Could 1st-year contract law derail ObamaCare?

February 29, 2012

Oh, this is interesting, to say the least. The Institute for Justice has filed an amicus curiae brief (PDF) in the ObamaCare case soon to be heard by the Supreme Court. The crux of their argument is that the mandate compels the individual to agree to a contract, but, under centuries old (1) precedents and principles of contract law, all contracts must be voluntary and no contract made under compulsion is binding.

Here’s video of the IJ’s Elizabeth Foley, a constitutional law professor (2), explaining the issues at hand:

And here’s the crux of their argument:

As IJ’s brief shows, the principle of mutual assent, under which both parties must consent for a contract to be valid, is a fundamental principle of contract law that was well understood during the Founding era and is still a cornerstone of contract law today. Indeed, contracts entered under duress have long been held to be invalid. Yet the mandate forces individuals to enter into contracts of insurance that would never be valid under this longstanding principle.

If the U.S. Supreme Court fails to strike down the individual mandate, there will be nothing to stop Congress from forcing people into other contracts against their will—employment contracts or union membership, for example. If we still have a constitutional republic in which the federal government’s powers are limited, then the Court should strike down this law.

I have to say, this looks like a solid line of attack, albeit I’m not a lawyer. But, if it’s true this attacks a fundamental, longstanding, hoary  principle of law, this may be what it takes to push Kennedy and one other moderate-to-liberal justice to strike down the mandate.

Any legal eagles in the audience care to read the brief and comment?

via Hot Air, where Ed has some good commentary.

Footnotes:
(1) Seriously. Not only does it cite cases from the early Republic, but even from English case law of the 17th century. Made my History-geek heart flutter with delight, it did. 
(2) A real one, unlike the current president.

UPDATE: Fixed the broken link to the amicus brief, thanks to Conservative Woman in the comments.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Global warming headline of the year

February 28, 2012

And it’s only February:

Yes, so powerful is the effect of a trace gas that serves mainly as plant food, that it can make the world cooler while simultaneously causing dangerous warming. Call it a one-stop shop for natural disasters, all of which can be reliably blamed on Mankind, and the only solution to which is greater governmental control (1) over our economies and daily lives.

Next up: man-caused climate change causes sun to rise in West and Barack Obama to become a fan of the free market.

Global warming — is there nothing it can’t do?

And is there any way the climate alarmists could make themselves look more fatuous and desperate? Why, yes, there is.

Hat-tip to  WUWT, which notes the headline has since changed, probably out of embarrassment. And here’s a link to the original Georgia Tech press release, which climate-hysteric “journalists” predictably screwed up.

Footnote:
(1) Especially by transnational bureaucracies answerable to no one and supported by global taxes. Winning!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) And the winner is… Barack Obama for “The Con Artist!”

February 27, 2012

I didn’t watch the Oscars last night; I long ago grew tired its overbearing combination of narcissism, pretentiousness, and boredom. I do know “The Artist” won for Best Picture, and Jean Dujardin for Best Actor, however.

I think the latter may have been a bit of a robbery, though. I mean, how can anyone top Barack Obama’s performance “The Con Artist?”

Hey, the man’s won a Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing, so why not an Oscar, too? Maybe they can give him a special award at next year’s show, to help him celebrate his retirement.

via Ed Morrissey

PS: Read all about it at The Daily Caller.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Another reason to vote for Obama: the Chevy Volt

February 25, 2012

Great satirical commercial from ObamaVolt2012:

via Pirate’s Cove

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The proper way to apologize to President Karzai

February 25, 2012

You may have heard of a recent ruckus in Afghanistan after American forces burned some Qurans that prisoners were using to transmit coded messages. (1) In the ensuing demonstration of Muslim maturity and Afghan civility, two Americans were killed. So, President Obama did the proper thing (2) and apologized abjectly and profusely to Afghan President Karzai. (3)

This inspired YouTube user KiraDavis422 to issue her own apology. I think it’s something we Americans need to hear and think deeply about.

(Mild language warning.)

Food for thought, isn’t it?

via jkinlosangeles

RELATED: Max Boot, an analyst and writer I deeply respect, thinks Obama’s apology was proper. I respectfully disagree, at least with the groveling nature of it.

Footnotes:
(1) In violation of proper procedure, meaning they did it where the savages could find out.
(2) From a self-abasing, American-declinist, “smart power” point of view, at least.
(3) Whom we put in power and only remains in power (and alive) because of us. We apologize for that.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Sharia state of Pennsylvania

February 24, 2012

This is absolutely disgraceful:

A state judge in Pennsylvania has dismissed an assault and harrassment case against a Muslim defendant who admitted attacking the victim. Magistrate Judge Mark Martin, a veteran of the war in Iraq and a convert to Islam, ruled that Talag Elbayomy’s sharia defense — what he claimed was his obligation to strike out against any insult against the prophet Mohammed — trumped the First Amendment free speech rights of the victim.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Read the rest of McCarthy’s post,which includes a link to video of the judge’s stupid remarks. PJM’s Bryan Preston has quotes from the judge’s dressing down of the victim, which includes this beaut:

“Having had the benefit of having spent over 2 and a half years in predominantly Muslim countries I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam. In fact I have a copy of the Koran here and I challenge you sir to show me where it says in the Koran that Mohammad arose and walked among the dead. I think you misinterpreted things. Before you start mocking someone else’s religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it it makes you look like a dufus and Mr. (Defendant) is correct. In many Arabic speaking countries something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society in fact it can be punishable by death and it frequently is in their society.

Wait, let me get this straight: Is Judge Martin saying that, since it was okay for the Muslim to assault the victim, which is clearly against our law, it would have been okay in the judge’s view for the Muslim to kill him? After all, the guy insulted Muhammad and hurt the Muslim defendant’s feelings. Sharia says kill the guy, so why not go all the way? (1)

Newsflash for Judge Martin: they’re called “unalienable rights” because they are inherent from birth in all men, “endowed by their Creator.” They are universal, even if Islamic countries are too benighted to realize it.

And then there’s this little thing called the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

…which has been incorporated into state law for centuries.

I don’t care if this guy dressed up as “Muhammad the transvestite” and shouted at the top of his lungs that Islam’s “prophet” committed lewd acts with the dead. (2) It is immaterial that the Muslim defendant’s feelings were hurt; the victim had the right to act like a jerk, and the defendant had no right to assault him.

The only way “free speech” matters is if we protect speech even when we or others find it offensive. Whether it offends religion, country, or your favorite TV program, it doesn’t matter. As long as it does not directly and deliberately incite violence, it is protected speech.

And it is appalling that an American judge, one who both as a judge and as a soldier swore oaths to protect and defend the Constitution and those very same unalienable rights, should trample on the right to free speech in a fit of cultural relativism.

I’m not sure what the law is in Pennsylvania is for removing a judge, but somebody needs to start working on this jackass’ case right now.

Footnotes:
(1) In fact, in the biographies of Muhammad and canonical hadiths (his sayings and deeds), we know for a fact he had people assassinated for criticizing him.
(2) Which he may well have.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I may have to turn in my “Irish” card

February 24, 2012

My ancestors left Ireland to escape oppressive tyrants, so I can well imagine what they’d be thinking now at hearing the news that an Irish city wants to erect a statue to murderous tyrant Che Guevara:

A major and innovative monument to the Irish-Argentinean revolutionary, guerilla, doctor, writer, and politician Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, has taken a step closer to becoming a reality this week.

The Galway Advertiser understands that City Hall’s arts officer James Harrold will commission a scale model of the proposed monument to be made. This will then be presented to the Galway City Council’s Working Group on Public Arts for consideration, and later city manager Joe O’Neill for final approval. The approval of city councillors may also need to be sought.

The idea to erect a monument to Che Guevara comes from a proposal made by Labour councillor Billy Cameron, an ardent admirer of the revolutionary, that a monument be erected in Galway and that the project be undertaken in conjunction with the Cuban and Argentinean embassies to Ireland.

The proposed monument has been designed by Simon McGuinness and it is understood that it will feature the iconic image of Che created by the Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, commonly seen on posters and T-shirts.

Pardon me while I hurl. Billy Cameron is either an ignorant fool, or he approves of Guevara’s crimes. Regardless, he’s a disgrace. Here’s an example of the man Galway would honor:

“When you saw the beaming look on Che’s face as the victims were tied to the stake and blasted apart by the firing squad,” said a former Cuban political prisoner Roberto Martin-Perez, to your humble servant here, “you saw there was something seriously, seriously wrong with Che Guevara.” As commander of the La Cabana execution yard, Che often shattered the skull of the condemned man (or boy) by firing the coup de grace himself. When other duties tore him away from his beloved execution yard, he consoled himself by viewing the slaughter. Che’s second-story office in Havana’s La Cabana prison had a section of wall torn out so he could watch his darling firing-squads at work.

Hey! I’ve got an idea for Cameron and the other Galway commissars councilors! Don’t stop with Che Guevara, honor his soul mates, too: Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Josef Stalin, Nicolae Ceausescu, and Kim Jong-Il! Why, there are so many you could build an entire park dedicated to psychopathic, murdering bast… er… “gentlemen.”

Go ahead. Cover your city in glory. Idiots.

I’ll leave the last word (and a hat tip) to Fausta:

There should be no room in a beautiful city like Galway, in a free country like Ireland, to honor a mass murdering sociopathic racist Communist whose aim in life was to destroy the very freedoms and rights the Irish have struggled so hard to attain throughout their history. To build this monument, with the aim of making it a tourist attraction, is an insult to the very ideals of the Irish nation and the city of Galway.

Exactly.

UPDATE: No Pasarán is incensed.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Have I mentioned (recently) that Allen West rocks?

February 22, 2012

I’ve written before about the undeserved pass the Democratic Party has gotten for its dirty history on race in America and how the Republican Party deserves much more credit than it gets.

Not surprisingly, Allen West did it much better with a recent speech on the House floor in honor of Black History month:

Congressman West not only recounted the early history of the Republicans in defense of civil rights (Passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments; sending the first Black members to the House and Senate; and passing the landmark 1875 Civil Rights Act — all over stiff Democratic opposition), he also spoke of recent history:

In the 1990s, it was the Republican-controlled 104th Congress that passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act. Then-Democrat President Bill Clinton signed it only after reluctantly having vetoed it twice.

This reform changed the face of welfare, ensuring that recipients who were able to work would be required to seek employment. No longer would government checks be seen as an entitlement. No longer would States have a financial incentive to add as many names to their welfare rolls as possible. Finally, there was an alternative to the cycle of poverty caused by years of misguided Democrat policy. And it’s been Republicans who have continued to fight for the underprivileged communities, even as we’re painted as the party of the white upper class.

In 2004, another Republican-controlled Congress under the leadership of Republican President George W. Bush signed an omnibus bill that included a voucher program for school children right here in the District of Columbia. Instead of being shackled to the failed public school system, thousands of students were able to use the first Federal Government vouchers to escape high-performing private schools.

Mr. Speaker, what Republicans have long understood is that poor communities are best served when they’re empowered to care for themselves. The more they come to rely on government checks, the less they learn to rely on their own ability and ingenuity.

Our party firmly believes in the safety net. We reject the idea of the safety net becoming a hammock.

Oh, and that voucher program meant to help poor children in D.C., largely African-American, help themselves? President Barack Obama, an African-American and a Democrat, killed it. Again.

There’s much more. Watch the speech or read the transcript. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. (1)

RELATED: If you want to know more about the real history of the Democratic Party and race relations in America, have a look at Bruce Bartlett’s “Wrong on Race: the Democratic Party’s buried past.” It’s a thorough, detailed, highly footnoted, and altogether damning indictment.

Footnote:
(1) Unless you’re some sort of reactionary liberal or lefty who can’t handle the truth.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Quote of the Day: primaries edition

February 22, 2012

While writing about Rick Santorum’s and Mitt Romney’s struggles, Hot Air’s Tina Korbe quoted Milton Friedman saying something that encapsulates how I feel about this election:

I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or, if they try, they will shortly be out of office.

The candidates we’re left with are far from perfect by most any measure one chooses. Hence, as Friedman points out, we need to make it “politically profitable” for the winner to pursue the policies we want.

And that means “Operation Counterweight.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Statism: Obama’s theory of government

February 21, 2012

Peter Wehner had a good post in Commentary last week that, while talking about Obama’s latest risible budget proposal, neatly encapsulates the statist, progressive view of the relationship between the citizen and the State, Obama’s theory of government:

These numbers are important, but they need to be understood above all as a manifestation of a particular philosophy, which some have called reactionary liberalism. Barack Obama has an almost undiluted attachment for and belief in the wondrous powers of the federal government. He believes the role of the state is to redistribute wealth and level out differences. He would trade off greater prosperity in all classes and income brackets in order to narrow the gap in income inequality, which he considers to be a moral offense. Obama wants to punish wealth creators, empower unelected bureaucrats, undermine private enterprise and centralize power.

Beyond even that, Obama wants government to weaken, and eventually replace, civil society, create greater dependency, and expand the state’s reach into every nook and cranny of life, including into the internal life of the church. And at a time when Medicare in particular is driving us toward a Greece-like crisis, the president opposes any modernization of our entitlement state and savages those who are offering up reforms.

More than any president in our lifetime, Barack Obama identifies the state with society and wants society absorbed by the state.

(Emphasis added)

Wehner calls it “reactionary liberalism,” (1) but I think Goldberg (channeling H. G. Wells) names it best: “Liberal Fascism.” The State becomes the arbiter of a vague “Will of the People” (or “Spirit of the Nation,” or whatever), speaking for the collective and knowing better than the individual what the individual needs, for the good of the whole. Forget the goosestepping images of Nazis or Mussolini’s Blackshirts, and put side the insane racial nonsense the National Socialists added to Fascism; reactionary liberalism/liberal fascism can come with a warm smile and a motherly embrace, promising all sorts of wonderful things, if only you’ll be good and let Nanny State make the choices for you.

It is the infantilization of the individual citizen.

And it would be so easy to say “yes,” which is why, in 2012, we have to say “no.”

RELATED: In a later post, Wehner cites another example, that of Nancy Pelosi’s opinion on the HHS mandate and the proper response of religious organizations: “Shut up and obey.

Footnote:
(1) Although, really, the most reactionary people I’ve ever met have been supposedly broadminded liberals. Mildly challenge even one of their dearly held dogmas (such as the success of the New Deal or the desirability of abortion on demand), and many go into full frothing-and-shrieking mode. It’s almost Pavlovian.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Presidents Day: Remembering FDR’s victims

February 20, 2012

Presidents Day is one of those weird holidays, a conflation of the birthday’s of two of our greatest presidents, Washington and Lincoln, into a nondescript Monday-off that not only honors those two, but the likes of… Millard Fillmore, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Jimmy Carter? Someone owes George and Abe an apology.

Regardless, today is an apt time to think about the men we’ve entrusted with the highest office in the land and about the good and bad they’ve done. At the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney takes a look at Franklin Roosevelt, nearly a saint in the liberal pantheon and the subject of books that are as much hagiography as they are history, and reminds us that FDR also had a quite a record of demolishing freedom in order to expand state power. Carney presents three examples of the victims of FDR’s statism, but one especially stands out:

Innocent Japanese Americans: Government, ultimately, is force and the threat of force. This is most in view when it comes to imprisonment.

Certainly one of the very worst sins of the U.S. Government was FDR’s creation of internment camps. More than 100,000 Japanese-Americans, none of whom had ever been accused of a crime, along with Italian- and German-Americans, were packed off to prison camps. Think about it this way: FDR’s internment of a hundred thousand Americans was closer in time to today than it was to the Emanicipation Proclamation.

The Japanese-American internment was really one of the worst atrocities against civil rights after slavery ended, up there with Jim Crow, and a president who could approve this order should be harshly criticized for his abuse of power and the cavalier trampling of citizens’ rights at least as much as he should be praised for any good he did.

We entrust our Chief Executives with great power, especially in time of war, and the example of FDR and the Japanese internment is a reminder to us to consider the character of the person we place in office, not just his or her record.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I’d like to see him say this to an Israeli soldier’s face

February 19, 2012

We haven’t featured Islamic Jew hatred for a while, so here’s a good one to jump back in with.

Call it a form of compensation: the Arabs’ military record has been so miserable whenever they face modern, Western-style armed forces, that they have to tell lies about their foes to cover up the fact they get their butts kicked with stunning regularity. In this case, that Jews are so afraid to face the brave, brave knights of Allah that they would rather take a dump inside their tanks, than go outside to find relief.

I mean, you might think it’s just locker room braggadocio and that no one would take it seriously, but, no. This esteemed cleric is dead serious that this is the truth, and I’m willing to bet his audience ate it all up. They’re… “trusting” like that.

Anyway, I’ll let the learned Muhammad al-Arifi speak for himself:

And here’s the transcript.

Let’s see: those cowardly, self-soiling Jews have handed the Arabs their head in four major wars since 1948 and several informal actions in-between and since. (Ask Hamas how the last Israeli incursion went.) The only time the Arabs have ever done well is when the Israelis show unseemly restraint, such as in Lebanon in 2006. Had they made up their minds to wipe out Hizbullah, I guarantee you it would have been Hassan Nasrallah needing the change of clothes.

Oh, and nice little swipe there at the Americans in Iraq, Muhammad! How’d that work out for al-Qaeda, anyway?

Schmuck.


Culture Wars: Han shot first, and the emasculation of heroism

February 18, 2012

In this episode of Afterburner, Bill Whittle looks at how George Lucas has bowdlerized one of the great scenes in the original Star Wars and what it tells us about the cultural elite’s perceptions of heroism and manhood:

It’s not for nothing that people still respond to heroes actors like John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, or Gary Cooper, whose heroic characters didn’t wallow in angst before doing what had to be done.

And George, stop lying. Han shot first.

(For the record, I detest the modern habit of powerful directors to re-edit their original work that people loved and somehow “improve it.” Spielberg and “E.T.” is another example.)

UPDATE: Edited to correct a lack of clarity pointed out by a friend on Twitter.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Happy birthday, Stimulus!

February 17, 2012

Today is the third anniversary of the passage of President Obama’s Stimulus Pokulus bill, which was supposed to have us at below 6% unemployment by now. How’s that working out?

Whatever. Let’s not quibble over small details, such as being utterly, humiliatingly wrong. Instead, this is a time to celebrate Porkulus’ many accomplishments — the jobs and wealth created. How our (borrowed from China) money was wisely spent. Stories such as this one:

In an effort to stabilize the city’s real estate market, a federal stimulus program has spent nearly $1.5 million on eight Modesto homes that ended up being worth less than $1 million.

Example: Taxpayers paid $223,641 to buy and fix up a foreclosed south Modesto house that was built in 1992. But when the city’s 16-month renovation project was done, the home appraised and sold for only $114,000.

The government lost $109,641 on that just completed deal.

Taxpayers also have spent $109,494 to buy and renovate a 1948-vintage two-bedroom home in Modesto’s airport neighborhood. That house has appraised for only $55,000, and a buyer has yet to be found.

The federally funded Neighborhood Stabilization Program is being managed by the city of Modesto, which plans to resell an additional 18 or more rehabilitated homes this year.

The eight refurbished Modesto homes have cost taxpayers, on average, 34 percent more than appraisers determined they were worth after repairs were complete. That’s an average of $61,487 each.

In investing, that’s called “value destroyed.” And, as of the article’s writing, they weren’t finished!

Happy birthday, Porkulus! Just think of what President Obama can do with four more years!

via Elizabeth Emken for Senate

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Dear Rick Santorum: Get your hands off my slot machine

February 17, 2012

Sigh. There are just no limited-government conservatives left in this race, are there? We all know about Mitt Romney and the indefensible individual mandate in RomneyCare. So, fine, we’ll just vote for the true conservative in the race, the man who savagely and effectively attacked Romney’s legacy, Rick Santorum, right? Right?

Ehh… Not so fast.

From an interview with Nevada journalist Jon Ralston, per Jim Geraghty:

I’m someone who takes the opinion that gaming is not something that is beneficial, particularly having that access on the Internet. Just as we’ve seen from a lot of other things that are vices on the Internet, they end to grow exponentially as a result of that. It’s one thing to come to Las Vegas and do gaming and participate in the shows and that kind of thing as entertainment, it’s another thing to sit in your home and have access to that it. I think it would be dangerous to our country to have that type of access to gaming on the Internet.

Freedom’s not absolute. What rights in the Constitution are absolute? There is no right to absolute freedom. There are limitations. You might want to say the same thing about a whole variety of other things that are on the Internet — “let everybody have it, let everybody do it.” No. There are certain things that actually do cost people a lot of money, cost them their lives, cost them their fortunes that we shouldn’t have and make available, to make it that easy to do. That’s why we regulate gambling. You have a big commission here that regulates gambling, for a reason.

I opposed gaming in Pennsylvania . . . A lot of people obviously don’t responsibly gamble and lose a lot and end up in not so great economic straits as a result of that. I believe there should be limitations.

Now, in one sense, Nanny Senator Santorum is right: freedom isn’t absolute. We have freedom of speech, but we cannot yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. We have freedom of religious practice, but no one advocates allowing human sacrifice as part of the service. (I hope.) Individual liberty generally meets its bounds where it endangers public safety or impinges on the rights of another. (1)

There are indeed limits.

But that’s not what Santorum is talking about here. He’s speaking in terms of a more moderate social cost (e.g., the damage done to a family by a gambling addiction) or simply the harm it might do to the individual person. And there’s the problem. As Allahpundit puts it:

You could swap in “drinking” for “gambling” there and have a rough argument for banning alcohol consumption in homes. (If you’re free to indulge in private, who’ll stop you from going overboard?) If you nominate Santorum, you’re getting a guy who’s more willing to try to save people from themselves than the average “personal responsibility” conservative, which means you’d better prepare for occasional moral tutelage from the presidential podium and maybe some new morals regulations if he can cobble together a congressional majority for it.

And for gambling or drinking, one could substitute all sorts private activities. Like to smoke? Want to order pipe tobacco or cigars from that great shop across the country? Hey, that stuff’s bad for you, bud! Want to watch an “adult” movie on late-night cable? President Santorum doesn’t think that’s “beneficial,” so he’s going to push Congress to regulate it.

Or what about credit card debt? Yes, there’s a real problem with people who wreck their finances abusing credit, but is it the government’s responsibility to protect us from ourselves? Would a President Santorum seek to limit us all to certain debt-to-income ratios? Do we get a “conservative” version of Dodd-Frank?

I’ll confess, it’s getting harder and harder to see much of an effective difference between the progressive liberal, Obama, and Rick Santorum, the self-proclaimed progressive conservative. Nannying is nannying, and statism is statism.

So, what does this mean for the election and how I’ll vote? I’ve said before that I’ll vote for any of the three serious potential Republican nominees over Obama, because I think any of them would be better than a second Obama term. But Santorum is making it much harder for me to be comfortable voting for him. If it is none of government’s business what health insurance I carry, neither is it their business if I choose to play some online poker — or a lot of online poker.

I’ve said before that I’ve decided to concentrate more on electing as conservative a Congress as possible (2) to rein in the big-government urges of whichever person is elected president. But this latest from Santorum has me thinking Romney would be the best choice for limited government conservatives.

Wait! I can explain! Put down the baseball bat!

Look at it this way: I’m convinced Mitt Romney has few set-in-stone principles and is more of a pragmatic problem-solver,willing to do what it takes to get the job done. In electoral races, that means he… “adjusts” his positions to fit what his target audience wants. In office, it means he works with whatever faction dominates the legislature to produce an accomplishment. In the end, this is a guy whose overriding urge is to be seen as successful. He is a tree that bends whichever way the prevailing wind blows.

Thus I’ve come to think that a President Romney would be open to the goals of limited government conservatism if he were faced with a Congress dominated by strong limited government, Tea Party factions in both chambers pressuring him from the Right. And he would be open to this influence in a way that a strongly principled social nanny-stater like Rick Santorum would never be.

Yep. It’s a “lesser of two evils” choice. Fun, eh?

Footnotes:
(1) Another illustration of why I’ll never be a “Big L” libertarian; the ones I’ve met tend to take annoyingly absolutist positions.
(2) Want to help California “right” it’s ship of state? Check out Elizabeth Emken, who’s running for the nomination to face Senator Feinstein in November.

PS: When you think about it, Rick Santorum has something in common with Melinda Henneberger.

RELATED: More from Bruce McQuain at The Conservatory. A rebuttal at Protein Wisdom.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Liberals just don’t like what the Founders did, do they?

February 16, 2012

A little while back, I featured Justice Ginsburg opining that the US Constitution really wasn’t a suitable model for the modern age.

Now we have a Washington Post editor wondering if, perhaps, the first Congress got it wrong when it guaranteed the free exercise of religion in the First Amendment:

That‘s what Washington Post editor Melinda Henneberger told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews last night while defending Catholics. Here’s the full quote:

“Maybe the Founders were wrong to guarantee free exercise of religion in the First Amendment but that is what they did and I don’t think we have to choose here.”

And maybe they made a mistake guaranteeing free speech, too; otherwise we’d be able to punish dolts like Henneberger for saying such stupid things. And that whole trial by jury thing; it just gets in the way of government enforcing the law to protect us.

Head, meet wall.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy spots several problems with Henneberger’s proposition, the foremost being the centrality of freedom of religious expression to the Colonial experience and the foundation of the United States, itself:

First, there is the sheer unreality of it. As someone of Ms. Henneberger’s sophistication must know, the Founders cannot have been wrong to guarantee free exercise of religion. Had they failed to do so, there would have been no nation to found. Free exercise was a deal-breaker for Americans, and the adoption of the Bill of Rights (in which free-exercise was among the core of individual liberties that had to be specified) was a deal breaker for skeptics in several states who believed the Constitution transferred too much power to the federal government.

(Emphasis added.)

In other words, the new HHS rule regarding insurance coverage for contraception and abortifacients at religious institutions is exactly and precisely the kind of tyrannical and oppressive act regarding the free exercise of religion those who argued for a Bill of Rights had in mind, even if it’s presented as a “public good.”

They weren’t wrong, Melinda, they were prescient.

RELATED: Getting back to Justice Ginsburg and the outdated Constitution, historian Steven Hayward figured out why she seemed so enamored of the South African constitution:

The South African constitution is equally watery.  Yes, it does include an independent judiciary and a long list of positive rights.  Then there’s this:

“When interpreting the Bill of Rights, a court, tribunal or forum must promote the values that underlie an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom; must consider international law; and may consider foreign law.”

No wonder Ginsburg likes it so much: it more or less gives judges a blank check to look anywhere they want to reach any result they want.

So much more fun that sticking by our stodgy old rules, no?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Must-viewing: Sarah Palin at CPAC 2012

February 15, 2012

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) seems like such a natural venue for former Governor Sarah Palin that I’ve often wondered why she didn’t appear there in 2009-2011. It’s not as if she’d have encountered anything other than a rapturous audience.

Well, she fixed that in 2012, and the crowd loved her, as you’ll see especially when some hecklers tried to cut her off. Dopes.

Just under 40 minutes. Grab a coke and some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy:

PS: It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Sarah Palin, and that I hope some day to cast a vote for her for president. I don’t think she’s perfect –we’re all human, after all– but she matches my beliefs regarding politics and the nature of American greatness more closely than any pol I’ve come across in recent years. And I think she has the right character for high office.

PPS: In case you missed it, I’m sure you’ll also enjoy MEP Daniel Hannan’s speech before CPAC.

PPPS: Sorry for the light posting of late. Things have just been hectic.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Must-viewing: Daniel Hannan at CPAC 2012

February 14, 2012

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held this last weekend in D.C. I didn’t attend, sadly  (1), so I’ve been working my way through the speeches I would have attended, looking for some to share.

Boy, have I got a good one for you.

Daniel Hannan, a Conservative member of the European Parliament from SE England, spoke to the assembled conventioneers and gave them a warning from the future: America is on the way to becoming a statist mess like the EU, but there is still time to change direction. (Unlike Europe?)

He also spoke with an outsider’s admiration for our political accomplishments and evincing a knowledge and understanding of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution that I daresay few Americans could match. And also a sadness that his own homeland, the birthplace of our common heritage, is well on the road to chucking it all away.

But, enough. Watch and enjoy:

Two final questions:

Is there any way we can kidnap Hannan, grant him citizenship, and force him to serve in the Senate? And, be honest, how many of you watched this, imagined Hannan debating President Obama and started giggling?

I did.

RELATED: Earlier posts featuring Daniel Hannan. In this video, which made him a star among US conservatives, Hannan shreds then-PM Gordon Brown.

Footnote:
(1) Generous donations for next year gladly accepted!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama’s new budget is a bad joke

February 13, 2012

Just as we expected it would be.

Phillip A Klein takes a look at it and compares it to Obama’s promises on entering office. Here’s his takeway:

Obama spent most of last year lecturing the country on how he supported a so-called “balanced approach” on deficit reduction. Time and again, he said he was ready to make real changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security if only Republicans were willing to budge on the revenue side. He repeated this in a lot of speeches and insisted that behind the scenes he was really, really, ready to cut a deal with the GOP during the debt limit talks. But he never presented a tangible plan that could be scored by the CBO and evaluated next to Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to reform entitlements and put the nation on a sustainable fiscal course. He had his chance with this budget. Instead, Obama decided to forgo tough choices so he could attack Republicans during an election year.

Bear that in mind: we have a president far more interested in his own electoral fate than the fate of the nation.

Meanwhile, James Pethokoukis accuses Obama of doubling-down on class warfare in this budget:

Here’s pretty much all you need to know about Obamanomics: In 2011, the Obama White House suggested raising the top dividend tax rate to 20 percent from 15 percent. Keeping the dividend rate at a relatively low level, the White House said, “reduces the tax bias against equity investment and promotes a more efficient allocation of capital.” Makes sense, right? Basic economics.

Yet in his brand-new, 2013 budget, Obama calls for taxing dividends as ordinary income, essentially raising the top rate all the way to 39.6 percent. And then when you tack on the 3.8 percentage point Obamacare surtax — and an additional 1.2 percentage point itemized deduction phase-out for high-end taxpayers — the rate rises to 44.6 percent.

So apparently Obama is now in favor of a greater bias against equity investment (and in favor of debt) and promoting less efficient allocation of capital. And this helps create an economy “built to last” in some way?

Of course, it doesn’t. Not at all. More like “built to fail.” Then again, Obama’s new budget isn’t about economic growth or cutting debt or creating a “built to last” economy. The Obama campaign is built around the idea of reducing inequality. So in his budget, Obama takes the populist whip to the wealthy and to business…

And to people who depend on dividends for their retirement, whether directly or through pension funds. Including the middle class.

Why does Barack Obama hate retired people?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Dear Sanctimonious Greens: your beloved electric cars harm Gaea!!

February 13, 2012

Your goddess will be angry with you…

According to a recent study by researchers at UT-Knoxville, electric cars have a greater pollution impact than comparable (and evil, EVIL, EVIL!!) gasoline-powered vehicles:

“An implicit assumption has been that air quality and health impacts are lower for electric vehicles than for conventional vehicles,” [Chris] Cherry said. “Our findings challenge that by comparing what is emitted by vehicle use to what people are actually exposed to. Prior studies have only examined environmental impacts by comparing emission factors or greenhouse gas emissions.”

Particulate matter includes acids, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles. It is also generated through the combustion of fossil fuels.

For electric vehicles, combustion emissions occur where electricity is generated rather than where the vehicle is used. In China, 85 percent of electricity production is from fossil fuels, about 90 percent of that is from coal. The authors discovered that the power generated in China to operate electric vehicles emit fine particles at a much higher rate than gasoline vehicles. However, because the emissions related to the electric vehicles often come from power plants located away from population centers, people breathe in the emissions a lower rate than they do emissions from conventional vehicles.

Still, the rate isn’t low enough to level the playing field between the vehicles. In terms of air pollution impacts, electric cars are more harmful to public health per kilometer traveled in China than conventional vehicles.

(Emphasis added)

The key is that the electricity needed to charge the batteries of those virtuous electric vehicles has to be first generated somewhere; in China, the vast majority comes from plants using fossil fuels. The effect is simply to transfer the generation of pollutants from where the vehicle is used to where its power is created.

Bear in mind, this study was conducted in China, which relies overwhelmingly on coal. While the US generates far less of its electricity from coal, it’s still significant — about 46%. (See Table 1.1) And China’s pollution controls are notoriously weak, so coal-fired plants in the US probably generate far fewer pollutants than their Chinese counterparts. Still, coal is a dirty fuel source, one of the great demons in the Cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming, and air pollution does not respect national boundaries.

Preening Greens charging their Volts and Leafs and Priuses and oh-so Smart ED cars should perhaps remember that their virtue comes at the cost of (environmental) sin.

RELATED: It’s similar to that other fetish object of the Green cult — wind power. The wind is so unreliable a source that, to make sure the power grid stays up, backup coal, gas, and even nuclear plants have to be kept running on standby for those times when the wind stops or blows too fast. Kind of defeats the purpose, no? Unless that purpose is just to make oneself feel good, or profit from government subsidy… or both.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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