Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues
Many Americans don’t realize that the Supreme Court is actually the most powerful branch of government. In the end, they decide the fate of our laws and our lives — and you may not recognize just how deeply the next Supreme Court term will affect you personally.
Washington seems far away much of the time but if you aren’t careful, they’ll be right in your backyard — metaphorically speaking. For the 2014-2015 Supreme Court term, you can see what I mean.
For example, they are taking up a case — Maryland State Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne — where residents are facing double taxes on income earned out of state. Income earned out of state has already been taxed but Maryland wants to tax it again for the resident’s local county.
Even more disturbing are issues of over-regulation. This past year alone, children’s lemonade stands were shut down, a mother was arrested for saying a curse word and a little boy was suspended from school for pointing his finger like a gun and pretending to shoot – and some of these cases are making it all the way to the Supreme Court, like Yates v. United States coming up this year.
In this case, a man caught some illegal, undersized fish in his boat. He was instructed to bring the fish back to port. Officers then claimed he was lying and had thrown some of the undersized fish overboard, which is illegal. He was then convicted of destroying “tangible objects” with the intent to obstruct an investigation, despite little evidence this actually happened. These are the types of over regulation issues citizens are dealing with all the way up to the Supreme Court.
The Court is also taking up a controversial case about a rapper convicted of making “criminal threats” after writing a few very violent Facebook posts. But the rapper said the posts were rap lyrics, not threats – and now he’s dealing with a Supreme Court hearing. Could your Facebook posts be “threatening” to someone who would report you? It could land you here.
Same-sex marriage will be placed front and center again this term, as many states petition the Court for review of their laws regarding marriage and equality. The Obamacare federal exchanges are on the docket as well. They may deal with the provision of subsidies in states not participating in the exchanges, as well as other controversial parts of the law that may affect how it’s fully implemented.
There are a wide range of cases on deck for the 2014-2015 SCOTUS bench to take up – issues that could have major affects on how we write on social media, deal with minor, over regulated laws and if we could be forced to pay double on our taxes.
The new term began October 6th so get ready to pay attention and take notes!
Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
The claim seems to come and go, but this week, there is more hard evidence that Obamacare does indeed force individuals to fund subsidies for healthcare plans that cover abortion.
No, it’s not a lot of your personal money, but that’s not the point. Individuals who believe life begins at conception and oppose abortion should not be forced to fund it in any way whatsoever.
This is especially relevant since President Obama said on record, “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion.”
Just because there isn’t a section marked “abortion” on our paychecks or healthcare plans doesn’t mean that’s not the case. The connection is rather clear in a newly released GAO report.
The report finds that abortion is not being itemized as a separate surcharge on most insurance plans. In fact, 1,036 plans do cover elective abortion and remain able to receive taxpayer subsidies — and it’s happening in all 50 states.
It wouldn’t be that hard for the Administration to ensure that abortion funding wasn’t included in plans for individuals that don’t want to pay for it – but it’s clearly not a priority. There is even a “No Taxpyaer Funding of Abortion Act” passed by the House earlier this year. But, I guess that’s being ignored.
There’s absolutely no reason not to have full transparentcy when it comes to abortion funiding in Obamacare – or any other government action. The fact that the Presdient lied to the American people and the Administration conitnues to keep up the ruse is unacceptable.
Friday, September 26th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Taxes
After 16 months of silence, shamed IRS official Lois Lerner finally spoke out. Unfortunately, it was in a puff piece published in Politico, with strong quotes from Lerner assuring folks that “I didn’t do anything wrong” and that she’s doing just fine.
That’s great for her but what about the people affected by her biased, illegal actions? The Politico piece gives no indication that Lerner has any sympathy for the grief her department caused. In fact, she says “I am not sorry for anything I did.”
She plays the victim and denies any knowledge of how emails sent at the time Tea Party groups were allegedly targeted disappeared. It’s interesting she chose to speak out now — apparently to a very friendly reporter — after she pleaded the Fifth last year before the House Oversight Committee. In fact, the entire House voted to hold her in contempt of Court then.
In light of that, it’s ironic we’re hearing from Lerner first in a Politico puff piece. Why? Because U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald C. Machen, Jr. is supposed to be getting Lerner in front of a federal grand jury for an interview. It’s actually mandatory for him to do so but it’s been 4 months since he received the citation and nothing has moved forward. Lerner could be put in prison for up to 12 months for her contempt, but it seems she’s not a priority for the Administration.
Why is she drawing attention to herself now? Image restoration. She doesn’t want to be the “bad guy” forever so it’s time to restore her reputation and this was the first step. Unfortunately for her, it may be an impossible feat. It’s unclear whether anyone buys her innocent routine but she may not care if she gets off scot-free.
She left the Department last year but is still receiving a $100k annual pension so apparently, she really is doing just fine.
Thank you, taxpayers, for that.
Thursday, September 18th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News
Readers of a certain age may be familiar with a fellow named J. Wellington Wimpy and his famous promise that “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” What you may not be aware of is that Mr. Wimpy is the senior strategic advisor to Republican Congressional leadership.
Wimpy’s appointment is the only way to explain the terrible Export Import Bank deal that leadership duped many conservatives and Republicans into accepting as part of this week’s bill to fund the federal government and our war in Syria. Wimpy’s play was a stroke of genius.
Using his time-honored strategy, he substituted an appeal for their votes for his normal request for hamburger and a promise to really totally shut down the Export Import Bank next year for his normal promise of payment on Tuesday. With this simple trick, Wimpy has executed a ruse grander than any of his previous frauds to purloin ground beef.
Some context might be helpful. Others have written lengthy and persuasive discussions of the need to shut down the Export-Import Bank. The justification doesn’t need to be rehashed here. Heck, even Representative Kevin McCarthy upon the realization of his elevation to Majority Leader commented, “I think Ex-Im Bank is … something government does not have to be involved in. The private sector can do it.”
All leadership had to do to put this terrible program to an end was – nothing. The Export Import Bank was scheduled to expire on its own.
Instead in a fit of hysterical bed-wetting when the President rolled out his well-worn strategy of linking any a noun, a verb, and “shut-down” the Republican Leadership scrambled to respond with a strategy to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Rep. Wimpy to the rescue.
The Wimpy plan was simple. He would convince conservatives that when Republicans take the House and Senate majority in the next election they’re really totally going to shut down the Export Import Bank (the Tuesday clause.) All they needed from conservatives was their votes and a commitment not to put up a fight on the Continuing Resolution (the Hamburger Clause). Without nary a peep from conservatives, the Wimpy plan was deployed.
It was of course a terrible deal. Much like Wimpy’s promised payment on Tuesday, the Republican leadership’s support for abolishing the Export Import Bank is never going to materialize. The President knows that Republican Leadership will fold like a cheap lawn chair if he even hints in the same direction as a shutdown or veto fight. There will be some must pass legislative vehicle that Ex-Im Bank supporters demand reauthorization be attached to, and since leadership actually does support the bank, it will happily acquiesce.
They’ll explain their supposedly reluctant acquiescence on needing to pass some vital piece of legislation and not wanting to tarnish the Presidential candidate and our “brand.” But believe you me, when Republicans retake the White House, Leadership’s totally going to pay for those hamburgers!
Republican Leadership squandered one of the greatest chances it likely will ever have to shut down the Export Import Bank. Had they sent the President a government and war funding bill, but did not include extension of the Export Import Bank in the bill, the President would have surely signed the bill. Does anyone really believe that the President and Harry Reid would have been so brazen as to deny funding for a war effort against terrorists just to protect cut-rate loans for Boeing’s customers? I doubt it, but maybe they would have. Regardless it is a pretty weak hand to play and Republicans could have carried the day – had they shown up to fight.
But sadly, Republican Leadership takes congressional conservatives for fools – and with good reason – every Tuesday they act surprised that J. Wellington Wimpy didn’t pay for his burgers. Until conservatives stop falling for the same lame promises, Rep. Wimpy’s behavior isn’t going to change and the nation is going to suffer.
Thursday, September 18th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, News
Yesterday was the 227th birthday of the U.S. Constitution, but you wouldn’t know it was being rightly celebrated within the walls of the White House.
To commemorate the day, the White House tweeted out a photo of President Obama – as usual.
Using a photo or quote from the President is standard practice in the White House social media office –from statements of remembrance to the anniversary of 9/11. It’s always about him – never the actual event or person being celebrated.
The same goes with his respect for the Constitution. His actions have consistently violated this sacred document, as he uses executive order after executive order to pass his own liberal agenda for the country.
As he famously said earlier this year, “We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need…I’ve got a pen and a phone.”
There are multiple examples of when the President has done exactly that in the past six years – like when he waived work requirements in a Congressionally passed welfare program, and delayed implementation of Obamacare’s employer mandate for select companies.
The latest disregard of the Constitution? Obama plans to take executive action on immigration – a policy that should definitely include the input of a bipartisan Congress to move forward. With two years left in his Presidency, there’s no limit to what he might do in order to secure his legacy.
In fact, it makes the 2014 elections more important ever. We must elect strong conservatives that will truly respect the Constitution as it was written and call out Obama’s imperial actions.
Earlier this year, the White House ironically tweeted out another photo, this time with Obama photo-shopped onto the seat of a throne (paying tribute to the show “Game of Thrones.) The photo was a posted as a joke but its representative of Obama’s increasingly lonely decision making.
The Constitution was meant to help maintain a limited government. Perhaps it should be required reading for the President on this day.
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
Building off our Owning 2014 post, we give you the numbers below.
- AK-Sen: Harstad Research (D): Mark Begich (D-inc): 45, Dan Sullivan (R): 40, Mark Fish (Lib): 6 (Aug.: 41-40 Begich) (conducted for Senate Majority PAC and Put Alaska First).
- AR-Sen: Answers Unlimited: Mark Pryor (D-inc): 46, Tom Cotton (R): 42 (conducted for Southern Progress, a pro-Democratic group).
- AR-Sen: Gravis Marketing (R): Cotton (R): 47, Pryor (D-inc): 43 (July: 51-44 Cotton) (among registered voters).
- GA-Sen: Landmark Communications (R): Michelle Nunn (D): 46, David Perdue (R): 43, Amanda Swafford (Lib): 6 (Aug.: 47-40 Nunn).
- IL-Sen: APC Research: Dick Durbin (D-inc): 55, Jim Oberweis (R): 32, Sharon Hansen (Lib): 5 (among registered voters).
- MI-Sen: Mitchell Research: Gary Peters (D): 43, Terri Lynn Land (R): 41 (Aug.: 46-44 Peters).
- MN-Sen: Mason-Dixon: Al Franken (D-inc): 49, Mike McFadden (R): 36.
- NC-Sen: American Insights (R): Kay Hagan (D-inc): 43, Thom Tillis (R): 34, Sean Haugh (Lib): 5 (Feb.: 38-35 Hagan).
- NC-Sen: Elon University: Hagan 45, Tillis 41 (43-37 Hagan among registered voters).
- NH-Sen: CNN/ORC: Jeanne Shaheen (D-inc): 48, Scott Brown (R): 48 (51-44 Shaheen among registered voters).
- NH-Sen: Kiley & Company (D): Shaheen: 51, Brown: 43 (Early Sept.: 51-43) (conducted for the DSCC).
- NH-Sen: Magellan Strategies (R): Brown: 46, Shaheen: 44 (July: 46-41 Shaheen) (conducted for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire).
- NH-Sen: Rasmussen: Shaheen: 48, Brown: 42 (March: Shaheen 50, Brown 41).
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Uncategorized
Recently the New York Times reported that the National Republican Senate Committee is stepping in to run Senator Pat Roberts’ failing Senate campaign in Kansas. This race should be a lay-up for the NRSC after Roberts defeated Milton Wolfe in the primary in August. However, it appears that the head of the NRSC, Kansas’ other Senator, Jerry Moran, and team are about to dribble the ball of their foot as they head towards the hoop.
Who knows, maybe they already have.
Today’s Public Policy Polling’s poll showed Roberts down 7 points with only 29% of Kansans approving of Roberts’ job performance. In other words, he is headed the wrong way with just six weeks to go.
This news comes upon the heels of Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, having to step down as his role in the Iowa Caucus scandal becomes more apparent and McConnell locked in a tight re-election campaign in a state Mitt Romney won by 23 points.
In Arkansas, Tom Cotton should be running away with the Senate race against Democrat incumbent Mark Pryor. He is not and in Louisiana, recent polls show Democrat Mary Landrieu still leading in a must win Senate race for the Republican Party. Yesterday, it became very apparent that the National Republican Senate Committee is starting to lose its stuff publicly as it whined in Politico that one of the outside groups it has tried to delegitimize all year, our friends over at the Senate Conservatives Fund, wasn’t helping them as much as they should in Iowa.
We know that in politics things change overnight, but what is currently happening is not the narrative that the NRSC was hoping for at this stage in the game.
2014 was supposed to be their election cycle. The election cycle that would make Mitch McConnell majority leader and now, post-Labor Day, their narrative is about to whisp away in a cloud of smoke as a 2016 Senate map that favors the Democrats looms.
So what is going on out there? Is it possible that the general populace of voters is ready for something new and incumbents deep into their 70s and 80s don’t excite them?
In the case of Roberts and Cochran, the NRSC clearly thought better to go with the dependable votes for Mitch McConnell, not the young, fresh faced conservative challengers in Milton Wolfe and Chris McDaniel.
As a whole, this is part of the bigger problem the GOP Establishment faces as it clings to power: nothing they have done motivates voters and on the flip side of this equation is the fact that their scorched earth tactics to win primaries in 2014 has left a disaffected conservative base (prompting stories like this one from the LA Times).
There has always been the question of who needs who more in this marriage of convenience-conservatives or the GOP Establishment.
We think this election cycle is about to provide an answer.
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
British Prime Minister David Cameron appears to be a stronger leader than President Obama in the fight against terrorist group ISIS, who horrifically beheaded another victim this weekend.
British aid worker David Haines was killed – the third in a string of brutal murders captured on video and sent across the Internet – this time as “a message to the allies of America,” according to the video.
The UK joined the United States in a coalition against ISIS, but the terrorists are hardly backing down and are said to have at least one more American and Brit in their custody.
Haines was captured just a few days into his aid mission in Syria and his death follows those of American Journalists James Foley and Steve Sotloff.
While British Prime Minister David Cameron said the U.K. must deal with ISIS, whose acts he has called “pure evil,” President Obama’s reactions have been mostly tempered talking points read with little emotion. Passionate anger against these killers from the President is absent but it’s something Americans need to see from our President in this time of crisis.
In response to Haines’ murder, Obama said, “The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of UK citizen David Haines by the terrorist group ISIL (ISIS).”
The murder came on the heels of the U.S. decision to launch 160 air strikes against ISIS in Iraq – what is likely just the beginning of a longer campaign.
According to Secretary of State John Kerry, the U.S. is hoping to get as many allies as possible to act against ISIS, which the CIA estimates may have as many as 32,000 fighters to date.
While it’s good we are taking action now, it took far too long for the President to present a strategy while his State Department dabbled in other, ineffective online actions. For example, the State Department released a badly made video called “Welcome to the Islamic State” and hosts a Twitter account, Think Again, Turn Away – but one wonders why these tactics were deployed before a real strategy existed.
And while the Administration has finally stopped throwing hashtags on signs from official State Department spokespeople, they don’t seem much more professional than that. Yesterday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said America is at war with ISIS, which contradicts what Kerry said last week when he refused to characterize current U.S. actions as war.
When pressed after McDonough’s statement, Kerry admitted “we are at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates…yes, we are at war with ISIL [ISIS]…”
The Obama Administration needs to get their message straight and strong. The President may want to leave a golden legacy of having ended a war, but his time is running out and the world’s future may depend on the leadership we provide right now.
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 and is filed under Blog
For Immediate Release:
September 15, 2014
Madison Project Airs Radio Ad for Alex Mooney in WV-2
Fort Worth, TX –The Madison Project PAC released a new, 60-second radio ad encouraging Republicans in West Virginia to vote for conservative Alex Mooney for the U.S. House Second Congressional District:
To listen to the ad click here.
“Alex Mooney is a proven conservative who will shake up the status quo in Washington, D.C.,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project. “He is a principled leader who won’t be afraid to take on his own party in support for less government and more economic growth. The Madison Project was proud to support Alex during his primary and we look forward to fighting along side him in the halls of Congress.”
The ad will start airing today, district-wide through Friday.
The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at http://madisonproject.com/
Text of the radio ad:
“The Democrat party promised us hope, change, transparency, and cheaper healthcare from the doctor of our choice.
West Virginia is hurting because the Democrat Party has lost sight of individual rights and freedoms.
But Alex Mooney hasn’t.
Committed to making America strong, Alex has a plan to secure our borders first to stop illegal immigration and drug trafficking. He will fight new taxes that burden West Virginia’s workers.
Alex will fight to repeal Obamacare so healthcare can once again be a choice you make.
Alex will also work to dismantle bloated bureaucracies like the IRS, the EPA, and Federal Department of Education, so West Virginians, not D.C. bureaucrats make choices for West Virginia.
If your vision includes smaller government, greater freedom, and West Virginians making choices for West Virginia, you’ll see eye to eye with Alex Mooney.
This November, vote for Republican Alex Mooney.”
Monday, September 15th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues
Buried in the stopgap funding bill that House Republican Leadership cobbled together last week was a little noticed provision that tees up a vote for a multi-billion tax increase during the lame-duck session of Congress.
The funding bill would extend the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) – which blocks taxes on Internet access – from November 1, 2014 until December 11, 2014. Congress has known about this looming expiration for seven years. There is broad support for making the tax prohibition permanent – permanent extension has 53 sponsors in the Senate and passed the House on a voice vote.
Never letting a good (manufactured) crisis go to waste, Congress is going to use the pending expiration of the Internet access tax prohibition to shepherd through a tax increase on phone, catalog and internet purchases. This week, the chief sponsor of the Internet Tax Bill, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), said as much, “I think there will be less concern after the election. The two go together nicely. One makes sure the Internet isn’t taxed and the other makes sure that sales taxes that are avoided with the Internet will be collected.”
The Marketplace Fairness Act
The Marketplace Fairness Act – or as it’s more accurately known, the Internet Sales Tax Act – is an effort by big spenders in Washington to enable their friends in state governments across the country to collect sales taxes on purchases made outside their states. Under current law, unless a company has a physical presence – a nexus – in a state, that state cannot tax their sales. It’s a common sense approach – if a company isn’t in the state, it shouldn’t be subjected to the tax laws of the state.
Most folks who have shopped online have experienced this at checkout – if you live in one of the twenty-four states which have a sales tax, but does not have an Amazon warehouse or office, you get to check out without being forced to pay sales tax. Your state most likely requires you to pay something called a “use tax,” but it’s your job to pay that, not Amazon’s to collect it.
What Congress wants to do is force Amazon, eBay, catalog vendors, infomercials, and anyone else who sells you something from out of state (as long as their company sells over one million dollars a year – a small threshold) to collect more taxes from you. In fact, the total is $23 Billion more in taxes each year.
This is the kind of idea that is only popular with lobbyists and government officials.
Lobbyists love it because it gives their wealthy corporate clients a leg up over smaller more nimble competitors.
Compliance with this law will be a nightmare for a small businesses. There are ten thousand different taxing jurisdictions in the United States all imposing different rates on different goods at different times of the year.
To keep up with the various tax laws, small businesses are going to have to pay expensive fees to integrate tax collection software with their in house computer systems. If the software costs weren’t enough, the attorney fees and accountant bills will be astronomical when they get something wrong.
If, for example, a small business in Maryland doesn’t correctly charge sales tax for of one of Connecticut’s latest sales tax holidays for school clothes, they could see themselves getting audited by the tax collector in Connecticut. (For example, gloves and mittens are tax exempt, batting gloves for the little league baseball team are not.) And when that small businessman fails to charge Johnny’s parents tax on his batting glove, what’s going to compel that tax collector to treat him equitably? Nothing. By it’s nature that Maryland company has no presence in Connecticut and not one Connecticut Representative or Senator to complain to about an abusive tax collector. Further if they don’t comply with the dictates of the out of state tax collector they can find themselves hauled into court in a city thousands of miles away threaten with a court judgment if they don’t comply.
While this may be a nightmare for small businessmen, Amazon loves the idea. They have enormous IT, accounting and legal departments already. Complying with this is an insignificant burden in the grand scheme of issues they have to deal with. It also comes with the added benefit of sticking it to their competitors. Win-Win.
Government officials love it because they see it as free money. Every month Amazon’s going to send them a big check and all they have to do is lobby Congress to help the company stick it to the little guy. As usual the person whose ox get’s gored is the taxpayer.
So when Black Friday rolls around, remember that unless Congress hears objections, they’re going to sneak one more thing into your online shopping basket – a $23 billion tax increase.