Tag Archives: big government

America Is No Longer the “Land of the Free”

Is America really the “land of the free?” We may have been initially founded and constructed as such, but each year the land of the free becomes increasingly the land of the regulated, oppressed, disparaged, and dependent.

Gallup Poll.tiffGallup regularly conducts global polls to assess citizen’s perception of their levels of freedom around the world. In 2006, 91% of US residents were satisfied with their “level of freedom,” which was among the highest in the world. Last year’s iteration of the survey indicated only 79% of Americans are satisfied with their level of freedom. Such a precipitous drop in a few short years dropped the US to 36th place among the 120 nations sampled. Cambodia, Uzbekistan, Paraguay, and Rwanda are among the 35 nations more satisfied with their levels of freedom.

This seems to be confirmed by Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, which has seen the U.S. slip to number 12 this year. Countries with greater economic freedom, based on ten criteria, from personal property rights to personal financial freedom, include Chile, Estonia, and Mauritius, none of which could be considered bastions of liberty, as the U.S. historically has been.

bl-economic-freedom-fiscal-cliffAmerica was founded differently than any other nation in human history, which is what we refer to as American exceptionalism. Our founding documents guaranteed rights of free exercise of religion, free speech, free association, freedom from government oppression and illegal searches and seizures, among others. These rights and freedoms, our founding documents asserted, were “inalienable rights” derived from God, not granted by government. That “all men are created equal,” and that among those precious rights were “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (property).”

Every year those liberties are assaulted afresh by an ever-expanding governmental reach into our personal lives. Even those fundamental rights that are codified, by constitutional amendment as our Bill of Rights, are under assault. Freedoms of religious expression, speech, assembly, arms, illegal search and seizure, and due process are eroded with every congressional, legislative, and council bill, act, and statute, and are increasingly rarely upheld through judicial review.

imagesIn short, it seems that the machinations of government, politicians, and the courts, are arrayed broadly against the interests of individual liberty, personal accountability, and private freedoms. Our nation can only loosely be identified as a republic, where the enumerated powers of government are narrow and defined, with all non-enumerated powers residing in the states and the citizens, as the Tenth Amendment declares. The nation has morphed, and can be categorically and definitionally identified as a statist system, concentrating “extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty.”

This devolution of the republic and our individual liberties has only accelerated over the past several years, since the despicable attacks of 9/11. It was deemed necessary to relinquish some individual liberty for the defense of the realm, as the Patriot Act and other anti-terrorism measures sliced away at individual liberties for security purposes. In spite of the sunset provisions incorporated into that measure, they were extended in 2011, and have been expanded by NSA surveillance, more expansive monitoring of financial transactions, and even more circumvention of the 4th Amendment with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA essentially classify the entire country as a battlefield, allowing extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention, and enhanced interrogation against U.S. citizens here on American soil.

The omnipotence of government today certainly contrasts sharply with what our founding fathers envisioned for this “land of the free.” As Thomas Jefferson said,

Quotation-Benjamin-Franklin-freedom-security-trade-people-Meetville-Quotes-230658“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.” Or, in the context of abrogation of 4th Amendment rights, any government that is powerful enough to do everything we allow it, certainly is powerful enough to get away with everything it does.

Which also brings to mind Ben Franklin’s astute observation, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” Clearly, the more ground we cede collectively as a citizenry to security, the less freedom and liberty there is. And that applies not just to issues of national security, but also to domestic fiscal policies as well.

Patrick Henry famously mirrored that sentiment, when he said, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” I’m sure the good governor would be aghast at the sacrifice of liberty for thralldom to government that has ensued these past several years.

FoundersExtremists1Every election from here on out is a referendum on the future of our republic. Will we choose to elect those who embrace our founding principles based on liberty and freedom, or will we continue to cede our liberty for “security” provided by a statist government which is increasingly less attune to the concerns and interests of the individual citizen?

For those of us who are lovers of liberty, there has never been a more critical time to reassert our founding principles and the constitutional limitations of governmental power than today. If we want to have anything even remotely resembling the American republic surviving for future generations, it’s time to quit being a doormat to the politically correct progressive and statist agenda, and to proactively engage in the political process. Most of the statist “accomplishments” can be unwoven, but we need the electoral majorities to do it. Passivity and acquiescence are no longer options for those who would concur with Patrick Henry, “…give me liberty, or give me death!”

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

HONOR OUR FALLEN HEROES; An Oath Keeper’s Plea

 

Today is Memorial Day. During the course of the day many words, like these, will be written; many parades will be held; many gun salutes at cemeteries; many prayers offered; and many speeches made. All of these will have a singular aim, to remember and honor those who have fallen in defense of our liberty. The Commander in Chief of our military will lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and speak words of scripted eloquence again for the purpose of remembering and honoring our fallen heroes. And I will say without hesitation that these are all good things.

 

Of course, this is a national holiday so most people will be granted a day off from work. Many will spend the time with friends and family enjoying mini-vacations and having fun. There are those who might disparage these activities, and I understand their concern. It could be perceived that such things take the sacrifices of our brave defenders for granted. But I believe that even here, such times can serve as a kind of statement of gratitude which does honor them. I believe that the fallen soldier, if we could ask him, would tell us, “Go ahead and enjoy this respite. After all, the freedom to do so is one of those I and so many others gave our lives to protect. I would only ask that you take some time to remember me and those others and give thanks for our efforts. You can honor us when you remember the price paid for your liberty, and then go and live and enjoy that liberty.”

 

There are also some who will consciously choose not to honor those who purchased liberty and have preserved it with their lives, for one reason or another, and perhaps even express hostility toward such a celebration of honor. To those people our imaginary fallen soldier might say, “Yes you do have the right to protest and even to denigrate the sacrifices of our defenders. Freedom of speech allows this but be careful that you do not end up biting the hand that provided you your liberty and defends it today. Because in many of the countries you admire and seek to emulate, words like you often spew against our nation would get you shut down with extreme prejudice.”

 

There is one more group of people which our mythical fallen soldier might want to address, if it were possible. That would be the group of people making up the leadership of our federal government, specifically our elected representatives in the House and Senate, our President, and our Supreme Court justices. That fallen soldier might say, “If you are going to try and honor our memories, begin by remembering what we fought and died for. Remember that we all, like all of you, took an oath and we, unlike you, died fulfilling that oath. Our oaths were not to any of you, they were above all expressing fidelity to the Constitution of the United States. Your oaths call on you to hold fidelity to the same Supreme Law of the Land as well. Why so? Because the purpose of the Constitution is to establish the ideals of liberty spelled out in our Declaration of Independence. If any action of our government violates those principles, it also violates the Constitution, and thus violates your oaths. It doesn’t matter if those actions are self-serving executive orders, ridiculous court rulings which turn the Constitution into silly putty, or congressional actions undermining our military and veterans. As we died keeping our oaths, we call on you to live keeping yours! Then we are truly being remembered with honor.”

 

Finally, as a veteran I would like to add this. I am a member of an organization called Oath Keepers. We are a group of active duty military, veterans, law enforcement officers, and government officials who seek to keep the oath we all swore. The Constitution we swore an oath of loyalty to gave our federal government limited powers. According to the Constitution, the government is to “promote (not provide for) the general welfare” of the people. Conversely, the Constitution does state that one prime purpose of government IS to “PROVIDE FOR the common defense” of the people. Wasting our tax revenue on things such as fraudulent welfare programs, mythical man-made ‘climate change’, free cell phones, government-run health care, and even support of terrorist activity in other lands, both denigrates the sacrifice of the fallen and drains resources better directed back to the people, and toward our “common defense”. If you in Washington truly want to honor the fallen this Memorial Day, stop the unconstitutional overreach before it is too late or we will lose our liberty which was so dearly purchased. You will honor the fallen best if you will Keep…your…oath!

 

Neal Boortz is right: “social conservatives” will cost the GOP more elections

republican logo

In a recent talk radio show, while filling in for Sean Hannity, conservative-libertarian Neal Boortz (the co-author of the FairTax) warned that Republicans will not recapture the Senate this year, because, says Boortz, they have an insatiable “urge to get into social conservatism”.

Boortz believes Republicans will once again prioritize social issues above all others, advocate radical no-compromise policies on those issues, and once again make stupid statements on these issues. He points to Georgia GOP Senate candidate Paul Broun as an example. (Broun’s most famous statement, other than his defense of Todd Akin, is his claim that evolution, embryonics, and Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”)

Shortly after Boortz made that statement, an avalanche of insults, attacks, and false claims was launched against Boortz from every “conservative” corner of the Net. His critics, and they are legion, claim Boortz is an “establishment liberal Republican” and a “blowhard” just trying to attract attention. They furthermore deny that social issues and radical socially conservative politicians like Akin and Broun have hurt the GOP in the past.

But no amount of denial and false claims can change the fact that Boortz is absolutely right: radical policies on social issues, and politicians espousing such policies, have cost the GOP heavily in the past, and will cost it even more elections in the future.

Why? After all, didn’t social issues mobilize millions of voters in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s to the GOP’s standard? Weren’t American voters overwhelmingly socially conservative in those times?

Yes – but those were totally different times, decades ago. To advocate returning to policies of long bygone eras enacted (or advocated) in a totally different society is to lead the Party to disastrous defeats.

Today, Americans are a completely different society than they were 20-30 years ago. The GOP’s problem is that it hasn’t changed with them.

17  ago, a vast majority of Americans opposed gay marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act was passed with over 80 votes in the Senate and signed by President Clinton. Today, though, according to reliable pollsters like Gallup, a large majority of Americans approves of legalizing gay marriage and of DADT repeal. Banning gay marriage and gays from the military is a decidedly losing proposition supported only by a small minority.  Over time,  this small minority will shrink even further as older, more socially conservative voters die and are replaced by younger, socially libertarian voters.

As for contraception, support for its legality is – and has long been – so broad that most pollsters don’t even bother to ask the question.

On abortion, Americans are roughly equally divided, with the pendulum slightly swinging one way or the other from time to time. However, only a small majority supports banning abortion in all or most cases (per Gallup). So radical social conservatives’ position is again that of a tiny minority and a sure election loser.

The fact is that social issues are electoral losers for Republicans. The American people don’t want politicians to legislate morality anymore than they want them to legislate prosperity (neither of which can be really legislated, BTW – but that hasn’t stopped politicians from trying :) ).

The truth, therefore, is that – as Boortz says – Republicans will continue to lose elections by landslides if they continue to take radical positions on social issues. Or nominate radically socially conservative candidates like Paul Broun.

This truth has proven itself over and over again, even in “red states” like Missouri and Indiana where Republicans should win easily. All it took for GOP Senate candidates to lose there by landslides was a radical position on abortion and one stupid remark about rape. Not only did Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock lose their races, they cost other Republicans (like Scott Brown) their races as well.

This is because the voters Republicans need to win over – siphon from the Democrats, to be precise – are suburbanites, most of whom are fiscally conservative but socially liberal (especially suburban women, and American women in general, who currently support Democrats by a large margin). Saying that abortion should be banned in all cases, that a raped woman should be forced by law to bear the child of her rapist, and that two loving people shouldn’t be allowed to marry based on sexual orientation, is an electoral loser with suburbanites, women, minorities, and youngsters.

Boortz’s critics claim this is just a call to make the GOP more liberal, more leftist, and more in line with the GOP Establishment.

On the contrary, if fiscal and defense, rather than social, issues were the conservative “litmus test”, the vast majority of the GOP’s Establishment and its past candidates (including Daddy Bush, Bob Dole, Dubya Bush, and Juan McCain) would’ve had no business being in the GOP, let alone being GOP presidential nominees. Nor would John Boehner have been Speaker.

It is social conservatives who have enabled these RINOs to hijack the party and the country. All these RINOs had to do to win social conservatives’ votes was to promise to work towards banning abortion and gay marriage, and social conservatives supported them, regardless of their lack of fiscal conservative credentials (to say it mildly). So-cons didn’t care that Daddy Bush denounced Reaganomics as “voodoo economics”, or that Dubya was a failed businessman. All they cared about were these RINOs’ useless promises on social issues. As long as the Bushes, McCain, Dole, and Boehner pledged to fight against abortion and gay marriage, social conservatives were willing to overlook everything else.

On social issues, the Bushes, McCain, and Boehner have solid records.

But if fiscal and defense, rather than social, issues were the conservative “litmus test”, those RINOs would’ve had no business being in the GOP. Ditto Eric Cantor, Rick Santorum, and Tax Hike Mike Huckabee.

Social conservatives protest that “social and fiscal issues are inextricably linked.” No, they are not.

In fact, trying to impose one’s preferred policies on social issues on the rest of the society is every bit as much a Big Government statist policy as trying to impose a health insurance mandate, a new tax, a soda ban, or a lightbulb ban. So-called “social conservatives” are every bit as much Big Government Statists as Michael Bloomberg, Bill de Blasio, and Nancy Pelosi. They only difference is what exactly their pet issues are. For “social conservatives”, it’s abortion, gay marriage, and contraceptives. For Bloomberg, de Blasio, and Pelosi, it’s lightbulbs, SUVs, soda, and fast food.

But these people are all the same: all of them want to take away YOUR right to do what you want with YOUR money, YOUR vehicle, YOUR stomach, YOUR body, and YOUR home.

As any real conservative will tell you, the ONLY legitimate purpose of any government is to protect our rights and our liberty against those who would take them away, whether that’s you, my neighbor, a religious group in my town, or the majority of the society at large. The only legitimate purpose of any government is to protect our rights and freedoms – and to let us live as we wish to, as long as we don’t threaten anyone else’s rights and freedoms.

Whenever a government goes beyond that purpose, it becomes Big Government – and a danger to people’s rights and freedoms, regardless of whether it tries to legislate morality or prosperity. (And Americans don’t want it to legislate either.)

Therein lies the problem with the two major parties: both want to take your freedoms away. The Democrats want to legislate the economy, while Republicans want to legislate morality. The Democrats want to dramatically limit what you can do with your money, while Republicans want to dramatically limit what you can do with your body. For the last four decades, both parties have tried to do that and look just how dramatically the size and scope of the federal government has expanded.

It is NONE of any government’s business to legislate whether you or I can use contraceptives, whom I can marry, and whether or not a raped woman can seek an abortion. It is NONE of any local, state, or government’s business – and NONE of YOUR damned business, social conservatives.

And just think about it: if abortion, gay marriage, and/or contraceptives were banned, that would require yet another government agency (or agencies), costing billions of dollars annually and employing tens of thousands of bureaucrats and agents, to enforce such bans. You think the IRS is bad and oppressive? Or that the NSA is? Just imagine what a National Abortion Police or a National Counter-Contraceptives Agency would do if social conservatives got their wish.

As for funding for abortion, the fiscally conservative answer is simple: end it.

Finally, social conservatives claim there is a “moral decay in America”, and that fiscal issues cannot be solved without tackling these problems.

To some extent this is true when you look at divorce, single motherhood, alcoholism, and drug usage rates. But instead of targeting these very real and very serious problems and formulating positive solutions to them, “social conservatives” have, in the last 4 decades, railed exclusively against abortion, gay marriage, contraceptives, and DADT, and still continue to obsess about them, even though they are all lost issues.

So few Americans support banning gay marriage and contraceptives, or reinstating DADT, that these issues are, politically, irrevocably lost. As for abortion, it is legally lost because no Supreme Court, especially not one led by John G. Roberts, will overturn Roe v. Wade. If “social conservatives”  couldn’t get Roe overturned in the last 4 decades, they never will.

In fact, abortion, gay marriage, contraceptives, and repealing DADT have not done any damage to America’s prosperity or well-being. Contraceptives have, in fact, helped stem the plague of STDs and unwanted pregnancies (they are highly effective at fighting both). Repealing DADT has saved taxpayers millions of dollars lost on discharging qualified, disciplined men who happened to be gay (and has not caused any turmoil in the military, contrary to grave predictions made in 2010).

Similarly, legalizing gay marriage has not done any harm to anyone. It has only increased people’s freedom by letting them marry whatever person they love. (A few decades ago, when bans on interracial marriage were being repealed, Southern “social conservatives” were saying exactly the same thing they clam today: that repealing the bans would threaten “the integrity of the institution of marriage.”)

If “social conservatives” were really concerned about America’s societal ills, like divorce and single motherhood, they’d be tackling them. But they don’t want to challenge the powerful divorce attorney lobby; instead, they prefer irrelevant issues like “gay marriage” and “contraceptives.”

Gay marriage is not a threat to anyone’s marriage, or to the integrity of the institution, in any way. Divorce – particularly no-fault divorce, now legal in all 50 states, is.

(BTW, know who was the first state Governor to sign legislation legalizing no-fault divorce in his state? Ronald Reagan.)

So Neal Boortz is absolutely right, and so.-called “social conservatives” (I prefer to call them social Big Government Nannies) are dead wrong. “Social issues” like abortion and gay marriage are sure election losers; they alienate suburbanites, youngsters, women, and minorities from the GOP; and advocating bans and legislating morality on these issues is every bit as much a Big Government Policy as banning sodas or SUVs is.

Do we know how bad HealthCare.gov really is yet?

For the past two and a half weeks – sadly partially silenced by the government shutdown and debt ceiling drama – Obamacare as an information system has been melting down since enrollment in the “exchanges” or “marketplaces” for health insurance went live at the HealthCare.gov website on October 1, 2013. It’s clear that the situation is bad, and is starting to alarm even the most forgiving to the President and his policies, as liberal Statist sites like The Huffington Post  publish articles with titles like “Obamacare Website Failure Threatens Health Coverage for Millions of Americans”.

The actual file name of that post is simply delicious: “obamacare-train-wreck_n_4118041.html”.

We’re starting to see lots of material being published about how HealthCare.gov came into being, and either baffled disappointment or a sense of “what else did you expect?” at how a web application project that as much as $634 million has been spent on can’t handle user loads, deliver simple web pages, or manage to correctly display drop-down list box contents, much less enroll millions of uninsured Americans for soon-to-be-universally-mandated health coverage.

It’s also been reported that of the people who have managed to actually not have HealthCare.gov error on them and get themselves enrolled that incorrect information has been passed to the insurers via the government’s website and that possible compromises of personal information (leaving enrollees vulnerable to identity theft) have both occurred.

I work in information technology, and while I’m not a software developer, I’ve got a very good handle on the architecture and design that multi-tier application systems employ, of which Obamacare’s HealthCare.gov certainly is one. For those who aren’t as familiar, multi-tier applications use “front ends” (a website through which you enter or view data, for example) and “back ends” (databases or other systems for storing and organizing data). In between the front end and the back end is normally “middleware”; software that analyzes or processes data as it is inputted into the front end or retrieves data from the back end and formats it for the front end user to see. Based on the common problems reported with healthcare.gov thus far, I think it’s obvious that inter-tier communications between layers of the application are responsible for many of the failures.

It’s not like multi-tier applications are anything new. I’ve been working on multi-tier application systems for over sixteen years. Well, it appears that some software developers might need some remedial education on the programming languages, development tools, and multi-tier systems they’re working with. It certainly seems that interfacing with government-produced, supplied, or owned software components designed specifically for information exchange between applications or application tiers are a challenge for some.

Michelle Ray (Twitter’s @GaltsGirl) drew my attention to a support forum post on the Java.net site from September 4, 2013. I’m pretty sure that the author of the thread-opening post is Srini Dhanam, who according to his page on LinkedIn works for a web site called GetInsured.com. They describe themselves as, “the nation’s easiest way to shop for health insurance. Since 2005, we’ve helped more than 2 million people find the health insurance policies that best fit their needs and their budget.” Sounds like they were a private sector (gasp!) health insurance “exchange” before government had the brilliant idea they had to be, uh, invented by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Mr. Dhanam is probably in the clear as far as the HealthCare.gov debacle goes for that site directly, but his support forum post indicates use of application code or programming objects that derive from government sources. One namespace URL referred to by the detailed error message he’s trying to get assistance with refers to “applicant-eligibility.ee.ffe.cms.gov” (don’t bother trying to access it; the name does not resolve). However, “cms.gov” is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responsible for administering Medicare and working in partnership with state governments to administer Medicaid. I’m speculating that Mr. Dhanam’s problem could be related to difficulties getting the government’s systems in the multi-tier HealthCare.gov system to interface correctly with private insurers’ systems, which he could be working with or on.

From a data security/information assurance perspective, Dhanam’s use (as he says in his post) of version 7, Update 21 of the Java SDK and corresponding run time environment is also problematic. It expired on July 18, 2013. Version 7, Update 45 is the current release and includes many security fixes for vulnerabilities found in the earlier code.

Another identifiable organization within the post’s content is “NIEM”, the National Information Exchange Model (pronounced like “neam”). NIEM was created in 2005 as an inter-departmental panel to facilitate information sharing standards between government computer systems, and the primary cabinet-level departments who contribute to the organization are HHS, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Is anyone comforted that with an eight-year old developing standard for information sharing standardization between government departments in place, HealthCare.gov is having problems with…information sharing standardization between government departments and the private sector?

Doing some web searches on the “applicant-eligibility.ee.ffe.cms.gov” string led me to a different support forum post that includes it, plus additional references to NIEM. I tried through various approaches, but I couldn’t shed any light on the identity of that thread’s initiator, known by the handle “wbisantosh”. The first responder to his problem though, shed some interesting light on Mr. wibsantosh’s skills as a programmer (click to enlarge):

overyourhead

“Have you attended the training?…[S]eems you are in over your head.” Whether “wibsantosh” is involved in the coding of HealthCare.gov or one of the multitude of systems interfacing with it or not, that still seems like a fitting description of what has produced the horrific user experience of Obamacare thus far..

Lest anyone think a connection here to the actual HealthCare.gov site is tenuous, there’s one more thing I found. If you Google search for just the “ee.ffe” portion of the cms.gov string found from the support posts, the first item returned takes you to…drum roll, please…HealthCare.gov.

I think we’ve only scratched the surface of the technical disaster, from both information technology operational and security perspectives, that is the roll-out of Obamacare.

What do operations in the HealthCare.gov data centers or technical support centers look like? Probably something like this excerpt from the classic 1957 film starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, Desk Set:

‘Nudging’ ultimately leads to ‘shoving’ us into submission

Quote From 2 Million Bikers To DC Facebook Page:

Please Watch this video! It is poignant and directly answers the questions to motives of their “nudging” and ultimately “shoving” us into submission. Until now, they have not received the heightened level of pushback that we are providing. REMINDER: YOUR PUSHBACK MUST REMAIN PEACEFUL! We will not prevail if we go off half-cocked. We must formulate a strategy and provide a peaceful UNITED FRONT! 

Saturday Night Cigar Lounge Sept. 28th

When:Saturday, September 28th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor on Blog Talk Radiosncl_logocdn

What: Saturday nights were meant for cigars and politics.

Hear Taylor and his co-host Liz Harrison talk about everything from the past week – from politics, to news, to books, and entertainment. Whatever comes to mind, and of course, sobriety is not likely.

Tonight: Tonight the Rated-R Republican John Brodigan joins Taylor and Liz to talk politics, pop culture and more!

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Ohio’s Public Employee Union (OPERS) Loses Spouse Coverage under Obamacare

Joe Wilson 2009

Joe Wilson 2009

If Ohio’s public employees are concerned about retirement system changes under Obamacare, it seems no one’s talking. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!“ shout-out to Obama from the floor of Congress in 2009 was indeed prophecy. Obama did lie. State of Ohio spouses cannot ‘keep their health insurance because they like it.’ I am one of those spouses.

Lying to America’s elderly about critical services like medical care far exceeds this president’s phony display of self-righteous indignation at Joe Wilson, for outing his lies. Calling out lies is what we expect of leaders. Well, Michelle, I have never been as ashamed of my American government as I am now … of this phony president, his phony policies, his phony Congress, and his phony peddlers.

Apparently the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) is one of those peddlers. Their seminars effectively blanket the effects of Obamacare in shrouds of economic generality, as if We bear some responsibility for this condition. An economic condition which is, in great part, because of Obamacare and is, in all part, because of Obama.

Reportedly Obamacare made it illegal for health plans to disclose all of the health care services that will no longer be covered. Those can’t be shared until October. OPERS instructs us to call our plan provider. OPERS will gradually increase members’ costs for spouse insurance over the next three years, beginning January 2014, until members bear all spouse costs by end of year three. Then their spouses are thrown to the Obamacare exchange wolves.

Spouse Coverage [excerpted] — Beginning in 2016, spouses over the age of 65 and enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B can use the Medicare Connector to select a plan on the individual Medicare market.

But not to worry according to OPERS, they will guide spouses through the even more expensive Obamacare exchanges to see which plan they can afford. Sorry if your conditions aren’t covered or if you can’t afford the plan you need to cover your conditions. That’s just too bad.

OPERS uses a lot of gimmicky words with special, limited meanings and they cloak the bad news in good feeling concepts so you’re still feeling ingratiated when you read about them. MSteyn“Access” does not mean coverage and it does not mean you don’t pay for having “access.” Go to the OPERS web site for more complete information.

Mark Steyn reports that spouses and children losing health insurance are the ultimate “unintended consequence” of Obamacare. Spouses and children are being taken off of employee health plans nationwide. This is said to leave more millions of Americans uninsured than were uninsured before Obamacare.

Employers dropping coverage for thousands of spouses over ObamaCare costs (includes video)

Forbes just released a Medicare/Medicaid study citing Obamacare is estimated to cost American families $7,450. I don’t know about yours, but our young families are doing good to meet survival needs as it is right now. Given our own senior fixed incomes and increasing risks for ailing health, I know we also cannot afford Obamacare. This is the most viciously corrupt transfer of wealth – and imposition of death sentences – as a free people have ever seen.

Most readers will find it easier to think about how this number translates to a typical American family—the very family candidate Obama promised would see $2,500 in annual savings as far as the eye could see. Between 2014 and 2022, the increase in national health spending (which the Medicare actuaries specifically attribute to the law) amounts to $7,450 per family of 4.

Let us hope this family hasn’t already spent or borrowed the $22,500 in savings they might have expected over this same period had they taken candidate Obama’s promise at face value. In truth, no well-informed American ever should have believed this absurd promise.

So that’s three more Obama lies Joe Wilson was remiss in pointing out. Where were the other 534 members of this not-so-esteemed Congress, huh Joe? Not to fear for them, those elitists are covered with expensive, lavish, private health plans outside of Obamacare exchanges, at our expense. I suppose that only matters to tax-payers and even some of those are still dizzy from Obama’s phony Liberal do-gooder ride.

The American people have until this Friday, September 27th, to call and email Senators, asking them to defund Obamacare. Congress listens when they receive thousands of calls. Burn up the phone lines. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senator. Tell them you want them to defund Obamacare and you will remember their vote when you vote again.

On Sunday Ted Cruz discussed plans that are necessary in the Senate this week:

 

A retired Constitutional lawyer – who actually read the healthcare bill – warns (excerpted):

This legislation really has no intention of providing affordable health care choices.  Instead it is a convenient cover for the most massive transfer of power to the Executive Branch of government that has ever occurred, or even been contemplated  If this law or a similar one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of the United States will effectively have been destroyed.

This is not about health care; it is about seizing power and  limiting rights…  Article 6 of the Constitution requires the members of  both houses of Congress to “be bound by oath or affirmation to support the  Constitution.” If I was a member of Congress I would not be able to vote for  this legislation or anything like it, without feeling I was violating that  sacred oath or affirmation.  If I voted for it anyway, I would hope the American people would hold me accountable.

Call. Call Senators every day this week. Go to this link for complete telephone listing.

Saturday Night Cigar Lounge Sept. 7th

When:Saturday, August 31st, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor on Blog Talk Radiosncl_logocdn

What: Saturday nights were meant for cigars and politics.

Hear Taylor and his co-host Liz Harrison talk about everything from the past week – from politics, to news, to books, and entertainment. Whatever comes to mind, and of course, sobriety is not likely.

Tonight: Jason Pye from United Liberty, and Jackie Bodnar from FreedomWorks join Taylor to talk Syria, liberty, and more.

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Saturday Night Cigar Lounge, August 31st

When:Saturday, August 31st, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor on Blog Talk Radiosncl_logocdn

What: Saturday nights were meant for cigars and politics.

Hear Taylor and his co-host Liz Harrison talk about everything from the past week – from politics, to news, to books, and entertainment. Whatever comes to mind, and of course, sobriety is not likely.

Tonight: Sean Venkman guests to discuss Syria, Syria, Texas unions and the NSA.

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

#MakeCollegeAffordable backfires for liberals

Donkey Hotey (CC)

Donkey Hotey (CC)


As Obama, the campaigner-in-chief, started a bus tour today touting his new plan to make college affordable, Twitter users decided to voice their own thoughts on his ideas. Like many liberal initiated hashtags, this one was hijacked by conservatives that are apparently fed up with government interference in all facets of life.

makecollegeaffordable1

Of course the free market option was brought up, as was the logical result of easy loans for students. The more money the government makes available for students to borrow, the more colleges will charge for their services. Then there was one that points out something that really should remain in the back of the minds of everyone. Is this latest tour just another ploy to get the public focused on anything but the myriad of scandals that have been dogging this administration from practically the very beginning? That very well could be part of the case, but the most likely reason for this little tour is to solidify support of younger voters that have been straying away from the Democrat party.

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Then there is Tim Wells (@rightwingnerd) that offers a couple priceless tidbits. Yes, Obama is interested in getting the student vote, but he’s also interested in keeping academia happy with him, especially since ObamaCare isn’t so popular on at least one campus. So, take from one pocket, while putting something in the other would be the theme for this trip. Also, pointing out the obvious, Wells shows that a college degree is not necessarily what one absolutely must have to be a success in life. BuzzFeed even offers a list of particularly successful folks that actually dropped out of school. One even made it to the White House.

Now, if you really want to find out about Obama’s new idea to tie federal aid packages to actual college costs, by all means take a look. However, one has to remember that this is an Obama plan. In order to be implemented, it will probably have to be shoved down the throats of the members of Congress, while they are told that they have to pass it to know what’s in it. There will be many promises about how it will help to reduce the costs of higher education, but because it is injecting more government money into the mix, it’s a fair guess that the schools will do exactly what was said previously – it will undoubtedly cause increases in tuition rates. And finally, there will be many corrections on the actual cost of the program, and eventually the CBO will come back with numbers that exceed initial estimates by trillions of dollars. Of course, those are all just guesses on how this will turn out, but educated ones, since we’ve heard this line before.

Holder’s DOJ Says, “You’re Grounded!”

This week, a prospective merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways stalled, when the United States Department of Justice and six states’ attorneys general filed an antitrust lawsuit. If the merger succeeds, it would create the largest air carrier in the world. The DOJ cited numerous concerns over the effects that a newly merged airline company would mean for consumers.

Bill Baer, assistant-attorney general of  the DOJ’s antitrust division says he worries about the new company’s ability to change airfares unilaterally and sufficiently enough, that it would create price hikes across the industry. Through the company’s pricing power, industry standing, and numbers of slots at airports, the government contends the company would: wipe out special pricing programs and incentives, raise fares, reduce competition, and provide reduced services. The merger, which would leave three legacy carriers, would allow them to raise prices, because non-stop services would be eliminated, in lieu of connecting services.

In a refreshing change, it seems the DOJ is suddenly oriented toward thrift, and consumer protections. It is the government you have always wanted – they are looking out for you. It sounds great, right?

If this were not the same DOJ who turned a blind eye at voter intimidation and whose leader balked at answering questions about investigations of reporters, you might be able to take them at their word. It is also the same DOJ who allowed numerous other airline mergers in the past few years as well, without much criticism. (The lawsuit also uses those past mergers as proof that the new airline would raise prices).

As much as the DOJ would like to paint itself as some sort of a guardian of consumers, it is hard to believe. The remarks on the lawsuit contains several assumptions and suspicions about the prospective airline’s plans. The DOJ also points out that the two companies say they can manage without the merger, that each company stated they would do well without it. That is fine and good, but if the companies think that they can do business better still, with a merger, who is the DOJ to insert themselves (arbitrarily, in this author’s eyes) into the proceedings?

It was a done deal before the government stepped into the midst of the merger. ABCNews, and the Buckingham Group, point out that the merger had a 99% chance of happening. After the DOJ and state lawsuits, that figure dropped to 40%. The article continues to point out that if the merger occurs, the resulting, remaining airline companies would consist of four top airlines, which would control 80% of the commercial air market.

What does all this show us? What is the take away? I see a couple:

One, it seems to be another case of this administration seeking to pick winners and losers. A Blaze article goes so far as to say that the DOJ filed their suit to squeeze more concessions from the companies – this, despite people like Congressman Spencer Bachus mentioning that the airlines’ employees and unions supported the deal.

Two, in its prepared remarks about the merger, the DOJ lays out, step-by-step, the ways in which the merger will affect consumers. In a perfect understanding of market forces, they mention mechanisms such as supply and demand, competitive advantages, and pricing power concerns. Now, with an understanding such as that, how hard is it to swallow what this administration’s done elsewhere, and in other cases, where it has hurt capitalism?

The merger hits a big bump.

The American Airlines/US Airways merger hits a big bump.

“I Don’t Give A S–T”: Finally!!! Truth From Washington

Markwayne Mullin Well, Folks, that just about sums it up!!!!!! Rep. Markwayne Mulllin (R OK-2) made this famous statement when confronted at a townhall meeting in Afton, Oklahoma on August 8, 2013.  Activist Miki Booth, also of Oklahoma, tried to present Mullin with a 71 page affidavit from the Sheriff Joe Arpaio investigation of Barack Obama’s eligibility to hold the office of President of the United States of America.   Mullin said we lost that argument Nov. 6, 2012 and “testily” refused to accept the document.  The left is going nuts because they say he has “come out” as a “birther”. That is nonsense, as he clearly stated, more than once, that he doesn’t care, to put it more politely.  I think the “birthers” are the ones who do care.

I witnessed the same kind of attitude the next day in Oolagah regarding the TEA Party members of Congress who are trying to stop the hemorrhaging of our liberty.  I told him I wanted him to join with the reformers but he has jumped in bed with Boehner and the party establishment.  He didn’t take that very well.  Another man insisted the House could refuse to fund anything they desired to defund.  Mullin said they couldn’t do that because the Senate and Obama would stop such a bill.  If the House sends an appropriations bill without funding for Obamacare they can’t force the money to be there.  Mullin doesn’t seem to understand that part of the Constitution very well either.  Doing John Boehner’s bidding seems to be the only answer Mullin has to our problems. The idea of governing according to the Constitution and the wishes of his constituents seems to evade his radar!!!

His curt attitude to Ms. Booth, and his following attitude, pretty much sums up the general attitude of members of Congress towards the Constitution and We the People.  The most serious issue here isn’t that the member ranked 408th in seniority in the House of Representatives showed this kind of callous disregard for the Constitution in public.  Mullin is just following the dictates of the Republican Party “leadership”.  He is merely following the instructions and example of his mentors, Sen. Tom Coburn and Speaker of the House, Rep. John “the Traitor” Boehner. Jim Bridenstine

How many members of Congress actually care what the Constitution says????? Jim Bridenstine, Louie Gohmert, Justin Amash, Tim Huelskamp, and a few others are standing up for the Constitution, and We the People, in the House. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and a few others are doing the same in the Senate. Other than that we have the Markwayne Mullin attitude from the rest of them towards the very basis of our Republic of the United States of America.

Mullin told those of us gathered in Oolagah that the TEA Party congressmen are busy grandstanding for their own personal gain and hurting the “co-operation needed” to get anything done in the House.  He mentioned them losing a $10 billion cut in some program because of their insistence on cutting more.  While that cut would probably be a good thing, it won’t matter much if we don’t Eagle- America Deserves Betterpreserve our nation as it was left to us by our founders.  The Republican Party is not preserving, protecting, or defending the Constitution, they are subverting it.  We have already lost so much that we are on the precipice of a Nazi Germany future.

Obama, and those in control of both political parties in both houses of Congress, are systematically destroying our very way of life and it is pretty apparent that “I don’t give a s**t” is the prevailing attitude among nearly everyone we elected to “preserve, protect, uphold, and defend” the Constitution of the United States of America.

In a related incident last week, Oklahoma State School Superintendent Janet Barresi, a Republikrat, took the same attitude towards people meeting to discuss education with her, the topic being Common Core. She can’t seem to make up her mind if citizens were split on the matter or if it is lopsided in opposition to Common Core.  She seems to change her story to match the latest facts that she can’t be bothered with. She told one attendee that she doesn’t answer to We the People, but rather that she answers to the state legislature. That is true in the sense that the legislature passes the guidelines but she is elected by We the People to provide our children with the best possible education. Common Core isn’t the best possible education and she isn’t doing any better than the lame Democrat we tossed out in 2010.

I seem to remember the big ballyhoo from the Republikrat Party when they swept the statewide elections, including the school superintendent post in 2012.  Now she has the attitude that We the People don’t matter and she evidently “doesn’t give a s**t” what the citizens say either.

Mullin isn’t an aberration; he is the norm from the Republikrat Party.  Both political parties are owned by big money, and the big money is on “K” Street in Washington D C (De Cesspool).  Legislators at both state and federal level give their allegiance to the political party because that is where their money for campaigns comes from. We the People are merely peasants who should sit down and shut up because weThe Patriot Duty aren’t intelligent enough “to know what is good for us or what is in our best interests”.

This is the general attitude of the Republican Party establishment.  We the People don’t matter and merely need to sit down and shut up while they attend to the business we are too ignorant to understand.  Our government is no longer OF the People, BY the People, and FOR the People.  We now see a government that sees itself as the final arbiter of what is and is not legal, what is and is not moral, and what is and is not acceptable.

The ruling class political thugs do not consider We the People to be their superiors.  We are peasants who lack the intelligence or ability to decide what is what.  The worst of it is that they don’t recognize the RIGHT of We the People to have any input into what goes on in government.

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

Bob Russell

Claremore, Oklahoma

August 13, 2012

 

 

Saturday Night Cigar Lounge July 27th

When:Saturday, July 27th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor on Blog Talk Radiosncl_logocdn

What: Saturday nights were meant for cigars and politics.

Hear Taylor and his co-host Liz Harrison talk about everything from the past week – from politics, to news, to books, and entertainment. Whatever comes to mind, and of course, sobriety is not likely.

Tonight: Taylor talks to  Liz (yes the co-host) about her recent Politichicks article found here: http://politichicks.tv/column/sex-lies-politics-priorities-self-respect-walking-in-huma-abedins-shoes/ It’s awesome you should read it.

Also expect Texas politics talk, tattoo talk (again) with a heavy dose of freedom and liberty.

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

 

The Case for Liberty and an Article V Convention – Part II

Constitution650It should be obvious to anyone by now, that with few exceptions our representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives have little interest in good stewardship of the nation as a whole, nor do they exhibit any interest in limiting their own power or that of the other two branches of Federal Government. Quite the contrary, they seem only interested in what will benefit them, the maintenance and growth of their power, the power of their respective parties, and the growth of their personal balance sheets and those of their friends’. For these reasons it is incumbent on the State Houses to exercise their Article V responsibility to reign in the excesses exhibited in Washington.

The Declaration of Independence contains a list of grievances against the King of England. They will not be reproduced here yet the list of governmental overreach in these United States is similar, large, and growing exponentially.

Beyond overreach, by its self-centered approach to public policy the federal government continues at an increasing pace to put our nation in peril by its failure to pursue sound agricultural, economic, energy, and foreign policies.

Its Justice Department has given up all interest in equal application of the law, and has instead sought to reward its friends and punish its enemies. Likewise this administration has used all of its agencies in the same manner and Congress has been unable or unwilling to stop them.

Richard M. Nixon was impeached in 1974 for Obstruction of Justice, Abuse of Power, and Contempt of Congress. He subsequently resigned his office. In June of 2012 President Obama’s Attorney General was held in Contempt of Congress for failure to produce documents related to the supply of weapons to criminals in Mexico in an operation called Fast & Furious. President Obama covered up this failure to produce documents with a dubious claim of Executive Privilege. To this date, no documents have been produced and Congress has failed to take further action. This is the same Justice Department that has declined to prosecute top Obama bundler Jon Corzine for bilking of almost a billion dollars of clients money and has declared big bankers “too big to jail”.

At the same time the Department of Justice through the Fish and Wildlife Service raided Gibson Guitar (whose CEO is a Republican donor) and confiscated raw materials without ever formally charging them with a crime. Eventually the DOJ extorted $350,000.00 from the company, still without any due process of law under the Constitution or return of raw materials.

The recent IRS targeting case is another example in a long, long list of political bullying by Administration agencies. Russell George, the IRS’ own inspector general, went to DOJ with clear evidence of illegal access and dissemination of taxpayer information, and Justice has refused to prosecute or even investigate the case.

Egregious as the abuse of power is, there are much larger problems facing the citizens of the United States. One of the most dangerous is the practice of laundering trillions and trillions of made up dollars through the US banking system. For the moment it has not sparked hyper-inflation, primarily because the banks borrow the dollars and loan them back to the treasury through bond purchases. So far, it has kept interest rates low, and stocks high. For the most part, this fiat currency has stayed out of the general economy. Big banks and large corporations have nowhere to put their money due to the vast uncertainty about future rules and regulations. Rather than invest, hire and expand, they have been buying back their stock, and speculating on commodities like food, farm land, and oil.

When those trillions finally make their way out into the economy at large, they will drastically lower the value of existing dollars, making prices higher, forcing interest rates to rise and devastating the poor and middle class. When food is unaffordable people take to the streets. We have seen it happen in Greece, Italy and all across the Middle East in recent years. The entire United States is following the footsteps of the City of Detroit.

The passage of the Dodd-Frank Act ushered in a new era of unaccountable bureaucracy heretofore unheard of in the history of the United States of America. Now that Harry Reid has been successful in subjugating the Senate Republicans to his unquestioned will, we citizens of these United States will be forever beholden to the will of an unelected unaccountable Czar of Consumer Banking and his fifteen minions. This Act effectively nationalizes the entire US banking system in the same way Obama-care nationalizes the health care system.

In addition to confirming the new Czar of Consumer Banking, the deal worked out in the Senate effectively gave President Obama a pass on the unconstitutional appointment of members of the National Labor Relations Board.

The erosion of the US Constitution has accelerated since the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913, and has reached the point where the Constitution is inconsequential in limiting the power of the federal government to intrude into our lives. The original intent of the founders was that if any tax were to be imposed on income it would be of the flat-tax variety, apportioned equally among the States. The US tax code now has become a means of rewarding friends, punishing enemies, and manipulating behavior. The Federal Government was never intended to have that kind of power. States were to be sovereign and State Governments paramount in legislating for the citizens. The Federal Government was only intended to be a facilitator of those very few (eighteen enumerated powers) things that could be better accomplished by the States acting in concert rather than individually.

Congress will never limit its own power. The drafters of the Constitution foresaw the possibility that the Federal Government would eventually exceed its authority and become tyrannical. Seeking to avoid a future shooting revolution, they included in Article V the ability for the States to convene a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution. The time has come for the States to exercise that power.

Part III of this series will offer suggestions for possible amendments to reign in our Federal Government and return the Nation to one based on individual liberty and responsibility.

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