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Category: Legislative

What Constitution?

Posted by – 3/19/09

After years of protesting that Bush was shredding the Constitution (certain points with which I would not disagree), the proud Democrat-led House has shown they don’t give a rat’s ass about the Constitution either. Why let those musty old laws get in the way of a good populist distraction anyway? No matter that the Constitution forbids the passage of a bill of attainder by Congress:

No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

More explanation of this ridiculous move over at Sweetness & Light.

Nashville Tea Party: Friday at Noon @ Legislative Plaza

Posted by – 2/25/09

Alright, just a notice to all those liberty-minded folks who don’t already know: we’re having a tax protest in the spirit of the Santelli Tea Party (see video below) this coming Friday at noon at Legislative Plaza in Downtown Nashville. If you’re coming, answer in kind on the poll to your right, and make sure we know about it on the Facebook event page.

I’ll have updates with photos here afterwards.

The Framers' Intentions with the Senate

Posted by – 2/23/09

Admit it. You’ve wondered why there are two houses of Congress, right? Well, I’ll admit it then. This is something I’d never really understood about the Framers’ original intentions for election to the Senate. George Will explains:

The Framers established election of senators by state legislators, under which system the nation got the Great Triumvirate (Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and John Calhoun) and thrived. In 1913, progressives, believing that more, and more direct, democracy is always wonderful, got the 17th Amendment ratified. It stipulates popular election of senators, under which system Wisconsin has elected, among others, Joe McCarthy, as well as Feingold.

Okay, so originally, the Framers wanted Senators elected to serve by the State legislators. Actually, this makes a great deal of sense. After all, someone is supposed to be an ambassador from each of the States to the Federal Government. The House of Representatives is already representing the people.

The Framers gave the three political components of the federal government (the House, Senate and presidency) different electors (the people, the state legislatures and the electoral college as originally intended) to reinforce the principle of separation of powers, by which government is checked and balanced.

Furthermore, grounding the Senate in state legislatures served the structure of federalism. Giving the states an important role in determining the composition of the federal government gave the states power to resist what has happened since 1913 — the progressive (in two senses) reduction of the states to administrative extensions of the federal government.

And that is certainly a problem I’ve noticed. Full Op/Ed here.

Arguing against the realities of Porkulus

Posted by – 2/12/09

While the Democrats are making emotional appeals, fighting the Republicans with straw man arguments, and continuing to pretend that the issue is already settled (have you noticed how Dems love pretending there’s a consensus?), Republican House Leader John Boehner’s blog details some serious problems with the “stimulus” and backs them up with hard numbers. Highlights:

  1. The final agreement will cost each and every household more than $6,500 in additional debt.
  2. The “Making Work Pay” tax credit at the center of the plan amounts to $1.10 a day, not even enough to ride the bus one-way to work.
  3. The final agreement is almost as much as the annual discretionary budget for the entire federal government.
  4. The $789.5 billion final agreement slated for a House vote either today or tomorrow will exceed more than $1 trillion when adding in the interest of approximately $300 billion between 2009-2019.
  5. Apparently included in the final “jobs” bill is money for plug-in vehicles, money for STD prevention, and money for ACORN (via the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and CDBG program).

Not that I am under some illusion that Republicans have suddenly come back to sound fiscal policy — how many Austrian economists could there possibly be in Congress?— but the points he makes are excellent nonetheless.

And while I’m at it, I should note that I cannot find a single, non-partisan economist who thinks this thing is a great idea. (Not to mention that this stimulus bill is so bloated beyond direct monetary injection it looks nothing like the specter of a bill that they’re arguing in favor of!) Obama sets up an awfully good argument that “[t]here is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jump-start the economy.” Except with all due respect Mr. President, that is just not true. There is serious disagreement with the President on this.

What about you? Are you too partisan to see beyond this ruse, or are you willing to look at the facts, listen to the experts, and make a rational decision based on common sense? If artificially low interest rates, astronomical government spending, corporate and personal welfare, and unchecked printing of the dollar is the key to prosperity, why are we in this mess?

Health Care Overhall: The Part of Porkulus that No One is Talking About

Posted by – 2/9/09

You’re simply not going to believe this. Apparently Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are trying to sneak the foundations of universal healthcare into the “stimulus.” Yet another reason they want it passed without debate.

Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration’s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it,” he said. “The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.”

But if you’re still ignorant enough to believe universal healthcare will be a utopian dream come true, hold the phone.

Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. 

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446).

And yes, eerily enough, many of the provisions mirror recommendations Daschle made in his 2008 snoozer Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.

According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”

Awesome. I’m so glad to super-efficient, omniscient Federal Government will be in my exam room to save the day. They’ve already proven to be so brilliant in their prescription to provide mortgages to people who can’t possibly afford them. And then there’s this little Orwellian gem:

Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties.  “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill.

Ah, of course. And “meaningful user” will be defined by an unaccountable, appointed board called Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. Like the Federal Reserve, but for all things medical. Get excited!

And now for some downsides (obvious ones, at least, for those who haven’t yet noticed them):

[Daschle] praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

That’s right, Americans. Quit being so hopeful. That is, of course, unless it’s Hope rationed out by the Federal Council of Prosperity, Happiness, and Fairness. You see, when you’re so damn hopeful, you’re taking away the hope of others. Share it. There’s only so much to go around.

Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Folks, get ready for this kind of stuff. THIS is why private insurance is good. When you get into a single-payer health insurance system, it doesn’t turn out well. And telling seniors to just suck it up and prepare to die is only one of the heartwarming benefits that comes with universal healthcare.

The Stimulus: A Legislative Abomination

Posted by – 2/6/09

What’s the real problem with this “stimulus” bill?

It’s the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus — and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress’s own budget office says won’t be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish. He said.

Great Op/Ed at the Washington Post. Seriously, how can anyone defend this piece of garbage?

Note to Pelosi: America Only Has 305 Million People

Posted by – 2/4/09

 

Proof positive that this whole “stimulus” boondoggle is complete garbage. Friends, be wary of the snake oil salesman who tries to sell you something with the conditions

  1. there isn’t time to debate,
  2. I’m the only one with the answer, and
  3. disaster will come if you don’t immediately do what I say.

This has been the message of the great charlatans of history, right up to last year with Hank “Corleone” Paulson. Don’t let it happen yet again in such short order.

Ooooooo, makes me wonder…

Posted by – 2/2/09

So the much praised first act that Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. (Legislators love adding the word ‘Fair’ to their legislative acts, don’t they?) And while my main beef with the new law is that it potentially allows former employees to bring a lawsuit against their former employer even decades after the fact, I do find it overwhelmingly ironic that Obama himself paid his female staffers 78% of what he paid his male staffers. Hmm, if even Obama does it, there must be a valid reason, non? Perhaps the women never pushed for better compensation while the men did? Studies suggest that the gender gap in compensation can be tied to the differences in salary negotiation between men and women:

In one study, eight times as many men as women graduating with master’s degrees from Carnegie Mellon negotiated their salaries. The men who negotiated were able to increase their starting salaries by an average of 7.4 percent, or about $4,000. In the same study, men’s starting salaries were about $4,000 higher than the women’s on average, suggesting that the gender gap between men and women might have been closed if more of the women had negotiated their starting salaries.

Rewarding the Interest Groups at Our Expense

Posted by – 2/2/09

From The Beacon:

Call me old-fashioned, but when I gaze upon all of this booty, I don’t see stimulus; I see rip-off. The Democrats are using the alleged crisis as the pretext for a monumental looting of the taxpayers (present and future) in the service of rewarding—whuda thunk?—the interest groups that put them in power.

More details on Pork-O-Rama ’09 here.

"I won."

Posted by – 1/30/09

Yep. That’s straight from the mouth of the new president, Captain Bi-Partisanship. Obama, Pelosi (who, I swear to our collective oneness, straight-faced told the American people she thinks of herself as non-partisan), and their ilk have made it quite clear that they’re only willing to discuss and debate with the GOP on issues as long as the result of the debate is a foregone conclusion. They absolutely do not need Republican support to pass a damn thing in this Congress. So why are the Dems are in such an uproar over the unanimous Republican “nay” vote on TARP II? They didn’t need a single House Republican vote to pass it and could apparently even spare 11 Democrats’ votes. This is part of a public perception strategy to demonize the Republican party. I’ll have to give the Dems this: the last century or so has proven them to be far more effective in terms of shaping public perception than the Republicans could ever hope to be.

Take as a for instance the civil rights progress made in the 60′s. Common knowledge would tell you that it was all thanks to the Dems, and they’ve been quite successful in shaping history to reflect that sentiment. It was, however, a far weaker version of the bill that passed in ’64 by the Dems than was introduced previously by Republicans. It was the Democratic majority who’d been filibustering and blocking attempts to pass the civil rights bill. Thanks only to JFK—who foresaw a massive return of black voters to the party of Lincoln if the Republicans were successful—a weak, over-night version of the Republican bill was introduced by the Dems. JFK was shortly assassinated, and LBJ placed passage of JFK’s initiative a top priority. It was pandering at it’s finest—a familiar motivation behind so many political maneuvers. Dems had control of Congress then as now, and had such control over a large unbroken period of time beginning with FDR and the New Deal. If the Dems thought civil rights was so important, why didn’t they pass it sooner? Why did it require years of failed Republican bills and pressure from the GOP to get the Dems to move on the issue?

Speaking of the New Deal, this is on the reading list for all of you still convinced that it was government work programs that brought us out of—rather than caused and extended—the Great Depression.

UPDATE: Let me add that Obama’s apologizing to the Arab world about our apparent effrontery over the last 20 to 30 years is a great example of rewriting history. It not only ignores American lives and blood shed for the benefit of Muslims in places the world over, it vindicates and legitimizes the terrorists’ beef with the Satan and the Great Satan. From the Krauthammer piece linked above:

[I]t is both false and deeply injurious to this country to draw a historical line dividing America under Obama from a benighted past when Islam was supposedly disrespected and demonized… In these seven years since Sept. 11 — seven years during which thousands of Muslims rioted all over the world (resulting in the death of more than 100) to avenge a bunch of cartoons – there’s not been a single anti-Muslim riot in the United States to avenge the massacre of 3,000 innocents. On the contrary. In its aftermath, we elected our first Muslim member of Congress and our first president of Muslim parentage.

So who should be apologizing? A culture of openness, respect, and opportunity hailing from the freest nation in history? Or a religious culture that forces film-makers, journalists, and cartoonists to take pause before invoking the name of their prophet for fear of supremely disproportionate retribution?