I think by now most of us know that Obama announced that, by Imperial Decree, certain illegals will get some sort of deferment, giving those who already decided to break
A policy that
took effect in New York City this week is expected to accelerate a
downward trend in marijuana arrests, which are also falling
nationwide after rising dramatically during the Clinton and George
W. Bush administrations. In my latest Forbes column,
I consider the causes and consequences of this cannabis crackdown.
Here is how the piece begins:
In 1992, when Americans elected a president who said he had
smoked pot without inhaling, the number of marijuana
arrests in the United States began a steep climb. It peaked in
2007, during the administration of a president who refused to say
whether he had smoked pot because he worried about setting a bad
example for the youth of America. Since 2009, when a president who
"inhaled frequently" because "that was the point" took office, the
number of marijuana arrests has fallen steadily—a trend that
continued last year, according to FBI numbers released
Arabia has banned women from displaying "tempting eyes." The
religious police will now have the power to force women whose
eyes they find alluring to wear a full veil that covers them.
I oppose comprehensive immigration reform. I think Congress always fails as comprehensive legislation. But, long time readers know I am squishier on the immigration issue than many RedStaters. There are portions of what the President proposed last night that I support in principle and, frankly, was surprised by how mild some of the actions were, given the run up to the announcement.
But whatever I think of those things the President proposed, it is irrelevant because I believe the President has no power to do what he has done. He himself agreed back in 2011. The President has taken actions that require Congressional approval. His advisors say Congress had their chance and did not act. That is, essentially, an affirmative act of Congress. By not acting, the President himself cannot act alone. He is not a dictator.
Here, though, is where you are being played. There are enough Republicans in Congress who in private support what the President did that they will go through elaborate kabuki theater to keep you convinced they’re going to fight him, when in reality the Republicans are going to fund the President’s plan.
You are being played.
Republicans are pushing forward with a plan to fund the government. They claim they will then return next year and defund the President’s plan. But doing so would be subject to a Presidential veto. The GOP does not have the votes to override that veto. In effect, they’ll be funding the President’s plan while setting themselves up to claim they oppose it.
The GOP does not oppose the President’s plan. Hell, much of the GOP, including most of its Senate leadership, has previously voted for what the President did. And these same Republicans have attacked their own base as racists and bigots for opposing comprehensive immigration reform.
You are being played. The GOP wants this.
And if you don’t believe it, look at what they’ve done.
They ran to the nearest camera, declared this a constitutional crisis and a violation of the separation of powers, then they hopped a flight back to their home states.
If the GOP really thought this were a constitutional crisis, they would act like it. They would be willing to shut it all down to preserve the integrity of the constitutional system.
But they have no intention of doing that. Why? Because you are being played. And it is the GOP playing you.
HONOLULU — A new report from State Budget Solutions, a national nonprofit organization focusing on states’ fiscal responsibility, warns it’s time for newly elected state officials in Hawaii and throughout the country to address unfunded liabilities in the retirement system.
The report finds Hawaii has $30 billion in unfunded liability–money promised to state and municipal employee retirees for health care and pensions but not appropriated by lawmakers. That’s $21,852 per person, seventh-highest in the nation, according to Joe Luppino-Esposito, the study’s author.
He said Hawaii’s Employees’ Retirement System is only 29 percent funded, and the unfunded portion amounts to 41 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.
State officials say the pension system is 60 percent funded and thus only $8.5 billion in arrears. But the state assumes the plan will average 7.75 percent in investment growth, a figure Luppino-Esposito calls “far too high.”
Hawaii is far from alone. The SBS report, which reviewed 250 plans, found state governments are in a $4.7 trillion hole. Liabilities have increased roughly $600 billion since last year. The average state public pension plan is only 36 percent funded, the report said.
Wes Machida, executive director of Hawaii’s Employees’ Retirement System, acknowledged there are some elements in the study to which the state should pay attention.
Hawaii is trying to address it through increased contributions. Legislation passed in 2011 requires employees to pay between 6 and 14.2 percent of their checks into the fund and for employers to pay 17 percent for most employees and 25 percent for police and fire. Also, employees now must work 10 years, instead of just five, to become vested in the system.
“There are concerns about employers being able to make those kinds of contributions,” Machida said. “At some point down the road, this will likely be an issue for Hawaii. The requirements will be so high as to outgrow what is available in the general fund. That is a possibility if we don’t do something to help with the situation.”
Even using the state’s modest estimates–that another $8.5 billion is needed to cover unfunded liabilities or future payments owed to the more than 115,000 people in the system, including all retirement income, death and termination benefits–Hawaii won’t be able to cover that amount for decades.
Further complicating matters: The average life expectancy for members in Hawaii is 82 to 83 years of age, much greater than the national average, Machida said.
The post Study: State Governments Are in a $4.7 Trillion Hole appeared first on Daily Signal.
San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer, the largest donor in the 2014 election cycle, says the way to win the debate on the environmental issues he cares about is to emphasize how money in elections and industry lobbyists are hindering a healthier environment.
People may not inherently care about big-picture ideas, he said at a panel discussion on climate change Wednesday sponsored by the Center for American Progress. But they do care about special breaks for big business and the influence big money has on policy.
“People are very worried about the idea that money in politics is getting special privileges, and to the extent they ever see that actual connection between political favors and any kind of contribution, they are very upset about it,” Steyer said.
Steyer failed to mention that Americans won’t see much impact on policy from the nearly $67 million he spent on the 2014 cycle because most of his favored candidates lost.
Part of it is that voters don’t much care about his issues. Just 1 percent of Americans in a Gallup poll taken Nov. 6-9 said climate or pollution is the greatest issue facing the United States.
Steyer had a different take. He said Democrats lost because they didn’t step up for the environment and make it important to more voters.
“I think that my interpretation of the 2014 elections is, not standing up for the things you deeply believe in is not really a great idea,” he said, echoing the sentiments of many progressives following the Democrats’ idrubbng at the polls.
Steyer said “in this case, particularly given the way that activist Democrats and young people across the country feel about this, not standing up for the things you really believe in, in an attempt to protect yourself, doesn’t feel like a winning strategy.”
The post Tom Steyer, Largest 2014 Donor, Says Americans Worry Big Political Donors Get ‘Special Privileges’ appeared first on Daily Signal.
Sen. Jeff Sessions will outline his critique of President Obama’s executive action on immigration at a Heritage Foundation event today at 11:30 a.m. The Alabama Republican has emerged as a vocal critic of the Obama administration on the issue.
In addition to Sessions’ speech, the event features a panel discussion with National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru, Temple University law professor Jan C. Ting, and John Malcolm, director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and Heritage’s Ed and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson senior fellow.
The post Obama’s Most Vocal Immigration Critic Speaks Out. You Can Watch It Live Here. appeared first on Daily Signal.
The percentage of federal prosecutions tried by juries declined from 19 percent in 1980 to 3 percent today, as prosecutors have huge advantages over defense counsel and throw a great
The Human Rights Campaign is a gay rights group in Washington heavily connected to the Obama Administration.
In the past, the group has labeled the Family Research Council a “hate group.” In fact, the day before a gay rights activist entered the Family Research Council’s offices to kill its employees, the Human Rights Campaign had labeled FRC a “hate group.”
The Human Rights Campaign recently targeted Catholic bishops because of their position on gay marriage.
Likewise, the Human Rights Campaign has targeted a host of individuals and organizations with which it has disagreements. The brochure from the Human Rights Campaign looks like it is offering up bounties on the targeted individuals.
Ironies now abound that the co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign, who is also a big Obama donor, has been arrested for sex crimes involving a 15 year old boy.
Someone should start a pool for when HRC starts pushing the barriers on age. After all, same love and all that.
The post Gay Rights and Sex Crimes: Ironies From the Human Rights Campaign Files appeared first on RedState.
Interesting news tonight from Ferguson, Missouri: Officer Darren Wilson in Talks to Resign.
When it rains, it pours. Just before unveiling his colossal administrative amnesty for millions of “undocumented” aliens and foreign tech workers on Thursday, President Obama separately ordered up to 8,000
One of the truly unheralded disasters caused by Obamacare is the sharp reduction in spending on public education as Medicaid costs eat up an ever-larger share of state budgets. When
I understand we’ve turned the page to the next controversy — Obama’s unconstitutional immigration pander — but I’d like to dwell a little longer on the previous travesty. Obama administration