Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

April 30, 2005

Miscellaneous Objections

Filed under: Government,Politics — Bunker @ 5:19 pm

Ryan Sager isn’t just staying on top of “Campaign Finance Reform”, he’s digging out the hypocrisy and flim-flam.

Today he’s talking about the local issues of “reform” and who is funding what. He also points to a groundbreaking report from 2001 which exposed a lot of things some folks don’t want exposed–including a certain Senator from a southwestern state.

April 28, 2005

Dr. Tom Coburn

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 3:55 pm

I like this guy.

April 27, 2005

Democratic Talking Points

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 7:49 am

Neal Boortz had a good piece in his notes for yesterday. I meant to write about it earlier, but got busy. It addressed the comment heard often that the Democrats have no agenda. Boortz disagrees.

The Democrats most certain DO have an agenda. It’s just not an agenda that they are anxious to promote. The Democratic agenda can be succinctly stated in just a few words: Make Americans ever more dependent on government, and thus dependent on Democrats.

As he states, that is the war on individuality.

Then, I saw a link Glenn had, and followed it to JustOneMinute. Again, that took me to a press release from the Democratic Caucus. Senator Reid has decided to make it clear:

Democrats have introduced bills that address America’s real challenges.

1. Women’s Health Care. “The Prevention First Act of 2005” will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions by increasing funding for family planning and ending health insurance discrimination against women.

Health insurance discrimination? What does that mean–men will be forced to have Caesarian sections? All insurance is based on actuarial data. If you are a greater risk, you will pay more.

Family planning clinics are used by those who can’t afford anything else. That same demographic trends toward more and more single mothers with multiple children. Are we supposed to believe that more of the same will reverse that trend?

More regulation of insurance companies? That is certain to bring down rates!

2. Veterans’ Benefits. “The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2005” will assist disabled veterans who, under current law, must choose to either receive their retirement pay or disability compensation.

Ah, trying to buy the military vote are we? Currently, a military retiree’s pay is reduced by the same amount he receives from the VA–money which is non-taxable. The gross pay is the same, but the net is higher due to lower taxes. Don’t be surprised if this contains a provision making all of the money taxable.

3. Fiscal Responsibility. Democrats will move to restore fiscal discipline to government spending and extend the pay-as-you-go requirement.

And the last time they did that was…? I seem to remember a Republican Congress (the first in 40 years) fighting the Democratic minority to pass a balanced budget. Clinton vetoed it twice before finally signing it, then took credit for balancing the budget.

Even then, the budget wasn’t really balanced. Social Security was used (as it had been for more than 30 years) as a loan vehicle to get there.

4. Relief at the Pump. Democrats plan to halt the diversion of oil from the markets to the strategic petroleum reserve. By releasing oil from the reserve through a swap program, the plan will bring down prices at the pump.

Actually, refining capacity has more to do with prices than the per-barrel cost. Does their legislation include measures which will make it easier to build refineries? We haven’t built one in the US since 1976. Bush has advocated building more refineries and easing the bureaucracy in approving nuclear plants. Will the Democratic Caucus support those things?

5. Education. Democrats have a bill that will: strengthen head start and child care programs, improve elementary and secondary education, provide a roadmap for first generation and low-income college students, provide college tuition relief for students and their families, address the need for math, science and special education teachers, and make college affordable for all students.

Any time a politician says “strengthen”, he means “spend more money.” Make the tuition non-taxable if you want to help families, including K-12, if you really want to “strengthen” education. Define “low-income” as there are already plenty of government grants available to most. How about NOT linking a parent’s income to the grant threshhold if a student lives on their own and has their own income?

And stay out of elementary and secondary education. Haven’t you already done enough?

6. Jobs. Democrats will work in support of legislation that guarantees overtime pay for workers and sets a fair minimum wage.

Let’s see. If I work overtime, I get paid for that overtime. What do they mean by their guarantee? Define a “fair” minimum wage, and the reason for that number. And explain the economic and social impact in real terms, not hopes. There are plenty of examples to choose from.

7. Energy Markets. Democrats work to prevent Enron-style market manipulation of electricity.

Everything the Federal Government sticks its fingers into results in higher prices. Everything. Regulation adds cost, often at the rate of about 400%. “Manipulation” is most often playing the futures market. If they care to end that the results will be far worse than they can imagine.

The use of “Enron” says this is purely political. They’ve managed to turn the Enron scandal into a Republican scandal. It wasn’t. All the shenanigans took place during the Clinton years and during the bubble economy. Ken Lay (you know, Dubya’s friend) spent several nights in Clinton’s Lincoln Bedroom. Even so, that doesn’t make Enron a Democratic scandal. And “manipulation” of the electricity market grew out of California legislators’ (politicians) gaming of the markets.

8. Corporate Taxation. Democrats make sure companies pay their fair share of taxes to the U.S. government instead of keeping profits overseas.

Right now US-based companies selling overseas pay income tax in the country where they sell, and here in the USA. If they move their offices overseas, they pay income tax only where product is sold–where income is earned–just like the companies of other countries. German comanies pay German income tax on money earned in Germany, and US taxes on money made in the US, but don’t pay German taxes on money earned in the US. Therefore, they have no incentive to relocate.

Change the tax laws and those companies will stay right here at home.

Also, consider that no corporation actually pays income tax. It is an expense. That cost is passed along just like every other expense. The consumer actually pays the corporate income tax. Personally, I don’t mind that because it is a consumption tax, just like the Fair Tax being proposed as a replacement for our current income tax system. Everyone pays those taxes, and those who spend more are taxed more. But if you want those corporate income taxes, it would be best to change the tax laws so that they only pay for goods and services here, not in Europe.

9. Standing with our troops. Democrats believe that putting America’s security first means standing up for our troops and their families.

Like they’ve done for the last three years–“Bring ’em all home!”

“Abusing power is not what the American people sent us to Washington to do. We need to address real priorities instead — fight for relief at the gas pump, stronger schools and lower health care costs for America’s families,” said Senator Reid.

April 26, 2005

The rush for cover

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 11:32 am

Let’s say you’re a lobbyist who wants to do something special for a Congressman who sits on a committee which might, in the future, investigate you. Or perhaps that committee develops the wording in legislation that could affect you. While Congressional rules prohibit your paying for a trip to Mexico for that Congressman, those same rules to not prohibit the trip being funded by a non-profit organization. What is a lobbyist to do?

I’d say the simple answer is to donate money to that non-profit with the stipulation that it is to pay for the Congressman’s trip, with a little extra to sweeten the pot–let’s call it a handling fee.

Oops. You’ve already paid for that trip, but now Congress is beginning to look at such things and you’re worried your Congressman may get his hand slapped? Don’t worry. You can still get away with it by giving the non-profit some cash and asking them to “pick up the tab” anyway. Now everything is all nice, and your Congressman is even more pleased. You’ve actually managed to make him look good.

That’s how one Congressman handled the problem.

Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) even asked the ethics committee to investigate him after a reporter for the newspaper Roll Call pointed out that a travel disclosure form from 2001 listed the lobbying firm Rooney Group International as paying for a $1,782 trip to Boston, which would be a violation of House rules.

Abercrombie’s aides said they have since determined that the lobbying firm’s expenses were reimbursed by the nonprofit group that Abercrombie addressed on the trip, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts.

All of this has our “representatives” scrambling like cockroaches caught in the light. Surprise! Tom DeLay isn’t the only one who may be ethically-challenged. Whodathunkit?

The PoliticalMoneyLine study reviewed 5,410 trips taken by 605 members of the House and Senate. Democratic lawmakers had the edge, taking 3,025 trips, to 2,375 trips for GOP members.

The No. 1 trip-taker in dollar terms was Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Sensenbrenner took 19 trips valued at $168,000.

In contrast, DeLay finished 28th by taking 14 trips valued at $94,568.

Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tenn., took the most trips – 63. But Ford’s less expensive domestic jaunts only totaled $61,000.

Of course, the best way to get around all these restrictions, and manage to avoid the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold) at the same time is to start your own non-profit organization. Problem solved.

April 25, 2005

Bolton hearing monkey biz

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 6:29 am

I seldom link to Mark Steyn’s work simply because I assume all my readers also check out his outstanding prose. This is one I felt obliged to tag:

I’ll bet Pope Benedict XVI is glad that his conclave doesn’t include either Cardinal Biden or Cardinal Voinovich, or his church would be pontiff-less indefinitely while they ”investigated” last-minute rumors that he’d been off-hand to some guy in seminary 55 years ago. I had no strong views about the new pope one way or another, but I’d have voted for him just for the pleasure of seeing him drive the U.S. media bananas

April 22, 2005

The Federalist Patriot

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 12:40 pm

I receive The Federalist Patriot via email three times a week. Always good stuff, although I seldom agree with everything in it.

Today Mark, et al, had this to say:

In the House, Democrats refuse to allow Tom DeLay to have his day before the House Ethics Committee. Republicans instituted rule changes recently, among them the automatic dismissal of an ethics complaint if no action is taken within 45 days. Rep. Doc Hastings, chairman of the committee, offered to extend that period to 90 days, but the Demos just aren’t buying. Clearly they fear that if DeLay actually gets a hearing, he’ll be exonerated. Regardless of party affiliation, it is patently unfair to accuse someone of violating rules and then not allow him to defend himself in the proper forum.

What appears to be holding things up is not that Republicans are preventing any investigation, but that Democrats are. Have you heard anything like this on the network news? I think there was mention on FoxNews. But the fact certainly hasn’t been spread around.

Some say the Democrats don’t want the Ethics Committee to be empaneled because there are several of their members who have a few skeletons to be wary of. They would prefer to see DeLay lambasted continually.

I don’t know where the truth is in all this. As I mentioned before, I don’t think much of DeLay. But if there’s any meat on this bone, I can’t imagine why the Democrats would object to his getting a hearing.

Bolton has common sense

Filed under: International,Politics — Bunker @ 10:01 am

Mona Charen says that’s why Democrats don’t like him.

Frankly, in a decade that has brought us the Oil for Food scandal, the child sex slave trade carried on by U.N. workers, U.N. failures to confront horrific human rights disasters like North Korea and Sudan — indeed, even offering the genocidal regime of Sudan a place on the Human Rights Commission (other members: Zimbabwe, Congo, Cuba, Saudi Arabia) — the real question ought to be not why John Bolton isn’t sentimental about the United Nations, but rather why Democrats are.

If you really want to know why the Democrats are against John Bolton as our UN Ambassador, you need only read his chapter in the Cato Institute’s 1997 publication, Delusions of Grandeur:

Even worse, Clinton took office believing that U.S. foreign policy could largely be run through the UN system. Indeed, in many respects, he and his advisers longed to make the conduct of American foreign policy subordinate to the UN, so uncomfortable were they with the unashamed, unembarrassed American leadership exercised by Presidents Reagan and Bush.

The Carter foreign policy team reemerged from hibernation, after 12 years of failing to learn from their own mistakes. Having given away the Panama Canal, been paralyzed by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, been driven to their knees by the Communist-led Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, been humiliated by the Iranian kidnapping of our diplomats in Teheran, and sabotaged our national defense readiness by inattention and ineptness, the Carter team came back for another turn at the plate.

During Clinton’s second term, Bolton had the temerity to chastise not only the Democrat currently in office, but the darling of despots around the world, Jimmy Carter. The only thing he could have done to make them madder would be to insult Hillary.

No arguing with his assessment. Simply describe the man as “troublesome.”

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress