How Things Actually Work In Washington

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the confirmation vote that will eventually take place to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Judge. The article explains exactly how things work in Washington. If Judge Kavanaugh has enough Republican votes to be confirmed, he will probably receive a few votes from Democrats in favor of his confirmation. This has nothing to do with his qualifications or what those Democrats believe about his willingness to uphold the Constitution–it has to do with their election prospects in 2018. If there are enough Republican votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh (and the votes of Democrats will not change the outcome), Democrat Senators from states that voted for President Trump will probably vote to confirm. If there are not enough Republican votes to confirm Judge Kavanuagh, all of the Democrat Senators will vote against him. The good of the country or the man’s qualifications have nothing to do with the way they will be voting. That should give all of us pause.

The article includes a quote from Senator Joe Manchin on the vote:

“I think he seems to be a very fine person of high moral standards, a family person who’s very involved in his community, has all the right qualities. He’s well-educated. And with that, you know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution is going to be followed, and that’s going to basically preempt anything else he does.

“Most importantly. . .I intend to hear from West Virginians. And during that period of time, I just announced, I’ll be hearing from West Virginians and their opinion. And I think they have, also, a right. And that’s who I work for. They’re my boss. And we want to hear from them, too, during this process. .”

The article notes:

A new poll released on Tuesday by Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) found that 59 percent of West Virginia voters want Manchin to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

I looks to me like Manchin will do so unless something is discovered that causes one or two Republican Senators to defect.

The same poll finds that 56 percent of Indiana voters want their Senator, Joe Donnelly, to vote to confirm the Kavanaugh. Sen. Donnelly has not, to my knowledge, praised the nominee the way Sen. Manchin has. But Donnelly echoed Manchin when he said, “I work for the people of Indiana and I want them to have a voice in this.”

The article concludes:

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether Sen. Heidi Heitkamp begins to make mildly pro-Kavanaugh statements. The poll I cited above found that 68 percent of North Dakota voters want Heitkamp to vote to confirm Kavanaugh. If that number holds, the pressure on her to comply will be enormous.

Stay tuned.

Get out the popcorn!

The Experiment Of The States

America is made up of 50 different states. Each state is unique–politically, economically,  geographically, ethnically, etc. So if people could live anywhere they wanted to, where would they live? Actually, the age of the internet has made that somewhat possible–telecommuting has grown in recent years. So let’s look at where people live.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday about a study of trends in population growth in states within America. The data for the study came from the IRS. The results were not really surprising.

The article reports the findings of the study:

To measure the states that are most attractive to Americans on the move, we developed an “attraction” ratio that measures the number of domestic in-migrants per 100 out-migrants. A state that has a rating of 100 would be perfectly balanced between those leaving and coming.

Overall, the biggest winner — both in absolute numbers and in our ranking — is Texas. In 2014 the Lone Star State posted a remarkable 156 attraction ratio, gaining 229,000 more migrants than it lost, roughly twice as many as went to No. 3 Florida, which clocked an impressive 126.7 attraction ratio.

Most of the top gainers of domestic migrants are low-tax, low-regulation states, including No. 2 South Carolina, with an attraction ratio of 127.3, as well as No. 5 North Dakota, and No. 7 Nevada.

…Overall, many of the most affluent states are the ones hemorrhaging high-income earners the most rapidly. As in overall migration, New York sets the standard, with the highest outmigration of high income earners (defined as annual income over $200,000) relative to in-migrants (attraction ratio: 53). New York is followed closely by Illinois, the District of Columbia and New Jersey, which are all losing the over-$200,000-a-year crowd at a faster pace than California.

The big winners in terms of affluent migration tend to be historically poorer states, mainly in the Sun Belt and the Intermountain West. Florida has an attraction ratio for people earning over $200,000 a year of 223, the highest in the nation, followed by South Carolina, Montana, Idaho and North Carolina.

Given the opportunity, Americans move to states with lower taxes and less regulation over their businesses and daily lives. Now if we could only teach them to vote that way in national elections…

 

They voted for it. They found out what is in it. Now let’s make it go away.

Even the media outlets that usually love President Obama are choking on ObamaCare. The Associated Press posted an article today noting President Obama’s spin on the ObamaCare rebates.

The article reports:

In his speech defending his health care law Thursday, Obama said rebates averaging $100 are coming from insurance companies to 8.5 million Americans. In fact, most of the money is going straight to employers who provide health insurance, not to their workers, who benefit indirectly.

Obama danced around that reality in remarks that also blamed problems in establishing affordable insurance markets on political opponents, glossing over complex obstacles also faced in states that support the law.

In his speech, the President introduced several people who got rebates from their health insurance premiums last year, but there were a few things he neglected to mention. Generally speaking, the rebates are sent to the companies who provide the insurance for their employees–those companies have no obligation to pass those rebates on to their employees.

There is also another really dangerous aspect of these rebates. President Obama stated, ” If they’re (insurers) not spending your premium dollars on your health care – at least 80 percent of it – they’ve got to give you some money back.” Since when does the government have the right to tell any company selling a product how to spend the money it receives for that product?

The article also reports:

In California, for example, where there is plenty of competition by health insurers wanting to get into the exchange, an actuarial report commissioned by Covered California, the state agency running the insurance marketplace, found that middle-income residents could see individual health premiums increase by an average of 30 percent while costs go down for lower income people.

In West Virginia, Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin – also a cooperative partner in expanding Medicaid and setting up an exchange – complained to federal officials this week about delays in rules and guidelines from Washington as the state struggles to meet deadlines under the law.

ObamaCare needs to go away. We need enough men in Congress who love this country more than they love their political parties to make that happen. If we don’t have those men in Congress now, we need to elect them in 2014. ObamaCare needs to go away.

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The Cost Of Bullying

On Friday the Washington Free Beacon posted an article about Jeff Richmond of Meadow Bridge, West Virginia. Mr. Richmond was a truck driver who began working for Penn Line Service, a trucking and construction company, in July 2012.

The article reports:

He never joined LIUNA, which represents other employees at the company, but that did not stop the union from deducting dues from his paycheck. The situation came to a head in October when Richmond refused to make “voluntary” contributions to three PACs associated with the union. He was fired from his job shortly afterward.

…Richmond challenged the forced dues program enacted by the union and the company before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after his firing with the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The NLRB issued a formal complaint against Penn Line Service and LIUNA but did not have a chance to rule on the matter before the settlement.

Richmond was not the only Penn Line Service employee to benefit from the settlement. The company and union agreed to reimburse an unnamed employee $600 for forced dues payments and political contributions he made in 2012.

Since the Supreme Court ruled on the Citizens United case, there has been a lot of talk about the amount of money in politics and particularly donations made by corporations. However, if we are going to complain about corporate donations, we need also to look at union donations unwillingly made by union members who do not necessarily support the candidates or causes the money is given to. At least in a corporation, the stockholders will hold the corporation accountable if the Chairman of the Board makes a donation to a cause the other Board members do not support.

The article concludes:

Mix (Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee) said the union’s actions are not surprising given the influence of organized labor in West Virginia. He urged lawmakers to change the pro-union atmosphere in the state to avoid future issues with compulsory union dues.

“West Virginia needs to pass a Right-to-Work law making union membership and dues payments completely voluntary,” Mix said.

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It Would Have Been Nice If He Had Mentioned This A Few Years Ago

Yesterday Breitbart.com reported a quote from Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Senator Rockefeller was one of the creators of the Affordable Care Act. He is reported to have said that ObamaCare is “probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress” and “is just beyond comprehension.”

The article reports:

Rockefeller said he is concerned that early missteps with implementing the healthcare overhaul may cascade into confusion and chaos. The law, said Rockefeller, is “so complicated and if it isn’t done right the first time, it will just simply get worse.”

Just for the record, Senator, the nonpartisan Society of Actuaries recently released a report stating that one ObamaCare is fully enacted, medical claims costs will increase an average of 32%. I assume that figure is based on the assumption that the law is done right the first time.

To add to the picture, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently stated that “no one fully anticipated” all the complexities of ObamaCare.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Congress is preparing to pass a gun-control bill that also has not been read by the people voting on it.

Has anyone thought about passing a bill requiring Congress to read bills before they pass them?

At some point we really do need to learn from our past mistakes.

 

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Under The Radar In The Obama Administration

One of the aspects of the Obama Administration has been the increase in the power of the Environmental Protection Agency. That increase in power and regulations is having an impact on the coal industry.

CBN News reported today that Alpha Natural Resources announced it is shutting down eight mines in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. This will result in the loss of 1,200 jobs.

The article reports:

“Since the Obama administration has been in, things have been tough on the coal economy,” one West Virginia coal miner said. “It just keeps going downhill, and without it West Virginia will be one state that won’t make it.”

In July 2012, Breitbart.com quoted a statement by President Obama about coal:

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can.

It’s just that it will bankrupt them.

It seems that this is one promise the President has kept.

CBN News reports:

Miners owners argue they can’t afford to make the necessary changes in the amount of time they’re given. That has resulted in layoffs or mines simply shutting down.

If you are naive enough to believe that this does not affect you, think again. Between one-third and half of America’s electricity comes from coal. If too many coal mines shut down, the amount of electricity available to Americans will decrease. Coal plants need to be given the amount of time they need to convert to clean coal. The Obama Administration’s coal policy is hurting jobs and will eventually hurt consumers of electricity.

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Some Major West Virginia Democrats Will Not Attend The Democrat National Convention

The National Journal reported yesterday that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, Representative Nick Rahall and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will not be part of the West Virginia delegation to the Democrat Convention in Charlotte in September.

The article reports:

“I intend to spend this fall focused on the people of West Virginia, whether that’s representing them in my official U.S. Senate duties or here at home, where I can hear about their concerns and ideas to solve the problems of this great nation,” Manchin said in a statement. “I will remain focused on bringing people together for the next generation, not the next election.”

President Obama’s policies toward coal are very damaging to West Virginia, which has an economy based on coal production.

As Breitbart.com reported earlier this month:

President Obama wants to steer electricity generation away from coal to natural gas. The only problem with that is our system is set up for coal, coal is abundant and coal is easier to get. While the market may naturally gravitate to natural gas as it becomes easier to get through fracking, something the Left has demonized and is fighting, we’re not there yet.

This is a definite threat to the economy of West Virginia, and the leaders of West Virginia are correct in taking that threat seriously. Part of their responsibility as state officials is to protect the welfare of their state. It is totally understandable that the leaders of West Virginia will not be at the Democrat Conventions. It is also interesting to read the comments at the bottom of the article at the National Journal. It is also a good idea when you read comments on news articles that campaigns have people whose only job is to comment on articles that mention some aspect of the campaign.

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The Evolving Continues

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an article on President Obama’s evolving positions.

This week we saw the President evolve in his position on gay marriage. I am sure that the fact that many of the major contributors to his campaign threatened to withhold their contributions unless he came out in support of gay marriage had nothing to do with the President’s change in position. Well, now the President’s position on coal is evolving. It’s not about the donations–it’s about the results of the Democrat primary in West Virginia. Keith Russell Judd, a convicted felon, serving time at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont, Texas, won 42.28 percent of the vote — or 49,490 votes — compared with President Obama with 57.72 percent or or 67,562 votes.

West Virginia depends on coal for its economy. Since the advent of supposed man-made global warming and the scare tactics that go with the theory, the Obama Administration has declared war on coal. This week, coal declared war on the Obama Administration. Coal-generated power plants are being targeted by the Obama Administration to be shut down–raising electric rates for everyone because there is as of yet no ‘green’ alternative to coal-fired plants.

The article at the Washington Examiner reports:

The Hill reported that he showed a screenshot of the Obama campaign’s website that noted every other kind of fuel–but coal–in their all-of-the-above program.

By this morning, presto, “clean coal” is where “fuel efficiency” used to be. Clean coal refers to technology used to filter emissions.

West Virginia has maintained stable coal production and has shipped much of its coal to China, where coal-powered electric plants open every week. The people of West Virginia were simply voting according to the best interests of their state. It seems as if the President is now beginning to understand what those interests might be.

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