Friday, October 10th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
Along with ‘Hope and Change,’ our President recently promised us that Ebola would not come to the United States.
This is under the Administration that had the FAA flights to Israel stopped because it was considered too dangerous.
This is under the Administration that is working to stamp out traditionally made cheese because methods for producing cheese for literally thousands of years are no longer deemed safe.
This is under the Administration that allowed the IRS to target groups because of political affiliation.
This same Administration raided Gibson Guitar under the suspicion that Gibson might be using Indian wood that violated the Lacey Act of 1900 (we’re not kidding).
This is under the Administration that can’t keep trespassers out of the White House.
Knowing that it is possible to stop air traffic from entering countries all together, and knowing that the ability to trace a person’s movements from countries suffering from outbreaks of the Ebola Virus, why has the United States not forced a 21 day quarantine for all travelers moving from high risk areas?
Why has the President, or at least members of the Texas Congressional delegation, not called for the quarantine?
The answers are simple.
1. Either the President and the CDC did not take this threat seriously,
2. They took it seriously and they failed, but are not willing to ramp up security measures to prevent further mistakes, or
3. The President does not care.
The Ebola virus is not to be taken lightly; earlier this year two highly trained medical aid workers were infected. Just days ago, less than an hour from where our headquarters are, Thomas Eric Duncan died of Ebola and it is possible he infected over 100 other people.
With infections and deaths rising, more actions must be taken to protect the United States. This is NOT to be misconstrued as a purposeful attack, a planned infection, or a plot perpetrated by anyone.
This is just a common sense call to pay attention, something that the current administration has not been doing for a very long time now.
Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
To some extent, the answer is simple.
You can’t win without being for something. Ask yourself: what are the Democrats for?
You could probably rattle off 3-4 issues off the top of your head right now. Government run healthcare, expansion of government programs, more taxes, abortion. Right then and there you have what they are for and because of that, they can easily message this to their voters and to the middle of the American electorate that ebbs and flows depending on the election cycle.
Now, contrast that with the Republicans. What are they for?
You want to say repealing Obamacare, admit it, but they are not. They are for repealing the Medical Device Tax for their friends on K Street. They are for deregulating the gas and oil industries. . . .well, kind of. They support the Keystone Pipeline (now ask yourself why that is important?).
Aaaannd they want to Fire Harry Reid.
Which appears to be Mitch McConnell’s only agenda item this campaign season. Apparently he has missed the forest for the trees and thinks voters in America understand the archaic rules of the United States Senate and why, at least in his mind, getting rid of Harry Reid as Majority Leader is so important.
Frankly, the vast majority of American voters probably have no idea who Harry Reid is. But they do know that each month a chunk of money is removed from their paychecks for entitlement programs that they will never receive the benefits of. They know that corporate America is getting preferential treatment that is not trickling down to them. They know they want the freedom to choose an insurance program that fits their needs, not what the government tells them does (while removing their choices in doctors and care providers). They want the price of their milk to stop going up.
In the midst of this meltdown by the GOP with less than a month to go, you have more and more articles like this one cropping up: Why Democrats May Keep The Senate.
For someone inside the GOP Establishment, it’s a head scratcher. They seem to think that small ball wins major championships. Because of that, as America is pleading for a dramatically new direction than the Obama Administration is providing, they are lost as to why their chances for winning the Senate on November 4th are in serious jeopardy. Add to this conundrum the fact that GOP consultants would rather get rich off the process and monopolize the machinery of the party rather than win and the party is in serious trouble of slipping into irrelevance.
Out gunned and out messaged, one has to ask: is this the “modern” GOP’s last stand?
And if so, what more will it take for a dramatic shift in direction for the party to win once again?
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.