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The Remmers Report Has Moved

December 14, 2010 1 comment

The Remmers Report has been discontinued effective Dec. 14, 2010. All future columns will be written exclusively at http://themoderatevoice.com.

Thank you for your support.

– Jerry K. Remmers

 

 

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John Boehner, Crier In Chief

John Boehner, the Speaker of the House come January, is a crier. So what? He’s an emotional dude. We just haven’t seen House Speakers who cry at the drop of a chat with a bunch of school children.

A few Americans unaware of his personal traits that helped him crawl from rags to riches saw for the first time his crying jag on election night Nov. 2.

On Sunday night he bawled like a baby at the most innocent questions on “60 Minutes” posed by CBS correspondent Leslie Stahl before an audience which usually hits 10 million viewers.

And on Monday morning, the ladies from ABC’s “The View” mocked Boehner except, of course, the token conservative regular on the show, Elizabeth Hasselbeck.

My sensibilities of Boehner, the leader of the second most powerful political chamber in the nation, duplicates that of Tom Hanks, the manager of a women’s baseball team in the movie “A League of Their Own.”

“There’s no crying in baseball,” Hanks scolded a crying right fielder for missing her cut off throw.

Of course, if one saw current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cry, that would be a gossip item to end all.

I also find it rather amusing that some of the muddle-headed, vicious women running for election this past autumn told their male challengers to “man up.”

Will these losers and forgetters of good manners ask the same of John Boehner, the poor little boy from Ohio who worked every crappy job he could find to wind his way through college in seven years?

I personally almost never agree with Boehner’s politics. That doesn’t mean I have to attack him for crying until the melodrama becomes absurd and his tears are a manipulative way to win over votes on House issues he supports.

I suppose Boehner will have to endure the mockery from every critic and comedian for the next few months. In time, we will get so used to it and take up bets in office pools what coming event will trigger a good old cry from our august House Speaker.

Here’s the Huffington Post account:

 

Barbara Walters was the first to lay into Boehner. “This guy has an emotional problem,” she said. “Every time he talks about anything that’s not ‘raise taxes,’ he cries.” That sent the audience into gales of laughter. Walters continued, “If you had seen Nancy Pelosi all these past years crying, what would you say? [You'd say] she’s got a problem.”

Joy Behar said she called Boehner the “Weeper of The House,” and that, in her view, he only cried when he was talking about his life, but had “very little empathy for people who are in that position now.”

Hasselbeck objected to this.

“Let’s not crucify a man for getting emotional,” she said. “He’s probably a fine man who cares and if he wants to give small businesses tax breaks so they can hire somebody so they can have a job…you can’t just brush him like that and say that he’s a bad guy.”

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Judge Rules Obamacare Mandate Unconstitutional

A U.S. District Court judge in Virginia has ruled a provision of the health care reform law is unconstitutional. It is the provision that mandates all Americans have a minimum level of coverage, or pay a fine if they do not.

The Los Angeles Times reports Judge Henry Hudson said the mandate exceeds federal authority. This challenge, among many in the federal court system, was brought by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who argued against the government’s view that the mandate is enforceable under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The newspaper provided this brief background:

Virginia has passed a law stating that residents cannot be ordered to buy insurance.

A federal judge in Florida ruled in October that a separate suit challenging the law brought by 20 states and the National Federation of Interdependent Business could move forward. But a Michigan judge had dismissed a third suit earlier that month.

The most controversial section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does not go into effect until 2014 and only after its constitutionality is determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

I would hope clear thinking people will relax and let the courts decide this issue rather than working themselves into a lather from fear spread by bigots who oppose virtually every aspect of the health care reform legislation.

One popular myth circulated by these fearmongers is the law exempts Muslims from mandatory insurance coverage. It is a practice called dhimmitude that purveyors of this nonsense says appears on page 105 of the new law.

In April, snopes.com clarified and deflated the perceived favoritism considered an affront to Christians and Jews.

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Cutting Federal Spending Is Time To Man Up

I have maintained that Republican conservatives and their Tea Party base are sincere about limiting the size and scope of the federal budget.

Their problem is they tend to cherry pick programs they don’t like for the cutting room floor.

Take Michele Bachmann, founder of the Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives. I quote from her bio on Wikipedia which may or may not be accurate:

Bachmann … has an ownership stake in a family farm. Her holdings in the farm are worth up to $250,000, and generated annual income ranging from $2,000 a few years ago to up to $50,000 in 2008. In the period from 1995 through 2006, the Bachmann family farm as a whole received $251,973 in federal subsidies, chiefly for dairy and corn price supports.


Question: Does anyone think Bachmann or any congressman representing agricultural constituents are going to vote against farm subsidies?

We’re not talking peanuts here, which, by the way, cost U.S. taxpayers $3.4 billion in price supports to 91,563 growers between 1995 and 2009.

Peanut producers ranked only 12th eating from the public trough. Here’s a list of the top 20. Forgive me but cherry-picking three commodities begs some comment:

– Corn costs us $73.7 billion over 14 years and includes a failed effort to produce ethanol to drive our cars more cheaply than gasoline.

– Has wheat subsidies of $30.7 billion reduced the price of a loaf of bread?

– Why in tarnation (pun intended) are we supporting tobacco growers $944 million when their product gives most of us lung cancer?

In all fairness, the growers are not the bad guys. The price they receive for their products is only nickels on the dollar what it costs consumers in retail stores.

———————-

EPILOGUE — 1

This essay is directed at only one small part of where government spending can be cut. To steal a horrible phrase from some of the winning and losing women Republican candidates, it is time to man up when it comes decision time to cut spending. Lives and jobs are in your hands. Campaign rhetoric is priceless. Cutting pork is in the eye of the beholder.

EPILOGUE 2 –

Full disclosure. I come from a vegetable farming family in which there were no government subsidies for perishable products. That was the free capital market system in its rawest, purest form and we survived. If my father was offered money by the federal government not to grow a crop, he would have told them to go to hell. That was the free enterprise system in which I grew up. The farmers on what amounts to federal welfare should keep that in mind before rattling their pitch forks and screaming for the government to get out of their lives. That, my friends, is the rallying cry of Michele Bachmann.

(Bachmann photo courtesy of Huffington Post)

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Bernie Sanders, The Democrats And Other Insane Asylum Members

The Democrats are the best compassionate political party in America and the worst at governing, except for the Republicans who want no part of it but say they do.

The Democratic mantra was expressed eloquently and redundantly Friday by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont.

Sanders spoke for eight hours in an empty Senate chambers extolling the grief inflicted upon us by those dastardly devilish Republicans who he described as greedy bastards who can afford a penny ante 4% tax increase.

In those eight hours, Sanders recapped history of how the American working man is getting screwed, highlighted by the once golden standard auto workers who’s salaries in just the past three years have shrunk from $27 to $14 an hour.

The problem with Sanders and his Democratic Party buddies is that their policies work only if unemployment is below 3%, the economy is riding the latest artificial bubble and the nation is not at war with some fourth rate rogue nation or terrorist group which hijacked a religion.

It grieves my sensibilities that the Democratic Party argument against extending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% would cost an additional $700 billion in 10 years to our national debt. And not once point out that the tax cuts for those earners under $250K would cost $3 trillion over the same 10-year period.

Ah, conventional wisdom tells us never to raise taxes on anyone during a recession.

Bunk, I say. Prove it. The conservatives who argue for less taxes and limited government can’t. Nor can the Democratic Keynesian economists. At least not in this recession even though the idiots declared it over last year.

This is why the worst of all worlds, the compromise everyone hates most or part of, is the only deal we are forced fed to live with.

That is the one now being worked out brokered by President Obama and Senate Republicans.

It is the political can kicked down the road for two years by extending all the Bush tax cuts until days after the presidential election in 2012, extending unemployment benefits an additional 13 months, cutting the payroll tax 2% for one year, exempting taxes on business expansion for one year and taxing estates 50% over a predetermined multimillion dollar threshold.

Former President Clinton says it is the best political deal under the worst of economic conditions.  If Bill Clinton says it, it must be true.

Right.

(Photo courtesy zimbio.com)

 

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Putting The Rangel Ethics Conviction In Ethical Perspective

One would think after 50 years of public service Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-New York) might have gamed the system for more than what the House Ethics Committee convicted him.

Rangel, the gravel-voiced nattily dressed Harlem congressman, was not a crook in the criminal sense. Rather, Blake Chisam, the committee prosecutor, suggested, the congressman was “overzealous” and “sloppy in his personal finances.”

The committee convicted the 20-term Rangel on 11 counts of breaking House ethics rules. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last spring stripped Rangel from his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee.

The sentence will be mild compared to the self-inflicted wounds Charlie has done to himself.

One might say Rangel went down in flames Monday as the television voice overs described the pol “storming” out of the committee hearing room because he could not afford legal counsel.

May I be so bold as say 80-year-old pols don’t physically “storm” out of much of anything. Rather, the proud man stood erect, carried the brief of charges against him to an aide, and left the room a disgraced human being.

Charlie found himself spending by his account $2 million on lawyers spread out over 2 1/2 years with the last firm walking out on him.

By my accounting, that exceeded whatever Rangel may have gained in perks and sloppy reporting that benefited a man in the exalted position he obviously saw himself. And I am guessing the cost by the House Ethics prosecutor and staff came close to that amount, likewise.

For what?

The congressional panel, sitting as a jury, found that Rangel had used House stationery and staff to solicit money for a New York college center named after him. It also concluded he solicited donors for the center with interests before the Ways and Means Committee, leaving the impression the money could influence official actions.

He also was found guilty of failing to disclose at least $600,000 in assets and income in a series of inaccurate reports to Congress; using a rent-subsidized New York apartment for a campaign office, when it was designated for residential use; and failure to report to the IRS rental income from a housing unit in a Dominican Republic resort.

When Charles Rangel first entered the halls of Congress 40 years ago he couldn’t eat lunch with the white folks because of unwritten rules of segregation.

And committee chairmen milked the perk system dry if not worse than Rangel now finds himself convicted.

But times, they have changed. Perception trumps substance. Charlie didn’t adjust.

It seems to me if illusions are all that important, why is it perfectly reasonable to accept millions of dollars in anonymous campaign donations to vote in favor of a project those same lobbyists support.

That, to me, is more of an ethical issue facing elected officials than abuse of power that satisfies an old pol’s ego.

I hate to say it but what I read, see and hear, most people would be surprised if elected officials in Rangel’s position didn’t do what he did.
We live in a cynical society.
(Photo courtesy Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
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Judge Sacked For Reality Show

The California Commission on Judicial Performance has given the wackiest San Diego Superior Court judge in modern times five days to resign.

The last caper for Judge DeAnn M. Salcido was filming a TV reality show in her El Cajon branch courtroom. In May she sued her boss, the presiding judge, for not enforcing domestic law the way she preferred. The suit was dismissed.

The state disciplinary board in effect gave her five days to get out of Dodge, never accept a judiciary position again (in California, at least) and man up for a public verbal lashing of censure.

Salcido was appointed to the bench in 2002 and won a contested election for the seat in June 2010.

A royal thorn in the side of the county’s judicial hierarchy from the beginning, the final straw was the reality show in September that did her in.

With remarkable restraint, the city’s major daily newspaper gave this account of Tuesday’s decision:

The commission alleged 39 acts of misconduct, contending Salcido made numerous disparaging, unflattering and improper comments from the bench that belittled defendants, attorneys and court staff.In her response, Salcido said she tried to use humor and an unorthodox approach when dealing with cases, but the commission was not persuaded.

In the order censuring her, it said her actions “made a mockery of the judicial system.”

It slammed her “utter lack of decorum” and said it reflected poorly not only on her, but the entire judiciary.

“Judges are expected to administer justice and resolve serious issues, not to provide entertainment,” the commission wrote.

Here’s the Union-Tribune account at the time of her reality show laugh-in.

In an unrelated incident to her sacking, Salcido produced a YouTube video with a voice over of her as a cartoon caricature apologizing to a defendant for what she said was a bad decision based on other judges’ mistakes.

(Salcido photo courtesy San Diego Union-Tribune)

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