Olympics Opening Ceremony

Well, they’re doing a thing on children’s stories right now, in some way presented by the people of the National Health Service. I guess you can tell it’s the NHS, because all the patients are in iron beds, and in a common ward, and the nurses are nodding off.

Anyway, the ninnies commenting for NBC felt the need to tell us that this was the people of the UK showing their pride in the NHS. And, gosh golly, maybe we could consider that during our debate over health care.

Then I think of the words to their national anthem. I love the British; I married one (well, she’s half Welsh). In their anthem, they say of their Queen: “Long may she reign o’er us”. It was to avoid having someone “reign over us” that we fight the Revolution. People over whom someone reigns are more likely to appreciate that someone breaking their ills, than are a people who are independent.  Didn’t purple used to go to the King or Queen to be healed by their touch? See how little has changed.

Obamacare Fail

Oh, joy. It appears that the Affordable Care Act is so poorly written that it may simply… collapse. According to a paper written by some researchers, the bill allows for two ways for the insurance exchanges to be created: by the States, and if the States don’t act, by the Federal government. However, the subsidies for buying health insurance are available only to people enrolled in exchanges set up by the States.

This is what happens when Congress rushes through a 2,000+ page bill that nobody seems to have the time to read. It’s like the worst Easter egg hunt ever, in which every egg, no matter how gaily painted, is rotten and releases its sulfurous vapors when it is discovered.

The Founding Fathers intended the work of Congress to be slow and deliberate. We now see their wisdom in the result of an Act passed with so little scrutiny that even the Speaker of the House was ignorant of its contents.

(via Instapundit)

Bring back the Star Chamber!

For some three centuries, the kings of England claimed and exercised the power to try and convict their subjects in secret: secrecy so complete that the accused himself was unaware that charges had been laid against him. This came to be known as the Star Chamber. Its use increased under Henry VIII, as a functioning alternative to the regular court system, which was deemed to be too corrupt to dispense justice.  Charles I expanded the application of the Star Chamber to where it became not a fallback to courts of common law, but a full replacement for them. In 1641, the Long Parliament abolished the Star Chamber.

President Obama has expanded the war-waging powers of the Presidency to include now the deliberate targeted killing of American citizens. The citizens so targeted are not told that they are being considered for execution. They therefore have no opportunity to defend themselves, or confront their accusers. To the extent that they learn about being on a list of citizens to be killed, it happens in the split second before the warhead of the missile, fired by the drone dispatched by the President, explodes.

This is being done in the name of the American people. Someday, we will be called to account for this. Pleading ignorance will not excuse us.

Why then the call to revive the Star Chamber? One simple reason: for all that it was an abuse of power and an imposition of injustice, the Star Chamber never claimed or exercised the power to execute its targets.

Of course, I’m not seriously advocating the use of a Star Chamber. I am pointing out that the tyranny of kings was not so dangerous or all-inclusive as the tyranny of a President who has claimed the power to be judge, jury, and executioner of American citizens.

More on Congressman Himes

In the post just before this one, I included the email sent by Jim Himes to his constituents. One thing was niggling at me: Himes’ apparent concern about PAC money. Has the Congressman accepted PAC money?

Why, yes.  Yes, he has. More than a third of his money in this cycle so far has come from PACs. More than a quarter of his money is from out of State. A pitiful 3% of the donations are from small donors.

Not only that, he has received money from Bain Capital! Does this mean that he is benefiting from outsourcing American jobs?

The astonishingly useful website Open Secrets has lots more detail on who is backing “our” Congressman.

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Clueless Congressman

A note from my Congressman:

Dear Friends,

On July 4, 1776, fifty-six delegates from the thirteen colonies stood against a tyrannical British king and for the proposition that Americans would govern themselves through a democratic process of voting.

Almost 240 years later, it’s time for another Declaration of Independence. It is time to reassert the essential principle that all people have equal access to their government, which is accountable solely to them, regardless of their wealth or station.

We grew up as inheritors of the legacy of those courageous delegates. Today, their work is at risk. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and the hundreds of millions of dollars it has unleashed into our elections, is as serious a threat to the underpinnings of our democracy as anything I have seen.

In its aftermath, select donors (or a handful of power brokers) can ensure that the candidates they sponsor are indebted to them – and them alone. By rejecting reasonable transparency requirements for those who want to influence elections, we put the electoral process up for silent auction. It’s shameful. Democracy should never be for sale.

I know enough history to know that Jefferson, Jay, and Madison would never have envisioned or approved of the actions of Shelly Adelson or the shadowy Super-PACs out there.

With this in mind, I am co-sponsoring two resolutions of Constitutional Amendment to reverse the effects of the Citizens United decision. And I am pledging to work, inside or outside of Congress, to see one or both of them passed and ratified. It will be a long and arduous process. With any luck, perhaps the Supreme Court will choose to reverse Citizens United. But until then, our democracy is at risk.

You can read the two constitutional amendments I cosponsored here and here. I welcome your input on Citizens United, these amendments, and any other issue and encourage you to share those thoughts with your Senators and other public officials, as well.

Most Sincerely, Jim

Sigh. One scarcely knows where to start. At a time when:
1. The President has decided that he had the power to sentence American citizens to death, without giving them an opportunity to defend themselves, indeed without them even being notified that they are being added to the President’s kill list;
2. The government has removed the freedom of Americans to buy or not buy health insurance;
3. The President abuses his power of executive authority to implement policies that have been rejected by Congress;
our Congressman, Jim Himes (D-Goldman Sachs), is worried about American citizens spending their own money to support candidates and causes of their choice. His idea of independence involves limiting the freedom of Americans.

He then has the gall to speak to Thomas Jefferson in support of his position. The same Jefferson who said, “I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.” And, ” My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

Congressman Himes also claims the mantle of Madison’s authority. What did Madison have to say? “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” Keep in mind that Himes voted for the voluminous Affordable Care Act, which continues to yield surprises, the latest being the CBO estimate that it will cost 3 times what we were told at the time of passage. Madison also wrote, ” I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” On the question of the wealthy participating in government: ” In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of the landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.”

As for John Jay, one quotation will suffice: ” The people who own the country ought to govern it.”

The sum of all this is that we do not increase freedom by decreasing freedom, and that we have more to fear from unbridled government than we do from unbridled speech.