Why I Am Glad I Voted For Scott Brown

Scott Brown posted an op-ed piece at the Boston Globe yesterday.  The main premise of his article was that the health care fight is not over.  He pointed out that part of his campaign for Senator from Massachusetts was that he would be the 41st vote against the proposed health care reform.  The people of Massachusetts, breaking with all traditional expectations in the State, elected him.  That should have been a powerful message to Washington.  Some of us who voted for Scott Brown feel like the man in the cell phone commercials yelling, “Can you hear me now?”  I am not at all sure Washington has heard us yet.

Senator Brown has pledged to work for repeal of the very expensive healthcare reform bill that recently passed.  He is looking for ways to reform healthcare that will save consumers money and avoid a government takeover of the healthcare industry. 

Senator Brown concludes:

“Washington is broken. All across the country, people believe that their elected officials are working for themselves and not on behalf of their constituents. Only when we start heeding the will of the American people can we begin to restore faith in government, and it all starts with commonsense, practical solutions that will put Americans back to work and get our economy back on track.”

That kind of clear thinking is the reason I am glad I voted for Scott Brown for Senator.

Sometimes Our Courts Just Get It Wrong

Yesterday Hot Air reported on the decision by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to have Albert Snyder pay the Court costs of his lawsuit against Fred Phelps.  Fred Phelps is the founder of the group from the Westboro Church, based in Topeka, Kansas, that protests military funerals with protest signs saying the deaths of American troops are God’s punishment for America allowing homosexuality.  The Westboro Church protested at the funeral of Albert Snyder’s son, and Mr. Snyder sued Fred Phelps for the emotional distress caused by the disruption of the funeral.  The legal question is ‘where do a person’s First Amendment rights end?’  The case will probably make it to the Supreme Court.  I am not a lawyer, and I don’t understand how the legal aspect of this will be settled, but I believe something needs to be said about the total inappropriateness of protesting at a funeral.  Mr. Snyder has lost his son, I do not believe that the Westboro Church was acting with compassion when they turned the funeral into a circus.

Just a personal note on this.  I was in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in January of 2009 when Mr. Phelps brought his act to town.  Jacksonville is the town adjacent to Camp Lejeune, the largest Marine base on the east coast.  The military knew he was coming and simply avoided the area of town where he was protesting.  The Marines responded to his appearance with class and dignity.  Unfortunately, both those qualities are alien to Mr. Phelps.  Mr. Phelps has been allowed his First Amendment rights with very little interference.  There is no need to bring his circus to funerals; he has other places where he can protest.  A little respect for the feelings of the people who have suffered a great loss would be appreciated.

This Should Be Good News

The sources for this article are Townhall.com and the New York Times.  President Obama announced today that he is opening up much of the east coast of the United States and some of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling. 

According to the New York TImes:

“The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.”

In theory, I think this is a fantastic idea, but I will admit that I am a little skeptical.  This announcement comes just as the President is ready to attempt to push ‘Cap and Trade’ legislation through Congress.  The article in the New York Times points out that:

“…Interior Department will spend several years conducting geologic and environmental studies along the rest of the southern and central Atlantic Seaboard. If a tract is deemed suitable for development, it is listed for sale in a competitive bidding system. The next lease sales — if any are authorized by the Interior Department — would not be held before 2012.”

This is a very interesting move on the part of the President.  In Virginia, the first sale of an oil lease could occur as early as next year as that land had already been approved, but the lease sale was held up by a court challenge and Interior Department review.  Keep in mind that Virginia just voted in a Republican governor.  Offshore drilling will increase jobs and revenue in Virginia and might put the state back in the Democrat column.

This is a story I will be watching.  Opening up offshore drilling would be wonderful for America in two ways–our dependence on foreign oil is a national security issue (Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz more than once) and it is also an economic issue (our balance of trade deficits).  Energy independence is a great idea, and biofuels in their present form have not been the answer.  I am, however, skeptical about the details of this plan–how high are the taxes on the oil companies that decide to drill going to be (high enough to make it uneconomical to develop the energy?).  This is a story we can all watch.

Tax rates are prices–prices for working, saving and investing.  And when you raise the price of these productive activities, you get less of them and more activity in the underground economy, tax shelters, and leisure pursuits.  You in small business understand that you can’t force people to buy merchandise that isn’t selling by raising your price.  But too many in Washington and across the country still believe that we can raise more revenue from the economy by making it more expensive to work, save, and invest in the economy.  We can’t repeal human nature.

Ronald Reagan

The Dangers Of An Overreaching Government

Today’s Financial Times of London reported a story that I don’t think has gotten a lot of coverage in the United States.  As part of its economic stimulus program, the Australian government offered homeowners up to A$1,600 ($1,460, €1,070, £970) to insulate their homes.  This sounds like a great idea–everybody wins–the homeowner saves energy, they get financial help to do it, and the government creates jobs and ‘goes green.’  Well, not so fast.

More than one million homes have been insulated in a year, as opposed to the usual amount of 70,000.  Unfortunately, when that much work was created all at the same time, much of the work that was done was substandard–metal staples were driven into electrical cables, insulation was put on top of ceiling lights, and four installation workers have been killed.  This is becoming a politcal issue–Tony Abbott, the opposition leader, charges that some 48,000 homes could now have ‘live’ roofs that will electrocute anyone who climbs on them.  The environmental minister, former rock star Peter Garrett has been relieved of his duties. 

The article concludes:

“There is a final lesson. The subsidy meant that Australians could get their insulation free. Regulation is all very well, but it cannot cover every eventuality. The more people pay for their goods and services the more likely they are to inquire into the competence of the providers.”

Please follow the link above and read the entire story.  It is a tale of what happens when the government gives out money without considering the consequences.

Immigration Reform

Now that President Obama has passed his healthcare agenda, he will be moving on to immigration reform.  On March 4th, the Los Angeles Times reported that the President had met with Democrat Charles E. Schumer of New York and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who had been working on the bill.  Well, that was then, and this is now.

On March 25th, The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room reported that Senator Graham has stated that the methods used by the Democrats in securing the passage of the healthcare bill had ‘poisoned the well’ and that the chances of getting a bipartisan bill passed after the passage of healthcare were small.

Meanwhile, George Will at the Washington Post Sunday, posted an idea that he felt might help inject some common sense into the immigration debate.  Mr. Will cites the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment as one of the sources of our immigration problem.  He suggests that ending the practice of “birthright citizenship” might slow down the number of illegal aliens who come to America.

Under present law, if a pregnant woman illegally crosses the border into the United States and makes her way to an American hospital to have her child, the child is born as a United States citizen.   Mr. Will points out that the Civil Rights Act of 1866 states that “All persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.” (his emphasis).

The article concludes:

“Congress has heard testimony estimating that more than two-thirds of all births in Los Angeles public hospitals, and more than half of all births in that city, and nearly 10 percent of all births in the nation in recent years, have been to mothers who are here illegally. Graglia seems to establish that there is no constitutional impediment to Congress ending the granting of birthright citizenship to those whose presence here is “not only without the government’s consent but in violation of its law.””

I doubt that there is another country in the world where if you are in the country illegally and have a child, that child is a citizen of that country entitled to all benefits.  Closing this loophole would help discourage people who come here illegally and might allow us to adjust our immigration laws in order to attract citizens who want to assimilate into this country.  As a side note, one of the most disturbing things to me about the demonstrations we have seen by illegal immigrants who want to become Americans is the fact that they are hoisting the Mexican flag as they demonstrate.  That makes no sense.  If you want to be here, please become a loyal American; if your loyalty is to Mexico, please come visit us, then go home.

Celebrating A Victory In Battle As You Lose The War

Yesterday Investors.com posted an editorial about the fact that Social Security is now paying out more money than it takes in.  Meanwhile, Representative Nancy Pelosi celebrated the beginning of a massive new entitlement program.  Social Security will run a deficit during 2010 due to early retirements of people who could not find jobs and less income coming in from taxes due to rising unemployment and lower payroll tax receipts.  According to the editorial, the 2010 shortfall is expected to be $29 billion.

This is a problem George W. Bush attempted to fix, but the Democrats told everyone that the system was solid and that George Bush was lying when he said that the system was in trouble.  MoveOn.org even put out a piece that said President Bush was using scare tactics and Social Security was solid until 2042.  These are the same people that are telling us that the new healthcare reform will save us money.  They really don’t have a great track record!

The editorial points out:

“Private, insurance company-run annuity plans are legally required to pay you what was promised, when it was promised, and to maintain assets sufficient to redeem those promises. Social Security is not, and any insurance company CEO that ran a Ponzi scheme like Social Security would soon be incarcerated for fraud.”

Unfortunately the government does not hold itself to the same standards of integrity that it demands of private industry.  They have been spending the reserve Social Security money since the 1960’s.  There has never been a Social Security Trust Fund–it has been spent.  This is another thing we need to remember as the healthcare reform bill begins take effect. 

A new Congress is needed–one that will deal with the problems of our current entitlements rather than create new ones that add to the problem.

Something To Remember As We Approach the 2010 Elections

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury.

“From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

This quote is attributed to Alexander Tyler.  There are efforts to disprove this.  They are noted at the site where I got the quote, http://www.wrisley.com/cycle.htm.

Unfortunately, Elections Have Consequences

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an opinion piece on the recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board.  Mr. Becker is the former associate general counsel for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and has represented the AFL-CIO in court. 

Some of his ideas include not allowing management to attend hearings on labor management disbutes at the NLRB.  He also favors ‘card check’, which removes the secret ballot from elections where workers vote on whether or not to unionize a company. 

According to the article:

“…last month Becker’s nomination fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to defeat a threatened Republican filibuster in the Senate, which left a recess appointment as the only way Obama could get his man on the NLRB.”

This vote shows that not even all the Democrats were in favor of this nomination.  The Democrats who voted against cloture were Blanche Lincoln, and Ben Nelson.  Both are facing tough races to retain their House seats in November.  Democrats who did not vote were Mary Landrieu, Robert Byrd, Daniel Inouye, and Mark Pryor.

The article also points out that SEIU President Andy Stern and the union’s chief lobbyist are the two most frequent visitors to the White House.  I am not opposed to labor unions.  I am opposed to having labor unions wield a disproportional amount of power in our government.


A Few Notes On The Laffer Curve

As a result of the recently passed healthcare reform bill, many of us will see our taxes go up (directly or indirectly), and it’s time to examine what happens in an economy when taxes are raised.  The Heritage Foundation posted an article on the Laffer Curve a number of years ago.  The article was written by Arthur Laffer, who states in the article that although the Laffer Curve is named after him, he did not invent it.  The information in the article is still valid, and the article is something I wish all of our Congressmen would read and memorize.

According the Mr. Laffer:

“The Laffer Curve, by the way, was not invented by me. For example, Ibn Khaldun, a 14th century Muslim philosopher, wrote in his work The Muqaddimah: “It should be known that at the beginning of the dynasty, taxation yields a large revenue from small assessments. At the end of the dynasty, taxation yields a small revenue from large assessments.””

The article also quotes John Mayard Keynes writing that when taxation is too high wealth creation will be slowed and tax revenues will decrease.  (That also needs to be required reading for Congress.)  Please follow the link above to read the entire article.

This is the chart from the article that shows it all:LafferCurve.gif

Marty Lamb For Congress

Friday night I attended the kick off meeting for Marty Lamb’s Congressional Campaign held in Westborough, Massachusetts.  Marty is running in the Republican Primary.  The winner of the primary will challenge incumbent Jim McGovern in Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District.

Marty Lamb

(Picture courtesy of Mark Urbin)

Marty Lamb made a short speech explaining why he was running and what he would like to accomplish as a Representative from Massachusetts.  His platform is simple.  He believes in a representative government that actually represents the people.  He pointed out that all of us manage household budgets, and we know that if our income decreases for any reason, we have to cut our spending.  He pointed out that if we as heads of families do that, the government should follow our example.  He supports sustainable tax cuts–tax cuts that will remain in place in order to allow businesses to plan for the future.  He pointed out that historically tax cuts help stimulate the economy and used the Kennedy Administration and the Reagan Administration as examples of that.  He supports the repeal of the recently passed healthcare reform act, and opposes pork-barrel spending.

I was impressed by his ideas–they are the principles of the founding fathers that the current Congress seems to have forgotten, and I will support him as a candidate for Representative from my district.

To learn more, click on this link to his website, Martyforcongress.com.

Part Of The Rising Republican Tide In Massachusetts

I was fortunate enough on Friday night to meet and have a chance to talk to Kamal Jain, who is running in the Republican primary for State Auditor.  I was impressed.  Kamal is a seasoned businessman who believes in transparency in government.  One of the things he showed me as we talked was the chart below:

10 Year Total Spending Chart

This chart shows the difference between the actual budget of the State of Massachusetts for Fiscal Years 2000 through 2009 and the actual spending for Fiscal Years 2000 through 2009.  This is the link to the area of his website that explains how this works, MassTransparency.com.  I do not claim to understand all the workings of this, but it obvious to me that there is a large amount of money spent that somehow is not in the actual budget which is voted on by the legislature and signed by the Governor.  Mr. Jain plans to make public how the State of Massachusetts actually spends our money.  I like that. 

Mr. Jain is an impressive man with an impressive resume.  I plan on voting for him in the primary election.

A Troubling Trend In Congressional Hearings

The source of this story is an article in today’s Washington Examiner written by Byron York.  Representative Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has asked some of the nation’s top corporate executives to appear before his committee on April 21 to explain their statements that the new healthcare reform bill will cost their companies hundreds of millions of dollars in healthcare expenses. 

According to the article: 

“Waxman’s demands for documents are far-reaching. “To assist the Committee with its preparation for the hearing,” he wrote to Stephenson, “we request that you provide the following documents from January 1, 2009, through the present:

“(1) any analyses related to the projected impact of health care reform on AT&T; and (2) any documents, including e-mail messages, sent to or prepared or reviewed by senior company officials related to the projected impact of health care reform on AT&T. We also request an explanation of the accounting methods used by AT&T since 2003 to estimate the financial impact on your company of the 28 percent subsidy for retiree drug coverage and its deductibility or nondeductibility, including the accounting methods used in preparing the cost impact statement released by AT&T this week.”

This is a further attempt by the Democrats in Congress to intimidate corporate leaders who are speaking out about the negative effect of the healthcare reform bill on their businesses.  These documents are considered confidential within a company, but if the executives refuse to provide them, they risk subpoenas and threats from Chairman Waxman. 

The problem that the corporations are experiencing is due to the repeal of the provision in the 2003 Medicare prescription bill that provided a tax break to corporations that continued providing prescription drug covereage to their retirees, keeping the retirees out of the Medicare system–thus saving the government money.  Now that the healthcare reform bill ends that tax break, it will be more expensive for corporations to provide that coverage.  It is quite possible that private companies will stop providing that benefit, thus forcing more people into Medicare at a time when the bill also cuts Medicare spending.

The bottom line here is that people will lose jobs or not be hired because the cost of doing business for these (and other) corporations will go up.  If the healthcare reform law stands (and is not repealed and replaced), we can expect unemployment to remain in the 10 percent range.  That is not the way America does business.






Congress Is Bipartisan In Their Support Of Israel

According to the Jerusalem Post, 327 United States congressmen have signed a letter stating that the current tension between Israel and America do not advance the interests of either state.  Admittedly that is rather obvious, but the interesting part to me is that it only took them three days to get the 327 signatures.  President Obama’s treatment of Israel was rude and unjustifiable; it was out of step with Congress and the American people.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with his six senior ministers (the ‘Septet’) on Friday to discuss his trip to the United States and the demands of President Obama.

The article points out:

“The US had been pressing for a quick reply to then take to the Arab League meeting in Libya and try to get that group’s backing for proximity talks – an eventuality that now seems increasingly unlikely. The US demands, and Netanyahu’s trip, are expected to come up at Sunday’s weekly meeting of the full cabinet.”

I think most Americans would like to see peace between Israel and her neighbors, but why are we acting like Neville Chamberlain and refusing to see the increasing militarism of Israel’s enemies?

There are a few things that may explain President Obama’s recent horrible treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.  First of all, regardless of how you feel about him as a President, President Obama is a relatively intelligent man.  He is quite capable of setting a goal and forming a plan to achieve it.  Peace in the Middle East would be a crowning achievement for his presidency.  The Arab countries are not known for their flexibility.  The current prime minister of Israel is not going to sacrifice his country in the name of peace.  If President Obama can create enough tension between the United States and Israel and make it look as if the problem is Netanyahu, he may be able to bring down the current government of Israel and have it replaced with a government that will give away the country in the name of peace.  Remember, President Obama was a community organizer–he knows how to stir up discontent. 

The other aspect of this, which is more disturbing, is President Obama’s lack of forcefulness in dealing with Iran.  President Obama wants to win the war in Afghanistan quickly and bring the troops home (we all do, but there are some differences in how we should do that).  Currently, Iran is training Al Qaeda ‘soldiers’, providing materials for IED’s (improvised explosive devices), and doing anything it can to kill Americans in Afghanistan.  President Obama may believe that if he comes down hard on Israel and lets Iran develop nuclear weapons, Iran will stop its efforts in Afghanistan.

Just a quick note on Iran’s nuclear program.  The only successful and reasonable way to stop Iran’s nuclear program is to overthrown the current rulers of Iran.  Nothing else will work.

It is encouraging to see Congress support Israel.  My hope is that they can put enough pressure of the President to do the same.

Under The Radar In The Healthcare Bill

Yesterday, Fox News reported on a provision in the healthcare reform bill that somehow got through without anyone noticing.  According to the article:

“The Class Act, otherwise known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act, is the federal government’s first long-term care insurance program.

“Under-reported and the under the radar of most lawmakers, the program will allow workers to have an average of roughly $150 or $240 a month, based on age and salary, automatically deducted from their paycheck to save for long-term care.

“The Congressional Budget Office expects the government will collect $109 billion in premiums by 2019.”

Here comes another bureaucracy.  The deductions could begin as early as 2012.  After a five-year period, participants would be able to use the money for in-home care.

This is one of many things buried in the 2000+ page bill that no one had time to read before it was passed.  I would also like to mention that Congress is not covered by the healthcare reform act they just passed–it will not impact their healthcare insurance at all.  We have created a political class that is immune from the laws that they are passing.  That was not what our founding fathers intended.

Sleight Of Hand By Congress And The IRS ?

Remember how, as part of the stimulus package, you had less taxes taken out of your paycheck or if you were on Social Security you received $250 (and no cost of living increase) ?  Well, I hope you didn’t celebrate too enthusiastically–the IRS wants their money back! 

My husband does our taxes on Turbo-Tax, and I confess that I really don’t pay a lot of attention to his spouse-type grousings as he is working on taxes.  However, every now and then I am amazed at what he discovers.  Last night was one of those moments.  I retired in February of 2009 and began collecting Social Security.  Because I was not retired in January, I did not receive the $250 bonus paid to Social Security recipients.  Ok.  Fine.  Well, after my husband filed our taxes, the IRS refused our return, asking if I had received the $250.  They even included a phone number in their e-mail, so I called it.  The computer on the other end of the phone confirmed that I had not, in fact, received the $250.  OK.  We agree.  My husband then went back to his computer and confirmed that I had not received that income.  Oddly enough, at that point our tax refund grew by $250!  Had I received the money, I would never have known that they were taking it back.

Evidently, many other people are having rude awakenings about the stimulus tax breaks they received last year.  Walletpop.com (I found the link on AOL.  I am not familiar with them, but they confirm my story.) posted a story yesterday about taxpayers who thought that the change in their withholding that was done as part of the stimulus was actually a tax cut.  There are some serious jolts going on. 

The article reports:

“If you and your spouse both had jobs in 2009, each of you was eligible for a $400 credit — a total of $800 if you filed together (this assumes you made more than $13,000 between the two of you). Well, someone didn’t double-check the math and you and your spouse actually received $600 each for a total of $1,200 in tax credit.
Now you and your spouse owe the government $400 because of the glitch. Not that it’s any consolation, but you’re not alone — 55% of married couples fall into this category.”
There is another aspect to this.  If Social Security recipients have to pay back the $250, it doesn’t cost the government anything other than interest payments on the debt.  The $250 is not a cost as it will be paid back.  It’s bad enough that the stimulus package cost over a trillion dollars and did not keep unemployment below 8.5 percent (as promised), but the fact that the Americans who will pay the bill for this very expensive program didn’t even really receive the benefits they were told they would receive is outrageous.  We have truly been snookered.

“Maldistribution Of Income ?”

Yesterday, Hot Air reported that Senator Max Baucus made the statement on the Senate floor that the “healthcare bill” is “an income shift, it is a shift, a leveling to help lower income middle income Americans”  Baucus continued, “[t]oo often, much of late, the last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind.  Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America.  This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.”

I wonder how many of our Senators and Representatives who voted for this bill understood that this was one of the purposes of the bill.  I also wonder how many of them actually believe that you help the poor by taking money from people who earned it and giving it to people who did not.  I thought we were just helping people get good healthcare.  This is one of the hazards of passing a bill that has 2000+ pages in three days–no one had read it and analyzed it carefully. 

For a list of the Senators who supported the bill on Christmas Eve, go to Thomas.gov.  For a list of the Representatives who voted for the bill on March 21st, go to Thomas.gov.  Remember these names in the coming months.  The Republicans are going to run on a campaign of ‘repeal and replace.’  In order for them to be successful, everyone needs to get involved.  If you have any ambitions for yourself or for your children to be successful, now is the time to act.  What Max Baucus calls “maldistribution of income”, many of us call the rewards of hard work.  The problem with income redistribution is that it takes away incentive and we all lose.  Today’s Wall Street Journal reported that personal income dropped in 42 states in 2009.  If we do not act now, that is our future for a long time.

Look at the voting lists to see how your Congressman voted.  Then donate, work for, or otherwise support the candidate running against him in 2010.

Is This Any Way To Treat Your Friends ?

Yesterday’s London Times posted a more complete report of the recent visit of Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu to the United States.  To say that President Netanyahu was treated poorly is an understatement.  The article relates that:

“In their meeting Mr Obama set out a number of expectations that Israel was to satisfy if it wanted to end the crisis, Israeli sources said. These included an extension of the freeze on Jewish settlement growth beyond the 10-month deadline next September, an end to Israeli building projects in east Jerusalem, and even a withdrawal of Israeli forces to positions that they held before the Second Intifada in September 2000, after which they re-occupied most of the West Bank.”

To act as if the Israelis are dealing with a ‘peace process’ with a country that actually wants peace is to deny reality.  First of all, we need to remember that before the 1967 war, there was not a cry for a ‘Palestinian State.’   My favorite quote on this subject is from Walid Shoebat, a former terrorist, who states, “Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian?”  During the time that Jordan, Egypt, and other countries controlled the land that the Arabs want as ‘Palestine’, there was never a cry for a Palestinian state.  A two-state solution is a wonderful goal if both states want a peaceful two-state solution.  The actions of the people calling for the state of Palestine do not back up that idea. 

The actions of President Obama in dealing with President Netanyahu were incredibly rude and unproductive.  Israel has been our best ally in the Middle East.  Why are we condemning our ally for building in its own capital while ignoring the progress Iran is making toward nuclear weapons?  We are sending Iran a message that we will not defend Israel when they are ready to attack–much like to misunderstanding that led to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait–because of a conversation with an American diplomat, the Iraqis concluded that if they invaded Kuwait, we would not interfere–so they did it!  President Obama is playing a dangerous game when he treats the President of Israel as badly as he treated President Netanyahu.

Something To Think About

This is a quote from John Adams.  It is something we need to remember today.

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.  Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.  Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate for any other.”

As one of the founders of our country, John Adams totally understood what would be needed to keep American strong.

Scholarships For Washington, D. C. Students

One of the things in the stimulus bill that did not get a lot of attention was the elimination of the school voucher program (D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program) in Washington, D. C.  There was a lot of irony in the fact that Congress was eliminating this program, since very few (if any) Congressmen who live in Washington, D. C., send their children to public schools.  Since that program was terminated (actually Congress simply stated that no new children could sign up for the program), a number of Congressmen have been working to reinstate it.

On March, 10, the Washington Post reported on those efforts.  Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) has been the leader in this fight, but has not been able to get his bill to the floor.  Meanwhile, George Will reported Sunday in the Washington Post that Education Secretary Arne Duncan in speaking to a group this month in Alabama:

“…vowed to unleash on public schools legions of lawyers wielding Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They supposedly will rectify what he considers civil rights violations, such as too many white students in high school Advanced Placement classes.”

That’s very nice, I guess, but George Will points out:

“No segregationist politician is blocking schoolhouse doors against D.C. children; congressional Democrats are. Until Duncan and the talkative president he serves speak against the congressional Democrats who are strangling the District’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, he should spare us the exhibitionism of explaining problems of social class in the ’60s vocabulary of civil rights violations.”

It seems that one of the places to start providing racial equality in education might be in Washington, D. C.

Why We All Need To Be Aware Of What Is Going On In Our Children’s Schools

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today that relates the story of a Seattle, Washington, high school student who was given an abortion without her parents’ knowledge.  The story was originally reported by KOMO News in Seattle. 

The mother of the teenager (the mother is pro-choice) signed a consent form for her daughter to visit the Ballard Teen Health Center located within the high school.  She figured her daughter could go there for a sore throat, an earache, etc.  She did not realize it meant her daughter could go there for an abortion without her knowing it. 

Just as a side note, I really don’t like the idea of a “Teen Health Center” located within a high school.  It seems to me that even in high school, a student should not be responsible for their medical services without the input of his/her parents.  The convenience is nice, but without parental input, this is a bad idea.  It almost seems as if the location of the health center is putting a wall between the parent and the child.

Anyway, back to the story.  According to KOMO:

“Jill (the child’s mother) says her daughter, a pro-life advocate, was given a pass, put in a taxi and sent off to have an abortion during school hours all without her family knowing.”

I happen to be pro-life.  I also happen to be the mother of three daughters.  Although I would oppose any one of my daughters seeking an abortion, if she had an abortion, I would want to be there for her.  To take the parents out of the picture at that point is unfair to the parents and to the child (I realize that in certain cases there are extenuating circumstances, but that was clearly not the case here).

There is a related story at Hot Air written by Ed Morrissey in May 2008.  It deals with the events that followed the unintended pregnancy of his son’s girfriend during their senior year of high school.  The story also shows that we need to pay attention to some of the underlying messages given to our children as they attend high school.


The Sad Campaign Of Misinformation

Today’s Worcester Telegram posted an article praising the Democrat Party for passing the healthcare reform bill and chastising the Republicans for not being part of the destruction of the American economy.  My Congressional Representative, Jim McGovern, voted for the bill.  That is one of the reasons I am collecting signatures for Marty Lamb, who hopes to run against him for Congress in November.  The New York Times stated yesterday: “The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.”   It is not up to the government to attack economic inequalityWhere is that in the U. S. Constitution?  All of the Massachusetts Congressmen voted for the bill except for Stephen Lynch (who was probably allowed to vote no because Nancy Pelosi did not need his vote).

As was previously reported on this site (rightwinggranny.com), one Massachusetts company will already be negatively impacted by this bill.  Zoll Medical Corporation in Chelmsford (which made a profit of $9.5 million in 2009) is expecting to be hit with a new tax of between $5 million and $10 million a year under the new healthcare reform.  None of the options available to them as a company to stay in business will be good for the State of Massachusetts.  I know that Congressmen have a reputation for bringing home the bacon–I didn’t realize they were also good at taking the bacon away from their own states!

I have two direct quotes about the bill from Townhall.com (via Associated Press) about the claim that all children with pre-existing conditions will be immediately covered:

“Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill Obama signed into law Tuesday.

“…Full protection for children would not come until 2014, said Kate Cyrul, a spokeswoman for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, another panel that authored the legislation. That’s the same year when insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to any person on account of health problems.”

There is also a ten percent tax on tanning salons.  How many small businesses in Massachusetts are going to close because of that tax increase?  How many people will lose their jobs?  I also wonder what the funding for 17,000 IRS agents is doing in a healthcare bill.  Why is the government takeover of the student loan program in this bill?

I strongly suggest that you donate to every opposing candidate of any Congressman in Massachusetts who voted for this bill.  Voting for this bill was not brave–how many Congressmen read the 2,000+ page bill before they voted for it?  We don’t need Congressmen who blindly follow the orders of the Washington Democrat Party; we need Congressmen who will pay attention to the needs of their state.  I will be voting for Marty Lamb in November.


Lawsuits Against The Healthcare Bill

Yesterday The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room reported that thirteen states have filed lawsuits against the recently passed healthcare reform bill.  Attorneys General from Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, Idaho and South Dakota have all filed suits.  They have filed these suits on the basis that the bill is unconstitutional.  This is the link to the pdf file of the lawsuit.

The article states:

“The suit specifically claims that the Medicaid expansion, individual mandates to buy health insurance and several tax provisions violate various clauses in the Constitution. They say that the measures run roughshod over guarantees of state sovereignty and limitations on the scope of taxation.”

This could be a very interesting lawsuit.  One of the problems at the root of states not wanting to see this bill go into effect is the unfunded mandates.  A lot of the financial burden of this bill will fall on state budgets–Medicare and Medicaid expenses can be expected to increase very rapidly as many more people are added to the programs.  Some of the states which will be greatly affected by this bill are already in serious financial difficulty.

If I may presume to give advice to the Republicans as they deal with the passage of this bill, my advice is very simple–repeal is a good idea, but repeal and replace is a better idea.  There are many ways to make sure all Americans have access to affordable health insurance without a government takeover of the health insurance industry.  Please draft a bill of less than twenty pages that all Americans can read and understand that will help low-income people afford insurance and allow the free market to function in the healthcare insurance industry.

Under The Radar In Afghanistan

The beautiful child in the picture below is one of the children our military helped when they were deployed in Afghanistan in 2002 – 2003.  It is the lead picture in an article by Michael Yon about what American military medical teams are doing now to provide medical care for the children of that country.  The child in the picture became known to the soldiers as Princess Salerno. 

Michael Yon concludes in his article:

“Princess Salerno recovered from her broken leg and became a favorite memory of the 909th after their return home in 2003. There is no way of knowing what has become of her over the ensuing 7 years. The team would rather just simply think of her just as she remains in these photos. A beautiful, innocent, princess child.

This is the Afghanistan that we should focus upon. The children are growing up under generations of war. It is no wonder why it is so easy for them to be turned into radical Islamists. They are indoctrinated via the madrassas that had exploded in numbers during the 1980s through 1990s. This country has been manipulated into this radical culture from outside influences. In my humble opinion, if we are to win the battle against radical Islam and terrorism, then we will need to invest in multiple generations. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Anything less than this full, long-term effort will only result in what we have now. History will repeat itself.”

Please follow the link to the article to read the stories and see the pictures of the medical help that our military is bringing to the people of Afghanistan.


The Saddest Part Of The Healthcare Bill

I have no problem with extending healthcare to people who cannot afford insurance.  There are a number of very practical and cost-effective ways to do this without impacting the health insurance or economic situation of those already insured.  Unfortunately, this is not the law that passed Congress last Sunday.

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a story about the recently passed healthcare reform bill.  The story points out that one of the aims of the bill is to redistribute wealth by adding taxes on the wealthiest Americans.  They seem to forget that the ‘weathiest Americans’ generally run the businesses that provide the jobs for the rest of us. 

On July 30, 2009, the New York Times reported:

“The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.42 percent of total federal income taxes in 2007, according to the most recent data from the Internal Revenue Service.”

These are the people who do not work forty-hour weeks.  They are people who studied hard and worked hard to get where they are.  If we are going to tell our children to work hard and study hard to succeed, we need not to punish the people who have succeeded.

The gripe in this article is that for the past thirty years, the taxes on the wealthy have decreased more than the taxes on the less wealthy.  Has it occurred to the writer that since the tax burden on the wealthy was disproportionally higher, logically, it would decrease more?

As can be expected from the New York Times, the article blames Ronald Reagan for the inequality of income in the United States.  Has it occurred to the writer that when you begin to tax success (as was done in the Clinton years), you slow down economic growth (although the results are not immediately obvious)?  When you offer people a free lunch (free health care, lower taxes for lower achievement, longer term unemployment insurance which lessens incentive to find a new job or possibly take one that is less than ideal), the level of achievement will go down.  You have taken away incentive.  Why work sixty hour weeks if you aren’t going to be allowed to keep what you earn? 

The healthcare bill represents a cultural change in America–hard work and success will now be punished–not rewarded.  This will not mean good things for our future.