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Government created many of the problems that plagued our health care system (even before Obamacare)

My pal, the blogress diva extraordinaire Joy McCann yesterday posted this image, quipping “Sometimes the little man makes sense.”   So much sense does he make below that I felt it incumbent upon myself to download the image and repost it here:

Reflect upon Dr. Paul’s words as you consider the impetus behind the Democrats’ program to overhaul our nation’s health care system through greater regulation and higher taxation.

Now, the system of course was never perfect.  No human institution ever is, but, in trying to fix the small problems of that imperfect, improving and basically good system, our supposedly well-meaning legislators made the whole system worse.

Its problems (prior to the enactment of the Democrats’ overhaul) are not so much attributable to free markets as they are to the layers upon layers of government regulation implemented over the years.

In short, the Democrats tried to fix problems created by government programs with more government programs.

In the wake of the Obamacare decision,
his supporters appear elated, Obama himself seems downbeat

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:54 pm - June 30, 2012.
Filed under: Mean-spirited leftists,Obama Incompetence

Watching CNN while doing cardio on Thursday, I noticed how giddy CNN’s left-of-center pundits, particularly Jeffrey Toobin, seemed as they commented on the Supreme Court decision upholding the Democratic program to overhaul our nation’s health care system through greater regulation and higher taxation.

Their mood paralleled that of my liberal friends on Facebook, elated at the outcome, once again supportive of the rightness of U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

By contrast, the president seemed dour, almost depressed.  As he delivered his remarks on the decision, he lack that lightness of step which all but defined him in the early stages of 2008 presidential campaign.   This was not the first time he has appeared downcast in his public appearances.  A week before when he spoked to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Orlando, Florida, he seemed similarly subdued.

As he did when he delivered his economic speech in Cleveland, Ohio.

Is it just me?  Or have others noted his dour demeanor? And if you have noticed it, do you think this reflects a campaign strategy or his own inner emotions?

Obama can still win this election on his image, but . . .

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:37 pm - June 30, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

. . . he cannot win it on his ideas.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  ILoveCapitalism who frequently agrees with me, doesn’t this time, contending that “Obama can’t win this election, on either His image or ideas. He can only win on Romney’s mistakes.”

Dems to abandon Obamacare now that we know it raises taxes?

“Who”, wonders Jennifer Rubin, “will be the first Senate Democrat to say he wouldn’t have voted for a tax on the middle-class if he knew what he was voting for?

RELATED:  Glenn Reynolds quips, ‘THE SUPREME COURT SAYS “YOU LIE:’ White House Already Denying That Mandate Is A Tax. If you deny that it’s a tax, you admit that it’s unconstitutional. . . .”

ALSO RELATED:  Also from Glenn Reynolds:  ”HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): 75% of Obamacare Costs Will Fall on Backs of Those Making Less Than $120K a Year. ’It’s a big punch in the stomach to middle class families.’”

Did Christie’s VP stock rise this week?

So we are enjoying the 105 degrees in Upstate SC and PatriotPartner tells me that NJ Gov. Chris Christie is calling the State Assembly into special session in order to… CUT TAXES.

That got me re-thinking Christie’s chances to get picked by Romney for the VP spot.

After the SCOTUS Obamacare decision, is there really a social conservative that would rebel over Christie’s selection?

If Romney picked Christie, it would drive a knife into Obama’s electoral math.

And even if some of the hardest core SoCons stay home … would it really result in Romney losing any states by choosing Christie?

Just thinking out loud…

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

ROLL CALL: Issa Puts Secret DOJ Wiretaps Into Congressional Record

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 4:12 pm - June 29, 2012.
Filed under: Fast and Furious

The URL to Roll Call’s story is jammed thanks to a link from Matt Drudge.  So here is the article, in its entirety.  It sounds very damning and raises this scandal to a whole new level.  The wiretap excerpts suggest that thte death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry now seems less a glitch in the Fast & Furious scheme than a feature.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

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FROM ROLL CALL:

In the midst of a fiery floor debate over contempt proceedings for Attorney General Eric Holder, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa(R-Calif.) quietly dropped a bombshell letter into the Congressional Record.

The May 24 letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the panel, quotes from and describes in detail a secret wiretap application that has become a point of debate in the GOP’s “Fast and Furious” gun-walking probe.

The wiretap applications are under court seal, and releasing such information to the public would ordinarily be illegal. But Issa appears to be protected by the Speech or Debate Clause in the Constitution, which offers immunity for Congressional speech, especially on a chamber’s floor.

According to the letter, the wiretap applications contained a startling amount of detail about the operation, which would have tipped off anyone who read them closely about what tactics were being used.

Holder and Cummings have both maintained that the wiretap applications did not contain such details and that the applications were reviewed narrowly for probable cause, not for whether any investigatory tactics contained followed Justice Department policy.

The wiretap applications were signed by senior DOJ officials in the department’s criminal division, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco and another official who is now deceased.

In Fast and Furious, agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed assault guns bought by “straw purchasers” to “walk,” which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels.

The tactic, which was intended to allow agents to track criminal networks by finding the guns at crime scenes, was condemned after two guns that were part of the operation were found at U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder scene.

Straw purchasers are individuals who buy guns on behalf of criminals, obscuring who is buying the weapons.

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Reflections on SCOTUS ruling

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 9:54 pm - June 28, 2012.
Filed under: Obama Health Care Tax/Regulation

I promised my Twitter followers that I would be reading the opinion front to back and have some thoughts within an hour.  That was about 5 hours ago.   I’ll try to get up something on Friday.  I’m leaning toward the more optimistic, “long-view” that Dan has expressed.

But I really want to read the opinion before I write something more comprehensive.

Good night, patriots!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

On the bipartisan House vote to hold Eric Holder in contempt

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:07 pm - June 28, 2012.
Filed under: 112th Congress,Democratic Scandals

By an overwhelming majority, the House of Representatives voted

. . . to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for not complying with a congressional subpoena.

Seventeen Democrats bucked party lines and voted with Republicans to pass a criminal contempt resolution in a 255-67 vote. House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) pushed that resolution as part of his 16-month investigation into the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking operation.

Now, Democrats are trying to demagogue the decision, but as Michelle Malkin pointed out in taking on the arguments one such demagogue, their talking points don’t stand up to scrutiny:

While he regurgitated DOJ talking points about Holder’s “unprecedented” level of cooperation, [MSNBC host Al] Sharpton neglected to mention that the agency has delivered less than 8 percent of the 80,000 documents sought by congressional investigators. He forgot to acknowledge that of the 70 DOJ officials involved in Fast and Furious, 48 have been blocked by DOJ from testifying. He failed to detail the withdrawn Feb. 4, 2011, letter to Congress falsely denying the existence of Fast and Furious, Holder’s flip-flops over what he knew and when, and Holder’s blame-shifting assertion, withdrawn last week, that falsely accused former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey of being briefed on a separate gunwalking operation.

If Mr. Holder has done nothing wrong and has nothing to hide, why is he hiding so much?

UPDATE from Bruce:  Fun fact! The Holder contempt vote was MORE bi-partisan than any of the final Obamacare votes.

Housekeeping note about Obama’s Health Care Tax

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:37 pm - June 28, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Obama Health Care Tax/Regulation

Out of deference to the U.S. Supreme Court, Bruce and I have agreed to change the name of the category once labelled Obamacare to more accurately reflect the legislation which has now passed constitutional muster.

This video to which Jim Geraghty alerted us helps explain things:

Two liberal commentators (& no conservatives) make CNN panel on Obamacare ruling objective?

Yesterday, commenting on Politico’s coverage on “this Politico report on CNN’s ratings woes“, Ed Driscoll took issue with the notion of the network as a non-partisan purveyor of news:

And if you believe that CNN really is “committed to nonpartisan news-gathering” free of partisanship (cough —shilling for Saddam, getting cozy with Kim Jong Il — cough — Wright-Free Zone — cough — Anderson Cooper’s painful “teabagging” references, baking cakes for Obama and on and on and on) then you might be working for a “news” organization that is also a partisan shop pretending to be objective, and wondering why it’s losing audience as well.

Whatever Fox and MSNBC’s other issues, at least consumers know what sort of product they’re getting when tune into those networks. Trying to pretend to be objective is a long-outdated model that’s reached the end of the production line.

(H/t Instapundit.)

Today, while doing cardio at the gym, caught CNN’s coverage of the Obamacare decision.  Wolf Blitzer was interviewing two beaming left-of-center pundits, the smarmy  journolister Jeffrey Toobin and Dahlia Lithwick.

An objective news source would have included a conservative on this panel.

Land of the Free Because of the Brave

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:14 pm - June 28, 2012.
Filed under: Freedom,Heroes,Military

Just saw this on a car driving through Hollywood.

There are patriots — even here in deep “blue” America.

Non-Lawyer, Non-Judge Reflections on Obamacare Ruling

You know, I think I may have set a land-speed record moving through the five stages of grief on this Obamacare thing.

As I understand it, Chief Justice Roberts held that the mandate was in fact constitutional because it’s a TAX, not a PENALTY. When it comes down to it, I have to agree 100% that Congress surely has the power to levy a tax on the American people, and as such was clearly within their rights to do so in this case.

Also, given that they have the right to absolve people of a tax burden, they’re entitled to do so in this case when someone has purchased health insurance. After all, if I donate money to a charity, I get a tax break. If I pay taxes and interest on my home mortgage, I get a tax break. If I have a kid, I get a tax break. So this is really just like that: EVERYBODY in the country gets a higher tax. If you have health insurance, you get a tax break. QED.

Although I disagree with the first step in the process (it is in my opinion, a penalty which is beyond Congress’ authority), I can’t argue with that logic at least.

That said, I do have a problem with how we got here:
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Chill out, Conservatives, Obamacare decision is worst political outcome for Obama

Perhaps, conservatives are so upset this morning because they had expected the Supreme Court to overturn at least the individual mandate.  And maybe I’m more sanguine than most because I had thought the court would uphold the unpopular law.

Indeed, on Facebook, liberal blogress Pam Spaulding is having a field day mocking some over-the-top conservative reaction.  And this perhaps is her day to exult — as it for others on the left.  Exult they may, but their victory is most Pyrrhic.

Conservatives shouldn’t be so downcast.

For example, on Facebook, I’m learning of a surge in donations to the Romney campaign and GOP, even from conservatives once critical of the now-presumptive Republican nominee.  (Seems he’s already raked it $1.5 million.)

Bear in mind that Obamacare remains unpopular — and the court upheld it by calling the mandate to be a tax.  The court delivered a great campaign line to the president’s opponents.

Overturning the law would have rallied the president’s base.  Now, conservatives are energized.  And have better ground to dub the president a tax-hiker.  Bad policy this may be, but it’s worse politics for the Democrats. They now have to defend it before voters who don’t much like it.  And will have a harder time fighting the charge that Obama has hiked taxes on the middle class.

Democrats today lost an occasion to energize their base.  Meanwhile, conservatives are fired up.   Plus it seems, the Chief Justice carefully crafted his opinion to limit the scope of the Commerce Clause, making it easier to challenge federal legislation as beyond the purview of the constitution.

Clearly….

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 2:44 pm - June 28, 2012.
Filed under: Constitutional Issues,Supreme Court

I was wrong….

Lesson learned:  Don’t use Sudoku to try to figure out what is in Chief Justice John Roberts’ head.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Supreme Court: Obama raises taxes on middle class

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the mandate to purchase health insurance as a tax.

As an exercise of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause,” writes the Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso, “the individual mandate does not hold water. But under Congress’s taxing power, it is a legitimate provision.”

My quick analysis. Pyrrhic victory for Obama. He’ll have a few good days. Vote holding Eric Holder in contempt won’t get much media coverage.  But, decision could prove to be political headache for the president.  The court may have found the law constitutional, but it remains unpopular.  Mitt Romney will be able to use this against him:  the only way to repeal this law is to replace Obama.

So, if Obama celebrates the decision, he’ll be acknowledging that he broke this campaign promise:

UPDATE: Walter Olson offers a roundup of his tweets here.  Glenn has a great roundup here; seems others bloggers/blogresses have offered titles similar to my own.

Ann Althouse is more sanguine than are most conservatives, having “said repeatedly that Obama would be worse off if Obamacare were upheld, but what I’m really seeing is how bad it is for him with the mandate declared a tax.

UP-UPDATE:  From Ira Stoll, linked by Glenn above:

By calling the mandate a tax, the court made an official ruling that President Obama had violated his 2008 campaign promise not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 a year. And the ruling also keeps ObamaCare alive as a political issue. A ruling that struck down the law might have energized Obama supporters. This ruling may make the law’s opponents even more determined to elect a Republican president and Congress so that they can repeal the law or, failing that, defund it.

UP–UP-UPDATE: “The Supreme Court,” quips Jim Geraghty, “just gave Mitt Romney a very, very useful line: ‘As President, I will repeal President Obama’s health care tax.’”

FROM THE COMMENTS:  boatseller forecasts that “in about 4 weeks, liberal bloggers are going to start chattering about a conspiracy between Justice Roberts and the Romney campaign to uphold the law in order to hurt the President.”  Heh.

DECISION DAY

We are nearing the top of the hour of 10 o’clock here on the East Coast. The first big decision today — SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare — will be known within the next 30 minutes.

And later today, the U.S. Attorney General will be held in contempt of Congress in a bi-partisan vote.

It is an historic day in Washington, DC. Stay here for analysis and discussion all day long.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Do some believe “equality” means judging an individual by the content of his character*?

Sometimes things just seem weird (giving that word its original meaning).

On Tuesday, I mentioned Matt Bomer’s coming out in a blog post.  That evening, joining my friend Bridget Johnson for a drink with several other of her friends, including Greg Hernandez, I learned of that latter’s blog, Greg in Hollywood.  And on that web-site, Greg mentioned the aforementioned actor in this post:

But it is clear that Bomer, star of USA Network’s hit White Collar and a co-star in Magic Mike which opens in Friday, doesn’t want to simply be known as ‘the openly gay actor.’

‘What we really have to do is stop the adjective before the job title—whether it’s ‘black actor,’ a ‘gay actor’ or ‘anything actor,” he said. ‘Everybody thinks that equality comes from identifying people, and that’s not where equality comes from. Equality comes from treating everybody the same regardless of who they  are. I hope the media and the press catches on to that because it’s time to move out of 1992.’

Nice that Bomer believes his sexuality should be incidental to his work.  Interesting also how he defines “equality.”  Seems he’s using the catchword of the gay left groups to mean, paraphrasing Dr. King’s great dream, that we be judged by the content of our character and not the nature of our sexuality.

If that’s what “equality” is, I’m all for it.  To achieve that goal, we don’t need to expand the scope of government, only change attitudes of individuals.  And that’s already happening — as evidenced by the reaction to Bomer’s coming out.

*as well as the quality of his work — and the nature of his accomplishments.

The emerging small government consensus?

Asking whether the ObamaCare decision would provide a redefining moment for federal power, Ed Morrissey cited and excerpted center-left Washington Post columnist Charles Lane’s thoughtful piece addressing the upcoming decision — as well as changing attitudes toward big government.

The essay is well worth your time. I read it twice, first when Ed referenced it, then later when my friend David Boaz linked it on Facebook:

In the 1930s, expanding federal power was innovative, promising. By blessing it, the court aligned itself with the wave of the future, in this country and globally. Ditto for the 1960s. Much of the legislation that resulted — from Social Security to the Voting Rights Act — was indeed progressive.

Today, however, there is nothing new about federal intervention — and much evidence from the past 70 years that big programs produce inefficiencies and unintended consequences.

The post-New Deal consensus about the scope of federal power has broken down amid national, and global, concern over the welfare state’s cost and intrusiveness — a sea change of which the tea party is but one manifestation. Obamacare itself, which has consistently polled badly, fueled that movement.

Today, however, there is nothing new about federal intervention — and much evidence from the past 70 years that big programs produce inefficiencies and unintended consequences.

When a center-left columnist for the liberal paper in our nation’s capital acknowledges, what Walter Russell Meade might call, the breakdown of the “blue model”, we sense that something really is afoot.

Not just that.   In the last paragraph I quoted from Lane’s piece, he suggests that Obama Democrats lack new ideas.  And he acknowledges the basic conservative critique of well-intentioned liberal programs:  ”inefficiencies and unintended consequences.”

Read the whole thing.

What Specific Bush Policies Created the Mess Obama “Inherited”

After the market meltdown in September 2008, most Democrats (as well as their allies in the legacy media) pointed, in the most general terms, to Bush-era “deregulation” as the cause of the crisis. They did, to be sure, often have trouble identifying specific regulations the then-president lifted–or laws and regulations that Republican Congresses had repealed while W served as the nation’s chief executive.

Indeed, three years ago, I reminded our readers that

Even Obama-supporting columnist Sebastian Mallaby wrote, during last fall’s campaign, that the “claim that the financial crisis reflects Bush-McCain deregulation is not only nonsense. It is the sort of nonsense that could matter.

Last night, as I was reading Karl’s post how how extremism is “not just a GOP P.O.V“, a similar thought about Obama’s rhetoric came to mind.  Just as he and his allies blamed deregulation in the abstract in 2008, now, they’re blaming Bush policies in the abstract for the crisis which Republicans believe to be the collapse of the welfare state model.  ”In the Obama version”, David Brooks writes, “the welfare-state model was serving America well until it was distorted a decade ago by a Republican Party intent on serving the rich and shortchanging the middle class.”  (H/t: Karl who excerpted it.)

And just how, Mr. President, did George W. Bush and his Republican minions distort that model?  What specific policies did they implement which shortchanged the middle class?

Am wondering if Mr. Obama ever cites specific Bush policies when he laments all the problems he inherited from his predecessor.  And, no, whining about tax cuts for the wealthy doesn’t count (particularly since Mr. Obama chose to extend the Bush-era tax rates–and the Bush cuts didn’t just go to the wealthy).

Tax cuts don’t cause market meltdowns.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  Our critic Levi helps make my point:

Bush is responsible in that there was no atmosphere of regulation from the federal government, so all these financial entities went berserk. Additionally, the tax cuts that Bush passed freed up a lot of rich people’s money, which directly lead to more severe inflation of the housing bubble and made the impact when things burst that much more dramatic. It definitely has to do with some policies that Bush enacted, but it’s his responsibility mostly on the basis of his inaction.

No atmosphere of regulation?  What does that mean.  And note that the only specific Bush policy he cites is one that Obama chose to continue.

Does intolerance of gay Republicans cause some erstwhile homocons to change* their political views?

Every now and again, you meet a gay ex-Republican who tells you that he left the GOP because of the party’s intolerance.

Events this past week, however, have made it increasingly apparent that such folks left not because of the GOP’s supposed intolerance, but because of that they experienced in the gay community.  They were simply tired of being ostracized — and otherwise marginalized — for their political views.
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*(or hide)

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FROM THE COMMENTS:  Redneck Fag answers the title question in the affirmative:  ”It happened to me when I was living in San Francisco during the Reagan years but it didn’t last long. I soon saw the problem: wanting to conform and be popular . . . .”

That does seem to be the problem.