Sounds Good, But The Numbers Just Don’t Work

The Democrat Party has long claimed to be the champion of wage equality–women should make as much as men. I agree they should if they do the same job. I think most people agree on that, but what are the facts?

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line today showing the differences between the pay of men and women in the Obama White House and on Hillary Clinton’s staff.

These are the charts from the article:

Perry 1 copy

Perry 2 copy

In his 2014 State of the Union speech, President Obama stated, “You know, today, women make up about half our White House workforce, but they still make only 86.7 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.”

This is a copy of a tweet by Hillary Clinton:

Hullary Tweet copy

Facts are just inconvenient things.

Looking Past The Current Crisis

The current crisis in Washington is the Democrat filibuster of the Homeland Security Department budget. The news media doesn’t frame it that way, but the last time I checked, the people doing the filibuster were the people preventing the bill from being discussed or passed.

At any rate, the Republicans refuse to fund executive amnesty, and the Democrats refuse not to fund executive amnesty. That is the discussion in a nutshell. So how in the world can we be safe if the Department of Homeland Security is not funded (please excuse the sarcasm)? We will be equally safe whether the department is funded or not. You see, even if the department is not funded, ‘essential’ workers will still report for work. (If they are not essential, why are they working there in the first place?)

Today the Washington Free Beacon posted a story about the Department of Homeland Security and some of their budget.

The article reports:

Funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—which is due to expire at the end of this week unless an agreement in Washington is reached—has continued to rise under President Barack Obama. His administration claims the agency’s increased funding is necessary to protect the homeland, but records show that the DHS has continued to increase its spending on furniture and office makeovers as its budget has been increased.

A review of records on the official government spending website by the Washington Free Beacon shows the agency has spent nearly $150 million on office furniture and makeovers since Obama took office. Those fiscal years for which he has been responsible and whose budgets have been enacted are FY2010 through 2014.

“The FY 2015 Budget reflects the Administration’s strong commitment to protecting the homeland and the American people through the effective and efficient use of DHS resources, continuing the focus on preserving frontline priorities across the Department by cutting costs, sharing resources across Components, and streamlining operations wherever possible,” the administration’s request states.

Each year under Obama the administration, DHS funding has increased. The FY 2015 budget request is $60.9 billion, compared with FY 2014’s budget of $60.7 billion. In fiscal year 2013, the DHS budget was $59.2 billion. By contrast, President George W. Bush’s last budget for DHS for FY 2009 was $52.5 billion.

Please understand. Whether amnesty is funded or not, there is never any desire on the part of most Congressmen to cut the federal budget. Money is power, and Congressmen like power. The problem is on both sides of the aisle. The reason the Tea Party and Tea Party groups are such a threat to both parties (yes, they are a threat to the Republicans as well as the Democrats) is that they support smaller government. America will not see smaller government unless we elect fewer Democrats and fewer establishment Republicans. We also need to take the leadership of the Republican party away from establishment Republicans and put it into the hands of people who support the values the Republican party used to espouse.

The article concludes, reminding us:

Although the upcoming budget has not yet been approved, records show the DHS has already signed contracts in the amount of $2.2 million for new furniture for FY 2015. A total of 247 contracts have already been signed. They include a contract signed two weeks ago for $294,058 for “furniture and furniture installation services” for the agency’s office in Coleman, Fla.

Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the DHS, went on five talk shows Sunday urging passage of his agency’s budget and said the national security of the country is at risk. Essential employees of the DHS, including border patrol agents, members of the Coast Guard, and Transportation Security Administration workers are required to report to work even if the budget is not approved.

Wouldn’t we all like their furniture budget?

Federal Election Violations In 2014

Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an article about a 29-page complaint filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. The charges are against Catalist, a Washington, D.C.-based firm.

The article reports:

Catalist, the Washington, D.C.-based firm at the heart of the allegations, was accused of “providing candidates and federal party committees data and list-related products and services at below-market rates, constituting excessive, source-prohibited, and unreported in-kind contributions” to the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Also named in the complaint were nearly 400 Democratic campaign committees, including Obama for America, the re-election committee for DNC national chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and the re-election committee for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Additionally, the complaint charged that Catalist engaged “in an illegal coordination scheme where the common vendors use their specific products and services to exchange their campaigns and parties data with soft-money groups making independent expenditures.”

The nonprofit watchdog further charged that Catalist was “established, financed, maintained and/or controlled by the Democratic National Committee.” The complaint was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay.

Follow the link above to the Washington Examiner to read the entire complaint–it is included in the article.

The article states:

Former U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker, who heads the nonprofit watchdog, estimated that Catalist and the other committees and allied groups named in the complaint spent more than $100 million in illegally coordinated and unreported campaign contributions in 2014.

On February 18, 2015, opensecrets.org reported the following:

The final figures are in: The 2014 election was the most expensive midterm election in history, costing a grand total of $3.77 billion. But for the first time since 1990, fewer Americans donated money in this midterm election than the one before. Simply put, more money went into the system, but fewer people provided it.

…Even when it came to outside spending groups, there were fewer donors. In 2010, there were 57,405 individual donors to outside spending groups (including 527s) who gave a total of $104.6 million, or roughly $1,800 apiece. In 2014, there were 53,725 donors to outside groups, whose average donation was $8,011. That’s an increase in the size of the average donation of almost 445 percent.

We are not going to be able to take the money out of elections. What we can do is make sure that all donations are transparent and all sources and amounts of money known.

 

 

An Interesting New Wrinkle In The Immigration Fight

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen has issued a temporary injunction blocking President Obama’s executive action to shield up to 5 million immigrants from deportation. The injunctions at least temporarily blocks those immigrants from applying for social security numbers and work permits (see previous articles about many of these people voting and receiving earned income tax refunds for years when they were here working illegally).

The article reports:

However, uncertainty persists at a time when the Obama administration was banking on clarity.

The judicial fight also comes as the White House and Senate Democrats engage in a standoff with Republican lawmakers over funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

Conservatives insist the court ruling gives them ammunition to roll back the president’s executive action on immigration, but they still don’t have the 60 votes in the Senate to get such legislation through the upper chamber.

Hanen, the South Texas judge, did not rule on the legality of the executive action taken by Obama in November. He simply said the president’s blueprint should be put on hold while 26 states pursue a lawsuit arguing that Obama lacked the authority to make such a decree to governors already dealing with budget shortfalls.

The Fifth Circuit Court is now the gatekeeper for whether Obama’s power play on immigration will proceed. It will have to decide whether to grant the Justice Department’s expected request for a stay on the district court ruling.

President Obama has admitted numerous times that he does not have the authority to issue the executive order that he issued. However, there has not been anyone in Congress with the backbone to stop the runaway executive branch. Unfortunately, the court ruling in this case, while needed to stop the runaway train, may actually give the Republicans in Congress permission to cave. That would not be a good thing. There is a reason we have three branches of government. Legislation is supposed to come from Congress–the President is supposed to uphold the laws–not write them!

Make no mistake–executive amnesty is about future Democrat voters. While I have no problem with expanding immigration, I am not convinced America can assimilate 5 million people all at once in the current economy. We do need to overhaul our immigration policy, but 5 million people at a time is not the way to do it.

Unintended Consequences of Executive Amnesty

On Monday, the Daily Signal posted an article about the current battle in Congress about funding the Department of Homeland Security. The House of Representatives has passed a bill to fund the Department, but the Democrats in the Senate have begun a filibuster to prevent the bill from being voted on. So what is the problem?

The article reports:

But last week as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried for a third time to open debate and allow for amendments on the bill, Democrats in the Senate continued to vehemently oppose the bill’s consideration. Before the Senate can move to consideration of the bill, 60 senators are needed.

“I don’t understand why they’d want to block the Senate from even debating a bill to fund homeland security,” McConnell said on the Senate floor last week. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

“You’d think Democrats would at least want to give the Senate an opportunity to make improvements to the bill, if it needs them,” he continued. “Why would Democrats want to stand tall for the ability of politicians to do things President Obama himself has described as ‘unwise and unfair’?”

It’s true that if the bill funding the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t pass, it won’t be the end of the world: 86 percent of the Department will continue to operate without the bill.

But with funding set to expire on Feb. 27, why are so many Democrats unwilling to consider a bill that would fund the Department—and keep all operations going?

The thing to remember here is that the Democrats are blocking even a discussion of the bill. They are playing the games they have long accused the Republicans of playing.

There is another aspect of Presidential amnesty that needs to be considered. In November of 2014, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about the fact that illegals granted amnesty under President Obama’s executive amnesty will be able to file tax returns with their newly minted social security numbers and claim the Earned Income Tax Credit for the years they worked here illegally. The Earned Income Tax Credit is one aspect of the Income Tax that is noted for fraud, and amnesty could result in each illegal immigrant family receiving thousands of dollars courtesy of the American taxpayer. This is obscene.

It is quite possible that the financially rewarded new immigrants will become permanent Democrat voters–that may be the reason the Democrats in the Senate are fighting to protect executive amnesty.

I have no source for this quote, but I believe it applies (these are two of the variations):

The American Republic will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

The Children Are Misbehaving Again

John Hinderaker posted a article at Power Line yesterday about the Democrats latest antics in the Senate.

The article explains:

In a shocking move, Senate Democrats today filibustered all funding for the Department of Homeland Security. They refused to allow the DHS funding bill, which has already passed the House, to be brought up for a vote. This means that funding for DHS, including its many vital national security functions, will soon run out.

Why would Democrats vote unanimously to shut down DHS? Because the funding bill excludes the implementation of President Obama’s patently illegal and unconstitutional subversion of the nation’s immigration laws. The Democrats’ position is: either you go approve of and pay for the president’s illegal acts, or we will shut DHS down.

The Republicans need to develop some backbone and deal with this. I am sure (I hope) there are some Democrats who put national security over politics. Essentially the Democrats have shut down one part of the government.

A Step Forward On The Keystone Pipeline

The Washington Times is reporting today that a Senate filibuster of the Keystone Pipeline has failed, and the pipeline will be voted on later today.

The bill passed with both Republican and Democrat votes. The article reports:

The nine Democrats who sides with Republican on the pipeline vote were: Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper of Delaware, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Mr. Hoeven and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who serves as chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee, said if Mr. Obama does eventually veto the bill they’ll try to find ways to attach it to other energy legislation the president wants, hoping to get him to sign it through a compromise.

I would think they would have learned by now that this this president does not compromise.

I hope this bill eventually gets past President Obama. It is the beginning of energy independence for America. It will provide cheap energy, which has the potential of making America a more attractive place to do business. The oil that the Keystone Pipeline will carry is going somewhere. I would be better if it were going to America.

Beware Sob Stories And Success Stories

The Washington Free Beacon reported the following today:

The woman whose story of economic recovery was showcased by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address is a former Democratic campaign staffer and has been used by Obama for political events in the past.

The article relates the entire story, you can follow the link above for details. The use of a Democrat staffer to make this point is an indication of one of two things–a staff too lazy to find a person actually helped by President Obama’s policies or the fact that so few people have been helped by the President’s economic policies that the staff could not find one. Either way, it is a tacky move.

Quote Of The Week

Taken from a Power Line article posted today by Steven Hayward:

I have a good conservative friend who has lived in Washington, DC most of his adult life, where he is a registered Democrat, so that he could vote for Marion Barry in Democratic primaries, on the theory that “if you can’t have effective government, at least you can have entertaining government.”

The article is about the Democrat race in California to replace Barbara Boxer. The author of the article feels that the above quote defines the race.

The article also mentions another aspect of the race:

Former LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is said to be interested in running, and also Rep. Loretta Sanchez. Mixed-race (and therefore a two-fer) Attorney General Kamala Harris has indicated she may make the race. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome, perhaps the leading white guy Dem in the state, will probably take a pass and run for governor in 2018 instead. So is there another white guy anywhere who might make a serious candidate? Ah yes, Tom Steyer is thinking about it. I think he’s going to be surprised when he finds out he doesn’t have the proper melanin privilege for today’s Democratic Party.

But he will deliver lots of comedy gold in any case, such as his comment to the Puffington Host a few days ago that “People rail that democracy has been subverted to powerful economic interests, that ‘we the people’ have been overlooked. Based on what I have seen over the last several years, I fear there’s some truth in that charge, and that scares me—badly.” “Powerful economic interests”?—from a billionaire who spent $100 million trying to influence the last election? I’d say “that’s rich,” but the irony would be too obvious, even for a liberal.

California is, after all, the home of the entertainment industry.

Did The Election Of 2014 Mean Anything?

We are about to find out if the election of 2014 meant anything at all in Washington, D.C. The election was a resounding victory for Republicans at all levels of government. It was also an expression of voter dissatisfaction with the current status quo.

Brietbart.com posted an article today pointing out that it would only take 29 conservatives to unseat John Boehner as Speaker of the House. Recent polls have shown that as many as 60 percent of Republicans would like to see John Boehner replaced as Speaker of the House.

The article reports:

At this critical juncture, the few dozen conservatives in the House have two options.

They can allow themselves and the 2014 electorate to remain disenfranchised, helplessly standing by while Boehner passes crucial legislation on amnesty, budget bills, Obamacare, and debt ceiling increases with Democrat support. Or they can seize control of their own destiny by using the first vote of this Congress – the only vote for which Boehner cannot rely on Democrat support – to veto the Speaker himself and preempt a disastrous two years of lawmaking.

Despite misinformation some Republican members and incoming freshmen have given constituents, the selection of John Boehner for Speaker, unlike the election of the other party leaders, has not been cemented. And in fact, on Tuesday, if every Republican who claims to be frustrated and even appalled by Boehner’s behavior would vote for any other name, they can deny him reelection as Speaker.

The article concludes:

By joining together and organizing a move to deny Boehner the majority, these 29 conservatives can create such an opportunity. This would force a second or third ballot and Republicans would have to reconvene a conference. They would finally be compelled to negotiate with conservatives who would only agree to give their votes for someone who commits to certain fundamental principles and ironclad concessions.

Although this is arguably not a perfect plan, as these members stand before their constituents and gratuitously utter the words “John Boehner,” they will have sealed their own fate for the next two years because they have offered no alternative plan to reestablish a modicum of conservative control over the conservative party. Those self-described conservatives who are reluctant to join this effort have an obligation to put forth other ideas for reestablishing a voice within the party.

On Tuesday, choose wisely and fear no man.

If the Democrats and the Republicans are ignoring the will of the American people, it is time to replace them both.

There Might Be A Bit Of A Double Standard Here

Charlie Rangel has served continuously in the House of Representatives since 1971. He has had a few challenges along the way. There was the question of using Congressional letterhead to raise money for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York, the question of receiving unusually low rents on his four Harlem apartments, failure to pay taxes on income from his Dominican home, along with unreported assets and other challenges.

In March of 2010, Charlie Rangel temporarily stepped down from his chairmanship of the ethics committee because of the charges against him (rightwinggranny.com). There was no talk of him leaving Congress, it was simply an embarrassment to the Democrats to have him as chairman of the ethics committee.

Now, fast forward four years. Roll Call is reporting today that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi became the first member of leadership on either side of the aisle to call for Rep. Michael G. Grimm’s ouster from Congress. Michael Grimm has been charged with felony tax evasion. I guess Representative Grimm is simply not as good at making up excuses as Representative Rangel was.

I am not endorsing tax fraud, but even a quick glance at Representative Rangel’s tax history causes one to wonder why he is still on Congress. Representative Rangel only had to step down from his chairmanship of the ethics committee while he was under investigation. It seems to me that Representative Rangel and Representative Grimm should either both be asked to resign from Congress or they both should be allowed to stay. I really don’t think anything else makes any sense.

Cleaning Up Pennsylvania Politics

On Friday, The Daily Signal reported that a grand jury in Philadelphia has found two Pennsylvania legislators guilty of taking bribes.

The article reports:

A grand jury convened by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has indicted two Democratic state legislators for accepting bribes in exchange for voting against a voter ID bill, among other legislative actions.

The grand jury findings also represent a withering rejection of the unjustifiable behavior of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who shut down the three-year investigation that caught state Democratic legislators on video and audio tapes taking bribes. Williams stepped in and successfully prosecuted the case.

One of the bribes taken involved voting against voter identification laws.

The article reports of the fact that the previous investigation had been shut down:

Because Waters, Brown and other legislators involved in the bribery scheme are black, Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane shut down the investigation in March. She claimed that the investigation was “poorly conceived, badly managed and tainted by racism…[and] had targeted African-Americans.” Williams, who also is black, was particularly incensed by this claim, saying that he was “disgusted that the attorney general would bring racism into this case. It’s like pouring gasoline on a fire for no reason, no reason at all.”

Equal rights involves equal justice–it does not involve shielding a person from the consequences of their actions just because of their race.

The article concludes:

As the grand jury concluded, the evidence of bribery was “unusually damning, consisting as it does not only of eyewitness accounts, but of hours of tape recordings, and of detailed admissions by the subjects of the investigation themselves.”

In light of those findings, it is difficult to come up with any reason for Kane’s actions other than a political one. Thankfully, Williams was not deterred from seeking indictments for crimes that strike at the very heart of the legislative process. Kane may not be interested in trying to clean up state politics, but Williams certainly is.

It is good to see someone working to clean up politics. We need people like Attorney General Williams in every state.

Two Parties Working Together Against The American Working Man

The Daily Caller posted a story today about the delay of the Senate vote on the budget until Monday. As usual, the delay is caused by the obstructionism of Harry Reid. Unfortunately, some of the establishment Republicans are also in agreement with Senator Reid.

The article reports:

Democratic and GOP leaders in the Senate are delaying a vote on the huge 2015 government budget until Monday because they’re trying to block a floor vote on President Barack Obama’s unpopular amnesty of 12 million illegals.

The leaders may be able to avoid a direct vote on the unpopular amnesty, but they likely will be forced to vote on whether there should be a vote on blocking funds for the amnesty, and a vote on whether the amnesty is constitutional.

There are many establishment Republicans who support amnesty because it will bring low-wage workers into America and increase corporate profits. There does not seem to be a lot of concern for the Americans who will lose their jobs because of this. The Democrats support amnesty because they are looking for future Democrat voters–those receiving amnesty will eventually be granted the right to vote.

The article explains:

Three diverse GOP Senators are pushing for amnesty votes — Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

They’re backed up by some sympathetic GOP Senators, and by voters who paralyzed the Capitol Hill switchboard on Thursday. That’s when the House’s GOP leader. Rep. John Boehner joined with Obama to strong-arm House approval for the $1.1 trillion bill, which doesn’t include any language barring spending on Obama’s amnesty.

…GOP leader Mitch McConnell isn’t supporting Lee, Sessions or Cruz because he’s backing Obama’s de-facto amnesty of 12 million migrants.

The amnesty reduces one major obstacle to the GOP’s very unpopular goal of adding huge numbers of foreign workers to the nation’s slack labor market. Since at least 2006, Democrats have said they will oppose business’ demand for extra foreign workers unless the foreign workers are allowed to vote in future elections.

But Obama is trying to provide work-permits for 5 million migrants by granting en-masse individual exemptions from immigration law. He’s also telling an additional 7 million illegals, plus people who overstay their work-visas, that he won’t repatriate them unless they commit major crimes or pose a national security threat.

Unsurprisingly, the amnesty is unpopular among Americans, including the voters needed by the GOP to win the 2016 presidential election.

I don’t support a third political party–what I do support is a conservative takeover of the Republican party.

Playing Politics With National Security

Senator Diane Feinstein chose to release the Senate Intelligence Committee majority report of Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation after 9/11 yesterday. Today’s Wall Street Journal posted two editorials on the release of the report–one editorial entitled, “Spooks of the Senate,” and one opinion piece by former CIA Directors George J. Tenet, Porter J. Goss and Michael V. Hayden (a retired Air Force general) and former CIA Deputy Directors John E. McLaughlin, Albert M. Calland (a retired Navy vice admiral) and Stephen R. Kappes.

The Spooks of the Senate piece points out:

It (the report) devotes 6,000 pages to marshalling evidence to indict the CIA program, and nothing was going to interfere with its appointed verdict.

Not former CIA directors, who weren’t even interviewed (see the op-ed nearby). Not the virtues of bipartisanship, as the GOP minority staff were reduced to bystanders (see the minority report). And not the requirements of future security, which have been sacrificed to the immediate need to embarrass the agency to prove that Democrats were right.

The worst CIA failing in the report is poor management and a lack of adequate oversight. Junior officials were put in charge of detainees when wiser hands were needed, and in one case a detainee died from hypothermia. This may have resulted from the rapid CIA recruitment after 9/11, but it is a major failing, especially given the political backlash that CIA leaders knew was inevitable.

The opinion piece by the former Directors reminds us:

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation of terrorists, prepared only by the Democratic majority staff, is a missed opportunity to deliver a serious and balanced study of an important public policy question. The committee has given us instead a one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation—essentially a poorly done and partisan attack on the agency that has done the most to protect America after the 9/11 attacks.

Examining how the CIA handled these matters is an important subject of continuing relevance to a nation still at war. In no way would we claim that we did everything perfectly, especially in the emergency and often-chaotic circumstances we confronted in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. As in all wars, there were undoubtedly things in our program that should not have happened. When we learned of them, we reported such instances to the CIA inspector general or the Justice Department and sought to take corrective action.

The country and the CIA would have benefited from a more balanced study of these programs and a corresponding set of recommendations. The committee’s report is not that study. It offers not a single recommendation.

I have no idea what the motive for the undertaking and release of such a biased report was. However, it is time to put political bias aside and get down to the business of defending America. The current crop of Washington ‘leaders’ has run up an unreasonable deficit, cut our military back to a dangerous level, and padded their own nests constantly. There are a few exceptions, but the Democrats and establishment Republicans are working very hard to prevent them from doing anything constructive. It is truly time to clean house in Washington. Watch the voting in the House and the Senate in the next two years and cast your vote accordingly. We need to elect leaders who actually represent us–not their own political and private interests.

There Are A Few Good Men Still In Washington

The more I watch what goes on in Washington, the more I am convinced that we have two political parties–the first consists of Democrats and establishment Republicans, the second consists of conservative Republicans attempting to force Congress to represent the people who voted them into office. The recent budget debates have done nothing to change my view.

The Hill posted an article on Saturday about recent budget negotiations.

The article states:

Appropriators are expected to roll out the legislation early next week, giving critics scant time to figure out what’s inside before they cast their votes by the end of the week. The government would shut down on Dec. 12 without a new funding bill.

“Here we are doing the appropriations bill the last couple days” before a government shutdown, conservative Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) said in an interview this week. “That’s not to squeeze Harry Reid. That’s to squeeze us.”

Boehner critics say there’s no reason the Speaker couldn’t have brought the spending package to the floor this past week, giving the House more time to consider it.

But doing so would also give more time for the right to build a case against it.

“They don’t want you to read it, that’s why! You think they want you to analyze all the mischievous items in there?” Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.)  told The Hill.

Representative Jones has been always been a budget hawk. He has unsuccessfully fought the establishment Republicans to cut spending. It is time for Americans who are concerned about the growth of government and the growth of government debt to take a close look at their voting habits. It is time to stop sending people to Washington simply because they have an “R” or a “D” after their name and to choose people for office who will actually represent us. We are running out of time to avoid American bankruptcy.

Distraction Or Scorched Earth Policy?

Today is the day that Jonathan Gruber is expected to testify at a hearing of the House Oversight Committee (The Hill), today is the day that Senate Intelligence Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein is scheduled to release a report on CIA interrogations of terrorists after the events of September 11, 2001 (The Washington Post), and to top it off, it has now been reported that President Obama has not actually issued an executive order to grant amnesty to up to five million immigrants (World Net Daily).

Which story is supposed to have the attention of the American people and which stories are we supposed to ignore? I am definitely feeling manipulated.

The Hill reports on the scheduled hearings:

After the videos went viral last month, President Obama dismissed Gruber as “some adviser who was never on our staff,” while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she didn’t even know who he was.

Opponents of ObamaCare say Democrats are changing their story.

They note that Gruber has been to the White House 21 times and met with multiple members of the administration, including Obama, according to visitor logs. Pelosi’s office also cited his work in a 2009 policy analysis.

“Why was Mr. Gruber called an ‘architect’ of ObamaCare by The Washington Post, someone who was lauded by President Obama and cited by then-Speaker Pelosi, and is now just ‘some advisor’? ” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a statement.

As Gruber steps into the line of fire on Tuesday, he might find little protection from Democrats who once paid him nearly as much as the presidential salary for his consulting work.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee’s top Democrat, said he would use the hearing to mount a defense of the healthcare law, not Gruber.

Regardless of what Mr. Gruber says about the stupidity of the American voter, we need to get rid of ObamaCare. It may take a circus to wake up the American voter (however, when you consider that half of the Democrats who voted for ObamaCare lost their seats in the last election, Americans may already be awake).

The Washington Post reports on the release of the CIA interrogation report:

With the apparently imminent release of the Feinstein report on CIA interrogations of high-value terrorists a decade ago, let’s consider the situation of intelligence personnel who have been involved, not in that program but in drone strikes against terrorists, conducted in a variety of countries around the world.

They have four sources of direction and protection: Their strikes are authorized by the president, briefed to Congress, deemed lawful by the attorney general and determined useful by the CIA director.

Yet people in the drone program know that co-workers involved in enhanced interrogation had these assurances as well. And the drone program has some distinctive characteristics. Instead of employing waterboarding, stress positions and sleep deprivation, the targets are killed (sometimes with collateral damage to the innocent). President Obama dramatically expanded the use of drones, increasing the proportion of attacks that are “signature strikes” — meaning those authorizing attacks don’t know the identities of the targets, just their likely value.

Some may argue a subtle moral distinction between harshly interrogating a terrorist and blowing his limbs apart. But international human rights groups and legal authorities generally look down on both. The main difference? One is Obama’s favorite program. A few years from now, a new president and new congressional leaders may take a different view.

That is a very good point. Congress had been briefed on these interrogations when they happened. There is no reason to release this report. The report endangers Americans overseas and will cripple the CIA in dealing with future terrorism threats. I wonder how the restrictions put on the CIA today would compare to any restrictions put on the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II.

Meanwhile, about amnesty, World Net Daily quotes Senator Jeff Sessions:

In remarks made at the Washington office of the government-watchdog group Judicial Watch, Sessions said: “I guess they just whispered in the ear of (DHS Director) Jeh Johnson over at Homeland Security, ‘Just put out a memo. That way we don’t have to enforce the law.’”

The news that Obama had not signed an executive order to carry out the policy he announced to the nation in a televised address Nov. 20 was broken by WND Senior Staff Writer Jerome Corsi last week.

As a result of the president’s use of a memo instead of an official order, the senator observed: “We don’t even have a really significant, direct, legal direction that we can ascertain, precisely what the president is doing. It’s a stunning event in my view.”

…The senator dropped a bombshell last week when he revealed he had learned the Obama administration is opening a facility in Crystal City, Virginia, to implement the president’s amnesty plan.

Sessions discovered the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, is hiring 1,000 full-time and permanent staff members to quickly approve illegal immigrants’ applications for amnesty.

Sessions also learned the administration will provide work permits, photo IDs, Social Security and Medicare to illegal immigrants.

He noted that all of those benefits for illegal immigrants had been rejected by Congress.

The Obama administration had initially indicated illegal immigrants would not be eligible for Social Security benefits, but officials were forced to admit the plans after Sessions revealed them.

Welcome to Monday morning under the Obama Administration.

Figuring Out Part Of The Problem

CNS News posted a story yesterday about some recent comments by New York Senator Chuck Schumer.

The article reports:

Schumer said the health care law, popularly known as Obamacare, is “very important” but the timing was wrong, and was not at the “top of the agenda” of the American people.

“We were in the middle of recession. … People were hurting and said ‘What about me? I’m losing my job,’” said Schumer, who spoke as the Democratic Policy Chairman on why his Party was defeated in the 2014 mid-term elections by Republicans.

“Like I said, about 85 percent of all Americans were fine with their health care in 2009, mainly because it was paid for by either the government or their employer – private sector,” said Schumer. “And so the average middle-class voter, they weren’t opposed to doing health care when it started out but it wasn’t at the top of the agenda.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Schumer also said. “I think it’s a good bill [Obamacare] and I’m proud to have voted for it.”

“But, it should have come later,” said the senator.

That is a very interesting statement. If 85 percent of all Americans were fine with their health care in 2009, why would it have been different if ObamaCare had come later? If 85 percent of Americans were happy with their health care in 2010, should that bill have been passed then? If 85 percent of Americans were happy with their health care, why was a bill necessary? Couldn’t you have found many things that 85 percent of Americans thought needed to be changed?

Senator Schumer goes on to say that the $787-billion federal stimulus was not large enough. Good grief! I think it is obvious that the grass roots message of smaller government and less spending has not gotten through to the Democrats (and unfortunately, a large proportion of the Republicans). If we are going to turn this country around, Washington needs to begin to listen to the average middle class Americans who makes this country work. The policies of the Obama Administration have harmed both the middle class and the lower class, and it is time to admit that those policies do not work. Smaller government benefits everyone–when the government spends less, the people have more to spend. We need to remember that in 2016.

Some Thoughts On That New Car Smell

Yesterday Byron York posted an article at the Washington Examiner about President Obama’s recent comments that a 2016 Democrat Presidential candidate would need that new car smell.

The article states:

President Obama set off ripples in the political world Sunday morning when he said voters in the 2016 presidential race will want “that new car smell.” Speaking with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Obama said in picking a new leader, Americans will “want to drive something off the lot that doesn’t have as much mileage as me.”

President Obama also praised Hillary Clinton’s performance as Secretary of State as he made those comments.

I would like to point out something about that ‘new car smell.’ Just for the record, it is toxic! In February 2012, CBS News reported:

(CBS) Who doesn’t love that factory fresh “new car smell”? It’s so well-liked that air fresheners and sprays have been produced in attempts to reclaim the odor.

…But according to a new study from the nonprofit Ecology Center and HealthyStuff.org, what you might actually be sniffing are toxic fumes from chemicals used to create the car interior.

Meanwhile, back to President Obama’s statement. Despite praising Hillary Clinton’s performance as Secretary of State (which isn’t a surprise, since theoretically the President controls the actions of the Secretary of State), it seems to be common knowledge in Washington that there is no great love between the Clintons and the Obamas. I believe that President Obama (either behind the scenes or obviously) will support Elizabeth Warren as the Democrat candidate for President in 2016. Senator Warren would be able to challenge Hillary Clinton from the left, despite the fact that politically they are not really very far apart. Note that the leaders of the Senate have already put Senator Warren in a leadership position.

Anyway, I am hoping that the new car smell that is toxic in automobiles will also be toxic in Democrat presidential politics.

A Political Gambit That Failed

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

The article reports:

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

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

The article also illustrates some divisions in the Democrat party:

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

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

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

 

Will Keystone Make A Difference?

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

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

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

The editorial at the Wall Street Journal points out:

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

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

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

 

Future Voting Demographics

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

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

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

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

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

The article at National Review explains:

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

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

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

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

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

The article at National Review concludes:

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes I Hate Politics

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

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

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

In North Carolina, People Voted

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

Where Are The Young Leaders In The Democrat Party?

Dan Balz posted an article at the Washington Post on Saturday about the lack of young leaders in today’s Democrat party. In the last two mid-term elections, many of the younger Democrats who would have been future leaders of the party have been defeated by their Republican opponents.

The article reports:

The more serious problem for Democrats is the drubbing they’ve taken in the states, the breeding ground for future national talent and for policy experimentation. Republicans have unified control — the governorship and the legislature — in 23 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democrats control just seven. Democrats hold 18 governorships, but only a handful are in the most populous states.

In California, Gov. Jerry Brown won again at age 76, his fourth, non-consecutive term in the governor’s office. His victory means that younger Democrats will have to wait until 2018 to compete for one of the nation’s most high-profile political jobs. In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo won a second term, but can’t get out of Clinton’s shadow. The only other state among the top 10 in population held by the Democrats is Pennsylvania, newly won by Tom Wolf.

One of the largest groups of active voters in the country is senior citizens. However, I don’t think there are enough of them to continue electing aging Democrats to office. One of the problems in the recent mid-term was that the youth vote has been disillusioned with the Obama Administration and either did not turn out to vote in large numbers or did not vote for Democrats. The Republican party was known for a while as the party of white-haired old people, but that image is changing, and the Democrats are rapidly earning that label.

The article concludes:

But a political party cannot be constructed around two individuals (Obama and Clinton), as Democrats seem to be today. Winning the presidency and taking back the Senate will be the Democrats’ top priorities in the next two years. The bigger challenge of rebuilding the party in the states and nurturing a new generation of leaders should be just as urgent.

The author mentions Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as someone he does not think will run for president. I am not convinced of that. I believe Senator Warren will challenge Hillary for the nomination from the left. Senator Warren made a number of visits in support of candidates who were running in the mid-terms and will have favors to call in during the next presidential campaign.

I believe the 2016 presidential campaign on both sides will be very interesting. I also believe that it is also well underway.

Being Force-fed Spin

Every now and then a person involved in policy making makes a mistake and tells the truth. Admittedly, creating and passing legislation can be messy, but that mess should be subject to scrutiny by the American people who vote for our legislators.

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article about some of the things that were involved in the passage of ObamaCare. As I am sure you remember, ObamaCare was passed through the reconciliation process rather than the normal Parliamentary Procedure. Also, not one Republican voted for it.

The Daily Caller reports a statement from the man who designed it, Jonathan Gruber:

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that.  In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

This is the YouTube video of his remarks:

This is an example of a party with a political agenda taking advantage of the lack of involvement of the American people in the political process in America. If we are to keep the republic we were given by our Founding Fathers, we need to wake up and start paying attention. Otherwise, we will become the world’s next banana republic.