Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obamacare is Constitutional

What’s New Today

Story #1 is the story that Obamacare was found Constitutional (with just a little bit of rewriting by SCOTUS).  #2 looks at the effect of the decision to keep Obamacare.  #3 in the meantime shows the Eric Holder was found in contempt of congress with 17 Democrats joining the Republicans.  #4 talks about the cuts in defense.  #5 has three graphs demonstrating how the Dodd Frank financial reform bill evidently hurt the recovery.  #6 looks at the difference in coverage of campaign fund raising from 2008 to 2012.  #7 reviews how the courts have sided with Florida in purging its lists of illegal aliens.  

Today’s Thoughts

The surprise ruling that Obamacare is Constitutional because the  mandate is actually a tax does have a silver lining.  Tax bills cannot be filibustered in the Senate.  

In another thought in view of President Obama telling ICE not to deport a certain group of illegals, can President Romney tell the IRS not to collect this tax?  

Here’s a good question about Fast and Furious.  What was putting 2,500 untraceable guns in the hands of Mexican drug dealers was supposed to accomplish?  Could that be what the Justice Department is hiding?

1.  Obamacare stands:  Conservatives scratch their heads

Artur Davis was the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to oppose Obamacare in 2010. Later that year, the four-term Democrat lost a primary in Alabama for governor in part on his opposition to the law. Since then, Davis has moved to the right, and even went so far as to join the Republican party last month. The Harvard Law School graduate and former civil-rights lawyer’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling is stinging. He thinks the Court gave in to elite opinion that claimed the court’s legitimacy would be hurt if Obamacare were overturned.

He wrote in Politico’s Arena:

John Roberts’ surprise defection is a policy victory for Barack Obama that is worth no votes: just as Democrats miscalculated in 2010 by assuming that the passage of the healthcare law would prove that they could get things done, they are drawing the wrong lesson today if they assume a court’s vindication of an unpopular law will somehow validate the first Obama term.  The hostility to Obamacare among independents and swing voters is based on the cold fact that precious few of them believe it has done a thing to lower their premiums or improve their coverage, and that won’t change.
But there is a larger story: this result shows the left’s continuing capacity to shape elite opinion by marginalizing positions that roughly half the country holds. Just as the left has caricatured opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion as retrograde and extreme, it just pulled off the same feat in the context of Obamacare: the case was made, and Roberts bought it, that a Court that has struck down 169 congressional statutes would somehow be dangerously activist if it added a 170th one to the mix. Its an undemocratic, disingenuous sleight of hand that the left is practicing, but it is winning: the cost is that it only widens the gap between Middle America and the elite.

This was a surprise and we shouldn’t make light of it.  It is a victory of Obama.  But the statement above shows that it isn’t an unmitigated victory. 

2.  SCOTUS’s ruling and the effect on Freedom

I know it doesn’t look like it at first glance, but it really is (a victory for limited government). When this legislative atrocity first passed, it was assumed by most people that the Commerce Clause had rendered the Ninth and Tenth Amendments dead letters, per Wockard, and that there really were no limits to federal power. A few lonely voices (particularly Randy Barnett) argued that in fact there were such limits, and that this bill exceeded them. He was scoffed at by many, but those same people were shocked when the court actually took that argument seriously a few months ago. And today, a 5-4 majority of the court, including the Chief Justice, declared that in fact those limits exist and that ObamaCare did indeed transgress them. The bill was allowed to stand only because Justice Roberts declared that it passed constitutional muster under the Congress’s ability to tax (presumably under Article I, Section 8), and that while it had been fraudulently passed (that’s why the president had to lie about it being a tax — he knew that if he admitted it, he would not only lose whatever “moderate” support he had for it, but that he would be going back on his promise not to raise taxes on the middle class), that didn’t make it unconstitutional. Here is a key phrase from his opinion: “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” 

The nation made a terrible political choice in 2008. It started to fix it in 2010, largely driven by this monstrosity. We have another chance in November to fix it once and for all, with a new president and Senate, and I suspect that’s going to happen. But going forward, future courts will recognize that the Commerce Clause is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for any tyrannical thing that the federal government chooses to do. If we want to continue to rein it in, an amendment of the taxing clause might be useful going forward.

An interesting look at what happened today and one that is hopeful.  It is now time to repeal Obamacare 

3.  Holder held “in contempt” of Congress

The House on Thursday cited Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of Congress in a historic vote weighted with political significance, though it does little to break the stalemate over his decision to withhold documents over the Justice Department’s actions in a botched gun-walking operation.
The 256-67 vote amounted to a political spanking for Mr. Holder and President Obama, and 17 Democrats joined with Republicans in demanding the documents be released. Most Democrats, however, walked out in protest of the vote.

It marks the first time an attorney general has been held in contempt by a chamber.

But the White House dismissed the proceedings as a sideshow, and the vote does nothing to break the impasse, though it further poisoned feelings in an already bitterly divided chamber.

“No Justice Department is above the law, and no Justice Department is above the Constitution,” said House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican.

Democrats pleaded with the Republicans to slow down the proceedings, saying the oversight committee, led by Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, has done a shoddy job in putting together its investigation.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Democrat, even introduced a resolution demanding that the House reprimand Mr. Issa for partisanship and accusing him of having “engaged in a witch hunt.”

Many Democrats walked out of the contempt vote in protest, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said the vote was a black eye for the Republicans….

Sometimes you have to think that Nancy Pelosi is suffering from dementia.  This is a black eye, but it is a black eye for the attorney general.

4. Defense Cuts and the Ramifications 

Colorado's wildfire has exploded into an "epic firestorm," in the words of Colorado Springs fire chief Richard Brown. Over 30,000 people have evacuated, and already hundreds of homes have been consumed. Ironically, the U.S. Air Force Academy has also been evacuated, at the very time that Colorado desperately needs more Air Force C-130s to fight the massive fire.

A C-130 fitted with the Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS) can drop 3,000 gallons of fire-retardant material in 5 seconds, and reload in just 15 minutes. This tempo is crucial to containing wildfires like the one devastating Colorado Springs. However, of a current fleet of nearly 380 C-130s, only eight can be fitted with the MAFFS—and four of them are already in the skies over Colorado. With another fire looming in the north of the state, there is no excess capacity to help protect civilian areas. That means thousands of exhausted firefighters on the ground are without enough of the crucial support they need to control the fires.

All this raises concerns about President Obama’s defense budget, which cuts 65 C-130s from the fleet over the next four years. While that will leave 318 C-130s, the demands on the fleet are not shrinking in Afghanistan or other places. Nor did the Air Force have much choice in the matter…

It seems the Democrats willingness to cut defense has some other ramifications as well.

5.  How Obama’s Financial Reform Crashed the Recovery

The three graphs are impressive in making this point.

6.  2008 vs 2012:  Things have Changed for the Left

What a difference four years make. Around this time in 2008, Sen. Barack Obama was well on his way to shattering every campaign fundraising record on the books. Before his campaign was over, the great reformer from Chicago decided public campaign financing wasn't so great after all — and he passed it up in favor of accepting almost three-quarters of a billion dollars in contributions.

But for a handful of muted good-government voices, the entire political left celebrated Obama's fundraising as proof of his extraordinary support and mass appeal. When it was over, the president-elect outspent his political opponent, John McCain, by more than 3-to-1.

Fast forward to 2012 and Mitt Romney's first month of out-fundraising the president, notwithstanding the fact that Obama has spent more time fundraising, by a factor of two or more, than any incumbent president in history. All of a sudden, the news is awash in the left's concerns about unregulated campaign fundraising.

Twice in the past week, in fact, The New York Times editorial page singled out Republican fundraising efforts as a serious threat to our democracy.

In the more sanctimonious of its two editorials, the Times railed against Sheldon Adelson, a wealthy casino owner who gave $20 million to Newt Gingrich in his unsuccessful bid to capture the Republican nomination and now has pledged millions more for the Romney campaign effort.

Apparently blind to its own reporting that Adelson's money did virtually nothing to help Gingrich, the Times is now in a state of panic that Adelson's money could upset the balance of the fall campaign. Even worse — for the Times — the editors wrote that Adelson was “attempting to advance his personal, ideological and financial agenda, which is wildly at odds with the nation's needs.”..

It appears the NYT doesn’t have any real principles except they want the left to win and whatever helps that is what they will come out for.

7.  Court Okays Florida Purging of voter rolls

A federal judge has upheld the legality of Florida’s purge of non-citizens from voting rolls, denying the Obama administration’s request for a halt to the program, which could handicap Obama’s performance in Florida.

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

The Justice Department had asked for a restraining order, arguing that the program attempting to remove 2,600 non-citizens from the voter rolls violated federal voting law that prohibits the systemic removal of voters 90 days before an election.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said that, according to his reading of the law, the 90-day provision did not apply to removing non-citizens from the rolls….

Another reason Obama must be defeated. 

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