December 31, 2010

Is the Commerce Clause the Roots of Totalitarianism?

Timothy Birdnow

The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes…

Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution

Please note the word regulate; it is vital to our understanding of the issue at hand.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, to regulate means:

regulate verb /'reg.j?.le?t/ v

to control something, especially by making it work in a particular way

The operative word here is control, not create, nor to compel. Had the Founding Fathers wanted to grant the power to compel commerce, they would have specificially stated that fact.

What must be remembered is that the Constitution of the United States was intended not to limit the individual but to enumerate exactly what powers were held by the government; the assumption was always negative, that unless expressly granted they were reserved to the States or the People (Amendment 10 states precisely that). The commerce clause is not a grab bag of governmental power.

Yet that is precisely what the Obama Administration has been arguing in court. There have been three rulings on the Obama Healthcare hijacking, and two of them (made by liberal judges) agreed with the Administration (based not on the merits of the case but on standing). What this tells us is that there is something fundamentally wrong with modern understanding of law, what it is, and how it is supposed to work.

Remember; Nancy Pelosi was incredulous when asked where the Constitution authorized Congress to force mandatory health care on individuals.  Congressman Pete Stark took a similar tack, claiming the government can "do most anything" at a townhall meeting. Clearly, Thomas Jefferson is rolling over in his grave.

And yet this viewpoint, this belief in the absolute omnipotence of government, seems to have infected much of our legal system, and, indeed, our legal scholars.  Here is a case in point.

Anders Walker is a law professor at St. Louis University, mind you, and his viewpoint is astonishing on multiple levels. He seems to believe, like Pete Stark and Nancy Pelosi, that there are essentially no limits to governmental power over the individual.

First, Professor Walker illustrates astonishing economic ignorance:

"Proponents of the plan argue, reasonably, that if all citizens are required to purchase health insurance, even healthy ones, then the overall price of that insurance will go down—nationally.  This is probably true; as is the notion that health insurance is an interstate business (think Blue Cross Blue Shield)."


I cannot believe that any human being in a position where they are teaching can be so astoundingly ignorant of basic economics. I understand the Obama position; they want socialized medicine, and will lie to get it, but how can a man honestly write such a statement and claim it is reasonable?  He seems to believe that Insurance is merely a piece of paper, something that can be expanded ad-infinitum, like the Administration believes the money supply is merely paper. Had Professor Walker bothered to check with a freshman taking Economics 101 he would have learned about supply and demand; as demand increases supply decreases and prices RISE. This is fundamental. Health insurance isn't simply a piece of paper, one written policy that can be duplicated forever; it is an agreement to finance services upon need in return for monthly payments. It is the service that is ultimately being purchased. Does he think that most of these individuals will never access the service? There is a reason for people being uninsured (or underinsured); they are sick, or not financially able to purchase the insurance. By forcing them into the system we guarantee the service will be accessed to a far greater degree, which limits supply, which drives prices through the roof. Government price controls guarantee restricted service, meaning long waits (as are common in socialized medicine countries like Canada) and inferior service. This law is dramatically increasing demand by FORCING people into the system.

Professor Walker doesn't seem to have a problem with that, though:

"Perhaps this is why Hudson rules the way he does.  Veiled in the garb of universal coverage, the Obama plan is actually coercive; a scheme aimed at forcing people to act against their will.  Then again, doesn’t the government force us to act against our will all the time?  Isn’t that the reality of the federal income tax?"

End excerpt

Now, no state would ever have considered joining the Union had they been told this would be the case. The Founders are rolling over in their graves over such notions!  The fact is that, yes, government does indeed sometimes compel obedience - which is why the Founders sought as small and limited a government as they could create. This is where the concept of original intent should be employed; the idea of a "living Constitution" means we interpret it however we like, and impose the force of the state (and, ultimately, the state's power to kill) to impose our personal opinions. Walker has absolutely no conception of the roots of American jurisprudence; the concept of natural law as the cornerstone. Natural Law limits the power of the state to coerce.

It's instructive that he points to the federal income tax; the income tax exists as a constitutional amendment, not as an act passed by Congress to "regulate interstate commerce". See, the Constitution is the fundamental building block, and while America had occasionally dabbled with income taxes prior (there was one during the Civil War) it was largely considered constitutionally unsavory. The Central Government (we really can't call it Federal here) at least has a right to impose this coercive tax because it was written into the Constitution. This isn't the case with Obamacare; it is clearly a powergrab.

But perhaps his biggest error is in assuming that regulating commerce is the same as creating or compelling commerce:

"even if refusing to buy health insurance was not a commercial activity prior to the Obama plan,

Congress’s decision to enact that plan appears to have changed the landscape of health care, effectively

creating a quasi-public regulatory health system supported entirely by private markets, markets that not

only span state lines but support one of the nation’s largest economic sectors, the health care industry. 

For this private-public hybrid to work, however, it is reasonable to assume that there must be a 100 percent buy-in by the public, mandated by law, or else interstate commerce—the national health care industry—will suffer."

The point is, THERE IS NO COMMERCE! People are acting in a state of nature, not purchasing a commodity. It is not as though they are choosing a local product over a nation-wide one; they aren't choosing any product and don't want any. If Congress has authority to create a national market where none exists and thus FORCE everyone to engage in commerce, they have totalitarian power.

What is to prevent them from, say, deciding identity theft is a matter of interstate commerce, and thus forcing all Americans to have a microchip implanted on their hands or foreheads? There are those who would claim to not engage in interstate commerce, but using Walker's reasoning, that would be untrue because Congress will claim that money is the product of the United States and, since states may not print their own, anyone using money is subject to the interstate commerce clause and subsequently must be marked.

If his assertions of legal precedents are true, then America should indeed call a constitutional convention and do away with the whole rotten structure. But then, wouldn't that mean interstate commerce, and so Congress could simply annull it?

Frankly, that is the reason for the Second Amendment.

What Walker ignores is that SCOTUS has ruled in U.S. v Lopez that Congress may not regulate handgun ownership, and in U.S. v Morrison that they may not intervene in sexual assault cases. The reason is that these are not economic activities, although they certainly can be considered as having some economic impact. In short, his argument for unlimited power cannot be justified by legal precedent.

The reality is that any human action can be considered economic activity and subject to regulation, if one stretches the point far enough. When one uses the toilet several economic actions take place; water, which likely came from out of state, is processed through the body and is then sent ultimately into public waterways. Food, which likely came from out of state, does likewise. Toilet paper likely came from out of state. Does this give the government the right to regulate your bowel movements? Some would argue yes.

And if government can regulate your bowel movement they can regulate your very existence. To be honest, that is the ultimate goal of Obamacare; to place your body under total governmental control. It's why healthcare has always been a top priority for most every despotic state; certainly the Nazis and Fascists made this a central platform of their programs, as did the Bolsheviks. If the government owns your health they own you.

And the Administration knows full well that this law will bankrupt private insurers and force government intervention directly; this is the bare bones of a larger plan.

Yet the Walkers of this world will be the ones to get media attention, no matter how poorly reasoned their arguments. This is not about the public welfare, but about power. A man with some educational pedigree who makes the case for this sort of thing will always be praised. It illustrates why conservatives must break the stranglehold on education and the media currently enjoyed by the Left. Until this is done, America will continue to follow totally irrational courses of action.

The survival of the Republic is in mortal peril.




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Obama and the Rule of Claw

Timothy Birdnow

Obama is eroding the rule of law, and Obamacare is setting up arbitrary price controls by unaccountable bureacratic fiat.

Now is a good time to discuss the nature of law. What is law? The liberal would argue law is some distillation of the essence of the will of the majority of people, but that is wrong both from an historical perspective and from any standard of logic. Majority rule - which is what liberals see our system as embodying - has nothing to do with law. Law derives not from the whims and pleasures of men but from fundamental principles. Those principles were derived from "nature and nature's God" or from a fundamental way things work, that is, natural law. The Founders were rooted in the early Englightenment, and natural law weighed heavily on their minds when they created our system of governance. It was not necessary to believe in a transcendent God, but most of the Founders believed that there was such a God, and they believed that said divinity ordered things to work in a certain way.

What is justice?  Everyone holds some sense of it, even in the most primitive and violent of societies, and generally the sense of justice is quite similar Now, there have been some pretty bad things done by different societies, and there are quirks of law and beliefs that override a fundamental sense of justice, but justice is much like pornography; you know it when you see it. A third party can often come to the conclusion that something is unjust. There seems to be something beyond merely cultural standards that acts as a benchmark for justice. It may be that a society only allows justice for it's own members, and outsiders may get their heads removed and shrunk or may even get eaten, but the sense is still there, and when such an abhorrent society develops a greater organizational system there generally develops a greater legal mechanism for justice, and a more universal application. Never perfect, granted, but there seems to be a universal ideal, one that law is designed to mirror.

That is the concept of natural law; there are standards that imperfect human beings may only meet partially, but those standards transcend simple human desire and belief.

And so the atheist can agree with the most pious on certain general principles of justice. That is, and must be, at the root of any claim to moral and ethical character on the part of the atheist; without a tip of the hat to natural law there is absolutely no reason to follow any code of behavior that is not in one's own self interest. Claiming that it is in one's interest to follow moral codes because it benefits society which benefits the individual is an ultimate acknowledgement of the primacy of natural law. The atheist can agree that there is simply a fundamental principle at work in the world. It is just the way things are.

But most of the Founding Fathers believed in the God of the Bible. There were a few Deists (who hold a "fuzzy" view that, yes, there is something we would call God but aren't sure what that is) but the lion's share were Christians and the Bible acted as one of the underpinnings of the Constitution and subsequent American jurisprudence. It was not simple popular opinion. The whole point of a Supreme Court (not really needed in a nation ruled by individual sovereign states) was for just this purpose; they were to decide of laws were being made by Men or by Nature and Nature's God. The Founders understood the corruptibility of Man, understood the lusts for power and wealth that twists the minds of those who would wind up in postitions of authority. They split the functions of government; makers of laws, enforcer of laws, interpreter of laws. You see, they believed in Original Sin. It was hoped that America would work because it was broken; a unified government guaranteed despotism, and the Founders wanted the individual to ultimately control his or her own destiny. That control is taken away by mob rule, where the rich can buy the law, where the poor can steal from the rich, where whatever lust held by whatever group could organize enough votes to impose their will on the individual. This was always a terrible danger, and as Ben Franklin eloquently put it to a woman who asked about what had been created "a Republic, madam, if you can keep it". That is the trick.

And the fundamental tool for keeping a Republic is the rule of law. The Rule of Law says that there is a thing that exists independent of the desires and lusts of the public - or of the ruling class- that informs how we act and what we cannot do. Law is above politics, above money, above raw power. Everyone is subservient to law, including the President of the United States, the Supreme Court, and Congress. Law is the logos, the incarnation of the Word, if you will. It is the best expression of that higher thing that we all see through a glass darkly, namely, the Word of God, or Natural Law.

Which is what is so disturbing about the current Administration; the fundamental philosophy guiding the Obamaistas is that law is merely the expression of power, little more. If certain members of the intelligentsia believe things should be a certain way, then they have a right to impose that vision on the benighted masses "for their own good". There is nothing beyond the dictates of human reason and human will. The Obama Administration is the embodiment of Humanistic thought. Man is the all, and thy will be done!  WE are the unmoved movers, and the best and brightest - so designated by themselves - should be the prime movers of the unmoved movers.

Which is monumentally stupid; we obey natural laws all the time. We don't step off of the tops of building lest we die. Oh, sometimes we can find ways around certain laws - airplanes and parachutes help us out with gravity - but we cannot erase those laws. Even radical liberals accept the physical laws as immutable, yet they refuse to believe in moral and ethical laws as any more than a human construct. They think that all that is necessary for Man to attain his rightful godhead is to refuse to believe in Natural Law and voila! Natural Law disappears and the New Man is born, the superman of Nietzche, self-willed and omnipotent.

Obama and his friends seem to believe in their inner superman.

So they circumvent that which is inconvenient, creating "Czars" to impose their will in total disregard of the other branches of government, of the Constitution, and of natural law. The rule of law is becoming the rule of claw, with power substituting for obediance to that which is right.

History is littered with the carcasses of civilizations that have sought to impose power over natural law. The Warsaw Pact is but one example. Rome was another. The public has an innate sense of justice, and they know that, whether the governing powers mean well or not (usually not) they are imposing their personal opinions via force. There is no desire to obey the law because it is the law, a perhaps imperfect reflection on a fundamental truth. People rightly recognize a despotate, and it is human nature to rebel against a despotate.

There are rulers and there are governors. In America, we expect to be governed. Obama believes himself to be our ruler. Rules are made to be broken, as the old saying goes.


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Note to Green Evanglicals; Pride Goeth Before a Fall

Timothy Birdnow

I have never liked Mike Huckabee. Mike Huckabee stayed in the Presidential race solely to split the vote and hand the nomination to the duplicitious John McCain, and he is now considered one of the frontrunners for the election of 2012. 

He also advocates Cap and Trade, despite a preponderance of science that says Global Warming is a non-issue.

Oh, but wait!  He says he doesn't support government mandated Cap and Trade, but VOLUNTARY carbon trading!

According to this WND report, the Huckster argued:

"In an attempt by bloggers to provide another 'GOTCHA' moment – video of a speech I delivered at a climate conference is circulating around as 'evidence' of my support for the mandatory cap-and-trade bill," Huckabee wrote.

To help sort fact from fiction, here is my position – just as it was in 2007:

"Like President Reagan and both Presidents Bush, I do support voluntary cap and trade that would allow responsible companies to sell carbon credits to other companies whose emissions exceed the current legal levels – the goal would be a reduction of carbon emissions over a period of time. In the video, I specifically named Wal-Mart from my home state as an example of responsible corporate policy.

"The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 – that President Bush ultimately signed was not a cap-and-trade law. It addressed automobile fuel economy, the development of bio-fuels energy, and efficiency in public buildings and lighting. The reference I made in the speech about the House's action was because it established a responsible and scientific standard for counting carbon emissions – the House had passed it, but the Senate had not. Even in the voluntary approach, having a standard is necessary. In my speech, I specifically said 'carbon counting.' Those who are now breathlessly trotting out their attacks that I supported mandatory cap and trade have simply not done their homework," he said.
"That is a far cry from supporting a mandatory federal tax and certainly dramatically different from the 2010 legislation known as the Kerry Bill, which I strongly opposed; as evidenced by numerous comments I made in print, in my daily radio commentaries and on my weekly television show," he continued.

"I do believe that all of us have a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment and to be respectful of the fact that we are responsible to God for good and careful use of His creation. That is exactly the position I've held politically and attempted to practice personally," he said."

(To see the video of his speech at the Global Warming conference, go to the WND article.)

End excerpt.

Now, the Huckster isn't stupid, so he must be fundamentally dishonest. No business is going to buy and sell credits for hot air, and a fantasy "market" is entirely that; it only exists because government says it exists. Those companies that refuse to indulge such folly will quickly overtake those that do, and the whole carbon trading scheme will fall apart (as indeed it already has). The entire scheme depends ultimately on everyone playing, which means government forcing business to participate, which is Cap and Trade. If Huckabee doesn't understand that he has no business running for President, and if he DOES understand it he is a liar.

I cannot understand how radical environmentalism has taken over the Evangelical community. Those who promote these green schemes are bitter enemies of Chrisianity, as well as of freedom, and yet the Evangelicals are climbing comfortably into bed in the name of "stewardship" which was and always has been a more minor command from the Almighty. God doesn't need help in maintaining the Earth; He can do it quite nicely on His own, thank you very much!  This idea that Man must somehow labor to maintain Creation is hubris of the highest order. The idea of Stewardship largely comes from the Book of Genesis, in which God commands that Adam and Even "fill the Earth and subdue it". Yet what the Gang-Green wants is not a world filled and subdued, but rather a world emptied of human inhabitants and returned to a primeval state, a state raw, cold, and cruel. Remember, the command was given BEFORE the Fall, and, frankly, real stewardship would first and foremost entail morality and sanctity of the individual.  All of Creation groans from Man's sin, the Bible tells us. It is the vanquishing of sin that God would find pleasing, not the creation of human laws to force people into political and economic bondage for the "sake of the planet".

Everyone may want to read Return of the Old Gods, my article on why Evangelicals should flee from the modern worship of Baal dressed in jolly green gowns.

How many of these self-same green Evangelicals buy products made in China, which is one of the world's worst polluters?  If they would put their money where their mouths reside, they would boycott products from China; it would help the atmosphere and would weaken the tyrants who crush the yellow dragon in their talons. But I suspect few of these committed folks will spend a dime more for goods while cheap Chinese products are available, yet they presume to tell America that she must pay more for fuel and energy, all in the name of stewardship.

Why is this cause so important? There are real, serious issues of greater concern to Christians; the salvation of souls being our paramount calling as disciples of Christ. These concerned stewards worry not in the least about rising Islamism, and the terrible oppression of their Christian brothers in lands ground under the heel of Islamic despots. They worry not about the persecution of the Church in Iran, Iraq (where Christians have been butchered of late), Pakistan, etc. They care little that Christ is persecuted by the Islamists of Sudan in Darfur and Equatoria. They don't worry about the despots who persecute the Church in China, or in Belarus, or in any of the other places where the Gospel is considered sedition. They aren't even especially worried about the gentle persecution of the Gospel in Europe, Canada, and America. No. All they can find to occupy their time is a lot of hot air -literally!

And Mike Huckabee skips gaily along, holding hands with pagans, communists, revolutionaries of every stripe.

In 2Chronicles 7:14 the Lord makes this promise:

"If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

End excerpt.

Note that the Lord God of Hosts does not ask for labor from His people, does not ask them to initiate carbon trading schemes or government regulations. He asks for prayer, repentence, and HUMILITY. The notion that we must somehow impose our will on others who are simply living their lives, engaging in economic activity that is desired by people, is the penultimate of hubris. Where is the humility? IF we are suffering the ravages of Global Warming, then our first and fundamental duty is to humble ourselves, pray, seek the face of God, and repent of our wicked ways. What wicked ways are those? Certainly not emitting carbon dioxide, which we do when we exhale, when we heat our homes, when we drive trucks full of food to feed the poor, when we manufacture clothing for the poor, when we LIVE. No; the hubris IS the sin, and our rejection of the Will of God in favor of the will of Man. It is a sin fundamentally no different than witchcraft.

Their first response should be to repent of their arrogance.

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December 30, 2010

Fresno Farmers get handouts - FDR's failures repeated

Jack Kemp

American Thinker Editor Thomas Lifson has written a blog piece on the "Manmade famine in America,"   basing it on an Investors' Business Daily editorial the loss of farming productivity in California due to government overregulation, making it seem like Zimbabwe or the old Soviet Union. Lifson has a few choice quotes from the IBD piece as well.

I have written a Letter to the Editor at American Thinker that describes the situation, drawing on a 2009 blog piece I wrote at the Birdnow website. I don't know if that letter will be published, but it is reproduced here, with some edits:

In reading both your blog piece "Manmade famine in America" and the original IBD editorial beforehand, one can hear the echoes of two major leftist causes.

How many times have we seen "heartfelt" stories on a major alphabet network or on Public Television detailing Hunger in America? They have talked of the disgrace (for the country) of this condition and told heartfelt stories of individuals and families caught in this condition. With the election of Barack Obama, the mainstream media has found the "Bishop Berkeley cure" for hunger. Berkeley famously asked the question that if a tree falls in the forest and no one heard it fall, did it make a noise? Today, if no one mentions a person falling into a state of hunger in the forest, it doesn't make a noise on the media, i.e., the mainstream media ignores it. The media then tries to silence news of hunger's effect until such time as a Republican is elected President when it becomes a national scandal worthy of Nightline or a PBS special program.

During the tax protests a while of November 2009, Ben Bergquam of the Central Valley of California Tea Party was making a nationwide tour and found himself speaking at gather of the New York Tea Party near the Brooklyn Bridge. Dick Armey was there as well. Bergquam told us in the audience of the disgrace of the government "managing" the situation of food shortages by having farmers in the richest soil area of America in line waiting for handouts of carrots imported from China. Where is the outrage - as Bob Dole used to say?

The Central Valley Tea Party Patriots are also affiliated with Water For All , a Hispanic organization fighting for farmers’ rights in California. Another ally of theirs is Families Protecting the Valley   a San Joaquin Valleyorganization fighting the politically induced drought.

In junior high, I recall reading passages of "The Grapes of Wrath" where FDR's Agricultural Adjustment Act policies resulted in food being destroyed to "support" prices as people went hungry. Now land is being parched dry, effectively destroying food production, to support a small fish, the Delta Smelt. It is updated socialist program folly and the people are once again suffering from technocrats experimenting and laying waste to their lands.

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More Snow Blindness

Timothy Birdnow

Second Hand Smoke has more on the Cohen piece in the New York Times that I recently deconstructed at AT

Wesley Smith digs back, showing that the Onion of Concerned Scientists were predicting LESS snow, not more, as recently as 2004.

My, how adaptive the Gang Green can be!

See my original piece here

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Resistance to the EPA

Dana Mathewson

It actually exists -- even among Democrats!  That's good news.  However, we'll have to wait to see how effective it is.  From Urgent Agenda...

Katz points out that "There are a number of environmental religionists who want high energy prices, to drive us away from carbon-based fuels.  They think they're being smart, not understanding that the economic damage by these premature actions, without new fuels in place, will harm the very people they claim to care about."

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From Friend Eddie.  Where was our illustrious president to declare that the police acted stupidly in this incident, I wonder?  Don't let the URL fool you -- this incident happened in Nebraska, not California.
{Let's be careful out there......with the push of a button, evidently, you could be quickly outnumbered 20 to 1, or more, by sworn peace officers; uniformed, armed, and dangerous, trained to do everything possible to go home safe and sound at the end of their shift.........

BTW - A personal digital audio/video recording device might come in handy in situations like this.}

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Once again, the government gins up counterproductive

Dana Mathewson

Employment figures for young black males have been worse than for young white males since the 1960's, and nothing the government tries seems to help.  Here's one more dodge from the geniuses who don't understand how business works:

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IBD follows Art

Jack Kemp

On Thursday, Investors' Business Daily cartoonist Michael Ramirez will have an illustration of the Statue of Liberty sitting on her pedestal  and freezing, asking, "Where is the #!$^# global warming?" I don't know if Mr. Ramirez reads the Birdnow website, but he is quite clever enough to come up with this idea on his own, especially if he has been to New York lately (or works there) and has seen either public service tv commercials or print ads showing the crouching Statue of Liberty of the New York Cares Coat Drive.

But I beat him by a day.

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Defending Windmills?

Brian forwards this piece about Chris Mathews and the Obama Birth Certificate issue.

This article points out that Obama also won't release:

During the presidential campaign, Obama released just one brief document detailing his personal health, while GOP opponent John McCain released what he said was his complete medical file totaling more than 1,500 pages. The Obama campaign eventually released some routine lab-test results and electrocardiograms for Obama.

Obama refused to offer his official papers as a state legislator in Illinois and did not produce correspondence, such as letters from lobbyists and other information, from his days in the Illinois State Senate.

Obama did not release his client list as an attorney or his billing records.

Obama declined to release his college records from Occidental College, where he studied for two years before transferring to Columbia University.

Obama’s campaign refused to give Columbia University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in political science, permission to release his transcripts. Such transcripts would list the courses Obama took, and his grades.

Obama’s college dissertation, reportedly titled “Soviet Nuclear Disarmament,” has disappeared from Columbia’s archives.

Obama did not agree to the release of his application to the Illinois state bar, which would clear up intermittent allegations that his application to the bar may have been inaccurate.

Obama has not released records from his time at Harvard Law School.

During his campaign for president, Obama promised he would make his White House “the most open and transparent administration in history.”

End excerpt.

I made this reply to Brian:

Yeah; this thing just won't go away, and I guess Mathews is starting to realize it. I personally think Obama has something he wants to hide, perhaps not in his birth certificate, but he knows that he has to stop the investigators there.  Frankly, I think he was born of a jackall in Rome...

Who would blow millions of dollars fighting the release if there was no reason to fight it?


Why indeed? People don't spend millions of dollars for no reason. There is clearly something ugly here, something that The One must keep concealed. 

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December 29, 2010

Snow Blind at AT

Timothy Birdnow

Global Warming alarmism is foundering, as I illustrate in my latest piece at American Thinker.

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Randi Rhodes gets her ObamaCare wish

Jack Kemp

Back in 2002, I had the "opportunity" to hear the so called “progressive” radio host Randi Rhodes while riding in a commercial vehicle in Florida. This was before Rhodes was hired - and later fired - by Air America in 2008. That day, Rhodes was complaining about the Bush Administration and pending drug price increases, claiming her mother could not afford medicines. I don't recall if she specifically blamed Pres. Bush or capitalism for the price increase, but it is realistic to assume there was an implication of at least the former. And I'm not likely to get a telephone interview with Randi Rhodes to clarify the situation, nor do I want to.

Doing a quick calculation, during the show, two conclusions came to my mind. Ms. Rhodes chose to lead with a financial problem that reflected on her family's life, as if others who didn't have a high paying radio job (and a pending hire at Air America) weren't worth emphasizing, but just mentioning in passing. Ms. Rhodes was playing the poor victim as if she worked as a maid or owned a small laundromat  in Miami. With her job, could afford to subsidize her mother's drug bills. In the worst case scenario, she'd have to miss the famous South Florida Early Bird Special a few times and eat tuna fish at home.

Whatever Randi Rhodes' mother's condition, her daughter politicized it by putting in on the radio all across South Florida. In short, she used her mother for ratings and politics in a cowardly way. By only presenting her mother’s problem, she avoided  having to defend a more detailed argument about what part liberal political laws have played in inflating the dollar through uncontrolled spending, how Medicare laws and other government regulations have increased medical costs for everyone without increasing services. And if any of her liberal listeners wanted to jump to the conclusion that it was “all Bush’s fault” or the “heartless Republicans,” well, that would probably be alright with her. And it is very different from telling a personal anecdote when a media personality makes their parent a regional or national issue, such as when Evan Thomas of Newsweek wrote in a cover story  about his mother's desire to have the "plug pulled on her" and tried to generalize it to imply everyone should be willing and desirous of having the plug pulled on their mother or grandma (used in the title of that Newsweek cover story).

Now that the Obama administration is doing all that it can to make sure that Ms. Rhodes's mother won't have to worry about the high cost of drugs anymore. Unfortunately for the Rhodes family, the argument the Administration will use will be to deprive various seniors of treatment, so that the cost of drugs will be of no concern to them in America.

The New York Times reports that:

"When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment."

Yes, the Death Panels are stepping up their schedule, something I'm fairly sure Ms. Rhodes criticized Sarah Palin and other conservatives for even suggesting.

In April of 2008, Rhodes was taken off of Air America for a foul mouthed rant against Hillary Clinton, likening her to a whore, along with remarks supportive of Obama in the primaries. You can hear these “comical” remarks here.  You know what they say about being careful what you wish for, Randi.  

You got your wish that Obama would become President, along with his campaign promises of overhauling the US healthcare system. Can your mother - literally - live with it?

Although Rhodes now has another radio job that can aid her in paying for her mother's medications - something she did not specifically say she would do to help on the day I heard her radio program - a bigger problem arises if no doctor is allowed by ObamaCare  to write a prescription for any aged parent. Rhodes may decide to take her mother to a clinic in Tijuana or Costa Rica, assuming her mother is well enough to travel. Of course, that could cut into Ms. Rhode's work time, but maybe she can arrange a remote broadcast from the clinic. Or maybe not. Either way, Randi has gotten her wish of keeping medicine costs down for her mother. But it is the wish of a moral and economic illiterate.

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Voting with their Wallets

Dana Mathewson

It's really funny that state governments who think they can just go on raising taxes never seem to think this can happen:

But as long as Americans are free to move around (and we still are, but who knows for how long), high-tax states will continue to lose population.

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Roman Computers

Dana Mathewson

This will blow your mind -- or at least surprise the dickens out of you!  The ancients were a lot cleverer than we thought.

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Why repeal of DADT was wrong

Dana Mathewson

Here's another way of looking at it:

FTA: "How do we command our soldiers to be so morally grounded and upright that they refuse to kill with indiscriminate hatred … to enjoy torture … to rape and pillage and feed the bloodlusts of battle – but not so upright as to frown on the self-destructive passions of immoral sexual behavior?

"With the repeal of DADT, we are handing the men charged with protecting our borders and defending our freedoms a moral compass with no “magnetic north.” We are telling them to “be good” in the ways we want them to be, and to ignore “bad” as it suits our politically-correct purposes."

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ACLU and Catholic Hospitals

Jack Kemp

Michelle Malkin writes a detailed article that begins like this:

"The ACLU's Unholy War on Catholic Hospitals

By Michelle Malkin

Ho, ho, ho! Just in time for Christmas, the American Civil Liberties Union has launched a new salvo against people of faith. Even as billions around the world celebrate the birth of Christ, joyless, abortion-obsessed secularists never take a holiday.

On Wednesday, the ACLU sent a letter to federal health officials urging the government to force Catholic hospitals in the U.S. to perform abortions in violation of their core moral commitment to protecting the lives of the unborn. They're counting on sympathetic Obama rationing czar Donald Berwick — a recess appointee whose radical views on wealth and health redistribution were never vetted by Congress — to dictate which religious principles hospital operators can and cannot follow."


I've seen this article twice, but today it hit me. The ACLU doesn't just want to outlaw non-compliance with doing abortions. The ACLU wants to outlaw both having  a conscience and religious morality, be it Catholic or another religion. Basically, the ACLU is trying to de facto outlaw expressions of Christianity and Orthodox Judaism. The ACLU is "fine" with these religions, as long as one doesn't take them outside one's home or house of worship.

There is, however, one possible exception to this effort by the ACLU.

Abortion is forbidden in most instances by Muslim law.

If a Muslim doctor refused to do an abortion on a Muslim woman, how much would you bet that the ACLU wouldn't protest? Do I hear $10? 5$? Two cents?

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December 28, 2010

Nostalgia for liberals

Dana Mathewson

From my parodist friend.  By now it's fewer than 146 hours.  JG, since you won't be here on New Year's Eve, at least you and Cindy should sing through this one!
Liberal commentators and pundits are reciting a laundry list of
accomplishments of the just-adjourned Congress. So in about 146 hours,
I'll be raising a glass and singing this toast to the New Year. Join me,
wherever you are.

Should lame-duck Congress be forgot,
And how they sought to bind?
Should One-Eleventh be forgot,
Recalling One-Oh-Nine?

    For all their language fine I hear,
    For all their language fine,
    They make not up their blindness yet
    To all your pangs and mine.

The cure post-yule: freeze spending, stop!
Then deficits decline,
And we'll take a cut o' spineless set;
In Twenty-Twelve they'll pine.

ObamaCare they stoutly praise
As waivers now incline.
They've pondered many a source of loot,
Installing tax (or fine?).

E.P.A. thwarted all who burn;
On corn, their sun will shine.
Of seas, they've been afraid for shores
Since B.P. sank in brine.

They dare to stand on trust, befriend,
And we must stand in line.
They'll take the rights good millions sought.
Forestall that gang's design!

Barry J. Mitchel
Portsmouth VA

Compare to


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DHS Gag Reel

Dana Mathewson

Thomas Lifson, of American Thinker, may have just figured out the DHS.

FTA: "There can be no other explanation for the ever-expanding list of outrageous statements of our Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet "The system worked" Napolitano. She is some sort of postmodern performance artist, bent on illuminating the foibles of bureaucratic sclerosis, using irony so hip that nobody has yet recognized it is all a gag."

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FDR vs. Obama

Jack Kemp

Franklin Roosevelt, September 1944

"These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala."

Barack Obama, December 2010:

"Peter King of NBC reported during Football Night in America that President Barack Obama recently called Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to congratulate the team for giving quarterback Mike Vick a second chance...

King later wrote on his Twitter feed:

'Many have not forgiven Vick, and may never do so, for mistreating and killing dogs as part of a dogfighting ring. It’s as polarizing an issue as we’ve faced on the Fifth Down.'"

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December 27, 2010

Antarctica is Cooling, not Warming

Timothy Birdnow

Last year Nature ran a cover story on Global Warming in Antarctica. They were highlighting a paper by Steig that claimed the Antarctic Peninsula warming actually extended to much of West Antarctica, a claim that serves catastrophic AGW theory well, as predictions of a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet has acted as a sword of damoclese, driving the sense of urgency for caps on greenhouse gas emissions. And Steig has strongly influenced most sources of information on Antarctica. For example, the Wikipedia entry for West Antarctic Ice sheet says:

"The West Antarctic ice sheet has warmed by more than 0.1 °C/decade in the last 50 years, and is strongest in winter and spring. Although this is partly offset by fall cooling in East Antarctica, this effect is restricted to the 1980s and 1990s. The continent-wide average surface temperature trend of Antarctica is positive and significant at >0.05°C/decade since 1957.[15]. This warming of WAIS is strongest in the Antarctic Peninsula."

End excerpt.

And, of course, this dovetailed with the breakup of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in 2009, something trumpeted by the news media as proof we are doomed. But Wilkins had nothing to do with Global Warming, as I explained at the time.

But Big Science assured us that West Antarctica is warming, yessiree! That assurance rested largely on Steig.


A recent paper by O'Donnell et al has demolished the work of Steig.

According to Steve MacIntyre:

"Again, to be very clear about this, the “novelty” of Steig et al 2009 were their results for West Antarctica – the location of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Otherwise, there was nothing in their article that warranted an article in Nature, let alone a cover.

There were a variety of problems with their analysis, many of which were documented at CA and tAV at the time. The remarkable episode of Gavin, International Man of Mystery, plagiarizing a small point on a CA thread arose in the context of Steig et al. At an early stage, it seemed that Steig’s rather complicated method was spreading results from the Antarctic Peninsula into other parts of the Antarctic, a surmise that proved correct.

After an abusive peer review process in which the Team (Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt) were evidently involved, an article has been accepted by Journal of Climate (O’Donnell [Ryan O], Lewis [Nic L], McIntyre and Condon [Jeff Id]) refuting the West Antarctic claims of Steig et al 2009."

End excerpt.

The Antarctic Peninsula has 20 of the continent's 42 surface temperature stations, and as a result is overrepresented in terms of the entire continent. Antarctica is not all of one piece; clearly, the peninsula has a more maritime climate, yet Steig bunched the data together, "smearing" the warmer temperatures over West Antarctica with his algorithms.

Jeff Id does some math and shows what is happening.

The reality is that Antarctica has been cooling with the exception of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Antarctic Peninsula is a special case; it is a volcanic region, and juts out into the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. That current must traverse the Drake passage, the region between Terra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula (which essentially constitute the same mountain range, albeit with Drake under water) so the Peninsula would naturally be a warmer place. But the majority of Antarctica is cooling, and that is where 90% of all the world's ice resides. We are in no danger of catastrophic tsunamis or sea-level rise from melting glaciers and pack ice.

The Earth is in an ice age. We are in an interglacial, with much of the globe free from ice, but there is still pack ice covering Greenland and Antarctica. When the human species first emerged we were in the throes of a full ice age, and civilization had to wait until that ice age receded. Warming has been good for us as a species, and doubtlessly good for other species as well. The notion that the world will end because we drive cars and heat our homes is ludicrous.

But, of course, portents of doom are nothing new, and serve the purposes of the "progressive" left well. Endless crises are necessary to stampede the human race over the abyss of collectivism, and Global Warming is the latest in a string of them. Remember the old idea of the Eugenicists, that the world's genetic heritage was becoming degraded by the "mud races"? That idea gave the world Hitler and Jim Crowe, yet it was the self-same movement that trumpeted this idea. Why? This "emergency" gave those who advocated it greater leverage over people, who were willing to surrender some freedom to avert this "disaster". Hitler was able to use this panic to ensconce himself as dictator of what was the most advanced nation on Earth at that time. You see, it WORKS.

And environmentalism has served the Left quite well in the last generation. We accept things we would never have accepted previously; being ordered to use certain light bulbs, being forced to use certain types of fuel, being forced to pay more for energy all the time. Would that have happened in, say, 1875? A president who advocated for such policies would have been impeached and removed from office.

Now distorting truth and, well, lying have become acceptable in matters of SCIENCE to advance a leftist political agenda. The truth will out, the old saying goes, and it is starting to will out in the global warming issue, but not fast enough and not widely enough. We still see politicization of science at the service of collectivism and internationalism.

What we have to do is keep knocking down the straw men put up by the Hansens and Joneses of this world. O'Donnell et al has just knocked one whitened sepulchre over.

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