Protecting The Rights Of American Businesses

The problem with having a President and a cabinet that lack hands on business experience is that they lack hands on business experience. The quote “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.” is attributed to Thomas Jefferson although it is not found in any of his papers. Regardless of who said it, the quote is accurate.

In its Saturday/Sunday edition, the Wall Street Journal posted an editorial about the nomination of Loretta Lynch as U.S. Attorney General. Ms. Lynch is currently in charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. She has been busy there.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Evidently Ms. Lynch didn’t read that part of the Constitution, and unfortunately, she is not the only government official who did not read that part. As of late, prosecutors have been using civil forfeiture laws to confiscate private property and use the money gained to shore up state and municipal budgets. One example of this in Ms. Lynch’s district is the case of Jeffrey, Richard and Mitch Hirsch. In 2012 the federal government drained their bank account of $446,651.11. The bank account was used for deposits from Bi-County Distributors, a company the brothers have run for 27 years. The company stocks convenience stores in the region with candy and snack food.

The editorial explains:

According to the federal government, the brothers came under suspicion because of the frequent small deposits they made in the bank. Under federal law, banks are required to report cash deposits of more than $10,000 at a time to the Internal Revenue Service. Frequent deposits beneath the $10,000 threshold can also trigger federal scrutiny on suspicion the depositors are seeking to evade federal oversight for crimes like money laundering or drug trafficking.

The Hirsch brothers run a small business that deals in small amounts of cash, a fact that the government surely noticed, since they were never charged with a crime. But more than two years after the government grabbed the hundreds of thousands of dollars, none of it has been returned. According to the Institute for Justice, which is representing the family in a lawsuit, the government has also denied the Hirsches a prompt hearing on the forfeiture, putting it in violation of the 2000 Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act.

Ms. Lynch’s office brought in more than $113 million in civil actions between 2011 and 2013. Unfortunately, these cases have spread across the country. Between 2003 and 2011, annual payments from forfeiture went from $218 million to $450 million.

Many small businesses deposit small amounts of cash at various times of the day. Some do it out of fear of theft, others because that is the way their computer bookkeeping systems work, and others because that is how the timing of their office staff works. A small company I worked for at one point made one deposit a day, but since their computer program could only handle twelve checks on one deposit slip, it appeared to be multiple small deposits.

The editorial in the Wall Street Journal suggests that when Ms. Lunch gets her nomination hearing, someone should ask her about the Hirsches.

 

If You Believe This…

Yesterday Daniel Horowitz posted an article at the Conservative Review listing the 10 lies in President Obama’s speech on Thursday night. It seems that President Obama is not telling Americans the truth about his executive action or what its impact will be. I am posting the list, but please follow the link above to see the explanation for each item.

Here is the list:

Lie #1: Every President has Taken Executive Action on Immigration

Lie #2: Illegal Immigrant Crossings are Down

Lie #3: It does not grant citizenship or the right to stay here permanently

Lie #4: Only 5 Million

Lie #5: Deport Felons

Lie #6: Don’t deport families

Lie #7: They have to pay taxes to stay

Lie #8: Background Checks

Lie #9: Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border

Lie #10: Scripture tells us, we shall not oppress a stranger

In detailing the lies, the author mentions that since the people receiving amnesty are generally low-income workers, saying they will pay their taxes simply means they will collect money from the government under the ‘earned income credit.’ I also appreciated the author’s clarity on Lie #10.

Aside from what President Obama just did to the U.S. Constitution, he just created more unemployment and more government spending. I hope Congress has the backbone to defund or stop this program in some way.

 

 

 

 

Federal Funds For Abortion

One of the promises made when ObamaCare was passed was that there would be no use of federal funds to pay for abortions on demand. I am not talking about abortions that are medically necessary–I am talking about abortion on demand as a form of birth control. A website called obamacareabortion.com has attempted to cut through the lack of transparency in ObamaCare and sort out which states are covering abortion with ObamaCare.

The website includes the following statement:

The information available on this site is severely limited by the Obama administration’s failure to make abortion coverage information easily available. We have provided our findings and encourage you to contact us at info@obamacareabortion.com if you find additional or conflicting information about Obamacare insurance plans provided in your state.

Here is the map:

obamacareabortioncovereage In case you can’t read the legend under the map, it says, “States that have opted out of elective abortion coverage.” I think it is safe to say that generally speaking, ObamaCare covers abortion.

Watch The Shiny Thing Over Here

Last night President Obama gave a speech outlining his executive action on immigration. Analyses of the speech are all over the internet. I chose My Way News as my reference point for this article. USA Today has the text of the speech.

There are three things to keep in mind about the President’s immigration order:

1. It is unconstitutional, but he knew that. The video of the President making the case against executive amnesty is poster here. However, making this speech shortly after a thumping in the mid-term election elevates the President to some degree of relevancy.

2. The President said, “This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive – only Congress can do that.” (What happens to the people who came here four years and eleven months ago since five years is the cutoff date?) Some time in the next year or so, Congress will say, “These people are paying taxes and are not allowed to vote. That is taxation without representation. We can’t have that. We have to let them vote.” This will create millions of new Democrat voters.

3. Hugh Hewitt on Salem Radio last night made a very astute observation. The Iranian nuclear talks are about to conclude. It is very possible that President Obama will make a deal with Iran that allows Iran to make nuclear weapons. What you heard last night was to distract the American people from what is going on in Iran.

The speech last night was all about politics. Its purpose (among other things) was to goad the Republicans into doing something really stupid (that trick has worked occasionally in the past). Note that the pundits are saying in panic, “Don’t shut down the government by defunding anything.” That convinces me that defunding may be the way to go.

At any rate, get out the popcorn, the show has only begun.

The Questionable Roots of Common Core

On November 14th, the Cato Institution posted an article about the waivers given in the “No Child Left Behind” program. The waivers were issued very selectively and were used as a means to get states to approve Common Core educational standards.

The article reports:

If the outcry over unilateral executive moves we’ve seen over the last few years remains consistent, Obamacare and immigration are likely to keep sucking up most of Republicans’ attention and the media’s coverage. But just as sweeping have been executive waivers issued from the hated No Child Left Behind Act – really the most recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – that have been instrumental in connecting numerous states to, among other things, the Common Core national curriculum standards. And yesterday, the Education Department issued guidance offering states the chance to obtain waivers – if they do the administration’s bidding, of course – lasting well into the term of the next president: the 2018-19 school year.

These waivers are almost certainly illegal – even a Congressional Research Service report often cited to suggest the opposite says they are unprecedented in scope and, hence, an untested case – and even if they are not deemed technically illegal, the reality is they still amount to the executive department unilaterally making law. NCLB does grant the Secretary of Education the authority to issue waivers from many parts of the Act, but it grants no authority to condition those waivers on states adopting administration-preferred policies. Indeed, as University of South Carolina law professor Derek W. Black writes in a recent analysis of waivers, not only does NCLB not authorize conditional waivers, even if a court were to read any waiver authorization as implicitly authorizing conditions, the actual conditions attached – “college- and career-ready standards,” new teacher evaluations, etc. – fundamentally change the law. In fact the changes, Black notes, are essentially what the administration proposed in its 2010 “blueprint” to reauthorize NCLB. And quite simply, the executive fundamentally changing a law is not constitutional.

The federal government is now taking direct power over what our children learn. That is not only unconstitutional–it is dangerous.

Does The U.S. Constitution Matter?

Yesterday an article at The Blaze reported that the major television networks will not be carrying President Obama’s immigration speech tonight. CNN media reporter Brian Stelter is reporting that the speech will be carried on Univision (the Spanish network) and other cable channels. Univision will delay the start of the 2015 Latin Grammy Awards, one of the network’s biggest shows of the year, with a 2014 viewership of nearly 10 million. It is not a coincidence that the speech is being carried on Univision or that it is beginning at the time when Univision viewers will be tuning in to see the 2015 Latin Grammy Awards. Essentially, President Obama is doing an end run around the wishes of the American people.

This is the video posted on YouTube of President Obama explaining why it is not legal for him to do what he is going to do tonight:

Peter Wehner posted an article yesterday at Commentary Magazine explaining exactly what President Obama is going to do tonight. The article is entitled, “Obama Is About to Commit an Act of Constitutional Infamy.” Unfortunately, that is a really good description of what is unfolding before us.

The article at Commentary Magazine states:

As the liberal law professor Jonathan Turley put it last night, this is a “particularly dangerous moment” for the president to defy the will of Congress yet again, just 15 days after an election in which the American people registered their emphatic (anti-Obama) judgment. “What the president is suggesting is tearing at the very fabric of the Constitution,” according to Professor Turley. “We have a separation of powers that gives us balance. And that doesn’t protect the branches — it’s not there to protect the executive branch or legislative branch — it’s to protect liberty. It’s to prevent any branch from assuming so much control that they become a threat to liberty.”

What is about to happen may be the low point in a presidency filled with them. Mr. Obama is acting in a way that he himself knows–that he himself has said–is unconstitutional and indefensible. No matter. In an act of unmatched narcissism and selfishness, the president will create–he is thirsting to create–a constitutional crisis that is utterly unnecessary and will further polarize our political culture.

Mr. Obama is about to commit an act of constitutional infamy. This is a stain that will stay with him.

Congress needs to protect our Constitution. Our future, and theirs, depend on it.

Federal Regulations Are Creating Economic Hardship For People As Wages And Net Worth Are Declining

On October 29, a website called Renewable Energy World posted an article asking the question, “Are Environmental Regulations Causing US Utility Bills to Surge?”

The article points out:

U.S. electricity markets face years of higher prices as clean-air regulations shut more coal-fired power plants than earlier forecast, cutting supply and forcing producers to rely more on natural gas.

…Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc., or MISO, which manages the electricity network that runs from Manitoba to Louisiana, expects its power reserves to fall short of targets by about 2,000 megawatts by 2016, with deficits mounting after that. Even with the shale boom that’s cut gas prices, power generated with the fuel costs $30 to $35 a megawatt-hour, compared with about $25 for coal, according to Brattle.(the Brattle Group, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based consulting company).

Please note that this is the result of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations–not the result of any law passed by elected officials. The EPA is accountable to no one (except possibly the President) and does not have to worry about elections. The EPA does not have to deal with the consequences (intended or unintended) of its actions.

It is time for Americans to take their country back. We need to be a country where laws and regulations are made by people who are accountable to the voters. The only way to stop the runaway train of over regulation is to elect Congressmen (and a President) who respect the U.S. Constitution and are willing to abide by it. If we don’t take our representative republic back soon, we will never be able to take it back. We will have to explain to our children and our grandchildren how and why we gave up their freedom.

Why Are We Sending These People Money?

According to fas.org, last year Americans sent $440 million in regular and supplemental appropriations to the Palestinians in 2014. This aid was sent at a time when America is borrowing 40¢ of every dollar it spends from foreign countries.

Meanwhile, CBN News reported today:

As Israelis mourned the latest murders of four rabbis praying in their synagogue and buried the dead, some Palestinians took to the streets to celebrate the killings.

The terrorists who allegedly carried out the murders were killed in a shootout with Israeli police. Two young men, identified in the Palestinian media as Ghassan Abu Jamal and his cousin Udayy, were reportedly members of the terror group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

PFLP members danced in the streets and waved flags, while a woman threw candies to a crowd of Arabs.

It is horrific that the four rabbis were murdered while they were praying, but the celebration afterward is over the top. American money is financing the hatred toward Israel that is being spewed by Hamas and other such groups. It is time that we pulled the plug on the money flow.

The article states:

Three of the murdered rabbis were Americans with dual American and Israeli citizenship: Moshe Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky, and Cary William Levene.

The fourth rabbi, Avraham Goldberg, was a dual citizen of Britain and Israel.

Tuesday’s attack was the worst in Jerusalem since eight Jewish students were murdered at their yeshiva in 2008.

It will be interesting to see if America or Britain are willing to change the way they do business with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in response to the killing of their citizens.

An Interesting Perspective On The Coming Amnesty

On November 16, The Wall Street Journal posted an editorial entitled, “The Missing Immigration Memo.” The editorial asked if President Obama has sought or received written legal justification from the Attorney General or the Justice Department‘s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) for his coming Executive Order on amnesty.

The editorial points out that on previous actions such as drone strikes or targeting U.S. citizens abroad, the President asked the OLC for advice on the boundaries of Presidential authority.

The editorial states:

It’s possible Messrs. Obama and Holder haven’t sought an immigration opinion because they suspect there’s little chance that even a pliant Office of Legal Counsel could find a legal justification. Prosecutorial discretion is a vital legal concept, but it is supposed to be exercised in individual cases, not to justify a refusal to follow the law against entire classes of people.

White House leakers are also whispering as a legal excuse that Congress has provided money to deport only 400,000 illegal migrants a year. But a President cannot use lack of funds to justify a wholesale refusal to enforce a statute. There is never enough money to enforce every federal law at any given time, and lack of funds could by used in the future by any President to refuse to enforce any statute. Imagine a Republican President who decided not to enforce the Clean Air Act.

The President and the Democrat party need to realize that the President’s actions have resulted in the decline of the Democrat party. Do they really want a Republican President who operates under the precedent of this sort of power grab?

The Impact Of President Obama On The Democrat Party

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about President Obama’s impact on the Democrat party. Mr. Morrissey states that members of the party are seeing the damage President Obama has done to the party and are asking him to move to the center to make peace with the Republicans. It is becoming very clear that President Obama has no such intentions.

Politico reported today:

As much Hillary Clinton anticipation as there is, two weeks later, Democrats are still reeling and anxious. Obama may have built his political career without the party — and created anti-establishment alternatives — but he’s a lame duck with a new Congress that’s been elected to oppose him. He needs Democrats. And they need him.

“The base craves his leadership,” Brazile said in an interview later that week, following a meeting of the DNC committee that’s beginning to set the rules for the next presidential nomination. “They want him in the mix, talking about what Democrats accomplished, what Democrats are fighting for, and what the president has done to make lives better.”

President Obama could easily make Washington work–under normal conditions, a President who was so soundly defeated in the mid-term election would move toward the center. We are already seeing that President Obama has no such intention.

The article at Hot Air concludes:

Obama didn’t learn the Bill Clinton lesson after the first midterms. He’s not interested in learning it after his second massive defeat, either. Even with Bill Clinton’s more strategic direction, Democrats ended up losing narrowly at the end of his presidency. Obama may be leading Democrats into a reverse 2008, or perhaps even worse.

The future looks very interesting.

Numbers USA

Tonight I had the privilege of hearing Jim Robb of NumbersUSA speak at Stanly Hall in New Bern about immigration in America. NumbersUSA promotes moderate immigration levels. One of the comments Mr. Robb made about immigration in America today was, “Nineteenth Century Immigration Policy is incompatible with the Twenty-first Century Welfare State. I had never looked at immigration that way, but he is right.

When talking about President Obama’s declared move toward amnesty for five million people here illegally, Mr. Robb mentioned that Congress had three possible (if not probable) ways to stop amnesty. The most obvious way would be to simply defund the government agencies that would handle the amnesty. The second way to stop amnesty would be to impeach President Obama for violating the Constitution, but that is highly unlikely. The third way to stop amnesty would be to take the issue to the Supreme Court as a violation of the Constitution, but the Supreme Court would probably not be interested in hearing the issue unless Congress had already acted by defunding the measure.

Mr. Robb explained that there are a few problems that would be caused by amnesty. Under amnesty the average time to get a work VISA is six minutes. There is no time for proper background checks or screening. The new workers would be taking jobs in airports, companies that control electric grids, nuclear security, etc. without being properly screened. There would be a national security risk and a risk of endangering Americans. Other problems would be the increase in students our schools would have to educate, the increased drain on healthcare facilities, and the increased drain on social welfare programs.

Mr. Robb explained that there is another problem with providing six million green cards to new workers in America–we already have twenty  million legal Americans who can’t find full-time jobs.

The NumbersUSA website explains, “NumbersUSA favors an immigration policy that includes spouses, minor children, fair share of refugees, people with extraordinary skills and gives preferential treatment to American workers and those that come here legally.” That makes sense.

After the program, I was taking with a legal immigrant who had come to America as a child in 1949. The immigrant reminded me that during that time immigrants who came to America had sponsors, were expected to find work, and expected to receive no government aid of any kind. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

NumbersUSA is working to keep immigration at a manageable level. As an organization, they have built up the connections in Washington to represent the majority of Americans who do not favor amnesty for people who are here illegally. When you move someone who is here illegally to the front of the line, you deny the rights of someone who is pursuing immigration in the correct way. That is not something we want to do.

 

A Political Gambit That Failed

Politico.com is reporting tonight that the Keystone XL Pipeline has been defeated in the Senate. The bill received 59 votes–not the 60 needed to break a filibuster. The bill had been sitting on Harry Reid‘s desk for years–he would not bring it to the floor after it passed the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

The defeat deals a blow to Landrieu’s campaign ahead of her Dec. 6 runoff against GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, whom polls show running comfortably ahead. Winning on Keystone would have helped her demonstrate her clout on the Hill as a champion of her state’s influential oil and gas industry.

The Republicans will bring the bill up again when they take control of the Senate. At that time, they will aim for a veto-proof majority vote.

The article also illustrates some divisions in the Democrat party:

The bill’s failure left a bad taste in the mouth of centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), who had urged his colleagues in a closed door meeting to support it.

“This was ridiculous for us to [get] 59, one short. It really was uncalled for,” he said. “And those were some passionate conversations that we had in there. They were respectful and they were very passionate that we had in the caucus, and I would have thought it would have changed [the vote].”

Passing the bill will help American energy independence and will boost the American economy. Hopefully, it can be passed with a veto-proof majority in January.

 

Our Government Is Supposed To Represent Us–Not Rule Over Us

From The Wall Street Journal:

The above chart is included in a Wall Street Journal article about the fight over the testing contracts for Common Core.

This is the beginning of the article:

As states race to implement the Common Core academic standards, companies are fighting for a slice of the accompanying testing market, expected to be worth billions of dollars in coming years.

That jockeying has brought allegations of bid-rigging in one large pricing agreement involving 11 states—the latest hiccup as the math and reading standards are rolled out—while in roughly three dozen others, education companies are battling for contracts state by state.

Mississippi’s education board in September approved an emergency $8 million contract to Pearson PLC for tests aligned with Common Core, sidestepping the state’s contract-review board, which had found the transaction illegal because it failed to meet state rules regarding a single-source bid.

When Maryland officials were considering a roughly $60 million proposal to develop computerized testing for Common Core that month, state Comptroller Peter Franchot also objected that Pearson was the only bidder. “How are we ever going to know if taxpayers are getting a good deal if there is no competition?” the elected Democrat asked, before being outvoted by a state board in approving the contract.

Common Core is sacrificing our children’s education while a few well-placed companies make millions. It is simply not worth it.

The North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission

The North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission met today in Raleigh, North Carolina, to discuss the Common Core Mathematics Standards.

The Academic Standards Review Commission was established by General Assembly of North Carolina Session 2013 Session Law 2014-78 Senate Bill 812.

Section 2(c) of the Bill states:

SECTION 2.(c) The Commission shall:

(1)    Conduct a comprehensive review of all English Language Arts and Mathematics standards that were adopted by the State Board of Education under G.S. 115C-12(9c) and propose modifications to ensure that those standards meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Increase students’ level of academic achievement.
  2. Meet and reflect North Carolina’s priorities.
  3. Are age-level and developmentally appropriate.
  4. Are understandable to parents and teachers.
  5. Are among the highest standards in the nation.

(2)   As soon as practicable upon convening, and at any time prior to termination, recommend changes and modifications to these academic standards to the State Board of Education.

(3)   Recommend to the State Board of Education assessments aligned to proposed changes and modifications that would also reduce the number of high-stakes assessments administered to public schools.

(4)   Consider the impact on educators, including the need for professional development, when making any of the recommendations required in this section.

The Commission shall assemble content experts to assist it in evaluating the rigor ofacademic standards. The Commission shall also involve interested stakeholders in this processand otherwise ensure that the process is transparent.

Today was the second meeting of the Academic Standards Review Commission I have attended. The last one (last month) dealt with the Common Core Language Arts Standards. Today’s meeting dealt with the Common Core Mathematics Standards. The presentations at both meetings were done by people from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI)(a department that is strongly supporting Common Core). There has been (so far) no discussion of any alternate standards. It was also mentioned in today’s meeting that the Commission does not have any money allocated to it, and thus cannot call any experts who might refute the value of Common Core.

I have never been so disappointed in government. When the North Carolina legislature passed the legislation that created the Commission, they passed it in response to complaints by parents about the Common Core standards (and the curriculum that goes with them). The parents were not looking for a worthless commission that would do nothing but hear from supporters of Common Core, put a rubber stamp on it, and go home. (I do need to say at this point that there were some members of the Commission that were asking genuine questions and were trying to look past the one-sided promotional presentation they were subjected to.)

All in all, the meeting of the Commission was a well-orchestrated and controlled dog and pony show that accomplished nothing except to show the extent to which the North Carolina DPI supports Common Core. I would strongly suggest to the Commission (and to the DPI) that if you truly want to improve the education level of North Carolina students, you study the MCAS  (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) program instituted in Massachusetts during the early 1990’s. Massachusetts has more than ten years of test scores that show that MCAS works. Common Core has no reliable test scores that show that has actually accomplished anything. Normally, I would never suggest North Carolina follow the example of Massachusetts, but this one time Massachusetts got it right, and they should be listened to. I would also like to note that many of the local school boards in Massachusetts have opted out of Common Core in favor of MCAS.

 

 

An Alternative To ADHD Medication

In September, The Atlantic Magazine posted an article about dealing with children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As someone who married into a family with about five generations that we are pretty sure of with ADHD or ADD, I was very interested in the article. I have learned from my personal experience that ADD or ADHD is different in girls than boys, and I have also learned that in some cases, ADD or ADHD can be dealt with without the use of prescription drugs. My husband controls his ADD with coffee. A few cups in the morning will slow him down enough so that he can concentrate. One of my daughters controls her ADD and her son’s ADHD with physical activity. The article in The Atlantic reinforces the idea that physical activity can be used to control ADHD. Before I quote the article, I would like to mention that ADD and ADHD exploded as a problem about the time recess was taken out of the lower grades in many of our public schools. We need to rethink that.

The article in The Atlantic reports:

Last year a very similar study in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that just 26 minutes of daily physical activity for eight weeks significantly allayed ADHD symptoms in grade-school kids. The modest conclusion of the study was that “physical activity shows promise for addressing ADHD symptoms in young children.” The researchers went on to write that this finding should be “carefully explored with further studies.”

 “If physical activity is established as an effective intervention for ADHD,” they continued, “it will also be important to address possible complementary effects of physical activity and existing treatment strategies …” Which is a kind of phenomenal degree of reservation compared to the haste with which millions of kids have been introduced to amphetamines and other stimulants to address said ADHD. The number of prescriptions increased from 34.8 to 48.4 million between 2007 and 2011 alone. The pharmaceutical market around the disorder has grown to several billion dollars in recent years while school exercise initiatives have enjoyed no such spoils of entrepreneurialism. But, you know, once there is more research, it may potentially be advisable to consider possibly implementing more exercise opportunities for kids.

Rather than create a generation of children hooked on drugs that treat ADHD, let’s bring back recess. It may not solve all of the problems, but I’ll bet that some children could stop their drugs and others could go on lower doses of drugs if we brought back recess.

At Least Someone Is Standing Up For The Ukraine

Yesterday the U.K. Telegraph reported that there was a very tense exchange between Vladimir Putin and David Cameron at the G20 summit.

The article reports:

The Russian president is reportedly planning to leave the summit early on Sunday and miss its official lunch in response to repeated criticism from western leaders.

The move comes after Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister, threatened to “shirt front” Mr Putin – a form of physical confrontation. Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, told Mr Putin: “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I’ll only have one thing to say to you – get out of the Ukraine.”

Mr Cameron told Mr Putin that he is at a “crossroads” and could face further sanctions after the pair held “robust” discussions on Ukraine.

During a tense 50 minute meeting Mr Cameron warned that Russia is risking its relations with the West and must end its support for Russian separatists.

Let’s remember how we got here. In March of this year the U.K. Daily Mail reported:

As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama won $48 million in federal funding to help Ukraine destroy thousands of tons of guns and ammunition – weapons which are now unavailable to the Ukrainian army as it faces down Russian President Vladimir Putin during his invasion of Crimea.

In August 2005, just seven months after his swearing-in, Obama traveled to Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine with then-Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar, touring a conventional weapons site.

The two met in Kiev with President Victor Yushchenko, making the case that an existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program covering the destruction of nuclear weapons should be expanded to include artillery, small arms, anti-aircraft weapons, and conventional ammunition of all kinds.

After a stopover in London, the senators returned to Washington and declared that the U.S. should devote funds to speed up the destruction of more than 400,000 small arms, 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles, and more than 15,000 tons of ammunition.

It gets worse. In March of 2014, Newsweek Magazine reminded us:

 A deal was signed on February 5, 1994, by Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, John Major and Leonid Kuchma—the then-leaders of the United States, Russia, United Kingdom and Ukraine—guaranteeing the security of Ukraine in exchange for the return of its ICBMs to Moscow’s control. The last SS-24 missiles moved from Ukrainian territory in June 1996, leaving Kiev defenseless against its nuclear-armed neighbor.

That deal, known as the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, was not a formal treaty but a diplomatic memorandum of understanding. Still, the terms couldn’t be clearer: Russia, the U.S. and U.K. agreed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine…reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine.”

 I am not convinced that any of the countries involved have lived up to that agreement. America has done very little to ensure the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine (we gave up Crimea very easily, and it is very rarely spoken of in the news).

However, there is good news in this–as the price of oil falls, the economy of Russia will also spiral downward. If America begins sending natural gas to Europe, Russia will lose part of the bullying tactics they have employed in the region. Also, just to make it even more interesting, as the price of oil falls, Venezuela will also continue its economic spiral downward. The falling price of oil will also impact some of the despots in the Middle East that have had a strangle hold on American diplomacy for generations.

American energy independence is important as a security matter, but it is also very important as a component of American foreign policy. As the price of oil falls, we will begin to see the impact of that decrease in international politics.

We Need To Follow The Lead Of The United Arab Emirates

Buzz Feed posted a story today stating that the United Arab Emirates has listed two American Muslim organizations on its list of designated terrorist groups. The groups are the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS).

CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial and MAS has a history of anti-Semitic statements on its website as well as being founded by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Why hasn’t America declared these two terrorist organizations as terrorist?

Discover the Networks posted the following on its website:

MUSLIM AMERICAN SOCIETY (MAS)

  • Founded in 1992 for the purpose of promoting “Islam as a total way of life”
  • Has stated that American foreign policy is to blame for the 9/11 attacks

In May 2005, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross reported in The Weekly Standard that MAS is a U.S. front group for the Muslim Brotherhooda claim supported by a September 19, 2004 Chicago Tribune story that stated: “In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation’s major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members.”  This Tribune article was later reproduced on the Muslim Brotherhood’s English-language website, Ikhwanweb.

MAS, like the Muslim Brotherhood, wishes to see the United States governed by sharia, or Islamic law. “The message that all countries should be ruled by Islamic law,” writes Gartenstein-Ross, “is echoed throughout MAS’s membership curriculum. For example, MAS requires all its adjunct members to read Fathi Yakun’s book To Be a Muslim. In that volume, Yakun spells out his expansive agenda: ‘Until the nations of the world have functionally Islamic governments, every individual who is careless or lazy in working for Islam is sinful.'”

Discover the Networks reports the following on CAIR:

CAIR was co-founded in 1994 by Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad, both of whom had close ties to the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which was established by senior Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook and functioned as Hamas’ public relations and recruitment arm in the United States. Awad and Ahmad previously had served, respectively, as IAP’s Public Relations Director and President. Thus it can be said that CAIR was an outgrowth of IAP.

CAIR opened its first office in Washington, DC, with the help of a $5,000 donation from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a self-described charity founded by Mousa Abu Marzook. In May 1996, CAIR coordinated a press conference to protest the decision of the U.S. government to extradite Marzook for his connection to terrorist acts performed by Hamas. CAIR characterized the extradition as “anti-Islamic” and “anti-American.” When President Bush closed HLF in December 2001 for collecting money “to support the Hamas terror organization,” CAIR decried his action as “unjust” and “disturbing.”

America needs to follow the lead of the UAE and names these organizations for the terrorism supporters that they are.

 

 

Will Keystone Make A Difference?

The Wall Street Journal (not linked–the article is subscribers only) posted an editorial in its weekend edition about President Obama’s recent remarks about the Keystone XL Pipeline.

When asked about the pipeline, President Obama responded, “Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.”

Either the President is economically ignorant or he is attempting to take advantage of the lack of economic knowledge of the average American (the tactic used to sell ObamaCare).

The editorial at the Wall Street Journal points out:

Someone should tell the President that oil markets are global and adding to global supply might well reduce U.S. gas prices, other things being equal. A tutor could add that Keystone XL will also carry U.S. light oil from North Dakota‘s Bakken Shale. So even if he thinks that bilateral trade only helps Canada, he’s still wrong about Keystone.

…Mr. Obama routinely entreats Congress to spend taxpayer money on “infrastructure” to create jobs, yet he implies that the 1,179-mile Keystone infrastructure project won’t create jobs.

Chances are that President Obama will veto the bill that passed the House and Senate regarding the Keystone Pipeline. The only reason the Senate allowed the bill to be brought up was to help Senator Landrieu win re-election. I am not sure the bill would have been brought up if the Democrats were not sure the President would veto it. I doubt enough Democrats will actually support the bill to override that veto. It would be nice if they did. Keystone would be a wonderful way to boost the American economy without charging Americans more taxes.

 

Enforce The Current Laws–Don’t Scream For Change

Last night I watched a movie produced by the Tea Party called, “The Border States of America.” The movie is embedded below (taken from YouTube).

One of the important things noted in the movie is the fact that we have turned over control of the border to the Mexican drug cartels. They control who crosses, where they cross, and they make a tremendous amount of money on drug smuggling and human trafficking. The farmers along the border are afraid to call the police when they see illegal activity because the cartels have threatened them. If we are to be a sovereign nation, we had better learn to act like one.

A few years ago, someone introduced me to the Cloward-Piven strategy. This is a strategy first proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, The purpose of the strategy is to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse. When I first heard this, I thought it was far-fetched, but looking at the border crisis has convinced me that it may be something I need to revisit.

Last summer we had tens of thousands of unaccompanied children come across the southern border. Those children brought with them diseases and other challenges. They will be a burden on our school systems, our welfare systems, and unfortunately, our criminal justice system–many of these ‘children’ were not children at all, but members of violent Latin American gangs. This influx of illegals does have the potential to ‘collapse the system.’

Please watch the movie, and if you love America, write or call your Congressman and ask that the government secure our southern border before we even discuss immigration reform.

 

Future Voting Demographics

Michael Barone posted an article at National Review today analyzing the various voting groups that make up the American electorate and the changes they are going through.

This is the House of Representatives map from the National Journal:

HouseofRepMapIn his article at the National Review, Michael Barone describes this map:

It looks almost entirely red, except for some pinpoints of blue in major metropolitan areas and a few blue blotches here and there — in Minnesota, northern New Mexico and Arizona, western New England, along the Pacific Coast.

Mr. Barone points out that the map is actually misleading–the population density in the blue areas is generally much greater than in the red areas.

The article at National Review explains:

But it (the map) does tell us something about the geographic and cultural isolation of the core groups of the Democratic party: gentry liberals and blacks.

These were the two groups gathered together when Barack Obama had the opportunity to draw the new lines of his state senate district after the 2000 census. He combined the heavily black South Side of Chicago with Gold Coast gentry liberals north of the Loop.

Together, they provided him with an overwhelmingly Democratic voter base and with access to the upper financial and intellectual reaches of the Democratic party — and, in short time, the presidency of the United States.

The article at National Review explains that the number of black voters in 2014 was only slightly down from 2012–from 13 percent of voters to 12 percent of voters (that is not unusual in a mid-term election). However, blacks are not a growing segment of the voting population, and Democrats will probably never again win the 91 percent of the black vote they won in 2008.

The percentage of Hispanic voters is rising, but they are not guaranteed Democrat voters–some of the key issues of the Democrats have alienated the Hispanic vote–abortion, gun control, and opposition to fracking. So the Democrats cannot automatically count on those votes in the future (this might explain the Democrats focus on legalizing illegal aliens).

The article at National Review concludes:

Analysts who separate Americans into two tidy categories — white and non-white — assume that the non-white category will grow and that whites can’t vote any more Republican than they have historically. Presto, a Democratic America.

The first assumption is well founded. But Hispanics and Asians are not replicating blacks’ voting behavior, just as they haven’t shared their unique historic heritage. In some states, they’re voting more like whites than like blacks.

The second assumption may not be true at all. History shows that self-conscious minorities tend to vote cohesively, as blacks have for 150 years and southern whites did for 90. It’s an understandable response to feeling outnumbered and faced with an unappealing agenda.

In that case, Romney’s 59 percent or House Republicans’ 60 percent among whites may turn out to be more a floor than a ceiling. And that map may become increasingly familiar.

2016 will be an interesting year–the Presidential campaign has already begun. Who should we watch? On the Democrat side, keep your eye on Elizabeth Warren. On the Republican side, keep your eye on the governors–Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, John Thune, and the Senators, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Rob Portman.

Repeating The Mistakes Of The Past

Yesterday the Israel National News reported that anti-racism activists in Norway refused to take part in a ceremony remembering Kristallnacht  if members of the Jewish community were invited to it. The ceremony took place earlier this week.

According to the article:

According to blog “Norway, Israel and the Jews,” Norwegian organization New SOS Racisme – which claims to act against racism – demanded that the “Zionist Jews of Bergen” be banned from attending the Kristallnacht memorial event held earlier this week.

It gets worse:

IBT (International Business Times) noted that the incident occurred “a few days after Denmark’s ceremony in Norrebro district, marking the Holocaust, was used to raise money for Gaza, following the 2014 Israel-Gaza war.”

Gaza suffered damaged during the 2014 Israel-Gaza war. However, leading up to that war, Gaza had been attacking Israel daily with rockets and building tunnels to go into Israel and kill civilians. Money given to Gaza to build infrastructure was instead used to build those tunnels and buy weapons. I have no doubt that money currently given to Gaza will also be used to buy arms and plan military attacks on Israel.

My questions here is simple, “Who is the racist?”

The Cost Of Immigration

America is a country that was built by immigrants. People came here from Europe and other places to celebrate freedom, escape religious persecution, or simply to begin again. The Catholics fled the potato famine, the Jews fled the pogroms, and others came to buy land to farm and support a family.

Well, not all of today’s immigrants have the same sort of ambition. National Review reported today that 42 percent of new Medicaid recipients are immigrants.

The article reports:

Federal law bans the admission of immigrants who are likely to be significant beneficiaries of welfare, technically a “public charge,” but that definition doesn’t consider in-kind welfare programs like Medicaid: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services defines being a public charge as “the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” The USCIS union president has recently complained that President Obama is not enforcing public-charge laws.

Illegal immigrants are ineligible for Medicaid currently and are technically ineligible for the Medicaid expansion or any other direct Obamacare benefits, but fraud in the program is rarely investigated and recipient-level eligiblity is rarely investigated.

The article also reminds us that Medicaid has been expanded so that people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible. This greatly increased the cost of the program.

I am not opposed to immigration, but I question the wisdom of an immigration policy that allows people to come here and be a burden on the federal government. Our federal deficit is out of control, why are we passing laws that make it worse?

Sometimes I Hate Politics

The Keystone Pipeline is something that will help energy independence in America, boost the American economy, and provide jobs for Americans. In 2012, the Pipeline was blocked in the Senate because the Republicans could not break the Democrat filibuster. President Obama has been running interference to prevent approval of the Pipeline since he took office. But now things have changed.

Fox News posted an article today about Congress’ latest moves regarding the Keystone Pipeline. It will be interesting to see if the Pipeline gets approved this time. The possibility of approval has nothing to do with the American economy, jobs, or energy independence. It has to do with the runoff election to be held in Louisiana next month involving Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu.

The article reports:

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, traveling with President Obama in Burma, told reporters that the president takes a “dim view” of legislative efforts to force action on the project. Earnest stopped short of threatening a veto, but reiterated Obama’s preference for evaluating the pipeline through a long-stalled State Department review. Obama has repeatedly ordered such reviews under pressure from environmental groups, who say the project would contribute to climate change. 

Landrieu, who is thought to be trailing Cassidy ahead of their Dec. 6 runoff election, wants to deliver a win for the energy industry by pushing Keystone. The measure was one she co-sponsored with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., back in May. 

“We can pass the Keystone pipeline and answer the frustrations of the American people,” she said. “So they could rest next and say, oh my gosh the senators of the United States of America have ears and they have brains and they have hearts and they heard what we said and we can do this.” 

The irony here is that Tom Steyer, a rather extreme environmentalist, pledged to contribute $100 million to anti-Keystone Democrats during the mid-term election. The Democrats took the money. How soon they forget.

The ideal outcome for the Democrats in this situation would be for the bill to be filibustered again. That way Senator Landrieu could say she tried,  the environmentalists who oppose the pipeline would still be happy because the bill failed, and Warren Buffett, whose company Berkshire Hathaway owns the railroad transporting the oil because there is no pipeline (see rightwinggranny), would still be making money with his railroad. The only people who would lose are Americans who want energy independence, the American economy, and people who want jobs. But if the Democrats win the runoff, they won’t worry about such trivial things.

In North Carolina, People Voted

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the mid-term voting in North Carolina. Some of the pundits on the American left have blamed the Republican victory on the “disfranchisement” of likely Democratic voters.” The actual numbers tell a different story.

The article reports:

Francis Barry of Bloomberg, having looked more closely than Weiser at the numbers, concludes that North Carolina’s voting law changes did not determine the outcome of the Senate race. He notes that even with seven fewer early voting days, early voting in North Carolina increased this year by 35 percent compared with the 2010 midterm.

Moreover, statewide turnout as a whole increased from the previous midterm election, from 43.7 percent to 44.1 percent. And the share of the Black vote as a percentage of the total increased from its 2010 level.

We will be hearing more about discrimination against black voters as 2016 approaches and the left tries to undo voter identification laws. However, the numbers prove that making changes to improve the cost, integrity, and efficiency of elections does not lower voter turnout. I would also like to note that almost half of the people in North Carolina voted in a midterm election. They wanted to make their voices heard. That is a good thing.