cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Zero-sum games are played by politicians with nearly every proposition they offer. A zero-sum game can be defined as any situation in which each participant’s gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participants.
The Trump phenomenon looks to continue rolling along with nary a hiccup. He is not a conservative, and has never given signs that he was/is except to lay claim to the title. He has a checkered business past even though he’d have us forget the bankruptcies; none of the FOUR were personal so they apparently don’t count in his world. Eminent domain is simply a useful tool to assure his facilities’ parking lots are large enough. The individual lives that happen to get in the way are, apparently, of no concern to Trump.
The discussions about changes to Obamacare are coming from both major parties. It is among the hottest topics in Washington, D.C. The latest, if I am keeping up with this trend, concerns the implementation of the so-called Cadillac excise tax (40%) on health plans that offer benefits that are deemed extravagant by the writers of the bill. This hue and cry is largely from Democrats since many, if not most, of the plans deemed too benefit-rich can be found in union situations.
Republicans picked Cruz by about a 3.5% edge over Trump in ballots cast during the caucus event in Iowa. That also saw Trump finishing in second (24.3%), with Rubio in a very respectable third place with 23.1% of the vote. The nearest challenger after third place was Carson at 9.3%.
Which will it be? Unlikeable Hillary or Unthinkable Donald? That is a distinct possibility as Iowans troop to their respective caucus sites tonight to cast their votes in the homes of fellow Iowans in the most unique approach to primary elections we have.
The race for the White House has produced some interesting, if not infuriating, comments from candidates. The Johnson Controls ‘inversion’ acquisition arrangement with Tyco International has produced another of those comments from each of the major Democratic candidates.
The National Review has taken its position on the candidacy of Donald Trump and has published the thoughts of many conservatives on its website.
Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s Mayor, for now at least, is just about as effective and loved as his former boss, President Barack Obama. Emanuel has proved that he is, like his former boss, in over his head. He loves the trappings but seems indisposed to handle the day-to-day issues.
It is almost humorous now; the dumping of more of Hillary’s State Department e-mails continued yesterday when about 5,500 pages were released. State has apologized for being unable to get to this job sooner, and then mentions that it will release more next week. She even hides behind the Christmas season.
The Wisconsin John Doe saga is still alive, in the minds of some, but seems maybe to be fading quickly. That would stand to reason given the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that pretty bluntly killed that ill-thought effort by the overzealous Democratic DA from Milwaukee County and his cohorts that jumped on the bandwagon licking their proverbial chops thinking they could derail Scott Walker specifically and the Republicans and Republican donors generally. This was predicated on the theory that ‘express advocacy’ was the result of what the other side claimed was ‘issue advocacy’ in the hopes that campaign contributions of magnitude could be eliminated from the Republican purse thus accruing to the interests of the Democrats.
The lesser of evils? Is that what the next presidential election will come down to? Will we be forced to go through the exercise of deciding between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? That could very well be the outcome of this political season. Hillary is a dead-lock for the Democratic nomination unless she finds herself indicted on some issue she has so far covered up from her Secretary of State days, something like Benghazi for example. And that, frankly, is the longest of long shots no matter how much we conservatives might hope for such an outcome.
Since we are in the ‘high political season’, it seemed appropriate to bring some aphorisms that deal with politics to the blog today:
The Affordable Care Act, now much better known simply as Obamacare, is experiencing some financial difficulties but the cavalry is riding to the rescue. Or is it?
The Republican Presidential candidate debates tonight promise to be interesting. Given the hosting channel, Fox Business, and the people who will serve up the questions and control the debate (if debates can ever be controlled), I expect we’ll see a very professional, no nonsense debate tonight. The panel members are comfortable in their own skins and have no need to try to be the ‘star’ of the evening.
Former IRS executive Lois Lerner is apparently going to skate from any charges that would recognize her insidious attack (my opinion) on any entity even sounding ‘conservative’. How did she attack those organizations? By derailing the applications those organizations filed with the IRS for tax exempt status. This announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik when he declared that the Justice Department had found no evidence of intent to obstruct justice.
Many of us have heard of the ‘Cadillac tax’, as it is called, that is part of Obamacare (the inappropriately named Affordable Care Act). That tax is designed to hit those with ‘rich’ health care benefit plans. It assesses a significant penalty tax to discourage employers from retaining the health plans that cover most ‘everything’ from first dollar forward. Those typically have been thought of as being the plans negotiated and/or sponsored by unions for their members, although some non-union employers use very generous health plans, also.
Clarence Darrow, an attorney who was a leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, is quoted as saying: “When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it.”
We learned, after the fact, that local officials in Silverton, CO had met with EPA officials prior to their visit, and asked that they not visit the Gold King mine since they feared something like this could occur and there was no problem at that time to warrant such an inspection.
Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law 50 years ago today by President Lyndon Baines Johnson who praised former President Truman for getting that ball rolling. Here we are five decades later observing the two programs that are an integral part of life in our country, and that are huge federal budget items.
Governor Walker is feeling a bit of a squeeze play from the Legislature concerning the Budget. It seems that even the members of his own party see that they have an opportunity to wring concessions from him or at least cause him some angst in his not-yet-announced-but-already-assumed run for the Presidency.
Entrenched power is under assault by Republicans writing the new state budget in the Joint Finance Committee. Those two areas are organized education and labor unions. Organized education sees the relaxation of teacher licensing in Wisconsin as the beginning of the end of excellent education. Organized labor sees the prospective repeal of the prevailing wage rules as the ultimate loss possible for certain unions.
Boston Marathon participants from Germantown this year (according to the morning paper at press time):
The soon-to-become infamous Cadillac tax which is part of the Affordable Care Act is beginning to draw notice, especially from the labor leaders whose negotiated plans will likely come close to this penalty or enjoy the penalty from the outset.
We spend a lot of time, many of us anyway, on trying to promote the candidate(s) of our choosing. Many spend a lot of money on that effort, as well. For some, this is an exercise of personal power as we see with the billionaires who throw tens of millions upon tens of millions of dollars into the fray. For the majority, this is an exercise in the use of freedoms guaranteed us by our Constitution. For whatever our reasons, many of us are thoroughly engaged in the outcome we favor. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Some of those outcomes hang with us; I still remember the field of flowers suddenly being destroyed in the flash of an atomic bomb explosion that took Barry Goldwater to the loser’s position in the first election in which I became an active volunteer.
Those signed up for ObamaCare this year are averaging $268 per month in premium forgiveness. There are some 6.5 million people in that category. That totals nearly $21,000,000 annually in subsidies paid by the government to the health plans providing the coverage. It is easy to see why the major health insurance companies were so eager to jump onto the ObamaCare bandwagon. Their revenue streams have taken a significant jump and their profits have increased also.
Republicans reportedly will test the waters on changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by proposing to move the definition of full time from the current 30 hours per week back to the traditional 40 hours per week. They feel this is the slam dunk issue if one exists.
The following came to me this morning from a good friend and I thought it worthy of being shared. My comments are found at the very bottom of the piece.
With the defeat (a/k/a dumping) of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), there are some amazing numbers floating around:
Let’s hear it for OPEC…and especially for OPEC’s continued greed and perceived lack of alternatives. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has decided to avoid reducing the production of its member countries which almost assures a continued slide in the price of gasoline that you and I pay at the pumps. I paid $2.689 as a Costco member yesterday; I cannot remember paying this little for a long time (little, of course, being a lot more than I used to pay).
The Washington world is one of intrigue, broken promises and broken laws. That promises to be demonstrated more and more as we find ourselves watching the final two years of the Obama Presidency with a Republican-dominated Congress.
Charley Reese is a retired columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. This is lengthy but well worth time it takes to read it through.
Considering the hand that was dealt, the Republicans came out of this dust-up in better position than expected. The Bush tax rates were largely codified permanently and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) was made permanent without the need to have it annually updated for inflation. The AMT will now be automatically updated.
This video (click here) will show you, in a few short minutes, the predicament we've permitted ourselves to get into, and it is sobering at the very least.
Eric Hovde is officially in the race to replace Sen. Herb Kohl (D) who is not running for re-election. Hovde has a lot of competition and will take his lumps as the long-time politicians who are his opponents in the Republican primary work him over. Hovde has made a lot of money, so he is similar to our other Senator, Ron Johnson (R), in that he can provide a lot of funding from his own bank account if need be, and that is likely to be needed given the number of hands already reaching out for contributions.
As the saga of the MATC employee and her use of an MATC credit card for personal purposes continues to unfold, the revelation that no audits had been performed for a decade is astounding. John Williams, the new VP of Finance at MATC, who came on board in July, 2010, ordered a routine audit soon after making that discovery. That audit resulted in the discovery of the theft that had been routine for seven years. The audit found that the woman accused is suspected of running up more than $10,000 per MONTH in illegal charges.
President Obama has published his version of a 2013 budget, even though his Democrat-controlled Senate is unlikely to do the same since they haven't for well over 1,000 days in spite of the requirement they do so.
It is interesting to see the very open, and some would say blatant, attempt by major unions in Wisconsin to hand-pick their candidate to go against Scott Walker in the almost certain recall election to come. It is very simple really; either you pledge to veto any budget that doesn't restore full union rights or you run the state without a new budget. There is no inbetween; no 'ifs, ands or buts' as it were.
What if Newt Gingrich would not continue his slash and burn attacks on Mitt Romney? What if Newt would put the need to remove President Obama from office above his personal, and seemingly petty, needs (compared to the public's needs)? Would that make a difference in the polls that now seem to indicate Obama could beat Romney in the Fall elections?
I read of the Milwaukee School Board's refusal to permit the food service work to be outsourced in spite of the fact that these union employees were being favored with "fringe" benefits equal to an additional105.8% of their compensation. That is right; if they are earning $10 per hour (and I feel certain that is way too low but it is easy for comparison purposes), their benefits are costing another $10.58 per hour for a total of $20.58 per hour.
Rick Perry left the field of Republican candidates this morning. He asked his supporters to back Newt Gingrich. Given Perry's showing, his tossing his support to Gingrich will do very little to help Gingrich. One of Newt's former wives, Marianne, will speak tonight on national television, and that won't help Newt either.
The Washington County Board meeting held on November 3rd was a display of something less than a well-functioning Board in my estimation. The debate can be seen here and the less functional portion of that debate occurs from about minute 40 to the end of the meeting.
It seems we have discussions every so often about the possibility of toll roads in the Badger state. The time has come again, apparently.