6/30/15: SCOTUSCARE

6/30/15: SCOTUSCARE

Justice Antonin Scalia used that term derogatorily last week to describe the Court’s second miscontruction of ObamaCare to save it, and he was right.  The first time the Court ruled that the “penalty” used throughout the statute was not a penalty but a tax, well within the constitutional power of Congress to impose. Now the Court has ruled that, when Congress limited subsidies/tax credits to those participating in “exchanges established by the States,” it meant to include federal exchanges as well.  This won’t fly either.

The first rule of statutory construction is that, if the words at issue are unambiguous, they are given their plain meaning and enforced.  This case is really that simple, and that’s why the majority concedes that “petitioners’ arguments about the plain meaning … are strong.”  The term “states” is defined in the Act as the 50 states and the District of Columbia, not the federal government.  End of story.

It’s only if there is some ambiguity in the words that courts might look to legislative intent.  That’s how the Court saved the statute, but even there the Court was dead wrong.  The Court looked to some generalized Congressional intent to make health insurance affordable, necessitating their tortured construction. But plainly Congress’ more specific intent was to coerce states into establishing exchanges and saving the federal government the expense of coming to the rescue.  State exchanges are established under one section of the ACA, federal under another, and only if the states fail to act.  And of course there is the infamous observation of MIT’s Professor Gruber, the architect of ObamaCare, that coercion was the whole idea behind the provision.  Technically, that concession wasn’t before the Court, but why not?

The sheer idiocy of the majority opinion is exposed when one considers that the term,”exchanges established by the States,” is used 7 times in the Act, but the Court’s miscontruction only extends to the one in question.  For example, one such provision empowers states to hire contractors to set up and run their exchanges, but the Court can’t construe the provision to give the states power to hire contractors for the federal exchange, so it simply doesn’t.  This is not jurisprudence.  It’s politics.  The Court’s job is not to save or destroy ObamaCare.  It’s to apply legal principles to the case before it, and there the Court failed miserably.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.287 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $495.832 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@ only .08%!): $245.978 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $96.957 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer: $972,777

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND, BUT FOR OUR PRINTING PRESSES, INSOLVENT.

 

6/25/15: SET-UP

6/25/15: SET-UP

You may not have been following the Vanderbilt rape case, where four animals preyed on a drunken, defenseless girl and videotaped it.  Two are still awaiting trial and two were convicted, but their convictions were overturned this week for juror bias.  The defense contended that the juror in question failed to disclose that he had been the victim of a sexual assault.  The trial judge bought it and ordered new trials.

When you get down in the weeds, though, the juror responded during pre-trial questioning that he had indeed been the victim of a sexual assault but “by no one super close.”  Say what?  What defense lawyer, seeking to weed out jurors who might identify with the female victim, would not ask in follow-up, “OK, then, by who?” and so on.  It turns out the young man had a consensual homosexual relationship with an older man when he was a teenager, but his parents prosecuted when they found out.  Complicating things was the juror’s post-trial observation that he just wanted to see the “look in their eyes” when the defendants were convicted.  He offered a lame excuse for the remark but it shows actual bias.

So why would defense lawyers leave an actually biased, sexual assault victim on the jury.  Not because they’re idiots, I assure you.  They made the devious calculation that, given the videotapes, their clients were sure to be convicted, so why not deliberately create an issue that might at least get them a new trial.  Maybe they hope to wear down the prosecution, which has yet to announce its intentions on retrial.  The Sentinel hopes that’s only because the State of Tennessee plan to appeal the simplistic ruling by a judge who fell for a defense tactic hook, line and sinker.

No treatment is too harsh for these privileged animals, whose disgusting fathers screamed in protest in the courtroom after the verdicts were announced.  Their convictions should stand, and they should go away for a long time, perhaps to serve as prison wives and know what it feels like to be terribly and repeatedly violated.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.280 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $495.607 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@ merely .08%!): $245.707 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $96.919 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer: $972,641

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND, BUT FOR OUR PRINTING PRESSES, INSOLVENT. 

6/23/15: INCONVENIENT TRUTHS

6/23/15: INCONVENIENT TRUTHS

Let’s get a few things straight about the carnage in South Carolina.  First, the crime was inexcusable.  Murdering 9 people in cold blood should be dealt with harshly.  Roof should be offered the choice of life without parole, forgoing all appeals, or the State should pursue the death penalty, now matter how long it takes. It will take forever given our ludicrous criminal justice system.

Second, gun control legislation had nothing to do with the crime.  The gun Roof used was a gift from his father, who acquired it legally after a background check. Gun control legislation rejected by Congress after Sandy Hook exempted such transfers.  Maybe that specific subject could be revisited, but there are no readily apparent solutions.  Better if the AME Church had a security scanner or someone armed who might have shot Roof dead.

Third, President Obama’s reference to the word “nigger” the other day is neither here nor there.  His point was that the fact this term has become socially unacceptable is no real sign of progress.  Maybe, maybe not.  If blacks want to take this term out of social discourse altogether, they should stop using it themselves.  It is a staple of rap music and black conversation.

Fourth, the Confederate Flag has to go.  Opinions are like assholes; everybody’s got one.  A little history might help.  There’s no question the South fought the Civil War to preserve slavery.  Lincoln was prepared to let the South keep their slaves but would not allow it to spread to the territories and new states.  The South could see the handwriting on the wall.  The North, on the other hand, fought the war to preserve the Union, not to end slavery.  The Stars and Bars are a symbol of slavery, and I won’t argue with blacks who claim it’s offensive.  It is.  States’ rights, my ass.  The right the South fought to protect was the right to own slaves, forever.  No cigar.

Fifth, I freely admit to some degree of racial prejudgment, but it has nothing to do with blacks’ status as former slaves.  It has more to do with black ghettos, black crime, black unemployment, black welfare, black abortions, and black poverty throughout the world.  What is the sentient man to think?  I am more than willing to give each black man I encounter the benefit of the doubt, and I have a black neighbor I am very friendly with.  But I do approach them with a degree of skepticism and need to be convinced otherwise.  To that degree I guess I am “prejudiced” according to the Left, but the truth is the truth.  The other day a friend asked me to imagine this country if it had never imported slaves.  I’m rarely at a loss for words, but I confess to being stumped by that one.  Are you?

But the question is not what are we going to do with them given that they’re here.  The question is what are they going to do for themselves.  That’s what nobody seems to get.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.278 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $495.515 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@ just .08%!): $245.597 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $96.899 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer (ND+UE): $972,569

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND, BUT FOR OUR PRINTING PRESSES, INSOLVENT.

 

6/18/15: ENABLERS

6/18/15: ENABLERS

I’ve written about this so often even I’m getting sick of the subject matter, but the Fed once again yesterday signaled interest rates will stay low for the foreseeable future, and the markets jumped.  Of course they did.  Low interest rates (effectively zero!) gives investors little choice but to buy stocks, so the herd buys stocks and up goes the Dow.  There’s little intrinsic value in the market; it’s become a giant futures scam, and the bubble will continue to balloon as long as interest rates stay low.

The Fed meets in their fancy boardrooms and makes inscrutable pronouncements in their fancy suits with their fancy salaries, but it’s all bullshit.  They keep interest rates so low the Treasury can continue to finance our endless deficits with low-yielding bonds.  Annual interest payments are about a quarter of a trillion dollars, which is a manageable figure these days and forces no one in Washington to actually do something about our addiction to debt.  Democrats continue to deliver high spending and Republicans low taxes, and the result is their re-elections, year after year. Annual budget deficits of half a trillion dollars are simply added on, year after year, to the national debt, which now stands at $18.2 TRILLION dollars.  If you stood dollar bills end to end, you could make nine (9) roundtrips to the Sun with that sum.  It’s truly mindboggling.

So what do you call someone who helps another to continue his addiction?  An enabler, that’s what.  And that’s what the Fed is.  We are the addicts and they are the enabler, if not our dealers.  What’s the answer?  The Fed doesn’t raise rates because a precipitous rise would take our annual interest payments to a trillion dollars, which end transfer payments and cause massive tax increases.  Civil unrest would follow to make Baltimore look like Disneyland.  But the Fed must raise rates gradually, starting now, to make the interest payments hurt and force Washington to do something about spending.  NOW MEANS NOW.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.

 

 

 

6/16/15: GLORY BE!

6/16/15: GLORY BE!

I met Glory Johnson once in downtown Knoxville.  She asked me for the time.  She’s a stunningly beautiful girl and a former Lady Vol now in the WNBA.  Small wonder Britney Griner, another lesbian, fell for her.  But first they had to get into a catfight that led to domestic violence charges against both and suspensions for both from the WNBA.  Then a few weeks later they got married, Glory in a lovely wedding dress and Griner in a 3-piece suit complete with vest.

That was by no means the end of it.  Last week, the day after Johnson announced she was pregnant — in vitro fertilization, of course — Griner sued to annul the marriage, claiming she had no biological relationship to the child.  Perhaps it comes as a surprise to Britney, but no one thought she did.  You’re female, though it seems you want to play act as a male.

This fable seems all too typical of homosexuals.  I’m not saying heteros can’t make messes of relationships, but you can’t tell me Glory Johnson and Britney Griner aren’t emotionally ill to some degree or other.  So now Glory Johnson will be raising a child, father publicly unknown, by herself in an atmosphere in which the child will no doubt more like to grow up homosexual than if he or she were raised in a traditional household.  The Supreme Court might ponder all this before they take away States’ prerogative to regulate marriage and dictate nationwide gay marriage, as I suspect they will before the end of June.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.269 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $495.196 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@.1%!): $245.212 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $96.840 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer (ND+UE): $972,358

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.

6/11/15:  “LONE SURVIVOR”

6/11/15: “LONE SURVIVOR”

This fine film may actually be an improvement on “American Sniper,” since it is free of that film’s ambiguity and angst.  We are the good guys and the Taliban are the bad guys, who seriously need killing.  The film stars Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Lattrell, the sole survivor of four SEALs sent to capture and kill a Taliban warlord during the early days of the Afghan war, and the author of the book by the same based on his actual wartime experience.  The battle footage is simply breathtaking, particularly the several scenes of the four tumbling down boulder-strewn hills to escape the pursuing Taliban.

Without giving away too much of the plot line, I note two aspects which troubled me.  First, when the SEALs first reconnoiter the village where the bad guy is, they see it’s dominated by many Taliban and not merely the hideout for a few.  Why they simply didn’t order in an airstrike to kill everyone is beyond me. Second, our guys are inadvertently discovered by some goatherds and free them because their rules of engagement prohibit the killing of civilians. Silly rules. The Afghans turn out to be Taliban sympathizers, disclose the SEALs’ position, and carnage ensues.  If our guys were going to continue the mission, the Afghans should have been murdered.  That’s just my opinion, but what do I know?

But all in all, a very good film, definitely one for the archives.

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.262 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $494.968 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@ only .07%!): $244.938 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $96.802 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer: $972,219

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.

 

6/9/15: STANIMAL

6/9/15: STANIMAL

His hair is unkempt.  His beard is scruffy and hides a rough compexion.  He dresses for the match of his life like he was blindfolded while selecting what to wear.  He spits on the court and has the build of a linebacker, not a tennis player.  But he also has the most lethal backhand in the world, and he is the French Open champion.

He is Stan Wawrinka, with the “w”s pronounced as “v”s, something the usually highly intelligent Michael Wilbon missed on “Pardon the Interruption” on Monday.  And he kicked Novak Djokovic’s butt in the final in the finest performance I have ever seen on the men’s side.  Granted Stan the Man was hot, and generally won’t beat Djokovic, but this talk that Nole choked away the opportunity for the Career Grand Slam is utter nonsense.  Stan beat him like a drum, winning 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, while hitting 60 clean winners to Novak’s 30.  60 winners means Stan won 15 whole games with winners, and he only won 22 games total.  It was an unbelievable performance.  Novak played well, but as he graciously said after, “Stan played courageous tennis,” meaning he went for it.

So the question now is whether the Big Four — Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray — should include Stan and are really the Big Five.  Stan has won 2 Grand Slams in the past 2 seasons, 1 more than Federer, Nadal and Murray combined.  Or should the Big Four now include Stan and exclude Nadal, whose ranking has slipped to 10?  Nole’s 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 drubbing of Rafa was the highlight of the tournament until that extraordinary effort by Stan in the final.  It was so good I’m tempted to watch a replay, something I never do for sporting events.    

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.

National Debt: $18.259 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $494.880 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@.07%!): $244.831 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $96.782 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer: $972,148

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.   

 

6/4/15: NOT SO FAST

6/4/15: NOT SO FAST

I’ve read the 5th Circuit’s decision last week denying the government a stay of the lower court injunction against the President’s so-called “executive amnesty” program.  This is a second major setback for the administration, which continues to assure us that, sooner or later, the program will be judicially validated.  Not so fast.

The critical legal argument in favor of the program is that it simply involves prosecutorial discretion — albeit on a mass scale.  The argument goes that the President is merely directing INS not to deport 5 million or so brown illegals, who’ve been here for 5 or more years and have kids who are American citizens, since they were born here after their parents entered illegally.  That peculiarity of our law aside, opponents argue that prosecutorial discretion is limited to individual cases and cannot occur on such a mass scale.  But that argument is no sure winner.  

The Fifth Circuit decision sheds critical light on this question, for it points out that the President’s program is more than a decision not to deport; the plan confers benefits, like Social Security payments and drivers licenses.  That’s why Texas and other are suing, because they don’t want to have to issue licenses to illegals.  Who can blame them?  But the point is, while this plan may be short of amnesty, it involves far more than mere prosecutorial discretion. 

The administration’s confidence is misplaced.  The plan will go down in flames as unconsitutional overreach.  Congress is charged with making our immigation laws, and the President with enforcing them.  Get to work, Mr. Obama, in the happily limited time remaining to you.  

SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.  

National Debt: $18.253 Trillion

Annual Budget Deficit (add to ND): $494.649 Billion

Annual Interest on ND (@.05%!): $244.554 Billion

Unfunded Entitlements (SS/MC/MC/OC): $96.559 Trillion

Debt per Taxpayer: $970,460

WE ARE BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT.