Happy Independence Day!!

Robert Samuelson writes a column today that concerns itself with the very essence of this country and how being on the cusp of a tipping point where equality of outcome wins over liberty causes each of us who cares about such things to join in the poison of our political system and act extreme.

The good news?

A recent Pew poll asked people to pick between “freedom to pursue life’s goals without state interference” and the “state guarantees nobody is in need.” Americans selected freedom 58 percent to 35 percent. European responses were reversed: Germany’s 36 percent to 62 percent was typical. By wide margins compared with Europeans, Americans believe that “success in life” is determined by individual effort and not by outside forces. </blockquote

However….

Yet, in their voting habits, Americans often prefer security.

But in the NYTimes today we have an editorial bemoaning the ignorance of the American voter as it regards health care.

Nearly two dozen Pennsylvania residents, interviewed recently by Abby Goodnough of The Times, said they were opposed to President Obama’s health care reform law. Though almost all of them would benefit from it, they expressed fears about a loss of control over their health care that is nowhere in the law.

Funny how the NYTimes editorial would assume that just because the law is opposed by people who may benefit from it, they assume that the voters don’t know enough about the law.

This is what the author says is in the law [I’m in the brackets]:

Beyond simple decency, that’s a huge benefit to society as a whole, improving public health and reducing expensive emergency care that everyone pays for. [In no manner does Obamacare “improve” public health. Good Doctors are going Galt, colleges are dropping coverage are just two examples] [by mandating everyone buy insurance we may reduce expensive emergency care-I’ll give him that, but who cares?] In uncertain times, as well, anyone can suddenly lose health insurance. [True, but now in uncertain times when healthcare dollars are stretched to breaking you just won’t get treated with the latest and greatest as evidenced by the care of people in Great Britain.] But that case was never forcefully made, and Republicans exploited the complexity of the law to persuade casual listeners that, as the House speaker, John Boehner, claimed on Sunday, “this is government taking over the entire health insurance industry.” [and it is….there are so many added regulations on an industry that was previously over regulated it isn’t even funny]

Expanding coverage is an idea worth defending, [sure, if by expanding coverage you mean talking people into buying coverage vs requiring them to pay for a version of coverage that you think is the ideal] particularly when Republican leaders acknowledge that they have little interest in doing so, as Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, did on Sunday. And there many other aspects of the law for which Democrats should use a megaphone: an end to the Medicare “doughnut hole” [the one idea that incentivized people to choose the generic and hence cheaper version of drugs through Part D]; a huge expansion of coverage for mental health [for people with no need of it]; an end to lifetime and annual limits on coverage [increasing the cost of insurance] and of rejection because of a pre-existing condition [making the need to insurance today unlikely] ; a requirement that medium and large businesses provide essential coverage and pay for 60 percent of it [Why should your place of employment buy your health insurance for you? If so, why not my homeowners policy? My home keeps me stable which is a good for them same as my health.]; free access to preventive care like immunizations and mammograms.[there is no such thing as a free thing when someone has to be paid; the company that makes the vaccines and the staff doing the service and the building where all these items are located]

Yes, the NYTimes thinks Obama needs to be out there defending Obamacare. I agree……please.

This is a good column on the state of this country by Common Sense and Wonder:

This is not a nation where people are left alone anymore. This is a nation where they are hounded from the moment they are born until the moment they die by the arms of a regulatory state run by men and women weaned on Cleaver, Alinsky, Fourier, Marx, Wells and countless others. This is a nation where, accordingly, being left alone is the greatest of luxuries.

It takes a lot of money to be left alone. Regulatory space is much more expensive than physical space, and buying it requires investing in lobbyists, fundraisers and lawyers. If you make the right payoffs, then you can buy the privilege of being left alone, exempted from regulations, going uninspected and protected against the agents of the state. But once you do that, you are no longer neutral. You have bought yourself the privilege of not being considered the problem; instead, you have become part of the solution for the people you are paying off.

The Americans bushwacked by ObamaCare, the scam artist’s dream of a tax paid to a third-party in exchange for benefits accrued to a fourth party, still thought they had the freedom to take the middle, to despise meddling politicians in both parties, ignore most things the government did, while living their own lives. They had seen their savings devalued, their homes seized, their lives bedeviled by a thousand regulations, but they still thought that it was possible to take a middle-ground, to reject the solutions by asserting that they are not the problem.

They did not understand that in Cleaverland, in Alinskytown and in Obamaville—no one opts out. Either you volunteer of you get drafted. Raise your hand or you will be called on anyway. Not volunteering to be part of their agenda means that you are the problem.

(UPDATE: The paragraph above starting with “It takes a lot of money” sounds like what our friend Hank Reardon did when he hired his lobbyist and just stayed above the fray. He had the means and the interest to pay to make certain he was left alone. But that didn’t last in a novel, nor will it last in reality.)

Today is Independence Day and my feelings need to be turned toward the fight vs the defeat. This coming election IS key. We ARE at a tipping point. If Obama is re-elected I can’t imagine how we will make it back to liberty again.

Gather the muskets dear readers. Romney isn’t the best guy, but he’s our guy and there are many others throughout the country. I may even put a bumper sticker on the car. 🙂

The Mandate and Immigration

So yesterday Mitch McConnell continued with his great big ideas out of the GOP by suggesting that odds are against repealing Obamacare.

“If you thought it was a good idea for the federal government to go in this direction, I’d say the odds are still on your side,” McConnell said. “Because it’s a lot harder to undo something than it is to stop it in the first place.”

True that, but you’re sounding a little defeatist there. Which puts me in mind of border control.
The GOP doesn’t really want border control because in reality illegal aliens are helpful to the economy. Whenever they discuss cracking open the borders a little more and lightening up the immigration process, it’s all about educated immigrants who will enhance the republic. The uneducated are not included in ideas for increased immigration as they could potentially be a drain on the system.

But…..these uneducated illegal immigrants are needed/wanted for the economy. Hence the GOP just talks around the edges and nothing is done.

The GOP believes in personal responsibility. The mandate, mandates personal responsibility so in reality it’s a good thing. It was just the opportune subject to help fight Obamacare because tea partiers suggested it just might be unconstitutional to require a private citizen to buy something from another private citizen. Now that it’s enacted and passed through the Supreme Court, you bet your tushy that Republicans will let it stay. Hospitals are required to treat so people are required to pay…but since people don’t pay they’ll now be required to pay through insurance.

I have my doubts that repeal will happen with ease and am only hoping that Obama is voted out so that the Supreme Court at least has a chance to not turn so far left that we no longer recognize this country. But yes, each passing year sees the slipping away of the original ideals.

Sadly Victor Davis Hanson is not all that cheery either. I understand.

UPDATE: Keith Hennessey has a good column in the WSJ today that notes what I’m trying to say here [ht jg]:

Once the individual mandate is repealed, these popular insurance changes cannot stand by themselves. Without the mandate, people have every incentive to save on premiums and not buy insurance until they fall ill. This will send premiums through the roof for healthy people and, if the government clamps down on increased premiums, destroy private insurance companies. Those Republicans who say they favor legislated guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements but oppose the mandate will be forced to acknowledge that all three must go.

You’ll note that he too has good ideas for reform unlike Mitch McConnell did on Sunday.

Roberts…..

So wrong in so many ways……I’m in the brackets…the passage is from cbsnews.

But Roberts pays attention to media coverage. As chief justice, he is keenly aware of his leadership role on the court, and he also is sensitive to how the court is perceived by the public. [and that matters to the constitutionality or his job how?]

There were countless news articles in May warning of damage to the court – and to Roberts’ reputation – if the court were to strike down the mandate. Leading politicians, including the president himself, had expressed confidence the mandate would be upheld. [you’re on the court and your first thought is how deciding the rightness or wrongness of a case will affect your press? That is wrong on so many levels.]

Some even suggested that if Roberts struck down the mandate, it would prove he had been deceitful during his confirmation hearings, when he explained a philosophy of judicial restraint. [uh – yep – in opposite world]

It was around this time that it also became clear to the conservative justices that Roberts was, as one put it, “wobbly,” the sources said. [meaning rather than deciding on the merits of the case in front of him, he’s not thinking of his press]

It is not known why Roberts changed his view on the mandate and decided to uphold the law. At least one conservative justice tried to get him to explain it, but was unsatisfied with the response, according to a source with knowledge of the conversation. [meaning his response made little judicial sense]

Some informed observers outside the court flatly reject the idea that Roberts buckled to liberal pressure, or was stared down by the president. They instead believe that Roberts realized the historical consequences of a ruling striking down the landmark health care law. There was no doctrinal background for the Court to fall back on – nothing in prior Supreme Court cases – to say the individual mandate crossed a constitutional line. [except perhaps the constitution itself with, you know, enumerated powers]

The case raised entirely new issues of power. Never before had Congress tried to force Americans to buy a private product; as a result, never before had the court ruled Congress lacked that power. It was completely uncharted waters. [the kind that most people with jobs love to have because it gives them a chance to chart new territory and use their brains a little]

To strike down the mandate as exceeding the Commerce Clause, the court would have to craft a new theory, which could have opened it up to criticism that it reached out to declare the president’ health care law unconstitutional. [no, no new theory required here…just the old one that says the federal government has power over these enumerated things, nothing else]

Roberts was willing to draw that line, but in a way that decided future cases, and not the massive health care case. [and yet which case was on the docks again?]

Here is John Yoo:

The outer limit on the Commerce Clause in Sebelius does not put any other federal law in jeopardy and is undermined by its ruling on the tax power (discussed below)……………….Worse still, Justice Roberts’s opinion provides a constitutional road map for architects of the next great expansion of the welfare state. Congress may not be able to directly force us to buy electric cars, eat organic kale, or replace oil heaters with solar panels. But if it enforces the mandates with a financial penalty then suddenly, thanks to Justice Roberts’s tortured reasoning in Sebelius, the mandate is transformed into a constitutional exercise of Congress’s power to tax.

Which, regarding the bold part above, somehow conservatives are twisting themselves into thinking “Americans won’t stand for all these new taxes”. Ha.

And for those of you thinking (as I was starting to): “We’re revved up now!! No stopping the Mitt Romney train. Here’s some money, let’s take ’em down!!”…..

Linked here is the big GOP plan that they, as in the GOP Minority Leader of the Senate, can’t even muster a single coherent sentence on during a Sunday talk show.

And Boehner…..is he better? Nope. Here’s a tweet.

On @FaceTheNation, Boehner says popular provisions of ObamaCare can be part of comon-sense replacement legislation.

ht Protein Wisdom
whose post starts out thusly:

“WE WILL FIGHT AND FIGHT AND WE WILL REPEAL OBAMACARE!”

…except, you know, for the popular provisions of a centralized, state-run, top-down authoritarian health care system run by bureaucrats.

Somebody buy these people a clue. No wonder Roberts switched sides. The right can’t justify why Obamacare needs to go. They can’t even understand what they would do in place of it. You know you’re in trouble when I can list out a replacement faster than Mitch McConnell can.
And poor Justice Roberts wouldn’t have had a friend in the world if the mandate had been ruled unconstitutional. And don’t we all just want friends?

Now, I’m not his friend, but no worries, he has the entire media complex not only being friendly, but even coming up with why Justice Roberts and I should remain buds.

I don’t think so.

Are we ready for a NEW Mandate now?

How about you HAVE to watch political commercials? Because if politicians can’t tell you their ideas, how will you know who to vote for? See, it’s good for you.

So I was trying to convince others of my thoughts on a mandate/tax/whatever….
How is this for a thought experiment? Does it work?
John Ashcroft is the new AG and we have a President from the religious right.

Giving to charity is good for you. It’s needed. You have the money. It makes you a better person. New mandate….you must give x amount of dollars to one of these specific (and of course religious) charities. Of course they can make a religious exemption to certain classes, but no, not for you.

I think it works as a thought experiment…..Morgan is pretty sure that liberals can’t do thought experiments and that’s what makes them liberals.…he’s probably right, but I’m keeping mine lined up unless you have a better one.

UPDATE:

NeoNeocon has a good snippet from a post from someone who is not necessarily conservative.

So far as I can tell from an initial reading of the 5-vote majority, the Court offers no functional reason whatsoever for its analysis of the taxing power. Indeed, the Court insults our intelligence by describing the conventional analysis of taxation under its prior precedents as somehow “a functional approach” (page 35). Of course, there is nothing “functional” about its definition of the taxing power, if the only relevant factors are the power of a taxed individual to avoid action or inaction that is taxed. If the test is, as Chief Roberts describes it, paying the tax “may often be a reasonable financial decision,” then Congress will have fairly unlimited power to regulate any activity simply by imposing an exaction just short of what it would take to eliminate the activity altogether. If the only other limit is that Congress (or the IRS) cannot “penalize” persons who choose to pay the tax, by stigmatizing them as “outlaws” (page 38), then such a limit is worse than formalistic: It is not even consistent with the precedent (Doremus) upholding the Harrison Narcotics tax.

How is such a taxing power consistent with any sensible notion of enumerating powers? Why would any sane framer, whether Hamilton or Luther Martin, Federalist or Anti-Federalist, ever agree to such an arrangement? The Court does not say.

Q(s)OTD

There are soooo very many today……
Let’s start with Kim Strassel who’s whole column is worth a read:

ObamaCare is alive. And now we have us an election.

And in that vein is John Galt over at ThreeSources [bold and brackets are mine]:

Finally they [they being ‘regular folk’, though his thought is was more specific] may see a real difference between a country governed by Democrats and one governed by Republicans. Electoral politics is not just about guns and abortions anymore. The debate will finally be about whether or not our government can make its citizens do things whether they want to or not.

Thank you Justice Roberts for ripping off the Band-aid of liberty. Our polity may now either heal or bleed to death.

And of course the entire RNC new ad via Hot Air that is up and brilliant.

Yes, the RNC got themselves a ton of money yesterday along with Mitt Romney.
Andrew Saul on Twitter:

Thank you to everyone who donated at http://www.mittromney.com today! Raised $3.2 million online & counting! ‪#FullRepeal‬

3.2 million in one day!

UPDATE: The dollars raised yesterday by Mitt and the RNC were 4.6 million from 47,000 people.
Those were $100 donations my friends. NOT from the millionaires that the GOP theoretically have in their pocket. Go America.

And from our Attorney General in Colorado, John Suthers, who keeps the message basic:

“When you say this is a president who forces you to buy a product and tax you if you don’t, people understand that,” Suthers said. “I think it helps my party.”

….my rundown….Roberts may have made a brilliant move if and only if the election is so clear in November that we never end up with another Obama again. That’s a big if and his legacy will depend on it. Either way…it’s on and I, along with others are fired up. I even got into it on Facebook yesterday which I have not done in the past. No more holding back from me…nosirree. This is the fight.

And today in honor of the opinion and Eric Holder’s deep respect (ha) for his being in contempt of Congress, we’ll give you a nice Friday Calf blog.
Does that make it a calf pie?

UPDATE: Perhaps a more realistic view out of Commentary (ht JG), but really, do we need to be realistic. There IS something to that feeling of hope, no matter who co-opted the term.

Conservatives who are finding solace in potential political implications–that the decision will unite the Tea Party behind Mitt Romney, that Obama will get tagged for increasing taxes, etc.–are setting themselves up for disappointment. As of March, only half of Americans even knew that ObamaCare was still on the books. As of today, they’re going to be bombarded with the message that Obama won, that the Supreme Court signed on to ObamaCare, and that anyway, the issue is closed and we need to be talking about jobs.

The saddest thing I have seen in all of this comes from those with no real beliefs, only ‘what benefits them’ or ‘eh…it’s something to try’….or ‘it’s a step in the right direction’.
It must be empty to live without believing in anything. I’m not talking about God, I’m talking about any driving core belief on which you base your decisions and opinions. Like freedom. Or the Constitution. Or yes, God. Something.

Actually Commentary left jg with an actual realistic hope vs the unrealistic silver lining kind. Read the whole thing because it’s a good and accurate twist that brings up back to Kim Strassel and her “Now we have an election”.

Hopefully “the people” become engaged.

F$#% (tempered after sleep)

Too bad the court is so partisan.

What sort of country do we live in anymore?

UPDATE: I don’t even know why I’m so surprised. This is the same court (plus 2 new liberals) who passed Kelos. Thank God I’ll have coverage for my mental health now.

UPDATE 2:
Amen Jeff, amen.

Random Thoughts

Romney’s quote yesterday is not good.:

“If it’s not, if Obamacare is not deemed constitutional, then the first three and a half years of this president’s term will have been wasted on something that has not helped the American people,” said Romney, offering his most scathing review to date of Obama’s tenure should the plan be struck down.

I would suggest that if Obamacare IS deemed constitutional then the first 3 1/2 years has been wasted on something that will not help the American people, else why would he want his first action to be getting rid of it?

……………………
CNN thinks we are “too nosy” when it comes to Fast and Furious. We should just leave the government alone when it comes to working for our good. And our good in this instance is what?

By allowing guns to infiltrate Mexico’s drug cartel, we thought we could trace them up the ladder to the leaders. Take off the head and the body dies. As for the innocent people who lost their lives? Collateral damage. That’s the uncomfortable backstory to this scandal. And there are likely other operations like it in our nation’s history that we don’t even have a clue about.
And maybe it’s better for us not to be so nosy, not to know everything because, to paraphrase the famous line from the movie “A Few Good Men,” many of us won’t be able to handle the truth.

Me thinks the author has mistaken the point of the movie of A Few Good Men. We can handle the truth. AND none of us are sure that the point of F/F was to “take off the head and the body dies” vs “let loose the guns so we can tighten the laws.
………………………
Too stupid for too many words..

EPA fines oil refiners for failing to use nonexistent biofuel

……………………..
LOL

“It’s On”

So says Ed Morrissey, or rather so says Darrell Issa in a letter to President Obama yesterday concerning his invoking of Executive Privilege about the documents over Fast and Furious.

“[Y]our privilege assertion means one of two things,” Issa wrote to the president in a letter dated June 25. “Either you or your most senior advisors were involved in managing Operation Fast & Furious and the fallout from it, including the false February 4, 2011 letter provided by the attorney general to the committee, or, you are asserting a presidential power that you know to be unjustified solely for the purpose of further obstructing a congressional investigation.”

Issa said Obama’s assertion of executive privilege “raised the question” about the veracity of how the “White House has steadfastly maintained that it has not had any role in advising the department with respect to the congressional investigation.”

Hooooeeeeee.

Michael Gerson hands it to Eric Holder on a platter

Any Justice Department would defend its prerogatives. But this one has also exhausted its credibility. False statements have given way to transparent obstruction. Eric Holder treated Congress with contempt long before it considered citing him for it.

And gives us our quote of the day:

It is Eric Holder’s distinctive contribution to the American political system: self-righteousness without the inconvenience of principle.

Read the whole thing. And then read these bozos (again from the Washington Post) who think the whole Fast and Furious issue is just a “political loser” because no one gains from it. Not the Republicans who think we should focus only on the economy and not the administration who doesn’t want to get embroiled and not the people who have no interest in the subject. [bold is mine]

By pushing this fight against Obama — an issue that the Republican base cares deeply about but few others are terribly interested in at the moment — the Republican-held House is allowing Obama to talk about the 2012 election in terms of a choice between him and House GOPers. That’s a bad comparison for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has done his damnedest to emphasize that he’s never served one second in Washington.
The other major reason for House Republicans to turn the steering wheel in this game of political chicken is that every minute spent talking about “Fast and Furious” is one not spent talking about Obama’s handling of the economy. And the clearest path for Romney to win this fall is to turn the election into a straight referendum on Obama’s handling of the economy. (That’s the reason why Romney has been almost entirely silent on “Fast and Furious” to date.)
So, why wouldn’t the White House want this fight either?
While putting House Republicans front and center could be read as a positive for Obama, it’s clear that wrestling with them amounts to a no-win political situation for him too.
Given that, it’s hard to see how congressional approval sinks any lower, and the only impact of Obama’s stand-off with House Republicans is to be dragged down into the political mud with them. As Obama fights with congressional Republicans, Romney will spend his time talking about how he has the outside-Washington experience to fix what ails the economy.

They are insane to think that people are not interested in the subject of our own government selling weapons to drug lords in Mexico, unbeknownst to Mexico, that have since been used in killings all for the purpose of exposing how easy it is for drug lords in Mexico to get weapons in the US.

The reason the newspapers are not interested is because they hate to make themselves look bad by not having followed this incredible story from the start thinking that it would just go by the wayside eventually.

Imagine if you will (and my apologies to whichever blog it was where I read this yesterday) the government in Mexico, in order to prove to the people that drugs were a problem in Mexico, sending massive amounts of cocaine over the border with no oversight and no discussion with our own government and your kid died.

It’s a big story. Eric Holder needs to be fired. President Obama needs to quit backing him. And Darrell Issa deserves a medal for treating this with the seriousness it deserves in spite of GOP objections.

UPDATE: I found it! At DiploMad 2.0 and he (they?) say it better than I did, so go read his whole post, but here’s the imagining.

Imagine if the situation were the reverse. Imagine that the Attorney General of Mexico, in order to argue for stronger anti-drug laws in Mexico, decided as a matter of policy to provide drugs to the most powerful US criminal gangs. How would we react? Drone strikes on Chapultepec Castle, anybody? I must say that the Mexican reaction has been surprisingly muted to Obama’s declaration of war against Mexico.

Fracking

While today may bring us news from the Supreme Court, the main news in my part of the country is either fires or fracking. I think it mostly heated up when a woman from Erie organized a protest. Since that time people all over the county have gotten loud concerning the practice that has gone on for years.

Every day there is a new story and my city council is in the process of trying to please the antifrackers and the rules ownership at the same time by putting off decisions to “ban tracking” within city limits.

In other news………
Fracking makes the news because it’s the apparent reason that greenhouse gases have been cut recently and the reason why the United States may actually make it’s stated pledge of a 17% cut in emissions by 2020.

ht JK at Three Sources who notes:

that free market innovation is doing more for the environment than (don’t laugh) the UN and top-down controls:

LOL
From the CNN report regarding the greenhouse gas drop:

So what’s going on?
Some of the reductions can be attributed to executive decisions taken by the Obama administration to curb pollution from power plants and other sources.
Investments in energy efficiency have also helped, along with state rules requiring utilities to purchase power from renewable sources.
But the main and most surprising reason: cheap natural gas.
“The primary reason by far is low natural gas prices,” said Robert Stavins, director of the environmental economics program at Harvard.
Natural gas prices are so low largely thanks to hydraulic fracturing. Known as fracking, the process uses sand, chemicals, water and pressure to crack shale rock and allow the gas to flow.
While the practice has raised fears over ground water contamination and other issues, it’s unleashed an energy boom in the United States that’s taken gas prices to their lowest levels in a decade.