When Governments Go Awry

The American Thinker posted an article today about what is happening in South Africa. South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa and his political party are planning to amend to South African Constitution to allow the taking of farmland owned by white residents of the country without compensation. Cyril Ramaphosa  regards this as the last step on the country’s program of land reform.

According to a BBC report:

The country’s white minority is believed to have a disproportionate hold over land, with a few thousand white commercial farmers possessing the most fertile lands.

Somehow I don’t think this is going to work.

The article at The American Thinker points out the history of this sort of action:

Ramaphosa may think it’s money-for-nothing to legislate his way into free land for the people whose support he wants down the line, but it doesn’t work that way. The expropriated farms will soon be ravaged, just as they were in Stalin’s Ukraine or Chavez’s Venezuela, not to mention, Mugabe’s utterly miserable Zimbabwe right next door, and South Africa, too, will become a wasteland. It all looks real nice right now, but the change over just a few years after this move will be amazing.

I saw it myself in Venezuela, where ravaged sugar fields in Cojedes state, out on the llano, were on one half of the roadside, the expropriated-land half, with miserable looking people sitting under a half-tent with a ragged Venezuelan flag flying overhead. On the other side, there was a still crisp, clean, working sugar farm, obviously the next target. Private ownership, vs. public expropriation were visible with one glance. Bloomberg did a piece on the same horror in neighboring Portuguesa state in 2017.

For whatever reason, people appreciate things more when they have to earn them. Also, if people are suddenly given a large commercial farm, will they have the knowledge and ability to run it? That is the problem. When Venezuela took over the American oil wells, the government did not have the ability to keep the oil wells repaired and in good working order. The oil production of Venezuela began to drop shortly after the government took over the oil wells. We can expect the same thing to happen with the large commercial farms in South Africa.

I understand that South Africa has had some racial problems and people have not always been treated well. However, stealing land from people who have worked hard to farm it is not the answer. It might make more sense to compensate the farmers for part of their land and create a cooperative to help the new owners of  farms learn how to work the land. By allowing the current farmers to keep a large part of their land, you insure that the economy will be sustained as it goes through the change of helping the South Africans learn to work their part of the land.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

WJLA posted an article on Monday about a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The article reports:

You can learn a lot from studying birds and every year government funded research does just that.

But it’s one study in particular Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been railing against for years.

“$356,000 was spent of your money studying whether or not Japanese quail are more sexually promiscuous on cocaine,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in a speech on the Senate Floor.

According to scientists, the effects of drugs like cocaine have similar brain effects in quails as in humans. The study looked at behavior patterns while on the drug and found “repeated exposure to cocaine during sexual activity may increase sexual motivation which may, in turn, may lead to high risk sexual activities.”

It cost us $356,000 to find out that cocaine use during sex might be a problem. Most of our mothers could have told us that cocaine use at any time is a problem. Rather than look at the impact of cocaine on sexual activity, why not divert that money to helping combat the opioid crisis in America? The quail on cocaine study is truly a waste of taxpayer money.

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

Excuses

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 Economy In Pictures

Economics is always better explained in pictures than words. Zerohedge.com recently posted 10 Charts which show the true condition of the American economy. I am not going to post all of them, but there are a few that really tell the story.

Total debt of Americans

Presentation Credit Market Instruments

The Home Ownership Rate

Presentation Homeownership Rate

The Inactivity Rate For Men In Their Prime Working Years

Presentation Inactivity Rate

Real Median Household Income

Presentation Real Median Household Income

We definitely need a change in President Obama’s economic strategy.

Protecting Your State From Federal Government Overreach

This week the Supreme Court ruled on President Obama’s recess appointments. This was the first slap on the wrist the President has received when he has overreached his power. There is also a lawsuit coming from Congress regarding his changes to ObamaCare, which were clearly unconstitutional. However, there has generally not been a lot of pushback to President Obama’s power grabs. States that have refused to blindly follow the President on ObamaCare changes to Medicaid or on Common Core have found themselves treated poorly by the Obama White House. It has become obvious to some citizens that states need to protect themselves from unconstitutional actions by the federal government. Now more than ever, we need to follow the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

One concerned citizen has done something about his concern. The following article is posted at the Craven County North Carolina GOP website:

Craven County GOP Leaders visit with Senator Sanderson and Representative Speciale

By Mark Jones on June 23, 2014 in Events

Today, Carl Mischka and I traveled to Raleigh to visit with Senator Norman Sanderson (District 2) and Representative Michael Speciale (District 3). Joining us on the trip were Hal James, Raynor James, Rick Hopkins, and Randy Siler. The group thanked Norm and Michael for their efforts to further the cause of Conservatism in the North Carolina Legislature. We also asked both gentlemen to work hard to pass an effective bill that will end Common Core as we know it in North Carolina. Senate and House Bills about Common Core are currently expected to be debated and possibly combined this very week. It will take efforts in both Chambers of the Legislature to ensure an effective outcome.

We also talked to Senator Sanderson and Representative Speciale about what the Legislature may be able to do to protect North Carolina citizens from unconstitutional Federal executive orders. State Legislatures are the final line of defense between our out-of-control Federal Government and the people. We received commitments from both gentlemen to work with us on this issue between now and the next Legislative Session which begins in January. Let us hope and pray we have until January to do something before more freedoms are lost. More information will be provided on our website as it becomes available.

If anyone wishes to join us in our efforts to defend the Constitution and save America (one county at a time), please contact us for information about how you can help. One person can make a difference.

 

 About Mark Jones

Mark is the current 1st Vice Chairman of the Craven County Republican Party and former Precinct Chair for Epworth. Mark serves as a GOP leader organizing efforts in rural Precincts in western and northern Craven County. Mark believes in personal liberties, personal responsibility, limited Government, and in the U.S. Constitution as the blueprint for everything Government should do.

 

Question Of The Week

We have all watched the IRS and its ‘the dog ate my homework’ defense of its failure to produce the documents Congress is requesting. This lack of cooperation resulted in the ‘Question of the Week’ being asked in the Congressional hearings.

As reported by The Blaze:

‘At What Point Does It Become Obstruction of Justice?’: Jim Jordan Angrily Grills IRS Head Over What He Waited Two Months to Do

That is the question.

Dr. Greg Brannon Spoke In New Bern Tonight

Dr. Greg Brannon spoke to the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association (CCTA) in New Bern, North Carolina, tonight. Dr. Brannon spoke about the grass roots constitutional conservative movement. He pointed out that both the Republican and the Democrat parties have drifted away from the U.S. Constitution. He reminded us that our Constitution is based on God’s law, Natural Law, and that the Constitution states that our rights are given to us by the Creator–not the government.

Dr. Brannon reminded us that the legitimate role of government is to protect the individual’s inalienable rights. The moment a government oversteps its bounds, it is no longer legitimate. Our Constitution is designed to chain the government–not the individual.

Dr. Brannon stated that the solution to the problem of a government that has overstepped its bounds is the individual. In the last primary election in North Carolina, only 15 percent of eligible voters voted. The role of the grass roots constitutional conservative movement is to reach the 85 percent that did not vote with the message of constitutional conservatism. That is how the country can be brought back to its roots and the boundaries of the Constitution.

There was a spirited question and answer period following Dr. Brannon’s remarks. Those in attendance were challenged to ignore party labels and vote according to Constitutional principles.

The monthly meetings of the CCTA are open to the public. They deal with issues that impact all of us. The next meeting will be held on July 15th. Details of upcoming programs are posted on their website.

 

 

We Saw How Well It Worked For The Indians

Today’s Daily Caller posted an article about a suggestion the Obama Administration has made to change the legal system in Hawaii.

The article reports:

President Barack Obama’s administration has quietly suggested it is willing to create a two-tier race-based legal system in Hawaii, where one set of taxes, spending and law enforcement will govern one race, and the second set of laws will govern every other race.

The diversity proposal is portrayed as an effort to create a separate in-state government for people who are “native Hawaiians.”

The problem with this suggestion is that it is unconstitutional:

But the proposed measure to increase legal diversity is illegal because the president doesn’t have the power to grant one group of Americans the status of a separate government, she said.

“There is no constitutional basis for conferring such status, and Congress has repeatedly refused to confer this status,” said Carissa Mulder, a spokeswoman for two members of the federal Commission on Civil Rights.

“This seems to be yet another case of the Obama administration ignoring the law to achieve its policy objectives,” she added.

This proposal will not bring unity to Americans–it will separate a group of Americans along racial lines. That sort of separation is not good for the country or the people involved. We saw how well it worked for the Indians.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Government Bullying Takes A New Turn

Yesterday the Las Vegas Sun posted an article about some recent events in the Nevada desert. Cliven Bundy, a 68-year-old Nevada native, has been in a battle with the Bureau of Land Managment (BLM) over land that his cattle has been grazing on for decades.

The article reports:

A renegade when it comes to any sort of government control, Bundy — the father of 14 children — has refused to pay BLM a dime of required grazing fees for his 900 cattle, a tab that has since reached $300,000. Bundy has fought the fee, he says, because his Mormon ancestors set up shop on the land long before the BLM formed.

The problem? The land where Bundy’s cattle graze is federally owned, and the BLM now says the livestock aren’t supposed to be there. Federal agents this week cordoned off sections of land and sparked a monthlong operation to seize the cattle.

Tensions boiled over this week when a scuffle between the BLM and Bundy’s supporters ended in violence: Agents reportedly used a stun gun to subdue Bundy’s son and knocked his daughter to the ground. Though called “brutal” by some, the brawl did not land anyone in a hospital or jail.

But the incident did prompt Operation Mutual Aid — a national militia with members from California to Missouri — to visit Bundy’s ranch and set up a camp just in case things got out of hand again. Before their arrival Thursday, dozens of Bundy’s friends and relatives gathered at a protest camp in solidarity for the recent woes that have colored his rustic ranch.

The Blaze has also reported on this story:

But the presence of what appear to be heavily armed agents isn’t the only thing that has the Bundys on edge: Their son, Dave, was arrested and allegedly roughed up Sunday for filming federal agents while outside an area designated for First Amendment activity on the restricted property. He was held overnight.

The 37-year-old Bundy was arrested “following failure to comply with multiple requests by BLM law enforcement to leave the temporary closure area on public lands,” Cannon said. She declined to comment on the claim that he was brutally treated.

Dave Bundy was released from custody Monday and cited for refusing to disperse and resisting issuance of a citation or arrest, she added. Cannon could not explain why Dave was held overnight.

There are a few questions I have here. At what point did the government take over the land? Did the government pay for the land? Why was David Bundy arrested for taking filming federal agents? This does not sound like America–it sounds like a government of bullies with nothing better to do than harass American citizens. Among other things, the government is stealing this man’s cattle!

Enhanced by Zemanta

The People Who Control The Language Control The Argument

The people who control the language control the argument. This was made very clear recently in the debate over Arizona SB 1062. The bill was designed to protect the rights of Christians in the marketplace. The legislature of Arizona felt that the bill was necessary because of various incidents resulting in lawsuits in other states. When the State of Arizona passed the bill through its legislature, the state was threatened with boycotts, loss of the Super Bowl, and various other forms of economic harassment. The bill was labeled ‘anti-gay,’ ‘Jim Crow, and various other things. The opponents controlled the language. The bill is only two pages long. It is written in legalese, but is fairly straightforward and easy to understand.

Power Line posted a link to the bill on Tuesday.  Here is the bill:

State of Arizona

Senate

Fifty-first Legislature

Second Regular Session

2014

 SB 1062

Introduced by

Senators Yarbrough: Barto, Worsley

 

 

AN ACT

 

amending sections 41‑1493 and 41‑1493.01, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to the free exercise of religion.

  (TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)

 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1.  Section 41-1493, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

41-1493.  Definitions

In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

1.  “Demonstrates” means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.

2.  “Exercise of religion” means the practice or observance of religion, including the ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.

3.  “Government” includes this state and any agency or political subdivision of this state.

4.  “Nonreligious assembly or institution” includes all membership organizations, theaters, cultural centers, dance halls, fraternal orders, amphitheaters and places of public assembly regardless of size that a government or political subdivision allows to meet in a zoning district by code or ordinance or by practice.

5.  “Person” includes a religious assembly or institution any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution, estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity.

6.  “Political subdivision” includes any county, city, including a charter city, town, school district, municipal corporation or special district, any board, commission or agency of a county, city, including a charter city, town, school district, municipal corporation or special district or any other local public agency.

7.  “Religion‑neutral zoning standards”:

(a)  Means numerically definable standards such as maximum occupancy codes, height restrictions, setbacks, fire codes, parking space requirements, sewer capacity limitations and traffic congestion limitations.

(b)  Does not include:

(i)  Synergy with uses that a government holds as more desirable.

(ii)  The ability to raise tax revenues.

8.  “Suitable alternate property” means a financially feasible property considering the person’s revenue sources and other financial obligations with respect to the person’s exercise of religion and with relation to spending that is in the same zoning district or in a contiguous area that the person finds acceptable for conducting the person’s religious mission and that is large enough to fully accommodate the current and projected seating capacity requirements of the person in a manner that the person deems suitable for the person’s religious mission.

9.  “Unreasonable burden” means that a person is prevented from using the person’s property in a manner that the person finds satisfactory to fulfill the person’s religious mission.

Sec. 2.  Section 41-1493.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

41-1493.01.  Free exercise of religion protected; definition

A.  Free exercise of religion is a fundamental right that applies in this state even if laws, rules or other government actions are facially neutral.

B.  Except as provided in subsection C, government of this section, state action shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.

C.  Government State action may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it the opposing party demonstrates that application of the burden to the person person’s exercise of religion in this particular instance is both:

1.  In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.

2.  The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

D.  A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, and obtain appropriate relief against a government regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding.  The person asserting such a claim or defense may obtain appropriate relief.  A party who prevails in any action to enforce this article against a government shall recover attorney fees and costs.

E.  In For the purposes of this section, the term substantially burden is intended solely to ensure that this article is not triggered by trivial, technical or de minimis infractions.

F.  For the purposes of this section, “state action” means any action by the government or the implementation or application of any law, including state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations and policies, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether the implementation or application is made or attempted to be made by the government or nongovernmental persons.

 

I have posted the bill in order to allow readers to draw their own conclusions about what the bill said and what the bill didn’t say. Those of us who support family values and religious freedom need to be very aware of what happens when those who oppose these values control the vocabulary.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Impact Of Voter Identification Laws On Voter Turnout

Yesterday National Review posted an article about the impact of voter ID laws on a recent election in Texas. The article quotes a a New York Times headline Thursday stating: “Texas’ Stringent Voter ID Law Makes a Dent at the Polls.” However, the facts cited in the article in the New York Times does not seem to support the headline.

There are four so-called victims of the voter ID law named in the article, but all of them were given the right to vote.

The article at National Review further quotes the New York Times article:

It does, however, note, “Officials also said there was little traffic at the offices set up by the state to provide free voter-ID documents for those without another approved form of identification.” So, in other words, the state had conscientiously prepared for the contingency of people needing voter-ID documents, and had set up offices to provide them for free. That’s a good thing, right? And what’s more, it turns out that there was really no problem after all. Contrary to the hysterical claims of those opposing voter-ID requirements, there apparently are not large numbers of Texas voters who lack identification.

The article concludes:

Texas’s secretary of state, who might know something about all this, is quoted belatedly as follows: “This was our first statewide election with a photo ID requirement in place, and it was smooth, secure and successful.” Somehow, that pithy summary was not quite up to snuff for the Times’s headline writer.

Consider the things you have to show identification for. If you want to enter any government building, you have to show identification. If you want to sign up for any government program, you have to show identification. If you want to board an airplane, you have to show identification. Isn’t voting at least as important as those activities?

Enhanced by Zemanta

When Government Takes Up Bullying

One of the dangers of oversized government is the impact it has on the average citizen. Another danger is that government can become a bully to people it disagrees with. It is becoming very obvious that the current administration has no problem using the government to bully people who do not agree with administration policies.

The National Review posted a story yesterday about emails between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regarding conservative political groups.

The article reports:

The correspondence suggests the discrimination of conservative groups extended beyond the IRS and into the FEC, where an attorney from the agency’s enforcement division in at least one case sought and received tax information about the status of a conservative group, the American Future Fund, before recommending that the commission prosecute it for violations of campaign-finance law. Lerner, the former head of the IRS’s exempt-organizations division, worked at the FEC from 1986 to 1995, and was known for aggressive investigation of conservative groups during her tenure there, too.

Under Rule 6103, the IRS is prohibited from sharing confidential taxpayer information, but the e-mail suggests that Lois Lerner may have shared the information in spite of the law.

There is a pattern to these “:phony scandals.” All of them include an arrogance on the part of the Executive Branch of our government that simply ignores both the law and Congressional oversight. There seems to be an element of corruption that has leaked into a number of areas in the Executive Branch. The Congress needs to hold the people who broke the law accountable.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Happy Fourth of July

Posted by Andrea Soucy on facebook:

If the weather cooperates, there could be a lot of barbeques, beach cookouts, peak bagging, and bike tours this weekend; topped off by some fabulous fireworks. Sometime during the happy, hectic celebrations please take a few minutes to reflect on why all the cause for joy; we are celebrating the coming together of a greatly diverse group of men who pledged their fortunes, their lives, and their sacred honor to overthrow a government that had grown into a tyrannical and oppressive monstrosity. They saw themselves as citizens and felt that George III saw them as serfs to be exploited. Despite a number of years of pleas for redress to their grievances, the government became ever more repressive. That was when they came to a decision to throw off the yoke of oppression and create a nation of free men.

It was not a decision made without much discussion and soul searching. They knew that they might be seen as nothing more than treasonous men who would die in infamy after losing their fortunes, lives, and honor in the eyes of others. However, after prayer and reflection, they produced the Declaration of Independence and went back to their cities and towns to spread the news and raise the men to battle the most powerful military force of their time. Because they truly believed in their cause, they did not quit when the weather grew cold and snowy or their clothing tattered and torn. The rags with which they wrapped their feet when boots had fallen to shreds left bloody footprints in the snows of Valley Forge.

I often wonder if I could have persevered in those difficult conditions; I hope I would have but knowing my subterranean pain threshold think I might have folded, although the courage and perseverance of my comrades might have given me the strength to go onward. I certainly hope it would have been the latter. At any rate, I plan to take a bit of time on the fourth for some quiet reflection on their sacrifice that has given me the opportunity to live in the greatest nation that has ever existed to date. It was a noble experiment based on the novel idea that men did not need a king to tell them what to do and when to do it but was conceived with the idea that each person could rule himself if the government would recognize each person’s unalienable rights, given by no man but rather by the God of that person’s understanding, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As I look upon the current world scene, I am so grateful to those Founders for creating this nation and to God for allowing me to be born a citizen of this nation. Created by mortals, my country is not perfect but it is closer to perfection than any other nation I know and there is no where else I would want to live.

Andrea Soucy is a selectman for the town of Plainville, Massachusetts.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Hope For Massachusetts

Shaunna O'ConnellLast night I had the pleasure of meeting Massachusetts State Representative Shaunna O’Connell. Shaunna represents the Third Bristol District, which includes most of her hometown of Taunton and Precinct 6 in Easton. Shaunna was elected in 2010. Since taking office she has worked to reform the Electronic Benefits Program (EBT) in Massachusetts, which has been rife with fraud. She has worked for more accountability to the taxpayers of Massachusetts and more transparency in how taxpayer money is spent. We definitely could use more Representatives like Shaunna in Boston.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Taking The Free Exercise Of Religion Out Of The Marketplace

There are many people in America who allow their faith to play a major part in decisions in all areas of their lives. In the U. S. Constitution, that is described as the free exercise of religion.

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.

The Obama Administration is denying Hobby Lobby the free exercise of their religion. CNS News posted a story on Friday stating that the new proposed regulation under the Obamacare law offers no exemption at all to Christian individuals or business owners who object to providing sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans. The Obama Administration has changed the law slightly, but not solved the problem.

The article reports:

The new proposed regulation redefines a “religious employer” to mean only those institutions organized under the Internal Revenue Code section used by houses of worship. “The Department believes that this proposal would not expand the universe of employer plans that would qualify for the exemption beyond that which was intended in the 2012 final rules,” said a statement HHS released Friday.

…When a non-profit that “holds itself out as a religious organization” is self-insured, the third-party administrator would be required to work with a health insurance provider to have that provider create a free policy that gives the covered employees free sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

When providing their employees with a health-care plan, these religious non-profits would be required by the government to trigger the provision of free abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations to their employees and an insurance provider who would be forced by the government to provide those things for free.

The bottom line here is simple–you may practice your religion in your church but not in the marketplace. That is totally contrary to the intent of the First Amendment. There are currently more than 40 lawsuits filed against this aspect of Obamacare. I just hope the good guys win.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Black Hole Tax Money Enters

Remember the dust up in Massachusetts when before the election when the state Welfare Department sent out voter-registration forms to welfare recipients? There were links between the Elizabeth Warren campaign and the state-funded campaign to register voters, but that was quietly swept under the table by the media. There is another part of the story, however, that may be even more interesting to follow.

Today’s Boston Herald posted an article explaining that many of the forms sent were returned as undeliverable.

The article reports:

Red-faced state officials admitted last night they are trying to find as many as 19,000 missing welfare recipients — after the controversial taxpayer-funded voter registration pitches the state mailed to their addresses last summer were sent back marked “Return to sender, address unknown.”

The Department of Transitional Assistance contacted 477,000 welfare recipients who were on their books from June 1, 2011, to May 31, 2012, after settling a voter-rights lawsuit brought by Democratic-leaning activist groups that demanded an aggressive voter information effort by the state. That $274,000 push by DTA resulted in 31,000 new voter registrations — but revealed an alarming number of welfare recipients whose residency in Massachusetts can’t be confirmed.

The article reports that many of these welfare recipients continue to receive their benefits through direct deposits to their bank accounts although the state has no way of knowing whether they still live in the state. This is just one example of how well the states manage the money taxpayers give them.

The biggest mistake we ever made in America was putting an income tax in place. Prior to 1913, there was no federal income tax, although one had been levied briefly during the Civil War and was later repealed. The second biggest mistake was using withholding to pay the tax. If everyone realized how much they were actually paying in taxes, Americans might demand that the government shrink to a reasonable size!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Two Sides Of The Story

A friend at the post office told me today that the U. S. Post Office was actually doing ok, but that they are being crippled by a requirement of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 which states

Title VIII: Postal Service Retirement and Health Benefits Funding – Postal Civil Service Retirement and Health Benefits Funding Amendments of 2006 – (Sec. 802) Relieves the Postal Service of an obligation to contribute matching amounts to its employees’ civil service retirement. Provides for a mechanism and an amortization schedule regarding the handling of any surplus or supplemental liability of the Postal Service regarding the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. Transfers from the Postal Service to the Treasury certain retirement obligations related to military service of former Postal Service employees. Makes Office of Personnel Management (OPM) determinations on surplus or supplemental liability subject to PRC review if the Postal Service so requests.

(Sec. 803) Transfers responsibility for paying the government’s contribution of the health benefits of postal annuitants, effective in FY2017, from the Postal Service to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund (established by this section) up to the amount contained in the Fund, with any remaining amount to be paid by the United States Postal Service.

Establishes in the Treasury the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, to be administered by OPM. Requires the Postal Service, beginning in 2007, to compute the net present value of the future payments required and attributable to the service of Postal Service employees during the most recently ended fiscal year, along with a schedule if annual installments which provides for the liquidation of any liability or surplus by 2056. Directs the Postal Service, for each year, to pay into the above Fund such net present value and the annual installment due under the amortization schedule. Makes OPM actuarial computations subject to PRC review.

(Sec. 804) Repeals a provision of the Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003 related to the disposition of savings accruing to the Postal Service.

In English this states that the Post Office is forced to pay $5 billion a year of its revenue into federal accounts in order to cover future healthcare expenses for retirees.

In September 2011, PolitiFact posted a response to a union ad which repeated the charge that the $5 billion payment to the government was bankrupting the Post Office.

The article at PolitiFact points out:

In recent years, as Internet communication has increased, the number of pieces mailed has been in decline. For a few years, postal revenues were nevertheless stable, but then they too started to decline. Patrick Donahoe, the U.S. Postmaster, said recently that first-class mail is dropping at a rate of 7.5 percent a year. While the post office has made up for some losses through productivity increases, it hasn’t been able to make up enough.

PolitiFact concludes:

The postal unions’ ad blames financial problems on “a 2006 law that drains $5 billion a year from post office revenue, while the Postal Service is forced to overpay billions more into federal accounts.” The ad is right that the law did require payments of approximately that amount and that those payments have had a significant effect on the post office’s bottom line. The additional overpayments are subject to debate. Even so, the law is hardly the only challenge the post office faces; it’s also facing continuing declines in first-class mail. So we rate the ad’s claim Half True.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… On November 16, the Courier Express and Postal Observer posted a story saying that Senator Joseph Lieberman and Representative Darrell Issa are negotiating a postal reform bill. That bill would include the re-amortization of the remaining payment schedule for health care benefits. There are some other things included in the bill that would help the Post Office’s bottom line.

Again, funding healthcare expenses for retirees ahead of time is a good idea. Not funding them results in unfunded liabilities, which have become the downfall of many cities and towns in America. However, such funding needs to be done in a way that does not put the people doing the funding out of business. Hopefully a compromise will be reached that will keep the Post Office going.

I realize that email and other electronic gadgetry have had a negative impact on the Post Office, but some of us are still old-fashioned enough to enjoy a short walk to the mailbox to see what has arrived. I am also partial to real Christmas cards–not electronic ones!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Borrowed From A Friend On Facebook

Obama and all the guys who like big government feel that…

“RULES ARE RULES!”

The Good news:

It was a normal day in Sharon Springs , Kansas , when a Union Pacific crew boarded a loaded coal train for the long trek to Salina.

The Bad news:
Just a few miles into the trip a wheel bearing became overheated and melted, letting a metal support drop down and grind on the rail, creating white hot molten metal droppings spewing down to the rail.

The Good news:
A very alert crew noticed smoke about halfway back in the train and immediately stopped the train in compliance with the Governmental Regulations.

The Bad news:
The train stopped with the hot wheel over a wooden bridge with creosote ties and trusses. When the crew tried to explain to higher-ups they needed to move the train, they were instructed not to move the train because Federal Regulations prohibit moving the train when a part is defective. Well okee-dokey then, and the picture tells the rest. As always the Government knows what is best for us.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Watch The Media Play Trivial Pursuit Today

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, there is a crisis in the Arab world. American Embassies are being attacked and American soldiers are dying. Because that crisis seems to be related to American foreign policy (and President Obama), the press would rather look the other way. So where are they looking? They are going after a presidential candidate who told the truth.

The following quote from good reads applies to America today:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
Alexis de Tocqueville

The New York Times reported on a video clip of Governor Romney obtained by Mother Jones:

In one clip, Mr. Romney describes how his campaign would not try to appeal to “47 percent of the people” who will vote for Mr. Obama “no matter what.” They are, he says, “dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.”

He says those people “pay no income tax,” and “so our message of low taxes doesn’t connect.” Mr. Romney adds: “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

I am sorry the New York Times is so offended by this remark. I tend to agree with it. Everyone in America needs to pay income taxes. The free ride for those who pay no taxes and receive money from the government has to end. I think Mitt Romney told the truth. It is unfortunate that we have evidently reached the point in the presidential campaign where telling the truth is not a good idea.

As you listen to the news today, understand that the Romney story and the timing of the release of it is an October surprise designed to take attention away from the crisis in the Middle East. You have the choice of whether or not to be manipulated by the press.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Contrast Is Obvious

I haven’t watched a lot of the Democratic convention–I have been tied up with more important family things, but I have seen the highlights. As you can assume from the name of this blog, I am a conservative, and I am not a young voter. I have watched a number of conventions over the years, and I am somewhat amazed at the direction of this year’s Democratic convention.

The opening video proclaimed, “The government is the only thing we all belong to.” I am more in line with Mitt Romney‘s tweet in response to that statement, “We don’t belong to the government, the government belongs to us.”

Think about that for a minute. If we belong to the government, the government is responsible for us–our successes, our failures, our prosperity, our poverty, our children’s behavior, etc. If the government belongs to us, we are responsible for the government and for ourselves. It seems to me that we have a choice to make here–are we going to grow up as a country and take responsibility for who we are (and what we need to do to make ourselves better) or are we going to sit back and wait for the government to do everything for us.

I have one more simple observation on the convention. There has been an awful lot of emphasis on the so-called ‘Republican war on women,’ and the Democrats seem to be trying to prove that their ideas are much better for women. Well, wait a minute. The convention has already honored Ted Kennedy, and Bill Clinton is the major speaker. How did these women treat the women in their lives? The Democrats seem to think that the essence of treating women well is defined as paying for them to kill their children and giving them free birth control (regardless of whether of not that is against their religion). There is more to woman than birth control. The women speaking at the Democratic convention are demanding things from the government–the women who spoke at the Republican convention were women of power. They had achieved success in their own lives–they were not taking from government–they were giving. Which image is more flattering to women?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Another Lawsuit Regarding The Health And Human Services’ Birth Control Mandate

CNS News reported yesterday that a court in Michigan will hear arguments against the Obama Administration’s Birth Control mandate on September 26.

The article reports:

The lawsuit aims to permanently block implementation of the Health and Human Services requirement that employees and individuals to obtain insurance coverage that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortion-producing drugs without any cost-sharing. The HHS mandate imposes clear violations of conscience on Americans who morally object to abortion and contraception, the Law Center (the Thomas More Law Center) said in a news release.

The lawsuit also challenges the constitutionality of the HHS mandate because the mandate limits the rights of business owners to freely practice their religion.

The article states:

“Judge Cleland’s decision to expedite the briefing schedule and set a quick hearing date for oral arguments on our motion for a preliminary injunction against the Government was crucial,” said Thomas More Law Center attorney Erin Mersino. “It best serves our goal of protecting the religious freedoms of our clients. Without the Court’s timely intervention, the HHS mandate effectively penalizes their free exercise of religion,” he added.

The question of whether or not the HHS mandate violates the First Amendment is definitely headed to the Supreme Court. As I reported on July 28 (rightwinggranny.com), a Colorado company called Hercules Industries won a court case in the Tenth Circuit regarding the HHS mandate that companies provide birth control services in the health insurance policies.

As reported on July 28:

A federal court issued an order Friday that halts enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against a Colorado family-owned business while an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit challenging the mandate continues in court.

I am sure there will be much more to come on this issue.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Yesterday At The Supreme Court

Paul Clement was the lawyer arguing at the Supreme Court on behalf of Florida and the other states who are challenging Obamacare.

I have listened to a large part of his argument against the idea that the Commerce Clause allows the government to force people into commerce in order the regulate them rather than to regulate the people who are already engaging in commerce. I believe that Obamacare as it is written is not constitutional, but we shall see what the court decides.

The discussion I have heard is that if Obamacare is found constitutional, the idea that our government is a government of enumerated limited powers is over. If the individual mandate part of Obamacare is found constitutional, be ready to have the government require you to join a gym, eat certain foods, purchase a car, etc.

We will have to wait until June to know what the outcome of this case will be, but hopefully Obamacare will die with the individual mandate.

Enhanced by Zemanta

We Have Lost The War On Poverty–What Do We Do Now ?

Big Government posted an article yesterday about the growing dependence of Americans on government and its impact–current and future–on our society.

The article cites a Heritage Foundation study:

“Today…67.3 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions…Unsustainable increases in dependent populations predate the recent recession—and continuing economic morass—and have continued to rise since the economy collapsed in 2008 and 2009.”

As the government has taken over the responsibilities of families, churches, and other charitable institutions, these institutions have become weaker.

The article points out:

The Administration is allowing people to become fully dependent on them for their basic needs like food and access to health services, even encouraging it. The more they rely on the Government, the more Government has control of their lives and the less people feel they are capable of escaping their situation.  Without responsibility and choices, they give up.

An excellent example of this was presented in a study in 1976 by Langer and Rodin.  It showed the effects of nursing home patients who were given responsibility and choices as opposed to those “where conformity and passivity is encouraged and every whim is attended to.”  The latter dramatically declined in overall “health and well-being”.  The study was extended to homeless shelters.  When people were given both responsibility and choices they were much more likely to find work and a place to live.

People do better when they have responsibilities and purpose. We need to bring back the concept that there is value in all work. Somehow we have lost that and have focused instead on over-educating our young people at high expense and leaving them with massive debt and unrealistic expectations. It’s time to reinvent America’s values and bring back people helping people (instead of government helping people) and the value of work and responsibility.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Having It Both Ways On Religious Organizations

On Friday CNS News posted an article about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLFP) that President Obama signed into law on January 31 of this year. The government took over the student loan program in July of 2010. Now we are beginning to see the consequences.

The article reports:

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was created by Congress in 2007 to encourage graduates to go into public service professions. The program forgives the balances of student loans for such graduates after they have made 120 full payments.

The new rules deny loan forgiveness to graduates who chose to go into public service with a religious orientation.

Religious organizations are seen as separate from public service in this law, yet in the healthcare law religious organizations are included and required to violate their consciences. The PSLFP also rules out labor unions and partisan political organizations. At least that makes sense.

The article further reports:

The Obama administration views anything the church does outside of the church building itself as not covered by the First Amendment’s religious liberty language.

Just as ObamaCare gave the Obama administration incredible power to regulate the health care industry – power it is now using to mandate limits to how Catholics live out their faith in America – the government takeover of the student loan business has empowered government to make these  new student loans forgiveness rules, by which the administration again attacks religious organizations that dare to reach out to the broader community.

Religious organization often view community outreach ministries as part of their religious mission. A church operating a free clinic for the poor, a shelter for the homeless, or gathering clothing and food for the less fortunate often views its efforts as both living out the will of the Savior and seeking to bring more people to Him. In other words, charity is often also a form of proselytizing.

The bottom line here is simple. The First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion. Most Christians interpret that as the freedom to practice their religion; the Obama Administration interprets that as the freedom to worship inside their church walls. The Obama Administration is attempting to take the morals of Christianity out of the public discourse. It’s time for all freedom-loving Americans to wake up and stop this assault on one of our basic freedoms.

Enhanced by Zemanta