Saturday, January 8, 2011

Guest Article - America's Current Fight

By Charles Krauthammer

"For decades, Democrats and Republicans fought over who owns the American flag. Now they're fighting over who owns the Constitution.

The flag debates began during the Vietnam era when leftist radicals made the fatal error of burning it. For decades since, non-suicidal liberals have tried to undo the damage. Demeaningly, and somewhat unfairly, they are forever having to prove their fealty to the flag.

Amazingly, though, some still couldn't get it quite right. During the last presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama, asked why he was not wearing a flag pin, answered that it represented "a substitute" for "true patriotism." Bad move. Months later, Obama quietly beat a retreat and began wearing the flag on his lapel. He does so still.

Today, the issue is the Constitution. It's a healthier debate because flags are pure symbolism and therefore more likely to evoke pure emotion and ad hominem argument. The Constitution, on the other hand, is a document that speaks. It defines concretely the nature of our social contract. Nothing in our public life is more substantive.

Americans are in the midst of a great national debate over the power, scope and reach of the government established by that document. The debate was sparked by the current administration's bold push for government expansion - a massive fiscal stimulus, Obamacare, financial regulation and various attempts at controlling the energy economy. This engendered a popular reaction, identified with the Tea Party but in reality far more widespread, calling for a more restrictive vision of government more consistent with the Founders' intent.[My emphasis]

Call it constitutionalism. In essence, constitutionalism is the intellectual counterpart and spiritual progeny of the "originalism" movement in jurisprudence. Judicial "originalists" (led by Antonin Scalia and other notable conservative jurists) insist that legal interpretation be bound by the text of the Constitution as understood by those who wrote it and their contemporaries. Originalism has grown to become the major challenger to the liberal "living Constitution" school, under which high courts are channelers of the spirit of the age, free to create new constitutional principles accordingly.

What originalism is to jurisprudence, constitutionalism is to governance: a call for restraint rooted in constitutional text. Constitutionalism as a political philosophy represents a reformed, self-regulating conservatism that bases its call for minimalist government - for reining in the willfulness of presidents and legislatures - in the words and meaning of the Constitution.

Hence that highly symbolic moment on Thursday when the 112th House of Representatives opened with a reading of the Constitution. Remarkably, this had never been done before - perhaps because it had never been so needed. The reading reflected the feeling, expressed powerfully in the last election, that we had moved far, especially the past two years, from a government constitutionally limited by its enumerated powers to a government constrained only by its perception of social need.

The most galvanizing example of this expansive shift was, of course, the Democrats' health-care reform, which will revolutionize one-sixth of the economy and impose an individual mandate that levies a fine on anyone who does not enter into a private contract with a health insurance company. Whatever its merits as policy, there is no doubting its seriousness as constitutional precedent: If Congress can impose such a mandate, is there anything that Congress may not impose upon the individual?

The new Republican House will henceforth require, in writing, constitutional grounding for every bill submitted. A fine idea, although I suspect 90 percent of them will simply make a ritual appeal to the "general welfare" clause. Nonetheless, anything that reminds members of Congress that they are not untethered free agents is salutary.

But still mostly symbolic. The real test of the Republicans' newfound constitutionalism will come in legislating. Will they really cut government spending? Will they really roll back regulations? Earmarks are nothing. Do the Republicans have the courage to go after entitlements as well?

In the interim, the cynics had best tread carefully. Some liberals are already disdaining the new constitutionalism, denigrating the document's relevance and sneering at its public recitation. They sneer at their political peril. In choosing to focus on a majestic document that bears both study and recitation, the reformed conservatism of the Obama era has found itself not just a symbol but an anchor.

Constitutionalism as a guiding political tendency will require careful and thoughtful development, as did jurisprudential originalism. But its wide appeal and philosophical depth make it a promising first step to a conservative future."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Guest Article - Privacy Concerns

Most Internet Users Have Privacy Concerns About Their Online Searches

"Most Internet users like the search engines available to them but worry about the privacy of their searches online. However, those who use the Internet most frequently express a lower level of concern.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 78% of Adults who regularly use the Internet are at least somewhat concerned about the privacy of their online searches, with 40% who are Very Concerned. Twenty-two percent (22%) don’t share that concern, but that includes just three percent (3%) who are not at all concerned. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Americans who use social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn and Twitter express a similar level of concern about the safety of their personal information on these sites.

Among those who use the Internet every day, just 37% are Very Concerned about the privacy of their searches. That figure jumps to 47% among those who go online several times a week and 59% who use the Internet once a week or less.

But 89% of those who regularly go online rate today’s Internet search engines as good or excellent in terms of finding the information they need.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 740 Adult Internet users nationwide was conducted on January 4-5, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

While there is a high level of general concern across all demographic categories, some groups show stronger degree of worry than others.

Men are more concerned about the privacy of their Internet searches than women are. Older Americans express stronger concern than those who are younger.

Some of the search engines themselves have been criticized for monitoring search traffic for business purposes. Law enforcement agencies have monitored the online activity of some Americans suspected of terrorist or other criminal activity. But 38% of voters believe the U.S. legal system worries too much about protecting individual rights rather than protecting national security, and just 22% take the opposite view. Thirty-two percent (32%) say the balance is about right.

One-in-three Americans (33%) say the current legal system worries too much about individual rights when it comes to public safety, while just 20% say it worries too much about public safety. Thirty-two percent (32%) believe the balance is about right.

But just 21% of voters think the Federal Communications Commission should regulate the Internet like it does radio and television."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Debt Ceiling - Let's Make a Deal!

Mr. Flip-Flop
Obama's view in 2006:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership . Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

Progressives argument for the FLIP-Flop: "It wasn’t a flip-flop – conditions have changed – that was 5 years ago, 5 years of spending on two wars, a stimulus package, Wall Street bailout, car company bailout, etc, etc. The conditions have changed. That's just like someone making 75 grand 5 years ago and then getting laid off – conditions changed. If the debt ceiling is not raised, we default on all our loans and the government shuts down. It’s not a flip-flop – he is President now and he has to make a different decision."

Check The Facts
Hypocrite in the White House? No, it cannot be.

Actually, yes, it can! Remember when Senator John Kerry running for President stated that he voted against supporting the war before he voted for it? Well Progressives still want it both ways. Only this time it's coming from the chief Liar's Office.

Progressives used the bailouts and TARP to help their union friends, grab more power and pay-back their special interest groups with YOUR money! Did unemployed Americans see any of that money? Were there any shovel-ready jobs? No, it was cash for clunkers, mortgage bailouts, AIG bailouts, and GM/Chrysler takeovers!

Americans are not stupid! We just observed that Obama was against raising the debt ceiling before he was for raising it! Now that he has spent America into oblivion, he's being hypocritical. This time HE is THE LEADERSHIP PROBLEM!! As the "leader", he wants more spending in order to follow the Cloward and Piven strategy. Overload the system to bring its demise so he can "Fundamentally Change America." Isn't it ironic that he wants it both ways when it is convenient for him or to help his plan?

This FLIP-FLOP position exposes Progressives as the SPENDING PARTY! They want to raise the debt so they can borrow more money, and spend our future generations into extreme poverty. Progressives cannot live within their means. They don't have to because it's NOT THEIR MONEY! TAX, spend, and re-distribute wealth (except theirs!). They must be stopped!

Action To Take
We will raise the tax ceiling ONLY if there are respective CUTS! You can start with the EPA and the FCC. Cut their bloated and power hungry budget by 50%. Freeze ALL Federal hiring (including the IRS) and stop this fiscal insanity! Get a realistic plan in place to stop spending and make REAL cuts - then raise the debt ceiling!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Death Panels - What Death Panels?

Obama Flip-Flops - Again
(At least for now anyway!) The Obama administration was quite busy during the Christmas break writing and literally scripting the language for "End-of-Life-Counseling" otherwise known as the DEATH PANELS. He had instructed his minions to spell-out the ground rules for Medicare's new annual checkup rules. When Americans (not Marxists) found out (once again), we let the White House know how strongly we opposed this.

So today, the White House reported that they had "killed" the Death Panels (pun intended) because the controversy had embarrassed the White House. REALLY, or will they resurrect themselves again at a later date under some new directive or Presidential edict?

Embarrassed? They should be ashamed instead.

Think ABout It a Minute
ObamaCare was passed last Christmas with no mention of "end-of-life-counseling" because Americans screamed loud and clear that we did NOT want to sacrifice Grandma by throwing her under the bus as she got "too old" for further medical treatments. So almost a year later, quietly, Obama decided to "regulate" this idea back into the already passed legislation because HE wanted Death Panels. SNEAKY huh?

Ask yourself this question: Why are bureaucrats writing the healthcare regulations in the first place? They are NOT qualified to be writing end-of-life-counseling rules!! How dare they! It would be better if doctors and medical personnel were in charge of these kinds of activities. This is just another example on how Progressives believe that they know what's good for you and how they want to CONTROL YOUR life/death! This is arrogance at its best - telling people how to die.

The government has NO BUSINESS whatsoever in directing such highly personal decisions between a patient and their doctor.

Tell Big Government: "STAY THE HELL OUT OF OUR LIVES!"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Guest Article - Why ObamaCare is BAD

The ObamaCare Fraud
The law will penalize doctors to pay patients and penalize patients to pay doctors.

By: Shikha Dalmia - a senior analyst at Reason Foundation and a columnist at The Daily.

"There are a great many things wrong with Obamacare, but the biggest is perhaps one that neither party is paying any attention to: It is one huge entrapment scheme that will turn patients and providers into criminals.

The most blatant example of this is in the “doc fix” that Congress passed with major bipartisan support earlier this month, saving doctors from a nearly 23 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement that they would have otherwise faced this year. Congress has been passing this fix every year since 1997, but this time, in an effort to offset its $20 billion price tag, it has included a little twist to squeeze working families called “exchange recapture subsidy.” Under this provision, the government will go after low-wage families to return any excess subsidies they get under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

When the government hands out subsidies, it will use a household’s income in the previous year as the basis for guessing what the household is qualified to get in the current year. But if the household’s income grows midyear, the subsidy recapture provision will require it to repay anywhere from $600 to $3,500, compared to the $450 that the law originally called for.

This will make it very hazardous for poor working families to get ahead. In the original law, the loss of subsidy with rising income already meant absurdly high effective marginal tax rates—the implicit tax on every additional dollar of income earned. How high? The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon puts them at 229 percent for families of four who increase their earnings by an amount equal to 5 percent of the federal poverty level or $1,100. In other words, a family that added this amount to an income of $44,700 would actually see its total income fall by $1,419 due to the loss of subsidies.

The subsidy recapture provision—essentially a tax collection scheme—means that low-wage, cash-strapped families will have no escape from these perverse tax rates. Many of them will find themselves owing the government thousands of dollars in back taxes. Since it is unlikely that they will have this kind of money sitting around, they will face a massive incentive to either fudge their returns or work for cash to avoid reporting additional income. Either way, Uncle Sam will come after them, just as it does with recipients of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the negative income tax scheme that is the inspiration behind Obamacare’s subsidies. In 2004, EITC recipients were 1.76 times more likely to be audited than others, no doubt because it is easier for the government to recover unpaid taxes from poor people than “lawyered up” rich people. In other words, Obamacare will first create the temptation for low-income families to commit fraud, and then penalize them when they do.

But just because Obamacare sticks it to families doesn’t mean that physicians will have it good. They’ll face their own—even more draconian—crackdown. Indeed, just as Obamacare goes after working-class families to pay doctors, it goes after doctors to pay working-class families, putting everyone at war with everyone else.

The government loses about 10 percent of its total health-care spending—or about $60 billion—to “fraud” annually. Some of this is genuine fraud involving physicians—or people posing as physicians—submitting claims for services or equipment never delivered and indefensible therapies that have nothing to do with patient care. But the most common fraud allegedly involves “overbilling” by providers. Medicare’s billing codes are a complicated, convoluted mess and deciphering them can sometimes be more art than science. Naturally, doctors try and interpret them to extract the best possible payment from Uncle Sam. Both Republicans and Democrats huff and puff against “waste, fraud and abuse” in Medicare. And they have already enacted Stasi-style laws such as the False Claims Act offering nurses, patients and other whistleblowers 15 percent to 30 percent of any money recovered if they report improper billing practices by providers. But the Obama administration has attacked the matter with renewed zeal because it is a key element in funding Obamacare’s generous new entitlements.

It has created a new interagency task force called HEAT (Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team) under which health-care officials will collaborate with the FBI to go after Medicare fraud. In addition, it has expanded to several cities the Medicaid Fraud Strike Force that authorizes FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency agents to jointly analyze Medicare claims data in real time to detect and investigate irregularities by area doctors.

More chillingly, however, the administration is defining Medicare fraud down to include “unnecessary” and “ineffective” care. And to root this out, it plans to make expanded use of private mercenaries—officially called Recovery Audit Contracts—who will be authorized to go to doctors’ offices and rummage through patients’ records, matching them with billing claims to uncover illicit charges. What’s more, Obamacare increases the fine for billing errors from $11,000 per item to $50,000 without the government even having to prove intent to defraud.

This is utter insanity. And it has been caused by the transformation of health care into a government-controlled industry where the natural, self-regulating forces of the market have been badly subverted. There is nothing left but the coercive apparatus of the state to keep patients and doctors in line. This would be unimaginable where the customers receiving or contracting for services are actually the ones paying for it. If Whole Foods “overbilled” its shoppers, they would just go to Trader Joe’s. No one would think of summoning the police. If a mechanic submitted unjustified bills to All State Insurance for car repairs, All State would contract with someone else. There would be no need for an FBI stakeout.

ObamaCare is pushing America down the road to serfdom, but neither its opponents nor advocates seem to have noticed. It is time for civil libertarians in both parties to wake up and strangle it before it strangles what’s left of American freedoms."

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Year in Review

Our Leader's Statistics
Every year is is customary to look back and observe the previous year and see our accomplishments, trials and tribulations. Why not do it for President Obama? So here we go...

  • Speeches = 491 in 2010 - Since taking office: 883

  • News conferences = 27 - Solo White House Press Conferences: 6 ; Since taking office: 69 total, 11 White House.
  • Flights on Air Force One = 172 - Since taking office: 328 (45% of the days in office)

  • Flights on Marine One: 196 - Since taking office: 386

  • Domestic trips: 65 spanning 104 days - Since taking office: 111 spanning 176 days

  • Vacation trips: 6 (32 days) - Since taking office: 10 spanning 58 days

  • Foreign trips: 6 trips to 8 countries = 22 days - Since taking office: 16 trips to 25 countries spanning 70 days.

  • Visits to Camp David: - In 2010: 4 visits, 8 days; Since taking office: 15 visits: 35 days

  • Recreation (not vacations):
    • Golf: 29 rounds in 2010; Since taking office: 57 rounds.
    • Basketball: 20 basketball outings; Since taking office: 28

  • Interviews (including TV shows): 107 in 2010; Since taking office: 254 (35% of the days in office)
You Can Add It Up
Obama loves to be on TV and fly around the world on Air Force One. The reason: He's a narcissist! He also likes vacations (Michelle & the kids too!). Her last trip to Hawaii only cost taxpayers $63,000 just to fly her there - forget her stay there!

While Americans are cutting back, he's enjoying the new privileges of the office. Live it up guys, because things will change in 2012.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Guest Article - Too Much Debt

Balance the Budget Before We Drown in Debt
By AdamHasner of Town Hall Magazine.

"Record annual budget deficits and the mounting national debt – now in excess of $13.8 Trillion - are bankrupting our nation both fiscally and morally. But the resulting dangers from our political leaders' reckless and irresponsible spending now threaten America’s very own security.

As Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen recently noted, “The national debt is the single biggest threat to national security.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton similarly acknowledged that our debt "undermines our capacity to act in our own interest" and "constrain[s] us where constraint may be undesirable."

As our federal government continues to spend money it does not have, financed through foreign borrowing from countries sometimes hostile to our own values and interests, we risk jeopardizing our very own sovereignty as a result of a decreased ability to act on the world stage where needed and appropriate.

From the Tea Party activists to the top U.S. military brass, common sense dictates that the Federal books must be balanced to avoid economic calamity and prevent a weakened standing in the world. Furthermore, there is a growing recognition that this is no longer just a danger for our kids and grandkids to inherit decades from now, but rather it is a clear and present danger.

Americans - of all ages and political stripes - are looking for real leadership from our elected officials in Washington to address the growing threats from our fiscal mess. After all, the future of the country is at stake.

But can we afford to leave our fate - and that of future generations - to the same insiders from Washington to do anything responsible before it is too late?

The only way those in Washington are going to act in the long-term best interests of the country over their own short term interests is if they’re required to do so.

Now is the time to capitalize and build on the current grassroots army of voters throughout the nation and demand that Congress pass a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the United States Constitution and ensure that our elected representatives in state legislatures vote for ratification.

To achieve the goals of this critical effort, a national citizen action group - - is being formed to hold our elected leaders in Washington and state capitals across the country accountable for the passage and ratification of a Balanced Budget Amendment.

As the former Majority Leader of the Florida House of Representatives, I have experienced first hand how a constitutional requirement to balance the budget makes a difference. The past few budget cycles in Tallahassee have been brutal, but the mandate forced us to make tough decisions and more importantly the system worked.

In Florida, as in most other states, passing the buck on balancing the budget is not an option. Watching every taxpayer buck becomes the only option. Passing the BBA will do the same for Washington.

And because 38 states must ratify an Amendment to the Constitution, what happens in our state legislatures will ultimately determine whether the BBA becomes a reality. Therefore, in addition to Congressional action, we must also advance three specific state level actions across the country.

First, we need to demonstrate real voter support for the BBA. This past year in Florida, I co-sponsored the bill to put a BBA referendum question on our statewide ballot. In November, Floridians overwhelmingly approved the measure with 72% of the vote, winning in every county. will be working with state legislators to place similar measures on their state’s 2012 ballots.

Second, will work with state legislators throughout the country to pass official resolutions supporting the BBA and calling on their state’s Congressional delegation to take action. This effort will also reveal which state legislators are prepared to vote in favor of ratifying the BBA and send the message to Congress that if passed, the state legislature has the votes to approve the BBA.

Third, we need to employ all available methods to build an army of thousands of activists in every Congressional district to support’s initiatives. By holding every member of Congress and every State Legislator accountable to support this critical measure, voters will know if their elected officials are prepared to be on the right side of history.

If you saw a loved-one drowning, wouldn’t you act to save them?

Well, America is drowning in debt. The passage and ratification of the BBA is the bold action needed to save us all."