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Is an election a question of looking tough?

On December 19th, Rep. Richard Hanna traveled to Chenango County and visited the Wesson gun manufacturing facility south of Norwich, NY. The move was more than just routine.

I don’t question that Rep. Hanna believes in the 2nd Amendment, nor that he has spoken out against the NY Safe Act. These are positions that most Conservatives hold, and in as much as Rep. Hanna can be believed to be firm on any issue given his numerous flip-flops and “symbolic” votes, I accept his stated convictions.

The thing that troubles me about this is the photo-op. Here is the photo from CNY News

CNY News photo

So why does this bug me?

I get that Rep. Hanna wants to be seen as a everyday man – though he is a millionaire businessman and a member of Congress that regularly votes against Conservative positions (immigration, abortion, as well as NSA and drones). I get that he is trying to secure his position with the gun lobby, NRA, and voters that believe the 2nd Amendment is under attack (which I agree it is). That’s the purpose of the visit and the photo.

But I find it annoying that a Representative, that didn’t bother to visit Wesson or Remington in the beginning of 2013 when President Obama was issuing 23 Executive Orders to restrict gun ownership, is using the image as if the public didn’t notice his relative silence. I find it annoying that he is taking time to visit a County he rarely has shown any concern about prior to coming under challenge for the 2014 election.

Call me shallow, but when it comes to gun restrictions I expect a Representative to do more than say that protecting Remington Arms is only about jobs. I expect a Representative that stands for the 2nd Amendment to have a firm opinion why Executive Orders limiting freedoms is wrong and not to say,

“I want to talk about it. No, I don’t have an opinion about it just yet.” – January 13, 2013

Most of all, I don’t want a Representative that works at looking tough in a photo with a few firearms in the foreground in an article with no real content – essentially just a fluff piece to tout him as an advocate to a specific group of voters, in my opinion.

I’d rather a Representative that can actually fight to get a bipartisan politically neutral Bill like HR 2310 (which helps provide gravestones to Reservists that gave the ultimate sacrifice of their life to this nation) get passed – or at the very least supported by the 89 members of Congress that are all former military, which does not include Rep. Hanna who never served in the military in any capacity. Currently it is supported by 5 former members of the military, and I wonder why its so few?

But maybe winning the primary in 2014 and going to Congress to actually represent the voice of the NY-22 is all about good photo ops, as is the example Rep. Hanna is making apparently. Perhaps, if Rep. Hanna were an example to be followed, all it takes is a photo that makes a candidate look tough. In that case, all I have to offer is this…

USMC 1987

2013: a year of forgetable triumphs and memorable failures

2013 started the year on somber tones – the loss of children in the Sandy Hook shooting was still very fresh in the mind of the nation. Equally as memorable were the lingering questions about what happened at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It was the beginning of the 2nd term of President Obama. The transition promised in 2007 was mere moments away, in the eyes of Liberals and fears of Conservatives.

At the beginning of the year, Congress was at 15% approval. A rating that was well earned due to the gridlock in Washington D.C. It was not only a feature of the 1st Obama Administration, it was a guarantee to continue based on the unchanged chasm that separated the Republican led House of Representatives, the Democrat led Senate, and a President who had many promises but little to show for them.

Thus, the year started with an assault on the 2nd Amendment. For the “good” of the nation, to “protect” our children, the President circumvented Congress and enacted 23 Executive Orders to create gun restriction laws. A use of Executive Orders that a Senator named Barack Obama denounced President G. W. Bush for even considering on 2008. Actions that even VP Biden admitted (though little covered by the major news media)

At the same time, Congress expressed its unwillingness to do its job in regard to fiscal responsibility with the enactment of HR 8. Government spending increased, taxes increased by $41 for a mere $1 of increased spending reductions. The road to fiscal instability was set and confirmed.

All of which meant that while Congress succeeded in avoiding the “fiscal cliff” of 2012 it failed horribly to address the long-term danger that the national debt posses to the nation. That the President succeeded in providing the delusion of safety, while failing to impede the criminal or criminally insane from their actions and yet criminalized law-abiding citizens that never posed a problem in the first place.

If that were all that 2013 did to America it would have been bad enough. But with a steady and increasing pace we learned that it would get far worse. In fact on January 20, 2013 I made a statement that would prove to be the summation of the year

“What is our path?

Fiscal unsustainability, modified by international instability, adjusted for an ever growing centralized Government power on the backs of ever fewer individual freedoms and Rights, wrapped by political gridlock and a pursuit of the best intentions that lead to… well you know the saying.”

But the specter of an immigration reform that rewarded violation of our laws edged closer to reality. A process that would continue, in ebbs and flows, throughout the year. While no final course has been set, the path that we are approaching in 2014 seems to lead to a politics backed law that negates the rule of law and needed reforms.

Separately, North Korea followed by Syria and then Iran, all took their places at the forefront of international politics. Each with the terror of weapons of mass destruction as a critical component of how we reacted. And in order, we effectively ignored North Korea, threatened unilaterally Syria, and capitulated to Iran. Hardly actions of a strong defender of democracy across the globe. Actions that concerned, angered, and distanced our international allies while emboldening our enemies.

In fact it can be well argued, and Israel is making that argument, that our actions have done more to destabilize world peace in the long run than even produce a short-term calm. Chemical weapons are (allegedly) being used by those we supported in Syria, North Korea continues to advance its nuclear arms, and Iran seems destined to become a nuclear power sooner than later (though their promises of a lack of interest in nuclear bombs belies the untruth they have proven to speak in past promises).

On the fringe of all these major headlines (not even to the middle of the year for most of this) there was the terrifying question of what our Government is doing with Drones – aerial unmanned vehicles. We learned early on that our Government sought, and possibly gained approval from the DOJ, to kill U.S. citizens abroad – via drone strikes and without trial or forewarning – for actions they may or may not even be aware of. An issue that was sadly forgotten before the 2nd Quarter even started, as the Drone Caucus (which includes Rep. Richard Hanna) continued to march the nation towards unlimited use of drones domestically [More on that in a bit].

Also on the fringe, there were the early promises of tax reform and infrastructure reform (which every year since 2009 has been called by a new catch phrase – “shovel-ready jobs”, “infrastructure investments”, “fix-it-first”, and so on). There were promises of a bloom of renewable energy jobs and global warming (or climate change as the new phrase) prevention – which were based on a desired outcome even in the face of a reality that confirmed without question that the jobs were not blooming and that climate change was infeasable at best and ineffective regardless of action.

Add to this even more Commissions. To support American manufacturing as of the State of the Union (that went nowhere from that moment on), then on the NSA and the Affordable Care Act as the year waned. But like Bowles-Simpson and the President’s Job Council, the answers that would be provided ensured no real action from Government nor the Congress. While some may hold hope for results in 2014, history has shown that regardless of the determinations made, the Obama Administration and Congress only regard these Commissions as a means to politically ensure re-election and maintaining political powerbases.

All of this and we still have failed to even reach the middle of 2013 overall.

But let’s skip to the middle of the year. Scandals and Government overreach, with a Congress that was locked in gridlock with representatives that were either unwilling or too calculating to take positions until the political math of the situation was clear.

Take your pick. There was the continuing inconsistent answers on Benghazi – with a complete lack of accountability for anyone that was publicly even tangentially connected to the fiasco. There were the revelations of the abuses by the NSA, domestically and internationally, that drew public outrage while some politicians flip-flopped and obfuscated their position (I specifically will point out Rep. Richard Hanna). There was the rush to unilaterally engage in essentially an act of war against Syria – instigated by the President, over the objection of the public and for once most of the Congress (at least those that took a position).

The Benghazi attack is now being brushed aside as a false distraction while legitimate questions remain. The NSA continues to wield power that at least one Court believes is unconstitutional, even as the findings of a Commission is being evaluated without even a hint of promise a single recommendation will be enacted. Syria remains embroiled in a war, with both sides having chemical weapons, neither side pleased with America, and our nation embarrassingly dragged into an agreement that lessened our stature and international standing.

Plus there are the revelations that The FBI, DEA, and other Agencies of the Government have been using drones domestically – without a shred or clarity on how they have been used, if abuse has occurred, or any impact of the legality of their use – since 2006. Sadly, there is also the delusion lifting reality that mass shootings continue to exist unabated – just as VP Biden promised, even as freedoms were restricted.

Which leaves only the Government shutdown and Obamacare.

The fiscal ineptitude of Congress manifested itself in a attempt to remove Obamacare – based on the fear of its inability to achieve the goals that it promised, and the freedoms it sacrificed. This was not a universal move – it was pushed by Republicans that had voted repeatedly to remove Obamacare (well those that did not abandon the votes they had made – again I specifically point out Rep. Hanna). It resulted in a limited shutdown, that was emphasized by drastic measures meant to create an emotional backlash and result in a political win for Democrats (much like the Sequester, but this time done effectively).

The result was a Congressional approval rate of 8%, a political loss for Republicans, and ultimately a budget deal that increases deficit spending, grows the national debt, expands the size of Government, all for a promise of a future reduction in future increased spending. The reality is that the addiction of Government to spending taxpayer money they have yet to earn remains the only constant regardless of political party.

As for Obamacare, well, the description of failure is a compliment. Perhaps the quote of President Obama – labeled as the Lie of the Year – puts it into context

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”

No, millions cannot. The President, and Democrats in general according to Sen. Gillibrand of NY, knew it years ago. In addition we learned the President, knew that the Healthcare.gov website would fail the moment it was unveiled. That many of the fears of Conservatives were absolutely true and correct. That for the hundreds of millions of dollars in over-budget spending that was allocated and spent, untold tens (maybe hundreds) of millions more would need to be spent to even be moderately functional.

At the end of the day, and year, with deadlines made and passed by, the website that is the hub of all that Obamacare (or the Affordable Care Act – the name changes with the popularity of the program) was promised to be continues to fail to be 100% operational. Essential targets of young and health Americans signing up for the program have failed to be met (by enormous proportions). Attempts to appease the public have resulted in attempts to usurp power from Congress (President Obama “allowing” plans that legally cannot exist to continue).

All of this while an Obama Administration struggles to prop up dubious and insignificant facts (numbers of visitors to the website), rewords clearly stated and recorded facts (see the Lie of the Year), and shrugs off detailed and absolute calculations of requirements (numbers signed by specific dates), and claim success where abject unmitigated undeniable failure is apparent even in the eyes of the most Left and unwavering of supporters (like Jon Stewart).

The result of 2013 has been the equivalent of a boil on the arse of the nation.

At every turn the public has been failed. From the Executive Branch and the Legislative. From politicians at various levels. From mismanagement and fiscal irresponsibility. From abuse and overreach of powers. From limits and restrictions of freedom.

For all of this, 2013 has been a year where the only memories that Government has provided are of ineptitude and uncompromising failure. Each claim of success has been met with an ever greater misstep and decline.

The only thing that is a positive is the hope that in 2014 the nation cannot fall as far as it already has. That with the mid-term elections of Congress and various State and local races, there might be some hope of regaining accountability, responsibility, fiscal austerity, and protection of freedoms that are essential to the continuation of the nation.

2014 could be a year of great upheaval in Congress, which would mean great change in Government – whether the political parties like it or not. It could be a year where Government regains its limitations, improves its confidence with the American public, and rises from the mire of its current international standing. 2014 could be all of this…

But that will be a different summation, for a different day.

Government addiction to spending and waste are the problem with national debt

When I wrote about the issues that I believe are critical for the NY-22 and the nation in 2014, I included the national debt and deficit. I stated,

“So not only do we need a real budget, we need a budget that is realistic in containing the Government to spending levels that are effective.”

I was speaking about the $17 trillion in debt that continues to grow every minute. I was speaking about Congress, and their unwillingness to stop spending more deficit money than dozens of countries combined can earn in a single year. A refusal to seriously address a problem that has only one clear path – becoming Greece or worse. I also offered my solution, freezing the budget at current levels while cutting spending 10% across the board.

But I had no idea at the time that the solution could even more simple than that, according to Sen. Coburn.

Government spending is not just a Democrat issue, though the current Administration has done more to burden the nation in 4 years than almost all prior Administrations combined. It’s a Republican issue too, as the Ryan-Murray deal highlights: the limits of the Sequester have been thrown away, to be addressed by some other Congress 10 years from now, if ever.

Sen. Tom Coburn said it as clearly as it can be stated,

“Most members of Congress are more interested in getting themselves re-elected than they are in fixing what’s wrong with the country.”

He also said,

“The nearly $30 billion in questionable and lower-priority spending in Wastebook 2013 is a small fraction of the more than $200 billion we throw away every year through fraud, waste, duplication and mismanagement. There is more than enough stupidity and incompetence in government to allow us to live well below the budget caps. What’s lacking is the common sense and courage in Washington to make those choices — and passage of fiscally-responsible spending bills — possible.”

The Wastebook that the Senator refers to is a compilation of some of the most useless, nonsensical, and pork-barrel of deficit spending that our Government engages in. Willfully enforced by Congress, to enable members of Congress to maintain their positions of power (almost as if they were a nobility) without concern for constituents or the fiscal future of the nation.

Examples of the wasted money that the US spent in 2013 alone, that in total exceeded the combined GDP (2012) of Jamaica and Iceland combined:

  • NASA gave a $124,955 grant to Arjun Contractor, a mechanical engineer with a small company hoping to build a 3-D pizza printer.
  • The State Department spent $630,000 to attract followers to its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • $50 million to National Technical Information Services, an agency that charges for reports that often can be found for free through a Google search.
  • $65 million has been used by New York and New Jersey for tourism ads while only one person in Staten Island, as of October, received housing assistance despite passing a bill in January to provide $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy relief.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities in celebrating the 75th anniversary of the debut of Superman, spent $825 million over 3 years ($125 million in 2013 alone) on a documentary on superheroes.
  • $1.5 billion to keep the lights on in unused or underutilized federal buildings.

    The list goes on and on. Which does not include the $319 million spent on the Healthcare.gov website, or the unknown amount of emergency spending to get the website to actually work, or the estimated additional $600 million that will be spent to try to convince the public that they should use the site.

    In fact, if just the waste of 2013 – just the $30 billion in the Wastebook alone – were saved, it would result in more savings than the Ryan-Murray deal (that passed the House and Senate – thank you Rep. Hanna, Sen. Schumer and Sen. Gillibrand) will do in 10 years. Which goes to how serious is Congress about the fiscal stability of the nation? Sen. Coburn answered that question from CBS News

    “They don’t pay attention to it. It’s hard work to get rid of junk, it’s hard work to do oversight, it’s hard work to hold the agencies accountable. And so what they would rather do is look good at home, get re-elected, and continue to spend money, and that’s Republican and Democrat alike.”

    If, after the elections in 2014, serious people who are actually dedicated to being fiscally responsible and accountable to constituents – or in other words almost none of the incumbents currently in either house of Congress in my opinion – were to enact laws to save the $200 billion that Sen. Coburn estimates is the minimum being wasted each year in America (almost the 10% I suggested as a solution) there would be no need for a Ryan-Murray budget deal. In fact, progress on paying off the debt would for the first time take place.

    I will say this, it is refreshing to see the validation of the solution I proposed to resolve the spending addiction that Congress and the Government has at this time. The national debt and deficit can be resolved, if we have elected officials that are willing to work as hard as constituents that fund this wasteful spending via their taxes.

    In 2014 we can have that fiscal Conservative who will fight to restrict the waste, and respect the financial futures of our children and grandchildren. Visit www.MichaelVasquezforCongress.com to learn more and lend your support.

  • You are invited…

    Given is the fact that everyone is getting ready for Christmas and the holidays. Given is the fact that thoughts about 2014, let alone politics, is far from the minds of most Americans. Yet, we plan today to do more tomorrow.

    Barbeque ribs

    Thus, I warmly invite everyone that is interested in a good meal to the VFW Post 1449 at 103 Nanticoke Ave. Endicott, NY on January 17, 2014.

    Starting at 5:00pm there will be a BBQ Rib Dinner available – 1 pound (precooked) of Country-style barbeque ribs, green beans, and Country-style fries – all for $10. Assorted desserts will be available too. All who attend are sure to be well-fed. It’s like a slice of summer in the middle of a New York winter.

    Don’t let the politics put you off, you can come and enjoy the meal by itself.

    For those that do have an interest in how and who is representing the NY-22, I will be at the event and open to your questions. Please take the opportunity to lean more about me, why I am running, and what I plan to do if elected.

    Advance tickets are available now – you can call Roger Bensley at (607) 785-7071, of the staff at Friends to Elect Michael Vasquez to Congress at (607) 242-9247 to get your tickets.

    You can also let us know if you plan to attend via Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/MichaelVasquezForCongress). Please try to let us know in advance if possible as we do not want to waste any food, and we want everyone to have a meal if they want one.

    The event is being given by Friends to Elect Michael Vasquez to Congress. Proceeds from the event will go to my effort to become the representative of the 22nd Congressional District. If you wish donations, separate of the meal, can be made for $25, $50, up to $2,600.

    Please share this with anyone that enjoys BBQ ribs, good people, and a great time.

    Is your Representative prepared to help you in 2014?

    The political landscape for 2014 is beginning to take shape, and much like the reality of the biggest lie of 2013 you can keep your doctor it is not what many are expecting. As is being reported, and discussed, at Politico and Wall Street Journal (among other news sources) President Obama and the far-left (Progressives) of the Democrat Party are preparing to push the nation to the left. This is an effort to prepare for 2016, while the general public is not paying attention to politics even for 2014 yet. Is your Representative in Congress ready? Will they do anything to protect your interests?

    Politico reports that,

    “He’s [President Obama] connecting to progressive populism with an aggressive, spending-oriented, activist government approach to the economy personified by Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio.”

    Before I go further, what does that mean? In real world terms, the President is going to promote increased spending on entitlements and issues that are backed by the far-left (like abortion, amnesty for illegal aliens, gun restrictions, ect). Spending that will exceed the current budget deal passed in the House of Representatives (Rep. Richard Hanna voted for this) that removes the cap on spending imposed by the Sequester – which was enacted because Congress spends money like a crack addict smokes crack.

    The justification for taking the stereotype of Democrat deficit spending and pushing it to warp drive is the election of Bill De Blasio in NYC and Sen Elizabeth Warren in MA. Which the Wall Street Journal points out,

    “While New Yorkers think of their city as the center of the universe, the last time its mayor won a race for governor or senator—let alone president—was 1869. For the past 144 years, what has happened in the Big Apple stayed in the Big Apple. Some liberals believe Sen. Warren would be the Democratic Party’s strongest presidential candidate in 2016. But what works in midnight-blue Massachusetts—a state that has had a Republican senator for a total of 152 weeks since 1979—hasn’t sold on a national level since 1960.”

    Still, the spending will be framed in the most eloquent and popular way possible. We are already seeing it. Democrats have won a major hurdle in having the restrictions of the Sequester lifted off their backs – with a 2 year increase in the budget (and deficit) to go with it. The rally cry for an increase in the minimum wage – which does not create jobs but creates pressure against new jobs – is already being heard. But expect the 2014 State of the Union to really set the tone of spending without limits, or money.

    Why is this going to be done? To maintain the vital block of votes that brought victory to President Obama 2x – young people, African-Americans, Latinos, single women and immigrants – so that Democrats can maintain (or they hope to grow) their political power. This isn’t about helping the public as much as it is about a powerbase for 2016.

    The sweetner will be Social Security. The plan is to propose an increase in benefits – though how to pay for it is vague. The closest thing to a plan is from Sen. Warren who wants to increase taxes on the youth and businesses – but that isn’t being discussed in the rally speeches. Kind of like how the millions of cancellations that Dems knew about (as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand casually noted on ABC News) for years and failed to explain to constituents.

    But as the President prepares to launch his spending spree with a credit card paid for by our grandchildren, really keep in mind his justification (the one he will give the public, not the preparation for 2014 and 2016 elections),

    “I am convinced that the decisions we make on these issues over the next few years will determine whether or not our children will grow up in an America where opportunity is real.”

    I do believe that these decision will affect us, our kids, and our grandchildren – just for starters. Depending on interest rates, and how long we can kick the national debt down the road (at least until another downgrade of our national credit rating), the impact only gets worse given time.

    But as to my original question, do you have a Representative that will ride the far-left wave, or sit on a fence waiting to see what way will lead to re-election, or someone that will vocally stand up and fight for the common sense the public has but Congress and the White House lost decades ago?

    For the NY-22, that is a real question. Our current Representative, Richard Hanna, has a history of flip-flops going back to at least 2010 according to Time Magazine. His penchant for symbolic votes does not help raise assurance of where he stands. His drive to increase H1B Visas, and give 160,000 jobs to immigrants in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields is also a problem. Don’t take my word for it, you can review his voting record (the parts he has not tried to removed from being seen by the public) and what little he has publicly said, for yourself.

    What America, and the New York 22nd Congressional District, needs are people that understand that the consequences of what Congress and the White House does or does not do has a real and direct impact on constituents. We need someone that is accountable, and reliable. Someone that we clearly know where they stand and what they will do for us.

    The other option, is what we have seen so far. We can watch as the approval rate for Congress goes even lower than 9%. We can watch as the next scandal becomes the White House and Dems admitting they knew taxes would go higher to cover entitlement spending with money from the deficit. We can watch as the promise of jobs being priority #1 is once again stated, only to be ignored and ineffective.

    I offer myself as that Representative for the NY-22. My positions are clear, and have been for the years that I have written political commentary and paid attention to what Congress and the White house has been doing. Like the constituents of the 22nd Congressional District, I know what it is like to work hard, pay bills, have a mortgage, and have to pay ever higher taxes and not see any results for the money that has been taken.

    Visit www.MichaelVasquezforCongress.com. Come out and hear me speak. Ask me questions. Look at the voting record of the incumbent. Then do what you think is best. But don’t forget, the plan for 2014 and 2016 is already being made. Your vote matters.

    Benghazi then and now – no answers, no accountability

    There are issues that face our nation that demand answers. Issues that affect our nation in its ability to conduct effective diplomatic actions, as well as reflect our nations willingness to defend our people and priorities. One such issue has been, and continues to be, the Benghazi attack on our consulate in Libya.

    While this is not a top headline issue for the media, I have had many people across the New York 22nd Congressional District ask me where I stand on this issue. I have been asked what I would do, if elected, about this.

    First, I will address what the incumbent has done. Rep. Richard Hanna was contacted directly by M V Consulting, Inc (the company I own, which maintains the political commentary site www.mvass.com) and Binghamton Political Buzz Examiner (where I am a reporter/commentator until announcing my run for Congress) on November 15, 2012 about Benghazi. This was along with Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand.

    The letter highlighted several concerns at the time, that remain concerns today. One question that Rep. Hanna was asked to respond to was:

    The attack on the consulate took more than 6 hours from start to finish. During that time nearby military bases sent no support troops, air gunships in the region provided no support, and CIA operatives 1 mile from the consulate were told to stand down efforts to support the consulate at least 2x. Further, air support to remove a terrorist mortar position went unheeded leading to a mortar attack that likely killed at least 1 American…

    What, therefore, are you doing to help resolve this issue to the benefit of constituents overseas, their families stateside, and the nation as a whole?

    As of 12/10/13, neither M V Consulting, Binghamton Political Examiner, nor myself directly have received a response from Rep. Hanna nor any other member of Congress we sent the letter to.

    Further, on 1/18/13, H Res 36 was presented in the House of Representatives. It’s goal is to create a special committee to resolve key issues about what happened in Benghazi and the impact on the nation. In part it would seek to:

    (4) how the relevant agencies and the executive branch responded to the attack and whether appropriate congressional notifications were made;
    (5) any improper conduct by officials relating to the attack;
    (6) recommendations on what steps Congress and the President should take to prevent future attack; and
    (7) any other relevant issues relating to the attack or the response to the attack.

    Rep. Richard Hanna does NOT support this measure. As of June 24, 2013 Rep. Hanna was on of 73 Republican members that was identified as still holding out. As of this being written Rep. Hanna continues to not support H Res 36, and any resolution it could bring to the benefit of Americans overseas that are serving the interests of the nation.

    At this time, a Google search of Rep. Richard Hanna Benghazi finds 4,600,000 results of which none in the top 5 pages shows a single comment from Rep. Hanna on this issue and where he stands.

    That is the representation constituents of the NY-22 are getting at this time on the Benghazi issue. I do not believe this reflects what the public wants done, nor is it in the best interest of the nation in my opinion.

    I believe that support for H Res 36 should be vocal and clear. This is an issue that may be affecting all our Ambassadors and Embassies across the globe. Members of Congress have an obligation to determine if the murder of our Ambassador and 3 Americans is a systemic problem, a failure of leadership at various Government organizations, or a combination of the 2.

    America cannot ask citizens to voluntarily place themselves in harm’s way, so that they can act in the best interest of the nation diplomatically, without providing a credible and genuine assurance that if another Benghazi-styled attack were to occur they will be protected. Such assurance is deeply in question today.

    As of this writing, no one has been held accountable for the Benghazi attack on our consulate. There has been no impact in the State Department, Homeland Security, CIA, military, or any other Agency of the Government. All those initially brought before Congress, and those that were temporarily suspended, are back to work without reprimand at this time (with the exception of then-Secretary of State Clinton, who has moved on to seek other political ambitions apparently).

    There has been, effectively, zero accountability. At the same time, there remains no answer on whether or not this tragedy was cause by a systemic problem, a failure of leadership (and/or how high that failure went up the chain of command), or a combination of both. This is unacceptable.

    I believe that our Representative should be acting like Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina

    If elected, I would support Rep. Gowdy and other members of Congress in there effort to answer these questions and provide accountability. I will support providing answers and accountability – including prosecution where needed – so that every American working in our Embassies across the world can do so with the credible assurance that we will never allow an attack like Benghazi to occur again. I will actively work to provide answers to the media and the public, on this and other issues that the American people expect and deserve a forthright answer on.

    That is one of the differences between Rep. Hanna and myself. I invite you to www.MichaelVasquezforCongress.com to learn more about be, and lend me your support if you agree that we deserve better from a Representative in Congress in 2014.

    Obamacare isn’t racist, but Melissa Harris Perry may be

    This is my personal opinion, you may or may not agree, but thankfully we are in America and it’s still ok to share what you think (unless you are Conservative, and then you are apparently just racist). Read at your own peril.

    I have just seen a video of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry, expounding on the racist connotations of Obamacare. The word, not the Affordable Care Act itself. It has to be seen to be believed.

    Now I must admit that I am no fan of MSNBC. I rarely watch that cable news network, mostly for its visibly biased and inaccurate information. Thus I am unaware of Ms. Harris status as a journalist or if she is just a commentator. I will give the benefit of doubt and assume the latter.

    In just 4 minutes 29 seconds, Ms. Perry succeeded in embarrassing a swath of America, inflamed racial tensions, was blatantly cheerleading an Administration, and lowered the bar on whatever credibility MSNBC might presume to have.

    The embarrassment is not for Republicans and Conservatives. It’s for those of us that believe the “sista-gurl” stereotype is a caricature of Black women. Those of us that believe sophistication, education, and eloquence are 3 vital things missing from the youth and our modern culture of lowest-common denominator.

    Perhaps Ms. Perry was playing to the cheap seats. Those with the least expectations of standards in presenting opinions on the news. Perhaps she was hoping to elicit an emotional reaction. Whatever the reason, this was abysmal.

    To call the signature legislative accomplishment of a President by that President’s name is no more racist than Reaganomics. For those not shackled by the constraints of Common Core, a brief look at history will denote several President’s linked (good and bad) to their legislative agenda and political manifestos. Without another word, the premise for what Ms. Harris has to say ends there. But let’s go further – she sure did.

    Obamacare, or ACA, or Health Care Reform, whatever the name is without racial content. Healthcare is not defined nor confined to race – until now. To inject race in something that has no racial context is to be racist. This is especially true if the only purpose of such action is to inflame emotions and reap a political reward for such emotion-based action.

    Ms. Harris seeks to confuse and obfuscate valid, logical, and important debate on ACA (Obamacare) and the record of President Obama in a haze of racial prejudice. The theme appears to be that any retort must be in support of racial prejudice since Ms. Harris has now attached race to the subject. In fact she is trying to attack the 1st Amendment Rights of viewers, and eliminate political opposition at the expense of the very same group of people this is aimed at.

    Ms. Perry assumes that

    “The unwritten rule is that African Americans must be Liberal and/or Democrats. That they as a whole and as individuals must vote and speak in support of Democrats and President Obama in particular. That to do anything else is a betrayal of race, and akin to an atrocity.”

    I’m not sorry Ms. Perry, I have a mind. I can read the facts, can remember the promises made, and can assign blame without the help of a biased MSNBC commentator or an imaginary rule that denies me the Rights far too many died and bled to ensure I can exercise.

    The facts that Ms. Harris omitted. The Obamacare website is still not 100% operational; not for those signing up, and certainly not for the insurance companies on the back end. Obamcare does not address a primary factor affecting healthcare cost – frivolous malpractice lawsuits. Obamacare is not deficit neutral. Obamacare does not allow for true (interstate) competition. Obamacare is not healthcare, but catastrophic care. Most importantly of all, Obamacare places the right of Government over the Rights of the governed.

    To negate these real and important facts is to delude the public. Worse, to do so under a pretense of race is to actively incite part of the public for no reason other than to prop up a President who is rightly being blamed for the failures of his Administration, and his own words – “You can keep your doctor. Period.”

    What Ms. Harris has done, in her professional ebonics mash-up insult was the intelligence of all Americans, add yet another layer of complication to any discussion to remedy the failures of Obamacare, and reinforce maybe half a dozen stereotypes that millions of parents, professionals, and children are fighting against daily.

    President Obama is visibly Black (heritage aside for the moment). That does NOT mean that by default a well-reasoned, fact based, logical argument against his policies devolves to an oversimplification of racial-bias. Being Black did not cause President Obama to violate the War Powers Act in attacking Libya, nor was it a factor in trying to initiate hostilities unilaterally against Syria. Being Black was not a factor in the fastest growth in debt the nation has ever seen. Being Black had no ramification in being absentee while the Justice Department, NSA, and IRS (to name just a few) abused their powers. Being Black was not a factor in lying to the public, or failing to hold accountable anyone involved in the Benghazi attack.

    These are all, and I am just skipping through a quick list, actions made by a man who was elected President. The color of his skin neither improved nor forgave any of these things. To try to say otherwise, just because Ms. Perry desperately wants pres. Obama to have a positive legacy, does not make it so. Neither does mentioning these realities make anyone else racist.

    Ms. Perry owes America an apology. So does MSNBC. But what is far more likely is that defenders of President Obama and Ms. Perry will likely call me a racist. But I will not cower in the face of a label without justification, empowering a deceit that does more to harm America than actually highlight a real problem that does exist in America.

    Some will cry wolf, others racist. In the end all it does is enable true racism, and obfuscate the failure of a Presidency that is all too apparent.

    Does it matter when politicians lie?

    Everyone knows politicians lie. Politicians say one thing and vote another, they misstate facts and omit pertinent facts. Sometimes they even forget to correct public statements their staff makes on their behalf. These are things everyone accepts as truth. But does it matter?

    That was the question posed to me as I discussed (via Facebook) the latest revelation that President Obama, via his staff apparently, failed to corrected the record about his uncle. Omar Obama was said, by White House staff and never corrected by the President, to have never met President Obama. Now we know that they not only met, they lived in the same household and spoke continuously – up until 10 years ago (conspicuously just as Barack Obama gained in stature in politics).

    This wouldn’t matter except Omar Obama is a 50 year illegal alien in this nation. Something that could have affected the Presidents ability to be re-elected, and efforts to reform immigration as Democrats are pushing for.

    The reason given why it doesn’t matter is because it doesn’t affect anyone, nor does it change anything. That’s what many people feel about most lies and misstatements by politicians. Since they don’t feel an impact, it doesn’t matter at all.

    I disagree.

    In the case of President Obama, the impact is not direct and immediate but it does affect everyone in the nation. First, if it was known when the Boston Globe did its article in Jan 2012 the debate on immigration reform may have taken a different turn. Republicans would have continued to emphasize a need to make illegal aliens accountable for their actions, and Democrats would have had to buckle – maybe – from the public backlash. Either way, the debate on how to reform immigration would have been more intense, addressing the value of long-term illegal aliens, and the need to have accountability in law.

    Second, the impact to America would be very different. Not on a direct level, but in dealing with our allies. How much trust can England or Israel have in President Obama when it is disclosed that mistruths are being made about such little things. Is the White House being honest about how it wants to deal with Iran and nukes? What are the real agreements being made with Russia about Syria and the Middle East?

    If President Obama is willing to allow a lie about his past to be fed to the public (and consciously omits facts like millions of Americans won’t keep their doctor) then how much trust can any nation have trust in America when making private deals about international stability that requires absolute trust? Such obvious lies add to distrust making international politics that much harder and the world that much more unstable.

    The public doesn’t feel that directly, or immediately, but we feel it when such distrust explodes with other catalysts, and a war breaks out or an Ambassador dies or a trade deal doesn’t get done.

    This is also true at the level of Congress. As an example, Rep. Richard Hanna – current incumbent of the NY-22 – has flipflopped on immigration, and lied when he said he voted for restricting the NSA from abusing its power. This affects other Republicans in Congress. Can they trust Rep. Hanna? Will he back their efforts? Does he truly support the issues they believe in, or will he support the other side? How can you be sure?

    Consider that Rep. Hanna has made multiple votes to defund and delay Obamacare – that he has described in video interview as “symbolic” votes. Such votes implied support to try to remove Obamacare (or the ACA if you prefer) via shutdown, for the benefit of a nation that never wanted the Affordable Care Act. But then Rep. Hanna folded his position, as was widely reported, almost before the shutdown occured and immediately after it started.

    How much trust can other Congressmen have in the commitment that Rep. Hanna has on any issue he claims to support? If Rep. Hanna is willing to undermine support on major issues, and misstate facts to constituents, what will he do to other members of Congress? What deal can be sure to have his support, especially if the vote is close?

    Such lies build mistrust, which some may argue is why a simple and non-partisan Bill, like H Res 134 (Congress condemning N. Korea for its aggression) or HR 2310 (to get headstones for Reserve military that have died in combat), have failed to become law. Which doesn’t impact the public directly as a whole, but indirectly affects millions.

    Lies, misstatements, omissions of truth and attempts to cover up all of the former affect the nation, even if the result is not immediately apparent. Whether its the cost of imports, the loss of jobs to overseas competition, the threat and fact of war and conflict, or even the burden placed on the loved ones of the soldiers that have paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we all enjoy, we all feel the result of elected politicians that are duplicitous.

    So does it matter if a politician lies, or flip flops on an issue, or omits all the facts? It always matters, its just whether or not you notice the cost before or after an election that many of these types of politicians are concerned with.

    I believe that we need to make all politicians accountable, especially when they fail the public trust.

    Are all Republicans the same?

    If you want an honest answer to the headline, read all of this.

    In the news item done by YNN on December 2, 2013, the candidates for the New York 22nd Congressional District (including myself) were painted with a broad and eerily similar brush. The depiction was one that seemed to imply that there is no difference between Rep. Richard Hanna, myself, or any other Republican. Which is silly.

    The implication, which may have been unintentional, is like saying that there is no difference between Gov. Chris Christie, Rep. Rand Paul and President G. W. Bush. Or put another way, President Jimmy Carter, President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama and President John F. Kennedy were the exact same Democrat. It’s preposterous at every level.

    But the brush can be painted on any number of candidates and incumbents of the same political party. Many of the same beliefs will of course be a common thread. Many of the same issues will of course be part of the platform (a question that I can directly state was never asked of me in the YNN interview). The question for voters is not what is the same, but what is the difference – unless there is a purpose to blur what is being presented. But that is a question for another day, and very unclear.

    What makes a candidate different is their experience, their convictions, and what they believe is their motivation for elected office, in my opinion.

    Representative Richard Hanna presents himself as a staunch Conservative and Republican. That’s what he ran on in 2010, and helped him get elected in a wave of Tea Party support and Conservatism. But he himself has said, in 2010 to Time Magazine and in other media since (National journal rankings for one), that he is not a Conservative but a Moderate.

    Rep. Hanna is firm in his opposition of Obamacare, except he has clearly stated in a little viewed interview on Youtube (Minute 1:10 – 1:58) that his votes are merely symbolic. Worse yet, when faced with standing by the conviction of his votes Rep. Hanna folded,

    Hanna was one of two Republicans who voted against delaying Obamacare…”

    “Only two Republicans, both from New York — Reps. Chris Gibson and Richard Hanna —broke ranks with their party to oppose the one-year delay in Obamacare. Both had backed the previous government funding bill defunding Obamacare entirely.”

    Something numerous news media noted immediately.

    Rep. Hanna believes, apparently, that drones are essential to domestic security. Yet he is willing to invite abuse by not seeking to restrict the way they will be used, which is essentially selling the 4th Amendment for a literal handful of jobs as I see it.

    Rep. Hanna is more than willing to sit on the sidelines, without opinion in the face of clearly expressed opinion from constituents, the nation, and in some cases the globe – as he did as President Obama sought to take unilateral action in Syria (against the will of the public, much of Congress, and even international allies).

    This is the Republican that I am running against in the 2014 New York election. And there is very little that is similar.

    I am a fiscal Conservative because I believe that a Government should be, at the least, as careful with its spending as the people it represents. I am Conservative because I believe that the Constitution and Amendments are not just a list of ideals, but guidelines to preserve freedoms in a way that no other nation as done. I am a Republican because I believe that the ingenuity and innovation of individuals always surpasses that of Government, and advances the world. I believe these things strongly enough to have served my country in military service, and to speak out in commentary for the world to see and discuss.

    I oppose Obamacare, not because of symbolism meant to build up political credibility or a vague love of the healthcare system that proceeded it. I oppose the fact that is established a power of Government over the people – which I see as a long-term danger to the nation. I oppose the ACA because if fails in its primary objective to lower healthcare costs. I object to the Health Care Reform because the unintended (and apparently well known among Democrats) consequences are numerous, and to be expected from a partisan law that barely had the ink dry before it was passed. And I’ve been saying this since 2009, publicly. Just do a Google search.

    I fear abuses of power, like drones without laws limiting use against average citizens, or invasion of privacy by the NSA, or even sidestepping Congress by a President that believes Executive Orders are a perfect means to ram his ideology down the throats of Americans that disagree. I support Bills like the Amash Amendment (that Rep. Hanna voted against) that the public agrees with and protects our Rights. I stand, vocally, in opposition to those that would sell our Rights (on the cheap no less) and our citizenship piece by piece under a banner of universal benefits that never come to pass and are never needed anyway.

    I defend the freedoms of Americans to bear arms, and speak freely – even if I disagree with what is being said and even when the criminal and insane misuse such Rights. To limit what is said is to cage a mind. To weaken protection (even from the Government itself) is to invite attack. I defend these and other issues with a knowledge of what is being discussed, the ramifications of the decisions, and an understanding of what the public actually values.

    I hold my positions as I have for years, as is documented and readily available. Not without an ear to hear other options, nor without the willingness to debate pros and cons in an effort to reach the best solution. I have no delusion of grandeur, nor do I believe any 1 person is so wise as to have all the solutions to all problems. But I have the passion and strength of my convictions to face opposition with facts and logic on issues that matter and have mattered over the years, without bending to and fro because of a misplaced desire to maintain a political advantage.

    Long before I felt the need to represent the many people of the NY-22, long before the political landscape required a clear, decisive, consistent representative (or several dozen) I believed these things. Don’t take my word for it, see my Youtube videos, my speeches, my political commentary. You won’t agree with it all, but then again you shouldn’t. Because the politician that everyone agrees with is most likely the same politician lying to everyone.

    Don’t be fooled though. I am not they media driven image of what a Republican is supposed to be. The image of an old, White male that hates gays, immigrants, and non-Christians. An image of intolerance fueled by greed and avarice. That’s not a Republican, or a Conservative. That’s not any political party of worth in America. That’s just a great way to sell newspapers and get eyeballs on TV.

    I am a Black Puerto Rican, 45 years old. I am a Conservative, a Republican, a small business owner, a homeowner. I am a brother and uncle. I am a son. I am most of all an American. I cannot be boxed into a forgettable category, or mashed into some mass of made up media hype.

    This is not a 30 second soundbite, nor is it the limit of what I stand for but the beginning. My platform may sound familiar, but that’s only because it is not being addressed and most Americans think it should be. I am running for the 22nd Congressional District because I want to make an effective difference, and the nation as well as the NY-22 are in desperate need of people in Congress that want to be effective and not just in office.

    If you have read this far, and you see the worth in what I am saying, share this. Because we have enough cookie-cutter politicians that are all painted with the same brush. The approval rating for Congress reflects how effective that is. Time for someone else, and all I ask is for voters and the public, to hear me out and then make their choice.

    Sincerely

    Michael Vasquez

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