All posts in Freedoms

This is INSANITY folks–

My grandfathers who fought in WWII would be rolling in their graves if they could see the pathetic vile embarrassingly obsequious nation of wimps we have become.  We have an ambassador murdered and the obsessing over…ROMNEY?  Even libs know it’s insanity:

This goes way beyond Obama and the November election.  Now our universities and schools are closing because Muslims are threatening violence?

Hello?  Hello?

Bloomberg is just another vapid talking head

Michael is in charge of one of the largest military units in the world–the New York Police Department.  He says cops should go on strike if civilians don’t hand over their guns.  Is he suggesting that his police officers go on strike without gun control?  I don’t think so.  It’s really unbelievable.

Read this from Reason:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told CNN’s Piers Morgan last night that he doesn’t “understand why police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say we’re going to go on strike, we’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe.”

We’ve been hearing a lot of that recently. Earlier this year, The New York Times reprinted a Department of Justice press release and slapped this lede on top of it: “As violent crime has decreased across the country, a disturbing trend has emerged: Rising numbers of police officers are being killed.”

Bloomberg and The New York Times are both wrong:

Here’s the rest of the story.

 

A critical election

As Team Obama’s gloves come off we get more and more glimpses of the man he is and the vision for America that he holds. I am convinced that any American who is not already in the liberal tank can only support this man for president if he or she (a) is simply not paying attention and continues to just assume there’s no real difference between the parties and “he’ll do,” and/or (b) has no understanding of the history of our Republic and of the basic premise–liberty of the individual from the tyranny of the state–upon which it was founded.

For Obama, on the other hand, he’s just got a better idea.

Do I think he can implement a socialist state overnight? No. Do I think that is the political system he prefers? Absolutely. And when half of the country is on the government dole and a substantial enough number of the other half simply abdicates responsibility to vigilantly protect and preserve individual liberty, bad things can happen in a hurry. See Obamacare.

The unmasking of Obama is finally underway, but it is useless if the Americans who still have the power to slow down this train don’t act.

Here’s a great piece from Power Line:

THE OBAMAIAN PERSUASION IN AMERICAN POLITICS

One of the essential elements in President Obama’s transformation of the United States is a transformation in the understanding of the American people in the basic principles of political right. Obama is a proponent of the Progressive faith and its assault on the founding principles of the United States.

The Founders of the United States understood the protection of property rights to be bound up with freedom itself. “In a word,” James Madison explained, “as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights….” The Founders thus incorporated numerous provisions in the Constitution and Bill of Rights to protect the property rights of citizens from the power of the government.

Whatever else might be said about him, President Obama operates on a different philosophy of government from that of the Founders. His credo is reflected in the proposition: “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

The Founders thought that at some point the government had enough power. Obama, however, is a devout believer in unlimited government. The common denominator among so-called health care reform and financial regulatory reform as well and other elements of Obama’s program is the augmented power they confer on the government in general and the executive branch in particular.

On Friday night at a campaign stop in Roanoke President Obama stated his teaching in a form that echoes Elizabeth Warren. Video of Obama’s speech is accessible here; video of the Elizabeth Warren original is accessible here. It is useful to have it directly from Obama, and here it is:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

Obama continued:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

Certain deductions or inferences follow from Obama’s teaching. There is no just limit on the power of the government to take your property. Your property isn’t yours. What the government does not take from you by taxes or regulation remains yours conditionally, on the sufferance of the state.

Obama’s teaching presents us with a crisis in understanding. Responding to a similar crisis in understanding, the greatest Republican responded: “Now I ask you in all soberness, if all these things, if indulged in, if ratified, if confirmed and endorsed, if taught to our children, and repeated to them, do not tend to rub out the sentiment of liberty in the country, and to transform this Government into a government of some other form.” The answer is yes, and it applies every bit as much to Obama’s teaching as it did to Stephen Douglas’s.

Here’s the link.

Whaaaat? You mean Obama’s a hypocrite?!

It only makes it worse when you consider the most visceral hatred for Bush came from the compassionate liberals so horrified at the mistreatment of criminals in the War on Terror.  Of course, it was never really about that.

In a city full of them, Harold Koh is Washington’s biggest hypocrite.

As the dean of Yale Law School, Koh was the most prominent critic of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies, deriding them as “executive muscle-flexing.” The former President, Koh said, was the “torturer-in-chief.” In a 2002 interview with The New York Times, he referred to the war on terror as “legally undeclared” and questioned the administration’s right to kill terrorists on the battlefield. “What factual showing will demonstrate that they had warlike intentions against us and who sees that evidence before any action is taken?” he asked.

In 2009, after the election of Barack Obama, Koh was awarded the job of State Department legal adviser. Since that time, he has defended a war waged in Libya without explicit congressional authorization, drone strikes targeting suspected terrorists and the extrajudicial assassination of an American citizen who had become a leading Al Qaeda ideologist.

None of these, however, can be considered the greatest of Koh’s manifold hypocrisies. That honor stems from a 2010 speech in which he triumphantly declared that the Obama administration “unequivocally guarantee(s) humane treatment for all individuals in U.S. custody as a result of armed conflict” (emphasis original).

One wonders, then, what Koh would make of Eli Lake’s blockbuster Daily Beast story last week. Reporting from Somalia, Lake found a secret prison holding alleged terrorists captured by, or with the assistance of, the United States.

“Overcrowded, underfunded, and reeking of urine, the Bosaso Central Prison could make even the most dedicated insurgent regret ever getting into the terrorism business,” Lake wrote. The prison’s warden told Lake that nearly 400 men are being held in a facility designed for 300. There today exist an untold number of such prisons where terrorism suspects, dispensed with by the United States, live in substandard, dehumanizing conditions.

The proliferation of such hellish prisons — which make Guantanamo Bay look like Trump Tower — is a function of two, seemingly contradictory impulses of the Obama administration: a near-religious conviction in its own moral immaculateness and the imperative to wage an aggressive fight against Al Qaeda.

Is the Socialization of America Economically Impossible?

Brandon Smith at Alt-Market has written a very interesting piece that is turning up across the web.  His bottom line is that socialism is bankrupt as a system and the United States is already insolvent.

Unfortunately I don’t agree that Obamacare couldn’t be implemented or that we couldn’t as a country go a lot farther down the road towards socialism.  To buy into the argument as a practical matter is to invite a lot of pain on the belief that purity of reason always prevails.  In fact it rarely does, and it certainly does not in the short run.

That said, I would encourage you to read his article.  His premise is spot on and his conclusions are logical and, apart from the timing component, mostly correct.  Smith:

I understand the dream of the common socialist.  I was, after all, once a Democrat.  I understand the disparity created in our society by corporatism (not capitalism, though some foolish socialists see them as exactly the same).  I understand the drive and the desire to help other human beings, especially those in dire need, and the tendency to see government as the ultimate solution to all our problems.  That said, let’s be honest; government is in the end just a tool used by one group or another to implement a particular methodology or set of principles.  Unfortunately, what most socialists today don’t seem to understand is that no matter what strategies they devise, they will NEVER have control.  And, those they wish to help will be led to suffer, because the establishment does not care about them, or you.  The establishment does not think of what it can give, it thinks about what it can take.  Socialism, in the minds of the elites, is a con-game which allows them to quarry the favor of the serfs, and nothing more.

There are other powers at work in this world; powers that have the ability to play both sides of the political spectrum.  The money elite have been wielding the false left/right paradigm for centuries, and to great effect.  Whether socialism or corporatism prevails, they are the final victors, and the game continues onward…

Knowing this fact, I find that my reactions to the entire Obamacare debate rather muddled.  Really, I see the whole event as a kind of circus, a mirage, a distraction.  Perhaps it is because I am first and foremost an economic analyst, and when looking at Obamacare and socialization in general, I see no tangibility.  I see no threat beyond what we as Americans already face.  Let me explain…

Socialism Is Failure
A country that feels the need to socialize has, in my view, already failed culturally.  Read more…

Anyone but Obama, thy name is Mitt

Mitt Romney is making it hard to get behind him.  But we have no choice.  I will enthusiastically vote for Romney in November, at this point because Obama holds the gun that is pointed at our collective head.  Unfortunately he appears to be a tone deaf simple politician who lacks understanding when it comes to the great issue of our time, namely, freedom.  But he’s all we’ve got and he’s far far better than the alternative.

And who knows.  Maybe he’ll eventually rise to the occasion.

Here’s a piece from Powerline on the topic:

When the Mitt doesn’t fit

Romney campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom appeared on MSNBC yesterday (video clip below). What is a top Romney campaign adviser doing on MSNBC? Nothing good, as it turns out.

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd extracted Fehrnstrom’s concurrence with Obama that Obamacare’s mandate is not a tax. Taking Fehrnstrom as Romney’s spokesman, we can conclude that Romney begs to differ with Obama’s lawyers (i.e., Obama in court) and with the Supreme Court: it’s not a tax.

What can we learn from this? I offer a multiple choice question.

(a) Romney is not the ideal candidate to don the mantle of opposition to Obamacare.

(b) Romney’s political instincts are lacking on a key campaign issue.

(c) Romney’s campaign requires an overhaul.

(d) Romney isn’t much of a Power Line reader.

(e) All of the above.

Powerline.

What we should really be upset about

Obama’s Systematic Assault on the Truth

| @Peter_Wehner 07.02.2012 – 9:19 AM

The Democratic talking points have been issued and are being followed to the letter (see here and here). And they go like this: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not a tax; it’s a penalty. Those who suggests it’s a tax are wrong, in error, disingenuous, and dissemblers.

Here’s the problem, though: characterizing the Affordable Care Act as a tax isn’t simply the interpretation of Chief Justice John Roberts and a majority of the Supreme Court; it’s the interpretation of the Obama administration.

As this story put it:

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the Court had a duty to uphold an act of Congress if there was a constitutional basis for doing so. And the basis he seized on was the fallback argument [Solicitor General Donald] Verrilli included in the briefs—that the Constitution gives Congress a broad power to impose taxes to “provide for the general welfare.”

The government’s legal brief said the insurance mandate operates in practice as a tax law. No one would be prosecuted or punished for not having insurance. If they had taxable income, however, they would be forced to pay a small tax penalty.

The chief justice agreed with this argument, and so did the four liberal justices. Though Congress may not “order” people to buy insurance, Roberts held in the 5-4 decision, it may impose a small tax on those who refuse.

The Affordable Care Act, then, was upheld as constitutional based on the tax argument put forward by President Obama’s legal team. And yet the Obama administration is now insisting the Affordable Care Act never was a tax, is not now a tax, and shall never be a tax.

This is yet another example of how Barack Obama is a thoroughly post-modern president. Words and facts have no objective standing; they are relative, socially constructed, a way to advance personal reality. If referring to the Affordable Care Act as a tax helps advance the Obama agenda, then it’s a tax. If referring to the ACA as a penalty helps advance the Obama agenda, it becomes a penalty.

You like tomato and I like tomahto.

That philosophy may be fine for liberal arts professors and even tolerable among community organizers. But when the president of the United States systematically assaults truth—if words mean whatever you want them to mean—it becomes rather more problematic. Yet that is precisely where the United States finds itself in the summer of 2012.

From Commentary.

Hinderaker’s solid piece on Roberts’ thinking

This is a long but good write up that is worth reading.  Hinderaker is no conservative radical but he is sound, relatively unemotional and clear-thinking.  I like his approach.

Hinderaker:

It Was Always a Tax

Yesterday I posted the rather pathetic video of White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew on Fox News Sunday, where Lew struggled to deny that the Obamacare mandate is a tax, and that the Supreme Court upheld it only as such. When confronted with footage of the administration’s lawyer telling the Court that the mandate is a tax, Lew acted as though he had never heard such a thing before.

In fact, the Democrats have always argued that the Obamacare mandate is a tax, and as such is constitutional. During the debates in Congress, they emphasized this point when the law’s constitutionality came under attack. Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said:

Mr. President, our committee and the HELP Committee have given a lot of thought to the provisions in this legislation. We also gave a lot of thought to the constitutionality of the provisions—how they work and the interrelationship between the power of Congress and the States and what States will be doing, particularly under the commerce clause and the tax-and-spending powers of the Constitution.

It is very strongly our considered judgment, and that of many constitutional scholars who have looked at these provisions—and many articles have been put in the Record—that clearly these provisions are constitutional. The commerce clause is constitutional, the tax-and-spending clause, and the provisions clearly are constitutional.

Mr. President, the bill before us is clearly an appropriate exercise of the commerce clause. We further believe Congress has power to enact this legislation pursuant to the taxing and spending powers.

These were always the Democrats’ two arguments. It is worth noting that they were not arguing in the alternative; there is no inconsistency between the two theories. They always claimed that Obamacare was constitutionally justified by both the Commerce Clause and the Tax and Spend clause. Read more…

The Journal declares the apocalypse

From the annals of overreaction, here’s the Journal’s take on Roberts’ opinion.  Is the writer wrong?  Probably not, with respect to many of the details.  But I stand by my earlier post.  We live in a democracy, folks, like it or not.  Talk about a republic all you want but in those famous cliched words, it is what it is.

So read this.  Think about it.  Then do something if you care.

A Vast New Taxing Power

The Chief Justice’s ObamaCare ruling is far from the check on Congress of right-left myth.

The commentary on John Roberts’s solo walk into the Affordable Care Act wilderness is converging on a common theme: The Chief Justice is a genius. All of a sudden he is a chessmaster, a statesman, a Burkean minimalist, a battle-loser but war-winner, a Daniel Webster for our times.

Now that we’ve had more time to take in Chief Justice Roberts’s reasoning, we have a better summary: politician. In fact, his 5-4 ruling validating the constitutional arguments against purchase mandates and 5-4 ruling endorsing them as taxes is far more dangerous, and far more political, even than it first appeared last week.

Editorial board member Joe Rago on how Chief Justice John Roberts’s rewrite of ObamaCare weakens the Constitution’s federalist structure. Photo: Associated Press

This is a minority view. By right-left acclaim, at least among elites, the Chief Justice has engineered a Marbury v. Madison-like verdict that camouflages new limits on federal power as a reprieve for President Obama’s entitlement legacy and in a stroke enhanced the Supreme Court’s reputation—and his own. This purported “long game” appeals to conservatives who can console themselves with a moral victory, while the liberals who like to assail the Chief Justice as a radical foe of democracy can continue their tantrum.

It’s an elegant theory whose only flaw is that it is repudiated by Chief Justice Roberts’s own language and logic. His gambit substitutes one unconstitutional expansion of government power for another and rearranges the constitutional architecture of the U.S. political system. Read more…

Enough with the whining and hand-wringing. Let’s move on

I’m as interested in what the pundits and legal analysts have to say about the recent Obamacare ruling as the next guy. It was an absolutely fascinating piece of jurisprudence that people, and future courts, will be trying to untangle perhaps for generations to come.

But I’m tired of hearing the whining and moaning and the et tu’s from my conservative allies. First of all, I’ll say again, I don’t like the ruling any more than anyone else. I loathe Obamacare and the intrusions of the federal government in the private lives of others. I fear the collapse of our economy and free society under continued statist-inclined administrations and Congresses. I believe it will happen some day.

But on the whole we’ve been headed in that direction, with some interspersed periods of respite, since at least the 1930s. More government, more entitlements, more taxes, more regulations, fewer freedoms. Has the price been worth paying? That is part of the debate that is going on right now. Wake up and join it.

Let’s consider some facts about Obamacare:

1. During his 2008 campaign Obama was vehemently and openly opposed to the individual mandate.
2. Obama flipped and decided to support the individual mandate once he was safely in office. But he made clear it was definitely not a tax!
3. Obamacare made it to a vote because of an elected Republican.
4. The legislation was passed by a democratically elected Democrat-controlled Congress and signed into law by a democratically elected Democratic President.
5. At the moment the legislation passed very few people seriously thought that the Supreme Court would overturn the new law. (By the way as a rule conservative-minded folks should never hope for salvation from the courts!)
6. As time passed and the arguments were fleshed out, lo and behold, everyone, including the president, began to appreciate that maybe the mandate (and therefore the law itself) might not be constitutional. Oops.
7. All of a sudden even intrade was in on the action, setting the likelihood that the Supreme Court would overturn Obamacare at 70%.
8. And everyone was right, until Roberts pulled the rabbit out of his hat, rejecting Obama’s commerce-based arguments while making other arguments on his behalf that he wasn’t really wanting to make, thereby formally ushering us all into an era that our elected officials in their wisdom have crafted for us.
9. Wait a second! It is a tax!
10. No one was betrayed. It’s just that no one intervened. And we now have as a law a ridiculous and largely unread behemoth set of binding rules that will be funded by a penalty tax levied against people who can least afford to pay. And that doesn’t even touch the inevitable massive increase in costs and inefficiencies as the people who brought you the post office assume the reins of your health care. If it weren’t real it would all be pure comedy.

If you care, then let’s stop the whining and join the fight. November is going to be huge.

Taranto

“Bitter concurrence” may sound like an oxymoron, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, joined by colleagues Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, filed one yesterday in NFIB v. Sebelius, the ObamaCare case.

Reuters
Justice Ginsburg
Ginsburg was full of snark, and her target was Chief Justice John Roberts (citations omitted): “According to the Chief Justice the Commerce Clause does not permit that preservation. This rigid reading of the Clause makes scant sense and is stunningly retrogressive. . . . The Chief Justice’s crabbed reading of the Commerce Clause harks back to the era in which the Court routinely thwarted Congress’ efforts to regulate the national economy in the interest of those who labor to sustain it. . . . The Chief Justice’s novel constraint on Congress’ commerce power gains no force from our precedent and for that reason alone warrants disapprobation. . . . The Chief Justice also calls the minimum coverage provision an illegitimate effort to make young, healthy individuals subsidize insurance premiums paid by the less hale and hardy. This complaint, too, is spurious. . . . Failing to learn from this history, the Chief Justice plows ahead with his formalistic distinction between those who are “active in commerce,” and those who are not. . . . The Chief Justice accepts just such specious logic when he cites the broccoli horrible as a reason to deny Congress the power to pass the individual mandate. . . . If long on rhetoric, the Chief Justice’s argument is short on substance.”

This outpouring of vitriol led the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, always conscious of the need for civility, to pen a column demanding her resignation. Oh wait, sorry, that was another justice’s dissent in another case. Still, a call for Ginsburg’s resignation is a “fairly possible” construction of the Dionne column.

If Ginsburg’s side won the case, why is she so angry? Because on the central constitutional question at issue, Roberts in fact issued the legal left a powerful rebuke. To quote from his opinion–a portion of it in which he spoke only for himself but with which the four dissenters (that is, the actual dissenters–Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito) agree: “The Commerce Clause is not a general license to regulate an individual from cradle to grave simply because he will predictably engage in particular transactions.”

Those of us who follow the Supreme Court closely can name cases in which the court reached the right decision but did so with faulty constitutional analysis. Sometimes this has long-lasting negative repercussions. One of our favorite examples is University of California Regents v. Bakke (1978), in which the high court by a 5-4 vote struck down a scheme of racial discrimination in college admissions.

Justice Lewis Powell was in the majority. But he wrote a lone opinion expressing the view that the goal of having a “diverse student body” justified racial discrimination. Colleges that wished to practice discrimination exploited this loophole, and in 2003′sGrutter v. Bollinger, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor adopted it as a constitutional doctrine, albeit an intellectually frivolous one, for reasons Justice Anthony Kennedy made clear in his dissent. Nearly 35 years after Bakke, discrimination persists thanks to Justice Powell’s half-baked notion.

In NFIB v. Sebelius, Chief Justice Roberts did something of the opposite. He provided some splendid analysis of the Commerce Clause, setting a precedent that may have beneficial repercussions in coming years. He then proceeded, as the dissenters wrote, “deep into the forbidden land of the sophists.” He engaged in a convoluted reconstruction of the statute in order to reach a bad result.

That drew some revealing plaudits. Jonathan Chait of New York magazine: “Roberts peered into the abyss of a world in which he and his colleagues are little more than Senators with lifetime appointments, and he recoiled. The long-term war over the shape of the state goes on, but the crisis of legitimacy has been averted. I have rarely felt so relieved.”

The “crisis of legitimacy” that Chait claims Roberts averted would have consisted of people like Chait screaming bloody murder about a 5-4 decision whose result they didn’t like. A 5-4 decision whose result they like is just dandy. In other words, the source of the hypothetical “crisis of legitimacy” was not the decision or the 5-4 vote but the left’s rejection of it.

Podcast

James Taranto on NFIB v. Sebelius.

We’d go a step further and say that the left in America is experiencing its own crisis of legitimacy, in part as a result of the welfare state’s crisis of resources. The combination of slow economic growth and already sclerotic government makes it increasingly difficult to expand the latter in order to maintain the loyalty of Democratic voting blocs. The Democrats’ and public-sector unions’ political failures in Wisconsin are the most dramatic example of the increasingly adversarial relationship between taxpayers and those who are rewarded with tax dollars for supporting the party.

The pre-emptive attacks on the Supreme Court were of a piece with the increasingly desperate and absurd charges of racism that those on the left hurl at their opponents. Again, they are projecting their own illegitimacy onto others.

The most charitable way of describing Roberts’s apparent motive in upholding ObamaCare is that even as he was advancing good legal doctrine, he wished to shield the court from a political storm. That is an understandable impulse, though we are skeptical that yielding to it was wise.

“Liberals who waxed hysterical about a politicized court need to reckon with the fact that the most ‘political’ of all the opinions on the health care law was the one that ultimately upheld it,” writes the New York Times’s Ross Douthat. Actually, they don’t need to reckon with it unless they suddenly develop intellectual integrity.

But a reckoning may be in order for Chief Justice Roberts. He appears to believe that in order to get beyond politicization, he must first take account of politics. Perhaps instead the way to stop deciding cases on the basis of politics is to stop deciding cases on the basis of politics.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304058404577496662674376768.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

Commentary Magazine rejects the idea that conservatives should take comfort in Roberts’ decision

Omri Ceren is spot on in many respects. As I mentioned before, I think Kennedy got it right in his dissent and Roberts should have probably just stuck to his conservative guns. The fact is the political war over the direction of our country will not end by conservatives throwing bones and asking for peace.

You cannot rely on judicial nuance to carry votes. And while Obama and Pelosi are gloating now, it will only get worse as we approach November. Democrats will not claim victory on Obamacare with an asterisk.

But what I come back to is the fact that ultimately it is up to the people, the masses, when it comes to what kind of government they want. And we might as well get this show on the road.

I am not optimistic at all that we will win this battle in November. But one thing that Roberts has done for us is drawn a clear line in the sand.

You are either for it or against it. The people will decide.

November’s vote will go down as one of the most important elections in our nation’s history. You watch. Or better yet, vote.