Constituion 101 (10)

Lesson 10: “The Recovery of the Constitution”

Study Guide


Statesmanship, for Franklin D. Roosevelt, entailed the “redefinition” of “rights in terms of a changing and growing social order.” Fulfilling the promise of Progressivism, President Roosevelt’s New Deal gave rise to unlimited government. In contrast to Franklin D. Roosevelt and his ideological successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan sought the restoration of limited government. Today, our choice is clear: Will we live by the principles of the American Founding, or by the values of the Progressives?

Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his campaign for the presidency in 1932 by emphasizing the Progressive understanding of history and by calling for the “redefinition” of the old idea of rights. His “New Deal,” a series of economic programs ostensibly aimed at extricating America from the Great Depression, vastly enlarged the size and scope of the federal government. Unelected bureaucratic agencies—“the administrative state”—became a fact of American life.

Roosevelt’s call for a “Second Bill of Rights” sought to add “security” to the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Describing the “old rights” of life and liberty as “inadequate” without underlying economic security, Roosevelt called for new economic rights for all, including the right to a job, a home, a fair wage, education, and medical care. With these rights guaranteed, Roosevelt argued, real political equality finally could be achieved.

Following President Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy’s “New Frontier” and Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” continued the transformation of the relationship between the American people and their government. President Johnson redefined the government’s role by redefining equality itself: equality must be a “result” rather than a “right.” Expanded federal control over education, transportation, welfare, and medical care soon followed.

Announcing that “with the present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” Ronald Reagan appealed to the principles of the American Founding in seeking to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. Maintaining that Progressivism and the consent of the governed are incompatible, Reagan called for a return to individual self-rule and national self-government.

Medicare DisAdvandage

An $8 billion trick?


Call it President Obama’s Committee for the Re-Election of the President — a political slush fund at the Health and Human Services Department.

Only this isn’t some little fund from shadowy private sources; this is taxpayer money, redirected to help Obama win another term. A massive amount of it, too — $8.3 billion. Yes, that’s billion, with a B.

Here is how it works.

The most oppressive aspects of the ObamaCare law don’t kick in until after the 2012 election, when the president will no longer be answerable to voters. More “flexibility,” he recently explained to the Russians.

But certain voters would surely notice one highly painful part of the law before then — namely, the way it guts the popular Medicare Advantage program.

For years, 12 million seniors have relied on these policies, a more market-oriented alternative to traditional Medicare, without the aggravating gaps in coverage.

But as part of its hundreds of billions in Medicare cuts, the Obama one-size-fits-all plan slashes reimbursement rates for Medicare Advantage starting next year — herding many seniors back into the government-run program.

Under federal “open-enrollment” guidelines, seniors must pick their Medicare coverage program for next year by the end of this year — which means they should be finding out before Election Day.

Nothing is more politically volatile than monkeying with the health insurance of seniors, who aren’t too keen on confusing upheavals in their health care and are the most diligent voters in the land. This could make the Tea Party look like a tea party.

Making matters even more politically dangerous for Obama is that open enrollment begins Oct. 15, less than three weeks before voters go to the polls.

It’s hard to imagine a bigger electoral disaster for a president than seniors in crucial states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio discovering that he’s taken away their beloved Medicare Advantage just weeks before an election.

This political ticking time bomb could become the biggest “October Surprise” in US political history.

But the administration’s devised a way to postpone the pain one more year, getting Obama past his last election; it plans to spend $8 billion to temporarily restore Medicare Advantage funds so that seniors in key markets don’t lose their trusted insurance program in the middle of Obama’s re-election bid.

The money is to come from funds that Health and Human Services is allowed to use for “demonstration projects.” But to make it legal, HHS has to pretend that it’s doing an “experiment” to study the effect of this money on the insurance market.

That is, to “study” what happens when the government doesn’t change anything but merely continues a program that’s been going on for years.

Obama can temporarily prop up Medicare Advantage long enough to get re-elected by exploiting an obscure bit of federal law. Under a 1967 statute, the HHS secretary can spend money without specific approval by Congress on “experiments” directly aimed at “increasing the efficiency and economy of health services.”

Past demonstration projects have studied new medical techniques or strategies aimed at improving care or reducing costs. The point is to find ways to lower the costs of Medicare by allowing medical technocrats to make efficient decisions without interference from vested interests.

Now Obama means to turn it on its head — diverting the money to a blatantly nonexperimental purpose to serve his political needs.

A Government Accounting Office report released this morning shows, quite starkly, that there simply is no experiment being conducted, just money being spent. Understandably, the GAO recommends that HHS cancel the project.

Congress should immediately launch an investigation into this unprecedented misuse of taxpayer money and violation of the public trust, which certainly presses the boundaries of legality and very well may breach them.

If he’s not stopped, Obama will spend $8 billion in taxpayer funds for a scheme to mask the debilitating effects on seniors of his signature piece of legislation just long enough to get himself re-elected.

Now that is some serious audacity.

Benjamin E. Sasse, a former US assistant secretary of health, is president of Midland University. Charles Hurt covers politics in DC.

Liberal Nostalgiacs

Liberal Nostalgiacs Don’t Understand Jobs of the Future

By Michael Barone


I don’t know how many times I’ve seen liberal commentators look back with nostalgia to the days when a young man fresh out of high school or military service could get a well-paying job on an assembly line at a unionized auto factory that could carry him through to a comfortable retirement.

As it happens, I grew up in Detroit and for a time lived next door to factory workers. And I know something that has eluded the liberal nostalgiacs, which is that people hated those jobs.

The assembly-line work was boring and repetitive. That’s because management imbibed Frederick W. Taylor’s theories that workers were stupid and could not be trusted with any initiative.

It was also because the thousands of pages of work rules in United Auto Workers contract, which forbade assembly-line speedups, also barred any initiative or flexible response.

That’s why the UAW in 1970 staged a long strike against General Motors to give workers the option of early retirement, 30-and-out. All those guys who had gotten assembly line jobs at 18 or 21 could quit at 48 or 51.

The only problem was that when they retired they lost their health insurance. So the UAW got the Detroit Three auto companies to pay for generous retiree health benefits that covered elective medical and dental procedures with little or no co-payments.

It was those retiree health benefits more than anything else that eventually drove General Motors and Chrysler into bankruptcy and into ownership by the government and the UAW.

The liberal nostalgiacs would like to see an economy that gives low-skill high school graduates similar opportunities. That’s what Barack Obama seems to be envisioning when he talks about hundreds of thousands of “green jobs.”

But those “green jobs” have not come into existence despite massive government subsidies and crony capitalism. It’s become apparent that the old Detroit model was unsustainable and cannot be revived even by the most gifted community organizer and adjunct law professor.

For one thing, in a rapidly changing and technologically advanced economy, the lifetime job seems to be a thing of the past. Particularly “lifetime” jobs where you work only 30 years and then get supported for the next 30 or so years of your life.

Today’s young people can’t expect to join large organizations and in effect ride escalators for the rest of their careers. The new companies emerging as winners in high tech — think Apple or Google — just don’t employ that many people, at least in the United States.

Similarly, today’s manufacturing firms produce about as large a share of the gross national product as they used to with a much smaller percentage of the labor force.

Moreover, there’s evidence that recent growth in some of the professions — the law, higher education — has been a bubble, and is about to burst.

The bad news for the millennial generation that is entering its work years is that the economy of the future won’t look like the economy we’ve grown accustomed to. The “hope and change” that Barack Obama promised hasn’t produced much more than college loans that will be hard to pay off and a health care law that lets them stay on Mommy and Daddy’s health insurance till they’re 26.

The good news is that information technology provides the iPod/Facebook generation with the means to find work and create careers that build on their own personal talents and interests.

As Walter Russell Mead writes in his brilliant, blog, “The career paths that (young people) have been trained for are narrowing, and they are going to have to launch out in directions they and their teachers didn’t expect. They were bred and groomed to live as house pets; they are going to have to learn to thrive in the wild.”

But, as Mead continues, “The future is filled with enterprises not yet born, jobs that don’t yet exist, wealth that hasn’t been created, wonderful products and life-altering service not yet given form.”

As Jim Manzi argues in his new book “Uncontrolled,” we can’t predict what this new work world will look like. It will be invented through trial and error.

What we can be sure of is that creating your own career will produce a stronger sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Young people who do so won’t hate their work the way those autoworkers hated those assembly line jobs.

This SUV is not for Everyone

You might not think that there would be much overlap between Lamborghini lovers and SUV drivers.

After all, the flashy sports cars are usually driven by stars and musicians, while rugged off-road vehicles are more the preserve of farmers and outdoorsmen – or, in recent years, suburban soccer moms.

But the two worlds are about to collide, as the luxury Italian firm launches its own four-by-four, for the lumberjack who wants to look smart as he traverses the forest.

The Lamborghini Urus was unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show this week, and it could be coming to a road – or dirt track – near you before too long. Although Lamborghini has not yet revealed the price,  it is expected to hit the market in 2015.

It arguably looks more like a sports car than like the average SUV, with its aerodynamic shape, sleek design and glossy finish. This “crossover” has huge 24-inch wheels and a 600 horsepower engine. Like most of Lamborghini’s cars, the Urus has full-time all-wheel-drive with a focus on on-road performance.

At just 5ft 6in high, the car is also significantly shorter than most other four-wheel drives, making it more attractive to the city-dwellers who provide Lamborghini’s usual customer base.

And its more hi-tech features are a world away from the rural origins of the the SUV, as it is equipped with all sorts of clever gadgetry.

Instead of wing mirrors, it has cameras feeding video to screens positioned next to the driver.

The Urus – named after an extinct ancestor of the cow – is packed with carbon fibre, which is exceptionally strong relative to its weight.

And the car even changes its own shape, with a front spoiler which adjusts its position depending on whether the driver is off-road or speeding down the freeway.

Surprisingly, this is not the first time Lamborghini has tried to launch an SUV.

From 1985 to 1992 they made the LM002, a less fashionable model which did not find success as just 300 were ever sold.

The company is determined that the Urus will be different, and is planning to turn out as many as 3,000 per year.

That would make the SUV Lamborghini’s most popular model – but it remains to be seen whether the firm is ready to shift from boy racers to rednecks.

 Attribution: INAutoNews, Mail Online

The Purposeful Ruination of America

As has been stated many times in the past; The United States can not be defeated by any military or opposing force outside its borders. It must be self-inflicted from within its own borders by its own people.

The following video is a testament to the fine job we are doing.

Hey, It’s Not Our Money, It’s Theirs

From Bob Livingston at Personal Liberty:

Recent news-making events demonstrate that the rot infesting the cesspool that is Washington, D.C., can no longer be contained. The rot is noxious, pervasive, knows no political party and infests all it touches.

The recent events include the scandalous excesses of the General Services Administration junkets — on which even the bureaucrats’ spouses traveled, partied, wined and dined on the taxpayers’ dimes — and the Secret Service’s drunken whoring with Colombian prostitutes.

These events contain a common thread: Federal government employees who understand that in the United States, money does indeed grow on trees (or at least in Federal Reserve computers). They view the American taxpayer as a bottomless pit. They have come to think of themselves as a privileged class and believe rules of decorum and normal conduct do not apply to them.

This is not a new thing; it has been occurring — at the GSA at least — for about 40 years. As lawmakers grilled GSA officials last week, they learned that GSA employees have repeatedly taken financial kickbacks, engaged in insider dealing and suffered from general incompetence. It’s a pattern that dates back to the 1970s.

It’s also increasingly apparent that the rot is not confined to the Federal government. More than 100 workers in the city government of Washington, D.C., received jobless benefits totaling at least $800,000 while still working for the city. Ninety-two workers implicated in the scheme were suspended (61 of those were subsequently fired), and 40 more workers who left the city’s employment before the scandal broke have been identified. Another 100 workers are being investigated.

Federal bureaucrats and elected elites owe $1 billion in back taxes for 2010. Some of them are people who set or enforce tax policy on the rest of us. Remember that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner did not pay taxes for the years 2001-2004 until the issue came up as he was being vetted for Senate confirmation. Obviously, Senators did not care.

Nor did Congress care that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) flew home and back on weekends at a cost of $120,000 per trip. That’s almost four times as much as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spends to go home to Carmel Valley nearly every weekend. They are not the only ones who have done this or are doing it. At least Panetta says he regrets the cost (not that he’s stopping the practice).

Neither the criminal political class in Congress (criminalongress?) nor President Barack Obama, the Redistributionist-In-Chief (RIC), speak of making any meaningful cuts in government spending. Under Obama’s recently introduced budget, Federal spending would increase by 55 percent from 2012 to 2021, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Under Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget, Federal spending will increase 34 percent.

In other words, when members of the political class speak of “cuts” what they’re talking about is reducing the amount of year-to-year increases. They never cut anything.

Yet bearing down on America like a Category 5 hurricane is taxmageddon. It will make landfall on Dec. 31 unless a lame duck Congress and President (whether Obama is re-elected or defeated will not matter) can reach some kind of agreement.

What is taxmageddon? It’s a combination of expiring George W. Bush-era tax cuts and the implementation of new Obamacare taxes. The marriage penalty for joint filers will return, the child credit will drop in half and the rate everyone pays on the first $8,700 of wages jumps from 10 percent to 15 percent. The Social Security payroll tax will go from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent. Obamacare-mandated Medicare taxes will also rise.

There is little comfort to be found in the knowledge that the criminalongress and RIC will tackle the tax issue in a lame duck session following the November election. They will be unfettered by political considerations: Obama because regardless of November’s outcome he will never again be seeking election, and members of criminalongress because elections will be more than two years away for those who won. They will count on voters’ short memories. Those who lost will be attempting to win favor with the corporatocracy: those large fascist corporations that snatch up former lawmakers and pay them exorbitant salaries to lobby their former peers for special favors, tax breaks and government contracts.

Meanwhile, criminalongress will engage in political theater sleight of hand in an attempt to distract you from their own corruption. Criminalongress engages in insider trading, earmarks bills to benefit favored constituencies, take kickbacks in the form of campaign contributions from companies it supposedly oversees and regulates, cedes its authority to faceless and unelected bureaucrats at dozens of unConstitutional alphabet soup agencies, and dishonors the oath to “support and defend” the Constitution by allowing the Imperial President to wage unConstitutional war and set spending policy without Congressional approval.

Other than that, we are in great shape.

Ahh…Peace in the Middle East

Commandos from the Israeli navy’s Flotilla 13 unit boarded a cargo ship, the HS Beethoven, in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday night on suspicion it was trying to smuggle weapons to the Gaza Strip.

The ship, which was flying a Liberian flag, was intercepted by Israel Navy vessels approximately 260 km. from Israel’s coast. Commandos boarded the ship with the captain’s consent and began searching cargo containers for arms.
Searches were still ongoing at press time and IDF officers said that they could continue until the morning.

The IDF said that the operation was part of a routine patrol and that the ship’s route was likely what raised concern that it may have been carrying weapons for either Hamas or Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

The HS Beethoven left Beirut on Friday and was scheduled to arrive in Alexandria, Egypt, on Monday evening. Before stopping in Lebanon, it had stopped in Limassol, Cyprus. If the ship was carrying arms, they were likely meant to be smuggled into Gaza via tunnels located under the Philadelphi Corridor between Sinai and Gaza.

Last March, the navy intercepted a cargo ship called Victoria that was carrying some 50 tons of weaponry and was on its way to Egypt. It was also flying a Liberian flag and was headed to Alexandria.

The weapons seized on the Victoria included a number of sophisticated radar-guided Iranian anti-ship missiles that were intended for terrorist organizations in Gaza.

Attribution: Jerusalem Post

It’s so Slimey and Pink

In Defense of Pink Slime

By: The Common Constitutionalist

By now, we’ve all heard of it, the dreaded Pink Slime. You’ve probably seen it, looking more like soft-serve strawberry ice cream than beef.

It has suddenly become a hot topic and unfortunately has all but put one company, BPI Industries, out of business.

So why now? Why has this become such a hot topic? Believe it or not, this product has been on the market for over 30 years. It is government approved and has not harmed anybody in all that time.

So now, all the sudden, it has become a danger to humans.

Well, of course it isn’t a danger to humans. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. People, with enough time on their hands, will always find something to worry about.

The fact is, the general public doesn’t give a thought to how food is processed and how it makes to the grocery store shelves.

It is only when the public discovers that not all food comes directly from Old McDonald’s Farm, that they get all panicked and overreact.

“The more people are disconnected with their food supply and the sources of their food, the more questions they will have, and we understand that,” said Craig Letch, director of food safety and quality assurance for South Dakota-based Beef Products Inc. “But, We don’t produce ‘pink slime.’ We produce 100 percent quality lean beef. That’s it. That whole thing is a farce. There’s no substance to it.”

So why the uproar, why the outrage?

Just what is this Pink Slime made of and why has it suddenly become the scourge of the American public?

Lean, Finely Textured Beef (LFTB), better known as pink slime, is virtually identical to 90% lean ground beef.

It is actually 100% beef processed from the trimmings of steaks and roasts, that are delivered to BPI industries.

The trimmings are placed in a centrifuge that spins and removes virtually all the fat from the trimmings leaving behind 94 to 97% lean beef.

That doesn’t sound so bad does it? If that is all it is, what is the problem?

The problem is due solely to the slightly elevated level of the chemical ammonium hydroxide and naturally any chemical that is added to our food must therefore be dangerous.

Obviously this is not true. It certainly isn’t true in this case.

Beef already has naturally occurring ammonia in it. Why add more?

Simple. To prevent the growth of the deadly E. coli bacteria. By simply raising the pH level of the meat product with a slight addition of ammonium hydroxide the E. coli bacteria cannot form.

So, as always happens in this country, instead of taking a step back and looking at the facts, the public panics, makes rash decisions and hundreds of people are put out of work.

Only after the damage has been done, are the facts allowed to come out and more often than not, debunk the myth.

A Plethora of Happy Coincidences

By: The Common Constitutionalist 

Warren Buffett is President Barack Obama’s BFF.

Warren Buffett receives the Presidential Medal of Coincidence

The Keystone XL Pipeline is the oil pipeline that would carry oil from our friends in Canada down across several of our states to end up in Texas. It was first proposed in 2008.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railroad in 2009, shortly after Obama was elected.

Buffett’s nickname is the Oracle of Omaha. Omaha is in Nebraska, where resides the headquarters of Berkshire Hathaway; remember that.

Nebraska (with the administrations help) just happens to be the state that put the kybosh on the Keystone XL Pipeline.

As it happens, Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC, which, as previously stated, is owned by Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., handles 75 percent of all the oil currently shipped by rail out of North Dakota.

Oil producers in North Dakota had planned to hook into the XL pipeline.

Strange bedfellows: Always remember a liberal is a liberal first, regardless of whatever else he or she claims to be and will always side with other liberals. So when a spokesman for the Sierra Club admitted “there is no question that transporting oil by rail or truck is much more dangerous than a pipeline,” it should come as no surprise that the eco-fanatics sided with the President to kill the pipeline.

Enter Ben Nelson, the honorable Senator from Nebraska. (I told you to remember this: Obama hearts Buffett. Buffett= Nebraska = Nelson)

"So this is what will kill the Pipeline project"

So when it comes to the Keystone oil pipeline and Buffett’s Burlington Northern, all roads lead to Nebraska.

GBTV uncovered a not so startling connection between Berkshire Hathaway and Senator Ben Nelson, who voted against the Keystone XL and lobbied that it be re-routed to avoid Nebraska, effectively killing the project. Ironically, the Senator’s attempts to thwart the pipeline were done while he himself maintained his state would heartily welcome the jobs created from the Keystone project.

 While Nelson’s position then seems counterintuitive, add to it the fact that he is heavily invested in Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. From 2007 to 2012 Nelson contributed $27,000 to the company itself and according to a recent financial disclosure statement from 2008, he owned between $1.5 and $6 million of the company’s stock – his largest investment in any one company to date. (So by counterintuitive, I meant completely intuitive.)

It doesn’t end there, of course. Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe PAC in turn contributed $5,000 to Senator Nelson’s Nebraska Leadership PAC and Berkshire Hathaway employees have reportedly long supported the senator, contributing at least $75,550 to the Nebraska Democrat over the course of his political career according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Coincidence or quid pro quo? I vote…coincidence.

Not coincidentally, Senator Nelson penned an op-ed column on March 5, 2012 entitled “Behind Those High Gas Prices.” As you can imagine, the senator was quick to tell Nebraskans that the spike “has nothing to do with the Keystone Pipeline” and also “isn’t a result of domestic oil production.”

Now move along people; Nothing to see here.