Shutdown!

shutdownRepublican congressional leaders, and many of their sheepish members, are all puckered up over ShutDown.

“ShutDown?  ShutDown!  Oh, no, that would be too risky.  Remember when we got blamed for shutting down the government?  Whenever there is a shutdown, we ALWAYS get the blame!”

So the Republican leadership strong-armed their members into passing the CRomnibus (Continuing Resolution / Omnibus) spending bill, giving Obama and Reid everything they wanted in the way of flatulent government spending all the way to September of 2015, the end of the fiscal year.  Never mind that the Republicans won big in the November elections and now hold majorities in both houses.  Now they can take it easy in DC until next football season, when the Redskins will no longer have RG3 to kick around.

“We just couldn’t take the risk,” they said.  Somebody might think we Republicans are MEANIES if we don’t commit to spend another $1.1 TRILLION for such critical programs as a new National Women’s Museum, continuing the corporate crony Import/Export Bank, and other little items like ObamaCare and benefits for illegal immigrants.

John Hayward, in Human Events, succinctly pointed out the lunacy of it all, saying:

There was no reason to give the defeated Democrats anything except a stop-gap bill to fund the government through January, at which point the incoming Republican majorities should have exercised control over everything. If the Democrats don’t like that deal, let them shut down the government in a fit of pique, and tell voters how the party they just threw out of power should be allowed to control their lives for an extra year. Not only would that be smart politics – giving the Republicans more fiscal leverage to stand up for America against Obama’s amnesty, instead of just funding for the Department of Homeland Security – but it would represent more sensible and responsible government. All of this multi-trillion-dollar monstrosity is linked together; all of it should be on the table; the flab should be liposuctioned out of every agency at once in a comprehensive plan for fiscal sanity and increased American liberty.

Why did the Republican leadership do it?  Why did they fritter away a golden opportunity to actually shrink government, as the entire GOP promised in their campaign speeches?  And, simultaneously, giving support to the knuckle-head programs they were elected to stop?

“Shutdown!  OMG, we’ll be accused of SHUUUUUT-DOOOOOOOWN!”

According to Ron Paul, “Most House and Senate members are so terrified of another government shutdown that they would rather vote for a 1,774-page bill they have not read than risk even a one or two-day government shutdown.”  Paul says instead of briefly shutting down 20% of the government offices, better we should permanently close major parts of the federal government – starting with the Federal Reserve, and followed closely by the Internal Revenue Service.

The Democrats aren’t afraid of shutting down the government as a tactic.  Rush Limbaugh pointed out that they voted to do just that when all 212 Democrat representatives in the House voted against the rule that set the stage for passage of the CRomnibus spending bill.  “In other words, 212 Democrats voted against the rule, voted against bringing up the final vote on the omnibus bill. Now, you could say, as I just did, that the Democrats essentially voted to shut down the government, but nowhere would this ever be portrayed as what actually happened,” Rush reported.  They weren’t the least bit worried about being blamed for the big SD.

But Boehner and friends shrink in terror at the very thought.

Frankly, I don’t get it.  I have lived through a number of government shutdowns, without any negative lingering effects.  I know, last time the big SD happened we paid some people double-time-and-a-half to put roadblocks on the highway so tourists could not see Mount Rushmore as they drove through the Black Hills.  And we spent extra money on barriers to keep World War II vets from seeing their monument.  But everybody got their government checks on time, soldiers and sailors still reported for duty, and as far as I know even the government employees who didn’t go to work got full back pay (bonus!) as soon as the SHUTDOWN crisis was over.

Not all Republicans are weak-kneed milktoasts.  67 GOP congressmen, including my rep Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), voted against the CRomnibus.  More Democrats voted against it than for it, but for different reasons.  Sadly, the majority of Republican members acquiesced to their leadership.  You can see how your congressman voted on this and other key issues at the Heritage Action Scorecard.

Personally, I am all for government shut down.  If that’s what it takes to get the budget under control, I say shut ‘er down.  And while we are at it, let’s take a good hard look at replacing the Republican leadership.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Shut it off, shut it off
Buddy, now I shut you down!

Shut Down – the Beach Boys

 

A repeat, but worth repeating . . .

Who’s Naughty? Who’s Nice?

santa_naughty_or_niceNAUGHTY:

NICE:

  • The principled and honest conservative Congressmen and Senators: Many of our elected officials are actually doing what they promised their constituents they would do – they are working hard to stop the liberal onslaught against our economy and values.
  • Our men and women serving in the military: They put up with ridiculous rules of engagement, social engineering, politicized leadership, unjust pay and benefits, and utter disrespect and scorn from our administration and many of our legislators.  Our soldiers’ Christmas stockings should be STUFFED.
  • The American Taxpayers:  while our federal government forces them to fork over their earnings, and confiscates their property at will, the taxpayers work harder, take care of their families and employees, and find a little extra to give to those who truly need their help.

Rockin' On the Right Side

He’s making a list, checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town!

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (trad.) – Pentatonix

Best Santa Claus rendition EVER!

 

 

 

GOP Congressmen – Time To Take A Stand!

take-a-standHave you ever had to tell the boss he’s wrong?

One of the stupidest things I ever did is something I am still proud of.  Way back in the day I was a sophomore on the junior varsity basketball team, hoping to move up to the varsity squad.  The first week of practice we were struggling to adjust to our new coach, who operated in Bobby Knight mode with a lot of yelling, cursing, and finger-poking-in-the-chest intimidation, but without as much knowledge and strategy as the famous Hoosier coach.

We were running a drill called the “three-man weave” where three guys pass the ball back and forth while running a weave down the court without dribbling, and the last one shoots a layup.  Only instead of a basketball, we were throwing a huge 15-pound medicine ball.  Coach charged up and down the sidelines, voicing his displeasure with our lack of manhood.  My friend Larry and I were next up, and we charged off the baseline with another guy.  Now, Larry was a great little player.  But he couldn’t have weighed 90 pounds dripping wet wearing clothes, shoes, and a winter coat with bricks in the pockets.  My pass was a little bit too far in front of him, and Larry didn’t have the strength in his sharp-shooting but skinny little arms to haul it in.

Coach lit into Larry like he had just sold his sister to a cannibal tribe, with maximum volume and vigorous finger-poking-in-the-chest.  And I popped.  “Come on coach, he couldn’t catch that!”

You could have heard a pin drop.  Coach walked over to me, red-faced, eyes bugging out.   I can still see that face, but I don’t remember what he said, because my entire life was whizzing before my eyes.  Needless to say, I didn’t make the varsity squad.  Hell, he hardly gave me any playing time on the junior varsity, and nothing I did on the court was going to change that.  But Coach did seem to mellow a little after that episode, and Larry actually was doing pretty well, until his hard-scrabble itinerant family moved on halfway through the season.

I remember that snapshot event like yesterday because for one moment as a geeky kid I stood up and said “hell no” to the boss, knowing I was right and he was wrong, and that it mattered.

Our newly-elected Congress was sent to Washington, DC to stop the damage our nation has endured under the Democrats for the past six years.  Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans oppose Obamacare, support energy development, and want our southern border secured.  The majority of us think it’s wrong for our government to choose winners and losers based on political party, gender, or race.  We are terrified that our children face a national debt that has grown by $7 trillion dollars under President Obama. 

And now President Obama’s unilateral, illegal and unconstitutional grant of amnesty, featuring work visas and eligibility for taxpayer-paid benefits to tens of millions of illegal immigrants (and millions more who will flood the untended border gates upon hearing the news) will cost the taxpayers another $2 trillion according to the Heritage Foundation.

Sadly, even as Republicans are staged to take majority control of the House and Senate, the party’s leadership does not seem willing to hear or follow the voice of the People.  Next week Congress will vote on funding the government’s budget in the form of either a continuing resolution (CR) or an omnibus spending bill, providing them the leverage they need to defund executive amnesty.   Despite the polls and the landslide election victory, the GOP leadership cites a list of imaginary roadblocks.  “We don’t want to get blamed for ‘shutting down the government'”, they wail, despite the total lack of evidence that this tactic has ever had lasting repercussions.  Another excuse offered is: “We can’t defund an agency that operates on fees rather than funding from our discretionary budget,” a claim which was totally debunked by the Congressional Research Service.

Then, according to Congressman Louie Gohmert, the House Republican leadership pulled a “bait and switch” on its members, making unannounced changes to Congressman Ted Yoho’s defunding bill moments before 216 Republican congressmen voted in favor of it.  The last-minute additions may actually grease the skids for the president’s amnesty.  This is the tactic made famous by Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi when she said, “We have to pass the (ObamaCare) bill to know what’s in it.”

Conservative firebrand Rush Limbaugh says there is only possible reason for the Republican leadership to oppose the will of the majority of voters and their own members: they must actually support the President’s amnesty plan.

62 Congressmen, including my own South Carolina representative Mick Mulvaney, showed courage and resolve by signing Congressman Matt Salmon’s letter to the house appropriations chairman, Harold Rogers, requesting a defunding rider.  On a Facebook Town Hall meeting on Friday, Mulvaney said, “I have already told my leadership that I will vote against the Omnibus spending bill if it doesn’t contain defunding language.

To those Congressmen and women who refuse to tolerate the bullying and finger-poking-in-the-chest, I say, “Good on ya.”  And I encourage you to demand the same courage from your counterparts on the hill who know it’s the right thing to do.  Sometimes you just have to take a stand when you know the boss is wrong.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideIf you are confused check with the sun
Carry a compass to help you along
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around

Stand – R.E.M.

 

FTC Endorses Hacking Private Data

Hacker_DetectedSo there you are, minding your own business, running a company that provides a much-needed medical service – lab analysis of specimens to help doctors diagnose and treat cancers and other dread diseases.  And out of the blue you find you are under attack by your own government.

Michael Daugherty, founder and CEO of LabMD, has been through hell, at the hands of the “Devil Inside the Beltway”.

His story defies logic and reason.  Why would the federal government – specifically the FTC – join forces with a for-profit extortionist hacker to wreak havoc on a private company?   And how could our court system not recognize theft of personal data as a crime?

Here’s the story, in a nutshell:  In 2008 a LabMD employee, against company policy, installed a peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing application called LimeWire to her computer so she could share music files with other subscribers.   She just wanted to listen to music.  Unfortunately, this opened a port which made other data on her computer accessible to outsiders.  And an opened port is all the Devil needs to do his evil work.

In this case, the Devil is a company named Tiversa, Inc. – the self-proclaimed “World Leader in P2P Cyberintelligence”.  Tiversa developed a program which scours the internet, looking for open P2P ports and any tasty files that might be exposed, in the hope that a particularly delectable file might be useful for the purpose of extortion.

During the very short time that the LabMD employee’s computer was vulnerable, Tiversa grabbed a file that included patient data including social security numbers, medical codes, etc. – information that could be used by a bad actor for identity theft, blackmail, or other nefarious purposes.  And what did Tiversa do with their ill-gotten booty?  First they attempted to extort LabMD with an expensive, open-ended and loosely-defined service contract.  When LabMD CEO Daugherty logically told them to take a hike, they turned the file over to the FTC as an indictment of LabMD’s failure to protect their clients’ data.

This is where it gets crazy.

The federal government is there to protect and serve its constituents, right?  You would think that if somebody hacks into your computer system, and steals your sensitive information and then blackmails you with the release of it, the feds will help you nail them.  Right?

Instead, the FTC, typical of today’s over-reaching federal bureaucracy, decided to join forces with the bad guys to beat up on one of those despicable, “for-profit” private businesses.  “You didn’t build that!”  , they declare.  “And we will punish you for your success!”

Instead of pursuing the people who aggressively sought to steal sensitive data  (they claim their program performs exponentially more searches than Google) the FTC went after the victims of the theft.  Most of their victims acquiesced to the relentless FTC pressure and accepted  demands for consent decrees (guilty without proof).  LabMD and Michael Daugherty took a courageous stand against this extortion, and continue their brave battle today.

The obvious questions beckon:  what is the relationship between the top brass of the FTC and for-profit hackers like Tiversa?  Will the federal courts recognize data as property, and accept theft of data as theft of property?  And most importantly – when a federal agency like the FTC (or the IRS or EPA) lines up its infinite roster of taxpayer-funded lawyers against an individual or private company with limited resources in a ideological battle, is there any hope that justice will prevail?

Cyber-security is the 600 pound gorilla in the room.  Our government admits that China, North Korea, and Russia routinely hack our government databases.  It’s bad enough that foreign bad guys feverishly work at worming their way into our national databases.  How can we tolerate our own government cooperating with extortionist hackers who attack our private data?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Listen, Do you want to know a secret?
Do you promise not to tell?
Closer, Let me whisper in your ear,
Say the words you long to hear,
I’m in love with you!
No live video, just a good old Beatles song here:

A Conservative Thankful for . . . Government Employees?

Thankful TurkeyYes, I am a conservative, and on this Thanksgiving holiday I’m thankful for government employees.

Now, before you choke on your turkey giblet stuffing – let me explain.  There are many things that government does extremely well.  When I turn the tap at my sink, I get clean, safe water every time.  And the cost of it is pretty darned reasonable.  My garbage gets picked up right on time.  The stop lights work, our streets and highways are pretty good, and if there is an emergency the fire, police and EMS/rescue guys are top notch.

I generally don’t worry about our country being pushed around by other nations because our military is still the biggest, baddest dawg in the junkyard.

We need good government employees and the services they provide that we just can’t do as individuals.  I believe for the most part our local and state governments do what is expected of them and at a cost we can manage.   I just wish the same were true of the federal government.

It’s not that the federal government doesn’t do enough for us.  Quite the contrary, it does way the hell too much.

Most Americans don’t understand that our Constitution limits the authority of the federal government to a fairly short list of “enumerated powers“.   The first item in the list says:

The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States

The remaining items on the list mostly refer to national defense, currency, and post offices.  And anything not specifically on that list, according to the Tenth Amendment,  is strictly off-limits to the feds.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

There is nothing in the enumerated powers that allows the federal government to redistribute income or to compensate anyone for financial loss or misfortune.  You won’t find any reference to endangered species, or global warming.  Nothing there about foreign aid.  No mention of education.  The feds aren’t authorized to provide bailouts of private companies, banks, or mortgage-holders.  They aren’t supposed to be buying up private land and property.

In fact, most of what our federal government does is not authorized by the Constitution.  Maybe that’s why our current administration — cheered on by the media, academia, and a good portion of our nation’s under-educated and disengaged citizens — doesn’t feel it should be restricted by Constitutional law.

Sometimes we conservatives are mischaracterized as “anti-government” zealots.  Contrary to liberal claims, we don’t want our children to drink dirty water, our disabled to die in poverty on the streets, or our grandmas to be pushed over a cliff when they pass the age of usefulness.

Just the same, we aren’t pleased when our federal government takes our hard-earned money – our property – by force and gives it to another person, company, or nation for motives we don’t support, and purposes that are not constitutional.  And we wonder how awesome life in America would be if our federal government was the lean, mean machine the framers of our Constitution intended – protecting the borders, providing national defense, and doing only what it is supposed to – without the incredible waste of resources and failed social experimentation that holds us back.

It’s true we are abused by a growing number of (mostly federal) unaccountable bureaucrats who never answer the phone.  But most of our government employees are just out there doing the honorable work of the People, and they deserve a thank-you.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

You didn’t have to love me like you did
But you did, but you did – and I thank you
You didn’t have to hold me like you did
But you did, but you did – and I thank you

I Thank You – Billy Gibbons and Daryl Hall

 

No Earmarks! Never Going Back There Again!

“As long as I’m the Speaker, there will be no earmarks.” – Speaker of the House John Boehner – July 2014

Boehner is still Speaker, having been re-elected to the post for the third time by his members last week.

Believe it or not, many members of Congress, including Republicans, have been pushing for some time to end the ban on earmarks which was put in place in March of 2010.  Senator Harry Reid pressed for reinstatement of the earmark privilege last summer, saying, ” I am proud of all the earmarks I have gotten for the state of Nevada. They’ll come back — it’s only a question of time because that’s our constitutional obligation.”

An amendment to roll back the moratorium on earmarks, led by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), was brought to a House vote last Friday, and failed by a 2.5 to 1 margin.

Good.  Apparently they get it.

Earmarks represent everything that is ugly about DC politics.  “Bringing Home the Bacon” is largely responsible for our $17 trillion debt.  Control over earmark awards has been a weapon used by house leadership in the past to bludgeon members into line.  One of the more infamous recent earmarks was the $223 million “Bridge to Nowhere,” which cost Alaska congressman Ted Stevens his political career.  “Material Girl” Nancy Pelosi steered hundreds of millions of dollars to her home district via earmarks.

Senator Tom Coburn has been a long-time opponent of pork-barrel spending and especially the use of earmarks, calling it the “gateway drug to Washington’s spending addiction.”

The “wave” election of 2014 places a heavy responsibility on Republicans to restore fiscal sanity to our federal government.  That even a few Republicans considered eliminating the ban on earmark spending is disappointing.  Let’s not go there again.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideYou don’t know what it means to win
Come down and see me again
Been down one time
Been down two times
I’m never going back again

Never Going Back Again – Lyndsey Buckingham

Cool live version of a Fleetwood Mac classic!

 

Reid Out, McConnell In. I Should Be Happy, Right?

reid-and-mcconnellTwo years ago Obama won re-election and the Democrat propaganda machine (war on women, everybody is racist, global warming, gay marriage, blah blah blah) seemed unstoppable.   I was in shock and dismay for a long time.

Yesterday the Democrats got a serious butt-whoopin’ as voters roundly repudiated their tired cliches and failed policies, electing a flood of Republicans.  Shouldn’t it feel better than this?  Seems like we should be dancing in the streets.

Harry Reid is no longer the Senate majority leader.  Hooray!  Has there ever been a more corrupt, cynical, dishonest person in such a position of power?  The best interests of the country and its citizens never made Reid’s priority list.  The accumulation of personal wealth and political power were his only ambitions and he pursued both relentlessly.

Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell won his re-election bid, and will assume Reid’s role at the helm of the Senate.  I should be happy . . . I guess.

Mitch McConnell is the face of the Republican insider club who promised he would “crush” the Tea Party.   McConnell, John Boehner, and other old-guard Republicans view their sweeping victory as a death-blow to the conservatives – the very same without whose effort and money his Republican party could not have prevailed.

McConnell consummated his re-election by stating that he would not take any extraordinary measures to address our $18 trillion dollar debt.

 

Asked whether he would insist on more deficit-reduction before going along with raising the debt ceiling, McConnell noted that when the House of Representatives and Senate write their fiscal 2016 budget blueprints, there could be a “mechanism” for addressing this issue. – Reuters

 

Looks like it will be spending-as-usual in Washington, DC.

I’m trying to crawl out from under my wet blanket.  What a joy it will be to have Joni Ernst, the soldier-mom from Iowa, in the Senate.   She blew up the Democrats’ pet “war on women” mantra: “I’m a woman, and I’ve been to war.  This is not a war.”

Scott Walker, the utterly fearless governor of Wisconsin, won his third election in four years, once more deflecting everything the Democrat machine and the unions could throw at him.   He has managed his state prudently and efficiently, and treats his citizens like adults.   If that isn’t vetting for a presidential run, I don’t know what it.

In fact, Democrats are job-hunting all over the country as voters continue to replace them at every level from school boards to state legislatures.  My new home state, South Carolina, boasts a conservative all-star team that includes Nikki Haley, Trey Gowdy, Tim Scott and my own congressman, Mick Mulvaney.

Yeah, I guess it was a good week.  But I have a message for Mssrs McConnell and Boehner:

We conservatives have expended great effort and money to stop the liberal Democrats’ assault on our Constitution and destruction of our economy.  In some cases we had to, again, plug our noses as we marked our ballots.  We saved your bacon, but not your pork.  If you continue to disrespect and disregard us, there’s gonna be a showdown!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideBad dreamer, what’s your name?
Looks like we’re riding on the same train
Looks as though there’ll be more pain
There’s gonna be a showdown.

Showdown – Electric Light Orchestra

Take a minute to enjoy this amazing live performance by Jeff Lynne, the genius who glues together all the magical musical pieces known as the Electric Light Orchestra.  As a musician, I marvel at the perfection of his production at every level.

 

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