Don’t Believe Those Lying Job Numbers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the United States gained 288,000 jobs in June, and Barack Obama couldn’t have been happier.

“Make no mistake,” he gloated. “We are headed in the right direction.”

What a crock! A closer look at the numbers proves that instead of the economy getting better, it is a disaster for people who lack a job and want one.

First, about those so-called job gains: It turns out the economy actually lost 523,000 full-time jobs last month. That’s an absolute tragedy! The only way the Obama Administration could claim any gains was because of an increase of 811,000 part-time jobs. And this is the “victory” that Obama wants to celebrate?

There are two reasons why employers are offering more than three times as many part-time jobs today as full-time ones. The first is because of Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act mandates that anyone working 30 hours a week or more must be provided with company-paid-for health insurance. More and more employers are hiring part-time workers to keep from falling under that legislation’s dictates.

The second reason for a decline in full-time jobs is nerves. Or maybe I should say a total lack of confidence that the Obama Administration will adopt policies that will help this economy get growing again. Of course, taxes are too high; but Obama wants to make them even higher. Of course, regulations are too onerous; yet the Obama Administration keeps adding more and more.

Under the circumstances, if you were the CEO of a company, would you tell your shareholders that this is the time to invest, expand and take on more risk? I very much doubt it.

Faced with all of this, how is that, then, that the unemployment numbers continue to decline? Let’s assume for a moment that they’re not being fudged (which many of us are convinced they are) and that unemployment, at least the way the government calculates it, did decline to 6.1 percent last month. Is this any reason to cheer?

Not on your life! The fact of the matter is that the number declined because 2.4 million Americans have become so discouraged they’ve stopped even bothering to look for a job. They’re no longer counted as part of the workforce.

Heck, the way the unemployment numbers are calculated, the best thing that could happen in this country would be for every unemployed person to stop looking for a job. If that were to happen, the unemployment rate would be zero. Just imagine how excited Obama would be to trumpet that news!

The grim reality is that the proportion of adult Americans in the workforce has fallen to 62.8 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been in the past 36 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 91 million Americans over the age of 16 don’t hold any sort of job today, full time or part time. That’s the highest that number has ever been. It means there are nearly 10 million fewer jobs in America today than there were when Obama first became President.

What we’re seeing is the weakest post-recession recovery in the Nation’s history. The employment numbers won’t get much better until one more person joins the unemployment line — and that’s the guy presently occupying the White House.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Note from the Editor: Hyperinflation is becoming more visible every day—just notice the next time you shop for groceries. All signs say America’s economic recovery is expected to take a nose dive and before it gets any worse you should read The Uncensored Survivalist. This book contains sensible advice on how to avoid total financial devastation and how to survive on your own if necessary. Click here for your free copy.

Is This Glenn Beck Charity Wrong?

Conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck says that Americans should “open our hearts” to the plight of the thousands of children who have streamed across our southern border. “Through no fault of their own, they are caught in a political crossfire,” he declared.

Beck promised that he will continue to demand that Washington change its policies and stop this illegal invasion. But at the same time, he will also lead charitable efforts to provide aid to the children who have made it to our shores. “While we continue to put pressure on Washington [to] change its course of lawlessness,” he said, “we must also help. It is not either/or, it is both.”

The conservative commentator said that Mercury One, the charitable organization he founded, is taking truckloads of food and water to McAllen, Texas, where many of the illegal aliens have been housed. The charitable mission will provide hot meals for 3,000 people, along with some recreational items. “The churches have asked us if we could bring Teddy Bears and soccer balls, so we’ve loaded up a whole tractor-trailer” with the items, he said.

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) will help the broadcaster distribute the largesse. They will be joined by a number of pastors and rabbis who have also agreed to support the mission.

Beck said that some on his staff advised him against doing this. Some of his supporters have argued that sending aid to help these illegal aliens will simply encourage more to come. He disagrees.

“Everyone is telling me I’m seeing subscriptions down; I’m seeing Mercury One donations down. I’m getting violent emails from people who say I’ve ‘betrayed the Republic.’ Whatever. I’ve never taken a position more deadly to my career than this — and I have never, ever taken a position that is more right than this.”

FOX TV host Bill O’Reilly interviewed Beck about this effort on “The O’Reilly Factor” last week. O’Reilly said that while what Beck was doing was certainly controversial in some quarters, it was the right thing to do. And that he would be sending a donation to Beck’s charitable organization, Mercury One, to help.

Do you agree with Beck and O’Reilly? However you feel, you can say so below. And if you want to assist Beck in his efforts, you can send a contribution to his charity by going to and following the prompts.

Beck said: “If you don’t want to be involved in this [project], you don’t have to be.” There are many other worthwhile activities the group supports. “You can donate and earmark your money to be for preserving American history; we have a museum to build… We’re building hospitals.”

And he added, “But all the things we do, they’re not about politics, because politics is turning ugly. Politics is the vehicle that is driving us to the fundamental transformation of America.”

How right he is.

We Americans are the most charitable people on Earth. We have given more of our time, our goods and our money to help those in need than any other nation that ever existed.

Let’s hope the dirty politics that our government is playing with our money and the lives of these children won’t destroy those charitable impulses. But as Beck is proving, it is already changing things for the worse.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Editor’s note: Chip Wood’s Chip Shots will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Look for written commentary from Ben Crystal on Fridays and be sure to check out his weekly video, The Great Eight, on Saturdays.

Barack Obama, Child Abuser

There are many words that could be used to describe the crisis on our southern border, as thousands of unaccompanied children stream into this country. But two I’ve been waiting for someone to say are “child abuse.”

I was glad to see the meaning, if not the actual words, appear in a powerful column by Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal. She ended “The Crisis on The Border” by writing: “The little children in great danger, holding hands, staring blankly ahead, are pawns in a larger game. That game is run by adults. How cold do you have to be to use children in this way?”

Exactly. And who is the coldhearted so-and-so who is using these desperate and frightened children? Sad to say, it’s none other than the President of the United States. Here’s how Noonan put it: “There is every sign he let the crisis on the border build to put heat on Republicans and make them pass his idea of good immigration reform.”

What a cruel hoax that has turned out to be!

What would it take to solve this crisis? The first thing, of course, is to secure our border. The Border Patrol can’t do it. It admits that it’s absolutely overwhelmed by the number of people — many of them unaccompanied children — flooding into this country.

Of course, we need to complete the fence along the border. Congress has voted for it and appropriated the funds for it. Where it’s been completed, the flood of illegals has slowed to a trickle. For crying out loud, let’s finish the job!

Israel has proven how effective a fence can be. The ones protecting Israel’s borders have reduced the number of terrorists sneaking into that beleaguered country by more than 90 percent. Surely we have the knowledge and the resources to do the same thing here. As syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer put it: “If fences don’t work, why is there one around the White House?”

There have been a lot of stupid reasons offered why we shouldn’t do this. One of the dumbest came in a tweet a few days ago from Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.).

Yes, our doors are open — to people who come here legally. Obey our laws, and we will welcome you with open arms. We always have, and I hope we always will.

But every country has the right to decide who may become a citizen, who may be a visitor and who is not allowed in. Mexico and Canada, the two countries that share our border, are much more restrictive about immigration — and much harsher on those who break their laws — than we are, as a lonely Marine now suffering in a Mexican jail knows only too well.

The Constitution says that one of the primary responsibilities of the Federal government is to protect this country from an invasion. And that is precisely what we are facing on our southern border. Yes, it is a humanitarian crisis. But it is a crisis that is caused by an invasion. It is time to take steps to stop it.

Even after the President gives the order, it will take years to complete a fence along our border. So in the meantime, there are three other things the President must do.

The first is simple enough: Put more patrols along the border. If this means calling out the National Guard, then do so. Such a demonstration of leadership would win the support of an overwhelming majority of the American people. The pollsters tell us that this alien invasion (let’s not call it an “immigration crisis”) now tops the list of voter concerns.

This may not matter very much to Barack Obama, who knows he won’t have to face the voters again. But it should matter very much indeed to the 535 Congressmen and Senators who will — many of them in November.

Secondly, let’s return the people who come here illegally to their country of origin. We already do that with invaders from Mexico (and the handful that sneak across our northern border with Canada).

But thanks to a well-intentioned but harmful law passed six years ago, we can’t do that with invaders from Central America. That legislation (designed to protect a handful of victims of sex traffickers) says there must be a court hearing before they can be deported.

The courts are so backlogged that process can take years. Many who are ordered to show up for a hearing don’t bother to do so.

The law is not working. So let’s change the law. This could be done in a matter of days, if the President would throw his weight behind it. Barack Obama needs to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to stop being a bottleneck and get the law changed. And by the way, stop that ridiculous assertion that the border is already secure. No it isn’t, and everyone knows it.

Instead of spending billions of dollars to clothe, feed and shelter these invaders, let’s use the money to send them home. Wouldn’t that be a lot more sensible — and a lot more popular — than moving them in secret to communities around the country that haven’t even been told they are coming? What an outrage that is!

Finally, Mr. President, please use the power of your office and the purse strings you control to get our southern neighbors to stop being complicit in this massive human tragedy. Tell Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to stop the mass exodus, especially of young children, from their countries. Demand that Mexico stop facilitating this invasion.

Noonan wrote:

No one’s in charge! No one is taking responsibility. No one who wants to help has authority, and no one with authority is helping.

The mind-boggling fact is that everyone in charge more or less suggests they’re powerless to do anything. And the children keep coming.

These poor children are pawns in a despicable game. Their parents have been told that if their children came make it to this country, they’ll be allowed to stay. At least so far, that false promise is turning out to be true. It’s time — in fact, it’s long past time — to demand that be changed.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Stopping This Imperial President

Congratulations, liberty lovers! Your efforts to expose the disastrous policies and unConstitutional usurpations of power by the Barack Obama Administration are definitely paying off.

The three key fronts where these battles are being fought are in Congress, in the courts, and in public opinion. And I’m happy to report that in the past couple of weeks, we’ve scored some significant gains in all three of them.

Let’s begin today’s analysis with public opinion, which has begun to turn decisively in our favor. The immigration crisis, with tens of thousands of children pouring across our southern border, is just the latest example of the Obama Administration’s stunning incompetence… or worse.

Add to that the deceit and cover-up about what happened in Benghazi, Libya; the scandal over National Security Agency spying on its own citizens; and the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups. It’s no wonder more and more Americans are ready to shout: “Enough!”

Of course the public is fed up with this Administration’s refusal to protect our borders. What else would you expect? Every night, the TV news programs show more and more children pouring into this country, overflowing what facilities we have, with thousands being transported (at taxpayer expense) to other parts of the country.

If the Obama Administration won’t protect our borders, how can we trust it to do anything else right when it comes to stopping this illegal invasion? The answer, of course, is that we cannot.

Obama’s reputation is now in such tatters that in the latest Quinnipiac University national poll, he was rated as the worst President since World War II.

That’s right. In a survey of registered voters taken during the last week of June, Obama ranked ahead of George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon as the worst President in the past 70 years.

A here’s a real shocker: 45 percent of the respondents said that the country would have been better off if Mitt Romney had won the Presidency in 2012, while only 38 percent said it would be worse off. It should come as no surprise that Republicans and Democrats were sharply divided here, with Republicans choosing Romney by 84 percent to 5 percent and Democrats endorsing the President 74 percent to 10 percent. The biggest switch came among Independents, who this time around favored Romney by 47 percent to 33 percent. Too bad they didn’t do that when they voted two years ago!

Some 54 percent of those polled said that the Obama Administration is not competent to run the government, while just 44 percent said it is. The President’s approval rating was stalled at 40 percent in the survey, barely above his all-time low of 38 percent back in December 2013.

But public opinion isn’t the only area where Obama has suffered some serious setbacks. He’s also lost some decisive contests in the U.S. Supreme Court. In four recent decisions the Obama Administration is 0 for 4. In two of them, the justices voted unanimously against the White House. That means the former professor of Constitutional law is batting 0 for 18. Even the two justices he appointed agreed that his unConstitutional usurpations of power had to be curtailed.

Now it looks as though an even bigger challenge may be mounted to the President’s illegal actions. Here’s how House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) described the strategy in an article he wrote for CNN:

Every member of Congress swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So did President Barack Obama.

But too often over the past five years, the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statues he is sworn to uphold — at times even boasting about this willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him.

Who can disagree with Boehner’s accusations? Yet as the Speaker pointed out, the President’s response was an arrogant, dismissive rejoinder: “So sue me.”

Well, actually, Mr. President, that’s exactly what Boehner said the House is going to do: “That’s why, later this month, we will bring legislation to the House floor that would authorize the House of Representatives to file suit in an effort to compel President Obama to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country.”

Frankly, I don’t have much hope that such a lawsuit will succeed in forcing the President to change his ways. First of all, with all that Obama and his lawyers can do to challenge and delay such an effort, will it even be decided by the Supreme Court before the President’s term of office is over?

And that’s even assuming the Nation’s highest court would agree with the House position, which I’m not sure is the case. Heck, if Chief Justice John Roberts could twist the Constitution enough to declare that the Affordable Care Act was Constitutional because it was a tax, who knows what he might decide here?

There is a better solution — one that doesn’t depend on a challenge slowly wending its way through the courts. And that is for the House of Representatives to wield what James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, called “the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people.”

The quotation is from “Federalist No. 58.” Madison was referring to the fact that all legislation permitting the Federal government to raise taxes or to spend money must originate in the House of Representatives. It’s just this simple: If the House won’t authorize it, the President can’t spend it.

The House of Representatives doesn’t need a decision by the Supreme Court, or a vote in the U.S. Senate, to bring a halt to Obama’s usurpation of power. It can do it by simply refusing to pay for it. Or as Madison put it, this is the proper way “for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”

Every great battle needs a battle cry. I want to propose one here: Defund the left!

Actually, this isn’t a new slogan; I heard it for the first time nearly 40 years ago, when conservatives tried to stop the Richard Nixon Administration from paying for leftist agitators to “organize” the poor.

The White House is using billions of our tax dollars to carry out Obama’s goal to “transform” this country. One of the best ways to help prevent the Administration’s success is to take away its funds.

Defund the left! Let’s demand that the House of Representatives start doing it now.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

The Left Goes Berserk Over the Hobby Lobby Case

Judging by the hysterical reaction on the left, you would think that the Supreme Court had just taken away women’s right to vote. Instead, all the justices said in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby was that owners of closely held corporations couldn’t be forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs as part of the healthcare coverage required by the Affordable Care Act.

Let’s get one thing straight right from the start: This ruling has absolutely nothing to do with a woman’s right to contraception or even a company’s requirement to pay for it. As attorneys for Hobby Lobby made clear, the company was already paying for 16 forms on contraception in the healthcare plan the company provided. The Green family, the evangelical Christians who own the company, objected to paying for the “morning after” pills that were included in the requirements, since they believed the pills were a form of abortion.

The penalties for not obeying the Obamacare mandate are pretty severe. Hobby Lobby faced fines of $100 a day per employee for not complying. Or if it dropped healthcare coverage for its employees, something it did not want to do, the government could impose a fine on the company of $2,000 a year for every employee.

Violate your conscience or face bankruptcy because of your beliefs. Not much of a choice, was it?

The court agreed. In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “We doubt that the Congress that enacted [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] — or, for that matter, [ObamaCare] — would have believed it a tolerable result to put family-run businesses to the choice of violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or making all of their employees lose their existing healthcare plans.”

But liberals have gone absolutely ballistic over the court’s ruling. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat who can always be found on the far left of any issue, said the decision was “an outrageous step against the rights of America’s women.” Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) labeled it “a dangerous precedent and takes us closer to a time in history when women had no choice and no voice.” (Think I exaggerated in my opening sentence? Not a bit.)

Within a few hours of the decision being announced, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest made it clear that Barack Obama was on the side of the dissenters. Moreover, he tried to drape the U.S. Constitution around his boss, when he said, “the Constitutional lawyer in the Oval Office disagrees with that conclusion from the Supreme Court.”

Sure thing, Josh. Now we’re supposed to believe that the President pays any attention whatsoever to the tenets of the Constitution? Tell us another one.

The most embarrassing response may have come from Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat whom many on the left are touting as a progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton. Warren managed to make three errors in just one sentence when she tweeted: “Can’t believe we live in a world where we’d even consider letting big corps deny women access to basic care based on vague moral objections.”

Ain’t that a lulu? First of all, Senator, this decision has absolutely nothing to do with big corporations. In fact, they are specifically excluded from its effects. This ruling only applies to small, closely held corporations, as the justices made clear in their decision.

Second, no one is talking about denying women “access to basic care.” No one was trying to prevent them from buying anything, including the four drugs the plaintiffs considered abortifacients. As I’ve already noted, Hobby Lobby was already paying for 16 forms of contraception for its employees. All the company was saying was that it shouldn’t be forced to pay for drugs that violated the owners’ religious beliefs.

And that brings me to Warren’s third error. What we’re talking about here is not some “vague moral objection,” as the leftist lawmaker said, but a profound religious conviction. Hurray for the Greens for being willing to fight for their views — and to spend a lot of money (and risking a lot more) doing so.

How important is this decision? Politico rightly described it as “a huge black eye for ObamaCare, the Administration and its backers.” In fact, the politics-focused website said the ruling reinforces critics’ contentions that “[ObamaCare] and President Barack Obama are encroaching on Americans’ freedoms.” And it’s just now finding that out?

But please note that four members of the Supreme Court, including both Obama appointees, voted against “the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those companies,” as the decision said. It’s sobering to realize that if just one of the five justices who made up the majority dies or resigns from the Court, Obama’s selection will help form a new majority. And all of those 5-4 decisions that have gone our way in recent years could be reversed. A pretty scary thought, isn’t it?

But at least that hasn’t happened yet. And the Hobby Lobby case isn’t the only one where the Supreme Court has ruled against Presidential overreach. It’s been SCOTUS vs. POTUS (the Supreme Court of the United States versus the President of the United States) for a couple of weeks. And guess what? The President has lost every single time. In fact, in two important cases, the justices ruled 9-0 against him.

That’s right. In a couple of cases, Obama’s unConstitutional power grabs were so extreme that he couldn’t get a single justice — not even the two he appointed — to agree with him.

A week ago, the Supreme Court issued its decision in NLRB v. Noel Canning. The Court ruled unanimously that Obama had overstepped his authority and violated the Constitution when he tried to make so-called “recess” appointments to the National Relations Labor Board back in 2012. The problem was the Senate specifically said it wasn’t in recess when he did so. It was holding pro forma sessions every day, specifically to keep any recess appointments from being made.

It’s no surprise that the Supreme Court voted 9-0 that the Senate was right and Obama was wrong.

By the way, this was the 13th time that the Court had ruled unanimously against the Obama Administration. Guess the guy who supposedly taught Constitutional law doesn’t have a very good grasp of what the Constitution actually says. But we already knew that, didn’t we?

The second 9-0 decision against the Obama Administration concerned legislation in Massachusetts that prohibited pro-life demonstrators from getting within 35 feet of an abortion facility. The Administration argued that such “buffer zones” were necessary to protect the safety of women. The Supreme Court disagreed and ruled unanimously that the law created unConstitutional “censorship zones” on public sidewalks.

As I said, in those two rulings Obama was 0 for 18. But our Supreme Leader won’t let Supreme Court rulings, Congressional opposition or falling polls deter him from his goal of transforming America. On Monday, he vowed to launch “a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”

So he wants to replace a system of laws with a system of edicts? What else is new?

As we celebrate the birth of our Nation this weekend, it’s a good time to renew our commitment to the battle for liberty. The signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to secure it for us. Can we do less to keep it?

Happy Fourth of July.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Shame On You, Mississippi

The Republican primary in Mississippi Tuesday proved how far the establishment will go to keep Tea Party conservatives from gaining victory. In this case, when it couldn’t get enough Republicans to vote for its guy, it appealed to liberal Democrats for help. And thanks to a generous application of “walking around money” to black leaders, they got it.

This was the second time that the 76-year-old incumbent, U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, faced his conservative challenger, State Senator Chris McDaniel. Although McDaniel racked up more votes than Cochran in the first Republican primary, held on June 3, he fell short of getting a simple majority. Thus, a runoff was necessary.

Mississippi is one of those States with “open” primaries. Thus, the only people who weren’t allowed to vote in the Republican runoff were those who had already voted in this year’s Democratic primary. That opened the door to get the votes of a lot of folks who under normal circumstances would never dream of voting for a Republican. But the circumstances in Mississippi this time were anything but normal.

In six terms in the U.S. Senate, Cochran had done absolutely nothing to distinguish himself. He was the classic “go along to get along” politician, who never met a subsidy or pork barrel appropriation he didn’t like. Sure, he described himself as a conservative — what politician from Mississippi doesn’t? But when the crucial votes were counted, he was always on the side of the establishment. No wonder members of the liberty movement were so eager to see him replaced.

After his near-defeat in the original primary, Cochran’s supporters realized they couldn’t count on getting enough Republican votes to see their man achieve victory. If they were going to grab the golden apple — and all of the perks, benefits and Federal dollars that would mean — they’d need a ton of Democrat votes. So they devised a plan to get them.

Here’s how The New York Times described what happened next:

The 76-year-old senator ran a largely sleepy campaign until the primary on June 3, when he was edged out by Mr. McDaniel but won enough votes to keep his opponent from outright victory. Mr. Cochran, who is seeking his seventh term, used the past three weeks to turn out Democratic voters — especially African-Americans — to make up that deficit.

The Cochran campaign boasted about all the Federal dollars the Senator had helped bring to Mississippi. Campaign ads warned that the bounty would stop if McDaniel won. Oh, and it didn’t hurt that there was suddenly plenty of money available to pay for those “get out the vote” efforts, especially in the black community.

Sadly for supporters of the liberty movement, the plan worked. Cochran collected enough Democrat votes to win. As McDaniel put it, “There is something a bit strange, there is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats.”

Strange and unusual, yes. But illegal? No. It should come as no surprise that the Republican establishment was willing to do whatever was necessary to secure victory for its candidate.

But Mississippi wasn’t the only place where the Tea Party failed to achieve victory this week. There was also an important primary in Oklahoma last Tuesday, where conservative champion Tom Coburn had announced that he was retiring from the Senate with two years left on his term.

A number of candidates filed for the nomination, but the race boiled down to two choices. The establishment favorite was James Lankford, a two-term Congressman who was part of the Republican leadership in the House.

Lankford’s main opponent was Tea Party favorite T.W. Shannon, the State’s first black Speaker of the House of Representatives. Shannon had the support of several national Tea Party groups, including the Senate Conservatives Fund. Both Sarah Palin and Texas Senator Ted Cruz had come to Oklahoma to campaign for him.

But when the votes were counted, Lankford had won the race. He is a virtually certainty to win the election in November, so the seat will remain in Republican hands. But we’ve lost another chance to get an articulate and charismatic conservative leader on the national stage.

Will the liberal media gloat about these two defeats for conservatives? You bet they will. In fact, they already are. If you want to read the official liberal line, just look at The New York Times. Here’s the perspective it presented on the Mississippi contest:

For months, the contest between Mr. Cochran and Mr. McDaniel was viewed as this year’s main event in the six-year clash between conservative activists and Republican incumbents. Money and celebrities poured into Mississippi from all over the country, with the establishment determined to make the state a Tea Party Waterloo. For their part, conservative groups were hoping for one major victory for the season.

But hope is never a very good strategy. The only way to win elections is to get more votes than the other guy. In two important races this week, we failed to do that.

How much worse will things have to get before a majority of voters will agree to throw those rascals out? I don’t know. But it sure looks like we’re going to find out.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

‘Illegal Immigration’ Is A PC Term; This Is An Invasion

It used to be that when illegal aliens made it across our border with Mexico, they’d flee as fast and as far as they could from any Border Patrol agent. Now, by the thousands, they’re eager to be caught. What on Earth has changed?

In the old days, those coming in illegally knew that they and their children would be deported just as quickly as they were caught. Today, thousands of women believe that if their children can get here, they’ll be allowed to stay, as part of some sort of “amnesty” deal. And they don’t just get to remain in this country; heck, they’ll even be provided with food, medical care and a place to stay.

Tens of thousands of people have believed these promises. As a result, we’re now seeing a flood of children pouring across the border, particularly in Texas. In 2011, roughly 7,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended trying to enter this country. In 2012, that number doubled to 14,000. Last year, it climbed to 24,000.

Now, the numbers have skyrocketed. In just the first half of this year, the number of unaccompanied minors sneaking into the United States soared to more than 40,000. The Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for protecting our borders, estimates that the number could pass 90,000 by the end of this year. And they say it could reach an astounding 145,000 next year.

The Texas Department of Public Safety reports that in only one week, from May 28 to June 4, in just the Rio Grande Valley, the Border Patrol caught more than 8,300 illegal aliens who had made it across the border. Again, that’s the count for just one week and in just one part of Texas.

This is an invasion, pure and simple. There is simply no other word for it. And unless it is stopped, the America we know and love will cease to exist.

The problem has gotten so bad that the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for processing deportations of illegal immigrants, can’t keep up. Because the detention facilities in South Texas are already filled to overflowing, some detainees are being sent to converted warehouses and military bases in Arizona and California.

Many others are simply being released and asked to come back in a few weeks. Can you imagine that? Rather than being put on a bus and taken out of this country, they are being driven to a bus stop, given a prepaid ticket to somewhere else and asked to come back when it’s more convenient. How many people do you think will obey that request?

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has written President Barack Obama, protesting the Administration’s policy of dumping many of these illegals on her State. The last I heard she had not been given the courtesy of a reply from the White House. And of course, the policy hasn’t been changed.

We’re told that most of these new illegal immigrants are not Mexicans. They’re coming from further south in Central America — particularly Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Those countries are 1,800 miles away from our southern border. So let me ask a couple of obvious questions: How on Earth are those thousands of women and children getting to our border? Does anyone seriously suggest they have walked all the way?

It’s hard to imagine even healthy young adults making that trek, across some very inhospitable terrain. But we’re supposed to believe that pregnant women and young children have done so? Impossible!

It’s equally ridiculous to suggest that these tens of thousands of impoverished aliens have paid thousands of dollars to smugglers to transport them. They don’t have the funds to do so.

So I repeat: How have they managed to get from Central America to our border with Mexico? Have people in their governments conspired to help them? Are some Mexican officials in league with them? It’s hard to believe this is all “just happening.” It sure smells like there’s a criminal conspiracy at work here.

And what is Mexico’s roll in all of this? How does it happen that tens of thousands of aliens somehow are able to travel 1,800 miles across their country without anyone being aware of it or doing anything about it? I smell a very big rat at work here.

We’ve been told that Vice President Joe Biden is flying to Guatemala later this week to meet with Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina and senior officials from Honduras and El Salvador to see what can be done to stem this criminal invasion. Apparently, Biden will bring with him some offers of “enhanced” support from the U.S. for the three countries, if they’ll help keep tens of thousands of their citizens from sneaking into our country.

Lots of luck with that, Joe.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is one of many Republican legislators who say that the blame for this crisis can be laid squarely at Obama’s feet. Sessions issued a statement June 3, stating:

The rising crisis at the border is the direct and predictable result of actions taken by President Obama. He and his Administration have announced to the world that they will not enforce America’s immigration laws, and have emphasized in particular that foreign youth will be exempted from these laws. The world has heard the President’s call, and illegal immigrants are pouring across the border in pursuit of his promised amnesty. President Obama is responsible for this calamity, and only by declaring to the world that our border is no longer open–and that the law will be restored–can this emergency be stopped.

Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be much chance of this happening.

Meanwhile, Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi continues to languish in a Mexican jail, where he’s been held since March 31. That’s when he missed a very obscure street sign and accidentally drove into the country. Because he was carrying three guns (all of which were legally registered in the United States), he was arrested by Mexican police and tossed into the hoosegow, where he remains to this day.

Yet Mexican troops and police stray across our border all the time without anyone making a fuss about it.

Personal Liberty’s Sam Rolley reported:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske told Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) in a letter that the “incursions” are “infrequent” — but the commissioner added that they happen frequently enough for the U.S. to have created special units to deal with the situation.

Kerlikowske said that a total of 525 Mexican law enforcement and military personnel have wandered into the United States in about 152 separate instances since 2004. In 81 instances, involving about 320 of the armed non-Americans, contact was made with U.S. Border agents. In 131 of those cases people were detained.

If there’s one good thing that’s come out of the present crisis, it’s that so-called immigration reform is stone-cold dead, at least for now. The defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary in Virginia last week added an important nail to that coffin.

There’s been a lot of discussion about why voters in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District gave the boot to Cantor, the guy who had represented the district for six terms, and instead made Dave Brat the victor. Certainly, Cantor’s reputation for being aloof, arrogant and out of touch didn’t help him.

Neither did his financial profligacy. One wag pointed out that the Cantor campaign spent more on steak dinners than Brat did in his entire campaign. The numbers are simply astounding: Cantor raised more than $5 million for his campaign; Brat raised less than $250,000.

Brat made Cantor’s support of the bank bailout bill a key part of his campaign

Fortune reported:

“All the investment banks up in New York and Washington or whatever, those guys should have gone to jail,” Brat told a May 7 gathering of the Mechanicsville Tea Party. “Instead of going to jail, where’d they go? They went onto Eric’s Rolodex. That’s where they all are, and they’re sending him big checks.”

That stung. But nothing hurt Cantor as much as the accusation that he was working with Obama to provide some sort of amnesty to illegal immigrants. Talk show hosts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin hammered this point again and again. At the same time, the television screens were filled every night with pictures of the flood of people, many of them children, pouring across our border in Texas.

Cantor was so confidant of any easy victory that he didn’t even bother to come to his district on the day of the primary. Instead, he was meeting with potential contributors in Washington. When the votes were counted, Brat shocked all of the pundits by beating Cantor by an 11-point margin.

So we can say goodbye to Cantor and to the amnesty for illegals that Obama and his liberal cronies have been demanding. And we can say hello to increased demands that we must stop the illegal invasion of this country. Let’s hope Congress gets the message.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Impeach Obama? The Democrats Would Love For Us To Try

How much effort should members of the liberty movement devote to the impeachment of Barack Hussein Obama?

I’m going to argue not a minute and not a penny. I am convinced that beating the drums to get the House of Representative to vote on articles of impeachment would be a terrible tactical mistake that would play right into the hands of our enemies.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty of grounds for impeachment. Heck, if we had a majority of Constitutionalists in the House and Senate, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion today. If that were the case, Obama would already have been put on trial for his numerous violations of the Constitution. And then found guilty.

In my column last week, I described how the latest disastrous decision of this Administration — the absolutely incredible prisoner exchange that freed five of the most dangerous terrorists from prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — had led to “rumblings” about impeachment as the one sure way to stop Obama from carrying out any more of his Marxist schemes.

Then, this past Monday, Bob Livingston, the founder of Personal Liberty Digest™, published a column titled The Case For Obama’s Impeachment. Please check it out if you haven’t already read it; it is the most damning list of the reasons Obama should be impeached that I have read anywhere.

Here’s how the very first sentence of that column put it: “There is clear and convincing evidence that President Barack Obama has on numerous occasions willfully committed treason and high crimes and misdemeanors and should be removed from office.”

And you know what? I agree. If you read the more than two dozen specific items Livingston offered in his articles of impeachment, I’m sure you will, too. In fact, my only point of disagreement comes at the end of that superb presentation. That is his contention that if it looked like there was the slightest chance that the House of Representatives would seriously consider impeachment charges against the President, “the sycophantic media would gin impeachment up as a racial issue and stir up street riots that would make Watts riots look like a park stroll.”

While I certainly don’t doubt that the mainstream media, which have repeatedly demonstrated their slavish devotion to Obama, would do anything they could to protect and defend the President and discredit any effort to impeach him, I don’t believe they could instigate race riots across the country because of it. In fact, I don’t think the most avid racist agitators in the country today, from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson on down, could do that.

Cutting out welfare could. Or even mounting a threat to substantially reduce it. But I don’t think a movement to impeach this country’s first black President would.

So if there are ample grounds for moving to have Obama impeached (which there are) and if I don’t think we’d see massive race riots as a result (and I don’t), then why am I opposed to working for his impeachment now?

The key word in that last sentence is now. I’m going to argue against trying to impeach Obama at this time for three reasons.

One, we don’t have the votes. While it’s true that there is a Republican majority in the House, I don’t think most of them would support a resolution to impeach Obama at this time. And even if they would (something I seriously doubt), there is absolutely no question what would happen in Harry Reid’s Senate. The effort would be dismissed with the absolute minimum amount of discussion he could allow.

If the evidence against Obama is so overwhelmingly clear, why don’t we have the votes? That brings me to my second reason: We don’t have the public’s support. We don’t have their support because they aren’t informed enough, and they aren’t (yet) angry enough.

Given time, those last two factors could disappear. In fact, the latest Obama Administration scandal at Veterans Affairs could lead to an explosion of anger that could cost the jobs of a bunch of politicians — and some pencil-pushing bureaucrats, too.

And that brings me to my third and most important reason for opposing an impeachment campaign at this time. Right now, the Democrats are in utter disarray. Why would we want to give them something that would unite them, while at the same time switching voters’ attention from all of the Administration’s screwups to something that will be presented as a mean-spirited Republican hatchet job?

So many scandals have erupted recently that Democrats must feel like they’ve been caught in a nightmarish version of Whac-A-Mole: Benghazi, Obamacare, Internal Revenue Service persecution of conservatives, National Security Agency spying on all of us, immigration, Fast and Furious, the Bowe Bergdahl-for-five-terrorists swap.

And now the biggest one of all: the shocking and shameful way this country has been treating its military veterans who need medical care. Just this week, we learned that an audit of the VA found that 57,436 veterans are currently waiting to be scheduled for some kind of care. An additional 63,869 vets had enrolled in the VA healthcare system over the past decade but have never been seen for an appointment. (Aren’t you impressed with the exactness of those government numbers? You’re supposed to be.)

These numbers are not just shocking; they are absolutely criminal. The more we learn about the lies and cover-ups and faked statistics at the VA, the worse it looks. And now we’re supposed to be glad that the government is going to take over the rest of this country’s healthcare system? God help us.

That’s why so many Democrats running for re-election are terrified of what all of these scandals will mean for their chances. And we’re talking some big numbers here: one-third of the Senate, every member of the House of Representatives, and a ton of State legislators and Governors are at stake this November.

Hiding from one or two of these scandals would be tough enough. But having an opponent bring up all of them, night after night and commercial after commercial? It’s a Democrat’s worst nightmare.

That’s why, if I were a Democratic candidate, I would be praying for the Republicans to announce an impeachment campaign against Obama. There is simply no other issue that could distract voters’ attention away from all of these other issues and give me a chance to win.

Don’t blow it, Republicans. You have a golden opportunity to win back the Senate, to increase your majority in the House and to add to the number of Republican State legislators and Governors. Don’t give the Democrats the one issue that could salvage the coming midterm elections for them.

Keep the focus on the scandals that the American public can see and understand. Earn their support because you deserve their support. Do a good enough job, and you’ll see the rewards this November.

Let’s win enough victories this fall, and then let’s talk about the best way to bring Obama to account.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Obama’s Illegal Prisoner Exchange

The prisoner swap Barack Obama just arranged may be the stupidest decision to come out of the White House in the past six years.

But it’s even worse than that. It’s put every member of our armed forces at even greater risk. And by emboldening the terrorists who believe they are waging a holy war against us, it’s increased the danger that every citizen of this country could become the victim of a hijacking, a hostage-taking or another form of terrorist attack.

Brad Thor, a best-selling author with deep ties in military and intelligence circles, didn’t mince words when he described the effects of Obama’s actions. “The President has just put a target on the back of all Americans,” he warned in an appearance on Greta van Susteren’s FOX News show. Thor said that our diplomats and American civilians traveling abroad are now in even greater danger of being taken hostage than our military. “Every American should be terrified by that,” he said.

Needless to say, the Taliban view what has happened as a “great victory.” Taliban leader Mullah Omar declared, “We shall thank almighty for this great victory. The sacrifice of our Mujahedin have resulted in the release of our senior leaders from the hand of the enemy.”

In the face of a growing backlash against the prisoner exchange, guess what the Administration did? It sent Susan Rice, of Benghazi talking points fame, back on the Sunday morning talk shows. And once again, the lady told a whopper. Appearing on ABC News’ “This Week,” Rice said, “Sgt. Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage, he was an American prisoner of war, captured on the battlefield.”

Turns out that this is nowhere near the truth. Bergdahl wasn’t captured on the battlefield, he walked away from his post. Several of the men who were stationed with him say he was a deserter. The New York Times reports that he “left behind a note in his tent saying he had become disillusioned with the Army, did not support the American mission in Afghanistan and was leaving to start a new life.”

Doesn’t sound much like an American hero, does he? But wait, it gets worse. Prior to leaving his post, Bergdahl sent an email to his parents in which he said, “I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools. … The horror that is America is disgusting.”

Wow! Sure doesn’t sound like someone you’d want to risk your life rescuing, does it? But it turns out, that is exactly what our troops in the area were ordered to do. After Bergdahl walked away from his post in June 2009, the Army mounted several operations to try to find him. At least six soldiers were killed during those efforts.

Sgt. Matt Vierkant, one of the soldiers who served in Bergdahl’s platoon, was interviewed by CNN. His disgust and anger were obvious: “I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,” he said. And he added, “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.” Vierkant says that he wants to see Bergdahl face a military trial for desertion under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Army 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews was one of the soldiers killed while hunting for Bergdahl. He was shot to death in an ambush while on patrol in an area near where Bergdahl vanished. When she learned of the exchange that gained Bergdahl’s release, Andrews’ mother told Army Times:

“It gets really hurtful when I think, this guy was worth my son’s life? My son who was patriotic? Who was a true soldier? Who defended his country with his life? That guy was worth that? I don’t think so.”

Hard to disagree with her, isn’t it?

Bergdahl was a private first class when he disappeared five years ago. Since then, he was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant, because that is what would have happened had he remained on duty, re-enlisted and continued to serve honorably — three assumptions that now seem to be very questionable. Nevertheless, that is why he is referred to now as Sgt. Bergdahl, not Pfc. Bergdahl.

Faced with questions about Bergdahl’s actions, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Bergdahl will be disciplined if the Army finds any evidence of misconduct. “Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred,” Dempsey promised. But he added that Bergdahl must be regarded as innocent until he is proven guilty. And that in any case, the military will continue to care for him and his family, as of course it should.

Make no mistake about it, the five prisoners that Obama released are all serious bad guys. Two years ago, James Clapper, who was the Director of National Intelligence at the time, described all five terrorists as “too dangerous to release.” But things are apparently different now.

The United States has had a long-standing policy, respected by both Republican and Democrat Administrations, of never negotiating with terrorists. Obama has tossed that one on the scrap pile.

The President has said for years that he wants to close the U.S. Navy facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer the terrorists who are being held there to prisons in this country. Back in 2009, the Senate voted 90-6 in opposition to the Obama plan.

Last year, Congress passed a law demanding that the White House notify Congress 30 days in advance of any plans to transfer any of the jihadists being held at Guantanamo. Obama signed the measure, but at the same time he issued a signing statement saying that that part of the law was probably unConstitutional and that he didn’t feel obligated to obey it.

This was a 180-degree switch from what candidate Obama said when he was first running for the Presidency. Back in 2007, he was quick to denounce his predecessor, George W. Bush, for issuing such disclaimers. And he promised, “We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress.”

But as I said, that was then and this is now. Now, Obama needed to do something to get the Veterans Affairs scandal out of the headlines and off the front page. What better way to do it than to bring home an American prisoner of war?

A year ago, White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about rumors of a possible prisoner swap using Guantanamo detainees. Here’s what he said on June 21, 2013: “As we have long said, however, we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.”

Guess what? Turns out that was another White House whopper.

In a classic example of too little, too late, the White House decided to call some key lawmakers this past Monday — two days after announcing the prisoner exchange — to apologize for the “oversight” in not notifying them sooner. Time will tell if this is enough to appease Senators Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), their parties’ leaders on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

By his actions, Obama has emboldened our enemies, discouraged our service members and increased the danger to every American citizen. Thor said he has put a target on the back of every one of us.

In saner times, this would be enough to start rumblings about impeachment. But, of course, we aren’t living in sane times. The Federal government has become one vast insane asylum — with the most dangerous inmates running the show.

Let’s hope there are still enough patriots left who want to make some big changes in this sorry situation. We’ll have a chance to do so this November.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Does The Tea Party Still Matter?

There are still some important primaries to come. And the chances look good for conservatives in several of them. But for right now, the Republican establishment is gloating about the many victories its candidates have enjoyed over its Tea Party challengers so far this primary season.

Nowhere is this truer than in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had bragged that those upstarts on the right would be “crushed” in the coming elections. Sadly, in his case his boast turned out to be true.

McConnell defeated Matt Bevin, his Tea Party challenger, by some 24 points in the Senate primary there. I would have loved to have seen Bevin win that contest, and I said so on this website. But McConnell’s victory should come as no surprise. He had some huge advantages, including more money, far more name recognition and even the endorsement of Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, the State’s junior senator.

But McConnell’s biggest advantage was the simple fact that he was the incumbent. So far this primary season, not a single incumbent, Republican or Democrat, has failed to win his or her primary. Isn’t that disgusting? No matter how unhappy with Congress voters tell the pollsters they are, they still vote overwhelmingly to send “their guy” (or gal) back to Washington.

I’ll have more to say about this disastrous mindset in a moment. But first, let me note that the Tea Party has scored one victory in a Senate primary. It happened in a race where no incumbent was running. That was Nebraska, where current Senator Mike Johanns decided not to run for election.

In a five-way race to replace Johanns, it was the Tea Party-endorsed candidate, Ben Sasse, who got the most votes. He will face a Democrat opponent in November but is expected to enjoy a decisive victory in this very red State. And he has already said that he looks forward to working with such other Tea Party favorites as Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

But that’s about all we have to celebrate in the Senate primaries that have been held so far. In the GOP primary in Georgia, two Tea Party candidates finished out of the running. Tea Party candidates also lost in Idaho, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Until recently, the chances for a Tea Party challenger to defeat a longtime Republican moderate looked pretty good in Mississippi. Senator Thad Cochran, a 76-year-old who was running for his seventh term, was opposed by Chris McDaniel, a well-financed opponent who wasn’t even born when Cochran was first elected.

The contest has seen the usual amount of mudslinging, with all of the charges and countercharges you’d expect in a hotly contested election. But the feathers really hit the fan when several Cochran opponents were arrested on charges of conspiring to take photographs of Cochran’s bedridden wife, who has dementia and has been in a nursing home for the past 13 years. One of the ringleaders was on the board of directors of the Central Mississippi Tea Party.

No one has accused McDaniel of having anything to do with the strange affair. But the notoriety certainly hasn’t helped his campaign — or the Tea Party in Mississippi.

In a campaign appearance at the University of Mississippi back in February, McDaniel told the audience: “I’m not going to do anything for you. I’m going to get the government off your back, and then I’m gonna let you do it for yourself.”

I don’t know how that played with the students in his audience. I suspect that a lot of them — and an even larger percentage of any professors who were there — didn’t like it at all. We’ll find out next week if a majority of Republicans in the State are ready to replace a Senator who’s infamous for bringing home the pork with one who wants to eliminate it entirely — along with a bunch of other Federal programs.

A recent Gallup Poll seems to confirm that the Tea Party is losing support. It found that approval of the Tea Party has fallen from 32 percent, where it was back in 2010, down to just 22 percent today.

In a May 21st editorial, USA Today echoed the sentiments of many liberals when it wrote:

Tuesday’s Republican primaries in several states might someday be seen as the beginning of [the Tea Party’s] end. Crushing defeats for Tea party candidates suggest the movement is losing steam as the economy improves, the deficit drops and the GOP establishment fights back.

What that newspaper and the rest of the mainstream media fail to mention is that in election after election, it is the policies of the Tea Party that carry the day. Here is how Jenny Beth Martin, chairman of the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, describes what’s been happening:

In every primary this year, the chosen GOP nominee is opposed to Obamacare, and virtually all have pledged to repeal it. Republican nominees this primary cycle are also overwhelmingly in favor of cutting the size of government, reducing federal spending and enacting policies to revive our moribund economy.

The latest Gallup Poll confirms what Martin is saying. Here are what Republicans say are the top four issues facing the country:

  1. The economy in general (picked by 21 percent)
  2. Unemployment/jobs (17 percent)
  3. Healthcare and Obamacare (17 percent)
  4. The Federal deficit (16 percent)

And here’s something you’ll find interesting — and encouraging. When the views of potential voters who describe themselves as independents and Democrats were added to those of Republicans, the three issues that finished at the bottom of voters’ concerns were immigration, global warming and income equality, or the gap between rich and poor.

If you were campaigning for office, which issues would you want to emphasize in your campaign?

Or better yet, which positions would win your support? Let’s hope there are plenty of other folks who agree with us, in the remaining primaries and the November elections.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

The VA Scandal Proves What We’ve Been Saying All Along

Yet another whistleblower has come forward to accuse yet another Veteran’s Affairs hospital of keeping secret waiting lists to hide the delays for veterans needing medical treatment. According to The Daily Beast, officials at the VA hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., may have already destroyed some of the records there, to cover up what has been happening.

Sound like any government bureaucracy we’ve heard about before?

The Daily Beast said that a doctor who works at the Albuquerque VA hospital told them, “The ‘secret wait list’ for patient appointments is being either moved or was destroyed after what happened in Phoenix.” Not only that, the same doctor says that when the scandal first broke, he heard one of the managers at the hospital say, “I always knew that Phoenix was better than us at playing the numbers game.”

The news has gotten so bad that the American Legion has demanded that Eric Shinseki, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, resign his post. Daniel Dellinger, the National Commander of the group, issued a statement saying, “His record as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs… tells a story of bureaucratic incompetence and failed leadership.”

Moreover, Dellinger said, “The disturbing reports coming from the Phoenix VA Medical Center are just one of what appears to be a pattern of scandals that have infected the entire system.”

So far, Shinseki has refused to budge. He told a Congressional committee last week that he is “mad as hell” over the incidents. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough says that “the President is madder than hell” about reports of treatment delays at VA hospitals around the Nation.

But none of this should come as a shock to Barack Obama. After all, back in 2007 he campaigned against what he described as the “deplorable conditions at some VA hospitals.” He promised that when he became President, he would fight for our veterans “every hour of every day.”

The Washington Times reported that after the 2008 election, the George W. Bush Administration warned the Obama transition team that there were problems at the VA. In fact, the paper quoted one briefing memo as saying, “This is not only a data integrity issue in which [Veterans Health Administration] reports unreliable performance data; it affects quality of care by delaying — and potentially denying — deserving veterans timely care.”

So if the Administration was warned about problems at VA hospitals six years ago, why the total silence until now?

I can tell you the answer in one word: Obamacare. The President and his team were determined to do whatever it took to get Congress to pass the badly misnamed Affordable Care Act. A scandal at some of the hospitals the Federal government ran wouldn’t help the cause. So it shouldn’t be surprising — maddening, yes; surprising, no — that any disturbing reports got swept under the rug.

So far, the VA has admitted that 23 veterans died while waiting for medical care. But the Dayton Daily News, citing records it obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, said the number is probably much, much higher. In fact, the newspaper reported that between 2001 and 2013, as many as 1,100 veterans may have died while waiting for care.

Nor was the faking of records about appointment times something new. The paper cited a review by the U.S. Government Accountability Office that was released in December 2012, in which it found that VA hospitals in several states routinely falsified how long a vet waited before getting an appointment.

“During our site visits,” the review said, “staff at some clinics told us they change medical appointment desired dates to show clinic wait times within VA’s performance goals.”

In other words, regardless of how long a vet had to wait to see a doctor, the clinic would report that the appointment took place within 15 days of the time the patient applied. After all, that was VA’s “performance goal.” And how well a clinic complied with it determined who got raises, promotions and bonuses.

Yet now the White House claims that Obama learned about the latest scandals only when he saw the stories in the media.

With all of this righteous indignation, you’d expect that some heads would roll, wouldn’t you? But so far, the only one to be dismissed is a guy who had already planned to retire next month. Robert Petzel, M.D., had announced last fall that he would leave his position as undersecretary of health at the VA in June. Bouncing him a couple of weeks early is certainly no big deal.

Nevertheless, when Obama’s chief of staff appeared on CBS News, McDonough insisted, “There is no question this is a termination of his job there before he was planning to go.”

The growing scandal at the VA simply confirms what we’ve known all along: The bloated bureaucracy that is the Federal government is out of control.

That’s why it’s impossible to fire do-nothing employees who watch pornography several hours a day. It’s also why some Internal Revenue Service employees who haven’t paid their Federal taxes can still receive bonuses at work.

I’m sure there are many kind, caring and competent people working at the VA — and in many other Federal agencies, for that matter.

But the system is designed to protect the incompetent and, as we’re learning with the VA, to reward lies, falsifications and cover-ups. The American Legion got it right when it said there is “a pattern of scandals that have infected the entire system.”

Representative Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said, “What’s missing from the equation is not money or manpower; it’s accountability.” He has introduced a bill in Congress that would make it easier to fire employees for poor performance. Senator Mark Rubio (R-Fla.) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate that would eliminate some of the red tape that makes it impossible to fire public employees.

Time will tell if the Federal behemoth will take even these two tiny steps in the right direction. In the meantime, God help the veterans who depend on the VA for the medical help they need. They deserve better. And so do we.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood  

Why We’re Losing The Culture Wars

The forces of intolerance on the left have taken several more scalps in the past few days. And boy, are they gloating about it.

Example No. 1 is Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones. He had the unmitigated gall not to praise Michael Sam, an openly gay football player, for kissing his boyfriend on national TV when he became one of the top selections in the recent NFL draft.

When Jones sent out a tweet saying “OMG” and “Horrible,” the roof caved in on him. Less than 24 hours later, he had deleted the tweets, issued an apology for his “inappropriate comments,” and said that he wished Sam “all the best in his NFL career.”

But that wasn’t enough for his bosses; the Miami Dolphins said they not only slapped Jones with a fine, he is also going to be banned from all team events until he finishes some sensitivity training. Sounds like something we used to hear coming out of Communist China, doesn’t it?

Gary Bauer, a Christian activist who is president of the Campaign for Working Families, hit the nail on the head when he wrote:

The effort to drive normalcy into the closet is in overdrive. In five short years in Obama’s America, we have gone from a country where the vast majority of states upheld marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the point where expressing this belief can cost you your job, Christians are being forced to participate in same-sex weddings and professional athletes are being forced to celebrate homosexuality.

But if you think the culture wars have brought about profound changes in civilian life in this country, consider what’s happening in our military. We’ve gone from a time when homosexuality was grounds for dismissal to “don’t ask, don’t tell” to an open acceptance of gays in uniform. Now, the left is ready for the next step.

During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” television program last Sunday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was asked whether the military would soon allow people who said they were transgendered to serve in the military. Hagel replied that the military’s policies are “continually reviewed” and that “I’m open to that, by the way. I’m open to those assessments.”

And it’s not just the sexually different – in the old days we would have said “deviant” – who are demanding open acceptance in the military. Recently, a humanist organization petitioned the Pentagon to appoint “atheist chaplains” for our armed forces.

Last year the House of Representatives rejected a measure that would have allowed the Pentagon to hire as chaplains individuals who were “certified or ordained as secular humanists and ethical culturists or atheists.” Don’t ask me how one becomes an “ordained atheist.” There’s probably someplace on the Internet where you can do it.

What do you think will happen when the military is forced to accept transgendered soldiers and atheist chaplains? Think it will improve morale? No matter; this is how the left is determined to remake our military.

If you worry that we may be losing the culture wars in our military, then you’d better not look too closely at our college campuses, where the left has held the upper hand for years. Now they are showing that they will not even permit a dissenting voice to be heard.

The latest example of the left’s organized intolerance comes from Rutgers University, where a group of students and faculty kicked up such a ruckus over the selection of Condoleezza Rice to be their commencement speaker that the former secretary of state and national security adviser withdrew her acceptance.

Now, I was never the biggest supporter of the policies of Ms. Rice – or of those of her boss, President George W. Bush, for that matter. But c’mon already, she certainly was a distinguished choice. I don’t blame Condoleezza for not wanting to face an angry mob – especially if she feared she wouldn’t have the full support of the Rutgers’ administration. But shame on Rutgers for caving into a vociferous minority.

Sad to say, the same sort of thing has been happening more and more often on our college campuses. Last November, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was prevented from speaking at Brown University; last month a lecture by the noted libertarian author Charles Murray was canceled by Azusa Pacific University because of protests.

Earlier this week, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, changed her mind about giving the commencement address at Smith College when she learned that nearly 500 people had signed a petition objecting to her appearance. Oh, and let’s not forget about the decision of Brandeis University to change its mind about giving an honorary degree to human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, because of objections of some Muslims and some liberal professors who supported them.

Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a group which says it promotes academic freedom and free inquiry, rightly commented that “There are serious implications for what is going on here; universities are becoming havens of the closed minded.” And she added, “What we are beginning to see is a heckler’s veto.”

No, what we’re seeing is even worse than that. What’s happening is that the left is waging a culture war on traditional Americans, or maybe I should say America’s traditions. And since they know they can’t win in our legislatures, they’re using protests and legal ploys to enforce their views on the rest of us.

So far, they’re getting away with it. And the more scalps they collect, the more brazen they will become. If you think their demands are outrageous now, just wait. I’m sorry to say, there is much worse to come.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

-Chip Wood

This ‘Smoking Gun’ Could Doom The Democrats

What a gift the Republicans were given last week when news broke of an incredible, damning White House email, urging that blame for the murderous attacks in Benghazi, Libya, be placed not on terrorists, but on an obscure anti-Muslim video.

That email, written by Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, told then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to talk about the video, not terrorism, when she appeared on five Sunday news programs following the assault on our consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.

Coming less than two months before the November 2012 elections, the murders of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans made a mockery of Barack Obama’s assertion that his Administration had al-Qaida “on the run.”

The email was obtained by an organization called Judicial Watch, using a Freedom of Information Act request. In it, Rhodes advised Rice “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.” He said that she needed “to reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, said that Rhodes’ email is “the smoking document” that proves the Administration intentionally covered up the truth about what happened in Benghazi that night. Indeed it does.

In an appearance on “Special Report with Bret Baier” on FOX News, Krauthammer said, “We now have the smoking document, which is the White House saying, ‘We’re pushing the video because we don’t want to blame it on the failure of our policies,’ which is what anybody who looked at this assumed all the way through.”

Krauthammer is too polite to use the word “conspiracy,” but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that that is exactly what has been taking place. More evidence of the plotting behind the scenes is the uncanny resemblance between what Rhodes said in his email and remarks by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton two days earlier. Dick Morris did a line-by-line comparison of what Clinton and Rhodes said. Check out the amazing “coincidences” he discovered:

Clinton: Let me state very clearly that the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video.

Rhodes: We’ve made our views on the video crystal clear. The United States government had nothing to do with it.

Clinton: We absolutely reject its content and message.

Rhodes: We reject its message and its content.

Clinton: The film is disgusting and reprehensible.

Rhodes: We find it disgusting and reprehensible.

Clinton: The film is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence.

Rhodes: But there is no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence.

Remember, Clinton issued her remarks on the morning of Sept. 13. We now know that she was informed more than 24 hours earlier that the assault in Benghazi was a terrorist attack on our consulate there, not some spontaneous demonstration that simply got out of hand. But that was the Administration’s explanation, and they were going to stick with it.

There’s no collusion here, folks, just the long arm of coincidence at work. Sure. In fact, Tom Fenton, the president of Judicial Watch, said, “There’s a whole bunch of documents they [the White House] haven’t released to us.” And he added, “We should not be naïve about the ability of the Administration to stonewall.”

He’s got that right. He said his group currently has four additional lawsuits before the courts, asking for more Benghazi-related documents. “We’re just going to keep on keeping on.”

In the aftermath of these latest revelations, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced that he would appoint Representative Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican and former Federal prosecutor, to head a special House select committee on Benghazi.

One of the questions the panel is sure to ask is why the Rhodes email wasn’t released before this. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the explanation is simple: Rhodes’ email wasn’t about Benghazi.

How’s that again? Yep, the White House press secretary actually stood in front of a group of reporters and contended that the memo was about “protests in the region” and not just Benghazi. And he repeated the line we’ve heard so many times before this: “The video turned out not to be the case, but it was based on the best information we had.” What a howler.

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Carney had “destroyed his own reputation” by his claim that the memo had nothing to do with Benghazi. “That, to me, is an all-time low for a Presidential spokesperson,” McCain said.

So what happens next? There is disagreement among Democrats about whether they should participate in the special committee. After the Boehner announcement, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said that Democrats should boycott the hearings, to avoid giving them any credibility. But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) instead called for a committee that is “equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.”

Gowdy said that won’t happen. “I can tell you this,” he said. “It is not going to be evenly constituted.” He pointed out that “when she was Speaker Pelosi, she certainly showed no interests in having an equal number of Republicans and Democrats.” And he added, “I just find it interesting that people’s ability to do math changes when they go from being the Speaker to the Minority Leader.”

Regardless of how the committee is composed, one thing seems clear: The Republicans now have two issues that can help decide many of this November’s elections. The first, of course, is the incredible unpopularity of Obamacare. It is clearly the No. 1 domestic issue in the country. Now, the Benghazi cover-up has once again emerged as the top foreign policy issue.

Given these two explosive issues, why would Republicans want to do something as stupid and distracting as bringing up an immigration bill? But just last month, that is exactly what Boehner said he wanted to do so later this year.

Republicans would have to be absolute idiots to allow this happen. There is no way on Earth for a bill that doesn’t include amnesty for millions of potential Democratic voters to pass the Senate and get signed by the President. Talk about a lose-lose proposition for Republicans!

There are two issues that will enable the Republicans to keep control of the House and gain control of the Senate in the elections this November: the Obamacare disaster and the Benghazi cover-up. If Republicans don’t keep these two front and center for the next six months, they clearly will deserve their reputation as “the stupid party.”

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Hey, Don’t Blame Conservatives For Donald Sterling

The left must really regret that Donald Sterling, the beleaguered owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, isn’t a conservative Republican. Wouldn’t they just love to slap the “racist” card on us, as they’ve tried to do with Clive Bundy?

But so far as we can tell, the bigoted billionaire has never given a penny to anyone on the right. On the contrary, he’s been a faithful supporter of all sorts of politically correct endeavors, including (please note the irony here), the NAACP. In fact, his previous contributions to that organization were enough to persuade them to bestow a “lifetime achievement” award on him five years ago.

Once apparently was not enough. The NAACP was all set to give him yet another lifetime achievement award next month, when news of his racist comments, in a telephone call to his girlfriend, made headlines across the country.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sits court side with his wife, Rochelle Sterling
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (left) sits courtside with his wife Rochelle Sterling. Credit: UPI

In the recording, a man identified as Sterling told V. Stiviano (apparently, she has no first name, just an initial) that he didn’t care if she dated a black man, made him dinner, or even slept with him. But he didn’t want her to take a picture with one, or bring one to a Clippers game.

Talk about a strange set of priorities! Here’s an 80-year-old rich guy, telling his very young girlfriend that he doesn’t care if she sleeps with a black man, just don’t have your picture taken with him or accompany him to a basketball game.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar picked up on this in an op-ed he wrote for the Time magazine blog. After commenting on the “Extreme Finger Wagging” and “Morally Superior Head Shaking” that Sterling’s comments have provoked, the basketball legend wrote:

And now the poor guy’s girlfriend (undoubtedly ex-girlfriend now) is on tape cajoling him into revealing his racism. Man, what a winding road she led him down to get all of that out. She was like a sexy nanny playing ‘pin the fried chicken on the Sambo.’ She blindfolded him and spun him around until he was just blathering all sorts of incoherent racist sound bites that had the news media peeing themselves with glee.

At this point in time, we don’t know why Stiviano recorded the telephone conversation or how a copy of it reached the media. She says she didn’t do it. However it happened, the audio recording first appeared on the gossip site TMZ. The contents were explosive enough that they ignited a firestorm of controversy.

The first reaction came from the team’s players, who turned their warm-up shirts inside out before Sunday night’s game, so the team’s insignia couldn’t be seen.

Next, the Clippers’ advertisers and sponsors began distancing themselves from the team. State Farm Insurance announced it was “taking a pause” in its relationship. Used-car dealer CarMax said it was ending its nine-year sponsorship. Adidas, Kia Motors, Virgin America, Red Bull and Aquahydrate also said they were suspending their deals with the team.

Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers, when asked if he wanted to meet with Sterling to discuss the situation, said he would pass. Rivers did say, “I sympathize with my players. They didn’t sign up for this.”

Amazingly enough, his players didn’t let the media circus affect their playing when they met the Golden State Warriors in their playoff series on Tuesday night. They managed to win game five of the series, 113 to 103.

Of course, many of the usual publicity seekers promptly jumped in front of the TV cameras. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who is always ready for a racist rant, demanded that Adam Silver, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association, meet with him and some other civil rights leaders, to discuss the issue. But first, Sharpton said, he had to fly to Washington, to sit down with the Congressional Black Caucus. We can imagine the racist rhetoric that will be coming out of both meetings.

Even Michael Jordan, who almost never speaks out on racial matters, was upset by Sterling’s comments. The Hall of Fame basketball player, who is now an owner of the Charlotte Bobcats basketball team, issued a statement saying:

As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views… As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA – or anywhere else – for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed.

The biggest question, once the scandal broke, was what would the NBA do about it? The hot potato was tossed in the lap of Adam Silver, who had been named commissioner of the NBA just three months ago. This past Tuesday afternoon, the NBA commissioner revealed the verdict: Sterling would be banned for life from the NBA. In addition, he would be given the largest fine the league could impose, $2.5 million. Plus, Silver promised he would do “everything in my power” to get the NBA Board of Governors to force a sale of the team.

Under the lifetime ban that Silver imposed, Sterling may not attend any games or practices, enter any Clippers’ facility, attend any league meetings or activities, or take any part in business or personnel decisions concerning the team.

Moments after Silver announced the penalties, the Clippers issued a statement supporting his actions. “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today,” the team said. “Now the healing process begins.”

If he is forced to sell the team, Sterling certainly won’t be hurting financially. He paid $12 million when he purchased the Clippers back in 1981. According to Forbes magazine, the team is currently worth around $575 million. That represents around one-quarter of Sterling’s estimated $1.9 billion fortune. The guy may be hurting for friends, but he sure won’t be hurting for dough.

Does the NBA have the legal right to force Sterling to sell his team? According to Commissioner Silver, it does — if three-quarters of the 30 team owners say so. Sterling has been quoted as saying he won’t sell, so it looks like the matter will be heading to the courts.

In the meantime, Sterling is even having trouble giving some of his money away. After Silver’s press conference, UCLA announced that it was rejecting a $3 million gift from the Donald T. Sterling Charitable Foundation. The university said it was doing so because “Mr. Sterling’s divisive and hurtful comments demonstrate that he does not share UCLA’s core values as a public university that fosters diversity, inclusion and respect.”

Yes, indeed, the Morally Superior Head Shaking continues. But at least this time the media can’t blame us nasty reactionaries for the mess. Donald Sterling may be a racist bigot. But he’s not one of ours.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

-Chip Wood

A Stealth Threat To The Constitution

It isn’t often that you’ll see a large majority of Republicans and Democrats in Congress agree on something. But they did last week, when members of the House and Senate tried to ban an Iranian diplomat from entering this country.

In a real “poke us in the eye” move, Iran had announced it was naming Hamid Aboutalebi as its new ambassador to the United Nations. It just so happens that Aboutalebi was one of the leaders of the mob that stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran back in 1979 and took 52 Americans hostage. As you may recall, they were kept in captivity for 444 days and were released only when Ronald Reagan succeeded Jimmy Carter as President.

When Iran said it was appointing Aboutalebi as its ambassador to the U.N., Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz (R-Texas) immediately introduced a measure in Congress to ban him from stepping on U.S. soil. The measure passed by voice votes in both the House and Senate, without a single dissenting vote.

When the bill got to Barack Obama’s desk, the President signed it — then promptly announced that he wasn’t going to enforce it. He attached a signing statement that said he would treat the bill “as advisory in circumstances.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Obama has decided to pick and choose which laws his Administration will enforce and which ones it will ignore. This is just business as usual for the Obama White House.

One thing that definitely isn’t business as usual is a measure making its way through various State legislatures that will dramatically affect the way this country chooses its President. At least one analyst believes that if enough States pass it, it will mean the end of any chance to ever again elect a Republican as President.

I’m referring to the National Popular Vote (NPV) interstate compact. If you’ve never heard of it, I’m not surprised. The left is keeping this George Soros-sponsored effort very hush-hush. But you need to know about it, since its adoption could render meaningless the votes of you and your friends for a Republican candidate for the Nation’s highest office.

Basically, the NPV says that a State must award all of its electoral votes to whichever candidate for president wins the national popular vote — regardless of how the citizens of that State vote.

In other words, if this measure takes effect and the Republican candidate receives the most votes in your State but his Democrat opponent gets the most votes nationally, then all of your State’s electoral votes will go to the Democrat. How’s that for making your State election meaningless?

Political analyst Dick Morris said, “If this thing passes, Republicans will never again win a presidential race and that’s why all the Democrats are lining up behind it.”

Does the NPV really have a chance of becoming the law of the land in this country? I’m sorry to say the answer is an emphatic “yes.” Last week, New York became the 10th State to pass it. The measure was approved last month by both branches of New York’s State Legislature and was signed into law last week by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“With the passage of this legislation,” Cuomo declared, “New York is taking a bold step to fundamentally increase the strength and fairness of our nation’s presidential elections.”

No, what New York has done is take a bold step toward making sure that the Democrats never relinquish control of the White House.

Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz is one of the few liberals who have spoken out against NVP. He said that it “certainly violates the spirit of the Constitution.” And he added, “Plainly, the founders of the Constitution did not intend for there to be a conspiracy among certain states to essentially abolish the Electoral College.”

Back in the time when the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College, we didn’t have the instant communications we enjoy today. It took a while to learn what happened in another part of the country.

That is why the framers of our Constitution decided to have representatives from each State gather together once every four years to elect a President and Vice President. They gave the responsibility of deciding who would be an elector to the individual States, because they were avid believers in limiting the power of the new Federal government as much as possible. Check out the Bill of Rights, and especially the 9th and 10th Amendments, to confirm this.

Do we still need an Electoral College to elect the President and Vice President? Maybe not. But if we’re going to change a system that’s worked for more than 200 years, let’s do it the way the Founding Fathers intended, by amending the Constitution. Not by a sneaky end-run around the Constitution.

You can tell a lot about which side wants this measure passed by looking at the States that have already ratified it. In addition to New York, the nine other States are California, Illinois, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The District of Columbia has also signed the compact.

All of them voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. All of them are a deep, deep blue. All of them have a vested interest in keeping the entitlements coming from the Federal government. Altogether, these jurisdictions control 165 electoral votes.

Newsmax reported: “It also has been approved by at least one legislative body in these states: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon.”

If all 10 of these States also approve the compact, that will be another 78 electoral votes. Since it takes 270 electoral votes to select the next President, that would leave the measure only 27 electoral votes shy of the number needed to take effect.

If your State is one of the 10 where the compact has already been approved in one branch of the Legislature, you’d better get busy. Contact your State representatives and get them to agree to defeat this end run around the Constitution.

And if your State hasn’t made either list, don’t think for a moment that you don’t have anything to worry about. Chances are that there are people hard at work behind the scenes in your State capital promoting this measure.

If NPV does become the law of the land, it will pretty much let the Northeast, the West Coast and Chicago decide who will occupy the White House. And all the red States will be effectively disenfranchised.

If you don’t want to live in the result, you’d better get busy and stop the NPV.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Will Women Buy This Obama Lie?

Welcome to yet another desperate effort by the Democrats to come up with something — anything — that will distract voters from Obamacare.

Forget the absurdity Nancy Pelosi is trying to peddle, that the Senators and Representatives who shoved this monstrosity down our throats should be proud to embrace it. Too many Democratic candidates running for re-election know how unpopular Obamacare is with their constituents. Embracing it would be the kiss of death.

So it’s no surprise that they will try anything to keep this incredibly unpopular piece of legislation from being the No. 1 issue in the November elections. What can they do to energize their base and get voters eager to support them again? How about going back to the well for an issue that worked very well the last time out: accusing the Republicans of conducting a “war on women”?

Yes, that’s the ticket. What better way to get the troops ready for battle than to trumpet a promise to end the gender wage gap? The President repeated a line from his State of the Union address in January, that women earn only 77 cents for every dollar that a man does. That should get the feminine blood boiling.

“Equal pay for equal work — it’s not that complicated,” the President declared. He promised to push for passage of something called the Paycheck Fairness Act. And he said he would immediately sign two executive orders related to the issue. After all, why wait for those old fuddy-duddies in Congress to act? He had warned us that he has “a phone and a pen.” And by golly, he’d use them both.

All of this is a bunch of utter baloney, of course. It’s true that women, on average, earn less than men. But this is almost always because of career and life choices, not because of sexual discrimination. Equal pay for equal work has been the law in this country for several years.

There are several reasons for the pay disparity. For one, “full time” does not mean the same thing for women as it does for men. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that men are almost twice as likely as women to work more than 40 hours a week. Women, on the other hand, are almost twice as likely to work 35 to 39 hours a week.

Risk is also an important factor. By and large, men are far more likely to seek out positions that carry physical risk. The BLS reports that 92 percent of work-related deaths in 2012 happened to men. Dangerous jobs tend to pay higher salaries, to attract the workers they need.

Education is another significant factor. Men are more likely to major in such higher-paying areas as finance, accounting or engineering, while women often chose fields of study, such as liberal arts or sociology, that command smaller salaries.

But by far the biggest discrepancies occur when marriage and children are taken into consideration. Mark J. Perry and Andrew G. Biggs, two scholars with the American Enterprise Institute, addressed this topic in a column in The Wall Street Journal:

Child care takes mothers out of the labor market, so when they return they have less work experience than similarly-aged males. Many working mothers seek jobs that provide greater flexibility, such as telecommuting or flexible hours. Not all jobs can be flexible, and all other things being equal, those which are will pay less than those that do not.

That just makes sense, doesn’t it? Perry and Biggs say that once these variables are taken into consideration, the so-called gender pay gap virtually disappears. They cite a 2012 study by June and Dave O’Neill, two economists with the American Enterprise Institute, that found “nearly all of the 23% raw gender pay gap cited by Mr. Obama can be attributed to factors other than discrimination.”

Oh, and let me add one more argument against the Democrats’ contention that pay differences are because of anti-female discrimination, and that only the Federal government can make things right.

Consider this: What if it were true that businesses frequently had a choice between two different potential employees, a male and a female? Both are equally capable. But the woman is willing to do the work for 23 percent less money than the male.

C’mon, how many businesses would agree to hire the male at the higher salary, just because they didn’t want a woman in the job? Why would any business needlessly give a man more money, rather than add it to their own bottom line? Let’s give some credit to the profit motive here, folks.

The latest poll results show why the Democrats are so eager to start beating on the “war on women” drum. In the 2012 Presidential election, Obama received 67 percent of the votes of single women. Clearly, their multimillion-dollar advertising campaign against Mitt Romney and the Republican “war on women” worked.

But now, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Obama’s support among single women has dropped to just 48 percent. Better do something to shore up that base! And what better way than to promise to take action to end all that horrible pay inequality in the marketplace?

This is a classic case of “do as we say, not as we do.” No sooner had Obama huffed and puffed about the terrible disparity between what women earn in America versus male employees than someone compared salaries among male and female employees in the White House.

Guess what? It turns out that women in the West Wing earn significantly less money than men. Yep, the average female employee in the Obama White House earns just 88 percent as much as the average man.

When asked about this, Obama press secretary Jay Carney could only mumble something about how the White House record is “better than the national average” — and that female staffers tend to earn less than men because they occupy more of the jobs at the lower end of the pay scale.

Yep. And are you surprised to learn that the same thing happens in the rest of the country, Mr. Carney?

It turns out that the so-called gender pay gap has almost nothing to do with the sex of an employee and almost everything to do with career and life choices. But, of course, acknowledging these facts would mean that the Democrats could no longer beat Republicans over the head with all those “war on women” accusations.

For Democrats desperate for a way to divert attention from their disastrous healthcare plan and the sad state of the economy, it’s a simple choice. Which will get them the most publicity and the most votes? Tell the truth or fudge the facts?

Will women buy this Obama lie? Or will a majority see through this effort to enlist them in another phony war? Let’s do our part to make sure it’s the latter.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood


Editor’s Note: If you are looking for Wayne Allyn Root’s video and column, it will appear here tomorrow. –BL

The Liberal Bigots Strike Again

If you support the traditional view that marriage should be between a man and a woman, could that cost you your job? The intolerant left says the answer to that question is a loud and emphatic “Yes!”

Their latest victim is Brendan Eich, an inventor of JavaScript and the co-founder of the Web browser Firefox. Back in 2008, Eich donated $1,000 to the campaign for Proposition 8 in California, a ballot measure that said, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Recently, when Eich was named CEO of Mozilla, the company that oversees Firefox, that 6-year-old contribution cost him his job. We’re told that half of Mozilla’s board of directors resigned to protest Eich’s appointment. But that leads to a question: If half the board opposed him, how the heck did he get the job?

The wireless company Credo Mobile launched an online petition demanding that Eich either renounce his beliefs or resign. The petition quickly acquired nearly 75,000 signatures.

OKCupid, a popular online dating service, urged its followers to boycott Firefox to protest Eich’s selection. The company posted a letter denouncing the CEO, stating: “Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame and frustration are our enemies and we wish them nothing but failure.”

Those are pretty harsh words against a person who, in 15 years at Mozilla, had never been accused of demonstrating any prejudice against gay employees — or anyone, for that matter. In one of his few statements on the subject, Eich said: “I don’t want to talk about my personal beliefs because I kept them out of Mozilla all these 15 years we’ve been going. I don’t believe they’re relevant.”

How he performed on the job didn’t matter to the gay and lesbian brigade. They wanted his scalp. And they got it.

After Eich agreed to resign, Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker issued a statement that said in part, “We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.”

So forcing someone to resign because of a private donation made more than six years ago is how you demonstrate that you’ve “stayed true to” yourself? Remember, not a single person claims that Eich did anything on the job to demonstrate any kind of anti-gay bias. By all accounts, he was scrupulously fair to everyone.

And bear in mind that, at the time, most of the public said they agreed with him that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Proposition 8 passed easily in California, one of the most liberal States in the Nation, although it was later overturned by the courts. It won the support of a substantial majority of blacks and Hispanics.

In fact, let me mention two prominent Americans who also opposed same-sex marriage back in 2008: Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama. Of course, both now claim that they’ve had a change of heart.

More than 35,000 people donated to the campaign for Proposition 8. Thanks to a court ruling, the names of all the contributors — and in some cases, their addresses and the name of their employers — have been made public. I wonder how many more will become targets of angry and intolerant gays.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas warned of this possibility four years ago. In a 2010 dissent to a court decision requiring such disclosure, he wrote:

I cannot endorse a view of the First Amendment that subjects citizens of this Nation to death threats, ruined careers, damaged or defaced property, or pre-emptive and threatening warning letters as the price for engaging in “core political speech,” the “primary object of First Amendment protection.”

Not every gay person agrees with the angry intolerance Eich witnessed. Andrew Sullivan, a well-known gay-rights activist, wrote:

If we cannot live and work alongside people with whom we deeply disagree, we are finished as a liberal society.

What we have here is a social pressure to keep your beliefs deeply private for fear of retribution. We are enforcing another sort of closet on others. I can’t believe the fanaticism.

Just how bad will could this latest form of bigotry get? On Sunday, during an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said what we’re witnessing is the left’s “new fascism.” He warned:

This is just the most open and blatant example of the new fascism, which says, “If you don’t agree with us 100 percent, we have the right to punish you unless you’re like Hillary and Barack Obama and you recant.

I think the question I’d ask yourself is: Are you willing to live in an open and tolerant society, or do you have to impose your views at the cost of people’s jobs?

One of the most ironic statements on the controversy came from the gay-rights organization GLAAD. President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said: “Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where corporate America is: inclusive, safe and welcoming to all.”

Yes, the GLAAD’s leader actually said “welcoming to all.” What she meant, of course, was welcoming to everyone who will march in lockstep with GLAAD. If you dare to disagree with the gay rights brigade and they find out about it, watch out. They’ll go after you, your family, your job and your employer.

If you’re a Christian photographer who’d prefer to not to cover a gay wedding, they’ll go to court and force you to do so. If you’re a baker who has religious objections to a gay marriage, you’d better not decline to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple or you might get sued.

It seems that it is only traditionalists who must demonstrate “tolerance” these days. Apparently, the gay-rights activists can be as bigoted and intolerant as they want.

Welcome to the Brave New World of America in 2014. If you don’t like it, you’d better do something about it.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Note from the Editor: Under the Obama Administration, the NSA, the IRS, and the State and Justice departments are blatantly stepping on Americans’ privacy—and these are just the breaches we’re aware of. I’ve arranged for readers to get a free copy of The Ultimate Privacy Guide so you can be protected from any form of surveillance by anyone—government, corporate or criminal. Click here for your free copy.

Obamacare Is Still A Fraud!

What a disgusting amount of self-congratulations we’ve had to endure from Barack Obama and his cronies, who are now boasting that 7.1 million people had signed up for Obamacare when the first open enrollment period ended on March 31.

“The debate over repealing this law is over,” the President declared. Continuing his outburst of wishful thinking, he added, “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.”

Not so fast, Mr. President. The issue is not nearly as settled as you’d have us believe, as a closer look at those enrollment numbers will quickly reveal.

How many of those alleged 7 million new customers for Obamacare had no health insurance before this? It’s no surprise that we can’t get precise numbers out of this Administration, but consensus estimates are that it’s about 2 million.

In other words, about 5 million of the people who’ve signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act previously had some form of coverage. How many of them were among the approximately 5 million people who had their health insurance canceled because of Obamacare? Nobody’s bothered to find out. But you can bet it’s a bunch.

We all know that Obama repeatedly promised us, “If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan. Period.” And of course, we all know that was a lie – and the President knew it. Some 5 million people found that out the hard way, when they received letter from their insurance companies notifying them that their health insurance coverage was canceled.

We were also promised that the cost of health insurance would drop dramatically. After all, that’s why the word “affordable” was included in the name of the law. That turned out to be another blatant misrepresentation. Millions of Americans have seen the cost of their health insurance go up. The only ones getting a deal are those receiving a government subsidy.

In other words, Obamacare turns out to be another Democratic scheme to redistribute the wealth. In the words of former President Lyndon Johnson, it’s all about their plan to “take from the haves and give it to the have-nots who need it so much.”

And if you think the price of health insurance has gone up this year, just wait until next year, when the insurance companies factor in their actual costs of this monstrosity. It turns out that far fewer young, healthy adults are signing up for the program than its planners estimated.

Everyone knew that older Americans would be the most costly people to insure, especially now that anyone with a prior medical condition is entitled to coverage. The idea was that these higher costs would be balanced with the premiums paid by younger Americans, who typically have the fewest claims.

The plan might have looked good on paper, but it came crashing up against reality: Huge numbers of young Americans declined to sign up. And at least so far, the Administration isn’t allowed to round them up and force them to join.

So what will happen? The result is bound to be a substantial increase in health insurance premiums next year. Many insurance company analysts predict that increases of 25 percent to 50 percent will be the norm, with some policies rising even higher than that.

If you think Obamacare is unpopular now, just wait until those rate increases hit. Of course, this will be well after the elections this November. The Democratic leadership is hoping to get past the midterm elections without too many losses — and that the shock and anger over Obamacare will have largely dissipated by the time we elect a new President in 2016. Let’s hope the voters have longer memories than the Democrats are counting on.

But back to those sign-up numbers, which had Obama performing a victory dance in the Rose Garden on April Fool’s Day. (Mmmm, think it was just a coincidence that the big celebration for Obamacare came on April 1?)

One of the most closely guarded secrets of Obamacare is the answer to this question: How many of the people who signed up for coverage have actually begun paying for it? If you haven’t paid for it, you’re not officially enrolled in it. That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, whose department is responsible for the program, says she’s sorry, but they can’t tell us. She’ll admit that, overall, the number is probably about 15 percent to 20 percent. That would be almost 1.5 million of those alleged 7 million sign-ups.

That’s why syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer says, correctly, that the Administration’s claim of 7.1 million sign-ups is a “phony number.” Of course it is.

But it turns out that the number of non-payees is actually much higher for people who have never purchased health insurance before. Maybe as much as double the “average” rate.

If true, this means that as many as 800,000 of those supposedly 2 million new customers will never be officially enrolled, because they won’t make their first payment.

When the debate over Obamacare began, we were told this massive takeover of our healthcare system by the Federal government was necessary, because something like 40 million Americans didn’t have health insurance.

Well, now it looks like 38 million of them still don’t.

If other words, millions of Americans have lost health insurance they liked, thanks to Obamacare. Under their new plan, they’ll see higher premiums and much higher deductibles. They may no longer be able to see they doctor they prefer or go to the hospital of their choice. And just wait until they have to confront one of those “death panels” that Sarah Palin made so notorious.

This is what “success” looks like? Sure. And in the inimitable words of George Orwell’s 1984, “Freedom is slavery.”

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood 
Note from the Editor: As you’ve just read, the Obamacare abomination doesn’t bode well for anyone. But if you know how to navigate the system you can still control your own healthcare—as every American should! My trusted friend and medical insider, Dr. Michael Cutler, and I have written a concise guide to help you do just that. I urge you… Click here for your free copy.

A Democrat Is Double-Crossed by Obama — And We Get Obamacare

So the Democratic Congressman who helped get the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as the monstrosity called Obamacare) shoved down our throats in 2010 now says he was double-crossed by the Barack Obama Administration. Are we supposed to be surprised?

Four years ago, Bart Stupak was a member of Congress from Michigan who served as the leader of a group of anti-abortion Democrats. In an op-ed in USA Today two weeks ago, he told a very revealing story:

During the battle over the ACA’s passage, pro-life Democratic members of Congress negotiated with the President to ensure that the Act would not be employed to promote abortion. During the final debate on the Affordable Care Act, I engaged in a colloquy with Chairman Henry Waxman reaffirming that Americans would not be required to pay for abortions or violate their conscience by participating in or promoting a procedure they find morally objectionable.

Stupak says he and his colleagues got exactly what they requested: “In response, we received an ironclad commitment that our conscience would remain free and our principles would be honored.”

Of course, that is not what happened. Thanks to the support of Stupak and his colleagues, every Democrat in Congress voted for passage of the Affordable Care Act — even though none of them had actually read the thing. You’ll remember that then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they had to pass the measure to find out what was in it.

Well, they did. And as a result, the Department of Health and Human Services, which was given the job of enforcing the new law, issued a mandate in 2012 requiring all health plans cover all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives. Among the 20 different contraceptives that employers would be required to pay for were four drugs and devices that could terminate human life at its earliest stages.

Bart Stupak’s USA Today column carried the headline, “Contraception Mandate Doublecross: Column.” Welcome to Obama’s world, Mr. Stupak.

It is that provision that led two companies to challenge the mandate. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties claim that provisions of a 1993 law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, mean they should be exempt from this requirement.

Hobby Lobby is a family-owned chain of 560 arts-and-crafts stores. It was founded by David Green, who is an evangelical Christian who says, “I have deeply held convictions and I should not have to be required by the government to violate my conscience.” Conestoga Wood Specialties is a cabinet maker owned by a Mennonite family. Both contend that four of the contraceptive measures that HHS has mandated — a morning after pill and certain intrauterine devices — promote abortions, which their faith prohibits them from providing.

The government, of course, disagrees. The case has made it before the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments from both sides this past Tuesday. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, arguing on behalf of the government, told the justices that because the two companies are for-profit businesses, they are not entitled to the same Constitutional rights as a private individual.

This led to an amusing exchange between Verrilli and Justice Antonin Scalia. The Solicitor General told the court: “In the entire history of this country, there is not a single case in which a for-profit corporation was granted an exemption.”

Justice Scalia replied: “Not a single case in which it was denied exemption either. All you’re saying is that there are no cases.”

It’s always dangerous to try to parse how justices will vote on a case based on their questions and remarks at a public hearing. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. seemed to be leaning in support of the plaintiffs when he observed that minority-owned businesses can bring racial discrimination lawsuits. So why can’t a Christian business (or a Muslim one, for that matter) base a policy on the religion of its owners?

But remember what happened when the original challenge to the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act reached the Supreme Court in 2012. Many observers concluded that Roberts would vote against it, based on his remarks at the public hearings back then. So they were surprised (many even said they were shocked) when the chief justice voted to confirm the law — and used some very twisted logic to do so. Writing for the majority, Roberts said Obamacare was Constitutional because the mandate it imposed was a tax – this, despite the fact that Obama had spent the past two years emphatically denying that Obamacare was a tax.

So we know the justices can twist and distort the Constitution to say almost anything they want. Heck, that’s what they’ve been doing for more than 60 years. So I won’t be surprised if they decide to drive another nail in the coffin of religious liberty when they issue their decision in this case. We’ll find out in June.

In the meantime, I’m glad to see former Congressman Stupak on the right side of the fence at least this once. He’s joined with Democrats for Life in filing a brief urging the Supreme Court to rule on behalf of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Cabinets.

But that doesn’t mean he’s seen the light about Obamacare. In fact, in the op-ed piece I quoted above, he says he’s still convinced it’s a great idea. “As a member of Congress,” he wrote, “I was proud to vote for the Affordable Care Act.” And he continued: “No, I haven’t changed my position. I continue to believe the Affordable Care Act is critical to reforming our health care markets and providing a critical safety net for millions.”

I guess we should thank him for taking one tiny step in the right direction — and hope that at least five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court agree with him in June.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Let’s Stay The Heck Out Of Ukraine!

Did it finally happen? Did Barack Obama’s bumbling incompetence actually lead to a decent result for this country?

I’m surprised to say the answer appears to be yes. Obama’s milquetoast response to Vladimir Putin’s bold aggression in the Crimean Peninsula may have made him a laughingstock among Russian leaders. But it’s also reduced the likelihood of U.S. intervention there. And that’s a good thing.

Let’s face it: The United States has absolutely no vital interest at stake in that part the world. What do we care if a majority of citizens in Crimea vote to declare their independence from Ukraine? Or even that they want to become part of Mother Russia? What business is it of ours to tell them they can’t?

Now I’ll grant you, conducting a plebiscite under the watchful eyes of 40,000 Russian troops may lead some to suggest that a little pressure was being exerted on the populace. Was anyone surprised to hear that the proposal to rejoin Russia was approved by a whopping 96 percent of the people who cast ballots? That’s the sort of landslide we’re used to hearing from North Korea or some African dictatorship.

Now, I’m not about to beat the drum for this country to take tougher measures against Russia. The best thing for us to do is to sit this one out. I don’t think we should even provide aid, whether financial or military, to Ukraine.

The House of Representatives doesn’t agree. An emergency measure to give the Ukraine more aid was rushed through by a sizable bipartisan majority. But when the bill reached the Senate, Harry Reid decided to… send everyone home for a short vacation.

Mmmm, now I find myself agreeing with Reid. Maybe I’d better rethink this.

OK, I did. And I still think what happens in the Crimean Peninsula is not our problem or our responsibility.

But what Obama ended up doing is worse than nothing. In what the President described as a “calibrated” response, he decided to impose economic sanctions on all of 11 people. Obama said the people on the list — seven from Russia and four from Ukraine — had threatened “Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” But none of them were the key players in this melodrama. Putin’s chief of staff, his defense minister and his chief intelligence officer were all conspicuous by their absence.

The Russian stock market, which had been falling for the two weeks after Russian troops invaded Crimea, in fear of what sanctions might be imposed on the country, climbed higher when it became apparent how insignificant the U.S. and European response would be.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny even sent out a tweet, declaring: “Obama only delighted all our crooks and encouraged them.” One of the people on the list, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, promptly confirmed this appraisal, when he sent out his own tweet, saying: “It seems to me that some kind of joker wrote the U.S. president’s order.”

It doesn’t sound like they’re taking our President too seriously, does it?

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry has been flying all over Europe and the Mideast, trying to get someone to agree with his “better not do this” brand of bluster. To say that he’s been ineffective would be a compliment.

Kerry stuck his foot squarely in his mouth by lecturing Putin: “You don’t just, in the 21st century, behave in the 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped-up pretext.”

When I heard this, I wondered how long it would take someone to say: “Oh, yeah? What about Saddam Hussein and all those so-called weapons of mass destruction?” I hope whichever speechwriter was stupid enough to put those words in Kerry’s mouth is now looking for another line of employment.

Or maybe we shouldn’t blame some anonymous scribe for this embarrassing mistake. Maybe Kerry came up with that absurd reprimand all by himself.

Unfortunately, it looks like the situation will continue to escalate. Vice President Joe Biden has flown to Lithuania to reassure countries on Russia’s borders that the United States will stand by them. Since three former Soviet satellites — Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — are now members of NATO, we are committed by treaty to come to their rescue if Putin puts his eyes (and his military) on them next.

“We’re in this with you, together,” Biden said. Don’t you wish that weren’t the case?

And of course, the so-called “international community” has to meddle in events as well. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is flying to Russia and the Ukraine, to meet with Putin and other leaders in an effort to resolve things diplomatically. The United Nations is also sending a 34-member “human rights monitoring mission” to Ukraine. And we know how much good such observers have done in the past, in Chechnya, Serbia and other hot spots, from the Mideast to Africa.

How should this conflict be resolved? I like what Pat Buchanan, a longtime Washington observer and ardent America-firster, had to say:

America and Russia are on a collision course today over a matter — whose flag will fly over what parts of Ukraine — no Cold War president, from Truman to Reagan, would have considered any of our business.

If the people of Eastern Ukraine wish to formalize their historic, cultural and ethnic ties to Russia, and the people of Western Ukraine wish to sever all ties to Moscow and join the European Union, why not settle this politically, diplomatically and democratically, at a ballot box?

Of course, a peaceful, practical solution like this one will never win the approval of the New World Order advocates. There’s never been a tar baby they could resist. And they don’t care how many eggs get broken along the way. The interventionists know there is no better way to increase their control over their own citizens than to focus on the threat posed by some far-off enemy.

It’s time to tell Washington that in regard to Putin’s actions in the Crimean Peninsula, we’re going to mind our own business: no aid, no troops, no interference. That’s what our country’s foreign policy was for the first 150 years of our existence. Wouldn’t it be great to return to it again?

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Barack Obama, The Democrats’ Albatross

One analyst called it “The Race Democrats Can’t Afford to Lose.” And guess what? They lost it.

I’m talking about the special election to fill the Congressional seat in Florida’s 13th District. It became available when Bill Young, the Republican who had held it for 42 years, died in October.

If the Republicans held the seat for so long, why were Democrats confidant they could win it? There were several reasons. For one, Barack Obama carried the district in both of his Presidential runs. For another, Alex Sink, the Democratic nominee, had better name recognition than David Jolly, her Republican opponent. She’d won statewide office in 2006 and was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 2010. Although she lost the gubernatorial election to Rick Scott, she carried the district in which she was running for Congress.

Plus, Sink had more money to spend than Jolly — almost three times as much. And she spent most of it attacking him for his previous job as a Washington lobbyist. Jolly had some other personal issues, including a divorce and an auto accident years ago in which he killed someone. So he wasn’t the ideal candidate.

But Jolly had one thing going for him: the public’s anger at Obamacare. And that was enough to sweep him to victory.

How important was this election? Stuart Rothenberg is a longtime Washington observer who has written a column for Roll Call for the past 20 years. I quoted the headline for his piece at the top of today’s column. Here’s how he began that article:

It’s rare in politics that anything other than a presidential contest is viewed as a “must win” — but the special election in Florida’s 13th District falls into that category for Democrats.

A loss in the competitive March 11 contest would almost certainly be regarded by dispassionate observers as a sign that President Barack Obama could constitute an albatross around the neck of his party’s nominees in November.

That’s what happened in Florida’s 13th District Tuesday. Jolly beat Sink by 48.5 percent to 46.7 percent. A Libertarian candidate, Lucas Overby, got 4.8 percent of the vote.

The next day, there was even more bad news for Democrats. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll came out, revealing that the President’s approval ratings have hit an all-time low. His job-approval number was a pretty dismal 43 percent percent in January, the last time the survey was taken. Now it’s fallen even further, dropping to 41 percent. A majority of those surveyed, 54 percent, said they disapprove of the job Obama is doing.

Even more worrisome for Democrats running for office this November, the poll revealed that Obama’s disapproval rating from his fellow Democrats has climbed to 20 percent, his highest ever. And the number of respondents who said the country is headed in the wrong direction was 65 percent, according to the survey.

In its article about the poll results, The Wall Street Journal reported: “Americans surveyed in the poll said they were less inclined to support a candidate if the person had been endorsed by Mr. Obama or was a ‘solid supporter’ of his administration.”

The gap is huge. Forty-eight percent said they were less likely to support a candidate identified as “a solid supporter of the Obama Administration,” while just 26 percent said that would make them more likely to support such a candidate. That’s a 22 point difference.

And here’s more bad news for the White House: The President’s personal endorsement of a candidate is becoming the kiss of death. Forty-two percent of those polled said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate Obama endorsed, while only 22 percent said Obama’s endorsement would make them more likely to support such a candidate.

I guess we won’t see Obama doing much campaigning for candidates this fall. It’s no surprise that he stayed far, far away from that “can’t afford to lose” Congressional race in Florida’s 13th District.

Yes, it looks like Republicans have a golden opportunity to make some major gains this November. They should easily maintain control of the House of Representatives. And chances look good for picking up several Senate seats — maybe even enough to gain control there.

We’ll have more to say about specific contests in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, congratulations to the voters in Florida’s 13th District for confirming that there is indeed a darned ugly bird wrapped around the President’s neck.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood