The Problem With Walking Down The Middle Of The Road Is That You Tend To Get Run Over

Hot Air posted an article today about the New Hampshire Senate primary. It seems as if Eric Cantor‘s defeat might have been the beginning of a trend. Scott Brown has been seen as the favorite to be the New Hampshire Senate candidate, but things may not be that simple.

The article explains:

One of the candidates, Karen Testerman, has dropped out of the race and tossed her support to former Senator Bob Smith…

Ms. Testerman made the following statement:

It is time for all of us to put aside pride and focus on our greater GOAL, that of fighting for Family, Faith and Freedom. I will not force our principle-driven primary voters to make a self-defeating choice. After much prayer and consultation, I will step aside to allow Senator Bob Smith to be the ONLY conservative name on the primary ballot.…

Senator Smith has a well-earned reputation of standing firm for our conservative beliefs and values and for fighting Washington to stop their overreach. Bob Smith was TEA Party before it had a name.

Scott Brown is a good man, but he has never claimed to be a conservative. He won the special election in Massachusetts to become the Senator to replace Ted Kennedy for two reasons–first of all, the Democrats did not see him coming and did not mobilize, second of all, he knocked on almost every door in the commonwealth and ran as the fifty-first vote against ObamaCare. The fifty-first vote didn’t work out because the Massachusetts Secretary of State delayed seating him in the Senate long enough so that he didn’t get to vote on ObamaCare, but that was the intention. The second time Scott Brown ran in Massachusetts, the Democrats threw everything they could at him to make sure he didn’t win. He didn’t have the support of the Tea Party and was totally outspent and outmaneuvered.

The New Hampshire Tea Party conservatives have never been a fan of Scott Brown. It is not a surprise that they would support a more conservative candidate.

Candidates Forum In New Bern

Last Night I attended the Candidate Forum at the Stanly Hall Ballroom in New Bern, North Carolina. The forum was sponsored by the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association. The candidates attending included Republicans and Democrats running for office at various levels of government including the U. S. Senate the U. S. House of Representatives, the North Carolina Senate, the North Carolina House of Representatives, and various other state and county offices. It was a very informative night, and I encourage you if you live in an area that does candidate forums, to attend one–they are worth attending. On May 6th North Carolina voters will go to the polls to vote in a primary election. Many of the candidates for office have primary challenges. Be an informed voter.

It would take forever to detail what each candidate said, so I am going to simply list general impressions of a few candidates who stood out.

Greg Brannon is impressive. His off-the-cuff knowledge of the U.S. Constitution is inspiring. He is definitely ready for prime time. His answers to questions were clear and concise, and there was nothing he had to backtrack on as the questions continued. It was also interesting to see that some of the other candidates deferred to him on Constitutional questions. There were a number of candidates who made statements during the question and answer period that they had to backtrack on. I suspect they will be working on this before the election.

I was also impressed by Norm Sanderson and Michael Speciale. Norm Sanderson is serving is freshman term in the North Carolina Senate, and Michael Speciale is serving his freshman term in the North Carolina House. Both men had clear ideas on what needs to be done in North Carolina and clear plans for instituting those ideas.

I was also impressed by George Liner, running for Craven County Board of Commissioners. When asked a question about the Craven County tall structures laws and how they would protect people and property values from a wind farm, he was already aware of the potential problems that would arise. He seemed well prepared to hold the office if he is elected.

All of the candidates had an opportunity to state their reasons for running and their positions on various subjects. It was a very informative evening. As a new resident of this area, I learned a lot at the forum. It was very helpful to me to see the candidates and hear what they considered the major issues facing the state and local communities.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Reasonable Alternative To ObamaCare

Yesterday Forbes posted an article about the Coburn-Burr-Hatch (CBH) proposal called the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act.

The article reports:

CBH would repeal Obamacare, and replace it with a set of more market-oriented reforms. One key point right at the start: the authors “believe our proposal is roughly budget neutral over a decade.” That is to say, for all the reconfiguring it does to the health-care system, it doesn’t substantially reduce the deficit. It may modestly reduce the amount of federal spending and taxation. The Senate trio aims to have their proposal fiscally scored by an outside group of economists, most likely Doug Holtz-Eakin’s Center for Health and Economy.

The proposal includes a lot of aspects of ObamaCare that are popular, but it includes some common sense changes that will make ObamaCare much less of a burden on the American taxpayer. The proposal encourages tort reform, it makes changes to the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored coverage in order to subsidize policies for the uninsured.

Please follow the above link to the article to see the details. This proposal may be the first step to putting health care back in the hands of patients and doctors and taking it out of the hands of the government.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Things That Make Me Wonder

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about the indictment of Dinesh D’Souza, the producer of the documentary 2016: Obama’s America. Mr. D’Souza is being charged with allegedly pushing $20,000 in straw-man contributions into a Senate race in New York.

The US Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York released a statement that included the following:

The Indictment is the result of a routine review by the FBI of campaign filings with the FEC by various candidates after the 2012 election for United States Senator in New York. Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI.

This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Carrie H. Cohen and Rebecca Ricigliano are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This indictment raises a lot of questions in my mind. I don’t know whether Mr. D’Souza is guilty or innocent, but I would love to know how many other people were investigated by this group. It is also ironic that Mr. D’Souza is being investigated when there was no investigation of the security on the website for donations to President Obama’s campaign when the website disabled the programming that would have disallowed foreign contributions.

This appears to be more thuggery from the Obama Administration, but we shall see what happens next.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Roots–How We Got To Today

The government has reopened. I guess that is good news. But how did we get here, and are we headed here again in January? I am not a big fan of Michael Bloomberg, but even a blind squirrel finds an acorn occasionally.

Politicker.com reports today:

Washington lawmakers finally reached a deal to re-open the government just hours before the debt ceiling deadline, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t celebrating yet.

“All of what they’re talking about is simply kicking the can down the road,” Mr. Bloomberg told Politicker this afternoon.

The mayor was responding to a request for his take not long before Republican lawmakers had officially conceded their fight. But Mr. Bloomberg, sounding confident a short-term deal would be reached, predicted another standoff soon.

The Senate has not passed or negotiated a budget since 2009. The House of Representatives is supposed to pass appropriations bills, and the Senate is supposed to vote on them, with the eventual result of a federal budget. Since 2009, the federal government has been funded by continuing resolutions (CR‘s) that kept the spending at record-breaking levels. We have wondered away from the Constitution, and it is costing us financially and it is damaging our country.

The war about the budget represented a battle between those in power in Washington and the rest of us. The proposal from the Tea Party Republicans asked that everyone be treated equally under ObamaCare–even Congress and Congressional aids. The proposal from the Tea Party Republicans asked to delay ObamaCare for a year because of the problems with the website and the negative impact it is having on jobs and the economy. Both of those proposals would have helped average Americans. The resistance came from Democrats and establishment Republicans. Both groups need to be voted out of office.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why Ted Cruz Was Right

As the ObamaCare debate continues, today’s Washington Times had a very interesting piece of information about Congress and healthcare. The article reports that an internal Senate email warns Senators not to sign up for ObamaCare immediately because the health exchanges have not been completely set up yet.

The article quotes the email:

“Members and staff are advised that they should delay enrolling in health insurance plans until we are able to offer further guidance as to how they should enroll in these insurance plans for 2014,” the Senate disbursing office said in an email to staffers Monday. “Premature enrollment could adversely impact eligibility for the employer premium contribution.”

What about the rest of us–we are all supposed to be participating by next Tuesday?

The article further reports:

During the 2009 health care debate Congress approved language insisting that lawmakers and staffers in their personal offices will lose their federal health plans and must shop for plans on the exchanges — though last month’s ruling by the Office of Personnel Management said taxpayers will still continue to pay 72 percent of the premiums.

Republicans said that’s a benefit most Americans won’t get.

Congress is not supposed to be a protected class–they should be forced to live under the same law that the rest of us are required to follow.

This is just another reason ObamaCare should be stopped in its tracks before it totally destroys healthcare in America.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Two Perspectives On The Massachusetts Special Election

Yesterday Massachusetts voted for Ed Markey to replace John Kerry in the Senate. Massachusetts is a very blue state, so the results were not really a surprise, but as Scott Brown has proved, a Republican can win in Massachusetts. Scott Brown won one election. He didn’t win the second time he ran. The first time Scott Brown ran for the Senate he had the support of the Tea Party. Scott Brown made it very clear that he was not a conservative, but that he opposed ObamaCare, the issue of the day. The second time Scott Brown ran, he ran as sort of a generic independent and distanced himself from the Tea Party. He lost. Therein lies the lesson.

Michael Graham posted an article in the Boston Herald today about yesterday’s election.

Michael Graham reports:

The Gomez candidacy is the perfect reflection of the thinking of the failed Massachusetts Republican party leadership. Find a Republican who doesn’t like Republicans, make it someone with money to self-finance all the local consultants who need jobs, and — if possible — a woman or minority.

Have them run on the “I can’t wait to work with those great Democrats in D.C.” platform, spend as much time as possible criticizing the national GOP, and then ride that tide of independent voters to victory!

Gabriel Gomez met all those qualifications. And, as happened 99 times before, he lost.

DaTechGuy posted an article on his blog this morning that said pretty much the same thing in different words. He relates the events on the form of a fairy tale:

Once upon a time there was a political party in Massachusetts called the GOP that regularly lost elections for National office and that party had a choice to make.

For the 2nd time in four years they had a chance to face a Democrat after a tough primary race alone on a ballot without city counselors, town clerks,  governors counselors, ballots questions ,  state reps or senators that might have voters who supported them to help increase the Democrat party vote.

The last time this happened everyone, including the party expected to lose.  But the Tea Party base was energized, they volunteered in large numbers and they helped draw volunteers and funds from members of the GOP base nationwide.  Their candidate, with nothing to lose,  embraced that base and highlighted a single key issue that polled well among both the party and independents who made up the majority of the electorate in the campaign.

DaTechGuy points out that when Republican candidates alienate the Tea Party they lose. It’s not that the Tea Party is all that powerful, but the fact is that recently any enthusiasm and ideas in the Republican Party have come from the Tea Party.

The traditional Republican party has become part of the Washington establishment–they are more interested in holding on to power than representing the American people. There is very little difference between establishment Republicans and Democrats. The Tea Party is a direct threat to the Washington establishment–they want smaller government, lower taxes, transparency in government, etc. The Republican and Democrat parties represent themselves and the low-information voters who have no idea what is going on. As more Americans wake up to the direction our government is taking us, there will be fewer establishment candidates and more people who actually want to serve in office. Unless the establishment Republicans embrace the Tea Party, they will become a permanent minority party. As long as the Democrats have the unions and low-information voters, they will maintain their power in states like Massachusetts.

Enhanced by Zemanta

This Is A True Story

There is a special election in Massachusetts today to fill the Senate seat John Kerry vacated when he became Secretary of State. Someone I know took her children with her when she went to vote. They are very young children, and the poll worker said to them, “You’ll be able to vote when you are 21.” Think about that for a minute–that was a poll worker–shouldn’t she be aware of the voting age? It’s not only the voters who are unaware of what is going on–it’s the poll workers!

Enhanced by Zemanta

How To Lie With Statistics

This article has three sources–a Power Line article by John Hinderaker posted yesterday, a Hot Air post from yesterday, and a CNS News article from today. The subject of this article is the Congressional Budget Office report being hailed by supporters of the immigration bill as another reason to pass the bill. Not so fast.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is non-partisan. It is also required to base its report of the numbers given to it. This makes it fairly easy for Congress to scam the system. Since the CBO only scores a ten-year window, all Congress has to do is put the major expenses of the legislation being scored outside of that window. Thus the current immigration bill says that the newly legalized immigrants will not be eligible for any federal programs for ten years. Amazing coincidence that the period of ineligibility ends after ten years. Does anyone want to predict what will happen on the first day after the ten years is up and our government is flooded with applications for government aid?

The article at Power Line points out:

Behind these rather antiseptic observations lies a human tragedy: falling wages and rising unemployment for the very segment of American society that has struggled the most in recent years. On top of that, the nation’s welfare system will be severely strained. While newly-legalized immigrants will not immediately be eligible for federal welfare benefits, that does not apply at the state and local levels. Those welfare systems will be overwhelmed with millions of new claimants–the cost to be borne, of course, by the taxpayers.

CNS News reports:

However, the cost estimate of the legislation that was released on Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office says that the legislation would actually allow the flow of new illegal aliens into the United States to continue at a rate equal to 75 percent of the current rate of illegal immigration. This will be the case, in part, argues CBO, because of people who overstay temporary work visas that will be authorized by the bill.

This revelation that 75 percent of illegal immigration would continue if the Senate immigration reform proposal were enacted is included in a section of the report headlined, “Future Unauthorized Residents.” The section is on page 23 of the 63-page report.

So let’s get this straight. The current immigration bill would negatively impact wages of Americans, strain state welfare programs, hurt taxpayers, and only stop 25 percent of illegal immigration. So why in the world would we want to pass it?

Enhanced by Zemanta

If You Can’t Pass It In Congress, Go Around Them

Breitbart.com is reporting today that President Obama will sign the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on June 3.

The article reports:

This treaty is ostensibly aimed at putting an end to gun trafficking across international boundaries, and both Breitbart News and the NRA have argued that it will eventually require an international gun registry in order to be enforceable. 

The ATT also provides the executive branch of our government with broad powers for controlling which guns do and don’t come into the country, and includes ambiguous language that a gun-control-friendly administration can use to its advantage.

Even though Obama will sign this treaty, it is not enforceable in the U.S. until the Senate ratifies it by a two-thirds majority.

America is one of the few functioning republics in the world. Part of our freedom rests on the citizens’ ability to own guns under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

If Americans choose to retain their freedom, they need to speak out against those bills and treaties that work against the Constitution. Since President Obama was not able to push gun control legislature through Congress, he is doing an end run around Congress via this United Nations treaty. Please call your Senator and tell him (or her) not to support this treaty–it will not stop international arms trade–it will only take guns away from law-abiding Americans.

Enhanced by Zemanta

All Politics Is Local

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill is credited with the quote “All politics is local.” I will admit to having a tendency not to follow local politics, but tonight there was a local political event that was a tribute to both the Democrat and Republican parties.

Tonight was Plainville Candidates Night. The event was sponsored by the Plainville Democratic and Republican Town Committees and was a shining example of successful bi-partisanship.

Representatives for two of the Republican candidates for the U. S. Senate seat spoke at the meeting. Bill Rivers, who represented Michael Sullivan, emphasized Michael Sullivan’s experience as the Plymouth Country District Attorney, U. S. Attorney and with the ATF.  Mr. Rivers pointed out that Michael Sullivan had prosecuted both the shoe bomber and and former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Tom Finneran. Michael Sullivan is tough on crime, and while a U. S. Attorney started a bureau to investigate healthcare fraud. The economy and jobs are his primary issue, and he supports a balanced budget.

Dan Winslow was represented by Justin Henson. Dan Winslow currently serves in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Representative Winslow has served as a Wrentham district judge and as chief legal counsel for Governor Romney. Representative Winslow has been endorsed by Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation. He supports revising the tax code and lowering tax rates. Representative Winslow supports the Second Amendment and has an A+ rating from the Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL) in Massachusetts.

The evening continued with local candidates–some running unopposed and some running opposed. The evening culminated with the four candidates for the Board of Selectmen–Andrea Soucy, Mark Blinten, Clinton Crocker, and John Mutascio. The final question to each candidate was, “Why You?” There were four distinct answers:

Andrea Soucy–‘Institutional Memory’–experience in negotiating for the town, “knows where the bodies are buried”–knows the organizations in town.

Mark Blinten–young person with new thoughts and new outlooks that could be beneficial–change can be a good thing–wants to bring community together–town needs fresh ideas and new opportunities.

Clinton Crocker–read recommendations and evaluations from two former Wood School principals–interacts and communicates effectively.

John Mutascio–has worked in town and met many residents–volunteered in Plainville–served on the Planning Board for more than a year.

Candidates night was recorded for Cable TV and will be broadcast on Plainville’s local access cable channel. If you are a resident of the town, I strongly suggest you watch the program to learn more about the candidates.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

It Isn’t Legally Binding–But It Was A Good Vote

Yesterday Politico reported on a vote taken in the U. S. Senate to endorse the Keystone XL pipeline. The vote, 62-37, is symbolic, but it does put pressure on President Obama to approve the pipeline.

The article states:

Senators also resoundingly defeated, 33-66, an amendment from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) that called for “expeditiously analyzing and making decisions” on the pipeline project. Boxer’s proposal included a long list of criteria for the review, including whether the pipeline would increase oil prices, use materials not manufactured in the U.S., affect individual property rights and otherwise “adversely [affect] job creation” and national security.

“Both of these votes make it very clear that the Senate will approve this project if the president doesn’t,” Hoeven (R-N.D.) boasted to reporters afterward.

The vote is non-binding, but the article notes that the 62-37 vote is filibuster-proof.

The article also reminds us:

Republicans marked the anniversary (the one-year anniversary of Obama’s speech at a TransCanada pipe storage yard near Cushing, Okla., where he called for making it a “priority” to expedite approval of Keystone XL’s southern leg) by poking Obama for failing to approve Keystone’s northern portion, which would bring crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands into the U.S.

“If you recall, the president held a photo op last year to tout his support for the southern part of that pipeline,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a video his office released Friday morning. “The only problem was that section didn’t need his approval. He had nothing to do with it.”

At least some Democrats are willing to put jobs and the American economy above party politics.

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.

Enhanced by Zemanta

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

Jim DeMint Will Resign From The Senate In January

The following is a press release from the Office of Senator Jim DeMint. It was released today:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) announced that he will leave the Senate at the beginning of January to become the next president of The Heritage Foundation, the largest and most respected conservative think tank in America.

“It’s been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in United States Senate for the past eight years, but now it’s time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America’s future.

“I’m leaving the Senate now, but I’m not leaving the fight. I’ve decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas. No organization is better equipped to lead this fight and I believe my experience in public office as well as in the private sector as a business owner will help Heritage become even more effective in the years to come.

“I’m humbled to follow in the footsteps of Ed Feulner, who built the most important conservative institution in the nation. He has been a friend and mentor for years and I am honored to carry on his legacy of fighting for freedom.

“My constituents know that being a Senator was never going to be my career. I came to Congress as a citizen legislator and I’ve always been determined to leave it as citizen legislator. South Carolina has a deep bench of conservative leaders and I know Governor Haley will select a great replacement.

“One of the most rewarding things I’ve done in the Senate is work with the grassroots to help elect a new generation of leaders who have the courage to fight for the principles of freedom that make this country so great. I’m confident these senators will continue the legacy of conservative leaders before them.”

Jim DeMint was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998 after owning a successful advertising and market research company for twenty years. DeMint left the House after limiting himself to three terms and then was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2010.

During his time in office, DeMint has been tireless advocate for Americans taxpayers. His goal has been to support and defend the Constitution, which was written to preserve liberty by restraining the federal government. Toward that end, he authored legislation to balance the budget, ban earmarks, replace the tax code, and reform our entitlement programs. He also led the fight against unconstitutional power grabs like the Wall Street bailout and Obamacare.

This is wonderful news for the Heritage Foundation and sad news for the Senate. Jim DeMint has been an honest representative of conservative values during the time he has served in Congress. Jim DeMint was first elected to the the House of Representatives in 1998 and was elected to the Senate in 2004.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why I Voted For Scott Brown

I not only voted for Scott Brown–last night I attended his hometown rally in Wrentham, MA. There were about a thousand people there.

I am a conservative. Some of my views on issues are not in agreement with some of Scott Brown’s votes. So why did I vote for him? Before Scott Brown was my U. S. Senator, he was the Massachusetts Senator from my district. I am also friends of some of the clients he helped when he practiced law in Massachusetts. I am also aware of his work on behalf of the fishing industry in Massachusetts.

Scott Brown is an honest, hard-working man. He loves America and wants to see all Americans prosper. We need him as our Senator in Washington.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Two Treaties To Watch In The Senate

There are two treaties coming up for a vote in the Senate in the near future. The first is the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty. That treaty is expected to be finalized by July 27.

On Wednesday, an article in the Washington Times detailed some of the details of the treaty:

The criteria that arms should not be used to “prolong” or “aggravate” instability is troubling. China could use such a provision to label U.S. arms sales to Taiwan as a violation of international law. In 1941, such a treaty would have made illegal the U.S. lend-lease program to aid Britain before Pearl Harbor.

The implication is absurd: If giving arms to an ally fighting a tyrant prolongs the conflict, the only “legal” option for the ally is to surrender.

Another problem is the draft’s invocation of “international human rights law.” Unfortunately, liberal activists often claim that strict gun control is a “human right.” This reference, then, could be interpreted in ways that infringe on Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms.

Why should we care what some U.N. treaty says? Just ignore it, you say, because our Constitution trumps everything. Well, not if the U.S. signs and the Senate ratifies it. At that point, the treaty carries the weight of U.S. domestic law.

The second treaty coming to the Senate is the Law Of The Sea Treaty (appropriately called LOST). Forbes Magazine posted an article about both treaties on Tuesday.

In discussing the LOST treaty, the article states:

Then there’s the currently proposed, Obama-endorsed, Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) which would subordinate U.S. naval and drilling operations beyond 200 miles of our coast to a newly established U.N. bureaucracy. If ratified by Congress, it will grant a Kingston, Jamaica-based International Seabed Authority (ISA) the power to regulate deep-sea oil exploration, seabed mining, and fishing rights. As part of the deal, as much as 7% of U.S. government revenue collected from oil and gas companies operating off our coast will be forked over to ISA for redistribution to poorer, landlocked countries.

The U.S. would have one vote out of 160 regarding where the money would go, and be obligated to hand over offshore drilling technology to any nation that wants it… for free. And who are those lucky international recipients? They will most likely include such undemocratic, despotic and brutal governments as Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe…all current voting members of LOST.

Does either one of these treaties represent the country you want your children to inherit? Is American sovereignty important to you? The Senate switchboard telephone number is 202-224-3121. If you believe in upholding the Second Amendment of the Constitution and if you believe America should be able to control its own offshore waters, please call your Senator and ask him to vote against both of these treaties.

Enhanced by Zemanta

How Much Are We Actually Spending On Food Stamps ?

The chart below was posted yesterday at Power Line Blog:

The chart was posted as part of an article on recent Congressional activity regarding the Food Stamps Program. Power Line reports:

So Senator Jeff Sessions tried to introduce a minimal amount of fiscal discipline into the food stamp program by offering amendments that incorporated two basic reforms: 1) preventing states from waiving federal eligibility requirements for the program, and 2) eliminating the bonuses that the federal government now pays to states that deliberately swell the ranks of food stamp recipients. Given that the federal government pays 100% of the program’s cost, such bonuses create perverse incentives in the states, with predictable consequences. And at least 28 states have no limit whatsoever on the financial assets a household can have, and still qualify for food stamps.

One might think that a government running trillion-dollar-plus annual deficits would take common-sense reforms like those proposed by Senator Sessions to heart, but no: the Democrats voted them down. The prefer the irresponsible, free-spending status quo.

Technically the House of Representatives is supposed to be in charge of spending, but unfortunately, the Senate is so totally out of control, there is no hope for slowing the runaway spending. The Democrats in the Senate have refused to pass a budget for more than 1000 days. It’s time for a new Senate.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Two Different Opinions On A Treaty

Yesterday Politico posted an article by Senator John Kerry giving his views on why America needs to ratify the Law of The Sea Treaty (LOST). On Monday, the Center for Security Policy posted an article on why America should not ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty. I suggest you read both and then draw your own conclusions.

There are, however, a few things I would like to point out. This treaty has been kicking around since the 1980’s when President Reagan strongly opposed it because of its negative impact on American sovereignty.

Some basic problems with the LOST treaty (aptly named):

 “Article 81 of the treaty would require the US. and all nations to pay a
 portion of royalties from the use of the sea’s natural resources to the
 International Seabed Authority in Kingston, Jamaica. If ratified this
 nation would be required to transfer part of any royalties realized from
 the drilling of oil resources found on the U.S. continental shelf —
 defined as 200 nautical miles or more from shore — for redistribution to
 poorer, landlocked countries. This could amount to billions of dollars.”

The treaty would give a U.N. body veto power over the use of U.S. territorial
water and to which we’d be required to give half of our offshore oil
revenue to third world countries.”

I don’t claim to be unbiased in this discussion, but there are a few obvious things going on here. This is an election year. There is a very good chance that the Senate that would  be voting on the LOST treaty will not be the same Senate that will be in Washington in January. Why is the Senate voting on this now? It is not a time-sensitive issue and should not be voted on in what will most certainly be a lame-duck Senate. There is also a strong possibility that as Americans make plans for their summer vacations, they are not paying attention to what is going on in Washington. This is the Senate equivalent of the Friday afternoon document dump–the Senate wants to do this while no one is looking.

This treaty needs to be voted down. Hopefully, the Senators in Congress will realize that.

Enhanced by Zemanta

An Election Year Is No Excuse To Avoid Doing Your Job

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday on the progress of the Senate in producing a budget. The Senate is legally required to pass a budget by April 15th, but is not at all interested in doing so. Why? Because it is an election year, and Democrat Senators (who hold the majority) do not want to go on the record as supporting anything.

Outgoing Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad announced that his committee would be marking up a budget, but his efforts were shut down by Harry Reid.

Power Line reports:

Then, earlier this afternoon, Conrad gave a press conference in which he made the stunning announcement that there will be no budget markup after all. Instead, he will present a budget to the Budget Committee tomorrow. There will be no amendments and there will be no votes; not, at least, until after the election. Apparently Conrad had been proceeding on his own initiative, and at the 11th hour Harry Reid–supported by members of his caucus who do not want to have to go on record in favor of any budget–shut down the process.

Whoops!

The article further reports:

The content of Conrad’s budget is almost an afterthought, but it may be even worse than President Obama’s. It includes zero spending cuts from the existing baseline and increases taxes by $2.6 trillion, $700 billion more than Obama’s budget. Under Conrad’s budget, the federal debt (granting all assumptions underlying the calculations) would increase by $7 trillion.

A Daily Caller article posted today tells what happens next: 

Without a formal budget process, the 2013 budget will be prepared in a closed-door, end-of-year conference meeting of Senate and House leaders.

It’s time to elect people to Congress who care more about the country than their own political futures.

 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Defeating The Keystone Pipeline (Again)

Yesterday Politico reported on the vote in the Senate opposing a highway bill that would have allowed the Keystone Pipeline to move forward. The vote was 56-42. The 56 vote supported the Pipeline, but 60 votes were needed to break the filibuster.

President Obama had strongly lobbied the Senate to vote against the measure.

The article reports:

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) wryly congratulated Obama on his lobbying efforts.

“That was very strong work by President Obama himself, making personal calls to Democrats,” Lugar said. “He understood that a majority of the American public and a majority at least of the Senate are strongly in favor of this project.

“So I suppose you give credit to the president for once again blocking something, but I don’t think the president really wants to do that indefinitely,” he added.

“We got a majority in the Senate,” said amendment sponsor Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who noted that two senators — Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) — were absent. “So we would have had 58 votes had all Republicans been able to be here.”

The fact that this vote was taken has a lot to do with election year politics, but it also has a lot to do with America’s energy independence. As Iran continues to threaten to close the Strait of Hormuz, we need to consider our energy needs and how to meet them without Middle Eastern oil. Alternative energy is not yet sufficiently developed to be a viable substitute.

I have no doubt that there will be more votes on the Pipeline as the November election approaches.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Great Idea That Will Probably Die In The Senate

On Friday, the Daily Caller reported that Harry Reid told reporters that the Senate would not pass a budget this year. Senator Reid did not feel a budget was necessary because he felt that the debt-ceiling agreement already covered that. Never mind that the Senate is constitutionally required to pass a budget.

To add to the confusion, CNS News reported on Friday that the House of Representatives has now passed a bill to eliminate baseline budgeting. Baseline budgeting is the practice that allows Congress to claim it is cutting the budget while it continues to increase spending. This is done by assuming every government agency will have a certain percentage increase every year. If the amount of that increase is cut, it is a considered a spending cut, even though the agency got an actual increase in the amount it could spend. For example, let’s say the Department of Education spent $100 this year. Next year they would automatically get $110. If Congress cut the budget and they were only given $105, that would be considered a budget cut, even though their budget grew.

That is baseline budgeting. That is what the House of Representatives voted to end on Friday. Is anyone willing to make a bet on how far this bill will get in the Senate?

Enhanced by Zemanta

It’s Been One Thousand Days

John Hinderaker at Power LIne reminds us today that it has been 1,000 days since the United States Senate passed a budget. This is a violation of federal law.

The article reports:

Since the Democrats last passed a budget, just three months into the Obama administration, the federal government has spent $9.4 trillion and added $4.1 trillion to the national debt. The current fiscal year will be the fourth in a row in which the Obama administration racks up a $1 trillion-plus deficit.

If the Senate Democrats can’t do their job (as required by federal law), they need to be replaced. The claims that the Democrats have not passed a budget because the Republicans would filibuster it are false–under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, budgets pass the Senate by a simple majority and cannot be filibustered. As usual, yesterday President Obama announced that he will not meet the statutory deadline to submit his budget to Congress–again. The last budget he submitted to the Senate was voted down 97-0. I think he (and the Senate) can do better than that.

Meanwhile, the out-of-control spending continues.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Two Good Things Happening In The Senate

Scott Brown was elected as Senator from Massachusetts in a special election in January of 2010, after the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. I tend to be somewhat more conservative than Senator Brown and have disagreed with him on some of his votes, but I think he is a man of integrity who is trying to do what is best for the country and for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is responsible for two good things that happened in the Senate this week.

On his facebook page, Senator Brown reports:

On 12/14/11 the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs passed Senator Brown’s revised STOCK Act, which would prohibit insider trading in Congress.

I have no idea what is in the revised bill, but it is an accomplishment to get it out of committee. Thomas.gov should have the revisions up tomorrow.

The second good thing is a Press Release Scott Brown released on December 13. In part, the Press Release reads:

Washington, DC – Following a series of major electric outages that have left millions of New Englanders without power in recent years, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators from the region today, including Senator Scott Brown (R-MA),  called for a hearing to review our nation’s electric grid reliability standards.  In a letter to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senators highlighted the fact that power outages not only pose a threat to public safety, but also to local businesses and economies.

As an example, the Senators pointed to last month’s New England snowstorm that left more than 2 million utility customers without power, including 672,000 in Massachusetts, 315,000 in New Hampshire and 830,000 in Connecticut.

“This year, Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm caused hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents to lose power for days or weeks, often with little information about when the lights would turn back on,” said U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA).  “I share their frustration and, as we have learned, a reliable power grid is not just critical to our economy, but a matter of life and death.  I hope the Committee will hold this oversight hearing to reveal the extent of our energy reliability issues, and help our nation be better prepared for major disruptions to our power supply.”

“Power outages can have significant consequences, even life-threatening ones when they come during the brutal cold of winter.  Families can be forced out of their homes and businesses forced to close unexpectedly,” said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  “Unfortunately, over the past two years, significant and sustained outages have been occurring across New England with unacceptable regularity.  Our electric grid reliability standards are designed to protect the welfare of the American people and the American economy, and it’s time that we review their effectiveness and adequacy.”

“This hearing can be highly significant, not only in fact finding but change making,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).  “An oversight hearing should enable us to explore and expose defects in utility preparation and response, and empower reforms in policies and practices at every level.  The prolonged power outages from this past October’s storm had real and pernicious consequences for the economy, health, and safety of Connecticut residents.  An oversight hearing is essential to upgrade our reliability standards as well as improve Mutual Aid Agreements, so that states can protect against similar catastrophes.”

There is another issue here. An organization called EMPact America has been trying to wake Americans up to the dangers of an Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

The EMPact America website reports:

An EMP can be caused by a natural event like a severe solar storm or a malicious act using a weapon like a high-altitude nuclear burst. National experts have concluded that consequences of a natural or manmade EMP event could be long-lasting, continent-wide and cripple the U.S. critical electricity-dependent infrastructures, which are highly vulnerable and largely unprotected.

On a personal note. I have been aware of the potential of an EMP attack for a number of years. As I have previously stated on this website, I am not particularly scientifically inclined and not always totally logical. Before I retired, I worked about 20 miles from my home, I knew that in the case of an EMP attack my car would not work and I would want to get home if I was at work. Since I generally wore high heels to work, I always kept a pair of jogging shoes in the trunk of my car. That was my security blanket. I felt very secure until my husband pointed out to me that after an EMP attack I would have no way of getting into my trunk–it has an electronic latch. That is an example of one of the little things that would not work after an EMP attack.

Shielding the electric grid is not an expensive proposition. It needs to be done to protect the people of America. I am grateful Senator Brown is calling for hearings on the reliability of our power grid.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Moving The Goalposts In The Middle Of The Game

The United States Supreme Court.

Image via Wikipedia

Something important happened in the United States Senate last night. It may not be earth-shaking right now, but it could be extremely important in the coming year. Heritage.org posted the story late last night. The bottom line is that Harry Reid blocked a vote on President Obama’s jobs bill. That is not really news–the news is the way he went about blocking the bill.

The article reports the events that actually began the change in the Senate rules:

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had pledged to offer an unchanged version of the President’s American Jobs Act as an amendment to the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Bill (S. 1619). Reid stopped a vote on the President’s so called jobs bill by filling the amendment tree.  Last year I wrote about Reid’s obstructionism and argued that Reid’s strong arm tactics by constantly filling the amendment tree as a means to block out all amendments were against the spirit and letter of the Senate’s rules.

The article further reports:

The maneuver is arcane but momentous. If a simple majority of the Senate votes with Reid and strikes down the ruling, the chamber’s precedent will be changed through the unilateral action of one party. Republicans had considered using this maneuver, dubbed the “nuclear option,” in 2005 to change Senate rules to prohibit the filibuster of judicial nominees. Democrats decried the plan and the crisis was resolved by a bipartisan agreement forged by 14 rank-and-file senators known as the Gang of 14.

This maneuver severely limits any input the minority party will have on bills brought before the Senate. I am sure there will be a lot of discussion about this move on talk radio today. In view of current events, this is a major step, but there is another aspect of this I would like to look at.

Sometime during this session of the United States Supreme Court, Obamacare will be discussed. As the Court stands right now, the decision could go either way–the deciding vote will be Justice Kennedy. If he votes to uphold Obamacare, he will have to explain why it is constitutional for the government to require every citizen to purchase health insurance. Let’s just suppose for a minute that filibusters of judicial nominees are no longer allowed in the Senate and Justice Kennedy steps down. The Obama Administration will nominate a judge who will support Obamacare and we will be stuck with national health care.

I understand that this scenario seems farfetched, but the left side of the political spectrum is rather desperate right now, and unfortunately, the left plans ahead better than the right does.