The Democrat Party Moves Further Left

Yesterday The Los Angeles Times reported that California Democrat leaders have endorsed Kevin de León for Senate in a stinging rebuke of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. Senator Feinstein has been in the Senate since 1992. While some voters might see her an a poster child for term limits, she has been a mostly rational voice on the liberal side of the aisle during her time in the Senate. However, she has been rejected in favor of someone who has espoused views very much to the left of her views.

The article reports:

De León’s campaign has focused on the party’s energized liberal faction. He supports single-payer healthcare, aggressive goals for renewable energy and helped lead the successful effort to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. He has criticized Feinstein, known for having moderate tendencies, for being too conciliatory toward Trump, such as when she urged people to have “patience” with the president last year.

Senator Feinstein needs to remember that today’s Democrat party does not allow ‘moderate tendencies.’ It will be interesting to see in November if Americans in states other than California approve of ‘moderate tendencies.’

Principles Die When Politics Enter The Picture

Unfortunately the idea that principles die when politics enter the picture is true on both sides of the political aisle. However, every now and then an example of this concept occurs that is so blatant you have to wonder if anyone making the statements to the press is listening to themselves.

Newsbusters posted an article on Tuesday about the shutting down of the website Backpage. This is part of the war that President Trump has been waging against human trafficking since he took office. The media hasn’t said a lot about this, but good things are happening.

The story at Newsbusters reports:

Saturday was, as Katie Yoder at NewsBusters noted Tuesday afternoon, a “sad day.” That’s when the Women’s March sprang to the defense of Backpage.com, tweeting that its Friday seizure by the Justice Department “is an absolute crisis for sex workers.” In that same tweet, the group declared that “Sex workers rights are women’s rights.” Backpage and seven associated individuals were indicted Monday on charges relating to facilitating prostitution — including child prostitution conducted by human sex traffickers. Thus far, the establishment press has been almost unanimously running cover for the Women’s March by ignoring its disgraceful position.

According to the New York Times’s coverage of the the first Women’s March in January 2017, participants reportedly were there to “Protest Trump.” On the eve of that first march, a Times op-ed writer, who hoped that it “Could Resurrect the Democratic Party,” lamented that “Sex workers have rightly raised issues with its failure to meaningfully address their concerns.”

On April 7, The Los Angeles Times reported:

In the climax of a fight that pitted foes of sex trafficking against advocates of free internet speech, the Justice Department on Friday seized the Backpage.com website and raided the home of its cofounder.

…Congress moved to strip away that shield late last month with a measure to carve out an exception in the communications law after a high-volume political battle. When signed into law by President Trump, the measure will allow states to proceed against websites that knowingly assist or support sex trafficking.

Silicon Valley trade groups and free-speech advocates such as the ACLU fought the new measure, warning that it would create havoc by forcing companies to try to get a handle on wild online speech.

Sex workers have rights, and it’s wrong to interfere with websites that assist or support sex trafficking. What? I thought feminists were against women being sex objects. I admit I am somewhat unfamiliar with exactly how this whole things works, but it seems to me that a ‘woman of the night’ might actually be considered a sex object. Also, we used to have something called ‘community standards.’ Somehow I don’t think that freedom to promote sex trafficking would be included in those standards.

Thank you, President Trump, for dealing with the issue of sex trafficking. It has been going on in America (and worldwide) for a long time, and it is time someone stepped up to the plate and begin to deal with it.

 

Charles Krauthammer Had It Right

The following is a quote from Charles Krauthammer in October of 2016:

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: This brings us back full circle to the beginning. The question was originally: Why did she have the private server? She said convenience, obviously that was ridiculous…

It was obvious she was hiding something.

And think about it, she set it up in 2009, before becoming Secretary of State. So, she anticipated having exchanges that she would not want anyone to see. So, we’ve been asking ourselves on this set for a year almost, what exactly didn’t she want people to see?

Well, now we know.

And as we speculated, the most plausible explanation was the rank corruption of the Clinton Foundation, and its corrupt — I don’t know if it’s illegal, but corrupt relationship with the State Department.

And her only defense as we saw earlier– the Democrats are saying, well, there was nothing she did… that was corrupted by donations. You can believe that if you want, but there’s a reason that people give donations in large amounts, and that’s to influence the outcome of decisions. So, this — we are getting unfolding to us, exactly what she anticipated having to hide, and it is really dirty business.

The quote was posted at Real Clear Politics.

This is a quote from then FBI Comey’s statement about Hillary Clinton’s emails. It is taken from the Los Angeles Times:

FBI investigators have also read all of the approximately 30,000 e-mails provided by Secretary Clinton to the State Department in December 2014. Where an e-mail was assessed as possibly containing classified information, the FBI referred the e-mail to any U.S. government agency that was a likely “owner” of information in the e-mail, so that agency could make a determination as to whether the e-mail contained classified information at the time it was sent or received, or whether there was reason to classify the e-mail now, even if its content was not classified at the time it was sent (that is the process sometimes referred to as “up-classifying”).

From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.

The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014. We found those additional e-mails in a variety of ways. Some had been deleted over the years and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private e-mail domain. Others we found by reviewing the archived government e-mail accounts of people who had been government employees at the same time as Secretary Clinton, including high-ranking officials at other agencies, people with whom a Secretary of State might naturally correspond.

This helped us recover work-related e-mails that were not among the 30,000 produced to State. Still others we recovered from the laborious review of the millions of e-mail fragments dumped into the slack space of the server decommissioned in 2013.

With respect to the thousands of e-mails we found that were not among those produced to State, agencies have concluded that three of those were classified at the time they were sent or received, one at the Secret level and two at the Confidential level. There were no additional Top Secret e-mails found. Finally, none of those we found have since been “up-classified.”

The underline is mine.

Regardless of how you feel about Hillary Clinton, mishandling classified information is a crime that ordinary people go to jail for committing. If there are not consequences for breaking laws, why do we have those laws?

 

 

The Things Many Of Us Didn’t Know

You can’t change history, and ‘what if’s’ are somewhat useless, but on February 4th, Larry Elder posted a very interesting article in the Toronto Sun. The article reveals one way the media bias in America has impacted our nation.

The article is titled, “Had the ‘news’ media done its job, Obama would not have become president.” That is a very interesting thought. I somewhat disagree in that I believe the media considered it their job to discredit anyone who said anything negative about then Senator Obama and acted accordingly–so in their minds they were doing their job.

The article reports the first obvious example of the media omitting something that might have been relevant:

A photojournalist withheld publication of a 2005 photograph of a smiling then-Sen. Barack Obama with a beaming Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic, anti-white leader of the Nation of Islam.

The occasion was a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. The photographer, Askia Muhammad, said that almost immediately after he took the picture a CBC staffer called and said, “We have to have the picture back.”

Muhammad later surrendered the disk with the photo to Farrakhan’s chief of staff. “I gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy,” Muhammad said in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. “But after the (presidential) nomination was secured and all the way up until the inauguration; then for eight years after he was President, it was kept under cover.”

Harvard Law School professor emeritus and lifelong liberal Alan Dershowitz says he would not have campaigned for Obama had he been aware of this photograph. Dershowitz says: “Louis Farrakhan is a virulent anti-Semite. He’s called Judaism a ‘gutter religion.’ He’s anti-American. He is a horrible, horrible human being.

Example number two:

Obama’s longtime association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ would likely have derailed his candidacy had media pounced on this as they did the Trump “Access Hollywood” tape. But for Fox News’ coverage of Wright and the videotapes of his fiery sermons, the other major media would have avoided or downplayed Obama’s 20-year association with a pastor who gave fiery sermons critical of America and who had a longtime friendship with Farrakhan.

Ezra Klein, then with The Washington Post, set up a private internet forum he called JournoList, which served as an online gathering place for several hundred like-minded (aka liberal) reporters. When the Jeremiah Wright scandal broke, several reporters on the “J-List” literally schemed of ways to deflect attention from the scandal.

Not an encouraging picture of a supposedly unbiased media.

The third example:

Then there’s the Los Angeles Times, which, to this day, has not and will not publish even a transcript of the “Khalidi tapes.” Rashid Khalidi, an Obama friend and a University of Chicago Palestinian-American professor of Middle East studies, had a going-away party to celebrate his new post at Columbia University. Someone gave the Los Angeles Times a videotape of this 2003 event that Obama attended, where he reminisced about their friendship in a tribute to the professor.

Khalidi was an outspoken supporter of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. But what he said and what others said at this farewell party, we will never know. Were attendees bashing Israel? Did Obama bash Israel? The Times says it promised the unnamed source who provided the videotape not to air or reproduce the tape. The paper, whose editorial board endorsed Obama, claims it simply kept its promise to a source. If a tape could have ended Trump’s 2016 campaign, would the LA Times, whose editorial board twice endorsed Obama and considered Trump a danger to the world, have sat on it?

Whether or not this information would have mattered to the voters is not clear. What is clear is that each one of these events was an indication of the policies Senator Obama would embrace as President. Under President Obama we had eight years of very strained relationships with a number of our allies–the Churchill bust that was sent back to England, and the horrific treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during one of his visits when he was ignored then asked to leave by the back door of the White House are just two examples.

Under President Trump our relationship with Israel and Britain have improved. We are regaining the respect that our country lost under President Obama. We are no longer ‘leading from behind’ (which makes no sense anyway), but taking our place in the family of nations as a supporter of freedom and a voice for the exploited.

Things Just Got Murkier

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article by Byron York about General Michael Flynn.

The article reports:

There was also a lot of concern in Congress, at least among Republicans, about the leak of the wiretapped Flynn-Kislyak conversation. Such intelligence is classified at the highest level of secrecy, yet someone — Republicans suspected Obama appointees in the Justice Department and intelligence community — revealed it to the press.

So in March, lawmakers wanted Comey to tell them what was up. And what they heard from the director did not match what they were hearing in the media.

According to two sources familiar with the meetings, Comey told lawmakers that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe that Flynn had lied to them, or that any inaccuracies in his answers were intentional. As a result, some of those in attendance came away with the impression that Flynn would not be charged with a crime pertaining to the Jan. 24 interview.

So what happened?

There seem to be some serious irregularities in the whole episode.

The article further reports:

It has sometimes been asked why Flynn, a man long familiar with the ways of Washington, would talk to the FBI without a lawyer. There seems to be no clear answer. On the one hand, as national security adviser, Flynn had plenty of reasons to talk to the FBI, and he could have reasonably thought the meeting would be about a prosaic issue involved in getting the new Trump National Security Council up and running. On the other hand, the media was filled with talk about the investigation into his conversations with Kislyak, and he might just as reasonably have thought that’s what the agents wanted to discuss. In any event, Flynn went ahead without an attorney present.

In addition, it appears the FBI did not tell White House officials, including the National Security Council’s legal adviser or the White House counsel, that agents were coming to interview the national security adviser over a potentially criminal matter.

On February 13th, General Flynn resigned as National Security Advisor after charges that he had lied to the FBI were leaked. General Flynn later pleaded guilty to Special Prosecutor Mueller’s charges of lying to the FBI on January 24th. The only way this makes sense is when you consider the financial and emotional cost of defending yourself against the government. This is particularly disturbing when the weight of the government is aimed at the destruction of one innocent person.

This is reminiscent of the tactics used against Billy Dale during the Clinton Administration. On November 17, 1995, The Los Angeles Times posted the following:

Billy R. Dale, a White House official fired for allegedly mismanaging staff and press travel arrangements, was acquitted Thursday by a federal court jury of charges that he embezzled $68,000.

Culminating a 13-day trial, jurors decided in less than two hours that federal prosecutors had failed to prove charges that Dale stole funds paid to his office by reporters and photographers who traveled with the President.

A White House employee for more than 30 years, Dale broke into tears as the verdict was announced.

Dale, 58, was at the center of a Clinton Administration travel office fiasco two years ago that resulted in seven employees being fired, and later in reprimands for those responsible for the dismissals.

The 1993 dismissals were inspired by complaints of mismanagement from Catherine Cornelius, a distant cousin of the President, and Hollywood producer Harry Thomason, a close friend of Clinton’s.

Cornelius wanted a more powerful job in the travel office, and Thomason was seeking a federal aviation contract.

There was no mention in the article of the financial and emotional toll this ordeal took on Billy Dale.

If we are going to end the government being used as a weapon against innocent Americans, we have to begin to send those guilty of doing the weaponization to jail.

General Flynn was charged after an illegal wiretap. The charges should not be against General Flynn–they should be against the people involved in the wiretap. If we want to see the misuse of the intelligence agencies end, the guilty parties have to go to jail–regardless of who they are.

Why Policy Matters

The Los Angeles Times posted an article today about the stretch of wild brushland between the Rio Grande and the sprawling Texas border cities of Hidalgo and McAllen. That deserted piece of land was one a bustling crossing point for illegals coming into the United States. It is now very quiet.

The article reports:

Across the Southwest border, the number of immigrants caught crossing illegally into the United States has dropped dramatically. Fewer than 12,200 people were apprehended in March, a 64% decrease from the same time last year, and the lowest monthly number in at least 17 years.

…”We don’t really have a normal anymore,” said Castro, who has worked for Customs and Border Protection for nearly 20 years. She insists agents are not doing anything differently; the Trump administration’s executive orders are simply enforcing laws already on the books.

“Are you going to risk a 1,000-mile journey and pay $8,000 to be smuggled if you’re not sure you’ll get to stay?” Castro said, offering a reason she thinks fewer asylum seekers are crossing over. “I wouldn’t.”

Some of the reasons people are fleeing Mexico and countries south of there are the drug cartels and the gangs. It would make sense to work with some of the governments involved to clean up the drug cartels and the gangs. Unfortunately, that is very dangerous work, and the corruption runs deep. South American politicians who take on either the drug cartels or the gangs tend not to live very long. However, that is the answer. Ultimately, we need a wall to stop illegal immigration, but we also need a way to help stop the drug cartels and the gangs and to help the economies of our southern neighbors. We also need to understand that by not securing our borders, we are encouraging the drug cartels and the gangs to invade our country.

 

Why We Need Financial Accountability In Washington

On Monday, The Los Angeles Times posted an article about the Pentagon‘s request that California members of the National Guard pay back their re-enlistment bonuses.

The article reports:

The California National Guard told the state’s members of Congress two years ago that the Pentagon was trying to claw back reenlistment bonuses from thousands of soldiers, and even offered a proposal to mitigate the problem, but Congress took no action, according to a senior National Guard official.

The official added that improper bonuses had been paid to National Guard members in every state, raising the possibility that many more soldiers may owe large debts to the Pentagon.

“This is a national issue and affects all states,” Andreas Mueller, the chief of federal policy for the California Guard, wrote in an email to the state’s congressional delegation Monday. Attention had focused on California because it was “the only state that audited” bonus payments at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he added.

In the email, Mueller reminded members of Congress that the Guard had informed them about the issue two years ago. Whether members of Congress understood the scope of the problem at the time is unclear.

Nothing like punishing the little people for the mistakes of the bureaucracy.

The article goes on to report the following:

Army Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, the California Guard’s incentive manager, pleaded guilty in 2011 to filing false claims of $15.2 million and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. Three officers also pleaded guilty to fraud and were put on probation after paying restitution.

This is a disgrace. Promises were made, and even if those promises were made in error, they still need to be kept. To ask the members of the National Guard, who generally don’t earn much to begin with, to pay back thousands of dollars because the bureaucracy made a mistake is simply wrong. I also wonder why the California Congressional delegation chose to be quiet about the matter for two years.

The Crash Of ObamaCare

On Monday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about changes in ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Aetna, one of the largest health insurers in the United States, announced Monday it would be dropping out of 70 percent of the counties in which it offers coverage through Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.

According to Business Insider:

“The firm said that, after a review of its public health-exchange business, it determined that the nearly $200 million in pretax loss that it was sustaining on an annual basis was not worth the business.”

Aetna will continue to offer health care options through the public exchanges in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska, and Virginia but its services have been reduced from 778 counties to 242.

UnitedHealth Care, another leading health insurer announced its decision to completely quit Obamacare by 2017 in April:

“Aetna’s and UnitedHealthcare’s decisions to scale back is problematic for customers because the number of insurers competing through the exchange is closely linked with the affordability of the plans.”

The collapse of ObamaCare is partially a result of the design of the program–it was designed to collapse so the Democrats could go to full government health insurance–and partially the result of the House of Representative refusing to fund reimbursements for insurance companies.

In May of this year, I reported:

Today The Los Angeles Times reported:

A federal judge ruled for House Republicans on Thursday in their suit against President Obama and declared his administration is unconstitutionally spending money to reimburse health insurers without obtaining an appropriation from Congress.

The judge’s ruling, though a setback for the administration, was put on hold immediately and stands a good chance of being overturned on appeal.

In North Carolina, there will only be one health insurance company left that will be operating through the ObamaCare health exchange. Stay tuned. The rise in ObamaCare premiums in most states is going to astronomical.

 

The Face Of Sharia Law

The Los Angeles Times is reporting today that Waseem Azeem, brother of slain Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch, has confessed to killing his sister for the sake of the family’s honor.

The article reports:

Baloch, who had become a social media celebrity in recent months, stirred controversy by posting pictures online taken with a prominent Muslim cleric. She was found dead Saturday at her family home in the central city of Multan.

Police arrested her brother, Waseem Azeem, and presented him before the media in Multan, where he confessed to killing her. He said that people had taunted him over the photos and that he found the social embarrassment unbearable. 

“I was determined either to kill myself or kill her,” Azeem told the Associated Press as he was being led away. 

He said that even though Baloch was the main breadwinner for the family, he slipped her sedatives the night before and then strangled her in her sleep. 

According to the tenets of Islam, what he did was perfectly acceptable.

The article further reports:

Nearly 1,000 women are killed in Pakistan each year for violating conservative norms on love and marriage. The so-called “honor killings” often are carried out by family members. 

Such killings are considered murder. But Islamic law in Pakistan allows a murder victim’s family to pardon the killer, which often allows those convicted of honor killings to escape punishment. 

Islamic law is Sharia Law. This is what many Muslims want to introduce into our courts to supersede the U.S. Constitution. Sharia Law and the U.S. Constitution are totally incompatible–the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of speech and freedom of religion, neither of which are acceptable in Sharia Law. In Sharia Law, freedom of speech is defined as the right to express any opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah. It is also defined as the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah. Free speech is allowed as long as it agrees with Shariah. Anything negative about Mohammad or any picture of Mohammad are not allowed. We need to make sure that anyone who comes to America is willing to live under the U.S. Constitution. If they are not, we need to send them home.

Common Sense Rears Its Head

Breitbart.com posted an article today about a Los Angeles Times reporter who was surprised to find Latinos who are supporting Donald Trump for President. Robin Abcarian attended a Donald Trump rally in Fresno, California, and was surprised to find Latino supporters of Trump there.

The article reports:

It turns out that many of them are American citizens or legal immigrants who care about the country’s borders, and share the same views as fellow conservatives Republicans on a variety of issues.

His rhetoric about Mexicans doesn’t bother you, I asked?

“It’s about illegal aliens!” Jennings said. “Mom and I can’t go to Canada and just squat and get benefits. We couldn’t go to Mexico either without the proper paperwork. They’d put us in jail!”

“I’m Mexican,” Aderhold said, “and I understand that Mexicans do the farm labor, but there are a lot of legal ones. That’s how they should do it, the way my parents did.”

Note that these people were here legally. The people who have come to America legally do not want to see our borders erased–they want other people to stand in line and do things legally as they did. It is not a surprise to hear that many of them are supporting Donald Trump.

Is This Important? Why Or Why Not?

I have actually attempted to avoid writing about Hillary Clinton’s emails. However, when new information comes out, I feel obligated to say something. One recent bit of new information is the State Department Inspector General‘s report on Secretary of State Clinton’s email server.

On Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times posted an article about Mrs. Clinton’s email server that included the following:

Clinton has long said she used a personal email server solely as a matter of “convenience.” But the result wasn’t very convenient; because of State Department spam filters, Clinton’s emails weren’t getting through to her own department. According to the report, when an aide proposed giving her a government email address, Clinton agreed, but added: “I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

Clinton has emphasized that the law did not prohibit her from using personal email for official business – and that’s true. But the inspector general notes that State Department rules required her to get permission to use a personal server, and she never complied.

And Clinton has said she turned over all her business-related emails as soon as the State Department asked for them. The inspector general says her submission of documents was “incomplete” and later than the law requires.

On May 28, The Washington Post reported:

Clinton initially sought to downplay the report as old news. “It’s the same story,” she told Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas. “Just like previous secretaries of state, I used a personal email. Many people did. It was not at all unprecedented.

Except that it was. While other secretaries of state had used personal email addresses, none of them had exclusively done so. And as Helderman and Hamburger noted, the State Department IG report scolded Clinton not only for using the email address exclusively but also for slow-walking the release of those emails to the State Department.

Judicial Watch recently posted a download of an education panel they hosted on March 23 about Hillary Clinton’s emails. Judicial Watch is an organization that has been working toward more transparent government for a number of years. They have held both Republican and Democratic administrations accountable. Their panel included Jason Leopold, an investigative reporter for Vice News, Joe diGenova, attorney and former U.S. attorney, Dan Metcalfe, head of the Collaboration on Government Secrecy for the AU law school; a non-partisan educational project devoted to openness in government, freedom of information, government transparency, and a study of government secrecy in the United States and internationally, Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, and Michael Bekesha, an attorney for Judicial Watch.

The report is twenty-four pages long. Here is one excerpt:

Joe diGenova stated: 

I believe Mrs. Clinton decided from the beginning of her tenure as a constitutional officer — she is a constitutional officer — that she would procure a server with the assistance of the State Department, including having them install it in her home in Chappaqua. When she did that, Chappaqua became the State Department. Those records were in fact in the possession of the United States government at that point. I am going to be fascinated by the argument she is going to make that they were not. She moved the secretary’s office from Foggy Bottom to Chappaqua. There is simply no disputing that. She made a decision that her business would be conducted on that server. That was her decision. It wasn’t anybody else’s decision. When she did that, she transferred federal records into that house and into that server. They may very well argue whatever they want to argue about it, but I think they are going to have a really tough time convincing anybody those were not government records from day one in her possession in that place. What is crucial, is that nobody knows what she ordered deleted. Her representations are irrelevant. They mean nothing. They are of limited evidentiary value, given the scheme that was worked out here to deny access and to deny information.

It does matter that Mrs. Clinton used a private server. The server was not encrypted, and many people who understand computers have stated that it would have been very easy to hack into that server. On May 25th, NBC News reported that Guccifer, a known hacker, claimed that he had broken into Mrs. Clinton’s server. That has not yet been proven, so we will wait for further news.

If you check the sources on this story, you will see that this is not simply the right-wing press reporting on Hillary Clinton’s emails. There is a genuine problem here, and the truth matters. This story shouldn’t be about the election, but because Mrs. Clinton is running for President, it seems to be that way. The story is actually about whether or not all Americans are treated equally under the law. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen.

 

Effectively Using The Power Of The Purse

Theoretically, the House of Representatives can limit executive power by using its control of the purse strings. According to the U.S. Constitution, the government cannot spend money unless that spending is authorized by the House of Representatives. We haven’t seen the House of Representatives use that power as much as I would have liked under the Obama Administration, but the power is there. In fact, there was one recent incident where the House of Representatives successfully used that power.

In October I posted a story about the Obama Administration attempting to spend money that was not allocated by Congress. At issue were payments to insurance companies to alleviate their losses under Obama.

As reported by the Daily Signal in October:

In January, Sessions’ committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee had identified that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lacked an appropriation for bailing out insurance companies through the risk corridors. They asked the Government Accountability Office to look into the matter. That September, the GAO issued its legal opinion: the administration would need an appropriation from Congress to make outgoing payments.

Today The Los Angeles Times reported:

A federal judge ruled for House Republicans on Thursday in their suit against President Obama and declared his administration is unconstitutionally spending money to reimburse health insurers without obtaining an appropriation from Congress.

The judge’s ruling, though a setback for the administration, was put on hold immediately and stands a good chance of being overturned on appeal.

The ruling upholds the Constitution, why would it be overturned on appeal?

The article at The Los Angeles Times reports:

The Constitution says “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law,” said Judge Rosemary Collyer, yet the administration has continued to pay billions to insurers for their extra cost of providing coverage for low-income Americans.

“Paying out Sec. 1402 reimbursements without an appropriation thus violates the Constitution,” she wrote. “Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one.”

Stay tuned to see if the Constitution will be upheld.

Fast And Furious Shows Up Again

Yesterday Katie Pavlich posted an article at Townhall.com about the shooting in Texas at a Mohammed cartoon contest. Nadir Soofi and Elton Simpson were the two gunmen who carried out the attack, after driving from Phoenix, Arizona, to Garland, Texas.

The article reports:

It turns out Soofi purchased his gun under the Holder Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious back in 2010. As a reminder, Operation Fast and Furious was a program that ran from 2009-2010 in which federal agents purposely allowed the sale of thousands of weapons, including handguns, AK-47s and .50-caliber rifles, to known drug cartels. Agents deliberately allowed weapons to be trafficked and lost in Mexico.

On Saturday, The Los Angeles Times reported some of the details of the gun purchase:

Five years before he was shot to death in the failed terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, Nadir Soofi walked into a suburban Phoenix gun shop to buy a 9-millimeter pistol.

At the time, Lone Wolf Trading Co. was known among gun smugglers for selling illegal firearms. And with Soofi’s history of misdemeanor drug and assault charges, there was a chance his purchase might raise red flags in the federal screening process.

Inside the store, he fudged some facts on the form required of would-be gun buyers.

What Soofi could not have known was that Lone Wolf was at the center of a federal sting operation known as Fast and Furious, targeting Mexican drug lords and traffickers. The idea of the secret program was to allow Lone Wolf to sell illegal weapons to criminals and straw purchasers, and track the guns back to large smuggling networks and drug cartels.

Instead, federal agents lost track of the weapons and the operation became a fiasco, particularly after several of the missing guns were linked to shootings in Mexico and the 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona.

Soofi’s attempt to buy a gun caught the attention of authorities, who slapped a seven-day hold on the transaction, according to his Feb. 24, 2010, firearms transaction record, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the hold was lifted after 24 hours, and Soofi got the 9-millimeter.

As the owner of a small pizzeria, the Dallas-born Soofi, son of a Pakistani American engineer and American nurse, would not have been the primary focus of federal authorities, who back then were looking for smugglers and drug lords.

He is now.

The Fast and Furious Program has fallen out of the national spotlight. However, the consequences of the poor judgement exercised in the conception of that program is still with us. It is ironic that a poorly conceived program to capture drug lords would be used by terrorists to push forward their agenda.

 

Hoisted On Their Own Petard?

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported that Los Angeles labor leaders, who recently supported a minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are now asking for changes in the law that would exempt companies whose workforces are unionized.

The article reports:

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them,” Hicks said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”

Laws for thee, but not for me. If a unionized company can be exempt in order to stay in business, why can’t a non-unionized restaurant be exempt?

The Council voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The increase in the minimum wage will be a problem for both restaurants and fast food places. The increase will also pose a problem for other small businesses.

Looking Past The Obvious

On Monday, the New York Post posted an article about the push to move the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Contrary to what is true in most case, it isn’t about the money.

The article reports:

A Times editorial last week cheered Los Angeles’ enactment of a $15-an-hour minimum wage — but noted that restaurants, particularly fast-food joints, don’t like it. Said The Times: “The restaurant industry . . . will not go down without a fight.”

We didn’t think that bringing down an entire industry was what the campaign for a $15 minimum was supposed to be about. Oops.

Back in March, we noted that a similar hike in Seattle’s minimum wage was leading to a spate of local restaurant closings, given that labor costs account for 36 percent of the average restaurant’s earnings.

The left has been on a war against McDonald’s for years. I will admit that I do not routinely eat at McDonald’s (although I love their mango smoothies), but that is my choice–just because I don’t eat there doesn’t mean that I have the right to prevent anyone else from eating there.

The article cites one example of the impact of the minimum wage hike:

Case in point: Z Pizza, which has to shut down — putting all 11 employees out of work — because its owner can’t afford the higher labor costs. Ritu Shah Burnham says she tried layoffs, cutting hours, price hikes and not paying herself — to no avail.

And while small businesses have six years to phase in the wage hikes, she has only two, since she’s a franchise of a large chain.

The Times dismissed such concerns, saying minimum-wage hikes can be offset by higher prices and by “paying executives and shareholders less.”

That didn’t work for Burnham, who has no shareholders and is no executive — just a victimized small-business owner whose workers’ hourly wage is about to be cut to zero, thanks to their “advocates.”

It is time to send all of the big government types home. The only way to turn this around is to elect people at all levels of government who believe in freedom from excessive government regulation. The big government types are killing small business, and thus, killing the economy.

Still Believing That There Is A Free Lunch

The Los Angeles Times is reporting today that President Obama is planning to make two years of community colleges free to students across the country.

The article reports:

“What I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it,” Obama said in a video filmed on Air Force One and posted on Facebook on Thursday.

Obama’s announcement comes ahead of a visit Friday to a community college and technical center in Knoxville, Tenn., as part of a trip designed to preview his policy plans for 2015.

As a parent who paid for three college educations, I love the sound of this. As a person who understands that someone has to pay the teachers, the janitors, the heat and maintenance for the buildings, etc., I  am extremely skeptical. Any time a government official announces that something is going to be free, I wonder who is actually going to pay for it. The government has no money except that money which it takes from the taxpayers. Anything free that the government provides has been paid for with money removed from someone else’s pocket. We need to remember that when we hear someone tell us that something that was fairly expensive in the past is now going to be free.

Another Significant ObamaCare Court Case

Yesterday National Review Online posted an article about a current court case that represents a significant threat to ObamaCare. Halbig v. Sebelius (since renamed Halbig v. Burwell, for the current HHS secretary) was argued before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court in March. The case involves the government subsidies paid by the exchanges included in ObamaCare.

The article states:

If the Supreme Court ultimately finds that the Obama administration violated the law in doling out those subsidies, it could force a wholesale revision of Obamacare. In January, The Hill quoted a key Obamacare supporter as saying that Halbig was “probably the most significant existential threat to the Affordable Care Act.” Jonathan Turley, a noted liberal constitutional-law expert at George Washington Law School, recently agreed, writing in the Los Angeles Times that Halbig “could leave Obamacare on life support.”

…The Halbig plaintiffs — individuals and small businesses in six states that didn’t establish state exchanges — argue that the Obama administration is breaking the law by offering those tax subsidies in all 50 states. The plaintiffs argue that if the subsidies hadn’t been offered in their states, they would have been exempted from the individual-mandate penalties of Obamacare because they couldn’t have afforded to pay for health coverage.

I have no idea how this case will be decided. The writer of the article believes that if the case is decided against ObamaCare it will force Congress and the President to make positive changes in the law (particularly if a Republican Congress is elected).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to rule on this case within the next week.

 

Energy Policy From Someone Who Doesn’t Understand Economics

Just for the record–I do not support dirty air or dirty water. I simply believe that extreme environmental policy does little to help the environment and a lot to damage the economy. Considering the fact that the American Gross Domestic Product went down in the first quarter of this year, now is not the time to take any action that will have a negative impact on the American economy. Evidently our President does not share that belief.

On Wednesday the Los Angeles Times reported that the U. S. Chamber of Commerce is warning that President Obama’s proposed environmental policies could cost the economy tens of billions of dollars in lost investment and millions of jobs.

The article reports:

Although the size of the proposed reduction has yet to be announced, the chamber’s report estimated that such a rule could result in an average annual drop of $51 billion in economic output and 224,000 fewer jobs every year through 2030, with the Southeast feeling the biggest pinch.

The chamber said the numbers were based on modeling from the economic research firm IHS, using assumptions that the regulation would set a 42% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels — an aggressive percentage that is close to a target previously cited by President Obama.

Today the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel posted an article on the impact of the environmental policies announced by President Obama.

Here is a list of some of the consequences:

For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released a study showing that the rule will cost consumers in our region $3.3 billion per year in higher electricity prices.

Another study done by NERA Economic Consultants predicted the rule will cost consumers between $13 billion and $17 billion per year. Yet another study released by the Heritage Foundation predicts the rule will cost a family of four $1,200 per year by 2023.

The article also points out the questionable impact of these changes on the environment:

The rule is expected to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the U.S. by 970 million tons by 2030. Although that sounds like a lot, it is essentially meaningless in the global scale of things.

While the EPA has us busy destroying jobs and our economy in the name of global warming orthodoxy, the rest of the world will increase carbon emissions by 4.7 billion tons over the same time period.

For those keeping score, that means other countries will collectively increase carbon emissions by 6 tons for every ton reduced by Americans under the EPA rule. So much for saving the planet.

The EPA’s new global warming rule is a lose-lose proposition for energy consumers and workers. It represents the worst kind of regulation in that it has enormous and painful costs and essentially no benefit.

We really need an administration that considers the impact of its actions on the average American. This legislation is not good for everyday Americans working hard to support their families.

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When Government Works

Yes, government can actually work. You haven’t heard about this one example because it really does not illustrate what the media wants illustrated, but government can work.

Yesterday The Blaze reported on some comments made by Rush Limbaugh about what is happening in Wisconsin. You haven’t heard much about this, but the state has done an amazing turn around.

The story reports:

The state of Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is “rapidly falling” and the government’s budget ended the year with a $912 million surplus, Limbaugh explained. He says the dramatic turnaround is due in large part to the conservative policies of Gov. Scott Walker.

What’s even more amazing, he continued, is the fact that Walker is going to “rebate the money in the form of tax cuts to the people, who he said own the money.” Limbaugh says the news is “earth-shattering” because, in one of the bluest states, Walker was targeted for removal twice but continued to implement conservative policies that he was confident would help his state — and his strategy appears to be working.

If you think back a little bit, you remember what Governor Walker went through to implement his plans for the state. He had protestors trashing the capitol, he survived recall elections, and personal attacks, but he just kept on moving forward.

The article reminds us:

“He’s going to cut income taxes and property taxes, and he made the point that it’s not just a gimmick of budgeting or accounting. It’s the result of serious, significant policy changes,” Limbaugh argued.

“Now, folks, what I just told you was not reported once anywhere in what you would consider mainstream media. It was not reported on one cable network, much less all of them. It was not reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the LA Times,” he added. “It was reported in Wisconsin. There was an AP story on it, maybe some local papers picked it up, but just as a filler.”

“And to me, for us as conservatives, Wisconsin and Governor Walker, I mean, everything that we want to happen, happened there,” the radio host concluded.

When government is done right, unemployment goes down, taxes go down, and everyone gains. When government is done wrong, unemployment goes up, taxes go up, the number of people receiving food stamps goes up, and everyone loses.

It is, in the long run, up to the voters to decide what they want.

“He’s going to cut income taxes and property taxes, and he made the point that it’s not just a gimmick of budgeting or accounting. It’s the result of serious, significant policy changes,” Limbaugh argued.

“Now, folks, what I just told you was not reported once anywhere in what you would consider mainstream media. It was not reported on one cable network, much less all of them. It was not reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the LA Times,” he added. “It was reported in Wisconsin. There was an AP story on it, maybe some local papers picked it up, but just as a filler.”

“And to me, for us as conservatives, Wisconsin and Governor Walker, I mean, everything that we want to happen, happened there,” the radio host concluded.

Listen to the segment via the Daily Rushbo:

Walker is proposing a $504 million property and income tax cut plan as a means to return some of the surplus money to the people of Wisconsin. Some Democrats and Republicans are already criticizing the plan and are calling for changes.

“The budget surplus is really your money,” Walker recently said at a meeting of the Wisconsin Grocers Association. “You earned it.”

However, some lawmakers are concerned that Walker’s tax cut plan would increase the state’s projected budget shortfall from $700 million to $800,000 million. The Republican governor argues the estimates don’t take into account any revenue growth, which he says will cover the difference.

The unemployment rate in Wisconsin dropped to 6.2 percent in December and has been dropping steadily since 2011.

Featured Comments

  • Shreknangst

    A $912 million surplus, turns into a projected $700-$800 million deficit … a $1.6 Trillion negative shift.
    Somehow that sounds like Reagan era traditional GOP math and economics … Where are the Tea Party and their idea of cutting deficits? This guy seems to be creating a massive one, and, naturally, Rush doesn’t see it.
    A 6.2% unemployment rate doesn’t leave much room for growth in the economy. To wipe out that $1.6 Trillion negative shift, the state would need to get to nearly zero unemployment.

    Shreknangst

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Some Numbers Don’t Lie

There is a basic principle in government that if you tax a behavior you get less of it and if you subsidize a behavior you get more of it. So what behaviors and being taxed in ObamaCare and what behaviors are being subsidized?

According to Heritage.org marriage is being taxed and living together without benefit of marriage is being subsidized.

The article reports:

The law is structured to provide less support to a husband and wife than it would to the same couple if they were cohabiting. In essence, it will tax married couples to fund the benefits it provides to couples who cohabit, divorce, or never marry. The impact of this discrimination will affect couples at every income level and creates a scenario in which couples’ wisest financial decision would be to divorce or forgo tying the knot.

…Without the benefits of an intact family, children are 82 percent more likely to live in poverty and tend to fare worse on a wide range of economic measures. In their teens, they are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors such as sexual activity, substance abuse, and anti-social behavior. They also tend to fare worse on emotional and psychological outcomes and have lower levels of academic achievement and educational attainment.

The family is the backbone of American society. Why is the Obama Administration passing laws that weaken it?

Another problem with ObamaCare is its attack on the Middle Class. Because of the way the program is structured, the cost of everyone’s insurance has to increase; however, many lower-income Americans will be eligible for subsidies that many middle and upper class families will not receive. There is a massive redistribution of wealth hidden in ObamaCare.

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times posted an article explaining how ObamaCare is impacting the people of California.

The article explains some of the sticker shock the residents are experiencing:

A number of factors are driving up rates. In a report this year, consultants hired by the state said the influx of sicker patients as a result of guaranteed coverage was the biggest single reason for higher premiums. Bob Cosway, a principal and consulting actuary at Milliman Inc. in San Diego, estimated that the average individual premium in 2014 will rise 27% because of that difference alone.

Individual policies must also cover a higher percentage of overall medical costs and include 10 “essential health benefits,” such as prescription drugs and mental health services. The aim is to fill gaps in coverage and provide consumers more peace of mind. But those expanded benefits have to be paid for with higher premiums.

The government is not know for its efficiency or its compassion–both of which are needed in healthcare. Hopefully as people begin to see the impact of ObamaCare on a healthcare system that is not perfect but is working, changes can be made that will make it a more equitable and cost-efficient program.

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It All Sounds So Sensible…

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported that California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation aimed at taking handguns and assault rifles away from 20,000 Californians who acquired them legally but have since been disqualified from ownership because of a criminal conviction or serious mental illness.

Now on the surface, that sounds like a really good idea, but let’s take it apart for a minute. Who determines the disqualification? Can one person determine the disqualification?

The article reports:

“This bipartisan bill makes our communities safer by giving law enforcement the resources they need to get guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous individuals,” said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor.

This law allows for confiscation of guns from ‘potentially dangerous individuals.’ Gun confiscation is definitely not part of America‘s tradition. I have recently posted a few articles that really make me wonder about what this law would be like down the road.

On April 6, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about a U.S. Army training instructor listing Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as examples of religious extremism along with Al Qaeda and Hamas during a briefing with an Army Reserve unit based in Pennsylvania, Would Christians have their guns confiscated under the California law because they were seen as ‘potentially dangerous?’

On April 12, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about a New York man who had his guns confiscated because his 10-year-old son talked to some his classmates about bringing a water gun, paintball gun, and BB gun with them to the house of a schoolyard bully. He was told he could get his guns back when his son is eighteen and moves out of his house. Needless to say, there is a lawsuit making its way through the courts.

On March 28, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about attempts to take Second Amendment rights away from America’s veterans.

There is a pattern here. The guns are being confiscated not only from criminals, but from law-abiding citizens deemed dangerous. The thing the lawmakers have forgotten here is that the guns most criminals have are not registered and they are not likely to be confiscated. Therefore, all you have done is to disarm law-abiding citizens because some authority considers them a threat. That is not a really good idea in a free society.Enhanced by Zemanta

Can American Aid Buy Peace ?

Today’s Wall Street Journal is reporting that the American State Department is working out a deal with the new Egyptian government to give them $1 billion in debt relief. Aside from the fact that America faces its own debt problems, what in the world are we supporting? This is obviously an effort by the State Department to encourage Egypt to keep the peace treaty it signed with Israel that returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. Unfortunately, that peace is danger due to the actions of the new Egyptian government.

On August 6, the Los Angeles Times reported that Islamic militants have increased their presence in the Sinai Peninsula since the revolution in Egypt. We need to understand the the new government of Egypt will align itself with Iran and is fundamentally opposed to the existence of Israel.

The article in the Wall Street Journal reports:

But the election in June of Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood-backed president, Mohammed Morsi, has called the strength of the old alliance into question. Mr. Morsi selected Beijing last week for his first official trip outside the Middle East, followed by a trip to Iran—moves some observers saw as a deliberate snub to Egypt’s traditional Western backers.

The arrival of an Islamist government followed by political upheaval and disconcerting moves on the international stage fueled questions over the reliability of Mr. Morsi as a U.S. ally. But his efforts at internal stability and his public criticism of Syria’s regime while visiting Tehran last week, which angered his hosts, have helped balance U.S. views of the new Egyptian leader.

At the present moment, America is dealing with record budget deficits and facing drastic cuts to our military. I realize that I am only an ordinary citizen, but it makes absolutely no sense to me to give $1 billion to a country that is in the process of aligning itself with countries that do not wish us well.

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The Arab Spring Strikes Again

Today’s Jerusalem Post is reporting that Egypt has terminated its supply of natural gas to Israel. The article reports that a senior Egyptian military official has stated that the deal is not cancelled, but halted because of a business disagreement over the transfer of payments.

A BBC story on the shutoff reported that Egypt supplies around 40 percent of Israel’s natural gas. Israel uses natural gas to generate electricity.

The article at the Jerusalem Posts reports:

“We have no information that the contract has been nullified,” one Foreign Ministry official said.

The official added that if the report was indeed true it would be a “grave development” with ramifications on the normalization of ties between the two countries under the 1979 peace treaty. But, the official added, this was not an agreement between governments, but rather between private companies and the Egyptian government.

Steinitz said he viewed with “deep concern the unilateral Egyptian announcement over terminating the gas deal with Israel, both because of its diplomatic and economic aspects. This is a dangerous precedent that diminishes the peace treaty” between the neighboring countries.

On March 23 the Los Angeles Times reported:

The Obama administration announced Friday that it intends to deliver all $1.3 billion in promised aid to Egypt’s military this year, despite calls from lawmakers and rights advocates to hold back money because of limits on political rights in the North African nation.

It seems to me that if Egypt cuts off the supply of natural gas to Israel, America should immediately cut off all aid to Egypt.

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Hidden In The Highway Bill Passed In March

Thomas.gov posts the text of bills that have passed Congress. They also post the votes and other details about the bills. The Highway Bill that passed the Senate was S.1813. It passed on March 19th. There were a few things in the bill that should be of concern to Americans.

This is one part of the bill I am concerned about:

SEC. 7345. REVOCATION OR DENIAL OF PASSPORT IN CASE OF CERTAIN TAX DELINQUENCIES.

    `(a) In General- If the Secretary receives certification by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue that any individual has a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000, the Secretary shall transmit such certification to the Secretary of State for action with respect to denial, revocation, or limitation of a passport pursuant to section 4 of the Act entitled `An Act to regulate the issue and validity of passports, and for other purposes’, approved July 3, 1926 (22 U.S.C. 211a et seq.), commonly known as the `Passport Act of 1926′.
    `(b) Seriously Delinquent Tax Debt- For purposes of this section, the term `seriously delinquent tax debt’ means an outstanding debt under this title for which a notice of lien has been filed in public records pursuant to section 6323 or a notice of levy has been filed pursuant to section 6331, except that such term does not include–
    `(1) a debt that is being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement under section 6159 or 7122, and
    `(2) a debt with respect to which collection is suspended because a collection due process hearing under section 6330, or relief under subsection (b), (c), or (f) of section 6015, is requested or pending.
    `(c) Adjustment for Inflation- In the case of a calendar year beginning after 2012, the dollar amount in subsection (a) shall be increased by an amount equal to–
    `(1) such dollar amount, multiplied by
    `(2) the cost-of-living adjustment determined under section 1(f)(3) for the calendar year, determined by substituting `calendar year 2011′ for `calendar year 1992′ in subparagraph (B) thereof.
    If any amount as adjusted under the preceding sentence is not a multiple of $1,000, such amount shall be rounded to the next highest multiple of $1,000.’.
    (b) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections for subchapter D of chapter 75 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new item:
    `Sec. 7345. Revocation or denial of passport in case of certain tax delinquencies.’.
    (c) Authority for Information Sharing-
    (1) IN GENERAL- Subsection (l) of section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
    `(23) DISCLOSURE OF RETURN INFORMATION TO DEPARTMENT OF STATE FOR PURPOSES OF PASSPORT REVOCATION UNDER SECTION 7345-
    `(A) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall, upon receiving a certification described in section 7345, disclose to the Secretary of State return information with respect to a taxpayer who has a seriously delinquent tax debt described in such section. Such return information shall be limited to–
    `(i) the taxpayer identity information with respect to such taxpayer, and
    `(ii) the amount of such seriously delinquent tax debt.
    `(B) RESTRICTION ON DISCLOSURE- Return information disclosed under subparagraph (A) may be used by officers and employees of the Department of State for the purposes of, and to the extent necessary in, carrying out the requirements of section 4 of the Act entitled `An Act to regulate the issue and validity of passports, and for other purposes’, approved July 3, 1926 (22 U.S.C. 211a et seq.), commonly known as the `Passport Act of 1926′.’.
    (2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Paragraph (4) of section 6103(p) of such Code is amended by striking `or (22)’ each place it appears in subparagraph (F)(ii) and in the matter preceding subparagraph (A) and inserting `(22), or (23)’.
    (d) Revocation Authorization- The Act entitled `An Act to regulate the issue and validity of passports, and for other purposes’, approved July 3, 1926 (22 U.S.C. 211a et seq.), commonly known as the `Passport Act of 1926′, is amended by adding at the end the following:

`SEC. 4. AUTHORITY TO DENY OR REVOKE PASSPORT.

    `(a) Ineligibility-
    `(1) ISSUANCE- Except as provided under subsection (b), upon receiving a certification described in section 7345 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 from the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State may not issue a passport or passport card to any individual who has a seriously delinquent tax debt described in such section.
    `(2) REVOCATION- The Secretary of State shall revoke a passport or passport card previously issued to any individual described in subparagraph (A).
    `(b) Exceptions-
    `(1) EMERGENCY AND HUMANITARIAN SITUATIONS- Notwithstanding subsection (a), the Secretary of State may issue a passport or passport card, in emergency circumstances or for humanitarian reasons, to an individual described in subsection (a)(1).
    `(2) LIMITATION FOR RETURN TO UNITED STATES- Notwithstanding subsection (a)(2), the Secretary of State, before revocation, may–
    `(A) limit a previously issued passport or passport card only for return travel to the United States; or
    `(B) issue a limited passport or passport card that only permits return travel to the United States.’.
    (e) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall take effect on January 1, 2013.

Note that this portion of the bill does not take effect until January 1, 2013–after the November election.

In September 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported:

Privacy laws prevent release of individual tax delinquents’ names. But we do know that as of the end of 2009, 41 people inside Obama’s very own White House owe the government they’re allegedly running a total of $831,055 in back taxes. That would cover a lot of special chocolate desserts in the White House Mess.

In the House of Representatives, 421 people owe a total $6,524,892. In the Senate, 217 owe $2,774,836. In the IRS’ parent department, Treasury, 1,204 owe $7,670,814. At the Labor Department, where Secretary Hilda Solis’ husband had some back-tax problems before her confirmation, 463 owe $7,481,463. Eighty-one workers for the Federal Reserve System’s board of governors owe $1,076,733.

Over at the Justice Department, which is so busy enforcing other laws and suing Arizona, 1,971 employees still owe $14,350,152 in overdue taxes.

Does this new law apply to those people?

 

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What Happened To Our Representative Republic ?

Today’s Los Angeles Times posted a story about the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ rejection of Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. Proposition 8 is a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

CNS News reports:

California’s Proposition 8 passed with 52 percent of the vote in 2008. It added a provision to the California State Constitution which states: “(O)nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

I am not a lawyer, and I don’t always understand how things work legally, but it seems to me that if Proposition 8 passed with a majority of votes, it should become law.

The Los Angeles Times reports the argument of those who oppose Proposition 8:

Instead, they simply held that Prop 8 was unconstitutional because it took away “rights” that had already existed in California for same-sex couples – including the ability of same-sex couples to adopt children, to raise children together, to become foster parents together and more.

“Because under California statutory law, same-sex couples had all the rights of opposite-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, all parties agree that Proposition 8 had one effect only,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for the majority in the 2-1 decision.

“It stripped same-sex couples of the ability they previously possessed to obtain from the state, or any other authorized party, an important right — the right to obtain and use the designation of  ‘marriage’ to describe their relationship. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Reinhardt, citing the 1996 Romer v. Evans decision, said the California law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, and that the Constitution does not allow for “laws of this sort.”

CNS News pointed out:

“This battle is far from over,” said Sears {Alan Sears, Alliance Defense Fund(ADF)} , who has advised clients in numerous state and federal court cases involving same-sex marriage challenges.

“Judge Reinhardt has been reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court more times than any other judge in American history,” he added.

Historically, the two-parent heterosexual family is the foundation of a healthy society. Why are we trying so hard to tear down the things that give us stability and provide a foundation for our society?

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