Saturday, June 30, 2012

Maybe the Light at the End of the Tunnel... an oncoming train, after all.  <Sigh>  I just KNEW I shouldn't have taken vacation.

Don't get me wrong,  I had a great time.  I unplugged completely from the 24hr news cycle.  We went fishing, both fresh and offshore deep sea.  We spent a day at Busch Gardens park in Tampa.  We went down to the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, FL and actually made money!  In addition, we went out to eat in two very nice restaurants (one Italian and the other a steakhouse).  An entire week with no depressing news, no politics, nothing but good friends and good times.  And then......

Let me get this straight.  The usual swing vote, Justice Kennedy, surprised everyone with his vote aligning with the conservative wing of the Court.  He even went so far as to claim that the ACA was unconstitutional in it's entirety!  No one saw that coming.  Then, in an even more startling development, "conservative" Chief Justice John Roberts engages in sophistry and semantic exercises to create a basis for the court to uphold the ACA by classifying it as a tax, not a mandate. (Which the majority ruled was an unconstitutional application of the Commerce Clause).

I should've stayed in Florida and buried myself deeper in the sand.  Has the whole world gone crazy in the past seven days?  How did the conservatives gain Kennedy and lose Roberts? No one is going to be surprised that I disagree vehemently with the ruling.  It seems to me that Chief Justice Roberts went out of his way to re-interpret the structure of the ACA in order to find a basis for allowing the law to move forward.

Of course, Progressives are hailing the ruling as a "triumph of law over partisanship" and lauding Roberts as a hero (these are the same people who tried to prevent his confirmation by claiming, among other things, that Roberts was a "radical right-wing extremist" appointed by the evil George W. Bush).  Presumably, they'd be just as willing to heap praises on him if the ruling had gone the other way?  After all, Progressives are never motivated by partisanship or ideological beliefs; all they ever want is to simply see that the rule of law is upheld.


The traditional tendency of the Court to defer to congress notwithstanding, this measure fails on more than one point.  The early majority decision was that the President and the Congress attempted to improperly use the Commerce Clause to support the concept of the individual mandate that every citizen had to buy insurance or be faced with a fine.  Then, Chief Justice Roberts moved to side with the minority in finding that the measure was constitutional if the penalty for not purchasing health insurance was considered as a tax.  In the decision, he wrote that regarding the penalty as a tax placed the measure within the scope of congressional authority to levy and collect taxes, thus making it constitutional.

This completely ignores the fact that the administration has argued for the last two years that it was NOT a tax, and that to interpret it as such was, to quote Obama to George Stephanopolous(sp?) "reaching" and "requiring people to be responsible for their own healthcare costs was most definitely not a tax".  It's clear that if the ACA was offered to the people as semi-nationalized healthcare to be paid for by a huge new tax levy it would've been DOA.  Instead, it was pushed through using  a toxic combination of very questionable legislative procedures, intimidation and/or false promises (remember the promise that there would be "no  federal payments for abortions"?) and de facto bribes such as the "Louisiana Purchase" & the "Cornhusker Kickback".  Any of these should have been sufficient to end the bill's chances of ever becoming law.

Obama and the Democrat controlled congress knowingly perpetrated a fraud on the American people first when they promoted the bill as not being a tax; second, when they passed it through "reconciliation" instead of the usual legislative process; and finally, when they argued in their brief to the SCOTUS that it wasn't really a mandate, but a tax after all.

It's well established that, as a matter of law, contracts and agreements entered into under duress or as a result of misrepresentation or fraud on the part of one of the parties are to be held null and void and unenforceable.  Apparently, it was either out of the scope of the consideration of the Court, or the petitioners neglected that possible avenue of legal challenge.

If we are to prevent this obscenity from becoming irreversible we need to accomplish 5 things:

1.  Defeat Obama.  If we don't win the election, the country loses.
2.  Hold the House and take back the Senate.  Repeal has no chance if Harry Reid is still in charge of the Senate and able to prevent any votes to repeal the ACA.
3.  Stay in touch with our representatives after the election and make sure they follow through on their pre-election promises.
4.  Change the leadership.  We need to encourage the conservative members of the House and Senate to hold new elections and to elevate true conservative leaders, not the semi-Progressives we have now.
5.  Finally, we need to keep on Romney and demand that he follow through on his many promises to "repeal Obamacare on Day One."  If we let him revert to being a politician, he'll find "reasons" to keep much of the structure of the ACA in place.  Giving out waivers to the states isn't nearly enough.  As long as the structure remains in place, it's a continuing threat to individual liberty and freedom; an open door to encroachment by government into how we live our daily lives.

Monday, June 18, 2012

You Can't Fix Stupid

......but, you CAN accessorize!  This is a big reason why us Yankee's should never go south for the summer.

and NO, there was no alcohol involved with the posting of this picture.  Having WAY too much fun, tho.  Belatedly got the hat as protection from the Florida sun.  Well, live and learn (I hope).

Saturday, June 16, 2012


V-A-C-A-TION!  First real vacation in years.  Spending a week with my best friend in mid-south Florida.  I know, why would a Vermont Yankee go to Florida in JUNE????  Well, the original plans for March fell through due to unforeseeable family events.  That left me with a choice of either June or August.  Hmmmm, August in Florida.  For a guy who considers 90 degrees a tad too warm?  No contest.

Looking forward to a full week.  We're planning a trip to Busch Gardens in Tampa (my buddy hasn't had a vacation in years, either), some deep-sea fishing, bass fishing Okeechobee, and a trip to the Hard Rock Casino (I'm gonna have fun and "donate to the Indians").  Been a long time coming.  I've put off any of the usual weekly rants this week, but I've heard some sht that about makes my head explode.  I'll talk about that next time.

For those who want some reading material, however: click here   Could this be why Nancy Pelosi said we "need to pass this bill to find out what's in it."?  Thanks go to my brother for providing the link.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Good Day

Today is a good day.  Today we have a glimmer of hope for the return of common sense governance and fiscal responsibility.  Gov. Scott Walker last night prevailed in only the 3rd recall attempt of a sitting Governor in US history.  The only one to do so.

He can justifiably point to his record of accomplishment, even more remarkable given the atmosphere of the capitol over the last 18 months:  He turned a $3B+ deficit into a $100M+ surplus without tax increases or layoffs, he addressed structural problems with how the state ran it's budgetary process and he helped create nearly 30,000 (net) new jobs over the last year, reducing the unemployment rate by a full percentage point.  Quite remarkable, given the opposition in Madison, the slowness of the national "recovery" and in comparison with the nearby, liberal-run states of Illinois and Minnesota, both of which decided to deal with their economic problems by dramatically raising taxes and government spending (an action that has proven either ineffective or destructive).

It now remains to be seen how many adults we have on both sides of this conflict.  The election is over.  The people have spoken.  Gov Walker won this election with larger margins than he did in the initial race in 2010.  He now, for all intents and purposes, can consider himself to have a mandate to move ahead with the implementation of his policies.

The Democrats, in order to hold on to any semblance of legitimacy, need to work with the Governor in his attempts to better the state's economy and improve the lives of Wisconsin's citizens.  This is not to say that they need to roll over and play dead, but they can't continue the childishness of refusing to do the job they were elected to do.  They can't all run away to Illinois whenever there's a vote on a piece of legislation they don't like but don't have the votes to stop.  If they have an honest objection to a piece of legislation, they need to do their jobs and voice these objections in open debate.  They need to try to convince enough of the "opposition" of the validity of their arguments to join with them in voting against.  When they return to their districts to meet with their constituencies, they need to honestly seek their input and represent them when they return to Madison.

If Gov. Walker's policies prove (as they seem to have so far) to be good for the state and for it's people, their honest cooperation and the finding of common ground in helping to improve the fortunes of Wisconsin will only strengthen their reputations as true statesmen and -women.  If they remain stubbornly opposed to even the most obviously common sense of reforms and Walker's policies aren't the disaster they predict, they only prove themselves more interested in political victory than in doing what's right for the citizens they're supposed to represent.

If, on the other hand, they stand on principle; if they voice honest objection to policies, as opposed to simple obstructionism, they will be credited even by their political adversaries with sincerely doing what they believe right for the voters.  Should Walker's policies not prove effective, this honest disagreement will do much more to further their political futures than any amount of "finger in the wind", poll-tested grandstanding.

On Walker's side, they need to avoid any appearance of bullying of the minority.  Gov. Walker's victory speech was full of references to "the election is over, it's time for all Wisconsinite's to come together and move forward", "we need to work to heal our divided state", "we need to begin tomorrow to communicate with each other and build our future".  Without caving to opposition demands, he still needs to follow up on all the hi-sounding rhetoric.  He needs not only to keep his promises to work with the Democrats, he needs to be SEEN to do so.  Publicly, and often.

One of the most common complaints from his detractors was that he ignored their concerns and "rammed his agenda down our throats".  Whether or not the Dems have employed the same tactics themselves in the past is irrelevant.  He's made these promises, he needs to follow through.  Publicly.  Not simply because it's his job to be Governor of all of Wisconsin, not just because it's the right thing to do, but for the same political realities facing the Democrats.

If he's seen to sincerely try to work with the opposition and is obviously meeting with active attempts at blocking votes on legislation, "bad faith" bargaining , and constant attempts to undermine the success of his programs and policy initiatives for no other reason than political opposition and payback, the public will be much more sympathetic and accepting when/if he needs to resort to more hardball political & legislative tactics.  If he doesn't at least try to get the Dems to engage in the governance of the state and takes a "my way or the highway" attitude to debate and policy decisions, it won't matter how effective his administration's policies are.

The next 24 months will tell the tale.  Will Gov Walker and the Dems be able to get beyond the acrimony of the recall and work together for the common good of their state and it's citizens or will the partisanship calcify?  Will the Democrats and the public sector unions, after losing 3 attempts to change the 2010 elections after the fact, accept the vote, and the evident will of the people, or will they continue to mount court challenges until the 2014 elections?  Given the proliferation of actual death threats lodged against Gov Walker, his Lt. Gov, the Senators that withstood recall elections of their own and their families, I have my doubts about the maturity of the liberal side of the state's electorate.  Threatening to kill someone for no other reason than a political disagreement and because he won an election and your guy didn't?  That is a strong indication of serious mental issues.  These threats should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.  If these people are even half serious they are and should be considered dangerous.  Both parties need to denounce such behavior in the strongest possible terms.

The election is over.  Both sides have had their "3 at-bats".  It's time to quit playing games and get on with the serious business they were elected to perform.  At least, until the next election.......