Author Archives: R. Mitchell

Obama changing overtime law – workers to suffer (again)

arrogant_obamaPresident Obama has decided to change the overtime ceiling from $23,600/year to over $56,000/yr – but it won’t have the affect he promises.

Currently, salaried workers making more than $23,600 per year are exempt from the overtime pay rate which requires that employers pay them 1.5 times their pay for each hour over 40 hours.

According to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, the President has already sent an order to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review that would almost double that limit. The OMB report will likely be glowingly in-favor of Obama’s proposal.

Obama’s plan is to make more employees eligible for overtime or push them up to a new ceiling. Unless someone is already close to the new ceiling, neither will happen.

The economy has been struggling to create wage inflation, so what could be wrong with the president’s idea? Won’t it increase wages?

Ummm, no. The only thing that can create wage inflation is a tight labor market and, despite Obama’s claims, the market isn’t even close to that.

First, employers aren’t seeing the economic boom progressive demand-side economics were supposed to produce. Cash for clunkers, shovel ready projects, stimulus, stimulus II, night of the living stimulus and more have all failed to create the booming economy of yesteryear.

Second, oppressive taxes and regulations make it much more expensive for employers to hire or even retain existing employees. Obamacare, skyrocketing energy prices and silly rules like this make it impossible to compete.

Employers will examine the rule, do the math and realize that they can neither afford to raise essential personnel to $56k nor pay them 1.5x their pay. Instead, they will trim back operations or send them overseas. *Gasp* you say?

U.S. regulations already make it favorable to build factories, offices and distribution overseas. Add this stupidity to TPP and just like NAFTA, there won’t be any work left for Americans in America.

This and TPP might just crush middle-income earners into the ground.

But maybe that’s the point .. the President is kinda’ running out of time to fundamentally transform the nation.

NBC to Trump: ‘You’re Fired’

Donald_Trump_March_2015

Photo: Michael Vadon

NBC has decided to cut ties with Donald Trump as his election year rhetoric on Mexican immigrants has apparently inflamed … Mexican immigrants.

Trump is no stranger to ill-thought remarks and NBC is unabashedly biased.

The Donald made some comments in his June 16th campaign kickoff speech that made the Mexican government a little uneasy. He said “the U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.” They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

The Mexican government’s response was to pressure Univision to cancel their contract to air Trump’s Miss USA pageant and soon after to get enough public support against Trump so that NBC would cut ties with the boisterous billionaire.

Where does that lead our badly-coiffed candidate?

What NBC may not realize is the giant favor they’ve done the right. By joining the campaign to color Trump as an enemy of … whatever, he will likely lose his moderate and populist following. Chris Christie and Jeb Bush will be left to fight over the middle.

In an epic bit of karma, Trump’s biggest critique of Carly Fiorina now applies to him too – he’s been fired.

Chris Christie Announcement Video: Telling it like it is

Chris Christie may tell it like it is, but he’s decided to take a non-committal approach in this sequence.

The video is almost entirely an explanation of why Christie is so boisterous. I tried hard to find a reference to a single policy or position, but just got an earful about his parents and why he tells it like it is. But watch for yourself and maybe you’ll get more out of it than I did.

WTH Weekly -06-28-15 – the week in review

Continuing the WTH (“what the heck” happened) series, this week we look at Obama’s Iran capitulation, a rocket explodes,Greece implodes, single payer closer than thought, gay marriage and concealed carry, Obamacare subsidies, flags of our forefathers, Jindal enters the race and more!

Shockingly, Obama isn’t serious about the Iran nuclear talks. Today, reports surfaced that Obama has given into Iran’s demands and that the deal can progress even if the Iranians never submit to inspections. Trust, but verify is now trust, and hope. But, we’ve been there already.

Unless you’re in the Foreign Exchange (forex or FX) investing community, you may not be paying attention to the collapse of Greek society. Capital controls, bank runs, money flight, you name it. Greece is in trouble. But have you evaluated America’s similar situation?

SpaceX Flacon 9 explodesNext up, Elon Musk’s SpaceX project has suffered its first cargo loss after several failures in recent months. The video shows a perfect flight, until about the 2:30 mark. It goes so terribly wrong so very fast.

Many predicted that Obamacare was not intended to save anyone money on healthcare, but instead be a bridge to a single-payer system. Well, voila, recent merger propositions and changes in the marketplace are making it happen – whether you’ve noticed or not.

ACLU-logoHow in the heck are gay marriage and concealed carry linked? Thank the Supreme Court! The decision on Obergefell v. Hodges said that same-sex couples have a constitutionally protected right to marry and that all states must recognize that right. Some in the pro-gun community are saying that the reasoning used to protect gays should extend to those that bear arms in a concealed manner. In other news, now that gay marriage is law of the land, the ACLU has decided that it no longer supports religious freedom. #eyeroll

The Supreme Court had more great news – Obamacare’s subsidies are legal even if someone gets insurance from the federal exchange. Somehow the justices got confused by the “natural wording” of the law. Now, we all get to pay for something the law was not intended to fund. Greece anyone?

Flags of our FathersIn the wake of the South Carolina shooting by captured psycho Dylann Roof, liberal groups have decided that the Battle Flag of the Northern Virginia Army is to blame. Charlie Daniels makes an intelligent and reasoned argument why they are doing nothing more than making a straw man argument against a piece of cloth. Some are even pointing at the Duke’s of Hazard’s “General Lee” as a new symbol of hate. yeah, a 1969 Dodge Charger with a Virginian Battle Flag painted on it signifies Jim Crow laws and segregation … or something.

Finally, Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal has entered the race for the GOP nomination for president. A pointedly Christian announcement speech made it clear that he’s ready for prime-time, but is he ready for mainstream?

Greece collapse begins

The PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) have been under scrutiny for months due to their unsupportable mountains of debt in comparison to their incomes – on Monday, Greece may be the first to go down.

Despite Greek Priminister Tsipras’ plea for calm in this video:

Greeks lined up to drain ATMs of every ounce of cash they contained.

greeks line up for ATMs

 

Reports say that Greece will not open banks on Monday at a minimum and it may take days or longer to get them open due to lack of cash.

Greece said it would temporarily close banks on Monday in a bid to prevent its banking system from collapsing after the European Central Bank moved to cap the amount of emergency loans it provides for the country’s cash-strapped lenders.

The ECB said earlier on Sunday that it wouldn’t increase the lifeline of emergency liquidity that has been sustaining Greece’s banks, even as nervous Greek depositors appeared to withdraw their money at a greater pace over the weekend.

Zerohedge is reporting that the Greek stock market may not open Monday. Without capital inflows, why would they?

This entire event is due to debt. Just debt. Nothing more than debt. It’s what happens when a nation offers services it cannot possibly pay fore and as Margaret Thatcher put it “eventually runs out of other people’s money.”

The United States should watch what happens to Greece closely as America’s debt-to-GDP is even worse than it looks. Remember that the government decided to include R&D and pension write-downs in GDP just recently. That only makes GDP look better while the government hides how bad American debt really is.

Report: Obama gives in – no inspections of Iranian nuke facilities required for deal

Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) is reporting that the P5+1 led by the United States has capitulated to Iran’s demand that no inspections of nuclear facilities take place.

President Obama has been working to record another controversial accomplishment for his legacy – the Iranian nuclear weapons program negotiations.

A centerpiece to the Obama position has always been that inspections would be required for any deal to take place and that he would only accept a deal including this provision.

Iran has a history of cheating on sanctions and IAEA regulations on nuclear weapons development. Without inspections, the question to the value of the president’s negotiations is seriously in question.

Saying that the only deal he would sign off on would be a “good deal,” the President was expected to follow a “trust, but verify” paradigm as was central to the Nuclear START treaty with Russia decades ago. Instead, the President appears to be accepting of any deal, as long as he can claim credit for having secured the agreement.

National Healthcare Insurers on Path to Merge from Five to a SINGLE PAYER

Many, including CDN, projected that consumer choice would become greatly limited after the imposition of Obamacare – this month is proving all of themhospital room right – and more.

The Economist published an article detailing the turmoil healthcare insurers are experiencing. The remedy they seek is to eliminate competition in an impossible marketplace:

A similar consolidation among health insurers was also predicted. But since the new insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare only went into operation last year, it has taken until now for it to be clear how big the merger wave may be. The largest insurer, UnitedHealth, has approached the number three, Aetna. The second-largest, Anthem, is trying to buy the number five, Cigna—which on June 21st rejected Anthem’s $47.5 billion bid. And the number four, Humana, has been looking at selling itself to either Aetna or Cigna.

Reduced competition is terrible for consumers. Prices inflate wildly and products/services become harder to get.

Once the healthcare marketplace is reduced to UnitedHealth, Anthem and Aetna, United and Anthem will fight over Aetna until just the two remain. With certain politicians in place, United will be allowed to acquire Anthem and there will just be one – a single payer.

It will be so much easier for progressives to regulate a single insurer into oblivion instead of dealing with a herd of cats all doing their own things. A behemoth like UnitedHealth needs the money the government gives it just to survive the weight of Obamacare. If UH doesn’t do what the government wants, that money is gone. And then – it will be gone anyway.

Once UnitedHealth becomes a figment of history, someone has to step in to save the imaginary “working class.” Gosh, who will that be?

Welcome to government healthcare. The crazy predictions from years ago are coming true and there will be no push back. People will just be happy to be getting “free” healthcare – no matter how unavailable or substandard it is.

With Gay Marriage In, ACLU Drops Backing of Religious Freedom Law

ACLU-logoWhile the ink is still wet on Justice Kennedy’s controversial decision to legalize gay marriage, the ACLU has dropped its support of the Federal ‘Religious Freedom’ law.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was passed to prevent citizens from having to choose between their religious beliefs and negative recourse. President Clinton signed RFRA into law in 1993 saying that “governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification.”

The case that brought about RFRA was Employment Division v. Smith in 1990. In that case, two American Indians had been fired from their jobs for consuming peyote which is used in their tribal ceremonies.

The case made it to the Supreme Court which ruled that the firing was to be upheld because they could not use a religious exemption to circumvent federal law.

With RFRA in place, several groups have been afforded accommodation that would otherwise have ended their employment. For those cases, the ACLU was not only greatly in support of the law, but actually helped to use it.

Turn the page to today when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry. What made the ACLU suddenly change their mind?

Louis Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU wrote an op-ed posted in the Washington Post today telling us exactly why the ACLU changed their minds on RFRA:

The RFRA wasn’t meant to force employees to pay a price for their employer’s faith, or to allow businesses to refuse to serve gay and transgender people

The timing is impeccable. There will certainly be a wave of gay couples demanding that Christian bakers and photographers, pastors and priests bend to their will and submit to serving their wedding – or they’ll send in the lawyers.

While the ACLU takes the side of the gay and transgender public, they afford no weight to the rights of the business owners – who also happen to be American citizens with rights.

Forcing an employer to pay for something that is clearly against his religious ideals is  perhaps a bigger affront as the employee could simply choose not to work at a business that operates upon the basis of faith. The employer could be threatened with legal action if he chose not to pay for things he was against.

The same argument applies to those that would be forced to service gay weddings. If the person, through the faith, finds an activity offensive, they should have the right to avoid participation. The ACLU apparently disagrees.

What is the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The 14th amendment to the Constitution of the United States was enacted during Civil War reconstruction. The intent of the amendment was to insure that freed slaves enjoyed the same protections as all other Americans.

The amendment is divided into five sections. The 14th is often cited in litigation and was a centerpiece to arguments in The Slaugherhouse Cases, Lochner v. New York, Brown v. Board of Education, Mapp v. Ohio, Loving v. Virginia, Gore v. Bush, Roe v. Wade, Obergefell v. Hodges and a few others.

Section one contains the most-oft cited citizenship, due process and equal rights clauses.

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2 deals with the make-up of congress. It is important to note that the 14th amendment preceded the 19th (women’s suffrage) so the section applies to men and women equally.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3 prevents an office-holder who aids the enemy from holding office. A 2/3rds vote of the Senate may override.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4 re-affirms the faith of the U.S. government as to repayment of its debt. The section also prohibits congress from taking on debt to aid rebellion against the government and makes losses due to slave emancipation unrecoverable from the government.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5 is a typical enforcement clause giving Congress the power to enforce the amendment.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article

Justices Give Gays Right to Marry – More Cases to Come

supreme-court-gay-marriage_mtIn a narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) ruled that same sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states.

The ruling not only extends the right to marry to same-sex couples, but also requires all states to recognize gay marriages and civil unions carried out in other states.

Justice Kennedy sided with the liberal side of the court and wrote the decision. Chief Justice Roberts authored the dissenting opinion. The full text of their opinions on same-sex marriage can be found HERE.

President Obama offered his comments in a Rose Garden speech this morning where he said that “the laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.” [See the full speech here]

The case being decided, Obergefell v. Hodges, asked the court to answer two questions – are states required to license a marriage to same-sex couples and do states then have to recognize same-sex marriage licenses from other states. The court answered yes to both heavily citing the 14th amendment.

While the court decision forces state governments to license gay marriages, where those ceremonies take place could become another court case.

The Coalition of African-American Pastors and other Christian church leaders held a press conference yesterday where they expressed how the court’s decision contradicts tenets of their faith and moral law.

At a press conference in Memphis, Tennessee, held in the Church of God in Christ’s historic Mason Temple, Rev. Bill Owens, president and founder of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), said, “If they rule for same-sex marriage, then we’re going to do the same thing we did for the civil rights movement. We will not obey an unjust law.”

“The politicians and the courts have tried to take God out of this country,” he continued. “This country was founded on Godly principles. We will not stand back and be silenced.”

cakeRecently, small business owners in the wedding industry have been cyber-bullied, boycotted and in some cases taken to court over their choosing to opt-out of servicing gay weddings. Photographers and cake makers have listed religious conflicts and moral differences for choosing not to take on the same-sex clients. One such photographer had a case make it to the Supreme Court only to have the court refuse to rule on it.

So the question remains – will pastors, priests, photographers, bakers and others that typically facilitate and service a wedding be forced to do so against their own belief systems?

More SCOTUS cases are likely on exactly this issue.

RightWingWatch Attacks Alan Keyes and Themselves

RightWingWatch is a frothing-at-the-mouth liberal protectionist organization so it’s no suprise that they attacked Alan Keyes for his comments to Newsmax. It’s also no surprise that they stupidly proved his concerns in the same comment.

Take, for example, Alan Keyes, who told Newsmax host Steve Malzberg yesterday that he does not believe that the shooting was racially motivated but was actually an incident of pro-gay, anti-Christian violence. Keyes, a Republican politician and conservative activist, said that he has personally experienced more animosity due to his religious beliefs than to his race, so concluded that the massacre must have been caused by religious hostility and thus is the latest example of the supposed “persecution” of Christians in America.

Keyes’ comments are questionable considering the symbolism and statements issued by Dylann Storm Roof during the attack, but one major statement that RWW tries to refute is that Keyes has felt more animosity due to his religious beliefs than due to his race. RightWingWatch is proving his point.

While Keyes’ makes a controversial, and at this time unproven, point, RWW attacked him because of his account of religious persecution. Just as I am unable to understand the oppression that a black man might feel during his life, RWW has no ability to understand if Keyes’ did or did not feel oppressed due to his religious beliefs. Christians are increasingly being castigated for their beliefs.

By saying that Keyes’ persecution is “supposed” means that they do not understand the pressure that Christians are under in today’s America.

Obama is hosting dinners where he invites anti-Isreali cohorts to his personal table:

President Barack Obama hosted two radical anti-Israel activists, Riham Osman and Batoul Abuharb of Houston, Texas, on Tuesday night. They both had the honor of sitting at Mr. Obama’s exclusive “President’s Table” at the annual White House Iftar dinner. Both have publicly stated that they consider Israel and its leadership to be sponsors of terroristic acts.

Michelle Obama told a group of mulsim girls at a London school  “when I look out at all these young women, I see myself. In so many ways, your story is my story.”

When will the first lady be visiting an all-girls Christian school and sharing that same message. Will the President soon be offering his table to Christian or Jewish leaders? Maybe Keyes has more right than wrong on his comments.

The article seems to unapologetically claim that only affronts against race are important. Many identify on higher levels than the color of their skin.

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