the legislation once it has been provided.
The MLB announced last Tuesday that the Braves will soon be moving from downtown Atlanta in Fulton County to an area close to Marietta in Cobb County. The announcement came shortly after the Cobb County Commission voted 4-1 to approve the Memorandum of Understanding that called for approximately $300 million in taxpayer funds to be used to construct the $672 million stadium. Not only will taxpayers be on the hook for constructing the stadium but they will also be on the hook for covering half of the stadium’s capital maintenance expenses.
So why should anyone be upset, especially if the the development is going to support more than 5,200 jobs with a payroll of over $235 million?
“Sadly, I’ve come to realize that not everyone readily makes this connection. Far too many of us have become desensitized and accustomed to, or are simply OK with stealing (or having government steal on our behalf) from others as long as it’s for something we like or benefits us.” Gregory goes on to say, “Classical political theorist and free-market economist Frederic Bastiat refers to the phenomenon as “legal plunder” — when a group of politically connected individuals use the force of government to commit theft from the masses in the name of the so-called “greater good,” or what he calls “false philanthropy.””
Gregory finishes his article by stating that he is ok with private development of Braves’ stadium in Cobb County as long as taxpayer money is not used. “If private developers want to risk their own money and resources seeking greater profits, fantastic! If individuals chip-in voluntarily, that’s great too! But, if this venture won’t stand on its own in a free market, it’s immoral and a violation of the public trust and of natural law to force taxpayers to pay for it.”
Georgia State Rep. Charles Gregory lives in Marietta and his website can be found here.
To read a free version of Frederic Bastiat’s famous book “The Law”, click here.
Photographs recently started circulating of a page from a textbook that students in Denton, Texas are suppose to use for advanced placement examination in US History. The controversy around the book is its summation of the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights. It should be noted that all 10 amendments are summarized in the text. However, the summary of the other nine amendments does not change their meaning as it does with the Second Amendment.
Upon interpretation of this version of the Second Amendment one would certainly deduce that an individual only has a right to keep and bear arms in if they are in a state militia. The summary also leaves out the most crucial words of the Second Amendment– Shall Not Be Infringed.
Hundreds of individuals have taken to the book’s amazon page in fury. Comments read:
–WARNING: DON’T BUY THIS BOOK! It contains so called “history” that is inaccurate and untrue. Please ask that Amazon remove it
–This book is complete propaganda that is not based in fact.
–The next edition will probably wipe out the Constitution of the US entirely and replace it with Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. I imagine the progressive college professors are giddy with excitement knowing that their agenda is sanctified by the Dept of Ed and spoon fed to young, impressionable minds.
–This text book should stay on the shelves and rot. Don’t even consider buying it to educate your children if you’re interested in historical facts.
One wonders how students can be placed in advanced classes when actually learning incorrect material. According to Jason Howerton with The Blaze, parents in the district are furious. Howerton reached out to the Denton Independent School District regarding the text book and received the following statement from Director of Communications and Community Relations Sharon Cox:
“The main history book that is utilized in the Advanced Placement U.S. History class for juniors in Denton ISD is titled: American Pageant. This is a history book that has had a strong reputation for historical facts for many years. The American Pageant, the official textbook, gives the exact Bill of Rights.”
Cox goes on to ensure that the material is only supplemental and not approved for the classroom. The book is also used in Washington, Georgia, California and possibly others.