Friday, June 29, 2012

The IRS Is Coming After....You!

The Supreme Court's decision yesterday rewriting the reason why Obamacare should remain a law is right on a constitutional basis but wrong on so many other levels.

From the Supreme Court Opinion:

The Government advances two theories for the proposition that Congress had constitutional authority to enact the individual mandate. First, the Government arguesthat Congress had the power to enact the mandate under the Commerce Clause. Under that theory, Congress mayorder individuals to buy health insurance because thefailure to do so affects interstate commerce, and could undercut the Affordable Care Act’s other reforms. Second, the Government argues that if the commerce power does not support the mandate, we should nonetheless uphold it as an exercise of Congress’s power to tax. According to the Government, even if Congress lacks the power to direct individuals to buy insurance, the only effect of the individual mandate is to raise taxes on those who do not do so, and thus the law may be upheld as a tax.

Chief Justice Roberts writing the opinion for the majority opined that the individual mandate was unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution, therefore it is "may be reasonably characterized as a tax".

The individual mandate, however, does not regulate existing commercial activity. It instead compels individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product,on the ground that their failure to do so affects interstate commerce.

Given its expansive scope, it is no surprise that Congress has employed the commerce power in a wide variety of ways to address the pressing needs of the time. But Congress has never attempted to rely on that power tocompel individuals not engaged in commerce to purchase an unwanted product.

At the very least, we should "pause to consider the implications of the Government’s arguments" when confronted with such new conceptions of federal power.

The individual mandate, however, does not regulateexisting commercial activity. It instead compels individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product,on the ground that their failure to do so affects interstate commerce. Congress addressed the insurance problem by ordering everyone to buy insurance. Under the Government’s theory, Congress could address the diet problem by ordering everyone to buy vegetables.

The Framers gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it, and for over 200 years both our decisions and Congress’s actions have reflected this understanding. There is no reason to depart from that understanding now.

Everyone will likely participate in the markets for food, clothing, transportation, shelter, or energy; that does not authorize Congress to direct them to purchase particular products in those or other markets today. The Commerce Clause is not a general license to regulate an individualfrom cradle to grave, simply because he will predictably engage in particular transactions. Any police power toregulate individuals as such, as opposed to their activities, remains vested in the States.

The individual mandate forces individuals into commerce precisely because they elected to refrain from commercial activity. Such a law cannot be sustained under a clause authorizing Congress to "regulate Commerce." Applying these principles, the individual mandate cannot be sustained under the Necessary and Proper Clause as an essential component of the insurance reforms.

That is not the end of the matter. Because the Commerce Clause does not support the individual mandate, it is necessary to turn to the Government’s second argument: that the mandate may be upheld as within Congress’senumerated power to "lay and collect Taxes."

Instead, the Government asks us to read the mandate not as ordering individuals to buy insurance, but rather as imposing a tax on those who do not buy that product.

But, for the reasons explained above, the Commerce Clause does not give Congress that power. Under our precedent, it is therefore necessary to ask whether the Government’s alternative reading of the statute—that itonly imposes a tax on those without insurance—is a reasonable one.

And if the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, itmay be within Congress’s constitutional power to tax.

It is of course true that the Act describes the payment as a "penalty," not a "tax."

The same analysis here suggests that the shared responsibility payment may for constitutional purposes be considered a tax, not a penalty: First, for most Americans the amount due will be far less than the price of insurance, and, by statute, it can never be more.

The joint dissenters argue that we cannot uphold §5000A as a tax because Congress did not "frame" it as such.

The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.

The Obama team is too busy from the White House putting a spin on it that it is a penalty and not a tax. WOW!

"It's a penalty, because you have a choice. You don't have a choice to pay your taxes, right?" Carney said.

What a moron. Do people CHOOSE not to pay their taxes??? I guess that is why Obama mandated 16,000 more IRS agents in the bill.  He too thought it wasn't a tax!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hazleton City Council Meeting 6-20-2012

At the last Hazleton City Council meeting on 6-20-2012 there was an exchange between Hazleton Council persons over the duties of the Hazleton City Clerk.  In this video you can hear Councilwoman Karin Cabell trying to desparately explain the difference between requests of Hazleton City information and requests of non-city information to Councilwoman Jean Mope and Councilman Jack Mundie.  Mope and Mundie are of the belief that the City Clerk is a council employee.  In fact that is not the case.  Mistakenly the position is called the Council Clerk. 

Nowhere in the Third Class City Code of Pennsylvania or the Home Rule and Optional Plan Government Law will one find the position of Council Clerk.  The position is named the "City Clerk."

Home Rule Optional Plan A language(Hazleton chose Option Plan B but the language found in A applies to B except that the Department of Administration is optional under A but mandatory under B).
§ 3009. Appointment and duties of municipal clerk or secretary.A municipal clerk or secretary shall be appointed in the manner set forth in the administrative ordinance as provided pursuant to section 3146 (relating to passage of administrative ordinance). The municipal clerk or secretary shall serve as clerk of the council, keep its minutes and records of its proceedings, maintain and compile its ordinances and resolutions as this subpart requires and perform such functions as may be required by law or by local ordinance. The municipal clerk shall, prior to the appointment, have been qualified by training or experience to perform the duties of the office.

Third Class City Code

Section 1301. Appointment; Compensation; Removal.--The council of each city shall appoint a city clerk on the first Monday of May, one thousand nine hundred and fifty-two, and on the first Monday of May every fourth year thereafter, and fix his compensation by ordinance. He shall serve for a term of four years and until his successor is duly appointed and qualified.

Section 1302. Power to Administer Oaths; Duties.--The city clerk shall have the power of a notary public to administer oaths in any matter pertaining to the business of said city, or in any legal proceeding in which it is interested. He shall also perform such other duties as shall be prescribed for his office by law, ordinance or resolution of council.

Section 1303. Records Open to Inspection.--The records and
documents of city council of every city shall be kept in the
office of the city clerk and shall be open to the inspection of
any taxpayer thereof, his, her, or its agent, upon demand
therefor during office hours.

It appears Councilwoman Mope forgets that Hazleton operates under Option Plan B as she constantly refers to the Third Class City Code which only applies if there is no direction under Option Plan B law.

The City Clerk is the clerk of council but not the Council Clerk.  How can a part time council have daily control over a full time employee?  Further Mope and Mundie believe they can unilaterally direct the City Clerk to perform research for their personal use not directly related to Hazleton City records.  With the convictions in Bonusgate, Computergate, and former Senator Jane Orie one would think both Mr. Mundie and Ms. Mope would be more careful about instructing city employees to perform personal work on city time.

Ms. Mope erroneously states "It's her job" referring to the clerk. As the law states, and it is quite clear, it would take an ordinance to mandate such a practice.  Even then the state Ethics Act would come into play.  Using one's position for private pecuniary gain, in this case using taxpayer resources to pay for private work to avoid paying another, could come under ethics review.

§ 1103. Restricted activities

(a) Conflict of interest.--No public official or public employee shall engage in conduct that constitutes a conflict of interest.

"Conflict" or "conflict of interest." Use by a public official or public employee of the authority of his office or employment or any confidential information received through his holding public office or employment for the private pecuniary benefit of himself, a member of his immediate family or a business with which he or a member of his immediate family is associated. The term does not include an action having a de minimis economic impact or which affects to the same degree a class consisting of the general public or a subclass consisting of an industry, occupation or other group which includes the public official or public employee, a member of his immediate family or a business with which he or a member of his immediate family is associated.

The job description of the City Clerk, obtained by SOP dated 06/89, states that the person's "Work is generally supervised by administrative superiors."  Therefore it appears their assumption that the City Clerk works at the beckon call of council is preposterous.  Nowhere in the job description does it mandate that the clerk is under the direct control of any Hazleton City Council member.  It appears the clerk position falls under the daily control of the administration, not City Council.

Council members should read the job description before stating "It's her job..What part don't you understand?"  It is clearly Mope who doesn't understand the law and appears to be learning on the job.  In previous meetings Ms. Mope said that council must follow the law but it appears that is only a one-way street.

Mope makes the assertion that directing the clerk to make personal Right To Know requests doesn't cost council money.  Evidently Ms. Mope never was an employer otherwise she would know that the salary, benefits, heat, light, electricity, telephone line charges, etc. all cost the Hazleton taxpayer money.

Mundie also makes the claim it is her job "to get information to help us do our job."  That would be correct if it was Hazleton City information but not NON-CITY information that must be researched then printed out using city equipment.  It should be noted that the request Mr. Mundie made required 1,000 pages of printing. He supplied the paper but forgot the cost of the printer, the electricity to run it, and the ink cartridge costs as well as wear and tear.

Neither understands the need to take employment matters into executive session.  The Sunshine Act specifically makes provisions for executive sessions to discuss personnel matters.  Discussing personnel matters in public can, in many instances, violate the privacy of the employee. 

Both feign that the majority on Hazleton City Council are trying to restrict the public and their access to information.  Pennsylvania law prevents that from being even a remote possibility.  They are using the council chambers as their stage for theatrics designed to inflame the publc because they have no real agenda but obstruction. Their indecorous display rings loudly through the obstreperousness of their comments. Hopefully with time the taxpayers will get what they paid for, not a theatre production.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Out In November- Nobama


It is time to “out” President Obama.

Mr. President, it is you—not Mitt Romney—who is out of touch with the American people and with what our country needs.

You are outraged at the charge that your White House leaks national security secrets while you stake out a claim of executive privilege, to keep White House communications secret on “Fast and Furious”—the American people smell a cop out or two somewhere in that mix.

You are never out of excuses—blaming others for our anemic recovery—while we are out of patience, frustrated with your mishandling of the economy.

You are out partying at Hollywood fundraisers while millions of people are out of work.

Your spending is out of control while taxpayers are out ever more money to fund your bailouts and handouts for special interests that are special to you.

You have an out of whack belief that “the private sector is doing fine” while we recoil at your
outlandish idea to throw more money at the public sector—big government.

You are out in the open—dividing people by race, income, and deeply held religious and moral beliefs—while most Americans strive to bring out the best in themselves and their neighbors.

Your ObamaCare outsources our health care to government bureaucrats while it leaves us out of pocket, out of choices for our treatments and doctors, and out of incentives to develop new drugs and other medical innovations.

You’ve gone out of your way to antagonize allies like Israel and to appease adversaries like Russia, while most of us see this as out and out betrayals.

You keep going further out on a limb with your extremism on the environment and limiting the uses of energy like oil and coal while ignoring our concerns about being out of power and out in the cold.

You are out campaigning about how in touch you are with us while we see you as out of your depth in leadership, out in left field in your policies and, hopefully, out of your office in November.

CREDIT GOES TO Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at