Friday, June 26, 2015

SCOTUScare

King v. Burwell and the Law
by YUVAL LEVIN

Emphasis mine.
[Chief Justice Roberts] makes a much broader argument about the relationship between the vague, broadly stated aims and purposes of legislators and the role of judges interpreting the meaning of the particular laws those legislators then write...”

Obamacare is [to the Chief Justice] not so much a particular law as an overarching desire “to improve health insurance markets” and so if at all possible it should be taken to mean whatever one believes would be involved in doing so...

This understanding of the role of the judge threatens to undermine the rule of law in the American system of government, because it undermines the central place assigned to written law, and to the legislator, in that system… While it would seem to suggest that the will of the legislator should guide the system, in fact it means that the word of the legislator does not govern the other branches. It implies that Congress should have just passed a law that said “health insurance markets shall be improved,” and then left it to the executive agencies to decide how they wish to do that...

Roberts’s argument... suggests that when a law as written would be likely to have practical consequences at odds with the broadly asserted intent of its authors, judges should interpret it to have a meaning more likely to achieve that desired goal...

The health-care debate, in the context of which this case might originally have been understood, will continue because what Justice Roberts insists is impossible is true: Obamacare is a law that was intended to improve insurance markets but was designed in a way that will actually harm them. We can only hope that debate will ultimately be resolved in a way that also pushes back against the unexpected implications of this case and this decision by reasserting the supremacy of the law.
Read the whole thing.

The Chief Justice has twice approved the government takeover of one-sixth of the American economy. Now he's concerned about disrupting "markets?" He expresses that concern by elevating "intent" above the rule of law?

Obamacare, passed using procedural chicanery, by a single party whose members hadn't read it, was intended to dupe the American people. With John Roberts it succeeded beyond Jon Gruber's wildest dreams. Gruber laughed about the "stupidity" of the American voter. He must be guffawing about John Roberts.

The "law," whatever it turns out to be after the next executive order or SCOTUS interpretational creativity, should hereafter be known as SCOTUScare.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

They had good intentions

That is how Chief Justice John Roberts justified Obamacare:
"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter."
-Chief Justice John Roberts, author of the SCOTUS decision in King v. Burwell
There are good reasons to believe this decision will neither improve health care markets, nor avoid destroying them. The majority decided this case based on their perception of the intent of Congress, despite compelling evidence to the contrary.
  1. The intent of Democrats in Congress - the only people who voted for it - cannot be known in this regard since they did not read the Bill.
  2. Jonathan Gruber, the main government architect of the law, says the intent was to fool the American people. And, specifically, by forcing the States to participate or lose the subsidies.
  3. Obamacare has utterly failed to improve insurance markets. It has made insurance companies rich, at great cost to the people.
  4. An argument advanced by those who passed the Bill is that Obamacare is intended to further the destruction of the "market," so as to institute a government run single-payer system akin to that of Canada.
Justice Roberts, and his 5 comrades, have severely damaged the rule of law.

Monday, June 22, 2015

“The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light”

No, they were intended to suggest he should be shot in the head for speaking in favor of the Second Amendment. Or, if he was shot in the head, it would at least be deserved.

For Progressives, this:
Proved Sarah Palin was a deranged would be assassin.

While this:
Photo (by Charlie Neibergall) proves the Associated Press is an unbiased news organization.

Doubt it? Then name me a Progressive who's complained that the picture of Ted Cruz promotes gun violence.

OK, let's say you cheated and named yourself. The second requirement is to tell me what you think would have happened if, instead of Cruz, it had been Mrs. Bill or this guy:

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Crapitalism

I'm afraid this ex post facto Export-Import Bank Solyndra subsidy will typify Obamatrade if it's enacted.
Q: When would the U.S. government subsidize a U.S. export that had happened in the previous year and that was estimated to create zero jobs?

A: When the U.S. exporter was politically connected Solyndra, and the subsidizing agency is the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Trust me

Our president is asking us to give him fast track authority to negotiate a wide-ranging trade agreement. This is the Solyndra-promoting, crony capitalist, “you didn’t build that” president. The same one who conspired with Big Pharma and health insurers on Obamacare.

Trust me, he says, the double-super-secret TPP “is the most progressive trade agenda in history,” as if that would be a good thing. Unfortunately, it’s likely to be much worse than that. If it’s so great, why do we have to pass it to find out what’s in it?

This is the same president who is conceding negotiating Iran’s right to have nuclear weapons.

This is a president who twice said, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Trust him, if you want to. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell do.

I'd rather wait for a trustworthy president, however long that takes.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

I'll believe 1,000 when it happens

Big data gets a boost
Amazon is expected to employ 120 at data centers it recently announced in Dublin, Hilliard and New Albany; statewide, the number is anticipated to rise to 1,000. The company’s total investment over the next three years in central Ohio alone is an estimated $1.1 billion...

Development officials at the state and in each of the three suburbs stepped up with significant incentives to land Amazon, which is appropriate given the size of its investment and job creation. The state has approved tax incentives for the project valued at an estimated $81 million. That isn’t a handout, but a benefit that Amazon will earn as it actually invests and creates jobs here.
A real bargain at only $675,000 for each job.

Ohio requires Amazon to collect sales tax, so Ohioans might ask why the incentive wasn't to give consumers a tax break on sales tax instead of giving a subsidy to Amazon. Or, if protecting and promoting local business is the objective, make Brick & Mortar retail sales tax free for Ohioans.

It begs credulity to think that Amazon will create 1,000 future jobs, given their push to automation.

Monday, June 01, 2015

$4.9 billion in government subsidies

That would be Elon Musk.

Warren Buffet must be "green" with envy.

Reconciling the Union Leadership minimum wage rhetoric

AFL-CIO leader warns labor could sit out 2016 fight over trade

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka threatens “no endorsement” for President, if Hillary supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal:
…that's conceivable if both candidates weren't interested in raising wages

They decided to pass something that was going to cost jobs and lower wages, and they're going to have to answer to their constituencies for that whenever they face them.
So, unions oppose trade deals unless those deals would both create American jobs and raise American wages. Who would disagree?

Our trading partners, perhaps?

Speaking of wages vs. jobs, after leading the fight to get a minimum wage increase passed in Los Angeles, a California labor leader appears to contradict Trumka's wage rhetoric: L.A. labor leaders seek minimum wage exemption for firms with union workers

On May 19th, Los Angeles City Council voted to increase the hourly minimum wage to $15.
But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them," Hicks said in a statement. "This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement.”
In sum: To be free, you must join the collective.

Acknowledging that union members might lose jobs to lower-cost competition under a consistent set of rules, Mr. Hicks demands the privilege of being the lowest cost supplier. Reality-wise, Mr. Hicks would have the better of this argument with Mr. Trumka, except that it isn't a disagreement at all. They both want to use government regulation to drive out competing labor.

So, if it would cost their members jobs to have a particular minimum wage, unions oppose minimum wage for their members. If it would cost their members jobs for other countries to have a lower minimum wage, they want to force higher labor costs on those other countries.

Maybe Trumka and Hicks should start thinking about what this - Robots Start to Grasp Food Processing - means to their membership.

I seem to remember another time where this type of disruption affected wages and jobs. Something about power looms? Some kid named Ned Ludd was said to be involved.

It seems to me, with the robotics threat generally looming on the horizon, that Trumka and Hicks are a bit shortsighted. Lower wages from foreign competition (for Trumka Chinese factory workers, for Hicks, the illegal immigrants in Southern California) are just practice for what’s coming to their members. It’s already started at McDonalds et. al., because they’re the early targets of the social justice cohort.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Inside the Projection Booth

Fox News Eats Its Own
There is much revealed here.

Politico assumes Fox News is nakedly partisan, then proceeds to demonstrate that Fox isn’t - by comparing it to the ideologically unhinged MSNBC.

Politico thinks asking hard questions isn’t what journalists are supposed to do.

Politico thinks it’s amusing that GOP candidates are being asked hard questions, never mentioning that Hillary doesn’t even take questions.

Politico implies all Republicans look bad when asked anything remotely tough. Apparently, they haven't seen Carly Fiorna mincing Andrea Mitchell's preferred narrative.

This is called “projection.” Bias is what they do, so they think everyone else does.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Speech impediments

Bosch Fawstin's winning cartoon

The First Amendment is a staple topic of this blog. I highly recommend 'reading the whole thing' for all the following:

"Stay Quiet and You'll Be Okay"
-Mark Steyn

The Washington Post offered the celebrated headline "Event Organizer Offers No Apology After Thwarted Attack In Texas", while the Associated Press went with "Pamela Geller says she has no regrets about Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest that ended in 2 deaths". The media "narrative" of the last week is that some Zionist temptress was walking down the street in Garland in a too short skirt and hoisted it to reveal her Mohammed thong - oops, my apologies, her Prophet Mohammed thong (PBUH) - and thereby inflamed two otherwise law-abiding ISIS supporters peacefully minding their own business.

It'll be a long time before you see "Washington Post Offers No Apology for Attacking Target of Thwarted Attack" or "AP Says It Has No Regrets After Blaming The Victim". The respectable class in the American media share the same goal as the Islamic fanatics: They want to silence Pam Geller. To be sure, they have a mild disagreement about the means to that end - although even then you get the feeling, as with Garry Trudeau and those dozens of PEN novelists' reaction to Charlie Hebdo, that the "narrative" wouldn't change very much if the jihad boys had got luckier and Pam, Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer and a dozen others were all piled up in the Garland morgue...

"Stay quiet and you'll be okay:" Those were Mohammed Atta's words to his passengers on 9/11. And they're what all the nice respectable types are telling us now.
The First — and a Half — Amendment
-Victor Davis Hanson

If a Christian cake decorator does not wish to use his skills to celebrate gay marriage — an innovation that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama opposed until very recently — on a wedding cake, then he is rendered a homophobe who must be punished for not using his artistic talents in the correct way.

Note that we are not talking about nondiscrimination concerning fundamental civil rights such as voting, finding housing, using public facilities, or purchasing standard merchandise. Meanwhile, are we really prepared to force gay bakers to decorate Christian wedding cakes with slogans that they find offensive or homophobic? Or to insist that an Orthodox Jewish baker must prepare a cake for a Palestinian wedding featuring a map of the Middle East without Israel? Or to require a black-owned catering company to cook ribs for a KKK group? Instead, radical gays demand the exclusive right to force an artist — and a cake decorator is an artist of sorts — to express himself in ways that they deem correct.

Without free speech, the United States becomes just another two-bit society of sycophants, opportunists, and toadies who warp expression for their own careerist and political agendas. How odd that we of the 21st century lack the vision and courage of our 18th-century Founders, who warned us of exactly what we are now becoming.
How Liberals Ruined College
-Kirsten Powers

The belief that free speech rights don’t include the right to speak offensively is now firmly entrenched on campuses and enforced by repressive speech or harassment codes. Campus censors don’t generally riot in response to presumptively offensive speech, but they do steal newspapers containing articles they don’t like, vandalize displays they find offensive, and disrupt speeches they’d rather not hear. They insist that hate speech isn’t free speech and that people who indulge in it should be punished. No one should be surprised when a professor at an elite university calls for the arrest of ‘Sam Bacile’ [who made the YouTube video The Innocence of Muslims] while simultaneously claiming to value the First Amendment...”

On today’s campuses, left-leaning administrators, professors, and students are working overtime in their campaign of silencing dissent, and their unofficial tactics of ostracizing, smearing, and humiliation are highly effective. But what is even more chilling—and more far reaching—is the official power they abuse to ensure the silencing of views they don’t like. They’ve invented a labyrinth of anti-free speech tools that include “speech codes,” “free speech zones,” censorship, investigations by campus “diversity and tolerance offices,” and denial of due process. They craft “anti-harassment policies” and “anti-violence policies” that are speech codes in disguise.
Sadly, it hardly ends there. These excerpts touch only three of the more egregious offenders. Other enemies of the First Amendment are left unmentioned. For example, radical feminists, CAGW 'settled science' zombies and the IRS.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Now, Governor... about "Plan B"?

Michigan Proposal 1-15, the Taxpayer Spoils Division and Extortion Act(s) bipartisan effort to get voters to do the job legislators are paid to do has failed. Ribbentrop and Molotov could not be reached for comment.

The other good news is that a plan to fix Michigan roads without tax increases has been available for a long time - Road Funding: Time for a Change

Figures would have to be adjusted, of course, but the basic principles still apply.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

#NO_MIProp1-15


Today is voting day. Stop Proposal 1. If you're still undecided, read this. And this.

VOTE TODAY!

Update 10:28AM: Do you think this: Detroit Education Overhaul Would Cost Other Schools $50 Per Student, is in any way related to the $300 million allocated annually to the K-12 system by the Redistributive Tax Increase Constitutional Amendment Lansing wants approved today?

It's not about roads, folks.

Monday, May 04, 2015

@TheJuanWilliams confuses cause and effect

The evidence is not that whites oppose Obama’s policies because of his melanin content, but that blacks support those policies because of it.

Blacks are the group most hurt by 40-50 years of Democrat rule in all our major cities. Blacks are disproportionately harmed by Barack Obama's immigration policies and support for the NEA's anti-charter school propaganda. Black unemployment is sky high and black middle-class home ownership has fallen drastically. If the results are against blacks' interests, what is an alternative explanation for their ongoing support of the black politicians who failed them?

Oh, and it’s deliciously ironic that Williams was fired by NPR over his ‘racial’ comments about Muslims. And he wasn't treated very well by Vivian Schiller (former President and CEO, National Public Radio): "If you want to be a political activist, you may not also be a reporter or news analyst for NPR. His [Williams] feelings that he expressed on FOX News are really between him and his, you know, psychiatrist or his publicist."

The whole PBS enterprise is an exercise in leftwing political activism. They just couldn't stand the fact that Williams appeared on Fox News.

I hope Williams is on Special Report tonight and that Krauthammer is, too.

Monday, April 27, 2015

There is a balanced disturbance in The Farce

STUDY BLAMES GLOBAL WARMING FOR 75 PERCENT OF VERY HOT DAYS

But, fear not, this is balanced by the studies telling us the dreaded POLAR VORTEX is also caused by Global Warming.

Since we have not experienced any catastrophic anthropogenic global warming in almost 2 decades, it's working out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth day aftermath, celebrating global climate warming change denialism

I understand the sobriquet for AGW skeptics is changing to ‘anti-climate.’ While that's better than the NAZI comparison implied by 'Global Warming Denier,' it's slipping the surly bonds of the English language.

I don’t know how it’s possible to be anti-climate. Climate's been doing that change thing for millions of years, though in Mr. Chait’s terms it’s stopped doing it for nearly two decades. I must fall under the ‘crazy’ category. The 'lazy' ones wouldn't deign to note his drivel:

Too bad George Orwell isn’t around to help us understand this particular bit of Newspeak, but apparently 'Anthropogenic Global Warming' and ‘Global Warming Sharknado Climate Change Disaster Theory Computer Model Heretic Objectors' take too many characters on Twitter.

This doesn't explain why they couldn't stick with the older, shorter standard - 'AGW.' Maybe the NPR audience never caught on to the abbreviation, it's more than 2 characters, after all; or the fact that without the "A," the whole debate is pointless.

And, while I’m grabbing a screenshot, let us all marvel at the man who represents the pinnacle of “Science" for millions of NPR/PBS aficionados, America’s David Suzuki, the preening name dropper with a BS in Engineering... Bill Nye, the unconscious irony guy:

That’s 9,000 gallons of jet fuel for a mostly unloaded 747 flight 'acting on climate,' if I understand it correctly. At a cost of $179,750 an hour. That doesn’t count Mr. Nye’s financial or carbon expenditure to travel to Washington to join the fun.

Bill, I've got news: Mr. Wizard was twice the scientist you are, and he didn't need government subsidy.

As Glenn Reynolds says, "I’ll believe it's a crisis when the people telling me it’s a crisis start behaving like it’s a crisis."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

DOJ Public/private-parts...nership

Following recent allegations that DEA agents had "sex parties" with prostitutes hired by local drug cartels in Colombia, Eric Holder felt compelled to send a memo to all his staff: "I want to reiterate to all Department personnel, including attorneys and law enforcement officers, that they are prohibited from soliciting, procuring, or accepting commercial sex."

Not to worry, Eric. If it's government procurement it is not, by definition, commercial sex: It's a public/private-parts...nership.

Still, since you felt the need to raise the issue, I'd say that while your memo may have been necessary, it was certainly insufficient. Rather, the phrase "Drop your c**ks and grab your socks," comes to mind.

What it lacks in nuance it recovers from pithiness.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The establishment of secular State religion

See, your mistake was your naive presumption of goodwill on the part of the SJWs:
I apologize for thinking this was about only equal treatment under the law. I apologize for dismissing conservatives' fears that this slippery slope would lead to de facto banishment from various sectors of the public square.

I thought people just wanted to be left alone. I was wrong.

For many, they wanted forced conversions.
Bonus at the link: Notes on a essay on dissent by Vaclav Havel.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Free exercise thereof

Some balanced discussion on Religious Freedom Restoration laws from The Cato Institute:

Why isn’t the 1st Amendment enough to protect freedom of religion and freedom of association without specific laws?
Religious Freedom and Discrimination
Roger Pilon 11 minutes

What is "legitimate government interest?"
Religious Liberty and Its Detractors
Mollie Hemingway 9 minutes

Sunday, April 05, 2015

First they came for Indiana pizzarias

Easter Sunday, and this past week’s events, prompt me to worry specifically about the future of freedom of conscience in the United States and, generally, about erosion of 1st Amendment rights. Contrast the MSM treatment of Iran's Mullahs of Mass Destruction with that of obscure private citizens in the United States.

Our Secretary of State is engaged in granting the right to produce atomic bombs to a farrow of fanatics in Iran. Iran’s leaders claim their State religion requires destruction of Jews and Christians - in fact, any they identify as apostates. Our leaders tell us Iran's screams of “Death to Jews!” are merely internal politics, while we observe Iranian inspired mass murders proving the opposite.

Here in the land of the free, the Media have mostly been approving of letting Iran have nuclear weapons. "Nothing to see here,” they say, "the real outrage is Indiana’s anti-gay law.” This law, similar in all essentials to laws in 19 other states, and to one at the federal level signed by President Clinton, is intended to protect the free exercise of religion. This is intolerable to a vocal cadre of Social Justice Warriors intent on enforcing thought control. That is, establishing their relativist, secular religion.

The furor eventually ensnared a Mom and Pop business (Memories Pizza) in Indiana when a TV reporter perpetrated a bit of “gotcha” journalism. Threats of violence forced the pizza parlor to shut down after the owner indicated (when specifically asked) she would decline to cater a gay wedding. "Glad to serve gays," she said, "but we wouldn’t do a wedding.”

She’s in hiding at the moment.

The good news is a GoFundMe campaign supporting Memories Pizza is approaching a million dollars. The bad news is that it was necessary.

It is noteworthy that the “Liberal” outrage on this has been applied exclusively to Christians. I would really like to see some intrepid reporter asking Muslim photographers, bakers and pizza makers in Dearborn the same question. Muslim businesses in Dearborn, though, would be considered “hard targets” compared to Christian businesses in rural Indiana.

If gays need to worry about religious persecution, Christianity is not first on the list of dangers. I have not heard that any Christian sect is debating whether the proper way to kill gays is to throw them off tall buildings vs. collapsing a wall on them. This is a consequential theological debate for some Imams. Baking a cake doesn’t enter into it.

The intent of this broad assault on religious conscience goes far beyond whether bakers can be forced to provide cakes with 2 grooms, or photographers frog-marched into the local Satanist temple to take pictures of 2 brides in front of the Sigil of Baphomet. As usual, the real object is aggrandizing the State. How else can “Liberals" make you act as if you agree with them?

That is, calling it Fascist is fair and accurate, however much that seems like hyperbole. Classical liberals did not flinch from naming it, nor should we.

Leo Strauss (1899-1973, the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago) offered this note on the difficulty classical liberal democracies face in his book Spinoza's Critique of Religion:
Liberalism stands or falls by the distinction between state and society, or by the recognition of a private sphere, protected by the law but impervious to the law, with the understanding that, above all, religion as particular religion belongs to the private sphere. Just as certainly as the liberal state will not “discriminate” against its Jewish citizens, so it is constitutionally unable or even unwilling to prevent “discrimination” against Jews by individuals or groups. To recognize a private sphere in the sense indicated means to permit private “discrimination,” to protect it and thus in fact to foster it. The liberal state cannot provide a solution to the Jewish problem, for such a solution would require a legal prohibition against every kind of “discrimination,” i.e., the abolition of the private sphere, the denial of the difference between state and society, and the destruction of the liberal state.
Consider the destruction nearly complete.

Update 3:55PM - added 'classical' to describe the Strauss quote. Trying to prevent any confusion, he wasn't talking about "Liberals," aka "Progressives." He meant Locke, not Alinski.

Hat tip Powerline for the Strauss quote.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Michigan Convolution

Rep. Ray Franz Presentation on Roads: What You Should Know
Includes a good video encapsulation from District 101 Representative Ray Franz. About 20 min.

Takeaways:
Proposal 1-15 amends the Michigan Constitution.
It is convoluted.
This will be a low turnout vote.
You have to show up to register your opinion.
There will be a Plan B.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Ohh Nooo!

Introducing Mrs. Bill.
Here she reacts to the news her email server has been subpoenaed

I must admit I never understood why people thought SNL's Mr. Bill feature was funny, but it does provide a vehicle for poking fun at Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton.

Why?

  • Because everything she has achieved has been made possible by a man.
  • Because her platform is explicitly feminist, but without achievement of her own that means her platform is "I have a vagina." Subtext, "Wouldn't you feel good about yourself if you helped elect the first female President?"
  • Because Hillary was Bill's enabler*: She reflexively vilifies the women her husband molests in order to preserve her path to power privilege.
  • Because "Ohh Nooo!" was Mr. Bill's (the play-dough Mr. Bill) signature laugh line. It's what we would all be saying were Mrs. Bill elected President.

*President Clinton's predations long predate the bimbo eruptions phase and were so egregious that Mrs. Bill could not possibly have been unaware of them. In a 2012 PBS documentary, Clinton's Arkansas Congressional campaign (1974) manager Paul Fray said of president Clinton:
I mean you got to understand at one time there was at least 25 women per day coming through there trying to find him, and I'd tell them he's out on the road, you know and they'd get out the door, but lord it was bad. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.
Mrs. Bill's claim to have been blindsided by the Lewinsky affair over 20 years later should be considered in that context. She sold her dignity for power. As the foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation demonstrate, that's not all she'll sell.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Can I call her "Network Administratrix?"

We live in a surreal time. The distinction between parody and reality has become more difficult to discern, most especially on the left. For example, there is apparently a group named HRC Super Volunteers which has warned NYT reporter Amy Chozick that they will not stand idly by if anyone uses certain adjectives to describe Hillary Clinton.

Verboten words & phrases thus far include "polarizing," "calculating," "disingenuous," "insincere," "ambitious," "inevitable," "entitled," "over-confident," "secretive," "will do anything to win," "represents the past," "out of touch,” and hillaryariously, "tone deaf.” For a first pass, I couldn't have said it better. What exactly would this group be doing differently if they were Hillary opponents?

As battle space prep for Hillary this effort may engage the base, and even intimidate a willing-to-be-intimidated MSM, but reminding everyone else of her most obvious faults is a questionable tactic. Still, Mrs. Bill is running on the platform that she possesses a vagina, so her supporters may think labelling any criticism as sexism can reproduce last cycle's successful use of racism. If you can claim the word "Chicago" is racist when applied to Barack Obama, I suppose you can say "Benghazi" is sexist when applied to Mrs. Bill.

I predict the Word Politsiya at HRC Super Volunteers are going to have their hands full. The list begs for expansion, until the only word you can use besides Mrs. Bill’s name is “is.” IIRC, “bossy” was banned some time ago. But how did “uppity*,” “shifty,” “sleazy,” “screechy,” “greedy,” “phony” and “squawk” not make the list? You could make a revised version of ‘Snow White’ using those as names for the supporting players, or use them to name your email servers.

This is being reported as a serious story by the NYT, WaPO, HuffPo, CBS and Fox, among others. Hard to believe, but the progressive obsession with identity politics has been pushing the envelope for some time.

Update. Mar-29 11:20AM

*As the New Yorker described Ted Cruz:
To many Americans, he is the uppity loudmouth who, in the fall of 2013, less than a year into his first term as a senator, helped bring the federal government to a halt.

Update. Mar-31 8:22AM had to change the title.

Poking through ashes in the Burn-bag

The House Select Committee on Benghazi subpoenaed all SecState Hillary Clinton’s emails related to Libya. After obtaining a two-week extension, Clinton attorney David Kendall responded by letter:
There is no basis to support the proposed third-party review of the server that hosted the hdr22@clintonemail.com account. To avoid prolonging a discussion that would be academic, I have confirmed with the secretary’s IT support that no emails…..for the time period January 21, 2009 through February 1, 2013 reside on the server or on any back-up systems associated with the server.
The top Democrat on the Benghazi panel, Elijah Cummings, said Kendall's letter confirmed
[W]hat we all knew: that Secretary Clinton already produced her official records to the State Department, that she did not keep her personal emails and that the Select Committee has already obtained her emails relating to the attacks in Benghazi.
A comparable scenario would be if Nixon had burned the tapes. Oh, and after he knew they would be considered evidence.

Presumably, Representative Cummings would have taken Nixon's word for it that transcripts of all relevant evidence had already been turned over.

Now I know what Mrs. Bill meant when she said, "There is no classified email."

Thursday, March 26, 2015

NO! Proposal One

RightMI.com is your ‘go to’ site for Proposal 1 information: More Info On Proposal One. Share that link.

For your convenience, I've followed some links from that post and you'll find them below. I recommend checking the full analyses (fifteen minutes or so each), but I've included some shorter references (a couple of minutes) for the time challenged. This is a Constitutional Amendment, people: Understanding the detail is important.

First, from The Mackinac Center, Proposal 1 of 2015: An Analysis. The synopsis.

The full analysis, from which I quote:
Road construction in Michigan is primarily paid for with revenues from fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees. Since these taxes are paid by people driving vehicles on public roads, they function as a user fee.

Taxes motorists pay do not meet the strict definition of user fees, however. Vehicle registration taxes for passenger vehicles, for example, are based on their value rather than their estimated wear on the roads. Further, hybrid and electric cars tend to be heavier and thus cause more wear on the roads, but owners of these vehicles buy less fuel and pay less in fuel taxes.
That does not mean drivers of electric/hybrid vehicles get away free. Remember, this isn't about fixing the roads, it's about modifying the Constitution to increase taxes. What do you think will happen as we continue to reduce our use of taxable fuel? A tax on miles driven, perhaps? Or, increases in registration fees for electric/hybrids:
Proposal 1 would create higher registration fees for electric vehicles and electric-powered hybrids. Owners of these vehicles would pay an additional $75 on their annual registration fees for vehicles under 8,000 pounds and $200 more for vehicles over 8,000 pounds. This applies to vehicles that are “of a brand or has been modified to be powered solely or predominately by electricity under normal average class operating conditions.”
I also commend to your attention a report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan: Statewide Ballot Issue: Proposal 15-1. Synopsis here.

Full analysis here:
As part of the final agreement, the Legislature intended to earmark a portion of the new revenues generated in FY2016 and FY2017 from the motor fuel tax increases towards paying down current State Trunkline Fund debt tied to past state road building initiatives. The package is estimated to generate just over $1.2 billion during these first two fiscal years from the motor fuel tax increases. Legislative intent was to allocate $400 million in FY2016 and $800 million in FY2017 of the new tax revenue for distribution through the state’s transportation funding formula, most of which would go to state and local road agencies. The remainder (roughly $860 million in FY2016 and $460 million in FY2017) would go to pay down state road debt.

However, the language included in Public Act 468 of 2014 to effectuate this earmark appears to be flawed. The language specifies that “the first $400,000,000.00 received and collected under this act” in FY2016 and “the first $800,000,000.00 received and collected under this act” in FY2017 would be distributed through the state funding formula. But, revenue “received and collected under this act” includes not only the new revenue from the recent legislative changes, but all existing revenue as well. As such, a literal reading of the language would suggest, for instance, that around $1.7 billion (the $800 million intended earmark plus current baseline fuel tax revenue of around $900 million) would be earmarked for debt reduction in FY2016.a Under that reading, FY2016 funding available for formula distribution would actually go down by around $500 million from current levels.
Demonstrating what happens when you write a bill hurriedly and don't have time to read it before voting.

For those who prefer video, CRC has a Webinar (a little over an hour) on Prop 1-15. This expands on the history of the Michigan Constitutional limitations which brought the legislature to propose a Constitutional Amendment, and why that just places increased future constraint on the Legislature. They'll be forced to live with what they created, and they may not find that congenial to addressing future funding issues. For example, they are removing $204 million in funding from state universities - do you think that will stand, or will they come back for more taxes when UofM and MSU complain they're out of money?

Again, thanks to RightMI.com.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NO! to increased taxes


Put another way that's a 2 Billion dollar tax increase. The good news is, you can say "No!" on May 5th.

Meanwhile, ads for a "Yes" vote on Proposition 1 are increasing in frequency and hysteria. The public/pirate partnership is telling us we can have either this tax increase or killer roads. This is a false choice. We can have good roads without a 2 billion dollar tax increase. The Michigan House of Representatives even produced such a bill, but it got waylaid in the Michigan Senate.

You can tell something about Proposition 1 from the company it keeps. Unions (here, here) & government are in favor, as are road contractors & Chambers of Commerce (here, here, here). Parties with a vested interest will promote their own welfare by trying to convince you they have your interests at heart. In this case, I don't think the Venn diagram would show a large overlap.

It is interesting that at the state level, the Chamber of Commerce is officially neutral on the question (though James Holcomb, a senior VP of the Michigan Chamber, favors it). Perhaps this is because of a report they commissioned from the Anderson Economic Group LLC, which says, in part:
[T]he issues [with Prop 1-15] include all of the following:
• an increase in the general sales and use tax rates on retail purchases from 6% to 7%;
• a $1.69 billion increase in spending by state and local governments in Michigan, including: an increase in funding for roads, on the order of $1.2 billion per year; for the K-12 system, on the order of $300 million per year; and for local government revenue sharing, on the order of $100 million per year; plus smaller amounts for other purposes;
• a significant weakening of the extent to which road users “pay for” the roads without reliance on other taxpayers;
• an increase in the tax burden on businesses and their retail customers;
• substitution of a cents-per-dollar wholesale tax on fuel used for road-going vehicles, for the current retail tax that is set at a particular cents-per-gallon rate; resulting in a substantial increase in the effective tax burden per gallon and an increase that grows over time;
• increasing registration taxes and causing them to remain the same in succeeding years as in the year of purchase, regardless of the age or value of the vehicle;
• a partial restoration of the Michigan earned income tax credit (MEITC); and
• removal of universities as a constitutionally-allowed use of school aid funds; an implied change in the definition of higher education; and a new authorization to use school aid funds for public “community” and “technical” colleges, scholarships, and related programs.
Additional issues, some of which were undoubtedly unknown to legislators voting on the bills late in the lame duck session, include:
• widely varying tax burdens on fuel users, as certain users will pay both the new, higher motor fuel tax but will not benefit from the motor fuel sales tax exemption;
• serious compliance burdens and enforcement risks for users of fuel for boating, industrial, and other purposes other than driving vehicles on public roads;
• likely federal income tax increase among approximately 1.2 million Michigan households that itemize deductions for state and local property taxes;
• increases in taxes paid by working-poor and working-class households who do not claim the EITC;
• possible infringement of federal nondiscrimination laws regarding state-supported scholarships, should the state use the newly-created authorization to fund “scholarships”
only to “public” community colleges;3
• problems caused by significant increase in the registration tax on older vehicles, including some drivers paying more for this tax than the value of the vehicle; and
• the consequences of requiring the state to commission an “adequacy of funding” study for the K-12 system, which may encourage future lawsuits.
One takeaway: You have to pass it to find out what's in it.

If you are still wondering about the wisdom of voting against increasing your taxes when you're being lied to about the redistribution use of the funds, I offer the following items as worth reading:

Vote yes or you all will D-I-E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Remember folks, Prop 1 is a $2,000,000,000 hike with annual tax hike ratchet mechanism on fuel with a whole lotta public sector union payola (everywhere) and fraud embedded into it.
Just Vote Yes, Willya?
So, about three weeks ago, Safe Roads YES! launched their radio and television ad campaign, designed to convince us that jacking up our per-person state tax-and-fee burden by roughly $248.12 – permanently (not including inflation adjustments to the wholesale fuel tax) – is a good idea. To do so, they’re using the standard tactics of bogus statistics and emotional appeals, praying that the typical low-information voter isn’t going to do even the basic homework into the legislative piece of sausage that the GoverNerd and his hodge-podge of allies are doing their damnedest to slide by us roughly six weeks from now.
Taxpayer Cost for Road Fix 'Compromise' Went from $0 to $1.9 Billion
According to the House Fiscal Agency, $300 million of the tax increase will go to public schools, $95 million to local government revenue sharing and an additional $130 million in subsidies to local bus agencies. Another $260 million will be used for payments to low-income wage earners, a concession added to get votes from Democratic lawmakers, said Jack McHugh, legislative policy analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

However, there’s a catch: The deal also includes an increase in the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, which must be approved by voters May 5, 2015. If voters say "no" then none of the above will go into effect. Lawmakers will have to start over.
$700 million of it has NOTHING TO DO with roads.

Finally, just how bad are the roads? Apparently, not nearly as bad as MDOT would have you believe, since they base their analysis on self interested subjective criteria and downplay objective metrics. That is, "government entities which stand to directly benefit" from the revenue that would be generated by approval of Proposition 1, find that passing Proposition 1 would be a good idea.

Michigan Roads – How Bad?
Cumulatively, the politically useful PASER pavement rating methodology finds Michigan’s State Trunkline road system to be in far worse condition than the DI / RSL methodology that MDoT actually uses to prioritize road work. A logistic regression – MDoT’s preferred analytical tool – shows that there is a statistically significant variance between the methodologies as they are applied to the State Trunkline system. Either the PASER or the DI / RSL methodology is not properly evaluating Michigan pavement conditions.

Most civil engineers consider RSL to be the ‘gold standard’ of pavement condition evaluation, so PASER ratings, as performed for TAMC, are likely wrong. Should you be inclined to think that the PASER evaluations better represent the condition of Michigan’s roads, ask yourself why MDoT and all the other State DoT’s do not use PASER evaluations to prioritize road work. You would also have to ask yourself why the other instrumented pavement rating methodology, FHWA’s IRI, shows Michigan’s State Trunkline roads to be in even better condition than the DI / RSL methodology...

It only takes a quick look at the charts above to realize that there is something quite wrong with the TAMC PASER road ratings being touted by Proposal 2015-01 supporters. Michigan’s mainstream media are regurgitating these politically useful PASER data as authoritative without any further analysis, so many voters in Michigan are being deceived. Deceit seems to be the modus operandi of Proposal 2015-01 proponents. It is long past time to clear the air by conducting DI / RSL evaluations of non federal aid-eligible roads in Michigan. Then we can discuss a time-limited plan to remediate Michigan’s roads.
Indeed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The wind in Maine blows mainly into Spain

Job creation, EPA style.
PORTLAND, Maine — The corporate subsidy watchdog agency Good Jobs First found Central Maine Power Co. parent company Iberdrola topped the list of all recipients of federal grants and tax credits, primarily in tax credits for its renewable energy developments.

Energy companies generally topped the list of grants, as the review by Good Jobs First included tax credits wind power companies can receive for each unit of electricity they produce...

John Carroll, spokesman for Iberdrola U.S.A., said that the $2.2 billion in federal grants and tax credits came to the company primarily through the massive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Iberdrola is a Spanish company. TWT here.

Warren Buffett, of course, is also aware of this windfall
"I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire's tax rate," he said. "For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit."
To a capitalist, then, they don't make sense. Period.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

#HDR22 - it depends on the meaning of "classified"

Not quite a year ago, State Department mouthpiece Jen Psaki was unable to name a single accomplishment by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
"I am certain that those who were here at the time, who worked hard on that effort, could point out one," Psaki responded...

Later, the State Department provided a list of seven changes resulting from the 2010 audit. They included the reorganization and creation of undersecretary positions and the establishment of three bureaus aimed at countering terrorism, promoting American energy interests and helping civilian leaders of the agency prevent conflict and violence.
This constitutes the foreign policy legacy of the smartest woman on earth? A sad comment on our foreign policy, women, or both. OTOH, if the Department of State had been awake and enforcing the Official Records Act known, they could have added, "Built her own email server for official business."

But the most incredible achievement was not revealed until yesterday's press conference (emphasis mine),

QUESTION: Were you ever -- were you ever specifically briefed on the security implications of using -- using your own email server and using your personal address to email with the president?

CLINTON: I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.
A prodigious feat. In four years as US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton never sent or received a classified email.

How the hell do you manage that? By not doing your job (as Psaki's inability to name any accomplishments suggests)? By controlling the definition of what is classified? By deleting 30,000 of the emails and declaring the server off-limits?

We do know (thanks to the hacker Guccifer) that among the emails she deleted (they are reportedly not included in the 55,000 printed pages Mrs. Clinton sent to the Department of State) are some from Sid Blumenthal with annotations like “THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM EXTREMELY SENSITIVE SOURCES AND SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH CARE.”

These are not classified materials because Mrs. Clinton chose not to classify them (the State Department didn't even know about them). She could surely have made them so under classification categories 1.4(b) foreign government information, 1.4(c) intelligence activities, sources, or methods, or cryptology, or 1.4(d) foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.

Mrs. Clinton assures us that the deleted emails "... have nothing to do with work [as SecState], but I didn't see any reason to keep them." Now, even if we ignore the fact that "having nothing to do with work," is categorically not the same as ""There is no classified material," one must wonder how many of the deleted emails referenced contributions to the Clinton Foundation from Middle Eastern despots looking for political leverage. If the correspondents kept their copies, they've got real leverage now.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Two by Steyn

The Field Where Liberty Was Sown
The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta Liberatum.

and

Basic Cable
An inquiry into State secrets.

Oh, while you're there, I recommend picking up a copy of Steyn’s latest book - The [Un]documented Mark Steyn - or any other item that strikes your fancy in the Steyn Store.

Pre-ordering Climate Change: The Facts is another option: Mark still needs our help in the Michael "Fraudpants" Mann trial.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Corporate Whore in Chief

The Sage of Omaha Emerges Over 50 Years As Sometimes Clueless

Read that link, but... It's a lot worse than clueless: Warren Buffet is rich because he figured out a long time ago how to take advantage of regulation and subsidy. Buffet sits atop a Ponzi scheme in the same sense as did Bernie Madoff, except Madoff had the moral decency to practice his art directly on his victims, rather than co-opting the monopolist use of force to steal from everybody.

And unlike Buffett, Madoff didn't brag about his thievery while endlessly claiming his victims don’t pay enough in taxes.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

#hdr22

Today, General David Petraeus pled guilty to “mishandling classified materials,” because he showed some to his mistress.

He could get a year in prison.

Contemporaneously, we discover Secretary of State Hillary Clinton trafficked in classified material for four years, using an unencrypted private email account - hdr22@clintonemail.com - to conduct the business of the Department of State.

She plans to be President of the United States.

I know who should be facing more than a year in prison, but that's not even on the table. The question for hdr22 is whether it will damage her presidential aspirations. We've gone from "a slip of the lip could sink a ship" to "a careless domain could wreck your campaign."

The discrepancy shows Americans are conflicted about the accountability of our senior officials. We get confused about whether exposing mega-reams of classified material to hackers is worse than exposing ourselves to our biographers. We suspect there's a difference between conducting foreign policy and screwing fellow Americans. But then, here's Hillary, for whom there isn't.

Secretary of State Clinton was able to hide her knowledge of the Benghazi massacre from Congressional oversight because she sequestered it in an email account designed to avoid any US government supervision or tracking.

Memos sent to Secretary of State Clinton’s personal (one can no longer say ‘private’) email account include titles like “Comprehensive Intel Report on Libya,” and warnings that, “THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM EXTREMELY SENSITIVE SOURCES AND SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH CARE.”

The memos include notes on the intelligence sources, such as: “Sources with access to the highest levels of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the leadership of the Armed Forces, and Western Intelligence, diplomatic, and security services.”

Neither Lois Lerner nor Valerie Plame could be reached for comment.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Orwell Project

From Mark Steyn, a must read on Free Speech: The Sound of Silence
If you don't believe in free speech for those you hate, you don't believe in free speech at all...

[R]ight now the leftie sexual identity groups are happy to make common cause with the Islamocrazies because they're both about shutting people up...

[I]f 300 years of free speech can be rolled back in the interest of "enhancing public safety", why not property rights, due process, freedom of association, freedom of religion or even (gasp!) sexual liberty?
Of course, we're already there. Property rights are violated daily by TSA strip-searchers, and by EPA regulators: Due process is already disappearing on American college campuses, and your local police routinely seize property from those who have committed no crime: "Forced association" is a key element of Obamacare, and free association has been declared verboten by the IRS: Religious freedom is suffering verbal blitzkrieg from our president who claims murder of identified religious groups - in the name of Allah - is "random:" Sexual liberty is being redefined as "affirmative consent" by the same twisted ideologues who enabled and protect the Rotherham child-rapists in the name of "community cohesion."

You can identify the statists easily. They're the ones trying to make words mean exactly the opposite of what they actually mean: "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." -George Orwell, 1984

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Greatest lessons: Winston Churchill

Today marks the death of Winston Spencer Churchill. The words of political philosopher and classicist Leo Strauss are perhaps the best short eulogy:
THE ACHIEVEMENT OF LEO STRAUSS
THE HENRY SALVATORI CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM IN THE MODERN WORLD
January 2000
Appendix B, page 47
Spontaneous Remarks Made by Leo Strauss, on Hearing of the Death of Churchill

The death of Churchill is a healthy reminder to academic students of political science of their limitations, the limitations of their craft.

The tyrant stood at the pinnacle of his power. The contrast between the indomitable and magnanimous statesman and the insane tyrant—this spectacle in its clear simplicity was one of the greatest lessons which men can learn, at any time.

No less enlightening is the lesson conveyed by Churchill’s failure which is too great to be called tragedy. I mean the fact that Churchill’s heroic action on behalf of human freedom against Hitler only contributed, through no fault of Churchill’s, to increase the threat to freedom which is posed by Stalin or his successors. Churchill did the utmost that a man could do to counter that threat—publicly and most visibly in Greece and in Fulton, Missouri. Not a whit less important than his deeds and speeches are his writings, above all his Marlborough—the greatest historical work written in our century, an inexhaustible mine of political wisdom and understanding, which should be required reading for every student of political science.

The death of Churchill reminds us of the limitations of our craft, and therewith of our duty. We have no higher duty, and no more pressing duty, than to remind ourselves and our students, of political greatness, human greatness, of the peaks of human excellence. For we are supposed to train ourselves and others in seeing things as they are, and this means above all in seeing their greatness and their misery, their excellence and their vileness, their nobility and their triumphs, and therefore never to mistake mediocrity, however brilliant, for true greatness.
In class, at the University of Chicago
January 25, 1965
If our president had read this, perhaps he would not have returned the bust of the Prime Minister to Britain. Perhaps he would even have glimpsed a hint of his own limitations and gained a small dash of humility.

It is, alas, just one of the lessons Mr. Obama did not learn in Chicago.