Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Senate

$100 Billion in Improper Welfare Payments Uncovered

News that the federal government spends $100 billion improperly caused barely a ripple in light of its enormous budget and the continuous flow of revelations of such waste and corruption that have provided journalists with full-time careers in tracking them down and writing about them.

$100 billion is less than 3 percent of the federal government’s annual budget and most observers are probably happy that it isn’t any worse than that. Two such journos at National Review uncovered

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More Hidden Costs of Obamacare Coming to Light

The latest tally shows that Obamacare enrollments are just over 2 million, falling far short of the estimated 3.3 million expected to sign up by January 1st, and putting into serious doubt the goal of 7 million by the end of March.

At first blush, it’s the premiums. Many are learning to their dismay that

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1.3 million Lose Federal Unemployment Benefits, Another 2 million to Follow

Because the budget deal signed into law last week didn’t extend federal unemployment benefits, some 1.3 million people won’t be getting their $1,166 monthly checks, starting in January. By June another 1.9 million will be cut off.

Keynesians are sputtering nonsense about the need to extend benefits. President Obama called it an

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Senator Tom Coburn’s “Holier-than-Thou” release of his 2013 “Wastebook”

In Tuesday’s press release Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced the publication of his annual “Wastebook” which highlights Congress’ “most egregious spending” while at the same time distancing himself from the big spenders and earmarkers in Congress who provided fodder for his book:

While politicians in Washington spent much of 2013 complaining about sequestration’s impact on domestic programs and our national defense, we still managed to provide benefits to the Fort Hood shooter, study romance novels, help the State Department buy Facebook fans and even help NASA study Congress…

What’s lacking is the common sense and courage in Washington to make those choices – and passage of fiscally-responsible bills – possible.

Coburn then provided some teasers out of the 100 examples in his Wastebook:

The Popular Romance Project has received nearly $1 million from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) since 2010 to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs and internet fan fiction…

The military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of useable vehicles and other military equipment [in Afghanistan] … rather than sell it or ship it back home…

In January, 2013, Congress passed a bill to provide $60.4 billion for [victims of] Hurricane Sandy. However, instead of rushing aid to the people who need it most, state-level officials … spent [$65 million of it] on tourism-related TV ads…

Since NASA is no longer conducting space flights, they have plenty of time and money to fund … the “Green Ninja” in which a man dressed in a Green Ninja costume teaches children about global warming.

While promoting his book recently on CBS News, Coburn tried to distance himself from any responsibility for such “egregious spending” by asking rhetorically: “Where was the adult in the room when this was going on?” Interviewer Nancy Cordes then asked if any of his previous editions of Wastebook had made any impact or had reduced or eliminated any of the more outrageous examples of waste:

Cordes: Have you ever gotten any traction in Congress, where members say “We’re actually going to get rid of this?”

Coburn: No. They don’t pay attention to it. It’s hard work to get rid of junk, it’s hard work to do oversight, it’s hard word to hold agencies accountable. And so what they would rather do is look good at home, get re-elected, and continue to spend money, and that’s Republican and Democrat alike.

What Cordes failed to ask at that moment would have been the perfect follow-on question:

How does your effort, then, and your voting record, separate you from them? Doesn’t this Wastebook of yours cost a lot of taxpayer money? Isn’t this part of your attempt to look good at home while providing cover for your own votes for some of these projects? Isn’t this part of your attempt to continue to get reelected?

Unfortunately there is no record of Cordes asking, or of Coburn’s response. But in July 2007 when Coburn criticized pork-barrel spending by Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson that would benefit Nelson’s son’s employer with millions of dollars of taxpayer money, newspapers in both Nebraska and Oklahoma noted that Coburn himself failed to criticize similar earmarks that he voted for that benefited his own state of Oklahoma.

In May, 2012 Coburn voted for H.R. 2072, to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank with increased lending limits backed by taxpayer monies from $100 billion to $140 billion. According to analysts assessing his vote, the federal government has no constitutional authority to risk taxpayers’ money “to provide loans the private sector considers too risky to provide.” Those analysts added:

Indeed, U.S. government-backed export financing is a form of corporate welfare, and if the Ex-Im Bank goes bust (as happened to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the taxpayers will get stuck holding the bag.

Perhaps Coburn can be forgiven for not knowing that such wasteful spending is part of a plan to reduce America’s influence in the world, first clearly laid out when Coburn was just 10 years old, in 1958 in Indianapolis, Indiana. At a meeting in December, candy maker Robert Welch spoke for three days to some friends about the direction the country was headed, claiming it was part of a plan to “surrender American sovereignty, piece-by-piece and step-by-step, to various international organizations…”. Part one of that plan was:

Greatly expanded government spending for every conceivable means of getting rid of ever larger sums of American money as wastefully as possible.

Other parts included:

Higher and then much higher taxes…

An increasingly unbalanced budget despite the higher taxes…

Greatly increased socialistic controls over every operation of our economy and every activity of our daily lives. This is to be accompanied naturally and automatically by a correspondingly huge increase in the size of our bureaucracy and in both the cost and reach of our domestic government.

Coburn’s report illustrates the success of that plan to which he himself is contributing. The man has feet of clay. He not only is the author of Wastebook but a contributor to it as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Ryan is a pragmatist after all

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, December 13th, 2013:

The old saying, “The measure of a man is the size of the thing that gets his goat” certainly applies now to the erstwhile conservative Republican from Wisconsin, Rep. Paul Ryan. Working in closed-door sessions with liberal Democrats over the past two weeks, Ryan has finally revealed the size of his goat:

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First anniversary of Newtown shooting punctuated by anti-gun protests

On Saturday, the first anniversary of the ghastly unprovoked attack on innocents at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, last year, anti-gun rallies are being held in 35 states in an attempt to energize the push for more gun controls. Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America which will be ringing bells across the land in its “Silence No More” memorial rallies, said:

Moms won’t be silent anymore. Something changed after Sandy Hook. We can’t unring the bell, and we will be heard.

This is not the America I want for my children.

At the moment Watts’ efforts are being challenged by a rising tide of resistance. In April President Obama was visibly angry over

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Ryan-Murray debt agreement gives away sequester cuts, sells out tea party conservatives

In announcing the budget agreement hashed out during secret negotiations over the past two weeks, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said:

I’m proud of this agreement. It reduces the deficit without raising taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter way. It’s a firm step in the right direction…

This was for public consumption. In fact, now that the agreement has passed the House and will likely shortly pass the Senate, it will

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Illinois pension reform is no permanent fix

When Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan opened debate over his bill designed to solve the state’s $100 billion shortfall in funding four of its five public pension plans, he said:

There will be changes here, much-needed changes, but this bill is a well-thought-out bill, a well-balanced bill that deserves the support of this body, the state Senate, and the approval of Governor Quinn.

Something’s got to be done. We can’t go on dedicating so much of our resources to this one sector of pensions.

Madigan instead birthed a

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Third Colorado State Senator Resigns to Avoid Being Recalled

In anticipation that the recall movement that had successfully ousted two other Colorado state senators over gun control issues this past summer was about to overwhelm a third, state senator Evie Hudak abruptly resigned on Wednesday, rather than face a recall. By resigning, under Colorado law her successor must be appointed by the Democrat party, thus preserving a one-vote margin in the senate. If she had been ousted, she likely would have been replaced with a Republican.

The recall movement claimed it had 18,900 valid signatures which it was going to submit to the Colorado state’s secretary on Monday, and it was becoming more and more obvious that Hudak

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Obama continues to drop in polls, opening up Senate races in 2014

President Obama’s luster as leader of the Democrat party continues to fade as one after another poll shows declining ratings in the areas of competence and trust. The latest Quinnipiac poll taken among Ohio voters which was released on Wednesday showed his job approval rating there dropping to the lowest

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Tea Party Accepts Challenge from Obama to “Win an Election!”

The president couldn’t resist spiking the ball after scoring his “keep the status quo” touchdown earlier this week in his remarks on Thursday:

You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election!

That is exactly what conservative challengers are doing to those perceived to have

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Mixed Reactions to New Law Reopening Government

Once the 11th-hour vote to avoid the potential default was passed by the Senate and the House and signed into law by President Obama, key players in the game of fiscal chicken just ended began issuing their justifications and frustrations. That game, variously called “political brinkmanship”, a “temporary fix”, “a temporary ceasefire” and “a political achievement for Obama”, does everything the president wanted while

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US Government Shutdown Not Likely to Break Belgium’s Record of 589 Days

With news that the partial US government shutdown won’t be resolved for at least the next two weeks, and will then only likely end when the debt limit crisis forces it, commentators have resurrected the history of the last government shutdown during the Clinton administration. But little if any media attention is being paid to the longest government shutdown,

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Glitches, as Anticipated, Plague First Day of Obamacare

California insurance broker Jason Andrew planned to help a couple of his clients sign up for Obamacare on Tuesday, the first day of the federal health care roll out, but couldn’t, for two reasons: first, he hadn’t yet been certified by the state to do so, and secondly, he couldn’t get accurate quotes from the state exchange’s computer. Andrew just laughed it off:

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Congressional Stalemate Continues, Threatening Partial Government Shutdown

Hoping to put the onus back onto the Senate, the House of Representatives on Friday night passed two amendments to the pending Continuing Resolutions bill: one to repeal the Obamacare tax on medical devices (248-174) and the other to delay implementation of the controversial law for a year (231-192). As they were being passed, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid remained adamant that

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Wisconsin Teachers Learning How to Live Free Again, Thanks to Act 10

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, September 19th, 2013:

Under Wisconsin’s Act 10, every union must be re-certified by its members each year – a freedom denied its members in the past. Once certified, a union was formerly permanent. With regard to teachers, it required dues to be deducted from their paychecks, it demanded negotiating rights on their behalf, it mandated where they could buy their health insurance, and so on.

But when the teachers themselves were asked if they wanted to stick with their union, they said

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House GOP Leadership Thwarted by Tea Party Conservatives over Defunding Obamacare

A vote on a bill to continue government spending offered by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) scheduled for Thursday was abruptly cancelled when it was clear that it would fail. Called a “trick” by some Tea Party conservatives, “hocus-pocus” by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and “chicanery” by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Cantor’s bill clearly wouldn’t draw the 218 votes necessary for passage. Especially since some 80 House members have signed a letter drafted by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) demanding that

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First Recall in Colorado History Ousts Two Anti-Gun Senators

With the concessions of defeat by former state senate president Democrat John Morse and Democrat senator Angela Giron came cries of jubilation and disappointment in the first recall election in Colorado’s history. In the recall election first allowed by Colorado in 1912, more than $3 million was invested in the elections, most of it from

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More Good News: The Failing Syrian Strategy is Weakening the Imperial Presidency

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 9th, 2013:

A remarkable change is taking place, and most “conservative” pundits are failing to see it. As Obama stumbles determinedly forward in promoting his Syrian strategy while his supporters bail out along the way, few are seeing any benefits.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough admitted, after some tough grilling, that

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Despite Big Push by Obama, Support for Syrian Attack Dwindles

Secretary of State John Kerry, following his meetings with more than two dozen European foreign ministers on Saturday in Lithuania, insisted that his efforts were successful in generating support for President Obama’s planned attack on Syria. But none of it endorsed military action but only that

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.