federal government

New Hillary email controversy perfectly describes the federal government


No, not that email controversy. No, not that one either. This one:

In case you have a less than 3-minute attention span, I’ll summarize.

In July 2015, David Sirota of the IB Times submitted a FOIA request for Hillary Clinton’s emails from the State Dept about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. As the trade deal is a public policy and Hillary a public official partly responsible for arranging it, State agreed. He received a response that those emails would be ready for him in April 2016.

April came and went, of course, without the emails being released. One week ago, Charlotte Duckett at State followed up, saying the relevant emails had been located and are now being “prepared for review” and would be ready for release by…wait for it…November 31, 2016. Three weeks after the election.

In case you’re not familiar with the Gregorian calendar, November 31st does not exist. There are only 30 days in November.

Intra-Party rift on funding bill shows serious cracks in Democrat Party’s unified front

Obama and Pelosi

The mainstream media spends an inordinate amount of time reporting on the conservative/grassroots versus “Establishment” rift within the Party. Meanwhile, Democrats tend to lock arms and tackle policy initiatives in a unified manner — until now.

Congress avoided a government shutdown last night when they passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to keep the government open through the end of the year. For a moment, it looked like Massachusetts Senator and liberal darling Elizabeth Warren would be the face of the government shutdown.

First, let’s take a look at the notion of a government shutdown. When Senator Ted Cruz pushed a government shutdown last year, it was the end of the world for the media. In reality, not many Americans realized the government even shuttered its doors.

Kevin Glass at Townhall has a great piece about how the media covered the possible Warren-fueled shutdown versus the Cruz-fueled shutdown of October 2013. Glass writes:

During last year’s government shutdown when Republicans and Democrats couldn’t come to a compromise on spending provisions to continue to fund the government, the media portrayed it as Ted Cruz’s fault - Ted Cruz’s shutdown, because he wanted to defund Obamacare. This year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to reject the bipartisan spending compromise to get rid of business-friendly deregulatory provisions.

America’s “infrastructure crisis” is an argument for decentralization rather than a bigger federal government

Michael Strain of the American Enterprise Institute looks at the topic of infrastructure spending and I’m left with mixed feelings.

Some of what he writes is very good.

Yes, the claims of an “infrastructure crisis” by President Obama, many liberals…are exaggerated. …yes, existing laws and regulations turn infrastructure projects into boondoggles that take an order of magnitude longer to complete than necessary and cost more than they should.

Amen, particularly with regard to the absurd notion that America is suffering some sort of crisis. The International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland, publisher of the World Competitiveness Yearbookputs the United States in first place when ranking nations on the quality of infrastructure.

Moreover, the just-released Global Competitiveness Report from the World Economic Forum puts the United States in 12th place for infrastructure, which also is a rather high score (if you want to know where the United States does lag, we’re in 73rd place for wastefulness of government spending, 82nd place for burden of government regulation, and 102nd place for the total tax rate on profits).

Microsoft to the Obama administration: No, you can’t have access to users’ emails stored on servers overseas

A federal judge has ruled that Microsoft must turn over emails stored on a server in Ireland, but the software giant, in the face of a contempt charge, is so far refusing to comply with the order, according to Windows IT Pro, because it infringes on the sovereignty of a foreign country:

Judge Loretta Preska, the chief of the US District Court in Manhattan ruled on July 31 that Microsoft was required to hand over email messages stored in an Ireland data center to US prosecutors investigating a criminal case. But she suspended the order temporarily amid complaints from international companies—and tech companies in the US—that argued that allowing US authorities to search and seize data held internationally was illegal.

On Friday, however, she lifted that suspension after prosecutors successfully convinced her that her order was not appealable. The removal of the suspension legally requires Microsoft to hand over the email immediately.
In the view of Microsoft and many legal experts, federal authorities have no jurisdiction over data stored outside the country. It says that the court order violates Ireland’s sovereignty and that prosecutors need to seek a legal treaty with Ireland in order to obtain the data they want.

American Failings

I don’t write much over here these days.  It’s not from a lack of caring about our great nation, but trying to provide for my family. It’s just how the world works, and you’re not going to hear me complain about that.

Unfortunately, in this nation, that seems to be the exception, rather than the rule.

Every day, someone somewhere in this country writes something about how people are being exploited. Workers, they say, are being exploited by greedy employers who only want to make money. They write that workers should be paid more.

They never mention how it’s fine for employees to expect more money but not fine for an employer to want money at all.

So many people spend time talking about the “little guy.” Everyone wants to root for the “little guy.” I get it. We love to see people succeed. Hell, half our entertainment involves the underdog winning against the more powerful foe. Why else do we love things like Star Wars?

However, when the “little guy” succeeds, he becomes the “Man.” We love stories about Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Bill Gates when they rise from the dregs of society, then turn on them when they work to keep the wealth they earned.

If we have a failing as a society, it’s that we spend so much effort on the “little guy,” when it should be just about the “guy.”

We should respect the individual and his efforts to achieve, but we should also respect his efforts to keep what he lawfully earned. We need to stop assuming that every employee who makes minimum wage actually should be earning a hell of a lot more.

You’re unskilled? Get some skills and get a better job.

You’ve got a degree in English Lit and you’re working as a waitress? Quit complaining about the system when you took a crap degree in the first place, knowing there weren’t jobs out there in your major.

Reagan was right! The Ex-Im Bank subsidizes cronies on the backs of taxpayers, and that’s why Congress should end it

Cronyists in big business are ramping up their efforts to save Export-Import Bank from extinction. They’ve begun a big PR campaign months ahead of a vote in Congress to reauthorize the Bank and are trying to appeal to Republicans by invoking Ronald Reagan in their messaging.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has trotted out a 1984 letter signed by Ronald Reagan congratulating the Export-Import Bank on its 50th anniversary, in which he wrote that the New Deal-era agency “continues to be a valuable part of the international financial structure.”

Reagan is revered by conservatives and Republicans and the Chamber is, obviously, trying to play this letter up to win support in Congress to keep one of its favor factories around. The Bank’s supporters are feverishly trying to set a narrative that reauthorization “is good for business.” But that line isn’t working.

Cronyism — the collusion between big business and big government — has come under greater scrutiny. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Jeb Hensarling, and many other conservatives and Congress understand that free enterprise doesn’t mean taxpayer-funded handouts that allow the government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace — it means creating an atmosphere in which businesses can succeed on their own.

Try as they may to invoke Reagan, the Export-Import Bank’s crony friends would like conservatives to ignore that the Great Communicator criticized the Bank on various occasions.

Yes, it’s time to get rid of regulatory agencies’ paramilitary units

BLM agents

Regardless of whether you agree with Nevada rancher Bundy family’s stand against the federal Bureau of Land Management, the situation has highlighted some legitimate concerns about the federal government.

Among these concerns is the fact that the Bureau of Labor Management has its own paramilitary units, one of which was sent to the Bundy family’s ranch as a show of force as the agency tried to collect $1.1 million in unpaid cattle grazing fees. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) wants end that practice:

“There are lots of people who are really concerned when the BLM shows up with its own SWAT team,” he said, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. “They’re regulatory agencies. They’re not paramilitary units, and I think that concerns a lot of us.”

His mulled amendment to an appropriations bill comes in context of recent BLM actions against Mr. Bundy: The federal agents armed themselves and surrounded his property, tasered his son, closed down road access to the ranch and even shot a couple of his prize bulls. The reasons? Mr. Bundy hadn’t paid his grazing fees to the federal government, but rather fought the matter in court.
Mr. Stewart said it’s high time the government end its practice of arming its own special units for various agencies, like the BLM and the IRS.

“They should do what anyone else would do,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune. “Call the local sheriff, who has the capability to intervene in situations like that.”

In which a Nevada state legislator owns MSNBC’s Chris Hayes

Chris Hayes and Michele Fiore

Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore (R-Clark County) went on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes on Friday to discuss the standoff between the Bundy family and the federal Bureau of Land Management.

Hayes tried to frame the discussion around an unpaid grazing fee bill and the “authority of the federal government” to collect it. Fiore didn’t dispute that the Bundy family owes the government money, though she suggested that it’s not the $1.1 million that has been reported.

Rather, Fiore has a problem with the unusual display of force the Bureau of Land Management has demonstrated in trying to collect the unpaid bill.

“I recognize our federal government overstepped and overreached in our state of Nevada, that’s what I recognize. I recognize we have a lot of issues to conclude,” Fiore told Hayes. “We also have the spotlight on Nevada right now, looking at the way BLM had zero stewardship in herding cattle, slaughtering cattle. So that’s what I’m recognizing. I’m recognizing what I’ve seen.”

Harry Reid doesn’t like citizens standing up to government

Harry Reid

The dispute between the heavily-armed Bureau of Land Management agents and the Bundy family may have deescalated over the weekend, but it’s not over, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). He says Americans can’t ignore the law and get away with it:

“Well, it’s not over,” Reid told NBC’s Nevada affiliate KRNV on Monday. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

Bundy gained headlines over the weekend after the BLM rounded up his cattle on federal land, citing unpaid grazing fees. The situation intensified after protesters supporting Bundy — some of whom were reportedly armed — faced off against the BLM. However, on Saturday, the BLM returned Bundy’s cattle “due to escalating tension,” according to The Associated Press.

Here’s the video via the Free Beacon:

Bad federal policies created the problems at Bundy Ranch

Cliven Bundy

It’s true that Cliven Bundy and his family doesn’t appear to have much of a legal leg to stand on in their protest against heavily armed Bureau of Land Management agents, but John Hinderaker explains what we should sympathize with Bundy and his family as they take on the federal government:

To begin with, his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century. They and other settlers were induced to come to Nevada in part by the federal government’s promise that they would be able to graze their cattle on adjacent government-owned land. For many years they did so, with no limitations or fees. The Bundy family was ranching in southern Nevada long before the BLM came into existence.

Over the last two or three decades, the Bureau has squeezed the ranchers in southern Nevada by limiting the acres on which their cattle can graze, reducing the number of cattle that can be on federal land, and charging grazing fees for the ever-diminishing privilege. The effect of these restrictions has been to drive the ranchers out of business. Formerly, there were dozens of ranches in the area where Bundy operates. Now, his ranch is the only one. When Bundy refused to pay grazing fees beginning in around 1993, he said something to the effect of, they are supposed to be charging me a fee for managing the land and all they are doing is trying to manage me out of business. Why should I pay them for that?

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