Health Law Disproves Obama’s Rejection of “The Voices”

In May of this year at a commencement address, the president did his best to cast dispersions on his critics who say that government is too big and that tyranny lurks around the corner. The “voices” of criticism need to be rejected. Rejected because they have no validity. “Voices” warning of tyranny need to be rejected. Rejected because there is no truth to them of course. The “voices” aren’t even deserving of names–despite the fact that millions of people believe what the “voices” warn against. Because to give the “voices” an identity humanizes them and gives some sense of legitimacy to their concerns and their cause.


The Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) provides a confirmation of what the “voices” warn against: that tyranny may indeed be around the corner. That perhaps the “voices” should not be rejected but should be heeded

Tyranny is the exercise of power by a king, despot, or government that is either cruel, arbitrary, or both.  During the Affordable Care Act legislative debates in 2009, an amendment was added to the bill that requires members of Congress and their staff to purchase health insurance plans from the exchanges.

Various news reports confirmed that over the summer, the president personally involved himself in how the law should be applied to Congress. The decision he made, via the Office of Personnel Management, was that taxpayers would pay a subsidy for senators, congressman, and their staff members.

The president has been stating since the beginning of the healthcare debate and continues to say that his signature law lowered insurance premiums for people who will buy insurance on the healthcare exchanges. So if the president and many who support the healthcare law truly believe that the rates are on their way down (by as much as 3000% the president exclaimed in one speech), then why was it so important for taxpayers to provide a subsidy to elected officials? [Of course the premiums are not going down. The promised savings are turning out to actually be an increased cost.]

Why does Congress deserve special treatment? So much so that the president made the law say what he wanted it to say with regard to subsidies for Congress. If they really wanted to raid the public treasury to pay for their healthcare costs, all they need do is pass a law to that effect. The president meanwhile exercised power he doesn’t have, to alter a law he didn’t like. It wasn’t the only aspect of the law he took it upon himself to enact–he also granted a one year delay for large businesses to comply.

Republicans recently made the argument that this exemption should also be extended to small businesses and to individuals, and be enacted as a law instead of relying on a presidential whim. But the president and his party did not want to negotiate that point.

So in effect we have the president, arbitrarily altering provisions of his own law when politically advantageous to him and offering unequal treatment to different classes of citizens. And we have Congress not living under the laws that it passes. Where are the subsidies (again, written into the law by the president and his administration–not authorized by Congress) for people who share similar income levels as Congress and their staff? Why are elected officials deserving of subsidies when the people who actually pay taxes are not?

All of which leads us to what James Madison wrote in Federalist 57:

I will add…in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny. If it be asked, what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America — a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.

If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate any thing but liberty.

In the health care law, we have a law the congress did not have the constitutional authority to enact, a law the president had no authority to sign, and a law the supreme court had no authority to uphold as a tax.

It is up to the people to vote out those political actors who promote themselves above the constitution and the rule of law. It is up to us to insist that politicians and people in government live by the same laws that they require the rest of us to live by.

Voters must consider whether to elect politicians who will repeal the Affordable Care Act or not. But regardless of that decision, the only acceptable outcome is for Obamacare to be applied to all three branches of government. The president, all members of congress, the justices of the supreme court and their families should all get the same opportunity as the rest of us to log into the non-functioning healthcare.gov website and begin the tedious process of selecting an insurance provider or preparing to be guilty of not complying with the law and paying a fine. Without raiding taxpayer’s wallets for subsidies for themselves.

Political Coercion in the Windy City

Several sources are reporting that Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel penned a letter to the CEOs of Bank of America and TD Bank. The letter encourages the banks to stop providing banking services to gun manufacturers unless they begin supporting government gun control measures.

Where do we begin?

First, guns are constitutionally protected. So for an elected official, a mayor of one of America’s major cities, to be engaging in this behavior goes beyond the pale. A reasonable question is why would Emanuel want the banks to stop providing services only if manufacturers refuse to support government gun control proposals? Why not just encourage the banks to shut off services to gun manufacturers until they stop production and sale of weapons to any entity other than government agencies?

We’ll tell you why. Because the mayor knows that what he’s doing is wrong. Guns are legal to manufacture and sell to individuals, and the process already requires a background check to search for previous violent criminal behavior that would disqualify a person from owning a gun. But he knows that as a constitutionally protected right, he can’t stop the manufacture and sale of weapons to individuals. At least, not without getting individuals to willingly give up their rights. Rather than expend political capital on seeking a gun ban, Emanuel employs a Machiavellian strategy of trying to get the banks to willingly apply pressure to coerce gun manufacturers to stop selling their products (legally!) to civilians.

Why Emanuel? Why Chicago’s mayor? As it turns out, Illinois (not Chicago) has four gun manufacturers based within the state borders: ArmaLite, Lewis Machine and Tool of Milan, Rock River Arms of Colona, and Springfield Armory of Geneseo.

We assume Emanuel, like most other politicians, has an agenda of securing a political future rather than actually fixing problems. Let’s assume the banks give in and gun manufacturers are brought to their knees and agree to stop selling their products to civilians. This would play well in a variety of political theaters: an Illinois governorship, a senatorial campaign, perhaps even a White House run in 2016 (note other politicians with presidential aspirations include the governors of Maryland and New York, both of whom recently launched anti-gun rhetoric at a screech-level decibel).

But voluntarily giving the government what it wants is far easier than passing a law, or, worse yet, the government taking what it wants by force.

Assuming Emanuel were successful in his bid to politically terrorize gun manufacturers, and assuming other banks didn’t fill the void (perhaps not wanting to become political targets themselves), it would be easier to achieve a goal of making weapons unavailable to the public.

It would also be easier if gun manufacturers willingly adopted “gun control” by not making their products available to non-government customers.

And it would be far easier to get people to accept government “gun control” on their own and voluntarily turn in their weapons rather than deal with such pesky things as constitutional rights and trying to amend the Constitution.

We hope Bank of America and TD Bank’s answer is a resounding, “NO!” Attempting to coerce private banks to kiss the mayor’s ring and implement “gun control” via back door and under-the-table tactics is disgraceful. Chicago’s mayor has disgraced himself and the city he represents. But he’ll likely not be held accountable for such behavior.

We hope gun manufacturers understand the role they play in the private lives of citizens. They provide a tool that is used in sports, hunting, and most importantly, self-defense. It is legal. It is constitutionally protected. And if the mayor should come calling hoping that they will willingly stop selling a legal product to a law-abiding public, we hope that answer is also a resounding, “NO!”

And lastly, if the mayor should come to law-abiding citizens, asking them to turn in their lawfully purchased and owned weapons, we hope the answer they give is a clear and resounding, “NO!”

It’s far easier for the government to take away its citizens’ freedoms with a willing and cooperative public. But the time has come when We the People must put our foot down and say, “NO!”

No, you can’t take away our freedom and our rights.

No, you can’t coerce us to give them up willingly.

No, you cannot come to the back door attempting to sell what you would dare not sell at the front door.

President Sees Perk in Having “Men With Guns” Protect His Daughters

In a TV interview with Barbara Walters, President Obama joked that one of the incentives for running for president again was that there would be men with guns around his daughters at all times.

Now we will note that apparently the interview was taped on December 14–prior to the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. However, we find it unacceptable that Obama believes it is ok for his daughters to be protected by men with guns…but not anyone else’s.

Guns are a tool. And it is every law abiding American’s right to own one in order to protect themselves if they want to. This is a classic definition of a right. Nobody is required to own a gun. Nobody is required to provide a gun to anyone else. But it is the government’s duty, it is Obama’s duty, to defend an individual’s freedom to own a weapon, not destroy it.

In the United States all citizens have equal rights and are entitled to equal protection under the country’s laws. Not equal outcomes, not equal incomes, not equal consumption levels. If guns are acceptable to protect the president and his daughters, then they’re also acceptable for individual citizens to own and use to protect themselves.

Menacing Trash Can Savagely Attacks Woman!

It was a cool December evening when Patrick Moran, son of Congressman Jim Moran, was out with his girlfriend enjoying the District of Columbia nightlife.  (This is the same Patrick Moran who was fired from his father’s campaign staff after being caught on tape dispensing advice on how to forge documents in order to commit voter fraud.)  Not long after midnight, Patrick’s girlfriend was savagely attacked by one of the District’s local trash cans. The attack, witnessed by DC police, left Moran’s girlfriend with a fractured skull and a broken nose.

This is the account it seems the Congressman’s press secretary, Anne Hughes, would have you believe. The Washington City Paper reports that Moran’s girlfriend stated one the heels on her shoes broke, causing her to fall into the trash can and cause her injuries. Hughes sent an email statement to the Washington City Paper stating, “The situation was an accident” and that “Patrick didn’t hit or shove her.”

But the best statement had to be when Hughes went on to say “They were the only two people who witnessed the scene…in that sense, their statements are the only ones that matter.”  Now that is an interesting statement. Especially given the report filed by police, which states a DC Police Sergeant and a District Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Investigator “observed a white male, later found to be known as…Moran, grab a white female by the back of her head with his hand and slam her head into the metal trash can cage in front of [a] nightclub.”

We’re astounded at the efficiency of the DC justice system in this case. A mere 12 days after his arrest, Moran was given his day in court.  Even with his girlfriend releasing a statement blaming the entire affair on a faulty shoe, Moran decided to a plea bargain to avoid prosecution for felony assault to plead guilty to simple assault with a penalty of probation. If only such a fast track were available to all persons awaiting trial and justice in the DC courts system! We’re naturally skeptical that having a Congressman for a daddy wasn’t a motivating factor in achieving such a swift resolution.

We’re even more skeptical of the “shoe excuse” parroted by the Congressman’s press secretary. It seems too conveniently similar to other nonsense excuses offered by abusers to cover up domestic violence such as “falling down the stairs,” “hit by a screen door,” and “falling in the shower.”

But if Moran wasn’t the cause of his girlfriend’s injuries, maybe the DC police need to ask some pointed questions of the trash can. We looked into this particular trash can’s past and found a history of shady dealings and run-ins with the law, ranging from assault, larceny, and even voter fraud. These facts cannot be ignored and require prompt action to remove this menace from the streets of the District.

DC Menace Pictured with Adoring Fan

 

With stolen property

 

After arrest, with hand ties

Caught Engaging in Voter Fraud

In seriousness, domestic violence and domestic abuse aren’t funny. We use the hyperbole above to illustrate how unacceptable it is for a US Congressman to use (or allow) his influence to engage in a miscarriage of justice. We also find it to be a curious lack of consistency for women’s rights groups to choose to remain silent on this issue.

Freedom in a free society requires that our representatives be stewards of a public trust. They and their families are not above the laws that they pass down to “the small folk,” and while they are only human and not infallible, they ought to be subject to the same penalties for engaging in bad behavior as everybody else in the Republic.

Photo Credits: Daquella manera

Murals in Schools and Election Polls

We’re not going to get into US Election Day analysis, that’s been done ad-nauseum since last week. But one story that’s been sticking out in our minds are the reports from multiple sources about campaign materials and images being posted in polling locations where voters cast their ballots on Election Day.

Perhaps the most widely cited example is this image  from Philadelphia’s Ward 35, Franklin Elementary School. But other examples have surfaced in Washington, DC and Florida as well.

Pennsylvania election law states “no person within a polling place may electioneer or solicit votes for any political party, political body, or candidate, nor may any unauthorized written or  printed materials be posted within the polling place.” Fairly simple and straightforward–even for government legalspeak. A candidate’s campaign materials should not be posted inside a polling place.

The Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania brought a complaint to a local judge, Pamela Pryor Dembe. As the rhetoric began to escalate, she is reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer as stating, “I find it ludicrous to think that somebody’s vote is going to be changed by a mural on the wall. So curb your enthusiasm, if you will.” The Inquirer report also quotes some local officials as saying the concern is “much ado about nothing.”

From the judge to the city’s legal counsel, there is a failure to understand the issue at hand. Luckily, we are here to help with that.

The United States is a Republic with strong democratic traditions. One feature of a Republic is respecting the rights of the minority. Otherwise the 50% + 1 can run roughshod over the 50% – 1 and eliminate their freedoms. A popular illustration of this idea is the iconic “democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner” anecdote. Protecting the rights and freedom of those not in power is a principle well showcased in the Constitution.  Curbs on power were designed to ensure a basic level of rights that may not be changed without supermajorities agreeing to the proposed changes.

To the people who do not support the president, seeing this wall mural in a government building is not acceptable. The school–which is supposed to be nonpartisan–also serving as a place where people cast their ballots (also supposed to be nonpartisan) should not be engaged in partisan activities. We could see a wall mural with President Obama to be legitimate if it were part of a mural including all presidents, or we could find it acceptable if the president is no longer serving in office. But posting the image on the wall of a school for someone still in office–who is running for reelection and where ballots are cast–is too close to an active endorsement of that person’s policies for our comfort.

This begs 3 very big questions:

1. Why did it take a complaint from local GOP party officials and a court order to fully cover the mural?

2. Once the court order was issued, why was it acceptable to half-heartedly cover it with ballot instructions–leaving the campaign logo visible–as the image to the right shows? This was in violation of the court order to fully cover the mural.

3. Why is campaign paraphernalia in a school, which many–but sadly not all–agree should be an apolitical place of learning?

We think that to ensure freedom, it is inappropriate to post such murals in both schools and in polling places. Because a school, in many cases, is a government institution, a presidential portrait would seem appropriate, but the presence of a stylized wall mural, to include the campaign logo is offensive to our sense of fair play.

It also speaks to an idea of “the cult of the presidency”, or this idea that the president can accomplish anything he or she has a mind to do and out to get anything they want…because they’re the president. This is similar to the stylized murals we find of dictators in other countries (examples below) and is not an idea we believe should flourish in a free society. More on this in a later post.

And least anyone accuse us of being one-sided, we did look for examples of Romney images in GOP-friendly polling places. But our research was not able to find any examples of Mitt Romney campaign materials inside of polling places–let alone schools. If you have evidence, please let us know and we will include it with this post.

Obama DC School Mural:

 

 

 

 

 

Obama Banner in Florida Polling Place:

 

 

 

 

 

Murals of foreign dictators

Government Corruption File #1 : The WARN Act

Here we have a prime example of the federal government ignoring its own rules when politically convenient for a government incumbent running for re-election.

A few facts:

1. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act was passed in 1988 by a Democratic-controlled Congress. President Reagan did not sign the bill, but it became law because it was passed by a veto-proof majority of Congress (during an election year of course!).

2. The Congress passed, and President Obama signed a law stating that if debt commission recommendations did not receive a vote in Congress, there would be drastic cuts to government spending that would take effect January 1, 2013. In federal budget speak, this is known as sequestration.

3. The WARN Act covers employers having 100 or more employees.  Employers must give at least 60 days advance notice or they may face lawsuits from employees for back pay.

4. January 1, 2013 – 60 days = November 2, 2012.

5. November 2, 2012 is 4 days before Election Day (Nov 6).

6. Contractors providing goods or services to the government would potentially be required to mail out thousands of layoff warning notices to employees, particularly in the battleground state of Virginia, which has many federal contractors. Does anyone see a problem?

7. The Administration, via the Department of Labor, issued letters to federal contractors in July encouraging federal contractors not to comply with the law.  They wrote in typical government-speak: “it is neither necessary nor appropriate for Federal contractors to provide WARN Act notice to employees 60 days in advance of the potential sequestration because of uncertainty about whether sequestration will occur…”

Translation: Despite the fact that the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate have no plan to reverse the pending budget cuts, you, Business Owner, should not comply with the law.

8. Fearing lawsuits, federal contractors announced that they would continue with plans to send out the WARN Act notices.

9. In September, the government again encouraged businesses not to comply with the law and not to send out the WARN Act notices.This time the notice came from higher up in the Administration’s food chain: The Executive Office of the President/Office of Management and Budget.

In a memo dated September 28, the Administration promises federal contractors that they may be reimbursed the cost of any potential lawsuits but only if they followed the Department of Labor guidance. So there you have it. The Administration–standing for re-election–is promising YOUR tax dollars to companies in exchange for not complying with federal law so that the President’s campaign can score political points (or avoid the consequences of its own decisions).

Of course government’s solution would be to pass a new law (after the election of course) with even stiffer penalties for greedy businesses who “don’t follow the rules.”  Never mind that the government takes no responsibility for its own actions.

This is the kind of corrupt government meddling with the private economy that leads to losses of freedom for everyone. The government instructs businesses to ignore a law so that the consequences of that law are avoided at a politically convenient moment. This is why crony capitalism has earned the name “crapitalism”. It stinks!