Now that Paul Ryan is the VP nominee on the Republican ticket, his budget proposal has been in the spotlight all over again, and all the same distortions about it are being trotted out. Guy Benson writing at TownHall.com gives us 5 facts to remember about the Ryan budget.
- "The Republican reform plan totally exempts anyone over the age of 55 from any changes." Basically, if you like your plan, you can keep it. (I know I’ve heard that somewhere before.)
- The Democrats have already raided $741 billion from Medicare to pay for ObamaCare. They are the ones cutting Medicare.
- "Medicare’s own accountants have calculated that Medicare will be insolvent within 12 years." This means that doing nothing is really what guts Medicare.
- Ryan’s Medicare proposal is actually the result of a bipartisan solution, "co-authored by a committed liberal who understands that the clock is running out to save the program." And it’s means-tested so that the poorer get more protection.
- The plan increases spending every year, just not as much as Obama wanted in his budget proposal (which was, just to remind you, unanimously defeated by his own party).
That last point, calling a spending increase a "cut", is a ploy used by Democrats and parroted by the news media.
Keep these in mind when you hear talk of "gutting" Medicare. It’s just not true.
Does Andrea Mitchell of NBC really thing that’s in the Constitution, or is an inalienable right from the Creator? From yesterday evening’s NBC Nighty News:
MITCHELL: Playing a starring role for the first time in the campaign, Sandra Fluke, the former law student who became a lightning rod after Rush Limbaugh denounced her for supporting contraception rights.
I don’t think that phrase means what you think it means. I don’t really believe that it even exists.
Every time the Left wants you to pay for something, it reframes it as a "right". Don’t be fooled.
Episode 5 of the "Consider This!" podcast is out today and it’s all about a single topic, so I thought I’d post the script here for those who don’t do podcasts. If you do do podcasts, click here for the show notes and ways to subscribe, or just listen, to the show.
I mentioned previously that while the individual mandate was struck down as an exercise of the Commerce Clause, it hung in there as an exercise of the taxing authority of the federal government. That is to say, the way it was sold to the American people, and the way the Obama administration is continuing to try to defend it, is unconstitutional. By being given the authority to regulate commerce, Congress cannot force you to engage in commerce so that they can then regulate it. However, if arranged in a way such that you have to pay a tax if you don’t comply, well then it’s all hunky-dory. So then, when you hear Democrats insist that the mandate is not a tax, as they have been saying, remember that they are therefore arguing that it’s unconstitutional. They’re trying to have their mandate and eat it, too.
The main reason they’re arguing that it’s not a tax — going against a Supreme Court ruling that they are ostensibly in favor of — is because of the legislative ramifications. A tax can be repealed on a bare majority vote, and is not subject to a 60 vote Senate filibuster. This makes it much easier for, say, a President Romney and a Republican House and Senate to repeal. I would have thought that trifecta tough to accomplish this November, but with this ruling, I suspect a fire is going to be lit under many a conservative, and I hope that this translates into votes. I think Democrats, too, see this scenario as more plausible today than it was before the ruling, which is why they’re trying to make this particular hard sell. Billy Mays, the TV pitchman who used to try to sell you so many handy items, would be proud.
If you insist, against the advice of the Supreme Court, that the Commerce Clause should be good enough to implement a mandate, consider this. The intention of the clause itself was a negative power; a preventative, restraining one. It was written so that there was an authority to appeal to when there were trade disputes among the states. It was never intended to be a positive power by the federal government; one that allowed it to act on its own. Those aren’t my words. Those are James Madison’s. But hey, he’s just what some people call The Father of The Constitution. What would he know?
In the latest episode of my new podcast project, I give my first look at what the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare(tm)) means. If you think there are places where government should just butt out of, you are not going to like what this bill let’s the government do.
A comment on a Facebook question posted by La Shawn Barber gives us a new perspective on how to deal with illegal immigrants.
You know those machines where you take the next number to be waited on? The government has one. It’s costs $19 million. Every year. Really.
And you know all those human interest stories that the media keep running to tell us that we really need ObamaCare? Do they compare to the 130,000 elderly patients in Britain that die every year so that costs can be kept down or beds can be freed up? Yup, 130,000. Every year. Really.
Click here for show notes, and ways to listen to the podcast; through iTunes, another podcatcher, or right on the web page. It’s politics in 10 minutes or less (8 minutes and 40 seconds, this time).
Calling the individual mandate a "tax" (which is something Obama himself expressly said it was not, by the way), the Supreme Court has upheld the core of the Affordable Care Act. There was a small limitation placed on Medicare changes, but overall it survived intact.
First of all, the election in November has come fully in focus because of this. There’s a clear distinction between the candidates now; one wants to keep this, and one wants to repeal it. The final fate of the ACA now falls into the hands of the voters, and there may be a huge backlash.
Secondly, the power of the Congress under the Commerce Clause was (at least) restricted, since the SCOTUS ruled that the way the mandate was written was outside that power. That at least was some silver lining around this cloud. It’s power via taxation, however, has now become absolute, going where I don’t think it’s gone before. There is no limiting principal on what they can do, or, more specifically, what they can make you do. The Constitution was written by guys who knew their history, and how government’s tendency is to grow and take over more and more power. It was written to limit the federal government. But now, that power has had one of its biggest shackles unlocked. As a precedent, it is incredibly dangerous.
And because of this, I want to say to anyone who has ever complained that the government should get out of any area of their lives where it has no business, just remember that now it can direct your every purchase if it so chooses. After it takes out taxes, it can still tell you how to spend the rest. If you supported this bill, then you have opened that door. You can no longer complain about government meddling in anything. You helped give it that power.
It has been said that we’ve not had global warming on the scale that we have it now, and therefor this time around it must be human-induced. The Medieval Warming Period, it is said (and reiterated by the IPCC), was merely localized and therefore can’t be compared with today. New evidence, however, shows that indeed the MWP was felt as far away as Antarctica. Not exactly localized.
Taxing the rich rarely lives up to expectations of the amount it will bring in. That’s because the rich have many options of where to put their money. Cause pain in one place, the cash moves to another place. (Some on the Left will inevitably say that this makes the case for a global tax. Well, when our government can’t get by on $4 trillion a year, it’s not the fault of the rich.)
A crowd larger than any OWS gathering protested in San Francisco, but the media ignored it. Why? (Wait for it…) Because they were religious people protesting Obama. Some news is clearly more newsworthy than others. Oh, that liberal media.
Liberals were so absolutely sure that their view of the "living" Constitution was right, they were predicting a near-slam-dunk for them in the Supreme Court over ObamaCare. But exhibit A of how they simply failed to take seriously the arguments against it is Jeffrey Tubin of CNN. He was sure it would be 7-2 or even 8-1 in favor of the ACA, and was just gobsmacked after day 2. Why? The very same arguments used against ACA had been out there for months. But the news wouldn’t give it adequate coverage. Mr. Tubin, you could blame CNN for your ignorance. But then, that would mean you have no responsibility as a journalist to find it out for yourself. Oh, that liberal media.
And finally, something for the "separation of church and state" crowd. A US Army issued New Testament with a letter from the President recommending that soldiers should read it.
If celibacy is to blame for the sexual abuse in the Catholic church, how does that explain the continuing abuses in the public schools? (Hint: it doesn’t.)
Here are 4 hard truths of health care reform. (Hint: if they promised something, it’s generally not going to happen.)
"[I]f you come down hard on Limbaugh because he has crossed a line, you must come down hard on Schultz and Maher because they have crossed the same line…." (Hint: Schultz and Maher supporters haven’t.)
New York City Mayor Bloomberg, not content with nannying the well-off on what they can and can’t eat at restaurants, now is denying food to the homeless because it might be too salty. (Hint: That’s not compassion.)
If they had been Republicans, this would have been racist. (Hint: They’re Democrats.)
Is Zionism humanitarianism? (Hint: Yes.)
I’ve heard these statistics elsewhere, but not all in one place. So here’s an article doing just that. It tackles the myths about health care in the United States that ObamaCare was so necessary to fix.
- The U.S. spends too much compared to other countries.
- Other countries are doing better at controlling health spending growth.
- The U.S. has abysmal infant mortality rates.
- The U.S. has abysmal average life expectancy.
- The U.S. has worse health outcomes.
The stats have been manipulated to make the US sound far worse than it really it. In most cases its standing is better rather than worse, and in the rest it on par, if slightly lower, than other countries when comparing apples to apples. And in one case — life expectancy — the numbers used include issues that don’t relate to health care at all.
Read the whole thing. (It’s short.)
“Every life is beautiful”
From Brett Kunkle,
Mark your calendars for March 23. That’s when a new movie, October Baby, will hit movie screens. I was able to preview the film last week and suggest you go see this one in the theater. I’ll be up front, it is a strong pro-life movie dealing head-on with abortion. But it was powerful and compelling, without being preachy. The message comes through loud and clear, but in a way that stirred my soul (yes, yes…I cried like 4 times — it was intense). And ultimately, the message is hopeful.
Tatts for Jesus! Except…
these are done FOR Lent.
From Joe Carter,
Although Christians have been getting inked for centuries, the recent rise in popularity and mainstream acceptance of tattoos is leading many Christians to reflect on the meaning and prudence of the practice.
“Nearly 40 percent of young adults aged 18-28 have tattoos now, which is more than four times the number in the Baby Boom generation,” noted Matthew Lee Anderson in his book Earthen Vessels: Why our Bodies Matter for our Faith. “While tattoos mark a desire for significance within a destabilized world, they are a live option for most young people precisely because we have not escaped the clutches of the consumerism and the individualism that are so often criticized.”
In a hip, artsy, area of Houston, a hip, artsy pastor is taking an unorthodox approach to Lent.
He asked them to get tattoos. Specifically, he asked congregants to get a tattoo corresponding with one of the Stations of the Cross, the collection of images that depict scenes in Jesus’ journey to his crucifixion.
Another member of Ecclesia, Joyce O’Connor, channeled her family when she was deciding what station of the cross to get tattooed onto her body. O’Connor, who has one biological child and two stepchildren, connected with the fourth station, Jesus meeting his mother.
“I am a mother and in just a minuscule way can relate to how Mary must have felt,” O’Conner said.
“The tattoo captured me and I love it,” she continued. “When I think of that image, I don’t feel tragedy or sadness because I know how the story ends and it makes me smile.”
Permanent images on your body using Biblical imagery as a metaphor for what has happened in your life?
It seems to me that this is nothing more than a carnal attempt at personalizing scripture or, in these cases, Biblical notions.
Silence is golden, so there are plenty of times when it’d be awfully convenient to mute those around us, and a couple of Japanese researchers have created a gadget that can do just that. Called the SpeechJammer, it’s able to “disturb remote people’s speech without any physical discomfort” by recording and replaying what you say a fraction of a second after you say it. Why would that shut up the chatty Cathy next to you? Delayed auditory feedback (DAF) is based on an established psychological principle that it’s well-nigh impossible for folks to speak when their words are played back to them just after they’ve been uttered.
1. Worship is not only expressive, it is also formative. It is not only how we express our devotion to God, it is also how the Spirit shapes and forms us to bear God’s image to the world. This is why the form of worship needs to be intentional: worship isn’t just something that we do; it does something to us. And this is why worship in a congregational setting is a communal practice of a congregation by which the Spirit grabs hold of us. How we worship shapes us, and how we worship collectively is an important way of learning to be the body of Christ…
2. Because worship is formative, and not merely expressive, that means other cultural practices actually function as “competing” liturgies, rivals to Christian worship. …The point is that such loaded cultural practices are actually shaping our loves and desires by the very form of the practice, not merely by the “content” they offer. If we aren’t aware of this, we can unwittingly adopt what seem to be “neutral” or benign practices without recognizing that they are liturgies that come loaded with a rival vision of “the good life.” If we adopt such practices uncritically, it won’t matter what “content” we convey by them, the practices themselves are ordered to another kingdom. And insofar as we are immersed in them, we are unwittingly mis-shaped by the practices.
Read it all.
I would have never thought of this, but then, I have a difficult time understanding the entitlement mentality.
The right to government subsidized sex
Yes, believe it or not, an argument [sic] based on expense is offered for why women deserve to have government provided contraceptives. I wonder if there are studies which indicate the percentage of contraceptives prescribed for conditions such as endometriosis vs. mere desire.
That thoroughly modern phenomenon known as the Youth Pastor
From the Gospel Coalition,
All too often, youth programs have turned to entertainment-driven models of ministry in order to bring in youth. Success has become the name of the church-growth game. The devastating effects, however, are not only seen in the number of youth leaving the church after high school, but also in a spiritually and theologically shallow worldview among many American teenagers. The irony is that these same teens actually want to grow and learn hard truths. They want to know how to think about suffering, how to pray, and why Jesus had to die.
And here’s the book.
HHS Mandate Edition II
Joe Carter’s FAQ page for the HHS Mandate
What is this contraception mandate everyone keeps talking about?
As part of the universal health insurance reform passed in 2010 (often referred to as “Obamacare”), all group health plans must now provide—at no cost to the recipient—certain “preventive services.” The list of services includes sterilization, contraceptives, and abortifacient drugs.
Doesn’t the mandate only apply to religious organizations that receive federal funding?
No. The mandate applies to religious employers even if they receive no federal funding.
Isn’t this just a Catholic issue?
No. Although the Catholic Church has been the most vocal opponent of the mandate, many Protestant, Jewish, and Muslims also oppose the mandate. In fact, several evangelical leaders have called on evangelicals to stand with Catholics in civil disobedience to this law. Additionally, 300 academics and religious leaders—including TGC’s D.A. Carson and Justin Taylor—signed a statement by the Beckett Fund explaining why the mandate is “unacceptable.”
6 more things everyone should know about the HHS Mandate
From the post,
1. The rule that created the uproar has not changed at all, but was finalized as is.
2. The rule leaves open the possibility that even exempt “religious employers” will be forced to cover sterilization.
3. The new “accommodation” is not a current rule, but a promise that comes due beyond the point of public accountability.
4. Even if the promises of “accommodation” are fulfilled entirely, religious charities, schools, and hospitals will still be forced to violate their beliefs.
5. The “accommodation” does not even purport to help objecting insurers, for-profit religious employers, secular employers, or individuals.
6. Beware of claims, especially by partisans, that the bishops are partisan.
The HHS Mandate Edition
Six Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate
Read the entire post,
1.The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals.
2.The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral.
3.The mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception.
4.Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate
5.Many other religious and secular people and groups have spoken out strongly against the mandate.
6.The federal mandate is much stricter than existing state mandates.
Message from Chuck Colson
If the administration does not back down, religious liberty—as clearly articulated in the Constitution and in court cases—will be gravely impaired. And your organization, like mine, will face the question of civil disobedience.
Tightening the Screws
From the article,
Perhaps the Government’s own attempt to kick this can down the road until after the elections will be cited as evidence. In its announcement of January 20, 2012, HHS stated that “birth control… is the most commonly taken drug in America by young and middle-aged women.” If contraception is already the most commonly taken drug in America, then it seems hardly necessary to shove a requirement to provide it down the throat of the Catholic Church and other religious organizations.
Obama Tries to Spin His Way Out
From Mere Comments,
Abstinence for 15-year-olds is considered impossible–how in the world can they possibly control themselves? But obesity is something we can fix by teaching them to control their appetites for certain foods and eating veggies. What a country.
To date, 417 incidents of crime and death from Occupy Wall Street. If someone tells you OWS is just like the Tea Party, they’re lying.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (ironically acronymed "NICE") rejected a drug for MS that has been approved in the US. Seems that the costs outweigh the benefits, at least for them. I’m glad I live here. Well, until we get our own death panels.
Sorry, but I just have to quote 4 paragraphs from Glenn Reynold’s article about the higher-education bubble. When the government subsidizes something, it’s value changes over the long haul; it goes down.
This is a simple case of inflation: When you artificially pump up the supply of something (whether it’s currency or diplomas), the value drops. The reason why a bachelor’s degree on its own no longer conveys intelligence and capability is that the government decided that as many people as possible should have bachelor’s degrees.
There’s something of a pattern here. The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle class people.
But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay in, the middle class.
Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them. One might as well try to promote basketball skills by distributing expensive sneakers.
The President of the Unites States has declared that capitalism doesn’t work, and has never worked. Well, it did when we had it, but for at least 2 or 3 generations now, we haven’t had it.
The hotbed of pedophilia that is … Hollywood.
The New York Times speaks from the past, blasting Obama’s policies because no intelligent American would ever consider socialism.
A new source of income to pay for big new programs will never, ever go to paying just for the program.
In cash-strapped Washington, President Obama’s $1 trillion health care law is presenting a tempting target for lawmakers seeking funds for other projects, as Congress last week raided the health care piggy bank for the third time in less than a year.
Congress last week axed a part of Democrats’ signature domestic achievement to find $11 billion to cover the cost of repealing a withholding tax that otherwise would have hit government contractors in 2013. Mr. Obama signed that bill into law on Monday.
The withholding bill follows two other efforts — one in December and another in April — that reworked the health care law to squeeze savings for other priorities. The December bill funded higher payments for doctors who treat Medicare patients, and the April legislation repealed a paperwork provision in the original health care law that businesses said would be onerous.
All told, Congress and the president have tapped some $50 billion earmarked to pay for benefits and programs in the health care overhaul in future years to fund more-immediate spending needs.
In order to game the cost estimates (which only look out 10 years in the future), the health care bill started colleting taxes for a few years first before benefits hit. But a pile of money sitting around doing nothing (presently) is something Congress just can’t stand to see. So, it’s more than just giving DC too much power is a bad idea, but giving them the money to exercise that power means that their influence will expand even beyond the program itself.
Not a good idea.