Sunday, April 1, 2012

Supreme Suspense

Washington Times

Obamacare was in the docket for three days, and the White House did a poor job defending it...

La La Land liberals are in shock, reeling from Obama White House Solicitor General's embarrassing performance.  It's not his fault; he had nothing to work with.

Progressives are in a panic. After years of telling us to sit down and shut up, and deeming us unworthy of debate or explanation over Obamacare, they are now a quivering lump of molded fruity jello with nuts in it, trembling at the prospect that the Supreme Court could knock down the entire incoherent, unconstitutionally rotten edifice known as Obamacare.

Constitutional Complacency, Intellectual Sloth

It's symptomatic of a larger progressive problem. They've driven the steamroller for so long they've forgotten how to explain themselves and form cogent arguments because they haven't had to. Now, they desperately cling to last century's paternalistic model, which is breaking down and crumbling around them...
Those who believe in the blue model and want to extend it have lost their touch; the dream machines of the blue social engineers don’t sail serenely across the azure sky anymore. Think of the various carbon exchanges and environmental planetary schemes; think of high speed rail proposals like California’s $100 billion train to bankruptcy; think of Obamacare.

These days the experts, “social entrepreneurs” and smart young blue twenty somethings fresh out of the Ivy League whomp up social programs with as much verve and dedication as their New Deal and Great Society predecessors, but the new Dreamliners don’t take off. At most they roll around the runway, emitting clouds of noxious smoke; wings fall off, windows pop out, turbines misfire and the tires go flat. (Walter Russell Mead)
Liberals are left sputtering wishful thinking sophistry and incoherent emotionalism in defense of Obamacare, complete with pretzel logic, grannies pushed down stairs and starving children. Here's the far-left Nation Magazine on forced redistribution:
But that is, of course, the whole point of insurance, and nothing in the Constitution forbids redistribution of resources or collective sharing of burdens. (The Nation)
Nothing in the Constitution forbids blowing up the Capitol or lighting people on fire either.  The constitution enumerates the powers of the federal government, and forced redistribution is not one of them.

This is the dangerous progressive mindset:  "Government may do it if you can't find a specific prohibition against it in the Constitution."  That is upside-down ass-backwards.  

If it is not in the constitution, government may not do it, and that is why the Obamacare monstrosity is unconstitutional.

Their only other line of argumentation is tautological: They concede that government can't take iron-fisted actions like regulating entire industries and making everyone purchase something unless it is part of a larger regulatory scheme, so they create the larger scheme and then ham-handedly regulate the hell out of it.

100 years of dominance has made the progressives complacent and decadent

They've gotten sloppy. Oh, they are still dangerous, like the aging, flabby fighter who can still coldcock you if you get in his wheelhouse, and who carries a razor just in case...

Progressives have essentially told us to shut up and eat our arugula. Whatever government cooks up can be called "commerce," and they can thus regulate us all into oblivion, constitution and personal liberty be damned.  This is not classical liberalism. It is the opposite, yet so-called liberals stand on their little hind legs and cheer on this statism.  They are inconsistent and bereft of fundamental philosophical principles.  Instead, they are ruled by emotionalism and whatever fever happens to grip their collective groupthink this week.

When they hijack the state and perpetrate drive-by shootings on our liberties, it's all good to them.  It's for our own good, for the good of the collective, as they blather on about non-existent social contracts.  But when rightwingers move the levers of federal power for their own agenda, it elicits an ear-spitting chorus of indignant howls from these same malefactors.

Knocking down the entire rotten Obamacare structure and telling Harry and the Pelosicrats to read the Constitution and start over would be an act of judicial restraint, since there is no severability clause. Obamacare is a stinking, unconstitutional affront to everything this nation was built upon.



Always On Watch said...

Remember that moment in Obama's State of the Union Message, that moment when he said, "With all due deference to separation of powers," then proceeded to scold the SCOTUS justices for a recent ruling? Even Sotomayor looked as if she got a whiff of an open sewer.

I believe that a majority of the present SCOTUS justices recognize that the executive branch has overstepped its Constitutional boundaries with ObamaCare. Furthermore, from what I know of last week's presentations, the justices are quite unhappy with the attitude of condescension and arrogance on the part of the attorneys representing the Obama administration.

SCOTUS does not want to see its own Constitutional power eroded. If SCOTUS rules in favor of ObamaCare, that erosion will certainly happen. Besides, although the justices aren't supposed to think about it, they do know that if Obama is re-elected, he will likely appoint two new justices to the court. I'm sure that the present justices are aware of what a packing of the Court could do.

Anonymous said...

An excellent post -- and one that's music to my aging ears at last. I only hope this isn't SilverFiddle's idea of an elaborate April fool's joke.

When something sounds too good to be true, it's usually either fallacious or farcical -- sometimes both.

I pray on this Palm Sunday morning, as we usher in the solemn celebration of Holy Week, that this evaluation is as earnest and sincere as Christ's inexorable progression toward Golgotha, where what-appeared-to-be a cruel, bitterly humiliating defeat turned out to be The Greatest Triumph of All Time.

With people like Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan firmly seated on the high court, and a well-known waffler like Anthony Kennedy (our modern day version of Pontius Pilate), we may expect the same sort of mentality from these latter day Scribes and Pharisees that condemned the Innocent Jesus to an agonizing death on the Cross.

I wish I could be as optimistic as today's encouraging post, but in a world where Insanity is rife and militantly regarded as sane, where Might Makes Right and the The Will of People is routinely ignored or spat upon, I don't have much hope that this infernal thing can be done away with.

Long ago, we allowed our Representative Republic to become an Authoritarian Regime ruled by a de facto Judicial Oligarchy. That happened overnight in 1954, because the Imperial Court Decision in Brown v. The Board of Eduction was supposedly done in service to a Righteous Cause.

Leftists have always believed that their oh-so noble ends justify whatever deceitful, thuggish or totalitarian means it takes to see them implemented.

Conservatives traditionally have offered little meaningful resistance to the Long March towards tyranny initiated by the Cultural Marxists aka Progressives, Liberals, or Liberal-Democrats. Conservatives have remained tepid, mild-mannered, acquiescent -- and therefore complicit -- in the process of grinding the white, Protestant-Christian majority down to pulver.

To resist the Left has meant for the past sixty years that you would automatically be regarded as a bigot, a racist, a chauvinist, a moron, a hick, a rube, an ignoramus, and a "hater" who must be put in your place by the enlightened despotism of the left.

I wish I could feel a genuine shift in the wind, but I don't. It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Naturally I hope my pessimism proves to be unjustified.

~ FreeThinke

viburnum said...

" ...and nothing in the Constitution forbids redistribution of resources or collective sharing of burdens."

Nothing except the enumerated powers, and 10th Amendment, but the left conveniently overlooks them in the pursuit of an expanded government. They are utterly devoid of any notion that the Constitution is not about politics, but about governance. Failing, as usual to understand the distinction, and in this instance the politics as well, they tried to ram PPACA down our throats and are distraught that first the public, and now apparently the Supreme Court refuse to swallow it.

I'm hopeful rather than confident as SCOTUS has surprised me in the past, but giving Congress carte blanche over our lives and fortunes doesn't seem to be on the Courts list of things to do.

Anonymous said...

Is Conservatism Our Default Ideology?

By Tom Jacobs

According to a recent Gallup poll, 40 percent of Americans describe themselves as conservative, while only 21 percent call themselves liberal. (Another 35 percent are self-identified moderates.)

This gap has long puzzled scholars. If left and right ideologies comprise a mutually dependent yin-yang system ... shouldn’t they be held by roughly the same proportion of people?

One possible explanation is that some “conservatives” wear the label loosely. Another points to the long-established link between right-wing attitudes and a tendency to perceive the world as threatening. In an era where the latest scare is constantly being hyped on television and the Internet, it stands to reason that conservatism would dominate. ...

A research team led by University of Arkansas psychologist Scott Eidelman argues that conservatism — which the researchers identify as “an emphasis on personal responsibility, acceptance of hierarchy, and a preference for the status quo” — may be our default ideology. If we don’t have the time or energy to give a matter sufficient thought ...

Eidelman's paper will surely outrage many on the left (who will resist the notion of conservatism as somehow natural) and the right (who will take offense to the idea that their ideology is linked to low brainpower). ...

Researchers stood outside the exit of a New England tavern and offered to measure patrons’ blood alcohol level if they would fill out a short survey. Eighty-five drinkers agreed ...

“Bar patrons reported more conservative attitudes as their level of alcohol intoxication increased,” ...

A second experiment featured 38 University of Maine undergraduates who filled out a similar survey. Half did so while working on “a distraction task” that required them to listen closely to a tape of tones varying in pitch.

Those who had to do two things at once, and were thus under a heavier “cognitive load,” were more likely than their peers to endorse conservative attitudes ...

In a third experiment, participants under time pressure were more likely to endorse conservative viewpoints ...

In a fourth experiment, those asked to “give your first, immediate response” were more likely to express support for conservative ideas ... than those instructed to “put forth effort and really consider the issue.”

Eidelman notes: ... “Largely, our sample consisted of political centrists.”...

“The bad news for liberals is we’re saying that conservatism has a certain psychological advantage,” Eidelman said. ...

In answer to many questions raised in comments on this story, the authors of the academic paper report they received no financial support for the research, authorship, or publication of their paper.
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Submitted by FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

FT: This is no April Fool's joke. I'm serious.

But note that I make no predictions. I'm neither a lawyer nor a Supreme Court watcher. Like Viburnum, I'm chary of making predictions. I like to eat my eggs, not wear them on my face.

Speaking of April Fool's Day, why the long, off-topic detour?

Please, the thread is just getting started!

Anonymous said...

"This is the dangerous progressive mindset: "Government may do it if you can't find a specific prohibition against it in the Constitution." That is upside-down ass-backwards."

Some of the Founders argued against the Bill of Rights for this very reason: the focus would be on our rights rather than on the enumerated powers of the federal government.

Ducky's here said...

"Progressives are in a panic."


Not this one.

It's a lousy law tht primarily shovels money to the insurance companies. They make a few concessions but this makes limited progress in solving the problem.

If it's struck down the logical step would be at the very minimum to move towards non-profit insurers as they have in every other developed nation. Then to single payer.

However, imagining Americans getting together and rallying for a system that might benefit someone else is difficult. The freaking fools would rather pay through the nose knowing that the poor will continue to suffer.

So it goes on. We are a sorry people.

Always On Watch said...

It's a lousy law tht primarily shovels money to the insurance companies.

In some respects, yes.

But in other respects, no.

For most, premiums have skyrocketed. I know people who are paying 5/6 of their income in insurance premiums right now -- after the enactment into law of ObamaCare.

Anonymous said...

Anything that sheds light on the way our ideological enemies attempt to toy with our minds and distort our thinking to serve THEIR agenda is pertinent to ANY discussion involving the eternal duel between the two diametrically opposed factions.

Scott Eidelman's pseudo-scientific attempt to demonstrate an obviously pre-conceived, agenda-driven liberal contention that conservatives lack the brainpower possessed by liberals obliquely provides insight into the sort of mentality most apt to animate odious creatures like Justices Breyer, Bader Ginsburg and Kagan each of whom obviously despise our Constitution and the precedents set by those who wrote it, and were responsible for persuading the nation to ratify it.

If we hope to maintain whatever traces may remain of our collective sanity, we shall need to do everything possible to cultivate a healthy sense of humor about ourselves and our current situation. A good place to start would be always to give the benefit of the doubt to our friends, and to all but the most bitterly divisive and determined of our antagonists.

I can't remember when April Fools' Day and Palm Sunday coincided before, can you? I wonder if it might not be a "Sign" of some sort?

We certainly appear to be governed by knaves and fools, but what else could you expect from an electorate capable of being taken in by the likes of FDR, LBJ, Bill Clinton, the Bushes, and Barack Obama?

~ FreeThinke

Always On Watch said...

We certainly appear to be governed by knaves and fools...

Not only "appear to be governed by" these people. We ARE governed by KNAVES AND FOOLS!

Maybe -- just maybe -- this SCOTUS will rein them in. Perhaps there are a few people of integrity in power in the 21st Century. God, I hope so!

Jersey McJones said...

Healthcare is a universal necessity and an interstate enterprise, and so the federal gov't can play a role there - as it does with Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA.

The Obama administrations failure to round up the Democratic herd of cats on the Hill to pass a public option plan is what led to this "mandate" and "penalty" constitutional conundrum. By structuring the tax penalty without any real teeth, the intent was to moot the constitutional question, but the law is the law and the SCOTUS will constitutionally have it's say as to whether that aspect of the law is constitutional - to penalize someone for not doing something.

Many "liberals," like myself, were always leery of the tax penalty, that it went too far into new territory and may not be constitutional. Remember, the idea of mandate and penalty came form the right wing in America, from the Heritage Foundation and such. But you cons have no memories, so I wouldn't expect you to recall that fact.

If the SCOTUS ends the mandate and penalty, the administration would be wise to once again demand a public, non-profit insurance option - preferably, for the sake of pragmatics, a Medicare buy in.


Ducky's here said...

@AOW --- For most, premiums have skyrocketed. I know people who are paying 5/6 of their income in insurance premiums right now -- after the enactment into law of ObamaCare.

Much of Obamacare (or whatever you wish to call it) isn't in effect yet.

However, it's clear this situation is best managed by for profit insures with an antitrust exemption. Maybe you can explain it to me, I don't understand the support.

Z said...

Meanwhile, instead of any serious attempts at fix America dislikes about the bill, the leftists are in full gear calling Supreme Court justices names.
But, that's a party who heard their heroine say "after it's passed, you'll learn what's in it" (sic) and didn't drop a beat of support for her or the bill.

Ducky "However, imagining Americans getting together and rallying for a system that might benefit someone else is difficult. The freaking fools would rather pay through the nose knowing that the poor will continue to suffer."

what a simplistic you really not understand?

Finntann said...

"Healthcare is a universal necessity and an interstate enterprise"

So is food, clothing, housing, transportation, etc. No less or no more now than it was 230 years ago. So what is your argument? There are no limits on government power?

Medicare is ostensibly a social insurance program where in theory (but not in fact) benefits are payed for by contributions made.

Medicaid is a social welfare program.

The VA is a benefit, provided to employees in a manner similar to Blue Cross/Blue Shield being provided to retired members of the AFGE.

So you've taken three widely disparate programs, an insurance plan, welfare, and an insurance benefit and lumped them together when in reality they have little in common beyond providing healthcare. What's your point?

The problem is we all want more medical care than we are either willing or capable of paying for.

If the problem's costs breakdown were universal and simplified to say:

$100,000 for 70 years of age

$500,000 for 80 years of age

$1,000,000 for 90 years of age

What would we be arguing then?

Fact is some of us will live to 90 with no medical intervention at no cost, and some of us will live to 90 at the cost of $1,000,000.

Unfortunately life is not an equal opportunity employer. You can do everything right and die at 35 or do everything wrong and live to be 100.

My point? Until we adequately address what are expectations are, it is impossible to address what acceptable costs are.

From million dollar babies to million dollar transplants, fact is our medical, scientific, and technological capabilities have far exceeded our capability to pay for them.

If each of us could live to 200 at the cost of $200,000,000, would that be a reasonable expectation? A right?

Might be harsh, but in the words of Dan Daly:

"Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?"

Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: We "cons" do have memories, and yes, Heritage did propose something similar, but not as many teeth and only for catastrophic coverage (not that that makes it right or wrong), so let's get the facts straight, my pugnacious friend.

viburnum said...

JMJ: "Healthcare is a universal necessity and an interstate enterprise, and so the federal gov't can play a role there".

How did Americans ever acquire the idea that it was the responsibility of government to fix every problem, smooth every path, buffer the winds of fate, and shield us from the vicissitudes of life in each and every circumstance?

Bunkerville said...

Joy comes in small ways these days. Listening to audio of the hearings was a lift to see them spin in the wind.

Anonymous said...

"How did Americans ever acquire the idea that it was the responsibility of government to fix every problem, smooth every path, buffer the winds of fate, and shield us from the vicissitudes of life in each and every circumstance?"

The short answer: Marxian Dialectics based on Hegel's ideas, implemented by Fabian Socialists in England, Bolshevik murderers in Russia, The Frankfurt School -- who stole most of their ideas from Gramsci, just as Marx had stolen from Hegel and the "Progressives" in the USA-- implemented Cultural Marxism's Critical Theory, and subsequently made hash out of the good ol' USA.

Usurpation of constitutional power was accomplished successfully first by Abraham Lincoln who thumbed his nose at the Constitution and at the Supreme Court of Lincoln's day who tried to uphold the constitutional limits put on presidential power. Lincoln, however, rode roughshod over his opposition, jailed or otherwise shut down most of it, denied Habeas Corpus to everyone, and made himself our First Dictator.

In many ways we've never fully recovered from Lincoln's disastrous precedent. It paved the way and effectively rolled out the red carpet for later, similar violations of the separation of powers and constitutional limits on executive power.

Once we accept the idea that the ends justify the means -- in SOME very special cases -- we have stepped onto the famous Slippery Slope, and have nowhere to go from then on but DOWN.

~ FreeThinke

Teresa said...

Excellent Post! The passage of Obamacare was a blatant unconstitutional overreach by the Democrats in congress. I think it is etremely likely that the Supreme Court will strike down Obamacare.

Kid said...

OBAMA 2012 ! Are You IN? I am!

viburnum said...

Kid: "OBAMA 2012 ! Are You IN? "

Not even on April Fools Day!

viburnum said...


I have every confidence that you are perfectly aware that Article 1 Section 9 legitimizes the suspension of Habeas Corpus in time of rebellion, and probably also that the SCOTUS upheld Lincoln's actions by denying certiorari

However you seem to take such umbrage over the issue that I'm beginning to wonder whether or not you're descended from Clement Laird Vallandigham

Pardon the digression

Anonymous said...

Hi, Vi,

Just a few items you might want to check out. Nothing that would satisfy any dyed-in-the-wool, orthodox Lincoln worshipper, but certainly worth considering:

See also works by Thomas di Lorenzo, a professor of Economics at Loyola University, Maryland, a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and latterly a prominent anti-Lincoln scholar.

I'm one of those who think "Results are all that count."

In the light of flesh and blood reality -- never mind all the high-sounding words about preserving the union -- Lincoln was pretty loathsome.

" ... that the government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth." are some of the most hideously ironic words in history. The deeds of Abe Lincoln had nothing whatsoever to do with serving or promoting The Will of the People, and everything to do with subjugating the nation to HIS almighty will.

He was not only a tyrant, he was also one of the great mass murderers in history -- in short a monster.

Whatever we may have gained from the Civil War was certainly not worth the sacrifice.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

My POINT, however, in the post that cited that reference to the dirty deeds of Abe Lincoln was to show that the kind of representative republican government designed by the Founders was weakened and all but destroyed by Lincoln's War, and set a precedent that probably emboldened the Progressives from TR and his trust busting and unlawful acquisition of vast tracts of land to set aside to establish our system of National Parks through the outrageous conduct of Woodrow Wilson, the New Deal, the Warren Court, the Great Society and the fiasco we are dealing with today.

One you succumb to the notion that your "ends" are so fine and noble that any and all means of attaining them must be considered not only acceptable but desirable, you've taken a flying leap into the Abyss from which there can be no return.

When what is legal fails to support what is moral the validity of the law should be held in question. Any other view is Pharisaic in my never humble opinion.

~ FreeThinke

Jersey McJones said...

Guys, guys...

Healthcare falls under the interstate commerce clause because the industry is in fact interstate. That's just the way it is. You want a private insurance industry? Well, guess what? You got one! AND IT IS INTERSTATE.

Get it?

For Christ's sake, can't you tell the difference ideological statement and a fuckin' fact?

The constitutional question is simple but two-fold, yet barely mentioned in the popular media:

Are taxes on transactions alone? I would personally argue the yes.

Can we raise taxes specifically on people who do not carry insurance to ostensibly balance federal healthcare expenditures? Again, I would argue yes.

Personally, I'd be impressed if the SCOTUS did something unique, and decide the government can only raise the tax if they cover the people paying it. Medicare.



Silverfiddle said...

It's still down to the individual mandate, Jersey.

If government can do that, it can do anything. I can't understand why that doesn't make everyone shudder.

The 60's hippies were right: Don't trust government; just as the Indians. The founders believed it as well.

Anonymous said...

There are three kinds of people who live in the USA:

1. Those who want to function as CITIZENS of a Representative Republic

2. Those who want to be SUBJECTS to an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent State run by a coven of self-styled Oligarchs

3. The vast majority who don't know from nothin,' don't think there's any need for them to care, and are thus ripe for exploitation and abuse from the other two factions.

Why anyone would want to be a SUBJECT instead of a CITIZEN I can't imagine. As for those who don't care one way or the other, they deserve their fate.

If you WANT to participate, you should be given every opportunity, if you DON'T want to participate, you probably don't have the CAPACITY to be a good citizen, and therefore, deserve to be RULED instead of GOVERNED.

Perhaps we should divide the USA into different countries, and let each carry on its affairs as it chooses without interference from the other?

~ FreeThinke

dmarks said...

Jersey said: "Healthcare falls under the interstate commerce clause because the industry is in fact interstate."

Actually, this is not true for so many of the cases. Look at your state Blue Cross version. Guess what? It's a state version. Nothing interstate about it at all.

That's just the way it is.

viburnum said...


My apologies sir!

I knew of Vallandigham but not the earlier Merryman case, though both pre date the 1863 Congressional Act. Interesting reading. Had me up until the wee hours. Puzzling how Taney could give two so disparate rulings on essentially the same circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Palm Sunday

As we approach the Passion of Our Lord
Politics still tend to dominate.
Repeating worn out phrases filled with hate
In circles ‘round we go till we get bored
Looking for a way we might escape.
Frozen patterns reeking of stagnation,
Overwhelmed and thwarted by negation,
Oppressed and bound as if by mummy’s tape
Laughter echoing the sounds of madness
‘Tis the thing that locks us in deep sadness.
Stupidly we turn on one another
Denying yet again that Christ’s our brother.
Annoyance that life won’t go just our way
Yanks Jesus back to Golgotha each day.

~ FreeThinke