Terrible Twosday

Obamacare


It looks like Obama and the Democrats are heading for a showdown with SCOTUS:

Judge rules against health law, cites Obama’s words

In ruling against President Obama‘s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, when the then-Illinois senator argued there were other ways to achieve reform short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.

“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of his 78-page ruling Monday.

Judge Vinson, a federal judge in the northern district of Florida, struck down the entire health care law as unconstitutional on Monday, though he is allowing the Obama administration to continue to implement and enforce it while the government appeals his ruling.

The footnote was attached to the most critical part of Judge Vinson‘s ruling, in which he said the “principal dispute” in the case was not whether Congress has the power to tackle health care, but rather whether it has the power to compel individual citizens to purchase insurance.

Judge Vinson cited Mr. Obama‘s campaign words from an interview with CNN to show that there are other options that could pass constitutional muster including then-candidate Obama‘s plan.

During the presidential campaign, one key difference between Mr. Obama and his chief opponent, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, was that Mrs. Clinton‘s plan required all Americans to purchase insurance and Mr. Obama‘s did not.

Congress eventually included the individual mandate in the bill it passed, and Mr. Obama signed that into law in March. Since then, he and his administration have defended its constitutionality, arguing the mandate is the linchpin that brings in more customers to insurance companies, which in turn allows those companies to expand the availability and lower the cost of coverage.

Much of Judge Vinson‘s ruling was a discussion of how the Founding Fathers, including James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, saw the limits on congressional power. Judge Vinson hypothesized that, under the Obama administration‘s legal theory, the government could mandate that all citizens eat broccoli.

There are two ways a law can be unconstitutional. The first way is if it violates a specific clause in the constitution. For example, if Congress passed a law that said all political speech must be civil and polite with no violent rhetoric, insults or offensive language, the courts would strike it down because it would violate the !st Amendment.l

The second way a law can be unconstitutional is if it exceeds the enumerated powers of the government. The Founding Fathers feared an all-powerful government so they designed one with limited powers. The Constitution explains what powers are granted to the federal government. The Bill of Rights is a list of specific things that the government can’t do.

The 10th Amendment is the catch-all:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In enacting Obamacare, the Democrats relied on the power enumerated in 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;”

They also relied on Article I, Section 8, Clause 18:

The Congress shall have 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 Democrats’ argument is that health care is commerce and the government can regulate it. They also argue that the “Necessary and Proper Clause” allows them to pass whatever laws they want to, such as the mandate that people buy health insurance.

As the judge pointed out, that is a theory that could be used to mandate that everyone eat broccoli, buy certain products or purchase stock in certain companies.

For months now the Democrats and their shills have been insisting that the constitutionality of Obamacare was not in doubt. They are full of shit.

Judge Vinson:

The defendants contend, however, that despite the inarguable presence of activity in every Supreme Court case to date, activity is not required under the Commerce Clause. See Def. Mem. at 31 (maintaining that “there is no ‘activity’ clause in the constitution”). In fact, they go so far as to suggest that to impose such a requirement would be bold and radical. According to the defendants,because the Supreme Court has never identified a distinction between activity and inactivity as a limitation on Congress’ commerce power, to hold otherwise would“break new legal ground” and be “novel” and “unprecedented.” See Def. Opp. at 1,2, 16. First, it is interesting that the defendants — apparently believing the best defense is a good offense — would use the words “novel” and “unprecedented”since, as previously noted, those are the exact same words that the CRS and CBO used to describe the individual mandate before it became law. Furthermore, there is a simple and rather obvious reason why the Supreme Court has never distinguished between activity and inactivity before: it has not been called upon to consider the issue because, until now, Congress had never attempted to exercise its Commerce Clause power in such a way before. See CBO Analysis (advising Congress during the previous health care reform efforts in 1994 that “[t]he government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.”). In every Supreme Court case decided thus far, Congress was not seeking to regulate under its commerce power something that could even arguably be said to be “passive inactivity.”

As far as the mandate I agree with the judge. As for the issue of “severability” I will withhold judgment. I really don’t want to take the time necessary to analyze the arguments over whether the mandate can be struck down without invalidating the rest of the clusterfuck act.

The usual suspects have their knickers twisted over this decision. It really doesn’t matter what Ezra Klein or anyone else thinks. There are nine people in this country whose opinion counts. Sooner or later we’ll be hearing from them.


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131 Responses to Terrible Twosday

  1. myiq2xu says:

    Ezra Klein is a fucking idiot:

    The legal theory currently in vogue in conservative circles holds that the Constitution’s vision of “a central government with limited power” — to use Judge Vinson’s phrase — permits the government to establish a single-payer health-care system that every American pays into through payroll taxes and that wipes out the private insurance industry but forbids the government from administering a regulated market in which individuals purchase private insurance plans and pay a penalty if they can afford coverage but choose to delay buying it until they’re sick.

    There’s a chance conservatives will come to seriously regret this stratagem. I think it’s vanishingly unlikely that the Supreme Court will side with Judge Vinson and strike down the whole of the law. But in the event that it did somehow undermine the whole of the law and restore the status quo ex ante, Democrats would start organizing around a solution based off of Medicare, Medicaid, and the budget reconciliation process — as that would sidestep both legal attacks and the supermajority requirement.

    The resulting policy isn’t too hard to imagine. Think something like opening Medicare to all Americans over age 45, raising Medicaid up to 300 percent of the poverty line, opening S-CHIP to all children, and paying for the necessary subsidies and spending with a surtax on the wealthy (which is how the House originally wanted to fund health-care reform). That won’t get us quite to universal health care, but it’ll get us pretty close. And it’ll be a big step towards squeezing out private insurers, particularly if Medicaid and Medicare are given more power to control their costs.

    Gee , Ezra, why didn’t the Democrats just do that in the first place?

    • ralphb says:

      Ezra Klein is a fucking idiot

      In other urgent news, water is wet 😉

    • djmm says:

      But now, with Republicans holding the majority in the House, how far does Ezra think that idea will go? And when he talks about legal issues, he is driving without a license, as someone pointed out on John Smart’s site.

      Excellent analysis, myiq. Superb post. It would be more fun to follow this case, if the stakes were not so dire.

      djmm

    • trixta says:

      Yup. That should have been the strategy, but it wouldn’t be the way to fill BO’s campaign coffers.

  2. myiq2xu says:

    BTW – Sorry I’m late this morning.

    I got up to write the AM post and the red light on my modem was blinking. The one that means “No internet for you!”

    It was down for a long time too. Maybe Comcast was doing maintenance of something and figured no one would notice.

  3. Valissa says:

    President of the World: the Bill Clinton phenomenon” – Chris Matthews discusses President Clinton’s post-presidential life and legacy – airing presidents’ day: Monday, February 21 at 10 PM ET/PT ON MSNBC http://www.nbcumv.com/mediavillage/networks/msnbc/pressreleases?pr=contents/press-releases/2011/01/31/presidentofthew1296501542202.xml
    There’s not a single political figure today with the global reach and influence of Bill Clinton—a former U.S. President turned humanitarian and diplomat extraordinaire. No one else in today’s political arena has the ability to command the attention of world leaders and organizations everywhere quite like he does. This Presidents’ Day, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews will take viewers behind the scenes of Clinton’s life…

    • myiq2xu says:

      I won’t be watching it. I love the Big Dawg but not enough to listen to Tweety.

      • Valissa says:

        Yeah, I know what you mean. Tweety is such a slut when it comes to power proximity. I’m still going to watch it though. The Big Dawg is such a fascinating historical figure, my research instincts (on top of my personal ones) compel me to.

      • Mary says:

        I feel the same way, myiq. After the crap Tweety pulled in the primaries, I’m just deeply offended that he’s allowed to speak of either Clinton, ever. (tad dramatic, I know)

        Did the Big Dawg actually participate in this thing? Yuk.

        • jjmtacoma says:

          I feel the same way about it Mary. I’m not sure if it is overly dramatic but I won’t watch him either.

        • trixta says:

          Wasn’t it Monica Lewinsky 24/7 with Tweetie in the 90s? Looked to me like he hated Big Dawg. Why did he take it upon himself to make this film? He’s such and A-hole!!

      • okasha skatsi says:

        I wonder if BIg Dawg might not have taken a few square inches of Tweetie’s hide as the price of this, not just for the asinine tingle but Tweet’s treatment of Hillary. I hope so, at any rate.

      • Mr. Mike says:

        Tweety trying to weasel his way back into Clinton’s good graces?
        Hedging his bets on a possible primary in 2012?

    • ainnj says:

      I wouldnt watch that idiot matthews if he were doing a show praising ME as president of the world. blech!

  4. WMCB says:

    Severability was in the original bill, and the Dems took it out – presumably deliberately.

    Some postulate that the reason for taking it out was to try to paint the R’s into a corner. I.e. to prevent them from repealing it piece by piece, starting with the least popular parts, at a later date. To protect from that, the D’s removed the clause, thinking they were tying the R’s hands – to get rid of the bill, they’d have to repeal the whole thing, not just the unpopular parts.

    The problem now is that they didn’t foresee a constitutional challenge, and their own actions made the bill “all of one piece” rather than separate parts.

    • Mary says:

      Hoist on their own petards, and all that. They willingly left the severability out for the reasons you explained above. Tough titty.

      Saw Ezra on The Last Word last night (O’Donnell’s show). All talking points (Journolist again), nothing really substantial. He has no law degree, and has to depend on those WH talking points.

      I noticed Digby repeated many of young Ezra’s talking points yesterday. Ugh. She’s not a lawyer either. She does narratives.

      As you said yesterday, the judge’s decision is sound, and this is the case/briefs, given that 26 state attorneys-general submitted same, that the SC will most rely on when they take the case.

      They won’t call on Young Ezra to comment.

      (snark)

      • ralphb says:

        Anthony Kennedy’s comment is the one which will matter. The rest are just noise. 🙂

        • Mary says:

          Yes.

          I think Kagan will have to recuse, given that she was the Solicitor General when it was being written/defended. Could be wrong, though.

        • votermom says:

          ralphb, LOL.
          I am suspicious of Roberts though that his corporatism might trump his gopness.
          Also wary of Kagan — hope my gut is wrong about her.

        • ralphb says:

          votermom. Me 2 on both counts.

    • Teresa says:

      I think they left severability out because the insurance company wouldn’t agree to any of the other provisions without the mandate. And of course, the insurance companies wrote the bill, with the help of the Heritage Foundation..

  5. Three Wickets says:

    All the kids are running around on twitter singing, let them be free, let them be free, let democracy run free through the middle east. And I’m wondering which model of democracy in the middle east are they thinking about. Here’s a more sobering perspective from Colonel Rick Francona, the MSNBC analyst.

  6. WMCB says:

    This:

    They also argue that the “Necessary and Proper Clause” allows them to pass whatever laws they want to, such as the mandate that people buy health insurance.

    is the crap that gives the teapartiers and uber-libertarians of the country more ammunition than they need. It’s kind of hard to say with a straight face that you are innocent of the charge of wanting a powerful, intrusive, and unlimited State, and then pull this.

    Right, you howl with outrage at that “untrue” accusation, then go into court and argue that apart from specific areas forbidden to it (like free speech), the federal govt has no boundaries whatsoever and can do whatever the fuck it wants.

    The people of this country are never going to give the govt the power to enact good policy unless they are also sure that its not just a smokescreen for a big fucking power grab. Arguments like this one only reinforce suspicions that it’s all about power.

      • WMCB says:

        Mary, it makes me angry on two levels

        1) they are violating the constitution

        2) they are making it less likely that a future genuinely liberal president is going to be able to enact good policy, because of the suspicion with which he/she will be viewed.

        • Mary says:

          Yes to all.

          But just think: if they set a precedent for expanding the Commerce Clause for inactivity…..just imagine if a Republican president requires everyone to buy a gun, or something else.

          It’s the PRECEDENT they’re setting that the Tea Partiers are correct about.

          (Withdrawing now, since I’m sure I’m gonna get jumped as ratf*cker). LOL

        • Three Wickets says:

          Makes sense. I’m not gonna jump you. 🙂

        • WMCB says:

          Idiots on both sides of the aisle forget that a govt limited by the constitution protects us all – and you don’t throw that away just to get a single policy that you think is good.

          I used to have this argument with my conservative friends during the Bush years, over his abuses of wiretapping etc. to combat terrorism: “Okay, let me grant you that the intent is good, the intent is to protect, and there is no intent by THIS president to abuse it and harass average citizens. What if, 50 years from now, there is a militant anti-Christian, communist, your-worst-nightmare president? Can’t you see that once you’ve ceded the govt that kind of power, other people, besides the ones whose goals you approve of, still get to use it?”

          Same thing with the HCR bill. Even if I believed that it was done with good intent, and would actually provide care and bring costs down, I would still be opposed. Because you don’t give the govt the power to dictate what you must buy from a private corporation without considering what other politicians in power later might do with that precedent.

        • Mary,

          They are already testing that theory in SD: http://www.argusleader.com/article/20110131/UPDATES/110131031/Bill-would-require-all-S-D-citizens-buy-gun?odyssey=mod|mostview

          I expect funereal services will be next. As I said in a post at my place:

          If this law stands in its current form, what’s to say that a funereal policy, for example, isn’t next? After all, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect people to plan to do away with their own bodies after they die and to pay for it in advance. We all know we’re going to die. That would alleviate the burden of all those spontaneous deaths on poor families who didn’t plan for it and all those local crematoriums that have to do the unpleasant business of cremating the homeless and indigent. Best of all, we can pass it with the support and action of people who can already afford to pay for their own funeral services and burial plot, so they’ll totally understand!

        • mary, I heard that some stage legislature has just passed a law mandating everyone to buy a gun. 😉

  7. WMCB says:

    I keep wondering, if the SCOTUS does not strike this down, what the defense would be if the govt decided that, for instance, every American should be forced to buy into the stock market via 401k’s.

    Wouldn’t the big banks just love that? Hell, if the commerce clause means the govt can offer up a captive market to the insurance companies, why can’t the banks get in line for that veal pen?

    • ralphb says:

      Actually not just banks, but any large contributing industry could try and purchase a captive market.

    • WMCB says:

      Oh, and the argument for the 401k thing would be exactly the same.

      Because everyone retires, and the cost for those who have not saved gets shifted to the govt eventually, then the govt can step in and require all to invest in an “exchange” of retirement funds.

      What’s the fecking difference, if this stands?

    • Mr. Mike says:

      I keep wondering, if the SCOTUS does not strike this down, what the defense would be if the govt decided that, for instance, every American should be forced to buy into the stock market via 401k’s

      What do you think Obama’s Cat Food Commission was all about?

      • WMCB says:

        Well, so far, pols have postulated allowing people to invest part of their SS money if they so chose. No one has yet postulated forcing them do so, to my knowledge.

        But if the precedent is set, the banksters and their govt cronies will jump on that like white on rice.

    • Three Wickets says:

      Yes, the government can mandate taxes, not private transactions. Isn’t that the whole point of a private marketplace…you are free to make a choice. You can regulate the seller, but how far can you go in regulating the buyer.

      • WMCB says:

        You can regulate the buyer as well. What you can’t do is force him to become a buyer so that you can then regulate him.

        Someone on His44 likened it to drawing a line in the sand and announcing that the law gives you the right to punch anyone stepping over that line in the face. And maybe it does.

        But that law doesn’t give you the authority to grab the person by the arm and drag them over the line, then proceed to punch them in the face. You can’t force someone to involuntarily engage in commerce, then say that your power to regulate commerce applies after the fact, because NOW they are engaging in commerce.

        • Three Wickets says:

          Sounds right. We probably don’t regulate enough against moral hazard when the buyer is an investor. But you can’t force somebody to buy.

    • trixta says:

      Perhaps that’s another mandate plan to replace SS.

  8. I have to admit, it’s pretty funny that the judge referenced Obama’s own words. That’s going to leave a mark. 🙂

  9. And of course the proper way to do this was clear. Make the money collected be a tax. And insure a public option.

    Here’s the real question. Since the bill was mostly written by a health insurance lobbyist, and we know a number of big loopholes were put in (like an easy way to drop anyone from coverage, ways around any premium caps, etc.), was this bit written this way on purpose precisely so it would be undone? I kind of think not because requiring 30M people to buy your product is a big win for the insurance companies. So what’s really sad is I think this fuck up was Obama’s own doing. That’s just how incompetent he and the main bill proponents in congress are.

    • Mary says:

      Great irony here. In his zest to avoid calling it a tax (which would have been legal) for political purposes, he called it a penalty, which is illegal.

      And we’ve got it on tape (Stephanopolous interview).

      Does he therefore lose the 11th dimensional chess game? LOL

  10. ralphb says:

    What a novel way to avoid a divorce.

    Immigration officer fired after putting wife on list of terrorists to stop her flying home

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1351937/Immigration-officer-fired-putting-wife-list-terrorists-stop-flying-home.html

  11. Mary says:

    Comic relief headline from another site:

    Obamacare Meets the Death Panels

    LOL

    • Three Wickets says:

      Yes, Matthews needs to be taken down. In other news relating to liberal women, Jessica Valenti is apparently going to write for Rupert Murdoch’s new tablet-only pub the Daily.

  12. SHV says:

    ralphb, on February 1, 2011 at 7:36 am said:

    Bill would require all S.D. citizens to buy a gun
    ********
    Then SD will be just like Switzerland.

    • Say what you will, but nobody fucks with the Swiss.

    • I don’t get it. Isn’t that the way everyone shops for groceries?

    • syl says:

      Gun politics in Switzerland are unique in Europe. The personal weapon of militia is kept at home as part of the military obligations. Switzerland has one of the highest militia gun ownership rates in the world.

      The Swiss army has long been a militia trained and structured to rapidly respond against foreign aggression. Swiss males grow up expecting to undergo basic military training, usually at age 20 in the Rekrutenschule (German for “recruit school”), the initial boot camp, after which Swiss men remain part of the “militia” in reserve capacity until age 30 (age 34 for officers).

      Each such individual is required to keep his army-issued personal weapon (the 5.56x45mm Sig 550 rifle for enlisted personnel and/or the 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol for officers, medical and postal personnel) at home with a specified personal retention quantity of government-issued personal ammunition (50 rounds 5.56 mm / 48 rounds 9mm), which is sealed and inspected regularly to ensure that no unauthorized use takes place.[3] The ammunition are intended for use while traveling to the army barracks in case of invasion.

      When their period of service has ended, militiamen have the choice of keeping their personal weapon and other selected items of their equipment. In this case of retention, the rifle is sent to the weapons factory where the fully automatic function is removed; the rifle is then returned to the discharged owner. The rifle is then a semi-automatic or self-loading rifle.

      The government sponsors training with rifles and shooting in competitions for interested adolescents, both male and female.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Switzerland

      When driving in Switzerland you can see how seriously they have prepared to defend their borders from invaders. The highways at the borders have underground barriers and tire puncturing spikes that can be quickly raised, kind of like you see at the entrances to government building parking lots in DC and elsewhere. They also have military planes hidden in mountain like caves along the highways. The Swiss border crossing guards seem very alert and not likely to tolerate any nonsense.

      • WMCB says:

        Switzerland also has some of the toughest illegal immigration enforcement laws in the world, and it is incredibly difficult to become a naturalized citizen there.

        Their system is really weird, because even after 12 years of residency and having broken no laws (which are only the first hurdles), citizenship is still not automatic. The local community in which you live has effective veto-power. The national govt cannot grant citizenship without the approval of the local govt, which can hold a public vote.

        I think this is why I’m often hesitant about automatically assuming any policy that works in a small European country will necessarily work here. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but Switzerland, or Sweden, or Norway, or Germany are not the USA. The culture, the history, the demographic makeup, the sheer size is entirely different, as is their economy and their labor force, etc.

        • syl says:

          WMCB, I agree with you completely that we need to be careful about assuming that the policies that work in other countries will work here.

          By the way how many people realize that women didn’t have full voting rights in Switzerland until 1971?

          Introduction of women’s right to vote in some European / North American nations:

          1917 Soviet Union
          1918 Austria
          1919 Germany
          1920 USA
          1928 United Kingdom
          1944 France
          1945 Italy
          1971 Switzerland

      • catarina says:

        Almost no one is allowed to carry concealed handguns in Switzerland.

        No fun.

        Cool stuff in their basement bomb shelters, though.

      • SHV says:

        That reminds me of visiting a friend in Switzerland many years ago. When he opened the front “coat” closet, his military rifle was propped against the closet wall despite having small children in the home.

        • WMCB says:

          I grew up with rural family who had guns. My uncles did not always keep all their guns locked away. But the culture was entirely different – the children had grown up from babies having no illusions as to the danger of guns. They had seen my uncles shoot snakes or rabid animals around the property, or had witnessed hunting trips, or whatever. Guns were not an abstract glamourized TV concept to them.

          Once they were past the tiny toddler stage, none of my cousins would have done something stupid with a gun. Most of them were hunting by the time they could hold one anyway, and the retribution for “goofing around” with a gun, even an unloaded one, was swift and unequivocal – they’d get their ass whipped from here to Sunday and be utterly shamed to boot.

          It’s just a different culture. They are conditioned to the responsibilities of guns from babies, and thus there were few and far between accidents.

        • “Once they were past the tiny toddler stage, none of my cousins would have done something stupid with a gun. Most of them were hunting by the time they could hold one anyway”

          And they knew the difference between a surveyor’s mark and a real gunsight, and wouldn’t get emotional about a real gunsight either.

          Just because a symbol panics a city liberal, doesn’t mean that symbol ‘inflames’ a rural hunter.

    • catarina says:

      If only..

  13. Three Wickets says:

    Charlotte, North Carolina chosen as site of the 2012 Democratic Convention.

  14. scoutt says:

    There’s a post over at HotAir (yes, i read “the other side”) quoting Obama about Hillary’s mandated health insurance during the primary. PURE GOLD!

  15. WMCB says:

    Still watching developments in Egypt, and am tired of starry-eyed idealists on either side, who either think “power to the people” means automatic sunshine and roses, or that propping up a dictator for fear of other (admittedly scary) options is the way to go.

    They may have no choice but to allow groups like the Muslim Brotherhood a small voice in the govt. The hard reality is that this may be necessary to even get enough consensus to form a new govt.

    This is where it gets dicey. You don’t want a repeat of Iran. So how do you allow the MB in, but immediately start working to strengthen and organize the sane opposition that wants a secular rule, so that people like the MB are marginalized at worst, eventually rejected at best?

    There really aren’t any simple answers here, and any route you take is fraught with peril. You’ve got an autocratic dictator on one hand, a potential theocratic dictatorship on the other, and a bunch of well-meaning rubes (and I don’t mean that as an insult) in the middle who have never had the opportunity to organize, or participate in a true civil and secular society. The ones we want to encourage are admittedly the weakest link in terms of power, whether they are the majority or not.

    • Good overview. And unfortunately,an honest democratic vote would probably bring in some of the MB (if they go parliamentary, anyway).

      Dare we hope that the world opionion the protestors are calling on, would influence them against the MB, now and later?

      This may be a case of the US better keep quiet, rather than giving anyone the kiss of death.

    • ainnj says:

      there will not be anything near an honest democracy in Egypt, there isn’t even one in this country, you do the best you can, so I don’t think anyone should worry about “allowing” the muslim brotherhood a seat at the table. Preventing that from happening should be the main objective here.

  16. In my family they weren’t even in a closet. Just standing up behind the dining room door. 😉

  17. WMCB says:

    Anyone just see Mubarek’s address?

    Well, so much for orderly transition. If Mubarek had been humble, the people might have been okay with letting him stay as nominal head of govt til September while other options were set up.

    After that display of arrogant jackassery, he needs to get on a plane today before they string him up.

    • votermom says:

      No, i missed it. What’d he do?

      • WMCB says:

        Well, he hemmed and hawed and did say he would not run for re-election in Sept, but then he launched into talking about the judiciary, and the constitution, and prosecuting looters etc from the protests.

        His whole tone was just arrogant. Honestly, if I were an Egyptian watching him, I’d doubt his sincerity about not running in Sept. I’d be thinking he’s currently scrambling and making promises, but thinking of ways to hold onto power if the protests die down.

    • ralphb says:

      😯

      Those old habits die hard.

  18. 1539days says:

    Anyone keep track of how many Obots failed Palin-free February already?

    • 1539days says:

      For the record, Lardball made it 55 minutes into the first of Frebruary.

      • Anonymous says:

        LOL, well at least Milbank shut down his comments section. I mean, it’s hard to have a Palin-fast when 500 people are posting about how she is so unworthy of discussing.

      • Three Wickets says:

        Empathy without stupidity. That would be a good slogan for the Obots to work towards. More empathy for the have nots, less stupidity all around. Otherwise they just continue being stupid narcissists.

  19. WMCB says:

    I still am worried sick about the women of Egypt.

    If Egypt ended up with a stable govt and an improving technological economy, and higher employment, and refrained from terrorism, didn’t attack anyone, and pretty much “joined the rest of the world” in the global economy, most people will applaud and pronounce it a great success.

    It will not matter in the slightest if women are utterly oppressed and with few right whatsoever in that case. So long as life for the men improves, people will applaud it as a fine example of a “moderate” state.

    We don’t count. Oppression is only oppression when the men as well as women are being affected. If men are affected, we hear passionate pleas from all over the world for an end to the brutality. So long as they fix it for the men, and leave it only targeted at women, the world doesn’t gives a fuck.

  20. ainnj says:

    Now this is truly scary. I would take 2 feet of snow any day over this:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41363738/ns/weather/

  21. Interesting and knowledgeable perspectives here:

    http://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/i-beg-to-differ/
    …in many ways, the armed forces rule Egypt, says analyst Daniel Brumberg at the U.S. Institute for Peace. Mubarak, himself a former Air Force commander, has deftly used American taxpayers’ dollars to underpin not just the military but his entire government. Egyptian generals are a privileged elite, enjoying weekends and retirements in breezy villas by the sea. They make clear that they expect a say in who rules the Arab world’s most populous country once Mubarak leaves the scene. Keeping the U.S. military aid flowing dominates Mubarak’s foreign policy, defined first and foremost in the region by its cold peace with Israel. After all, the annual influx of U.S. military aid ranks up there with tourism and Suez Canal tolls as Egypt’s main sources of revenue.

    • Three Wickets says:

      Struggling but not small economy. Their GDP is around $470 billion, they collect $50 billion in annual revenues. US aid of $1.5 billion a year would represent 3% of their total revenues.

      • Still if our aid is going straight to the salaries of the Generals who have the guns….

      • I think Brumberg is looking at money coming into Egypt from other countries, not at Egypt’s total revenues.

        “the annual influx of U.S. military aid ranks up there with tourism and Suez Canal tolls as Egypt’s main sources of revenue.”

    • Anyway, if the Generals really are, er, calling the shots, then Hillary was right on in immediately talking about not firing on the protestors. That’s the bottom line of it all. If the Generals refuse to fire (whatever excuse they give), then the protestors may prevail.

      So there’s Hillary giving the Generals a big public dogwhistle jerking their money chain, without giving any new leader the US kiss of death, and sounding harmlessly platitudinal so as not to obviously speak ahead of her ‘boss’….

      SMAAART Hillary.

  22. ralphb says:

    Obamacare unconstitutional? How did this happen?
    h/t LegalInsurrection

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