America the Docile: T.S. of A Takes Control

November 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

George Will in today’s Washington Post:

The theory – perhaps by now it seems like a quaint anachronism – on which the nation was founded is, or was: Government is instituted to protect preexisting natural rights essential to the pursuit of happiness. Today, that pursuit often requires flying, which sometimes involves the wanding of 3-year-olds and their equally suspect teddy bears.

What the TSA is doing is mostly security theater, a pageant to reassure passengers that flying is safe. Reassurance is necessary if commerce is going to flourish and if we are going to get to grandma’s house on Thursday to give thanks for the Pilgrims and for freedom. If grandma is coming to our house, she may be wanded while barefoot at the airport because democracy – or the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment; anyway, something – requires the amiable nonsense of pretending that no one has the foggiest idea what an actual potential terrorist might look like.

But enough, already.

Enough trivializing important values – e.g., air safety – by monomaniacal attempts to maximize them. Disproportion is the common denominator of almost all of life’s absurdities. Automobile safety is important. But attempting to maximize it would begin (but by no means end) with forbidding left turns.

Bureaucracies try to maximize their missions. They can’t help themselves. Adult supervision is required to stand athwart this tendency, yelling “Stop!”

Again, Buckley: “Every year, whether the Republican or the Democratic Party is in office, more and more power drains away from the individual to feed vast reservoirs in far-off places; and we have less and less say about the shape of events which shape our future.”

The average American has regular contact with the federal government at three points – the IRS, the post office and the TSA. Start with that fact if you are formulating a unified field theory to explain the public’s current political mood.

Read the whole thing here.

Big Government

San Diego TSA Airport Screeners Out of Control … Passenger Arrested For Refusing TSA Screening, Parade Him Thru Airport in Underwear

November 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

TSA, the Audacity of Grope, San Diego Edition Part Deux:

The TSA is nothing more than a microcosm of Barack Obama and his Administration … a bunch of unqualified screw ups given power and abusing it. WTF AMERICA … THIS IS STILL AMERICA, ISN’T IT? The TSA and this government have totally lost focus on what airport security is supposed to do. IDIOTS, YOU FOOLS ARE TO CATCH TERRORISTS, NOT ARREST INNOCENT AMERICANS!!!

This time the TSA has overreacted and arrested  Sam Wolanyk, a San Diego resident, this weekend after he refused to complete the TSA screening process. Wolanyk then suffered the indignity at the hands of the TSA by being paraded through the airport in his underwear. Is this how the Obama/Napolitano TSA saves face for their screw up in letting the “underwear” bomber on a place last Christmas?

The TSA is out of control and some thing must be done before the Thanksgiving Day travel rush. If this continues, there is going to be mayhem this week. As stated at the Left Coast Rebel, from the airport that brought us, “Don’t Touch my Junk” comes the sequel … “Don’t Show us, We’d Rather Feel For Ourselves”.

In what can only be described as TSA handlers gone wild, the San Diego Harbor Police arrested an area resident for refusal to complete the screening/security process yesterday. This is the same airport that created the TSA security catch phrase“don’t touch my junk.” John Tyner of San Diego started the airport screening firestorm last week as Americans head into the busiest travel week of the year in the United States.

This time the defendant, Sam Wolanyk says he was asked to pass through the 3-D x-ray machine. When Wolanyk refused, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel told him he would have to be patted down before he could pass through and board his airplane.

Wolanyk said he knew what was coming and took off his pants and shirt, leaving him in Calvin Klein bike undergarments.

Was this really necessary for the TSA would look to further humiliate air passenger by parading him through two separate airport terminals in his underwear.

Once Harbor Police arrested Wolanyk, he was handcuffed and paraded through two separate airport terminals in his underwear to the Harbor Police office located inside a different terminal at the airport than Wolanyk had originally gone through during his TSA security process.

It gets even worse from the Banana Republican created by Barack Obama … the TSA confiscated the camera of the woman who filmed fiasco and arrested her.

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Scared Monkeys

NPR Says Lack of Government Funding = Government Control

November 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

“Good judgment prevailed as Congress rejected a move to assert government control over the content of news.” – National Public Radio

So spoke the government financed news of the failed efforts to sever government ties.  Good god, how Orwellian can the government news get?  If NPR can tell us with a straight face that severing federal funding and cutting NPR completely off from the government like every other radio station and news outlet (except PBS) is “an unwarranted attempt to interject federal authority” into the news, then NPR is a step away from fooling around with the laws of arithmetic.

The House voted yesterday 239-171 against stripping NPR of government funding, with Republicans voting unanimously to cut NPR loose.  Following the vote, NPR unleashed the aforementioned series of knee-slappers, which also included the positioning of the no-conservatives-allowed (or Juan Williams) station as a solution to America’s “increasingly fractious media environment.”  NPR then stressed that we keep funding “this essential tool of Democracy,” reminding us that before public radio, America was not a democracy.

The delicate balancing act attempted by NPR regarding its finances is an interesting sub-narrative in the unfolding saga of defunding the organization.  One the one hand, they try to lowball the percentage of their funds that comes from government, both federal and local, to make the case to taxpayers that NPR is a small burden on them.  They frequently claim that NPR headquarters only receives 1 percent of its funding from tax dollars, but a report by the Congressional Research Service “found that taxpayers fund at least 4 percent of NPR’s budget.”  NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller also frequently claims that “member stations receive about 9 percent of their funding from tax dollars,” but a simple study by the American Thinker’s Mark Browning of information from NPR’s own website estimated that “local NPR affiliates derive something like 41% of their funding from taxes, either directly or indirectly.”  Browning’s examination, adding it all up, “brings [the] total of taxpayer support for the entire NPR budget to around 23%.”  Perhaps NPR really is fooling around with the laws of arithmetic.

On the other hand while NPR dramatically lowballs the total funding they receive, to make the case for continued funding they have to simultaneously argue that the “1%” to headquarters and “9%” to local affiliates they claim they receive is extremely important, and “a critical part of keeping those stations vibrant,” so they “take these calls for defunding very, very seriously.”  In other words, we’re so self sufficient that we get most of our money from elsewhere and really don’t need your money, but keep funding us because we really, really need your money.

In terms of the federal budget, NPR’s annual funding is probably smaller than an awful lot of individual earmarks.  Defunding the organization won’t do much for the deficit, but it will help.  More importantly it is a simple matter of accountability.  Government absolutely should not be asserting government control over the content of the news, and that is a fundamental American principle.  Another fundamental principle is that government should never spend money for which there is no accountability to government.  Why should taxpayers spend a dime on an organization that is only accountable to corporate donors and someone as shady and anti-American as George Soros?

Is this the kind of Democracy preserving service taxpayers should be paying for?

Hat tip: Newsbusters

Big Journalism

Feds to decide whether birth control should be free

November 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

photo courtesy spentpenny

If the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services requires insurance companies to cover birth control pills as a preventative health service, state health care budgets as well as individual women stand to benefit.

The federal health care bill enacted this year requires that preventative health care services for women be covered by all insurance plans. The bill instructs the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services to decide which preventative health care measures should be covered. HHS has charged the Institute of Medicine with coming up with a list of recommendations. A decision on what will be covered is expected by next summer.

“I absolutely do think that birth control should be covered under the new law,“ said health care activist Adrian Campbell Montgomery, noting that many insurance plans recognize the sexual needs of men by covering Viagra.

Failure to cover birth control is a form of discrimination against women that has broad social costs, she said.

“We take birth control to prevent pregnancy. If you don’t allow a woman to prevent a pregnancy then the alternative is that she will become pregnant and the child will be put up for adoption, or, even worse, the woman will have an abortion.”

Some women have a medical need for the Pill. Campbell Montgomery said that she has been prescribed birth control pills to regulate her menstrual cycle because of a history of cervical and ovarian cancer.

“My insurance doesn’t cover it,“ she said, “I have to go to Planned Parenthood which takes the price down from $ 75 dollars a month to about $ 20.”

“Time and again we find that high prices lead people to skip birth control,“ said Sarah Scranton, executive director at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. “Women spend decades trying to avoid pregnancy so it is no surprise that there is a lot of support for this.”

Planned Parenthood is preparing a national campaign to raise awareness of the need for birth control coverage as part of health care reform.

The public pays when individuals can’t afford birth control

One big reason that it makes sense for the federal government to make birth control available is that the government often ends up paying the medical expenses of women who become pregnant unintentionally.

Among women 15-44 in Michigan, 16 percent have no health insurance.

Michigan’s Medicaid program covers health care for pregnant women with income up to 185 percent of the federal poverty rate. In recent years the program has paid for an average of 48,000 births per year or 40 percent of all births in the state, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health, and the majority of these pregnancies were unintended.

Approximately 40 percent of all births in Michigan are unintended, MDCH spokesman James McCurtis said.

According to MDCH the average payment for a Medicaid birth is approximately $ 6,100, which includes prenatal care and the delivery. While this represents a very significant expense for Michigan and the federal government, the rate of reimbursement is in many cases not enough to cover the costs for hospitals. Hospitals in Cheboygan and Clare have cited the low level of Medicaid compensation, as well as uncompensated care for uninsured mothers, as the source of financial problems that forced them to close their maternity units.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health policy think tank, for every $ 1 spent on family planning services, $ 3.74 is saved in state and federal funding for expenditures that would have otherwise been needed to provide medical care to women during pregnancy and delivery and to infants during their first year.

Michigan Messenger

What makes this cost control different from all other cost controls?

November 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

One of the difficulties conservatives had opposing the Affordable Care Act was that the program was projected to cut the deficit. They got around this by denying the projections: The cuts might pass CBO’s muster, they said, but they’d never be implemented. Congress would roll them back the moment an angry senior sent an intemperate letter. And they weren’t starting till 2018, which is proof that Democrats never intended to implement them.

On the bright side, conservatives have now found a better way: “If the left embraces the Domenici-Rivlin approach to Medicare, I’ll dance in the streets,” Reihan Salam writes. For those who don’t know, Reihan is an excellent dancer (not to mention freestyle lyricist), and so this is an attractive prospect. But if you look hard at Domenici-Rivlin, it’s hard to see what makes him so happy.

In the short term, it lifts Medicare Part B premiums from 25 percent of the program’s costs to 35 percent of the program’s costs. In the longer-term — which is to say, uh, 2018 — Medicare’s spending gets a modified cap: If it grows by more than GDP+1 percent, beneficiaries have to pay the difference or move into a private plan. The only way a private plan would be cheaper, however, is if it covered much less,* as Medicare is about 20 percent cheaper than private insurance because of its massive bargaining power. So seniors will be faced with the option to pay a lot more or get a lot less.

That’s a credible way to cut costs. But it’s vastly more aggressive than anything in the Affordable Care Act. So here’s my question: What’s the theory of American politics by which Domenici-Rivlin can be implemented, but the much milder cost controls in PPACA cannot be?

*It’s also possible that the exchanges will drive down the costs of insurance so aggressively that we’ll get much more care for much less money. As the Domenici-Rivlin plan says, “The expectation is that increased competition among plans fostered by the
Medicare Exchange, and increased beneficiary interest in these plans, will keep costs from rising rapidly and result in higher quality, more cost-effective health care.” But if conservatives believe that, they should also believe that PPACA is vastly understating its projected savings.

Ezra Klein

New START, Nuclear Modernization, and Command and Control

November 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
style=”float: right; margin-bottom: 1px; margin-left: 1px;”> href=””> class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-46874″ title=”minuteman” src=”” alt=”” width=”353″ height=”243″ />

On October 24, at the Warren Air Force base in Wyoming, the United States Air Force lost communication with a sizeable portion of America’s nuclear deterrent: a squadron of 50 nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). In the past, this type of disruption was rare and limited to individual missiles. The broad scale of this incident, however, resulted in one of the most serious and sizable ruptures in nuclear command and control in history.

The incident comes in the midst of the Obama Administration’s effort to push the U.S. Senate to grant its advice and consent to New START in the upcoming “ href=”../?p=46666″>lame duck” session of Congress. Given that each missile is responsible for covering a number of targets and that New START is set to further reduce the ICBM missile force, the gravity of the incident may have been exacerbated had the treaty been in effect. The 50 ICBMs that went down represent one-ninth of the U.S. ground-based ICBM arsenal. id=”more-46872″>

The Heritage Foundation recently hosted a href=””>panel discussion to address New START, a nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, nuclear modernization, and command and control. John Noonan, policy advisor at Foreign Policy Initiative and a former nuclear launch officer, defied official explanations regarding the communication failure by emphasizing that losing control and the ability to talk to your missiles “is a big deal.” He said that over the course of 300 alerts—24-hour shifts in the capsule—he saw this happen to only three or four missiles at most.

Among the main points delivered by the panel was the need for the U.S. to have a reliable command and control over of its nuclear weapons. The panel highlighted the most critical need regarding this reliability: modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Everything from the missiles and bombers to the technology at command and control remains archaic.

But age is not the only debilitating element to a credible U.S. deterrent. According to Tom Scheber, vice president of the National Institute for Public Policy, the once dynamic nuclear infrastructure has atrophied severely due to lack of funding from government-owned industries, commercial industries, and the Department of Defense infrastructure, which in turn has led to a brain drain that inhibits creative thought and innovation. Consequently, the nuclear infrastructure in the U.S. is in need of a major comprehensive overhaul.

Baker Spring, F. M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy at The Heritage Foundation, asked two important questions that should be addressed before the Senate can seriously consider ratifying New START:

  1. Is the Obama Administration behind the curve today to stop the nuclear atrophy? and
  2. Does the President’s 1251 report on nuclear modernization, as mandated by Section 1251 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010, include specific recommendations for the modernization of command and control?

The 1251 sets out a comprehensive plan to maintain delivery platforms; sustain a safe, secure, and reliable U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile; and modernize the nuclear complex. However, it is href=”../?p=46326″>unclear to the public whether this report covers modernization of command and control systems.

The consensus among the panelists was that the atrophy of the U.S. nuclear infrastructure is a critical problem that needs urgent attention and adequate funding.

Matthew Foulger is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: href=””>

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Morning Bell: Who Should Control Your Health Care, You Or The Government?

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

After President Barack Obama installed Dr. Donald Berwick as head administrator of Medicare and Medicaid by recess appointment, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked at the daily href=”″>press briefing if “it would have been politically troublesome in an election year to have all these comments aired out about rationing, redistribution that Dr. Berwick had talked about in the past.”

Gibbs was ready for this question, though, and shot back: “Did he say things like, ‘rationing happens today; the question is who will do it’? Did he say that?” The bait laid, the reporter responded: “That was one comment.” The trap sprung, Gibbs pounced: “Actually that was Paul Ryan. That was Paul Ryan. He’s a Republican in Congress.” The White House press corps roared with laughter.

Gibbs may have won that round, but today Berwick is scheduled to href=”″>testify before the Senate Finance Committee, and conservatives will have their first chance to question the bureaucrat in charge of implementing Obamacare’s many changes to the Medicare system. Hopefully Berwick’s past statements will not dominate the hearings but instead serve as a jumping-off point to shine light on the vast new powers Obamacare granted the federal government.

For starters, in June 2009, Berwick told href=””>Biotechnology Healthcare: “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care—the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly.” For comparison sake, here is the full version of the Gibbs-truncated Ryan quote from a 2009 interview with href=””>The Washington Post: “Rationing happens today! The question is who will do it? The government? Or you, your doctor and your family?” id=”more-46705″>

Notice the fundamental difference between these two quotes? Ryan is asking “who” should ration care: individuals or the government. But Berwick just assumes the government has to ration care and is only concerned with how best to do it. And why does Berwick just assume that government should be rationing care? Well, here is what he href=”″>said in July 2008 celebrating the 60th year of Britain’s National Health Service: “I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do.”

And empowering “leaders” to “enforce the proper configurations” of our health care system is exactly what Obamacare does. In a statement to the Senate Republic Policy Committee this September, Heritage Foundation senior fellow Robert Moffit wrote:

Under [Obamacare], there are 123 sections of the law dealing with various aspects of the Medicare program, ranging from changes in fee for service payment for hospitals, skilled nursing homes and home health care agencies, to major reductions in payment for Medicare Advantage plans. … As noted, under the original Medicare law, federal officials were explicitly forbidden to interfere with the practice of medicine. With the new law, it is not at all clear how physicians will be able to retain their traditional autonomy in the delivery of care, particularly under new compliance and reporting requirements related to the provision of quality of care, as determined by federal officials, and the existing restrictions on private contracting and balanced billing.

Moffit then goes on to detail how Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, and the law’s directive to move away from fee-for-service medicine all empower Washington bureaucrats at the expense of doctors and patients. Over 60 years ago, Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek wrote in his essay href=””>The Use of Knowledge in Society: “This is not a dispute about whether planning is to be done or not. It is a dispute as to whether planning is to be done centrally, by one authority for the whole economic system, or is to be divided among many individuals.”

Obamacare is the largest power grab by central planners in Washington away from the many individuals in America in a generation. Health care does not have to be delivered this way. Moffit outlined such a vision in September:

There is a better way: Bottom up. Under this approach, the key element of health care reform would be to restore the traditional doctor–patient relationship and re-arrange the way in which health care is financed. … If doctors control the delivery of health care, the patients should control the financing. So, the key ingredient in creating a value-based health care system would be to transfer direct control of the flow of health care dollars to individuals. This would create a patient-centered, consumer driven system. It would be the kind of system, based on real choice and robust competition, that would deliver what is of value, not as value is defined by either government officials or third-party administrators in the private sector, but as desired by the patient in consultation with his physician. … Ideally, individuals and families should control every red cent spent on health care, as they do in virtually every other sector of the economy, where consumers make an exchange of dollars for goods and services of value to them.

We can have a bottom-up, not top-down, health care system where individuals have much greater personal choice because they would control their health care dollar. But that system can never come about under Obamacare. If the American people want to be the ones making their own health care decisions, not unelected “leaders” like Berwick, then priority number one is the full repeal of Obamacare.

Quick Hits:

  • Senator Jon Kyl (R–AZ) href=””>stunned the White House and Democrats yesterday, declaring that New START should not be voted in this lame duck Congress.
  • Representative Charles Rangel (D–NY) was href=””>found guilty yesterday of breaking 11 separate congressional rules related to his personal finances and his fundraising efforts.
  • Of the $ 42 million that 122 health-sector PACs gave to congressional candidates this cycle, href=””>58 percent went to Democrats.
  • A study of an Arizona-style immigration policy in Prince William County, Virginia, has found that it href=””>reduced the number of illegal immigrants in the county.
  • Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced a bill yesterday that would href=”../2010/11/16/reid%E2%80%99s-lame-duck-energy-bill-more-money-for-special-interests-higher-costs-for-the-rest-of-us/”>raise your energy costs.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Kyl Shoots Down Arms Control Treaty

November 16, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Despite popular support, President Obama’s “hopes of ratifying a new arms control treaty with Russia this year appeared to unravel on Tuesday as a Senate Republican leader moved to block a vote in what could be a devastating blow to the president’s most tangible foreign policy achievement,” the New York Times reports.

“Obama had declared ratification of the New Start treaty his ‘top priority’ in foreign affairs for the lame-duck session of Congress that opened this week. But the chances of winning the two-thirds vote required for passage of the treaty appeared to collapse with the announcement by Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate and the party’s point man on the issue, that the Senate should not vote on it this year.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Out of Control: John Tyner Ejected from Airport After Telling TSA Agent: “You Touch My Junk & I’m Going to Have You Arrested”

November 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

If you missed the following VIDEO, you might want to take a look see before you go to the airport any time soon. John Tyner, an Oceanside man was ejected from the San Diego International Airport over the weekend for refusing to submit to a security check and threatened with a civil suit and $ 10,000 fine if he left.

“You touch my junk and I’m going to have you arrested.”


The VIDEO starts to get really interesting at the 3:15 mark.

John Tyner won’t be pheasant hunting in South Dakota with his father-in-law any time soon.

Tyner was simultaneously thrown out of San Diego International Airport on Saturday morning for refusing to submit to a security check and threatened with a civil suit and $ 10,000 fine if he left.

And he got the whole thing on his cell phone. Well, the audio at least.

The 31-year-old Oceanside software programmer was supposed to leave from Lindbergh Field on Saturday morning and until a TSA agent directed him toward one of the recently installed full-body scanners, Tyner seemed to be on his way.

John Tyner made the comment that only his wife and doctor are allowed to touch his groin and that if it were not the government doing this, it would be consideres a sexual assault. Tyner states he was not going to be felt up in order to get on a plane as other people were allowed to just go through the metal detector and not subjected to the x-ray.

If you missed it over the weekend, here is another VIDEO of the TSA brain surgeons accosting a 3 year old child … “STOP TOUCHING ME”!!!

This is what it has come to because we are too concerned with political correctness and targeting those that we know are an issue and want to destroy America.

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Scared Monkeys

Forget Carbon Caps, Alarmists Should Fight For Free Birth Control!

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Why, yes, climate alarmists, composed primarily of left leaning people, do hate the human race, especially for what the say humanity is doing to Mother Earth. They tell us all about it by waking up to their electrical powered alarm clock, take a shower (hopefully) using water heated by electricity, flush the toilet a few time, have some coffee probably imported on a ship that uses fossil fuels, drive off to work in a vehicle powered by fossil fuels, and write articles using evil electricity that tells us that humans should stop breeding

Climate hawks are floundering after this year’s election. A climate bill couldn’t get through Congress even when it was controlled by the Democrats, thanks to Senate dysfunction and general idiocy. Now, with the GOP and Tea Party ascendant, the chances of passing curbs on greenhouse gases anytime soon are zip to zilch.

So what now, the hawks are wondering?

For the moment, forget about carbon caps and start thinking about cervical caps — and the Pill, IUDs, and Depo-Provera.

And these should all be considered as “preventative medicine” under ObamaCare, which means health insurers would have to pay the full costs.

It should be obvious why climate hawks need to care about making birth control widely accessible: fewer unwanted pregnancies will mean fewer unwanted births (not to mention fewer abortions), and, ultimately, fewer greenhouse gases.

For a change, we have a climate alarmists who is not a total hypocrite. Lisa Hymas, the story writer, calls herself a GINK: green inclinations, no kids. Doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue, eh? She’s child free and proud of it, because humans are banes of the environment, and kids are just little CO2 factories. And, yes, she does write about how humans should just go away. And writes about it. And writes about it. Interesting that she doesn’t fully practice what she preaches, but, with liberals, it is always someone else who should change.


Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach. sit back and Relax. we’ll dRive!

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