Category: The Law

Irony

The Affordable Care Act is back in the headlines this week.  The Supreme Court is hearing arguments about the law…again.  Once again it is looking like Chief Justice Roberts (or possibly Kennedy) will be the key to whether the law stands or not.  And he was very quiet this week at the hearing, which makes everybody nervous.

So you’re probably asking why I titled the post, “Irony”.  Other than an inside joke from Moorwatch, it applies to the fact that Nancy Pelosi’s words are coming back to haunt her.  You see, back in 2010, Nancy Pelosi was trying to get Congressmen to vote for “Obamacare”.  But Democrats were being questioned on what was actually in the law at the time, and some of them were getting pretty testy about it.  In an interview, Pelosi now famously said, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy.”  

So taking her words into account, Obamacare as passed was 425,116 words long (nevermind for the moment the over 2 million words that the Administration has added to it in regulations since its passage).  And nobody really understood what those almost half-million words really meant at the time it was passed.  And now just a very few of those words may be the entire law’s undoing.

This is why it is imperative that we have legislators in Congress who read, and understand the laws they are voting for.  It is unconscionable to me that anyone would ever vote for a law that they didn’t fully understand.  These things affect millions of people’s lives.  I would support limits on the length a bill can be so that we do not have “omnibus” spending bills, or laws that can’t be read until they are passed.  There should be no more “earmarks” ever.

On a personal note – the “Affordable Care Act” has been anything but in my life.  I am sure it has helped many people (at the expense of someone, somewhere paying more in taxes – nothing is “free”).  I have gone from pretty decent health insurance four years ago to absolutely terrible coverage through my employer, and less options.  I really hope this is not the end-game for Democrats in Washington – to make Healthcare so lousy, and expensive that they are “forced” to step in with a single-payer system.

The Other Shoe Just Dropped

Well, that did not take long;

Michael Brown’s parents will file a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Ferguson, Missouri and the white police officer who shot dead the unarmed 18-year-old black man last August in the St. Louis suburb, a family attorney said on Thursday.

“There were other alternatives available to him. He did not have to kill Michael Brown,” attorney Daryl Parks said of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Unsated by the DOJ report, which cleared Officer Wilson of violating Michael Brown’s civil rights, the parents had to resort to plan B. The initial wording of the report was a bit tilted, basically saying “We aren’t saying Wilson acted properly, we just can’t prove that he is lying about what happened”, Gee, bias much? But at least it did put to bed that ridiculous “Hands Up” narrative.

The attorneys for Brown’s family said they did not accept Wilson’s claim of self defense, and said that the standard of proof in a civil lawsuit is different than in criminal prosecutions.

Yes, it is, and so is Wilson’s recourse in handling the suit. Now that he is a civilian, he is free to counter sue the low rent family, sue them for being crappy parents, for raising a monster, and for their neglect causing him some real pain and suffering. Damages that should be apparent to any on that jury, where do I sign up?

The City of Ferguson will settle, and I suspect that once the parents get their hands on some real dough, going after Wilson will be an after thought. No matter, he has a complaint, real standing, and easily proven damages, go after them with all the zeal the legal system can provide. Whether the parents have a pot to piss in, irrelevant, they have something, and something can be taken from them.

The DOJ and Darren Wilson

The DOJ released their report today on why they will not be prosecuting Darren Wilson. The report concludes that the shooting of Michael Brown was most likely justified, citing the favorable testimony of disinterested witnesses and the unreliability of the witnesses who said Michael Brown surrendered. They report includes a lot more testimony than the Grand Jury report and is pretty convincing.

Mataconis:

Given the available evidence, this seems like a proper decision by the Justice Department. Even leaving aside for the moment the question of whether or not one believes the state Grand Jury made the right decision in declining to indict Wilson on any charges at all in this case, there was quite simply no evidence that Wilson acted in a manner that even came close to violating Federal civil rights laws. Instead, this seems to be a police encounter gone wrong. If Wilson acted improperly, it doesn’t appear to have been out of any racial motive, and the evidence that has been released both in connected with the Grand Jury investigation and this investigation seem to make clear that Wilson’s use of force was, in the end, appropriate under the circumstances. Indicting him on Federal charges would have likely just led to an acquittal, and would have been an unjust application of Federal law.

I didn’t believe Wilson’s story because the idea of Michael Brown charging at him from so far away made no sense to me. But that now appears very likely to be what happened. People do stupid things, especially young male people.

There is one thing to note, however, from Ken White, a former prosecutor:

I find it remarkable because most potential prosecutions don’t get this sort of analysis. Most investigations don’t involve rigorous examination of the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses. Most investigations don’t involve painstaking consideration of the defendant’s potential defenses. Often investigators don’t even talk to potential defense witnesses, and if they do, don’t follow up on leads they offer. Most investigations don’t carefully weigh potentially incriminating and potentially exculpatory scientific evidence. If an explanation of the flaws in a case requires footnotes, you shouldn’t expect it to deter prosecution.

Instead, I’m more used to the prosecution assuming their witnesses are truthful, even if they are proven liars. I’m more used to contrary evidence being cynically disregarded. I’m more used to participants in the system stubbornly presuming guilt to the bitter end. I’m more used to prosecutors disregarding potentially exculpatory evidence that they think isn’t “material.” I’m more used to the criminal justice system ignoring exculpatory science and clinging to inculpatory junk science like an anti-vaxxer.

Why is this case different? It’s different because Darren Wilson is a cop. Cops get special rights and privileges and breaks the rest of us don’t. Cops get an extremely generous and lenient benefit of the doubt from juries. Nearly every segment of the criminal justice system operates to treat cops more favorably than the rest of us.

I would make two points of minor disagreement here. First of all, the reason this case was investigated so thoroughly was because of the national pressure that was brought to bear. The government was forced to explain, in great detail, why they were not going to bring a case. Of course, most of the time they don’t even bother. They don’t bring charges and we’re just supposed to accept that.

And that brings me to a second minor disagreement: it’s not just cops. Everyone who is in the system is treated differently than the rest of us. Just this week, David Petraeus was allowed to plead out to a misdemeanor for leaking the kind of information that would land most of us in prison for a felony. Hillary Clinton was revealed to have violated protocols and State Department rules, something that would ruin most people’s careers (and Clinton has a long history of breaking the rules and getting away with it). Seven cops and prosecutors were revealed to have lied their asses off in an effort to put an innocent man in jail and may face no consequences. More pot convictions were handed down to people who probably touched less of the stuff than our last three Presidents. The problem is more noticeable with cops because they are authorized to use deadly force and because of reflexive “thin blue line” defensiveness whenever a cop is accused of wrong-doing (although, to be fair, no cop will ever kill as many people as the State Department does with their unaccountable bungling). But this problem is general and it is widespread.

Darren Wilson didn’t shoot Michael Brown in the back. He almost certainly didn’t shoot him after he surrendered. But it’s hard to blame people for distrusting the system when it so often concludes that the people within are incapable of wrong-doing, be they cop, bureaucrat or politician. It’s hard to blame people for distrusting the system when it gives us a hell of a lot less benefit of a doubt, whether we’ve shot someone or made a mistake on our taxes. It’s hard to blame people for distrusting the system when it throws non-violent pot offenders in prison for half a century while concluding, almost instantly, that the people who seared a toddler did nothing wrong because they were acting on behalf of the state.

(And, in this particular case, it’s hard to blame people for distrusting the system when the DOJ has also released a report showing massive systematic racism in the city.)

I’m glad that Wilson will not be prosecuted for what now appears to have been a justified shooting. It’s one of the few things Holder’s DOJ has done right. But I wish this kind of skepticism was applied a lot more often and to people who are not cops, politicians, prosecutors, bureaucrats or political hacks.

Thrill (actually, Thrill’s sister; smarts clearly run in that family) made a very good point when the Grand Jury verdict was handed down:

My sister said it perfectly: “This is the wrong case to ask the right questions about”.

It’s now pretty conclusive that this was the wrong case. But let’s keep asking the right questions.

Penal-tax bites the single-payer loving turds

Knowing full well what the repercussions at the polls will be once Americans figure out how fucked they are by Obamacare and the taxes hidden as fines and penalties that are part and parcel of this government takeover of the healthcare system, democrats likely impacted during the next election cycle are asking for rule breaks. It looks like the law that had to be passed so people could find out what was in it, has a few seriously frightening hiccups in it that worry these collectivists that passed it:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The official sign-up season for President Barack Obama’s health care law may be over, but leading congressional Democrats say millions of Americans facing new tax penalties deserve a second chance.

Three senior House members told The Associated Press that they plan to strongly urge the administration to grant a special sign-up opportunity for uninsured taxpayers who will be facing fines under the law for the first time this year.

The three are Michigan’s Sander Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, and Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, and Lloyd Doggett of Texas. All worked to help steer Obama’s law through rancorous congressional debates from 2009-2010.

The lawmakers say they are concerned that many of their constituents will find out about the penalties after it’s already too late for them to sign up for coverage, since open enrollment ended Sunday.

That means they could wind up uninsured for another year, only to owe substantially higher fines in 2016. The fines are collected through the income tax system.

Mind you, that I am quite sure that only an idiot should believe these scoundrels are concerned about the impact this government sponsored Leviathan has on the serfs. This faux concern is fueled solely by their self-preservation instincts. If they really were worried about how Obamacare was going to squeeze people, they would never have passed that steaming pile of shit in the first place. People are going to freak out when they realize how hard this law will screw them over come tax time. Of course, most of them will deserve the painful discovery that they are now slammed with new taxes, hiding as fees and penalties, since they were stupid enough to think other people would be paying for this “free shit”. The taxman cometh!

This year is the first time ordinary Americans will experience the complicated interactions between the health care law and taxes. Based on congressional analysis, tax preparation giant H&R Block says roughly 4 million uninsured people will pay penalties.

The IRS has warned that health-care related issues will make its job harder this filing season and taxpayers should be prepared for long call-center hold times, particularly since the GOP-led Congress has been loath to approve more money for the agency.

If we ever needed another reason to scrap the current tax system and institute a flat tax, this crap from the politically motivated IRS should make due.

Obamacare: the gift that keeps on giving.

UNEXPECTEDLY! They spend a shitload again

We have had discussions here about the fact that the Obama administration has presided over an unprecedented growth of deficit spending and US debt. Most of us have pointed out things are not good and heading in the wrong direction. Some have argued otherwise. This administration looks like it wanted to settle the argument once and for all:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government ran a bigger deficit in January, pushing the imbalance so far this budget year up 6.2 percent from the same period a year ago.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday the deficit for January stood at $17.5 billion compared to $10.3 billion a year ago. For the first four months of the budget year that began in October, the deficit widened to $194.2 billion from $182.8 billion during the same period last year.

The budget deficit has gradually narrowed since 2012, which was the fourth straight year in which it topped the $1 trillion mark. The improvement reflects the country’s economic recovery from recession. The government is seeing higher tax revenues as people go back to work and smaller payments for safety-net programs such as unemployment assistance. It also represents efforts by Congress to control deficits through higher taxes and across-the-board spending cuts.

First off, the AP political hacks are full of shit when they pretend there has been an economic recovery of any kind. These assholes have been playing fast and loose with the numbers for 6 years now to convince people that the idiotic tax and spend, big government nanny-state, central planned practices favored by the collectivists in charge, actually work. But the facts are that the only people doing well are the super-rich and the freeloaders. And of course the political class has really raked in the dough and drastically expanded their ability to lord it over us serfs. The middle class however, is getting hammered. The number of employed people in this country is at an all-time low, and the trending shows that it will go lower despite all the efforts to pretend otherwise. The number of freeloaders has also hit a new record, and the trending shows that it will continue to go up. The really rich, the people the left loves to pretend to hate, are raking in the cash. The country is being invaded, by design, and with help from the nanny-state entities in our government that want to fundamentally change the balance of power by making the freeloader class undefeatable at the polls. That’s “social justice” and the signs of an economic recovery for the left I guess.

Recovery my fucking ass. And the government is raking in a ton of cash in taxes despite their actions and efforts, mostly by fucking over businesses and the upper middle class. The point that should never be lost is that the left will never lower spending. These excuse makers responsible for this propaganda piece masquerading as news all but admit that they are cool with the insane jump in spending, because the tax revenue is up! The label “Tax and spend” is absolutely accurate. I bet they saw a projected 3% jump in revenue, so they did a 6.2% jump in spending. That’s what leviathan does.

We need to get rid of the collectivists and dismantle the “vote for a living” state they have created before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

Even Sailors Want To Get Lucky

A mini rant before the main one, I hate salacious tag lines without the pay off. If you’re going to hook me with ,”Navy Admirals charged with bribery for trading state secrets for free pussy”, I want to know exactly what they gave up, albeit missile diagnostics, carrier deployment schedules, or specific nuclear launch codes, whether Navy Secretary Ray Mabus wears boxers or briefs does not qualify.

OK, on to the topic at hand. 3 top Navy Admirals got busted for accepting bribes in the performance of their duties;

Three more Navy admirals have been reprimanded in connection with the Fat Leonard bribery scandal after they accepted expensive gifts in exchange for Navy secrets but none will face criminal charges, the Navy said.
The widening ‘Fat Leonard’ scandal has seen senior sailors implicated in a long-running bribery scheme that included rewards of prostitutes, Lady Gaga tickets and payoffs in Southeast Asia.
So far, the massive bribery scandal has cost the government $20 million and the admirals censured represent the highest-ranking officers to be punished in the case so far.

All manner of booty {snark} was used to entice, everything from kobe beef (those bastards) to Lady Gaga tickets (what, no Starland Vocal Band reunion tour tickets?).

I remember reading about this Fat Leonard dude before. After making tens of millions involving illegally obtained navy contracts and supply procurement orders, he got caught, most greedy bastards of his ilk usually do (looking at you, Sheldon Silver, you putz).

So these 3 get cashiered but do not face criminal charges, a sweet deal and they did not even have to desert to get it. But does the punishment fit the crime? The article points out that this will involve career ending reprimands, like this is somehow sufficient justice. I think an immediate dishonorable discharge, a reduction in rank, and an order for restitution to pay the fair value amount of the bribes rendered. I’m sure some Navy clerk can determine the dollar equivalent of all the happy endings that occurred with their bang bang girls.

Admittedly, one of my pet peeves is rendering swift proportional justice to those public figures that abuse powers and duties given to them by the people. Whether it be military, politicians or LE, with power given comes the responsibility and duty to wield it in the manner given and when abuses of authority are committed, to come down hard with extreme prejudice.

Too bad they don’t go after tax cheats, even those that break bread with the president, as enthusiastically.

Too big to fail uber alles!

Why would anyone be surprised to find out that collectivists pretending to be solving a financial problem opted to implement more of the too big to fail and centrally planned solution, despite the fact we have history showing this approach will lead to trouble and failure?

A new study by Marshall Lux and Robert Greene reports that since the enactment of Dodd-Frank community banks have lost market share at twice the rate that they did prior to Dodd-Frank.

The authors note that many of the regulations implemented pursuant to Dodd-Frank are not linked to the size of the institution, thus there are economies of scale in regulatory compliance. Thus, regulatory costs tend to fall proportionally heavier on smaller banks, which, in turn, tends to promote consolidation of the industry (as I noted several years ago when I predicted that Dodd-Frank would promote industry consolidation).

The study has lots of interesting data on the industry patterns of lending by various types of banks as well, most notably that large banks tend to make fewer agricultural loans than community banks.

This result was to be expected and is only news to people that believe doing the same old dumb pseudo-marxist shit will suddenly produce a different result. If anything, history, replete with examples of how this stuff fails, stagnates, and breeds inefficiency and trouble, shows us that the statists on the left believe in an unholy alliance between state and big business. In their minds it provides them with the ability to micro manage and centrally plan. That it only serves to create a monopolistic environment where innovation and cost reduction are destroyed by ever growing protectionist regulation and that the people forced to deal with these entities lose out, seems to escape these moron’s ability to cogitate.

The demcorats created the “too big to fail” entities they then successfully managed to convince an ill informed and low information based public was Boosh’s fault. Dodd-Frank upped the ante here. Those of us that pointed that out were told that it was needed to curtail evil people in the financial industry, as if the problem wasn’t with the system, the rules, and implementation of contradictory and bad regulations that encouraged the bad behavior in the first place. People should not be surprised that what we end up with will be giant unresponsive, bloated, inefficient, and costly financial conglomerates, in bed with our own government, and a system that remains fragile and prone to costly and painful implosions.

But don’t worry. The democrats responsible for the problem in the first place will be more than happy to throw oodles of tax payer dollars, syphoned from the productive, at the problem. Then they will blame the rich, the financial sector, republicans, and anyone they can conveniently scapegoat instead of themselves and their wealth redistribution schemes and scams. They will demand the right to fix the problem they conveniently blame on others, like they did when they created Dodd-Frank. And when their regulation results in even more of the same, but just on steroids, they will rub their grubby hands together and laugh at the envy and jealousy driven idiots that will go along with them yet again.

Collectivism sucks.

It is only a failed presidency if you don’t understand the destruction is by design

Town Hall has a post up dealing with Obama’s failed presidency. Those of us that no longer remain in the dark know better. Obama has achieved a lot of what he set out to do, as he promised he would when he made the claim he would fundamentally transform America, but the problem is with the people that think he meant to improve things. To the left and Obama the only failure on their part was to not straddle us with even more destructive marxist bullshit. More fast growing debt, millions of illegals sucking at the government’s teat, millions of people unable to find work and forced to suck at the government’s tit, millions of people that have made sucking at the government’s teat their way of life, and the middle class under assault and driven to collapse by the government tax and regulatory burden, have all been bonuses to these fucking crooks. That’s the plan they had from the start, because they think we are all too stupid and in need of micro management.

Oh yeah, the LSM must be doing battlespace preparations for the coming elections as well, considering the number of articles telling us that lying is not a bad thing. Sure this is not really about politics, but this belief that lying is a good thing is part and parcel of the left’s modus operandi. Remember Obamacare? Shit, might as well say “remember the Obama presidency?”, because it has all been lies and criminal acts.

The collectivists will NEVER let that happen

And by “That”, I mean anything that undermines their centrally planned, leviathan owned, healthcare system destroying, economy crushing Obamacare scheme. The agenda is after all to destroy the healthcare system as we know it in the US so they can then peddle the single payer system they want. So the new republican proposal that actually would make changes to that wouldn’t destroy the healthcare system and the country economically will both be demonized and undermined to make sure it won’t interfere.

Thursday, we are unveiling our vision of policies that would strengthen our health care system while reducing federal spending and taxes. The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment (CARE) Act outlines specific ideas that could replace Obamacare with more choices and higher quality, while protecting those with pre-existing conditions.

And that is why democrats want it to be DOA and will do everything to derail it. Not a fucking chance in the world that they would want something that actually fixes any of the problems they have managed to exacerbate with Obamacare. It undermines their powergrab and would make it obvious that’s what Obamacare was all about once it is implemented and works.

First, our plan would lower health care costs by empowering millions of lower and middle-income families with a refundable tax credit to purchase private health care coverage of their choice. They would no longer be subject to an individual mandate and limited to Washington-approved plans. Workers for small businesses would be eligible, too.

WTF? No central planning? No government meddling and use of force to comply? More importantly, you remove the politician’s ability to get their hands on money they let people borrow and deny them the ability to play with those people’s lives if they refuse to comply? Who is going to make sure insurance companies only make the profits that their masters in government fell are OK, huh? That’s insane!

By scrapping dozens of mandates, we estimate premiums would drop, on average, by double digits. We’d also reverse harmful changes that limited consumers’ ability to save and manage spending through health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts, and we’d encourage small-business insurance plans to give smaller employers better and more affordable options.

Are you fucking insane? Low premiums only help people, not the power hungry nanny state politicians! And why would you ever want to trust people to manage their money? Without the threat of force from government they will make the wrong choices, don’t you know? Affordability is something, according to Gruber in his rare moments of telling the truth, that you pretend you are giving people, but it is of no concern. Did the CBO even score this bad plan? What was the fixed/rigged system you gave them to make it look palatable, huh? We had a doozy when we got them to score Obamacare and make it look good. WTF do you have?

This sort of nonsense is what I expect to hear from them and their lackeys in the LSM. They will then follow it with the “But what about the poor people denied because of preexisting conditions that used to not be covered?”. Well:

What our plan would not allow is a return to the days before Obamacare when insurance companies turned away patients simply because they were sick.

Under our proposal, no patient could be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition. We create a new “continuous coverage protection,” and if you change your job and buy a plan on your own, we would provide protections so you could not be denied coverage or be forced to pay a higher premium because of a pre-existing condition.

We would also ban insurance companies from imposing lifetime limits on a consumer, and we’d adopt age-rating changes, which lower costs for younger Americans. Individuals could stay on their parents’ health plan up to age 26, unless a state chose otherwise.

Oh snap! You have to wonder – no you don’t: I am being facetious – why the democrats didn’t do that and only that if they really cared about these people. People who because of the way Obamacare is set up can’t be denied but now can’t afford the care because of cost. Again: Obamacare was never about making healthcare affordable or available. It was about letting government get its hands on the money and decision making process, with the end game of crashing the existing system and then coming to the rescue with a single payer system they would otherwise never be able to sell anyone. It was just another giant wealth transfer scheme pretending to be something else.

Not only would our policies lower costs for patients, they would be good medicine for taxpayers. By scrapping Obamacare’s Washington-centered approach, we estimate our proposal would cut more than $1 trillion in taxes and reduce federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars. All of Obamacare’s taxes would be scrapped, including the medical device tax, health insurance tax, pharmaceutical tax and other taxes masked as mandate fees.

In the coming months, the Supreme Court will hear and decide an important case regarding the president’s health care law, King v. Burwell. The justices should uphold the rule of law by overturning the administration’s unlawful decision to tax and spend through the federal exchanges. If they do so, we believe modifying and adopting some of the ideas outlined in our proposal could provide a path toward minimizing the disruption experienced by consumers.

Faster please. Kill this idiotic shit before it destroys the healthcare system and plunges the economy into an even more depressed state. Of course, getting this passed will be a monumental task, because the left will never admit that Obamacare is bad policy and that they had an agenda that wouldn’t be possible if it goes away.

Why is this news to anyone?

Here comes the BOOM!

Us Debt Interest vs. Defense & Non-Defense discretionary spending

Take a good look at that graph above. The WSJ created that graph to show how interest payments on US debt will balloon as interest rates finally adjust. The fact of the matter is that our government has kept interest rates artificially low, through a slew of costly tricks, schemes, and scams, in order to keep interest payments low. And their success is debatable. They had to right the interest index, by removing the cost of fuel and food, while throwing billions at the problem in the form of QE and other such stupid schemes, to prevent the interest payment from going over $200 billion a year.

These government games have wrecked the economy and caused serious harm to the middle class, which has been punished for doing the right things. This all has happened while these programs have made the already rich richer and transferred a ton of wealth from the middle class to those that vote for a living. There is a class war going on in the US, but the left has targeted the middle class in order to expand their voter base: the non-productive. But let them keep borrowing despite the fact they are expecting an unprecedented windfall.

Our problem is twofold. First off, we have a shitty economy. Despite whatever they tell you that the numbers represent, the truth is that most new jobs are going to illegals, with over 18 million illegals now flooding our job market, and the 5.6% unemployment rate is a gross exaggeration that masks how bad things really are. If there was any reality to the claim of steady job growth and low unemployment, consumer spending wouldn’t be at its lowest since 2009 and there wouldn’t be a gloomy view of the future. But them is the facts.

Secondly, we fucking spend too much, mostly because the political class wants to buy votes from people impacted by the damage caused by the legislation enacted as a result of the vote buying agenda. Socialist paradises always end up with the same play book and results, and we are heading that way. We need to get spending under control, and the only way that happens is if we cock-block the vote buying schemes. Time is running out on us, and we have a choice between the people that think the answer is a bigger economy and less government spending, especially to improve the quality of life of people not working in the first place at the expense of the middleclass and those working, and those that feel the problem is government and government spending isn’t big enough because people are keeping too much of the government’s money.