FAIR HOUSING OR POLITICAL BULLYING???

Recently, I was exploring the Whitehouse.gov site, looking for a transcript of our deal with Iran.  Before finding it, I was distracted by two Obama videos.  In the first, his weekly message to America on July 11th, he spoke about his new plan to make housing fairer. In the second, he spoke about criminal justice in America.   Next week I’ll talk about his criminal justice speech.  Today, a few words about the AFFH.  Here’s an excerpt:from his weekly video address.

“In some cities, kids living just blocks apart lead incredibly different lives.  They go to different schools, play in different parks, shop in different stores, and walk down different streets.  And often, the quality of those schools and the safety of those parks and streets are far from equal – which means those kids aren’t getting an equal shot in life.

“That runs against the values we hold dear as Americans.  In this country, of all countries, a person’s zip code shouldn’t decide their destiny.  We don’t guarantee equal outcomes, but we do strive to guarantee an equal shot at opportunity – in every neighborhood, for every American.

There is much to know about Obama’s newest program – the Affirmitively Furthering Fair Housing Regulation.  Author Stanley Kurtz, in an article for the National Review, gives the following example of one of its potential effects.

“…So if some Montgomery County’s suburbs are predominantly upper-middle-class, white, and zoned for single-family housing, while the Philadelphia region as a whole is dotted with concentrations of less-well-off African Americans, Hispanics, or Asians, those suburbs could be obligated to nullify their zoning ordinances and build high-density, low-income housing at their own expense. At that point, those suburbs would have to direct advertising to potential minority occupants in the Greater Philadelphia region. Essentially, this is what HUD has imposed on Westchester County, New York, the most famous dry-run for AFFH.”

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/421389/attention-americas-suburbs-you-have-just-been-annexed-stanley-kurtz

What the president seems to be missing (where do we start?), is that a person’s zip code is not the “opportunity” he implies that he wants to provide.  A person’s zip code is in fact, the “Outcome” that those within it have created through hard work, perseverance and sacrifice.  A person’s zip code can also be the “Outcome” of a life spent spewing hate, perpetrating, or ignoring violence, shirking parental responsibilities; or preferring welfare over work.  No, that’s not a universal truth, but it is one of many truths that prove it is not the zip code that determines a person’s destiny.  It is the residents who determines the zip code’s quality. Obama knows this.

I invite everyone to read pages 156 and 157 of his first book; Dreams from my Father. Here’s a few short excerpts that will give you an idea of what he knows. It should leave you with a question about what he is now trying to do.  Remember – his words:

“…With the passage of fair housing laws, they began to buy homes, one at a time, in Roseland and other white neighborhoods.  Not because they were necessarily interested in mingling with whites, they insisted, but because the houses there were affordable, with small yards for their children; because the schools were better and the stores cheaper, and maybe just because they could.”

“..when the blacks who’d now lived in their homes for ten or fifteen years looked back on the way things had turned out, they did so with some measure of satisfaction.  On the strength of two incomes, they had paid off house notes and car notes, maybe college educations….the better these children did, the more likely they were to move away.

“In their place, younger, less stable families moved in, the second wave of migrants from poorer neighborhoods, newcomers who couldn’t always afford to keep up with their mortgage payments or invest in periodic maintenance.  Car thefts were up; the leafy parks were empty.  People began to spend more time inside.  They invested in elaborate wrought-iron doors; they wondered if they could afford to sell at a loss and retire to a warmer climate…. conversations were marked by another, more ominous strain.  The boarded-up homes, the decaying storefronts, the aging church rolls, kiids from unknown families who swaggered down the streets – loud congregations of teenage boys, teenage girls feeding potato chips to crying toddlers, the discarded wrappers tumbling down the block – all of it whispered painful truths, told them the progress they’d [the first group of buyers] found was ephemeral, rooted in thin soil; that it might not even last their lifetimes…”

Two things are clear.  The first is that the zip codes in Obama’s story were products of the people who inhabited them – not the other way around.  Good people with two incomes who could afford to purchase homes in the neighborhood did well, sent kids to college and contributed to the quality of the area.  The ones who came after – who had not earned their way into the area, destroyed it.  In the process, they destroyed the lives of hardworking people whose homes reflected a lifetime of work and savings.  The second truth is that Obama wrote these words and must therefore know exactly what he is doing, in suggesting the building of low income housing in affected suburbs. Is this the future he plans for those who have worked hard throughout their lives?  Is this the fundamental change he offered?  Is this his warped idea of fairness and equal opportunity?  Is this his perverted idea of helping the poor, or is it merely a way in which he can shortcut the tough process of creating jobs, giving people a hand up and unlocking the human potential of those currently in bad “zip codes?”

All people should be – and in fact are – able to buy any home in any neighborhood in America, so long as they can produce sufficient cash, or obtain necessary financing.  It follows that they will be able to maintain their homes and will be welcomed additions to the area.  The use of taxpayer dollars to promote low income housing in more expensive suburban areas is likely to increase crime while destroying both neighborhoods and lives.

However, when Obama speaks of kids not getting a fair shot, he is right.  It is absolutely true and it is heartbreaking.  But, as usual, his target identification is skewed.  These kids will not be saved by a new zip code.  The answer will not be found in cut and paste housing, or in the redistribution of wealth.  The answer lies in programs that provide incentives for leaving the welfare rolls; programs that create jobs and opportunities, reduce births out of wedlock, promote skill development and higher education.  The single greatest opportunity for these children lies in our ability to control crime and to influence politicians, parents, teachers, clergy and people in general, to stop teaching hopelessness and hate.

The greatest hate crime of them all is to have disempowered still another generation by fanning the flames of hate and perpetuating dependency and a bizarre pride of victimization.

Who could possibly do it better than Barack Obama?

Business as Usual at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

President Obama was back on the golf course Saturday – obviously, deeply concerned about the people still suffering in New York and New Jersey.  That bit of sarcasm would seem harsh and out of touch to most Democrats, but given Obama’s handling of Benghazi and the deaths of four Americans, it seems a more than fair appraisal of what moves the needle on this  president’s “urgency meter.”

Still, President Obama has ticked off a few of his “To Do’s” since last Tuesday’s election.  He admitted, for example, that one of our unmanned, unarmed drones had been attacked by Iranian jets on November 1st.  For those that pay attention to such trivia, that would be five days before the election.  One can only wonder why it took so long for that news to find daylight.  In still another in the long line of fortuitous coincidences that have guided Obama’s career, General David Petraeus, Director of the CIA, has stepped down.  Conveniently, his resignation, based on an alleged extramarital affair, came days after (with no hint before) the election and days before hearings on Benghazi.  The affair was reportedly part of an FBI investigation  – Strangely, and apparently in violation of established protocol, not reported prior to the election, to members of the congressional intelligence committees.

As they say, “Timing is Everything.”

Then there was Obama’s speech on Friday, in which he noted in part, that

“…the American people voted for action, not politics as usual.  You elected us to focus on your jobs – not ours.  And in that spirit, I’ve invited leaders of both parties to the White House next week so we can start to build consensus around the challenges that we can only solve together – and I also intend to bring in business and labor and civic leaders from all across the country, here, to Washington to get their ideas and input as well.  You know, at a time when our economy is still recovering from a great recession, our top priority has to be jobs and growth.  That’s the focus of the plan that I talked about during the campaign.  It’s a plan that rewards small businesses and manufacturers that create jobs here – not overseas.  It’s a plan to give people the chance to get the education and training that businesses are looking for right now.  It’s a plan to make sure that this country is a global leader in research, in technology and clean energy, which will attract new companies and high wage jobs to America.  It’s a plan to put folks back to work – including our veterans – rebuilding our roads and our bridges and other infrastructure.  And, it’s a plan to reduce our deficit in a balanced and responsible way.  Our work is made that much more urgent because at the end of this year we face a series of  deadlines that requires us to make major decisions about how to pay our deficit down – decisions that will have a major impact on the economy and on the middle class, both now and in the future.  Last year, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut a trillion dollars worth of spending that we just couldn’t afford.  I intend to work with both parties to do more and that includes making reforms that will bring down the cost of health care, so we can strengthen programs like Medicaid and Medicare for the long haul.  But, as I’ve said before, we just can’t cut our way to prosperity.  If we’re serious about reducing the deficit, we have to combine spending cuts with revenue…and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes.  That’s how we did it in the 1990’s when Bill Clinton was president.  That’s how we can reduce the deficit while still making the investments we need to build a strong middle class and a strong economy.  That’s the only way we can still afford to train our workers, or help our kids pay for college, or make sure that good jobs, or clean energy, or high tech manufacturing don’t end up in countries like China.  Now, already I’ve put forth a detailed plan that allows us to make these investments while reducing our deficit by four trillion dollars over the next decade.  I want to be clear.  I’m not wedded to every detail of my plan.  I’m open to compromise.  I’m open to new ideas.  I’m committed to solving our fiscal challenge.  BUT, I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced…”

I was once taught by a Psychologist friend that the word “BUT” cancels everything said up to that point.  You think?

I often find myself asking if it has occurred to others that this entire political conversation is a game that insults the intelligence of Americans.  On the one hand, we have conservatives saying that raising taxes on those making over $250,000 is raising taxes on small business and on investors who make small business possible.  I entirely agree with this premise insofar as those being targeted for tax increases are small business owners, or are investing in small businesses.  President Obama, on the other hand, seems to completely discount the argument and wants to increase taxes on everyone over that threshold income.  And as he does, he still claims that he will increase the number of jobs and attract new businesses.  This is counterintuitive and, I believe, totally false.  Additionally, it has been shown on several occasions that even if we taxed all of this target group at 100%, it would provide only enough revenue to run the country for a few weeks.  At the same time, it would necessarily eliminate business investment.

What seems to elude Harvard educated politicians, but easily passes the commonsense test, is that if this were a fiscal, rather than an ideological argument, they need only determine who, making more than $250,000 is actually engaged in a small business, who is employing others, and who is investing in the small businesses of others.  Extend the tax cuts for all of them and raise taxes, if you must, on the rest.  Make sense?

The truth, as any breathing person should realize by now, is that tax increases will make no positive difference on the deficit, or debt.  Whatever additional funds are brought into the treasury will be “invested” by Obama before they even arrive.  They will not be used to reduce the deficit, or the debt.  We should not forget that this president hasn’t even been able to pass a budget in his first term.  By definition, this means that there is no plan, because plans are funded and executed through the budget process.  He has increased the National Debt by more than five trillion dollars in less than four years – the most outrageous increase in the history of America.

If Barack Obama was a financial consultant, rather than president  – If he had the same record in his business finances as he has had in Washington – If the financial rating of his company had fallen as that of America has – If you knew he had been operating his company for the past four years, without so much as a budget – if his company was deeply in debt and still borrowing to stay afloat – And if you were searching for someone to handle your hard earned retirement savings – would you put your entire financial future in his hands?

We have.

 

 

Obama: Cops will Harass Hispanics – Reason #90

Only 65 Days Remaining!

Obama: Cops Will Harass Hispanics

Over the past three years, Obama has worked hard to inflame the passions of Hispanics and especially illegal immigrants.  It was Obama who used the bully pulpit to create a chasm between Arizona Latinos and the Governor and law enforcement officials.  He used the media to let Latinos know that:

“If you are a Hispanic American in Arizona — your great-grandparents may have been there before Arizona was even a state. But now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed.  That’s something that could potentially happen.”[i]

There is very little difference between this statement and the principle behind the Reichstag fire in Nazi Germany.  Obama needs always to find a common enemy that he can use to divide and polarize our nation.  Here, as in other statements, he makes clear that honest American immigrants should fear and distrust law enforcement officers – officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve their fellow Americans.

Many people have pointed to Obama’s past as a Community Organizer and professional agitator; and theorized that he would like nothing more than to create more divisiveness in America and to manipulate that divisiveness into more votes for the Democrats – particularly, for himself.  Well, here it is.  In Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address, the most divisive President in history, told us that:

“Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation[ii]…let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away.”[iii]

This is another Obama cheap shot and a “twofer.”  He is advocating a direct path to citizenship for illegal immigrant students – hoping to foster divisiveness between Latinos and the Republican Party.  Obama offers up a bill, which he puts on others to create – essentially the same as the questionable DREAM Act, which has already faced bipartisan opposition in Congress and which some say, amounts to opening “the door to allow millions of illegal immigrants to live and work in the U.S. without a vote of Congress.”[iv]  (Note: Since this writing, Obama has unilaterally enacted what amounts to the DREAM Act, completely bypassing Congress.  A lawsuit has been filed against the Administration by ten agents, alleging that they are being ordered not to enforce the Immigration laws.)

At the same time, he disingenuously casts the Republican Party as anti-immigrant, hoping to gain the vote of Latinos, while ignoring the economic and crime problems being experienced by residents along the Southwest border.


[i] President Barack Obama, (April 27, 2010), White House.gov Speeches & Remarks, Remarks by the President at Ottumwa, Iowa Town Hall, retrieved November 2, 2010 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-ottumwa-iowa-town-hall

[ii] Note:  If they face the daily threat of deportation, they are illegal immigrants

[iii] President Barack Obama, (Jan 24, 2012), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address, retrieved January 25, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2012/01/25/2012-state-union-address-enhanced-version#transcript

[iv] Lamar Smith (Mar. 20, 2012), FoxNews.com web-site, The Truth About the DREAM Act, retrieved March 22, 2012 from http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/03/20/truth-about-dream-act/

Astronaut: “…We just backed down and quit…” – Reason #80

Only 75 Days Remaining!!

Astronaut:  “…We just backed down and quit…”

Former Astronaut Gene Cernan – the last American to walk on the Moon – noted in an interview with FoxNews’ Megyn Kelly, that China’s interest in maintaining a “consistent space program as they look to the future, really surprises no one.

“What is a surprise and what hurts…is we’ve just abdicated our future leadership in space, and I think that’s significantly important – both from a civilian point of view, military point of view and certainly, it’s going to have a tremendous economic impact and make us vulnerable in the future…I think this has got long, long term implications…the country that controls outer space in one way or another – the country that controls the high ground…if they destroy the capability to destroy satellites…to interrupt communications.  Look what it would do to our banking system.  Look at our navigation system.  They’re going to put up a whole…GPS system of satellites, which is going to challenge those that we’ve already got up there.

“…we won’t be able to put an American on an American piece of hardware until the end of the decade.  That’s unacceptable…we just backed down and quit quite frankly…The whole nation hasn’t yet fully grasped the situation that we’re being put in by the present Administration…We’re cheating future generations…”[i]


[i] Gene Cernan, (Dec. 30, 2011), Fox Nation web-site, Interview with Megyn Kelly, Last American to Walk on Moon Tears Obama Apart Over Weak U.S. Space Program, retrieved December 31, 2011 from http://nation.foxnews.com/president-obama/2011/12/30/last-american-walk-moon-tears-obama-apart-over-weak-us-space-program

Obama – Defense Cuts a Fiscal Strategy, or Core Belief? – Reason #76

Only 79 Days Remaining!

Defense: Strategy Based Budget or Budget Based Strategy?

Speaking at a press conference on June 29, 2011, President Obama said he was ready to cut more than $400 billion from the Defense budget.

“…We’ve identified what defense cuts are possible…”

“…I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to have difficult conversations with the Pentagon saying, you know what, there’s fat here; we’re going to have to trim it out. And Bob Gates has already done a good job identifying $400 billion in cuts, but we’re going to do more. And I promise you the preference of the Pentagon would not [be] to cut any more, because they feel like they’ve already given.” [i]

On July 31, 2011,  the White House released a Fact Sheet on the debt limit increase, reflecting an agreement to reduce the base Defense budget by $350 billion and to tie a potential cut of $500 billion more to the failure of a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Committee to reduce the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion.[ii]

Press Secretary Jay Carney conducted a Press Briefing on January 3, 2012, in which he indicated that:

“…I think it’s important to point out that the cuts in defense spending that we’ve discussed around which the defense strategic review is being written about now were agreed to on a broadly bipartisan basis — roughly $489 billion over 10 years.

“And the important part of this process is that the strategy come first and the reductions come — are driven by the strategy.”[iii] (Emphasis)

Two days later, on January 5, 2012, the President conducted his own Press Conference at which he repeated Carney’s claim that:

“…spending over the coming decade — because the size and the structure of our military and defense budgets – have to be driven by a strategy, not the other way around.”[iv]

He went on to double down, saying that the resulting Defense budget would be announced in the coming weeks.  These statements may sound logical and they would be, if they were believable.  The budget should always be driven by the strategy and the strategy driven by the threat and projections of future threats.

But the administration’s statements are not believable.  They are an absurdity and a contradiction on their face.  The Administration announced a possible $400 billion in Defense cuts in June, 2011 and an actual $350 billion cut from the Defense base budget in July, 2011.  Five months later, Carney briefs that they are writing a “Defense Strategic Review” around a bipartisan agreement to reduce Defense spending by $489 billion and then both Carney and the President, without so much as a red face, tell us that Defense cuts will be “…driven by strategy, not the other way around.”

Where is the inquiring mainstream media?  The Administration tossed them a ground ball and still made a homerun!  If this was a true strategic review, why wasn’t it done earlier as we prepared to leave Iraq?  Why wasn’t it accomplished (or was it) as we prepared for the surge in Afghanistan?  What would have happened if the “Strategic Review” reflected increased threats to the U.S.?  Would Obama have increased the Defense budget?


[i] President Barack Obama, (June 29, 2011), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Press Conference by the President, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/29/press-conference-president

[ii] White House Fact Sheet (July 31, 2011) White House web-site, Statements & Releases, Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/07/31/fact-sheet-bipartisan-debt-deal-win-economy-and-budget-discipline

[iii] Jay Carney (Jan. 3, 2012), White House web-site, Press Briefings, Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 1/3/2012, retrieved January 6, 2012, from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/03/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-132012

[iv] President Barack Obama, (Jan. 5, 2012), White House web-site, Remarks by the President on the Defense Strategic Review, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2012/01/05/president-obama-speaks-defense-strategic-review#transcript

No Socialists? Really???… – Reason #74

Only 81 Days Remaining!

“This Liberal would be all about socializing…”

During a 2008 Congressional hearing, a Shell Oil executive stated that he could “guarantee because of the inaction of the United States Congress…” that $5 [for a gallon of gas] would look like a low price in the years to come “unless the demand comes down” and if they [oil companies] are prohibited from exploring for “…new reserves and new opportunities to increase supplies.”[i]  In turn, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), pointing her finger, responded excitedly:

“And guess what this Liberal would be all about.  This Liberal would be all about “socializing”…uh…uh (silence) would be about basically, taking over and the government running all of your companies.” [ii]

Thankfully, that has not come to pass.  Yet, during his first two years in office, Obama overtly marginalized and demonized big business.  The auto and bank bailouts as well as the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have interlaced government and big business, creating the same controlling relationship over business as with the states – complete with the appointment of someone to tell us how much corporate executives should be paid.

As of January 14, 2011, the U.S. Government still held a 33% ownership share in GM,[iii]9% in Chrysler[iv] and 92% in AIG. [v]  Through the second quarter of 2010, U.S. taxpayers were put on the hook for approximately $148 billion in return for a 79.9% ownership share in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac[vi] -two mega-entities owning or insuring approximately $5.7 trillion of the mortgage market[vii]– which the IMF has recommended should be “either privatized or converted to public utilities.”[viii]


[i] John Hofmeister, Shell Oil President, (May, 2008), originally broadcast on The Fox Report, posted on YouTube.com on May 23, 2008, by “ElephantOwnersDotCom,” Maxine Waters wants to “Socialize” Oil Companies, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niJAkR_6tKQ

[ii] Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), (May, 2008), originally broadcast on The Fox Report, posted on YouTube.com on May 23, 2008, by “ElephantOwnersDotCom,” Maxine Waters wants to “Socialize” Oil Companies, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niJAkR_6tKQ

[iii] Huffington Post, (January 14, 2011), The Huffington Post web-site, GM, Chrysler Beef Up Lobbying, Despite Government Ownership, retrieved January 28, 2011 from  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/14/gm-chrysler-lobby-strong-_n_809042.html

 

[iv] Huffington Post, (January 14, 2011), The Huffington Post web-site, GM, Chrysler Beef Up Lobbying, Despite Government Ownership, retrieved January 28, 2011 from  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/14/gm-chrysler-lobby-strong-_n_809042.html

 

[v] Peter Schroeder, (January 14, 2011), The Hill: On the Money, AIG finalizes plan to exit government ownership, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/14/gm-chrysler-lobby-strong-_n_809042.html

[vi] Jonathan R. Laing, (August 28, 2010), WSJ Digital Network, Barron’s, What’s Ahead for Fannie and Fred?, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424052970204313804575451602435766686.html#articleTabs_panel_article%3D1

[vii] Jonathan R. Laing, (August 28, 2010), WSJ Digital Network, Barron’s, What’s Ahead for Fannie and Fred?, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424052970204313804575451602435766686.html#articleTabs_panel_article%3D1

[viii] Associated Press, (January 25, 2011), Chicago Tribune web-site: Nation & World, IMF says US should consider privatizing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-bc-af–imf-financialcrisis-us,0,7079526.story

Obama and America’s Defense

Obama Keeping Promise? – Reason #70

Only 85 Days Remaining!

Obama Keeps Promise to Circumvent Congress

President Obama, a man who taught the Constitution for ten years and who has clearly articulated the systems of checks and balances designed by our nation’s Founders, seems to have expanded his own view of Presidential power since taking that office.  His new line of reasoning says:

“But when Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. (Applause.) I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people.”[i]

Citing this “obligation,” President Obama effected the so-called “Recess Appointment” of Richard Cordray on January 4, 2012, as the first Director of the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The reality however – according to the Heritage Foundation – was that the Senate was not in “Recess,” but in a “Pro Forma” session, as proven by the fact that during the “Pro Forma” session, they had successfully passed the President’s two month extension of the payroll tax cut.[ii]   In effect, Obama was usurping the authority of the legislative branch in order to avoid the requirement of Cordray’s Senate confirmation.

Is this activity consistent with our image of American Democracy?


[i] President Barack Obama, (Jan. 4, 2012), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Remarks by the President on the Economy, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/04/remarks-president-economy

[ii] Andrew Grossman (Jan. 5, 2012), Heritage web-site, The Foundry, Even Obama Agrees that the Senate was not in Recess, retrieved January 7, 2012 from http://blog.heritage.org/2012/01/05/even-obama-agrees-that-the-senate-was-not-in-recess/