About That Recovery

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted an article illustrating the timeline of the economic growth our country is currently experiencing. The article deals with the recent claims by former President Obama that he is responsible for the current economic growth and that the growth began under his leadership. In February 2018 The Washington Times reminded us that Obama Democrats told us that what looked like long-term stagnation under President Obama’s economic policies, with growth stuck at 2 percent on average for his whole eight years in office, was the New Normal that the American people were going to have to get used to, the best we could do now.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Milton Friedman was the first economist to notice a pattern in American economic history: The deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery. The economy has to grow even faster than normal for a while to catch up to where it would have been without the recession. The fundamentals of America’s world-leading economy are so strong that the pattern held throughout the country’s history.

Until the past decade. The 2008-09 recession was so bad, the economy should have come roaring back with a booming recovery—even stronger than Reagan’s boom in the 1980s. But Mr. Obama carefully, studiously pursued the opposite of every pro-growth policy Reagan had followed. What he got was the worst recovery from a recession since the Great Depression.

Before Mr. Obama, in the 11 previous recessions since the Depression, the economy recovered all jobs lost during the recession an average of 27 months after the recession began. In Mr. Obama’s recovery, dating from the summer of 2009, the recession’s job losses were not recovered until after 76 months—more than six years.

The article concludes:

Obama apologists argued America could no longer grow any faster than Mr. Obama’s 2% real growth averaged over eight years. Slow growth was the “new normal.” The American Dream was over. Get used to it. Hillary Clinton promised to continue Mr. Obama’s economic policies. America’s blue-collar voters rose up.

The recovery took off on Election Day 2016, as the stock market communicated. Mr. Trump’s tax cuts and sweeping deregulation—especially regarding energy—fundamentally changed course from Mr. Obama. These policies have driven today’s boom, increasing annual growth to more than 3% within six months and now to over 4%.

Will Democrats ever figure out what policies create jobs, economic growth and rising wages? If not, they’ll wake up some Wednesday morning to find they have been routed in a fundamental realignment election, in which they have permanently lost the blue-collar vote—once the backbone of their party.

The truth is in the numbers. All of us need to be aware that what former Presidents say about today’s economic growth may not be true. Economic policies make a difference, and President Trump has illustrated that.

Why The Republican Party Is Losing Voters

The 2016 Republican Platform includes the following on Page 8:

Reducing the Federal Debt

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

On May 10, 2018, CNS News reported:

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

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

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

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

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

So what happened when the bill reached the Senate?

The Daily Haymaker posted the story today:

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

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

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

 

A Resettlement Program Gone Awry

Yesterday Scott Johnson (one of the regular writers at Power Line Blog) posted an article at The City Journal website. The article was related to some recent events involving large amounts of cash flowing from Minnesota to Somalia.

The article reports:

When it was noted that the carry-on bags of multiple airline passengers traveling from Minneapolis to Somalia contained millions of dollars in cash, on a regular basis, law enforcement was naturally curious to know where the money came from and where it was going. It soon emerged that millions of taxpayer dollars, and possibly much more, had been stolen through a massive scam of Minnesota’s social-services sector, specifically through fraudulent daycare claims. To make matters worse, the money appears to have wound up in areas of Somalia controlled by al-Shabab, the Islamic jihadist group responsible for numerous terrorist outrages.

The article goes on to explain that beginning in the 1990’s, the State Department began sending refugees from the Somalia civil war to be resettled in Minnesota. Minnesota now has the largest population of Somalis outside of Somalia.

The article reports:

As the Washington Times noted in 2015, in Minnesota, these refugees “can take advantage of some of America’s most generous welfare and charity programs.” Professor Ahmed Samatar of Macalester College in St. Paul observed, “Minnesota is exceptional in so many ways but it’s the closest thing in the United States to a true social democratic state.” A high-trust, traditionally homogenous community with a deep civil society marked by thrift, industriousness, and openness, Minnesota seemed like the ideal place to locate an indigent Somali population now estimated at 100,000.

Fast forward to 2015 when the House Homeland Security Committee task force on combating terrorist and foreign-fighter travel discovered that Minnesota led the nation in contributing foreign fighters to ISIS. It gets worse. The refugees masterminded a very lucrative daycare fraud scheme that sent millions of taxpayer dollars to terrorists in Somalia.

The article cites one such example:

The case of Fozia Ali, recently sworn in as a member of the park board of an upscale Twin Cities suburb, is illustrative. Ali’s daycare center in south Minneapolis was suspected of billing the government for more than $1 million of bogus child-care services. According to Special Agent Craig Lisher, the FBI “found records that she was collecting a significant amount of money for a much larger number of children than were actually attending the center.” Ali’s case also had an international component. “We are aware that some of the funds went overseas, what she was cashing out, money from the business,” Lisher noted. He declined to specify the purpose to which the funds were put.

Ali used a phone app to register charges to the Minnesota state government while she stayed at an $800-per-night hotel in Nairobi. She pleaded guilty in March to charges of wire fraud and is serving time in federal prison. But the scam goes well beyond Ali. Though the total loss to the state’s $248 million daycare program remains to be determined, we have a serious case of deceit, obviously. But the real damage, harder to measure, is likely to be to the high-trust values of Minnesota, where newcomers can dupe the natives so easily.

These are not the sort of refugees we need.

The Truth About The New Secretary Of State

If you believe the mainstream media, you might be convinced that not only did the Russians win the Cold War, they are taking over America. Relax. It’s just the media and the Democrats trying to tell you that the world is going to end because Donald Trump was elected President.

So who is Rex Tillerson and what will he represent as Secretary of State? He is the CEO of ExxonMobil. Rex Tillerson joined Exxon Company, U.S.A. in 1975 as a production engineer. He has a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. So he has worked for the same company for forty-one years. That says good things about him and about ExxonMobil.

The Washington Times posted an article about Rex Tillerson today.

The article reports:

“Rex Tillerson’s Russia problem,” The Washington Post wrote in headline above the fold on Tuesday.

“Trump’s credibility problem on Russia,” NBC wrote, warning: “Tillerson has ties to Russia and Putin, including being awarded Russia’s ‘Order of the Friendship’ honor in 2013 and opposing the U.S.-led sanctions against Russia for its intervention in Crimea. And already, GOP senators are expressing concern about Tillerson’s Russia ties.”

Would Condoleezza Rice, James Baker, Bob Gates and Dick Cheney — who all have endorsed Mr. Tillerson’s nomination — be in favor of handing over Eastern Europe to the Russians? Would they all support a candidate for secretary of state who they believed to be a puppet of Mr. Putin’s?

In a Facebook post Tuesday morning, Ms. Rice wrote: “Rex Tillerson is an excellent choice for Secretary of State. He will bring to the post remarkable and broad international experience; a deep understanding of the global economy; and a belief in America’s special role in the world.

“I know Rex as a successful business man and a patriot. He will represent the interests and the values of the United States with resolve and commitment. And he will lead the exceptional men and women of the State Department with respect and dedication. I look forward to supporting Rex through the confirmation process and then welcoming him to the family of Secretaries of State,” she said.

I am beginning to think that all American patriots should simply tune out the mainstream media for the next four years. I suspect that 99 percent of what they report is going to be ‘fake news.’

We have just experienced eight years where the Gross Domestic Product did not increase by more than 3 percent in any year. That is historically bad. We have watched the labor participation rate sink to its lowest level since the 1970’s. That is also historically bad. America elected a successful businessman who wants to turn the American economy around, lead us to energy independence, and drain the swamp that is Washington. Needless to say, those who profit from the swamp in Washington are going to make his job difficult–Donald Trump’s success is a serious threat to their survival. Expect a lot of pushback on anything Donald Trump does, and expect all Americans to have to fight those establishment politicians who want him to fail. Get ready to call or write your Congressman if he is part of the problem. If you want America to come out of the slump it has been in for the past eight years, you are going to have to make your voice heard.

Sometimes I Am Simply Amazed

Vice-President Biden has done it again. Breitbart is reporting a comment made by Vice-President Biden at a memorial for the late Jim Brady, President Reagan‘s Press Secretary who was shot during an attempt to assassinate President Reagan.

The article reports:

According to The Washington Times, Biden stressed that the push for more gun control is not over and said he prays a new voice for the gun control movement emerges soon:

What we need is another Jim Brady, who has the skill and the ability to convince those who are afraid, who walks the halls of Congress, to step up and do what they know is right. One will come along. It will happen. I pray God it is sooner rather than later.

I am sure that the Vice-President made the comment without thinking through the implications of his statement, but can you imagine the uproar if a Republican had said something similar.

The gun control debate does not need any more victims–high profile or otherwise. What the gun control debate needs is a respect for the U.S. Constitution and the Second Amendment. In terms of crime rates, statistics show that since Detroit relaxed its gun laws, crime rates have gone done. Muggers are less likely to mug grandma if she might be packing. Criminals are not likely to obey restrictions on gun ownership.

Eric Holder Resigns

Eric Holder is expected to resign later this afternoon.

The Washington Times posted a story about his resignation today. The article included the following:

The contempt of Congress case against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. — the first sitting Cabinet member ever to face such a congressional rebuke — will continue even after his resignation takes effect, but it’s unlikely he will ever face personal punishment, legal analysts said Thursday.

Mr. Holder, is expected to announce his resignation later Thursday, and Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the timing is not accidental: A federal judge earlier this week ruled that the Justice Department will have to begin submitting documents next month related to the botched Fast and Furious gun operation in a case brought by Judicial Watch.

Judicial Watch has done an amazing job using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to stop the stonewalling by the Obama Administration on Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, and the Benghazi attack. Judicial Watch has used FOIA to get documents that the Obama Administration was not releasing to Congressional oversight committees.

The article continues:

Two years ago the House voted 255-67 — with 17 Democrats joining the GOP — to hold Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents from the Fast and Furious operation.

The House oversight committee had sought the documents, saying they would shed light on who knew about the botched operation, which saw federal agents knowingly let guns be sold to traffickers. Hundreds of those guns turned up at crime scenes in Mexico, and two were found at the site where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in Arizona.

Eric Holder has turned the Justice Department into a political arm of the Democratic party. It is no longer the neutral department it is supposed to be. Unfortunately., his replace will probably continue that policy. Hopefully our next American President will return the Justice Department to its original mission–providing equal justice under the law.

Losing The Concept Of Law

One of the problems with the Obama Administration is that the President seems to think he has the right to follow some laws and ignore others. Unfortunately, this idea seems to be working its way through the country.

Yesterday the Washington Times reported that a federal appeals court has ruled that Arizona must issue driver’s licenses to ‘dreamers.’ Dreamers are the young illegal immigrants that President Obama has given tentative permission to be in the country. The ‘dreamers’ are in a difficult position–they were brought here as young children and have lived their lives in America–but they are still illegal immigrants–and we are giving them driver’s licenses. This really sets a bad precedent.

We need to remember that illegal immigrants are not American citizens–they are not entitled to the protections of the U.S. Constitution granted to American citizens. I would not have a problem with setting up a reasonable process to allow dreamers to become citizens, but issuing driver’s licenses to illegals is a really bad idea.

The article reports:

The ruling could bolster Mr. Obama’s desire later this summer to claim executive powers to carve out even more illegal immigrants from the danger of deportation.

The judges said Congress has given the executive branch “broad discretion” to decide whether illegal immigrants are able to live and work in the U.S., and the judges said Arizona was interfering with that ability.

The ruling once again puts Arizona in the center of the immigration debate — a role that the state had played for years but which it seemed to be shedding in recent months as Texas rose to the front — overwhelmed by a new wave of illegal immigrant families and unaccompanied children from Central America.

The Tenth Amendment states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The federal appeals court is taking away the right of Arizona to decide to follow the law and not issue driver’s licenses to people who are here illegally.  Not only is that is a state matter–not a federal matter–it is in conflict with existing federal law.

 

The President’s “Get Out Of Jail Free” Card

On Monday The Washington Times reported that in 2013 immigration officers released 36,000 immigrants from custody.

The article describes these immigrants:

Among the 36,000 immigrants whom U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released from custody last year there were 116 with convictions for homicide, 43 for negligent manslaughter, 14 for voluntary manslaughter and one with a conviction classified by ICE as “homicide-willful kill-public official-gun.”

The immigrants were in deportation proceedings, meaning ICE was trying to remove them from the country and could have held them in detention but released them anyway, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, which published the numbers Monday. The Washington Times also obtained the data.

…The 36,007 criminal aliens counted in the data had more than 87,000 convictions among them: 15,635 for drunken driving, 9,187 for what ICE labeled “dangerous drugs,” 2,691 for assault, 1,724 for weapons offenses and 303 for “flight escape” — a category that would seem to make them bad candidates for release.

I will admit that I am having trouble figuring out the rationale behind releasing them rather than deporting them. Releasing these prisoners puts the safety of American citizens at risk. They should have been deported.

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The Internal Revenue Service Audit Rate For Tea Party Donors

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Audit Rate for Tea Party donors is something I take personally–my husband and I were audited for the first time in 43 years after making a donation to the Tea Party. Nothing in our tax return had changed, and after a year of being told that the IRS needed more time, nothing was found.

Yesterday the Washington Times reported that after checking the donor lists the IRS collected from the Tea Party, 10 percent of those donors were audited. Kiplinger posted a story in March 2013 stating:

The IRS audits only slightly more than 1% of all individual tax returns annually.

…2012 IRS statistics show that people with incomes of $200,000 or higher had an audit rate of 3.70%, or one out of every 27 returns. Report $1 million or more of income? There’s a one-in-eight chance your return will be audited. The audit rate drops significantly for filers making less than $200,000: Less than 1% (0.94%) of such returns was audited during 2012, and the vast majority of these exams were conducted by mail.

I think there is a problem here. Until we find out who ordered the audits, I think we need to ask the ‘public servants‘ involved why they were not serving the public.

The article at the Washington Times reminds us:

Ms. Lerner ran the division overseeing nonprofit groups. She has since retired from the IRS but has refused to testify to Congress about her role in the targeting, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The House voted Wednesday to hold her in contempt of Congress for refusing to talk.

The Washington Times also mentions another recent problem with the IRS:

On another matter, the commissioner told the panel that he is taking steps to be able to deny agency bonuses to IRS employees who hadn’t paid their taxes. The agency’s inspector general last month reported that more than 1,000 employees received bonuses within a year of having tax problems.

Mr. Koskinen said he is working with the IRS union to rewrite their agreement so that those employees can’t be paid bonuses.

“Going forward, if someone has been disciplined for failure to comply with the tax code, they will be ineligible for a performance award,” he said.

He also said the agency would try to fire employees who cheat on their taxes.

Doesn’t all of the above fall under the category of basic common sense?

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I Thought Diplomats Were Supposed To Be Diplomatic

The U.K. Telegraph posted an article today about Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent remarks about Israel.

Yesterday the Washington Times reported on John Kerry’s remarks:

Mr. Kerry told senior officials during a closed meeting on Friday that a two-state solution is the “only real alternative” for Israel and the Palestinian territories, “because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens, or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” The Daily Beast first reported.

It might be a good idea to mention at this point that Arabs who live or work in Israel have more freedom than their brothers anywhere else in the Middle East.

The U.K. Telegraph explains the problem with Secretary Kerry‘s remarks:

The use of such undiplomatic language also distracts from the very real difficulties the Israelis face in trying to reach an agreement. From the outset, Israel’s security concerns have dominated the discussions, with their negotiators offering to make painful territorial concessions in return for cast-iron guarantees concerning the future safety of Israeli citizens. But Mr Abbas’s refusal to allow Israel to maintain a limited military presence in any future independent Palestinian territory, together with his recent accord with Hamas, has meant that no such pledges have been forthcoming, thereby causing the talks to stall. Israel argues, with some justification, that there is little likelihood of reaching an agreement with an organisation such as Hamas, which remains committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. If Mr Kerry still wants his bold peace initiative to succeed, then he would be better advised to address these and other concerns than to use language that is guaranteed to cause offence to Israel.

Secretary Kerry says that he wants peace in the Middle East. What he does not seem to understand is that only one of his negotiating partners shares that goal. Before accepting the Palestinians as good-faith negotiators, Secretary Kerry needs to take a close look at their educational system. The Palestinian schools include terrorist training for kindergartners, maps without Israel, and teaching anti-Semitism. In a rational world, that would disqualify them as acceptable negotiators for peace. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration does not live in the rational world.

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Keeping Politics Out Of Our Military

Unfortunately, we are a stage in our country where everything is political. I don’t know exactly how or when we got here or how to get our of here, but here is where we are. It was refreshing today on Fox News Sunday to hear Senator Kaine say that decisions about guns on military bases should be made by the military in order to avoid politics playing a part in the decision.

The Washington Times reported today:

“I trust the military leadership on this. I don’t live on a military base, and I don’t serve in the military,” the Virginia Democrat said on “Fox News Sunday.” “For those of us in Congress to say ‘here’s what they should do,’ I worry that it would be a little political rather than really about safety or security.”

The article also reported:

Rep. Steve Stockman, Texas Republican, is pushing “The Safe Military Bases Act,” which would allow base personnel to arm themselves.

Fellow Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, argued Sunday that, at the very least, senior military leadership on base ought to be able to carry weapons.

There are a few things to consider here. If senior military leadership had been armed, would the shooter have been brought down sooner? But there is something else to consider. Fort Hood is a gun-free zone. The shooter knew that when he opened fire he would be the only gunman in the room (at least for a short time). Had the shooter known that someone in the room might be armed, would he have taken the chance? The guards at the gate cannot reasonably be expected to search every vehicle or person who comes on base for a gun–the lines getting on to the base would be endless if that were attempted. Obviously, not everyone respects a gun-free zone, so I would suggest creating the possibility that someone in any given area of the base would be armed and prepared to shoot back in case of an attack. It is noteworthy that most of the mass killings we have seen have occurred in gun-free zones, where the killer knew that there would be no opposition. I think we need to create at least some potential opposition.

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The Revised Numbers Tell A Different Story

On Friday the Washington Times posted a story about the Obama economy. As I am sure you remember, when the government announced that the economy had grown 3.2 percent in the last months of 2013, economists announced that America was well on its way to prosperity. Well, not so fast.

The article reports:

However, according to a revised estimate released Thursday by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, that 3.2 percent figure was a wild exaggeration.

The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of our country’s entire economic output, grew no more than 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter — a pitifully low growth rate for the largest economy in the world.

“Averaged across the four quarters of last year, real GDP added 1.9 percent in 2013 from 2012,” said Forbes’ website reported.

So what happened? Part of the reason for the lack of growth is that personal income has not grown for several months, putting a damper on consumer demand. Also, 2013 brought higher taxes to all income levels–some hidden taxes included in ObamaCare like the medical devices tax. High earners also faced increased capital gains taxes, which slowed risk taking and job growth. In February, contracts to buy new homes fell for the eighth month in a row.

Unless something happens to cause President Obama to change his policies, we will have three more years of a non-recovery recovery., If you are not happy with the direction the country is moving in, you need to voice your opinion at the ballot box in November. A Republican Senate may be able to reverse enough of this to get the economy moving.

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The Battle For The Second Amendment

I apologize in advance for the fact that this will be a rather long article, but I missed the beginning of this story, so I need to catch up.

On March 16th Freedom Outpost posted a story about a raid by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) on Ares Armor.

According to the article:

Ares Armor sells what are called “80% lower receivers” to allow a buyer to make his own AR-15 rifle. According to federal law,”The term ‘firearm'” includes “the frame or receiver of” a weapon, but one that is only 80 percent complete does not fall under that category.

When ATF agents began nosing around Ares Armor and started asking questions, the store obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting the agency from seizing its product line and customer list. A hearing was scheduled for March 20 to litigate the issue.

However, on Saturday, ATF agents raided Ares pursuant to an ex parte order — an order obtained without notice to the other party, in this case Ares — and did just what Ares feared, according to the amateur video below.

You can see the video by following the link to freedom outpost. The article at freedom outpost also explains how the ATF managed to get around the restraining order.

Freedom Outpost posted an article yesterday showing the state government’s response to this raid.

The article reports:

On the heels of the illegal ATF raid on Ares Armor, Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed into law S1332, a bill which will effectively nullify federal gun laws. The nullification legislation will prohibit state enforcement of any future federal act that relates to firearms, accessories or ammunition.

S1332, or as it is commonly referred to as the Idaho Federal Firearm, Magazine and Register Ban Enforcement Act, passed both the house (68-0) and senate (34-0) unanimously.

The article further states:

Other states such as Alaska and Kansas have passed similar legislation. Missouri is in the process of pushing similar legislation through for a second time, after Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the Second Amendment Preservation Act last year. Several other states have introduced their version of the Second Amendment Preservation Act to nullify federal gun laws, including Florida, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Arizona.

The legislation rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force or coerce states into implementing or enforcing federal acts or regulations – constitutional or not. The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. According to that doctrine:
 
“The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program…such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”

It is unfortunate that we have come to a point where the states have to defend the U. S. Constitution because the federal government is ignoring it.

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The Unjust Justice Department Strikes Again

Integrity should not be a partisan issue, but unfortunately in the Eric Holder Justice Department it is. Yesterday’s Washington Times reported that the Justice Department has blocked a full investigation concerning corruption charges against Senate Democrat Harry Reid and Senate Republican Mike Lee.

The article reports:

The probe, conducted by one Republican and one Democratic state prosecutor in Utah, has received accusations from an indicted businessman and political donor, interviewed other witnesses and gathered preliminary evidence such as financial records, Congressional Record statements and photographs that corroborate some aspects of the accusations, officials have told The Washington Times and ABC News.

But the Justice Department’s public integrity section — which normally handles corruption cases involving elected figures — rejected FBI agents’ bid to use a federal grand jury and subpoenas to determine whether the accusations are true and whether any federal crimes were committed by state and federal officials.

Please follow the link to the article to see the details of the charges and the lack of cooperation from the Justice Department.

It does neither political party good to have corrupt people remain in office and not be held accountable for their misdeeds. It would behoove the Justice Department to move forward with both of these investigations and either convict or clear the air.

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Cutting Medicare Home Health Benefits To Fund ObamaCare

On Friday the Washington Times posted an article about cuts to home health care for senior citizens. These cuts of 14 percent, or an estimated $22 billion, were part of ObamaCare.

The article reports:

How did home health care save money for taxpayers? Using 2009 as a reference year, Medicare’s average Part A and Part B payment for a home health care visit was $145, compared to $373 per day in a skilled nursing facility or a whopping $1,805 per day in a hospital. In addition, according to one leading expert, skilled home health care services saved the Medicare program $2.8 billion during the most recent three-year period. Approximately $670 million of that savings is attributable to 20,000 fewer hospital readmissions.

This is either extremely short-sightedness, or another attempt by the Obama Administration to cut the amount of healthcare available to senior citizens. It doesn’t save money–it just takes healthcare away from our most vulnerable citizens.

The article details the impact this will have on businesses that provide home health care:

It will hit the small businesses that provide home health care nationwide, and is already doing so. More than 90 percent of those providing home health care are small businesses. According to the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 40 percent of these companies will be operating “at a loss” — that is, they will likely fold or end up in bankruptcy — by 2017 as a result of the cut. What does that mean? It means nearly 5,000 more Medicare home health care providers may go out of business, and nearly 500,000 more jobs within this flogged industry may be wiped out to fund Obamacare. Those who care about such things should put that into their future unemployment calculations — and then thank Mr. Obama and his congressional friends, who all got a waiver and probably do not worry about home health care anyway.

We will elect a new House of Representatives this year, and we will also get to vote for one-third of the Senate. We need to consider carefully who we vote for. The survival of the elderly in our country depends on our vote. ObamaCare will probably not be repealed as long as President Obama is in the White House and as long as the establishment Republicans have a strong voice, but it can be significantly changed.

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I Think Someone Moved The Goalposts

Yesterday’s Washington Post reported that as the latest talks with Iran began yesterday Iran pledged to never dismantle any equipment or facilities other countries believe could be used for the manufacture of atomic weapons. I may have missed something, but I thought the sanctions were lifted because Iran said it would discontinue its nuclear program.

On February 14th, the Washington Times reported that Iran was going to receive more than $20 billion in sanctions relief under the agreement reached. What in the world did Iran agree to do in return? Has Iran still agreed to it? It really doesn’t sound as if we got anything in return for lifting the sanctions.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted a story today about the negotiations. He comments:

The latest round of negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program began yesterday. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi stated what has always been clear: “Dismantling [the] nuclear program is not on the agenda.”

What, then, is? As the Washington Post reports, the West seeks only “to prevent Iran from quickly converting its nuclear program to weapons production or from hiding a parallel program.” (emphasis added) This probably means “a demand that advanced centrifuges for enriching uranium be destroyed or mothballed, and that Iran make changes to a nuclear facility under construction so it cannot produce plutonium.”

Will Iran agree to this limited package? Not likely. As the Washington Post puts it, “Iran has signaled that it would oppose any such curbs.” And a senior U.S. official acknowledged that “we have a very long way to go.”

At some point, the Obama Administration is going to have to realize that the only way Iran will ever give up its nuclear ambitions is if the west imposes crippling sanctions. Even if that were to happen, I doubt that Russia and China would honor those sanctions, so we would be right back where we started. However, the sanctions that were just lifted in the first round of negotiations were what brought Iran to the bargaining table. We need to put them back in place until the negotiations are done.

Negotiating with Iran does not make the world safer–it makes the world more dangerous. The Iranians are simply stalling for time as their nuclear program progresses. It will be necessary at some point before Iran goes nuclear for someone to take out its nuclear facilities. America will probably not do that–Israel will probably do it without asking America. That will result in mass destruction in the Middle East. Iran needs to be stopped before it goes nuclear–that will help preserve peace in the Middle East if peace is at all possible.

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Can We Just Replace Congress?

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

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

The article at the Washington Times reported:

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

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

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

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If You Are Going To Set A Really Bad Example, At Least Get Your Facts Right

Today’s Washington Times posted a story about President Obama’s latest claims about marijuana. The President recently stated that marijuana is no worse than cigarettes or alcohol. His statement is in direct contradiction to statements by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The article reports:

And as reported by the government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, adolescent use of marijuana does something that alcohol does not; it causes permanent brain damage, including lowering of I.Q.

Taxpayers have spent billions of dollars warning about drugs, often about marijuana, but these efforts were dramatically undercut by the president’s comments.

As President, President Obama has a responsibility to set an example. After hearing his statement, one wonders how he would react if he caught his daughters smoking marijuana.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. There were a number of statements regarding marijuana in the interview President Obama gave to the New Yorker magazine that simply are not true. The misinformation in the article could prove to be damaging to America‘s youth. How many lives will be ruined by the belief that there is no danger in smoking marijuana?Enhanced by Zemanta

Recovery???

Yesterday the Washington Times posted an editorial about President Obama’s request to extend unemployment benefits for another three months. The original extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks occurred in 2008, at the height of the recession. According to the Obama Administration, the recession ended in the summer of 2009. So why do people still need two years of unemployment benefits?

The editorial reminds us:

Since the Great Recession began in 2008, Congress has supplemented the 26 weeks of jobless benefits traditionally provided by the states, extending them to 99 weeks.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be an issue because such extensions have been temporary, but Mr. Obama’s economy has spawned a jobless “recovery,” and more workers continue to join the unemployment line.

Democrats see this not as an opportunity to reconsider the failure of Obamanomics, but as an excuse to spend another $25 billion. The Senate will vote this week on a three-month extension with a $6.5 billion price tag.

…There’s a negative consideration to extending unemployment subsidies time after time. A 2008 Princeton University study comes to the obvious conclusion that workers are much more aggressive in their job searches as their benefits near the end, “increasing sharply in the weeks prior to benefit exhaustion.”

Alan B. Krueger, a former chairman of Mr. Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, was a co-author of the report. A Swedish study, finished in 2008 as well, concluded that more generous unemployment benefits increased unemployment rates. The linkage, it said, is “fairly robust.”

The year before, Sweden reformed its unemployment compensation system, such that recipients could receive up to 60 weeks of benefits, but with a catch. The longer someone is unemployed, under the new program, the less he receives in assistance.

The diminishing benefits have been a powerful inducement to look for work.

Unfortunately, extending unemployment benefits has become a political issue, which means that no one is considering whether or not it will actually help or hurt the country or the economy. Until Congress includes enough patriots who want to do what is right for the country, we can expect to have more political gamesmanship on this and other issues.

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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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The Cost Of Ignoring The Lessons Of History

I am part of the generation that graduated from high school during the ramp up of the war in Vietnam. The boys in my high school graduating class went to college or Vietnam. There were no other choices. That was a time in the history of this country where everyone was not expected to go to college. My husband served in the Navy during that time. We lost friends in Vietnam, and we have friends who physically came home but never mentally came home. Vietnam was a striking example of what happens when politicians take over a war. The military wins wars when they are allowed to do so. Politicians fight with one hand tied behind their backs so that they don’t risk offending anyone. That is the place we have come to (again) in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, the Washington Times posted an article about the increase in casualties in the war in Afghanistan. Although it is difficult to prove statistically, the author of the article believes that the increase in casualties is directly related to the rule of engagement set by the Obama Administration.

The article reports:

“In Afghanistan, the [rules of engagement] that were put in place in 2009 and 2010 have created hesitation and confusion for our war fighters,” said Wayne Simmons, a retired U.S. intelligence officer who worked in NATO headquarters in Kabul as the rules took effect, first under Army Gen. Stanley M. McChrystal, then Army Gen. David H. Petraeus.

“It is no accident nor a coincidence that from January 2009 to August of 2010, coinciding with the Obama/McChrystal radical change of the [rules of engagement], casualties more than doubled,” Mr. Simmons said. “The carnage will certainly continue as the already fragile and ineffective [rules] have been further weakened by the Obama administration as if they were playground rules.”

As President Obama’s troop surge began in 2009, so did new rules of engagement demanded by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was responding to local elders angry over the deaths of civilians from NATO airstrikes and ground operations.

Please read the entire article to get the full picture. I posted it simply to bring up the concept. We need to allow our young men to fight, or take them out of harm’s way. What we are doing now is slowly killing off the future leaders of our country for no apparent reason. We made that mistake in Vietnam. Let’s not make it again.

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What Is Happening To My Country?

Yesterday I posted a story about Audrey Hudson, a former Washington Times reporter and current freelance reporter (rightwinggranny.com). Yesterday the Washington Times posted a story about the incident.

The Washington Times reported:

The Washington Times said Friday it is preparing legal action to fight what it called an unwarranted intrusion on the First Amendment.

“While we appreciate law enforcement’s right to investigate legitimate concerns, there is no reason for agents to use an unrelated gun case to seize the First Amendment protected materials of a reporter,” Times Editor John Solomon said. “This violates the very premise of a free press, and it raises additional concerns when one of the seizing agencies was a frequent target of the reporter’s work.

“Homeland’s conduct in seizing privileged reporters notes and Freedom of Information Act documents raises serious Fourth Amendment issues, and our lawyers are preparing an appropriate legal response,” he said.

Keep that story in mind as you read the rest of this article.

On October 21, I posted an article about the behavior of the Park Police during the government shutdown (rightwinggranny.com). The source of that article was a John Fund article at National Review Online. The question being asked in the article was if the Obama Administration can use the Park Police to fight a political battle, what other federal agencies can they co-opt? Again I ask, when were the shut-down signs and the barricades ordered and who authorized the order?

On October 23, The Blaze reported that a total of nine commanding generals have been fired this year. The article lists the generals and contains a video of an interview with the reporter investigating this.

Where were you when you first heard the expression “shelter in place?” That was mainly added to the American vocabulary after the Boston Marathon Bombing. Think about that for a moment. In the past, when a criminal escaped from jail, we were told to lock our doors and windows and be alert. I don’t ever remember hearing the expression “shelter in place.” Shelter in place implies Martial Law. Is that something that is going to become routine?

I list the above incidents for your consideration. They may mean nothing, they may mean a lot. Think about them the next time you have the opportunity to vote. I don’t like the direction our country seems to be heading in. The only way to change that direction is to change the people running the country. The only way to change the people running the country is to vote the current people out and elect new people. We need to do that.

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Thugs

Today’s Daily Caller posted a story about a raid on the home of journalist Audrey Hudson, a former Washington Times reporter and current freelance reporter. The raid was carried out by the Department of Homeland Security and the Maryland State Police. The warrant obtained by the Daily Caller states that the purpose of the raid was to search for firearms inside the home.

The article reports:

The document notes that her husband, Paul Flanagan, was found guilty in 1986 to resisting arrest in Prince George’s County. The warrant called for police to search the residence they share and seize all weapons and ammunition because he is prohibited under the law from possessing firearms.

But without Hudson’s knowledge, the agents also confiscated a batch of documents that contained information about sources inside the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, she said.

There are some problems with this story. If her husband had a run-in with the law in 1986 and has not had problems since then, why hasn’t the restriction been lifted? Since the ban on his owning firearms goes back more than 25 years, why has it gone unenforced until now, and who authorized the taking of Audrey Hudson’s notes?

The article further reports:

At about 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 6, Hudson said officers dressed in full body armor presented a search warrant to enter the home she shares on the bay with her husband. She estimates that at least seven officers took part in the raid.

After the search began, Hudson said she was asked by an investigator with the Coast Guard Investigative Service if she was the same Audrey Hudson who had written a series of critical stories about air marshals for The Washington Times over the last decade. The Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security.

This is not the America I know. Note that the raid took place in the middle of the night–when people are not awake enough to realize completely what is happening. That is the kind of tactic the SS used in Nazi Germany.

We need to get the current thugs out of Washington as soon as possible. We are in danger of losing our freedom of speech.

 

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Where Are The Reasonable People?

Fox News reported today that because of the government shutdown the Pentagon will not be paying death benefits to families of fallen soldiers.

The article reports:

“Unfortunately, as a result of the shutdown, we do not have the legal authority to make death gratuity payments at this time,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman. “However, we are keeping a close eye on those survivors who have lost loved ones serving in the Department of Defense.”

The good news is that the House of Representatives is planning to vote Wednesday on a bill to restore funding for these payments.

The article further reports:

Adding further insult, the families will have to pay for their own travel to Dover. That’s a bill the Pentagon also says it can’t pay because of the partial shutdown.

…After the ceremony at Dover on Wednesday, the families will fly to their home states to conduct private funerals. That’s also an expense the Pentagon says it can no longer pay due to the stalemate.

All of this brings to mind a quote from an article posted on Sunday at rightwinggranny.com:

On Friday, we reported that a Park Ranger admitted being ordered to make life as inconvenient as possible in order to punish Americans during the shutdown.

“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can,” an angry Park Ranger told the Washington Times. “It’s disgusting.”

This is a government attack on the American people. It needs to be stopped, and the people responsible need to be voted out of office.

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America Is Having A Bad Day

This quote has been reported by various sources:

“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can,” an angry Park Ranger told the Washington Times. “It’s disgusting.”

The National Mall in Washington is closed, the World War II Memorial is barricaded, the Vietnam Memorial is closed, and other monuments are blocked off. However, if your politics agrees with the politics of the Obama Administration, you have access to the closed Mall.

Today’s Washington Examiner reported:

Susana Flores, a spokesperson for the rally (“Camino Americano: March for Immigration Reform“), confirmed for the Washington Examiner that the Park Service will allow the event to take place under the group’s rights granted by the First Amendment.

About 30 members of Congress are expected to attend the rally, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.

The event is hosted by several immigration activist groups, together with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL-CIO.

What about the rights of the businessmen the Park Service has closed or the elderly couple the Park Service evicted from their houseboat on Lake Mead? This is politics at its worst. We need to remember this in November 2014. The problem here is not the shutdown–we have had shutdowns before–the problem is the war on the American public by the government. The Obama Administration loves to pick winners and losers. In this battle the losers are the American public. We need to vote anyone out of office who took part in this war on Americans.

 

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