Monday, January 02, 2012

Obama’s Osawatomie speech is a gift to the American People

In a recent blog, investment strategist Ed Yardeni ( referred to Gallup Poll results finding that a landslide of the U.S. public (64%) regards big government as the country's biggest threat, not big business (26%) or big labor (8%).

The results of the poll are all the more dramatic considering that today 48% of Democrats are worried about the harmful consequences of big government, a number that was 32% just two years ago.

Having presented Gallup's findings, Yardeni turned to the speech President Obama gave December 6th in Osawatomie, Kansas, and found its purpose as "channeling" Teddy Roosevelt (TR), who gave his "New Nationalism" speech in the same town.

In its totality, the Osawatomie speech represents a hugely important gift to the American people for the following reasons.

First, together with Obama's record, which includes his big, corrupt, government-as-usual stimulus bill and his '60s-welfare-style, no real reform healthcare law, the speech reminds the public of the enormous disconnect between same old worn out politics President Obama and the illusion of "post everything" candidate Obama of limitless hope and change.

Yes, the speech shows Obama for the big government liberal he is at heart, even as Main Street Americans have plain had it with being told the best of all possible governmental worlds has them playing the role of sheep to their elitist shepherd betters.

To be precise, the American people are damn sick and tired of being told to subjugate themselves to the alleged deep learning and far sighted wisdom of people such as those who freed banks to become subsidized casinos and encouraged mortgage markets to become venues for social experimentation, a corrupt, bi-partisan mob that includes the likes of Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, George Bush, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, and (how could I neglect him and his superbly elitist credentials?) Jon Corzine, one-time CEO of Goldman Sachs, U.S. Senator, New Jersey governor, and, until recently, honcho of MF Global.

Second, in its vagueness and childishly silly contradictions, the speech informs every open-minded citizen that despite the nation's crying out for real solutions to real problems, Obama intends to run his re-election campaign with the same shameless vacuity he exhibited in '08.

This arrogance despite the reality that the public is in no mood to suffer the kind of insulting generalities Demagogue Obama dumped on the people of Osawatomie.

In no mood to hear old, rotten, insufferably reeking political garbage whereby a president pompously pronounces that "We should be known for creating and selling products all around the world that are stamped with the proud words: Made in America" without admitting he has done absolutely nothing to reform the nation's trade policies.

In no mood to hear a president running for re-election complain that "We should be a country where everyone has a chance to go to college [without incurring] $100,000 of debt" and yet fail to be honest about the perniciously ironic truth that for decades big government involvement has caused college costs to significantly outpace inflation even as it has promoted the lie that every student is better off going to college.

Yes, as the Gallup poll shows, the county is in no mood to hear that the way to fix its problems is to further fatten the repulsively obese, wasteful sow that is Washington.

That's why the speech in Osawatomie in which Barack Obama reveals himself as in love with her every insatiable whim ("Let's hire 15,000 additional IRS agents to enforce Obamacare!") was the best present he could give the nation as it closes out yet another agonizing year.



Camel noses in tents

Walter E. Williams

National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman has called for states to mandate a total ban on cellphone usage while driving. She has also encouraged electronics manufacturers -- via recommendations to the CTIA-The Wireless Association and the Consumer Electronics Association -- to develop features that "disable the functions of portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion." That means she wants to be able to turn off your cellphone while you're driving.

With very little evidence, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration claims that there were some 3,092 roadway fatalities last year that involved distracted drivers. Americans ought to totally reject Hersman's agenda. It's the camel's nose into the tent. Down the road, we might expect mandates against talking to passengers while driving or putting on lipstick. They may even mandate the shutdown of drive-in restaurants as a contributory factor to driver distraction through eating while driving. You say, "Come on, Williams, you're paranoid. There are already laws against distracted driving, and it would never come to that!" Let's look at some other camels' noses into tents.

During the legislative debate before enactment of the 16th Amendment, Republican President William Taft and congressional supporters argued that only the rich would ever pay federal income taxes. In fact, in 1913, only one-half of 1 percent of income earners were affected. Those earning $250,000 a year in today's dollars paid 1 percent, and those earning $6 million in today's dollars paid 7 percent. The 16th Amendment never would have been enacted had Americans not been duped into believing that only the rich would pay income taxes. It was simply a lie to exploit American gullibility and envy.

The fact of the matter is that the founders of our nation so feared the imposition of direct taxes, such as an income tax, that Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution says, "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken." It was not until the Abraham Lincoln administration that an income tax was imposed on Americans. Its stated purpose was to finance the war, but it took until 1872 for it to be repealed. During the Grover Cleveland administration, Congress enacted the Income Tax Act of 1894. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1895. It took the 16th Amendment (1913) to make permanent what the founders feared.

Another camel's nose in the tent lie that's threatening the economic collapse of our country is the Medicare lie. At its beginning, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion. The House Ways and Means Committee, along with President Lyndon Johnson, estimated that Medicare would cost an inflation-adjusted $12 billion by 1990. In 1990, Medicare topped $107 billion. That's nine times Congress' prediction. Today's Medicare tab comes to $523 billion and shows no signs of leveling off. The 2009 Medicare trustees report put the unfunded Medicare liability at $89 trillion. The 1966 Medicare cost estimate was simply a congressional and White House lie to get the American people to buy into their agenda. But not to worry; the real Medicare crisis won't hit the nation until today's beneficiaries and political supporters are dead. It's today's children who'll bear the burden of our profligacy.

But back to the proposed cellphone ban. NTSB Chairwoman Hersman said: "It's going to be very unpopular with some people. We're not here to win a popularity contest. We're here to do the right thing." C.S. Lewis warned us about people like Hersman, saying: "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."



Downsizing and Weakening the U.S. Military

Unless you follow writers such as Bill Gertz and others, you probably don’t have much of a feel for just how extensive the downsizing of the U.S. military, especially the Air Force, has been over the past twelve years. Yes, that includes the entire Bush II administration. It’s not just the personnel numbers involved, it’s also the reduction/delay/cancellation of procurement contracts, closing of bases and shipyards, awarding contracts to overseas suppliers rather than domestic manufacturers, et cetera, so on and so forth.

Also part of the scheme are practices such as the directed persecution of American combatants, as is exemplified by the prosecution of the Marines involved in the Haditha killings and the Lt. Pantano witch hunt. When all was said and done, charges against the Lieutenant were dropped after the long-sought physical evidence was finally unearthed and examined. But there’s no need to go to that much trouble to kill esprit de corps and combat effectiveness. Just RIF some officers close to the 20-year mark and screw them out of retirement and medical benefits. That’s how you fill officer ranks in the future.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Forced terminations with no pensions or benefits is no way to reward airmen after years of faithful service

During the holiday season, Americans especially remember our servicemen and women deployed to faraway lands, serving in harm’s way. We send packages abroad, light candles in their honor, and donate toys for military tots. However, what really matters is how we treat them when they come home. Sadly, we don’t always treat them well.

A case in point: This holiday season, the Air Force has “separated” (that is, fired) 157 officers on the eve of their retirement, including pilots flying dangerous missions, to avoid paying their pensions. According to Department of Defense Instructions, those within six years of their 20-year retirement (with no disciplinary blemishes on their record) have the option to remain in service. Nevertheless, the Air Force is committing terminations of airmen a few years away from retirement en masse, citing budget constraints.

Maj. Kale Mosley is one example. He is an Air Force Academy graduate and a pilot who has flown more than 250 combat missions. He deployed to Libya this summer with 30 hours notice. When he returned, the military immediately sent him to Iraq. Just as he was boarding the plane for Iraq, the Air Force gave him his walking papers, effective Nov. 30. Maj. Mosley will not receive a pension or long-term health-care benefits for his family. He is the father of a toddler and a newborn.



The Supreme Court's judgment isn't final

by Jeff Jacoby

NEWT GINGRICH'S PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS may be heading for the exits -- opinion polls suggest that the former House speaker's hour has come and gone -- but his critique of judicial supremacy deserves to taken seriously no matter what happens in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Contrary to popular belief, their judgments were never meant to be revered "almost as if God has spoken."

In a 54-page position paper, Gingrich challenges the widely held belief that the Supreme Court is the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution. Though nothing in the Constitution says so, there is now an entrenched presumption that once the court has decided a constitutional question, no power on earth short of a constitutional amendment -- or a later reversal by the court itself -- can alter that decision.

Thus, when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was asked for her reaction to the Supreme Court's notorious eminent-domain ruling in Kelo v. New London, she replied as though a new tablet had been handed down from Sinai: "It is a decision of the Supreme Court. If Congress wants to change it, it will require legislation of a level of a constitutional amendment. So this is almost as if God has spoken."

But judges are not divine and their opinions are not holy writ. As every American schoolchild learns, the judiciary is intended to be a co-equal branch of government, not a paramount one. If the Supreme Court wrongly decides a constitutional case, nothing obliges Congress or the president -- or the states or the people, for that matter -- to simply bow and accept it.

Naturally this isn't something the courts have been eager to concede. Judges are no more immune to the lure of power than anybody else, and their assertion of judicial supremacy -- plus what Gingrich calls "the passive acquiescence of the executive and legislative branches" -- has won them an extraordinary degree of clout and authority. That aggrandizement, in turn, they have attempted to cast as historically unassailable. In Cooper v. Aaron, the 1958 Little Rock desegregation case, all nine justices famously declared "that the federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution" -- a principle, they asserted, that has "been respected by this court and the country as a permanent and indispensable feature of our constitutional system."

That wasn't really true. In the words of Larry Kramer, dean of Stanford's Law School (and a former clerk for Justice William Brennan, one of the court's liberal lions), "The justices in Cooper were not reporting a fact so much as trying to manufacture one." It worked. In recent decades, the claim of judicial supremacy has clearly prevailed. Look at the way it's taken for granted, for example, that whatever the Supreme Court decides next spring about the constitutionality of the ObamaCare insurance mandate will settle the issue once and for all.

"To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions," wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1820, is "a very dangerous doctrine indeed."

Gingrich argues that this is unhealthy, and that the elected branches have an obligation to check and balance the judiciary. "The courts have become grotesquely dictatorial, far too powerful and, I think, frankly arrogant," he said in Iowa last month. From the unhinged reaction his words provoked -- "this attempt to turn the courts into his personal lightning rod of crazy is simply Gingrich proving yet again that he needs to be boss of everything," railed Dahlia Lithwick in Slate -- you'd think he had declared war on the heart and soul of American democracy.

But the heart and soul of American democracy is that power derives from the consent of the governed, and that no branch of government -- executive, legislative, or judicial -- rules by unchallenged fiat. Gingrich is far from the first to say so.

"To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions," wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1820, is "a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy." Abraham Lincoln -- revolted by the Supreme Court's ruling in Dred Scott that blacks "had no rights a white man was bound to respect" -- rejected the claim that the justices' word was final. "If the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court the instant they are made," he warned in his first inaugural address, "the people will have ceased to be their own rulers."

Not all of Gingrich's proposals for reining in the courts, such as summoning judges before congressional committees to explain their rulings, may be wise or useful. But his larger point is legitimate and important. Judicial supremacy is eroding America's democratic values. For the sake of our system of self-government, the balance of federal power needs to be restored.




Abolish driving licences now!: "The various States of Mexico found that bribery was impossible to avoid when attempting to gain a licence. So, to varying degrees, they changed their issuance system, some deciding simply not to have them any more. So, of course, death rates from car accidents went up, didn't they? Erm, actually, no, they didn't."

So what’s wrong with that?: "Reporters who express shock with Ron Paul’s positions should realize that in a democracy innumerable matters are up for debate, including the right to an abortion, to assisted suicide, minimum wage laws, undeclared wars in Libya or elsewhere. Ron Paul, just as any other candidate, may be open to criticism for the side he takes on any of these issues but it is a complete misunderstanding of the nature of political debate to consider simply holding views with which others disagree as something objectionable."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.



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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)


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