February 20, 2012

Redefining the GOP

Acronyms are great. Not only do they make typing less work for the typing challenged and the lazy, they make it easier for the creatively minded to mock a given institution by decoding the acronym in words other than originally intended. Take for instance the GOP. It would be hell to have to repeatedly type Grand Old Party - and it would quickly sound absurd as well. It does however lend itself to new and inventive meanings. 

Today GOP stands for Grandly Obtuse Party.

The One and his healthcare commissar, Kathleen Sebelious, announced that religious institutions outside of actual houses of worship would be compelled to pay for insurance providing employees with birth control and abortifacients. Things their religious beliefs hold as immoral. When there was strong objection to this, they deemed that such institutions would not have to pay for this coverage, but that insurance companies would have to provide the coverage for free. Pretty much everyone on the planet could see that this amounted to six of one or a half dozen of the other. So people continued to object to the violation of religious freedom.

Then the left, i.e. the administration and their media allies, sprung their trap and turned the issue into a debate about the morality of birth control. They began to shriek and wail the Republicans wanted to ban contraceptives. And the Grandly Obtuse Party fell for it and began discussing the morality of birth control.

The debate about the evisceration of the First Amendment is over and we are now discussing the morality of condoms and the pill. The Left has given the Right a can of paint and brush and the Right has obligingly painted themselves into a corner.

The left wants a debate about birth control. They do not want a debate about the Constitutional protection of the right to exercise one's faith freely. They know they will win the condom debate. They know they will lose the freedom debate.

They know if the issue remains focused on religious freedom before long some brilliant commentator will offer the paraphrase:

First they came for the religious freedom of the Catholics,
and I did not speak out because I wasn't a Catholic …

Conservatives need to escape the trap. They need to remind everyone that this is not a fight about birth control but a fight for individual liberty and a Constitutionally limited government.

Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise thereof …

Allow the destruction of freedom for one and you accept the destruction of liberty for all.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:43 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 15, 2012

Editing Jim Carney

At Hot Air this morning I read this quote from White House Press Secretary Jim Carney:

‘Let’s be clear about what’s at stake,’ said Carney. ‘The proposal being considered in the Senate applies to all employers — not just religious employers. And it isn’t limited to contraception. Any employer could restrict access to any service they say they object to. That is dangerous and it is wrong. Decisions about medical care should be made by a woman and her doctor, not a woman and her boss.’

I think it must just be a bad transcript. There is a lot missing. So I feel it is my obligation to fill in the gaps just to clarify the point he was trying to make.

‘Let’s be clear about what’s at stake,’ said Carney. ‘The proposal being considered in the Senate applies to all employers — not just religious employers. And it isn’t limited to contraception. Any employer could be free to restrict access to not pay for any service they say they object to and people would be free to decide if they wished to work for that employer or not. That Such Freedom is dangerous and it is wrong. Decisions about medical care should not be made by a woman and her doctor, not or a woman and her boss but by the President and the Director of Health and Human Services.’

I hope this helps to clarify the statement for the White House on this issue.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:57 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


The headline is an acronym from the Robert Heinlein novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It stands for "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch" and its original meaning was that you can't get something for nothing.

As the tyranny of government interference in our lives continues to grow we learn the new meaning of TANSTAAFL.

The mother, who doesn’t wish to be identified at this time, says she made her daughter a lunch that contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips. A state inspector assessing the pre-K program at the school said the girl also needed a vegetable, so the inspector ordered a full school lunch tray for her. While the four-year-old was still allowed to eat her home lunch, the girl was forced to take a helping of chicken nuggets, milk, a fruit and a vegetable to supplement her sack lunch.

If as a parent I choose to send my child to school with two slices of cold pizza, a bag of Dorittos and a Kool-Aid it is none of the government's damned business. If I choose to provide my child a snack of carrot sticks or a Snickers Bar, it is none of the government's damned business.

You so often hear public officials who oppose such incidents of tyranny ascribe "well meaning" intentions and motivations to the tyrants. I've heard it said often in regard to the imposition of ObamaCare.

Every time you hear that you should call it what it is, Bullshit.

Anyone who believes that they have the power to make your choices for you and applies that power with the full coercive force of government does not have good intentions and is not well meaning.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:17 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 12, 2012

Obama's War

I have been following the Obama administration's decision to force religious institutions to provide insurance coverage that violates their fundamental beliefs. The initial edict was that such institutions must pay to provide this coverage to their employees. Then they decreed a "compromise" that said religious institutions don't have to pay for the coverage to which they have a moral objection but that the insurance companies must include that coverage for free. It's not really much of a compromise. It's kind of like saying if you don't like 2+2=4 then we'll go with 2x2 instead.

One of the most troubling aspects of the whole issue is the focus of the debate and criticism on "Obama's War on Religion," or more specifically "Obama's War on Catholics." This belies a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation. This is not Obama's war on religion or Catholics, this is the religious/Catholic front in Obama's War on the Constitution.

In his own words:

"The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.  And to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical.  It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, as least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted in the same way that, generally, the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted."

Obama added, "one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil rights movement, was because the civil rights movement became so court focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change, and in some ways, we still stuffer from that."

The President finds the Constitution that he swore to protect and defend a too restrictive collection of "negative liberties." Explaining quite succinctly the argument for Constitutionally limited  government. he notes the Constitution says what the government can't do to you, and that is the point. It places "essential constraints" on the government. Constraints that Obama does not like.

If your goal was to eliminate the essential constraints of the Constitution so that the government was free to do whatever it wanted whenever it wanted, how would you do it? 

A full frontal assault would generate a backlash that would make the Tea Party look like … a tea party. To borrow the President's budget metaphor you don't go after the Constitution with a chainsaw, you use a scalpel.

The wedge issue the administration has chosen is Sex. Positioned by the administration as access to preventive health measures. Birth control will prevent unwanted pregnancy and in the case of condoms prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease. Who, aside from a few old-fashioned rigid religious believers, is against Safe Sex?

But safe sex is not the issue. And health is not the goal. The target is to draw a line through that clause of the First Amendment that reads, … or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Succeeding in that, destroys not just the First amendment, but blows a big hole in the essential constraints of the Constitution.

That is what the Obama administration is trying to accomplish. 

That is what we must fight.

ABO 2012.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:16 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 05, 2012

Congress Shall Make No Law

I spent some time exploring a few atheist web sites curious to see what they had to say about the Obama administration forcing religious organizations to provide medical services they morally oppose. 

The administration has issued a ruling that under ObamaCare all employers, including religious organizations, must provide health insurance that includes coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients.

The atheists, at least those who organize politically around their atheism, claim to be fighting to protect First Amendment rights. They focus (obsess?) on that clause of the the First Amendment that says the government shall not establish a religion. 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…

They use that language as the basis for protesting and filing law suits against having the language "In God We Trust" on our money and the phrase "One Nation, Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. They want "freedom from religion" and are offended by any expression of any faith by any level of government.

Now the government is trampling the First Amendment protected right to freely practice religion. 

or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

The government is attempting to dictate the contents of faith and practice of religions organizations.

And from the atheists?


If there is a politically organized group of people who should be outraged at this action, it should be these people.

They claim to be fighting for the Constitutionally protected freedom from a government imposed religion, but remain silent about a government infringement on the free practice of religion.
If you can fight with righteous indignation for one clause of the the First Amendment, then ignore the government trampling the very next clause, you are the worst kind of hypocrite there is, and a complete idiot with no understanding of the meaning of rights and freedom.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:07 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 04, 2012

Real Aching and Virtual Sailing

In non-political personal news my virtual yacht, the Hold the Mayo, has finished leg three of the Volvo Ocean Race Game. This was an interesting and challenging leg from Abu Dhabi to Sayna, China. There were a couple of large open water passages, which don't seem to be my strong suit and a couple of close to shore sections where I did much better.

I did fairly well sailing out of the Persian Gulf. Exiting the Gulf of Oman I was in the 5,000s and very happy. It didn't last as I chose a more northerly route across the Arabian Sea and by the time I past the turning mark at the southern tip if Sri Lanka I was up around 20,000, and not very happy. (Even though that represented a comeback from being as high as 32,000)

The passage across the Bay of Bengal was pretty straight forward. In fact I set of heading of 90° and left it there all the way across until I had to maneuver to pass the rounding mark at the top of the Malacca Straight. in about 12,000th place.

As usual I did much better sailing in the narrow passage between Indonesia and Malaysia. By the time I exited the bottom of the straight I had fought my way back to the high 8,000s.

I continued to do well sailing up the coast of Vietnam and crossed the finish line in 7,818th place. There are currently 177,866 boats in the race so I greatly exceeded my goal of finishing in the top 10%. I have to wait for the other 170,000 boats to finish (or they declare the race over) to find out what my overall rank is. After the first two legs I am 5,033.

As for the real aching mentioned in the headline, we enrolled the boy child in a Taekwondo program. To help make it more fun for him, and to provide more motivation, we signed up for the parent and child class. This morning was our first class. There are two different movie quotes that can sum up the experience. On the way to the class it was from Star Wars: "I've got a bad feeling about this." On the way home it was Lethal Weapon. Not because I learned some mad ninja skills on the first day, but because: "I'm getting to old for this shit."

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:48 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

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