Friday, June 21, 2013

Fed Talking About Using Eminent Domain to Take Homes

In a recent press release, the Federal Reserve is again talking about the possibility of using eminent domain to seize private homes that are "underwater" in their financing.  Being "underwater" means that you owe more than your house is worth i.e. you paid too much for your home or you used a really poor financing product from a bank (like a balloon payment) that is now impossible for you to pay.

Personal responsibility would dictate that people be responsible for their own bills.  Those on the left typically advocate for write-downs.  That is, having the bank absorb some of the money an individual owes on their home.  In today's market where loans are bought, sold, repackaged, and cut up into smaller piece to be sold piecemeal, that is virtually impossible and the Fed has acknowledged that.

Instead, they would like local and state governments to seize properties through eminent domain.  Their report on the subject can be read by clicking on the title link: "Paying Paul and Robbing No One: An Eminent Domain Solution for Underwater Mortgage Debt."

This proposal is a proposal for abuse of power.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SB 150 - PA Forced DNA Collection Legislation

Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to allow forced DNA collection of individuals not yet convicted of a crime, it seems a good time to talk about Pennsylvania's Senate Bill 150.

Pennsylvania's bill is nothing less than institutionalized fishing expeditions that circumvent the Fourth Amendment.  The bill establishes a statewide DNA database containing DNA samples of anyone arrested, charged, convicted, adjudicated delinquent, or or accepted into ARD for many crimes.

Anyone can be arrested or charged with a crime.  Anyone.  All that is necessary for an arrest is the establishment of probable cause.

This bill negates the presumption of innocence that every American should enjoy and replaces it with a presumption of guilt.  Worse, it forces the accused, but innocent individual to submit blood or maybe even tissue samples to the government for cataloging.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling was a terrible one that many would view as enabling or empowering to exactly this type of intrusion.  Despite that ruling making it "legal" to trash the Fourth Amendment, Pennsylvania should not pass this legislation.  Innocent Pennsylvanians deserve better than to have their body or bodily fluids taken from them at gunpoint from its government.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bob Casey weighs in on NSA, IRS, and Benghazi Scandals

Move along, nothing to see here.

That's basically Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey's position on the recent Obama administration scandals.  To summarize: Snowden should be prosecuted, maybe even tried for treason; IRS employees should be held accountable; he won't push to get answers on the Benghazi failure that claimed American lives; and he supports Obama efforts to engage the U.S. in Syria's civil war.

You can watch the interview here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PNI TMI

With revelations of new and innovative ways for the Obama administration to stalk American citizens discretely, it seemed like a perfect time to talk about one of the new ways they will do so publicly and legally - Obamacare.

On 19 June the Obama Health and Human Services issued a rule requiring that local, state, and federal government agencies share private health information or PNI.  This also applies to insurance companies.

This agency and insurer data-swapping is done to make sure that you have the appropriate, government-approved amount of insurance necessary to avoid a punitive tax penalty.

It is also worth noting that the rule doesn't contain language whereby the patient grants this sharing of data.  Instead, the government is just ordering it to be shared.

You can read about how the Obama administration is sharing your information by navigating to the section "Verification of eligibility for minimum essential coverage other than through an eligible employer-sponsored plan."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Immigration Reform Ad in PA



A new advertising campaign (above) has started in Pennsylvannia dealing with immigration reform.  It points out that current immigration reform proposals will add 33 million new workers to the United States workforce at a time 20 million Americans are unemployed.

The group comes to the number, 33 million work permits, by counting the permits to 11 million current illegal immigrants, 11 million to new legal immigrants under a continuation of the current system, 5 million chain migration relatives of immigrants who have applied but are waiting for their slot in other countries, and 6 million new immigrants through new categories and expanded existing categories of immigration.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cyprus, Anyone?

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a new rule last week that should really raise an eyebrow.

The rule would make it very difficult for some investors to withdraw their money from money market accounts "during times of financial distress."

To recap, here's what they did in Cyprus.

What do they mean by a time of financial distress?  Who knows.  The collapse of 2008 was certainly regarded as a time of financial distress.

The public has 90 days to comment on the new regulations.  To comment electronically:
• Use the Commission’s Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed.shtml); or
• Send an e-mail to rule-comments@sec.gov. Please include File Number S7-03-13 on the subject line; or
• Use the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov). Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

HB 1234 – Constitutional Amendment to Shrink the Size of Legislature

House Republicans have proposed House Bill 1234, a bill to amend the Constitution of Pennsylvania to retain the current size of the Senate but to reduce the number of State Representatives from 203 to 153.

The Constitution of Pennsylvania calls for the following process for an Amendment: Upon passage of the amendment by the General Assembly, the Amendment is transmitted to two newspapers in every county for publication by the Secretary of State.  The General Assembly must then pass the amendment again in the following session and the Secretary of State has to publish the Amendment again.  After the second passage and publication, the question is placed to the voters on the first Primary, General, or Municipal election to follow.If the electorate supports the Amendment, it will then go into effect in the next session of the General Assembly following the 2020 reapportionment.

Currently, there are approximately 62,900 people in each legislative district.  Assuming the population remains the same in 2020, each member would represent about 20,000 more people than they current do.  Considering that members of Congress represent over 700,000 people per district, this is entirely manageable and would produce a serious savings for the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

On the downside, it would make rural districts far more expansive.  

Trying to pickup 20,000 people per district is relatively easy in a heavily populated area.  In rural Pennsylvania, it could mean having to add an entire county to a district to meet the population requirements.

Constituent service will be harder to achieve in these areas.

This amendment should be passed, but rural Pennsylvanians will need to apply serious pressure on House and Senate leaders that comprise the reapportionment commission to ensure that their districts are not drawn to be ridiculously expansive.  Republicans deserve credit for taking the lead on government reform in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pelosi to Dems: Sell Obamacare!

Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi has produced a 78-page memo that directs Democratic members of the House to go out into their districts and sell the American people on Obamacare.  It also encourages Democrats to work with supporters of Obamacare like abortion providers to help push this message.



So, keep an eye out for Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright.  He might be following Pelosi’s orders and holding a town hall in the future to explain his support of Obamacare, even though a majority of Americans oppose it.

Monday, June 3, 2013

SB 954 – Democratic Bill to Criminalize Laser Pointers

PA Democratic Senator Richard A. Kasunic has proposed SB 954, a bill to criminalize the use of laser pointers.

Specifically, the bill seeks to amend the Pennsylvania criminal code to make pointing a laser pointer at someone a third degree misdemeanor or summary offense, depending on the circumstances.


We anxiously await companion legislation to finally deal with the scourge of spit balls and wedgies that also plague the Commonwealth.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cartwright Votes for Higher Student Loan Rates


On July 1st, millions of students across the country will face higher student loan rates.  By higher, we mean double. 

A bi-partisan bill, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, would change that.  It did that largely by removing politics from the conversation.  By tying student loan rates to the market, instead of the whims of politicians, it created a predictable formula where students could engage in long-term planning and forecast what their rates would actually look like.

No longer would members of Congress determine what interest rate you pay for your loans.

The legislation would also allow students to compete for lower rates, which the current fixed rates simply don’t allow.

Democratic Congressman Cartwright voted against the measure, which still passed the house with a bi-partisan vote of 221-198.  The other NEPA Congressman voted in favor of the measure.