The Return of Earmarks? by Ian Smith

Last week members of the Senate Republican Steering Committee met over lunch to discuss the potential revival of that long-gone facet of backroom politics: the congressional earmark. Given the Committee’s direct involvement in the Senate and House rule-making process and Harry Reid’s defense of earmarks on the Senate floor earlier that week, it’s perhaps time Americans were given a re-cap on the vileness that is earmarking.

To remind, earmarking is the tailoring of certain pieces of legislation in order to reward targeted congressional members with federal spending in their districts and states. It is spending used solely to push narrow political interests, such as pet projects or awards to donors, rather than the interests of the broad American public. Because spending provisions that are earmarked are usually negotiated privately in congressional committees, where deals can be arranged to advance personal and political goals, the practice evades the usual procedures for public debate and expert review.

Because of an initiative started by President George W. Bush, which was later copied by President Obama, earmarking was banned in the House and Senate in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Since then, thanks to these moratoriums, this non-transparent and ethically questionable practice has pretty much ended and tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds have been saved.

Read more at Front Page Magazine

SideBear: Do NOT be fooled by the name “Earmarks”, it is nothing more than political in House and Senate scheme to “buy and sell votes” from Senators and Representatives to pass legislation that couldn’t pass on its own merits. (ObamaCare passed on this basis)

The end results will be that the American Taxpayer will be paying for many projects that have no benefit for the public at large.

America’s New Security State by Angelo M. Codevilla

Salus populi suprema lex: In the name of the people’s safety, the dictator’s will is law.

The loss of peace abroad has upset the balance between the various elements of life in America, fed domestic strife, and resulted in the loss of peace at home. The need for protection against foreign jihadists and their American imitators occasioned the empowerment of a vast apparatus of “homeland security” that treats all Americans as potential enemies—with only a pretense of even-handedness. In fact, the sense that enemies among us must be dealt with reinforced our bipartisan ruling class’s tendency to regard its own domestic political opponents as another set of persons whose backward ways must be guarded against and reformed. A spiral of strife among Americans resulted. In the light of history and of reason, any other outcome would have been surprising.

After 9/11 our ruling class came together on the proposition that, at home as well as abroad, America is at war against enemies so evil that there must be no limit to fighting them, whose identity we must always seek but can never know; that to focus on, to “profile,” the kinds of persons who have committed terrorist acts, is racist and provocative; that any American is as likely as any other to be a terrorist, and hence that all must submit to being sifted, screened, restricted—forever. Childhood in the “land of the free, the home of the brave” must now include learning to spread-eagle and be still as government employees run their hands over you. Patriotism is now supposed to mean obeisance to the security establishment, accepting that the authorities may impose martial law on whole cities, keep track of all phone calls, or take whatever action they choose against any person for the sake of “homeland security,” and that theirs alone is the choice whether to disclose the basis for whatever they do.

While the Obama administration ceased to use its predecessor’s term “war on terror” to describe its actions abroad, it redoubled commitment to “homeland security,” reorienting it to home-grown “extremism” defined ad hoc. The result seems less compatible with words such as “peace,” than with “Oceania,” the country in which George Orwell’s novel, 1984, is set.

Homeland Security as Domestic Nation-Building

George Washington had warned that foreign war naturally increases partisan strife at home. Indeed, strife at home and abroad often stems from the same presumptions of primacy. Recall that during the first half of the nineteenth century, Americans in the North and South devolved into nations yearning to force one another to recognize the superiority of their ways. The resulting Civil War’s winners first gloried in their disastrous attempt to reconstruct the losers and then fancied themselves entitled to improve, to reconstruct, lesser beings throughout the world including in the Northern states.

From the Bear’s Corner: Do pigs fly?

That depends on if you’re a hog or not.

The country is in the midst of 6 year recession and yes recession is right word even though the Obama people claimed that the recession ended in the summer of 2009. Recessions are a period where you have no economic growth and the first quarter of 2014 shows that the GDP grew by 1/10 of 1% mainly due to government spending. That’s not enough to even buy a cup of coffee.

Many, many, many American families are living day to day and struggling to pay their bills and keep food on the table and yet this does not seem to mean anything compared to the high style of living among the Washington elite class.

To answer my own question in the title…”Do pigs fly?” You bet they do.

This list of outrageous spending is a very short example of what is going on. Presidential perks is one thing but this is legalize pilfering of our tax dollars.

Taxpayer Bill for Obama’s Hawaii Vacations: $20 Million

Obama-Biden vacation tab reaches $40 million — $2.9 million alone for two Obama 2014 golf outings

Below is the full release provided by Judicial Watch:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today, it has obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that President Obama’s February 2014 Palm Springs, California, and March 2014 Key Largo, Florida, golf outings cost the taxpayers $2,952,278 for flight expenses alone.

According to the Department of Air Force documents, the flights to and from, Palm Springs for the February 17 – 20, 2014 trip totaled 9.8 hours at $210,877 an hour, which comes to a total of $2,066,594.60 in flight expenses. The records came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of request filed on February 18, 2014.

Also according to the Department of Air Force documents, the total cost for flights to and from Key Largo, Florida for the March 7 – 9 trip totaled 4.2 hours at $210,877, which comes to a total of $885,683.40 for flight in expenses. The records came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act request filed on March 10, 2014.

Though the administration billed the President’s Day weekend trip to California as an effort to highlight the state’s severe water drought, the White House official schedule showed the president spent just four hours at three drought-related events on the afternoon of Friday, February 14. He then spent much of the next three days playing golf at some of Coachella Valley, California’s, most exclusive golf courses, which, according to Fox News, “consume roughly 17 percent of all water there, and one quarter of the water pumped out of the region’s at-risk groundwater aquifer.” Each course uses nearly 1 million gallons of water a day.

During March 7 – 9, the First Family spent Spring Break at Key Largo, Florida’s, exclusive Ocean Reef Club, where members must have a minimum net worth of $35 million to join. According to its website, “the Club boasts two championship 18-hole courses, a rarity in the Florida Keys … a salon and spa, more than a dozen restaurants, a 175-slip marina, a private airport, and so much more.” The costly Spring Break vacation took place on the heels of Obama’s State of the Union Address in which he focused on income inequality.

According to records obtained by Judicial Watch, through FOIA requests and subsequent lawsuits, the Obamas and Bidens have spent more than $40 million taxpayer dollars on trips since 2009, beginning with the Obamas’ much-publicized New York City “date night” in 2009 up through the president’s most recent Palm Springs and Key Largo golf outings. The most lavish expenditure so far on record was for the Obamas’ 2013 Africa trip and Honolulu vacation, which cost taxpayers $15,885,585.30 in flight expenses alone.

The single largest expense for accommodations was for Michelle Obama’s side-trip to Dublin, Ireland, during the 2013 G-8 conference in Belfast, when she and her entourage booked 30 rooms at the five-star Shelbourne Hotel, with the first lady staying in the 1500 square-foot Princess Grace suite at a cost of $3,500 a night. The total cost to taxpayers for the Obamas’ Ireland trip was $7,921,638.66.

Need to know

The U.N. Resolution 2117 lists 21 points dealing with firearms control, but perhaps of most interest is point number 11. It: “CALLS FOR MEMBER STATES TO SUPPORT WEAPONS COLLECTION and DISARMAMENT of all UN countries”.

By a 53-46 vote – The U.S. Senate voted against the U.N. resolution.

In a 53-46 vote, the Senate narrowly passed a measure that will stop the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. The Statement of Purpose from the Senate Bill reads: “To uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.” The U.N. Small Arms Treaty, which has been championed by the Obama Administration, would have effectively placed a global ban on the import and export of small firearms. The ban would have affected all private gun owners in the U.S. and had language that would have implemented an international gun registry, now get this, on all private guns and ammo.

Here are the 46 senators who voted to give your rights to the U.N.

ALL DEMOCRATS

Baldwin (D-WI)

Baucus (D-MT)

Bennett (D-CO)

Blumenthal (D-CT)

Boxer (D-CA)

Brown (D-OH)

Cantwell (D-WA)

Cardin (D-MD)

Carper (D-DE)

Casey (D-PA)

Coons (D-DE)

Cowan (D-MA)

Durbin (D-IL)

Feinstein (D-CA)

Franken (D-MN)

Gillibrand (D-NY)

Harkin (D-IA)

Hirono (D-HI)

Johnson (D-SD)

Kaine (D-VA)

King (I-ME)

Klobuchar (D-MN)

Landrieu (D-LA)

Leahy (D-VT)

Levin (D-MI)

McCaskill (D-MO)

Menendez (D-NJ)

Merkley (D-OR)

Mikulski (D-MD)

Murphy (D-CT)

Murray (D-WA)

Nelson (D-FL)

Reed (D-RI)

Reid (D-NV)

Rockefeller (D-WV)

Sanders (I-VT)

Schatz (D-HI)

Schumer (D-NY)

Shaheen (D-NH)

Stabenow (D-MI)

Udall (D-CO)

Udall (D-NM)

Warner (D-VA)

Warren (D-MA)

Whitehouse (D-RI)

Wyden (D-OR)

Krauthammer’s Take: America’s War on Carbon Is ‘Economic Suicide