Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Power Struggle: Part Two - Big Government, Big Labor, Big Business

"THE WEEKLY WRAP" with Diane W. Collins
The Power Struggle: Part Two - Big Government, Big Labor, Big Business
Sunday, March 6, 2011 - no video this week
Archive: Publications, Weekly Wrap

Diane W. Collins
Welcome to the Weekly Wrap. I’m Diane Collins.

Congress reconvened and addressed a two week temporary resolution cutting $4B from the failed 2011 budget of the 111th Congress. Originated by Republicans in the House, the temporary resolution was designed to include many of the cuts President Obama has called for in the past making it difficult for the Left to refute or oppose.

The strategy worked with H.J. Res. 44 being passed in the House and Senate this week. President Obama signed it on Friday. The spending cuts included in the resolution are in step with the percentage of spending the Republicans have set out to reduce. However, the larger battle looms... cutting spending for the rest of 2011. Three approaches to the problem seem evident: reduce the budget through "a thousand cuts" using multiple temporary continuing resolutions; or pass a CR that addresses what's left of FY 2011; or both. Circumstances will dictate results. You must have lawmakers in agreement to pass anything. The question is how long will it take for the Left to come to reality and to hear the voice of the people calling for an end to wasteful spending? That call is becoming harder for the Left to to ignore as each day passes.

An example of this is the Government Accountability Office (GOA) report covered by The Hill on March 1st. The report " found 34 major areas of wasteful spending that one senator says could help save the federal government $100 billion or more." That senator is Tom Coburn, (R-OK) who stated the cuts in spending identified by the GOA would not produce cuts in services and would address waste and duplication. In our Weekly Wrap video report of 12-5-10 we called for this type of action reminding Conservatives to ask themselves, "What do you win, when you win?" Consider the price we pay for the "horse trading" currently going on in Congress. Why debate compromise when $100B in waste and duplication is staring you in the face? Start there!

Additionally, as we predicted on 2-20-11, House Republicans announced this week they will bring forward a budget for 2012 that addresses Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We applaud this as realistic and courageous and reiterate our conviction. "We understand the threat the deficit presents. We understand social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security thoughtfully and properly adjusted can benefit all. It is a sad case when the people stand ready to make the hard decisions: to address the debt, to cut the spending, to rebuild the American Dream... and their President ducks." We are grateful that House Republicans will take the lead and move forward on getting the job done.

On the local stage, governors in the Midwest including Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana continue to fight the bosses of organized public unions. Governor Scott Walker (R) of Wisconsin is pushing forward with what is required of him by law... layoffs. According to Reuters, Governor Walker sent layoff warning notices to at least thirteen unions on Friday. Saturday organized labor stepped up protests. The fourteen Wisconsin Democrat absentee lawmakers continue to thwart the duly elected progress of the budget legislation. It is almost impossible to believe these representatives are not in the pockets of the union bosses when you realize what Gov. Walker has proposed. The legislation actually increases " payments for health care and pension benefits for public workers" but strips their unions of most of their collective bargaining rights. Herein, lies the crux. As we mentioned last week, it is the collective bargaining for unrealistic pensions by public sector unions that is holding the electorate captive and placing states in a position of insolvency. Remember, union dues are used to elect public officials and representatives. Those same elected officials and representatives are the very ones who make the decisions (vote) on public pensions and benefits. And, this unholy alliance extends far beyond our states as does its agenda. Union members need to address their union bosses calling for elections that make leadership more representative of their members views.

On another local matter, we took notice of the continued progress on state legislation, HB 628-FN, as reported by WMUR in New Hampshire this week. The bill would make unreasonable, invasive searches performed by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents "sexual predation crimes," putting the names of said agents on sexual predator lists. Other states are expected to join with similar legislation even as the opposition declares federal jurisdiction over the matter.

It has been our position that the TSA performs these searches in violation of the Constitutional rights of United States citizens. Profiling, such as that employed by Israel should be used rather than subjecting the general populace to humiliation. This is common sense. The TSA and Homeland Security are using prescriptive means to subject the public will to a manner that desensitizes Americans to the invasive practices of this Administration. It smacks of totalitarianism and needs to be addressed with strong legislative consequences. We will continue to follow this as well as any group that stands to gain financially from the implementation of scanners and / or TSA procedures.

See you next week.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

House Takes Up Temporary Resolution, HJ Res. 44

Broke is broke!
Today the House takes up the "temporary" continuing resolution that will cut $4B from the budget over the next two weeks. The purpose is to keep the government running while the Senate battles over HR 1.

The cuts in the temporary resolution are those that President Obama has called for in the past so it will be hard for House Democrats to balk. Debate starts at 12 noon, EST. The temporary resolution is expected to pass with the vote around 3 pm, EST.

Then to the Senate where both HR 1 ($61B in cuts over seven months) and the temporary resolution will be on their plate. If Senate Democrats refuse both it will be a government shutdown on their watch... not ours.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Power Struggle: Big Government, Big Labor, Big Business

"THE WEEKLY WRAP" with Diane W. Collins
The Power Struggle: Big Government, Big Labor, Big Business
Sunday, February 27, 2011 - no video this week

Diane W. Collins

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap. I’m Diane Collins.

Congress went home on vacation for Presidents Day. The House having completed business deserved some rest, however, one might conclude otherwise regarding the Senate. Needless to say, the world did not stand still.

At the state level Wisconsin proved to be the stage from which was launched an intense battle, a power struggle. It is an old story with a new episode. It concerns the consequence of an imbalance of power between Big Government, Big Labor and Big Business. The only way to get to the truth and how it affects the common man is to look at the crux of the issue, collective bargaining in the public sector.

As many states face budget deficits that threaten insolvency strong reforms necessarily have been brought forward. One cannot argue with the fact that a major issue regarding state solvency is the public pensions collective bargaining has been able to achieve. As governors have said, "Broke means broke" and we have reached a situation where there is nothing to bargain over. The call is for concessions. But, the common man understands the need for the ability to bargain on a collective basis in some cases. This can be true in the area of wages, hours, and conditions of the workplace. However, the collective ability to hold the electorate captive over unrealistic pension and health benefits is not something that can continue.

"Broke is broke."
Clarity on the issue comes when one understands that in Big Labor dues are used to elect state and national representatives. Many of these representatives are the very people who have voted to establish the unrealistic public pension programs under which many states now suffer. How has this served the workers? Unrealistic expectations in any matter never lead to happy endings. Instead this has served the ambitions of union bosses and politicians, both of whom seek re-election and power to establish their own agendas. Don't believe me? Look at their alliances. Then ask yourself... are these the people you want as friends?

In the private sector, workers don't elect the boss. In the private sector unions can have a place helping ensure fair treatment of workers. But, the public sector is a different animal. The rules must be written to protect workers but also the electorate from this new version of the "tyranny of the masses." Hopefully, those Democrat state legislators who have chosen to deny the political process of our Republic will return to their assemblies and conduct the business of state as they were elected to do. If not, every legal means should be used to remove them as delinquent of their authority; and the call for new elections in their districts should go out. As I wrote on our Twitter account this week, what in the world do you think would have happened if Republicans had walked out of the House when health care reform was being debated? ... more

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Diane W. Collins
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Rule of Law?

President Obama's Department of Defense stated today they would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act. We have state legislators leaving their states in order to deny a quorum to the legislative process... absentee legislators! The Left is attempting to break down the rule of law. We must pursue all legal remedies against those who fail to uphold their oath of office.

In addition, when did it become legal to obtain private information by impersonation? Koch should sue the radio station that impersonated him in order to gain access to the Governor of Wisconsin. We are a nation of laws. The Obama Administration is "picking and choosing" what they want to enforce and expanding the Executive branch beyond the Constitution. They are interfering in state government. It's becoming a signature.

Let's start enforcing our laws especially in the case of those who seek to overstep their authority and break their oaths of office.

Can America Solve the Debt Puzzle?

"THE WEEKLY WRAP" with Diane W. Collins
Can We Solve America's Debt Puzzle?
FY 2011 Continuing Resolution vs Obama's FY 2012 Budget
Sunday, February 20, 2011

Archive: Publications, Weekly Wrap
Diane W. Collins

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap. I’m Diane Collins.

President Obama released his FY 2012 budget on Monday. His attempt to balance additional spending or "investment" couched with meager budget cuts drew disdain from both sides. During congressional committee hearings federal department heads gave testimony on the use of the proposed budget funds. Apparently, they believe business will continue little changed from last year. Listening to the President and his administration one could feel justifiably frustrated but, there was hope. It came in the form of left-over-business. H.R.1, the FY 2011 "continuing resolution" funding the federal government for the next seven months passed the House. It proposes to cut 61 billion over the next seven months from last year's failed budget.

The juxtaposition of the two ideologies represented on one side by President Obama's FY 2012 budget and on the other by the Republicans advance of the FY 2011 "continuing resolution" left a nation beleaguered by debt incredulous. It confirmed the President is out of touch and has not heard the American people crying out against the crushing debt we fear will come to ruin the country we love... more

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"THE WEEKLY WRAP" - Battle Over the Deficit and Spending; Obama's Foreign Policy

Diane W. Collins

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap. I’m Diane Collins. Let's look at some of the activities on Capital Hill this past week and then move to a summary of the situation in Egypt.

President Obama paid a visit to the Chamber of Commerce on Monday, February 7th. His purpose was to stress the importance of government and business “working together” to get the economy going again. The President recognized his not-so-perfect relationship with the Chamber and suggested, "...maybe if we'd brought over a fruit cake when I first moved in we'd have gotten off to a better start." He attempted to bury the hatchet by telling those present what the “government was willing to do… invest.” The new code word for spend. Following his offer to give, President Obama clarified what he expected from business in return... to create more jobs in America, "support the American economy and invest in this nation."

There were a number of House Committee meetings this week as Republicans geared up to take on the Obama Administration regarding the budget, the deficit, financial reform, energy, homeland security, foreign affairs, and intelligence. (Okay, breathe. It was a busy week.)

We heard testimony before the Budget Committee from Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke and Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf. Watched with unabashed glee as the Financial Services Committee Chairman, Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
Chairman Bachus & Rep. Frank
House Financial Services Committee
presided over the Markup of the Committee’s Oversight Plan for the 112th Congress… not Rep. Barney Frank (D- MA). Side note: I found it interesting when Rep. Frank remarked on the “mean spirited” nature of the hearing. Mean spirited? Did you catch then-Chairman Frank’s maneuvers during the mark-up of the Dodd-Frank Financial Services Reform Bill? There were times I thought Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) was going to come right out of his chair as consistent blocks to offering amendments on the inclusion of Fannie and Freddie were encountered... more

Friday, February 11, 2011

Riots In Egypt: Mubarak Steps Down and President Obama Responds

Cairo - Riots and violence in the streets over the past eighteen days brought protesters their desired result... the resignation of Pres. Hosni Mubarak. Vice President Suleiman made the announcement today in Cairo saying Mubarak had left the palace  and stepped down.

Tahrir Square erupted with jubilation as a long suppressed people rejoiced at what is hoped to be new found freedom. However, many outside Egypt continue to reflect back on the 1979 deposing of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in Iran as well as the 2009 Iranian Presidential election and the Green Revolution. As I've mentioned, déjà vu with regard to these two preceding events is not what we'd like to see... more

Obama's Statement on Egypt - time change

It is reported that a time change has occurred regarding President Obama's statement on Egypt.  Currently, President Obama is expected to make his statement at 3:00 pm. EST. The White House will hold a briefing at 3:30 pm, EST.

Obama Admn to comment on Mubarak's resignation

Obama administration to comment on Mubarak's resignation at 12:15 PM, EST

Mubarak Steps Down!

Al Jazeera reports that VP Suleiman just stated Mubarak has stepped down.

Evening Prayers in Tahrir Sq

As the people in Tahrir Square come to evening prayers we wait for word from the government. Earlier it was reported Mubarak would address the people again. Since that time we have learned Mubarak left Cairo for the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where he is reported to have another residence.

Current reports suggest that the message will be delivered by VP Omar Suleiman. And, we wait...