A Law We Can Understand And Support

Yesterday CSC Media Group, a conservative website, posted an article about S.222, a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Rand Paul. The bill, called the ObamaCare Replacement Act, would repeal and replace ObamaCare. Currently the bill has been referred to the Committee on Finance. The bill is four pages long. The summary of the bill is not yet posted at Thomas.gov, but you can go to Thomas.gov and put in S.222 and read the entire bill. You can also follow the link to the website above and read the bill.

The following is the CSC Summary of the bill given in the article:

Legalizes Inexpensive Insurance Plans:

  • Ensures that Americans can purchase the health insurance coverage that best fits their needs.
  • Eliminates Obamacare’s essential health benefits requirement, along with other restrictive coverage and plan requirements, to once again make low-cost insurance options available to American consumers.

Protects Individuals with Pre-Existing Conditions:

  • Provides a two-year open-enrollment period under which individuals with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
  • Restores HIPAA pre-existing conditions protections. Prior to Obamacare, HIPAA guaranteed that those in the group market could obtain continuous health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions.

Helps More People Save To Buy Health Insurance and Cover Medical Costs:

  • Incentivizes savings by authorizing a tax credit (up to $5,000 per taxpayer) for individuals and families that contribute to HSAs.
  • Removes the annual cap on HSAs so individuals can make unlimited contributions.
  • Allows HSA funds to be used to purchase insurance, cover premiums, and more easily afford a broader range of health-related expenses, including prescription and OTC drugs, dietary supplements, nutrition and physical exercise expenses, and direct primary care, among others. 

Guarantees Fair Tax Treatment of Health Insurance:

  • Equalizes the tax treatment of the purchase of health insurance for individuals and employers by allowing individuals to deduct the cost of their health insurance from their income and payroll taxes.
  • Frees more Americans to purchase and maintain insurance apart from their work status.
  • Does not interfere with employer-provided coverage for Americans who prefer those plans.

Helps Individuals Join Together to Purchase Insurance:

  • Expands Association Health Plans (AHPs) to allow small business owners and individuals to band together across state lines through their membership in a trade or professional association to purchase health coverage for their families and employees at a lower cost.
  • Also allows individuals to pool together through any organization to purchase insurance.
  • Widens access to the group market and spreads out the risk, enhancing the ability of individuals and small businesses to decrease costs, increase administrative efficiencies, and further protect those with pre-existing conditions.

Allows the Purchase of Insurance Across State Lines:

  • Creates an interstate market that allows insurers who are licensed to sell policies in one state to offer them to residents of any other state.

Increases State Medicaid Flexibility:

  • Enables states to fully exercise current flexibilities afforded to them through Medicaid waivers for creating innovative state plan designs.

Empowers Physicians:

  • Allows non-economically aligned physicians to negotiate for higher quality health care for their patients.
  • Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a physician a tax deduction equal to the amount such physician would otherwise charge for charity medical care or uncompensated care due to bad debt, limited to 10% of a physician’s gross income for the taxable year.

Rand Paul is a doctor who practiced medicine for more than ten years before becoming a Senator. I believe he understands the problems involved in health insurance better than most senators. Among other things, his plan allows doctors to treat patients who cannot pay and take a limited tax deduction for providing the services. I think that is a wonderful idea.

This is a healthcare plan I can support.

Telling It Like It Is

The Hill reported Tuesday that Representative Justin Amash has endorsed Ted Cruz. Representative Amash previously supported Rand Paul.

The article reports Representative Amash’s comments published in an op-ed piece in the Independent Journal:

“It’s easy to withdraw from politics when the positions and priorities of the candidates do not precisely mirror our own,” Amash wrote in an op-ed published by the Independent Journal.

“But we owe it to our beliefs to find constitutional conservative political allies who not only respect our philosophy but also fight for our views to be heard,” he added.

“Ted is not a libertarian and doesn’t claim to be. But he is a principled defender of the Constitution, a brilliant strategist and debater who can defeat the Democratic nominee in the general election, and the only remaining candidate I trust to take on what he correctly calls the Washington Cartel.”

America needs to get back to the Constitution. Ted Cruz is the candidate who can take us there. If we do not return to the structure of the Constitution, our government will disintegrate into a group of crony capitalist elitists who have total disregard for the wishes and general welfare of the American people. We may already be there, but Ted Cruz would be the President with the best chance of leading us out.

Last Night You Were Robbed

This video was posted on YouTube last night.

Protecting Social Security from the Thieves in the Night This is how it happens. Last night while you were sleeping the Senate voted to steal $150 billion dollars from the Social Security Trust Fund. I joined 34 of my colleagues in a vote to prevent this raid. I would like to thank Senator Rand Paul for leading the fight to protect to Social Security from the thieves in Washington, who seem to think that if they steal from the American people at night while they are sleeping that they will get away with it. I was proud to vote with Senator Paul on his point of order that would have protected Social Security, and I ask you to help me shine a light on what Washington has tried to hide from you in the darkness of night. If everyone who sees this message shares it, it will reach millions of Americans. As someone who has been fighting for years to reform our broken government in Washington, I know it is exhausting, I sympathize with your frustration, and I understand your impatience. But don’t give up. Washington wants you to give up. Just remember, a vote to raid social security in the middle of the night in a desperate attempt to perpetuate an unsustainable spending addiction isn’t a sign of strength. It is a sign of weakness.

Posted by United States Senator Mike Lee on Friday, October 30, 2015

 

Some Thoughts On The Republican Debate

Late last night The Weekly Standard posted an article about the Republican Debate last night. The debate on CNBC was a tutorial on media bias. The questions were ridiculous, and the candidates called out the moderators on the silliness.

The article reports:

The three winners of the night were pretty obvious: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump.

Rubio ended Jeb Bush’s campaign with the kind of body shot that buckles your knees. That’s on Bush, who never should have come after Rubio in that spot for a host of strategic and tactical reasons. But what should scare Hillary Clinton is how effortless Rubio is even with throwaway lines, like “I’m against anything that’s bad for my mother.” Most people have no idea how fearsome raw political talent can be. Clinton does know because she’s seen it up close. She sleeps next to it for a contractually-obligated 18 nights per year.

Cruz was tough and canny—no surprise there. He went the full-Gingrich in his assault on CNBC’s ridiculous moderators. He did a better job explaining Social Security reform than Chris Christie, even (which is no mean feat). And managed to look downright personable compared with John Harwood, whose incompetence was matched only by his unpleasantness. If you’re a conservative voter looking for someone who is going to fight for your values, Cruz must have looked awfully attractive.

Then there was Trump. Over the last few weeks, Trump has gotten better on the stump. Well, don’t look now, but he’s getting better at debates, too. Trump was reasonably disciplined. He kept his agro to a medium-high level. And his situational awareness is getting keener, too. Note how he backed John Kasich into such a bad corner on Lehman Brothers that he protested, “I was a banker, and I was proud of it!” When that’s your answer, you’ve lost the exchange. Even at a Republican debate.

And Trump had a hammer close: “Our country doesn’t win anymore. We used to win. We don’t anymore.” I remain convinced that this line (along with his hardliner on immigration) is the core of Trump’s appeal. But he didn’t just restate this theme in his closing argument. He used it to: (1) beat up CNBC; and (2) argue that his man-handling of these media twits is an example of what he’ll do as president. It was brilliant political theater.

I am not a Trump supporter, but I am supporter of the way he handles the press–he doesn’t back down. He’s not afraid of calling them out when they lie.

The article at The Weekly Standard regards the six candidates with an actual shot at winning the nomination as Trump, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, and possibly Fiorina and Christie. I think they are on to something. I will say that whoever wins the nomination will have some really smart potential cabinet members to choose from.

North Carolina Holds A Constitutional Caucus

PRESS RELEASE

NEW BERN LOCATION

North Carolina TEA Party Constitutional Caucus

TEA Party Constitutional Caucuses were held in 9 locations in North Carolina today, and the results are in. In the Presidential Caucus, a total of 789 votes were cast across the state. Ted Cruz was the clear winner with 391 votes. This means that Ted Cruz took 50.13% of the vote. Since there was no limit on how many presidential candidates that could be nominated (so long as each was seconded), this was an impressive showing.

Ben Carson got 328 votes, or 42.05%. Another impressive showing, but Ted Cruz was the clear winner with more than 50%.

Constitutional conservatives in North Carolina who so choose can vote for Ted Cruz in the primary knowing their votes are likely to align with those of other Constitutional conservatives.  They can thereby use the caucus results to counter the RNC’s “spliter” strategy designed to split the conservative vote and get Jeb Bush elected.

Donald Trump got 31 votes, Rand Paul received 18, and Carly Fiorina got 6. Marco Rubio received 4 votes, and Bobby Jindal, 2.

Ninety five people participated in the Caucus in the New Bern Location. Locally, Cruz got 41 votes, Carson got 39, Trump got 11, and Paul, 1. There were 3 people who abstained from voting.

After a brief break in each location, the speeches, caucus, and voting process resumed. This time, the conservative choice for U.S. Senator from North Carolina was sought.

Statewide, Larry Holmquist got 169 votes (58.28%). Dr. Greg Brannon got 106 votes (36.55%). U.S. Representative Mark Meadows got 13 votes (4.48%). Incumbent, Richard Burr, got 1 vote.

In the New Bern location, Greg Brannon received 29 votes, Mark Meadows got 13, and Larry Holmquist, 2. Anecdotally, there was much conversation during the caucus period questioning whether Greg Brannon can be talked into running, and whether it might not be better to keep Mark Meadows where he is for now.

Statewide results can be seen at www.teacaucus.org

 

Last Night’s Republican Debate

I am a football fan. One of the great things about football is that when you turn on a football game, you see a football game. It is played like a football game and reported like a football game. Last night I turned on the Republican debate. I am not exactly sure what I saw. I am a Hugh Hewitt fan. He was there, sitting in a special chair. I believe he had less talking time than most of the candidates. I guess that’s okay–the candidates were the ones having the debate, but why was he there? Also, why was the debate reported as if it were a football game. It’s not a football game–it’s supposed to be a serious discussion to help voters determine who they want to run for President. Or is it?

Now I am going into some tall grass. In August, The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about the establishment Republican’s strategy to make sure Jeb Bush was the party’s nominee. Basically, the strategy was to split the conservative vote in every early primary state so that Jeb Bush would win, even without a plurality of votes. If you look at the candidates, the theory cannot easily be dismissed. Marco Rubio will take Florida, Ted Cruz will take Texas, Lindsey Graham will take South Carolina, etc. Therefore, by the time you get to the more liberal Republican states, no conservative will have enough votes to challenge Jeb Bush.

In July I posted an article by Mark Jones which explained a new rule by the GOP:

Any state, other than the four exempt states already mentioned, that holds a Primary the first two weeks of the month will be forced to allocate those delegate on a proportional basis.  This means that if 5, or even 15, candidates are on the ballot, each candidate will receive a percentage of our delegates commensurate with the percentage of the vote they receive.This may sounds like a fair process on the surface, but as usual, there is more to the story.  The RNC’s penalty will mean that a number of very conservative states,with high delegate counts like Texas, Virginia, and North Carolina, that intend to hold early Primaries, will be forced to divide their delegates among multiple candidates.  In fact, 10 of 15 Southern states plan to hold their Primaries in this window. Conservative stalwarts like Colorado and Utah also plan to hold Primaries in this window.  It is highly unlikely any candidate will emerge from these conservative states with enough delegates to establish a significant lead or gain momentum in the race to be the Republican nominee before March 14.

The purpose of the debate (in the mind of the establishment GOP) is to divide the support among the conservative candidates. The media tends liberal, so they are going to play along so that the Republicans put forth a weak candidate. Unless the conservatives running for President agree among themselves on who gets out of the race and who remains in the race, we are going to have Jeb Bush as a candidate. I can assure you his candidacy will result in a Democrat President. The success of Donald Trump has thrown a bit of a wrench into the establishment plan, but I seriously doubt that a majority of Americans support a Trump presidency.

There are some good conservative Republican candidates. If nothing else, the assembled people on the state would make an amazing Presidential cabinet. The problem is finding a conservative leader. I am sure Jeb Bush is an intelligent and very nice man–I just don’t want to see him as the Republican candidate–I don’t think he can win.

One Law For Me, One Law For Thee

On Thursday the National Review posted an article about members of Congress’s fraudulent application to the District of Columbia’s health exchange. This application facilitated Congress’s “exemption” from ObamaCare, allowing lawmakers and staffers to keep their employer subsidies.

The article reports:

The application said Congress employed just 45 people. Names were faked; one employee was listed as “First Last,” another simply as “Congress.” To Small Business Committee chairman David Vitter, who has fought for years against the Obamacare exemption, it was clear that someone in Congress had falsified the document in order to make lawmakers and their staff eligible for taxpayer subsidies provided under the exchange for small-business employees.

This is infuriating. The Small Business Committee chairman David Vitter needed a green light from the committee to subpoena the unredacted application from the District of Columbia health exchange. Five Republicans voted against that subpoena, as well as all of the Democrats on the Committee. The five Republicans were Rand Paul, Mike Enzi, James Risch, Kelly Ayotte, and Deb Fischer. In essence all of the Democrats on the Committee, as well as the five Republicans, were supporting ObamaCare fraud.

The article concludes:

 “I think it makes sense to find out what happened,” says Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs, a noted conservative health-care voice and a National Review contributor. “It would be pretty interesting to see whose name is on the forms,” he says. “It has to go beyond mid-level staffers.”

I am amazed and dismayed at the lack of integrity in our elected officials. The American voters can do better than this.

 

 

Who Can You Trust?

It’s fun to gripe about the left wing media. If the left wing media were not so skewed, there would be no need for the right wing media (or bloggers like me). However, when you look at some of the left wing media stories individually and realize some people depend on the left wing media for their sole source of news, you begin to worry.

Breitbart.com posted a story today about three recent lies told by the mainstream media. The first story had to do with the National Rifle Association‘s Convention rules that seek to comply with the laws of the convention venue.

Breitbart.com previously reported:

Breitbart News previously reported that concealed carry is allowed at the NRA convention everywhere that concealed is allowed by state law and local policy. This means concealed carry-loaded handguns are allowed in the Music City Center but not at events in Bridgestone arena.

The ban on concealed carry in Bridgestone arena is not an NRA ban but a local policy.

This is what the New York Times reported:

After all the N.R.A. propaganda about how ‘good guys with guns’ are needed to be on guard across American life, from elementary schools to workplaces, the weekend’s gathering of disarmed conventioneers seems the ultimate in hypocrisy.

Would the New York Times rather the N.R.A. ignore local and state regulations?

The April 11th article at Breitbart.com sums up the logic:

The Times also found it hypocritical that the NRA requested its gun dealers to remove the firing pins from display guns that thousands of conventiongoers will have access to Apparently, the Times finds it just as bizarre when dealers remove the keys from automobiles at car shows and my local WalMart removes the video games from video game boxes.

The second media lie involved Rand Paul, a candidate whom the Democrat party obviously sees as a threat. This lie came from The Guardian and Politico. The lie was that Rand Paul stormed out of an interview and shut out the lights. The truth is rather different. Rand Paul explained to an interviewer from The Guardian that he only had time to answer one more question, which he did. He then left the set and the lights went out. CNN later admitted that they had turned out the lights–Rand Paul did not. However, the lie was already out.

The third media lie came from Bloomberg. Someone at Bloomberg read at The National Report website (a satirical website) that Nancy Reagan had endorsed Hillary Clinton. Because the person did not know that it was a satirical website and did not check to see if it were true, they ran with the story. Eventually they retracted their lie.

Obviously this is not quality reporting. It is a danger to our representative republic–the key to our freedom is informed voters. This sort of news coverage does not produce informed voters. There are a lot of news sources out there. Some are more reliable than others. I strongly suggest that any story coming from the mainstream media needs to be checked against another source. We can no longer trust the press to do its job.

The Text Of The Letter

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal posted the text of the open letter that 47 Senators signed about negotiations with Iran.

This is the text:

An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran:

It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system.  Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution — the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices — which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.

First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them.  In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote.  A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate).  Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.

Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics.

For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms.  As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then — perhaps decades.

What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.  The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.

We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress.

Sincerely,

Senator Tom Cotton, R-AR
Senator Orrin Hatch, R-UT
Senator Charles Grassley, R-IA
Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY
Senator Richard Shelby, R-AL
Senator John McCain, R-AZ
Senator James Inhofe, R-OK
Senator Pat Roberts, R-KS
Senator Jeff Sessions, R-AL
Senator Michael Enzi, R-WY
Senator Michael Crapo, R-ID
Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC
Senator John Cornyn, R-TX
Senator Richard Burr, R-NC
Senator John Thune, R-SD
Senator Johnny Isakson, R-GA
Senator David Vitter, R-LA
Senator John A. Barrasso, R-WY
Senator Roger Wicker, R-MS
Senator Jim Risch, R-ID
Senator Mark Kirk, R-IL
Senator Roy Blunt, R-MO
Senator Jerry Moran, R-KS
Senator Rob Portman, R-OH
Senator John Boozman, R-AR
Senator Pat Toomey, R-PA
Senator John Hoeven, R-ND
Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL
Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI
Senator Rand Paul, R-KY
Senator Mike Lee, R-UT
Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-NH
Senator Dean Heller, R-NV
Senator Tim Scott, R-SC
Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX
Senator Deb Fischer, R-NE
Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV
Senator Bill Cassidy, R-LA
Senator Cory Gardner, R-CO
Senator James Lankford, R-OK
Senator Steve Daines, R-MT
Senator Mike Rounds, R-SD
Senator David Perdue, R-GA
Senator Thom Tillis, R-NC
Senator Joni Ernst, R-IA
Senator Ben Sasse, R-NE
Senator Dan Sullivan, R-AK

Please read the letter carefully, and then draw your own conclusions as to whether the Senators were justified in sending it.

Solutions That May Be Too Late

I am sure that all of us have heard many fellow Americans say things like, “There’s no point in voting–they are all alike” or “Washington is so corrupt, it can never be fixed.” These are very discouraging statements, particularly because there is some truth in both of them. Ted Cruz is offering solutions. I am just not sure he can break through the corruption to get those solutions implemented.

Yesterday Western Journalism posted an article entitled, “Ted Cruz Unveils A 10-Step Path For GOP To Follow Into 2016.”

The article quotes a statement made by Ted Cruz that is chilling because it is true:

“If we simply settle into business as usual in this town and keep growing and growing and growing the leviathan and keep shrinking and shrinking and shrinking that sphere of individual liberty, we will demoralize the millions of men and women who came out in November and gave Republicans the biggest majority in the house since the 1920s.”

After giving a speech at Heritage Action’s 2015 Conservative Policy Summit, Ted Cruz tweeted his 10-Step Plan. Here are the highlights:

1. Embrace a big pro-jobs, growth agenda.

2. Do everything humanly possible to repeal Obamacare.

3. Secure the border and stop amnesty.

4. Hold government accountable and rein in judicial activism.

5. Stop the culture of corruption in Washington.

6. Pass fundamental tax reform, making taxes flatter, simpler, and fairer.

7. Audit the Fed.

8. Pass a strong balanced budget amendment.

9. Get the federal government out of the business of dictating education standards.

10. Deal seriously with the twin threats of ISIS and a nuclear Iran.

These are fantastic ideas. Unfortunately, there are very powerful forces at work that will oppose a number of these ideas. We need to support these ideas. If you don’t like Ted Cruz, find someone you can support who supports these ideas.

Last fall, I heard a statement from a member of Congress who was very concerned about the direction our nation has taken. I am not mentioning his name because I can’t remember how public the event was. The member of Congress stated that unless we elect someone out of the political class–someone like a Rand Paul or a Ted Cruz–we may not be able to turn this country back to its founding principles. Please keep that in mind when you decide who to support in 2016.

Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin after the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when he was asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” He replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

If we are to keep our Republic, we need to get rid of the political establishment that has taken hold of Washington, D.C. Removing establishment politicians of both parties is our only hope.

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.

Something To Consider

As a conservative (and as an American), I am not yet ready to decide who I would like to see run for President as a Republican in 2016. There are a lot of good conservative young leaders in the Republican party who would run a good campaign and do a good job as President. To name a few (but not all)–Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, and Rick Perry. You will notice that Rand Paul is not on my list. That is simply because I don’t know enough about him or his policies. The people on the list are state governors with experience in running a state that they could bring with them to being President. Rand Paul and Ben Carson are both extremely smart men who have run medical practices, but I don’t know enough about their administrative abilities or policies to be convinced–yet. However, that could change.

Last night I attended a fund raiser for Congressman Walter Jones where Rand Paul was the main speaker. There were a number of comments he made about our current state of affairs in America that impressed me.

Senator Paul spoke about the Boston Marathon bombing. As someone who was living in Massachusetts at that time, that event was earthshaking. He reminded us that the Russians had warned us about the brothers who set off the bombs. The brothers had recently traveled to a part of the world known for terrorism. Because of a variation of the spelling of their last name, Homeland Security was not tracking them. How hard would it be to create a computer program that would account for variations in spelling? Senator Paul also pointed out that the government has gotten so busy spying on Americans’ cell phones and emails that it cannot find the terrorist threats in the midst of such enormous amounts of data. He stated,”Sometimes we make the haystack so big we can’t find the needle.” That sounds like basic common sense to me!

Senator Paul also pointed out the need for a debate in Congress before we send American troops into war. The Constitution puts war powers in Congress–not with the President. We need to get back to the Constitution on deciding when and where to send our troops. He also reminded us that in every Middle Eastern country where we have toppled a secular dictator in the name of democracy we have brought instability and chaos. We also need to get back to political leaders who put the good of America ahead of their own political ambition.

Senator Paul also cited some egregious examples of government’s wasting of American taxpayer’s money.

I left the event wanting to know more about Senator Paul’s foreign policy and his specific plans to bring America back to the limited government our Founding Fathers envisioned. I hope to hear more about those things in the future so that I can make an educated choice in the 2016 Republican primary election.

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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If The American Economy Is Recovering Why Do We Need To Extend Unemployment Benefits?

I am not unsympathetic to people who have lost their jobs during the recession. I know that there are a lot of them. I don’t mind paying unemployment benefits to people while they look for jobs. I just don’t understand why unemployment benefits should be paid to people for almost two years. I don’t think that encourages people to look for jobs.

The Wall Street Journal posted an editorial today about the economic impact of extended unemployment benefits. The article reminds us that according to the current unemployment numbers, the unemployment rate is 7 percent–not 10 percent rate as it was when the extension of benefits was originally passed.

The article reports:

This also ignores that states and employers are already paying for this supposed free lunch in the form of higher job-killing payroll taxes under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, or Futa. At least 24 states have been forced to raise this tax since 2010 and the Labor Department says it will rise again in 13 states to repay $20 billion in loans and interest they owe the feds for helping to finance state-funded benefits. This federal tax is applied to 0.6% of a worker’s first $7,000 of annual wages. The rate rises automatically by 0.3% for every year states fail to repay their unemployment insurance loans from Uncle Sam.

…Economist Martin Feldstein long ago proposed a better plan to create a self-insurance component of unemployment insurance with tax dollars going into an employee trust fund for each worker that could be drawn during a bout of unemployment. Workers could keep whatever money was left over at retirement, which would encourage workers to become re-employed more quickly after losing a job.

Instead the current system provides as much as two years of benefits for not working and raises payroll taxes on employers even as some 20 million Americans are still unemployed, underemployed or discouraged from looking for work. None of this will help the economy create more jobs, which is what the jobless need far more than another government check.

The American taxpayer cannot afford to pay people not to work for extended periods of time. We are in danger of losing our work ethic. There was a time in this country when a person would take any job available rather than take money from the government. Unfortunately, we have come a long way from that time. Unemployment benefits should be paid for a long enough time period to allow a person to find a job. Two years is simply too long to pay a person for not working.

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The Law Should Be The Same For Everyone

The Daily Caller posted an article today that reminds us why opposition to ObamaCare is somewhat muted in much of Washington, D.C. ObamaCare does not impact federal employees. Members of Congress and Congressional staffers will receive large taxpayer-funded subsidies for their health insurance. Those of us who do not work for the federal government or Congress will be greatly impacted by the implementation of ObamaCare.

The article reports on a proposal made by Rand Paul:

Paul’s proposal — outlawing any special exemptions for government employees — would mean all federal workers would have to purchase health insurance on the new Obamacare exchanges instead of getting taxpayer-funded subsidies. Some critics say those subsidies amount to special treatment. The Obamacare health insurance exchange opens Oct 1.

…Paul’s constitutional amendment says no federal employees should get special exemptions from laws. The senator also plans to push a proposal requiring that Congress and all federal employees rely on Obamacare for their insurance.

His proposal comes after outrage from conservatives about a so-called “exemption” for members of Congress and their staff from Obamacare.

If ObamaCare is such a wonderful thing, why do Congress and Congressional staffers need taxpayer-funded subsidies in order to participate in ObamaCare?

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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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Disturbing News From The Senate

Regardless of how you feel about the filibuster Senator Rand Paul is conducting in the Senate, there are some interesting aspects of this filibuster. First of all, it is a real filibuster. Senator Rand Paul began his filibuster at 11:47 am this morning. Another interesting aspect of this filibuster is a resolution Senator Paul has suggested that I would like to mention.

PJ Media is reporting on the filibuster. They report:

During his ongoing filibuster in the well of the US Senate, Sen. Rand Paul introduced a resolution opposing the targeted drone killing of US citizens on American soil by our government. The resolution stated that “the use of drones to execute or target American citizens on American soil who pose no imminent threat clearly violates Constitutional rights” [of due process].

Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) blocked a floor vote on the resolution.

My question of the day–“Whatever happened to the Posse Comitatus Act? The American government does not have the right to kill American citizens on American soil without a fair trial. We gave the underwear bomber (who was caught red-handed trying to carry out a terrorist attack) a lawyer and read him his Miranda rights, shouldn’t we do at least that much for American citizens?

In December 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported on a drone used to capture three men in North Dakota who were stealing cattle.

The article reports:

In an interview, Michael C. Kostelnik, a retired Air Force general who heads the office that supervises the drones, said Predators are flown “in many areas around the country, not only for federal operators, but also for state and local law enforcement and emergency responders in times of crisis.”

But former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), who sat on the House homeland security intelligence subcommittee at the time and served as its chairwoman from 2007 until early this year, said no one ever discussed using Predators to help local police serve warrants or do other basic work.

Using Predators for routine law enforcement without public debate or clear legal authority is a mistake, Harman said.

“There is no question that this could become something that people will regret,” said Harman, who resigned from the House in February and now heads the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington think tank.

In 2008 and 2010, Harman helped beat back efforts by Homeland Security officials to use imagery from military satellites to help domestic terrorism investigations. Congress blocked the proposal on grounds it would violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which bars the military from taking a police role on U.S. soil.

Why in the world would the Democrats block a vote on Senator Rand Paul’s resolution? Wake up, America, don’t support a political party that will not support your rights.

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The Real Numbers On The Sequester

Yesterday Senator Rand Paul posted an article at Investors.com detailing some of the actual numbers in the sequester. Senator Paul reminds us that the sequester cuts the federal budget by only 2.3%–leaving 97.7% of the budget intact.

Senator Paul states:

The sequester barely begins to skim the surface of the problem. Since taking office, President Obama has increased federal domestic agencies’ budget by 17%. This 17% increase since 2008 will have to endure a 5% cut.

Even with the sequester, the federal government will spend more in 2013 than it did in 2012 — or more than $15 billion.

This expansion of government is equivalent to the entire chain of Whole Foods or Macy’s department stores, in just one year.

President Obama has dramatically expanded our federal government, and the American taxpayers should not have to endure more tax increases to fund it.

We have to start cutting back.

Unfortunately, there are some people in government who do not want to see any cuts at all–they simply want to take more money out of the pockets of working Americans. The scare tactics are everywhere–from releasing prisoners to threatening longer lines at airports. Unless Americans wake up and realize that the Obama Administration and the majority of the news media are lying about the impact of these cuts, we can expect further increases in both taxes and spending and an economy that is simply not growing at an acceptable rate. The voters will determine the future of our country by how they vote in 2014. I think that the voters in that election will decide whether we become Greece or remain America.

Can We Elect More Senators Like This?

The Courier-Journal in Louisville Kentucky reported on Thursday that Senator Rand Paul is returning $600,000 to the U.S. Treasury. He saved the money on Senate office operating expenses during the past year.

The article reports:

The $600,000, which amounts to about 17 percent of Paul’s $3.5 million office budget, was in addition to about $500,000 he saved two years ago, his first year in the Senate, Paul said.

He said the savings were realized by “watching every purchase,” including keeping close tabs on expenditures for “computers, paper, ink cartridges. Everything we buy.”

He said he also keeps close watch on travel expenditures and noted that, although he frequently flies between Washington and Kentucky, his staff seldom does. He said he also doesn’t pay his staff excessive salaries.

The article lists a number of Senators in both parties who have returned money to the government. That is a start.Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuning Out The Media Hysteria Related To The Budget Sequester

Today’s American Spectator posted an article about President Obama’s comments yesterday regarding the sequestration that is due to take effect on March 1st.

The article points out:

President Obama’s federal government is slated to spend $3.6 trillion this year. That is $3,600,000,000,000. The supposedly draconian sequester will reportedly cut that by $85 billion, which is just 2%. In fact, as Mark Levin pointed out last night, the actual cuts for this year from that level are $44 billion, which is 1% of the budget.

This is the reason we need an attitude adjustment in Washington. The Washington establishment (of both parties) panic at the thought of a one percent budget cut.

National Review today quoted Rand Paul:

“It’s a pittance. It’s a slowdown in the rate of growth [of spending],” said Paul. There are “no real cuts.” He also said he voted against the sequester because he “didn’t think it was enough” since it “doesn’t really begin to cut [actual] spending.”

The ‘draconian cuts’ President Obama is talking about are not even cuts–they are simply reductions in the rate of growth.

The American Spectator reminds us:

And the sequester will help the economy, not hurt it. The sequester means the federal government will not drain another $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years out of the market economy, but leave it in the market to contribute to higher production. How does the federal government borrowing or taxing that money out of production in the private sector and using it to hire more bureaucrats, or to spend on more welfare for people who are not working and not producing, contribute to more jobs, more hiring, more economic growth, and more prosperity? It doesn’t, which is why Keynesian economics never works.

So what is going on here? The Washington culture of we want more of your money so that we can spend more is on full display.

The article at the American Spectator also reminds us that under the current tax rules, the rich do pay their fair share:

President Obama also persisted yesterday in spreading the dishonest falsehood that billionaires pay lower tax rates than theirs secretaries. That is based on a cartoon version of our tax code. CBO reports to the contrary that in 2009 the top 1% paid an average federal tax rate of 29%, while the middle 20% paid an average federal tax rate of only 11.1%, and the bottom 20% paid an average federal tax rate of 1%. We need a law that would hold President Obama personally liable when he uses the trappings of office to spread outright fairy tales.

We can solve the nation’s financial problems, but first we need to change the culture in Washington regarding spending. If we don’t do that, we will become western Europe–with permanent high unemployment rates and no money to defend ourselves (which actually is the job of the federal government).

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Rand Paul’s Response To The State of the Union Address

YouTube posted the video of Rand Paul‘s speech last night:

Some highlights from Rand Paul’s speech (as posted at therightscoop.com):

We are in danger, though, of forgetting what made us great. The President seems to think the country can continue to borrow $50,000 per second. The President believes that we should just squeeze more money out of those who are working.

The path we are on is not sustainable, but few in Congress or in this Administration seem to recognize that their actions are endangering the prosperity of this great nation.

…What America needs is not Robin Hood but Adam Smith. In the year we won our independence, Adam Smith described what creates the Wealth of Nations.

He described a limited government that largely did not interfere with individuals and their pursuit of happiness.

…He says he wants a balanced approach.

What the country really needs is a balanced budget.

…Where would we cut spending; well, we could start with ending all foreign aid to countries that are burning our flag and chanting death to America.

The President could begin by stopping the F-16s and Abrams tanks being given to the radical Islamic government of Egypt.

Big government makes it more expensive to put food on the table. Big government is not your friend. The President offers you free stuff but his policies keep you poor.

…The only stimulus ever proven to work is leaving more money in the hands of those who earned it!

For those who are struggling we want to you to have something infinitely more valuable than a free phone, we want you to have a job and pathway to success.

…The people are crying out for change. They are asking for us to hear their voices, to fix our broken system, to right our economy and to restore their liberty.

Let us tonight let them know that we hear their voices. That we can and must work together, that we can and must re-chart our course toward a better future.

America has much greatness left in her. We will begin to thrive again when we begin to believe in ourselves again, when we regain our respect for our founding documents, when we balance our budget, when we understand that capitalism and free markets and free individuals are what creates our nation’s prosperity.

Well said.

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Protecting The Property Rights Of Americans

The Blaze is reporting today that Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have introduced legislation to limit the government’s power of eminent domain, the seizure of private property without the owner’s consent. This is the link to the actual legislation introduced.

The law, The Protection of Homes, Small Businesses and Private Property Act of 2012, coincides with the seventh anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kelo v. the City of New London, which allowed the City of New London to arbitrarily take private property from one person and give it to another with the intent of increasing the city’s tax base.

On December 1, 2009, I reported on the outcome of that property seizure (rightwinggranny.com):

So let’s look at where we are now.  The taking of the property was used to lure Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company to New London to build a research center.  Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company arrived, built its New London research center on the seized property, and this week announced that it was closing the plant.  Most of the plants 1,400 employees will be relocated to nearby Groton. 

Now the City of New London won’t even have the tax revenue from the people who once lived in that area of New London.  They will simply have a vacant research center.  Poetic justice at its best.

The Supreme Court made the wrong decision in Kelo–they seriously undermined the property rights of Americans. Please follow the link above to the article at The Blaze to read about recent misuses of eminent domain. Thank goodness for Senators like John Cornyn and Rand Paul who are willing to stand up for individual property rights.

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The Right To A Speedy Trial

Today Hot Air posted a story about the ongoing saga of Gibson Guitar Company. As you know Gibson Guitar in Memphis and Nashville was raided in August of last year (see rightwinggranny.com) by the federal government and charged with violating the Lacey Act. During that raid, the government confiscated property worth at least $500,000. The guitar manufacturer had not followed to the letter a small part of India’s laws in importing the wood for its guitars. They had not violated United States laws.

Hot Air reports:

Apparently, Gibson used an inappropriate tariff code on the wood. According to Reason.tv, “At issue is not whether the wood in question was endangered, but whether the wood was the correct level of thickness and finish before being exported from India.” In other words, Gibson’s violation had nothing to do with forest preservation.

So how is the case progressing? The article reports:

Turns out, the DOJ has filed no charges. That means Gibson hasn’t had its day in court to defend itself — and the government still has all that confiscated property.

Thankfully, according to the article, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has introduced legislation to amend The Lacey Act to remove each and every mention of “foreign law” in the Act and to substitute a civil penalty system with The Lacey Act’s current criminal penalties.

I hope this is resolved quickly–Gibson needs its wood–they make fantastic guitars.

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