Question Washington

June 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — questiondc @ 12:44 am

USArmy-InternmentResettlement

Here is the military plan…

March 22, 2012

Voter ID … Third World Countries adopt it but American left says NO!

Filed under: Voter ID — questiondc @ 12:14 pm

The AFL_CIO, ACLU and NAACP have all made concerted efforts to invalidate Voter ID laws that have been adopted by, at last count, 32 States.  Couching the issue as one of “Voter Suppression” and even prompting Debbie Wasserman Shultz, DNC Chair, to make this statement:

“[I]f you go back to the year 2000, when we had an obvious disaster and – and saw that our voting process needed refinement, and we did that in the America Votes Act and made sure that we could iron out those kinks, now you have the Republicans, who want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally – and very transparently – block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. And it’s nothing short of that blatant.”

Ms. Shultz was then captured denying the comment:

“The Media Research Center’s MRC TV caught Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in what may have either been a case of selective memory or a simple lie when they caught the Florida Congresswoman at the Rayburn House Office Building.”

She later issued “sort of” an apology:

Jim Crow was the wrong analogy to use. But I don’t regret calling attention to the efforts in a number of states with Republican dominated legislatures, including Florida, to restrict access to the ballot box for all kinds of voters, but particularly young voters, African Americans and Hispanic Americans.

Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder has used the power of the Office of Attorney General to bring lawsuits in States that have passed such laws, but the most ironic twist of all is that the NAACP has gone to the United Nations Human Rights Council to protest the enactment of these laws.

“The NAACP is calling on the United Nations to intervene as it claims state governments are colluding to “block the vote” for minority communities ahead of the 2012 election — a charge those governments vehemently deny. “

Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski authored a piece in the Huffington Post which highlights many of the actions taken and make a strong argument in favor of Voter ID laws.

“Protecting the integrity of the ballot box is essential to our democracy. Laws requiring voters to show identification at the polls are commonsense measures to prevent fraud and corruption, and ensure that each year’s election returns accurately reflect the will of the people.”

The irony is that Mr. Blackwell was the former US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission and Mr. Klukowski is a fellow with the American Civil Rights Union.  The irony doesn’t end there.  Sierra Leone, a small West African nation, has decided that Voter ID will be implemented and a portion of the funding for this implementation will come from, wait for it, the United Nations Development Project.

President Koroma says, Sierra Leone will use Biometric Voting System in the 2012

Sierra Leone is not implementing a photo ID requirement. The method of voter ID adopted is biometric fingerprint scanning.  More irony; Sierra Leone is not the first country to adopt this ID technology.  Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria (famous for the e-mail scams) and Kenya!  Yes, Kenya.  They have all seen the necessity of a fair election process that reduces the opportunity for fraudulent votes being cast.  The United Nations has taken a roll in the implementation of these measures while our own Attorney General takes an active role in attempting to strike down efforts to ensure fraudulent votes are not cast.  {Insert conspiracy theory here}.

There is a War in this country, or at least it would appear so given that Al Gore’s Current TV program “The War Room” has focused on this issue using the typical emotional appeal that the Cloward-Piven strategy lovers are famous for:

“The AFL-CIO’s executive vice president Arlene Holt-Baker gets to the heart of voter ID issues. Republicans ask, what’s the big deal? Here it is: “In this country, 11 percent of Americans who would be eligible to vote do not have voter ID,” including 25 percent of African Americans, she says. Laws requiring ID disproportionately impact people of color, the elderly, and young people.”

So here’s the question: If Obama’s third world ancestral homeland of Kenya can adopt Voter ID laws to ensure fair election, why is it such taboo for this great Nation?

 

March 21, 2012

Obama’s Executive Order… Should we ignore the man behind the curtain?

Filed under: Obama — questiondc @ 3:15 pm

On Friday, March 16, 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order which has created a huge flap in the blogosphere and media outlets.  The concern over this order being a writ of seizure and a precursor to martial law has exploded wildly.  I admit that I have my concerns as well.  My concerns are not so much in the verbiage contained within the newly minted EO but in the players involved with the execution of this order.

There are numerous articles and analyses running the typical gamut of “conspiracy” to “nothing to see here, move along”.  While reading through this cornucopia of opinions and views, there were several that struck me enough to look even closer into the detail myself.  One article written by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air( http://hotair.com/archives/2012/03/18/national-defense-resources-preparedness-executive-order-power-grab-or-update/ ) is a summation of different viewpoints on the Order which effectively compares it to previous orders and cites necessary updating given the changes in the Cabinet offices.  So according to Ed’s analysis and the compilation of experts, there’s “nothing to see here”.  If there were a more in-depth analysis instead of a simple comparison of words from previous orders and less use of “almost” and “mostly”, I might be inclined to agree.  I remained unconvinced and so, continued to dig.

Another “nothing to see here” article, referenced by Morrissey, was written by Attorney Doug Mataconis in his blog (http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/no-its-not-martial-law-its-preparedness/ ).  As Doug states:

“It all sounds pretty scary, and it wasn’t long before the usual suspects were citing this as evidence of some kind of plan for martial law, just as there were people on the left and far-right asserting that George Bush was going to declare martial law and cancel the elections in 2004 and 2008. Considering who it was who was spreading the meme that this was some kind of power grab by the Obama Administration, I wasn’t inclined to believe it to begin with. However, once you actually look at the facts (yes, I know, how dare I muddle up a good conspiracy theory with actual facts) it becomes pretty clear that not only is the reaction to this wildly over the top in some corners, but the Executive Order itself is nothing more than a restatement of policy that has been in place in decades and grants no authority to the President or the Cabinet that they don’t already have under existing law.” (emphasis added)

This sounds like someone who knows what they are talking about so, should I buy in and continue on my merry way without concern?  Most people would.  I’m not most people.  Now, before you get the idea that I’m attempting to perpetuate a “conspiracy theory”, let me explain that I am simply looking for edification as to the routine nature of this Executive Order which I have not located in the above mentioned articles.  While some might say that I’m ignoring stare decisis et non quieta movere, I still wanted a more thorough analysis that did not include the phrases “mostly” and “almost”.

While looking at the variations between the previous orders and the one recently issued, there was one particular section that caught my eye.  The verbiage in Sec. 501(b) reads as follows:

“The Secretary of Homeland Security shall issue necessary guidance for the NDER program, including appropriate guidance for establishment, recruitment, training, monitoring, and activation of NDER units and shall be responsible for the overall coordination of the NDER program. The authority of the President under section 710(e) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2160(e), to determine periods of national defense emergency is delegated to the Secretary of Homeland Security.” (emphasis added)

So, let me get this straight, the President has given the authority to determine periods of National Defense Emergency to the Department of Homeland Security?  Is that really what I’m reading?  Time to look at the Defense Production Act, Section 710(e), to see if this is just a routine change:

(e) The President is further authorized to provide for the establishment and training of a nucleus executive reserve for employment in executive positions in Government during periods of national defense emergency, as determined by the President. (emphasis added)

Now for some questions. Where in the Executive Order, or in the Defense Production Act, does it explicitly provide the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security to declare a National Defense Emergency?  Does this Order now give the Secretary of Homeland Security the Presidential power to declare a national defense emergency?  What other Cabinet level has ever been granted that power?  How is the granting of this power “routine”? Does this section of the EO violate 50 USC CHAPTER 34 ?  What additional powers, if any, does this provide DHS under the National Defense Authorization Act recently signed by the President? You remember the NDAA, the one that has the potential for holding “terrorists” for an unlimited time without trial.  Again, this is not a conspiracy theory pushing attempt but it raises questions that have yet to be addressed by the legal scholars that have taken an approach that reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”.

With these questions on the table it becomes of greater concern when you consider the person to which this power has been delegated.  Janet Napolitano.  Her track record has been less than stellar and she has even called our Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan potential terrorists. The report issued by her office “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” (see article) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/16/napolitano-stands-rightwing-extremism/?page=all coupled with her active attempts to invalidate State laws adopted to protect our borders http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf_6DbgErUA&feature=related one has to wonder about the authority granted to her and why.  The legal scholars haven’t raised the question but I am.  Now I would like to see if any of them will take the opportunity to do more than a cursory look at the verbiage differences and perform a more detailed review.

The power under the Defense Production Act has always provided for a Nationalization of American Assets in times of emergency and the Executive Orders have been updated to reflect changes in Cabinet level positions.  The authority to redirect production in the best interest of the United States and its citizens has been the law of the land for decades without much scrutiny or question being raised.  However, I can find no precedent for the declaration of a National Defense Emergency being authorized by anyone other than the President or Congress.  I would like to take the approach that “there is nothing to see here” but with the things I’ve already witnessed that have occurred during the tenure of the current administration, I just can’t.

July 31, 2011

The Debt Ceiling, Spending cuts, Tax increases and Pigs

Filed under: Congress — questiondc @ 2:03 pm
Tags: ,

With the debt-ceiling limit looming, our “leaders” in Washington are sounding the alarm. There are advocates of raising the debt limit and raising taxes while others advocate coupling the debt limit increase to spending reductions and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. How did we get here? Considering the answer to that question got me thinking about pigs. Yes, I said pigs. Pigs have been symbols for many things throughout history and pig analogies are woven into the fabric of our language. Consider the piggy bank; a symbol of savings and frugality. On the opposite end of that spectrum is the pork barrel, which has come to signify excess. We have the now infamous “lipstick on a pig” analogy. The “wrestling with a pig gets both of you dirty and the pig likes it” analogy. Pigs are maligned in most analogies but here is one that has been running through my mind since the debt ceiling impasse has been dominating the news; Commitment versus Involvement, In preparing a breakfast of bacon and eggs consider the pig and chicken, the chicken is merely involved while the pig is totally committed. This brings us back to the question of how we got to where we are on the debt-ceiling impasse.

The commitment of the elected representatives in Washington is analogous to the pig and his commitment to breakfast. They are, or should be, totally committed to serving in the best interest of the people they represent as well as the best interest of America. Well, the “pigs” in Washington have bellied up to the trough of public funds and eaten from it like, well, pigs. This is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on for years under all administrations. Appropriation bills include pet projects for districts where Congressional “leaders” then go back home and use the appropriations as evidence that they are working for their constituents. One problem, this has never really served the constituency as much as it has served the “leader” seeking reelection. The bottom line here is all these “pork-barrel” spending projects have added up to spending run amuck while the fiscal “piggy bank” is ignored. So, while the feeding frenzy in Washington has been going on unabated, we have been sold a “pig in a poke” (another pig reference meaning you have been ripped off). To borrow a phrase, let me be clear; politicians have used your money to buy your vote by spending your money with reckless abandon creating the deficit and debt predicaments we are in now.

What do we do about this spending problem? The collective American consciousness has been awakened due to the “crisis” we now find ourselves in which is bringing pressure to change old habits in Washington but the carefully crafted approaches being considered by our “leaders” are less about real long term solutions as they are about continuing to bribe us with our own money. Until the “leadership” in Washington ceases the self-serving gluttony of “pigging out” on public funds, we, the little citizen piggy’s are at the mercy of the “Big Bad Wolf” representatives in Washington that are continuing to huff and puff and blow our collective fiscal house down.

This, my friends, is no fairy tale.

June 26, 2011

Rep James Clyburn – (D) South Carolina on ABC this week

Filed under: Congress — questiondc @ 2:19 pm

Aside from the obvious slant that emanates from Christian Amanpour, cleverly disguised as “news”, the guests are truly entertaining if not comical.  Today as I listened to Rep. Jim Clyburn, I was shocked at the approach advocated to address the looming debt crisis.  According to Rep. Clyburn there does not need to be a tax increase but tax loopholes need closing and the subsidies to oil companies and on ethanol fuels need to end.  Rep. Clyburn clearly stated that closing these loopholes would not increase anyone’s taxes and that the only way to increase someone’s taxes is to raise the tax rate.  Seriously?  This is what he believes to be true?   How does Rep Clyburn define subsidies?  Let’s clear a few things up.

First, what is a loophole?  According to Webster, a loophole is a means of avoiding an obligation.  Given this definition would presuppose that the current tax code contains gaps that allow taxpayers to avoid paying taxes.  This would be an incorrect assertion since Rep Clyburn is actually referring to the legally codified tax deductions and exemptions that allow taxpayers, in this instance the oil companies, to deduct certain expenditures or investments against revenues or income.  Loophole closure versus removal of deductions is simply spin to foment anger toward corporate entities that are operating within the law.  This spin is nothing more than bias presented through parsing of words to infer wrongdoing. To put it another way, Rep Clyburn is being duplicitous in order to further an agenda of raising taxes.  Wait, according to Rep Clyburn the only way to raise taxes is to increase the tax rate.  Either Rep Clyburn is being intellectually dishonest or he lacks understanding of basic math.  What constitutes a tax increase?  Certainly, an increase in the tax rate would result in increased taxes but a decrease in deductions or exemptions has the same effect.  The most rudimentary explanation is the more income subject to taxation, the higher the tax rate. 

Next, let’s look at what a subsidy consists of.  The definition is “a grant of money, as from a government to a private enterprise.”  Rep Clyburn was correct in saying that Ethanol fuel manufacturing has received subsidies, or direct payments of taxpayer dollars for research and development.  Then truthfulness takes a detour.  To make a claim that Oil companies are receiving subsidies is patently false and misleading.  Tax deductions or exemptions defined as a subsidy can be, per Rep Clyburn’s definition, extrapolated to say that the Government subsidizes every child claimed as a dependent.  While there is widespread agreement that ethanol subsidies do need to end, let’s at least be honest about what constitutes a subsidy and stop with the spin.  The attempt to pit people against each other is not what is best for this country or the people you represent.  The next time you elected leaders contemplate why there seems to be so much cynicism among the people, try looking at the deception you are constantly spewing and you might answer your own question.

I’m just sayin’

June 25, 2011

Stimulus Spending, Keynesian Economics and how does it help?

Filed under: Economy — questiondc @ 4:19 pm

Application of Keynesian economic theory as attempted through stimulus spending has been, by all accounts, a disaster.  The promise that without this enormous package of stimulus dollars being pumped into a faltering economy, unemployment would stay below 8% has proved to be false.  Why did the stimulus not do what was promised and why is unemployment above 9%?  Politicians, Economists, Pundits and just about everyone has their take on why and can point to some theory, idea or belief as to the reason.  Let’s ask some questions.

Prior to the Inauguration of Barrack Obama, a report entitled “The Job Impact of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” authored by Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein was issued as a support for the President-Elect and his goal of saving or creating  3 Million jobs.  Reading through this report provides an interesting look into the methodology and premises used to justify the approval of a $775 Billion stimulus package.  Here is where my questions start:

  1. How does borrowing money and increasing Government purchasing create long-term job growth in the private sector?
  2. When has the Government ever created a job in the private sector?
  3. What source of revenue does the Government have other than through taxation?
  4. If tax revenue is taken in from the citizens and then distributed back, minus some percentage, how is that different than taking money out of your left pocket and placing it in your right?
  5. If GDP is the market value of goods and services produced, What good or service is produced by the Government that contributes to growth in GDP? (I know the Expenditure Approach calculation includes government spending.

The Expenditure Approach to calculating the GDP does, in fact, include government expenditures but it specifically excludes transfer expenditures.  In other words social security, welfare, unemployment, medicare, and the like are not considered part of the Government spending in the GDP.  Herein lies a big issue with the stimulus creating any increase in GDP and one of the most important question to be asked:  How is an infusion of taxpayer dollars in the form of a Stimulus any different than a transfer expenditure that should be excluded from the GDP calculation? 

 I’m just askin’.

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