Supreme Court Oral Arguments on ObamaCare – Open Thread

The Supreme Court is halfway through its 3 days of oral arguments on the constitutionality of ObamaCare, highlighted by this reaction from Justice Anthony Kennedy:

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a possible swing vote for the court, was rigorously challenging Verrilli. Kennedy said he needed to answer a “very heavy burden of justification” to show how the Constitution authorizes Congress to require that individuals buy insurance or pay a penalty.

At one point, Kennedy said the mandate changes the relationship between citizens and the government “in a fundamental way.”

Lots of news on this, and judicial bloggers are having a field day.  Good time for an open thread.

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187 thoughts on “Supreme Court Oral Arguments on ObamaCare – Open Thread

  1. Cluster

    From the “you just can’t make this shit up” file – liberals over at the NYT fear that the school children massacre in France at the hands of a radical islamist – will shed a poor light on diversity and escalate tensions:

    The seven brutal killings carried out this month by Mr. Merah — a 23-year-old son of Toulouse, and a professed jihadi — occurred during a divisive presidential race that had already turned toward questions of immigration and Islam. Even though investigators say Mr. Merah was effectively a lone, self-radicalized extremist, his violent ideology fits closely with some French stereotypes of Islam, and Muslims here fear that the tensions brought on by the murders may prove more lasting.

    Never mind that Jewish school children were murdered, the important part of this story is how does this affect the Muslims????

    Un f**king believable.

    Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/clay-waters/2012/03/29/after-massacre-children-islamist-nytimes-frets-only-about-diversity-ris#ixzz1qVoyj8Ri

    1. Amazona

      So a racially motivated slaughter by a self-professed radical jihadist is supposed to be attributed to …a lone, self-radicalized extremist… because he is Muslim, but anyone who kills anyone in one of the myriad of protected classes in the United States—-race and Democrat to name two—is automatically acting as part of and representative of a political movement or a race?

      France has bent over backwards to tolerate radical Muslims who flood into the country, set up mini-nations of their own, refuse to learn French, and riot once or twice a year. Sounds to me like it’s time for the Muslims to start working on tolerance and “diversity”.

  2. Amazona

    But back to the thread…

    I don’t know if any of you were able to hear the arguments yesterday. I was able to catch some of Hugh Hewitt’s show, and he played a lot of what was going on. The context of Sotomayor’s and Kagan’s advocacy for Obamacare is much more evident when you hear them interrupt the state’s attorney (who is brilliant) and try to derail his arguments, and you hear the challenging tones of their voices as they do so.

    They are not asking questions to clarify points, they are arguing against the attorney’s points.

    Kagan should not even be there. I wonder if she will have the integrity to abstain from voting, or if she will continue to bluff her way through this, knowing that she has cover from the Left for her conflict of interest and open advocacy of a system she supposed to be evaluating on its Constitutional merits.

    1. James

      Once again, the Chief Justice has stated that he doesn’t want ANY of his justices to abstain. And that includes Thomas and Kagan.

      Maybe you’re just anti woman….or anti woman who isn’t like you.

      By the way, how do you manage to read 2-4 books a week and NEVER read about the invisible hand…the term coined by Adam Smith?

      Is it possible you just made that little bit up?

      Also, did you see the video the Sanford Police released of Zimmerman in cuffs the night of the crime? No blood on his face….or no cut on the back of his head as he has claimed…..and no blood on his clothes….Hmmm….I wonder if you’ll gracefully change your position and admit your bias once we find out it wasn’t self defense…and just cold blooded murder

      We shall see.

      1. Amazona

        By the way, how do you manage to read 2-4 books a week and NEVER read about the invisible hand…the term coined by Adam Smith?

        By not reading much on economic theory.

        Duh.

        There are a few other topics in the world. For example, I have read a lot on Leftism, recently setting aside a hefty tome on Stalin to get back to Conflict of Visions by Thomas Sowell, because I am working on starting a conservative book club. That is, a book club to discuss conservative books.

        Throw in some history and biography (I am also about halfway through a book on Wild Bill Donovan which is about both) and fiction and even science fiction, some natural history, and historical fiction such as the Patrick O’Brian series which is historically accurate but with fictional characters interacting in carefully researched events, and it’s a pretty full slate.

        Oh, I forgot the books on politics—lots of those.

        Do share your reading list, but don’t bother including the tidbits you look up on google when someone else has mentioned a topic and you are desperate for a cheap gotcha.

    2. Count d'Haricots

      Amazona,

      I was listening to HH as well, brilliant!

      I heard a former clerk for Kennedy say that the Justices do not discuss pending cases with each other. After pouring over briefs and getting input from their clerks, they often telegraph their leanings to the other justices in the form of their questioning. Being some of the most brilliant legal minds (and 2 judicial dim-bulbs) the justices pick up a line of questioning to clarify points raised by the telegraphing justice.

      Btw, here’s another take on the Invisible Hand; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pkbf-Ah5M9c Leave it to Friedman.

      1. neocon1

        maybe fo je$$ah n $harpton to relocate da rent a mob to DC jus in case Uboma loses this one…….the next FAUX outrage and excuse to loot, threaten and pillage……all on TV of course leave the heavy lifting to the flash mobs of street garbage.

  3. Amazona

    Here is one analysis of Kagan’s position. Contrast this with the fact that at one time Justice Thomas’s wife received payment from a group which included among its efforts an effort to block the so-called “Health Care” bill. His involvement, if any, was at an arm’s length.

    I am not aware of a request from Justice Roberts that both Thomas and Kagan rule on this case. Please cite this quote.

    In the meantime, here is part of a legal analysis of Kagan’s position.

    *************************************

    Elena Kagan: The Justice Who Knew Too Much
    Carrie Severino, Judicial Crisis Network

    I. Introduction
    At least eight of the Supreme Court’s nine members will soon decide whether to review the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”). The only question is whether Elena Kagan, the Court’s most junior Justice, will also pass judgment on President Obama’s signature law or recuse herself because of her role in defending PPACA’s constitutionality as President Obama’s Solicitor General.

    As President Obama’s top advocate, Kagan headed the office responsible for formulating the Administration’s defense of PPACA—and oversaw the arguments both on appeal and in the lower courts because of PPACA’s national importance. The President is now asking her to adopt the very same positions her office helped craft for him on this matter, but this time, as a Supreme Court Justice. Her jump from advocate to judge on the same issue raises profound questions about the
    propriety of her continued participation in the case. Moreover, the legitimacy of any decision where she is in the majority or plurality would be instantly suspect if she chooses not to recuse herself. To use a sports analogy, would anyone trust the outcome of a close game where the referee had been a coach for one of the teams earlier in the game?

    For the reasons set forth below, we find it impossible for Justice Kagan to deny that she was directly involved in the defense of PPACA, and that she should therefore recuse herself from any consideration of PPACA’s legality before the Supreme Court.

    II. Summary of the Evidence
    a. Kagan took early and aggressive action to involve her office in Obamacare.
    Though her department normally only deals with appeals, Kagan made the decision to involve the Solicitor General’s office before PPACA had even been signed into law. According to e-mails JCN has obtained, Neal Katyal, Kagan’s chief and only political deputy, stated in January 2010 that “Elena would definitely like OSG to be involved in this set of issues.” After the first strategy meeting, Katyal emphasized his interest in getting the office “heavily involved even in the dct [District Court].”

    Because it is so unusual for the Solicitor General’s Office to get involved at the District Court level, not to mention before a law is passed, Kagan’s approval, tacit or explicit, would have been required. The fact that she encouraged her Office’s involvement at such an early stage could only mean that she believed it was necessary to ensure that the strongest possible arguments in defense of the law would be raised at the outset to set the stage for all the appeals that would certainly follow. Her actions had the added effect of communicating to the President and the rest of his Administration that the Solicitor General herself was on top of the legal challenges from the beginning and would not be caught off guard.

    (Had Kagan or the Obama Administration disclosed these and other documents discussed below during her confirmation
    hearings instead of waiting for drawn-out litigation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we are confident that the public debate about her role in defending the health care law would have been far more robust.
    )

    b. Kagan made key staffing decisions starting in January of 2010.
    According to e-mails obtained by JCN, in early 2010 the Obama Administration organized a meeting to discuss strategy for defending the health care bill from anticipated legal challenges and asked Kagan’s Office to send a representative. In response to the invitation, Neal Katyal, Kagan’s political-appointee Deputy, said “[a]bsolutely right on. Let’s crush them. I’ll speak to Elena and designate someone [to attend].” Of all the people that Kagan could have designated to attend that
    first meeting, she chose the man who had already stated that her Office’s role was to “crush” the opponents of PPACA.

    Though the Solicitor General’s office is otherwise staffed by career lawyers, Kagan assigned her chief and only political deputy to represent the office in this high-level meeting. Katyal, who eventually argued the case in the 11th Circuit, was clearly the point person assigned to the case, and his instructions were to “bring in Elena as needed.” Kagan’s staffing decisions on their own constitute substantial involvement in the case, but her delegation of the case to Katyal, her aggressive deputy, provides important insight into her own aggressive approach to the case.

    c. Kagan was part of the deliberative process in the Obamacare defense
    strategy. During her confirmation hearings, Kagan stated that she was present at “at least one” meeting in which the challenges to PPACA were discussed. But JCN has obtained documents indicating that her involvement was much more substantial than merely attending a single meeting. We have received multiple documents concerning Kagan’s involvement in the PPACA litigation containing redacted material that is exempted from production under FOIA’s “b(5)” exemption. That exemption covers material normally protected by a privilege that makes it immune to disclosure, like the attorney-client privilege or, in the case of government policy makers, the deliberative process privilege. The implications of the numerous b(5) deliberative process exemptions are serious because they show that Kagan, unsurprisingly, received information about the PPACA litigation involving strategy (for that is what it means to deliberate) while Solicitor General. Because of the b(5) claims, we know that she is ethically barred from disclosing both what she learned and said
    about the government’s views of the case to anyone. The fact that Kagan has inside information on the case is problematic enough, but this issue opens up all sorts of potential ethical problems.

    For example, as often happens at oral argument, the representative from the Solicitor General’s office could be asked by the Justices, “did the government ever consider argument X as an alternative to your current position?” The answer to that question can obviously be yes or no or anything in between. But if Justice Kagan sits on a PPACA case, she will know the answer to the question before it is asked because she participated in the case when the government’s arguments were being hashed out. In fact, even if Kagan knew that the representative from her former office lied in answering that question, she would still be prohibited from telling her fellow Justices about it because of the deliberative process privilege.

    III. Legal Analysis

    a. Recusal Required under 28 U.S.C. §455(b)(3)
    Although the Judicial Code of Ethics does not, by its terms, apply to Supreme Court Justices, mandatory recusals for the Justices are governed by federal law. Section 455(b)(3) of Title 28 addresses the specific case at hand: the recusal obligations of former government employees. It requires recusal where the judge “has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy.” 28 U.S.C. §455(b)

    (There is case law suggesting that, merely by virtue of her position as Solicitor General during the preparation for the government’s defense, Justice Kagan must recuse herself. The role of the U.S. Attorney is analogous to that of the
    Solicitor General insofar as both carry out their statutory duties via numerous staff, supervise their office and officially serve as counsel of record for the United States in all cases within their jurisdiction – at the trial level in the case of U.S. Attorneys, and at the Supreme Court level for the Solicitor General. In the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits United States Attorneys that later become judges must recuse themselves from any proceeding that had been pending
    in any way in their offices, even if they were not substantively involved.
    )

    Justice Kagan has stated under oath that she was never asked, nor did she ever offer, her opinion concerning the merits of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services v. State of Florida, et al., (the “HHS” case) – the major court challenge to PPACA, and the one most likely to be heard at the Supreme Court. However, there is evidence suggesting that she participated as counsel concerning the proceeding and therefore is bound by federal law to recuse herself from the case.

    While Kagan’s name does not appear on any filings in the HHS case, that level of involvement is not required to necessitate recusal. The statute nowhere defines either “counsel” or “participated,” but case law does give guidance, and that guidance indicates that any personal (as opposed to pro forma) participation in a case is sufficient to trigger recusal. Thus, while the titular head of a large office might not be barred from hearing a case if there was no previous personal involvement, judges must recuse themselves if they have “previously taken a part, albeit small, in the investigation, preparation, or prosecution of a case.” United States v. Gipson, 835 F.2d 1323, 1326 (10th Cir. 1988) (emphasis added).

    It is significant that recusal can also be triggered by involvement with a case before its official filing. Then-Justice Rehnquist has noted that he recused in a case in which he played “only an advisory role which terminated immediately prior to the commencement of the litigation.” Laird v. Tatum, 409 U.S. 824, 829 (1972). Other discussions of recusal indicate that involvement in investigations 2 There is case law suggesting that, merely by virtue of her position as Solicitor General during the preparation for the government’s defense, Justice Kagan must recuse herself. The role of the U.S. Attorney is analogous to that of the Solicitor General insofar as both carry out their statutory duties via numerous staff, supervise their office and officially serve as counsel of record for the United States in all cases within their jurisdiction – at the trial level in the case of U.S. Attorneys, and at the Supreme Court level for the Solicitor General. In the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits United States Attorneys that later become judges must recuse themselves from any proceeding that had been pending in any way in their offices, even if they were not substantively involved. United States v. Arnpriester, 37 F.3d 466, 467 (9th Cir. 1994) (“This analysis imputes to the United States Attorney the knowledge and acts of his assistants.”);
    United States v. Boyd, 208 F.3d 638, 648 (7th Cir. 2000) (noting exception to requirement of personal participation for U.S. Attorneys); Kendrick v. Carlson, 995 F.2d 1440, 1444 (8th Cir. 1993) (“There is general agreement that a United
    States Attorney serves as counsel to the government in all prosecutions brought in his district while he is in office and that he therefore is prohibited from later presiding over such cases as a judge.”).

    At that time there was no opening on the Supreme Court and, by Kagan’s
    own testimony, she had not been informed that she was on the shortlist for a future opening. She stated that she had been carrying out the duties of the Solicitor General as normal, not recusing herself from new cases as she would do after her nomination.

    Kagan’s responses to Senate questions during her confirmation process essentially admit her involvement in the case. When asked about the HHS case she stated: “I neither served as counsel of record nor played any substantial role, as defined above. Therefore, I would consider recusal on a case-by-case basis, carefully considering any arguments made for recusal and consulting with my colleagues and, if appropriate, with experts on judicial ethics” (emphasis added). What she is saying is that (in her mind) she did not participate in a manner that made her recusal a foregone conclusion, rather, that she would have to consider the matter carefully if it came up. In other words, she participated in the case, but not, according to her, substantially.

    Kagan’s careful answer is a striking contrast to Neal Katyal’s description of her involvement in an email to Tracy Schmaler, deputy director of the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs.

    He stated: “No, she never has been involved in any of it. I’ve run it for the Office, and have never discussed the issue with her one bit.” Kagan’s response to his email is telling. Less than two minutes later she replied, “This needs to be coordinated. Tracy, you should not say anything about this before talking to me.” Again, if she had truly been “walled off from Day One” as Katyal asserted in a later email on the topic, no coordination would have been needed. More likely, coordinating meant “getting our stories straight.”

    In her hearing testimony, Kagan underestimated the scope of her recusal obligations, stating that she would recuse herself from any case in which she “officially formally approved something.” But her formal/informal distinction – along with an emphasis on recusal only for “substantial” involvement – has no basis in the case law and appears self-serving. Her descriptions of OSG participation in cases before the appellate level – like the PPACA strategizing – always carefully label such discussions “informal,” and outside of normal recordkeeping. But the approval of early OSG involvement and delegation to Katyal certainly constitute personal participation in the case, and that is all §455(b)(3) requires.

    Kagan’s involvement with U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services was consistent with her acting as counsel – both in a supervisory manner and because she received information normally.
    ………………………….

    Kagan’s receipt of privileged information also is something normally reserved to counsel. In the case of a high-ranking supervisor receiving deliberative material from her subordinates, Kagan’s failure to offer her own opinion explicitly may save her from forced recusal for “express[ing] an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy,” but it does little to shield her from having participated in the formulation of strategy and being treated as counsel by those involved. One exchange in particular highlights the problem. In a March 18, 2010 email to Deputy Attorney General Tom Perelli, Neal Katyal states, “In light of this, for what it is worth, my advice (I haven’t discussed this with Elena, but am cc’ing her here) would be that we start assembling a response, [material redacted] so that we have it ready to go.” Copying Kagan on this email not only made her a recipient of privileged internal information regarding the government’s strategy in the case, it created a situation where even a lack of response from Kagan constitutes tacit agreement with Katyal’s redacted proposal.

    The FOIA record presents an incomplete picture of the occasions on which Katyal or others involved in defense strategy may have made this type of statement to
    Kagan, but shows sufficient personal involvement to trigger 28 U.S.C. §455(b)(3).

    ****************************

    Not quite the same as having a spouse who once received payment for work done for a group which, among other interests, opposed the legislation now under examination.

  4. bardolf

    “And yet another simplistic view from the cheap seats. I don’t deny that RINO’s like Collins, Snow, McCain, etc have compromised the conservative position on too many occasion”- Clueless

    Your business must be in the toilet if your critical thinking is so poor.

    The Iraq War (over extension of the Afghan War) wasn’t due to a few RINO’s in the party. It was Bush misreading all of history and current events. Your filtered view of world events isn’t any better so there isn’t much hope. Consider a completely different place on the map. Today the Pope is calling the embargo of Cuba a disaster. It makes no sense economically, it is morally dubious and yet for nostalgia purposes the embargo continues. The embargo is mainstream GOP policy.

    Consider, the Medicare part D giveaway to seniors and drug companies wasn’t a few RINO’s. The bailout of the risky behavior with TARP money is mainstream GOP policy. In fact the Clueless’ don’t see the inherent problem with TARP because the ad hoc casinos are making money again and repaid the government.

    The creation of the DOE, NCLB, DHS, Patriot Act, all useless big government boondoggles care of mainstream GOP. If you think the TSA theater at the airports is useful you are truly deluded. I don’t think 6 year olds in wheelchairs or 73 year old grandmas are the danger that the TSA worries about, but maybe the GOP knows best.

    When the GOP takes a beating in November despite 9% unemployment, despite Fast and Furious, despite Obamacare etc. the blame will not be on the ” scorch earthed GOP” , we saw the McCainity of that way of thinking in 2008.

    Ron Paul 2012!

    1. Cluster

      The Iraq War (over extension of the Afghan War) wasn’t due to a few RINO’s in the party. It was Bush misreading all of history and current events.

      That wasn’t it at all. Actually Sen Jay Rockefeller (D) probably laid out the best case for war, Clinton initiated “regime change” in Iraq, and most democrats voted in favor of.

      Want to try again?

      1. bardolf

        Clinton was responsible for more than a million Iraqi citizens death with an immoral embargo. He dropped bombs on pharmaceutical plants because the media was focusing on his getting BJ’s from an intern. He casually allowed genocides to go on in Africa when a hundred troops would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

        Your saying that’s the kind of guy that Bush was basing his foreign policy on when he started the Iraq war. That makes Bush look both incompetent and evil. I prefer the misreading/incompetent Bush to the liberal evil Bush.

      2. Count d'Haricots

        No, ‘dolf, since 1998 regime change was the official US policy toward Iraq. Unless you prefer your Presidents to ignore the law, or you simply prefer them to be racists and anti-Semitic and just a half-a-bubble off plumb, which apparently you do.

        Ron Paul; Room for You in Bellevue ~ 2012

      3. bardolf

        No Count the Money

        Bush needed to drum up support for the Iraqi invasion. You’re historical revisionism is hollow for anyone that can remember back a decade. You remember the need for Powell to discuss WMD don’t you? There was no obligation for Bush to enlarge any Clinton policy toward Iraq. In fact the correct action would have been to drop the sanctions, just like the US should drop sanctions against Cuba.

        The usual baiting about Paul being a racist isn’t needed anymore. He won’t be the nominee so one can stop the lying slurs that he an anti-Semite.

        Interesting that you think people with divergent opinions belong in a a totalitarian institution like Bellevue, most likely against their will, probably “for the good of society”. I didn’t figure you as a closet fascist.

    2. Cluster

      Stool,

      I am scrambling to get out of town, so I don’t have time to address all of your drivel Needless to say, you must be a terribly conflicted person, ranting and raving about big government, all the while appearing to be quite giddy over Obama’s reelection chances. You’re a weird dude.

      1. James

        convenient excuse cluster. I am sure you won’t be posting this weekend then.

        neostupid, this one is for you.

        http://gma.yahoo.com/trayvon-martin-video-shows-no-blood-bruises-george-194108003–abc-news-topstories.html

        care to explain why he didn’t have any cuts, no blood, and nothing visibly wrong with him when he came to the police station? it can’t be that he is lying can it? also, what happened to you saying Martin was bigger than this guy? guess that was a lie as well huh…..

        This guy will get arrested, charged with murder, and spend his life in prison. And i wouldn’t have it any other way.

      2. neocon1

        jamestooge

        easy he was washed up by paramedics on scene, packing in nose, cut visible on back of head in with police officer inspecting it, sorry but the thug who told Z he was going to die tonight had it backwards.

        Maybe the people who had their jewelry stolen can get it back, and the other thugs can look for new dealer.

      3. James

        maybe your eyes need a checking up….there is nothing in his nose, his clothes are perfectly clean and DRY….considering it was wet from rain that night.

        not to mention, the cop looks at the back of his “cut” head because there is NO cut.

        you’re either blind, stupid, or both.

      4. bardolf

        When Obamacare is overruled there won’t be a trace of his presidency to worry about besides the trillion dollar deficits that the house GOP continues to approve.

        I don’t fear an Obama victory or a Romney victory since they both will keep a big government just about the same. You don’t seem to have any confidence in your ability to gauge the American electorate. IMO, only Ron Paul could beat Obama in November but we’ll never know as long as the McCain wing of the party keeps putting up losers like Romney.

      5. Amazona

        Amazona March 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm

        I am not aware of a request from Justice Roberts that both Thomas and Kagan rule on this case. Please cite this quote.

        This question was asked of James at 12:18 p.m. At 2:44 p.m. he came back on the thread, but refused to back up his earlier claim, just shifting into cheering for the destruction of a man’s life with no evidence to prove that the man did anything wrong.

        He also makes other claims, which I am sure he will not be able to back up either, but will scurry away till he has another snot-nugget to drop.

      6. Amazona

        I was injured in November when a young horse bolted, yanking me sideways and then around, and before I could let go of the lead rope I was slammed to the ground, face-first. I heard as well as felt my nose break.

        In my case, my face was scraped because I hit a hard-packed and frozen gravel driveway, face-first, but aside from that, after I splashed water on my face and washed the blood off, the nose itself did not look any different until later than night, when the swelling started to develop.

        I had severe bruising as well, and this also did not appear until later that night. I am extremely fair-skinned, and bruise easily, unlike many people of Hispanic descent even if the NYT does reclassify them as “white”.

        If not for the scrapes from the gravel, I would not have looked much if any different ten minutes after the accident, when I came out of the house with my face washed and ready to deal with the horse. Later, it was a different story. My nose swelled up, and the bruises developed.

        And I did not go to a doctor or an emergency room. I can imagine that Mr. Zimmerman was quite distraught after his experience, and spending time being interrogated, and just wanted to go home. His father said that he should have had several stitches in his head, but the fact that he chose not to see a doctor is hardly proof he was not injured.

      7. tiredoflibbs

        From the FBI, bebunking all the lies and racist rhetoric coming from the race pimps like Sharpton and Jackson. In short, in 2010, blacks were responsible for 90% of the murders of their fellow black citizens! 90%! But, jackson and sharpton will continue their “lynching” and “they are coming to get you” inflammatory language.

        http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl06.xls

        if these two individuals cared about the average black man/woman/child then they would see it was not “whitey” they had to worry about.

        As I said before, there are far more murders in the inner cities than these types of incidents of which Zimmerman is involved. But, of course, the inner city incidents don’t get the free publicity and the potential donations (to help us fight the interlopers!) jackson and sharpton want.

  5. dennis

    I’d like to address the larger health care issue in the context of the superior “morality” so often invoked by the right. All leading Republican figures excoriate “Obamacare”; most also deplore, either implicitly or explicitly, the general morality of this president (see photo http://tinyurl.com/7b2watf ).

    The evangelical right in particular – a huge demographic – aggressively pushes the narrative of Obama’s anti-God, unconstitutional agenda. While driving through Kentucky a few weeks ago I listened to Family Radio commentator Bryan Fischer hammer this point incessantly for over an hour, calling Obama the most “anti-God” president the nation has ever had, and the most dangerous moral threat to America in our lifetime. This is a man with an audience of millions, many of whom regard his opinions as nearly tantamount to God’s own voice. No objective basis was offered for his assessment, but that wasn’t his purpose. His purpose, amply demonstrated by calls from listeners, was to whip up anti-Obama hysteria. The evangelical movement is nearly completely off its gospel rails and given over to political demagoguery.

    Of course the audience here on B4V is only quasi-religious; most prefer to keep their religious thoughts to themselves. Yet the exact same political and “moral” narratives advanced by the evangelical right are advanced here, even if not in religious terms. Fischer pushes all the religious buttons for his audience, but the underlying values and prejudices he preaches are fully interchangeable with those expressed on this blog.

    With due respect to the fine distinctions between purists like GMB and others here, you’re all extreme-right, anti-tax, anti-government, self-delusional “pro-life” advocates with a huge axe to grind against the sitting president (of course I except Bardolf, Jon Swift, James and a handful of other contrarians from this generalization). And with all that as my preamble, I’ll state my case for Obama’s health-care policy being perhaps the last, best stand for true morality taken by any American president – certainly as far as domestic policy is concerned. (And I will indeed reference the Bible, since for Christians it’s a reliable moral guide.)

    I’ll first lay out a few more points to help define the issue. Here’s Amazona to Bozo on a prior thread: “While you’re at it, freakzo, tell us of one single Leftist country that has (choose just one if you prefer) set a world standard for economic prosperity…,” bla bla bla.

    (An aside, but worth noting – one problem here is Ama’s classification system. The false dichotomy of “Left” vs “Right” is a demagogic device of no value in describing or addressing real-world issues within our system. Both liberals and conservatives in America now are driven by moneyed interests, and few true conservatives can even be found.) Effective problem-solving requires complex thinking and a willingness to integrate ideas from all directions. Obama’s affordable health care act is a good example of such a problem-solving attempt, but will almost certainly be defeated by a court that has already proven by Citizens United that it favors corporate interests over individual rights.

    Memo to Ama: there are other nations that have set high standards for economic prosperity, personal freedom, scientific and cultural advancement, human rights, protecting the environment and other hallmarks of civilized behavior. And most have more collectivized methods of providing for the common good than the United States. That does not make them “Leftist countries” in the pejorative sense Ama conveys, any more than the early Christian church was “Leftist”. The New Testament says “believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had” (Acts 4:32). Were the early Christians then a prototype for evil Communists?

    That was voluntary, some will protest – they didn’t advocate the government confiscating their wealth to give to others. Really? Christ and his disciples paid taxes. Old Testament Israel was the model for these early Christian values; was it a “Leftist” nation? One of the commandments God gave ancient Israel was to take of a portion of people’s wealth – a tithe, or tax, if you will – and give it to the Levites (civil servants of the day) and toward the welfare of the poor: foreigners (foreigners!) in their midst, the fatherless and widows. See Deuteronomy 26. Additionally, all landowners were required to leave a portion of their crops for the poor to harvest (Deut. 24:19-22). Redistribution of earned wealth was a divinely-mandated, core principle of our Judeo-Christian heritage.

    One of the main reasons Israel was repeatedly punished by God and taken into captivity by its enemies was because they failed to care for the poor and needy in their midst. This can be read over and over in the historical books of the Old Testament; it was a recurring theme of the major and minor prophets. In fact, that failure was the very sin of Sodom – it had nothing to do with sex. The perversion of the Sodomites resulted from their excess, their idleness and lack of concern for the poor and needy (see Ezekiel 16:49, 50).

    Add up all the times the Bible addresses homosexuality or any other social issue of our present day; then add up all the times it addresses caring for the poor and needy. The numerical ratio may stagger you. Count all the times Jesus addressed the moral peril of being rich. How we treat Jesus Christ in the person of the homeless, the hungry, the poor and social outcasts of society is so important that he portrayed this as the sole criterion which will determine whether a person will be saved or lost (see Matthew 25:31-46). By biblical standards, how a nation treats its poor and social outcasts seems to be the ultimate test of its moral character. No other issue championed by the right today approaches that level of importance, at least according to the Bible.

    You can make all the constitutional arguments you want against “Obamacare”. See what that will get you in the final judgment. You can even forget that it was first crafted by the Heritage Foundation and endorsed by leading Republicans before Obama adopted it, and it suddenly became anathema to the right. But to frame the general debate over welfare or health care as a moral one from an upside-down perspective (again, see that photo linked above) – as if it were all about rewarding the lazy with the hard-earned wealth of society’s producers, thereby undermining the nation’s morality and incentive to work, is not only patently bogus, it is a moral delusion paving our way to national perdition.

    I would contend that this health care debate in particular may determine more than any other issue to date whether or not the United States participates in the sin, and goes the way, of Sodom. Accusing the president of “socialism” while partisan national leaders (in this case possibly even our highest court) uphold the priorities of the rich, privileged and of corporate interests, rather than those Jesus Christ called “the least of these my brethren,” will be a moral failure of spectacular dimensions.

    If that happens we may expect that our “American exceptionalism” will soon go the way of ancient Israel’s presumed exceptionalism: they became preoccupied with spiritually meaningless religious zealotry, finally were sacked by Roman armies, scattered to the four winds and left as prey to all their enemies.

    1. neocon1

      dennistooge

      His purpose, amply demonstrated by calls from listeners, was to whip up anti-Obama hysteria. EDUCATE his listeners with the truth.

      1. neocon1

        Parents of murdered British students criticise Barack Obama
        The parents of two British students murdered in Florida have criticised President Barack Obama for his lack of compassion over their son’s deaths.

        Tyson, who has the word ‘Savage’ tattooed across his chest didn’t show a flicker of emotion, slumping in his seat as he was forced to watch a montage of photos showing the victims from early childhood to young men.

        PS
        it wasnt Mike Tyson and he is not a canadian……

      2. neocon1

        The 17 year old, who shot the men as they begged for their lives, will die in prison.

        whah b al and his rent a mob of lynching hate filled racists?

    2. neocon1

      dennistooge

      soooo bankrupting the country, bankrupting the rich, have every one eating from garbage dumps, and turning us into Somalia is what Jesus had in mind?

      I have some questions for the boy when I meet him….

    3. Retired Spook Post author

      You can make all the constitutional arguments you want against “Obamacare”. See what that will get you in the final judgment. You can even forget that it was first crafted by the Heritage Foundation and endorsed by leading Republicans before Obama adopted it, and it suddenly became anathema to the right.

      Dennis, you need to educate yourself about just exactly what it was that The Heritage Foundation proposed.

      Nevertheless, the myth persists. ObamaCare “adopts the ‘individual mandate’ concept from the conservative Heritage Foundation,” Jonathan Alter wrote recently in The Washington Post. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews makes the same claim, asserting that Republican support of a mandate “has its roots in a proposal by the conservative Heritage Foundation.” Former House speaker Nancy Pelosi and others have made similar claims.

      The confusion arises from the fact that 20 years ago, I held the view that as a technical matter, some form of requirement to purchase insurance was needed in a near-universal insurance market to avoid massive instability through “adverse selection” (insurers avoiding bad risks and healthy people declining coverage). At that time, President Clinton was proposing a universal health care plan, and Heritage and I devised a viable alternative.

      My view was shared at the time by many conservative experts, including American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholars, as well as most non-conservative analysts. Even libertarian-conservative icon Milton Friedman, in a 1991 Wall Street Journal article, advocated replacing Medicare and Medicaid “with a requirement that every U.S. family unit have a major medical insurance policy.”

      My idea was hardly new. Heritage did not invent the individual mandate.

      But the version of the health insurance mandate Heritage and I supported in the 1990s had three critical features. First, it was not primarily intended to push people to obtain protection for their own good, but to protect others. Like auto damage liability insurance required in most states, our requirement focused on “catastrophic” costs — so hospitals and taxpayers would not have to foot the bill for the expensive illness or accident of someone who did not buy insurance.

      Second, we sought to induce people to buy coverage primarily through the carrot of a generous health credit or voucher, financed in part by a fundamental reform of the tax treatment of health coverage, rather than by a stick.

      And third, in the legislation we helped craft that ultimately became a preferred alternative to ClintonCare, the “mandate” was actually the loss of certain tax breaks for those not choosing to buy coverage, not a legal requirement.

      1. dennis

        Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans, by Stuart Butler, PhD, The Heritage Foundation, 1989: (page 5)
        “Many states now require passengers in automobiles to wear seatbelts for their own protection. Many others require anybody driving a car to have liability insurance. But neither the federal government nor any state requires all households to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic costs of a serious accident or illness. Under the Heritage plan, there would be such a requirement. This mandate is based on two important principles. First, that health care protection is a responsibility of individuals, not businesses. Thus to the extent that anybody should be required to provide coverage to a family, the household mandate assumes that it is the family that carries the first responsibility. Second, it assumes that there is an implicit contract between households and society, based on the notion that health insurance is not like other forms of insurance protection.” http://www.heritage.org/research/lecture/assuring-affordable-health-care-for-all-americans

        Heritage Talking Points: A Policy Maker’s Guide to the Health Care Crisis, part 2, page 4 (1991):
        “All heads of households would be required by law to obtain at least a basic health plan specified by Congress. The refundable credit system partially would offset the cost of such a plan for most Americans, as the exclusion does today for those with company-sponsored plans. In addition to these core steps, the Heritage plan would institute reforms to smooth the transitiion to the consumer-base national system and to enable the market for health insurance and medical care to operate more effectively.”

        You can argue over the fine points til the cows come home, but the bottom line is that the Heritage Foundation and a number of Republican lawmakers, including Newt Gingrich, were for a national health coverage mandate before they were against it. I’m not arguing here for or against the mandate, but pointing out the essential absurdity and hypocrisy of the Republican position now – especially in anyone calling Obama’s affordable health care plan “immoral”.

    4. Amazona

      The false dichotomy of “Left” vs “Right” is a demagogic device of no value in describing or addressing real-world issues within our system.

      Oh, how easily some are gulled into not just ignoring but denying the most serious and dramatic problem the Union has faced since it was attacked by the Confederates.

      You go on to assert: Both liberals and conservatives in America now are driven by moneyed interests, and few true conservatives can even be found.)

      Again, I don’t deny that you believe these statements to be true. I just contend that they are not.

      To the first: There is a very real, clear and distinct difference between Left and Right in this country, and it is not a “demagogic device” but as fundamental a difference as that between atheism and Christianity.

      If you look at the actual definitions of the terms, and not the Identity Politics spin on it, the two stand quite clearly apart from each other. If you truly do not find a difference between a large and powerful central government, with power and authority concentrated at the federal level and the federal government making decisions for the populace, and a government based upon a commitment to a small federal government severely limited in both size and scope, with power and authority concentrated at the state and local levels, then there is no reason to even try to continue a discussion with you.

      Based on those two definitions, which are real and not mere “devices”, one would, ideally, choose which of these two models he believes is better. He can do the intellectual equivalent of throwing a dart and going with wherever it lands, he can base his choice on emotion, or he can think it through, but the original choice should be which of these two basic systems is preferable.

      Yes, there are gradations, but if you extend anything that is not one or the other to its logical end if it were to be expanded, you will find yourself looking at Big v Small, Central v Local.

      When you speak of “money” I wonder if you really mean currency, financial wealth, or if you could substitute “power”. In any case, yes, there are examples of people on both sides who are driven by greed, whether for actual money or for power. Some know this is what motivates them, some try to fool themselves as well as the world by pretending it is something else (as the race-baiters Jackson and Sharpton pretend that they are fighting for racial equality while they amass riches and power and diminish the chances of their race being trusted or respected.)

      But the fact that to some people true political ideology is secondary to gaining wealth or power hardly means that the basic models do not exist, are not defined as I defined them, and do not attract many who flock to them from true ideological zeal and not a quest for personal gain. I know many true conservatives, myself among them, who have no interest at all in gaining one iota of personal gain from reestablishing Constitutional rule in this nation. I think most conservatives feel this way, because there is little if anything at all to be gained merely by promoting a return to Constitutional governance. It is, rather, an objective belief that this great nation became great BECAUSE of this model of governance, and has become less great as this model has been diluted and eroded by degrees until the nation’s legislation is now largely in direct contradiction to what is supposed to be the law of the land.

      If this move to the Left had had one single good effect, you Lefties might have a decent argument for diluting Constitutional law. But it has not. Rather, trillions of dollars have disappeared into the void in the pursuit of the “War on Poverty” while the number of people considered to be living in poverty has remained static. Poor families, black families in particular, have not been rescued, strengthened, revived, and set upon the path of opportunity, but rather they have been trained like circus seals to sit up and beg (vote) for handouts which destroy personal dignity, destroy ambition and initiative, and make them totally dependent upon a paternalistic Central Committee that doles out subsistence-level support while explaining to them that they deserve more and should not be afraid to demand it.

      Not work for it, but demand it.

      The proofs of the success of the Constitutional model are abundant. There are no equal proofs of success for the Leftist model. There have been relative successes under moderately Leftist governments, but only for a short time, and then they have started their inevitable collapse, as we see now in every nation that has tried it and in our own which has lurched so violently to the Left in just three short years.

      As for your constant efforts to link Christianity and federal charity, there are two problems with this. One is that Jesus never preached collective salvation, but that each man is responsible for his own soul, and his lessons on charity are always directed toward the individual. Nowhere does Jesus say “Take from others to give to the poor.” The other is that federal charity is prohibted by our rule of law. You might not like the rule of law, and you might even feel that it should be changed, but you can’t simply ignore and pretend it is not there.

      Well, you can, and many do, but it is not right.

    5. Amazona

      Count all the times Jesus addressed the moral peril of being rich.

      Does this mean there is a moral imperative to make the rich unrich? That there is a true morality in stripping people of their possessions? That it is for their own good?

      Interesting.

      How we treat Jesus Christ in the person of the homeless, the hungry, the poor and social outcasts of society is so important that he portrayed this as the sole criterion which will determine whether a person will be saved or lost (see Matthew 25:31-46).

      Again, we are back to personal redemption, not collective salvation. I believe Jesus also talked about taking care of your own soul and not passing judgment on others, as well as not preening over your supposedly higher spiritual standards.

      By biblical standards, how a nation treats its poor and social outcasts seems to be the ultimate test of its moral character.

      Again, you are speaking in collectivist terms. Please cite the Biblical passages which discuss the moral responsibility of NATIONS.

      Then explain how a theocracy (which is what a nation would be if ruled not just by the Bible but by the interpretation of the Bible according to some) would be compatible with our Constitution, which is certainly not based upon any one religion. Would your theocracy allow everyone to believe and worship as they please as long as they contribute enough money to make you happy and let you decide how it should be redistributed? Or would your collective salvation demand that all believe the same as well as contribute according to your beliefs?

      What if a different religion were to gain the majority and want to establish a different theocracy? Would that be OK? What if THEIR holy writings demanded a very different form of collective redemption?

    6. Amazona

      dennis, you fret: “I’d like to address the larger health care issue in the context of the superior “morality” so often invoked by the right.”

      Will you please tell us when and where the collective “right” has “invoked” a claim of “superior morality”?

      And what “right” are you talking about?

      Are you referring to the political identity that is the GOP? The larger political identity that would include Libertarians? The even larger political identity that refuses to be categorized as “Left”?

      Or are you referring to the Conservative Movement, which has, as far as I know, refrained from taking any stand except on the necessity of the nation to return to Constitutional governance?

      Some quotes of claiming superior “morality” would be helpful. For that matter, why did you put “morality” in quotes? Was it a sly effort to imply that this amorphous “right” had claimed to be morally superior but with the wiggle room to weasel out of it if challenged by pointing to the quotation marks around “morality”?

      It’s just a really weird statement, as it seems to relate to nothing but a conviction of “moral” superiority on YOUR part, about which you never hesitate to lecture us.

    7. Amazona

      dennis, evidently your own personal salvation has nothing to do with being limited to the truth. For example, look at this litany of lies: “…extreme-right, anti-tax, anti-government, self-delusional “pro-life” advocates with a huge axe to grind against the sitting president..”

      How would you define “EXTREME right”? REALLY REALLY believing in the Constitution?

      “anti-tax” What person on this blog has ever stated a desire to have no taxes? Be careful now, Jesus is watching, so you’d better not lie again.

      Right. No one has. The phrase “anti-tax” is, simply, a blatant and bald-faced lie.

      “anti-government” Now, now, if you are going to lie, you ought to at least make a token effort to make it believable

      But let’s just walk you through this, ‘K?

      A 21st Century American conservative is defined, in the most literal sense, as someone who strongly believes that the United States of America must be governed by its own Constitution if it is going to survive in a form recognizable by its founders and consistent with its past history of greatness.

      Anything jump out at you in that paragraph? Like “GOVERNED” and “CONSTITUTION”? As a constitution is an outline of how a nation must be governed, the very definition of a conservative is one who strongly believes in government, just not in an all-powerful, intrusive, controlling central government.

      OK—another big lie chalked up.

      As you have no comma between “self delusional” and your own quote-marked “pro-life” you appear to be claiming that this “right” you smear with such glee does not really believe in the sanctity of life at all. But if we are “self delusional” then we must THINK we do. I guess it takes your amazing if somewhat mysterious ability to see into the hearts and minds of people you have never met to discern that they truly believe the opposite of what they emphatically think they believe.

      As for the “axe to grind” it is not personal, but based on the reaction to seeing something we value so deeply, the underpinning of the nation we love so much, being eroded and distorted in the pursuit of a political agenda we find profoundly wrong. You seem quite pleased with the chip on your own shoulder, which seems to originate in your frustration that not everyone believes as you do, but are quite resentful of the fact that others feel strongly about things they find important, such as the survival of the United States as it was created and as it succeeded, and what it used to represent.

      What shines through your screed is that you can’t argue FOR your side, so you have to lie about what you oppose to make it seem weaker.

      1. dennis

        Ama, I’m sure you can find some argument with nearly everything you read or hear, if you’re so inclined. If I took time to point out every distortion made by you on this blog, every reckless or deliberate misrepresentation of something someone else said, I wouldn’t get anything else done. And if I called you a liar every time as well, this blog would be more unpleasant than it already is.

        We pick and choose our topics according to our interests and the time we can spare. I think most people who write on blogs do so extemporaneously, and don’t have much time to back up to edit, or sometimes even spell check. And most respondents take that fact into account. Yeah, I could have parsed that whole left-right discussion much more finely, and qualified what I said more carefully. No time. I do generally try to make a point of differentiating between my personal opinions and documented facts, although to get that would require better reading comprehension than most people here seem to have.

        If you take issue with my conclusions (if you’re capable of seeing the forest past the trees), so be it. I didn’t expect anyone here to agree with me. If you want to sidetrack the discussion into every technical argument you can conjure up against my choice of words (and call me a liar to boot), I envy how much free time you’ve got. I’d use mine a lot differently.

      2. Amazona

        dennis, you certainly disagree with me, and you may have even found a mistake in one or two of my posts, but you cannot find a lie I told because I have not told one.

        You are claiming that blatant misrepresentations of fact are not lies, and in the same post accuse me of a vast multitude of overt lies without naming one. There are typos, there are mistakes, but to come right out and declare that “the right” is anti-tax and anti-government is far more than an honest mistake. It is a lie, or rather a series of lies.

        Merely not liking what I post is not the same as what I post being untrue, much less an effort to deceive. I can understand why you don’t like having your falsehoods and mistakes pointed out, and you probably think I point them out due to malice on my part.

        But it’s nothing personal. It’s just that lies, and mistakes, left uncorrected, can become part of a body of false knowledge that takes on a life of its own. I just like to present an alternative to to a false narrative.

      3. dennis

        Ama: “you may have even found a mistake in one or two of my posts, but you cannot find a lie I told because I have not told one.”

        I once had a lengthy collection of quotes from you, Cluster and Spook attributing things to me that I never said. Reading them along with the words I actually did say was almost entertaining. Was your reading comprehension really that bad, or were they lies? Honestly, I don’t know. I finally ended up deleting them.

        There are times when you all seem intelligent enough to read at least at a high school level. Other times, not so much. The bottom line is, it seemed to serve your purpose to put false words into my mouth so you could ridicule things I never said. It’s one thing to get facts wrong now and then; it’s quite another to repeatedly throw a person’s words back at them twisted into new meanings. Even Bardolf was banned here, for what? Racist remarks, or something like that?

        There is no integrity on this blog – it’s not a serious venue. My reason for coming here is to take stock of what’s being said at the far ends of the spectrum. I forget my caution and make comments from time to time, but I don’t expect honesty – either intellectually or at the personal level. I see integrity only from the contrarians here: Bardolf, Jon Swift and a few others.

        You are correct that lies and mistakes left uncorrected can become part of a body of false knowledge that takes on a life of its own. And the way I see it, you, Amazona, add to that body of false knowledge on a regular basis.

      4. dennis

        Here’s a random Amazonism (there are so many, many more, but it’s tiresome to track them down):

        “For example, Obama could not be candid about who he proposed to appoint to certain positions, knowing that advance knowledge of how heavily he would depend on hard-core Marxists, Maoists and Communists in his administration would alarm many Americans.”
        http://blogs4victory.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/newt-bolton/#comment-30941

        Who exactly are these “hardcore Marxists, Maoists and Communists” that Obama heavily depends on in his administration? By whose definition outside of Ama’s are they “hardcore Marxists, Maoists and Communists”?

        “Merely not liking what I post is not the same as what I post being untrue, much less an effort to deceive [she said]. I can understand why you don’t like having your falsehoods and mistakes pointed out, and you probably think I point them out due to malice on my part.

        “But it’s nothing personal. It’s just that lies, and mistakes, left uncorrected, can become part of a body of false knowledge that takes on a life of its own. I just like to present an alternative to to a false narrative.”

        Yeah, whatever.

      5. Retired Spook Post author

        I once had a lengthy collection of quotes from you, Cluster and Spook attributing things to me that I never said.

        –snip–

        There is no integrity on this blog – it’s not a serious venue.

        Apparently serious enough for you to take considerable time to compile a “lengthy collection of quotes”, Dennis. Seriously, who does that?

        My reason for coming here is to take stock of what’s being said at the far ends of the spectrum.

        I can’t imagine wasting my time going to venues like KOS, HUFPO and Media Matters, just to see what you Leftist kooks are saying. We get enough of you here to give me a pretty good idea of how deluded you are.

      6. Amazona

        dennis, just off the top of my head I can name Van Jones, an admitted communist, Anita Dunn, who turns to Mao for inspiration, Valerie Jarrett (“Obama’s Other Brain”) whose family and political background goes back to Frank Marshall Davis as well as Chicago corruption, Carol Browner, an avowed socialist who has called for global governance and was one of 14 listed leaders of Socialist International’s “Commission for a Sustainable World Society”, Gary Samore – AKA Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation, and Terrorism, a former US Communist, and Cass Sunstein, a socialist.

        (Jones recently tweeted a call for the OWS mobs to shut down all U.S. ports.)

        The thing is, there has been attention called to Obama’s list of czars and advisers and aides, ranging from the far-Left politics of some to things like appointing, as “Safe School Czar” of all things, a gay pedophile who openly supports NAMBLA and has advised children on gay sex and “fisting”.

        Don’t pretend you don’t know about this, and don’t claim I am lying when I reference it.

      7. dennis

        Spook: “Apparently serious enough for you to take considerable time to compile a ‘lengthy collection of quotes’, Dennis. Seriously, who does that?”

        Spook, I worked for years as an editor (back in the pre-Internet, print era) and my interest in journalism, how people use information and language, goes way back. With the computer it takes seconds to copy and save a block of text and put it in a folder. It wasn’t time-consuming at all, it was just proof that people here use language in a completely irresponsible way.

        I eventually deleted it because it’s a pointless exercise – the public already knows the far right twists information to propagandize on a broad scale. And people here don’t care, it’s standard operating procedure. I’ve protested a few times how my words were rearranged into whole new meanings but that’s a sure way to be either ridiculed or ignored. When someone here is proven wrong by irrefutable documentation it’s nearly always ignored and a new attack is mounted on some technicality or trumped-up accusation.

        When Jon Swift and Bardolf were recently deleted or threatened with banning I felt empathy and even a bit of outrage for them, but considered the venue and then had to laugh at how ridiculous the accusations were. They’re among the most conscientious people who’ve ever posted under the B4V masthead – it’s partly to read their thoughts (and their generally tactful presentation of them) that I come here. Lord knows it’s not to wade through Neocon’s rancid sputtering or Amazona’s logorrhea. You I once considered conscientious as well, but you proved me wrong too many times.

        As for sampling thinking at far ends of the spectrum, I think it’s useful. I haven’t owned a TV for over 20 years so don’t see Fox News or the media most people are exposed to. I pick and choose, I listen to C-span on the radio and ever since having the Internet (1995) take my news from as broad array of sources as possible. Having worked and traveled on several continents it’s informative to read reportage from other parts of the world – you see how much is left out here in the U.S., and how limited so many Americans’ understanding really is. It’s a pity that in a world where so much knowledge is so readily available, so many people only converse with others who see the world just like they do.

      8. dennis

        Ama, you referenced “hardcore Marxists, Maoists and Communists” that Obama heavily depends on in his administration.” And these are the names you come up with:

        Van Jones: yes, he called himself a communist in his student days (I think I did too). While working in the Obama admin he described himself as a “green-jobs handyman. I’m there to serve. I’m there to help as a leader in the field of green jobs. I’m happy to come and serve and be helpful, but there’s no such thing as a green-jobs ‘czar’.” A hardcore communist would be dedicated to overthrowing the capitalistic system, not creating jobs. He resigned due to a smear campaign by Glenn Beck and other Fox TV personalities, that you apparently bought into.

        Anita Dunn: Glenn Beck’s laughable campaign against Dunn was based on a misreading of a single comment she made, an ironic reference to chairman Mao as a “favorite philosopher”, taken out of context and imbued with a meaning she never intended. And for that she is labeled by you as a “hardcore Maoist”, something she never was even remotely. She did happen to be a very effective opponent of the Fox’s propaganda machine, which is the real source of animus against her.

        Valerie Jarrett: CEO of the Habitat Company, a real estate development and management firm, chairman of Board of Trustees for the University of Chicago Meidcal Center, a trustee of the Museum of Science and Industry, on the board of directors of the USG Corporation – yeah, that’s a real hardcore communist. Or Maoist. Or something.

        Carol Browner’s whole professional life has been dedicated to environmental issues in some capacity. Mostly in conjunction with political service, from the Florida House of Representatives to working with several United States senators, to the directorship of EPA. She was a founding member of Albright Capital Management, an investment advisory company; was on the founding board of the Center for American Progress, also on the boards of the Audobon Society, the Alliance for Climate Protection, and the League of Conservative Voters. Oh, and she also served on the Socialist Commission for a Sustainable World Society. Not exactly a main gig, but for that you call her a hardcore socialist? You’re kidding, right?

        Gary Samore: after brief stints with the Livermore National Laboratory and RAND Corporation, Samore joined the State Dept under Reagan, held positions there from director of the Office of Regional Non-proliferation Affairs; special assistant to the Ambassador-at-Large for Non-proliferation and Nuclear Energy Policy; and deputy to the ambassador-at-large for Korean affairs. Even Fox News said “he is widely admired in arms control circles as an experienced negotiator and non-ideological pragmatist.” But just another hardcore communist to you.

        Cass Sunstein, a legal scholar who defended both George W. Bush’s use of military commissions and his appointments of conservative Supreme Court judges, also is a proponent of judicial minimalism, happens to be an Obama appointee, and now he’s what – a hardcore socialist? And you expect to be taken seriously?

        What is serious here is your nearly total disconnect with reality. You claim that you don’t lie, yet you stretch the truth so far that it loses any semblance to real-world meaning. I have spent enough time – way too much time – proving my point. Pointing these things out changes nothing, it just puts a hole in my day. Bottom line, I think that’s what a lot of conservative blogs exist for – to suck people in, to get them to waste time pointing out the obvious to other people who really just don’t give a damn.

      9. Amazona

        In other words, you simply claim to know, somehow, that deep in their hearts and minds they are different than their histories would indicate.

        Name one other president whose cabinet and inner circle of close advisers (“czars”, Central Committee, whatever you want to call them) have consisted of such radicals.

        That’s an easy question—there is not a single president whose personal Left-wing radicalism has been so obvious, and certainly not one who has so blatantly brought in people who are even more radical to fill high-up positions.

        You did quite a nice job of regurgitating the Left-wing propaganda clean-up efforts, rewriting history to try to overcome the inconvenient facts about Obama’s Shadow Government, but your efforts are feeble. You claim, for instance, that working for “green jobs” is proof, somehow, of a lack of interest in Leftist agendas, yet the so-called “green” movement is a main stalking horse for Leftist efforts. Carol Browner’s “lifelong” association with “environmental” concerns is also not exactly testimony to her lack of involvement in radical Leftist ideology, either.

        How does being “on the board” of a few institutions, two of them in Chicago, translate into not being a Leftist radical?

        There are several reasons for becoming involved in, and working for, entities that do not appear to be radically Left-wing. Money is one, infiltration to influence from within is one, an effort to shift the focus of the institution is another. (Or are you forgetting the original conservative intent of the Annenberg Foundation, warped by increasingly radical Leftist board members such as Bill Ayers and Barack Obama?)

        Not all revolutions are won at gunpoint, as the CPUSA has openly noted in its advice to quietly infiltrate and erode American capitalism and achieve power incrementally instead of through violence.

        Oh, it was a valiant effort, and your years of involvement in editing show through. But it is flimsy, and your repeated claims that Fox, or Beck, somehow misrepresented these people and are part of a propaganda machine (perhaps a “vast right-wing conspiracy?) only illustrate your bias.

        I did not go deeply into the histories of these people, or others in Obama’s Inner Circle. I merely touched upon a couple of things for each. But the facts are out there, and you did nothing to change them or even explain them away, only illustrated your commitment to the Cause. I don’t know if you truly do believe these people do not represent the hard Left, or if you know they do but see your job as one of challenging observations of their ideology to protect a system to which you are obviously dedicated.

        I did not write my post to change your mind, merely to point out that I did not lie, do not lie, and that the only way I can be accused of lying is to invent a new alternative reality that does not comply with the facts on the ground and then claim that your reality is proof that I intentionally intended to deceive.

        And this is what I did.

  6. Amazona

    As the repeated quotes from various Founding Fathers on the intent of the Constitution not including any form of charity have been ignored, here are some other quotes from John Bugler:

    The General Welfare clause in Article I Section 8
    is an introduction to the enumerated powers that follow
    and not itself a grant of power.

    The limits on federal power to legislate for the “general welfare” remains, to this date, undefined and presumably, boundless

    The question that begs an answer is, “if the framers of our Constitution, who labored so resolutely in philadelphia that torridly hot summer in 1787 intended the powers of Congress to have no boundaries, why did they bother to enumerate seventeen?”

    James Madison, when asked if the “general welfare” clause was a grant of power, replied in 1792, in a letter to Henry Lee,

    If not only the means but the objects are unlimited, the parchment [the Constitution] should be thrown into the fire at once

  7. steelhead

    I know there has been a lot of material covered here but has anyone explained why it is so important that Kagan recuse herself? What would it change? Her one vote would not change the outcome would it? 5-4 to uphold is the same as 4-4 is it not? 5-4 to strike down would become 5-3 Perhaps I missed something.

    Anyway a number of the conservative justices have failed to recuse themselves when they have had a conflict of interest. No one here seemed to care then.

    1. Amazona

      Can you name a justice who worked on a policy, plan or project and then, when appointed to the Supreme Court, sat in judgment on that policy, plan or project?

      “Conflict of interest” alone is a very broad subject. Do you disagree with anything I posted?

      I think one thing you may have missed is the importance of believing that the Supreme Court in an independent trier of fact, regarding whether or not legislation is Constitutional. When and if we lose that belief, when and if we believe that even the highest court in the land is above the law, when and if we see a president blatantly appoint someone he knows will have to judge one of his projects after representing him to get it passed, we lose an essential aspect of respect for the law.

      This is not just about Kagan, though it does seem to say that she lied to get on the Court—not exactly a good thing. It goes beyond how she might rule on this one issue to the fact she was appointed by a man who knew she had worked to advocate a policy she would undoubtedly be asked to rule on, and did not speak up when he saw her lying to Congress.

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