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Election 2018

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Pelosi: “It’s about stopping the GOP”

Forget about her promise of “debate.” Look at her history.

The last time 78 year old Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House, she and the Democrats changed the House rules to deny amendments or even debate from Republicans. Once, in August, 2008, she even ordered the lights, microphones, and AC turned off in the House gallery in an attempt to prevent speeches by the Republicans. She then ordered the Press removed from the Gallery.

In 2007, Pelosi became Speaker with a majority in the House. Then, as now, the Republicans maintained a narrow majority in the Senate. However, from late 2009 to January 2011, the Dems had a majority that did not require any cooperation from the Republicans, in both the House and Senate.

And then, there’s the way the “Affordable Care Act,” (“Obamacare”) was passed.

Harry Reed shoved a crude, early version of Obamacare through the Senate on Christmas Eve, 2009. Pelosi’s House Democrats, with 220 votes, had substituted the language in another Bill, HR 3590, the “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009,” in order to bypass the usual process. Senate Dems had 60 votes (including the two “Independents” Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman, Dems-in-all-but-name who caucused with the Dems), so no need for bipartisanship.

This was the form about which Pelosi infamously said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” because the actual leviathan of a Bill was worked out in conference between House and Senate members in early 2010, without a single Republican vote.

That law included huge tax increases, in addition to the individual mandate that required everyone to buy health insurance:

  • Medicare tax: from 1.45% to 2.35%
  • Top income bracket from 35% to 39.5%
  • Top income payroll tax from 37.4% to 52.2%
  • Capital gains tax from 15% to 28%
  • Dividend tax from 15% to 39.6%
  • Estate (“Death”) tax 0% to 55%
  • A new 3.5% Real Estate Transaction tax, imposed even when you sell your home, and the Net Investment tax of 3.8% were created.

Some of these taxes were decreased or removed by the recent tax cuts, the changes are all temporary , some changes won’t take effect this year and the Dems have promised to reopen the tax debate, presumably to increase taxes again.

At least with the Republican President and Senate majority, Pelosi’s abuses – hopefully – won’t result in renewed taxes in the next two years.

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Health care poll

Today, I came across a poll of likely Texas voters, conducted by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune that said that for Texans, health care is a distant third in importance, behind border security and immigration. This was in contrast with frequent news reports in the last week that an unnamed “recent poll” had found that health care is the number one issue in the 2018 election for voters. That first, UT/TT, poll was more consistent with other recent news coverage and the issues that I keep seeing pop up on Twitter and Facebook.

So I did some research….

It turns out that the first poll (“KFF,” download pdf file,with results) was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit based in San Francisco, California. In fact, approximately 30% of the respondents listed health care as their number one issue and were designated “Health Care Voters” by pollsters. 70%, designated “non-Health Care Voters,” chose other issues, including the economy and jobs (21%).

The demographics of those polled were heavily slanted toward Democrats, with registered Democrats and “Independents” who are identified as “Independent Lean Democrat” adding up to 68% of the “Healthcare Voters.” “Non-Health Care Voters” came in at 49% Republican or “Independent Leans Republican.”

While KFF is considered one of the “Least Biased” polling bodies, they are still subject to sampling errors. It appears that this might be one of those times.

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Scott Adams Jumps the Shark**

I enjoy Ben Shapiro’s Sunday Specials; one hour conversations with current thinkers and doers. I watched this week’s conversation with Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic with a bit of disbelief. (I watched on The Daily Wire, but it’s also available on YouTube.)

From approximately minute markers 29 to 45, Adams’ discription of his belief in the future (or existing) computer “algorithm” which will to decide future elections (“Trump is the last human President”), the denial of free will (but “I act as though” it exists), to turning toward the camera to repeat that “the end *always* justifies the means,” and finally to the idea that we live in a simulation of life that just seems like reality Adams displays a loose connection with reality accompanied by relatively sane inserts.

I love good science fiction and there’s no doubt that Adams is an intelligent man. But he’s not a great philosopher. I agree with Shapiro when he asks whether Adams is just trying to avoid God with his simulation. Just as some physicists posit multiple universes to explain ours, Adams requires multiple simulations.

Oh, well, if it makes you “happy,” Scott.

Reading Dilbert irregularly over the years, I’ve been repeatedly turned off by Adam’s anger and bitterness. Sometimes it just can’t be disquised as wit. Now I wonder whether the anger has affected his rationality: does he even know what or when he says something wrong or immoral?

Perhaps. Adams displayed physiologic changes consistent with stress: blinking more often and his neck reddened as the hour went along. Is he stressed at examining his beliefs or by lying – invoking hyperbole about hyperbole – about them? Or is he just stressed by thinking his thoughts through, out loud, in an effort to be witty and change Shapiro’s mind?

(**”Jumping the Shark” is a reference to going too far, indicative of lost relevance.)

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NYT “Had to try.”

As the Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web Today” suggests, “Use the Reader Comments to Learn More About the Times” and how the public views the journalistic abuse.

It seems that the NYT (and other media) decided to investigate the wife of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavenaugh, Ashley. The NYT readers point out the lack of similar”vetting” of Obama’s judicial nominees.

Fake news, indeed. 85 emails from Mrs. Kavenaugh’s position as town manager of Chevy Chase, Maryland revealed nothing of interest – except exposure of the NYT bias, perhaps.

But the Op Ed says, ” We had to try.” Just what were they trying?

Sanctuary City Swimming in Other People’s Taxes

From the Mayor of the home town of La Joya Independent School District, the “independent” school system in Hildalgo County, Texas with the water park, a 22K sq ft natatorium, tennis courts, a planetarium, and a golf course,enabled with money from Texas taxpayers:

My position was why should the city of La Joya, or any city in the Valley, detain any ICE illegals when ICE already has cages for them?”Salinas said Sunday. “Maybe they have a better place for them than we do and, of course, we’re totally against what they’re doing; I think we should unite the families, not divide them.”

“If it hadn’t been for that I would not have reacted this way,” he said, “but I’m a Mexican-American and I support my people.”

It’s not just “that.”

Last year, Mayor Salinas led La Joya to join the lawsuit against Texas’ Senate Bill 4, that penalizes cities that refuse to cooperate with Federal immigration laws and authorities. So far, that lawsuit has been upheld in Court.
Yet, the Mayor has no problem with the budget of his school district accepting accepting over $51M from the Federal Government.
Of course, that’s only 15% of the “Independent” school district’s funding. Texas Taxpayers pay 75% or $251,737,388.

The City also receives Federal funding through the Operation Stonegarden Program from the Department of Homeland Security, but the Mayor says they don’t use those funds to detain anyone for ICE.
I wish the Mayor respected non-hyphenated Americans and Texans, even if he doesn’t count us as his

people.

Edited to correct spelling. BBN

Is there a solution to the current immigration emergency?

I’m following and responding to the news reports and conversations on Twitter and Facebook about the arrests and separations of alien families because I’m looking for a solution that will work and have fewest unintended consequences.

We can spend all day screaming our objections or justifications and playing political games based on what should have been done and when, in the past and present. Or, we can tell our legislators that we recognize the reality of the circumstances, today, and that we need to make immediate changes, followed by more measured steps.

We urgently need to:

1. Ensure that the very young are safe and nurtured. This is an emergency, because of the damage that we know tactile deprivation has on small children. No more claims that some institutional rule prohibits holding a toddler;

2. Make sure that no more children are “lost” and that even those who are separated can communicate with their parents.

(Hospital arm bands? Schlitterbahn and the Toob renters in my home town use similar bands. The tracking numbers could follow numbers on the bands and would not only work better with digitizing information

Would it be possible/permissible to use RFID and/or GPS?

Delta uses bar codes attached to each suitcase and can text me when my suitcase is loaded or unloaded on the plane. Last month, when I was on a cruise, ATT texted me that I wasn’t covered by their international plan as soon as I stepped on the ship, before the ship left the dock.);

3. Speed up the process of reuniting the families;
(This last will be enabled by the above, but will also require resources for the rapid setting up of family shelters for those awaiting hearings, and hiring personnel for those shelters and judges to hear the cases and lawyers to represent the asylum seekers.);

4. Streamline the process for approving or rejecting application for asylum at the ports of entry. (See above. This may be a useful job for civilians -paif or volunteer – and the National Guard after apprehension and/or initial evaluation by Border Patrol);

5. Fix the laws concerning detention of children separated from their parents, the right of application for asylum for anyone who manages to step on US soil, temporary worker permits that do not allow family to immigrate, and for immigration in general;

6. Continue to identify, arrest, and prosecute people who willfully violate our immigration laws;

7. None of this is dependent upon or contradictory to securing the Border. All of them are enhanced by increased security, however;

8. Stop the partisan game playing!

It should be made clear that our government will follow the law as written. Perhaps we can continue the ads Obama’s Administration is said to have used in Central America.

None of these should be done so that more people show up expecting immediate visas, green cards, or even healthcare and food stamps. They certainly shouldn’t believe that they have a right to immigration or to burden our social infrastructure and taxpayers.

Please comment on my Facebook page.

Edited numbering, BBN

Open letter to RPT Convention delegates on censure

I am writing to ask you to vote against censure by the Convention of named Republican, elected, officials.

How often have we complained about the elites who get in power only to ignore us to follow their own agenda? How many of you are at the Convention because you got tired of the establishment working against you?

Well, guess what? If you make it to the State Convention, you’re the elite establishment! Don’t be that kind of elite establishment.

For the first time in years, I couldn’t participate in the 2018 Republican Party of Texas Convention process. I still follow your efforts and have read the resolutions submitted to the Platform Committee. One Senate District has submitted resolutions demanding that the RPT State Convention censure specific legislators.

I appreciate the work you’re doing this not just this week, but over the last few months. Having served as a Delegate to the Republican Party of Texas State Convention and on both the Platform and the Rules Committees, I know you have a week of long walks to simply get to your meeting rooms, heated discussions, long waits, and many re-votes, one after another. The Committees and sessions start early and go late. (Wear comfortable shoes and take snacks!)

Through all of this, please don’t forget that you are in San Antonio as the grass roots embodiment of our Nation’s representative democracy, our Republic. You are not simply individuals expressing your own will and opinion. You are there as representatives of your constituents: the Republican voters from your Counties, Congressional Districts, and Senate Districts.

In the same way that you expect legislators to represent their voters, your voters expect you to represent us.

While it may be appropriate for the local SD Convention to censure their own legislators, especially before the Primary or run-off, many people in our Party disagree. But now, these are elected candidates. I don’t believe that it’s appropriate for the State Convention to censure them in opposition to the local electorate’s wishes.

When the votes on censure of any Republican elected official comes up, please take a look at their constituents’ votes, especially in the last Primary. Did he or she win? Was it by a substantial margin? Was he or she unopposed in the Primary because no one even challenged them?

These men and women deserve your respect, just as President Donald Trump should be given the respect he deserves after being elected President. In the same way that it was wrong for Hillary to deride Republican women as voting the way their husbands told them to, it’s wrong to dismiss these voters as illegitimate.

In addition, as this is an election year, you are writing the campaign ads for the Democrats.

Please do not oppose the voters you represent by voting in favor of public censure of Republicans.

Beverly B. Nuckols, MD

Comal County, SD 25 and CD 21

(Edited because some of the formatting got lost.)

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