Victor Davis Hanson on the new Inquisition and freedom of speech

April 10, 2014
"The new liberal tokerance"

“The new liberal tolerance”

And even freedom of thought.

Writing at National Review Online, Dr. Hanson reviews recent incidents of people being hounded for their political opinions or scientific skepticism –among others, Brendan Eich at Mozilla; Dr. Richard Tol for not towing the party line on global warming; antisemitism at a major university that only draws a slap on the wrist;  and let’s add Brandeis University’s disgusting insult to Ayaan Hirsi Ali– and then argues that the president has enabled or encouraged this behavior both actively and passively. (And I do believe Hanson is right.)

After all that, VDH offers this about how civil liberties will die in America:

All of that them/us rhetoric has given a top-down green light to radical thought police to harass anyone who is open-minded about man-caused global warming, or believes that gay marriage needs more debate, or that supporting Israel is a legitimate cause, or that breaking federal immigration law is still a crime and therefore “illegal.”

Our civil liberties will not be lost to crude fascists in jackboots. More likely, the death of free speech will be the work of the new medieval Torquemadas who claim they destroyed freedom of expression for the sake of “equality” and “fairness” and “saving the planet.”

And either the irony is lost on them, or they don’t give a damn.

UPDATE: And just like that, another example — the progessive, tolerant, open-minded mob has gone after Dropbox for adding Condoleezza Rice to their board of directors. Can we call them “racists,” yet?  (h/t Stephen Kruiser)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare chronicles: middle-class children lose their health insurance

April 7, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Wait. Wasn’t one of the justifications for passing the Affordable Care Act that we had to do it “for the children?” That so many children were among the uninsured that it would be heartless, cruel, and even racist to not pass Obamacare? (1)

Then how do they explain this?

While the federal government was trumpeting the benefits of Obamacare to boost enrollment earlier this year, about 1,800 families in New Jersey were receiving letters telling them their children would be losing their health coverage last week.

The Affordable Care Act — the federal law that mandates everyone have insurance — effectively killed FamilyCare Advantage, a low-cost option for kids in New Jersey created six years ago for parents who earned too much to qualify for Medicaid and other subsidized programs but too little to buy on a policy on their own. The state program was the first of its kind in the nation.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey was the only insurance carrier that agreed to offer the FamilyCare Advantage plan, which covered most medical, dental and vision needs for the relative bargain of $144 a month per child.

What was it that killed FamilyCare Advantage? Oh, just the lack of services Obamacare declares must be included in every policy.

Such as maternity care. For children.

FamilyCare Advantage was New Jersey’s experiment to help lower middle-class families who made too much to qualify for state assistance, but not enough to buy adequate insurance on their own. Under (what used to be) our federalist system, states could try different approaches to common problems, see what worked and what didn’t, and then other states could, if they wanted, copy and adapt them to their own people’s needs. It’s that famous “laboratories of democracy” concept that leads to the discovery of best practices. Instead, these 1,800 families and their children get to experience the “benefits” of a top-down, one-size-fits-all, we-know-better-than-you nationalized health care system. One that kills the health insurance plan they liked and were promised they could keep.

Neat, eh?

But, don’t worry. These families can still go on the exchange and buy a policy there. Of course, it will likely be more expensive and carry a high deductible, but beggars can’t be choosy, right?

After all, it’s for the children.

Afterthought: There’s one other point that needs to be made. The article quotes one father frustrated with both Obamacare and the insurance company:

“Obamacare did snuff it out, but it also looks like Horizon was looking for a reason to end it. With all of the federal mandates (for employers to offer insurance) delayed, they didn’t need to do anything right now.

Emphasis added. This kind of resentment is inevitable when you have chief executive whose governing style seems to be borrowed from Argentina’s Juan Domingo Peron. Rather than treat people as free citizens, equal under the rule of law, you instead get individuals clamoring to get the same special favor as the other guy, turning free citizens into dependent clients and a president of a constitutional republic into El Patrón, doling out the favors to those who please him (or he needs to please) most. And that dependency, in the long run, is the progressives’ real goal.

via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt

Footnote:
(1) And I exaggerate only a bit, here.

RELATED: The Affordable Care Act becomes unaffordable.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Jonah Goldberg on the real meaning of “social justice”

March 25, 2014
Justice is individual, not social

Justice is individual, not social

“Social justice” is one of those phrases the left loves: stripped of all precision, it means whatever progressives want it to mean — raising the minimum wage, economic redistribution, “rights” for this or that group, etc. It forms a hot mess of unrelated issues, until you see he common thread behind it: “social justice” means doing whatever progressives think is good, and this good is accomplished through the State, with progressives in charge. And, if you disagree, you must be a racist, fascist, misogynistic, reactionary, greedy capitalistic homophobe. (Did I miss anything?)

Anyway, the invaluable Prager University has published a new video that features Jonah Goldberg explaining the real meaning of “social justice:”

Try some of these arguments on liberals you know. Then have fun watching their heads explode.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Whether You Call it Socialism, Statism, Fascism, or Corporatism, Big Government Is Evil and Destructive

March 15, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

In one sense, it’s just arguing over terms, but I do think proper nomenclature is important to understanding. But Mitchell has a point that “Socialism” and “Fascism” are too emotionally charged and may instead impede understanding. “Statism” is a good, neutral noun to use in their place, though I also like Goldberg’s (from H.G. Wells) “Liberal Fascism.”

Originally posted on International Liberty:

Regular readers may have noticed that I generally say that advocates of big government are “statists.”

I could call them “liberals,” but I don’t like that using that term since the early advocates of economic and personal liberty were “classical liberals” such as Adam Smith, John Locke, and Jean-Baptiste Say. And proponents of these ideas are still called “liberals” in Europe and Australia.

I could call them “socialists,” but I don’t think that’s technically accurate since the theory is based on government ownership of the means of production. This is why I’ve been in the strange position of defending Obama when some folks have used the S word to describe him.

I could call them “fascists,” which Thomas Sowell explains is the most accurate way of describing the modern left’s economic ideology, but that term also implies racism. But while leftists sometimes support policies that hurt minorities

View original 814 more words


Obama declares it a crime to disobey his illegal law, which would be illegal to obey

February 12, 2014
Approved by Juan Peron!

Approved by Juan Peron!

As part of my post yesterday on Juan Domingo Obama’s latest and almost certainly illegal rewriting of the Affordable Care Act to delay the employer mandate for another year for businesses with 50-99 employees, I noted that the administration, with no supporting legislation, unilaterally created a felony. In a usurpation of congressional authority, Treasury is requiring businesses taking advantage of the waiver to attest that they are not letting employees go because of the waiver, under penalty of perjury.

To put it another way, the Obama administration is declaring it a federal crime to make a logical business decision if you do so to take advantage of illegal rules written by the Obama administration.

And you thought 1984 was fiction.

This would have Andrew McCarthy’s head spinning, too, except he’s too busy being outraged at the lawlessness of it all:

So now Obama, like a standard-issue leftist dictator, is complementing lawlessness with socialist irrationality.

Think about how lunatic this is. There is nothing even faintly illegal about businesses’ – indeed, all economic actors’ – making financial decisions based on tax consequences. (And remember, notwithstanding Obama’s misrepresentations to the contrary, Obamacare mandates are taxes – as Obama’s Justice Department argued and as Chief Justice Roberts & Co. concluded.) The tax consequences of Obamacare are profound – that is precisely the reason that Obama is “waiving” them. No responsible officers in a corporation of relevant size would fail to take them into account in making the decision to staff at over or under 100 employees; in determining whether some full-time employees should be terminated or shifted to part-time; or in making any number of the decisions Obamacare’s mind-numbing complexity requires.

The officers’ responsibility is to the owners of the company, the shareholders. The business exists to create value, not to provide employment – employing workers is a function of the value added to the enterprise, not the need to create a more favorable election environment for the statist political party. Corporate officers who overlooked material tax consequences would be unfit to be corporate officers.

What is illegal and irrational is not a company’s commonsense deliberation over its costs, it is Obama’s edict. And look what attends this one: criminal prosecution if Obama’s Justice Department decides the business has falsely certified that its staffing decision was not motivated by Obamacare.

And, as McCarthy points out, if a company does take advantage of the waiver, regardless of the reason for doing so, it is in violation of the ACA as written, because the fine revenue is owed to the public, not the president. He has no authority forego its collection. Talk about being between the proverbial rock and a hard place: a company can pass on the waiver, even though it makes economic sense for them, thus breaking its fiduciary duty to its owners, or it could take advantage of it and face the threat of prosecution from two directions.

Heads you lose, tails you lose.

And so does the Rule of Law.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oh, gee. Another illegal #Obamacare delay by King Barack I

February 11, 2014
"My will is enough!"

“We have a pen and a phone!”

Legal dictionaries define the word “usurpation” thus:

The illegal encroachment or assumption of the use of authority, power, or property properly belonging to another; the interruption or disturbance of an individual in his or her right or possession.

The term usurpation is also used in reference to the unlawful assumption or seizure of sovereign power, in derogation of the constitution and rights of the proper ruler.

–West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

In which case, what are we to make of this news:

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it was again extending the ObamaCare enrollment deadline for people with pre-existing conditions.

The administration said it would extend the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), slated to end Jan. 31, until March 15.

“As part of our continuing effort to help smooth consumers’ transition into Marketplace coverage, we are allowing those covered by PCIP additional time to shop for new coverage while they receive the ongoing care and treatment they need,” Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement.

The deadline was originally at the end of December, but last month, the administration pushed it back through January because of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov.

The new extension is just the latest in a string of unilateral delays the administration has implemented to buy time after the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov.

By “unilateral,” the author means “done without any statutory authority from Congress, the body charged under the constitution with writing and rewriting our laws.”

Or, in a word, “usurpation.”

But that’s not the only one (hat tip ST):

Republicans renewed their calls to delay or repeal ObamaCare Monday after the Obama administration announced another delay in the requirement for businesses to provide health coverage to workers, giving some employers a reprieve next year while phasing in the mandate for others.

The administration had already delayed the implementation of the so-called employer mandate by a year, initially pushing the requirements off until 2015 — past the midterm elections. In a concession to business, though, Treasury Department officials announced Monday that the administration would not enforce the rules across the board next year.

(…)

As a result of the delay, the administration will let employers with 50 to 99 employees off the hook in 2015. They’ll be required to report on how many workers are covered but will have until 2016 before being required to cover full-time staff or pay a penalty. Americans would still be required to obtain health insurance through what’s known as the individual mandate.

In other words, they’re giving a break to some employers, but not others, with, again, no legal authority to do so. This isn’t “prosecutorial discretion,” as the administration has tried sometimes to claim, but the seizure of legislative authority by the Executive to effectively rewrite an inconvenient law.

Usurpation.

And, in the same article, Gabriel Malor found this gem:

To answer Gabe’s question, I’m willing to bet one could look high and low in the ACA and never find the authority.

But think about that highlighted portion and what follows: the Treasury, an executive department under the presidency, is unilaterally creating a criminal offense, a felony. Legislature? They don’t need no steenkin’ legislature! They’ll just rewrite the law as they see fit and then declare it a crime not to obey. (1)

To usurpation, then, let’s add “tyranny:”

a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler; especially :  one characteristic of an ancient Greek city-state.

“Tyranny” and “usurpation” have a much more meaningful ring to them than “overreach,” don’t you think? Why, I can hear Jefferson sharpening his pen, even now.

Under our Madisonian system, institutional jealousy is supposed to keep the various branches from encroaching on each other’s constitutional prerogatives, but, for various reasons, those barriers eroded over the last century, especially since the New Deal.

The remedies Congress has for these usurpations are few and clumsy, the two most relevant being the refusal to allocate funds, and impeachment. So why not impeach President Obama?

Like Andrew McCarthy, while I’m convinced impeachment is well-warranted, I don’t believe the necessary political will among the public yet exists to carry it out. (2) In fact, I contend that the resulting political crisis, given that the Senate would never convict absent direct evidence that Obama ax-murdered someone in the Oval Office, wouldn’t be worth the destruction of Republicans’ electoral prospects in the coming midterm elections, which, thanks to Obamacare, are looking better and better. With control of both chambers starting in 2015 (3), Republicans and conservatives will be in a much better position to geld the White House and send Obama even more often to the links.

And that’s the real solution to Obama’s usurpations and petty tyrannies: a good, old-fashioned election. As Clint Eastwood said, “We own this country.” It’s time for the owners to take charge.

PS: Some relevant humor from Slublog.

RELATED: Obamacare and the corruption of the rule of law. Yuval Levin on the “Adhocracy.”

Footnote:
(1) God, but I’d love to see this tested in federal court and watch a judge shove this back in the administration’s face like a grapefruit wielded by Jimmy Cagney.
(2) This was the big mistake of the Clinton impeachment, which was also merited: Clinton was well-liked by the public, and so the public consensus did not exist that would otherwise have pressured senators into convicting him. A drastic move like this in a republic requires public support a priori to be successful.
(3) I hope.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Schumer calls for Obama to use IRS as weapon against Tea Party. UPDATE: Et tu, Booker?

January 24, 2014
"And an upgrade to the Lido Deck. Because it's your right, baby!"

A shark has a more sincere smile

Wait, didn’t we just have a national stink over the IRS harassing conservative and libertarian groups for their political beliefs? Yet now, not at all hiding his lack of understanding of or even his disdain for the principles that underlie our political system, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in a speech at the progressive Center for American Progress, has called on President Obama to use the IRS to limit the activities of these same groups.

Arguing that Tea Party groups have a financial advantage after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, Schumer said the Obama administration should bypass Congress and institute new campaign finance rules through the IRS.

“It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies—we must redouble those efforts immediately,” Schumer said.

“One of the great advantages the Tea Party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created [by] the ill advised decision [Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission],” Schumer said. “Obviously the Tea Party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.”

What really upsets Chuck is free speech and that these groups are effective at getting their message out and that people respond to it. Citizens United merely respected the First Amendment and, in the process, somewhat leveled the playing field against liberal donor groups and the liberal MSM that gives the Democrats arguably illegal in-kind aid. Can’t have that.

Note also his acknowledgement that no further restrictions on political speech would pass the House. Smart man, that Chuck. What escapes him, or really what he refuses to admit, is that the massacre his party suffered in the 2010 midterms in the House was due to popular reaction against his party and its policies. Quite literally, the Republican Party, the majority party in the House –the People’s House–  represents the will of most of the American people.

His solution? Rule by decree via administrative rule-making, in defiance of that will. Use the power of big government to silence the proponents of limited government.

Admit it, Chuck: What you really want is an Enabling Act, not a Constitution.

It seems Chuckie also hates competition. Would-be tyrants usually do.

Schumer also proposed electoral reform in his speech. “Our very electoral structure has been rigged to favor Tea Party candidates in Republican primaries,” he said.

He argued that this is due to the political makeup of primary voters and gerrymandering by Republicans who “draw districts where a Democrat could never be elected.”

Schumer recommended a primary system “where all voters, members of every party, can vote and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, then enter a run-off.”

Whining against gerrymandering is rich, since Democrats have long benefited from the creation of safe seats. I don’t like it; I’d like to get rid of it. But those are the rules we have now, so, tough, Senator.Try enacting policies that don’t lead to a wipe out in state-level elections, and maybe on day your allies will control the process. And I’ll bet you’ll suddenly be a fan of the system, too.

The leaders of the Democratic Party sure have a problem with democracy, don’t they?

PS: Anyone else get a weird vibe from Schumer, like he’s sworn an oath to Don Corleone? The guy just oozes “made man.”

RELATED: Ted Cruz sends a letter to Eric Holder, demanding an independent prosecutor to look into the IRS scandal. Worth reading.

UPDATE: Just an hour ago on Twitter, Senator Cory “Imaginary Friend” Booker (D-NJ) had this to say about Senator Schumer’s call for restrictions on free speech:

via Katnandu

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare Follies: Calorie info on all vending machines

January 3, 2014
"Does Nanny approve?"

“Does Nanny approve?”

Nancy Pelosi once said we’d have to pass the ACA bill in order to find out what’s in it. The latest escapee from Pandora’s box? Vending machine operators across the nation now must display calorie information for every item stocked on each and every machine.

That’s about five million machines, btw:

The rules will apply to about 10,800 companies that operate 20 or more machines. Nearly three quarters of those companies have three or fewer employees, and their profit margin is extremely low, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association. An initial investment of $2,400 plus $2,200 in annual costs is a lot of money for a small company that only clears a few thousand dollars a year, said Eric Dell, the group’s vice president for government affairs.

“The money that would be spent to comply with this — there’s no return on the investment,” he said.

“Return on investment?” Don’t you know the State has a higher purpose in mind than your grubby profits, you capitalist-roader kulak? Prepare for liquidation!!

(Ahem.)

Carol Brennan, who owns Brennan Food Vending Services in Londonderry, said she doesn’t yet know how she will handle the regulations, but she doesn’t like them. She has five employees servicing hundreds of machines and says she’ll be forced to limit the items offered so her employees don’t spend too much time updating the calorie counts.

“It is outrageous for us to have to do this on all our equipment,” she said.

Brennan also doubts that consumers will benefit from the calorie information.

“How many people have not read a label on a candy bar?” she said. “If you’re concerned about it, you’ve already read it for years.”

But Kim Gould, 58, of Seattle, said he doesn’t read the labels even after his choice pops out of a vending machine, so having access to that information wouldn’t change what he buys.

That last line is the key, in my mind. I’ve learned from the Real World Job that most people will ignore signs, especially if it’s providing information they already know, such as “that pack of sugared donuts probably isn’t good for you, even if you are drinking a diet soda.” If they’re interested in the information, it’s already printed on the product. If they’re not, adding another warning label for them to ignore when they’re hungry isn’t going to change much at all, certainly not enough to justify the non-productive compliance costs. (If I have to sink more money into obeying regulations, then I have less to hire more people if my business does well. Economics, progressives. You should try learning it sometime.)

But shouldn’t all this be the individual’s business,  in any event? We know roughly which foods are good for us and which aren’t, and that too much of almost anything is bad. But if I choose to have that Three Musketeers bar, I don’t need the government hanging over me like a nag and a scold, and I don’t need them forcing vendors to raise prices to compensate for the government’s useless, onerous rules. This is another example of the infantilization of the citizen through the cancerous growth of the State, as it claims jurisdiction over anything even remotely tied to health.

A recent survey showed a record number of Americans — 72%! –feel government is a bigger threat to the United States than Big Business or Big Labor.

And it’s finding out just what’s in the ACA that’s convincing them.

via Jim Geraghty (Be sure to read the rest — it’s an eye-opener.)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama’s top-ten constitutional violations of 2013

December 27, 2013
"Ignored"

“Violated”

From a list compiled by Forbes. Like they wrote, it’s tough limiting yourself to just ten, and a lot of those chosen come under the rubric of “general lawlessness.” Here’s one example:

10. Mini-DREAM Act. Congress has shamelessly failed to pass any sort of immigration reform, including for the most sympathetic victims of the current non-system, young people who were brought into the country illegally as children. Nonetheless, President Obama, contradicting his own previous statements claiming to lack authority, directed the Department of Homeland Security to issue work and residence permits to the so-called Dreamers. The executive branch undoubtedly has discretion regarding enforcement priorities, but granting de facto green cards goes beyond a decision to defer deportation in certain cases.

This is typical of the Obama administration: unable to get want they want through Congress, Obama abuses prosecutorial discretion and the regulatory powers granted by Congress to rewrite or even abrogate the law itself. And this has happened time and again, especially in the last year with regard to Obamacare. These are not the actions of a president under a constitutional republic, but those of a Peronist-style presidente, who only needs the legislature to rubber-stamp his decisions and carry out his directives. Not that I’m saying Obama is another Hugo Chavez or even Juan Peron (though I’ve snarkily referred to him that way, before), but his attitudes and predilections are both lazy and authoritarian. Why should he not do whatever he wants, if he thinks something needs doing? Why should he go to the effort of dealing with Congress, when he already knows what’s right?

Other presidents have tested the limits, of course, and some have gone beyond them. But the prior gentleman had some sense of limits, of boundaries they couldn’t cross, because “that’s not the way we do things.”

I don’t think Obama knows any such limits.

via Allahpundit

EDIT: Deleted a section that, on further review, didn’t fit.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


A&E so offended by Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson that they’re continuing marathon airings

December 19, 2013

In fact, I watched some episodes last night: good stuff, and I’d swear I could recognize some of my own family in there. As for the controversy over Phil’s comments, A&E thoroughly beclowned themselves over this. Phil did not call for gays to be persecuted in any way: he merely stated his belief in the Biblical view that homosexuality is a sin and paraphrased a verse from Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians to illustrate it. He did not compare homosexuality to bestiality: he was listing a category of sins. I don’t agree with Phil or St. Paul on this, but it’s Phil’s right to hold that opinion and express it, especially when it was in answer to a question. A&E cravenly caved in to a liberal fascist pressure group, GLAAD, and fired someone for the crime of “wrong thinking.” (Mao would approve.) As I said last night on Twitter, “@AETV’s fundamental mistake: assuming the audience was laughing at Phil and his family, rather than identifying with them. #LiberalBigotry.” I think they’ll get a hard lesson in that when the huge audience that follows Duck Dynasty walks away.


#Obamacare: If we bought coffee the way we now buy health insurance

December 10, 2013

Via David Freddoso, this is a funny little satire of what we’re now experiencing under the Affordable Care Act:

Quote:

“Ha-ha-ha! Of course it’s a free country! Or, we like to tell people that…”

Scary thing is, I worry Starbucks might go for this…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Free speech in Britain not dead; just gut-shot

December 9, 2013

I’m telling you, George Orwell was a prophet:

Neil Phillips said he was fingerprinted, DNA-swabbed and had his computers seized.

The 44-year-old was held after posting: “My PC takes so long to shut down I’ve decided to call it Nelson Mandela.”

Another read: “Free Mandela – switch the power off.”

But police swooped after a councillor complained over the gags about the former South African leader, who passed away on Thursday, aged 95.

Mr Phillips who insisted he meant no harm, said: “It was an awful experience. I was fingerprinted, they took DNA and my computer.

“It was a couple of jokes, Bernard Manning type,” he added. “There was no hatred. What happened to freedom of speech? I think they over-reacted massively.”

Mr Phillips, who runs Crumbs sandwich shop in Rugeley, Staffs, was arrested after complaints by [local councilor] Tim Jones about the one-liners, aired when the anti-apartheid hero was critically ill.

Mr. Phillips “crime,” aside from telling some mildly tasteless jokes, is that he broke the 1986 Public Order Act (1), which, among other things, makes it an offense to say things that others might find insulting and distressing. And because a local pol was “offended,” Phillips was hauled in and treated like an enemy of the state.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we get our traditions of free speech from that very same island, where now an off-color joke means an official knock at the door?

Via Charles Cooke, who has this to say about the state of liberty in his former country:

In other words, Section 5 [of the POA] allows anybody to have anybody else investigated for speaking. And they have. The arrests have run the gamut: from Muslims criticizing atheists to atheists critcizing Muslims; from a young man who told a police officer that his horse was “gay” to protesters criticizing Scientology; from a Christian arguing against homosexuality on the street to a man arrested and charged with offending a chaplain. I’ll give them this: The British are at least thorough with their suppression. 

Cooke points out that, after public outrage, the law has been amended to ban prosecutions for insulting people, but only if no particular victim can be identified. A real blow for liberty, that. It’s also a good example of why we should zealously guard our own 1st Amendment; we all know pols and academics here who’d love to have a similar law in the name of “respecting each other’s feelings.”

Britain’s Glorious Revolution resulted in the English Bill of Rights, forerunner to our own. Maybe it’s time they had another.

Footnote:
(1) Passed under Margaret Thatcher? Really?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Tax-cheat Charlie Rangel: Obama should just bypass Congress

November 25, 2013
"Cancel elections? Wonderful idea"

“We don’t need no steeenking Congress!”

How dare the opposition act like an opposition and actually oppose what President Obama is trying to do, even though they think his plans are awful! I mean, what the Hell do they think they’re in Congress for, to represent the people who elected them, or enact Obama’s will?

New York’s Charlie Rangel obviously thinks it’s the latter:

Congressman Charlie Rangel has a solution for bypassing gridlock in Washington D.C.: executive orders for “everything.”

In an interview last night with NY1, the congressman praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to push through the so-called “nuclear option” to end filibusters on most presidential nominees. But he lamented the fact the work-around could not be used for legislation, suggesting the president turn to the executive orders–like the kind used to end the deportation many people who’d entered the country illegally as children.

“You know, the DREAM Act for the kids that came over here and didn’t know their home town, the president did that by executive order. What I did is I’ve taken out the language that he used and I’m gonna see why we can’t use executive orders for everything. What’s he gonna do? Make the Republicans angry? They’re gonna get annoyed? They’re not gonna cooperate?”

He went on to slam the Republican Party for refusing to cooperate–accusing them of acting against the interests of their own constituents.

Progressive Democrats. They’re all for democracy and the Constitution, until they can’t get what they want. Because, you know, they know better, and any opposition is illegitimate.

Via my blog-buddy ST, who had this to say:

How DARE Republicans disagree with Democrats and President Obama on how best to turn around the economic crisis our country faces – a crisis that has actually gotten WORSE under their watch?  Shame on the GOP for accurately predicting exactly what problems Obamacare would cause.  It was just pure luck they got it right. There can’t possibly be any genuine philosophical differences for disagreement with liberals. Why, conservatives and Republicans just want to “destroy” people. Oh, and raaaaaaaaaacism!

Liberal Fascism. It’s a thing.

PS: Did I mention Charlie is a tax cheat?


El Caudillo Obama waves hand, saves nation from insurance crisis he caused

November 14, 2013
"It's on"

“It’s on”

Facing a rebellion by congressional Democrats panic-stricken over the public reaction to the wave of insurance cancellations, President Obama has just announced “Okay, okay. I’ll give you all another year:”

President Obama will announce at a news conference on Thursday morning that he supports a plan allowing people to keep their existing healthcare plans for a period of one year, according to senior White House officials and multiple reports. It will not be a legislative change; rather, it would be enforced under the Department of Health and Human Services’ existing power.

A power he doesn’t have under the law, just as he had no power to delay the employer-mandate. But, as the head of the progressive-administrative, liberal fascist state, playing “El Presidente” rather than “President of the United States,” the idea that under the Constitution he has to wait for Congress to rewrite the law doesn’t occur to him. But it does make Nancy Pelosi happy.

Back to Obama Saves The Day:

The predicted announcement is a response to complaints that Obama had broken his frequently-repeated campaign promise that people could keep their existing healthcare plans if they liked them. As Obamacare began to roll out last month, a number of people received notices from their insurers that their policies would have to change. This was largely because their existing plans didn’t meet the baseline standard mandated under the Affordable Care Act. That baseline includes policy components meant to ensure that, on the whole, participants can afford plans and not be burdened with excessive deductibles in the event that they need to get treatment.

This paragraph is rife with spin on The Atlantic’s part; grandfathered plans are being canceled because HHS wrote the regulations in such a manner to ensure most policies would lose their grandfathered status for the least change, such as a minor premium increase. And the idea of preventing the insured from being “burdened with excessive deductibles” will be news to those facing just that, thanks to the ACA.

But that’s a distraction. The key here is that this is all for show; it’s meant to slow the growing avalanche of Democrats jumping-ship to support either the Upton or Landrieu bills. And, by saying the insurance companies have the option to extend policies, it’s a naked attempt to shift the blame from the White House and the Democrats to the insurance companies and the state insurance commissioners. As John Harwood of CNBC and the NYT reported on Twitter:

and

In fact, this will hasten the Obamacare death-spiral, as the Upton and Landrieu bills would, by giving the young and healthy permission not to join the Obamacare risk-pools and skewing those pools too heavily toward the elderly and those with chronic illnesses. As Politico Breaking News just reported (h/t ST via email):

The Obama administration’s administrative fix to the health plan cancellation problem “could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said in a statement today.  The insurance trade group  said more steps would be needed to prevent harm to consumers.

“Premiums have already been set for next year based on an assumption of when consumers will be transitioning to the new marketplace,” Ignagni, America’s Health Insurance Plans’ president and CEO, said. “If now fewer younger and healthier people choose to purchase coverage in the exchange, premiums will increase and there will be fewer choices for consumers.  Additional steps must be taken to stabilize the marketplace and mitigate the adverse impact on consumers.”

She did not say what those steps would be.

So it’s no more than theater, a grand gesture meant to cover their rears and look good while shifting the blame to someone else. But what about the problems this move creates? “We’ll deal with those mañana.”

From somewhere in a very warm place, Juan Peron and Hugo Chavez nod in approval.

PS: As I write this, The Lightworker is holding a press conference that, from what I’m seeing on Twitter, is an epic disaster. Can’t wait to see the video and transcripts this evening.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: California required the canceling of insurance policies

November 4, 2013
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Pushing back against the growing stories of people losing their individual health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare apologists have taken to scapegoating the insurance companies, even claiming that the cancellations were happening because the companies couldn’t compete, as in this mendacious Talking Points Memo piece.

In California, at least, that just ain’t so:

Specific language in the contracts major health insurers signed with Covered California to participate in the exchange required them to cancel the individual coverage which is at the center of a growing national debate.

Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente, Health Net and Blue Shield of California have confirmed to the San Francisco Business Times that their Covered California contracts, signed in August or September, required the cancellations. Other plans on the exchange are subject to the same contract language.

“All QHPs (of which we are one) had to sign that contract,” said Darrel Ng, a spokesman for Anthem Blue Cross, referring to insurers known as qualified health plans.

And here’s the language in question:

“Contractor agrees that effective no later than December 31, 2013, except as otherwise provided in State Law, it shall terminate or arrange for the termination of all of its non-grandfathered individual health insurance plan contracts or policies which are not compliant with the applicable provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Contractor agrees to promote ways to offer, market and sell or otherwise transition its current members into plans or policies which meet the applicable Affordable Care Act requirements. This obligation applies to all non-grandfathered individual insurance products in force or for sale by Contractor whether or not the individuals covered by such products are eligible for subsidies in the Exchange.”

“Grandfathered” products could avoid this requirement, but, as we’ve seen, Senate Democrats made it very easy for insurance plans to become non-grandfathered and thus illegal.

I’ve often said that the California legislature is the AAA farm team for congressional Democrats; whatever nonsense federal progressives come up with, their junior partners in Sacramento will sign onto it with pathetic enthusiasm in hopes of earning a promotion to the “Big Leagues” in D.C.

I wonder how Edie Sundby will feel when she learns that her state government had a large hand in endangering her treatment for stage-4 cancer?

via Jim Geraghty

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: VA Democrat calls for making physicians serfs of the State

November 3, 2013
"A Democrat directs his serfs"

“A Democrat directs his serfs”

What was it I was saying yesterday about ownership of one’s own time and labor being essential to a free man or woman? Oh, yeah:

Nothing you pay money for is an inherent, natural right. To declare health care a “right” everyone is entitled to, you have to take from someone else, if need be by force, their property, whether it is their time and labor, or the products they produce. Force them to sell something for less than what it is worth or to provide it “free,” and you are effectively stealing from them, even enslaving them. For the government to demand that taxpayers pay far more than they need to for insurance in order to subsidize your medical procedures is no different than a medieval lord taking a farmer’s grain crop and giving it to his favorites.

And as if to illustrate that last point, along comes Virginia House of Delegates candidate Kathleen Murphy, a Democrat, who advocates making it a law that physicians must accept Medicare and Medicaid patients:

FYI last night at the Great Falls Grange debate, Democrat delegate candidate Kathleen Murphy said that since many doctors are not accepting medicaid and medicare patients, she advocates making it a legal requirement for those people to be accepted.

She did not recognize that the payments are inadequate to cover the doctors’ costs. She also did not recognize there is a shortage of over 45,000 physicians now and that it is forecast to be 90,000 in a few years.

Democrats appear to want to make physicians slaves of the state, but Democrats don’t admit they would just drive more doctors out of practice into retirement and other occupations. The Obamacare law and regulations are causing millions of people to lose their health insurance, drop many doctors and hospitals. The HHS internal forecast is 93 million Americans would lose their health insurance due to the Obamacare law and rules about adequacy of insurance.

It’s like the old joke in which the patient complains to the doctor that “it hurts whenever I do this,” and the doctor replies “then stop doing that!”

Progressives have created a deadly problem through government interference in the economy: their “Affordable Care Act” requires millions of individuals to buy policies and pay inflated prices for coverage they don’t need, in order to cover the costs of, among others, Medicare and Medicaid patients. But, as has been mentioned in several places, far more Medicaid “takers” are signing up than relatively well-off “payers,” threatening the viability of Obamacare, itself.

Compounding this is the doctor shortage “Mason Conservative’s” correspondent mentioned above: not just from doctors leaving the field rather than deal with Obamacare, but fewer and fewer accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients. Already reimbursed at an artificially low rate by the government for their services, many are refusing to take on more such patients –or any at all– as Obamacare signs up thousands more.

A rational person would look at the problem and recognize its causes: top-down government intervention in the healthcare market. That same rational person would then realize that the “hair of the dog” is not the solution; that, in fact, ending the disruptive government intervention is what’s called for.

But, we’re not dealing with rational people. We’re dealing with progressive Democrats, convinced against all evidence that an economy and society managed by technocratic government “experts” is best, let alone possible. It’s their central delusion and it is absolutely crucial to their political belief system.

Hence Ms. Murphy’s suggestion that doctors become servants of the State. It isn’t possible that government created this problem, it’s just some recalcitrant doctors. Or, if government did create a problem, it’s only a “glitch,” to be fixed by more, you guessed it, government intervention, even if that means taking by force of law the time and labor (the property!) of the doctors.

After all, it’s for the public good, and only government knows what’s truly good for the public.

PS: Though it is kind of fitting for the party that defended slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation, no?

RELATED: Legal Insurrection calls it the “revolt of the kulaks.”

UPDATE 12/02/2013: My blog-buddy Sister Toldjah posted an article today with more on Medicaid, Obamacare, and the doctor shortage.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare Chronicles: If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Now pull my finger.

October 10, 2013
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Nearly a million people in New Jersey just got a very unpleasant surprise, and I bet at least a few are saying “But… but… but, the President said!

Hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans opened the mail last week to find their health insurance plan would no longer exist in 2014 because it does not cover all the essential benefits required by the Affordable Care Act.

The news surprised some who were unaware that provisions in the new law known as “Obamacare” were forcing insurance companies to scrap some plans they had previously offered.

“The Affordable Care Act is driving many changes to products and pricing,” said Thomas Vincz, a spokesman for Horizon. “Horizon BCBSNJ is actively working to help our members find new insurance plans that meet their needs and budget.”

The changes will impact more than 800,000 people in New Jersey who purchase insurance on the individual and small-employer markets, according to Ward Sanders, president of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans.

And if they’re like their fellow Americans in California or Alabama, they will also see their rates skyrocket.

Remember, the whole point is the destruction of the private insurance market, forcing people onto the exchanges in order to facilitate wealth redistribution.

via David Freddoso

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Shutdown follies: Park Service uses “Gestapo tactics” to harass, detain visitors to Yellowstone

October 8, 2013
"Klink! What are these tourists doing here??"

“Klink! What are these tourists doing here??”

That’s not me being hyperbolic; that’s the very description used by a tour guide who was taking a group of senior citizens, including visitors from overseas, to see one of our great natural resources. When they got there, they were instead treated to something out of a bad episode of Hogan’s Heroes:

Pat Vaillancourt went on a trip last week that was intended to showcase some of America’s greatest treasures.

Instead, the Salisbury resident said she and others on her tour bus witnessed an ugly spectacle that made her embarrassed, angry and heartbroken for her country.

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

When finally allowed to leave, the bus was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route.

The capos …er… park rangers were under orders, they said, to keep people people from “recreating,” which apparently included a prohibition against merely stopping to take pictures of bison, or even using available restrooms at a private business on the way out. (The owner of the business was threatened with the loss of his business if he let the old folks use his facilities.) At the hotel, at which they were allowed to stay only two days, regardless of their reservations, some tourists justifiably began to wonder if they were prisoners:

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

When they left, some of the tourists said they’d never come back to the United States, and, frankly, I don’t blame them. This was an utterly disgusting, disgraceful, and outrageous way to treat guests at our national parks, whether American or foreign. Instead of showing our country at its best, Barack Obama’s Smokey the Stormtroopers made us look like something out of Eastern Europe under the Soviets.

This is the face of punitive liberalism, a feature of the American Left since the 1960s, but never shown as openly as under Obama. As Mark Steyn wrote in reference to the shutdown of the World War II Memorial and the attempt to bar WWII veterans from it:

The World War II Memorial exists thanks to some $200 million in private donations – plus $15 million or so from Washington: In other words, the feds paid for the grass. But the thug usurpers of the bureaucracy want to send a message: In today’s America, everything is the gift of the government, and exists only at the government’s pleasure, whether it’s your health insurance, your religious liberty, or the monument to your fallen comrades. The Barrycades are such a perfect embodiment of what James Piereson calls “punitive liberalism” they should be tied round Obama’s neck forever, in the way that “ketchup is a vegetable” got hung around Reagan-era Republicans. Alas, the court eunuchs of the Obama media cannot rouse themselves even on behalf of the nation’s elderly warriors.

And so, because of a policy dispute in D.C. in which the House majority is properly acting in its role as the opposition to press its policies and block or amend the administration’s, the administration Royal Court has decided to use the Park Service to harass and intimidate innocent Americans and their guests in the hope that they’ll then take their anger out on those darned upstart Republicans. And that means keeping us out of the parks and memorials we paid for, even if it means ruined businesses and lost jobs.

What this calls for is some good old-fashioned civil disobedience. A lot more signs like these, please:

via Brian Faughnan

UPDATE: William Jacobson is nicer to the Park Service than I.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Liberal racism in action: The Black NRA

September 16, 2013

Like AlfonZo Rachel and his friends say in the video below, comedienne Sarah Silverman and her friends may have had good intentions in mind with their “Funny or Die!” piece, but the message, when you think about it, is pretty danged racist.

In that patronizing, condescending way that progressives do so well.

Watch, and see if you agree:

Pretty amazing, no? And I bet none of those “enlightened, socially aware” people in Silverman’s video will ever get why.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Cult of Personality Watch: the return of the Obama flag

August 26, 2013

So, there was a rally in D.C. to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, where Dr. King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech.

Naturally, for some, the rally became all about Obama:

We’ve seen this example of the cult of personality before, at Democratic Party headquarters in Lake County, Florida.  In that case, the local chairwoman couldn’t see what the problem was. As I wrote at the time:

What bothers me though, is that she didn’t see anything wrong with, in essence, promoting veneration of The Leader. In America, we hold dear the ideas and ideals of our Founding; we respect the offices and the people who hold them, but the officeholders are subordinate to the ideas. We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States, to what it symbolizes — individual liberty, constitutional government, the rule of law — not to the man or woman who holds the office.

But, in the demonstration in D.C. as well as in Florida, the flag-wavers were doing just the opposite: venerating the man and not the principle, swearing fealty to a person , not an ideal. This act symbolizes a rejection of reason –constitutionalism, the rule of law, compromise in mutual best interest– and is instead an in-your-face embrace of the irrational, the philosopher-president who can interpret the national will better than the individual and for the good of all.

In other words, liberal fascism. How ironic –and sad–  that it should show up at a rally meant to honor one of the watershed moments in the history of American liberty.

RELATED: My blog-buddy ST and I were thinking along the same lines today. One of us is in trouble. ;)

UPDATE: Paul Mirengoff argues we’ve gone from “dream” to “nightmare” in 50 years.


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