What Is True vs. What Is Reported

Media bias is old news, but every now and then it can be really interesting. The following story illustrates why President Trump needs to hold on to his Twitter account.

This morning the Associated Press reported:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top House and Senate Democrats said Wednesday they had reached agreement with President Donald Trump to protect thousands of younger immigrants from deportation and fund some border security enhancements — not including Trump’s long-sought border wall.

The agreement, the latest instance of Trump ditching his own party to make common cause with the opposition, was announced by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi following a White House dinner that Republican lawmakers weren’t invited to attend. It would enshrine protections for the nearly 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids who had benefited from former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which provided temporary work permits and shielded recipients from deportation.

Fox News reported today:

President Trump on Thursday denied reports that he struck a “deal” overnight with top Democrats to protect so-called “Dreamers,” while insisting “massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent.”

Trump’s Twitter post was in response to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announcing after a dinner meeting at the White House that they had “agreed to a plan to work out an agreement to protect our nation’s DREAMers from deportation.”

They also said “we would review border security measures that didn’t include building a wall.”

The president clarified Thursday morning that he intends for the wall to be built — and while he wants to helps Dreamers, there’s no deal yet. 

The political consequences for President Trump if he does not build a wall would be enormous.

On Tuesday The Hill posted an article about support for the wall among Americans.

These are a few highlights from the article:

Last February, Pew reported similar findings: 62 percent of Americans oppose building a wall. Only 35 percent support it.

But are we telling the whole story?

First, it’s worth looking at what Pew asked: “All in all, would you favor or oppose building a wall along the entire border with Mexico?” To me, it’s a confusing question. After all, there already is a wall or fencing along approximately 700 miles of the southern border. It might make more sense to ask, “Would you favor or oppose building a wall along the remaining, unwalled portion of the border with Mexico?”

…While we’re in the weeds, assuming there’s value to asking a poll question about something that nobody is proposing, there’s additional nuance to consider. Pew ended up with a Democrat-heavy sample: 38 percent Republican/Republican leaning and 52 percent Democrat/Democrat leaning. The 14 percentage point difference means Pew interviewed 38 percent more Democrat thinkers than Republican thinkers. I can’t find any estimate that says the actual U.S. population is politically lopsided along those lines.

That is how you skew a poll.

The article at The Hill concludes:

There are two things we could do to provide more meaningful reporting. First, when addressing polls on political topics, we should disclose the breakdown of Democrats and Republicans upfront. To state the obvious: findings from a sample that’s made up of 98 percent Republicans will be entirely different than findings from a sample of 98 percent Democrats. How can meaning be put behind results on any political topic without the partisan makeup of the sample being considered?

Second, our reporting could include opposing findings and trends, if they exist. For example, in the most recent Pew poll, “three-quarters (74 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaners supported a border wall” and that support had grown substantially in recent months. Conservative Republican support for a wall was up nine points since Trump was elected President (from 71 percent to 80 percent).

Support also grew among moderate and liberal Republicans (from 51 percent to 60 percent). An accurate headline could just as well have been: “Poll shows growing Republican support for a wall under a Trump presidency.”

All things considered, I came up with my own headline that’s more transparent than many of the ones I saw: “In polls with Democrat-heavy sampling, there’s overwhelming opposition to building a wall along the ‘entire’ border; a concept that nobody is, in fact, proposing.”

The article at The Hill was written by Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson), an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist, author of the New York Times bestsellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program “Full Measure.” If you are not familiar with her story, please search for her on the Internet and read her history. She definitely knows what she is talking about.

The Fourth Estate Has Forgotten Its Purpose

The purpose of journalism in a representative republic is to keep the voters informed on the issues so that they can make intelligent choices at the voting booth. The idea is that the voters will elect people who represent them and who make wise decisions. In theory that is a really great idea. In practice, it currently does not work.

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about some of the recent reporting by the mainstream media on ObamaCare. Now that the repeal of ObamaCare has failed in Congress, evidently the media feels comfortable reporting the truth about how bad ObamaCare is.

The article reports:

Up until last week, the Times had been reassuring its readers that ObamaCare was doing just fine. In an April story, for example, it said that “growing evidence suggests that the markets are far from collapse. Several recent analyses argue that this year’s increase was a market correction, and that a smoother market would follow in the years ahead.”

It added that “many insurers had been struggling to make money but now seem closer to breaking even.”

Another Times article from a few months back quoted Gary Claxton, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, saying that “things are getting better.”

In fact, we were told that the only reason the ObamaCare markets were struggling now was because Republican repeal threats were creating “uncertainty.”

Now the Times is telling readers that “even people who rely on its coverage agree that it still has big problems.”

Reuters, meanwhile, published a story the day after the Senate repeal votes failed, reporting that “hundreds of U.S. counties are at risk of losing access to private health coverage in 2018 as insurers consider pulling out of those markets in the coming months.” This information has been widely available for months, but was apparently of no interest to Reuters before the repeal effort collapsed.

Much of the mainstream media is now reporting that ObamaCare is unsustainable and will collapse under its own weight. So where were those stories when the votes were taken? There is a lot going on here. The Democrats want ObamaCare to fail so that they can institute single-payer, totally government-controlled healthcare. If you think that is a good idea, take a look at how it has worked at the Veterans Administration. Also consider the fact that the British healthcare system has considered denying people needed care because they were overweight or smokers or drinkers. Do you really want the government telling you how to live your life?

The Republicans (specifically John McCain and Lisa Murkowski) betrayed the voters when, after seven years of promising to repeal ObamaCare, they voted not to repeal. It is time to put the Washington elites under the same health insurance as the average American. The media does not realize what single-payer will do to them, but the Washington elite knows they can avoid the hazards of single-payer by exempting themselves (as they have in the past). If the current Congress will not create a healthcare system that covers themselves as well as the rest of the country, it is time to elect a new Congress. ObamaCare does not need to be modified–it needs to be destroyed. It was a bad idea from the beginning.

 

A Rational Solution To Health Insurance

Townhall posted an article today that contains the perfect solution to fixing health insurance in America.

The article breaks the solution into two distinct Executive Orders:

Executive Order #1: President Trump should issue an immediate Executive Order forcing every member of Congress to use the same healthcare plan as the rest of us. Let Senator McCain come off his high horse and live under the rules of Obamacare. Make every member of Congress live by same rules as the rest of us.

Executive Order #2. My gut instinct is usually on the money. I feel it in my bones. The Senators who voted against the repeal are corrupted, bribed, on the take. Senators and Congressmen are making an unimaginable fortune off of Obamacare. That’s why they are against the repeal. They don’t want to end the gravy train.

…President Trump should issue an immediate Executive Order demanding disclosure of all financial interests and ownership in healthcare related companies or stock by every member of Congress- including all family members and offshore accounts. Failure to disclose will result in a long prison term.

I think that about covers it! I have nothing to add.

The Need For New Leadership And Different Republicans In Congress

Last night the Senate voted on a bill to repeal certain aspects of ObamaCare. The Senate failed to repeal ObamaCare. The Gateway Pundit reported the story. Three Republicans voted against the bill to repeal ObamaCare–Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona. The first thing that needs to happen here is that all members of Congress and their staffs need to no longer be exempted from ObamaCare. Let’s make these legislators live under the laws they are forcing the voters to live under. The second thing that needs to happen is that the Republicans in Congress need different leadership. The third thing that needs to happen is that the three Republicans that voted against the partial repeal need to have primary challengers when they run for re-election.

According to the article, the bill to end ObamaCare that was voted on late last night included:

  • It would repeal the individual mandate, which is the requirement that most Americans buy insurance or pay a penalty. The provision was intended to help control costs by encouraging younger, healthier people to enter the market. Republicans have said it forced people to buy plans they did not want.
  • The bill would roll back the employer mandate, a similar provision that says large employers have to provide insurance for their workers.
  • The plan would expand a program that allows states to waive certain provisions under Obamacare.
  • It would suspend the medical device tax.
  • The proposal would increase contribution limits for tax-free health savings accounts.
  • It would defund women’s health provider Planned Parenthood for one year.

This bill was an extremely stripped-down version of repeal. It is a reflection on the swamp in Washington and those Republicans who are part of it that the Republicans promised to repeal ObamaCare for seven years. The promise was,  “Give us the House, and we will repeal ObamaCare. Give us the Senate, and we will repeal ObamaCare. Give us the White House, and we will repeal ObamaCare.” I guess the real solution is, “Give us a Republican Congress with integrity and a spine, and we will repeal ObamaCare. It is truly a shame that Senator McCain chose to reappear in Congress only to submarine the wishes of the American public.

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.

 

Fake News Has Been Rampant Since President Trump Was Elected

The National Review posted an article yesterday that cited numerous examples of lies told to the American people by our media and so-called leaders in recent months. All of the liars knew at the time of their statements that the statements were not true. The article cited multiple examples of boldfaced lies Americans were encouraged to believe.

The article reports:

But with Comey’s repeated and emphatic testimony that Trump was not under investigation, we have some new revisionist history: wildly backtracking liberals and Democrats claiming that nobody ever said Trump was under FBI investigation. And this is simply untrue. Here’s a sampling of what Democrats, liberals, and the media were saying back when Comey was privately reassuring Trump that he wasn’t under investigation:

Salon, January 20 headline: “The FBI is leading an investigation into Donald Trump’s connections with Russia” — first line, “The FBI is leading a multi-agency investigation into possible links between Russian officials and President-elect Donald Trump.” Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, March 20: “The FBI is investigating a sitting President. Been a long time since that happened.”

…The Times: “Mr. Comey placed a criminal investigation at the doorstep of the White House and said officers would pursue it ‘no matter how long that takes.’” Russell Berman in The Atlantic, March 20 headline: “It’s Official: The FBI Is Investigating Trump’s Links to Russia”

DemocracyNow! March 22 headline on that Schumer speech: “Sen. Schumer Calls on Democrats to Boycott Neil Gorsuch Vote While Trump is Under FBI Investigation”

Rachel Maddow March 24 headline: “Schumer: Wrong to vote on Gorsuch while Trump under investigation.” Schumer told Maddow that “to have a president under investigation, appoint a lifetime appointment, it’s wrong.”

…John Aravosis at AmericaBlog, May 9 headline: “Trump fires FBI Director Comey, the man investigating Trump for treason”

The article concludes:

But in light of Comey’s repeated confirmation that the FBI was never investigating Trump during his tenure at the FBI, and that he had privately briefed both Trump and Congress to that effect, a whole lot of people — starting with Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren — owe President Trump an apology.

The media and the Democrats set the narrative. It didn’t matter that it was a lie. There are still a large number of Americans who believe the FBI was investigating President Trump. That is a problem for our representative republic. How can people make educated decisions about voting when they are being lied to?

 

 

 

Character Does Matter–One Senator Seem To Be Lacking In That Area

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about retiring Senator Harry Reid. Harry Reid was one of the most divisive and obnoxious Senators every to have a leadership position in the Senate. Comments he made during one of his parting interviews did not help his image as a very dishonest man.

The article reports:

Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he “did what was necessary” in 2012 when he falsely accused Mitt Romney of not having paid his taxes for 10 years.

Reid was asked about those comments, which he made during a speech on the Senate floor, in response to call during a live interview on Las Vegas’ KNPR.

The caller asked Reid if he thought that “the brazen lie he told about Mitt Romney not pay his taxes has in anyway contributed to the fake news debate that we now find ourselves in.”

Reid, who is leaving the Senate next month, denied the accusation. But he offered up a flimsy and fact-devoid defense of those 2012 claims.

The article continues:

“First of all, there were no brazen lies. What I said is the truth,” he maintained.

“There’s no brazen lies. I did what was necessary,” he said a few moments later.

…In September 2012, Romney released a notarized letter from his tax preparer showing that he paid state and federal income taxes for the previous 20 years. The lowest federal tax rate he incurred during that span was 13.66 percent, according to the documents he released.

The is the integrity level of the current Democratic Party. They should be ashamed.

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.

 

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.

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.

A Political Gambit That Failed

Politico.com is reporting tonight that the Keystone XL Pipeline has been defeated in the Senate. The bill received 59 votes–not the 60 needed to break a filibuster. The bill had been sitting on Harry Reid‘s desk for years–he would not bring it to the floor after it passed the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

The defeat deals a blow to Landrieu’s campaign ahead of her Dec. 6 runoff against GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, whom polls show running comfortably ahead. Winning on Keystone would have helped her demonstrate her clout on the Hill as a champion of her state’s influential oil and gas industry.

The Republicans will bring the bill up again when they take control of the Senate. At that time, they will aim for a veto-proof majority vote.

The article also illustrates some divisions in the Democrat party:

The bill’s failure left a bad taste in the mouth of centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), who had urged his colleagues in a closed door meeting to support it.

“This was ridiculous for us to [get] 59, one short. It really was uncalled for,” he said. “And those were some passionate conversations that we had in there. They were respectful and they were very passionate that we had in the caucus, and I would have thought it would have changed [the vote].”

Passing the bill will help American energy independence and will boost the American economy. Hopefully, it can be passed with a veto-proof majority in January.

 

Sometimes I Hate Politics

The Keystone Pipeline is something that will help energy independence in America, boost the American economy, and provide jobs for Americans. In 2012, the Pipeline was blocked in the Senate because the Republicans could not break the Democrat filibuster. President Obama has been running interference to prevent approval of the Pipeline since he took office. But now things have changed.

Fox News posted an article today about Congress’ latest moves regarding the Keystone Pipeline. It will be interesting to see if the Pipeline gets approved this time. The possibility of approval has nothing to do with the American economy, jobs, or energy independence. It has to do with the runoff election to be held in Louisiana next month involving Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu.

The article reports:

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, traveling with President Obama in Burma, told reporters that the president takes a “dim view” of legislative efforts to force action on the project. Earnest stopped short of threatening a veto, but reiterated Obama’s preference for evaluating the pipeline through a long-stalled State Department review. Obama has repeatedly ordered such reviews under pressure from environmental groups, who say the project would contribute to climate change. 

Landrieu, who is thought to be trailing Cassidy ahead of their Dec. 6 runoff election, wants to deliver a win for the energy industry by pushing Keystone. The measure was one she co-sponsored with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., back in May. 

“We can pass the Keystone pipeline and answer the frustrations of the American people,” she said. “So they could rest next and say, oh my gosh the senators of the United States of America have ears and they have brains and they have hearts and they heard what we said and we can do this.” 

The irony here is that Tom Steyer, a rather extreme environmentalist, pledged to contribute $100 million to anti-Keystone Democrats during the mid-term election. The Democrats took the money. How soon they forget.

The ideal outcome for the Democrats in this situation would be for the bill to be filibustered again. That way Senator Landrieu could say she tried,  the environmentalists who oppose the pipeline would still be happy because the bill failed, and Warren Buffett, whose company Berkshire Hathaway owns the railroad transporting the oil because there is no pipeline (see rightwinggranny), would still be making money with his railroad. The only people who would lose are Americans who want energy independence, the American economy, and people who want jobs. But if the Democrats win the runoff, they won’t worry about such trivial things.

Why We Need A Repubican Senate

CBN News posted an article today about what has been happening in the United States Senate since Harry Reid has been in charge. Harry Reid’s main goal as Senate Majority Leader has been to ensure that the Senate stays in the hands of the Democrat party. One method he has chosen to to do that is to make sure Senators do not have to vote on anything that might be controversial for Democrats.

The article reports:

The Institute for Liberty’s Andrew Langer points out Americans are often leery of Congress passing new laws, especially when it involves their tax dollars.

“They don’t want the government to take any more of that money,” Langer said. “So it’s not a bad thing that it’s not passing bills to reach its hands into their pockets and steal their money.”

But he points out that Reid is not only blocking votes — often on very important issues — he’s allowing votes on questionable measures, like a recent one that critics say would have restricted the free speech of political interest groups.
 
“So Republicans have passed bill after bill after bill that have simply languished because Harry Reid refuses to bring them to the floor, while he brings idiotic bills like the bill to go after free speech of groups,” Langer said.
 
According to Hart, the mainstream media would have you believe the Republican majority in the House are just as bad at stifling legislation sponsored by Democrats. But he says the numbers in the Senate prove otherwise.
 
“Since July of 2013, there have been 14 votes on Republican amendments and hundreds and hundreds filed,” Hart said of the Senate. “And in the House you have a Republican speaker who’s allowed almost 200 votes on Democrat amendments.”

What we need are Congressmen who put the good of the country above their own quest for power or the quest for power for their political party. When you vote in two weeks, ask yourself, “Do I want a Senate who represents the people who elected it, or do I want a Senate controlled by one person who thinks only of his political party?”

The Unspoken Legacy Of President Obama

On Monday, The Daily Signal posted an article about President Obama’s legacy. It’s something that the press has not really highlighted.

The article reports:

In President Barack Obama’s second term, the Senate has confirmed more than twice the number of judicial nominees than were confirmed in President George W. Bush’s second term. This is due mostly to the fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., succeeded in eliminating the filibuster for judicial nominees (excluding the Supreme Court, at least for now) in November 2013..

The chart below illustrates how the elimination of the filibuster has impacted the nomination process:

Infographic by John Fleming

I am not a big supporter of the filibuster, but I am also not a big supporter of stacking the courts with judges with a political bias. That is what has been going on. Since many of the problems with ObamaCare will be decided in the courts, the Obama appointments to the lower courts could easily move America further to the left than Congress would have been able to do. Our Constitution was designed to create a representative republic. The idea was that laws would be made in Congress. People could hold their Congressman accountable and vote him out of office if they did not like the laws he supported. (Actually, that is not totally true. Initially, the House of Representatives was elected by the people, and the Senators were appointed by the state legislatures. In 1913, Congress passed the 17th Amendment, which called for the direct election of Senators. Up until that point, the state legislature could recall their Senator if he was not supporting bills that were in the interest of their state. The direct election of Senators changed the balance of power in the U.S. government and seriously diminished the power of the states against the much larger federal government.) Unfortunately, we have now reached a point where our courts are making laws. As the courts lean left, we may find ourselves living in a country with a very different form of government than what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

The War On The Koch Brothers Continues

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about Harry Reid and the Democrat Party‘s continuing war on the Koch brothers. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will appear at a screening of the movie, “Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition.” The screening will take place Tuesday evening in the Capitol Visitor Center.The movie is a documentary that Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.) participated in.

Think about this a minute. A sitting Senate Majority Leader is putting the power of his office behind an attack on two successful American businessmen who have not broken any laws. What in the world is this about? It’s about the fact that the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United broke the monopoly that labor unions had on campaign donations. Notice that the attack is on the Koch brothers, no mention is made of the impact money from George Soros or other left-leaning millionaires has had on American political campaigns.

Because it’s Friday, and we should have at least a little fun, I present to you a video from YouTube which adds entertainment value to the problem:

Enjoy.

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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The Weekly Standard reported today on a recent quote by Harry Reid.

The article reports:

Senate majority leader Harry Reid says that “Everybody” is “willing to pay more” taxes. He said so in an interview with a Nevada Public Radio host.

“The only people who feel there shouldn’t be more coming in to the federal government from the rich people are the Republicans in the Congress,” Reid told the radio host, according to Roll Call. “Everybody else, including the rich people, are willing to pay more. They want to pay more.”

Wow. I am not a rich person, but I am part of everybody else, and I have no desire to pay any more taxes than I already pay. Nor do I think anyone, rich or poor should have to pay more taxes until the government learns to spend money more carefully.

Traditionally in America government spending has been about 18 percent of the GDP in taxes. The Obama Administration has increased the amount of spending drastically.

Heritage.org posted the following chart:

The reason for the drop in spending in 2012 is the budget control act. Even if you don’t like sequestration, it is becoming obvious that it does cut government spending.

 

 

 

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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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Budget ? What Budget ?

It’s been more than 1,000 days since the Senate fulfilled its legal obligation to pass a budget. The Democrat talking points say that a budget is unnecessary because of the spending agreement reached last year. Well, anyone who runs a house knows that one reason to have a budget is that it helps keep spending under control. This concept also applies to the government.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday on the current budget games being played by Congress.

The article reports:

Now, with no fanfare and no press coverage, the Democrats are attempting to negate–effectively, to repeal–the Budget Control Act by adopting spending bills that exceed its limits. Harry Reid and his Senate confederates have offered a bill to increase spending on the Post Office, S. 1789. The bill has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office as increasing the federal deficit by $34 billion, and no provision has been made to recoup that money somewhere else in the budget. (Of course, we don’t have a budget because the Democrats in the Senate won’t pass one. But spending could still be cut somewhere else.)

The article includes a rather lengthy statement by Senator Jeff Sessions that is worth reading. This is a portion of that statement:

Under Senate rules, no committee can bring a bill to the floor that spends even one penny more than is already going to be spent under current law, or increases the deficit more than it will increase under current law.

 In other words, the spending and debt under the postal bill violates the debt limit agreement reached just last summer. In August, we agreed to modest, though insufficient, savings—in fact, discretionary spending will still increase $7 billion this year—and now the Senate is already planning to spend more than we agreed.

This is particularly odd since the President and the Senate Majority Leader have accused the House of breaking the budget agreement by trying to save extra money for taxpayers. This argument, of course, is not sound: The debt deal established basic spending caps—the maximum you can spend on discretionary accounts. Not one word in that law prevents you from doing your duty to try and save more money. Not one word in that law requires you to max out the cap. This is not a matter of interpretation: caps are the maximum, not the minimum, you can spend.

Almost everybody recognizes that deal was insufficient and the lawmakers trying to find more savings are doing their jobs and meeting their obligations.

Only in Washington does spending underneath a cap get you accused of breaking a deal while spending more than an agreement means people just look the other way. The Majority Leader and the Budget Committee Chairman are proud of the Budget Control Act, but where are they when it comes to making sure even these modest savings are enforced?

If this new spending is necessary, then isn’t it worth cutting spending somewhere else to pay for it? Do we really have to break our spending agreement before the ink is dry on it? At a time when we’re facing next year our fourth straight deficit in excess of a trillion dollars?

Washington is in a state of financial chaos. We are in denial. The Government Services Administration is throwing lavish parties in Las Vegas. The Government Accountability Office has identified $400 billion—$400 billion—being spent every year on waste, inefficiency, and duplication. Far worse, the Senate’s Democrat majority has failed to produce a budget plan in calendar years 2010, 2011, and now 2012. In fact, this Sunday, April 29th, marks exactly three years since the last time the Senate passed a budget.

…[N]ow, because the Senate can’t say no, and because the President refuses to exercise managerial discipline, we are set to spend another $34 billion in borrowed money.

The White House warns that Republicans want to cut too much spending. But the American people know the truth. And the truth is that we have never spent more money, more recklessly and with less accountability, than we are spending today.

This is a decisive moment. The point of order I will raise is not a mere formality. It is a crucial vote to see if the Senate will keep the agreement it made with the American people just last summer to reduce spending.

I am not optimistic about being able to change the uncontrolled spending of the current Congress. There are restraining forces (people who were elected in 2010), but there are not enough of them to be effective. Unless we elect people in November who respect the taxpayers’ money, we can expect our country to go bankrupt. We need to vote carefully this year.

 

 

 

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In Washington Things Are Never As They Appear To Be

 

English: Aerial photo of Tea Party rally to ou...

Image via Wikipedia

Tampa Bay Online is reporting today that the House of Representatives has voted 229-193 to reject the Senate’s proposal for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut. 

The article reports:

The House vote, 229-193, kicks the measure back to the Senate, where the bipartisan two-month measure passed on Saturday by a sweeping 89-10 vote. The Senate then promptly left Washington for the holidays. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he won’t allow bargaining until the House approves the Senate’s short-term measure.

OK. Let’s take a look at this. The Republicans in the Senate need to be taken to the woodshed on this one. First of all, a two-month extension of a tax policy is totally ridiculous. Companies need time to program their payroll software, they need some certainty in the future to allow them to plan expenses. The Republicans in the Senate fell right into the hands of the Democrat politicians on this one. Harry Reid left town in order to avoid negotiations. He knew that the House would reject this bill–this is the Democrat way of avoiding the Keystone Pipeline and blaming the Republicans for the middle class tax increase that is coming.

There will be no payroll tax cut extension. In itself, that is not horrible. (Don’t panic. I am not for higher taxes, I just don’t like the way this was done). The payroll tax cut comes out of the “Social Security Fund” (which is nonexistent)–not the general fund. The payroll tax cut ensures the demise of Social Security sooner rather than later. Raising taxes on millionaires, increasing the cost of mortgages, etc., has no impact on the money not collected because of the payroll tax cut–those things impace the general fund–not the social security fund.

Unfortunately, this battle is totally about politics and the American people are the losers. The correct answer to the entire situation would have been for Congress to pass a real budget–which it has not done for almost three years and proceed from there.

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Rubbing Salt In An Open Wound

I am sure it’s not what he meant to do, but did it occur to Harry Reid what the following statement sounded like to most Americans? The Huffington Post reported yesterday:

The Senate and President Obama will not go on their Christmas vacations until Congress extends the expiring payroll tax cut, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed Wednesday, outlining an attempt to shame the GOP into backing a middle-class tax break.

Generally Congress would begin its Christmas break next week. How many other adults get three weeks off at Christmas? In today’s economy, how many of us can afford to spend three weeks in Hawaii?

The Hill posted a story yesterday stating:

“We’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen,” Obama said Friday. “Now is not the time to slam the brakes on the recovery. Right now, it’s time to step on the gas. We need to get this done. And I expect that it’s going to get done before Congress leaves. Otherwise, Congress may not be leaving, and we can all spend Christmas here together.”

I’m sorry–I’m just not impressed.

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