Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Choking off suffocating activities like “Operation Choke Point”



The federal government’s efforts to restrict the freedoms Americans have enjoyed for more than 200 years have gotten so preposterous recently that the most of these efforts leave people incredulously saying, “Seriously?”

To wit: The Environmental Protection Agency recently went after people who burn wood to heat their homes. Trying to destroy the coal and oil industries isn’t enough, now the EPA thinks wood – an inexpensive, renewable energy source – which is the mainstay of rural homes and of some of the nation’s poorest residents, is harmful, and the agency has banned the sale of 80 percent of wood-burning stoves.

And now the nation’s most out-of-control agency has charcoal grills in its crosshairs, and has funded a project at the University of California with $15,000 of taxpayer money to study the emissions from grease drippings when people indulge in that dangerous activity, outdoor cooking.

First it was toilets, because they used too much water; then inexpensive, safe incandescent light bulbs, which have been replaced with CFLs that contain mercury and emit ultraviolet radiation; and now wood stoves and potentially outdoor grilling. There are too many people on the payroll at the EPA with too much time on their hands.

These efforts are necessary, we are told, to keep the world from grinding to a halt because of … well, some horrible disaster related to climate change, or global warming, or whatever the alarmists are now calling their imagined cataclysm. 

Each time some new target becomes public we ask, “Can it get any worse?” Unfortunately, the answer always is, “Yes.”

The EPA is not the only arm of the government harming the good citizens they exist to serve. The Department of Justice has jumped blindly onto that bandwagon with a program even more intolerable than the EPA’s misadventures called Operation Choke Point, which looks way too much like something you would find in other less-free countries, or perhaps used by mob bosses in Chicago.

Operation Choke Point is a method of preventing perfectly legal businesses from being able to operate satisfactorily, not by pointing to a law these businesses have broken or a shady practice they have indulged in, or by going through legislative channels to have what they do declared illegal, as our concept of the rule of law demands, but by underhandedly strong-arming financial institutions with whom these business have accounts, and “convincing” them to not do business with these merchants any longer.

Businesses such as ammunition sales, escort services, on-line gambling, so-called “racist materials,” third party payment processors, payday lenders, and online lenders, have been targeted simply because someone in the DOJ or higher up in the administration doesn’t like them. Some are perhaps undesirable, but all are legal.

What happens is that the DOJ and bank regulators pressure banks and other third-party payment processors to cease providing or deny banking services to industries the government alleges pose a “reputation risk” to the bank or service provider.

Last May, Todd Zywicki wrote in The Washington Post the “initiative has been shrouded in secrecy, but now it is starting to come to light  … and since then it has been difficult to discover details about it … Without an ability to process payments, the businesses – especially online vendors — cannot survive.”

The irony is that while the DOJ and bank regulators are choking off financial services to perfectly legal industries, they are also encouraging banks to provide banking services to illegal marijuana sales.

When you have people in high offices that are more interested in serving some ideological god than they are in serving the American people, and when that ideological god demands the improper use of government force against legal activities, something must be done to stop it.

And last week, the U.S. Senate started down that road. The Senate Budget Committee approved an amendment to end Operation Choke Point, and according to The Daily Signal, Committee member Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, will offer an amendment this week to the Senate’s budget proposal to defund the DOJ program. 

Sen. Crapo last year commented that Operation Choke Point “has morphed into an attempt to shut down entire industries of law-abiding and legitimate merchants.” And he sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder expressing “strong concerns” about the program. Unsurprisingly, the Justice Department, declared that it has “no interest in pursuing or discouraging lawful conduct.”

And the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will question FDIC officials about the agency’s involvement in Operation Choke Point, and hopes to find out who was involved, how high up it goes, and whether anyone has been held accountable. 

The answer to that last item will likely be “No.” It is virtually unheard of for federal employees to pay a price for their malfeasance. It is also likely we will not learn the any names associated with this outrageous offense.




Cutting funding for the EPA, the DOJ, and any/every other agency that over-reaches is an appropriate mechanism to redress the wrongs they commit against the American people. The government spends far too much money, and cutting spending where it is being used wrongly or unconstitutionally ought to be celebrated by every freedom loving American.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Day Israel Stood Still


The day Israel stood still

 

On March 17th a country two thirds the size of Maryland chose to stay with its current leader Benjamin Netanyahu. With the votes finally tallied Netanyahu and his Likud party overwhelming beat back Isaac Herzog and the Zionist Union. Ironically America’s left of the left press had Herzog winning by a considerable margin. American media misrepresented the will of Israel’s majority with stories fabricated to negate Netanyahu’s popularity at home. Some media outlets chose to distort exit polls perhaps in an attempt to discourage late voters as it does in this country. In the aftermath the Jewish State solidified behind a leader whose message is consistent: Israel must and will survive regardless of external forces attempting to undermine the nation.

 

Reports have circulated that American tax dollars were spent by the Obama Administration to subvert the Israeli election. These news reports indicated  people close to Obama established themselves in some manner or form in Israel with a singular purpose to bring Netanyahu down. Their failure brought a certain level of consternation to a White House already in disarray over Netanyahu’s recent presentation before Congress. Not to be out maneuvered by the Prime Minister our narcissus-in-chief waited 24 hours then revealed his newest plan to bring Israel to its knees. Obama’s hate for the Jewish State has no bounds. Under consideration are potential plans to weaken America’s close relationship with Israel which has lasted seven decades. In the end nothing will change except the man in the White House.

 

America’s foreign policy has been chaotic since Obama took office.

Present negotiations with Iran, to slow their nuclear weapons development, will only forestall for a brief period an outcome inevitable under current treaty discussions. Netanyahu brought this message to Congress. Yet President Obama chided the Prime Minister’s speech deriding its contents as unhelpful to current exchanges with Iranian leadership. In reality Obama stopped listening to the very people who have insight into the Iranian terrorist regime.

 

President Obama’s difficulty grasping who the aggressors are and who are America’s friends is obvious. Worse he believes loosening sanctions against Iran to placate them will expedite an arms treaty. The road President Obama and Secretary Kerry are pursuing is disastrous for this country and Israel. Further it may set the seeds for war because Iran cannot be trusted to follow the tenets of any negotiated treaty. Instead any solution generated by politicians will guarantee a nuclear Iran.

 

President Obama is considering a beach front property in Hawaii for his post White House days. In this compound he will be safe from any attack by Iran on mainland USA. He will be able to sit back and watch the mushroom clouds form. As Barack looks to the left at Michelle he will note that Netanyahu was right. Iran cannot be trusted.

 

Mark Davis MD, author of Demons of Democracy and Obamacare: Dead on Arrival, A Prescription for Disaster. President of Davis Writing Services.

www.daviswritingservices.com platomd@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rage of the queen of green


Rage of the queen of green

 

Lust for power, prestige and green should be essential components of any profile on Hillary Clinton. With her sights set on the Oval Office coronation to the thrown is the only element lacking in her resume. Last week the real Hillary Clinton once again displayed her true face. As in previous episodes of her life she came out fighting when accused of withholding subpoenaed information from investigating Congressional committees. Transaction of information through government servers remains the property of Uncle Sam, yet not for Hillary. While Secretary of State her work related emails were channeled through a private server neatly tucked away in one of her many homes. When asked at a news conference why she did not use a government server Hillary explained it was a matter of convenience. This distortion of reality was compounded by her destruction of the very emails sought by investigators. A classical Clinton maneuver took place here. Since her emails were on a private server there were no “government” retained emails to give over to Congress, as requested by their subpoena. Unknown to nearly everyone Hillary retained over 50,000 emails. Once this fact surfaced charges of perjury and criminality were thrown her way. Rhetorical nonsense from her recent press briefing concerning these emails did not fool anyone and went a long way to hurt her chances in 2016. http://www.examiner.com/article/rise-and-fall-of-an-american-queen

 

Contrary to glowing reports in left wing media Hillary’s portfolio of achievements can be summated on a single sheet of paper. During her short tenure in the Senate Hillary’s mark on legislation that became law was infinitesimal. When a colleague would introduce legislation to cut taxes invariably she would be the first on line to vote no.  Hillary’s lack of knowledge of political dynamics in the Middle East was evident in her voting record. This is exemplified by her vote against the surge. Her ineffective record in the Senate was evident throughout her years in office. As Secretary of State she turned her head away from the revolutionaries who ignited the Arab Spring. These actions contributed to reinforcing theocracy not democracy in those volatile countries. Numerous voices have insinuated that her time as Department Secretary was spent feathering her own nest. The Clinton foundation took tens of millions from countries which she had direct influence over. In the event there was a quid pro quo we may never know. http://shark-tank.com/2014/12/07/rubio-hillary-clinton-chief-architect-failed-obama-foreign-policy/#

 

 

Mrs. Clinton is no mere anomaly in the leftist World. Driven by arrogance and a smug self-righteous attitude she has achieved distinction by being the Kardashian of the political class. Just being there, she believes, entitles her to the ultimate crown in the United States. Hillary has forgotten her history. America threw off the yoke of its king and queen centuries ago. No one is ready for another spin with a monarchy. Hillary’s campaign is stumbling and not ready for prime time. She needs to go back to square one and learn humility before returning to a World that moved passed her long ago.

 

Mark Davis MD, President of Davis Writing Services, www.daviswritingservices.com platomd@gmail.com

Author of Obamacare: Dead on Arrival, A Prescription for Disaster and

Demons of Democracy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Democrats have never done what 47 Republican senators did to Obama



Dissatisfied with President Barack Obama’s approach to Iran’s continued march toward acquiring nuclear weapons, 47 Republican Senators signed an open letter that was sent to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Arkansas freshman Sen. Tom Cotton authored the letter, which was signed by all but seven Senate Republicans.

This action has been termed “unprecedented,” and has brought forth the wrath of Democrats in Congress and the administration. Vice President Joe Biden, for example, declared that "In 36 years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which senators wrote directly to advise another country … that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them.”

Secretary of State John Kerry expressed similar sentiments: “This letter ignores more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy,” and went a step further by saying that in his 29 years in the Senate he had “never heard of or even heard of being proposed anything comparable to this.”

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said, “Republicans are undermining our commander-in-chief while empowering the ayatollahs. We should always have robust debate about foreign policy, but it's unprecedented for one political party to directly intervene in an international negotiation with the sole goal of embarrassing the president of the United States.”

Other criticisms charged Republicans with trying to undercut the president by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress without first consulting the White House, and then by sending this letter to subvert an agreement that would avoid war, as MSNBC’s Mika Brzenzinski charged on the Morning Joe program. And the pièce de résistance: the New York Daily News cover calling the Republican letter signers “traitors.”

Some law professors, pundits and news media charge that the Republican senators have committed treason by violating the Logan Act of 1799, which states: "Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

And now for the rest of the story.

Predictably, there is far more heat than warranted here, Treason? No. Traitors? No. Gross amounts of hyperbole? Absolutely! Deliberate deception! Of course.

The Logan Act is not a factor here because, first, many legal authorities believe the Act is constitutional, as it infringes on the free speech guaranteed citizens by the U.S. Constitution, but also because the senators represent one of two houses of a co-equal branch of government, and therefore acted with the authority of their position, which also allows them to take a part in agreements with other nations.

Most important, however, is that despite the breathless overstatements by critics of the letter-writers, this action is not at all unprecedented, and in fact some of the loudest critics have themselves indulged in similar acts.

Take Secretary of State John Kerry, for instance. In 1971 during negotiations by President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger trying to reach an end to the Vietnam War, then-Sen. Kerry, D-Mass., as leader of the anti-war group Vietnam Veterans Against the War, travelled to Paris to meet face-to-face with the North Vietnamese delegation, which was at the time an enemy combatant nation.

In 2007 then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Cal., met fact-to-face with Bashar al-Assad while President George W. Bush was in negotiations with the Syrian leader.

Another Speaker, Jim Wright, D-Tex., talked face-to-face with Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega in 1987.

Senator James Abourezk, D-S.D., secretly met with Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat in 1973.

In 2006 Senators John Kerry, D-Mass., Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Arlen Spector R-Pa., (who soon after became a Democrat) traveled to Damascus when the policy of the Bush administration was to isolate the Bashar al-Assad regime.

The Left has a problem remembering these inconvenient facts, which are probably contained in emails at the State Department or the IRS.

Furthermore, the letter was an open letter, not a private communication and presented facts about our constitutional system the Iranians likely did not know, not a negotiation.

The letter explained that any agreement between President Obama and the Iranian leaders binds only President Obama; future presidents will not be bound by it. Only treaties ratified by the Senate bind the U.S. That is a significant point.

Further, the negotiations may well involve the president unilaterally undoing sanctions against Iran passed by the Congress. That is a no-no; he does not have authority to do that.

It is certainly fair to criticize the fact that the message was presented in a letter addressed to Iranian leaders, instead of, say, being run as an op-ed in one or more national newspapers. However, that is about the worst aspect of this molehill called Mount Treason.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Democrats want to “help” people even when they don’t need help

Last July, Jeffrey Dorfman discussed the battle that began near the end of 2013 over maintaining extended unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks. In Forbes Magazine the University of Georgia economics professor explained that during the debate the preceding December and January Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama insisted that if the benefits were not extended, it would hurt workers who would lose benefits, but the nation’s economy would also suffer.

Adding a little background, he wrote: “After the 2007-2009 recession, Congress repeatedly authorized emergency extended benefits so that the unemployed could collect benefits for as long as 99 weeks [nearly two years]. When the extended benefits finally were allowed to expire in December 2013 they had lasted 20 months longer than following any previous recession. Yet, Democrats wanted to continue them even longer.”

But, he said, six months after the decision not to extend the benefits again, neither the unemployed nor the economy suffered as predicted, and in fact “the results have been quite positive.”

“Economic research seems to be clear that providing such extended unemployment benefits went beyond helping people transition to a new job,” wrote professor Dorfman, “instead allowing them to extend their job search. Instead of taking a job offer that might be suitable, unemployed people who still had some income thanks to Congress’ generosity looked for a great job. Thus, extending unemployment benefits led to higher unemployment and a slower recovery.”

Unemployment benefits are funded by an insurance premium paid by employers to provide benefits for a set period of time, which helps folks cope until they find a new job. In most states employees are covered for up to 26 weeks. During and immediately after a recession when unemployment rates are high, the federal government generally steps in and provides an extended period of benefits. However, in such cases, benefits paid after the period covered by unemployment insurance are paid for out of tax revenue, which is essentially welfare.

A recent study supports the professor’s assertion, this one by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which indicates that the labor market improvement President Obama so frequently uses to show his policies are working, occurred even though Congress did not follow the president’s wishes and extend the benefits again to 99 weeks. Rather than widespread doom and gloom, when extended benefits were not approved, job creation increased by about 1.8 million. NBER also noted that in 2013 the states with generous unemployment benefits created fewer jobs than the national average, but that job creation in those states increased in 2014 to above the national average when they cut back on benefits.

In examining this situation the Las Vegas Review-Journal opined: “Was long-term unemployment assistance necessary for some people? Yes. But, without question, millions of Americans at the margin — those who rejected offers to work for a little more than jobless benefits were worth, or those who supplemented jobless aid with under-the-table work in the gray economy — saw no point in re-entering the taxpaying workforce when they could be paid for so long to not work. And that simply wasn’t working for our economy.”

There is substantial support in these data for the idea that liberal/Democrat policies that are intended to help people beyond their actual need for help is good neither for the people they intend to help, nor for the best interests of the country at large.

The reality that government policies have failed shows up in the low level of people in the workforce who actually have jobs. The civilian labor force participation rate reflects the proportion of non-institutional civilians 16 to 64 years of age who are working or looking for work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the participation rate hovered between 62.9 percent and 62.7 percent in the eleven months from April 2014 through February 2015, and has been 62.9 percent or lower in 13 of the 17 months since October 2013. 

It has been 37 years since the participation rate was below 63 percent, back in March of 1978. In February, the number of work-eligible civilians not working or looking for work totaled nearly 93 million people. 

BLS reported that the non-institutional population reached 249,899,000 in February, and only 157,002,000 of those were working or looking for work. The rest had become discouraged and stopped looking for a job.

So while job creation has been in positive territory lately, and the unemployment rate has dropped to near 5 percent, the economy has not produced enough jobs to get those 93 million people back to work, and when those numbers get figured in to the employment picture, the unemployment rate doubles.

The job market still has not returned to pre-recession levels nearly six years after the recession ended in 2009.

A vibrant economy depends upon people working and earning money they can spend on needs and wants. Business, not government, creates jobs. But government restricts job creation through over-regulation and high taxation.

Our elected leaders and bureaucrats seem immune from learning that less restrictive market conditions contribute to creating jobs. 


This immunity affects those of the liberal persuasion to a disproportionate degree.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Rise and fall of an American Queen


Rise and fall of an American queen

 

History has a way of recycling on itself. With the adoption of the Declaration of Independence the colonies threw off the yoke of the English Monarchy centuries ago. Expectations were the evolving nation would remain a democracy for generations to come. The blood of millions sanctified this promise through the years. Yet as history moved forward the lessons that it taught grew cold with time. Twenty-first century politics have awakened the ghosts of the past. A few politicians believe they have an absolute right of ascension to the highest circles in government. This self-righteous elitism may be drawn from name recognition they garnered based on those who came before them. Most open about her prior connections to the White House is Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton apparently believes she should be crowned queen of the United States. This delusion is continuously reinforced in her speeches and interviews. Now her coronation appears in doubt.  From the darkness information has arisen that Mrs. Clinton may have subverted American law. Worse she may have used her government position to raise funds for the Clinton Foundation.

 

While conducting business as the Secretary of State Mrs. Clinton was legally responsible to use government email systems not personal accounts. Believing she is beyond reproach and the law she hid over fifty thousand emails from Congressional committees who subpoenaed her government records not aware at the time other accounts existed. As this information developed the whitewash quickly began. Her former State Department colleagues jumped into the fray to help with damage control. Current Secretary of State John Kerry also stated he would review the matter thoroughly. The outcome for these reviews are all but assured to go Hillary’s way. Can this vast load of emails shed light on the following questions? What did Hillary really know about Benghazi? Did she raise money for the Clinton Foundation in a manner not befitting her former office? Did she pass classified material through her private accounts hence undermining United States Interests? Mrs. Clinton’s activities may have been above board, yet they need to be measured against the truth. American people deserve an independent accounting of Hillary’s recently uncovered activities.  Why? Because this heir to the throne must be vetted before the nation makes another mistake as occurred in the prior 2 election cycles.

 

Mark Davis MD, President of Davis Writing Services. www.daviswritingservices.com platomd@gmail.com

Twitter.com/americassage

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Devoid of Leadership America looks elsewhere


Devoid of leadership America looks elsewhere

 

America is starving for leadership. Weakness has been the center piece of the Obama Administration. Lacking backbone and a clear vision for this country President Obama has faltered on the international stage and at home. Current political philosophy trends away from democratic principles towards a vacuum of logic denying the reality before us. Recently Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, awoke this sleeping giant to the threatening surge of terrorism which could reach ours shores soon. His intuitive speech to Congress was not only elegant and informative it pointed to an enemy that is engulfing large segments of the Middle East. For over forty minutes the Prime Minister described the true nature of terrorism which in recent times has killed thousands including many Americans. Those lucky enough to be seated before him were provided with spectacular glimpse of a war we should and must become involved. He noted the face of the enemy has many names yet one goal to devour all those who oppose their religious extremism. Netanyahu’s primary mission on American soil may have come with a personal price to himself here and at home. Yet he felt the moral imperative to state his case. Netanyahu noted any agreement with Iran, to stop their nuclear program, would end in a catastrophe for both our nations. Sadly, too many, did not heed the call to listen to his words. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/03/02/netanyahu-iran-speech-why-it-important-for-congress-to-at-least-listen-to/

 

President Obama, in the aftermath of Netanyahu’s speech, was resolute that his negotiations with Iran would proceed. He is oblivious to numerous indicators that his efforts would fail badly. As sponsors of terrorism globally Iran has displayed it wants war over diplomacy.  Leadership is not Obama’s strong point. Blindly pursuing a negotiated path with this rogue nation is incongruous with the terroristic reality that lies before this country. The underpinnings of weak leadership in the present Administration have driven this nation in the wrong direction providing our enemies with an edge at the expense of our friends. When the United States could have made a difference in the Middle East Obama’s silence was deafening. As ISIS and its affiliates engulf large sections of this area they are aware of their friend in the White House. Netanyahu is a World leader bent on protecting his country from any and all enemies that comes to their gates. Obama’s inclination is antithetically different. He invites the enemy in to dismantle the infrastructure of a nation that has shed too much blood in war. http://nypost.com/2015/03/01/why-obamas-iran-deal-is-a-path-to-war/ Leadership is pivotal to successful nation building and its defense. America is devoid of leadership. Yet for a moment in time everyone stood still as a real leader addressed Congress.

 

Mark Davis MD, President of Davis Writing Services, www.daviswritingservices.com, platomd@gmail.com Author of Demons of Democracy and Obamacare: Dead on Arrival, A Prescription for Disaster