Daily Archives: December 15, 2012

Schweikert: Standing on Principle Matters Most

A new poll shows a shocking 23 percent of Republicans surveyed are comfortable with socialism. No wonder our country is in such a mess when the party of “fiscal accountability” is in such disarray. Beltway, country club, mushy moderate, unprincipled Republicans blame conservatives for losing the election, though they always get the presidential candidate they want. If their ideas resonated with enough people, they would dominate the party and it would not feature a conservative platform. So conservatives are the bulwark of the party and its platform, but they get punished sometimes for insisting on Republican principles. One of those punished just recently with his removal from a key finance committee is Arizona Congressman David Schweikert, who writes about putting principle over power.

In Washington, principle is a frequent casualty of the unrelenting pursuit of power. In order to climb the ranks, to get appointed to the plush committees, to advance a bill or to just get a seat at the table, you have to be a loyal foot soldier.

For conservative Republicans, this means a choice: stifle our beliefs in support of allegedly more palatable positions, or stick to our guns.
We are courted, coaxed, pressured and when all else fails, we are threatened.

Inside the Beltway, they call this “being a team player.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a proud Republican, and I want to support my party. I am a firm believer in the Republican principles of smaller government, low taxes and economic freedom. I have spent my time in government service fighting for these principles.

I ran and was elected to Congress on a platform of shrinking the size and cost of a federal government that has ballooned out of control. I promised my constituents that I would fight for them — for their hard-earned tax dollars, their small businesses, their jobs and their
families.

I respect my leadership and colleagues, but when the required position deviates from the promise I made to my constituents, I will pick my
constituents every time.

For me, that promise trumps politics.

Last week, I learned the harsh truth: There is a price to be paid for being principled in Washington. Three of my colleagues and I were kicked off the high-profile budget and financial services committees for bucking our party’s leaders on key votes.

Most of these votes were crucial spending votes over the course of my freshman term in Congress. The largest of these was the debt-ceiling deal hammered out by Republican leaders and President Obama during the summer of 2011. The deal raised our debt ceiling by $900 billion initially with the potential for an additional trillion-dollar increase, allowing our government to continue borrowing and spending. In exchange, Republicans received $900 billion in spending cuts over a 10-year period, $21 billion of which occurred in the fiscal year 2012.

At the time, I listened to the arguments my colleagues made and I respected their reasons for choosing a different path, but I could not
support a deal that ignored our country’s spending addiction. I could not support a bill that mortgaged our grandchildren’s future in exchange for the convenience of avoiding the tough choices.

The Budget Control Act, as the final deal was called, did what Washington does best — kick the can down the road. The most substantial spending cuts were postponed for future years and future Congresses.

More than a year later, the super committee has failed, Washington is scrambling to undo many of the spending cuts mandated by the
Budget Control Act, our deficits continue to top $1 trillion a year, and we are staring down the ravine of a potentially devastating fiscal cliff.
Throughout the 112th Congress, we were asked to quietly swallow spending bills that exacerbated our skyrocketing deficits. I was told to take one for the team, to go along to get along. I was told there would be other opportunities to cut spending, other fights to stand our ground.

But these were not small votes.

Our government’s unsustainable debt and the debilitating effect on our economy is perhaps, the most pressing problem facing our country today. If we don’t act now, we may not have other opportunities. There may not be other fights.

I promised my constituents I would do everything I could to bring fiscal responsibility to Washington, and that is what I did. Because it’s all about the numbers and they simply do not add up.

I am proud of these votes, even though they cost me a seat on the Financial Services Committee. I am proud to vote my conscience and to stand up for the conservative principles I campaigned on.

Given a choice, I would do it all over again.

I didn’t come to Washington to fight against my Republican colleagues, or even against my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. I came to Washington to fight for the values that make our country unique — for the economic freedom that gives life to the American Dream. I came to fight for the people back home who still can’t find a job, for the families who worry about their children and grandchildren’s futures.
No matter the price, that is what I intend to do.

Rep. David Schweikert is an Arizona Republican.

We Need to Change the Government

From Conservative HQ:

Principled small government constitutional conservative Representatives Tim Huelskamp, Justin Amash, Walter Jones and David Schweikert — who were all ousted from their Committee posts because they voted and spoke against Speaker Boehner’s constant abandonment of conservative principles — are now treading the hard path of standing for their principles in today’s insider dominated Republican Party.

To these four relative newcomers to Washington’s ways, it probably seems like a lonely and unforgiving road. But it is a road conservatives have traveled to victory before.

Congressman – and soon to be Senator – Jeff Flake “never sought a special bridge, courthouse, parking lot, or teapot museum for his district. Republican leaders were so incensed at his role in exposing GOP earmarks in 2006 that they booted him off the Judiciary Committee,” The Wall Street Journal reminds us.

In 2006, in the aftermath of the wipeout of Speaker Dennis Hastert’s Big Government Republicans, principled small government constitutional conservative Congressman – and soon to be Governor of Indiana – Mike Pence challenged establishment Republican John
Boehner for the House Minority Leader’s position saying:

Only by making a dramatic turn in the direction of the agenda of the Republican Revolution can we hope to attain majority status again….. We must again embrace the notion the Republicans seek power not simply to govern but change government. We are the agents of change and we must return to that reformist vision….

“I believe we must confront this moment with new leadership and new voices. We must take a page from the playbook of President Ronald Reagan who taught us that it is not enough to believe great things, we must effectively communicate great things to the American people…

Pence lost out to Boehner, but two years later he was elected House Republican Conference Chairman and helped steer the House Republicans in a more conservative direction in the run-up to the 2010 Tea Party wave election that returned the GOP to the majority
in the House.

Huelskamp, Amash, Jones and Schwikert will no doubt have a steady line of Capitol Hill insiders whispering in their ear telling them that
standing for their principles is a career ending road to political oblivion.

The record is quite the opposite.

The 2010 Tea Party wave election and the Tea Party rebellion were as much a rebellion against the principle-free establishment Republican leadership as they were a rebellion against the excesses of the Obama, Pelosi, Reid triumvirate that passed Obamacare and ran-up multi-trillion dollar deficits in 2009 and 2010.

On the spending side, little has changed since John Boehner was elected Speaker. For all the brave talk from establishment Republicans, they have posted trillion-dollar plus deficits every year since Boehner was elected Speaker and Boehner’s spending is not that far off from Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s spending.

Huelskamp, Amash, Jones and Schwikert have been right to question the leadership of a Republican Speaker with that kind of record and
demand that Republicans do better.

Jeff Flake, Mike Pence and other principled small government constitutional conservatives have shown that the road of following your principles may sometimes be lonely, but in the long run, it is a lot more likely to bring about political success than caving in ever has.

Right-to-Work Passes in Michigan, Violence Feared

John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News

Folder2 104This week the Michigan legislature passed a “right-to-work” law making the state the 24th to allow workers to abstain from joining a union without losing their jobs. Opponents of the new law are incensed.

Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, predicted “civil war.” “What we have here is a betrayal of democracy,” Hoffa claimed. “This law will allow workers to decline becoming members of a union even if the majority of their fellow employees vote that they should join the union. It puts individual rights ahead of the collective right to compel everyone to participate.”

Hoffa denied that the democratically elected legislature and governor might be carrying out the will of the people. “I don’t think those that voted for these Republicans knew that they could be forfeiting their freedom to force others to join a company union,” Hoffa argued.

Michigan state Representative Douglas Geiss (D-Taylor) agreed with Hoffa’s assessment saying “there will be blood. There will be repercussions! The right of unions to take action to protect their interests is sanctioned by our laws.” Geiss is believed to have been referring to the 1973 Supreme Court finding in United States v. Enmons that violent acts in pursuit of a legitimate union objective are immune from federal prosecution.

President Obama did his best to stoke the fires of resentment by miscasting the legislation as “taking away the right to bargain for better wages.” Press Secretary Jay Carney explained that “right-to-work laws undermine the united front image that gives unions extra muscle when it comes to negotiating with management. Granting individual workers the freedom to not join a union negates the freedom of the majority of workers to coerce the minority into joining. The President feels that when there are disagreements the freedom of the majority trumps the freedom of the minority. That’s what democracy is all about.”

Intoxicated Auto Workers Reinstated

Chrysler was forced to reinstate 13 assembly line workers fired two years ago when a TV news crew caught them drinking and smoking pot on the job at the company’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit.

“First of all, the filming was an invasion of these employees’ privacy,” arbitrator Justin Moran ruled. “Second, since the film showed no evidence that the accused were actually working on assembling vehicles at the time, the company’s prohibition against ‘drinking on the job’ could not be proved to have been violated. Consequently, the company’s argument that the firing was justified because intoxicated employees could compromise the quality of the product and the safety of the work environment must be rejected.”

Reinstated 20-year veteran employee William Leech was especially appreciative of the ruling. “My lawyer tells me that we can now go forward with my disability claim for the injury I suffered at the plant that day,” Leech bragged. “I’m hoping that I will finally be relieved of the drudgery of punching a time clock five days a week. Some of the other guys are jealous. They call me lucky. But I like to think of myself as smart.”

Leech is reported to be under consideration for a Presidential Medal of Freedom Award. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew explained that “Leech is an exemplar of the type of transformation President Obama is striving to bring to this country. His story is one that can inspire others who are also trapped in wage slavery to believe that they too, by dint of their own ingenuity, can achieve true freedom.”

Bureaucrats Disdain Hard Work Because They Are “Unselfish”

A report written by Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute and Jason Richwine of the Heritage Foundation revealed that public sector employees work less yet get paid more than their private sector counterparts. The study found that during a typical workweek, private-sector employees worked 41.4 hours, while federal workers put in 38.7 hours and state and local government employees 38.1 hours. Critics of government are apt to view the study as a confirmation of the relative inefficiency of government.

“Any suggestion that this demonstrates there is government waste is totally off base,” insisted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev). “Those that suggest this think every person on the job ought to go all out. What they overlook is the egregious selfishness that would represent. If one person does more than the average output that means there is less opportunity for another person to be hired. By constraining their individual effort  government workers are saving work for others to do, in effect, they are creating more jobs. All this study has proven is that government workers have a greater social conscience.”

Reid didn’t dispute that federal bureaucrats took home more pay per hour than similarly employed private sector workers, but declared that “its only logical that those employed by the biggest organization would get bigger paychecks. Let’s not forget that the federal government has over 300 million people who depend on it. The tasks associated with ruling them and tending to their needs are inherently more important than the tasks performed by any private company in the world. Those doing these tasks deserve to be paid more.”

The Senator contended that “high salaries also act as a deterrent to theft. The temptations that government employees face are enormous. Billions of dollars are at risk. If employees feel they are under compensated they’ll be more likely to help themselves to some of this money. I mean, heaven knows there’s no way we can properly oversee all this spending. Adequately compensating them is our best bet for keeping them honest.”

Congresswoman Hopeful that Connecticut School Massacre Will Lead to Gun Control

Friday’s murder spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut took the lives of 28 people and has already sparked calls for tighter gun control.

Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) characterized the slayings as “a very fortuitous event for those of us determined to disarm the general public. The fact that so many of the victims were young children should go a long way toward softening up the opposition of the right wing gun nuts who have blocked constructive measures against this much needed action.”

The ineffectiveness of current laws banning weapons in public schools failed to stem McCarthy’s hopes. “Just because existing laws haven’t proved sufficient doesn’t mean we don’t need more of them,” McCarthy argued. “At the very least adding another illegal weapons possession charge to the indictment of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes has got to have some deterrent effect.”

“It’s long past the time that we recognize that the ancient rationale for private gun ownership is no longer relevant,” the Representative said. “People don’t need to personally hunt for food. There are no Indians on the rampage in our towns. The skills our ancestors had with firearms have atrophied in our modern world.”

“America would be a much safer place if only government personnel were allowed to carry guns,” McCarthy maintained. “As history has shown in other countries, concentrating the firepower in the hands of well trained police and military personnel is more conducive to securing a peaceful environment for everyone to enjoy.”

NBC News Anchor Wishes Obama Were Dictator

During an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, NBC News anchorman Brian Williams opined that “the country might be better off if President Obama could simply order businesses to carry out his economic vision.”

“The market system is so chaotic and uncoordinated,” Williams complained. “Every firm, every decision-maker is left free to do as he deems best. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have one person issue the marching orders for all? That way they’d all be working on the same plan rather than wasting resources clashing with each other.”

Citing the Affordable Health Care Act as an example of what he has in mind, Williams asked “If the government can force everyone to purchase health insurance why can’t it force every business to manufacture all of its products in America? Think of the money that could be saved on transportation from not having to import anything, the time saved from not having to make decisions, and the jobs created.”

Williams assured that he personally wouldn’t have any trouble following dictates from Obama because “I can’t imagine that he would ever lead us astray. In the four years he’s been President I don’t think he’s made a single misstep. I am supremely confident of his leadership.”

Senator Questions Homeland Security Spending

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla) charged that the Department of Homeland Security has squandered huge sums in its Urban Area Security Initiative grant program. Included in his list of dubious outlays were funds used to buy sno-cone machines in Michigan, a video produced by the City of Jacksonville, Florida warning residents to be wary of people with above average intelligence, and travel to posh resorts for “security training” conferences.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended her agency and maintained that “the Senator’s understanding of security matters is deficient. We carefully consider each grant request. We wouldn’t approve any spending that wasn’t warranted.”

“Considering the specific items he cited, it is our opinion that the sno-cone machines contributed to boosting morale among the state’s law enforcement officials,” she contended. “Jacksonville’s warning was apt since  highly intelligent criminals can plan large and complex terror operations. And holding training sessions at five-star resorts encourages higher attendance.”

A Satirical Look at Recent News

John Semmens Archives

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