Saturday, September 21, 2013

Let's Roll.....



Birthdays take on a different character as we get older. We see them as a chance to reflect on where we are in life, and where we’re going in the future.

But imagine you were more than 200 years old, in a world filled with 20-somethings. You’d stand out in many ways, and deserve to be respected for your unique wisdom, perspective and experience. Well, that’s how unusual our Constitution is.

As we mark its 226th birthday on Sept. 17, its peers are getting younger all the time. Mila Versteeg from the University of Virginia has read every constitution enacted since World War II. That’s 729 constitutions for 188 countries. Many of those nations, obviously, have had more than one constitution in that time. In fact, the average constitution lasts less than 20 years.

So what has allowed our Constitution to endure for centuries while its counterparts elsewhere are continually replaced? Well, one key is that our Constitution is simple. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket. It’s written in clear language anyone can understand.

But it’s also limited, in that it doesn’t attempt to do too much. Most modern constitutions read as if they were laundry lists of “rights” the government will “give” to citizens. Over time, people come to expect the government to “give” them more things, so the constitution needs to be thoroughly reworked, if not scrapped altogether.

Our Constitution operates on a simpler plane. It creates a solid political framework and allows leaders and citizens to improvise within it.

It set up a federalist system of government, with powers carefully divided between the state and federal governments. Federalism protects local flexibility and autonomy, ensures that power is exercised at the closest and most accountable level possible, and creates competition by allowing states to take different approaches to policy problems. This “competitive federalism” expands citizens’ freedom and encourages states to make good laws.

One key to the system is that it recognizes that humans are not angels. Members of each branch will inevitably try to expand their power and influence, and members of the other two branches should then press back, leading to an ever-shifting balance of power that prevents any one branch from becoming too influential.

Unfortunately, lawmakers have become increasingly comfortable handing over their powers to unelected bureaucrats. Laws such as Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare are intentionally vague, leaving presidential appointees or career “civil servants” to fill in the blanks. This can lead to abuses, such as when parts of Dodd-Frank are self-funding (thus dodging congressional oversight) and when bureaucrats grant exemptions to ObamaCare’s regulations.

A solution would be for lawmakers to reassert their constitutional authority to make law. Congress should write clear and concise statutes, not vague, meandering bills. Every law should be as easy to read and understand as the Constitution itself.

Meanwhile, members of each branch should interpret the Constitution by attempting to discern the original meaning of the text as it was written and publicly understood at the time of ratification, a method commonly referred to as originalism. Through originalism, officials would have to become better acquainted with the actual text and structure of the Constitution, and draw attention to its true purposes and principles.

There’s been much discussion about “American Exceptionalism” lately. We’ve heard from the American president and the Russian one, and -- not surprisingly -- they disagree on the concept. But they’re missing a very simple point: America is exceptional because it was founded on a creed. We know that all men are created equal, and our Constitution attempts to protect that equality here at home.

Not perfectly, no. The fallible human beings entrusted to oversee its enforcement often make mistakes. But the document itself is the soundest constitution ever created.

And that’s why it will be around for an unprecedented 227th birthday next Sept. 17. And for many more to come.

Last week at this time I wrote the column below that covered unemployment claims which fell to the "lowest level since 2006" because two states, a large one and a small one, didn't process all their claims due to a glitch in upgrading their computer system.

And guess what?

This week they had the same glitch. It worked so well last time, I guess Obama asked the to do it again.

The likely culprits are Nevada and California judging by media reports of people upset because they didn't get unemployment checks.

For the record unemployment has risen in about a third of the states during this last period. And if you thought the economy was rosy, you missed the Federal Reserve announcement that active monetary stimulus measures are still in operation indefinitely.

Of course if you read the MSM, you'd know none of this, which is the point I make below:
Initial unemployment claims came out and, boy, there is great news.

Two states had upgrades to their computer systems and that likely caused them to under report claims, according to Bloomberg.

That means the media can report that “[j]obless claims in the U.S. declined last week to the lowest level since April 2006.”

(!)
“Jobless claims in the U.S.,” writes Bloomberg, “declined last week to the lowest level since April 2006 as work on computer systems in two states caused those employment agencies to report fewer applications.”

(!!)
Now if the Obama administration could just figure out how to get all fifty states to upgrade their computer systems EVERY month...then...
(*&^%$!)

I’m extremely grateful that Bloomberg choose this moment to tell us the truth that several states under reported claims.
Too bad they buried in the 7th paragraph:

No states estimated jobless claims last week, the Labor Department spokesman said as the report was released to the press. A larger state and a smaller one that retooled their computer networks still provided the Labor Department with applications counts, though those tallies were smaller than typical. He also said that the decrease in filings probably didn’t signal a change in labor-market conditions.
 
Also, it would have been nice had Bloomberg not lied about jobless claims declining “to the lowest level since April 2006.” While that may be true in the technical sense, it certainly not true in the personal sense.

You know? Like in the sense of real people not losing jobs? Because isn't this what it's all about?

No?

Bloomberg, in the same story, reported gravely that the “jobless rate dropped to 7.3 percent in August, the lowest since December 2008,” although they did acknowledge more people left the workforce only implying, not saying, that it resulted in a lower rate.

The big problem with stories like these, besides the big lies they tell, is it shows how institutionalized our country has become.

The institution of joblessness is the important thing, not what that institution means for real people who have real hardships.

Because these makeshifts, stratagems and dodges allow both Republicans and Democrats to ignore what’s really going on in the economy.

The headlines say that everything is going swimmingly for the liberals and their New Age economy. But the bottom line says their economy isn’t new and is actually quite aged.

Legendary investor Stanley Druckenmiller, for example, has almost no long positions in the US stock market. He’s waiting for the will-they-or-won’t-they tapering decision to happen. And then he’s waiting to figure out who the next Federal Reserve Chairman will be.

“How in the world does anyone think when the actual exit happens that prices are not going to respond?” Druckenmiller said on Bloomberg Television’s Market Makers. The sell-off in bonds and emerging markets in the past few months on the mere hint that the Fed might taper its purchases is proof enough that in the absence of fiscal policy, monetary policy is all we have.

Fiscal policy isn’t the only failure however that needs to be bolstered by the Federal Reserve.

He didn’t mention Syria that I heard, but like the rest of us he's probably waiting to see what happens with that and plus the debt ceiling and taxes and job creation and the Keystone pipeline and every other decision that politicians of been putting off for what seems like the last 1,000 years-- give or take a century.

Politicians have been playing the political and economic equivalent of Theodoric Medieval Barber for the last number of years, bleeding the economy, and employing leeches wherever necessary.

I realize that it’s not fair to compare leeches to lobbyists; so before I get any hate mail, I would like to apologize to all the leeches out there. You will not show up in a Sunday Comrade column no matter what you write.

The country would be well advised however to take to heart the real problems that are going on in the economy. And so would politicos.

It’s not just that broken computer systems help politicians make it appear like the recovery is a larger than it is.

It’s that the broken economy helps make the government loom larger than it should.

And broken political, cultural and press systems help each party to arrange applause in all the right spots.

For the very wrong reasons.

New evidence ties ousted Morsi government to al-Qaeda

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer


Days before the ousting of former Egyptian President Morsi, an Arabic-language report had said that, “al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Muhammad Zawahiri [brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri and a leader of al-Qaeda in Sinai], is currently planning reprisal operations by which to attack the army and the Morsi-opposition all around the Republic [of Egypt].”

That, of course, happened—and in a dramatic fashion, especially the attacks on the Christian Copts, who were scapegoated by the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda. Indeed, hours before Morsi was ousted, Muhammad Zawahiri had declared that al-Qaeda would wage a jihad to save Morsi and his Islamization agenda for Egypt, adding that:
[I]f matters reach a confrontation, then to be sure, that is in our favor—for we have nothing to lose. And at all times and places where chaos reigns, it’s often to the jihad’s advantage…. for we sold our souls to Allah”—a reference to Koranic verses like 9:111—“and welcome the opportunity to fight to the death.”
Now, a new report confirms that, back when Morsi was still president, Muhammad Zawahiri had been arrested and was being interrogated—only to be ordered released by a presidential order form Morsi. He then fled to the Sinai, where al-Qaeda is stationed, not to mention where Morsi had reportedly earlier summoned thousands of foreign jihadis to come to his aid whenever necessary
 All of which has come to pass, including the fact that many of those eventually arrested for committing acts of violence in Egypt were not even Egyptian, as was clearly demonstrated by their Arabic dialects.

Thus, once again, we see that the differences between the “largely secular" Muslim Brotherhood—in the words of the U.S. director of national intelligence—and “terroristic” al-Qaeda are actually “largely semantic.”


Is This Obama’s Dumbest Mistake Yet?
by / Personal Liberty Digest

Is This Obama’s Dumbest Mistake Yet?
UPI
For a while, it looked as though Barack Obama would suffer his most humiliating political defeat ever.
Congress was about to tell the President a loud and emphatic “No!” to his request for legislation authorizing a military strike against Syria, when suddenly who should come galloping to his rescue other than his longtime nemesis, Russian President Vladimir Putin?

What the heck is going on here?

The present charade began last Monday, when Secretary of State John Kerry made a supposedly off-hand remark at a press conference in London. When asked if anything could avert the United States from taking military action against Syria, Kerry said there was. All that was necessary was for Syrian President Bashar Assad to “turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community.”

But Kerry then said, “He isn’t about to do it.” And referring to the fact that it would be impossible to verify that all chemical weapons had been surrendered, even if Assad were to agree, Kerry added, “And it can’t be done.”

But it looks like we’re all going to pretend that it can be. The Russians promptly grabbed the Kerry fumble and scored a touchdown with it. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his country would be delighted to supervise the compliance by its longtime ally.

And Assad — who up until now had denied that his government even possessed chemical weapons, much less used them against any of its citizens — said he’d go along with the plan. Sure he will.

Prior to these latest developments, the White House had been lobbying Congress day and night to give the President permission to attack Syria. We’d do it all long-range, you understand, without a single American soldier ever stepping foot in the country. “No boots on the ground,” we were promised, just “unbelievably small” air strikes.

President Barack Obama said he really didn’t need Congress’s permission to launch the missiles, he just thought it would be a good idea to get the support of the people’s representatives. Not only would his people lobby hard on Capitol Hill, the President would take his message directly to the public.

The White House asked the major television networks to carry Obama’s remarks live on Tuesday night.

In a lifetime of watching Presidential addresses, I have never seen a bigger waste of time than Obama’s speech that night. The best thing about it was that it was short: only 16½ minutes long. But what was the point of it?

In her blog, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan called the speech a “time filler.” That it was. She wrote:
He should have canceled the speech. It was halfhearted, pro forma and strange. It added nothing, did not deepen or advance the story, was not equal to the atmosphere surrounding it, and gave no arguments John Kerry hasn’t made, often more forcefully, in the past 10 days.
True. The original purpose of the speech — to rally support for military strikes against Syria — was no longer valid. Instead, the President said he had asked Congress “to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force, while we pursue this diplomatic path.” He’s called for meetings of the U.N. Security Council in New York City. He’s sent Kerry to Geneva to meet with the Russian foreign minister. He himself will continue to talk with Putin. Meanwhile, he’ll keep all U.S. military forces in place, just in case.

In another post, Noonan wrote: “The president will keep the possibility of force on the table, but really he’s lunging for a lifeline he was lucky to be thrown.”

Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan said the same thing, but more colorfully: “Kerry fumbled the ball into the end zone and Obama fell on it, and now we’re not going to have a war.”

Don’t be so sure. Just after all the glad-handing and merrymaking, Putin dropped a major fly in the ointment, saying that Russia would pursue the deal only if the United States would promise that it would not take any military action against Syria. And he followed up that demand with the announcement that Russia was going to supply Iran, its other ally in the area, with sophisticated air defense missile systems. Not only that, but it would also build a second nuclear reactor in the country.

As if that weren’t insult enough, yesterday The New York Times published an op-ed piece allegedly written by the Russian president. In it, Putin lectures the United States about what could happen if Obama proceeds with his oft-threatened military strikes against Syria. And he actually claims: “We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law.” Sure thing, buddy.

The whole idea of “the international community” getting hold of Syria’s chemical weapons is absurd. There is no way to rid Syria of chemical weapons in a few weeks, even if Assad were to agree.

Remember what happened in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was ousted? It took authorities more than two years to complete their search of the country. And that was after “peace” had allegedly been restored. Syria is in the middle of an incredibly savage civil war.

The rebels are just as barbaric and bloodthirsty as the government’s troops. Many of them are fanatical jihadists with links to al-Qaida. And these are the people we want to see overthrow Assad?

Yes, the price being paid in Syria is dreadful. More than 100,000 people have been killed. Several million people have fled the country; more people are trying to do so every day. But for now, the United States will stand down. And the grand charade will continue — at least for a while.

By the way, the next time Obama wants to address the Nation, I hope he’ll do it from the Oval Office.

That location conveys a certain majesty and gravitas, which should be appropriate for a Presidential address.

By comparison, the long, empty corridor behind the President on Tuesday night seemed bleak and insignificant. At least this time the location matched the content.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

Obama to Boehner: No Deal on Debt Limit, Defunding Obamacare

By Todd Beamon / Newsmax


President Barack Obama called House Speaker John Boehner late Friday and reiterated that he would not negotiate with Congress on raising the debt limit, a Boehner representative told Newsmax.

"The president called the speaker this evening to tell him he wouldn't negotiate with him on the debt limit," the spokesman said in a statement. "Given the long history of using debt limit increases to achieve bipartisan deficit reduction and economic reforms, the speaker was disappointed, but told the president that the two chambers of Congress will chart the path ahead.

"It was a brief call," the Boehner spokesman said.

The president also called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the White House said.

"The president telephoned Speaker Boehner and told him again that the full faith and credit of the United States should not and will not be subject to negotiation," an administration official told Politico in a statement. "The president reiterated that it is the constitutional responsibility of the U.S. Congress to pass the nation's budget and pay the nation’s bills."

Obama's calls came as the House of Representatives voted to temporarily finance the federal government while defunding Obamacare. The 230-189 vote set up a showdown with the Senate and the White House.

House Republicans said on Wednesday they were preparing legislation to raise the government's $16.7 trillion debt limit.

Leaders have said that they were considering including such options as blocking Obama administration plans to curb coal ash pollution; forcing civil servants to contribute more to their retirement plans; requiring Congress to approve many major regulations; and defunding Obamacare for a year.

Obama has said he wants Congress to send him legislation that simply extends the debt limit and has said that he will not negotiate the matter.

The government is expected to exhaust its borrowing authority by late October. That would threaten a first-ever federal default, which many analysts believe would deal a severe blow to the economy.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders have said they do not want a federal default and have noted that past presidents, including Obama in 2011, have negotiated over earlier bills to extend the debt limit.

In a video released on Thursday, Boehner questioned Obama's willingness to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the chemical weapons issue in Syria but not with Republicans.

"Why is the Obama administration willing to negotiate with Putin on Syria ... But not with Congress to address Washington's spending problem?" the text from the ad asks.

The United States and Russia reached a deal last week in which Syrian President Bashar Assad would give up his nuclear arsenal to be destroyed via international standards. The threat of a U.S. military strike against Syria was staved off by the agreement.

Republicans ‘trying to mess with me,’ Obama tells crowd at Missouri auto plant


By

 

Video: Speaking at a Ford Motor Co. plant on Friday, President Obama accused Republicans of "trying to mess with me" instead of governing responsibly.http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republicans-trying-to-mess-with-me-obama-tells-crowd-at-missouri-auto-plant/2013/09/20/bec53dce-2218-11e3-a358-1144dee636dd_story.html


LIBERTY, Mo. — With Washington facing a potential government shutdown, President Obama traveled to the heartland Friday and delivered a combative rebuke of congressional Republicans for “trying to mess with me” instead of governing responsibly.

Obama railed at length against Republican lawmakers, whom he accused of “holding the economy hostage” by threatening not to fund the government and not to raise the government’s debt limit.

House Speaker John Boehner called the passage of a Republican spending plan “a victory today for the American people.”

“Unfortunately right now, the debate going on in Congress is not meeting the test of helping middle class families,” Obama said. “They’re not focused on you. They’re focused on politics. They’re focused on trying to mess with me. They’re not focused on you.”

Obama’s rousing speech at a growing Ford manufacturing plant here on the outskirts of Kansas City amounted to an opening salvo against House Republicans heading into another intense skirmish over federal spending.

Obama spoke a couple of hours after the House passed a short-term budget bill that would pay for government operations through mid-December but withhold funding for Obama’s signature health-care law.

Obama at times sought to belittle GOP lawmakers. “The most basic constitutional duty Congress has is to pass a budget,” said the president, a former constitutional law lecturer. “That’s Congress 101.”

Obama also addressed Republicans’ threats not to raise the government’s borrowing limit later this year, noting that every president over the past half century, Republican and Democratic, has done so as a matter of course. Threatening not to raise the limit, he said, is “the height of irresponsibility.”

“This is not some abstract thing,” Obama said, adding that not raising the debt limit would be “profoundly destructive” and send the country into “an economic tailspin.”

Obama used the phrase “deadbeat nation” at least three times. “We are not a deadbeat nation,” he said in one instance. “We don’t run out on our tab. We’re the world’s bedrock investment. The entire world looks to us to make sure the world economy is stable.”

At one point, sounding exasperated, Obama said of Congress: “Just do your job.”

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), who represents Kansas City and skipped Friday morning’s vote to fly here with Obama, said he and the president spoke about the budget battle aboard Air Force One.

Cleaver declined to reveal what Obama told him, but said of his own view, “I think it’s just another point of embarrassment in a long line of them. This time, however, the embarrassment might lead to a reentry into a recession.”

Obama’s visit to the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant, which makes parts for the popular F-150 truck, had the feel of a campaign rally, complete with Bruce Springsteen playing as Obama shook hands at the rope line. The president appeared at ease, wearing no suit jacket and rolling up the sleeves of his blue dress shirt. He made multiple shout-outs to the Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL team that’s 3-0 after a win Thursday night.

Obama noted that back home in Chicago, he owns a 2008 Ford Escape, a model once built in Liberty, although the assembly line was moved to Louisville, Ky.

“I may roll in a Cadillac now,” Obama quipped, “but I don’t own it. I rent it, just like my house. The lease runs out in three and a half years.”

Obama’s visit was orchestrated to showcase the rebounding U.S. automobile manufacturing industry.

Although Obama drew criticism for his 2009 bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, both companies — as well as Ford, which received no bailout funds — are now profitable.

“We bet on the American worker – we bet on you – and today that bet has paid off,” Obama said as he addressed roughly 1,000 Ford employees and other guests. “America’s auto industry has come roaring back.”

Obama toured the cavernous facility, where huge machines were humming, pressing sheets of metal into hoods and doors for F-150 trucks. The plant is growing significantly, from 2,500 workers in May to an expected 4,500 next year, according to statistics provided by the White House.

Op-ed:
The voice of ‘We the People’ was heard in the House
By: Diane Sori

A temporary victory for the American people…but a victory nevertheless…as yesterday House Republicans approved…in a 230-189 bipartisan vote…a short-term government spending plan that included the elimination of all funding for the unmitigated monstrosity known as ObamaCare... Obama’s signature legislation of his first term. And they did so at the same time their plan kept the government up and running through mid-December, including approving across-the-board spending cuts of $986.3 billion, and including a provision for when the debt ceiling vote comes up that directs the Treasury on how to prioritize payments if the debt ceiling is breached.

And now the real fight begins as we’ll see if the Senate listens to the will of 'We the People'…or if ‘Prince Harry’ even allows this to the Senate floor.

While the bill as passed is in actuality a stop-gap measure at best, this bipartisan 'Continuing Resolution' did something that was NOT done when ObamaCare was passed…it had a number of Democrats who finally stop drinking the Obama kool-ade long enough to see that ObamaCare is a disaster and is NOT wanted by the majority of the American people…NOT wanted at all.

“The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want ObamaCare,” Majority Leader John Boehner said to applause and cheers... something he has NOT heard in a long time. “The House has listened to the American people. Now it’s time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well.”

And to counter Boehner’s words, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi…the ‘Wicked Botoxed Witch of La-lafornia’ (meow)…said the House bill was “without a doubt, a measure designed to shut down the government.” Adding, “It is a wolf in wolf’s clothing…either you don’t know what you are doing, or this is one of the most intentional acts of brutality that you have cooked up,” Pelosi croaked about Boehner and the House plan.

But NO matter what Pelosi croaks, bipartisan support…NO matter how small in numbers…for defunding ObamaCare is amazing for the fact is that in 2010 when ObamaCare was sneakily passed in a hastily arranged middle of the night vote, it was done so in a strict undeviating party line vote. And now even Obama has to admit...but we know he won’t…that ObamaCare is indeed fundamentally flawed for the requirement that businesses provide basic health insurance for their employees has been delayed for a year…and that would NEVER have happened if all was running smoothly.

And while the Senate is in recess and not expected to vote on this 'Continuing Resolution' until next week, we all know that the resolution as approved by the House has NO chance of passing the Democratic controlled Senate for now Harry Reid…being as expected ‘Prince Harry'…says that when the bill reaches the Senate floor he will use a procedural tactic that allows for a simple majority vote that would strip out the ObamaCare defunding language once the debate on the House bill is finished, and then send it back to the House in a form that just extends current spending…something he knows the House will NOT pass.

And so the battle will begin…yet again…for the House bill will be vetoed by Obama if it’s sent to him in the form they passed…and will fail in the House in the Senate form.

Thankfully, Senator Ted Cruz and other leading Republican Senators like Marco Rubio and Mike Lee say they’re willing to do ‘everything necessary and anything possible’…including filibustering…to block voting on the spending measure alone as a way to end funding for ObamaCare.

And if Obama and Congress can't agree on stop-gap funding, most, though not all, government operations would come to a halt in less than two weeks. But a shutdown of the government is really NOT something to fear or even really be concerned about…incendiary rhetoric by the Democrats aside…for all it means is that while essential government programs like air traffic control, Social Security, Medicare, and mail delivery would continue as is, national parks and museums would be closed, and federal agency operations would slow down or stop. The White House and Congress would continue to operate as well…and that is something I surely wish would shut down…and I mean that in all seriousness…for this Congress is made up for the most part of gutless cowards who are afraid to do the 'people’s business’ for fear of the race card being used against them if they dare step out of line and step on Obama’s toes.

And don’t even get me started on what a great service in would be for the country if this White House could be shutdown…for we know that will NEVER happen for ‘President Narcissist’ would NEVER allow his bully pulpit to be silenced.

So while Republicans are NOT outwardly seeking a government shutdown… although with the Obama government that would be a good thing…just the threat of it possibly happening can be used as leverage against the liberal Democrats NOT only to defund ObamaCare…or at least to delay its the implementation for one year (while other avenues of defunding it are given time to be explored) in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, but raising it to numbers that the Republicans would set and control.

So bring it on ‘Prince Harry’ as ‘We the People’ having spoken via the House…let’s see you stop the will of the people in the Senate and come 2014 watch your party fall…and all the King’s horses and all the King’s men won’t be able to put ObamaCare back together again.