I Am Definitely In The Wrong Business

The chart below is from a Daily Caller article posted this morning. It shows the salaries of the top executives of the ObamaCare state health exchanges:


As you can see, these executives are paid very well for their efforts.

The article reports:

More than a million Americans have enrolled in the 23 non-profit Obamacare co-ops since they began in 2011. The co-ops were intended to be consumer-operated non-profits focused on delivering healthcare to the working poor and others needing health insurance.

Eighteen of the 23 co-ops paid their top executives prodigious salaries ranging from $263,000 to $587,000, according to 2013 IRS tax filings.

The high take-home pay for the “nonprofit” executives appears to violate both federal law and Obamacare rules prohibiting “excessive executive compensation.”

I strongly suggest that you follow the link above to read the entire article, but here are two examples of your tax dollars at work:

The top paid co-op executive was Thomas Policelli, CEO of Massachusetts’ Minuteman Health. He was awarded $587,000 in 2013, according to the co-op’s tax return. Minuteman was also among worst performing Obamacare co-ops, reporting only 1,700 enrollees at the end of 2014.

Minuteman’s cash-burn rate was 53 percent, with a net operating loss of $21 million last year, according to an analysis by Galen’s Turner and Thomas Miller, a senior health fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

In nearby Connecticut, HealthyCT paid Kenneth Lalime $352,000. The co-op reported total enrollment of only 7,966 and suffered operating losses of $28 million. Standard & Poor’s estimated its cash-burn rate at 61 percent.

It is not news that the private sector runs things better than the government. You would think that after all the years that we have seen government waste and inefficiency, we would have learned that lesson by now. Healthcare needs to be part of the free market. There need to be things in place to help people who need assistance in obtaining health insurance because of their financial situation or because of a pre-existing condition, but generally speaking, healthcare needs to operate in a free market environment. It is obvious that ObamaCare has because a government money hole that will eventually provide poor quality healthcare to everyone who is enrolled in it. There is a reason that the Supreme Court, despite their obvious belief that ObamaCare should stand, is not enrolled in ObamaCare.


Listening To Judges Only When It Is Convenient

The Washington Times posted an article yesterday about the Obama Administration’s failure to rescind the work permits issued to illegal aliens in violation of a court order. In May I wrote an article about the fact that the Obama Administration had continued to grant work permits to illegal aliens after a judge had issued an injunction against the permits in February halting the President’s amnesty program. There were about 2,000 applications for work permits approved, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has not been able to get the three-year permits back. Previously two-year permits had been issued.

The article reports:

But Judge Hanen was shocked to learn that USCIS issued the 2,000 three-year amnesties even after he’d issued his injunction.

“I expect you to resolve the 2,000; I’m shocked that you haven’t,” Judge Hanen (Judge Andrew S. Hanen) told the Justice Department at a hearing last week, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “If they’re not resolved by July 31, I’m going to have to figure out what action to take.”

Homeland Security says it’s changed the duration of the work permits from three years to two years in its computer systems, but getting the cards returned from the illegal immigrants themselves is tougher.

The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the lawsuit challenging the amnesty and who won the February injunction against the policy, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the outstanding permits.

If I remember correctly, one of the reasons the Judge issued the injunction was that he said that once amnesty was granted, it would be very difficult to undo what had been done. What has happened with the 2,000 work permits that were illegally issued illustrates his point. We are supposed to be a nation of laws–not a nation of men. It would be nice if the Obama Administration would remember that.

Those Pesky E-Mails

Fox News posted an article today about emails from Hillary Clinton that have now surfaced that have been withheld from the Congressional Committees investigating Benghazi.

The article reports:

New documents released by a federal court show President Obama called then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the night of the 2012 Benghazi attack — but the contents are being withheld by the State Department

It had previously been disclosed that Clinton and Obama spoke the night of the terror attacks. But the documents offer additional information about the timing of the call — after the initial attack on the U.S. consulate, but before the second wave where mortars hit the nearby CIA annex and killed former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty. 

The contents of the call, however, are being withheld, not because the information is classified but because the administration claims they represent internal deliberations about the 2012 terror assault. 

The claim comes as Clinton also faces accusations that she withheld Benghazi-related emails from her private server in the trove of emails handed over to the State Department. 

The article points out that the email in question was discovered as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Judicial Watch.

The article also reports the political agenda involved in characterizing the attack at Benghazi as a result of a video:

Other emails from Judicial Watch lawsuits have, separately, shown Rhodes (Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes) played a central role in preparing former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice for her Sunday show appearances that weekend where she blamed protests over the Internet video

In that Sept. 14 email, Rhodes specifically draws attention to the video, without distinguishing whether the Benghazi attack was different from protests elsewhere in the region. 

The email lists the following two goals, among others: 

“To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.” 

“To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

Thank God for Judicial Watch. It is unfortunate that most Americans will remain totally unaware of any of this and many who are aware will not care about the integrity of a major Presidential candidate.

The Supreme Court Stopped President Obama’s Agenda

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about a Supreme Court ruling announced today. The Supreme Court ruled against Environmental Protection Agency pollution rules for power plants. These new regulations would have resulted in drastic increases in the amount of money Americans pay for electricity.

The article reports:

The EPA rules in question regulate hazardous air pollutants and mercury from coal- and oil-fired power plants, known as the MATS regulations. The regulations went into effect April 16. The utility industry had argued that the rules cost them billions of dollars to comply and that EPA ignored the cost issue in putting the regulations into effect.

“EPA must consider cost — including cost of compliance — before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary. It will be up to the agency to decide (as always, within the limits of reasonable interpretation) how to account for cost,” Scalia wrote in agreeing with the industry.

Because of this decision, the Obama Administration’s environmental agenda will also be looked at in terms of the cost of compliance. Unfortunately, the Court is not looking at the fact that laws are being put in place that have not been passed through Congress.

The article reports on the DC Circuit Court decision that brought the case before the Supreme Court:

The D.C. Circuit majority also agreed the EPA could focus solely on the utilities’ contribution to the pollutants of concern, rather than identifying any specific health hazards attributable only to utility emissions.

The EPA had argued that the rules are both appropriate and necessary regardless of the costs, and that it has the discretion under the law to act as it deems fit in regulating hazardous pollutants.

As I have previously stated, I don’t think anyone is in favor of pollution. There is a need for sensibility in making environmental rules. As previously stated, the EPA did not identify any specific health hazards attributable only to utility emissions.

The EPA has been the latest home for those people who want to control the cost and usage of electricity and other power sources by Americans. This has much more to do with government control than it does with the environment. Unfortunately, we can expect to see more attempted power grabs for government energy control in the waning days of the Obama Administration.


The June 30 Deadline For The Iran Talks Will Be Missed

ABC News is reporting that Iran‘s foreign minister is headed home to consult with Iran’s leaders before he returns to Vienna for further negotiations.

PJMedia is also covering the story.

PJMedia reports:

Iranian media said Mohammed Javad Zarif’s trip was planned in advance. Still, the fact that he was leaving the talks so close to the Tuesday deadline reflected his need to get instructions on how to proceed on issues where the sides remain apart — among them how much access Tehran should give to U.N. experts monitoring his country’s compliance to any deal.

ABC News reports:

The United States insists on more intrusive monitoring than Iran is ready to give. With these and other disputes still unresolved, the likelihood that the Tuesday target deadline for an Iran nuclear deal could slip was increasingly growing even before the U.S. confirmation.

The dispute over access surfaced again Sunday, with Iranian Gen. Masoud Jazayeri saying that any inspection by foreigners of Iran’s military centers is prohibited.

He said the attempt by the U.S. and its allies to “obtain Iran’s military information for years … by the pressure of sanctions” will not succeed.

But German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who joined the talks Friday, said Iran’s “nuclear activities, no matter where they take place,” must be verifiable.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Zarif met in Vienna for their third encounter since Saturday. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also is in Vienna, as is British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, while Russia and China are represented for now by deputy foreign ministers.

The article at PJMedia concludes with the truth:

The real question is how much of a cave-in to Iranian red lines the U.S. will agree to. Not being able to inspect military installations, as Iran insists, would almost certainly lead to widespread opposition not just in the U.S., but also in France, which has threatened to walk from the talks unless there is a strict inspections regime. And the president’s continued insistence that some sanctions on Iran be maintained for years will probably be negotiated away in favor of something approaching immediate lifting of most of the important sanctions on Iran’s financial and oil industries.

The extra time for negotiations won’t matter if it simply means more time for an American surrender. Kerry and Obama will do anything to get a deal and that’s what should worry everyone who thinks this is a bad idea.

Listen To The Words Used

One of the easiest ways to win an argument is to redefine the definitions of the words used. One of the arguments used by the gay community in its search for gay marriage has been that it is a civil right and that to oppose gay marriage is discrimination. Notice that there is no room in that definition for a Bible-based view of marriage or a religious objection. So what is the goal of the militant gay community now that they have achieved the goal of gay marriage? Paul Strand‘s interview of Rea Carey, an American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activist, shows us the next step. The interview was shown in the first three minutes of CBN’s the 700 Club on Friday.

Paul Strand describes Ms. Carey as a national gay leader who can help stop the targeting of Christian bakers, florists, wedding photographers and such who don’t want to service gay weddings. He asked her if she’d consider a cease fire after the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. He describes her answer as a pretty firm, “No.”

Ms. Carey stated:

“We will continue to do work in the country to make sure that everyone’s right to their own personal beliefs are protected, but that people actually do get to celebrate, that they get to choose who they want around them when they get married, that they get the cake they want, the flower they want, so religion should not be used as a means to discriminate against others, it should be one’s own personal beliefs.”

Take a look at that statement. The LGBT movement will not stop until Christians and others who hold a view supporting traditional marriage are not allowed to practice their beliefs in the public square. Ms. Carey is defining religion as a personal belief that is not permitted in the public square or the business community. Christian beliefs in the public square or the business community are not to be honored. We are losing the free exercise of religion stated in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Is anyone paying attention?

The Vatican Signs A Treaty With Palestine

CBN News is reporting today that the Vatican has signed a treaty with the “State of Palestine.” Just for the record, there is, nor has there ever been, a State of Palestine.

As I have previously posted:

As Walid Shoebat stated, “One day during the 1960s I went to bed a Jordanian Muslim, and when I woke up the next morning, I was informed that I was now a Palestinian Muslim, and that I was no longer a Jordanian Muslim.”

The article reports:

Israel‘s Foreign Ministry called the text of the treaty “one-sided” and expressed regret.

“This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement, and harms the international effort to convince the PA (Palestinian Authority) to return to direct negotiations with Israel,” the ministry said in a statement.

“We also regret the one-sided texts in the agreement which ignore the historic rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and to the places holy to Judaism in Jerusalem,” it continued.  “Israel cannot accept the unilateral determinations in the agreement which do not take into account Israel’s essential interests and the special historic status of the Jewish people in Jerusalem.”

The article reminds us:

Vatican officials say the document signed Friday reflects the church’s support of a “two-state solution” to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians

No mention was made about Hamas, the terror group which entered into a unity government with the Palestinian Authority and calls in its charter for Israel’s destruction.

Christians are being martyred in the Middle East as we speak, and the Vatican is making treaties with terrorists. One has to wonder if they have lost their way.


Recent Quotes From The Supreme Court

There have been some major cases decided by the Supreme Court in recent days. Paul Mirengoff has posted a number of quotes from the Justices in recent blog articles (here and here). The quotes have to do with the Housing Authority Case and the Gay Marriage Case. In each case, Mr. Mirengoff states that he feels that the Justices were not fully aware of the unintended consequences of their rulings.

In Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Mr. Mirengoff points out that both sides of the ruling were aware of the possible consequences.

Justice Alito stated:

No one wants to live in a rat’s nest. Yet in Gallagher v. Magner, 619 F. 3d 823 (2010), a case that we agreed to review several Terms ago, the Eighth Circuit held that the Fair Housing Act (or FHA) could
be used to attack St. Paul, Minnesota’s efforts to combat “rodent infestation” and other violations of the city’s housing code. The court agreed that there was no basis to “infer discriminatory intent” on the part of St. Paul.

Even so, it concluded that the city’s “aggressive enforcement of the Housing Code” was actionable
because making landlords respond to “rodent infestation, missing dead-bolt locks, inadequate sanitation facilities, inadequate heat, inoperable smoke detectors, broken or missing doors,” and the like increased the price of rent. Since minorities were statistically more likely to fall into “the bottom bracket for household adjusted median family income,” they were disproportionately affected by those rent increases, i.e., there was a “disparate impact.” Id., at 834.

The upshot was that even St. Paul’s good-faith attempt to ensure minimally acceptable housing for its poorest residents could not ward off a disparate impact lawsuit.

Today, the Court embraces the same theory that drove the decision in Magner. This is a serious mistake. The Fair Housing Act does not create disparate-impact liability, nor do this Court’s precedents. And today’s decision will have unfortunate consequences for local government,
private enterprise, and those living in poverty. Something has gone badly awry when a city can’t even make slumlords kill rats without fear of a lawsuit.

Makes sense.

Justice Kennedy also saw the risk in the decision:

Without adequate safeguards at the prima facie stage, disparate-impact liability might cause race to be used and considered in a pervasive way and “would almost inexorably lead” governmental or
private entities to use “numerical quotas,” and serious constitutional questions then could arise.

The litigation at issue here provides an example. From the standpoint of determining advantage or disadvantage to racial minorities, it seems difficult to say as a general matter that a decision to build low-income housing in a blighted inner-city neighborhood instead of a suburb is discriminatory, or vice versa.

If those sorts of judgments are subject to challenge without adequate safeguards, then there is a danger that potential defendants may adopt racial quotas—a circumstance that itself raises serious constitutional concerns.

Somehow we have substituted the concept of equal outcome for equal rights.

In the gay marriage decision, there are serious questions as to whether the rights of Bible-believing Christians will be abandoned in favor of the new definition of marriage.

Justice Kennedy writes:

Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.

Justice Roberts wrote:

The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.

Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples. Indeed, the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage.

There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

It is my belief that in the future, when people who hold a Biblical view of marriage attempt to freely exercise their religion in the public square or their place of business, that freedom is going to be taken away from them, particularly in the area of a Biblical view of marriage. This happened in Massachusetts after the courts ruled that gay marriage was legal–the Catholic adoption agencies were forced to close down because adopting a child to a same-sex couple was against their religious belief. We may see that happen all over the country as a result of this ruling. I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think I am.

The Right Answer To The Wrong Decision

The Hill reported yesterday that Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) has introduced a bill into the House of Representatives that would require the Supreme Court Justices to participate in ObamaCare. I agree with that, but while we are at it, let’s include Congress and the President.

The article reports:

Babin’s potential legislation would only let the federal government provide healthcare to the Supreme Court and its staff via ObamaCare exchanges.

“By eliminating their exemption from ObamaCare, they will see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with,” he added.

His move follows the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday morning that upheld the subsidies under ObamaCare that are provided by the government to offset the cost of buying insurance.

All government officials and employees should be required to live under the laws they pass and uphold. We have had enough of ‘one law for me and one law for thee.’


Reversing A Bad Decision

This statement was released yesterday. It is an illustration of what happens when Americans pay attention and get involved. The Washington establishment Republicans were attempting to discipline the conservative wing of the party. The uproar from the grass roots resulted in a rethinking of that decision. Ordinary Americans can make a difference–they just have to speak out when they see something they believe is wrong.

Joint Statement on Meadows’ Reinstatement as Chair of Government Operations

Jun 25, 2015
| Press Release

WASHINGTON—House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) jointly issued the following statements regarding the chairmanship of the Government Operations Subcommittee.

“Last week I announced a change in the Government Operations sub-committee chairmanship. A number of people have asked me to reconsider that decision. Having spoken with Mark Meadows several times during the past week, I think we both better understand each other. I respect Mark and his approach. The discussions and candor have been healthy and productive. Ultimately, I believe we both want to do what is best for the country. Obviously I believe in Mark Meadows or I would not have appointed him to this position in the first place. It is in the best interest of the Committee to move forward together. Therefore, I have asked Mark to continue in his role as sub-committee Chairman,” said Chairman Chaffetz.

“I greatly appreciate Chairman Jason Chaffetz’ willingness to reconsider his decision, as well as my Oversight and Government Reform Committee colleagues’ support. I will continue to vote and conduct myself in accordance with my conscience, what my constituents want me to do, and what is best for the country. I look forward to continuing my work as Subcommittee Chairman of Government Operations under the leadership of the Oversight Committee Chairman. I know we are both dedicated to conducting real and meaningful oversight for the American people,” said Congressman Meadows.

Buried In The Story Is The Cause For The Change

Channel 5 in Boston posted an article today about the fact that the number of great white sharks off Massachusetts shores is rising.

The article states:

The resurgence of the gray seal population has driven the increase in white shark sightings here.

White sharks in excess of 9 to 10 to feet switch their diet to larger prey: seals, sea lions and scavenged whale carcasses,” said Skomal.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act passed by the U.S. and Canada in 1972 helped bring back the gray seals, whose numbers in the Gulf of Maine to Massachusetts are estimated at between 300,000 and 400,000, with a major nesting area for seal pups on Muskeget Island between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, said Skomal.

About 2,000 pups were born on Muskeget in 2008, four times the rate in 1999.

Last September in Cape Cod waters, Skomal’s team filmed a white shark feeding on a freshly killed seal. The video shared Wednesday night depicted a bloody and violent scene.

The italics are mine. I don’t have anything against gray seals, I wish them well; however, when man decides to change the rules for one part of the animal population, he invariably impacts another part. Sharks have to eat, too.

You can bet that some pseudo-scientist will come along very quickly and blame the increased number of sharks on global warming. That’s just the way things work these days.

Where Has Our Freedom Gone?

James O’Keefe is a name many people are familiar with. He exposed ACORN by posing as a pimp with a supposed underage prostitute. He exposed voter fraud in a number of states, and generally he has been a continuing thorn in the side of the Obama Administration. Under normal circumstances that would not be a problem, but evidently free speech in America is truly under attack.

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about James O’keefe’s latest adventures with U.S. Customs Agents in the airport in Nassau, Bahamas en route to Miami.

The article at The Daily Caller includes the entire dialogue with the customs agent as Mr. O’Keefe remembers it. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire article, but here are a few highlights:

James: That was the one where I legally waded into the Rio Grande dressed like Osama bin Laden and embarrassed the federal government. DHS secretary was grilled under oath. Are you telling me this is retaliation for that?

Customs: I’m telling you that each time you go through here you will need to give an extra hour because we will do this each time. You have a prior criminal record and broke the law crossing into the United States unlawfully.

James: It wasn’t unlawful, I did nothing but wade back and forth. Millions of Mexicans cross and you don’t detain them for unlawful entry

Customs: You broke the law!

James: I broke the law? I’m a journalist who is trying to expose something important. Deep down in your heart when you set the burocreacy aside you have admit it needed to be exposed.

Customs: Come with me.

If only we were that conscientious with the illegals crossing into the United States illegally.

This Is Truly A Sad Day For America

The Supreme Court today chose to rewrite ObamaCare rather than do its duty as a court and rule on the case at hand.

CBS News is reporting:

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

The justices said in a 6-3 ruling that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law.

The outcome is the second major victory for Obama in politically charged Supreme Court tests of his most significant domestic achievement.

Chief Justice John Roberts again voted with his liberal colleagues in support of the law. Roberts also was the key vote to uphold the law in 2012. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a dissenter in 2012, was part of the majority on Thursday.

The National Journal is reporting:

The decision, Scalia wrote, “rewrites the law.”

We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” he wrote.

He continued: “Rather than rewriting the law under the pretense of interpreting it, the Court should have left it to Congress to decide what to do about the Act’s limitation of tax credits to state Exchanges, Scalia wrote.

Scalia took issue with the majority’s interpretation of the language of the Affordable Care Act. The law states that in order for people to qualify for health care subsidies, they need to be “enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State.” The majority upheld that by “state,” the law intended to mean individual state exchanges or exchanges set up by the federal government. If the Court had ruled the other way, more than 6 million people would have been at risk of losing their coverage. Their ruling rejects a lawsuit that aimed to gut federal health-care subsidies for people in 34 states.

“The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not a State,” Scalia wrote. (The majority argued that gutting the subsidies for the state exchanges would result in a “death spiral” for the market places and that “It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner. “)

It is not the duty of the Supreme Court to write law. The Supreme Court can only examine legislature to see if it aligns with the U.S. Constitution. This right of review was established in 1803 with the Marbury v.. Madison case–it was not written into the original U.S. Constitution. although the concept was mentioned in Federalist No. 78:

It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.

In the case of King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court rewrote the law and exceeded its authority. We have reached the point in America where the U.S. Constitution is no longer the law of the land. Unless the American people begin to pay attention to what is happening and take action (an Article V Convention of States is looking really good right now), we will lose our representative republic.

The Only Reason I Would Even Remotely Consider Air Conditioning Evil

I appreciate air conditioning–particularly after moving to North Carolina. However, there is one area where I have a sightly different view of air conditioning. The biggest mistake America ever made was air conditioning Congress. Had we allowed our Congressmen and Senators to sweat it out in the former swamp that is now Washington, D.C., we would probably have been a lot better off. They would have gone back to their districts in the summer and might have done a better job of staying in tune with their constituents.

Michelle Malkin  also posted some comments on the subject at CNS News:

Perhaps the head of the Catholic Church, who condemned “the increasing use and power of air-conditioning” last week in a market-bashing encyclical, is unaware of the pioneering private company that has donated its time, energy and innovative heating, ventilating and air-conditioning equipment to the Vatican‘s most famous edifice for more than a decade.

That’s right. While the pontiff sanctimoniously attacks “those who are obsessed with maximizing profits,” Carrier Corporation — a $13 billion for-profit company with 43,000 employees worldwide (now a unit of U.S.-based United Technologies Corp.) — ensures that the air in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel stays clean and cool.

Has the Pope considered the benefits of air conditioning to people with asthma and allergies–the fact that it filters out pollen and can limit the number of mold spores coming into the house?

Just for the record, industrialized countries have not destroyed the planet–most industrialized countries have made an effort to control pollution and improve the environment. That is the result of having the money available to do those things–as a result of their industrialization.

The Pope is a spiritual leader. Air conditioning is a little out of his area. Until he is willing to give up his air conditioning, speaking against air conditioning seems a little over the top.



Sometimes bias in the media is not illustrated by how a story is reported but rather if a story is reported. Real Clear Politics posted an article yesterday illustrating this fact.

The article tells the story of the spiking of an important story:

That is exactly what the national media have done to an important story about the White House’s intimate working relationship with MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, who helped craft the Affordable Care Act. You may remember Gruber from his infamous videotapes, the ones in which he called the American public too stupid to understand the law. He added their stupidity was helpful to Obama, Pelosi, and Reid in passing the law.

…They vaguely remembered somebody named Gruber or Goober or something but, fortunately, he played only a marginal role in health care. Thanks for asking. Next question?

Now, this may surprise you, but it turns out the White House knew Gruber very well and knew he played a crucial role in the health care bill. The White House simply decided to lie about it. Perhaps they agree with Gruber’s judgment about your intelligence.

How do we know about Gruber’s role? Not because the White House released any documents, not because the media dug into it, but because the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, got MIT to turn over the relevant emails. There were 20,000 pages of emails back-and-forth between Gruber and the White House in the crucial months when the bill was being crafted and passed.

Amazing. The Wall Street Journal reported the story. I believe Fox News also reported it. Otherwise the major media has been totally silent on the issue. As far as the average American voter is concerned, President Obama and his cronies were perfectly honest in their descriptions of the role MIT professor Jonathan Gruber played in the development and selling of ObamaCare.

The article also points out what happened with the role of Jonathan Gruber was mentioned on a morning news show:

What happened on Morning Joe was fascinating. One of the hosts, Mika Brzezinski, called attention to the Journal story. Her co-host, former GOP Rep. Joe Scarborough, followed up. Turning to Mark Halperin, who is the co-managing editor of Bloomberg Politics and a former senior reporter at Time, Scarborough asked if the story was inconsistent with White House statements. “I owe my Republican sources an apology,” Halperin said, “because they kept telling me he [Gruber] was hugely involved, and the White House played it down.”

Then Scarborough asked the money question: “Did the White House lie about that?”

“I think they were not fully forthcoming.”

That answer did not come from a White House official or a Democratic operative. It came from a big-time reporter. And not just any reporter. It came from a reporter to whom the White House had deliberately lied in background briefings. Does he call them out? Nope. He spins for them.

If a voter is depending on the major media for his news, he will, because of this sort of bias, be a low-information voter. We have reached a point where a voter who reads The New York Times, at one time one of the most respected newspapers in the nation, will be a low-information voter. That is truly sad.

The Need For Sanity In The Negotiations With Iran

Scott Johnson posted an article at Power Line today about the ongoing negotiations with Iran. There is a June 30 deadline for some sort of agreement to be reached. It is a good idea to keep in mind that a nuclear treaty with Iran would be seen by President Obama as the crowning accomplishment of his second term of office. To put this in perspective, it might be a good idea to remember that President Obama considered Obamacare to be the crowning accomplishment of his first term of office. We have seen how that worked out.

President Obama is desperate for a deal with Iran. Unfortunately, Iran is well aware of that fact. The concessions made to Iran have passed ridiculous and are moving forward to dangerous.

The article at Power Line reports:

The Associated Press got ahold of one of the five secret annexes being worked on ahead of a final deal between the P5+1 global powers and Iran. This one – titled “Civil Nuclear Cooperation” – details a range of nuclear technology that various members of the P5+1 will be obligated to provide Iran, including “high-tech reactors and other state-of-the-art equipment.” The draft that the AP saw wasn’t finalized, and so some of the concessions are subject to change.

As the annex is written right now, however, this is no longer a deal to stop the Iranian nuclear program. It’s a deal to let the Iranians perfect their nuclear program with international assistance and under international protection.

Are we nuts? Someone needs to stop this runaway train before it puts the entire world at risk.

The article concludes:

Imagine that 15 years from now the Iranians have built a dozen LWRs (light-water reactors) with help from a P5+1 nation. One concern is indeed that they’ll kick out inspectors, keep the spent fuel, and start reprocessing on the way to creating a plutonium bomb. But a more subtle concern is that they will use the existence of the LWRs as a pretext for industrial-scale uranium enrichment – because they’ll say they need the uranium fuel for their plutonium plants – which can serve as a cover for breaking out with a uranium bomb. The P5+1 would be actively providing the Iranians with diplomatic leverage to use against the P5+1 in the future. The answer to this latter concern is that the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) sunset clause already allows the Iranians to have an industrial-scale uranium enrichment program that can serve as a cover for breaking out with a uranium bomb. I’m not sure the administration wants to overemphasize that point.

Please follow the above link to read the entire article. It is chilling to think of where these negotiations are headed.

Some Republicans Discover Their Spine

The war between the conservative Republicans and the establishment Republicans has been going on for some time. It has been obvious at all levels of the party. The problem is that most of the energy in the party is coming from the conservatives, so the establishment Republicans need them. The establishment Republicans love the conservatives when it is time to put boots on the ground during the election season, but other than that, most of the establishment simply wishes that the conservatives would go away. This is very evident in Washington when elected conservatives are stymied when they try to do what the people that elected them elected them to do. Sometimes being a conservative Republican can be very frustrating. I left the Democrat party because they had no room for conservatives. I can’t leave the Republican party because there is no place for me to go.

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an article that should provide hope for conservatives who wonder why they bother to elect Congressmen.

The article reports:

Dozens of members of the House GOP’s most conservative faction plan to meet Tuesday to discuss ways to counteract the decision of House Speaker John Boehner and other leaders to seek retribution against members who vote against must-pass measures.

The House Freedom Caucus, a GOP group made up of about 40 of the most conservative members, plans to hold the discussion some time after Tuesday’s evening votes, according to lawmakers familiar with the initiative.

It’s about time.

The article explains what caused the House Freedom Caucus to go into action:

The latest punishment was handed down to Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., for voting against an important procedural resolution to advance “Fast Track” trade legislation the GOP is eager to pass. Meadows last week was stripped of his chairmanship of the House Oversight Government Operations subcommittee.

“So, Mark Meadows, a good man, a good friend, and what they did to him is exactly wrong, and there are a number of us who are fed up with it,” Jordan (Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio) said on the Laura Ingraham show. “And we are looking for ways that we can say, hey, we are going to stay with Mark and be as helpful as we possibly can.”

The first mistake the conservatives made at the beginning of the legislative session was to reelect the previous leaders. If you want serious change, it is a good idea to change leaders.

The article concludes:

Lawmakers who are being punished say the leadership is trying to force them to vote against what they believe is best for their constituents, who have flooded their offices with calls and emails in opposition to the trade legislation. Meadows and other Republicans opposed to the trade bill believe the trade bill would cede too much power to the executive branch and would facilitate trade deals that would cause U.S. job losses.

“There is no honor in bowing to a bully,” Meadows told the Examiner. “There is only fighting the good fight and whether you win or lose, I am willing to do my best to represent the people who elected me.”

It is definitely time for new Republican leadership in Congress.


Sometimes The World Is Just Upside Down

I am a grandmother to nine grandchildren. Some of them are directly related to me, some married into the family. They are all great kids and their parents are working hard to educate them and help them become worthwhile members of society. None of their parents are wealthy, but all of them are hard-working and care about their children’s education. Some have been saving since their children were born, and some have not been so frugal. Hopefully, all of these grandchildren will find a way to get the education they need to get the jobs they want. Meanwhile, not everyone struggles to put an education and a life together. I’m fine with that, but sometimes benefits are taken from those who deserve them and given to people who are simply not legally entitled to them.

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article yesterday about a recent graduate of the University of California San Diego. Indira Esparza, an illegal alien, who waved the Mexican flag at her graduation. So why do I have a problem with this?

The article explains some of Ms. Esparza’s background:

First, she won a coveted place at UCSD’s cushy La Jolla-based Preuss charter school, displacing a legal resident in an elite, taxpayer-funded school. After that, she was showered with resources for illegals.

“She received a scholarship from the Patricia and Christopher Weil Family Foundation to help support her undergraduate studies at U.C. San Diego,” the UCSD public relations website reads. Still better, she got $10,000 cash from the Chancellor’s Associate Scholars program launched in 2013.

“The program essentially provides a full-ride and loan-free UC San Diego financial aid package to eligible students from several underserved high schools,” UCSD said.

Esparza called it “ridiculously awesome” in a 2013 interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I don’t have to worry so much about my finances. I always have money for books. I have money to buy my parking pass. I have gas money.”

Unusual? Not really. Just this month, Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg donated $5 million for college tuition for 400 illegals through the TheDream.US foundation.

She may be totally deserving of every honor in the book, but because of the benefits she received as an illegal alien, a child who is in this country legally was denied those benefits. I wouldn’t have cared if those benefits went to a non-American child as long as the child receiving the benefits was in America legally. Our first priority in giving aid to students in America should be to students who are here legally. Ms. Esparza came here (or may have been brought here as a chld) illegally and has now chosen to throw the Mexican flag in the faces of the people who provided for her education. How rude. Let’s help American children get an education before we spend millions of dollars on benefits for people who are not legally entitled to them.


Some Good News From The Middle East

The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that Egypt will be sending its first full-time Ambassador to Israel in three years.

The article reports:

Netanyahu said this is something Israel appreciates and is “deeply welcomed,” and that he believes it is “very good for cementing the peace that exists between Egypt and Israel.”

Israel appointed Haim Koren as its ambassador to Egypt in 2014. On Friday, Koren made history in being the first ever Israeli ambassador to deliver a Ramadan greeting to the Egyptian people.

In the video message uploaded by the Foreign Ministry, Koren said in Arabic, “On my behalf and on behalf of the people of Israel ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, we wish the Egyptian people Ramadan Kareem,” referring to the traditional Ramadan blessing.

America‘s Middle East policy (whatever it is) is not working. As a result of our failure to bring peace in the area, alliances between countries that are looking for stability are forming. That is a good thing. Hopefully, this is simply the beginning of good things to come.

This Does Not Sound Very Promising

Posted at the Gateway Pundit today (the quote is from the Israel National News):

With some lawmakers chanting “Death to the America,” Iran’s parliament voted Sunday to ban access to military sites, documents and scientists as part of a future deal with world powers over its contested nuclear program.

The bill, if approved into law, could complicate the ongoing talks in Vienna between Iran and the six-nation group — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — as they face a self-imposed June 30 deadline. The talks are focused on reaching a final accord that curbs Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Of 213 lawmakers present on Sunday, 199 voted in favor of the bill, which also demands the complete lifting of all sanctions against Iran as part of any final nuclear accord. The bill must be ratified by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog, to become a law.

The terms stipulated in the bill allow for international inspections of Iranian nuclear sites, but forbid any inspections of military facilities.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani read the bill aloud in a session broadcast live on state radio. It states in part, “The International Atomic Energy Agency, within the framework of the safeguard agreement, is allowed to carry out conventional inspections of nuclear sites.”

However it concludes that “access to military, security and sensitive non-nuclear sites, as well as documents and scientists, is forbidden.”

This doesn’t sound like there is any danger of compromise from Iran.

Ten Years After Kelo v. City Of New London

This article is based on two articles, one posted Saturday and updated yesterday at The Day and one in the Wall Street Journal today. Both articles deal with the Kelo v. City of New London Supreme Court case ten years ago that allowed the city to take fifteen homes through eminent domain for the purposes of economic development.

The article at The Day reports some of the history of the taking of the property. New London was looking to add to its tax base because revenues were not meeting the needs of the city. The State of Connecticut was offering money ($70 million) to help with the redevelopment of the area where the houses were located. The fifteen houses in question were owned by seven people who filed suit against the taking of their property. The case went to the Supreme Court, and the property was taken by the City.

So where are we now? There have been some new roads added to the area; sidewalks and street lamps have been added. But things have not gone as planned.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The condemned land remains empty, housing only a few feral cats. After Hurricane Irene in 2011, the city used it as a dumping ground for debris. Yet the first real development since the Supreme Court’s controversial decision might now be on its way: New London Mayor Daryl Finizio, who was elected in 2011 as a critic of the government taking, recently announced a plan to turn the former site of Ms. Kelo’s house into a park that will “serve as a memorial to all those adversely affected by the city’s use of eminent domain.”

As I reported in December 2009:

So let’s look at where we are now.  The taking of the property was used to lure Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company to New London to build a research center.  Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company arrived, built its New London research center on the seized property, and this week announced that it was closing the plant.  Most of the plants 1,400 employees will be relocated to nearby Groton. 

Now the City of New London won’t even have the tax revenue from the people who once lived in that area of New London.  They will simply have a vacant research center.  Poetic justice at its best.

Private property rights are one of the sources of prosperity in our country. Violating them is foolish and does have consequences.

Just a side note. The Day noted that Pfizer got a 10-year tax abatement from the state of Connecticut. They moved their plant away from the area the day after that tax abatement ended. We need to remember that businesses are in business to make money and will do whatever necessary to protect their bottom line. What they did was legal, it just wasn’t in the spirit of the deal that was made.

I’m Sorry, I Find This Attitude Offensive

On June 6, Lee Seigel posted an article in The New York Times explaining why he defaulted on his student loans. I’m sorry, I lack sympathy for his plight.

He states:

Years later, I found myself confronted with a choice that too many people have had to and will have to face. I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school. Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.

I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans.

The article concludes:

There would be a national shaming of colleges and universities for charging soaring tuition rates that are reaching lunatic levels. The rapacity of American colleges and universities is turning social mobility, the keystone of American freedom, into a commodified farce.

If people groaning under the weight of student loans simply said, “Enough,” then all the pieties about debt that have become absorbed into all the pieties about higher education might be brought into alignment with reality. Instead of guaranteeing loans, the government would have to guarantee a college education. There are a lot of people who could learn to live with that, too.

I agree with the writer that college tuition is too high. I wonder if he understands that the rise in tuition has been parallel to the amount of money made available through student loan programs (generally government-funded). In recent years, colleges have had no incentive to keep tuition low–students just keep taking out loans to pay the increased amounts.

As for the government guaranteeing a college education. Where in the world is that written in the U.S. Constitution? Why in the world should the government be responsible for anyone getting a college education? It sounds to me like the writer of the article is simply looking for a free education at the expense of the American taxpayer. The American taxpayer will eventually pay for all the loans that have been defaulted on, but I really don’t think those of us who paid for our children’s education should have to pay for everyone else’s children also. I little personal responsibility would be really nice. If graduates pay back their loans, there will be money available for students who are just entering college. Learning the responsibility of paying back you student loans should be part of your college education.

The New Voting Laws In North Carolina

The North Carolina legislature has been working on a good voter identification law for a while. They are aware of the fact that a law has to be strong enough to be effective, yet able to get through any court challenges that may ensue. I don’t understand why the Democrat Party supports voter fraud, but that is a story for another day.

The Voter Integrity Project North Carolina released the following press release yesterday:

Update on Voter ID Compromise

June 19, 2015


June 19, 2015 (RALEIGH)–After tapping several legislative sources today, we’re convinced the GOP caucus did not “intentionally” gut the voter ID law. Also, their limited window into election fraud analysis leads them to believe the new loophole won’t be a big deal in North Carolina. We humbly accept the former assertion but guardedly accept the latter.

At the end of the day, their new exception will, indeed, allow anybody to walk in with one of several non-photo pieces of paper (called “HAVA IDs”) and be guaranteed a vote that counts . . . so long as they fill out the paperwork correctly. We view this as a major security breach, but Rep Lewis said South Carolina, only had 114 voters exercised this loophole. We hope the same holds true here, but we’ll prepare for the worse.

Rodent Problems

Several highly placed sources convince us that it was an inside job. This emergency legislation was caused by middle- and lower-level bureaucrats at DMV who collected fees for those “free” voter ID cards and demanded more documentation than allowed by law. Whether accidental or deliberate, those state employees raised new doubts about winning the entire voter ID lawsuit and that’s what triggered the lopsided vote count.

Unconfirmed report: One of DMV’s victims was a State Senator’s own mother, so they’re paying closer attention now.

At any rate, we’re modifying our “tell them to veto cry” and are now urging them to investigate the sources of such harassment, . . . down to the specific employee.

The notion of “progressive” moles undermining Republicans in the NC government complex is no shocker. One Rep even laughed, “they’re not used to having Republican bosses.” But jokes aside, Linda Paine, Director of California’s Election Integrity Project, even caught their DMV subverting laws against driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. So, NCDMV workers hassling applicants for their free voter ID cards is all too plausible . . . and very convenient for voter ID opponents!

Governor McCrory and Transportation Secretary Bob Tata owe the public a full explanation.

Sometimes you just have to take a first step before everything falls into place.


The Need To Protect Free Speech

Free speech is something most Americans take for granted. We don’t necessarily agree with what someone is saying or approve of their language, but generally speaking, we respect free speech. Free speech is under attack in America from a number of directions. Some of them are very subtle and seem almost logical, and some are totally obvious. Both need to be dealt with quickly and openly.

As I have stated in previous articles, I am reading Stephen Coughlin’s book Catastrophic Failure, which is about the dangers America faces at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and other related groups. The book talks about the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the human rights movement in the United Nations. The book explains that the OIC definition of human rights includes the provision that these rights have to be in compliance with Sharia Law. This means that any negative statements about Islam are not considered acceptable free speech, but are punishable by law and may result in the death penalty. The goal of the OIC is to bring non-Muslim countries under Sharia Law–in America that means ending the First Amendment right of free speech. We saw the OIC in action recently when Pamela Geller was condemned for a “Draw Mohammed” contest in Texas which resulted in violence. She was blamed for the violence–not the people who committed the violence. This was an attempt to turn public opinion away from the idea that all free speech is protected. There is nothing in our Constitution that protects us from being offended. However, the First Amendment does protect our right of free speech. The press response to what happened in Texas was a very subtle attack on free speech. It needs to be exposed and countered.

A more obvious attack on free speech was initiated by the U.S. Government recently against “Reason Magazine.” Reason posted an article yesterday telling the story.

The article gives the background of the attack on free speech:

For the past two weeks, Reason, a magazine dedicated to “Free Minds and Free Markets,” has been barred by an order from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from speaking publicly about a grand jury subpoena that court sent to Reason.com.

The subpoena demanded the records of six people who left hyperbolic comments at the website about the federal judge who oversaw the controversial conviction of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. Shortly after the subpoena was issued, the government issued a gag order prohibiting Reason not only from discussing the matter but even acknowledging the existence of the subpoena or the gag order itself. As a wide variety of media outlets have noted, such actions on the part of the government are not only fundamentally misguided and misdirected, they have a tangible chilling effect on free expression by commenters and publications alike.

Yesterday, after preparing an extensive legal brief, Reason asked the US Attorney’s Office to join with it in asking that the gag order – now moot and clearly an unconstitutional prior restraint – be lifted. This morning, the US Attorney’s Office asked the Court to vacate the order, which it did. We are free to tell the story for the first time.

The article at Reason further reports:

Regardless of the legal details, the growing government demand for user data and our own experience with court-enforced silence on a self-evidently ridiculous investigation raise important questions about free speech and the abuse of power.

Reason’s unmoderated comment space is rare among comparable publications and has, over the years, developed into a forum that is by turns exciting, intellectually advanced, outlandish, cringe-inducing, and more foul-mouthed than any locker room this side of the Crab Nebula. It is something to be celebrated as a voluntary community that can be engaged or ignored as the spirit moves you (we say that as writers whose work and physical shortcomings rarely escape unscathed from any thread). However trollish many of our commenters can be, they have created a sphere of free speech that delivers on one of the great promises of the Internet, which is unbridled expression, dialogue, and argument.

We took risks by creating an autonomous zone in which our readers are left to their own devices. Some of the risk is reputational—how many other serious outlets allow anonymous commenters to run riot as we do? Some of the risk is legal, as in the current situation.

One further note about anonymity in our comment threads. Commenting on our site requires registration using a working email address (which is hidden from public view unless a commenter chooses to have it displayed). We also log IP addresses. We do both of these things in order to fight spammers and trolls–people who have shown enormous determination in their efforts to disrupt the discussion. 

Our commenters are generally a tech-savvy bunch. It is likely that those who have a desire for a very high degree of anonymity are taking control of that themselves, using anonymous email addresses and tools to prevent us from logging IPs connected to them.

But Reason.com is not the dark web. Many of our regular commenters voluntarily display either personal website information or their email addresses. In fact, three of the six commenters subject to this very subpoena voluntarily displayed public links to personal blogs at Blogger as part of their comments, one of which further links to a Google+ page. Raising the question: How can the government view these so-called “threats” as so nefarious when people posted them in such a non-anonymous fashion? 

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is an amazing saga of an out-of-control government trying to conceal the fact that it is out of control. Thank you, editors of Reason for standing up to this threat.


The Correct Response

The shooter in Charleston had stated that his aim was to start a ‘race war.’ He was going to do that by killing black people in an historically black church. Unfortunately for him (fortunately for Charleston), he didn’t take into consideration the character of the people in that church and the character of the people of Charleston.

This is a time for mourning and for soul searching. How did that kind of hatred fester and lead to the death of good people? What was the source of his ideas and do we have a way of eliminating that source?

But this is also a time for celebrating. Celebrating the love that has poured out toward the people who lost loved family members and also toward the other members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church who are also feeling the loss. The response to this tragedy by the people of Charleston has been inspiring.

Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about the prayer vigil in Charleston that took place yesterday.

Here are two pictures from the article:

Packed: Thousands crammed themselves into the College of Charleston Arena on Friday night to remember the nine slain churchgoers

As mourners walked in they were handed roses of all different hues to hold or lay down in honor of the victims

My favorite quote from the article:

Mayor Joe Riley said ‘If that young man thought he was going to divide this country… he miserably failed.’

What happened in Charleston was horrible, but the people of Charleston are an example of how to bring peace in the face of violence. I am so impressed by how the leaders of Charleston–the political, spiritual, and other leaders–have handled this situation. The leaders of Charleston have truly acted as leaders.