Recently posted quotes:

"There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress." Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.” -Will Rogers (1879-1935)

"Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it." -James Madison (1751-1836)

"Liberty must at all hazards be supported." -John Adams (1735-1826)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Our Government is headed to far out left field

Tea Party Republicans and the Smaller Government

Hopefully we have put the question of whether the Government Shutdown was a good tactic or not by now. Somewhere between stupid and the worst idea ever is the realm where my vote resides.

On the topic of “less government”, here’s my question: Just what exactly does the Tea Party want exactly? Is it less spending? Or is it less government? Or, just maybe, is it the size of the government they are looking to reduce?

If reducing the size of government is what the Tea Party is after, there is only one way to approach this question to my way of thinking. That simply means less government by reducing the number of people involved in the government. What else could it be?

Not having the answers at my fingertips, I went to the internet. The Internet, you know, the keeper of all the information of value to any right thinking individual. My source for the data referenced here is the Office of Personnel Management (

I have to make some simple assumptions of the data represented on the website because, as usual, it is not completely self-explanatory.

First off, I have to assume that the elected officials: the President, Vice-President, Congressmen, Senators and the Justices of the Supreme Court as well as lower judicial officials are included in the numbers presented in the reported departments as represented in the data on the website. Regardless of the assumption, the numbers associated with the men and women within these categories make up a miniscule portion of the overall numbers reported on the website. So let’s move on with this assumption having little or no effect in the grand scheme of the argument.

The most recent numbers reported in OPM’s data are for the year 2011. Al data on the site is reported in the thousands, so the numbers are rounded to the closest thousand (assuming that no category has exactly 000 personnel). At the end of 2011 the Executive Branch reported 2,756,000 civilians, this number, due to the way the data is reported must also contain civilians working within the Army, Navy, etc. as the second category reported is Uniformed Military Personnel at 1,583,000.  The third (and smallest) of the reporting categories is Legislative & Judicial with 64,000 personnel. The grand total being: 4,403,000. That’s right, almost 4.5 million people are employed by us, the US tax payers.

One would naturally assume, from the general conception of government workers, that there must be some percentage of that number that are not holding up there end of the bargain. OK, maybe so, but I’m not going there. That’s a discussion for another venue.

Let’s look at the effect of some arbitrary levels of reduction. These levels are based on no real facts and are just assumptions for the sake of our discussion.

Let us assume that we reduce the government by 10%. That results in 440,300 more people on unemployment and//or the welfare rolls. Isn’t this category, loosely defined as entitlements, one of those that the Republicans are trying desperately to eliminate; more spending? But let us not stop there. Some Republicans want a 25% reduction in government. Where do they suppose the 1,100,750 will find work? There’s not that many manufacturing jobs coming back from China—not any time soon! There’s no Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps around anymore.

Reductions approached by this method just doesn’t work! To reduce the government there has to be a viable alternative. Has anyone heard of or read what the Tea Party plan is in relation to government reductions? Let’s hear the plan first. Until there is a PLAN, this ideology needs to go away, FAR away.

The Democrats and Legislation – Like it or not

Then there’s the Democrat Party questions. In the interest of equal time; I can’t leave the Dems out.

First came the Healthcare Website abomination. Every already understand that the Administration was not ready to release this fiasco upon the American populous. They knew it wasn’t ready and pretended that it was OK and would be better momentarily. Then they told us it was broke but they would have it fixed by now. We are yet to see how this worked out.

Then those letters started going out! They were being delivered at almost exactly the same time that the President was saying: “If you like it, you can keep it.” Many found this to be an UN-Truth.

From Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Posy, I read: The President calls a hasty news conference urging insurers and states to reinstate millions of such policies.  Except that he is asking them to break the law. His own law. Under Obamacare, no insurer may issue a policy after 2013 that does not meet the law’s minimum coverage requirements. These plans were canceled because they do not.

The problem here is as Krauthammer continues: “The law remains unchanged. The regulations governing that law remain unchanged. Nothing has changed except for a president to unilaterally change his own law from the White House press room. This is banana republic stuff except that there the dictator proclaims from the presidential balcony.”

Next along comes Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader with the “nuclear option.” Harry says: “Congress is broken.” Then Harry holds an “along party lines vote” to abolish a rule that has been in place for over two hundred years (1789).

From Dana Milbank of the Washington Post I read: “If Congress wasn’t broken before, it certainly is now. What Reid (Nev.) and his fellow Democrats effectively did was take the chamber of Congress that still functioned at a modest level and turn it into a clone of the other chamber, which functions not at all. They turned the Senate into the House.”

Milbank continued: “Certainly, Republicans have abused the dilatory tactics that Senate minorities have, for centuries, used with greater responsibility; they seem intent on bringing government to a halt. And the Senate in 2013 is hardly a healthy institution. Yet it has achieved far more than the House — passing bipartisan immigration legislation and a farm bill and working out deals to avoid default and to end the federal government shutdown — largely because, until Thursday, Senate rules required the majority party to win votes from the minority.”

That’s the way it was meant to work. Compromise. The Republicans are way out of line in blocking the President’s nominations; they have failed to compromise. The Framers of the Constitution added “Cloture” for a reason. The House was established to respond to popular opinion. This is why EVERY member of the House of Representatives is elected every two years—so when popular opinion changes corrections to the status quo can be effected. The Senate was established to be the longer seeing (and focused) body of the Legislative Branch. This is exactly why only one-third of its members are elected every two years for a six year term—taking a longer view of what is happening in the populous and changing within the country at large. The President falls right in the middle of the fray; elected every four years. Two-Four-Six; that’s how it works. Around this corner is the Judicial Branch with the even longer view (life) and mission of keeping everything right in accordance with the Constitutional.

Even a top member of the current Democratic administration has said: Then-Sen. Joe Biden said in 2005 when a Republican Senate majority threatened to use a similar “nuclear option” to allow a simple majority to carry the day: “The nuclear option abandons America’s sense of fair play . . . tilting the playing field on the side of those who control and own the field. I say to my friends on the Republican side: You may own the field right now, but you won’t own it forever. I pray God when the Democrats take back control, we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.”

These guys can’t and refuse to work together. So, what do we, those that are really supposed to hold the keys to the castle, do?

Let’s VOTE ‘EM ALL OUT! Let’s start with a new group the next go round. We can do that in the House. The Vote comes up next November (2014). I realize that we can’t fix the Senate completely for some time to come (6 years) but we can start with one-third next November.

How about we push that term limit thing just a little. The job was never envisioned by the Framers to be a lifelong occupation. Let’s correct that tangent as soon as we can.

Above all; how about we require all incoming members of the House and Senate to take and pass a class in American History and Government before they set foot on the floor of their respective chambers. While we are at it, let’s have those incumbents re-take the same class every three or four years.

Good place to start—don’t you think?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Comments on the Shutdown and the Debt Ceiling controversy

There has been a lot said back and forth by many, both in the know and some completely out of the know, over the Federal Government Shutdown and the ensuing Debt Limit crisis over the past six to seven months.

The hub-bub started with Texas Senator Ted Cruz stopping at nothing to remove ObamaCare from the national psyche. Although the health care reform had been the law of the land for some three years, passed by both houses of Congress, signed into law by the President, upheld by the Supreme Court and further confirmed by the re-election of Mr. Obama to the presidency.

These facts still had no impact on Mr. Cruz and his Tea Party cronies.

A like argument comes to mind—I saw this in some form the other day and establish no claim to the idea—concerning the 2nd Amendment in relation to the right to keep and bear arms.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the 
security of a free State, the right of the people 
to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Just where would Mr. Cruz stand if some upstart Democrat or far left-leaning Republican should have said they would stand against some favored legislation unless all funding was withheld from the policing of the public’s ability to keep and bear arms, buy weapons from authorized federal firearms dealers or ammunition from the local hardware store around the corner?

The law of the land is the law of the land. The job of congress is to see that these laws are carried out through the funding of the branch of government responsible to do so. They cannot pick and choose which they like and don’t like. That is not what we elected them to do.

There are established rules and procedures to tackle laws and situations that might need repealing. Once a law is a law, the responsibility to adhere to the law becomes paramount.

I keep hearing that the Health Care act is opposed by the majority. I find this hard to believe or Mr. Obama would have not been re-elected. However, this may be the case and the procedure to rectify the situation is appropriately spelled out by the constitution and those opposing the law have the right to follow the procedures just like those that put the law forward did when the act was originally passed—like it or not.

Taking a stance that puts 880,000+ Americans out of work (temporary or not, still out of work) is not appropriate and I believe will backfire on those that adopted this strategy. Just as FDR has been credited with dragging the country out of the Great Depression (while it was probably the War and not the New Deal that did so), so should the Obama administration gain credit to putting millions back to work after the Great Recession—this is how it’s done in the credit game. So should Mr. Cruz gain credit for putting the 880K out of work, even if temporary, for an ideology that was never going to win and foolhardy at best—what goes around comes around.

While the battle may be over for now, it has really only been kicked down the road and both questions will be revived in a couple of months.

Congress passes the legislation and establishes the funding for that legislation to be put into practice. Therefore, it is their responsibility to insure the bills for what they have voted into being be paid by the appropriate departments of the government carrying out the Congress’ wishes. Should Congress not want these liabilities to be generated, they have complete authority to enact legislation reducing the size of government, thereby reducing the outlay of funds. But funds that have been spent and bills that continue to be generated have to be paid.

I saw several reports coming from Britain and European journalists and they made the U. S. government look like the scum of the earth. You cannot walk the Big Stick and not live up to the Big Stick Talk!