Friday, October 28, 2011

Human Events sends out an email on this theme each day, and each one has the number of the day of the year it represents.

Some of them are very good, and I've selected a few to share.

No. 301 - Pick a fight with a liberal on: IMPERIALISM.

Liberals hate imperialism because in their mind it's all about the big bad West holding its big bad sway over the rest of the world. Liberals are much more comfortable with Western retreat and "multiculturalism" than with Western dominance and triumphalism. But America, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and Australia did pretty well out of imperialism, didn't they, inheriting the ideas of English liberty and law, free market economics, representative government, the English language, etc.? And if you think some people wouldn't welcome a return of imperialism, you might take a trip to Zimbabwe and see what the starving folks there have to say.

No. 298 - Blame the BP oil spill on the green movement.

Because BP spent all those millions re-branding itself as "Beyond Petroleum" and trying to "greenwash" its image by buying into renewable energy, it forgot how to run its core business—drilling for the sticky black stuff the world needs far more than it needs solar power or bird-chomping wind farms.

Teach a liberal a little science: the sea is full of microorganisms that eat petroleum (which is leaking from the seabed all the time).

The BP oil spill in the Gulf, which was supposed to have despoiled the region for decades, will likely have little long-term effect on the fishing industry or the ecological health of the region. Yes, the oil spill was a "disaster," but the idea that we would never again be eating Gulf shrimp or oysters or be able to enjoy the region's beaches was pure eco-hysteria and fear-mongering. Liberals, like little bratty children, are very good at screaming and pointing fingers and passing blame ("It's his fault!") or issuing threats (like Obama's joke of an Interior Secretary Ken Salazar saying he was going to keep his boot on the neck of BP—that really helped)—or Obama haplessly asking whose ass he should kick—(ditto); but it's conservatives who generally keep their heads and get on with the job of fixing the problem. All the liberal hypocrites did was cripple the tourist industry along the Gulf Coast—in typical liberal fashion making a "disaster" worse.

No. 295 of 365 - Quote P. J. O'Rourke:

"The good news is that, according to the Obama administration, the rich will pay for everything. The bad news is that, according to the Obama administration, you're rich.

No. 284 - Conservative history:

Never let liberals forget that the sub-prime mortgage disaster was Bill Clinton's fault. In 1995 President Clinton's changes to the Community Reinvestment Act enabled ACORN to run a politically correct extortion campaign against mortgage lenders, compelling them by force of law to make unsound (sub-prime) loans to poor minorities who never stood a hope of repaying them.

No. 276 - Quote Thomas Sowell:

"Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."

No. 267 - Start a rumor:

President Obama is indeed a Manchurian Candidate—but not in the way you might think. In June 1999, a shadowy cabal of right-wing business interests found themselves feeling so utterly nauseated by the Clinton regime that they devised a plan to ensure that by 2012, no Democrat candidate would ever be elected president again. First they needed a Manchurian Candidate: someone so hatefully leftwing and disgracefully incompetent that he would bring the American economy to its knees, while rendering it an international laughing stock. In this way "liberal values" would be tarnished forever in the eyes of American voters. So far, the plan is working brilliantly.

No 258 - Tell a joke.

Q. What's the difference between Obamacare and a car battery?

A. The car battery has a positive side.

No. 256 - Define multiculturalism:

State-sanctioned grievance industry that stokes division and resentment, while always under the delusion that it is doing something positive called "celebrating diversity."

No. 253 - Conservative party game:

Liberals always like to consider themselves bastions of tolerance. So push the boundaries with this little game, as personally tested with enormous success by your author. Buy your kids a pack of those realistic fake cigarettes which puff out dust at the end so it looks like your kid is really smoking. Tell them not to be too obvious about it, but next time you find yourself at a social engagement where kids mix with grown ups, get them to wander around "smoking" nonchalantly as if it's something they do all the time. For maximum impact, you could even have them come up to you and say, "Dad/Mom. You got a cigarette?" "Sure son," you can reply, retrieving a fake cigarette from a real pack and "lighting" it for them. The important thing is to make absolutely no comment and act as if this is all the most normal behavior in the world. Relish the liberals' tension and discomfort as they agonize over how best to confront you over your disgracefully lax parenting. It really is about as fun as fun gets.

No. 247 - Quote Ludwig von Mises:

"Whoever prefers life to death, happiness to suffering, well-being to misery must defend without compromise private ownership in the means of production."

No. 245 - Affect puzzlement at the curious fact that the 2002 Beltway sniper murders were initially blamed by investigators on an "angry white man."

Then wonder why, after the perpetrators were discovered to be inconveniently black and Muslim, the liberal media persistently referred to killer John Muhammad by his pre-conversion name John Williams; and why authorities chose to play down the possibility that the cold blooded assassination of ten Americans by two Islamic converts rambling about jihad had anything to do with terrorism or the "Religion of Peace."

No. 239 - Pick a fight with a liberal on: SOCIAL STIGMA.

Liberals are forever congratulating themselves on having all but eliminated the "stifling" codes of disapproval by which the pre-1960s generations dictated socially acceptable norms. But "stigma" was good. While stigma existed, poor people were too proud to beg or rely on welfare; girls were too ashamed to be thought "loose" or to seek single motherhood as a lifestyle choice; men were more chivalrous because there was a stigma against treating women without deference and special consideration; and people were more polite and even dressed properly as a sign of respect for others and themselves. "Stigma" was the means by which free citizens could agree on a mutually satisfactory code of behavior, without the agents of the state having to poke their noses into anyone's private business. Liberals, however, utterly reverse the equation—they're all for obliterating taboos, knocking down stigmas, shocking the middle class, and preaching tolerance for the most anti-social behavior; and then they turn around and act as the biggest advocates of the government dictating private behavior with the nanny state. The consequences? Greater government intrusion; much worse behavior.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: A generation of cry babies?

This is an excellent video, by Bill Whittle

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Punishing productive Americans with higher taxes
is foolish

By now nearly every American who pays attention to the news has heard about the enormous national debt and the annual $1.5 trillion budget deficits, and realizes that the US has a serious spending and debt problem. We owe $14 trillion and routinely spend 40 percent more each year than we take in, which increases the debt even more. To sensible people, that signals a strong need to make substantial changes.

But not Washington Democrats. They see the solution to our unsustainable national spending addiction as essentially maintaining the current level of spending, with maybe a little trimming here and there, then increasing taxes on the rich. They don’t want to reduce support payments or services to their constituents and risk losing votes, and they believe that increasing government revenue through tax increases on the wealthiest Americans is the way to fix the problem without reducing government handouts.

This supposed solution is based in fantasy, and is not what sensible people that find themselves in a similar situation would do. Smart folks would realize they had created a financial crisis through foolish spending practices and they would reduce spending to cover just the necessities; try to find ways to increase income, perhaps through working an additional job or trying to get a better-paying job; or sell some things they don’t really need. In short, they would make the necessary sacrifices and endure the pain until things smoothed out.If they weren’t smart, they would probably just keep spending too much and tell their employers they need more money, which parallels what the Democrats want to do. Those folks would soon declare bankruptcy.

And so, instead of spurring private sector expansion to broaden the tax base and increase tax revenue, and paring down spending to match income, the president and congressional Democrats prefer to simply make the rich pay more by increasing their tax rate by 13 percent.

What does that mean to a person at this income level? A married person, earning $1,000,000, with two deductions, and taxable income of $986,800 pays almost $323,000 just in federal income taxes. If President Obama succeeds in raising the top tax rate of 35% to the pre-Bush tax cut level of 39.6 percent, this person will pay an additional $45,000 in income taxes each year.

Democrats reason that folks in this income range have more money than they need, and won’t notice a few tens of thousands of dollars more in tax payments. But that analysis defies common sense. People routinely use the money they have available, regardless of how much that might be. Perhaps the wealthy are like everyone else in that regard.

So, what would the person who earns a million bucks do with that $45,000 if the government didn’t take it? Would they stuff it in their mattress, bury it in the yard, or hide it in their freezer? No, they would invest it in business, or securities. They would donate some or all of it to charity, or purchase things they want and need, like household goods, a car, a boat, or a house. They would put it to some productive economic use, which is far more beneficial than having Uncle Sam confiscate that $45,000, and much of it be used to pay bureaucrats to disburse it through government spending, which is highly inefficient and often wasteful.

The tax hike so cherished by the president and fellow Democrats is a response to the impulse to punish the wealthy for being successful. But doing away with the Bush tax rates for high income earners would produce only $500 - $600 billion over 10 years, a meaningless sum when compared to budgetary spending of more than $3 trillion a year.

Even if the government confiscated every cent millionaires and billionaires made this year – about $685 billion – it would be less than half this year’s budget deficit, and just one-fifth of annual spending.

Furthermore, says economist Thomas Sowell, “history has shown repeatedly, under administrations of both political parties, that there is no automatic correlation between tax rates and tax revenues. When the tax rate on the highest incomes was 73 percent in 1921, that brought in less tax revenue than after the tax rate was cut to 24 percent in 1925. Why?”

And here is the part of Dr. Sowell’s statement that people need to pay attention to: “Because high tax rates that people don't actually pay do not bring in as much hard cash as lower tax rates that they do pay. That's not rocket science.”

Raising their tax rate will encourage the wealthy to look for ways to shelter that money from taxation. This obvious reality escapes those on the left, who do not understand the capitalist system, but think they know how to change it to make it better. Their past efforts to improve capitalism are responsible for all of our current problems.

But just because raising taxes on the rich makes no sense economically doesn’t mean it has no value at all. Which is why President Obama is busy trying to foster envy of the wealthy among those who aren’t wealthy: it pays off at the ballot box.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Everyone dissing, trashing or generally dismissing
Cain’s 9-9-9 proposal

Commentary by CKA in Redstate USA

I want to scream.

To me, Cain and Paul Ryan are the only two real leaders who have surfaced in the past year. They have the intelligence and apparent genuine desire to solve our country’s fiscal problems.

But what do we get from others?

From Obama and the Demobocrat/progressive/liberal/leftist Party and their shills in the pimpstream media: mockery, nit-picking, patronizing, dismissal, scorn, more.

From what seems to be most of the so-called conservative news media: same as from Obama and the DPLLs.

From the current gaggle of wannabe Republican/conservative presidential hopefuls: same as from Obama and the DPLLs.

I find all of their behavior petty, execrable and despicable.

Waiting for Cain or some conservative pundit to throw down this gauntlet: “So where’s your detailed plan so that we can analyze and comment on it?”

And given that Obama’s almost three years into having nothing more than hot air on his purported plan, where is the cry from anyone that he produce such plan—and do it now?

What I see occurring—and this really annoys me—is that just like Ryan, Cain is being used by his lessers who apparently are afraid to, not capable of, will not produce a plan that can be discussed publicly.

But, oh, how they pull out their smugness and mud-slinging.

More and more, I find that Cain is the most authentic and deserving potential candidate for any non-Demobocrat ticket.

Shoot, Cain-Gingrich would be hard to beat, I believe.

But more and more, just by what I read about Romney, I am repulsed by this very clearly Democrat who calls himself a Republican.

Perry and Bachman seem lost and, already this early, shrill, as well as caricatures of themselves.

I also see how very much the Republican establishment, including their shills in the so-called conservative news media, pitches for Romney and dismisses, almost literally, Cain and others.

I have this gut feeling that Romney will be only marginally better than Obama, should Romney be anointed to run.

I think all this pre-election election will do is further alienate voters who could and would rally behind a sane, clear, conservative voice.

And I think that the Republicans are allowing the Demobocrats and the pimpstream media to help set Romney as the contender for the throne.

As for the behavior of the so-called conservative media, I’ve reassessed how I consider them to be hindrance or facilitator of a genuine candidate. I’m not enthusiastic or thrilled by what I see.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Despite trillions in welfare spending,
poverty increases in America

The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual poverty report states that 46.2 million persons, or roughly one of seven Americans, were poor in 2010. That’s a shocking statistic.

Currently, poverty earnings levels in the contiguous 48 states are $10,890 for individuals, $14,710 for couples and $22,350 for a family of four. The thresholds are higher for residents of Hawaii and Alaska.

Obviously, those annual earnings figures are pretty low, and people living at those income levels certainly face challenges. But understand that meeting a poverty threshold makes you eligible for federal and state assistance, like welfare, Medicaid, Aid to Dependent Children, food stamps, housing subsidies, student loans, etc., that help those who are classified as poor. In all, there are 71 federal means-tested welfare programs.

Unfortunately, poverty has political implications. For example, if you raise or lower those thresholds, you immediately change the number of poor in America. That is not to suggest that those thresholds are too low, only that you can create or eliminate a lot of poverty simply by changing the poverty thresholds. And there are political advantages to increased numbers of people in poverty.

When you look beneath the surface of the poverty issue it becomes quickly evident that some of those classified as poor – emphasis on “some” – aren’t as bad off as we might think.

Yes, some, perhaps many, Americans truly are poor, and they need help. But it is a piece of conventional wisdom that America’s poor are substantially better off than the poor of other countries, who frequently are homeless and starving. That conventional wisdom is borne out by what the Census Bureau tells us about Americans living in poverty:

• 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning
• Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks

• Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite television, one-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD television, one-fourth have a digital video recorder system, and two-thirds have at least one DVD player
• Half have a personal computer, one in seven have two or more computers, and 43 percent have Internet access
• More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation

You can make a persuasive argument that at least some of those classified as poor, those who fall into the categories listed above, aren’t really poor in the true sense of the word.

This is the state of poverty in America 47 years after President Lyndon Johnson declared war on it. In a message to Congress on March 16, 1964, Mr. Johnson declared: “Because it is right, because it is wise, and because, for the first time in our history, it is possible to conquer poverty, I submit, for the consideration of the Congress and the country, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.

“The Act does not merely expand old programs or improve what is already being done. It charts a new course. It strikes at the causes, not just the consequences of poverty. It can be a milestone in our one-hundred eighty year search for a better life for our people.”

No doubt President Johnson and those who supported the War on Poverty believed this action would eliminate poverty. But despite spending almost $16 trillion since declaring war on poverty – which is more than the National Debt that has accumulated throughout our 235 year history – welfare programs have failed to reduce poverty.

And spending for these programs is projected to cost taxpayers $10.3 trillion over the next decade. President Barack Obama’s FY 2011 budget request, for example, increased total welfare spending to $953 billion, a 42 percent increase over welfare spending in FY 2008.

Even if welfare programs were working, given the current budget and debt crises, this kind of spending cannot be sustained; it will drive the United States into bankruptcy if allowed to continue unreformed.
A lesson we never seem to learn is that throwing money at a problem rarely fixes it. Think stimulus 2009. President Obama’s advisers told us that if we passed the $767 billion stimulus bill, that ultimately cost taxpayers $862 billion, unemployment would not exceed 8 percent and the economy would get a big boost. Guess what?

Throwing $16 trillion at poverty has not ended poverty; in fact, poverty has grown. And evidence strongly suggests that efforts to end it have actually hurt many of the people it was intended to help. A recent report by the Heritage Foundation notes that “poverty in America is overwhelmingly linked to the absence of fathers and a lack of work, but welfare payments have had the destructive effects of eroding marriage and the work ethic in low-income communities. … When the War on Poverty began, 7 percent of children were born out of wedlock; today, the figure is over 40 percent.”

Poverty will never be completely eliminated, but we can reduce it substantially if we stop punishing marriage, foster job creation and stop rewarding people for not working. Continuing to throw money at it will not solve the problem.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Random thoughts on the passing scene

So, the government interferes in efforts to drill for our own oil and natural gas, and reverses permits on coal mining projects that have already been approved, sacrificing billions in federal tax and lease revenue, and millions of jobs. And then it throws billions of our tax dollars away trying to make non-viable “green” energy companies successful. Note to President Obama: Billions of tax dollars cannot make a failing industry viable. It’s time to abandon that strategy and let the market decide.

* * * * *

Agents of the federal government sent thousands of firearms over the Mexican border directly into the hands of criminals, without telling the Mexican government. Allegedly, this foolhardy international escapade was to track down, prosecute, disarm and break the drug cartels. As a result, approximately 200 people died, including an American Border Patrol Agent, and the Attorney General of the United States says he did not know anything about it. Seriously? What other similar adventures is the Justice Department involved in that the AG does not know about?

* * * * *

The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual poverty report states that 46.2 million persons, or roughly one in seven Americans, were poor in 2010. For a family of four, poverty means earning up to $22,350 in the contiguous 48 states, and up to $27,940 in Hawaii. What the Census Bureau didn’t report is what it is really like to be poor in America.

Some Americans truly are poor, but it is a piece of conventional wisdom that America’s poor are substantially better off than the poor of other countries, who frequently are homeless and starving.

That wisdom is borne out by what the Census Bureau tells us about those Americans living in poverty:

• 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning
• Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks

• Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite television, one-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD television, one-fourth have a digital video recorder system, and two-thirds have at least one DVD player
• Half have a personal computer, one in seven have two or more computers, and 43 percent have Internet access

• More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation.

* * * * *

The Obama job plan failed to get the votes necessary in the Senate to move the bill forward, and the president and the Democrats tried desperately to blame Republicans for it. The president’s bill didn’t even get the support of all 51 of Senate Democrats. Even though he said the words “pass the bill” forty-thousand times, Mr. Obama never expected the badly flawed bill that would raise taxes and costs on job creators to pass; it was merely a political tactic to get people all fired up against Republicans.

* * * * *

Liberals, particularly black liberals, are busy trying to convince themselves and everyone else that Republican Herman Cain isn’t a “real” candidate for the presidential nomination. One of them even suggested, with a straight face, that Republicans are just trying to cover up their racism by supporting Mr. Cain. Another said that Mr. Cain is a pawn, and that Republicans would never nominate a black man. But that ignores the fact that Republicans have often supported blacks. Remember Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; UN Ambassador and presidential hopeful Allan Keyes; Secretary of State Colin Powell; and National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice? Mr. Cain has committed the ultimate liberal sin: he’s an accomplished, successful, conservative black man. That isn’t allowed, and it scares them to death.

* * * * *

The media focuses on irrelevancies to distract from President Obama’s poor performance. First, it was a Texas Baptist minister who introduced Texas Republican Rick Perry to a Texas audience. After making the introduction, as the minister exited the stage, a member of the media asked him a religious question on Mormanism, and he gave a religious, not a political, answer. The resulting firestorm was totally out of proportion. What that minister thinks about Mormanism isn’t relevant to anything having to do with Rick Perry, since the minister is not connected to Rick Perry, was not invited by Mr. Perry to introduce him, and doesn’t speak for Mr. Perry. What was the point of asking that question?

Then, country singer Hank Williams, Jr., appearing on a Fox News program, commented that when House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama played golf together, and also when Vice President Joe Biden and Ohio Governor John Kasich played golf together, these events were as unlikely to produce something positive as Adolph Hitler playing golf with Benjamin Netanyahu. Immediately, Mr. Williams was accused of equating Obama with Hitler. But if you actually listen to what he said and how he said it, he didn’t equate any of the four people with Hitler. But distractions seem to work, so we should expect more of them. What will the media not do to protect their president?

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street protest:
Not quite ready for Prime Time

The protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street is in its fourth week and has spread from its original site in New York to other cities. This movement is terribly confused and without focus, but the Website says this about the purpose of the protest: “Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”

Some reports tell us that some protesters had cited serious issues and that some express their ideas clearly and effectively. But while they identify some real problems that need correcting, like the money connection between politicians and special interests that produces inequities, they recognize only the connection between corporations and politicians, and ignore the connection between labor unions and politicians. Both are equally inappropriate and harmful.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, protesters and sympathizers say that “it’s Wall Street bankers who should be arrested for their role in the country’s economic difficulties. ‘The world's economy has been wrecked by these rapacious traders,’ author Salman Rushdie [of “Satanic Verses” fame] tweeted. ‘Yet it is the protesters who are jailed.’”

If you look back to 1977 and examine what the government did relative to banking, you’ll see that “Wall Street banks” are only one factor in the financial crisis, and much of what those banks did was what government over-regulation forced or allowed them to do.

The Monitor’s story continued: “On the ‘Wall Street Campout’ Facebook page, the protest is described as ‘an ongoing nonviolent demonstration opposing what participants view as negative corporate influence over US politics.’”

It isn’t difficult to find cracks in this logic, like, for example, the assumption that 99 percent of the people in the United States are philosophically bound together against the other one percent, and that the one percent indulges in greed and corruption and is the cause of all discomfort. But the real weakness of the movement is the gross logical fallacy in its method of identifying demons, and the sheer absurdity of the demands the movement thinks will fix things.

On the Occupy Wall Street Website, a proposed list of demands includes:

• Immediate debt forgiveness for all
• Free college education • Elimination of free trade
• A $20-an-hour minimum wage

• Guaranteed “living wage” regardless of income

• Open borders

• $1 trillion government spending on infrastructure
• $1 trillion government spending on ecological restoration
• A racial and gender equal rights amendment and
• Easier unionization voting procedures

If that left you scratching your head, it gets worse: The Website asserts that “these demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy.”

Watching video interviews of some of the protesters, it is clear that the movement is comprised of people who have no idea what economics is all about. One young male protester gave a spirited and well-expressed, but logically incoherent, criticism of the capitalist economic system, which he said needs to be replaced. But when asked what he would replace capitalism with, he just stood there, as if he’d never thought about that.

The philosophy, such as it is, behind this movement is a classic example of what economist Dr. Thomas Sowell calls “stage one thinking,” which is failing to look beyond the immediate result of an action. To them, “if capitalism is the problem, getting rid of capitalism is the solution. That’s all we need to know, now let’s protest.”

Another young man gave this moving testimony: “I was born to be here right now. The Founding Fathers have been passing down the torch to this generation to make our country great again.” Clearly, this fellow has no idea what made the country great, but he’s ready to fix it, nonetheless.

Our capitalistic system is so distorted by over-regulation, political favoritism and other government interference that it doesn’t work like it is supposed to, so the protesters blame this distorted version of capitalism for their discontent and want to replace it with “something else.” This position is based on ignorance, and if they had any idea what free markets are and how a capitalistic economy is supposed to work … but, like they say, “If a frog had wings …”

Right now this movement is an exercise of only the passionate expression of discontent and lacks a coherent and compelling message. It will not be taken seriously until it becomes organized and focuses on identifying specific problems and making sensible suggestions for fixing them.
Simply saying “we need to get rid of capitalism and punish greedy bankers and corporate managers. And then give us a free college education, a $20-an-hour minimum wage, wipe out all our debts, open the borders so that anyone who wants to can come in, spend money we don’t have on infrastructure and ecological restoration, abolish free trade, and let government make all of our decisions for us” doesn’t make the grade.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Dumb lawsuits are abundant, and serious ones
are often kept out

It seems as though anyone can sue anyone else for virtually any reason, anytime they please. The list of idiotic lawsuits that actually got into the system is long and defies common sense. In 2002, for example, a man sued the hospital where he worked for negligence because it did not prevent him from raping one of its patients.

A woman sued Universal Studios for $15,000, claiming to have suffered mental anguish and emotional distress after voluntarily visiting the park’s haunted house.

Judge Roy Pearson, Jr. – a judge! – tried to bully a family-owned dry cleaning shop by suing the owners for $54 million after they lost his pants.

All of these are real cases, and though most such cases are dismissed, what does it say about our system that such foolish cases are ever filed?

This kind of abuse of the legal system creates doubts that our court system truly dispenses justice. The courts should be a place where legitimate wrongs are adjudicated, not a lottery where people think they can file dumb lawsuits and have a chance of winning.

On the other side, cases raising significant questions sometimes can’t get a hearing, despite the important issues that are at stake.

One such example concerns the effort of a State Department employee to challenge the qualifications of Hillary Clinton to serve as Secretary of State, due to that position receiving a pay increase while Ms. Clinton served in the U.S. Senate. The U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 6, clause 2, provides: "No senator or representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been [increased] during such time."

Given that, it appears the employee had a legitimate claim. However, the suit was dismissed by a special three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia not because the claim was without merit, but because the judges said he lacked legal standing to assert the claim.

Legal Standing involves being qualified to assert legal rights in a judicial forum because one has a sufficient and protectable interest in the outcome of a legal issue. In the first three examples involving absurd claims, legal standing was apparently not a factor, while in the case of the citizen challenging Ms. Clinton’s qualifications, it thwarts getting a ruling on what appears to be a legitimate legal question.

Who, after all, has a better reason to be certain that a government official with authority over them is qualified for the office than the employees who work for that public official?

There are other examples involving legal standing that have far more serious implications, such as the matter of the healthcare reform law. Who has a more legitimate interest in challenging the federal government over a legislative act or an administrative edict than the 50 states that will be forced to live with it?

A challenge by the Commonwealth of Virginia to the health care overhaul affectionately known as “Obamacare” was dismissed by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, not because the Court determined that Virginia’s assertion that the healthcare law conflicts with Virginia law is without merit, but because the Commonwealth and its citizens lack legal standing to challenge the federal government on this question.

If the individual states, who under the system of federalism established by the U.S. Constitution have a substantial amount of sovereignty, don’t have standing to challenge in the federal courts a breathtakingly overt effort by the federal government to tread on and nullify that sovereignty, who does?

“The Founding Fathers fully intended that the states would serve as a check on federal power,” Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in a news release. “When the 4th Circuit ruled that Virginia lacked standing to defend a duly enacted state law from federal preemption, it took away much of the states’ ability to serve that function.”

In such cases as the challenge to the qualifications of the Secretary of State and the government’s health care take-over, legal standing serves as a tool for protecting the federal government and government officials from being accountable to the people they serve.

The healthcare reform law is the most unpopular legislative misadventure in decades, or perhaps in history, so unpopular and so over-reaching that 30 states have challenged the take-over through court cases or referendums.

The fact that such action would be proposed by the president, and that it would be created in secret and passed without having been read or debated by the Congress says quite a lot about the shocking lack of understanding, or the outright abandoning of the founding principles our forebears fought and died for.

The question of constitutionality of healthcare reform will go to the U.S. Supreme Court this session. If the highest court in the land ignores the Constitution’s protections against unbridled, runaway government power – as the president, the Congress and some of the lower courts have done – the hard work and sacrifices of our forebears two hundred fifty years ago will have been for naught.

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