Blog Archives

Why the Obama Administration is not the Stasi

big barryThe Obama Administration is not the Stasi. After all, the Stasi notoriously created a nation-state of informants.

Instead of pesky informants, the Obama Administration prefers the “hoovering” of all electronic data, foreign and domestic, as well as the use of drones to spy on the citizenry. (And what does a drone do in such cases? It’s one of a million surveillance cameras, only it’s in the sky instead of on the ground.)

But rest assured, Barack “The Surveiller” Obama has made the determination with regards to your privacy and these programs are well worth the intrusion into every corner of the American life. It’s a small price to pay.

(The problem isn’t that these things are illegal; the problem is that they are legal.)

Send lawyers, drones, and money. It’s for your own good.

The corruption of language… and the truth

The disconnect between what people say and the truth has arguably never been larger.

Leading the way, at the moment, is James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence. He’s the guy who said the national surveillance state was “not wittingly” collecting data on Americans. Clapper could easily have offered to answer the question truthfully in a closed hearing or to take a question for the record, both of which are done all the time with Congress, but he didn’t. Instead, he lied and it’s far more reasonable to assume that all your electronic transactions are being catalogued, correlated, and characterized by both industry and government.

Then there’s the President who falsely said Congress had been “fully briefed on these [surveillance] programs” when they hadn’t. Why would the President say such a thing? Easy: it’s a habit. He wants to 1) blame others and 2) avoid uncomfortable problems. Yes, misery loves company. The President, lacking credibility, also mechanically reoffered the standard “I welcome this debate” throwaway line as it regards the depth and breadth of the surveillance state. He welcomes no such thing.

Meanwhile, the NSA’s “industry partners” craft careful statements which imply no knowledge of government data calls while avoiding the unpleasant reality that they’re gathering all sorts of your information and are doing their very best to exploit their haul while also handing it off to the feds.

The Administration’s actions have shown they do not welcome transparency of any sort, except as it concerns crowing about victories and success stories, even when this crowing compromises national security. Mr. Obama says the global war on terror is over, even as the government’s GWOT actions continue unabated and intrusions into the lives of the citizenry expand.

And of course, White House spokesman Jay Carney is an entire case study unto himself.

Discrimination from the IRS is said to be caused by a pair of rogue agents in Cincinnati while in reality it was a big (88 people, so far; expect more), Washington DC-driven (that is, it was a top-down effort) initiative, in every way.

The Senate is working on “comprehensive immigration reform” which most Americans would rightly call amnesty. The usual suspects, both liberal and pseudo-conservative, demand Republican participation (that is, voting for amnesty) or else they say conservatives will face extinction.

Finally, the Benghazi security debacle was spontaneously caused by a YouTube video until that lie could not be sustained.

Regardless of the President’s protestations of innocence, most people know and accept that this fish rots from the head (and not from the tail). Similarly, the people of Russia, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba, Egypt, China, Turkey, et al., know of these—and even more rotten—things. Maybe that’s why sales of one particular edition of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four have gone up almost 10000 percent since the confirmation of the great American surveillance state.

The real lesson is simple… and sad. Americans are being deceived and mislead with malice and forethought and on a level once thought impossible, or even absurd. Why? To further an agenda of power and control. So instead of watching what they say—the “they” being the politicos and their courtiers—let’s resolve ourselves to watch what they do. And as required, to fight it.

Legal versus Constitutional (and does it matter?)

When the time is right—whenever that may be—expect another major media drop on America’s surveillance state, which has been much described as a legal endeavor which is well worth its modest privacy encroachment. In the meantime, the Administration appears to be working hard in order to get out in front of the likely media release:

… Michael Hayden told TPM yesterday that the NSA probably knows by now exactly what data Snowden has in his possession and therefore what leaks are still to come. Maybe that forced the agency to reveal more than they initially wanted to in their briefings this week with Congress: If they withheld something and then the world found out thanks to Snowden,, a lot of angry senators and representatives would want to know why they were kept in the dark.

(Nine tech companies have already been tagged as Prism players, so will the outrage go off scale when we find out about the rumored 50 participants?)

So even if this is all legal, does anyone think just because a law is in place, it’s congenitally Constitutional, desirable, justified, supported, and/or necessary?

(And what are we to think when someone, say a chief justice in a 5-4 ruling, turns himself into a political pretzel in ruling on Barack Obamacare in order to avoid being tarred as “political”?)

An obvious truth is no one believes the executive branch, the legislature, and the judiciary always get things right. After all, not even the President, the very face of the government leviathan, believes this, witness his outrage—staged or real—with regard to Citizens United.

So the lesson, assuming there is one, can be reduced to this: our government is composed of flawed people who make flawed decisions based on… what? The time of day, self-interest, glycemic level, mood, eternal truths, expediency, and naked politics all come to mind. But the more resources the government controls and the less transparent their activities, the greater the opportunity for misbehavior, whether great or small.

And since many view the Constitution as a mere guide, which is “living and breathing,” does it really matter a source of truth?

The oath of office requires the individual to practice fidelity to the Constitution. So if the Constitution is in a constant state of redefinement, what is the individual really honoring?

And in the end, who should be trusted to run our lives, the ruling class (that is, the vast government bureaucracy like the IRS, the Justice Department, the surveillance state, etc.) or its citizens?

IMHO, Bill Buckley has never looked more prescient.

Is the NSA cure worse than the disease?

So beyond the practice of having the federal government track and characterize your calls,  watch your credit card transactions, and scrutinize everything you do on line, can we talk about the real issue at hand? That is, is the government’s cure to terrorism (and a great many other things) worse than the disease?

While our current President has decided for our benefit that a near-total loss of privacy for the ruled is a small price to pay, others—those losing their privacy—might feel quite differently.

Sadly, the decider and his handlers (since the whole thing is classified), point out they’d welcome a “conversation” about government eavesdropping except that it’s classified to begin with and therefore can’t be discussed. Ironically, expect the news on the surveillance state to now dribble out from within the Administration in a way that’s leaked to benefit their agenda. (Unless some in the media already have a large data dump on the surveillance state queued up and  ready to hit the fan.)

There’s speculation about the motives of NSA super-leaker Edward Snowden just as there’s angst, gnashing of teeth, and pretzel logic from the über partisans who are now defending the agenda and practices of the current president which are those of the previous president, writ extra large.

In the meantime, the welfare/security/surveillance-state warning light is illuminated steadily. Will the President take any meaningful action to enhance the privacy of the citizenry or will he keep things on auto-pilot as we continue down our slippery glide-slope?

All signs point towards auto-pilot; auto-pilot helps sustain the power and control agenda of the ruling class.

Let us all seek Booz

The myth surrounding JFK was called Camelot. The reality of the Obama kingdom may be called Scamalot and it’s enough to drive one to drink.(Scanalot would also be acceptable description of the President’s kingdom, but in total, it’s less comprehensive and therefore, less accurate.)

Yes, as it regards life in America as a government worker (or a government-industrial complex worker), it’s enough to make one seek Booz. That is Booz, as in employment at Booz Allen Hamilton. From Slate:

According to the Guardian, [leakmeister/whistleblower Edward] Snowden is a 29-year-old high school dropout who trained for the Army Special Forces before an injury forced him to leave the military. His IT credentials are apparently limited to a few “computer” classes he took at a community college in order to get his high school equivalency degree—courses that he did not complete. His first job at the NSA was as a security guard. Then, amazingly, he moved up the ranks of the United States’ national security infrastructure: The CIA gave him a job in IT security. He was given diplomatic cover in Geneva. He was hired by Booz Allen Hamilton, the government contractor, which paid him $200,000 a year to work on the NSA’s computer systems.

Let’s note what Snowden is not: He isn’t a seasoned FBI or CIA investigator. He isn’t a State Department analyst. He’s not an attorney with a specialty in national security or privacy law.

Instead, he’s the IT guy, and not a very accomplished, experienced one at that.

Chances are the government was paying Booz around $500K per year to have Snowden support them.

And the block quote from Slate calls to mind another not very accomplished, experienced person, our very own Dear Reader, ruler of Scamalot. (Dear Reader may be credentialed, but that’s not the same as accomplished or experienced.)

Hey, the truth may hurt, but it’s still the truth.

In the meantime, get used to life under the all-knowing eye—although not yet the thumb—of  our Emperor. (And also get used to guys like Snowden—or worse guys—having the keys to the kingdom.)

A post-Prism world

What sorts of things might happen given the super surveillance state revelations (FISA orders, Prism, Boundless Informant, et al)? Here’s a partial list:

  • Lawsuits.
  • More cash transactions.
  • Increased use of private encryption (which may already be futile).
  • A massive fall-off in on-line porn.
  • Unfocused pushback (with tightly focused disgust) against a government Americans clearly aren’t in control of.
  • Tech companies become the new big oil/big tobacco/big retailer/big pharma, only less trustworthy.
  • Legislative calls for on-line privacy.
  • Realization that “on-line privacy” is an oxymoron.
  • More politically targeted IRS audits.
  • Government mandates cloud-only computing. “After considering all things, I’ve decided it’s worth it for you,” Mr. Obama says.
  • The United States becomes a nation people seek refuge from.

The last item on the list (but not necessarily chronologically) is your forehead gets bar coded and you get an RFID implant. (Or in lieu of that, you have your cell phone on and with you at all times. There’s little basic difference.)

Seeking solutions instead of blame

Let’s acknowledge the very uncomfortable truth: most of us are unwilling participants in a massive government-industrial surveillance experiment that would cause stalker-envy in the Stasi.

On the government side, the President falls back on legalisms (“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls”) while ignoring the fact that hardware, software, and/or people are tracking and recording information from your calls, your travels, your credit card purchases, your e-mails and files, your photographs, your bills, your voice over internet calls, and more. While Mr. Obama may not technically be lying, he’s intending to deceive. Similarly, he doesn’t want any discussion on how the government’s surveillance laws are interpreted and he prefers, once again, to throw down his well-used “trust me” card.

But the “trust me” card isn’t a viable play when the reservoir of trust has run dry.

On the industry side, the internet-based companies participating in Prism (there’s also the Boundless Informant program) offer a similar treatment: tightly worded denials that are intended to mislead. And they do so with the top cover of plausible deniability and secrecy provided by (and required by) the government. (The recurring use of the phrase no “direct access to our servers” suggests the government may have participated in drafting press releases.) And chances are, we’re just starting to find out about the depth and breadth of the government-industrial surveillance complex.

But in time, the government-industrial surveillance complex is likely to become less an issue of public outrage and more of a political ‘Who can we blame?’ issue. Even before this disgrace, the President knew his “Catastrophic Presidency Fail Light” had been illuminated steadily, so his position is simple: say Congress was all briefed (Congress disagrees), the judges all signed off, and therefor assert the program is all neatly legal.

Indeed, it may be so, but legal does not mean the surveillance state is just, proper, moral, ethical, beneficial, justified, or warranted. Those who were in the know in Congress are taking their cues from Mr. Obama and are falling back on the claim to legality, rubberstamped as it appears to be be.

So is there a solution to what appears to be a national intent-to-deceive on an unprecedented scale? A first step is to move from depression to acceptance. There are things that can be done and doing nothing would be a poor choice.

Like Soylent Green, our government (the IRS, the State Department, the Justice Department, the NSA, etc.) is made up of people. And all people are flawed, fallen creatures even as our federal government has long blown past the marginal benefits (arguable as they are) that we are said to receive. The conclusion now seems obvious: an ever bigger government creates ever bigger problems and ever bigger unintended consequences. This seems to be true whether government is promising to keep you safe (often, from yourself), employed, well-regulated, healthy, fed, educated, funded in retirement, or whatever else unkeepable promises may have been made, explicit or implicit.

If these things are true, it would seem the real solution to the government-industrial surveillance complex is to make the government smaller. (Industrial surveillance is another issue altogether.)

But how—exactly—do we make government smaller? It isn’t that hard; in fact, it’s simple.

When the government is overfunded (from both taxpayer contributions and debt), it is in a position to do too much, which as we’ve seen throughout history, isn’t a good thing. This happens even as government itself says, “Whatever we’re getting, it isn’t enough. Nor will it ever be so.”

Ergo, consider the words of the wise man who said, “If it ain’t funded, it ain’t.”

Be a Christian, lose your job

You’d have to be willfully blind to fail to understand that Big Brother—whether in America or overseas—in time and unless otherwise constrained, will use its full force to restrict freedom and suppress “incorrect” thoughts.

In this example, its religious freedom that’s being constrained and not-pro-homosexual thoughts that must be suppressed. It’s from The Guardian and is regarding three Christians who had their appeals rejected by the legal bureaucrats of the European court of human rights:

Chaplin, 57, a geriatrics nurse from Exeter, was moved to an administrative job after she refused to take off a crucifix around her neck. Her case was rejected in January on the grounds that such an instruction was necessary for hygiene and the safety of patients and staff.

Ladele, 52, a local authority registrar, was disciplined by Islington council in London for refusing to conduct civil partnership ceremonies, while McFarlane, 51, a Bristol relationship counsellor, was dismissed by the charity Relate for saying he might object to assisting same-sex couples.

Would the legal bureaucracy have ruled the same way had the complainants been Muslim? While the answer to that question is Impossible to know, it’s easy to imagine a different outcome.

Europe’s bureaucratic secular humanists are perhaps hoping the Islamists will come for them last.

The IRS is just the tip of the Leviathan’s iceberg

The IRS scandal has shown that regulations—and the selective implementation of these regulations—is just as big a threat to freedom, and perhaps more, than mere idiotic legislation.

Proof comes from the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Ten Thousand Commandments which is subtitled An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State:

Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars annually over and above the official federal outlays that dominate policy debate.

… The Anti-Democracy Index, the ratio of regulations issued by agencies relative to laws passed by Congress and signed by the president, stood at 29 for 2012. Specifically, 127 laws were passed in calendar year 2012, whereas 3,708 rules were issued. This disparity highlights a substantial delegation of lawmaking power to unelected agency officials.

There’s far more. While It’s enlightening to read the whole thing; it’s essential to read the Executive Summary.

In Obamaland, the fish rots from the tail

barack newman“The buck stops there,” is the underlying message President Obama’s myriad mouthpieces are pushing. Or translated into Biden-speak, “Yes, he don’t.”

The HHS fundraising scandal? An underling who didn’t first seek permission to shakedown industry.

Benghazi? Well, maybe mistakes were made… but not at the White House.

Tapping the AP’s phone lines? You’ll have to talk to Justice about that.

The IRS targeting conservative groups? An isolated event involving only a few people.

In Obamaland, with the President’s policy goal of all government all the time, the fish rots from the tail and not the head.

Too Big To Fail: first think government, then banks

Weeping and gnashing of teeth regarding TBTF banks is all the rage. Especially with the revelation that JPMorgan was additionally TBTBT (too big to be truthful) on its way to losing over six billion dollars:

Details of JPMorgan Chase’s multibillion-dollar trading loss — brought to light by a riveting and devastating report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations — demonstrate what a sham that is. Bankers aren’t acting cautious and chastened. Risk managers aren’t in the ascendance on Wall Street. Regulators remain their duped and docile selves.

[Snip]

The bank’s risk managers defended the traders and pooh-poohed the flashing red signals. The bank gave incorrect information to its regulator. Top executives then made misleading statements to shareholders and the public. All the while, the regulator served its typical role of house pet.

It’s great to have a house pet when it’s supposed to be a house pet; not so great when the house pet is supposed to be a regulator.

Similarly, it’s great to have a riveting and devastating report, but will the Senate take any action—which works—to change TBTF? Like making the TBTF banks quit playing with house (taxpayer) money when they lose? Consider a minor variation on the old rule: subsidize risk and you’ll get more of it…

The fact that TBTF is a wicked problem with no solution on the horizon means that legislators are unwilling to consider an issue with far more profound implications, our TBTF federal government.

We now have a federal government that’s literally (not Biden-speak) creating money from thin air (well, from electronic transactions), a government that will be absolutely unable to fulfill its safety-net promises (without rationing, massive inflation, default, and eventually, all three), and a government which is approaching full-fail mode on national security, respecting private property, and the rule of law, that is, the Constitution.

In the meantime, we have an army of political posers like Dianne Feinstein and her bureaucratic enablers who manage to tie up the Senate for days on end on ‘assault weapons’ (isn’t every weapon, by its nature, an ‘assault weapon’?). And when all’s said and done, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t even include Feinstein’s legislation in the basic bill. (Begin sarcasm font) But that’s OK because the bill itself is unlikely to ever see the light of day for a Senate-level vote, regardless. (Close sarcasm font)

As it regards our TBTF government, the solution is simple. Houston, we have a spending problem. (And as it regards our TBTF banks, the issue is one of risk and accountability and not spending.)

Obama’s gold watch

obama fail 4The oldest practice in the federal budgeting process is to quit funding someone else’s “gold watch” in order to try and force others in government to cough up the money.

Hypothetical example: the Air Force says it will not request funding for a GPS launch due to other unexpected mission requirements… perhaps increased ops tempo (and spending) on drone operations.

(This assumes the Air Force has a cap on the funding it can request—it does—and their story and they’re sticking to it is this: That launch sadly fell just a bit below the line.)

Hypothetical consequence: the Department of Defense adds in the funding needed for the launch because GPS has (in effect) become all things to all peoples at all times.

Real world example: President Obama pounds his shoe on the table—to a roaring silence—in response to miniscule cuts to the rate of government growth also known as “the sequester.”

As a result, Dear Reader makes a gold watch, the USS Truman, “unavailable” for a Persian Gulf deployment, hoping that the Congress will cave and add-back the sequester reductions.

Real world consequence: Congress stands its ground and Obama loses credibility as the world fails to end and the sky fails to fall; the public learns Obama is willing to play politics with national security.

The President’s posturing on the sequester is nothing but cheap and transparent political theater. As a result of the Obama-approved approved sequestration—he was for it before he was against it—it’s now possible the nation will see that unending government growth as a source of our woes and not the solution to the same. This could be an interesting “unintended consequence” of the President’s lack of honesty on the problem of massive government spending.

Obamaworld: Total Information Awareness program on Steroids, EPO, and Growth Hormone

Isn’t it interesting that when the Total Information Awareness program was shut down, it was due to a great media outcry over devious government intrusion, spying, and constitutional violations?

And now that things have gotten far worse… crickets. (Crickets, at least as compared to the outrage TIA generated.)

Or to summarize: four legs good, two legs Bush (and also consider that some Presidents are more equal than others).

The bumper-sticker summary of what’s going on:

The [new record-gathering] rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them…

Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others…

The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own…

“It’s breathtaking” in its scope, said a former senior administration official familiar with the White House debate.

But to paraphrase from Some Like It Hot, aren’t there laws, conventions, and traditions against such things? There are, but they’re toothless (and ignored).

…the Federal Privacy Act allows agencies to exempt themselves from many requirements by placing notices in the Federal Register, the government’s daily publication of proposed rules. In practice, these privacy-act notices are rarely contested by government watchdogs or members of the public. “All you have to do is publish a notice in the Federal Register and you can do whatever you want,” says Robert Gellman, a privacy consultant who advises agencies on how to comply with the Privacy Act.

obeyBroncobama wants us to have personal freedom and to keep the government out of our bedrooms homes. Surely he would never lead America down such an Orwellian path… would he?

To fix problems like these that had cropped up since the [2009 underwear-bomber] Abdulmutallab incident, NCTC proposed the major expansion of its powers that would ultimately get debated at the March meeting in the White House. It moved to ditch the requirement that it discard the innocent-person data. And it asked for broader authority to troll for patterns in the data.

Well, it’s all for our own good, right? And it makes us safer… right? (Emphasis added.)

At the Department of Justice, Chief Privacy Officer Nancy Libin raised concerns about whether the guidelines could unfairly target innocent people, these people said. Some research suggests that, statistically speaking, there are too few terror attacks for predictive patterns to emerge. The [real] risk, then, is that innocent behavior gets misunderstood—say, a man buying chemicals (for a child’s science fair) and a timer (for the sprinkler) sets off false alarms.

An August government report indicates that, as of last year, NCTC wasn’t doing predictive pattern-matching.

So we’re left with this question: why does the Obama Administration spy on its citizens? The answer is it’s for the very same reason the Administration pursues its other failing progressive (progressive is code for totalitarian) policies. Because it can.

Watch what they do AND what they say

By its actions, the Obama Administration is clearly interested in tearing down the traditional ethics and institutions that made America great.

Homosexual marriage? Obama is (now) for it; natural families are so 20th century. Hard work and individual success? You didn’t build that. Voter fraud? Obama is still for it (and against military voters). Destroying the Bill Clinton-era welfare reform? The imperial Barry Oh! is all-in on taking and then giving away other people’s money (as long as it doesn’t hurt Obama’s Hollywood ATM or other favored constituencies).

But tearing down traditional Americanism for what purpose (other than to simply tear it down/watch it burn)?

There is only one explanation that makes any sense—the Administration and its front-man are in it to remake America into their desired vision, one no longer constrained by antiquated ideas like the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

This America would be ruled by an (asserted to be) wise, loving, and benevolent government matriarch who will possess an all-powerful ability to settle squabbles, reallocate allowances, assign chores, and determine what can and can’t be said at the supper table (or anywhere else). Uncle Sam gives way to Big Brother who becomes Big Mother.

While history indicates this type of vision results in national or even global level fails—think world wars and national socialism, communism, and today’s slow-motion fail or soft-state socialism AKA the welfare state—these lessons of history are explained away by the President and his surrogates with made-up “composites,” unprovable assertions (or outright lies), and vapid logic.

And the truth? The Administration would say truth is just a construct for the powerful to suppress the weak (and since they hold political power… oh, it would be too much typing).

But I believe the truth, real truth, is still here, available to all of us. And it isn’t in the form of a government…

Why we need more government

bailoutThe call for ever-more government is compelling, assuming you’re into crony capitalism, venture communism, and the privatization of profit and the socialization of risk.

And America’s misnamed “elites,” especially the left, seem to be into all these things. Why? In order to transfer money and power to those the government chooses to reward. After all, who could know more than the elites?

But even the paper of record for all things government can’t deny the real truth in a review of Neil Barofsky’s new book Bailout.

Government officials, he [Barofsky] says, eagerly served Wall Street interests at the public’s expense…

Barofsky was the special investigator for TARP, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (or as it’s more commonly described, “the troubled TARP program”).

“The suspicions that the system is rigged in favor of the largest banks and their elites, so they play by their own set of rules to the disfavor of the taxpayers who funded their bailout, are true,” Mr. Barofsky said in an interview last week. “It really happened. These suspicions are valid.”

The solution to the problem, any problem, has become more government intervention. Psychotic college student goes on murderous rampage? Gun control and more homeland security. Healthcare cost too high? Legislate—and simply declare—that it’ll be cheaper. Too many fat people as determined by government bureaucrats? Deem Big Gulps to be illegal. And regarding other legislation?

Mr. Barofsky’s assessment of his former regulatory brethren is crucial for taxpayers to understand, because Congress’s financial reform act — the Dodd-Frank legislation — left so much of the heavy lifting to the weak-kneed.

“So much of what’s wrong with Dodd-Frank is it trusts the regulators to be completely immune to the corrupting influences of the banks,” he said in the interview. “That’s so unrealistic. Congress has to take a meat cleaver to these banks and not trust regulators to do the job with a scalpel.”

Of course, that assessment assumes Congress can be trusted with a meat cleaver; Dodd-Frank was written when Dems controlled everything. While the 2010 elections improved the House, the Senate still can’t be trusted with anything sharper than a marble.

I don’t know when the cumulative detrimental effects caused by our government began, but we’re well into the decline and our suffering is great.

C’mon November!

Obama lies, Americans die

If it’s free, it’s for me

It seems we are currently governed by those who feel there really is a free lunch. That is, they fail to grasp the simple fact that, at the end of the day, someone has to pay. Yes, lunch may be free for me, but ultimately, someone is paying. Something that can’t be continued forever—like a Ponzi scheme—won’t.

With that past as prologue set-up, what are the Administration lies regarding Obamacare? Let us count the ways.

Lie number one: it’s not a tax. Reality: it is a tax. That’s why the IRS is hiring and why across ten years, Obamacare will cost Americans an extra $400 billion dollars. And by the time the dust settles (and since Obamacare is backloaded), chances are the tax will be far higher than a mere $400B; the government—and those that are paid by the government—are generally terrible at cost estimating. See space shuttle, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and California for examples.

Lie number two: you can keep your old plan. Reality: it depends how you define old plan. Regardless, expect your old plan to be worsened in terms of care provided and know that it will cost more. Perhaps the SCOTUS will rule you can keep your old plan—even if it’s substantively changed—thereby making it so (see doublespeak).

Lie number three: nothing is going to change. Reality: costs, and therefore, care provided per dollar will worsen. As Jim Powell at Forbes reports, “Starting in 2013, there will be an Obamacare tax on medical devices such as intra-uterine devices, artificial hips, heart pacemakers, breast implants, coronary stents, ear tubes, traumatic fracture repair devices and artificial eye lenses for people with severe cataract problems.” The rule of thumb (all else being equal) is tax something and people will buy less of it.

Lie number four: it’s an issue of fairness. Reality: 75% of the added costs will be borne by Americans making less than $120,000 per year.

The result? Unless the leviathan called Obamacare is rolled-back, the American people, writ large, will experience increased suffering and will live less full lives. And most will pay more to do so.

Obamacare: from the Administration that brought you hits like Fast & Furious, Solyndra, Nuclear Iran, Government Motors and Spiderman 3 the Musical (just kidding—I think—on the last one).

What explains the Roberts Obamacare decision?

Yes, just what does explain the Roberts Obamacare decision?

While the effect of his epilepsy meds have been hypothesized, a far simpler explanation would be that Roberts was worried about his legacy and caved to the pressure.

“I think he [Roberts] was determined to try to uphold some key parts of the law, if he could find a way, partly because…he has grown concerned about the public perception that his Court is a partisan-driven Court.”

He has grown concerned about the public perception is disconcerting. After all is the law king or is public perception king? Still, without public support, regardless of our founding documents—think prohibition—can any law possibly fulfill its intended purpose?

Some think the Court’s decision bodes well for conservative causes (and actually, Obamacare will not survive, regardless; based on higher costs and worsening healthcare outcomes, socialized medicine Obamacare is certain to be an epic, if slow-motion, fail).

Conservatives understand the patience requisite for the politics of democracy — the politics of persuasion. Elections matter most; only they can end Obamacare. But in Roberts’s decision, conservatives can see that the court has been persuaded to think more as they do about the constitutional language that has most enabled the promiscuous expansion of government.

For today, finding a conservative “silver-lining” in the Court’s rulings seems a bit like digging through the manure pile with the knowledge a pony has to be in there somewhere.

Got Government Dependency?

Johnny Cash, in the Shel Silverstein penned song A Boy Named Sue, sang of an absentee father who gave his son a girl’s name in order to toughen him. The father—otherwise a degenerate scumbag—viewed the act as a way to help prepare his son for dealing with the world.

As opposed to Sue’s father, government wants federal programs to ensure your teeth are flossed (and did you get enough vegetables today? Exercise?), to read you an approved secular bed-time story, and in all other ways delay your entrance to adulthood/the real world.

In other words, Uncle Sam wants to be your father and mother. But since fathers aren’t really needed in a postmodern world, Uncle Sam wants to be your mother. Yet, because the family itself is archaic, let’s say government wants to be your benevolent caretaker.

As many of these federal desires are somewhat impractical, government has decided to instead give out “free” things (healthcare, food stamps, cash vouchers, other handouts, etc.) and manage the rest, in what seems to be a reflection of cumulative government guilt (guilt for what reason remains unknown) or a patronizing act of power preservation (you don’t need to learn how to cut your meat or tie your shoes; let the government do that for you).

However, because the government cannot create value, the “free” part of their free initiatives are paid for by taxpayers or is financed by government debt.

Government, having succeeded in creating perhaps well-intentioned but clearly destructive social and economic programs in the forms of public housing, food stamps, non-competitive public schools, housing loans for the unqualified, abortions, Indian reservations, bailouts of all sorts, green “jobs,” subsidized illegitimacy, sanctioned gambling, and more, now feels the need to create still more dependency as it regards health care.

The attempt to satisfy this need for an ever more dependent populace is seen in the Administration’s cartoonish The Life of Julia effort. The conclusion a woman is supposed to draw is this: Uncle Obama is there to cut you a check, have someone tell you (or your child) to floss, take care of your contraception needs, and he hopes to someday have a government employee come by and read you that story.

I, for one, don’t really want a government storyteller. And we’ve already been told enough fairy tales.

Dana Loesch at Big Government (has there ever been a more appropriately named site?) provides an awe-inducing take down of the dependence thesis as delivered by the Administration’s Julia campaign. Loesch points out the Julia campaign infantilizes women, seeks to force them towards the security of the state, and in effect says Your life is too complicated to handle yourself. Why don’t you leave it to us?

It’s nothing more than an effort to scare women into yet more government dependency and to once again place government closer to the controlling center of all aspects of one’s life. Given the trend-line we’re on, soon freedom will have to be redefined. I’ll offer this as a starter: freedom—the acts of an individual providing service to that which is benevolent, that who grants rights, rights wrongs, makes the difficult less difficult, and always has your best interest at heart.

…I knew you’d have to get tough or die…

Liberals and Conservation

Can you think of a liberal who doesn’t want conservation as it concerns the environment and energy? You know: reduce, reuse, recycle, and all that.

Within reason, such ideas are all well and good…within reason. But when the cost exceeds the benefit, such proposals are no longer within reason.

However, can you think of a liberal who is in favor of conservation as it pertains to government?

Instead—as it pertains to liberals and government—the answer to the question, any question, is the opposite of conversation. The answer is always more: more government, more rules, more bureaucracy, more entitlements, more “rights.” More is the left’s version of Drill, Baby, Drill.

In the liberal mind, even a reduction in the rate of growth is a reduction and must be fought fang and claw. Little wonder we never close the deal on actual reductions in the size, cost, and scope of government even as this Leviathan endangers our very way of life.