‘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

The Democrats’ Desperate Maneuvers

What’s the most important question that Barack Obama and his aides are wrestling with these days?

No, it’s not what they should do about the crisis in the Ukraine or how they can get Vladimir Putin to back down. Sadly for us, and all freedom-loving Ukrainians, the Russian President knows he can ignore any tough talk from the American President. Putin has concluded that Obama is all bluff and bluster. And who can blame him?

Nor are those White House aides burning the midnight oil debating how they can prevent things from degenerating even further in the Mideast. Their only hope for a peaceful solution in Syria is that Bashar Assad suffers a fatal heart attack. And that the fates (or maybe Israel) will conspire to halt Iraq’s nuclear ambitions; certainly the mullahs there don’t view American policy as a serious threat to their ambitions.

No, the single most important question occupying the Democrats these days is much closer to home. It is simply this: What can the Obama Administration do to minimize Democratic losses in the midterm elections this November?

The Democrats may be committed to raising taxes on the “rich,” giving more subsidies to the poor and even most middle-class Americans, and doing everything they can to promote economic equality. But they’re not total idiots. They know that tens of millions of Americans are still unemployed or woefully underemployed. They know that there is no “economic recovery” taking place in this country, no matter what the President and his pet economic advisers claim.

They know that the horribly (and deliberately) misnamed Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, is the most unpopular piece of legislation to be rammed through Congress in the past 50 years.

And they know that, as a result, Democratic incumbents are in big, big trouble in the coming midterm elections. They’ve already given up on winning back control of the House of Representatives. Now their biggest nightmare is that they will also lose control of the Senate.

Once you realize that this is the question consuming Democratic leaders, then every new policy, every new promise and every new pronouncement makes a lot more sense.

That’s why Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had the unmitigated gall to declare that all of those horror stories about people being hurt by Obamacare are nothing but lies. According to the Senate Majority Leader, all such reports are just “made up from whole cloth.” Sure thing, Harry. Lots of luck getting any but the most deluded Democrats buying into that one.

It is this political concern that explains why Obama and his team have made more than a dozen changes to Obamacare since the Affordable Care Act became law. The latest occurred earlier this week, when they declared that consumers can keep insurance plans that don’t comply with the Federal health law for another two years, until the end of 2016.

Previously, those plans would have expired at the end of this year, which means that millions of consumers would have received notices of cancellation right before the November elections. Guess which party would have been hurt the most when those people went to the polls?

But wait a minute. Since Congress passed the original law, shouldn’t it have been up to our lawmakers to change the requirements or issue any such extensions? Sure, it should. But obeying the law has never been a policy of this Administration. After all, Obama boasted about how much he could do without Congressional approval, just by using his phone and his pen.

Last week, The Heritage Foundation issued a list of the Obama Administration’s most flagrant violations of the Constitutional separation of powers. Leading the list was how the Administration had unilaterally changed the employer mandate in Obamacare without any Congressional authority to do so.

So now comes the latest charade in the political theater that is Washington, D.C.: the President’s new budget proposal. Obama’s budget for fiscal year 2015 calls for a staggering $3.9 trillion in Federal spending. But thanks to hefty new taxes on corporations and “the rich,” he claims that the deficit will shrink to “only” $564 billion.

That’s right. Our most spendthrift President in history has the nerve to brag about a budget that will put this country another half-a-trillion dollars in the red. “Our budget is about choices,” the President declared. “As a country, we’ve got to make a decision if we’re going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans or if we’re going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy and expand opportunity for every American.”

The President’s proposed budget repeats calls for a several proposals, such as increasing the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits, that have gone nowhere in Congress but always get enthusiastic applause from Democrat loyalists.

Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who as House Budget Committee Chairman will be responsible for putting together the Republican counterproposal, said in response, “This budget isn’t a serious document; it’s a campaign brochure.”

Well, of course it is. The Democrats know full well that there isn’t the slightest chance that the President’s budget proposals will get approved in the House of Representatives. Of course it reads more like a campaign document than a serious proposal. It was planned that way.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was just as dismissive as his Republican colleague. “After years of fiscal and economic mismanagement,” Boehner declared, “the President has offered perhaps his most irresponsible budget yet. Spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much, it would hurt our economy and cost jobs.”

So the political charade continues. And it will — until enough voters decide to replace both the Tweedledum and Tweedledee candidates. Meanwhile, get ready for a lot more BS from the poseurs and politicians in Washington. Remember, it’s all about what polls well and makes the best commercials.

God help our Republic.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Editor’s note: To see The Heritage Foundation’s list of President Barack Obama’s most unConstitutional executive actions, check out Ben Bullard’s article from Monday’s P.M. Edition of Personal Liberty Digest™.

The Tyranny Of The Minority

Chalk up another victory for the gay and lesbian lobby. They managed to stir up so much of a ruckus that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a measure the State Legislature passed to safeguard the religious liberty of its citizens.

Senate Bill 1062 was designed to protect Christian business owners from being forced to provide goods or services when to do so would violate their religious beliefs. Such a measure became necessary, its supporters said, because Christian photographers, bakers and florists had been punished for declining to provide services for gay weddings.

State Senator Steve Yarborough, one of the sponsors of the bill, said: “This bill is not about allowing discrimination. This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”

In cases in Oregon, Washington and New Mexico, business owners were found guilty of violating the civil rights of gays for refusing to provide their services for a gay wedding. In some cases, they were fined thousands of dollars for discriminating against gay customers.

And it isn’t just private businesses that are under the gun of the homosexual lobby. So are many public charities. Catholic Charities came under attack when it said it would not violate the teachings of its faith by placing children in the homes of same-sex couples. When it was ordered to do so, it chose instead to shut down its foster care and adoption services in several States. When the charity closed its doors in Illinois, Bishop Thomas Paprocki said, “In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated.”

Indeed, that is precisely what increasingly is happening all across this county.

Once the State Legislature in Arizona passed SB 1062, the floodgates opened against Governor Jan Brewer, demanding that she veto the bill. John McCain and Jeff Flake, the two Arizona Senators, denounced the measure. So did Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for President. Newt Gingrich, another prominent Republican politician, said the same thing.

Three Republican legislators in Arizona who had voted for the measure said they had changed their minds. In a letter to the Governor, they said that their intent had been “to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties.” Instead, they noted, “[T]he bill has been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance.”

Many businesses, including Apple and American Airlines, joined the chorus urging Brewer to veto the measure. Even the National Football League got involved, threatening to move the 2015 Super Bowl from Phoenix to some other, more gay-friendly State unless she vetoed the bill.

Faced with all of these strident demands, it isn’t surprising that Brewer buckled. Very few politicians could have withstood the pressure she faced.

In announcing her decision, the Governor said, “My agenda is to sign into law legislation that advances Arizona.” While she believes strongly that “religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value,” she added, “So is non-discrimination.”

Here is how she explained her decision to veto: “To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand the long-held norms about marriage and family that are being challenged as never before.” She recognized that “Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes.”

But then she added, “However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.”

Demonstrators outside the State capitol building in Phoenix erupted in cheers when Brewer’s decision was announced.

We have come full circle in this country, with the people demanding “tolerance” becoming absolutely intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them. If, because of your religious convictions, you decline to participate in a gay wedding, it’s not enough to insist you violate your conscience. No, these new forces of intolerance say you must be punished.

Welcome to the new tyranny of the minority.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Barack Obama, Jobs Killer

What’s the single most important issue facing the country today? According to a recent Gallup poll, a majority of Americans says it’s jobs. We need more of them. Millions more.

But thanks to the policies of Barack Obama, we’re not getting them. In fact, just the opposite is true. Recent reports from the Congressional Budget Office reveal how two of the President’s pet programs will cost this country millions of jobs. They make very grim reading for anyone concerned about the employment picture in America.

The first report dealt with the impact of Obamacare. The CBO estimates that as the Affordable Care Act becomes fully implemented, some 2 million Americans will either leave the workforce or substantially reduce the number of hours they work.

The reason is simple: They won’t want to lose the subsidies for their health insurance. But that’s what will happen as their earnings increase, either because they work more hours or get a higher-paying job. The Obamacare insurance subsidies are gradually reduced as a person’s income rises. In other words, as the CBO report puts it, Obamacare is really “an implicit tax on additional earnings.”

The White House immediately put its own enthusiastic spin on the CBO’s projected job loss. Believe it or not, it said this was really good news, because it meant that many people would finally have the freedom to stay home with their children or maybe start their own businesses.

Yep, the Obama Administration said we should all be happy about the loss of 2 million jobs, because it meant that “Individuals will be empowered to make choices about their own lives and livelihoods and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

Sure thing. That “dream” no doubt helps explain why nearly 50 million Americans have signed up to collect food stamps. Welcome to the Obama version of the American dream, which is rapidly becoming the American nightmare for those of us who have to pay the taxes to keep the shell game going.

The employment picture is already pretty grim, with the lowest labor-participation rate since the 1970s. The way the Feds like to count, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is now less than 7 percent, a finding that led to all sorts of back-patting and self-congratulations from the White House.

But of course, “the way the Feds like to count” is as crooked as a corkscrew. As soon as someone stops looking for work, he is no longer counted among the unemployed. So while the Bureau of Labor Statistics sees only 10 million unemployed Americans, the reality is that there are another 91 million Americans — more than nine times that number — who don’t have jobs.

Some of them don’t need or want to work, of course. They may be retirees or stay-at-home moms. The number also includes full-time students, the disabled and anyone else who doesn’t need a job. But even after making every possible allowance, it’s clear that the real unemployment number in this country is considerably higher than the government’s official figure.

The second bit of bad news for the Democrats concerned their campaign to increase the minimum wage by almost 50 percent. They want it raised from $7.25 an hour, where it is now, to $10.10.

I’ll leave aside for now the whole question of whether the Federal government has any business setting wages in this country or whether it has the Constitutional authority to do so. Of course it doesn’t. But the three branches of government haven’t agreed with me on this one since 1938, when the first law was passed by Congress establishing a Federal minimum wage.

Now comes a report from the CBO estimating that raising the minimum wage to more than $10 could cost anywhere from half-a-million to a million jobs.

According to the Labor Department, about 3.6 million Americans earned $7.25 an hour or less in 2012, the latest year for which numbers are available. Almost half of them were between the ages of 16 and 24. The vast majority were working in entry-level jobs, mostly in restaurants and other service industries.

But here’s the good news: Most people who start in minimum-wage jobs in this country won’t stay there. After they’ve increased their skills and experience, they become worth more to an employer. That just makes sense.

There are 146 million people employed in this country, according to the Labor Department. Some 118 million hold full-time jobs, while another 28 million are working part-time. And you know what? Most of them got their first jobs working for minimum wage at McDonald’s or some other fast-food joint. Many, if not most, of the people reading this column could probably say the same thing.

How many of those first-time jobs will be lost if the minimum wage goes up by almost 50 percent? We have no way of knowing for sure, of course. But you can bet it will be plenty. That’s why the National Restaurant Association warned that increasing the minimum wage will “significantly limit the entry-level opportunities businesses can provide, hurting employees with limited skills or experience and looking to enter the workforce.”

So is there any good news on the job front? As it happens, the answer is a resounding yes. It comes from Chattanooga, Tenn., where employees at the Volkswagen plant there voted against joining the United Auto Workers.

That isn’t what was expected to happen. The UAW had been working for more than two years to clinch the deal. The union had the not-so-secret support of Volkswagen management, which allowed it to campaign on the plant floor while denying opponents the same opportunity.

So it came as a shock when workers voted, 712-626, to reject the union. A victory here was supposed to be just the first step in a long-term campaign to unionize the South. Now, that won’t happen — at least not as quickly or easily as the UAW hoped.

In its lead editorial on the subject, The Wall Street Journal wrote, “The decision by workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee to reject the United Auto workers is the best news so far this year for the American economy.”

The same editorial pointed out how the Obama Administration had stacked things in the union’s favor: “Don’t believe those who say this means the end of the UAW,” the paper wrote. “It has too many friends in high political places, as the 2009 auto bailouts proved.”

The UAW is threatening to file an unfair labor practice complaint over the election, so this may not be the end of the story. In fact, I can guarantee it’s not. But it’s nice to have any victory to celebrate. Thanks to those workers in Chattanooga for giving us this one.

Until next time, keeps some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

The Dirty Deal For A ‘Clean’ Debt Bill

Well, the Republican leadership has done it again. In the battle over government spending, they waved the white flag of unconditional surrender. Believe it or not, they gave Barack Obama permission to spend as much money as he wants over the next year — with absolutely no strings attached.

The media are reporting that the House and Senate passed a “clean” bill to raise the debt ceiling. Actually, they did no such thing. They didn’t set a new limit on government borrowing. Instead, they abolished any debt ceiling for the next 14 months.

It’s incredible how this deal will work. By suspending the debt ceiling, your friendly Federal government can spend all the money it wants — or rather, all the money that Congress will allow – between now and March 16, 2015. By an amazing coincidence, that gets everyone past the elections this November.

Then, when this temporary measure expires, the new debt ceiling will be the present debt — which is an absolutely appalling $17.2 trillion (yes, that’s “trillion” with a “t”) — plus however much more debt is created between now and next March. That will be another trillion dollars in red ink added to the total by the profligate politicos in Washington.

In just six years of his Presidency, Obama will have increased the national debt by more than $7 trillion. And what’s most amazing of all is that our so-called leaders in Washington are actually claiming that this latest vote means that they were being “responsible.” Isn’t that incredible?

The Republican surrender began in the House of Representatives when Speaker John Boehner told a startled group of Republican Congressmen that he finally agreed not to attach any spending restrictions to the debt-ceiling measure. That is exactly what the Obama Administration had been demanding all along.

As hard as it is to believe, when Boehner announced his new plan at a closed-door meeting of Republican Congressmen, he actually expected to be applauded for it. When he was greeted by silence at the end of his remarks, he said rather petulantly: “I got this monkey off your back and you’re not even going to applaud?” The docile lawmakers took the hint and gave him a less than robust round of applause.

That was all it took for 28 Republicans, including Boehner, to vote for the measure. All but two Democrats in the House also said “aye,” so the no-debt-ceiling bill passed the House on Tuesday by a vote of 221-201.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was absolutely delighted with the result. “A few reasonable House Republicans were willing to join Democrats to avert a catastrophic default on this nation’s obligations,” he said.

Reid wanted to rush the bill through on a straight majority vote. But that didn’t happen. Instead, an interesting fight developed when Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) refused to go along. The Tea Party favorite forced the Senate to vote to end debate on the matter.

But ending debate can’t be done by a simple majority; cloture requires 60 votes, and there are only 55 Democrats in the Senate (counting two independents who usually vote with them). Unless five Republicans could be found to join them, Reid wouldn’t be able to bring the measure to a vote.

That’s when Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Republicans’ ostensible leader in the Senate and a guy who insisted all of last year that he would never vote to raise the debt ceiling unless some spending restrictions were part of the deal, agreed to switch sides. So did John Cronyn (R-Texas), the Minority Whip in the Senate, and 10 other turncoats.

So Reid had the super-majority he needed to end the debate. The final tally on that one was 67-31, with a dozen Republicans joining all of the members of the Democratic caucus.

Now that the debt bill could be approved by a simple majority, it was safe for the Dirty Dozen to switch back. So every single Republican, including McConnell, pressed the “no” button. The bill to suspend the debt ceiling passed on a straight party-line vote, 55-43.

This means that McConnell will be able to assure the voters in Kentucky that he voted against suspending the debt ceiling. If you live there (or have any friends there), I hope you won’t let him get away with this charade. Please remind everyone you know that McConnell was instrumental in getting the measure approved.

If it sounds like there was an unseemly rush to get the dirty deed done, you’re absolutely right. That’s because the House and Senate had already scheduled a recess from now until Feb. 24. But the Treasury Department said it was close to exhausting all of the “extraordinary measures” it was using to continue spending money. Unless it received new authority to borrow funds, it would begin defaulting on some payments on Feb. 27. Now, that won’t happen.

So now what? In How To Stop More Republican Betrayals, I said that one of the best things conservatives could do was send McConnell packing. I urged you to support Matt Bevins, his opponent in the Republican primary in Kentucky this June.

Many conservative leaders agree with me on this. Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express, said that her group will work to defeat McConnell and other Republican leaders this year. “Leadership needs to go — they need to be completely changed,” she said.

Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, says the choices are clear: “Do you stand with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell or do you stand for fiscal responsibility?” He says the move to suspend the debt ceiling will encourage his members to work even harder. “It heightens activists’ desire to bring in new blood to Washington, D.C.”

Let’s hope they’re right. In fact, let’s do more than just hope. Let’s work to make sure they are.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood   

How To Stop More Republican Betrayals

Thanks to yet another “bipartisan compromise” in Washington, we taxpayers have had it socked to us again. This time, it’s a new farm bill that’s made everyone so happy — except for us taxpayers, who will have to pay for the danged thing. Congress hadn’t managed to pass a comprehensive farm bill since 2008, so the fact that this one finally got approved is supposed to be greeted with hosannas.

The bill is 959 pages long and calls for spending nearly a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. The $956.4 billion in expenditures works out to nearly $1 billion for each page. That’s not as bad as the Affordable Care Act (the monstrosity that created Obamacare), but I think you’ll agree it’s a pretty hefty sum.

The measure passed the House of Representatives last week on a vote of 251-166, which meant it had substantial Republican support. The same thing happened in the Senate this week, where it was approved this past Monday on a vote of 68-32.

The biggest single expenditure, by far, is the food stamp program, which has more than doubled since Barack Obama took office five years ago. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to give its official name, now feeds one out of every seven Americans. The cost comes to $80 billion a year.

Yet we’re somehow supposed to be grateful that Congress agreed to trim 1 percent from that total bill, or a measly $8 billion? Thanks a bunch, Congress.

Even more idiotic than the farm bill that just got passed, Republicans are now talking about agreeing on a compromise immigration bill. This would be a mistake of colossal proportions. I can’t imagine their being so stupid and self-destructive. But then again, after watching the so-called Republican “leadership” for many years: Yes, I can.

First of all, there is nothing that Republicans could do — not even agreeing to some sort of amnesty program, as they did under Ronald Reagan — that will enable them to win a significant number of Hispanic votes. It just ain’t gonna happen.

Second of all, no matter what new legislation says about protecting our borders, does anyone really believe that Barack Obama will enforce it? The President has shown an utter disdain for his Constitutional mandate to enforce many existing laws. Now we’re going to count on him to do something that would upset a significant number of his supporters? No way, José.

And here’s one other major concern. No matter what sort of bill the Republican majority in the House of Representatives passes, you can bet that a far different and more destructive one will come out of the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will make sure of that. Guess which side is likely to win most of the battles when the two sides sit down to hammer out the final legislation?

The smartest thing Republicans could do this year regarding a new immigration bill is… nothing. Let the Democrats issue all of the threats and make all of the promises they want. Republicans should simply sit down, shut up and refuse to bring any immigration legislation to a vote. This is definitely one case where doing nothing is a whole heck of a lot better than any “compromise” legislation they could approve.

The best thing the Republicans could do is not even start down this path. Let the Democrats rant and rave and bluff and bluster. Let’s put this one off until next year — when hopefully a Republican will take the reins as Senate Majority Leader. What a difference that would make!

But maybe not, if it’s the current Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). What a squishy-soft compromiser he is. If conservatives want tough, determined, uncompromising leadership in the Senate, McConnell is not the man.

The best way to replace him is not by waiting until next year, but by getting a better person to run for his Senate seat this year. And happily, there is a candidate running against him in the Republican primary who would bring a Tea Party brand of conservatism to Washington. His name is Matt Bevin.

In July, National Review ran an article titled “Kentucky’s Ted Cruz?” that was about Bevin. In response, Bevin wrote: “I can tell you, I truly appreciate this comparison. Ted Cruz is exactly the kind of principled, conservative senator I will be–one who isn’t afraid to stand up to the ‘establishment,’ even in his own party.”

Could you imagine McConnell saying anything like that? I can’t.

It should tell you something that The Hill ran an article about Bevin’s challenge of McConnell with the headline “Democrats, for once, are rooting for McConnell in Senate primary.” Why would the Democrats hope a Republican incumbent would win his primary? Because they know — and recent polls confirm — that Bevin has a better chance of beating Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic candidate, than McConnell.

That’s right. As surprising as it may sound, the latest Rasmussen poll in Kentucky says that Bevin has a better chance of defeating Grimes than the incumbent. Kentucky is a deeply red State; heck, Obama lost the state to Mitt Romney by a margin of 22.7 points. So any Republican should be a shoo-in to win an election there.

But not McConnell. It seems that many Kentuckians are as dismayed by his so-called “leadership” as I am. And I’m not alone. Here’s what Erick Erickson, the editor of RedState, had to say about this contest: “You want to change Washington? I’ll say it again — the single biggest thing you can do is support Matt Bevin.”

To learn more about Bevin, go to his campaign website, www.mattbevin.com. But don’t delay. The Republican primary in Kentucky is May 20. That gives conservatives just three months to get a staunch conservative running for the Senate seat there.

I hope the voters in Kentucky will tell McConnell it’s time to retire. If you know any there, please ask them to jump on this bandwagon.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Can Obama Sink Any Lower?

Did you listen to Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night? It was amazing to hear him tell Congress that he was going to do whatever was necessary to circumvent them — and to see them leap to their feet and applaud him for saying so.

That’s right. The Democrats in Congress actually cheered the President when he said he wasn’t going to wait for them to pass legislation. He’s ready to proceed without them. Here is how our imperial leader put it: “But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Watch for yourself. He makes that comment at the 0:07:32 mark.

The threat of unilateral action didn’t take anyone by surprise. White House officials had been promising for days that this would be an important part of El Presidente’s remarks.

Obama didn’t waste any time putting his threat into action. He’s been badgering Congress for months to raise the minimum wage. He wants it increased from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. He doesn’t seem to know — or care — that ordering businesses to give low-wage earners a 39 percent increase in pay might cause some of them to fire some workers. After all, the more something costs, the less of it you get. And that definitely includes jobs.

In most cases, the President can’t just order a business to pay its employees more. But there is one area where he can: those with federal contracts. In his speech, he said he was going to order all such firms to increase the minimum wage for their employees to $10.10. And he urged other businesses to do the same thing voluntarily, before they are required to do so by law.

All of this was too much even for some Democrats. Alaska Senator Mark Begich told CNN: “You have to be very careful of how far you extend those executive powers. … I would encourage the President to work with us, not just have a slew of executive orders, because I think that’s going to upset the balance and also create a lot of controversy not just from Republicans, but some of us that are much more moderate and view this careful balance that we have a role here. … If they go too far, you’ll clearly hear push back from me. There’s no question about it.”

Begich joined a growing list of Democrats who said he had no interest in having Obama campaign for him in the coming elections. And no wonder. Back in 2008, when Begich first won his Senate seat, Obama lost Alaska by 22 points. Clearly, the President is not the most popular guy in the State.

As you’d expect, the harshest criticism of Obama’s arrogant posturing came from Republicans. Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) said on CNN’s “New Day”: “This threat that the president is going to run the government with an ink pen and executive orders, we’ve never had a president with that level of audacity and that level of contempt for his own oath of office.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was even more blunt. In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal the day after Obama’s State of the Union speech, the Tea Party favorite declared: “Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat.”

No surprise that the No. 1 example of Obama’s cavalier attitude toward the law is Obamacare. Cruz wrote: “There is no example of lawlessness more egregious than the enforcement–or nonenforcement–of the president’s signature policy, the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Obama has repeatedly declared that ‘it’s the law of the land.’ Yet he has repeatedly violated ObamaCare’s statutory text.”

Cruz listed several other examples of Obama’s abuse power: “When Mr. Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.”

Cruz pointed out that “11 state attorneys general recently wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying that the continuing changes to ObamaCare are ’flatly illegal under federal constitutional and statutory law.’”

In their letter, the attorneys general wrote that “the only way to fix this problem-ridden law is to enact changes lawfully: through Congressional action.” Don’t hold your breath waiting for anyone in the White House to agree with that.

So how can we put the brakes on this imperial President? Clearly, so long as the Democrats hold a majority in the U.S. Senate, there isn’t a chance of getting remedial legislation passed. Heck, as long as the petty and vindictive Harry Reid (D-Nev.) serves as Majority Leader, such legislation won’t even be allowed to be brought up for a vote.

Hopefully, this unhappy situation can change this November, when Republicans have a chance to win control of the Senate. That will depend on getting decent candidates, getting them adequately funded and then making sure that they focus on the right issues.

According to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, there is no question what the key issues are … and aren’t. When asked what should be an “absolute priority” for the President and Congress this year, the top two issues, by a wide margin, were creating jobs and reducing the deficit.

And what topics were down at the bottom of the public’s wish list? Again, I don’t think you’ll be surprised. In descending order, they included reducing income inequality, passing new immigration legislation, and addressing climate change.

Needless to say, Barack Obama gave a shout-out to all three in his State of the Union address.

No wonder the same poll said that 51 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s job performance, while only 43 percent approve. An even larger number, 63 percent, say that the U.S. is “off on the wrong track.” And almost as many say they are uncertain, worried or pessimistic about the chances that Obama will do a good job in the remainder of his Presidency.

For once, I find myself agreeing with the majority — although “uncertain, worried or pessimistic” isn’t nearly strong enough. During the remainder of his Presidency, I am absolutely certain that Obama will do everything he can to expand government, increase spending and push this country even further to the left.

The rest of the President’s address was pretty much a tired rehashing of prior failed policies. If you didn’t listen to it, you didn’t miss much. He even put closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, back on his to-do list.

Obama did toss in a few lines that would appeal to conservatives, such as cutting the bureaucracy and reducing the deficit. They not only sounded like something a Republican would say, but a former speech writer for George W. Bush says they were. Marc Thiessen, who was the lead writer on Bush’s 2007 State of the Union address, told Fox News’s Megyn Kelly that parts of Obama’s speech were eerily similar to what he wrote seven years ago.

“So Barack Obama has gone from blaming George W. Bush to plagiarizing George W. Bush,” he said.

So an increasingly unpopular President continues to push increasingly unpopular policies. Is anyone surprised?

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Conservative? You Must Be Racist, Extremist

Why has Barack Obama’s popularity come crashing down? In a recent Gallup poll, the President’s approval rating hit a record low — below anything that either George W. Bush or his father experienced. The only President in modern times to get a lower rating was Richard Nixon, shortly before he resigned.

Why such abysmal ratings? Do you think it might have anything to do with the far-left policies Obama has pursued? His disastrous healthcare program? The National Security Agency spying scandal? Or maybe the use of the Internal Revenue Service to intimidate conservatives?

No, according to the man himself, none of those are the reason why his approval ratings have plummeted. When asked by New Yorker editor David Remnick to explain his dismal approval, Obama reached into his bag of tricks and played the race card again:

“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said.

Well, sure, in a country of more than 300 million people, no doubt there are some people who are prejudiced. Just ask any Muslim you know. But the truth is Obama’s color isn’t the reason his popularity has plummeted. On the contrary, it’s the reason he was elected President in the first place, to which Obama alluded in the New Yorker article:

“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.”

Think about it. What if Obama had been white? Do you think there’s any chance that an obscure white politician from Illinois who hadn’t even completed a single, undistinguished term in the Senate would have been elected President? Heck, if Obama had been white, do you really believe he would have defeated Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination?

Not a chance.

If Obama had been white, do you believe the media would have ignored his very dubious associations or his lack of any real accomplishments as a U.S. Senator, an Illinois State Senator or a community organizer? Do you he would have been given a pass on such mysteries as the grades he got in college or why he can’t produce an authentic birth certificate?

No, Obama’s skin color has nothing to do with his plunging popularity. On the contrary, Obama was elected President in 2008 precisely because he was black, not in spite of it. He won because there was a vast reservoir of good will in this country toward him from whites who genuinely wanted him to succeed.

Had they known what he actually believed and the kind of far-left policies he would try to implement, there’s not a chance he would have been elected. It was precisely because he was able to hide his Marxist associations and his far-left agenda that he is sitting in the White House today.

Despite the fact that a majority of Americans say he’s taking the country in the wrong direction, Obama says he is more determined than ever to implement his radical agenda. And if he can’t get Congress to pass the legislation he wants, then he’ll do it without their approval.

He said so himself. As he convened his first cabinet meeting of the new year, Obama said: “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.”

He then rattled off a long list of issues that he says Federal bureaucrats will begin implementing, regardless of what Congress does.

For a man who once taught Constitutional law, Obama sure doesn’t think much of the system our Founding Fathers created. Forget about checks and balances between three branches of government. Creating the laws under which we must live is supposed to be the responsibility of the legislative branch, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Obama’s job, as the head of the executive branch, is to implement the laws Congress passes.

Of course, Obama knows that is how the system is supposed to work. He just doesn’t like it. He doesn’t want to be bound down by the chains of a Constitution.

And he isn’t. Last year, for every law that Congress approved, the executive branch created hundreds of new rules and regulations. In 2013, the Federal Register, where such new dictates must be published, was more than 80,000 pages long.

Obama is sounding more like the dictator of a banana republic than the President of the American republic. He and his staff have repeatedly changed the rules for Obamacare in an effort to keep the program from totally collapsing. The Environmental Protection Agency is doing the same to destroy the coal industry in this country, as well as to implement the Administration’s agenda on “climate change.” (Remember, we’re no longer calling this trumped-up crisis “global warming.” In the wake of the winter storms that have been paralyzing much of the country, the environmental extremists needed a phrase that didn’t make them look totally ridiculous.)

Disturbing as his comments may have been, Obama hasn’t gone as far as Andrew Cuomo. During a radio interview last week, the New York Governor actually wondered out loud if conservatives should even be allowed to live in the State.

Here’s what he said: “Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

Be sure to note how Cuomo twists things to portray honest conservatives as extremists. If you believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, that somehow makes you an anti-gay extremist. If you support the right to “keep and bear arms,” as the 2nd Amendment promises, then you must be a “pro-assault weapon” extremist.

If other words, if you disagree with the liberal agenda, you are an extremist. And not only does the Governor of New York want to exclude you from the political debate, but he doesn’t even want you to live in his State.

The bad news is that the left is getting even more open and arrogant about their intentions.

The good news is that more and more Americans don’t like it. A majority of our fellow countrymen now agree that the country is heading in the wrong direction.

How do we turn it in the right one? One way is to nominate, and then elect, politicians who will stick to their principles after they are elected. Pay attention to what they say now. And even more important, hold their feet to the fire once they get to Washington.

Nobody said it would be easy defending our liberties. But somebody’s got to do it. So it better be us.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

More Evidence We’re Losing Our Freedom

The latest Index of Economic Freedom has just come out, and the news for the United States isn’t good. The study, a joint effort of The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, concludes that economic freedom in the United States has declined again. This is the seventh year in a row this has happened.

For more than 200 years, the United States led the world in economic freedom. For many of those years, we were also the most prosperous Nation in the world, as we demonstrated that economic abundance was one of the happy consequences of economic freedom. Now, many other nations are confirming the same thing.

But we aren’t. Now, we’re not even in the top 10 of the 178 countries the study measured. Thanks a lot, Barack Obama! And Congress. And, yes, even the U.S. Supreme Court. All have been complicit in the unrelenting assaults on free enterprise in this country.

In an opinion piece in The Journal, Terry Miller, one of the study’s directors, had this to say: “It’s not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket.”

But out-of-control government spending is just one of the areas where the United States is in decline. As Miller wrote: “The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.”

So if the U.S. is losing economic freedom, how is the rest of the world doing? Believe it or not, economic freedom is actually improving in most of the world. According to the study, 114 countries of the 178 in the study enjoyed an increase in economic freedom in the past year. And some 43 countries scored their highest ranking ever in the index’s 20-year history.

Leading the list once again is Hong Kong, which scored 90.1 on the 100-point scale. Following it in the “free” category are Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand and our northern neighbor, Canada.

Rounding out the top 10 in the “mostly free” category are Chile, Mauritius, Ireland and Denmark. Then comes Estonia. The United States finally shows up next, at 12th on the list. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but even Estonia did better than the U.S. this time.

Maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. It turns out that several countries in Eastern Europe that used to be dominated by the Soviet Union are thriving now that they have embraced free-market economies. According to the study, Estonia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic are the European countries that gained the most economic freedom in the past 20 years.

Congress, are you listening?

According to the study, 18 countries in Europe have reached new highs in economic freedom. They include Germany, Sweden, Poland and Georgia. On the other hand, five countries — Greece, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Cyprus — scored lower than they did when the first index appeared 20 years ago.

No surprise on which countries are on the bottom of the list. In descending order, they are Iran, Eritrea, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Cuba and North Korea. All are known for despotic governments, government-run economies and few, if any, property rights — oh, and one other thing: the abject poverty endured by most of their citizens.

The study measures economic freedom in 10 different categories under four broad areas, which it calls the pillars of economic freedom. They are,

  1. The Rule of Law, which includes property rights and lack of corruption;
  2. Limited Government, measured by fiscal freedom and controls on government spending;
  3. Regulatory Efficiency, such as business freedom, labor freedom and monetary freedom; and finally,
  4. Open Markets, as measured by freedom to trade, investment freedom and financial freedom.

Does it really matter how a country scores on economic freedom? Absolutely!

“Countries achieving higher levels of economic freedom consistently and measurably outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity and social progress,” Miller wrote.

It is an outrage that this country, whose freedom and prosperity made us an inspiration for the world, is now measurably on the decline. The report says that the U.S. has suffered “particularly large losses in… control of government spending.” But we already knew that, didn’t we?

The latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms just how shaky things have become in the U.S. economy. While forecasters expected new jobs in December to exceed 200,000, the BLS number came in at a lowly 74,000.

Yet even with that disappointing number, the unemployment rate in this country somehow dropped 3/10 of a point, from 7 percent to 6.7 percent. How is that possible?

It turns out that nearly five times more people stopped looking for work in December than found new jobs. An estimated 347,000 Americans left the labor force and are no longer counted among the unemployed.

Clearly, there’s the solution to make the unemployment numbers look good. If enough people who don’t have jobs simply give up looking for them, unemployment in this country would drop to zero. Wouldn’t that give the Obamaites something to crow about?

The sad truth is that the actual number of people with jobs in this country — the so-called “labor participation rate” – is at a measly 62.8 percent. That’s the lowest number since 1978.

“[T]his year’s index demonstrates that the U.S. needs a drastic change in direction,” Miller wrote.

Indeed it does. But as long as Harry Reid holds the reins as Senate Majority Leader, we’re not going to get it. Happily, that could change in a big way this November, when he could receive a well-deserved demotion to Minority Leader.

I’ll have a lot more to say in coming days on the key elections that could make that happen. In the meantime, keep reminding your friends that Ronald Reagan got it right when he said: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

The latest Index of Economic Freedom confirms the wisdom of the former President’s remark. The more government gets out of the way, the more a country will prosper. The results of five years of Obama prove that the opposite is true, too.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood