Thursday, February 24, 2011

Time to Get a Little Bloody

via Mark Levin via the Right Scoop



Congressman Michael Capuano, D-MA, is using violent rhetoric and HateSpeech to instruct his union thug supporters to "get out in the streets and get a little bloody." This is the left's agenda laid bare:




We're for the ballot until we have power. Then we're for the guns. Right, Mike? It's OK for us to use violence to achieve our goals because we're better than the other guys. Right, Mikey?

Let's suppose for a minute or two that the thug left wants to settle the score Bill-the-Butcher style. You bring what you have in your houses, and we bring what we have in our houses. Who will win, Mikey? Wanna get into a street fight, Mikey? Or as the President famously said, are you gonna bring a knife to a gun fight? Want some? Come get some.

You people on the left make me sick. You either believe in this horrible crap, thinking you are somehow going to be "on the inside" of power or privilege, or you are the useful idiots of thugs like Mikey Capuano, Rahm Emmanuel, and President Obama. There is no excuse for this garbage.

Capuano later said that he regretted his choice of words. He said nothing of the sentiment behind them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

We Wants It

Wesley Mouch



AKA Barneys Frank piles curses and damnation on the heads of House Republicans for cutting the budget for Wall Street regulators:
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and other Democrats lodged the complaints during a committee hearing intended to explore the impact of new derivatives rules enacted by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

Frank and other Democrats said the proposed cuts would hurt financial watchdogs like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

"We are about to debate the budget from my Republican colleagues that will provide such inadequate funding for the SEC and the CFTC as to make all this academic," said Frank, the ranking minority member of the panel. "Agencies that are not well-funded are not going to do a good job."

The debate came as the House was preparing to consider a spending bill that would cut $61 billion in government spending, including cuts to both agencies.

Frank added that he planned to introduce an amendment on the House floor boosting the SEC's budget. His amendment would free up $131 million more for the SEC by pulling funds from various other sources, including the Internal Revenue Service.

"Cutting them even more...will make it impossible for them to implement Dodd-Frank and be responsible regulators," warned Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

The highlighted text above is the key. De-fund, de-fund, de-fund. Then de-fund some more.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Atlas Shrugged, Part I - The Movie

Hume and Little "r" Republicanism

Our federal government is a Hobbesian Leviathan, gobbling up power and amalgamating all things into itself. Think of the Trapper Keeper episode of South Park: everything in its path is consumed, and its size is ever-increasing.

Donald W. Livingston, writing at Anamnesis Journal, says Hume's thoughts on human scale and republican tradition need to be examined if Leviathan, and political absolutism, is to be defeated. Here is a sampling from the article:
One instrument of exploitation that especially worried Hume was the invention of public credit or the policy of mortgaging future revenues. This device had a number of pernicious effects. First, “national debts cause a mighty confluence of people and riches to the capital, by the great sums, levied in the provinces to pay the interest” and “by the advantages in trade ... which they give the merchants in the capital above the rest of the kingdom.” Second, a state with mortgaged revenues would have to create new ones; these would fall on consumption leading to “vexation and ruin of the poor.” They would next fall on the proprietors of land, making life more difficult for their tenants. Third, with the collapse of the landed gentry and nobility, a traditional order rooted in land and place would collapse in favor of rule by a new rootless class of stockjobbers and paper money men. “These men,” Hume writes, having “no connections with the state...can enjoy their revenue in any part of the globe in which they chuse to reside, who will naturally bury themselves in the capital or great cities, and who will sink into the lethargy of a stupid and pampered luxury, without spirit, ambition, or enjoyment. Adieu to all ideas of nobility, gentry, and family.” Hume’s criticism of public credit mirrors exactly Jefferson’s criticism of the public debt system proposed by Alexander Hamilton... [A] pure Hobbesian state would emerge with a centralized authority ruling directly over an aggregate of millions of individuals. In this condition, “every man in authority derives his influence from the commission alone of the sovereign.” And “the whole income of every individual in the state must lie entirely at the mercy of the sovereign.” Hume thinks this form of despotism intimated in eighteenth century centralized states, if realized, would be “a degree of despotism, which no oriental monarchy has ever yet attained.” What Hume considered despotism is viewed as normal today. A European monarch in Hume’s day could not order military conscription nor impose an income tax, which would have been viewed as a form of forced labor.

...

Even if we reject Rousseau’s demand for direct political participation as extravagant, entertaining a larger sphere for republican life, as Hume did, the ratio of population to representation should still be measured by the human scale if it is to be called republican....consider the United States, which styles itself a republic. There are only 435 representatives in the House of Representatives, ruling over some 309 million people. This yields a ratio of around one representative for every seven hundred ten thousand people. A regime with this ratio cannot be considered a republic, not even a large Humean republic. What is true of the out-of-scale ratio of representatives to people in Britain and the United States is true of most large regimes in the world that style themselves republics. But if they are not in any meaningful sense republics, what are they? An answer was suggested by Tocqueville, who viewed the emerging European “republics” as in reality extensions of absolute monarchy. The French Revolution produced the first modern large scale republic ruling in the name of the people and declaring itself, in Hobbesian fashion, to be “one and indivisible.” The Revolution pretended to effect a total change of French political society, and was thought by many to have done so. Tocqueville, however, argued that the Revolution had fundamentally changed nothing.10 What he meant by this counter-intuitive claim was this. What was wrong with monarchy was not a hereditary executive, but the creation of a centralized bureaucratic administration with a would-be monopoly on coercion over individuals in a territory. The Revolution did not devolve power back to smaller, human scale units in France, but greatly expanded central power beyond anything eighteenth century monarchs could have imagined.

...

[I]n large modern republics, the people are said to be sovereign, but their participation too is largely ceremonial and consists typically of choosing periodically between two candidates selected by national political parties of vast scale over which there is little popular control. Hobbes was the first to clearly understand the character of a modern European state. He theorized it as an artificial corporation, what he called an “artificial man.” Government as a public corporation differs from a business corporation in that it possesses a monopoly on coercion in a territory. Its subjects are compelled to buy shares in the corporation through taxes, but cannot trade them, i.e., they cannot secede from the corporation.

...

[Hume believed that] the source of degeneracy in republics is the inevitable tendency to abuse public credit...[The effect of this abuse is the] hollowing out the economy of the provinces and, consequently, driving people as well as financial and political power to the center, where a few hundred people—through finance capitalism structured on public debt—would determine the economic prospects of millions.

...

The Hobbesian state was said to be one and indivisible, so downsizing it through secession was...ruled out a priori. But that is no longer believable, given the relatively peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union and other modern states thought to be “indivisible”...Theoretically and practically, there is no reason why more small states, even on the scale of the Aristotelean polis, cannot exist today. Indeed, technological innovations and global trade make small states more feasible than in the past. And even large states such as Britain, France, and the United States could be reformed, with an eye to a human scale ratio of representation to population, by reconstituting a “national” legislature into the joint voice of several regional or provincial legislatures in accord with Hume’s model of an extensive republic.

The massive ObamaBudget is all the evidence one needs. Our bloated federal government will not stop, and will consume anything and everything in its path. The abuse of power by this administration and its imposition of debt is stunning. Yes, previous administrations abused power and increased the national debt. That is not part of the current debate. President Obama, his minions, and his useful idiots do not care one damn bit about you, the individual. Power is what they want. Just like the Terminator, they do not feel remorse, fear, or pain. And they absolutely will not stop - ever - until you are dead.

What should be done? To paraphrase Hicks from the movie Aliens, "I say we take off, and nuke the site - politically - from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Post-Constitution America, Day 14

Where is the appeal from the Obama administration? And why are the Attorneys General of the several States suing the federal government not pushing their advantage? ObamaCare is unconstitutional, yet the administration is silently implementing its plans.

Here is the relevant portion from Judge Vinson's opinion, and his conclusion:


(5) Injunction
The last issue to be resolved is the plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief
enjoining implementation of the Act, which can be disposed of very quickly.
Injunctive relief is an “extraordinary” [Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, 456
U.S. 305, 312, 102 S. Ct. 1798, 72 L. Ed. 2d 91 (1982)], and “drastic” remedy
[Aaron v. S.E.C., 446 U.S. 680, 703, 100 S. Ct. 1945, 64 L. Ed. 2d 611 (1980)
(Burger, J., concurring)]. It is even more so when the party to be enjoined is the
federal government, for there is a long-standing presumption “that officials of the
Executive Branch will adhere to the law as declared by the court. As a result, the
declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction.” See Comm. on
Judiciary of U.S. House of Representatives v. Miers, 542 F.3d 909, 911 (D.C. Cir.
2008); accord Sanchez-Espinoza v. Reagan, 770 F.2d 202, 208 n.8 (D.C. Cir.
1985) (“declaratory judgment is, in a context such as this where federal officers
are defendants, the practical equivalent of specific relief such as an injunction . . .
since it must be presumed that federal officers will adhere to the law as declared
by the court”) (Scalia, J.) (emphasis added).
There is no reason to conclude that this presumption should not apply here.
Thus, the award of declaratory relief is adequate and separate injunctive relief is
not necessary.

CONCLUSION
The existing problems in our national health care system are recognized by
everyone in this case. There is widespread sentiment for positive improvements
that will reduce costs, improve the quality of care, and expand availability in a way
that the nation can afford. This is obviously a very difficult task. Regardless of how
laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the Act,
Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution. Again,
this case is not about whether the Act is wise or unwise legislation. It is about the
Constitutional role of the federal government.


For the reasons stated, I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded
the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. That is
not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and
inequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one sixth
of the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform and
regulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal dispute
has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here.*(* On this point, it should be emphasized that while the individual mandate was clearly “necessary and essential” to the Act as drafted, it is not “necessary and essential” to health care reform in general. It is undisputed that there are various other (Constitutional) ways to accomplish what Congress wanted to do. Indeed, I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that "if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house.” See Interview on CNN’s American Morning, Feb. 5, 2008, transcript available at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0802/05/ltm.02.html. In fact, he pointed
to the similar individual mandate in Massachusetts --- which was imposed under the
state’s police power, a power the federal government does not have --- and opined
that the mandate there left some residents “worse off” than they had been before.
See Christopher Lee, Simple Question Defines Complex Health Debate, Washington
Post, Feb. 24, 2008, at A10 (quoting Senator Obama as saying: "In some cases,
there are people [in Massachusetts] who are paying fines and still can't afford
[health insurance], so now they're worse off than they were . . . They don't have
health insurance, and they're paying a fine . . .”).

Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the
entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I
am aware that it will have indeterminable implications. At a time when there is
virtually unanimous agreement that health care reform is needed in this country, it
is hard to invalidate and strike down a statute titled “The Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act.” As Judge Luttig wrote for an en banc Fourth Circuit in
striking down the “Violence Against Women Act” (before the case was appealed
and the Supreme Court did the same):


No less for judges than for politicians is the temptation to
affirm any statute so decorously titled. We live in a time
when the lines between law and politics have been
purposefully blurred to serve the ends of the latter. And,
when we, as courts, have not participated in this most
perniciously machiavellian of enterprises ourselves, we
have acquiesced in it by others, allowing opinions of law
to be dismissed as but pronouncements of personal
agreement or disagreement. The judicial decision making
contemplated by the Constitution, however, unlike at
least the politics of the moment, emphatically is not a
function of labels. If it were, the Supreme Court assuredly
would not have struck down the “Gun-Free School Zones
Act,” the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” the “Civil
Rights Act of 1871,” or the “Civil Rights Act of 1875.”
And if it ever becomes such, we will have ceased to be a
society of law, and all the codification of freedom in the
world will be to little avail.
Brzonkala, supra, 169 F.3d at 889.


In closing, I will simply observe, once again, that my conclusion in this case
is based on an application of the Commerce Clause law as it exists pursuant to the
Supreme Court’s current interpretation and definition. Only the Supreme Court (or a
Constitutional amendment) can expand that.

For all the reasons stated above and pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment (doc. 80) is hereby
GRANTED as to its request for declaratory relief on Count I of the Second
Amended Complaint, and DENIED as to its request for injunctive relief; and the
defendants’ motion for summary judgment (doc. 82) is hereby GRANTED on Count
IV of the Second Amended Complaint. The respective cross-motions are each
DENIED.

In accordance with Rule 57 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Title
Case No.: 3:10-cv-91-RV/EMT
Case 3:10-cv-00091-RV -EMT Document 150 Filed 01/31/11, 28, United States Code, Section 2201(a), a Declaratory Judgment shall be entered separately, declaring “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” unconstitutional.


DONE and ORDERED this 31st day of January, 2011.
/s/ Roger Vinson
ROGER VINSON
Senior United States District Judge


In other words, there is no severability of the individual mandated from the act. The whole act is therefore unconstitutional.

Statists love the courts, except when the courts don't love them back.

Thomas Friedman, OK, and Charlie Rose: Egypt

I do not typically watch Charlie Rose, the exception being his recent series on the brain. And I find Thomas Friedman repellent, OK? By chance I stumbled upon the two of them Thursday night.

The two of them were soooooo excited about the protests in Egypt that they barely took the time to wipe each other's chins. Here's a little context:

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: There’s a sense of ownership by a people who were
motivated to go down there by a profound sense of self, Charlie. A sense
that something -- the most precious thing had been stolen from them --
their dignity, OK, their ability to compete, the thrive, to shape their own
future. And that’s what they’re reclaiming.

When I walked out of the square, I was walking across that bridge out
there and a guy stopped me. He was from Saudi Arabia. He had his two boys
and his wife he said "I work in Saudi Arabia, I’m Egyptian. I came back.
I wanted to bring my two boys." They looked to be about eight years old.
He said "I want them to see this. I want it to be seared in their memory."

CHARLIE ROSE: Everybody knows this is a moment in history.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Absolutely.

CHARLIE ROSE: You also talk to people they know they’re young. They
also know that they’re professional people. They’re middle-class people.
They’re rich people. Tell me about the people you met who have changed
Egypt. Whatever the outcome, as you have said, it will be before Egypt and
after Egypt.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Yes. There’s a -- I feel privileged, Charlie, to be
here, OK, because if you’re not here you can’t understand it, I mean,
because it’s so unusual to see who’s in the square. Egypt’s in the square
-- Egypt of young men in jeans, women in veils and women in very modern
western clothes.


The above is from the beginning of the interview. I found myself wondering why these statements were heaped onto the Egyptian protests as lavish praise, but the Tea Party protests were depicted as violent, racist, and extreme. According to the logic of the President and his useful idiots, President Obama himself should step down. He is not viewed as legitimate by many people, regardless of the controversy over his birth certificate (which I view as a non-issue).

CHARLIE ROSE: Well, the most interesting thing I heard the vice
president say was the notion "I’m not sure Egypt and Egyptian culture is
ready for democracy. I’m not sure these people can manage their own
affairs. I’m not sure that they can take on the responsibility."

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: There’s only one name for that, Charlie. It’s
called the soft bigotry of low expectations, and that’s exactly what people
in that square so resent. Again, I talked to another guy today, and he
said -- this was a wealthy person who actually benefited from the status
quo but he wanted to be in the square because he wanted change. He
understood it was not stable.

The one thing he said that really struck me was he said "I was
embarrassed to tell people I was an Egyptian. Now after today I am not
embarrassed. I feel like I’m leading not only just the Arab world.
They’re like watching this in China."

This place has so much untapped potential. Egypt should have been the
Taiwan of the eastern Mediterranean in terms of economics -- Suez Canal,
big work force, right next to Europe. And yet they just drifted, and
because they drifted, the whole Arab world drifted, because this is the
center of gravity for the Arab world.

You change Egypt. If this has any kind of decent positive outcome --
and I pray it will and right now I don’t want to get ahead of it and we
shouldn’t -- but if it does it will have profound ramifications for this
region and beyond.

Instead of commenting like this about Egypt, why can't these two examine the United States, its President, and his administration in this fashion? The Statist likes to say that we are not ready (or smart enough) to handle the responsibility of our own affairs. As Friedman says, this is "the soft bigotry of low expectations." It is also the soft tyranny of government operating outside of constitutional restraint. That's exactly what the Tea Party protesters resent. This place has so much untapped potential. America should be the economic power we once were. But we are drifting. And because we are drifting, the whole free world is drifting with us, because we are the center of the free world.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Judicial Activism and the Tyranny of the Stupid

This is your president, in flagrante delicto, violating the constitution yet again. From The White House blog on the recent ruling striking down ObamaCare as unconstitutional:
This ruling is well out of the mainstream of judicial opinion...

Today’s ruling – issued by Judge Vinson in the Northern District of Florida – is a plain case of judicial overreaching. The judge’s decision contradicts decades of Supreme Court precedent...[T]he judge declared that the entire law is null and void even though the only provision he found unconstitutional was the “individual responsibility” provision. This decision is at odds with decades of established Supreme Court law...
...severable or not, the White House is obliged to comply with the ruling until an appeal is decided in their favor...

...

We don’t believe this kind of judicial activism will be upheld and we are confident that the Affordable Care Act will ultimately be declared constitutional by the courts.

History and the facts are on our side. Similar legal challenges to major new laws -- including the Social Security Act
...sold to the public as an insurance benefit program with individual accounts, but sold to the Supreme Court as a tax on income to be placed in the general fund...
the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act
...both opposed and filibustered by the Democrat party...
-- were all filed and all failed. And contrary to what opponents argue the new law falls well within Congress’s power to regulate economic activity under the Commerce Clause,
...meant to make commerce regular, i.e., to operate efficiently, just like a well-regulated militia...
the Necessary and Proper Clause,
...which applies when making laws to carry out the enumerated powers under Article I, Section 8...
and the General Welfare Clause
...which is defined by the enumerated powers under Article I, Section 8...
Those who claim that the “individual responsibility” provision exceeds Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce because it penalizes “inactivity” are simply wrong [!]. Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are actively making an economic decision that impacts all of us.
...define "us," please...
People who make an economic decision to forego [sic] health insurance do not opt out of the health care market. As Congress found, every year millions of people without insurance obtain health care
...what's wrong with paying cash?
they cannot pay for,
...illegal aliens?
shifting tens of billions of dollars in added cost onto those who have insurance
...true, but that's a problem for me and my insurance company...
and onto taxpayers [!]. There can be no doubt that this activity substantially affects interstate commerce, and Congress has the power to regulate it.
...persons who cannot pay are entitled to receive health care under current law, by the way...
The Affordable Care Act, through the individual responsibility requirement, will require everyone, if they can afford it, to carry some form of health insurance since everyone at some point in time participates in the health care system,
...wrong...
and incur costs that must be paid for. For the 83% of Americans who have coverage and who are already taking responsibility for their health care, their insurance premiums will decrease over time.
...wrong...
Many of those who are currently struggling to pay for insurance will get a new tax credit.
...yay!
Only those who are able to pay for health insurance will be responsible for obtaining it
...the rest will have it handed to them after the money is confiscated from a producer at the point of a gun...
Because most people would voluntarily purchase coverage as it becomes more affordable and the policy exempts those for whom purchase would cause a financial hardship [?], the Congressional Budget Office estimated that only 1 percent of all Americans would pay a penalty for not having health insurance in 2016
...how about a law requiring everyone to own a gun, and participate in the well-regulated militia? Where's my free gun?
The Affordable Care Act also bans insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. However, unless every American is required to have insurance, it would be cost prohibitive to cover people with pre-existing conditions [?].

Here’s why: If insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to anyone who applies for insurance – especially those who have health problems and are potentially more expensive to cover – then there is nothing stopping someone from waiting until they’re sick or injured to apply for coverage since insurance companies can’t say no.
...how will the government know if an individual has health insurance? Or if the individual can "afford" insurance or not? What is to stop someone from waiting until they are sick or injured if the fine is cheaper than insurance?
That would lead to double digit premiums increases – up to 20% – for everyone with insurance, and would significantly increase the cost health care spending nationwide
...liberal economics is a trip down the rabbit-hole...
We don’t let people wait until after they’ve been in a car accident to apply for auto insurance and get reimbursed, and we don’t want to do that with healthcare
...my point exactly. Rabbit-hole again...
If we’re going to outlaw discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, the only way to keep people from gaming the system and raising costs on everyone else is to ensure that everyone takes responsibility for their own health insurance.

Two federal courts and more than 100 constitutional scholars agree with these arguments
...so? If they all agreed to take a collective leap off a cliff, should we all follow like lemmings?
And representatives from important organizations like the American Cancer Society Action Network, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association
...the ANA is a left-wing organization closely linked to the AFL/CIO and the purple shirt goons at the SEIU. I refer the reader to this post about the Minnesota Nurses Association, an ANA subsidiary, and a threatened strike...
have all filed amicus briefs in similar cases supporting the Administration’s position. Event President Reagan’s Solicitor General Charles Fried
...a traitor to the conservative cause, to wit: Fried abandoned the McCain campaign to vote for Obama, and to make a "public erasure" of his support for John McCain because of the choice of Sarah Palin as the VP candidate...
has written, “the health care law’s enemies have no ally in the Constitution."
Fried also stated such gems as: "Do not call a policeman a motherfucker, no matter what you've learned in this course," "Carrying around a whiskey bottle is tough. You have to have it in a brown bag and look like a bum," and "The law is an ass." Nice...

In the end, we’re confident our arguments will carry the day and the health reform law will continue to make the health care system stronger for all of us. [emphasis mine]

Is it judicial activism to stand on the side of liberty? If we are not bound by the Constitution, what binds us to obey the laws of the Statist?