Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

For "a human being, the question 'to be or not to be,' is the question 'to think or not to think.'" Ayn Rand

28 January 2013

The Lawless NRLB and Obama

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia just decided that Obama's three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board on 4 January 2012 were illegal because they were not approved by the Senate which had started a new session on 3 January.  Obama had claimed he was making recess appointments, which the Constitution allows when the Senate is in recess.  Obama claimed the right to determine when the Senate was in recess or not, despite the fact that Congress traditionally declares itself to be in session or recess.

In 2010, the Supreme Court had ruled that the NLRB could not make case rulings or undertake rule-making activities without a quorum of three of its usual five members.  One of the illegally added members, the sole Republican, had resigned long ago because of the very one-sided pro-Labor Union decisions against business owners.  One of these cases was the Boeing ruling in which they were trying to set up a production facility in South Carolina, a Right to Work state.  The NRLB had ruled that Boeing had to do more of that work than it wanted to in Washington, a Union Shop state.  With two of the remaining four NRLB members illegally appointed, hundreds of rulings should be considered to have no authority.  The NRLB Chairman, Mark Gaston Pearce, claims that only the single case actually decided upon by the Appeals Court is tossed out and that all of its other decisions remain in force despite a lack of quorum.  In addition, he claims that the NRLB will continue making rulings and rules with its current members, including those just ruled to have been illegally and unconstitutionally appointed by Obama in direct violation of the 2010 Supreme Court decision.

The initial appointments were a lawless act by Obama.  The determination of the NRLB, with only pro-labor union members, to continue with rulings and rule making without a legal quorum is stunningly lawless.  The fact that Obama has not ordered the NRLB to stop proceeding without a quorum is a renewal of his claim to be above the law.  Note that the claim that a violation of the quorum requirement only overturns one out of hundreds of rulings is absurd.  This means that a lawless federal agency can continue to abuse the People in every case in which the People do not have the money and the time to pursue their own case in the federal courts to at least the Appeals Court level!  It makes a mockery of justice and of individual rights and clearly mocks the idea that government is a servant of the people.

Obama also made a similar "recess appointment" of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Board, which was set up by the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill.  That bill was really an attempt to divert public attention from the fact that the 2008 financial crisis was primarily caused by the government.  Obama has just asked to have Cordray appointed again to be director of this CFPB.  Its activities under this illegally appointed director have also been challenged in the courts.

Obama's failure to order the Justice Department to produce the public documents they are required to produce on the Fast and Furious investigation and to require the EPA to produce documents it was required to produce on Lisa Jackson's hidden e-mail activities are other examples of his common lawlessness.  His providing billions of dollars of funding to his campaign contributors who set up flimsy green energy companies, while not providing federal funding to more sound green energy companies is another instance of his lawlessness.  Then what could beat his awarding exemptions from the requirements of ObamaCare to his union friends and to his contributors and those of other top Democrat leaders, when no such exemptions are a part of the law?  He has made similar unauthorized exemptions to the law through the programs of the Department of Education.

Obama is a very shady, lawless man and he likes to gather similar people around himself and put them in positions of power.  American federal government institutions have been rapidly degraded by this man and his regime of outlaws.

26 January 2013

Obama and Bill Clinton Not Allowed to Own Guns

It is a popular belief that current gun laws should be better enforced.  Federal law already makes it illegal for any felon or anyone who has illegally used any controlled substance from owning a gun.  The penalty is five years of imprisonment, the same draconian punishment leveled at those who refuse to consent to having the ownership of their own bodies taken over by the government under the collectivist ObamaCare law.

Felons are a very broad category which more and more includes people who committed no crime of violence or even no crime against any known individual at all.  Federal and state laws have more and more made people felons for violating vague, unknown, and irrational laws and regulations aimed at anyone trying to make a living.  Business owners and business managers are particularly likely to be victims of such wrongheaded laws.  Those who have have been convicted under such specious laws are not allowed to own guns.

The prohibition of gun ownership to anyone who has illegally used a controlled substance is another draconian act that has the consequence that at least 40 million Americans are likely prohibited from owning guns if it were enforced.  Among those who are prohibited by federal law from owning guns are:

George W. Bush
Bill Clinton

Of course in our lawless land in which many people are deemed too important for the law to be enforced upon them, these people would not actually be denied a gun permit should they request one.  Law enforcement would definitely turn its head for them.  But, in a nation in which the use of a prohibited substance lands many others in jail, prevents them from holding many jobs, or is the excuse of law enforcement agencies to take their homes, cars, boats, and land from them without the need to get a conviction, this is a giant hypocrisy.  It is an act of great injustice.

Far from needing still more gun ownership prohibition and registration laws, we need to repeal some of the wrongheaded laws we already have that unreasonably infringe upon our sovereign and equal right to protect ourselves from harm by others, including tyrannical governments.  More of us than are presently allowed should be able to acquire the best in personal protection weapons so that we can protect ourselves, our families, and our friends and neighbors from the violence that the state proves unable and unwilling to prevent.  Proposed restrictions against large capacity, actually just reasonable capacity, magazines and semi-automatic fire weapons are clear infringements of our right to protect ourselves.

Before you know it, Obama will dictatorially rule that the Founding Fathers only intended the citizenry to own muzzle-loaded muskets and that will be all we will be allowed to own.  Provided of course that we have not become felons for violating some line buried in hundreds of thousands of pages of federal laws and regulations or that we have not ever used a controlled substance illegally.

ObamaCare Reduces Employee Hours at Colleges

Sometimes Justice pays a visit to those who have most assiduously attempted to evade it.

Obama and his Collectivist Party have had extremely high support at our colleges and universities.  Recent college graduates, including many who cannot find jobs, voted for him overwhelmingly not just in the 2008 election, but in the 2012 election when any sane person would have known better.  The faculty and support staff of most colleges and universities have been even more fanatical supporters of the socialist president and the Democrat Socialist Party.  Most of them eagerly supported ObamaCare, the law no one read and most of which was subsequently written in reality by bureaucrats, who are still busy writing it.

The Justice is that most colleges are now under some financial pressure and finding it hard to allow their operational costs to exceed the inflation rate several times over for the first time in decades.  Many, in their mad quest to add more and more administrative personnel, had been scrimping on faculty for a long time.  In 1975, full time non-tenure track faculty and part-time adjunct teaching staff were 43% of the faculty at U.S. colleges.  In 2009, they had grown to 69% of the faculty.  Tenured and tenured track faculty have shrunk dramatically, which supposedly would mean that teaching skills have decreased as well.

It now turns out that ObamaCare is causing numerous colleges to reduce the hours of their long-growing adjunct professors to fewer than 30 hours a week so that they will not have to pay the penalty tax for not providing them with health insurance.  See the Wall St. Journal of 19-20 January 2013 for more on this.  They most certainly do not want to actually provide them with health insurance since the ObamaCare insurance requirements are causing the cost of health insurance premiums to skyrocket.  The worst of the cost increases are just about to land hard on employers everywhere.

Of course colleges are not just planning to reduce the hours of adjunct professors.  They plan to reduce the hours of many on their support and administrative staffs also.  Just as restaurant chains and retail chains are reducing the number of hours of their employees to less than 30 hours a week, so are many colleges planning to make such reductions.  In the ObamaCollectivistNation, fewer and fewer people will have full-time jobs.  It was really the same in the Soviet Union, where 12 people commonly stood around and watched as one or two people did some work.  Of course, there they pretended they all had part-time jobs, but they were paid in accordance with the work they did not do.

A Mr. Balla, an adjunct professor at Stark College in North Canton, Ohio, said after receiving a letter informing him of his reduced hours:
I think it goes against the spirit of the law.  In education, we're working for the public good, we are public employees at a public institution; we should be the first ones to uphold the law, to set the example.
 He says he will not be able to afford ObamaCare insurance on his own.  Poor special person!  Perhaps he should just suck it up and find a job in the private sector that he looks down his nose at and learns how hard it is to earn a living while carrying all the entitlees  and "public" employees on your back and obeying the flurry of unreadable and unintelligible regulations and the many irrational mandates of the local, state, and federal governments.  It really irks me that these people claim to be serving the "public" when they are so clearly serving themselves as privileged rulers over the brutes they think populate the private sector.  This guy claims his right to the Cadillac ObamaCare insurance provided by the taxpayer even as millions of private sector workers have their employment hours reduced because of his lovely ObamaCare tyranny.  He claims his special privilege as a worker for the public good even as tax revenues from the many with fewer hours worked in the private sector must go down.  But, our saintly educator must get his privileged health insurance despite any such inconvenient reality.  The Federal Reserve will surely just print the additional needed money and give it to the colleges.

The colleges have long failed to serve us well.  They are bastions opposed to the sovereign individual rights of each of us.  They have long favored collectivism and opposed the American Principle of limited government with powers so restricted that it could not violate individual rights.  Their man Obama just reiterated his allegiance to collectivism and his real opposition to our individual rights in his Second Inaugural Address.

What is more, they do not even do a decent job of preparing their students for work in the private sector.  They are turning out droves of young people too privileged to actually be willing to work hard.  Their student product is ignorant of civics and U.S. history, of economics, of business reality, of the climate, of fossil fuels and their use, of writing skills, of logic and the construction of rational thought, and of science.  Most fallaciously believe they are qualified to choose the values by which others shall be forced to live their lives and able to choose politicians who will micromanage our incompetent lives in the private sector.  They are so full of themselves and so very hollow in reality.  Just like our Mr. Balla.

Well, their support for ObamaCare is about to result in their shooting themselves in the foot.  At least unless the efforts of such college groups as the American Association of Community Colleges to get the IRS to write the rules to exclude colleges from ObamaCare's requirements works.  The Obama regime has a tremendous propensity for writing administrative rules that exclude their biggest supporters from the rule of law.  We have already seen them write massive exceptions for unions and for companies from Nancy Pelosi's district.

Speaking of unions, more and more of college adjunct professors are already in unions.  About 37% of part-time non-tenured faculty are in unions already.  The colleges are fearing that putting these people on fewer hours will cause even more of them to join unions.  It is very funny that unions and their Collectivist Party are nearly universally supported on college campuses,  until unions approach their lower paid faculty and threaten to make the colleges pay them more money.  Colleges are rather the ultimate joke when it comes to hypocrisy.  How ironic that the ObamaCare that they cannot afford will push more of their lower paid faculty into unions that will demand higher pay they cannot afford.  Yet the justice come home to roost upon these bastions of irrationality is really quite sweet.

25 January 2013

Senator Feinstein's Abuse of the Public Trust

Senator Diane Feinstein of California recently gave up her chairmanship of the Senate Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee after many years of steering contracts for military construction, advanced weapons procurement, environmental clean-up projects, facility leasing, and quality of life issues for veterans to companies owned by her husband.

Richard C. Blum, her husband, owned majority shares of Perini Corporation and URS Corporation until late 2005.  Senator Feinstein had been voting approval of contracts to these corporations and to CB Richard Ellis, a commercial property leasing and building purchasing firm in which her husband had a major interest, since becoming the Chair of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee in 2001.  That year, URS Corp. military construction income grew from $24 million to $185 million.  Its architectural and engineering military construction income rose from $108,000 in 200 to $142 million in 2001.  She had also voted money for Boston Scientific Corp. and Kinetic Concepts, Inc. for medical supplies when these companies stocks were heavily owned by her husband's financial companies.

At least $1.6 billion of income was steered to her husband's companies while Senator Feinstein served on the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee.  This makes all other Senatorial conflict of interest and theft of public monies cases small potatoes in comparison!  How abuse of U.S. citizens can go on for many years at this scale without the media raising a huge ruckus about it, is a very clear statement that the media, as well as the Senate, has no regard for the General Welfare of the People.

You can read more about this here:

19 January 2013

Homicide Rates by Guns and Other Factors

There are often claims that there is an explosion of homicide by guns in the USA.  But the actual data are shown here for homicides and non-negligent manslaughter:

This data is from a report by the Congressional Research Service for Congress entitled Gun Control Legislation by William J. Krouse, dated 14 November 2012.  The murder rates and those committed with the use of guns are higher than one would like of course, but they are not exactly exploding.  In fact, they have been coming down.

If we just look at the murder rate by gun and exclude non-negligent manslaughter, the U.S. rate was 2.75 per hundred thousand in 2011.  But this rate varied greatly from state to state and region to region.  The list of states and DC with rates above 3.00 is given below from higher to lower rates:

District of Columbia, 12.46
Louisiana, 10.16
Mississippi, 7.46
South Carolina, 5.41
Michigan, 5.06
Maryland, 4.70
Missouri, 4.64
Arkansas, 4.39
New York, 4.12
Pennsylvania, 3.97
Georgia, 3.93
Tennessee, 3.92
North Carolina, 3.87
Oklahoma, 3.64
Ohio, 3.54
Indiana, 3.29
California, 3.25
Delaware, 3.09
Nevada, 3.07
New Jersey, 3.07

The cause of these major murder rate by gun differences by state and other local variations has not been much discussed.  There does not appear to be a simple and strong rule of thumb based on gun controls that explains this.  DC and Chicago both have severe gun control laws, yet both have very high murder rates by gun.  Maryland and New York have relatively strong gun control laws.  Many of the states in this list also have relatively weak gun controls.  Other factors are apparently at work and they ought to be identified and come under discussion.

One of the most important factors is also silenced by those who police the debate in terms of political correctness.  This chart makes it very clear that a critical factor relates to race and the use of guns in murders.

One of the popular exercises is to compare U.S. murder rates by gun with those of certain Western European countries and Japan and note that we compare badly.  The chart above localizes much of the reason for the bad comparison in the U.S. black population.  Gun control legislation that does not take this racial discrepancy into account is unlikely to achieve much.  One certainly cannot find a legal reason to infringe the 2nd Amendment Right to owning guns of black Americans, while allowing white Americans their individual right to gun ownership.  This is a problem that has to be addressed in a much broader context.

There is actually very little that can be done by legislation about the murder rate by guns.  The primary issues are deeply seated in various American sub-cultures.  Even such an issue as the effort to identify mentally ill people who should not have guns is a secondary issue.  It is one worth pursuing and trying to improve, but we should have no illusions that it will have a major effect in reducing the amount of gun murders in America.

14th Amendment Gives President Authority to Raise the Debt Ceiling: Another Socialist Taradiddle

Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Majority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin, Representative Peter Welch, and numerous Progressive Elitist columnists have called upon Obama to raise the debt ceiling himself using the 14th Amendment as the basis for his power to do so.  Examining this claim of presidential power by the socialist left will inform us greatly about their values and how seriously they take the Constitution.

In Article 1, Section 8, the Congress is given its powers.  It says:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States; ....

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, ...

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States; ....
Section 8 also goes on to describe its role in the defense of the country, including that of providing for military forces and placing a two-year appropriations limit on its doing so.

The powers of the President are given in Article 2, Section 2.  There is no mention of any power to appropriate money, to issue debt, to issue coin or bonds, or any other power pertaining to the use of the People's money.  This is not surprising given that control over money, taxes, and debt were the primary powers that the Congress was invested with for the purpose of limiting the power of the Executive.  We have to remember that Americans had just fought for their independence from a much too powerful King of England.  They had also faced too powerful governors in the colonies in most cases who ruled those colonies for the King's advantage, not the People's welfare.  The Executive under the Articles of Confederation had been nearly non-existent and was much strengthened under the Constitution, but was still subject to great distrust.  Were we as wise today, we would still view the Executive with great distrust.

The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 to deal with issues resulting from the outcome of the Civil War.  In Section 4, it says:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.  But neither the United States or any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or the emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5 of the 14th Amendment says "Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."

So whatever power is granted here is granted to Congress.  There is no mention of the President.  What is more, the debt to be honored without question, was only such debt as had been authorized by law, which only Congress can do.  One can go further in understanding this amendment's requirement about the debt.  It is clear that it imposes an obligation upon Congress to pay its debts in full and without dilution.  A rational person would question repayment of a debt with a devalued currency, for instance.  Therefore, if Congress, or in our present condition, the Federal Reserve is printing money to make up the difference between tax revenues and government spending, then Congress itself is in violation of the 14th Amendment.  Any rational broad interpretation of the 14th Amendment would note that Congress is constrained in its spending to a sustainable debt.  It cannot default on the debt, but it also cannot allow the debt to rise to such heights that a rational person would question that it can be repaid in full with a fully valued coin.

As we see, it is a ludicrous taradiddle that the President can raise the debt ceiling without an act of Congress.  There is no such power in the 14th Amendment.  This is why even Obama has been disinclined to claim this power.  Even though he dislikes the Constitution and holds it in low regard, even he dares not traduce it is such a blatant manner.  Not only would he have to assert a power he clearly does not have, but he would also have to violate multiple acts of Congress, duly passed.  First, he would have to break the law setting the current debt ceiling, as Congress has been doing since 1917.  Second, he would have to violate the Antideficiency Act which states that the President or any government official must have an appropriation from Congress before he can authorize payments.  It could not be more obvious that the power of the purse belongs to Congress, not the President.

This being such an open and shut case, it is very revealing that so many of the top leadership of the Democrat Party are so eager to subvert the Constitution and support such an egregious taradiddle as the claim that the 14th Amendment gives their great socialist leader the power to raise the debt ceiling by himself.  This is an attempt to claim dictatorial powers.  If Republicans had made such a claim when the Democrats controlled one of the houses of the Congress, you can be certain they would have been screaming in opposition.  It is way beyond time for the American People to understand that their dominant party is one eager to subvert the Constitution and thereby the control the people exercise by choosing their representatives to the Congress.  There is an eagerness for dictatorship, so long as the dictator is a Democrat Socialist.  This is a predilection to be feared and against which we must stand in firmest opposition.

taradiddle: 1) a trivial or childish lie, a fib, or 2) pretentious nonsense.

01 January 2013

Social Security Blahs

On the verge of the new year, 2013, let us consider some of the gloom due to the government Social Security Ponzi Scheme to be faced eventually in our future:
  •  2012 deficit of SS was $48 billion, which was added to the national debt.
  • SS beneficiaries hit new record of 56,758,185 people.
  • People collecting disability payments hit new record of 8,827,795.
  • 112.5 million full time workers in 2011 to support those on SS.  Only 94.7 million full time workers were in the private sector.
  • 1.67 full time private sector workers support each SS recipient.
  • 1.27 full time private sector workers support each SS recipient or full time government worker.
  • 2012 is the third straight year that SS has spent more money than it received in tax receipts.
  • Baby Boomers have barely begun to retire.
  • The National Debt is now $16.42 trillion, in excess of the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling and the National GDP of 2012 estimate of $15.9 trillion.
  • Politicians are almost universally happy to pretend there is no problem, as are the voters.
Have a happy 2013 in some Galt's Gulch of your own making, while the nation whistles its way merrily to self-immolation.  The nation is drunk, not just tonight, but everyday.  As long as the con man Obama and his henchmen entertain them with being conned, they are happy drunks, jobless or not.