Issues of the Day
“This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future.”
~~~ Adolf Hitler, 1935
“The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.”
~~~ Thomas Jefferson
Starting tomorrow Issues of the Day will not publish for a few days. Please check back from time to time. Thanks, Moe Lauzier
Starting tomorrow Issues of the Day will not publish for a few days. Please check back from time to time. Thanks, Moe Lauzier
By DICK MORRIS
Click Here To Sign The Petition To Reject The Proposal To Bypass The Electoral College!
A plan, now stealthily making its way through state legislatures with astonishing speed, would junk the Electoral College and award the presidency to the winner of the popular vote.
The plan involves an Interstate Compact where states would commit to select electors pledged to vote for the national popular vote winner regardless of how their own state voted. When enough states pass this law -- sufficient to cast 270 votes for the a majority of the Electoral College -- it will take effect.
The Electoral College will become a vestigial anachronism.
So far, nine states and D.C. -- casting 136 electoral votes -- have joined -- half way to the 270 needed to put the compact into effect. The ratifying states are: Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, DC, Vermont, California, and Rhode Island.
Both houses in New York have passed it and it's on Governor Cuomo's desk.
And, it has already passed one house in: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon. These states, plus New York represent 107 votes. Combined with the others they are up to 242 votes. They need 270.
Who is pushing this?
All of the ratifying voted for Obama as did eight of the ten one house states.
The Movement is funded, in part, by the Center for Voting and Democracy, a George Soros-funded election group.
Essentially, it is an end run around the regular constitutional amending process. Rather than get a two-thirds majority of each house of Congress and three-quarters of the states, this proposal would take effect when a simple majority approve it.
Why are Democrats pushing this plan?
Democrats usually see a smaller percentage of their people go to the polls than Republicans do.
Under the electoral vote system, they figure why beat the drums to get a high turnout in New York City when the state will go Democrat anyway? But, if it's the popular vote that matters, the big city machines can do their thing -- with devastating impact.
And think of the chances for voter fraud! Right now, the biggest cities, the ones most firmly in Democratic control (e.g. Washington DC, New York, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, etc.) are all solidly in blue states. Not only does this make it unnecessary to maximize turnouts there, but it also makes it unnecessary to promote double voting, fraudulent voting, and all the other tricks of the trade at which Democrats excel.
But if the popular vote determines who will be the next president, we can bet that the machines will be out in force lining up voters, real and phony, to pad their statistics.
Some Republicans, particularly in non-swing states, are inclined to back the proposal simply so that they get their fair share of attention. They are tired of delegating to Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Virginia, et al the power to choose the president. And they can't remember when a candidate for that office last favored their state with his presence.
But don't let our Attention Deficit Disorder lead us to give away the store. The popular vote is what the Democrats do best. Fighting them on it is, in Winston Churchill's words, "like going into the water to fight the shark."
Republicans need to kill this proposal and they better get busy doing it. Some small states are backing it because they are tired of all the attention being focused on swing states. But Republicans must stand firm and not yield to the temptation to back it.
How can we stop the Democrats from ravaging our political system? The key battles are coming up in Arkansas and North Carolina. In both states, one house has passed the Compact. We need to stand firm in these two red states and block the Compact from taking effect. Republicans in Minnesota and Wisconsin, both blue states, need to stop ratification in their states.
And, Republicans should focus on stopping the second house from ratification in those states where only one house has acted.
Our democracy depends on it.
Please sign this petition to Reject The Proposal To Bypass The Electoral College!
Click Here To Sign The Petition To Reject The Proposal To Bypass The Electoral College!
Gallup: 52% of Americans Say Federal Income Taxes Too High
Just in time for tax deadline day, a new Gallup poll finds that a majority of Americans -- 52 percent -- say they pay too much federal income tax, while 42 percent say they amount they pay is "about right." Three percent said their federal taxes are "too low."
Gallup says the percentage who say their taxes are "too high" has hovered around 50 percent since 2003, although the current 52 percent is up from the 46 percent who said "too high" two years ago.
While a slim majority of Americans say their federal tax burden is too high, roughly the same percentage (54 percent) also say their taxes are fair. However, the view that taxes are fair is becoming less common, and, at 54 percent this year, is down to its lowest point since 2001 -- after peaking at 64 percent in 2003.
Looking at the partisan divide, Democrats were the only group in which a majority, 55 percent, said their taxes are "about right." A majority of Republicans and independents said their taxes are "too high." Furthermore, Democrats (69 percent) were significantly more likely than Republicans (46 percent) and independents (51 percent) to say their taxes are fair.
Six in 10 upper-income Americans -- those earning $75,000 or more annually -- believe their taxes are too high, and the majority consider what they pay unfair. By contrast, barely half of middle- and lower-income Americans think their taxes are too high, and the majority consider them fair.
The bottom line: Gallup says the slight increase this year in Americans' views that their taxes are too high may reflect an actual increase in taxes, either direct or indirect, especially among upper-income Americans.
The uptick also may reflect overall discontent with the federal government, Congress, and the Affordable Care Act, Gallup said.
"As political leaders discuss ways to simplify the tax code, the federal government also may want to revisit the amount of money Americans pay in taxes," Gallup concluded.
Gallup based its poll results on telephone interviews conducted April 3-6, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,026 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Social Security halts effort to collect decades old debts
The Social Security Administration is suspending a program in which thousands of people were having their tax refunds seized to recoup overpayments that happened more than a decade ago.
Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said Monday she has directed an immediate halt to the program while the agency does a review.
Social Security recipients and members of Congress complained that people were being forced to repay overpayments that were sometimes paid to their parents or guardians when they were children.
"While this policy of seizing tax refunds to repay decades-old Social Security overpayments might be allowed under the law, it is entirely unjust," Democratic Sens. Senators Barbara Boxer of California and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland said in a letter to Colvin.
After Colvin's announcement, Boxer said in a statement: "I am grateful that the Social Security Administration has chosen not to penalize innocent Americans while the agency determines a fair path forward on how to handle past errors."
The Social Security Administration says it has identified about 400,000 people with old debts. They owe a total of $714 million.
So far, the agency says it has collected $55 million.
The program was authorized by a 2008 change in the law that allows Social Security and other federal agencies to use a Treasury program to seize federal payments to recoup debts that are more than 10 years old. Previously, there was a 10-year limit on using the program.
In most cases, the seizures are tax refunds.
Colvin said she was suspending the program "pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law to refer debt to the Treasury Department."
"If any Social Security or Supplemental Security Income beneficiary believes they have been incorrectly assessed with an overpayment under this program, I encourage them to request an explanation or seek options to resolve the overpayment," Colvin said.
The Washington Post first reported on the program.
There are several scenarios in which people may have received overpayments as children. For example, when a parent of a minor child dies, the child may be eligible for survivor's benefits, which are typically sent to the surviving parent or guardian.
If there was an overpayment made on behalf of the child, that child could be held liable years later, as an adult.
Also, if a child is disabled, he or she may receive overpayments. Those overpayments would typically be taken out of current payments, once they are discovered.
But if disability payments were discontinued because the child's condition improved, Social Security could try to recoup the overpayments years later.
"We want to assure the public that we do not seek restitution through tax refund offset in cases when the debt in question was established prior to the debtor turning 18 years of age," Social Security spokesman Mark Hinkle said in an email. "Also, we do not use tax refund offset to collect the debt of a person's relative — we only use it to collect the overpaid benefits the person received for himself or herself."
Hinkle said the debt collection could be waived if the person is without fault and repayment would "deprive the person of income needed for ordinary living expenses or would be unfair for another reason."
Isn't the entire country a free speech zone?
We are seeing something quite disturbing going on in this country. Each day we are losing our rights, and most people don't even realize it. The problem is accelerating. We see more and more blatant actions by the government, and people must stand up and do something. The latest action is the establishment of so-called "free speech zones."
The prime example of this government overreach comes from the actions of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and its attempts to get a Nevada rancher to remove his cattle from public lands. Many people confronted law enforcement officials to peacefully protest the actions, but the protesters were told they could only speak out in certain areas.
Here's the report from ABC 13 News in Las Vegas:
It's frustrating that the reporter, during her Skype interview, immediately put the rancher on the defensive by posing the idea that public "safety" is a valid reason for restricting First Amendment rights. That is always the fallback position for the government... that they are doing these things for our own good.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in the report that he contacted federal officials about the conduct of the BLM in Nevada.
Most disturbing to me is the BLM's establishment of a 'First Amendment Area' that tramples upon Nevadans' fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution.
To that end, I have advised the BLM that such conduct is offensive to me and countless others and that the 'First Amendment Area' should be dismantled immediately.
No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans.
The limits on free speech are not just for those on the ground. The BLM also established a"no fly" (anti-free speech) zone over the controversial grazing area, so that news helicopters cannot cover the story.
Although the actions of the BLM are the most outrageous, examples of the erosion of our constitutional rights are widespread. As reported in an Associated Press story on GOPUSA.com, colleges around the country have come under fire for trying to establish "free speech zones."
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says about six in 10 colleges nationwide have policies that violate First Amendment rights -- and about one in six impose "free speech zones" like the policy at issue in the Virginia (Community College System ) case -- even though such restrictions rarely survive constitutional challenges.
Free-speech advocates find it troubling that, despite the court rulings, many public colleges persist in squelching student expression.
"Colleges and universities are supposed to be a marketplace of ideas and should be encouraging debate," David Hacker of the Christian legal advocacy organization Alliance Defending Freedom said. Instead, he said, too many are worried about offending someone.
"If you go through four years of college and haven't been offended, you should ask for your money back," said Robert Shibley, senior vice president of FIRE. He said the only people who support speech restrictions "are those on campus who think it will make their jobs easier."America is one big free speech zone. That principle is one of the foundations of this country. It's up to all of us to make sure the government (whether that means federal, state, or some kind of governing organization) knows it!
Democrat Says She is not a Victim
By Salena Zito Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)
She gave a dramatic eye-roll in reaction to all of the fuss that Democrats and the president attempted to create over equal pay for women last week.
A Democrat herself, she said she has carved out a decent, comfortable life for her family over the years as a waitress at a local restaurant.
"I am in many ways my own boss," she explained. "It is up to me to get the order right, treat people well, and use my personal skills to increase my wages."
And she is "sick and tired of my party treating me like a victim. This is not 1970, and it's insulting."
Then she elbowed the waiter standing beside her, who joked that, despite being younger, he has to work twice as hard to keep up with her earnings.
This woman's frustration with Democrats comes from social and traditional media flooded with tweets, emails and news reports, and from the president himself, all pushing the message that he will protect women from evil Republicans who want to keep her gender from its rightful earning power.
The president, she said, "is trying to create a wedge issue when there isn't one. Why can't he focus on things people are really concerned about, like bringing back lost jobs, a tangible thing that has affected housing, communities, tax bases and schools?"
Last Tuesday, President Obama signed an executive order encouraging federal contractors to pay men and women the same amount of money for the same amount of work.
He claimed that women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men -- a very broad statement and, in many ways, false, according to a Labor Department analysis showing that when you factor in job experience, education and hours worked, the difference in median wages between men and women shrinks to 5 to 7 cents on the dollar.
White House officials had no problem using that same Labor Department analysis to explain away their own 88-cent wage gap between female and male staffers. But they failed to mention it once in all of their press releases, or in Obama's speech.
Instead, the president scolded: "This isn't just about treating women fairly. This is about Republicans seemingly opposing any efforts to even the playing field for working families. I don't know why you would resist the idea that women should be paid the same as men and then deny that that's not always happening out there."
The White House took that a step further, suggesting that only women should ask White House press secretary Jay Carney about gender equality, as if only women can cover gender issues. White House communications person Jennifer Palmieri tweeted that "6 of the 7 news organizations sent men to ask the press secretary about the problem of gender pay equity."
Apparently she didn't notice that White House spokesman Carney is a man. According to her line of thinking, if only women should ask questions about gender issues, then only a woman should answer them.
Who in the real world thinks this way?
Barack Obama has divided this country since the beginning of his presidency. He has not been transformative; instead, he has indulged one special-interest group after another -- women in this case, but also blacks, young people, the lesbian-gay-transgender community and Hispanics in earlier instances.
He has governed by sliced-and-diced division, fear, secrecy and resentment, all accented with toothless executive orders used as political weapons.
This is definitely not the transparent and compassionate administration that he promised.
Maybe this is what happens when you over-promise, or maybe this is who Barack Obama is.
Or maybe this is what you do as president when you face an even more crushing defeat in your second midterm election cycle than you did in your first.
Women typically vote for Democrats. So I guess this is the time to try to manipulate my gender with false information, to get them to do what you want in the next election.
But at least one woman isn't falling for it again. She is busy out-hustling her male counterparts at a local restaurant because, as she said, "I have plans for a comfortable retirement."
It is not just Markos of Daily Kos infamy claiming the Left has won the culture war. The Week's Matt Lewis is saying the same. Yeah, they are both kinda trolling. So 'scuse me while I take the bait. Let's start with the biggie: same-sex marriage.
Yes, polls show gay marriage is breaking out all over, but when put to a vote same-sex marriage has lost (even in California) much more often than not. Furthermore, gay marriage is not being legalized through popular opinion or demand, it is being legalized through activist judges. There is no question that attitudes have changed dramatically towards homosexuals getting gay-married. But the difference between what opinion polls and actual votes have produced should give The Culture Conquerors some pause.
Granted, many of the referendums passed in favor of traditional marriage some years back probably wouldn’t today. But it is still absurd to call the entire culture war over when you have to rely on autocratic judges to get your way because there is no Civil Rights-style uprising in favor of gay marriage. There is a lot of whining and bullying and cry-babying and media bias pushing gay marriage. But no one is taking it to the streets, or even the ballot box.
Bottom line: Gay marriage has had to be forced on an American people that is either indifferent or opposed. A win's a win, I guess, but it's an ugly and divisive win that did not come with popular acceptance.
The silliest part of The Culture War Is Over talk is the lack of historical context. During the hedonistic Roaring 20's and the Dirty Filthy Hippie 60's, the Left was probably pretty sure they had won the culture wars. Then post-war America and the 80's happened.
And even today…
1. While judges are legalizing gay marriage, Christianity is making a major comeback in the free market of entertainment.
2. While pot is being legalized in a few states, the pro-abortion movement is on its heels in a majority of states and in opinion polls.
3. While television shows become more sex-driven, elsewhere on television the masculine male is making a comeback on wildly popular reality shows that celebrate the working class and their traditional values.
4. While Colbert wins David Letterman's spot, Jimmy Fallon figured out he had to remain apolitical if he wanted to remain number one.
5. While the rise of the weak, neurotic, man-child metrosexual-nerd dominates one forgettable movie after another, a new Golden Age in television has brought us an assembly line of flawed but masculine anti-heroes -- "real men" protagonists like Jack Bauer, Don Draper, Walter White, Raylan Givens, Tony Soprano, the cast of The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire, and even House of Cards.
6. While Miley twerks and MTV baby-mamas, unions and the union mentality are dying.
7. While the left-wing mainstream media figures out how to survive, conservative media is on the upswing.
8. While the gaystapo makes war against those who don't wish to celebrate the gay-married, the demand for charter schools and school choice grows.
9. While we're paying for Sandra Fluke's right to birth control, we're prevailing on our Second Amendment civil rights in ways unimagined just ten years ago.
10. While our federal government is constructing Orwellian First Amendment Zones, the Supreme Court is slowly suffocating the campaign finance laws that gave our government, union and media overseers a near-monopoly on political speech.
11. Occupy is dead. The Tea Party lives.
Moreover, we live in a culture that will never again (or at least in the foreseeable future) spit on the American Serviceman or get weak-kneed on crime. Those are seismic wins for the political Right. Young people might find this hard to believe, but forty years ago the Left was all about coddling violent criminals and denigrating our fighting men as "baby killers."
Markos is right about one thing, and he's pretty excited about it:
For a crowd that flinches at any notion of sex, it's gotta be impossible to escape sexual imagery, from advertising to media to Miley Cyrus' latest whatever-the-hell she is doing.
Yes, Markos, you've done it: our culture is now so grotesquely coarse that young women publicly degrading and exploiting themselves is acceptable and profitable.
Take a bow.
But while you're patting yourself on the back with one hand and doing I don't want to know what with the other, consider reading a book. We saw the same during the Roaring 20's. It didn't last.
You see, it's not just the American culture but the human condition itself that is cyclical. Anyone who understands American and world history -- hell, anyone who is my age understands this.
I'm old enough to remember San Francisco liberals spitting on soldiers and our flag. Today Nancy Pelosi knows that she has to speak openly about patriotism and her support for our troops. She even talks about Jesus.
History proves that the culture ebbs and it flows. Times change and then they change back. American Christianity wanes (as it is now) and then it surges. In the long run on that particular point, my money is on a fella named Francis, not Barack.
The Right has won some culture battles. The Left has won some culture battles. The war, however, rages on. And as things stand right now, let me just say that if "losing" means that in ten years millions are gay-married while the abomination of abortion is halfway through its last gap, feel free to throw me in the briar patch.
Attorney: School's overreaction to pocket knife may destroy teen's future
By Bob Kellogg,
An Ohio high school student is fighting to save his dream of serving in the Army after his school found a folding pocket knife in his car and had him jailed.
Jordan Wiser, a senior at Ashtabula County Technical School in Jefferson, was charged in December with illegal conveyance of a weapon – a three-inch pocket knife – onto school grounds. In addition to the knife, which he uses in EMT training, authorities also found an Airsoft gun during the search of his vehicle. He told Fox News that when he declined to allow the search and requested to speak to either his attorney or his father, he was told "it wasn't an option."
John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, says the school overacted and completely mishandled the situation.
"What should have happened here, if there was concern, the school officials should have called him in [along with] his parents; sat down and talked to him, get a frame of reference of where's this kid at," the attorney suggests. "You'd have found out right away, after some of the stuff I've watched on him, he's just a normal kid."
School officials said they had probable cause to search the teenager's car based on a message he had posted on an online forum – and probable cause, says the student handbook, opens the door for officials to conduct a search. Possession of the knife on campus was a violation of the school's zero-tolerance policy.
The 18-year-old's career dreams are now at risk because of the incident, says the attorney. "He's looking forward to a future of public service ... [but] he spent 13 days in jail and I believe it was a $50,000 bond he was put on – like he was a common criminal," says Whitehead. The teen was released from jail on Christmas Eve following his completion of a psychological evaluation and being fitted with an ankle monitor.
Wiser was enrolled in the Army's Future Soldier Training System program, but the Army has discharged him pending a "not guilty" verdict or dropped charges. He has been charged with a felony and is scheduled to face a jury trial in early June. If convicted, he would be prevented from being in the military or being a policeman or fireman – all of which were in his future plans. He was scheduled to begin Army training in August.