Tea Party Patriots Ordinary citizens reclaiming America's founding principles.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Senator Rand Paul; A Duty to Preserve the 2nd Amendment

From The Washington Times --

When Congress reconvenes next month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to bring gun control back to the Senate floor. If this occurs, I will oppose any legislation that undermines Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms or their ability to exercise this right without being subject to government surveillance.

Restricting Americans’ ability to purchase firearms readily and freely will do nothing to stop national tragedies such as those that happened in Newtown, Conn., and in Aurora, Colo. It will do much to give criminals and potential killers an unfair advantage by hampering law-abiding citizens’ ability to defend themselves and their families. Potentially on the table are new laws that would outlaw firearms and magazines that hold more than just a handful of rounds, as well as require universal “background checks,” which amount to gun registration. We are also being told that the “assault weapons” ban originally introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein is not happening. We can only hope. But in Washington, D.C., bad ideas often have a strange way of coming up again.

These laws are designed to sound reasonable, but statistics have shown that gun control simply does not work. What constitutes reasonable? If limiting rounds and increasing surveillance were really the solution to curbing gun violence, why should we stop there? Because everyone knows that none of this actually curbs gun violence.

Gun control itself is unreasonable.Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the entire country — and one of the worst gun-crime rates, with more than 500 homicides last year. Compare this to Virginia, where in the past six years, gun sales went up by 73 percent, while violent gun crime fell 24 percent. The types of firearms and clips the left is currently so intent on banning are used in fewer than 2 percent of gun crimes — and how many of those crimes involve registered weapons? Few to none.

For every national tragedy that happens, there are hundreds if not thousands of examples of Americans preventing similar killings from happening, thanks to the use of personal firearms. Last June, for example, a 14-year-old Phoenix boy shot an armed intruder who broke into his home while he was baby-sitting his three younger siblings. The children were home alone on a Saturday afternoon when an unrecognized woman rang their doorbell. After the 14-year-old boy refused to open the door, he heard a loud bang, which indicated that someone was trying to break into the house. The boy hurried his younger siblings upstairs and collected a handgun from his parents’ room. When the boy rounded the top of the stairs, there was a man standing in the doorway with a gun pointed at him. The boy shot at the intruder and saved the lives of his three younger siblings.

There have been would-be mass murderers who have walked into schools, churches, shopping malls, movie theaters and other public places who didn’t get very far because, thankfully, an armed citizen was nearby. There have been countless home invasions, armed robberies and other assaults in which lives were saved, thanks to citizens possessing private firearms.These stories are heroic, but they don’t become big headlines. We should all be glad that they don’t become such headlines, thanks to the unsung heroes who prevent them from becoming potential national tragedies.

For these reasons, I will oppose any attempt by President Obama, Mr. Reid or anyone else in Washington who works against Americans’ right to bear arms. Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz have decided to join in this effort.We do this not only because it is right — but because it is our duty as United States senators.

When I stood up for the Fourth and Fifth Amendments during a filibuster a few weeks ago to address drones and executive power, it was not because I was partial to those amendments, important as they are. When I came into office, I took an oath to uphold the Bill of Rights. 

I took an oath to uphold the First Amendment. I took an oath to uphold the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment reads: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It doesn’t say “might be” infringed. Nor does it say “could be” infringed. It read “shall not” be infringed. The current gun-control legislation being proposed unquestionably infringes. For these reasons, I will work diligently to stop any such gun-control legislation. Our Constitution, individual liberty and personal safety depend on it.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why China Is Reading Your Email

From The Wall Street Journal --

Timothy L. Thomas By DAVID FEITH

Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

For several years, Washington has treated China as the Lord Voldemort of geopolitics—the foe who must not be named, lest all economic and diplomatic hell break loose. That policy seemed to be ending in recent weeks, and Timothy Thomas thinks it's about time.

The clearest sign of change came in a March 11 speech by Tom Donilon, President Obama's national security adviser, who condemned "cyber intrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale" and declared that "the international community cannot tolerate such activity from any country." Chinese cyber aggression poses risks "to international trade, to the reputation of Chinese industry and to our overall relations," Mr. Donilon said, and Beijing must stop it.

"Why did we wait so long?" wonders Mr. Thomas as we sit in the U.S. Army's Foreign Military Studies Office, where the 64-year-old retired lieutenant colonel has studied Chinese cyber strategy for two decades. More than enough evidence accumulated long ago, he says, for the U.S. to say to Beijing and its denials of responsibility, "Folks, you don't have a leg to stand on, sorry."

U.S. targets of suspected Chinese cyber attacks include news organizations (this newspaper, the New York Times, Bloomberg), tech firms (GoogleGOOG -1.06%AdobeADBE +2.00% Yahoo YHOO -0.26% ), multinationals (Coca-Cola,KO +0.55% Dow Chemical DOW +0.19% ), defense contractors (Lockheed Martin,LMT +2.17% Northrop Grumman NOC +0.36% ), federal departments (Homeland Security, State, Energy, Commerce), senior officials (Hillary Clinton, Adm. Mike Mullen), nuclear-weapons labs (Los Alamos, Oak Ridge) and just about every other node of American commerce, infrastructure or authority. Identities of confidential sources, hide-outs of human-rights dissidents, negotiation strategies of major corporations, classified avionics of the F-35 fighter jet, the ins and outs of America's power grid: Hackers probe for all this, extracting secrets and possibly laying groundwork for acts of sabotage.
China's aggression has so far persisted, Mr. Thomas says, because "it makes perfect sense to them." The U.S. has difficulty defending its cyber systems, the relatively new realm of cyber isn't subject to international norms, and years of intrusions have provoked little American response. "I think they're willing to take the risk right now because they believe that we can't do anything to them," he says. "You have to change the playing field for them, and if you don't, they're not going to change. They're going to continue to rip off every bit of information they can."
Hence the promise of Washington's apparent shift in policy. "There's something going on," Mr. Thomas says, and the Donilon speech was only one part. This month's more significant news, he argues, was the announcement that the U.S. military's Cyber Command (founded in 2009) would for the first time develop and field 13 offensive cyber-warfare teams. The Chinese "now know we are ready to go on the offense. There's something that's been put in place that I think is going to change their view."
Not that he expects Beijing to back down lightly. On the contrary, Mr. Thomas points to the literature of the People's Liberation Army to demonstrate that China's cyber strategy has deep—even ancient—roots.

The essence of China's thinking about cyber warfare is the concept of shi, he says, first introduced in Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" about 2,500 years ago. The concept's English translation is debated, but Mr. Thomas subscribes to the rendering of Chinese Gen. Tao Hanzhang, who defines shi as "the strategically advantageous posture before a battle."

"When I do reconnaissance activities of your [cyber] system," Mr. Thomas explains of China's thinking, "I'm looking for your vulnerabilities. I'm establishing a strategic advantage that enables me to 'win victory before the first battle' "—another classic concept, this one from the "36 Stratagems" of Chinese lore. "I've established the playing field. I have 'prepped the battlefield,' to put it in the U.S. lexicon."

Or, as Chinese Gen. Dai Qingmin wrote in his 2002 book, "Direct Information Warfare": "Computer network reconnaissance is the prerequisite for seizing victory in warfare. It helps to choose opportune moments, places and measures for attack." Says Mr. Thomas: "He's telling you right there—10 years ago—that if we're going to win, we have to do recon."

A 1999 book by two Chinese colonels put it more aggressively (albeit in a sentence as verbose as it is apocalyptic): "If the attacking side secretly musters large amounts of capital without the enemy nations being aware of this at all and launches a sneak attack against its financial markets," wrote Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, "then, after causing a financial crisis, buries a computer virus and hacker detachment in the opponent's computer system in advance, while at the same time carrying out a network attack against the enemy so that the civilian electricity network, traffic dispatching network, financial transaction network, telephone communications network, and mass media network are completely paralyzed, this will cause the enemy nation to fall into social panic, street riots, and a political crisis." No kidding.

This vision from 1999 reads like an outline of the report published last month by Mandiant, a private-security firm, about "Unit 61398," a Shanghai-based Chinese military team that since 2006 has mounted cyber assaults to steal terabytes of codes and other information from U.S. assets. Among the targets of Unit 61398 was Telvent Canada, which provides remote-access software for more than 60% of the oil and gas pipelines in North America and Latin America.

Unit 61398 is said to engage in "spearphishing," whereby would-be cyber intruders send emails with links and attachments that, if clicked, install malware on target computers. Lesser hackers might spearphish while posing as Nigerian princes, but Unit 61398 developed sophisticated ways, including colloquial language, to mimic corporate and governmental interoffice emails.

Spearphishing, too, draws on traditional Chinese stratagems: "The Chinese strive to impel opponents to follow a line of reasoning that they (the Chinese) craft," Mr. Thomas wrote in 2007. With this kind of asymmetric approach, he says, "anybody can become an unsuspecting accomplice."

In this context Mr. Thomas mentions a cartoon published last year in Army magazine in which one Chinese general says to another: "To hell with 'The Art of War,' I say we hack into their infrastructure." Good for a chuckle, perhaps, but Mr. Thomas warns against taking the message seriously. China's hacking is in fact "a manifestation of 'The Art of War,' " he says, and if the U.S. military doesn't realize that, it "can make mistakes. . . . You have to stay with their line of thought if you're going to try to think like them."

"Boy," he later laments, "we need a lot more Chinese speakers in this country"—a point underscored by the fact that he isn't one himself. He reads Chinese military texts in translation, some published by the U.S. government's Open Source Center and some he has found himself. He stumbled upon Gen. Dai's "Direct Information Warfare" on a trip several years ago to Shanghai, when an associate led him (and an interpreter) to an unmarked military bookstore on the top floor of a building on the outskirts of town. "I could tell when I walked in that the people behind the cash register were stunned I was there," he recalls. In public bookstores, he says, material addressing Chinese national security is often marked "not for foreign sale" on the inside cover.

The Ohio native does speak Russian, having focused most of his military service (from West Point graduation in 1973 until 1993) on the Soviet Union. That language skill still comes in handy, and not just because Russia is suspected of having carried out cyber assaults against Estonia in 2007 and Georgia in 2008.

Look at the Mandiant report's map of Chinese cyber intrusions (at least those tied to Unit 61398): Russia is untouched. "That's a huge area. . . . I really would wonder why they're after South Africa, the U.A.E. and Singapore but not Russia. And Luxembourg. They went after Luxembourg but not Russia?" Together with Iran, he argues, China and Russia make up "not the axis of evil but the axis of cyber."

So what is to be done? Security firms are working to harden networks against hackers, and members of Congress are promoting legislation to let the government work more closely with Internet service providers without opening up the companies to lawsuits or infringing on civil liberties. Washington could challenge Chinese cyber espionage with targeted economic sanctions. Meanwhile, there is much talk about establishing international standards for cyber space, but it is unclear what that would mean—which probably explains why top officials in Washington and Beijing have both endorsed the idea.

None of this seems promising to Mr. Thomas, who stresses building deterrence through offensive capabilities, such as the 13 new teams at U.S. Cyber Command. The implication is that the best defense is a good offense.

And doesn't that suggest, in turn, that the U.S. and China are headed toward a dynamic of mutually assured cyber destruction? "It seems like it," he says.

It's heartening to hear, then, that Chinese military literature isn't uniformly aggressive toward America. This includes writings about the "China Dream," which posits that China will overtake the U.S. economically and militarily by midcentury—and which has been adopted as the signature cause of new President Xi Jinping.

"They give you both versions," says Mr. Thomas. "They give you a model that says, 'There will be no way we'll ever fight [the U.S.], we'll work on cooperation.' A chapter later, 'There could be a time where if pushed hard enough, we'll have to do something and there will be a battle.' "

But what about the argument that the U.S. is shedding crocodile tears? America (and Israel) were almost certainly behind the most successful known cyber attack to date: the Stuxnet virus that impeded Iran's uranium-enrichment program. There might be some comfort in knowing that the U.S. is doing unto China what China is doing unto the U.S., says Mr. Thomas, but "we don't seem as intrusive as the other side." That is illustrated especially, he says, by China's state-sponsored commercial espionage. He frequently hears complaints from U.S. firms dealing with Chinese counterparts who know their secrets, adding that "I don't think people really get the security briefing of just how invasive it is."

Then there's the argument that all this is overblown because no cyber attack has ever killed anyone. Mr. Thomas responds, somewhat impatiently: "If I had access to your bank account, would you worry? If I had access to your home security system, would you worry? If I have access to the pipes coming into your house? Not just your security system but your gas, your electric—and you're the Pentagon?"

He adds: "Maybe nobody's been killed yet, but I don't want you having the ability to hold me hostage. I don't want that. I don't want you to be able to blackmail me at any point in time that you want." He cites the Chinese colonels' vision, back in 1999, of "social panic" and "street riots." "I wonder what would happen if none of us could withdraw money out of our banks. I watched the Russians when the crash came and they stood in line and . . . they had nothing."

Mr. Feith is an assistant editorial features editor at the Journal.

Fed's Fund Vital Study on Snail Sex & Duck Penises - Cleveland Air Show & White House Tours still Canceled over Lack of Funds

As we face sequester cuts that have Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11) of Cleveland and her fellow Democrats screaming as if the world will end, the unemployed, under-employed, or low-paid American worker can still take solace in knowing some important programs & studies funded under President Obama's Stimulus and Continuous Resolution funding will remain in place.

The federally funded National Science Foundation (NSF), being described as, "good stewards of taxpayer dollars," and a future investment that plays into the big picture role of our economic success by NSF Spokesperson Debbie Wing, has recently funded and continued the funding on two of these "important" programs.....

From CNS News --

The National Science Foundation awarded a grant for $876,752 to the University of Iowa to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails and whether that explains why any organism has sex.

So far, the grant has paid out $502,357, according to NSF, and could pay out the full $880,000 between now and 2015. (More...)

And looking towards gathering crucial economic insight for future generations, Yale University has been busy at work on an important NSF funded study of their own....

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $384,949 grant to Yale University for a study on “Sexual Conflict, Social Behavior and the Evolution of Waterfowl Genitalia”, according to the recovery.gov website.

Many duck penises are cork-screw shaped and some scientists believe this is because of a form of evolution known as "sexual conflict". According to the NSF grant abstract the study shows that age, environment and breeding changes can impact the penis length of certain ducks.... (More...)

Unfortunately, due to the funding for important economic studies like the ones above and the belt tightening sacrifices we must make under the Sequester, White House tours and the Cleveland Air Show are still cancelled.

Another Part of Obamacare Ready to Get the Axe

From Tea Party Patriots --

Another piece of Obamacare may soon be on the trash heap of history:
Medical-device companies scored a political victory when the Senate voted in a non-binding resolution to repeal a new device tax, and now they are turning their attention to the House, especially U.S. Representative Ed Markey.
The 2.3 percent tax went into effect in January and is supposed to help offset the costs of implementing President Obama’s landmark health reform law. But the device industry argues that it would cost Massachusetts’ largest companies more than $411 million a year, according to a new analysis by the Pioneer Institute that will be released in April, just before the first payment is due.
The Senate voted 79-20 to repeal the tax Thursday evening in a bipartisan budget amendment in a non-binding resolution. Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and William “Mo” Cowan signed on to the repeal, following a flurry of last-minute lobbying from Massachusetts medical device makers of New England Democrats.
Rep. Markey voted against repeal of the tax last year, but says he opposes the tax on principle. The problem? Keeping Obamacare funded:
Markey says he has not signed onto the current bill because it does not specify how the repeal would be paid for.
“I am concerned about the impact that the device tax could have on the medical device industry and job creation in Massachusetts,” Markey said. “I opposed the inclusion of this tax in the House health care reform bill. I would support repealing the tax, as long as the revenue replacing it does not impact middle-class families or their health care benefits.”
With clear bipartisan support for repeal, there’s a good chance the tax will be overturned. However, two top Democrats – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) voted against repeal, which means a fight may still be ahead. On the other hand, the 1099 tax in Obamacare was overturned some time ago, giving precedence to elimination of a tax created in the health care law.
Given that the Senate amendment is non-binding, it has no force of law. But it is a good sign that an overwhelming majority of the Senate is expressing an opinion against this tax, which means legislation has a good chance of passing in the future.

The Food Stamp President & The Dependency Class

The below story shows participation in the "Food Stamp" program (SNAP) has increased by 70% since President Obama has taken office.

While President Obama's failed policies that actually increased unemployment and extended the economic crisis we have faced since he took office are the cause of this increase in Food Stamps, this increase was also due to President Obama continuing the progressive agenda of the left and his fulfilling of a campaign promise to fundamentally transform us as a country.

The other part of the equation for an increase in the Food Stamp program was because President Obama, in his desire to transform our country, purposely increased the enrollment by allowing higher income earning Americans to sign up for food stamp program (SNAP) --  thus creating and increasing the new "Dependency Class" of American citizen's...

From The Washington Times -- (Emphasis Added)

Enrollment in the food stamp program — officially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — has soared by 70 percent in the years since President Obama first took office, a new report finds.

The government said the recession ended in 2009, The Wall Street Journal reports, but enrollment in the food stamp program didn’t wane, as would be expected in an improving economy. Since 2008, it’s been on a steady rise, The Journal reports.

A record 47.8 million people participate in the program, as of December 2012 — a figure that translates into a 70 percent rise since 2008, The Journal says. Why?

Despite government claims, the job market is still lagging. The poverty rate is on the rise, The Journal says. And federal laws passed under former President Clinton and further under Mr. Obama are actually driving the enrollment rate higher. Those laws allow for those with higher incomes to take food stamps — the logic being that helping people before they reach crisis financial level will actually stimulate the economy, The Journal says.

The news for the future is more of the same.

Economists predict that food stamp enrollment will continue to rise in the coming year. Then, enrollment will start to drop, but slowly and only slightly, The Journal says.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cleveland Air Show Cancelled


A few days ago, The Plain Dealer reported that 

The Cleveland National Air Show has become a victim of the "sequester," as federal budget cuts that took effect at the beginning of the month have forced the cancellation of the annual Labor Day event.
Organizers of the air show issued a news release today announcing its cancellation. It's the first time the air show won't be held in Cleveland since its first event in 1964, said air show spokeswoman Kim Dell.
“After considering the effect this will have on programming, attendance and the financial viability of producing a 2013 event, the Executive Committee of Cleveland National Air Show Inc. Board of Trustees made the decision to cancel this year’s Air Show," Chuck Newcomb, executive director of the show, said in the news release. "Though regrettable, this action is viewed to be in the long term best interest of the Air Show, the City of Cleveland and the valued fans that annually attend the event.”
"It was not an easy decision for the board to make," Dell said."It's a very big deal."The air show attracts 60,000 to 100,000 visitors to Burke Lakefront Airport. It has an annual economic impact of $7.1 million.
Federal budget cuts forced the grounding of air show staples such as the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Army's Golden Knights jump team. Those losses played a huge role in the board's decision, Dell said.

Federal budget cuts? Well, only discretionary spending, and then not much.  The New York Times reported that "recklessly cutting discretionary spending does little to address America’s long-term debt crisis — which is supposedly why we pushed ourselves into the sequester in the first place."

Sequestration was President Obama's idea. So he is cutting discretionary spending on programs that visibly benefit the public, such as White House ToursThe Thunderbirds and The Blue Angels. 

Among the discretionary budget items NOT cut:
So, no Air Show for Cleveland this coming Labor Day weekend. What a petty administration.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I.R.S. Spends over $60K on "Star Trek" & "Gilligan's Island" themed Training Videos

In what William Shatner described as an, "appalling waste of U.S. tax dollars," the I.R.S., in playing Quentin Tarantino with your tax dollars, made video's based on Star Trek and Gilligan's Island for training purposes....

From The Hill --

The Internal Revenue Service says it regrets making two $60,000 training videos in 2010 that parodied the popular TV shows, “Star Trek” and “Gilligan’s Island.”

In the wake of congressional criticism of the two videos, the IRS said it has taken steps to make “wise use of taxpayer funds while ensuring a tone and theme appropriate for the nation's tax system,” according to the Associated Press.

In October the head of human resources for the Department of Veterans Affairs resigned after an inspector general’s report found that the agency spent $6.1 million on two weeklong conferences, one of which included $49,516 to produce a parody video of the late-Gen. George S. Patton.

The six-minute “Star Trek” video made in Maryland was shown to agency employees at a conference in 2010. In the video, IRS workers are meticulously dressed as characters from the popular TV show and are flying a staged space craft towards the planet, “Notax.”

Lawmakers overseeing the IRS decided that the "Gilligan's Island" video contained legitimate training value, but that the “Star Trek” video did not. They subsequently released the “Star Trek” video to the public, but have kept the “Gilligan’s Island” video private. (More...)

With the way President Obama and the Democrats want to continue raising taxes, that the Star Trek spoof was going to take place on the planet - "Notax" -- it was more of a comedy than a training video.

Whereas, the "Gilligan's Island" training video and being lost at sea is much more representative of President Obama's Administration.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

U.S. Border Patrol Uniforms - Made in Mexico!

You can't make this stuff up....

From CNS News --

(CNSNews.com) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has granted uniform contracts to VF Imagewear, Inc., an apparel company that relies on manufacturing sites in Mexico for a “significant percentage” of its occupational garments.

The latest contract with the company was awarded on Dec. 20, 2012, to make “uniform and insignia items” for the CBP at an estimated cost of $6,157,997.57, and a ceiling of $8 million.

The CBP, which is responsible for protecting America’s borders, told CNSNews.com that items from VF Imagewear, a subsidiary of VF Corporation, are manufactured in a number of locations, “including Mexico.”

“There are no domestic preference regulations or statutes applicable to DHS/CBP that would prohibit the manufacture of uniform items in Mexico,” the CBP said. “In fact, United States obligations under International Agreements require that the Agency accept items manufactured in Mexico.”

“Consistent with the foregoing, VF is permitted to provide items manufactured in Mexico under the current contract,” the agency said.

According to the company’s 2012 annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), “VF operates manufacturing facilities in Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East.” (More...)

Medicaid Expansion is Wrong Way for Ohio

The below is from Marianne Gasiecki, Founder of the Mansfield Tea Party and Tea Party Patriots Co-State Coordinator for Ohio....

From the Columbus Dispatch --

Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis recently accused tea party leaders of being more interested in their own ideology than in the health of Ohio residents .

Jeff Malek, coordinator for the Wadsworth 9-12 Group, was quoted as saying, “Instead of trying to understand why so many conservatives reject the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio, Mr. Gonidakis falsely accuses the tea party of a sentiment that has never been expressed by anyone within the movement.”

Unlike Gonidakis, the tea party and other conservative organizations believe that life has value and should be treated with dignity and respect, something Medicaid cannot provide.

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office revealed that children on Medicaid receive worse care than children with no insurance. Mothers seeking specialty care for their children covered by Medicaid were denied appointments 66 percent of the time and dental appointments 64 percent of the time.

Medicaid patients with head and neck cancer are 50 percent more likely to die. Regarding other major surgical procedures, Medicaid patients have a longer length of stay, the highest hospital costs and the highest risk of death. How is that caring for our residents?

Gov. John Kasich stated he was using his lessons learned from the Good Book as justification for the expansion of this huge government program, urging lawmakers to examine their consciences and not let concerns about government spending trump this “moral imperative.” Debt is frowned upon in the Bible; in fact, it is considered to be a sin to incur debt without paying it back. Even our Founders frowned upon burdening future generations with our debt.

I'm also confident in saying that, when taking care of our fellow man, it doesn't mean providing inferior care, and yet that’s exactly what Gonidakis and Kasich are promoting.

Chris Long, president of the Ohio Christian Alliance, expressed a similar sentiment: “In my years of pastoring in the inner city, no one was denied medical care. In fact, the people that I pastored who were at or below the poverty line received excellent medical care with existing programs.”

Many conservative organizations, and governors, have offered free-market-based solutions to providing cost-effective, quality care to those in need. If caring for our fellow man is truly the objective, that is the direction our legislators should take us.

Marianne Gasiecki
Ohio State Co-Coordinator
Tea Party Patriots

Monday, March 25, 2013

Senator Portman Joins Sherrod Brown in Supporting Internet Sales Tax

Last week we posted an action alert urging people to contact Senator Rob Portman and Senator Sherrod Brown and ask them to vote against the Market Fairness Act (Internet Sales Tax).  

While Portman, in humoring what is left of his conservative base, voted against the Senate Budget, he joined in with his new Bi-Partisan Buddy, Senator Sherrod Brown, and voted in support of the Market Fairness Act, aka -- Internet Sales Tax.

And, shrugging off the Sequester Cuts and the fiscal mess our country is facing, in again holding hands with his new voting pal in the U.S. Senate, Portman joined in with Sherrod Brown and voted against the amendment offered by Senator Ted Cruz to reduce aid for the Muslim Brotherhood aligned forces in Egypt.

From Red State --   
Early Saturday morning, the Senate adopted its first concurrent budget resolution in four years.  Democrats cleverly made sure to hand out enough hall passes to vulnerable red state senators so they could vote against the $1 trillion tax increase, while ensuring that it ultimately passed 50-49.  Senators Baucus, Begich, Hagan, and Pryor were given the green light to vote no.  After a 13-hour “votarama” on 70 amendments, there is a lot to digest.  Obviously, none of this will have the force of law as all of the amendments that passed are attached to this budget resolution, which is dead on arrival in the House.  However, there are some important votes that can be used against Democrats in vulnerable seats, such as those pertaining to Obamacare, abortion, cap and trade, and guns.

On the Republican side, perhaps the most egregious vote was the Enzi amendment to allow states to form a cartel and collect internet sales taxes for other states.  The so-called Market Fairness Act passed in the form of a second degree amendment by 75-24, with the support of 26 Republicans.  This will send the message to Harry Reid that he has more than 60 votes to pass this as a standalone bill.  In doing so, they have voted to grow government all over the country, hurt low-tax states, impose taxation without representation, saddle small businesses with collecting taxes for 10,000 distinct tax jurisdictions, and adulterate the freest most successful entity known to man.  You can read more about it here.

Here are the 26 Republicans:

Johnson, R

One other important vote from a Republican vantage point was Ted Cruz’s amendment to reduce foreign aid to Egypt.  It only garnered the support of 25 senators.   I’ll check back with more updates after fully digesting all the votes.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

In Washington: Ethics are for Little People

In the real world, violating the law (or even the strong, likely suspicion of violating the law) brings down the wrath of one’s superiors. Apparently, not in Washington:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is standing behind Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) despite calls for the veteran lawmaker to relinquish his leadership post while he is investigated on ethics charges.
Pelosi and other members of the Democratic leadership, including Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.), backed Andrews on Wednesday as he battles charges of using campaign funds for family trips.
What did he do? Merely use campaign dollars for a wedding trip:
In 2012, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) released a report charging Andrews with tapping tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to pay for a 2011 trip to a wedding in Scotland and multiple jaunts to Los Angeles with his daughters.
….It referred the case to the House Ethics Committee last year, citing “substantial reason to believe that he improperly used congressional campaign and Leadership PAC funds for personal use.”
Andrews has argued the trips were political because the groom in the Scotland wedding and his daughters were volunteer campaign aides.
OCE sharply disagreed, stating that the House Democrat “engaged in no political activity, gave no political speeches, raised no campaign funds and did not discuss his campaign.”
The OCE, which does not have subpoena power, also said Andrews failed to provide investigators with his congressional and campaign calendars and supplied credit card statements “after making significant redactions.”
Of course, Rep. Andrews is claiming innocence:
Andrews has maintained his innocence and says the charges against him are “politically motivated.” He said the Ethics Committee investigation that was announced on Tuesday would exonerate him.
“This review will confirm that I have always followed the rules and met all the standards of the House,” Andrews said in a statement. “I will eagerly provide answers to any questions the committee has. In the meantime, I will continue to work as hard as I can and serve my constituents and our country as a member and in any other capacity in which I am chosen to serve.”
The Ethics panel is notoriously slow-footed with its investigations — it could be months before the review of Andrews is complete.
In the meantime, he’s still pushing for more spending:
It appeared to be business as usual for Andrews on Wednesday.
He took to the House floor to defend the party’s budget, and his Rayburn Office doors stood wide open, with no reporters or cameramen stationed outside — a far cry from the mob scene that greeted New Jersey colleague Sen. Robert Menendez when separate ethics allegations against him gained attention.
Ethics violations are nothing new to Capitol Hill. The Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named a full 16 Members as being under investigation for ethics charges in 2009 alone. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is one of the most famous, of course, though others exist – Senator David Vitter (R-LA) called prostitutes on his taxpayer-paid phone.
It is notable that Rep. Andrews reimbursed his campaign committee and leadership PAC to the tune of over $30,000. In the meantime, the House Democratic leadership is defending Rep. Andrews, noting that he has only been charged with an ethics violation, not found guilty.
What do you think? At what point should a Member of Congress be forced to retire, or otherwise be held accountable for his or her actions? Does it matter that reimbursement was made? Let us know in the comments.

Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Marcia Fudge ask's Obama - "Where's Ours?"

Seeing that President Obama is paying back other "special interest" groups for helping in his reelection by taking up their cause's (Illegal Immigration, Gay Marriage & Arab Spring), Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Rep. Marcia Fudge of Cleveland, is looking for her share of the pie...

From The PD --
The nation's first black president is not appointing enough African-Americans to his Cabinet, according to Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge of Warrensville Heights.

Fudge sent a letter to President Barack Obama today that complained none of the second-term Cabinet appointments he's announced are African-American. In his first term, Obama appointed African-Americans, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to his Cabinet.

Fudge's letter told Obama that Congressional Black Caucus offices "have had numerous phone calls from constituents questioning why none of the new appointees will be able to speak to the unique needs of African-Americans."

"Their ire is compounded by the overwhelming support you've received from the African American Community," it said. "As you continue choosing your critical advisers, we want to stress the importance of ensuring every community has a seat at the table. The absence of diverse voices leads to policies and programs that adversely impact African-Americans."

By stating President Obama should appoint a Cabinet member as a political payback and solely because he/she is African-American, besides being racist and further fanning the flames of racial divide, is part of the overall entitlement mind-set that is currently destroying our country.

Maybe one day, instead of throwing them in the trash can, Congresswomen Fudge, serving in OH-11, a specially drawn & federally gerrymandered - Majority Minority Congressional District, thus making Fudge an Affirmative Action office holder herself,  can truly embrace the words of Dr. Martin Luther King...

".... live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ohio Republican Party Supports Scandal-Plagued & former Gays Right's Lobbyist for State Chairman

In a move that rivals the incompetence of their one-time desire to name former Congressman Bob McEwen (aka Bouncin' Bob) as Spokesman of the Ohio Republican Party, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett just named former lobbyist for the gay rights group "Equality Ohio" - Matt Borges -- as their new Executive Director.

And with Bennett's upcoming retirement as Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, ALL of Ohio's State-wide office holders have signed a letter sent by Bennett to members of the ORP State Central Committee in support of Borges as his successor....

From the Columbus Dispatch --
From Gov. John Kasich to Treasurer Josh Mandel to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman; from U.S. House Speaker John Boehner to Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder, all of Ohio’s statewide nonjudicial elected Republicans as well as the state’s leading GOP lawmakers signed a letter endorsing Matt Borges as the state party’s next chairman.

The letter was sent this morning to each of the Ohio Republican Party’s 66 central committee members. The party’s current chairman, Robert T. Bennett, will retire May 31.

“The Ohio Republican Party is an invaluable resource for all of our races,” said the letter, signed by Secretary of State Jon Husted, Senate President Keith Faber of Celina and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, among others. “Moving forward, we need Matt Borges as chairman of the Ohio Republican Party to give us the best chance of continuing Ohio’s comeback.”

The letter would appear to head off the turmoil and nastiness that led to Bennett’s re-installment as chairman after a previous retirement last year. Kasich successfully drove then-chairman Kevin DeWine from power in 2012 after a long, ugly power struggle.

Borges is currently the party’s executive director. The letter praises his “ability to raise money, organize volunteers, and effectively manage large organizations” and says now “it’s time to stand behind him.” 
While one concern should immediately be that Borges was a lobbyist for an agenda driven group that promote policy that counters the Ohio Republican Party platform (and probably the platform of every State & County GOP  organization across the country), another concern should be Borges' 2004 guilty plea to one count of illegal use of public office....
A former chief of staff and fund-raiser for Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters pleaded guilty yesterday to charges in a "pay-to-play " scandal that could imperil Mr. Deters' political career.

Matt Borges, who was Mr. Deters' chief of staff from 1999 to 2001 and a key campaign staff member, pleaded guilty to one count of improper use of a public office.

Mr. Borges was fined $1,000 by Judge Eileen Gallagher of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, but he could have faced six months in jail along with the fine.

Mr. Borges was charged with giving 10 brokers who had contributed to Mr. Deters' campaign fund an advantage in getting contracts with the treasurer's office. The treasurer is the state's chief investment officer. (Toledo Blade)
It should be noted that one of the brokers that received special treatment was the former Cleveland Branch Chief with Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. and SG Cowen & Co., convicted broker Frank Gruttadauria.

Gruttadauria, who besides bilking clients out of over $125 million, plead guilty to bribing or offering money to someone connected with Mr. Deters' office from March, 1999, to January, 2002, to get business from the treasurer's office.  During this time Gruttadauria employers made a combined $5.9 billion in investment trades with the Treasurer's office.

In conclusion, that Borges is a lobbyist for a gay rights group, doesn't mean he supports gay rights, it shows he is willing to push the agenda of anybody with the money to pay him. 

And the fact that Borges has plead guilty to pay to play type schemes, show's as ORP Chairman, he will be more beholden to donors with the largest check and his lobbyist/consultant class friends and not to the rank & file conservatives and grassroots groups across the state.

Obviously, the Ohio Republican Party learned nothing from the beating they took in the Romney election and Mandel election here in Ohio.