Friday, April 27, 2012

Obama as the Joke

The President looks like a fool here.  Jimmy Fallon uses him for a few laughs.  Pathetic.

Actuallly, I think drone attacks are pretty cool

The raids on marijuana clinics?
The opposition to gay marriage?
The drone attacks?
The Mom Jeans?

HT Instapundit

Obama: Paleo...ConLiberal?

HT Instapundit.

Adults are the biggest bullies in our schools

The attempt to manipulate and regulate teen and young adult behavior is resulting in far more oppression and cruelty that it could ever stop.  Is there no end to the 'progressive' desire to manipulate one's fellows? Leave us all alone, please.  See here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Obama Shafted his agent

The guy isn't very nice.  And is nothing like his press clippings say.  Morality is for little people.  World historical figures like Obama are Ubermensches, striding above bourgeois morality.  Read the whole thing.

You may recall that, having failed to finish his book on time and having blown through a remarkable six-figure advance and had his contract canceled by Simon and Schuster, Obama was faced with the prospect of paying back the money. So Dystel saved his bacon by negotiating a smaller $40,000 advance — for a first-time proven failure at fulfilling an author’s basic responsibility to his publisher! — with Times Books, which he then spent in part on a trip to Bali, thus prefiguring BHO II’s passion for exotic vacations at other people’s expense. Somehow, he finished the book — which bears little or no stylistic resemblance to anything he’s written before or since — and it finally was published in 1995 to middling response.
Let’s let publisher Peter Osnos pick up the story in this piece from 2006, “Barack Obama and the Book Business”:
When Obama was selected to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic Convention in Boston, Dystel, who had stayed in touch with Obama, had the idea of reclaiming rights to the book and reselling it. But an alert editor at Crown had already spotted it on the proverbial shelf and it was quickly reissued in paperback. After Obama’s brilliant speech at the convention, the book took off. . .
Now comes the part in which Obama showed a steely side and displayed an element of character which, while completely legal and entirely within his rights as a writer, makes me uneasy . . .  After his victory, Obama, on the advice of friends I have been told, decided to replace Dystel as his agent with Robert Barnett, the formidable Washington lawyer who has represented the Clintons and a host of other major Washington political figures and writers. Whereas agents take a flat percentage of all the clients’ earnings—usually 15 percent these days—Barnett charges by the hour, which means that the bill is substantially smaller as a portion of the proceeds on big deals. Dystel, a feisty sort, was furious. I have no idea about the details of interaction between Barnett, Dystel, and Obama, but I would bet it was not warm and fuzzy.
This is stunning moral malfeasance. The relationship between a writer and his agent is predicated on shared risk: The agent takes on an unknown author with no sales track record as a leap of faith, hoping for a payoff down the line; the writer benefits from the imprimatur of representation, since few publishers accept over-the-transom manuscripts. For Obama to shaft Dystel the way he did is simply disgraceful — and, in retrospect, indicative of his fundamentally amoral personal character and his arrogant, manipulative nature.

I think the NYT has written it's last story on George Zimmerman

Because it turns out that George Zimmerman is part black, that he is a bilingual hispanic, that he had a black business partner and grew up in a mixed race home with black kids.  Reuters did the hard work that the rest of the MSM didn't:  they reported on who George Zimmerman is.  His background does not absolve him of responsibility if he did something wrong but it does demonstrate that this isn't a 'racist' incident.  Unless you consider the MSM's absolutely shameful behavior in attempting to promote racial animosity as racist.  Our elites will do anything for power.  Anything.

Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Are we sliding towards a police state?

Yes.  The police are not on your side.  Avoid them at all costs.  More here.

Rules are for the little people

Dallas police angered that they are being written up for traffic infractions.  After all, they are police - the ones with the guns - the righteous ones.  They oppress other people.  Don't you understand?

The police: they're not on your side, they are on on they're side.

The coming energy driven boom

And it's not just a gas gale but also an oil flood.  The world's energy picture is changing rapidly and is crashing over the Obami's lame attempts to stop it.  HT Carpe Diem

Philip Verleger, visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, writing in today's Financial Times

"Today, few realize that the U.S. stands on the cusp of significant economic gains stimulated by low energy costs. Ten years from today, [we will] celebrate a decade of unexpected strong growth, and the credit will go to countrywide gains from the very low energy prices found only in the U.S.. Low-cost energy will have spawned an export surge in all sorts of goods, from chemicals to tires. Fracking and the other technologies that gave us low natural gas prices will have added more than 1 percent a year to U.S. growth. 

Four conditions will contribute permanently to a big improvement in the competitive position of the U.S. 

1. The U.S. has perfected a means of “manufacturing” natural gas from shale, in effect breaking the monopolistic control on hydrocarbon supply once enjoyed by the majors. 

2. This advantage gives manufacturing plants in the U.S. up to an 80 percent cost advantage over those operating in China, Japan, South Korea or European countries. 

3. U.S. financial markets (principally futures markets) enable producers and consumers to lock in profits for years ahead. Low cash prices now do not deter producers that sold today’s production a year ago at much higher and profitable prices. 

4. Competitive and open pipeline systems prevent any single large participant from denying these economic benefits to any producer or consumer. 

No country other than Canada enjoys U.S. competitive conditions. Nor will any other country probably enjoy them in the future. Recognizing this, groups such as Michelin and Shell intend to build plants in the U.S. to take advantage of the country’s permanently lower-cost energy supplies. Steel mills are also being planned. 

In short, low-cost energy provided primarily by shale gas production advances will almost certainly contribute to an investment boom across the U.S. economy. As a result of these circumstances, the benefits of low-cost energy supplies will spread throughout the U.S. economy, stimulating exports of goods and services and creating millions of jobs."

Important corrective reminder

“No one has ever become rich by being a long-term bear on the fortunes of the United States, and I doubt that anyone will do so in the future. This is still the most flexible and innovative economy in the world.”

~Burton Malkiel 

It's still about the economy....and we're not stupid

I think we've just found the Romney campaign mantra:  ripped from Bill Clinton but kryptonite to SuperOne's Hopium.

Predicting "a campaign of diversions, distractions, and distortions" from Obama over the next six months, he warned his opponent: "That kind of campaign may have worked at another place over in a different time. But not here and not now. It’s still about the economy…and we’re not stupid."

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Speculators" smooth markets

Look at the difference in price volatility between onions and corn.  Back in 1958, onion growers persuaded Gerald Ford (!) to sponsor a bill in Congress banning 'speculation' (aka:  forward markets) in onions.  In contrast, Corn has a deep and active forward (future's) market.  Yet if you listen to our political masters, you will hear the opposite - 'speculators' 'drive up' prices.  When in fact, the existence of robust futures markets reduces risk and smooths price volatility for everyone.  Just ask the onions.

It works for oil too.  Ain't economics amazin'?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Creative Destruction - Amazon v. Best Buy

The power of free markets is that the give individual consumers tens of thousands of votes each.  And the players who win the most votes win.  Amazon is winning this particular election hands down.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Where wind turbines go to die

Nowhere.  They just stay there.  This one is 'beautifying' Hawaii.  It's all so 'green'.

America's Debtor's prisons: expanding from sea to shining sea

We are becoming that from which our ancestors fled.  HT Marginal Revolution

Debtor’s prisons are supposed to be illegal in the United States but today poor people who fail to pay even small criminal justice fees are routinely being imprisoned. The problem has gotten worse recently because strapped states have dramatically increased the number of criminal justice fees. In Pennsylvania, for example, the criminal court charges for police transport, sheriff costs, state court costs, postage, and “judgment.” Many of these charges are not for any direct costs imposed by the criminal but have been added as revenue enhancers. A $5 fee, for example, supports the County Probation Officers’ Firearms Training Fund, an $8 fee supports the Judicial Computer Project, a $250 fee goes to the DNA Detection Fund. Convicted criminals may face dozens of fees (not including fines and restitution) totaling a substantial burden for people of limited means. Fees do not end outside the courtroom. Jailed criminals can be charged for room and board and for telephone use, haircuts, drug tests, transportation, booking, and medical co-pays. In Arizona, visitors to a prison are now charged a$25 maintenance fee. In PA in order to get parole there is a mandatory charge of $60. While on parole, defendants may be further assessed counseling, testing and other fees. Interest builds unpaid fees larger and larger. In Washington state unpaid legal debt accrues at an interest rate of 12%. As a result, the median person convicted in WA sees their criminal justice debt grow larger over time.
Many states are now even charging the accused to apply for and use a public defender! As a result, some defendants are discouraged from exercising their rights to an attorney.
Most outrageously, in some states public defender, pre-trial jail and other court fees can be assessed on individuals even when they are not convicted of any crime. Failure to pay criminal justice fees can result in revocation of an individual’s drivers license, arrest and imprisonment. Individuals with revoked licenses who drive (say to work to earn money to pay their fees) and are apprehended can be further fined and imprisoned. Unpaid criminal justice debt also results in damaged credit reports and reduced housing and employment prospects. Furthermore, failure to pay fees can mean a violation of probation and parole terms which makes an individual ineligible for Federal programs such as food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Family funds and Social Security Income for the elderly and disabled.
It’s difficult to argue against criminal justice fees for those who can pay, but for those who cannot– and most criminal defendants are poor–such fees can be a personal and public policy disaster. Criminal justice debt drags people further away from reintegration with civil society. A person’s life can spiral out of their control when interest, late fees, revocation of a driver’s license and ineligibility for public assistance, mean that unpaid criminal justice debt snowballs. You can’t get blood from a stone but if you try, you can break the stone.
Optimal punishment is swift and sure but also has a defined endpoint. As with bankruptcy, punishment must end, leaving both hope and opportunity. We used to release criminals without a nickel or a nail but with an understanding that their debt to society had been paid. Today, we release criminals with a ball of debt and other restrictions that chains them to the criminal justice system and which can pull them back into prison long after their sentences have been served. Releasing people with little hope or opportunity for reintegration with civil society is good for neither the releasees nor society.

It used to be the Soviets that asserted ownership over citizens

Now it's chock full 'o goodness America.  But frankly, if I left I might never want to come back.

WHAT RIGHT TO TRAVEL? The Republican House of Representatives may soon follow the Democratic Senate and give the IRS the power to confiscate your passport on mere suspicion of owing taxes. There’s no place like home, comrade.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

There's a tax for that

Brilliant political Ad.  You'll see this one a lot this year.

Warren Buffet: Estate Tax dodger

If Mr. Buffet is so concerned about not paying enough in tax, then why is he so gung ho to avoid estate taxes.  He's a homespun humbug, gang.  From NRO:

How come Warren Buffett is trying to get fellow billionaires to give their fortunes to charity, shielding the money from estate taxes?
Forty wealthy families and individuals have joined Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett in a pledge to give at least half their wealth to charity.

Six weeks after launching a campaign to get other billionaires to donate most of their fortunes, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. released the first list Wednesday of people who have signed what he and Gates call the “giving pledge.”

Buffett decided in 2006 to give 99 percent of his fortune to charity. Then, he was worth about $44 billion. After five years of investment returns while making annual gifts to five foundations, Buffett’s fortune totals nearly $46 billion.

Bill and Melinda Gates do most of their philanthropic giving through their foundation, which had assets of $33 billion as of June 30 and has made at least $22.93 billion in total grant commitments since 1994.

Buffett said he, the Gateses and others have made 70 to 80 calls to some of the nation’s wealthiest individuals. The people who agreed to the pledge are from 13 states, with the most participants in California and New York.

Allen, the owner of the Portland Trail Blazers, disclosed last month that the bulk of his wealth would go to philanthropy after his death. lists Allen, who made his fortune as the co-founder of Microsoft, at No. 17 on its 2009 list of the 400 richest Americans, with a net worth of $11.5 billion.
Hey, I’m all for giving to charity. I’m all for the estate tax exemption for charity. But don’t argue that the federal government is starved for tax dollars when you are doing everything you can to make sure your money is spent how you want, not how Leviathan wants it spent.

The Federal Tax Code: Rent seeker's paradise

The complexity and special pleading that is embedded in the Federal tax code is a catastrophe for the country.  In an of itself, the complexity of law is oppression.  The belief that one can manipulate and order other's lives through bribes, threats and punishment is arrogant sin.  And evil.  Break it up, break it all up.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Looking at this and looking at the deficit, one would expect the President to be proposing ways to minimize the negative shock, say by proposing comprehensive tax reform along with thoughtful entitlement reforms?  But a disciple of Saul Alinsky doesn't think in governing terms, now does he?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Harry Truman didn't have the votes either...

...when he acted to desegregate the Armed Forces.  However, the buck stopped with 'ol Harry.  With BHO it gets passed right on down the line.  Look, I don't care a fig about 'discrimination' against the BGL&T (sounds like a yummy sandwich....wait, oops) and I certainly don't think that another law making another group 'special' is good policy.  But BHO promised this to his people and is reneging on it because he's a cynical coward.  But you already knew that.  It's a pity the 'Sandwich' people didn't.

President Obama disappointed and vexed gay supporters on Wednesday with his decision, conveyed to activists by a senior adviser, not to sign an executive order banning discrimination by employers with federal contracts.
The executive order, which activists said had support from the Labor and Justice Departments, would have applied to gay, bisexual and transgender people working for or seeking employment from federal contractors. Current law does not protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and legislation to do so, which Mr. Obama endorses, lacks sufficient votes in Congress.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

US Debt exceeds entire Eurozone plus the UK

And no plans for a slowdown.  Oh Joy.

Hello: we're from the government and we're here to destroy you

Fear the Feds.  Hell, fear them all.  All the public 'servants'.  HT Advice Goddess

Meet The Legally Allowed Mob: Your Government
John R. Emshwiller and Gary Fields write for the WSJ about a woman's story I've blogged about before -- marine biologist and whale-watching boat operator Nancy Black, who was charged with lying to the feds about..."whale harassment."
When federal prosecutors can't muster enough evidence to bring charges against a person suspected of a crime, they can still use a controversial law to get a conviction anyway: They charge the person with lying. 
The law against lying--known in legal circles simply as "1001"--makes it a crime to knowingly make a material false statement in matters of federal jurisdiction. Critics across the political spectrum argue that 1001, a widely used statute in the federal criminal code, is open to abuse. It is charged hundreds of times a year, according to court records and interviews with lawyers and legal scholars.
...The trouble began in October 2005. During a whale-watching trip, a hum 
pback whale approached one of her boats. The captain began whistling, hoping the noise might keep the creature from leaving, according to Ms. Black. A crewman on her other boat, which Ms. Black was captaining nearby, also urged passengers to make noise, she says. (Neither the captain nor the crewman faces charges.) 
The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 outlaws "harassment" of whales that could disrupt their behavioral patterns or injure them. Ms. Black says she doesn't believe the whistling, or the ships' closeness to the whales, violated the rules, particularly since the creature had approached on its own. 
Ms. Black says she considered the whistling "unprofessional" and told her employees not to do it again. She says the then-wife of her boat captain then went to the government to find out if there was anything wrong with whistling on the boat. The now former captain declined to comment. His ex-wife couldn't be reached for comment. 
Several days later, Ms. Black says, a federal official from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration--a Commerce Department agency with duties ranging from weather forecasting to fisheries management--made an informal request (as opposed to a subpoena) for her to provide video of the whistling incident. She provided a video edited to show the captain's whistling, she says, because that is what she thought the investigator wanted to see. She didn't include video of the other crew member allegedly egging on passengers to make noise. 
The indictment alleges Ms. Black altered the video "with the intent to impede" investigation of the whale incident and then falsely told authorities the video was "the original recording, when that recording had in fact been altered." She acknowledges editing the video and denies that it was altered to impede the probe. In interviews, she denied lying about the video and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 
She says she gave the edited video to two officials, including a NOAA investigator, and went through the video with them. A NOAA spokesman declined to comment on Ms. Black's case. 
About a year later, on a morning in November 2006, more than a dozen federal agents, led by a NOAA inspector, entered her house with a search warrant and took away her files, photos and computers, she says. "It was the most traumatic thing that ever happened to me."

Can this be true?

The longer you are in college, the less liberal you become?  We know that graduates of 'elite' Ivy league schools know less civics and American History than when they entered but that presumably is a goal of the institution.  For students to be less interested in 'diversity' when they leave, well that contradicts the raison d' etre of the modern University.

W.O.W.  Hattip Instapundit.

THIS SUGGESTS THAT ALL THAT “DIVERSITY” MONEY COULD BE BETTER SPENT ELSEWHERE: The longer students are in college, the less they care about racial understanding. I’m not sure that this fits under “higher education bubble” exactly, but it does suggest that spending priorities are out of whack, given that even in times of budget cuts many universities are actually increasing spending on diversity offices and diversity studies programs.

Higher Education is theft

Text Book edition.  Hattip Carpe Diem.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Meet the NILFs

"Not in Labor Force" numbers continue to skyrocket.  If labor force participation had remained at historical US levels rather than moving to French levels, unemployment would be over 11 percent.  We have imported the worst aspects of Eurosclerosis while running insane, unsustainable (and if you include the unfunded future liabilities - aka: 'lies') unprecedented deficits.  In time of 'recovery' and 'prosperity'.

Hope.  Change!  Hattip NRO.

Through the magic of Washington Math and the Obama Labor Department, the metric “unemployment rate” has become as nonsensical as “jobs created or saved” by the stimulus. The Obamedia creates a free campaign ad out of the purported drop from 8.3% to 8.2% (i.e., from appalling to marginally less appalling), but meantime millions have been added to the black-hole category of “Not In the Labor Force” — people who are so discouraged that they are not looking for work. That number is at an all-time high88 million. Thus the labor force participation rate, at under 64%, is lower than it’s been in 30 years. Mish Schedlock concludes, “Were it not for people dropping out of the labor force, the unemployment rate would be well over 11%.” 

Jaw, Jaw is now War, War

I wonder what Winston Churchill would have made of all of the rhetorical excess?  HT Jim Geraghty

Charles Lane, recovered from his exhaustive work of exposing all of the fraudulent reporting accounts and brazen lies of Anakin Skywalker during his days at the New Republicnoted a few weeks ago that the war metaphor is pretty tiresome -- not to mention even more glaring during a time of actual wars.

I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of war.

The Democratic National Committee accuses the GOP of a "Republican War on Women," to go along with its "war on working families" (according to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee) and "Paul Ryan's war on seniors" (Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky).

Various Republicans accuse President Obama of waging "war on religious freedom" or even, in the words of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, "a war on religion." According to the Republican National Committee, the president is also waging "war on energy," the sequel, apparently, to what the House Republican Leadership has called "Democrats' war on American jobs."

Progressive author Chris Mooney called his book "The Republican War on Science"; not to be outdone, conservatives Grover Norquist and John R. Lott Jr. have published "Debacle: Obama's War on Jobs and Growth."

A Washington Times editorial warned Wisconsin taxpayers that "President Obama and the Democratic National Committee have declared war on you.""Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau observes that "[Rick] Santorum, [Rush] Limbaugh, et al. thought this would be a good time to declare war on half the electorate."

And on and on and on -- until you could almost lose sight of the fact that not one of these institutions or individuals is describing a physical conflict in which people fight, bleed and die.

There are, of course, plenty of real wars raging around the world; in some of them,Americans are dying. But the folks back home, busy with their election-year quarrels, have little interest in discussing such matters.


How to make a scandal worse.  HT Instapundit.

FAST AND FURIOUS UPDATE: White House Blocking Access To Fast And Furious Witness Who Wants To Testify. “White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler sent a letter Thursday to Republican lawmakers Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, refusing their request to speak with Kevin O’Reilly, a former National Security staff member whose emails place him in the middle of the unfolding scandal. Issa and Grassley had written to Ruemmler on March 28, asking the White House to step aside and let O’Reilly talk to investigators.”

In this case the losers are writing the history

And boy are they getting it wrong.  HT Instapundit.

MATT WELCH: When Losers Write History: Why legacy-newspaper media reporters get their own industry so wrong.

Imagine for a moment that the hurly-burly history of American retail was chronicled not by reporters and academics but by life-long employees of A&P, a largely forgotten supermarket chain that enjoyed a 75 percent market share as recently as the 1950s. How do you suppose an A&P Organization Man might portray the rise of discount super-retailer Wal-Mart, or organic foods-popularizer Whole Foods, let alone such newfangled Internet ventures as Life looks a hell of a lot different from the perspective of a dinosaur slowing leaking power than it does to a fickle consumer happily gobbling up innovation wherever it shoots up.

That is largely where we find ourselves in the journalism conversation of 2012, with a dreary roll call of depressive statistics invariably from the behemoth’s point of view: newspaper job losses, ad-spending cutbacks, shuttered bureaus, plummeting stock prices, major-media bankruptcies. Never has there been more journalism produced or consumed, never has it been easier to find or create or curate news items, and yet this moment is being portrayed by self-interested insiders as a tale of decline and despair.

It is no insult to the hard work and good faith of either newspaper reporters or media-beat writers (and I’ve been both) to acknowledge that their conflict of interest in this story far exceeds that of, say, academic researchers who occasionally take corporate money, or politicians who pocket campaign donations from entities they help regulate, to name two perennial targets of newspaper editorial boards. We should not expect anything like impartial analysis from people whose very livelihoods—and those of their close friends—are directly threatened by their subject matter.

This goes a long way toward explaining a persistent media-criticism dissonance that has been puzzling observers since at least the mid-1990s.

Read the whole thing.

(Charles) Atlas Shrugs

Men are in the process of withdrawing from marriage and society in large numbers.  Driven by the criminalization of young male behavior and reinforced by iniquitous laws that treat men much worse than women, the result is tens of millions of men living permanently at the edge of society.  With nothing to lose, they have no stake in the current order.

Some argue that current reproductive rights policies unfairly disadvantage males. A woman facing an unwanted pregnancy can terminate it; a man can be stuck with years of payments. If he complains, the typical response – “you play, you pay’’ – is uncannily reminiscent of pro-lifers’ attitude toward women. This dilemma has no easy answer; but there is a striking blindness toward ways in which men’s individual freedoms are often abridged in the perceived interests of children. Even men tricked into fatherhood, or forced to support children proven by DNA tests not to be theirs, have found no legal relief.
Are such policies anti-male? Is the Obama administration targeting men when it pushes colleges to lower the burden of proof for charges of sexual assault or harassment, making it much easier to expel (mostly male) students on a woman’s word? Apart from a handful of men’s rights activists, don’t expect controversy about a “war against men.’’ Gender injustice is generally equated with injustice against women – which, in 21st-century America, is not always true.

Friday, April 06, 2012

The 'brilliant' Constitutional "scholar's" flexible definition of 'unprecedented'.

The President and his allies, after ramming through a major change in American life on a temporarily enhanced party line vote (an act that is truly unusual in American history) now seeks to intimidate the Courts into ignoring its patent unconstitutionality.  This is the act of people who don't believe there is any limit to their power.  This isn't American style governance at all.  Byron York has more.

But all that backing and filling -- including Carney's claim that Obama was misunderstood "because he is a law professor" -- was before the DOMA arguments made news. If the president was so concerned about a court overturning a duly constituted law passed by a democratically elected Congress, why was he urging a small group of unelected judges to strike down DOMA, a measure that won passage by a far greater margin than Obamacare?
The answer is, of course, that the administration is making a political argument for its positions, not a legal one. And perhaps counterproductively, the president's decision to bring up Obamacare's history in Congress could end up reminding the public of the tangled circumstances of its passage. Even with a huge majority in the House, Democrats barely passed the bill in the face of bipartisan opposition. And in the Senate, Obamacare succeeded as the result of a set of freakish circumstances that allowed Democrats to pass an unpopular measure into law.
Those circumstances included the wrongful prosecution of a Republican senator (Ted Stevens), resulting in his seat going to a Democrat; the defection of another Republican senator (Arlen Specter) to the Democrats; and a change in one state's laws (Massachusetts) to allow a Democratic governor to immediately appoint a Democrat to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and give the Senate a 60-vote Democratic supermajority. And then there were the policy payoffs to some Democratic senators who were undecided about the bill. Even then, Democrats held a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate for just 134 days before Massachusetts elected a Republican senator, Scott Brown, who ran specifically on the platform of stopping Obamacare. But in those 134 days, Democrats managed to pass an unpopular bill into law without a single vote to spare.

And so does Chuck Krauthammer.

With Obamacare remaking one-sixth of the economy, it would be unusual for the Supreme Court to overturn legislation so broad and sweeping. On the other hand, it is far more unusual to pass such a fundamentally transformative law on such a narrow, partisan basis.

Obamacare passed the Congress without a single vote from the opposition party – in contradistinction to Social Security, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, and Medicaid, similarly grand legislation, all of which enjoyed substantial bipartisan support. In the Senate, moreover, Obamacare squeaked by through a parliamentary maneuver called reconciliation that was never intended for anything so sweeping. The fundamental deviation from custom and practice is not the legal challenge to Obamacare but the very manner of its enactment.

The president’s pre-emptive attack on the Court was in direct reaction to Obamacare’s three days of oral argument. It was a shock. After years of contemptuously dismissing the very idea of a legal challenge, Democrats suddenly realized that there actually is a serious constitutional argument to be made against Obamacare — and they are losing it.

We've become France on Unemployment

Which isn't surprising when you implement French style 'social democratic' policies.  Inevitable really.  And BHO and the dems promised to do it, so no fair blaming them.  Of course, some one has to sweep up the enormous amount road kill.

And the road kill is getting pretty long on the tooth...

Can you say capital strike?  I knew you could.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Debt Road Trip

Hattip Jonah Goldberg

So explain to me how this is good for America? Or for our relations with Canada?

Attaboy, Barry.

“SMART DIPLOMACY:” Canada: After Keystone, We’d Rather Sell Oil to China. “What Harper is saying is that Canada could make more money by creating a market for its oil rather than selling all of it solely to the US. In other words, the cost of Canadian oil will go up as the US is forced to compete with China.”

Taxes? Taxes? We don't pay no stinkin' taxes.

Chicago Liberalism at its finest.

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Obama real happy to set new ethics rules for others. “President Obama, boss of 36 White House aides who are nearly $1 million behind in their federal income taxes, has signed the STOCK Act, new congressional ethics legislation.” Now that’s a stinging lede. . . .

Which just means everyone needs a master's degree. Right?

The College bubble is bursting.  And it couldn't happen to a more corrupt and venal group of people.  Faster, please.  HT Instapundit.

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): “9.1 %: That’s the unemployment rate for young college graduates in 2010, the highest annual rate on record, says The Institute for College Access & Success.”

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Leadership that you can Count On

The Senate hasn't passed a budget since BHO has been in office.  The President's Budget was rejected 414-0 in the House.  Our President is such a leader, isn't he?  Such GOOD government gives me chills.

Politico reports today that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is so intent on having Democrats avoid stating their fiscal plans and principles that he asked the Senate parliamentarian (whom he appointed) to rule that last year’s Budget Control Act prohibits the Senate from taking up a budget resolution this year. The parliamentarian, to her credit, refused to do so, since the BCA says no such thing. Since Senate Democrats have not actually produced a budget of their own, they may now be forced to vote on budget proposals from various Republican senators (Rand Paul and Pat Toomey have both proposed budgets so far), to vote on the Ryan budget passed by the House last month, and—most difficult of all for the Democrats—to vote on the Obama budget. As Politico puts it:
a version of President Barack Obama’s own $3.6 trillion budget proposal, which the House unanimously rejected last week, also could come to the Senate floor, ensuring an embarrassing replay of last year when not a single senator voted for the president’s budget.
It must be so hard to be a Democratic senator—forced to vote on your own priorities and to tell the country what you want to do. And as Politico suggests, we can probably expect yet again to see every Democratic Senator, like every Democratic House member, voting against the budget proposed by our Democratic president. Embarrassing is right.

BHO's incompetence takes one's breath away

So you're a liberal and your holy grail for the better part of a century has been 'national healthcare'.  For the first time in 46 years you get a supermajority in Congress and a Liberal President.  First time in 46 frickin' years.  In the teeth of popular opposition you pass a 2,700 page monstrosity of a law, you go so far as to commit accounting fraud to get it passed.  As a direct result you endure the worst midterm electoral drubbing in modern history.

But it was all worth it.  You achieved the left's greatest objective.  Despite the chaos of implementation and that most of the law will need to be rewritten, you have achieved the goal.  National health care is a fact and nothing can change that.

Yet it turns out that it's probably unconstitutional.  How can that be?  After all, the President, we are told, is a 'Constitutional Scholar' with 20 years experience teaching at the University of Chicago.  How did he miss that?  How did such a 'scholar' not consider the constitutional risks to this law?

As a direct result of the President's incompetence in his area of expertise the left's dream is probably shattered - and it will likely be another 50 years before you have another chance.

So if you're a liberal, why would you want to reelect him?  As for me, I'm finding that 'ol Barry is sorta' growin' on me....

Jimmy Taranto has more here.

Quick! Press the reset button! Press the button!

And I thought electing Obama was supposed to improve relations with our friends.

HOW’S THAT SMART DIPLOMACY WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Obama Alienates Canada And Mexico At Three Amigos.

Energy has become a searing rift between the U.S. and Canada and threatens to leave the U.S. without its top energy supplier.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Obama the U.S. will have to pay market prices for its Canadian oil after Obama’s de facto veto of the Keystone XL pipeline. Canada is preparing to sell its oil to China.

Until now, NAFTA had shielded the U.S. from having to pay global prices for Canadian oil. That’s about to change.

Canada has also all but gone public about something trade watchers have known for a long time: that the U.S. has blocked Canada’s entry to the eight-way free trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an alliance of the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Chile, and Singapore. Both Canada and Mexico want to join and would benefit immensely. . . .

Things were even worse, if you read the Mexican press accounts of the meeting.

Excelsior of Mexico City reported that President Felipe Calderon bitterly brought up Operation Fast and Furious, a U.S. government operation that permitted Mexican drug cartels to smuggle thousands of weapons into drug-war-torn Mexico. This blunder has wrought mayhem on Mexico and cost thousands of lives.

The mainstream U.S. press has kept those questions out of the official press conferences, while Obama has feigned ignorance to the Mexicans and hasn’t even apologized.

In short, the summit was a diplomatic disaster for the U.S. and its relations with its neighbors north and south.

It should have been the easiest, most no-brainer diplomatic task Obama faces.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The latest capital strike charts

These are Great Depression style graphs.  Of course we've had Great Depression quality economic leadership....

A 2700 page law is not a law, it's oppression

Mark Steyn makes the obvious point that there is no way that any reasonable person can comprehend such complexity.  And this is just one of 200 new laws (with new snares and cruelties) that were passed in Missouri alone last year.  Our 'legal' system is a horror and increasingly a fraud.

"An Affront To Self-Government"
That's what Mark Steyn calls a law with as many pages as Obamacare (2,700):
"What happened to the Eighth Amendment?" sighed Justice Scalia the other day. That's the bit about cruel and unusual punishment. "You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages? Or do you expect us to give this function to our law clerks?"He was making a narrow argument about "severability"--about whether the court could junk the "individual mandate" but pick and choose what bits of Obamacare to keep. Yet he was unintentionally making a far more basic point: A 2,700-page law is not a "law" by any civilized understanding of the term. Law rests on the principle of equality before it. When a bill is 2,700 pages, there's no equality: Instead, there's a hierarchy of privilege microregulated by an unelected, unaccountable, unconstrained, unknown and unnumbered bureaucracy. It's not just that the legislators who legislate it don't know what's in it, nor that the citizens on the receiving end can ever hope to understand it, but that even the nation's most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension.
...If the Supreme Court really wished to perform a service, it would declare that henceforth no law can be longer than, say, 27 pages . . .

Another erosion of our civil liberties by our so called 'public servants'

The battle for liberty isn't a conservative or liberal one, it is a human one.  And our Federal 'protectors' and their state and local allies are increasingly the enemy.  The Supremes uphold strip searches for any and all arrests, including for unpaid traffic tickets.  They are evil people dedicated to  humiliating us.

Two trenchant comments:

Another commenter at the NYT writes:
Paul, Birmingham, MISupreme Court within last 10 years ruled that citizens can be arrested, booked and placed in the general population of a jail for any and all violations, misdemeanor or felony, and bail can be set for substantially more than the maximum fine of the alleged violation. Police have always said that they can find a traffic violation within 5 minutes of following any car/truck on the road. E.g., changing lanes without signaling. This ruling, along with the prior rulings means that there is no limitation imposed by the 4th amendment regarding what the police want to do to citizens.
This has potentially far-reaching effects on civil liberties -- including freedom of speech. From another commenter at the NYT:
juliegoldberg, Rockland County, NYThis is horrifying. People will think twice about participating in lawful protests where there is some possibility of getting arrested, for fear of what to me looks more like sexual assault than law enforcement.

Monday, April 02, 2012

The powerful play by different rules

Carol Iannone explains how our most powerful 'liberals' exploited women under their authority again and again, violating the laws that they supported and passed.  Being 'humanitarians', the laws never applied to them.  The lack of personal morality among these men is astounding.  But not as astounding as the gap jawed credulous hero worship afforded these serial abusers by our liberal elites.  That they worship these men is a window into their souls.  And it ain't pretty.

And now the latest group of compassion filled liberal 'leaders' are in the process of making the laws even more draconian.  Which is OK.  Because they know that the laws won't apply to them.  After all, our leaders are humanitarians.  More here.

With all the talk of a “war on women,” it is well to remember that the origins of contemporary feminism lay in the radical movements of the Sixties, in the boorish behavior of the male leftists of the time. When Stokely Carmichael, leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was asked about the position of women in the radical movement, he replied, “prone.” Think of the guy that Forrest Gump punches out because of the way he mistreats Jenny. Released from all traditional restraints, the ’60s radicals outraged the females in their midst, who went on to fashion the core of what we know as feminism, which has been waging war on men ever since.
We have long known that JFK was a massive consumer of women, but now, even worse, we find that he used a young, sexually inexperienced intern as a virtual, albeit willing, prostitute. LBJ, surprisingly, was almost as bad, according to some accounts, parading around naked, sleeping with female secretaries and aides, and having them placed elsewhere if they didn’t comply. He even carried on while on Air Force One and with Lady Bird nearby. Meanwhile he was signing executive orders prohibiting sex discrimination. And of course there was Clinton.
Perhaps liberals and leftists allow themselves license because they feel they are on the right side of things and are saving the world. But they are hypocrites, ready to saddle other people with restraints they do not want applied to themselves. Thus Clinton deplored the intrusive questioning he was subject to regarding Monica Lewinsky in the Paula Jones case, but that very type of questioning was allowed under the Violence Against Women Act which he himself had signed as president in 1994, and which he signed again at its renewal in 2000, even after his experience with the law and after the several felonies he committed in order to evade its consequences. The VAWA is again up for renewal, evidently with even more expansive measures of inquisition and reprisal.

All together now: The police: they're not on your side, they're on their side

Harrassing citizens is what they do, the drug war is what lets them do it.  I increasingly fear and despise my government.  All of it.  And to think until a few years ago I called myself a 'law and order' Republican.

We have no true law.  And we are getting less and less order.  A salient excerpt.

Asset forfeiture is the process by which law enforcement agencies can take possession of property suspected of being tied to illegal activity. Under these laws, the property itself is presumed to be guilty of criminal activity. Once the property has been seized, it's up to the owner to prove he obtained the property legitimately.
In about 80 percent of civil asset forfeiture cases, the property owner is never charged with a crime. And in Illinois -- like many states -- the law enforcement agency that makes the seizure gets to keep the cash or the proceeds of the forfeiture auction (in Illinois, the prosecutor's office gets 10-12 percent).
Critics say civil asset forfeiture is rife with poor incentives, and violates the Fifth Amendment’s protection against seizure of property without due process of law. Police can seize a car, cash, even a home on the flimsiest of evidence.
Madison County, Ill., where Huff was pulled over, is bisected by I-70 just outside of St. Louis. Interstates are a particularly rich ground for forfeiture. Law enforcement officials say that's because interstates are ideal for drug running.
Critics say it's because police can target out-of-state drivers, who are more likely than local residents to accept a police officer's baseless accusations and turn over their property, rather than refuse and face arrest, multiple returns to the state for court dates and thousands of dollars in legal expenses. Sometimes winning the property back can exceed the actual value of the property.
Faced with that choice, it isn't difficult to see why innocent people would opt to hand over their cash and head home.
"The joke around our office is that all you need for probable cause in Madison County is an Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or Florida license plate," says Rekowski, the public defender. Collinsville defense attorney Jessica Koester says she's seen the same thing. "If you're from out of state, they're simply going to find a reason to pull you over."
Local news reports indicate that Illinois law enforcement agencies along the I-70 corridor have ramped up their forfeiture efforts in recent years. Rekowski said one tactic police use is to put up a sign for a "drug checkpoint" roadblock ahead. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court said such checkpoints are illegal; roadblocks are legal for DWI checks, but not for narcotics checks. But Rekowski says that isn't the point.
"They put the sign up so there's only one exit you can take to avoid it. Then they pull over and search anyone who tries to exit before the roadblock."
That tactic too is constitutionally suspect. Police can't pull a driver over merely for exiting before an announced (and illegal) drug checkpoint. "But, of course, that isn't why they'll say they've pulled you over," Rekowski says. "They'll say you crossed two lanes to get to the exit, or switched lanes without signaling, or that you cut someone off."
The Edwardsville Intelligencer reported in 2010 that the Madison County State's Attorney's Office has reaped a half-million dollars from the policy over eight years, which at the prosecutor's take of 10-12 percent suggests a total bounty of $4.5 million to $5 million. Madison County Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Robbins, who handles forfeiture cases for the office, told local paper the Telegraphin 2010, "Law-abiding citizens have nothing to worry about."
But maybe they do. Jerome Chennault, a Nevada resident had the misfortune of driving through Madison County on his way home after visiting his son in Philadelphia.
Chennault said he had withdrawn $22,870 in cash to take with him before leaving Nevada, which he had intended to use for a downpayment on a home. After he was pulled over for following another car too closely, Chennault gave police permission to use a drug dog to sweep his car. The dog then "alerted" to the bag containing Chennault's cash.
Police found no actual drugs on Chennault or in his car. He was never charged with a crime. But the dog alert itself was enough to allow police to seize Chennault's cash. Over the next several months, Chennault had to travel to Edwardsville, Ill., at his own expense to fight in court for the return of his property. He had to put up a bond equal to 10 percent of the value of the property taken from him in order to secure it.
Cheannault won in court. His money was returned. But he won't be reimbursed for his travel or his legal expenses.
Similar stories have been reported along other forfeiture corridors across the country. In Teneha, Texas, police reportedly routinely pull over cars from out of state (the highway is popular for drivers, flush with cash and jewelry, going to and from casinos). A Nashville TV station recently reported on a stretch in Tennessee where the vast majority of police stops were of suspected drug runners leaving the city, meaning the police apparently preferred to let the drugs come into the city so they could seize the cash on the way out.
"When we saw the Huff video in our office, we just laughed," Rekowski says. "Not because it wasn't outrageous. But because it's the kind of thing we see all the time. The stop for a so-called 'inappropriate lane change,' the games they play in the questioning, the claims about nervousness or inappropriate behavior that can't really be contradicted. It's all routine."
According to Koester, the defense attorney in private practice, "The dog alert that happens off-camera isn't unusual either. You see that all the time."
Koester and Rekowski say the Huff stop has all the markings of a forfeiture fishing expedition. "You see where he asks if [Huff] is carrying large amounts of U.S. currency," Rekowski says. "It's pretty clear what they're after. These kinds of cases put my kids through college." He laughs, then adds, "I'm only half joking."