February 19, 2017
One Step Foreward
I have been critical, and justifiably so, of GOP Congressional Leadership. They seem at times to be to eager to go along to get along at the expense of what they claimed as their principals. I'm not sure if their recent actions are just more of the same (most likely) but at least I can give them credit for the result.
The House of Representatives and the Senate have been busily passing legislation under the Congressional Review Act which gives congress the authority to nullify regulations put in place by federal agencies.
So far of the three that have made it through the legislative process, President Trump has signed two. Both rescinding regulations targeting the energy industry. It's a step in the right direction.
In the first days of his administration, Trump issued an executive order saying that for every new regulation put in place an agency must eliminate two. This is an entirely symbolic gesture. An agency could put in place a highly restrictive regulation today and eliminate two regulations that have been on the books and unenforced for decades. Given the nature of the Washington DC bureaucratic state it is inevitable that result will be an increase in regulation.
But combined with the recent Congressional Review Act legislations, Trump's order can be seen as pointing in the right direction. Like everything Trump, and everything Congressional, I'm not assuming the existence of principal. I'm just going to watch and see if their range of the moment pragmatism accidentally produces a half-decent outcome.
February 12, 2017
Taking it Elswhere
Here's a brief summary of a Facebook interaction with a liberal feminist. It of course resulted in standard liberal feminist debate procedure of name calling, insults, deleting the thread and blocking me from commenting.
I commented on this post https://www.facebook.com/VoteShawnee/photos/a.367919780256799.1073741828.367674920281285/375064496208994/?type=3&theater that a meme comparing the senate majority action against Elizabeth Warten to the civil rights movement was a bit of stretch.
I also noted that this kind of absurd hyperbole likely contributed the electoral rebuke of the Democrat at all levels in 2016.
In a follow up comment - the one that resulted in the insults quoted above - I observed that you could equally use the same meme about the protesters attempting to block the Secretary of Education from entering a school.
I did not note above that in the comment calling me "misogynistic racist" it was also mentioned that Devos bought and paid for her position. I resisted the temptation to snark about how Warren got a senate seat without spending a dime. I wonder what insults that would have caused!
One final comment was added before the whole thread was deleted and I was banned:
"This is a battle cry for women. McConnell perfectly summed up what women have been doing for decades. Pointing out your misogyny and racism isn't name calling. Again, take it elsewhere."
This is elsewhere.
Whomever this VoteShawnee person is, she has clearly shown herself to be dishonest and a coward. SInce I don't resort to mere name calling, here are the supporting facts.
She most certainly did not point out how my comments were in any way misogynistic or racist. She did not because she could not. She said "You're no more than a misogynistic racist." To say that is not name calling is a lie.
Then rather than than continue the debate she deleted the comment thread and blocked me from commenting. That is the Cowardice.
February 09, 2017
Breaking Rule 19
I have to confess to being slightly amused when Senator Elizabeth Warren was essentially told to sit down and shut up. I am not a fan of her collectivist "you didn't build that" politics to say the least.
During Senate debate on the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to be the next Attorney General, Senator Warren's comments vered into personal attacks. Senate Rule 19 discusses the rules and procedures of debate on the floor of the Senate. Section 2 of the rule reads:
No senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.
Warren was quoting a letter written in 1986 by Senator Ted Kennedy and Coretta Scott King when Sessions was nominated to be a federal judge. The Kennedy and King letter described Sessions as racist and a "disgrace to the Justice Department."
I think that clearly qualifies as indirectly imputing conduct unworthy of a senator. The left however disagrees and argues that this "rarely enforced" rule was used only because Warren is a woman (or at least self-identifies as one).
The second best argument against the left's gender card nonsense is probably this quote:
"It’s very unfortunate. I know emotions run high on issues in the Senate, and those are the times when I think we have to take special care to abide by the rules of the Senate, particularly Rule 19, which is very clear that no senator is to impugn the integrity of another senator.”
Senator Susan Collins discussing Senator Ted Cruz calling Senator Mitch McConnell a liar on the floor of the Senate in July of 2015.
Which brings me to what is always best argument against the left's gender card nonsense, basic logic. Perhaps what happened with Senator Warren had nothing to do with her genitalia and it is simply the case that Rule 19 is rarely enforced because Rule 19 is rarely broken.
February 08, 2017
Destroying the Environment in Order to Save it
It's kind of a familiar tale. Large left wing protest. Huge pile of garbage. It is is slightly more galling when the protest is done in the name of protecting the environment.
But it's not their fault. According to one commenter on You Tube:
Wow, look at all of that garbage at the DAPL protest site. Look at all of that hippie trash that built up. Look at all of that unsanitary refuse that the protesters might have been able to throw away normally if Energy Transfer Partners; the Morton County Sheriff's Department; and the State of North Dakota hadn't waged a siege and closed the highways in and out of the camp. Now it's just a photo-op for the oppressors, part of their B.S. narrative being prosecuted by Fox News and other MSM news outlets that the protesters don't really care about the environment; that they are being paid by George Soros; and that they are really just lawless liberal anarchists with nothing better to do with their lazy, anti-establishment lives.
You have to give Paul Ronco points for creativity - but then immediately deduct twice as many for basic failures of logic. All of that stuff that became month's worth of garbage, had to get there somehow. Apparently the siege of the camp wasn't very effective. Stuff and people were getting in, they just didn't care enough to take the trash out.
"Hey, we're saving the world over here. Pile the trash and feces over there.
I do hope the organizers of this environmental disaster are going to be sent the bill for the cleanup.
February 06, 2017
Betsy DeVos is going to be the next Secretary of Education.
GOP leadership gave permission to two senators who need to keep getting donations from teacher's unions to vote no. If no Democrats vote yes, this will result in a 50 50 tie with Vice President Pence casting the deciding vote.
There is essentially nothing the minority party can do to stop this or any other Trump nomination because the Democrats short-sightedly eliminated the filibuster when they were the majority.
All you people who want to eliminate the Electoral College because you think a majority rule democracy is better that a Representative republic - how do you like it now?
February 15, 2016
If I were Majority Leader If I were the Senate Majority Leader...
The issue of an Obama appointee replacing Scalia on the Supreme Court would not only not be a matter of discussion it is a question that wouldn't even have to be asked.
But the Republicans have Mitch McConnell so it's something that needs to be discussed, asked about and worried about. So if I could tell McConnell what to do, this is what it would be.
- Get unanimous support of the GOP Senate for an immediate floor vote on Obama's nominee.
- Get unanimous support of the GOP Senate to vote for cloture.
- Get unanimous support of the GOP Senate to vote against the nominee.
The Democrats are insisting that an Obama nominee be considered, so give them what they want. A vote on the nominee.
The problem is, when the Democrats removed the 60 vote requirement for cloture for most judicial nominees they left it in place for nominees to the Supreme Court. Thus 54 republicans voting for cloture on Obama's SCOTUS nominee would not be enough to get the nomination to an up or down vote in the Senate. The cloture vote would require support from at least six democrats.
So the Democrat leadership would have to chose between allowing cloture and losing the vote, or blocking cloture and filibustering Obama's nominee.
Of course if McConnell were capable of playing this kind of hardball he wouldn't need my advice.
November 26, 2015
The Spread of Authoritarianism
I was going to take off from reality today and relax - but just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in.
What happened is I read this statement from Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard:
I need to be VERY clear here: we are not talking the merely insulting, rude, offensive commentary that trolls and various other lowlifes seem free to spew, willy nilly, although there has been plenty of that, too. No, this was hate speech.
These are likely crimes in my view (and in the view of those in the criminal justice system we immediately involved).
Now it may be possible that this is referring to actual credible threats of violence - but that is not made clear. What bothers me is the content of the statement on its face.
Let's start with his first statement "merely insulting, rude, offensive commentary that trolls and various other lowlifes seem free to spew." (emphasis added)
This us a university president who entirely fails to grasp the concepts of freedom in general and free speech in particular. The reality is, Mr. Shepard, that they are free to spew whatever nonsense they wish. Your statement indicating that you find this troubling is an enlightening glimpse into the totalitarian mind.
The rest of the statement takes appalling to a whole new level. "Hate Speech" is not a crime. Saying something that hurts someone's feelings is not a crime. Speech, unless it rises to the level of specific and credible threat of or incitement to violence is not a crime.
When people point to Hate Crime statutes and observe that it is a short step from separating the hate from the crime and just punishing the thought we are called paranoid and ridiculous. Here you see it in action.
People like Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard need to be called out as the authoritarians they are and they need to be stopped.
October 10, 2015
I was apparently born without the genes for hyper sensitivity and the associated moral outrage that so often manifests as a symptom.
I don't often admit this publicly but I am one of the 65% of the global population that is lactose intolerant. Admidedly my condition is not too severe. I can eat a cheese burger or a slice or two of pizza usually without trouble but a glass of milk is out of the question. A delicious cream sauce at dinner and I'll be calling in sick the next day.
It is not a fun problem to have and it is constantly fodder for jokes and mocking.
One of the television shows we watch regularly is Big Bang Theory. A generally smart and funny show that mixes a little actual science with routine banal sitcom humor. One running joke on the show is that one of the characters, Leonard, suffers from lactose Intollerance. This is a source of routine mocking and jokes.
I should be offended. I should be outraged. I should be manning the baricades of social media demanding an end to this discrimination.
The show should be rewritten or taken off the air and all the past episodes destroyed. Someone should be held responsible and fired.
But I'm too busy laughing at the jokes and even at myself to be offended.
There must be something seriously wrong with me, beyond difficulty digest in dairy.
September 17, 2015
Wrong on Rights
Hillary Clinton is a totalitarian feminist who shouldn’t be allowed on Pennsylvania Avenue let alone back in the White House. She clearly has no conception of what individual rights are and would undoubtedly be more interested in trampling them than protecting them.
Speaking on the subject of sexual assault at the University of Northern Iowa, Clinton said:
"I want to send a message to all of the survivors,” she said.
"Don’t let anyone silence your voice, you have the right to be heard, the right be believed, and we are with you as you go forward.”
Leaving aside the question of whether or not this standard applies to the various women who have accused her husband of sexual assault, this is a frighteningly dangerous idea.
What Clinton is saying is that to be accused of sexual assault is to be proven guilty beyond all doubt. A right, by definition is unalienable. It cannot be taken away. If an accuser has a right to be believed, an accuser cannot be doubted and a accuser cannot be questioned.
The accused cannot defend themselves. By the right of the accuser to be believed they are guilty because by right there can be no doubt of the accusation.
This is a standard of justice that no doubt even the Queen of Hearts would find troubling. At least she was willing to allow for a trial after the verdict. With Clinton’s feminist totalitarian pandering it’s accusation, then sentencing.
July 29, 2015
I Am A Partisan
Political partisanship in American politics has traditionally been Democrats vs Republicans. If the one party wanted something the other opposed it. Often times just because it was a the other side's idea, regardless of the merits.
And there is a constant drumbeat from politicians and political pundits alike that partisanship has gotten worse. That it’s meaner, nastier and more vicious than ever before. The civility is gone from our politics they wail.
I was always a fan of partisanship. Usually if both sides agreed it meant that We The People were going to get it good and hard.
Partisanship is changing. Not becoming just a more antagonistic version of what was, but becoming something new and potentially even more dangerous. Partisanship is evolving from Democrats vs Republicans to Politicians vs Citizens.
Increasingly people don’t view thew political parties as separate entities with competing governing philosophies and different ideas about the proper role of government in people’s lives. They are no longer organizations based on differing views of how best to serve the people, but different factions with increasingly small differences in their views of how best to serve the government and how best to serve themselves.
They have no respect for the rule of law. They disregard the Constitution. They ignore the will of the people. A recent poll conducted by CNN shows that only 30% of registered voters feel their views are well represented in government. Think of the 70% in the context of "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
There are still generations living that remember what it was like to be mostly free. You’ve probably seen the Facebook meme about surviving a childhood riding in the back of a pickup truck and drinking water from a hose etc. You may remember a decent shower and a toilet that worked with one flush. You may be old enough to remember a myriad of things large and small that you used to be free to do without fear of regulatory consequences.
There are generations growing up who don’t know any better. They don’t know anything other than the over regulated lives we now live. It astounds me that there is such a thing a "Free Range Kids” movement. A movement centered around trying to make it legal for kids to do what we used to call "go out and play.” A movement trying to undo regulations that have child protective services swooping in and taking kids away from families because they were out in public on their own. When partisanship becomes citizens vs the government, which side will these kids be on?
Have we reached our "sunset years?"
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.” – Ronald Reagan
I Am A Partisan. I know which side I am on.
May 31, 2015
Dennis the Menace?
"Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.”
Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged
I have been peripherally following the story of the indictment of former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on charges of "structuring." Hastert was apparently withdrawing HIS money from HIS bank account in amounts that fall under federal banking reporting requirements. He was doing this in order to pay a blackmailer.
Paying a blackmailer is not a crime and I do not know if the extortion being used by the blackmailer (which is a crime) was based on a criminal action or just something personally embarrassing to Hastert. Since Hastert had not been charged with any crime that is serving as the basis for the blackmail, I have to assume it is the later.
As of this time, the blackmailer has not been charged.
The only crime for which any charges have been filed is the crime of withdrawing money from personal bank account in a manner such that the accused does not have to tell the government how he plans to use it.
I have no comment to add other than the quote at the top of the post.
I have no comment to add other than the quote at the top of the post.
May 24, 2015
The Debate Debate
There's a lot of debate on the political "right" about network plans to limit the number of declared Republican candidates on stage for the presidential primary debates. All I can think of is "so what."
The debates don't matter, the primaries don't matter, and based on recent evidence the elections don't matter.
The American people elected sweeping Republican majorities to Congress to stop the Democrats extreme left wing agenda. To halt Obama's "fundamental transformation" of the country. Have they done it? Have they stopped anything?
Executive amnesty - they caved.
Unconstitutional treaty with Iran - they caved.
Expanded trade negotiation powers - they caved.
Illegal Obamacare subsidies - they're planning to cave if the SCOTUS strikes them down.
The re-authorization of PATRIOT Act surveillance that is currently blocked in the Senate - they'll find a way to make a deal and cave on that too. They cannot and will not allow the size, scope and power of government to be reduced.
It doesn't matter who holds the power in Washington, their end game is the same - more power.
February 20, 2015
The Greater Offense Sometimes I find if difficult to understand why Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) has a radio show. So often when I tune in to his show on the drive home I hear him interviewing some guest brought on to give the opposing view and he misses the obvious question. He keeps repeating the same things over an over and never seems to follow up with a question based on what the guest has said.
Today, for instance, he had a spokesperson for an Islamic organization on to discuss the problem of radical Islamic terrorism. Specifically he was badgering the guest about which specific verses in the Koran justify violence and killing infidels.
This spokesperson - I missed his introduction so I don't have his name - insisted that violence, terrorism and the killing of infidels is actually against the teachings of the Koran and Mohammed.
What Hannity should have asked, and didn't was something like:
When a Danish newspaper published cartoons of Mohammed, angry and offended Muslims around the world marched in protest.
When a group of Muslims killed 3,000 people in New York in the name of Mohammed there were no marches. When a group of Muslims burned a Jordanian pilot alive on video, there were no marches. A group of Muslims beheaded 21 Christians in the name of Allah and there will be no marches.
What is the greater offense to Islam and the Prophet: violence and terrorism, that you say are against the teachings of Islam, done in the name of Mohammed or drawing a cartoon?
If you want to paint your opposition guest into a corner this is how you do it. He cannot answer that the cartoon is the greater offense because that invalidates his message or calls killing in the name of the Prophet a lesser evil than drawing a cartoon. Hardly a reasonable position. He cannot answer that the violence is the greater offense to the Prophet, because there is ample evidence proving otherwise.
Another missed opportunity to prove your point missed Mr. Hannity.
February 18, 2015
Obama administration spokes person Marie Harf had this to say regarding Radical Islamic Terrorists durring an interview with Chris Matthews:
I would say that this nonsense falls under the category of wishful thinking, but I can't really imagine that any thought went into it at all."We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s a lack of opportunity for jobs."
"We’re not going to be able to stop that in our lifetime or 50 lifetimes,” Matthews interrupted. "There’s always going to be poor people. There’s always going to be poor Muslims, and as long as there are poor Muslims, the trumpet’s blowing and they’ll join. We can’t stop that, can we?”
In return, Harf suggested a soft power-like approach: "We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance,” she said. "We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people."
Consider this statement: "We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance." Will we convince them to respect individual rights like freedom of speech and religion? Will we talk them into acknowledging those rights for women? They are talking about countries where the basic principles of governance are set down in the words of their prophet. How are we going to help them improve on the word of their god?
Then there is this bold statement: "We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people." They can't even do that here in a first-world semi-free republic. What makes them think they can do it in a religiously authoritarian underdeveloped nation?
February 13, 2015
Go Ahead And Try The FCC and the FEC are making moves to regulate and control the internet. They are doing this because this is what the fascist in the Oval Office wants. And if you think they are not going to try to regulate content, you are a delusional idiot.
The bottom line is I don't give a rat's ass what they try to do.
I WILL NOT OBEY.
Not only will I not obey, but this dusty barely used blog will come back to life.
"They may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!"
December 17, 2014
Is there a doctor in the house? Obamacare is hurting doctors. I can say this with absolute certainty because my story is not unique.
We used to have a really great medical benefit through my employer. It wasn't really insurance in the traditional sense of a hedge against disaster, it was a medical or healthcare benefit.
A couple of times a year one of the kids would develop a sore throat, runny nose and maybe a slight fever. We would bundle them up and bring them to the see the doctor. They would get a basic exam and most likely a throat culture to rule out strep throat. We'd make our $20 co-pay and be on our way. The rest of the $200+ cost of the visit was paid for by the medical plan. The next day we'd get a call from the doctor's office telling us that the throat culture was negative and the kid has a cold and will get over it in a few days. We paid $20 for that peace of mind and the doctor collected $200+.
The new benefit plan thanks to the federal government comes with a $4,000 deductible - and a nice premium increase. Now if one of the kids complains of a sore throat and runny nose we look at them with kindness and compassion and say, "You've got a cold. Take this. You'll get over it in a few days." No trip to the doctor. No $20 copay. No reimbursement from the insurance company. The doctor loses.
The insurance company collects the increased premium and pays out nothing.
They call this the Affordable Care Act?
December 03, 2014
Leading By Example If you have a president who has sworn to uphold the Constitution and to see that the laws are faithfully executed who:
- Refuses to defend laws he doesn't like in court
- Changes statutory deadlines for political expedience
- Refuses to enforce laws because he disagrees with them
- Rewrites Constitutionally passed statutes via executive order
- Uses the IRS to harass political opponents
Is it any wonder that the response to a decision of the justice system is met with vandalism, arson, robbery and murder?
When the President of the United States shows a complete lack of respect for the rule of law, why is anyone surprised by anything that is happening or has happened in Ferguson?
November 22, 2014
Imagine Liberty Imagine for a moment that in 2016 we elect a strongly free market libertarian as president and this person takes office with all of the tools and powers used by Obama. What could this president do?
Let's start this thought experiment with health care.
The first thing to do is employ the Obama non-enforcement rules and issue an executive order instructing the Internal Revenue Service to not spend any resources enforcing the penalties for the individual or employer insurance mandates. This would probably bring the whole fascistic enterprise to it's knees, but it's not enough.
Our president would also have to employ the Obama non-defense strategy a la the Defense of Marriage Act. You may recall that the Obama administration did not support the Clinton administration's law and decided that it would not defend it in court. The new president should instruct their new Attorney General to not even show up in court for hearings on the ACA.
That pretty much does it for health care. There may be a few peripheral federal regulations lingering and the president could decide to either wipe those out by non-enforcement or let the courts eliminate them.
This two pronged Obama approach can be taken in any number of areas to great effect.
If our libertarian president wanted to eliminate the federal Department of Education and return control of education to state and local government where it belongs it could be done the same way. A few executive orders to neuter No Child Left Behind and the god-awful school lunch rules, and non defense of any legal action against Common Core etc.
Federal employee unions would be toast. Implement by executive order the reforms Scott Walker put in place legislatively in Wisconsin and they're done.
Want to force some serious congressional action on tax reform? Use an executive order to end payroll withholding for federal income taxes. Once people have to start writing checks to the treasury public support for limited government would be off the charts.
Then start in on the EPA, the DOE the DOD the DEA, ATF, SSI, HHS anything the president doesn't like the president can kill with Non Enforcement and No Defense.
Our libertarian president could even bring back toilets that flush effectively, decent showers and the incandescent light bulb.
November 20, 2014
A Republic. If you can keep it.
Tonight the President of the United States will exercise unprecedented power and issue executive orders re-writing immigration law that was passed in accordance with United States Constitution.
What do I expect from the Congress whose Constitutional authority he is usurping?
From the Democrats in Congress I expect applause.
From the Republicans I expect sound and fury signifying nothing.
November 19, 2014
Throwing in the Towell The Democrat Party has for all intents and purposes conceded that incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu will loose the upcoming run-off election in Louisiana.
The Senate held a vote on a bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline that was put forward by Landrieu in a somewhat transparently desperate attempt to appear pro energy to voters.
The bill, which would have been vetoed by the president anyway, was defeated by a vote of 59 - 41 failing to clear the 60 vote cloture hurdle.
The failure means that Landrieu can't even go back to her home state and blame the result on the GOP. All 45 Republicans in the current Senate voted for the bill. The bill was defeated by her party.
Make no mistake about it, if the party leadership and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted the bill to pass the final tally would have been 61 - 39. The political calculation was that Landrieu is going to lose and it's not worth upsetting environmental special interest supporters to try to save her.
Landrieu has been thrown under the bus. 41 of her fellow Democrats were comfortably seated passengers.
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