Archive for government

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SCANDALS: A QUESTION I REALLY NEED ANSWERED

Posted in FRED SCHWARTZ OPINIONS, IN HINDSIGHT, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, WHITE HOUSE SCANDALS 2013 with tags , , , , , on 18/05/2013 by Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.]

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Okay so this time it’s our guy who’s in hot water for scandals in his administration and there are already some premature calls for Impeachment. Whatever. The real point here is that in all three cases [Benghazi, AP phone records, IRS scandal] something happened at a level within the Obama administration that went wrong. One of these events led to the death of four Americans. That’s the more serious of the three in my opinion from more than just a journalistic standpoint. The one that has the greatest threat to my career is the AP phone records scandal but that’s the one most likely to allow the Obama Administration to come out smelling like a rose. Then there’s the IRS thing. This one honestly bothers me the most because it seems to have that sticky sort of scandal goo associated with it where there’s a curious mix of political appointees and career federal employees trying to do something that clearly breaks the law.

hindsight 2212
In Hindsight
For once I agree [with the guys from Blogs4Victory]; there needs to be a special prosecutor for this one to find an answer to that nagging question I have. “Were establishment GOP IRS employees who saw a chance to do harm to the TEA Party and the Obama Administration given carte blanche to run this operation targeting TEA Party group applications for tax exempt status, or was this a far left cabal of IRS workers simply out to get the TEA Party?”

Pax Terra!

Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., CS, O.Q.H [Journ.]
Managing Editor—Research
The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork
12 Colnu 2 AS

THE RIGHT CHOOSES TO LIE ABOUT TANF: HERE’S THE TRUTH

Posted in 2012 US ELECTION, CONSERVATIVE FEAR, CONSERVATIVE HYPOCRISY, CONSERVATIVE IGNORANCE, DIANE VALENCEN OPINIONS, FEARSPEAK, RACE AND POLITICS IN AMERICA, TANF, WELFARE REFORM, WELFARE REFORM LIES FROM THE RIGHT with tags , , , on 15/08/2012 by Diane Valencen, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H [Journ.], ArF J., M.F.

First of all there was no “executive order” signed by the president that was “designed to gut welfare.” What happened was the Department of Health and Human Services issued an informational memo to the 50 states and other interested parties outlining the waiver program for making Temporary Assistance to Needy Families [TANF] stronger in the following directions:

As specified in statute, the purpose of Part A is to increase the flexibility of states in operating a program designed to: (1) provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives; (2) end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage; (3) prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies; and (4) encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

That very statement was one of the bedrock issues for the Right under their Contract with America as Welfare Reform was passed in the House and the Senate in 1996 in the form of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 [PRWORA]. This new law dismantled the old system of Aid to Families with Dependent Children [AFDC] which had been abused for decades. Welfore Reform was one of the pieces of legislation that both the Congress and the Clinton administration can look back upon with pride. AFDC was replaced by TANF.

Of course the America of 1996 is far different from the America of 2012. In 2012, the polarization has become so deep between Right and Left, and truly between Right and Center, that any lie that makes the President of the United States appear to be against white working Christian conservatives can, will and must be told and then repeated until any proof to the contrary is spun as “Liberal lies.” A clear example of this is the post at Newsbusters.org written by Matt Hadro tnhat quotes an article written by Robert Rector and Katherine Bradley in the National Review bearing the conservative red meat title, “Obama ends welfare as we know it.”

Rector and Bradley likely sat down and confessed their knowledge to each other that what they were writing was a lie; simply a political hit piece designed to bring ill informed rural and urban blue collar white voters closer to the dark heart of the Romney/Ryan ticket. But a lie is a lie still. The Priorities USA ad where the guy basically said Romney killed his wife was a lie and that was a terrible one that never needs to be repeated by any surrogate of the Obama campaign. This is a different issue because it is yet another racial dog whistle by the conservatives.

The first place that I was able to find anything related to this HHS directive of 12 July 2012 was in the piece by Rector and Bradley at National Review. Countless people have come out to explain that the HHS hasn’t the authority to waive work requirements except in very specific cases which were allowed by the original law. So much like conservatives swallowed the poison the Manhattan Institute sold as it tried to convince conservatives that the Community Reinvestment Act working to get black Americans a home they could not afford was the cause of the housing collapse they also swallow what Rector and Bradley have peddled here.

The National Review article mentions Section 1115 under 42 USC 1315 where the power and explanation of the waivers lies according to Rector and Bradley. This stipulation isn’t some creation of the Obama administration, it is a part of the law as asigned by President Clinton and also utilized by President Bush after him. But Rector and Bradley aren’t even accurate in this. The power to allow STATES waivers lies in Section 602:

§602. Eligible States; State plan
(a) In general
As used in this part, the term “eligible State” means, with respect to a fiscal year, a State that, during the 27-month period ending with the close of the 1st quarter of the fiscal year, has submitted to the Secretary a plan that the Secretary has found includes the following:

(1) Outline of family assistance program
(A) General provisions
A written document that outlines how the State intends to do the following:

(i) Conduct a program, designed to serve all political subdivisions in the State (not necessarily in a uniform manner), that provides assistance to needy families with (or expecting) children and provides parents with job preparation, work, and support services to enable them to leave the program and become self-sufficient.

(ii) Require a parent or caretaker receiving assistance under the program to engage in work (as defined by the State) once the State determines the parent or caretaker is ready to engage in work, or once the parent or caretaker has received assistance under the program for 24 months (whether or not consecutive), whichever is earlier, consistent with section 607(e)(2) of this title.

(iii) Ensure that parents and caretakers receiving assistance under the program engage in work activities in accordance with section 607 of this title.

(iv) Take such reasonable steps as the State deems necessary to restrict the use and disclosure of information about individuals and families receiving assistance under the program attributable to funds provided by the Federal Government.

(v) Establish goals and take action to prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, with special emphasis on teenage pregnancies, and establish numerical goals for reducing the illegitimacy ratio of the State (as defined in section 603(a)(2)(C)(iii) 1 of this title) for calendar years 1996 through 2005.

(vi) Conduct a program, designed to reach State and local law enforcement officials, the education system, and relevant counseling services, that provides education and training on the problem of statutory rape so that teenage pregnancy prevention programs may be expanded in scope to include men.

The damning paragraphs of the informational memorandum can be found in Scope of Authority section [emphasis mine]:

Section 1115 authorizes waivers concerning section 402. Accordingly, other provisions of the TANF statute are not waivable. For example, the purposes of TANF are not waivable, because they are contained in section 401. The prohibitions on assistance are not waivable, because they are contained in section 408.

While the TANF work participation requirements are contained in section 407, section 402(a)(1)(A)(iii) requires that the state plan “[e]nsure that parents and caretakers receiving assistance under the program engage in work activities in accordance with section 407.” Thus, HHS has authority to waive compliance with this 402 requirement and authorize a state to test approaches and methods other than those set forth in section 407, including definitions of work activities and engagement, specified limitations, verification procedures, and the calculation of participation rates. As described below, however, HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.

When dealing with those on the Right any lie that suits their purpose is better than the Truth any day as long as it gains traction among the base. Had I given a short and basic explanation they would have said the sources weren’t valid or they had a “liberal bias.” Doing it this way they will say it is wonky gibberish that no one can understand. This is what happens when dealing with people with the mentality of sheep who value guns and Bibles more than the prosperity and progress of their nation.

Qu’ul cuda praedex nihil!

Diane Valencen, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H [Journ.], ArF J., M.F.
Editorial Page Editor
The Dis Brimstone Daily Pitchfork
98 Shatter 2 AS

ARTICLE 1 SECTION 8 AND HOW THE TEA PARTY IS FORCING THE ESTABLISHMENT GOP TO REALLY GO BACK THE DAYS OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF AMERICA

Posted in 2012 US ELECTION, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ACT, AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM, AMERICANS AGAINST THE TEA PARTY, CONSERVATIVE FEAR, CONSERVATIVE HYPOCRISY, CONSERVATIVE IGNORANCE, CONSERVATIVE NEWS, COUNTER-THEOCRACY, FASCISM, FEARSPEAK, FREEDOM, GOP MELTDOWN, GREGORY NATHAN PETERSON, HOW HELL WORKS, POLITICS, RACE AND POLITICS IN AMERICA, ROCK THE SLUT VOTE, SARAH BLOCH OPINIONS, TEA PARTY, THE IGNORANT TENTH, THE MATING HABITS OF CONSERVATIVES, THE WAR ON WOMEN, THEOCRACY with tags , , , , , on 02/08/2012 by sarahbloch

Now the title of this article might make many on the far Right think this is going to be something they can e-mail to their friends or might even be mentioned by Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck in the next few days. It is none of those things. When I say that the TEA Party wants the GOP to go back to the days of the Founding Fathers I mean they want a literal [well in their minds] interpretation of Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution.

This morning I saw Senator Tom Coburn R-OK having a conversation with Jonathan Capehart a Washington Post opinion columnist of note and great journalistic talent, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. these are two men who are rarely vague in their opinions and to Caprhart’s credit when he doesn’t know something he says so. Such was the case this morning when Coburn says that America should go back to the clear meaning of Article 1 Section 8. Capehart asked the Senator to refresh his memory [this early in the morning most people have the Civics portion of their brain at station keeping at best] and Coburn did with clarity. I was impressed; then I began thinking about what it would really mean for America if the Theocrats got their way, came fully to power and began to dismantle the Federal Government based on the literal meanings of the words written that became the blueprint for American democracy.

Briefly I want to give you a trip into the world of the post-Progressive America that is fundamentally changed by the rise of the TEA party to power. I’ll do this by taking just two example clauses of Article 1 Section 8 and citing with their own words what the Far Right would do to the powers vested in the United States Congress.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Now here I find where Congress has the power to lay corporate taxes, duties on foreign goods coming into the US pay debts owed to other nations appropriate funds for defense and even to provide a safety net for those citizens not doing so well. The word welfare was written there over 200 years ago not by FDR. Those on the Far Right, who are pushing the establishment GOP more and more toward that ideological cliff, see this portion of Article 1 Section 8 in a completely different manner. Here’s how a commneter, Fred Kelly, to a post about Obama “getting” Latinos at the San Antonio Tea Party website sees this clause [emphasis mine] :

I offer the following on all entitlements:
ObamaCare and the General Welfare Clause
The phrase “general welfare” had a completely different meaning when the Constitution was drafted and ratified than it has now. The framers of the Constitution understood the phrase to mean a state of general wellbeing for the entire country. The general welfare clause does not grant congress the power to spend any money. This clause is Article 1 Section 8 Clause 1 and it authorizes Congress to collect various forms of taxes for the purpose of paying debts, for the common defense of the country, and for the over all well being of the country as a whole. The powers to spend this tax revenue are spelled out in the reaming [sic] 17 clauses of Article 1 Section 8. None of the remaining 17 clauses of Section 8 authorize congress to give this money to individuals in the form of entitlements such as ObamaCare.
Since the Social Security Act was passed in 1935 the general welfare clause has been used to justify every single entitlement. None of these entitlements are authorized by the general welfare clause. The power to confiscate wealth from individuals in the form of taxes and redistribute this wealth in the form of entitlements was left by the framers of the Constitution in the hands of the States. None of the enumerated powers of the Constitution, including the general welfare clause, grant the federal government this power. Since the power is not granted to the federal government it must remain with the States just as the Tenth Amendment declares, ObamaCare violates the Tenth Amendment by taxing one group of individuals and giving that money to another group of individuals in the form of entitlements.

So, with this single powerful stroke the TEA Party Congress would undo the entitlement structure in the United States. No more Social Security, no more disabulity benefits, ten of millions plunged into poverty in an instant. But to the TEA Partiers that’s okay because they get to keep their tax money to buy plastic bags to cover their new shoes they use to step over the bodies of the dead in the streets.

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

I’m surprised that this Congressional Power was taken to task by the TEA Party. Writing at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze just over a week ago Tiffany Gabbay points to Utah Senator Mike Lee’s, who says the TEA Party and conservatives are the “lifeblood” of America, desire to stop this power.

Utah Senator Michael “Mike” Lee has been a constitutional lawyer in Utah and Washington, D.C, in addition to serving as a clerk for then-Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. The Tea Party-favorite, who believes Congress’ power to borrow must be curbed, will speak at FreePAC about the need to introduce a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

“It’s too easy for government to expand otherwise,” Lee told me in an exclusive interview.

Likening Americans to the frog that has been dropped in the “proverbial pot of boiling water,” Lee discussed the biggest challenges facing conservatives today. The change may have come on gradually, but now that America’s eyes have been opened “we need to make sure that we don’t lose it [awareness] and become complacent.”

“We have to stay focused on the [founding] principles and if we do, we will be able to achieve lasting change.”

To stay focused on founding principles means shrinking Federal spending so those who think, act and believe like Lee can be given an advantage of opportunity at least and thereby wealth. And these are only two examples from one article. Now, in modern times, you aren’t going to see those on the Right intentionally shouting racial epithets from the floor of the House or the Senate, but you will hear if you listen carefully the dog whistle of bigotry in the code of “our tax money” or in Obama’s “profligacy.” I hear the importance of elections every two years in America but this one and the one that will come in 2014 will be of import. I’ll talk a bit more about this in my next post about the lies the Right in Congress are willing to promote to appear to be the most anti-Obama.

Qu’ul cuda praedex nihil!

Sarah Bloch, D.S.V.J., J.F., O.Q.H [Jur.]
Amici Bax Demvolu Comnu
Politics & Culture Wars Managing Editor
The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork
85 Shatter 2 AS

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