Morality In America

General Omar Bradley (February 12, 1893 – April 8, 1981) was a field commander of the United States Army who saw distinguished service in North Africa and Europe during World War II and later became General of the Army. He once stated:

“We have grasped the mystery of the atom and we have rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience, our world is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”

One of the moral issues facing America today is abortion. Not just abortion–late term abortion and deciding whether or not a baby who survives an abortion should be given a chance to live. Part of the problem is that abortion is a million-dollar industry partially subsidized by our government and at the same time making large campaign donations.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about one of Speaker Pelosi’s guests at the State of the Union speech:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., invited Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, to be one of her guests at the State of the Union address.

Wen’s seat was not cheap. Affiliates of her organization spent millions to support Pelosi’s quest for the majority in the House of Representatives and the ultimately unsuccessful efforts by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to retake the Senate.

In total, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes — the arms of the Planned Parenthood Network allowed to engage in electoral politics under tax regulations — spent almost $6.5 million in outside spending supporting the election of Democrats to both houses of Congress in the 2018 midterm and special elections, according to FEC records compiled by OpenSecrets.

The article explains the current goals of Planned Parenthood:

Planned Parenthood didn’t spend large sums just to get face time with Speaker Pelosi or reward donors such as Wallace. Federal government programs channel $563.8 million to the Planned Parenthood network annually. To keep Pelosi and her allies in charge of the federal purse strings is to ensure the continued flow of taxpayer money to the organization and its affiliates.

Planned Parenthood also hopes to expand the scope of abortion law. Planned Parenthood-backed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam recently sparked controversy when he defended a Planned Parenthood-backed repeal of certain limits on late-term abortions. Northam suggested that an infant delivered alive in a botched late-term abortion would “be kept comfortable” and “would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired.”

At the federal level, the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from directly funding abortions except in extremely limited circumstances; Planned Parenthood would like to see these inconvenient restrictions removed.

So on “SOTU” night, full of kingly pomp and symbol, Leana Wen sat in Speaker Pelosi’s section. It was yet another symbol of a powerful special interest’s hold on a Congress it helped pay to elect.

If you do not support these goals, I suggest you get involved locally in order to elect people to Congress who share your beliefs. Otherwise, federally-paid-for-late-term abortions will become a reality in America.

 

Raising Interest Rates Is Not The Right Move

Interest rates were kept artificially low during the Obama administration. This resulted in lower interest payments on the national debt, which increased from $7.27 trillion in 2009 when President Obama took office to $14 trillion at the end of fiscal 2016. The current national debt is $16 trillion. Increasing interest rates from 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent increases the amount of money all taxpayers will have to pay as interest on that debt.

Breitbart reported today:

“In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 2-1/4 to 2‑1/2 percent,” the Federal Reserve announced. The Fed indicated the possibility of just two rate hikes in 2019.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose leading up to the announcement.

Predictions looked toward a likely rate hike ahead of the announcement and possible signaling to a slowing of potential future rate hikes. USA Today reported ahead of the announcement, “Most Wall Street pros expect the Fed, as it has signaled, to hike its key rate another quarter point to a range of 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent. This would be the fourth increase this year and ninth since late 2015.”

The Federal Reserve is not a government agency. They are supposed to be apolitical, but their actions in recent years bring that into question. Lower interest rates during the Obama administration kept the stock market high, paid dividends to those on Wall Street and any well-connected politicians. It provided the appearance of an okay economy despite decreases in the Workforce Participation Rate and the rapidly shrinking middle class. Since President Trump took office, the middle class is growing, and the Workforce Participation Rate is slowly climbing. This rate increase will increase the amount of money needed to pay interest on the national debt and will be a drag on the economy. I don’t mean to be cynical, but I believe that is by design. The Federal Reserve is part of the political establishment that does not want to see the economic success of President Trump’s economic policies. President Trump is not a member of the political establishment, and it will be more difficult to get rid of him in 2020 if the economy is growing. The rate hikes announced today will put a damper on economic growth. The question will be how much of a damper.

 

How Do You Acquire A Net Worth Of $80 Million While Making $174,000 A Year?

Although the information about to be shared deals with only one person, the story is not unique. I am posting this example because it was very easily researched. More diligent research could probably find at least fifty more examples of what I am about to illustrate.

The following was posted by a Facebook friend today:

THE TRUTH ABOUT FEINSTEIN
The US has entered into a contract with a real estate firm to sell 56 buildings that currently house U.S. Post Offices. All 56 were built, operated, and paid for by tax-paying American citizens. Now enjoy reading the rest: The government has decided it no longer needs these buildings, most of which are located on prime land in towns and cities across the country.

The sale of these properties will fetch about$19 billion!

A regular real estate commission will be paid to the company that was given the exclusive listing for handling the sales. That company is CRI and it belongs to a man named Richard Blum.

Richard Blum is the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein!(Most voters and many of the government people who approved the deal have not made the connection between the two because they have different last names).

Senator Feinstein and her husband stand to make a fortune, estimated at between $950 million and $1.1 BILLION from these transactions!

His company is the sole real estate agent on the sale!

CRI will be making a minimum of 2% and as much as 6% commission on each and every sale. All of the properties that are being sold are all fully paid for. They were purchased with U.S. taxpayers’ dollars.

The U.S.P.S. is allowed free and clear, tax exempt use. The only cost to keep them open is the cost to actually keep the doors open and the heat and lights on. The United States Postal Service doesn’t even have to pay county property taxes on these subject properties. QUESTION? Would you put your house in foreclosure just because you couldn’t afford to pay the electric bill?

Well, the folks in Washington have given the Post Office the OK to do it! Worse yet, most of the net proceeds of the sales will go back to the U.S.P.S, an organization that is so poorly managed that they have lost $117 billion dollars in the past 10 years!

No one in the mainstream media is even raising an eyebrow over the conflict of interest and on the possibility of corruption on the sale of billions of dollars worth of public assets.

How does a U.S. Senator from San Francisco manage to get away with organizing and lobbying such a sweet deal ? Has our government become so elitist that they have no fear of oversight?

It’s no mere coincidence that these two public service crooks have different last names; a feeble attempt at avoiding transparency in these type of transactions.

Pass this info on before it’s pulled from the Internet. You can verify it on TruthorFiction and Snopes:

http://www.truthorfiction.com/…/Blum-Post-Office-Sale-06101…

http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/blum.asp

If this doesn’t upset you, don’t complain about the corruption and the ineptness in D.C.

It didn’t take a lot of research to verify most of this. I found a few interesting tidbits. Snopes describes the claims as ‘mixed.’ In case you are not aware, Snopes has a bit of a mixed record itself.

From a website called The New American:

It’s unfortunate that Snopes didn’t dig any further into the matter. It could have, for instance, sourced an 11-page exposé of Blum and Feinstein published by the online site FoundSF entitled “Richard C. Blum and Dianne Feinstein: The Power Couple of California.” There Snopes would have found how this couple, through a continuing series of events that could only be called crony capitalism on steroids, grew their wealth, starting in 1980 when they were married, from a modest sum to well over $100 million.

In that exposé they would have uncovered another source, this time from the Los Angeles Times, which noted the couple’s illicit activities from the beginning:

A review of the senator’s first two years in office found that Feinstein supported several positions that benefited Blum, his wealthy clients and their investments. She was a vocal proponent of increased trade with China while Blum’s firm was planning a major investment there. She also voted for appropriations bills that provided more than $100 million a year in federal funds to three companies in which her husband is a substantial investor.

Visiting the Times article would have led them to another source that explained in detail her votes as head of the Military Construction Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Subcommittee (MILCON), which funneled $1.5 billion worth of military construction contracts to URS Corporation, an engineering, design, and construction company located (where else?) in San Francisco — in which Blum had a significant financial interest. Her committee also funneled millions into Tutor Perini, one of the largest general contractors in the country, also located in California, and in which Blum also had a significant financial interest. When Blum sold his interests in URS and Tutor Perini, he booked profits estimated at between $5 and $10 million.

Another example from Breitbart:

On April 21, 2009, the Washington Times broke an exclusive story that Feinstein proposed legislation to direct $25 billion in taxpayer money to the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation

The alleged Blum connection was that the FDIC had just awarded Blum’s real estate firm a profitable contract to resell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms. 

According to the Washington Times, “Mrs. Feinstein’s intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn’t a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments–not direct federal dollars.”

Documents obtained by the newspaper exposed that Feinstein had sent a letter to the FDIC on October 30, 2008 offering to help it secure funds to help them stave off ensuing foreclosures. 

That letter was sent only a few days before CB Richard Ellis Group (the commercial real estate firm that Blum serves as board chairman) had won a contract to sell foreclosed properties that FDIC was taking on from failed banks. 

According to Weiss, “this is an allegation that has totally been discredited.” 

Feinstein’s explanation was that the senator simply introduced legislation to allocate $25 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in 2009 because California had the third highest number of foreclosures in the nation.  

“Senator Feinstein learned of FDIC Chair Sheila Bair’s proposal for foreclosure relief from news reports, expressed her support in a letter, and introduced legislation to implement it,” Weiss wrote to Breitbart News. “She was unaware of CBRE’s bid for an FDIC contract so it clearly played no role in her decision to introduce legislation. The Inspector General at the FDIC reviewed this and concluded there was ‘no improper influence’ in the awarding of the contract.” 

LaJuan Williams-Young, a spokeswoman for the FDIC, declined to explain why CBRE was chosen and instead simply defended the agency: “There are four other contractors that perform similar work for the Corporation.”

According to Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch, a non-profit organization dedicated to monitoring Washington ethics, Feinstein’s explanation isn’t adequate. He says that neither the FDIC nor MILCON connections pass muster under the U.S. Senate Ethics Rules or the U.S. Criminal Code.

“In these cases, she was voting on bills that ultimately benefited her husband’s companies . . . she knew, everyone knew what would come out of those bills, and at the least she should have known where that money could have gone, and that simply doesn’t stand scrutiny.” 

When asked about Feinstein and her husband benefitting from all of these contracts as well as the FDIC legislation, Weiss simply responded, “All items referred to above are Richard Blum’s separate property relating to his business . . . Senator Feinstein is not involved with and does not discuss any of her husband’s business decisions.” 

Blicksilver mirrored Weiss’ response, saying that, “Blum Capital Partners has a strict confidentiality policy which Mr. Blum and other members of the firm adhere to. As such, he does not discuss the Firm’s investments with the Senator.” 

Not only does it pay to be a Senator, it pays to be married to one.

This is only one example of the swamp in Washington that needs to be cleared out.

One Example Of Why ObamaCare Needs To Be Repealed Immediately

The following excerpts are part of a Department of Health and Human Services Report from the Office of the Inspector General. The report states, “Colorado Did Not Correctly Expend Establishment Grant Funds For Establishing A Health Insurance Marketplace.” The report can be found on the Internet here.

The mission of the Office of Inspector General (OIG), as mandated by Public Law 95-452, as amended, is to protect the integrity of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs, as well as the health and welfare of beneficiaries served by those programs. This statutory mission is carried out through a nationwide network of audits, investigations, and inspections conducted by the following operating components:

Office of Audit Services

Office of Evaluation and Inspections

Office of Investigations

Office of Counsel to the Inspector General

The report explains why the agency did the review–the review was part of a series of reviews of establishment grants for State marketplaces across the Nation. You can read the details if you choose, but the details are not what is important here–what is important is that the Federal and State governments never work as well as the free market.

This is the list of what the review found:

1. The Colorado marketplace did not expend $9,678,635 of Federal establishment grant funds in accordance with Federal requirements. Specifically, the Colorado marketplace:did not adequately document $4,398,333 in costs that it charged to the establishment grants;

2. charged the establishment grants $4,504,799 for unallowable hardware and software operational support and maintenance contract costs whose periods of benefit occurred after December 31, 2014;

3. improperly transferred costs totaling $312,449 from one establishment grant to another without demonstrating that these cost transfers were performed to correct bookkeeping or clerical errors;

4. did not efficiently and effectively administer establishment grant funds totaling $463,054 consisting of improperly awarded executive and employee bonuses, overpayments to subgrantees, unallowable promotional giveaway items, excessive and unreasonable tips, vendor rebates that were received but not credited to the establishment grants, and unallowable social activities;

5. drew down establishment grant funds that it did not immediately use;

6. entered into contracts with consultants and other contractors that did not conform to Federal and State requirements and the Colorado marketplace’s own policies on contract administration, including approval procedures and required contract information; and

7. engaged in a number of procedures and practices that, contrary to Federal requirements and cost principles and, in some cases, to the Colorado marketplace’s own  policies, (1) required the use of personal credit cards to purchase equipment, supplies, and services for the marketplace, (2) permitted self-approval of purchases on behalf of the previous executive staff, (3) permitted incomplete and inadequate disclosure of possible conflicts of interest, (4) did not properly document inventory of equipment, and (5) allowed the use of establishment grant funds to purchase equipment for a previous Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who kept it for personal use when the CEO left the organization.

These findings were caused by a lack of adequate stewardship of Federal funds. Specifically, the Colorado marketplace had not developed, finalized, and implemented policies and procedures to ensure that it expended and accounted for establishment grant funds in accordance with Federal, State, and Colorado marketplace requirements.

This is a chart showing the bonuses given:

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article about this report today.

The article concludes:

Later in the report, the IG explains that this was spent on a holiday party, with “cake, punch, holiday cards, and decorations.” Why the Colorado exchange felt it necessary to charge the federal government for those expenses will be one of the more interesting explanations we’ll hear … if we ever do hear it. At any rate, such expenses are explicitly prohibited from federal grants, as the IG points out in the report.

The whole report is damning for the arrogance of the bureaucracy when it came to spending federal grant money, especially on a flop like ObamaCare. One has to wonder just how many other states have used their federal grant money in such a cavalier manner, and for little purpose in the end.

It might be a good idea to note at this time what the planned future of ObamaCare actually was. Had Hillary Clinton been elected as President, the Democrats in Congress would have acknowledged that ObamaCare had failed and suggested a single-payer (read that ‘government run’) healthcare program similar to what Canada and the U.K. have to replace ObamaCare. When Donald Trump was elected, things got complicated for the Democrats. As I write this, they are fighting to preserve ObamaCare long enough so that it can fail and be replaced by single-payer healthcare. Hopefully the Republicans will not let that happen and will repeal ObamaCare quickly.

Let’s get the government out of healthcare.

 

 

 

 

Follow The Money

The filibuster in the Senate yesterday prevented the defunding of Planned Parenthood. I am heartbroken that after videos showed that Planned Parenthood is selling aborted baby body parts, we couldn’t even cut off their federal funding. I wonder how people can be aware of what is happening to these unborn children and support the organization.

I looked up some of the political contributions Planned Parenthood makes. The information can be found at opensecrets.org. This is what I found:

PlannedParenthoodDonationsIt gets even more interesting:

PlannedParenthoodDonations2

This is how politicians can ignore the dismembering of babies and avoid a vote to defund Planned Parenthood. The Democrats who voted in support of Planed Parenthood are bought and paid for. The Republicans are not. The funding of Planned Parenthood by the federal government allows them to have the money to pour into political campaigns. This is a vicious cycle, and it needs to be stopped.