Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rand Paul for liberty Vs "Barack Obama the email reader"

Rand Paul blasts PATRIOT Act Surveillance

"Get a warrant!" 
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor Sunday afternoon as debate wrapped up to reiterate, very, very loudly, his opposition to renewing the mass data collection authorities of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. He had argue with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over Senate procedures first to get permission to speak. McCain, for his part, argued that the increase in terrorism (he said the Middle East is literally burning) is proof that we need Section 215 "more than ever," despite the lack of evidence that the mass collection under Section 215 actually contributed in any successful efforts to halt terrorist attacks . . .
Paul reminded the Senate floor and C-Span viewers, "The head of intelligence agency lied to the American people, and he still works there." And he also reminded the Senate that a federal court has already ruled that Section 215 doesn't actually authorize mass metadata collection about Americans. Paul's position: Want to get records about Americans suspsected of crimes? Get a warrant. Paul is tweeting out some quotes from his speech here . . .

Magna Carta: Eight Centuries of Liberty WSJ

June marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the ‘Great Charter’ that established the rule of law for the English-speaking world. Its revolutionary impact still resounds today, writes Daniel Hannan - Wall Street Journal.   An excerpt . . .

Eight hundred years ago next month, on a reedy stretch of riverbank in southern England, the most important bargain in the history of the human race was struck. I realize that’s a big claim, but in this case, only superlatives will do. As Lord Denning, the most celebrated modern British jurist put it, Magna Carta was “the greatest constitutional document of all time, the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.” . . . 

King John, pressured by English barons, reluctantly signs Magna Carta, the ‘Great Charter,’ on the Thames riverbank, Runnymede, June 15, 1215, as rendered in James Doyle’s ‘A Chronicle of England.’

It was at Runnymede, on June 15, 1215, that the idea of the law standing above the government first took contractual form. King John accepted that he would no longer get to make the rules up as he went along. From that acceptance flowed, ultimately, all the rights and freedoms that we now take for granted: uncensored newspapers, security of property, equality before the law, habeas corpus, regular elections, sanctity of contract, jury trials.
Magna Carta is Latin for “Great Charter.” It was so named not because the men who drafted it foresaw its epochal power but because it was long. Yet, almost immediately, the document began to take on a political significance that justified the adjective in every sense. . .
Magna Carta conceives rights in negative terms, as guarantees against state coercion. No one can put you in prison or seize your property or mistreat you other than by due process. This essentially negative conception of freedom is worth clinging to in an age that likes to redefine rights as entitlements—the right to affordable health care, the right to be forgotten and so on. . . 
It is worth stressing, too, that Magna Carta conceived freedom and property as two expressions of the same principle. The whole document can be read as a lengthy promise that the goods of a free citizen will not be arbitrarily confiscated by someone higher up the social scale. Even the clauses that seem most remote from modern experience generally turn out, in reality, to be about security of ownership. . . .

Sunday, May 24, 2015

President Obama’s Dark Shadows

Years ago, on an earlier version of this BLOG, I wrote that I was “giving up on President Obama.”  Then, and now I find it depressing and really disappointing and sad that Mr. Obama’s interventionist and I believe socialistic approach to “fundamentally transforming America” is so misguided and so destructive. It is no surprise to me that his policies have generated a legacy of failure. The only saving grace for the country is the fact that the Congress has thwarted many of Mr. Obama’s destructive socialistic schemes. Many, but not all . . .

Sadly, Mr. Obama was able to strong-arm the passing of the failed nearly $1T Keynesian stimulus boondoggle bill (how’s that shovel-ready job working out for you?), the ever so destructive Dodd Frank finance “reform” law (can you spell crony?), and the “how can I count the ways it is destroys value” Obama Care debacle (aka “affordable health care act” without a single Republican vote). The economy has been anemic for seven years under the shadow of Obamanomics and the poor and middle class have suffered the most. The United States has assumed more debt under President Obama than was amassed under all of the previous presidents combined. The national debt is now more than $18 trillion and rising.
Speaking of legacies, how’s that key domestic-policy legacy going? Not so hot. ObamaCare remains unpopular; far more Americans oppose than favor it. People still remember the disaster of the October 2013 rollout, which still casts a shadow over the program today.  Those hard feelings were deepened last year by the discovery of a series of talks by key ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber in which he bragged that it had been falsely marketed to the American people to take advantage of their stupidity.” . . .  
In the latest RealClearPolitics polling average, 62% say the country is on the wrong track more than seven years after Obama moved into the White House. - New York Post 
Sadly, Mr. Obama has been able to impose several uber-destructive big-government agenda ancillaries such as the carbon emissions mandate by using his assumed authority over the regulatory agencies (vis “I’ve got a pen and a phone”).  We will suffer for decades from Dodd Frank and the Obama Care mess but hopefully future presidents will undo the damage on the regulatory side.   Mr. Obama’s foreign policy and the middle east in particular is a disaster on steroids.  Anyway you slice it President Obama’s legacy so far is a sorry one at best.

Now the end of his tenure is in sight and President Obama is trying like crazy to beef up his resume, his “legacy.”  His last ditch efforts to “fundamentally change America” (i.e. facilitate a “progressive” movement toward a welfare nanny state) are clouded in dark, socialistic shadows.  I gave up on him years ago. Then, and now I find it depressing and really disappointing and sad that Mr. Obama’s interventionist and I believe socialistic approach to “fundamentally transforming America” has been so misguided and so destructive.

Mark Van Schuyver

Emergency Room Visits Increase Under Obamacare

The Daily Signal.  An excerpt . . .

A majority of physicians report that they have seen an increase in emergency visits since Obamacare went into effect, according to a new poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians.
In a statement, Dr. Michael Gerardi, the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said that “hospitals are hurting.”
“America has severe primary care physician shortages, and many physicians will not accept Medicaid patients because Medicaid pays so inadequately,” Gerardi said. “Just because people have health insurance does not mean they have access to timely medical care.”  - Kate Scanion

The Libertarian Moment is Everywhere Around Us

Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals want to keep the world tightly sorted into two categories that describe fewer and fewer Americans. Excerpt 

Republicans and Democrats are going to do their best to maintain their duopoly in a world where even freaking Pop Tarts come in dozens of varieties . . . 

This sort of enforced dualism is anathema in today's marketplace of goods, services—and ideas. That's especially true with millennials, the single-largest cohort in the country and folks who have grown up in a very different world than the black/white, right/left, Rep/Dem world many of us did. Based on various measures, they are presumed to be in favor of bigger government. Reason's poll of millennials from last year suggests that when millennials are confronted with the cost of providing more services, their enthusiasm for Leviathan declines greatly. - 

Labor board overreach

Labor board overreach - Washington Times An excerpt -

Last month, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), stacked with Democratic appointees loyal to Big Labor, enacted new procedures to govern unionization elections.
The new rules provide union organizers with more personal information (including phone numbers, home and email addresses) to press, prod and harass those employees who want nothing to do with them. It’s not a popular move: National polling shows 85 percent of Americans support employees being able to refuse having their personal information revealed to union organizers.
The new rules provide another wrinkle to make it easier for union solicitors to capture dues-paying members. Under the previous rules, it took an average of 38 days from the filing of an organizing petition to the holding of the election. The new rules shorten the campaign to as few as 13 days. The advantage? Union organizers can quietly lay the groundwork while promising the moon. After the union surfaces with a formal request for a vote, employers will be denied sufficient time to highlight the gap between labor’s promises to deliver on their wish list and business realities. . .  
Full Story

Friday, May 22, 2015

Global Warmin'

Former UN Lead Author: Global Warming Caused By ‘Natural Variations’ In Climate.  An excerpt . . .  

Scientists have had trouble explaining why satellite data shows that average global temperatures have been virtually flat for more than 18 years . . . 

“The magnitude of natural climate variability over the past 1000 years and even the past 100 years is hotly debated,” Curry added. “Personally, I think the role of natural climate variability has been substantially underestimated in our interpretation of recent climate change.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

John Kerry invests millions in fossil fuels. Do as I say. Not as I do . . .

Climate Alarmist John Kerry Invests Massively In Fossil Fuel Stocks - Excerpt

Secretary Kerry personally owned an estimated three to six million dollars in stocks of more than 50 oil and gas-related companies. Records from 2004 show that he’s been constantly and deeply invested in fossil fuels for at least a decade, and is still injecting millions in working capital into the very industries he condemns. What is the public to think of a cabinet-level prophet of climate doom who says one thing and does such another?
The discovery of this stunning hypocrisy emerged from fact checking research by Heartland Institute, after Kerry’s apocalyptic Atlantic Council speech. The finding raised two immediate questions:
How did such a financially vested nominee for Secretary of State get past the conflict of interest tests of the Office of Government Ethics and Senate confirmation? . . . 
Perhaps Kerry steadily pumps capital into oil and gas companies because he knows his rhetoric is deceitful, that climate change is not a crisis, and that the future of global civilization and human survival depends on fossil fuels. Perhaps he knows full well that the outcome of Obama’s energy policy will be to drive humanity into chaos that wrecks the Earth itself. . . - Heartland Institute

Monday, May 18, 2015

21st Century Socialism is So Much Better

Venezuela's Inflation Rate Is 200% and Credit Card Companies Are Cashing In - Excerpt

"Venezuela’s economic collapse is driving factories out of business, leaving store shelves barren and wiping out workers’ purchasing power.  MasterCard Inc. is doing just fine. Two powerful forces are pushing Venezuelans to rely increasingly on credit cards amid the chaos: runaway inflation and soaring crime." - Yahoo Finance  

Venezuela Inflation Seen Pushing 200% as Rationing Deepens  - Excerpt

Venezuela, which already has the world’s fastest inflation rate at a reported 69 percent in December, could see that rate more than double this year as it struggles to respond to falling oil prices.
“We may end up this year with inflation at close to 200 percent,” Alberto Ades, co-head of global economics research at Bank of America, said in an interview on Bloomberg Surveillance Friday. He forecast the economy would shrink 4 percent. “Venezuela is in a dire crisis.” - Bloomberg Business

Amazingly, Maduro Is Going To Make The Venezuelan Economy Even Worse. Yes, Worse  - Excerpt

There’s a useful point often made that when you’re at the bottom of a hole the sensible thing is to stop digging. That politics doesn’t work this way we know, almost every politician preferring to double down on their own prejudices rather than take note of reality and what the universe is trying to tell her. But it is rare to see true howling lunacy in action in politics, despite the sort of people who become politicians. Perhaps because we in the rich countries never do allow the true drooling incompetents to take power: or perhaps more realistically we never allow anyone to have enough power to destroy our economy.

I do not say that Maduro drools, nor howls, nor even that he’s a lunatic, but he is doubling down on a remarkably incompetent piece of public policy. . .
- Forbes

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Obamacare Exchanges collapse in seven states costing taxpayers millions more

This just in.  “Despite over $205 million in federal taxpayer funding, Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange website will soon shut down.  Since its implementation, the exchange has somehow failed to become financially viable because of lower than expected Obamacare enrollment figures. . . . Unfortunately, taxpayers will have to hand out an additional 30 million so that  Hawaii can migrate to the federal system.”  American’s for Tax Reform  I am shocked.  Shocked!

Hawaii is not the only state-wide Obamacare exchange to fail. The Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico, and Nevada Obamacare exchanges have already collapsed costing tax payers millions and millions more. Any way that you slice it the collapse of so many state exchanges is yet another major failure of the Obama Care law. I am shocked.  Shocked!  

But how could this be happening? The Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare) was supposed to bend the cost curve and usher in a new era of, well affordable health care.  Obamacare should be working, we are told, because it puts the Federal Government squarely in control of a massive percentage of the health care system thus creating a giant, centrally planned, bureaucratically operated, politically motivated system that takes hard earned money from tax payers and gives it to politicians and their special interest cronies (e.g. insurance companies).  

 How could it fail?  I’m just shocked. Shocked! Really I am (not).

 – Mark Van Schuyver

Privitize Amtrak!

"Amtrak has consumed almost $40 billion in federal subsidies since 1971, but has never earned a profit, and most of its routes lose money running empty trains. In addition, federal reports reveal that Amtrak regularly loses tens of millions of dollars on food sales and improper payments." - Washington Times

Amtrak wastes millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars annually and judging by the number of people killed and injured this week I am guessing that it has safety issues.  Why should this be a surprise?  Amtrak is a government controlled entity. It has no competition. It operates in a politicized, subsidized, government bubble. Amtrak is ObamaCare on rails. No matter how much waste, corruption, and death Amtrak delivers no taxpayer will be left behind when it comes to pouring good money after bad into this poster child of government bureaucratic waste.

I say, privatize Amtrak. Eliminate all the government subsidies, handouts, oversight, price controls, intervention, and barriers to competition. Allow Amtrak to succeed or fail based on the value it can create for society rather than on the profit it currently creates for politicians and special interests. Take Amtrak away from self-serving bureaucrats and let it compete with other forms of transportation on a level playing field.  Private sector competition will force Amtrak to lead the way to safer, more efficient, and innovative transportation in the service of society or or else get out of the way for someone who will.

Mark Van Schuyver

Friday, May 15, 2015

Climate change propaganda is simply a ruse for a socialist agenda

Walter Williams on Global Warming. An excerpt . . .

"Climate change propaganda is simply a ruse for a socialist agenda. Consider the statements of some environmentalist leaders. Christiana Figueres, the U.N.'s chief climate change official, said that her unelected bureaucrats are undertaking "probably the most difficult task" they have ever given themselves, "which is to intentionally transform the (global) economic development model." 
In 2010, German economist and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change official Ottmar Edenhofer said, "One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy." The article in which that interview appeared summarized Edenhofer's views this way: "Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. ... The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world's resources will be negotiated."
The most disgusting aspect of the climate change debate is the statements by many that it's settled science. There is nothing more anti-scientific than the idea that any science is settled. Very often we find that the half-life of many scientific ideas is about 50 years. For academics to not criticize their colleagues and politicians for suggesting that scientific ideas are not subject to challenge is the height of academic dishonesty. . ." - Walter Williams

No surprise, Kansas benefits from tax cuts

Unemployment has dropped to 4.2% from 5.5% in 2013, and wages and job growth are steadily climbing. Wall Street Journal


• In March 2013, unemployment in Kansas stood at 5.5%. It has since dropped to 4.2%, tied for 14th lowest in the country.
• From 1998-2012, Kansas ranked 38th in private-sector job growth, according Bureau of Labor Statistics data crunched by the Kansas Policy Institute. In 2013—the first year after the tax reform—the state climbed to 27th place, and in 2014 it moved to 21st, placing it in the top half of states.
• In the second half of 2014, hourly wages in Kansas grew 3.5%, according to BLS data, far faster than the national average of 1.9%. . .
“I just think Kansas City is a great study,” the governor says. “This is an unusual place, where you’ve got a city virtually equally divided between two states.” The results? Over the past two calendar years, private-sector jobs increased by 5.6% on the Kansas side and only 2.2% on the Missouri. In the same period hourly wages grew $1.22 on the Kansas side, compared with $0.61 on the Missouri side.

Restore the Fourth

"What's wrong with bulk collection? The warrant issued by the FISA court that authorizes bulk collection is known as a general warrant. A general warrant does not name a person or place, but authorizes the bearer to search wherever he wishes and seize whatever he finds. General warrants were a tool of colonial repression used by the king prior to the American Revolution. They were issued by secret courts in London. They were so loathed by the Framers that they are expressly forbidden by the Fourth Amendment. . . "  Full article