Sunday, September 29, 2013

Compromised Obama Won't Compromise

Seeking principled compromise, the Republicans in the House of Representatives offered a continuing resolution which defunded Obamacare while funding the other functions of govenrment. The US Senate removed the defunding provision, returned the legislation to the lower chamber. The House of Representatives then passed a continuing resolution with a one-year delay on Obamacare's individual mandate plus a repeal of the medical device tax. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has declared that bill dead on arrival.

Reid is at fault for his automatic refusal to compromise.

However, not only will US Senate Majority leader Reid take the blame for a partial shut-down, but ultimately the fiscal fallout will fall on President Barack Obama, who has bolstered the unbending Senate Majority Leader, even at the cost of individual Americans' job opportunities and health care options.

As chief executive, Obama is responsible not only for executing the nation's laws, but also compromising with Congress to create legislation. However, he has unilaterally repudiated his own legislation, pushing back the employment date of the employer mandate and the small business exchanges until 2015.

As President, Obama is responsible for working with Congress to enact laws which uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of the states and the people. Compromise is an essential prerequisite of leadership, yet the president has abandoned this essential element in order to promote an agenda opposed by the majority of Americans, a position reflected by the more populist chamber of Congress.

Refusing to compromise, the President of the United States has become a compromised leader, one who demands legislation according to his political dictates without the input or agreement of opposing parties, then backs away from the same without Congressional approval.

Touting his law while advancing his own campaign causes, President Obama has labeled the Republicans and fiscal conservatives in Washington "hostage takers", and he has stressed that he will not negotiate with "terrorists" over the budget.

Yet he refuses to negotiate altogether.

The federal government has three branches, and even though Republicans only retain one half of one branch, their representation represents the growing disillusionment of the country with the Affordable Care Act. From the medical device tax to the Medicare exchanges, the 2,500 page law passed on forced reconciliation has become less popular, more unmanageable, and ultimately untenable.

Yet the President refuses to recognize the will of the people, the lay of the Constitution, or even the law of the land.

Notwithstanding the law's widespread unpopularity, the President has refused to compromise on its core components, including the individual mandate. Republicans have documented and published the Affordable Care Act's unaffordability. Single mothers in Texas, older residents in New Jersey, and union members across the country oppose the costly provisions of this law.

Still the President attacks Republicans instead of meeting with them.

President Obama has compromised what little integrity he had with hollow epithets against fiscally responsible members of Congress. He had not negotiated his stimulus package in 2009, or his health care law, and he pushed Congress to its limits with the debt ceiling debate and the fiscal cliff brinkmanship. At the end of 2012, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached out to the slightly more collegial vice President Joseph Biden to reach a last-minute fiscal cliff deal, which raised taxes on small business owners.

Obama calls tax increases "math". The country considers such maneuvers madness. Republicans respect the country's opinion on this matter.

Obama has asserted that he will refuse to negotiate on the debt ceiling, funding the government, and even on the Keystone Pipeline extension. In effect, he refuses to dicuss key policies which will employ Americans and maintain some semblance of economic recovery.

Obama has called on the President of Iran to broker a deal on their nuclear program. He has reached out to Arab nations to apologize for American grand-standing in the Middle East. He was willing to sit down with the leaders of major labor unions to hear out their growing frustration with Obamacare, yet President Obama will not sit down with Congressional leaders to work out a practical, purposeful compromise on fixing the law, nor will he broker any deals for reducing our nation's debt or enacting policies which will encourage economic growth.

President Obama is compromised, uncompromising, and thus refuses to compromise on anything.

The President has articulated a Progressive vision of government hostile to the Constitution and inimical to the best interests of the country. Yet the very Constitution he has ignored has also become the very charter charting a steady record of his compromised tenure in office.

Despite an insurance mandate which has mandated rising premiums, which have man-handled physicians out of the medical profession, which has wrangled working Americans with more paperwork and higher taxes, President Obama still will not compromise on this law.

Obama's economic policies have concerned global bond-holders, disturbed by surging levels of government debt. His foreign policy has emboldened rogue states while diminishing Western allies. Convicted of his stance, Obama will not back an inch away from a mission of greater government intervention.

Uncompromising to the end, President Obama is altogether compromised.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Senator Reid: It's All Your Fault!

On Friday, September 27, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) returned a “clean” spending resolution bill back to the House, minus the defunding of Obamacare. Despite the neat euphemism, Reid is playing dirty political games by ignoring the will of the American People, voiced by the populist House of Representatives.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a strictly bipartisan bill which would fund the government until December 15. They included a provision which would defund Obamacare. Without this continued funding, the federal government will shut down on October First until another resolution passes. The House of Representatives is balancing fiscal reforms with pragmatic resolutions. Respecting the fact that they cannot govern from their chamber only, House Republicans have issued spending bills and continuing resolutions with much-needed, piecemeal reforms. The US Senate must pass a budget. Lawmakers who fail to do so will forgo their pay until they provide a budget.

In support of the lower chamber’s efforts, US Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) rallied for almost twenty-two hours on Tuesday on the Senate floor to resist cloture on amendments to the House bill. His stirring, winding speech reminded voters, and the Democrats, that Obamacare is causing more harm than good for the United States of America – and it’s the Democrats fault. Despite open disagreements from Establishment Republicans with Cruz’ tactics, eighteen conservatives voted against cloture on Friday.

Reid has disparaged his junior colleagues Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) for filibustering nominations and blocking appropriations legislation. The younger caucus of Republicans is channeling not just the growing libertarian beat among conservatives, but the overwhelming, Main Street outrage with K Street back-scratching and bipartisan spending sprees.

Now the Republicans are pressing for delays of Obamacare. In a limited sense, the House is granting the President legal authority to do something which he attempted to accomplish on his own.

As a reminder, calculating history, political science, and simple economics and taxation, only the non-essential functions of government will cease in the event of a government shutdown, until further funding notice. Essential services and payments will be released in conjunction with the ongoing revenue streams flowing into Washington from state coffers. Yet Reid has argued that a government shutdown would induce immense harm on the American people. Reid had already festered economic problems by passing Obamacare, which has forced businesses to cut hours, lay off workers, and close their doors for good in many cases.

Despite Boehner and his caucus’ best efforts to respect the wishes of the American people, Senate Majority Reid and his Democratic caucus have chosen to defend Obama’s faltering legacy. Standing next to another countdown clock, Reid upbraided Republican lawmakers, including the “fringe” Tea Party wing, which has in fact articulated the growing mainstream outrage with Washington Big Government getting bigger. He bitterly denounced any reforms, absent-mindedly referring to the medical device tax as “stupid”.

The House of Representatives has just taken Reid’s “clean” continuing resolution, and is now adding language which will delay Obamacare implementation for a year, along with a repeal of the “stupid” medical device tax, a levy which even the Massachusetts Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren opposed.

Senate Majority Leader Reid has already announced that he will reject the House’s upcoming continuing resolution, even though the bill has not yet left the House.

“Dirty” Harry has played out his hand. The government will shut down if he refuses to yield, and it will be his fault.

Still, Reid takes to task his Republican colleagues, when they are taking Washington away from lobbyists, special interests, and backroom deal-makers. Reid has been reading the riot act, so to speak, to his conservative counterparts, frustrated that they no longer play along with a Washington culture of spend now, glad-hand later. Not content to tell his constituents that he voted against Obamacare, Cruz wanted to stop the law for good.

Unable to get support from their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives have drafted more specific provisions. Any rejection on the part of Democrats in the US Senate will signal their true interests: keep Washington spending, keep Obamacare rolling, and keep Americans wondering whether they will have a fiscally sound future.

It will be Reid’s fault for not respecting the will of the American people. He is embracing a government shut-down instead of delaying an increasingly unpopular law, one which the President has attempted to roll back unilaterally.

Reid has ignored the will of the voters since the passage of Obamacare in 2010. His reconciliation procedures shoved the bill through the House of Representatives on a Sunday evening in March. His caucus met with hostility and opprobrium throughout the United States as Republicans took back the House in 2010, along with making significant gains in the US Senate (including the sudden removal of Wisconsin progressive Russ Feingold).

While grand-standing on Republican obstructionism, Reid has done nothing to enact immigration reform, has not passed a responsible budget, and has stood against responsible fiscal management in the United States Senate.

If the government shuts down for lack of funding on Tuesday, October, it will be your fault, Harry Reid!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Interview With Dr. George Mannon, Superintendent of Torrance Unified

Dr. George Mannon of Torrance Unified School District shared an hour of his time with me regarding the state and fate of public education at Torrance Unified School District.

Dr. Mannon has served as teacher, principal, and now superintendent in a number of school districts, locally and nationally.

From the outset, I asked him why Torrance schools were so successful, in spite of major budget cuts. Mannon cited the culture of the district, especially the parents of the students who attend Torrance Schools.

"Our parents expect their students to go to school," Mannon told me. The attendance rate and the graduation rate bear out these statistics.

I then asked a number of questions related to the new Local Control Funding Formula enacted by Governor Brown and the Democratic legislature.

The goal of the new funding formula, according to the superintendent, would diminish the number of categorical grants while at the same time granting more local control over funding to the school boards.

Mannon acknowledged that Governor Brown retreated from the increased local control aspect of his plan between January and May, when the final LCFF was drawn up.

Then Mannon commended State Senator Ted Lieu and Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi for their efforts to ensure the best deal for local South Bay schools, even though larger, more urban districts with greater numbers of impoverished students, or English Language Learners, will still receive more than higher performing schools.

Following from previous interviews with Torrance School Board candidates, I learned that Torrance Unified, joined with two other school districts to lobby for a fair disbursement of school funding. Larger districts like Clovis Unified have strong test scores and a good parent-student culture, as well, and leaders in these districts did not want to see their students suffer just because there were fewer English Language Learners and fewer students living beneath the poverty level.

Dr. Mannon and his school board team instituted drastic cuts from the 2007-2008 school year for fear that the continued plunge of state funding would continue unabated. While many school districts were not arranging for any emergencies, Torrance Unified officials made the tough decisions early, cutting 20% of their staff, including janitors and counselors. With the passage of Prop 30, plus the extensive reserve, school board leaders have shared with certificated and classified staff that they will not be laid off this year and next year. Many districts have been unable to guarantee teacher employment.

With the rising funds, Torrance Unified is now spending down the reserves, hiring back teachers and classified staff, and even provided a long-overdue raise to teachers.

About current school funding, city residents may be surprised to learn that Governor Brown's promises did not pan out as expected.

Regarding categorical funds, Mannon reminded me that the LCFF has removed a number of regulatiosn which restricted the way the tax payer dollars could be spent, but the metrics for evaluating the proper use of the monies have not been established yet.

I moved on to other questions following an extensive discussion about funding.

When I asked Dr. Mannon about the new Common Core curriculum, and the potentials for data mining associated with it, Dr. Mannon asserted twice that he did not know what I was talking about.

As an aside, I contend that any individual who differs on the basis or the implementation of Common Core should speak with their school board and their leaders on the matter.

I asked Dr. Mannon about Riviera Elementary parents in South Torrance, who wanted to turn their children's school into a dependent charter.

Mannon identified the frustration which the parents in that region felt because of the budget cuts which their kids were enduring in those classrooms. Still, according to the superintendent, only a minority of parents sought to transform Riviera into a charter. From other sources, I learned that most of the teachers were on board for the transfer, but the parents who initiated the proposal failed to plan for long-time considerations, like the pensions and benefits of the Riviera teachers. Would they be allowed to form a union, for example?

Regarding school choice, Dr. Mannon pointed out that Torrance Unified issues many permits to students in other districts. Torrance Unified would not suffer should the entire state enact school choice. As for vouchers, Mannon opposes the initiative (as do some of the school board members), nd the superintendent later pointed out that the majority of California voters also oppose the measure.

I asked Dr. Mannon about AB 1266, the legislation which would permit students of a decided geneder to choose the public school bathroom which they could use. In the past, transgendered students would use the nurse's office or a staff bathroom. To avoid lawsuits and other liability issues, schools would prohibit transgenders students from entering any public bathroom on campus used by the students. I also asked the superintendent's opinion about the state legislature's move to limit the number of suspensions which teachers could use.

Mannon's response to the latter question was telling. "Most legislation from Sacramento responds to problems in Los Angeles Unified."

Los Angeles Unified is too big to run, in my opinion, and our children's future should be too big to fail.

Leaving the interview, I had some concerns which remained unanswered. Dr. Mannon's responses about Common Core, for example, suggested that he and his staff had not learned enough about the program. He did acknowledge that the ongoing budget issues and funding questions had taken a great deal of time away from his staff and the school board to focus on other education matters.

Like me, many school officials have more questions than answers about the status of public education in the South Bay. While Mannon spoke highly of Assemblyman Muratsuchi and State Senator Ted Lieu's efforts, the fact remains that suburban schools with high test scores and reduced populations of English Language Learners and students living below the  poverty level will receive fewer funds than other, more troubled school districts.

More parents, more students, should not only be aware of the financial problems still looming over their schools, but should start holding their leaders, their representatives, and their local schools accountable for their choices, their priorities, and their outreach to the community.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sherman: Not a Cool Head on Govt Shut-Down

Source: US Government
Today (September 26), Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) published an Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Media Groups newspapers (Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, The Daily Breeze), in which he claimed that all hell would break loose should the federal government shut down without a continuing resolution to fund the government.

His second paragraph gives away right away how clueless, or rather delusional he is about how government works, how financing is funded then funneled through government, and ultimately how the federal government pays the bills.

The last government shut-down serves as a cautionary tale, illustrating which services would be adversely affected.
Sherman then pivots:

According to the Congressional Research Service [Who are they?], a number of services could come to a halt.
Sherman writes "could come to a halt." He does not assert that all of these essential functions will stop, because in effect, they will not.

What actually happened in 1995-1996?

For the record, Brad Sherman was first elected to office in 1996, and therefore he never experienced directly from a legislator's perspective the first two government shut-downs. Yes, there were two, not one, and life did not come to a screeching halt.

Aside from a local park in Washington D.C closing down, plus furlough days which were all paid back, life went merrily along. Veterans received their payments, as did Social Security and Medicare recipients. The essential functions of government did not come to a halt.

Why? Because the ongoing revenues from the several states were still pouring in from all over the country. The ancillary functions, non-essential elements, did stop, but no one was harmed.

How did the public react at the time? They did not get all that mad. True, the Republicans did take more of the blame, but that does not mean that they were at fault. The margin of blame is much more moderate today. The strong economy which resulted from the forced serious budget efforts helped Bill Clinton win reelection (plus the fact that the Republican opponent Bob Dole was hardly inspiring) also helped the Republican Party gain seats in the US Senate.

Still, Sherman hammers home the word "delay" as the big bugaboo that will make Republicans look really bad should a shut-down take place. The Democratic hysterics over the sequester (including Congresswoman Maxine Water's assertion that the forced cuts would cost this country 170 million jobs) have proven unsound and unfounded. The economy has even improved (by not much).

Applications will be "delayed", Sherman haunts over the readers of the Daily News. He also uses the term "may" at length, because Sherman cannot be sure that all of these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things will happen.

He was not serving in Congress then, and because of his histrionics in the press now, he is still not serving his constituents.

Sherman then closes his editorial with:

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail and the threat of a government shutdown [sic, not "shut-down" as he had written at the beginning] will pass.
Sherman hopes that cooler heads will prevail. This coming from the guy who grabbed Congressman Howard Berman in front of a roaring crowd of college students, shouting "You wanna get into this?!"

Then Sherman ends with:

But I would be remiss if I did not urge you to plan for the possibility that we will repeat the experience of 1995.
How vague is his caution, indeed. The 1995 experience was a whimper in the wind for the government, a short-term media loss for the Republicans, but a long-term gain for the economy, the Republicans that year, and for the country.

Cooler heads are prevailing in Washington, the fiscal conservatives and limited government advocates who refuse to keep spending away our nation's future, and who refuse to fund for one more day the disastrous train wreck called Obamacare.

Cruz was in Control (And So Are US)

Cruz is in Control (and so are the Republicans and the American People)

Did US Senator Ted Cruz’ talk-a-thon FINO (Filibuster in name only) cause more harm than good?

One local operative in my Congressional district suggested that Cruz was fighting the wrong battle, putting his Republican colleagues on defense.

Cruz did cuttingly declare during his twenty-two hour speech: “A vote for cloture is a vote to fund Obamacare.”

Does that mean that compromise is dead, or that anyone who wants to fund the government and Obamacare is a sellout, a traitor, or a weak, spineless jellyfish RINO(Republican in Name Only)?

Not at all. Senator Cruz has focused the narrative on the disastrous legislative train wreck called Obamacare, and he is placing the blame squarely on the Democratic Party, where it belongs. President Obama is embracing his law with greater vehemence, and he does so at great peril to his party. His long speech in the Senate has focused the cause and community of a seemingly disparate conservative caucus in the US Senate, as well.

Frustrated with Cruz’ oblique assertion that his decision not to defund because of a certain Obama veto, US Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) shared with Joe Scarborough: “I guess that makes me a RINO”.

Senator Tom Coburn respects the collegiality of the US Senate. He understands the importance of good compromise, and he also received the highest ranking from the American Conservative Union in 2012. Coburn then explained that the best way to end Obamacare was to repeal the legislation, which cannot be done while President Obama is still in office. He is waiting until 2016 and 2017, when a new President will occupy the White House.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the need for a long-term strategy, Tom. Thanks for moving Senator Coburn to share his thoughts on the matter, Ted!

US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has acknowledged repeatedly that Obamacare must be repealed, not merely defunded. He objected to Cruz’ speech because he wanted his colleagues to vote on the legislation, which would defund Obamacare while funding the rest of the federal government.

Thanks for bringing attention to a looming government shut down, Mitch. Thanks for demanding the defunding of Obamcare, Ted!

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer hammered Cruz’ audacious remark, reminding him and everyone else listening that Republicans have been fighting Obamacare since its inception until its passage in 2009.

Thanks for reminding us, Charles. Thanks for prompting Charles to speak up, Ted.

US Senator John McCain has played the Establishment card a little too much, lately. Arizona residents have excoriated the senior senator for supporting amnesty, campaign finance reform, and even working with Joe Lieberman to fight nebulous climate change. McCain once called Cruz “a whacko bird”, then apologized. He has openly criticized the Texas junior senator for seeking to filibuster gun control legislation. News reports have hinted that McCain deeply despises Senator Cruz. Senator John McCain took to the Senate floor following Cruz’ control in the US Senate.

“We have worked long and hard to defund this law,” McCain asserted.

Thanks, John, for telling us which side you are on. Thanks, Ted, for getting McCain to confront you man to man and draw a line in the sand.

Senator David Vitter shared his desire for an amendment which would place every federal legislator and their staff under Obamacare. It only seems fair. Cruz agreed. Thanks for the wonderful idea, David.

The last time the US Government shut down, the Republicans took the blame in the short run, but in the long run, they gained three senate seats, including US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama). He openly assented his support for Senator Cruz’ mission to reeducate the entire country, including the US Senate, about the dangers, the fallouts, and the economic detriments which have followed because of Obamacare.

Thanks, Jeff, for siding with Ted. Thanks, Ted, for working with Jeff.

Under Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, Republicans were fighting with each other. Steele was telling reporters and critics to shut up, yet the complaints never ended. Steele was in the press more than his fellow Republicans running for office. Columnist George Will chided Steele for stealing the spotlight from the Republican Party.

The new Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus has worked very well with different members of his party behind the scenes. When Senator Ted Cruz stood and talked on September 24-25, Preibus tweeted to everyone of us to #StandWithTed and #MakeDCListen. We stood up, and we listened.

Thanks, Reince, for standing with Ted, and inviting us to do the same. Thanks, Ted, for giving Reince a chance to lead from behind and let Republicans succeed in the front page.

Another Establishment Republican, Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has been rebuked by his state party three times. He faces three primary challengers. One can enter a run-off and take Graham’s place. Now Graham has sided with Cruz to defund Obamacare.

Thanks, Lindsey, for remembering which side you are on.

Thanks, Ted, for putting the pressure on your colleagues to stop playing along to get along, then getting them to end Obamacare.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Newt Disputes the 1995 Shutdown Myth

The Myth of the 1995 Government Shut-Down

In a recent radio interview, Newt Gingrich responded to the ongoing myth that the government shutdown during his tenure as House Speaker hurt the Republican Party.

Pundits in Washington today claim that the 1995 shutdown of the federal government was Newt Gingrich’s fault, and that the Republicans paid a price for their efforts.

The reality is quite different, Gingrich asserted. Indeed, the government shut down twice in the latter part of the 1995 year into 1996.

But what actually happened?

Aside from the federally-administered park in the capital closing until funds renewed, everyone who expected a disbursement from the government received the payments. Veterans were not left stranded in fields of combat waiting for their remunerations. Social security recipients were not left stranded without their funding, either. Besides, the ongoing revenue flowing into federal coffers will continuing funding all essential costs, as it did then.

The world kept turning, a few federal offices were closed, but life as we know it did not end. Yes, the press mercilessly pilloried the Republicans, and made it seem as though former President Bill Clinton emerged as the big winner.

In fact, despite the massive media upsets which depicted Newt Gingrich as a big baby crying because he did not get to sit next to President Bill Clinton on Air Force One, the Republicans entered the 1996 with a stronger hand. The party standard-bearer, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, was not the strongest candidate, but incumbents who do not face primary challenges or third-party challengers tend to succeed in winning a second term anyway. In November 1996, the Republican Party lost three seats in the House of Representatives (including two in Massachusetts, sadly), but then Speaker Newt Gingrich maintained the majority. In the US Senate,,_1996the Republicans gained three seats, including US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)

Gaining three seats in the US Senate, strengthening their majority, Republicans then pushed welfare reform and other necessary cost-cutting measures onto a centrist Democrat who had lost substantial majorities compared to 1992-1994. The Republicans’ efforts resulted in a balanced budget by the end of Clinton’s presidency, one for which Gingrich’s caucus could take substantial credit.

What lessons can the Republican Party in 21st century Washington and conservatives throughout the United States draw from the 1996-1996 shutdowns?

A government shut-down in 2013 would not be inimical to the Republican Party, despite the media howling and pundit prowling. In fact, such a move would strengthen their credentials not only with their base, which feels somewhat baseless from a Washington elite bent on getting along to go along, but also with disaffected independents who as former Republicans left the party following George W. Bush’s spending sprees. And of course the growing class of young active voters are paying attention to the fiscal crises awaiting them should the current government do nothing to protect and provide for their future. They are looking for leaders who stand for what they believe.

Republicans pushing for government funding and Obamacare defunding are expressing the collective opinion of the American voters. The Democratic majority in the US Senate cannot ignore the consequences of trying pass one element of the House Continuing resolution without the other.

In US Senator Ted Cruz, for example, along with Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), younger voters are finding men of principle standing for what they believe, not afraid to risk a government-shut down if the Democratic representatives will not defund Obamacare. Other senators, like James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Senator Sessions rallied to Cruz’ support. The current Republican National Chairman appropriated a dynamic social media current to “Stand with Ted”. Cruz’ extended speech in the US Senate has tied Obamacare around the necks of every Democratic lawmaker, while rallying frustrated voters. Current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Cruz’ filibuster “a waste of time”, yet the attempts from Democratic lawmakers like Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) in fact intensified the reasons for Americans’ growing distaste for Obamacare.

If there is a shutdown in 2013, it will fall squarely on the Democrats, even if the media paints the Republicans as the source of friction and frustration. Unlike the 1995-1995 shutdown, Republicans are entering the sixth year of the sitting President’s administration, an election which has historically hurt that executive’s party. Just as Republicans gained Senators in the South in 1996, so too the party is targeting likely 2014 pick-ups in North Carolina, Louisiana, and Arkansas, along with other Midwestern and Mountain states where Democratic incumbents have declined to run for reelection.

Contrary to the hype and hysteria of Beltway consultants, the 1995-1995 shutdown did not hurt Republicans, but actually strengthened their hand for the elections that year. A similar result awaits Republican leaders in the House and Senate as long as they stay on message, as long as they demonstrate a capacity to work together, to articulate a clear set of goals, and hold the Democrats in the US Senate and the White House accountable for the current economic malaise and government dysfunction.

President Obama Promised to Lower Premiums

President Obama promised many times that his plans would lower health insurance premiums by $2,500 per year.

He promised these savings as a Senator, he promised these savings as a Presidential candidate in 2007 and in 2008.

He made these grand promises on the vetting, speaking trail throughout the first two years of his presidency.

He continued to hammer these promises through his Democratic colleagues in the House and the US Senate.

The same legislators took this message to their constituents throughout 2010.

Many of those Democrats never returned to Washington after the election of 2010.

Many thanks to Avik Roy for compiling these clips, which cover seven years of the precarious, unlikely, and now unlikeable tenure of President Barack Obama.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On Health Care on Parents Plan in Obamacare

The argument a number of liberals are advancing to protect Obamacare from itself focus on the "good" points of the law.

The first element, which smacks of social justice, would prevent health insurance companies from declining to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Why is it that individuals have to seek insurance in the first  place to deal with pre-existing conditions? Where is the price system which permits hospitals to compete, which allows patients to choose the best care at the best price?

The other good point about the law focuses on the provision which permits children to stay on their parents' health plans until they are twenty-six years old.

How many parents have been able to hold onto their health insurance in the last four years?

Health care premiums are rising at an excelerated rate. Health insurance companies are dropping coverage for clients or they are withdrawing from the health insurance industry in the first place.

More parents are losing health insurance, and so will their children.

Now, the moral element of this argument requires more focus.

Why should we promote the dependence of young adults on their parents?

Would it not be better for young adults to graduate into strong, well-paying jobs, and that they would be able to purchase their own health insurance?

Then there is the legal./financial aspect of this law.

How many individuals who still rely on their parents health insurance still live with their parents? How many of these young adults are still listed on the parents's tax returns as dependents?

These "good" elements are turning out to be not so good, after all.

About Pre-Existing Conditions in Obamacare

Health care isn't free.

Someone has to pay for it.

Pre-existing conditions do afflict a great number of people in our country.

No question about it.

Yet health insurance companies exist and maintain themselves in pooling risk with reserve funds, in part betting on the lesser likelihood of something bad happening to a client.

Insurance companies which require too little in funds or take on too much in terms of liability will find themselves overwhelmed with costs and go out of business.

Then no one would have insurance at all.

An individual with a pre-existing condition will automatically require disbursements from the insurance company. Those individuals will incur a large cost right away from the insurers and the insured.

Someone has to pay for those costs.

For that reason, most insurance companies do not take on clients with pre-existing conditions, because they have a 100% of drawing from the insurance pool.

The solution to this "discrimination" is not to bankrupt insurance companies, but rather focus on the reason why health care costs are spiralling out of control in the first place.

Let's talk about the third-party mediators, the insurers themselves, who permit clients to pay a set sum then take as much as they want.

Because individuals are not assessing nor taking on the true costs of health care, they do not shop around, they do not engage in wise economic practices to get whatever care they need.

Furthermore, why don't hospitals simply supply a guide which explains the costs?

Even though legislation requires something to take place, that does not mean that the supply will be there.

Law demands, but the supply of needs, goods, and services cannot be met with force. Free trade, agreement to transaction, and a reasoning mind which respects costs and benefits will engage individuals to take on their health care costs without it costing them everything.

Thank You, Senator Cruz (and McConnell)

I applaud all members of Congress who are keeping up the fight against Obamacare.

From its corrupt inception, this law has caused nothing but problems for the American people.

Despite the infrequent praise of some who like staying on their parents' plan until they are twenty-six, for example, or those who bathe in the social justice of forcing insurance companies to cover individuals with preexisting conditions (as if no company ever would, which was simply never the case), the law has been a progressive regression of the health care industry.

Individual accounts share of people losing their doctors as these professionals choose to retire rather then deal with the paperwork, the higher costs, and the material mandates.

Insurance premiums are rising all over the country, and even in California, where Covered CA (the Golden State's tarnished Medicare exchange) has fewer providers providing health insurance. Kasiser and Blue Shield remain in the Medicare Exchanges, and Kaiser is about to leave the exchanges (but the Medical program will remain in the state building hospitals).

Obamacare does not care about Americans, and because Persident Obama will not defund Obamacare, he obviously does not care about us.

US Senator Ted Cruz is tying Obamacare around President Obama and the Democratic caucus in the US Senate. US Senator Dick Durbin questioned Cruz' opposition to the law by bringing up the protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Cruz was spot-on in his response. If Obamacare is so great, then how come US Senators and their staff sought to be exempt from the Medicare exchanges? How come the legislators in Washington want to force these terrible programs, these mendacious mandates, on everyone else?

This law has pushed full-time workers barely getting by into part-time status, not able to pay their bills.

Major employers like UPS have written letters to their employees, informing them that the company will no longer offer health insurance for the spouses of employees. In previous articles from the New York Times, records indicate that loopholes in the law can permit the IRS to withhold subsidies for family members of the main employee makes a certain dollar amount.

But what else would one expect from legislation 2,500 pages long, with tens of thousands of pages of regulations added (and growing)

Then there's Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

He has voiced his opposition to Cruz' filibuster, because in his words the best way to defund Obamacare is to defund Obamacare, in that the US Senate must vote on the bill which the House of Representatives delivered to them.

Cruz is doing the right thing by refusing to settle for symbolic votes, even though the American voters are suffering certain economic turmoil because of this law.

Even if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid succeeds in invoking cloture, and even if he succeeds in removing the House language from the bill, he will have sounded out the frustrations of millions of Americans to this legislation. He will have provided an avenue of Republican US Senators to demonstrate their true credentials in support of the people, and against a gargantaun Washington getting bigger.

But most importantly, Senate Minority Leader McConnell will be able to make the hard decision of joining for cloture, by which time without any doubt the Obamacare albatross will drag down the Democratic caucus and President, and permit Republican legislators to affirm to their constituents that they did everything they could, minus a massive change in the representation, to get rid of Obamacare.

Thank you, Senator Cruz, for taking to the floor and talking this terrible law to death (as best you could)

Thank you, Senator McConnell, for also recognizing the unpleasant verities, that a bill does have to be passed, one which funds the government.

Monday, September 23, 2013

President Obama: Show that You Care, Defund Obamacare

The House of Representatives just passed a continuing resolution bill, one which provides funding for every aspect of Government, except Obamacare.

Media pundits have declared that the Republican majority is playing with fire by passing legislation which will face stiff opposition, if not die in the Democratically-controlled US Senate.

Then again, President Obama played with fire in forcing this legislation through Congress, where the final bill received no Republican support and even some Democratic opposition. Democrats and Republicans across the country turned out to townhall meetings in 2009, rejecting this bill. Some meetings became fierce and fearful, as US Senators attempted to instill some stability, shocked that voters would reject this massive restructuring of the health care industry with forced mandates, Medicare exchanges, plus the tens of thousands of pages of regulations (and growing).

Obamacare (officially yet insupportably referred to as the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act) is one unpopular piece of legislation. The American people to do not like it, and the polling has consistently demonstrated their continuing disgust with it. Businesses big and small are cutting hours and laying off staff rather than attempt to comply with this costly and complicated law. Members of Congress are scrambling to cull support and provide information, much of it distorted or unclear, to their constituents.

States which have enacted Medicare exchanges are losing insurance companies, who refuse to join, have left the state, or have ended their health insurance coverage altogether. The youth cohorts in this country still do not know that they must purchase health insurance or pay a fine. Doctors are leaving their medical practice because of the prolix demands of the law.

In addition to signing into law piecemeal repeals of the legislation, President Obama has unilaterally undone one key element of his signature legacy: the employer mandate, which he has illegally delayed until 2015. The law still faces legal resistance in the federal courts, and the timelines for key portions of the law have been skipped over or delayed.

Despite President Obama’s best efforts to prove that he cares, the damage of Obamacare has already been done. Part-time employment has become a full-time reality for American workers. Fast food employees are slowly waking up to the reality that stagnant wages and missing opportunities have everything to do with progressively bigger government taking away economic recovery.

While President Obama’s relentless campaigning has worn off on voters, the House of Representatives continues to represent the people, and the Senate Minority continues to remind voters, pollsters, and activists alike of the dangers of this law.

The House of Representatives features the fullest dislike of this law. Like a doctor feeling the pulse of a patient, the House delegation best represents the interests of the average voter, as the lower chamber follows from the direct election of the people. All appropriations legislation must begin the House of Representatives, per the United States Constitution, and there the fight for fiscal sanity, and political savvy, begins.

(For the record, President Obama has chosen to ignore the Constitution, while our nation’s enduring charter, on many occasions, like executive orders for gun control and promises to strike foreign countries without Congressional approval)

House Speaker John Boehner could not have announced the intentions of his caucus and the country any clearer with the passage of their fund-defund legislation: “The American people do not want a shut-down, and they do not want ObamaCare.”

The House passed a bill which averts a shut down, yet shuts down funding for one of the most controversial and convoluted pieces of legislation in modern America history

From President Obama’s election in 2008 until today, voters in this country wanted President Obama to care about them, to care about the rising costs of health care inflicted by his misguided, overwhelming, and inherently dysfunctional, hyperpartisan piece of legislation. He should prove his caring and support the House bill to continue funding for the government without spending one more dime on ill-conceived Obamacare.

During the 2012 election one woman repeated to the President during a town hall meeting: “I am exhausted. . .” of defending the president, his administration, the mantle of change that she had voted for.”

President Obama needs to show that she cares about her, and about every other American still struggling from day to day, still seeking work, trying to hold onto their health care, and striving to maintain a quality of life which they can leave for their children.

President Obama, show that you care: vote for the bill that will fund the government and defund Obamacare.

House of Reps Gives GOP Upper Hand

Despite the upsetting and unsettling results of the 2012 election, all things do appear to be working toward the greater good of this country.

The Republicans, the conservatives, those fiscally-minded toward preserving the integrity and institutions of this nation retained power in the House of Representatives. They control the spending, and they can shape the narrative on the national debt, the proper scope of the state, then microscope the poor leadership and petty politics of the US Senate majority and the President.

Yes, the US Senate remained in Democratic hands in 2012, mostly because of a poor Republican national standard-bearer, Mitt Romney, who degraded key candidates, helped instigate an internal dissatisfaction with the Republican voting bloc, and ultimately turned off key voters, who did not turn out to vote.

President Obama mobilized a massive social media blitz, targeting key voters at unique times through diverse media, tracking not just their support, but their stance on key issues in order to sway their vote just days before election day. Romney ran an also-ran, run-out-the-clock campaign, with little technology and even lesser charisma.

Still, President Obama won reelection by a slimmer margin than in 2008.

And President Obama’s party did not regain the House. Today, the more obdurate upper chamber, the US Senate, remains his problem. As tax reformer Grover Norquist asserted on ABC’S This Week following the 2012 election, the Democrats held the Senate because they did nothing, so there was nothing with which to fault them. Those perceptions may change with next budget fight: funding the government yet defunding Obamacare.

President Obama is entering his sixth year in office, which never bodes well for incumbents when their party holds the majority in either chamber of Congress. The six-year itch is already scratching at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s hold on power. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has not backed down from the fight, balancing collegiality and calculation, railing against Obamacare yet rallying his fellow Republicans to maintain pose and retain their fighting strength. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has asserted that he will take every means to defund Obamacare. Utah Senator Mike Lee assented on Meet the Press that forty-five senators voted to defund the law in March, and now their caucus has a forty-sixth ally, Jeffrey Chiesa, who replaced the suddenly-deceased Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. Lee is now appealing to Democratic senators in red states, who face difficult campaigns following their liberal voting record, especially on Obamacare.

And their greatest ally in this fight, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, can contribute one strong hand in the ongoing fights: the power of the purse, including the first moves on continued funding.

From the founding of this country, the House of Representatives has represented the populist sentiment in our country. Every two years, voters directly elected their House Rep, whereas in the past state legislators would elect the US Senators. The Framers further required that all spending bills, and legislation dealing with appropriations, begin in the House. This constitutional mandate would ensure that larger states would not pay the brunt of federal costs, while also protecting smaller states from any maneuvers on policy or procedure from larger interests.

If any spending ensues, the Republican Majority must approve first.

Facing tactical opportunities to force the Democratic US Senate and President to honor the Constitution without dishonoring the nation’s credit, House Speaker John Boehner and his caucus have advanced incremental legislation to fund the government along with key provisions, like “no budget, no pay” and now the defunding of Obamacare.

Articulating the full sentiment of the American People, working with US Senators and his Tea Party caucus, Speaker Boehner announced: “The American people do not want a government shut-down, and they do not want Obamacare.”

Correct, and correct again. Their latest bill will force the US Senate, including the vulnerable Democrats, to make tough choices.

Will red-state Democrats like Mark Pryor of Arkansas side with his constituents and the Constitution or with his party caucus? A “Yea” vote for Obamacare will create more “nay” votes to his reelection in 2014. He should join the vote to defund Obamacare, or lose his seat. What about Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich, Kay Hagan, and also Joe Manchin? They face the tough prospects of voting “yea” then waving “good-bye” to their political careers.

Either way they vote, they will only hurt their stance in the US Senate, as their states openly detest Obamacare.

Despite the poor showing of Republicans in 2012, their ability to retain the House for the next two years has given them the upper hand for 2014, one which can prep their party and the country to repudiate President Obama’s massive, unpopular, and ultimately disastrous policies.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fable on Moral Deficit and National Debt

There once was a beautiful boy named Richie.

He was born into great wealth. His parents were rich, and their ancestors before them were rich, but their wealth was not acquired overnight.

The ancestors of young Richie had toiled and saved for generations, seeking to ensure that their descendants would have enough wealth to maintain their health and prosperity as well as pass on their legacy to their future progeny.

Because of the careful planning and purpose of his rich ancestor, Richie stood to inherit millions of dollars, plus lands and servants, and any other amenities which a wealthy child can expect.

Richie’s parents were proud of their parents, their ancestor’s efforts. Oftentimes, they would regale their son with the challenges and triumphs of his long family line. Richie’s parents had great dreams for him. He would attend the most elite universities. He would buy a grand home and hold one of the most privileged and well-endowed occupations which his community could offer.

They were convinced that their son would continue the blessings which they had received as members of the Greatest Generation of their nation.

Yet at the same time, these parents were driven by self ambition, desiring above all to ensure their present comfort and to continue their complacency for as long as they could. Their parents before them had acquired so much wealth, so much power, so much influence, that Richie’s parents were convinced that they could have a little more fun, splurge, gratify themselves at length, yet without harming Richie’s future.

They drew from their own wealth at great length to fund their lavish, outrageous, selfish, hedonistic lives. They ran through their yearly income, they drew on their savings, they borrowed from every creditor, from every agency they could find.

Still, their desire for safety and security never found solace.

One day, they considered the vast inheritance of their young boy.

“Why don’t we start spending some of the wealth which we have set aside for his future?” they charged each other.

So, little by little they drew from their son Richie’s inheritance, convincing themselves, and preparing records for their son, that they would restore any money which they spent on themselves.

As time drew on, however, Richie’s parents found themselves unable to pay their own debt from their purchases with their own money. Still discontented with their lot in life, Richie’s parents continued to spend their son’s inheritance, refusing to consider how much money they were also releasing to pay off previous debts and subsidize their pursuits.

With the passage of time, they acknowledged that they had not only dissipated their own wealth, they had not just wasted away their son’s inheritance, but they had amassed massive amounts of debt, of which the interest consumed what little money they made from year to year.

Coupled with this spending, the parents feared for their lives, not just because of demanding creditors, but also because of wars and rumors of wars in their country and throughout the world. Seeking an excuse to continue spending on themselves, they diverted their funds, still running up huge debts, to protecting themselves, involving their lives in the affairs of other people who were struggling to still greater extent.

Now they could justify their spending spree as a means to protect themselves and their child Richie from the menace of foreign peoples. And they continued to spend on themselves, borrowing from unscrupulous creditors who would fund the spend-thrift ways of the parents for their own financial interests.

The wars eventually did arrive, fueled in part by the very spending spree instigated by Richie’s parents. Looking for any means of escaping from the consequences of their poor decisions, Richie’s parents drew up a contract which would place all the debt, and all the liabilities associated with the debt, on their beautiful son Richie.

Of course, this disgraceful waste and fraud and pillaging against their son all took place while little Richie was a baby, a child who could not speak for himself, let alone stand up for himself.

When Richie’s parents finally did pass away, the young boy found himself facing an army of creditors in a hostile world, one where one would have expected him to enjoy a wondrous name and legacy, as his many illustrious ancestors had worked hard to provide and preserve for him.

Richie, a little boy made broke by the broken character of his parents, has no recourse, and no means to provide for himself. He owes money for debts which he did not run up, he must face enemies which he did not create, and he most resolve conflicts which he did not start.

Do we see this outrageous, tragic drama before us today?

We do, in the United States federal government, where previous administrations have promised rich legacies to our future, yet because of self-interest, fear, and unchecked human nature, politicians have not just spent away our children’s inheritance, but have burdened them with insurmountable debt.

For all our children, the immense injustice of this outcome should be enough to make any reader scream for redress.

His Plans, Not Yours or Mine, Come to Pass -- and They Are Nothing But Good

"And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever." (1 Samuel 27: 12)

David had declared in his own desperate heart that Saul would never cease pursuing him (1 Samuel 27: 1), even though Saul had declared that he would no longer pursue "his son" David following the young shepherd-king's near opportunity to slay the deranged and rejected monarch in his sleep (1 Samuel 26).

David then hired himself to be a servant to the king of the Philistines, the worst enemy of the Israelites, and David esteemed himself so little, that he voluntarily removed himself from the pagan people's royal city (1 Samuel 27: 5)

So much so did David identify with his enemy and the enemy of his nation, that the king declared that David would be his servant forever.

Achish even confides in David as his greatest protector:

"And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever." (1 Samuel 28: 2)

In a sudden reversal, however, Achish rejects David. As the Philistines prepare to battle against Israel, the members of the hordes disparage David:

"Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day? 4And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?" (1 Samuel 29: 3-4).

The other Philistines feared that David would turn on them and attack, joining forces with his own people.

Even though Achish justified him before all his fellow Philistines, he ultimately rejected David:

"Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines." (1 Samuel 29: 7)

David was rejected by the very king whom he had served for a year and four months.

Then he returns to Ziklag, only to meet more distressing news: Amelakites have pillaged the town and kidnapped the women and children. David's men were so afraid and saddened, they cried until the could not cry anymore, and in their grieved frustration they discussed killing David.

Instead of trying to save himself, instead of cursing God and his circumstances, David sought the Lord:

"And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God." (1 Samuel 30: 6)

David remembered His God, the same God who chose him to be king of Israel, the same king who saved him from Goliath of Gath, the same God who granted him favor and honor before the Israelites, the same God who had mercy and granted him favor before his sworn enemies, the same God who used the rejection of men to promote him on the path toward being king.

Even though David despaired, and Achish declared, God's plans came to pass in David's life.

For us today, who have the greater than David, Jesus Christ, we can trust that God makes all things work together for our good (Romans 8: 28). We can trust that because we are in Christ, He strengthens us for all things (Philippians 4: 13), He supplies all our needs (Philippians 4: 19), and that He will grace us with all things in Himself (Romans 8: 32)

No matter what we say, whether against ourselves or because of our circumstances, we can trust that He who began a good work in us will finish it (Philippians 1: 6), since He works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2: 12-13)

At Your Worst, Christ Still Makes You First

David was anointed king in the midst of his brothers, even though he did not sit securely on the throne until seven years afterwards.

In the meantime, David fought with Saul and his followers, gain support and strength from the people, yet at times he faced immense challenges, and even despaired of ever becoming king.

"1And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand." (1 Samuel 27: 1)

David shared this desperate sentiment from his heart, the very seat of his being.

Yet no matter how discouraged we may be, or we  may become, we must remember that we are not righteous because of what we think, or what we feel, but rather we are righteous because of all that Jesus Christ has done for us:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5: 21)

We receive this gift of righteousness and abundance of grace because of Him, as well:

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 17)

We do not receive the gifts of righteousness and grace apart from Jesus, and because we have received Him, and He has received us by His Holy Spirit, we can never lose the gifts.

In this manner, we are all anointed kings and priests in Christ (1 Peter 2: 9).

David was anointed king long before he sat down as king.

In our lives, we are saved by believing on Him, then we live our lives growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, seeing how He has taken care of all things, and more importantly honoring that He has done everything for us, and He asks to trust Him in everything for everything.

Consider 1 Samuel 27 once again:

"And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?" (1 Samuel 27: 5)

How telling indeed, the word "grace" is mentioned in the fifth verse, the number for grace. Yet instead of seeking grace in eyes of the Lord, he sought this favor in the presence of the King of the Philistines.

How low can one go, right?

King David has made himself a servant ot the greatest enemy of Israel. In the same way, many Christians may get disillusioned with God, with their life in Christ, often because they fear and trust in their efforts to live what only God can live in us through His Son, our hope of glory (Colossians 1: 27)

Yet take a look at the grace of God in David's life:

"Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day: wherefore Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day. 7And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months." (1 Samuel 27: 6-7)

The territory which David the discouraged self-made servant of an enemy became one part of his future territory, and remained the terrority for all the kings of Judah!

God will keep on blessing us in spite of ourselves, and will take our greatest failures, our most defeated mistakes, and turn them to our profit.

How great is our God! How great is our Savior Jesus Christ!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What Interests Me About Hermosa Beach

Stop Oil in Hermosa@NoBPinHB17 Sep

@ArthurCSchaper you live in Torrance so what is your interest in Hermosa Beach?

Honestly, though, what does a Torrance resident have to do with Hermosa Beach? The seaside beachfront community has 19,000 residents, compared to 150,000 in Torrance. Hermosa Beach is a wealthy enclave, while Torrance is a middle class metropolis. However, despite the diminutive size of the Beautiful City compared to the rest of the South Bay, I find that a number of big issues are getting bigger in this tiny town, and residents, civic activists, and statewide representatives should pay more attention.

Consider the matter of public education.

While other school districts enjoy a stable or suffer a steadily declining enrollment, the Hermosa Beach City School District, a two-school K-8 arrangement, is witnessing a marked student population increase. The district leaders have requisitioned eight modular classrooms, and now the school board is discussing how to expand. The last time that HBCSD had 1,000 plus students, there were six school sites! While other schools are rebuilding or closing, HBCSD is expanding. Quite a record.

Then another issue looms. For a school district with such high test scores, with such committed parents, with a dedicated interest to open discussion on education matters (eight candidates running for school board this year), why is it that the state legislature feels compelled, if not justified, to take away funds from high performing schools such as HBCSD? The drive for funding equity in California schools should not be a race to the bottom, yet if a school district demonstrates reported success, they lose funding. Where's the equity, the justice in that? The issue of scholastic achievement, wealth vs. poverty, and the sources of student success can find no better forum of discussion (and criticism) than in Hermosa Beach.

Then there's the E and B Natural Resources settlement, a fifteen-year battle which has (not quite) come to an end. Imagine, a wealthy enclave facing an even wealthier lawsuit, one which would bankrupt the city irreparably. A previous contract from a former city council joined with one oil company for drilling. In 1998, Hermosa Beach residents voted to ban oil drilling in their fair city. A lawsuit ensued for $750 million -- !!!. Can anyone shout "Lawsuit abuse?!" Like a page out of a John Grisham novel, city leaders ran their own mock jury trial, then decided to settle instead of go to trial (and lose). A little locale facing off against a Big Corporation: this kind of drama one finds in movies, never in one's backyard.

Then there's the creeping in of the Green agenda, and I mean green as in environmentalism, which wastes the green, as in money. Aside from New York City, I cannot think of any city council leadership besides the sitting majority in Hermosa Beach which has applauded banning smoking from an entire city's public thoroughfares, along with other nanny-state, micromanaging policies. I cannot recall of any city where a former mayor would spend more time vetting his green credentials with foreign visitors, like from China, instead of maintaining the daily well-being and quality of life in his hometown. I also cannot think of any other city where local residents are also vocal ones, whether in the press or in person, to resist these colorful encroachments.

And of course, a microcosm of California’s statewide pension crises/abuses is center stage in Hermosa Beach. Public parking enforcers make the same salary as a teacher, yet work far less (if I may be so bold). The city has had one murder in a decade, and very few fires, yet why do public safety leaders receive such large salaries and generous pensions? Why do public sector union leaders claim that cutting costs and reforming pensions would lead to a mass exodus of public safety talent from Hermosa?

The Los Angeles Country Civil Grand Jury cautioned Hermosa Beach city leaders about these pension obligations. City leaders who take on these issues face off with union leaders, and sometimes to the detriment of their privacy. If LA Weekly takes time and space to take public sector unions to task in Hermosa, then reformers throughout the state of California ought to pay attention, too. These ongoing battles between city leaders and unions over budgets and pensions, over present security and future solvency, are playing out all over the state of California. Yet in Hermosa Beach, the conjunction of highly-paid service leaders compared to the fraction of crimes and public disturbances would suggest that a move for reform is not only long overdue, but would serve as a welcome example for California’s other struggling municipalities.

And just for fun, a cat’s visit to city hall, plus haggling over who can endorse whom during a city council meeting, just adds a little more spice to a little city with lots of drama, where residents take leadership seriously, and where activists can learn how best to deal with the encroachment of the state, the potential abuses of extensive government power, and the best means for maintain public safety, fiscal restraint, and a high quality of life.

Know Who Your Father Is. . .By Knowing the Son

"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Romans 8: 15)

Do you know that you have a Father in heaven who cares about you?

How much does He care about you?

Here are some verses to consider:

"4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2: 4-6)

God sees you in His Son, Jesus!

For this reason, Paul writes:

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8: 29)

Jesus is the firstborn, which necessarily implies that there is a second-born, a third-born, and so own.

John explains who these other "borns" other:

"1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3: 1-3)

Now, let's learn a little more about this Spirit which we receive, the Spirit which informs us at all times that we are children of God:

"8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." (John 16: 8-11)


"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1: 7)

The Spirit of Sonship which we receive from God gives us power, reminds us of His love, and grants us a sound mind, one which is settled and calm, not frazzled and stressed, wondering about God's love and wandering from His peace.

You have "Daddy" in heaven who cares for your, not just an absentee Dad who sometimes thinks about you:

"17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!" (Psalm 139: 17 [17 is the number of victory!]


"6Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Luke 12: 6-7)

More importantly, because of our standing in Christ Jesus, we can expect the following from our Daddy:

"31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8: 31-34)

He is for us. Imagine that: the very Creator of the Universe is your Redeemer and Father, too. He gave up His first born Son, that you would receive His standing before God the Father as Father. You can be assured that any need you have, He is more than ready to provide. He justifies us, now, actively, and forever, with an everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9: 24) which declares: "You are my beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased." (Matthew 3: 17) We have this assurance because we are in Christ, not in ourselves.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4: 13)

and then

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4: 19)

Our Daddy supplies according to, not merely out of his riches.

Yet the greatest reason that God loves us, because we are in Christ, is that He loves as much as He loves His Son:

"23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." (John 17: 23)

And how long has God the Father loves His Son?:

"24Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17: 24)

It's important that we know our Father.

Yet how best to know the Father? By knowing the Son:

"8Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (John 14: 8-10)


"Who [God the Father] hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:" (Colossians 1: 13-15)


"2Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord," (2 Peter 1: 2)

Know who you Father is, and you know how much He loves you when you know Jesus: who He is, what He has done, and how much He loves you.

Media Bias on ObamaCare

Seemingly divided on how to fund the government and proceed with representing the interests of the growing majority of Americans opposed to Obamacare yet who oppose partisan gridlock, the House Republicans prepared a bill which would fund the US Government until December in every facet except for the Affordable Care Act.

The legislation continues to endure denunciation, unpopularity, and growing calls for defund, delay, and diminish. Full-time employment has become part-time under Obamacare, as businesses and corporations choose to cut hours rather than fund exorbitant healthcare costs. Doctors are retiring from their profession, frustrated with the red tape, the rationing of federal funds, and the diminished authority they retain.

Patients with health coverage still see rising premiums, a fact which the LA Times could not ignore. Media affiliates throughout the country are reporting the health care costs are rising considerably. Even the Cleveland, Ohio clinic touted as an exemplar of Obamacare appropriation has cut back on staff and resources because of President Obama's terrible law.

Notwithstanding the burning house of the Affordable Care, Act, which is proving unaffordable in its cost and careless in its application, Democratic supporters of the law are running into the fire and pushing this law's good points, while obfuscating about its dangers with statistics and distorted information, much of which is confusing in its cacophony of characters.

Rep. Maxine Waters presented three different experts, one of who advocated for small businesses, to portray the legislation in the best light possible. A nurse from Cedar Sinai misrepresented the number of pages in the law, while a youth advocated acknowledged that the legislation has not ensured that every American will be insured. The targeted young individuals who must purchase health insurance still are clueless about the law, and even President Obama has rebuffed the employer mandate until 2015, by executive fiat.

Still, Democratic House Members have traveled their districts whipping up support for a law which remains unclear or prolix to a plurality of voters, and a strong contigent of young Americans still have no knowledge that they must provide evidence of health insurance or pay a fine.

Now, the House Republicans have prepared legislation which respects to concerns for the American voter: keeping the government running, and prevent Obamacare from running them over.

The Associated Press offered the following comments following the House delegation's recent, headline legislation to fund the government, but defund Obamacare:

Typically, such measures advance with sweeping bipartisan support, but tea party activists forced GOP leaders — against their better judgment — to add a provision to cripple the health care law that is the signature accomplishment of Obama’s first term.

Since when has the Associated Press ever known, let alone defined, the better judgment of Republican leaders in Washington? Once again, the TEA Party activists are the bogeymen under the bed, trying to frighten financial markets and global stock exchanges with the threat of another government shut down.

The conservative caucus in truth includes every Republican, yet the tactical strategies have differed. Even fiscal Hawk Tom Coburn has shared his concerns with defunding Obamacare, submitting that such legislation will not prevent ninety percent of the law from continuing.

Still, the media bias suggests that Republicans are to blame, when in reality Democrats forced this law on the people, and the people do not want this law, neither by force nor fiat.

The Associated Press should not be cheerleading against the Republicans, anyway, since the current President has presided over a Justice Deparment which seizes reporters's phone records. How much longer do the media plan on operating should they continue supporting this President?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Greatest Opposition to Immigration Reform: President Obama

Immigration resurged as a top issue in Congress following the 2012 election. Romney fared poorly with Hispanics in the election, although he also fared poorly on technology, outreach, grassroots, will, and the fact that a majority of Republicans did not like the guy.


Still, Republicans and Democrats led the fight on a massive immigration overhaul, one which provide key triggers for border security before announcing amnesty. Loud protests from civic activists and voters throughout the country denounced this legislation, which passed with 68 votes in the US Senate, yet the Republicans in the House of Representatives were willing to take up immigration reform.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor candidly shared his willingness to grant amnesty to the children of illegal immigrants, children who were brought to this country through no will or ill-will of their own. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa has also recognized the importance of doing something about the current immigration laws and status of illegal immigrants in this country. As former Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich had alleged in the 2012 Presidential election primaries, there is no conceivable, or moral way that the President of the United States or the federal enforcement agencies are going to force elderly and established individuals in this country to leave this country.


Obama: The Non-Enforcer
(For the record, "Self-deport" is not an option, either, for its sure unwillingness to consider the pragmatic as well as dogmatic realities of eleven to twenty million illegal immigrants already in this country)

House Speaker John Boehner had signaled his plans to consider the US Senate immigration reform bill, even though its overextended length, plus lack of thorough vetting from US Senators, and the boorish attempt to provide safeguards with a fence before amnesty have met nothing but resistance from voters and activists. The US Senate's Gang of Eight which had preferred the legislation did not meet the threshold of seventy votes for passage, either.

To reference US Senator Barack Obama's blatantly plea for bipartisanship, there is no red American, no blue American, no white or black or Hispanic American. There is the United States of American, E Pluribus Unum, a unity of the rule of law and the respect for individual liberty -- religious, moral, economic. This refrain should be the guiding rhetoric for any reform

The immigration move deserved attention from the House of Representatives, including Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), a Tea Party favorite who had left the House deliberations on the legislation because of fears regarding enforcement.

His fears are well-founded, and those concerns have not diminished.

Republican President Ronald Reagan had brokered the Simpson-Mizzoli compromise in 1986, which granted amnesty for 3,000,000 illegal immigrants with a promise of greater border enforcement. That promise was never fulfilled.

Thus, Republicans are leery of repeating this mistake, and every voter, no matter what their color or party affiliation, should be grateful. Democrats should be honoring the will and skill of their constituents on this matter, too, rather than dancing on race and identity politics at the expense of the rule of law.

Yet the media demagoguery continues, one which fingers the Republicans as the greatest roadblock to immigration reform.


But instead of looking on the outside of things to understand the growing hesitance of Republicans to immigration "reform", let us consider the statement of two House members, who outlined their reason for breaking away
from brokering any immigration deal:

"Texas Reps. John Carter and Sam Johnson said they can no longer be part of the effort because they don't trust President Barack Obama to enforce any legislation they write."

Their concerns are well-established.

President Obama instituted a stimulus plan in 2009 which directed state funds to non-existent districts and raised bureaucrats salaries. Falsehood in advertizing.

Claiming to be post-partisan, Obama rushed the Affordable Care Act through Congress through his caucus's legislative reconciliation efforts. Not just Republicans in Washington, but protesters across the country denounced this legislation, and they still oppose it. Thirty Democrats voted against Obamacare, as well.

Even though Obamacare is his baby, President Obama has unilaterally decided not to enforce key provisions of it, like the Employer Mandate, until 2015. The President has no authority to undo this legislation by executive fiat, but he insists he will do so, nonetheless.

Regarding immigration, Obama categorically decided not to enforce the laws against illegal immigrants, and granted temporary status to the undocumented youth of illegal immigrants who were under thirty, in school, and had broken no laws. Such an order was an affront to the primary, and unique legislative authority of the United States Congress and the popular interest of the voters who elected them.

If President Obama ignores Congress, flouts his own legislation, and issues executive orders at length, every legislator in Washington, Democrat and Republican, has a respectable reason for fearing that President Obama will enforce no key provisions of reform, whether a reduction in the welfare state or a construction of a border fence, as part of any immigration compromise.

In effect, if there is any politician at fault for the stalling on immigration reform, look no further than President Obama and his legacy of distrust.