Health care challenge fraught with many perils

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an ill considered challenge to the Affordable Care Act based on the idea that since Congress didn’t explicitly authorize, and may have forbidden, the creation of a federal exchange consumers in those 34 states without a state exchange are receiving illegal tax credits. This approach seems valid on its face, but it behooves conservative backers to remember the higher law we often remind liberals of, that of unintended consequences. 

First, it bears remembering that Chief Justice Roberts proved himself a supported of ACA, and no supporter of Congressional intent in this context, with his contortions in redefining something that Congress explicitly said was a fine and not a tax as a tax and not a fine. He had a much less suspect approach available. He could have found, citing Justice Scalia in Gonzalez v. Raich, among others, that the individual mandate was a Necessary and Proper provision to enforce Congressional Commerce Clause power. Is it really wise to give him the chance to revisit the issue, double down and perhaps use a dissenter’s own prior opinion against him?

If the tax credits are found to be illegal, does that mean repayment? Before falling back on Mitt Romney’s winning 47% theory, realize that doubling and tripling the cost of individual market premiums and causing insurers to boot many consumers off existing health plans put many small business owners in those exchange plans. Somebody call Joe the Plumber. If I were a betting man, I’d give good odds that he got a credit.

But perhaps most importantly, this particular approach seems fraught with the particular peril of completely federalizing health care, perhaps indirectly. If the federal exchange is ruled to violate Congressional intent, as it seems to, that would mean that citizens in 14 states would receive tax credits at the expense of those in 36 others. That could, in fact should, mean an equal protection challenge to the law for the consumers in the 36 states without state exchanges. While that challenge might eliminate the tax credits in the other 14 states, it’s every bit as likely under Chief Justice “It’s Not A Fine, It’s a Tax” to result in the elimination of the state exchanges and replacement with a single federal system. In fact, given his disregard for Congressional intent in the prior case, there is no reason to think he won’t foresee the issue and merely federalize health care completely in this one.

 

Justices to hear challenge to health law subsidies

Obama not the wolf in sheep’s clothing here

Some “conservatives” are circulating a heavily edited video excerpt of a speech by President Obama. In it, he contrasts the “ideas eventually inspired a band of colonialists across an ocean, and [written] into the founding documents that still guide America today, including the simple truth that all men, and women, are created equal” with another set of ideals. The video has been edited to have him saying that those other ideals, and not the American ones, are the basis of an “international order that we have worked for generations to build.” The full text and full video are readily available. I am no fan of Mr. Obama, but there are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize him without painting a deliberately false picture, and doing so only undermines legitimate, appropriate criticism. (Perhaps the people who put the short video together didn’t understand the speech and actually thought he was espousing the bit they posted, not opposing it. I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse and the choice of what they cut argues that they knew exactly what they were doing.) Here is a bit of what he actually espoused in the speech:

“I believe that over the long haul as nations that are free, as free people, the future is ours. I believe this not because I’m naive. And I believe this not because of the strength of our arms or the size of our economies. I believe this because these ideals that we affirm are true. These ideals are universal.

Yes, we believe in democracy, with elections that are free and fair, and independent judiciaries and opposition parties, civil society and uncensored information so that individuals can make their own choices. Yes, we believe in open economies based on free markets and innovation and individual initiative and entrepreneurship and trade and investment that creates a broader prosperity.

And yes, we believe in human dignity, that every person is created equal — no matter who you are or what you look like or who you love or where you come from. That is what we believe. That’s what makes us strong. And our enduring strength is also reflected in our respect for an international system that protects the rights of both nations and people — a United Nations and a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international law and the means to enforce those laws.”

The edited version has him saying “the international order that we have worked for generations to build. [… this is where two paragraphs are cut]

ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign.”

Sounds awful and un-American. And, that was actually the President’s point.

Full text of speech

If you oppose the BK-Tim Hortons merger, you hate teachers and the children

America’s current and retired public school teachers are the second largest institutional owner of Burger King.

TIAA-CREF Investment Management, LLC, – Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA–CREF) – owns 1.17% of Burger King.

Teachers Advisors, Inc.- another TIAA-CREF affiliate – owns another 0.43%.

This makes America’s teachers the second largest institutional owner of Burger King.

Yahoo Finance as of June 30, 2014.

Bottom line: If you oppose this merger, you clearly hate teachers and the children.

First they came for the chickens (with apologies to Martin Niemöller)

In a particularly cruel violation of the 5th and 14th Amendment’s protections against deprivation of property without due process of law, a Minnesota Police Chief has made himself judge, jury and executioner in the case of a 5-year old boy’s pet chicken. He claims that the animal violates a city ordinance against “fowls”. Aside from the patently ridiculous and utterly unenforceable nature of an ordinance against birds, which has to be laid at the feet of the local town council, the Chief’s behavior goes beyond the norm for enforcing a minor city ordinance. At most, he would be reasonably empowered to impound, and preserve, the property in question pending a hearing. That the property happens to be a living thing and that he dispatched it in a manner cruel to both the animal and the owner calls into question not only his regard for the rule of law, but his fitness to serve on a psychological basis.

The poor mother, unfortunately, is deluded: “The chicken was like a puppy dog to my son. You wouldn’t do that to a puppy.” To be clear, she is not deluded in thinking the chicken was like a puppy dog to her son, she was deluded in thinking that the police wouldn’t do the same thing to a puppy.

It’s easy enough to write this off as merely a callous way of handling a mere chicken or even the occasional overreaction to a barking dog. The problem, as educated police law enforcement officials would readily agree, is that cruelty to animals is linked to cruelty to humans. The the triad of sociopathy as extensively studied by FBI profiler John Douglas is commonly considered an indicator of future potential for violence, particularly serial violence. The triad is fire setting, cruelty to animals and persistent childhood bedwetting beyond a certain age. It shouldn’t be necessary to ask questions about bedwetting. When public servants display one aspect of the triad, it should be sufficient to disqualify them for a job with the power entrusted to police.

The wanton disregard of the rule of law in violating property rights without due process is egregious enough to call into question this Chief’s fitness to serve. His cruelty to both an animal and that animal’s five year old owner settles the question. First, he came for the chickens…

 

Police chief decapitates boy’s pet chicken

And I feel fine

Government shutting down.

National debt exploding.

Default looming.

Genetically modified food is poisoning us.

The government can’t even run a website.

There’s an island of garbage floating in the Pacific and nobody smart enough to exploit it.

Syrians at war because Bashar Assad can serve until 2014 under the new constitution.

Hives are collapsing.

The fourth largest city in the US has a gay mayor. Still.

Health insurance is cancelled.

Ice caps are melting…then freezing again when winter hits.

Chris Christie was re-elected.

There are hormones in the milk.

Deadly superbugs and the end of antibiotics. Period.

The next President of the United States is Hillary Clinton.

The Chinese own us, but want to nuke us.

The next President of the United States is Ted Cruz.

No more Astrodome.

Seventy percent of the earth is covered by water, but we’re running out.

And apparently, I’m not the only who feels fine. Stocks closed at record highs today.

Is a 27% cut really a “shutdown”?

A lot worth considering in this, most noteably that the much feared “shutdown” only involves 27% of federal spending and barely balances the budget.

 

 

Libertarian Party calls for permanent government spending slowdown, defunding Obamacare

There is no impending government shutdown — only a government slowdown. The threat of a “shutdown” is designed to scare voters while avoiding scrutiny of reckless government overspending.

If federal lawmakers do not pass a budget or a “continuing resolution” (CR) by Oct. 1, a government spending slowdown will take effect. This could halt almost $1 trillion in annualized spending that the CR would authorize, which is the size of the current federal deficit. If made permanent, this would cut annual federal spending by approximately 27 percent to $2.7 trillion — the current level of revenues coming in.

In other words, a federal slowdown — if allowed to take full effect — would balance the federal budget. This would greatly benefit the U.S. economy.

“Elected Republicans in the House can stimulate the productive private sector by slowing down Big Government,” said Geoffrey J. Neale, chair of the Libertarian National Committee.

“Why?” Neale asked. “Because a government-sector slowdown equals a private-sector growth speedup of small businesses and jobs. Americans should welcome a government slowdown — and fear the opposite: allowing politicians to continue irresponsible, reckless government overspending.”

Do politicians properly prioritize spending cuts when a slowdown takes effect? Yes and no. Functions that affect life or property generally remain funded, but many needed cuts — such as lucrative government perks, Obamacare, and large volumes of waste marbled throughout government spending — remain intact.

Furthermore, lawmakers have made numerous exceptions to the slowdown. Only a portion of the $1 trillion that would be authorized by a CR will be blocked if a slowdown takes effect.

While the particulars of the impending slowdown are far from perfect, any serious spending cuts are a welcome change from wildly irresponsible government overspending and growing government debt.

Every American should ask himself one question: Is my family better off with a government slowdown that cuts federal spending by 27 percent? Or is my family better off with another trillion dollars in federal government debt?

Transferring wealth out of the government sector and into the private sector creates jobs. Every government-funded job loss is matched by roughly two private sector job gains — a panacea for jobseekers.

“The Libertarian Party calls for a permanent government slowdown,” Neale said. “Cutting taxes, removing regulations, ending failed Big Government programs, andcutting total government spending is the only way to revive the American economy and save it from further decline.”

“Americans should be very afraid every time politicians pass another ‘continuing resolution,'” he said. “It’s their latest method for keeping government spending high, adding to government debt, devaluing the dollar and putting the American economy at risk.”

Republicans tie less spending with more spending

The U.S. Constitution requires all spending bills to originate in the House of Representatives. Members of the U.S. House can vote to veto any spending of which they disapprove. They can reject all “continuing resolutions.” They can also fully defund Obamacare.

But Republicans in the U.S. House have refused to defund Obamacare, despite having a majority in the House since 2010. On Sept. 20, they finally passed a bill to defund it — but at a very high price to taxpayers and jobseekers. The bill also authorizes a “continuing resolution” through Dec. 15.

Republicans were willing to fully defund Obamacare only when coupled with a permission slip for continued reckless spending at an annualized rate of almost $1 trillion.

The U.S. Senate leadership and President Barack Obama vow to reject the House bill and protect Obamacare.

The solution: reject both overspending and Obamacare

As it stands, Obamacare will go into effect on Oct. 1 even with a government slowdown. It will be funded by new taxes and cuts in Medicare that are not stopped by a slowdown.

Does this mean that House Republicans are forced to accept either Obamacare or a “continuing resolution?” Are they powerless to stop both of these dangerous and destructive government policies?

No.

At any time, the Republican-controlled House can do the right thing: Both fully defund Obamacare and refuse to pass a continuing resolution. They control the federal purse strings.

All that House Republicans need to do is debunk phony “shutdown” talk and pass a new bill.

“Lawmakers do not need to concede to either overspending or Obamacare,” said Neale. “Instead, we must move in the opposite direction: dramatically cut government spending and remove existing health care mandates, taxes, and regulations that stifle human progress.”

Voters are becoming increasingly aware of the exorbitant cost of Obamacare and the damage it will do to their family’s health. If it takes effect, it will force Americans to buy unwanted and grossly unaffordable medical insurance policies that provide poor coverage — or pay a fine. It will result in higher medical costs, more red tape, and more rationing of health care services.

Voters are also deeply concerned about high government spending and government debt.

The Libertarian Party runs candidates for federal, state, and local office to cut spending, lower taxes, and balance budgets — and to nullify, defund, and repeal Obamacare.

obamameme

 

Barack Obama: Thinks Americans can’t be trusted with small arms; gives small arms to al Qaeda affiliates in Syria.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus? Thank God he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!

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