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Saturday, June 30, 2012

More Congratulations to the USA and the UN

Did you hear the big news? The world powers have agreed on a plan to bring peace to Syria through a transitional government. The crisis is solved, right? Well, not exactly; in a move that only the UN could love, the new plan omits one tiny detail, namely whether or not president Assad can remain in power. In other words, the crisis is not resolved and there is not even any coherent plan as to how to proceed. Instead, the UN and the Obama administration have gone for the headlines in the news about how agreement was reached instead of trying to achieve an actual agreement that might end to fighting. Even worse is the reason for the failure. Russia would not agree to any plan that called for its ally Assad to go. Rather than see the conference "fail", the USA pushed for the non-resolution resolution. After all, Obama would not do anything to upset Russia, so who cares if 50,000 or 100,000 more Syrians get killed. The news reports will look good, after all.

I despise the cynical crap that Obama and the Obamacrats put forward these days as accomplishments.

The Media Circles the Wagons around Holder

In a truly amazing bit of press coverage, the latest story about Fast and Furious and the House holding attorney general Eric Holder in contempt of Congress is this: Congressman Issa, the chair of the House committee, put an affidavit into the Congressional record despite the fact that the record of the proceeding in which the affidavit was submitted had been sealed by the court. That's right, Issa disclosed an affidavit that had been ordered by the court to be kept secret. And Issa is refusing to even tell the press where he got the affidavit.

To say the least, this story is amazingly misleading. The affidavit in question was signed by high officials of the Justice Department and submitted to a court in order to get a warrant. The affidavit details the practices followed in the Fast and Furious operation of the government's asking American gun shops to sell assault weapons to phony buyers known to be front men for the Mexican drug cartels and then letting the weapons "walk", in other words, letting the weapons be taken back over the border to Mexico. Of course, the problem is that Holder and the DOJ have denied since the start of the investigation that anyone in DOJ knew about the tactics that were being used in Fast and Furious. If one of the top people in DOJ was describing these tactics in a sworn affidavit to a court many months before DOJ claims it first learned of them, it makes clear that Holder and DOJ have been lying to Congress. No wonder they are withholding documents from the investigators.

Only in the liberal press in the main stream media could the story here be that Issa put an affidavit into the record when the actual fact is that the affidavit demonstrates clearly that DOJ has been lying to Congress. Indeed, most of the stories I have read on this subject have not even mentioned the import of the contents of the affidavit. I guess that if NBC News could go a year and a half without ever covering Fast and Furious despite its being a major scandal for the Obamacrats, I should not be too surprised at the way the press is now covering the latest twist in the story. Nevertheless, I find it reprehensible that the main stream media is surpressing this story.

Healthcare, The Reality

Suppose you were ill and went to your family doctor primary care physician. As part of the diagnosis, this doctor took a blood test and had you undergo a chest x-ray. Because of concerns about what he found, the doctor then sent you immediately to a specialist who you saw on the next day. So here's the question: do you think that the specialist needs to redo the blood test and x-ray or can she rely on the results of the previous day? If you practice medicine in the USA, the answer is that the specialist will have all the tests redone just so that her records will show that she covered all the bases. That means that the cost of the blood test and x-ray have to be paid twice, even though there is no difference between the two sets of tests. Indeed, the costs for the tests is paid twice even though there is no medical reason to do the tests twice. This is "defensive medicine", the practice of doctors to order extra medical tests or procedures in order to make their records reflect that they had done everything necessary to avoid any claim of malpractice in the future.

Defensive medicine is a national problem. According to surveys by Jackson Healthcare and Gallup, physicians estimate that defensive medicine practices cost the U.S. between $650 – $850 billion annually. Let's be super clear here; the estimate is that something like 4-6% of our GDP is spent each year on unnecessary medical tests and procedures. To put this into context, we are talking about approximately one-quarter of all the money spent in the USA each year for healthcare. Remember, no one is any healthier because of defensive medicine. The only difference is that doctors do better in malpractice lawsuits.

Some have theorized that not all of this defensive medicine is the result of fear of malpractice. A significant portion of the costs may also be the result of doctors who order the tests in order to increase revenue for their practice. There is no way yet to know the exact breakdown, but it does seem clear that the main reason for defensive medicine is the fear of malpractice lawsuits.

Suppose there were a way to greatly reduce the use of defensive medicine. Imagine what this could do. Right now, the USA spends substantially more on healthcare than any other country, but our results are not much better than the others. Indeed, compared to some countries, our results are not as good. The main reason for the extra cost is not better treatment; it is defensive medicine.

With all of the talk this week about Obamacare, it is important to remember that the president's plan did nothing to reduce the cost of medical care. Obama's plan tries to get more people insurance coverage; it does not try to lower the cost of healthcare. Oh, there is a part of the package that says that it will lower the level of payment to doctors and hospitals that provide services to Medicare patients, but that is unlikely to ever be implemented. A similar plan to cut reimbursements under Medicare was passed years ago, and each year since then Congress has delayed the implementation of that plan. Allowing the plan to go into effect would result in a large portion of the doctors refusing to see Medicare patients with a resulting uproar that no politician would be willing to withstand.

There are a number of plans out there to do away with the costs of defensive medicine. Most of them involve changes that give doctors greater cover in malpractice lawsuits. For example, one plan calls for adoption of keeping patient charts on computer systems that could be accessed by all doctors in a community. As test results come in, they would be entered into the computerize chart. After that, any doctor or hospital would be protected from any claim of malpractice if they relied upon a recent test rather than redoing that test. Just this change could save enormous costs. The Democrats, however, are against the change since it would hurt one of their main interest groups, the trial lawyers.

Another plan for dealing with defensive medicine costs is the adoption of medical arbitration for malpractice claims. Under this plan, claims would be decided by panels consisting of three people including at least one doctor rather than by juries as would be the case in court. In arbitration, there would be no punitive damages; anyone injured could only recover compensation for their actual injuries. Also, with the doctor on the panel, it would be much more likely that no lawyer could sell a jury on an essentially meritless claim in order to get big bucks from an insurance carrier (think John Edwards). Finally, legal fees in the arbitration would be capped at 15% of the total recovery. These changes would greatly reduce malpractice claims, and the hope is that doctors would cut back on defensive medicine as a result. Here, the Democrats are strongly opposed since the effect on the trials lawyers would be severe. America would prosper, but the lawyers would lose big.

Were both of these proposals to be implemented, it could be possible to cut between $200 and $300 billion from annual healthcare costs. This is an extraordinary change, but putting it into effect would require a Republican Congress and president. It has the major benefit as well of making American companies more competitive since they would have lower healthcare costs for their employees. In the long term, it would be a major boon for the American economy.

Friday, June 29, 2012

190 Killed in Douma

Breaking news tells us today about 190 people killed in the town of Douma in Syria. Douma is a suburb of Damascus which has been under siege for days by forces of the Assad regime. The town has endured non-stop artillery and rocket attacks. Even so, 190 killed in just one day of shelling is a new record for deaths in Syria. I hope that the world leaders are proud of this fact as they sit around and do nothing.

On the bright side, I suppose that if the rate of killing keeps increasing, eventually Assad will run out of potential victims. After all, why should anyone around the world care if a few million Syrians get slaughtered by their countrymen. Hey, it is not nearly as important as renaming Big Ben the Elizabeth Tower, the European Soccer Championships or the Fourth of July celebrations. Maybe the UN can adopt a new slogan: "Who cares, they're just Syrians".

Green Energy Lies from the Obamacrats

Another one of president Obama's green energy investments has failed. This time, the company is Abound Solar, a company that won a $400 million Energy Department loan guarantee in 2010 to manufacture advanced solar panels. The company which was to manufacture solar panels is closing and filing for bankruptcy. All of its employees have been laid off. Fortunately for taxpayers, the finances at the company were so shaky that the Department of energy cut off funding late last year when Abound Solar had taken down only $70 million in federal funds.

So how do the Obamacrats describe what happened? Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera announced that once the liquidation of the company is complete, taxpayers are only expected to lose "10 to 15 percent of the original $400 million loan amount". Do you catch the game being played? Fifteen percent of the original loan amount is $60 million. Abound Solar received a total of $70 million from the feds. In other words, DOE is predicting that taxpayers will lose over 85% of the money given to Abound Solar, and that is surely an optimistic view coming from the government. Most likely, the loss will be total. But, in typical Obamacrat fashion, the Energy Department compares the loss to the amount originally authorized not the amount actually loaned to the bankrupt company.

I keep waiting for the Obamacrats and Obama himself to tell us about some success story among his green energy investments. Instead, all we ever hear about are losses. Obama spends his days trying to convince voters that Romney would be bad for the economy. At least at Bain Capital, Romney was successful with about 80% of his investments. No one is perfect, but so far Obama has had not a single success despite investing something like $50 billion of taxpayers' money.

The Vortex Grows

The amount of spinning that is going on about the Supreme Court decision in Obamacare and the contempt of Congress citation for Eric Holder is making me dizzy. I have now read analysis that claims that yesterday's decisions guarantee Obama's victory in November as well as others that proclaim that Obama's defeat is now also guaranteed. The House vote was either earth-shaking or inconsequential. Chief Justice Roberts either caved to political pressure or came to a reasoned decision. It is all hogwash. There are really only a few things that actually happened yesterday:

1) The chance to use the courts to overturn Obamacare has ended. The election in November is now going to be, in some part, a referendum on Obamacare. If there is a clear GOP win, Obamacare will go. If Obama wins re-election, Obamacare will stay even were the Republicans to pick up both houses of Congress.

2) Eric Holder's position as Attorney General has become more tenuous. No matter what anyone says, he is the first AG in history to be cited for contempt. The matter will soon be before a judge, and the chance of unhappy documents coming out will make Holder's continued presence in the cabinet a problem for Obama. The issue is timing now, not the end result. Holder will go sooner or later.

3) Yesterday's events will affect the outcome in November. Of course, no one actually knows how that will play out until it actually does. Will conservatives and tea party folks be so incensed by the court decision that they will all come out to vote thereby raising GOP turnout? Will demoralized Democrats take heart at the decision and vote instead of staying home assuming defeat? Will middle class voters take offense at the tax that Obamacare has become and vote Republican? (This is one of the more laughable claims that is floating out there in the ether.) Time will tell.

The truth is that it is time to move forward on both issues. The family of the slain border guard deserves to know what happened that led to government guns being used by the drug runners to kill him. America has to make a final decision on the size of government and the continual growth of entitlements. Let's have at it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Holder cited for Contempt 255-67

The House voted this afternoon to cite Eric Holder for contempt of Congress. The vote was 255 to 67 with 17 Democrats joining all the Republicans to vote in favor of the resolution. In typical fashion, many of the Democrats walked out of the chamber when it was clear that they could not get their way. Why act like adults when pretending to be adolescents is so much more fun.

I hope that the House uses this vote to get the entire matter heard quickly by the courts. The judge will be able quickly to review the documents in question and determine whether or not president Obama's assertion of Executive privilege is actually as vapid a move as it seems to be. The truth is that Holder ought to resign. If not, Obama ought to fire him. There are enough distractions for the government at this point. They do not need to add Holder's political coverup to the pile.

The Avalanche of BS

I have been reading some of the garbage that pretends to be "analysis" after the decision by the Supreme Court this morning on Obamacare. Never has so much been written by folks who know so little. It seems that the need to say something outweighs the ability to have something accurate to say. Here is a good example: Walter Shapiro who writes for the New Republic goes on at some length to explain why even if Romney wins the election, he will not be able easily to undo Obamacare. In one word, Shapiro's point is "filibuster". That's right, the Democrats in the Senate will talk any repeal bill to death. But that is totally wrong. If there is a bill from the House to repeal Obamacare, the Senate will pass it easily using reconciliation. Reconciliation is the process by which budget, tax and spending bills get passed. Filibusters are not allowed under the reconciliation process; just a simple majority is needed. And, for those of you who are now thinking that Obamacare is not a budget, tax or spending bill, remember this: the Supreme Court today just told us that it is a tax bill. More important, Obamacare was finally passed in the Senate under the reconciliation process. It is, indeed, subject to that procedure. Shapiro does not know what he is talking about.

Does the USA have a Foreign Policy?

Sometimes I wonder if America actually has a coherent foreign policy or if everything gets done as we go along with no concern about the goals we wish to achieve. Here is a good example. Some months ago, the USA announced with great fanfare that it was imposing new sanctions on Iran to force that country to give up its nuclear program. From that day forward, not only would Iran be cut off from trade with the USA, but companies and countries that did business with the Iranian central bank and the Iranian oil industry would likewise suffer sanctions by the USA. Wow, these were heavy duty sanctions that would surely bring Iran to the table, right? Well, not actually. Since the sanctions were passed, president Obama has granted waivers to 12 countries to allow them to continue to buy oil from Iran. Tomorrow, Obama is expected to grant the biggest waiver of them all; China will be told that it can continue to trade with Iran without suffering any sanction from the USA. China is one of the biggest customers for Iranian oil; indeed, China could easily buy all of Iran's output, but Obama is telling the Chinese that they can buy that oil without any effect at all on trade with the USA. Just think about the impact of that waiver. China can now buy all the oil it wants from Iran. Of course, some other countries have cut back on purchases from Iran, so demand for Iranian crude is down a bit. that cut in demand cuts the price of Iranian crude a bit below the world price for oil. That means that China gets to buy oil from Iran at a lower price than everyone else pays for oil elsewhere. That lower energy price gives the Chinese industry lower cost energy than that found in other countries. Are you getting the point? Obama's sanction waiver is giving the Chinese the ability to undercut the prices for American manufactured goods since the Chinese energy costs have been reduced. Let's be totally clear: Obama has given the Chinese a waiver that will slow American economic growth in favor of Chinese economic growth. It is a bone-headed move to say the least. And, let's not forget that by giving China a waiver, Obama has essentially removed all of the sting of the sanctions that were recently put in place.

Does anyone think that Obama actually understands what he is doing? I surely do not.

The Obamacare decision

Well, no one saw this one coming. The Supreme Court issued an incredible decision on Obamacare today. The centerpiece of the Court's decision is that teh individual mandate is not a tax and that it is a tax. That sentence is not a typo; it is the holding of the majority of the court. First, since Congress made clear that the mandate was not a tax but a penalty, the Anti Injunction statute does not apply, since that statute only applies to a tax. Second, since Congress has the power to levy taxes and since the mandate is a tax despite what Congress said in the law, the mandate is constitutional. This gives doubletalk a bad name.

What is even more amazing is that a large majority of the Court agreed that the mandate was beyond the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause which has always been the focus of the argument. Indeed, if the Chief Justice had abjured from his twisted reasoning about what is and what is not a tax, the mandate and the law would have fallen.

Then, to make this even a stranger decision, the Court found that the law improperly required the states to conform to the new Medicaid coverage requirements or risk losing all Medicaid payments from the federal government. The Court provides that the states get to choose whether or not to participate in the new coverages under Medicaid, but they will not lose their old funding if they decline to do so. This is idiotic. Indeed, it sets a whole new standard for federal-state relationships that puts the court right in the middle. Imagine that Congress decides that it is going to require that certain new construction standard must be met in order to get federal highway funds. If Iowa decides that it does not need to meet the new standards, can it still get the funds at the levels that it got in previous years? What if the Congress decides that it will no longer send funds for eduction to the states and will instead give each person in the country a voucher? Can the states decline to recognize the new system and still get the funds from the previous year? It is a mess.

Today's decision is a disgrace. This is not because of the outcome. I could see the court actually deciding on the central issues in an honest and reasonable way. The problem is that we have today seen the triumph of sophistry over reason. The non-tax tax is like the living dead. It may be something that is very hard to kill. Indeed, now that this crazy concept has arisen, it may take a silver bullet to end it some time in the future. It will not be easy and the Court has done great harm to the Constitution.

GDP "Growth" at 1.9%

The government released another estimate of first quarter GDP performance this morning. This is the third estimate, so it should be pretty close to accurate; it showed a growth rate for the quarter of 1.9%.

This growth rate tells you pretty much all you need to know about unemployment. At 1.9% growth, the economy does not produce many new jobs. Employment growth stagnates. The unemployment rate rises. The lack of new jobs means that incomes also stagnate and this further slows the growth of GDP. We are seeing this in action in the second quarter which will end this week. The employment figures so far in the second quarter have not been anywhere as good as those in the first quarter. And the news does not seem to be getting any better. Unemployment claims for last week were almost unchanged from last week according to another government report this morning.

The problem right now is that the economy needs a big dose of demand to pull it out of its lethargy. The question is where to find such a major source of demand. President Obama recommends raising taxes on the wealthy which will actually reduce aggregate demand; that will hardly work. Obama also wants to send money to the states to keep state employees working. Again, this will not increase demand; at best, it will prevent a decrease, and that is not likely. Obama's last idea is to go back to construction projects, the "shovel ready projects" of the failed stimulus. These projects, if funded, will probably take a year or so to get started. It is not too little too late. It is way too little and way too late. In other words, Obama's ideas will not and cannot work.

So where could the USA find a big increase in demand to boost the economy and change its direction? There are two places that are blatantly obvious: 1) Opening up full energy development would mean a big push in total demand. Drilling for oil not only results in employment for those in the industry, but each barrel of oil produced means that more money stays in the American economy and increases demand rather than going to Saudi Arabia or Iran. The Keystone Pipeline is also the mother of all shovel ready jobs. The estimates are that opening up full energy development could add 1% or more to GDP growth each year. That means millions of additional jobs. 2) American companies have way over a trillion dollars sitting in accounts abroad, but they cannot bring the money back to the USA without having to pay 35% in taxes. Not surprisingly, these companies keep the funds outside the country to avoid the tax. Obama wants to change the law to tax the money even though it is outside the country; that would mean more money for the government but no increase in demand. Mitt Romney want to have a temporary tax holiday which would reduce to tax rate to something like 5%. This would encourage these companies to bring much of the money back to America. If only half of the funds were brought back here, it would mean that suddenly there would be about three quarters of a trillion dollars added to the coffers of American business. Much of that money would be invested in new plant and equipment leading to new jobs. Another part of that money would be paid out in dividends to shareholders, again leading to a major increase in demand by these shareholders. Still more of the funds would be used to repurchase shares, another move that would inject the funds back into the American economy. And all this would happen without any increase in debt by the government. Indeed, the extra activity would probably generate something like $100 billion or more in tax revenue for the federal government. This plan should work.

We need a president who understands the economy and how it works.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Secrets of Economics

Let me ask you something. If you had a choice between buying a toaster over that cost $29.95 and a second toaster over with identical features that cost $38.00, which one would you buy? Obviously, other than the perverse few who take joy in spending more to get the same thing, everyone would buy the less expensive toaster oven. It is a basic rule of economics. People want to spend the least amount possible to buy the things that they need.

Now let me ask you a second question. If you were a business making toaster ovens and you could locate in two different locations, which would you choose? A) A place where the total cost of labor, energy and raw materials to make the toaster oven was $14.00, or B)A place where the total cost of labor, energy and raw materials to make the toaster oven was $9.00? Again, this is not rocket science. A business would choose to locate in place B since it could save $5.00 per toaster oven in manufacturing costs. This too is a basic rule of economics; businesses try to maximize the amount of profit that they make.

Here is the final question. If you were a business making toaster ovens and you could locate in two different locations where the costs of manufacture were exactly the same, which would you choose? A) A place where the tax on the profits that you earned is 35% or B) A place where the tax on the profits that you earned is 15%? Another simple question! Each business would locate in the place where the taxes are lower. Businesses, you see, not only try to maximize their profits, they also try to maximize the amount of those profits that they get to keep after taxes.

This may all seem quite simple, but apparently, it is way beyond the understanding of president Obama and the Obamacrats. Clearly, the way to boost the American economy is to keep the costs of manufacturing in the USA as low as possible so as to attract more manufacturing to this country. We need to be able to sell American goods at prices that are competitive with those made in China and elsewhere; that requires that the cost of energy, raw materials and labor be kept down in order to compete. We need businesses to understand that they can make profits just as large here in the USA as they could elsewhere. And we need to lower the tax rates in the USA so that they too are competitive with those of other countries.

Since he took office, however, Obama has been doing things that push the balance the other way; Obama has been pushing jobs out of the USA rather than attracting any new ones. Look at costs. Obama has forced up energy costs in a major way. A huge chunk of the electric energy in America comes from coal. Obama has introduced regulations that make it extremely expensive to burn coal, indeed, so expensive that many coal fired plants are now closing. Each time one of these plants closes, the cost of energy in the USA rises and makes the cost to make goods here just that much more. Each time one of these plants closes, it is the signal that more jobs will soon go to India, China or somewhere other than here. Then there is natural gas. Because of fracking, there has been a boom in natural gas production and the price has become lower here than anywhere else in the world. This should be great news for our economy, but the response from the Obamacrats is actually quite bad news. Even though the EPA has finally admitted that there is no proof at all of a link between fracking and contamination of the water supplies, EPA is preparing to announce new regulations at the end of this year. Those regulations, according to Investor's Business Daily, will mean the end of fracking in America. Just to be clear, what that means is that the price of natural gas will probably go up five fold in a year or so as supplies of gas run out. Since natural gas is the second biggest source of electrical energy in the USA now, these new Obama regulations will mean another big increase in the cost to do business in the USA. It will also mean that millions of jobs will soon depart the USA for elsewhere.

Obama has also taken steps like the drilling moratorium on federal lands and the slowdown in the issuance of drilling permits for offshore lands which have driven the price of oil higher here. This too means higher costs for American businesses and more jobs going overseas.

Even when it comes to taxes, Obama has worked to keep the US tax rate as high as possible. Indeed, Obama wants to raise the tax rate that is paid by over half of all the small businesses in the country. Remember that third question above. The USA has the world's highest business tax rate and Obama wants to make it higher. It does not take a genius to understand that this will force more and more businesses to relocate abroad.

Again, these are not difficult concepts. The problem is that Obama and his Obamacrat colleagues have been taught over the years that the private sector has an inexhaustible supply of cash that can be taken to run government handout programs. The private sector will take care of itself, they believe. Sadly, this is not true. The president and Congress need to understand that they can undertake policies that will help or hurt the private sector. And the private sector is in danger of failing at the moment. We are a month or two away from falling back into recession unless something is done to take the extra burdens off the back of business.

I sometimes marvel when I hear the pundits on television tell us how Mitt Romney has not given us enough details about his economic plans. What utter nonsense. These pundits just do not understand. Romney wants to lower the business tax rates. Romney wants to encourage energy production through more drilling and full production of natural gas and coal. Romney wants to remove the regulations and laws that drive up the cost of doing business in the USA. Just removing Obamacare alone will save most American businesses a fortune. Getting rid of Dodd Frank will reduce the cost of credit and increase its availability at once. All of these moves will promote the growth of the American economy.

There are more steps than these which must be taken, and Romney has spoken of many of them. The key point to remember, however, is that Romney's plan is to help businesses grow so that they will stay in America and create more jobs. On the other hand, Obama's plan is to tax businesses more and raise their costs through energy policies and regulatory controls. Obama's policies will discourage the formation of new businesses and will drive many American firms to move overseas. In other words, Romney's policies will grow the economy while Obama's will shrink it. You don't need to be on TV to understand that.

A prediction

I am getting tired of reading predictions about tomorrow's decision by the Supreme Court and the contempt of Congress vote, so I decided to make my own.

Here is what will happen tomorrow:

1) At 8:30 the new unemployment claims for last week will be announced. The figure for the previous week will be revised upwards by 4000 and the figure for this week will be set at 392,000.
2) At about 10:45, the Supreme Court will announce its decision in the Obamacare case. The decision will come in three parts. First, unanimous court will hold that the Anti-Injunction law does not apply in this case. Second, the individual mandate will be struck down as beyond the power of the federal government by a vote of 6 to 3. The majority will be Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Scalia, Alito, Kennedy and Sotomayor. Third, the entire Obamacare law will be struck down, not just the mandate.
3) In the afternoon, the House will vote to hold Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Those voting for contempt will include 28 Democrats and all of the Republicans.
4) By six o'clock, president Obama and his spokemen will blame the GOP for its refusal to accept the compromise that was offered on the Fast and Furious documents and will tell the nation that the citation of contempt is nothing more than a political game. They will also tell us all that the Supreme Court is just playing politics.

UPDATE -- Like everyone else, I was wrong.

Obama Heats His Own

Okay, so it is not a big deal, but I had to mention it. President Obama congratulated the City of Miami for the world champion "Miami Heats" at an event in Florida. I pay little attention to professional basketball, but I know that it is the Miami Heat not Heats. To make Obama's mistake worse, he read what he was saying off of the teleprompter. It seems that the White House really knows nothing.

Doesn't Look Like It Helped

In the last two weeks, president Obama has taken steps that were supposed to win him the votes of Hispanics and guarantee that he carried Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Arizona in the election. First, Obama announced that the federal government would no longer enforce the immigration laws against folks under 30 who were brought here illegally as children and who met certain other criteria. Second, after the Supreme Court ruled on the Arizona immigration enforcement law, Obama spokesman announced that the federal government would no longer cooperate with the Arizona police on matters regarding immigration; the state police could find illegals and turn them over to the feds, but the feds were going to ignore that information. If the thinking of the campaign was correct, Obama should have opened a big lead in the states listed above as Hispanic voters flocked to his side.

Today, we got the first real look to see the reaction in these states. Rasmussen is out with a poll of Romney vs. Obama in Arizona. The numbers are Romney 54% and Obama 41% among likely voters. This is a bigger lead for Romney than he had in the last poll by the same organization and it shows a substantial majority of voters in Romney's corner.

There is also a Quinipiac poll of Florida registered voters that came out today, but much of the poll predates the decision by the Supreme Court and the Obama reaction. Even so, the results show the same margin as the previous Quinipiac poll taken a week earlier. So there is no sign in Florida of a shift towards Obama among Hispanics.

The actual effect of the latest Obama moves on the election will likely get swallowed up by the impact of the decision tomorrow on Obamacare, so we may never know for sure just what changes these moves had. Nevertheless, it does seem so far that they have no helped and they may well have hurt.

The announcements are starting

We learned this morning that the whispers of Democrats in the House who were going to vote for holding Eric Holder in contempt of Congress are true. Supposedly there are about 30 Democrats who plan to vote for the resolution. The first one to go public, a Democrat from Utah, has now announced his position on the upcoming vote. I hope that there are more than 30 who join him. Holder (and president Obama) have basically thumbed their noses at Congress. It should not be allowed to stand.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just Wondering...

Every so often, I see things on TV that make me wonder. For example, today I saw three different Democrats saying that the upcoming vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress was actually a subtle form of racism. I started wondering if it is possible to criticize a government official for incompetence and misdeeds without being called racist if that official happens to be black. It surely seems that the answer is no. Holder has managed to have his department oversee an operation that caused 2000 assault weapons to be delivered to the Mexican drug cartels. Supposedly, the guns were to be tracked, but that never worked and the assault weapons that went to Mexico were just lost. They turned up again at various crime sites in Mexico and the USA. One American border patrol agent was killed with one of the rifles, but about 200 Mexicans were also slaughtered with these weapons. As the casualties mounted, Holder's department just kept on with the program so that more and more weapons were sent to the cartels. To call the program crazy does not do it justice; it is incredibly stupid and whoever was in charge of it deserves to be held accountable. But if I criticize Holder for running the DOJ in a way that let this program continue, I guess it makes me racist because Holder is black.

In February of 2011, Holder's department sent a letter to Congress responding to questions from senator Grassley of Iowa. In that letter Holder's DOJ told Congress that the Justice Department had nothing to do with the operation that sent all those weapons to Mexico. Only the ATF was involved, not DOJ itself, or so Holder's department told Congress. Of course, that turned out not to be true. Indeed, about four months later, Holder's DOJ told Congress that the first letter was no longer operative. Instead, it turns out that Holder's DOJ did have oversight of the weapons operation. Somehow, DOJ got it wrong in the first letter. Congress asked for the documents to explain how it was that DOJ got it wrong, but Holder would not release them. Now, if I say that it is amazing that DOJ would mislead Congress by claiming not to be involved, I guess that is being racist since Holder is a black man. If I say that Congress has the need and the right to find out how DOJ could have mistated its involvement in this operation that led to the death of over 200 people, I guess that is being racist since Holder is a black man.

For a year, Congress has tried to get the relevant documents from DOJ. First, it asked for the documents but got no cooperation. So Congress then served a subpoena on the Justice Department which called for production of about 140,000 documents that pertain to the Fast and Furious operation and its aftermath. DOJ produced about 5% of what was requested. Congress tried and tried to get DOJ to produce the documents, but nothing more was forthcoming. Then, two weeks ago Eric Holder asked for a meeting and offered to produce a summary of the documents if Congress would drop any further investigation into the operation. The congressional representatives declined that offer and said that they would need to see the documents before they could decide whether or not to continue the investigation. Within hours, president Obama sent a letter to Congress claiming that the documents which had been sought for about a year were all subject to Executive privilege. Somehow, these documents which Holder was supposedly offering to summarize for Congress are now claimed to be privileged from disclosure. If I say that Holder could not have been offering in good faith to summarize the documents that are now supposedly privileged, I must be a racist since Holder is a black man. If I say that the claim of privilege is a ridiculous ploy since it was not asserted for a year and then it supposedly covered all of the thousands of documents that were sought, I must be a racist since Obama is also black.

The plain truth is this: 1) I am not a racist; 2) Eric Holder is incompetent; 3) Eric Holder has improperly withheld information from Congress; 4) DOJ lied to Congress in its initial letter and has never explained how that happened; 5) president Obama has no basis for claiming privilege for the documents and is only doing so to keep anything from coming out prior to the election; and 6) both Holder and Obama should be ashamed to hide behind charges of racism thrown out by their supporters. America is supposed to have moved beyond charges of racism; Obama's election was supposed to have been the key. Instead, the Democrats think that they can control the country by threatening to scream racism whenever they are criticized. They might as well cry "Wolf!" It will be just as effective.

Brought to You Direct From an Alternate Universe!

In one of the strangest articles I have seen this year, Michael Crowley writes in Time magazine that Mitt Romney is too focused on the economy. Crowley derides what he calls Romney's "comical discipline" to bring questions back to the economy when he can. You can feel the outrage in Crowley's words when he talks about how Romney went to the recent gathering of Latino elected officials and discussed not illegal immigration but 11% unemployment among Hispanics. How dare he? Didn't Romney get the memo that told him he had to focus on other issues? Just because the economy is the biggest issue in the country and also is the single weakest portion of the Obama record is no reason for Romney to focus on it. Just think about it: if Romney keeps the focus on the economy he just might win and we cannot have that!

It is hard to imagine why Crowley would write such a piece or why Time would publish it. I checked to make sure that it was not a parody, but no, it is the real thing. If this is a true exemplar of liberal thought, it is no wonder that they need new ideas.

No Reason for Compromise Now

For much of the campaign, president Obama has been lambasting Republicans for their refusal to "compromise". What he means, of course, is that Republicans refuse to abandon their principles and accept Obama's views; there is no attempt by Obama to meet in the middle. Still, the idea of compromise is one that appeals to most Americans. Congress ought to be able to come together and resolve problems with each side conceding on some of its positions.

In the last two weeks, however, Obama has made clear why no compromise can be had with him. Two weeks ago, Obama unilaterally ordered the federal government to no longer enforce the immigration laws as written. Obama told us all that it was the "right thing" for the American people to do. Who cares what the law actually says! Obama would just have the government do what he wants. Then yesterday, we got the decision of the Supreme Court on the Arizona immigration law. Both sides had presented their positions in great detail to the Court, the ultimate arbiter on such matters. When the Court held that Arizona police could question people who were stopped for other reasons about their immigration status, it should have been the end of the matter. The Court had spoken. So what did Obama do? First, he had Arizona ousted from the federal program that deputizes local police to enforce federal immigration laws; only federal agents could now enforce those laws in Arizona. Then, Obama announced that the INS will no longer take calls from Arizona reporting illegals unless they fit within the parameters that the feds were enforcing. In other words, Obama took steps to make sure that the Supreme Court decision was meaningless.

So, Obama will not enforce the law as written, and he will not allow enforcement of laws in the form determined correct by the Supreme Court. Why would anyone decide to compromise with him on anything? Imagine a grand compromise on comprehensive immigration. After it was passed, is there any way that Obama could be expected to enforce it? No, Obama would still do whatever he wanted and tell us it was the "right thing" to do.

Obama swore to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America. He has made a mockery of that oath. He deserves to be impeached, but that is not realistic. He deserves to lose the election, and for that we can all hope that Americans realize the extent to which his actions are the epitome of impropriety.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Drip, Drip, Drip .....It's a Flood -- 2

On Saturday, I wrote about all the things that president Obama has done outside the law. It seems pretty clear that Obama does not enforce the law in accordance with his oath of office; he does whatever he pleases whether or not it is legal. Today, we got another instance of that conduct. As most of you know, this morning the Supreme Court unanimously held that Arizona could properly check the immigration status of people who were stopped for other reasons from traffic tickets to arrest warrants. The Court made clear that Arizona could find illegal aliens and then report them to the federal government. It seems pretty clear, but here is the report from the Washington Times of the first action that the Obamacrats took once they heard the decision:

The Obama administration said Monday it is suspending existing agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws, and said it has issued a directive telling federal authorities to decline many of the calls reporting illegal immigrants that the Homeland Security Department may get from Arizona police.

Are they kidding? The Supreme Court approves of Arizona's finding out who is an illegal alien in certain well defined cases and notifying the federal government of these fact. In response, Obama directs the feds not to take the calls from Arizona telling them about the illegals. Really? It is the equivalent of a mayor telling his 911 operations center not to take calls from a particular neighborhood in the city. More accurately, it is the equivalent of a ten year old unhappy with the way a game is going who takes his ball and goes home.

Obama is a disgrace.

Obama Loses Big in the Decision on the Arizona Immigration Law

The Supreme Court issued its decision on the Arizona immigration law this morning. The Court unanimously overturned the lower court decisions that stopped enforcement of the immigration check of people stopped by the police. In other words, Arizona policemen will be able to ask folks who are stopped for other reasons (from traffic tickets to murder arrests) to provide identification to verify their immigration status. At the same time, the decision of the lower courts that enjoined enforcement of other portions of the law were affirmed by a vote of 5 to 3. These other provisions made it a state crime for an unauthorized alien (1)to fail to comply with federal alien registration statutes, or (2) to seek or perform employment in Arizona. They also allowed Arizona cops to arrest someone if the cops suspected that the person is subject to deportation. The Court held that the federal system for dealing with alien registration, employment by aliens and deportation were exclusive and that they preempted the state statutes.

What is so extraordinary about the decision on the heart of the law is that it is unanimous. Remember when Arizon first passed the statute? President Obama told a crowd that someone could be going out to get an ice cream cone with his or her kids only to be stopped by the police for looking Hispanic. Of course, Obama was completely misrepresenting the actual law, but that did not stop him. Obama played to the hysterical view that the Arizona law was just an anti-Hispanic law that would give the police carte blanche. Well now a unanimous Supreme Court has said that it just is not so. Even Obama's appointee to the Court, Sonia Sotomayor, the so-called "wise Latina", rule that the law could stand.

If this had been a close vote, I am sure we would have heard outrage from the Obamacrats about how the Court was supporting discrimination against Hispanics. With the Court voting unanimously (including Sotomayor) in upholding the law, even the Obamacrats will not be able to spin this one away.

The Real Krugman

Okay, let's start by saying that New York Times columnist Paul Krugman won a Nobel Prize. Of course, president Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, so winning does not mean all that much. Krugman, however, is probably the economist with the biggest following in the USA today (or certainly in the top three). But today, Krugman also reveals himself a fool. In a piece in the Times, Krugman lambastes the government and the Federal Reserve for not doing more to promote economic growth. Here is what he says of the Fed:

The Fed has a so-called dual mandate: it’s supposed to seek both price stability and full employment. And last week the Fed released its latest set of economic projections, showing that it expects to fail on both parts of its mandate, with inflation below target and unemployment far above target for years to come.

It may not jump out at you, but what Krugman is saying in English is that the Fed has failed in keeping prices stable because they are not going up fast enough. That's right. Prices have been stable in America for the last few years as measured by the government. Washington ignores the big rise in food and fuel prices and looks at everything else, and those prices have been slightly rising for the last three years. So, Krugman says that stable prices do not satisfy the Fed's mandate to achieve stable prices. Krugman wants prices to be rising faster!

And this man won a Nobel Prize? In economics?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Amazing Arrogance of Assad

Consider the actions of the Assad forces in Syria. Assad has ruled the country for many years after taking over control of the country upon his father's death. Indeed, the combined Assad rule has been in place for many decades. In the last year, as the Syrian people mounted protests, Assad ordered snipers to randomly kill folks who marched in the protests. When this tactic did not stop the demonstrations, Assad brought in tanks and machine guns to strike down the protesters. Even this killing did not work, and instead led to the formation of a rebel force that actively seeks the overthrow of Assad and his regime. Once again, Assad changed tactics; this time the Assad forces began shelling civilian areas that supported the rebels. Many thousands have died. Even when the UN sent in observers, the Assad forces attack them. The UN, as expected, withdrew its observers. And with all that death spewing from Syria, nothing has been done to stop the killing. Assad's allies in Russia and China have prevented any UN resolution from passing. They are even rearming the Assad forces. Certain other Muslim countries were helping the rebels with arms, but they are no match for the Russians. America, of course, did nothing; Obama was preoccupied with re-election and would not take a stand to stop the wholesale killing of innocent civilians. It looked almost certain that Assad would weather the storm and, after killing 20,000 or so Syrians, remain in power.

That all may have changed now. Two days ago, the Syrians shot down an unarmed Turkish military jet that may or may not have strayed about a mile into Syrian airspace at the border of the two countries. Here is how Reuters begins its report on the latest developments:

Turkey has accused Syria of shooting down one of its military reconnaissance jets in international airspace without warning and summoned a NATO meeting for Tuesday to agree a response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Get it? The Assad forces attack a NATO ally which was not threatening Syria at all. No sane country would shoot down an unarmed jet without first issuing a warning. What did the Syrians think was happening? Was Turkey launching an assault with one unarmed jet? Was there a threat from the unarmed jet? What in the world did they think was happening.

Turkey has it within its power to demand support from its NATO allies to take action against Syria in response to the unprovoked attack. Hopefully, this will be enough to stir the world from its lethargy in the face of the slaughter of Syrian civilians. It is time for Assad to reap the rewards of his incredible arrogance.

It will be Interesting to See How much Power the New Egyptian President Gets

The results of the presidential race were just announced in Egypt. The candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood won by a very narrow margin. Having an Islamist as Egypt's head of state is truly a bad thing, but we do not yet know just how bad. After the recent decision by the Egyptian Supreme Court that invalidated the earlier elections for Parliament, the military ruling council took back power and it is that council that will determine the extent of the powers of the president. Hopefully, the military will keep the new president in check. It would be sad to see Egypt move towards a harsh Islamic rule. Millions of Christians live in Egypt and their fates are dependent on just how much power the president gets. Peace between Israel and Egypt is also hanging in the balance. Perhaps one good thing is that for the new president to get major power, he will have to take down the military. If he does this, then Egypt will not be in any position to take on the Israeli military for many years to come.

On the other hand, it is always possible that the new president will moderate his positions and actually act in a responsible manner once he takes office. Possible, but not likely, to say the least.

Nothing Like Executive Privilege to Shake Things Up

It has been just about a week since president Obama decided to assert Executive Privilege to prevent the disclosure of the documents related to operation Fast and Furious. I believe it is instructive to look at the public reaction since then. For three days prior to Obama's assertion of the privilege, the Rasmussen daily tracking poll of Obama's job approval showed 51% disapprove and 48% approve. After the assertion, there were gyrations in the numbers, but for the last three days they have settled at 54% disapprove and 44% approve, a seven point increase in the margin against Obama. The change in approval tracks with the results of the daily matchup between Obama and Mitt Romney. Rasmussen now shows Romney up by 5%, a lead which has been holding for a few days. For quite some time before that, Romney has been up but by 1 or 2%. In other words, it seems that the verdict is in on the assertion of Executive Privilege. By taking that action, Obama has managed to drive away a few percent of the electorate, and it is a key few percent indeed. No one can say if the shift is permanent; only time will tell. One thing is certain, however, if the shift is indeed permanent, Romney is likely to win in November.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Drip, Drip, Drip…………………IT”S A FLOOD!!!!!

After the last few weeks with their rather alarming displays of extralegal conduct, I was thinking about what another four years of president Obama would be like. While, as the ads say, past performance is no guarantee of future results, we have to judge Obama by what he has already done. In thinking back over the last four years, I came to the conclusion that the one thing that ties most of Obama’s actions together is his belief that he is somehow above the laws, his view that he can do whatever he wants. If you look back, you realize that what seem like a few isolated instances are a pattern; you “connect the dots” as they say. The steady drip, drip, drip of these actions become a flood when looked at in their entirety. Let me illustrate with some of Obama’s Greatest Hits.
1. In 2009, Obama stepped into the domain of the bankruptcy courts and forced an outcome that was contrary to law. When GM filed for bankruptcy, there were bondholders who had the legal first claim to the assets of the company. Normally, this results in the stock of the new company going to these bondholders in exchange for their bonds when the bankruptcy ends. This protection of the bondholders enables shaky companies to be able to borrow funds even when their futures do not look too rosy. The lenders, in this case the bondholders, know that they will get first call on the assets of the company in a bankruptcy, so the risk of loss is not as great. Obama, however, forced the bondholders to give up most of their claim and gave the assets instead to the United Auto Workers. Obama just ignored the law.
2. In 2010, Obama pushed through Obamacare. The centerpiece of the statute was the individual mandate, a requirement that every American had to buy insurance or face a fine. On the day the law was passed, multiple states filed suit to overturn this law as unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court is about to rule on that suit. Obama knew that the law went beyond the constitutional power of the federal government, but he pushed it through anyway.
3. In 2010, Obama pushed through the Dodd-Frank law. This law set up a board to oversee banks and consumer protection measures, but it made that board free from the normal supervision of the courts. In other words, the board could do what it wanted and there was no way to challenge its decisions. It is Elizabeth Warren’s version of tyranny. (Warren supposedly was heavily involved in drafting the statute.) Once again, a major piece of legislation went beyond what is constitutional. The challenge to this statute is also pending in the courts.
4. Obama also decided that the federal government would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act against challenges that it is unconstitutional. Obama is supposed to uphold and enforce the laws of the United States. That means that the Department of Justice is supposed to appear in Court to defend all claims that any duly enacted law is unconstitutional. Obama, however, announced that he was going now to pick and choose which laws to protect. The fact that Congress passed and president Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law no longer was to be considered important.
5. Obama also decided that he was now to become the ultimate arbiter of which “terrorists” were to be struck by missiles from drones. We recently learned that Obama personally sat and decided who shall live and who shall die. These were not targets selected for their military merits; it was a personal hit list set forth by Obama. It is unprecedented in American history. That is especially so since some on the list were American citizens.
6. Obama told us over and over again that he was powerless under our constitutional system to make changes to the immigration laws. Then two weeks ago, Obama announced that he was doing just that. Obama basically granted his protection to about 800,000 illegal aliens. This was not prosecutorial discretion as the Obamacrats now claim. There was no consideration of individual cases as would apply were it prosecutorial discretion. This was just a move by Obama to change the immigration laws by executive fiat. Obama did the unconstitutional act that he had previously told the country was beyond his legal powers.
7. Obama granted waivers to hundreds and thousands of entities from the requirements of Obamacare. This was not a situation where there were special circumstances; thousands of entities got the waivers. Obama basically picked those who had to obey the law and those who did not have to obey the law. The law did not matter; what mattered was who you knew. It is the very definition of tyranny.
8. Obama last week asserted executive privilege in connection with thousands of documents which could not possibly be privileged. Let me be clear about this one. Obama can always assert executive privilege if he thinks it applies. The problem here is that there is no way in the world that these documents can be subject to the privilege. Executive privilege only applies if the president or one of his close staff either received or sent the documents in question. Obama and all the Obamacrats have told us over and over that neither Obama or any of his staff were involved with Fast and Furious in any way, so they could not have received or sent any of these documents. In other words, Obama asserted a privilege with no basis to do so; he acted just to delay disclosure of the documents until after the election. Were such conduct to be carried out in a court, the perpetrator would be severely sanctioned by the judge. Obama violated the law.
9. Obama has sat by while national defense secrets of the highest importance have been disclosed in the New York Times and Washington Post. This perhaps understates the severity of Obama’s transgression. Most likely, Obama had the secrets leaked to the press in order to help with his re-election effort. Think of the effect of what Obama did. He leaked the fact that the USA had put a computer virus on the Iranian nuclear centrifuges with the result that the Iranian equipment was destroyed. In order to get that virus on these machines, someone had to actually take a drive into the Iranian facility and connect to the machines; they are not accessible from the internet. Whoever took that virus into the facility is now being hunted by the Iranians. They know! Obama put the life of this person at risk to help his re-election campaign. And he did the same thing with the bin Laden affair. In a rush to look good, Obama had many of the details as to how bin Laden was caught released to the public. We all now know that Pakistan has imprisoned a local doctor who had helped the CIA verify that it was the bin Laden family in the suspect compound. Thanks to Obama, this courageous doctor who helped the USA is in prison for the rest of his life.
There are many more, but the point is clear. Obama does not care one whit about the requirements of law. He thinks he is above the law and can do whatever he wants. In a second term, Obama would not even fear what the voters might do in a re-election campaign. Indeed, he has already told the Russians that he could be flexible in agreeing to nuclear disarmament during a second term. Obama is well aware that the November election is the last check on his power.

Four more years is a truly frightening prospect for anyone who loves America.

The Looming Obamacare Decision and its Long Term Effect

In the coming week, the United States Supreme Court is almost certain to issue its decision on the constitutional challege to Obamacare. As a result, the media is filled with all sorts of analysis about the effect that such decision will have. As usual, the main topic that the various pundits are discussing is how, if at all, this will change the presidential race. Will it increase Democrat turnout? Will it decrease Democrat turnout? Will it cause Independents to turn from the president? Will it demoralize or energize the GOP? While these subjects may be of interest to the pundits, they are not the most important issues that need to be considered. By far, the main effect of the Obamacare decision will be its impact on the understanding of the limits placed by the Constitution on the federal government.

If the individual mandate is struck down as unconstitutional, it will be because Congress went beyond its powers under the commerce clause. That clause gives the federal government the power to "regulate" commerce among the states. For nearly two centuries, that limited power was kept in check by the Supreme Court which struck down attempts to go further than the limits allowed. Then, about seventy years ago, the Court changed the interpretation of the clause so that a farmer who grew a crop for his own family's consumption was considered to be involved in interstate commerce since he could have sold the crop on the market. From that point on, the commerce clause was no longer a limit. Oh, there were occasional instances where the limitation aspect of the clause surfaced, but there were anomalies. If the mandate is struck down, however, the clause will be back to acting as a true limit.

The idea that the commerce clause is again a limitation is earth shaking. Even more earth shaking is the possibility that the Roberts Court will go back to the actual Constitution and enforce it rather than continuing down the trail of innovative interpretation that the Court has used for decades to allow Washington to far outstep its powers.

Think of this example: the federal government is now heavily involved in education throughout the country. There is a Department of Education. There are federal laws like No Child Left Behind. There are programs like the Race to the Top which awards funds to states with innovative education programs. But, and this is key, there is no authority in the Constitution for the federal government to be involved in education. Education was a local subject which was left to the states and localities by the founders.

There is no question that education was to be a local matter. Indeed, it was strictly local with no federal involvement whatsoever. That was the case whether or not the government was run by Democrats or Republicans; education was local. In 1943, at a time when Franklin Roosevelt was president and the Congress was heavily Democrat, a booklet was published by the government commission to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Constitution. It contained the following paragraph in a section about questions concerning the Constitution:

Q. Where, in the Constitution, is there mention of education?
A. There is none; education is a matter reserved for the states.

The Supreme Court has also made clear that education is not a federal issue. In San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez (1973), the Court held that education "is not among the rights afforded explicit protection under our Federal Constitution. Nor do we find any basis for saying it is implicitly so protected." In other words, education is not covered by the Constitution; it is a state matter.

So here is the question: if the commerce clause can be used to strike down the individual mandate, can the assignment of education to local and state governments be used to strike down the Department of Education and the whole host of federal educational requirements? Last year, all the experts would undoubtedly have said "no" in response to this question. Of course, these were the same experts who told us that there was no question that the mandate is constitutional. Maybe, just maybe, the Supreme Court would rule against the federal educational establishment.

I do not know if anyone will use the decision on the mandate to challenge other places, like education, where the federal government oversteps the limits on its powers. Nor do I pretend to know what the Supreme Court would do if such challenges are brought. I am sure, however, that a ruling that the individual mandate is unconstitutional will open the doors wide to such challenges. It will open a road towards taking the Constitution back to its intended meaning. It will strengthen federalism and reduce the omnipotent federal government. It will certainly make things interesting.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz --Joining in on the Big Lie

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the abrasive chair of the Democrat National Committee. She is also no slave to the truth. Yesterday, she told CNN that the Republicans and Mitt Romney are doing what they can to prevent an economic recovery since a bad economy is likely to be good for the GOP in November. This statement is madness. Schultz is not differing with the GOP policies. She is not complaining over the proper economic theory to look to as a guide in passing new economic legislation. She is not proposing any fix to our damaged economy. She is not offering any solution to the current malaise. Indeed, she is not even pointing to any solution offered by president Obama which was somehow blocked by the GOP. NO, Schultz is accusing the GOP of intentionally hurting America for its own political gain. She is accusing the GOP of increasing the pain of the average American in order to win a vote in November.

This charge by Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the latest salvo of craziness from Democrat leaders. Two days ago, Nancy Pelosi assured the world that the only reason that the GOP was looking into Fast and Furious was to stop Eric Holder from working on stopping a voter suppression effort by the GOP in various states. More craziness! These two Democrat women could room together at the asylum.

The Democrat leaders are joined by their toadies in the media. Remember Ed Schultz of MSNBC telling viewers on the night of the Wisconsin recall election that Scott Walker would be indicted within a few days? There was no truth to that claim and not even a good faith basis for Ed to say this. But he blurted it out nevertheless.

I know that neither Pelosi nor Wasserman Schultz believe what they are saying. Neither are insane (although I have to say that with Wasserman Schultz I am not entirely certain.) They are, instead, using the "big lie" method of propaganda. This method which was perfected by the Nazi propaganda minister eighty years ago involves stating publicly a total lie which accuses a group of some totally heinous activity. With the Nazis, the lies were aimed at the Jews. With the Democrats, they are aimed at the GOP. Pelosi and Wasserman Schultz are trying to get some weak minded folks to accept that Republicans are willing to do anything and say anything to win even if it means inflicting serious injury on America in the process. In other words, based upon the conduct of Pelosi and Wasserman Schultz, the Democrats are trying to convince the voters that Republicans are willing to to what the Democrats themselves are doing.

No one is trying to suppress votes in the USA. But Pelosi and friends are trying to convince all sorts of people that they are victims of oppression. It will take a long time for that wound to heal. No one is trying to slow economic growth; there is a fight over the proper way to proceed, but that is based upon principles. Schultz and her cronies are trying to change a fight over political principles and economic theories into a fight between good and evil. Again, it will take decades to heal this rift.

Villification of one's opponents is a tactic that has long been common on the left. Those of you old enough to remember the Soviet Union or the early days of Communist China will remember American capitalists being described as dogs, murderers, leeches, and other sorts of vile creatures. Opponents were sub human; they were attacking the "people" and deserved no mercy. It was pure propaganda.

As the Democrats have moved left, the tactic has been adopted repeatedly here in the USA. Think about the non-stop attacks on George W. Bush. Even earlier this week, a small group of left wing crazies left the so-called Take back the Dream conference in DC and marched to the office of Karl Rove demanding that Rove be arrested for his "crimes" (which consisted mainly of running a pro-GOP super PAC.) It was not enough to oppose Rove's super PAC; Rove was "evil" and "criminal" and he had to be arrested.

It is sad that the Democrats have no record of success on which to run. Their ideas were all tried and they all failed. It is also sad that the Democrats have nothing left to propose except more failure. The Democrats need to rethink what is good for the country and to adjust their proposals accordingly. Instead, they are trying to win on fear and dishonesty. They are using the Big Lie tactics that should have been buried under the rubble of Berlin at the end of the Second World War. It is a true disgrace.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Uh-oh, There he goes!

In the bad news for Holder department, we have gotten to the point where the White House is quote thusly by AP:

President Barack Obama has "full confidence" in Attorney General Eric Holder, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

It looks like the bus is coming in quickly and Obama is lining up Holder to throw underneath of it.

Did you Ever Think This?

It has been quite a year so far. Think back six months to when 2012 began. Did you ever think that ....

1) The president of the United States would have secrets vital to national security disclosed as part of an effort to make him look good for his re-election campaign even though doing this put in danger the lives of many covert operatives working for the USA.

2) The Democrat minority leader of the House of Representatives would claim that a dispute over document production was really part of a plan for voter supression.

3) The president would attempt to end run Congress to change the rules for illegal aliens after spending years telling the country how he could not do just that legally.

4) The president's re-election campaign would have its messafe stepped on by a previous Democrat president and by a slew of elected officials.

5) The Republicans would quickly coalesce around their candidate even after a divisive primary fight while the Democrats began to splinter with growing numbers refusing to even attend the national convention.

the list goes on, but you get the picture. it has been quite a year and we are not yet half over with it.

Iran's nukes and the Israelis

I had an interesting discussion this morning with a friend of mine who was wearing rose colored glasses with regard to the likelihood of an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities this year. He told me repeatedly that the probability of an Israeli attack this year is no more than 30%, a figure that was much lower than he previously thought. He discerned this reduced probability from the shrug that the oil markets gave to the failure of the latest P5+1 talks with the Iranians. After all, all those big money investors would surely have heard rumors of any imminent Israeli attack so that they would be buying oil and driving up the price of that commodity.

I strongly disagree. In my view it is better than 2 to 1 that Israel will strike the Iranian nuclear facilities this year, with the likely date for the strike to be in July or August. Here are the reasons why:

1) The Israeli government views Iran's nuclear program as an existential threat to the Jewish state. There is no way that the Israelis will allow Iran to get nukes without doing everything possible to stop that from happening.

2) The Israelis know that they have no friend in president Obama. Sure, Obama is constrained by political considerations from taking positions that could hurt Israel, but that constraint ends with the election in November. The Israelis know that Obama will not risk war or any upset that might derail his re-election campaign in a confrontation with Iran. Indeed, the thinking in Israel is that Obama is prepared to live with a nuclear Iran.

3) Israel also knows that its chances of success will be much greater if it has US backing for the attack. There are only two ways to get such backing: a)wait until 2013 in the hopes that president Romney will support and join in such an attack; or b)move forward unilaterally prior to the election so that Obama is forced to support Israel or to pay the price at the polls in November. Since everything that Obama does these days is determined by his calculus as to whether or not action will help his re-election, the Israelis can be faily certain that if they can have even partial success in Iran, Obama will be forced to support the attack. Otherwise, Jews and evangelical Christians as well as most other Americans will view inaction or opposition to the Israelis harshly. The best time for that attack is in July or August when the political conventions are approaching. At that point, more and more folks will be tuning in to the election, and there will be plenty of time for maximum pressure to be brought upon Obama to support the Israeli action.

4) Unless a Romney win seems certain, the Israelis will not wait until 2013. They know that once the election is passed, Obama will become an implaccable foe of any action against Iran.

5) The lack of reaction in the oil markets to the failure of the latest talks tells us nothing about what the Israelis will do. Unlike the Obama administration, the Israeli government does not leak state secrets. Israel will not tell anyone that the attack is proceeding. Oh, it will alert the USA a few hours ahead of time, but that is about it. The press and the markets will never get wind of it ahead of time.

6) The quiet in the press and the markets about Iran is actually an indicator that we may be approaching an attack. Israel is probably finished trying to use threats to stop Iran. It is now in pre-attack mode. That means secrecy and plenty of it. Hence the end of the stories.

7) Israel must also have understood the position in which Iran finds itself. If Israel attacks and destroys the Iranian facilities, Iran is unlikely to do much itself in response. Iran will not shut the Straits of Hormuz. Such action would demand a response from the US Navy and would likely start a chain of events that would end with the overthrow of the mullahs in Teheran. They will not take on the USA directly. Instead, a more likely response would be an attack by Hezbollah and Hamas on Israel from Lebanon and Gaza respectively. Even so, however, both groups of terrorists would understand that a severe Israeli response would follow such an attack. With Iran having been blasted by Israel and with Assad in Syria on the ropes, Hezbollah may not be so quick to launch a major offensive against Israel when it knows that there will not be help coming from either of its patrons.

I seriously hope that Iran returns to the negotiating table and that a peaceful resolution is reached. I find that outcome extremely unlikely however. I fear that we will soon be hearing and seeing the Israeli attack.

Carney or Karnak?

When Johnny Carson was the host of the Tonight Show, he had a stock character that he trotted out from time to time. Karnak the Magnificent was a seer who could name questions whose answers were given to him in sealed envelopes. The humor was sophomoric at best. Here's an example: After holding the envelope to his forehead, Karnak would announce that the question was "What do you call a Japanese house after a large rock falls on it?" The envelope was then opened and Ed McMahon would read the answer: "a frat house."

In recent days, we have had White House spokesman Jay Carney doing his own impersonation of Karnak the Magnificent. He has been feeding nonsense to the press corps in ways that seem too humorous to be unintentional. Yesterday, Carney was asked repeatedly at the daily press briefing about Fast and Furious and about the pending Congressional resolution to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents. Congress was focused on the period of time after DOJ sent a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations in February of 2011 telling the committee that there was no DOJ involvement with Fast and Furious. Months later, DOJ rescinded that letter and said that it had been involved. Congress has been trying to find out how it came to be that DOJ gave it misinformation. After all, someone could have been intentionally lying to Congress. The documents relevant to this deception by DOJ are the ones that Congress has been asking for and which Holder has refused to turn over.

Carney told the press that this was just a political stunt. After all, Carny told them, Holder was the one who deserved full credit for stopping Fast and Furious. Carney kept saying over and over again that Holder put an end to Fast and Furious and he should be praised rather than hounded for doing so.

Here's the problem. Holder testified under oath to Congress that he first learned of Fast and Furious just a few weeks priod to mid May of 2011. He repeated that he had never heard of the operation prior to that time. Indeed, when he was shown memos addressed to Eric Holder that discussed Fast and Furious by name, Holder said that he had not read them. In short, Holder made it crystal clear that he had not involvement with Fast and Furious until April of 2011, long after the US border guard was shot with one of the weapons that the government had allowed to be delivered to the Mexican drug cartels.

Do you see the problem? Fast and Furious ended in January of 2011. Holder never even heard of the operation until April of 2011 (or so he swore under oath.) Carney, however, is giving Holder credit for stopping an operation about which Holder was unaware. That's right, either Holder or Carney is wrong. Oh, why be coy; either Holder or Carney is lying. Indeed, maybe they both are.

The cavalcade of lies has gotten so intense in the Obama White House that it is no longer big news when Obama or one of the Obamacrats strays from the truth. Indeed, it is now news when the president and his cronies actually tell the truth.

The Audacity of Lying

The Washington Post fact checker is out with an analysis of what White House senior adviser David Plouffe had to say about Mitt Romney's record and the "obstruction" of congressional Republicans. Last Sunday on multiple shows Plouffe spoke of "an amazing article ...where Republicans in Congress are openly saying, ‘we’re not going to do anything until the election with the economy, because we want to help Mitt Romney.’" Then plouffe followed up by saying that when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, there were six government jobs created for every private sector job that was created. In other words, Plouffe spoke for the Obamacrats to accuse the GOP of intentionally tanking the economy for political purposes and to accuse Romney of being just a government jobs guy. According to the Washington Post, Plouffe's statement is a total lie; they gave it four Pinocchios, the worst possible ranking for the truth of a statement. The Post points out that the article to which Plouffe refers talks of Democrats who are refusing to compromise in order to help Obama by letting him campaign against GOP inaction. According to the article there is no hint of opposition from the GOP for the reason Plouffe suggests. Then the Post looks at the actual figures and finds that when Romney was governor, there were eleven private sector jobs created for each new public sector job, quite a different story from Plouffe's claim that it was six to one the other way.

When the Washington Post is pointing out lies by the Obama campaign, it may be time to say that the Obama penchant for lying is now common knowledge.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hard to Believe

I have written often about various untrue statements made by president Obama; indeed, Obama has raised lying to be a presidential art form. Nevertheless, I still find it hard to believe that the Democrats have adopted telling lies as an everyday tactic. Today's example comes from Nancy Pelosi. She told the press today in Washington that the upcoming vote to hold Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents that were subpoenaed in the investigation into Fast and Furious was actually an attempt to get Holder for his opposition to the voter suppression activities of Republicans in various states. So, not only does Pelosi tell lies, she does not even try to make the lies believable to anyone with an IQ about 80. Maybe Congress will need to pass the contempt citation for Holder so that Pelosi can find out what is in it.