A Step In The Right Direction

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services reinstated work requirements for people who receive taxpayer-funded food assistance. The change in the law will impact about 70,000 people in 69 Michigan counties.

The article reports:

Wheaton (Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Public Information Officer Bob Wheaton) said that these work requirements had been in effect before 2002, but were lifted because of high unemployment. With the economy improving, Wheaton said, the MDHH decided it was time to reinstate the policy.

Holly Wetzel, communications coordinator at the Michigan-based, free-market think tank the Mackinac Center, supports reinstating work requirements.

“Work requirements benefit the individual, taxpayers and the economy because they realign incentives within our welfare system that encourage, reward, and restore the dignity of work,” Wetzel told Watchdog.org.

Former Democratic President Bill Clinton incorporated work requirements in his welfare reform package in the 1990s, which Wetzel said were a great success. These policies, she said, preserve the food stamp system and ensure access to the most needy while incentivizing a sustainable lifestyle. Along with a more sustainable food stamp system, she said she expects that employers will see “a more vibrant and enterprising labor market,” which will help them fill positions in an economy that has brought more jobs to the country.

“[Food stamps] exist to help the truly vulnerable,” Wetzel said.

In addition to food stamp work requirements, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is currently seeking to add work requirements to his Medicaid expansion program, called the Healthy Michigan plan. If Snyder succeeds, this will have the same work requirements as are currently required for food stamp recipients.

Putting a work requirement on food stamps provides incentive for those receiving food stamps to find employment. The fact that the state is referring people to programs where they can receive job training is also helpful. Part of human nature is not to appreciate things that you didn’t have to work for. Putting a work requirement of public assistance and training people for jobs helps the recipients of food stamps climb out of the poverty they are in. This worked in the 1990’s when it was first tried, and it will work successfully again.

This Is Not According To The U.S. Constitution

On Tuesday, PJ Media posted an article about a Pastor who was arrested at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Ramin Parsa is a Christian pastor who fled Iran as a religious refugee.

The article reports:

Parsa, a pastor at Redemptive Love Ministries International in Los Angeles, Calif., traveled to Minnesota for two days to visit two different churches. He went to the Mall of America (MOA) on Saturday, August 25, with an elder from one of the churches, and with the elder’s 14-year-old son. Shortly after entering the mall, he struck up a conversation with two Somali-American women.

“Our conversation was casual. At first, we were not talking about the gospel,” Parsa recalled. “They asked me, ‘Are you a Muslim?’ I said, ‘No, I used to be a Muslim and I’m a Christian now.’ I was telling them the story of how I converted.”

A passerby could not stand the discussion, however. “Another lady told the guard, ‘This guy is harassing us!'” MOA security came and told Parsa to stop soliciting. “I said, ‘We’re not soliciting.’ But we just left,” the pastor explained.

The pastor and his friends went into a coffee shop, bought a latte, and came out. Parsa told PJ Media he thought that would be the end of it. He was sorely mistaken.

“When we came out of the coffee shop, three guards were waiting for us, and they arrested me right there,” the pastor recalled. “They came after me and arrested me, and said, ‘You cannot talk religion here.'”

Parsa told security he was a pastor. “They told me, ‘We arrested pastors before,'” he recalled, still shocked by the answer. “It was something normal for them, they were used to it.”

Meanwhile, the two Somali-American women who wanted to hear the pastor’s story argued with the woman who reported him to security. They defended Parsa. Onlookers asked why the man was being arrested. “They said, ‘Because he’s a Christian,'” Parsa told PJ Media.

That is not supposed to happen in America.

He was held at the Mall by security until the police came. During that time he was denied water and trips to the bathroom.

The article continues:

After nearly four hours, the police arrived.

“The police came to open my handcuffs, and the handcuffs were very tight. It was hurting my hands,” Parsa recalled. “The guard said, ‘I don’t think it hurts that much.'”

He suggested that the security guards treated him with special malice because he is a pastor. “I believe they treated me worse,” he insisted.

The Mall of America did not respond to PJ Media’s request for comment.

After the police took the pastor’s mugshot and fingerprints, they charged him with criminal trespassing. He paid $78 to bail himself out, and his friends picked him up at 2 a.m. While that bail amount may seem low, the pastor insisted, “Every cent is too much for something I haven’t done.”

“I’ve gone through this before — in Muslim countries I was arrested for passing out bibles,” Parsa said. “I didn’t expect that would happen in America. As a citizen in America, I have rights. They denied my basic rights.”

The article concludes:

While Parsa lives in California, he will have to appear in a Minnesota court to face the charges. He told PJ Media, “We just consulted with a lawyer — we’re going to fight this, to drop the charges.”

If the pastor can confirm his story, it seems the Mall of America may end up facing charges.

This is not the first time Christians have been arrested in America for sharing The Gospel with Muslims. In 2012, a group of Christians was arrested for preaching outside an Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan (article here). The Islamic religion does not recognize free speech as a right. We need to make sure that Muslims who settle here understand that free speech is a right in America and will be protected. The arrest of the Pastor at the Mall of America is a disgrace to America. I hope the Pastor sues the Mall for damages and uses the money to build a beautiful church!

 

An Interesting Twist On Identity Theft

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about $360 a week in unemployment benefits to be paid to Michael Ryder, who according to the records involved worked at a restaurant chain in Detroit, Michigan.

This is a picture of Michael Ryder:

Isn’t he beautiful? However, I doubt that he worked in a chain restaurant in Detroit. Michael is owned by lawyer Michael Haddock.

The article reports:

“I’m not sure what he’s going to do with the money,” Haddock said.

Haddock contacted the unemployment agency and the restaurant to take care of the mistake. A state investigator with the unemployment agency said while Haddock received an initial claim, the system eventually flagged the claim as suspicious.

“Unfortunately, Michael Ryder’s claim will not be allowed. I know firsthand it is rare for ‘man’s best friend’ to contribute financially to the household and that will continue in this instance,” Tim Kolar, state administrator of investigations with the Unemployment Insurance Agency, said.

The agency also warned people of identity fraud, which can occur with unemployment claims.

“It’s important to note that no money was paid out,Upload Files” Talent Investment Agency spokesman Chris DeWitt said. “Criminals get a hold of people’s personal information like name, address, and Social Security numbers and file a false claim. This is a crime. ”

It would be interesting to know if the potential identity thieves had a stolen Social Security number for Michael Ryder.

Please Don’t Come Here If You Don’t Want To Assimilate

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about some recent arrests in Michigan.

The article reports:

Dr. Fakhruddin Attar was arrested in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Michigan Friday, accused, along with his wife Farida Attar, of involvement in the same female genital mutilation conspiracy that led to the landmark arrest last week of Dr. Jumana Nagarwala.

The three suspects now charged represent the first prosecution in the United States for female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice common primarily in Muslim countries, particularly those in Africa. For example, UNICEF estimates that 98% of Somali girls and 87% of Egyptians have endured the procedure.

 FGM perpetrates a range of different mutilations on its victims—mostly young girls. In its most extreme from, called infibulation, the girl is left with virtually no externally visible genitalia. The clitoris and labia are removed entirely and what is left is sown together, leaving only a small hole from which to urinate and menstruate.

Aside from being painful, the procedure creates many health problems for women as they grow older. Problems can include can include recurrent infections, difficulty urinating and passing menstrual flow, chronic pain, the development of cysts, an inability to get pregnant, complications during childbirth, and fatal bleeding. There are no known health benefits

The article concludes:

In a statement accompanying the first arrest, Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said, “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”

Each count of FGM could yield the co-conspirators up to five years in federal prison.

Jail terms and loss of medical licenses would be an appropriate penalty. The procedure is illegal in the United States. Unfortunately, part of Sharia Law is that in the eyes of the Muslims, Sharia Law supersedes American Law. That is part of the problem with allowing large numbers of Muslims into a country–they do not feel obligated to respect the laws of that country if the laws are not in compliance with Sharia Law.

 

Counting The Votes In Michigan

It is somewhat odd that an election candidate that received approximately 1 percent of the vote can demand a recount, but that is exactly what Green Party candidate Jill Stein did.  It’s not likely that the recount will change her status. In Michigan that request was denied, but when the votes were counted, the numbers were interesting.

Breitbart.com posted an article today the vote totals in Detroit.

The article reports:

Voting machines in 37 per cent of Detroit precincts recorded more votes than mathematically possible during November’s presidential election, according to records obtained by The Detroit News.

Reports obtained by the newspaper from Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett found that in 248 of the city’s 662 precincts, more votes had been counted than the number of people who had been marked as having voted, which might serve as evidence of voter fraud across the city.

Following the report, Michigan’s Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced plans to conduct a full investigation into the irregularities. Detroit was one of the areas in which Hillary Clinton’s support was particularly strong.

The article further reports:

“We’re assuming there were (human) errors, and we will have discussions with Detroit election officials and staff in addition to reviewing the ballots,” said Michigan’s Elections Director Chris Thomas on Monday.

However, Krista Haroutunian, the chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, said that although “there’s always going to be small problems to some degree, we didn’t expect the degree of problem we saw in Detroit.”

“This isn’t normal,” she added.

Michigan was one of the last states to be counted, with Donald Trump defeating Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes, taking him to his landslide electoral college victory of 306 votes compared to Clinton’s 232. He also became the first Republican to win the state since George W.H Bush in 1998.

There is a real need for a voter ID requirement in American elections, particularly in our large cities. Detroit was not the only city where more people voted than were eligible to vote. In one North Carolina city, it was discovered that 240 people listed a gravel parking lot with a shed as their address. Voter ID would have solved that problem. If Congress is really  concerned about the integrity of elections, they would support stronger voter ID laws in federal elections instead of chasing straw men about leaks that probably came from inside the DNC.

 

Sometimes You Just Have To Wonder What Motivates People

In the 2016 Presidential Election, the third party candidates received about 4 percent of the votes. That is a combined total. Most estimates say that Jill Stein received about 1 percent of the vote. So why is Jill Stein demanding a recount? What does she have to gain?

Fox News posted an article today pointing out that Jill Stein’s call for a recount in several states has received twelve times more news coverage from ABC, NBC, and CBS than her campaign.

The article reports:

When Jill Stein was the Green Party’s candidate for U.S. president, the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) only gave her 36 seconds of coverage. However, as soon as she launched a campaign to contest the presidential election and demand a recount of ballots in several key states, the evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC managed to find 7 minutes and 26 seconds of coverage for her in just four days.

On November 26’s NBC “Nightly News,” anchor Lester Holt began a story on the recount by implying that the election may not be over yet, “if you thought the presidential election was behind us, word came today from the Hillary Clinton campaign that it will back the state-wide election recount effort put on by third party candidate Jill Stein in three key battle ground states.”

So what is going on? We all remember how the media treated Donald Trump. We all remember that the media did not want Donald Trump elected or his policies to be put in place. Why? Because the news media and the Democrats have a working system that pays well and provides access. Donald Trump is a threat to that system. Any doubt that can be thrown into the election results can be used to de-legitimize the Trump Presidency and the Trump Administration. That is part of the story. But there is even more. Jill Stein ended her campaign with serious campaign debt. She has already raised more money for the recount than she did for her campaign. (It would be interesting to know where the recount money is coming from.) The excess money raised for the recount can be used to pay off her campaign debt. Hillary Clinton has signed on to the effort because it keeps her in the spotlight in the hopes of running again in 2020. That is the only way foreign governments will continue paying large amounts of money to hear Bill Clinton speak or donate large amounts to the Clinton Foundation. There is no chance that the election results will be overturned (and a strong possibility that voter fraud on the part of the Democrats in Wisconsin may be discovered–The Gateway Pundit).

Get out the popcorn–this is going to be interesting.

The Ambush Was Handled Graciously

Gateway Pundit posted a story yesterday about Donald Trump’s visit to a black church in Flint, Michigan. CNN also posted a story on the event yesterday. The contrast is interesting. First of all, let’s talk about politics from the pulpit in America. It is no secret that Democratic candidates routinely speak and raise money in black churches. Republican candidates generally do not speak in churches because of concerns of the tax status of the churches. There is definitely a double standard.

So what happened when Donald Trump went into a black church in Flint, Michigan, to speak?

CNN reports:

The pastor who hosted Donald Trump at her church in Flint, Michigan, interrupted the Republican presidential nominee during his speech Wednesday to ask him to refrain from attacking his rival Hillary Clinton.

“Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not give a political speech,” Rev. Faith Green Timmons of the Bethel United Methodist Church told Trump after walking to the podium while Trump was speaking.

Gateway Pundit gives us the rest of the story:

But prior to his visit to the church Pastor Timmons posted her intentions on Facebook.

She said,

Today is the day! We have a chance to show DONALD TRUMP than this nation is filled with intelligent, wise black citizens fo integrity many of whom live right here in FLINT, MICHIGAN. What he will see is how we are braving a manmade catastrophe. HE WILL NOT USE US, WE will EDUCATE HIM!!!

Mr. Trump handled the event graciously. He did remark later that he felt as if something was going on because the Pastor was extremely nervous.

It would be interesting to remind Pastor Timmons who created the manmade catastrophe. The Democrats have been in charge of Flint for a number of years and made the decision to stop buying water from Detroit and sign up with a regional water system; in the meantime, it was getting its municipal water from the Flint River, not noted for its pristine water quality.

The Democrats are getting support from the black churches. The Democrats are the people who have created a welfare system that has destroyed the black family, destroyed the work ethic in the black community and created generational poverty and dependence. At some point, I believe the black community and its churches will wake up to the damage done to them by Democratic policies. All of this was foreseeable–Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted the outcome of the War of Poverty policies and the negative impact they would have on the black community fifty years ago. Remember, it was Democrat President Lyndon Baines Johnson who stated, “I’ll have those n—–s voting Democratic for the next 200 years” as he confided with two like-minded governors on Air Force One regarding his underlying intentions for the “Great Society” programs.

Meanwhile, the campaigns continue.

The Politics Of Destruction

Bobby Jindal is one of America‘s most successful state governors. He has been a major player in cleaning up Louisiana politics, he has worked to rebuild education in the state following the shambles left by Hurricane Katrina, and he has generally done an awesome job as governor. He is not yet running for president, but is considering it. Therefore, the Democrat-biased press must work to discredit him. Recently, Governor Jindal stated the there were ‘no-go zones’ in Europe. The press decided that was their point of attack. Never mind that much of the major media had reported on these zones in recent years.

Breitbart.com posted an article today weighing in on the subject.

The article states:

This has been reported for years. The New York Times reported in April 2002, “Arab gangs regularly vandalize synagogues here, the North African suburbs have become no-go zones at night, and the French continue to shrug their shoulders.” And Newsweek said in November 2005: “According to research conducted by the government’s domestic intelligence network, the Renseignements Generaux, French police would not venture without major reinforcements into some 150 ‘no-go zones’ around the country–and that was before the recent wave of riots began on Oct. 27.

Just two weeks ago, the New Republic wrote: “The word banlieue (‘suburb’) now connotes a no-go zone of high-rise slums, drug-fueled crime, failing schools and poor, largely Muslim immigrants and their angry offspring.”

No-go zones are not new news. There have been times in American history when certain areas were controlled by gangs or gangsters and similar things occurred. However, for the press to lie to Americans as if these zones did not exist and to minimize the threat that these zones may eventually come here is to fail to do the job the press is supposed to do. Our Constitution protects us to some extent, but even in America there have been incidents where American’s rights have not been upheld. In September, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about a group of Christian evangelists who were forced to leave an Arab-American street festival in Dearborn, Michigan, in 2012. Their First Amendment rights were clearly violated.

Yes, there are no-go zones in many countries in the world, and yes, the purpose of this dust-up was to make sure Bobby Jindal would not be a credible candidate for president.

UPDATE:

Act for America posted the following map of the Paris no-go zones on Facebook:

nogozonesFrance

Why We Need Welfare Reform

Michigan is taking steps to reform its welfare program–on Friday the state announced its plan to drug test welfare recipients. Yesterday Breitbart.com posted a story showing how much the food stamps program is impacting the state.

The article reports:

Michigan, which announced on Friday plans to begin drug testing some welfare recipients, currently has 1,679,421 individuals on food stamps (known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. According to the Michigan Department of Education, the state’s total pupil count for K-12 is 1,564,114.

Michigan’s food stamp program has struggled to combat fraud and abuse. As recently as last week, for example, three brothers pleaded guilty for their roles in a food stamp fraud scheme at the Middle Eastern Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that cost taxpayers $1,278,700.

This year, Michigan’s food stamp program cost taxpayers $2,576,165,148.

It is becoming very obvious that one way to stop runaway spending on both the federal and state level is to combat welfare fraud.

Common Sense Comes To Michigan

Today’s Washington Times is reporting that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law putting in place a new drug-testing program for welfare recipients.

When you read the details of the program, you realize that it is intended to help those on welfare who have drug dependency problems, not penalize anyone. The article explains:

Welfare recipients or applicants suspected of drug use will be required to take a drug test. Anyone who refuses to take the test will be suspended from welfare benefits for six months.

If a person tests positive for drugs they will be referred to a treatment program and required to submit periodic drug tests. Refusal to participate in the rehab program will result in a termination of welfare benefits. But benefits can be restored after a person submits a clean drug test.

Welfare in many cases has been abused and used as an excuse to stay drugged and not work. This program is a step toward helping people end drug dependency and become working members of society. This needs to be done in all states.

Exactly Why Is The Law There?

Yesterday the Washington Post reported that Representative John Conyers would be on the election ballot in Michigan. Representative Conyers was originally taken off the ballot by election officials because he had failed to secure enough valid petition signatures. Some of the people who collected signatures were not registered voters, something that is required by Michigan law.

The article reports:

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Leitman issued an injunction ordering Conyers back on the ballot just hours after state elections officials upheld an earlier ruling that had kept him off for failing to secure enough valid petition signatures. At issue was the question of whether a law requiring signature gatherers to be registered voters is constitutional.

Leitman said he was not issuing an opinion on that question Friday. But because the plaintiffs challenging the law “have shown a substantial likelihood of success” and “because time is of the essence,” he said he opted to order that Conyers be put back on the ballot.

Leitman’s order came the same day the Michigan secretary of state‘s office upheld a decision handed down May 13 by Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett. Garrett’s office said Conyers submitted far fewer than the 1,000 valid signatures required to appear on the ballot. Leitman’s decision puts him beyond the threshold.

There is a problem with the logic here–there is a law in place that governs the collection of signatures. If voters or state legislators are unhappy with that law, they need to change it. This is an example of a judge saying he didn’t want that law to apply, so he overruled it. Would the judge have made the same decision for another candidate? Do voting laws apply equally to all candidates? According to the U.S. Constiution and most of the state constitutions, laws are made by legislative bodies–not by judges.

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Yes, We Are Bailing Out Detroit

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that despite denials by the White House, Washington is bailing out Detroit. The bailout of $100 million is being described as “blight remediation.”

The article reports:

…it (the $100 Million) allows the city’s new managers to reshuffle more cash into the city employees’ pension funds, which were looted by city and union officials for several decades.

The stealth bailout was exposed by the Detroit Free Press, which said the $100 million would be taken from the so-called “Hardest Hit Fund.” That fund was created by the administration in 2010 to counter the disastrous implosion of the federally-inflated real estate bubble.

Evidently the “Hardest Hit Fund” had been drained over the years by unconventional practices, including the periodic payout of funds to employees in years when the funds’ value were boosted by Wall Street investments.

Keep in mind that the stock market has been in fairly good shape over the last few years due to the influx of money from quantitative easing. That should have kept the funds viable had they been handled properly.

The article further reports:

Detroit has been under Democratic control since the departure of Louis Miriani in 1962, when the city’s residents had the nation’s highest per capita income.

The city crashed in the 1970s, amid racial acrimony and incompetent management at the city’s vital auto plants.

Many other cities and states face severe pension difficulties. They’re led by Chicago and Los Angeles, where Democratic control has boosted the pensions of government employees.

Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, has promised to send $350 million in state funds to the city.

It matters who runs your city. Part of the problem is unfunded liabilities (large pensions promised to union government employees). In order to get our cities and states under financial control, we need to make sure that the promises we make to our municipal and state employees are paid for at the time the promises are made. The federal government can print money–states and cities cannot.

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Losing Our Foundation In America

Herman Cain‘s website posted a story today in its Best of Cain section about a hiring clause in the teachers’ contract in the Ferndale Public Schools in Michigan.

The article quotes the clause as follows:

Special consideration shall be given to women and/or minority defined as: Native American, Asian American, Latino, African American and those of the non-Christian faith.

Wow. White Christian males and white Christian females were legally being discriminated against.

The article further reports:

We (and a lot of other people, starting with Michigan Capitol Confidential) get results. The Ferndale Public Schools have quickly backed down and, with the full cooperation of their teachers’ union, will remove language from their contract that gives preference to those “of the non-Christian faith” in hiring.

The article questions:

When did people start using the terms Native American, Asian American and African American? Certainly not in the 1970s, when in these ethnic groups would have been referred to, respectively, as Indian, Oriental and Colored (or possibly Negro). If Ferndale was using the terms in this sentence in the 1970s, it was way, way, way ahead of the curve. I suppose it’s possible that they updated the terms for more recent contracts, but if that’s the case, then it means they read the sentence in question, which means they can’t possibly claim they didn’t know about the language favoring non-Christians.

I’m glad they’re changing the language, even if it’s only because public exposure is living them with little choice, but it’s not making things better when they lie about how and when it got there in the first place.

It always pays to read the small print.

 

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Sometimes New Rules Won’t Solve The Problem

The National Review Online posted an article yesterday about the recent problems in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The article reports:

There are two competing models for reforming the Internal Revenue Service’s oversight of the political activities of certain nonprofit organizations: one put forward by the IRS itself, in the form of a regulatory rule change, a second put forward by Representative David Camp (R., Mich.) on behalf of the House Ways and Means Committee. Neither program is sufficient, because neither reflects the reality behind the recent IRS scandal, which was not the result of murky rules or bureaucratic incompetence but rather of what gives every indication of being deliberate misuse of federal investigatory resources for partisan political ends. That there have not been criminal charges in this matter is probably at least as much a reflection of the highly politicized Department of Justice under Eric Holder as it is of the facts of the case. The problem, then, is that both the IRS plan and the Camp plan assume that the IRS ought to be regulating rather than being regulated.

The article points out the in America, the government is prohibited from regulating free speech–yet that is exactly what the IRS has tried to do since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision.

The article at National Review Online reminds us:

No rule change from the IRS — nor Representative Camp’s well-intentioned but wholly inadequate reforms, which amount to a list of minor no-nos such as inquiring about an audit target’s political or religious beliefs — is going to change the fact that the agency is full of highly partisan bureaucrats with a political agenda of their own and an inclination to abuse such police powers as are entrusted to them.

The article concludes with comments about Representative David Camp’s proposal to fix the IRS:

But his proposal falls short in that it assumes that the IRS is a proper and desirable regulator of political speech. It is not. It is not even particularly admirable in its execution of its legitimate mission, the collection of revenue: Its employees have committed felonies in releasing the confidential tax information of such political enemies as the National Organization for Marriage and Mitt Romney, and the agency itself has perversely interpreted federal privacy rules as protecting the criminal leakers at the IRS rather than the victims of their crimes. The Camp bill, thankfully, would address at least that much, but it would still leave the IRS in charge of determining whether its employees were playing politics with audits and decisions. The IRS does not inspire confidence as a practitioner of self-regulation, much less as a regulator of political speech.

We need honest people in Washington. Until we have that, I am not convinced that any amount of laws will make a difference.

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It Depends On How You Spin It

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an article with a great quote.

The article reports:

Insurance companies aren’t sending out cancellation letters, they’re helping people “transition” into Obamacare, according to a top Democrat.

“If [the companies] changed [the insurance plans] then they have to notify the people who have to have the opportunity to have another policy,” said House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich.

So getting cut from your healthcare insurance policy means that you are being given the opportunity to ‘transition’ to another policy. The other talking point is that the policies that are being cancelled are being cancelled so that they can be replaced with better policies. Somehow that fact that these ‘better’ policies include maternity care for men and senior citizens and are thus more expensive is not mentioned. ObamaCare is one giant fiasco, and all of us need to work to make it go away.

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Detroit Goes Under

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that the city of Detroit is filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

The article reports:

According to the bankruptcy filing, Detroit now has more than $18 billion in unfunded liabilities. The city’s population has dwindled from 1.85 million in 1950 to under 700,000 today, and its tax revenues have shrunk accordingly even as the average tax burden has risen to the highest level of any town in the state. A deficit estimated at $237 million in June was too much for the once-mighty industrial town to handle.

A website called Pensions & Investments posted the following on July 11:

Mr. Orr (Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency fiscal manager) has proposed that city employees with less than 10 years of vested service be taken out of the defined benefit plan and be moved to 401(k)-style savings plans.

There’s no way employees or unions will bargain away pension benefits, said Michael VanOverbeke, a lawyer for the general employees retirement system, after the meeting. Michigan‘s constitution prohibits changes in accrued pension benefits, Mr. VanOverbeke said. Mr. Orr has said that a bankruptcy filing would negate the state protection.

This is a problem a lot of cities, states, and municipalities are going to be faced with in the very near future. For years unions have negotiated contracts that included retirement plans that were totally funded by taxpayer money. As private companies have converted to 401k plans where employees contribute to their retirement, public employee unions have not followed suit. The bankruptcy of Detroit is not really a surprise to anyone. You can’t continue to spend more than you take in without running out of money at some point. As the jobs left Detroit, the city had no way to make up the lost income. It attempted to raise taxes to generate income, but that simply drove people out of the city.  It’s just a shame that the leadership of the city couldn’t have done more to avoid the problem.

 

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Losing Revenue By Raising Taxes

Hot Air is reporting today that the Midland, Mich.-based Mackinac Center has released a report stating that in 2011 New York had the highest cigarette smuggling rate in America. In 2006, when the cigarette tax was $1.50 a pack, New York was the fifth highest. In 2008, the tax went to $2.75 a pack, in 2010 it went to $4.35 a pack. That increase was enough to move New York from fifth place to first place in the number of cigarettes smuggled into the state. It is now estimated that 60.9 percent of all cigarettes smoked in New York are not taxed there!

What can we learn from this? Simple. People don’t like to pay taxes and will do almost anything to avoid them. Some state is making money on the sale of these cigarettes–it’s just not New York. New Hampshire seems to be where most of the smuggled cigarettes are coming from–New Hampshire does tax cigarettes, but only $1.68 a pack. I suspect New Hampshire collects more revenue from its lower tax than New York does from its higher tax. Maybe we could learn from that.

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The Loss Of Civility In The Public Debate

Today’s Daily Caller posted a story yesterday about the attack on Fox News contributor Steven Crowder yesterday in Michigan. Pro-union thugs came out in force to protest the singing of a right-to-work law in the state. The pro-union protesters were attempting to tear down a tent put up by Americans for Prosperity when the scuffle began.

The regular media outlets have chosen to ignore this story. The article reports:

Media Matters isn’t talking about Steven Crowder.

The liberal media watchdog organization has gone deafeningly silent in the wake of Tuesday’s union violence in Lansing, Michigan. That’s where protesters opposed to the state’s now-passed “right to work” law destroyed a tea party group’s occupied tent and punched Fox News contributor Steven Crowder in the face.

Those two incidents — both captured in crystal-clear video — have received wall-to-wall coverage on the Fox News Channel since they occurred. Meanwhile, an analysis by the conservative Media Research Center released Wednesday showed that Tuesday’s ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all ignored the attacks, only referring to the protests as “boisterous.”

Why should this be covered in the media? Because Americans need to know what is going on around them. Violence in never an acceptable form of protest–regardless of the cause.
According to Fox News, before the vote on right-to-work was taken, state Democratic Rep. Douglas Geiss, speaking on the House floor on Tuesday, warned,

“There will be blood, there will be repercussions.” This is not the route to a constructive debate of the issue.

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The Battle For Union Reform Moves To Virginia

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about the next battle in reforming unions. In Virginia, the Senate’s Privileges and Elections Committee has passed a bill to guarantee voter privacy in union elections. This is a preemptive strike in case the Obama Administration passes card check–a union election procedure that takes away the secret ballot.

The article reports:

Held over from the 2012 General Assembly session, the bill is expected to come to the Senate floor in the session that opens Jan. 9.

“This amendment is essential if we are going to preserve voter integrity and privacy,” said Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania), who introduced the measure. “No citizen should be forced to reveal how they voted in any election, be it a federal, state, local or a union election.”

Unions have a place in the American workforce. Ideally they protect the rights of the individual worker and provide a way for grievances to be resolved. However, unions have become a cash cow for the Democrat party, and an excuse for their leaders to live in luxury at the expense of the average worker. Union leaders are no better than the corporate fat cats they condemn. It is time for the unions to remember their original purpose–protecting workers–and begin to focus on that.

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Numbers Can Be So Inconvenient

Yesterday Investors.com posted the chart below:

President Obama has stated,

“These so-called right to work laws, they don’t have anything to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money,”

That is simply not true. The numbers on earnings in right-to-work states simply don’t agree with what the President and labor leaders are saying.

The article reports:

According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, right-to-work states (excluding Indiana, which passed a RTW law in early 2012) “were responsible for 72% of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012.”

…The president who fought Boeing’s expansion in RTW South Carolina knows it’s all about his keeping union dues flowing into Democratic coffers and maintaining the plush lifestyles of the union leaders who support him.

The article concludes:

If unions satisfied workers, one would expect their membership to at least remain constant. But between 2000 and 2010, union membership declined by 9.5% in non-RTW states and 9.2% in RTW states. The only growth was in government unions.

Michigan‘s right-to-work law is a positive blow for worker freedom and economic growth and an example, as in Wisconsin and Indiana, of how conservatives can win and are winning in states led by GOP governors.

At its core, this is about campaign money. When the Supreme Court ruled in the  Citizens United case that corporations could make campaign donations, the unions had a problem–someone else was throwing tons of money into political campaigns. When the Democrats were not successful in changing that ruling, they desperately needed to hang on to union money. The ruling in Michigan is a direct threat to the Democrat party’s major source of funds–union money. Workers will no longer be forced to join a union or contribute dues to a union they are not a member of. That is a step forward for workers.

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There Are No Words

The Blaze reported today on the story of Amanda Clayton. Amanda Clayton was discovered in March to have been collecting welfare checks despite having won $735,000 as a lottery prize.

This is the video of her defending her actions:

Please note the following statement:

“I feel that it’s okay because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay … I have two houses”

This woman was collecting food stamps after winning the lottery!

The article reports:

Attorney Todd Flood says Clayton has repaid the approximately $5,500 in food aid and medical benefits she received. The 24-year-old pleaded no contest to fraud last month and was sentenced on Tuesday.

The Michigan Department of Human Services says Clayton didn’t inform the state about her pre-tax lottery windfall of $735,000 last year. Flood says Clayton did make an attempt but decided not to fight the case and move on with her life.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law in April that requires lottery officials to tell the Department of Human Services about new winners.

So where does Clayton go from here? Her attorney says that because she’s a felon, it’s going to be hard.

“It’s Michigan in 2012. It’s difficult to find a job. A felony conviction is a very serious matter,” Clayton’s attorney told USA Today.

We don’t have a poverty problem–we have an attitude problem! Since finding a job is going to be difficult after a felony conviction, has she considered renting out one of her two houses in order to provide a stream of income. I am sure that with a qualified financial advisor she could actually live quite comfortably on her winnings and rental income.

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Free Speech ?

There have been a few instances in recent years that have called into question whether or not we have a First Amendment. Two recent examples are the four people charged with disorderly conduct because they were handing out copies of the Gospel of John outside an Arab cultural festival.(see rightwinggranny.com) and General Boykin being denied the right to speak at West Point because of his stand against Islamic terror (see rightwinggranny.com). The latest violation of the First Amendment by those who should be supporting it occurred near Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Yesterday the Insurance Journal reported that the Thomas More Law Center has filed a civil suit against Allegan Michigan officials and the leaders of a Muslim civil rights organization that asked the city to cancel the event.

The article reports:

According to the suit, a speech given Jan. 28 by Kamal Saleem at Allegan High School was stopped by police acting on a letter opposing Saleem’s visit. The letter was sent several days earlier by Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The suit also said that police were told of possible _ and unconfirmed _ threats against Saleem, said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel for the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More center. Thompson said shutting down the meeting violated Saleem’s right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel for the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More center, commented, “The irony is this event was held to extol the virtues of the U.S. Constitution. In the middle, you have the police coming in and shutting it down. The audience is shouting ‘What about free speech?’ ”

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), stated, “We believe he is a bogus ex-terrorist. I’m saying he’s a total fraud. If they want to sue me, then sue me for defamation of character. We view this lawsuit as a nuisance and form of trying to drain advocacy organizations of their resources. Advocacy organizations have freedom of speech to raise concerns about people who propagate divisive messages in the community.”

We need to understand that CAIR was in unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Case–they have an agenda. Their goal is to use the American legal system to undermine the rights of Americans and destroy the US Constitution so that it can be replaced with Sharia Law. If that sounds wild to you, please google the Holy Land Foundation Case and read the plans for destroying the American legal system. Those plans are included in the case documents and are available to the public.

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We Let These People Vote?

I am not for denying anyone the right to vote, but sometimes I do wonder about the wisdom of some of the people who do vote. A story posted in The Blaze yesterday underscored that thought.

According to The Blaze:

Responding to a local rumor, people are standing in line for hours, turning over valuable personal information and expecting to receive a government handout in New York City. If this sounds familiar, it is. Back in the fall of 2009, thousands of people stood in line in Michigan expecting to be given some Obama money. It never arrived.

My concern here is the concept of “Obama money.” Where do these people think Obama money comes from? Is it simply manufactured out of thin air? Does it grow on trees?

The story goes on to explain that E & M Multi-Services, a tax preparation service that operates out of the back of a “dollar store” in the Fordham section of the Bronx, is collecting copies of Social Security cards, state ID cards and in exchange people are given a debit card from First California Bank. Unfortunately, the debit cards do not have money on them from President Obama or any bank. Surprised?

The article states the obvious:

Considering the massive problem of identity theft, handing over your Social Security card, state issued ID cards and other personal information to a business housed in the back of a dollar store is probably not a good idea.

And these people vote?

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Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

A friend of mine lost his job before Christmas and thankfully has recently found a new job. He is fairly high on the chain of command, and I was rather surprised that even when you are a responsible adult family man with a good work history, you are generally required to take a drug test before being approved for employment.

That situation entered my mind when I began reading about the idea of drug testing welfare recipients. Just as my friend was drug tested before he could be gainfully employed, should welfare recipients be drug tested before they receive taxpayers’ money?

Townhall.com posted an Associated Press article yesterday about the move to drug test people who receive money from the government.

The article reports:

Data show that about 8 percent of the population uses drugs. And before a random drug testing program in Michigan was put on hold by a court challenge, about 8 percent of its public assistance applicants tested positive.

In years past such legal challenges had a chilling effect on state legislatures, but that seems to have thawed.

Michigan’s program was halted after five weeks in 1999, eventually ending with an appeals court ruling that it was unconstitutional.

For more than a decade, no other state moved to implement such a law.

Drug use is a problem. If people are drug tested to get a job, why shouldn’t they be drug tested to be paid money from the government?

The article states:

This year conservative lawmakers in 23 states from Wyoming to Mississippi _ where lawmakers want random screening to include nicotine tests _ are moving forward with proposals of their own.

Romney, in an interview this month in Georgia, supported the idea. “People who are receiving welfare benefits, government benefits, we should make sure they’re not using those benefits to pay for drugs,” Romney said to WXIA-TV in Atlanta.

Newt Gingrich addressed the topic with Yahoo News in November, saying he considered testing as a way to curb drug use and lower related costs to public programs.

Drug use can prevent people from being responsible and holding down a job. Why should we support the drug habit of someone who would rather stay home and do drugs than work? I object to the idea of testing for nicotine–cigarettes are still a legal product–but I think testing for illegal drugs is a good idea. If people who want to be hired for a job need to be drug tested, why shouldn’t welfare recipients also be tested?

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