Saturday, February 5, 2011

op ed review 2/6


In a ruling out of the U.S. District Court in Pensacola FL, Justice Roger Vinson has declared the primary mechanism whereby Obamacare achieves universal insurance coverage–the individual mandate–is unconstitutional.

Judge Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, when the then-Illinois senator argued there were other ways to achieve reform short of requiring every American to purchase insurance. “I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’”

Senate Republicans have vowed a sustained, unrelenting push to repeal Obamacare, despite falling short in their first effort Wednesday. Republicans say they are not content to wait idly until the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the healthcare law in 2012 or later. Instead, they will pursue a multi-pronged strategy to delay implementation of the law and repeal its most controversial provisions.

But Senators did vote for the first time to repeal a piece of Obamacare, rolling back a new tax reporting requirement that’s been universally denounced by business owners.

Among the 17 who voted against lifting the reporting requirement was Sen. Patty Murray.

“If you would like to know what the White House really thinks of Obamacare, there’s an easy way. Look past its press releases. Ignore its promises. Forget its talking points. Instead, simply witness for yourself the outrageous way the White House protects its best friends from Obamacare. “

“Last year, we learned that the Department of Health and Human Services had granted 111 waivers to protect a lucky few from the onerous regulations of the new national health care overhaul. That number quickly and quietly climbed to 222, and last week we learned that the number of Obamacare privileged escapes has skyrocketed to 733.”

How can you get your own free pass from Obamacare? Maybe you can just donate $27 million to President Obama‘s campaign efforts. That’s what Andy Stern did as president of SEIU in 2008.

“Obama issues global warming rules in January, gives GE an exemption in February”

Obamacare is now unenforceable in Utah, the state’s top lawyer says.

The Supreme Court may be sending a message to one of the country's most liberal appeals courts, unanimously overturning five consecutive cases out of the 9th Circuit in less than a week.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has signed an executive order rescinding New Mexico's illegal alien sanctuary status and has directed police to inquire about legal status when making arrests.

Buoyed by expanded majorities, Republicans at the state level are stepping up their push to pass Arizona-style immigration laws even as a federal court weighs whether to strike down the original legislation. Mississippi was the latest state to make gains on the issue, with the state House voting Thursday for a bill that would let officers check immigration status during traffic stops and other encounters.*

Republicans have spent the first month of the year landing a slate of top-tier Senate candidates for 2012, which has already put the majority tantalizingly in reach. The early successes are a clear sign the momentum from last year’s midterm wave is continuing in the recruitment process for 2012.

The federal judge who struck down the Obama administration's moratorium on deepwater drilling after the Gulf oil spill held the Interior Department in contempt Wednesday, and ordered the federal agency to pay attorneys' fees for several offshore oil companies.

Several leading Senate Republicans floated broad legislation that would prevent the federal government from regulating greenhouse gases or taking them into account when implementing various laws.

“Remember when the media and the political establishment treated the Tea Party like a fringe group of lunatics that signaled the end of the Republic? Of course you do; it was just last week. But perhaps it’s the media and political establishment that have marginalized themselves as a result. Gallup’s new survey shows that almost three out of every four adults say it’s important for the GOP to account for Tea Party ideas in their policies — including a majority of Democrats.”

Ronald Reagan would have turned 100 this Sunday, and nearly seven years after his death, one might think he were still alive and leading the Republican Party. Along with the requisite speeches and academic panels, the festivities include: a Rose Parade float, a six-foot-high cake, commemorative stamps and jelly beans, a Beach Boys concert, a tribute from the Jonas Brothers and a video homage at the Super Bowl, which is also on Sunday. The memorials, including a 21-gun salute and a graveside wreath-laying by Nancy Reagan



Jonah Goldberg 2/4/11

The only good conservative is a dead conservative.

That, in a nutshell, describes the age-old tradition of liberals suddenly discovering that once-reviled conservatives were OK after all. It's just we-the-living who are hateful ogres, troglodytes and moperers.

Over the last decade or so, as the giants of the founding generation of modern American conservatism have died, each has been rehabilitated into a gentleman-statesman of a bygone era of conservative decency and open-mindedness.

Barry Goldwater was the first. A few years ago his liberal granddaughter produced a documentary in which nearly all of the testimonials were from prominent liberals like Hillary Clinton and James Carville. Almost overnight, the man whom LBJ cast as a hate-filled demagogue who would condemn the world to nuclear war became an avuncular and sage grandfather type. Down the memory hole went one of the most despicable campaigns of political demonization in American history. Even Sarah Palin hasn't been subjected to an ad in the New York Times signed by more than 1,000 psychiatrists claiming she's too crazy to be president (though I don't want to give anybody any ideas).

Then there was William F. Buckley, the founder of National Review, the magazine I call home. For more than four decades, Buckley was subjected to condemnation for his alleged extremism. Jack Paar (the Johnny Carson/Jay Leno of his day for you youngsters) was among the first of many to try to paint Buckley as a Nazi. Now, Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times book review section, who is writing a biography of Buckley, insists that Bill's life mission was to make liberalism better.

But it's Ronald Reagan who really stands out. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, the Gipper is enjoying yet another status upgrade among liberals. Barack Obama took a Reagan biography with him on his vacation. A slew of liberals and mainstream journalists (but I repeat myself) complimented Obama's State of the Union address as "Reaganesque." Time magazine recently featured the cover story "Why Obama (Hearts) Reagan." Meanwhile, the usual suspects are rewriting the same columns about how Reagan was a pragmatist who couldn't run for president today because he was too nice, too reasonable, too (shudder) liberal for today's Republican Party.

Now, on one hand, there's something wonderful about the overflowing of love for Reagan. When presidents leave office or die, their partisan affiliation fades and, for the great ones, eventually withers away. Reagan was a truly great president, one of the greatest according to even liberal historians like the late John Patrick Diggins. As you can tell from the gnashing of teeth and rending of cloth from the far left, the lionization of Reagan is a great triumph for the right, and conservatives should welcome more of it.

On the other hand, what is not welcome is an almost Soviet airbrushing of the past to serve liberalism's current agenda. For starters, if liberals are going to celebrate Reagan, they might try to account for the fact that they fought his every move, alternating between derision and slander in the process. As Steven Hayward, author of the two-volume history "The Age of Reagan," asks in the current National Review, "Who can forget the relentless scorn heaped on Reagan for the 'evil empire' speech and the Strategic Defense Initiative?" Hayward notes that historian Henry Steele Commager said the "evil empire" speech "was the worst presidential speech in American history, and I've read them all."

The point isn't that liberals were wrong to oppose every Reagan policy. But what they seem to ignore is that those policies were the products of a political philosophy. Sure, he made pragmatic compromises, but he started from a philosophical position that the self-anointed smart set considered not just wrong, but evil or stupid or both. The Media Research Center has issued a lengthy report chronicling countless journalistic examples, but my favorite is probably comes from Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London, which in 1982 held a vote for the most hated people of all time. The winners: Hitler, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Dracula.

While the encomiums to Reagan & Co. are welcome, the reality is that very little has changed. As we saw in the wake of the Tucson shootings, so much of the effort to build up conservatives of the past is little more than a feint to tear down the conservatives of the present. It's an old game. For instance, in 1980, quirky New Republic writer Henry Fairlie wrote an essay for the Washington Post in which he lamented the rise of Reagan, "the most radical activist of them all." The title of his essay: "If Reagan Only Were Another Coolidge ..."

Even then, the only good conservative was a dead conservative.



"This case involves a majority of the states (26), and the National Federation of Independent Business. If not completely unprecedented, the very fact that more than half the states marched into federal court on behalf of themselves and their citizens to challenge an unconstitutional federal program falls into the category of 'beyond any recent memory.' The sheer magnitude of the parties involved guarantees that the courts on appeal will pay particular attention to this case."

-Robert Alt

"Disregard Barack Obama's rhetorical cotton candy about aspiring to be transformative. He is just another practitioner of reactionary liberalism and champion of a government unchastened by its multiplying failures. The word 'entitlements' was absent from his nearly 7,000-word State of the Union address -- a $183 million speech that meandered for 61 minutes as the nation's debt grew $3 million a minute."

-George Will

"If Egypt falls -- immediately, or ultimately -- to the Muslim Brotherhood, it will embolden other fanatical revolutions throughout the region and world. Then they'll come after the big prizes: Europe, which is almost gone, and America, which still has time to save itself, if it will climb out of denial which, as the joke goes, is not just a river in Egypt."

-Cal Thomas

"To this day, the [Muslim] Brotherhood's motto remains, 'Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, Jihad is our way, and dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu akbar!' Still, our see-no-Islamic-evil foreign-policy establishment blathers on about the Brotherhood's purported renunciation of violence — and never you mind that, with or without violence, its commitment is ... to 'conquer America' and 'conquer Europe.' It is necessary to whitewash the Ikhwan's brutal legacy and its tyrannical designs in order to fit it into the experts' paradigm: history for simpletons."

-Andrew McCarthy



The Genesis Code explores the relationship between faith and science, in the midst of a story of two college students.



In its obsessive desire to promote the virtues of electric cars, the BBC proudly showed us last week how its reporter Brian Milligan was able to drive an electric Mini from London to Edinburgh in a mere four days – with nine stops of up to 10 hours to recharge the batteries (with electricity from fossil fuels). What the BBC omitted to tell us was that in the 1830s, a stagecoach was able to make the same journey in half the time, with two days and nights of continuous driving. This did require 50 stops to change horses.

Al Gore: “Snowstorms caused by global warming”

“America Crushed by the Snow and Ice of Global Warming”

President Obama’s top science adviser said there’s a need to “educate” GOP climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill as the White House seeks to advance its green energy agenda. “It is an education problem. I think we have to educate them,” said John Holdren, who heads the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.



At the front gates of the Rancho Las Palmas resort, a few hundred liberals rallied Sunday against "corporate greed" and polluters. They chanted for the arrest of billionaires Charles and David Koch, and their ire was also directed at the other free market-oriented businessmen invited here by the Koch brothers to discuss free markets and electoral strategies. Billionaires poisoning our politics was the central theme of the protests. But nothing is quite as it seems in modern politics: The protest's organizer, the nonprofit Common Cause, is funded by billionaire George Soros.

One protestor at the event called for lynching black Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

For some perspective on the recent "debate" over "civility" and "eliminationist rhetoric," let's turn to Montana, home of the Missoula Children's Theater. A recent production there gets a bad review today in a letter to the editor of the Missoulian, the local daily: “….Now, I realize you play to a mostly liberal audience in Missoula and so, I am sure, felt comfortable in your calling for the beheading of Sarah Palin. I am painfully aware that most in the audience tittered with laughter and clapped because "no one would miss her" but there were some in your audience who took great offense to this "uncivil tone" about another human being….”



Al-Qaida is on the verge of producing radioactive weapons after sourcing nuclear material and recruiting rogue scientists to build "dirty" bombs, according to leaked diplomatic documents.

The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

ONE of Britain's most respected Muslim ministers was behind bars last night for raping a boy of 12 and abusing another. Mohammed Hanif Khan - honoured by Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace for his work - preyed on the lads when they went to his mosque for religious lessons.

The new imam at the Ground Zero mosque and cultural center believes that people who leave Islam and preach a new religion should be jailed.

“Sean Hannity hosted radical Imam Anjem Choudary on his program last night. And, yes, the excruciating fifteen minute war-of-words did culminate with a flustered Hannity grumbling "you're one sick, miserable, evil SOB, but thank you for coming on anyway." But, in fairness to Hannity, Choudary's pretty far out there, admitting that he thinks adulterers should be stoned and that Sharia will one day be practiced worldwide.”



Scientists and engineers are celebrities in most countries. They’re not seen as geeks or misfits, as they too often are in the U.S., but rather as society’s leaders and innovators. In China, eight of the top nine political leaders are engineers. The ninth is a geologist. In the U.S., almost no engineers or scientists are engaged in high-level politics, and there is a virtual absence of engineers in our public policy debates.



On the eve of Ronald Reagan's election as president of the United States in 1980, a radio reporter asked him what it was that Americans saw in him. Reagan hesitated and then replied: "Would you laugh if I told you that I think maybe they see themselves and that I'm one of them?" Forty years and four presidents later, Americans still see themselves in Reagan. In a Gallup poll in 2009 they ranked Reagan as the best president, just ahead of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

Welcome to Central Falls, Rhode Island. Motto: "The City with a Bright Future” ….since Rhode Island's public employees received the right to collectively bargain in the 1960s, government unions have driven Central Falls into the ground…. In 1972, the city created a new pension plan for public-safety officers that allowed them to retire after 20 years and earn 50% of their final year's salary thereafter. What the city didn't anticipate was that firefighters would use the minimum staffing requirements that were part of their collective-bargaining agreement to rack up overtime and increase their last year's salary. Or that nearly a third of police officers would retire with a higher-paying disability pension…. In 1991, the state took over the schools because the city could no longer afford to fund them......Retired judge Mark Pfeiffer was appointed last summer as receiver to review and fix the city's finances….he hiked property and car taxes by nearly 20%.....Those tax hikes have merely driven more people out of town…….. The city's manufacturing base has collapsed.…Last year, the school board fired the entire staff at Central Falls High School when the teachers union refused to accept the conditions of a reform model for failing schools. To wit, teachers didn't want to attend after-school professional-development meetings, eat with students once a week, or submit to more rigorous evaluations. And if the district was going to force them to tutor students after school once a week, they wanted $90 an hour in compensation, not the $30 that was being offered them….

Britain's economy nearly came to a standstill in the late 1970s as a result of a contagion known as the British disease -- endless work stoppages, slowdowns and strikes called by militant trade unions. Company owners and managers had to secure prior approval from union bosses before carrying out even the most routine workplace tasks. As a result, productivity plummeted, and exports of once-popular British products like cars and motorcycles dropped sharply or disappeared entirely. Economic growth stagnated, investors fled overseas, and the country's standard of living declined.

It ain't easy being a Republican in Hollywood, even if your brother is an A-list director and producer. That's what actor Clint Howard told attendees at a California GOP convention over the weekend. Howard, an actor since 1961 and the younger brother of filmmaker Ron Howard, said that while he is comfortable speaking publicly about his conservatism, his advice to Republicans looking to break into the industry is to keep their political opinions to themselves, even though Hollywood liberals seldom do. About five years ago "I came out of the closet. In Hollywood. I certainly understand that's dangerous," he said.

A Chicken Chain’s Corporate Christian Ethos Is Questioned by Gay Rights Activists

Judge Vinson brought down the whole house of cards when he found that a) the coercive "individual mandate" that would have required every citizen to purchase health insurance was unconstitutional and b) that without the mandate, as the administration itself argued, the law would be unworkable….Yet the 78-page opinion isn't just the beginning of the end of ObamaCare on the judicial front. It also represents a significant blow to the fantasy of a "living constitution" -- which means, no constitution at all, just an ever-shifting set of political programs. In finally containing the infinite elasticity of the Commerce Clause, Vinson has laid down a marker about how far the text of the Constitution can be stretched before it becomes meaningless.



The Bye Bye Obama countdown clock:



Jay Leno: Protestors in Egypt are telling their government to “accept the realities of the modern age we live in.” Then they were attacked by guys on camels with whips…….Vice President Joe Biden has suggested to people out of work to just 'hang in there.' What a difference two years makes: Remember 'hope and change'? Now it's 'hang in there.'"…..



"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over a member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant."

-John Stuart Mill

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