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Archive for _congress

Relics of an American Past

relics-benjaminh-2015

So if you are waiting for my response on the Supreme Court’s decision last Friday, here it is. To sum up what it is really about, let me quote for you the first posting I saw on Facebook the following morning from someone I considered a friend. “The fight is far from over as long as we still have Christians in America,” as she posted a picture of James Dobson. In response, she received several likes and approving comments, many of them taking the occasion to Christian bash.

For the record, I will neither come out condemning nor condoning marriage redefinition, so as to not sully the greater point I’m trying to make. I entertained the idea of using the time to clarify the Christian doctrine of sexual discipline, but apparently such held beliefs are hateful, and it doesn’t matter how many times Christians online have tried to spell out in love and with compassion what they believe in this matter and why, they are completely ignored, misrepresented, and distorted, with few attempts by the other side to try and achieve mutual understanding. Realizing it is a lost cause, I gave up. My biggest concern now is the right of conscientious objection, and after reading that Facebook post, I believe my concerns are legitimate.

In Colorado, the legislature eventually decided to legally change the definition of marriage to include same sex individuals. While I may disagree with that ruling, I completely support the legislature’s right to do so, as that is their constitutional authority. However, it is NOT the role of the court to make such decisions.

Marriage redefinition was already spreading across the nation, with 23 states already having laws that allowed it. It was pretty easy to see that within five years, it would become legal in all 50 states. Such decisions should be left up to the states, as the Tenth Amendment clearly states. But the Supreme Court completely ran right over the Bill of Rights in this decision. For those who are celebrating the decision because you agree with it, my question is, are you okay with the fact that it came about illegally? Are you okay that you got your way by violating the Constitution, and by giving excess powers to a branch of government that should not have it, according to the Constitution? If this was a conservative decision that came about in the exact same manner, would you legitimize it like you are doing with this decision? And the biggest question now is, will you have tolerance for those whose ideas and beliefs about this subject are different than yours?

Finally, the broader point is this: Between the president’s illegal executive orders and the Supreme Court, a lot of law has been created over the past 6 years. It is the job of Congress, when this starts to happen, according to the Constitution, to be that check and balance and to bring about retribution to a lawless president and a lawless court. There are plenty of actions available to them to allow them to do this. Unfortunately, we now have an inept Congress, unwilling to speak up or act out when their rightful power is taken from them. Our founders clearly wanted laws to be created only by the representatives of the people, taken from a broad swath of the country. The president only represents one ideology, his own, and if all power is left to him, he is free to make decisions that marginalizes large portions of the republic. This is something the founders feared the most, which is why they severely limited his power in the Constitution. But if the Congress is unwilling to stand up against it, the onus is on them, and in the end, they are the ones who are making themselves obsolete, relics of a bygone era.

Sequestered

Here are a few facts.

  • Congress has not passed a budget in close to four years.
  • Congress has never denied raising the debt ceiling limit when asked.
  • When the Republicans proposed raising the ceiling to a level lower than the Democrats, they are said to be making cuts.
  • Every time we approach a new deadline, what should be done is not and Republicans and Democrats, under a spirit of beautiful and wonderful bipartisanship, pass bandaid measures that kicks the problem down the road a few more months, ensuring only that the problem will continue to grow.

ENOUGH ALREADY! STOP SPENDING!

Neither side wants to be the side to rob grandma of her means of living through entitlement cuts. This is the untrue accusation that crops up every election cycle. So neither side seems to have the political courage or moral fiber to do the right thing.

One observation I have made through all of these impending deadlines we have encountered over the past four years, from fiscal cliffs to debt ceilings, is that the Democrats seem scared to death to have the deadlines pass without another “bandaid” fix. It’s as if the Democrats don’t want the sequestering to occur and the closer to the deadline we get, the more irate they become. I find it fascinating. Why could this be? Could it be a clue for the Republicans?

The Republicans must believe that if we go into sequestering that somehow they will get the political sword for it. Certainly polls indicate that this will be the case and we’ve got a media that is more than ready to write that story and broadcast it 24/7. But if this truly was the case, then I would believe that the Democrats would be a lot more casual about these approaching deadlines. I don’t think we’d see Obama come out shaking his finger at Republicans accusing them of not being willing to come together for the good of the country. Perhaps the Democrats do have something to lose.

Here is what I suspect. This new deadline includes several mandatory cuts. What do we know about government spending? Once it starts, it’s nearly impossible to stop. It becomes an unchecked cash flow from that point forward. This sequestering will automatically stop a lot of that spending. The biggest issue I believe is not that these programs will loose money. That’s not what the Democrats are worried about. No, it’s that when the cuts do go into place, we will discover that all of that spending wasn’t necessary in the first place! Those in charge, Republicans and Democrats alike, are not allowing these deadlines to lapse. Wishful thinking, maybe, but should the cuts occur, I think it becomes much harder to sell additional spending to the general public. This could potentially pay huge dividends in the upcoming midterms.

I am sick of party allegiance. Seriously folks, I don’t care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, don’t you care about out of control spending?

Conservative Comeback

When this article was written, the TEA party was just starting to gain momentum. I do get the sense that even as Europe and France spiral into socialistic chaos, Americans are starting to swing back to conservative values. 

Of course, I loved creating this illustration, simply because of my deep love for baseball. I actually created this drawing while Rockies were playing on television. Nothing like mixing a little play and work together.

ADVANCING THECONSERVATIVE COMEBACK
By Ralph Reed

One of the most significant developments of 2011 is that conservatism, a philosophy many commentators were writing obituaries for not long ago, is making a comeback.

This is a startling turnabout. After Barack Obama’s election, Newsweek proclaimed in a cover story, “We Are All Socialists Now.” “Whether we want to admit it or not,” the editors opined, “the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state.” Democrats controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue by wide margins, and a new, youthful president in the model of JohnF. Kennedy, with a background as a community organizer, prepared to usher in a new era of progressive reform. He vowed to repeal the Bush tax cuts, close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, passh ealth care reform and cap-and-trade legislation,and end the war in Iraq.

to read more…

Look, A Recovery!

 

I know that in addition to fabulous cartoons, you, my fans, await anxiously for whatever contrived commentary I will give to compliment the cartoon. So here it goes… Drumroll, please… “This is one of my first cartoons that I’ve painted digitally. It’s quite a different technique than my normal, Adobe Illustrator, renderings. I think I kind of like it.” So there you have it.

Seriously, I cannot watch Barack Obama much anymore without nearly blowing my top. The things that come out of his mouth are almost venom. I know politics are dirty, just ask Aaron Burr, but for crying out loud, to say that capitalism has NEVER worked, and that the Republican’s way of doing things have failed us? Is he for real? How on earth did America become the most prosperous country in the world, if not for capitalism? The numbers don’t even add up. Higher unemployment, gas prices and discouragement now than when he first took office. The only thing lower are home values, which have tanked! If capitalism doesn’t work, then how does he explain the late 1800s, when capitalistic tycoons like Carnegie, and Mellan, and Vanderbilt, and Rockefeller ruled the roost, even then, American prosperity and ingenuity flourished? How does he explain that the greatest advances in science, medicine, cinema, sports and art have all come from a country built on free markets?

Then he goes on and says if it weren’t for those dern Republicans who won’t pass all his jobs bills. Huh, what? What jobs bills? Like the pipeline he shut down? That wasn’t the Republicans! Like all the rhetoric about forcing the rich to pay more? How does that create jobs? (I’ve never been hired by a poor person, just FYI) Like all the stimulus bills? Where the average, so-called, job created cost the taxpayers approximately $200,000? (according to figures put out by the Weekly Standard). Are there more job bills just like these that those evil obstructionist Republicans are refusing the pass that I’m unaware of? If so, thank God for the Republicans!

Everybody points to George Bush and blame him for all the troubles we face now. Only problem is, when you trace the start of the downturn, it just so happens to coincide with Democrats taking control of the House and Senate in 2006. Since then, they’ve been in the driver seat. That’s six years they’ve had and they celebrate at 8% unemployment! What about the 4% we enjoyed in 2006? And while they can claim we are in recovery, the results speak for themselves. As an sales person, I have seen a dramatic drop in sales since 2006 and it has not ever come back.

So what is capitalism and what is it that Obama really opposes? Another word is “free markets”. To be opposed to free markets is to be opposed to freedom. If Obama had at least said something like, “While capitalism has its positives…” I could have respected him a little more. Instead, he cannot concede even the tiniest bit, for doing so will reveal how destructive his redistribution policies are. To say the stuff that he does, I have to conclude that either he is an idiot who does not have a clue about history, or he is diabolical and doesn’t care, because it’s all about the agenda.

Listen, I’m not rich. It’s easy to envy them, and they certainly have their excesses. But I like living in a society that rewards hard work with the possibility of achieving greatness and wealth. I do not want to be punished for achievement. Success should not be immoral, but the way our president spins it, he makes it sound like it is.

Final thoughts. The Democrat Party can sit on their little mound of rocks and call it a recovery all day long, but I think the American people remember what it was like to walk along the edge of the canyon and until we get back to that point, there’s going to be a lot of turnover in Washington.

Blame a Republican

When I listen to the Media, Occupy Wallstreeters, and hard-core Liberals, all I hear is that the Republicans are to blame for everything! Can’t get a job, must be the Republicans’ fault. Don’t like the weather? Must be the Republicans’ fault. Sick of paying high gas prices? That’s definitely a Republicans’ fault, because they want to mine for domestic oil! Have an ingrown toe nail? Somehow that’s the Republicans’ fault as well.

What’s really frustrating is that we have a “blame-Republicans” president. With a Democrat congress, he’s had practically carte blanch for all his ideas for his first two years, yet every time he gets up to speak, he never talks about the issues, it’s always the Republicans fault. Remember, your misery is to be tied to the Republican party and nothing else. If you sit on your bum, smoke pot and can’t afford to buy a trip to Europe, remember class, who we are to blame?

 

 

 

Crossing the Aisle

I originally created this cartoon three years ago. It never made it to my blog for some reason, but considering all the craziness in Washington right now, today seemed as good as any to put it in.

Loop Holes

I was driving home last December when the radio announcer mentioned that our US Congress had tried to pass a bill that would legislate a fairness doctrine on the web by allowing an equal number of liberal results compared to conservative ones per topic for every first page of a search engine, irrespective of how popular those pages really are. So if you typed in George Bush, page one will, by law, be required to post just as many Bush-bashing sites as it does non-Bush-bashing sites. Of course, the law would be written in a way that the “balance” they are looking for would be subject to interpretation.

Is this a good idea? Sure, if your party is the one that is in power. But when your party is no longer the one making the decision on what web pages are deemed conservative vs liberal who knows how the balance will shake out. Is that what we want? The federal government deciding for us what we can see on our search engines. Is this not everything that the founding fathers feared? Does this not fly in the face of the first amendment that states “CONGRESS shall make no law…”

I never followed this story to know if it ever did become law or not. Considering the fact that I didn’t really hear much about it from the sundry of talk radio personalities I listen to indicates that it probably went nowhere, but the fact that it was even considered should alarm us a bit.

Chief Executor

Any similarities to Nancy Pelosi is purely incidental.

Silly Joke

Last night I couldn’t sleep because of chronic pain. It’s interesting what I come up with dead tired, writhing in pain at three in the morning. I still don’t know if this is any good or not, but I thought I’d share it.

Question: If you were to walk down the halls of congress and trip, who would catch you? The Republicans or the Democrats?

Answer: Neither. The Democrats would form a government agency designed to catch people who happen to trip in the halls of congress. It will span several bureaucracies, cost millions and will not be completed for several years. Of course, you’ll be long recovered from your fall by then, but they’ll keep the agency in place, “just in case” you happen to fall again.

The Republicans will simply tell you to catch yourself.

Health Care Promises

sworn enemies 05-01-08

“You lie!” were the shocking words uttered by South Carolina’s Joe Wilson. It reminded one a little of England’s parliamentary debates (and if you have never witnessed them, they are great entertainment.) What bothers me about the whole ordeal is not that Wilson had the gumption to speak out like that, but the response from the media and the left as a result. There is not a shortage of weblogs that are calling for Wilson’s immediate removal. Many are vocally feigning horror at the seemingly sudden so-called “loss of civility.”

All I keep thinking to myself is, really? Soooo… let me get this straight, it’s okay if Democrats vociferously boo George Bush during his State of the Union, but not okay for Republicans to voice opposition to one of Obama’s proposals? It’s okay for Harry Reid to call George Bush a liar, but not for Joe Wilson to call Obama a liar? It’s okay for Obama to use his bully pulpit to call those in opposition to his health care plan liars, and to threaten them by mentioning he will go after them, but somehow Republicans must remain silent? And when Obama says “Wee-weed up,” it’s passed off as rational speech, but when Wilson says, “you lie!” suddenly there’s no decorum? Am I the only one who sees this contradiction?

It’s politics as usual in Washington, which is something I think too many people are losing sight of. Republicans didn’t start this, nor will they finish it. My point is, let’s be rational in our response, and please, can we hold the same standards for both parties?

Don’t Touch Charity

sworn enemies 05-01-08In a recent teleconference, Barack Obama said that he would greatly reduce the amount of charitable tax deductions individuals and businesses who make over $250K can make on their tax returns in order to help pay for his health care plan. What a horribly conceived idea. This move will cripple many nonprofits across the nation.

Let’s examine why. Yes, the Bible does say give so that your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing, but the truth of the matter is, that’s not how most individuals or corporations choose to operate. When you remove the tax incentive from them, they simply will stop giving. This is unfortunate, because, as one who worked for a nonprofit for three years knows, most charities subsist on the large corporate donations. While the small $25 widow’s mites are genuinely appreciated and coveted, they do not add up enough to cover the overwhelming costs of BOTH running a small corporation as well as doling out resources like food, medicine and education, to those who need it. Most nonprofits work on skeleton budgets as it is already, with much of the staff accepting lower pay than their for-profit counterparts might receive. A lot of the fundraising efforts are spent to find the big donors who are looking for a nice tax write off. While this motivation may not be “ideal,” there is nothing government can or should do to change that.

Barack Obama must know this (or be grossly naive), so why would he propose such an idea? I have my theories.

First, charitable writeoffs take away tax dollars from what otherwise could be used by the government agencies that perform the same services. In essence, private charity is in competition with government for the same dollar, to be used, in theory, for the same purpose. If Obama removes the incentive to give to charity, that money gets funneled into the government instead, so that the government programs end up having a competitive edge over the charities. I find it interesting that when given a choice, most donors would prefer private charities to handle the problems of homelessness, sickness, feeding the hungry, providing after school programs for troubled youth. By removing the writeoffs, government puts restrictions on that choice, meaning if one wants to give to the private charity, they have to do so in addition to giving to the government programs.

The problem with government programs is the lack of competition. We all have heard of corruption occurring within various private charities through the years. The advantage, however, is that if you find an issue with one private charity, simply pull your funds and give to another that does the same job. There are countless of watchdog agencies that do their best to investigate all the various nonprofits, so that one can be an informed giver. Corruption exists because humans exist.

Government lacks that kind of oversight. When corruption occurs, one cannot choose to stop paying taxes. Even when corruption is exposed by various media groups, change is very slow to take place.

The other possible motivation for this (and I’m not saying this is Obama’s motivation, although I’m sure it certainly belongs to a few who support this legislation) is that the greatest source of nonprofits are Christian agencies. I know that there has been a concentrated effort to extinguish Christianity by lobbyists and some in congress. What is the best way to shut down any organization? Remove their source of revenue. This proposal will do just that, forcing many Christian agencies to close their doors.

Thus, I vehemently oppose this idea.

Do Not Feed the Animals

sworn enemies 05-01-08

Just… don’t do it. It’s as simple as that.

What’s good for the Country…


According to page 114 of the current Kennedy Health Care bill that Obama is pushing and is being debated right now, it exempts Congress from having to participate in it. Huh? Why would they write a provision like that if this thing is such a good idea? Oh, maybe the same reason why they don’t contribute or participate in Social Security, and why they send their kids to private schools (while denying vouchers to innercity kids.) What’s good enough for the country is not good enough for them, apparently.

2009 Spending Bill


Barack Obama promises to cut back on earmarks while he signs a spending bill laden with earmarks. That alone makes for great comedy. Don’t need to say much more after that.

2009 Congressional Stimulus Bill

John Andrews referred to this stimulus bill as the “generational theft” bill. I overhead that Mike Huckabee called it the “Congressional Relief Appropriations Package,” or CRAP for short. Whatever it is, it is a disgusting piece of legislation that is taking advantage of hard times in America to push a partisan agenda. Those who voted for this monstrosity should be ashamed.

Same Old Change

Bailout Claus

Economic Bailout Plan


I don’t know. Seems to me, from my casual, non-scientific observation, that neither liberals nor conservatives are all that crazy about all these bailout bills. So then, what is congress doing?

What about the 1st Amendment?


Ah, yes, the so called, “Fairness Doctrine.” I don’t understand why this is even up for debate. This shouldn’t be a liberal or conservative issue, Democrat or Republican. The point is, the Fairness Doctrine is a complete violation of our First Amendment rights, no matter how you look at it. (The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech. What is the Fairness Doctrine other than a law that Congress is making to control speech! What is the Fairness Doctrine? Oh! Well on that, I’ll explain).

The Fairness Doctrine is a proposal that would regulate media so that each point of view be given equal time. It would mostly apply to radio, and in that sense, talk radio. It would mean a Christian radio station would have to play equal time for the other side. (As if there is one other side.) It would mean talk radio would have to balance people like Rush Limbaugh with his opposite. It would leave tort lawyers and the courts to decide “equal” and “other side.” Most radio stations simply would stop broadcasting anything remotely controversial, just to avoid the hassle.

But Ben, the Fairness Doctrine would mean equality for all sides of an issue. Isn’t that a good thing? Not when government regulates it. I’m all for the free market deciding what should be played and what shouldn’t. If liberals want to purchase some bandwidth and broadcast their own talk radio (which they’ve done, by the way), no one’s stopping them.

But Ben, isn’t talk radio a monopoly of conservative thought? Isn’t up to the government to break monopolies? While I do support the government breaking up monopoly of BUSINESS to a degree, the government should have no right to interfere with the transfer of ideas and thought, regardless of how one sided it may appear. Look, I don’t deny that radio leans conservative. Radio leans conservative to the degree that network TV news leans liberal. In that regard there is no monopoly. Conservatives listen to the radio, liberals watch TV. And we haven’t even touched all the other forms of media, magazines, newspapers, and the mother of them all, the internet. There simply is not a monopoly of thought in this country.

Regardless of what side you are on, I hope I’ve persuaded you with this article. Free speech needs to be protected, no matter who it is that is speaking. Those in congress who are pushing the Fairness Doctrine are in direct violation of the First Amendment.

The Solution?