Barack Obama

Look for the union label

Remember Annie Leonard's tutorial on Citizens United?  What? You've already forgotten Citizens United (I can understand forgetting Annie Leonard)? At GlobalWarming.org:

The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United to allow corporations to spend money on political activities has become a primary target for liberals in Congress. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wrote this year that “this spending will fundamentally distort our democracy, tilting the playing field to favor corporate interests, discouraging new candidates, chilling elected officials and shifting the overall policymaking debate even further in the direction of giant corporate interests and the super-wealthy.”
 

Sen. Sanders was seconded by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who said, “At a time when the public’s fears about the influence of special interests were already high, the Court’s decision stacks the deck against the average American even more.” Liberals, you see, want to defend the average American from corporate interests. Liberals want to stop special interest deals that “distort our democracy.” Liberals want to stand up to the “giant corporate interests” and “level the playing field.”

All better now?  Got it?  Good.

My bud Blaise at Government Gone Wild says

In January of 2010, during the State of the Union speech, our Commander in Chief criticized our own Supreme Court for ruling in favor of Citizens United in their lawsuit against the Federal Elections Commission. This effectively allowed corporations to spend unlimited dollars for political purposes citing freedom of speech in their decision. In our opinion, President Obama demonized this decision because it would lessen the overwhelming advantage that unions have over the political process and our government.
 
Unions are not what they used to be. They are a political tool of the left and way for big government to lobby for more government.

Big Government...Big Labor...hmmm...the sources for the info in Blaise's video, dedicated to the memory of Andrew Breitbart, are listed below:

 

Unions Contributions -http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2012&ind=P

Wall Street Investment Bank Contributions- http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2012&ind=F2600

Oil and Gas Industry Contributions- http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2012&ind=E01

Defense Industry Contributions- http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2012&ind=D

Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Contributions – http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2012&ind=H4300

Airlines Contributions- http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2012&ind=T1100

Auto Manufacturer Contributions  - http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2012&ind=T2100

Savings and Loan Contributions- http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=F04

Percentage to political parties- http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2012&ind=P

Public Union Worker Percentage - http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm

State Government Worker Compensation –  - http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm and http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb-59.pdf

Federal Government Worker Compensation and Average Benefits –  http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/overpaid-federal-workers

Federal Government Employee Benefits - http://www.usa.gov/Federal-Employees/Benefits.shtml  andhttp://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/StudentLoan/

Unfunded Pension and Retirement Liabilities - http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/st329.pdf and http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/98-810.pdf and http://www.aei.org/article/economics/retirement/pensions/understanding-the-true-cost-of-state-and-local-pensions/

Election Day Holiday - http://www.nytimes.com/1999/12/30/us/little-known-provision-in-uaw-contract-gives-election-day-holiday.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Union Bosses Rich - http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/03/03/2097/scores-union-leaders-earn-six-figure-salaries

And remember....Live Big.
 

Shifting the paradigm

If you have a low opinion of Hollywood and Hollywood types, you might see things a little differently after reading this column by Jerry Molen, an Oscar-winning film producer whose credits include "Rain Man," "Minority Report," "Twister," "Schindler's List" and "Jurassic Park."

My fellow patriots,
 

As we sit in our comfort-laden abodes, sipping our lattes or pink lemonades and either wishing the snow would be gone for another year or baseball season would start so there was something interesting to do, the world continues to move forward. But as we seek other interests, we are not listening to the sounds emanating from the world around us. If you would listen carefully you would recognize the woeful sounds of America gasping for its very breath of life and its inner soul.
 
Yes, the sounds are there. We just don't listen. We only hear (or see) what we want. As the country gasps for clarity of purpose, we the people figure someone or something else will come along and fix the problems for us. I don't think so. The warning signs have been there for a long time. A very long time. It is my humble opinion that, during these turbulent times, we find ourselves in the dilemma of our lifetimes. As a country we have been either asleep or just too comfortable in our own cocoons to realize the depth of our plight.
 
An event took place in 2008 that changed the world we live in. It changed the face of America, it changed the direction of our moral values, it changed how we view the future and how we see ourselves as human beings and it changed the make up of our basic freedoms that we so irreverently tossed aside for entitlement freebies and empty promises by the engineers at the helm....
 
...The event I speak of, of course, was the presidential election of 2008. We put a man in office, a man not really qualified to be a dog catcher, much less the most powerful man in the world. We refused to listen to what he was saying. We missed the first gasp of incredulity when he promised to transform America. Oh, we bought into the cliched slogans of "hope and change." We liked his smile, his ability to read from a teleprompter, his super-friendly demeanor and his charismatic oratorical skills. Yeah, we jumped in with both feet thinking the country would show the world we had found our mojo and racism was gone forever...
 
...those who perpetrate the lie and the hate by using their best tools of fear and envy and class warfare are alive and well and doing their very best to take our basic freedoms away from us...
 
...The election of 2008 was filled with the same promises we are hearing again as the President travels across the country extolling his virtues and penchant for handing out goodies wrapped in the same old hope and change....
 
...each of us should care enough to get off our butts and do something about the crisis we find ourselves in. When we do not, we condemn our progeny to a lifetime of debt and potential servitude to the miseries of progressive lifestyles and socialist living conditions...
 

Taking a constitutional

Judging from e-mails going by the past few days, several people in the area are working out by participating in Hillsdale College's online Constitution 101 course. The Constitution never goes out of style but the course is particularly timely; Hillsdale President Larry Arnn points out that we as a nation really are at a fork in the road...we're going to have to choose between a constitutional model of government (limited, representative, with separation of powers and checks and balances) and what Arnn calls a bureaucratic model (in which agencies run by "experts" combine all three branches of government and operate without oversight).  Calling the latter model "bureaucratic," though, sounds almost innocuous. It's really much more insidious than that.

But some people understood Obamacare as a a chilling manifestation of Arnn's bureaucratic model even before there was an Obamacare.  We were warned (via New Zeal):

Arnn also points out that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are inextricably linked, an idea that the often-maligned (by progressives, anyway) Calvin Coolidge understood:

...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...

You can still register for "Constitution 101" at Hillsdale.  It's free.
 

This should come as no surprise

BO's FY 2013 budget, via the Weekly Standard (click to embiggen):

From almost two-and-a-half years ago:

h/t Tom

ON SMITE

A little Biblical humor, y'know:

An art history "teachable moment"

Barbarians at the gate? That painting behind BO is "The Sack of Rome."  Rich Terrell nails it again:

Jeopardy answer: "Nuts!"

Jeopardy question: What did "Old Crock" (Gen. Anthony McAuliffe) say in response to the German demand for surrender at Bastogne (the Battle of the Bulge) in WWII?

What follows is like that.  I haven't seen much evidence of this kind of thinking locally but based on the story below from Cliff Kincaid at Accuracy in Media and anecdotal evidence from friends in other places, it would seem that the paradigm is shifting.

Catholic Church Rejects Surrender Terms from Obama
 

My Catholic priest, Father Larry Swink, delivered a homily on Sunday that I told him would make headlines. In the toughest sermon I have ever heard from a pulpit, he attacked the Obama Administration as evil, even demonic, and warned of religious persecution ahead. What was also newsworthy about the sermon was that he cited The Washington Post in agreement—not on the subject of the Obama Administration being evil, but on the matter of its abridgment of the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
 
What is happening is extraordinary and unprecedented. The Catholic Church is in open revolt against the Obama Administration, with Fr. Swink noting from the pulpit that priests across the archdiocese were joining the call on Sunday to rally Catholics to resistance against the U.S. Government. He said we are entering a time of religious persecution and that Catholics and others will have to make a final decision about which side they are on.
 
The issue is what the Catholic Bishops have called a “literally unconscionable” edict by the Obama Administration demanding that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans.
 
At a time when the media are full of reports about who is ahead and behind in the polls, and who will win the next Republican presidential primary, this incredible uprising in the Catholic Church is something that could not only overshadow the political campaign season, but also may have a major impact on the ultimate outcome—if Republicans know how to handle it...
 
...The administration claims there is a religious exemption in the mandate, but the bishops say it is so narrow that it fails to cover the vast majority of faith-based organizations, including Catholic hospitals, universities and service organizations that help millions every year. “Ironically,” they say, “not even Jesus & his disciples would have qualified”...
 
...The bishops go on, “Now that the Administration has refused to recognize the Constitutional conscience rights of organizations and individuals who oppose the mandate, the bishops are now urging Catholics and others of good will to fight this unprecedented attack on conscience rights and religious liberty”...
 
...So why would the administration pick a major fight with the Catholic Church? There are two main reasons. (1) The administration wants to please its progressive and feminist, secular pro-abortion base. (2) The administration believes Catholics are divided on the issue and will ignore their leaders and follow Obama.
 
Support for the latter explanation comes in the form of the Obama Administration’s efforts to co-opt the Catholic Church, primarily through appointing nominal Catholics to high-level positions in government and keeping funding going to the church for “social justice” causes. Another player in this effort is the hedge-fund billionaire George Soros, an atheist who nevertheless has found groups that are “Catholic in name only”1 to accept his financial largesse. These groups, including Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, are designed to give the impression that Catholics are less concerned about issues like stopping abortion and protecting the sanctity of traditional marriage than passing government health care. The Obama/Soros gamble may be backfiring...
 
...Indeed, Fr. Swink opened his discussion of what he described as the evil nature of the Obama Administration by reading from scripture about Jesus casting out demons. He saw the order on health care coverage as the start of religious persecution. The congregation joined him in calls of “Amen” when he challenged them to stand tall with the church...
 
...Some may see this battle as just another church-state dust-up that will be resolved through litigation. But when apocalyptic imagery is used, such as what I heard at my church on Sunday, one must wonder if there is an awakening on the part of the Catholic community and if there is something else going on here besides politics as usual. In short, is the Catholic Church beginning to finally recognize the real nature of the Obama Administration?

Apocalypse now. As they say, Mr. President, et al...NUTS!

1. See the rogues' gallery (above, right) of well-known CINOs (Catholics In Name Only), past and present—add Joe Biden, Kathleen Sibelius, Kirsten Gillibrand, and many, many more.

Faded glory?: "Recess" appointments and the Constitution

We may often visualize the US Constitution like this:

when after more than 220 years it looks more like this:

The Constitution is fading in more than just a purely physical sense as contributor Publius Ithacanus notes in this essay:

The Vanishing Constitution
 
When the Constitution was created by the founders, they carefully divided and balanced power between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.  Trusting in human nature, they were confident that each branch and each house of Congress would act to check abuses of power by the other(s).  Of course, they did not consider the influence of party, because parties as we know them did not then exist.
 
The latest victim of the disappearing constitution is the provision that specifies that key presidential appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate and require Senate confirmation.  Because Congress met for only short periods in the early days of the Republic, the President was given the power to make appointments when Congress was not in session.  These have become known as recess appointments.
 
Recently, President Obama named a Consumer Affairs Director and three members of the National Labor Relations Board as “recess appointments.”  The problem with these “recess” appointments is that Congress was not in fact in recess, merely not conducting any business for a period of less than 72 hours.  The appointments were of people that were unlikely to have survived Senate review.  Members of the House would be astonished to know they were in “recess,” since they intended nothing of the kind.  And, neither house of Congress can adjourn or recess without the concurrence of the other.
 
The practical effect of President Obama’s interpretation of the recess appointment power is that for all intents and purposes, there is no need for any president to submit names to the Senate for advice and consent approval.  The president need merely wait until no active business is being transacted, perhaps just for a few minutes, then make a “recess appointment.”  Why would a president now bother with Senate approval, unless of course his or her nominee’s name was going to a Senate majority certain to confirm?
 
The Senate is an old and venerable institution.  Historically, the Senate would move to protect its prerogatives under the Constitution.  But, the Senate and its Democratic majority has been strangely silent.  Party loyalty and objectives apparently trump constitutional preservation.  The founders never envisioned a branch of government that would roll over and play dead when another branch rolled over its basic constitutional authority.  Why are we not hearing outrage from Democratic senators?
 
Between recess appointments, statutory interpretations, refusal to enforce laws the administration does not like, and the use of executive orders and agencies to accomplish policy objectives sans Congress, a new imperial presidential czardom  is coming to America.  Those who are creating this monster should realize that once the genie is out of the bottle, once the Constitution is cast aside, if power goes to the other party, they will have created a Frankenstein.  Then how they will scream about the sanctity of the Constitution.  Who will hear them?
 
“First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.  Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.  Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”  Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984).
 
The Constitution is the great bulwark that keeps Americans litigious rather than belligerent.  The only great exception was the extremely bloody American Civil War.  Without the Constitution, there is no glue to hold us together.  It is a set of rules.  When we all play by it, we give up power when we lose elections and suffer the majority to rule.  But, when the rule book is thrown away, then the seeds of conflict are sown.
 
“And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast– man's laws, not God's– and if you cut them down —do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.”  Attributed to Sir Thomas More in “A Man for all Seasons.”
 
Rarely have those who would violate the Constitution and stretch it beyond reasonable interpretation been as active as they are now.  The President of the United States knew very well that he was on shaky ground with his recess appointments.  He did not even have the decency to wait to see if the current session of Congress would adjourn before the new session started.  Knowing very well that his appointments would not survive Senate review, he simply went around the U.S. Constitution.  It is not the first time.  Obamacare raised serious constitutional issues which are even now facing Supreme Court resolution.
 
The question now arises both for moderately enraged Republicans and for Democrats in the Senate, what will you do to protect the Constitution and the separation of powers?  If our legislators do nothing, they will consign us to an imperial presidency that will make the forebodings of twentieth century constitutional scholars look like play in a children’s sandbox.
 

Geeky and ga-ga

A mashup of sorts...this first part may appeal to you geekier types who may even remember (we do) having to draw these kinds of things when learning to program an algorithm (click on the image to embiggen): 

And we have to have some fun here at Redneck Mansion:

h/t VR smiley

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