2014 State of the Union Address: review

There is so much that can be said of the 2014 State of the Union Address, but highlights will have to suffice. Of the major themes covered in the speech there were some glaring statements and omissions, obvious pivots to promote Dems in the 2014 mid-term elections, promises of overreach of power by the Executive Branch, and suppression of debate and disagreement on critical issues.

Of the things omitted, or largely glossed over, was the repeated insistence on Government driven infrastructure jobs. This was the first Address to not feature – in one catchphrase format or another – a push on the “shovel-ready jobs” that never materialized. At the same time, there was a muted and glancing look at renewable energy – with a focus only on solar energy and a noted absence of Ethanol, wind power, and green companies that have repeatedly filed for bankruptcy on the public tab.

Returning to the spotlight, for only the 2nd time since 2012, there was a renewed push to target the tax code reform. On a more muted level there was a suggestion of cutting corporate tax rates. Once again this bipartisan issue only appears as votes are needed in an election year. Once again, no directive or leadership was offered on an issue that is directly impacting the economy.

Yet again immigration reform was suggested. A comprehensive legislation that failed to draw attention from Dems when they controlled a super-majority and could have passed any legislation they wanted. A reform offered by Dems that negates the concerns and proposals from Republicans. A legislation that failed to gain ground in 2013, and has poor prospects for 2014.

President Obama tried to take credit for a lower unemployment rate, while ignoring the fact that millions remain consistently un- or under-employed. He negated the fact that one of the factors reducing the unemployment rate is not job creation, but the increase in the number of people the Government no longer counts (such as the most recent December 2013 failure to count 400,000 that do not have jobs).

Of course President Obama focused on issues that are focused in rallying Dems to vote in the mid-term election – to balance off the failure of Obamacare, and the scandals that has plagued his Administration.

President Obama demanded that Congress not debate the size of Government. To paraphrase ‘Don’t argue the size of Government, it is a distraction to the job of Congress.’ Yet this is one of the major ideological issues that defines the distinction between modern Dems and Republicans. To stifle debate is to hinder the 1st Amendment rights of the constituents Republicans reflect.

President Obama pushed minimum wage increases. An issue that affects only 2% of the workforce, and has been shown in various studies to do as much damage as help for the very people it targets. A poor deflection of the lack of jobs throughout the nation, 3 years well into the economic recovery.

In another play towards the troubled base of Democrats, women were the target of preference. Once again the difference in pay was used to gain support. Once again women were used as a crutch to justify Obamacare – while negating the far reaching problems of imposing maternity care on men and the elderly that will never have a need for the coverage and will bear the burden of the higher costs of healthcare.

President Obama even glossed over a key problem with Obamacare – the “just in time” effect where those who have not paid into health insurance, who will not share a fair burden of healthcare costs, will overnight gain healthcare just to take care of costly procedures. It’s this “just in time” impact that has caused fear among insurance companies, and caused speculation of widespread damage to the American economy as a result.

Most of all, it must be noted that the President focused repeatedly on the overreach of Executive Orders to circumvent Congress and to restrict debate on issues that Democrats has failed to sell the American people on. Action that Senator Obama opposed, and are strictly prohibited from the power of the Executive Branch.

President Obama brushed aside the concern over the size, and therefore the power of Government – even as the abuses of the IRS and NSA still impact the daily lives of Americans.

President Obama unilaterally shut the debate on “climate change.” Stating that it is a fact, without addressing the on-going debate among scientists, President Obama noted how America lead the world in reduction in carbon emissions. He failed to connect the dots to the fact that by his own admission, with global leadership, the impact as he views it was legible – if in fact it is possible to alter the trends our planet has cycled through for millions of years.

President Obama negated as non-existent all ideas from Republicans that do not match his own political agenda – even where they are actually the most effective ideas to achieve the goals he has promised the public were critical to success.

The president was cheered for implementing the very outcome described by Senator McCain in 2008 on troops in Afghanistan. He tried to create a moral imperative to blindly follow his political views by demonizing anyone who opposes his views on what citizenship should entail and require.

All of this, to the tune of 30 rounds of applause – the greatest of which went an Army Corporal who served his nation in a war that President Obama wanted to fight – while Democrats have sought (in a bad deal with some Republicans) to increase debt spending and cut military pensions.

Overall, the 2014 State of the Union Address was a muted, humbled, expression of the result of years of failure. Jobs remain a critical problem without solution. Obamacare has created more uninsured Americans than it has insured while destabilizing the health care markets and increased costs. American foreign policy has been shown to be fractured, ineffective, and a source of embarrassment for the nation. Relations with our allies have been weakened by the very NSA that the President continues to defend as he ignores the recommendations of yet another commission he had created.

2014 is the first year of the lame duck presidency, fueled by a near inevitable wave of losses in congressional seats by Democrats in the mid-term elections. The State of the Union was less a rally call to America, but a feeble defense of the failure of a President that asked for more time, got it, and still has nothing positive to show for it.

6.8% Unemployment – another rose colored report

Today the unemployment report came out and and shocked everyone. The drop in the unemployment rate was unexpected by all estimates from analysts, and flies in the face of the mere 74,000 jobs that were added in December 2013.

The growth in the population means that on average 200,000 jobs need to be added each month just to keep even. When that target is missed generally unemployment is increasing. When it is exceeded the unemployment rate drops. But like most things Government, that isn’t how this works.

The unemployment rate is also adjusted for the participation rate – the number of people working and thus paying taxes in the nation. The lower the participation rate, the fewer people working, paying taxes, and therefore counting in the headline grabbing number. December 2013 had a participation rate of 62.8% – a low that goes back to the stagflation days of 1978 and the Carter presidency.

Since November 2008 there has been a continuous decrease in the number of people working in the nation. In that time there has been a drop of 3.1% in the participation rate, with no signs of improvement in the BLS data []. Yet, with a lower participation rate, the unemployment figure has decreased in December 2013 – because 400,000 people just don’t count anymore.

It’s one of the oddball ways of government math, that allows a situation to get worse. Yet headlines will show improvement and politicians will seek to rally around the headline, counting on the general public to abandon the facts. All things being equal, unemployment has not improved greatly since the 2008 recession, as more and more Americans simply stopped being counted as in the workforce. A similar surprising gap in unemployment figures occurred when the rate went to 9% on February 2011 and 7.7% on March 2013.

Don’t be surprised when the poverty rate, and the number of Americans receiving Government benefits increases. The people still exist, even if they don’t count for this set of figures. They may not be getting an unemployment check, but without work they are still in need and the Government will provide. But don’t forget, as President Obama has made clear at least 15 times since he was elected, jobs are priority #1. But if your focus is STEM jobs [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] fear not, as HR 2131 is being pushed by Rep. Richard Hanna of the NY-22 and will ensure 160,000 STEM jobs will go to foreigners.

With the help of these and other politicians, the unemployment rate is sure to hit 6% sooner than later. Sadly, it will likely have minimal impact on the number of people without work in America.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

Why won’t the latest Obamacare “fix” won’t work

As just about every editorial page in America has stated by now, President Obama’s quick “fix” for the over 4 million Americans that wanted to keep their doctors and healthcare plans is perhaps the one way to take the failure of the Obamacare rollout and make it worse.

There are any number of issues with what has been proposed by the President. The fact that retroactively reinstating the millions of policies at the last minute is an administrative nightmare for insurance companies. That insurance premiums will be driven higher, as the very people essential for Obamacare to work will no longer be paying the higher premiums in new policies needed. That confusion among customers will be maddening as they try to determine if their old policy, or the new one, is what is in force.

But there is a very simple reason why the quick “fix” is going to fail – and it won’t be the fault of insurance companies. Presidents don’t make law.

What President Obama has asked insurance companies to do is violate federal law. Just because he said so. He has promised that he won’t press any legal requirements that they forgo on this issue. But he does NOT have the power to enforce such action. State insurance commissioners know that, as do the insurance companies (or at least their lawyers).

President Obama has requested that insurance companies willfully commit a crime, and if they do they are liable for all the risk and lawsuits that stem from breaking the law – as well as fines from the States that do not take the word of Obama as gold. If this is enacted, the power of the Presidency will have swell to proportions akin to a king.

Considering these facts, I agree with the Wall Street Journal editors

“Democrats jammed the law through Congress on a partisan vote and against public opinion. At every step since, Mr. Obama has refused to compromise or change the law. And even with this tactical retreat, he is merely trying to find a way to relieve the political pressure long enough to avoid having to work with Republicans in Congress on a larger improvement.”

America is suffering from quick “fixes” from our Government, and each one is only making the situation worse on each issue they are trying to politically look good on. Even more terrifying is the thought of the ramifications, long-term, if the public allows these feel-good solutions to go through unchecked. Accountability is the only solution here.

America might be able to withstand Obamacare, but it is proving obvious that we can’t survive the quick fix mentality of our politicians and political leaders.

Syria: Timeline in Tweets and Facebook comments

In just a matter of weeks, the Unites States has taken a curious path with regard to Syria and the use of chemical weapons. From a “red line” clearly defined by President Obama alone, to the question of attack (and if congressional approval is necessary), to blunders by Secretary of State Kerry that created a diplomatic resolution. Through out the course of these events public opinion has remained steadfast in opposition as a justification and plan of action failed to be presented to the American (and British and German) people.

The following are a series of tweets (@electvasquezny) and Facebook comments ( presenting some of the thoughts and views during this political drama. Included are key events that occurred along this timeline. For a history of key events in Syria since 1918 (from a British perspective) you can review this BBC News summary.

***Note that for the New York 22nd Congressional District Representative Richard Hanna, along with 15 other NY members of Congress, did not make any position on Syria throughout the proposed conflict. While overwhelming opposition from the public was in place, Rep. Hanna could not determine if standing by constituents or the leaders of the Party was correct course of action.

While this has currently resolved itself, the question of where Rep. Hanna – and the other members of Congress for New York (and other parts of the nation) that chose to sit on the fence – stands on this and similar issues remains unclear and perhaps implies political self-preservation as opposed to the best interests of the nation or representation of the public.***

August 21, 2013 – An alleged chemical attack took place at Ein Tarma and Zamalka in Syria. After initial confusion, blame for the attack was placed on the Syrian Government lead by President Assad. Syria has consistently denied the use of chemical weapons.

August 28, 2013 – President Obama states in an interview with Judy Woodruff that he has not decided what to do about Syria –

“JUDY WOODRUFF: But Mr. President, with all due respect, what does it accomplish? I mean, you’re – the signals the American people are getting is that this would be a limited strike or of limited duration. If it’s not going to do that much harm to the Assad regime, what have you accomplished? How – what – what’s changed?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Judy, again, I have not made a decision, but I think it’s important that if, in fact, we make a choice to have repercussions for the use of chemical weapons, then the Assad regime, which is involved in a civil war, trying to protect itself, will have received a pretty strong signal, that in fact, it better not do it again. And that doesn’t solve all the problems inside of Syria, and, you know, it doesn’t, obviously end the death of innocent civilians inside of Syria.”

‏@JazzShaw 28 Aug
I assume Joe Biden will be opening impreachment proceedings if Obama bombs Syria w/o congressional resolution in support?
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

‏@MVConsult 28 Aug
If regime change not the point of dropping bombs on Syria, why bother?

@SenRandPaul 28 Aug
@BarackObama in 2007: POTUS lacks authority to unilaterally authorize military attack w/o imminent threat to nation
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

August 29, 2013 – British Prime Minister David Cameron’s support of a military strike against Syria is voted down,

“…it was clear that parliament did not want to see a military strike on Syria to punish it for chemical weapons use and that he would act accordingly.”

@electvasquezny 29 Aug
So why hasn’t Rep Hanna joined the call to have Pres Obama get authority from Congress for Syria along w 100 Repubs …

@electvasquezny 29 Aug
Will Syria be another foreign policy flip-flop for Rep Hanna, like Libya? …

@electvasquezny 29 Aug
Apparently the British can’t see a point in bombing Syria that benefits them, so why is President Obama pushing for it when America is same.

August 30, 2013 – President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry try to make case for a military strike on Syria, resistance is noted internationally as well as domestically.

“In Washington, questions about the veracity of the U.S. intelligence and whether the nation is headed for another long war based on false information — like happened in Iraq — have emerged from both parties in Congress.”

‏@MVConsult 30 Aug
I still am unclear what US national interest is affected by a Syrian internal conflict. And why are economic sanctions off the table?

‏@electvasquezny 30 Aug
50% don’t want US involved w Syria (NBC poll), 80% want Congress approval, US intel still unsure of details, British are out. Time to pause

@electvasquezny 30 Aug
Can anyone recall the last time Britian didn’t support, even grudgingly, a military action by US?

@electvasquezny 30 Aug
In dictionaries, under examples of feckless you can see the following: ‘See Obama Syria bombing plan’

Michael Vasquez – August 30 via mobile [Facebook]
Britain has supported every military action by US that I recall, even if they didn’t like it. But on Syria they are out, and the powerhouse of France is backing us. When was the last time France won a military action? Napoleon? Is this really the only support we are getting. Shouldn’t this give pause as maybe something is wrong.

I think you can find the answer on what to do about Syria in the following quote from December 20, 2007…

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As commander-in-chief, the president does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the president would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.”

August 31, 2013 – France steps up as a supporter of a military strike against Syria. President Obama takes first steps to get Congress to authorize a military strike,

“In a dramatic turnaround, President Obama said Saturday that he will wait for congressional authorization to punish Syria for a chemical weapons attack, even though he has decided a military strike is needed.”

Blog article – The Syria questions

September 1, 2013 – Syria responds to US actions,

“Syria hailed a “historic American retreat” on Sunday, mockingly accusing President Barack Obama of hesitation and confusion after he delayed a military response to last month’s chemical weapons attack near Damascus to consult Congress.”

September 2, 2013 – Pending vote on Syria in Senate stirs comments,

“We cannot make this about the president versus Congress or him shuffling off responsibility,” Mr. Rogers, the Michigan Republican, said Sunday on “State of the Union” on CNN. “We can have all of those debates at another time. This is really about the credibility of the United States of America standing up for an antiproliferation and use of chemical and biological weapons.”

September 3, 2013 – Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the resolution (10 – 7) that authorizes a limited military response, comedian (and noted Liberal) Jon Stewart expressed a backlash against President Obama and the plan on his Daily Show program. President Obama to travel overseas to Stockholm on the 4th.

‏@pewresearch 3 Sep
Few See U.S. Military Action Discouraging Chemical Weapons Use
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

‏@MVConsult 3 Sep
1,400 dead Syrians = moral imperative for US. In Darfur 1.2 million dead, 250,000 refugees, over more than 8 yrs = nothing.

@electvasquezny 3 Sep
So what are the odds of the Nobel asking for the peace prize back when President Obama is in Sweden? And yes I know it was Oslo.

Michael Vasquez shared a link. – September 3 [Facebook]
74% believe this will cause a backlash against US and 61% think it won’t stop chemical weapons use. So is it really worth helping the President save face?

September 4, 2013 – President Obama tries to shift pressure on Syria from his “red line” to the international community, and fails to win support – “While Obama may have had some justification for drawing that line based on international conventions, the decision to tie U.S. military involvement to Assad using chemical weapons was Obama’s red line.” Russian President Vladimir Putin expresses pending opposition to the US on Syria during upcoming G20 talks,

“We have our ideas about what we will do and how we will do it in case the situation develops toward the use of force or otherwise. We have our plans.”

@MVConsult 4 Sep
Bold statement from Rep Hanna on Syria – ‘I’m definitely standing on the fence’

@electvasquezny 4 Sep
Can Rep Hanna be any less decisive on Syria? Or is taking a stand too politically definitive for his arbitrary standards?

@electvasquezny 4 Sep
Leadership is not about winning every battle or being right in every debate, its about decisiveness in the face of ambiguity. Rep Hanna?

@electvasquezny 4 Sep
Shockingly at 1:38pm Secrty Kerry went 2 for 2 on comparisons to nazi concentration camps killings. What arw the odds he will try another?

Michael Vasquez shared a link. September 4 [Facebook]
A statement saying you (Rep Richard Hanna) have no statement is just an attempt to look good as you waste taxpayers money. Pick a side on Syria, that you believe is right, and explain why you think that. Constituents will let you know if they agree.

Michael Vasquez September 4 via mobile [Facebook]
Sect Kerry dodged completely the timeframe and scope of potential Syria attack, and any potential consequence as asked by Rep Smith of NJ. He didn’t even try to acknowledge the question. @ 1:24pm. Does that mean there is no plan or projections? Or is it trying to maintain a sembance military secrets on a very public action?

Michael Vasquez September 4 via mobile [Facebook]
Secty Kerry response to Rep Chabot of OH on difference of Syria to Libya @ 1:32pm, was the imminent threat to life – they why has there been no action on Darfur in past 8 years. Or do 1.2 million dead not count to President Obama in his concern about saving lives?

‏@MVConsult 4 Sep
Seriously, vote on Syria is not partisan but about best interest of America and our plan of action. How can a Congressman not have opinion?

Mike Vass September 4 via DROID [Facebook]
Seriously, vote on Syria is not partisan but about best interest of America and our plan of action. How can a Congressman not have opinion?

September 5, 2013Opposition in House of Representative to a military strike on Syria is notable – even with both Dem and Republican leadership support of President Obama,

“If the House voted today on a resolution to attack Syria, President Barack Obama would lose — and lose big.”

Blog article – What’s the worst position to have on Syria?

Michael Vasquez shared a link via Mike Vass. September 5 [Facebook]
Issues of this magnitude have grave consequences, and political opportunism can never benefit the average American. More than ever, moments like this define the future of the nation and thus require those strong enough to stand up and take a stance they believe is both correct and worthy. Only in making strong arguments, and fighting for the best outcome can America walk a path to tomorrow with confidence it has done the right thing.

September 6, 2013 – Syrian rebels attack US – Russia deal on chemical weapons –

“America told the world it would bomb Syria and then, when the time came, it got scared,” said Abdelqaderi Asasheh, operations chief of the Liwa al-Tawhid brigade in Aleppo.”

September 7, 2013White House weekly address on limited military action in Syria.

September 8, 2013 – Syrian President Assad warns of retaliation from any US military action,

“You should expect everything,” Assad said in an interview with CBS taped in Damascus. “Not necessarily from the government. It’s not only the government … in this region. You have different parties, you have different factions, you have different ideology.”

September 9, 2013 – Secretary Kerry offers rhetorical resolution to Syria to avoid military strike. Secretary Kerry also describes any US military action as “unbelievably small”“We will be able to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war. That is exactly what we are talking about doing – unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”

President Obama acknowledges may lose congressional support of military strikes,

“Battling stiff resistance in Congress, President Barack Obama conceded Monday night he might lose his fight for congressional support of a military strike against Syria, and declined to say what he would do if lawmakers reject his call to back retaliation for a chemical weapons attack last month.”

Michael Vasquez September 9 via mobile [Facebook]
So what does the Obama administration do now that, as the President seeks to create support for what most see as (and Secretary Kerry described) a useless show of force, Kerry has given Syria an out? Ignore the diplomatic solution that they offered? Or push forward on an attack that has no support on all sides, national and international (France doesn’t count)?

‏@MVConsult 9 Sep
Amazing how an option in Syria is available once the Obama Admin mentions it and does not assume the answer

September 10, 2013 – President Obama speaks to American public, trying to gain support for military strikes as Russia moves on Secretary Kerry’s rhetorical offer.

September 11, 2013 – President Obama places congressional approval on hold, as Russia and Syria indicate support for Secretary Kerry’s rhetorical offer.

Fred Thompson ‏@fredthompson 11 Sep
Kerry:Syria attack would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort”. Oh… like the State Department’s Benghazi investigation? #tcot
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

Michael Vasquez likes an article on POLITICO. September 11 [Facebook]
Good translation of of the polispeak in the speech – What President Obama said, what he meant

Michael Vasquez September 11 via mobile [Facebook]
Much to the relief of Rep Richard Hanna and 15 other members of Congress representing NY State, the question of bombing Syria is off the table – for now. These members have been rewarded for sitting on the fence. No longer do they need to justify why they would not support the overwhelming view of their constituents, nor stand with their Party leadership. Each has preserved their re-election hopes, but will voters recall thier lack of intestinal fortitude?

September 12, 2013 – US and Russia start talks with Syria on turnover of chemical weapons.

@electvasquezny 12 Sep
If report cited by WSJ correct and N Korea is starting plutonium reactor, will Pres O bomb them? Doesn’t Syria policy mandate response?

Michael Vasquez September 12 via mobile [Facebook]
The problem with how Syria has showcased a weak and confused US stance may be realized, if as Wall Street Journal article suggests, North Korea is activating plutonium reactor. Isn’t that a more credible US national interest and threat? Will Pres Obama suggest bombing N Korea, and is the assumption that the US is impotent spurring this action?

‏@MVConsult 12 Sep
If US ignores first 100,000 Syrian dead & 1.2 mill Darfur but alleged chem use = bombing then what is policy on N Korea and plutonium?

September 14, 2013 – Deal reached on Syrian chemical weapons, plan to take place by mid-2014. President Obama states military option still possible if deal fails.

“If diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act.”

Twitter posts from August 2013 – @electvasquezny

The following can be found on my Twitter account (@electvasquezny – ask to be added to be up to date daily) from the month of June 2013:

There are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Twitter is an excellent format to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Twitter. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

1 Aug ‏@electvasquezny

If NSA XKeyscore program collects “large amount of information” that is “never reviewed” as the 2009 NSA report says, why keep it?

Would you allow FBI or NSA to stay in your house and record your activities? How is NSA programs any different?


2 Aug @electvasquezny

Interesting that Rep Hanna (NY-22) says he supports limits on NSA, but is NOT cosponsor of …: – HR 2399

Amazing how 20,000 fewer jobs than expected for july and unemployment rate drops.

Did anyone else notice that long-term unemployed percentage dropped but short-term increased. …

@whitehouse @BarackObama as opposed to just repealing the inclusion of Congress and their aides? Double standard indeed.


5 Aug @electvasquezny

Why didn’t press ask Rep. Hanna to explain his voting record to constituents today? How truely credible is his support for small biz?

AZ Dem Gubernatorial Candidate Darkens Skin for Commercials to Appear Hispanic via @BreitbartNews This is insulting! Some get it, others just want to discredit valid concerns they don’t want to address. Guess which is Rep Rangel.


6 Aug @electvasquezny

@BarackObama missing key word in statement – “LEGAL”


7 Aug @electvasquezny

@politico then why is the Government keeping all the data on tens of millions of Americans?


9 Aug @electvasquezny

What are the Obamacare numbers for the NY-22?

What happens when Congress fails to read laws? Cities, Counties and employers scramble to the detriment of public. …

Just got voiceover artist Jimmyjohn McCabe on board for the commercials. With a few more donations, the ads will be up across the NY-22


10 Aug @electvasquezny

@IngrahamAngle That does sound like Rep Richard Hanna NY-22 (R)

Pres. Obama talks NSA, Rep. Hanna visits Southern Tier, and the net result is?


12 Aug ‏@electvasquezny

I will be speaking on the Bob Joseph Show on WNBF on 8/19 @ 9:30am. Tune in and share the news.

I wonder if Pres. Obama would speak to the only person exploring a run for Congress in Broome County? Nah, I’m a black hispanic conservative


20 Aug @electvasquezny

@JazzShaw of course, otherwise he might be asked to explain the failure to focus on jobs in an area with above national level unemployment.

@AP so at this point, now that media is focused elsewhere, one one being held accountable for what happened in Benghazi. Wag the dog indeed.


21 Aug @electvasquezny

@JazzShaw he deserved to be shot. He violated his oath and damaged the nation during wartime. 35 years is not enough.

@CNN and Rep Hanna voted NOT to restrict NSA. Somehow I don’t think constituents would agree.


22 Aug @electvasquezny

So is Pres. Obama proposing Govt will pick winners in college education like it picked “green” companies? Which college will be a Solyndra?


23 Aug @electvasquezny

Former Maj Nidal Hasan, like prvt manning, deserves death penalty.


28 Aug @electvasquezny

Pres Obama restricts our guns, mandates our purchase, violates immigration law, and bombs nations – all without Congress. But Bush is bad?

@electvasquezny Ok, obamacare was with a Dem supermajority that didn’t read the law. That was sort of with Congress. I stand corrected.


29 Aug @electvasquezny

@WSJ interesting how much economy inproves without weight of stimulus as a drag

So why hasn’t Rep Hanna joined the call to have Pres Obama get authority from Congress for Syria along w 100 Repubs …

Will Syria be another foreign policy flip-flop for Rep Hanna, like Libya? …

Apparently the British can’t see a point in bombing Syria that benefits them, so why is President Obama pushing for it when America is same.


30 Aug @electvasquezny

50% don’t want US involved w Syria (NBC poll), 80% want Congress approval, US intel still unsure of details, British are out. Time to pause

Can anyone recall the last time Britian didn’t support, even grudgingly, a military action by US?

In dictionaries, under examples of feckless you can see the following: ‘See Obama Syria bombing plan’

Twitter post from July 2013 – @electvasquezny

The following can be found on my Twitter account (@electvasquezny – ask to be added to be up to date daily) from the month of June 2013:

There are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Twitter is an excellent format to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Twitter. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

15 Jul ‏@electvasquezny

Share this with friends, family, and anyone interested in a Congress that earns more than a 15% approval…

Do you know the difference between Congress and a casino?


16 Jul @electsqueznvay

When was the last time you heard a politician mention cutting corporate taxes?


21 Jul @electvasquezny

I want to thank everyone that supported “Rock the House” fundraiser yesterday. A donation of $125 is being made to Wounded Warrior Project.


22 Jul @electvasquezny

While President Obama urges more of the same, a real solution stays on the backburner


25 Jul @electvasquezny

Rep Hanna voted for Amash Amendment – well not quite.


29 Jul @electvasquezny

AP reports 15% in poverty (46 million), 79% economically insecure. But “jobs are priority one”. Perhaps time for a responsive government

CNN Political Ticker … this is really not the way it should be. Especially w/o debt, unemployment solutions.


30 Jul @electvasquezny

Pfc Manning deserves all 150 years of prison.


31 Jul electvasquezny

@WSJ could.this be one of the sources behind the anti-fracking movement?

Sen Wyden, 7/30, says problems with NSA compliance worse than reported. Yet Rep Hanna voted against Amash Amendment. How is public served?

Are 12 (or even 54) defeated terror plots, as claimed so far, equal to 4th Amendment rights of 300 million Americans? Sold too cheap maybe?

July 2013 – Facebook comments

Often there are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are excellent formats to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, or have as open an access to these formats as the internet in general. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

The following can be found on my Facebook page ( – ask to be added to my friends list to be up to date daily) from the month of July 2013:

July 4

Wishing everyone the best on the July 4th


July 8

Since people will now self-report wages to get tax credit for Obamacare, does anyone think there wont be abuse, paid by our taxes?


July 20

Fundraiser was a success. Thank you to everyone that attended!


July 24

I was talking today with some people about natural gas and fracking. You know something opponents of fracking never say? President Obama was wrong in the 2012 and 2013 State of the Union Addresses. The very same people that trumpet his push for renewable energy, and deplore fracking, ignore the support their champion has given to the subject. Makes you wonder what the real reason might be. Oh, has anyone checked the value of Nancy Pelosi’s wind energy stocks lately?


July 30 -

Pfc Manning deserved life in prison or the death penalty. In a time of war the mass leak of classified information for the purpose of weakening the nation is treason. I applaud the Marines in Quantico regardless of the judges finding. I hope manning gets more.

Bradley Manning trial verdict: Acquitted of aiding the enemy, convicted on lesser charges


July 31

Clarity and accuracy are 2 things you would expect from an elected politician. But what we expect from Government doesn’t seem to be what we are getting these days.

Is the Internet the end of political waffling? Not quite

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