Deadly Potomac Fever + More

Posted on Mon 11/23/2009 by

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Passing major legislation on Saturday night is a symptom of Potomac Fever

Monday Brief

The Foundation

“All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” –James Madison

Political Futures

“Here’s a new maxim: Nothing good ever happens when the Congress is in session on a Saturday night. As you know, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-Nev) cajoled, coerced, and co-opted Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark) into adding the 59th and 60th necessary votes to prevent a GOP filibuster of Reid’s health reform bill. Reid and Obama Administration officials relied on the time honored method (used by Republicans and Democrats) of getting recalcitrant Members to vote a certain way: Bribery which, in the real world, is a felony but in Washington it is called ‘hardball.’ In Sen. Landrieu’s case the bribe was $300 million in Medicaid benefits to Louisiana. It’s not even a close call. According to the website ‘Total Criminal Defense,’ ‘Bribery is an attempt to influence another person’s actions, usually a government or public official employee, by offering a benefit in exchange for the desired decision.’ Three hundred million in return for a vote to proceed. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck… Landrieu is a better bribee than she is an accountant. She said in her floor speech that there was $100 million in the bill specifically to pay for Medicaid in Louisiana and only Louisiana. Talking to reporters afterward, she said, ‘I will correct something. It’s not $100 million, it’s $300 million, and I’m proud of it and will keep fighting for it.’ No reports, yet, on how angry White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel was when he found out she had been satisfied with the $100 million and he overpaid by a factor of three.” –political analyst Rich Galen —-  

Liberty

“The ‘reformers’ in the White House and the House of Representatives have made all too plain their vision of the federal government’s power to coerce individual Americans to make the ‘right’ health-care choices. The highly partisan bill the House just passed includes severe penalties for individuals who do not purchase insurance approved by the federal government. By neatly tucking these penalties into the IRS code, the so-called reformers have brought them under the tax-enforcement power of the federal government. The Congressional Budget Office stated on October 29 that the House bill would generate $167 billion in revenue from ‘penalty payments.’ Individual Americans are expected to pay $33 billion of these penalties, with employers paying the rest. Former member of Congress and Heritage Foundation fellow Ernest Istook has concluded that for this revenue goal to be met, 8 to 14 million individual Americans will have to be fined over the next ten years, quite an incentive for federal bureaucrats. … By transforming a refusal or failure to comply with a government mandate into a federal tax violation, the ‘progressives’ are using the brute force of criminal law to engage in social engineering. This represents an oppressive, absolutist view of government power. … The idea of imprisoning or fining Americans who don’t knuckle under to an unprecedented government mandate to purchase a particular insurance product should outrage anyone who believes in the exceptional promises and opportunities afforded by our basic American freedoms. … Unless this paternalistic juggernaut is stopped, Americans will lose some of their most fundamental freedoms, and the power of the federal government to impose novel requirements in every facet of our personal lives will have become virtually unlimited.” —Brian W. Walsh & Hans A. von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation

Pelosi and Reid - Miracle Healthcare Reform Elixir

Culture

“Tragically, this administration seems hell-bent to avoid seeing acts of terrorism against the United States as acts of war. The very phrase ‘war on terrorism’ is avoided, as if that will stop the terrorists’ war on us. The mindset of the left behind such thinking was spelled out in an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, which said that ‘Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will be tried the right way — the American way, in a federal courtroom where the world will see both his guilt and the nation’s adherence to the rule of law.’ This is not the rule of law but the application of laws to situations for which they were not designed. How many Americans may pay with their lives for the intelligence secrets and methods that can forced to be disclosed to Al Qaeda was not mentioned. Nor was there mention of how many foreign nations and individuals whose cooperation with us in the war on terror have been involved in countering Al Qaeda — nor how many foreign nations and individuals will have to think twice now, before cooperating with us again, when their role can be revealed in court to our enemies, who can exact revenge on them.” –economist Thomas Sowell

Opinion in Brief

“By the time Obama came to office, KSM was ready to go before a military commission, plead guilty and be executed. It’s Obama who blocked a process that would have yielded the swiftest and most certain justice. Indeed, the perfect justice. Whenever a jihadist volunteers for martyrdom, we should grant his wish. Instead, this one, the most murderous and unrepentant of all, gets to dance and declaim at the scene of his crime. [Attorney General Eric] Holder himself told The Washington Post that the coming New York trial will be ‘the trial of the century.’ The last such was the trial of O.J. Simpson.” –columnist Charles Krauthammer

Re: The Left

“In modern America, the guilty are sanctified, while the innocent never stop paying — including with their lives, as they did at Fort Hood [recently]. Points are awarded to aspiring victims for angry self-righteousness, acts of violence and general unpleasantness. But liberals celebrate diversity only in the case of superficial characteristics like race, gender, sexual preference and country of origin. They reject diversity when we need it, such as in ‘diversity’ of legal forums. After conferring with everyone at Zabar’s, Obama decided that if a standard civilian trial is good enough for Martha Stewart, then it’s good enough for the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. So Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is coming to New York! Mohammed’s military tribunal was already under way when Obama came into office, stopped the proceedings and, eight months later, announced that Mohammed would be tried in a federal court in New York. In a liberal’s reckoning, diversity is good when we have both Muslim jihadists and patriotic Americans serving in the U.S. military. But diversity is bad when Martha Stewart and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are subjected to different legal tribunals to adjudicate their transgressions.” –columnist Ann Coulter

For the Record

“[There are] uncanny parallels between George W. Bush and Herbert Hoover: Both were president during a time of economic crisis; both presided over vast expansions of government that helped cause the crisis or at least make it worse than it might have been otherwise; finally both were (inaccurately) portrayed by their political opponents as dogmatic free market advocates, when in fact both were highly statist. After leaving the presidency, Bush is unconsciously imitating Hoover in yet another way — by rhetorically supporting free markets and criticizing the even more interventionist policies of his Democratic successor (which in both cases built on the expansions of government initiated by the Republicans who preceded them)…. Bush’s belated support for free markets follows in Hoover’s footsteps. After leaving office in 1933, Hoover wrote books and articles defending free markets and criticizing the Democrats’ New Deal. Some of his criticisms of FDR were well-taken. Many New Deal policies actually worsened and prolonged the Great Depression by organizing cartels and increasing unemployment. But by coming out as a free market advocate, the post-presidential Hoover actually bolstered the cause of interventionism because he helped cement the incorrect impression that he had pursued free market policies while in office, thereby causing the Depression. Bush’s post-presidential conversion creates a similar risk: it could solidify the already widespread impression that he, like the Hoover of myth, pursued laissez-faire policies which then caused an economic crisis. … The greatest contribution Bush can now make to free market policies is to dispel the impression that he pursued them while in office.” —Ilya Somin, Associate Professor at George Mason University School of Law

Faith & Family

“[W]hy is religious freedom such a concern to us as Christians? Freedom of religion is called the first freedom for a reason. Our Founding Fathers recognized that without freedom of conscience, no other freedom can be guaranteed. Christians, in fact, are the greatest defenders of religious freedom and human liberty — not just for Christians, but for all people. Compare religious freedom in those countries with a Christian heritage to the state of religious freedom in Islamic nations, Communist countries, and Buddhist and Hindu nations, and you will see my point. The reason that Christians place such a high value on human freedom is that freedom itself is part of the creation account in the Bible. God made humans in His image. He gave us a free will to choose to love, follow, and obey Him, or to follow our own way. That free will, given us before the Fall, is part of human nature itself. Perhaps more than anything else, it was this understanding of individual freedom that turned me into the kind of patriot who would willingly give his life for his country. It was the words of the Declaration of Independence that inspired me to join the Marines: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ So this question of human freedom goes to the very heart of who we are as Christians and as Americans.” –author Chuck Colson

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Reader Comments

“I laughed while reading ‘Health Care Cost Nightmare‘ when I saw the new term ‘HarryCare.’ I thought of Hara-Kiri, the ritualistic disembowelment my a disgraced Samurai. Sad to think that could be the bureaucratic prescription from the death, er, I mean ‘End of Life’ panels for those veterans who have exceeded their state allotted life span.” –Tony

“In reference to your rebuttal to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), you state that his reference is to the Preamble to the Constitution. Unfortunately (for I am in your corner), he is accurate in his statement that it is part of the first of the enumerated powers — Article 1, section 8, part 1. That said, I must take issue with his position regarding the power enumerated. The power is that ‘to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises’ — not to enforce purchase of a service, but to direct fulfillment of responsibility; the clause, ‘provide for the common defense and general welfare’ describes the reason for collecting those revenues, not the enumerated power itself.” –Guy

Editor’s Reply: You are correct. The same wording is used in both the Preamble and Article I, Section 8 and an editor misread the quote because of Merkley’s reference to it being “right on the front end.”

“I am promoting your Web site on my own. I hope to steer more people your way. I am a 63-year-old veteran of the Vietnam Era and I am still serving in the Reserves with one trip to Iraq so far. We need the people to wake up and demand that Congress support and defend and follow the Constitution. Obama’s agenda is a Marxist cloud that has been taking over our country. He has gone too far too fast and he has awoken a sleeping giant of conservatives from all walks of life. These are exciting times and I look forward to the battle with more people on my side finally.” –Ogden, Utah

The Last Word

“Whether it’s the academic community, the media elite or politicians, there is a great tolerance for the ideas of socialism — a system that has caused more deaths and human misery than all other systems combined. Academics, media elites and leftist politicians both in the U.S. and Europe protested the actions and military buildup of President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and ultimately the breakup of the Soviet Union. Recall the leftist hissy fit when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union the evil empire and predicted that communism would wind up on the trash heap of history. … [T]he reason why the world’s leftists give the world’s most horrible murderers a pass is because they sympathize with their socioeconomic goals, which include government ownership and/or control over the means of production. In the U.S., the call is for government control, through regulations, as opposed to ownership. Unfortunately, it matters little whether there is a Democratically or Republican-controlled Congress and White House; the march toward greater government control continues. It just happens at a quicker pace with Democrats in charge. You say, ‘Come on, Williams, there will never be the kind of socialist oppression seen elsewhere here!’ You might be right because Americans have become very compliant with unconstitutional and immoral congressional edicts. But what do you think would happen if some Americans began to rise up and heed Thomas Jefferson’s admonition ‘Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.’ and decided to disobey unconstitutional congressional edicts?” –George Mason University professor Walter E. Williams

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