Immigration and Independence Day

Protesters in Murrieta California blocked Homeland Security buses carrying undocumented immigrants.  Many of the undocumented are children sent by their parents in hopes of a better life.  Similarly the protesters parents or grandparents or great-grandparents came here seeking a better life.  On this 4th of July the protesters should be ashamed of themselves.

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Should Hillary Run?

Ever since Secretary Clinton resigned her post at the State Department there has been rampant speculation if she’s planning to run for the presidency.  The book tour has further fueled the speculation.  The punditry conventional wisdom is that she will run and easily get the nomination.  Many say that she has a solid chance to win the general.  But the question remains: should she run?

Should she win, it would certainly be a historic occasion.  It would serve as a role model for many young women for generations.  However there are a couple of arguments against her candidacy.  MSNBC’s Krystal Ball argues that while Sec. Clinton is eminently qualified, the campaign will be extraordinarily ugly, reaching new lows from the right.  It must be remembered that the right loathes Hillary.   And they’re not too fond of Bill.  Remember that impeachment thing?  The Daily Beast’s Tina Brown has perhaps the most cogent argument.  She states that Sec. Clinton is an ambitious woman who wants to make a difference, particularly on women’s issues.  Given the obstructionist Congress she would likely inherit, it would be doubtful she could get much of her agenda done as president.  Brown states that Sec. Clinton could get much more done as a private citizen.

So, should Hillary run?

 

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Shinseki Out

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Shinseki submitted his resignation to President Obama over the flap on “cooking the books” waiting times.  The President reluctantly accepted the resignation citing Shinseki’s desire to fix the problem and now be a distraction.  Talking heads, pundits and pols lay this scandal in Shinseki’s lap, even though he had nothing to do with it. He was unaware of it as he was lied to about the issue.

His resignation isn’t going to fix the problems at the VA.  Those problems have been systemic since there was a VA.  And the notion that the VA serves no one is a canard.  Our dear friends Doots gave the VA rave reviews when he broke his foot.  The VA is a much better agency since Shinseki’s arrival. The VA is not perfect.  No organization is.  But we hold the VA to a higher and un-achievable standard.

A good man.  A competent man.  An  honorable man.  We need more like him serving this country and now he’s gone.

So to those who championed Shinseki demise, shame on you.

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Benghazi Redux

Speaker Boehner has named former prosecutor Trey Gowdy to head the House select committee to investigate the tragedy at the Benghazi outpost.  Apparently the eight reports aren’t enough for the right to let this go.  Narcissist Gowdy, who changes his hairstyle more often than he changes his underwear has referred to these hearings as a “trial.”

To even the most casual observer this select committee is naked political partisanship.  Obamacare is working and the right needs a new cause.  Benghazi gives them a misguided excuse to impeach the President and  an opportunity to besmirch Secretary Clinton should she decide to run for the presidency.

This tactic is likely to backfire as the political motivation is blatantly transparent.

 

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The Bundy Bunch

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy thinks he should be able to graze his cattle on public lands without paying grazing fees.

At first one would think he was just a tightwad. The Bureau of Land Management is willing to let him graze his cattle for $1.35 per cattle per month (they call this an AMU – animal month unit).  Those cattle are not only eating natural grasses on federal land, they’re drinking water on that land.   By contrast it would cost Bundy $5.00 per AMU to graze on private land.

One of the reasons that the BLM monitors grazing on public lands is that ranchers are notorious for overgrazing, making the land unsuitable for grazing for years.

The Department of the Interior, of which the BLM is a part,  is second only to the IRS in providing revenue to the U.S. government.  Most of this revenue comes from oil and gas leases, but a significant part comes from grazing fees.  If Mr. Bundy thinks he should be free to use public lands to graze his cattle, what’s to prevent an oil company to think they should be free extract crude oil from public lands without paying the government for the oil they take?

What’s becoming clear from  the press coverage is that Bundy is one of those anti-government kooks who appeals to other anti-government kooks.

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Is Money Speech?

Following on the slippery slope of the Citizens United ruling, the Supreme Court decided in favor of the plaintiff in McCutcheon v. FEC to eliminate limits on aggregate campaign contributions.  The argument was that money counted as speech, and that speech was protected by the 1st Amendment.

We can only speculate what the effect this will have on the political landscape, but it begs the question: is money really speech?

The idea that money counts as speech was introduce in the 1976 Supreme Court ruling in Buckley v. Valeo.

Open up your wallet.  Do you hear the dollar bills talking among themselves?  Does your bank ever call and tell you that they wish the money in your savings account would pipe down?  Good luck explaining to the IRS that you’re paying your taxes by talking.

The reality is that money isn’t speech.  It’s property.

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Spring is Here!

Spring starts on March 20th.  Yee Haw!  It’s been a rough winter nationwide, but the crocus are up through the snow, the weather is warming up, and folks are cleaning off their outdoor grills.  But most importantly, baseball is seasons is underway!

 

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