Yves here. This post amplifies Lambert’s key concern about the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, that it would curtail Congress’ ability to pass social welfare laws, and facilitate the continuing rollback of New Deal protections.
By Big Tent Democrat. Cross posted from TalkLeft
Yesterday, a happy day for many of us, where the Affordable Care Act was upheld in a 5-4 decision (PDF) authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, there is a dark cloud attached. The Chief Justice accepted the federal government’s argument that Congress had exercised its taxing power in enacting the mandate. But rather than being a judicial minimalist and deciding only those constitutional questions that must be decided, the Roberts Court bulled on to decide issues that need not have been addressed—whether the mandate exceeded the Congress’ Commerce and Necessary and Proper power.
And the Roberts opinion on the scope of the national government’s power to address national problems is a shot across the bow to the Supreme Court’s New Deal jurisprudence that underpins our modern national government.
In the early 20th century, this Court regularly struck down economic regulation enacted by the peoples’ representatives in both the States and the Federal Government. […]THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s Commerce Clause opinion […] bear[s] a disquieting resemblance to those long-overruled decisions. Ultimately, the Court upholds the individual mandate as a proper exercise of Congress’ power to tax and spend“ for the . . . general Welfare of the United States.” […] I concur in that determination, which makes THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s Commerce Clause essay all the more puzzling. Why should THE CHIEF JUSTICE strive so mightily to hem in Congress’ capacity to meet the new problems arising constantly in our ever developing modern economy? I find no satisfying response to that question in his opinion.12 [Emphasis supplied.] —Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sadly, the five conservatives of the Roberts Court have embraced the Constitution in Exile. Chief Justice Roberts wrote, joined by the four other conservative justices, that:
As our jurisprudence under the Necessary and ProperClause has developed, we have been very deferential to Congress’s determination that a regulation is “necessary.”We have thus upheld laws that are “‘convenient, or useful’ or ‘conducive’ to the authority’s ‘beneficial exercise.’” Comstock, 560 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 5) (quoting McCulloch, supra, at 413, 418). But we have also carried out our responsibility to declare unconstitutional those laws that undermine the structure of government established by the Constitution. Such laws, which are not “consist[ent] withthe letter and spirit of the constitution,” McCulloch, supra, at 421, are not “proper [means] for carrying into Execution” Congress’s enumerated powers. Rather, they are, “in the words of The Federalist, ‘merely acts of usurpation’ which ‘deserve to be treated as such.’” Printz v. United States, 521 U. S. 898, 924 (1997) (alterations omitted) (quoting The Federalist No. 33, at 204 (A. Hamilton)); see also New York, 505 U. S., at 177; Comstock, supra, at ___ (slip op., at 5) (KENNEDY, J., concurring in judgment) (“It is of fundamental importance to consider whether essential attributes of state sovereignty are compromised by the assertion of federal power under the Necessary and Proper Clause . . .”).
Applying these principles, the individual mandate cannot be sustained under the Necessary and Proper Clause as an essential component of the insurance reforms. Each of our prior cases upholding laws under that Clause involved exercises of authority derivative of, and in service to, a granted power. For example, we have upheld provisions permitting continued confinement of those already in federal custody when they could not be safely released, Comstock, supra, at ___ (slip op., at 1–2); criminalizing bribes involving organizations receiving federal funds, Sabri v. United States, 541 U. S. 600, 602, 605 (2004); and tolling state statutes of limitations while cases are pending in federal court, Jinks v. Richland County, 538 U. S. 456, 459, 462 (2003). The individual mandate, by contrast, vests Congress with the extraordinary ability to create the necessary predicate to the exercise of an enumerated power.
This is wholesale nonsense, both as law and fact. The mandate was not enacted in order to create activity that can be regulated. It was enacted, wisely or not, to make more effective the proper exercise of the Commerce power to regulate the health care and health insurance markets. It was a classic exercise of the Congress’ Necessary and Proper power. The Roberts five claim that “such a conception of the Necessary and Proper Clause would work a substantial expansion of federal authority.” Quite the opposite. This view constitutes a substantial contraction of federal authority. It strikes at our conception of our federal government and the New Deal.
In her opinion, Justice Ginsburg explains what is wrong with what the Roberts five are arguing:
[W]e owe a large measure of respect to Congress when it frames and enacts economic and social legislation.See Raich, 545 U. S., at 17. See also Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation v. R. A. Gray & Co., 467 U. S. 717, 729 (1984) (“[S]trong deference [is] accorded legislation in the field of national economic policy.”); Hodel v. Indiana, 452 U. S. 314, 326 (1981) (“This [C]ourt will certainly not substitute its judgment for that of Congress unless the relation of the subject to interstate commerce and its effect upon it are clearly non-existent.” (internal quotation marks omitted)). When appraising such legislation, we ask only (1) whether Congress had a “rational basis” for concluding that the regulated activity substantially affects interstate commerce, and (2) whether there is a “reasonable connection between the regulatory means selected and the asserted ends.” Id., at 323–324. See also Raich, 545 U. S., at 22; Lopez, 514 U. S., at 557; Hodel v. Virginia Surface Mining & Reclamation Assn., Inc., 452 U. S. 264, 277 (1981); Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U. S. 294, 303 (1964); Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U. S. 241, 258 (1964); United States v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U. S. 144, 152–153 (1938). In answering these questions, we presume the statute under review is constitutional and may strike it down only on a “plain showing”that Congress acted irrationally. United States v. Morrison, 529 U. S. 598, 607 (2000).
Straightforward application of these principles would require the Court to hold that the minimum coverage provision is proper Commerce Clause legislation. Beyond dispute, Congress had a rational basis for concluding that the uninsured, as a class, substantially affect interstate commerce. Those without insurance consume billions of dollars of health-care products and services each year. See supra, at 5. Those goods are produced, sold, and delivered largely by national and regional companies who routinely transact business across state lines. The uninsured also cross state lines to receive care. Some have medical emergencies while away from home. Others, when sick, go to a neighboring State that provides better care for those who have not prepaid for care.[…]
Rather than evaluating the constitutionality of the minimum coverage provision in the manner established by our precedents, THE CHIEF JUSTICE relies on a newly minted constitutional doctrine. The commerce power does not, THE CHIEF JUSTICE announces, permit Congress to “compe[l] individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product.” Ante, at 20 (emphasis deleted).
THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s novel constraint on Congress’ commerce power gains no force from our precedent and for that reason alone warrants disapprobation.
With regard to the Necessary and Proper power, Justice Ginsburg wrote (joined by the 3 other moderate Justices):
For the reasons explained above, the minimum coverage provision is valid Commerce Clause legislation. See supra, Part II. When viewed as a component of the entire ACA, the provision’s constitutionality becomes even plainer.
The Necessary and Proper Clause “empowers Congress to enact laws in effectuation of its [commerce] powe[r] that are not within its authority to enact in isolation.” Raich, 545 U. S., at 39 (SCALIA, J., concurring in judgment). Hence, “[a] complex regulatory program . . . can survive a Commerce Clause challenge without a showing that every single facet of the program is independently and directly related to a valid congressional goal.” Indiana, 452 U. S., at 329, n. 17. “It is enough that the challenged provisions are an integral part of the regulatory program and that the regulatory scheme when considered as a whole satisfies this test.” Ibid. (collecting cases). See also Raich, 545 U. S., at 24–25 (A challenged statutory provision fits within Congress’ commerce authority if it is an “essential par[t] of a larger regulation of economic activity,”such that, in the absence of the provision, “the regulatory scheme could be undercut.” (quoting Lopez, 514 U. S., at 561)); Raich, 545 U. S., at 37 (SCALIA, J., concurring in judgment) (“Congress may regulate even noneconomic local activity if that regulation is a necessary part of a more general regulation of interstate commerce. The relevant question is simply whether the means chosen are ‘reasonably adapted’ to the attainment of a legitimate end under the commerce power.” (citation omitted)).
Remarkably, the Roberts five cited federalism concerns in denying the Congress its long established Commerce and Necessary and Proper power. As Justice Ginsburg notes, the chief justice makes his constitutional argument out of whole cloth:
THE CHIEF JUSTICE urges, because the command “undermine[s] the structure of government established by the Constitution.” Ante, at 28. If long on hetoric, THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s argument is short on substance. THE CHIEF JUSTICE cites only two cases in which this Court concluded that a federal statute impermissibly transgressed the Constitution’s boundary between state and federal authority: Printz v. United States, 521 U. S. 898 (1997), and New York v. United States, 505 U. S. 144 (1992). See ante, at 29. The statutes at issue in both cases, however, compelled state officials to act on the Federal Government’s behalf. 521 U. S., at 925–933 (holding unconstitutional a statute obligating state law enforcement officers to implement a federal gun-control law); New York, 505 U. S., at 176–177 (striking down a statute requiring state legislators to pass regulations pursuant to Congress’ instructions). “[Federal] laws conscripting state officers,” the Court reasoned, “violate state sovereignty and are thus not in accord with the Constitution.” Printz, 521 U. S., at 925, 935; New York, 505 U. S., at 176.
The minimum coverage provision, in contrast, acts “directly upon individuals, without employing the States as intermediaries.” New York, 505 U. S., at 164. The provision is thus entirely consistent with the Constitution’s design. See Printz, 521 U. S., at 920 (“[T]he Framers explicitly chose a Constitution that confers upon Congress the power to regulate individuals, not States.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).
Lacking case law support for his holding, THE CHIEF JUSTICE nevertheless declares the minimum coverage provision not “proper” because it is less “narrow in scope” than other laws this Court has upheld under the Necessary and Proper Clause. Ante, at 29 (citing United States v. Comstock, 560 U. S. ___ (2010); Sabri v. United States, 541 U. S. 600 (2004); Jinks v. Richland County, 538 U. S. 456 (2003)). THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s reliance on cases in which this Court has affirmed Congress’ “broad authority to enact federal legislation” under the Necessary and Proper Clause, Comstock, 560 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 5), is underwhelming.
Nor does THE CHIEF JUSTICE pause to explain why the power to direct either the purchase of health insurance or, alternatively, the payment of a penalty collectible as a tax is more far-reaching than other implied powers this Court has found meet under the Necessary and Proper Clause.These powers include the power to enact criminal laws, see, e.g., United States v. Fox, 95 U. S. 670, 672 (1878); the power to imprison, including civil imprisonment, see, e.g., Comstock, 560 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 1); and the power to create a national bank, see McCulloch, 4 Wheat., at 425. See also Jinks, 538 U. S., at 463 (affirming Congress’ power to alter the way a state law is applied in state court, where the alteration “promotes fair and efficient operation of the federal courts”).10
In failing to explain why the individual mandate threatens our constitutional order, THE CHIEF JUSTICE disserves future courts. How is a judge to decide, when ruling on the constitutionality of a federal statute, whether Congress employed an “independent power,” ante, at 28, or merely a “derivative” one, ante, at 29. Whether the power used is “substantive,” ante, at 30, or just “incidental,” ante, at 29? The instruction THE CHIEF JUSTICE, in effect, provides lower courts: You will know it when you see it.
Justice Ginsburg is much too sanguine here. The Roberts five will tell them in later cases. The undoing of the New Deal must begin somewhere. This is not the end of the Roberts five assault on the New Deal. It is only the beginning. Justice Ginsburg writes:
In the early 20th century, this Court regularly struck down economic regulation enacted by the peoples’ representatives in both the States and the Federal Government. See, e.g., Carter Coal Co., 298 U. S., at 303–304, 309–310; Dagenhart, 247 U. S., at 276–277; Lochner v. New York, 198 U. S. 45, 64 (1905).
THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s Commerce Clause opinion, and even more so the joint dissenters’ reasoning, see post, at 4–16, bear a disquieting resemblance to those long-overruled decisions. Ultimately, the Court upholds the individual mandate as a proper exercise of Congress’ power to tax and spend“ for the . . . general Welfare of the United States.” Art. I, §8, cl. 1; ante, at 43–44. I concur in that determination, which makes THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s Commerce Clause essay all the more puzzling. Why should THE CHIEF JUSTICE strive so mightily to hem in Congress’ capacity to meet the new problems arising constantly in our ever developing modern economy? I find no satisfying response to that question in his opinion.12 [Emphasis supplied.]
There is no satisfying response, but there is an obvious one—the Roberts five seek to dismantle the New Deal jurisprudence. With no need to even opine on the Commerce and Necessary and Proper question, Chief Justice Roberts has written an unfathomable opinion whose motive can only be the laying of groundwork—the groundwork to undo the New Deal.
Now, more than ever, we see the Roberts five agenda. We must reelect President Obama in order to stop it.
Yves here. I must put paid to Big Tent Democrat’s touching faith that Obama has any intention of appointing more liberal jurists to the Supreme Court, or even more important, that re-electing Obama is the way to prevent the rightward drift of the high court. BTD’s last line reminded Lambert fo “Carthago delenda est.”
As Hugh pointed out on a recent post by Matt Stoller:
I am amused by the Obama apologists on this thread invoking partisan reasons why we should support their transpartisan candidate. I especially like the recycling of talkingpoints like “Vote for Obama because OMG Romney’s Supreme Court choices!” This was tired and discredited when it was trotted out 4 years ago. Since then Obama has put two people on the Supreme Court, both corporatists. The main difference is that Sotomayor is a technician whereas Kagan believes in the doctrine of vast Executive powers. Neither is liberal, neither is even remotely progressive. So we are being told to vote for Obama because he will nominate people to the Supreme Court who don’t represent your views. And this is supposed to induce me to vote for him how exactly?
Oh yeah, because Romney’s choices will be so much worse. Oh noes! Except for this one little thing or actually 3 things. Democrats hold the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee is composed of 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans. The Democrats could vote down any nominee either in committee or on the Senate floor. Even if they didn’t have majority control, they could still filibuster any nominee. The only way Romney could nominate anyone to the Supreme Court is with the collusion of the Democrats. In other words, if a “terrible” Romney choice made it to the Supreme Court, it would be because Democrats helped him do it. And we all know this is the way it would go down because that’s how all the conservative nutcases currently on the Court got there. So again, this is supposed to make me want to vote for Democrats exactly why?
Much as I like Matt’s piece, I have to say this could have and should have been written back in say the Fall of 2009. By that point, Obama had already put together an impressive record of selling out those who voted for him and had shown on virtually every issue that he is firmly opposed to any progressive and any progressive idea, bar none.
Angry Bear has a post up in sharp disagreement with this one.
I’d like a sidebar (so as not to drag this totally off topic) to address Hugh’s point that “Stoller’s post should have been written in 2009.” Brad DeLong introduces the “Class Of” concept this way:
I don’t want to quibble about whether there’s any such thing as an honest conservative. And DeLong is too generous with his cut-off: If his idea of an honest conservative includes Andrew Sullivan, then the cut-off needs to be 2003, before Bush’s first re-elect. Which makes sense.
My point is the “Class of” formulation. Stoller is of the class of 2009. I am of the class of 2008. But there’s a class of 1994 that broke with the Ds over NAFTA, and they could say of me, just as Hugh says of Stoller, that all my work should have been written in 1996. Which isn’t really helpful to either of us.
I do think, however, that the cut-off point for being an honorable left/progressive/liberal is the Class of 2012. It’s not possible to support, or vote for, Obama in 2012 and be honorable (at least without confession, remorse, and amended behavior). I mean, come on. Whacking US citizens with no due process at all? Based on some kinda secret enabling act? That alone should be enough to make anyone look for a new path.
NOTE Adding… That deprogramming one’s self from the binary thinking and strategic hate management created by the legacy parties is not easy. So being from the Class of 2009 is way better than never graduating at all!
I don’t think this is quite fair. You can find Stoller having written critical stuff on Obama in 2004-2007, repeatedly. He was almost thrown out of the Democratic convention in 2004 from daring to take issue with the fawning response to Obama’s speech, for instance. He toned it way down in 2008 because he was working with Dem Congressional candidates.
Point taken. It’s the “class of” formulation I want to highlight; not the dates. I accepted Hugh’s “2009” date as a given.
“The Democrats could vote down any nominee either in committee or on the Senate floor. Even if they didn’t have majority control, they could still filibuster any nominee. The only way Romney could nominate anyone to the Supreme Court is with the collusion of the Democrats. In other words, if a “terrible” Romney choice made it to the Supreme Court, it would be because Democrats helped him do it.”
This is complete nonsense of course. The INSTANT that Democrats tried to block a Romney nominee the Republicans would howl with faux outrage. The media would be filled with blather about the “unprecedented level of obstructionism by the Democrats in Congress” and the Senate Majority leader would move immediately to the “Nuclear Option.”
They were all set to do this during the Bush administration but only deferred because Democrats agreed to cave on all of Bush’s judicial nominees and allow them to get an up or down vote in the Senate.
The end of the filibuster is likely to happen anyway the next time a Republican President is elected regardless of the issue.
But, to pretend that there’s no difference between a centrist moderate corporatist Democrat and a Scalia, Thomas, Alito or Roberts is idiotic.
Democrats won’t take us back to the Lockner Era and say that every attempt by Congress to regulate commerce is in violation of the Commerce Clause or the Takings Clause or the 10th Amendment, or some other insane extremist position.
Another Alito on the court will make solving any of the problems in America impossible for the next 25 years, regardless of what happens at the ballot box.
If we are to prevent this we must elect Democrats in the next THREE presidential elections. Because the reactionaries on the current court will try and wait until a Republican can appoint their replacement before they think of resigning.
Garbage. Just like the crap that comes out of all 9 fascist fuckwads on the Supreme Court.
When you see a progressive jumping up and down waving his arms begging you to help a fascist war criminal murderer because they other guys are worse, you should run the other way.
All 9 Justices are fascists. They devise a few 5-4 decisions to keep the pretext of a constititional republic alive.
This Supreme Court allows the government to assassinate people and then keep it hidden on national security principles. All 9 justices should be impeached for their substantive legal opinions on this issue. They are excusing government murder.
I can go on to issue after issue where even the liberal opposition if fascist . . . like 4th Amendment jurisprudence.
We imprison the most people in the world. We live in a police state. We kill the most people in the world. Illegally. Over and over with no repercussions. And the Supreme Court says it’s all legal.
Fuck the Supreme Court and fuck the apologists for fascism like these fink progressives.
Go flap your arms up and down at the dead Yemeni kid your Obama cluster bombed to death. Getting worked up about what flavor of fascist war criminal to support is sick and twisted . . . like most progressives.
Nice comment, if somewhat over the top emotionally. Time to read “Liberal Fascism” by Goldberg for a more sophisticated less emotional understanding of the MO of the Progressive/Fascist state…a State in which the individual exists only to further the goals of the State….under the Obama/Fascists it seems as if the USA is moving to a sytem between the National Socialists of Germany (note the race based decisions of the O administration) and the Italiam Fascists. In both models, the State controlled the large corporations and instituted crony capitalism, not the other way around.
I once would have erupted into even more of a rage at your suggestion that I learn from J. Goldberg.
I still seriously doubt I can learn much from him but maybe my liberal affiliation has blinded me.
After all, I just learned that pretty much most of what I knew about Hitler and the Nazis is bullshit. Propaganda. I am reevaluating the history of the world over the last 100 years or so ago because I think we have been misled.
And actually, I have to admit I unfairly called Jonah an idiot, etc., when I first heard the premise of the book–that Hitler was liberal or progressive. But now I see the truth was more complicated than I was trained to know. For instance, the German treatment of labor was not as fascist as I once assumed. Sure, Hitler and the Nazis ended the old trade unions and labor unions, but they created an alternative that may have been pretty good when compared to the American system. German workers had rights those in the U.S. didn’t.
Plus, Hitler threw out the Rothschild central bankers and had Germany issue its own currency, from what I understand. This is huge, if this is correct (it’s very hard to find information on and I did a pretty good first search). This is all history I never heard before recently and I’m still learning about it. Does J. Goldberg fairly cover those topics? I suspect he has an agenda that I won’t find helpful, but I’m open to being totally wrong about him.
Love your honesty Walter…their fascism relies fully on our compliance. They are telling US to jump into their lake of fire. I’m ñot jumping.
I would pretty much only be interested in reading the book if he has original reporting in it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did because of his mother’s role in releasing information. Was he chosen to release sensitive info on Wilson on the Democrats?
Lambert said; ”My point is the “Class of” formulation. Stoller is of the class of 2009. I am of the class of 2008. But there’s a class of 1994 that broke with the Ds over NAFTA, and they could say of me, just as Hugh says of Stoller, that all my work should have been written in 1996. Which isn’t really helpful to either of us.”
What is helpful and important is to recognize the trend — the rapidly increasing trend now I might add — in the “deprogramming one’s self from the binary thinking and strategic hate management created by the legacy parties” that is taking place. More people are getting on to the scam and realizing how poorly they are being used, especially those with some positional influence like Stoller. It is simply a matter of time.
No the deprogramming is not easy, but it is made more so by Robert’s transparent machinations which indicate that it is far more than hate management for profit at work here. The incremental and intentional nature of the herd thinning, and the shift to a two tier ruler and rule world with the ruled in perpetual conflict with each other becomes more obvious as each day goes by. This particular destruction of the ‘rule of law’ in this instance, the ACA decision, parallels the also intentional destruction of two hundred plus years of real estate title law with the MERS blow up. You are right to be so alarmed, truly dark forces are at work here.
Be ready with the election boycott organization and the Constitutional rewrite effort. Triggering events are close at hand.
Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.
WC, ALL in the “three branches of government” are “COURTIERS” in a newfangled “Versailles”- as Chris Hedges has pointed out recently on Truthdig. His most recent book review illustrates the self-gratifying delusions of the new Master Class Agency.
Sara Robinson expounds on the evolution of the “brutal strain of American aristocrats” in her piece recently on Alternet: “Conservative Southern Values …” –
The Compleat Southern Strategy has been accomplished: Nobility Reich IV.
Yes. You might be interested in this post (before your time here, I think). When I say “a change in the constitutional order” that implies a change in jurisprudence (among other things). All the exploding heads on this case come from cognitive dissonance caused by the — unrecognized! — meta-political implications for jurisprudence which IMSHO BTD susses out correctly*. (Note that if you take this view, the composition of the Supreme Court is complete kabuki. (I am not one who believes that the law is a straightforward readout of power relations; the legal system is effective as a means of social control exactly because it has relative autonomy (except in crises (engineered or otherwise))).
NOTE * One nice thing about this view is that it makes Bush v. Gore essential, rather than accidental. I mean, what would be more appropriate (at least if you’re a Straussian) than nine wise men picking the President?
My scenario is “a government of national unity” to “deal with the current crisis” by “ending bipartisanship.” I don’t think Obama can execute that. General Petraeus could, however.
Lambert, you’re full of surprises. But, then, that’s what active thinking on the fly of a “liberal mind” (a la Jefferson) in the midst of a discussion does for us. Your last point takes us on a new path of consideration. NC is the People’s Senate.
How about General Wesley Clark?
p.s. He himself, tossed under the bus, as was Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich,.. and prior to that Howard Dean (branded as Mr Godzilla Roar by the MSM) .. like somehow getting worked up during a speech/pep-rally is something completely Un-American, heh — oh the irony; of the Flag-Wavers, and Freedom-Fries proponents, and all those “Shoppers” after 9/11
sigh .. perhaps i missed your sarcasm;
Were you referring to Patreus as a better agent at ‘Enforcing the Military State more effectively than O’Sellout ever could’? .. i think not, since you referred to ending Bi-Partisanship, but maybe i’m slow ;)
“deprogramming one’s self from the binary thinking and strategic hate management created by the legacy parties” that is taking place”
De-programme yourself all you like, but stop hating the republicans?
America is NOT normal democracy, where both sides are roughly equally to blame for it ‘s problems. You’re deceiving yourself if you think otherwise.
So in other words you don’t want to deprogram. You agree with the programming!
My ‘class of’ moment occurred more or less when Orszag was on Jon Stewart show, and Jon Stewart asked what I thought was a fairly insightful question: Why are you bailing out the mortgage bonds held by the banks but not the underlying mortgages, which would similarly help the banks but also help the people in underwater homes? And Orszag just laughed and said he didn’t know. I was dumbfounded.
Someone, Something, Somewhere (CIA/NSA duh) is attempting to ameliorate the “Class Warfare” meme, which is the Truth and strikes at the heart of the matter; .. do NOT let yourself be sucked into the vortex of the “Class of ____” MSM propaganda scheme please.
If I understand it correctly, the “class of” meme is just a way of indicating what events inspired different groups of people to break with party orthodoxy. Please explain how this meme serves some MSM/CIA/NSA agenda. Is it your position that any text that does not have the phrase “class warfare” in it is a distraction from class warfare?
This is just my humble opinion, but i understand why it is (class of___) being used; to easily let others know when their moment of awakening occured (and which events may have led to that revelation/realization).
“Class of ____” equals
– Came of Age
– Wised Up …
and your longer definition indeed; however – it’s inherently a way to ‘stratify’ and ‘divide’ … Does it really matter *when* someone finally Woke Up? I don’t think so, so long as they remain *awake* ;-)
So … yes, Class(es)(ifications) are derisive and should be left aside for the most part, unless we’re talking about the one and only truly important Class distinction (99%).
p.s. Personally, for me, i knew we were going down in flames once Reagan (and pondscum Maggie) got in … and i was only a bitty teen then .. I’ve never supported (nor voted for) any major Duopoly candidates.
You don’t live in Platos republic, Lambert, but in Lincoln’s dung heap.
You have very limited choices. Utopia ain’t one of them.
Syn, forget Plato. We’re going for Solon’s worldview.
Even being of the class of ’96, at least with regard to Pres elections, qualifies me as a “late comer” in some eyes. I was a registered Dem until last year sometime but never considered registered affiliation as controlling. I remember being chastised by lefties for defending Kucinich – but being a pragmatist with regard to principle, I didn’t much care about affiliation – when Kucinich didn’t get the nomination it was, IMO, a seamless switch to Nader in the elections. I could never understand how Kucinich supporters could vote for Kerry or Obama, or how Labor could vote for Clinton or Gore. I was willing to vote for a Dem, as long as certain criteria re principle/policy were met; however when Kucinich caved on healthcare, it was clear to me the Dem “label” was hopelessly compromised …
What matters, it seems to me, is what we do with our new found “enlightenment”, whenever it is we find it. It is in this spirit that one of my new “benchmarks” for measuring the depth/sincerity of conversion is the extent to which the critics, old or newly minted, are actually willing, not only to consider, but support, alternatives to the duopoly. If one isn’t willing to do that, it seems to me one hasn’t quite cut the umbilical cord – still hoping for some last minute miraculous resurrection; what else can explain the reluctance to openly commit to an alternative?
I see a lot of critique of Dems/Reps, on all fronts, on all levels – some superficial, some devastating, some profound, some BS, some well written, some incomprehensible – but if there is no consideration of alternatives, then please, pray tell, what is the point ….. To my way of thinking, there really is none other than to let off steam – and no one is really serious about changing anything …
By these “lights”, I realize i have to put up or shut up – I invite others to join me ….
Stop Stop Stop! with this ‘Class of ____’ nonsense! You allow yourself to be “Classified” i.e., Segregated, i.e., Divided and Conquered!
Seems to me you are the one hung up on the “class” concept – and missed or ignored the whole point of my post, which was that it doesn’t really matter the date, or “class”, of one’s enlightenment re Dems, what matters is what one does with it.
Focusing on one phrase, as you have done here, is, of course, another way to derail a conversation, but i am sure that was not your intent ….
Indeed, it was not;
I owe you an apology, sincerely – I had only read your 1st paragraph (or less) before jumping on the Reply button.
Now that i’ve read it all, I can see you too were referring to what i just posted not 5-10mins ago here (upthread, in reply to another commenter, and prior to me getting to read your reply to me). *When* is not important — and more importantly, as you so succinctly detailed, is what do we do about it now? Put up, or Shut up (basically) – so all in all, i concur entirely with your earlier posting, ..and my apologies once again.
Whatever you say about Kagan and Sotomayor, they are vastly superior choices than Roberts and Alito. There is no comparison between them: the latter are conspicuously pushing a massively reactionary re-reading and dismantling of the 20th century New Deal and later Constitutional interpretations, including the Warren and Berger eras. Sotomayor and Kagan are not. They may trend slightly corporate or authoritarian (at least Kagan might, not really sure about Sotomayor) but they live well within “our” universe and are not part of the vast right wing conspiracy to turn economic and labor rights back to the 19th century. In your piece you lay out the Roberts “five” project and how they are laying the groundwork to repeal the New Deal. Sotomayor and Kagan are not part of that five. Obama disgusts me thoroughly, but come on, we must admit that as regards the Supreme Court, he matters. A lot. I hate it. I really do. But its true.
I agree with YankeeFrank on this one.
I am a progressive Lib who can’t stant Obama. however, in the end I also understand that Obama’s SC nominations will be far better than Romney’s.
Dems having control of senate or not, in the end they will have to affirm SOMEBODY that Romney nominates. So instead of horrific we’ll just get terrible.
With Obama: we’ll get either terrible or maybe just really bad nominations.
My view for some time has been that both Romney and Obama will push forward a pro-big business corporate agenda. However, they do have some differences from a social agenda standpoint. We have lost the battle to improve US Financial health and we have lost the battle for rule of law. We may win small victories in the name of social justice. Small victories. Maybe.
@Yankee and Yearning: Just remember, the Republicans tell us they’re going to F- us over, and then they F- us over.
The Democrats tell us they’re going to help us, and then they F- us over. Would you rather have honest fascists, or lying, cheating fascists?
These are the choices provided to us by our “democratic” system. I am certainly not going to vote for either.
I must say that I prefer honest fascists; easier to create an opposition.
Of course I will never vote for a fascist but if one wins anyway then at least the issues will be clearer.
Sooner or later one must recognize that constitutional law is nothing more than ideological nonsense dressed up with case citations. For at least 40 years we have been treated to the appointment of a succession of legal pygmies, and they might as well play Send in the Clowns when it sits for arguments. Those putting their faith in such rubbish are doomed to disappointment. The fact of life is corporate power and individual subservience to the imperial market state. That liberals are lauding a decision that completely undermines individual freedom in the name of expediency is a tell on their lack of intellectual integrity. Forcing young and healthy people to purchase utterly worthless and fraudlently administered health insurance is a shameful capitulation to corporate greed. Meanwhile, the military marches on with its obscene waste of financial resources that could pay the nation’s health care bill three times over. Perhaps somebody can explain why health care is a proper subject of insurance at all, since everyone requires it. But the whole subject is simply a bad joke on the suckers who will now be gouged for one more useless service they need like a case of boils.
jc, “Send in the Clowns” clearly began with the Dark Trojan Horse appointment to the Court by George H.W.Bush, to advance his “New World Order” Romance.
Actually, it began with Nixon and his appointment of Rhenquist, a complete Congress of Vienna reactionary. Berger was another prize. His name could not have been better chosen by Moliere. Then, the appointments got progressively worse. They find a black stooge, a gay stooge, a female stooge or two, a latina, all of them emerging out of nowhere, chosen for reasons of self congratulation by presidential buffoons. That Scalia is a walking hotchpot of Chicago stupidity. There hasn’t been one legitimate nominee in forty years. The stuff they write is complete rubbish. Ask anyone who studied law before 1970. It was an entirely different subject then.
This is why “reprograming” is needed. Looking to identity issues rather than the overarching issue of economic justice has kept us powerless for decades. Power comes when workers (most of us) unite in solidarity. TPTB (the 1% and their paid lackeys) were fine with MLKJr until he joined the civil rights movement with the fight for justice in the workplace; that is when he marched with the sanitation workers of Memphis for their dignity. We discovered on this site thru Mark Ames that the ACLU aint no friend to labor. We learn that the labor union bosses abandoned the pro labor candidate George McGovern to back Richard Nixon.
The court and congress are a bunch of clowns who perform for the Fat Cats in gold cufflinks who can’t even hide their scorn anymore. They throw some crumbs so you may on paper not be abused for being gay, black, a migrant, or a woman. But, oh boy, can they make sure they keep you poorer and unhealthier. They take away your dignity. “A necessitous man is not a free man.” Yes, libertarians on the right please note. The court is not about freedom for the individual. And liberals please note. The court is not about freedom for the individual or the collective bunch of us.
Who sits in those silly black robes and spews out gibberish is no reason to participate in this farce called “managed democracy” and “inverted totalitarianism”. (Sheldon Wolin “Democracy Inc.”)
Fight for the right not to work. Fight for the right to have time to think. There is no DIGNITY in joining with Democrats.
“You got to let go of remote control”
Can’t figure out how to embed video. Trying to link to Michael Shanti and Spearhead from their album “All Rebel Rockers”. “Hey world, you got to put up a fight!” http://youtu.be/pmrjRZLvoJM
“Reprograming” involves looking outside yourself.
No, they don’t “have to” “affirm.” They could refuse the nominations until they get one they can live with. That is exactly what the Rs would do. So why don’t the Ds use the tactic? Because they can live with the outcomes, that’s why. And why is that? Because both parties are in fundamental agreement on policy, that’s why. Obama passing RomneyCare should tell anybody that whose ears are open to hear.
But the Senate will affirm someone. It will be someone either Romney or Obama nominate. Whomever Romney nominates, and the Senate confirms, Democrat majority or no, WILL very likely behave actively in rolling back the New Deal, whomever Obama nominates, quite less likely so. I think we must accept these things as facts in terms of their likelihood.
So a Romney presidency is quite likely materially more harmful than an Obama one, even with either being distinctly suboptimal. Am I right or wrong? This is what keeps me moving back toward voting for Obama, much as the idea makes me ill to think of it.
YL, how do you square your fears over SCOTUS appointments with the bold assertions of Roberto Unger, who must know the “risks” better than you?
“In your piece you lay out the Roberts “five” project and how they are laying the groundwork to repeal the New Deal. Sotomayor and Kagan are not part of that five.”
According to my understanding, the ACA “Roberts Five” are:
Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor.
If Kangan and Sotomayor really disliked Roberts’ over reaching, then they should have dropped out. They didn’t drop out.
And, yes, Kagan is an authoritarian with a weak case for appointment all around–which should make one doubly suspicious.
Great point. Like in politics, each Justice may have used a slightly different rationale to provide cover for herself, but they got to the same point eventually. It’s like Tom Friedman saying he doesn’t support the Iraq war for the same reasons as Bush, but he supports the war nevertheless.
The slightly different rationales are done to confuse and keep hope alive. These Justices are not “finding” the constitution, they will use taxing, necessary and proper, or the commerce clause if it suits them. It doesn’t matter. It’s cover.
Also, how did the Medicaid argument break down? I haven’t read the opinion super close so I didn’t see the breakdown for the different parts of the opinion. But this is a very destructive part of the opinion and how many “liberal” justices sided with this argument?
WWM, right, Kagan and Sotomayor are “weak sisters” for false “show.”
It does appear that “The Federalist Society” rules SCOTUS, no matter what. This is a “kangaroo court” if ever there was one.
I didn’t understand from this (I guess technical) article why people were saying the decision “undermines the New Deal”– a pretty dramatic claim. So, I googled around a bit this morning to find someone to give it to me in baby-talk:
Apparently, the argument boils down to something like this:
“Where does the Roberts ruling leave us? With a race-to-the-bottom patchwork of state systems that takes us back to the pre-Civil War, certainly pre-New Deal era. The implications for Flowers’s goal—a single-payer, national government-run health plan—are grave. But as Flowers points out, pick any national law—from the regulation of water quality to the protection of women’s health, or workers’ safety. For arguably the first time, states now have the right to reject any new Congressional spending requirements as coercive—and unconstitutional.
“Medicaid is a prototypical example of federal-state cooperation in serving the Nation’s general welfare,” writes Ginsberg in that stinging dissent. From welfare “reform” to multicultural education, since the 1930s, lawmaking over national issues has increasingly left states to interpret and implement the rules—pressure from states’ advocates made sure of it. All those laws are more vulnerable today than they were before yesterday’s ruling.”
OTOH, this post suggests that the Union** is yet intact:
**Having spied the States’ Rights ooga booga I think I’ve spotted a new O-Bot campaign topic, (and now I’m sorry I looked).
There is no satisfying response, but there is an obvious one—the Roberts five seek to dismantle the New Deal jurisprudence. Big Tent Democrat
Of course. This is a battle between welfare for the rich and the banks and welfare for their victims. Who is the Federal Government to get between the ravenous wolves and the sheep?
Federal Government deficit spending creates money and the rich hate that their purchasing power may be diluted. This is why there is always enough money for defense contractors (owned by the rich) but never enough for social programs.
F. Beard, dead on.
Obomneycare was enacted for PRECISELY ONE PURPOSE: to guarantee an absolute monopoly to insurance companies.
All this junk about “constitutional” “principles” is totally irrelevant, since the written constitution was repealed by Marbury v Madison in 1803.
I’m with you on that one. Obamacare being upheld snapped my last remaining sense of civic duty and attachment to what has become of America.
I don’t give a single frickin crap anymore.
I have just decided to quit voting, quit working hard, and start sucking as much free stuff from the government trough as I can get my hands on till the collapse–which I am using the extra spending money I’m garnering from this strategy to prepare better for.
Algernon: “Lane’s views on marriage seem somewhat lax. Really, if the lower orders don’t set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility.”
Welcome to the club, J Gordon! I quit voting eleven years ago.
One saves countless hours of valuable time, by not bothering to communicate with incerebrate KongressKlowns, read the comical multilingual sample ballots that come in the mail, or pay attention to the partisan kiddies flinging feces at each other in the Left-Right, Dem-Rep playpen.
When the system is run by kleptocratic criminals, everybody should have an angle to exploit it until it collapses.
Add a broken health care cartel to a hypertrophied military empire, and the U.S. economy will sink like a cast-iron boat anchor, as the looters at the top grab what they can, while they can.
Yep. These convoluted opinions are decorative adornment to raw power. The words are nearly meaningless.
The idea that 4 of them are wearing white hats is ludicrous.
polistra, Barack is UXORIOUS, don’t forget. Michelle a servant to BigMedFIRE.
The success of that “vast right wing conspiracy to turn economic and labor rights back to the 19th century” might bring the pain needed to mobilize Americans against the status quo. Heck… Lenin called for his country, Russia, to lose against Germany in WWI to accelerate the revolutionary process.
100 years later, the left is constantly capitulating on the alter of pragmatic “lesser-evilism,” only to find that the dilemmas keep producing more and ever increasing amounts of “evil.”
So, in terms of advancing a political program in the face of a game rigged against it, who is really more pragmatic and sensible: the capitulators or the intransigents?
so for many of the commenters on this site, what are the possibilities?
1. armed struggle, a la the weather underground.
2. a great awakening by the american people; a new consciousness, caused by
the obvious truth of say, what lambert strether thinks.
3. working to achieve specific progressive goals (bank reform?) within the
i think most of you have given up on 1 and 3 and are hoping for 2. that is
why you are the leftout left.
You left out strategy number 4: stop working hard and just participate in the looting along with the kleptocratic criminals who are running America.
I mean, why do the whole armed rebellion thing anyway? The collapse of the current system is inevitable. The only question that’s unanswered is what proactive steps you and I undertake to hasten and gain from it.
I’ll second that, except the “gain” part which makes me think of gold hoarders.
I’d say we need to be preparing, educatng and organizing for that collapse in a spirit of mutual aid.
By gaining from it you also become another person’s oppressor though. So while we all have to make compromises and some level of support for the system is inevitable, many of us don’t like/won’t oppress other people.
Exactly! And as the economist’s are wont to say, it’s all about the incentives. As in, once the perception that systemic/govermental collapse becomes entrenched (and I think we’re already close to that), it becomes in everyone’s best interest to participate in its collapse, lest they be left out in the final division of the spoils. Starve the beast indeed!
Just a small point of order:
The Weather Underground were likely working for the man and were agents provocateurs/intelligence assets so I would not use them as a stand in for resistance.
Maybe the Indians were a more sincere resistance movement? Or the labor movement especially in the earlier parts of the 20th Century?
Unfortunately, the elite have gotten really good at controlling us and putting finks like Bill Ayers and Barack Obama in the role of resistance.
The I.W.W. have the right ideas. At the turn of the 20th century, they were advocating for more free time rather than the socialists and progressive “reformers” who advocated higher wages and reprogramming immigrants. Wages still keep you at the mercy of the owners. Leisure time is yours to do with what you will. To sing, dance, make up things like shish kebob and rock and roll. (courtesy of David Graeber in “Revolutions in Reverse”)available free on line.
Yep. Americans love saying that socialism has never worked but in this country is was crushed early on. And it was crushed largely by Democrats co-opting their ideas and watering them down into acceptably capitalistic policies.
Did I read on this blog how Keynes proposed something like a 10 hour work week over 50 years ago? We have so much wealth it doesn’t make sense to make so many people work so many hours. If we simply stopped wasting money on wars and bankers and capitalists we could all work very little and enjoy much more. And if we stopped this Puritan idea that we all have to have “careers” and work really hard to be valuable, we would be better off.
In a way we would almost be better off starting over from scratch 100 years ago. If we would only have realized the extent of the capitalist threat back then.
Walter Wit Man said;
Fast Forwarding 100 years –>
If we would only have realized [back then: i.e., now] the extent of the [Nanotechnology, DNA-manipulation, Genetic Engineering] threat back then.
There, fixed it fer ‘ya
You left out a strategy of non-violent civil resistance. I can’t imagine why, since it’s been shown to be effective.
Effective when you have no weapons and not about to get any by being a client state of the enemy of your enemy, who becomes a temporary friend. The Viet Namese used warfare against the US and won. So much for bowing down non-violently.
4. Move to New Zealand
Lesser of two evils: our choice between cat shit and dog shit; it’s still shit.
I’m not sure how this fits in (my main question would be why, if this is indeed who/what inspired Roberts to write what he did, he does not refer to Brandeis), but this seems worth reading:
A “sunny day”?
A mere “dark cloud”?
The mindblock on the American bourgeoisie seemingly knows no limit as concerns thinking or speaking about reality in the U.S.
WTF is needed to awaken these seemingly intelligent people – I mean, I’m sure they can at least all tie their own shoes – from their propagandistic slumber as they somnambulistically trudge towards the implementation of a full-frontal, full-blown fascist regime is breathtaking.
Since AT LEAST 2000 the USSC has shown itself to be a complete and total fraud as concerns jurisprudence and yet here we are 12 years later still debating whether or not the choice of POTUS actually will have some sort of effect upon our lives vis a vis these 9 frauds.
At this rate, the American populace will be ready to enact some sort of real change, oh, by around the year 2120.
What will it finally take people to truly understand the circumstances around them, that the institutions/social constructs of today are merely the gutted simulacra of entities that have long since lost any real meaning and significance as concerns the ability to change their lives/stations.
A “dark cloud”?
How can you see it when night has already fallen?
The American masses exhibit the Stockholm Syndrome. They have bought the Big Lie, they live in fear of loss, ramped daily by their captors, and they catapult the captor’s meme-du-jour on command. They are “mindless.”
“Yesterday, a happy day for many of us, where the Affordable Care Act was upheld in a 5-4 decision ”
uggg, as a liberal, I really hoped that ACA would be overturned in its entirety in a blatantly partisan opinion. As striking down ACA would be the only chance to open up a path to a single-payer system.
Any hope for a Medicare-for-all plan is dead for a long time, if not forever.
Yeah, I had the same physical reaction to reading that.
Ugggg indeed, a progressive Democrat marker being laid down that is jarring to those outside the ‘movement.’
It’s almost like progressive thought leaders are conditioning their readers by going through a forced celebration of progressive ideals. “Every progressive should cheer Obama for finally standing up to the GOP and telling them that Bush tax cuts only benefit the rich . . . . ” BTD often does this; laying down progressive conventional wisdom as Gospel and preventing any debate. Laying down markers.
And the importance of the Supreme Court to progressives is one huge marker. [the idea the ‘public option’ was great was also another marker laid down not to be questioned]
Booman is good at laying down markers as well . . . as is Glenn Greenwald now that I mention it.
Maybe I’m misconstruing confidence for laying down a marker though . . .
Well done, Yves.
I must put paid to Big Tent Democrat’s touching faith that Obama has any intention of appointing more liberal jurists to the Supreme Court, or even more important, that re-electing Obama is the way to prevent the rightward drift of the high court. BTD’s last line reminded Lambert fo “Carthago delenda est.”
In the context of this post, this comment and what follows it are very unpersuasive. Say what you will, but Kagan and Sotomayor voted with the majority to defer to Congress and uphold a piece of social and economic legislation. Does anyone doubt the Romney will continue to appoint people in the mold of Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas?
I would like more progressive judges. We’re probably not going to get any from Obama. But we also aren’t going to get Federalist Society creatures who are determined to take us back to the Lochner era.
If you set your mind to it, a supreme court can be brought around.. Just threaten to stack more judges; worked fine the last time. Or write new legislation, which will take years to get there. Worked great for ‘legalizing’ Gitmo.
And if SCOTUS is really the last hope of progressive America, the US is already doomed, given that they’ve been a conservative court under every head except Warren.
Yes, I take your point that a more politicized court could be worse, but this is only troubling in light of the fact that the entire system is rotten, so that you *know* that none of the balancing checks will act.
I agree it’s depressing. And I don’t think the Supreme Court is the last best hope for anything. I don’t go in for apocalyptic, last chance thinking. It’s just part of the mix.
I’m really not all that interested in the presidential race. Change in this country isn’t going to come from the top. But insofar as the choice is between two very unsatisfactory individuals, it is important to line up the pros and cons in some sort of rational manner.
Whether you like it or not, the Act is divisive and will be fought. As government policy it has already failed, in that governments exist to bring people together. Not chop them into pieces and then set them against each other.
Exactly. You could see ObamaCare, and the “progressive” defenses of it, as a repudiation of the idea that “an injury to one is an injury to all.”
Yeah, now we have these classes who will terribly resent each other:
1. The Poor: those on Medicaid which is a state-level decision. Obamacare proposed a minimum floor of 133% of the fed. poverty line ($23,050 for family of 4). But it looks like Texas will be the floor and provide Medicaid to those families of four making under $9,000/year up to New York and other states that go up to 150% of the poverty line. But basically individuals that make under $12,000 a year and families of four that make under $20,000 or so.
2. Just above “poor”: which is actually poor too if you count the typical expenses. So these families of 4 making over $9,000 in Texas and $25,000 or so in New York, will be forced to buy Obamacare, although the government has said it will subsidize the care and provide direct payments to insurance companies. I haven’t seen the numbers exactly but Roberts used the example of a $400 policy in his opinion so let’s use that. This family of 4 may have to pay 1/2 (I’m approximating from memory and appreciate correction), or $200 or so a month. Plus they will have to pay if they get sick because the insurance is probably crappy.
3. Those in higher brackets who are have to buy insurance because they are self-employed—let’s say families of 4 making over $100,000.
4. Those that get health care through work. These lucky duckies are America’s favored sons and daughters. This segment (~35%?) of society are the real winners.
5. Those on Medicare or Tricare. More lucky duckies. But society will not resent these groups getting efficient single payer health care so this group won’t be resented but the system will be attacked instead for being inefficient (see the military privatizing health care for e.g.).
So group number 1 is going to be heavily resented for getting relatively good care and having to pay the least.
Now, more than ever, we see the Roberts five agenda. We must reelect President Obama in order to stop it.
From news reports I understand the man in the White House signs execution orders on a weekly basis.
More entries like this and I will not be back.
You owe us an apology.
This comment appears to assume that this site (NC) or Yves is responsible for that quote. That is awesomely wrong — the quote is solely (and obviously) the view of BTD. IN FACT, Yves criticised BTD’s view directly below the section that you quoted.
The owner of the blog takes responsibility for what is posted.
If you want a site where everybody sings in chorus, I’d recommend Daily Kos, or its equivalent for your tribal affiliation.
Thanks LS for that gracious response to Dave. It’s a good lesson for me — you saved me from the embarrassment of “going postal”. I have no patience for authoritarian liberals.
I love debating/criticizing progressives like BTD and the Daily Kos people. They are in fact much more dangerous than the right wingers!
But at a certain point the elite benefit from the infighting, see e.g. Obamacare fight. It’s one thing to criticize them, but joining them in an endless debate may play into their hand.
I personally am very distrustful of the role of the progressive blogosphere. I believe most of it is controlled.
The war against Syria is huge and is getting almost NO attention in this country or the progressive blogosphere.
I find this astounding and appalling.
And the Supreme Court is getting 10 times the emotion and attention that our new wars in the Middle East should be getting.
Yup, divert, distract, divide and conquer works reliably every time.
This thread reminds me of Michael Caine’s line in Goldmember: “There’s only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch.”
The war in Syria and the inevitable direct participation of “NATO” in the person of the US, is getting lots of attention on any given day, on the “blogosphere”. The courts ACA decision is EXTRODINARILY important and personally i hope the fighting over it continues, until its onerous mandates are a memory.
Can you READ??? I took exception to that quote at the close. Just because someone makes dubious recommendations does not undermine the analysis.
The argument from Big Tent Democrat is wrong and confused.
The truth is that this decision cannot really be used as precedent in future court decisions. The Majority cited two different reasons for upholding ACA. Four thought it was valid under the Commerce Clause, one thought it was valid only as an exercise of Federal taxing power. All that is needed is for 5 justices to approve the law, regardless of their various reasons for doing so.
Does this mean that the Liberal 4 thought that ACA was valid also as an exercise of the taxing power? Sort of, but apparently they do not say that. Can this decision be used in the future to strike down laws justified as valid under the Commerce Clause? Well, not really, since the the whole Commerce Clause argument is dictum — it’s beside the point since it wasn’t used by a majority of five as the basis of the decision. The Commerce Clause argument is mostly just hand-waving by the conservatives.
I happen to think that it was a good thing that the conservative five said that the mandate part would be invalid under the Commerce Clause. The Commerce Clause must mean something and must be capable of being used, if constitutional law itself means anything. Otherwise the government could just issue laws by fiat on any issue it felt like. For instance, Congress could pass a law banning nosepicking or spitting in public, or ordering everyone to eat vegetables once a day or not wear baggy pants.
The individual mandate is ridiculous and insulting. At least someone called them out on it.
So, can the Commerce Clause argument used by the five justices be used to retroactively strike down New Deal and New Society legislation? I doubt it. In the first place, this argument is dicta, as I said, and second, the ND/NS laws do substantially effect interstate economic activity and there is a long history to prove that point.
Roberts was right – the ACA really is a tax. It’s tax on younger folks, aged 27-50, who make from $25-60k salary and are healthy and don’t need health insurance and don’t get insurance from their jobs (i.e. the Walmart class). In other words, it’s a tax on the lower middle class to pay for benefits to the lower class.
The commerce clause was last centuries fight.
But it doesn’t matter anyway. It’s not like Congress was going to pass any good laws based on it now anyway.
There are no issues with Medicare for All, for instance.
They are just creating something to fight about to distract us.
I don’t really think the American people care anyway. There’s not much fuss for single payer at all.
The medias main objective is to keep US as uniformed as possible.
“In other words, it’s a tax on the lower middle class to pay for benefits to the lower class.”
No it isn’t. The poor are funded by the State.
Obamacare is a tax on the lower middle class to float the health care financing products market so loved by the upper middle class– who are, let’s recall lest we forget– the D-Party’s only popular constituency.
Roberto Unger’s advice is sound. There’s no winning this war without a strategic retreat from the battlefield.
The eternal question remains, what power has truth to defeat a Big Lie driven by relentless propaganda from Agents of a false dichotomy?
We face a massively impressive Political Potemkin Village, displayed in front of a rotten “Extraction Capitalist” empire ruled by the Global “Blood Nobility” of .01% DNA and their .99% Agents du jour. The AUTHORITARIAN Puppet Corporate “Market” State apparatus is the “Strong Father Figure” holding the Authoritarian American masses in bondage through fear of radical loss. The captive American masses FEEL CERTAIN that they will survive ONLY through blind obedience to the “Strong Father” SYMBOL of Power and Protection.
George Lakoff, in “MORAL POLITICS: How Liberals and Conservatives Think,” shows our dilemma–as Non-Authoritarian Agents of Responsible Self-Governance. In order to “feel secure,” the Authoritarian fearful masses demand an Authoritarian “Ultra-Conservative” Reich, a Closed System with CENTRALIZED POWER to the Master: the Strong Father Figure, aided by his Militant Agency Machines for collective thrust into the larger world for power and spoils, in a Triumphalist Will to Power–just like Hitler’s Third Reich.
How can WE, who favor DECENTRALIZED POWER to the People Participating in Open Democracy, individually, and/or in teams, engaging in free speech and freedom of the press, be a worthy, benevolent counter-force to the Totalitarian Oppression and Exploitation of the malignant force above?
Is this even possible? This is the question that Roberto Unger dares us to answer in the affirmative, without delay.
Adding weight to our dilemma is the percentage of “religious” in America, who appeal to a Strong Father Figure daily, as “Father God” of their Authoritarian Ideal image. It is the fear, raging despair, and pathetic impotence of the “religious” American masses that makes them PREY to such as “The Rev. Haggi” and other tools of the .01% Global Reich, who promise them “deliverance” from horror and misery by the advancement of the “Armageddon” Morality Play and the “Left Behind” Triumphalist Fantasies of “Divine Election” and “Return-of-the-Hero” Grandeur.
See: “RACING TOWARD ARMAGEDDON: The Three Great Religions and the Plot to End the World” by Michael Baigent (2009), for an interpretation of the captivity of the majority of “terrified/hopeful” American masses, which aids and abets the Absolute Despotism of the Global .01% via their .99% Agency.
In light of the ferocious appetite of this Complex Authoritarian Ultra-Conservative LEVIATHAN of Religion + Politics + Economics on steroids, should we not gather together in rapt attention to Roberto Unger, a fully -evolved, grounded human being of great intelligence and wisdom, as he attempts to lead us to realizing the potential for legitimate “Progressive” Agency in the World in C.21 and beyond?
Can we evolve humanely, or must we capitulate to the verdict of Hume?
Leonova is inspired, in top form again today. Brava!
From what I’ve read, the biggest winners following the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare, in terms of stock gains, are managed care companies like Centene Corp. (NYSE:CNC) and Molina Healthcare (NYSE:MOH), both that deal exclusively with the Medicaid patient population. I suppose this is because ObamaCare will greatly expand the number of Americans who qualify for Medicaid benefits.
What I find deplorable about this is that these two Wall Street firms are using taxpayer money in the form of Medicaid dollars to hand out multi-million dollar salaries to their top executives (see link below). How can they sleep at night knowing that the more money they give to their overpaid executives, the less money they have to treat and care for Medicaid patient, many of whom are suffering from very costly and debilitating illnesses.
And why is there no public outrage over this! If federal and state bureaucrats, who are in charge of the Medicaid program, have salaries which amount to no more than $200,000 to $300,000 a year, then the public should demand that the corporate executives, who are running managed care companies exclusively for Medicaid recipients, should also have salaries that amount to no more than $200,00 to $300,000 a year.
The taxpaying public shouldn’t be allow to dictate how much money people make from money being generated in the private sector, but they most definitely should be allowed to dictate how much money people make from money being generated in the public sector. What Centene Corp.and Molina Healthcare are doing is corporate welfare at its worst, and it’s the public’s responsibility to put a stop to it!
Cynthia, the stage is set for “Extraction Capitalism” in a long, long run.
Thanks for pointing this out. Good observations.
I too can see how Medicaid will be expanded.
This is the way I understand the law: the feds will pay 100% of costs for the expansion of Medicaid to 133% of the poverty line until 2020, then will pay 90% of costs.
The Republicans have a valid argument that even though the federal government will pick up most costs the extra costs in 2020 are like the last straw on a camel’s back considering the rising costs generally.
But I can see how states will be tempted to sign up because of the extra money it will bring to the state and it can provide service to their poor. Like Texas. I saw that currently they only cover families of 4 that make under $9,000/yr. Wow. Texas seems harsher than Saudi Arabia in many ways. No wonder they love putting people to death there too.
Anyway, I can see many states bump it up from say 100% to the 133% or whatever, and then use it as an excuse to cut Medicaid more generally.
This is no way to run a health care system!
They mandated we pay extortion money (premiums) to the blood sucking health insurance companies or we get taxed?
We demand private health insurance companies cap the pay of all employees including CEOs at $200,000 and less.
No more stock options.
No more private jets.
No more overseas junkets.
No more golden parachutes.
No more making millionaires and billionaires from our mandated premiums.
Dude, they don’t care what YOU or I think. Verbal demands go nowhere. If you want a demand, get an army.
I demand that you reduce your income and start sucking free government benefits. The more louses on this flee bag the sooner it goes down.
A tax is a tax. People with health insurance are already paying higher premiums to help cover the people without insurance that wind up in the ER so the tax is already there. How do you know in advance which people don’t need health insurance? I wonder if anyone ever did a study on how many people from birth (was a doctor present?) to death (did a doctor try to prolong or save his life?) never got sick or had an accident requiring a doctor’s care?
And insurance itself is a tax.
It’s totally unnecessary and doesn’t even exist in many parts of the world.
Ever wonder why Americans pay so much for crappy health care results?
It’s because of the insurance tax, drug profit protection tax, and political bribe tax.
We’re taxed to death! Except the “tax” comes under the guise of a free market product. A perfect analogy for our entire neoliberal capitalist system.
Perfect description of the problem. and now that corporate profits are being collected directly by the IRS,how can it be any more obvious? Mybe you should learn to draw and go on you tube and diagram it for people as a public service.
One could call it a “privatax”, if that seems like a useful word.
An important policy announcement:
Single Payer health care alone cannot save us.
We also need to provide socialized medicine and possibly nationalize the drug industry.
And I don’t think we should model the socialize medicine on Bernie Sanders bill, but on Castro’s! Ha.
We need to hit the reset button on our political ideas.
or perhaps, pull the reset trigger
Well Walter, at least you not trying to be a pseudo intellectual phony by making cut rate legal analysis in addition to the banking, finance and geo-political prononcements that this site is well known for, and I mean in a positive sense.
Yea, even a nationalized single payer health care system still has to buy supplies, drugs and medical devices, not to mention computers, phones, etc to operate. And no, there are no govenment factories making hospital supplies, drugs and medical devices. So, by the constraints of the society in which we actually have to live in everyday, as opposed to the utiopia/dystopia in some many people’s heads, all of the government spending will be passed through to for profit corps and some non profit hospital systems and med schools. It can’t be any other way until there is another economy that matches the output of the one we have now. Maybe some billionaire Ivy League Endowment will buy up abandoned vaccine labs and run them as coop work and teaching factories and pump out all kinds of drugs at cost.
Health care reform is a huge win for the people by the tens of millions who will fianlly get to see a doctor, get some meds and maybe live better and longer at the same time. It is so unfortunate that their lives improving will be the just another strand of piano wire unspooled by the jack boot of neo-liberal oppression. While the hysterical conspiracy buffs here de-construct the de-nationalization of our country based on up todate crypto-democratic theories, theories so clever in piercing the veil of appearance to get to the truth, I will point out one more Obama jiu-jitsu of epic Trojan Horse proportions:
Obamacare signed the death warrant for neo-liberal abandonment of the precious rule of law and vital government regulation. The Healcare Reform Act sets an entire industry’s profti margins at 15-20%. As a statutory requirement, 80-85% of all of the for profit health insurance premiums most to to, get this, health care. Not profits, not executive salaries. From the commanding heights of capitalism, health care is now under the control of a constitututionally validated mandate to set profits margins by a democratically controlled legislature. And I like that on a theoretical level as well as a poltical level. Medicaid will expand. And it can be paid for with taxes. And the private mass market for profit health insurannce sector will shrink due to an inability to operate as little more than a regualted utility.
The legal mumbojumbo is irrelevant now. The whole populace will come under health care, lives will improve and the poltical future is ours to make. Not the determinism of legal mechanistic manuevers. Thank you Walter Wit Man for saving me from honors class legal clinic study group.
Oh, I’m tempted to go into the legal mumbojumbo. But I’ve fought this one before*, plus I”m like ten times more cynical now and all I can see is the judges naked before me so I can’t focus on the arguments.
Good point about that supplies are needed, etc. This is the part that I would think would be contracted ou to private parties though–like for scissors, tape, beds, gowns, gauze, etc. My idea of putting a nurse practitioner or doctor in public schools would be simple and involve just the basic supplies. Many schools probably dropped nurses over the years and may even have space for a clinic/room. And the government would pay the salary for the nurse or doctor, etc. Why not? This seems more efficient than even single payer.
One interesting in between area is ambulances. Should they be government run like fire houses? Or private? I would think socialized would be best.
I do disagree with you about Obamacare being good. Sure, there will be millions more that will get insurance, and many more millions that will be required to get it but wont’ pay it. Most of these people being ordered to pay for this defective and criminal product can’t afford it. Basic living costs are spiraling out of control, especially for those in the bottom 50%. They are slowly being squeezed.
Sure, some with acute medical needs MAY be better off from this bill. But the COST of austerity on America will have a direct effect on our health and our health care system. It’s all cumulative. The extra college costs, the extra gas costs, the extra copays, the extra public school costs, etc., etc., and everyone is FORCED to pay huge amounts for insurance.
And we are dismantling parts of our health care system so as to give a few people the benefit of overpaying for a defective product. It’s criminal. It’s wrong. It’s not a step in the right direction. It’s a step in the wrong direction.
*I remember the liberal outrage at the Rhenquist Court’s 1995 Lopez decision that announced the rise of the conservative interpretation of the commerce clause–at the time old school liberals were horrified but I remember being hopeful that this conservative ‘federalist society’ interpretation would result in the repeal of many federal crimes, as it did in Lopez (invalidating a gun regulation). Now I realize how naive that hope was–the Court cannot be trusted to fairly apply principles.
“Yea, even a nationalized single payer health care system still has to buy supplies, drugs and medical devices, not to mention computers, phones, etc to operate.”
Does Medicare operate this way? Do the dozens of other single-payer countries with and better outcomes handle this effectively? They do in fact.
I find it astonishing that so many conservatives (including those disguised as liberals) conspicuously deny all of the manifest cost-benefit advantages to single-payer, concretely measurable in so many real-world models, simply because it doesn’t fit their elitist privateer-profiteer ideology.
This is the constituency that Obama is serving with his Death-Panel Profiteer Bailout Act, now rubber-stamped by the court.
As for your presumed benefits, which many hope to see in 2014, I suspect most will prove vaporous illusions as the myriad lobbyist loopholes and qualifiers buried in thousands of pages float the the surface of the sewage pond.
This is a case of a terrible law with terrible provisions, like the mandate, put together by a terrible Congress and a terrible President and affirmed by a terrible Supreme Court for equally terrible reasons.
The ACA is not a healthcare law. It is a healthcare insurance law. Its aim is not to provide better healthcare to all Americans. If that were the case, the Congress could have passed a one page bill establishing Medicare for All. Its purpose is to deliver up the last untapped chunk of the healthcare market, the uninsured with some resources, to be harvested by the insurance companies. In exchange, the insurance companies will sell them insurance that many, and perhaps most, will find too expensive to use. And the government now has the Court approved power to penalize them if they don’t. What gets lost in all this is that healthcare is a human right, not a duty subject to penalties.
Roberts is probably the best writer on the Court. Kennedy, by contrast, is a dreadful writer. Scalia is flaky. These are the three justices that actually have a recognizable voice on the Court, but all three use just the most abysmal legal thinking imaginable. Roberts’ decision on the ACA is a perfect example of this. The writing is good but the ideas are a jumble, but a jumble which advances conservative ideas.
However, it is not Roberts’ take on the Commerce Clause, the Taxing Clause, or the Spending Clause which will render more difficult the passage of meaningful legislation promoting the social welfare. That and virtually all other legislation addressing the hopes and needs of the 99% won’t happen because we live in a kleptocracy. Our elites are only interested in things that benefit them, things they can loot. That is why, from beginning to end, this whole process has been so terrible from the viewpoint of the 99%. It simply was never about us, except as incidental rubes and potential victims.
Hugh, do you think Roberts is writing his own opinions “unaided?”
Clerks lay much of the ground work. I think on important cases there is a tension between the compromises needed to secure a majority and the Justice’s desire to put their stamp upon the decision. It’s also important to remember with Roberts that he is Mr. Federalist Society. So it is not real hard to see where he is coming from.
On routine cases, the clerks I think have more input. Thomas, for example, often gets the routine stuff and the rumor has always been that his opinions have been pretty much written by his clerks, with him just dictating the direction and main points.
The place where Justices express what they really think is in the dissents.
Commerce clause and gov’t for that matter are out of control. The gov’t can force a farmer not to plant wheat? NYC can fine me for drinking a 32 ounce soda and someone who can self-insure will be taxed for not taking out health insurance. The libertarians have a point, and for those that are fans of big government keep in mind that the government fails to enforce the laws anytime a big bank breaks them.
Libertarians have many good ideas but as far as I can tell the only driving principle behind conservatives is that government should serve the rich ONLY.
Lately our system of government feels like a kleptocacy. Libertarians want less gov’t not an effort directed at the rich. No this is a byproduct of big gov’t and Keynsian ideas in practice if not in theory.
Conservatives are not libertarians. And even many so-called libertarians believe in a fascist gold standard.
A great little book is “Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction” by Colin Ward. Chapter 7 is called “The Individualist Response”. Big difference between right and left libertarians is their views of the state and private property.
Anyone with better information feel free to correct me. I found the voting on this decision very confusing. As best I can tell, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan provided Roberts the votes needed to approve his decision, even though they disagreed with large portions of it. At the same time, the rest of the conservative wing comprised of Kennedy, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas agreed with most of the opinion but voted against it.
I had originally thought that the opinion represented the shifting votes on each of its sections. The conservatives approving some and the “liberals” others, but I no longer think this is true. Thoughts?
Political fix is the only conclusion I can come to.
James is right, IMO. I suspect the Supine Court operates with wink-and-nod collusion similar to Congress, giving theatrical political cover for preordained decisions to various colleagues as needed. And I am sure confusion was a key objective, as it was in Bush v Gore. Robert’s decision is nonsensical, except as a setup for destroying the last of the New Deal.
“Political fix” is the right way to put it.
The decision was very peculiar, to say the least.
Normally the SC looks at both opposing sets of briefs and then essentially picks one set and publishes it as its own, with a little tweaking. Here, the majority consists of neither. Roberts has plucked a minor rationale in the lower court decisions (both for and against ACA) — the taxing power — and made it the overriding factor.
The lack of a common basis for agreement among the majority of five means that this is a special decision which sets no precedent for any future decisions (like Bush v. Gore). Plus you have Roberts siding with the four liberals — which as happened only once before, on a minor case.
I heard one talking head on the radio opine that this was really a political decision, namely, that Roberts had been talking to the Obama folks and reached his decision as a result. He would give them Obamacare, but individual states could opt out and the right-wing idealogues would get a Commerce Clause victory as a consolation. The commentator also noted that there was some language in the minority decision that sounded as they were actually writing the majority decion — which makes it look like it was a last minute decision by Roberts to side with Obamacare.
This makes perfect sense. Roberts is not really so much a right-wing idealogue (like Scalia), as a Corporatist, a puppet and fixer for the Establishment – corporations, Wall Street, FIRE, Bilderbergs, CFR, the usual suspects among TPTB.
The Establishment has no reason to dislike Obamacare, since it doesn’t cut into their profits and indeed could be a healthy new profit center in the future. As I said before, it is the lower middle-class who bears most of the cost.
If one wants to kill fascism then one must kill “credit creation” – the means by which the rich and banks loot everyone else.
The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks. Lord Acton
How can the payments for the ACA be considered a tax?
Taxes are collected by the Treasury’s general fund for the general welfare.
In this case, the Treasury’s general fund merely acts as a convenient conduit, not for the general welfare, but for the specific welfare of health insurance companies, and only secondarily for the welfare of the citizens.
I imagine it’s gone the way of the 5th Amendment takings clause where now simply giving public money to rich jerks is in the public interest.
I can even see them interpreting the spending power this way! Government expenditures for the general welfare have to proportional to wealth, or something, and therefore all spending has to be trickle down. Ha. Ha?
Mr. Lambert, time to read Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism”. In a word, historically: Progressivism = Fascism…..And the State controlled the big corporations, not the other way around.
Re[s]electing Obama makes perfect sense for a blog like TalkLeft[MoveRight]. Fearmongering works, and you’ll see exactly the same lines about the Supine Court at MoveOn, DailyKos, HuffPo, and MSNBS.
Obama is doing the will of the American people however it happens to be the will of those on the right. For 25 years I have cringed and cringed again at the American people for voting in these idiots and more like them over and over again. It is we that need to change and it is we that have to get 80% of the population on the same page before true change will occur. And the people must lose everything is my guess before they finally wake up and realize they have been robbed of their liberty, robbed of their finances, robbed of their rights and robbed of their country. Will it happen before it’s too late for a decent recovery? I think we have already passed that milestone, it will not.
Walter Wit Man at 9:35A.M. stated:
“The Weather Underground were likely working for the man and were agent provocateurs/intelligence assets so I would not use them as a stand-in tor resistance.”
Walter, let me give you an alternative interpretation of the Weather Underground phenomenon that does not involve conspiracy.
Incrementally over a number of years many of the individuals attracted to the Weathermen became increasingly disillusioned with what they saw as the political passivity and supposed lack of moral outrage by much of the American populace about what was taking place in Vietnam.
This increasingly critical attitude toward the average American, combined with a sense of personal self-righteousness about their own individual capacities to somehow see through the propaganda of the State, led them to a deluded sense of martyrdom which they eventually acted on.
It was a combination of egoism and contempt for the average American that created the Weather Underground.
They no longer saw themselves as a part of a political movement but rather as a political force separate from and morally superior to those they attempted to lead.
Yeah. Totally plausible.
I didn’t mean to imply everyone involved was working for the man. It’s mostly Ayers and the leaders I suspect.
Well, that explains the New Left. But what explains the Weather Underground?