OPINION PIECE – Last-Minute 2016 National & Utah County Information & Recommendations for the Conscience-Driven Voter
Hillary Clinton: Disaster – Criminal, Liar. Tries to prevent anybody outside her tight circle being able to find anything that she does because everything she does is unlawful and/or unethical. Any (Wiki) leaks to outside her circle, she goes into desperate cover-up mode and total denial. A disciple of Saul Alinsky (who dedicated his book, “Rules for Radicals” to Satan), Hillary has no real principles or values; instead, she substitutes for them “the end justifies the means” philosophy. In this phrase, “the end” for Hillary is wealth and power, of which she can never get enough. When she’s faced with the choice between the National Security of the U.S. versus her ability to hide her misdeeds from the light of day, Hillary chooses to hide her real self from public view at the cost of revealing national secrets to unfriendly foreign powers and putting our agents at grave risk.
Hillary has dodged so many silver bullets in her career that she believes she’s invincible; she has never been forced to take responsibility for her many egregious errors or for her intentional lawlessness. Most people believe she will never have to do so, no matter the extent or severity of her crimes. Hillary tells so many lies, including to herself, she no longer remembers what’s a lie and what’s the truth. Unlike Trump, Hillary does have many years of experience working in government; unfortunately, it has all been disaster after disaster.
Donald Trump: Disaster – Showman, Reality TV Star, Successful Businessman. Trump is completely unburdened of truth, consistency, ethics, etiquette, empathy and the facts. He is devoid of scruples, honor, character, integrity or any other redeeming qualities. In fact, he is almost the same person as Hillary, except he hasn’t had the same 30+ years of disastrous experience in government. Trump says a shotgun load of different things, and people like to select one thing he’s said that they consider to be fantastic and, based on projection of their own beliefs onto him; thus many become hard and fast Trump supporters. Many others feel obligated to vote Republican. Most people know in their hearts that Trump has done nothing to prepare himself to merit the Presidency. Enough said.
Gary Johnson: Low-information candidate, mish-mash of indistinct policies, not really libertarian.
Darrell Castle: Ostensibly guided by correct principles, but unable to reach many Americans with his message. No real contender.
Evan McMullin: Solid Republican, most views conservative, no real contender. BUT-If enough voters vote for McMullin that he wins 1+ states electoral votes, possible that neither Clinton or Trump will get the 270 electoral vote needed to win presidency – then the House of Representatives decides who will be next President. The House can only select someone to be the next President who is a significantly better choice (no one chosen could possibly be worse) than either major party candidate.
All Others: Never any real contenders here.
Mike Lee: Solid Constitutional Conservative Republican. Works hard to restrict government overreach, reclaim constitutionally-protected rights such as the right to privacy, cut spending and balance the budget, reduce taxes and regulation to promote economic opportunity, growth and prosperity for all, with the consequent expansion of jobs, improving incomes, and also to overhaul our currently unfair criminal justice system. A vote for Mike Lee is a vote for all Americans.
Misty Snow: Her priorities are to clean up our air, provide paid maternity leave, make healthcare and medications affordable and raising the minimum wage. All are old and tired, many are already tried and failed, and others have been destructive, such as shutting down the coal industry in America causing hundreds of thousands to lose their livelihood. Excessive government taxation, regulation and overspending continue to stifle economic opportunity.
Obamacare alone has suppressed economic growth, especially with small businesses (the heart and soul of our economy); it has produced the firing of thousands of full-time workers or placing them on part-time status with drastically reduced income. Many workers have taken on two jobs in order to pay their bills. While some Americans previously lacked access to healthcare, with heavy taxpayer subsidies for the individual and the health insurance companies, Obamacare still fails to provide healthcare coverage to a large number of Americans.
In addition, currently many have “healthcare coverage”, but this coverage comes with a $10,000 to $20,000 deductible that the individual must pay out-of-pocket before insurance pays anything for medical care. Virtually no one shackled with an Obamacare super-high deductible has the ability to come up with this much cash. So while many now have “healthcare coverage” through Obamacare, they don’t actually get any “medical care.”
Bill Barron: Single issue is man-made Climate Change. He would further expand the bloated federal government by throwing trillions of dollars at this contrived “problem”, created by progressives to scare people into giving government more control over their lives and property in return for government “fixing” the problem. There is no untainted evidence that conclusively supports this theory and no predictions based on this theory, ones that might confirm global warming caused by mankind’s activities, have actually occurred. No merit in the issue, and candidate is no contender.
Stoney Fonua: Pleasant candidate with great smile claims to have solutions to America’s and the world’s problems that would create world peace and a millennial utopia. However, I know of nothing, save the second coming of the Messiah that can actually accomplish such an optimistic agenda. No contender.
U.S. Congressional District 3
Stephen Tryon: Christian, Decorated Veteran, Successful Businessman, Gun Owner, Author, Constitutionalist. His main issue is to start solving problems and stop blaming others (as many say “To Get Things Done” in Congress over any objections, as with Obamacare). He is also concerned about raising the minimum wage, increasing government subsidies to improve access to higher education, federal funding to subsidize local government stimulating local businesses and funneling more taxpayer dollars to Utah businesses to stimulate clean energy research.
Tryon claims to be a Constitutionalist, but he wants to throw federal dollars at everything he sees as a problem while greatly expanding government. The things he wants to do all involve the federal government acting outside the bounds set by the Constitution. When he describes himself, all adjectives used run in direct opposition to his party. He’s Christian, his party wants to abolish religious freedom. He’s former military, his party wants a weak military. He’s a businessman, his party is saturated in crony capitalism helping a few, connected big businesses, while imposing burdensome regulations and taxes on small, unconnected businesses to exacerbate unemployment and neutralize the heart of our economy. He’s a gun owner, his party wants to outlaw guns. The man is disconnected from his message.
Jason Chaffetz: Conservative Republican Leader. Chaffetz began his political career claiming every decision he would make in the House would be based on Fiscal Discipline, Limited Government, Accountability and a Strong National Defense. Over several 2 year terms in the House, Chaffetz has occasionally leaned away from his guiding principles and favored the Republican Establishment, siding with House Leadership for increased spending and expanding government, in favor of Internet Taxation and in favor of NSA Spying on All Americans. Many believe the NSA program will enhance National Defense by sacrificing natural rights to privacy and freedom from illegal search and seizure. Chaffetz has worked hard as Chair of a House Committee to hold government accountable for its actions and to weed out waste, fraud and abuse.
Gary Herbert: Governor Herbert likes to give himself credit for Utah’s alleged prosperity, economic growth and low unemployment. He claims to be a Conservative Republican, however, he’s never met a federal dollar he didn’t like. He got Utah involved in the top-down, progressive federal education program, Common Core, to indoctrinate our children and remove parents and families as an influence on them. Herbert forced Common Core down Utah’s throat and when faced with resistance, he masqueraded Common Core as a Utah Core project, all because of a promise of extensive federal aid.
Herbert has promoted Medicaid expansion under Obamacare because of promised federal funds during the first few years, only to be followed by Utah taking over a tremendous financial commitment to bear all the costs of the expanded Medicaid from then on. The expansion of Medicaid means that families with much higher incomes, many who could afford and already had health insurance, would now qualify for Medicaid. Those who qualified but already had private health insurance, would cancel their policies and become dependent upon the state for medical care.
When Herbert realized that many Utahns were not in favor of imposing expensive, mandated progressive federal programs on Utah, he met with a number of focus groups and promised them that he would take their advice and work against these objectionable programs. Then he promptly went to work to disguise the federal programs to appear as Utah-initiated projects, and went about the state promoting them. Herbert’s integrity must be questioned when he says one thing, does another and then assures Utah he has done the former. In addition, Herbert reportedly has a practice of soliciting contributions in return for his influence as Governor.
Brian Kamerath: Kamerath is the Libertarian Candidate for Governor. He believes that individuals solve their problems and govern themselves best, and that when other issues come in conflict with our natural rights, individual liberty must be the primary consideration. However, he believes individual responsibility is an integral part and always accompanies individual liberty. Kamerath does not believe in the “nanny state”, or that all problems can be solved by government simply by throwing taxpayers’ money at them.
Brian is committed to ethics reform, such that the influence of the office is not bought and sold by special interests; he takes no corporate contributions to his campaign. He is firmly opposed to SB54, the Count Your Vote ‘Compromise’ that involves government unconstitutionally writing the bylaws of private political organizations and mandating “open” primaries for all parties. Kamerath also believes the legislature has made it too difficult to get a citizen initiative on the ballot. If such initiatives were facilitated instead of impeded by the bureaucracy, in anticipation of citizen action, the legislature might be more responsive to their constituents in dealing with issues that are clearly important to Utahns.
As far as education, Brian believes that Common Core, the federally-mandated and one size fits all education currently forced on Utah, does not meet the needs of all children. Instead, he favors diversity of school choice, with multiple options besides traditional schools offered, like charter and private schools, homeschooling and online education. In addition, he believes your education tax dollars should be directed to the particular school that meets your child’s needs, not necessarily the school provided according to geographical location.
Mike Weinholtz: Successful Businessman. He favors full Medicaid expansion, inclusion of mental health, dental and vision care in insurance coverage, and providing coverage for all (i.e. Obamacare on steroids or universal healthcare). Weinholtz believes legalizing medical marijuana will allow adequate treatment of almost all diseases and replace opioids (narcotics) as treatment for chronic pain to alleviate the problem of opioid overdose death. Mike has worked hard on developing specific policy proposals to address a multitude of issues.
However, his proposals appear to involve a common theme: higher taxes to support higher state spending levels for _________ (substitute here the words ‘education’, ‘healthcare’, ‘clean energy’ and ‘stimulate the economy’). Weinholtz also favors government coercion to get people, businesses and buildings in Utah to be more energy efficient, to stop using fossil fuels, to fund UTA for building more public transportation and then get people to stop using their cars and switch to public transportation, and to stop and to punish businesses or individuals that pollute.
Can all problems be solved by government throwing taxpayer dollars at them? How you might answer this question depends largely on your personal political philosophy; however, throwing multiples of what Utah spends on public schools at inner-city schools in many metropolitan areas has failed to improve these schools, and we know that this approach cannot ever solve the derivative problem of over-taxation.
Superdell Schanze: Do I really need to say anything here?
Mike Mitchell: Mitchell has a B.S. in Accounting and served in the U.S. Army in positions of responsibility and authority. As State Auditor he plans on holding state officials accountable for government spending and to block the waste of money on “frivolous” lawsuits, like those slowing down the implementation of Obamacare, those struggling to assert states’ rights over the 75% of Utah that remains in the grasping hands of the federal government including the maintenance of access to this land for recreational purposes, access that the national government increasingly denies. Mitchell would obstruct other states’ rights litigation to preserve religious freedom and freedom of speech, and that to assure that any federal outlawing of firearm rights would not apply to firearms manufactured and sold solely within Utah. The idea that the State Auditor should take it upon himself to thwart the will of the people in the states conducting legitimate legal action is preposterous.
Jared Green: Green would serve as State Auditor without compensation. He would audit state accounts independent of any state executive. His office would be transparent in that taxpayers would be informed how, where and what their money is spent on. Jared would seek legislation to help him put a stop to the ‘quid pro quo’ arrangements between state officials and private entities that lead to “crony capitalism” where advantages are given, by the official in exchange for lining his pockets, to the few at the expense of the many.
John Dougall: Dougall is the current State Auditor running for another term. He is a staunch fiscal conservative committed to key principles: fiscal discipline, accountability and a focus on performance. As the taxpayer’s watchdog, John has worked hard to ensure tax dollars are spent legally, effectively and efficiently. He has also fulfilled his obligations to the taxpayers by providing the public with an independent assessment of financial operations, statutory compliance and how well their tax dollars are managed. Under Dougall’s leadership, the state has maintained its AAA bond rating and its “Best-Managed” ranking.
Michael Isbell: Isbell believes the Utah Attorney General should be resisting unconstitutional federal laws, programs and policies such as Common Core, Gun Control, Minimum Wage Laws, Public Lands, and Obamacare. He includes in this list the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. He notes that Utah has seen a good deal of pay-to-play abuses, bribery and other corruption coming from some of Utah’s highest officials, activity that Isbell would see end. He promises to protect the public from federal laws and federal agents when they exceed lawful, constitutional bounds.
John Harper: John has many years legal experience representing people unfairly treated by large corporations (presumably this means litigation such as class action lawsuits against Pharmaceutical Businesses or other big business where the lawyers take home millions of dollars and their clients’ share is usually something like $1.32 each). Harper has also managed his law firm and spent time as Associate Dean of the University of Utah Law School. He seeks to bring independence, transparency and integrity back to the scandal-plagued office, and end unwinnable and expensive law suits (a reference to the Utah AG’s defensive actions against the various overreaching federal assaults on state’s rights including Obamacare, public lands and religious liberty).
Sean Reyes: Sean is the current Attorney General of Utah running for reelection. His priorities continue to be to protect citizens, especially children, from violent crime and drugs, to protect businesses and consumers from white collar fraud and scams, and to restore the public trust by focusing on ethics and legal excellence. Under Sean’s leadership, the office was a finalist for the Utah Ethical Leadership Award, and has received a number of other awards, including four for “Best-of-State”.
Andrew McCullough: Andrew is an attorney with many years experience defending individuals from those who would expand State power. He is currently Chair of the Utah Libertarian Party, and has served as a Board Member of the Utah ACLU. Past and current AGs have supported efforts to expand State powers at the expense of individual freedom. McCullough says he is angry at police when they use unwarranted, excessive force, and at the violation of individual rights associated with law enforcement’s “War on Drugs”. His primary issue as Attorney General would be the promotion/restoration of individual freedom.
Richard Proctor: Richard wants to restore our Republic to its previous greatness under the Constitution. He believes we should stop taking federal money with its attached “strings”, and get off the federal dole. Proctor sees many court orders and executive orders as unconstitutional and argues that these should be nullified by the State. Most of these federal orders and rulings come initially with federal money, but in a year or two, the entire financial burden of the federal overreach is typically dumped in the States lap which involves the State Treasurer. Richard wants to help Utah regain her former status as a sovereign state.
Neil Hansen: Neil is a 3rd generation Utahn and former state representative running for State Treasurer. He has had extensive experience in fiscal appropriations and oversight, and in many of the areas critical to the office. Hansen plans to focus on ensuring the hard questions are asked and answered for accountability, that taxpayer money is spent wisely, that state revenue is protected and to reinstate critical checks and balances to State spending.
David Damschen: David was previously Chief Deputy State Treasurer, and has served this past year as State Treasurer. His priorities include safeguarding the States AAA Bond Rating, overseeing the prudent investment of the $12 billion in public funds, and continuing to improve the offices efficiency. Damschen has a Finance degree and 20 years experience in banking before working in the Treasurer’s office and claims to be the best qualified to maintain the tradition of excellence for which the office is known.
Voting Guide – 2016 School Board Candidate http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/2016-school-board-candidates/
It is Recommended by the Group “Utahns Against Common Core” to Vote for the School Board Candidates Listed Below – These are Candidates That:
- Oppose Common Core, or
- Seem to be the Better Choice of the Two Candidates.
District 4: DAVE THOMAS – (Northern Davis County, Southern Weber County)
District 7: SHELLY TEUSCHER – (Salt Lake City, Southern Morgan County)
District 8: RICHARD NELSON – (East Salt Lake County from I-80 to I-215 including Holladay, Millcreek, Murray, S. Salt Lake, and Sugarhouse)
District 10: DR. GARY THOMPSON – (Eastern Salt Lake County from I-215 to Draper including parts of Cottonwood Heights & Midvale, Sandy, and Draper)
District 11: LISA CUMMINS – (Southwest Salt Lake County including South Jordan, Riverton, Herriman, Bluffdale and Northwest Utah County including Cedar Fort & Fairfield)
District 12: ALISA ELLIS – (Orem, Lindon and Summit, Wasatch, Duchesne, Daggett, Uintah Counties)
District 13: SCOTT NEILSON – (Provo, Spanish Fork)
District 15: MICHELLE BOULTER – (Washington & Iron Counties)
ALPINE SCHOOL DISTRICT
Please vote for:
- RACHEL THACKER in seat 4.
- MIRIAM ELLIS in seat 6.
- SARA HACKEN in seat 7.
DAVIS SCHOOL DISTRICT
Please vote for LARRY SMITH
Utah Constitutional Amendments
Utah Constitutional Amendment A – Vote Yes
This proposal would alter a few words in the “Utah Oath of Office” simply to clarify that the State referred to is the State of Utah. Currently the phrase in question is this “…the Constitution of this State”, and with the proposed change would read as this “…the Constitution of the State of Utah.” That’s it! Really! I know of no one that objects to this minor change.
Utah Constitutional Amendment B – Vote No
The Utah Constitution has a section that deals with setting up and managing the State School Fund. Those officials that worked together writing this part of the Utah Constitution agreed on a number of key points that they felt would contribute to the permanence and sustainability of the Fund, and that through plowing a good portion of the Fund’s earnings back into the Fund could provide funding for current Utah Schools and would also be able to cover the expenses of Utah Schools in the future, a time that promised increasing numbers of school age children needing more buildings to house the growth in enrollment.
In the early years of the Utah State School Fund, the Utah Constitution specified that the amount to be withdrawn and distributed from the Fund to the schools each year was to be “only the interest and dividends” while leaving the principal intact. In addition, any other Fund earnings were to be kept in the Fund; this part of earnings was to be added to the Fund to enhance its growth, growth anticipated to be required for the support of future increased numbers of children.
There is currently no limitation on the amount of money that can be distributed to the schools from the interest and dividends each year; the State could withdraw from the Fund and spend on Utah schools potentially all the interest and dividends earned in that year. Further, the State and its Agents were charged with “safely” investing money in the State School Fund. Safely means that the money in the Fund was to be invested only in low risk vehicles. Low risk investments, while being safer than most other investment products, necessarily provide the investor with a lower rate of return.
This system of spending only a portion of the earnings and placing the remainder into the Fund to promote Fund growth has worked well with substantial growth in capital while over the same period, spending from the interest and dividends has been more than enough to provide for our growing population, the increasing numbers of children and subsequently the number of new schools we have needed to build to meet our needs. And most Utahns are content with “safe”, low risk investing of the Fund—a significant loss of capital from the Fund would be devastating for our school children and for the State as well.
A number of groups have put forward proposed changes to parts of our Constitution that deal with the State School Fund. The proposed changes, Utah Constitutional Amendment B, is in 3 parts as follows:
- Money available for spending on our schools would include all earnings, not just interest and dividends. These additional earnings come from a number of sources such as appreciation of stock held by the Fund that is sold, producing earnings over and significantly above that of interest and dividends alone.
With attention to reinvesting a portion of earnings, the Fund has accumulated capital and now holds an estimated $2.1 B in assets. Under this amendment, first year Fund “earnings” would total $79.0 M with the plan being to distribute all earnings for school spending. Last year the amount distributed for school spending (the sum of the interest and the dividends) was $57.0 M. The amount to go for school spending next year would be the sum of the amount of interest and dividends earned ($57.0 M) plus the amount of additional earnings from other sources to be used for school spending ($22.0 M) giving a total of $79.0 M, an increase over last year of $22.0 M. While the schools would have bundles of money to spend, that same $22.0 M that will be sifted through our fingers and gone in an instant, had in previous years been one of the few items that had been reinvested in the fund and allowed to strengthen and grow the Fund.
2. A limit on withdrawals from the Fund is proposed to restrict distributions to no more than 4% of the average market value of the Fund over the past consecutive 12 months. As Fund assets are currently estimated at $2.1 B, and the amendment limits distributions to 4% of Fund value, the maximum allowable distribution around $80.0 M. This part of amendment B is being sold as a safety feature that dials down the amount of money available for school spending if the spending becomes overheated. But actually, this “safety” feature is more of an accelerator than anything else. The maximum 4% ceiling is set so high that it actually promotes a rise in excessive spending that goes on unchecked to the maximum of 150% of the previous year’s distribution.
3. The third part of Utah Constitutional Amendment B is a word change. Where the original text requires that Utah State School Fund money be invested “safely” by the State, this amendment would change the word “safely” to the word “prudently”. If you are ever involved in discussing investments with a financial advisor, the first thing they will ask you is what level of risk you are comfortable with. They often have packaged accounts that are put together by experts and you can choose the package that matches your risk comfort zone.
I think this word switch is important, because the two words refer to different risk levels: safely means low risk with a lower rate of return. Prudently means exercising good judgment but here the word refers to a step higher on the risk ladder with anticipated better rate of return. So those who were involved in setting up this fund, selected the low risk word safely, because they knew they could not bear the kind of loss that comes more easily to those accepting higher risk. The Utah State School Fund has done remarkably well considering the low level of risk the originators were willing to accept. The financial experts are no doubt advising accepting a higher risk level in order to get better “performance” from the investments. However, at the end stage of another huge bubble that’s about to burst, along with the pending crash of the dollar, perhaps now is not the best time to increase risk exposure for the Fund.
Utah State Senator Margaret Dayton wrote the argument opposing Constitutional Amendment B for the Lt. Governor’s Voter Information book. She makes a good case for continuing as we are now instead of making significant changes both on the investment side and the distribution side that are likely to result in drastic changes that will harm our ability to sustain and grow the Fund, and would likely result in less frugality and efficiency with the spending of Fund dollars. I urge you to vote no on Amendment B.
Utah Constitutional Amendment C – Vote No
Currently the Utah Constitution provides that the State, or any governmental subdivision of the State (i.e. county, city, etc.) does not pay property taxes on property they own. The State or any governmental subdivision of the State may not own all the property and equipment they use. For example, a city within the State may lease office furniture and computer equipment from a private owner. Such property that is under private ownership but is leased and used by a governmental entity does not qualify for the governmental property tax exemption; the private owner is responsible for paying property taxes on this property, even though the governmental end-user would have a property tax exemption if it owned the property.
The proposed changes to the Utah Constitution, Utah Constitutional Amendment C, would allow the legislature to provide by statute a property tax exemption for private owners who lease their property to the governmental entity for their use. No property tax exemption is permitted for certain, leased real property such as land or buildings. Such a statute has already been enacted by the legislature and the statute, along with Amendment C, if passed, will go into effect simultaneously.
Normally, in a business interaction, the value or cost of leasing someone a computer would be the same for anyone that wanted to lease a computer. But if government leases a computer, and agrees to provide a tax break to the private party in exchange for the leasing party lowering the cost of the lease, an unfair and unethical advantage has been created. The government is getting a break on the cost of the lease in return for the government giving the private owner of the leased property value from the public domain that belongs to the public, value that is used by government to create an unfair advantage for both parties.
Some call this quid pro quo, pay-to-play, crony capitalism or even corruption. I see no purpose in creating a separate class of tax-advantaged businesses that cater solely to government operations so they will get a tax-exemption that is not available to leasing businesses that provide equipment for private parties. I urge you to vote no on Amendment C.
Recently, Senator Orrin Hatch spoke at a Republican event in Utah where he castigated all things conservative, like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and The Heritage Foundation as extremists who are “so far right they won’t get anything done”. Hatch sees himself as a more reasonable person, among the political elite, who can compromise whatever he must “to get things done.” Hatch likes to paint himself as a conservative; however, he is anything but a conservative.
A true Conservative is one who works to conserve the Constitution. Notably, all elected officials must take an oath to support and defend the Constitution before they are able to assume office. If they refuse to take the oath or to follow through on their commitment to the Constitution, they are unfit for any office. If we held all government officials to their oath, we would be working with barely a skeleton crew. I wonder if all this non-compliance with their oath is the fault of the rascals in government, or perhaps more our fault for letting them get away with it.
What Hatch and most of the elite don’t understand is that the Constitution is the Center of American politics. Anyone who declines to honor and uphold the Constitution, and is looking to grow the size of government at the expense of freedom is “far left” of Center and positioned nearer to totalitarianism. People to the right of the Constitution are aiming for greater freedom, even though it is accompanied by a greater risk of anarchy. Our heritage as Americans is to rally around the Center position prescribed by the Constitution, with maximum freedom protected by the minimum government required to represent a self-governing people.
Cruz is not “so far right he can’t get anything done”–he’s straight on Center. It’s the rest of the government that is positioned so far left that they want to get things done that are leading us to lesser freedom and totalitarianism. Cruz opposes getting anything done that moves us away from the Constitution and he has the courage to fight against those who “want to get this kind of thing done”. More power to him, and to the Constitution.
CDC Director Tom Frieden gave a news conference about Ebola and discussed the Dallas nurse who was recently diagnosed with Ebola. She had treated Thomas Duncan, the Ebola patient who recently died, while wearing full protective gear and following the CDC Protective Protocol. Frieden blamed the nurse for contracting Ebola, saying that there had been a “breach of protocol“.
It’s true that a breach of protocol may have been the cause of the nurse contracting Ebola; after all, it’s only human to make a mistake. However, it’s more likely the nurse came in contact with Ebola because the CDC Protective Protocol is flawed and ineffective because it is based on false assumptions. This Obama Disinformation Campaign is pushing false information on the American public.
Some of the false assumptions that led to the flawed CDC Protective Protocol: “Ebola can’t be easily transferred”, “screening of travelers from West Africa for illness by airline personnel will protect us”, “Ebola is not a threat to the U.S.”, and “if you adhere to the Protective Protocol when in close contact with Ebola patients you’re safe”. All these statements, made by President Obama and his administration (including the CDC), are unsubstantiated, are not evidence-based as required by quality medical standards, and are politicized half-truths that amount to nothing less than blatant lies.
I was glad to see the EPA propose to reduce the amount of ethanol required to be blended into our fuel. Now, I urge the EPA, and Congress, take this proposal to its logical conclusion: eliminate ethanol mandates altogether. First, the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to dictate what Americans use to fuel their vehicles. Also, initially the use of ethanol added to gasoline was intended to help us move towards energy independence, reduce the cost of fuel, and decrease pollution.
More recently, U.S. energy discoveries, along with the development of Clean Coal, have shown that we can have energy independence virtually forever, if the federal government would cease its campaign to obstruct, delay and destroy fossil fuel industries, which continues to desolate whole communities in large swaths of the country. As for the hoped for reduction in pollution, there is virtually no difference between the amount of pollution produced by the combustion of gasoline alone versus combined with ethanol. In addition, prices at the pump show that the ethanol/gasoline blend is much more expensive than gasoline alone, mostly due to high ethanol production costs.
Consumers across the nation have spoken out against the ethanol mandate and called for a full repeal. We don’t want to see high levels of ethanol in fuel ruining the engines of our older cars or making our chainsaws, generators, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, snow blowers, etc. unworkable. We are tired of seeing sky-high food costs due to edible corn crops being diverted to inedible corn crops to produce ethanol. Corn per se is widely used as a food staple, as an ingredient in many processed foods for humans, and as feed for livestock, which leads to increased prices for such commodities as meat, dairy, eggs, cheese, etc.
Most countries around the world, have seen sharply rising food prices, food scarcities and rationing, at times leading to political unrest and contributing to revolutions (i.e. North Africa), triggered in part by the diversion of growing corn crops from food crops to non-food varieties used for ethanol production. Hunger and starvation in the poorest nations (children suffer from famine disproportionately more than adults) of the world are on the rise; decreasing food varieties of corn crops, caused directly by U.S. laws mandating ethanol production, plays a devastating role in this humanitarian crisis.
Absent any real advantage, and considering the multiple, compelling reasons for America to cease mandating any portion of corn production as inedible varieties for ethanol production which we are then forced to use in combination with gasoline to fuel our vehicles, we must, in all good conscience, abandon this dangerous and failed Renewable Fuel Standard law.
When a radical Muslim jihadist, trying to blow up a plane over U.S. territory on a recent Christmas Day, failed to properly detonate his bomb, Janet Napolitano told us that government efforts to provide homeland security had been successful at preventing this terrorist attack. In point of fact, a number of red flags were raised to the government’s attention, predicting that this young jihadist would commit a terrorist act, but were ignored and the urgency and importance of the information available was not communicated effectively with the various U.S. intelligence units. Government failed in every way in regard to this terrorist attack. It was dumb luck and the courage of a few passengers on board that particular Christmas Day flight that prevented the tragedy that al-Qaeda had planned for America on that day.
In regard to illegal immigration, Janet Napolitano informs us that, due to her Homeland Security efforts under the Obama Administration over the past two years, illegal border crossings are currently at the lowest levels since the 1970s, and seizures of illegal drugs from illegals crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S. and of cash and weapons from illegals crossing from the U.S. back into Mexico have increased. The Obama Administration would have the American people believe that all of their hard work on border security has paid off with favorable statistics confirming the government’s successes in this area. But as it has been said before: In order of magnitude, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.
A slightly deeper look at these numbers reveals the spin that the Obama Administration is using to claim credit for what is being sold as improvement in border security. When the U.S. economy was growing and unemployment was at an all-time low, most illegal immigrants who crossed the southern border from Mexico into the U.S. came here to work; most found jobs that helped them earn money to provide for their families.
Because jobs for illegals were plentiful, there was a dramatic surge in the numbers of illegals entering the U.S. illegally during this period. During most of the G. W. Bush presidency, most illegals who found work in the U.S. had their families follow them to America, while those who were unable to find sustainable work returned home.
Towards the end of the Bush final term and during the past two years of the Obama presidency, our economy tanked due to the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, Fannie and Freddie and other Bankster (think mobster) failed fraudulent, high-risk ventures and abuses at the expense of the American people. These high-rollers made trillions of dollars over the last decade by creating and manipulating their extreme-risk investments (think casino gambling) and secured huge profits and bonuses and for their CEOs, staff and shareholders.
When the bubble burst and all the Ponzi schemes disintegrated, the housing market collapsed and all the financial institutions were found to be insolvent. Even after an infusion of trillions of dollars from the Federal Reserve and billions of dollars from the pockets of those who were abused in the process of the financial bubble creation, the American taxpayers, these financial institutions continue to distribute huge bonuses to their management and staff and continue to remain insolvent despite unprecedented and unwarranted public bailouts.
These corrupt financial institutions were permitted by our government to privatize (and pocket) profits from their extreme-risk ventures while socializing their losses (sticking the bill for their bad behavior to the American taxpayer). In previous times, Wall Street and the monster banks provided investment capital and loans to all types of businesses that led to increased economic productivity and significant economic growth and prosperity.
Currently, these banks are holding onto their cash or cautiously investing in Treasury Bills. Most loans are being made to Wall Street firms or being used for the banks’ own investing, once again, in the same risky, non-productive and dangerous financial instruments. Small businesses, the life-blood of the productive American economy, are being denied the credit they need to innovate, grow, expand and create jobs. These banks have also severely restricted and increased the costs to the American people of consumer credit, leading to a dramatic fall in consumer spending. With demand for consumer goods plummeting, businesses, large and small, across the country slowed or were closed leading to our current, persistent high unemployment.
Enormous infusions of cash from the Federal Reserve to Wall Street banks and excessive government spending on pork-barrel projects, Stimulus, TARP and similar spending bills have temporarily propped up the stock market. However, government spending and the Fed’s “quantitative easing” have only made matters worse for the rest of the U.S. economy and the American people, prolonged the Great Recession with our jobless “recovery”, left millions of homeowners, drowning, underwater in their mortgages or facing foreclosure (the new “homeless”), and produced marked inflation that is currently threatening to collapse the dollar. Our government’s skyrocketing deficits and the Fed’s consistent abuse of the dollar will not only lead to continued devaluation of the dollar, but are likely to precipitate a switch from the dollar to another currency as the international currency of exchange and trade.
This ongoing collapse of the U.S. economy has severely limited the number of jobs available for illegal immigrants, most of who had previously come to the U.S. to work. With a scarcity of jobs in a bad economy, I can believe that many illegals that were here to work, if they had no job and no welfare support, would return to their home countries, and that fewer illegals would be motivated to immigrate to the U.S.
While I don’t believe Janet Napolitano has any idea how many illegal aliens cross the border from Mexico into the U.S. each day, I can accept that the number of illegal crossings may be decreased from the Bush years. If the absolute number of illegals crossing into the U.S. each day has really decreased, such a decrease is likely attributable to those seeking work deciding not to cross into the U.S. illegally, discouraged by the lack of jobs.
On the other hand, U.S. Border States report markedly increased illegal border crossings by criminals peddling illicit drugs, human trafficking, and violence. Such an increase in criminals crossing into the U.S. would naturally increase the odds that border patrol agents would intercept a larger number of these criminals.
Napolitano and Obama want to claim credit for decreased illegal border crossings. However, most of the decrease can be accounted for on the basis of policies put in place during the Bush Administration and the lack of jobs in the U.S. for illegals. When Napolitano boasts of increased border patrol seizures of illicit drugs and weapons from criminal illegals, she is unintentionally admitting to the current tidal wave invasion of illegal alien criminals bringing violence and lawlessness into the Border States with them.
The borders are really more porous than ever with a greater percentage of criminal illegal aliens entering the U.S., all because the Obama Administration is not really serious about border security. If the U.S. were truly serious about border security, we would have a fence the length of our southern border. If we really didn’t want illegals to climb the border fence, we would electrify it. If we really didn’t want illegals to cut electricity to or tear down the fence, we would build interval towers along the fence line with remotely operated sniper rifles to pick off any illegals climbing over, through or seeking to damage the fence.
Do we need to militarize our southern border like they have between North and South Korea with soldiers and artillery and drones? How serious are we about border security? Serious enough to do whatever it takes to stop illegal immigration?
If we ever did get truly serious and put into place such measures, it is doubtful that any would-be illegal alien would ever be harmed; once the word gets out that the border is defended by an electrified fence and sniper towers or soldiers, artillery and drones, few would be foolish enough to test these defenses.
Subprime Mortgage: a mortgage given to an individual who is likely to default on payments and the mortgage as a whole.
The narrative promoted by Obama and the Democrats and passed along to the public by the lame-stream media, is that eight years of Bush administration policies, cronyism with big corporations and Wall Street, and war-mongering with loss of U.S. treasure on contrived foreign wars led to the collapse of the housing sector and U.S. financial markets, which has caused our current Great Recession with volatility in financial markets affecting the retirement savings of millions of Americans, the loss of U.S. manufacturing industry, high unemployment and business stagnation.
The story goes on to claim that because of Obama policies, bailing-out and taking-over private companies, and the high level of government spending under the Obama administration working in concert with a Democrat majority in Congress, significantly deeper and more painful economic disaster has been averted by stimulating the economy and saving or creating millions of jobs.
Further Democrat narrative claims that the new Obama financial law brings much needed regulatory control of financial markets that prevents Wall Street from taking the kind of risks that they took with subprime mortgage derivatives that led to the financial collapse. The narrative also claims that the new financial law frees the taxpayer from ever having to pay for anymore bail-outs of companies “too-big-to-fail”.
While this grand Democrat myth seems plausible on the surface and has a certain appeal to a public that has been much abused by the excesses of Wall Street and the loss of gainful employment by businesses moving offshore and deserting everyday Americans, there is the minor annoyance that the facts just don’t support the story.
In fact, the collapse of housing and financial markets, the loss of U.S. industry and jobs, and our current Great Recession were brought about and then worsened by failed Democrat policies that persist in supporting unacceptably high-risk Wall Street ventures based on taxpayer-guaranteed, subprime mortgages that Democrats continue to encourage, and future government-mandated, tax-payer-funded bail-outs of failing “too-big-to-fail” companies that was written into the new financial law.
The new Obama Financial Law canonizes for select, large financial companies that profits are privatized while losses are socialized (i.e. if these big firms undertake high-risk ventures and make huge profits, they will pocket the gains; however, if in taking on high-risk ventures they lose big, their losses will be absorbed by the government with taxpayer funds). Some call this close relationship between government and large corporations State Capitalism, but a more appropriate term would be National Socialism (from which the German National Socialist or Nazi Party name was taken and whose precepts Hitler and the Nazi Party embraced).
It is also the inconvenient truth that Democrat policies have produced the loss of U.S. industry and jobs, and Obamacare, the new financial law, the promise of higher taxes and Democrat anti-business rhetoric has dramatically increased the costs of doing business and created such uncertainty that American businesses are virtually paralyzed. While large, government-favored financial institutions have been showered in taxpayer funds to keep them strong, small banks and businesses on Main Street have been abandoned by the federal government and hung out to dry.
Beginning with the Clinton administration, Fannie, Freddie and other mortgage banks were coerced by the Democrats to give mortgages to low-income families so these families could participate in home ownership and enjoy some of the economic benefits of the middle-class, a seemingly noble humanitarian goal.
While it’s a worthy goal to want to help as many low-income citizens as possible join middle-class America through home ownership, what may have seemed initially like a blessing has now become a curse. In the medical profession’s Hippocratic Oath it encourages physicians to do all they can in the interests of the patient, with this final caveat: But above all, DO NO HARM.
Since the mid-1990’s almost all lenders have been making subprime and creative mortgages. These loans are called subprime because the homebuyer is at significant risk of not making payments and of defaulting on the mortgage at some time in the near future. In the originating lenders’ rush to collect the inflated fees and points that were producing huge profits for themselves, lenders often overlooked or failed to verify creditworthiness, employment status, citizenship, or ability to repay the loan.
Since originating lenders quickly bundle and sell the mortgages they write to Fannie, Freddie, other large financial institutions, and Wall Street firms like Goldman-Sachs, what should they care if the homebuyer should default some time in the future? The originating lender has made its profits by charging low-income homebuyers more to make a subprime loan than it charges for other homebuyers.
While the low-income homebuyer gets hit with a huge bill from the lender for advancing the loan, these loan costs are usually hidden in the loan amount to be advanced and taken off the top by the lender, so the homebuyer doesn’t feel it until later on in the loan repayment schedule. After signing loan documents, and before the ink is dry, the originating lender immediately sells the mortgage. The subprime hot potato has been passed to someone else, who will pass it along to again another or multiple other investors (i.e. Fannie, Freddie, Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorganChase, and Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs).
Subprime homebuyers take another hit when the loan terms are written. Typically, an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) is set up providing for an initial low monthly, low interest, interest-only house payment. Then over the subsequent 3-5 years, the homeowner sees his interest rate increase and also begins paying back principle along with the interest payments which often doubles or triples the initial monthly payment to a level that the homeowner had not anticipated, a level of payment that the homeowner cannot sustain for long without exhausting all resources. Many of these subprime loans have a large balloon payment due at 3-5 years. Also, virtually all subprime borrowers are required to purchase mortgage insurance which adds a significant sum to the monthly payment.
The lender predicts while making subprime loans that the homebuyers are likely to default within the first 3-5 years. Even if the originating bank holds the subprime mortgage it makes, the bank makes money from making the loan, collects monthly payments for the duration of home ownership, and forecloses on and takes possession of the home for resale when homeowners default. As long as home values continued to rise, if the bank had to foreclose on the home, the bank stands to make a profit on this too. In addition, since all subprime mortages require mortgage insurance, if the homeowner defaults, the bank can turn to the mortgage insurance company (AIG ring any bells?) to pay off the defaulted mortgage.
Many subprime lenders utilize predatory loan practices that benefit the lender at the expense of the homebuyer. Such as lending to low-income, would-be homebuyers, where the lender knows in advance there is high risk of default, higher loan costs are charged the homebuyer but hidden in the loan amount, ARMs are set up as described above where over several years a reasonable payment becomes two to three times it’s original amount, there may be an unrealistic balloon payment required, and the cost of mortgage insurance is added to the monthly payment.
If not too many homeowners default on their mortgages at once, this is not an unmanageable or unprofitable situation for banks. So, while lenders making subprime mortgages clearly reap huge profits from these predatory practices, the low-income homebuyer takes another hit with foreclosure, eviction, and financial and psychosocial-emotional loss. Rather than being a benefit to low-income families, hundreds of thousands of subprime mortgages have defaulted and are in foreclosure; many more such loans are due to default over the next several years. Massive subprime mortgage defaults resulting in collapse of the housing, financial and insurance markets, and the ensuing Great Recession has brought about untold misery for these families and for most Americans.
The fact that most mortgages are federally guaranteed (using taxpayer money), explicitly or implicitly, encourages the financial sector to consider these high-risk, subprime mortgage bundles and the Wall Street securities and derivatives based on them as low-risk investments.
The government mortgage guarantee converted a known high-risk investment into a low-risk one, being secured by mortgage insurance companies and also by the good faith and credit of the United States. These mortgages were securitized and sold by Wall Street as prime investments, not based on the usual anticipated high homeowner debt repayment level, but based solely on the insured value and the government mortgage guarantee.
When millions of these homeowners began to default on their subprime mortgages as predicted, a glut of troubled or foreclosed upon homes on the market produced a fall in home values, making most American homeowners upside-down in their mortgages (the mortgage balance owed is greater than the current appraised home value). Securitized subprime mortgages were leveraged as derivatives at 100:1 and greater, and when the housing market collapsed and mortgages were defaulted, the value of the derivatives evaporated as well leaving the Wall Street investment banks owing 100:1 on their products which now no one was buying.
In 2006, the Bush administration tried to rein in Fannie, Freddie and the other mortgage banks and halt any new subprime mortgages with government guarantees to people who could not afford them. Democrats in Congress resisted all efforts to provide judicious oversight or regulation of this high-risk activity. As late as 2008, Democrat leadership in Congress assured the American public that Fannie, Freddie, and the U.S. housing and financial markets were in good shape and as strong as ever.
When the subprime mortgage housing crisis began to grow and spread, Wall Street firms and other large financial institutions filed insurance claims based on the defaulted subprime mortgages, that led to the failure and federal bailout of large insurance companies like AIG, that were insolvent and unable to satisfy claims. The financial sector next went to the federal government for the guarantee and the government gave the financial and insurance companies taxpayer money to bail them out.
The bubble of subprime mortgages was contrived and executed and Wall Street and other financial company excesses were subsidized by Democrat policies that led directly to the current Recession. While the Bush administration was admittedly far from perfect, Bush is not responsible for the current recession—this blame is more appropriately laid at the feet of the Democrats.
While the Bush administration did little to hold down government spending and deficits, Obama has raised spending and deficits more than twice as high as levels under Bush. Most of the Bush deficit expenditures were for a prescription drug program for seniors, and providing justifiable action for national security defense against Islamic Jihadist terrorists.
On the other hand, most of the Obama expenditures have been political payback to Democrat cronies, like Wall Street, the unions, environmentalists, ACORN and other subversive groups, and increasing the size of government and the number of government employees, along with ensuring that federal employee salaries and benefits were more than twice those of comparable workers in the private sector.
The fact that Bush did a limited amount of damage to America through deficit spending on widely desired and other essential, constitutional government functions, does not justify Obama’s multiplying Bush’s deficit many times over with frivolous and wasteful, pork-barrel, political payback while aggressively acting to destroy American free market capitalism, abridge American freedoms, stifle the voice of opposition and critical analysis, weaken American and allied national security defenses, increase American subservience to international interests and secure long-term power to himself and the Democrat Party.
Big Labor, and high corporate taxes, both strongly supported by Democrats, have forced companies to leave the United States and take their businesses elsewhere to remain competitive. If we could have stopped the unions in the 1980’s, and maintained a more reasonable business and investment tax policy we might still have a private auto industry, other manufacturing, and a stronger business sector with higher employment in our economy. Even now, we have the opportunity to dramatically reduce corporate and investment taxes and see business and industry return and boom in the U.S.
However, in order to hire employees, expand the business and increase production, business needs capital. Despite a massive infusion of taxpayer dollars, money is still tight. The banks still are not lending to the economy what the economy needs to grow. When the banks get back into the business of providing the needed capital to the economy instead of just investing overcautiously in Treasury Bills, the economy will have a chance to start growing again.
In the United States we don’t have a typical parliamentary system, but we do have a fairly strong two party system. Many times in the past, third parties have been formed, and while they may temporarily sway American thought and the direction of the two major parties, none have been successful in being any real, long-term influence on American politics. The plan of the Tea Party from the start was to take over, from the inside, the Republican Party, taking it from the establishment which had lost its way and return the party to its roots in fiscal responsibility, smaller government, lower taxes and free markets within the framework and freedoms of a Constitutional Republic. The Tea Party did not want and refused to go down that pointless, third-party road.
Large numbers of individual, average Americans, most for the first time in their lives, moved beyond their comfort level, took a stand against the fiscally irresponsible policies of both major political parties, and worked long and hard hours to get good people with Tea Party views to win in the Republican primaries. Many progressive incumbent Republicans were replaced in these primaries with a Tea Party-supported Republican candidate. In the general elections, many progressive Democrats and earmark and spend establishment Republicans were roundly defeated and replaced with Tea Party Republicans committed to sound fiscal policies.
Over time, the goal is to replace progressives of all party affiliations with Tea Party Republicans such that the Republican Party will be the party of Tea Party principles and values, and the majority party in federal, state and local government. The “Tea Party” is not an actual political party, but a loose organization of Republicans, Independents, Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Unaffiliated and even some Democrats fed up with politics as usual forming thousands of small patriot groups that together make up a rather disjointed but broad-based and committed, grass-roots political movement.
There is nothing illegal, immoral or unethical in being a Tea Party Republican. Rather than serve to prop up the corrupt Republican or Democrat establishment in Washington, Tea Party Republicans have been charged with the special mission of restoring the Republican Party and the nation to correct, constitutional principles of government that promote freedom and prosperity.
There is less than zero basis for any type of legal or ethical challenge to these newly elected lawmakers for not being “real” Republicans. The Tea Party movement believes that real Republicans ascribe to Tea Party principles and values, and that establishment Republicans have strayed far too long from their true conservative roots. The Tea Party movement may, in fact, be a part of another “Great Awakening” spreading across America and even well beyond her shores, presenting the possibly of a second chance for other great nations as well.
With an influx of Tea Party Republicans into governments across the land and a Republican majority in the House, slowing down if not actually stopping altogether and reversing the relentless and destructive Obama socialist/anti-colonialist juggernaut is a real possibility. If the average American continues to stand against what is wrong with America, and fights for what is right for America, in the next several election cycles there will be Tea Party Republicans in power across the country, in the House, the Senate and in the Oval Office.
If the millions of Americans who relate to the Tea Party movement continue to stand up for the God-given, inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution, corruption and destruction will fail, freedom will prevail, and America will be back on the road to honest industry and real, non-bubble prosperity, building a better life for our children and grandchildren, instead of selling them into future slavery to foreign powers.
In August of this year, Connor Boyack, previously with the Mike Lee for Senate campaign and currently a Scott Bradley supporter, submitted eight questions to the Constitution Party, Democrat Party, and Republican Party candidates for U.S. Senate from Utah, asking their positions on a number of issues. Only the Constitution Party candidate, Scott Bradley, elected to respond to this questionnaire, and his rather lengthy response was published on Boyack’s blog site. I have chosen to respond to Boyack’s questions, listed below, from Mike Lee’s perspective.
1. What should be done in regards to our current military engagements in the Middle East, and why?
2. What should be done with the Federal Reserve, and why?
3. What is your position on the war on drugs, and the legalization of marijuana?
4. What is the constitutional authority for our current immigration law? What reforms, if any, do you support?
5. Do non-citizen terrorists have any constitutional rights?
6. Are you for or against term limits, and if for them, in what form?
7. Is a balanced budget inherently problematic, or only because it may possible trigger a constitutional convention?
8. How should tariffs be used? How do you define economic protectionism, and do you support it?
Several of Connor’s questions are already addressed on Mike Lee’s website, although perhaps not in the detail that political aficionados would like. Mike addresses the issue of the current war on terror as manifested by the actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his views do not differ greatly from those of Mr. Bradley.
Mike has also clearly expressed his position on illegal immigration: secure the borders, no amnesty, no more anchor babies (via original intent of 14th Amendment clarified by legislation as Mr. Bradley explains), no healthcare/welfare benefits for illegals, and enforce current law including preventing employers from hiring illegal workers so they will pack up and go home.
Mike Lee is also in favor of a balanced budget amendment, and has expressed his view on his website that members of both chambers of congress should not become career politicians, but serve no more than 12 years.
Mike has also outlined his views on fiscal responsibility, smaller government, strengthening national security, preservation of freedoms and tax reform. Mike Lee is a constitutional scholar undeniably committed to returning to constitutionally limited federal government.
As for the other questions, they concern controversial issues where simple answers are insufficient with a public that is unschooled and uninformed regarding current libertarian issues and thought such as the role of the Federal Reserve.
Without such a foundation for discussion, a candidate’s well-reasoned position in these areas will be easily misunderstood and motives misconstrued. However, there is no doubt that Mike Lee will adhere to the Constitution on all issues.
The comments here predominantly commend Mr. Bradley for his straightforward response to each of the questions. His responses are detailed and lengthy and are evidence that Mr. Bradley dedicated significant energy and effort to this work. I was personally disappointed, however, that he deftly side-stepped some of the major concerns regarding these issues.
Mr. Bradley’s proscription against war is well taken, however, when we are attacked by an enemy we have the right and the obligation to defend ourselves. It is undeniable that Congress has the power to declare war and the executive branch has the power to wage war. Abuses of executive power must certainly be stopped. And the United States should not have a mission of nation building.
The difficulty is that the Taliban government of Afghanistan was willingly hijacked by al-Qaeda and served as a base of operations for attacks on the West. Even now, if we were to abruptly pull out, the Taliban/al-Qaeda insurgency will return to dominate and abuse Afghanistan as a base for terrorist attacks. Without some “nation building” assistance, how will the Afghan government ever become strong enough to resist on their own a Taliban/al-Qaeda takeover?
After further terrorist attacks we would have to return to Afghanistan again to finish the job we justifiably started after 9/11. In the interests of our very real national security needs and a mission to eliminate the root of terrorism that threatens our land, we cannot afford to go down this road. I would like to know how Mr. Bradley would address this part of the issue.
As far as illegal immigration, as others here have pointed out, Mr. Bradley deals with the constitutionally designated federal control of naturalization, but fails to mention that the Constitution does not give the federal government jurisdiction over immigration, which is a separate issue.
In such cases, the power to control immigration is constitutionally relegated to the states or to the people. While state control of immigration may be difficult and impractical, if we are to adhere to the founder’s intent of the Constitution, that’s the way it is.
Also, Mr. Bradley says that we should enforce immigration laws and then penalize any illegal caught after a grace period who has not submitted to forced self-deportation. In the past, enforcing immigration laws has meant in practice primarily detecting and deporting illegal workers.
Mike Lee believes that by enforcing laws that prevent employers from hiring illegal workers, jobs for illegals will dry up and they will pack up and go home without any coercion. Where does Mr. Bradley stand on employer enforcement?
TARP was supposed to rescue our financial system from total collapse by providing capital to failing financial firms; when the firms had stabilized and then paid back the money borrowed plus interest that returned money would be used to pay down the deficit. Contrary to express language in the bill, the Obama Administration bailed-out a number of imprudent financial and insurance firms, not only by the provision of capital, but also by the purchase of stock in these institutions.
TARP funds were also used for the hostile takeover of most of the nation’s automobile industry by stealing the value of the companies from investors and transferring it to the favored unions as part of a grand wealth redistribution scheme. Money returned by the financial firms has not been used to pay down the deficit, instead, it’s become a massive slush fund for Obama to distribute to his favorite special interests, like SEIU and ACORN.
The DISCLOSE Act was forged in dark, smoke-filled back rooms, behind closed doors, with Obamacrats and a gaggle of Most-Favored Lobbyists nose to nose as the special interests wrote in carve-outs for themselves, and the Obamacrats added language that hamstrings the opposition. They claim their legislation increases transparency and provides a more level playing field for more fair campaign financing. In reality, the Act does nothing to increase transparency and skews the playing field in favor of the Democrats by giving them an unfair advantage.
The Act goes on to provide for warrantless, compulsory submission of sensitive, private donor and member lists to the government, exposing vulnerable opposition supporters to government intimidation and persecution. While 2010 pre-election efforts to pass this legislation have been unsuccessful, the ideas behind the proposal have not been abandoned, and similar legislation is planned for the future.
Attempts by the Obamacrats to limit constitutionally guaranteed rights are not restricted to campaign free speech. Laws and executive orders have been promoted to restrict the free practice of religion, to limit other forms of free speech, and to abridge the right to keep and bear arms. In addition, the government takeover of student loans for higher education is being used to promote student indoctrination by providing financial aid only to students attending schools “approved” by the government. Other Obamacrat measures seek to control what kinds and how much energy Americans use, which energy industries will be permitted to survive, what body-mass index (BMI) is acceptable for Americans, and which foods and condiments Americans will consume.
President Obama touts the new financial reform law as ending any further taxpayer bailouts and as a boon to the consumer. In reality, the financial takeover legislation creates more layers of bureaucracy and red tape that dramatically increases cost to any business offering credit or financial services; this increased cost is passed along to the consumer. Millions of small businesses, including doctors, dentists, and local retailers, are no longer able to offer payment plans to their customers. Credit card companies have already raised interest rates and banks are no longer offering free checking in light of the new rules.
Written into the financial reform bill, the President and Secretary of the Treasury, are obligated to bailout, with taxpayer money, any company that they deem, at their sole discretion, to have serious financial difficulties. Favored companies will be propped up and preserved with taxpayer money. Politically unfavored companies, especially those that actively oppose the government’s agenda, will be placed in receivership, assets will be liquidated and sold at bargain-basement prices to favored companies, and favored companies will benefit from the reduced competition.
Two companies that played a big role in the housing and financial collapse that precipitated the Obama Depression, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, received a blank check from Obama as a perpetual, unlimited and continuous bailout using taxpayer funds, permitting these companies to continue to make the same high-risk, sub-prime loans that triggered this financial collapse. Likewise, the highly-leveraged mortgage-backed derivative market continues unchecked, where high-risk vehicles can produce eye-popping gains that are pocketed, or staggering losses that are bailed-out by Uncle Sam.
These companies were not included in the new financial law, and the business plan and practices that led to the failure of Fannie, Freddie, and Wall Street firms have not been corrected. The continuous drain on the treasury to pump life into the failed Fannie, Freddie, and others, along with the promise of bail-out for Wall Street and other large companies as needed, does nothing to restrict excessive risk-taking and adds daily to skyrocketing government spending and deficits.
Businesses and individual taxpayers shoulder the burden of higher taxes needed to help people who can’t afford a home buy one anyway, and to enable Wall Street’s gambling addiction by allowing them to enjoy their winnings without suffering the negative consequences of their actions in terms of losses that are bailed-out by taxpayers.
The financial legislation also gives the Administration unrestrained power to determine at its arbitrary and sole discretion, if a business should be declared insolvent or about to be insolvent, to take over that business, and distribute assets to cronies. This has sent a chill over the business community, as it is forced to think twice before donating to the opposition, when doing so could lead to very real dissolution of the business, in retaliation, by Obama’s lethal financial weapon. All of this contributes to iron-fisted control by the government of the American economy on an apparently unstoppable march to socialism and totalitarianism.
Obama’s Stimulus Bill is credited by the Administration with “saving or creating” millions of jobs, and breathing new life into a severely injured economy. The Stimulus Bill was advertised as principally funding “shovel ready” infrastructure projects. The truth is less than a third of the Stimulus money spent went towards anything that even slightly resembled infrastructure projects. Instead of saving or creating jobs, since the Stimulus Bill was signed into law, there has been a net extinction of millions of jobs, most of which were losses suffered by the private sector, and unemployment lines have never been longer, outside the Great Depression.
Most of the Stimulus money, which was primarily supposed to help the private sector, hardest hit by the Obama Depression, has been squandered. At a time when the average government worker makes over twice the income of non-government workers, the majority of this taxpayer-funded windfall went to government and union jobs and benefits, cementing organized labor support for the Obamacrats. The remainder was wasted on pork-barrel payback to other cronies to further strengthen the political base.
Obama and his minions have stumped the country proclaiming the “Bush Recession” over and prosperity in view, believing, against hope, that if they ritualistically repeat the words often enough, they will magically come true and naïve Americans will accept them at face value. On their way to imaginary prosperity, Obama and the Democrats swallowed whole, Keynesian economic theory: if the government could just spend enough billions, the consumer-driven economy would turn around. In reality, despite over a trillion dollars of stimulus, growth remains at a dismal 1.6% and true jobless figures remain at a devastating 15% plus.
The Obama-led race to spend money we didn’t have led to an astronomical deficit; these huge deficits imperil the financial and national security of the nation. As deficits rise, interest on the debt rises exponentially. The excesses of today will be paid for by the sweat of our grandchildren in the future. This is not the legacy that Main Street Americans want to leave for their posterity. Part of the American dream is that our children should have a better life than we did. How can this American dream come true when our children and grandchildren will be saddled with the monstrous debt that this generation has accumulated over our lives? The Obamacrats continue to insist that our country is still much better off, even despite the massive deficits.
But the Family on Main Street is still out of work, and is trapped, upside-down in a high-interest mortgage, unable to refinance despite record low mortgage rates because appraisal value is significantly less than the balance owed. The Family is behind on payments or fighting foreclosure, owes $10-15 thousand dollars in credit card debt at recently raised exorbitant interest rates (another benefit of the financial bill), has exhausted savings and tapped into retirement accounts for living expenses, and has put off necessary expenditures for major items like a new roof, furnace replacement, auto repair or an expensive, indicated healthcare procedure. Despite active searching, no prospect of employment is apparent, and discouragement sets in.
The Small Business (SB) on Main Street is not doing much better: SB has been through downsizing and belt-tightening, trying to remain profitable in a marketplace where demand has dropped precipitously. The SB has too much debt, at unfavorable rates, production is down and receipts are too little. Money is tight, and the SB no longer has a standing line-of-credit with its bank, which it had used on occasion to cover cash-flow shortfalls. On some paydays, the SB owners do not draw a paycheck in order to make payroll for others in the company. What assets remain available are horded by the SB and spending on supplies or maintaining large inventories is curtailed.
A tidal wave of new regulations coming from Washington (Obamacare, the Financial Bill, the DISCLOSE Act and other legislation, executive orders and regulatory agency rulings), many yet to be written by their respective agencies, are casting a pall of uncertainty on the Main Street SB. Heavy regulation, such as that seen over the last 18 months and including the financial reform bill and Obamacare, dramatically increases the cost of doing business.
Without knowing exactly how these regulations will affect it, the Main Street SB knows it’s going to take a major hit. However, it has no way of determining the magnitude of the damage to be done, or to plan for the anticipated increase in costs, restrictions, reporting requirements and red tape. In this overburdened, uncertain and anti-business climate, the SB is paralyzed. Hunkering down, the SB is cutting personnel and other expenses to the bone, is struggling to get out of debt, is conserving capital and deferring any plans for hiring or expansion. Waiting on the sidelines for months and years for the business climate to improve, hope for the promised economic recovery has begun to fade and the SB contemplates permanently closing its doors.
Obama has promised on multiple occasions, that those with an income of $250,000 or less would not be subject to any tax increases. New Obama initiatives, astronomical government spending and deficits, and refusal to renew the Bush tax cuts have crushed that promise by imposing higher taxes on all Americans at a time when Americans can least afford it.
With Obamacare, the President promised “If you like your health insurance and your doctor, you can keep your health insurance and your doctor”. Obama promised that government would not get between the doctor and patient, and that there would not be rationing of healthcare or any “death panels” deciding who will live and who will die on a cost-benefit basis. Obama promised that public funds would not pay for abortion, that government healthcare spending would be contained, that healthcare and insurance expenses for the consumer would be reduced, and that actual savings from Obamacare would help pay down the deficit.
Estimates of the true cost of Obamacare have recently been dramatically revised upward, and this is now shown to be adding significantly to the deficit instead of reducing it. The cost of healthcare and insurance to the consumer has also increased because of Obamacare. Avoiding congressional and public scrutiny, Obama recess appointed “Dr. Rationing and Death Panel” as the director of CMS, the agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid, and this Director, with Obama’s approval, is planning on limiting the healthcare anyone can receive, making healthcare decisions previously made between the physician and patient, and withholding care when the government determines that the value of the individual to society is not worth the cost.
Public funds provided through Obamacare may be used to pay for abortions depending on the individual states. Also, most people will not be able to keep their same doctor or health insurance. During the Obamacare debate, a majority of the people recognized Obama’s dishonesty and fought passage of the bill. A smaller but not insignificant percentage of the people, took Obama at his word, and passively accepted passage of the bill, patiently awaiting Obama’s promises to be fulfilled. It is rapidly becoming apparent, even to this smaller, more passive group of Americans, that Obama was not being truthful and is not to be trusted.
President Obama and his Administration have been braying loud and proud about all of the good things Obama has done for the country, the economy, small business and the little people across the nation. However, this self-congratulatory trumpeting rings hollow on Main Street where the lack of any positive Obama accomplishment is glaringly apparent.
The Emperor’s procession moved slowly down the central road of town, lined with peasants cheering the Emperor. The Emperor’s advisors motioned for the peasants to come close to admire the Emperor’s new suit of clothes, handmade of the finest silk by the most skilled tailors in the land. “Only the most intelligent among us can truly appreciate the excellence of the Emperor’s new clothes”, they said, and the peasants clucked approvingly. As the procession neared the center of town, a small boy on the side of the road tugged at his father’s sleeve, “The Emperor has no clothes” he said. On hearing this, all the peasants looked again at the Emperor, and realized the boy was right, The Emperor Has No Clothes!
Amnesty is defined as the action of governments by which persons or groups who have committed a criminal offense of a political nature that threatens the sovereignty of a country, are granted total or partial, conditional or unconditional, immunity from prosecution for that crime. Amnesty law, the core of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, is not the solution to our illegal alien crisis, despite misguided claims from the Left. Indeed, past amnesty law dramatically increased illegal immigration, and any suggestion of new amnesty law only encourages more of the same, with illegals crowding into the country to get in under the wire at the prospect.
Even the potential for amnesty rewards lawlessness, penalizes legal immigrants & lawful citizens, leads to a dramatic increase in illegal alien immigration, contributes to the deterioration of American sovereignty, culture & language, undermines our socio-economic stability & growth, and promotes unchecked, single-party dominance, destabilizing our two-party political system. No Amnesty should be offered and no illegal aliens should ever be allowed to vote.
One of the key components of the current illegal immigration crisis is “birthright citizenship”, based on misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, Section 1, where it says:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”
Based on this “Citizenship Clause”, even children born in the U.S. to illegal alien parents are currently considered citizens. This definition of birthright citizenship has led to the practice of foreign women crossing the border into the country illegally, for the sole purpose of giving birth to a child in an American hospital, so that baby would be a citizen of the U.S. and serve as an “anchor baby”, facilitating the legal immigration of the entire extended family, and, in turn, the extended families of each individual of the original extended family, and so on. Recent reports have found that, while illegal aliens comprise only 4% of the U.S. population, they account for more than 8% of babies born in the United States.1
Considering this rate of birth of anchor babies, the subsequent family members that will immigrate based on these births, and the current and projected rates of illegal immigration, the sheer numbers of illegal aliens constantly breeching our borders are overwhelming. There is a huge toll to be paid for this; the cost to American taxpayers and culture vastly outweighs any benefit from work done and taxes paid by illegals.2,3,4 Illegal aliens must not receive welfare, medical coverage, Social Security, or any other services at the expense of taxpayers, as this costs the public millions of local and federal dollars, and voraciously consumes local and national resources.
This clause of the 14th Amendment was intended to assure citizenship to the children of African-American, former slaves, in anticipation of Southern challenges to black citizenship rights. Many have the erroneous belief that birthright citizenship applies to all children born on U.S. soil. In fact, children of foreign diplomats born in this country are not U.S. citizens.5 Furthermore, the 14th Amendment was never intended to extend birthright citizenship to the children of illegal aliens. U.S. Senator Jacob M. Howard was the author of the 14th Amendment “Citizenship Clause”. During debate over this clause, Senator Howard confirmed that children born in the U.S. to foreign or alien parents were not birthright citizens. This was recorded in the Congressional Record of the time:
“This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the family of ambassadors, or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”6
Congressional debate at the time also established that “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. meant that children born in the U.S. to parents who owed any allegiance to a country other than the U.S. (i.e. a foreign citizen), would not automatically be citizens. Congress was referring, in the 14th Amendment, to those who were completely subject to U.S. jurisdiction, those who would enjoy the full rights and shoulder the full responsibilities of a U.S. citizen, including being subject to military draft, voting and holding office, and being capable of being charged with treason. Illegal aliens simply do not meet this qualification.7
To fix the anchor baby portion of the illegal immigration crisis, it is not necessary to repeal the 14th Amendment, as some have proposed. Rather, congressional legislation could reaffirm the original intent of the “Citizenship Clause” and all children subsequently born in the U.S. to illegal immigrant mothers would retain their foreign citizenship, would no longer be birthright U.S. citizens and would no longer be able to serve as anchor babies.8
Immigration law mirroring federal statute was passed in Arizona in 2010, in response to a virtual invasion of illegals, with thousands of people crossing the border from Mexico each day. Other States have also noted an influx of illegals and are planning similar legislation. State immigration laws like Arizona’s are necessary when the government fails to uphold, and continues to delay, fulfilling federal obligations to provide border security and protection from violent illegals and foreign drug cartels.9,10 While Arizona went to great lengths to assure there would be no racial profiling and the law would meet constitutional muster, many, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, criticized the Arizona law as racist and unconstitutional, before admitting they had not yet read the law.
In fact, President Obama indicated to U.S. Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona that he is holding border security hostage until he gets the necessary political cooperation to pass Amnesty law.11 In addition, rather than provide assistance to this embattled State, the Obama Administration, acting through the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, filed against the State of Arizona in federal court and was granted a stay of several key portions of the law. The injunction was reported to have been issued based on the Constitution’s “Supremacy Clause”, where, if there is overlap, federal statutes supersede those of the States. This temporarily halted meaningful implementation of the Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070, pending appeal.12
Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution grants power to the Congress to uniformly regulate “naturalization”, which is the process involved in a foreigner obtaining citizenship. However, since the power to regulate “immigration”, the relocation of foreigners into the U.S., is not granted to the federal government, this power, by default, belongs to the States. As such, Arizona and all other States in the Union, have the right and obligation to establish and enforce their own immigration laws.
Article 1, Section 10, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution clearly gives Arizona the right to wage a defensive “war” based on the imminent danger of the illegal immigrant invasion of Arizona and President Obama’s persistent delay in providing assistance:
“No State shall, without the Consent of Congress…engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”
Article 3, Section 2, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution organizes the judicial system, and determines that where a legal action involves a State, the Supreme Court is the only court where such actions can be tried:
“In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”
Having filed an invalid action in federal court and obtained an invalid ruling from a federal judge in regard to the State of Arizona, Mr. Holder finds himself in another awkward situation. Any action the federal government wants to take against Arizona, must be correctly tried only by the Supreme Court. Whether the federal or State government, in the end, takes responsibility for the border, it is essential that it be secured without delay. The imperative of border security is a key part of National Security and is heightened by the ease with which known terrorists can illegally traverse the border without detection, to infiltrate American society with murderous intent.
Some have proposed, as a solution to our illegal immigration crisis, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, which is Washington-speak for Amnesty. However, we have seen that Amnesty is no solution and would only worsen the problem. The key to a real solution is strengthening and enforcing current immigration law. If proper enforcement prevents U.S. employers from hiring illegal aliens, these jobs will “dry up” and illegal aliens, most of who came here to work, will pack up and go home without further incentive.
Those choosing to commit the crime of illegal immigration understand that family separation is an integral part of this choice. However, families should not be torn apart, if at all avoidable. Rather, as unemployed illegal aliens repatriate themselves, they are encouraged to keep their families intact by taking them along with. Serious consideration should also be given to advancing the legal immigration and naturalization of more highly-educated and skilled workers, if demand exists.
1. Jordan M. Illegal Immigrants Estimated to Account for 1 in 12 U.S. Births. The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News, August 12, 2010. http://tinyurl.com/2cmgbp2
3. McNeill JB. Amnesty as an Economic Stimulus: Not the Answer to the Illegal Immigration Problem. May 18, 2009, The Heritage Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/25nyobo
4. Smith L. Immigration: Many Questions, A Few Answers. October 3, 2007, The Heritage Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/2gyz7rj
5. Gordon R. The Diane Rehm Show: The Debate Over Immigration and Birthright Citizenship. Case Western Reserve University School of Law News. http://law.case.edu/Home/News.aspx?id=807&content_id=57
6. Howard JM. The Congressional Globe, 39th Congress, Senate, 1st Session, May 30, 1866, p. 2890. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwcg.html
7. Feere J. Backgrounder: Birthright Citizenship in the United States, A Global Comparison. Center for Immigration Studies, August 2010. http://www.cis.org/birthright-citizenship.
8. Lee M. More Key Issues: Illegal Immigration. Mike Lee for U.S. Senate 2010. http://www.mikelee2010.com/
9. Archibald RC, Cooper H, Hulse C. Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration. April 23, 2010, New York Times. http://tinyurl.com/22q2h4b
10. Brewer J. Arizona Border Security Information: Brewer Letter to President Barack Obama on Immigration. April 6, 2010, Governor Jan Brewer’s website. http://azgovernor.gov/AZBorderSecurity.asp
11. FOXNews.com. Kyl: Obama Won’t Secure Border Until Lawmakers Move on Immigration Package. June 21, 2010. http://tinyurl.com/358m6au
12. Markon J, McCrummen S, Shear MD. Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070 – Judge Blocks Some Sections. July 29, 2010, The Washington Post. http://tinyurl.com/28ry299
2. Wagner PF, Amato D. The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Facts, Figures and Statistics on Illegal Immigration. http://tinyurl.com/ybtwl8s