Saturday, March 31, 2012

Did White House leak Israel's plan for Iran attack?

Fox News national security analyst K.T. McFarland reacts

Stunning Finding: President's Health Law Creates $17 Trillion In Unfunded Financial Obligations

If the Supreme Court allows any part of ObamaCare to stand, America will be destroyed. - Reggie

YouTube description: WASHINGTON, March 29--On the Senate floor today, Ranking Member Sessions announced that a new Budget Committee analysis has found that the long-term, unfunded liabilities associated with President Obama's health care law will reach $17 trillion. The Committee's analysis is based on the Obama Administration's own numbers as well as those from the Congressional Budget Office. It is a modest, conservative estimate and yet is still more than double that of Social Security.

At a "bipartisan fiscal responsibility summit" in 2009, President Obama's then-OMB Director, Peter Orszag, stated: "To my fellow budget hawks in this room and in the rest of the country, let me be very clear: Health care reform is entitlement reform. The path to fiscal responsibility must run directly through health care." But despite this emphatic statement, the nation's unfunded liabilities--money we must spend but for which there is no source of funds set aside--increased from $65 trillion to $82 trillion since the health law was passed.

To view a graph depicting the increase in unfunded obligations brought on by the law, please click here:

Obamacare's Preemptive Regulatory Strike

An administration that equates its taste for coercion and tyranny with benevolence.

The alleged constitutional justification for Obamacare's individual insurance coverage mandate can be summarized in one sentence: The federal government has the authority to preemptively regulate your economic activity.

President Obama, famous denouncer of preemptive war, declares that he has not only the power but the constitutional authority to regulate every American's economic behavior before it happens in the interest of making the market function the way he would like it to function. It's like Minority Report come to life, but with economic transactions, not crime, as the activity the state intervenes to alter before it occurs.

Arguing before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asserted that "the system does not work" for Americans who do not have health insurance, therefore Washington has an interest in "regulating the means by which health care is purchased," which he said was all the individual mandate does.

Justice Anthony Kennedy stopped him right there and asked, "Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?"

Verrilli had a ready response. "That's not what's going on here, Justice Kennedy." He explained, "What is being regulated is the method of financing the purchase of health care. That itself is interstate commerce."

(Never mind that one cannot purchase a health insurance policy across state lines.)

Were Verrilli correct that all the mandate regulates is the method of purchasing health care, then the law would state that individuals must purchase health care through an insurance provider when they purchase any health care service. But it doesn't say that. It says that individuals must purchase insurance regardless of whether they ever consume a health care service.

"This is market regulation," Verrilli asserted. He told the justices that everyone agrees Washington has the power "to impose the minimum coverage provision. Their [the opponents'] argument is just that it has to occur at the point of sale."

Well, yes, regulating a transaction as it takes place would be a "market regulation." Compelling people to enter into a market they otherwise would not enter is not market regulation, but coercion. But that is not how the Obama administration sees it.

"We think this is regulation of people's participation in the health care market," Verrilli said. "All this minimum coverage provision does is say that instead of requiring insurance at the point of sale, that Congress has the authority under the commerce power and the necessary and proper power to ensure that people have insurance in advance of the point of sale because of the unique nature of this market."

By acknowledging that the mandate regulates a sale "in advance of the point of sale," Verrilli admits that the law creates a commercial transaction. He defends that tyrannical act by asserting that everyone will consume health care at some point so the government is merely regulating a transaction that is going to happen eventually.

At that point, Justice Scalia noted that everybody has to eat, so why couldn't the government regulate the food market by mandating that people eat broccoli. Verrilli thought he had a solid rebuttal, but in fact he gave up the game with it.

The food market, he said, "is not a market in which your participation is often unpredictable and often involuntary. It is not a market in which you often don't know before you go in what you need, and it is not a market in which, if you go in and seek to obtain a product or service you will get it even if you cannot pay."

It isn't? The left claims that the food market is exactly the kind of market Verrilli said it was not. Have you ever heard of food deserts? Those are places where, liberals say, people cannot access healthy food. Rural areas and inner cities are examples of places where the left claims government needs to intervene to ensure access to healthy food. That's why Los Angeles banned new fast food restaurants in some low-income neighborhoods. If the type of food you consume is determined entirely by what nearby commercial vendors offer, then your participation in the food market is by definition "often unpredictable and often involuntary."

Why do we have government nutrition guidelines and government-mandated postings of nutritional information (including, in some places, nutritional info printed on menus) if the food market is not one in which "you often don't know before you go in what you need?"

Read the rest of the article

Friday, March 30, 2012

Michelle Malkin: Ginsburg Coached Pro-Obamacare Lawyer

from yesterday morning

Conservative Interpretations

Jonah Goldberg
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg likes the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act and other ingredients of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka "ObamaCare." Why, she asked toward the end of three days of hearings, shouldn't the court keep the good stuff in ObamaCare and just dump the unconstitutional bits?

The court, she explained, is presented with "a choice between a wrecking operation ... or a salvage job. And the more conservative approach would be salvage rather than throwing out everything."

"Conservative" is a funny word. It can mean lots of different things. It reminds me of that line from G.K. Chesterton about the word "good." "The word 'good' has many meanings," he observed. "For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of 500 yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man."

Conservative can mean cautious in temperament -- a man who wears belts and suspenders. Similarly, it sometimes suggests someone who's averse to change. It can also refer to the political ideology or philosophy founded by Edmund Burke and popularized and Americanized by people like Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley and George Will. It can mean someone who is averse to change.

Things can get complicated because these different meanings can overlap. Many strident liberals can have conservative temperaments, and many philosophical conservatives can have private lives that make a brothel during Fleet Week seem like a retirement-home chess club. Conservatives in America love the free market, which is the greatest source of change in human history. Liberals, alleged lovers of change and "progress," often champion an agenda dedicated to preserving the past. Just consider how much of the Democratic Party's rhetoric is dedicated to preserving a policy regime implemented by Franklin Roosevelt nearly 80 years ago.

You can also be conservative with respect to a given institution while being un-conservative in every other respect. The most ardent Communists in the Chinese or Cuban politburos are often described as "conservatives." The same holds true for every left-wing institution in America: Someone has to be the "conservative" at PETA or Planned Parenthood -- i.e., the person who is risk-averse when it comes to scarce resources or the group's reputation.

Anyway, sometimes people like to play games with the indeterminacy of the word "conservative" in order to sell a liberal agenda (and in fairness, conservatives often do the same thing with "progressive").

He is Dumbfounded and Saddened that Romney may be GOP Nominee

Rush Limbaugh shares a letter from a friend that "is dumbfounded and saddened that it appears Romney will be the Republican nominee."

I know how Rush's friend feels. - Reggie

Obama Kills Coal - as Promised

A promise kept. - Reggie

Higher electricity prices will most affect those who can least afford them

“If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” -Candidate Barack Obama, 2008.

Well, we can’t say we weren’t warned. This week, the unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency released a set of proposed rules designed to target greenhouse gas emissions. If enacted, these rules would virtually destroy the coal industry - just as President Obama once promised he would do.

Under the proposed rules, new power plants will be required to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity; coal plants average 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt. As Jordan Weissmann writes for theAtlantic, “Natural gas plants already meet this requirement. But if a utility wants to burn coal for electricity, it will need to install carbon capture technology - and that’s really expensive.”

Carbon capture and storage technology allows carbon-dioxide emissions to be stored in the ground instead of being released into the atmosphere. But the technology is, for many coal-energy producers, prohibitively pricey. Even assuming new coal plants are actually built under this regulatory regime, to whom do you think those new expenses will be passed on to? That’s right - energy consumers.

Rich people will be able to pay those extra costs, though they may gripe about it. But middle-class households will see a rise in their energy bills that will put them in even greater financial distress than they already are under in this abysmal “recovery.” Poor and working-class people will be especially hurt, of course, as is almost always the case when wealthy pencil-pushers hatch a brilliant plan to “save the planet.” Among the pencil-pushers is EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, who crowed: “Today we’re taking a common-sense step to reduce pollution in our air, protect the planet for our children, and move us into a new era of American energy.”

Democrats in Disarray

A good week for the good guys – finally

Hoping to spend the week sliming Paul Ryan and screeching about the mythical Republican “war on women,” the Democrats instead have been set back as the news cycle spun out of their control. Foreign policy, health care, and energy have forced them into a defensive crouch. No wonder I’m in such a good mood.

David Axelrod most likely is not. He must have wished he could go back to bed on the morning of Mar. 26, when news broke of President Obama’s “hot mic” moment at the security summit in South Korea. ABC News had caught the president telling Putin stooge Dmitri Medvedev that he needed the Russian dictator to give him “space” on issues such as missile defense until after “my last election,” at which time he will have “more flexibility.” Medvedev nodded sympathetically throughout the conversation and said, in his best General Orlov imitation, “I will transmit this information to Vladimir.” All that was missing from the ridiculous exchange were fulminations over “moose and squirrel.”

The president embarrassed himself. Not only did Obama give us a glimpse of his backwards statesmanship, in which “diplomacy” involves telling a corrupt strongman that electoral concerns prevent him from further accommodation. He also reminded Republicans and independents of the high stakes in 2012. What would be the results, not a few conservatives wonder, if the president had all the “flexibility” he desires?

As it happened, the hot microphone mess was the least of the president’s troubles. The gaffe was still in the news when oral arguments over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act began at the Supreme Court. The first day of proceedings concerned whether the Court could rule on the law at all since the individual mandate will not be enforced until 2014. But even those arguments went poorly for the administration and its hapless solicitor general, Donald Verrilli Jr., who was unable to explain how the mandate could be a “penalty” one day and a “tax” the next day.

Yet the liberal panic did not truly begin until Mar. 27, when the Court heard arguments over the mandate’s constitutionality and even the president’s most hardened supporters had to acknowledge his signature policy was in trouble. No sooner had the proceedings concluded than a hysterical Jeffrey Toobin fled the courtroom, screaming that Obamacare was in “grave, grave” condition. The flimsiness of the administration’s arguments had transformed Toobin into a Henny Penny in drag, running around Capitol Hill and warning his fellow liberals that the Court could overrule Obamacare in “one big package” and that at the very least the mandate is “doomed.”

The administration and its friends in the media found themselves in a truly helpless position. If Toobin is proven right and the Court overrules Obamacare in part or in whole, Republicans will pounce, the president will look like a loser, and Democrats will be both demoralized and radicalized (not a winning combination). If Toobin is proven wrong, however, he will look like an idiot, Republicans and Tea Party activists will mobilize for the fall, and Democrats still will have to defend an unpopular law whose consequences grow worse with each passing minute.

Andrew Napolitano: Supreme Court Will Throw Out Entire Statute

I pray Napolitano is right! - Reggie

FNC senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on the Supreme Court’s hearings on the health-care law and why the Justices will likely throw out the entire health-care law.

Report: Israel Given Access to Bases Near Iran Border

Former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton reacts

The Nation's Top 50 Progressives… and Socialists and Communists

Absolutely amazing! Yes, boys and girls, "Progressive" is code for Socialist/Communist and they have finally admitted it. So, whenever a Republican (Mitt Romney) or Democrat (Barack Obama) claim to be a Progressive we know the truth about them. Socialist. Marxist. Communist. Our fight has just begun. - Reggie

Did Katrina vanden Heuvel think no one would notice her magazine's affinity with friends of Joseph Stalin?

The left-wing magazine The Nation has published what it deems America's all-time, most influential top 50 progressives. The list is very revealing. I will not mention all 50 names, which you can review for yourself, but a few are especially interesting.

For starters, it's fascinating that The Nation leads with Eugene Debs at number 1. Debs was a socialist -- a capital "s" "Socialist." Fittingly, it was 100 years ago this year, in 1912, that Debs ran for president on the Socialist Party ticket, placing fourth in a contest dominated by a progressive Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, and a progressive Republican, Teddy Roosevelt. Today's progressives get annoyed if you call them socialists. Well, then, why is a pure socialist the no. 1 "progressive" on The Nation's list?

Of course, progressives really get annoyed if you suggest they bear any sympathies to communism. That being the case, two other "progressives" on The Nation's list are quite intriguing: Paul Robeson and I. F. Stone.

Paul Robeson was a communist and gushing admirer of Stalin's Soviet Union, a proud recipient of the Kremlin's "Stalin Prize." Even the New York Times could not help but admit that Robeson was "an outspoken admirer of the Soviet Union." When Robeson in 1934 returned from his initial pilgrimage to the Motherland, the Daily Worker thrust a microphone in his face, and Robeson glowed about the new world he had discovered. The Daily Worker rushed its Robeson interview into print, running it in the January 15, 1935 issue under the headline, "'I Am at Home,' Says Robeson At Reception in Soviet Union."

The Bolsheviks, explained Robeson, were new men, unshackled by the glories of Stalinism. When he got there, Robeson said he had not been "prepared for the happiness I see on every face in Moscow." He had been "aware that there was no starvation" in Russia, but was bowled over by the "bounding life," "endless friendliness," and "feeling of safety and abundance and freedom" he found "wherever I turn."

Paul Robeson had discovered sheer equality under Joseph Stalin. When asked about Stalin's purges, which the Daily Worker's faithful comrades characterized as warranted executions of a "number of counter-revolutionary terrorists," Robeson retorted: "From what I have already seen of the workings of the Soviet Government, I can only say that anybody who lifts his hand against it ought to be shot!"

Paul Robeson was deadly serious. To shoot such malefactors, said Robeson emphatically, was "the government's duty." How dare anyone oppose "this really free society" run by Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Lavrenti Beria, the NKVD, the GRU, and regulated by the vast Gulag archipelago? Any such villain, by Robeson's estimation, ought to be "put down… with a firm hand." Robeson hoped that "they [Soviet authorities] will always do it" -- that is, always employ such just executions.

Robeson told the Daily Worker that he felt a "kinship" with the Soviet Union. It was "a home to me." So much so, in fact, that Robeson moved his family there.

It would take almost a half century more, after Robeson's death, for Communist Party USA to publicly concede the obvious: Paul Robeson had been a longtime secret member. In May 1998, the centennial of Robeson's birth, longtime CPUSA head Gus Hall finally, proudly revealed the truth.

In this birthday tribute to "Comrade Paul," Hall and CPUSA came bearing gifts. "We have a birthday present for Paul that no one else can give," said Hall, "the full truth and nothing but the truth." And what's that truth? "Paul was a proud member of the Communist Party USA," stated Hall unequivocally. Paul had been a man of communist "conviction." This was "an indelible fact of Paul's life," in "every way, every day of his adult life." He "never forgot he was a Communist." A teary-eyed Hall recalled that his "own most precious moments with Paul were when I met with him to accept his dues and renew his yearly membership in the CPUSA."

None of this, naturally, is mentioned in The Nation profile, which blasts anyone who dared consider Robeson a communist. Such people, of course, are pure retrograde, Neanderthal McCarthyites.

Instead, The Nation insists that "comrade Paul" was a "progressive." That is particularly remarkable for another reason: a frustrated Gus Hall had warned about progressives trying to portray Robeson as one of their own. A vigilant Hall said that communists "cannot allow … liberal, progressive" forces "to turn Robeson into a liberal. The real Robeson was a revolutionary, a Communist…. Paul Robeson was one of ours -- a Communist leader, a beloved comrade."

Nonetheless, modern progressives continue to do just that. Such are the witting depths of their self-delusion. They believe what they want to believe.

And that brings me to I. F. Stone.

Stone is listed at number 26 on The Nation's list. Likewise, there is no mention of words like "communist" or "Soviet Union" anywhere in his profile. That's no surprise. Stone has been hailed by liberals for decades as the literal "conscience" of journalism. The Los Angeles Times dubbed him the "conscience of investigative journalism," and CNN's Larry King called him a "hero." When Stone died, an Oliphant cartoon showed him outside the Pearly Gates, with Saint Peter telephoning God, "Yes, THAT I. F. Stone, Sir. He says he doesn't want to come in -- he'd rather hang around out here, and keep things honest."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Obamacare Mandates Justified by ‘Interstate Commerce’?

Thomas Sowell
by Thomas Sowell

The administration’s argument before the Supreme Court recycles an old trick.

When a 1942 Supreme Court decision that most people have never heard of makes the front page of the New York Times in 2012, you know that something unusual is going on.

What makes that 1942 case — Wickard v. Filburn — important today is that it stretched the federal government’s power so far that the Obama administration is using it before today’s Supreme Court as an argument to claim that it has the legal authority to impose Obamacare mandates on individuals.

Roscoe Filburn was an Ohio farmer who grew some wheat to feed his family and some farm animals. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture fined him for growing more wheat than he was allowed to grow under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which was passed under Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce.

Filburn pointed out that his wheat wasn’t sold, so that it didn’t enter any commerce, interstate or otherwise. Therefore the federal government had no right to tell him how much wheat (which never left his own farm) he could grow.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution says that all powers not explicitly given to the federal government belong to the states or to the people. So you might think that Filburn was right.

But the Supreme Court said otherwise. Even though the wheat on Filburn’s farm never entered the market, just the fact that “it supplies a need of the man who grew it which would otherwise be reflected by purchases in the open market” meant that it affected interstate commerce. So did the fact that the home-grown wheat could potentially enter the market.

The implications of this kind of reasoning reached far beyond farmers and wheat. Once it was established that the federal government could regulate not only interstate commerce itself, but anything with any potential effect on interstate commerce, the Tenth Amendment’s limitations on the powers of the federal government virtually disappeared.

Oral Arguments End on Health Care Law at Supreme Court

from earlier today

Lawyer who argued against mandate details what happened

ObamaCare at the Supreme Court: Day Three

The first video is the morning session on day three where the Court considers whether or not the ObamaCare law can stand if the individual mandate is severed from it or if the entire law would have to be struck down.

90-minutes of Arguments:
30 minutes: Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler
30 minutes: 26 states & National Federation of Independent Business (Clement/Carvin)
30 minutes: Bartow Farr, Arguing ACA can stand if the individual mandate falls

The video below is the afternoon session on day three where the Court considers if ObamaCare's expansion of the Medicaid program violates the Constitution.

Division of Time:
30 minutes: U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli
30 minutes: 26 states (NFIB is not involved on this issue) (Paul Clement)

And there is this...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

John Bolton: Obama's Comment was a "firebell in the night"

from this morning

The Plot to Get Rush

Hannity, Palin next targets: Who is Angelo Carusone?

It was a set up.

From start to finish.

A quite specific, quite detailed plot to get Rush Limbaugh, ruin his career, and drive him off the air.

Next targets? Sean Hannity and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Lots to cover here.

Let's start with Mr. Angelo Carusone.

Who is Angelo Carusone? Today he is now the "Director of Online Strategy for Media Matters for America."

But a few years back? He was just your basic left-wing law student with a standard left-wing passion. That passion? Totalitarian-style censorship.

Let's stop here for a moment for a brief bit of historical background -- not a detour but a very necessary context.

It is a big mistake -- a really big mistake -- to dismiss what's being done to Rush Limbaugh as just some crazy guys at Media Matters.

When we work our way through what Angelo Carusone and his Media Matters comrades and others are doing when they target Rush, or went after Glenn Beck, or plan to do in targeting Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin and who knows who after that (Levin? Laura?) remember: this is the way the Left -- the global left throughout history, not simply the American Left today -- has always behaved. A fanatical intolerance is part of the leftist DNA.

The late Austrian free-market economist Ludwig von Mises described the leftist method of operation as "fanatical and intolerant." It works, he said, this way:

Socialism… works on the emotions…to stifle the voice of reason by awakening primitive instincts.

Primitive instincts.

And that most primitive of human instincts? You got it.

ObamaCare at the Supreme Court: Day Two

Today's ObamaCare oral arguments. I haven't been able to listen to this yet so I have no idea how it went this morning. - Reggie
Division of Time:
1 hour: U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli
30 minutes: 26 states (Paul Clement)
30 minutes: National Federation of Independent Business (Michael Carvin)

UPDATE: Here's a short video with Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's senior legal analyst, giving analysis of today's proceedings. His comments are encouraging.

And there is this...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tim Tebow Press Conference

The New York Jets called a press conference today to introduce Tim Tebow, their backup QB, to the New York press. One talking head on NFL Network said this was unprecedented for a backup. NFL Network also took a text poll asking viewers who the Jets starting QB should be in the fall. Results below. - Reggie

Sanchez 22%
Tebow 78%

ObamaCare at the Supreme Court: Day One

Here is the full argument from today's Supreme Court hearing on ObamaCare. As usual, whenever I capture something, there are a couple of hiccups but that just makes the 90 minutes more interesting. I have to work the rest of the week so Tuesday & Wednesday videos will be posted later than today's but they will be available as soon as I can possibly get them done.

Today's argument was primarily about the Tax Anti-Injunction Act of 1867. The question: Does SCOTUS have the authority or jurisdiction to hear this case yet? - Reggie

Read transcript here.

Mark Levin on day one of ObamaCare in the Supreme Court

Great quote from today...

Justice Samuel Alito: “General Verrilli, today you are arguing that the penalty is not a tax. Tomorrow you are going to be back and you will be arguing that the penalty is a tax.”

Obama: US Nuclear Disarmament 'A Moral Obligation'

This man is determined to destroy us all. Does he truly believe that if the US disarms everyone else will, too? Once we disarm, other nations will attack us. Honestly, this is a demand for national suicide! Unbelievable. - Reggie

President Obama called nuclear disarmament as "a moral obligation," as he suggested that the United States is leading by example to bring about "a world without nuclear weapons."

"American leadership has been essential to progress in a second area -- taking concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons," Obama said yesterday during a speech in Korea. "I believe the United States has a unique responsibility to act -- indeed, we have a moral obligation."

ObamaCare Argument Recap: Moving on to the Mandate

Analysis  (Updated 12:31 p.m.)

When Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., commented at the end of Monday’s first day of hearings on the health care law, “We’ll continue argument on this case tomorrow,” it seemed to have a secondary meaning even if he did not intend it.   The comments and questions of the Justices during the 89-minute exchange left the distinct impression that they are prepared to rule on the constitutionality of the mandate that individuals must buy health insurance, and not push the issue off into the future.  The exact route they would take was a bit uncertain, but their skepticism about taking a pass now was clear.

That did not mean, of course, that they would ultimately uphold the mandate.  That is tomorow’s question.  But an argument that at times seemed almost to bog down in the dense complexity of the tax code pointed toward a refusal to bar the lawsuits that had challenged the mandate and had put it before the Court this week.  One of the telltale signs of that sentiment was that not one Justice, and no lawyer at the lectern, said that it would be premature and a contradiction of the Court’s tradition against deciding constitutional issues prematurely for the Court to rule promptly on the mandate’s validity.

Granny Gets Thrown Off the Cliff, Again

Dr. Jane Hughes on the new ad discussing the president’s health-care plan and how she feels the regulation will impact the business of medicine.

CNN: Who are the Top Congressmen & Senators on Twitter?

Labor Market Indicators in Recent Cycles

James Pethokoukis Tweet: The gaping maw that ate the U.S. economy. (One of the most astonishing charts I've ever seen)

click image for larger view

Read the full post here.

Muslim Brotherhood Tightens Grip on the New Egypt As the U.S. Resumes Aid

( – Two days after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved resuming military funding to Egypt, expressing optimism in its “significant progress toward democracy,” Islamists cemented their control over another element of the country’s transition, stacking a body that will draft a new constitution.

Between them, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist Nour party control roughly 70 of the 100 seats on the new constituent assembly announced Sunday. Half of the 100 seats are set aside for lawmakers, while the remaining 50 are earmarked for non-parliamentary figures ranging from academics to clerics. Members or supporters of the two Islamist parties dominate both groups.

Eight non-Islamist members of the assembly resigned immediately to protest the Islamist domination. The effect will not be helpful for their cause, however: members who resign are replaced by people on a substitutes’ list, and most of those are Islamists too.

Already the two Islamist parties enjoy a majority in both the lower and upper legislatures, and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) controls key committees.

The constituent assembly will begin their work on Wednesday, drawing up a new document to replace one promulgated in 1971. With Islamists driving the drafting process, shari’a is expected to feature prominently.

Temporary amendments made to the old constitution following the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak last February retained a clause declaring Islam to be the state religion and shari’a to be “the principal source of legislation” – a sensitive matter for Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority.

As Egypt moves towards presidential elections two months away, the MB looks ever more likely to play a primary role in determining the nature of post-Mubarak Egypt.

An earlier pledge not to field a candidate for the presidency is being reconsidered, increasing the likelihood that when the ruling military council hands over power in June it will do so to a government whose executive and legislative branches are Islamist.

Egypt is among the biggest recipients of U.S. foreign aid, including “foreign military financing,” and the Obama administration this year faced a new hurdle to continuing that aid – a congressional requirement linking the military aid to democratic norms.

And there is this...

Obama Caught Dealing with Russian President on Hot Mic

What does this tell you, America? - Reggie

The exchange:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

Read more here.

Union Boss Violence and Intimidation

Workforce Fairness is releasing a series of videos chronicling left-wing intimidation, including showing up at people’s houses to harass them and their families. We’re pleased to debut the first of the videos here at RedState. The videos document a growing trend in American civic discourse — the use of intimidation against private citizens to punish dissent.

Listen to Media Matters For America and other outlets on the left and they claim they are outraged at Rush Limbaugh for using the word “slut.”

They’re OK with it when the left does it. Routinely, conservative activists are targeted for harassment, subject to degrading comments, etc. from the left and they are okay with that. Bill Maher gets invited to keynote Democratic dinners.

The Constitutionality of ObamaCare

YouTube description: In this video, Senator Lee discusses the Constitutional questions being raised by this week's Supreme Court Hearings on Obamacare. He also predicts what he thinks will be the outcome.

Why Obamacare is Bad for America’s Health

Congressman Allen West (R-FL)
By Rep. Allen B. West

Expensive overreach could prove fatal if not struck down

On Monday, the Supreme Court will consider the legality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare. The high court will pore over Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution to determine the true meaning behind the words, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common Defense and general welfare of the United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes.” The 2012 Supreme Court must determine whether the Founders had any intention of mandating the behavior of private enterprises and individuals.

To me, the answer is obvious: absolutely not.

Our nation was founded on the Declaration of Independence. Freedom of choice and a free market are at the core of our nation’s soul. A governmental mandate for the behavior of individuals and private enterprises is anathema to what our founders intended. The prospect of having an unelected panel of bureaucrats determining fundamental decisions about our individual health care is perhaps the most personal and intimate intrusion into our lives. The concept of this absurd and dangerous law surely ranks with the grievances laid down 236 years ago.

In January 2011, Florida federal District Judge C. Roger Vinson ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional, stating: “Never before has Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company (essentially for life) just for being alive and residing in the United States. If [the government] has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a transaction… it is not hyperbolic to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted.” Today, this prediction is being attempted before our very eyes.

With Obamacare, insurance companies will be forced to provide contraceptive products free of charge. Why just contraception? Will the government next force insurance companies to provide surgical procedures free of charge? Where does it end? Perhaps supermarkets should be compelled to offer apples and carrots free of charge to ensure children have access to healthy food.

Beyond exerting oppressive control over individuals and private enterprises, Obamacare circumvents the foundation of our own legislative structure.

Is there too much focus on renewable energy?

Tom Borelli discusses Obama bankrupting the coal industry.

Obamacare: An Unconstitutional Misadventure

How the individual mandate unravels the core of the health-care law.

This week, the United States Supreme Court has on its plate the defining legal issue of our time—the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which I have already commented on from a doctrinal and historical perspective. In this column, I will show how fatal defects in Obamacare’s structure undermine the constitutional case for key provisions found in Title I of the law (“Quality, Affordable Health Care for All Americans”), which regulates the private insurance market.

For openers, the ACA is subject to the law of unintended consequences. The law may proclaim that it protects patients when it in fact it restricts the health-care options of those it’s intended to protect. The ACA says that it will increase access to affordable care when in fact its endless mandates will drive up the cost of care. The false advertising of the ACA’s title conceals a wealth of difficulties with its internal design, which make its scheme unsustainable in the long run.

One unfortunate byproduct of the obsessive emphasis on the individual mandate—the requirement to have health-care insurance or pay a fine—is that it diverts attention away from the many other unsound provisions of the law. The Supreme Court need not fear that striking down Title I of the ACA will deny Americans needed health care. Rather, its implementation will have that effect.

Let’s focus on the guaranteed issue provisions of Title I, which are what required the inclusion of the individual mandate in the legislation. Taken as a whole, Title I stands the traditional principles of insurance on their head. Any system of sound insurance has to guard against contractual breakdown on both sides of the agreement. On the insurer’s side, that risk is the illegal diversion of the funds that it receives today so that insufficient funds will be able to cover the risks of loss tomorrow.

Private rights of action by individual insureds are notably ineffective in overseeing insurer investment policy, which explains why state insurance commissions are commonly charged with this form of oversight. Yet the ACA paradoxically weakens its own financial soundness, for it contains extensive provisions that allow both the state and federal governments to roll back premiums to what they regard as acceptable levels, which in a highly unstable industry could result in massive financial dislocation, if not bankruptcy, for the regulated firms.

The mandate represents an unprecedented assertion of federal power.

Worse still, the ACA deals heavy blows to the private insurance market on the consumer side. There are two major risks associated with writing any line of insurance: moral hazard and adverse selection. Moral hazard states that the presence of insurance tends to increase the probability and severity of the insured event. It is to counter just this risk that insurance policies contain provisions that deny coverage in cases of serious misconduct. Those safeguards are utterly absent in the ACA, so we’re likely to see some increase in health-care costs, against which insurers are helpless to take precautions.

The greater danger is the risk of adverse selection. Typically, insureds know more about their conditions than their insurers. Therefore, they will pounce on insurance at bargain prices, knowing that the expected costs of their losses are far greater than the paltry premiums they must pay. To combat that risk in voluntary markets, insurers exercise underwriting discretion: They require health-care examinations to pick up latent conditions; they exempt preexisting conditions from coverage; they turn down some risks that are just too large to take.

The desire for universal coverage led the ACA to strip health-insurance companies of these defensive procedures. All health-care plans must run on the principle of guaranteed issue, which requires the insurance company to accept all applicants in the order that they apply for coverage at a fixed rate, subject only to their capacity to handle additional files. To compound the basic problem, the ACA also ordains a system of guaranteed renewability of insurance coverage: Once on the books, the party can stay there as long as he or she likes, so long as standard premiums are paid.

The effect of these provisions is that they give people all the wrong private incentives for dealing with their own health. It pays to be a little bit less careful in taking care of your own health when you know some health plan will have to take you in. More importantly, the basic structure of the ACA invites people to sign on to the best health-care plan around just before they need an operation, only to sign off from coverage the moment that risk has passed.

The ACA imperfectly recognizes that risk but does nothing constructive to combat it. The ACA authorizes the creation of a transitional reinsurance program, whereby state insurance officials are required to assess taxes against insurers who cover low risk persons in order to offset the additional risks that adverse selection imposes against high risk insureds. But as is regrettably common with the ACA, this mechanism is woefully inadequate.

One unsound provision in the law counteracts the perverse effects of another.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Supreme Court to Determine the Constitutionality of Health Care Act

C-SPAN has a page exclusively devoted to this Supreme Court case here.

Below is the entire post from C-SPAN's website about ObamaCare at the Supreme Court:

The U.S. Supreme Court holds an unprecedented 6 hours of oral arguments beginning Monday in the multi-state lawsuit challenging the health care law. They will determine the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. The case is Florida v. Department of Health & Human Services.

Three different circuit courts heard oral argument on the new health care law. In May 2011, the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia heard two cases on the health care law.

In Liberty University v. Geithner, the Court decided 2-1 that the individuals in the case could not challenge the law until after the law goes into effect. And Virginia v. Sebelius, the court dismissed the case on the rationale that the only plaintiff in the case, the Commonwealth of Virginia, had no legal right to bring a lawsuit because the individual mandate affects only individuals.

The first appellate court with a decision on the law was the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio in Thomas More Law Center v. Obama. The Court decided 2-1 to reject the Center’s argument that the individual mandate can never be constitutional, an argument known as a “facial challenge.”

In an opinion by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a known conservative judge who clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, the court held that it is constitutional to require all Americans to buy health insurance.

The next to hear a challenge to the health care law was at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. That Court reached the opposite conclusion from the Sixth Circuit in the case brought by Florida and a group of twenty-five other states, along with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The Court sided with the challengers that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The court also held that even if the individual mandate was unconstitutional, the rest of the health care law could still go into effect, a legal concept known as “severability.”

The 26 States in the lawsuit before the Supreme Court are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

NOTE: C-SPAN's coverage kicks off at 7am (ET) with three hours of the Washington Journal, followed by LIVE coverage outside the Supreme Court for protests and a variety of lawyer and advocate press briefings. Around 1pm, we present the same-day audio recordings of the argument.

Some in Tea Party cite ‘buyer’s remorse’ with South Carolina Governor

Republicans, beware. None of you are guaranteed another term in office. - Reggie

Talbert Black, state coordinator of the S.C. Campaign for Liberty, worked hard to get his Lexington County state representative, Nikki Haley, elected governor in 2010, blasting out emails and making phone calls to galvanize Tea Party-minded voters.

“She was going to fight the establishment, shrink the size of government and fight the good ol’ boy,” Black said Friday of Haley. “Instead, she got elected and became part of the system.”

Black is part of a faction of the state’s Tea Party movement that says Haley, who they helped elect, has broken faith with them. Many now hope she will be a one-term governor.

For Haley, never a favorite of the state’s GOP establishment, losing Tea Party support could be devastating.

Despite internal rifts among the state’s Tea Party groups, they still have clout. In the January Republican presidential primary, Tea Partiers rallied behind U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, helping him win a crushing victory over Republican establishment candidate Mitt Romney.

S.C. Republicans approve of Tea Partiers, too.

While 83 percent of self-identified S.C. Republicans said in December that they did not consider themselves members of the Tea Party, 61 percent said they approved of the movement, according to a Winthrop University poll.

“She’s done so much that is negative that it’s going to be very difficult for her to change our opinions and prove she’s in it for the good of the state vs. her personal gain,” Black said. “That’s what I think now. She’s in it for herself, for some plan for her future — whatever that may be.”

Haley, campaigning Friday for Romney in Pennsylvania, was not available to discuss her Tea Party support. But her spokesman, Rob Godfrey, said in an email that a handful of disaffected Tea Partiers, including Black, do not speak for the movement.

“The governor appreciates her Tea Party supporters across the state,” Godfrey wrote. “What she has always loved about the Tea Party is that they’re not a party at all — they’re Republicans, Democrats and independents — who think for themselves and speak for themselves. No one or two people speak for the Tea Party.

“The governor remains focused on issues the Tea Party has always championed: reigning in government spending, teaching government the value of a dollar and reminding elected officials they work for the people, and not the other way around.”

‘She started caving in’

Read the full story

ObamaCare Arguments Begin Tomorrow

Arguments begin tomorrow before the United States Supreme Court about the Obama power grab of our entire health care system. C-SPAN has set aside a web page for the case here. Below are some reports about ObamaCare from Fox News in the past few days.

City-funded activist group teaches homeless how to invade apartments

This is where we are headed, America. Tyranny and lawlessness from our government, anarchy and lawlessness in the streets. We are in serious, deep and troubling chaos. We must be prepared (as much as possible) for the violent protests coming throughout the country this spring and summer with the Occupy lunatics. - Reggie

It’s breaking and entering for dummies.

Picture the Homeless, a Bronx nonprofit that has received at least $240,000 in taxpayer money in the last five years, is giving a crash course on squatting — and city-owned buildings are a prime target.

Two weeks ago, board member Andres Perez held a teach-in on how to wrest “control” of vacant apartments. He called it “homesteading.”

“The best time to enter a building is in the late hours,” he advised a group of about 20, who gathered in front of the half-empty East New York housing complex Arlington Village.

“You make sure you have your proper tools. You remove the chains and padlock, and then you go in.”

He then led them through the next steps — including filling out a change-of-address form at the post office and setting up utilities. After that, “nine out of 10 times the courts will allow you to be able to have control of the property,” he said.

But squatting school outraged legal residents of Arlington Village.

“I can’t let nobody squat where I live,” said Pete Rolon, 64, a 35-year resident who claimed pimps had grabbed two apartments in the complex. “There were hookers. They were smoking crack. There were condoms all over the floor. There were hundreds of them.”

He remembers when the complex of 12 two-story, red-brick buildings was filled with families and children playing.

Calvin Coolidge on Taxes and Government Spending

This is the kind of president we need, again if America is to survive. We need government cuts in spending, regulations, oppressive laws and entire government departments, agencies, bureaucrats, etc. Unfortunately, we need all of these cuts immediately. 

Who is today's Calvin Coolidge? Where is he? Where is the patriot that is willing to cut the federal government to the bone in order to save our Constitutional Republic? Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul has the best plan I've seen thus far. - Reggie

American Rhetoric gives us a transcript:

[This] country needs every ounce of its energy to restore itself. The costs of government are all assessed upon the people.

This means that the farmer is doomed to provide a certain amount of money out of the sale of his produce, no matter how low the price, to pay his taxes. The manufacturer, the professional man, the clerk, must do the same from their income. The wage earner, often at a higher rate when compared to his earning, makes his contribution, perhaps not directly but indirectly, in the advanced cost of everything he buys.

The expenses of government reach everybody.

Taxes take from everyone a part of his earnings and force everyone to work for a certain part of his time for the government.

When we come to realize that the yearly expenses of the governments of this country...the stupendous sum of about 7 billion, 500 million dollars -- we get...700 million dollars -- is needed by the national government, and the remainder by local governments.

Such a sum is difficult to comprehend. It represents all the pay of five million wage earners receiving five dollars a day, working 300 days in the year. If the government should add 100 million dollars of expense, it would represent four days more work of these wage earners. These are some of the reasons why I want to cut down public expense.

I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government -- and more for themselves.

I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom.

Until we can reestablish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty.

These results are not fanciful; they are not imaginary. They are grimly actual and real, reaching into every household in the land. They take from each home annually an average of over 300 dollars -- and taxes must be paid. They are not a voluntary contribution to be met out of surplus earnings. They are a stern necessity. They come first.

It is only out of what is left, after they are paid, that the necessities of food, clothing, and shelter can be provided and the comforts of home secured, or the yearnings of the soul -- for a broader and more abundant life gratified.

When the government affects a new economy, it grants everybody a life pension with which to raise the standard of existence. It increases the value of everybody's property, raises the scale of everybody's wages.

One of the greatest favors that can be bestowed upon the American people is economy in government.

Read a commentary at RedState about Coolidge and a few of his policies.