Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Feds can penalize you for anything as long as they call it a tax

Today is my Sabbath and I would not normally be posting anything today but the decision by SCOTUS (above) completely alters the ball game for America so I felt I had to put up a few bits on at least this blog, if not on my others.

If Americans want to know where their healthcare is heading now, have a good look at my EYE ON BRITAIN blog. Every day I put up at least one horror story there about how socialized medicine treats people.


GOP governors vow to ignore Obamacare

Republican governors are planning to ignore the Supreme Court's decision Thursday to uphold Obamacare hoping that the issue will drive voters to dump President Obama in favor of Mitt Romney who has vowed to kill the Affordable Care Act.

After the decision, the Republican Governors Association said that nothing should be done by the states until after the election, a clear signal that they believe a GOP president, House and Senate will kill the health care reform pushed through by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.

RGA Chairman Bob McDonnell said, "Today's ruling crystallizes all that's at stake in November's election. The only way to stop Barack Obama's budget-busting health care takeover is by electing a new president. Barack Obama's health care takeover encapsulates his presidency: Obamacare increases taxes, grows the size of government and puts bureaucrats over patients while doing nothing to improve the economy."

The Virginia governor, who is on Mitt Romney's list of potential vice presidential candidates, added, "By replacing Barack Obama with Mitt Romney, we will not only stop the federal government's healthcare takeover, but will also take a giant step towards a full economic recovery."

Other governors have urged a similar strategy. Scott Walker, the newly re-elected Wisconsin governor, said that he won't put into place any elements of Obamacare until after the election. Other governors are taking a similar position.



Is The Roberts Ruling Good For ObamaCare Opponents?

By upholding all of ObamaCare on the grounds that the individual mandate falls under Congress’ taxing power, it seems like Chief Justice John Roberts has given liberty a very bad day.

But maybe not.

Roberts has now taken away the ability of proponents to obfuscate on the individual mandate. During the ObamaCare debate in Congress, many supporters insisted that the mandate wasn’t a tax knowing that its passage would be much harder if it was, indeed, called a tax. During legal arguments, supporters started referring to it as a tax as a sort of “legal insurance policy” against the Supreme Court throwing it out.

The Roberts ruling in effect says, “Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways. And since you let me decide this, I’m calling it a tax.”

That leaves ObamaCare proponents politically vulnerable in a number of ways.

First, supporters will now have to call the mandate a “tax,” something that will make it even less popular than it is now.

Second, their flank will be unprotected against the charge that ObamaCare is one of the largest tax increases in history.

Third, opponents can now say, “Do you want to be taxed to force you to buy insurance?” and “If you don’t buy insurance, your taxes go up.” I’m betting those are winning soundbites.

Fourth, since the mandate is now a tax, it is a no-brainer that it can be repealed using budget reconciliation rules. In other words, you don’t need 60 votes in the Senate get rid of the mandate.

To know if the above analysis is correct, watch for what the Democrats don’t do. If you don’t see Democrats and others on the left running around proudly touting the mandate as a tax, you’ll know that they know that they don’t have a winning argument.

Longer term, if Obama is not touting that the Court found ObamaCare constitutional in his stump speeches, you’ll know this is an issue that he wants to avoid.

Just guessin’, but telling voters that you’ve just raised their taxes probably isn’t a good reelection strategy.



Regulations to fix problems caused by regulations?

Congress has passed the FDA Safety & Innovation Act in response to the recent prescription drug shortages. The Act’s solution to the shortages includes increasing the FDA’s regulatory power. Over-zealous regulation and bureaucrats at FDA had been a main cause of the problem.

The Act will increase the number of pharmaceutical manufacturers that must report to the FDA any discontinuation of certain drugs at least six months before ending production. Additionally, the Act would require the Secretary of the FDA to implement a “task force” to enhance the Secretary’s response to shortages. Neither of these proposed solutions will attenuate another drug shortage but instead exasperate one. It is expected that President Obama will sign the bill into law in early July.

Paul Howard, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Medical Progress, has argued against more government intervention into the market, stating, “Medicare restrictions on average sale prices (which can only be updated every six months) for generic medicines, just-in-time inventory supply practices at hospitals, reverse-auction contracts from large group purchasing organizations for supplying generic drugs, tougher FDA manufacturing and inspection standards for domestic companies (which can raise costs), and increased global competition from low-cost suppliers in India and China have all created a “perfect storm” for creating shortages of some vital generic medicines.”

Howard pointed out that the pharmaceutical market exists beyond the United States, and in order for our companies to stay competitive we need less red tape.

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee of Oversight and Government Reform, found the FDA to be the primary cause of the drug shortages, and concluded in the Committee’s report, “This shortage appears to be a direct result of over aggressive and excessive regulatory action.”

The report continued, “Addressing this shortage requires a common sense regulatory approach that considers market conditions and the overall impact. These drugs can save lives and keep people who need them living healthy lives. The FDA is failing to ensure the availability of quality products.”

Chairman Issa argues that if the FDA’s purpose is to ultimately save lives than it should not be preventing life-extending drugs from entering into hospitals and the market.

A recent academic article by Assistant Professor Ali Yurukoglu of the Stanford Graduate School of Business found a strong, positive correlation between A) the fraction of revenue received from Medicare Part B for a drug and B) the probability of a shortage for that drug. Specifically, each 10 percent market share accounted for by Medicare is linked with an increase of shortage frequency by 7.5 percent.

Preventing future shortages, according to John R. Graham—director of Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute and an adjunct scholar with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy—would entail freeing up the pharmaceutical market to allow for more competition and shift medicines from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D to ensure manufacturers receive adequate compensation. Unlike Part B, which fixes prices, Part D depends on a less market-intrusive mechanism to provide health care. Part D relies on private health insurers to compete against one another in annual auctions in order to provide drug plans to Medicare beneficiaries.

Graham concludes that ultimately the FDA’s monopoly on the approval of drugs for medical use should be ended to allow competing manufacturers to enter the market in case of future shortages.

If Congress wishes to contribute a viable solution, it should first understand the primary cause of the problem it wishes to solve. In this case, instead of addressing the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s price-fixing powers and the FDA’s over-regulation of pharmaceutical markets — the major contributing factors of the drug shortages — Congress has granted even more power to the government, either to little effect or making the problem even worse.



More verbal trickery from the Left

Thomas Sowell on "social justice". If it were "justice" it would not need the "social" adjective

If there were a Hall of Fame for political rhetoric, the phrase "social justice" would deserve a prominent place there. It has the prime virtue of political catchwords: It means many different things to many different people.

In other words, if you are a politician, you can get lots of people, with different concrete ideas, to agree with you when you come out boldly for the vague generality of "social justice."

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that a good catchword can stop thought for 50 years. The phrase "social justice" has stopped many people from thinking, for at least a century -- and counting.

If someone told you that Country A had more "social justice" than Country B, and you had all the statistics in the world available to you, how would you go about determining whether Country A or Country B had more "social justice"? In short, what does the phrase mean in practice -- if it has any concrete meaning?

In political and ideological discussions, the issue is usually whether there is some social injustice. Even if we can agree that there is some injustice, what makes it social?

Surely most of us are repelled by the thought that some people are born into dire poverty, while others are born into extravagant luxury -- each through no fault of their own and no virtue of their own. If this is an injustice, does that make it social?

The baby born into dire poverty might belong to a family in Bangladesh, and the one born to extravagant luxury might belong to a family in America. Whose fault is this disparity or injustice? Is there some specific society that caused this? Or is it just one of those things in the world that we wish was very different?

If it is an injustice, it is unjust from some cosmic perspective, an unjust fate, rather than necessarily an unjust policy, institution or society.

Making a distinction between cosmic justice and social justice is more than just a semantic fine point. Once we recognize that there are innumerable causes of innumerable disparities, we can no longer blithely assume that either the cause or the cure can be found in the government of a particular society.

Anyone who studies geography in any depth can see that different peoples and nations never had the same exposure to the progress of the rest of the human race. People living in isolated mountain valleys have for centuries lagged behind the progress of people living in busy ports, where both new products and new ideas constantly arrive from around the world.

If you study history in addition to geography, you are almost forced to acknowledge that there was never any realistic chance for all peoples to have the same achievements -- even if they were all born with the same potential and even if there were no social injustices.

Once I asked a class of black college students what they thought would happen if a black baby were born, in the middle of a ghetto, and entered the world with brain cells the same as those with which Albert Einstein was born.

There were many different opinions -- but no one in that room thought that such a baby, in such a place, would grow up to become another Einstein. Some blamed discrimination but others saw the social setting as too much to overcome.

If discrimination is the main reason that such a baby has little or no chance for great intellectual achievements, then that is something caused by society -- a social injustice. But if the main reason is that the surrounding cultural environment provides little incentive to develop great intellectual potential, and many distractions from that goal, that is a cosmic injustice.

Many years ago, a study of black adults with high IQs found that they described their childhoods as "extremely unhappy" more often than other black adults did. There is little that politicians can do about that -- except stop pretending that all problems in black communities originate in other communities.

Similar principles apply around the world. Every group trails the long shadow of its cultural heritage -- and no politician or society can change the past. But they can stop leading people into the blind alley of resentments of other people. A better future often requires internal changes that pay off better than mysticism about one's own group or about "social justice."



Religion as a bulwark against big government

The ongoing debate in the United States over Obamacare recalls the value of religion in the debate on liberty. Key to the religious perspective on the debate are efforts by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to require Catholic organisations to provide contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilisation services to their employees as part of their health insurance programmes; an attempt which the Catholic Church has staunchly resisted as infringing on matters of conscience.

The opposition from the Catholic Church of course hinges on religious freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment, but galvanises awareness among religious groups of the broader personal freedoms at stake under the other Obamacare mandate, requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance on pain of a fine. Indeed, a Gallup poll now shows that a majority of Americans regardless of political persuasion view the mandate central to the health reform package as unconstitutional.

In some ways, the circumstances resemble the manner in which the first New Deal was brought down by provisions which violated the kosher practices of Jewish butchers, as recounted in an article in The Freeman this month. In that case, the butchers’ challenge did not rest on First Amendment grounds, but it was motivated by religion and ultimately resulted in the economic regulation being struck down by the Supreme Court.

As the religiously-minded classical liberals of the 19th-century wrote, religion was valuable in a free society because it reminded the people that their sole duty was not to the state, and could thus serve as a means of protecting civil liberties from encroaching government. As historian Ralph Raico says of Alexis de Tocqueville, who penned Democracy in America in 1835, the Frenchman believed that religious sentiment:

“...sets up barriers to the heedless trampling on individual rights. It is ultimately because of these influences, he holds, that ‘no one in the United States has dared to advance the maxim that everything is permissible for the interests of society, an impious adage which seems to have been invented in an age of freedom to shelter all future tyrants.’ ” (p. 99)

Whatever the Supreme Court may decide this week – whether it overturns or upholds the individual mandate which affects all citizens, or the HHS contraceptive mandate which affects employers – the religious dimension of this debate will hopefully sharpen awareness of individual liberties in future political discourse. Many secular libertarians today, like their 19th-century forerunners, suspect authority including religious authority. Rather, it is coercive authority which is to be suspect. Ultimately, the first protection in upholding the rule of law in a free society is not the court or legislature, but the sentiment of the people, wherein religious sentiment can perform a valuable role.




List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


Friday, June 29, 2012

Muslim pigs and dogs

Is that a fair description of them? Read the story below and decide for yourself

A BRITISH journalist was brutally sexually assaulted in Cairo's Tahrir Square as thousands of Egyptians gathered to celebrate the nation's presidential election results.

Natasha Smith, 21, has detailed how she was violently attacked by a 'group of animals' who stripped her naked, scratched and clenched her breasts. She only escaped by donning men's clothes and a burka and being whisked away to safety by two other men.

Writing on her blog, she said: 'All I could see was leering faces, more and more faces sneering and jeering as I was tossed around like fresh meat among starving lions.'

The incident occured on Sunday when Egyptians flooded the area celebrating the announcement Mohammed Morsi would be the nation's first democratically elected leader.

Smith, who will graduate with an MA in International Journalism from University College Falmouth in August, was in Tahrir to film the crowd for a documentary on women's rights.

But the initial 'atmosphere of jubilation, excitement, and happiness', quickly turned against her. She said: 'Just as I realised I had reached the end of the bridge, I noticed the crowd became thicker, and decided immediately to turn around to avoid Tahrir Square.

'My friends and I tried to leave. I tried to put my camera back in my rucksack. But in a split second, everything changed. 'Men had been groping me for a while, but suddenly, something shifted. I found myself being dragged from my male friend, groped all over, with increasing force and aggression.

'I screamed. I could see what was happening and I saw that I was powerless to stop it. I couldn't believe I had got into this situation.' The former Weymouth College and University of Nottingham student said she was then stripped naked and assaulted.

She wrote: 'I began to think, 'maybe this is just it. Maybe this is how I go, how I die. I’ve had a good life. Whether I live or die, this will all be over soon.'

A friend eventually reached her and managed to guide her to a medical tent. Local women helped protect her as she put on the burka and clothes.

She said: 'The men outside remained thirsty for blood; their prey had been cruelly snatched from their grasp. 'They peered in, so I had to duck down and hide. They attempted to attack the tent, and those inside began making a barricade out of chairs. They wanted my blood.'

She then escaped by posing as a stranger's wife and walking out hand-in-hand with the man.

She added: 'The women told me the attack was motivated by rumours spread by trouble-making thugs that I was a foreign spy. 'But if that was the cause, it was only really used as a pretext, an excuse, to molest and violate a blonde young Western girl.'

Smith is not the first western woman to be assaulted while working in Egypt. CBS News' Lara Logan was attacked during the 2011 revolution. She said 'men in the crowd had raped me with their hands'.

Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy was also assaulted by Egyptian security forces in November.

And Smith has vowed that the abuse would not stop her from exposing the wider issue of sexual assault in the country. She said: 'I will overcome this and come back stronger and wiser. My documentary will be fuelled by my passion to help make people aware of just how serious this issue is.

'It's not just a passing news story that briefly gets people’s attention then is forgotten. This is a consistent trend and it has to stop. 'Arab women, western women – there are so many sufferers.'



Veteran mainstream journalist slams the Leftist bias of his colleagues

By Deacon Greg Kandra

First, there was the Trayvon Martin boondoggle a few months ago.

Then yesterday, evidence of some creative editing regarding Mitt Romney’s visit to a Wawa in Pennsylvania.

Today, we have Andrea Mitchell’s spectacularly lame followup to “criticism of the Romney clip edit” — which amounted to Ms. Mitchell saying, with a sigh and a frown, “Oh, bother. Fine. Here’s what we left out.” She failed to acknowledge what the “criticism” entailed; she neglected to point out how the editing misrepresented the event being covered; and she offered nothing resembling an apology or an admission of responsibility for something that was, as a matter of fact, irresponsible.

I’m tired. Truly. I’ve grown weary of trying to defend the indefensible and explain the inexplicable. For years, people have stomped their feet and pounded their fists and snorted “Liberal media bias!” and I’ve always tut-tutted and shooshed them and said, “No, no. Calm down. They meant well. It was just a misunderstanding. A mistake. These things happen.” I spent over 25 years working in the oft-reviled Mainstream Media and I saw up close and personal how the sausage was made. I knew the people who wielded the knives and wore the aprons, and could vouch (most of the time, anyway) for their good intentions.

But now?

Forget it. I’m done. You deserve what they’re saying about you. It’s earned. You have worked long and hard to merit the suspicion, acrimony, mistrust and revulsion that the media-buying public increasingly heaps upon you. You have successfully eroded any confidence, dispelled any trust, and driven your audience into the arms of the Internet and the blogosphere, where biases are affirmed and like-minded people can tell each other what they hold to be true, since nobody believes in objective reality any more. You have done a superlative job of diminishing what was once a great profession and undermining one of the vital underpinnings of democracy, a free press.

Good job. I just have one question: What the hell is wrong with you guys?



Discrimination is fair

John Stossel

I'm scared. I fear that even if the Supreme Court overrules most of Obamacare (or did already, by the time you read this), Republicans will join Democrats in restoring "good" parts of the law, like the requirement that insurance companies cover kids up to age 26 and every American with a pre-existing condition.

Those parts of Obamacare are popular. People like getting what they think is free stuff. But requiring coverage to age 26 makes policies cost more.

Even Bill O'Reilly lectures me that government should ban discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions. Most Americans agree with him. Who likes discrimination? Racial discrimination was one of the ugliest parts of American history. None of us wants to be discriminated against. But discrimination is part of freedom. We discriminate when we choose our friends or our spouse, or when we choose what we do with our time.

Above all, discrimination is what makes insurance work. An insurance regime where everyone pays the same amount is called "community rating." That sounds fair. No more cruel discrimination against the obese or people with cancer. But community rating is as destructive as ordering flood insurance companies to charge me nothing extra to insure my very vulnerable beach house, or ordering car insurance companies to charge Lindsay Lohan no more than they charge you. Such one-size-fits-all rules take away insurance companies' best tool: risk-based pricing. Risk-based pricing encourages us to take better care of ourselves.

Car insurance works because companies reward good drivers and charge the Lindsay Lohans more. If the state forces insurance companies to stop discriminating, that kills the business model.

No-discrimination insurance isn't insurance. It's welfare. If the politicians' plan was to create another government welfare program, they ought to own up to that instead of hiding the cost.

Obama -- and the Clintons before him -- expressed outrage that insurance companies charged people different rates based on their risk profiles. They want everyone covered for the same "fair" price.

The health insurance industry was happy to play along. They even offered to give up on gender differences. Women go to the doctor more often than men and spend more on medicines. Their lifetime medical costs are much higher, and so it makes all the sense in the world to charge women higher premiums. But Sen. John Kerry pandered, saying, "The disparity between women and men in the individual insurance market is just plain wrong, and it has to change!" The industry caved. The president of its trade group, Karen M. Ignagni, said that disparities "should be eliminated."

Caving was safer than fighting the president and Congress, and caving seemed to provide the industry with benefits. Insurance companies wouldn't have to work as hard. They wouldn't have to carefully analyze risk. They'd be partners with government -- fat and lazy, another sleepy bureaucracy feeding off the welfare state. Alcoholics, drug addicts and the obese won't have to pay any more than the rest of us.

But this just kills off a useful part of insurance: encouraging healthy behavior. Charging heavy drinkers more for insurance gives them one more incentive to quit. "No-discrimination" pricing makes health care costs rise even faster. Is it too much to expect our rulers to understand this?

Of course, the average citizen doesn't understand either. When I argue that medical insurance makes people indifferent to costs, I get online comments like: "I guess the 47 million people who don't have health care should just die, right, John?"

The truth is, almost all people do get health care, even if they don't have health insurance. Hospitals rarely turn people away; Medicaid and charities pay for care; some individuals pay cash; some doctors forgive bills. I wish people would stop conflating the terms "health care," "health insurance" and "Obamacare." Reporters ask guests things like: "Should Congress repeal health care?" I sure don't want anyone's health care repealed.

Reporters also routinely called Obamacare health "reform." But the definition of reform is: making something better. More government control won't do that. We should call politicians' insurance demands "big intrusive complex government micromanagement."

Let the private sector work. Let it discriminate.



Beware the deceptive Language of the Left

The language of the Left is designed to push the debate in their direction, even when it conveys false information. The word for spending is spending, not a euphemism like "investment." The word for taxes is taxes, not "revenue enhancements." These words are brought into the debate for one purpose; to mislead.

Lou Dobbs invited Define America co-founder Jose Antonio Vargas on his Fox News show to debate Obama's unilateral declaration rescinding part of our immigration law. Vargas, a prominent writer, had recently announced that he was not a US citizen, even though he has lived here most of his life. Dobbs repeatedly referred to him and others here illegally as "illegals", and Vargas repeatedly corrected him saying they were "undocumented." What is the difference?

"Illegal" means that the individual is breaking the law. That seems pretty clear. People crossed the border illegally or illegally overstayed a visa (those born here to illegals are US citizens). "Undocumented" means that the individual has no documents, but may be here legally or illegally. It is the difference between driving without having obtained a driver's license, or driving when you left your driver's license home. If you are guilty of the former, suggesting you are the latter is simply false.

Recently The New York Times and National Public Radio invented some new terms. They referred to George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin, as a white Hispanic, or a white Latino. Why? Simple. They wanted to make the tragedy into a race-driven incident, even though by all accounts such an assumption is nonsense. Zimmerman is half white and half Latino. There is absolutely no evidence in his past or in the sequence of events leading up to the incident that indicated race was a factor. Common verbiage would describe him as Hispanic or Latino. Given those labels, or as the PC crowd says, a person of color, the race element in this tragedy disappears. Did the NYT or NPR, those august institutions, ever refer to Barack Obama as a white African American? Of course not.

"Stakeholder" is one of my favorites. In a capitalist system private property is vigorously protected, and the use of that property (within the law) is directed by its owner. This system has provided us with the most prosperous, most generous, freest nation in the history of mankind. The term stakeholder was invented by socialists to create the false impression that the public at large has the rights to that private property. The public has the right to expect an owner to obey the law and to honor his contracts, but that is all. If we don't like the owner's choices, we are free not to do business with him. If there are enough of us, he will get the message or cease to exist. Were the state to give the public the right to determine the use of that private property, all economic and social progress going forward would fall victim to the public's insatiable want of something for nothing.

"Social justice" has also joined the lexicon of the Left. The words sound very compassionate. Who can be against justice, especially in a social sense? In reality those who use it are simply trying to usurp private property rights to fund a redistributive agenda, one chasing an unachievable, false, utopian dream. The term is used to support and justify every socialist idea under the sun. Real social justice consists of protecting a man's right to the fruits of his labor, not simply because it is ethical, but because it provides the most goods and services, the best environmental care, the best healthcare and the best of everything else that we as a society are capable of producing, and for everyone.

Columbus thought he reached the Indian Ocean when he landed in the Antilles and named the people there "Indians." The term stuck long after the mistake was recognized, and for centuries it referred to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The PC crowd determined that it was a demeaning term and changed their reference to "Native American." Native American had been used for centuries to refer to anyone born on American soil, regardless of race, regardless of when. Why would they do this? Indian had nothing pejorative associated with it. My theory is that since the Left adapts to change quickly, during the transition it allowed them to claim the moral high ground when those of us with less verbal agility continue to use the newly designated "racist" term, Indian.

There are other reasons the Left change names. In the same way no liberal columnist wants to review any of their past predictions (invariably they are wrong), so too does the Left like to shed its failed past by changing names. Woodrow Wilson led the "progressive" movement until 1920, but his disregard for the Constitution, and such things as the Left's embrace of eugenics, soured the public on the movement. So, progressive was renamed "liberal." But the liberals' close ties with Communism, as well as with other unpopular policies such as their softness on crime, became a political liability, so in the 1980s they returned to the name "progressive" (no one remembered the Wilson era, most were dead by then). The problem is that no matter what they call themselves, they continue to champion the same failed policies.

Did anyone notice that all of the old Communist organizations and their members are today avid environmentalists? Same people, same ideas, just a different name. Is global warming science, or a political ploy designed to create world government?




List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


Thursday, June 28, 2012

It looks like McAfee are off their heads too

Following are some of the McAfee responses to my mirror sites:

“Use caution on this site.
A security risk is posed by this site.
McAfee Security Rating: Yellow”

“Use caution on this site.
A security risk is posed by this site.
McAfee Security Rating: Yellow”

“Use caution on this site.
A security risk is posed by this site.
McAfee Security Rating: Yellow”

“Use caution on this site.
A security risk is posed by this site.
McAfee Security Rating: Yellow”

Note that these sites are NOT the ones targeted by Norton/Symantec. It's an entirely different bit of buffoonery. I sent an enquiry to Norton but got no reply. I sent an enquiry to McAfee and my email was bounced back as spam! It's clear that none of these galoots want to talk to me and explain themselves. One of my readers commented that his Norton software seemed to him like a type of malware itself, it was so bad.

Politicians Need To Be Needed

If you’re a successful business in America, you either quickly open a lobbying office in Washington, or Washington makes you regret that you didn’t.
“If you want to get involved in business,” Sen. Orrin Hatch warned technology companies at a conference in 2000, “you should get involved in politics.”

Hatch was referring to the shortcomings of then-software king Microsoft, which he had spent most of the previous decade harassing from his perch as Judiciary Committee chairman. The message was clear: If you become successful, you must hire lobbyists, you must start a political action committee, and you must donate to politicians. Otherwise Washington will make your life very difficult.

Hatch’s crusade against Microsoft was a formative moment in the cozy relationship between K Street and Capitol Hill. That coziness has become a prime target of the Tea Party in recent years — and so has Orrin Hatch, who faces a primary Tuesday against conservative challenger Dan Liljenquist.

People think money drives politics. It doesn’t. Money is merely the vehicle. Power drives Washington. As Carney points out, Hatch has spent a good deal of his time on the Judiciary Committee targeting Microsoft. So he wasn’t mad that the company wasn’t giving him money—they weren’t giving to his opponents, either. Hatch was angry that the company wasn’t acknowledging that it needs Washington, that it needs people like him. He finds that offensive. So people like Hatch make companies like Google need people like Hatch.

. . . it grated on Hatch and other senators that Gates didn’t want to want to play the Washington game. Former Microsoft employee Michael Kinsley, a liberal, wrote of Gates: “He didn’t want anything special from the government, except the freedom to build and sell software. If the government would leave him alone, he would leave the government alone.”

This was a mistake. One lobbyist fumed about Gates to author Gary Rivlin: “You look at a guy like Gates, who’s been arrogant and cheap and incredibly naive about politics. He genuinely believed that because he was creating jobs or whatever, that’d be enough.”

Gates was “cheap” because Microsoft spent only $2 million on lobbying in 1997, and its PAC contributed less than $50,000 during the 1996 election cycle.

“You can’t say, ‘We’re better than that,’ ” a Microsoft lobbyist told me on Friday. “At some point, you get too big, and you can’t just ignore Washington.”

You know what happens next . . .
After the Hatch hearings, Microsoft complied. Its PAC increased spending fivefold in each of the next two elections. In the 2010 elections, Microsoft’s PAC contributed $2.3 million to House and Senate candidates. The PAC has contributed the maximum $10,000 to each of Hatch’s last two campaigns.

Back before the antitrust case, Microsoft’s tiny lobbying contingent sat in the company’s local sales office in Chevy Chase. Since the Hatch hearings, Gates’ company has poured more than $100 million into K Street’s economy, hiring up members of congress and Capitol Hill staff, many of whom then became top fundraisers — such as Republican Jack Abramoff and Democrat Steve Elmendorf.

And of course now that Microsoft has a strong Washington presence, it uses its influence to lobby the government to harass its competitors. Like Google, which must then open its own Washington lobbying outfit in response. And the cycle starts all over again. (If you’re really on your game, you then hire the government regulators you’ve lobbied to investigate your rival to come work for you.)

A politician like Hatch will always demand that powerful people kiss his ring. It’s why people like Hatch go into politics. The proper response is Gates’ initial reaction—to tell people like Hatch to pound dirt. The problems begin—and the corruption beings— when people like Hatch have the power to force people like Gates to respect them. So long as there’s hell to pay for not respecting Washington, no “get money out of politics” law is going to rid the city of corruption.

I don’t always agree with the Tea Party. But if the group helps oust Washington dinosaurs like Hatch, that can’t be a bad thing.



Obama Administration - Terrorists and Those Who Oppose Terrorism are the Same

Armstrong Williams

In 1993 Islamic terrorists launched an war on America. With a Rider Truck bomb, they attacked in the heart of NYT, trying to topple the World Trade Center. They were led by a terrorist know as the Blind Sheik, the head of Gamaa Islamiya, an Islamic extremist terrorist organization based in Egypt, who was orchestrating a wave of attacks trying to blow up major landmarks - the Holland and Lincoln tunnels and the George Washington Bridge - and assassinate a U.S. senator and New York Jewish community leader.

The 1993 attack on the World Trade Center was led by Ramzy Yousef. On September 11th, 2001, Al Qaeda terrorists led by Yousef's cousin, Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Osama Bin Laden, returned to finish the job.

Former US government prosecutor Andrew McCarthy writes in his book, A Memior of the Jihad, which details the case and his prosecution of the 1993 terrorist plots, there is a direct connection between the 1993 attack on New York and the bigger plot to attack New York by Egyptian based Gamaa Islamiya and the Al Qaeda attacks on the United States on 9/11.

America has never been confused about who is a terrorist and who is not.

But it appears that the Obama Administration does not know the difference.

Last week, the Obama Administration paid for a Gamaa Islamiya terrorist to visit America. They invited him into the State Department and the White House, where he met high ranking officials.

He should never have gotten into America, let alone meet the Deputy Secretary of State!

What message are we sending to those in Egypt and beyond who are FIGHTING TERRORISM as our partners, united in the defense of liberty? Is this the new Obama Administration policy on Egypt - terrorists and those who oppose terrorism are the same? How can we lend legitimacy to Islamic extremists terrorists bent on global domination and coercive dominion over their society at home?

We are not agnostic about the outcome of events in Egypt, where forces of Islamic illiberalism seek to take over the state through Democracy. With no standards in sight, every terrorist is free to call himself a politician. That dystopia is abhorrent. America knows better. Does President Obama?

When the Gamaa Islamiya terrorist, who in today's Egypt calls himself a "politician", got to meet the President's deputy national security advisor this week in Washington, he had one request. He wanted a "gift to the revolution."

He asked for the Blind Sheik to be released from jail, where he is rotting for life, convicted of his effort to kill thousands of Americans.

One can only image what kind of "revolution" this man and his terrorist colleagues want to cement.

Rather than welcoming these poisonous players, President Obama and America should make absolutely clear we stand with liberty and tolerance, and are forever and inexorably opposed to Islamic radicalist terrorism.

Call yourself whatever you want. But know this: America knows who you are. You are a terrorist and you are not welcome here.

To fix this colossal mistake, President Obama should make it known to the world exactly what America’s policies are toward terrorism and the future of Egypt. He should use plain English so that everyone can understand. Obama should avoid the measured and philosophical constructions he often uses in his speech, which some regard as a sign of his intellectual prowess and pragmatism and others attribute to his unwillingness to articulate clear positions on sensitive topics.

Terrorists, whether actively engaged in blowing people up and committing atrocities or masquerading as politicians in Egypt today, need to get this message: America does not and will not stand with those who use violence to achieve their political means. We oppose terrorism, and will always stand with those who fight this deadly scourge.



Blogger Aaron Walker Latest Swatting Victim

Another conservative blogger has become the victim of a "swatting," where a false report of a murder sends the police, armed and ready, to a victim's home. The victim this time was blogger Aaron Walker, who had just this morning won a legal victory against convicted felon and leftist activist Brett Kimberlin.

Breitbart News contacted the Prince William County, Virginia police department to confirm the swatting. A dispatcher affirmed that police were called to the home of Mr. Walker based on a fraudulent 911 call. The individual did not take the call and could not disclose any details of the call's content but immediately confirmed that Mr. Walker had been swatted.

The swatting occurred hours after Walker's hearing. A judge had modified a previous ruling that prohibited Mr. Walker from exercising his right to free speech.

Walker told Breitbart News that he was home with his wife this evening at approximately 6:00pm when there was a "pretty insistent" knock at his door. Walker answered to find about six police cars in the street and two officers taking positions against the wall with M4 rifles. Since he was aware of the previous swattings of Patrick "Patterico" Frey, Erick Erickson, and Mike Stack, Mr. Walker asked the police if someone had called and claimed he had killed his wife, and police confirmed that that was the case.

In a statement to Breitbart News, Walker said, "This is obviously very upsetting but my wife and I are fine. Whoever did this had the intent to put our lives in danger."



Nobody knows (officially) what food stamps buy

Seeing they currently cost the taxpayer around $100 billion p.a., isn't that a little strange?

Legislation seemingly designed to protect the industry goes so far as to say that anyone who releases the amount of food stamp dollars paid to a store can be jailed.

Profiting from the poor's taxpayer-funded purchases has become big business for a mix of major companies and corner bodegas, which have spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the USDA to keep the money flowing freely.

The National Association of Convenience Store Operators alone spends millions of dollars on lobbying yearly, including $1 million in the first quarter of this year.

In February, 7-Eleven hired a former aide to House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, to lobby on "issues related to the general application and approval process for qualified establishments serving SNAP-eligible recipients."

The USDA is notoriously secretive about who receives its money, relying on weak legal reasoning, said Steve Ellis of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.

"USDA hides behind a specious proprietary data argument: The public doesn't want to know internal business decisions or information about specific individuals' finances," he said. "The USDA sees retailers, junk food manufacturers and the big ag lobby as their customers, rather than the taxpayer."

The agency also has no idea what type of food the benefits are buying, even though the combination of universal bar codes and benefit cards makes that entirely feasible.

"It's one of those questions that frankly those of us who have been working on this issue have been struggling with a long time because we need to see the data. The industry looks at it as proprietary. The USDA doesn't track where that money goes," said Beth Johnson, a former Senate Agriculture Committee and USDA staffer who now consults for the Snack Food Association.

She noted that stores have breakdowns of products bought with food stamps but declined to share them with the USDA.

The junk food lobby appreciates the informational void.

‘Anecdotal info'

Susan Smith of the National Confectioners Association, a candy trade group, dismissed assertions that food stamp recipients commonly buy candy and soda as "anecdotal info," while declining to call for the collection of statistics.




FL: TSA thug spills victim’s grandfather’s ashes: "A TSA worker at an airport in Florida violated the agency’s policy when she opened a container containing the ashes of a passenger’s grandfather and spilled them on the terminal floor. ... John Gross of Indianapolis was visiting relatives in Florida when an uncle, acting on the wishes of the family, gave Gross a portion of his grandfather’s ashes. ... Gross was presented with the ashes in a tightly sealed jar, marked 'human remains,' which he assumed would warrant enough respect that he would be able to board his flight home unmolested. He was wrong."

Assassination, conformity, and conscience: "As most every American knows, we now live in a country in which the ruler possesses the unfettered power to assassinate his citizens. What an extraordinary situation. Who would have ever thought that America would end up with a governmental system in which the ruler possessed such omnipotent power?"

Why is it okay to pay an intern $0? Or, liberal insanity on the minimum wage: "One benefit of a job at any price is the skills and learning experience -- learning to engage with customers and co-workers, to show up on time, manners, dress code, and so on. This is, in fact, one reason some people are willing to serve as 'interns' for no pay: for the work experience, contacts, resume padding. And this an absurdity in the very idea of the minimum wage: it’s legal to offer to pay someone, say, $10 per hour for a certain job, or more, and it’s legal to offer to pay them $0 per hour (internship), but it’s illegal to offer them something in-between."

Putin visits West Bank, tours key Christian shrine: "Visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his Palestinian counterpart Tuesday for what he said was a "responsible" position in negotiations with Israel, frozen for nearly four years, and said Russia has no problem recognizing a Palestinian state. Putin also offered veiled criticism of Israel, saying unilateral actions — an apparent reference to Israeli settlement construction on war-won land — is not constructive. The Russian president spoke at the end of a visit to the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by his side. Putin inaugurated a Russian cultural and language center in Bethlehem and toured the church built over the traditional birth grotto of Jesus."

Four U.S. Navy minesweepers arrive in the Gulf: " Four U.S. minesweepers have arrived in the Gulf to bolster the U.S. Fifth Fleet and ensure the safety of shipping routes, the U.S. Navy said, as an Iranian military chief suggested on Monday that Iran might try to block the Strait of Hormuz to defend its interests. The four additional mine countermeasures (MCM) ships arrived on Saturday and are scheduled for a seven-month deployment in an area of operations that includes the Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The area also includes two other critical shipping choke points of the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandab between the southern tip of Yemen and Africa."

Iran in trouble with the Russian bear too: "The Caspian Sea, once a strategic backwater, is quickly becoming a tinderbox of regional rivalries -- all fueled by what amounts to trillions in petrodollars beneath its waves. Observers gained a first glimpse into this escalating arms race last fall, when Russia and Kazakhstan held joint military exercises on the Caspian, which abuts Iran and several former Soviet republics. But a scoop by a Russian newspaper, Moskovsky Komsomolets, told a different story. The newspaper got hold of a map apparently showing the real scenario of the exercise: the defense of Kazakhstan's oil fields from several squadrons of F-4, F-5, and Su-25 fighters and bombers. The map didn't name which country the jets came from, but the trajectory and the types of planes gave it away: Iran."



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Master Narrative Nobody Admits: Centralization Has Failed

Nobody expected the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union. Will the steady, unceasing Sovietization of America end up the same way? Will there in the end be nobody willing to enforce the steady torrent of new rules and decrees that pour out from everywhere? Will Congress become as irrelevant as the Politburo?

The primary "news" narrative may be the failure of the euro, but the master narrative is much, much bigger: centralization has failed. The failure of Europe's "ultimate centralization project" is but a symptom of a global failure of centralization.

Though many look at China's command-economy as proof that the model of Elite-controlled centralization is a roaring success, let's check in on China's stability and distribution of prosperity in 2021 before declaring centralization an enduring success. The pressure cooker is already hissing and the flame is being turned up every day.

What's the key driver of this master narrative? Technology, specifically, the Internet. Gatekeepers and centralized authority are no match for decentralized knowledge and decision-making. Once a people don't need to rely on a centralized authority to tell them what to do, the centralized authority becomes a costly impediment, a tax on the entire society and economy.

In a cost-benefit analysis, centralization once paid significant dividends. Now it is a drag that only inhibits growth and progress. The Eurozone is the ultimate attempt to impose an intrinsically inefficient and unproductive centralized authority on disparate economies, and we are witnessing its spectacular implosion.

Centralization acts as a positive feedback, i.e. a self-reinforcing loop that leads to a runaway death spiral. Centralize the entire banking sector into five corporations and guess what happens? They buy access to the highly centralized power centers of the Federal government. Like the HIV virus, centralized concentrations of capital like the five "too big to fail" banks disrupt the regulatory "immune response" that was supposed to control them.

This feedback between centralized capital and centralized government cannot be controlled by more rules and regulations--the two partners in domination will subvert or bypass any such feeble attempts with shadow systems of governance and control of the very sort we now see dominating economies and governments around the globe.

Centralization itself is the disease, and devolving power to decentralized nodes based on the transparent power of the Web is the cure. The authorities and Elites attempting to maintain their centralized fiefdoms of power are desperately trying to control the technology of the Web, but disruptive technology that offers stupendous improvements in efficiency and productivity cannot be put back in the genie's bottle. The authorities can try, but they will fail.

The analog to the printing press is but one example. The centralized authorities of the Holy Roman Empire tried to limit the citizens' access to the Bible and other books, and as their failure became evident they ramped up their oppression to extremes: printing the Bible was a "crime" punishable by death.

Despite their almost total dominance of society and the economy, the centralized authorities failed to limit the technology of printing and distributing books.

Centralized authorities face an impossible double-bind: if they limit access to the Web, their economic growth is doomed, and thus eventually so is their power as the impoverished and oppressed populace rises up to overthrow their failed Elites. But if they enable widespread access to the Web, then the populace eventually realizes the centralized authorities and Elites are burdensome hindrances to liberty and prosperity.

The highly centralized Elites controlling China are engaged in a desperate campaign to constrain the Web in China to what they deem supportive of their regime. The "Great Firewall of China" reportedly has tens of thousands of employees monitoring and censoring content. Hyper-nationalistic rants are "enabled" to spread virally, while inquiries into official over-reach and misconduct are quickly suppressed.

You can't fool Mother Nature for long, and the Chinese are trying to tame forces akin to Nature.

We already saw this dynamic play out with the Soviet Union. In the former U.S.S.R., networked computers were understood to be a serious threat to political control by centralized authorities, so access was strictly limited. Scientists and mathematicians in the U.S.S.R. were relegated to working with paper and pencils because this was "politically acceptable."

Denied access to transformative technologies, the economy and society of the U.S.S.R. withered and eventually expired.

China has played a very quick game of catch-up based on a unique set of factors:

1. An abundance of low-hanging fruit to be picked, both domestically and globally. If you watch documentaries filmed in China in the early 1980s, villagers were harvesting bamboo by hand and the village "theater" was one black-and-white television. By the time I first visited China in 2000, there was already a glut of cheap TVs and massive overcapacity in TV manufacturing.

2. An abundance of mobile global capital to fund the initial industrialization.

3. The ease of stealing/copying existing technology. It's always easy to steal/copy existing technologies: strip down the motorbike to its parts, machine-tool a factory to make the parts and voila, you are soon producing "Yamaka" motorbikes in quantity (and drinking "Starbuck" coffee).

But once the low-hanging fruit has been picked, you have to develop new technologies on your own to keep growing. The U.S.S.R. was able to keep up by stealing technology for decades, but once the pace of innovation slipped from centralized labs (where spies could be highly effective) to decentralized networks of innovation, the game was over: stealing technology became inefficient and/or impossible on the necessary scale and timeline to keep up.

The Web also feeds social innovations. Centralized authorities move with glacial trepitude because any change, no matter how modest, steps on the exquisitely sensitive toes of some vested interest, protected fiefdom or favored Elite. So while the centralized Elites and their apparatchiks in government are detailing more regulations of the buggy-whip industry, the entire industry is bypassed by social and technological forces beyond the control of the Elites and their flunkies and factotums.

The forces of centralized authority will not relinquish their power easily. In Egypt and many other quasi-feudalistic nation-states, the Empire of centralized Elite authority is striking back, often via the "shadow" systems of governance and control they established behind the thin veneer of legitimacy created by their organs of propaganda.

But all centralized systems, open and shadow alike, act as heavy taxes on the society and economy. Their attempts to retain control will fail because of the conundrum outlined above: if they succeed in stifling the Web and the powers of decentralization, their economy will wither and their impoverished people will eventually tire enough of poverty to rise up and crush their oppressive Elites.

If they allow access to the Web and the innovation-driven power of decentralized networks of knowledge, collaboration and information, then their political and financial control will be eroded. Either way, disruptive technologies will dismantle their power base and wealth.

Here in the U.S., our Central State and Financial Elites are also desperately trying to maintain their control, even as their control strangles the economy and social innovation. Being controlled by five "too big to fail" banks and six media corporations is like being dominated by the buggy-whip industry and the horse-manure-collection industry.

The way forward is to dismantle the five banks and six media companies and allow 500 banks to compete in a transparent market but be unable to buy other banks or other companies. If there are 500 banks that are forced to compete in a transparent marketplace, it will be very difficult for those corporations to purchase the political power the TBTF banks own.

The Federal Reserve is the ultimate centralized horse-manure-collection industry. Like the Catholic Church trying to control Gutenberg's printing press, the Fed is terrified of transparency, liberty, competition and the technological forces of networked decentralization. Though those in power cannot dare contemplate it, their highly centralized institution and the chokehold of its authority are already doomed.

Centralized control leads to stagnation and poverty, which leads to the overthrow of oppressive political Elites. If the centralized Elites attempt to corral the Web to serve their own narrow self-interests, it will overflow their narrow channels and erode their power. Either way, their attempts to control disruptive technology will fail. Their only choice is which path to destruction they wish to tread.



On Reason TV, Andrew Ferguson Discusses the Parasite Economy of Washington, DC

Back in February, I posted this startling map showing that 10 of America’s 15-richest counties are the bedroom communities surrounding Washington, DC.

There’s a lot of money in Washington because federal bureaucrats are wildly overpaid, as I document in this video, and also because there is a huge shadow workforce of contractors, consultants, and lobbyists who have their snouts buried deeply in the public trough.

In an interview for Reason TV, Andy Ferguson talks about how these well-paid parasites have created a bubble economy in Washington.

And you know it must be true because even the leftists at Politico wrote a story acknowledging how the DC area was thriving at a time when the rest of America was struggling.

In other words, the poor and middle-class people in the real world are paying high taxes to subsidize the indolent moochers of Washington.

You would think that’s one kind of redistribution that the left would oppose. Heck, it’s almost enough to make you think that it would be a good idea to reduce the size and scope of the federal government.



Thomas Sowell has some fun with the trash that Leftists talk

Since this is an election year, we can expect to hear a lot of words -- and the meaning of those words is not always clear. So it may be helpful to have a glossary of political terms.

One of the most versatile terms in the political vocabulary is "fairness." It has been used over a vast range of issues, from "fair trade" laws to the Fair Labor Standards Act. And recently we have heard that the rich don't pay their "fair share" of taxes.

Some of us may want to see a definition of what is "fair." But a concrete definition would destroy the versatility of the word, which is what makes it so useful politically.

If you said, for example, that 46.7 percent of their income -- or any other number -- is the "fair share" of their income that the rich should have to pay in taxes, then once they paid that amount, there would be no basis for politicians to come back to them for more -- and "more" is what "fair share" means in practice.

Life in general has never been even close to fair, so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government.

"Racism" is another term we can expect to hear a lot this election year, especially if the public opinion polls are going against President Barack Obama.

Former big-time TV journalist Sam Donaldson and current fledgling CNN host Don Lemon have already proclaimed racism to be the reason for criticisms of Obama, and we can expect more and more other talking heads to say the same thing as the election campaign goes on. The word "racism" is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything -- and demanding evidence makes you a "racist."

A more positive term that is likely to be heard a lot, during election years especially, is "compassion." But what does it mean concretely? More often than not, in practice it means a willingness to spend the taxpayers' money in ways that will increase the spender's chances of getting reelected.

If you are skeptical -- or, worse yet, critical -- of this practice, then you qualify for a different political label: "mean-spirited." A related political label is "greedy."

In the political language of today, people who want to keep what they have earned are said to be "greedy," while those who wish to take their earnings from them and give it to others (who will vote for them in return) show "compassion."

A political term that had me baffled for a long time was "the hungry." Since we all get hungry, it was not obvious to me how you single out some particular segment of the population to refer to as "the hungry."

Eventually, over the years, it finally dawned on me what the distinction was. People who make no provision to feed themselves, but expect others to provide food for them, are those whom politicians and the media refer to as "the hungry."

Those who meet this definition may have money for alcohol, drugs or even various electronic devices. And many of them are overweight. But, if they look to voluntary donations, or money taken from the taxpayers, to provide them with something to eat, then they are "the hungry."

I can remember a time, long ago, when I was hungry in the old-fashioned sense. I was a young fellow out of work, couldn't find work, fell behind in my room rent -- and, when I finally found a job, I had to walk miles to get there, because I couldn't afford both subway fare and food.

But this was back in those "earlier and simpler times" we hear about. I was so naive that I thought it was up to me to go find a job, and to save some money when I did. Even though I knew that Joe DiMaggio was making $100,000 a year -- a staggering sum in the money of that time -- it never occurred to me that it was up to him to see that I got fed.

So, even though I was hungry, I never qualified for the political definition of "the hungry." Moreover, I never thereafter spent all the money I made, whether that was a little or a lot, because being hungry back then was a lot worse than being one of "the hungry" today.

As a result, I was never of any use to politicians looking for dependents who would vote for them. Nor have I ever had much use for such politicians.




In praise of consumerism: "We generally hear the term ‘Consumerism’ used as a term of abuse, usually by religious movements, pro-state economists, environmentalists and so on. I would argue that, properly constituted, a ‘consumerist’ society is exactly the type of society that we should be striving for. However, part of the pejorative use of the term comes from a particular meaning attached to it."

Litigious Apple loses one: "A US judge on Friday ruled that Apple cannot pursue an injunction against Google's Motorola Mobility unit, effectively ending a key case for the iPhone maker in the smartphone patent wars. The ruling came from Judge Richard Posner in Chicago federal court. He dismissed the litigation between Apple and Motorola Mobility with prejudice, meaning it can't be refiled."



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Obama's new America again (Quite Soviet)

Feds Jail New Mexico Family, Seize Everything They Own for Being Honest Legal Firearms Dealers

This has got to be one of the grossest miscarriages of law enforcement that I’ve read about lately.

Rick and Terri Reese, along with their two sons Ryin and Remington ran a federally licensed gun shop in Deming, New Mexico. They kept meticulous records of all the firearms and ammunition they purchased and which were purchased by customers. They performed the required FBI background checks when necessary. Basically, they ran their gun shop by the letter of the law for 17 years.

Even much of their hired help was legal as the Reeses often hired law enforcement officers who were either retired or off duty, to work in the gun shop. This brought in a substantial amount of business with the law enforcement community and agencies.

In 2011, Terri noticed a customer that had made an unusually large number of purchases. The customer, Penny Torres, told Terri that they were having a family reunion at a ranch in the area and that they all liked to shoot. Terri was suspicious of Torres story and being the law abiding gun dealer she is, she reported her suspicions to one of her friends that worked with the Luna County Sheriff’s Department. Terri told him that she suspected Torres might be a ‘straw buyer’ (someone who purchased guns for illegal purposes such as going over the Mexican border to the drug cartels, kind of like what the US government did with Operation Fast and Furious).

The Luna County Sheriff’s Department officer Terri reported to was someone she trusted and who she always turned to if they had any need for law enforcement. He told her that he would promptly report it to ATF and would let her know what happened with the case.

Torres was subsequently arrested, but ended up making a deal with the feds for leniency by implicating the Reese family as knowingly selling guns that were to illegally cross the border into Mexico. This launched an investigation by a recently formed federal agency known as Homeland Security Investigators (HSI), who set up a sting operation to entrap the Reeses.

HSI hired a confidential informant called Roman, who was seeking a reduced sentence for human trafficking and drugs smuggling. Roman agreed to go to the Reese’ gun shop, purchase weapons and drop hints that they would be heading across the border into Mexico but to do so in such a way as not to alarm them and cause them to refuse the sale. Roman was fitted with a wire to record everything that was said. HSI figured that if the Reeses sold the guns to Roman, that they could then arrest them on gun walking charges.

Shortly after Roman made his gun purchases, the feds swooped in to arrest all four members of the family. HSI and local law enforcement raided the gun store and the Reese home. They came in helicopters, armored vehicles and too many heavily protected and armed law enforcement officers to count. Not only were the four members of the Reese family arrested, but the feds confiscated every gun, all ammunition from both their store and their home, then they confiscated the home, cars, bank accounts, coin collections and virtually everything the family owned.

Each member of the family was eventually taken to a different jail or prison facility to be held without bail until their trials. The prosecution argued that they were flight risks or might even stage a Ruby Ridge type stand off because their home had a well and solar panels and they had found guns on the premises. Can you imagine that? They actually found guns and ammunition in the house and place of business of federally licensed gun dealers. It was also noted by the prosecution that Rick and Terry Reese were part of the local Tea Party, which must have made them look violent in the eyes of the prosecutor.

Six months after being arrested, Terri Reese was allowed to post bail, but the courts continued to withhold bail for the father and two sons.

Recently, the first preliminary hearing was held for the four members of the Reese family. According to a WND report, the prosecution revealed a number of revelations during the preliminary hearing. For one thing, Roman spoke little broken English and that most of the hinting of guns going to Mexico was said in Spanish, which none of the Reese family knew or understood. However, the transcripts that the court had to read had all been translated into English, so that it appeared that the conversation had taken place in English.

Additionally, the prosecution admitted that all of the Reese’ gun sales had been properly logged and all transactions appeared to have been legal. They also admitted that the Reeses has paid all of their taxes and that there was no evidence of any under the table transactions and that all banking and financial evidence indicated that all members of the family never received any money other than their normal paychecks.

When the defense pointed out to the prosecution that they used so many law enforcement personnel in their store, the prosecution replied that it didn’t matter because ‘a lot of them [cops and former cops] are dirty.’

Now the Reese family is awaiting the main trial which is scheduled for some time in July. Since all of their worldly possessions, even personal items accumulated over 25 years of marriage, have been confiscated, they have no money with which to use to pay for their defense. And if by some miracle they are acquitted of all charges, they have no home and no business to return to.

What galls me to spit in anger is that this family, even by the prosecution’s own statements in the preliminary trial, have never done anything wrong. Their lives have been raped by the federal government based on promises made to two convicts in lieu of lighter sentences. Roman’s statements should not be admissible since he spoke Spanish and the Reeses don’t. This is a horrible case of entrapment and what’s worse is that they are accusing the family of doing what the feds did in Operation Fast and Furious and NO ONE IS BEING PROSECUTED in that case!

We need to pray that the Reese family is exonerated and that the feds are forced to replace all of their possessions, guns, ammunition, house, cars, bank accounts, coin collection and pay for wrongful imprisonment. If anyone belongs in jail for gun walking, it’s Eric Holder, not the Reese family.



The Great Destroyer

Frank Turek

“Politics is fought between the forty yard lines,“ remarked Charles Krauthammer just after Obama was elected in 2008. Krauthammer is right about nearly everything, but his rule clearly warrants an exception when applied to Barack Obama and his administration. Attorney David Limbaugh shows why in his new book, The Great Destroyer: Barack Obama’s War on the Republic.

This is the second book in Limbaugh’s very readable and insightful narrative of Barack Obama’s Presidency. The Great Destroyer picks up where Crimes Against Liberty left off in 2010. Limbaugh meticulously narrates how the President has been striding to the liberal goal line with nearly every policy, appointment and statement since taking office. Almost without exception, Obama implements or supports policies that negate America’s founding principles—individual liberty, limited government and the rule of law are among the casualties in the President’s war on the Republic.

You say, “’War on the Republic.’ That’s a little strong, don’t you think?”

You might think so until you read the book. I am a political junkie, but even I was shocked to see the extreme scope of Obama’s anti-American assault.

“Oh, but this was written by a Limbaugh, and Limbaughs are well known for their conservatism.”

If any liberal or so-called “independent” judgmentally dismisses The Great Destroyer simply because Limbaugh is a conservative, point out that people can present evidence objectively even if they personally are not neutral. First, neutral people rarely have the interest or expertise to write books! But more importantly, you can’t dismiss what Limbaugh says simply because he supports conservative policies. That’s a fallacy that cuts both ways—you’d have to dismiss everything Obama says because he supports liberal policies. The truth is, everyone has political beliefs. The issue is not those beliefs, but the evidence one presents!

David Limbaugh presents a wealth of evidence that Barack Obama is inflicting unprecedented injuries on America and the liberties of its citizens. He does the work the mainstream media refuses to do. In addition to using neutral sources, such as the Congressional Budget Office for financial data, Limbaugh quotes several liberals, administration officials, and, of course, Barack Obama himself to make the irrefutable case that Obama’s ultra-liberal positions are resulting in catastrophic negative effects for America. Unfortunately, his case is quite compelling.

The Great Destroyer is well organized by topic. Chapter headings include: The War on America, The War on Our Culture and Values, The War on the Economy, The War on Our Future, The War on Business, The War America’s National Security, and several others. The book also includes several helpful charts that display, at a glance, the current and impending disaster known as Obama’s economic policies.

Since The Great Destroyer is over 500 pages (including nearly 100 pages of endnotes), I can only summarize a few revelations that Limbaugh provides. These are from just two chapters of The Great Destroyer.

From “The War on Values and Culture”:

In prepared remarks, Vice President Biden said he had no objections to China’s forced abortion policy.

With several new policies and edicts, Obama has ensured that federal funds are now paying for abortion. He is clearly the most pro-abortion president in history.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned public school districts about blocking students from forming gay themed organizations.

HHS administrator Pam Hyde declared, “Your federal government has finally come out of the closet in support of LGBT youth.” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “I want to tell you, you have a friend in this administration, who will stand beside you each and every step along the way.”

Obama’s HHS website promoted the idea that kids may “experiment” with homosexuality.

The Obama Administration initially refused to publicize the results of their own study that abstinence education programs actually work.

President Obama declared his support for “age-appropriate” sex education for kindergarteners.

The survey of our military men and women about “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” may have been a sham to mislead Congress—the executive report of the findings was written before the survey was actually taken!

Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama appear to be in collusion in refusing to defend, and even attempting to overturn, democratically decided laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

In July 2011, Holder ordered Banks to relax mortgage qualifications for the poor—the same insane policy that led to the housing crash in the first place!

Obama’s Justice Department refuses to prosecute several grievous injustices including video-taped voter intimidation by Black Panthers, and video-taped instances of potential sex trafficking, prostitution and underage abortions by Planned Parenthood.

Obama not only lifted the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (which has yet to cure any human being of a disease), he rescinded President Bush’s executive order to fund adult stem cell research (which has resulted in treating more than a hundred diseases and medical conditions). Obama is the “anti-science” president, not Bush!

Obama’s stance against the freedom of religious organizations to hire people with their values was so extreme that the Supreme Court ruled against him 9-0 (even his own liberal appointees disagreed!).

From “The War on the Economy”:

Contrary to his claim to save or create 3.5 million jobs, Obama has actually lost almost 4.1 million jobs – a jobs deficit of 7.6 million.

February 2012 was the worst one-month debt in U.S. history: $219 Billion (Bush’s deficit for all of 2007 was less than that!).

Four years in a row, Obama’s deficits have or will be in excess of $1 trillion, dwarfing President Bush’s deficits.

Obama has added more to the debt in three plus years than Bush added in eight.

Obama and his team have engaged in accounting gimmickry and unrealistic rosy predictions in an attempt to make their dismal plans look less dismal.

New research into 108 national economies shows that government “stimulus” spending—staunchly advocated by Obama—tends to have a net negative effect on the economy.

Despite promising not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year, ObamaCare will result in 17 new taxes or penalties that will burden all Americans.

Costs for ObamaCare will be nearly double original estimates (and most of the program hasn’t even started yet!).

Despite the President promising that people could keep their current health insurance plan, multiple sources report that a majority will loose their current coverage under Obamacare.

Union members comprise only 12 percent of all employees, but the Obama Administration has granted them 50.3 percent of all ObamaCare waivers. (By the way, if ObamaCare is such a good deal, why does anyone want a waiver?)

David Limbaugh provides more revelations in these two chapters and the other ten. You really need to get the book to appreciate the full breadth of the destruction—destruction that you are not going to hear from the mainstream media.

In the era of Obama, politics in America is no longer fought between the forty yard lines. Americans need to read The Great Destroyer to encourage enough voters to begin running the ball the other way—back to the principles that made America great.



Supreme Court decision protects workers, deals another blow to public employee unions

–The Supreme Court deserves praise for their 7-2 decision today in the Knox v. SEIU case, which determined that a state cannot require its employees to pay a special union fee that will be spent for political purposes without first giving the employees information about the fee and a chance to object to it.

It is simply an unconscionable violation of public employee worker rights for any state to compel their civil servants to pay special political fees into a union, so that union can pump that money into the pockets of politicians. The Supreme Court got it 100 percent correct when they protected workers from this abuse.

As the individual decisions of thousands of public employee union members have proven in Wisconsin who have stopped making union dues payments after they ceased to be compelled to do so, unions depend upon the state forcing people to join and pay dues. When individual workers get to choose, they abandon the union and their big government agenda in droves.




Alan Turing has always been something of a God to us computer folk because of his brilliance. So it has always been saddening to hear that he was hounded to death because of his homosexuality. There is a good argument here, however, that his death was simply accidental.

Southern Baptists decree: Gay rights not civil rights: "A day after electing their first African-American president in a historic move that strives to erase its legacy of racism, Southern Baptists passed a resolution opposing the idea that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue. ... The nation’s largest Protestant denomination is attempting to broaden its appeal beyond its traditional white Southern base. At the same time, leaders said they feel it is important to take a public stand on their opposition to same-sex marriage."

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


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


Monday, June 25, 2012

Should We Hire Even More Teachers, Cops, and Firemen?

Not if we want the economy to recover any time soon. Encouraging business is the only way to increase real, lasting jobs

Do we in fact have our staffing levels for teachers, cops, and firemen right? Could we get by with fewer of these sorts of employees or do we need yet more, to make up for the supposedly draconian cuts that have descended upon schoolhouses, police departments, and firehouses like Herod's minions murdering innocents?

A lot of Obama's stimulus was spent on keeping public-sector payrolls going full-tilt and now that the stimulus has dried up (and clearly failed to "prime the pump" of general economic activity in any serious way), some of those folks are being let go. At least at the state and local level. As Keith Hennessey notes, outside of the Postal Service (which has long been shrinking), Obama has added 1420,000 workers to the federal payroll.

Before we look at teachers, cops, and firemen in turn, consider the overall plight of working America. Here's a chart of private- and public-sector job losses since January 2009. Public-sector employment is indeed down from where it was back then and private-sector jobs are back to about where they were when Obama took office (though still lower than they were in pre-recession times; about 4 million jobs total have vanished since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, and 80 percent of those losses were in the private sector).

Despite recent cuts to the public-sector workforce, fears of teacher-less classrooms, cop-free streets, and empty firehouses are misplaced.

When it comes to teachers, in 2008 (the last year for which the federal government lists actual data), there were 15.3 pupils per teacher in public K-12 schools. That's the lowest recorded number. In 1998, the number was 16.4 and in 1978, it was 19.3. Over this same time period, the amount of money per student has increased tremendously and scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have stayed flat at best. Since 1970, the number of public-school students has increased by about 9 percent while the number of public-school employees (teachers plus everyone else) has increased by 96 percent. Something ain't right there. It seems quite plausible that states and local school districts can lose a good chunk of teachers without significantly impairing the quality (that may not be the right word) of K-12 public education.

What about cops? According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 1992 there were 332 "full-tme state and local law enforcement employees per 100,000 residents." By 2008, that number had jumped to 373 full-timers. To be fair, crime has been declining over that time frame, so maybe the extra cops have really made a difference. Yet most experts point to factors other than the sheer number of law enforcement employees to explain the decline. The population is aging, which correlates with less crime; the sorts of gadgets and gizmos that get ripped off are more affordable for everyone, leading to less crime; surveillance cameras (both private and public) seem to have chilled thefts and assaults; and more. So there's every reason to believe that we can scrimp on high-cost uniformed cops and not be met with a crime wave that will turn even Smallville, USA into Gotham City any time soon.

Then there's firefighters. Data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) tracks the number of firefighters between 1986 and 2010. In 1986, there was a total of 4.35 volunteer and career firefighters per 1,000 Americans. That number dropped to 3.57 firefighters per 1,000 people in 2010. The number of career firefighters—these are the ones who are compensated by taxpayers—has remained relatively stable though, going from 1.73 per 1,000 people to 1.53 per 1,000 people. That's not much of a drop and it's worth pointing out that firefighting, unlike teaching or police work, doesn't scale the same way relative to population. Having more (or fewer people) doesn't clearly mean more (or fewer) fires. In any case, NFPA data show a decrease in "incidents attended by public fire departments." In 2003 (the oldest year I could find data for), for instance, public fire departments covered 1.6 million fires. In 2010, the numbers was 1.33 million. More people, fewer firemen, and fewer fires. That's great news.

So it seems that the American public can get by with fewer public-sector employees without spiraling down into chaos. Unless you believe that the primary function of the public sector is to be a jobs program, there is no reason to sweat recent cuts to public-sector jobs, whose numbers, as Mickey Kaus has pointed out, have "been bloating since around 1980." Obesity isn't just about food, it turns out.

As it happens, Nobel-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and many others (let's call them stimulatarians), seem to believe that a key function of government is precisely to employ lots of people who otherwise would look for work elsewhere. He argues that growth in public-sector employment is all that stands between recession and recovery:

"Conservatives would have you believe that our disappointing economic performance has somehow been caused by excessive government spending, which crowds out private job creation. But the reality is that private-sector job growth has more or less matched the recoveries from the last two recessions; the big difference this time is an unprecedented fall in public employment, which is now about 1.4 million jobs less than it would be if it had grown as fast as it did under President George W. Bush."

I happen to think that the really big difference between this recession and the last two are the absolutely humongous interventions into the economy by the federal government via the stimulus, TARP, and ObamaCare (whose uncertain legal status and cost estimates can't in any way have helped businessess want to hire more people). I may be forgetting the great bailout of 2001, but I don't think so. What's more, argues Krugman in a recent column, the lackluster experience of Ireland's "austerity" program, in which 28,000 public workers were canned over a few years, shows that reducing public payrolls is no way to win the future:

"Recovery never came; Irish unemployment is more than 14 percent. Ireland's experience shows that austerity in the face of a depressed economy is a terrible mistake to be avoided if possible."

Let the record show that George W. Bush, as this site (and me personally) never tires of pointing out, was a big-government disaster, who broke the bank like an impulsive five-year-old smacking a piggy bank with a hammer. If Bush's free-spending ways were so stimulative, the question before us would be how can we restrain such fantastic economic growth and not how can we get anything going.

Like Obama, George Bush inherited a crap economy and a whopping 900,000 public-sector jobs were added in his first term, which was also known as a "jobless recovery." The feds went on a hiring and spending spree, of course, and so did state and local governments once the economy bounced back. Unlike Obama, Bush also inherited a surplus from which to at least pay for some of that spending. To insist that public-sector spending is the way to reduce unemployment really does mean forgetting that these jobs don't pay for themselves. The only way the government at any level makes payroll is by taxing now or borrowing now and taxing later to pay off debt.

A decade-plus after Bush first took office, debt at all levels has metastisized, which is another way of saying that the bill for runaway government spending—we're talking increases of 60 percent or more in inflation-adjusted dollars at the federal level and well over 50 percent at the state level between 2003 and 2007 alone—is coming due. So for Krugman and other stimulatarians to simply keep harping on public-sector employment levels really begs the questions of who's going to pay for those saved-or-created hires and what effect explicit or implicit tax increases have on the larger economy.

Which brings us to the related question of Irish austerity, which to Krugman's mind proves that firing public workers will hurt any economy. Contrary to Krugman, Irish public spending has been relatively flat in recent years, which is really nobody's idea of austerity, if by that term you mean taking a hatchet to a budget to reduce the debt to GDP or spending ratio. By the same token, Ireland has been happy to raise all sorts of taxes in recent years to attempt to close budget and debt gaps. As Reason columnist and Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy has pointed out, an incomplete list of "austerity" tax increases in the Old Sod includes:

* Standard VAT rate increased by two percentage points to 23 percent. (It was cut in December 2009 down to 20 percent from 21.5 percent)

* €100 household charge introduced to fund vital local services.

* Carbon tax increased from €15 to €20 per tonne effective from midnight, Budget Night, on petrol and diesel, and from May 1, 2012, on other fossil fuels, excluding solid fuels. This change equates to 1½c increase in cost of a litre of petrol & diesel.

* Excise tax on cigarettes up by 25 cents.

* Motor-tax rates increased.

* Capital acquisition tax, capital-gains tax and D.I.R.T. raised to 30 percent.

* Property-relief surcharge of 5 percent to apply to large investors.

These levies, she notes, have been laid on top of a whole bunch more as well. Far from Krugman's suggestion that Irish austerity has taken the form of massive cuts in goverment spending and public-sector employment, most of it involves tax increases that are properly understood as "private-sector austerity."

De Rugy has elsewhere pointed out that there are crystal-clear examples of how to shrink public-sector spending (and by extension, public-sector employment) which not only reduce debt-to-GDP ratios but correlate with economic growth. The key is to eschew "balanced approaches" that rely on some spending cuts and some tax hikes and to go whole hog on the spending cuts.

Successful austerity plans—those that see debt-to-GDP decline by at least 4.5 percentage points after three or more years—contain an average of 80 percent of spending cuts and 20 percent tax increases. Rather than grapple with actual examples from the recent past, the stimulatarians either fudge weak arguments about how World War II ended the Depression ("the Great Depression ended largely thanks to a guy named Adolf Hitler") or how stimulative a Watchmen-style fake alien invasion would be.

And to answer Krugman's query about runaway spending causing rotten economic performance: Yes, there appears to be a pretty strong connection, especially when spending keeps the debt ratio from shrinking. According to Carmen Reinhart, Vincent Reinhart, and Ken Rogoff, "debt overhang"—defined as a country posting a debt-to-GDP ratio of 90 percent or more for five consecutive years—causes significant reductions in long-term economic growth.

Economists such as University of California at San Diego's Valerie Ramey and Harvard's Robert Barro—not to mention former Obama adviser Christina Romer—have all made convincing empirical cases that fiscal stimulus doesn't work. Certainly we know this much: The Obama stimulus failed to deliver on its unemployment rate promises (and that would be true even if public-sector employment had not been cut).

The stimulatarians would keep increasing government expenditures and padding public payrolls as the one true route to prosperity. Tax increases are OK in this scenario (or at least not worthy of much serious discussion) because they might help to keep more folks on the public payroll which is, in Krugman's analysis, "the big difference this time."

But we plainly don't need more teachers, more cops, or more firemen to educate our kids, protect our streets, or put out our fires.

And hiring more public-sector employees is no way to reduce government spending, which is the best way to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio. Which is the best way right now to get the economy moving. If only President Obama or Gov. Romney understood any part of that.

SOURCE (See the original for graphics)


IPAB, Obamacare's Super-Legislature

The individual mandate isn't Obamacare's only unconstitutional provision, or even its most unconstitutional provision. That distinction belongs to the Independent Payment Advisory Board. A heretofore unreported feature of this super-legislature makes it even more authoritarian and dangerous than anyone knew.

IPAB consists of up to 15 unelected government "experts." Its stated purpose is to restrain Medicare spending. If projected spending exceeds certain targets, Obamacare requires IPAB to issue "legislative proposals" to reduce future spending. Those proposals could include drastic cuts that jeopardize seniors' access to care, leading some critics to label IPAB a "death panel."

But the really dangerous part is that these are not mere "proposals." Obamacare requires the secretary of Health and Human Services to implement them — which means they become law automatically — unless Congress takes certain steps to head them off. Congress may replace the Board's proposal with its own cuts, at least initially. But Obamacare requires a three-fifths vote in the Senate to pass any replacement that spends more than the Board's proposal. In other words, to override IPAB's proposal completely, opponents must assemble a simple majority in the House and a three-fifths majority in the Senate and the president's signature.

That makes IPAB more than an advisory board. It's a super-legislature whose members are more powerful than members of Congress. If eight members of Congress propose a bill, all that's necessary to block it is a majority of either chamber, or one-third of either chamber plus the president.

Worse, Obamacare forbids Congress to repeal IPAB outside of a brief window in the year 2017 — and even then requires a three-fifths supermajority in both chambers plus a presidential signature. Under Obamacare, after 2017 Congress could repeal Medicare, but not the board it created to run Medicare. Congress and the states could repeal the Bill of Rights — but not IPAB.

What kind of laws will these super-legislators impose? Obamacare supposedly prohibits these super-legislators from raising taxes or rationing care. Yet those restrictions are unenforceable and meaningless. For instance, the statute lets IPAB define "rationing" and protects that definition — along with the secretary's implementation of IPAB's edicts — from administrative or judicial review. The prohibition on raising taxes is likewise toothless. IPAB can raise taxes as surely as it can cut Medicare spending.

In effect, Obamacare gives IPAB the power to raise taxes, spend money, place conditions on federal grants to states, and exercise other powers the Constitution reserves solely to Congress. If the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare's mandated Medicaid expansion, states may soon see IPAB imposing similar mandates on states. And if President Obama fails to appoint any IPAB members, all these powers fall to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

As if all this weren't bad enough, we discovered a heretofore unreported feature of Obamacare. According to the statute, if Congress fails to repeal IPAB during that short window in 2017, then in 2020 Congress loses any and all power to restrain these super-legislators.

The Congressional Research Service and others have reported that Congress will always retain some (limited) power to block IPAB's edicts, but they misread a crucial part of the statute. They thought they saw the word "or" where the statute actually says "and." The difference is dramatic.

As we explain in our new report, under the statute as written, if Congress fails to repeal IPAB in 2017, the secretary must implement IPAB's edicts even if Congress votes to block them. Nancy Pelosi was right: We needed to pass Obamacare to find out what was in it. We're still finding out.

Obamacare is so unconstitutional, it's absurd. It delegates legislative powers that Congress cannot delegate. It creates a permanent super-legislature to supplement — and when conflicts arise, to supplant — Congress. It tries to amend the Constitution via statute rather than the amendment procedure of Article V.

Obamacare proves economist Friedrich Hayek's axiom that government direction of the economy threatens both democracy and freedom. After decades of failing to deliver high-quality, low-cost health care through Medicare, Congress struck upon the "solution" of creating a permanent super-legislature — or worse, an economic dictator — with the power to impose taxes and other laws that the people would reject.

Fortunately, one Congress cannot bind future Congresses by statute. If the Supreme Court fails to strike down Obamacare, Congress should exercise its power to repeal IPAB — and the rest of Obamacare with it.




List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)