Posts Tagged 'california'

The Solyndra Connection

Incompetence is one thing. Solyndra was criminal.

Ok, so Obama was his normal incompetent self when he lent $529 million in taxpayer funds to a struggling solar manufacturing plant which then went bankrupt. What’s the big deal? I mean besides the fact that he is asking for another $447 billion after admitting that with all the stimulus cash in the last bill he still failed to fix 152 structurally unsound bridges that Americans are driving on every day.

Except, wait, what’s this? The Obama administration specifically restructured the loan agreement so that if Solyndra went under and liquidated the investors would get their money back first. Read that again.

So unlike Chrysler, where the chicago boss stole the company from the bondholders and gave the liquidated funds to the unions, here Obama specifically determined that after giving $529 million in taxpayer funds to Solyndra, if Solyndra went under the owners of the company would get their money back before taxpayers got our money back. Congratulations, You have been officially robbed by the President.

So why would Obama do that? He didn’t care about the Chrysler bond holders who legally should have had first rights to those liquidated funds. What is so different about the Solyndra owners? Here is where this story goes from incompetent theft to 1st degree theft.

One of the two companies who is going to get paid back before taxpayers is Argonaut Ventures I, LLC, the investment firm for billionaire George Kaiser. Kaiser raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama in 2008 and continues to raise significant campaign cash for him now.

Follow the money.

Barack Obama takes $529 million of our money and sinks it in a failing solar panel company. Obama changes the terms of the loan so that when the company goes under, whatever is left goes to the investors instead of back to the taxpayers. The investors donate a kickback of up to $100,000 to Obama’s campaign, that ends up being funded with our tax dollars.

Remember Tom DeLay? DeLay was accused of taking corporate donations of $190,000 to the national Republican party and finding ways of funneling them to the Texas state party, where corporate donations are illegal. DeLay’s sentence was three years in jail (currently being appealed). DeLay took donations willfully given to the GOP and redirected them to the state party. Obama took $529,000,000 of our tax dollars, laundered them through Solyndra, and now is receiving them back into his own campaign coffers through donations from George Kaiser. If DeLay got 3 years, how much time should Obama serve?

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Scott Sinks Obama’s Titanic

Return to sender.  That was Governor Rick Scott’s response to Obama’s offer of $2.4 billion in borrowed stimulus funds to create 48,000 green energy jobs through the construction of European style high speed rail connecting the sprawling cities of Tampa and Orlando.

Scott’s decision was attacked immediately by the administration, Bill Nelson, Corrine Brown, and others, while poorly managed, broke states like California quickly started begging for the funds.  I knew right then Scott made the right decision.  Scott was also sued bipartisanly by Florida state politicians, but the Florida Supreme Court ruled in Scott’s favor yesterday, effectively killing high speed rail.

So why would I be so happy about the state writing void on the Fed’s $2.4 billion check and mailing it back?  Because if you look beyond the pile of green, all you can see is red.

Every politician and newspaper (depending on what Florida city it is from) has their own math for calculating the costs.  The government estimates that after Obama’s check for $2.4 billion, the state would have to either fund or find private investors to pick up another $280 million.

Then there is the unanticipated costs of figuring out whose property needs to be bought in order to lay the rail. Scott’s own team of advisers refigured the costs  of the project based on the realities of California’s own experiment with high speed rail and found the Federal estimates to be a little optimistic, to the tune of another $3 billion dollars. Experts have also balked at government estimates of ridership.

One issue I see with ridership that not many are talking about is the size of the destination cities.  I have been to Tampa and Orlando.  They are not walking around cities.  Once riders arrive in either city, they will need to secure local transportation.  If it were me, I would prefer to have my car once I got to either destination.  Obama, coming from Chicago and sitting in his office in DC, might think there is a large market for commuters between the two Florida cities.  Having driven the rush hours between them, I don’t see it.

For Scott, this decision to cancel delivery on the Obama golden goose may also stem from the budget battle he is preparing to have in Florida’s capital.  Scott is being accused of getting ready to cut $3 billion in education in Florida.  But the reality is that Scott is simply refusing to continue paying the obligation that the Federal Government created with unfunded stimulus money last year.  He is not changing Florida’s budget for education.  It would be like deciding not to include one time lottery winnings in your future monthly budget.

Obama’s stimulus was designed to put broke states on the hook for higher spending on a social agenda that the Federal Government couldn’t even afford when they passed the stimulus bill.  It was a bill designed to change America, create jobs for the sake solely of creating jobs with no sustainability, and set up a monumental legacy to Obama of green energy and government control.  The President did not count on voters demanding fiscal responsibility.

But what about the 48,000 potential jobs lost that this $2.4 billion was going to secure for us?  Fortunately Scott has a better plan.  Instead of spending $280 million to $3 billion in state funds on a redundant transportation system between two cities, Scott is requesting $77 million to dredge Miami’s port so that they can start receiving larger ships from the expanding Panama Canal and expand trade with Asia.  It is a project that will create 30,000 jobs and an agenda that will expand to Jacksonville’s Jaxport with likely the same results.

It is an idea that trades legacy building and big government agenda with private enterprise and economic growth.  And it saves the government about $55,500 per job created.

Constitution Takes a Hit in CA

Christians believe that marriage began with Adam and Eve.  Actually, Jews and Muslims follow this same teaching.  Catholics and some Protestant groups have gone as far as making marriage a religious sacrament that endows followers with a measure of saving grace.  It is a sacred religious institution just as much as the Eucharist, baptism in any form, prayer mats, steeples and pulpits.  And until recently, marriage has always legally had the basic definition of between a man and a woman.

Then came the income tax.  Despite 14th amendment guarantees of equal treatment under the law, different people were taxed at different rates based on their income.  This sometimes created tax benefits for married couples, and other times created what is known as the marriage penalty, which will be coming back in full force January 1.  Since one spouse worked and the other often times didn’t, they would be taxed a higher rate than if they filed individually.  Other tax benefits and penalties for married couples included tax treatment of insurance benefits, along with various credits and deductions that have been passed and expired over the years.  The result is that a couple living together without being married under federal law were treated differently than a couple who was legally married.  Marriage became an institution of the state and the state issued marriage licenses.

So where does that leave us with equal protection under the Constitution?  For homosexual couples, this became the backbone for their argument.  Although the Constitution doesn’t mention marriage, homosexual couples have argued that any two consenting adults should have the right to marriage, as long as there is only two of them, they are consenting, and they are adults.  That way, homosexual couples can have the rights to the same tax rates, hospital visitation, insurance benefits and any other benefit for which our current social and tax policy has 14th amendment violations built in.

The rub is that in California, they already had civil unions overcoming every 14th amendment violation. The only difference was that only men and women could get certificates that said “Marriage” on them.  The equivalent argument would be a 50 year old Muslim woman demanding that she be able to have a Bar Mitzvah because of the 14th amendment.  What’s the difference?  Marriage certificates are issued by the state.

Why are marriage certificates issued by the state?  For the same reason old European church-states required infant baptism.  It provided proper tax records while maintaining the traditional religious connotation.  Instead of marriage being between a man a woman and God, it became a state registration along with your drivers license and dog license.  Why can’t states just issue civil unions for everyone and let churches marry whoever they will?  Then God is the judge, not Uncle Sam.

Judge Walker, the openly homosexual judge who overturned California’s voter approved ban, labeled marriage nothing more than a tradition of bigotry.  I wonder when he will decide to rule that salvation must be granted to all Americans under the 14th amendment?  After all, isn’t it bigoted to believe that someone is going to hell?

Judge Walker’s opinion fails to prove that marriage itself, not just civil equality which Californians already had (if they were two consenting adults), must be granted to all combinations of two consenting adults.  Failing to prove this, he then violated the 1st amendment by ordering that the Government establish the definition of the sacred religious practice of marriage, and he violated the 10th amendment as a federal judge by overturning an issue that is clearly not in our nations constitution and is therefore relegated to the states or the people.

If the government cannot protect the sacred religious definition of marriage that has been insanely entrusted to it, then government needs to get out of the marriage business altogether.

1st Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

10th Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Halfway States Rights Does Not Equal States Rights

In the political circles where I like to debate, the question commonly comes up about drug policy.  Most Libertarians, many progressive social Democrats and even some Conservatives will argue strongly against our war on illegal drugs.  Many argue that it costs too much, many argue that it is government intrusion into our lives and unconstitutional, and others argue just because they happen to be high at the time.

I have been asked my opinion on the issue and people are sometimes surprised how I answer.  Most conservatives, especially Christian, free-market conservatives who know that illegal drugs ruin lives and turn some people into permanent wards of the state, strongly support Federal intervention and Federal drug laws.  I don’t.

I have read through the Constitution many times and cannot find anything that would justify a Federal ban on putting any sort of substance into your body.  Don’t get me wrong, I have seen what drugs do to people and I would vote in a heartbeat to ban them in my state or city.  But until we amend the Constitution with a new prohibition amendment, we damage the integrity of our national foundation of personal freedom and states rights when the Federal Government assumes the duties that the Constitution clearly delegates to the individual states.    In fact, I think if Thomas Jefferson knew only that Reagan was the one who mandated that states adopt 21 as the drinking age limit, he would certainly have called Reagan an anti-Constitutional tyrant.

So is this high praise of President Obama for instructing his attorney general, Eric Holder, to spend more time on affirmative action violations and less time on prosecuting medical potheads in states where it is legal?  No, and here is why:

Currently there are medical marijuana laws in 13 states.  Washington State is perhaps the most lenient, allowing you to have 24 oz. without getting busted and not charging you for a license to carry (marijuana).  Meanwhile, the other 37 states do not have any medical marijuana freedoms.  Yet, every year all 50 states pay billions in Federal taxes for national drug rehab programs alone.  We are spending nearly $500 billion a year on the state and federal level for rehab, incarceration, child services, dealing with homelessness, and other drug related costs.  States cover much of the bill on their own, but according to Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, if the Federal Government recorded costs for prevention and rehabilitation as a separate budget item, it would rank as the  sixth most expensive Federal program.  It accounts for 9.6% of the Federal budget.

Let me break that down in simpler terms.  When Californians can get a prescription for marijuana to handle their stress, athlete’s foot, occasional headaches, or whatever else they can get a doctor to write a prescription for; people in Florida, Connecticut, New York, and Texas will be footing the bill to help them clean up their lives.  When someone in Michigan can’t get a job because spend half the day too stoned to get up, someone in Minnesota will be writing their Federal welfare check.

The Federal Government does not have the constitutional authority to rob one state to pay for another’s social ills.  The Federal Government does not have the constitutional authority to provide for certain groups’ specific welfare while harming the welfare of others through redistributive programs.  The Federal Government does have the constitutional duty to regulate interstate commerce and ensure that one state is not ripping off another.

By granting states the individual right to legalize self-destruction, but requiring that all states be mandated to pay for the consequences, Obama has violated the interstate commerce clause and made national social programs such as Federal welfare, Medicaid, Federally funded SCHIP, Federal funding for faith-based organizations, and his dream of universal healthcare and a public option that much more unconstitutional.

Given the choice, I would rather that Obama had ended unconstitutional wealth redistribution programs than lifted the unconstitutional Federal ban on drugs while still making me pay for the consequences.  Either way, this is no victory for states rights advocates.

Leave the Czars to the Russians

I have put in my time.  I have researched Article II of the Constitution and the amendments.  I never found the word Czar, nor did I find constitutional justification for such a position.   But Obama has as many as 32 Czars.  He has a TARP Czar, an Auto Recovery Czar, an Afghanistan Czar, a Terrorism Czar (I guess we can use that word if it’s part of a job description), a Car Czar (completely different from the Auto Recovery Czar), a California Water Czar, and rumor has it that as Obama continues his extended vacation over Labor Day weekend that he is going to appoint a Presidential Fill-In Czar.

It’s not just Republicans who disapprove of the President delegating his duties, constitutional and unconstitutional, to these Czars.  Some Democrats, like Senator Byrd, are unhappy that they don’t have a say in approving these Czars.  Of course, I suspect that their issue is more one of the President giving power to the Czars that should belong to Congress, and not so much the constitutionality aspect.

Of course, what is disconcerting is the power given to these individuals in circumvention of the Constitution.  Even Liberal Republican Susan Collins can see the danger of what she called a lack of transparency and accountibility associated with Czars.  The American Thinker calls the Czars commissars, named after the political agents appointed by Communist regimes to implement the dictators policies apart from the normal governmental process.  Is that an invalid assessment?  Rep. Kingston from Georgia calls Obama’s Czar structure a “parallel government”.

What about the idea of removing authority and responsibility from our government and putting it in the hands of these people?  Look at what happened when Bush passed the first TARP bailout that put the authority and responsibility for fixing the economy directly and solely in the hands of the Treasury Secretary Paulson.  Now those powers and responsibilities are solely in the hands of Tim Geithner the tax cheat.  How’s that economy going, America?  And the Treasury Secretary has to be approved by Congress, unlike most of Obama’s Czars.

Is this truly something to fear?  Well, these titles give me pause: Faith Based Czar, Urban Affairs Czar, Information Czar, Pay Czar, Domestic Violence Czar, Technology Czar…wait, back up.  Faith Based Czar??  Nevermind that the government specifically has no jurisdiction over half the things Obama has Czars for according to the 9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution. Obama is strictly prohibited by the 1st amendment from having jurisdiction over faith.

Here are some other historical titles that should give you pause: Minister of Food, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Forestry, Minister of Science and Education, Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs (Faith Based Czar?), Minister of Aviation, Minister of Economics, Minister of War, oh yeah, and Minister of Propaganda.  I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Before you write me off as an alarmist, let’s examine exactly who Obama is putting in these positions of unaccountable authority.

Van Jones: Of all the environmentalists in the country, Obama chose a civil rights activist, 9/11 conspiracy theorist in Van Jones to be his “Green Jobs” Czar.  Van Jones says he never agreed with the 9/11 conspiracy petition that he signed in 2004, calling for an investigation into whether Bush was responsible for murdering more than 3,000 civilians through the 9/11 attacks.  Great, so our Green Jobs Czar is either a liar or doesn’t read stuff before he signs it.  Well, ok, so that’s par for the course in Washington.

What I find interesting is how little experience Jones actually has as an environmentalist.  When you hire a die-hard affirmative action proponent with almost no environmental experience as your Green Jobs Czar, what do you think the intended result is?  Jones has accused “white polluters” of polluting black neighborhoods.  So much for reconciliation and an end to racism in this country.  And of course, Jones has strong ties to Communism.  You would think after the Jeremiah Wright incident, Obama might know what type of people to avoid in political circles.  I guess that’s what you get for not paying attention in church.

Cass Sunstein: The Regulation Czar has advocated for a ban on hunting in the US and an opt out policy on organ donation.  Basically this means that unless you specifically say otherwise, the government can use your organs when you die.

John Holdren: Obama’s Science Czar is another character with a regretful past when it comes to ideology.  Holdren at one point advocated forced abortions and sterilization.   Of course, that isn’t a new concept either.  Holdren, like Jones, released a statement saying that he had never supported his ideology.  Fundamentally disagreeing with oneself seems to be a requirement for a position in Obama’s government.

Carol Browner: The Energy and Environment Czar Carol Browner is a well known socialist.  Of course, she is well known only because of a great deal of research done.  After Obama suggested her, records of her ties to socialist groups began disappearing off the web.  But for Browner, this is nothing new.  In 2003 a Federal Judge held the EPA in contempt for destroying records and shredding documents during the Clinton administration.  Browner’s were among those.

Vivek Kundra, Obama’s Information Czar, has had FBI troubles and Obama’s first shot at Performance Czar had to withdraw due to tax troubles.  Apparently Nancy Killefer had enough of  back taxes to keep her from getting hired as a Czar but not enough to become the next head of the IRS.

You can call me an alarmist if you want to.  I prefer to use the term vigilent.  If Congress can’t approve Czars, they can’t  impeach them either.


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