Just released today, Tracks in the Dust is an album put together by personnel (military and civilian) from five countries serving together in Afghanistan. (I know one of them.) The ten tracks sell for 99¢ each, and all proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project. Please give them a listen, and pass along the link to anyone you think might be interested.
Archive for May, 2011
Obama did make a promise (already long since broken) not to tax the middle class, and he most likely knows far more about man dates than I do, but still…
Washington Examiner — This afternoon, the Fourth Circuit panel considering the Commonwealth of Virginia’s challenge to Obamacare has asked for supplemental briefs from all parties related to the arguments about the federal government’s constitutional powers of taxation. This may mean that the court is setting itself up to rule that the penalty for not purchasing insurance under Obamacare is, in fact, a tax and not a penalty at all, and that therefore the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case. This would make the Fourth Circuit the first court in America to buy the Obama administration’s argument that Obamacare’s individual mandate is, in fact, a tax. Every other court to hear an Obamacare case – including those that have upheld the law – have rejected this line of argument out of hand. (H/T: C2)
How do you tax nothing? They can tax income, they can tax property, they can tax sales, they can and do tax a large variety of purchases and transactions. They tax just about every activity and item in existence. But how do you tax the lack of a purchase? How can you tax a transaction that never occurred, a product that was never purchased? Whether it’s a 5% tax or a 100% tax, it’s still 5% or 100% of zero dollars spent on zero transactions for zero gain. Taking money from people who choose not to subject themselves to death panels is a penalty, pure and simple. A pecuniary punishment for not submitting to Obama’s Glorious People’s Health Care (a subsidiary of Soylent Green, Inc.)
I don’t buy it. Can I be taxed for not buying their bullshit?
This is all you need to know. Say “no” to Newt. (I remember this ad, and got the picture from Hookers and Booze.)
President Obama illegally and unconstitutionally declared war on Libya almost two months ago without receiving, or even seeking, Congressional authorization.
“…approximately 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on March 19, 2011, at my direction, U.S. military forces commenced operations to assist an international effort authorized by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council and undertaken with the support of European allies and Arab partners, to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya.”
Apart from laughably coining the term “kinetic military action” to claim that this is not a “war”, the only fig leaf provided for Obama’s actions has been the (arguably false) claim that he was operating under the War Powers Resolution of 1973 (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548)
The notification was part of the president’s “efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution”
Well, it’s put up or shut up time now. The War Powers Resolution only allows the President to run his little war for sixty days without Congress authorizing further action. As he has, to the best of my knowledge, neither received nor even sought Congressional authorization to continue, his time is up one week from today.
The War Powers Resolution requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war.
If he doesn’t cease operations and start pulling our forces back next week, he will clearly be acting in open and deliberate defiance of the law and the Constitution. Will the media report this? Will the Congress hold him accountable? Does this constitute High Crimes and Misdemeanors? Stay tuned…
The recent election results in Canada have, for the time, killed any hope for Quebecois secession. The Conservatives squashed the Bloc Quebecois along with the Liberals in the rest of the country. However, in Scotland, the Liberals’ loss appears to be the secessionists’ gain.
The Telegraph — The Scottish National Party yesterday won an outright majority, the first party to do so since devolution in 1999. The victory will allow [First Minister Alex] Salmond to trigger a referendum on Scottish independence during the next five-year parliament, the first formal challenge to the Union of England and Scotland in its 304-year history. In a surprisingly emphatic win, the SNP claimed 65 seats in the 129-seat Holyrood parliament. … “In this parliament, we shall bring forward a referendum and trust the people with Scotland’s constitutional future,” he said. Before the election, Mr Salmond said a referendum would be held in the second half of the parliament, meaning 2013 at the earliest. The nationalist surge represented a humiliation for the Labour Party, which had been expected to win in Edinburgh. Iain Gray, the Scottish Labour leader, said he would step down this year, describing his party’s results as “dreadful”. (H/T: Soylent Green)
But will England allow them to get away scot-free?
In theory, ministers at Westminster could change the law that created the Scottish Parliament to prevent the SNP holding a referendum. But [British Prime Minister David] Cameron signaled he would not try to stop a vote being held. “I will do anything as British Prime Minister to work with the Scottish First Minister and to treat the Scottish people and the Scottish government with the respect they deserve,” he said. “If they want to hold a referendum, I will campaign to keep our United Kingdom together with every single fibre that I have.” Before the election campaign began, polls gave Labour a comfortable lead over the SNP, whose promise of an independent Scotland had been battered by the financial crisis that effectively bankrupted similar-sized nations including Iceland and Ireland.
I don’t think it’s the size of the nations so much as their practices (and those of Europe as a whole) which led to the financial crises; which also affected larger nations such as Portugal and Spain. I’m not sure whether or not they should secede (that’s not for me to decide), or even if they have the right under the Treaty of Union to do so (although Ireland set a precedent in 1920); but apparently PM Cameron thinks they have the right to hold such a vote. I wonder how this relates to membership in the European Union… Would an independent Scotland be bound by agreements made by the United Kingdom, or be allowed to choose their own way? That might be a big factor in how people vote.
Apparently, it’s illegal in Germany to approve of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Spiegel Online — Schadenfreude, the enjoyment of others’ suffering, may be a famously German concept, but it is apparently not a feeling that many Germans aspire to. The political and public fallout following Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement on Monday that she was “glad” Osama bin Laden had been killed was among the most hotly debated topics in the German media this week. Politicians, including those within her own center-right coalition, said that no death was cause for celebration, and reproved the remark as un-Christian and vengeful. But Hamburg judge Heinz Uthmann went even further. He alleges that the chancellor’s statement was nothing short of illegal, and filed a criminal complaint against Merkel midweek … In his two-page document, Uthmann, a judge for 21 years, cites section 140 of the German Criminal Code, which forbids the “rewarding and approving” of crimes. In this case, Merkel endorsed a “homicide,” Uthmann claimed. The violation is punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment or a fine. … While the judge’s reaction may seem extreme, his sentiments are apparently shared by 64 percent of the German population. That was the proportion of Germans who said bin Laden’s death was “no reason to rejoice” in a poll published by broadcaster ARD on Friday. … (H/T: Hot Air)
Why the hell do we still have all of those bases in Germany, pumping billions of dollars into their economy? To prevent the Nazis from regaining power? To keep the Soviets from invading western Europe? There was talk about closing those WWII and Cold War relics last decade, and either bringing the majority of those troops back home or basing them in “New Europe” countries like Poland and Romania who appreciate the USA, capitalism, and democracy; and who’d give us much more favorable terms for our bases. Not incidentally, that would place our personnel and materiel a lot closer to the Middle East as well. I sometimes despair as to whether or not it’s too late to save “Old Europe.”
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s army broke its silence Thursday over the U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden, acknowledging its own “shortcomings” in efforts to find the al-Qaida leader but threatening to review cooperation with Washington if there is another similar violation of Pakistani sovereignty. The tough-sounding statement was a sign of the anger in the army. It also appeared aimed at appeasing politicians, the public and the media in the country over what’s viewed by many here as a national humiliation delivered by a deeply unpopular America. … (H/T: C2)
Fuck you sideways, Pakistan. You had Osama for years and there’s absolutely no way that you didn’t know it. If anything, further raids on Pakistan are required.
Daily Mail — American bloggers have hit back at Europeans who have criticised the outpouring of joy over the death of Osama Bin Laden. While thousands of U.S citizens took to the streets to celebrate the killing, the reaction in Europe was far more muted. And some are so angered by what they see as a judgmental stance from across The Pond, they have gone online to hit back at the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” …
I should just call this post the “fuck you sideways” edition, if that expression weren’t more suitable elsewhere.
First, I’m glad the bastard is dead. Some may have complained that his death was “too quick,” but any other suggestion just isn’t reasonable. Torture him first? Try to take him alive so that Eric Holder can hold his trial in New York City and get him released on a technicality? Just kill him and be done with it. I don’t begrudge the fact that he body was treated “in accordance with Islamic beliefs”, meaning that he was buried (at sea) within 24 hours of death – Yes, I’m sure we’d all prefer that he were buried in a shroud of bacon; but isn’t that just a waste of good bacon? I’m not sure exactly what they meant to accomplish by granting him this “honor”, but hey. As long as he’s not merely dead, but really most sincerely dead, we can afford to be magnanimous.
Secondly, I’m quite happy to see the lack of a groundswell of conspiracy theories surrounding the event. During Bush’s presidency his opponents frequently implied that he knew exactly where Osama was, and that he was just waiting for the right time (before his reelection in 2004, when his polls numbers hit rock bottom or he had a story to distract the media from) to capture/kill bin Laden for personal political gain. If Osama had been killed during the Bush presidency, regardless of the time and details; the media, academia, and left-wing blogosphere would have been abroil with innuendo and lies. Regardless of who gets the credit, I’m glad to see more maturity among the circles within which I move – For the most part, we’re just all happy to see him dead. Can I say “dead” again? A tingle goes up my fingers whenever I type the word… Osama is dead, dead, dead… (This must be Chris Matthews feels all the time since 2008.)