Saturday, August 13, 2011

First Rick Perry Campaign Video

Rick Perry officially announced his Presidential bid today at the RedState Gathering. He also released his first official campaign video on Youtube.

Unions Planning Boycott of 2012 Democratic Convention

In a move that could have far-reaching implications in the Presidential race, over one dozen trade unions announced their plans to boycott the 2012 Democratic Convention to protest the selection of a site in a right-to-work state. Mark Ayers, president of the building trades unit of the AFL-CIO, wrote, "We find it troubling that the party so closely associated with basic human rights would choose a state with the lowest unionization rate in the country due to regressive policies aimed at diluting the power of workers." They were also disappointed that no union representatives were consulted prior to selecting the site.

This could have far-reaching implications in the 2012 election. The Blaze comments that the party could lose millions that could be spent on sponsorships and luxury boxes for the convention. This will force the party to make up these costs out of other funds. Furthermore, this will not motivate the strongly pro-Democrat union base, which could lead to a lower turnout at the polls in November. Both of these could spell problems for Obama and other Democrats at the polls.

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Health Care Law

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled yesterday that the "individual mandate" provision in the recent health care reform law was unconstitutional. By a 2-1 vote, the court ruled that the constitution does not allow Congress to require that individuals purchase health insurance or pay a fine. The decision sided with the 26 states challenging the law, saying that if Congress can force people to purchase insurance for their own good, it can force people to purchase other things for their own good.

The government's argument centered around the Constitutional provision allowing it to regulate interstate commerce. While interstate commerce should be controlled Congress, the argument in this case falls apart. Insurance is not interstate commerce because sales of insurance is not allowed across state lines. If regulations are relaxed to allow for interstate sales of insurance, then Congress could claim power to regulate it, though the current law would still fall short of other restrictions placed on Congress. With conflicting decision coming at both the district and appeals court levels, this case appears headed for a showdown in front of the supreme court.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Britain Considering Shutting Down Social Media

As Britain debates how to curb the riots that have taken place during the past week, Prime Minister David Cameron is reportedly considering shutting down access to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Cameron stated, "Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. So we are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality."

While I am glad that Britain is doing what it can to control the riots, this is a step that deprives everyone in Britain of freedom. First, this punishes everyone for the actions of a few. A person living near a riot area should not have their freedoms restricted because of the actions of others. Second, taking this action establishes a precedent for the nation that any emergency (and the definition of emergency could vary depending on the prime minister) warrants shutting down social media. Finally, instead of restricting social media, the police need to be using it to assist with protection and identification of criminals. Shutting down social media establishes a dangerous precedent, a precedent that does not need to be established in Britain, and a precedent that does not need to be followed elsewhere.

Do We Need a New Constitution?

I came across a site today that detailed a convention for a new constitution being hosted by Harvard Law School. This would be done within the confines of the constitution, following the provisions for amendment as the method for proposing a new constitution.

Perhaps instead of creating a new constitution, we should just follow the one we have. While Congressmen and Senators have made quite a deal out of taking the Constitution with them, it appears that few have read it or followed it. So much of what Congress does is outside the lines established by our founding document, but no one seems to care. It is time to bring the government back to where it is supposed to be: limited with rights reserved to the states and people.

Jay Carney Says Unemployment Checks Create Jobs

If unemployment checks create jobs, then why not send everyone an unemployment check and let them create jobs? If government creates jobs, why not send everyone to work for the government? It is not the government's job to create jobs; it is the government's job to get out of the way so that businesses can create jobs.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Obamacare to Fund Healthcare for 'Migrant' Workers

The Department of Health and Human Services is planning to award $8.5 million to fund community health centers that will serve 'migrant workers'. However, these centers will not check the immigration status of its patients and will be required to serve everyone who walks through its doors. Health Resources and Services Administration Spokeswoman Judy Andrews told, "Health centers do not, as a matter of routine practice, ask about or collect data on citizenship or other matters not related to the treatment needs of the patients seeking health services at the center."

However, in just over two years, all citizens will be paying for healthcare, and if allowed to continue, it will eventually be a single-payer system as President Obama desires. If only citizens and residents are paying for healthcare, then only citizens and residents should receive healthcare. Therefore, under the program for which these clinics are receiving funds, they should be checking immigration status.

Court Says Police Cannot Use Your Cell Phone To Track You

A new ruling in a Federal Court in Maryland says that police are not allowed to use cell phone location data in order to locate a criminal suspect for arrest. The decision was issued in regard to a request from police regarding one case, but in the time that the judge was contemplating the request, the suspect was arrested without using the phone information. At the heart of the decision is the Fourth Amendment and the expectation of privacy. The court's decision says that you have an expectation of privacy when within a non-public location, and to use cell phone data to "prove" that you are in that location would be a violation of the expectation of privacy. You can read the full 57-page ruling here.

This request shows that the law has clearly not kept up with developments in technology. There are no clear rules on what police can and cannot do, so judges are often left to decide what is constitutionally appropriate. In the particular circumstances of this case, I would tend to side with the police, since the suspect did have a warrant for arrest. However, in the absence of legislation or a decision from a higher court, it is nice to see the court decide in favor of more freedom.

CNN Poll: Majority Want Spending Cuts and Tax Increases

A new CNN poll says that a majority of Americans want the new Super Committee to include deep spending cuts and tax hikes for the wealthy as part of its proposal. Some highlights of the poll's results include:

63% support increasing taxes on higher-income Americans and on businesses
57% support major cuts in domestic spending
53% oppose major cuts in military spending
64% oppose major changes to Social Security and Medicare
87% oppose tax increases for middle and lower class Americans

You can download the full poll results from CNN here.

Ten TSA Outrages

Need a reason to stop flying? Read ten stories of passengers deprived of their freedoms while dealing the TSA. Available at the National Review.

The New Buzz in Hollywood

The latest news coming out of Hollywood is about a movie scheduled to open in October 2012. The movie will be a dramatized version of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. However, The Pentagon has confirmed that screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow will be given access to classified information in order to produce the film. Rep. Peter King (D-NY) stated,
"The Administration’s first duty in declassifying material is to provide full reporting to Congress and the American people, in an effort to build public trust through transparency of government. In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history."

The timing of this movie is obviously an attempt by the movie industry to prop up Obama right before the election. The word from Hollywood is that this was an attempt to imitate The Social Network, which was released in October 2010 and won three Oscars. But as The Blaze points out, why not imitate The King's Speech, which was released in December 2010 and won four Oscars. However, the release of classified information for use in this film is concerning. We are placing secrets of our intelligence community and military at risk for the sake of money, or in Obama's case, the sake of propping up his image. I do not have a problem with the idea of the movie, but it is too soon to be releasing our intelligence.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

California Considering Abolishing Open Carry of Firearms

It is technically possible to get a concealed carry permit in California, but only .1% of the state's population have been granted the permit. For the remaining 99.9% of Californians, open carry is allowed as long as the weapon is unloaded. However, politicians are attempting to change that provision, and if successful, it will spell the end of the Second Amendment in the state.

If California allows this to pass, then expect to see what's happening in England occur in the state. Since guns are banned, people have no way to defend their property against the rioters. They must simply hide out until the riots have passed. Gun control only works when guns do not exist. Once they exist, the criminals will find a way to get them whether or not it is illegal.

GOP Holds Senate in Recall Elections

As the Wisconsin recall elections continued yesterday, four of six republicans facing recall won, guaranteeing that the Wisconsin Senate would remain in Republican hands. Democrats picked up the other two seats, changing a 19-14 Republican majority into a slim 17-16 majority. However, two Democrats face recalls next week, and should the Republicans win the two seats the majority could shift back to its original number.

Nebraska Attorney General Compares Welfare Recipients to Raccoons

While his analogy makes sense, this was not probably a smart thing to say politically since he's running for Nebraska's senate seat next year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Will Tax Incentives Be The New Revenues

With debate over raising revenue still alive as we prepare for the committee to begin work on its proposal, one possible compromise could be to cut subsidies and deductions in the tax code. Fox News reports that eliminating all tax breaks could raise revenues by $1.3 trillion. The largest four deductions are deductions for employer-provided health insurance ($282 billion), home mortgage interest ($89 billion), retirement savings ($63 billion), and charitable contributions ($40 billion). However, there are also entitlements that are run through the tax code, such as the earned income credit and child care deductions. Some or all of these could see their end as this new committee works toward a proposal.

Leaders Solve Problems, Cowards Affix Blame

Great article on leaders and cowards now available at RedState. Which one is our President?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Is This the Type of President We Want?

Here's a graph of the Dow Jones Industrial Average throughout the day:

Notice that on the graph, there was an initial drop (which would be expected). By 11:30 however, the market settled at around a 250-300 point drop until a little after 1:30. Then, it dropped another 100 points and early in the next hour, it dropped again by another 100. A short recovery around 3:00 was then followed by an almost 300 point drop to close the hour.

The President gave his remarks on the downgrade just a little after 1:30. The second major drop in the day took place within an hour of those remarks, and except for a 15-20 minute period around 3:00 that was counteracted immediately afterward, the market did not mount a recovery effort for the rest of the day. The market wanted--and needed--a President that would give us confidence and reassurance. The market wanted to hear the President describe a plan to lead us out of this recession and restore our AAA rating. Instead, we got a typical Barack Obama speech: deny the facts, blame others, and advance your own political agenda. Is this lack of leadership the type of leadership we need? Is this the type of leadership we should want?

Good Question

The Story of Spending

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Random Story of the Day

I was reading a story on The Blaze today about the Verizon strike. However, when I looked to the right of the article, I saw a very well-chosen ad.

Here's the new advertising slogan: "Fed up with striking Verizon employees? Switch to AT&T!"

Liberal Responses to the S&P Downgrade

Liberals have responded to the S&P downgrade in their usual manner: blame the Republicans. Here's some examples of what liberals had to say this weekend.

Senator John Kerry: "I believe this is without question the Tea Party downgrade. This is the Tea Party downgrade because a minority of people in the House of Representatives countered even the will of many Republicans in the United States Senate who were prepared to do a bigger deal, to do $4.7 trillion or $4 trillion..."

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner: "[S&P] handled themselves very poorly. And they've shown a stunning lack of knowledge about the basic U.S. fiscal budget math."

Obama Administration Adviser David Axelrod: "We can debate the strength of the analysis that they did, the history of S&P and so on. They made an egregious analytical error here but theirs was largely a political analysis. ... For months, the president was saying, let’s get together, let’s compromise. We thought we had such an arrangement with the Speaker of the House… then he went back to his caucus; he had to yield to the most strident voices in his party. They played brinksmanship with the full faith and credit of the United States. This was the result in that."

Washington Post Columnist George Will: "Standard and Poor would have forfeited it’s good reputation, if it had a good reputation to forfeit these days. ...If you read what they actually said it’s a kind of half-baked political analysis criticizing the American system of government and how it works now. They’re entitled to their opinion on our politics, but their opinion isn’t entitled to any particular respect.

The Future of Social Security

Once that line begins to fall, the federal budget will have to make up for the deficit by paying back the bonds it issued to the trust fund. Since the government has spent that money, it will have to come from our federal taxes. Once the line falls below zero, there will be nothing left in the trust fund.

China Says U.S. Must Cure Addiction to Debt

Responding to the recent downgrade, China demanded Saturday that America stop its "addiction to debt." China owns the largest amount of U.S. Treasury debt, currently approximately $1.2 Trillion. The state-owned Xinhua News Agency said, "The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone." Xinhua went on to say, "China, the largest creditor of the world’s sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States to address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets." It will not be long before China attempts to assert more authority over the United States. We must remember that the borrower is servant to the lender and change our course soon enough.

Small Business Owner Says Obama Needs to Apologize for Economy

Businesswoman Amilya Antonetti gave a great talk on a Cavuto special today. She talked about how business cannot trust the Obama administration, there is no true leadership on the economy in Washington, and that President Obama should apologize for not leading the country to success. When Cavuto says that the President would claim he inherited a mess, she responds by saying "I inherit a mess every day as the CEO of my company."