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Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Must-Read: Byron York's Article on SCOTUS Ruling

Click here to read Byron York's column on Roberts' sleight-of-hand upholding of Obamacare.

The Robert Decision - The Ends Justifies the Means

Pity all those poor workers who don’t get to listen to Rush Limbaugh in the afternoons.  Had they been able to, they would have learned the frankly shocking details of how this case was handled.

This is the transcript from Rush's broadcast, where he talked about Byron York's column in the Washington Examiner:

"Byron York went and looked at the first day of oral argument. When you hear this, you are going to be angrier than you even are right now. You're going to relive the first day of oral arguments where they talked about this as a tax. And the court allowed the government to argue both ways, that it was a tax one day, and they allowed the government to argue the next day that it wasn't a tax. First two days of oral arguments are where you find the answer to all the inexplicable questions here.

RUSH: Byron York wrote his piece at the DC Examiner yesterday: "No one knew it at the time, but the key moment in the Supreme Court Obamacare case came on March 26, the first day of oral arguments, when few people were paying close attention. Before getting to the heart of the case, the justices first wanted to deal with what seemed to be a side issue: Was the penalty imposed by the individual mandate in Obamacare a tax?"

The first question the justices had for the lawyers: Is this a tax?

"If it was, the case would run afoul of a 19th century-law known as the Anti-Injunction Act, which said a tax cannot be challenged in court until someone has actually been forced to pay it." Well, the Obamacare taxes don't implement until 2014. So on the first day of oral arguments, if Obamacare is a tax, the court would have to throw it out because nobody had paid the tax yet. So the first day of oral arguments, the justices want to know, they asked the government, is this a tax? The government said no. Because everybody wanted the case tried, everybody wanted it adjudicated and they wanted it adjudicated now.

"Since the Obamacare mandate wouldn't go into effect until 2014, that would mean there could be no court case until then." So on the first day of oral arguments, the government said, no, it's not a tax. Well, we could stop right there if we wanted to. We could stop after the first 30 minutes of oral argument, back on March 26th, skip everything that happened between then and yesterday, and then go to Justice Roberts' ruling, where he found it to be a tax.
What next stood in the way of a clear path to upholding the Affordable Health Care Act was a piece of legislation called the Commerce Clause.  This clause essentially says that you can’t “tax” or “fine” a customer for not purchasing a product.

 The Commerce Clause is an enumerated power listed in the U.S. Constitution:

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:

[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

The Commerce Clause Power is often amplified by the Necessary and Proper Clause which states this Commerce Clause power, and all of the other enumerated powers, may be implemented by the power "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." The Necessary and Proper Clause is the final clause of Article I, section 8. However, the Constitution is clearer about the role of the Congress vis-a-vis interstate commerce in Article I, Section 9, Clauses 1, 5 and 6, though the interpretation of Section 8 and Section 9 could depend on the circumstances presented by specific cases.
Questions over the range and applicability of the Commerce Clause have arisen in debate over the constitutionality of Obamacare.  The debate centers around whether Congress is authorized to require citizens to purchase health insurance from the private market, known as the Individual Mandate. Congress claims authority from the Commerce Clause. However, many opponents of the PPACA have claimed that the individual mandate exceeds Congress's authority thereunder, primarily on the position that the law attempts to define the non-purchase of insurance as “commerce”.
The Necessary and Proper Clause (also known as the Elastic Clause, the Basket Clause, the Coefficient Clause, and the Sweeping Clause) is the provision in Article I of the Constitution:
The Congress shall have Power - To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

SCOTUS voted against this provision for the Affordable Health Care Act, with the government arguing that the individual mandate was not a tax.  But then, Rush tells us, in order to get the bill ruled as a tax, the Supreme Court had to hire a third lawyer to argue that it was, in fact, a tax.  The bill is filled with taxes – 22 by last count – and it wasn’t hard for this hired gun to prove that it was or for Roberts to rule so.

What the decision finally read is this, with the summary first, followed by the actual written opinions of the nine justices:

“In 2010, Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in order to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance and decrease the cost of health.  One key provision is the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to maintain ‘minimum essential’ health insurance coverage.  26 U.S.C. #5000A.  For individuals who are not exempt and do not receive health insurance through an employer or government program, the means of satisfying the requirement is to purchase insurance from a private company.  Beginning in 2014, those who do not comply with the mandate must make a ‘shared responsibility payment’ to the Federal Government.  #5000A(b)(1).  The Act provides that this ‘penalty’ will be paid to the Internal Revenue Service with an individual’s taxes, and ‘shall be assessed and collected in the same manner’ as tax penalties. ##5000A(c), (g)(1).”


“1.       CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the court with respect to Part II, concluding that the Anti-Injunction Act does not bar this suit.

            The Anti-Injunction Act provides that ‘no suite for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person,” 26 U.S.C. #7421(a), so that those subject to a tax must first pay it and then sue for a refund.  The present challenge seeks to restrain the collection of the shared responsibility payment from those who do not comply with the individual mandate.  But Congress did not intend the payment to be treated as a “tax” for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act.  The Affordable Care Act describes the payment as a ‘penalty,’ not a ‘tax.’  That label cannot control whether the payment is a tax for the purposes of the Constitution, but it does determine the application of the Anti-Injunction Act.  The Anti-Injunction Act therefore does not bar this suit.”

2.         CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS  concluded in Part III-A that the individual mandate is not a valid exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause.

            (a)        The Constitution grants Congress the power to ‘regulate Commerce.”  Art. I, #8, cl. 3.  The power to regulate commerce presupposes the existence of commercial activity to be regulated.  This Court’s precedent reflects this understanding.  As expansive as this Court’s cases construing the scope of the commerce have been, they uniformly describe the power as reaching ‘activity.’  The individual mandate, however, does not regulate existing commercial activity.  It instead compels individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product, on the ground that their failure to do so affects interstate commerce.

            Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individual precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority.  Congress already possesses expansive power to regulate what people do.  Upholding the Affordable Care Act under the Commerce Clause would give Congress the same license to regulate what people do not do.  The Framers knew the difference between doing something and doing nothing.  They gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it.  Ignoring that distinction would undermine the principle that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerate powers.  The individual mandate thus cannot be sustained under Congress’ power to ‘regulate Commerce.’”

(b) Nor can the individual mandate be sustained under the Necessary and Proper Clause as an integral part of the Affordable Care Act’s other reforms…. The individual mandate, by contrast, vests Congress with the extraordinary ability to create the necessary predicate to the exercises of an enumerated power and draw within its regulatory scope those who would otherwise be outside of it.  Even if the individual mandate is ‘necessary’ to the Affordable Care Act’s other reforms, such an expansion of federal power is not a ‘proper’ means for making those reforms effective.

3.  CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS concluded in Part III-B that the individual mandate must be construed as imposing a tax on those who do not have health insurance, if such a construction is reasonable.

            The most straightforward reading of the individual mandate is that it commands individuals to purchase insurance.  But, for the reasons explained, the Commerce Clause does not give Congress that power.  It is therefore necessary to turn to the Government’s alternative argument:  that the mandate may be upheld as within Congress’ power to ‘lay and collect Taxes.’  Art. I, S.8, cl. 1.”

And so, SCOTUS turned to an alternative attorney to make that case, and then reasoned thus:

“4.   CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Part III-C, concluding that the individual mandate may be upheld as within Congress’ power under the Taxing Clause.

“(a)  The Affordable Care Act describes the ‘shared responsibility payment’ as a ‘penalty’ not a ‘tax.’  That label is fatal to the application of the Anti-Injunction Act.  It does not, however, control whether an exaction within Congress’ power to tax.  In answering that constitutional question, this Court follows a functional approach, ‘disregarding the designation of the exaction, and viewing its substance and application.’  United States v. Constantine, 296 U.S. 287, 294.”

In other words, the authors of Obamacare carefully avoided the word “tax” but since Congress can only “tax” not “penalize”  (any dictionary will tell you a tax is a penalty), the Court decided to assume that they meant “tax” so that the bill could pass.

(b)  Such an analysis suggests that the shared responsibility payment may, for constitutional purposes, be considered a tax.  The payment is not so high that there is really no choice but to buy health insurance; the payment is not limited to willful violations; as penalties for unlawful acts often are; and the payment is collected solely by the IRS through the normal means of taxation.  None of this is to say that payment is not intended to induce the purchase of health insurance.  But the mandate need not be read to declare that failing to do so is unlawful.  Neither the Affordable Care Act nor any other law attaches negative legal consequences to not buying health insurance, beyond requiring a payment to the IRS.  And Congress’ choice of language – stating that individuals ‘shall” obtain insurance or pay a “penalty” – does not require reading S.50000A as punishing unlawful conduct.  It may also be read as imposing a tax on those who go without insurance.”

Further on in the decision, Justice Roberts states, “Congress may…’lay and collect taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.  Put simply, Congress may tax and spend.  This grant gives the Federal Government considerable influence even in areas where it cannot directly regulate.  The Federal Government may enact a tax on an activity that it cannot authorize, forbid or otherwise control.”

“The reach of the Federal Government’s enumerated powers is broader still because the Constitution authorizes Congress to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers.  Art. I, S.8, Cl. 18.  We have long read this provision to give Congress great latitude in exercising its powers:  “Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.”  McCulloch, 4 Wheat, at 421.

“Our permissive reading of these powers is explained by a general reticence to invalidate the acts of the Nation’s elected leaders.”

The ends justifies the means, in other words.

“Congress decision to label this exaction [the individual mandate] a “penalty” rather than a “tax” is significant because the Affordable Care Act describes many other exactions it creates as “taxes.”  Where Congress uses certain language in one part of a statute and different language in another, it is generally presumed that Congress acts intentionally.  See Russello v. United States, 464 U.S. 16, 23 (1983).

“Amicus (friend of the court, or the third attorney) argues that even though Congress did not label the shared responsibility payment a tax, we should treat it as such under the Anti-Injunction Act because it functions like a tax.  It is true that Congress cannot change where an exaction is a tax or penalty for constitutional purposes simply by describing it as one or the other.  Congress, may not, for example, expand its power under the Taxing Clause, or escape the Double Jeopardy’s Clause constraint on criminal sanctions, by labeling a severe financial punishment a “tax.”  See Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co., 259 U.S. 20, 36-37 (1922); Department of Revenue of Mont. V Kurth Ranch, 511 U.S. 767, 779 (1994).

“The Anti-Injunction Act and the Affordable Care Act, however, are creatures of Congress’ own creation.  How they relate to each other is up to Congress, and the best evidence of Congress’ intent is thte statutory text.  We have thus applied the Anti-Injunction Act to stator ‘taxes’ even where that label was inaccurate.  See Bailey v.  George, 259 U.S. 16 (1922).

The opinion goes on for over 200 pages, including the dissenting opinions.

“The Government advances two theories for the proposition that Congress had constitutional authority to enact the individual mandate.  First, the Government argues that Congress had the power to enact the mandate under the Commerce Clause.  Under that theory, Congress may order individuals to buy health insurance to do so affects interstate commerce, and could undercut the Affordable Care Act’s other reforms.  Second, the Government argues that if the commerce power does not support the mandate, we should nonetheless uphold it as an exercise of Congress’ power to tax.  According to the Government, even if Congress lacks the power to direct individuals to buy insurance, the only effect of the individual mandate is to raise taxes on those who do not do so, and thus the law may be upheld as a tax.

“The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part.  The individual mandate,” Roberts writes, “cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause.  That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage in it.  In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congess has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance.  Such legislation is within Congress’ power to tax.”

Thus is America railroaded into Obamacare, with its 2700 pages of onerous regulations and taxes.  Though Roberts’ upholding of Obamacare gives the GOP more leverage in the upcoming election, reading his decision proves that it was intentional, that the means justifies the ends, and that if one means doesn’t meet the Constitutional test, another will.

What is the meaning of tax?  What is the meaning of penalty?  What is “is”?  Roberts consciously determined that this law must be inflicted upon American citizens the same way Nancy Pelosi declared that the only way to find out what was in the bill was to pass it first.

Such deceit should not be upheld.  But that seems to be the order of the day.  Lying, cheating, stealing, and other calumny have all been legalized.  As Rush says, even if we wish to overturn the ruling, who will we be facing but this same court.  According Rush, Roberts openly declared that in his own, personal opinion, Obamacare simply had to be upheld.

Rush was fuming, as should we all be.  We must not abrogate our duty as citizens this November.  We must unite, educate those ignorant of these events, and vote in a responsible President, Senate, and other legislators.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The RFID Chip

Here’s some further information on the Radio Frequency ID Chip.  According to the bill’s language, the RFID chip language begins on page 1,000 of the Affordable Health Care Act:

“National Medical Device Registry”

(1)The Secretary shall establish a national medical device registry…to facilitate analysis of postmarket safety and outcomes data on each device that:

A.    Is or has been used in or on a patient; and

B.     Is

a.       (i) a class II device; or

b.      (ii) a class II device that is implantable, life-supporting, or life-sustaining

(2)  In developing the registry, the Secretary shall, in consultation with the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, determine the best methods for

(A) including in the registry, in a manner consistent with subsection (f), appropriate information to identify each device described in paragraph (1) by type, model, and serial number or other unique identifier;

(B) validating methods for analyzing patient safety and outcomes date from multiple sources and for linking such data with the information included in the registry as described in subparagraph (A), including, to the extent feasible, use of –

            (i) data provided to the Secretary under other provisions of this chapter; and

            (ii) information from public and private sources identified under paragraph (3);

(C)  integrating the activities described in this subsection with –

            (i) activities under paragraph (3) of section 505(l) (relating to active postmakret risk identification);

            (ii) activities under paragraph (4) of section 505(k) (relating to advanced analysis of drug safety data); and

            (iii) other postmarket device surveillance activities of the Secretary authorized by this chapter; and

(D) providing public access to the data and analysis collected  or developed through the registry in a manner and form that protects patient privacy and proprietary information and is comprehensive, useful, and not misleading to patients, physicians, and scientists

(3)(A) To facilitate analyses of postmarket safety and patient outcomes for devices described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall, in collaboration with public, academic, and private entities, develop methods to:

                        (i) obtain access to disparate sources of patient safety and outcomes data, including

                                    (I) Federal health-related electronic data (such as data from the Medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act or from the health systems of the Department of Veterans Affairs)

                                    (II) Private sector health-related electronic data (such as pharmaceutical purchase data and health insurance claims data): and

                                    (III) Other data as the Secretary deems necessary to permit postmarket assessment of device safety and effectiveness; and

                        (ii) link data obtained under clause (i) with information in the registry.

(B) In this paragraph, the term ‘data’ refers to information respecting a device described in paragraph (1), including claims data, patient survey data, standardized analytic files that allow for the pooling and analysis of data from disparate data environments, electronic  health records, and any other data deemed appropriate by the Secretary.

(4)  Not later than 36 months after the date of the enactment of this subsection, the Secretary shall promulgate regulations for establishment and operation of the registry under paragraph (1). 

Such regulations –

(A)(i) in the case of devices that are described in paragraph (1) and sold on or after the date of the enactment of this subsection, shall require manufacturers of such devices to submit information to the registry, including, for each such device, the type, model, and serial number or, if required under subsection (f), other unique device identifier; and

            (ii) in the case of devices that are described in paragraph (1) and sold before such date, may require manufacturers of such devices to submit such information to the registry, if deemed necessary by the Secretary to protect the public health;

(B) shall establish procedures –

            (i) to permit linkage of information submitted pursuant to subparagraph (A) with patient safety and outcomes data obtained under paragraph (3); and

            (ii) to permit analyses of linked data;

(C) may require device manufacturers to submit such other information as is necessary to facilitate postmarket assessments of device safety and effectiveness and notification of device risks;

(D) shall establish requirements for regular and timely reports to the Secretary, which shall be included in the registry, concerning adverse event trends, adverse event patterns, incidence and prevalence of adverse events, and other information the Secretary determines appropriate, which may include data on comparative safety and outcomes trends; and

(E) shall establish procedures to permit public access to the information in the registry in a manner and form that protects patient privacy and proprietary information and is comprehensive, useful, and not misleading to patients, physicians and scientists.

(5) To carry out this subsection, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2010 and 2011.”

(2)  Effective Date – The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish and begin implementation of the registry under section 519(g) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as added by paragraph (1), by not later than the date that is 36 months after the date of enactment of this Act, without regard to whether or not final regulations to establish and operate the registry have been promulgated by such date.”

The bill goes on to say, on page 1006:

“(b)  Electronic Exchange and Use in Certified Electronic Health Records of Unique Device Identifiers –

(1) Recommendations – The HIT Policy Committee established under section 3002 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300 jj-12) shall recommend to the head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria for the electronic exchange and use in certified electronic health records of a unique device identifier for each device described in Section 519(g)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as added by subsection (a).”

So, the RFID Chip Implant is not specifically mentioned in the Health Care Bill.  However, it is an actual medical device used to record information that is implanted under a patient’s skin.  It qualifies as one of the medical devices.

The danger here isn’t that the bill doesn’t mention this chip implant specifically, but that the Supreme Court ruling, and various other regulations within the Health Care Act, could eventually be construed as authority for the government to mandate that everyone have this implant.  The chip itself is not a figment of someone’s imagination; it exists.   The language of this bill – in various places - is just porous enough to allow the government to make such a mandate a reality.

A government that could require every citizen to purchase health care insurance, whether they want it or can afford it, can certainly authorize everyone to have this chip implanted.  Remember:  we didn’t think that Obamacare would pass the Constitutional test in the Supreme Court, but it did.  Thanks to SCOTUS, the federal government can now force us to purchase anything (or pay a fine for not doing so).

Although advocates of Obamacare would dismiss reports of the RFID Chip Implant as conspiratorial scare stories, this thing is a reality and something to be extremely concerned about in the future.  Right now, the language may only imply tracking of, say, a pacemaker.  We’ve seen what an overreaching government can do, however, and it’s certainly not beyond this administration’s capacity, at any time, to mandate this particular device for everyone.  Justification could be as simple as determining that it's necessary in case of an automobile accident.

SCOTUS and the language of the Obamacare bill have simply paved the way for such an implementation.  Be scared.  Be very, very scared.  We’ve already seen that, with this president, anything is possible and likely.

The Individual Mandate - A Good-for-Nothing Tax

Experts in the pundit world are still expressing shock over SCOTUS’ decision to uphold Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act).  In particular, they’re shocked that a judge appointed by a Republican president (George W.) would like with the Liberals against such a shocking misreading of the Constitution.

At issue is the Commerce Clause, which allows the government a pretty free hand in governing businesses between and within states.  SCOTUS read that to mean that Congress in its ability to tax businesses, and their customers, for buying and selling products, may also tax citizens who do not buy a product, in this case, health care insurance.

Obama spent yesterday spiking the socialist football and the Media found plenty of citizens who were happy to be getting yet another free ride on the backs of taxpayers.  Businesses, especially small businesses were not so happy at the prospect of either going bankrupt from paying high premiums for employee coverage or paying a considerable tax to escape that higher cost.  Either way, the businesses lose and Americans lose.

Obama promised a lot of things in selling this health care act.  He promised that the individual mandate wasn’t a tax.  The Supreme Court ruled it was.  Constitutional experts and political pundits can’t agree whether it is actually a tax or a regulatory penalty.  To those who must pay it because they can’t afford the premiums that will ensue in order to get proper coverage, it’s a moot point.  It means more money out of their pockets for nothing.  It’s a good-for-nothing tax.

He touted the fact that Americans would be able to keep their doctors.  Not my doctor.  I won’t be able to keep him because he said he plans to get out of the business if Obamacare is upheld, which it has been.  He’s a good doctor.  He saved our mother’s life from an affliction which kills most people – a triple aneurism.  He’s kind, patient, and has a great sense of humor, a bedside manner that’s a rare quality in doctors.

We’ll lose many good doctors to Obamacare.  Who can blame them?  The regulations in our state are already tremendously burdensome; the Federal government will be much worse.  Obama promises to reduce costs, but that’s because his white coats will deny care to those who need it most – the elderly and seriously ill.  He’s going to save that money to buy more constituents – able-bodied minorities who’ll be only too happy to accept free services for everything from contraception to pain-killers to free subscriptions to the local gym.

Health care is just the tip of the regulatory iceberg with Obamacare.  Obamacare delves into some surprising areas that have nothing to do with health.  One tax, in particular, a 3.8 percent tax on all real estate transactions.  The law includes some 19 new taxes. Here’s a rundown of what we can expect in the coming years.

In Washington State, individuals will pay a yearly penalty of $695, or up to 2.5 percent of their annual income, if they cannot show they have purchased a government-approved health policy.  Families will pay a yearly penalty of $347 per child, up to $2,250 per family, if parents cannot show they have purchased a government- approved policy.  Business owners with more than 50 employees must buy government-acceptable health coverage or pay a yearly penalty of $2,000 per employee if at least one employee receives a tax credit.

Obamacare imposes a 3.8 percent annual tax on investment income of individuals making $200,000 or more and on families making $250,000 or more. The new tax is not indexed to inflation, so more people will fall under it each year.  Seniors on fixed incomes and people with IRAs and 401(k) plans will be hit particularly hard.

But the best part of all this is that in most states, residents will begin paying Obamacare taxes this year, even though most benefits don’t start until 2014.  And an army of IRS agents is standing by to enforce the taxation.  The tax agency has hired 16,500 new auditors, agents and investigators to increase enforcement audits. The IRS can confiscate tax refunds, place liens on property and seek jail time if health-related penalties and taxes are not paid.

Obamacare even contains an added provision that would tax gold coin and bullion transactions. 
The tax comes in an obscure section of the tax code that deals with purchases by self-employed people and small businesses.

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, small businesses and self-employed people had to issue 1099 forms, which are used to track and report the miscellaneous income associated with services rendered by independent contractors or self-employed individuals, for every vendor with whom they do more than $600 business in a calendar year.   The new regulation is designed to gain more tax dollars to finance some of the healthcare bill’s other provisions.

And then, there’s the RFID chip implant.  This new law requires an RFID chip implanted in all of us. This chip will not only contain your personal information with tracking capability but it will also be linked to your bank account.   Page 1004 of the new law (dictating the timing of this chip), reads: “Not later than 36 months after the date of the enactment”.  That means by March 23rd of next year, we will all be required to have an RFID chip underneath our skin which will be linked to our bank accounts as well as  our personal records,  and will have tracking capability built into it.

According to Bankrupting America, “In a much awaited landmark ruling, the Supreme Court announced today the Affordable Care Act (ie. president’s health care bill) is largely constitutional. Of note, the individual mandate was upheld and requiring states to join a massive Medicare expansion was overturned.

Individual Mandate

The decision to uphold the individual mandate was based an understanding that the Affordable Care Act does not require individuals to purchase healthcare, but that the mandate acts as a tax on those who do not, and is thus constitutional.

  • In other words, the federal government cannot require people to purchase insurance, but it can tax them if they do not.
  • Because individuals can choose to pay a tax if they want to abstain from health insurance, the measure is constitutional.
  • It is currently unclear how it will affect the number of new healthcare customers.   Presumably, this may affect the cost of the bill.
Five justices supported upholding individual mandate while four opposed it. Some observers were surprised that the deciding vote in this case was Chief Justice John Roberts, who joined the justices who are traditionally considered to be left-leaning. Here is how the ruling on the individual mandate breaks down:


John Roberts, Chief Justice (G.W. Bush, 2005)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice (Clinton, 1993)
Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice (Clinton, 1994)
Sonia Sotomayor (Obama, 2009)
Elena Kagan (Obama, 2010)


Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice (Reagan, 1986)
Anthony Kennedy, Associate Justice (Reagan, 1988)
Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice (H.W. Bush, 1991)
Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr., Associate Justice (G.W. Bush, 2006)5


Of note, the Supreme Court ruled that states have the freedom to choose whether to join the Medicaid expansion (without losing all of the federal funds given to states to help fund Medicaid). According to the SCOTUS Blog:

The court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Medicaid expansion is divided and complicated. The bottom line is that:

1. Congress acted constitutionally in offering states funds to expand coverage to millions of new individuals.
2. So states can agree to expand coverage in exchange for those new funds.
3. If the state accepts the expansion funds, it must obey by the new rules and expand coverage
4. But a state can refuse to participate in the expansion without losing all of its Medicaid funds; instead the state will have the option to continue its current, unexpanded plan as is.

What happens next?

Immediately after the ruling, Republicans in the House of Representatives doubled down “on promises to repeal the healthcare reform law in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.” This action, however, is largely political as it has been done previously and there is very little chance the bill would receive a vote in the Senate.

Like always, as details emerge regarding the decision’s impact on the future of health care spending and Medicaid, we will keep you updated.

To think, like the flu or the plague, this all could have been prevented with a press of each of our fingers.

Thank you so, so much to all those Conservative voters who sat out the 2008 and 2010 election because they didn’t like McCain because he was too Moderate (which is true).  Guess you showed everyone, huh?  Our gratitude, too, to the Republican Party for putting up such an unelectable candidate in the first place.  Thanks to all those Moderate voters who helped put Moderate, spendthrift Republicans into office in the beginning of this century, sending our debt into the outer atmosphere and leaving voters with a sense that they must vote Democrat.

Thank you so much to George W., who did some good things and some not so good things in office, for appointing Justice Roberts.  George W. warned us he was a uniter, not a divider.  We didn’t think he meant it.  We were wrong, and now we’re paying the price. 

Genuine thanks to all those hard-working Tea Partiers from Maine to California.  I know you won’t understand this, but I’m very proud of all of you for your hard work.  Thanks to you, we stand some small measure of a chance of overturning this wretched bill.  Thanks to Mark Levin, our resident Constitutional Authority, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and of course, Glenn Beck, as well as all the other commentators for exposing this fraud to the general public.

And thanks to the Tea Party representatives in Congress and in our state legislatures for having the courage to make a stand.

Pundits can’t agree whether Roberts’ ruling was a shrewd political move that may tip the election in Romney’s favor, a blatantly narrow reading of the Constitution that amounts to treason, or just an idiot.  Whatever, the case, we’re saddled with it for the time being and must put all our efforts into overturning the bill and ousting the Congress and President that passed it.

This business of chip implants is just as scary as the thought of being taxed for nothing, for being forced to buy something we either don’t want and/or can’t afford.  Yesterday – well, really, this whole past week – was a blow for America and freedom.  In one week, Obama has made it permissible to lie (The Stolen Valor Act), cheat (amnesty for illegal aliens), and steal (the Individual Mandate).  He’s given the nod to abortions, gay marriage, and criminals with guns (but not citizens).  He’s recognized the Muslim Brotherhood as a legitimate entity and “boosted” employment by increasing the size of government.

In his campaign, he touted social justice and redistribution of wealth.  So far, he’s kept all of his promises.  It’s hard to imagine why his Democrat cronies disapprove of him.  Hilary wanted, but failed, to get the same universal health care law enacted.  If she’s mad, it’s only because Obama upstaged her.  Be assured - they’re all still on the same page and ticket.

If you don’t think America is not in the end-stage of a vicious disease called Socialism, maybe you’ll change your mind when they stick that implant chip in you.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obamacare Upheld

In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, and in particular the individual mandate requiring individuals to purchase health care insurance, citing Congress’ power to impose a tax.

“Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. sided with the majority in voting to uphold the law, Obama’s signature domestic initiative.  He announced the court’s judgment that allows the law to go forward with its alleged aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

The justices rejected two of the administration's three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax. "Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness," Roberts said.

The court's four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.  Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

“The act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting states all Medicaid funding,” the dissenters said in a joint statement.

If 30 million Americans don’t have health insurance because they can’t afford it, how does this Administration think they will?  I’m unemployed and don’t have the money for it.  Will the government treat the unemployed as nursing homes treat the elderly:  in order to enter a residential nursing facility, you used to have to sell all your property and assets?  Or will they impoverish my older, wealthier brother, instead, robbing him of money he rightfully earned through hard work?

Considering the cost of health care, property taxes will be nothing compared to the health care taxes and will probably impoverish most Americans, who’ve already lost most of their retirement plans, receive negligible interest on their savings, and if they’ve lost their jobs, lost their company-subsidized health insurance.

All is not lost.  A new Congress could post a new law overturning the health care bill.  That means, though, that we must work doubly hard to elect a Conservative Congress.  Not a Republican Congress – a Conservative Congress.  Out in Utah, they re-elected Orrin Hatch, who is a notorious Moderate and would probably support this unhealthy bill.

Obamacare goes far beyond just mandating our health insurance.  The bill encompasses all manner of restrictive “safety” measures, shackling us to the Federal government for life, unless we elect a new and better Congress. 

Pundits argue that a Moderate is better than nothing.  No, it isn’t; it’s just as bad or worse.  We now have a Moderate GOP candidate who will simply substitute his own brand of national health care, devoiding Americans of an essential freedom and taxing or fining us if we refuse to obey or pay.

First, we must throw non-partisanship out the window.   You’re either onboard or you’re not.  Compromise brought us Moderate Republicans in 2004, who increased the federal deficit.  More compromise brought us TARP, Stimulus, and all sorts of other Progressive goodies. 

You can’t be a Progressive and a Conservative.  Don’t weep to us Conservatives about how American and patriotic you are and how you don’t approve of what has just happened; if you voted for these people, your name is on it.  You have to make up your mind whether you want to live in a free America or you want to see the name of our country changed to the United Socialist States of America.  Don’t think that it can’t happen.

Our fight has just gotten exponentially tougher.  Many people expressed surprise at the Court’s ruling.  You shouldn’t have been.  No matter what Obama said, the individual mandate is, in fact, a tax, a power given to Congress by the Constitution.  It may very well take a Constitutional amendment to undo the damage of this ruling, if we can’t depend upon our Congressional representatives to overturn it.  First, though, we must do everything we can to rid ourselves of this Socialist Congress and our Stalinist president.

November is coming and it really is do-or-die for America.  If you love your country and your liberty, don’t get sad; get mad and get to work. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The SS Illegal Alien

At this moment, the Department of Homeland Surrender is inspecting a freighter in the Port of Newark, on suspicion that one of the 2,000 containers onboard contains armed stowaways.  But if we’re to have faith in Emperor Obama’s fiat on illegal immigrants, not only must the U.S. Customers and Border Protection agents allow the stowaways to leave the ship, but leave with their guns.

Never fear, though.  Law enforcement is not concerned about the possibility of the stowaways being armed terrorists, but they may be suffering from the heat in the unventilated containers.  They thought perhaps there was no food or water, either.  But the stowaways may have come prepared for their voyage.

“This makes for a very serious situation,” the source told Fox News.  The container where a Coast Guard team heard suspicious noises is located 30 feet below the main deck.

Fox News reports that the voyage began May 30 in the United Arab Emirates, made one stop in Pakistan, two stops in India, and a final stop in Egypt, whose new president is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, before departing for Norfolk, Va., with machine parts listed on the manifest.

If there are Egyptian terrorists aboard – or should we say, members of the new ruling party of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood – will Obama grant them diplomatic immunity?  Will the Justice Department confiscate their guns and send them over the border to Mexico?  Will Obama entertain them at the White House?

This container ship comes at a curious time, just a day after Obama informed the Arizona police that if they arrest any illegal aliens, or operatives posing as illegal aliens, the illegal aliens will be set free, and the law enforcement officials will be arrested and charged.

What kind of message does that send about his attitude towards the rule of law?  The reason we have borders is to distinguish our land from other nations that don’t respect freedom – and the law – the way we do.  They’re called “illegal” aliens (not immigrants) – for a reason:  they’re not supposed to be here.  They didn’t ask anyone’s permission to come here.  They make no account of themselves.  We don’t know who they are or why they’re here.  The rule for gays in the military that Obama abolished – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – is in full force in regard to illegal aliens.

Our borders are open for any group that would like to manipulate the upcoming election, run the United States into bankruptcy by abusing our over-generous social services, or just machine-gun people at a shopping mall, or set off a bomb at a Yankees game, giving new meaning to the phrase, “The Bronx Bombers.”

Have we seen enough of Obama’s dictatorship to cease doubting his sanity and begin questioning his intentions?  If he and his Progressive pals don’t mean to bankrupt our economy, redistribute our wealth, rob us of our property, censor our communications, flood our borders with aliens who care only about freebies, not freedom, and even dictate what food we may consume, then what do you think he’s been doing all this time?

The only people who are crazy are us, for allowing the Progressive agenda to continue on its way unobstructed for the last 70 years.

We need to get out and vote, on every level – local, state, and federal – and let the Progressives know we are not onboard with their Communist agenda.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Borderline Security

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s right to check the citizenship status of people has left many Americans confused.  The state law in question, S.B. 1070, included state criminal penalties for immigration violations, particularly working in the country illegally, and allowing state and local police officials to arrest suspected illegal immigrants, was largely struck down.  Yet even Conservative publications like The Washington Times and the National Review, in their respective editorials, say that all is not lost and that the ruling leaves the door open for further review and challenges.

The justices did rule that the statute had not been enforced in any discriminatory way but that it did conflict with the federal government’s constitutional superiority in such matters.  Obama basically negated the government’s authority by granting amnesty to all illegal aliens.

The Washington Times notes, “The Supreme Court ruled that the state of Arizona checking the citizenship status of people detained or arrested for other offenses is not racial profiling. The Court, however, refused to address the core issue: What can states do to protect their borders when the federal government refuses to enforce the law?

“The ID check provision of S.B. 1070, the Arizona immigration statute had drawn the most heat in the public debate. The law’s supporters were branded as racists, and liberal politicians exploited the controversy to pander for money and votes. While the justices noted the legal mandate could be applied in a discriminatory way, there was no evidence this had taken place, and that the law on its face was deemed constitutional.  Justice Anton Scalia noted in concurrence that Arizona’s measure, ‘merely tells state officials that they are authorized to do something that they were, by the [federal] government’s concession, already authorized to do.’

“Arizona and other states are fighting the Obama doctrine of cherry-picking which legal requirements the chief executive will enforce. This was the basis of the policy announced June 15 that the government would give large numbers of illegal immigrants de-facto amnesty by suspending deportation proceedings against them and allowing them to work in the country legally. The Department of Homeland Security added fuel to the fire Monday by announcing it was suspending agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws. These and other actions call into question President Obama’s commitment to his sworn executive duty under Article 2, Section 3, Clause 4 of the Constitution to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Justice Scalia provided the dissenting opinion, noting that the states, as sovereign bodies, have a right to various forms of self-defense to prevent, “in the words of James Madison, ‘the intrusion of obnoxious aliens through other states.’”   He said this case dealt with “the defining characteristic of sovereignty: the power to exclude from the sovereign’s territory people who have no right to be there.”  He stated, “neither the Constitution itself nor even any law passed by Congress supports” the notion that Arizona cannot detain and remove people present in state illegally.

However, according to the National Review, “all eight justices (Elena Kagan recused herself) upheld Arizona’s requirement that police officers determine the immigration status of anyone they stop, detain, or arrest if a ‘reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien unlawfully present in the United States.’  This was the provision relentlessly attacked by President Obama, who has now made it abundantly clear that strong immigration enforcement is not the top item on his agenda.

“The Court threw out three other provisions of SB 1070, including one that made it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek work in Arizona. But taken in perspective, these aren’t critical to the effectiveness of Arizona’s law.  Last year, in U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, another big loss for the Obama administration, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s requirement that employers use the E-Verify system before hiring new employees — and affirmed the state’s authority to yank the business license of any employers that knowingly hire illegal aliens. Mandatory E-Verify will be much more effective in preventing illegal employment than Arizona’s threatened misdemeanor charge.

Scalia noted, Arizona has “moved to protect its sovereignty — not in contradiction of federal law, but in complete compliance with it.” Arizona’s laws do “not extend or revise federal immigration restrictions, but merely enforce those restrictions more effectively.”  Scalia concluded, “If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.”

The WT went on to note, “There is a reason we have 50 states instead of one, and the states are not mere administrative subdivisions of the federal government. Each has its own powers and its own interests, a fact that is of particularly acute interest when the federal government is failing to meet one of its fundamental responsibilities, which is precisely what is happening with illegal immigration.

“Today’s decision, coupled with Whiting, ensures that states now have the tools they need not only to identify illegal aliens and prosecute those who smuggle and transport them but also to make it difficult for them to find employment.  It also certifies that the states are to remain in a deeply subordinate role on immigration, which is unfortunate: If the Obama administration were half so energetic in enforcing federal law as it is in undermining state laws, Arizona’s efforts would be superfluous. But that is not so, and on the issue of immigration the states remain dependent upon a federal government that is not to be depended on.

Birthers who believe Obama was born in Kenya (making him an illegal alien), given his “track record” in leaping over the Constitution as if it was a set of hurdles in a track race, have some justification for their suspicions, given his performance as president.

It’s worth noting his ban on the use of the phrase “War on Terror.”  In the context of Article I, Section 10, Paragraph 3, [“No State shall, without the Consent of Congress,….engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”], banning the phrase War of Terror deprives Arizona of its essential right to defend itself, since Obama has declared that the state is in no danger, and not engaged in a “War” on Terror, or Drugs, or Gun-Smuggling.

Obama must find Article IV, Section 4, rather helpful in his cause and probably hindered the Supreme Court from issuing a proper ruling more in defense of Arizona and every other state with illegal immigration problems (which is every state that has an airport).  “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion.”  This Article inconveniently establishes the sovereignty of each state, but lays upon the government the responsibility of protecting them, except in the case of dire emergency, which Obama has deemed as non-existent, even as he protects an attorney general who allowed thousands of weapons to cross the Mexican border in a war he says isn’t happening.

James Madison never quite envisioned a federal government that would prove so derelict in its duty, although they must have known how dangerous an all-powerful federal government could prove, which is why they designed the Constitution to expressly limit its powers.

Illegal immigration is not only a mess and a threat not only to the sovereignty of the state of Arizona but the United States itself.  Politicians issue platitudes about reforming immigration laws, but offer no real solutions that would threaten their standing with the now-sizeable Hispanic population, itself a result of the chain-immigration laws enacted in the 1960s.

Anyone who’s cleaned out a disorganized closet knows it’s a matter of organization.  The first step is recognizing that you have a mess on your hands.  The second is admitting that some articles have to go.  Tossing out the criminal element is the easy part.  Then you work on those who came here with no documentation.  They have to go, whether politicians find it convenient or not.  Off to the recycle bin with them, back to Mexico or wherever they came from.  Sure, it’s a nuisance but the closet has to be cleaned out and set back in order.  Finally, you work on those who’ve overstayed their Visas.  Once they’re settled – in or out, separating the real marriages from the Green Card marriages and so forth – then you can work on the legal applications.

Once those who’ve applied legally are admitted (or not), then those at the back of the line may get a chance.  If the quota isn’t already filled.  What Obama has done is to unleash upon us an invasion, much like what happened in Bosnia, with so-called “ethnic Albanians” (read illegal Muslims) crossing the border, and ultimately fracturing what was Yugoslavia, an intact country.

Obama promised all along that granting amnesty to illegal aliens was part of his transformation program.  This amnesty, along with the Supreme Court ruling, clearly violates Constitutional mandates to protect the United States from invasion and sets the country up for social, economic and political anarchy.  These “workers’” wages will be too low to pay their share of taxes, driving what businesses are left overseas.  Too many companies have already set up shop in Central American countries (the Tea Party tea shirt I bought last night at the State Fair at the Meadowlands was made in Nicaragua) where the wages are low.

With an election coming up, one can just imagine the fraud that will take place.  Obama’s move greatly appeased his Hispanic constituents, according to polls.  Not being a Constitutional expert, I cannot tell whether this ruling and Obama’s fiat will allow these new “citizens” access to the November elections.  I fear it is so.  I wish some legal expert would address this question.

It’s very disconcerting to think that thousands of illegal aliens with no interest in freedom, only freebies, will have the deciding vote in our country’s future.