GOV. FRAUD/WASTE/ABUSE

February 28, 2015

Ban all human-shaped targets?

TargetMy article as originally published in American Thinker:    

Pennsylvania representative Thaddeus Kirkland (Democrat) has a brilliant plan to finally put an end to violence and will introduce legislation that bans human-shaped targets on civilian shooting ranges within the state.

His memorandum in part states:

Rather than perpetuate violence by continuing to allow individuals to practice their target shooting by shooting at human silhouette targets at shooting ranges, my legislation will prohibit the use of targets that depict human silhouettes at shooting ranges across the Commonwealth.

While I doubt you’ll find many violent criminals at public shooting ranges practicing their craft on paper humans, law-abiding citizens do depend on these targets to practice their right of defense (something France could learn from) from those who intend to do them harm.

Fortunately, the use of animal targets such as bear, deer, turkey, and elk will still be within the law (at least until PETA gets wind of this), but I do have one question.  Would this ban on human-shaped targets include all humans, or just the ones that happen to be older than the age of legal abortion?

Just sayin’.

 


America is in a Progressive Chokehold

15393977094_82b1786e83_qMy article as originally published in   American Thinker:

To allege that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was fully responsible for the chokehold death of Eric Garner would be absurd.  Nearly as asinine, though, given the available evidence in the case, was de Blasio’s unbelievably divisive red-herring declaring that “centuries of racism” were somehow at the root of Garner’s untimely death.  Now, it appears the race-baiting propaganda of de Blasio, Obama, Holder and Sharpton, has finally come to bear fruit given the recent execution of two NYC police officers.

Comrade de Blasio likes to scold America regarding human rights yet embraces an ideology that places people — regardless of race or gender — in an unyielding big-government chokehold.  This “progressive” ideology leads to an equally wretched existence for all but the politically connected at its lesser extreme and is responsible for the murder of over one-hundred-million innocent men, women and children (and “centuries” were not required in doing so) at its most.

It’s well noted that Garner was being arrested for his participation in a black market that exists solely because of sky-high cigarette taxes.  There can certainly be harsh consequences that one must live — and sometimes die — with for resisting arrest as Garner clearly chose to do.  But when government gets to the point where every minute detail of a citizen’s life is micro-managed by “expert” planners, hungry for more power and tax revenue, it eventually becomes nearly impossible to not be in violation of some vague or inane statute.  As this over criminalization that degrades liberty becomes more systemic, a greater number of people will end up in tangles with police (who are human and make mistakes) and the result will be a greatly increased chance for something to go terribly wrong.

Frédéric Bastiat warned against these types of legal bastardization in his timeless essay, The Law, written more than one and one half centuries ago.

It is not true that the mission of the law is to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our will, our education, our sentiments, our works, our exchanges, our gifts, our enjoyments. Its mission is to prevent the rights of one from interfering with those of another, in any one of these things.

Increases in the impossible task of central planning assure that things will go terribly wrong thus requiring government and its cronies to create scapegoats to mask-over the inevitable failures. Today, the scapegoat for the failures of the “progressive” welfare state is so-called “racist” cops.  Tomorrow it will be what ever the big-government complex, including its protectors in the mainstream media, need it to be in order to further the “progressive” cause.

Unfortunately, today, Americans can now end up in potential harm’s way just for opening a lemonade stand without a permit; feeding the homeless; making Gibson Guitars out of unauthorized wood; collecting rainwater on one’s own property or as in the case of Eric Garner — selling “loosie” cigarettes.  It is amazing that those who decry police encounters gone awry think the solution is even more government, which as a consequence will result in increased police encounters.

No, de Blasio certainly didn’t kill Eric Garner, but he, President Obama and the bulk of the Democratic Party clearly support the “progressive” government chokehold on liberty that bears some responsibility in Garner’s death.  And the sideshow of anti-police rhetoric turned violent shows they’re willing to mask the failures of “progress” by any means necessary.

Big-brother likes to play really, really rough, so unless this “progressive” chokehold on liberty is released, Americans may as well get used to gasping for air.

 


Risky Proposition: Obama and Illegal Immigrants

Immigrant Sign 2My article as originally published in American Thinker:

In a speech containing more than a meager dusting of lies, President Obama quashed any previous assertion that it would be unlawful for him to act singlehandedly on illegal immigration by unlawfully loosening immigration enforcement for those who have unlawfully bypassed the lawful immigration process, which will make millions of unlawful immigrants lawful – unlawfully.  Makes my head spin as well.

From Obama’s speech detailing his unlawful deal:

If you’ve with been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.

[Snip]

What I’m describing is accountability. A common sense middle-ground approach. If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.

If a greater number of congressional Republicans were equipped with metaphorical body parts of a spherical nature that contained even a slight trace of a certain copper/zinc alloy, the “leadership” would have clearly outlined a plan for ending Obama’s unlawful abuse of power – before leaving on holiday.  I guess the message of November 4 is so yesterday?

Democrats are surely delighted with the president’s executive order, since most of these unlawful immigrants will become useful weapons – future voting weapons – to be used against the Republican Party.  And now that the door is wide open, is there any doubt that Democrats will further build upon their arsenal?

In a post-constitutional America, where the rule of law will now be subject to the unbridled whims of whoever holds the office, placing blind trust in one politician can be an extremely risky proposition.

Obama said it would be safe for a large block of illegal immigrants to “come out of the shadows” and “register” with the government to stay in the U.S.  But he also said that “if you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported.”  Normally, ignoring immigration laws would make one a criminal, but Obama has dictated that the government ignore this minor detail – for now.

Perhaps a future “thanks for the list Mr. Obama” will be in order?

 


In a way, Hillary was right in saying that businesses don’t create jobs

My article as originally published in American Thinker: 

Hillary Clinton may be an economic ignoramus for saying, “Don’t let anybody tell you its corporations and businesses that create jobs.”  In fact, Daniel Greenfield does a wonderful job dismembering her so-called wisdom in his piece at Frontpage Mag.  But I’m not thoroughly convinced anyone could be so dim-witted as to truly believe such malarkey (except for maybe Elizabeth Warren), so perhaps the “world’s smartest woman” deserves the benefit of the doubt on this one?

I know she’s now attempting to walk back her remarks but I just don’t buy it.  So could it be that the woman who had her presidency stolen from her in 2008 was instead just taking a subtle jab at President Obama’s economic policy?  After all, given six years of Obama’s “fundamental change,” there are clearly some elements of truth to her claim.

As is the case with the multitude of half-truths the Left presents as facts, proper context is required here too.  And within the context of the following, Hillary is absolutely correct in her assertion:

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when they see companies nationalized or contract law thrown out as was done during the whole GM and Chrysler debacle.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when they are burdened with the highest corporate tax rates in the world.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when government unleashes thousands of pages of costly new regulations upon a stagnant overregulated economy.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when they witness a President use his pen and his phone as a Constitution-killing weapon of mass destruction.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when they learn that an administration was willing to use the IRS to punish its political enemies.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when a President threatens to put an industry (such as the coal industry) out of business.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when money is extracted from them and given to crony companies such as Solyndra.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when they watch the government take control of 1/6th of the U.S. economy via the healthcare industry and then can’t even build a simple website.

Corporations and businesses didn’t create jobs just because a President arbitrarily decided that 2010 was to be the summer of recovery.

Corporations and businesses clearly aren’t creating jobs which may explain why the labor participation rate is at a 36-year low in spite of government’s historically massive “stimulus” and money-printing programs — the vary things that Hillary thinks create jobs.

Businesses do however create jobs in a free market protected by the stable rule of law under a more limited government, like they did during the “era of big government is over” economy that Bill Clinton inherited from President Ronald Reagan.

Corporations and businesses most certainly do create the jobs.  They just don’t do it when they’re terrified by an anti-business tyrant such as President Obama.  I wonder what Hillary Clinton would do to make sure “corporations and businesses don’t create jobs” if elected President in 2016?

 


Bird Brains Outsmart Progressive Brains

IMG_1320My article as originally published in American Thinker: 

When does the dismantling of an aged, blighted, environment-exploiting symbol of capitalism and the returning of a small portion of a beautiful body of water to its delicate natural state — a simple no-brainer for any greenie worth his weight in solar panels — cause a dilemma for the environmental movement? It does so when it happens to be colonized by a protected species of nesting birds like the ones inhabiting the old eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

I’ve been watching this story unfold for the past several months (Hat tip: Brian Sussman and KSFO) and somehow these birds continue to have the audacity to refuse to do what bureaucrats armed with massive taxpayer funded coercion wish for them to do:

With the demolition of the old Bay Bridge eastern span already six months behind schedule, Caltrans plans to spend $12.8 million to beat the clock on a bird-nesting season that could tie up the takedown well into next year.

At issue: 800 or so double-crested cormorants – a state-protected “species of special concern” – that have enjoyed migratory squatter rights on the bridge since they moved here from Alaska, Mexico and Nova Scotia in 1984.

Does the fact that some of these birds happen to be illegal immigrants explain the apparent preferential treatment they’re getting and why it is that the taxpayers are being tarred and feathered to such an extent? And the situation is only getting messier for taxpayers:

Cute as they may appear, the double-crested cormorants and other birds that call the old Bay Bridge home are fast becoming a $30 million-plus headache.

[Snip]

As crews demolish the 10,000-foot-long steel structure where the birds roost, they’ve had to navigate around broadly interpreted state and federal environmental laws designed to protect the feathered critters.

“We are not going to argue with the law — the issue is often the interpretation of it,” said Randy Rentschler, spokesman for the Bay Area Toll Authority, which is overseeing the tear-down.

“And the fact is, the bridge construction has suffered tens of millions of cost overruns and months of delays as these (enforcement) agencies have interpreted the regulations,” Rentschler said.

The bird-friendly moves include Caltrans spending $709,000 to build 2½-foot-wide nesting “condos” on the underside of the new bridge, in the hopes that the 800 or so state-protected cormorants would move off the old span.

An additional $1 million has been spent to try to lure the birds over to the new bridge, using bird decoys, cormorant recordings and even nests made from discarded Christmas wreaths.

But the birds haven’t budged, prompting Caltrans to draw up Plan B — speeding up the demolition in the hopes of beating next spring’s nesting season because, once the birds start laying eggs, the work has to stop.

How could it be that human progress has caused nature to act so — unnaturally?

It appears that man and nature are able to peacefully coexist as many species simply adapt to changes in their surroundings — as has occurred for millions of years — and sometimes even prefer what man has to offer. But there may be a hidden lesson in this for a state like California.

Build all future dams with thousands of “structural” concrete cubbies that are sure to become populated with one or more protected species.  A bird, a snail — it won’t take much.  There will then be no way on Mother Earth that we’ll be seeing dams removed or the fight for the removal of others without an enormous amount of in-fighting amongst various environmental groups with competing interests.

So in the future, don’t just construct a new “dam” to help curtail the water woes of a state like California. Build a massive concrete-reinforced wildlife “sanctuary” that directly backs up to beautiful “wetlands.”  The enormous “Cormorant nesting platform” spanning the San Francisco Bay that was previously built has clearly been an enormous success.

Perhaps the birds are more open to real progress than those who call themselves progressives?

 


How to Sell a Corporate Tax Cut

My article as originally published in American Thinker:

Finding a way to prevent the next Burger King from fleeing the U.S. (to avoid paying the highest corporate tax rates in the world) appears to rank fairly high on the priority list for both Republicans and Democrats. But the two parties couldn’t be farther apart on the appropriate policy to end these so-called “unpatriotic” tax inversions.

No strangers to coercion, the Obama administration via Treasury Secretary Jack Lew recently announced that through the use of executive action, “the agency would change several tax rules to stop companies from buying smaller, foreign firms and then moving out of the U.S.” These types of “solutions” will only serve to further slow down an already stagnant economy.

Alternatively, Republicans support free market solutions (at least some still do) and believe that a lowering of the corporate income tax rate would put an end to these tax inversions and help revive the economy. Better yet, as John C. Goodman asks in a recent Forbes piece: “Why do we have a corporate income tax in the first place? Economists know that corporations don’t pay taxes. People pay taxes.” Good question.

But given the Republican Party’s messaging problem, how could they get a majority of the public to support any kind of meaningful corporate tax reform let alone abolition?  Although Americans would clearly benefit from the resulting combination of higher wages, new business creation, higher dividends, and lower product and service prices, the mainstream media instead focuses on one thing — corporate greed.

Unlike Republicans, if the Democrat Party were to suddenly be in support of eliminating the corporate income tax (I know, stay with me here), they would sell it in a way that would excite the electorate and have the American people marching in the streets demanding it.

Perhaps Republicans could attain that very same outcome by proposing a corporate tax reform plan that includes profit-sharing with employees — one that cuts the corporate tax rate by 50% and effectively abolishes it at the same time?

First, eliminate all loopholes that help enrich politicians, squander company resources on (legal) tax avoidance and give crony corporations an unfair advantage in the marketplace. Then allow businesses to either “patriotically” pay the full 35% rate on profits (we could call this the Buffett option) or instead keep 50% of the taxes due, and then distribute the remaining 50% equally among all employees. This would have the effect of a 50% tax rate cut for corporations, an immediate income increase for workers and — perhaps most importantly — keep the bulk of this supply-side money out of the mismanaging, economy-killing hands of the elites in Washington, D.C.

But what about corporations that employ large numbers of non U.S. workers? Should they be rewarded for shipping jobs overseas? In a piece over at Breitbart, Rick Manning calls for a reduction of the corporate tax based upon the number of U.S. employees the firm employs: “Eliminate all corporate tax breaks, and replace the current code with a tiered tax system based upon how many of your workers are employed in the United States.”

The same concept could be easily applied to a profit-sharing tax plan. Corporations with zero foreign workers could pay zero in taxes while businesses with seventy percent of their workforce in the U.S. would have to pay thirty percent of the taxes due and the remaining seventy percent could be kept with half of it distributed to their American employees.

While some politicians are scheming for ways to bring home the 1.4 trillion or more in corporate profits parked overseas (which would only further line their pockets as well as those of their cronies), this profit-sharing tax plan could provide for a tax holiday under the same terms and help bring back some of this money in a way that would actually stimulate the economy.

Democrats claim that they want the economy to grow; that they want to see more money in the pockets of American workers and that they want to keep American jobs from being shipped overseas. This plan would certainly move us towards accomplishing all three of those goals. 

With the labor participation rate at a record low, isn’t it time for Republicans to start being creative and — at the very least — call their bluff?  

 

 

 

 


Throwing American Foster Kids Under the Obama Bus

Immigrant Sign 2My article as originally published in American Thinker:    

Breitbart recently reported that the federal government is offering (through a Southern California charity) up to $6,000.00 per month (tax free) to house illegal immigrant children.  This should come as no surprise to those who recognize that the rainbow hovering over President Obama’s Utopia contains nothing but a full spectrum of stupidity and a pot of gold at the end in D.C.  Given this latest revelation in Obama’s growing immigration crisis, any adoption agencies currently struggling with the daunting task of placing American foster kids into good homes may wish to take heed of these developments.

Benswann.com offers some additional details:

Benswann.com called Crittenton FFA, which is located in Orange County and provides services for Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, and found that for those willing to a take in a child under the age of 16, you can receive up to $854.00 tax free per month. For those taking in a child over 16, the total is $1,008.00 per month in reimbursement. If you have a 5 bedroom house and can take in as many as 6 children, you can receive reimbursement of up to $6,054.00 per month tax free.

Perhaps not by tomorrow, but like everything else this administration touches, you can bet your bottom dollar that if expanded, this policy will eventually be met with undesirable consequences.  According to adoptuskids.org, there are currently 104,000 American kids waiting to be placed into homes.  So how will flooding the foster system with illegal immigrant children and offering a high monthly stipend to house them alter the chances of all these American children finding homes?

For the answer, just contrast the above advertised rates for illegal kids with the 2013/14 statewide foster rates for American children in California.  By housing a child 0-4, a household will be reimbursed $657.00 per month, and for children over fifteen, the rate jumps to $820.00 per month.  Those who house six older children would be reimbursed $4,920.00 per month.  So choosing to house American children instead of illegal immigrants would result in $1,134.00 of lost potential income – or, to put it another way, the monthly payments for two very nice automobiles. 

Just as misguided rent control laws result in housing shortages followed by higher rents and minimum wage laws cause surpluses of unskilled workers followed by higher unemployment rates, the laws of economics will find equilibrium here as well.  By doing this, the Obama administration is giving illegal “dreamers” the upper hand over deserving American children who are dreaming of being placed into loving homes. 

The Obama administration’s latest “solution” to an illegal immigrant crisis it created merely throws American foster kids under the Obama bus.  Unfortunately, it’s becoming crystal-clear that the underside of Obama’s bus still has room for millions more.

 

 

 


Housing Obama’s Flood of Illegal Immigrant Children

ConstitutionMy article as originally published in American Thinker:    

By now President Obama is probably wondering what to do with the influx of illegal immigrant children that are entering this country as a direct result of his previous lawless acts regarding immigration reform. This presents more of an in-your-face problem than some of his previous scandals as it’s hard to make warehouses full of idle kids just disappear. And this problem will only grow exponentially if Obama does act unilaterally on amnesty following Cantor’s defeat.  

The president’s increasingly brazen trashing of the Constitution (a certain Lord Acton quote comes to mind) seems to continually be met with Congressional yawns, so what’s to stop him from taking things a step or two further in order to “solve” his latest orchestrated crisis? The solution is really quite simple for a president with his kind of power. Obama could start by moving forward with one of his stated goals from back in 2008: 

 

We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded. 

 

So who would step up and prevent Obama from turning these illegal immigrants into “soldiers” for his civilian national security force? As to the question of where to house all of his new “national security” soldiers — that’s the easy part.  He could simply pull out his pen and cross-out that pesky 3rd Amendment. Again, who would stop him based upon what we’ve seen so far? 

 

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

 

Most opposition would become paralyzed following any Obama lecture about fairness; the U.S. being wealthiest nation on earth and how only a racist would dare oppose such a proposal.  Besides, he already told us that “our future rests” on the success of DREAM-kids.  If middle class families were to complain about any unfair burden, they could simply be reminded of how tough Hillary Clinton had it following her stint in the White House. 

Ben Shapiro sums up the situation succinctly: “President Barack Obama believes he is above the law… That’s because he is.” And it’s not just conservatives who understand who the real Obama is. Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley recently said that “Barack Obama is really the president Richard Nixon always wanted to be.”   

As for the illegal children, personally I prefer Rush’s idea of taking them to the source of all this “caring” and dropping them off within the borders of the massively wealthy zip codes that surround Washington D.C.

 

 

 


Protecting America from Smoke (and Mirror) ‘Inhalation’

My article as originally published in American Thinker:   

To continue to believe even the smallest assemblage of language emanating from the Obama White House or mainstream media – which dutifully protects the former – surely requires one to partake in the heavy smoking of a particular substance that now happens to be legal within the confines of Colorado.   

Eleanor Clift’s attempt to obfuscate the truth by claiming (with a straight face) that Ambassador Stevens “was not murdered” and instead just “died of smoke inhalation” during an attack that escalated due to “that video” is but the latest example.  Clift was talking about the anti-Muslim video that newly released e-mails show the Obama administration had mendaciously characterized as the cause of the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Jay Carney attempted to make full use of smoke and mirrors during questioning (from a press corps that still gave him friendlier treatment then any Republican would have received) about the release of the smoking-gun e-mails.  He claimed (also with a straight face) that the e-mails were not actually about Benghazi.

Being subjected to these two performances was a bit like watching the interrogation scene in the Shrek movie (minus the humor), where Pinocchio utilizes his best Clintonian linguistic skills in an unsuccessful attempt to maintain the length of his nose while answering questions.

 

Many details concerning the numerous scandals surrounding President Obama are becoming increasingly more visible through the thick haze of lies, spin, and propaganda, thanks mostly to a new media providing the American people with much-needed fresh air.  Because of this, in order to continue protecting the president, the mainstream press will need to find new ways to contort into positions that even the highest-paid ladies of the evening would be unwilling to entertain.  Is it any wonder the Democrats want to set fire to the First Amendment and silence a conservative media that consistently unveils the ever-growing nose that unmistakably defines the face of the Democrat Party?

If the Democrats, the MSM, and academia are ultimately successful in snuffing out the First Amendment, it is America that will suffer a slow painful death, following the smoke-and-mirror “inhalation” it is constantly subjected to.


Blinded by Green Energy

Blinded 1My article as originally published in American Thinker:  

Last weekend, my father-in-law took my son and me to Arizona to watch a couple of Giants games during Spring Training – an early birthday gift for my son, and a truly fabulous experience that I’m sure my soon to be ten-year-old will never forget.  But before we even made it to Arizona, I witnessed something else pretty unforgettable during the flight.  About an hour or so into our journey from Sacramento to Phoenix, I noticed three extremely bright lights off in the distance while looking through a window on the right side of the aircraft.  The lights were so intense that I thought I was looking at three miniature suns.  In all my years of flying (that route included), I had never seen anything like this before.

I had my suspicions that the lights had something to do with some sort of solar farm, and after reading an article in The Daily Caller and doing a little research using Google Maps, I realized that I was in fact a victim of the world’s largest solar thermal plant – and that I wasn’t alone:

Airplane pilots cruising over southern California have been complaining about a “nearly blinding” glare emanating from a massive government-funded solar thermal facility.

The Ivanpah solar energy plant in San Bernardino County is the world’s largest solar thermal plant and has 173,500 large mirrors that reflect sunlight onto boilers in three 459-foot towers. A feat of modern engineering — to green energy advocates, but a flying hazard to pilots.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) got two anonymous complaints in August that mentioned a “blinding glare” coming from the Ivanpah solar facility. One complaint came from a Los Angeles air traffic controller and the other from a small transport plane pilot that took off from an airport in Boulder City, Nevada.

“The FAA is aware of potential glare from solar plants and is exploring how to best alert pilots to the issue,” an FAA spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Why didn’t someone think of this before breaking ground on such an enormous project?  Well, according to the DC article, they did:

BrightSource’s environmental impact study for Ivanpah included mitigation measures for glare issues related to the site’s reflective mirrors. The aviation community actually raised such worries during the environmental review process.

Ivanpah’s environmental impact study found that the solar thermal plant could cause temporary blindness to pilots flying within 3,300 feet of the heliostats, which compromises safety. BrightSource had to develop a heliosat position plan to mitigate the potential harm from Ivanpah’s glare.

I think the study may have been off by more than a few decimal points with its estimate of pilots having to be within only 3,300 feet of the heliostats to experience temporary blindness.  When I snapped the below photo (the only one that wasn’t totally overexposed) with my phone, the aircraft was at about 35,000 feet and dozens of miles to the East of Ivanpah’s 459-foot green-‘n’-clean towers.

 

Many who are blinded by green energy don’t know about or simply ignore the heavy reliance on taxpayer subsidies and massive cronyism surrounding it.  But now, in addition to the fiscal impracticality of green energy, we have Bald Eagles being killed by ugly wind turbines and pilots being dangerously disorientated by giant solar plants – and as if the Ivanpah solar plant wasn’t causing enough trouble, it’s the very same plant that has been conveniently cooking birds before they fall to the ground.

Isn’t it interesting how green energy (and those who amass their wealth from it) gets a free pass from any of its negative impacts, unlike the economy-growing affordable energy options?  I guess those privileged to make these green omelets are permitted to break a few eggs – even if some of those eggs happen to be a protected species or are otherwise diligently protected by the TSA.

The next time I fly this route, I’ll be sure to bring along a few marshmallows to roast along the way.