“Don’t Throw Me Into The Briar Patch”

Joel Chandler Harris was an American author who wrote the Uncle Remus stories. Some of these stories later became an animated film by Walt Disney called “Song of the South.” One of the characters in these stories was Br’er (“brother”) Rabbit, who when captured by Bre’r Fox pleads, “Don’t throw me into the briar patch.” Of course, Br’er Rabbit has grown up in the briar patch, is quite at home there, and sees the briar patch as an escape route. So why in the world is a political blog talking about Br’er Rabbit and the briar patch? Because I believe the story of Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox totally explains the current healthcare debate.

Let’s look at the healthcare debacle strictly through a political lens. The best outcome for the Republicans (with a Republican President) is the complete failure of ObamaCare–rising costs, escalating premiums, denial of healthcare to senior citizens and young people, etc. Theoretically, President Trump has tried to avoid this. Had this failure occurred under a Democratic President, the solution would have been single-payer socialistic medicine. Under a Republican President, a free-market solution may be possible, but only after the total failure of ObamaCare. As premiums rise and health insurance and healthcare become more difficult to obtain, voters may get angry enough to remove from office those who had blocked the repeal of ObamaCare. I suspect that much of the Tea Party is already there. Because the Republicans could not repeal ObamaCare, it is still the Democrat’s policy. That may be exactly where the Republicans wanted it.

So where are we now in the healthcare debate?

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that there is no possibility of repealing and replacing ObamaCare and there is no possibility of repealing ObamaCare over the next two years.

The article reports news from two sources:

From Bloomberg News:

GOP Senators Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski said Tuesday they’ll oppose a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. McConnell said late Monday the Senate would vote on a repeal with a two-year delay to give Congress time to agree on a replacement, but he could afford to lose no more than two Republican votes to advance the measure.

Repealing the law now and then hoping for a replacement “would create great anxiety for individuals who rely on the ACA,” Collins of Maine told reporters in Washington. “I believe it would cause the insurance markets to go into turmoil.” She said she would oppose bringing a repeal bill up for debate.

Capito of West Virginia said she would refuse to take up a repeal plan without an adequate replacement. “I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” she said in a statement.

Murkowski of Alaska also said she wouldn’t vote to take up a repeal-alone measure.

From the Washington Examiner:

House Republicans on Tuesday were seething with anger over the Senate GOP’s late Monday decision to pull the plug on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Lawmakers leaving the House GOP’s weekly conference meeting said feelings of exasperation and anger have set in, now that the Senate has dropped plans to vote on an Obamacare replacement bill this month.

“There is a lot of frustration, borderline anger I guess, at what really has to be described as some level of incompetence to be able to get together and get something done,” Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., who heads the conservative Republican Study Committee, told the Washington Examiner.

I am not sure the Democrats are celebrating the fact that the Republicans could not repeal ObamaCare–now the Democrats are stuck with a healthcare plan that is rapidly crashing.

 

Watching The Senate Democrats Drag Their Feet

It is amazing to me that anything ever gets done in Washington. The Democrats in the Senate, led by Senator Schumer, have done everything they can to block the appointments and agenda of President Trump. Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article on that subject that included the following chart:

The article reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that after completing work on a health care bill to replace Obamacare, the Senate will turn to a defense spending bill and “the backlog of critical nominations that have been mindlessly stalled by Democrats.”

“In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August,” McConnell, R-Ky., said.

During a press briefing Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted McConnell’s announcement and accused Senate Democrats of “looking to set a record for pointless and dangerous obstruction.”

Citing the Obama administration, Sanders added:

While more than 90 percent of the previous administration’s nominations were confirmed by a voice vote, Democrats in the Senate have allowed only approximately 10 percent of President Trump’s nominees to be voted on in that way.

We’re coming up on the August recess of President Trump’s first term, by which point the Senate [had] confirmed 69 percent of President Obama’s nominations; less than a month out from that same point, the Senate has confirmed only approximately 23 percent of President Trump’s nominees. These numbers show the Democrats’ true colors.

I am not a big fan of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but he is right about this. Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut.

Remember The Promise

“If you give us the House, we will repeal ObamaCare. If you give us the Senate, we will repeal ObamaCare. If you give us the White House, we will repeal ObamaCare.” How about you actually keep your promise and vote to REPEAL ObamaCare. Then you can work to replace it! Otherwise, let’s just throw the whole group out, get a new group, and keep doing that until ObamaCare is repealed.

Yesterday The Federalist Papers posted an article that may be an indication that I am not the only voter who feels that way.

The article states:

It was at a ritzy gathering in a Rocky Mountain resort over the weekend that major GOP donors aligned with the Koch brothers made their concerns known.

Texas GOP donor Doug Deason said he and ten other big Dallas donors are withholding any contributions to the Republican Party until they can actually get something accomplished.

Until then, his “Dallas piggy bank” is closed for business, LifeZette reports. Specifically, Deason wants to see movement on replacing Obamacare and significant health care reform.

“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” Deason said, according to the Associated Press. “You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There’s no reason you can’t get this done. Get it done and we’ll open it back up.”

Deason said he has already said no to two prominent House members – both aligned with the so-called “Freedom Caucus.” Reps. Mark Meadows, from North Carolina and Ohio’s Jim Jordan asked him to hold a fundraiser and he turned them down.

“I said, ‘No, I’m not going to because we’re closing the checkbook until you get some things done,’” Deason said, adding that he even pressured two dozen other Texas-based donors to refuse to partner with them on the fundraiser.

This may be the only way to get things accomplished–cut off the donation money from the big donors. The danger in that is that those of us who are conservatives may not always be on the same page as the big donors.

I have reached the conclusion that ObamaCare may be here to stay. If that is in fact the case, the Democrats are no longer the only ones to blame. The lack of spine in the Republican Party and the desire to thwart Trump by the Washington establishment will also be responsible for the end of private healthcare in America.

Fake News Abounds About The Repeal/Replace ObamaCare Bill

I have stated before that I do not support the current bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare. I believe that what we need is straight repeal. Then we need to teach Congress about the free market and let them apply those principles to healthcare and health insurance.

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the current repeal-replacement bill on ObamaCare.

Here are some observations from the article:

Look at any story about the Senate health bill, and you’ll see words like those describe its supposed cuts to Medicaid. What if we told you there are no such cuts?

First, the Senate bill doesn’t change Medicaid at all for three years. That means spending on the program will continue to grow, just as it is slated to now — at an annual 5% clip — until 2021.

What does that mean in dollar terms? Under the Senate’s “shredding” reform, Medicaid’s budget in 2021 will be $85 billion bigger than it is this year, and $209 billion (or 79%) bigger than it was in 2013.

What about after that? Under the Senate plan, there’d be a three-year transition to a new way of financing Medicaid.

And then, starting in 2025 federal Medicaid spending would be capped each year, with the cap set to grow at the overall inflation rate.

If you plot annual spending out over the next 10 years, what you see is that spending is never actually cut — at least not in the sense that most people think of a spending cut. Instead, it would grow at a slightly slower rate.

Even under the more restrictive House bill, Medicaid’s budget would still climb 20% over the next decade. So growth will end up higher still under the more generous Senate version.

This is the usual game that Congress and the media play with budget issues–only in Washington could a 5% increase be considered a cut!

The article explains the problems with Medicaid:

As a result, Medicaid now consumes about 20% of state general fund spending — and it’s rising. Next year, the 32 states that expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare will see their costs climb by an additional $9 billion.

Meanwhile, a Government Accountability Office investigation found that improper payments accounted for more than 10% of all Medicaid spending last year.

And for all this, Medicaid grossly underpays doctors and provides lousy care to many of its enrollees. In California, for example, the Medicaid expansion resulted in a flood of patients into emergency rooms because they can’t find a doctor willing to treat them.

In short, Medicaid is in dire trouble, and the Senate and House bills offer smart, prudent — and relatively modest — fixes.

Clean up the fraud, and encourage people to actually get jobs that will help them obtain medical insurance. We need less people riding in the wagon and more people pulling the wagon.

Are The Republicans Trying To Lose Their Majority In Congress?

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy” (Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 1966.)

It is my opinion that the above quote perfectly describes the ObamaCare repeal bill the Republicans are attempting to see to the American people.

Yesterday Reason Magazine posted an analysis of the proposed bill. We all remember the Republicans promising the voters that if we would give them the House, they would repeal ObamaCare. Then they promised the voters that if we gave them the Senate, they would repeal ObamaCare. Then they promised the voters that if we gave them the White House, they would repeal ObamaCare. Now they are trying to sell us a bill that does not repeal ObamaCare. The bill continues the bad policies that have caused so many insurance companies to opt out of ObamaCare. The bill continues the bad policies that have caused health insurance premiums to rise sharply and government expenditures on ObamaCare to skyrocket. This bill will ensure that a large number of Republican Congressmen running for office in 2018 will be voted out of office. The bill should be called the ‘give Congress back to the Democrats’ act.

The article at Reason Magazine explains:

In other words, it is exactly what critics predicted: a bill that, at least in the near term, retains weakened versions of nearly all of Obamacare’s core features while fixing few if any of the problems that Republicans say they want to fix. It is Obamacare lite—the health law that Republicans claim to oppose, but less of it. It represents a total failure of Republican policy imagination.

To understand the Senate plan, it helps to recall Obamacare’s underlying framework. The centerpiece of the law was a reform of the individual market, intended to give those who do not get coverage through work or a federal program access to subsidized, regulated coverage. The law created a new federal subsidy, based on income, for lower- and middle-income households to purchase health insurance. It set up federal rules requiring insurers to sell to all comers while limiting their ability to charge based on health history. It mandated that all individuals obtain health coverage or pay a tax penalty. And it erected a system of government-run health insurance exchanges on which consumers could purchase subsidized, regulated individual market coverage.

Those exchanges have never been fully stable as either business or policy propositions. Premiums have marched steadily upwards; last year, the price of a typical plan rose by 22 percent, and early reports show large spikes coming this year as well. The non-profit health insurance organizations that Obamacare funded have mostly shut down. Large, for-profit health insurers, meanwhile, have lost money and either scaled back their participation or dropped out entirely.

Republicans have repeatedly criticized these marketplaces for being expensive and unstable. As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who spearheaded the drafting of this bill, likes to say, “Obamacare is collapsing around us.”

Yet even more than the House plan, the Senate plan retains the essential structure of Obamacare’s individual market reforms. It would likely result in fewer people being covered, and it would not stop the destabilization of the market.

There is a correct way for Congress to deal with healthcare reform–get the government out of it, and let the free market prevail. That would mean a true repeal of ObamaCare. Unfortunately we have reached a point where neither political party truly shares the interests of the American people. The first step in the process of fixing healthcare in America should be the full repeal of ObamaCare. It was a bad bill. The second step in this process should be to make sure that Congress is covered under whatever healthcare plan they pass. That might result in a better product. The third step would be to look at the tort reform that was successful in Texas and see if it could be applied on a national level. The fourth step would be to make health insurance something that could be purchased across state lines. These four simple steps would stop the damage currently being done by ObamaCare. There are other things that could be done–tax credits that help people pay health insurance premiums, health savings accounts, etc., but these could be added later. Right now we just need full repeal.

If the current ObamaCare Lite bill proposed is not significantly altered, it should not be passed. However, what is actually happening here is that the Democrats are moving ahead with their plan for total government healthcare (single payer), which is what will magically appear when ObamaCare collapses. It is time for the Republicans to repeal ObamaCare fully. Then they can worry about how to replace it. Right now, they are simply working hard to remove themselves from office.

 

The History Of The Judicial Filibuster

The following is taken from a transcript of the Rush Limbaugh Show:

All that is happening today is that the Senate is being returned to the rules that lasted for 100 years prior to 2003.

The judicial filibuster was invented by the Democrats in 2003. The point is there was no filibuster anywhere… It’s not even mentioned in the Constitution. It’s a Senate rule. The Senate can make whatever rules it wants. The Democrats… I just listened to Dick Durbin. (paraphrased) They’re talking about decades and centuries of Senate tradition being wiped aside by these evil Republicans! The Republicans didn’t do anything but stand aside while the Democrats changed the rules. So all that’s happening is that Democrat rules that created filibustering judicial nominees are now being removed.

That’s all that’s happening. The Senate is being returned to normal. That’s all that’s happening. There is no great earthquake happening here. The Senate is not being forever undermined and changed. But that’s the media’s story, and so the Democrats are going along with it. The media’s devising all this strategy, and they’re showing by virtue of controlling the news how the Democrats should act and what the Democrats should say.

…The Senate has just affirmed the nuclear option on the Gorsuch confirmation. To prove the point that prior to 2003 judicial filibusters didn’t exist, look at Clarence Thomas! Clarence Thomas — after all of that crap that was his confirmation hearings — was confirmed to the court with fewer than 60 votes. So was Samuel Alito, and there have been others.

But in the modern era, those are two prominent justices confirmed with fewer than 60 votes. The filibuster didn’t exist. The Democrats invented the judicial filibuster in 2003 to stop the nominees to lower courts of George W. Bush. Harry Reid pulled it again in 2013 to include all presidential judicial nominations except those nominated for the Supreme Court. What McConnell has done today is not alter the Constitution.

McConnell and the Republicans have not nuclearized the Constitution. They have not actually triggered a nuclear option. That’s just words. All that’s happened here is that Mitch McConnell has returned to the Senate its rules that existed prior to the Democrats changing them in 2003. And, by the way, the Senate can make whatever rules it wants. And if a majority votes on the rules change, then it’s changed. The Constitution does not say anything about filibusters, because the filibuster was not actually invented until long after the country was founded and began operating.

So what is this actually about? This whole exercise was nothing more than a political game of chicken. I am still not convinced that the Democrats thought the Republicans would use the nuclear option. There will be Senate and House seats up for grabs in 2018. The recent track record of the Democrats in Senate and House elections is abysmal. It is hoped that all this fuss about the nuclear option (and forcing the Republicans to use it) will energize the Democratic voter base. It has nothing to do with the qualifications of Judge Gorsuch (and it doesn’t even have anything to do with Judge Merrick Garland). Judge Garland is a good excuse for the Democrats to throw the temper tantrum they are currently throwing. It’s all about the next election. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Somehow Most Of The Media Has Avoided The History On This

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the confirmation process of Judge Gorsuch. The bottom line of the article is that it will take real talent for for Republican party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in this instance. The article reminds us that until the administration of the 43rd President of the United States, Supreme Court Justices were sworn in by a simple majority.

The article reports the following quote from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on both FOX News Sunday and Meet the Press yesterday:

“I can tell you that Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week. How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends. How many of them are willing to oppose cloture, on a partisan basis, to kill a Supreme Court nominee? Never happened before in history, in the whole history of the country. In fact, filibustering judges at all is a rather recent phenomen[on] started by your next guest, Senator Schumer, after George Bush 43 got elected president. We didn’t used to do this. Clarence Thomas was confirmed 52-48, the most controversial Supreme Court nominee in history. And not a single Senator said he has to get 60 votes.”

Senator Harry Reid brought back the traditional concept of an up or down vote to confirm lower court judges. It will not be a big step to go back to the historical precedent of confirming Supreme Court judges the same way. The question is, “Do the Republicans have the intestinal fortitude to do what they need to do to put Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court?” This is nothing more than a political game of chicken. If the Democrats force the issue, the filibustering of Supreme Court judges will end. Because the Democrats are generally the party that uses this tactic, it will be their loss. There may be other vacancies on the Supreme Court in the next three years, and the Democrats will have given up a tool to oppose those nominations. If the Democrats allow this nomination to go through, they will simply replace a conservative judge with a conservative judge. They will also keep their powder dry for the next fight which may involve replacing a more liberal judge. It’s their choice.

Just as a point to remember–for those who are still screaming because Merrick Garland never got a hearing, remember that the Biden rule was called into effect during the last two years of the Bush Administration. The Republicans simply made the Democrats follow the rule that Joe Biden had stated! They simply enforced the same rule for both political parties.

Slowly But Surely

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that the Senate has confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

The article reports:

The 52-46 vote came during a rare Friday floor session, which was held amid an intensified campaign by Democratic lawmakers to stall the vote.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said “enough is enough” to the Democratic opposition on the floor ahead of the vote. He said confirming Trump’s Cabinet has taken the “longest” amount of time “since George Washington,” which shouldn’t be seen as a record of pride for the minority party.

McConnell said the delaying tactics “won’t change the outcome of the election last November,” but instead are keeping the government from serving the American people.

President Trump was elected in November and sworn in in January. It is time to allow him to get his cabinet confirmed.

Didn’t The Democrats Complain About Obstruction During President Obama’s Term of OFfice?

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about some recent statements by Senator Chuck Schumer.

The article reports:

The top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, is promising to block one of President-elect Donald Trump’s first big initiatives — naming a ninth member to the Supreme Court.

“It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we could support,” Schumer said in an interview Tuesday night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

Asked whether he’ll do his “best to hold the seat open” on the Supreme Court, Schumer responded, “Absolutely.”

For Schumer, it’s about retribution. The Republican-controlled Senate failed even to vote on President Obama’s last nomination to the highest court, Merrick Garland, who was put up for the job after the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Republicans instead made the Supreme Court a campaign issue, saying whoever was elected president would get to nominate Scalia’s replacement.

The Democratic Senate leader told host Maddow that Republicans got away with not voting on Obama’s nominee, but that “the consequences will be down the road.”

But in June, Schumer sang a different tune, blasting Republicans for not doing their duty and for creating “chaos.”

Does anyone remember the following quote:

Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.” – President Obama to House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, January 23, 2009.

Donald Trump was elected. He won the popular vote almost everywhere except Los Angeles County and New York City. The American people are looking for people who will work for the interests of America. Do the Democrats really believe that opposing everything Donald Trump does is a winning strategy? Should someone remind Senator Schumer that the Democrats set the precedent of not approving a court nominee during the last year of a Presidential term?

The Trump Cabinet So Far

This chart is from The Daily Signal showing how the Trump cabinet is progressing:

cabinet-picksI guess things were not as chaotic as the press was reporting.

The article notes:

Trump’s selection of Jeff Sessions as attorney general on Nov. 18 made him the second-fastest president-elect in recent history to pick a Cabinet nominee. He added another on Nov. 23 with Besty DeVos as education secretary.

In the fourth week of the transition, Trump has named five nominees: Rep. Tom Price at the Department of Health and Human Services, Elaine Chao at the Department of Transportation, Steven Mnuchin at the Treasury Department, Wilbur Ross at the Commerce Department, and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis at the Department of Defense.

The speed of Trump’s choices is even more surprising given that Bush enjoyed the continuity of Republican government in 1988; two of Bush’s three nominations in November 1988 were holdovers from the Reagan administration. With his selection of Price and Chao, Trump is now the fastest president-elect in 40 years to fill four Cabinet roles.

Some of these choices have not met with overwhelming approval from conservatives, but we need to remember a few things. All of these picks have been successful in their areas of expertise. Theoretically, Trump is in charge and will set the agenda. I would like to ask that my conservative friends hold their fire until someone actually does something that  impacts some policy. Republicans (and sometimes conservatives) have a gift for forming circular firing squads. Let’s not form one now. Let’s stop adding to the media frenzy.  We need to give Donald Trump a chance to make the changes he believes will move the country in the right direction. We may not agree with all of those moves, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Take a deep breath, relax, and let’s see what happens next.

 

The Deal With Iran Just Keeps Getting Worse

The Associated Press is reporting today that Iran will be able to use its own experts to inspect a site suspected of developing nuclear arms. Evidently this is part of the secret agreement with the United Nations that parallels the Iran agreement with the United States, Germany, France, etc.

The article reports:

The investigation of the Parchin nuclear site by the International Atomic Energy Agency is linked to a broader probe of allegations that Iran has worked on atomic weapons. That investigation is part of the overarching nuclear deal.

The Parchin deal is a separate, side agreement worked out between the IAEA and Iran. The United States and the five other world powers that signed the Iran nuclear deal were not party to this agreement but were briefed on it by the IAEA and endorsed it as part of the larger package.

Why in the world would any sane person sign on to this agreement? It’s like asking an alcoholic to inspect his house for alcohol.

The article further reports:

But the agreement diverges from normal inspection procedures between the IAEA and a member country by essentially ceding the agency’s investigative authority to Iran. It allows Tehran to employ its own experts and equipment in the search for evidence for activities that it has consistently denied – trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Evidence of that concession, as outlined in the document, is sure to increase pressure from U.S. congressional opponents as they review the July 14 Iran nuclear deal and vote on a resolution of disapproval in early September. If the resolution passed and President Barack Obama vetoed it, opponents would need a two-thirds majority to override it. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has suggested opponents will likely lose.

If the Senate cannot override a Presidential veto of this agreement, every Senator who voted for the agreement needs to be voted out of office as soon as possible. This is an unbelievably bad deal.

Why We Need Conservative Republicans In Congress

After all the fuss this week about Planned Parenthood selling aborted baby parts, you would think it would be a given that Washington at least would stop funding Planned Parenthood. It would be nice if they would shut them down, but defunding them would be a really good  beginning. Since the Republican party platform is pro-life and the Republicans control the House and the Senate, defunding them should be fairly easy. If Republicans who believed in the Republican platform controlled the House and the Senate, it would be easy to defund Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately, the Republican leaders in the House and Senate only believe in the Washington elite.

The Daily Signal posted the following yesterday:

What we saw in the Senate on Sunday is unprecedented in the annals of Senate history. It consisted of the majority leader and the minority leader denying members the ability to have votes on their amendments and indeed the ability even to have a roll-call vote. The denial of a second for a vote, which was aggressively whipped by the Republican majority, is an extraordinary measure designed to gag senators and enforce the will of the McConnell-Reid leadership team.

It saddens me as a Republican to see Republican leadership lead the effort to kill an amendment that would have prevented lifting sanctions on Iran unless and until Iran recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and unless and until Iran releases American hostages.

Make no mistake, granting a sufficient second for a roll call vote is done customarily in the Senate. Denying it is extraordinary, and it is done as a consequence of McConnell’s being afraid for his members to be on record on this issue.

I want my Senators on record on this issue. It is disgusting that under a Republican Senate and House the dismembering of babies and selling of baby parts will not only be allowed to continue–it will be subsidized.

Unintended Consequences of Executive Amnesty

On Monday, the Daily Signal posted an article about the current battle in Congress about funding the Department of Homeland Security. The House of Representatives has passed a bill to fund the Department, but the Democrats in the Senate have begun a filibuster to prevent the bill from being voted on. So what is the problem?

The article reports:

But last week as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried for a third time to open debate and allow for amendments on the bill, Democrats in the Senate continued to vehemently oppose the bill’s consideration. Before the Senate can move to consideration of the bill, 60 senators are needed.

“I don’t understand why they’d want to block the Senate from even debating a bill to fund homeland security,” McConnell said on the Senate floor last week. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

“You’d think Democrats would at least want to give the Senate an opportunity to make improvements to the bill, if it needs them,” he continued. “Why would Democrats want to stand tall for the ability of politicians to do things President Obama himself has described as ‘unwise and unfair’?”

It’s true that if the bill funding the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t pass, it won’t be the end of the world: 86 percent of the Department will continue to operate without the bill.

But with funding set to expire on Feb. 27, why are so many Democrats unwilling to consider a bill that would fund the Department—and keep all operations going?

The thing to remember here is that the Democrats are blocking even a discussion of the bill. They are playing the games they have long accused the Republicans of playing.

There is another aspect of Presidential amnesty that needs to be considered. In November of 2014, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about the fact that illegals granted amnesty under President Obama’s executive amnesty will be able to file tax returns with their newly minted social security numbers and claim the Earned Income Tax Credit for the years they worked here illegally. The Earned Income Tax Credit is one aspect of the Income Tax that is noted for fraud, and amnesty could result in each illegal immigrant family receiving thousands of dollars courtesy of the American taxpayer. This is obscene.

It is quite possible that the financially rewarded new immigrants will become permanent Democrat voters–that may be the reason the Democrats in the Senate are fighting to protect executive amnesty.

I have no source for this quote, but I believe it applies (these are two of the variations):

The American Republic will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

The Signals America Is Sending

President Obama does not represent all Americans. Unfortunately, to the world, he represents America. The things President Obama does or does not do may be shrugged off at home, but they are watched closely by the people in the world who may not love America.

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday about the signals President Obama is sending to the rest of the world. The article begins by commenting on the fact that President Obama did not attend the meeting in Paris to support free speech.

The article reports:

Like it or not, the Ummah (Muslim world) seems likely to take that absence as another subtle message that Obama stood with the Islamic Jihadis who were defending the Prophet Mohammed.

For the supposed leader of the free world to be a no-show was an affront to Western democracies. The Obama Administration is now in full damage control mode by admitting it made an “error.” Was it an error or deliberate?

President Obama was not alone in his Paris no-show. If the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who is number two in line for the presidency, and the new Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell, had the political courage to stand up for freedom and democracy, they both would have been in Paris showing the world where the United States Congress stands.

It would have been nice to see some American leadership there–Congressional or otherwise.

The article further points out the many mixed messages President Obama has send about radical Islam:

For example, in his June 4, 2009 Cairo “outreach” speech to the Muslim world, he gave some insight when he stated that he considered part of his responsibility as President of the United States was to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. I don’t think such a statement is in his oath of office.

Furthermore, he signaled his support for the “Arab Spring” Islamic uprisings. Both al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood understood by that signal that the United States under President Obama would not stand in their way in the revolution to come. Finally, in his September 2012 speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama declared “that the future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.” That should have dispelled any doubt.

Under the Obama Administration, all military and civilian training manuals have been stripped of the words ‘Islamic terrorism,’ and our military and police are not getting the training they need in order to protect and defend America. Political correctness caused by the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into the Obama Administration will cost American lives.

The author of the article feels that the actions of President Obama are worthy of impeachment. I am not sure that would be the right answer, but I understand his logic.

The article concludes:

What more does it take to show where lie the sympathies of the Obama Administration? The continued release of hardened terrorists from Gitmo says it all. With its many other scandals and its tragic open border policies, which are unconstitutional, Congress must act to preserve and protect the country by initiating impeachment proceedings.

The Battle For The Keystone XL Pipeline Continues

Yahoo Finance reported yesterday that Nebraska’s highest court has cleared the pathway of the Keystone XL Pipeline through Nebraska.

The article reports:

Justice William Connolly, writing for the judges who wanted to block the project, criticized dissenters for refusing to address its legality. Those three judges argued the property owners who challenged the pipeline don’t have the right to sue.

“Because the case presents a matter of great public concern, the citizens of this state deserve a decision on the merits,” Connolly wrote. Lawyers for the property owners and some pipeline opponents said Keystone XL may still be subject to legal challenge in Nebraska, once TransCanada reveals its path and begins condemnation proceedings as soon as this month.

However, the real battle for the Pipeline will be centered in Washington.

The article reports:

The U.S. Senate Energy Committee yesterday passed a measure seeking to force approval of the pipeline, which along with the House vote sets up a confrontation with Obama, who has pledged to veto such legislation. The full Senate is to take up the issue next week, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. In the past when Senators voted on the Pipeline, the vote was symbolic. Now the vote actually means something. President Obama is expected to veto the Pipeline, and Congress will need a two-thirds majority to override that veto. The majority of Americans say that they support the Pipeline, so it will be interesting to see in Congress is listening to the people it is supposed to represent.

A Picture Of The Next Two Years

Holly Robichaud posted a column in the Boston Herald today about the political landscape over the next two years.

The article lists the conservative Republican presidential candidates as follows:

The GOP’s extensive field includes Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Govs. John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Mike Pence of Indiana and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal.

While Cruz is no favorite of the D.C. 
establishment, his political backbone in working to stop the Obama agenda will be an advantage. Unlike Speaker John Boehner, Cruz embraces November’s message that Americans overwhelmingly reject Obama’s policies, including amnesty.

Paul should be red hot due to his appeal to younger voters, but his foreign policy and amnesty positions will hold him back.

Kasich, from a key electoral state, has served in Congress and been a Fox News host. As governor he created 45,000 new jobs and fixed an $8 billion budget deficit, and he’s someone to watch.

The article also mentions the moderate Republican candidates–Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. If the number of conservative candidates split the conservative vote, one of these men could win the nomination.

The article also discusses the Democrat field:

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have to decide between being a Boehner clone — which will depress the GOP base vote in 2016 — and being a leader in fighting Obama’s destructive executive orders. If he chooses the latter, McConnell could play kingmaker in the primary.

Most Democrats understand President Obama has moved the country too far to the left, except our U.S. Sen. Lizzy Warren, who thinks the whole world is the People’s Republic of Cambridge. Ultraliberals will continue to rally around her as the rest of Democrats try to go mainstream to save the party from extinction.

If the conservative movement wants a presidential candidate in 2016, they are going to have to unite around one candidate, and during the next two years, they are going to have to show the country that they have workable ideas as to how to turn America back to the constitutional republic it was intended to be.

Two Parties Working Together Against The American Working Man

The Daily Caller posted a story today about the delay of the Senate vote on the budget until Monday. As usual, the delay is caused by the obstructionism of Harry Reid. Unfortunately, some of the establishment Republicans are also in agreement with Senator Reid.

The article reports:

Democratic and GOP leaders in the Senate are delaying a vote on the huge 2015 government budget until Monday because they’re trying to block a floor vote on President Barack Obama’s unpopular amnesty of 12 million illegals.

The leaders may be able to avoid a direct vote on the unpopular amnesty, but they likely will be forced to vote on whether there should be a vote on blocking funds for the amnesty, and a vote on whether the amnesty is constitutional.

There are many establishment Republicans who support amnesty because it will bring low-wage workers into America and increase corporate profits. There does not seem to be a lot of concern for the Americans who will lose their jobs because of this. The Democrats support amnesty because they are looking for future Democrat voters–those receiving amnesty will eventually be granted the right to vote.

The article explains:

Three diverse GOP Senators are pushing for amnesty votes — Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

They’re backed up by some sympathetic GOP Senators, and by voters who paralyzed the Capitol Hill switchboard on Thursday. That’s when the House’s GOP leader. Rep. John Boehner joined with Obama to strong-arm House approval for the $1.1 trillion bill, which doesn’t include any language barring spending on Obama’s amnesty.

…GOP leader Mitch McConnell isn’t supporting Lee, Sessions or Cruz because he’s backing Obama’s de-facto amnesty of 12 million migrants.

The amnesty reduces one major obstacle to the GOP’s very unpopular goal of adding huge numbers of foreign workers to the nation’s slack labor market. Since at least 2006, Democrats have said they will oppose business’ demand for extra foreign workers unless the foreign workers are allowed to vote in future elections.

But Obama is trying to provide work-permits for 5 million migrants by granting en-masse individual exemptions from immigration law. He’s also telling an additional 7 million illegals, plus people who overstay their work-visas, that he won’t repatriate them unless they commit major crimes or pose a national security threat.

Unsurprisingly, the amnesty is unpopular among Americans, including the voters needed by the GOP to win the 2016 presidential election.

I don’t support a third political party–what I do support is a conservative takeover of the Republican party.

I’m Convinced There Is Something In The Water In Washington, D.C.

Today the National Journal posted a story about the relationship between the Tea Party members in Congress and the Tea Party members trying to get elected to Congress.

The article cites some examples:

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida won’t take sides in GOP incumbent primaries because of his own experience of running against the establishment’s pick. Neither will Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who rode tea-party support to take down a three-term incumbent. Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas are also unlikely to back any of the conservatives taking on Republican senators; in fact, Paul is committing heresy in the eyes of tea-party hard-liners by endorsing two Washington insiders, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and Wyoming Sen. Michael Enzi.

This show of decorum from senators who instigated the unpopular government shutdown is striking at a time of mounting friction between the establishment and tea-party wings of the Republican Party. So what’s behind it? The upshot of the tea-party caucus’s largely staying on the sidelines—and, in Paul’s case, endorsing two of his colleagues—is that of all the protocols the conservative insurgency has trashed on Capitol Hill, a member endorsing a colleague’s opponent remains strictly taboo.

Note to Republicans–it’s not a club–it’s a government, and right now it isn’t working very well.

The Tea Party is a grass roots movement. It was started and has been joined by people who do not like business as usual in Washington. If Congressmen who are elected by the Tea Party become part of business as usual, they will be unelected. The Tea Party will gain strength as people feel the weight of government over-reach. Since the Tea Party is responsible for what life there is in the Republican party, the Republicans in Congress need to support Tea Party candidates when they are running against business as usual candidates.

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Then and Now

From the Daily Caller in January 2011:

Harry Reid on raising the debt ceiling in 2006:

“If my Republican friends believe that increasing our debt by almost $800 billion today and more than $3 trillion over the last five years is the right thing to do, they should be upfront about it. They should explain why they think more debt is good for the economy.

From The Hill yesterday:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is moving legislation to push the debt limit until Dec. 31, 2014, well beyond next year’s midterm election.

Senate aides estimate the bill would increase federal borrowing authority by about $1.1 trillion.

Is there any doubt that this whole discussion is based on politics and not based on what is good for America and Americans? Until we vote professional politicians out of office, this is the kind of nonsense we will have to live with.

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When Unions Panic

Last night the Senate reached an agreement to avoid the “nuclear option” that prevented the end of the filibuster in blocking Presidential appointments. So what’s the deal, and what’s it all about?

CNS News reminds us:

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) has been very good at getting under Democratic Leader Harry Reid‘s (D-Nev) skin by holding up all sorts of bills and nominations.

But, before you cluck-cluck at the Republicans, it is well to remember that way back in 2005, when they were in the minority, Senate Democrats did exactly the same thing, which led then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) to contemplate the exact same “nuclear option” that Senator Reid was threatening earlier this week.

But there’s more. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Big Labor desperately wants a quorum of at least three National Labor Relations Board nominees to keep issuing pro-union orders that have become the NLRB’s standard operating procedure in the Obama years. Today there are only three board members and Chairman Mark Pearce is set to resign on August 27.
Under Tuesday’s Senate deal, the Obama Administration will agree to withdraw the nominations of the two NLRB board members whom Mr. Obama first appointed in January 2012 as recess appointments though the Senate wasn’t in recess. The President will then nominate two new pro-union board members, whom Republicans won’t filibuster, as well as two GOP nominees. Mr. Trumka gets his new legal quorum.

So why are the unions so concerned? This chart from Google might explain something:

Loss of members means loss of prestige, but there’s more. In June 2010, I reported on the status of union pension funds (rightwinggranny.com):

In a column in the Washington Examiner in April, Mark Hemingway pointed out that the average union pension plan had only enough money to cover 62 percent of its financial obligations.  Pension plans that are below 80 percent funding are considered “endangered” by the government; below 65 percent is considered “critical.”  Union membership is declining, which means that less people are paying into these funds.

Unions have a rightful place in America. However, in recent years they have attempted to usurp power beyond what was their original purpose. Meanwhile, union leaders live like kings and workers pay mandatory dues and struggle to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the unions see the Obama Administration as an opportunity to increase their power and influence (and the wealth of their leaders). Hopefully the next election will restore a balance between unions and those who choose not to join them. Meanwhile, the Republicans are making some really bad decisions.

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When Did Watergate Become Legal?

We have all been hearing about the bugging of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s meeting with his campaign staff on February 2. Evidently it is now okay to secretly tape someone’s campaign meetings and not face consequences. I am not going to bother with the details of the story since it has been in the headlines and you can pretty much read the details anywhere.

However, I do want to quote the last line from an article posted at Power Line today:

James Taranto has been following the affair on Twitter and derives an edifying judgment of public policy: “So post-Watergate ‘reforms’ led to the creation of super PACs, which are now committing Watergate-like crimes. Brilliant.”

Further proof that generally speaking, when Congress attempts to fix a problem by creating more laws, they only make things worse. I am sure there are laws that were broken in this taping, It is truly a shame that no one chooses to enforce those laws.

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If You Want To Know Where The Power Is…

If you want to know where the power is in Washington, watch the statements of the people who may be facing tough re-election campaigns. One of these people right now is Senator Mitch McConnell, who is faced with a celebrity opponent at a time when his own popularity is fading. Generally speaking, Mitch McConnell represents the establishment Republican party, but the establishment is being strongly challenged these days. Yesterday was a really bad day for the establishment–Rand Paul held a filibuster and discussed an issue that concerns many Americans.

Today’s Washington Examiner is reporting that Senator McConnell praised Senator Paul‘s actions and referred to the dinner with the President attended by some Republicans as a publicity stunt. Do you believe that Senator McConnell would have said anything at all were he not involved in a very difficult election next year? The fact that he is right is purely coincidental.

The article reports on Senator McConnell’s comments on the dinner with the President:

He said Obama probably reached out to Republicans to help stem his plummet in the polls.

“I think his effort so far to try to scare everybody and and try to convince the public that the sky is falling because we’re going to cut federal spending 2.4 percent out of $3.6 trillion out of the next six months has been a failure. So he may feel that just trying to rub our noses in it all the time is not going to work for him,” he said, citing the president’s seven-point drop in the Gallup approval rating in just one week.

Senator McConnell is courting the Tea Party in order to win reelection. If there is a conservative primary challenge to him, the Republicans stand a chance of losing the seat. If there is not a primary challenge and he wins, we still have the same stale leadership. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It’s time that those of us in the Republican Party who want change thought about that definition.

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Mr. Paul Goes To Washington

According to a Mediaite story posted this morning, Senator Rand Paul ended his filibuster in the Senate at 12:39 this morning.

YouTube posted the video of the Senator’s closing remarks:

The article reports:

During the half-day-long filibuster session, Paul was joined by fellow Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Mike Lee (R-UT). Despite his support for Brennan’s CIA nomination, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) joined the effort, voicing his concerns about the Obama administration’s authority to assassinate American citizens without congressional oversight.

America needs to have this discussion. I don’t even like the idea of Americans being killed based on congressional oversight. In a country where the Biblical view on gay marriage may be considered hate speech and those in the the Catholic Church are not allow to practice their religious beliefs outside of their church, who determines who or what is dangerous? When we arrested the underwear bomber after an obvious attempt at terrorism, we read him his Miranda rights and allowed him to hire a lawyer. Now the President seems to think he has the right to kill American citizens on American soil without the benefit of either a lawyer or a trial. The problem here is very simple, “Who determines who is a danger to the country?” Depending on who holds the office of the presidency, we might see Bill Ayers being called a threat or we might see Glenn Beck declared a threat. Politics could easily influence these decisions. There is a reason we have a court system. It is not perfect, but it is better than the idea of the government being able to kill American citizens at will.

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Separating Truth From Fiction

Sequestration will take effect on Friday, March 1.To hear President Obama describe it, sequestration will be the end of life as we know it in America.

There were two articles posted in the Washington Post on Friday–one written by George Will and one written by Bob Woodward. George Will describes sequestration as a manufactured crisis, and Bob Woodward states that sequestration was initiated by Jack Lew, Rob Nabors, and President Obama (contrary to the claims of the President that it was the Republican’s idea).

George will reminds us that that USS Truman was delayed in deploying to the Persian Gulf. He is not convinced that this was necessary. He states:

The Defense Department’s civilian employment has grown 17 percent since 2002. In 2012, defense spending on civilian personnel was 21 percent higher than in 2002. And the Truman must stay in Norfolk? This is, strictly speaking, unbelievable.

George Will reminds us of previous crises that never quite materialized:

Remember when “a major cooling of the climate” was “widely considered inevitable” (New York Times, May 21, 1975) with “extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation” (Science magazine, Dec. 10, 1976) which must “stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery” (International Wildlife, July 1975)? Remember reports that “the world’s climatologists are agreed” that we must “prepare for the next ice age” (Science Digest, February 1973)? Armadillos were leaving Nebraska, heading south, and heat-loving snails were scampering southward from European forests (Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 27, 1974). Newsweek (April 28, 1975) said meteorologists were “almost unanimous” that cooling would “reduce agricultural productivity.”

We’ve been here before.

Bob Woodward reports:

“The sequester was something that was discussed,” Carney said. Walking back the earlier statements, he added carefully, “and as has been reported, it was an idea that the White House put forward.”

This was an acknowledgment that the president and Lew had been wrong.

Why does this matter?

First, months of White House dissembling further eroded any semblance of trust between Obama and congressional Republicans. (The Republicans are by no means blameless and have had their own episodes of denial and bald-faced message management.)

Second, Lew testified during his confirmation hearing that the Republicans would not go along with new revenue in the portion of the deficit-reduction plan that became the sequester. Reinforcing Lew’s point, a senior White House official said Friday, “The sequester was an option we were forced to take because the Republicans would not do tax increases.”

In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.

So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts. His call for a balanced approach is reasonable, and he makes a strong case that those in the top income brackets could and should pay more. But that was not the deal he made.

Make no mistake–the purpose of all this panic is to create an atmosphere where Americans are willing to raise taxes–even on the middle class. The tax increases will be on everyone. The panic over sequestration is necessary to pave the way for those taxes.

As I said, we have been here before.

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Spiking The Football Before You Make The Touchdown Is Never A Good Idea

I have no problem with victory celebrations in football. It is a competitive sport and in that setting they are appropriate, but I will admit that President Obama is getting on my nerves with his political victory celebrations. Being President does not mean that you have to destroy the other political party–it means that you have to lead the country and create unity. I guess President Obama never got that message.

Last night Breitbart.com reported on the current state of the fiscal cliff negotiations. It appears as if a deal may have been reached (the question is whether or not the deal will pass in the House of Representatives). With passage in the House not a given, it was rather unwise of the President to spike the football–unless he wants the deal to fail so that he can blame Republicans. I hope that is not the case, because that would be putting politics over the welfare of the country, and I don’t like to think any President would do that.

The article reports:

However, there are several reasons a deal could fail. One is the President’s bizarre press conference earlier today, at which he appeared to mock Republicans and hinted at further tax hikes in the future. The event, timed at a sensitive stage in the negotiating process, irked Republicans and damaged whatever trust might have begun. Obama seems to have been torn between the desire to strike a victorious posture, and the real fear–driven, perhaps, by sharply falling approval ratings–that he would be blamed if the “fiscal cliff” caused a new recession.

The article also reminds us that we have already hit the debt ceiling:

Negotiations will also take place about the debt ceiling. The Treasury reports that the U.S. has officially hit the $16.4 trillion limit on what it can borrow, and that the government must resort to “extraordinary measures” to cover additional borrowing, which it can only do for a few more weeks. Congress will revisit the debt ceiling negotiations of the summer of 2011, even as it struggles with the aftermath of the “fiscal cliff.”

The problem is excessive spending–not lack of revenue!Enhanced by Zemanta