Happy Birthday to America and to Her 30th President Calvin Coolidge

Today is the 236th birthday of the United States of America and the 140th birthday of her 30th president Calvin Coolidge.

Coolidge gave a speech in Philadelphia to mark the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  I thought it exceeding apropos to share with you a portion of the speech that rings with as much truth today as it did in 1926.

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

Happy birthday America and may you some day be once again blessed with a president that has such an abashed appreciation for your founding document.

Coolidge’s speech in its entirety can be found here.

Van Jones and the No Good Very Bad Math

Van Jones has a new piece up over at the Huffington Post Blog entitled Hope for Homeowners.  In the piece, he uses the story of Jaime Gonzalez’s wallet-busting mortgage payments to make the argument that congress must act immediately on reforms which would force the banks to allow home-owners to renegotiate their interest rates.

Do you remember when buying a home was a part of the American Dream?

Jaime Gonzalez does. It was that dream that encouraged the retired state police officer and his wife, a retired nurse, to purchase their home for $150,000 in Oviedo, FL in 2004. With 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and one great grandchild, the house was part of their dream for the future.

They pay $1,493.53 towards that dream every month. Of that, only one hundred dollars goes towards their principle, the other $1,393.53 all goes towards their massive interest rate of 7.5%.

Nice try Mr. Jones, but those numbers, which I’ve highlighted for your convenience, just don’t add up.  Now Mr. Jones, I’m assuming based upon the fact that you posted on Huffington Post’s Blog, that you have access to the world wide web.  The internet plays host to several hundred free mortgage calculators, like this one and this one and this one.

Here is what happened when I plugged Mr. Jones’ numbers; $150,000 for the loan amount, 30 year term (the term length was never specified by Mr. Jones) and a 15 year term at an interest rate of 7.5% into this mortgage calculator:

The closest I could get to finding a term length that would result in the $1,493.53 monthly payment amount cited by Mr. Jones was 13.25 years:

Let’s suspend disbelief for a moment and accept that a bank would give Mr. Gonzalez a 13.25 year term on his mortgage for the purchase of a $150,000 home in 2004.  I plugged those numbers into the handy dandy amortization schedule calculator and the result:

Eight years into a 13.25 year mortgage,  $1,000.86 of Mr. Gonzalez’s $1,491.25 monthly payment would be put toward the principal and the remaining $490.39 would go towards paying down the interest.

I’m sorry Mr. Jones, it doesn’t add up.

Forward to Tax Increases!

President Obama and members of congress repeatedly and vociferously proclaimed that the penalty imposed by the Affordable Care Act on those who do not purchase health insurance, is not tax.  The attorneys representing the Obama Administration before the Supreme Court argued just the opposite.

That’s right, the ever forward-looking Obama administration chose to emulate the past. They took the path forged by the FDR administration when the constitutionality of Social Security was argued before the Supreme Court in 1937 in Helvering v. Davis.

“while Roosevelt was insisting to the public that Social Security was an insurance program based on segregated funds and earned benefits, his lawyers were in Court insisting that it was no such thing – and the Supreme Court played along and betrayed the Constitution. “ – Mark Levin Liberty and Tyranny  (2009), 101

Even though this tactic is nothing new it’s still deplorable. We were lied to. We were told by our elected officials, (read servants) that in no way shape or form was the mandate a tax.

The attorneys at Landmark Legal Foundation foresaw the possibility that the Obama administration would go the FDR route and tried to cut them off at the pass.  The Amicus brief they filed, made an appeal to the court that it take into consideration the numerous, on the record remarks made by the President that the mandate was not a tax. Landmark also pointed to the fact that congress neglected to use the word ‘tax’ when crafting the language of the bill.

From Landmark Legal Foundation’s Amicus brief:

II. SECTION 5000A OF THE PPACA ESTABLISHES AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL TAX.

The individual mandate’s penalty provision in 26 U.S.C. Section 5000A (2011) cannot be justified as a permissible tax under any Constitutional test. Arguments proffered by the federal government that this provision constitutes a permissible exercise of Congress’s taxation authority fail under all established precedents and should be rejected by the Court.

Had Congress determined the penalty provision constituted a tax, it would have labeled it a tax and statements by members of Congress and President Obama made concurrently with its passage would have reflected as much. The federal government’s latest brief concedes the point without realizing it, referring repeatedly to Section 5000A as a “penalty.” See Petitioner’s Brief, 53, 60. Yet even if this Court assumes that Section 5000A is a tax, it still fails to satisfy the constitutional restrictions on taxes set forth in Article I, Section 9, Clause 4 (prohibition on the issuance of capitation or direct taxes unless apportioned among the states), the 16th Amendment (income tax) and the limitations set forth by this
Court as applicable to other Article I, Section 8 taxes such as excises.

It is clear that the Court chose to disregard these facts.  Instead it permitted the administration’s attorneys to make two totally unrelated sets of arguments. From the majority opinion;

‘The Government advances two theories for the proposition that Congress had constitutional authority to enact the individual mandate. First, the Government argues that Congress had the power to enact the mandate under the Commerce Clause. Under that theory, Congress may order individuals to buy health insurance because the failure to do so affects interstate commerce, and could undercut the Affordable Care Act’s other reforms. Second, the Government argues that if the commerce power does not support the mandate, we should nonetheless uphold it as an exercise of Congress’s power to tax. According to the Government, even if Congress lacks the power to direct individuals to buy insurance, the only effect of the individual mandate is to raise taxes on those who do not do so, and thus the law may be upheld as a tax.” Opinion of Roberts, C.J. National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius

The Court determined that neither the Commerce Clause nor the Necessary and Proper Clause afford congress the power to compel citizens to make purchases. Standby for excessive legalese;

On the Commerce Clause:

“Given its expansive scope, it is no surprise that Congress has employed the commerce power in a wide variety of ways to address the pressing needs of the time. But Congress has never attempted to rely on that power to compel individuals not engaged in commerce to purchase an unwanted product.3
Legislative novelty is not necessarily fatal; there is a first time for everything. But sometimes “the most telling indication of [a] severe constitutional problem . . . is the lack of historical precedent” for Congress’s action. Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Bd., 561 U. S. ___, ___ (2010) (slip op., at 25) (internal quotation marks omitted). At the very least, we should “pause to consider the implications of the Government’s arguments” when confronted with such new conceptions of federal power. Lopez, supra, at 564.
The Constitution grants Congress the power to “regulate Commerce.” Art. I, §8, cl. 3 (emphasis added). The power to regulate commerce presupposes the existence of commercial activity to be regulated. If the power to “regulate” something included the power to create it, many of the provisions in the Constitution would be superfluous.” Opinion of Roberts, C.J. National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius

On the Necessary and Proper Clause:

“The power to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution” the powers enumerated in the Constitution, Art. I, §8, cl. 18, vests Congress with authority to enact provisions “incidental to the [enumerated] power, and conducive to its beneficial exercise,” McCulloch, 4 Wheat., at 418. Although the Clause gives Congress authority to “legislate on that vast mass of incidental powers which must be involved in the constitution,” it does not license the exercise of any “great substantive and independent power[s]” beyond those specifically enumerated. Id., at 411, 421. Instead, the Clause is “‘merely a declaration, for the removal of all uncertainty, that the means of carrying into execution those [powers] otherwise granted are included in the grant.” Kinsella v. United States ex rel. Singleton, 361 U. S. 234, 247 (1960) (quoting VI Writings of James Madison 383 (G. Hunt ed. 1906)).” Opinion of Roberts, C.J. National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius

Sounds like case closed to me.  Clearly we’ve established that congress has no constitutional authority to force citizens to use the fruits of their own labor to purchase a good or service they otherwise would not have.

But hold on a minute! We have to allow the government’s attorneys to make the asininely absurd assertion that it’s completely irrelevant that congress never used the word tax when describing the mandate.  We should give them the benefit of the doubt that when they wrote penalty they really meant tax.

Redefining penalty:

“It is of course true that the Act describes the payment as a “penalty,” not a “tax.” But while that label is fatal to the application of the Anti-Injunction Act, supra, at 12–13, it does not determine whether the payment may be viewed as an exercise of Congress’s taxing power. It is up to Congress whether to apply the Anti-Injunction Act to any particular statute, so it makes sense to be guided by Congress’s choice of label on that question. That choice does not, however, control whether an exaction is within Congress’s constitutional power to tax.” Opinion of Roberts, C.J. National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius

Had the government argued the constitutionality of the mandate based solely upon the claim that congress is permitted to compel the purchase of a good or service under the powers granted to it by either the Commerce Clause or the Necessary and Proper Clause, the mandate would have be struck down.

But thanks to the twisted, illogical, and dictionary-changing decision of a majority of justices, we will all be subject to a brand new tax. When I say we, I mean those of us who pay income taxes, we will be subjected to this new penalty tax;

The exaction the Affordable Care Act imposes on those without health insurance looks like a tax in many respects. The “[s]hared responsibility payment,” as the statute entitles it, is paid into the Treasury by “tax- payer[s]” when they file their tax returns. 26 U. S. C. §5000A(b). It does not apply to individuals who do not pay federal income taxes because their household income is less than the filing threshold in the Internal Revenue Code. §5000A(e)(2). For taxpayers who do owe the payment, its amount is determined by such familiar factors as taxable income, number of dependents, and joint filing status. §§5000A(b)(3), (c)(2), (c)(4). The requirement to pay is found in the Internal Revenue Code and enforced by the IRS, which—as we previously explained—must assess and collect it “in the same manner as taxes.” Supra, at 13–14. This process yields the essential feature of any tax: it produces at least some revenue for the Government. United States v. Kahriger, 345 U. S. 22, 28, n. 4 (1953). Indeed, the payment is expected to raise about $4 billion per year by 2017. Congressional Budget Office, Payments of Penalties for Being Uninsured Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Apr. 30, 2010), in Selected CBO Publications Related to Health Care Legislation, 2009–2010, p. 71 (rev. 2010).

Tyranny, it’s all the rage.

Being a Real Journalist Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

I tuned into Andrea Mitchell Reports this afternoon for the first time. Why? Because I was hoping to see real journalist Andrea Mitchell apologize and explain why a clip that she aired on her show yesterday was purposefully edited to make Mitt Romney appear foolish.

Instead I, along with many other first-time viewers, were treated to the laughably lame excuse offered by Mitchell, “We didn’t get a chance to play that [part of the clip].” Real journalist Andrea Mitchell is asking her audience to believe that playing an additional ten seconds of footage would have been an impossibility given the time constraints of her show. See also: she thinks you’re stupid.

Hilarious isn’t it? As I’ve made abundantly clear in the video that I edited together (if you skipped over it before reading this I suggest make sure you get a chance to play it), the portion of the clip that was removed ran just under ten seconds.  Had Andrea and her guest Chris not needed fourteen and half seconds of guffaw and gloat time, the clip could have absolutely been aired in its entirety.

Now, obviously Ms. Mitchell can’t just come right out and say, ‘I’d like to take full responsibility for the hatchet job that we did on the footage we aired. What we did, we did hoping that everyone would seize on it and we could all spend the next three days making fun of Romney for being amazed by  touch-screen technology that Wawa has had since 1999.  Because you see, we here at MSNBC, are tired of trying to defend President Obama’s abysmal record.  It’s a difficult and daunting task, and we just wanted to have a bit of fun for a few days.  Again my sincerest apologies.”

Even though Andrea didn’t apologize I am still willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she wasn’t in the control room when the clip was edited.  She was probably busy doing show prep, but surely somebody saw the clip in its entirety and chose to cut off the end of Romney’s statement in order to further the Romney’s an out of touch multi-millionaire narrative.

Perhaps the executive producer of Andrea Mitchell Reports Subrata De might care to share with the viewing public how this blatant deception came to pass.

Young Obama Bullied….A Girl

The above text comes directly from President Obama’s first memoir, “Dreams From My Father” and recounts an incident which occurred while he was in middle school.  When our president became the subject of taunts from his fellow classmates, he decided to shove a little girl named Coretta.   Although he chronicles his feelings of regret, he never does not offer her an apology.

Now let us campare this to the Romney revelation of the day:

The Washington Post ran a story today entitled, “Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents”.  In it, Jason Horowitz recounts the story of an “incident” involving Mitt Romney, a pair of scissors, and a forced haircut.

“Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.”

According to Horowitz the sources for this story were:

The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be named. The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican county chairman in Michigan. All of them said that politics in no way colored their recollections.”

The circumstances of the two stories are different.  Romney was in high school when the forced-haircut incident occurred, while Obama was a middle schooler when he shoved Coretta on the playground.

The Obama campaign and their lap-dog media buddies seem to want to equate what Romney did with the “School Ties” locker room fight between Matt Damon and Brendon Fraser. But the Romney incident sounds tame compared to oh I don’t know fraternity hazing.  I am not excusing his behavior, but shouldn’t Obama’s admitted bullying also be examined?

Also, Romney, unlike Obama,  has apologized;

“Back in high school, I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that,” Romney said in a live radio interview with Fox News Channel personality Brian Kilmeade. Romney added: “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far, and for that I apologize.”  [WaPo "Romney apologizes for high school pranks that 'might have gone too far"]

PR maverick Hilary Rosen couldn’t resist tweeting about the WaPo article.  Below you will find the tweet she sent out, along with the follow up question I had for her.  I find it frighteningly telling that she hasn’t responded to my inquiry.

***Update***
A very special thank you to one of my heroes, the conservative #war-rior, Michelle Malkin.
Hilary Rosen Answers Michelle Malkin.

A thank you to my fantastic twitter family! Especially these fine gentleman who made sure that my story got out quickly,

@SooperMexican

and @FoolishReporter

Thanks to their efforts this happened;
Thank you Adam Baldwin!

Thank you David Burge!

Thank you Jim Treacher!

I would also like to thank everyone that linked to this piece, Jim Teacher, Sarah Hoyt, Twitchy, Jim Geraghty, Moe Lane, John Nolte, The Right Scoop,

And to everyone else that pushed this story #forward thank you!

Dinosaur Flatulence Caused Global Warming: Stupid Conservative Joke to Brilliant Liberal Science

Back in 2007, Dana Rorhbacher (R-CA) caught a bunch of flak from the left when he joked about dinosaur farts being a cause for global warming. Some over zealous leftists even made a video to make fun of Rorhbacher’s obvious joke. They present evidence that suggests that there is no way dinosaur farts could account for “all emissions responsible for past warming cycles.”

FireDogLake couldn’t resist taking a swipe at Rorhbacher.
“Now, I know it was probably some sort of smart-assed retort to protect whatever pollution-friendly interests were funding whatever was making Rohrbacher happy in the moment but…hello?!? Yes, I’m certain that we can all stop for a moment in our day to pause and reflect on how dinosaur farts could, indeed, be the cause of a mass, global extinction. Now THAT is some powerful tooting, if you ask me.”

Think Progress also posted the FireDogLake Article on their site.

Oh but it could be true. Current Biology journal published the findings of a “scientific” study that was conducted by David Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University and Graeme Ruxton of the University of St. Andrews.

Wilkinson and Ruxton worked in conjunction with methane expert Euan Nisbet at the University of London to “make an educated guess about the degree to which gaseous emissions from sauropods could have warmed the atmosphere.” [Reuters; It’s a gas: dinosaur flatulence may have warmed the Earth.]

These guys came up with a mathematical formula to determine how much methane gas may have been emitted by sauropod dinosaurs. “A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate,” said researcher Dave Wilkinson.

Here’s the neato graph they created;

So what’s the end game here? Seems to me that this is the starting gun to commence an assault on methane emissions.  Australia has already placed a carbon-credit bounty on its ferral camel population.  And here in the US, they’d just love to start taxing livestock, and any other animal whose flatulence may pose a supposed threat to our environment.

Keep your hemp-mittened hands off of our cows!

Here are a few tweets from “reputable” sources about the dino-farts-may-have-caused-prehistoric-warming revelation;

BBC News UK

Discovery News

The Huffington Post is buying it…

Live Science

Gizmodo

TreeHugger.com

I reached out (via twitter of course) to the biggest global warming true believer on the planet. No not Al Gore silly, I’m talking about Jose Canseco.

I have yet to receive a response. If I do, I’m sure that it will be just as intelligent and coherent as his previous statements about global warming.

Obama Eats Tiger Meat

If you haven’t heard, Obama ate a dog. Yes it’s true and he admitted as much in his first autobiography “Dreams From My Father”. Obama even made fun of his youthful dog-eating adventure at the White House Correspondents Dinner. By laughing at himself, he effectively minimized the continued impact of Dog-gATE.

But not so fast kids, dog isn’t the only unusual meat that Obama ingested during his time in Jakarta, Indonesia. He also wrote about eating snake, crickets and he discussed his stepfather Lolo’s promise to bring home tiger meat for him to sample.

It would seem, according to President Obama’s own autobiography, that Lolo made good on that promise, and he partook in the eating of Tiger meat.   The following can be found on page 138 of “Dreams From My Father”.


There used to be nine subspecies of tiger.  Three of these subspecies have become extinct over the last one hundred years.  Of the subspecies only three are native to Indonesia; the Bali tiger which became extinct in the 1930’s, the Javan tiger which became extinct in the 1980’s and the Sumatran tiger.  The World Wildlife Foundation estimates there are fewer than 400 wild Sumatran tigers alive today.

Even if the subspecies of tiger that Obama ate as a child is not one native to Indonesia, where he was living at the time, all tiger species are endangered.   SaveTigersNow.org claims there may be as few as 3,200 left today.

Will PETA summarily dismisses this like they did with the revelation that Obama ate dog meat?  Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.