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Obamacare: Untenable & Unconstitutional

 December 13, 2010 3:28 P.M.

By Eric Cantor

     U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson from the Eastern District of Virginia is at the center of major national news today following his important ruling that the central tenet of Obamacare is unconstitutional.

     Count me among those not the least bit surprised by the ruling.

    Judge Hudson’s ruling exposes an unavoidable fact about Obamacare: The individual mandate — the very backbone of the law — violates the Constitution and the free-market principles this country was founded on.

After a broad cross-section of the American public rejected Obamacare, now the American legal system is rejecting its constitutional basis. President Obama should instruct Attorney General Eric Holder to request that the case be sent directly to the Supreme Court so that Americans — especially job creators — can be spared years of litigation at a time of great uncertainty.

    To be sure, it’s not just its lack of constitutionality that makes Obamacare untenable.

    Since it was signed into law, each day has revealed a story of new and higher costs for American businesses, doctors, and families. The so-called cost argument — a central selling point during the lengthy health-care debate — continues to be thoroughly and repeatedly discredited.

    So if you’re keeping score at home, three key pillars of Obamacare have crumbled mightily: the support of the American public, the cost argument, and now its constitutionality.

    When something isn’t working, there is never any shame in starting over. The majority of Americans are asking that we start over on health-care reform, and that is why the new Republican House in January will pass a clean repeal of Obamacare.

    – Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, will be House majority leader in the 112th Congress.





Obamacare Is Now on the Ropes

 December 13, 2010 3:41 P.M.

 By Richard Epstein  


   The decision of Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia v. Sebelius is no bird of passage that will easily be pushed aside as the case winds its way up to its inevitable disposition in the United States Supreme Court. The United States gave the case its best shot, and it is not likely that it will come up with a new set of arguments that will strengthen its hand in subsequent litigation.

    The key successful move for Virginia was that it found a way to sidestep the well-known 1942 decision of the Supreme Court in Wickard v. Filburn, which held in effect that the power to regulate commerce among the several states extended to decisions of farmers to feed their own grain to their own cows. Wickard does not pass the laugh test if the issue is whether it bears any fidelity to the original constitutional design. It was put into place for the rather ignoble purpose of making sure that the federally sponsored cartel arrangements for agriculture could be properly administered.

     At this point, no district court judge would dare turn his back on the ignoble and unprincipled decision in Wickard. But Virginia did not ask for radical therapy. It rather insisted that “all” Wickard stands for is the proposition that if a farmer decides to grow wheat, he cannot feed it to his own cows if a law of Congress says otherwise. It does not say that the farmer must grow wheat in order that the federal government will have something to regulate.

    It is just that line that controls this case. The opponents of the individual mandate say that they do not have to purchase insurance against their will. The federal government may regulate how people participate in the market, but it cannot make them participate in the market. For if it could be done in this case, it could be done in all others.

   In making this ppositionb the district court rejected the view that the individual mandate was a necessary and proper offset to the congressional decision to require all insurers to take customers without regard to their preexisting conditions. In the government’s view, the two issues are the opposite side of the same coin. If the system is going to give some individuals a subsidy, it must find a way to tax someone else to provide that subsidy. Hence the individual mandate.

    Notwithstanding the unanimous support of the cross subsidy by the political classes, their use is not a sound idea. Cross subsidies are always unstable because they lead to overconsumption by the privileged class and massive resistance by the losers. In a real sense, a revitalized takings-clause argument would condemn these as transfers of wealth from A to B, without just cause.

    But here no one in the political elites of either party wants to challenge the correctness of the subsidy. So the argument now has to be that the only way to fund this is out of general revenues, not out of selective charges against those who do not wish to join in the system. As a matter of political theory, there is no clear rule that says if X group is entitled to the subsidy, we can somehow identify the Y group who is duty bound to pay it. So as a normative matter, it is hard to explain why the individual mandate has to be the flip side of the subsidy when general taxes are still available.

     As a political matter, however, the unhappiness with the cross subsidy could prove the undoing of Obamacare. The only way to get general revenues for this proposal is to get the next Congress to go along, which will not happen now that there is a Republican House of Representatives. So a bill that is already in hock is now ruinously so, which will only increase the political unease.

   The government finds itself here in a real pickle. Virginia has drawn a clear line that accounts for all the existing cases, so that no precedent has to be overruled to strike down this legislation. On the other hand, to uphold it invites the government to force me to buy everything from exercise machines to bicycles, because there is always some good that the coercive use of state authority can advance. The ironic point is that this is not a commerce-clause argument as such, for in my view any state statute would be subject to the same objection even though the state has plenary police powers.

     So how does it stand? If you know which way Justice Kennedy will vote, you have a pretty good shot of getting the final outcome. But if one plays the odds, this is a 15-round fight. As of today, Obamacare is losing on rounds.



Obamacare Ruled Unconstitutional; Americans Favor Repeal Almost 2 to 1

Jeffrey H. Anderson

December 14, 2010

   Yesterday's ruling by a federal district judge, declaring that Obamacare's individual mandate is unconstitutional, is a noteworthy blow to the highly unpopular overhaul and its ultimate prospects for survival. The New York Times writes:

A federal district judge in Virginia ruled on Monday that the keystone provision in the Obama health care law is unconstitutional, becoming the first court in the country to invalidate any part of the sprawling act....

The individual mandate – the requirement that Americans buy federally approved health insurance whether they want it or not – is, indeed, Obamacare's "keystone provision."  Without it, younger or healthier Americans would sensibly opt out of buying health insurance (until they get sick or injured) thereby leaving Obamacare's taxpayer-subsidized insurance "exchanges" to cover everyone else in the non-group market, regardless of preexisting conditions or costs. 

    Medicare's chief actuary has already projected that, over ten years, Obamacare would raise overall U.S. health costs by over $300 billion in relation to projected U.S. health costs without Obamacare. But without the individual mandate, Obamacare would cause health costs to skyrocket – by a lot more than "just" $300 billion. Thus, without the individual mandate, Obamacare couldn't realistically stand.

The Times writes,

In a 42-page opinion issued in Richmond, Va., Judge [Henry E.] Hudson wrote that the law’s central requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The insurance mandate is central to the law’s mission of covering more than 30 million uninsured because insurers argue that only by requiring healthy people to have policies can they afford to treat those with expensive chronic conditions.

     The judge wrote that his survey of case law “yielded no reported decisions from any federal appellate courts extending the Commerce Clause or General Welfare Clause to encompass regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, not withstanding its effect on interstate commerce or role in a global regulatory scheme.”

In other words, the federal courts have never before ruled that the Constitution's provisions empowering Congress to raise taxes and to regulate interstate commerce actually empower Congress to compel commerce. They have never before ruled that Congress has the power to compel Americans to buy a product of the government's choosing. And today's ruling was no exception – as it rejected the novel constitutional construction advanced by the Obama administration.

    The Times writes that the ruling, which the Obama administration will of course appeal, is "striking given that only nine months ago, prominent law professors were dismissing the constitutional claims as just north of frivolous." In this way, today's ruling further highlights the gap between the views of elites and those of everyday Americans on the impending fate of Obamacare. Much like they have had a hard time taking the legal challenges to Obamacare seriously, establishment types in both parties have had a hard time accepting the reality that Obamacare is very likely to be repealed – that, as James Madison wrote in The Federalist, #63, "The cool and deliberate sense of the community ought, in all governments, and actually will, in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers."

     Yesterday, within hours of the release of this judicial ruling, Rasmussen released a new poll showing that Americans support the repeal of Obamacare by the colossal margin of 60 to 34 percent. Independents favor Obamacare's repeal by a margin of more than 2 to 1, 62 to 28 percent.

    The combination of this polling and yesterday's ruling shows that, whether the political establishment wants to believe it or not, the political and legal challenges to Obamacare are not remotely frivolous. Rather, they are deadly serious – and they are gaining steam.

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Fail to the Chief. (The impotent POTUS disrespects his job.)
Pajamas Media ^ | December 14, 2010 | Bryan Preston



Barack Obama was supposed to be the man whose “first class temperament” would usher in a new politics. That’s what Christopher Buckley told us. The very crease in his pant leg signaled a new day, or so believed David Brooks. Well, on Friday of last week that new day arrived, but it probably wasn’t what Obama’s “conservative” supporters expected.

Mr. I’ll Stop the Rise of the Seas handed the presidency to one of his predecessors on Friday. During a press conference in the White House briefing room, the President of the United States handed the bully pulpit over to Bill Clinton. Obama and Clinton had just held a closed door meeting regarding the Bush tax cut deal and presumably discussed what Obama must do now that he faces a Republican majority in the House. The pair of presidents decided to hold an impromptu press conference. A few minutes in, Obama walks out, leaving Clinton to hold court with the White House

press corps.YouTube Preview Image

Clinton hasn’t been POTUS now for about 10 years, but he showed that he’s still the wonk he always was, citing facts and figures and selling the Obama deal better than Obama has bothered to try. But Clinton’s performance isn’t the most important part of the story. The important parts are what Friday’s moment says and what it symbolizes. As a former President of the United States, Clinton is entitled to be addressed as “Mr. President,” and that’s of course how the press addressed him, which only added to Friday’s confusion: With Obama off to meet his wife and attend a Christmas party, Clinton got to play President for a Day.

         Perhaps Obama was trying to get ahead of this whole silly “No Labels” thing, by shedding his own label: President of the United States.

     Barack Obama is not a man who lacks understanding of imagery and symbolism. If anything, he rode to the presidency on the power of symbols and his own iconography.

      That logo, which Bill Whittle brilliantly analyzed for PJTV a while back, adorns not just Obama’s campaign websites, but is the omnipresent flag of his personal political army, Organizing for America. Wherever you go within the Obama communications universe, you find that icon. The Democratic National Committee recently allowed itself to become an echo of the Barack Obama iconography effort.

     So while Obama clearly understands and uses symbols and images to build and extend his power, he is also likely to misuse and even disrespect them.

    Remember the Greek columns at the Democratic convention in Denver, in August 2008? For an inexperienced nominee seeking to lead the free world, that stage lent him authority, grandeur and power that his own biography didn’t offer on its own.

But it was more than a little over the top. It made him look like Caesar in a suit.

    A month before that, in July 2008, candidate Obama delivered a speech in Berlin, Germany. Standing before the Victory Column, at the heart of the European Union, Obama declared himself a “fellow citizen of the world.” The moment symbolized, for Obama and his supporters, America’s emergence from the “go it alone” Bush years to reunite with the “international community.” But like the Greek columns at Invesco Field, Obama misappropriated the imagery. In his shallow, leftist worldview, Obama probably thought the angel atop the column represents peace on earth.    The Victory Column symbolizes Prussian (read: German) martial prowess. It’s not a symbol of brotherly love, community and harmony, but of nationalism, warfare and conquest. It was entirely inappropriate to the message Obama went to Berlin to deliver. But it made for a cool U2  backdrop.

If anything, Obama’s presidency is defined by its symbolism. He’s the first black President, but of mixed race and therefore supposedly a living embodiment of racial healing. He is a man who claimed that there is no red or blue America, only the United States of America, and that he is the man whose own life and history render him uniquely qualified to lead. He sees himself as a symbol who transcends the symbols that preceded him. He and Hillary Clinton even debated what the job of POTUS is supposed to be, with Clinton arguing that it’s an executive job while Obama argued that it’s mostly symbolic.

     That in mind, it’s worth taking a look at how he and his friends treat the most potent symbols of America. Yes, I’ll be rehashing history here to some extent, but there’s a point and purpose in doing so.

     There’s the unofficial national motto, “God Bless America.” Particularly after 9-11, “God Bless America” became a kind of unifying second national anthem. Obama’s political ally of 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, would have none of that.

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Obama claims he never heard that particular sermon, but he did hear hundreds of others with similar themes delivered from that same pulpit.

There’s Bill Ayers, another of Obama’s longtime political allies. The unrepentant terrorist helped Obama’s political career at his home, after the two had served together for years on the Woods Foundation board. Ayers showed his respect for the American flag, as a symbol for the nation, in this 2001 photo for Chicago Magazine.

Ayers and Obama were serving together on the Woods board at the time this photo was taken. Ayers obviously understood the symbolism in that photo at the time. There’s no evidence that Obama objected to it. He kept steering foundation money Ayers’ way, and continued to serve with him on the board.

     And there’s Obama himself, who famously refuses to wear the American flag on his lapel because of what doing so communicates:

“You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin,” Obama said. “Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest.”


So to Obama, wearing the flag represented a false patriotism, while refusing to wear it and speaking out on national security was, to him, true patriotism. The point here isn’t whether he was right or wrong on that, but to reinforce the point that he thinks in terms of symbols and icons.

After the election, but before taking office, Obama even created new transition imagery. The “Office of the President-Elect” doesn’t exist according to the Constitution, but that didn’t stop the creation of yet another logo.

Obama gets symbolism, and his allies get symbolism, and they use it to tell the world what they think. The press gets symbolism, too. Early on in his presidency, mainstream media photographers just couldn’t help finding angles to depict Obama as if he wore a halo. Two seconds with Google yields the proof:

All of that in mind, what does this moment from Friday communicate to the world?

The press is remarkably quiet about Friday’s event, calling it “awkward” or even scoring the tax cut fight as a “victory” for Obama, but otherwise laying off. On Monday afternoon, Obama emerged briefly to deliver a few remarks on the tax deal, but he took no questions from the press. CNN’s John King even joked that “sidekick” Bill Clinton was nowhere to be seen, but the joke was on America. Obama’s brief presser looked like a child reluctantly getting back on his training wheel bike after a nasty crash. He pedaled a few feet, and then hastily jumped off to get back to his Playstation.

      I doubt that the symbolism of Friday’s presser was intentional. I don’t think that Obama believed that his walking out would be seen as the abdication of leadership that it was. Like the Greek columns and the Berlin speech, Obama probably intended to the imagery to say one thing, but it accidentally said something else entirely. Friday’s press conference struck me as another sign of disrespect for the office he holds, and another of Barack Obama’s misuses of the power with which he has been entrusted.    

      He intended to show unity with the former and still popular President, but actually told the world that he’s no longer up to his job and won’t even bother trying to pretend he is. Roger wrote over the weekend that it showed that America doesn’t have a leader now. That’s right, and it’s very dangerous.

      The image that Obama broadcast on Friday was one of serious, and perhaps incurable, weakness. The moment looked like what happens in a corporate setting, when an experienced hand steps in to temporarily take over for a inexperienced executive who has botched a big job and needs time to get his mind right. What happens next in the corporate world is that the junior exec gets some training, or gets sidelined, or gets fired. But we’re not talking about a junior exec. There’s no training available, no sideline to run to, and his contract lasts a couple more years.

     Obama has taken the presidency to a moment of such weakness that we have to reach back to Watergate for a comparison, but Obama’s moment wasn’t brought on by scandal. It’s the result of his personality and his lack of preparation for the job, “first class temperament” notwithstanding. And it’s also the result of how he views the job, as a symbol of authority rather than the fact and exercise of authority.

      Kim Jong-Il and his successor son are watching, as are Vlad Putin, the Chinese Communists, al Qaeda, the mullahcracy in Iran and every other potential threat or challenger on the planet. If Obama can’t handle his own party or a simple press conference, can he handle Somali pirates, Hugo Chavez or that shopworn 3 am crisis?

    On Friday, when he exited the stage and left Bill Clinton temporarily in charge, Barack Obama told the world that he can no longer handle any of that.

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Can You Dig It?

By Ross Kaminsky on 12.15.10







One of my favorite bits of practical advice is "when you find yourself in a deep hole, stop digging."

     The hole that Barack Obama finds himself in, while largely due to his policy positions, is also a function of his seeming out of his league, a man-child who was elected to an office he was unprepared to hold, perhaps the only candidate for president who made Sarah Palin look like an experienced and worldly statesman in comparison (and who continues to perform that remarkable feat today).

    Obama is not offering much new in the way of policy -- fortunately for the nation, still suffering from a tremendous bout of indigestion over Obamacare, cap-and-trade (being implemented by the EPA regardless of lack of congressional action), Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and his failed effort to shutter Guantanamo Bay (because Muslim radicals in Yemen will hate us so much less if their Mohammedan brothers are kept in frigid downstate Illinois instead of their current Caribbean resort).

     Thus, his biggest ongoing issue is the reinforcement of the perception among Americans and foreigners alike that America has its most unpresidential president since at least Jimmy Carter, and perhaps in its history.

      Early in his term, he seemed aloof, as if he felt above the governing process. Now we know it's because he's incompetent, if not an outright hindrance, in that process. He, perhaps the most leftist member of the U.S. Senate during his time there, can't convince the most leftist House of Representatives since the FDR Administration to go along with his tax "deal," the best deal he's going to get given the upcoming change in majority in the House and lessening of the Democrat majority in the Senate.

       So, in order to try to sway House Democrats who were in revolt to the extent of some yelling "f**k Obama" during a House Democratic Caucus meeting about the "deal," Obama felt the need to meet with and then display the peacock president, i.e. the president most interested in displaying himself, Bill Clinton.

     It was a sharp contrast to the recent book-promoting TV appearances by George W. Bush. Bush is routinely asked why he's been all but invisible in public discussion of government policy and his answer is consistently (and I'm paraphrasing now) that he thinks ex-presidents should focus on the "ex" part and leave governing to the current office holder. Meddling by ex-presidents seems to be a tendency of Democrats (just another symptom of the Progressive holier-and-smarter-than-thou mindset), whether Clinton or Carter, whereas both Bushes and even Reagan and Ford led distinctly private post-presidency lives, or at least refrained from acting like some sort of public senior adviser to the president.

      George W. Bush has said repeatedly that he basically never asked his father for serious policy advice -- and implied that his father wouldn't have wanted to be asked.

      So now we have Barack "Peter Principle" Obama walking up to a hastily-called press conference with Bill Clinton who is probably thinking that Hillary might have an opening to run in 2012 despite all her protestations and who is therefore glad to do anything that boosts the Clinton name while damaging Obama at Obama's remarkably naive invitation.

     It would have been bad enough for Obama's stature to have a joint press conference with Bill Clinton -- the same guy who urged the House to pass Obamacare because not passing it would mean Democrat losses in the election (doh!) -- but Obama actually ceded the stage to Clinton, like a low-level flunkie introducing the boss, like an emcee introducing the keynote speaker. Clinton preened and displayed for the better part of half an hour, showing the press corps and all the world the communications skills that Obama, for all his early vaunted talents as an orator, is distinctly and damagingly missing, at least when he is sans-teleprompter.

     And it would have been bad enough if Obama ceded the stage to Clinton but stayed in the room and answered questions at the end. But instead, he said "I've been keeping the First Lady waiting for about half an hour, so I'm going to take off..." to which Bill offered the helpful response "I don't want to make her mad, please go." We can all be our own screenwriters of the tragicomic lines representing what he was really thinking...

     So, let's get this straight, Mr. President: The fate of a tax measure that is of critical import for an economy with a near-10% unemployment rate, a measure that will impact directly or indirectly a 9-digit number of Americans, and a measure with political ramifications potentially as large as Obamacare's is to be left in the hands of an ex-president (did I mention "ex"?) because your wife is waiting?

      The political naïveté of Barack Obama is becoming, even more than his far-left agenda, his political Achilles' heel. Given what Barack Obama believes in and hopes to achieve, perhaps America is Troy to Obama's Achilles. He was the strongest warrior the "transformers" of America could send our way, but even he was vulnerable -- even to the point of destruction -- in an area that few would have considered the most likely to be attacked on their particular fields of battle.

    Obama's weakness is America's gain, though perhaps not as much as it is Bill Clinton's gain.

Ross Kaminsky is a professional derivatives trader, a fellow at the Heartland Institute, and a frequent contributor to Human Events. He blogs at Rossputin.com.

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Walter E. Williams

      Dr. Thomas Sowell, in “Dismantling America,” said in reference to President Obama, “That such an administration could be elected in the first place, headed by a man whose only qualifications to be president of the United States at a dangerous time in the history of the world were rhetoric, ***********///////********//////****** and symbolism — and whose animus against the values and institutions of America had been demonstrated repeatedly over a period of decades beforehand — speaks volumes about the inadequacies of our educational system and the degeneration of our culture.”

     Obama is by no means unique; his characteristics are shared by other Americans, but what is unique is that no other time in our history would such a person been elected president. That says a lot about the degeneration of our culture, values, thinking abilities and acceptance of what’s no less than tyranny. As Sowell says, “Barack Obama is unlike any other President of the United States in having come from a background of decades of associations and alliances with people who resent this country and its people.” In 2008, Americans voted for Obama’s change. Let’s look at some of it.

     Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius threatened that there would be “zero tolerance” for “misinformation” in response to an insurance company executive who said that ObamaCare would create costs that force up health insurance premiums. That’s not only an attack on our constitutionally guaranteed free speech rights but an official threat against people who express views damaging to the administration.

    Not to be outdone by his HHS secretary’s attack on free speech, Obama wants full disclosure of the names of people who were backers of campaign commercials critical of his administration, saying that there has been a “flood of deceptive attack ads sponsored by special interests, using front groups with misleading names.” Disclosure would leave administration critics open to government and mob retaliation.

     Obama and his congressional and union allies have lectured us that socialized medicine is the cure for the nation’s ills, but I have a question. If socialized medicine, Obamacare, is so great for the nation, why permit anyone to be exempted from it? It turns out that as of the end of November, Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary has issued over 200 waivers to major labor unions such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union and Transport Workers Union of America and major companies such as McDonald’s and Darden Restaurants, which operates Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Keep in mind that the power to grant waivers is also the power not to grant waivers. Such power can be used to reward administration friends and punish administration critics by saddling them with millions of dollars of health care costs.

     Obama’s heath care legislation contains deviousness that has become all too common in Washington. What was sold to the American people as health care reform legislation includes a provision that would more heavily regulate and tax gold coin and bullion transactions. Whether gold and bullion transactions should or should not be more heavily regulated and taxed is not the issue. The administration’s devious inclusion of it as a part of health care reform is.

        Fighting government intrusion into our lives is becoming increasingly difficult for at least two reasons. The first reason is that educators at the primary, secondary and university levels have been successful in teaching our youngsters to despise the values of our Constitution and the founders of our nation — “those dead, old, racist white men.” Their success in that arena might explain why educators have been unable to get our youngsters to read, write and compute on a level comparable with other developed nations; they are too busy proselytizing students.

     The second reason is we’ve become a nation of thieves, accustomed to living at the expense of one another and to accommodate that we’re obliged to support tyrannical and overreaching government.

      Adolf Hitler had it right when he said, “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.”

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The Obama Administration Fights For Sharia Law At The Expense of Public School Students



     By Joseph Klein On December 15, 2010 @ 2:00 pm In Education,Email,Feature,Featured Series,Islamic Groups in the U.S.,Obama, Barack,Radical Islam,Religion


     The ‘Is it Legal?’ segment of The O’Reilly Factor last night dealt with a disturbing decision by the Obama Justice Department that has received very little publicity. It is yet another example of the Obama administration’s policy of accommodation to Islamic sharia law, irrespective of its impact on our own society.

      Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to sue a suburban Chicago school district for denying a Muslim middle school female teacher three weeks of unpaid leave to abandon her students and make a pilgrimage to Mecca. The teacher wanted to perform the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia which every adult Muslim is supposed to make at least once in a lifetime if he or she is able to do so.
      Ironically, the Obama administration is suing over a practice that discriminates against women. Under Islamic law, a woman is not allowed to perform Hajj alone and must be accompanied by an adult Muslim Mahram (father, husband, son or brother etc.). And for an administration that claims it regards a quality education for our public school students to be one of its highest priorities, it is willing to fight for the “right” of a Muslim teacher to abandon the students in her charge so that she can trek to Mecca for a few weeks.

    In any case, note that the religious requirement for a Muslim to perform Hajj is once in a lifetime if financially and physically able to do so. This teacher, Safoorah Khan, had no more than two years of service under her belt at the suburban Chicago school when, in 2008, she decided that she could not wait any longer to make her pilgrimage. After the school district twice denied her request, the teacher wrote the board that “based on her religious beliefs, she could not justify delaying performing hajj.” She resigned shortly thereafter. In November 2008, Khan filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which punted the case over to the Justice Department after finding that there was reasonable cause to believe that discrimination had occurred.

     This week, Eric Holder’s team in the Justice Department’s civil rights division decided to bring the school district to federal court on Khan’s behalf. The relief that the Obama administration is seeking is a court order requiring the school district to adopt policies that reasonably accommodate its employees’ religious practices and beliefs, to reinstate Khan with back pay and pay her compensatory damages.

    There is nothing “reasonable” in Khan’s demand for making her pilgrimage on her own timetable. If anyone deserves “compensatory damages,” it is the school system which has to defend itself against this frivolous lawsuit.

As usual, the Obama administration is pandering to accommodate the demands of the radical Muslim community. Obama is fulfilling his promise to the Muslim world, made during his Cairo speech last year, “to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit.”

     Khan saw fit to leave her students for about ten percent of the school year because she desired to perform her pilgrimage when, and for however long, she desired. Why now when Khan has a lifetime to fulfill her religious duty (provided that she has a male Muslim accompanying her)? And why did she ask for a three week leave when all the essential duties of the pilgrimage are normally performed in 5 to 6 days?

     This isn’t the first time that the Obama administration has gone out of its way to enforce special accommodations for Muslims. For example, as I described in my book Lethal Engagement, in response to complaints filed by Somali Muslim employees with the help of a Chicago-based chaptr of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) decided that JBS Swift violated their civil rights by dismissing those who refused to work during Ramadan because they were not permitted to take special time off during work hours for prayer. The demand would have disrupted work schedules, leaving their fellow non-Muslim workers to pick up the slack. The EEOC chose to send its decision by letter directly to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, showing their close relationship in the Obama era.

     Barack Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder are willing to subordinate American values of individual liberty, freedom of expression and equal treatment under the law in order to accommodate radical Muslims’ special demands in “practicing religion as they see fit.”

     Radical Muslims are exploiting our democratic system and using the irreproachable shield of “religion” to disguise a barbaric system of oppressive sharia laws. Rather than accommodate them, Western democracies must instead challenge the ideas and methods of radical Islamists at every turn.

Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam

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La izquierda y la libertad



Por Thomas Sowell

En su mayoría, los izquierdistas no son contrarios a la libertad. Simplemente defienden todo tipo de cosas incompatibles con la libertad. En última instancia, la libertad es el derecho de la gente a hacer cosas que no compartes. Con Hitler, los nazis fueron libres de ser... nazis. Sólo se es libre cuando se puede hacer cosas que los demás no aprueban.
Uno de los ejemplos más aparentemente inocuos de la imposición de los puntos de vista de la izquierda es la muy extendida exigencia de que los estudiantes hagan "servicios para la comunidad" si quieren ingresar en tal o cual centro de estudios. Son legión los institutos y universidades que no licencian, o directamente no admiten, a nadie que no haya tomado parte de esas actividades arbitrariamente de definidas como "servicios a la comunidad."
Qué arrogancia, la de aquellos que, no contentos con dictar a los jóvenes cómo deben organizar su tiempo, encima se permiten decir qué es y qué no es un servicio a la comunidad.
Por lo general, trabajar con los sin techo suele considerarse un servicio a la comunidad; como si fomentar y alentar la vagancia fuera en beneficio, y no en perjuicio, de la comunidad. ¿Qué pasa, que la comunidad está mejor cuando hay más tipos vagabundeando por sus calles, insultando a la gente, orinando en público y dejando jeringuillas en los parques infantiles?
Estamos ante un claro ejemplo de cómo la dedicación de fondos y esfuerzos a gente que no se ha hecho merecedor de ellos quiebra la relación entre productividad y recompensa. Por cierto, que ya puede usted convertir cualquier cosa en un derecho social para tal individuo o colectivo, pero no hay manera de que haya un derecho social para toda la sociedad, pues siempre habrá alguien que tenga que costearlo. En fin, que los derechos sociales no son sino imposiciones: se fuerza a unos a trabajar en beneficio de otros. Ya lo dice la célebre pegatina: "Trabaje más. Millones de personas que viven del Estado del Bienestar dependen de usted".
Con todo, la clave del asunto que nos ocupa no reside en las actividades concretas consideradas "servicios a la comunidad"; la clave, la pregunta fundamental es ésta: ¿quiénes son los profesores y los miembros de las juntas de selección para decir qué es bueno para la comunidad, o para los estudiantes? ¿Qué conocimientos esgrimen para pasar por encima de la libertad de los demás? ¿Qué es lo que revelan con sus imposiciones arbitrarias, aparte de su gusto por entrometerse en las vidas ajenas? ¿Y qué lecciones sacan los jóvenes de todo esto, aparte de que han de someterse a un poder arbitrario?
Supuestamente, la atención al prójimo hace que los estudiantes desarrollen su sentido de la compasión, su nobleza de espíritu. Pero es que, claro, todo depende de qué entendamos por compasión. Lo que está fuera de discusión es que a los estudiantes se les fuerza a vivir una experiencia propagandística que tiene por objeto hacerlos receptivos a la visión izquierdista del mundo.
Estoy seguro de los que defienden la obligación de prestar servicios a la comunidad saludarían la objeción de conciencia si de lo que se tratara fuera de hacer maniobras militares. De hecho, muchos de ellos se oponen rabiosamente a que se dé, opcionalmente, formación castrense en institutos o universidades, pese a que el número de quienes ven en ésta una contribución a la sociedad más importante que la derivada de atender a la gente que se niega a trabajar es sensiblemente superior.
En definitiva: los izquierdistas quieren tener el derecho a imponer a los demás su idea de lo que es bueno para la sociedad, derecho que niegan con vehemencia a todos los que no piensan como  ellos.
La esencia del fanatismo consiste, precisamente, en eso, en negar a los demás los derechos que uno demanda para sí. Y el fanatismo es inherentemente incompatible con la libertad.
Progres a la europea
El totalitarismo chic
Thomas Sowell

      A lo largo del siglo XX, los supuestamente sofisticados europeos se las ingeniaron para crear algunas de las formas de Gobierno más monstruosas sobre el planeta (comunismo, fascismo, nazismo) en tiempos de paz.

    Algunos de los que se oponen con más firmeza a la deslocalización de las actividades económicas de Estados Unidos a otros países a menudo parecen pensar que sí debemos subcontratar nuestra política exterior a la "opinion mundial", o actuar sólo junto a "nuestros aliados de la OTAN".

     Como tantas cosas que se dicen cuando se trata de asuntos de interés público, se presta muy poca atención al verdadero historial de la "opinión mundial" o al de "nuestros aliados de la OTAN".

    A menudo se asume de plano que los países europeos son muchísimo más sofisticados que los "vaqueros" americanos. Pero increíblemente hay muy poco interés en el historial de los sofisticados europeos a quienes se supone debemos consultar sobre nuestros propios intereses nacionales, incluyendo nuestra supervivencia nacional, en un momento en que los terroristas pueden adquirir armas nucleares.

      A lo largo del siglo XX, los supuestamente sofisticados europeos se las ingeniaron para crear algunas de las formas de Gobierno más monstruosas sobre el planeta (comunismo, fascismo, nazismo) en tiempos de paz.

    Además, iniciaron dos guerras mundiales, las más sangrientas de toda la historia de la humanidad. En cada una de ellas, tanto los ganadores como los perdedores acabaron mucho peor de lo que estaban antes de que las contiendas se iniciasen.

      Después de ambas guerras mundiales, Estados Unidos tuvo que intervenir para evitar que millones de personas en Europa murieran de hambre en medio de los restos y escombros que sus guerras habían creado. No me parece que sea gente ante cuya sofisticación debamos ceder.

    Entre las dos guerras mundiales, los intelectuales europeos, más que la gente de a pie, malinterpretaron por completo la amenaza de la Alemania nazi y se dedicaron a impulsar el desarme en Francia e Inglaterra, mientras Hitler aceleraba la creación de la mayor fuerza militar del continente, con el objetivo evidente de dirigirla contra los países vecinos.

    Durante la Guerra Fría, muchos intelectuales europeos volvieron a malinterpretar la amenaza de una dictadura totalitaria, soviética en este caso. Cuando finalmente reconocieron la amenaza, muchos se preguntaron qué sería mejor, "ser rojos o despojos". No estaban más preparados para hacerle frente a la Unión Soviética de lo que lo habían estado para responder a la Alemania nazi en los años 30.

    Peor aún, buena parte de la élite intelectual europea se oponía a que Estados Unidos le hiciera frente a la Unión Soviética. Muchos de ellos se mostraron consternados cuando Ronald Reagan resolvió la amenaza de nuevos misiles soviéticos que apuntaban a Europa Occidental desplegando más de los suyos dirigidos a la Unión Soviética.

    En efecto, Reagan avisó a la Unión Soviética y los puso, mientras que muchos de los sofisticados europeos, así como buena parte de la élite intelectual americana, sostenían que su política nos llevarían a la guerra. En vez de esto, nos llevó precisamente al fin de la Guerra Fría. ¿Debemos imitar ahora a aquellos que tanto, tanto y tantas veces se han equivocado en los últimos cien años?






Progres a la europea (2)
Mitos sobre la riqueza americana Thomas Sowell

AGOSTO 23, 2008



    Entre los países comparables a Estados Unidos en tamaño o población, ninguno ha alcanzado una producción per cápita tan elevada. New Jersey produce más que Egipto. California produce más que Canadá o México.

     Para los que en la política y en los medios americanos se mueren por usar la palabra "recesión", el hecho de que por segundo trimestre consecutivo no haya habido desplome, sino un crecimiento lento de la economía, tiene que haber sido una amarga decepción. Estos alarmistas se han limitado a citar a otros como ellos a la hora de hablar de la presuntamente inminente recesión que todavía no se ha hecho realidad.

      La definición de "recesión" es muy clara y sencilla: dos trimestres consecutivos de crecimiento negativo. Todavía no hemos tenido siquiera un trimestre así. Sin embargo, las brigadas inquisitoriales de los críticos de la economía y la sociedad americanas se encuentran entre las razones de que se hable tanto sobre cómo deberíamos hacer las cosas tal y como se están haciendo en Europa. Antes de imitar a Europa, deberíamos empezar entendiendo América.

    La economía norteamericana tiene la producción más elevada del mundo (más que las de Japón, Alemania y Gran Bretaña juntas). Medida en poder adquisitivo, la producción per cápita en Estados Unidos es la más elevada entre los países grandes. Existen algunos lugares muy pequeños como Luxemburgo o las Islas Caimán con mayor poder adquisitivo per cápita, pero como dice el presidente de la Universidad de Harvard, el profesor Benjamin M. Friedman, lugares como Luxemburgo son "técnicamente países, pero en realidad se parecen más a grandes urbanizaciones". La población total de Luxemburgo es aproximadamente la misma que la de la localidad de Long Beach en California. La plantilla de Wal-Mart es mayor que la población total de Luxemburgo. Algunos otros lugares pequeños como las Islas Caimán son paraísos fiscales que atraen la riqueza de personas que en realidad no son de allí. Entre los países comparables a Estados Unidos en tamaño o población, ninguno ha alcanzado una producción per cápita tan elevada. New Jersey produce más que Egipto. California produce más que Canadá o México.

     Los esfuerzos desesperados por retratar toda la prosperidad y el progreso en Estados Unidos como algo monopolizado por "los ricos" han conducido a todo tipo de artefactos estadísticos, como por ejemplo comparar la proporción de personas que hay dentro de categorías estadísticas a lo largo del tiempo ignorando el hecho de que la mayor parte de la gente situada dentro de ellas en realidad ha pasado de una categoría a otra.

    Los estudios que siguen a un individuo determinado a lo largo del tiempo demuestran justo lo contrario de lo que se dice en política y en los medios de referencia. Lo que estas investigaciones señalan es que la mayor parte de los trabajadores situados en 20% más pobre asciende hasta situarse en el 50% más rico.

    Además, el ritmo de incremento de sus ingresos supera el de la mayoría de las personas que se encuentran en el 20% más rico. De hecho, a lo largo del tiempo el 1% más rico registra una reducción de sus ingresos en términos absolutos. Según abandonan el 1% de cabeza, son reemplazados por otros, de manera que las categorías estadísticas pueden permanecer inalteradas a pesar de que las personas de carne y hueso que entran y salen de ellas no están mejorando en absoluto a costa de aquellos por debajo de ellas en la distribución de ingresos.

      Nada de esto es difícil de entender, pero la mayor parte de los que trabajan en política, en los medios y en los círculos académicos sigue insistiendo en utilizar estadísticas basadas en la situación de categorías abstractas a lo largo del tiempo –hogares, familias, horquillas de renta– aunque existen otras estadísticas disponibles, basadas en las trayectorias de individuos particulares.

     Los hogares y las familias varían de tamaño de un grupo a otro y en general descienden de tamaño a lo largo del tiempo, pero un individuo siempre significa una persona. Los ingresos por hogar o por familia pueden permanecer estancados, o incluso descender, mientras que los ingresos de cada uno de sus miembros aumentan. En realidad, así ha ocurrido de forma regular en las últimas décadas. Tal vez este sea el motivo de que los que se dedican a negar la realidad citen constantemente estadísticas de ingresos por hogar o por familia, al tiempo que ignoran las estadísticas referentes a renta individual.

     En medio del ataque generalizado al desarrollo de la economía norteamericana, no es en absoluto sorprendente que muchas personas piensen que deberíamos imitar lo que los europeos están haciendo en economía, en política exterior y en otras áreas. Siempre podemos aprender cosas concretas de otros países, ya sea Europa, Asia o cualquier otro lugar. Pero imitar a Europa cuando los europeos no se encuentran en una situación tan buena como los americanos no tiene el menor sentido.
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