Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Liberalism, Politics, Regulation, Statism
I have often referred to Liberals as “the perpetually discontented.” They have no acceptance of the ordinary foibles of the human race, and they really, really don’t want anyone to disagree with them. Their reactions to those who do disagree, range from calling you a racist, to trying to get you fired, or arrested. I suspect the reason is that they are not sure enough of their own arguments to be confident of defeating you in a debate, thus they want to end any possible debate and just get rid of you.
They have told us in many leftist venues that they don’t have principles like the Republicans do, but react to events on a case-by-case basis. They think that’s a good thing. While Republicans are talking about principles and how they apply to the world as it is, Liberals are nitpicking and regulating and trying to pass laws to make Republicans more tolerable.
They don’t seem to have a very good opinion of the very people they claim they are trying to help. Those who are unemployed are viewed as mostly unemployable or they wouldn’t have lost their jobs. Those who are on food stamps are fat, lazy and don’t know how to properly spend their food stamps. More vegetables, more fruit, more whole grains!!
“The USDA (Department of Agriculture) is suggesting major changes to grocery stores to “nudge” Americans to purchase healthier foods when they shop.
The agency commissioned an “expert panel” to make recommendations on how to guide the more than 47 million Americans on food stamps into spending their benefits on fruits and vegetables.
The group released an 80-page report this month presenting their ideas, which include talking shopping carts and a marketing strategy for grocery chains that would feature better store lighting for healthier items.
“Most Americans, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants, do not purchase enough whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and legumes, and purchase too many items with excess calories from fats and added sugars,” the report said.
The report estimated that the new carts might cost as much as $30,000 per store. And they would like to rearrange the stores, change how stores stock and display their items. Improve the lighting, create “healthy aisles”. There is no end to the poking and prodding they would like to do in the interest of making sure that people don’t buy junk food with their food stamps.
Why is it that liberals are so intent on forcing everyone to adhere to their ideas of what is correct? It’s that little tyrant that lurks in their very souls, trying desperately to get out.
At the turn of the 21st century, there were 138,049 pages in the Code of Federal Regulations. At the end of 2013, there were 175,906. The George W. Bush administration added 2,490 pages a year. During the first five years of the Obama administration they have added 3,504 pages a year. Granted, some regulations are longer than others. But there are costs to comply with regulations — and those costs can be a real drag on the economy. When the economy shrank to a minus 2.9 percent in the first quarter, it was blamed on the weather. More likely, it was ObamaCare. Health and Human Services added 1,296 pages of new regulations just before the Fourth of July holiday.
The Federal Reserve considers that there is little inflation, but they don’t shop for groceries. People are shocked to find that their ObamaCare premiums have gone up by 40%. The White House reveled in the June jobs numbers which seemed to be really up, but the increase was all in part-time jobs, accounting for all the people who were cut back to less than thirty hours. So now they all work two jobs. That is excess regulation, liberals controlling your lives, improving you—so they will like the improved you better. You know its not going to work.
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Economy, History, Immigration, Liberalism, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, Statism | Tags: Changing Word Meaning, Leftist Propaganda, Slogans and Bumper-Stickers
The administration has determined that in the current immigration crisis we should not use the word “illegal”, so demeaning, you know. We must be more compassionate.
Words, however, have meaning that is not determined by the Democratic party, but by the dictionary. In this case — Merriam Webster:
illegal, il•le•gal, adjective: not allowed by law.
……………………………….not according to or authorized by law. …………………………………………
That’s pretty straightforward, and descriptive. The meaning is plain, solid fact. Do you see anything demeaning there?
alien, noun: a person who was born in a different country and is not
……………….a citizen of the county in which he now lives.
……………….a foreign born resident who has not been naturalized ……………….and is still a subject or citizen of a foreign country.
The administration has said that we must not use these terms, although there are no others that accurately describe the situation. We’re supposed to go for “unaccompanied children” though “minors” more accurately describes the situation, and the majority of the illegal alien “children” are between the ages of eleven and 18, and many are members of Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, a violent street gang already infesting many of our cities, whose members are mostly between age 11 and 21.
This is one of the great problems in our nation’s political battles. The Left spends a lot of time on words, slogans, bumper-stickers, and phrases. They believe if they can get the words right, they can control the narrative. Different words evoke differing emotions, and the right choice can compel people to do what you want.
The Right is so concerned with how a policy or program works and what it means and how it will play out. We worry about cost and incentives, the economics and probable effect—and seldom notice that they are manipulating us with clever use of words. Our minds are just off in a different direction, and we aren’t very good at slogans anyway. Propaganda works!
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Freedom, Law, Politics, Regulation, Statism, The United States | Tags: The US Supreme Court, Three Rulings, Unanimous Decisions
The Obama administration’s position has been defeated in at least thirteen cases before the Supreme Court since January 2012. These were all unanimous decisions. The Court ruled that the president does not get to decide when the Senate is in recess. A recess is the period when Congress is in recess between one congress and the next. The Court unanimously rejected the law establishing abortion-clinic “buffer zones” against pro-life protesters, and the administration argument that a search warrant wasn’t required for the government to look at cell-phone records and data was rejected.
Normally, the Justice Department wins about 70 percent of its cases, but in each of the last three terms, the Court has ruled against the administration a majority of the time. John Fund quotes George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin:”When the administration loses significant cases in unanimous decisions and cannot even hold the votes of its own appointees…it is an indication that they adopted such an extreme position on the scope of federal power that even generally sympathetic judges could not even support it.”
John Fund adds:
Those decisions are very revealing about the views of President Obama and Eric Holder: Their vision is one of unchecked federal power on immigration and environmental issues, on presidential prerogatives, and the taking of private property by the government; hostility to First Amendment freedoms that don’t meet the politically correct norms; and disregard of Fourth Amendment protections against warrantless government intrusion. These are positions that should alarm all Americans regardless of their political views, political-party affiliations, or background.
The president clearly has no intention of slowing his reliance on executive authority. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest earnestly explained that the Obama administration was getting impatient with Congress.
We’re not just going to sit around and wait interminably for Congress.
The president has given his Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson the job of figuring out what options are available to address the problems that have been created by our broken immigration system. Well, yes, when the president encourages young people from Central America to come to America where they will not be deported it creates more problems than he expected. They’re finding it difficult to locate places to put the influx.
It is the Obama administration that has told the Border Patrol not to detain illegals, and defer deportations, and has released illegal immigrants who have been convicted of criminal violations. And who has refused to man the border, but it is Congress that is not dealing with our broken immigration system. It’s just the president who has made it “broken.”
“This administration does not learn constitutional lessons. It continues marching until it meets resistance. And it hasn’t met nearly enough,” said Charles Krauthammer.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, History, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Statism, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Separation of Powers, The Imperial Presidency, The U.S. Constitution.
House Speaker John Boehner told his colleagues on Wednesday that the House of Representatives will sue the executive branch of the government to defend the Constitution’s separation of powers. The Speaker, said the Wall Street Journal, is showing more care that the laws be faithfully executed as the Constitution demands than is President Obama.
The Congress, Mr. Boehner said in his memo to the House, is suffering institutional injury under Mr. Obama’s “aggressive unilateralism” which is a pretty fair description of his governing philosophy. When the president suspends or rewrites laws across health care, drug policy, immigration laws, and so much else— elected legislators are stripped of their constitutional role.
The basic reason behind this step is Mr. Obama’s flagrant contempt for regular political order. For example, he has unilaterally revised, delayed or reinterpreted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on his own thirty-eight times.
Everyone would prefer that the Congress and the President would settle their disputes through the customary political debates and arguments. House members represent the people of their district by population, and are closest to the public for they must face reelection every two years. A senator represents a whole state. The president represents all the people of the country. It was designed by the Founders to slow things down, so that poorly considered laws were not enacted in haste, in the hopes that would result in better law.
In the current climate, potential laws are not getting through Congress. The lapdog media would blame it all on the Republicans, but the blame lies directly in the hands of the Majority Leader of the Senate—who refuses to allow laws passed by the House to even be voted on. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.
The Founders did not consider the possibility that a future president might pay no attention to his oath of office, or just take the law into his own hands. They assumed that a president’s honor and character would mean that even when he disagreed, he would abide by the rules.
“The major reason to involve the judiciary in this case is Mr. Obama’s flagrant contempt for the regular political order,” said the Wall Street Journal.
This president does not feel restrained by the Constitution that he swore to uphold. When Congress will not pass the laws that he wants, as he has said, “I’ve got a phone and a pen.” He will just take action on his own by “executive order.”All presidents have used executive orders from time to time, but none have ever used executive orders to rewrite laws duly passed and signed into law.
Far from a partisan caper, this implicates the foundation of the U.S. political architecture. The courts generally presume that individual Members of Congress lack the “standing” to make a legal challenge, but Mr. Obama is stealing inherent Article I powers that no party other than Congress can vindicate. Mr. Boehner said he will seek a House vote authorizing the lawsuit and put it under the direction of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group.
A single Congressman may not have standing, but Congress has the institutional standing to sue the president and are thus asking a constitutional question that has not been joined at the courts. More than a few judges and Supreme Court Justices seem to be concerned that Mr. Obama’s conduct is undermining the rule of law and political accountability. Just this week, the Supreme Court slapped down the EPA for defying the plain language of the law in the name of anti-carbon policy. More rebukes may be coming with cases about recess appointments and the ObamaCare contraception mandate.
Last summer, Mr. Obama proclaimed that “in a normal political environment” he’s ask Congress to fix laws such as ObamaCare, but since the House disagrees with his priorities, he’ll just go ahead and fix them himself without legislative consent. But then again, the president can hardly get through normal comments to the press without proclaiming that he is the President of the United States or The Commander in Chief. President Bush often said that “he was the Decider,” but that was not a proclamation of his importance, but a humble expression of the weight of the decisions that he must make. There’s a significant difference.
Thanks to Mr. Boehner, the courts will get a chance to weigh in on whether Mr. Obama or his successors can exercise imperial powers.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Health Care, Statism | Tags: Just Costs Way More!, Not In The Consumer Price Index, Understanding Inflation
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the seasonally adjusted price index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs hit an all-time high in May. You may have noticed. The index for these 4 products has risen 7.7 percent over the last year. These items go into the food at home category.
Each month BLS employs data collectors to visit thousands of retail stores all over the United States to collect information on the prices of thousands of items to measure changes for the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Chicken goes into the CPI, but meats, fish and eggs don’t. Beef is up because of the drought in California. Pork is up because a diarrhea disease has decimated baby pigs. I don’t know what’s up with eggs. I buy brown eggs, but haven’t been able to get any for three weeks. In the Northwest, the stores seem to believe that Northwesterners only eat salmon, which may be true. Our freeways are decorated with salmon artwork.
Here are the goods and services that go into the CPI:
- FOOD AND BEVERAGES (breakfast cereal, milk, coffee, chicken, wine, full service meals and snacks);
- HOUSING (rent of primary residence, owners’ equivalent rent, fuel oil, bedroom furniture);
- APPAREL (men’s shirts and sweaters, women’s dresses, jewelry);
- TRANSPORTATION (new vehicles, airline fares, gasoline, motor vehicle insurance);
- MEDICAL CARE (prescription drugs and medical supplies, physicians’ services, eyeglasses and eye care, hospital services);
- RECREATION (televisions, cable television, pets and pet products, sports equipment, admissions);
- EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION (college tuition, postage, telephone services, computer software and accessories);
- OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES (tobacco and smoking products, haircuts and other personal services, funeral expenses).
So you can see why the inflation rate doesn’t seem to match the outgo in your budget. College tuition must throw everything off all by itself, and have you seen the price of bacon lately?
Inflation measures all the things you don’t buy, and don’t use, and none of the things driving up your cost of living. Bureaucrats!
Filed under: Domestic Policy, History, Economy, Health Care, Freedom, Democrat Corruption, Capitalism, Statism, Regulation | Tags: Indepent Payment Advisory Board, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Unaccountable Bureaucrats
The Affordable Care Act’s Independent Payment Advisory Board has been so heavily criticized as an unaccountable body with the power to effectively ration Medicare services that even many congressional Democrats no longer support it. Ordinary people didn’t pay too much attention until Sarah Palin called it a “death panel.”
IPAB’s 15 supposed experts (yet to be nominated) are completely unaccountable and are there to preserve Medicare in its current form by making it cost less. Uh huh. This is traceable to Obama’s chosen health care advisors and their admiration for Britain’s NHS and that organization’s recognition that most of the expense driving up the cost of health care comes in seniors’ final years. Why should we waste all this money on old folks who are about to die anyway?
The unstated yet clear agenda is to impose stricter price controls within Medicare. The history of such price regulation in Medicare and around the world clearly reveals that such controls cut costs only by lowering quality and adding rationing (queues and long waits for service), as well as eliminating participants.
This is Democrats normal modus operandi. Lots of carrots to sell a policy or program, but the carrots always cost too much and one way or another the costs must be cut back. Medicare is not sustainable in its current configuration.
There are enormous amounts of fraud in Medicare. It is quite possible to find ways to reduce costs that do not assume that doctors are all too rich and charge too much. If you honestly look for ways to be more efficient, they are there to be found. That’s how American productivity keeps growing. Ideological assumptions about unearned wealth and an ever increasing need for more control by more bureaucrats prevents efficiency from being found. The assumption that unaccountable bureaucrats can run the medical profession better than those who have spent years in training to learn how to preserve life and heal the afflicted seems a little odd when looked at straight on.
The IPAB’s little-known cousin the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation has managed to escape the political radar. Its seemingly innocuous mission is promoting new and more efficient “payment systems” and “models of care.” This agency is just as dangerous as the IPAB. It is an agency run by the president’s political appointees, but never has to go back to Congress to get an appropriation. Obama provided it with $10 billion up front, to cover its costs for 10 years. At the end of that time the agency will get another $10 billion appropriation.
The big infusion of funding has allowed the CMMI to grow from 60 employees in 2012 to a planned 440 full-time workers in 2015. Ten percent of the funding is devoted to personnel and administrative expenses. Congress usually requires agencies to return to Congress to request a new appropriation each year, which at least gives the illusion of competency being reported and checked.
The premise is that government bureaucrats are best positioned to lead an effort in innovation in medical delivery. (stop laughing!) The history of Medicare’s payment systems over four decades is one of politicized decision-making by regulators who know little about what they are regulating, protection of incumbent providers and roadblocks to new technologies or new ways of doing business. Inefficiency is rampant, and made far worse by government attempts to direct doctors’ time and practice. They will routinely try to cut costs by eliminating the highest and lowest-cost providers.
There has never been an industry, a profession or a product that has not been improved by competition. Politicians policy prescriptions are based on the implicit assumption that government is full of wise platonic guardians who automatically recognize market failures and instinctively recognize the remedies for such failures. Democrats don’t like competition anyway. It’s not fair.
Both agencies should be shut down at the earliest opportunity.
Filed under: Politics, Domestic Policy, Economy, Democrat Corruption, Capitalism, Statism, Regulation | Tags: Corrupt and Unaccountable, Who Polices the Police?, The Office of the Inspector General
The founders, Republicans keep trying to explain, did not have in mind a big bloated bureaucratic government in Washington D.C.. They believed that the few things that the federal government should and could do would be very limited.
They knew that big government as they experienced it, even at a great distance, was apt to become increasingly corrupt. Yet the idea of an Office of the Inspector General to keep tabs on whether the enormous numbers of federal agencies we now have were behaving themselves, staying honest and doing only what they were supposed to do never occurred to them.
The Inspector General Act of 1978 listed the purpose of establishing the office as:
- To conduct and supervise audits and investigations relating to the programs and operations of the establishments listed
- To provide leadership and coordination and recommend policies for activities designed (A) to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the administration of, and (B) to prevent and detect fraud and abuse in, such programs and operations; and
- To provide a means for keeping the head of the establishment and the Congress fully and currently informed about problems and deficiencies relating to the administration of such programs and operations and the necessity for and progress of corrective action.
So now we have the top watchdog for the Department of Homeland Security who altered and delayed investigations at the request of senior administration officials, compromising his independent role as an inspector general, according to a new report for a Senate oversight panel.
Charles K.Edwards, who served as acting DHS inspector general from 2011 through 2013, routinely shared drinks and dinner with department leaders and gave them inside information about the timing and findings of investigations. He improperly relied on the advice of top political advisers to Janet Napolitano and acquiesced to their suggestions about wording and timing of three separate reports. These actions occurred while Edwards was seeking the president’s nomination to be the permanent inspector general overseeing DHS, the third-largest government agency with a $39 billion budget and more than 225,000 employees.
Sen. Ron Johnson, the ranking Republican on the Senate oversight committee, said they found Mr. Edwards to be a compromised inspector general who was not exercising real oversight. Sen. Johnson and Sen.Claire McCaskill (D-MO) opened the investigation while looking into the hiring of prostitutes by Secret Service agents ahead of a 2012 presidential trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Whistleblowers alleged that Edwards had ordered them to remove derogatory information about the service and evidence implicating a White House staff member.
Janet Napolitano, now president of the University of California system that neither she nor her staff ordered anything to be deleted, no changes, nothing to see here. Charles K. Edwards has been placed on administrative leave.
Michelle Malkin goes into the scandal a little deeper, and names more names. The administration is more apt to go after some Inspector Generals who expose corruption and financial improprieties than to take them seriously as corruption that must be rooted out. Which, of course, makes it plain that IGs who make corruption public may lose their jobs for doing so.
Barack and Michelle Obama learned their politics in the Chicago Democratic machine, as did a number of the members of their administration. Corruption there has been a way of life — as long as my elderly next-door neighbors can remember, they told me. And they have brought that understanding of how the world works with them to Washington. And it spreads through the ranks.
Do we now need Level II Inspector Generals to monitor the inspector generals?
Congress does search out corruption when they see it, but what they do not do is eliminate unnecessary laws and unnecessary agencies. Government does few things well. I can’t even think of an example. And most of what it does—it does badly. We need a Congress that recognizes that fact, and is willing to spend some serious time whittling down the bloated size and overreach of og government itself.