Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Final Five: April 5, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 5, 2012

I've been gone most of the day, and I am getting ready to leave again for something else this evening, so tonight's Final Five will be a shorter one.

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Oops! NCAA Can't Spell Name of Next Final Four City
After watching the NCAA advertising describing the increase in graduation rates and telling us that student-athletes are not "a bunch of dumb jocks", it is ironic that the NCAA misspelled the host city's name in advertising the 2013 Final Four.

Topic One: Good Intentions vs. the Constitution
Mark W. Hendrickson weighs in at Forbes: "All four of these justices are “progressives.” They believe in positive law, i.e., they want the federal government to do good things for people. The Founding Fathers believed in negative law; they wanted a government that would confine itself to protecting the people from bad things happening to them (e.g., aggression, foreign or domestic, against their God-given rights).

"The philosophy of negative law is the philosophy of limited government; the government’s few powers are enumerated in the Constitution. Contrariwise, positive law breeds Big Government and tends toward total government, because once the premise is accepted that the central government is supposed to improve the economic conditions of citizens, there is no logical stopping point.

"Once the notion is accepted that government should provide something for person A, then “fairness” dictates that government also must do something for persons B, C, D, et al. Furthermore, if government is responsible for supplying person A with, say, a job, then why not a nice place to live, free clothing, school tuition, health care, transportation, entertainment, ad infinitum?

"The Supreme Court justices who vote to overturn Obamacare will be more faithful to the Constitution than those who vote to sustain it for the simple reason that, under the enumerated powers and 10th Amendment to the Constitution, health care is properly left to the states and the people to address as they see fit. Undoubtedly, some critics will try to impugn their compassion for voting “against health care,” but such allegations are red herrings, designed to distract people from the sole issue on which the Court sits in judgment—not whether providing universal health insurance is economically prudent, politically popular, or medically effective, but simply whether it is constitutional."

Time for a Laugh:
"Dartmouth College, a fine institution, has named their medical school after Dr. Seuss. Because nothing is better than hearing your doctor say, "You don't have cancer on your nose, you don't have cancer on your toes."
-Conan O'Brien

Topic Two: The Arab Spring
Jonathan Tobin on the rise of the Islamists in Egypt: "How bad is the current political situation in Egypt? So bad, it appears, that the Obama administration actually believes it ought to throw its support behind the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stop an even more radical Islamist from being elected to the presidency of the most populous Arab nation. That’s the predicament Washington faces after the Brotherhood broke its pledge not to field a candidate for Egypt’s presidency. But as much as the surge in popularity of the Salafi candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail may make a tilt toward the Brotherhood seem understandable, the situation illustrates the depths to which the administration’s Middle East cluelessness has sunk."

"Should the Brotherhood candidate for president succeed, it would create a dangerous situation in which this Islamist party would control both the executive and the parliament. This would place intolerable pressure on the army — which remains the sole force in the country that could act as a check on the Islamists — to back down and allow the Brotherhood untrammeled power.

"Washington seemingly has no problems with this happening as it has bought hook, line and sinker, the Brotherhood’s claims it is now ready to embrace peace with Israel, avoid persecution of Egypt’s Christian minority, and promote a free enterprise model for economic development. As Eric Trager writes for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s website, the Brotherhood’s “détente” with the army command, in which they had promised not to try and run roughshod over secularists or to take over the country, is now in tatters, as their drive for power goes into overdrive. There is also the possibility the Salafis will beat the Brotherhood candidate anyway, in which case the country would drift even farther to the extremes."

Debt Watch:
( As of Wednesday, April 4, 2012 )

Change: +$875,969,140
Your share as a citizen: $49,986.11
Share per household: $136,714.55
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,990,845,495,166

Topic Three: The Next Bubble
Martin Hutchinson explains why student loan debt will likely become the next bubble: "If government guarantees and bankruptcy exemption remain in place, the volume of student loans will continue soaring, as unscrupulous lenders provide them to naive students. That will cause the cost of college to continue rising in real terms as college administrators pad their sinecures. As with the subprime mortgage industry, an eventual crash is inevitable. But unlike subprime mortgage borrowers, student loan borrowers will be unable to start afresh after bankruptcy.

"The solution is to eliminate the two unwarranted subsidies to the student loan industry. Student loans must no longer be guaranteed by the government. And in bankruptcy, they must be treated like any other debt. The banks will scream, and student loans will be much more difficult to get.

"For most students, that will return them to choosing a cheaper institution and working their way through college, in the traditional way - some of them might choose more marketable degree courses, too. For the poor but brilliant, the Ivy League can continue providing full scholarships and the government can continue providing Pell grants - with their cost fully accounted for on-budget. College costs will drop back to 1970s levels in real terms, as overstuffed bureaucracies are eliminated. And for college administrators and student lending banks, life will get considerably harder - which is no bad thing. All bubbles eventually burst. This one will be no different."

Tweet of the Day:
Freedom Works (@FreedomWorks):
"Our security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction." -T. Jefferson #tcot

Topic Four: Israel's Environment
George Freidman on the stages of the Israeli conflict: "Israel is now entering its third strategic environment. The constant threat of state-on-state war defined the first, which lasted from the founding of the Jewish state until its peace treaty with Egypt. A secure periphery defined the second, which lasted until recently and focused on the Palestinian issue, Lebanon and the rise of radical Sunni Islamists. The rise of Iran as a regional power and the need to build international coalitions to contain it define the third.

"Israel's fundamental strategic problem is that its national security interests outstrip its national resources, whether industrial, geographic, demographic or economic. During the first phase, it was highly dependent on outside powers -- first the Soviet Union, then France and finally the United States -- in whose interest it was to provide material support to Israel. In the second phase, the threat lessened, leaving Israel relatively free to define its major issues, such as containing the Palestinians and attempting to pacify Lebanon. Its dependence on outside powers decreased, meaning it could disregard those powers from time to time. In the third phase, Israel's dependence on outside powers, particularly the United States, began increasing. With this increase, Israel's freedom for maneuver began declining."

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"This gave me occasion to observe, that when Men are employ'd they are best contented. For on the Days they work'd they were good-natur'd and chearful; and with the consciousness of having done a good Days work they spent the Evenings jollily; but on the idle Days they were mutinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their Pork, the Bread, etc. and in continual ill-humour."

-Benjamin Franklin

Topic Five: The Uncivil Tax System
Jeff Jacoby on our annual ritual of preparing income tax returns: "Is it any wonder, then, that the paperwork, record-keeping, calculations, form-preparation, and filing procedures required to pay federal taxes have become one of the great soul-crushing time sinks in American life? Or that the National Taxpayer Advocate (the independent ombudsman within the IRS) declared flatly last year that "the most serious problem facing taxpayers – and the IRS – is the complexity of the Internal Revenue Code"? Or that the Tax Foundation concluded in 2005 that income-tax compliance costs amounted to a stunning $265.1 billion -- in effect, "a 22-cent … surcharge for every dollar the income tax system collects"?

"By now the great majority of individual tax filers has decided that putting together their tax returns without paying for help isn't feasible. According to a 2011 MarketTools study, only 12 percent of US taxpayers still complete their federal income taxes without hiring an accountant, visiting a tax-preparation firm such as H&R Block, or buying tax-preparation software. I gave up trying to prepare my returns by hand years ago; like tens of millions of other Americans, I now put my fate in the hands of TurboTax.

"Our tax code's lack of clarity -- and the flood of special-interest giveaways and preferences that make it so cumbersome -- has turned innumerable taxpayers into cynics. Americans conclude that the whole setup is rigged, and that only a sucker doesn't bend the rules in order to pay less or finagle a bigger refund. How many people who wouldn't think of ripping off a local charity or business don't hesitate to cheat on their taxes? In such an environment, it isn't only compliance rates that suffer. Some of the civic virtue so important to a healthy society is lost as well. Jimmy Carter was right in 1976 when he called the US income tax "a disgrace to the human race." Thirty-six years later, it's more disgraceful -- and maddening -- than ever."

Tomorrow in History
April 6, 1808 - John Jacob Astor incorporates the American Fur Company, that would eventually make him America's first millionaire.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Final Five: April 4, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 4, 2012

Featured Article:
A Patient, a Doctor, and Three Burly Nurses
Deane Waldman describes how the process by which ObamaCare was created went against the typical practice of medicine. Instead of looking at which treatments worked and which did not, the Democrats and Obama forged ahead with their plan despite its failures elsewhere.

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Circus Elephant Flees Bath Time and Escapes Into Busy Ireland Parking Lot
Next time your kids don't want to take a bath, it could be much worse. The elephant escaped bath time and ran through an Ireland parking lot.

Topic One: ObamaCare
How ObamaCare goes against the practice of medicine: "Doctors for humans are required to be evidence-based in their recommendations to the patients. They review past experience to see what worked, what did not, and why. Why didn't Congress behave the same way before passing the ACA? Had they done so, our representatives would see people dying while waiting in line for approved care in Canada. They could observe British denial of care based on age. Closer to home, there is Massachusetts with Commonwealth Care, also called RomneyCare or ObamaCare Lite. In the Bay State, a woman with pelvic pain must wait six weeks before she can see an ObGyn. Over half of all doctors in Massachusetts do not accept Commonwealth Care patients because they cannot afford to; reimbursements are so low that the doctors go out of business. A doctor is a fiduciary. The good doctor advises. The good doctor never forces his or her will on the patient. The providers committing malpractice in the analogy above are also guilty of battery as well as of stealing. With the ACA, Congress is guilty of all three: malpractice, battery, and theft, plus indenturing our grandchildren. They do this because Washington is populated with magical thinkers who believe, Because I want it and because I mean well, everything will turn out just fine."

Are Obama's recent comments to the Supreme Court the result of a leak of the vote? "The first question is how, if there are no clerks, secretaries, etc., in the conference how would have the president found out about the decision… and I think the actual vote? Paradoxically, if there is a leak it is much easier to identify the source than if there were assorted support staff in the room. While support staff would have been the likely suspects they actually have much to lose and little to gain from leaking. If found out, they will lose their job. If not found out their reward will be minor. No fame. No fortune. Just the day-in-day-out knowledge that the person they leaked the information to controls their future. The people who can leak without fear are the justices themselves. If one did leak they are in no danger of losing their job and while some of their colleagues might be miffed they would, if exposed, be the toast of the town in Manhattan and Los Angeles. (GASP… did you just insinuate a Supreme Court justice might breach the holiest of holies? Remember, my friends, we’re dealing with Democrats here.) If a leak occurred after Friday’s conference, it is very easy to figure out the single justice with the requisite means, motive, and opportunity."

HotAir's Ed Morrissey disagrees: "Unless he’s trying to goose a slow news day with speculation, I have no idea why Drudge is pushing the “leak” angle. There’s nothing about it in the Reuters story he links to and, as far as I saw, nothing in O’s comments today in the Rose Garden to suggest he had inside info. If he had seized on some obscure part of last week’s arguments, like the Anti-Injunction Act, then that might have been a clue that something the media had overlooked was weighing heavily inside the Court’s own deliberations and that O had gotten wind of it. But he didn’t. He gave a straightforward pitch that, unless the Court rules his way, it’s illegitimate. I expected nothing less. Neither, I’m sure, did Anthony Kennedy, who has three months to make up his mind and therefore probably isn’t a firm yes or no yet."

Related links: Does the commerce clause negate the rest of the Constitution? || Higher insurance? Blame ObamaCare || Avik Roy found a use for Pinterest || Barack Obama vs. Anthony Kennedy

Time for a Laugh:
"If I won the Mega Millions, I'd buy an island. Not for me. I'd send all the Kardashians on it."
-Craig Ferguson

Topic Two: Energy
Is Obama's rhetoric more excessive than oil profits? "A new attack ad for an Obama-linked political group excoriates the oil industry for its "record profits and ... billions in special tax breaks." On closer inspection, those profits turn out to be nothing special. Government policies have driven up the price of oil, which has boosted oil companies' total profits. But their profit margins — the best measure of industry profitability — remain modest. As of the third quarter of last year, the oil industry earned just 6.7 cents per dollar of revenue, less than the average for all manufacturing of 9.2 cents (see chart). This year, even after a spike in prices, the oil industry ranks 90th in profitability out of 215 industry groups. "Big Oil"? How about "Just Average Oil"? This is just one of the tricks used by the left to tar the industry, which employs 9.2 million people and accounts for 7.7% of the total U.S. economy."

Obama's energy future: "The price of gasoline is high because Barack Obama wants it to be high. How do we know this? He told us, over and over again. Raising the price of energy has always been his plan to win the future, and his strategic retreat from his only successful policy is exactly that: a strategy. Sure, he doesn't like the price of gasoline now, but that is only a political calculation -- it is costing him electoral support. People are loath to vote for a man who has destroyed their household budgets by increasing the price of a necessity. With re-election, Barack unbound will give the nation $10-a-gallon gasoline. It's for our own good -- he knows best."

Related story: Epic Greenfail

Debt Watch:
( As of Tuesday, April 3, 2012 )

Change: -$3,479,423,465
Your share as a citizen: $49,983.31
Share per household: $136,708.88
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,989,969,526,026

Topic Three: Iran
Israel's worst-case scenario: "It’s apparently taken as a given that Iran and its proxies would have leeway to target Israeli civilians in the aftermath of Israeli pin-point strikes. Rockets and missiles fired at Israeli civilian centers would be shrugged off by the international community with something in between “well, what did you expect would happen” and “if you think about it, the Israelis kind of have it coming.” Even pro-forma condemnations about limiting the violence and calls to think about the morning after would be slow in arriving, except in the immediate aftermath of Israeli strikes against attacks from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and perhaps even Egypt and Syria. The double standards, indifference, and rationalizations with which atrocities against Israeli civilians are greeted, of course, is exactly why Jerusalem is committed to holding its genocidal enemies to conventional means. Given that Iranian leaders are again exhorting the religiously-driven annihilation of Israel, it’s no wonder that solid majorities of Israelis are supporting last-ditch military strikes on Iran."

Is Iran concerned about sanctions? "How frightened is Iran by some international sanctions upheld by some countries; by visits from some UN personnel shaking their fingers saying "Naughty, naughty;" by President Barack Obama saying let's talk about being friends and getting rid of your peaceful nuclear weapons? According to the Iranian Fars News Agency Iran is planning to export their weapons. For peaceful purposes of course."

Tweet of the Day:
@kesgardner False! As Obama tells us, Government does not take half of our money, the Government gives us half of their money.

Topic Four: A Nation Arms Itself
Pat Buchanan on the increase in gun sales: "For when it comes to Second Amendment rights, Middle America has spoken — at the ballot box and the gun store. And Congress, most state legislatures and the federal courts have all come down on the side of the Silent Majority. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court struck down one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, assuring district citizens of their right to keep a gun in the home. U.S. Judge Benson E. Legg just struck down the section of Maryland's gun law that left it to local authorities to decide if a citizen could carry a gun outside his house."

He goes on to say: "Gun-control organizations claim that gun ownership is actually declining, that fewer and fewer people are buying more and more of these guns. But the numbers seem to contradict the gun-controllers. A 2005 Gallup survey found that three in 10 Americans own a gun, that 40 percent had a gun in the house, that nearly half of all men own a gun, as do one in seven women. Two-thirds of all gun-owners gave as a reason they own a gun: protection against crime."

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it."

-John Adams

Topic Five: Dubious Donations
Is the Obama administration accepting fraudulent donations? Some recent posts at Powerline seem to indicate that they are. Can Usama bin Laden donate to the Obama campaign? Apparently his donation is welcomed. What about Illegal Contributor, a resident of the Minnesota penal system? Go right ahead!

Tomorrow in History
April 5, 1621 - After reaching Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Mayflower sets sail on a return trip to Great Britain.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening: Where are you on the global pay scale?

An employer's perspective on employees and Facebook

Updated delegate counts

Why is there no Senate budget?

The worst economic recovery

The imbalanced Ryan budget

The newspaper mandate

Volt's cousin, the Chevy Cruze, catching fire

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Unnecessary Spending

Nine medical organizations today came out against what they call "unnecessary spending" in medicine. From the Huffington Post:
With health care costs growing out of control, medical societies made up of family physicians, cardiologists and other specialists have a message for America's doctors: Don't be so quick to order expensive procedures like CT scans and X-rays. Unnecessary tests and treatments pad the nation's health care bill and expose patients to needless risks, the groups say.

On Wednesday, nine doctors' organizations -- including the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Cardiology -- along with business and consumer groups are launching an effort to reduce unnecessary medical tests and treatments, thereby saving costs and cutting back on patients' exposure to stressful and sometimes dangerous procedures.

The "Choosing Wisely" campaign is the latest push by groups representing American doctors to rein in wasteful spending that arises out of physicians' assessments of what constitutes best practices for patients. The nine doctors' groups emphasize that patients don't always need high-tech testing, at least not as a first resort.

Expect to hear more of this as ObamaCare heads to full implementation in 2014. Your doctor, who has heard your description of symptoms and conducted an examination, cannot possibly determine what tests you need as well as some bureaucrat or advisor who has never met you. It will become all about the money, and when money runs short, the patient gets shortchanged.

Now if we could just get doctors to stop with those unnecessary amputations...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Final Five: April 3, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 3, 2012

Featured Article:
Regulations Govern Our Lives - Then Send Us The Bill
Congress is authorized to write legislation, but Congress has recently developed the tactic of writing vague legislation and instructing executive agencies to develop regulations to fill in the details. This practice comes with a great price both in terms of the expanding government and the cost of compliance.

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Florida Woman, 93, Reaches End of the Road After 576,000 Miles In Her 1964 Mercury
Rachel Veitch's car is preparing to reach its final resting place after she was forced to stop driving due to eye problems. The 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente has over 576,000 miles.

Topic One: Debt and Taxes
Congratulations to the United States, who achieved the top spot for highest corporate taxes this week! Rick Moran points out at American Thinker: "Only recently have GOP candidates been pushing a corporate tax cut that would make us more competitive. Mitt Romney has made it the centerpiece of his plan to revitalize the economy. Of course, the Democrats resist the idea, unless there are corresponding tax increases on the "rich," although they don't object to the concept of a corporate tax rate cut. It's a dubious honor to be sure, and one that must be rectified before we can experience the kind of strong growth that will pull us out of the hole we're in."

The Problem of the Nonmetallic Dollar: "From George Washington to Dwight D. Eisenhower, the national debt tended to grow in wartime and shrink in peacetime. Because the dollar was generally convertible into gold or silver at a fixed and statutory rate, the central bank, when there was a central bank, couldn't just materialize money as the Federal Reserve does today. You had to dig the metal out of the Earth, or entice it into American vaults with money-friendly financial policies. The Treasury could borrow, all right, but not without limit. Wars aside, the government paid its way like a man with a debit card. Washington, D.C., got its credit card on Sunday, Aug. 15, 1971. Pre-empting the horse opera "Bonanza," President Richard Nixon told a national television audience that the gold standard, or what little of it remained, was kaput. No more would the dollar be defined in law as 1/35th of an ounce of gold. It would rather be anchored by the good intentions of the people who printed it. There has never been a credit card quite like the nonmetallic dollar."

Ed Feulner on America's Fiscal Insanity: "Fast forward to 2012, and the notion of “perpetual debt” is no longer a condition to be avoided. It’s a reality we must confront -- a crisis we must solve. This is especially true because, as Jefferson warned, our very liberty is at stake if we fail to do so. Remember the clash on Capitol Hill last year over raising the debt ceiling? It may have seemed like a huge battle at the time, but it was merely a holding action -- a rear-guard maneuver to buy a little time. Because which direction has federal spending gone since then? Up, of course, soaring toward new record levels and endangering our economic future. We can’t put off the day of reckoning forever."

Time for a Laugh:
"Yesterday was April Fools' Day. Mitt Romney's staffers played a prank on him by staging a fake campaign event in an empty room — or as Newt Gingrich put it, "My staff has been playing that prank on me for six months."
-Jimmy Fallon

Topic Two: The Hypocrisy of Justice
Justice for Trayvon, but not for slain border agents? "People Magazine has an angelic-looking Trayvon Martin on its cover this week with the headline "An American Tragedy." I agree. Whenever a mother loses a child, it's a tragedy. So I searched People's archives for cover photos of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE agent Jaime Zapata. Both died in service of their country, both killings involved questionable circumstances, and both Mrs. Zapata and Mrs. Terry are still waiting for answers a year later. Despite the volatile and controversial circumstances surrounding the slayings of Terry and Zapata, my search turned up zero cover stories at People. None."

No one is trying to make light of this tragedy. However, many of the same people crying out for justice in the Trayvon shooting have no concern about the fact that the Holder Justice Department may have let guns walk and then had those guns end up murdering border agents. They have no concern for the crimes being committed by the New Black Panther Party, including voter intimidation in 2008. No, apparently the Justice Department is only concerned with the murder of someone who could look like the President's (fictitious) son.

Debt Watch:
( As of Monday, April 2, 2012 )

Change: +$38,247,317,215
Your share as a citizen: $49,994.44
Share per household: $136,737.34
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,993,448,949,49

Topic Three: Overregulation
The regulatory bill: "The cost of regulation, in 2010, according to this source, was $1.75 trillion, or about $15,000 per household -- almost as much as the average family spends on housing. And Cass Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), wrote in 2011 that all is just fine because the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) says regulations cost no more than $62 billion annually. If the current regulation cost is fine, I would hate to know what is not fine with Sunstein. The cost of a regulation should not be passed on to me (usually in the form of higher prices) just because someone, for whatever reason, doesn't practice due diligence. Can political policy have the same effect as regulations? President Barack Hussein Obama's "green energy" policy has the same effect as regulations because it dictates how we live and how our tax dollars are spent."

Could killing ObamaCare put the regulatory state at risk. "The Supreme Court is being asked to decide if the individual mandate under Obamacare exceeds the authority of congress to create it. In other words, are there, or are there not, limits to the powers of government - even if the exercise of those powers would be a positive good in the eyes of many? Why this should be considered "activism" is a mystery. SCOTUS is performing the task that it took upon itself in the Marbury v Madison case 209 years ago; it is reviewing a law to determine its constitutionality.The fallout from that case long ago is still with us today in the form of strong, equal but separate branches of government."

Tweet of the Day:
Kevin Eder (@keder):
For the first time in recorded history, liberals are questioning the authority of unelected judges. Imagine that.

Topic Four: Energy
Where are all the "green jobs"? "The private sector had 2.3 million GGS jobs and the public sector had 860,300.” The 2.3 million represents about 2.1% of all private-sector employment. Assuming BLS’s figures are right (if anything, they’re high), the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress which enabled it have been staggeringly irresponsible in throwing so much money at that portion of the economy. In fact, 7.7 million seasonally adjusted private-sector jobs were lost from January 2008 until June 2009, the official end of the recession; overall job stagnation continued for twenty months after that. Even if Team Obama thought they could increase GGS employment by 50%, and bravely assuming they could manage such an enterprise (it has been since shown beyond doubt that they didn’t know what they were doing), it still would have only replaced 15% of the jobs lost."

Politics kills energy: "It’s been more than three years since Barack Obama was elected on a pledge to “transform” America. Two of the industries in his sights were health care and energy. Whether he will get to realize his vision of a government-managed health care system depends now on the Supreme Court, which will decide, probably in June, whether Obamacare is constitutional. That leaves energy on the president’s to-do list. It is no easy thing to pin down his position on energy matters, since he gathers disparate policies under the banner of “all of the above”—not exactly a slogan that reflects a willingness to make tough choices. Add to that his confession (to Russia’s current president) that he will have more “flexibility” after the election, and one must be careful in accepting his election year policy statements. So this past week we have the president declaring that he would like to leave office with America on the road to sharply reducing its use of fossil fuels—oil, coal, natural gas—and relying more heavily on wind, solar, and other renewable sources of energy, including most recently algae."

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it."

-Thomas Jefferson

Topic Five: Health Care Riders
Much has been said about the "free riders" using the health care system for care on other people's money. Betsy McCaughey discusses how not every uninsured person falls into this category: "The Obama administration's lawyers argued that all Americans consume healthcare, therefore they are engaged in health commerce, so Congress can use its commerce power to compel them to buy insurance. The premise — that all Americans consume healthcare — is false. Yet it was repeated over and over during the oral arguments in the high court, and virtually no one challenged it. The truth is half of Americans consume virtually no healthcare."

Mandates and free riders: "In general, people who are uninsured consume about half as much health care as those with insurance. Of that amount, they pay about half from their own resources, leaving the rest as bad debt. At the National Center for Policy Analysis, my colleagues have estimated that the amount of free care is about $1,500 per uninsured person per year. So to prevent me from becoming free rider, the government could impose a tax on me equal to that amount. Note, however, that uninsured middle-income families are already paying higher taxes because they do not have the tax-subsidized (employer-provided) insurance their neighbors have. Far from being free riders, these families appear to be paying their own way. Of course, the extra taxes the uninsured pay tend to go to Washington, while uncompensated care tends to be delivered locally. This mismatch of revenue and expense is not caused by the uninsured, however. It is the result of government not having its act together."

Tomorrow in History
April 4, 1949 - Twelve nations become founding members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening: What can kids and baseball teach us about life?

Americans care about the Constitution

The conservative court

A constitutional republic, not a democracy

Will national ID mean total control?

What election fraud?

The flexible flip-flopper

Your tax money hard at work

Occupy the EPA!

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Monday, April 2, 2012

The Final Five: April 2, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 2, 2012

Featured Article:
Gold, Money Creation, and the Monetization of Debt
Jerry Bowyer explains how money creation and the prospect of monetization have driven gold to new heights.

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Maine Department Of Transportation Ad Making Fun Of Local Residents Accidentally Runs In Newspaper
A fake ad, promising that DOT officials will listen "with fake sympathy" because they are "just curious about these island folk" accidentally ran in a Bangor, Maine newspaper.

Topic One: ObamaCare
Ken Blackwell asks if ObamaCare making us citizens or subjects? "But under ObamaCare, government not only tells us, it Mandates. We have seen a great controversy over the first Mandate from HHS . This first HHS Mandate would require religious hospitals, schools, colleges, and institutions provide drugs that can cause abortions, and orders them to further violate their consciences by covering sterilizations and contraceptives. This is only the first of many Mandates that are coming under ObamaCare. There are literally hundreds of places in this ill-conceived legislation where “the Secretary” determines what is mandated. Life and death decisions for millions will be mandated by an unelected government bureaucrat in a distant city."

ObamaCare in my mailbox: "All of these preventative measures are laudable in a perfect world, but it is striking the extent of coverage afforded exclusively to the distaff population. Free "well-women visits"? My "well-man visit," i.e., my annual physical, cost me a $25 copay and around $500 for routine blood tests, on top of my family's monthly insurance payment of $1,535. Do men get free HIV counseling and HPV testing too? Of course, to ask these questions is to take a trip into Obamaville, where every citizen demands the maximum amount of stuff he or she can get from the federal government stash. Not to worry however. DHHS has mandated that "insurance issuers will need to cover these services without member cost sharing." Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

Is liberalism done with the Supreme Court? "This may not be the end of liberalism's march through American culture. But it may be the end of its using the Supreme Court as its greatest and most unaccountable tool. Liberalism has now officially overplayed its hand and it is likely to pay a heavy price in the days ahead. The worst possible scenario for the movement is emerging, namely that liberalism will be seen as exactly what it is, an extreme minority view in both American jurisprudence and in the culture at large, one worthy of widespread repudiation."

Time for a Laugh:
"This week in Ireland an elephant escaped from a circus and ended up at a mall. Fortunately, the elephant didn’t hurt anyone — but he did sit in one of those Brookstone massage chairs with no intention of buying it."
-Jimmy Fallon

Topic Two: Media Malpractice
There have been several examples of the media destroying the truth in their stories recently. Carol Brown points out how one Reuters story on Israel got every sentence wrong. However, none could be worse than what the media did on the Trayvon Martin case this week.

"In the NBC segment, Zimmerman says: "This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black."

The full version, though, unfolds like this:

Zimmerman: "This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about."
911 operator: "Okay. And this guy, is he white black or Hispanic?"
Zimmerman: "He looks black."

After playing both versions, Hannity said: "They forgot the dispatcher's question! How could NBC, in good conscience, do that?"

Selective editing of a clip can yield whatever result the media wants. In this case, it makes it sound as if Zimmerman was calling Trayvon a "criminal" because he was black instead of simply responding to a question. In other cases, they can make a governor look racist instead of concerned about the economy.

Debt Watch:
( As of Friday, March 30, 2012 )

Change: +$2,225,734,731
Your share as a citizen: $49,872.03
Share per household: $136,402.53
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,955,201,632,276

Topic Three: Iran
Iran's war goals: "In his Alef article, Ali Reza Forqani, an ally of Iran’s Supreme Leader, goes further. After justifying a war against Israel, Ali Reza Forqani delves into how Iran should conduct its war: "Israel must come under heavy military strikes from the first blows until the last. The first step of the first stage of Iran’s military attack on Israel must lead to the annihilation of ground zero points in Israel. Iran can use its long-range missiles to accomplish this task. The distance from Iran’s eastern most point to western most point of Israel is about 2,600 kilometers. The Israeli targets deep inside Israeli territory are well within the reach of Iran’s conventional missiles."

The CIA's lesson learned from Iraq: "One C.I.A. analyst who had helped develop some of the intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons of mass destruction had a breakdown months after the Iraq war began; he had participated in the post-invasion hunt there that found the weapons did not exist. When he eventually was given a new assignment assessing Iran’s nuclear program, he confided a fear to colleagues: that the intelligence community might get it wrong again. “He felt enormous guilt that he had gotten us into the war,” said one former official who worked with the analyst. “He was afraid it was going to be déjà vu all over again.” Today, analysts and others at the C.I.A. who are struggling to understand the nuclear ambitions of Iran are keenly aware that the agency’s credibility is again on the line, amid threats of new military interventions."

Tweet of the Day:
Paul Combs (@PAC43):
I’m tired of illegal aliens being called “undocumented workers,” especially the ones who aren’t working, but are living on welfare or crime

Topic Four: The Election
With the race quickly coming down to Romney vs. Obama, both candidates are honing their message for the general election campaign. Romney's strategy: "Romney's speech Friday also included an interesting new depiction of the president. In multiple passages in the speech, he described Obama as a preening, power-hungry narcissist and unqualified empty suit -- a personality-cult leader surrounded by yes-men. "President Obama ... actually thinks he's doing a great job. An historically great job," Romney said. "According to the president, only Lincoln, FDR and Lyndon Johnson have accomplished more." (Obama said, in an interview last year, that he would "put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president" besides those three.) The president, Romney implied, is so fixated on his stature as a historical figure that he "doesn't grasp" what's really going on. "This is a president who was elected not on the strength of a compelling record but a compelling personality and story," Romney said. "There was much about the campaign of Barack Obama that appealed to many Americans. And though the reality has failed the hope and change he promised, he remains surrounded by true believers who attack anyone who challenges their power. And, as we see each day, they will fight even more fiercely to hold on to that power."

Obama's message: "We've gone through a tough three years, this country – as tough as any in our lifetime. The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The economic aftermath that left millions without work. A collapsed housing market. It's hard to remember sometimes how perilous things were when I was sworn in. The month I was sworn into office, we lost 800,000 jobs in that month alone. We had lost almost 4 million in the months before I took office. And then we would just keep on shedding jobs for the first few months that I was sworn in. The banks were locked up, so even blue-chip companies couldn't get credit. People, I think, genuinely thought that you might see a world financial meltdown. And nobody exactly knew where the bottom was. The stock market, by the way, was about half of what it is today. And that meant we had to move fast to save the auto industry, to get the banks lending again, to make sure that state governments and local governments didn't have to lay off even more teachers and first responders and others that were providing vital services but, frankly, the states and local governments were having trouble being able to afford. And we moved so fast that in some ways, people didn't fully appreciate the scope and magnitude of what got done in those first six months, that first year."

As Ben Domenech wrote in today's Transom: "Get used to it, they know how to stay on script."

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"Illustrious examples are displayed to our view, that we may imitate as well as admire. Before we can be distinguished by the same honors, we must be distinguished by the same virtues. What are those virtues? They are chiefly the same virtues, which we have already seen to be descriptive of the American character — the love of liberty, and the love of law."

-James Wilson

Topic Five: The Future Monetization of Debt
Jerry Bowyer on the prospect of monetization: "It seems that gold investors are not just concerned about how much money the Fed has created, nor are they principally concerned about how much money the Fed-wannabes around the world have created; they are worried about something else, and they might have good reason to be. What they are worried about, and what seems to be driving current gold prices, is that public debt levels have risen to the point where the debt will be paid off in highly debased currency. In other words, they’re afraid of what is called ‘debt monetization’." "Debts are monetized when governments decide to use their monetary authorities (in the U.S. context, that is the Fed) to create new money which is then lent to the government. This tends to happen when the government has borrowed up to its capacity and decides to continue borrowing above its credit capacity. When that happens, private lenders are no longer willing to take the chance of lending to an over-indebted government. At that point, governments often attempt to verbally intimidate private lenders, especially banks which are subject to very high levels of government oversight."

Tomorrow in History
April 3, 1973 - The first handheld mobile phone call is made between Martin Cooper of Motorola and Joel Engel of Bell Labs.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening: Ayers on ending capitalism

FCC looking into San Francisco's cell phone jamming policy

Panetta blasts defense cuts

Restoring American individualism

Doubling down on radicalism

20 fringe benefits for liberals

Don't they ever get tired of repeating this?

In search of tolerance

Obama says government made America great

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Read the Bill?

Wendell Potter, an analyst for the Center for Public Integrity and a contributor to the Huffington Post and MSNBC, writes in a HuffPo column today:
"Since Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia clearly isn't going to take the time to actually read the health care reform law before he decides whether or not it's constitutional, maybe he and a couple of his buddies on the High Court can catch a screening of "The Hunger Games", the movie about children battling each other to the death in a futuristic America, renamed Panem.

"You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages?" Scalia asked during arguments on the constitutionality of the law last week. "Is this not totally unrealistic? That we are going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?"

He joked that spending time to read the Affordable Care Act before the Court decides its fate would put him in danger of violating the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. LOL, Judge."

First, Potter makes a mistake in attributing the quote to debate on the constitutionality of the bill. The issue before the court at this point was severability, not constitutionality. The distinction is important. Reading the bill to determine constitutionality is easier to do than going through the bill item by item in order to determine not only whether each provision is constitutional, but also whether Congress would have passed the provision without the unconstitutional parts. A court decision justifying the constitutionality and severability of each provision could easily reach two to three times the length of the bill itself.

It was apparently fine for those who supported the bill to make a decision on it without reading it first, but now that someone who might oppose the bill mentions doing the same thing, Potter and others are demanding action. One commenter, a user named "huff reader", even went so far as to write, "If they make any ruling, whatsoever, without reading it, they should be in jail." I responded by saying, "And so should the 219 Democrat Congressmen and 60 Democrat or Democrat-Caucusing Senators who voted for the bill without reading it."

D.C. Daily: April 2, 2012

During Friday's pro forma session, the House agreed to S. Con. Res. 38, which allows both houses to adjourn until Monday, April 16, 2012.

Under the terms of S. Con. Res. 38, the next meeting of both houses will occur at 2:00 PM on Monday, April 16, 2012.

Because both houses will be in recess, the D.C. Daily will not be published until April 16.