Ending Operation Choke Point

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about five Republican Congressmen who have asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end Operation Choke Point.

The article explains:

As reported extensively by The Daily Signal, the Obama Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder, designed Operation Choke Point in 2012 to “attack internet, telemarketing, mail, and other mass market fraud against consumers, by choking fraudsters’ access to the banking system.”

The program works by using federal banking regulators to pressure banks out of doing business with entire industries the government declares to be “high risk,” choking their access to the U.S. banking system.

But instead of simply targeting illegal, fraudulent businesses, the program also affected legal business owners, who complained they were being unfairly denied credit and losing access to third-party payment processors central to running their businesses.

Over the past two years, The Daily Signal documented multiple cases of banks’ denying legal business owners access to banking services.

I reported in June of 2014 (here) that Mark Cohen, owner of Powderhorn Outfillters, a store in Hyannis, Massachusetts, that sells guns was denied a loan by TD bank because of the fact the he sold guns.

I quoted a Breitbart.com article, which reported:

Cohen explained what happened in an interview with The Daily Caller on Friday.

“This year I went to apply for a line of credit, and the bank manager came by the store,” said Cohen, adding that he’s known the bank manager for over 20 years.

“Mark, I apologize,” she said, according to Cohen, “your credit history is great, but the bank is turning you down because you sell guns.”

That is only one example of how Operation Choke Point was used to interfere with honest businessmen trying to earn a living. Payday lenders were also targeted by Operation Choke Point, and Community Financial Services Association of America, which represents some of the nation’s largest short-term lenders, such as Advance America, filed a lawsuit.

The Daily Signal provides a few details about the lawsuit:

The suit named the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the government agency responsible for creating a “high risk list” of industries to target. That list grouped categories such as “racist materials” and “credit card schemes” with “firearms” and “tobacco” sales.

In July, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that payday lenders may press forward with their lawsuit against the FDIC and begin the discovery phase. That phase allows the plaintiffs to depose government officials under oath and examine documents and emails related to the program.

“We are thrilled by the court’s order to enter the discovery phase, as this illegal federal program has been unduly harming legal entities for years,” Dennis Shaul, CEO of the Community Financial Services Association, said in a July press release. “It is high time that the government’s unlawful and unjust crusade against lawful and licensed businesses be stopped.”

The article also reports the following:

In April 2016, one of President Barack Obama’s top Justice Department officials behind Operation Choke Point admitted the program had “unintended but collateral consequences” on banks and consumers.

No kidding. Actually, I am not convinced the consequences were unintended.

 

One Way The Trump Administration Is Cutting The Cost Of Government

On August 3rd, The Washington Times posted an article about the cost of illegal immigration. The article pointed out that the cost of deporting all of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants would cost nearly $125 billion. However, the cost of the government services involved in allowing them to stay would be nearly $750 billion from taxpayers over their lifetimes. This represents a major departure from the past when immigrants came to America to earn success rather than to have the country support them. So what impact has the election of President Trump had on the numbers of illegal immigrants in America?

Katie Pavlich at Townhall posted an article today reporting statistics on one aspect of illegal aliens in America.

The article reports:

The Department of Justice released new numbers Tuesday afternoon showing voluntary departures and deportations of illegal immigrants are up by 30 percent. Here are the numbers between February 1 and July 31, 2017: 

Total Orders of Removal: 49,983

Up 27.8 percent over the same time period in 2016 (39,113)

Total Orders of Removal and Voluntary Departures: 57,069

Up 30.9 percent over the same time period in 2016 (43,595)

The court system has also streamlined a number of deportation cases to final decisions. 

I am not opposed to legal immigration. Controlling our borders and controlling who is allowed to come into America is part of the responsibility of the government. It would be nice if they took that responsibility seriously.

The article states the probable reason for the change in numbers:

DOJ officials are touting the numbers as a “return to the rule of law” under the Trump administration. For months the Department has been cracking down on sanctuary cities and Homeland Security has conducted a number of ICE raids to rid communities of violent criminal aliens.

Leadership in Washington makes a difference. There are a limited number of things the President can do without Congress, but in those areas, President Trump has accomplished a number of things that will help average Americans earn more and live better. One of the major problems with illegal immigration is the downward pressure it exerts on the wages of low-skilled workers. Corporations like illegal immigration because it provides labor at a lower cost than what they would have to pay an American citizen. Corporations donate to Congressmen, and Congressmen are slow to act on the problem of illegal immigration. That is an instance where an Executive Order from the President can get something done that Congress is not interested in doing.

 

 

Why I Am Grateful For Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch posted the following Press Release yesterday:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced it sent Acting FBI Director Andrew G. McCabe a warning letter concerning the FBI’s legal responsibility under the Federal Records Act (FRA) to recover records, including memos Comey subsequently leaked to the media, unlawfully removed from the Bureau by former Director James Comey. The June 14 letter from Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton states:

As you are well aware, former FBI Director James Comey gave sworn testimony last week before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Among other things, Mr. Comey confirmed that, while in office, he created various memoranda regarding his meetings with President Trump. Mr. Comey also confirmed that, after his departure from the FBI, he provided at least some of these memoranda to a third party, Columbia Law School Professor Daniel Richman, for the purpose of leaking them to the press. Various media outlets now have reported that Professor Richman has provided these memoranda to the FBI. It is unclear whether he still retains copies of the memoranda.

I am writing to you on behalf of Judicial Watch, Inc., a not-for-profit educational organization that seeks to promote transparency, accountability, and integrity in government and fidelity to the rule of law. In furtherance of its public interest mission, Judicial Watch regularly requests access to the records of the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act and disseminates its findings to the public. In fact, on May 16, 2017, Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request seeking these specific memoranda removed from the FBI by Mr. Comey. Judicial Watch also has pending FOIA lawsuits in which the memoranda may be at issue.

These memoranda were created by Mr. Comey while serving as FBI director, were written on his FBI laptop, and concerned official government business. As such, they indisputably are records subject to the Federal Records Act. 44 U.S.C. §§ 2101-18, 2901-09, 3101-07, and 3301-14. The fact that Mr. Comey removed these memoranda from the FBI upon his departure, apparently for the purpose of subsequently leaking them to the press, confirms the FBI’s failure to retain and properly manage its records in accordance with the Federal Records Act. Even if Mr. Comey no longer has possession of these particular memoranda, as he now claims, some or all of these memoranda may still be in possession of a third party, such as Professor Richman, and must be recovered. Mr. Comey’s removal of these memoranda also suggests that other records may have been removed by Mr. Comey and may remain in his possession or in the possession of others. If so, these records must be recovered by the FBI as well.

As you may be aware, the Federal Records Act imposes a direct responsibility on you to take steps to recover any records unlawfully removed from the FBI. Specifically, upon learning of “any actual, impending, or threatened unlawful removal, defacing, alteration, corruption, deletion, erasure, or other destruction of records in the custody of the agency,” you must notify the Archivist of the United States. 44 U.S.C. § 3106. Upon learning that records have been unlawfully removed from the FBI, you then are required to initiate action through the Attorney General for the recovery of records. Id.

In the event you fail to take these steps, you should be aware that Judicial Watch is authorized under the law to file a lawsuit in federal district court seeking that you be compelled to comply with the law. Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Kerry, 844 F.3d 952, 955 (D.C. Cir. 2016); Armstrong v. Bush, 924 F.2d 282,296 (D.C. Cir. 1991). Please advise us no later than June 26, 2017 if you intend to take the action required under the law. If we do not hear from you by that date, we will assume that you do not intend to take any action. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

“Mr. Comey took government records and the FBI and Justice Department are obligated to get them back,” added Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “The former FBI director isn’t above the law and current leadership of the FBI should stop protecting him and take action.”

Judicial Watch is pursuing a lawsuit challenging the State Department’s failure to take any action to recover emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other employees unlawfully removed from the agency seeks to force State Department compliance with the Federal Records Act (FRA).  Judicial Watch argues the State Department and FBI never bothered to do a full search for Hillary Clinton’s government emails. This is one of several of Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuits seeking government records and information about the non-government email system used by Clinton.

 

Stopping The Illegal Redistribution Of Wealth

In August 2014, I posted an article about the Obama Justice Department essentially shaking down businesses to gain funds to send to leftist groups.

The article reported:

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) last week agreed to pay $16.65 billion to settle claims that SNL noted “primarily” emanated from the activities of Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, which prosecutors said knowingly sold toxic mortgages in the years leading up to the financial crisis and recession of 2007-09, before BofA acquired Countrywide in July ’08 and Merrill in January ’09.

…The groups benefitting from the lawsuit, according to Investor’s Business Daily, are the National Council of La Raza, Operation Hope, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America. The money also went to “delinquent borrowers” in Chicago, Oakland, Detroit, Philadelphia and other major “Democrat strongholds.”

“This is a wealth redistribution scheme disguised as a lawsuit,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told The Daily Caller. “And who benefits from the distribution? Interest groups the administration relies on, outside interest groups, allies and politicians in communities trying to benefit as well.”

…La Raza, Operation Hope, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America have all intimidated banks to give loans to minorities, even if they can’t afford to pay them back.

The practice of shaking down businesses to redistribute wealth will now come to a screeching halt.

Townhall.com is reporting today:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced early Wednesday morning the Department of Justice will no longer force defendants to send payments to third party special interests unrelated or unharmed in federal cases. 

“When the federal government settles a case against a corporate wrongdoer, any settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the American people— not to bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends of whoever is in power,” Sessions said in a statement.  “Unfortunately, in recent years the Department of Justice has sometimes required or encouraged defendants to make these payments to third parties as a condition of settlement.  With this directive, we are ending this practice and ensuring that settlement funds are only used to compensate victims, redress harm, and punish and deter unlawful conduct.”

This is a much-needed change. The funding of leftist groups by shaking down corporations was common practice under the Obama Administration. That sort of behavior is what led to the election of President Trump. This is definitely a step in the right direction in terms of draining the swamp.

 

Changing The Rules On “Don’t Let A Crisis Go To Waste”

During the second term of the Obama Administration, there was a lot of chaos caused by accusations of racism on the part of police. Later, many of these reports turned out to be false. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration set up a system whereby certain police departments would be subject to a level of interference by the federal government not seen before in America. Thankfully Attorney General Jeff Sessions has at least temporarily put that interference on hold.

The following memo was sent from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 31:

Hot Air posted an article about the memo today.

The article reports:

You may recall that less than three months ago there was a big press conference held in Baltimore where Loretta Lynch sat down with the Mayor to announce the approval of one of these consent decrees. In a very expensive program, the cops in Charm City would be in line for all sorts of “reforms” which would change their mandatory training regimens and the way they conduct business. Listed among the goals of the program were ways for police to focus on “deescalation” in violent confrontations, how to be more “respectful” of protesters (one assumes that would come before they actually begin setting buildings on fire) and putting civilians from the community in charge of police oversight.

Keep in mind that they were taking all of these steps even as Baltimore was experiencing a two year surge in violent crime which hadn’t been seen in decades. Much of the “reform” work was obviously in response to the Freddie Gray riots, which is particularly ironic because as I’m sure you will recall, all of the trials against the police were eventually dismissed with no evidence of foul play being established.

So now there will be a 90 day “pause” before any of these consent decrees move forward. What will happen during that time? Just a guess on my part, but I imagine there will be “modifications” rather than scrapping them completely. The changes will probably focus a bit less on reasoning with potentially violent mobs in the streets and getting some better armor and equipment. But as I said… that’s just a guess. It would certainly be in keeping with the promises that President Trump made while running for office, though.

Unfortunately there will always be people in authority who do not do their job fairly and honestly. There is nothing wrong with removing those people from their jobs. The problem is, however, that in recent years the press has reported things that were not true in many situations and caused unrest by their reporting. The lack of honesty in the press has ruined lives and given people a wrong picture of police in America. Most of our policemen are good men trying to do the difficult job of protecting the public. They need our support. Yes, we need to remove the bad apples, but we need to understand that the bad apples are the exception rather than the rule.

Sometimes The Internet Just Makes Politics Difficult

On Sunday, Lifezette posted an article about Senator Elizabeth Warren‘s plan to obstruct the firing of U.S. Attorneys. Evidently Senator Warren has a short memory. Yesterday, The Gateway Pundit posted an article quoting California Democrat Representative Maxine Waters complaining that Barack Obama did not get rid of Bush-era U.S. Attorneys fast enough in May of 2009.

The Gateway Pundit quotes Representative Waters:

Maxine Waters: “As we understand it, the protocol has been that U.S. attorneys hand in their resignations and would give the new administration an opportunity to make new appointments, we don’t see that happening quite fast enough.”

Lifezette posted some tweets from Senator Warren:

Lifezette further reminds us:

While it is true that the Senate confirms any U.S. attorney appointees that a president names, neither the act of firing nor the appointment of replacements is something unusual in the transfer of presidential power.

I guess Senator Warren has forgotten recent history. Please follow the link to read the entire Lifezette article. Senator Warren’s tweets are totally over the top.

 

 

 

I Wish Everyone In Congress Would Play By The Same Rules

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the Senate hearings that will begin today on the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. The article compares what is expected at those hearings with what actually happened at the hearings for the confirmation of Eric Holder.

It is interesting to look back at statements made about Senator Sessions in the past and in the present.

The article reports:

Ahead of the confirmation hearing Tuesday for Trump’s attorney general designee, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, brought up issues that prevented Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., from becoming a federal judge three decades ago.

“Now that he is nominated to be attorney general, we will see if the same person is still too extreme for Republicans,” Leahy said in a Boston Globe op-ed Sunday, later adding, “Sen. Sessions has repeatedly stood in the way of efforts to promote and protect Americans’ civil rights.”

It’s a departure from what Leahy said of Sessions in 2009, when both men voted to confirm Obama’s controversial nominee, Eric Holder, to be attorney general.

“Sen. Sessions is also a former U.S. attorney and knows what one goes through in that regard, and we’ve relied on him for that experience,” Leahy said to his colleague during the Holder confirmation hearing in January 2009, according to the Washington Examiner.

In June 2010, Leahy called Sessions “wonderful to work with,” the Examiner reported.

This should not be political–the Republicans gave President Obama the Cabinet he wanted. The Democrats need to be equally courteous. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if that will be the case.

Please follow the link to the Daily Signal article to read the entire story. Jeff Sessions will probably be confirmed, but the dog and pony show is really unnecessary.

Here Comes The Race Card Again

The nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General is a serious threat to the status quo, so the status quo is doing everything it can to block his confirmation. For the political left, that means playing the race card, and they have promptly done that.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about Jeff Sessions prior history as a U.S. Attorney in Alabama.

The article reports a statement made by Albert Turner, Jr., the son of a farmer who became Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s field director in Alabama and one of his closest associates:

“I have known Senator Sessions for many years, beginning with the voter fraud case in Perry County in which my parents were defendants,” he said. “My differences in policy and ideology with him do not translate to personal malice. He is not a racist.”

“As I have said before, at no time then or now has Jeff Sessions said anything derogatory about my family,” he continued. “He was a prosecutor at the federal level with a job to do. He was presented with evidence by a local district attorney that he relied on, and his office presented the case. That’s what a prosecutor does.”

“I believe him when he says that he was simply doing his job,” he added.

Sessions, while serving as a U.S. attorney in Alabama in 1985, charged both of Turner’s parents and another civil rights activist with tampering with absentee ballots cast by mostly elderly black voters to favor the activists’ preferred candidates in a campaign where both leading contenders were black.

The one thing the political establishment in Washington does not want is an Attorney General who actually enforces the law.

 

The Politics Of Personal Destruction May Not Always Work

In 1971 Saul Alinksy published Rules for Radicals. Rule Number 13 states, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

This policy has been used by the Democrats since Robert Bork was nominated to the Supreme Court. Most of the time it works. The Democrats are planning to use that tactic on Senator Jeff Sessions who has been nominated for the position of Attorney General under President Donald Trump. This time it may not work.

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article with a few thoughts on what we can expect from the Senate Confirmation hearings on Jeff Sessions.

The article states:

It has become clear that, at least until Donald Trump nominates a Supreme Court Justice (and quite possibly beyond that point), congressional Democrats intend to make opposition to Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination as Attorney General the centerpiece of their early resistance to the new president. The talking point you will hear and read about the most is alleged racism by Sen. Sessions. However, the true reasons for the opposition are (1) his desire to enforce, rather than ignore and revamp, U.S. immigration law and (2) his color blind vision of civil rights law.

The article at Power Line includes comments from Donald Watkins, a prominent African-American attorney from Alabama. Attorney Watkins states:

Donald V. Watkins said he first encountered Mr. Sessions during their days at law school, when the future senator was the first white student to ask him to join a campus organization — the Young Republicans.

Mr. Watkins declined, but said his interactions with Mr. Sessions throughout the years have convinced him the man President-elect Donald Trump wants to make the next U.S. attorney general is a good man.
“Jeff was a conservative then, as he is now, but he was NOT a racist,” Mr. Watkins wrote in a Facebook post in May, which he reposted Friday afternoon, just hours after Mr. Trump announced Mr. Sessions as his pick.

Mr. Watkins said he wished he’d come forward in 1986, when Mr. Sessions had been nominated to be a federal judge. His appointment was derailed by Senate Democrats, including then-Sen. Joseph R. Biden and current Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary, who said Mr. Sessions had shown racist tendencies. The late Sen. Arlen Specter, who at the time was a Republican but later switched parties, also joined in opposing Mr. Sessions.

A few years later, Mr. Watkins said he ran into Mr. Sessions in Birmingham and said he was surprised Mr. Sessions didn’t call him as a witness.

“At the end of our conversation, I told Jeff that I had failed him and myself. I should have volunteered to stand by his side and tell the story of his true character at his confirmation hearing. The fact that I did not rise on my own to defend Jeff’s good name and character haunted me for years. I promised Jeff that I would never stand idly by and allow another good and decent person endure a similar character assassination if it was within my power to stop it,” Mr. Watkins writes.

If the Democrats involved in the Senate want to have any credibility in the future, they should be very careful how they handle these confirmation hearings. Senator Sessions has a reputation as a fair and honest man. The Senate Democrats are in serious danger of losing any remaining reputation for integrity that they may have.

When Surrender Is Easier Than Victory

National Review Online posted an article today about the Omnibus Spending Bill currently before the Senate. I understand that the new Senate will not take office until January, but why in the world are the Republicans surrendering in advance?

The article reports:

The proposal: Pass an omnibus spending resolution that funds most of the federal government into October of next year, while passing a separate resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security just through the end of February. The coalition of Republicans and Democrats supporting the “cromnibus” bill, cobbled together by Republican leadership with hundreds of riders to please both parties, might have been impressive if it weren’t for the fact that it now may be collapsing. (There may be a few days’ funding extension to make time for voting on the overall proposal.)

Congress shouldn’t let the government shut down, but Republicans should neither acquiesce to President Obama’s unprecedented executive power grab nor give up control over the budget for well into the 114th Congress.

Let’s get back to a budget! The Senate has not passed a budget since 2009. Why? Because the continuing resolutions passed allow the government to continue spending at the current level. This is insanity and allows no one to be held accountable. It is time for this practice to end. That is one of many reasons Republicans were elected–to stop runaway government and runaway debt.

The article concludes:

Republican members ought to vote against the cromnibus, and many of them surely will. If Democrats defect over their displeasure with some other elements of the bill, the measure could fail. The alternative then may be a short-term funding bill into the next year, which would be better than the current plan.

In any case, it’s important that the nascent GOP majority’s first act not be surrender.

Republicans won for a reason. If they cannot listen to the people, they also need to be sent home in the next election.

This Does Need To Be Looked Into

Today’s Weekly Standard posted an article about the recent indictment of author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. There is some real question as to whether or not Mr. D’Souza is under indictment because of his open criticism of President Obama and President Obama’s policies. Senators Charles Grassley, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee have written a letter to FBI director James Comey asking questions about the indictment.

This is a copy of the letter:

These are questions that need to be answered. The Obama Administration has shown a very uneven hand in its administration of justice. The New Black Panthers were never prosecuted for voter intimidation, and the only person who was ever arrested in relation to Benghazi was the filmmaker who had nothing to do with the incident. This Justice Department has not upheld its duty of administrating justice equally.

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Ignoring The Financial Report Deadlines

Today the Washington Examiner reported on the progress of the Budget Process under President Obama.

The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (Titles I-IX of P.L. 93-344, 2 U.S.C. 601-
688) established the congressional budget process, which coordinates the legislative activities on the budget resolution, appropriations bills, reconciliation legislation, revenue measures, and other budgetary legislation. Under this budget process, the President is required to submit a budget to Congress on the first Monday in February.

The article in the Washington Examiner reports:

“The Office of Management and Budget recently announced that President Obama’s FY 2015 budget would be delivered to Congress on March 4, just over one month past the statutory deadline (which requires the President’s budget to be submitted by the first Monday in February),” explains a news release from Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “This will be the 18th occasion that the Administration has missed an in-law budget deadline.”

…Obama has never submitted a plan to control Medicare spending following a Medicare funding warning, though the law states that “if there is a Medicare funding warning … made in a year, the president shall submit to Congress, within the 15-day period beginning on the date of the budget submission to Congress under subsection (a) for the succeeding year, proposed legislation to respond to such warning.”

Such warnings have were issued and ignored in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Obama’s team has not submitted a final sequestration transparency report, which was due Jan. 21 of this year. They were late submitting the earlier installation of the report.

Obama’s team was also late filing mid-session reviews in 2010, 2011, and 2011. The financial reports on the United States were filed late in 2009, 2011, and 2012.

The obvious question is, “What good is the law if the President refuses to honor it?”

The President has stated that if Congress does not cooperate with his agenda, that he has a pen and a phone and he will go around them. It seems as if he has already  insulted them by ignoring the laws they have passed. Maybe the President needs to look in his own back yard before complaining about the trash in his neighbor’s yard.

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It Really Is About Priorities

I have spent some time in the past week ranting about the cuts to the military pensions included in the budget deal. Every day the news about the deal seems to get a little worse. Today is no exception.

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line yesterday about another aspect of the budget compromise the Senate will be voting on in the next day or so.

The article explains one aspect of the budget negotiations in the Senate:

Harry Reid runs the Senate with an autocratic hand. One of his favorite tricks is called “filling the tree.” Reid will offer a series of amendments to legislation that “fill the tree,” making it impossible for any Republican amendments to be offered. In this way, Reid prevents Republicans from having any input into legislation and spares Democrats from having to vote against popular Republican initiatives.

Today, Reid filled the amendment tree on the Ryan-Murray budget to foreclose further amendments. Sessions wanted to propose an amendment to the spending bill that would delete the veterans’ benefit cuts and replace them by closing a loophole that allows illegal immigrants to suck billions of dollars out of the treasury.

So what is this loophole and how much does it cost? There is something called the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). I have written about the ACTC before–rightwinggranny.com and rightwinggranny.com.  A person does not need to have a social security number or pay income taxes in order to receive money under this program. This program is known to be a source of income for people who are in America illegally.

The article reports:

According to a 2011 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, millions of people without valid Social Security numbers received a total of $4.2 billion in ACTC in 2010 – up from $924 million in 2005. The IRS is expected to issue some $7.4 billion in ACTC payouts this year.

The article concludes:

In order to allow his amendment to be heard, Sessions offered a tabling amendment to get rid of the filled amendment tree. That would have cleared the way for his amendment to be voted on, but the Democrats closed ranks on behalf of illegal immigrants and defeated Sessions’ motion on a nearly straight party line vote. The only Democrat to vote for the motion was Kay Hagan, who is up for re-election next year and evidently didn’t want to have to explain a “no” vote to her constituents.

Prioritizing illegal aliens over military veterans: that tells you all you need to know about the Democratic Party.

It is time to replace every current Congressmen who voted to defeat Jeff Sessions‘ motion. It is a disgrace that Congress would give money to people who are in America illegally before they would honor the promise America made to its soldiers when those soldiers enlisted.

 

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Breaking Faith With America’s Wounded Veterans

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that disabled veterans will not be exempt from the pension cuts included in the budget deal currently being considered in the Senate.

The story reports:

The Free Beacon previously reported that military retirees under the age of 62 would receive 1 percentage point less in their annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in the plan crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D., Wash.).

The section of the U.S. code that has been altered also applies to disabled servicemembers, many of whom have been wounded in combat.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, called the change “unthinkable.”

“It has been asserted that the controversial change to military retirees’ pensions affects those who are ‘working-age’ and ‘still in their working years,’ with the clear suggestion being that these individuals are able to work,” Sessions said in a statement. “That’s why I was deeply troubled when my staff and I discovered that even individuals who have been wounded and suffered a service-related disability could see their pensions reduced under this plan.”

“It is unthinkable that this provision would be included in a deal that spares current civilian workers from the same treatment,” he said. “An equivalent amount of savings and more can be easily found, and I hope the Senate will move to address the unbalanced treatment of our servicemembers before considering the legislation any further.”

This is simply obscene, and it really bothers me that I haven’t seen this provision commented on in any major news outlet.

The article further reports:

Rep. Ryan told the Weekly Standard that the changes are appropriate because servicemen and women who retire in their 40s after serving for two decades are still young enough to maintain a job.

“We give them a slightly smaller adjustment for inflation because they’re still in their working years and in most cases earning another paycheck,” Ryan said.

Sens. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), James Inhofe (R., Okla.), and Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) have said they are opposed to the deal because it cuts the benefits of military retirees, while not imposing equal cuts to federal civilian workers.

Paul Ryan is clearly on the wrong side of this issue. When anyone currently in the military joined the military, they were promised a certain pension if they retired after so many years of active duty or if they were retired due to injury. This is a breach of contract as well as a disgrace. The reason the cuts went to the military and not the federal civilian workers is that the federal civilian workers have unions–our military does not. This is simply wrong.

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Why Are We Giving Food Stamps To People Who Are Not American Citizens?

Why are we giving food stamps to people in America who are not American citizens? Wouldn’t that be a good thing for the sequester to cut? Wouldn’t it be cheaper simply to give them an airplane ticket (and an escort onto the airplane) home?

On Sunday the Daily Caller posted an article about food stamps for non-citizens.

The article reports:

After an effort to defund the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food stamp outreach partnership with the Mexican government went down in committee Thursday, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions continued to press the agency for more information about non-citizen participation in the food stamp program.

The article stated that since 2004 between 3 and 4 percent of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamp program is going to non-citizens.

Does anyone really believe that if you were an American living in another country (legal or otherwise), that the country you were living in would give you free food? This is simply another attempt by the government to make everyone in the country more dependent on the government for their existence.

It’s time to remember what America is about–equal opportunity, self reliance, and independence from intrusive government. We cannot financially afford to let the food stamps program continue to grow at its current rate, but more than that, we cannot afford to let the program create a mindset of dependency. There are signs in our national forests telling us not to feed the animals as they will grow lazy and dependent on humans for their food. Do we need a “Do Not Feed The People” sign?

Avoiding Even The Obvious Budget Cuts

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about the proposed Democrat budget plan and its relationship to welfare spending. The Obama Administration has already cut the work requirement in order to collect welfare, now they refusing to support another very obvious cost-cutting measure.

The article reports:

Jeff Sessions offered an amendment that addressed the Obama administration’s outrageous policy of advertising the easy availability of food stamps in foreign countries. This is how Sessions described the amendment:

Contrary to sound policy, the United States is spending money advertising food stamp benefits in foreign consulates. This amendment would prohibit any funds from being spent on this controversial promotion campaign.

Federal law has long prohibited immigration to the U.S. by anyone who is likely to become a public charge. Instead of enforcing this law, the Obama administration has willfully violated it by encouraging immigration to the U.S. by Mexicans and others, precisely because they will become public charges and thereby contribute to the expansion of the welfare system. The administration’s promotion of the food stamp program to foreign nationals is part of this effort.

Why in the world are we advertising American food stamp programs in foreign countries? It seems to me that if we wanted to control immigration (legal or illegal) offering free food or money would not be the way to do it. America needs immigrants, but we need legal immigrants who will contribute to society rather than expect to be supported by hard-working taxpayers.

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A Chart That Tells It All

From the Weekly Standard today:

The Senate Budget Committee has stated that $1.2 trillion of the proposed $1.6 trillion in tax hikes would go toward new spending, while only $400 billion would go toward deficit reduction. We don’t need more taxes or more spending–we need to cut both taxes and spending.

President Obama has stated that ‘taxing the rich’ will solve our budget problems. Taxing the rich in order to spend more money will simply create more budget problems. Until we deal with the spending, there will be no solution.

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Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your People Looking For A Free Lunch

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday about some changes made to the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Website and the information packets given to new immigrants. The website (and the packets) now promote federal welfare benefits.

The article reports:

Rather than ensuring that immigrants will not become liabilities to the public purse, the Obama administration explicitly lures them to the U.S. with promises of lavish welfare benefits–a policy that is both illegal and perverse. This web site promoting federal welfare benefits, now the largest item in the federal budget, mirrors information that is included in packets given to new arrivals in the U.S.

Senator Jeff Sessions released the following statement yesterday calling for the removal of the welfare information from the website:

“The Department of Homeland Security’s effort to enroll immigrants in welfare raises serious legal, social, and financial issues.

 Federal law prohibits the granting of visas to those likely to be welfare reliant, yet DHS actively promotes these benefits to millions of new arrivals every year. DHS knows this, which is perhaps why they refuse to comply with an oversight request on this very issue from the Ranking Members of four Senate Committees.

 It is a long-held principle of immigration that those seeking a life in America are expected to be able to care for themselves financially and contribute to the financial health of the nation. The Administration’s actions show this principle is no longer in effect. Encouraging self-sufficiency must be a bedrock for our immigration policy, with the goal of reducing poverty, strengthening the family, and promoting our economic values. But Administration officials and their policies are working actively against this goal. At the same time, those who would be self-sufficient are denied or delayed in their admittance.

 This is of course a financial issue as well. America spends enough each year on welfare to equal $60,000 for every household beneath the poverty line. Welfare is now the largest item in the budget and is projected to grow another 30 percent in the next four years. We should not pursue an immigration policy that places even more strain on the funding for domestic programs.

 DHS should remove any sections of its website, and any portions of its materials for new arrivals, that promote or encourage welfare reliance. And DHS should respond, at once, to the outstanding oversight request on its failure to enforce legally mandated welfare restrictions. The American people deserve to know the hidden truth about how our immigration system is being run.”

It is illegal to grant visas to people who are likely to become dependent on welfare. The obvious question is. “Why is the Obama Administration choosing to break the law, and what did they hope to gain by changing the website and the information brochure given to new immigrants?”

 

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How Much Are We Actually Spending On Food Stamps ?

The chart below was posted yesterday at Power Line Blog:

The chart was posted as part of an article on recent Congressional activity regarding the Food Stamps Program. Power Line reports:

So Senator Jeff Sessions tried to introduce a minimal amount of fiscal discipline into the food stamp program by offering amendments that incorporated two basic reforms: 1) preventing states from waiving federal eligibility requirements for the program, and 2) eliminating the bonuses that the federal government now pays to states that deliberately swell the ranks of food stamp recipients. Given that the federal government pays 100% of the program’s cost, such bonuses create perverse incentives in the states, with predictable consequences. And at least 28 states have no limit whatsoever on the financial assets a household can have, and still qualify for food stamps.

One might think that a government running trillion-dollar-plus annual deficits would take common-sense reforms like those proposed by Senator Sessions to heart, but no: the Democrats voted them down. The prefer the irresponsible, free-spending status quo.

Technically the House of Representatives is supposed to be in charge of spending, but unfortunately, the Senate is so totally out of control, there is no hope for slowing the runaway spending. The Democrats in the Senate have refused to pass a budget for more than 1000 days. It’s time for a new Senate.

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Exactly Where Are Our Priorities ?

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power LIne posted an article entitled, “If A Tree Falls In the Senate Budget Committee Hearing Room…” It was the most accurate news article I have seen in a long time.

Mr. Hinderaker points out:

…Obama’s acting OMB Director, Jeffrey Zients, appeared before the Senate and House Budget Committees to defend the budget and encountered rough sledding. Among other things, Senator Jeff Sessions asked Zients whether the president’s budget increases spending compared with current law, and Zients was unable or unwilling to answer the question. You know that Tim Geithner followed Zients to the Senate Budget Committee hearing room, and he, too, was unable to say whether Obama’s budget increases federal spending. (It does, both in comparison with current law, as represented by the Budget Control Act, and in absolute terms, by 46% from FY FY 2012 to FY 2021.) You know that the administration’s claim that its budget contains $2.50 in spending cuts for every dollar in tax increases is ridiculous. You know that, despite his confusion on other points, Geithner testified for the second year in a row that President Obama’s budget is “unsustainable.”

This needs to be shouted from the rooftops! We are headed in the direction of bankruptcy and riots in the streets. So what are we talking about–Rich Santorum and his views on birth control.

The article further reports:

I searched three leading liberal newspapers, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times: neither the New York Times nor the L.A. Times had run a single story about the Congressional hearings on the FY 2013 budget. The Post had done only slightly better; it failed to report on Zeintz’s testimony and, while it did run a short item on Geithner’s Budget Committee appearance, it failed to note either his admission that Obama’s budget is unsustainable or his inability to say whether the budget increases spending.

Americans who rely on traditional news sources have no idea what is going on. No wonder the President’s approval ratings are still good!

The lack of information getting to the voting public is a danger to the future of our country. It’s a shame that the major media does not realize that when it all collapses, they will be included in the collapse.

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Why We Need More Of The Tea Party In Congress

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the recent budget votes in Congress. He echoes the feelings of many Americans in stating that the budget cutting is a sham and that nothing in Washington has changed since 2010.

Jeff Sessions, who voted against the bill, explains why:

Beyond my concerns over the last-minute vote, there are several important reasons why I have decided to oppose the spending bill in its current form. Rhetorically, leaders in Washington have made a commitment to reduce spending. But, if the offsets do not pass—and I fear Senate Democrats will oppose them—Congress will actually end up increasing discretionary spending by $4 billion over last year. Even if the offsets do pass, due to previous discretionary appropriations, Congress will still fall short of the $7 billion discretionary reduction that was promised as part of the budget deal this summer—spending $2 billion more than the $1,043 cap identified as the maximum spending level.

John McCain stated:

“Here we are again,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “Not one member of this body has read the 1,221 pages of this bill representing $915 billion of the taxpayers’ money. Here we are with 15 minutes to consider a document representing $915 billion of taxpayers’ money filled with unauthorized, unrequested spending.”

“It’s outrageous,” continued McCain. “I have amendments to save billions and billions of the taxpayers’ money, but never mind because we are going home for Christmas.”

We are at this point because the Senate has refused to pass a budget–even when the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives, the White House, and the Senate. As Jeff Sessions pointed out, almost 1,000 days have passed since Senate Democrats have offered a budget.

The Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives have made serious efforts to cut the budget. The Democrats and the establishment Republicans have fought them at every turn. There are places where a conservative Republican cannot be elected. I understand that. However, where voters have a choice, we need conservative Republicans to change the climate in Washington. Otherwise, we will have more of the same.

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Balancing The Budget In Washington Seems To Be Very Different Than Balancing Your Budget At Home

Jeff Sessions

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that according to the Democrats in the Senate an appropriations bill about the pass in the Senate includes a spending cut of $1 billion from last year. Sounds great–until you actually do the math.

Senator Jeff Sessions pointed out some problems with the bill:

He lamented that spending for disaster relief would increase from $101 million to $2.7 billion dollars. Sessions called such money a “slush fund” because it could be appropriated without being counted toward the total spending.

“Why?” Sessions asked. “Well, it’s a disaster, and disaster spending doesn’t count. Don’t you know?”

Sessions’ second concern was the mandatory spending, which is another chunk of funding that Sessions said “the bill’s sponsors say you should not count … they insist that mandatory spending is not under the control [of] appropriators.”

According to the Budget Committee Republican staff’s numbers, the mandatory appropriations would rise from just over $109 billion to just over $117 billion, for an increase of $8 billion.

In total, Republicans say, that amounts to a $9.4 billion increase, none of which is counted toward the final sum, a fact Sessions called “logic that only exists in Washington.”

This is one example of why when Americans keep asking for spending cuts and are told that spending cuts are happening, the budget never actually goes down.
It is time to take note of every participant in budget gimmicks that increase spending and vote them out of office next November.

 

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