Even Uninformed Voters Won’t Believe These Statements

Yesterday the Washington Free Beacon posted a video showing Democrat’s recent statements about the security of our southern border. The video is also found at YouTube.

The fact that Washington is not effectively handling the border crisis is bad enough, but do they have to insult our intelligence in the process?

A Rather Weak Resume´

Victor Davis Hanson posted an article at National Review today which sums up the presidency of Barack Obama. The article is simply entitled, “ Don’t Mess with Messiahs.  Whenever things go wrong, it’s the fault of those obstructionists in Congress.

The article describes the President’s latest whine:

In Obama’s most recent — and embarrassing — public whine, he lashed out at the once-obsequious press. In his now customary first-person I/me/my/mine lament (e.g., “They don’t do anything, except block me and call me names. . . . If they were more interested in growing the economy for you and the issues that you are talking about instead of trying to mess with me, we would be doing a lot better. . . . The critics, the cynics in Washington, they’ve written me off more times than I can count.”), he lambasted the partisan culture of Washington. He lashed out at the Tea Party, the House Republicans, his opponents in general, and all those who would unreasonably oppose his blanket amnesties, his climate-change taxes and regulations, the shutdown of the Keystone-pipeline project, Obamacare, and $9 trillion in new debt.

Mr. Hanson points out that President Obama acts as though he was not in charge when the VA scandal occurred, the IRS scandal occurred, Benghazi was overrun, and the Middle East imploded. Who, then, is running the show?

As it becomes more obvious that President Obama’s economic policies are not working, he seems inclined to continue them.

The article points out:

…Yet the administration’s reaction seems to be more deficit spending, more zero interest rates, more regulations, more restrictions on new energy development, and more class-warfare rhetoric.

Again, the message seems to be something like, “One way or another we are going to grow government, broaden the progressive base, increase the number of Americans on entitlements, raise taxes, cheapen the value of money, run up deficits, pile up regulations — and let you nitpickers worry about the high unemployment, sinking GDP, and declining household income.” The point is not to find the best way to help ordinary Americans, but to find a way to ram through a progressive economic agenda without much concern over whether it works or makes things worse.

Hang on to your hats–this President does not seem to learn from his mistakes.

The Initial Case Against The Internal Revenue Service

As the investigation into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues and the Democrats continue to obstruct the investigation, there is one part of the investigation that is finished.

Scott Johnston at Power Line reported yesterday that under a consent judgment entered earlier this week, the IRS agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). The IRS released the donor list of NOM to a gay rights group that opposed the legislation NOM was supporting.

The article reports:

NOM’s statement on the settlement is posted here. The statement quotes NOM chairman John Eastman: “In the beginning, the government claimed that the IRS had done nothing wrong and that NOM itself must have released our confidential information. Thanks to a lot of hard work, we’ve forced the IRS to admit that they in fact were the ones to break the law and wrongfully released this confidential information.” Hmmmm.

That sounds strangely similar to what is happening in Washington in the investigation of the IRS’s targeting of the Tea Party.

The article at Power Line concludes:

Reminder: The charge that Richard Nixon “endeavored” to misuse the IRS made its way into the second of the three articles of impeachment voted against him by the House Judiciary Committee. Nixon’s efforts to misuse the IRS were futile. They went nowhere. Nixon and his henchmen desired the IRS to “screw” their political opponents, but their efforts were a pathetic failure.

Nixon henchman Jack Caulfield astutely complained that the IRS was a “monstrous bureaucracy…dominated and controlled by Democrats.” As we have come to see, Caulfield was on to something. By contrast with Nixon’s failures to misuse the IRS, the IRS has very effectively “screwed” Obama’s political opponents, and we have yet to learn what the president knew and when he knew it.

Why Voter Education Is Important

The Corner at National Review posted a picture of the flier that Thad Cochran passed out before the Mississippi Republican primary election.

This is the picture:

aaaaaaaathadcochranI am ashamed that a Republican ran this sort of campaign. However, this campaign would have been much less effective on an educated voter base. In the end, the voters are responsible for who they send to Washington. As much as I hate to see Harry Reid stay in power, I hope Senator Cochran loses in the general election. This is a disgrace. It is also a reason conservative Republicans should stop giving money to the Republican Party, but only donate to individual candidates.

The Democrats have branded the Tea Party as racist as a way to undermine the message of smaller government and lower taxes. It is a shame that some establishment Republicans have chosen to echo that message. The Tea Party represents the only hope of change in Washington. That is why the political class is so opposed to their message.

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.

At Least Some Of The Republicans Are Listening

The defeat of Eric Cantor this week in a primary election in Virginia sent shock waves through the Republican leadership. It should have. The message was clear. Listen to your constituents or be voted out of office. However, the Washington establishment has forgotten how to listen.

The Hill posted an article today announcing that Representative Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) was running to replace the defeated Representative Eric Cantor (R-Va.) as House Majority Leader. The establishment Republican candidate is Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), currently the majority whip.

The article reports:

Labrador received support for his late-breaking bid Friday from a fellow conservative stalwart. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.).

In his endorsement, Amash said he could think of “no one more qualified to be our next leader” than Labrador. He also took aim at GOP leadership, arguing that Cantor’s stunning loss should be a lesson in caution for anyone eager to simply move McCarthy up the ladder.

“Washington Republicans can bury what happened last Tuesday with piles of excuses. But if they view Tuesday as an anomaly, they do so at their own peril,” he said. “We can’t respond to a stunning loss by giving a pat on the back and promotion to the same team. It’s time for someone new, someone conservative.”

Amash has repeatedly split with party leaders on a host of legislative issues, and is currently facing a primary challenger who has been boosted by business groups seeking to oust him.

This will be a test for the Republican party. The Tea Party (and the conservative movement) are not dead. Republicans and many Democrats are tired of Washington spying on them, intruding into their lives, and passing legislation that lowers their standard of living. The guilt falls on elements of both parties.

If you are tired of the non-listening establishment that has been running Washington lately, call your Republican house member and let him know that the promotion of the ‘next in line’ is not a good idea. It’s time for new people and new ideas.

 

The People vs. The Establishment

The internet is abuzz this morning with interpretations and hand wringing over Eric Cantor‘s defeat in the Virginia primary.

The Washington Examiner reports:

One House Republican, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Cantor’s loss was a “big win” for President Obama because it could empower the more hardline elements in the GOP and damage the effort on the part of some Republicans to broaden the party’s appeal to cross ethnic and gender lines. Cantor lost to college professor Dave Brat, who campaigned as an anti-immigration reform candidate and affiliated with activists and talk radio hosts who identify with the Tea Party.

I don’t see this as a win for President Obama–I see it as a win for people who are disgusted with ‘business as usual’ in Washington. Since when do we call people who believe in the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment radicals? I think our founding fathers would turn over in their graves if they saw what has happened to the nation they birthed.

Elections are the way Americans can express their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with their leaders. I think the Americans in Eric Cantor’s district just made their opinion very clear.

It Just Gets Worse

Yahoo News has posted an article today reporting that the five terrorists that were released from Guantanamo to Qatar have been moved to a residential community and will be allowed to move freely around the country. There is a one-year ban imposed on the terrorists that will theoretically prevent them from traveling outside the country. How long will it be before they make internet contact with their friends and resume terrorists activities?

The article reports:

Following the deal under which freed the last American soldier held in Afghanistan was freed, concerns have been expressed by some U.S. intelligence officials and congressional advisers over the role of the Gulf Arab state as a bridge between Washington and the world of radical Islam.

The Gulf official said the Taliban men, who have been granted Qatari residency permits, will not be treated like prisoners while in Doha and no U.S. officials will be involved in monitoring their movement while in the country.

“Under the deal they have to stay in Qatar for a year and then they will be allowed to travel outside the country… They can go back to Afghanistan if they want to,” the official said.

The more we learn about this deal, the worse it gets.

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Why The Freedom Of Information Act Is Important

Judicial Watch is an organization that has held both Democrat and Republican politicians accountable to the people who voted for them. One of their best weapons used to hold politicians accountable is the Freedom of Information Act. Even when the press has walked away from a story, Judicial Watch keeps looking for information. In the case of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Scandal, their tenacity has paid off.

The Daily Caller is reporting today that Judicial Watch has obtained emails showing that Democrat Senator Carl Levin pressured the IRS to target conservative groups.

The article reports:

Levin, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ permanent subcommittee on investigations, wrote a March 30, 2012 letter to then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman discussing the “urgency” of the issue of possible political activity by nonprofit applicants. Levin asked if the IRS was sending out additional information requests to applicant groups and citing an IRS rejection letter to a conservative group as an example of how the IRS should be conducting its business.

The article reports that the IRS targeting is easily traceable to Washington, D.C.:

IRS official Holly Paz wrote a July 6, 2010 email to Washington-based IRS lawyer Steven Grodnitzky “to let Cindy and Sharon know how we have been handling Tea Party applications in the last few months.” Grodnitzky replied to the email, confirming that the Washington-based Exempt Organization Technical unit (EOT) was designing the targeting in the nation’s capital.

“EOT is working the Tea party applications in coordination with Cincy. We are developing a few applications here in DC and providing copies of our development letters with the agent to use as examples in the development of their cases,” Grodnitzky wrote.

“Chip Hull [another lawyer in IRS headquarters] is working these cases in EOT and working with the agent in Cincy, so any communication should include him as well. Because the Tea party applications are the subject of an SCR [Sensitive Case Report], we cannot resolve any of the cases without coordinating with Rob,” Grodnitzky wrote.

“Rob” is believed to be then-IRS director of rulings and agreements Rob Choi, who was based at the agency’s Washington headquarters, according to Judicial Watch.

This use of the IRS for political purposes by whichever party is in power will continue unless it is stopped in its tracks now. I strongly recommend that you email your Representative and your Senators and tell them that you want those who used the IRS for political purposes held accountable. Otherwise, this will be the new normal.

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After A While, You Have To Wonder If This Is Intentional

Yesterday, the Daily Caller reported that one of the taxes in ObamaCare will result in the loss of between 152,000 and 286,000 jobs by 2023. The tax is the health insurance tax which charges insurance companies according to their percentage of the insurance market — the more health plans sold (Obamacare’s goal), the more insurers are required to pay.

The tax will actually impact small businesses, raising their insurance costs. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) estimates that 57 percent of the jobs lost will be in companies with less than 500 employees. Small business is the backbone of the American economy, the economic policies of the Obama Administration are undermining the strength of our economy.

The article reports:

The federal government expects to collect $8 billion from the tax in 2014, $11.3 billion in 2015, with the pot growing to $14.3 billion by 2018. While the Obama administration may have intended for the tax to take a hit at insurers’ profits, the cost of the tax will likely be passed along to those purchasing the plans — which in the vast majority of cases are employers.

The American Action Forum, a Washington-based free-market think tank, estimates that the health insurance tax will add $101 onto customers’ premiums in 2014 and $143 in 2015 and 2016.

ObamaCare is not good for Americans, and it is not good for the American economy. We need to elect people in November who are willing to repeal it. There are ideas in ObamaCare that can be included in new healthcare programs, but ObamaCare has to go.

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A Caution To Conservatives

William F. Buckley is said to have stated that Conservatives should ‘support the most viable conservative candidate.’ That’s a very important statement.

The exact quote:

“The wisest choice would be the one who would win. No sense running Mona Lisa in a beauty contest. I’d be for the most right, viable candidate who could win.”
-William F. Buckley Jr.

Right now there are two parties in Washington–the first is composed of the Democrats and the establishment Republicans, and the second is composed of the conservatives who have been elected since 2010. The 2014 mid-terms are important. They will determine whether the Democrats and establishment Republicans continue their tax and spend ways or if fiscal sanity makes an appearance.

Many Republican candidates who have been in office for a while are being challenged for the first time in primary campaigns by more conservative candidates. There is nothing wrong with the fact that establishment candidates are being challenged, but I have a word of caution.

In a world of instant news, cell phones that record and take pictures, twitter and facebook, candidates need to be more disciplined than they ever have been. Because the opposition is more than willing to take any comment out of context and twist words, candidates need to adhere to a specific group of lukewarm comments in order to get elected. I am not suggesting that candidates lie or misrepresent themselves, but I am saying that discipline on the part of the candidates will be crucial to this election.

Primary elections are important. You can judge a candidate by the way he runs his primary campaign–does he speak without thinking, does he make statements that cause him to have to  backtrack, is he respectful of the people who come out to hear him and eventually support him?

My advice to conservatives is simple–make sure your candidates are ready for prime time. Otherwise, you will be wasting money and time and accomplishing nothing.

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When Cuts Aren’t Cuts

The CATO Institute posted an article yesterday about Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal.

The article included this chart which tracks spending in the coming years under Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposed budget:

The chart below compares Paul Ryan’s budget against the CBO projections of the federal budget:

Notice that there are no actual spending cuts in Paul Ryan’s budget–it simply represents a slower rate of growth.

The article reports:

Chairman Ryan’s budget would spend $42.6 trillion over the next ten years. Opponents will say that Ryan’s budget slashes federal spending, while supporters will say that it includes large budgetary savings. The reality is that Ryan’s budget would increase spending at an annual average rate of 3.5 percent, or from $3.54 trillion in 2014 to $5.0 trillion in 2024. Only in Washington would that be considered substantial restraint, let alone slashing.

Until we change the culture of Washington, we can expect to see Congress drive America into bankruptcy. If you want to see change, you need to change the people you vote for. Continually voting for the people who keep spending high will not result in lower spending.  Most of the establishment Republicans (as well as the Democrats) have forgotten their promises to cut spending. Those Republicans need to be replaced by people who will remember their promises.

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The Discussion About Common Core Continues

Today I attended a public meeting of a joint legislative committee in North Carolina that is studying Common Core and will likely make recommendations on its implementation in the state. The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a set of standards for K-12 in English and Math. It will later include Science and Social Studies. It is a top down program coming from Washington, D.C., that is copyrighted and not tailored to meet the needs of each individual state. The Common Core program is heavily funded by the Bill Gates Foundation.

There were sixty speakers at the meeting and another forty or fifty in the audience listening to the arguments. Generally speaking, those who supported Common Core spoke of the need for educational standards. I don’t think anyone would dispute that educational standards are needed–the question is whether those standards will be handled locally or handed down from Washington, D.C.

The arguments against Common Core were varied. Some people argued that the dictation of educational standards from Washington, D. C. was unconstitutional. Other speakers expressed concern about the amount of data that will be collected on the students in the Common Core program and what will be done with that data. There was a serious question as to whether privacy rights of students and parents will be protected.

The most convincing argument against Common Core came from parents of children in kindergarten through grade three. Those parents were nearly in tears as they described the impact Common Core was having on their children–the children hate school and are suffering anxiety attacks due to the pressure of constant testing. The children are also being asked to understand concepts that are not age-appropriate to them.

Two other objections to Common Core were that the program has not been tested and that no one has put a specific price tag on the cost of implementing and maintaining the program.

After listening to the statements made this morning, I can only conclude that it would be unwise to implement a set of academic standards without adequately testing them or knowing how much they would cost. I would strongly suggest that the State of North Carolina set its own academic standards by observing other states that have been successful in doing this. Massachusetts (before Common Core) is a very good example of a state that greatly improved its academic standards without any help from the federal government. This is probably the only time I will ever suggest that North Carolina follow the example of Massachusetts, but this is the one time Massachusetts has set a good example.

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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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Sometimes It Just Takes A While For The Truth To Come Out

Fox News posted an article today about some of the testimony on the attack on Benghazi that simply does not add up. The testimony relates to whether or not the attack was a spontaneous event or the result of careful planning.

The article states:

In addition to Rogers’ (Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee) assessment, military experts say the mortar strike on the CIA base was evidence of a planned terror attack, and because it forced the evacuation of the annex, it must have been known immediately in Washington. But in a letter to the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in January 2013, Morell said “the nature of the attacks suggested they did not involve significant pre-planning.”

Two of the witnesses that have previously testified before the committee are expected to be called back–former CIA Director David Petraeus and his ex-deputy Michael Morell.

The article reports:

In addition to Rogers’ assessment, military experts say the mortar strike on the CIA base was evidence of a planned terror attack, and because it forced the evacuation of the annex, it must have been known immediately in Washington. But in a letter to the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in January 2013,Morell said “the nature of the attacks suggested they did not involve significant pre-planning.”

…Separately, Morell is accused by Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee of misleading lawmakers over the White House’s role in the so-called Benghazi talking points by stating the text was provided to the administration for their awareness, not for their input. Emails later released by the administration showed otherwise. Morell, who excised half of the talking points text, previously told Fox News that “neither the Agency, the analysts, nor I cooked the books in any way.”

When pressed on the sophistication of the mortar attack, two sources familiar with Petraeus’ statements to Congress said he also seemed to downplay the necessary planning and skill, stating the mortars could have been fired from the back of a truck with the same accuracy.

None of the five military officers contacted by Fox News said the truck explanation was plausible.

There has been so much misinformation put out by the Obama Administration about Benghazi that I really wonder what in the world is the truth and what is the reason for all the misdirection. It is amazing to me that the only person who has actually spent time in jail for the Benghazi attack is the filmmaker of the video that had nothing to do with the attack. The bad guys have been interviewed by CNN, but somehow out government can’t find them. It would be really nice if we found out what all the lying was about so that we could move on to other things.

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Phantom Spending Cuts

One of the biggest scams in Washington is something called baseline budgeting.  It is a way for Congress to claim that they are making spending cuts while increasing the amount of the federal budget. It is actually a rather clever use of the language to mislead the American public. Hopefully the public is beginning to get wise. The budget recently announced by President Obama and the way it is being reported by most of the press is an amazing example of political doublespeak.

Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an article explaining the real numbers behind the President’s budget and the fact that in the stories in most of the media, the exact numbers are not being reported. All that is being written is that the President’s budge represents a reduction in government spending.

In a nutshell:

...in the current year, the federal government is expected to spend $3.77 trillion. With all the spending cuts being talked about, a reasonable person might assume that spending next year will be down a bit. But it’s not. In fact, the president’s budget calls for spending $3.90 trillion in 2015. That’s approximately $230 billion more than this year. It’s not a one-year aberration either. Spending increases are projected every single year for the next decade and beyond.

It’s hard to write that the president’s budget is cutting spending by $600 billion while also reporting numbers showing spending going in the opposite direction.

Sadly, Washington reporters have chosen to overcome this difficulty by leaving the real numbers out of their stories. That’s a huge problem. We can reasonably expect politicians to spin the numbers and hide the truth because that’s what they do. However, in a free society with a free press, we should be able to count on journalists to report the facts rather than the spin. Unfortunately, we can’t.

Until the average voter gets wise to this sort of journalistic spin, we can expect government spending to increase. This is a game played by both political parties and by journalists. The Washington insiders are not fighting about cutting the budget–they are fighting over who gets to spend the money. Until America elects fiscal conservatives to office, Washington will continue to drive the country into bankruptcy.

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Question Of The Day

On Monday, Fox News reported on President Obama’s interview with Bill O’Reilly:

Obama addressed concerns over Benghazi, the launch of HealthCare.gov and the IRS, during the interview Sunday before the Super Bowl. He adamantly rejected the suggestion that the IRS was used for political purposes by singling out Tea Party groups seeking tax exemption.

“That’s not what happened,” he said. Rather, he said, IRS officials were confused about how to implement the law governing those kinds of tax-exempt groups.

“There were some bone-headed decisions,” Obama conceded. 

But when asked whether corruption, or mass corruption, was at play, he responded: “Not even mass corruption — not even a smidgen of corruption.”

The question of the day (and it is not an original question) is, “if there was not a smidgen of corruption, why did Lois Lerner take the fifth rather than testify before Congress?”

Yesterday Scott Johnson at Power Line posted a letter from William Henck, a man who has worked inside the IRS Office of the General Counsel as an attorney for over 26 years. I am not going to post the letter as it is very long, but I strongly suggest that you follow the link to Power Line and read the letter. It is chilling.

Scott Johnson also posted a story at Power Line today about Cleta Mitchell, who he describes as the most dangerous woman in America. Ms. Mitchell is the Washington attorney who represents several clients victimized by the criminal misconduct of the IRS over the past four years. A video of her testimony before Congress on Thursday is included in the article. She is smart and articulate–she does represent a danger to the Obama Administration. Please watch the video to see why.

The IRS scandal is dangerous to America. It means that whichever party is in power in Washington can use the IRS to target its enemies. This is an impeachable offense, and any administration that engages in this behavior should be faced with the threat of impeachment.

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An Interesting Solution To “Inequality”

Jonah Goldberg posted an article at Townhall.com today that offers an interesting solution to the ‘inequality’ President Obama and some of the political left seem to be focused on lately. Oddly enough, the solution does not include giving more money or power to Washington.

In referring to the culture of Alaska (many of Mr. Goldberg’s wife’s family members live in Alaska, so he has spent some time there), he notes:

In my experience, Alaska stands out in another way: social equality. When I started going there regularly, I was shocked to discover how casually different economic classes intermingle. Scanning the attendees of a party or patrons of a restaurant, it’s pretty much guesswork to figure out who’s a millionaire and who’s a mechanic. Nothing like that happens in places like Washington, New York or Los Angeles, where upper and lower classes get along little better than the Morlocks and Eloi did in H.G. Wells‘ “The Time Machine.” But it does happen in lots of places — liberal and conservative — outside the Amtrak Acela corridor.

Mr. Goldberg points out a very logical solution to ‘inequality’ in America:

For practical purposes, people don’t live in the United States of America. They live in their neighborhoods, towns and communities. Yes, these are American communities, but your neighbors live in your neighborhood, not seven states over. Your kids don’t go to “U.S. schools”; they go to the school down the road.

Yet most of our money goes to the government in Washington, and so does most of the power. Why not flip that around? Want to see the rich, poor and middle class interact more? Give them a reason to show up to a city council or school board meeting. Sure, money has power at the local level, too, but so do votes.

Moreover, when rich people get their way at the local level, people usually know who they are and why they are doing things. And you can bend their ear at the supermarket or at soccer practice.

But when all the decisions are made in Washington or New York, most Americans are simply out of the loop.

And they resent it.

Having lived in New England for many years, I attended many Town Meetings where budgets, roads, zoning, and community growth were discussed. It was a way to see politics on a local level, and it was a way to be involved in the politics of your town. The taxpayers voted on the budget; the taxpayers voted on the zoning; and the taxpayers got to see their elected city officials at work. The taxpayers also had a chance to talk to their elected officials after the meeting. I don’t know if a Town Meeting would work in a larger setting, but certainly if more Americans felt that they had some sort of power, they would attend some of the various committee meetings in their cities and towns. Involving taxpayers in their local governments would be a step forward. I think Mr. Goldberg is on to something.

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Upside Down Logic At Work

On Wednesday Bill Bennett and Christopher Beach posted an article at Politico about the legalization of marijuana. The article points out the contradiction of a liberal philosophy that wants to legalize marijuana while banning large sodas, sugary foods, trans fat, smoking tobacco, etc.

The article points out:

In his recent New Yorker interview, President Obama remarked, “I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life.” But then he added, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.” Of the legalization in Colorado and Washington—never mind the unresolved conflict between state and federal law—he said, “it’s important for it to go forward.”

Got that? The same president who signed into law a tough federal anti-cigarette smoking bill in 2009 now supports marijuana legalization.

The article concludes:

What explains this obvious paradox? Do these liberals think that marijuana is somehow less harmful than a Big Gulp soda or a bucket of fried chicken? It’s hard to believe that’s the case, given the vast amount of social data and medical science on the dangers of marijuana.

Marijuana is destructive, particularly when used by teenagers. Does the people who want to make it legal believe teenagers will not be able to get it and smoke it? That hasn’t worked real well with either cigarettes or alcohol. Most of us probably know a teenager who used pot and paid a price later on–either in his ability to learn, moving on to other drugs, or side effects from some of the things added to the marijuana. Are we willing to make this drug easier for teenagers to obtain? This sounds like a bunch of 60′s hippies who are finally in control wanting to mainstream their counterculture. This is not good for our children, and it is not good for our society.

 

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What Agenda?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today pointing out that the big three networks gave the Chris Christie bridge scandal 17 times more news coverage in one day than they gave the IRS scandal in six months. Hmmm.

The article reports:

Since Wednesday night, NBC News included six reports over 14 minutes and 14 seconds. CBS devoted five reports over 12 minutes and 27 seconds. ABC managed 4 stories over seven minutes and 47 seconds, said MRC.

As a comparison over the last six months, NBC featured five seconds on updating the IRS story. CBS responded with a minute and 41 seconds. ABC produced a meager 22 seconds.

Make no mistake, this is about taking out the person the Democrat party considers the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. It also needs to be noted that as the polling numbers now stand, Chris Christie defeats Hillary Clinton in a Presidential campaign.

At this point I would like to state that I don’t want the Republicans to run Chris Christie for President. I think we can do better. There are other governors out there who have good track records, conservative credentials, and a lot more class than Chris Christie.

 

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Disarming A Stuffed Monkey To Make Our Airplanes Safe

Sometimes you just wonder at the level of common sense being exhibited by some people. There was an incident that I personally witnessed last week in a government office where a person’s pocket knife was declared a weapon and he was asked to leave the office. It was a small pocket knife. He made no effort to conceal it–it was clipped onto his pocket. I seem to be living in a part of the country where people carry pocket knives, but evidently you can’t take a pocket knife into a government office–even if it’s a public office. Well, a recent TSA incident tops that.

KING5.com in Washington state reported earlier this month that a women who has a small business selling unique sock monkey dolls had a two-inch toy pistol belonging to her “Rooster Monkburn” cowboy sock monkey confiscated by the TSA.

The article reports:

The TSA agent told May she would have to confiscate the tiny gun and was supposed to call the police.

“I said well go ahead,” said May. “And I said really? You’re kidding me right, and she said no it looks like a gun.”

“She took my monkey’s gun,” said May, who has retained her sense of humor.

“Rooster Monkburn has been disarmed so I’m sure everyone on the plane was safe,” she said. “I understand she was doing her job but at some point doesn’t common sense prevail?”

In the end, the agent did not call police and May did get her other sewing supplies back.

On Monday, the TSA issued a statement, saying “TSA officers are dedicated to keeping the nation’s transportation security systems safe and secure for the traveling public. Under longstanding aircraft security policy, and out of an abundance of caution, realistic replicas of firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags.”

I don’t want to encourage the TSA agent, but I can think of things in an ordinary sewing kit that would be more dangerous than a two-inch toy pistol. I doesn’t say a lot about the level of common sense of the TSA that the agent thought it necessary to confiscate a two-inch plastic toy.

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Beware Of The Small Print In ObamaCare

Yesterday the Seattle Times posted an article about a provision of ObamaCare that has come as a surprise to some of the elderly people who are subscribing to the program.  The story deals with Sofia Prins and Gary Balhorn, both 62, who after reading the fine print in Medicaid that has changed as a result of ObamaCare, decided to get married.

The article explains the problem:

Medicaid, in keeping with federal policy, has long tapped into estates. But because most low-income adults without disabilities could not qualify for typical medical coverage through Medicaid, recovery primarily involved expenses for nursing homes and other long-term care.

The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed that. Now many more low-income residents will qualify for Medicaid, called Apple Health in Washington state.

But if they qualify for Medicaid, they’re not eligible for tax credits to subsidize a private health plan under the ACA, which requires all adults to have health insurance by March 31.

Prins, an artist, and Balhorn, a retired fisherman-turned-tango instructor, separately qualified for health insurance through Medicaid based on their sole incomes.

But if they were married, they calculated, they could “just squeak by” with enough income to qualify for a subsidized health plan — and avoid any encumbrance on the home they hope to leave to Prins’ two sons.

The article further reports:

Late Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee’s office and the state Medicaid office said they plan to draft an emergency rule to limit estate recovery to long-term care and related medical expenses.

They hope to be able to change the rules before coverage begins Jan. 1.

Fixing the problem will cost the state about $3 million a year, said Dr. Bob Crittenden, Inslee’s senior health-policy adviser, but it’s the right thing to do.

“There was no intent on the part of the ACA to do estate recovery on people going into Medicaid (for health insurance),” Crittenden said. “The idea was to expand coverage.”

One of the problems with ObamaCare is that it will move many people who previously had basic health insurance into Medicaid. Unfortunately, Medicaid cannot support this increase–it is already going broke. The increase in Medicaid enrollment will put a severe financial burden on states, and create budget problems for the states that have formed healthcare exchanges.

The article explains the risk of the fine print in ObamaCare:

For health coverage through Medicaid, income is now the only financial requirement.

At first, Prins was pleased at the prospect of free coverage.

But the more she thought about the fine print, the more upset she got. Why was this provision only for people age 55 and older? Why should those insured by Medicaid have to pay back health expenses from their estates when people with just a bit more income who get federal subsidies don’t? Why didn’t she and Balhorn know about this before getting to the application stage?

As Prins began searching for answers, she found that even those trained to help people sign up for insurance under the ACA weren’t aware of this provision, nor were some government officials.

Around the country, the issue has sizzled away in blogs and commentaries from both right and left. The National Women’s Law Center noted the ACA and its regulations prohibit age discrimination in programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the politically conservative Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, writing in the The Washington Times, called the recovery provision “a cash cow for states to milk the poor and the middle class.”

“People will think this is wonderful, this is free insurance,” Orient said in an interview. “They don’t realize it’s really a loan, and is secured by any property they have.”

Even states that are now limiting estate recovery, she warned, can change the rules again if budget problems become more intense.

When you think about it, taking money from the estates of the middle class is simply another way to redistribute wealth, one of the major results of the implementation of ObamaCare. It is becoming very obvious that ObamaCare is a nightmare for the states, the insurance companies, and the insured. It needs to be repealed and replaced.

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This Happens A Lot

Some conservatives call it the “Al Gore Effect.” Almost every time global warming groups plan a big meeting in Washington, they get snowed out (you’d think they would get smart and move their meetings to Florida). Well, it happened again.

Western Journalism reported yesterday that this week the White House hosted the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. The group headed to Washington, D.C. to discuss a plan of action against the perceived threat of global warming just as a massive winter storm struck the nation’s capital.

The article reports:

One of the participants, Gov. Pat Quinn of Obama’s beloved Illinois, made the trip Tuesday after Chicago experienced its coldest night in nearly 20 years. Everyone on the task force got a taste of reality as D.C. was largely shut down due to inclement weather.

Though government offices were closed, the global warming summit continued as planned. This delicious irony was apparently lost on these cult-like adherents to a flawed climatological hypothesis.

There is a school of meteorology that has been warming of global cooling due to the slow down in the number of solar flares (rightwinggranny.com). These scientists believe that the sun has a very large impact on the earth’s climate.

Meanwhile, global warming meetings keep encountering unexpected snow storms.

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I’ve Heard This Song Before

About the only thing good I can say about the Congressional Budget deal is that there is a Congressional Budget deal. After that it gets a little foggy. Part of the problem was that neither side was really in a strong position to negotiate–the Republican establishment is still slamming the Tea Party for the shutdown and President Obama’s approval ratings are sinking like a stone. The establishment Republicans and the President are both desperate for a political victory. As usual, courtesy of the establishment Republicans, the Tea Party is out in the cold. The sad part of that fact is that the Tea Party is the only group in Washington that does actually represent a change from our self-destructive spending habits.

Heritage.org posted an article this morning stating three things in the budget agreement that indicate things in Washington have not changed:

The deal announced yesterday raises discretionary spending above the bipartisan spending agreement forged in 2011 as part of the Budget Control Act. Spending for defense and non-defense domestic programs would be raised by $45 billion in 2014 and by $18 billion in 2015.

… The agreement says that the increased spending is fully offset elsewhere in the budget, using a mix of spending cuts and non-tax revenue. Make no mistake, raising revenue to spend more is simply taxing and spending.

…It spends now and delays savings till later. The budget deal would spend $63 billion over the next two years—but take 10 years to make up for this splurge. This is a common Washington gimmick.

Until Americans are willing to elect people to Congress who will actually cut spending, we are going to see more of the same. It will be interesting to see who supports this deal. It is a deal that is pleasing to the Washington establishment. It may be the best deal the Republicans could have gotten, but it is not a good deal.

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