Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Freedom, Law, Politics, Regulation, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Executive Overreach, The Imperial Presidency, What Can Congress Do?
The House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on executive overreach. Members of Congress and constitutional law experts testified yesterday, warning that the legislative branch is in danger of ceding its power in the face of an “imperial presidency.”
The hearing, “Enforcing the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws,” focused on the multiple areas where President Barack Obama has bypassed Congress, ranging from healthcare and immigration to marriage and welfare rules.
Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, testified that the expansion of executive power is happening so fast that America is at a “constitutional tipping point.”
My view [is] that the president, has in fact, exceeded his authority in a way that is creating a destabilizing influence in a three branch system,” he said. “I want to emphasize, of course, this problem didn’t begin with President Obama, I was critical of his predecessor President Bush as well, but the rate at which executive power has been concentrated in our system is accelerating. And frankly, I am very alarmed by the implications of that aggregation of power.”
“What also alarms me, however, is that the two other branches appear not just simply passive, but inert in the face of this concentration of authority,” Turley said.
Jim Gerlach (R-PA) said “The ACA has been revised, altered and effectively rewritten by the president and his administration 23 times since July.”
Representative Tom Rice (R-SC) said, “When we have these constant changes at the president’s whim, think about what that does to businesses’ planning capabilities and hiring capabilities and their expansion capabilities. We shouldn’t wonder why our economy is struggling.”
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Freedom, Law, Regulation | Tags: Big Drop In Violent Crime, Butterfield Fallacy, Liberals Never Learn
The FBI has just released their latest semi-annual crime report, which covers January to June of 2013.
Nationwide, forcible rape was down 10.6 percent, burglary was down 8.1 percent, murder was down 6.9 percent, and aggravated assault was down 6.6 percent from the previous period. Arson plunged a staggering 15.6 percent.
There was slight increase (0.6-percent ) in murders in cities with a population of 25,000-49,999, and a 2 percent rise in murders in cities with a population of 50,000-99,999. The number of murders plunged the deepest in cities with a population of more than 1 million citizens, which reported a 18.5 percent drop.
Overall, violent crime dropped 5.4 percent, with the largest drop in non-metropolitan areas, which saw a 10.5 drop in overall violent crime, and a 13 percent drop in murders.
The crime rate dropped significantly as firearm sales had a record-breaking year. The total number of background checks conducted for gun sales last year add up to 21,093,273, beating the 202012 record of 19,592,393 by over a million and a half. Unsurprisingly the greater efforts by President Obama to release executive actions on gun control, the more gun sales increased. States that implemented gun control measures also saw a significant increase in sales.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Election 2014, Freedom, Law, Politics, Regulation | Tags: Doesn't Matter If It Works, Get The Law Passed, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
Have you noticed that Liberals are very big on getting their “big ideas” passed into law, and once accomplished have little interest in their effect. Vast attention is paid to “messaging,” to the words chosen, everything is focus-group tested. Wordsmiths are urged on to ever more effort to find the perfect words. Differing messaging is planned for different groups. Outreach is carefully directed to specific audiences. But once they succeed, if they succeed, in getting the legislation passed and it is a done deal— they lose interest and go on to the next “big idea.”
Medicare was a big idea that they were very proud of. Seniors like it, and it works fairly well. But it is a done deal, so Liberals have no hesitation in, for example, taking $500 billion out of Medicare to prop up ObamaCare. The Veterans Administration promised health care to veterans, but when claims piled up, they just destroyed the older claims so the backlog would disappear. When slums became too dangerous Liberals built public housing, but failed to keep it up, keep it in good repair and safe, so the public housing became slums.
The promises of ObamaCare have already proved false, but people who receive their health care through their employers have yet to encounter the lies, cancellations, and the higher costs. Obama has postponed all that till after the coming election. So most people are unaware that their ObamaCare insurance does not travel, not to the next town, and not to the next state. They are unaware that they will not be able to keep their doctors, nor that the cost will increase astronomically.
Democrat governors met with President Obama this last weekend — they need help selling ObamaCare. They have their own glitch-ridden websites, and the big message of pre-existing conditions isn’t selling. But the drive is to get people signed up, not to offer care. If all the ‘uninsured’ signed up for Medicaid, the illusionary system would collapse. There were not enough doctors who would accept Medicaid patients to keep the system functioning before ObamaCare.
Liberal promises are meant to garner votes, to get a “big idea” passed and the people dependent on the benefit. If they are dependent they will continue to vote for those who gave them the benefit lest they lose it and face the unknown. Freedom can be scary. You might have to depend on your own efforts.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Military, Politics, The United States | Tags: Caring For Our Veterans, Disability Claims Backlog, Just Destroy the Backlog
December 30, 2013: The Obama administration’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki said that it is on track to eliminate the disability claims backlog. For the first time since Barack Obama was elected president, the veterans claims backlog will end this year lower than it began.
Department of Veterans Affairs officials say they’re on track to end the backlog entirely sometime in 2015. At the start of December, the claims backlog —the number of cases unfinished for more than 125 days — sat at just under 393,000 cases. Critics call that an embarrassingly large number, especially considering that the White House pledged to fix the problem almost four years ago. But the peak was 608,000 in March.
Shinseki credits mandatory overtime for the agency workforce and new computer processing systems that pushed to agency to come out of paper to go into electronics.
February 14, 2014: Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) destroyed veterans’ medical files in a systematic attempt to eliminate backlogged veteran medical exam requests, a former VA employee told the Daily Caller.
“The committee was called ‘System Redesign’ and the purpose of the meeting was to figure out ways to correct the department’s efficiency. And one of the issues at the time was the backlog,” said Oliver Mitchell, a Marine veteran and former patient services assistant in the VA Greater Los Angeles Medical Center.
“We just didn’t have the resources to conduct all of those exams. Basically we would get about 3,000 requests a month for [medical] exams, but in a 30-day period we only had the resources to do about 800. That rolls over to the next month and creates a backlog,” Mitchell said. “It’s a numbers thing. The waiting list counts against the hospital’s efficiency. The longer the veteran waits for an exam that counts against the hospital as far as productivity is concerned.”
By 2008, some patients were “waiting six to nine months for an exam” and VA “didn’t know how to address the issue,” Mitchell said.
VA Greater Los Angeles Radiology department chief Dr. Suzie El-Saden initiated an “ongoing discussion in the department” to cancel exam requests and destroy veterans’ medical files so that no record of the exam requests would exist, thus reducing the backlog, Mitchell said.
Audio from a November 2008 meeting was obtained by the Daily Caller.
“I’m still canceling orders from 2001,” said a male official in the meeting.
“Anything over a year old should be canceled.” replied a female official
“Canceled or … your backlog should start at April “07″ the female official replied, adding “a lot of those patients either had their studies somewhere else, had their surgery … died, don’t live in the state. …It’s ridiculous.”
Congress has been after the VA for some time, trying to get information, responses, and explanations. This is just the first chapter is a long disgusting story. The government is not dependable. Promises are not kept. Contracts are not fulfilled. Politicians lie and cover up, and promise that which they cannot deliver, in order to get votes. Ethics start at the top.
July 1, 2013: The Backlog:
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Europe, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, National Security, Russia, The United States | Tags: Obama Draws Another Line, Putin's Russia, Ukraine
The Ukrainian government’s assault on protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square has shocked the world. The European Union is being forced to reexamine some of their assumptions about foreign policy. After the horrendous killings of protesters, President Obama, backed by his sterling foreign policy team, Chuck Hagel, Susan Rice and Joe Biden, said “There will be consequences if people step over the line.”
No one took that warning seriously. There is a fundamental shift we are witnessing in the national-security strategy of the United States, and this one means big repercussions for the world. Government snipers kept right on shooting protesters, and Obama’s passive statement merely reminded the world of all his previous red lines.
Talks mediated by three EU foreign ministers and a Russian envoy, got Viktor Yanukovych to agree to stop the violence, share power and hold early elections. Later on Friday, the Ukrainian parliament unanimously restored the 2004 constitution which curtails presidential powers. Mr. Yanukovych has lost control over the chamber, which also voted to release his predecessor, Yulia Tymoshenko, who was jailed on trumped-up charges in 2011. Government riot police which had used live ammunition against civilians, withdrew from the capital’s center.
A new “national unity” government is to be created within 10 days to work out other constitutional changes to strengthen Ukraine’s democracy. Presidential elections will be held before the end of the year.
Yanukovych has fled Kiev for the city of Kharkiv. The protesters want Yanukovych to resign. He says he is not resigning, and may just be attempting to shore up support. Russia is reportedly prepared to fight a war over the Ukrainian territory of Crimea to protect the ethnic Russian population and the military base there. Russian officials say in private that Ukraine falls inside Russia’s sphere of influence.
“We will not allow Europe and the US to take Ukraine from us. The states of the former Soviet Union, we are one family,” said a foreign policy official. “They think Russia is still as weak as in the early 1990s but we are not.”
There is no scenario where Yanukovych resigns and the opposition takes over. Putin does not intend to lose the Ukraine. Yanukovych has enriched himself and his family since taking power in 2010, but his popularity has declined as the corruption has gone up. The people want a clear path into the EU and NATO, the clubs of a free Europe. They have experienced Russian domination, and don’t like it. And the Holodomor may have been long ago, but it is not forgotten. For Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, the possibility that a united Ukraine might desert Russia and join Europe is completely unacceptable. The situation is — fluid.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Liberalism, Progressivism, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: Keynesian Fairy Tales, Last of the Big Time Spenders, What Austerity?
President Obama says his new budget will finally end the dreary “era of austerity.”
What? Dreary era of austerity? On what planet? The federal government will spend $561 billion more this year than it did in 2008. That’s a 19% increase at a time when inflation rose just 9%. Obama has set the country on a permanently higher spending path. Federal outlays are on track to reach 22.4% of the gross domestic Product (GDP) by 2024, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Deficits have dropped slightly in the past two years, and expected to fall again this year and next, but that’s due to revenues bouncing back from recessionary lows as much as it is to spending restraint imposed by the GOP. By 2022, the deficit will top $1 trillion again and will go on up from there, as will the national debt.
The areas that Obama singles out for big spending hikes are hardly starved for funds. He wants more money for early childhood education programs, but Head Start’s budget has soared by 25% since Obama took office to $8.6 billion. The stimulus pumped another $2 billion into the program in 2009. Study after study has shown that there is no lasting benefit from the Head Start program. The thinking seems to be that rich people send their kids to fancy early childhood programs, so if you give the same benefit to poor or minority children, they will do as well as the rich kids. It seems to be simply expensive babysitting.
Obama also wants to spend big on college tuition aid. Federal aid has already climbed 32% on his watch according to the College Board. According to Forbes magazine, student loan debt now tops $1.2 Trillion! Kids are emerging from college, many not having completed a degree, with enormous debt — and cannot find a job.
Since the “age of austerity” is over (?) Obama wants more federal job training money, for programs that have more than tripled, and about training that is questionable in producing employment. And he wants more money for transportation — for California’s train to nowhere? He wants to order business to boost the minimum wage, on their own dime. More lost jobs.
Obama seems to think that the people who have lost jobs are unqualified for new jobs, and unless they are retrained for something different, are unemployable. He does not understand the burden that the federal government has imposed on business with ObamaCare.
The burden of excessive regulation, high taxes, and add plain old fear of what the federal government might do. The IRS, the EPA, the FCC, the EEOC, the DOL, and all the other myriad agencies and bureaus have gone after business to emphasize federal control. Business observes what has happened to other businesses, and hunkers down to try to avoid being noticed. More jobs are to come from a newly educated workforce, not from making it easier for business to grow, expand, and hire. We still have the highest corporate tax in the world.
Well, maybe the people who are mourning the death of President Roosevelt today will be relieved that we are ending the” dreary age of austerity.” Some of the folks still believe. If this is austerity, imagine what profligacy might be.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, History, Progressivism, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: Jobs & Unemployment Are #!, Most Important US Problems, Obama's Biggest Worry is Inequality
A new Gallup poll this month shows that nearly one in four Americans cites jobs and unemployment as the most important problem facing the country, up from 16% in January. The government and politicians had topped the list since the government shutdown in October.
The Recent Trend in top Five “Most Important” U.S. Problems
Economy in General……………………………………………..20%
Dissatisfaction with government/Congress/politicians’
poor leadership/corruption/ abuse of power…………………19%
Poor healthcare/hospitals; high cost of healthcare…………..15%
Federal Budget deficit/ Federal debt……………………………8%
Ethics/Moral/Religious/Family decline, dishonesty…………….5%
Education/Poor Education/Access to Education………………4%
Lack of Money……………………………………………………3%
What is one to make of this? We have just been informed that Americans are getting dumber and dumber, that they are unaware that the Earth orbits the sun. Jimmy Fallon did a man in the street thing asking people how they felt about President Roosevelt’s death, and did they want to send condolences to Eleanor?
Democrats were significantly less concerned about everything but jobs and unemployment. Republicans were unsurprisingly concerned more than Independents and Democrats about the economy, healthcare, Federal budget deficit and debt, morals and ethics. Democrats were slightly more concerned about education and poverty, hunger and homelessness.
General satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States was a sluggish 22%.
Curiously, President Obama’s priorities are quite different. He’s trying really hard to deflect interest from ObamaCare, which in spite of all sorts of “executive repairs” isn’t working. His biggest priority seems to be Income Inequality. What he doesn’t want to mention is how much money the government is redistributing, nor how much more would be needed to close the income gap. That project would require redistribution on a massive scale. The CBO found that those in the bottom fifth of the income scale received $9.62 in federal spending for every $1 they paid in federal taxes of all kinds. People with low incomes pay little in taxes, but receive a lot of transfers.
Households in the top fifth, received 17¢ in federal spending for every $1 they paid in all federal taxes. High-income households pay a huge amount in taxes compared to what they get back in government spending. The middle class households received $1.19 in government spending for every $1 they received in federal taxes.
Families in the top fifth have an average market income of $311,400 and pay $65,573 more in taxes than they receive in spending. We would need to take another $164,227 in higher taxes to lower their incomes to the national average.
“Capital will go where it is wanted and stay where it is well treated. It will flee from manipulation or onerous regulation of its value or use and no government power can restrain it for long.”
President Obama’s other major priority seems to be global warming, which doesn’t even show up in the public’s interest, with some justification, because most people are probably wondering if this is the start on a new ice age. There has been no warming for over 17 years. The President talks about “carbon pollution, but there is no such thing. We are a carbon-based species. CO2 is a natural fertilizer that helps plants to grow. Carbon is one of the building blocks of life. No carbon, no life.
Obviously Mr. Obama does not read Gallup polls, nor would he pay attention if he did. He apparently swallowed the Keynesian fairy dust tale — hook, line and sinker. If you want to boost the economy, you push money into the economy. It will have a magical mystery multiplication effect, somehow, and every dollar spent will result in two dollars of economic activity. If you tell him that it doesn’t work, he will say it’s wrong to compare this recovery to past recoveries. Greatest recession since the Great Depression, Bush’s fault, etc., etc., etc.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, The United States | Tags: American Innovation, Industries Die, Occupations Disappear
When I was growing up, our mountainous area was lumbering and ranching country. Most of the larger towns had lumber mills, and the roads were always full of logging trucks taking logs to the mills. That’s almost all gone. We used to count the cars of logs on the log trains. Times change. Industries die. Occupations disappear.
Democrats are all excited about raising the minimum wage because they assume hat the minimum wage has to support families and they are raising the living standards of the poor. Actually, most of those who receive the minimum wage are teenagers, the average family income of someone receiving the minimum wage is $50,000 or more.
They turned the proposal over to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) who make projections given on exactly what information they are given. President Obama’s proposed $10.10 by 2016 could cost half a million Americans their jobs, as “some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who were employed would probably fall slightly.” CBO says it could be as high as one million lost jobs. But they take 500,000 as a middling figure. To be added on to the 100 million now unemployed.
My grocery store has several aisles for self-checkout now, as do many other stores like Home Depot. Restaurants are replacing waiters and waitresses with electronic menu pads. Monumentum machines has created a hamburger-making robot, and is planning a chain of restaurants with a cook staff of robots.
The White House was pleased with the CBO report, they take the possibility that there would be no lost jobs more seriously because it is more pleasing. Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers came up with the usual blather about 7 Nobel prize winners and 600 other economists. Paying a better wage can improve productivity and reduce unit labor costs.” Or Businesses can just accept lower profit margins.”
This robot, the John Deere H414 harvester head, is new to me, though it has been around since 2008. When government comes up with one of its bad ideas or bad regulations, ingenious Americans find ways to get around it. Accepting lower profit margins is not one of them. Most companies’ profit margins are not very big, and if a company cannot make a profit, they go out of business. What the heck are they teaching in business school anyway?
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Freedom, Law, The Constitution | Tags: Executive Orders, He Has a Phone and a Pen, The Imperial Presidency
(click to enlarge)
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Global Warming, Junk Science, Liberalism, Politics, Progressivism, Science/Technology | Tags: Climate Data Scandal, Drought in California, Fictitious Temp Increase
A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
But once you get up over a billion dollars, or even before that, it’s hard to grasp just what we are really talking about.
The current administration was hoping that the Republicans would fail to raise the debt ceiling, so they could demonize the GOP for the rest of the year for not paying our country’s bills, for defaulting on the debt, destroying our credit-rating, for all the things they would be able to shut down to pay for the damage the nasty Republicans were doing to the country. But Republicans raised the limit, as had to be done anyway, and now the GOP is free to point at those who, so callously, could not stop spending.
The First Lady and the girls are in Aspen, skiing. The president has gone to California to play golf with Jay Carney, but dropped in on the Central Valley to publicize California’s drought — as a sign of global warming. It is a little preposterous to try to blame the East’s snow and ice on global warming, though some of media have valiantly tried to do so. It really doesn’t pass the laugh test. Ditto for the drought.
Another quiet story broke that didn’t make front-page headlines. “A newly-uncovered and monumental calculating error in official U.S. government climate data shows that climate scientists unjustifiably added on a whopping one degree of phantom warming to the official ‘raw’ temperature record. ” Independent data analyst Steven Goddard released his telling study of the officially adjusted and “homogenized” U.S. temperature records relied upon by NASA, NOAA, USHCN and scientists around the world to “prove” our climate has been warming dangerously. His evidence proves conclusively that the officially-claimed one-degree increase in temperatures is entirely fictitious. It also discredits the reliability of any assertion by such agencies to possess a reliable and robust temperature record.
So on his trip to California, President Obama is pitching a new $1 billion climate change resilience fund during a visit to Fresno and the Great Central Valley, devastated by government-caused drought. The President even hauled out his assistant to the president on science and technology, John Holdren, who said “Weather practically everywhere is being caused by climate change.”
The new fund—separate from Obama’s climate agenda announced in June — will be detailed in the president’s 2015 budget, set for release next month. Obama has said he will use his executive authority to push his climate agenda and other policies during his “year of action,” but the president would need approval from Congress for the fund.
In Europe, countries are backing away from renewable energy as they realize that they can’t afford the subsidies, and without subsidies the renewable energy goes away. Britain is having a flooding problem, blamed by some on global warming, but in reality, apparently the fault of government’s failure to dredge coastal rivers in order to protect a mollusc.
Victor Davis Hanson, a 3rd or 4th generation California farmer, explains the drought Mr, Obama wants to spend a billion on, as two droughts — nature’s and its man made twin.
Californians have not built a major reservoir since the New Melones Dam more than 30 years ago. As the state subsequently added almost 20 million people, it assumed that it was exempt from creating any more “unnatural” Sierra lakes and canals to store precious water during California’s rarer wet and snow-filled years.
Then, short-sightedness soon became conceit. Green utopians went further and demanded that an ailing three-inch bait fish in the San Francisco delta receive more fresh oxygenated water. In the last five years, they have successfully gone to court to force millions of acre-feet of contracted irrigation water to be diverted from farms to flow freely out to sea.
So there you have it. Government causes problems, president proposes billions in public money, congress appropriates, which doesn’t solve problems and creates more. You can’t fix problems by throwing money at them. A Political Problem cannot be solved by throwing money in it’s direction.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: Rejected 712 - 626, United Auto Workers, Volkswagen In America
Workers at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant firmly rejected the United Auto Workers union’s bid to break into the right-to-work state on Friday.
The plant rejected the UAWs attempt to unionize the plant 712–626, in spite of an aggressive campaign by the union, and with the cooperation of Volkswagen. Union opponents, including Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom, celebrated.
The rejection of a key Democrat Party ally came in spite of President Barack Obama’s improper personal support for the unionization drive. “Tennessee Republicans “are more concerned about German shareholders than American workers,” Obama said shortly before the vote was announced.
Previous failed UAW campaigns at Nissan and Honda plants were resisted by employers, but Volkswagen did not resist the union here. The company has said it favors the creation of a German-style “works council,” which gives workers a voice on a variety of product and other decisions. Under American law, a union must represent employees for a company to form a works council.
In Germany, high-school students are separated into vocational training programs early on. and I suspect that workers’ relations with German unions are quite different than workers’ relations with the UAW here. The United Auto Workers were stunned by the devastating defeat. They had hoped that with Volkswagen’s cooperation, they could break into the foreign-owned Southern factories, in spite of a region wary of organized labor. More and more states are becoming “right-to-work”as the example of Detroit competes with the pitches of union organizers.
Union’s incessant efforts to boost pay and benefits for workers seem less enticing when measured against shuttered factories, lost jobs and lost benefits in the examples so prominent in the news. Tennessee auto workers seem to be quite happy with their employer. It usually helps the union cause if workers hate their boss, and feel mistreated.
It would be interesting to know if President Obama’s constant efforts to push unions help or hurt his cause. He has certainly been involved, not the job of a president.