We Win They Lose archive
Date : June 2012

Coulter: THE BIGGEST SCANDAL IN U.S. HISTORY

Original Article - Coulter: THE BIGGEST SCANDAL IN U.S. HISTORY

Forget executive privilege, contempt of Congress, “fast and furious,” how many documents the government has produced and who said what to whom on which date.The Obama administration has almost certainly engaged in the most shockingly vile corruption scandal in the history of the country, not counting the results of Season Eight on “American Idol.”

Administration officials intentionally put guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, so that when the guns taken from Mexican crime scenes turned out to be American guns, Democrats would have a reason to crack down on gun sellers in the United States.

Democrats will never stop trying to take our guns away. They see something more lethal than a salad shooter and wet themselves.

But since their party was thrown out of Congress for the first time in nearly half a century as a result of passing the 1994 “assault weapons ban,” even liberals know they were going to need a really good argument to pass any limitation on guns ever again.

So it’s curious that Democrats all started telling the same lie about guns as soon as Obama became president. In March 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced to reporters on a trip to Mexico: “Since we know that the vast majority, 90 percent of that weaponry (used by Mexican drug cartels), comes from our country, we are going to try to stop it from getting there in the first place.”

As she sentimentally elaborated on Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren show: “The guns sold in the United States, which are illegal in Mexico, get smuggled and shipped across our border and arm these terrible drug-dealing criminals so that they can outgun these poor police officers along the border and elsewhere in Mexico.”

Suddenly that 90 percent statistic was everywhere. It was like the statistic on women beaten by their husbands on Super Bowl Sunday.

CBS’ Bob Schieffer asked Obama on “Face the Nation”: “It’s my understanding that 90 percent of the guns that they’re getting down in Mexico are coming from the United States. We don’t seem to be doing a very good job of cutting off the gun flow. Do you need any kind of legislative help on that front? Have you, for example, thought about asking Congress to reinstate the ban on assault weapons?”

At a Senate hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said: “It is unacceptable to have 90 percent of the guns that are picked up in Mexico and used to shoot judges, police officers and mayors … come from the United States.”

And then, thanks to Fox News — the first network to report it — we found out the 90 percent figure was complete bunkum. It was a fabrication told by William Hoover, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF), and then spread like wildfire by Democrats and the media.

Mexican law enforcement authorities send only a fraction of the guns they recover from criminals back to the U.S. for tracing. Which guns do they send? The guns that have U.S. serial numbers on them. It would be like asking a library to produce all their Mark Twain books and then concluding that 90 percent of the books in that library are by Mark Twain.

You begin to see why the left hates Fox News so much.

Obama backed away from the preposterous 90 percent claim. His National Security Council spokesman explained to Fox News that by “recovered,” they meant “guns traceable to the United States.” So, in other words, Democrats were frantically citing the amazing fact that almost all the guns traceable to the U.S. were … traceable to the U.S.

Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that even if the percentage is inaccurate, the “vast majority” of guns seized in crimes in Mexico come from the United States. (And he should know, because it turns out he was sending them there!)

This was absurd. Most of the guns used by drug cartels are automatic weapons — not to mention shoulder-fired rockets — that can’t be sold to most Americans. They are acquired from places like Russia, China and Guatemala.

Right about the time the 90 percent lie was unraveling, the Obama administration decided to directly hand thousands of American guns over to Mexican criminals. Apart from the fact that tracking thousands of guns into Mexico is not feasible or rational, the dumped guns didn’t have GPS tracing devices on them, anyway. There is no conceivable law enforcement objective to such a program.

This is what we know:

(1) Liberals thought it would be a great argument for gun control if American guns were ending up in the hands of Mexican criminals;

(2) They wanted that to be true so badly, Democrats lied about it;

(3) After they were busted on their lie, the Obama administration began dumping thousands of guns in the hands of Mexican criminals.

We also know that hundreds of people were murdered with these U.S.-government-supplied guns, including at least one American, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

But let’s look on the bright side. The BATF was originally going to ship warheads to Iran until realizing the explosions might disable the tracking devices.

(Contrary to more Democrat lies, there was no program to dump thousands of guns in Mexico under George W. Bush. The Bush administration did have a program that put GPS trackers on about 100 guns in order to actually trace them. That operation was ended almost as soon as it began because of the lack of cooperation from Mexican officials. You may as well say Holder’s program was “started” by the first cop who ever put tracer dye on contraband.)

No one has explained what putting 2,500 untraceable guns in the hands of Mexican drug dealers was supposed to accomplish.

But you know what that might have accomplished? It would make the Democrats’ lie retroactively true — allowing them to push for the same gun restrictions they were planning when they first concocted it. A majority of guns recovered from Mexican criminals would, at last, be American guns, because Eric Holder had put them there.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, some brave whistleblower inside the government leaked details of this monstrous scheme. As soon as Congress and the public demanded answers, Holder clammed up. He just says “oops” — and accuses Republicans of racism.

Some GOP states want to abandon Medicaid expansion (Obamacare)

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Published on: June 30, 2012

Original Article - Some GOP states want to abandon Medicaid expansion

Republicans in at least four states want to abandon an expansion of Medicaid in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, and more than a dozen other states are considering it in the wake of the Supreme Court decision removing the threat of federal penalties.

The high court upheld most of Obama’s law, but the justices said the federal government could not take away states’ existing federal Medicaid dollars if they refused to widen eligibility to include adults who are only slightly above the poverty line. Some Republican governors and lawmakers quickly declared that they would not carry out the expansion.

The states considering whether to withdraw from the expansion include presidential battlegrounds Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

“One thing is clear, state legislatures will play a big role in the future of Obamacare,” said Republican state Rep. Todd Richardson of Missouri.

For elected officials, the high court decision presented a stark choice: agree to accept an ambitious expansion of Medicaid or leave behind a vast pile of federal money that could provide health care to millions of poor constituents.

The law signed by Obama in 2010 was projected to provide coverage to more than 30 million Americans, reducing by more than half the number of uninsured people. Of those, about 17 million were supposed to be added to Medicaid, the joint federal and state health care program for the poor. The rest were to be covered by a strengthened and subsidized private insurance market.

The federal government agreed to pay the full tab for the Medicaid expansion when it begins in 2014. But after three years, states must pay a gradually increasing share that tops out at 10 percent of the cost. That may not sound like much, but it translates to a commitment of billions of dollars at a time when many local officials are still anxious about the slow economic recovery.

In Texas alone, where one quarter of the population is uninsured, the Medicaid expansion is projected to provide coverage to 2 million people in the first two years alone. Over a decade, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission estimates the expansion would cost the state an estimated $27 billion. Lawmakers will weigh their options when they return to work in 2013.

But other states aren’t waiting to announce their intentions.

Mississippi, which is one of the poorest states in the nation and has more than 640,000 people on Medicaid, could cover an additional 400,000 people if it chose to expand Medicaid. But doing so would cost about $1.7 billion over 10 years and force deep cuts to education and transportation, state officials said.

“Mississippi taxpayers simply cannot afford that cost, so our state is not inclined to drastically expand Medicaid,” Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said.

Republican Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman promised to block any effort to expand Medicaid, which he said would require tax increases or education cuts. And Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long, also a Republican, asserted that his state “will certainly” opt out of the Medicaid expansion.

The expansion was also quickly nixed by GOP legislative leaders in Missouri, where 255,000 of the state’s roughly 835,000 uninsured residents stood to be added to the program. In 2005, Missouri slashed its Medicaid eligibility for parents to the lowest levels allowed by the federal government in order to help balance the budget. The expansion in Obama’s health care law would restore coverage to those people and add many more. The cost: $2 billion annually, of which Missouri would pay about $100 million beginning in 2017, with its share rising above $150 million by 2019.

“The federal government always does this – they put something out there that looks good on the front end, but on the back end the states have to figure out how to pay for this,” said Missouri House Majority Leader Tim Jones, a Republican. “In this current economic time, we’re not going to consider going down that path.”

In states that reject the Medicaid expansion, some lower-income residents who work could find themselves in a coverage gap between the extremely poor and the middle class. The health care law offers tax breaks to offset the cost of private insurance purchased through new online marketplaces for those whose incomes are above the poverty level. But there are no breaks for many others who earn below the poverty level but still aren’t considered poor enough to receive Medicaid. The law assumed they would be covered by an expanded Medicaid program.

Bunnie Gronborg, 64, of Festus, Mo., said she has two sons in their 30s who are single fathers who lost construction jobs and now lack health insurance. She had hoped they could be covered by the Medicaid expansion, and she doesn’t buy the explanation that the state cannot afford it.

“There’s absolutely no reason” to reject the expansion, “except being vindictive and playing political games with people’s actual health care,” Gronborg said.

Some states have already expanded Medicaid eligibility beyond the standard set in the federal health care law. Others are forging ahead with plans to do so after the Supreme Court ruling.

Minnesota, for example, has already begun drawing more federal money to expand its Medicaid program ahead of schedule. Officials in Connecticut, Iowa, Arkansas and elsewhere said they will move forward with plans to raise their Medicaid income eligibility thresholds, citing the chance to cover hundreds of thousands of additional people with the lion’s share of the cost coming for the federal government.

In New Mexico, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has supported increased state money for Medicaid since taking office last year, though she hasn’t decided whether to back the federal expansion to 133 percent of the federal poverty level – an amount equivalent to $14,856 annually for an individual or $30,657 for a family of four. The expansion would add 170,000 people to the state’s Medicaid rolls, reducing the number of uninsured New Mexico residents by almost 40 percent.

“I think New Mexico would be foolish not to expand its Medicaid program,” said state Sen. Dede Feldman, a Democrat, who is chairwoman of a legislative study committee that deals with health care.

Despite the reluctance of some state officials to embrace the Medicaid expansion, history suggests that the federal government’s financial carrot can be a powerful incentive. When the federal government offered enhanced payments to expand health coverage for children in the 1990s, all states eventually implemented the program, said Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan informational clearinghouse.

Now states have an even higher-stakes offer to expand coverage for adults.

Even in Florida, which took a leading role in fighting the health care overhaul, officials have not ruled out participating, although Gov. Rick Scott said it is unlikely. Other states are biding their time, too.

“The federal government is putting a lot of money on the table,” Tolbert said. “It may be difficult for states to walk away from that money while simultaneously leaving their lowest income residents uninsured.”

ObamaCare Survives – Electing Romney Just Became Imperative

Original Article - ObamaCare Survives – Electing Romney Just Became Imperative

The Supreme Court did not save us from ourselves, at least not entirely. That is still up to us, the people.

When the American people elected Barack Obama and large Democrat majorities, the die was cast. ObamaCare was coming. Popular or not, constitutional or not, affordable or not, it didn’t matter. They were going to pass it, and then the rest of us could find out what they put in it.

After the Democrats shoved the 2700 pages of ObamaCare down our throats — and we did find out how expensive, controlling, and coercive the legislation was — a majority of Americans wanted the Supreme Court to toss it aside as unconstitutional.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court did not deem it a legal overreach by the Democrats. While I would have agreed with the minority (Scalia, Alito, Thomas, Kennedy), I respect the decision.

For those of us who originally disagreed with ObamaCare and now disagree with the majority opinion of the SCOTUS, the challenge remains the same as it would have been had the Court ruled otherwise. We need to elect Mitt Romney and House and Senate majorities that will repeal ObamaCare and replace it with free-market, pro-liberty solutions.

In a very real way, the Court just put the responsibility back on the voters to re-establish government of, by, and for the people. In the end, we get the government – and policies that go with it – that we deserve. So, who will we elect as our representative leaders in November? The importance of this election – already historic – just grew even greater.

As the nation absorbs and deciphers the SCOTUS ruling on ObamaCare, we thought our readers would find the following excerpts from NRO’s analysis insightful. Included is a link to the entire editorial.

Chief Justice Roberts’s Folly

Roberts Opinion Sets Up a Scary Slippery Slope

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Published on: June 30, 2012

Original Article - Roberts Opinion Sets Up a Scary Slippery Slope

Since the news that Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the majority in ruling that the Obamacare individual mandate is constitutional, there has been tremendous debate and analysis about the opinion that he offered. Liberals predictability praised the ruling and gloated that they knew it was constitutional all along – even though most of them never admitted or even implied that the mandate was tantamount to a tax (which is what Roberts determined). Conservatives praised other parts of the opinion which basically limited significantly the use of the commerce clause in any future legislation, and it also helps them promote their narrative that Barack Obama is just another tax-and-spend liberal.

Since the ruling, most polls, including a new one reported on RealClearPolitics.com, show that most Americans still disapprove of Obamacare and of the Supreme Court’s ruling about it. Future polls about Obamacare are likely to show even higher numbers of those disapproving of the act and the ruling. That is because the opinion provided by Roberts sets the stage for frequent and massive tax increases on any number of issues down the road.

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What Roberts wrote in his opinion is that the individual mandate was constitutional based on the premise that the federal government has the right to impose taxes. The issue of taxation has long been settled law – no one disputes the fact that the government can levy taxes. What is new in this opinion is that the government can now levy taxes on doing nothing or on doing activities that are not currently taxed by the federal government. In the Obamacare case, Roberts states that the federal government can impose a tax on individuals who choose not to purchase health insurance – so their inactivity makes them subject to taxation.

As an example of how this principle can be applied in other situations, the gasoline tax provides a perfect scenario. The premise behind gasoline taxes was to provide money to help the government pay for highway construction projects. In a way the gasoline tax makes sense – those who use the highways the most will likely also by the most gasoline, and therefore should also pay a lion’s share of the taxes. And even the most ardent conservative or Libertarian agrees that the interstate highway is something that the federal government can and should control as a public good.

But what would happen if the federal government decided that it was not raising enough taxes to pay for all the highway construction projects that it had planned? In the past, the main option was to increase the amount of the gasoline tax. But now, the Roberts opinion gives the federal government another option – it can broaden the tax base to include anybody who is not currently paying any gasoline taxes.

Consider the examples of people who live close enough to their work that they can just walk to work each day, the environmentalists who bike to work each day or the urban dwellers who take the subway or trolley to work each day. In theory, none of these people pay gasoline taxes – they have made a decision to not engage in the gasoline-using industry and as a result they pay nothing into it. This is obviously similar to a person who chooses to not get health insurance.

The federal government could now, as a result of the Roberts opinion, impose a tax on all of these types of people. Politicians could make the argument that the highway system is a common good and that everyone benefits from it in some form – whether it is due to mail delivery, movement of products, allowing people to spread out to reduce congestion, etc. In some way, the highway system benefits everyone and therefore everyone must be required to pay for it in the form of gasoline taxes – even those people who do not directly use it or ever have a need to purchase gasoline.

While the gasoline tax is one of the best examples of how the Roberts opinion can be used and abused in the future, the ruling that a mandate is allowed because of the taxing provision opens the door to many more examples. No level of activity or inactivity is safe from taxation now. And what makes it even scarier is the fact that taxing provisions can be included in budget reconciliation packages, which means they will need only a simple majority vote in the Senate to pass rather than a 60-vote super-majority.

Some analysts are saying that the Roberts opinion has sealed Obama’s fate in the November election. That is not so certain. But it does make Obama’s “I reject that notion” claim about the mandate penalties being taxes seem like his “Read my lips – no new taxes,” and “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” moments rolled into one. Clearly Obama has been completely dishonest in trying to deny and hide what could turn out to be the largest tax increase in the history of the nation. Equally as clearly, the American people are about to get bent over and screwed many times over by this legislation. And if Obama and/or some of his enterprising colleagues in Washington, D.C. use this Roberts opinion to its full advantage, then there will be more unwanted new taxes and more unwanted sexual relations imposed upon the American people for decades to come.

ObamaCare: Upheld and Doomed (Reality Will Prevail!)

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Published on: June 30, 2012

Original Article - ObamaCare: Upheld and Doomed (Reality Will Prevail!)

Fans of ObamaCare must be busting a gut three times over. The mandate that conservatives now hate was originally a conservative proposal. In upholding it, Chief Justice John Roberts followed President Obama’s Rose Garden instructions to the letter: The Court must find an act constitutional if it happens to be the signature act of a president running for re-election.

Worse, in doing so, he may have read any constitutional limit on Congress out of the Constitution while pretending to do the opposite. Congress cannot compel you to do anything Congress wishes, but it can impose taxes on you until you finally have no rational alternative but to do whatever Congress wishes.

History will judge whether Mr. Roberts saved the reputation of the court or lost his nerve. Many conservatives obviously suspect the latter. Resolved: The government cannot make you eat broccoli, though it may levy a non-broccoli-eating tax on any who refuse.

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Yet he may also think—and would not be wrong to think—that ObamaCare is doomed in any case. His opinion makes clearer than ever that ObamaCare is a tax program—throwing more tax dollars at an unreformed health-care system. ObamaCare is a huge new entitlement in a nation laboring under commitments it already can’t afford. Those who gripe that he just authorized a vast expansion of the welfare state haven’t reckoned with this fiscal reality principle.

What’s more—and save us your constitutional brickbats—the mandate’s survival could actually be a convenience to those who remain seriously interested in fixing health care.

GOPers, including Mitt Romney, immediately adopted “repeal” as their mantra. But repealing ObamaCare would just leave us with the health-care system we have, which is already ObamaCare in many respects—an unsustainable set of subsidies bankrupting the nation.

The solution is a tweak. Republicans already are lip-committed to a national health-insurance charter that allows insurers to design their own policies and market them across state lines. Republicans are also lip-committed to a tax reform to equalize the tax treatment of health care whether purchased by individuals or by employers on behalf of individuals.

Now just modify the Affordable Care Act so buying any health policy authorized by the new charter, no matter how minimalist, satisfies the employer and individual mandate.

What would follow is a boom in low-cost, high-deductible plans that leave individuals in charge of managing most of their ordinary health-care costs out of pocket. Because it would be cheap, millions who would opt not to buy coverage will buy coverage. Because it will be cheap, companies will direct their low-wage and entry-level employees to this coverage.

Now these workers will be covered for serious illness or injury, getting the rest of us off the hook. As they grow older, wealthier and start families, they will choose more extensive but still rationally limited coverage. Meanwhile, the giant subsidies ObamaCare would dish out to help the middle class afford ObamaCare’s gold-plated mandatory coverage would be unneeded.

With consumers shouldering a bigger share of health expenses directly, hospital and doctors would discover the advantages of competing on price and quality. This way lies salvation. In the long run, whatever share of GDP society decides to allocate to health care, it will get its money’s worth—the fundamental problem today.

Perhaps a not-discreditable sense of the political moment lies behind the chief justice’s opinion after all. The court’s job, he wrote, is not to “protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

He may have meant: The chief justice’s job is to get the court out of the way while the body politic still remains suspended between recognizing the unsustainabilty of the current welfare model and deciding what to do about it.

This was always the fatal problem of ObamaCare. Reality could not have instructed President Obama more plainly: The last thing we needed, in a country staggering under deficits and debt, a sluggish economy and an unaffordable entitlement structure, was a new Rube Goldberg entitlement. The last thing we needed was ObamaCare. The nation and the times were asking Mr. Obama to reform health care, not to double-down on everything wrong with the current system.

Even with this week’s Court success, he failed—and it’s not as if there wasn’t a deep well of policy understanding in Washington that he could have drawn on to take the country in a better direction. Regardless of any Supreme Court ruling, reality will pass its own judgment on the Affordable Care Act and it won’t be favorable.

GOP Appeals DOMA Case to the Supreme Court

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Published on: June 30, 2012

Original Article - GOP Appeals DOMA Case to the Supreme Court

The Homosexual Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson reports:

House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) attorneys on Friday formally appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court an appeals court decision determining the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, according to a Democratic aide.

Drew Hammill, spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), told the Washington Blade on Friday afternoon that House Republicans had notified Democratic leadership counsel filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The court ruling that was appealed was the First Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the cases of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, which was filed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health & Human Services. On May 31, the appellate court issued a decision that DOMA was unconstitutional as a result of both cases.

Boehner’s office confirmed the appeal to POLITICO but noted the action was technically taken by BLAG – the House’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group – and its lawyer, Paul Clement. Clement has been defending DOMA, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing gay marriage, since the Justice Department stopped defending it last year.

Sarcastic Editor’s Note: Wonder if Justice Roberts will be as adamant about saving this legislation as he was saving Obamacare?

Iran: There will be war – and we’ll win

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Published on: June 30, 2012

Original Article - Iran: There will be war – and we’ll win

Just days after the breakdown of talks with the West over Iran’s nuclear program, the deputy chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards announced that there soon will be war – and that Allah will ensure his forces are victorious.

The last round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) ended in Moscow last week without any agreement on Iran’s illicit nuclear program.

Gen. Hossein Salami, in a televised interview, boasted that, “Iran has complete control of all the enemy’s interests around the world and is on a path to reach equivalency with world powers.” The commander emphasized that Iran’s nuclear program is irreversible, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Salami said war is inevitable, and the Iranian forces are ready.

“The current sanctions will only help Iran with its progress, and the Iranian ballistic missiles can target the enemy’s moving carriers with 100 percent accuracy,” he warned the West. “The Guards’ operational plan includes a radius of deterrence in the region in which all interests of the enemy have been identified, and in case of war, those interests will be attacked.”

Guards’ commanders have stated previously that all U.S. bases in the region are targeted with missiles and will be attacked should America strike Iran.

Salami said Iranian ballistic missiles can travel at several times the speed of sound and cannot easily be tracked and destroyed. “Our defense inventory is so great that at times our brothers in the Guards face limitations with space.”

The Revolutionary Guards have more than 1,000 ballistic missiles capable of reaching all U.S. bases in the region, all of Israel and some capitals in Europe. In collaboration with China and North Korea, they are also working on intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Salami said the Guards are on high alert, adding, “Our forces in relation to our internal security will complete their mission with all of their capability.”

In 2009, millions of Iranians took to the street demanding regime change, but ultimately the uprising was cruelly suppressed and many Iranians were tortured and executed. According to statistics from the Islamic regime’s Justice Department, all Iranian prisons are overflowing and there is a need for more prisons. As reported by Iranian officials, last year alone more than 600 people were executed, including women.

Salami repeated that the Guards are ready for war, which is close, and though it will be very difficult, “We have faith in Allah.”

In another sign that the Iranian officials expect war, Iran’s supreme leader Wednesday urged all factions of the regime, political and military, to unite and remain steadfast in defense of Islam in confronting the “arrogant powers.”

According to Sepah News, the official media outlet of the Guards, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a meeting with regime officials, stated, “Today the arrogant powers of the world have focused all their power to hurt the Islamic republic and stop its progress (nuclear program), which motivates the Islamic world.”

Referring to sanctions on Iran, Khamenei said, “America itself is surrounded by serious problems, which cannot be solved. … Their main goal is to separate the Islamic republic from the support of its people. … Allah willing, this conspiracy will also be defeated.”

Why I Walked Out on John Roberts

Original Article - Why I Walked Out on John Roberts

I’ve had doubts about Chief Justice John Roberts for a couple of years now — doubts that were unfortunately confirmed Thursday by his decision upholding ObamaCare.

In October 2010, Canisius College in Buffalo, NY hosted Chief Justice Roberts as part of the Raichle Lecture Series. The Raichle Lectures are sponsored by the college’s pre-law center, and the college deserves credit for booking some real heavy hitters — past guests have included Supreme Court Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, and O’Connor, and other notable figures like Rudy Giuliani.

I was excited about the opportunity to see the head of one of the three coequal branches of government in person — especially in an academic setting, ripe for debate, ideas, and insights on how things really work at the seat of power. I was really looking forward to hearing the kind of Socratic give-and-take Justice Scalia and Judge Bork are known for when they visit colleges and law schools.

I was sorely disappointed.

The event was not a “lecture”; it was formatted as a conversation between the chief and a moderator on a stage in front of about 1,300 people in the Koessler Center, the college’s basketball arena.

Virtually all of it was trivia, minutiae, and nonsense — sort of like watching Jay Leno interviewing some airheaded Hollywood actress on The Tonight Show. The chief prattled on about the weather in Buffalo, the fine print on prescriptions, etc., etc.

When the moderator asked Roberts if he had a judicial philosophy in approaching cases and he replied that he “really didn’t have any,” I got up and left. Listening to Roberts was a complete waste of my time.

I came away with the distinct impression that Roberts was a milquetoast, country-club Republican who had gotten to his station in life by having impeccable Harvard credentials and sitting around the clubhouse after the golf game and chatting amiably with the other lawyers and never saying anything even slightly controversial or partisan. Roberts seemed like the master of pleasing everyone all the time by saying nothing of substance.

The Monday-morning quarterbacking after the ObamaCare decision is that Roberts sought to preserve the reputation of the Court from partisan attacks by the left, and that he tried to please both the left and the right by rejecting the “commerce clause” argument but still upholding the legislation. From what I saw of him, I think that’s probably true.

But Roberts’s decision saddled the nation with an execrable 2,700-page law that gives government control over nearly 20% of the economy, allows unlimited future taxation to control our behavior, and makes our dietary practices, sexual practices, and mental health the concern of federal bureaucrats in Washington. His decision may have pleased the country-club moderates, but I suspect that James Madison is rolling in his grave.

Suspended Reporter and Politico Part Ways

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Published on: June 30, 2012

Original Article - Suspended Reporter and Politico Part Ways

 

Joseph Williams, Politico’s White House Correspondent who was suspended last week after launching a racial attack against Mitt Romney on MSNBC and a series of unprofessional tweets, is leaving the left-wing publication permanently.

Early this morning, Politico Editor-In-Chief John Harris issued the following statement:

After some cordial discussions, Joe Williams and I mutually decided that the best step for him is to begin a transition to the next phase of his career. Joe is an experienced and respected journalist, with keen insights into politics. After nearly 30 years in the business, he has the authority and is ready to give voice to his insights and conclusions in a new setting.

He’ll be on leave of absence during this transition, and he’s got my gratitude for the contributions he made here, both as reporter and editor. I have told Joe—and it’s a sentiment others who worked closely with him here share—that he’ll have my support as he prepares for what I expect will be a good and prominent next chapter in his career.

Mr. Williams issued a statement, as well:

While I’m disappointed at the circumstances of my departure, I’m grateful to John Harris for giving me an opportunity to work with him at Politico.

Undoubtedly, I’m the last person Mr. Williams would want career advice from today, but here goes… Williams is intelligent, knowledgeable, and probably has all kinds of valuable contacts and sources that he’s groomed over the decades.

He should take everything he has to offer — which is considerable — and find employment at an openly left-wing news outlet, where he can ply his trade and use his talents out in the open.

If you look at what’s happened to Williams over the past 10 days, the only reason he got himself into trouble was due to the fact that he pretends to be an objective reporter. What he said on MSNBC is said by openly leftist reporters every hour. What he tweeted is tweeted by openly left-wing reporters every second of every day.

What brought Williams down was his laughable disguise, his absurd pose, his ridiculous shield of “objectivity.” No one would’ve even cared about the “dick” tweet had he been employed at the Huffington Post, Media Matters, or Talking Points Memo.

Instead, Williams chose to work at a left-wing news outlet that also poses as objective so he could use that objectivity as a weapon against his political enemies on the Right — and this time that weapon backfired.

Nothing would make me happier than to see Mr. Williams gainfuly employed in the appropriate position that perfectly suits his impressive resume and his obvious desire to defeat the Right.

Just put on the uniform like we do. That’s all we ask.

Obama threatens veto of defense bill if military health care fees not increased

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Published on: June 30, 2012

Original Article - Obama threatens veto of defense bill if military health care fees not increased

On Friday, the Obama Administration threatened to veto a defense appropriations bill in part because it does not include increased health care fees for members of the military, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“The Administration is disappointed that the Congress did not incorporate the requested TRICARE fee initiatives into either the appropriation or authorization legislation,” the White House wrote.

“The Administration asks the House to reconsider the TRICARE fee proposals, which are essential for DOD to successfully address rising personnel costs. The $1.8 billion in savings are part of a carefully balanced FY 2013 Budget request,” the statement added.

“If the President were presented with H.R. 5856, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the statement says.

The Free Beacon added:

President Obama’s most recent budget proposal includes billions of dollars in higher fees for members of TRICARE, the military health care system, and is part of the administration’s plan to cut nearly $500 billion from the Pentagon’s budget.

According to the Administration, the increases are “essential for DOD to successfully address rising personnel costs.”

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh, among others, said that the proposal “is an effort to increase enrollment in the state-run insurance exchanges mandated under the president’s controversial health care law,” the Washington Free Beacon said.

In February, we reported that the Administration plans to cut health benefits for active duty and retired military personnel and their families while not touching the benefits enjoyed by unionized civilian defense workers.

At the time, congressional aides suggested the move was intended to force service members into Obamacare.

The Hill reported that the “House Rules Committee was approving the rule for the defense appropriations bill Thursday, and it’s expected to be taken up in the full House in July when Congress returns from recess.”

Supreme Court Obama Care Decision Tough To Swallow

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Published on: June 30, 2012

Original Article - Supreme Court Obama Care Decision Tough To Swallow

As a CPA and author on taxes, I have a beef with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in connection with health insurance taxes. Whether you are a fan or an opponent of ACA, I respect your opinion fully. This discussion is strictly about the process of creating tax policy, and the ugly sausage-making aspect of it, as I am not an attorney or constitutional scholar.

It seems to be a stretch for Chief Justice John Roberts to re-label an unconstitutional health insurance mandate as a tax, after the legislative and executive branches of government insisted they were not passing a new tax on the American people. Had it been presented as a tax, it probably would not have been enacted. It seems like the judicial branch of government is doing the job of the legislature. Wouldn’t it have been better for the Supreme Court to punt the law back to Congress? Yes, that probably would have caused great disarray, but it seems more appropriate.

Chief Justice Roberts ruled that the ACA mandate to purchase health insurance under the Commerce Clause unconstitutional, a mini victory for opponents of ACA. In my view, calling it a tax is hard to swallow. I agree with the minority dissent from the conservative justices.

By an everyman standard, this tax is clearly the mirror image of a government mandate for commerce. Not following the government’s health insurance mandate triggers this tax. In a layman’s view, if the court ruled the mandate as unconstitutional, then recasting it as a constitutional tax seems unfair. If it walks and talks like a mandate, isn’t it really a mandate and not a tax?

Technically, Chief Justice Roberts may be correct on relabeling the mandate a tax. Our tax attorney points out, “If the tax is a mirror image of a commerce mandate, then even if Congress cannot make a commerce mandate it can pass a tax. There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits passing a tax which also has commerce implications. That happens all the time.”

Chief Justice Roberts raised the popular argument that the government already assesses cigarette taxes as a financial disincentive to smoking, and he likened that to a tax incentive to purchase health insurance. In his opinion, Justice Roberts refers to tax penalties being a financial choice vs. mandates and other more severe government penalties, like jail time. In all due respect to our eminent Chief Justice, for many Americans digging into their pocket book for this health insurance penalty during a recession is pretty severe, too.

Supporters of the health insurance mandate compared it to Social Security and Medicare taxes. I disagree. Social Security and Medicare taxes apply on earned income for all taxpayers, not a select group of taxpayers. Taxpayers deemed to be good in the eyes of our government overseers are not given a pass on these entitlement-plan taxes: Social Security and Medicare taxes apply across the board. This health insurance mandate is more like an excise tax charged on vices.

President Obama is a constitutional attorney and scholar. I’m guessing he probably knew his mandate was safer cast as a tax. I wonder if he knowingly sold it to Congress and the American people with some deception in this context. Many Americans (including myself) don’t accept new tax hikes easily, especially when Congress and the president sell them with marketing deception, making back room deals, and not listening to the American people.

The excellent behavioral-economics book “Freakonomics” makes a wonderful point about the perverse nature of financial penalties. Charging financial penalties often has the opposite outcome of what was intended. Authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner give the example of a childcare facility that didn’t want parents to be late picking up their children.

The facility charged a financial penalty for being late and guess what happened next? Many parents who previously rushed to pick up children due to social responsibility and peer pressure chose the easy financial way out, to pay the small penalty. They viewed the penalty offer as an acceptable freeing of social responsibility and peer pressure. The outcome was a dramatic increase in parents’ picking up their children late and the center quickly got rid of the penalty offer. The book gives several other good examples of this same behavioral economics effect.

The government must know behavioral economics, too, so I wonder if it is really in the business of wanting to raise more tax revenue for more government spending on health care. The government already makes a fortune on taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, lotteries, gaming and other so called vices.

If ACA survives future elections and politics, let’s see how it turns out. Will people pay the tax penalty and not purchase health insurance, or will they enter the health insurance marketplace as the government hopes? As a CPA firm, we will have to deal with this issue and the tax penalty when we plan and prepare tax returns for clients.

Gov. Rick Scott: Florida won’t comply with health care overhaul

Original Article - Gov. Rick Scott: Florida won’t comply with health care overhaul

Gov. Rick Scott

Florida Gov. Rick Scott now says Florida will do nothing to comply with President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and will not expand its Medicaid program. The announcement is a marked changed after the governor recently said he would follow the law if it were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Florida is not going to implement Obamacare. We are not going to expand Medicaid and we’re not going to implement exchanges,” Scott’s spokesman Lane Wright told The Associated Press on Saturday. Wright stressed that the governor would work to make sure the law is repealed.

Scott told Fox News the Medicaid expansion would cost Florida taxpayers $1.9 billion a year, but it’s unclear how he arrived at that figure.

Scott said the state will not expand the Medicaid program in order to lower the number of uninsured residents, nor will Florida set up a state-run health exchange, a marketplace where people who need insurance policies could shop for them.

“We care about having a health care safety net for the vulnerable Floridians, but this is an expansion that just doesn’t make any sense,” he told Fox host Greta Van Susteren on Friday.

Scott has gone back and forth on the issue after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Congress cannot withhold federal Medicaid funding from states that opt out of a requirement in the overhaul to expand coverage to those just above the poverty line.

On the day of the ruling Scott was cautious about the expansion, saying he wanted to read the ruling first. Then during an interview Friday morning on a Jacksonville radio station, Scott said it was unlikely he would go along with the expansion because of the potential cost to the state.

But the governor told the Tampa Bay Times later in the day that he was still evaluating the ruling and would come up with a plan within a few weeks.

Scott was vague when asked in the Fox News interview whether he’s been in talks with other Republican governors about how to respond going forward.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to is doing the same thing,” Scott said, but when pressed for specific names, he only referenced what the governors of Louisiana, Texas and Wisconsin have said in the past. His spokesman told AP he could not confirm what conversations Scott has had with other governors on the issue.

Scott, the former CEO of a hospital chain, has been a vocal critic of the health care overhaul from the start. He made his first foray into politics by forming a group called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights that ran television ads criticizing the proposal before it was adopted by Congress.

Scott has also complained about the growing cost of Medicaid, the $21 billion safety net program that primarily aids the poor but also picks up nursing home bills for senior citizens. The governor backed a push by the Republican-controlled Legislature to shift Medicaid patients into managed care programs, a move that is still awaiting federal approval.

Scott has rejected federal money in the past, most notably $2.4 billion for high speed rail. His administration has also said no to some money attached to the Affordable Care Act.

But Scott has said yes to money associated with the federal stimulus program and he has changed some of the positions he advocated during his run for governor. Scott also must weigh the politics of saying no to Medicaid because of tight budgets, while it is likely he will continue to push for substantial tax cuts between now and his re-election campaign in 2014.

According to Census data released last year, Florida had the nation’s third-highest rate of residents without health insurance during the past three years.

President Obama’s health care law called for states in 2014 to expand Medicaid eligibility to those making up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or $29,326 for a family of four. While estimates vary, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration has concluded that as many as 1.95 million more people would join Medicaid and other state-subsidized health insurance programs over the next five years.

Most of the cost, running into the billions, would be absorbed by the federal government. The Medicaid expansion would not cost the state anything until 2017 — although AHCA estimates that changes to other state-subsidized programs would require state money starting in 2014. AHCA estimates that the overall cost to the state would be $2.4 billion between 2013 and 2018 with the federal government picking up nearly $26 billion.

But other groups analyzing the potential changes contend that state officials have “hyper-inflated” the potential costs because they assume too many people will enroll.

The ultimate choice, however, won’t be Scott’s alone. It will also be decided by the Legislature.

McConnell: I’ll repeal Obamacare as majority leader

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Published on: June 30, 2012

Original Article - McConnell: I’ll repeal Obamacare as majority leader

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared Friday that repealing the health care law would top his priority list if he controls the chamber come 2013.

“If [Mitt] Romney is in the White House and I am the majority leader of the Senate, I assure you repeal of Obamacare is the first item on the agenda,” McConnell on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Friday.

By using a budget process called reconciliation, a theoretical Senate GOP majority could successfully vote to repeal the law with just 51 votes, rather than a filibuster-proof 60. Republicans need to pick up four seats to win control of the Senate, or three if Romney wins the White House.

“We need to start all over and not make things worse, and I think that’s the message for the fall election,” McConnell said. “Give us a chance to repeal this monstrosity and we will start all over with much more modesty, much more respect for the federal system.”

‘Environmental Warrior’ Mayor Bloomberg cools his SUV with a wall unit AC!

Original Article - ‘Environmental Warrior’ Mayor Bloomberg cools his SUV with a wall unit AC!

You couldn’t make it up, but New York Mayor Bloomberg’s latest contribution to a greener environment is to attach a full-sized room air conditioner unit to the side of his SUV.

The low-tech solution to Mr Bloomerg’s famous dislike of the heat in fact causes less pollution than running the vehicle’s own air-condtioning while its engine is idle.

And in full view of confused and amused tourists and passers-by, workers outside City Hall yesterday attached the familiar looking air-conditioning unit to a specially designed out-sized box on the passenger window of the New York Mayor’s car.

High tech or low tech?: A technician fixes up Mayor Bloomberg's room-sized air-conditioning unit to the the side of his SUV High tech or low tech?: A technician fixes up Mayor Bloomberg’s room-sized air-conditioning unit to the the side of his SUV

Mayor Bloomberg is known to hate leaving an air conditioned building and entering a hot car during the summer, but his environmental credentials take a hit every time his car is started and left to cool while it waits for his arrival.

Indeed, the mayor’s two Chevy Suburbans have been put on cooling restrictions since July 2009 when reporters from the New York Post noticed them sitting idle with the air-conditioning on for several minutes at a time.

‘This is an experiment to be used on extremely hot days like the types we saw last week,’ said mayoral spokesman Stu Loeser of the air-conditioning units which will run on standard electrical plugs set up outside City Hall.

‘Even with the vehicles parked in the shade, the temperatures inside can quickly rise to more than 100 degrees.’

In an effort to protect the mayor from his well known dislike of the heat, the air-conditioning unit will be powered from an electrical outlet rather than the SUV's own engineIn an effort to protect the mayor from his well known dislike of the heat, the air-conditioning unit will be powered from an electrical outlet rather than the SUV’s own engine

New York City has some of the strictest idling laws in the United States, with cars using their air-conditioning units only able to stand stationary with their engines running for three minutes.

After Mayor Bloomberg was exposed as flouting the restrictions he apologised and seemingly set to work imagining a greener solution to his need to stay cool.

‘There is far less emissions corresponding to the power of a single air conditioner on the grid than idiling a V-8 engine,’ said Loeser.

New Yorkers meanwhile were not sold on their mayors creative solution to air-conditioning his SUV.

‘It’s definitely not better, that’s for sure,’ said Julian Hernandez from Queens.

After falling foul of New York City idling restrictions for running cars with air-conditioning units on, Mayor Bloomberg's solution is ingeniousAfter falling foul of New York City idling restrictions for running cars with air-conditioning units on, Mayor Bloomberg’s solution is ingenious

The air-conditioning unit outside City Hall where it will wait to cool Mayor Bloomberg's (right) car before he gets in

The air-conditioning unit outside City Hall where it will wait to cool Mayor Bloomberg’s car before he gets in

When set up, Mayor Bloomberg will never have to worry about exiting a cool City Hall into a warm SUV againWhen set up, Mayor Bloomberg will never have to worry about exiting a cool City Hall into a warm SUV again

‘But I don’t know if its worse cause I’m not sure how the mechanism works but it sounds confusing.

Another passer-by, asked for his opinion was equally nonplussed.

‘I’m not sure if it really addresses the problem, but hopefully it’ll start making strives to make green initiatives in the future,’ said Jack Anderton from the Bronx.

Last week when temperatures in New York hit the high 90’s, Mr. Bloomberg visited the Bronx Works senior centre and called on all New Yorker’s to turn off ‘all non-essential appliances.’

‘It only takes a couple of minutes to cool off a room,’ said Mayor Bloomberg.

thumbPalin: ‘ObamaCare’ a harbinger of things to come, if Obama is re-elected, you will no longer recognize the country you love

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Published on: June 30, 2012

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