Obama's contempt for the constitution
An administration that has no respect for Congress, the courts or the Constitution has been found in contempt for reissuing a drilling moratorium that a U.S. district judge found overly broad.
The Obama administration's trouble with the courts has continued with a judge's ruling last week that the Interior Department's reinstating of a drilling moratorium followed by a de facto moratorium via an overly restrictive permitting process constituted contempt.
The administration had issued a drilling moratorium in May in waters deeper than 500 feet after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off Louisiana that resulted in the spill of more than 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
In June, Martin Feldman of the Eastern District Court of Louisiana struck down Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's original moratorium, saying it was overkill based on flawed reasoning. "If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are?" Feldman asked in his ruling. "That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed and rather overbearing."
Feldman further asked: "Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines?" The administration's answer still seems to be yes, as offshore oil rigs find their way to other shores, and communities dry up along with the oil business that sustained them.
So the administration went back, rearranged a few words and a few deck chairs, and reissued its moratorium. That one was officially lifted in October, although the permitting process, which mysteriously includes shallow-water wells, has had the effect of continuing the moratorium.
Feldman was not amused. "Each step the government took following the court's imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance," the judge said in his ruling. "Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the reimposition of a second moratorium . .. provides this court with clear and convincing evidence of its contempt."
Feldman even accused the administration of outright lying, pointing out that "at the hearing on the first moratorium, in response to a question by the court, the government's answer then was wholly at odds with the story of the misleading text change by a White House official, a story the government does not now dispute."
As we have noted, now-departing climate czar Carol Browner's office edited a May 27, 2010, report to President Obama by a panel of experts brought together by the administration to review offshore drilling safety. The report was altered to make it seem like the panelists supported the administration's six-month drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico when they did not.
It is not so much that the Obama administration differs with the law, but that it considers itself above it — even above the Constitution. Successive smack-downs by the courts on ObamaCare's health insurance mandate as unconstitutional are a result of its overreach. It's also being challenged in its use of EPA regulations to go around the will of Congress and the sovereignty of the states.
We remember last year's State of the Union address in which Obama lectured the justices of the Supreme Court sitting in front of him that they had "reversed a century of law" by lifting restrictions on corporate and union spending in federal elections. Justice Samuel Alito visibly shook his head and mouthed the words, "Not true."
As Feldman noted in his original ruling, the drilling moratorium was groundless on both the law and the facts. The moratorium is driven by ideology and not safety. Its purpose was to further the administration's war on domestic energy production, including a seven-year ban on offshore drilling off both coasts and the eastern Gulf.
It includes putting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge off-limits and designating oil- and gas-rich Alaskan waters as critical polar bear habitat in the face of an exploding bear population. It continues to place energy-rich lands in the West off-limits in a nation starved for energy and jobs.
In 2012 the American people should also hold the Obama administration in contempt.
Passenger Trains: Clearly the Change We've Been Waiting For
At last month's State of the Union, President Obama said America needs more passenger trains. How does he know? For years, politicians promised that more of us will want to commute by train, but it doesn't happen. People like their cars. Some subsidized trains cost so much per commuter that it would be cheaper to buy them taxi rides.
The grand schemes of the politicians fail and fail again. By contrast, the private sector, despite harassment from government, gives us better stuff for less money -- without central planning. It's called a spontaneous order. Lawrence Reed, of the Foundation for Economic Education, explains it this way:
"Spontaneous order is what happens when you leave people alone -- when entrepreneurs ... see the desires of people ... and then provide for them.
"They respond to market signals, to prices. Prices tell them what's needed and how urgently and where. And it's infinitely better and more productive than relying on a handful of elites in some distant bureaucracy."
This idea is not intuitive. Good things will happen if we leave people alone? Some of us are stupid -- Obama and his advisers are smart. It's intuitive to think they should make decisions for the wider group.
"No," Reed responded. "In a market society, the bits of information that are needed to make things work -- to result in the production of things that people want -- are interspersed throughout the economy. What brings them together are forces of supply and demand, of changing prices." Prices are information.
The personal-computer revolution is a great example of spontaneous order.
"No politician, no bureaucrat, no central planner, no academic sat behind a desk before that happened, before Silicon Valley emerged and planned it," Reed added. "It happened because of private entrepreneurs responding to market opportunities. And one of the great virtues of that is if they don't get it right, they lose their shirts. The market sends a signal to do something else. When politicians get it wrong, you and I pay the price.
"We have this engrained habit of thinking that if somebody plans it, if somebody lays down the law and writes the rules, order will follow," he continued. "And the absence of those things will somehow lead to chaos. But what you often get when you try to enforce mandates and restrictions from a distant bureaucracy is planned chaos, as the great economist Ludwig on Mises once said. We have to rely more upon what emerges spontaneously because it represents individuals' personal tastes and choices, not those of distant politicians."
Another way to understand spontaneous order is to think about the simple pencil. Leonard Read, who established the Foundation for Economic Education, wrote an essay titled, "I, Pencil," which began, "(N)o single person on the face of this earth knows how to make (a pencil)."
That sounds absurd -- but think about it. No one person can make a pencil. Vast numbers of people participate in making the materials that become a pencil: the wood, the brass, the graphite, the rubber for the eraser, the paint and so on. Then go back another step, to the people who make the saws and machinery that are used to make the materials that go into a pencil. And before that, people mine iron to make the steel that makes the machines that make the materials that go into a pencil. It's all without central direction, without these people even knowing they are all working ultimately to make pencils. Thousands of people mining, melting, cutting, assembling, packing, selling, shipping -- and yet you can buy pencils for a few pennies each.
That's spontaneous order, and it's replicated with every product we buy, no matter how complex. The mind boggles.
Planned Parenthood, Spiked
Those censorious liberals who truly hate the very existence of the Fox News Channel denounce it for being a political organization, not truly a news network. Behind that line is decades of liberals being able to strangle, smother and spike news stories they didn't like. Liberals defined what "news" was and what it wasn't. They're still at it today.
Take the pro-life group Live Action. On Feb. 1, they released shocking videos showing what they found when they brought hidden cameras into Planned Parenthood clinics, with a man and woman posing as pimp and prostitute. An office manager was taped telling the "pimp" how to evade the law, such as lying about prostitutes' ages if they were children 14 or over. Any younger, and the clinic would be obligated to report to the authorities. "We want as little information as possible," she said conspiratorially.
That matches very nicely with the mindsets of ABC, CBS and NBC, which absolutely refused to acknowledge the existence of this damning video. (Fox News did cover it, and so did CNN.)
The same gaggle of broadcast TV watchdogs that has mustered endless outrage over the notion that the Catholic Church would fail to alert authorities about sexual abuse of minors is utterly uninterested in the sexual abuse of minors when someone more pleasing to secular progressives -- like that abortion factory Planned Parenthood -- is caught on camera.
Live Action has been exposing Planned Parenthood since 2007. You would think that by 2011, their clinic personnel would be more careful. It is just the opposite. Their disinterest toward statutory rape and child sexual abuse is shocking.
The latest Live Action exposes began with a visit to a clinic in Perth Amboy, N.J. The office manager advised the "pimp" that underage girls should lie about their age to get around any troublesome questions about statutory rape. She also insisted an underage girl is "entitled to care without mom knowing what the hell is going on."
This woman has now been fired. But lying and squashing information is apparently Planned Parenthood policy. Another video broke, this time from Falls Church, Va., where a clinic worker told the man, "We don't necessarily look at the legal status, like I said. Abortion appointments do require photo ID. It's nothing as far as records. It's just photo ID that's ever going to be required."
In Roanoke, Va., a Planned Parenthood staffer suggested the man consider going to the Health Department with his little girls, since it would be cheaper and easier: "They're discreet. They're confidential. They, you know, don't tell people what's going on, because -- frankly -- it's nobody's business."
The video exposes continued. In Charlottesville, Va., another clinic worker sympathized with the pimp: "Anybody here can help you. Everything here is confidential. We can't give any information out."
The networks refused to acknowledge these stings. But it's not a matter of journalistic principle, objecting to hidden cameras. It's all about politics.
Job openings fall for second straight month: "Employers posted fewer job openings in December, the second straight month of declines. That's a sign hiring is still weak even as the economy is gaining strength. The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers advertised nearly 3.1 million jobs that month, a drop of almost 140,000 from November. That's the lowest total since September. Openings have risen by more than 700,000 since they bottomed out in July 2009, one month after the recession ended. That's an increase of 31 percent. But they are still far below the 4.4 million available jobs that were advertised in December 2007, when the recession began."
House seen blocking healthcare funds: "The U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote to block funding for President Barack Obama's signature healthcare overhaul when it takes up a budget plan next week, House Republican Leader Eric Cantor said on Tuesday. "I expect to see one way or other the product coming out of the House to speak to that and to preclude any funding to be used for that," Cantor said at a news conference, referring to an effort to block implementation of the health-care law. House Republicans aim to pass a spending measure next week that would immediately cut at least $32 billion from the government's $3.7 trillion budget"
Probe clears Toyota electronics over runaways, lawsuits remain: "A U.S. government probe cleared Toyota Motor Corp's electronics of causing unintended acceleration, a big victory for the world's top automaker as it seeks to recover from the hit it took over runaway vehicle accidents. The findings vindicated Toyota's position that it had identified and fixed the only known safety problems with popular vehicles like the Camry by focusing on mechanical issues with accelerator pedals and the risk that floormats could trap the pedal in the open position."
IL: ACLU slams Chicago’s surveillance system: "A vast network of high-tech surveillance cameras that allows Chicago police to zoom in on a crime in progress and track suspects across the city is raising privacy concerns. Chicago's path to becoming the most-watched US city began in 2003 when police began installing cameras with flashing blue lights at high-crime intersections. The city has now linked more than 10,000 public and privately owned surveillance cameras in a system dubbed Operation Virtual Shield, according to a report published Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union."
The drug war is expanding: "There is no question that the war on drugs is a failure. In spite of decades of prohibition laws, threats of fines and/or imprisonments, and massive propaganda campaigns, drugs are available and affordable. The Mental Health Services Administration — a government agency — has reported that marijuana, ecstasy, and methamphetamine use has recently increased."
Regulation without representation: "Regulatory agencies enact more than 3,500 new regulations in an average year. A new federal rule hits the books roughly every two hours, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Compare that with Congress, which passes fewer than 200 pieces of legislation per year. Only Congress has the power to legislate in the American system of government, but Congress never actually votes on most regulations."
The Wallison dissent: "Wallison, as you may know, is one of the few experts wanting to put most of the blame for the crisis on government pressure on Freddie, Fannie, and the banks to reduce lending standards. One of the criticisms leveled at this view is that it is impossible to blame U.S. housing policy for foreign housing bubbles. As you can see, Wallison's comeback is that foreign housing bubbles did not produce as much financial devastation, because mortgage credit standards were not as heavily compromised as in the U.S."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)