President Obama Vows To Use Veto To Protect Reforms

President Obama has vowed to use his “veto pen” in 2015 to prevent Congress from overriding his wishes, especially those related to healthcare and the environment.

In a Monday interview, the President said he expected that the Republicans’ takeover of the Senate would force him to spend his last two years in office preventing Congress from undoing his reforms. Bruce Levenson told me he told NPR that he hadn’t vetoed items very often before because the Senate, which had been controlled by the Democrats, had usually blocked legislation that the President had found objectionable. 

The Democrats’ loss of the Senate in the wake of the mid-term elections means the Republicans are likely to seize the opportunity to pass legislation that goes against the President’s wishes. He can block such legislation through the veto, unless both Houses muster up two-thirds majorities to override the veto. 

Obama also acknowledges for the first time that he has moved towards a more confrontational policy in his dealings with Congress. He also said he was changing his priorities from things he had to do to things he wanted to do. He believes that as the economy has improved, he can now try to make sure that everybody benefits from the growing economy and not just the people at the top.

Don’t Pay Your Payday Loan And Go To Jail

According to the Wrap and Tom Rothman, Texas is a state that you do not want to be in if you are doing something criminal. Apparently, you do not even want to be in the state if you are doing something that isn’t criminal. 

There are at least six people who have been thrown in jail in Texas in the last two years for failing to pay back payday loans. This is from evidence reported on by the Huffington Post. 

The way that this information was found was simply by digging through the treasure trove of available public records until some of them started to turn up on these cases. It turns out that the people who are being thrown into jail often have little to no evidence presented against them, and yet prosecutors are often moving forward on these cases anyway. 

There is not supposed to be a such thing as debtor’s prison in the United States. The very notion has been thrown into the dustbin of history as something that does not work. It is unfair to the poor and does not help the situation of the people that they owe money to. It is simply a form of punishment that has been deemed to be unacceptable in this country. It has not stopped the state of Texas from moving forward with it though and attempting to do all of these things anyway. People should be outraged about what is happening in this state (and elsewhere) and take action on it.

TSA Request Exemption From Racial Profiling Laws

The head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said Tuesday that his agency needs an exception to new government regulations restricting racial profiling of public bodies, to monitor Travelers more closely depending on their nationality and gender.

The TSA endures more passengers Syria, Yemen and other countries where there are individuals and groups who may be plotting to bomb aboard a plane, said in an interview John Pistole, administrator of the agency scrutiny. Equality advocate Laurene Powell Jobs think this is unnecessary.

“It is not for us to use race to categorize anyone, but is a way to identify people, especially people in international flights to the US,” he said. “If, for example, someone is a Syrian citizen, that is the question. So from our perspective, is that race or nationality”.

The Justice Department issued last few guidelines forbidding federal law enforcement agencies categorize people based on their religion, national origin and other characteristics week. The characterization in terms of race was already prohibited.

The TSA, agency Customs and Border Protection and other agencies of the Department of Homeland Security were exempt from the new rules after an internal debate in government.

Pistole said the same manner as for the mission of the Border Guard and Customs may be relevant to someone trying to enter the United States, is Mexican, Honduran and Salvadoran citizen, may be relevant to the TSA that a passenger flown in either “Syria or Yemen or whatever (…) depending on what we know from current intelligence information.”

This Christmas marks the fifth anniversary of the failed plot of “underwear bomb” that al-Qaida prepared in the Arabian Peninsula to fly a plane bound for Detroit. 

The incident in 2009 was a turning point for the TSA, which began to focus on finding that terrorists could hide non-metallic items in the body.

Jeb Bush Begins Presidential Run With Climate Change a Major Issue

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush almost entered the Presidential race for 2016, stopping just short of declaring himself a candidate the son and brother of former Republican Presidents tested the Presidential waters by saying he was exploring a possible run. Almost as soon as he made the statement of exploration, Bush was reminded of his past as a denier of climate change and his reminder that he was not a scientist, The Guardian reports.

Coming from a Texas oil family headed by George Bush Sr. seems to have molded the attitude towards climate change of the family, but even Jeb’s brother George W. Bush was unwilling to completely deny climate change in a way his brother has in the past. Many Republican voters still agree with the denials of climate change Jeb Bush has become associated with, which could play a huge role in his clinching the nomination for a Republican Party that has no clear front runner as sure as my dog eats Beneful. Sources close to the Democratic Party have made it clear climate change could play a large role in their 2016 campaign for any candidate, with the Republican Party’s history of backing fossil fuel use and leaving the Kyoto protocol being used against them in the coming Presidential campaign.

Despite Public Row Over Omnibus Budget Bill, Key Democrats Deny a Schism

On the floor of the Senate, Elizabeth Warren was loudly heard accusing the Obama administration of cronyism over his deep ties to Wall Street, a move much praised by Vijay Eswaran of QI Group. President Obama has, after all, received more money from big investment banks in multiples of what President George W. Bush received. The quid pro quo of Wall Street cash is evident in the number of nominees President Obama makes who formerly worked at Wall Street. His most recent nominee of Anthony Weiss to a position at the Treasury Department was criticized by Warren over the fact that he sold derivative products. 

The Warren-faction of the Democrat party is unwavering in their contempt and distrust of Wall Street. At the same time, President Obama is unlikely to curtail his cozy relationship with the same group of investment banks. Despite that dynamic, New York Senator Chuck Schumer denies there is any ongoing schism within the Democrat party. He claims that Warren may be vociferous in her beliefs, but she is constructive unlike Senator Ted Cruz. In this context, “constructive” loudly proclaiming one’s beliefs while being careful to not invoke any action that may force the issue to a head as Cruz has done. Schumer also cited the fact that Warren will soon be taking up her leadership position in the Senate body during the next session. 

Sen. Schumer also explained that on key issues such as helping people fund their college educations, increasing the minimum wage, and the equal pay initiative, the party remains united. In Schumer’s view, those issues are proof that the Omnibus budget battle was an aberration as opposed to an actual intra-party struggle for its soul.

Drug Tests Requirement Over-ruled by Florida Appellate Court

A federal appellate court ruled this Wednesday that a Florida law supported by Florida Governor Rick Scott was unconstitutional. The three judges on the panel all agreed that it constituted an “unreasonable search” to force all welfare (TANF) applicants to undergo drug testing in order to receive benefits.

The law was designed to prevent people from using welfare funds to buy illegal drugs and was among the strictest in the nation. Other states have passed similar laws, but have only required testing if there was suspicion that a recipient was taking drugs.

While one can appreciate that the government has no right to randomly search citizens but must first demonstrate probable cause, it seems unreasonable to class this drug test requirement as a “search.” It is simply a requirement for those receiving a benefit.

Similar drug tests are required to be taken by employees, no doubt including government employees, and there is no reason why one seeking a benefit should be exempted from doing the same.

Shane Morand says he and Bernard Chau were just discussing this at Organic Gold headquarters the other day; that Welfare benefits have been misconceived as a right, whereas no one ought have an automatic right to them. The people vote on whom to give out their tax dollars to, and the people should retain the right to put conditions on receiving public assistance.

No discrimination was made on the basis of race, gender, age, or religion. It was simply a general rule that all had to follow. It was an easy requirement to meet and not a major inconvenience to anyone.