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Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

US Congressman Alcee Hastings Asked for a Raise

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 22, 2015

Currently, United States Congressmen receive a salary of $174,000 per year.  In addition, their offices receive an expense budget of $1 million annually.  However, that’s not enough for at least one congressman, Alcee Hastings, Democrat from Illinois who earlier this week said:

“We are entering our seventh year without a pay raise.  Now I think we’ve proven to the American people that we are responsible.  And I know that it has impacted me personally.

Hastings takes delusional Washington behavior to the next level.  Forgetting for a moment that Congressmen, supposed servants of the people make nearly three times that of average Americans, does Hastings actually believe that the politicians have “proven to the American people that we are responsible”?

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Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Congressional Democrats Boycott Benjamin Netanyahu Congressional Speech

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 3, 2015

Nearly 60 Congressional Democrats boycotted today’s speech before Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  The purported reasons according to the Democrats were that Israeli and American politics were behind the PM’s speech and that Congress’s invitation was a breach of protocol.

Both the Democrat’s excuses for the boycott are lame.  First, politics plays a role in what every politician does on a daily basis, whether he be the Prime Minister of Israel or President of the United States.  As for the breach in protocol, that is a rather hollow excuse coming from this Leftist president for whom American history often is of little importance.

Irrespective of the personal differences between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Iranian matter is complex for which reasonable people can disagree.  Iran has for decades proven to be one of the world’s foremost promoter of terrorism.  It also continuously on threatens the annihilation of Israel.  Given these realities should Iran become a nuclear power, a difficult world situation will become even more dangerous.

A nuclear armed Iran becomes an immediate existential threat to Israel.  Should it also obtain intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), Iran would become a direct tgigihreat to the United States.  In addition, should Iran go nuclear, its arch enemies, the Sunni Arab countries of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, as well as Turkey, would likely join a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Given the complexity of the Iranian issue, we should promote active debate on possible responses. However, the Obama Administration and its allies in Congress instead seek to stifle debate and opposing opinions including those of Benjamin Netanyahu.  It begs the question as to why they fear debate so much.  It seems that the Obama Administration is so intent on making a deal with the ayatollahs that it would demonize and ally and thwart open debate.

This Blog comes with a Libertarian view towards and its rightful powers.  On the other end of the philosophical spectrum are Progressives including liberal law professor, Alan Dershowitz.  Dershowitz posted an op-ed prior to Netanyahu’s visit condoning those that would suppress his voice in front of Congress, article posted below.  The ineffective leadership and failed policies of Barack Obama are bringing together a uniquely diverse group of opposition.

The Appalling Talk of Boycotting Netanyahu, ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ, Feb. 23, 2015

As a liberal Democrat who twice campaigned for President Barack Obama , I am appalled that some Democratic members of Congress are planning to boycott the speech of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 3 to a joint session of Congress. At bottom, this controversy is not mainly about protocol and politics—it is about the constitutional system of checks and balances and the separation of powers.

Under the Constitution, the executive and legislative branches share responsibility for making and implementing important foreign-policy decisions. Congress has a critical role to play in scrutinizing the decisions of the president when these decisions involve national security, relationships with allies and the threat of nuclear proliferation.

Congress has every right to invite, even over the president’s strong objection, any world leader or international expert who can assist its members in formulating appropriate responses to the current deal being considered with Iran regarding its nuclear-weapons program. Indeed, it is the responsibility of every member of Congress to listen to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who probably knows more about this issue than any world leader, because it threatens the very existence of the nation state of the Jewish people. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Iran | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Former NFL Player Blames Anti-Poverty Programs for Damaging African-American Community

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 9, 2014

Former NFL linebacker, Garry Cobb, played college football at USC and then went on to an 11 year pro football career. He is now running for Congress in New Jersey as a Republican in an area that typically votes Democratic.

In a television interview (video below), Cobb discusses why he switched parties and became a Republican years ago. He explains that as a child in the 60s his parents instilled in their large family a strong work ethic. At the same time he watched some of his cousins’ families break up as a result of Lyndon Johnson’s antipoverty programs, which that offered financial incentives for fathers to leave their households. As a result, Cobb also watched some of his cousins take the wrong path, ending up in jail. He contrasts this to the success that he and his siblings have, a result of his parents not getting sucked into the Progressive’s vortex.

Cobb’s explanation of the damage done to the African-American community by governmental programs is compelling. It should be the centerpiece of the Republican Party’s domestic agenda. However, Republicans often cower from the fear of being called racist. As an African-American, Cobb has no such fear. He is joining a still small, but growing list of African-Americans who are becoming a more vocal part of the Republican Party including Col. Allen West and Dr. Ben Carson.

Republicans would do well to elect leaders like Cobb who have the ability to articulate a cohesive domestic policy. Their current leadership is lacking in these important skills.

Posted in Government Ineptness, Racism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Professor Jonathan Turley’s Scolds Obama on his Unconstitutional Power Grab

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 19, 2014

Professor Jonathan Turley is a well-respected constitutional law expert. His credentials include currently holding the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School. In addition, he was youngest professors to be offered tenure at Tulane University School of Law.

Turley’s politics are liberal and he is stated: “I happen to support most of the changes that President Obama has ordered. I voted for him. I voted for him in 2008.” In adding to his liberal credentials, he sought criminal prosecution of the Bush administration for torture and is vocally against the death penalty.

Turley has recently testified before Congress on perhaps the most important constitutional issue facing the country. He expressed strong intellectual concerns about the increasing power of the Executive Branch and more specifically the unconstitutional power grab by President Obama. Turley’s testimony included in the video posted below is chilling and in fact he proffers the view that Congress’s current lawsuit against Obama is not only appropriate, but necessary to protect the Constitution stating: “You asked if I think a lawsuit would be a good idea? I do.” Included below are additional quotes from that testimony.

Turley’s unquestionable liberal credentials should remove from the discussion of Obama’s unconstitutional power grab the claim that it is a partisan political issue. It is that only if the Constitution is ignored and one happens to agree with the Uber-president’s policies. To my liberal friends, as Turley correctly points out, there are going to be other presidents in the future. Once we travel down this slippery slope of the executive branch trampling on the Constitution, the consequences are scary, but unfortunately predictable.

Professor Turley’s statements before Congress:

  • There’s a growing crisis in our system, a shifting of the balance of power within the tripartite system in favor of now dominant chief executive.
  • Our system is changing and his body is the one branch that must act if we are to reverse those changes.
  • We are seeing the emergence of a different kind of government, a model long ago rejected by the framers.
  • The President’s pledged to effectively govern alone is alarming, and what is most alarming is his ability to fulfill that pledge. When a president can govern alone, he can become a government in itself, which is precisely the danger the framers sought to avoid.
  • What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest crises that expect the members of this committee and his body will face.
  • People misconstrue the separation of powers regularly. It is not there to protect the institutional rights of the branches. It is there to protect individual liberty. It was created by the framers to prevent any branch from aggregating enough power to be a danger to liberty.
  • This is not a question of what should be done. . It is a question of how it should be done and more importantly who should do it.
  • The framers repeatedly rejected that type a notion that the executive has to essentially rework legislation, to use what we would call an executive prerogative.
  • As much as I respect the President, the arguments he is making over presidential authority are extreme …

Posted in Constitution, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Congressman Trey Gaudi Versus IRS Commissioner Koskinen

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 2, 2014

Last week IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was in front of a congressional committee concerning the IRS scandal.  During the interrogation Koskinen had an attitude that showed disdain for Congress and the American people.

Koskinen ran into a buzz saw when questioned by former prosecutor, Congressman Trey Gowdy, Republican, SC.  In the exchange Koskinen, who was not the IRS Commissioner during the time the scandal occurred, went to bat for the IRS claiming there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.  The exchange below is endemic of the ruling class of politico-bureaucrats in Washington DC.  It goes beyond arrogance and approaches tyranny by the IRS.

Gowdy – “You have already said multiple times today that there was no evidence that you found of any criminal wrongdoing.  I want you to tell me what criminal statutes you’ve evaluated.”

Koskinen – “I have not looked at any.”

Gowdy – “Well then how can you possibly tell our fellow citizens that there’s not criminal wrongdoing if you don’t even know what statutes to look at?”  ….   “How would you know what elements of the crime existed?  You don’t even know what statutes are in play.”

And:

Gowdy – “It was Jay Carney that perpetuated the myth that it was two rogue agents in Ohio, it wasn’t any of us.  Was that accurate?”

Koskinen – “Not that I know of”.

Gowdy – “So that was inaccurate and that came from the White House.  Who said there’s not a smidgen of corruption?”

Koskinen – “My understanding is that was the president”.

Gowdy – “So that’s Jay Carney and the president both inserting themselves into the IRS scandal,” Gowdy said. “And you want to blame us for bringing the White house into it?

Koskinen – “I haven’t blamed you at all”.

Gowdy – “You just did, commissioner.  You just did.”

 

Posted in Governmental Intervention, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Paul Ryan Blasts IRS Commissioner

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 21, 2014

Paul Ryan tends to be a soft-spoken Republican who rarely goes into attack mode.  However, his fangs rightfully came out during Friday’s Congressional Budget Committee hearing that he chaired.

On the hot seat was IRS Commissioner John Koskinen who had to try to explain how Ms. Lois Lerner’s emails from just a few years ago were all lost by the IRS. The exchange included

Ryan – “You bury in a 27-page letter to the Senate asking for them to conclude the investigation that you’ve lost Lois Lerner’s emails during the time in question because of a hard drive crash. Monday our investigators ask your agency whether any other hard drives crashed, and we learn that six other hard drives of the people we’re investigating. You didn’t tell us that.”

Koskinen – We told you Monday”.

Ryan – “On Monday… because we asked you. You are the Internal Revenue Service. You can reach into the lives of hardworking taxpayers, and with a phone call, an email or a letter, you can turn their lives upside down. You ask taxpayers to hang onto seven years of their personal tax information in case they’re ever audited, and you can’t keep six months of employees emails?”

As Ryan correctly noted, while taxpayers are responsible for keeping records for seven years if audited by the IRS, Koskinen was unapologetic for the IRS’s blunder/cover up. In fact he shows disdain for Congress and the People who we supposed to work for in the video below, a remarkable example of the tyranny of the IRS and other governmental agencies.

Posted in Government Ineptness | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Congresswoman Ann Kilpatrick the Hypocrite

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 17, 2014

Politicians on both sides of the aisle too often make promises and claims to the People during the political campaigns that do not match their deeds once elected.  Arizona Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, Democrat representing Arizona’s First Congressional District, took this subterfuge to a new level in a recent advertisement for reelection.

In the video clip below, Kilpatrick has the gall to attack the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) even though she voted for it when the bill passed in Congress.  Once again a politician has proven that they have no shame.

Posted in Obamacare | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Faith in Government at New Lows

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 21, 2013

A recent CBS News poll indicates a significant shift in American public opinion towards government.  Americans trust in government is at historic lows, as indicated in the first chart below.  Given this it is not surprising that 63% of Americans believe that government is doing too much.  This does not bode well for Liberals who promote the government and governmental solutions as the way to solve societal ills.

For the past three years President Obama has blamed problems on the “do-nothing” Republicans in Congress.  The results of this poll would seem to indicate that the American people want more of less action.  Still, the Republican Congress must accept some fault in the negativism Americans have towards government.  However, this is greatly overshadowed by the inept action of government in general and more specifically the Obama administration.

The Obama administration’s failures include the catastrophic implementation of Obamacare.  The very word “Obamacare” has become synonymous with inept government.  However, the NSA snooping, the IRS scandal, “fast and furious”, failures such as the wasteful Solyndra “investment”, and America’s inept response to the ongoing mess in the Middle East have shown almost a continuous failure of government since Obama’s first election.  In fact, if it were not for the successful hit Obama put on bin Laden, his failure rate would be almost perfect.

The government’s failure in recent years should not come as a surprise.  First, we have had at the helm of the executive branch for the past five years a person with no prior executive experience.  In addition, the growth in government over recent decades has made an inefficient bureaucracy even more cumbersome to operate.

The CBS News poll opens opportunity for Republicans, but by no means a guarantee.  The GOP has been inept over the years and many of its politicians are more concerned with their reelection then governing, just like the Democrats.  In fact, Americans distrust for government may be an opening for a libertarian-type third-party movement.  It is likely that continued inept government programs will stoke the fire of such movements.

Trust In government

Trust In government2

Posted in Government Ineptness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama to Raise Cell Phone Rates

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 12, 2013

The nanny-state has been on the upswing ever since President Lyndon Johnson initiated his various Great Society programs.  However, unlike the good old days of the 60s and 70s when presidents needed to go through Congress for appropriations for their pet projects, Obama is determined to implement his projects without the approval required under the US Constitution.

One Obama pet projects is called ConnectEd.  Under this program the President would add a $12 monthly fee to cell phones with the revenues generated used to increase high-speed Internet in the US, particularly for high schools.  It is estimated that this would result in revenues for the government of between $4 and $6 billion over a three-year period.  While Obama would call these fees and related spending “investments”, it is just another tax the government uses to redistribute wealth.

According to the Washington Post, Obama understands the difficulty of getting any increased taxes through Congress, especially for new spending programs.  To circumvent this Constitution requirement he will ram the tax through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

It is hard to determine which is worse, the President’s penchant for spending money like a drunken sailor or his trampling on the Constitution.

Posted in Constitution, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »