Illinois Leftist Democrat Petitions Congress With a Rifle

In all the discussion of the shooting during Republican practice for the Congressional baseball game, I was struck by the fact no one thought it odd that none of the other participants tried to help seriously wounded Rep. Steve Scalise to safety.

They knew he was hurt. They saw the trail of blood as he tried to drag himself off the field. But no one went to his aid. Like a herd of wildebeest fleeing a lion attack, the wounded and slow were left behind.

Now that the coast is clear, members of Congress are leaping out of the dugout and discussing ways taxpayers can protect them in the future.

Certainly this unprovoked attack was cowardly, but the fact the victims were politicians doesn’t require mobilizing the nation. I’d feel equally outraged if the Bernie Bro had shot up a gathering of Jaycees — that notorious hatchery of young capitalists.

What I’m trying to do is put the incident in perspective.

Fact is if you were offered a choice between being the cashier in a tow truck facility and a member of Congress, people interested in personal safety should choose Congress. The last member to be killed in an individual attack was Leo Ryan in 1978. Before Scalise was shot, the last member attacked was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2011. Prior to that it was John Stennis in 1973.

Four attacks in 44 years isn’t exactly the definition of danger.

If you’re looking for a “public servant” that’s actually in danger while doing his job, talk to a mailman not a politician.

An intelligent, as opposed to hysterical, response to the shooting confronts taxpayers with a paradox: most individual members of Congress are eminently replaceable mediocrities. It’s only in clumps that congressmen are valuable. I wouldn’t go so far to say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but you get the idea.

Losing members in bunches of 20 or 30 would convulse the country and subject the remaining members to crippling workloads. Mitch McConnell might have to establish the four–day workweek in the Senate.

So I reluctantly support the security state measures taxpayers are subject to when they enter the Capitol and House or Senate office buildings. Off–Capitol gatherings that attract 20 or more members — say two lobbyists having lunch with an open seat at the table — also deserve enhanced security. But I draw the line at individually assigned protective details.

Naturally that’s exactly what big–government politicians and Democrats too passive to be responsible for their own safety are talking about. Many of the politicians who promise to “fight for you” are seriously considering protective details for every member of Congress. An extravagance Politico calculates would cost over $1 billion.

Instead, I support Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Don’t Tread on Me) who introduced a bill that would require gun–phobic Washington, DC to honor concealed carry permits from other states. This would let DC politicians defend themselves.

Massie explains, “After the horrific shooting at the Republican Congressional Baseball practice, there will likely be calls for special privileges to protect politicians. I do not want to extend a special privilege to politicians, because the right to keep and bear arms is not a privilege, it is a God–given right protected by our Constitution.”

I’d support Massie if the bill only applied to politicians, particularly if the alternative is taxpayer–paid bodyguards. Those micro–potentates don’t need anything else to feed their egos. Why can’t they take their chances with everyday life just like the rest of us?

A Washington Post reporter described an encounter Sen. Orrin Hatch (R–Methuselah). Hatch invaded an elevator with three members of his security detail. The Postie asked whether more of his colleagues should receive security details. Displaying the noblesse oblige that’s made him a byword for the common touch, Hatch replied, “I think all of you deserve protection, too. I think we have to protect everybody.”

No word on whether he offered to detail one of his three bodyguards to accompany the reporter.

Individual security details will soon become 535 mini–motorcades clogging up the nation’s streets in the name of “national security.”

Taxpayers don’t need to harden the DC bubble. Let politicians experience life like the rest of us. The argument is made that these indispensible marshmallows are the nation’s leadership. They get death threats, suffer road rage incidents and people say mean things about them. My response is, so what? I’ve been on the receiving end of all three offenses and I’m not looking for a taxpayer–paid Praetorian Guard.

Harry Truman said if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. My advice to politicians is if you won’t carry the heat, don’t get out of the office.

Business Learns Trump Giveth and Trump Taketh Away

Conservatives always knew Trump’s policies would be a dog’s breakfast of competing initiatives and impulsive proposals. His State of the Administration speech only served to confirm it.

There were solid assurances to reestablish the rule of law and promises to develop a “historic” tax reform program that will make US businesses more competitive with other countries.

Unfortunately, waiting for tax reform from a Republican Congress that supports business because it makes campaign contributions and ignores competition because it doesn’t, is like waiting for a pause in an Obama monologue.

Rather than wait, Trump issued an order that requires the executive branch to remove two old regulations for every new one it issues.

That’s a great start; although something tells me at least initially the regulations deleted are going to be those covering the sodium content of salt pork issued to the Army of the Potomac.

But how does removing burdensome regulations on US business square with requiring those same businesses to provide paid family leave? I know it’s a logical progression from universal Pre–K, which is taxpayer–funded daycare, to paying mothers to raise their own babies, but it’s not logical for Republicans trying to make America competitive.

Trump’s new Commissar of Motherhood is going to be regulating up a storm. What number employees is the cutoff for coverage? Will men get to take advantage of paid leave? What about men who can’t decide if they are a man or a woman? Can homosexuals take off to raise a surrogate child? Is a polygamist limited to children from one wife or do all qualify? Does a mother of twins get twice as much leave? Can a divorced husband take off if he still gets along with the ex–wife and she has a child? Will leave only apply to immediate family or will it be like chain immigration and apply to cousins, uncles and people with similar last names?

Do mothers who abort their child get time off to sooth a guilty conscience? How long does the leave last? If a woman gives birth to a girl and a few years later she decides she’s a boy, can mom take another leave to help with the transition? If a woman adopts an infant, does she qualify? If a woman serves as a surrogate mother can she take paid leave, too?

Will the payment be a percentage of salary or a fixed rate? Will there be a means test? How about a citizenship test? Does a woman continue to earn seniority as she cares for junior? Does the leave clock for a premie start when the child was born or when it should have been born? If a mother’s state already has a paid leave program does she have to choose one or can she double–dip?

Just answering those few questions will generate reams of regulations. Will the Commissar get a free pass on the new one–for–two regulatory rule and start from scratch? Or will he have to persuade other agencies to donate old regulations he can sacrifice on the altar of red tape?

I’m sorry, but this has Ivanka’s fingerprints all over it and no one that I know of voted for her.

This program better left to the states. California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island already have leave programs. The other states are free to follow their lead and burden their businesses, too.

This is not to say I downplay the importance of motherhood. I don’t. Conservatives put much more emphasis on the nurturing of the nuclear family than the left does. Strong families build a strong society.

Let’s say Virginia, where I live, wanted to encourage working mothers to stay home with their children for the first three months. I could support a plan that takes inspiration from the foster parent program.

Virginia pays foster parents $462 a month for children under age four. It could start a new Leg Up on Life program that pays working mothers a similar amount for the first three months of the child’s life. This encourages mothers to take time off from work to establish a relationship with the newborn and removes some of the financial pressure.

In the interest of equity I would allow both working and non–working women to be eligible. In the interest of keeping the program simple, the payment would not be means tested. If women already had paid leave from their place of employment, they could collect both payments.

This program has the advantage of being simple, non–federal and no burden on business. It encourages mothers without discouraging job creation. Best of all it doesn’t establish a federal entitlement Democrats could increase at some time in the future, like Trump’s does.

Ryan’s Obamacare Lite Is Another Travesty & Betrayal

Freshman Rep. Moira Walsh had an unusual explanation for some of the bad lawmaking in her state capital during an interview on Rhode Island’s WPRO, “It’s the drinking that blows my mind. You cannot operate a motor vehicle when you’ve had two beers but you can make laws that effect people’s lives forever when you’re half in the bag?

Too bad Moira isn’t in Congress. Booze would be a more acceptable explanation for Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement bill than the truth, which is this bill is a betrayal of conservatives seven years in the making.

As the Heritage Foundation points out this slap in the face protects the Democrat base that got free or heavily subsidized coverage at the expense of the GOP base that earns the money to pay for Democrat’s discount insurance.

As I’ve pointed out to friends in the past the price of an Obamacare policy isn’t bad if you remember your premium is buying for two policies: One for your family and another for the moochers.

Ryan evidently believes Republican meddling in the health insurance market is such a big improvement over Democrat meddling that he’ll rule for decades. The truth is the base didn’t vote to swap incompetent meddlers we don’t know for incompetents we do know.

Our mistake was believing the lie that once Republicans controlled all three branches of government they would repeal Obamacare.

My doubts began when “repeal” was amended to “repeal and replace.” Why replace Obamacare’s socialized medicine with the Republican’s Obamacare Lite?

A simple return to the situation that existed before the passage of Obamacare could mean a reduction of up to 30 percent in the cost of insurance premiums and the return of the missing doctors. That alone should be enough win re–election.

The insurance market circa 2008 will cause problems in the dependency class that doesn’t like their handouts interrupted. But I have news for Ryan and his RINO gang — they don’t vote for you anyway. Your voters are the people this bill continues to burden.

Ryan and the rest of his brain trust would rather betray the voters who supported them than risk headlines from the Opposition Media about taking free insurance away.

Ryan’s bill fails in three major areas.

First it does nothing to increase competition in the insurance market. Insurance companies still can’t sell nationwide, the “lines around states” Trump mentioned in the debate. This change alone would lower prices because companies would compete against each other. That’s why you can afford homeowner’s insurance and you can’t afford health insurance.

Second it does nothing to lower prices because the onerous and expensive coverage requirements for every policy are still included. If the consumer wants to buy a policy that covers him from Q-tip to transplant, fine he can pay for it. But if all he wants is major medical, he should be able to make that choice.

Finally it penalizes Republican states that didn’t expand Medicaid and rewards Democrat states that ran up a tab on Uncle Sam. The bill promises this will be phased out in the future, but we’re supposed to believe a Republican Congress that won’t boot 25–year–olds off daddy’s policy today will find the backbone to cut Medicaid tomorrow?

This debate isn’t really about health insurance and discussing it in those terms lets leftists set the parameters. This debate is about personal liberty. The liberty, as an adult, to make your own decisions regarding the future.

Government isn’t the national airbag saving the impudent and foolish from the consequences of their own stupidity. This only encourages more irresponsibility among the demographic whose only long–term commitment is a tattoo.

Healthcare isn’t a right. You don’t have the right to make someone go to medical school, graduate and then treat you for a price you think is reasonable, any more than you have a right to make the barber cut your hair.

I hope there are enough conservatives in the House to defeat Ryan’s disingenuous travesty. Because if they don’t it, means Obama won.

It’s obvious only difference between Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House and Paul Ryan is velocity. The train just moves slower and the conductor’s assurances are less believable under Ryan, but the final destination is still Greece.

Passage of this bill will raise a very pertinent question for conservatives: Why do you have a stronger belief in conservative principles and the power of the free market than the politicians who get your vote?

Why should we pretend anymore?

My suggestion next November is vote for the politician who promises to give away the most; at least he’s not a hypocrite. Maximize benefits now and hope the money doesn’t run out until after you’re dead.

What’s the Point of Having a Majority If GOP Doesn’t Use It?

Last week, during an aside in his speech at the Values Voters Summit, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R–TX) shared an insight into the timid appeasers comprising GOP congressional leadership. When he first entered the House in 2006 the talk was of the big things the Republican majority was going to accomplish.

stopfeeding_rinosThen he attended a GOP House conference meeting and found leadership worried. They explained that yes, the plan was to do big things. But there was “a small chance” Republicans might lose the majority. So to play it safe, the leadership wants to do small things, win the election and keep the majority.

Then, they’ll do great things.

Gohmert was just a freshman member at the time but he spoke up, “If there’s any chance we might lose, then this is the time to do the big stuff.” But Gohmert was ignored.

Conservative voters are still waiting for those “great things.”

Elect a Democrat and they wield power. Elect a Republican and they hold office.

GOP leaders hoard their majority like dwarves hiding under the Lonely Mountain, until the Dragon Pelosi shows up and snatches it away. This explains why a constitutional ignoramus like Nancy Pelosi in her four years as speaker did more to advance the leftist agenda than the last three Republican speakers combined did for the GOP.

This week conservatives have another example of GOP cowardice. The headline in The Hill read: “GOP averts vote on impeaching IRS commissioner.” “Averting” is a GOP leadership specialty.

Here a just a few times these surrender monkeys have ignored their conservative base:

  • House GOP Scurries To Avert Homeland Security Shutdown — allowing Obama’s unconstitutional illegal alien amnesty to continue.
  • Shutdown Averted: House Passes Funding Bill Despite Majority of GOP ‘No’ Votes — continued funding for Planned Parenthood and its organ harvesting.
  • Aiming to avert shutdown, Obama to meet with Congress leaders at White House — part of a plan to have the next funding bill passed during a lame duck session with                                       spending finalized before Trump may take office.

Each one of these surrenders only serves to make Congress more irrelevant and the president and his appointees stronger and more defiant. That’s why this impeachment vote was so important. The Obama administration turned the IRS into its political enforcement arm without any consequences.

Lois Lerner specifically targets conservative political organizations for IRS harassment. She delayed and denied tax–exempt designations for five years, while at the same time approving applications of groups supporting the administration.

Commissioner John Koskinen brought in by Obama to “clean up” the IRS, mislead Congress about disappearing email. Didn’t protect other IRS data that Congress specifically ordered him to preserve. Failed to protect subpoenaed documents and another 24,000 Lerner email messages. As Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R–UT) told the New York Times, “He provided, I think, a whole series of false testimony. You can’t be under a duly issued subpoena and mislead Congress, and when you provide false testimony there has to be a consequence.”

Koskinen and the IRS are tailor made for a visit to the woodshed. Although powerful, the IRS has no natural constituency outside government. Impeach the EPA director and every druid in the nation will be chaining themselves to the Cherry Trees. Go after Agriculture and it’s tractors and nutritionists laying siege to Washington.

But the only constituency for the IRS is lobbyists who milk it for tax loopholes.

What’s more, the IRS is beatable. Just ask the Church of Scientology. It fought a war with the IRS to force it to grant Scientology a church tax exemption. GOP leaders whine about the media and bad PR, yet there is no Fox News for cults to give the Scientology side of the fight. And the church lacked the base of the Republican Party.

Yet Scientology won, while the GOP surrenders. Scientology fought the IRS for 25 years. GOP leadership won’t fight for 25 news cycles.

The impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was designed to send a message to a rogue executive branch that in the future Congress is going to assert its constitutional power. Unfortunately Paul Ryan was the messenger.

Now instead of a vote on impeachment, the House will hold yet another hearing where Koskinen will be able to peddle the same lies and half–truths he did before, content in the knowledge these putzes are powerless.

Then after the election — maybe on Christmas Eve! — a quiet vote on impeachment will be held and the issue will go away.

This is why Trump is the nominee instead of the establishment candidates. Conservatives are tired of a “leadership” that defines victory as holding a successful hearing and winning a news cycle.

We define victory by winning.

Laws that Are Good for Us Aren’t Good Enough for Them

Last December I wrote of Sen. David Vitter’s lonely fight to make our elected panjandrums and their courtesans live under that same laws we do. You can find that column here.

As you might imagine this is very difficult because our “public servants” mostly consider themselves better than the public they serve.

Sen. Vitter believes in the principle that restaurant food is better if the cook eats it, too. And the same goes for legislation, although politicians don’t have to eat the bill — not even Nancy Pelosi needs that much roughage.

Just live by the laws they pass, like the rest of us do.

I interviewed Sen. Vitter last week and he’s making progress on requiring Washington to suffer under Obamacare, too, but even with a Republican House and Senate the struggle remains an uphill climb.

Complete details are here in my Newsmax column:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/SenMitch-McConnell-No-Exemptions-Obamacare-SenDavid-Vitter/2015/02/26/id/627072/

Why the Widget Method of Evaluating Congress Is a Leftist Plot

Conservatives don’t want Congress to do more to control control our lives, they want Congress to govern and that’s a big difference. In the country’s current state a Congress that governed wisely would be analyzing previously passed laws and repealing the counter–productive, the wasteful and the unnecessary.

So why do many conservatives, and worse conservative media outlets, use a measure designed by the Left to evaluate the productivity of Congress?

It’s time to change how we evaluate Congress. Complete details at (incidentally, ignore the Newsmax headline, it has almost nothing to do with the column):

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/John-Boehner-Congress-EPA-The-New-York-Times/2015/01/02/id/616082/

Congressional Obamacare Hypocrisy: They Get the Subsidy, Taxpayers Get the Bill

Sen. David Vitter (R–LA) is in lonely fight against Congressional Obamacare hypocrisy.

Republicans claim to be against Obamacare, yet many protect their staff, along with their health plans, from the same federal meddling, cost and inconvenience taxpayers must suffer. One expects that from Democrats but it’s infuriating from Republicans.

Vitter has been trying to end this shuffle for more than two years.

Now there may be hope that Vitter will succeed with a little help from you over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Complete details in my Newsmax column at:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/Congress-Staff-Taxpayers-Vitter/2014/12/12/id/612685/

We Were Sequestered Before It Was Cool

Sequester pruning

The Obama Administration’s Ministry of Truth has been experiencing some traction problems in the DC area. The scare stories regarding the collapse of the air travel system in the event of sequester are simply not motivating people in spite of the fact the Mainstream Media (MSM) has dutifully spread the word.

We are warned that in the event of sequester, massive TSA layoffs will result in airline passengers waiting up to three hours before they can be groped by a highly–trained government sex harasser. Slashing the budget by two cents on every dollar will also mean TSA guards won’t be changing rubber gloves between touchy–feely sessions.

Female passengers, who undergo nearly nude full–body scans, will be relieved to learn this drastic reduction torpedoes the ink budget. TSA can no longer afford to print particularly comely images for posting in the lunchroom. And since it’s too costly to store the pictures on government hard drives, TSA will ask remaining employees to work overtime and upload the images to their Facebook accounts for safekeeping.

According to the White House, you aren’t even safe on board the aircraft. Air traffic controllers will be awakened from their control tower naps and told to go sleep at home. The few remaining will be grumpy and sleepy, with a consequent slowdown in takeoffs and landings.

Assuming one gets in the air, passengers will be shocked to learn airlines will no longer offer free in–flight meals and instead expect passengers to pay handsomely for sandwiches wrapped and catered by 7/11. Wait, that’s already happened. Sorry, false alarm.

All in all it’s a horrible foretaste of privation and delay, yet not a single Republican Congressman is hanging from a lamppost. In fact there is so much indifference here that Obama has taken his nationwide Hyperventilation Tour on the road.

The reason for our calm in the face of the impending storm is that Metro, our local DC subway system, has essentially been sequestered for the past two years and life has continued. It’s more inconvenient, spontaneous and ad hoc — at least when it comes to arriving on time — but it is life.

I’ve long contended Metro is the only mass trans system run by an improv group, but now the passengers are joining in the fun. Take this week for instance: Tuesday morning on the Silver Line (this is DC, so everything has to do with money) crack Metro crews were testing equipment. As the WaPost reports, one of the brakes began to lock up. Like the spinster on the way to church who assumes a flat tire will heal itself, the crew continued operating the train trying to get off the track before rush hour or looming obsolescence caught up with them.

They didn’t make it. The wheel wore down to a nub, a pantoodler fell off and sliced through 60 cables and the system ground to a halt. The only thing left to do was call AAA and wait for the tow truck.

Metro officialdom predicted repairs would be complete by noon, but it took a total of nine hours. Metro sent alerts to passengers twice and then their thumbs got tired. So between 7 AM and 2 PM Metro passengers were on their own, which is a not uncommon condition. Then a train malfunctioned on the Yellow Line. There was a track problem on the Blue line. And another train shot craps on the Green Line.

And those are just the unplanned shutdowns.

The system regularly closes entire stations on the weekend and as a matter of fact the Reagan Airport station will be shut for three days beginning March 1st. (I guess they figured what with the sequester and all, no one will be flying anyway.)

Metro limits the number of trains on holidays and shuts escalators for months at a time forcing passengers to trudge upward toward daylight from the bowels of the system. Recently on a single day Metro passengers suffered seven electronic thefts and every last one of them was during daylight hours! Thieves evidently rest during the night so they can read the manuals and learn how to download apps.

The reason Metro ‘service’ is such a gamble is management didn’t bother with routine maintenance for the past 15 or so years. I’m guessing the thinking was: We’re the government, what could go wrong? So current passengers pay for the mistakes of past incompetent management, a situation young people are soon to encounter with regard to Social Security taxes.

Frankly, I’m hoping the full effect of the sequester hits when the majority of members of Congress are out of town. That way if they can’t get back, they can’t resume spending.

Let Obama Leap Off the Fiscal Cliff Alone

Fiscal Cliff Cartoon Blog VersionThe editorial cartoon on the left perfectly summarizes the political situation surrounding fiscal cliff negotiations. The lesson is Republicans will be blamed regardless.

CNN and Pew Research Center polls show a majority of the public will blame the GOP if the country goes over the cliff, even if Speaker Boehner fetches coffee for Obama during negotiations and compliments Michelle on her triceps.

To avoid this the GOP must start thinking strategically. That and take some very useful advice from two unlikely sources: Grover Norquist and Barack Obama.

Norquist urges Republicans to televise negotiations. This is a good idea that will allow the public to see just how intransigent Democrats are. While Obama warns House Republicans to get out of the way, which is exactly what they should do.

While the TV cameras are humming, Boehner should recognize the President built his campaign around raising taxes and voters supported that agenda. Boehner should explain that although Republicans disagree and believe Obama’s policies will plunge the nation back into a recession, if not depression, the people have spoken and Republicans will not obstruct him in any way.

Then — as Dante wrote about denizens of one level of the Inferno — we let Obama be himself with a vengeance. Republicans simply vote ‘present’ and, following the Obamacare precedent, the President’s socialistic, dangerous policy passes without a single Republican vote.

We lose tactically in the short run, but we win strategically in the long run. Negotiating minor cuts at the margin now not only won’t be a victory, it will allow Obama — and his Hallelujah Chorus in the media — to blame the failure of his fiscal policy on Republicans. That is impossible if Obama gets his way.

What’s more, bickering over petty spending cuts, discredits major cuts as a viable debt reduction strategy in the future. When these rounding–error cuts fail to make a difference, Democrats and the media will claim we tried cutting and it didn’t work.

Keep in mind Republican House leadership has a bad track record when it comes to negotiating cuts anyway. The last time we had a debt confrontation in 2011, Boehner came up with a total of $352 million in cuts. To put that in perspective, the amount represents one–tenth of one percent of the budget.

Whoop–tee–freakin’–doo. It would have made more sense to take the “savings” and buy lottery tickets. Last week’s Powerball jackpot was almost twice as large as the “cuts.”

And the wealthy job creators Obama’s tax increase will harm? I repeat, any Obama compromise means Republicans own the failure, because Obama didn’t get all he knew the nation really needed. And in the unlikely event he succeeds — and remember the media will set the bar remarkably low — Obama gets all the credit.

Some will object that House Republicans have just as strong a mandate as Obama, since they were elected, too. But that’s horse hockey. GOP congressmen were re–elected in gerrymandered districts designed to be impossible for Democrats to win. Obama won the entire nation and he’s right about his mandate, misguided as it is.

If recognizing the results of a democratic election is the proper policy in Egypt, it’s the proper policy here, even if the Socialism Brotherhood was the winner.

Holding out for miniscule spending cuts is simply negotiating the length of the rope Obama will use to hang Congressional Republicans.

There are only two instances where the GOP should fight today. One is opposing giving up Congressional debt ceiling authority in the future. The other is Boehner’s promise that if the Democrat Senate changes filibuster rules, all subsequent Senate bills will be DOA in the House.

Giving the President unilateral debt ceiling authority is like giving the Times Square homeless man a pair of boots and a credit card. No Congressional debt authority, along with rewriting filibuster rules, would cause long–term damage to the country and set a dangerous precedent.

Otherwise, let Obama own the agenda and own the responsibility. It will be impossible to blame Republicans for a result they did not in any way impede.

Our goal should be winning in 2014. It’s the asymmetrical strategy I advocated recently; and it is the kind of strategic thinking Republicans need to start utilizing.

Two years of short term pain will result in House and Senate gains that will allow Republicans to start reversing the course of Obamaism. Besides, I want to watch Democrats try to run in 2014 on a platform of “Osama’s Dead & So Is the Economy.”