Friday, November 18, 2011

The Final Five: November 18, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
November 18, 2011

I took some cold medicine last night that knocked me out cold, so tonight's Final Five is a double dose!

Tonight's Crazy Story
When you hear of a police chase on a highway, you don't usually expect the target to be a dog. See what happens when a dog jumps out of its owner's car and runs loose on an Arizona highway.


Tonight's Final Five (times two):
Josh Kraushaar explains why Obama faces a reelection dilemma: run a campaign that appeals to blue collar workers in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, or run a campaign that appeals to the upscale workers in swing states like Virginia and North Carolina. "Publicly, the president’s reelection team insists it’s actively competing in every state. In reality, though, the White House will have to choose between a specific reelection message that appeals more to one demographic than the other."

Diana Furchtgott-Roth explains a gap in Obamacare that could result in the uninsured becoming ineligible for the federal subsidies. "Even if the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the individual mandate, the health care law will remain costly, inefficient, and in need of reform."

Even as the European Union has prohibited the use of body scanners in airports due to safety concerns, the TSA continues to defend their use. Now, the TSA says that previous studies are sufficient, and it is refusing to quickly implement recommendations for a safety study. TSA Administrator John Pistole says, "My strong belief is those types of machines are still completely safe. If the determination is that this IG study is not sufficient, then I will look at still yet another additional study."

Taking a break...to laugh a little
"The government took action and introduced a bill to classify pizza as a vegetable in schools. Mark this down: November 17, 2011: The day America gave up."
"In a world where Kardashians are celebrities, maybe pizzas can be vegetables."
-Jimmy Kimmel, 11/17/11


Now back to the Final Five:
Justin Timberlake will probably never appear on The Final Five again. However, after his evening with Corporal Kelsey DeSantis at the Marine Corp ball, he wrote an excellent tribute to the military. "I have to tell you, it's not every day that I meet a 23 year old girl and she's more worried about if I'm having fun or if I'm comfortable! It hit me all of a sudden that these were the type of people that look after us and our freedom... Humble, concerned for others before themselves... This was the type of person our Marine Corps was building. I was really blown away."

Michael Cohen presents the case that tides have changed in America: Democrats appear the strongest on national security and Republicans are the strongest on the economy. Will Obama attempt to bring national security to the fore in this election cycle? "Of course, that there is even a discussion about the national security advantages of a Democrat in a presidential election is in itself a sea change. Barack Obama has had more than his share of unusual political accomplishments -- if he effectively can use foreign policy and national security to help get re-elected in this terrible economic climate, it may well be the most impressive one of all."


Tomorrow in History: November 19
November 19, 1863 - President Abraham Lincoln delivers a short speech following the keynote address by Edward Everett at the Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. However, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address would live on in history, but Everett's speech has been long forgotten.


Back to the Final Five:
Peter Robinson explains why our government keeps ending up in gridlock: compromise is impossible because the two parties are trying to take the government in completely opposite directions. "We now have two parties with two fundamentally different and irreconcilable views of the role of government in American life: The GOP believes in limited government and the primacy of the private sector, the Democrats, in ever-expanding government and the primacy of the public sector."

David Frum was asked to provide potential questions for the GOP foreign-policy debate, but CBS did not make use of any of his suggestions. Frum provides some of his questions, and then he tells us how he thinks the ideal candidate would answer each of them.


Taking another break...to laugh again
"Police in New York City cleared Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Why don’t we let them occupy basketball arenas around the countries. We’re not using them."
-Jay Leno, 11/16/11


Back to the Final Five one more time:
Daniel Henninger argues that the decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline shows that Obama is not committed to creating private sector jobs. "No subject sits more centrally in the American political debate than the economic plight of the middle class. ... The president fashions himself their champion. This surely is bunk. Mr. Obama is the champion of the public-sector middle class."

Peter Ferrara presents the case that no one can excuse Obama's economic policies any longer: this recession has lasted longer than any recession since the Great Depression, and there are no so-called "financial crises" that differ from this pattern. "The experience of the American economy is reported in full at the National Bureau of Economic Research, as cited above – recessions since the Great Depression previously have lasted an average of 10 months, with the longest previously 16 months, and the deeper the recession the stronger the recovery. That is the standard by which the performance of Obamanomics is to be judged. Which of those American recessions were a “financial crisis” that breaks the pattern?"

Victor Davis Hanson explains why America protects the weak and small nations in the world. "Only America is moral enough and strong enough to protect the world’s historically vulnerable but culturally unique peoples. It would be a shame if we forgot that — either out of desire for profit or because we became fed up with the bother."


This Weekend in History: November 20-21
November 20, 1985 - Microsoft releases the first version of its new software program: Windows 1.0.
November 21, 1620 - Settlers in Plymouth Colony sign the Mayflower Compact.


Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat."
-James Madison


Coming Monday...
The Final Five will have some new features and a new look. Be sure to check back at 9 PM Monday to see it.


Would you like to receive The Final Five in your inbox each night. Simply send an e-mail to finalfive@defenseoffreedomblog.com with "Subscribe" in the subject line.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Examining the "You Can Keep Your Current Plan" Lie

During the health care debate, one of the mantras repeated by the Democrats was that "if you like your current plan, you can keep it." While it sounded great, it is being shown to be just another lie that was told in an attempt to garner support for this measure.

First, the number of uninsured Americans is rising despite the bill's passage last year. More than four million people have lost their health insurance during the past year, meaning that they will not be able to "keep their current plan." Certainly, we should not blame all of this on the Obamacare legislation, as layoffs and employer benefit reductions have caused some of this increase (though other policies of this administration can and should be blamed for this problem.) However, a third reason given for the increase in the uninsured is families dropping health coverage as a means of saving money. As health premiums have increased, many businesses have passed the cost on to the employee, causing employees to determine that the increased cost is not affordable. Perhaps this would be better phrased as "if you like your current plan, you can keep it, assuming that you can afford it."

Next, we learned that thirty percent of employers are planning to drop health insurance in 2014 when the law is fully implemented. This means that if you currently have health insurance, there is a one-in-three chance that your insurance will be dropped in 2014. Your employer will have to pay a penalty, but some estimates show that the penalty will be less than the cost of the insurance, making it financially profitable for the company to drop the benefit. No longer is it only the employee that has to afford the health insurance; the employee and the employer must both be able to afford it.

Finally, by requiring regulations to establish the minimum insurance coverage, plans will begin to gravitate towards those coverage levels. The basic plans offered by most companies--and therefore, most employers--will likely be almost identical. As employers look to cut costs, they will look for the cheapest plans: the plans that meet the minimum requirements. Even those who are able to maintain their coverage through their employer may see a change in their coverage.

By stating that all Americans would be able to keep their current plan, the Obama administration told the public a huge lie. Even without the Obamacare law, employers changed insurance companies and coverage levels frequently; this will continue despite the law. However, we are finding out now that change may not come because of employer choice, but out of cost-saving necessity by either the employer or employee.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Final Five: November 16, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
November 16, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story
U.K. Police sent letters to suspects telling them to call a marketing company for a free crate of beer. However, the deliver was handcuffs, not beer.

Tonight's Final Five:

Coyote Blog explains what the Occupy crowd is missing: hard work to get an education is not enough. That hard work must continue in order to get and keep a job.

Alexander Bolton explains the Republican flip-flop on taxes, and what it means for the Republican victory in 2010.

Taking a break...to laugh a little
"I heard about a new insulin device for diabetics that could test tears instead of blood. That'll be weird when you're like, “Hey, I need to test my blood sugar. Can you put on ‘Marley and Me?'"
-Jimmy Fallon, 11/14/11


Now Back to The Final Five

With the prevalent rumors that the super-committee is about to fail, Mark Steyn's satire provides some suggestions for ways that the committee can give the appearance of cuts without really having to make any changes.

David Harsanyi explains why Obamacare must be repealed regardless of whether or not it is constitutional.

Whole Foods executive John Mackey explains why economic freedom must be increased in order for America to produce jobs.

Tomorrow in History: November 17
November 17, 1800 - The U.S. Congress meets in Washington D.C. for the first time.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"In the midst of these pleasing ideas we should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections."
-John Adams


Would you like to receive The Final Five in your inbox each night. Simply send an e-mail to finalfive@defenseoffreedomblog.com with "Subscribe" in the subject line.

Predictable News: The Result of Failure is Failing

Although there is no official word coming from its members, there are rumors that the debt super-committee is gridlocked and may not produce a bill by its deadline next week. While the media is treating this news as a shocking new development, it really should not surprise anyone that the committee is failing. To understand, all it takes is a look back at the short history of this committee.

The committee is actually the result of failure: the failure of Congress to come to an agreement during the debt ceiling debate. Democrats wanted to raise the debt ceiling, but some Republicans stood up and said that they could only do it if they agreed to spending cuts. The two parties could not come to an agreement on what and how much to cut, and they took the debate down to the wire while falsely claiming that the nation would default if we did not raise the debt ceiling by August 2 of this year. At the last minute, the two sides finally produced an "agreement" that was more of an "agree to disagree" agreement.

Under the bill passed by Congress in August, the parties agreed to some initial spending cuts but passed the rest off to the super-committee we are hearing about today. The committee is comprised of three members from each party in each house of Congress, for a total of twelve members. With an even number of Republicans and Democrats, at least one member of a party would have to vote with the other party's members to approve the committee's final proposal. In order to "guarantee" the committee would successfully present a bill, automatic spending cuts were put in place that would each hit a party's "pet area" of the budget: defense spending for Republicans and entitlement spending for Democrats.

However, given the immense differences between the debt reduction philosophies of the two parties, it should come as no surprise that the committee is now gridlocked. The members are being instructed by the same party leaders that failed to come to a complete solution during the debt debate, forcing them to agree to this committee as a compromise. Each party's committee members are concerned about getting the final bill through the house that their party controls, which means that the bill must pander to their own party. The committee likely is gridlocking right where the congressional leadership gridlocked, except now, we have horrible "triggers" in place that will cut spending automatically.

The automatic defense spending cuts will hit our military hard, especially considering that the military has already had its budget cut. While the military may have been able to survive with the first round of cuts, a second set of cuts will definitely hinder our national security. The cuts to Medicare are cuts in the payments made to doctors, which will make doctors less likely to accept Medicare, but it will not provide any solutions to make the program sustainable in the future. While other areas are cut, the majority of the cuts take place to these two programs. No matter which side of these cuts we look at, the cuts are a horrible option.

We have left our nation's budget in the hands of twelve members who were given a task that was probably impossible in today's political climate: producing a bi-partisan debt reduction agreement. If the news reports are true and the committee fails to deliver next week, Congress will be left with two options: allow the automatic cuts to take effect or change the bill to extend the deadline or eliminate the cuts. Either option is a poor choice, but given the failed history of debt reduction in this Congress, our dilemma is not really surprising.

Mid-Week Media: Going Green, Lego History, and Bailouts

It's the middle of the week, which means it's time for Mid-Week Media!

Americans for Prosperity put out this great video on the Solyndra and other "green" scandals.


Looking for an interesting way to learn history? Check out this video explaining the Boston Tea Party using legos.


A sad commentary on exactly why America economy is failing.


Is Obama gambling our money away?


Solving a debt crisis always requires you to have your priorities straight.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Final Five: November 15, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
November 15, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story
A Florida man accidentally threw out his wife's engagement ring, so he went to the landfill and found it.

Tonight's Final Five:

An Iowahawk poem about Occupy Wall Street.

Wall Street is worried, not because of the "99%" but because of the market that keeps popping its bubbles. Without another bubble to inflate, banks are opening themselves to even greater risk.

Taking a break...to laugh a little
"Starbucks announced plans to open a line of juice bars. They would have done this years ago but it took them a while to figure out how to burn orange juice."
-Conan O'Brien, 11/14/11


Now Back to The Final Five

Daniel DeSalvo explains why the conflicts between governments and public unions will continue despite recent union victories. Ohio (and other states who choose to not adopt such legislation) will be forced to choose between tax increases or layoffs.

Jeffrey Goldberg analyzes what Obama's comments on Israel mean for American policy with Israel.

Henry Nothhaft explains why Congress and the President need to focus on creating manufacturing jobs and avoid the idea that America can innovate and let other nations make our products.

Tomorrow in History: November 16
November 16, 1914 - The Federal Reserve Bank officially opens.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"Political interest [can] never be separated in the long run from moral right."
-Thomas Jefferson


Would you like to receive The Final Five in your inbox each night. Simply send an e-mail to finalfive@defenseoffreedomblog.com with "Subscribe" in the subject line.

Congressional Update: November 15, 2011

This update is taken from the e-mail newsletter of Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY). If you would like to receive his e-mail updates, you may sign up here.

Last Week on the House Floor
Last week, the House was in recess for a Constituent Work Week.

Anticipated Action on the House Floor This Week
This week, the House will be in session Monday through Friday. The House is expected to vote on the following bills:
  • H.R. 2838, Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011
  • Senate Amendment to H.R. 674, To repeal the imposition of 3 percent withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities
  • H.R. 822, National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011
  • H.J.Res. 2, Proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States
  • H.R. 2112, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012

You can read bills, summaries by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service and keep up-to-date on their progress as they move through the legislative process by visiting http://thomas.gov and typing in the bill number.

Above the Law

A 60 Minutes report last weekend exposed insider trading taking place by our own legislators. You can watch the full 15-minute report below.


Some of the highlights of the report:
  • Despite Congress's access to inside information, there are no insider trading restrictions on Congressmen.
  • There are many instances of Congressmen trading stocks immediately before the public release of information. For example, several Congressmen purchased insurance stocks during the Obamacare debate, and then made money off of the stocks once the bill passed.
  • The problem is not limited to stock trades. Congressmen have also purchased real estate and then earmarked money for federal highways to travel next to their new property.
  • Congressmen have also been allowed greater access to Initial Public Offerings, which usually go up in price quickly after their issue. This is a way that companies can legally "bribe" legislators.
  • Corporate executives and government employees in the executive and judicial branches are bound by conflict of interest laws, but those in the legislative branch are not bound by the same laws.
  • Attempts to reform conflict of interest and insider trading have received no traction in either house of Congress.
  • Finally, a new business system is also developing where Washington insiders pick up hints from Congressmen and sell them to hedge fund managers and other traders.

This report illustrates one of the problems with Congress today: those who make the laws can exempt themselves from the law. As stated in the report, what these Congressmen are doing would be illegal if it were done by business professionals or employees in the executive or judicial branches. While I oppose most attempts for more regulation, this regulation will protect Americans from being exploited by 535 people who believe they can live above the law.

WordBites: November 15, 2011

WordBites - November 15, 2011
"Soundbites, except with words!"



Iran Hit by Cyberattack
Iranian officials have confirmed that computers at its nuclear sites have been infected by the Duqu computer virus. This virus infects a computer and creates vulnerabilities that can be utilized by the virus's creator.



Is This Robbing the Poor to Pay the Rich?
A report prepared by Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn details the $30 billion in benefits paid to millionaires by the government. However, the report is clear that the incidents mentioned in the report are all legal exploitations of loopholes.



Obamacare Headed for Supreme Court
Following several conflicting rulings, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare. The court has allotted more than five hours (as opposed to the usual one hour) for arguments on the various issues surrounding the law. A date for arguments has not been set, but it is expected to be toward the end of March.



Monday, November 14, 2011

The Final Five: November 14, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
November 14, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story
You read that headline correctly. A couple is suing Air Tran because they saw cockroaches on the plane during their flight.

Tonight's Final Five:

Doug Ross breaks down the number of jobs that Obama is planning to destroy next year. See the numbers that explain why our current President is the most-effective job destroyer ever.

John Nolte provides a great page to bookmark in order to keep track of the latest count of arrests and violence at Occupy Wall Street. Is violence really just part of OWS's "fringe"?

Taking a break...to laugh a little
"A guy named Reggie Love leaving the White House to get a degree at the Wharton School of Business. I guess he realized you can't learn anything about economics in the Obama White House."
-Jay Leno, 11/11/11


Now Back to The Final Five

The Wall Street Journal provided two pieces as part of a series titled, "Generation Jobless." The first piece analyzes how our educational system is failing to prepare high school students for the rigors of intense college majors such as engineering.

The second piece of "Generation Jobless" analyzes the unemployment rate among the younger generation and explained why the future continues to look even worse.

Fred Barnes describes the love affair between government, labor, and business, and he explains why the "little guys" have been hurt through it.

Tomorrow in History: November 15
November 15, 1939 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt lays the cornerstone for the Jefferson Memorial.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day."
-Thomas Jefferson


Would you like to receive The Final Five in your inbox each night. Simply send an e-mail to finalfive@defenseoffreedomblog.com with "Subscribe" in the subject line.

Obama's Civilian Security Force

Remember when Obama said he wanted to have a civilian security force? If you forgot, here's the video clip:



Some might argue that he was only referring to citizens being alert, but why would he say they need to be just as powerful, strong, and well-funded as the military? However, the President did not need to authorize a civilian security force; his predecessor already set one up for him: the TSA.

Americans have grown accustomed to the TSA's presence at the airport, even as it now involves a naked scan or molestation (but you get to choose which one!) However, the TSA is now branching out and inspecting other methods of "transportation." Not only are they inspecting you at the train station and the bus station, but they are now conducting checkpoints to inspect you when you are in your car. Even the liberal-leaning newspaper The Atlantic calls it "Mission Creep."

The TSA was established in a gross overreaction to the 9/11 attacks. I certainly do not want to see those attacks repeated again, but molesting American citizens is not the way to prevent another attack. Americans eventually learned to accept these changes. However, with the latest violation of the fourth amendment, the TSA is not inspecting Americans not only when travelling on public transportation but also while they are traveling in their own vehicles. Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons justifies this by saying, "Where is a terrorist more apt to be found? Not these days on an airplane more likely on the interstate."

The government has treated flying on an airplane as if it is a privilege granted to us by the government instead of a freedom to choose our method of transportation. It will not likely be long before the TSA extends this feeling to all forms of public transit. However, now the government now wants to treat driving a car on the interstate as another privilege it grants its "subjects." While some would justify checks at the airport and even train and bus stations by saying they are "voluntary" (you have the option of purchasing the ticket and undergoing the search, or not purchasing the ticket and avoiding the search), it is impossible to survive without traveling on the highway, whether driving or riding. If the extension of the searches continue, it will not be long before we can be subjected to a search for walking on a public sidewalk. If Americans do not stand up for their freedom, it will not be long before the Bush-created civilian security force becomes Obama's powerful, strong, and well-funded dream.

WordBites: November 14, 2011

WordBites - November 14, 2011
"Soundbites, except with words!"



Will Congress Change Its Rules?
As the deadline for the "super committee" to present its spending plan draws near, the prospect of failure is causing some lawmakers to reexamine its rules. Under the deficit agreement passed in August, if the committee does not present a plan that can be approved by Congress, automatic spending cuts will take place. However, as rumored gridlock makes it seem more likely that the super committee will not reach its goal, lawmakers are considering modifying or eliminating some of the proposed automatic cuts.



Are We "Lazy" at Attracting Businesses?
Speaking at the APEC summit this weekend, President Obama stated that the US has become "a bit lazy" at attracting new businesses to America. He stated, "We've kind of taken for granted -- well, people will want to come here and we aren't out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America."



Just Another "Peaceful" Protest
Following a midnight deadline to leave their campsite, police moved in and arrested protesters at Occupy Portland. Portland's mayor had ordered the campsite closed due to health concerns and drug use, but dozens of the protesters remained past the deadline. More than 50 people were arrested.