Saturday, June 17, 2017

Oregon Senate Votes To Allow Dementia Patients To Be Starved To Death!

Technocracy.News ^ | June 16, 2017 | CLAIRE CHRETIEN 

A bill allowing the starvation and dehydration of dementia and mentally ill patients against their will passed the Oregon Senate 17-13 on June 8.

SB494 would remove safeguards in Oregon law that protect the right of patients to receive food and water as part of basic treatment. It would give healthcare representatives power to potentially coerce doctors into starving patients against their will.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

How will Texas continue to pay for its highways?

The Housont Chronicle ^ | May 23, 2017 | Kyle Shelton, via The Urban Edge 

Texas is a highway state. This reality stems from the need to meet the mobility demands of both sprawling metropolitan regions and vast rural areas.
Paying for the state's massive system of highways has always been a challenge, however. Estimates from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) put the state's highway expansion and maintenance needs alone at nearly $383 billion by 2040. Existing public funding, projected to be $70 billion over the next decade, will not be able to cover that cost without unprecedented funding increases after 2026.
While Texans are clearly amenable to paying for better roads — two recent state referendums added $2 billion annually to state highway funds — voters and politicians alike have balked at the idea of new toll roads and the public-private partnerships that are often used to facilitate their formation. The recent referenda, for example, explicitly said the new monies would only support projects on free highways.
This trend continued in early May, when the Texas House rejected a bill that would have allowed TxDOT to use public-private partnerships to fund several highway projects. Sixteen such partnerships had been approved under an existing bill set to expire in August. The rejected bill would have allowed an additional six projects to use them and extended the deadline for new projects into the next decade.
The rejection of the bill does not remove the possibility of such partnerships; they can still be approved as standalone projects, but it does make the process more onerous.
And the rejection of the bill at a moment when the federal government has made it clear that public-private partnerships will be a major part of transportation funding in the near term raises concerns that Texas might not be ready to take advantage of new priorities.
Public-private toll roads are not new in Texas, and that's part of the issue. While several public-private projects, such as Dallas's LBJ Expressway and the North Tarrant Express, have been completed and touted as successes, others, such as Highway 130 between Austin and San Antonio, have been massive failures. This mixed success, along with complaints that toll roads represent an inequitable tax on lower-income commuters and put rural areas at a disadvantage, have complicated advancing public-private partnerships in the state.
Since many of Texas' public-private projects revolve around the construction of managed toll lanes aimed at easing congestion in major urban areas, it is worth asking what the vote means for metropolitan mobility. Will the state's lack of a consistent policy on these partnerships prevent Texas metros from improving their mobility systems?
Most likely not, but it does make that effort more complicated.
The public-private option still exists, and several projects are under construction. Additional public-private agreements could be pursued through individual legislative bills, but they would have to be politically palatable and done on a one-off basis. Texas's biannual legislative session also means their approval will take longer. Public toll authorities at the state and county level can still undertake toll projects without these agreements. And TxDOT will also continue to work in the absence of them, but these last two options each stretch the state's transportation funds even thinner.
The debate, though, also presents urban areas with the chance to evaluate how they approach metropolitan transportation on the whole. Perhaps the lack of a clear approach to public-private partnerships and toll road construction can push the state and its urban areas to be even more creative with their existing and planned infrastructure investments. If massive new highways are not financially feasible, and given that the congestion benefits of large highway projects are nearly nonexistent, the more effective use of current infrastructure could be a response.
Public transit authorities like METRO in Houston and DART in Dallas already have expansive suburban park-and-ride systems and express bus systems, and they are working to improve service within their respective territories. Building connections between major activity nodes — connecting people to jobs and amenities — could be a huge boon for overall accessibility. These could also likely be pursued on existing infrastructure.
Strategic transit public-private partnerships could help agencies take on major capital projects or embrace new technologies.
States and municipalities could also reevaluate their approaches to land use and development to encourage denser communities, even in suburban areas. Such shifts could be tailored to encourage a range of transportation modes and help reduce the need for massive highway investments in the future.
Public-private partnerships are clearly an approach to infrastructure development that are here to stay. But their use shouldn't preclude other options, and they are not a panacea to infrastructure woes or financial limitations. Using public-private partnerships strategically and carefully is a must.
And Texas still has the opportunity to do that, despite the recent vote.
Kyle Shelton is a postdoctoral fellow at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University. This article originally appeared in The Avenue, the blog of the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program and was reposted on the Kinder Institute's blog, The Urban Edge.

Will Inland congressional districts swing Democratic in 2018? Not according to experts (Calif.)

The Redlands Daily Facts ^ | June 17, 2017 | Jeff Horseman, The Press-Enterprise 

To talk about the 2018 elections is to hear of a possible Donald Trump backlash carrying Democrats to a House of Representatives majority.
While Democrats hope that blue wave washes over Republican districts in Orange County, it’s not yet forecast to reach the Inland Empire, even though the traditionally Republican region has turned purple.
“In a remote scenario, we’d have to be talking about a tsunami,” said David Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which studies and handicaps congressional races.
With Trump’s popularity at record lows and the party outside the White House typically gaining seats in mid-term elections, Democrats are hopeful they can pick up the 24 seats they need to command the House.
A launching pad toward that goal is Orange County, where four GOP incumbents — Darrell Issa of Vista, Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa, Ed Royce of Fullerton and Mimi Walters of Irvine — represent districts carried by Hillary Clinton in November as she became the first Democrat to win OC since Franklin Roosevelt.
“They are swimming in shark-filled waters with lifejackets made of roast beef,” said Jack Pitney, a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College.
The county, which has gotten more diverse in recent years, has lots of college-educated, upper-income Republicans who tend to be less supportive of Trump than working-class whites. Trump’s win gave rise to the grassroots “Indivisible” movement, and House members in safe GOP districts have faced angry crowds at town halls.
Swing Left, which seeks to help Democrats win the House, has identified 64 swing districts nationwide, including those in OC. In May, POLITICO reported that for the first time, the western regional office of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee moved from Washington, D.C., to Irvine.
The Cook report and other political prognosticators have the OC districts on their 2018 watch lists. But right now, they expect Republicans Ken Calvert of Corona and Paul Cook of Yucca Valley to win re-election.
California’s 50th congressional district, which includes most of Temecula and is represented by Alpine Republican Duncan Hunter, also is seen as likely to stay red. But with Hunter facing a criminal probe into his campaign finances, the DCCC put him on its 2018 target list.
At first glance, the Inland Empire would seem swing-worthy. Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in Riverside County, where Democrats have won several competitive races since 2012.
Clinton won Riverside and San Bernardino counties, but Trump beat Clinton by 12 percentage points in Calvert’s 42nd Congressional District. A congressman for more than 20 years, Calvert, who had almost $652,000 in campaign cash as of March, represents a district with GOP strongholds in Murrieta and Temecula.
“Although he had some close calls earlier in his career, Calvert should be in good shape for 2018,” Pitney said.
“Nobody is absolutely unbeatable, of course. A catastrophic downturn in the economy would hurt all GOP incumbents. But it would take something very big to put (Calvert’s) district into play.”
Redistricting in 2011 helped Calvert by moving Democrat-friendly Riverside into a district represented by Democrat Mark Takano, Wasserman said.
“The Democratic vote in Calvert’s district depends heavily on Latinos,” he added. “Latinos simply don’t turn out at high rates in mid-term elections.”
Obama and Clinton fared about the same in Calvert’s district, suggesting “it isn’t an area that actually moved all that much toward Democrats in 2016, unlike some other parts of California,” said Geoffrey Skelley, associate editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, another political forecaster.
Other California districts are more attractive for Democrats, said Skelley and Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of Inside Elections.
“Both parties love to talk about challenging in districts everywhere, but once the reality of limited resources sets in, strategists must look for the most critical races to invest time and money,” Gonzales said.
“Calvert’s district could become more competitive in the years ahead,” Gonzales said. “But Democrats are focused on at least a half-dozen GOP incumbents in more favorable districts before focusing on longer-shot opportunities.”
In an emailed statement, Calvert said: “I don’t spend much time worrying about how competitive my next election is going to be. I just do what I’ve always promised I’d do — grow our economy and create jobs, fix our roads and highways, keep Americans safe, and improve our broken health care and immigration systems. Those will continue to be my priorities regardless of how next year’s election shapes up.
“On the other hand, we’re seeing that Democrats here in California and in Congress are on an epic crusade to take hard-earned money from Americans and give government more control over our lives. Democrats are raising taxes on working class families who drive to work and take their kids to school. Democrats want to impose massive taxes to force Californians onto government-run healthcare whether they like it or not.”
On the Republican side, Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-La Quinta, is on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s 2018 target list. But unlike 2014, Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Redlands, is not.
The NRCC appears to be targeting districts where the Democratic voter registration advantage is less than 10 percent, said Rob Pyers of the California Target Book. “From a practical standpoint, though, it’s difficult to envision any of the districts on the NRCC’s wish list flipping,” he said.
Predictions of Calvert’s re-election aren’t deterring protesters who visit his Corona office and picket his events. Activists recently held an illuminated “Replace Ken Calvert” sign over the 91 Freeway.
Julia Peacock has spoken at Calvert protests. A Democrat from a community outside Corona who teaches high school in Perris, she is running against Calvert next year.
The November election “kind of changed the idea of what politics look like — look at the Indivisible marches … people have turned from voters into activists,” Peacock said. “I think that’s really done a lot to change the conversation that we’re having about districts being so red we can’t do anything about them.”
Trump’s unpopularity and voter disapproval of Republican health care legislation stands to turn disgruntled Republicans and independent voters against the GOP, Peacock added.
At this point, the Inland swing districts appear to be at the state Assembly level.
In California’s 40th Assembly District, which covers part of San Bernardino County, Rancho Cucamonga Republican Marc Steinorth beat a well-funded Democrat last November by fewer than 2,000 votes.
There’s also the 60th Assembly District in northwest Riverside County, where Democrat Sabrina Cervantes of Riverside will run for re-election for the first time next year. Having beaten a Republican incumbent in 2016, Cervantes could be targeted for her swing vote in favor of a transportation bill that raises California’s gas tax by 12 cents a gallon.
“If the (Republican) focus turns to flipping two Assembly seats to reverse the (Democratic) supermajority, Cervantes will almost certainly be at the top of any target list,” Pyers said.

A Good Week for Good Guys with Guns! ^ | June 17, 2017 | Jeff Crouere 

Despite the horrible news of the week, including the killing of two prison guards in Georgia and the attempted assassination of Republican congressmen in Arlington, VA, on Wednesday it was a good week for good guys with guns.
Donnie Rowe and James Dubose are accused of killing two prison guards early Tuesday morning as they were being transferred between detention facilities southeast of Atlanta. After their escape, they spent two days on the run until they were spotted by Tennessee state troopers.
In the ensuing chase, Rowe and Dubose crashed their car and fled into the woods adjacent to Interstate 24. Eventually, they came upon a residence in the small community of Christiana, TN and attempted to steal the homeowner’s vehicle.
Unfortunately for these accused murderers, the homeowner noticed that two people were trying to snatch his automobile. In fact, this homeowner was the worst nightmare for Rowe and Dubose. He was armed and unafraid to brandish his weapon. The homeowner, along with some timely help from a neighbor, held the pair under citizens’ arrest until the local sheriff’s department arrived to apprehend them.
This was just one of the many daily incidents of “good guys” with guns stopping criminals from committing additional crimes. On Wednesday, as Republican congressmen were practicing for their annual baseball game against the Democrats, lunatic leftist James Hodgkinson entered the baseball field in Arlington, VA and fired up to 60 shots from a high-powered rifle and a handgun, attempting to assassinate as many of the GOP elected officials as possible.
Hodgkinson was a volunteer in the presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). He had a long history of posting hateful messages about Republicans and President Donald Trump on social media. He belonged to online groups such as “Terminate the Republican Party” and vowed to “destroy Trump.” He was a fan of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and other leftist media personalities. Sadly, his hatred toward Republicans reached a boiling point on Wednesday morning as he attempted to assassinate as many as three dozen GOP congressmen.
Fortunately, one of his targets, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) is a member of the GOP leadership and was protected by two gun toting Capitol Police officers. These brave law enforcement officials engaged the gunman for ten minutes, eventually subduing him and eliminating the threat. While five innocent people were wounded and several of them, such as Congressman Scalise, are still suffering from serious wounds, the carnage would have been much worse if the armed officers were not there.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was at the baseball practice and praised the “incredibly brave” response of the Capitol Police who “probably saved the lives of everybody there.” According to Paul, “had they not been there, it would have been a massacre.”
Sadly, despite the seriousness of the injuries to Scalise and others, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) wasted no time in trying to turn this tragedy to his political advantage. Regrettably, McAuliffe barged onto the scene in the aftermath of the shooting talking about gun control, advocating “background checks, shutting down gun show loopholes.” He did not even know or care about the specifics of this case, only that it was a good opportunity for him to promote the gun control agenda.
It would have been better for McAuliffe to spend some more time reflecting on the issue and preparing his remarks for he laughably blurted out that “we lose 93 million Americans a day to gun violence.” He even repeated this nonsense at the impromptu press conference before eventually realizing that he meant to say “93 people” a day are lost to gun violence, not “93 million Americans.”
The real lesson of both tragedies is not that we should implement more gun control and please liberals like McAuliffe, but that our leaders should encourage the expansion of gun ownership in America. Thankfully, in our country, unlike the United Kingdom and France, our police carry firearms. We are also fortunate to have enshrined in the U.S. Constitution the Second Amendment, guaranteeing our right to bear arms, providing the most comprehensive guns rights of any nation in the world.
While liberals lament our “gun culture,” the real story of the week is that guns, in the hands of the right people, save lives. The more people who become trained in the use of firearms and purchase them for personal or home defense, the more likely it will be for unhinged gunmen like Hodgkinson or prisoners on the loose, like Rowe and Dubose, to encounter law abiding Americans who will stop the bloodshed. This will result in the lives of more innocent Americans being saved and more dangerous criminals meeting the fate they deserve.

Texas Enacts ‘Anti-Sharia’ Law!

Breitbart ^ | 6-17-2017 | Merrill Hope 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 45, more commonly known as “American Laws for American Courts,” or ALAC. It prohibits the use of any foreign law in the state’s courts, specifically in family cases that involve marriage or parent-child relationship matters.
One of the bill’s co-authors Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano) thanked the governor, who signed HB 45 on Wednesday. Leach called the law “vitally important bill to further safeguard and protect our Constitutional rights!” In the last legislative session, Leach authored the comparable yet unsuccessful ALAC measure, House Bill 562.

HB 45 lead author Representative Dan Flynn (R-Canton) also introduced similar past legislation that failed. In a recent press release, Flynn noted foreign law is often applied in Texas cases concerning divorce orders, child support, property settlements and sometime even, spouses enter into agreements to have foreign law applied to their disputes.

“My colleagues and I here at the Texas Legislature want to make sure Texas judges never apply foreign law in Texas courts in violation of constitutional rights and the public policy of our state,” said Flynn.
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Shareholder: CNN Acting Like Part Of ‘Anti-Trump Resistance’!

Breitbart ^ | 6-17-2017 | Tony Lee 

A Time Warner shareholder accused CNN of acting like it was the part the “resistance” movement against President Donald Trump.
“I’m inquiring about CNN’s bias and our return on investment,” shareholder David Almasi reportedly told Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes during Thursday’s annual shareholders meeting. “Half the American public—which includes potential and current CNN viewers—voted for Trump last November and supports his agenda. CNN acts as if it is part of the anti-Trump resistance.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, “about half of the 300 people” at the annual shareholders meeting “applauded” Almasi while “several others later approached” him to “thank him for his questions.”
Almasi reportedly “cited data from the Media Research Center indicating that among the CNN panelists dissecting the May 9 firing of FBI director James Comey, 96 were anti-Trump and seven were pro-Trump.”
Time Warner is CNN’s parent company, and Bewkes also defended Time Warner’s support of the Trump assassination play being staged by The Public Theatre in New York.
Bewkes reportedly said “we’re certainly not going to drop our support” when asked by a shareholder how the company could support the play after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot.
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Barack Obama: “The US Must Give Up Some of Its Freedoms to the UN” (what a fool)

Sources News ^ | 6/12/2017 

Former President Barack Obama in Montreal this week warned the world against income inequality and the concentration of wealth, all while pulling down $7,700 per minute at his $400,000 speech. Obama’s first post-presidency address on Canadian soil was loaded with anti-Trump, anti-capitalism and anti-American rhetoric. Big surprise there.
Obama said that the concentration of wealth fans fears that governments exist solely to benefit the powerful, NBC reported and noted that Obama is now “striving to be an international community organizer.” He said the U.S. and other nations showed there was a better way “in creating an international order that was based not just on self-interest but also on principles.
But urging the US and other nations to give up their sovereignty to a global order is nothing new for this guy –
Fact is, what people like Obama and Hillary want is a One World government. If you don’t believe me, just listen to what the president told world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in November:
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Mueller faces ‘unique hurdles’ if he wants to press obstruction case against Trump!

WashingtonTimes ^ | 15 June 2017 | Print By Andrea Noble, Dan Boylan, Guy Taylor 

Special counsel Robert Mueller could have a tough time making an obstruction of justice case stick against President Trump, according to legal analysts, who said he will have to overcome a number of “unique hurdles” — not the least of which is a decades-old Justice Department ruling that a sitting president can’t be charged.

Analysts say it will be up to Mr. Mueller to decide whether to accept the long-standing opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel, which ruled in 1973 and again in 2000 that a president has immunity from criminal prosecution.

It’s also not clear that FBI investigations count as “proceedings” that could be obstructed under one of the legal statutes that might be cited in an obstruction case, according to a legal memo prepared last month by the Congressional Research Service.
“Courts have not reached consensus on whether an FBI investigation meets this standard,” the report says of ...
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