Union Thuggery

Townhall.com is reporting that United States District Judge Claude Hilton, acting in the eastern district of Virginia, has ruled that the French-based food service and facilities management company Sodexo can proceed with an extortion claim against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The union is accused of using its close ties to the Obama Administration to harass the company.  Sodexo is a non-union company where only 18,000 of the company’s 98,000 qualified employees have chosen to join the SEIU.  The company is charging the SEIU with attempting to unlawfully unionize employees and increase revenue in violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

According to the article:

“According to the National Legal and Policy Center only 18,000 of the company’s 98,000 qualified employees have chosen to join the SEIU. In retaliation, says the NLPC, the union has carried out a campaign of intimidation that includes:

  • threw plastic roaches onto food at a high-profile event catered by Sodexo;
  • scared hospital patients by insinuating that Sodexo food contained bugs, rat droppings, mold and flies;
  • sneaked into elementary schools to avoid security;
  • violated lobbying laws to steer business away from the company; and
  • threatened Sodexo USA employees with public exposure of alleged wrongdoing.”

Obviously, if the charges are true, the SEIU is breaking the law. 

The article concludes:

“On July 1st the Competitive Enterprise Institute published the SEIU’s plan “to launch a national campaign of economic strong-arming and sabotage. Their plan envisions mortgage and student loan strikes and bank boycotts. Also contemplated are acts of harassment and intimidation directed against bank officials, corporate heads and public officials deemed to be enemies of the people.”

“So if indeed the SEIU has been guilty of illegal activities such as using government influence to threaten or intimidate companies or individuals, the question is how much does the Obama administration know and how high does it go?”    

The Obama administration is one whose election was financed by unions; therefore, it is not unusual that they would expect something in return.  However, it would be nice if they showed some respect for the law.  

A Little Diversion From The Debt Ceiling Debate

Today’s U.K. Daily Mail is reporting that the FBI believes it has finally caught DB Cooper.  For anyone under the age of 40, DB Cooper boarded an airplane in Portland, Oregon, in 1971, took over the airplane on the way to Seattle, Washington, demanded and got four parachutes and $200,000 and demanded to be flown to Mexico.  Somewhere along the way, he and his money jumped out of the airplane.  He has been missing ever since.  In 1980, $5,800 of the money he was given was found in the Columbia River.

There was a man who was suspected of being DB Cooper who was killed after a prison break in 1974, but he did not fit the description given by the flight attendants. 

The FBI is looking at fingerprints and DNA evidence to link the suspect to the crime.  Stay tuned. 

Why We Need To Cut Spending NOW !

Why we need to repeal Obamacare and generally cut spending.  The chart is from the August 8 issue of the Weekly Standard.



Federal Spending Graph

The article concludes:

“For Republicans, spending cuts have been the top priority, and rightly so. But the real problem is spending on health-entitlement programs. If that category of spending is not brought under the discipline of an effective marketplace, then American health care, and our economy as a whole, will be on the road to ruin.

“Genuine health care reform therefore needs to be at the core of the Republican case for fiscal sanity​–​a case that in turn must be front and center in the 2012 election. That election may well be the only real chance we have left to avoid a genuine debt crisis and set America back on the path to enduring prosperity and strength.”

Americans need to stand strong in their support of serious spending cuts and on the repeal of Obamacare.

Egypt Goes Sour

Yesterday The Lede, the blog at the New York Times, reported on a rally in Tahrir Square that was supposed to be a protest against the current military government.  

The article reported:

“But the turnout was lopsided, dominated by members of religious movements, ranging from the most conservative, the Salafists, to the relatively moderate Muslim Brotherhood.” 

The first thing to understand here is that there is nothing moderate about the Muslim Brotherhood.  The goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is a world-wide caliphate under Sharia Law.  That is stated in their charter and was reaffirmed in the documents uncovered in the Holy Land Foundation Case in Texas. They have no intentions of allowing a western-style democracy to take place anywhere in the Middle East–particularly in Egypt, which has in the past been an ally of the United States. 

The article further reported:

According to The Associated Press, instead of chanting “The people want to topple the regime,” a slogan heard at protests across the Arab world this year, from Tahrir Square to Tunisia, demonstrators called out, “The people want to implement Sharia,” a strict code of Islamic law.”

Sharie law is not compatible with democracy.  Egypt is only the beginning of the Arab Spring’s turning from what appeared to be a bridge to freedom to a bridge to a caliphate.

Congress Has Entered Into The World Of Alice In Wonderland

Harry Reid made this statement yesterday after the House of Representatives passed a bill to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending:

“It is time for Republicans to stop the political games and embrace compromise.”

Senator Reid made this statement right after the bill was tabled to prevent the Senate from taking it up and discussing it.

The Plot Thickens…

I am not a strategist.  I don’t play chess because I can’t sit still and concentrate long enough to finish a game.  I barely play checkers, and I am not very good at hearts.  That is one of the reasons I am having so much trouble figuring out what in the world is going on in the debt celing debate.

The Hill reported today that Speaker Boehner will add a balanced-budget amendment to his proposed debt ceiling legislation in order to win the support of conservatives in the House of Representatives.  Senator Harry Reid has stated that such a bill will be dead on arrival.  I am assuming that a stonger bill coming out of the House will give Republicans more negotiating room and that Harry Reid is just making statements for the base, but I really do not know where the truth is in any of this. 

The article reports:

“Republican lawmakers say the Boehner framework would still pave the way for the debt limit to be raised through the 2012 election in two chunks. But it would also mandate that the second hike of the ceiling could only occur after a balanced-budget amendment passed both chambers of Congress and went to the states for ratification.”

The current crop of Washington politicians (with the exception of the Tea Party) have no interest in balancing the budget–it would limit their power.  They have no interest in simplifying the tax code–that would also limit their power.  I hate to be cynical, but I truly feel that what we are currently watching in Washington is an elaborately staged dance between the Democrats and the Republican establishment.  The Tea Party was not invited.  I don’t support a third party, but I am beginning to believe that the solution to Washington is more Tea Party, less Democrats and less Republican establishment.  I have a feeling that no one is going to be satisfied with whatever solution is reached on the debt ceiling.

I Am Grateful For Retired Policemen

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported that a retired policeman who worked in a gun shop alerted police to a man that he felt was asking some strange questions.  This led to the arrest of Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo

The article reports on Pfc Abdo:

“He’ll likely face federal charges after FBI agents found a large amount of bomb-making materials in his hotel room not far from the base.

“The 21-year-old had gone AWOL from Fort Campbell, Kentucky after refusing deployment to Afghanistan on religious grounds and then being charged with possession of child pornography during his discharge process.”

The article further reports:

“Abdo appeared in a local gunshop Tuesday afternoon, according to Greg Ebert, a retired police officer now working there. Ebert said Abdo purchased shotgun shells, a magazine and six one-pound canisters of gunpowder.

“But he then asked Ebert numerous questions indicating little knowledge of the gunpowder.”

At that point, Mr. Ebert checked with his boss and then alerted police.  Thanks to Mr. Ebert, we avoided another massacre at Fort Hood.

I am not sure whether two incidents can be considered a pattern, but I wonder if when a soldier refuses to deploy because he is a Mulsim he should be looked at more closely.  But for the actions of Mr. Ebert, our military was going to be attacked again by a terrorist member of the military.

In Danger Of Getting Lost In The Politics Of The Moment

On Tuesday the Washington Times posted an article reminding us that Iran has been holding two American hostages since July 31, 2009.  The third hostage, Sarah Shourd, was released in September of last year.  The three were arrested while hiking near the poorly marked border between Iraq and Iran and charged with spying. 

The article states:

“The two Americans are being held in Evin Prison. Tehran’s central clearing house for dissidents, political prisoners and others who fall afoul of the Islamic regime. Miss Shourd was released in September 2010 after enduring 410 days of solitary confinement and after Iran was paid half a million dollars, which Tehran called bail money but was more akin to ransom. After her release, she told of beatings, isolation, threats of summary execution and other mistreatment at the hands of Iranian authorities.”

When America has a weak President, the world is a more dangerous place for everyone.  President Obama needs to make the release of these two young men a priority.  There is no evidence showing that is currently being done.

Two Graphs That Tell The Entire Story

Today’s Wall Street Journal posted a story entitled, “The Road to a Downgrade.”   These are two graphs from that article.  The article reviews the history that brought us to this point, beginning with FDR.  I strongly suggest you read the entire article for the total picture. 



The article reminds us of some of the false information currently circulating:

“On Monday night Mr. Obama blamed President George W. Bush’s “two wars” for the debt buildup. But national defense spending was 7.4% of GDP and 42.8% of outlays in 1965, and only 4.8% of GDP and 20.1% of federal outlays in 2010. Defense has not caused the debt crisis.

“Many on the left still blame Ronald Reagan, but the debt increase in the 1980s financed a robust economic expansion and victory in the Cold War. Debt held by the public at the end of the Reagan years was much lower as a share of GDP (41% in 1988 and still only 40.3% in 2008) compared to the estimated 72% in fiscal 2011. That Cold War victory made possible the peace dividend that allowed Bill Clinton to balance the budget in the 1990s by cutting defense spending to 3% of GDP from nearly 6% in 1988.”

These are just two of the things to keep in mind as the debate on the debt celing continues.

The article concludes:

“Yet Mr. Obama and most Democrats still oppose any serious reform of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. This insistence on no reform reinforces the notion that our entitlement state is too big to afford but also too big to change politically. This is how a AAA country becomes AA, the first step on the march to Greece.”

Please follow the link above to read the entire article.

Guess What ? John Boehner Isn’t Perfect, Nor Is His Plan

Investors.com posted an article yesterday about Speaker Boehner’s plan to deal with the debt ceiling.  They acknowledged (along with most of us) that the plan is not perfect, but they also realize the practical aspects of getting a bill through Congress. 

One of the basic facts the article points out:

“Despite the widespread notion that raising tax rates automatically means collecting more revenue for the government, history says otherwise.

“As far back as the 1920s, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon pointed out that the government received a very similar amount of revenue from high-income earners at low tax rates as it did at tax rates several times as high.”

This has to do with the fact that high-income earners often have a better understanding of how money works than the rest of us and can put their money in places that protect it from taxes, such as overseas investments, which do very little to increase tax revenue in America.

The artice reminds us:

“The most basic fact of life is that we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available. It is not idealism to ignore the limits of one’s power. Nor is it selling out one’s principles to recognize those limits at a given time and place, and get the best deal possible under those conditions.

“That still leaves the option of working toward getting a better deal later, when the odds are more in your favor.”

It is time for the Tea Party to step back, take a deep breath, and prepare for 2012.  Anything else will insure that President Obama will be a two-term President and America as we know it will no longer exist.  I realize that is a strong statement, but look how much damage President Obama has done to the Constitution in two and a half years.  This is the time to be practical, even though it is tempting to hold out for radical spending reductions–they are not going to happen with the current Senate and current President.  I wish we could slash and burn the budget, but we really can’t right now.  Hopefully, there will be a time for that after 2012.  Rome was not built in a day, and the leviathan that the American government has become will not go down easily.

A Picture Of American Debt

Power Line recently ran a contest to see who could best illustrate the impact runaway spending will have on America if it is not stopped.  This is the link to one of the best entries (Digging A Hole).  It did not win, but it definitely gets the point across.  One of the best comments on the video stated that it gives new meaning to the words “shovel ready.”

Skewing The Results Of An Investigation

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that it had obtained documents showing that top aides to Iowa Democrat Senator Tom Harkin collaborated with a special interest group and a law firm with a financial interest in the matter to edit the written and oral testimony of a witness at a key investigative hearing last year.  The witness was Josh Pruyn, a disillusioned former employee of the for-profit Westwood College online.

Senator Harkin was investigating for-profit schools. There are also questions about a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report commissioned by Senator Harkin that was also unveiled at the hearing in which Pruyn testified.  Mr. Pruyn testified about the high pressure tactics used to enroll students in the school, but the fact that he was coached by people who would be financially impacted by his testimony undermines his credibility.  The Daily Caller has emails and document revisions showing the roll of the James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich law firm in shaping Mr. Pruyn’s testimony.  His testimony was also influenced by officials of the Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS).

The article reports:

“Despite TICAS’s relatively small $2.3 million budget in 2009, the group was tremendously influential in pushing strict new regulations on the for-profit colleges, finalized June 2, with its former president, Robert Shireman, joining the Obama administration in 2009 as a top deputy to Education Sec. Arne Duncan.”

The danger here is the concept of using the government (Congress and the White House) to pick winners and losers in a particular area of the economy.  This is more Chicago thuggery entering into the business world.  If for-profit colleges can be put under scrutiny by Congress and made to look bad, colleges that have administrators and professors that support the current administration can increase their share of students and profitability.  Keep in mind that even though many private colleges are not declared as ‘for-profit’, they have teachers to pay, buildings to maintain, etc.  If some of the competition is eliminated, they may be more successful and a little freer to raise their student tuition and fees without worry about being undercut by for-profit schools.

There may or may not be something to the charges against Westwood College, but there is definitely something wrong with tampering with a witness preparing to testify before Congress.

Government Agencies Run Amok

This story is based on three sources.  I will list them as I refer to the information they provide. 

Mark Hemingway in his blog at the Weekly Standard reported today that:

“At a lengthy hearing on ATF’s controversial gunwalking operation today, a key ATF manager told Congress he discussed the case with a White House National Security staffer as early as September 2010. The communications were between ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office, Bill Newell, and White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O’Reilly. Newell said the two are longtime friends. The content of what Newell shared with O’Reilly is unclear and wasn’t fully explored at the hearing.”

This is the first official testimony that I have seen that confirms that the White House was informed as to what was going on with Operation Fast and Furious.  This calls into question many statements made by the President and his Administration.

CBS News reported yesterday:

“It’s the first time anyone has publicly stated that a White House official had any familiarity with ATF’s operation Fast and Furious, which allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels in an attempt to gain intelligence. It’s unknown as to whether O’Reilly shared information with anybody else at the White House.”

It will be interesting to see if the White House continues to deny knowledge of the operation. 

Meanwhile, today the Daily Caller reported:

“Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent Brian Newell continues to deny Operation Fast and Furious allowed for guns to be “walked” into Mexico.”

House oversight committee chairman Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, had a very appropriate response to this testimony.  The Daily Caller reported his response:

“”You’re entitled to your own opinions, not to your own facts,” Issa responded. “But there comes a point when I go, “Wait a second: 730 weapons bought by a man who had no money. Every penny he bought with he had to get from somebody.’ You knew that at some point. You knew who was buying them and you allowed it to continue.””

This story does not seem to be going away.

Car Wreck

Last night I was privileged to attend an event sponsored by the Liberty Clubhouse that featured Mark Ragsdale, author of CAR WRECK, as the speaker.  Mr. Ragsdale grew up in a car dealership family and owned a number of car dealerships at various times.  Mr. Ragsdale has served as Director for the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association, as Chairman of a National Dealer 20 group, and as a member of the Kia National Dealer Council.  He spoke about how the government has invaded the free market in the auto industry and the impact that has had on the industry and the consumer.

Mr. Ragsdale spoke of the impact the credit market has on the auto industry–both on dealerships and consumers.  He pointed out that the credit market has been manipulated by the government and that a manipulated market has no predictability, making it very difficult for dealerships to plan for the future. 

Mr. Ragsdale also spoke about the government bailout of Chrysler and General Motors.  He talked about the laws of bankruptcy being violated in the Chrysler bailout (see rightwinggranny.com article of May 8, 2009, for further information).  He also explained how “Cash for Clunkers” had a detrimental effect on consumers–creating a bubble in the used car market because 800,000 cars that were road-worthy, insured, and fully paid off (the requirements for turning in a ‘clunker’) were destroyed.   He reported that the average cost of a new car before government intervention in the auto industry (TARP) was $26,500.  The average cost now is $29,500. 

Mr. Ragsdale also illustrated the myth of the hybrid car.  He pointed out that a hybrid car begins to make economic sense when gas is $7 a gallon, but not before.  One thing he mentioned that I was not aware of is the fact that after 10 years or 100,000 miles, the batteries in hybrid vehicles have to be replaced.  These batteries cost a minimum of $4,000.  There is also, as yet, no environmentally friendly way to dispose of the used batteries.  The Chevy Volt guarantees its battery for 8 years.  The replacement batteries for the Volt cost $10,000.

Mr. Ragsdale also spoke about CAFE standards (Corporate Average Fuel Economy).  These are the regulations that control the gas mileage of the cars the auto industry in America produces.  He pointed out that for the first time in America under President Obama CAFE standards have been raised by executive order through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), rather than through Congressional action.  This is not a move in the right direction–it gives more control to unelected government officials, which is never a good idea.

I strongly recommend CAR WRECK as good summer reading.  A friend of mine who attended the event had been planning to go car shopping tonight.  She told me after she left that she would not go car shopping until she had read the book.  I think that is a really good idea.

For further information, Mark Ragsdale’s website is MarkRagsdale.com.

The Everchanging Date Of Doomsday

Bloomberg.com reported today that the August 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling may not be entirely accurate.  Because tax revenue is coming in faster than expected, the date will probably be later than August 2. 

The article reported:

“The Treasury “has another two weeks after Aug. 2 basically of cash flow that’s available, and they will pay off the interest on the debt as their No. 1 priority to avoid any default,” John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC Silvia, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television yesterday.”

Considering the total lack of agreement on how to handle our out-of-control spending, I suspect that this is good news.

Speaker Boehner’s Speech

This is the link to Speaker John Boehner’s speech.  In his speech, Representative Boehner stated:

“Last week, the House passed such a plan, and with bipartisan support. It’s called the ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance’ Act. It CUTS and CAPS government spending and paves the way for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which we believe is the best way to stop Washington from spending money it doesn’t have. Before we even passed the bill in the House, the President said he would veto it. 

“I want you to know I made a sincere effort to work with the president to identify a path forward that would implement the principles of Cut, Cap, & Balance in a manner that could secure bipartisan support and be signed into law. I gave it my all. 

“Unfortunately, the president would not take yes for an answer. Even when we thought we might be close on an agreement, the president’s demands changed.”

I realize that Cut, Cap and Balance will probably never pass the current Senate or be signed into law by the current President, but it contains the elements that will allow America to begin to bring her debt under control.  I am hoping that the eventual deal that is worked out includes some serious real cuts in spending.  Unfortunately in the last spending bill passed by Congress, the spending cuts included a lot of accounting gimmicks that were not serious cuts.  Hopefully, the Republicans will not be fooled again. 

Speaker Boehner further points out:

“You see, there is no stalemate in Congress. The House has passed a bill to raise the debt limit with bipartisan support. And this week, while the Senate is struggling to pass a bill filled with phony accounting and Washington gimmicks, we will pass another bill – one that was developed with the support of the bipartisan leadership of the U.S. Senate. 

“Obviously, I expect that bill can and will pass the Senate, and be sent to the President for his signature. If the President signs it, the ‘crisis’ atmosphere he has created will simply disappear. The debt limit will be raised. Spending will be cut by more than one trillion dollars, and a serious, bipartisan committee of the Congress will begin the hard but necessary work of dealing with the tough challenges our nation faces. 

“The individuals doing this work will not be outsiders, but elected representatives of the people, doing the job they were elected to do as outlined in the Constitution. Those decisions should be made based on how they will affect people who are struggling to get a job, not how they affect some politician’s chances of getting reelected.”

A lot of what is going on in Washington right now has to do with the fact that there is an election in a little more than a year.  The actions of both parties need to be observed keeping that in mind.  My question at this point is, “What is the polling done by the White House showing?”  Does the White House believe they will gain a political advantage by shutting down the government and blaming Republicans?  Would the lack of agreement cause the President to declare that he can raise the debt ceiling unilaterally using the Fourteenth Amendment, thus sending the issue to the courts (where it would not be decided until it was no longer relevant)?  I truly wonder whether or not the President has decided that not solving this problem is in his best interest.

The President’s Speech

President Obama and House Speaker Boehner both gave speeches last night on the debt ceiling and the ongoing negotiations on how to raise it responsibly.  This is the link to the text of the President’s speech.  This is the link to the text of Speaker Boehner’s speech.

First a few comments on the President’s speech.  My comments on Speaker Boehner’s speech will be in the next article.  When President Bush left office, spending was less than $2 trillion a year–it is now almost $4 trillion a year.  That is spending–it has nothing to do with tax cuts or corporate jets and wars are not a major part of that spending.  It has to do with the fact that the House of Representatives, which initiates spending bills, has been out of control since 2006.  The elections of 2010 have begun to correct that. 

The President stated:

“…the recession meant that there was less money coming in, and it required us to spend even more — on tax cuts for middle-class families to spur the economy; on unemployment insurance; on aid to states so we could prevent more teachers and firefighters and police officers from being laid off.  These emergency steps also added to the deficit.”

Tax cuts are not spending–a tax cut allows people to keep more of THEIR money–that money never belonged to the government.  If the problem is the recession (it partially is), then why not loose regulations on companies, give everyone (including companies) a tax break, develop American energy sources, and set the economy free?

The President also stated:

“Now, what makes today’s stalemate so dangerous is that it has been tied to something known as the debt ceiling — a term that most people outside of Washington have probably never heard of before. 

“Understand — raising the debt ceiling does not allow Congress to spend more money.  It simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up.  In the past, raising the debt ceiling was routine.  Since the 1950s, Congress has always passed it, and every President has signed it.  President Reagan did it 18 times.  George W. Bush did it seven times.  And we have to do it by next Tuesday, August 2nd, or else we won’t be able to pay all of our bills.”  

I suspect at least 70 percent of voters have developed a good understanding of the debt ceiling in recent weeks. 

Regarding the claim that raising the debt ceiling only pays for past expenditures, Bill Kristol pointed out in the Weekly Standard last night:

“That statement might be true about a rise in the debt ceiling that would take us only through the rest of the current fiscal year, for which funds have already been appropriated by Congress. It is simply not true about the increase Obama is asking for, which is designed to cover the next fiscal year and a bit more. The fact is, Obama’s $2.4 trillion increase (a number that never appears in the speech) does precisely what Obama says it doesn’t: it “allow[s] Congress to spend more money.” It is not the case that Obama’s debt ceiling hike “simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up.””

There was no indication in this speech that the President is willing to cut spending.  There is also no indication that his goal of increasing taxes has changed.  There is a basic philosophical divide here.  The goal of the conservative Republicans now in control of the House of Representatives is to reduce spending to approximately 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Traditionally tax receipts are about 18 percent of GDP.  The goal of the Progressives (liberals) in Congress is to increase taxes to bring in 25 percent of GDP to pay for their expanded government programs.  There are some genuine questions as to whether tax revenue can reach 25 percent even if taxes are raised significantly.  There is a tipping point where people simply stop producing because their efforts do not bring sufficient rewards to justify the work.

The President’s speech did not help bridge the gap between the two sides.  It seems as if all President Obama did was dig his heels in on positions that have already been discredited.

It Looks As If Football Will Happen This Year

NFL.com is reporting that the 32 player representatives voted unanimously this afternoon to approve the deal agreed to early this morning. 

The articlel reports:

“Meanwhile, the sides have agreed to a timeline that would allow some transactions and league business to begin Tuesday, sources with direct knowledge of the situation told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora.”

I don’t know much about what goes on behind the scenes in the National Football League, but I love to watch football.  This is the year I hope to see my team in the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1960’s! 

The article also reports that there are still some loose ends to be worked out:

“Now that the 32 team representatives approve a deal, the total NFLPA membership would need to vote, with a simple majority required for passage.

“The 10 named plaintiffs in the players’ lawsuit against the league — including Tom Brady, Payton Manning and Drew Brees– must officially inform the court in Minneapolis of their approval of the pact, too.

“Even after that, while training camps would be opened, a true collective bargaining can’t be agreed upon until the NFLPA re-establishes itself as a union. Players will need to vote to do so even as the sides put the finishing touches on a deal; only after the NFLPA is again a union can it negotiate such items as the league’s personal conduct policy and drug testing.”

I think this is good news.  Let the games begin!

Eventually The Truth Comes Out

This article is based on an opinion piece in today’s Wall Street Journal by Mary Anastasia O’Grady.  I am not linking to the article because the full article is not available without a subscription.

In November 2009, Honduras voted for a new President.  In June 2009, President Manuel Zelaya was removed from office by the military because he was planning to ignore the term limits provision in the constitution in order to seek another term.  Roberto Micheletti was installed as temporary President and the election was scheduled.  Friends of President Zelaya such as the Castro brothers and Hugo Chavez protested that the arrest of President Zelaya was a military coup.  The left demanded a ‘truth commission’ in an attempt to bolster their claims.

The truth commission was formed under the Organization of American States (OAS) and its report was released earlier this month.  The report did not provide the results President Zelaya and his allies were looking for. 

The report reminds us that in June 2009, President Zelaya had stated that he planned to hold a referendum to overturn the term limits required in the constitution. 

The article at the Wall Street Journal reports:

“Honduran institutions, the report says, “were not effective in resolving the crisis…not for lack of actions and resolutions taken but because the authorities’ decisions were ignored and were not acted upon by [the president] who personally took the actions required to execute the referendum.”  The human-rights commission, the prosecutor, the attorney general, the electoral tribunal and the Supreme Court all took measures to try to stop Mr. Zelaya.”

The report attempts to balance the blame–calling Mr. Micheletti’s government illegal.  The report also ignores the dangers of leaving Mr. Zelaya in Honduras rather than deporting him–his followers had already demonstrated their willingness to use violence to achieve their aims. 

Unfortunately, the American State Department and some other nations were on the wrong side of these events as they were happening.  However, democracy and the rule of law triumphed in the country of Honduras.  And now the events have been studied and the lawfulness of what was done has been proven.

The Arab Spring – Prelude To A Long Hot Summer

Haaretz is reporting today that Israeli senior defense officials have stated that one of the consequences of the ‘Arab spring’ is the increase in the amount of weapons being smuggled into the Gaza Strip. 

The article reports:

“In the past few months, Hamas has acquired improved high-trajectory rockets, ready-made explosive devices, anti-tank missiles and possibly anti-aircraft missiles, the sources told Haaretz.”

The article further reports:

“The situation has been exacerbated by the anarchy in the Sinai, former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter told Haaretz. “The Sinai went from being an area through which they smuggle weapons to an area through which they simply transfer weapons,” he said. “No Egyptian security official dares to confront the Bedouin anymore.”

“Dichter said the construction of the steel fence on the Rafah border, which Egypt began in the last year of Hosni Mubarak’s rule, had been stopped, and parts of it were already being dismantled by the Bedouin.”

The article also reports that the civil war in Libya has also resulted in more weapons coming into Gaza.  After the Libyan army lost control of weapons stored in the eastern part of the country, local arms dealers made contact with leaders in Gaza and began smuggling them into the Gaza strip.

This is not a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention.  There were probably protesters in Egypt and other countries who had a sincere desire for freedom, but they were not allowed to gain or keep control of the revolutionary movements.  As soon as Hosni Mubarak had stepped down, the Muslim Brotherhood began its move to take over the country.  Abboud el-Zomor, who was in prison for his role in the assassination of Anwar Sadat, was released in March.  Known radical Muslims who had been exiled under Mubarak came back into Egypt.  Freedom in the Middle East is a wonderful idea, but Sharia Law, the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood, is not compatible with freedom.  We need to keep that in mind when we determine which countries and revolutions we are willing to support.

Seeing Past The Scare Tactics

Yesterday a website of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University posted an article explaining why Social Security checks are not at risk if the debt ceiling is reached.  This is the explanation:

“The Social Security trust fund holds about $2.4 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds, which its trustees are legally entitled to redeem whenever Social Security is running a current account deficit. Thus, if we reach the debt ceiling (which I continue to think is a remote prospect, even if less remote than it seemed a week ago), this is what will happen. The Social Security trust fund will go to Treasury and cash in some of its securities, using the proceeds to send checks to recipients. Each dollar of debt that is redeemed will lower the outstanding public debt by a dollar. That enables the Treasury to borrow another dollar, without violating the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is not a prohibition on borrowing new money; it is a prohibition on increasing the total level of public indebtedness. If Social Security cashes in some of its bonds, the Treasury can borrow that same amount of money from someone else.”

There will be no excuse if Social Security checks do not go out as usual.  The only possible reason would be the search for political advantage by those people currently in power. 

Where You Get Your News Matters

Logically, in a free society, you should be able to pick any news source at random and get approximately the same stories–maybe with a slightly different slant–but essentially the same stories.  Well, we seem to have lost that concept somewhere.

On Friday, Newsbusters.org reported that despite polling showing public support for a balanced budget amendement, ABC, CBS, and NBC did not report on the Cut, Cap and Balance Plan until last week.  The article also mentioned that none of the three networks mentioned that the majority of Americans favored a balanced budget amendment despite the fact that polling results have shown as many as 72 percent of Americans favor the idea.

The article reports:

“At CBS, correspondent Whit Johnson on the July 17 “Evening News” was the first to write CCB’s obituary without acknowledging public support: “They want immediate cuts, an aggressive cap on future spending, and constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.” Senate Democrats say the proposal has no chance.”

“Correspondents Bill Plante and Nancy Cordes joined the hit parade in the following days, mimicking each others reports on the “Early Show” and “Evening News.”

“On the July 18 “Early Show,” Plante called CCB “dead on arrival,” failing to mention the favorable polls: “It would revert spending back to 2008 levels and cap the budget at eighteen percent of gross domestic product. It also calls for a balanced budget amendment, a provision Democrats say is dead on arrival.””

It is unfortunate that the major networks chose not to tell the whole story.

The article also reports:

“On the cable side, MRC analyst Matt Hadro reported that CNN ignored the findings of its own poll released Thursday demonstrating broad suport for capping spending and implementing a balanced budget amendment.”

There is a reason Fox News has become so popular–they tend to tell both sides of the story.

Football Lost A Hero This Week

Football lost a hero this week.  It wasn’t a player, or even an owner–it was Myra Kraft, the wife of New England Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft.  Mrs. Kraft did not call attention to herself, she worked quietly and tirelessly behind the scenes managing the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation, serving as president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation and contributing her time and efforts to many other charities in the Boston area.  As a resident of Massachusetts, I know she will be sorely missed, not only by her family, but by all those who knew her and knew of her involvement in many worthwhile causes.

What The Temper Tantrum Was About

I apologize if this article seems disrespectful to the President, but I watched him have a temper tantrum on national television last night.  Had any one of my grandchildren spoken in the tone he used with the body language he used, they would have been sent to their room.  The President’s press conference did nothing to bridge the divide–it made compromise considerably more difficult.  The message I heard from the President at the press conference was:  the Republicans have to compromise, the 2010 election is irrelevant, I am going to make everyone come talk to me tomorrow morning, and I am going to hold my breath until I turn blue.  That was my impression.

Today’s Daily Caller had a slightly different reaction.  Neil Munro posted an article pointing out that the problem for the President was that because John Boehner stood his ground on no new taxes, the President’s plan to use this situation to boost his chances for re-election in 2012 did not go as planned.  If serious tax increases are part of the eventual deal, there will be a serious split in the Republican Party.  There will also be a problem getting those tax increases through the House of Representatives.  Evidently, what caused the breakdown in the debt ceiling talks was the fact that the President added a last-minute demand for $400 billion in tax increases.  This is in addition to any tax revenue that would result from the repeal of the ‘Bush tax cuts.’  I will admit that I am sick of hearing about the ‘Bush tax cuts.’  In December, when the compromise budget deal was reached, the President stated that raising taxes on anyone would slow economic growth.  Has he changed his mind?  Did that statement (like so many others) have an expiration date?

The article reported:

“Boehner explained his decision to work with the Senate by saying the president’s negotiating position was unclear.

“”Never once did the President ever come to the table with a plan,” he said. “We were always pushing … [but] dealing with them is like dealing with Jell-O,” he said.

“”I will not get into the partisan sniping that I heard earlier [from Obama], but I can tell you there was every effort to avoid the real [budget] cuts we need to make to preserve the fiscal authority of the country … [and to preserve] and the entitlement programs,” he said.”

I think that sums up where we are now.  The Republicans have been put in a position where they are expected to negotiate with themselves.  That is never a good place to be.  The question is whether or not the words of the President last night will cause a panic in the financial markets on Monday morning.  If that is the case, we have another example of creating a crisis with the idea of using it to put forth a plan that otherwise would be unacceptable.