This Could Get Very Interesting

The New York Post is reporting today that longtime Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested Thursday on a six-count indictment charging her with grooming young girls for sex.

The article reports:

The British socialite, 58, was arrested by the FBI in New Hampshire around 8:30 a.m., sources told The Post.

The just-unsealed indictment charges stem from Maxwell’s role “in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein” as early as 1994, court papers say.

“The victims were as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused by Maxwell and Epstein, both of whom knew that certain victims were in fact under the age of 18,” the indictment says.

She is specifically accused of grooming three underage victims for sex with Epstein in places including his Upper East Side townhouse, Florida, New Mexico and London.

Maxwell is charged with six counts — conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury.

There are a few things to note here. Maxwell was arrested by the FBI–not any local jurisdiction. The charges will be announced by the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan today. Her testimony, if she chooses to reveal what she knows, could be very damaging to many people in powerful positions. Hopefully she will be better protected than Jeffrey Epstein was.

How Certificate Of Need Laws Endanger Americans

The Federalist posted an article today about Certificate of Need (CON) laws and how they are hindering America’s response to the coronavirus.

The article reports:

During a Tuesday press conference, Cuomo lashed out at the federal government for not sending enough ventilators as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to rattle the state. “Four hundred ventilators? I need 30,000 ventilators,” Cuomo said. “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?” The state is projecting it will need approximately 140,000 beds in 14 to 21 days, which is higher than its previous estimation of 110,000 beds by early to mid-May.

However, New York, along with 35 other states and the District of Columbia, have in place what are known as certificate-of-need (CON) laws. According to Reason, “Their stated purpose is to keep hospitals from overspending, and thus from having to charge higher prices to make up for unnecessary outlays of capital costs. But in practice, they mean hospitals must get a state agency’s permission before offering new services or installing a new medical technology. Depending on the state, everything from the number of hospital beds to the installation of a new MRI machine could be subject to CON review.”

The article notes the impact of CON laws on patient mortality rates:

In addition to causing a lack of proper equipment, these rules harm patients. According to a study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, states with CON laws have a 2.5 to 5 percent higher mortality rate than those without. Wait times have also been affected, with the average delay in New York City emergency rooms ranging from seven to 10 hours before the virus outbreak added strain to an already poorly operating medical system.

The article concludes:

Luckily, efforts to eradicate this onerous red tape have already begun, as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order suspending CON law enforcement in the state. Governors like Cuomo would be wise to follow suit and slash these burdensome regulations to allow for the expansion of new medical facilities and COVID-19 treatments.

More government control of our health-care industry is the exact opposite of what should be happening in Washington, D.C, and states around the country. Instead, lawmakers across the nation should be focusing on getting rid of these big-government barriers that make it more difficult for doctors and medical experts to treat patients. Letting the market solve its own problems is the answer to many of our problems in health care. The government needs to know when to step out of the way.

On March 23, I posted an article about how CON laws are impacting New Hampshire’s response to the coronavirus. Hopefully the problems caused by these laws during this health crisis will cause states to revisit them. Unfortunately, hospitals like the monopolies the laws give them and are willing to put forth massive lobbying efforts. Lawmakers need to rise above the politics and lobbyists and do what is best for the people they are supposed to represent.

When Regulations Interfere With Solutions

Yesterday The Union Leader, a New Hampshire newspaper, posted an article about the possible shortages of medical supplies and hospital beds during the coronavirus epidemic.

The article notes:

ACROSS the country, state leaders have raised the alarm over the lack of enough beds should the COVID-19 pandemic create a surge in serious and critical cases. They are concerned that they simply won’t have enough hospital beds to care for ill patients and are taking drastic steps to “flatten the curve” – spreading out the timeline of the disease so that the health care system can manage the influx of new cases.

This is just as true in New Hampshire as across the country. However, the prime reason we don’t have more hospital beds is not a lack of demand, but government regulation.

According to U.S. Census data, New Hampshire’s population has grown by 48% since the 1980 census. However, the last new hospital to open in the Granite State did so in 1983.

The reason why our state hasn’t built more hospitals since then isn’t lack of demand. With a growing and aging population, our health care needs have gone up, not down.

The answer why we haven’t seen more hospitals and, thus, more hospital beds is because of government regulations that were intentionally designed to limit competition and choice. Sadly, these regulations have been effective in achieving those goals.

For many years, the prime culprit from new hospital development was the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) board. For someone to get a license to build a new hospital, they would have to go before this board and hope to get a government permission slip to have the opportunity to begin. Unsurprisingly, the CON board became a protection racket for the state’s existing hospitals to stop new development.

Thanks to the work of Americans for Prosperity activists and critical policy champions like Senator John Reagan and former Representative Marilinda Garcia, New Hampshire was able to put an end to the CON board in 2016.

The article cites some other regulations that limit the number of hospital beds:

One regulation forces anyone who wants to open a hospital to have a 24 hour per day, seven day per week emergency department. Given that emergency departments are the most expensive and toughest to staff part of any hospital, this is a huge barrier to opening a new facility.

And, like most cronyism, existing hospitals made sure this requirement doesn’t apply to any hospital that had its license before the law was passed.

Another regulation forces any new hospital to take reimbursement from all payers, regardless of whether doing so makes sense for that hospital’s business model. Across the country, cash-only facilities are thriving, providing lower cost alternatives to patients. But, under state law, they can’t operate in the Granite State.

Finally, one state regulation provides for a 15-mile radius monopoly zone around smaller hospitals in more rural areas. This guarantees that anyone outside of the southeastern part of New Hampshire will never see another hospital being built in their community, or anywhere near them.

While changing these laws won’t help us fight the COVID-19 virus, it’s high time the state legislature begins to remove these barriers to help us deal with the next pandemic. Our public health infrastructure has been unnecessarily hobbled, not by disease, but by special interests.

North Carolina is one of the states with Certificate of Need (CON) laws. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35 states and Washington, D.C. operate a CON program with wide variation state-to-state. I suspect that number is high–they may be including laws that are not technically CON laws. At any rate, North Carolina has been trying to repeal its CON law for a number of years. CON laws interfere with the free market and artificially inflate medical costs by creating monopolies. One way to lower medical costs without sacrificing quality of care would be to remove CON laws. However, hospitals like their monopolies.

A New Level Of Selfishness

The New York Post posted an article today about a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center staffer who recently returned from Italy and was asked to self-isolate until the results of his coronavirus test came back. Unfortunately he chose not to listen.

The article reports:

New Hampshire’s first coronavirus patient shrugged off his quarantine and went to an event in a different state — potentially exposing almost 200 people to the deadly illness, officials revealed.

The dimwit Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center staffer showed symptoms of the virus after returning from a trip to Italy, and was told to stay home while awaiting test results — which came back positive Monday, state health officials said.

But three days earlier, he had ignored the instructions and gone to a party over the border in Vermont, officials said.

“Despite having been directed to self-isolate, [he] attended an invitation-only private event on Friday,” the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

About 175 people were at the bash, organized by Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and held at The Engine Room in White River Junction, right across the river from the New Hampshire hospital.

“It’s very disturbing to be honest,” Brandon Fox, the owner and manager of The Engine Room told The Post. “He made a really bad decision.”

If anyone who attended that event contracts the virus and dies, can he be charged with involuntary manslaughter? I don’t think that should be out of the question.

The article notes:

But the patient is believed to have already infected at least one other man — also a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center employee, officials said. The hospital said both men had no contact with patients.

An order of isolation has now been issued to the egocentric first patient under a state public health law to make sure he doesn’t break the quarantine again.

If he leaves the lockdown now, officials will be able to send police after him to keep him put.

But New Hampshire health officials didn’t respond to questions about if or how they were monitoring his self-quarantine this time around.

Meanwhile, Fox’s event space has been sanitized — twice — and health officials said events could continue.

Not only did this man put other people at risk, he negatively impacted a business. There are consequences to bad behavior. He worked at a medical center, you would think that he would have had some respect for the damage basic germs can do.

One Disturbing Aspect Of The New Hampshire Democrat Debate

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about the Democrat debate in New Hampshire last week. The article noted that none of the Democrat candidates would have killed terrorist Qassem Soleimani. That is really amazing. Soleimani was the head of the Quds Force, a division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operation from 1998 until his death. He was responsible for the killing and maiming of thousands of American soldiers in Afghanistan. It was also reported that he was planning terrorist attacks on numerous American Embassies in the Middle East.

The article reports:

Mayor Pete at least went so far as to say that Soleimani was “a bad guy.” But he then claimed that “taking out a bad guy is a bad idea if you do not know what you’re doing.” Oh, really? Seems to me that our military knew precisely what they were doing. They knew where Soleimani was, where he was heading and took him out with a single drone shot. And the collateral damage was minimal. He also referenced learning lessons from Iraq in that context. Was he implying that Saddam Hussein should still be alive? Is he aware that Hussein was executed by his own people, not the Americans?

…Biden simply says he wouldn’t have ordered the strike because “there’s no evidence yet of an imminent threat that was going to come from [Soleimani].” Two points about that response should have been obvious. First of all, Biden has been out of office for more than three years. He’s not getting the daily intelligence briefings anymore. Much of the intelligence about Soleimani couldn’t be released to the public because it could have exposed sources and methods. So Joe Biden has no way of knowing conclusively about any imminent threats.

And second, the President can and should make the argument that an imminent threat wasn’t even required. The amount of blood on the hands of Soleimani and the Quds Force could be used to paint a mural the size of Texas. At some point, you run out of second chances. We’d been trying to track Soleimani’s movements since the Bush 43 administration. The opportunity came to take him out and Trump took it. You’ll also recall that Joe Biden disagreed with Barack Obama about the raid to take out Osama bin Laden. Sounds like bad guys around the world should sleep well at night if Joe Biden is elected.

The article concludes:

Bernie believes you can’t “go around saying you’re a bad guy and we’re going to assassinate you.” That, he believes, would lead to “international anarchy.” He would also prefer that such matters be handled through stronger diplomacy at the State Department. Perhaps he’s pining for the good old days of the Obama administration and thinks Iran will behave better if we go back to sending them pallets of cash. We all saw how that worked out during the previous administration.

Notice how Sanders, along with many other Democrats, chooses to use the word “assassination” when referring to the death of Soleimani, as if he was some sort of public figure deserving of respect. The General wasn’t assassinated. He was a battlefield casualty in the war on terror and a very high-value target.

This crew has demonstrated that they’re basically carbon copies of each other on many key issues. As for the current topic of discussion, they are soft on crime domestically (with calls for criminal justice reform and emptying the prisons) and soft on terror both at home and abroad. And if voters want to pick one of them this November they will fully deserve the whirlwind we’ll reap from that decision.

Just for the record, killing Soleimani made the world safer for everyone. Soleimani had no problem killing innocent civilians if they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Obviously, he felt that the rules of war did not apply to him (as if everyone plays by the ‘rules of war’). It appears that the current field of Democrat candidates has no idea that they should be protecting America or any other nation from terrorism. That’s sad.

 

I Am Actually A Little Stunned At This

I guess the campaign trail is getting tiring. It’s only February, and some of the candidates have already been campaigning for months. The Democrat candidate debates started in June of last year. PJMedia posted an article today about an incident in New Hampshire that I found genuinely surprising.

The article reports:

Just watch this video of Biden talking to a voter in New Hampshire who asks him why they should trust he can turn his campaign around. Well, Biden asks the lady who dared asked him this “good question” (his words), “have you ever been to a caucus?” When she answers in the affirmative, he lashes out at here.

“No, you haven’t,” Biden responds. You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier.” In case those present thought he was kidding, he made sure to explain that he was just “being honest.”

The article concludes with imagining what the incident looked like in the eyes of Vice-President Biden’s advisors:

What’s more, you and he agree he’ll say, he’s able to reach out to independents and blue-collar workers. Democrats need those voters if they want to beat Trump. Biden can do that. The socialist hack Bernie Sanders cannot.

So he walks up the stage and you are all hopeful and confident. This is going to be great. Next thing you know, he calls a critical but interested female voter a liar and a “dog-faced pony soldier” on top of it.

How can you, as his campaign adviser, not be suicidal?

This guy is the worst candidate in the history of presidential elections — not just in the United States, but elsewhere too.

Remember, the Democrats are the ones constantly criticizing President Trump for being crass.

Addressing A Politically-Created Problem

Breitbart reported the following yesterday:

The New Hampshire House Education Committee will hold a public hearing on Tuesday on HB 1251, legislation to protect female athletic programs from men, or transgender women, who want to compete in girls’ and women’s sporting events.

The bill — sponsored by New Hampshire Republicans Mark Pearson, Judy Aron, Regina Birdsell, Linda Camarota, Linda Gould, Kathleen Hoelzel, Alicia Lekas, Jeanine Notter, Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien, Kim Rice, and Ruth Ward — states it is about “Discrimination Protection in Public Schools.”

The article reports the reaction to the bill:

Organizations for and against the bill are mobilizing the public. Save Women’s Sports and Cornerstone are hoping for the legislation to become law.

Cornerstone wrote in a notice about the public hearing:

Female athletes deserve a level playing field. They should not have to compete against biological males for a spot on the podium, even if those males claim a female gender identity. Biological males are already starting to dominate women’s competitive sports.

The Citizens Count website is reaching out to people who support transgender sports.

If the bill becomes law it would be effective 60 days after its passage.

Athletic scholarships are one ticket to college for athletic high school girls. In recent years many of these girls have lost scholarship opportunities because of losing to high school boys transitioning or claiming to identify as girls. Anyone who understands basic biology understands that this is simply unfair. I don’t have an answer to a transgender high school student who wants to complete athletically. Do we need a transgender athletic program? I don’t know. What I do know is that letting boys compete in girls’ sports is simply unfair to girls.

Congress Needs A Babysitter

No wonder the federal deficit is out of control. Yesterday Judicial Watch sent out the following Press Release:

Obamacare Recruiters Get $1.2 Billion Under Proposed Law

A fraud-infested Obamacare “outreach” program will get an astounding $1.2 billion from American taxpayers if legislation introduced by a veteran congresswoman becomes law. The preposterous measure, introduced by California Democrat Maxine Waters a few week ago, aims to recruit customers for the health insurance exchanges set up under Obama’s disastrous healthcare overhaul. The 14-term congresswoman, investigated by the House Ethics Committee for steering federal funds to her husband’s failing Massachusetts bank, crafted the law because the Trump administration slashed Obamacare outreach funding by more than 90%.

“Our health care system is under attack by a president, administration, and Republican-controlled Congress that – after numerous failed attempts to repeal Obamacare – are sabotaging it for political gain,” Waters said in a statement. “My legislation seeks to reverse their vindictive efforts to undermine and de-stabilize our health care system by ensuring that all consumers are provided with the information they need to make timely and well-informed decisions when purchasing health coverage through the federal and state-run marketplaces.” The bill, Affordable Care Act (ACA) Outreach for the Uninsured, Transformative Recruitment, and Enrollment Action for Compassionate Healthcare (ACA OUTREACH) Act, is cosponsored by 36 other lawmakers. If it passes, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would dole out $300 million annually through 2021 for “navigator” grants. Minority and underserved communities would be especially targeted, according to language in the bill’s text.

The Obamacare navigator program was rife with fraud and corruption and Judicial Watch sued HHS back in 2014 to obtain records that the agency refused to provide under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In 2013, the Obama administration gave dozens of leftists organizations a whopping $67 million to help people “navigate” health insurance exchanges that weren’t even fully established. In a “culturally competent manner” the so-called navigators were tasked with helping people shop for and enroll in plans that would eventually be available on the federal government market places. The money was divided between 105 mostly leftist groups that assisted and recruited the uninsured to sign up for coverage and understand their options.

Here are a few examples of the community organizations that received navigator grants from the government; an Arizona nonprofit called “Campesinos Sin Fronteras” that provides services to farm workers and low-income Hispanics; a south Florida legal group that provided navigators in “racially, ethnically, linguistically, culturally and socioeconomically diverse” communities; three Planned Parenthood branches—in Iowa, Montana and New Hampshire—got a combined $655,000 to serve as navigators. Others include; the Arab Community Center in Michigan, which got nearly $300,000 to reach out to and engage uninsured community members through “multicultural” media. A Black Chamber of Commerce in South Carolina received north of $230,000 to “provide outreach around new coverage options” and a Hispanic aging group in Texas got over $646,000 help members that are “socially isolated due to cultural and linguistic differences.”

Some of the navigator money went to a labor front group called Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York headed by an illegal immigrant activist named Maria Marroquin. The group received navigator funds shortly after Marroquin, an illegal alien from Peru, had been arrested for participating in disruptive demonstrations protesting the deportation of fellow undocumented immigrants and demanding amnesty.

Besides the outrage of hiring an illegal immigrant to promote a U.S. government program, it’s equally disturbing to know that navigators have access to the sensitive personal information of healthcare enrollees. This includes Social Security numbers, which can be used for identity theft, a rampant crime among illegal alien populations seeking to establish residency and land jobs in the U.S.

Navigator funds also went to a nonprofit (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), with such a huge history of corruption that Congress issued a federal funding ban. As part of a broader investigation into ACORN Judicial Watch obtained records showing that HHS violated the congressional ACORN funding ban by awarding a Louisiana nonprofit called Southern United Neighborhoods (SUN) a $1.3 million Obamacare navigator grant to recruit customers. Headquartered in New Orleans, SUN is dedicated to combating poverty, discrimination and community deterioration that keep low-income people from taking advantage of their rights and opportunities, according to its website.

This is what Congress is doing with our money.

Our Government Is Too Broken To Fix What It Broke

Obamacare is not working. The Senators who voted not to repeal Obamacare knew that when they voted. However, the situation for Obamacare has deteriorated further since that vote.

The Washington Free Beacon reported today that he Massachusetts Commissioner of Insurance has announced that the Obamacare co-op is now under its control as the Supreme Judicial Court granted the commissioner receivership. The commissioner said Minuteman Health’s capitalization is very thin, and this action was done to protect policyholders and health care providers. In June Minuteman Health of Massachusetts and New Hampshire announced that it was pulling out of the Obamacare exchanges next year.

The article reports:

“Minuteman Health is subject to certain co-op rules that limit Minuteman Health’s ability to adjust its business model to mitigate the impact of the dysfunctional risk adjustment program,” the company stated in June.

“The program also unfairly penalizes issuers like Minuteman Health that are small, low cost, and experience high growth,” the co-op said. “The significant negative impact from risk adjustment has been the principal driver of a reduction in Minuteman Health’s surplus and capital over time.”

If Minuteman Health opts to create a new insurance company, that company will not be subject to these rules.

As I have said before, government programs don’t understand actuary tables–insurance companies do. Insurances companies are in business to make money. That is legal and should be encouraged. When the government interferes with the free market, bad things happen. Obamacare is a shining example of that principle.

 

Government Intervention Will Eventually Eliminate The American Fishing Industry

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article on its website called, “A Fisherman’s tale of fighting Uncle Sam.” The article deals with a lawsuit that has been making its way through the legal system since 2015 and may be coming to the Supreme Court later this year.

The article reports:

It involves a small volume fisherman who is fighting back against onerous regulations from the Department of Commerce which are threatening to put him (and so many other family operations) out of business. David Goethel is in the fight of his life because new government regulations are costing him more per day than he can generally earn in profit from his fishing operation. Cause of Action Institute (CoAI) is working on this case and provides the details.

Meet New Hampshire fisherman David Goethel. The federal government is destroying Mr. Goethel’s industry through overregulation and forcing ground-fishermen like himself to pay $700 per day to have authorities monitor them on their boats. Even the government estimates these additional costs would put 60% of the industry out of business. CoAI is helping Mr. Goethel fight back through the courts to save his livelihood.

This is a story that is being told by commercial fisherman with family businesses who are under attack by federal and state regulators making legal changes that favor either sports fishermen or large commercial fishing enterprises. This over-regulation needs to stop. The state and federal government is attacking the family fisherman while at the same time over-fishing by foreign fleets continues off of our coasts. What is the government trying to accomplish?

The video below provides the background to the story:

The article concludes:

Besides the gross unfairness of the situation, I’m left wondering how this was the only solution the government could come up with. This is 2017, not 1817. Even if you feel you need to peer over the shoulders of these fisherman every time they leave port, do we really have to station a human being on every boat? Couldn’t there be a camera hooked up via satellite using Skype or something so a single person back on shore could monitor multiple boats?

Goethael has already been through two rounds of court action protesting this crippling regulatory burden but has been rejected in the lower level courts. Thus far they haven’t even been ruling on the merits of the case, but rather on a technicality, claiming that the plaintiff didn’t file soon enough after the regulation went into effect. (This ignores the fact that the government didn’t transfer the cost of these monitors to the fishermen until much later.) CoAI has filed a petition for writ of certiorari urging the Supreme Court to take up the case and rule on the merits and consider the damage that this regulatory albatross is doing to an industry as old as the nation itself.

If we have reached the point where we have surrendered so much of our freedom that the state or federal government can put small businessmen out of business, it is time to take a second look at our government. Is our government operating under the principles our Founding Fathers set forth? I think not.

It Really Is Time To Investigate Voter Fraud

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about one researchers findings on voter fraud.

The article reports:

A study by political scientist Jesse Richman from Old Dominion University in Virginia found that 6.4 percent of the 20 million noncitizens who reside in the United States voted in November’s presidential election.

Obviously we have no idea who they voted for, but we can make a fairly educated guess.

Mr. Richman explains the other conclusions drawn from his research:

He then extrapolated these results into support for each presidential candidate, estimating that Clinton would have received 81 percent support from noncitizens, therefore receiving an extra 834,000 votes.

The number of 834,000 is significant enough to have tipped some of the closest races in Clinton’s favor, including New Hampshire, Nevada, and Maine, all of which Clinton won by margins of under 3 percent.

It would also have reduced Clinton’s margin of victory in the popular vote, which she won by 2.8 million by dominating cosmopolitan centers such as New York and California.

Most countries with free elections have voter ID requirements. It’s time we joined the club!

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…

 

Why The Democratic Primary System Does Not Represent The Voters

The Hill is reporting today that Hillary Clinton will leave New Hampshire with the same number of delegates as a result of the New Hampshire primary as Bernie Sanders. Despite the fact that Sanders won by approximately 20 percent, they will have an equal delegate count. If this doesn’t make the average Democratic voter furious, nothing will.

The article reports:

Clinton won nine delegates in the primary but came into the contest with the support of six superdelegates, who are state party insiders given the freedom to support any candidate they choose.

Superdelegate support is fluid, though, so some of those delegates now backing Clinton could switch to Sanders before the Democratic National Convention in late July.

But as it stands, the superdelegate support gives Clinton a total of 15 New Hampshire delegates.

The Clinton campaign has mounted an aggressive effort to secure about 360 superdelegates across the country, according to The Associated Press. Sanders has a total of eight superdelegates.

This is amazing. There is actually a possibility that Bernie Sanders could win every state primary and Hillary Clinton could be the Democratic party nominee for President. If that doesn’t make voters angry–nothing will. Either your primary vote counts or it doesn’t.. In this case, it looks like it doesn’t.

The article concludes:

Clinton’s superdelegate supporters includes Gov. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Rep. Annie Kuster.

She’s also backed by Democratic National Committee members Joanne Dodwell, Billy Shaheen and Kathy Sullivan.

It looks like the fix is in.

The First New Hampshire Primary Votes Are In

Mediaite posted an article this morning about the first primary election results from New Hampshire. Dixville Notch votes at the stroke of midnight, so their results are in.

The article reports the results:

On the Republican side of things, Ohio Governor John Kasich brought in one more vote than Donald Trump, for a total of 3 votes Kasich and 2 for the real estate mogul. As for the Democrats?

Call it a Dixville clean sweep for neighboring Senator Bernie Sanders, who brought in 4 votes compared to Hillary Clinton‘s 0.

Obviously, Dixville Notch may not be representative of the rest of America, or even of New Hampshire, but the numbers are interesting. The thing to remember when looking at the New Hampshire primary is that southern New Hampshire is generally inhabited by people who left Massachusetts because of the high taxes. It tends to reflect the liberal mentality of the northeast–even in the Republican party. A true conservative or an evangelical Christian running for President should not be expected to do well in New Hampshire.

It will be interesting to see how the media attempts to spin this. Will Hillary declare victory? Will the media attempt to push Kasich as a result of this vote? Stay tuned.

Why I Think The Republican Debate Is A Joke

I am watching the Republican debate. This is a collaboration between the Republican establishment and the media to make sure a non-establishment candidate does not win the Republican nomination. The media would like Hillary Clinton to win the presidency, but a lot of Americans are not necessarily following the media in this plan.

Note that Carly Fiorina is not on the stage and the John Kasich is. The only voting that has taken place in this election cycle has been in Iowa, where Carly Fiorina got more votes than John Kasich. Since that number represents actual votes, rather than inaccurate polls, I believe the people on the stage tonight were not chosen fairly. The establishment candidate is on the stage; the non-establishment candidate is not. Admittedly, the difference in the number of votes is small, but the fact remains that Carly Fiorina got more votes than John Kasich.

To add insult to injury, Breitbart.com has posted an article today about one of the moderators of the Republican debate. Martha Raddatz is married to a Harvard Law School classmate of Barack Obama. President Obama attended her wedding. President Obama appointed Julius Genachowski (Ms. Raddatz’s husband) to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  Ms. Raddatz is one of the moderators of the Republican debate. Does anyone actually believe that she will be an unbiased moderator?

The Republican Party needs to choose the moderators for the Republican debates. These moderators need to be people who do not have strong ties to the Democratic Party. What is happening now on ABC is an attempt to use the Republican Presidential candidates to ensure a Democratic victory in the Presidential election in November.

What In The World Is Happening In Our Schools?

This is not an article about Common Core. This is an article about common sense. Fox News posted an article today about an incident in a high school in Maine. In today’s world, students are encouraged to do community service. I think that is a really good thing, but there do need to be some parameters around what qualifies as community service.

The article reports:

A public high school in Maine was caught red-handed trying to recruit students to work on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as a “community service opportunity” – without the knowledge or consent of parents.

…Students at Marshwood High School in South Berwick received an email from the Clinton campaign – urging them to sign up for positions as unpaid “fellows”.

“Hillary for New Hampshire is looking for smart, energetic winter fellows who are committed to winning the New Hampshire primary for Hillary Clinton,” read the email from a campaign staffer. “Everyone working on the campaign now started off as a fellow at some point so it is a great way of getting a different skill set whilst helping an important cause.”

Tim and Elita Galvin were furious that their teenage son had received the solicitation – calling it “disingenuous and sneaky.”

“My son didn’t appreciate being targeted by anybody via his school email for a political campaign,” Mrs. Galvin told me. “I’ll be honest – he’s not a fan of Hillary Clinton to begin with. He’s done his homework and he doesn’t like her.”

If the students had received emails from all of the political campaigns and were asked to choose one, that might be a good lesson in civics. However, this seems to be another example of Hillary Clinton ignoring obvious rules–evidently the school staff person who forwarded the email did not “additional information regarding this community service opportunity.”

I have not objection to schools encouraging civic involvement–they just need to be balanced in their approach.

A Really Bad Idea–Both Politically and Practically

Yesterday, Bloomberg,com reported that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has released his plan to reform Social Security.

The article reports:

Christie, the 52-year-old Republican governor of New Jersey, called for phasing out retirement payments to those with more than $200,000 a year in other income and smaller reductions for those earning $80,000. Together, he said, the overhaul would save $1 trillion over a decade.

“It is about telling all Americans the truth — and without delay,” he said during a 40-minute speech at St. Anselm College in Manchester. “If you believe we should keep this promise, as I do, that all Americans should have access to the economic security these programs provide, then that costs money.”

Spelling out his plans in detail for the first time, Christie proposed:

— Raising the retirement age for Social Security to 69 from 67, for those born in 1960 or later;

— Raising the age to qualify for Medicare by one month per year until it reaches 67 from the current 65.

— Eliminating payroll taxes for seniors who remain in the workforce.

I have some major problems with this idea. Social Security is deducted from almost everyone’s paycheck from the time they begin work. Federal employees, active duty military (and Congress) are exempt. The money was supposed to be put in a lock box where it could accrue interest and grow to meet the increasing need. In 1965 (or so) that lock box disappeared and the money was used to fund the war in Vietnam and the Great Society programs. Since then it has been used to fund welfare and entitlement programs. Generally speaking, these entitlement programs do not have a work requirement and the people collecting the money do not have to do anything to earn the money they receive. In most states welfare recipients are not drug tested (most working people have to pass a drug test in order to get a job). Social Security is not the place to cut the federal budget–the people collecting it have paid money into it–it is not their fault the government chose to spend the money.

Recently my husband and I took a vacation to Iceland and Wales. In Wales I learned something about giving to people who may be in need. My husband and I volunteered in a restaurant run by a church. In America, it would be similar to a soup kitchen. However, there was something about the restaurant (which served dinner once a week) that impressed me. The meals were not free. There was a small charge for dinner and a somewhat limited menu to choose from. If someone came in who could not pay, they were given a free meal, but generally speaking, a diner paid something for his dinner. Somewhere along the line, we have taught a group of Americans that there is a free lunch. It is time for that to end. We are accomplishing nothing by denying benefits to those who have paid for them and giving benefits to those who are contributing nothing. That is the wrong message to send.

As an afterthought–does anyone really believe that once an income limit is set on receiving Social Security there will be no changes to that limit? Governor Christie’s plan has the potential of turning Social Security into a plan that everyone who works pays into but is only available to those making less than $50,000 a year in retirement. His plan will create another entitlement that everyone who is working pays into and everyone who is not working can collect from.

Sometimes Facts Are Simply Inconvenient

Yesterday the Washington Post published the following chart:

Obamatons

The graph was also posted at Power Line by Scott Johnson. So what is the value of this graph?

The article at Power Line reports:

On two occasions this campaign season, against all the odds, President Obama has said something useful and, even more improbably, something true. On those occasions he advertised the fact that the Democratic Senate candidates running for election or reelection in states such as Colorado, New Hampshire, Louisiana, Alaska, North Carolina, and Arkansas are in the bag for him. When their vote is needed, Obama can count on it, and when they tell the voters of their states they wake up every day thinking how best they can protect their interests, as Jeanne Shaheen did last night in her debate with Scott Brown, they are playing the voters for chumps. 

The article at Power Line also includes the following footnote:

FOOTNOTE: The layers of fact checkers and editors at the Post apparently failed to observe that the Colorado Senator’s first name is Mark, not Tom (who is Mark’s first cousin and the Senator from New Mexico). Tom Udall is not to be confused with Mark Udall. Tom Udall only votes with Obama 94 percent of the time.

The current Democrat party does not allow for voting independence on the part of its elected officials–they are required to follow the party line. If we want a Congress that represents the people it is supposed to represent, we need to change our voting habits.

Facts Versus Spin

We have all heard the whining and moaning about the Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby. Some of the media has painted a picture of Hobby Lobby that makes you wonder why anyone would work there. As usual, the picture the media has painted has little to do with the reality of the situation.

On Monday, The Corner at National Review posted an article citing actual facts about Hobby Lobby and the benefits it provides for its employees.

The article includes some of the comments the political left has made about the decision:

“This is going to turn the dial back,” Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz warned on MSNBC. The Democratic party’s national chairwoman added: “Republicans want to do everything they can to have the long hand of government, and now the long hand of business, reach into a woman’s body and make health care decisions for her.”

“Today’s Supreme Court decision unfortunately jeopardizes basic healthcare coverage and access to contraception for a countless number of women,” said Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

Consequently, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said that his party now must “fight to preserve women’s access to contraceptive coverage.”

The article also includes some facts about Hobby Lobby:

Imagine that a woman starts work at Hobby Lobby tomorrow morning — July 1. She joins Hobby Lobby’s health care plan. It includes access, copay-free, to the following categories of FDA-approved birth-control:

  1. Male condoms
  2. Female condoms
  3. Diaphragms with spermicide
  4. Sponges with spermicide
  5. Cervical caps with spermicide
  6. Spermicide alone
  7. Birth-control pills with estrogen and progestin (“Combined Pill)
  8. Birth-control pills with progestin alone (“The Mini Pill)
  9. Birth control pills (extended/continuous use)
  10. Contraceptive patches
  11. Contraceptive rings
  12. Progestin injections
  13. Implantable rods
  14. Vasectomies
  15. Female sterilization surgeries
  16. Female sterilization implants

That really doesn’t sound like she is being denied healthcare. The article reminds us that Hobby Lobby offers medical coverage for 16 different kinds of birth control for its employees. The legal case was to exclude four methods that are seen to cause abortions. Again, there is no ban on employees using these four methods, but Hobby Lobby will not pay for them.

The article concludes:

Those who are screaming themselves hoarse after the Hobby Lobby decision would agree that Yeshiva need not serve unkosher food, and PETA need not include calf meat on its menu. Yes, somehow, Hobby Lobby is evil because it pays for 16 kinds of contraceptives, and expects its employees themselves to purchase four others that might kill human babies.

At its core, the Left’s moaning over Hobby Lobby is less about access to medicine and more about access to free stuff. 

I disagree with the writer’s conclusion. This is not about free stuff. It’s about convincing the low-information voter that there is a ‘war on women’ in conservative politics and that they need to vote for Democrat candidates. There are very few Americans who will do their homework and get the facts on this case–most will rely on news that quotes the type of statement quoted in the beginning of this article as fact. Would it be fair to say that Democrats regard women’s healthcare as the right to kill babies and that right must be protected?

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

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

The article explains:

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

Ms. Testerman made the following statement:

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

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

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

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

A Man Who Is Making A Difference

Worcester County Massachusetts Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelides was elected to office in 2010. After learning that roughly 90 percent of the 1,100 inmates at the Worcester County Jail got there because of drug and alcohol addiction, Sheriff Evangelides began the Face2Face program to help prevent substance abuse. Over the past three years this program has allowed 100,000 students in Central Massachusetts  to see the physical effects and hear a debunking of the myths of opioids, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs.

The Telegram & Gazette posted an article yesterday about the Face2Face program.

The article reports:

Mr. Evangelides told the students that they were members of “Generation Rx,” reflecting the rapid growth in abuse of prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin over the last decade. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in 2010 nearly as many youths tried prescription painkillers for the first time as tried marijuana.

Instead of the bring-your-own-bottle drinking parties of many middle-aged parents’ youth, high school and middle school students today go to “Skittle parties,” where they bring pills they’ve procured from medicine cabinets, Mr. Evangelides said. The practice is also known as “pharming” or “trail mixing.”

“Young people don’t even think they’re real drugs and they’ll send you to places you wouldn’t dream you’d go,” Mr. Evangelides said, as he showed video footage of the 24/7 monitoring and lack of amenities such as toilet seats that jail inmates live with.

“None of you are thinking that if you pop a Perc or an Oxy or Vicodin, you’d end up addicted,” he continued. “No one is going to offer you that Oxy and tell you, after a while you’re going to need three, six, 10 (pills), and 80 milligrams of Oxy costs $80 … and a bag of heroin is cheaper than a six-pack. You go right from that pill to that needle.”

He also exploded myths about popular club drugs such as “Molly,” a supposedly pure form of Ecstasy. Citing two deaths in one week last year of New Hampshire students who overdosed on the drug, Mr. Evangelides said, “There is no such thing as a safe dose of Molly.”

Even marijuana, which many baby boomer parents consider relatively safe, causes brain, behavioral and physical damage similar to that caused by alcohol and other drugs.

Police Chief Alan Gordon said before the program: “We have a heroin problem. We have opiates. We just did a drug search here last week and had two hits of marijuana. We’ve had overdoses.

The medical benefits of marijuana can be obtained in ways other than smoking it. The move toward legalization is a smokescreen and will have a seriously negative impact on our children and teenagers. If you believe that we need to legalize medical marijuana, take a look at the advertisements in the Sunday papers in California which promote doctors who will write prescriptions for the drug for anything from headaches to lack of appetite.

Thank God for public servants such as Sheriff Evangelides who are willing to tell our children the truth about marijuana and other seemingly harmless drugs and to show them the results of recreational drug use.

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Voting With Your Feet

CBN News posted a story today about the relationship between tax rates in different states and where people choose to live.

The article reports:

Brown (author Travis H. Brown) discovered that the nine states with no personal income tax gained $146.2 billion in AGI. Those states include Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

Conversely, the states with the highest personal income tax rates lost a total of $107.4 billion. They are California, Hawaii, Oregon, Iowa, New Jersey, Vermont, New York, and Maine. Washington, D.C., was also included.

Another measurement delivers similar results. Brown looked at the 10 states with the lowest per capita state and local tax burdens and found they netted $69.9 billion in AGI. Those states include Alaska, South Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana, Wyoming, Texas, New Hampshire, Alabama, Nevada, and South Carolina.

The 10 states with the highest state and local tax burden lost $139 billion in AGI. They are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, and Pennsylvania.

This story has personal relevance to me. My husband will be retiring at the end of the year, and we are about to put our house on the market. (If anyone wants a five-bedroom house in Southeastern Massachusetts, please leave a comment). We are moving for many reasons–one of those reasons is the cost of living in Massachusetts. We will be headed to North Carolina where we have family and the cost of living is lower.

Recently, Massachusetts raised the taxes on cigarettes. I don’t smoke, so that doesn’t impact me, but I was in a store yesterday in Rhode Island near the Massachusetts state line. The person ahead of me in line was commenting that she would no longer be buying cigarettes in Massachusetts because they were cheaper in Rhode Island. Right now, gasoline is more expensive in Rhode Island than in Massachusetts, but since the gasoline tax in Massachusetts is now indexed to inflation, I wonder how long that will be the case.

When people have an option, they give less money to the government, whether it is state or federal government. The Laffer Curve explains one aspect of that.

At some point, government needs to realize that at some point it has all of the money we have earned that it is entitled to. The question is exactly where the point of enough taxes is reached.

 

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A Different Side Of Heroism

I don’t know what the official definition of heroism is, but most of us equate it with bravery in battle or overcoming odds. Sometimes heroism takes a different path. On Tuesday, the U.K. Daily Mail posted a story about Cameron Lyle, 21, of Plaistow, New Hampshire, a student at the University of New Hampshire.

Cameron is a star athlete who competes in the discus, hammer and shot put. He has made the decision to give up the last two track meets of the season, one of which is the America East Championship. This is Cameron’s final athletic season. Cameron is doing this in order to donate bone marrow to a 28-year-old cancer victim who has six months to live.

Wow.

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Congress Is Preparing To Make Another Mess

Today’s Wall Street Journal posted a story on Congress‘ latest attempt to grab more of your hard-earned money. That’s not really anything new, but every now and then their chutzpah amazes me. Last Tuesday a bill was introduced that would impose a sales tax on the Internet. It may be voted on as early as tomorrow. I am sure all of the people voting on it have read and understood it, right?????

The article reports:

For Senators curious about what they’re voting on, it is the same flawed proposal that Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.) introduced in February. It has been repackaged to qualify for a Senate rule that allows Majority Leader Harry Reid to bypass committee debate and bring it straight to the floor.

Mr. Enzi’s Marketplace Fairness Act discriminates against Internet-based businesses by imposing burdens that it does not apply to brick-and-mortar companies. For the first time, online merchants would be forced to collect sales taxes for all of America’s estimated 9,600 state and local taxing authorities.

New Hampshire, for example, has no sales tax, but a Granite State Web merchant would be forced to collect and remit sales taxes to all the governments that do. Small online sellers will therefore have to comply with tax laws created by distant governments in which they have no representation, and in places where they consume no local services.

I thought we settled this ‘taxation without representation’ thing a few hundred years ago.

The article continues:

Meanwhile, New Hampshire’s brick-and-mortar retailers will bear no such burden. They will not be required to collect taxes on the many customers who drive across the Maine and Massachusetts borders to shop in New Hampshire. Bill sponsors say it would be too big a hassle to force traditional retailers to ask every walk-in customer where they live, but these Senators are happy to impose new obligations online.

This has the potential of being a worse mess than ObamaCare. Let’s remember who votes for this and vote them out of office next year.

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Losing Revenue By Raising Taxes

Hot Air is reporting today that the Midland, Mich.-based Mackinac Center has released a report stating that in 2011 New York had the highest cigarette smuggling rate in America. In 2006, when the cigarette tax was $1.50 a pack, New York was the fifth highest. In 2008, the tax went to $2.75 a pack, in 2010 it went to $4.35 a pack. That increase was enough to move New York from fifth place to first place in the number of cigarettes smuggled into the state. It is now estimated that 60.9 percent of all cigarettes smoked in New York are not taxed there!

What can we learn from this? Simple. People don’t like to pay taxes and will do almost anything to avoid them. Some state is making money on the sale of these cigarettes–it’s just not New York. New Hampshire seems to be where most of the smuggled cigarettes are coming from–New Hampshire does tax cigarettes, but only $1.68 a pack. I suspect New Hampshire collects more revenue from its lower tax than New York does from its higher tax. Maybe we could learn from that.

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