Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When you have a true free market, you don't have this sick, sycophantic relationship between morally compromised businesses and an all-powerful state

Newly revealed e-mails between regime overlords such as Valerie Jarrett and insurance-industry figures  show a cozy relationship based on using taxpayer dollars to bail out health insurance companies in the event of premiums spiking too much under Freedom-Hater-care.

Co-dependence big-time.

And clandestine redistribution.

It's not just another contractual agreement

Ryan T. Anderson at the Heritage Foundation looks at Judge Paul Niemeyer's dissent in the decision by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that defining marriage as a one man - one woman union violates teh 14th Amendment:

Niemeyer argues that the court “explicitly bypasses the relevant constitutional analysis required.” What would the right constitutional analysis look like? Niemeyer explains:
This analysis is fundamentally flawed because it fails to take into account that the “marriage” that has long been recognized by the Supreme Court as a fundamental right is distinct from the newly proposed relationship of a “same-sex marriage.” And this failure is even more pronounced by the majority’s acknowledgment that same-sex marriage is a new notion that has not been recognized “for most of our country’s history.” Moreover, the majority fails to explain how this new notion became incorporated into the traditional definition of marriage except by linguistic manipulation. Thus, the majority never asks the question necessary to finding a fundamental right—whether same-sex marriage is a right that is “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if [it was] sacrificed.”
Niemeyer is particularly helpful in seeing why the analogy to interracial marriage fails. He explains that in Loving v Virginia, the case that ended bans on interracial marriage, the couple was “asserting a right to enter into a traditional marriage of the type that has always been recognized since the beginning of the Nation—a union between one man and one woman.”

Anderson says that the Supreme Court has made previous assumptions about the nature of marriage that need to be brought into any current considerations:

Niemeyer explains that there are good policy reasons for citizens to refrain from redefining marriage: “Only the union of a man and a woman has the capacity to produce children and thus to carry on the species. And more importantly, only such a union creates a biological family unit that also gives rise to a traditionally stable political unit.”
Indeed, “when the Supreme Court has recognized, through the years, that the right to marry is a fundamental right, it has emphasized the procreative and social ordering aspects of traditional marriage.” He went further, arguing that “the marriage of a man and a woman thus rationally promotes a correlation between biological order and political order.”
But whatever any individual American thinks about marriage, the courts shouldn’t redefine it. Marriage policy should be worked out through the democratic process, not dictated by unelected judges. The courts should uphold the freedom of the American people and their elected representatives to make marriage policy.
Niemeyer gets the issue exactly right: “The U.S. Constitution does not, in my judgment, restrict the States’ policy choices on this issue. If given the choice, some States will surely recognize same-sex marriage and some will surely not. But that is, to be sure, the beauty of federalism.” The courts should not force states to abandon caution in the face of a social experiment like the redefinition of marriage.

Indeed.  How about if we have this debate in a decentralized, legislatively driven manner and leave the robes out of it?


A few important points about why US businesses go overseas

Did you know that if the gummint were able to get its socialist hands on all the money that it currently doesn't because of these "inversions" (corporations merging with foreign companies and establishing headquarters elsewhere to avoid the developed world's highest corporate tax rate), it would only bring in a quarter of one percent of the federal tax base?

That's just one of the noteworthy points Leon H. Wolf makes in his Red State post about this.  Some others:

First, A more rational and doubtless more efficacious method to retain the corporate tax base would be to lower the insanely high corporate tax rate which creates the incentive for companies to perform “inversions” in the first place, especially in light of the fact that attempts to essentially declare that these companies are American companies when they are, in fact, not American companies anymore is a tactic that is both dubious Constitutionally and highly likely to lead to a) widespread noncompliance b) actual outsourcing of jobs as companies physically flee America to remove themselves from American jurisdiction over this question.
Second, I guess it’s understandable why people get their hackles up over companies leaving America to lower their tax burden, at least in a superficial sense. It does really seem like a facially transparent ploy to avoid tax burden by doing nothing that actually benefits the economy. On the other hand, it is considerably less insane as a tax avoidance device than a number of other “loopholes” that the Democrats are NOT complaining about. See here for a partial list just from the last fiscal cliff deal andhere for some of the more bizarre ones overall. Heck, if you are a major donor to the President you can even get tax subsidies to build solar power devices on a business plan that everyone knows will never result in a profit.
Therefore the objection to inversions specifically seems to be that no major political donor has paid good money into the lobbying system for the creation of this “loophole.” Congress has created all sorts of bizarre tax avoidance devices that make little or no rational sense from an economic standpoint, and that very obviously exist for the sole reason that K Street did their job well. No one accuses these companies of unpatriotic behavior for trying to keep more of their own money.
If the Obama Administration really wants to do something that will actually work to stop inversions, they ought to remove the incentive to inversions in the first place and lower American’s insanely high corporate taxation rate. 

But stopping this activity would deprive the overlords of a prime bogeyman, and Freedom-Haters always need to gin up accusations of greed.  It's how they obscure the basic truth that a person's or organization's money is actually theirs and not the state's.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The problem with investing oneself in smiley-face-ism

Consider the case of Michelle Nunn and her current run for a Georgia Senate seat:

Since 2007, Nunn has served as the CEO of Points of Light, a charitable organization founded by George H. W. Bush to encourage volunteerism across the country. Noble in concept, Points of Light — like so many originally high-minded ideas and organizations — has been infected by a left-wing political agenda.
Thus, Eliana Johnson reports that under Nunn’s leadership Points of Light has given money to some organizations that have less to do with fostering volunteerism than with fostering pet leftist causes. These include the Lesbian and Gay Band Association, which seeks to promote a global network of, yes, lesbian and gay bands.
Less innocently, they also include a group with ties to terrorists.
According to the IRS Form 990s that Points of Light filed in 2008 and 2011, the organization gave a grant of over $33,000 to Islamic Relief USA, a charity that says it strives to alleviate “hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide.” Islamic Relief USA is part of a global network of charities that operate under the umbrella of Islamic Relief Worldwide. . . .
Islamic Relief Worldwide has ties to Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization. In June, Israel banned the charity from operating in the country because, according to Israeli officials, it was funneling cash to Hamas. In 2006, Israelis arrested Islamic Relief Worldwide’s Gaza coordinator, Ayaz Ali. They said he was working to “transfer funds and assistance to various Hamas institutions and organizations.”
Ali admitted to cooperating with local Hamas operatives while working in Jordan and, on his computer, Israeli officials found photographs of “swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols,” and of Nazi officials, Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

And since it's her main credential, she's going to have quite a time of it explaining why she's not a fool.

This Points of Light hoo-ha is a perfect demonstration of O'Sullivan's Law, that any organization not explicitly founded with a right-of-center mission inevitably drifts to a left-of-center raison d'etre.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Recipe for cataclysm

I'm only so keen on "if this were a Republican administration"-type comparisons.  Yes, they can be useful for demonstrating the sycophantic nature of the media with regard to the Most Equal Comrade and his regime, but they can come across like whining unless the matter in question is really substantive.

I think Walter Russell Mead has employed it in a substantive manner in his latest American Interest column:

If Obama were a Republican, the press and the weekly news shows would be ringing with hyperbolic, apocalyptic denunciations of the clueless incumbent who had failed to learn the most basic lessons of Iraq. Indeed, the MSM right now would be howling that Obama was stupider than Bush. Bush, our Journolist friends would now be sayingad nauseam, at least had the excuse that he didn’t know what happens when you overthrow a paranoid, genocidal, economically incompetent Arab tyrant in an artificial post-colonial state. But Obama did—or, the press would nastily say, he would have done if he’d been doing his job instead of hitting the golf course or yakking it up with his glitzy pals at late night bull sessions. The ad hominem attacks would never stop, and all the tangled threads of incompetence and failure would be endlessly and expertly picked at in long New Yorker articles, NYT thumbsuckers, and chin-strokings on all the Sabbath gasbag shows.
Why, the ever-admirable tribunes of a free and unbiased press would be asking non-stop, didn’t this poor excuse for a President learn from what happened in Iraq?  When you upend an insane and murderous dictator who has crushed his people for decades under an incompetent and quirky regime, you’d better realize that there is no effective state or civil society under the hard shell of dictatorial rule. Remove the dictator and you get chaos and anarchy. Wasn’t this President paying attention during the last ten years?
Some of the criticism would be exaggerated and unfair; the Monday morning quarterbacks never really understand just how complicated and tragic this poor world really is, not to mention how hard it is to make life and death decisions in real time in the center of the non-stop political firestorm that is Washington today. And the MSM attracts more than its share of deeply inexperienced but entitled, self-regarding blowhards who love to pontificate about how stupid all those poor fools who have actual jobs and responsibilities actually are.
But luckily for Team Obama, the mainstream press would rather die than subject liberal Democrats to the critiques it reserves for the GOP. So instead, as Libya writhes in agony, reputations and careers move on. The news is so bad, and the President’s foreign policy is collapsing on so many fronts, that it is impossible to keep the story off the front pages. “Smart diplomacy” has become a punch line, and the dream Team Obama had of making Democrats the go-to national security party is as dead as the passenger pigeon.

At this late date, the entropy level on the world stage is still being presented with such banality that people are generally shrugging and getting on with their own daily affairs.  This in itself ought to be alarming.  The world we've all known, particularly on this continent, is changing structurally, definitionally.

From the outset, per its name, this blog has been about pointing out the consequences of letting the Progressive vision gain ascendancy in this country and the West generally.  I title posts "They Smell Weakness" frequently enough that I generally qualify each one as "today's edition."

There's now a real sense among those interested in really observing what's going on that the damage being done to our national identity is deep and getting deeper.  Most people reading this blog are baby-boomers or younger.  What I'm talking about is a degree of damage non of us has ever seen.  This time, it's not as simple as replacing an incompetent Carter with a charismatic and principled Reagan.  For one thing, while conservatism is providing us with charismatic, principled figures, and while the MEC is certainly as incompetent as Carter and then some, none of the conservative figures show the ability to rally the citizenry that widely, and the MEC adds to Carteresque incompetence a radical ideology that has already borne too much rotten fruit.

Brace yourself.  It gets wilder for the foreseeable future.

UPDATE: What Mead does for foreign policy, Tom Blumer at PJ Media does for economic policy.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Martin says it's serious

The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman sees a historical parallel in the confirmation that Russia has been shelling Ukraine:

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s new use of Russian military force inside Ukraine harkens back to 1939 when Joseph Stalin led a Russian invasion of Poland, and Dempsey predicted Putin was far from finished.
Dempsey was speaking to the Aspen Security Forum and responding to the newsthat the U.S. government is accusing the Russian military of firing artillery from Russian territory into eastern Ukraine in support of separatists there. The latest development represents a dangerous escalation of the crisis on the part of Putin, and the Russia-Ukraine crisis is now a global problem, he said.
“It does change the situation. You’ve got a Russian government that has made a conscious decision to use its military force inside another sovereign nation to achieve its objectives. It’s the first time since 1939 or so that that’s been the case,” Dempsey said. “They clearly are on a path to assert themselves differently not just in Eastern Europe, but Europe in the main, and towards the United States.”

Let's see; today alone, we've covered this as well as the ISIS threat to the West, and Iran's' supreme ayatollah reiterating his view that it's necessary to destroy Israel, and Putin's strategic aims.  This could start to affect my digestion.

Speaking of Israel, its cabinet unanimously turned down Secretary Global Test's ceasefire proposal.
Once again, the world sees him reading from the wrong playbook.  You know the mullahs are saying, "Hell, the guy can't even get the Zionist Entity to heed him."

The dictator of post-America further shreds the Constitution

Carrie Budoff Brown reports at Politico:

President Barack Obama insisted for years that he had absolutely no legal authority — none whatsoever, zero, zilch — to slow deportations on a broad scale.
Forget everything he’s said.

Whatever it takes to obliterate our national sovereignty:

The administration is examining how far it can go, legally and politically, to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Despite the flow of young Central American children across the southwestern border, Obama remains committed to taking significant action, according to senior advisers and advocates who have attended recent meetings with White House officials.
In other words, Obama has signaled that he intends to do exactly what he’s long said he’s unable to do.

Read the whole thing.  His minions want to be sure any order can withstand a court challenge.

Dog vomit where his soul should be.

Another reason why the IRS should not exist

It was the instrument through which the overlords conducted the funny business blurring the lines between FHer-care state exchanges and the federal exchange.  Kimberly Strassel explains in today's WSJ:

. . . it wasn't the "administration" as a whole that issued the lawless subsidy gift. It was the administration acting through its new, favorite enforcer: the IRS.
And it was entirely political. Democrats needed those subsidies. The party had assumed that dangling subsidies before the states would induce them to set up exchanges. When dozens instead refused, the White House was faced with the prospect that citizens in 36 states—two-thirds of the country—would be exposed to the full cost of ObamaCare's overpriced insurance. The backlash would have been horrific, potentially forcing Democrats to reopen the law, or even costing President Obama re-election.
The White House viewed it as imperative, therefore, that IRS bureaucrats ignore the law's text and come up with a politically helpful rule. The evidence shows that career officials at the IRS did indeed do as Treasury Department and Health and Human Services Department officials told them. This, despite the fact that the IRS is supposed to be insulated from political meddling.
We know this thanks to a largely overlooked joint investigation and February report by the House Oversight and Ways and Means committees into the history of the IRS subsidy rule. We know that in the late summer of 2010, after ObamaCare was signed into law, the IRS assembled a working group—made up of career IRS and Treasury employees—to develop regulations around ObamaCare subsidies. And we know that this working group initially decided to follow the text of the law. An early draft of its rule about subsidies explained that they were for "Exchanges established by the State."

Yet in March 2011, Emily McMahon, the acting assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department (a political hire), saw a news article that noted a growing legal focus on the meaning of that text.
We know this thanks to a largely overlooked joint investigation and February report by the House Oversight and Ways and Means committees into the history of the IRS subsidy rule. We know that in the late summer of 2010, after ObamaCare was signed into law, the IRS assembled a working group—made up of career IRS and Treasury employees—to develop regulations around ObamaCare subsidies. And we know that this working group initially decided to follow the text of the law. An early draft of its rule about subsidies explained that they were for "Exchanges established by the State."
Emails viewed by congressional investigators nonetheless showed that Treasury and the IRS remained worried they were breaking the law. An email exchange between Treasury employees in the spring of 2011 expressed concern that they had no statutory authority to deem a federally run exchange the equivalent of a state-run exchange.
Yet rather than engage in a basic legal analysis—a core duty of an agency charged with tax laws—the IRS instead set about obtaining cover for its predetermined political goal. A March 27, 2011, email has IRS employees asking HHS political hires to cover the tax agency's backside by issuing its own rule deeming HHS-run exchanges to be state-run exchanges. HHS did so in July 2011. One month later the IRS rushed out its own rule—providing subsidies for all.
That proposed rule was criticized by dozens of scholars and congressional members, all telling the IRS it had a big legal problem. Yet again, the IRS did no legal analysis. It instead brought in a former aide to Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, whose job appeared to be to gin up an after-the-fact defense of the IRS's actions. The agency formalized its rule in May 2012.

Hope all the SCOTUS justices read this.

Back to the thuggery that has always been the norm in world affairs

Simon Shuster at Time says that Vladimir Putin understands that the current world scenario presents him with abundant opportunity, as he defines that term:

His increasingly overt goal is to splinter Europe, rip up the NATO umbrella and restore Russian influence around the world. As if to put an exclamation point on that manifesto, the pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine apparently resumed their antiaircraft attacks less than a week after the destruction of Flight 17. On July 23, two military aircraft belonging to the pro-Western Ukrainian government were shot down just a few miles away from the airliner’s crash site.
And Putin evidently will keep going as long as each new crisis only makes him stronger. The 21st century czar has mastered the dark art of stirring up problems that only he can solve, so that Western leaders find themselves scolding him one minute while pleading with him the next. The crisis in Syria last year is a perfect example. He supplied weapons and training for the armies of President Bashar Assad, propping up the tyrant while Western statesmen demanded Assad’s ouster. Yet when Assad crossed the “red line” drawn by Obama and used chemical weapons against his own people, Putin stepped in to broker the solution. At the urging of the Russian President, Assad gave up his stockpile of chemical weapons. In turn, the U.S. backed away from air strikes in Syria. And guess who still reigns in Damascus? Putin’s ally Assad.
Other world leaders try to avoid crises; Putin feasts on them. 

I again refer you to the dog-vomit remark about a new order based on a common humanity that the Most Equal Comrade made the other day.  He may really believe that fantasy. The rest of the world hears, "We hereby declare ourselves to be irrelevant to anything."

Still post-America plays patty-cake with these monsters

Secretary Global Test has given them four more months to achieve this aim:

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated on Wednesday that the only solution for the region is the destruction of Israel, and that the armed confrontation must expand beyond Gaza.

Meanwhile, revolutionary guards announced new missiles which could destroy Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

Why are the words of this regime's top leaders never taken into account when we keep heading back to Vienna and Geneva and extending the deadline for patty-cake?

Filling the vacuum in a post-American world

ISIS has been acting regionally so far, but it is definitely thinking globally:

Top U.S. officials warned Wednesday that a Sunni extremist group that controls parts of Syria and Iraq has morphed into a threat that is "worse than al Qaeda."

"It is al Qaeda in its doctrine, ambition and increasingly, in its threat to U.S. interests," Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary of state, told lawmakers at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. "In fact, it is worse than al Qaeda."
McGurk said the group, which splintered off from its parent, al Qaeda in Iraq, had strengthened its capabilities and was “no longer a terrorist organization. It is a full-blown army.”

Elissa Slotkin, acting principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy, added that the group has threatened: "We're coming for you, Barack Obama."
ISIS has captured huge parts of both countries and threatened to move on Baghdad last month, leading President Obama to authorize deploying nearly 750 troops to Iraq.
Over the weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder said the threat of ISIS fighters infiltrating into the U.S. was "more frightening than anything I think I've seen as attorney general." 
Former Defense Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge told The Hill Wednesday that the threat from ISIS has been "blinking red a long time."
"It's been blinking red but now it's flashing more frequently and is a lot brighter," he said.  
"They've got a lot of fighters who are from European countries that are visa waiver countries, which means all they have to do is shave their beards and look like normal responsible civilians and walk into the United States of America without a visa." 
"So it's a real challenge for our intelligence community to identify them and get their names on a watch list," he said. 
And once again, our overlords were asleep at the switch as this thing grew into a "full-blown army":

In congressional testimony as far back as November, U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials made clear that the United States had been closely tracking the al Qaida spinoff since 2012, when it enlarged its operations from Iraq to civil war-torn Syria, seized an oil-rich province there and signed up thousands of foreign fighters who’d infiltrated Syria through NATO ally Turkey.
The testimony, which received little news media attention at the time, also showed that Obama administration officials were well aware of the group’s declared intention to turn its Syrian sanctuary into a springboard from which it would send men and materiel back into Iraq and unleash waves of suicide bombings there. And they knew that the Iraqi security forces couldn’t handle it.
The group’s operations “are calculated, coordinated and part of a strategic campaign led by its Syria-based leader, Abu Bakr al Baghadi,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk told a House committee on Feb. 5, four months before fighting broke out in Mosul. “The campaign has a stated objective to cause the collapse of the Iraqi state and carve out a zone of governing control in western regions of Iraq and Syria.”
The testimony raises an obvious question: If the Obama administration had such early warning of the Islamic State’s ambitions, why, nearly two months after the fall of Mosul, is it still assessing what steps, if any, to take to halt the advance of Islamist extremists who threaten U.S. allies in the region and have vowed to attack Americans?
In fresh testimony before Congress this week, McGurkrevealed that the administration knew three days in advance that the attack on Mosul was coming. He acknowledged that the Islamic State is no longer just a regional terrorist organization but a “full-blown” army that now controls nearly 50 percent of Iraq and more than one-third of Syria. Its fighters have turned back some of the best-trained Iraqi units trying to retake key cities, while in Syria, it’s seized nearly all that country’s oil and natural gas fields and is pushing the Syrian military from its last outposts in the country’s east.

Now, think back to the Most Equal Comrade's inane remark from the other day, quoted here, about the world groping toward a "new order that's based on a different set of principles, that's based on a common sense of humanity, that's based on economies that work for all people."  He really believes that dog vomit. The result is going to be incinerated post-American cities.

Read more here: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/07/24/3763979/us-and-islamic-state-we-did-see.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How the devil wages war

Hamas extends the use of human shields to sick people:

 Hamas has turned Wafa Hospital into a command center and a rocket-launching site. Hamas has fired at Israel and at IDF forces from the hospital. As a result, the IDF repeatedly conveyed warnings to the hospital staff and urged civilians to leave the area. Hamas continued firing from the hospital. In response, the IDF targeted specific sites and terrorists within the hospital grounds. Secondary explosions can be seen, confirming IDF intelligence about the site.

And the UN's role in this situation is decidedly counterproductive:

the UN takes a bucket of your cash and mine at a time when many people in our country are suffering.  It therefore behooves Congress to make sure this money is being spent for good, or at the very least benign, purposes.
Unfortunately, evidence developing from the ongoing conflagration between Israel and Hamas appears to suggest the reverse.  The UN — specifically the UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency), but other agencies as well — may have  been actively supporting terrorism and terrorists in the Gaza Strip, even aiding with the storage of Hamas weaponry (missiles), whether deliberately or accidentally is unclear.
From the Jerusalem Post:
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman decreed in a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday that not only were rockets found in UNRWA schools in Gaza, but also that UNRWA then turned them over to Hamas, rather than to Israel.
UNRWA admitted itself on two different occasions since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge began 16 days ago that they discovered rockets in their facilities.
Liberman said Israel was very “troubled” by these developments. “UNRWA schools were established to educate children in Gaza, but instead they are providing a hiding place for rockets meant to kill children in Israel,” he said.
Just what were those missiles doing in the UN schools and why did Hamas suppose that would be a good place to store them? The UN denies their culpability and says this was the “first time” such a thing has happened. But is that true?

Still, you can count on slime buckets like Gideon Levy to spin this somehow to make the only Western nation in a region given over to barbarism look like the problem.

In a grim world, a happy ending

Meriam Ibrahim and her family are safe in Italy.  They met Pope Francis.  Next stop: America.

If you're looking for an actual war on women . . .

. . . turn your gaze toward Mosul, where ISIS has ordered all girls and women between the ages of 11 and 46 to undergo genital mutilation.