American Taliban

Saturday, March 31, AD 2012

Here’s some news out of Egypt.

An Egyptian court has ordered the government to ban pornographic websites in order to protect society and its values.

The decision and a similar initiative in parliament has fed into fears by liberal and secular Egyptians that their country is moving down the path to fundamentalist Islam, following a sweeping victory by Islamists in parliamentary elections.

The ruling came from a lower court and can be appealed. Three years ago a court made a similar ruling, but it was not enforced because at the time, officials argued filtering systems were not effective.

Meanwhile, in California . . .

Desert Sun Resort owners and Orange County residents John and Elizabeth Young filed a lawsuit March 16 in Orange County Superior Court against 500 unnamed defendants asking a judge to rule that the resort’s policy against children does not violate state law.

KNX 1070?s Margaret Carrero reports the couple were dumbfounded when they received a letter last month seeking penalties and damages over their policy against allowing kids on their property.

…The lawsuit was filed in response to a letter the Youngs received Feb. 17 from Palm Springs attorney David Baron — written on behalf of “certain individuals” — which threatened legal action against the clothing-optional resort “for maintaining and enforcing a No Children Allowed Policy and a Couples-Only Day Pass Policy”.

Listening to some individuals on the left you would think that America is but a regime away from a full-throated theocracy.  Something tells me we are very, very far away from realizing the delusional nightmares of said individuals.

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4 Responses to American Taliban

  • Justice is predicated on intent. If the children were discriminated against, it would be a crime. The children were being protected from seeing an obscenity, what one person called: useless appendages, beer bellies, hairy flab, and balded heads, among other things unmentionable. Seeing them in swimsuits on the beach is bad enough. Seeing them in the all-together can put a child into post traumatic stress syndrome. What ever happened to Mr. Universe? To much MSG.
    Until the children are emancipated and able to give informed consent to be exposed to such nakedness, they ought to be prohibited for their own good as their civil rights are held in trust for them by God, by their parents and by the state. Common law requires people to cover themselves in public.

  • When I first started reading the second story (didn’t click on the link), I thought it was about a senior-only resort that wasn’t allowing children to visit or stay overnight. It wasn’t until I saw the words “clothing optional resort” — i.e. nudist community — in the third paragraph that I figured out what the problem was…

  • It is the prime duty of the state to protect original innocence, virginity, and the sovereignty of the person. The sovereignty of the person begins at conception. Pornography is a lie about the human person and perjury in a court of law. That pornography exists is a crime, an addiction, and a lie. Abortion is nothing less than human sacrifice. If someone does not love you enough to want there to be more of you, run like hell. Lust is not love. Fornication is the separation of the body from the soul. When the soul leaves the body, we call it death.

  • “American Taliban”: First thing comes to mind the current resident of the White House.

    BTW: While banning porn is a good thing, we (the US and our allies) will not benefit from Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood take-overs of ME and NA hell holes based on the so-called Arab Spring.

    Hope, change and smart diplomacy are going to “smart” all right.

Abide With Me

Saturday, March 31, AD 2012

Something for the weekend.  No hymn seems to me more appopriate for a Palm Sunday weekend than Abide With Me, a song that reminds us that we all must die and that death is only a new glorious beginning for those who die in Christ.  The song was written in a magnificent act of faith by Henry Lyte, a supporter of the Oxford Movement, as he lay dying of tuberculosis in 1847.

In the movie A Bridge Too Far, wounded survivors of the British First Airborne Division are shown singing the song as they await capture by the Wehrmacht at the conclusion of Operation Market-Garden.

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6 Responses to Abide With Me

  • A Bridge Too Far was the last great war movie made in the English language.

  • Unfortunately it is too redolent of Victorian Anglican hymnody to resonate much with Catholics. Traditionally it was sung before the FA Cup Final at Wembley, which says a lot about the English character. This morning I attended Palm Sunday Mass at the Birmingham Oratory according to the 1962 Missal. The traditional processional chants, not to mention the solemn singing of the Passion in Latin, are far more redolent of the feast than a maudlin funeral hymn. Sadly the Church’s authentic response to these mysteries is not offered to the majority of Catholics

  • “Unfortunately it is too redolent of Victorian Anglican hymnody to resonate much with Catholics.”

    It resonates quite a bit with this particular Catholic John. Thanks to the Oxford Movement quite a few hymns of this nature became Catholic hymns, including Newman’s Lead Kindly Light, and Faber’s Faith of Our Fathers.

  • Faber’s Faith of our Fathers was written after he became a Catholic and is a plea for the conversion of England: Faith of our Fathers, Mary’s prayers shall win our country back to thee/ And through the truth that comes from God, England shall then indeed be free. It is always sung to the tune Sawston (never to Hemy’s Tynemouth which is used for O Bread of Heaven). It is the English Catholic anthem par excellence, although I believe Faber produced a version for Ireland. A lot of Faber’s hymns were bowdlerized by Protestants and I have even come across a feminist version which (horror of horrors) is sung in some US Catholic parishes.

  • The feminazi version is sung all the time here in the States John. I, and a good many others judging from the drop off when that stanza is hit, refuse to sing it. The verison we have about Mary’s prayers:

    “Faith of our Father’s, Mary’s prayers shall win our nation unto thee, and from the truth that comes from God our nation shall be truly free.”

    That stanza is rarely sung here anymore which is a demonstration of the Church Militant transformed into the Church Mushy.

    Faith of our Fathers is popular with all sorts of Protestant churches over here which they sing with the following third stanza:

    “Faith of our fathers, we will strive To win all nations unto Thee; And through the truth that comes from God, We all shall then be truly free.”

  • One of Faber’s hymns which was once frequently sung in Passiontide is “O come and mourn with me awhile”. The second line “See, Mary calls us to her side” is changed in the Anglican ‘Hymns Ancient and Modern’ to “O come ye to the Saviour’s side”. Mind you, the line in the second stanza “While soldiers scoff and Jews deride” is changed even in the Oratory hymnal, “crowds” replacing “Jews”. Done for the best of reasons, but I am slightly uneasy about altering a poet’s text to suit modern sensibilities.

    One of his finest hymns, “Sweet Saviour bless us ere we go” sung to George Herbert’s tune ‘Sunset’ is alas rarely heard these days, as evening devotions have all but disappeared. Another great Oratorian hymn-writer, born in the same year as Faber (1814) was Edward Caswall. Probably best known for the carol “See amid the winter’s snow”, he translated many hymns from Latin and Greek.

    Newman’s “Praise to the Holiest” is popular with Anglican congregations, but not to Sir Richard Terry’s tune ‘Billing’ which is the one we use. And although liturgical horrors abound this side of the pond, tampering with F.O.O.F. in the name of Political Correctness would be about as popular as changing the words of ‘Rule, Britannia!’.

20 Responses to Tell Us What You Really Think About the Obama Administration Mr. Whittle

  • VOTE like your life depends on it because it does.

  • What Mary De Voe said. I cannot print in a public forum what I said to myself as I watched this video. Neither in English nor in Latin is it suitable for reading. But that is eactly how I feel about that godless man of sin and depravity. Lord Jesus forgive – and him, for he knows not what he does.

  • Bill has provided a full list, but certainly not complete. I wish he would have mentioned Obama using the 1st Amendment as a red carpet to walk to his dream of socialized medicine by trampling on the conscience of the religious.

  • Optimus Prime!!! Hahaha… but in all seriousness, this is a damning list.

  • I am sick of my country being defiled by this two-bit racial rabble-rouser from the south side.

  • I’ve served three Administrations. No prior Administration, in my experience, has reached farther down the policy ladder than this one. The Obama Administration has politicised the most local decisions, throwing into chaos day-to-day operations. And this from a man who derided Bush’s use of Executive Orders as unconstitutional overreach.

  • Transparency alright … with schizoid accusations and derision of others about the ways of themselves.
    Have acronymed t-shirt on box lunch-fed rabble, Will rouse division, racism, and voters.
    Their ‘men with guns’ will protect them when the rabble, no longer useful, wants more; when they won’t be inclined to be philanthropic with their own payola benefits because the timing of planned uprisings is set for when they are gone. A Presidential Administration of the United States, which both God and the world watch, yes – ‘two-bit rabble-rousers’ unfortunately fits.
    They and we must have a few US coins around to remind of us all of ‘In God We Trust’, if nothing else, and beg for His Mercy the way its done in the Psalms.
    This coming Holy Week is the time to remember and grasp what strength and goodness are – and are not.

  • … the way it’s done in the Psalms.

  • In my estimation, if a Catholic has yet to study – and learn from – the Church’s history confronting communists and other totalitarians in the twentieth century, that person is lagging behind… If you haven’t, consider reading Royal’s Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century. At this point in the history of the United States, the papal encyclicals Mit Brennender Sorge (www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_14031937_mit-brennender-sorge_en.html) and Divini Redemptoris (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19031937_divini-redemptoris_en.html) are essential reading.

    The writings of Fr. John Hardon also illuminate the contemporary American situation:
    http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Communism/Communism_002.htm
    http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Communism/Communism_001.htm

  • I would rather forget about it and Pray that may be foregiven. It’s the Christian to do..

  • A very spirited attack litany, and IMO totally justified.
    I have heard in the past few weeks reference to Obama’s employment of Alinsky’s philosophy, and Bill mentions it about 1m.20s. into his address. Interestingly, I am halfway through Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” – a book I heard of decades ago, and have just now got to read.. The criticism is definitely valid.

    You can be assured that it is not only Americans who are busting to see this apology for a president gone. The problem is that his bile is infecting much more that internal USA.;

  • PM: “…because the timing of planned uprisings is set for when they are gone. ” Rosary Victory, the world’s only hope and change.

  • Don’t forget the enablers, among them the media whores who brought things to this pass. I remember the George Stephanapoulos (I cannot be bothered to get the name right) interview where Obama was cajoled into blurting out “Jesus Christ is my Saviour”. Yeah right. These are the same people who retain RM Nixon as a bogeyman of sorts. Compared to this lot, Pres Nixon was a saint. Think back to all the tomes written about Watergate, all that bellyache over something that FDR would not even blink doing. All that righteous rage and see what what Clinton and Obama are getting away with now under the noses of the same media. Conservatives have to realise that for the left the only principle is expediency, they have to play by the same rules.

  • Edward Radler Rice: Thank you for the index to the papal encyclicals Mit Brennender Sorge and Father John Hardon.

  • Yes, thank you for the link to Pope Pius XI’s ‘Divini Redemptoris’. He captured the drift of today’s world and helps with timeless advice. I haven’t read the other links yet …

  • Obama needs four more years.

    It’s taking longer than anticipated to destroy the American Dream.

  • Even though he wasn’t telling us, we got clued in. We heard him assure another world leader that he can do more with the flexibility and space the next four years will offer.
    Seven months, six days …

  • I am no fan of the Weathervane, but if it is the Weathervane versus Obumbler, there is no choice…we have to vote for the Weathervane.

    Optimus Prime would easily make a better president than Obama. So would Megatron, for that matter. Obumbler could not lead a pack of rats to a garbage dump.

    My 4 year old loves Transformers, as did my little brother in the 1980s.

  • When Obamacare is struck down in the Supreme Court as being unconstitutional, Obama may bring Obamacare and its defeat to the International Criminal Court of the United Nations for amelioration of the sting of defeat, to prolong the case before election, to satisfy some of the more virulent proponents of abortion, one world government under the mortgage company and population control, to enshrine the power of the United Nations and international law already embraced by Ruth Bader Ginsburg over the United States, and especially, to eradicate the founding principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
    Should Obama attempt to impose international law over American citizens, Obama must be impeached at all costs. Obama must be stripped of American citizenship, a citizenship Obama has disrespected, disregarded and disgraced, a citizenship Obama has actually discarded as being irrelevant.

  • Today, Wednesday April 4th, the reading at Mass from Isaiah Isaiah 50: 8-9 He is near who upholds my right, if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? LET HIM CONFRONT ME. See, the Lord God is my help who will prove me wrong?” is our constitutional civil right to be faced by our accuser in a court of law-habeas corpus- found also in the Magna Carta. Obama took the phrase protecting the citizens of the United States out of the National Defense Authorization Act AFTER the NDAA was passed by Congress and BEFORE Obama signed the NDAA. American citizens may be detained without charges indefinitely. Obama is poised to seize all private property from persons who are non-compliant with his Obamacare through Rural Councils, Executive Order 13575.

Ronald Reagan, C.S. Lewis and Abraham Lincoln Comment On Our Times

Friday, March 30, AD 2012

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

                                                                                             C.S. Lewis

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3 Responses to Ronald Reagan, C.S. Lewis and Abraham Lincoln Comment On Our Times

  • The proven cures for poverty are freedom, personal responsibility, and a private property based economy, er, “capitalism.”

    The massive peace and social justice fabrication is nothing more but the alibi for tyrants.

    Case in point the health care reform monstrosity. From Investors Business Daily: “For too long, Democrats have defined the health care issue, depicting the U.S. system as an unfettered market where costs run wild, insurers rip off consumers and deny coverage to tens of millions, and big-government ‘reforms’ are desperately needed. None of it is true.”

    And, Walter Russell Mead: “The Health Care Disaster and the Miseries of the Blue Model”: “This is a horrible piece of legislation — as misbegotten and useless to its friends as it is menacing to its enemies. The question is: why? Why did the blues write such a bad law? Why, given a once in a lifetime chance to pass a program that Dems have longed to achieve ever since the New Deal, did they craft a sloppy mess that nobody understands and few admire, and then leave their law so unnecessarily vulnerable to constitutional challenge? The answers tell us much about why blue progressive thinking is losing its hold on the body politic — and why blue methods generally aren’t working as well as they used to.”

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  • Excellent series of posts, Donald – shared at Google blogger and at Facebook. Good work!

Liberals, Cocoons and the Supreme Court

Thursday, March 29, AD 2012

 

It has been amusing to witness the left side of the blogosphere over the three days of hearings before the Supreme Court.  By and large they were absolutely certain that it was smooth sailing for ObamaCare  at the Supreme Court prior to the hearings and were dismayed when arguments against ObamaCare that seemed to gain traction were made in the oral arguments.  John Podhoretz today in the New York Post captures the surprise on the Left well:

The panicked reception in the mainstream media of the three-day Supreme Court  health-care marathon is a delightful reminder of the nearly impenetrable  parochialism of American liberals.

They’re so convinced of their own correctness — and so determined to believe  conservatives are either a) corrupt, b) stupid or c) deluded — that they find  themselves repeatedly astonished to discover conservatives are in fact capable  of a) advancing and defending their own powerful arguments, b) effectively  countering weak liberal arguments and c) exposing the soft underbelly of liberal  self-satisfaction as they do so.

That’s what happened this week. There appears to be no question in the mind  of anyone who read the transcripts or listened to the oral arguments that the  conservative lawyers and justices made mincemeat out of the Obama  administration’s advocates and the liberal members of the court.

This came as a startling shock to the liberals who write about the court.

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28 Responses to Liberals, Cocoons and the Supreme Court

  • Cocoons? Donald…that sounds…racist. I am shocked.

    I believe it’s time for a Chesterton quote:

    In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

  • Conservatives rejoice and give thanks to God for the ability to hear and see both sides given to you without even trying. Your armor is being given you by the opposing side…and they don’t even know how willingly they do such. Emotion and doing something for something’s sake will be their undoing for it will have given us thick skins and armor, impenitrable. Hazzah!!

  • Even if the court decides by a slim 5-4 to strike down all or part of OC, Carville’s spin is that it will spark the dem base and put conservatives on the defense once again by casting them as obstructionists to universal health care. Anticipating a “loss,” the libs are already crafting a strategy that is likely to gain traction with MSM distortions.

  • Oh they will do whatever they can in any case to spark their base Joe, including appeals to racial paranoia, which is in fully swing right now. These type of demagogic appeals will occur whatever happens to ObamaCare.

    I view ObamaCare in the Supreme Court as a win-win for conservatives. If the Court upholds the law that will motivate conservatives to crawl over broken glass to case a ballot against the architect of ObamaCare. If the Court strikes ObamaCare down, then Obama is left facing the voters with a lousy economy and his signature legislative accomplishment tossed on the ashheap. Old snakehead Carville is whistling Dixie and doing so off key.

  • In my experience many people on both sides of the political spectrum live in cocoons. Just recall for a moment the dozens of insipidly naive nonsense we receive by email from conservatives who believe such nonsense precisely because the live in echo chambers.

  • I disagree Mike. The people who send out such e-mails do not write for the New York Times, adorn chairs at prestigious universities or produce films with production budgets in the millions of dollars. The cocooning of the Left is pervasive and is not restricted to fringe elements. This Pauline Kael, the late movie reviewer for the New Yorker, quote says it all:

    “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

  • There was a time when the Supreme Court was not as politicized. Virtually everyone is predicting the justices will line up along ideological lines with Kennedy the swing vote that will tilt against Obamacare.
    I recall, however, when U.S. District Court Judge John Sirica, during the Watergate scandal, ordered Richard Nixon to turn over the secret tape recordings, a ruling that was upheld 9-0 by the Supreme Court. Sirica set himself on a constitutional collision course with Nixon, who tried to invoke executive privilege and argue that the tapes were not subject to judicial scrutiny. But in a historic ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Sirica, ruling unanimously that the judiciary must have the last word in an orderly constitutional system. Political considerations were secondary back then.
    Nowadays the High Court has been corrupted by liberal poseurs who lack the intellectual and objective ability to interpret the Constitution and instead bow to their liberal god, Obama.

  • In my experience many people on both sides of the political spectrum live in cocoons.

    There is truth to that. The thing is, you can live in a starboard cocoon (strictly on the internet, nowadays), but very few people are paid a salary for so doing or distribute any tangible benefits in so doing. Not so the arts and sciences faculty, the New York Times newsroom or the Writers Guild of America.

  • I accept and agree with the distinction you are making, gents, but would point out that the conservative echo chamber I describe is not “fringe,” but fairly mainstream in conservative circles, precisely because it has a populist bent. Go to any Tea Party function if you do not believe me.

  • Commerce laws were written to regulate FREE ENTERPRIZE. Commerce, itself carries the connotation of FREE ENTERPRIZE and may be regulated by a free people through Congress. The Legislative branch of government, the Congress, makes law not the Executive branch. Uninformed law, a blank contract, is not informed consent for the people, and is not FREE ENTERPRIZE AND THEREFORE THE COMMERCE LAWS CANNOT BE INVOKED by the Federal government FOR OBAMACARE. Can the Federal Government create FREE ENTERPRIZE for the people? (The New Deal was not FREE ENTERPRIZE.)or must the people create FREE ENTERPRIZE for themselves? No, It is not the Federal Government’s authentic authority to create free enterprize.

  • I have lived my entire adult life in the academy — or should I say, l’accademia alla sinistra?

    My sense is that there are many academics who are friendly to conservative ideas, but that, in general, the typical academic knows as much about conservatism as the typical Englishman knows about baseball. It’s not a healthy situation, because we ought to be having serious conversations about the nature of the human person, the indispensable role of religion in human life both private and social, the meaning of economic “progress,” the value of the virtues, the nature of love, the scope of liberty, the difference between liberty and autonomy, the difference between liberty and license, the liberties of free associations, the meaning of the word “political” — on all these subjects, people of good will and some historical knowledge that extends beyond yesterday should be able to speak.

    But the Left is farther along on the terminal disease of Statism than the Right is. Since I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, I don’t have to invest politics with the robes of glory. Politics is important, but it isn’t in the same league at all with things that are transcendently important — like prayer. But if Mammon and Pharaoh are all you have … then, well, then you behave like leftist entertainers and pundits and professors.

  • Great post, Tony. If you have not already I suggest you consider reading “A Secular Age” by Charles Taylor. Professor Taylor tackles many of the topics you raise and then some. It is a fairly dense academic work, but given where you live you’ll probably eat it up.

  • Mike—I don’t think Professor Esolen would be so bold, so with regards may I suggest also that you read some of Professor Esolen’s publications found in first rate Catholic publications, but particularly given your recommendation of Taylor’s book, I think you would very much enjoy “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization.”

  • A book I read with amusement and edification.

  • “Thus, when [liberals] come up against real life conservatives who are intelligent, articulate and challenge beliefs that they thought were unassailable, their reaction tends to be…”

    I suspect that liberals will far more easily admit that the Supreme Court has simply become dangerously and syncophantically right-wing  rather than admit that conservatives are able to intelligently and articulately challenge much of anything.

  • Thanks for the recommendation. I shall add it to my Kindle queue.

  • “I suspect that liberals will far more easily admit that the Supreme Court has simply become dangerously and syncophantically right-wing rather than admit that conservatives are able to intelligently and articulately challenge much of anything.”

    I rather think you are right HA, and I do hope that most liberals are that delusional.

  • ” My sense is that there are many academics who are friendly to conservative ideas, but that, in general, the typical academic knows as much about conservatism as the typical Englishman knows about baseball. It’s not a healthy situation, because we ought to be having serious conversations about:

    the nature of the human person,
    the indispensable role of religion in human life both private and social,
    the meaning of economic “progress,”
    the value of the virtues, ***
    the nature of love,
    the scope of liberty,
    the difference between liberty and autonomy,
    the difference between liberty and license,
    the liberties of free associations,
    the meaning of the word “political”

    — on all these subjects, people of good will and some historical knowledge that extends beyond yesterday should be able to speak. ”

    Rearranged the quote from above comment to emphasize some desirable Course Titles for students of higher education, or even high school term paper assignments.

  • Couldn’t conservative academics do something about this–by getting out of their own cocoons? A little more of challenging the status quo on campus? Debate. Challenge. Evangelize. Why does it seems smart conservative professors talk to other smart conservative professors.

  • That is not the case Anzlyne. Most conservative academics tend, as a group, to be very outgoing. They have no choice in the matter. They are often the only conservative professors on a campus. Robert Bork is fond of telling a story about a time when he and another professor on a campus were looked upon as crazy because they were the only two members of the faculty who were Republicans. It didn’t help that-wait for it-as Bork noted the other professor really was crazy.

  • Jim Treacher: “They’re the elderly Florida couple whose address Spike Lee tweeted because he thought it was George Zimmerman’s. Presumably because he wanted people to go there and discuss things calmly. . . . ‘Fearful for their safety, and hoping to escape the spotlight, the couple have temporarily moved to a hotel.’”

    Plus: “Somebody please try to justify this. Seriously. Tell me why this is okay. Tell me why this doesn’t matter. Tell me how this helps. Tell me how anyone involved in this fiasco expects us to just forget what they’ve said and done.”

  • Yes you are right. I woke up this morning thinking about it–I was expressing frustration I guess and feeling a bit owly…

  • Most conservative academics tend, as a group, to be very outgoing.

    A disgruntled alumni association pulled the voter registration cards of the faculty and administration of the local liberal arts college. All told, about a dozen professors and lecturers (out of 200 or so) were identified as Republicans. One or two had either checked the wrong box on the registration form or had enrolled as Republicans for some sort of ironic prank. As for the remainder, four could have been identified as such by their statements in public fora.

  • A good example of conservative academics engaging the larger culture is the Federalist Society, which has had an impact on both law schools and the courts, and which usually invites liberal professors to participate in panel discussions and conferences, which tend to be lively and thought provoking.

    http://www.fed-soc.org/aboutus/

  • I am a member of that group, and at one of their National Lawyer Conventions(http://www.fed-soc.org/publications/page/2010-national-lawyers-convention-controlling-government-the-framers-the-tea-parties-and-the-constitution) in D.C. met Lanny Davis (former Clinton counsel), and saw many other liberals and libertarians debating conservatives, etc.

  • The Federalist Society in Atlanta is quite strong, and Don’s description is spot on right. Most events offer multiple viewpoints with strong liberal representation. The forums are almost always edifying.

  • Newsbusters featured this example of the cocoon, from a NYT chat:

    Gail Collins: “I can’t believe this might be overturned. How can this law not be constitutional? The other alternatives are forcing taxpayers to cover the cost of the care in emergency rooms for people who don’t want to pay for their insurance, even if they can, or letting human beings just die on the side of the road. I can’t believe fiscal conservatives think either of those options is a good idea. Really, I have my hands over my ears. Not listening.”

    I think that both sides have to worry about the cocoon, though. As the right-wing media develop, I’ve been hearing more people on the right who aren’t exposed to the counter-arguments from the left. I think that evangelicals especially, who have their own media, schools, and entertainment, risk cutting themselves off from alternative viewpoints. (That being said, if I had kids, I’d create a bunker to keep them away from our modern culture, too.)

  • Pinky, I have two young boys. One is four years old and the baby is four months old.

    I do not want them exposed to the filth of slopular culture. Slopular culture objectifies women. Political correctness makes this view a nearly criminal offense, but both exist in the world of left wing thought because hypocrisy bother them not. It is bad enough that this had an effect on me when I was young 30 years ago and it was not nearly as bad then as it is now.

    Left wing thought is not an alternative point of view. It is a failed worldview that holds sway with those who have a false sense of intellectual superiority. This bunch confuses opinions with intelligence, and they will be with us until the end of time.

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Pope Benedict’s Sermon on Freedom in Revolution Square

Thursday, March 29, AD 2012

Yesterday Pope Benedict capped off his visit to Cuba with a huge mass in Revolution Square in Havana.  The theme of his homily, freedom, probably made the Cuban officials at the mass squirm, at least I certainly hope so.  Here is the text of the Pope’s homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

“Blessed are you, Lord God…, and blessed is your holy and glorious name” (Dan 3:52). This hymn of blessing from the Book of Daniel resounds today in our liturgy, inviting us repeatedly to bless and thank God. We are a part of that great chorus which praises the Lord without ceasing. We join in this concert of thanksgiving, and we offer our joyful and confident voice, which seeks to solidify the journey of faith with love and truth.

“Blessed be God” who gathers us in this historic square so that we may more profoundly enter into his life. I feel great joy in being here with you today to celebrate Holy Mass during this Jubilee Year devoted to Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.

I greet with cordial affection Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, Archbishop of Havana, and I thank him for the kind words which he has addressed to me on your behalf. I extend warm greetings to the Cardinals and to my brother Bishops in Cuba and from other countries who wished to be in this solemn celebration. I also greet the priests, seminarians, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful gathered here, as well as the civil authorities who join us.

In today’s first reading, the three young men persecuted by the Babylonian king preferred to face death by fire rather than betray their conscience and their faith. They experienced the strength to “give thanks, glorify and praise God” in the conviction that the Lord of the universe and of history would not abandon them to death and annihilation. Truly, God never abandons his children, he never forgets them. He is above us and is able to save us by his power. At the same time, he is near to his people, and through his Son Jesus Christ he has wished to make his dwelling place among us in.

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:31). In this text from today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals himself as the Son of God the Father, the Saviour, the one who alone can show us the truth and give us genuine freedom. His teaching provokes resistance and disquiet among his hearers, and he accuses them of looking for reasons to kill him, alluding to the supreme sacrifice of the Cross, already imminent. Even so, he exhorts them to believe, to keep his word, so as to know the truth which redeems and justifies.

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6 Responses to Pope Benedict’s Sermon on Freedom in Revolution Square

  • Thank you, Donald – shared on Blogger & Facebook.

  • “The Church lives to make others sharers in the one thing she possesses, which is none other than Christ, our hope of glory (cf. Col 1:27). To carry out this duty, she must count on basic religious freedom, which consists in her being able to proclaim and to celebrate her faith also in public, bringing to others the message of love, reconciliation and peace which Jesus brought to the world.”

    Spoken at the very center of the fascist left’s idyllic paradise, with their godless icon looking on in the distant background.

    ” Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph 6:10-17

    Praise Jesus!

  • Amen, WK Aiken. This is about the 10th time I have seen St. Paul’s Armor of God discourse quoted in a very few number of days. My “sponsor” would say that that’s not a coincidence or even a soft whisper, but a booming shout from the mountain top.

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  • Watching the Mass, I was impressed by the quiet, respectfulness of the people of Cuba.

  • Bishop Lori, during this hour, is discussing Religious Freedom on Sunday Night Prime on EWTN.

Obama Shout Out to Worse Than Murder, Inc

Wednesday, March 28, AD 2012

The most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history salutes Planned Parenthood aka Worse Than Murder, Inc.  Somehow he manages to do this without uttering the A word, but all Planned Parenthood supporters know that when it comes to the sacred right to kill their offspring, Obama will always have their back.  Any pro-lifer who does not think that giving this man his walking papers is priority number one this year, take a good, long, hard look at this video.

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10 Responses to Obama Shout Out to Worse Than Murder, Inc

  • God gave a certain response to King Manasseh for similar crimes, and as a result, the King found himself in an Assyrian dungeon for 12 years. God does not change. Obama may find that out the hard way. Being led away into captivity by a ring through his nose is how God dealt with King Manasseh.

  • federal adj. – Of, pertaining to, or designating a form of government in which a union of states recognizes the sovereignity of a central authority while retaining certain residual powers of government.

    federal adj. – Of, constituting, or characterized by a form of government in which sovereign power is divided between a central authority and a number of constituent political units.

    federal adj. – Of or pertaining to the central government of a federation as distinct from the governments of its member units.

    government n. – The management or administration of an organization, business, or institution.

    Will there ever be a published budget v spending or expense request reports? Maybe after the line item bailout, lending, and foreign aid, and entitlement reports … Does the Executive Branch have a fiscal year?

    In other words, is he campaigning with the PP people who also have a vested interest in the private lives of citizens and is this really the business of the president?

  • Did Obama just blame the Republicans in Congress for threatening to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding?

  • If Pres. Obama is concerned about women’s health he would ban the hormones AKA BCP, as it is a well known fact that 1. BCPs can stimulated breast ca, and endometrial ca as well as increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis.
    It is also fact that 2. Planned Parenthood does not provide breast ca. screening.
    It is also fact that 3. almost every primary clinic in the USA provides screening for endometrial cancer…this is not something PPH has a monopoly on.

    We citizens are not asking to close PPH, but to STOP our HARD EARNED tax money from going toward this organization that promotes the killing of infants in the womb of a mother and the doling out of the toxic drug that can be harmful to women. ie BCP.

    Dr. Byrne

  • Here’s some facts President Obama :
    – You and Harry Reid said you would shut down the government before you would defund Planned Parenthood
    – Pregnancy is not a disease
    – Abortion is Not Healthcare
    – Killing an unborn child is not part of “women’s reproductive health”……that’s murder
    – There is no problem and never was for women to get contraceptives (cheaply) in the USA if that is what they choose
    – Contraceptives and abortion are links to breast cancer (though you and PP deny it)
    – The contraceptive Pill is classified as a carcinogen and is an abortifacient in some cases
    – Letting a baby who survives an abortion die in a utility room with no medical care is Infanticide (which you support)
    – Abortion does not solve a problem for a woman…it only leads to more problems both medical and emotional
    – Republicans do NOT want to deny women healthcare…….that’s a lie!
    – You are denying religious liberty (especially to the Catholic Church) and conscience rights to promote your agenda of contraceptives, sterilization, abortifacients and abortion through your HHS mandate and ObamaCare!

    Wake Up America!!!

  • I find his thinking incomprehensible that he really believes what he was told by PP or his advisors. Is there no one who can change his thinking? I know some bishops have tired. I wonder what has caused him to be so firmly set in his thinking that he obstinately refuses to understand all the issues. I wonder what motivates him. Maybe unconsciously he wishes he was never born.

  • “For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.'” Matthew 13:15

    “…..21* for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23* and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles…..28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. 29 They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.” Romans 1:21-23, 28-32

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  • “I wonder what has caused him to be so firmly set in his thinking that he obstinately refuses to understand all the issues. I wonder what motivates him. Maybe unconsciously he wishes he was never born.”

    Thank you, Father Henry for these words. I have said time without number that Obama is EVIL. He is the High Priest of Satan. Just look at him talking in that strip. It gives me the shivers. May God step in and ensure this man is not re-elected in your country. Because, if he is, the entire world will suffer greviously, beginning with my own country – his father’s Motherland – where the Planned Parenthood introduced the “Culture of Death” Clauses into our new Constitution.

  • The commerce laws are written to regulate free enterprise. Government does not have authentic authority to institute free enterprise as this would be competing with the taxpayers and citizens. Obamacare pits citizen and taxpayer against citizen and taxpayer. Two thirds of the states must ratify any changes in constitutional law. The human being’s soul is created in perfect moral and legal innocence, the standard of Justice for our nation and the compelling interest of the state to defend and protect our lives, our virginity and our innocence. Roe v. Wade redefined the human being as having no rational, immortal soul, therefore no free will, no personhood, no unalienable rights, no life, no virginity, no innocence, and therefore, no JUSTICE. It seems that Roe v. Wade just redefined Obama.

Third and Final Day of Oral Argument on ObamaCare

Wednesday, March 28, AD 2012

 

 

Day 3 of oral argument on ObamaCare.  Go here to read the transcript.  Go here to listen to an audio recording of the oral argument.   Go here for audio highlights of the oral argument.

A very long day in the Supreme Court today with the severability argument this morning, and the expansion of medicaid under ObamaCare in the afternoon.

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3 Responses to Third and Final Day of Oral Argument on ObamaCare

  • Obama’s gonna have a fit if it’s struck down.

    And if it’s upheld, then he will be embolden as never before.

    Either way, his reaction won’t be good for us.

  • Don

    I suppose Justice Thomas is the only one who might take the sensible postion that it is unconstitional becasue it is dependent on WickedWickard, and that was wrongly decided.

    :- )

  • If I had to choose, I would rather him have a fit, one giant hissy fit. 🙂

    I just heard day 2 and 3 and read the transcripts. Judging based on presentation and arguments, I think the petitioners, FL, et. al., have a good case and were well represented by Mr. Paul Clement. He answered directly and confidently.

    Verrilli had a better day 3 than 2, but he still comes off at times as ill prepared and nervous. He has a lot of breaks in speech and is often needing the leftists on the bench to bail him out. (Often is measured as a quantity exceeding the number of times Clement needed an assist.) His arguments on day 2 came out very often as verbal spaghetti.

    The impression is it looks good for the Constitution, but these justices may surprise. It will be an interesting opinion. I hope it goes well and is released on my birthday, which is near the end of June. What a present it would be.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Wednesday, March 28, AD 2012

Recently I followed the twitter feed of the National Institute of Marriage (NOM), an organization that is fighting efforts to permit gay marriage.  There is another twitterer with the blog handle Ifollowhate, and he (or she, or maybe they) follows every person who follows the NOM account, and promptly tweets to said person, “why do you follow a hate group?”  I thought little of it and didn’t bother to respond, so I just blocked this account.  Then I thought about this.  There is a person (again, maybe more than one person is attached to the account) who spends their entire day parked on twitter, seeing who follows another twitter user, ready to pounce on any individual who dares follow this group.  (NOTE: Not exactly – see comments.  This is an automated program, though the Ifollowhate twitter account does followup with other twitter users.)

What a sad existence.  Imagine if your entire life was spent devoted to nothing more than harassing people you disagree with politically, accusing them of being (or following) a hate group.  Yet the mentality that drives such a person (or group) is more and more common.

In Los Angeles, the City Council passed a resolution that condemns certain types of speech on the radio.

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8 Responses to Something Wicked This Way Comes

  • Is it time to clean one’s rifle and get one’s ammunition ready? I hope not.

    And yes, it IS fascism. I do not think that the left will be stopped by anything less than force of arms, but I hope and pray that I am wrong. Yet I fear that there will be martyrs.

    Imagine Obama not getting re-elected and the riots that will result. Imagine how the leftist news media will treat the non-Democratic President. Worse, imagine Obama elected and outlawing blogs like TAC as hate speech, arresting its contributers on crimes of disturbing the public peace aand tranquility, and throwing priests and bishops in jail for refusing to comply with the HHS mandate! Hey, accusations like disturbing the public tranquility happened in the time of the prophet Jeremiah, and he was thrown into a cistern because of it!

    Kyrie Eleison
    Christe Eleison
    Kyrie Eleison

  • To be fair, a person isn’t doing the twitter following. Someone’s programmed a computer to follow NOM’s followers list, and send new followers the message. It’s a nasty little thing, but it’d take someone between 1 hour and 1 day to setup, enable and forget about.

    –Jason (it does’t help their motivations, but it does illustrate the lack of effort involved)

  • Thanks for the information, Jason. I wasn’t sure if such a program existed. It’s still pretty pathetic, but I guess slightly less so than I originally thought.

  • Actually, the “tolerant left” is downright vicious. It seems they’re finding themselves pressured into positions that unmask their sweet rhetoric and forces them to reveal the true dark nature of their ideology. “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.”

  • is is okay to say the words “dangerous extremist African-Americans” out loud?

    Seems like the Spike Lee/Black Panther tricks lately are not much different than those of extremist Muslims who blame one of the latest killing sprees on some burned Korans.

    And Obama apologized to the Muslims, and all but spiritually adopted the troubled Trayvon post-mortem. I’m seeing a disturbing trend.

  • I must agree with Paul W.

    The essence of modern Progressive Liberalism is fascism in its purest form. Political-corporate cronyism (see bailouts, Solyndra, etc.) as well as threats of violence to dissenters, race- and class-based division by propaganda, top-down nanny-state cultural control, direct attacks on religion in order to supplant personality cults, personality cults themselves (what was Ronald Reagan’s slick logo?) and a mindless army of dependents ready to march and attack the property or blockade the businesses of targeted groups.

    When the “Occupy” goons no longer have to brave bad weather to resume their tactics, it’ll be a year older, harder of heart and comprised only of those who doon;t have real jobs. Shades of Kritallnacht!

    How is this not fascist?

  • The point here is to destroy the United States from within. It is going quite well.

  • There’s probably a spreadsheet for subject areas that percolate for ‘attention’.
    Ye olde red and black attack watch has morphed and p a c ‘s have hirelings.
    The Christians, especially Catholic Churches as opposed to those churches in more humble storefront locations, are ‘no-brainers’ for targets to victimize.
    Other organizations for life etc. issues …
    The Republican Party is having its year of vilification.
    People will become sick and tired …
    The only Statue of Liberty on earth is a tourist attraction.
    I know I’m tired from daily spells of ‘news’.

The Welfare State, Saint Paul and Pope Leo XIII

Wednesday, March 28, AD 2012

Charles Sykes, of the Wisconsin Policy Institute, has a superb article on the Entitlement Mentality which is sinking the country:

The cultural shift has become so pronounced today that even some progressives are showing signs of unease. Were it not for her impeccable ideological pedigree, Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House, might have irreparably damaged her standing with her mother’s friends when she produced a brief video for HBO about her recent encounters outside a New York welfare office. In the Pelosi video, a man waiting in line is drinking beer and smoking cigarettes as he admits that he’s fathered five children by four different mothers. “I’m here to get a check … whatever they’ve got to offer,” he explains. “It’s not like they’ve got a checklist … I’m just here to get what I can get.”

Of course he was. 

In the video, Alexandra Pelosi quizzes one man: “Why should I help you? Why should my tax dollars be going to you?” He replies, “Because my ancestors came here to help build this place – my ancestors, the slaves.” The last time the man worked, he says, was “half a decade” ago.

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52 Responses to The Welfare State, Saint Paul and Pope Leo XIII

  • How dare you! Next you’ll want to take away their birth control.

  • a man waiting in line is drinking beer and smoking cigarettes as he admits that he’s fathered five children by four different mothers. “I’m here to get a check …

    And I will wager you he did not get squat.

    1. Even twenty years ago, general relief had been eliminated in all but nine states.

    2. “Temporary Aid to Needy Families”, the successor to the old “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” (colloquially ‘welfare’) is a mother-and-child program for which this man does not qualify, can be drawn on (with some qualifications) for no more than five years of a mother’s lifetime, and supports a beneficiary population one-third the size of its predecessor program.

    3. Unemployment compensation requires minimum antecedent contributions, has circumstantial eligibility requirements, and is term-limited.

    4. Supplemental Security Income is limited to the old, the disabled, and the addled.

    5. Social Security disability has stiff circumstantial eligibility requirements, requires a minimum of antecedent contributions, is earnings related, and incorporates periodic eligibility reviews.

    6. Social Security old age and retirement requires a minimum of antecedent contributions, is earnings related, and is limited to…the old.

    The programs for which this man might qualify would be in-kind: medical insurance, food stamps, housing vouchers or berths, public defenders’ services. The children he has sired indubitably attended the public schools (like those of more than 90% of the population).

    However, we now have produced huge numbers of drones in our society who simply feed off the work of others, with no thought of ever earning their own bread by the sweat of their brow.

    I do not wish to offer a defense of the panoply of subventions to mundane expenditure that welfare departments and housing authorities offer at all levels, nor for long-term doles, but it is quite atypical in our society to be comprehensively dependent (rather than depending on supplemental subsidies) for any length of time if one is not old or disabled or a ward of the courts. TANF clientele currently number about 4 million, or about 1.3% of the population.

  • This article by Theodore Dalrymple about Scotland sheds more light on what happens when countries foster a culture of dependence.

  • Ok these are some of the dregs of society. I have been unemployed for a while and would LOVE LOVE LOVE to work. Please don’t lump me in with these people. Also there are plenty of white people that are like this too. I do not take or look for handouts even in my present situation, if I can avoid it. We do have to remember that this economic situation is pretty bad and there should be more concern for those that DO want to work like training, etc…

  • Michael, read the article. It is not talking about legitimate assistance. It’s talking about the burgeoning entitlement mentality.

    As the article states…
    The process can be illustrated this way: “I want you to buy me lunch. Therefore, I need lunch. And if I need something, I have a right to it – and you, therefore, have an obligation to pay for it.”

    The equation looks like this: Wants = needs = rights = obligations.

    And is illustrated by this…
    While GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was campaigning last week in Peoria, Illinois, a young woman was caught on camera declaring: “So you’re all for like, ‘yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff. And ‘yay, like pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”

  • This article by Theodore Dalrymple about Scotland sheds more light on what happens when countries foster a culture of dependence.

    I respect his writings generally, but it is poor judgment of him to cite the econometricians at The Spectator (a breezy opinion magazine). In a population of nearly 8 million, it is not credible that there are only 15,000 net taxpayers.

  • It’s talking about the burgeoning entitlement mentality.

    There are disagreeable aspects of culture and society in the slums, but these began to appear (per Daniel Patrick Moynihan) around about 1958 and had reached full flower by 1972 or thereabouts. Given that the TANF rolls are 1/3 as long as the AFDC rolls, why would we say this mentality is burgeoning?

  • The entitlement mentality is not a “in the slums” problem. It is spreading to the middle class and in some cases, beyond. It infects all classes and races.

    The FT article gives concrete examples…
    The laundry list goes far beyond free lunch to include free health care, free cell phones, free birth control, free mortgage bailouts – and on and on.

    There are more avenues to government money than just TANF. No one is against legitimate assistance. Exploitation or a sense entitlement to assistance programs is a problem.

  • “Ok these are some of the dregs of society. I have been unemployed for a while and would LOVE LOVE LOVE to work. Please don’t lump me in with these people.”

    I certainly never would Michael and I hope you are able to find work soon.

  • The entitlement mentality is not a “in the slums” problem. It is spreading to the middle class and in some cases, beyond. It infects all classes and races.

    Beyond? You mean there are patricians who are asserting their right to grocery subsidies? Between the slums and the bourgeoisie there is the wage-earning element. To what do you fancy they feel entitled?

    —-

    There are more avenues to government money than just TANF. No one is against legitimate assistance. Exploitation or a sense entitlement to assistance programs is a problem.

    Have you in your own mind a set of understandings as to what constitutes ‘legitimate assistance’ and what is the nasty ‘welfare state’? Can you let us in on it?

  • Art, Between the FT article and Don’s article, you have all the information you need. The answers you seek are in both if you read them carefully.

  • Art, Between the FT article and Don’s article, you have all the information you need. The answers you seek are in both if you read them carefully.

    They are not.

  • How about the following:
    One (net) taxpayer, one vote?

  • Michael Medved makes a compelling point on this, with school lunch programs (which sometimes include breakfast, dinner, summer meals, etc.). These are justified as necessary because parents may not have the time or money to make sure their children have proper meals.
    Medved’s concern is : If parents are no longer responsible for feeding their own children, what responsibilities remain?

  • You mean there are patricians who are asserting their right to grocery subsidies?

    You didn’t hear about the lottery winner that’s on food stamps, or the woman up here in the Seattle area that was getting food stamps at her beach-side big bucks home?

    Incidentally, food stamps (or rather the SNAP cards, these days) are as good as cash; you just sell them for a portion of the face value. If you’ve got an “in” with a store that can take them, you can probably get better than the going rate. (I think the crag’s list average was about 1/4 of the value in cash?)

  • Also, on the rich-people-getting-entitlements, talk to the spoiled brats I went to school with who got new cars at 16 but are still horrified the state ALMOST took their free birth control away while they were at college.

  • If the black market requires a 75% discount, the SNAP cards are not as good as cash.

    The woman in Michigan was cut off by the Food and Nutrition Service because she had failed, per their rules, to notify them of any income or asset changes. Lottery winners do not qualify as patricians.

    There are several problems here:

    1. You are all speaking of an extant problem that was manifest 40 years ago as if it were novel or spreading like kudzu, even as public policy is less accommodating than it was a generation ago. (For example, general relief still exists in New York, so the man just might get his check, but there is a life time limit of two years’ worth of benefits).

    2. While there is much here that I would not wish to defend and small programs can sustain some quite disagreeable tendencies in the culture, the sort of programs under review are just a few tiles in the mosaic of our political and economic problems manifest in public sector borrowing. The big ticket federal programs are as follows:

    a. Social Security (>$800 bn)
    b. Medicare (>$500 bn)
    c. Food Stamps ($89 bn)
    d. Higher education subsidies ($46 bn)
    e. Housing vouchers ($27 bn)

    The state and local programs (partially financed by the central government) which are most salient are as follows:

    a. Public schools (~$650 bn)
    b. Medicaid (~$470 bn)
    c. Unemployment compensation (> $90 bn)

    I think the TANF program clocks in there at about $30 bn.

    If I am not mistaken about 90% of all Social Security benefits go to the old or disabled (with the remainder to widows &c.). About a third of Medicaid expenditure is for the care of nursing home residents. Therefore, about 60% of the expenditure noted above is on geezers and cripples. Shy of 30% is allocated to the public schools, a purely universalistic program. About 4% is allocated to unemployment compensation, which is short term. The remaining 6% may be socially unsalutary, but it is a small part of why we are careering into bankruptcy.

  • Ach. I cannot do arithmetic anymore.

    Crippled and elderly: 51%
    Public schools: 24%
    s/t 3%
    miscellaneous 22%

  • He is still getting the stamps. Turns out he did follow the law, technically. They’re trying to fix that.

    About the disabled you mention that are on SS….

    In the fiscal year that ended in September, the administrative law judge, who sits in the impoverished intersection of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, decided 1,284 cases and awarded benefits in all but four. For the first six months of fiscal 2011, Mr. Daugherty approved payments in every one of his 729 decisions, according to the Social Security Administration.

  • Disability programs are difficult to administer precisely and consistently and some of the hearing examiners are doing a poor job of it (which you can surmise by comparing their decisions to those of other hearing examiners). Ergo, you trash the whole program. Do I have your viewpoint correctly stated?

  • 13.6 million receiving disability benefits and rising rapidly Art:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/aug/21/disability-claims-rise-threatens-solvency/

    From my expience as a bankruptcy attorney, quite a few people receiving disability benefits are not disabled in that they have no physical or mental impairments that really prevent them from working.

  • Of course you don’t, and you didn’t even try. Sort of like your notion that because they don’t sell for the price on the card, a guaranteed income is somehow not as good as cash.

    From those two points, it’s pretty clear you’re not willing to actually discuss the issue without making silly assumptions and taking a running jump to insulting conclusions. I don’t have the time for that.

  • Foxfier, I cannot figure what the referent to your response is.

    13.6 million receiving disability benefits and rising rapidly Art:

    That is 60% higher than the last figure I saw in print. I do not have time to research matters right at this moment, but I am at this moment skeptical.

    By the way, if I understand correctly, most who receive Social Security Disability are recipients for a discrete run of years (5 or 6) because they age out of the program or return to work.

    From my expience as a bankruptcy attorney, quite a few people receiving disability benefits are not disabled in that they have no physical or mental impairments that really prevent them from working.

    I have known only a small corps of people who receive benefits. One was a 44 year old woman with Crohn’s disease who had been collecting for four years. She was looking forward to returning to work after her next evaluation. One was a 59 year old woman with lupus who worked without interruption from 1958 to 1998. She aged out of the program. Another was a 49 year old pharmacist with a ghastly injury to his leg which made it impossible for him to stand for long periods of time. I think he could have retooled. I lost track of him.

    I do not doubt you can find people who would not meet the criteria legislators had in mind and a few out-and-out chiselers. Again, what would be your solution?

  • http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/STATS/OASDIbenies.html

    This would indicate that the Social Security Disability program supports 10.6 million people. That would be the sum of beneficiaries and their dependents. They receive a mean of $13,000 per capita.

  • A report from the CBO on social security disability in 2010:

    “Between 1970 and 2009, the number of people receiving DI benefits more than tripled, from 2.7 million to 9.7 million (unless otherwise specified, all years are calendar years). That jump, which significantly outpaced the increase in the working-age population during that period, is attributable to several changesin characteristics of that population, in federal policy, and in opportunities for employment. In addition, during those years, the average inflation-adjusted cost per person receiving DI benefits rose from about $6,900 to about $12,800 (in 2010 dollars). As a result, inflation-adjusted expenditures for the DI program, including administrative costs, increased nearly sevenfold between 1970 and 2009, climbing from $18 billion to $124 billion (in 2010 dollars). Most DI beneficiaries, after a two-year waiting period, are also eligible for Medicare; the cost of those benefits in fiscal year 2009 totaled about $70 billion.

    Under current law, the DI program is not financially sustainable. Its expenditures are drawn from the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which is financed primarily through a payroll tax of 1.8 percent; the fund had a balance of $204 billion at the end of 2009. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that by 2015, the number of people receiving DI benefits will increase to 11.4 million and total expenditures will climb to $147 billion (in 2010 dollars; see Figure 1). However, tax receipts credited to the DI trust fund will be about 20 percent less than those expenditures, and three years later, in 2018, the trust fund will be exhausted, according to CBOs estimates. Without legislative action to reduce the DI programs outlays, increase its dedicated federal revenues, or transfer other federal funds to it, the Social Security Administration will not have the legal authority to pay full DI benefits beyond that point.

    A number of changes could be implemented to address the trust funds projected exhaustion. Some would increase revenues dedicated to the program; others would reduce outlays. One approach to reducing expenditures on DI benefits would be to establish policies that would make work a more viable option for people with disabilities. However, little evidence is available on the effectiveness of such policies, and their costs might more than offset any savings from reductions in DI benefits.”

    http://www.cbo.gov/publication/21638

  • “One (net) taxpayer, one vote?”

    I kinda see your point, but before you go that route, consider the full implications. If you are implying that people who receive more in money or other benefits from the government than they pay in taxes are all mere freeloaders who should not be allowed to vote, then very few people (perhaps not even including yourself) will be allowed to vote.

    For one thing, the 53% (or whatever the current figure is) of Americans who end each year with a federal tax liability of less than zero (often due to refundable child, education, and home ownership tax credits that target the middle class) would be disenfranchised, as would anyone employed by any branch of federal, state or local government. Not to mention business owners who receive government subsidies, credits or tax breaks for various reasons.

    My point is NOT to defend the kind of welfare or entitlement mentality on display in the video, but to point out that they are not the only people getting more in benefits than they are paying in. They are simply the most obvious ones; there are other forms of “entitlement mentality” among the middle class and wealthy that are less obvious.

    It should also be noted that just because someone does not have a federal tax liability for a given year does NOT mean they pay no taxes at all. They may still owe state or local income taxes, or property taxes; and they probably pay sales or use taxes on most of what they purchase.

  • For one thing, the 53% (or whatever the current figure is) of Americans who end each year with a federal tax liability of less than zero (often due to refundable child, education, and home ownership tax credits that target the middle class) would be disenfranchised, as would anyone employed by any branch of federal, state or local government.

    Now, hold on, that second one doesn’t follow– for that matter, the first isn’t needfully so, either.

    Last things first, those who are employed by the government at any level do still pay taxes, and there is no need to lump them in just to inflate the number. They do a job, they are paid for it. If there is a lot of quality control that needs to be done, that’s a separate issue, but they are NOT equivalent to someone that is dependent on public charity. That sort of reasoning is part of why we’re in this mess. Likewise, businesses and families that are “allowed” to keep more of their money, so long as they don’t end up “keeping” more than they had in the first place, are net tax payers as well. (It seems you slipped between being a net tax payer and being paid from taxed funds at all.) That would knock out any tax breaks from consideration.

    There is NOTHING WRONG with the government taxing the population and using that money to hire people and buy stuff– there’s not a lot of other reason for the government to tax at all.

    There is NOTHING WRONG (inherently) with keeping more of the money that YOU earned. It is yours, not the government’s. The problem comes in the matter of fairness, which is sorely lacking. (17% of the income pays 35% of the taxes? Not fair at all.)

    I hate to beat this to death, but it really has to be pointed out: tax breaks are NOT the government giving you anything, it’s just not taking things, and WORKING for the government is not the same as HANDOUTS.

    Jumping back to the first claim, it makes the classic assumption that people won’t change their actions. (It’s even built into our gov’t budgeting estimates. Fails constantly, too.) Sadly, a large part of the country that’s currently not paying net federal taxes wouldn’t give a crud about losing their vote if it meant that they got free stuff. Other folks would not claim things like the child credit to make sure that they could still vote.

    A much better route of objection to the “one net taxpayer, one vote” idea is that it would disenfranchise those who are not paid for their work, especially retired folks who had money taken from them for their entire lives, shoved in the leaky box that is social security, and are now dependent on getting some fraction of that money back. It would disenfranchise stay-at-home parents, business folks who ran a loss year, adults still in school if they manage it without a job, those on unemployment (which is supposed to be money they would have been paid which was taken by the gov’t to hold in reserve in case they couldn’t get a new job.) and those who in other manners didn’t have an income.

  • I have to say, anecdotally, I grew up in – and live – in a county, where the people who are in line in this video make up a large part of my friends and neighbors, and they do get a lot of free stuff from the government. People who say that entitlement abuse is improving or is no longer a very great concern probably know very few people who abuse entitlement programs.

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  • Good point, Ike– I think there’s a big social level thing here, too. The ranch was one of the go-to places for people who wanted to work just long enough to get unemployment insurance; one couple would gladly teach you exactly what you had to do to do the absolute minimum while maximizing your income and comfort. Step one, don’t marry, just live together….
    (Folks talked the owner out of hiring such when one tried to file a worker’s comp for a problem she’d had before she drove truck for us.)

  • People who say that entitlement abuse is improving or is no longer a very great concern probably know very few people who abuse entitlement programs.

    No matter whom I know or do not know, the quantum of goods, services, and funds distributed is a matter of public record, as are the eligibility requirements of various programs.

  • Art-
    that says nothing about abuse of the programs, and you did bring up people you know who use the programs.

    As Donald showed when you didn’t have time to research, the payouts from social security for disability have gone through the roof. Medicaid is well known as a target for fraud. Medicare, likewise. Food stamps are a big target.

    A search for entitlement abuse brings up a lot of articles like this– by the way, the “adult baby” wood worker was found to be totally fine and cleared of fraud.

  • As Donald showed when you didn’t have time to research,

    He cited the executive summary of a report by the Congressional Budget Office. I cited the case statistics published by the Social Security Administration.

    and you did bring up people you know who use the programs.

    Parenthetically, in response to his claims about his clients.

    There is a problem with the disability program, as can be seen in the evolution of the beneficiary population. I would be very skeptical that malingering is an important part of the problem; musculoskelital problems are at the root of 36% of awarded claims, not more. Policy is a problem (for 11% of those who receive awards, the primary diagnosis is a psychiatric mood disorder). The evolution of how people respond to a given set of conditions is a problem. The expectations set by authority are a problem. Consistency in administration over space and time is a problem.

    Given the change in the population (between 1966 and 2007) of workers in the salient cohorts, you might have expected a 2.25-fold increase in the population of primary beneficiaries. You actually saw a 6-fold increase. Was the program underutilized before or overutilized now? Interestingly, the number of juvenile dependents of said beneficiaries increased just in step with the change in the whole population and the number of spousal dependents declined. What hypotheses would you tease-out of that?

    I am fairly sure that eliminating the program is a cure worse than the disease. I might also suggest that a dependent population which consists largely of adults in the latter part of middle age, more-often-than-not having a work history of twenty-five years or more, and living alone in spite of documented medical problems, suggests a particular nexus of social problems. One which consists of young and able-bodied women (with little or no work history) and their bastard children suggests a different set of problems.

  • He cited the executive summary of a report by the Congressional Budget Office. I cited the case statistics published by the Social Security Administration.

    Your point being? Do you think they are wrong, as you implied before he did so?

    I am fairly sure that eliminating the program is a cure worse than the disease.

    Why do you keep acting like this is being discussed? You jump from fraud not being a big problem to a large glob of digression to no specific point and then go back to acting like people are saying “screw it, nuke the whole thing!”– this, in spite if the original post SPECIFICALLY SAYING: “Any decent society able to will want to lend a hand to help those who cannot help themselves: those who through physical and mental disability simply cannot work to support themselves.

    Will you stop charging at strawmen and try to actually engage on the topic?

  • There are no strawmen here. You keep offering anecdotes of the system functioning poorly and he cited a summary document indicating the program was actuarially unsound. That would indicate that the program required restructuring. Neither of you offer anything but non-specific complaints that the gubmint is being incompetent. That kind of talk gets old. If you have an idea of how to improve the program, let’s hear it.

    All of that is rather at a remove from his initial complaint, which was that our world is awash in a burgeoning population of free-loaders. The opportunities for that sort of thing among the able-bodied are not what they were 40 years ago and the sort of welfare rights discourse you used to hear even 25 years ago has largely disappeared. As for the statutorily disabled, many of them ought to be doing something else, but a 54 year old divorcee with a heart condition who had twenty-five years on construction sites is not quite what you have in mind when you hear phrases like, “However, we now have produced huge numbers of able bodied drones in our society who simply feed off the work of others”.

    And any solution you all offer needs to be scalable.

  • There are no strawmen here.

    Show where I, or Donald, said a single thing about ENDING welfare. That is the strawman you have been fighting– not fixing the problem, not trying to cut down on fraud, but ENDING THE PROGRAMS.

    I’ll waste the time correcting your other unsupported claims when you bother to support that one.

  • “All of that is rather at a remove from his initial complaint, which was that our world is awash in a burgeoning population of free-loaders.”

    As is demonstrated Art by the explosion of people getting on disability, which is why I cited the CBO report. This was over a time period, 1970-2009, when fewer and fewer of the work force are engaging in the hard type of physical labor and resulting injuries that the disability program was originally set up to alleviate.

    We also see this in the explosion in the food stamp program which, as Foxfier noted earlier in the thread, are frequently used as a substitute currency.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/11/food-stamp-nation.php

  • “As Maine goes so goes the nation.”

    December 2011: Maine Republican (!) Governor LePage stated in a radio address that his state has more residents receiving “welfare” than paying state income taxes.

    Nationally, 53% of households pay Federal income taxes.

    The laws of arithmetic will resolve the imbalance. The restoration of equilibrium will not be pretty. See Greece.

    PS: As of tomorrow, the US has the highest corporate tax rate on the planet.

  • As is demonstrated Art by the explosion of people getting on disability, which is why I cited the CBO report. This was over a time period, 1970-2009, when fewer and fewer of the work force are engaging in the hard type of physical labor and resulting injuries that the disability program was originally set up to alleviate.

    You need to do better than a cursory inspection of descriptive statistics in order to ascertain what is going on there. (And no, I do not think you are going to discover in the legislative history that work-related injuries were the sole or even primary consideration in enacting the program). The descriptive statistics are hypothesis formers. Your conclusion about this particular beneficiary population was antecedent to adducing any real evidence. If you want to restructure the program, you have to ascertain what the drivers are of changes in observable behavior. Some things to consider:

    1. The contemporary beneficiary is not any older than their counterparts forty years ago, nor much younger. Why do they have so few dependents? The ratio of dependents to primary beneficiaries has fallen by 75%.

    2. Is it possible that changes in public health have augmented a ‘gray zone’ population that was proportionately much smaller in 1970? Are there people drawing benefits who would have been in institutional care in 1970 or would have been deceased?

    3. How much of the inclination to apply for benefits and to grant them (and, keep in mind, 61% of those who apply are turned down) is motivated not by the cash pension but by the medical insurance appended to it?

    Foxfier, you and Donald have not offered the slightest suggestion about how one might restructure the disability program. All you’ve done is bitch about the hearing examiners and the clientele. What’s wrong with this population and what alternatives might there be for them? It just does not do to say they are free-loaders awarded benefits by incompetents, no further investigation needed.

    T. Shaw:

    A possibility to investigate: are state income taxes in Maine a levy not meant for anyone but a fairly affluent population? That was initially the case with the federal income tax.

  • PS: As of tomorrow, the US has the highest corporate tax rate on the planet.

    Doubt it. The last time I checked, about 9% of corporate profits were collected in federal tax levies. We have payroll taxes (amounting all told to 10% of labor income). What we do not have is a national value added tax, which casts a much wider net. Rates in the EU range from 15% to 27%.

  • “You need to do better than a cursory inspection of descriptive statistics in order to ascertain what is going on there.”

    Considering that disability awards are now based on mental problems, including depression, and alleged back problems, both of which are difficult to disprove, I think it is clear what is going on here.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/13/AR2010091306493.html?sid=ST2010091401818

    Getting government handouts has almost no stigma, and more people are holding their hands out for freebies from Uncle Sucker. I see this all the time in my practice Art; this is no deep, dark secret.

    “(And no, I do not think you are going to discover in the legislative history that work-related injuries were the sole or even primary consideration in enacting the program).”

    You would be wrong about that Art. What the program was initially was supposed to be for was clear from the fact that permanent disability benefits were normally contingent on the loss of a limb.

  • “Foxfier, you and Donald have not offered the slightest suggestion about how one might restructure the disability program.”

    Make all benefit awards reviewable each year and actually conduct the reviews. Replace the current hearing officers and administrative law judges hearing disability cases. Narrow eligibility to those who are truly unable to work. (Depression would not be on the list, along with a host of other dodges currently used to scam benefits.) Give bonuses to government investigators who ferret out people who are receiving benefits and also working. It would be difficult to come up with a worse system than what we currently have.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/12/disability_fraud_saps_social_s.html

  • “I doubt it”

    “WASHINGTON, March 30, 2012 (Reuters) – The United States’ (39.2%) will hold the dubious distinction starting on Sunday of having the developed world’s highest corporate tax rate after Japan’s drops to 38.01 percent.”

    Art, I was prepared to provide facts and figures to defend my Maine comment.

    No matter how much liberals use them, the truth isn’t the result of a three card monty game flip or how well a demagogue can gull envious classes that believe it’s the government’s duty to provide for them.

    Soon enough, like Greece, Maine and Washington politicians will run out of other people’s money and then the “jig is up” – the laws of arithmetic are not subject to weeping, gnashing of teeth, or lying.

  • Art,

    Of course people with no income pay no income taxes: some receive tax credit payments.

    In Maine, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps and subsidies for education have a combined enrollment of 660,000. Adjusting the 660,000 for overlaps reduces the number to 453,194 – or 8,120 more people on state assistance than the 445,074 state income taxpayers in Maine.

    We shall see if Maine can be more suave at bankruptcy than Greece or Harrisburg, PA.

  • Foxfier, you and Donald have not offered the slightest suggestion about how one might restructure the disability program.

    Which does not justify your false accusation that we’re suggesting dumping the whole thing.

    The obvious conclusion to take from our “bitching” is to apply some common sense to the awarding of these benefits, as foreign a concept as that is in bureaucracies.

  • Considering that disability awards are now based on mental problems, including depression, and alleged back problems, both of which are difficult to disprove, I think it is clear what is going on here.

    About 23% are based on psychological problems, of which half are for ‘mood disorders’, as pointed out above. (The remainder are for schizophrenia, mental retardation, &c.)

    No, nothing is very clear.

  • The obvious conclusion to take from our “bitching” is to apply some common sense to the awarding of these benefits, as foreign a concept as that is in bureaucracies.

    The obvious conclusion is that getting this right and getting it consistently right is easier said than done.

  • You would be wrong about that Art. What the program was initially was supposed to be for was clear from the fact that permanent disability benefits were normally contingent on the loss of a limb.

    Where did you read that?

  • The obvious conclusion is that getting this right and getting it consistently right is easier said than done.

    And that justifies accusing those who dare point out there’s a problem of wanting to shut the whole thing down…how?

  • And that justifies accusing those who dare point out there’s a problem of wanting to shut the whole thing down…how?

    If you recall, I asked you if I had understood your position correctly, and your response was indignation. (And arguing about the argument we are having is not terribly productive).

    (And, by the way, such an interpretation would be a reasonable inference to be drawn of the moderator’s remarks).

    Since I have pointed out some of the discrete problems with the program, your complaint does not make much sense. What I have done is reject the frame you all have put around the problem.

  • If you recall, I asked you if I had understood your position correctly, and your response was indignation.

    Yes, I responded indignantly to you projecting a viewpoint that is ludicrous as a reasonable interpretation of pointing out valid problems.

    “Ugh. My car keeps pulling to the right, it’s clearly screwy.”
    “So, you want to blow it up, is that right?”
    “What the heck is wrong with you? How on earth is that a reasonable jump?”
    “Well, you didn’t say you wanted to mechanic on it.”

    And arguing about the argument we are having is not terribly productive

    It’s more productive than trying to have a conversation with someone who rejects offered data and mischaracterizes those he disagrees with into foolish strawmen.

  • To solve a problem, you have to decide that there is a problem, identify the problem, figure out possible causes, and then you start on solutions.

    *Video shows that there is some sort of problem.

    *Problem is initially identified as “Good people want to help those who can’t help themselves, but now we have a bunch of people helping themselves to the aid they don’t need.”
    **Problem is secondarily identified as the programs allowing obvious abuses–getting services while technically qualified (say, those in jail who get food stamps) or flat-out fraud, plus the stuff that’s murky. (“Emotional issues” disability.)

    There are some possible causes– the qualifications are off, the judge mentioned earlier that approves almost all the cases isn’t a good gatekeeper, etc.– but it’s not clear you agree there is a problem to solve.

Hollow Victories

Wednesday, March 28, AD 2012

There is some excitement that oral arguments are going well for opponents of Obamacare.  Though oral arguments are not perfectly indicative of how the Supreme Court will vote in the end, there is some cause for guarded optimism.  That being said, even if the Court completely strikes down Obamacare, it will be something of a hollow victory.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is no other correct course of action for the Court to take than to strike down the individual mandate and thus effectively kill Obamacare.  It is one of those remarkable monstrosities that happens to be both bad policy and unconstitutional.  The problem is that something this monumental is essentially being decided on the whims of a single Justice.  How did we reach the point where our basic liberties come down to what Anthony Kennedy may have had for breakfast one day?

I don’t mean to be flip, but it feels like we’ve taken a very wrong turn somewhere along the line. 

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15 Responses to Hollow Victories

  • For those that support Romney, this election is about nothing other than putting an –R in the White House.

    Winning isn’t an end in itself. It is a means to an end. That’s precisely the point of the Supreme Court example.

    Reality is not always a pleasant thing to contemplate. But part of being conservative, I think, is a willingness to face up to reality even when it’s not pleasant. One may not like the prospect of having to choose between Romney and Obama in November, but that’s reality. Calvin Coolidge isn’t going to be on the ballot.

  • “How did we reach the point where our basic liberties come down to what Anthony Kennedy may have had for breakfast one day?”

    The weeping you hear is from the Founding Fathers in the next world.

  • Winning isn’t an end in itself. It is a means to an end. That’s precisely the point of the Supreme Court example.

    Thus demonstrating why you, and so many other Romney supporters, continue to miss the point.

  • “Calvin Coolidge isn’t going to be on the ballot.”

    Yeah, but the Mormon Richard Nixon probably will be. I’ll vote for him in preference to Obama, but other than Romney not being Obama, I’ll be hanged if I can think of anything else Romney has in his favor from a conservative point of view.

  • The Supremes don’t necessarily have the “last say.” If struck down, in part or in its entirety, Obamacare could still come back in another form as devised by Obama and a complaisant Congress. Also, given that hundreds of entities have been granted exemptions to the law, that language could be broadened to include certain individuals or small businesses, thus debunking the false notion that “everyone” must buy health care or face a stiff penalty. In short, the lawyers and politicians will find a way toward a “compromise” that will defuse the issue before November.

  • 3 points:

    (1) “… happens to be both bad policy and unconstitutional …”
    But you repeat yourself. If it’s unconstitutional, it is by definition, bad policy. 🙂

    (2) Whatever the faults of Anthony Kennedy (and you know my opinion on the man, and I am, to put it mildly, not a fan), he has throughout his career on the Court been fairly solid on 10th Amendment issues. Not that his swing-vote squishiness doesn’t give me some pause, but I’m not as worried about how he will vote on this issue as I will be when the Court is inevitably called upon to define same-sex “marriage” as a so-called “fundamental right”. I’m actually slightly more concerned how Roberts and Alito will vote.

    (3) And THIS is the REAL implication for the upcoming election. At this juncture, the judicial nomination argument is one of the key talking points Romney’s supporters are using to try to sway those like me who are going to be voting 3rd party this fall. Let’s suppose that it’s Roberts and/or Alito (in addition to or instead of Kennedy) that joins the 4 liberals to uphold ObamaCare. Suddenly, the “But we HAVE to vote for Romney to get conservative Justices” argument becomes moot. If either or both of the two most recent Supreme Court Justices that were appointed by a conservative GOP president with approval by big GOP majorities in the Senate can’t be counted on to vote against the constitutionality of ObamaCare, then the GOP will, and SHOULD, lose the judicial nomination argument in its favor for all eternity.

  • “then the GOP will, and SHOULD, lose the judicial nomination argument in its favor for all eternity.”

    Why Jay? Roberts and Alito from all intents appeared to be solid conservative nominees, and thus far they have voted that way. If they go rogue now we should hand over to the Democrats the Supreme Court for all eternity? That does not make any sense to me.

  • You make some very necessary points Mr. Zummo. I would simply add that the election of Barrack Obama is a reflection of us, our society, our governance, and our fondness for dependence (as opposed to liberty). The greater concern is whether we have reached the tip point. While many argue politics, to his credit Obama has advanced the statist agenda across the board.

  • Come on, “blackmail”? I haven’t heard anything like that. I mean, by those standards, someone could say that your raising doubt about Romney’s SCOTUS nominees is an attempt to blackmail Romney supporters into voting for Santorum. But that’d be nonsense, because you’re not blackmailing anyone; you’re trying to present your preferred candidate in the best possible light, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Remember the time-honored truth that the Paulbots never seem to recall, that antagonism is rarely persuasive.

  • Pinky,

    I have the strike-through there and I thought that indicated that I used the word for humorous, exaggerated effect.

  • Yeah, I know, I’m just getting a bad taste in my mouth from all this. The article and some comments tended to lump all Romney supporters together as the enemy, a voting bloc composed entirely of RINO’s.

    Years back, volunteering for a campaign, I remember being told to never alienate anyone, because even if the voter wasn’t supporting your candidate, he could be on the fence about a half-dozen other races further down the ticket. It ticks me off to see assumptions of bad faith being made by supporters of all four candidates against supporters of their opponents. And to top it off, there’s near-complete agreement about the issues. Most Republican primary voters only disagree about which candidate would best promote a pro-life, low-tax, internationally secure agenda. They weight issues differently, and make different calculations about effectiveness, experience, and electability, but they agree on 90+% of the platform.

    Every party goes through this in the primaries, and by November I hope that heated words spoken in March will be forgotten. I’m just worried.

  • Don, the point I’m making is that if the GOP-nominated Justices can’t be counted on to strike down a monstrosity like ObamaCare, then the argument that we just HAVE to vote for Republicans because of the Supreme Court will no longer prove sufficient to justify voting for just any Republican, especially one like Mitt Romney.

    I mean, seriously. If even a majority of GOP nominees can’t be counted on when it comes to the REALLY BIG issues like abortion and ObamaCare, then there’s really not much left to justify conservative voters continuing to do what we’ve been doing.

  • I understand your argument Jay, but it still does not make any sense to me. We are going to have a Supreme Court and its rulings are going to have a vast impact on our lives. I see no reason to hand it over to the Democrats forever. Overall I have found the Republican justices appointed since Reagan far more congenial to my views than those appointed by the Democrats, to say the least. A Souter and a Kennedy are arguments for better screening of appointees, not an argument for having someone like Obama in the White House forever to keep making appointees like Breyer and Ginsburg until the rulings are always 9-0 in favor of treating the Constitution like toilet paper.

  • Don, I concede that a the GOP nominees are, on the whole, better than Democrat nominated judges. That’s not debateable. But, for the better part of 3 decades now, Supreme Court Justices have been trotted out as one of the, if not THE, main reasons to vote for the Republican nominee, regardless of whether that Republican nominee was one that was otherwise suitable.

    ALL I’m saying is that, yes, a Mitt Romney is likely, on the margins, to nominate better judges than Barack Obama. BUT if those judges are unlikely to do things like overrule Roe or strike down ObamaCare, then the argument holds MUCH LESS weight, and becomes not as strong an argument for voting for Mitt Romney.

    So, in the situation in which we find ourselves – a likely nominee for President that is wholly unacceptable to me, the argument that we just HAVE to vote for him because he will nominate judges who will … do what? Overturn Roe? Strike down ObamaCare? Again, it is a lot less compelling argument on behalf of the GOP nominee when the judges nominated, while better than what we might expect from the Dems, can’t be counted on when it comes to the BIG issues that are most important to me.

    Now, once again, my argument is only pertinent if there is a defection from, say, Roberts and/or Alito to uphold Obamacare; but if none of the GOP-nominated Justices (apart from the squish Kennedy) votes to uphold ObamaCare, then the issue of judges will actually strengthen Romney’s hand: “See, if we had more Justices like Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito, we could stop even MORE of this kind of big-government nonsense.”

  • I disagree with Paul’s assessment of the Commerce Clause. Words matter, and the words used to assign to Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce can easily be understood to be very broad in their application. Just because the Framers did not envision (or presumably favor) such broad application, does not mean they didn’t create the architecture that allowed for it (even if they didn’t mean to!). It is not ridiculous to maintain that Congress has the power to regulate the health care component of our national economy by creating a mandatory insurance system, which is not to say that I think that is the better argument — actually I don’t.

    I do favor a mandated insurance system, but only at the state level. It is necessary to prevent the free rider system we have today, where thousands of people choose to go without insurance knowing that the government (i.e, the taxpayers) will pay for their necessary care. That said, such a mandated system should cover only truly necessary care that is sufficiently expensive to warrant risk sharing (i.e., insurance). Optional care and routine care that is not so expensive that it cannot be budgeted should not be covered by mandated insurance.

    Insurance has its place in health care, but its current role is not rational. It is a by-product of a tax system that encourages employers to compete for employees by providing unnecessarily rich coverage, which leads to serious inefficiencies. The user is two steps (employer and provider) removed from the payor. Accordingly, most people use health care services more aggressively because they do not bear the lion’s share of the cost of such services in any perceptible way. If we removed the tax favored status of health insurance, it would de-couple from employment thereby allowing a more robust and mature market to develop for individuals (just like property, casualty, and life insurance); families would then purchase insurance that rationally meets their needs, which in most cases would be affordable high deductible policies that cover any necessary catastrophic care.

    A federal (not state) insurance mandate may well be unconstitional, but it is not necessarily bad policy if (i) designed to prevent free riders and (i) limited in coverage appropriate to insurance. Obamacare is not remotely so limited. It goes in exactly the wrong direction by expanding the role of insurance rather than tailoring that role to its purpose.

The Russo-Union Alliance: A Marriage of Convenience

Wednesday, March 28, AD 2012

Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it, “all men are created equal except negroes.” When the Know-nothings get control, it will read, “all men are created equal except negroes and foreigners and Catholics.” When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty–to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Joshua F. Speed, Aug. 24, 1855

SHADOWED so long by the storm-cloud of danger,

Thou whom the prayers of an empire defend,

Welcome, thrice welcome! but not as a stranger,

Come to the nation that calls thee its friend!

Bleak are our shores with the blasts of December,

Fettered and chill is the rivulet’s flow;

Throbbing and warm are the hearts that remember

Who was our friend when the world was our foe.

Look on the lips that are smiling to greet thee,

See the fresh flowers that a people has strewn

Count them thy sisters and brothers that meet thee;

Guest of the Nation, her heart is thine own!

Fires of the North, in eternal communion,

Blend your broad flashes with evening’s bright star!

God bless the Empire that loves the Great Union;

Strength to her people! Long life to the Czar!

So Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in 1871 in honor of the visit of Grand Duke Alexei, fourth son of Tsar Alexander II, as a good will ambassador to the US.  He encountered in the Northern states a vast reservoir of good will towards Russia for its steadfast support of the Union during the Civil War.  Russia and Great Britain were enmeshed in the cold war known as the Great Game for control of Central Asia.  The Russians viewed the United States as a power traditionally hostile to Great Britain and viewed the Civil War with alarm as a possible diminution of the power of the United States, along with a potential Anglo-Confederate alliance if the South achieved independence.  From the beginning the Russian government publicly proclaimed its support for the Union and its opposition to any attempt by other powers to intervene in the conflict.

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5 Responses to The Russo-Union Alliance: A Marriage of Convenience

  • The Russo-Union Alliance: A Marriage of Convenience which bore freedom.

  • One of the Tsar’s Imperial Guard officers, Ivan Turchaninov, better known to his troops as “John Turchin,” was a solid brigadier general in the Army of the Cumberland.

  • I’m sorry, but Alexander II was talking out of his autocratic arse. Anyone who takes the trouble to read Amanda Foreman’s ‘A World on Fire’ will discover that the constant thread running through the book is the persistent belief in the North, contrary to all the evidence, that England was anti-Union and pro-Confederacy. And for all Napoleon III’s blandishments towards representatives of the Confederacy he had no more intention of recognizing its independence than did the British government. The idea of Russian naval power facing down France and England (who had recently defeated Russia in the Crimean War) and securing the American Republic is quite simply hilarious.

    The way Imperial Russia conducted its foreign policy (mainly through intrigue and destabilization, and with little regard for international law) was continued by the Bolsheviks, and, no surprise, is continued under Vladimir Putin. With friends like these, you don’t need enemies.

  • “Anyone who takes the trouble to read Amanda Foreman’s ‘A World on Fire’ will discover that the constant thread running through the book is the persistent belief in the North, contrary to all the evidence, that England was anti-Union and pro-Confederacy. ”

    Read it and praised it John, and I think most of the English elites in and out of government would have loved for the Union to have been ripped asunder. Chancellor of the Exchequer Willian Gladstone, the future Grand Old Man of the Liberal Party spoke for many on October 7, 1862 when he said: “There is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an army; they are making, it appears, a navy; and they have made what is more than either-they have made a nation. We may anticipate with certainty the success of the Southern States so far as regards their separation from the North.”

    To be sure the Union had friends in England also, however I believe the dominant sentiment among the rulers of England was pro-Confederate, although not sufficiently so to fight a war with the Union to ensure Confederate independence.

  • Don, although the desire to see the USA get its comeuppance was widespread, and in view of the events of the previous 50 years understandable, the opinion was also widespread that support for the South meant support for slavery, which was unthinkable. The rather tortuous inner logic Gladstone was prone to employ to square his conscience was well-known, his intervention embarrassed the government, and he himself admitted later that he had been wrong.

Day 2 of Oral Argument on ObamaCare: Train Wreck For the Administration

Tuesday, March 27, AD 2012

19 Responses to Day 2 of Oral Argument on ObamaCare: Train Wreck For the Administration

  • I’m stretching back to law school days so I may not have it right but I recall that Scalia wasn’t all that fond of striking down sections of a bill, that he favored an all-or-nothing approach. If this is right, how does it affect your read?

  • It sounds hopeful, if CNN’s words are true. I value Donald’s analysis much more than CNN’s. I value and appreciate the analysis because I don’t have the legal mind to interpret or the time to quickly read the entire transcript. So in advance, thank you!

  • Justice Kennedy left a ‘tell’ when he commented, as opposed to questioned, how the mandate fundamentally changed the relationship between the individual and government. Pray, pray, and pray some more!! Our Lady of Victory…….

  • I have read some of the transcript…. questions.

    1. What is Justice Sotomayor doing in this case? She should have recused herself.

    2. And what is with her using Occupy speak? “Only 1% of the people can afford to self-insure.” Why not just say a minority can self-insure. Don’t need the whole 99% vs. 1% warfare business.

  • FWIW I have serious reservations about the constitutionality of the mandate, but it has some attractiveness as a policy matter. (Just as not all bad laws are unconstitutional, not all good laws are constitutional.) Since American society has already decided that necessary health care should be available to everyone, including those who are uninsured, and that government will reimburse providers for such care (and good luck reversing that social assumption!) there is a pretty compelling case in favor of a mandate to avoid irresponsible free riders. I would make two observations though. First, I would prefer that the mandate be required by states rather than the feds, for reasons grounded in both constitutional law as well as practical prudence. Second, the mandated insurance should be limited to truly life-threatening or very serious conditions the cost for which would be regarded by most families as catastrophic. The government should not mandate that my neighbor insure my wife’s physical ability to play tennis, let alone require my mother to pay for her neighbor’s birth control.

    Private companies can certainly offer more expensive policies with richer coverage, but only on a voluntary basis.

    In sum, we need to de-couple insurance from employment, eliminate its tax-favored treatment, allow interstate competition, and limit its mandated application to only serious medical matters appropriate for the risk-sharing/shifting nature of insurance. Obama care fails in almost all important respects.

  • I’ve been trying to drive home that point to my kids, Kyle.

    Giving specific numbers, if you don’t know them to be true, is a lie, and a transparent one at that. Words like most, many , some, etc. are proper descripters and an argument is all the stronger for not having to eat your words when they are found to be false.

    If my seven year old gets it, why do we adults blunder into that minefield again and again?

  • Mike, you raise good points. I particularly like the idea of treating insurers like the national companies that they are rather than maintaining the fiction that they are state entities. The present system has all of the negatives and none of the positives of state enforcement.

    Had Congress approached this intelligently, I’ll bet there was a lot of agreement to be had. Congress could have crafted small bills establishing a national insurance board, licensing, and liability through the federal courts. Instead, they wrote an omnibus bill that is likely unconstitutional and, if constitutional, unworkable.

    No time to read it indeed!

  • Even if Constitutional, how would you enforce the mandate? Presumably, those who cannot afford the coverage, would not be able to afford the fines (or else they would just get the coverage).

  • Mike Petric “irresponsible free riders”?
    Cmatt: Excellent post. Why is there a penalty inscribed into Obamacare? If one cannot afford to buy an expensive car, must he pay a penalty for not buying the car? Will the government seize your property through a lien after you’ve passed away if you cannot afford to buy the car and must pay a penalty?

  • Mike Petric: “Second, the mandated insurance should be limited to truly life-threatening or very serious conditions the cost for which would be regarded by most families as catastrophic.” Mike you have just reiterated the abortion mantra. Why should your mother be mandated to pay for your neighbor’s abortion?

  • Mary,
    People who prefer not to buy health insurance but expect others to pay rare indeed irresponsible free riders.
    I have no idea what to make of your second post. I apologize but simply do not understand you.

  • As much of an unconstitutional piece of crap this law is and how badly the administration is arguing their case, I don’t count my chickens until they hatch with SCOTUS.

  • Mike Petric: I think I was agreeing with you.

  • Thank you for the transcripts. 76 pgs. and 111 pgs. plus the word counts/refs.
    It’s interesting and totally refreshing for me, a simple reader, to hear actual objective thought expressed from the Supreme Court Chief Justice and other Justices. The Federal Government branch that is realistic and working.

    The degree to which crippling, partisan politics in the other two branches has risen, (or fallen?), is beyond consideration. The rhetoric is irresponsible and propaganda laden, aimed at stirring elitism and racism or hatefulness in this formerly workable melting pot. These people are ignoring their budgets, the economy of this country, and the unthinkable national debt because they can and they have something or someone to ‘blame’ due to ‘next’ elections. Seems the only thing that matters to the actual president are his campaign funding party events and power broking world travels. Is accountablity so minimal that it’s only found in election results?

    Anyway, thank you. It’s good that the relationship between federal government and citizens is worth considering by this Branch. Healthcare of all things! Why did the proponents decide to be exempt from their healthcare mandate – very phony … ?

  • Mary, I can see that now — I just was not sure — sorry.

  • Rand Paul filed an amicus brief asking the court to overrule Wickard v. Filburn while they’re at it. I’m not a lawyer, but it sure looked good to me. 🙂

    http://aca-litigation.wikispaces.com/file/view/Rand+Paul+amicus+%2811-398+MCP%29.pdf

  • I’m with Greg. Too many conservatives read of or saw Toobin’s “train wreck” description and are celebrating prematurely. I was sure Obamacare would not pass until the moment it did, so I’ve learned my lesson. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet – or rather, we don’t know yet what whims and fancies may seize the mind of the most powerful man in the country – maybe one of the most powerful Americans ever. Who knows what side of the bed, left or right, Kennedy will get up on the day the vote takes place? Remembering Kelo, I remain a pessimist.

  • Mike Petric: I, too am sorry. I do not express myself as well as I would like.
    Mary

  • “Rand Paul filed an amicus brief asking the court to overrule Wickard v. Filburn while they’re at it. I’m not a lawyer, but it sure looked good to me.”

    RL, it WOULD be good for the Court to overrule Wickard v. Filburn. For you non-lawyers, let’s just say that Wickard ranks behind ONLY Roe v. Wade and the Dred Scott case as THE worst Supreme Court decision of all time. And it is easily the worst Supreme Court case regarding economic activity and the regulatory power of the federal government over individual liberty.

    Alas, its continuing validity makes the ObamaCare casee a mor difficult decision for the Court than it otherwise should be. Therefore, it it high time for the Court to once and for all overrule that abomination of an opinion.

The Pope in Cuba

Tuesday, March 27, AD 2012

Apparently, he’s staying busy.

SuburbanBanshee has two very good posts on the topic– the first has the great opening of “seldom have I enjoyed myself more watching a speech at an airport.”  The second one is on what he said at Mass, with the bonus of an honorary mention of the Swiss Guard Ninja Death Squad Elite.  (Which doesn’t exist.)

Have I mentioned lately that the fellow has guts?

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One Response to The Pope in Cuba

It’s Over Newt

Tuesday, March 27, AD 2012

5 Responses to It’s Over Newt

  • It’s all but a foregone conclusion that “Obama Lite” will be the GOP nominee. At least a third less socialism than the current socialist is a slight improvement, I suppose.

  • True cmatt, and a large reason for that is Gingrich and his tendency to destroy himself with his mouth when things are going well for him, and his Moon colony sized ego which prevents him from realizing that his campaign has become a pathetic joke.

  • Not nearly as bad as the Obama Re-elect Committee selling hoodies to raise campaign cash.

  • I think he is simply doing what he thinks is right. He did not need to do this, but we need him to stay in the race. Santorum and Gingrich can block Romney. Romney is designed to lose to BHO like Bush 41, Dole and McCain before him. Santorum is expected to gaffe-away like Biden or Dean, that’s why Wasserman-Shultz is getting turnout for him. Paul, is well, Paul. Newt is the statesman, he is the right one at this time, period. Why cut and run?

    Why not send him a couple of bucks and a prayer. Imagine if the Holy League just gave up at Lepanto, or Gen. Washington thought it too cold to cross the Delaware!?! Come on, show some stones.

  • Sooo, when Rick states that he believes in being a team player–how is that different from Pelosi and Newt sitting on a couch ? Think about it, to what end does it serve to keep trashing Newt and silencing his record and voice? What is the hidden agenda and to what end? Case in point- was there any news coverage regarding the Rallies for Religious Liberty or this years Pro Life March?

    Donald M.– How is it that so many persons, even Catholic persons, are now clairvoyant, able to read the heart of of others? Is that something the Catholic Church teaches us ? (Response to moon size ego-witty, but tiresome)

Why Illinois Is Bankrupt

Tuesday, March 27, AD 2012

 

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My beloved state of Illinois has a terrible economy, and a shrinking tax base but that is apparently no problem for the bi-partisan pirates who have been plundering the Land of Lincoln for decades:

When Republican state Rep. Roger Eddy announced his retirement from the House Thursday, you could hear the “ding, ding, ding” of a slot machine all the way from Springfield.
Eddy hit the pension jackpot.
He is retiring early from the House to run the Illinois Association of School Boards, which, among other activities, lobbies the Illinois Legislature. His start date is July 1 — although now that he’s leaving the Statehouse before the end of the spring session, he said it’s likely he’ll work for the association before July.
Why the sudden defection? One likely reason: He’ll be much richer in retirement, thanks in part to taxpayers.
In his new job, Eddy will not only stay in the Teachers’ Retirement System, he can collect more in benefits from it. He has been working both as a state representative and superintendent for Hutsonville Community Unit School District 1. He has been part of TRS through his Hutsonville job, where he earned a salary of $107,400. His new salary is expected to be at least $200,000, and his pension will be based on that.
Illinois Statehouse News reported that Eddy’s pension as school superintendent would have been about $70,500 a year. It will climb to at least $141,000 in his new job. His predecessor at the IASB, Mike Johnson, is earning an annual pension — get ready to swallow hard — of $193,273, according to TRS.
But that’s not the end of Eddy’s pension largesse. He’ll be eligible in two years to begin collecting a pension of about $24,000 a year from his nine years of part-time work in the Legislature. Illinois Statehouse News projected his lawmaker pension carries a lifetime value of $584,273. Eddy is 53 years old.

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6 Responses to Why Illinois Is Bankrupt

  • Not only do incidents like this hurt taxpayers, they also hurt the vast majority of state employees who cannot and will not ever receive pensions that large — if indeed they receive a pension at all, at the rate things are going.

  • “…if indeed they receive a pension at all, at the rate things are going.”

    The only pension I have is what I save myself. My saving rate is hurt by taxes.

  • …and Illinois had to add insult to injury by giving the nation Obama to everlasting shame.

  • Born and raised in the Land of Lincoln, going to school in Georgia, and never looking back (well, maybe for a Bulls game or two).

  • They should start showing this commercial in Wisconsin. Too many people up here still think Scott Walker is being very mean to the poor teachers. I’m not a huge Ann Coulter fan, but she summed up the situation very nicely by noting that the public union employees want the people in the private sector – people who are already suffering – to suffer more so public union employees do not have to suffer at all. What floors me is how many private sector people have fallen for the union propaganda.

    Ah, well, as Mark Steyn has been saying lately, civilisations can die of stupidity. We sure seem to be headed that way.

  • “Too many people up here still think Scott Walker is being very mean to the poor teachers.”

    The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has invited Walker to address a meeting in Springfield on April 17 regarding solutions to the pension/budget crisis. Of course, union types are vowing to protest the appearance.

    In some ways, however, our Democratic governor, Pat Quinn, is not exactly a friend of unions either. At the end of the last fiscal year, he announced out of the blue that pay increases previously negotiated as part of a union contract would be frozen, on the grounds that not enough money had been appropriated to cover them. In other words, Quinn abruptly reneged on an existing contract, whereas Walker used the legislative process to change the law first and gave everyone plenty of notice of what he intended to do. After the pay freeze was imposed some AFSCME officials complained that Quinn was “worse than Walker” for that very reason!