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Evans: Nation on Path to Bankruptcy

Editorial from Rep. Joshua Evans, R-Greenbrier; July 6, 2012:  

Throughout this week of celebrating our Independence, I hope that, in addition to the fireworks and the barbecues, each of us takes the time to reflect on the system that our Founding Fathers so wisely developed. Influenced by the experiences of other nations where citizens struggled beneath all-powerful monarchs, overly-influential legislative bodies, and historic social barriers that stood in the way of true individual involvement in the state, our government was created to give voice to the citizens of our nation.

This time of reflection is essential today because we have a presidential administration that is acting with impunity – resembling the all-powerful monarchs that our governing system was designed to resist.

First, the administration argues before Congress that Obamacare is not a tax. This argument protected Congressmen who were afraid to explain to their constituents why they had voted for the largest tax increase in American history.

Then, the administration goes before the Supreme Court and argues that Obamacare is indeed a tax and thus constitutional. So – for all of you keeping score at home – for political expediency, the bill is not a tax, yet for Constitutional expediency, it is a tax.

In his recent proclamation that created a path to amnesty for many who are in our nation illegally, the President belied his apparent belief that members of congress are simply obstructions and side-stepped them and their collective authority.

And for good measure, when Congress dared to call into question the Department of Justice and its egregious failures through the Fast and Furious operation, the President invoked executive privilege, protecting a number of documents that could potentially reveal the implicit – or even explicit – support of the administration in these illegal activities.

These are three examples – all of them recent – of an administration acting in a manner where it appears as if all others are irrelevant or at best bit-players in the administration’s larger production.

Unfortunately for the American taxpayer, the price-tag for the President’s actions is growing by the day. The projected cost of Obamacare has already grown from $800 billion to $1.7 trillion. In addition, the EPA now has more regulations in the approval pipeline than the Agency generated in its entire 40 year existence. These regulations contribute to $1.75 trillion in costs to the American taxpayer while also killing jobs and stifling business growth.

We are on a path that will bankrupt this great nation. This fall, however, we have the opportunity again to exercise our freedoms to shift the direction of the country and to place us back on a path to prosperity.

In the 2010 elections, the American people expressed their displeasure with Obamacare, voting the Republican Party into 63 democrat-held seats in Congress – and 680 seats shifted to the Republican Party in state legislatures across the country. This was an historic shift, and voters have a similar opportunity this year.

The power of your votes is clearly evident in our General Assembly. Through the repeal of the Death Tax, through ongoing Tort-Reform efforts, through the strengthening of our right-to-work laws in Tennessee, through the passage of business-friendly, job-creating statutes, and through our extensive education reform efforts, we have navigated our state into a position where businesses and individuals in Tennessee have greater opportunities to be successful.

We are blessed to live in a nation where through our votes we are given the opportunity to steer our course, directing us – as we have in Tennessee – to prosperity. So as we celebrate our Independence and look forward to the elections ahead, I implore you to remember the privilege that we share in our ability to vote and the responsibility we share to exercise that privilege.

Feds Charge Texan for Bomb Threat to Murfreesboro Mosque

A Texas man has been indicted for threatening to bomb a planned Muslim community center in Murfreesboro.

Law enforcement say Javier Alan Correa, 24, of Corpus Christi, called the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro on Sept. 5, 2011, and said there was a bomb in the building that would explode on the anniversary of Sept. 11.

He has been charged with intentionally obstructing a free exercise of religion by threat of force and with using an instrument of interstate commerce to threaten to destroy a building with explosives, said Jerry Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Although Correa has not been taken into custody, the U.S. Attorney’s office is in communication with his legal counsel to discuss surrender, Martin said.

If convicted, Correa faces up to 20 years in prison.

The mosque’s approval in 2010 sparked protests and a lawsuit, even as construction has moved forward at the site southeast of Murfreesboro. A judge earlier this month ruled that the public notice for a meeting to approve the construction plans was inadequate, which has put in limbo plans to have a first section of the building open in time for Ramadan at the end of July.

Federal investigators are also still looking into an incident of arson at the site in 2010.

“These despicable acts are not only illegal, but are also completely contrary to our American way of life,” Martin said. “So let there be no question. If you interfere with anyone’s constitutionally guaranteed right to worship and assemble, you will face federal prosecution and severe penalties.”

In Nov. 2010, the Department of Justice also filed an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in relation to the ongoing lawsuit, in which plaintiffs had asserted that Islam is not a legitimate religion.

McWherter, Haslam Denounce Mosque Fire, Laud Zoning

Both major party candidates for Tennessee governor denounced the burning of construction equipment at the site of a new mosque in Murfreesboro over the weekend.

And both also reiterated earlier statements that local zoning officials should decide if and where controversial building occurs.

Candidates Mike McWherter, a Democrat, and Bill Haslam, a Republican, addressed the issue Tuesday night at a “Student Town Hall” forum sponsored by Tennessee First Lady Andrea Conte.

Asked how “as governor (he) would balance freedom of religion with concerns about security,” McWherter said that while he’s a “huge proponent of religious freedom” he “understand(s) the constraints and problems you have when you locate an institution like that inside of a quiet neighborhood.”

“As a community you ought to be able to have some zoning restrictions, and make sure that the house you bought is something that you can continue to resell, and will not disturb your neighborhood,” he continued.

McWherter, a businessman from Jackson, went on to denounce the perpetrators of the crime, calling it an “atrocity.”

Responding to a question from a reporter outside the forum later, Haslam took a similar tack.

“No one should condone what’s just happened, OK. It’s just not acceptable in any way, and those folks should be found and appropriately punished,” said the Knoxville mayor.

On the issue of whether the mosque should be built, Haslam said it is a “local land-use issue.”

“As somebody who has been a mayor, I didn’t want the state or federal government telling us what to do,” he said. “That’s where you follow constitutional guidelines and local land-use planning and you let the local land-use people decide.”

Federal law enforcement agencies are investigating the setting ablaze of a piece of earth-moving equipment in the early morning hours of Aug. 28 at the location of a proposed 52,000-square-foot Islamic religious center in Rutherford County.

A local FBI official was quoted by CNN as saying that while the the cause of the fire is believed to have been arson, “We have no reason to think it’s a hate crime.”

A statement issued by an Islamic Center of Murfreesboro spokewoman Monday declared “we feel heartbroken that we have been a victim of yet another shameful crime, however, we are grateful to the majority members of this community who expressed their support.”

“We believe that this event was instigated by the hate campaign that our Muslim community has been subjected to recently,” the release continued.