From Around the Blogroll

Our brand new wood stove

Our brand new wood stove

My darling bride (of 36 years, 4 months and 14 days) emerged from the bedroom this morning and said, “I’m ready for Spring.” She’d like to skip Winter altogether, and I can’t say that I blame her.

But Winter is coming, and there’s nought we can do about it. But we went to Lowe’s today, and bought a wood stove, which will reduce — but not eliminate — our heating oil bills. All that Lowe’s had was the floor model, which had a few scratches around the inside of the door, at which point I said, “We should get a 10% discount for this.” The salesman agreed. Then, since we had our daughter, and her military ID, with us, we got another 10% military discount.

And now, on to the blogroll!

The left, the HITECH Act, and gun control Count on the left to try to restrict our freedom

We have previously noted the requirement for searchability in computerized medical records, something mandated by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, abbreviated HITECH Act, which was enacted under Title XIII of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Pub.L. 111–5), the official name of the porkulus stimulus bill. We’ve noted before the urge to control in our friends on the left. It seems that everywhere you look, the left want to add another little bit of government control, for our own good, of course, because we really can’t be trusted to run our lives ourselves.

And so we come to the latest mass killing, the shootings on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. CNN reported that there were 13 firearms connected to the murderer,1 five pistols and one long gun in his possession during the killings, and two pistols, four rifles and a shotgun in the apartment he shared with his mother, all of which had been purchased legally from a federally licensed firearms dealer.

The murderer, who had washed out of Army Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina after only a month,2 apparently had no criminal record, or he would not have been able to purchase the weapons he had.3 While the killer has been, as always seems to be the case, described as a loner and a misfit, I have not yet seen any reports that he had been treated for any mental illnesses.

Which brings me back to the HITECH Act. We’ve mentioned, in the articles linked in the first paragraph, that the HITECH Act mandates that all medical records must be converted into electronic form, ostensibly to allow different health care providers to get a patient’s complete medical records, but that regulations require that some items be kept in a simplified format — specifically the Body Mass Index calculation, or BMI — which could only be necessary if someone wanted those records to be searchable. And now, President Obama is once again on his gun control kick, even though no existing gun control laws could have prevented the murderer and his family from purchasing firearms. Since we do not live in a Minority Report world,4 we cannot prevent people who have not yet committed a crime from buying firearms. But it won’t be long before President Obama or one of his fellow travelers decides that we should use the electronic medical records mandated by the HITECH Act to search to see if anyone attempting to purchase a firearm has even been treated for a mental illness or treated by a mental health care professional.5 Psychiatrists and psychologists are not (yet) required to report every instance of treating patients to the authorities, something which would be covered by doctor-patient privilege, but, with HITECH, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms or the FBI or whatever other police agency the federal government decided needed to see such records could go ahead and look.

Count on it: the left will want to use the HITECH Act mandated records to prohibit law-abiding Americans from exercising their rights to keep and bear arms. Why, that’s just “common sense” gun control, we will be told, and no one could reasonably object to that, right?

The Bill of Rights

Well, I object!  Our Constitution guarantees that our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and the Fourteenth Amendment states that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Without due process of law, which would mean that the state must actually convict someone of a crime, our rights under the Second Amendment cannot be abridged or infringed. Looking into whether someone has seen a psychiatrist before being legally allowed to purchase or own a firearm would be a direct violation of our rights.

Further, the use of the HITECH Act mandated medical records by law enforcement would be a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches, and the unwritten right to privacy recognized by the Supreme Court in Griswold v Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965).  President Obama has not (yet) advocated this, nor has anyone on the left (of whom I am aware) made such a proposal, but it’s coming, it’s coming.

Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment

And this is the entire problem for the left when it comes to gun control.  We have already passed every law we need — arguably more than we need — to ban convicted felons from owning or possessing firearms. Those laws apply to those who are already convicted criminals, to those who have already proved themselves to be untrustworthy, and the Constitution specifically allows that.6  What President Obama and the left want to do is to prohibit those Americans who haven not been convicted of any crime, those people who ave been obeying the law, from owning firearms; to them, the Second Amendment and our rights to keep and bear arms are just so much 18th century garbage. Those people cannot be trusted!

When it comes to your freedom, when it comes to our liberties as Americans, we must always fight the left, we must do everything we can to keep them out of power, because, once in power, they will do all that they can to restrict our liberties, to take away our freedom, and to subjugate our rights to the “good” of the State.
Cross-posted on RedState.

  1. I have chosen not to use the murderer’s name, something which is known. It seems to me that many of these mass murderers are essentially committing suicide-by-cop, looking for some last 15 minutes of fame as they go to Hell, and I shall not participate in giving it to them.
  2. Both of my daughters have passed that course.
  3. CNN reported that Celinez Nunez of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that all of the weapons had been legally obtained by the shooter or family members over the last three years through a federally licensed firearms dealer. Unless the CNN report used terrible grammar, this sentence must mean that both the killer and some of his family members bought weapons, meaning that none of the people who purchased the weapons had any felony convictions or faced pending criminal charges at the times of the purchases.
  4. Minority Report is a film set in 2054, where a specialized police unit arrests people based on psychic foreknowledge that someone who has not yet committed a crime will do so in the future.
  5. This could even include being seen by a marriage counselor.
  6. Many on the left have argued that we should end the policy of felony disenfranchisement, under which convicted felons lose the right to vote, something allowed under the Fourteenth Amendment, once they have served their sentences. How odd it is, then, that we never see anyone on the left arguing that convicted criminals should have their Second Amendment rights restored after they have served their sentences.

#CarlyFiorina and Zero-Based Budgeting

We noted yesterday one way that the Congress can get the budget under control and reduce spending. Another is zero-based budgeting, which is supported by Republican candidates Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush and former candidate Rick Perry.

Zero-based budgeting is a simple concept in theory, but a difficult one in practice: it requires each federal agency to justify each project in its budget request each appropriations cycle. Rather than the “baseline budgeting” being done now, where the previous year’s budget is taken as the starting point, and then an increase figured in, zero-based budgeting would require that each program be considered, and added or not added, with each appropriation.

In 2000, during Jeb Bush’s tenure as governor, Florida was one of the first states to enact an eight-year cycle of agency reviews to help it better evaluate budgetary requests. The effort was abandoned a few years later after state legislatures found the process expensive and time-consuming, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Well, yeah, it’s tough, so tough that the federal government hasn’t done it since Jimmy Carter was President. But just because it’s tough doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done again. However, it doesn’t have to all be done at once: it could be implemented for two agencies the first year, then two more the second. Coupled with our suggestion of moving to two-year appropriations, with half of the budget done one year and the other half the next, it could be managed. In one four year term, the next President could get eight major federal departments onto zero-based budgeting.

Just think how much junk gets added into a budget one year, and then, because baseline budgeting is used, it simply continues for year after year after year. Carly Fiorina plans to move to a zero-based budgeting system, though few of the details have been released, and her campaign website doesn’t have the specifics.

Fiorina Hits Government Waste: ‘Just Plain Abuse And Corruption’

Alex Pappas | Political Reporter | June 11, 2015

“Every single agency” of the federal government has wasteful components, according to Carly Fiorina, who said she’d push to implement a new budgetary tool to eliminate inefficiencies across government if elected president.

During a conference call with reporters Thursday, The Daily Caller asked the Republican presidential candidate if she would get rid of any federal cabinet departments or agencies as president.

“While it might feel good to name two or three agencies that we could eliminate all together, the truth is every single agency has vast amounts of inefficiencies, ineffectiveness (even worse), duplication, just plain abuse and corruption,” Fiorina said.

Fiorina called for “zero-based budgeting” to prevent wasteful programs from slipping through the cracks every year.

“Not only would be know where every dollar is being spent, but we ask every agency to justify every single program every year,” Fiorina said.

Carly Fiorina campaigning at the Iowa State Fair

There’s more at the link.

Zero-based budgeting isn’t exactly a glamorous issue, and sometimes the stresses and requirements of campaigning for office shunt the policy wonkishness to the sidelines, but Mrs Fiorina was a hard-driving CEO at Hewlett-Packard, and she made some enemies there, including Walter Hewlett, son of H-P co-founder Bill Hewlett. It’s arguable that pushing zero-based budgeting could cost Mrs Fiorina any chance of carrying Virginia, with its sizable population of federal government workers in the suburbs around Washington. “Some tough calls are going to be required,” Fiorina said. “When you challenge the status quo, you make enemies. I made a few.” If she wins the election in 2016, actually implementing zero-based budgeting would make her a whole lot more enemies . . . but it would be the right thing to do to get our huge federal budget under control. It’s only when you really know what is in the budget, and every line item has to be justified and explained, that we can ever hope to manage it.

President Obama and “soft power.”

From Patterico’s Pontifications:

Putin “Orders” U.S. Fighter Planes Out of Syria, Bombs non-ISIS Opposition

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:31 pm

As we know, our lead-from-behind President has happily left the mess in Syria (a mess that he partly inherited but largely exacerbated with his own fecklessness) to our new and staunch ally Russia. Now we hear from Fox News that Russia is demanding that U.S. planes stop flying in Syrian airspace.

According to the Jerusalem Post, U.S. officials are said to be ignoring the request, but given the general weakness exhibited by the Obama-Kerry axis, and given their desperation to wash their hands of the whole mess, would it surprise any of us to discover that within a week or so we are no longer conducting flying missions over Syria?

There’s more at the link, and, as always, Patterico’s site is full of reader commentary.

Vladimir Putin took the measure of Barack Hussein Obama early, and has been conducting Russian policy based on it; he understands that our 44th President has no stomach for hard work or leadership, really knows nothing about the world at large, and is consumed by the liberal position that the United States has been overly aggressive on the world stage in the past.

The term is “soft power,” coined by Joseph Nye in the 1980s, meaning the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion. Dr Nye argued that a country needs to employ both hard and soft power, but our President seems to have forgotten the necessity for hard power as well. Dr Nye himself wrote, in 2013, that Russian and China don’t really understand soft power, and don’t use it well, concluding:

China and Russia make the mistake of thinking that government is the main instrument of soft power. In today’s world, information is not scarce but attention is, and attention depends on credibility. Government propaganda is rarely credible. The best propaganda is not propaganda. For all the efforts to turn Xinhua and China Central Television into competitors to CNN and the BBC, there is little international audience for brittle propaganda. As the Economist noted about China, “the party has not bought into Mr. Nye’s view that soft power springs largely from individuals, the private sector, and civil society. So the government has taken to promoting ancient cultural icons whom it thinks might have global appeal.” But soft power doesn’t work that way. As Pang Zhongying of Renmin University put it, it highlights “a poverty of thought” among Chinese leaders.

The development of soft power need not be a zero-sum game. All countries can gain from finding each other attractive. But for China and Russia to succeed, they will need to match words and deeds in their policies, be self-critical, and unleash the full talents of their civil societies. Unfortunately, that is not about to happen soon.

This assumes a Western democracy type of thinking on the parts of Russia and China, an assumption which couldn’t be further from the truth. China has been enslaved by Communism for almost three generations, and while Russia is nominally a democracy — yeah, right — President Putin is a former KGB officer, and values democracy and freedom just as much as you’d expect from such a man.

The leadership of Russia and China aren’t really interested in soft power, except in places where it might save them a few rubles, but are very much interested in hard power, because that is what they know, and that is how they rose to power in the first place.

President Obama doesn’t know this or understand this, and seems thoroughly taken aback when Russia and China play hardball with him; why that just isn’t nice, that just isn’t fair!

Soft power might get a country what it wants on occasion, but if a country’s leaders aren’t willing to use hard power when necessary, it will always fail when confronted with hard power. And that’s why Vladimir Putin treats Barack Obama as his flunky, because he can.

Two stories, and two points, from The Wall Street Journal.

The first story:

Big Tax Cuts, and Deep Deficits, Seen in Donald Trump’s Plan

By John D. McKinnon | September 29, 2015 @ 1452 EDT

Donald Trump’s tax plan would cut taxes by far more than other presidential candidates’ proposals, but that also means it would deepen deficits by more – at least $10 trillion over a decade — according to a think tank analysis.

The analysis by the business-backed Tax Foundation undercuts Mr. Trump’s claim that his tax plan would not add to the federal government’s rising long-term debt. In announcing his plan, a campaign document said that the proposal “doesn’t add to our debt and deficit, which are already too large.”

By comparison, Marco Rubio’s plan would cut taxes and increase deficits by $1.7 trillion, Jeb Bush’s by $1.6 trillion and Rand Paul’s by about $1 trillion, the Tax Foundation said.

“It [the Trump plan] is by far the biggest tax cut of any of the announced plans,” said Scott Hodge, the organization’s president. The group found that the Trump plan would increase deficits by $12 trillion when its economic effects are ignored.

A Trump campaign spokeswoman said in a statement that the Tax Foundation analysis didn’t take into account the policy changes that would be used to offset the plan’s reductions.

“Even accounting for that, their figures seem wildly off the mark, especially compared to how they scored similar provisions for Jeb Bush’s plan,” the campaign said.

The Tax Foundation denied that, saying it included all the changes it could model.

One basic problem for Mr. Trump’s plan is that its rate reductions are so large that it’s hard to find enough raisers to offset them, Tax Foundation officials suggested. The Trump plan would lower the top rate for individuals to 25% from 39.6%, and the top rate on all business income to 15%. The current top corporate rate is 35%.

Yes, taxes are too high, and spending is way, way, way! too high, but the solution is not to increase deficits wildly.

The second story:

Senate Passes Bill to Fund Government Through Dec. 11

The bill is expected to receive the House’s approval and Obama’s signature before a midnight deadline

By Kristina Peterson | Updated Sept. 30, 2015 11:16 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON—The Senate on Wednesday passed a short-term spending bill keeping the government running through Dec. 11, putting Congress on track to avoid another government shutdown with little time to spare.

The House is expected to approve the spending bill later Wednesday and send it to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign the legislation before the government’s current funding expires at midnight.

The bill passed the Senate on a 78-20 vote, with the support of 32 Republicans and all 46 members of the Democratic caucus. All of the opposition came from Republicans.

There’s more at the link.

This is the omnibus spending bill which conservatives wanted to use to defund Planned Parenthood, but outgoing Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have forced it through without that cut, because they were just deathly afraid that President Obama would veto it, and the Republicans would be blamed for a government shutdown.

This is entirely the Republicans’ fault: if they had passed the annual appropriations bills when they were supposed to have passed them, and the Planned Parenthood appropriation was the issue at hand, only the appropriation for Health and Human Services would have faced a Presidential veto . . . and I’d have been perfectly happy if HHS was closed down. When they don’t do their first job, funding the government, and depend on continuing resolutions, they surrender the power of their majority.

We published, on the old site, exactly how the Republicans could make their majority, then only in the House of Representatives, work for them:

The Republican wins in Congress give them more power, but the Democrats still control the Senate and the White House. We’ll be told that the House Republicans will have to compromise, but what they will really have to do is present real, solid alternatives.

The first place they can start is to revamp the entire budget process. Right now, the budget of the United States is passed in twelve omnibus appropriations bills, several of which fund more than one federal department. These bills are just plain huge, and, as a consequence, legislators insert controversial items in with non-controversial ones, in appropriations bills which cover so much that they can’t be rejected. The Republicans should pass appropriations in smaller, tighter bills, bills which can be read and understood and which, if rejected by the Senate or vetoed, won’t shut down whole sections of the government, but which will impact the government in smaller, more narrowly tailored ways.

Along with that, by passing appropriations measures every year, the whole budget process gets stacked up and harder to review. The answer is simple: pass half of the appropriations bills for two-year periods, and then, the next year, pass appropriations bills for the other half of the budget for two-year periods. In that manner, each year the Congress will have to pass appropriations for only half of the government, allowing more time for scrutiny and consideration.1

The way we do things now stacks the deck in favor of higher spending: congressmen, Republican and Democrat alike, insert their pet projects, different agencies ask for things they want, special interest groups lobby for things which they think are good, and it all gets pushed into huge bills with far-too-little scrutiny. If the Republicans were to adopt these two simple ideas, they would be well-supported, and really uncontroversial, and the Democrats in the Senate would pretty much have to accept them (for political reasons), but they would reduce the pressure on ever-higher spending.

The Republicans didn’t do this, and, of course, Common Sense Political Thought was such a small blog that it’s very probable than no one in Congress ever heard of it, much less read it. But, worse than not reading it and passing many, much smaller appropriations bills, the Republicans have not passed even the twelve annual appropriations bills, leaving the omnibus continuing resolutions bills as the only way to fund the government.

They have to do better than this.

  1. There is only one constitutional restriction in this, the provision in Article I, Section 8, which says that the Congress has the power “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years.” Such restriction implies that the Framers believed that Congress could appropriate for other things for periods longer than two years.

If it annoys the editors of The New York Times, it must be a good idea!

Taking Note - The Editorial Page Editor's Blog

Representative Trey Gowdy.Credit Cliff Owen/Associated Press

The choice House Republicans make to replace John Boehner as speaker will say a lot about how the party is going to handle its current identity crisis. Will it finally take governing seriously, or will it go on using its majority in Congress to shut down the government, hold show votes on health care reform, stymie President Obama and try to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president?

The current conventional wisdom holds that the leading candidate is the majority leader, Kevin McCarthy of California. Mr. McCarthy, at least, said on Monday that it is time to stop “governing by crisis,” and that he would look for “the most conservative solution I can find.” That might, possibly, hint that he is open to compromise.

His promotion, however, would leave the majority leader spot open. And, as Jennifer Steinhauer reports today, some in the party are hoping to elevate Trey Gowdy to that position.

Mr. Gowdy, of South Carolina, was elected in 2010 and built a reputation sponsoring marginal and often bizarre bits of legislation, like the 2014 bill that would allow the House of Representatives to sue the president of the United States if it did not like the way the president was enforcing the law.

He’s a big supporter of repealing the Affordable Care Act and, of course, of denying federal money to Planned Parenthood.

There’s more at the link, of course, and while I really, really wanted to copy and paste the whole thing, I resisted temptation.

Basically, Mr Rosenthal doesn’t like the idea that conservatives who did something really radical like win elections should have any real voice in the House of Representatives. They should be good little soldiers and just go along with what their betters tell them to do. When Mr Rosenthal asks, “Will it finally take governing seriously, or will it go on using its majority in Congress to shut down the government, hold show votes on health care reform, stymie President Obama and try to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president?” what he fails to realize/doesn’t want to acknowledge is that the voters elected Republicans precisely to “stymie President Obama and try to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president.” John Boehner is leaving office as Speaker of the House because he has been too much of a go-along-to-get-along Republican, who should have been using the Republican majority “stymie President Obama and try to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president.” If he had been that kind of Speaker, he’d have won the accolades of Republicans across the country and wouldn’t have had to resort to pettiness and petulance on his way out.

So, if the editors of the Times are appalled that Representative Gowdy might become Majority Leader, then I naturally support Mr Gowdy becoming Majority Leader. It’s time we had a solid conservative in that position.

Mr Gowdy has said that he is not running for the job, which should please the editors of the New York Times, but we need a strong, real, conservative in that position.

Another one bites the dust?

According to a report from The Hill, Purple PAC, one of the SuperPACs supporting the presidential campaign of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has stopped raising money for the libertarian Senator.

The Hill also reported that Paul will attend fundraisers on Wednesday and Thursday for his reelection to the Senate.

Dr Paul’s presidential campaign never really had any traction; it’s time for him to quit.

Statement Examples for Research Papers

Hey all, my label is Charlotte Craig, and that I have worked as an assistance writer author for years. Yes – a long time! Did I go into this work? I needed to work from home possess some control over exactly how many hours and what these hours were, be compensated effectively for that function I-do and do something beneficial and fascinating. Continue reading ‘Statement Examples for Research Papers’ »

The candidates are asking for last minute campaign donations . . .

. . . but, if you miss the last minute, not to worry, they’ll still accept donations! Tomorrow is the end of the third quarter, when candidates have to file campaign expense reports with the Federal Elections Commission, and I’m receiving email solicitations for campaign donations, that we’ve just Got To Get In before the end of the quarter. This is the first one I’ve received from John Kasich:

Kasich for America

Dana, I am running for President because I believe that together we can offer voters a positive vision of a stronger America and end the divisiveness that has plagued our country for too many years.

We have a critical fundraising deadline this Wednesday and I could use your help to keep up our momentum.

I am very proud of my conservative record; leading the effort to balance the federal budget, eighteen years of national security experience on the defense committee, two election victories as governor in THE key swing state of Ohio, and record tax cuts in Ohio, along with more than 300,000 jobs created..

It’s a record that was only possible with the hard work of a great team and I hope to earn your support and your vote. Will you chip in $25 or more right now to help with our September fundraising goal?

Since announcing my candidacy in July, our team has continued to grow stronger and it seems like we’re announcing major endorsements almost every day!

Several recent polls show that I am the only Republican candidate defeating Hillary Clinton in both Ohio and New Hampshire. With your help, we can build on this support and win.

Dana, together we can strengthen America.

Thank you.



John Kasich
Governor of Ohio

My biggest problem with this donation solicitation letter is that he asked me to “chip in $25 or more right now,” but if you follow the link, while you can select the amount of your donation, it defaults not to $25.00, but $50.00; that’s kind of cheesy, at best, and wholly misleading at worst. Carky Fiorina sent a similar donation request, asking Can I depend on you to chip in $13 right away, to help grow our support?, and $13.00 is one of the given options,1 but it does not automatically default to any given contribution level.

This is a long article, due to the reproduced campaign contribution letters reproduced, so I’ll put the rest after the break: Continue reading ‘The candidates are asking for last minute campaign donations . . .’ »

  1. The others are $3.00, $25.00, $50.00, $100.00, $500.00 and “Other”.