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Michele Bachmann, Steve King Take Amnesty Fight to the Border

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., left, and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. (Alex Wong/ Getty Images; Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Steve King of Iowa have been spending time at the southern border to highlight their opposition to the president’s decision to unilaterally grant temporary amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

According to CNN, the two arrived in Texas the day after the president announced his plans, using the destination to highlight their protest of his action.

This is the second trip the two lawmakers have taken to the area. While they did not see any illegal border crossings this time, the first time they visited in July, they took video footage of a pregnant woman crossing the river.

“It just occurred to me,” King said, according to CNN. “The pregnant mother who was put off on the side here, she surely had the baby. That little baby is an American citizen. Last night Barack Obama gave that little baby’s mother amnesty. She now has amnesty.

“Lawless, unconstitutional amnesty.”

CNN pointed out, however, that Obama’s plans to grant amnesty to the parents of American-born children would only apply to immigrants who had been in the country for a minimum of five years, meaning the woman would not qualify.

Bachmann and King are pushing for Congress to pass a resolution of disapproval of the president’s order, followed by a vote to censure him.

They also want to pass a spending bill that would prevent funding for his plan, a strategy that has been floated as an option by GOP leaders in the House and the Senate.

King hasn’t ruled out impeachment, either.

“Let’s hope that we never have to answer that question,” King told CNN. “Let’s hope that we can do the most reasonable things that we can do first.”

King has proposed a three-tiered fence system spanning the entire length of the 2,000-mile border as a way of stopping the national’s illegal immigration problem. He personally designed a drawing of a concrete fence system.

“I constructed that fence on the floor of the House,” he said, showing CNN the mock-up. “It’s kicking around on YouTube.”

Critics have said that the border-length fence King proposes would be expensive and almost impossible to build, according to CNN. But King referred to the building of the Great Wall of China, constructed to protect against invasion, which cost the lives of thousands of Chinese workers in the building process.

“There were plenty of …… the rest of the story.

By Melanie Batley

Police in California and Texas Test Networked Guns


A chip that tracks how a police officer’s gun is being used could prove useful in investigations and court cases.

When a police officer draws a firearm he or she often doesn’t have an opportunity to radio for backup.

YardArm, a California-based company, is building technology that will automatically alert headquarters in such situations. The company makes a chip that goes into the handle of a regular firearm and transmits data over a cell-phone network connection. The data transmitted includes the location of a gun and whether it has been unholstered or discharged. The company is also working to track the direction in which a gun is pointing. The data can be fed to a police dispatch system or viewed on a smartphone.

Founded in 2013, YardArm started out making a consumer product for monitoring a firearm’s location. But since many American gun owners object to technology or policies aimed at regulating firearms, it did not find many customers.

“You have a social demand for smart gun technology, but not necessarily a market demand,” says Jim Schaff, YardArm’s vice president of marketing. “As a consumer product, it’s going to be a long road.”

Gun owners didn’t flock to YardArm, but law enforcement remained interested. Technology that tracks officers’ action is slowly gaining acceptance as police chiefs and officers realize that the data can help clear them of wrongdoing and save litigation costs. Meanwhile, it is becoming increasingly common for many ordinary objects and devices to come with Internet connectivity.

The gun industry is gradually taking notice of these trends. The gunmaker Beretta already offers the i-Protect, a sensor that goes on the front of the gun and captures data on the weapon’s use. Meanwhile Taser, which makes a gun that delivers a nonlethal electric shock, also sells head-worn cameras to help police and security workers document events in the field.

“Dash-cams really set precedent,” Schaff says. “When it comes down to it, monitoring technology helps more than it hurts.”

YardArm is holding tests to hone the ……… more here.

By Caleb Garling

Police in California and Texas Test Networked Guns


Police in California and Texas are testing networked weapons with technology from YardArm

YardArm is working with several police agencies in California and Texas, testing a mobile network-connected technology that sends signals when an officer unholsters and fires their weapon. The company originally developed a consumer technology that could monitor a weapon’s location – but didn’t find many interested customers. Instead, the company revamped and wanted to develop new solutions that could be used for potential police and military use.
“You have a social demand for smart gun technology, but not necessarily a market demand,” said Jim Schaff, VP of marketing at YardArm. “As a consumer product, it’s going to be a long road.”


Smith County GOP backs plan to oppose Straus as House Speaker

 Photo: Smith County GOP facebook page 

Local representatives who plan to oppose Texas House Speaker Joe Straus received the backing of county GOP leaders.


A resolution supporting Straus’ opponent, sophomore Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, was unanimously approved by about 20 Smith County Republican precinct chairmen during a meeting earlier this week. The resolution praised Turner’s conservative credentials and scolded Straus for veering a Republican-dominated House to the left.


Republican party officials in Collin and Dallas counties also have approved similar resolutions supporting Turner.


Smith County Republican Party Chairman Tim McCormick said the resolution’s subsequent votes by legislators against Straus could be detrimental to East Texas. He acknowledged the possibility of political retribution if momentum for Turner does not build.


But McCormick said county-level conservatives are drawing a concerted line in the sand following a “Democratic shellacking” during the November statewide and national elections. He said voters around the state expect the new lineup of Republican state leaders to use their political capital and numbers to push a conservative agenda.


“Conservatives don’t feel like their voices are being heard in a way that’s reflective of who they’ve put in office,” McCormick said.


McCormick said conservative groups across the state are asking local party officials to pass similar resolutions.


Straus’ office did not respond to requests for comment regarding the Speaker’s race.


Southern Methodist University political science professor Cal Jillson said there is “no question” Straus will retain his post.


Whether local House members are personally opposed to Straus or feel pressure from the conservative activist wing of the local GOP base, Jillson said dissenters won’t have a voice on leadership decisions or the ear of Straus to possibly influence legislative movements.


Texas House Speakers yield enormous power. They set the agenda for members during the Session. They assign committees and all important chairman positions on those committees, who can ease a bill’s movement or prevent it from reaching a floor vote.


Local legislators “may feel they are charged to represent their district but (opposing Straus) does mean they won’t be on the inside,” Jillson said. “They’ll be the ones with their noses pressed against the glass watching.”


Jillson said he expects opposition numbers to boil down to around a dozen as they did prior to Straus’ re-election by acclamation before the 2013 session began. He suspects Straus has more than enough pledge cards, pledges of support from members made after the last session, in his desk drawer to remain at the House’s helm.


Before the 2013 session began, Straus released a pledge list of more than 120 members. He needs just half of the 150 members’ support to stay Speaker.


Straus replaced conservative House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, in 2009 by parlaying 11 outsider Republicans members’ unhappiness and 64 House Democrats into a successful coup against a powerful Speaker in Craddick.


East Texas legislators have been eager to ride waves of public discontent aimed at Straus since. Straus is viewed as a moderate and his reliance on Democrats fuels conservative suspicions.


Former District 6 Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, challenged Straus before the 2011 session but dropped out of the race and put his support behind a more likely candidate. Berman objected to the traditional vote for Speaker by acclamation and forced members to show where they stood with a roll call vote.


Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, briefly campaigned against Straus in 2013. Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, challenged Straus after Hughes dropped his candidacy but withdrew before a vote.


Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, Berman’s successor, has vocally supported Turner as he did Hughes and Simpson. He said Turner better reflects the conservative principles of District 6 and that he respects the sophomore legislator’s leadership abilities.


Schaefer said the race for Speaker is good for conversation’s sake if nothing else. It educates the public about a powerful position that a majority of House members choose.


But he also believes a tide of county-level activism and public urging support for Turner, could change the race’s dynamics.


Turner has promised to call for a roll vote as Berman did, which puts members’ support on record.


Schaefer said he believes Straus will work with members who vote against him.


“I believe he respects people’s votes,” he said. “He always tells me to vote my district and that is what I will do.”


Smith County Republican Club President David Stein said retribution is possible but that the support for a speaker candidate who aligns more ideologically with East Texas is a matter of principle.


The Smith County resolution was “a little sharper” than other counties, Stein said. It goes beyond support for Turner and criticizes Straus for colluding with Democrats.


The resolution points to Straus’ …………read more.



BY Adam Russell,

As Straus penetrates red zone, not all of the defense plays nasty

(AP Photo/Odessa American, Edyta Blaszczyk)

Another day, another press release cranking up the Joe Straus bandwagon.

Late Wednesday, seven Texas House Republicans said the incumbent GOP speaker from San Antonio is nifty-keeno.

Their press release was the fifth in sixth days dribbling out names of Republican members who say they’ll vote for Straus to helm the House again in next year’s session.

“Most importantly, under his leadership, the House has produced conservative results that are good for this state,” said the seven, six of them from West Texas.

It was unsurprising the seven endorsed Straus. Last session, three were committee chairmen, three were on Appropriations and one was on Calendars.

Forty-two Republicans have inked their names to the five pro-Straus releases. Of 98 Republicans who will adorn the House next year, I easily can identify 18 more all but certain to stick with Straus over his challenger, freshman Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco. That would put Straus at 60 votes in his own caucus by Jan. 13, when the Legislature opens — and the House chooses a speaker.


Speaker candidate Scott Turner of Frisco, speaking to RedState gathering in Fort Worth in August, probably is short of the votes he needs to oust incumbent Speaker Joe Straus.

With effort, I can throw in a half-dozen more, but not the 16 he’d need to have 76 Republicans — a majority of the House’s 150 members. But no matter. If Straus maintains his past attractiveness to Democrats, who have 52 votes in the affair, the race is over. As many analysts have predicted for months, Straus wins.

In press accounts of the race, especially those of our friends at the online political news outlet Quorum Report, there’s a tendency to depict it in almost Manichean terms of good and evil, nice versus nasty.

In this narrative, Straus, the personally low-key scion of the Texas Republican establishment, is fending off savage attacks orchestrated by fiscal hawk activist Michael Quinn Sullivan and his patron, Midland oilman Tim Dunn. The “Dunn interlocking directorates,” as QR editor Harvey Kronberg put it this week, include staff writers for the Dunn-backed website. Peruse their posts, and you may agree with Straus loyalists that these finger-wagging bloggers cry out for adult supervision.

On Tuesday, Rep. Matt Krause, a Fort Worth Republican backing Turner, took to Facebook in a widely noted post. In effect, he told his side to cool it. Krause said he was told some pro-Turner activists had taken to social media to harass family members of pro-Straus House members.

Manichean worldview confirmed. Or so it seemed.

Yet this version of the speaker’s race is a little too pat, especially if you talk to some tea party adherents who don’t foam at the mouth. Yes, they exaggerate the speaker’s powers. True, they paint with too broad a brush when they say Straus killed of all of their pet bills in the past three sessions. Conceivably, they’ll regret someday that their party-purification efforts imported Washington-style, partisan strife to Austin.

Ken Emanuelson, second from right, joins leaders of two groups of gay Republicans as they denounce the Texas GOP for denying the groups exhibit-hall space at its May convention in Fort Worth.

But don’t assume they’re all seized with hatred. Ken Emanuelson, a tea party activist in Dallas, doesn’t fit the bill. Emanuelson, who calls himself a populist conservative, said Wednesday that he simply cannot get past how Straus deposed Republican Speaker Tom Craddick in 2009 and what’s happened since. That keeps him fired up to promote Turner’s candidacy, he said. Emanuelson, founder of the Grassroots Texans Network, noted approvingly that on Monday night, the Dallas County GOP executive committee voted, 34-24, in favor of a resolution backing Turner for speaker. He quickly emailed it to reporters. He also has mounted an online petition drive calling for Straus’ ouster.

“This is really about the way that the Texas House of Representatives essentially is a coalition government between the Democrats and a group of Republicans,” he said.

Some have dismissed Emanuelson as racist, for remarks he made last year about how the GOP was wasting its time on outreach to blacks. See this Texas Tribuneaccount of the flap.

But I and some other reporters have found him to be a straight-shooting, rather intriguing figure — not afraid to ruffle feathers as he marches to his own “liberty-minded” drummer. This spring, as my colleague Gromer Jeffers Jr. reported in this story, Emanuelson joined leaders of two groups of gay Republicans in demanding they be given exhibit hall space at the state GOP convention. Emanuelson didn’t salute their agenda. He just stood up for their right to air their views and stretch the party tent a bit wider. (The groups were rebuffed.)

Emanuelson complains that Team Straus has deep-sixed “sanctuary city” bills, which would bar cities from prohibiting police from asking people they stop about their immigration status, and legislation tightening requirements on employers of immigrants. He said he’s frustrated that bills giving tax credits for private schools haven’t gotten more traction.

“We don’t expect to win every floor battle but those bills should get a hearing,” he said.

Another explanation may be that his side found lousy sponsors and didn’t work hard enough to sell the measures.

It should be noted, though, that while Emanuelson likes to say that Straus has too much……read more.


By Robert T. Garrett

Dismay rises as border agent hiring bogs down

Brad Doherty 

(U. S. Customs and Border Protection Officer, Robert Zuniga, a member of the color guard stood at attention during the presentation of the colors, Wednesday Sept. 17,2014. A National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration was held at the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Brownsville. 

A massive security breach and failure rates on polygraph tests are slowing down the hiring of 2,000 new Customs and Border Protection agents, sowing frustration among lawmakers and business owners who were expecting quicker results.

Most of the new hires — the largest single batch in the agency’s history — are slated for jobs helping legal trade and commerce pass smoothly through the nation’s airports and ports of entry, where the costs of delay are measured in millions of dollars.

A security breach last summer, when hackers broke into the computers of a company performing background checks for the Department of Homeland Security, was the first wrench in the works.

“I asked them at that time if there was going to be a delay,” said U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who was briefed on the breach last summer. “They basically said, ‘We’ll hire some, but we are not going to be able to move as fast as possible.’”

Homeland security officials had to find other contractors to replace United States Investigations Services when its contract was canceled.

A congressional staffer not authorized to speak on the record said that DHS recently awarded another contract, and now has three vendors for background checks.

But the number of applicants failing polygraph tests during the vetting process, the staffer said, is also slowing hiring.

Cuellar said he’s heard from the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents customs officers, that polygraph tests are slowing things down, but said the wait is worth it. Calls to the union were not returned.

“I’ve told them we have to do the polygraphs. We have to make sure the backgrounds are good on these people,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure that we don’t cut any corners and pay for it at a later time.”

The delays are adding to growing frustration among merchants who want their goods to travel quickly, and local officials who often have to take up the slack.

In March lawmakers announced that some of the additional agents will be assigned to the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston airports, and ports of entry in Laredo, El Paso, Hidalgo, Pharr, Fabens, Brownsville, Eagle Pass and Progreso. Cuellar’s Laredo district is home to the busiest inland port in the country.

Last year, DHS signed off on a pilot project allowing local governments and private funders to pay for additional CBP staffing at the country’s busiest ports themselves. The public-private partnership, which seems to be working, was seen as a local, but temporary, solution.

“The consequences of the delay is that communities like El Paso will continue to foot the bill,” said U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso.

More than $100 million in economic output is lost for… more.



EDITORIAL: Mexico’s Peña Nieto must confront lawlessness


For decades, Mexico has been characterized as mired in corruption, and the stain of lawlessness has indeed run deep. But recent events have underscored anew how Mexico — despite genuine signs of economic and political progress — remains a state lacking the rule of law. A new low point is the disappearance of dozens of students from a teachers college, and much will depend on whether the government responds effectively.

Conflict among drug cartels dominated the six-year term of President Felipe Calderón, who threw the military into the battle at great cost but did not uproot the cartels. His successor, Enrique Peña Nieto, came to office in December 2012 with a different emphasis, seeking to kick-start a series of bold economic reforms. Peña Nieto rightly won admiration for his determination to open Mexico’s energy sector to competition, to tackle the troubled education system and to limit monopolization in telecommunications and other sectors. His first two years in power have been promising.

But the scourge of violence has risen again in a way that cannot be ignored and that imperils the reform agenda. Late one September night, in the town of Iguala in the poor, rural state of Guerrero, buses carrying the students were attacked by police. One student and six other people were killed. Forty-three students were captured and turned over to an organized-crime gang, Guerreros Unidos. They are feared dead. According to the Mexican authorities, the mayor of the town ordered the violent onslaught. The mayor, now detained, reportedly ordered the attack out of fear the students were going to interrupt a speech by his wife.

Protests have erupted across the country. Peña Nieto’s government did not respond with alacrity. The president was silent for days, and then his attorney general, exhausted, carelessly dismissed repetitive questions about the case at a news conference, saying he was “tired” or “fed up.” Those words have now become the signature slogan of the demonstrators; people are fed up with business as usual. Peña Nieto went ahead with plans to travel to Asia while the country was in an uproar, which did not help matters.

Peña Nieto cannot ……read more.

This editorial appeared in the Washington Post.

Greg Abbott plans to sue Barack Obama over immigration order

Photo: Jay Janner

Gov.-elect Greg Abbott said Monday that President Barack Obama violated the U.S. Constitution with a directive that could shield 5 million immigrants from deportation and that he expects to file a lawsuit in coming weeks, amplifying Texas as a vanguard in the growing chorus of conservative states opposing Obama’s use of executive power.

Abbott, still acting as the state’s attorney general, has not yet filed a legal challenge but said “odds are in favor that a lawsuit will be filed.” He said his office is still researching its case against the Obama administration. The announcement of a Texas lawsuit, aimed at forcing a Supreme Court decision on Obama’s reliance on executive power to circumvent Republican blockades in Congress, is expected in the next two weeks, Abbott said.

“I think it’s extremely important to emphasize that I am addressing this as a legal issue, not a political issue,” Abbott said. “The president has crossed the line from politics to endangering the constitutional structure.”

It doesn’t matter where you come down on the immigration issue,” he said. “Most everyone agrees that the immigration system in America is broken. Similarly, most everyone agrees that executive fiat is not the right way to fix it. The president must follow the laws just like everyone else.”

Abbott characterized the looming challenge as one that will define the scope and limitations of presidential powers after Obama, invoking…..more here.

J. David McSwane

American-Statesman Staff

State Rep. Kleinschmidt leaving House for Ag Dept


State Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt is leaving the Texas House to become general counsel of the state Department of Agriculture.

The Austin American Statesman reports ( ) that the Lexington Republican will report directly to Agriculture Commissioner-elect Sid Miller.

Miller is a former Texas House Republican himself, and said Friday he tapped Kleinschmidt because of his experience as a property rights attorney and rancher.

Kleinschmidt has….read more.

Information from: Austin American-Statesman,

Congress must fix the problems President Obama’s executive amnesty plan creates.

Photo: Infowars

Americans defeated President Obama’s disastrous amnesty plans both in Congressand at the voting booth. Tonight, President Obama defied an entire nation and declared that he will impose his rejected amnesty through the brute force of executive order.

President Obama’s executive amnesty will provide an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants with the exact benefits Congress rejected, in violation of federal law. His order will grant them social security numbers, government-issued ID’s, legal status and work permits. Illegal immigrants will now be able to take jobs and benefits directly from struggling Americans in a time of high unemployment and low wages. They will be able to take jobs from Americans in all occupations, ranging from truck drivers to power company workers to jobs with city government. Many illegal immigrants will also be able to obtain green cards and become permanent residents, allowing them access to almost all federal programs, to receive citizenship and sponsor foreign relatives to join them in the U.S.

In addition to providing formal amnesty benefits for 5 million illegal immigrants, President Obama has also eliminated virtually all enforcement with respect to the other nearly 7 million illegal immigrantsin the United States. As the president’s own former ICE Director, John Sandweg said: “if you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.”

All you have to do is get into the country from anywhere on globe — whether through the border or by overstaying a visa — and you are free to remain, take jobs and receive benefits. This year alone, the White House has released into the United States more than 100,000 illegal immigrants who simply showed up at the border and demanded entry.

And now, with a single pen stroke, President Obama is obliterating what little remains of Americans’ immigration protections. Not only will millions of low-wage illegal immigrants rush into the labor market, but they will collect billions in taxpayer dollars as well. These costly government benefits range from child tax credits, to public housing to the likelihood that amnestied immigrants will rely on taxpayers for medical and retirement benefits.

Only a short time ago, President Obama himself admitted this action would be illegal and unconstitutional: “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own” he explained, adding “that’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.” President Obama also said that: “The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”

Apparently, America now has its first emperor.

And he has issued an imperial order to dissolve America’s borders. Millions more will enter and demand the same amnesty benefits as those who came before. The entire moral foundation and consistency of our laws will have been eviscerated. Law enforcement officials have repeatedly warned that the president’s new amnesty will unleash a “tidal wave” of illegal immigration. The impact on our jobs, wages, hospitals, schools, police departments and neighborhoods will be crushing.

A second hammer blow will be dealt by the president’s unilateral increase in foreign worker programs for large corporations, including technology corporations. Currently,two-thirds of all new jobs in the IT industry are being filled by foreign workers — and yet the president wants to dramatically surge foreign worker admissions even further. This at a time when the Census Bureau tells us more than 11 million Americanswith science, technology, engineering and math degrees don’t have jobs in those fields.

President Obama is auctioning off America’s middle class to the highest bidders.

Immigration already stands at record levels and is rising quickly. Between 2000 and 2014 — a period during which the government issued nearly 30 million lawful visas to foreign workers and permanent immigrants — all net employment gains among the working-age went to imported labor. Now the president is planning to unilaterally increase immigration even further — all to……read more.

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