Friday, June 29, 2012

Some Consequences of the Roberts Decision

There will be consequences. Here's an early one.

That is an obvious consequence of this: John Roberts has conducted a judicial rewrite of the Obamacare "health care" bill (that Congress called the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act") to turn it into a massive tax. But, if it is a tax, then the Roberts ruling is completely improper.

  1. An Obamacare tax cannot be litigated yet, due to the Anti-Injunction Act, since this tax is not yet being collected.
  2. Tax bills must originate in the House of Representatives, but this bill originated in the Senate.
The Roberts decision asserts the individual mandate simultaneously both is and is not a tax. Particularly under the circumstances of this case, this finding is improper.

The view isn't better from the other side of the argument. If the individual mandate is a tax, then the White House and Congressional Democrats are guilty of perpetrating a massive fraud against us. All the more so since Obamacare absolutely would not have been passed as a tax. In fact, it would not have passed if there were any hint that it might be a tax. Indeed, as Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito noted,

the Democratic majority in Congress rejected an earlier version of the bill that became ObamaCare precisely because it imposed a tax — lawmakers intentionally substituted a mandate with a penalty for failure to comply so they could continue to contend that no one’s taxes were being raised. (emphasis in the original)
Now, Roberts asseerts Congress just inadvertently put the "wrong label" on their tax increase — changing its character after all the briefs and the oral arguments have been completed, to something even the Court's own hired outside lawyer (as well as all the parties to the case and the law and its history) said it wasn't — and that Roberts says earlier in his own decision that it was not. That, in an of itself, is an egregious violation of due process that no one would permit in a criminal case.
[Chief Justice Roberts & Co.] said the American people are not entitled to an honest legislative process, one in which they can safely assume that when Congress intentionally uses words that have very different meanings and consequences — like tax and penalty — and when Congress adamantly insists that the foundation of legislation is one and not the other, the Court will honor, rather than rewrite, the legislative process. Meaning: if Congress was wrong, the resulting law will be struck down, and Congress will be told that, if it wants to pass the law, it has to do it honestly. (emphasis in the original)
Roberts gives lip service to the idea that the Court should honor the legislative process, and then directly violates that concept. “Due process would not allow this to be done to a criminal, but the Supreme Court [Chief Justice Roberts] has decided that Americans will have to live with it.”

And that says there are also longer-term consequences.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Drinks the Kool-Aid

I am amazed that the US Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare, and shocked that John Roberts is the one doing this to us.

The central element of the law is the individual mandate. That is the federal government ordering everyone (apparently excepting Christian Scientists, the Amish, Muslims, and illegal aliens) to purchase insurance. I mocked this idea (using my idea of the Cheeseburger Mandate) before it was made into law. But perhaps I should not have been so quick to mock it. My mandate idea (among many others) may well be passed into law by Congress — always being sure to include a penalty for non-compliance that can be (fraudulently) characterized as a tax.

The formal name of this law — the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” — is truly Orwellian. The bill provides no care, is unaffordable, and gives no protection to patients. It does not support the training of even a single additional doctor but, according to many statements from doctors, will drive many doctors out of medical practice. This law's focus is insurance. Insurance provides no care, but does provide some payment for some care —if you can find it on your own. This law accomplishes none of its purported goals; in fact, it makes every one of those problems worse than they were before. And, while the individual mandate has taken the most fire, the Obamacare law is full of all kinds of mandates, including those in the news more recently that violate individual conscience and religious freedom.

Admirable purported goals, perhaps, resulting in close to the worst possible result.

I am dumbfounded that this law was upheld — doubly so given that the majority ruled that the individual mandate an unconstitutional expansion of the Constitution's commerce clause. What kind of sleight-of-hand and deceit is required to do that, and then to make up a way to allow it — a way that has been denied by all parties to Obamacare — supporters and opponents alike — from the beginning to now? Just as a couple of examples, Obama himself most vehemently insisted the mandate and penalty are absolutely not a tax, and his Administration's lawyer said the same thing in oral arguments before the Supreme Court. But John Roberts says Barack Obama is a liar.

Obama lied to the American people. Again. ... Obama lies; freedom dies.
John Roberts tells us all that the individual mandate and its penalty are a tax — which means Barack Obama (with assistance from Harry Pelosi and Nancy Reid) has rammed through Congress the Barack Obama Tax Hike, which is the largest tax increase in US history — actually, the largest tax increase in the history of the world — and most of it falls on the middle class.
And isn't it ironic that Roberts was urged to uphold Obamacare or be attacked as illegitimate, but with this flip-flop and apparent late vote change has undermined the Court's legitimacy and demonstrated that the Supreme Court will succumb to political pressure. “[W]hile liberal critics were quick to accuse the Court of playing politics by taking seriously the Obamacare challenges, it may turn out that it was only politics that saved the ACA [a.k.a. Obamacare].”

Today's ruling effectively removes all restraints on government control of its American subjects. The result is almost the same as if the Court had ruled the mandate permissible under the commerce clause. The only difference is that now Congress will accompany each new requirement with a tax increase and/or a penalty that can be painted as a tax increase. As Justices Alito, Thomas, Kennedy, and Scalia told the Court's left wing, “You've extended federal power to virtually everything.” And Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft captures today's reality:

The Supreme Court ruled Obamacare mandate UNCONSTITUTIONAL today but it Survives As A Tax!!
UPDATE: An insightful comment from before the decision was announced:
Even by a decision of five to four, the Supreme Court will throw an extraordinary spanner into the machinery of U.S. government, if significant parts of ObamaCare are struck down. Conversely, even by five to four, a decision to uphold could effectively erase the U.S. citizen’s last line of defence against absolute power.
UPDATE, TOO (from the Court):
In answering that question we must, if "fairly possible," construe the provision to be a tax rather than a mandate-with-penalty, since that would render it constitutional rather than unconstitutional (ut res magis valeat quam pereat).
But, I would say, except when such an interpretation has been explicitly disavowed in the statute itself and in its legislative history. Congress and the President have consistently and absolutely insisted the mandate penalty is absolutely not a tax. To “reinterpret” as a tax the penalty for violating the law, under these circumstances, is clearly impermissible malpractice. The Court's own record and history make this clear, too.
In a few cases, this Court has held that a "tax" imposed upon private conduct was so onerous as to be in effect a penalty. But we have never held — never — that a penalty imposed for violation of the law was so trivial as to be in effect a tax. We have never held that any exaction imposed for violation of the law is an exercise of Congress' taxing power — even when the statute calls it a tax, much less when (as here) the statute repeatedly calls it a penalty.
The Supreme Court has never rewritten a law to turn a penalty into a tax. Never until today, that is.


Justice Antonin Scalia along with Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito wrote a very impressive dissent that Chief Justice Roberts should have also joined. As the four justices said, Obamacare “exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting States all Medicaid funding.

These parts of the Act are central to its design and operation, and the Act’s other provisions would not have been enacted without them. In our view it must follow that the entire statute is inoperative.” With just one more vote, the entire bill would have been declared null and void as unconstitutional.

. . .

With the failure of the judicial process, the only thing left to do now is to get rid of Obamacare legislatively. Congress passed this monstrosity, and the only path to lifting it [this onerous new Obama tax increase] from the backs of the American taxpayer is through the legislative process. That means that legislators should vote again to repeal all of Obamacare.

So we have come full circle. Congress is responsible for the mess that the Supreme Court has refused to clean up, and that leaves Congress with the responsibility to clean it up. Otherwise, they can be sure that voters will be watching.

And, hopefully, the voters will, firmly, “throw the bastards out”.

Monday, June 25, 2012

How Few Have Served

Over the past 65 years or so, the portion of our population that has been responsible for our nation's defense has been shrinking. And the burden placed on that shrinking portion has been increasing.

Partly as a result, that portion of our population and their families have become less and less understood by the rest. Young men and women who choose to attend one of the service academies, or to enlist, are counseled that "You don't have to do that. You have other options." As if military service is only for those who have no other choice.

Some additional thoughts on this issue have appeared elsewhere, like here. Go there — it seems to be a good read.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Just Because

... Just because it's such a striking picture.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Obama Writes Law By Himself

Congress wouldn't pass Obama's "DREAM Act", so he has apparently decided to make law all by himself. (And here I thought the Constitution said Congress had to make the laws.)

Here's a pithy comment on Obama's action from "old glazier":

America has learned a lesson the last 3 1/2 years. Black-robed gods(judges) make the rules and overturn the will of the people all the time. Now we have Hitler-lite in the White House pretending to do the job of the peoples House. We have an A. General who does not obey or enforce the law of the land. We rebelled from England for far less. I’m at the end of my rope here.

Democrats/Bolsheviks……same thing

Monday, June 11, 2012

Islamists vs. Islam

The world has gotten even more insane when religious extremists directly and explicitly violate the directives of their founder and their holy book. But that's what's happening in a number of places, and the examples are getting both clearer and more extreme.

As I understand it, Mohammed and the Quran command Muslims to conquer but protect (under a "dhimmi" status of second-class citizenship) the "people of the book" — Christians and Jews. But a bunch of Islamist "Muslims" don't care and violate these commands regularly.

A case in point: Islamist clerics in Pakistan threaten to kill a Christian pastor. His crime? He dared to quote — accurately — from the Quran.

And now, Islamists in Syria have ordered the "infidel Christians" to leave Syria or be murdered.

There is just one solution: All civilized people, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, need to work together to end the threat the Islamist "misunderstanders of Islam" pose to everyone.

Islamist Depravities

It's not bad enough that the Islamists sentenced people to death for dancing at a wedding in Pakistan. Are there no limits to the depravity of these people? This is the lowest nadir of uncivilized inhumanity.

Or maybe not. A day or two later, Pakistani religious leaders sentenced another group of women to death. Their "crime"? They clapped along with the music at a wedding.

Guess that answers my question. There is no depth to which Islamissts will not stoop.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

D-Day, 68 Years Ago Today

68 years ago today, 160,000 troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. Along with 24,000 paratroopers dropped into the area a few hours earlier, they began the final invasion of the European continent.

Omaha Beach was the most restricted and most heavily defended of the invasion beaches. One of the units landing on that beach that day was the 29th Infantry Division — the Blue and Gray Division. The division included National Guardsmen from the Virginia and Maryland area, and men who were not yet in the Army when the 29th shipped out to England.

Maybe today would be a good day for a movie that includes the Normandy invasion. A good one that provides a good sense what the landing felt like (according to one of the men who was there) is Saving Private Ryan. (When the movie ends, consider that all its action took place in just one week.)

Today would also be a good day to read the day's commemorations at Blackfive, specifically this and this and this, and to consider how terribly high the stakes were on D-Day in 1944.