Sunday, March 24, 2013

Americans don't leave anyone behind...



Please call and tell the president to bring our American POW 
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home



President Obama:
Phone number: (202) 456-1414
FAX number: (202) 456-2461

Rubio’s Big Labor Immigration Problem

By JAVIER MANJARRES / Hispolitica
rubio

When Senator Marco Rubio spearheaded his bipartisan immigration reform “Gang of 8″ in the Senate earlier this year, conservatives took pause with the principles the group offered, saying that the “statement of principles” was nothing less than amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States.

It was inevitable that a skirmish would break out between opposing sides within the labor lobby once Senators sat down to hammer out the particulars of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.  As the Senate is trying to “sketch out a deal” for the bill prior to going on a two-week break, union officials have done what they do best- thrown a monkey wrench into the negotiations.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been accused by the AFL-CIO of attempting to get away with underpaying these potential immigrant workers.  The Chamber wants to pay these immigrant workers about the same as “American worker” is currently getting paid. Sounds fair, right?

It’s in the best interest of the AFL-CIO to win the battle of higher wages for these potential immigrant workers because it translates into future union member dues once this potential immigrant workforce begins to assimilate themselves into other jobs that are under the ‘Big Labor’ umbrella.

But the bigger picture here is that the unions will most likely use the higher pay for immigrant workers as a negotiating tool to demand even higher wages for already existing union members around the country.

On top of that, the AFL-CIO and other unions could look to unionize the immigrant workforce in professions that are not currently unionized.  Can you say Landscapers Union Local #101?
In the case of housekeepers, for example, the chamber proposal would mean $8.44 per hour, which falls below the federal poverty level for a family of four, while the AFL-CIO position was $11.39 per hour, according to one official familiar with the labor perspective who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to freely discuss the delicate negotiations.- Fox News
This immigration/amnesty reform bill would be disastrous to the future of the United States and would “dramatically reshape the U.S. immigration and employment landscape, putting 11 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship while allowing tens of thousands of new high- and low-skilled workers into the country.”

While the immigration issue must be addressed, rewarding illegal immigrants with equal pay as Americans or immigrants who have legally gone through the immigration process is unjust to say the least, and the end result will be endless litigation that wrangles over how best to reward those who have broken our laws.

Report: More Doctors Plan to Retire EarlyBy Matthew Auerbach / Newsmax

A majority of physicians see a somewhat bleak future for medicine, pointing to eroding independence and shrinking income, reports everydayhealth.com.

According to a survey from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions of more than 600 doctors, six in 10 physicians said they expect many of their colleagues to retire earlier than planned in the next 1 to 3 years.

That perception cuts across age, gender and specialty.

Another 55 percent of doctors surveyed believe many of their colleagues will cut back on their hours because of the way medicine is changing, although the survey didn't delineate on how it was changing.

Seventy-five percent believe the best and brightest may not consider a career in medicine, an increase from the 2011 survey result of 69 percent.

“Physicians recognize ‘the new normal’ will necessitate major changes in the profession that require them to practice in different settings as part of a larger organization that uses technologies and team-based models for consumer (patient) care,” the survey's findings stated.

Approximately two-thirds of those surveyed said they believe physicians and hospitals will work together more closely in coming years.

Results found that in the last 2 years, 31 percent moved into a larger practice.

Nearly eight in 10 believe midlevel providers will play a larger role in directing primary care.

Four in 10 doctors reported their take-home pay decreased from 2011 to 2012, with more than half said their pay cut was 10 percent or less, according to the survey.

Among physicians reporting a pay cut, four in 10 blame Obamacare and 48 percent of all doctors believed their income would drop again in 2013 as a result of the health reform law.

It wasn’t all bad news, however.

Seventy percent of doctors said they were satisfied about practicing medicine, although that number was lower for primary care providers and higher for younger age groups.

Dissatisfaction was blamed on less one-on-one time with patients, longer hours, and dealing with Medicare, Medicaid, and government regulations.

Deloitte mailed the survey to more than 20,000 physicians selected from the American Medical Association's master file. Just 613 returned completed surveys, giving a margin of error of 3.9 percent at the 0.95 confidence level.

No Blank Check for Criminals


Some people should not be trusted with access to firearms. On that point almost everyone agrees, the only debate being where to draw the line. But no one thinks that if the Unabomber had his sentence commuted, the Second Amendment would entitle him to acquire an arsenal.

Current federal law prohibits gun ownership by felons, those who have been committed to mental institutions, minors, drug users and illegal immigrants. Someone in an ineligible category who goes to a gun store will be flagged in an instant background check and turned away.

But if you're one of the disqualified, take heart: You don't have to go to a licensed dealer. You might buy a firearm from your cousin, a woman you met shooting skeet or a guy with a table at a gun show.

If you're in a prohibited category, it's still forbidden for you to buy a weapon. But there's no background check. If you don't tell private sellers, they don't know. We have a system to block gun purchases by people deemed dangerous -- but we aid and abet cheating.

A major part of President Barack Obama's gun plan is to mandate background checks for all sales, including private ones. The only exceptions would be for "certain transfers between family members and temporary transfers for hunting and sporting purposes."

This remedy used to be about as controversial as the Fourth of July. In 1999, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre endorsed "mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere for anyone." Sometime in the intervening years, though, he discovered that universal checks would merely help those "bent on destroying the Second Amendment."

But it's hard to think of a principled reason why the government should provide those barred from buying guns with a broad avenue for buying guns. It's like closing down police departments on Wednesdays and Fridays and expecting thugs to lay off as well. Either felons and other problematic individuals should be stopped from buying firearms or they shouldn't.

How much good would universal background checks do? Obama oversells them when he says this step is the "single most important thing we can do to prevent gun violence and mass shootings, like the one in Newtown."

The killer in that case got his guns by stealing them from his mother, who bought them from dealers. The alleged killer in Aurora, Colo., got his weapons at retail stores. Likewise, the man who killed six people at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee.

Opponents say the change wouldn't help because criminals often buy their guns in illegal markets. In the case of a gang member who peddles stolen weapons to his colleagues, that's true. But expanding background checks would close off a major source of guns, making it harder for such criminals to find supplies.

Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, whose work is often cited by supporters of gun rights, told me, "My research found that state laws that provided background checks covering dealer sales showed some crime-reducing effects, so I reason that background checks that more comprehensively cover non-dealers as well as dealer transfers should do even better."

It wouldn't take much benefit to justify the trouble. Scholars Philip J. Cook of Duke University and Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago say the change would be cost-effective if it reduced homicides by a mere 1 percent.

Nor would it violate the Second Amendment, any more than requiring demonstrators to get a parade permit offends the First Amendment. The inconvenience to law-abiding folks would be minimal, since buying or selling a gun is an infrequent event for the vast majority.

Some Republican senators oppose requiring private sellers to keep records, which are essential to making sure they actually conduct checks. Alarmists warn it would pave the way for gun registration, which would lead to mass confiscation.

This fear that an otherwise reasonable step will turn us into Nazi Germany is like thinking that if cops may search your home with a warrant, they will soon be sleeping in your guest room, showing up for meals and ordering pay-per-view.

Background checks have been going on since 1998, and amazingly, they haven't led to a national registry.
Not every slope is a slippery one. Some are downright sticky.

Creating a hurdle for illegal buyers is no panacea. But it's a lot less crazy than leaving criminals on the honor system.

Obama Overreach Includes Energy
Following the Conservative Political Action Conference—known as CPAC—it has been reported that the faithful feel discouraged, dispirited, and defeated. Dr. Ben Carson, who emerged from the Conference as the new conservative darling, has stated that America is heading for failure. Generally, I agree. However, I see a chink in the armor.

The alliance of the environmental lobby and big government advocates have been winning—Obama is back in the White House, the new cabinet members seem worse than the last, and the Keystone pipeline has become a battle line. With the victory, however, they’ve perhaps gotten over confident and pushed too hard. They’ve had a series of losses that have put them on the defense—and everyone knows, you win on the offense.

Their losses haven’t made headline news—making them easy to miss, and the alliance is not likely to beat a hasty retreat, but looking at them added together, I see an opening for a breakthrough.

In case you missed them, here are some of the recent reversals they’ve received:

·      On March 20, the Supreme Court shot down “overzealous greens” that hoped to “hobble the logging industry by reclassifying rural storm water runoff under the Clean Water Act’s ‘point source’ standards, which require costly federal permits.” The Court ruled: “more effective regulation could be done by states and state foresters.”
·      On March 19, the Obama Administration scrapped “a series of graphic warning labels on cigarette packages that were blocked by a federal appeals court”—a win for the “tobacco industry’s free-speech rights under the First Amendment.” Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, says the FDA won’t be deterred from implementing stronger warning labels.

·      Senator Dianne Feinstein’s gun-ban bill became a victim of friendly fire when, in a March 18 meeting, Majority Leader Harry Reid notified a “frustrated Feinstein” that her assault-weapon ban “wouldn’t be part of a Democratic gun bill.” The exclusion means “almost certain defeat” but, according to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Ladd Everitt, it has “fired up gun violence prevention advocates.”

·      On March 15, hyper-liberal Bill Maher had an epiphany on his HBO show Real Time. In a conversation with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, regarding Paul Ryan’s budget, Maher announced that rich people “actually do pay the freight in this country.” He continued, calling the taxes the rich pay: “outrageous” and “ridiculous.” He warned his liberal friends: “you could actually lose me.”

·      Facing the reality of a nuclear attack, on March 15 the Obama administration announced a reversal on missile defense. In 2009, Obama killed the Bush administration’s plans for 14 US ground-based long-range missile interceptors—which are now, in opposition to the “Democratic Party’s long aversion to any kind of missile defense,” playing catch up. Missile Defense advocates are now vindicated.

·      Government overreach received a setback on March 11, when “a judge threw out New York City’s ban on supersized sugary drinks.” Judge Milton Tingling said the soda ban “would not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it.” And, that has the “potential to be more troubling than sugar sweetened beverages.”

The list could continue to include NBC’s ratings fall and Obama’s sudden shift in relations with Republicans, but you get the idea.

“Marita,” you might say, “this is an interesting list, and I get your point, but you write on energy, and none of this has anything to do with energy.”

Here are some similar setbacks to the left’s energy agenda:

·      Going back a couple of months, on January 25, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a unanimous decision, found that the EPA was projecting far too much production of cellulosic ethanol and mandating the exaggerated fuel standards—confirming that “EPA’s renewable fuels program is unworkable and must be scrapped.” The nonexistent-fuel requirement is costing refiners $8 million dollars in fines paid to the federal government—which are passed on to consumer—due to the unreasonable 2012 mandate.

·      Last month, regulators met in California “hoping to hash out a solution to the peculiar stresses placed on the state’s network by sharp increases in wind and solar energy.” The state is “running low on conventional plants, such as those fueled by natural gas” and now “it doesn’t have the right mix.” Utility executives are predicting rolling brown outs as early as this summer. Other states with high dependence on wind and solar resources face similar problems.

·      “In a preemptive move to protect against possible court challenges,” “an early step toward President Barack Obama's second-term goal of cutting emissions linked to climate change has hit a snag.” Reported on March 19: “The Obama administration is weighing changes to a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule to limit emissions at new power plants.” The EPA’s rule would “essentially ban new coal-fired power plants”—which “may not withstand legal scrutiny.”

·      On March 20, another Solyndra-esque, government-funded solar panel manufacturer embarrassment came to light. SoloPower began the first round of layoffs just months after opening with a high-profile ribbon cutting and is now “selling some of its equipment through a third party and is attempting to restructure its $197 million federal loan guarantee.” The story shows that “politicians are proving to be lousy venture capitalists with this and other green energy subsidies.”

Again, this sampling of stories illustrates the cause for my optimism.

In war, and we are in a war, when one side sees signs of weakness, it is time to act and exploit the vulnerabilities; go on the offensive. The weapons we have are social media, email, and our telephones. Here are some of the battles we could win if we join in the fight for American jobs, economic growth, and affordable energy.

·      The Keystone pipeline is in the news again due to the recently released State Department report that concludes that it is environmentally safe. The pipeline, alone, has the unique ability to create jobs without taxpayer monies, spur economic growth in the states it will cross and other states that will participate in construction support, and lower the cost of gasoline through increased supply. We all need to add our “comments.” Tell the State department to end the four-year delay and approve the Keystone pipeline.

·      Anti-surface mining ads running in Tennessee on March 19 are just the latest in the war on coal. The war is raging against coal mining—which provides good paying jobs for thousands of Americans—and against coal-fueled power plants with 300+ scheduled for closure in the next few years and no possible replacement. We need an energy policy that works for each locale rather than one-size-fits-all requirements. For example, in New Mexico, we have coal-fueled power plants built right next to a coal mine, yet EPA regulations are shutting down five of the nine units. Likewise, West Virginia has an abundance of coal, and they, too, are closing plants. In the Pacific Northwest, hydropower is efficient, effective, and economical, but environmental groups are forcing their removal. Call or email the White House and tell the Obama administration to make good on the “all of the above” promise and not limit or mandate specific electricity sources.

·      Due to the combination of new technology and new applications of sixty-year-old technology, America now has an abundance of natural gas. Many markets across the globe need our natural gas—which could be liquefied and shipped worldwide and help the US trade deficit. In a free market, companies should be allowed to sell their products to the highest bidder, but due to trade agreements and the slow approval process of applications to build new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, this boost to the economy is being stifled. LNG exports are one of the few issues that truly have bipartisan support—yet, environmentalists oppose them and the Department of Energy has been dragging its feet on LNG export applications. Contact your Senators and Representative and tell them to oppose legislation that would limit LNG exports.

There is more we could do, but together these simple steps—passed on to everyone you know through Facebook, Twitter, and your personal email list, and acted upon—can serve as our forlorn hope (the first wave of soldiers attacking a breach in defenses). Let’s band together with a common strategy, a surge, that can turnaround the current direction and make America great again.