Abandoning What You Probably Never Read

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted a commentary with the headline, “Democrats Abandon the Constitution.” Actually they did that a long time ago, which is why they were so upset at the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh–he might work to bring it back.

The commentary goes on to list some of the basic tenets of the Constitution that the Democrats are currently railing against:

Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court has sparked a firestorm of outrage and recrimination on the left. Some attacks seem aimed at intimidating the justices into supporting progressive causes. “The Court must now prove—through its work—that it is worthy of the nation’s trust,” Eric Holder, President Obama’s attorney general, tweeted Oct. 6.

Yet the attacks go beyond ideology. Detractors of Justice Kavanaugh and President Trump are denouncing the Constitution itself and the core elements of America’s governmental structure:

  • The Electoral College. Mr. Trump’s opponents claim he is an illegitimate president because Hillary Clinton “won the popular vote.” One commentator even asked “what kind of nation allows the loser of a national election to become president.” The complaint that the Electoral College is undemocratic is nothing new. The Framers designed it that way. They created a republican form of government, not a pure democracy, and adopted various antimajoritarian measures to keep the “demos” in check.

The Electoral College could be eliminated by amending the Constitution. But proposing an amendment requires two-thirds votes in both houses of Congress, and the legislatures of three-fourths, or 38, of the states would have to ratify it.

  • The Senate. The complaint here is that the 50 senators who voted in Justice Kavanaugh’s favor “represent” fewer people than the 48 who voted against him. But senators represent states, not people.

Equal Senate representation for the states was a key part of the Connecticut Compromise, along with House seats apportioned by population. The compromise persuaded large and small states alike to accept the new Constitution. It was so fundamental that Article V of the Constitution—which spells out the amendment procedure—provides that “no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.” That means an amendment changing the structure of the Senate would require ratification by all 50 states.

  • Judicial independence. Commentators who disapprove of the Supreme Court’s composition have urged, as one law professor put it, “shrinking the power of the courts to overrun our citizens’ democratic decisions.” Some suggest limiting and staggering the justices’ terms so that a vacancy would come up every other year, ensuring that the court follows the election returns. That could be achieved via constitutional amendment, but it would go against the Framers’ wisdom. As Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 78, life tenure for judges is “the best expedient which can be devised in any government, to secure a steady, upright and impartial administration of the laws.”

What we have hear is a living example of what happens when you don’t teach American history and the principles of the Constitution in schools. The people calling for these changes have no concept of how our government was designed or the safeguards that were put in it. Their desire is to take those safeguards out and institute mob rule. That has not worked well in other places, and I seriously doubt it would work well here. It was what our Founding Fathers sought to avoid.

The commentary concludes:

The anger and disappointment of Justice Kavanaugh’s opponents is understandable, as would be that of his supporters if the vote had gone the other way. They are perfectly entitled to pursue political remedies, including using his appointment as a campaign issue. They also are entitled to pursue amendments to the Constitution that would make our system of government more responsive to the popular will. What they cannot do is overturn the Connecticut Compromise guaranteeing each state equal representation in the Senate, or launch unconstitutional investigations or impeachment of a sitting Supreme Court justice. The Constitution protects all of us, even Supreme Court justices.

True.

The Timetable On The Vote On Judge Kavanaugh

Below is a quote from Tucker Carlson regarding the timing of the vote on Judge Kavanaugh. The remarks were made on the Tucker Carlson show last week. The transcript is from the Tea Party:

Tucker Carlson: Here are the basic facts about it. According to the original schedule most of us assumed was real two weeks ago the senate should have already voted on the nomination by now and Kavanaugh almost certainly would have been confirmed. He had the numbers. And then the wrinkle. Democrats leaked the name of Christine Ford to the press. For alleges that sometime back in high school, about 36 year ago, Kavanaugh jumped on her at a party and groped her over her clothes. She’s provided very few details including when and where it allegedly happened. Kavanaugh has denied the story entirely and so has the other person Ford said was present, a man named Mark Judge. That’s pretty much what we know. In order to know more we’re going to need to hear from Christine Ford. But both sides once agreed on that because it’s obvious she should have a chance to speak. Everyone thought that was a good idea. It was a consensus view. Republicans in the senate asked for her to testify this week, she refused. They offered to send a staff to her house in California to take her testimony privately and she refused that too. Finally they asked her to testify this coming Monday, she said she won’t but she won’t explain why she won’t. Ford’s attorneys now say she’s willing to explain herself in the senate next Thursday.

Thursday is a significant date in this story. Because of senate rules which are complex, if Ford testifies next Thursday the vote on Kavanaugh will be pushed back at least another week. In this environment that very well means – forever. His nomination will be over.

And So will any Trump nomination to the court. There is a time before the midterms for the White House to introduce and vet a new candidate. Democrats will have prevented the president from filling this vacancy. We’ll have just eight justices for the foreseeable future. And probably until there is another Democratic president. You may have voted for Trump in hope that he would put reasonable people on the Supreme Court. But TOUGH!

In another story, I will explain why the charges against Judge Kavanaugh are questionable at best. However, the above quote shows the end game–block this nomination at any cost.

When Your ‘Moment’ Becomes A Total Disaster

Yesterday there was a litmus test to see how well informed voters are. Those who pay close attention shook their heads in disbelief at the grandstanding; those who do not pay close attention were impressed by what they thought was courage. Of course, I am talking about Corey Booker’s performance at the Kavanaugh hearings yesterday.

Today Townhall posted an article about Corey Booker’s Emily Litella moment. For any youngsters who might be reading this, Emily Litella was an early Saturday Night Live character played by Gilda Radner. She was known for saying “never mind” after totally misunderstanding and misreporting a news story.

Townhall reports:

Booker’s theatrics came at the very beginning of the hearing. He interrupted Chairman Chuck Grassley’s opening remarks to announce that he had broken Senate rules and released “committee confidential” documents about Kavanaugh’s opinions on racial profiling. He even referred to himself as “Spartacus,” as if he was some kind of martyr. 

Well, two things. First, it turns out that those “confidential” documents he was talking about had already been cleared for release. Bill Burck, the former Bush administration lawyer overseeing the production of Kavanaugh’s documents, said so in an email, adding he was surprised by Booker’s histrionics.

“Yes, we cleared the documents last night shortly after Senator Booker’s staff asked us to,” Burck said. “I was surprised to learn about Senator Booker’s histrionics this morning because we had already told him he could use the documents publicly.”

So, his “sacrificial” heroics were all for show. Second, the document in question showed Kavanaugh was against racial profiling. So, just like that, both of his narratives were debunked.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reacted to Booker’s display Friday morning on Fox News by giving his colleague some friendly advice.

“If you’re gonna use a document to disqualify a nominee, read it,” Graham suggested. “If you read the damn thing,” he added, you’ll see that Kavanaugh “was against racial profiling.”

Please understand that Corey Booker is planning to run for President in 2020 on the Democrat ticket. I hope he puts someone on his staff that can read. Otherwise, we can look forward to many Emily Litella moments in the coming two years.

Where Is The Younger Generation?

A baby boomer is our current President. Chances are, if the economy continues to grow, he will serve two terms. Logically in 2024, Mike Pence would run. So who would the Democrats run in 2020 and 2024? The Democrats are a party in flux–half of them are openly embracing socialism and half of them are trying to bring their party more into the mainstream of America.

The Hill posted an article recently about the Democrat field of candidates for President in 2020.

The article reports:

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are the most popular potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, according to a new American Barometer poll. 

The poll, which is a joint project of Hill.TV and the HarrisX polling company, showed Biden with a 50 percent favorable rating, while Sanders trailed with a 48 percent favorable rating. 

Only 31 percent of those polled said they viewed the former vice president unfavorably. A third of respondents said they viewed Sanders unfavorably. 

The survey comes as speculation swirls around a slew of potential Democratic contenders, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.), who could challenge President Trump in 2020. 

Warren held the highest favorable rating among Democratic senators listed in the survey, with 33 percent of those polled saying they held a favorable view of the senator.

The poll showed Gillibrand holding a 20 percent favorable rating, while 21 percent of respondents said they have a favorable view of Harris, and 23 percent said the same for Booker.  

Name recognition remains an obstacle for many Democratic contenders. 

Thirty-four percent of respondents said they had never heard of Gillibrand, while 36 percent said the same for Harris. Thirty-two percent of respondents had not heard of Booker.

Only 4 percent of those polled said they had never heard of Biden or Sanders. 

I realize that you have to be 35 to be President, but you don’t have to be over 60! Bernie Sanders is 76, and Joe Biden is 75. They are leading in the polls. Elizabeth Warren is 69. The younger contenders are Kirsten Gillibrand is 51, Kamala Harris is 53, and Cory Booker at 49 is the youngest of the group.

Where are the millenniums in either party?

In November 2017, Quorum posted the following chart about the House of Representatives:

This is the Senate:

Where are our young political leaders?

 

The Democrat Party Moves Further Left

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

The article reports:

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

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

Why The Republican Party Is Losing Voters

The 2016 Republican Platform includes the following on Page 8:

Reducing the Federal Debt

Our national debt is a burden on our economy and families. The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations. We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations. A strong economy is one key to debt reduction, but spending restraint is a necessary component that must be vigorously pursued.

On May 10, 2018, CNS News reported:

The federal government collected a record $2,007,451,000,000 in total taxes through the first seven months of fiscal 2018 (October through April), but still ran a deficit for that period of $385,444,000,000, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

It’s the spending–not the revenue–that is the problem. So what are Republicans doing about it?

On May 8, 2018, The Washington Times posted the following:

House GOP leaders vowed Tuesday to speed President Trump’s new $15.4 billion spending cuts proposal through their chamber, brushing aside complaints from Democrats and some Republicans over the trims the White House wants to see.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday predicted the House will pass the package, which includes 38 cuts to programs and generally involves money that’s sitting unused.

So what happened when the bill reached the Senate?

The Daily Haymaker posted the story today:

Senators voted Wednesday to block President Trump’s $15.4 billion spending cuts package, with lawmakers saying it trimmed the budget too much.

Brushing aside administration promises that the cuts were chiefly to money that was never going to be spent, the Senate voted 50-48 to keep the bill bottled up. Two Republicans — Susan Collins of Maine and Richard Burr of North Carolina — joined Democrats to defeat the package.[…]

So if the Republicans won’t even cut spending on money that wasn’t even spent, why in the world should I vote for them? Didn’t they read their own platform? How long could you run up your credit card before creditors would start clamoring for their money? Is the government any different?

 

This Might Actually Be A Serious Proposal

CNS News posted an article today about an item that will appear on the ballot in California in November.

The article reports:

The State of California is “nearly ungovernable,” given its “diverse population and economies.” So says a newly qualified ballot initiative that would split California into three states — maybe — if voters approve the proposal in November.

The summary posted online by the State Attorney General’s office says the split would require the approval of Congress and undoubtedly the courts. If all parties approved the plan, “all tax collections and spending by the existing State of California would end. California’s existing state assets and liabilities would be divided among three new states. These states would make their own decisions about state and local taxes and spending.”

One of the new states would be named Northern California (or a name to be chosen by the people of that state). It would encompass 40 northern counties, including San Francisco and its surrounds.

The second state, tentatively named California, would include only six counties: Los Angeles, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

The third new state, to be named Southern California (or a name chosen by the people), would include 12 counties, including Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Tulare.

Los Angeles Times cartoonist David Horsey has already proposed names for the three new states:

Los Angeles Times cartoonist David Horsey suggested naming the Northern California/Napa area “Weed” or “Merlot”; he suggested that the Silicon Valley area be named “iState”; and Los Angeles/Hollywood could be called “Bling.”)

The article points out two aspects of this change if it is voted in–first, California would then have six representatives in the Senate–making it more influential than states with only two representatives (but there is no guarantee all six senators would agree on anything). Secondly, California votes in the Electoral College might be split between candidates–giving Republicans votes from a state that generally does not give them Electoral Votes.

It will be interesting to see exactly how this plays out.

The Right To Try Bill

Yesterday President Trump signed a “Right to Try” bill. The bill had been introduced in the Senate on January 24, 2017. It passed the Senate in August of 2017, The bill passed the House of Representatives in May 2018.  This is the link to view the text of the bill.

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article on the bill.

The New York Post reported:

President Trump signed a bill on Wednesday that will let terminally ill people use experimental drugs, citing the meds’ ability to save “tremendous numbers of lives.”

…The measure gives terminally ill patients the ability to seek drug treatments that​ haven’t been fully approved by the FDA.

More than 1 million Americans die from a terminal illness each year, the White House said.

During the ceremony, Trump also said that in two weeks, major drug companies will announce “voluntary drops in prices.”

Hopefully this bill will be helpful to medical research and will keep all of us healthier for longer.

Awaiting The Inspector General’s Report

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about the Inspector General‘s Report regarding the Justice Department decisions during the 2016 election campaign.

The article reports:

The comprehensive IG final draft report on the FBI handling of the Clinton investigation was circulated for principal feedback on May 16th. Following typical timelines of IG ‘draft reports’ we anticipated the Final Report release around the first week of June.

Well, Senator Chuck Grassley has just scheduled a hearing on the release for next Tuesday June 5th. So anticipate the final publication and public release any day now.

We are about to find out if we actually have the equal justice under the law that we are promised in our Constitution.

Revising The Rules Of Government

Fox News reported yesterday that the Senate has passed a bill to make it easier to fire employees of the Veterans Administration (VA). The bill is the result of complaints of long waiting times and the fact that the VA is simply not doing a good job of caring for many of our veterans. Part of that is due to the aging of the Vietnam veterans and their health problems, part of it is due to the large numbers of wounded veterans returning from war in the Middle East, and part of the problem is morale and efficiency among VA employees.

The article reports:

The bipartisan measure passed by voice vote. It comes more than three years after a 2014 scandal at the Phoenix VA medical center, where some veterans died while waiting months for appointments. VA employees created secret lists to cover up delays.

The bill would lower the burden of proof needed to fire employees — from a “preponderance” to “substantial evidence,” allowing a dismissal even if most evidence is in a worker’s favor.

The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, opposed the bill. But the measure was viewed as more in balance with workers’ rights than a version passed by the House in March, mostly along party lines. The Senate bill calls for a longer appeal process than the House’s version — 180 days vs. 45 days — though workers would not be paid during that appeal. VA executives also would be held to a tougher standard than rank-and-file employees.

The bill now goes back to the House, where the revisions are expected to be approved.

The changes in the rules for firing employees need to take place in all areas of government. The bureaucracy of government has become bloated and inefficient. If we are ever going to get federal spending under control, we need to look at the size and efficiency of government. Changing the rules for firing employees who are not performing is a good place to start.

Attempting To Fight Corruption

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about the House of Representatives’ move to impeach John Koskinen for his blocking the investigation into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practices regarding conservative groups.

An article at Townhall reports the charges:

Specifically, Commissioner Koskinen violated the public trust in the following ways:

-Failed to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence. Commissioner Koskinen failed to locate and preserve IRS records in accordance with a congressional subpoena and an internal preservation order. The IRS erased 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails – key pieces of evidence that were destroyed on Koskinen’s watch.
-Failed to testify truthfully and provided false and misleading information. Commissioner Koskinen testified the IRS turned over all emails relevant to the congressional investigation, including all of Ms. Lerner’s emails. When the agency determined Ms. Lerner’s emails were missing, Commissioner Koskinen testified the emails were unrecoverable. These statements were false.
-Failed to notify Congress that key evidence was missing. The IRS knew Lois Lerner’s emails were missing in February 2014. In fact, they were not missing; the IRS destroyed the emails on March 4, 2014. The IRS did not notify Congress the emails were missing until June 2014 – four months later, and well after the White House and the Treasury Department were notified.

The article at Hot Air also reminds us that a federal judge has already threatened to hold Koskinen accountable for his obstruction of the investigation into the IRS.

The article at Hot Air reports:

According to the rules of play, the House can bring the charges with a simple majority vote. Easy enough this year. But the trial is held in the Senate and requires a two thirds vote to convict. (If this is treated as a partisan issue and all the Democrats abscond in their duty it would be impossible.) Also, Joe Biden gets to preside over the trial. Many seem to think that it would be John Roberts, but he would only preside in the case of impeaching the President. That’s a tough hill to climb. In all of US history there have been seven successful impeachments and all of them were judges. The only cabinet official to ever be impeached was William Belknap, Secretary of War under President Grant, but he wasn’t convicted. The only two Presidents to be impeached were not found guilty, as were the various Senators brought to stand before the wheel.

Politically this is a losing battle. Legally it is a necessary battle. What this process will do is eliminate any doubt as to which Senators put party loyalty over honesty. There is no way Koskinen would be acquitted in a fair trial, but Congress (and the Justice Department) are not really focused on doing what is right at this point.

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?”

It’s Only Unfair When The Other Guys Do It

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about a video  Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, has done for the Democrat Senatorial Campaign. The video warns that if the Republicans take over the Senate, they might use a “tricky, little-known maneuver” to “ram through” their “right-wing policies” with only 51 votes, instead of the 60 votes “usually required” in the Senate. In case you have forgotten, that ‘tricky little-known maneuver’ is called reconciliation and was used by the Democrats to pass ObamaCare.

On October, 18, 2011, James Capretta posted an article at National Review which stated the following:

Without reconciliation, Obamacare would not have become law at all. It’s true that the main Obamacare structure was passed by the Senate in December 2009 under normal rules for legislative consideration. That’s because Democrats at that time had 60 votes (including two independent senators who caucus with them). They didn’t need to resort to reconciliation to pass the bill as long as  all 60 of their senators stuck together and supported passage, which they did.

But then Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate race in January 2010; the Democrats lost their 60-vote supermajority and could no longer close off debate on legislation without the help of at least one Republican senator.

At that point, the president and his allies had two choices. They could compromise with Republicans and bring back a bill to the Senate that could garner a large bipartisan majority. Or they could ignore the election results in Massachusetts and pull an unprecedented legislative maneuver, essentially switching from regular order to reconciliation at the eleventh hour, thereby bypassing any need for Republican support. As they had done at every other step in the process, the Democrats chose the partisan route. They created a separate bill, with scores and scores of legislative changes that essentially became the vehicle for a House-Senate conference on the legislation. That bill was designated a reconciliation bill. Then they passed the original Senate bill through the House on the explicit promise that it would be immediately amended by this highly unusual reconciliation bill, which then passed both the House and Senate a few days later, on an entirely party-line vote.

The article at Power Line states:

Reich knows all of this, but he is secure in the knowledge that the Democrats’ rank and file, including the donors to whom MoveOn’s video is addressed, are ignorant of the most basic facts of government and do not have memories that reach back to the distant past of 2010. So there is no effective constraint on dishonesty if you are a Democrat bent on fundraising.

In order to survive, a representative republic needs an informed electorate. It is unfortunate that at the moment America does not have one.

The Legislature Got It Right–The Court Got It Wrong

Two of the key provisions in North Carolina’s new voting law have been overturned by a a 2-1 ruling of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Yahoo News posted an article yesterday explaining the details.

The two parts of the law that were overturned were same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting. The court claimed that to end these practices would disenfranchise some voters. I beg to differ. The reason the legislature ended same-day registration was that it did not provide ample time to check the address information given by the voter. A friend of mine, a North Carolina resident, checked the voter registration in her town and found that there were five people registered at her address that did not live there. I don’t know whether those five people had voted in recent elections or not, but if they did, they cancelled the vote of legal voters–disenfranchising legal voters. Stopping out-of-precinct voting is a good idea because ballots are different in different precincts–precinct elections include local candidates that vary by precinct. If a person votes in the wrong precinct, he may not get to vote for the officials in his precinct–thus he is disenfranchising himself!

The article reports:

State House Speaker Thom Tillis, the Republican challenging incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, said he and state Senate leader Phil Berger, also a Republican, would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The article at Yahoo attempts to portray the passage of this law as a political issue related to the Republicans wanting to take the Senate. The question we need to ask is, “Why does ensuring the integrity of our elections give a political advantage to Republicans?”

The new North Carolina voting law is a step toward more honest elections. Why are there politicians who are fighting this?

 

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.

Why We Need Informed Voters

A representative republic (like America) needs informed voters in order to stay free. There is a real question in my mind as to whether or not we have those voters right now. President Obama is in campaign mode right now–that seems to be his default mode–and some of the things he is saying are so untrue that they are almost comical.

The American Spectator posted an article on Friday about President Obama’s recent comments on the economy.

The article quoted the President:

“By almost every measure,” he declared, “the American economy and the American workers are better off than when I took office.”

That may be what he believes, but the facts tell a different story.

The article reports some of the statistics:

…the Census Bureau reports that median household income in the United States, adjusted for inflation, is down by more than $2,000 since Obama’s first inauguration in January 2009.

…a sixth of the U.S. population is currently receiving food stamps, an increase in the participation rate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of 61 percent since 2008.

Rep. Kevin Brady, (R-TX), chairman of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, summarized the U.S. economy’s subpar recovery several months ago, in May: “Our economy has a real GDP growth gap of $1.5 trillion in this recovery compared with the average of other post-1960 recoveries. And that has left us with a private-sector jobs gap from the end of the recession of 5.7 million jobs.”

…August 25 report in Forbes by economist John Goodman documented via Federal Reserve surveys that Obamacare is a key reason for the nation’s persevering joblessness and declining levels of inflation-adjusted household income.

…Based on its August 2014 survey of manufacturers, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported that 18.2 percent of employers said they cut workers because of the Affordable Care Act versus 3 percent who hired more.

Similarly, 18.2 percent of employers said their proportion of part-time workers is higher because of Obamacare versus 1.5 percent who said it was lower.

President Obama is not responsible for the recession. However, his economic policies are responsible for the fact that the recession is still with us. Five years into the Reagan Administration, the country was rapidly climbing out of the Jimmy Carter ‘malaise.’ The voters chose to elect President Obama a second time and to send Democrats to the Senate. We can’t undo the Presidential election for another two years, but we can undo the Democrat control of the Senate and begin to put our country on the right economic path. It’s up to the voters to get out and vote and to change control of the Senate. We need people who understand economics who will block the crony capitalism and runaway spending that has been Washington’s way of doing things recently.

Townhall Meeting In New Bern

Tonight I attended a Townhall style meeting held in Stanly Hall in New Bern. The two main speakers at the event were state Representative Michael Speciale, who represents North Carolina’s third district, and state Senator Norman Sanderson, who represents North Carolina’s second district. These men are dedicated conservatives who represent eastern North Carolina in Raleigh.

Representative Speciale spoke first. He talked about the need for the conservatives in the state legislature to stand for their principles. He reminded us that he was sent to Raleigh to vote for conservative principles and for what was best for the State of North Carolina. Recently H.B. 1224 was defeated by a 54 to 47 vote. The bill included special interest spending that was not necessary, and needed to be voted down, despite the fact that many Republicans supported it.

Senator Sanderson reminded us that the reports in the press of disunity in Raleigh have been exaggerated. He stated that the Senate and the House agreed on about 95 percent of the budget. About 5 percent of the budget required compromise to work out differences, which the legislature did. Senator Sanderson listed the recent accomplishments of the legislature. These accomplishments included expanded restrictions on sex offenders, rules regarding mo-peds on North Carolina highways, allowing prayer in North Carolina schools, election laws designed to protect the integrity of elections in North Carolina, and energy laws to allow North Carolina to develop its energy resources.

There was an extended period of questions from those who attended the meeting. A variety of subjects were addressed that concern those of us who live in eastern North Carolina–education funding, Common Core, the tourism industry, the fishing industry, and other issues.

The evening was very informative. The meeting was sponsored by the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association (CCTA). The CCTA meets at Stanly Hall on the third Tuesday of every month at 7 pm. Attending a CCTA meeting is a good start in becoming an informed voter.

It Really Is Time For Harry Reid (And Most Of The Rest Of The Senate) To Go

Yesterday the Washington Examiner reported that the Senate has made plans to accomplish something when it returns from recess. They are not planning to take up the immigration bill the House of Representatives just passed, they are not planning to deal with America‘s deficit spending in any way, and they are not planning to deal with any of the bills the House of Representatives has sent them to encourage job growth. So, what are they planning on dealing with first thing when they get back from vacation? They want to make sure that the Republicans can’t raise campaign contributions from corporations the way Democrats raise campaign contributions from unions.

The article reports on S.J. Res. 19, which seeks to undo the Supreme Court‘s 2010 Citizens United decision:

The Supreme Court said in its decision that political contributions are protected under the First Amendment.

However, the proposed amendment, which was authored by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., not only gives Congress the power to limit spending on federal candidates, but it also bars the judicial branch from overturning any future campaign finance laws authored by legislative branch.

Other than the obvious problem with priorities, the Senate is planning on limiting the actions of the Supreme Court. I believe that would be unconstitutional. We have three separate but equal branches of government. The Senate does not control the actions of the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, we are being overrun by illegal immigrants on our southern border. The young children are bringing diseases, and the older children are joining violent Latin American gangs already here. Americans (particularly those on our southern border) have been negatively impacted by the invasion. Wouldn’t you think the Senate might consider that more important than protecting Democrat fund raising?

 

Status Update On Common Core In North Carolina

Representative Larry Pittman is a member of the North Carolina General Assembly. This is his update on the status of Common Core in North Carolina:

Common Core…what really happened. Okay, most of you probably know that I am the one who started the fight against Common Core in the NC House by running a study bill. I actually wanted to go ahead and run a bill that would just get rid of Common Core, plain and simple; but not enough legislators knew enough about it to get on board with that. So I had to settle for a study bill, instead. Of course, since none of my bills were allowed to be heard in committee, they put forward a larger study bill which included establishing a study committee, instead. Michael Speciale and I were allowed to serve on that committee.
The study committee produced a very weak bill, which appeared to be about getting rid of Common Core, but which I felt actually left open the possibility of simply rebranding it. This bill was authored by Sen. Tillman, who had asked early on in the meetings of the committee whether we couldn’t just take the name Common Core out of our statutes and call it something else. I went ahead and voted to report it out of committee, but knew I would have to work to improve on the bill.
Michael Speciale, Bryan Holloway, and I were doing just fine making the bill stronger, when all of a sudden, Craig Horn, who had expressed support for Common Core early on, showed up at one of our meetings with a different version that removed some of the language I had written into the bill. So I submitted another version that added my language back into the bill. As I recall, this happened twice. In all, I submitted four versions of the bill before Craig agreed to leave my language in it.
Before we were through, Craig wrote something like 23 versions of the bill. The final version still had my language in it that would make sure that going back to Common Core and simply rebranding it was not an option. I never said or intended that if a way of doing something that was in Common Core happened to be a good idea we couldn’t use it; but I was urgent about making sure that if we did, we should reword it to avoid copyright violations. My main concern was that whatever we do would end a lot of the foolishness that is in Common Core. I was insistant upon not using assessment sources that were tied to Common Core. I also wanted to make the commission we were creating permanent, with the idea that it would be a watchdog to make sure DPI and the State Board of Education did not pull another fast one on us like Common Core, and that we never get ourselves entangled with further federal control of our education system.
Well, the result of all this work was HB 1061, which passed the House with a strong majority. When SB 812 came over from the Senate, we also got strong support in the House to remove the weak language of that bill and replace it with what was in HB 1061. This, too, passed the House with a strong majority. If we could have gotten the Senate to go along with us, I could assure you that we would be driving a stake through the heart of Common Core in North Carolina.
When the Senate failed to concur with the House version of SB 812, that caused the issue to be sent to a conference committee. As the one who started all of this, you might expect that I would be on that conference committee. However, I was not allowed to serve on it. Michael Speciale was on the committee, and I’m sure that he did his best to contend for what we had done. I appreciate him so much, and he should be commended for his efforts. However, he was outnumbered and outvoted.
The end result is a bill two pages shorter than HB 1061. The lack of those two pages is the result of the Senate insisting on removing everything I had put into it to make clear that continuing with Common Core is not an option. The bill as we finally passed it does repeal Common Core from our statutes, and has the potential to lead to the end of Common Core in our State. In the end, I had to vote to concur because I felt that if we didn’t pass something this year, it would be next to impossible to come back next year and start from scratch. At least with this bill, we do have a basis for coming back later to push for further reforms, if need be. While it does not call for rebranding Common Core, I fear it leaves that option open. So we must be watchful and ready to resist such an outcome.
Finally, considering what was removed from the bill, and considering the fact that Gov. McCrory, a strong advocate of Common Core, has already essentially said that he can sign it because it doesn’t change anything, I do not have a lot of confidence about what will happen. I got this thing started because I heard the cries of parents and children who have been victimized by Common Core. I heard from some teachers who sounded the alarm, also, and was told about many other teachers who were afraid to speak of their opposition to Common Core for fear of losing their jobs. If that is the case, something is really rotten about the whole affair. I fear that, in the end, the voice of wealthy special interests spoke louder than the voice of the people who suffer under the curse of Common Core. While good could come from what we finally passed, I believe the opponents of Common Core should stay on the alert. We haven’t necessarily won yet. There may be more to do.

Please do your homework on Common Core. If you are not a parent with children in school, talk to a parent who has helped their child with Common Core math homework. Aside from being an unconstitutional federal takeover of education, the Common Core includes data mining of children without proper security protection of the information. It also includes questions asked of the children regarding their parents’ religious beliefs and gun ownership. That information is none of the school or the government’s business.

Recess Appointments Can Only Be Made When Congress Is Actually In Recess

USA Today is reporting today that the Supreme Court has ruled that several recess appointments made by President Obama in 2012 were invalid. The ruling against President Obama’s recess appointments was unanimous; however, four of the justices wanted to restrict the President’s power to make recess appointments.

The article reports:

The high court’s ruling means that hundreds of decisions made by the labor board while dominated by Obama’s recess appointees in 2012 and half of 2013 will be called into question. The new five-member board, including four members since approved by the Senate, will have to revisit those cases. Consumer protection chief Richard Cordray has since been confirmed by the Senate, so he can reaffirm his prior actions.

This is the second unanimous Supreme Court decision in two days–yesterday the Court ruled that police required a search warrant to search the information on a suspect’s cell phone.

Another State Wakes Up And Smells The Coffee

Last Saturday, Townhall.com reported that the Missouri legislature has voted to end the Common Core educational standards in the state of Missouri. Common Core is a set of educational standards (not necessarily a bad idea) that has become controversial as people have realized some of the underlying aspects of it. Some of the problems with Common Core are invasive data collection with no privacy guarantees, a very politically slanted companion curriculum, and lessons for younger children that are not age-appropriate. As more and more people become aware of the contents of this program, more parents are contacting their legislators and asking that it be removed from their children’s schools.

The article at Townhall.com explains the current status of Common Core in Missouri:

House Bill 1490 (HB1490) passed through the state senate on May 1 by a 24-8 margin. It had previously passed the house by a 132-19 vote. Since the Senate version differed from the House version, the House had an opportunity to accept the amendments offered by the Senate, but refused. That sends the bill to a joint conference committee, with members of both chambers, to work out the differences in the bill and finalized the version going to the governor.

A spokesman for Rep. Bahr, the bill’s chief sponsor, said, “The conference was requested by the floor leader since the house passed a four page bill and the senate sent back a 44 page version. He did not feel like there would be enough time for all 150 house reps to pour over all of the new information in the bill to pass it speedily and also doing their duty.”

The amendments do not stop the bill from taking important steps to re-establish local control of education and end involvement with Common Core in the state. HB1490 states that “[each] local school board shall be responsible for the approval and adoption of curriculum used by the school district.” It also would sanction “work groups composed of education professionals to develop and recommend academic performance standards” which would ultimately be used to replace Common Core by the 2016-2017 school year.

It is time for all states to return control of their schools to the local school boards and educators. They are the people who know and understand the needs of the community. If you are a parent of a school-age parent and your state legislature is in session, please learn about Common Core and call your state legislators to ask that it be removed from your state. Your children are depending on you.

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Hiding Tax Money Outside The Budget

The Heritage Foundation posted an article today about government-sponsored entities (GSEs). These organizations have an off-budget status (excludes them from federal budget rules and processes) which hides their real cost to taxpayers.

The article cites the example of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae:

The Treasury is keeping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the taxpayer-backed loan guarantee giants, off the federal budget.

How is this possible?

In 2008, the government took control of Fannie and Freddie and agreed to shield the entities from bankruptcy. Now that the country has recovered from that housing crisis, and money is coming back in through these government-sponsored entities (GSEs), their true cost remains hidden.

…It’s jaw-dropping that such massive flows of taxpayer money could be kept outside the federal budget. And as you can imagine, keeping that cash off the books distorts the overall budget picture.

Just for a start, the housing entities’ “profits paid to the Treasury in 2013 alone have resulted in federal spending and deficits being underreported by more than $100 billion,” says Boccia, the Grover M. Hermann Fellow.

This affects public perception of the deficit—and even lawmakers’ perceptions as they make plans to spend more in the coming year’s budget.

The obvious solution to this is to eliminate GSEs. They have become another way that Washington can control more taxpayer money without being held accountable.

There will be an election in November. All of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate will be up for re-election. Unless we elect people who will actually represent us and not become part of the Beltway establishment, we will be watching America descend into bankruptcy.

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A Vote That Needs To Happen

On Friday, the Military Times reported that this week the Senate will consider the repeal of the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) reductions included in the recent omnibus budget bill.

The article reports:

Majority leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has fast-tracked a bill drafted by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., setting a procedural vote for Monday that paves the way for a vote by mid-week.

The legislation, S 1963, would repeal the portion of the Bipartisan Budget Act that will reduce annual COLA increases by 1 percentage point for “working age” retirees, starting in late 2015.

The Senate Armed Services Committee had scheduled a hearing to consider Pryor’s bill the same evening; that markup has been canceled and the full Senate instead will vote on whether to debate the bill.

Previous attempts at repeal have been unsuccessful–blocked by Senator Harry Reid. It is interesting to me that Senator Mark Pryor is sponsoring the bill that Senator Reid is finally willing to consider. Senator Pryor is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents facing re-election in 2014. He voted for  ObamaCare and has generally supported President Obama’s policies. Recently he has attempted to distance himself from those policies.  He is being challenged for his seat by freshman Republican Representative Tom Cotton. The Democrats do not want to lose that seat, and having Senator Pryor sponsor this bill is one way to make him look good.

The article reports:

Numerous lawmakers have offered other proposals to offset the loss of savings. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., has proposed closing a tax loophole that allows undocumented workers to receive tax credits for their children.

As part of a broad, $30 billion veterans’ bill, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., proposed to pay for repealing the COLA caps by using wartime contingency funding.

Other legislators, both in the House and Senate, have introduced bills that would offset the cost of repeal by tightening regulations on U.S. companies that shelter funds in foreign tax havens; cutting Saturday postal service; blocking foreign aid to Egypt or Pakistan; and consolidating the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments’ prescription drug purchasing programs.

It will be interesting to see if the COLA caps are repealed and how that repeal is paid for. The COLA caps were the only cut in the omnibus spending bill. If they go away, Congress will have again succeeded in passing a budget without any actual budget cuts. This is what Democrats and establishment Republicans do. We need to vote all of them out of office.

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An Unjust Administration Creating An Unjust Justice Department

Today Townhall.com  is reporting:

Last month Maureen Faulker, the widow of murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, requested a chance to give testimony against President Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Her husband was killed in 1981 by former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of murder in 1982. Thirty years after the conviction, nominee Debo Adegbile voluntarily took up Abu-Jamal’s case and the cause in the name of race during his time as the head of NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley asked for Faulkner’s request to present testimony be granted, but Democrats have blocked her from doing so. The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote today on Adegbile’s nomination.

In January of this year, I posted a copy of the letter from the Fraternal Order of Police (rightwinggranny.com) regarding the appointment of Debo Adegbile. That letter explains why Mr. Adegbile is simply the wrong man for the job.

Mrs. Faulkner has written a letter to the Senate regarding the nomination. Her letter is posted at the Townhall.com link above. Please read the letter. If the Senate approves this nomination, it will be a slap in the face to all of the policemen in America. This appointment is a disgrace.

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Can We Just Replace Congress?

Yesterday the Washington Times posted an article about the farm bill that is making its way through Congress. Included in the bill is a fee (a fee as opposed to a tax?) of two-tenths of a cent on every gallon of home heating oil sold. Last week the farm bill passed the House of Representatives with a  bipartisan 251-166 vote.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune is reporting today that the Senate voted to close debate on a five-year farm bill late Monday afternoon paving way for its passage Tuesday.

The article at the Washington Times reported:

Lawmakers in the House and Senate sponsored bills to try to renew the National Oilheat Research Alliance, but the legislation got bottled up in committee. The farm bill offered them a chance to short-circuit the usual legislative process and avoid the kind of scrutiny that accompanies a stand-alone bill.

Indeed, it was not raised at all during the debate on the House floor last week.

Damn the consumer–full speed ahead! This Congress needs to be very quickly voted out of office!

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