Jun 28, 2012

Health Care Tax Survives SCOTUS

The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional.  Here's the pdf

It's (according to the court) a Tax thing, not a Commerce thing. From the SCOTUS blog:
There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance.
However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power.
Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. 
On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn't comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.
It was sold as "No, no it's not a tax...", I'm fairly sure I was telling everyone that it was always 'a tax thing.' Especially when they were hiring at the IRS to enforce the thing.

It's also a liberty thing -- but we seem to have a lot less of that, and fewer people seem to care.  Pass the broccoli before they force me to eat it.

Jun 26, 2012

Vampire Hunters

My new favorite picture on the internet today...

although I still like the original...

5 Billion for Fubar Camo Snafu

Over the next year, America’s largest fighting force is swapping its camouflage pattern. The move is a quiet admission that the last uniform — a pixelated design that debuted in 2004 at a cost of $5 billion — was a colossal mistake.

Soldiers have roundly criticized the gray-green uniform for standing out almost everywhere it’s been worn. Industry insiders have called the financial mess surrounding the pattern a “fiasco.”

Kristine Isherwood, a mechanical engineer on Natick’s camouflage team, said simply, “It shows where to shoot.”

Read More

Jun 25, 2012

Turkey Calls NATO

As I predicted yesterday...

Turkey is asking its NATO allies for a tough response to Syria's downing of one of its aircraft on Friday. Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Arinc says that at a hastily-arranged NATO meeting Tuesday, his country will ask that the shootdown be considered an attack on the entire alliance. That conclusion could trigger a joint military response. But experts do not expect Tuesday's meeting to actually lead to war.

Turkey requested the meeting under NATO's Article Four, which empowers any member to call a meeting if its “territorial integrity, political independence or security” is threatened. But the Turkish prime minister said Monday his country will ask NATO to consider the downing of its aircraft under Article 5 - as an attack on all of NATO, opening the door to a joint military response.

Read more ....

"Oh, we'll all go down together, when we go!"

Jun 24, 2012

Week in Review - Sunday Comics

Busy week.

Executive Privilege was evoked, A. G. Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress - soon to be brought up to a full House Vote (don't worry, nothing'll happen to him after that), Nixon era vocabulary words were dusted off and sent to the talking points - all for the Fast and Furious scandal, that Democrats swear was started by George Bush, but aren't handing over the documents to prove it. At the very least, this disaster of a program has finally been forced into the main stream media. Anyone who hasn't heard of it might be asking what's all this about then? The Democrat response? It's a Republican ploy to suppress the voters. Wh- okay, Mrs. Pelosi. What's the media's response? You should hear Rachel Maddow talk about it.

And in another move against the Constitution, the Obama Administration said they weren't going to enforce the law anymore. At least, as long as you're an immigrant who was forced to come here by your parents. It kind of creates an image of a teenager in a van throwing a tantrum because he wanted to go to the Mall -- just not the Mall of America. Anyhow, it's all a political card game to impress the Latino voters, and it's only a 2 year stop gap at best. Reforming immigration policy to make it easier for people who want to come here legally ought to be the prevailing force - but instead it's always focused on the people who went in through the back door. Now all the seats are taken. Why not lock that door first so that the folks standing in line, buying a ticket, can get a better chair?

As bad things seem to come in threes - Expect the Supreme Court to pronounce the Affordable Healthcare Act DOA really soon. Again, isn't Mr. Obama a professor in Constitutional Law? How could his Administration only read the Cliff Notes on it? I mean, it's not a very long document. I find it almost hilarious that the single payer option would have been Constitutional.

Another note worth mentioning, have you noticed these past couple weeks, Mr. Obama's Administration's 'laser like focus' is trained not on solving problems, but tapping his base and donors the last couple months? Maybe he's getting worried about Mitten's chances? Maybe he figures he's already lost the white blue collar worker? Wait until he finds out that his 2008 win was more about Republicans staying home because they didn't like John McCain.

Stories are leaning to Tim Pawlenty as a new front runner for the VeeP spot on the ticket. Well, Rubio's out since Obama trumped him on the immigration wedge issue - and although Rubio would be good to counter and court the Latino voter, he has the Sarah Palin Problem -- Mittens has to pick someone who seems like he could just slide into his chair if something were to happen to him. Sarah didn't seem to portray that image, at all.  To be fair, neither does Biden - but Biden is a bullet proof shield that makes Dan Quayle look like a Rhodes Scholar. The best part? Turns out Pawlenty would rather work the phones, than stand next to Mitt.  So, I guess it'll be a trip to New Mexico after his fund raising in Utah this weekend? Get ready to hear a lot more about Susana Martinez.

To restate the obvious: Egypt continues to be run by the military, even though they are allowing Morsy to be their front man.

The Syrian civil war has gotten so bad, even the UN said, you know what - we're out of here. It's a war zone. You may not want to test to see if their anti-aircraft weapons are working. That Turkish jet was a minor incident, until you remember that Turkey is a member of NATO.

Greece voted that they'll keep the Eurozone going for a couple more weeks. Microsoft came out with a new tablet to be destroyed by the iPad, and Jamie Dimon came to Congress to give his employees an update to how business was doing.

Actual news - LeBron won a trophy. Good work, guys... after six more rings I'll talk about a legacy. Until then.... I care about all this gum on the sidewalk a whole lot more.

And two pederasts were convicted this week. One with the Catholic Church (shocking) The other one a trusted government employee. Actual shocker. There isn't a hell hot enough for either of these guys. Hopefully everyone in the fine institutions these guys are heading to will have heard of them and give them their version of "tickle monster"?

Hope to be back here next week.

Jun 20, 2012

Executive Privilege Evoked

President Obama asserted executive privilege over documents related to the “Fast and Furious” operation Wednesday as a House panel moved to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt for failing to cooperate with a related congressional inquiry.
Sharing the “Fast and Furious” documents “would raise substantial separation of powers concerns and potentially create an imbalance in the relationship” between Congress and the White House, Holder wrote in a letter to Obama delivered late Tuesday.

Ah, the executive privilege. Like taking the 5th. You're not coming out and admitting you're guilty - but it sure as hell implies that you're guilty.

So, either Holder lied, and held to those lies for about a year - and was about to get called on it - or there's an even deeper cover up on who authorized it, who knew about it, who gave the order, and the cover up of all that stuff. Or there's even more? Maybe it's their entire plan to use Fast and Furious to start a campaign to tarnish the Second Amendment in his second term?

And let's review this a little more - How can you evoke Executive Privilege if it's about confidential communications? The very definition: The principle that members of the executive branch of government cannot legally be forced to disclose their confidential communications when such disclosure would adversely affect the operations or procedures of the executive branch.1 How much, and how far down the rabbit hole does this go? Did the White House become actively involved in the sending and loosing thousands of weapons to the worst violent offenders in Mexico, to have them used against Federal Boarder Agents and in thousands of Mexican murders? (Hey, don't tell this story to all those illegal kids that you just gave free passes too - they might get upset and not vote - or worse, vote Republican!) Gosh, imagine if they were doing that in Chicago?

Guess we'll have to hear about it in about 10 years, well after Mr. Transparency - er - Obama is out of the White House. Maybe Mr. Holder will write a book and be interviewed on 60 Minutes? Maybe John Stewart - if he's still around then.

A quick recap on Executive Privilege:
Nixon: A few guys wiretapping a hotel room. No one died.
Clinton: Got a B.J. from an intern the same age as his daughter. Didn't want to talk about it.
Bush/Cheney: Energy Policy meeting with Dick's fraternity brothers. No one from the Sierra Club was invited.
Obama: [Allegedly] Sent thousands of deadly weapons to Mexican drug lords to make the NRA look bad. Lots of people died.

Fed Doubles Down

The Federal Reserve is extending a program intended to further lower long-term interest rates, noting that hiring has weakened, consumer spending is rising slowly and the economy needs more support... Operation Twist (I suppose "screw" was taken?) continues to pretend to shore up the economy.

Ben sees a double dip, and is trying to keep his job.

Unrelated: Billionaires Prepare for Economic Meltdown

Not Bad

Jun 17, 2012

Obama Leaps Over the Constitution for a DREAM

"With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that's just not the case...for me to simply ignore those Congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President." ~Mr. Obama, 2011

ooops. I guess that doesn't apply when he's pandering to the youth illegal immigrant voter? Maybe you hadn't heard about Mr. Obama’s decision to offer legal status to some undocumented immigrants under 30So either his action violates the Constitution by not allowing Congress to do it's job -- or he's not enforcing the law, which means he's violating his oath? Which is it? Either way, wasn't Mr. Obama a professor of Constitutional Law?

Jun 15, 2012

Dine and Dash

After a photo op with some troops (yesterday was flag day after all) at a DC BBQ joint - where Mr. Obama proposed using barbers to disseminate government information to help fathers raise their kids -- yeah, that doesn't make sense, but it happened -- The POTUS ran out the door sticking the troops with the tab.

Ironically - or to add sauce to this story - it's just after Mr. Obama had complained that his predecessor, W. had eaten a steak dinner and run off without paying.

“It’s like somebody goes to a restaurant, orders a big steak dinner, a martini and all that stuff, then just as you’re sitting down they leave and accuse you of running up the tab.”

Yeah, he said that the day before.

I guess he assumed the troops would 'get his back?'

This will be a Romney ad in 3...2...

Jun 14, 2012

Eurozone Analogy

From the BBC, this clip provides a great analogy that explains the Eurozone financial crisis from the beginning to the where where they are now.

 In order to simplify this extremely complicated situation John Finnemore uses an analogy of German's, Spaniard's and Greek's along with the rest of the EU players enjoying a fancy dinner out. 

 The problems start of course when the bill is presented.  Skip to 1:44

Jun 6, 2012

Walker Wins

Morry Gash/APWisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker (right) 
celebrates his win over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett 
at Tuesday night's victory party in Waukesha, Wis.
Dear Wisconsin Democrat friends, I've got some words to share with you. You probably already know what I'm going to say. I'm sure there are a lot of other people who have a mouth full ready to shove it into your ear canal. Let me patiently stand in line and give you a couple pointers. The rest of you might want to listen in, it affects you too -- you just don't know it yet.

First up, if you're going to do a recall, you better have a winner up against your incombent that you didn't beat in the previous election. Didn't you have a wrestler or a strongman to run? See also Arnold Schwarzenegger vs Gov. Gray Davis. So to drive the point further, it would have been wise not to run the same guy who lost in 2010 to your advisory against him again in the recall. It's why Gore didn't run against W in 2004. No, it was much wiser to run longfaced John Kerry....

Two - You really just hosed all of the Public Sector Unions. You've now validated Walker's approach, and you just did the exact opposite of what a Union is supposed to do - help the cause through solidarity. Well, maybe you helped the taxpayers by losing -- but you certainly didn't help your cause, nor your negotiating ability. You may have even brought forth the question of whether Unions will survive the rest of the 21st Century. Too far fetched? You and I won't be here to see Venus transit across the face of the sun again, and I somehow doubt your membership drive is going to see an uptick again in my lifetime as well.

Three - Expect concessions to start... across the nation. Even in Illinois, there was "talk" about austerity - don't worry, they didn't act on it. Heavens no. It's almost making me chuckle. No, but other states that handed out fat pension deals and free healthcare to State employees will soon be taking a pick axe to those promises. And then expect private Unions to start losing ground. Across the board. Yes, Wisconsin is going to be the first of the Dominios to fall. There are 49 right behind it.

Four - You just put Wisconsin in play for the General. Obama counted on the dark blueness of Wisconsin about as cavalierly as he did the Greece-like-State of Illinois that he hails from. That dark vein is now kind of pink. It's no longer a sure thing. Expect massive amounts of dollars and some presidential visits to Green Bay before November. I would even put the over/under of Obama wearing a Pack jersey before the General at about dead even. Nah, who am I kidding? You and I both know it'll be the Blaspheme's banner for November.

Five - If the primaries and the 'selection' of Mitt was like a bad fishing trip, that's all over now for the Conservatives. It's Disneyland now for the hardliners. Their "fringe guy", the one with the guts to try hard-core conservative governing - and created results, without raising taxes - and then survived an angry recall vote - just won. And won big. All the whining about the GOP needing to be more centrist will be silenced about ... hold on... now. George Will, quit whimpering. Okay. Now the platform has been presented. The path to success has been laid out for them. Now they have the precedent to step on it. And they will. And after a couple of careful tiptoes in wingtips, they'll have themselves an old fashioned ho-down.

Six - Big money in elections are here to stay. So much money poured into this election, most of it out-of-Wisconsin cash, and it got returns. Big lines at the ballot box, and big wins for the 'investors.' Actual results? An exact re-showing for the numbers (almost identical) from the 2010 governor's race. But I am impressed of the 85% participation, no matter how you voted.

Seven - If you wanted Walker to disappear, you blew it. Expect him to be running for President sooner than later. He'll be doing speeches at the NRA, the GOP convention, I'd even expect him to be running some kind of committee or fundraising entity before too long.  Now he's the Republican Superman. And you just created him.

Have a super day.

Jun 5, 2012


Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup on Friday.

That number has remained unchanged for the past 30 years, since 1982, when Gallup first asked the question on creationism versus evolution. Thirty years ago, 44% of the people who responded said they believed that God created humans as we know them today - only a 2-point difference from 2012.

"Despite the many changes that have taken place in American society and culture over the past 30 years, including new discoveries in biological and social science, there has been virtually no sustained change in Americans' views of the origin of the human species since 1982," wrote Gallup's Frank Newport. "All in all, there is no evidence in this trend of a substantial movement toward a secular viewpoint on human origins."

The second most common view is that humans evolved with God's guidance - a view held by 32% of respondents. The view that humans evolved with no guidance from God was held by 15% of respondents.


Jun 1, 2012

Forever Bush

Meanwhile, at the White House, George W. came back to have his presence become a permanent feature of the property.

The current government employee recounted how he and Bush met him for the first time, when he said "hehe, pull my finger." W. promptly declined to finish the story. 
"Dang, I wore the wrong suit..."