Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma’

Wheat’s reign as the king crop has been challenged among U.S. farmers

August 28, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An odd thing has happened in wheat country — a lot of farmers aren’t planting wheat.

Thanks to a global grain glut that has caused prices and profits to plunge, this year farmers planted the fewest acres of wheat since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began keeping records nearly a century ago.

Instead of planting the crop that gave the wheat belt its identity, many farmers are opting this year for crops that might be less iconic but are suddenly in demand, such as chickpeas and lentils, used in hummus and healthy snacks.

“People have gone crazy with chickpeas. It’s unbelievable how many acres there are,” said Kirk Hansen, who farms 350 acres (142 hectares) south of Spokane in eastern Washington, where wheat’s reign as the king crop has been challenged.

American farmers still plant wheat over a vast landscape that stretches from the southern Plains of Oklahoma and Texas north through Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas as well as dry regions of Washington and Oregon. However, this year’s crop of 45.7 million acres (18.49 million hectares) is the smallest since 1919.

North Dakota harvested wheat acres are down 15 percent, Montana 11 percent and Nebraska 23 percent, to the state’s lowest winter wheat acres on record.

Fewer farmers planted wheat after a 2016 crop that was the least profitable in at least 30 years, said grain market analyst Todd Hultman, of Omaha, Nebraska-based agriculture market data provider DTN.

Many farmers took notice of a surging demand for crops driven by consumer purchases of healthy high-protein food.

“The world wants more protein and wheat is not the high-protein choice and so that’s where your use of those other things come into play and are doing better,” Hultman said. “Up north around North Dakota you will see more alternative things like sunflowers, lentils and chickpeas.”

How long the new trend will continue is unknown. While some farmers will likely switch back to wheat when profitability returns, others may keep planting the alternatives because demand is expected to remain strong, keeping prices at attractive levels.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, acres planted in chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are at 603,000 (244,030 hectares) this year, up nearly 86 percent from last year.

North Dakota more than tripled chickpea acres planted to 44,100 (17,847 hectares) and Montana increased acres 150 percent to 247,000 (99,960 million hectares). Nebraska increased chickpea acres 79 percent to 5,200 acres (2,104 hectares).

The USDA says lentils reached a U.S. record high 1.02 million acres (0.41 million hectares) planted this year.

A farmer in southwest North Dakota, for example, could expect to earn $105 an acre on small chickpeas and around $89 an acre planting lentils this year, according to data compiled by North Dakota State University. The same farmer would lose $21 an acre on winter wheat and $4 an acre on spring wheat.

Wheat profitability has fallen precipitously.

In Illinois, wheat fell from more than $7.13 a bushel in 2012 to $4.30 this year, while for the same period land costs rose 10 percent.

Lentils are increasingly used in cereals, energy bars, chips and pasta as a way to boost protein and fiber content. General Mills now offers Cheerios Protein, which includes lentils, and Barilla Protein Plus pasta contains flour from lentils and chickpeas as an ingredient.

About 20 percent of U.S. consumers now say they eat at least one meatless meal daily and get their protein instead from plant-based sources, said Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights at Technomic, a Chicago-based market research firm that tracks food trends.

“We’ve been able to maintain a strong demand for these crops, which is why farmers in that northern Plains and Washington and Idaho area continuing to grow them and increase their acreage,” said Tim McGreevy, an eastern Washington farmer.

High-protein snacks that were once found primarily in health food stores are now available in typical grocery stores.

Hummus is a good example. Made from chickpeas, the dip and sandwich spread was considered an exotic Middle Eastern food just a few years ago but is now found in more than a quarter of U.S. households. Hummus sales have grown to $700 million to $800 million in recent years from $10 million in the late 1990s.

USDA reports show other crops have been pushed to record planting this year by changing consumer tastes including canola and hops.

Canola, used for frying and baking and as an ingredient in salad dressings and margarine, was planted on 2.16 million acres (0.87 million hectares) this year, 22 percent higher than the previous record set in 2015, the USDA said.

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Lawsuit: Trafficking scheme lured Filipinos to Oklahoma

July 28, 2017
The ACLU and other groups have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Oklahoma business owners engaged in a human trafficking scheme that lured workers from the Philippines promising good wages, but instead used them as cheap labor. Google Maps

OKLAHOMA CITY — Owners of an Oklahoma hotel and other businesses engaged in a human trafficking scheme that lured workers from the Philippines promising good wages but instead paid them less than the minimum wage, according to a lawsuit.

Three Filipino workers brought to Clinton, Oklahoma, about 80 miles (128 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City, paid thousands of dollars in recruiting fees to cover visa-related costs that should be incurred by sponsoring U.S. employers, according to the complaint filed Wednesday in federal court. The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, says the immigrants were threatened with physical harm when they complained that their compensation didn’t meet contractual obligations. It also seeks class-action status.

Walter and Carolyn Schumacher, who are married and own a Holiday Inn Express, a steakhouse and a waterpark in Clinton, deny the allegations, their attorney said Thursday. “Mr. and Mrs. Schumacher are heartsick about these allegations,” Kevin Donelson said.

He said he believes the allegations will be proven false once the case is resolved.

An FBI spokeswoman and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman said they were not aware of the case, but would not be able to comment on whether an investigation is underway. A U.S. Department of Labor spokesman said he was not aware of an investigation into the case.

Donelson said neither he nor the Schumachers have been contacted by any federal agency or prosecutor about an investigation.

Nonprofit law firm the Equal Justice Center and employee rights group Legal Aid at Work joined the ACLU of Oklahoma in filing the lawsuit. It seeks an unspecified amount in punitive and compensatory damages for the workers because it alleges they were paid less than their contract allows and less than the federal minimum wage.

The lawsuit contends that from 2008-14, the Schumachers’ companies applied to the federal Department of Labor to employ more than 100 foreign workers.

It alleges that workers recruited for housekeeping jobs at the hotel were paid $4.25 per room cleaned. Servers at the steakhouse made $2 per hour plus tips, and housekeepers and servers at the waterpark made $1 to $2 per hour less than promised. Low pay and short workweeks meant the immigrants couldn’t repay debts they incurred just to get to the U.S., the lawsuit says.

One plaintiff worked at the hotel, one at both the hotel and the steakhouse, and one at the waterpark, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Walter Schumacher intimidated employees by saying he was carrying a gun when he picked them up from the airport. The filing also claims that although the Schumachers promised they would pay for roundtrip airfare to and from the Philippines, Walter Schumacher said the only way he would send anyone back was “in a box.”

Donelson said the Schumachers deny “the substance of the allegations and what took place.”

Brady Henderson, an ACLU lawyer, said the public often thinks of human trafficking in the form of sex work.

“It has a lot more elements of indentured servitude or slavery than they realize,” Henderson said. “Most people probably don’t realize how prevalent it is, potentially in their own communities.”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in June there are 20 million victims of human trafficking around the world.

___

Follow Adam Kealoha Causey on Twitter at https://twitter.com/akcausey and Ken Miller at http://twitter.com/kenmiller7.

___

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http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/28/1722354/lawsuit-trafficking-scheme-lured-filipinos-oklahoma

Trump weighs mobilizing National Guard for immigration roundups (White House Denied This Report — DHS confirms it is 100% false)

February 17, 2017

Trump weighs mobilizing Nat Guard for immigration roundups

The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

Four states that border on Mexico are included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the AP report was “100 percent not sure” and “irresponsible.” ”There is no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants,” he said.

Governors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general.

While National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.

The memo is addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would serve as guidance to implement the wide-ranging executive order on immigration and border security that President Donald Trump signed Jan. 25. Such memos are routinely issued to supplement executive orders.

Also dated Jan. 25, the draft memo says participating troops would be authorized “to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States.” It describes how the troops would be activated under a revived state-federal partnership program, and states that personnel would be authorized to conduct searches and identify and arrest any unauthorized immigrants.

Requests to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security for comment and a status report on the proposal were not answered.

The draft document has circulated among DHS staff over the last two weeks. As recently as Friday, staffers in several different offices reported discussions were underway.

If implemented, the impact could be significant. Nearly one-half of the 11.1 million people residing in the U.S. without authorization live in the 11 states, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on 2014 Census data.

Use of National Guard troops would greatly increase the number of immigrants targeted in one of Trump’s executive orders last month, which expanded the definition of who could be considered a criminal and therefore a potential target for deportation. That order also allows immigration agents to prioritize removing anyone who has “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”

Under current rules, even if the proposal is implemented, there would not be immediate mass deportations. Those with existing deportation orders could be sent back to their countries of origin without additional court proceedings. But deportation orders generally would be needed for most other unauthorized immigrants.

The troops would not be nationalized, remaining under state control.

Spokespeople for the governors of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico said they were unaware of the proposal, and either declined to comment or said it was premature to discuss whether they would participate. The other three states did not immediately respond to the AP.

The proposal would extend the federal-local partnership program that President Barack Obama’s administration began scaling back in 2012 to address complaints that it promoted racial profiling.

The 287(g) program, which Trump included in his immigration executive order, gives local police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers the authority to assist in the detection of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally as a regular part of their law enforcement duties on the streets and in jails.

The draft memo also mentions other items included in Trump’s executive order, including the hiring of an additional 5,000 border agents, which needs financing from Congress, and his campaign promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

The signed order contained no mention of the possible use of state National Guard troops.

According to the draft memo, the militarization effort would be proactive, specifically empowering Guard troops to solely carry out immigration enforcement, not as an add-on the way local law enforcement is used in the program.

Allowing Guard troops to operate inside non-border states also would go far beyond past deployments.

In addition to responding to natural or man-made disasters or for military protection of the population or critical infrastructure, state Guard forces have been used to assist with immigration-related tasks on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the construction of fences.

In the mid-2000s, President George W. Bush twice deployed Guard troops on the border to focus on non-law enforcement duties to help augment the Border Patrol as it bolstered its ranks. And in 2010, then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced a border security plan that included Guard reconnaissance, aerial patrolling and military exercises.

In July 2014, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to the border when the surge of migrant children fleeing violence in Central America overwhelmed U.S. officials responsible for their care. The Guard troops’ stated role on the border at the time was to provide extra sets of eyes but not make arrests.

Bush initiated the federal 287(g) program — named for a section of a 1996 immigration law — to allow specially trained local law enforcement officials to participate in immigration enforcement on the streets and check whether people held in local jails were in the country illegally. ICE trained and certified roughly 1,600 officers to carry out those checks from 2006 to 2015.

The memo describes the program as a “highly successful force multiplier” that identified more than 402,000 “removable aliens.”

But federal watchdogs were critical of how DHS ran the program, saying it was poorly supervised and provided insufficient training to officers, including on civil rights law. Obama phased out all the arrest power agreements in 2013 to instead focus on deporting recent border crossers and immigrants in the country illegally who posed a safety or national security threat.

Trump’s immigration strategy emerges as detentions at the nation’s southern border are down significantly from levels seen in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Last year, the arrest tally was the fifth-lowest since 1972. Deportations of people living in the U.S. illegally also increased under the Obama administration, though Republicans criticized Obama for setting prosecution guidelines that spared some groups from the threat of deportation, including those brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Last week, ICE officers arrested more than 680 people around the country in what Kelly said were routine, targeted operations; advocates called the actions stepped-up enforcement under Trump.

___

The AP National Investigative Team can be reached at investigate@ap.org

Follow Garance Burke on Twitter at @garanceburke

******************************************

– The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

Four states that border on Mexico are included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four —  Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the AP report was “100 percent not sure” and “irresponsible.” “There is no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants,” he said.

Governors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general.

While National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.

The memo is addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would serve as guidance to implement the wide-ranging executive order on immigration and border security that President Donald Trump signed Jan. 25. Such memos are routinely issued to supplement executive orders.

Also dated Jan. 25, the draft memo says participating troops would be authorized “to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States.” It describes how the troops would be activated under a revived state-federal partnership program, and states that personnel would be authorized to conduct searches and identify and arrest any unauthorized immigrants.

Requests to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security for comment and a status report on the proposal were not answered.

The draft document has circulated among DHS staff over the last two weeks. As recently as Friday, staffers in several different offices reported discussions were underway.

If implemented, the impact could be significant. Nearly one-half of the 11.1 million people residing in the U.S. without authorization live in the 11 states, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on 2014 Census data.

Use of National Guard troops would greatly increase the number of immigrants targeted in one of Trump’s executive orders last month, which expanded the definition of who could be considered a criminal and therefore a potential target for deportation. That order also allows immigration agents to prioritize removing anyone who has “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”

Under current rules, even if the proposal is implemented, there would not be immediate mass deportations. Those with existing deportation orders could be sent back to their countries of origin without additional court proceedings. But deportation orders generally would be needed for most other unauthorized immigrants.

The troops would not be nationalized, remaining under state control.

Spokespeople for the governors of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico said they were unaware of the proposal, and either declined to comment or said it was premature to discuss whether they would participate. The other three states did not immediately respond to the AP.

The proposal would extend the federal-local partnership program that President Barack Obama’s administration began scaling back in 2012 to address complaints that it promoted racial profiling.

The 287(g) program, which Trump included in his immigration executive order, gives local police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers the authority to assist in the detection of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally as a regular part of their law enforcement duties on the streets and in jails.

The draft memo also mentions other items included in Trump’s executive order, including the hiring of an additional 5,000 border agents, which needs financing from Congress, and his campaign promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

The signed order contained no mention of the possible use of state National Guard troops.

According to the draft memo, the militarization effort would be proactive, specifically empowering Guard troops to solely carry out immigration enforcement, not as an add-on the way local law enforcement is used in the program.

Allowing Guard troops to operate inside non-border states also would go far beyond past deployments.

In addition to responding to natural or man-made disasters or for military protection of the population or critical infrastructure, state Guard forces have been used to assist with immigration-related tasks on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the construction of fences.

In the mid-2000s, President George W. Bush twice deployed Guard troops on the border to focus on non-law enforcement duties to help augment the Border Patrol as it bolstered its ranks. And in 2010, then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced a border security plan that included Guard reconnaissance, aerial patrolling and military exercises.

In July 2014, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to the border when the surge of migrant children fleeing violence in Central America overwhelmed U.S. officials responsible for their care. The Guard troops’ stated role on the border at the time was to provide extra sets of eyes but not make arrests.

Bush initiated the federal 287(g) program — named for a section of a 1996 immigration law — to allow specially trained local law enforcement officials to participate in immigration enforcement on the streets and check whether people held in local jails were in the country illegally. ICE trained and certified roughly 1,600 officers to carry out those checks from 2006 to 2015.

The memo describes the program as a “highly successful force multiplier” that identified more than 402,000 “removable aliens.”

But federal watchdogs were critical of how DHS ran the program, saying it was poorly supervised and provided insufficient training to officers, including on civil rights law. Obama phased out all the arrest power agreements in 2013 to instead focus on deporting recent border crossers and immigrants in the country illegally who posed a safety or national security threat.

Trump’s immigration strategy emerges as detentions at the nation’s southern border are down significantly from levels seen in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Last year, the arrest tally was the fifth-lowest since 1972. Deportations of people living in the U.S. illegally also increased under the Obama administration, though Republicans criticized Obama for setting prosecution guidelines that spared some groups from the threat of deportation, including those brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Last week, ICE officers arrested more than 680 people around the country in what Kelly said were routine, targeted operations; advocates called the actions stepped-up enforcement under Trump.

Charlotte: police chose not to enforce a curfew, protests diminish early on Friday as family views video

September 23, 2016
Charlotte, September 22, 2016. Getty Images by Sean Rayford
.
By Andy Sullivan and Robert MacMillan
Reuters

Largely peaceful protests dwindled early on Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina, as police chose not to enforce a curfew prompted by two nights of riots that engulfed the city after a black man was shot to death by a police officer.

A crowd of hundreds gathered, chanted and marched for a third successive night in the state’s largest city, demanding justice for Keith Scott, 43, who was shot dead by a black police officer in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Tuesday afternoon.

Police fired tear gas and non-lethal projectiles to break up crowds blocking traffic on a highway. National Guard troops backed up a robust police presence in the town center, helping to restrain protesters chanting “Whose streets? Our streets,” as helicopters circled overhead.

The Charlotte Police Department said on Twitter that two officers were treated after they were sprayed with a chemical agent by demonstrators and that no civilians were injured on Thursday.

Despite the brief outbursts, the demonstrations were calmer than those on the previous two nights. Rioters had smashed storefront windows, looted businesses and thrown objects at police, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency and the city’s mayor to enact a curfew.

A protester shot on Wednesday died on Thursday, nine people were injured, and 44 were arrested in riots on Wednesday and Thursday morning.

Read more:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-police-idUSKCN11R1GS

Related:

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Protesters and police in Charlotte confronted each other for a third evening, on Thursday night, in a roaming demonstration as the family of police shooting victim Keith Scott said it still had “more questions than answers” after privately viewing footage of his killing.

Police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of hundreds on the John Belk freeway, where they had blocked traffic. The clash led the mayor, Jennifer Roberts, to declare a midnight curfew – a step she had declined to take earlier in the day.

As the evening began, a small crowd of people – nothing like the crowds of Wednesday night – gathered in Charlotte’s Uptown neighborhood. Their main rallying cry was “release the tapes,” a reference to police video of Scott’s death on Tuesday, shot by officers in the parking lot of the apartment complex where he lived on the east side of town.

Meanwhile, Scott’s family was shown in private two police body camera videos of the officer shooting him dead.

Justin Bamberg, an attorney for the family, said in the statement: “While police did give him several commands, he did not aggressively approach them or raise his hands at members of law enforcement at any time.

“It is impossible to discern from the videos what, if anything, Mr Scott is holding in his hands,” the statement said, adding that Scott’s hands were by his sides and he was slowly walking backward.

Read more main article from The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/23/charlotte-protests-curfew-keith-scott-family-view-footage-of-killing

 

Third night of protests in Charlotte largely peaceful as police face calls to release video of shooting

September 23, 2016

Fox News

Protesters flocked to Charlotte for a third straight night Thursday in the latest sign of mounting pressure for police to release video that might resolve the different accounts of the shooting death of a black man.

There were contentious moments between demonstrators and police, but it was a far cry from the looting and destruction that was seen Wednesday night. Local officers’ ranks were augmented by members of the National Guard carrying rifles and guarding office buildings against the threat of property damage.

People chanted “release the tape” and “we want the tape” while briefly blocking an intersection near Bank of America headquarters and later climbing the steps in front of the city government center. Later, several dozen demonstrators climbed onto an interstate highway through the city, but they were pushed back by police in riot gear.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have resisted the calls to release dashcam and body camera footage of the death of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott earlier this week. His family was shown the footage Thursday and demanded that police release it to the public. The family’s lawyer said he couldn’t definitively tell whether Scott was holding a gun.

 

A masked protester walks in the streets downtown during another night of protests over the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File” that the decision to release the video was not up to him, but added “I think [releasing the footage] is probably the better option right now.”

Putney said that local police were no longer leading the investigation into Tuesday’s shooting and the decision to release the footage rested with the State Bureau of Investigation.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts signed documents Thursday night for the citywide curfew that runs from midnight to 6 a.m. But demonstrators continued to march after the curfew took effect, and Police Capt. Mike Campagna told reporters that officers wouldn’t seek to move curfew violators off the street as long as they were peaceful. The demonstrators’ ranks appeared to thin from their peak of several hundred as the early morning arrived.

Scores of rioters Wednesday night attacked reporters and others, set fires and smashed windows of hotels, office buildings and restaurants in the city’s bustling downtown section. The NASCAR Hall of Fame was among the places damaged.

Forty-four people were arrested after Wednesday’s protests, and one protester who was shot died at the hospital Thursday; city officials said police did not shoot the man and no arrests have been made in 26-year-old Justin Carr’s death.

There were no reports of arrests Thursday night. Police said only two officers were hurt after they were sprayed with a chemical agent by demonstrators.

Police have said that Scott was shot to death Tuesday by a black officer after he disregarded loud, repeated warnings to drop his gun. Neighbors, though, have said he was holding only a book. The police chief said a gun was found next to the dead man, and there was no book.

Putney acknowledged on “The Kelly File” that the video “is not the most definitive piece of evidence we would have hoped for,” but added “there is a lot of other evidence that gives us a great deal of support and comfort.”

Justin Bamberg, an attorney for Scott’s family, watched the video with the slain man’s relatives. He said Scott gets out of his vehicle calmly.

“While police did give him several commands, he did not aggressively approach them or raise his hands at members of law enforcement at any time. It is impossible to discern from the videos what, if anything, Mr. Scott is holding in his hands,” Bamberg said in a statement.

Scott was shot as he walked slowly backward with his hands by his side, Bamberg said.

The lawyer said at a news conference earlier in the day that Scott’s wife saw him get shot, “and that’s something she will never, ever forget.” That is the first time anyone connected with the case has said the wife witnessed the shooting. Bamberg gave no details on what the wife saw.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/09/23/third-night-protests-in-charlotte-largely-peaceful-as-police-face-calls-to-release-video-shooting.html

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Reuters

By Andy Sullivan | CHARLOTTE, N.C.

The family of the black North Carolina man whose shooting death by police triggered two nights of riots viewed videos of the episode on Thursday and asked for them to be made public, stepping up the pressure for their release.

The videos show Keith Scott was calm, acting in a non-aggressive way and walking slowly backward with hands by his sides when shot by police on Tuesday, the family’s lawyer said in a statement, but it was unclear if he was holding a gun, as police say.

The statement came as hundreds gathered for a third successive night of protests, some chanting, “Release the video.” The crowd thinned a little after a midnight curfew began, but police and protesters stayed peacefully apart.

Earlier, police had fired tear gas and non-lethal projectiles to break up crowds blocking traffic on a highway. National Guard troops backed up a robust police presence in the town center, helping to restrain protesters chanting “Whose streets? Our streets,” as helicopters circled overhead.

Scott’s death is the latest to stir passions in the United States over the police use of deadly force against black men. Protests have asserted racial bias and excessive force by police and have given rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

After reviewing the videos, Scott family attorney Justin Bamberg said, “While police did give him several commands, he did not aggressively approach them or raise his hands at members of law enforcement at any time.

“It is impossible to discern from the videos what, if anything, Mr. Scott is holding in his hands,” he said in the statement.

Police say Scott was carrying a gun when he approached officers and ignored repeated orders to drop it. His family previously said he was holding a book, not a firearm, and now says it has more questions than answers after viewing two videos recorded by police body cameras.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney has said the video supported the police account of what happened but does not definitively show Scott pointing a gun at officers.

Protesters walk in the streets downtown during another night of protests over the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

PROTESTER DIES FROM GUNSHOT

The rioting that has engulfed the city claimed a victim on Thursday, as city officials said a protester shot on Wednesday had died. Nine people were injured and 44 arrested in riots on Wednesday and Thursday morning, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency.

The man critically wounded by a gunshot during the protests, Justin Carr, 26, died on Thursday, but the circumstances of his shooting remained unclear.

In contrast to the tension in Charlotte, calm reigned in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where police released a video of the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher, shot by police last week after his vehicle broke down on a highway. The officer who fired her gun was charged with first-degree manslaughter on Thursday.

 

 Riot police prepare to push protesters off the highway during another night of protests over the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

U.S. President Barack Obama called the mayors of both cities on Wednesday to offer condolences and assistance. On Thursday he urged protesters to maintain the peace, while still addressing concerns of racial inequality.

“(The) overwhelming majority of people who have been concerned about police-community relations (are) doing it the right way,” Obama told ABC News. “Every once in a while you see folks doing it the wrong way.

“I think it’s important to separate out the pervasive sense of frustration among a lot of African-Americans about shootings of people and the sense that justice is not always color blind,” he said on the “Good Morning America” television program.

(Additional reporting by Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Leslie Adler, Paul Tait and Clarence Fernandez)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-police-idUSKCN11R1GS

 

Protesters walk in the streets downtown during another night of protests over the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

11 states sue Obama administration over transgender toilets

May 25, 2016

AFP

© Sara D Davis / Getty Images North America / AFP | A gender-neutral sign is posted outside a bathroom at Oval Park Grill on May 11, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2016-05-25

Eleven US states sued President Barack Obama’s administration Wednesday to try to overturn federal guidelines demanding that public schools allow transgender students to access the bathroom of their choice.

In the joint filing in US District Court in Wichita Falls, Texas, the states accused the federal government of trying to rewrite laws by “executive fiat.”

In a letter to public school districts and universities on May 13, the Justice and Education Departments laid out guidelines on creating a safe environment for transgender students, in accordance with existing laws on discrimination.

In particular, the letter asks schools to allow transgender students access to bathrooms matching their gender identity — rather than the sex on their birth certificate.

Although non-binding, schools that fail to comply with the directive could potentially face lawsuits or reduced federal aid.

“Defendants have conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights,” the court filing read.

“The letter tries to rewrite Title IX by executive fiat, mandating all bathrooms and showers open to both sexes, while simultaneously permitting different sex athletics subject to limited exceptions. The new policy has no basis in law.”

The administration argues that gender identity is protected under Title IX, a provision under the Education Amendments of 1972 that bars schools receiving federal funding from discriminating based on a student’s sex.

Texas is the lead plaintiff in the complaint, joined by Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Nine of the 11 states are ruled by Republican governors.

The filing lists the US government and several federal agencies and their chiefs as defendants.

A pitched legal battle is underway between the federal government and the state of North Carolina over a law requiring transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate. Both the state and the Obama administration have filed dueling lawsuits.

The battle is part of a wider debate on equal rights in the United States, where a flurry of initiatives have targeted the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) communities since a historic Supreme Court decision last year legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Oklahoma beheading suspect regains consciousness, interviewed by police

September 28, 2014

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By Ralph Ellis and Joe Sutton, CNN
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(CNN) — Police in Oklahoma said Saturday they’ve interviewed the man who allegedly beheaded a 54-year-old woman at his former workplace.

Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, was shot inside the Vaughn Food processing plant but regained consciousness in the hospital, said Jeremy Lewis, spokesman for the Moore police department.

Nolen was interviewed Friday in the hospital; police haven’t revealed what was said. Police expect him to be released and moved to a jail by early next week, Lewis said.

Nolen’s Facebook page provides no indication he planned to attack anybody.

He had recently converted to Islam and started the page under the name Jah’Keem Yisrael. The cover photo appears to be of fighters holding weapons. The postings include numerous all-caps messages about Islam and quotations from the Quran, but make no reference to job dissatisfaction.

Alton Alexander Nolen aka Jah’Keem Yisrael Facebook cover photo [screenshot]

Alton Alexander Nolen aka Jah’Keem Yisrael Facebook cover photo [screenshot]

Read more at http://www.brennerbrief.com/muslim-convert-and-beheading-suspect-alton-nolen-taken-down-by-good-guy-with-a-gun/#24FumGfsQ3Ver5HV.99

Some postings are political, such as one that runs with an image of the Joker, from Batman comics: “AMERICA SO CALL HELPS IRAQ (WHICH NOT)- WELL WHY CANT U HELP THE GAZA CITIZENS AGAINST ISRAEL LOL..I UPLOAD THIS PIK BECAUSE AMERICA AND ISRAEL ARE WICKED. WAKE UP MUSLIMS!!!”

CNN has confirmed with Moore police that the Facebook page and the images belong to Nolen.

No terrorism link found

Nolen had tried to convert co-workers to Islam, officials said.

U.S. law enforcement officials said there are no indications linking Thursday’s attack to terrorism. ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, has made a name for its itself with several videotaped beheadings in the Middle East.

The Oklahoma Conference of Churches issued a statement on Saturday urging “all Oklahomans and people everywhere not to equate Mr. (Nolen’s) actions with the beliefs and practices of the Islamic Community in Oklahoma.”

The statement said that “The Islamic Community of Oklahoma has consistently condemned all violence — most especially acts of violence ostensibly carried out in the name of Islam. Along with our Muslim brothers and sisters we affirm that true Islam is, in fact, a religion of peace and that those inflicting violence in the name of Islam are perverting Islam for their own ends.”

Suspect had lost his job

The attack happened very soon after Nolen learned he’d lost his job at the processing plant. Police said he walked into the front office of the plant and attacked one of first people he encountered, Colleen Hufford, 54.

He severed her head with a knife and then attacked 43-year-old Traci Johnson, who was in stable condition at a nearby hospital for treatment of “numerous wounds,” according to police.

“He wasn’t targeting anyone, wasn’t going specifically after them,” the police spokesman said. “It appears they were just in his way as he came in.”

Nolen stopped attacking people when he was shot by Mark Vaughan, who besides being his company’s CEO has been a reserve deputy with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, said Sheriff John Whetsel.

Nolen had been incarcerated until March 2013, for possession of a controlled substance, escaping confinement and resisting an officer.

CNN affiliate KOKI reported Nolen was arrested in 2006 when an officer saw him throw a bag of crack cocaine and a bag of marijuana out the vehicle window as the officer pulled him over for traffic violations.

Nolen was put on probation, KOKI reported. In 2010, a state trooper stopped Nolen for an expired tag and discovered Nolen had outstanding warrants, KOKI reported.

The trooper, Betsy Randolph, told CNN on Saturday that Nolen started struggling after she put a handcuff on one wrist. Nolen ran and was arrested after a 12-hour manhunt.

“He kept looking over his shoulder because he knew I wanted to shoot him, but obviously I couldn’t shoot him in the back,” Randolph told CNN. “If there had been any way to know the things he is alleged to have done a few days ago I would have killed him when I had a chance.”

A spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin, Alex Weintz, noted the governor had blocked Nolen from receiving parole in 2012.

Weintz said Saturday: “The suspect came up for parole in 2012 and the governor denied his parole. She reviewed his file and didn’t think that he was a good candidate for early parole.”

CNN’s Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, Shelby Lin Erdman, Mark Bixler, Greg Botelho and John Branch contributed to this story.

Includes video:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/27/us/oklahoma-beheading/

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Alleged: A career criminal who recently converted to Islam in prison and was clearly radicalized based on his Facebook page, which condoned beheadings and Sharia law and featured Taliban fighters, hada argument with his co-workers about stoning women in a company in Oklahoma, got fired, came back to behead one and attack another, prompting hero Vaughan Foods COO Mark Vaughan to shoot AltonNolen, effectively halting his rampage. During a press conference by police, Muslims read the Koran out loud, surrounding police.Alton Alexander Nolen, who calls himself “Jah’Keem Yisrael” on Facebook, is being investigated for a gruesome beheading that occurred in Moore, Oklahoma, as reported at the Wall Street Journal. Nolen’s social media pages were very revealing, as reported by Patrick Howley of the Daily Caller, and John Sexton at Breitbart.Nolen, who was once charged with assaulting a police officer, was fired after an argument where he was trying to justify the stoning of women. As reported at Truth Revolt, he “has a long history with the local police department.” on ‘allegations ranging from assault, burglary, obstructing an officer, resisting arrest, drug possession, and larceny,’ among other unlisted charges.” According to Nolen’s classmates, he “converted to Islam while in prison in 2011.”

http://www.brennerbrief.com/muslim-convert-and-beheading-suspect-alton-nolen-taken-down-by-good-guy-with-a-gun/

The Wall Street Journal reported that Nolen “allegedly attacked co-workers after being fired the previous day beheaded one of his victims and, according to some employees, earlier tried to convert colleagues to Islam.” But according to the local newspaper, McCurtain Gazette reports (no online edition is available),

A classmate of Nolen’s, who didn’t wish to be identified, told this newspaper that he spoke to a close family member of Nolen’s today.

He told this newspaper that according to the family member, Nolen was telling coworkers Thursday of an Islamic teaching that said women should be stoned for an offense, and that an argument followed the mark [sic], Nolen was later fired and returned later Thursday, when he beheaded Colleen Hufford, the family member said.

Nolen allegedly beheaded Colleen Hufford with a knife and proceeded to attack another worker, when he was shot by the owner of the company. The good guy with a gun was Vaughan Foods COO Mark Vaughan. who also serves as an Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Reserve Deputy, as reported at the local Fox affiliate.

He’s obviously a hero in this situation,” said Sgt. Jeremy Lewis from Moore Police. “It’s very tragic and someone did lose their life, but it could have gotten a lot worse. This guy was definitely not going to stop. He didn’t stop until he was shot.

Here is the suspect:

Alton Nolen, as shown in a photograph from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, dated 2012. EPA

Alton Nolen, as shown in a photograph from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, dated 2012. EPA

Here is Nolen from Facebook:

Alton Alexander Nolen via Facebook

Alton Alexander Nolen via Facebook

As reported at WayneDupree.com, during a press conference on a beheading in Oklahoma, it is being alleged that Muslims read from the Koran and surrounded police after the briefing.

Tweet with photo of press conference (allegedly) via Twitter

Tweet with photo of press conference (allegedly) via Twitter

See more:

http://www.brennerbrief.com/muslim-convert-and-beheading-suspect-alton-nolen-taken-down-by-good-guy-with-a-gun/

Native American “Code Talkers” — Heroes of World War II Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

November 20, 2013

AFP – Native American “code talkers” who used their indigenous languages to keep critical military secrets from World War II enemies are finally getting their due in Congress, decades after their heroism.

Twenty-four years ago France bestowed its highest civilian honor on American Indians who used their ancestral words as shields, forging an unbreakable code to communicate troops movements and enemy positions that the German and Japanese failed to crack.

On Wednesday, top US lawmakers will do the same, presenting the Congressional Gold Medal to some 250 Native American code talkers and their relatives.

“This is long overdue,” Wallace Coffey, chairman of the Comanche Nation, told AFP this week.

Irene Permansu Lane (R) pictured November 19, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC, after traveling to the US capital for the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony honoring her late husband, Comanche code talker Melvin PermansuIrene Permansu Lane (R) pictured November 19, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC, after traveling to the US capital for the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony honoring her late husband, Comanche code talker Melvin Permansu

With dozens of his compatriots, Coffey traveled to Washington from the central state of Oklahoma to receive the medal on behalf of World War II’s 17 Comanche code talkers, known in their native tongue as “Numurekwa’etuu.”

American Indians from 33 tribes will be honored, most of them posthumously. Edmond Harjo of the Seminole tribe is still alive and will participate in the ceremony.

France paid tribute in 1989, when Pierre Messmer, Charles de Gaulle’s former prime minister, traveled to Oklahoma to make members of the Choctaw and Comanche tribes Knights of the National Order of Merit.

By sending radio messages in their dialects, these soldiers foiled interceptions of the enemy on the European and Pacific fronts.

Some 400 Navajo soldiers, the group with the largest participation in World Wars I and II, received Congressional Gold Medals in 2000, but those from other tribes had to wait until 2008 for Congress to allocate the same award, and their ceremony taking place Wednesday.

“The government has been very slow to recognize anything of importance for American Indians, and that’s one of the real resentments in the American Indian community today,” said Herman Viola, author of “Warriors in Uniform: The Legacy of American Indian Heroism.”

‘Pregnant bird’ meant bomber

The idea of using North American native tongues as a war tool emerged in 1918 when a US officer on the French front grew frustrated by repeated German interceptions of World War I communications. Four of his soldiers were Comanches.

“They got these four Comanches to start using our language to communicate military messages,” said Lanny Asepermy, historian for the Comanche Indian Veterans Association.

“And the Germans didn’t understand what the heck they were saying.”

The US Army reproduced the coding on a large scale a generation later. While some Native American dialects are written, much of the grammar, pronunciation and slang of their languages remained a mystery for the enemy.

None of their codes was broken.

Hundreds of American Indians were trained for transmissions. Sometimes their code reflected the simplicity of an agrarian or rural culture: “bird” could mean a plane, while a “pregnant bird” meant a bomber.

Navajos, Comanches, Hopis and Muscogees employed a system by which each letter of the Latin alphabet was an Indian word. In Navajo, the word “moasi” means “cat,” and it would be used to represent the letter “c.”

The entire endeavor was an irony, given that the US government spent much of the 19th century trying to eradicate Native American culture.

Most Indians were not deemed US citizens at the time of the First World War, and for many their citizenship was earned in exchange for their military service.

Irene Permansu Lane, 84, is one of the last three living wives of the Comanche “code talkers.” On Wednesday, after decades of waiting, she will receive a medal in the name of her husband Melvin Permansu of the 4th Signal Company of the 4th Infantry Division. He died in 1963.

“It was a very great moment that finally this came about for them,” she said.

“I was just overjoyed that they were eventually recognized for what they had done.”

John Parker, 58, choked up as he recalled his code-talker father Simmons Parker, and how he and fellow Native American soldiers spoke little about their service.

Much of the project was sworn to secrecy, with some participants taking that secret to their graves.

“They didn’t really go on about it, they kept it on the down side,” Parker said, but “Dad couldn’t have been more proud to serve the country the way he did.”

States raise privacy concerns over Obamacare health law navigators — Many worry about identity theft

August 18, 2013

By Jordy Yager

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi argued late Friday that new hires under  ObamaCare could threaten the private information of people trying to get health  insurance.

Bondi said that the Department of  Health and Human Services (HHS) is making it easier for someone to be hired as a  so-called navigator, cutting back on background checks and eliminating a  fingerprinting requirement, which could make it easier for a person’s private  information to fall into the wrong hands.

“Because of time constraints, HHS [is] cutting back on the requirement to  become a navigator, meaning they’re not going to be doing background checks.  They’re not going to be fingerprinting these people,” said Bondi in an interview  with Fox.

HHS is cutting back on background checks and eliminating a  fingerprinting requirement for Obamacare  navigators

“And it’s more than navigators. It’s people that assist the navigators. Now,  these navigators will have our consumers throughout the country’s most personal  and private information — tax return information, Social Security  information. And  our biggest fear, of course, is identity theft.”

A navigator is a federal employee who helps those wanting to get insured  navigate the paperwork of the new healthcare system.

“What if they’ve been convicted of committing identity theft or grand theft  before?” asked Bondi. “They could potentially still become a navigator.”

Earlier this week, Bondi and a dozen other Republican state attorneys general  sent HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a letter calling her attention to this  privacy issue and asking her to implement more stringent privacy requirements  and safeguards. They’ve given Sebelius until Aug. 28 to respond.

The letter was  organized by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and signed  by attorneys general from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana,  Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

Bondi said she wants to know who will be in charge of monitoring the  navigators, who is going to be liable if someone’s identify is stolen, and who  is responsible for educating the American public and the navigators on fraud  prevention.

Includes video:

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-re
form-implementation/317513-state-attorneys-general-raise-
privacy-concerns-over-obamacare-navigators#ixzz2cKBWTfY
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Can Anyone Ever Really Stop Obamacare?

August 1, 2013
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Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, waits to take questions from reporters after a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill May 15, 2013 in Washington, D.C. / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

 CBS News

The Republican-led House of Representatives Friday will vote for the 40th time to roll back the Affordable Care Act. While symbolically meaningful, this vote will be as futile as the last 39 votes to repeal the law. Obviously, the Democratic-led Senate would never pass a repeal bill, and President Obama would never sign it.

The Republican Party remains as committed as ever to repealing or at least dismantling the mammoth health care law that Democrats pushed through Congress in 2010 with zero GOP support. But after years of railing against the law and dozens of votes against it, Republicans are now divided over the best way to attack it.

While the House continues to hold votes to repeal the law, a group of Senate Republicans are leading a campaign to defund the measure. Conservatives at the state level, meanwhile, have resisted implementing the law. All of these efforts have had some impact on the law so far, but for all practical purposes, it appears at this point that Obamacare is here to stay.

This week’s vote is on a bill specifically to stop the IRS from implementing the portions of Obamacare that it’s responsible for, such as helping to enforce the individual mandate and giving consumers subsidies with which to purchase insurance. The bill, called the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013, seizes not only on conservatives’ fierce opposition to Obamacare, but also to their relatively new concerns about the IRS in the wake of its targeting of tea party groups.

“After all we’ve learned about the IRS and its conduct, the last thing we want is the IRS into protected health care information of taxpayers,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said to reporters Wednesday.

Play Video

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57596451/can-the-gop-ever-really-stop-obamacare/

Boehner: “Obamacare is bad for America”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, one of the Senate’s most outspoken conservatives, said Tuesday that if the law isn’t stopped now — before it is fully implemented — it may never be. “No major entitlement, once it has been implemented, has ever been unwound,” he said. “If we don’t do it now, in all likelihood we never will.”

That said, even Cruz acknowledged House’s repeal votes are getting tiresome. “Those votes were, by and large, empty, symbolic votes that had zero chance of passing,” he said.

Cruz has signed onto an initiative, led by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to block any government funding bill that includes any funds that would go towards the implementation of Obamacare. The idea would presumably give conservatives leverage on the matter, since Congress needs to pass a government funding bill by Sept. 30 or risk letting parts of the government shut down.

While a number of conservatives have joined this campaign, multiple Republicans — skeptical of the idea’s effectiveness and also wary of shutting the government down — have dismissed it as a gimmick.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., called it the “dumbest idea” he had ever heard, while Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., warned against more shutdown “shenanigans.” Some senators who initially backed the idea, like Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, have rescinded their support for it.

To back up the skepticism, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., asked the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service to produce a report on whether a government shutdown would stop the implementation of Obamacare. The CRS reported that a shutdown wouldn’t change much.

“It appears that substantial ACA implementation might continue during a lapse in annual appropriations that resulted in a temporary government shutdown,” the report says. For one thing, the CRS points out, the Affordable Care Act has other sources of funding other than annual federal budgeting (namely, multi-year funds still available through a shutdown and mandatory spending, which isn’t affected in the event of a shutdown).

Coburn — who obviously opposes Lee’s proposal — said on the Senate floor Tuesday, “I want to defund this bill, but I also want a way to do it that kills it.” He told the Washington Post, “The only way you get rid of Obamacare is winning the 2016 election.”

Certainly, if Republicans won the White House in 2016, kept the majority in the House and won a 60-vote majority in the Senate, they could officially repeal the law. At that point, however, as Cruz pointed out on Tuesday, it would already be entirely implemented.

“States stop getting money for Medicaid, my son who’s 23 years old and on my policy loses his health care coverage — along with 3 million other young people,” Tim Jost, a consumer advocate and professor of health law at Washington and Lee University, told CBSNews.com. “There would be very, very wide-ranging consequences if the statute were, in fact, repealed.”

By the time the next administration is in place, the system of state-based exchanges — online marketplaces where consumers can comparison shop for insurance — should already be up and running, and self-sustaining. The states could keep up the exchanges if the law were repealed, though consumers would no longer get federal subsidies to purchase insurance through the exchanges.

In effect, states would have very different health insurance marketplaces — something that’s happening already as red and blue states take different approaches to implementing Obamacare.

“The states have a lot of power under the Affordable Care Act, and that was intentional,” Jost said.

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2012 Obamacare ruling, some states are expanding Medicaid to anyone below 138 percent of the poverty line, while other states are not. Some states are aggressively regulating insurers as they enter their respective exchanges, while others are not — hence, some red states are projecting premium hikes under Obamacare, while some blue states are predicting their premiums will be lower than expected.

Some of the most aggressive resistance to Obamacare is coming from Oklahoma, where state attorney general Scott Pruitt is making the novel argument that in states that have refused to set up their own exchanges (thus, leaving the responsibility up to the federal government), the federal government can neither fine businesses that fail to offer insurance nor offer subsidies to individuals to purchase insurance.

Pruitt was in Washington Wednesday to argue before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the IRS, by imposing those taxes and granting those subsidies, was stripping Oklahoma of its right not to set up the health insurance marketplace.

Ironically, one of the most significant Obamacare setbacks came from the administration itself, when it decided this year to delay the employer mandate. The administration has downplayed the effects of the delay, but its impact is still unclear. It is clear, however, that it will cost money: the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office this week reported that delaying the mandate will cost about $12 billion.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57596451/can-the-gop-ever-really-stop-obamacare/