Cabinet Postings (3)

Friends,
This is the third in a series of discussions about president-elect Obama’s cabinet choices.

Attorney General

President-elect Obama’s pick for Attorney General is Eric Holder. Let’s do a quick review of his career. As the Deputy US Attorney General he was instrumental in an investigation of the Los Angeles Police Department to try to discover if there was a department-wide “pattern or practice” of violation of civil rights stemming from the corruption scandal in the Rampart division. In that situation officers had beaten, shot, extorted, and framed drug dealers. LAPD Chief Parks came down on the situation like a ton of bricks.

Subsequent investigation by the DOJ found that there was no evidence of department-wide corruption. Nevertheless, when Chief Parks and Mayor Riordan called Mr. Holder and asked that DOJ back off after finding no further corruption, Mr. Holder seemed to redouble his efforts. The LAPD agreed to a consent decree to keep out of court. According to the city, it is costs the LAPD $50 million annually to live up to that decree. In this time of shrinking revenues to cities and states across the country, even a city the size of Los Angeles can scarcely afford those kinds of penalties, especially when no further evidence of wrongdoing is found.

In the late 1990’s the DOJ, under the direction of Deputy US Attorney General Holder, held numerous “racial profiling” conferences, primarily the work of the ACLU. If a police department had an arrest rate that did not match racial demographics they faced significant federal litigation, championed by the ACLU. When police departments across the country are more concerned about federal litigation than fighting crime, we are all put in jeopardy.

Let’s take a quick look at Mr. Holder’s judgment. In the waning days of President Clinton’s second administration, one of the Democrat Party’s heavy contributors was Denise Rich, the ex-wife of millionaire fugitive Mark Rich. She gave substantial donations to the party. She also gave substantial donations to President Clinton’s library fund. Mr. Holder played a significant role in obtaining a presidential pardon for Mr. Rich. In all fairness, Mr. Holder has said that he regrets his association with this pardon.

In 1999, 16 members of the Puerto Rican terrorist Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) received presidential pardons due to Mr. Holder’s direct intervention. These terrorists had, up to that time, been associated with “more than 130 bombings, several armed robberies, six slayings and injury to hundreds of others,” reported the Baltimore Sun. These are bad people who are now allowed to walk among their potential victims. Mr. Holder has stated that does not regret his role in these pardons.

During his confirmation hearing, when questioned about Guantanamo Bay prison, he advocated closing the facility. My question to Mr. Holder would be, where are you going to put the prisoners incarcerated there? If you turn them loose and send them home, statistics show that most terrorists in Guantanamo who are turned loose return to the fight against the US and our alleys. Is he going to release them on bail to await trial? That’s just what we need, terrorists bent on our destruction given a free trip to the US so they can continue their fight on our home ground.

Also during his confirmation hearing, he said that he would respect the Supreme Court decision in the DC vs. Heller case which held that the Washington DC gun ban was unconstitutional. However, during arguments being heard in that case he signed on to Janet Reno’s amicus brief urging that the gun ban be upheld. The amicus brief stated that “the position of the Department of Justice, from Franklin Roosevelt through Bill Clinton, was that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right to keep and bear arms for purposes unrelated to a State’s operation of a well-regulated militia..( “Brief for Former Department of Justice Officials as Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioners”. American Bar Association.) “Holder said that overturning the 1976 law ‘opens the door to more people having more access to guns and putting guns on the streets.’” (Nakamura, David; Barnes, Robert (March 10, 2007). “D.C.’s Ban On Handguns In Homes Is Thrown Out” (Article), Metro: Special Reports, The Washington Post, p. A01. Retrieved on November 19, 2008.)

While Mr. Holder says that he will respect the decision of the Supreme Court, what will be his tact to subvert our 2nd Amendment rights?

While the Democrats and media did not properly vet their candidate, the president-elect is following right along in the same vein. His Attorney General candidate is tainted to the point of being completely impeachable in any case.

As usual, I welcome your comments and discussion.

Dan

Cabinet Postings (2)

Friends,
This is the second in the series of looking at president-elect Obama’s cabinet choices.

Secretary of State

The president-elect has nominated Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. This is arguably one of the most important cabinet posts to be considered, just above Defense and Attorney General.

Let’s look at Senator Clinton’s qualifications. At the beginning of her husband’s presidency she worked diligently on the failed national health program. As First Lady, she travelled to foreign lands with her husband when he was president. She was elected and reelected to the Senate from a state where she not a resident until she started shopping around for an opportunity. She, most recently served on the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Special Committee on Aging and the Senate Armed Services Committee. She has visited troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. She has been an advocate for protecting our constitutional rights, such as her support to Roe v. Wade. But wait, how does that protect the constitutional rights of the unborn? (Sorry, I digress)

One major question I would put to both the president-elect and the Secretary of State designate would be, “How do you square Senator Clinton’s husband’s globetrotting fund raising with doing the business of the United States.” We have seen prospective elected officials and appointed bureaucrats get raked over the coals for their family’s activities, where is the righteous indignation about the Clinton money machine?

So far, I have not found any qualifications with respect to foreign affairs (oops, I should have said foreign diplomacy). This nomination for one of the most important and powerful cabinet positions makes no sense. There is no history of foreign diplomacy and very little displayed interest except to criticize existing policy.

I would argue that the president-elect has erred in judgment yet again. Normally, one or two errors in judgment could be excused, but the list is growing. My next posting tomorrow will continue the discussion.

As always, I welcome your comments and discussion. Below is a comment I received about yesterday’s posting. The writer has legitimate concerns. I invite you to read them.

Dan

Hi Dan:
After reading this weeks posting I was a little saddened! I agree with you that we have to be diligent in our scrutiny of the staff in which Obama surrounds himself, but to be so close-minded as to not give him a pass on anything when he’s not even in office is a little arrogant to me. I didn’t vote for him but I do pray that God will change his mind and heart about issues that are on the hearts of many Christian Americans. I honestly don’t want this man to fail because we’re all in this together – failure cannot be an option for either Republican or Democrat – this is the deciding factor! (name withheld)

Obama’s Cabinet Postings (1)

Friends,
As I have told you, it is not my intention to give Barrack Hussein Obama a pass on anything. However, I have to admit, having him as the president-elect is a gold mine for a guy like me. There will always be something to write about.

He has not even taken office and he is giving us a great deal about which to be concerned. I am not going to address his massive money give-away which will put succeeding generations of Americans behind the eight ball for many years.

This time I am going to address his gross lack of judgment. One of the more stellar traits that Ronald Reagan had was to be able to surround himself with experts; people who clearly understood all aspects of the job they were given. We are being told how smart our next president is. Let’s look at his display of intelligence in the area of surrounding himself with experts. This will be the first in a series of discussions about the president-elect’s judgment with respect to his appointees. Other discussions about his judgment, in general, will come later.

Treasury Secretary

The current flap concerns his choice for Treasury Secretary. Tim Geithner has served as director of the Policy Development and Review Department at the International Monetary Fund; president and CEO of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, this position doubles as the vice chair of the Federal Open Market Committee which sets interest rates; chairman of the G-10’s Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems of the Bank for International Settlements; and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Group of Thirty. This is an impressive resume.

Looking at events he has directly influenced, he was the architect of the Bear Sterns bailout. I asked this question of my colleagues at the time, why? Where in the US Constitution does it say that it is the responsibility of the federal government to keep failed companies afloat? Of course, one could argue that since it was the federal government’s policies that caused many of the banking failures, they had a responsibility to fix what they broke.

As the head money guy for the federal government he will be responsible for keeping track of all of our finances; this includes being overall in charge of the Internal Revenue Service. That would imply that he has a good understanding of our tax laws and is in compliance with them. But wait; what about the $43,000 in federal self employment taxes he failed to pay? Interestingly enough, he was working with the IMF at the time. It is the policy of the IMF to reimburse their folks for their self employment tax; it sounds, to me, like he was pocketing some extra perk money. Hmmm! Was it just an oversight that he employed an immigrant maid for three months after her work authorization papers had expired (that makes the maid an illegal)?

An individual like Mr. Geithner who recklessly flaunts the law as the Treasury Secretary makes me a bit queasy when I think about how my income taxes are assessed and how this money is managed. Does this appointment reflect sound judgment, or does the president-elect share Mr. Geithner’s ethos?

As usual, I welcome all comments and discussion.

Dan

Firearms Licensing

Friends,
On 9 January 2009, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) introduced H.R. 45 (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h45ih.txt.pdf) which, if passed, will require anyone purchasing a firearm to obtain a license to do so. Additionally, it will require that all sales will be recorded. This bill is being called the “Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009.”

H.R. 45 is contrary to the intent and letter of the 2nd amendment. I offer a couple of quotes by our Founders:

[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation… (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” —James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46.

“No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”Thomas Jefferson

Registration and confiscation of firearms was one of the first actions Adolph Hitler took in the subjugation of “inferior” people. On November 8, 1938, The New York Times reported,

The Berlin Police President, Count Wolf Heinrich von Helldorf, announced that as a result of a police activity in the last few weeks the entire Jewish population of Berlin had been ‘disarmed’ with the confiscation of 2,569 hand weapons, 1,702 firearms and 20,000 rounds of ammunition. Any Jews still found in possession of weapons without valid licenses are threatened with the severest punishment.

This led up to Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) on November 10, the night the Nazis went through Berlin and smashed and looted all things Jewish, shops, temples, stores, everything. The Jews did not have any way to protect themselves or their property.

The Nazi story is probably the most well-known but there have been many other examples of government abuse of its citizens. Turkey instituted gun control in 1911. From 1915 to 1917, a million and a half defenseless Armenians were exterminated by the government. Joseph Stalin established gun control in 1929 and over the next 24 years, until his death, 20 million dissidents were exterminated by his military and secret police.

Looking at the immediate consequences of H.R. 45, we here in the US have already seen the result of gun control. Washington DC, our capitol, had a strict gun ban in place for decades. Chicago has had nearly as restrictive gun regulations in place. Those are two of the most dangerous cities in the country. The reason for that is simple. Law abiding citizens refrain from owning guns because it is against the law. They have respect for the laws of our land, no matter that they cause these same law abiding citizens to be in danger of their lives. But if guns are against the law in these cities, why are citizens in danger; obviously, because the bad guys don’t give a hoot about the laws.

Look at the callous murder of two teenagers here in Colorado Springs last Thursday. What was the trigger for the event, the theft of an IPOD. Two kids were killed because of an IPOD. The police have tagged this as a gang killing. The gangs do not care about laws. That puts the rest of us at their mercy. I am not implying that the two young men who were killed were innocent bystanders. I have no idea what their situation was. But the fact that this event happened at all points to how dangerous our world is just from the criminal element. The young man who was arrested for the murder has freely admitted to his criminal act, with no apparent remorse.

Now a group of gun-grabbers wants to make it even more dangerous for law abiding citizens by forcing us to get a license to purchase firearms. I find this to be unacceptable behavior on the part of an elected official. All military personnel are required to swear to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Does this requirement not extend to our Congressmen and Senators?

I urge all Americans to contact their Congressman and urge that they vigorously oppose this legislation.

As always, I welcome comments and discussion.

Dan

Union Discussion (2)

Friends,

Continuing my discussion about unions, one big question I have is why is there so much federal and state legislation favoring unions? In fact why is there any legislation about unions at all? I have thought about it at some length and am still having trouble understanding why unions would need to be federally protected. Are they so insecure about their own mission and goals that they have to have legal cover?

Now I’m going to jump right in and show my naiveté. Why can’t the unions go head to head with management for the loyalty of the workers? Decades ago industry learned that one aspect of profitability is maintaining a contented workforce. Unions understand this as well and have determined that the only way to maintain membership is to continue to foment dissatisfaction. The unions have to maintain that dissatisfaction to ensure member loyalty. That is one reason unions fight so hard against Right-to-Work laws which say that a worker is free to decide whether or not to join the union. If a worker has a choice to join a union that will routinely use members’ dues to support candidates and issues that are against the member’s wishes and/or beliefs, why join?

At this time only 22 states have Right-to-Work laws. The unions have worked hard to repeal these laws. The unions understand that these laws effectively interrupt their income flow because when given an option, workers are likely to reject membership. Unions’ effectiveness has diminished over the years and they have become self-serving entities.
The immediately past election season saw an unprecedented level of spending by the unions on various races including the race to defeat the Right-to-Work amendment on the ballot in Colorado. Their campaign was based on scare tactics and had the solid backing of the Colorado Governor, Bill Ritter. Governor Ritter was dutifully fulfilling his obligation for their support. Not only did he offer moral support to the defeat of Amendment 47, he instituted early in his tenure as governor an executive order to deduct union dues from state employees. This prompted another amendment initiative, Amendment 49 to limit payroll deductions for public employees. Both of these amendments were defeated with the massive assistance of union PACs. Here is another example of the unions afraid to give the workers and the public a choice.

This is an appropriate place to point out the different economic conditions between union and Right-to-Work states. I previously referenced an article from the 3 March 08 online issue of the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB120450306595906431.html) which pointed out the economic differences between union and Right-to-Work states using Texas and Ohio as illustrations. Ohio is a union state; Texas is a Right-to-Work state. As of the writing of the Wall Street Journal article, Ohio had lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs since the turn of the 2000. Texas, by contrast, had almost twice the new job creation rate than the rest of the US, gaining 36,000 new manufacturing jobs just since 2004.

The article showed that foreclosures in Ohio have soared. In 2007, Ohio had the fourth highest home foreclosure rate in the nation at 3.45%. Statistics for Texas for 2007 could not be readily found, but that state is on track for a foreclosure rate for 2008 of 0.55%.

Let’s look at some of the reasons for home foreclosures. Conventional wisdom would say that homes go through foreclosure because the owner/mortgagee cannot make the payments. In normal times when people are employed and earning a steady paycheck, they will pay their mortgage first and purchase other basic needs with what is left. However, when they lose their jobs and the available money is drastically reduced or eliminated what is the first thing they will pay for? Since the mortgage is normally only paid once per month, available money will go to food and other basic needs because they can put off the mortgage for a little while but have to have food and gas. Soon, they are in over their heads and facing foreclosure.

Note: Foreclosure rate is only one indicator of economic robustness. Ohio has one of the highest business tax rates in the country, further driving businesses, and thus, economic activity out of the state.

Look at the differences between Ohio and Texas. Business-friendly Texas is acquiring the manufacturing facilities that have been leaving Ohio. The result is that union jobs in Ohio are not being replaced and those jobs are going to Texas where the workers do not have to join the union. The unions have materially participated in establishing an unfriendly business atmosphere in Ohio but that has not occurred in Texas. These examples are not isolated; they are fairly represented across the union/non-union spectrum.

Unions’ intrusion into the body of laws is even more blatantly evident in the Employee Free Choice Act that was passed by the House last session but defeated due to a filibuster by Republicans in the Senate. This misnamed act would take away the right of union members to exercise their constitutional right to secret ballot in union elections. The unions say that secret ballots give employers the opportunity to pressure employees to reject unions. This argument shows just how perverted the logic of unions is. If you take away the secret ballot, the workers are open to union intimidation, which can be considerable to the extreme.

I think the case can be fairly made that strong union presence in a state’s body of laws is a definite detriment to that state’s economy, not to mention the freedom of the workers. Here in Colorado we lost two important opportunities to curb union activity in our state. In order to get our state back on the track of a robust economy, it is imperative that the union influence in our legislative process be curbed. The same can be said for union participation in the federal legislative process. The millions of dollars that the unions poured into state and federal campaigns have and will have huge consequences in the near future.

The bailouts which I referenced in my last posting are a reality. The effect will be to continue to bolster massive union programs to the detriment of the workers. Meanwhile, union states will continue to lose jobs to non-union states and off-shore manufacturers. I believe that it is imperative that laws giving preferential treatment to unions be stricken from the books.

As always, I welcome your comments/discussion.

Dan