Comments of the Day: On Taxes, American History, and Power Sharing

Via the ever-brilliant Angie:

The collective mind-losing isn’t exclusive to the left blogosphere; it’s on the right as well. Forget about people on the right talking about the SCOTUS & CJ Roberts *after* the ObamacareTAX decision exactly the same way the left was talking about the Court & Roberts *before* the decision (although really, *they* should think about that for a minute) because after my awakening on May 31, 2008 I am completely aware of the vast hypocrisy on both sides (which is why I’m staying registered I and using whichever side will further my purposes). Forget that.

But for the love of God this hysteria about the Court “giving Congress unlimited taxing power” has got to stop. For all practical purposes the only real limit to Congress’ taxing power, with the exception of the income tax until 1913 (more on that below) has always been us – we the people. We don’t like it when the government raises taxes too high? We vote them out. That is how it has always been – hell, that is what the Boston Tea Party, one of the catalysts for us to go to war with the King of England(!), was about – taxes! More specifically, the imposition of burdensome taxes without any kind of recourse available to us, or “No taxation without representation!” That’s a *tad* bit of an oversimplification of the reasoning underlying the American Revolution (there was a lot of other tyrannical stuff Old King George was doing). Nonetheless, the “tyranny” is not in the tax – the tyranny is in the people having no recourse against those who impose the tax. And you would think – at minimum — that people who call themselves the TEA Party (yes, a synonym for Taxed Enough Already but also a nod to the Boston Tea Party) would know that. Alas, they do not.

I actually saw posts comparing the ObamaTAX with the Income Tax needing to be done by Amendment as some kind of convoluted rationale that Congress’ power to tax is “limited.” This is doubly sad as it comes from people who claim to want to “preserve and respect” the Constitution. Maybe they should try reading it because one of the few limits on Congress’ taxing power in the original Constitution was on the Income Tax (Art. I, sec. 9) or “direct tax.” And in 1913 when we the people agreed to the imposition of the Income Tax, our representatives had to do it via an Amendment (16th) with a 2/3 majority because unlike in the book Animal Farm, we don’t just erase changes in the law. The Income Tax via the 16th Amendment is not applicable to the ObamaTAX.

But, you say, the Court gave Congress the power to tax us not doing something – that is new! Um, no it isn’t. The government does that all the time – we just don’t call them taxes. Ever not pay your income taxes on April 15th? You get hit with a tax – it’s called a penalty, but it’s a tax – a sum of money levied by the government for its support or for specific facilities or services. And we the people are OK with that tax because the majority of us feel “Hey, if I have to pay my income taxes on April 15th, so should you and if you don’t you should have to pay more.”

But you say, that isn’t the same – failing to do something you are legally required to do isn’t the same as not buying something – the government can’t tax us for not buying something. Again, wrong. Congress does it all the time – in an ingenious way – and it’s called a tax credit. Congress decides that people who buy solar panels or energy star appliances are eligible for a tax credit, which in effect is letting them pay less taxes for buying a product than their tax rate requires and penalizing those who don’t buy the product. We the people are OK with that because we don’t view it that way – we view it as “The people getting taking credits are just keeping more of their own money and hey, those who don’t buy the solar panels/energy star appliances are only paying at the rate they would anyway.” But, in effect, some are paying less taxes & some are paying more based on whether they buy products deemed “good” by the government. I don’t point this out because I disagree with tax credits – I think they can properly be seen as “incentives” rather than “taxes.” I point this out to put the lie to the argument that the government has never “penalized” us for “not buying things.” It has & it does.

And, of course, there is the tongue in cheek line from Eric Erickson on saying “the upside is we can now tax the hell out of abortion” that some are running with to try to say the Court somehow expanded the Congress’ taxing power. Well, I hate to break it to you, but Congress *could* already be “taxing the hell” out of abortion or anything else – they already tax the hell out of alcohol & cigarettes, so-called “sin taxes.” They do it because we the people are OK with those taxes – we say “Hey, those things aren’t good for you anyway and no one is going to starve if they can’t afford cigarettes and alcohol, the way they would if they couldn’t afford bread & milk.” And, it is no coincidence that as the public’s view has become more & more “anti-smoking” that the taxes on cigarettes have steadily increased. The *only* thing stopping Congress from taxing (to use Erickson’s example) abortion is the fear of backlash from we the people! That is the only thing that ever stops Congress from taxing the hell out of *anything!*

And that is why Obama insisted that the mandate was not a tax – a sum of money collected by the government for its support or specific facilities or services. He didn’t want to sell it as a tax; the Dems didn’t want to sell it as a tax; no one wanted to sell it as a tax because they knew we the people wouldn’t buy it. No, they wanted to make us think of it as a “penalty” like the kind imposed when you don’t pay your income taxes by April 15th with a little bit of the “sin tax” rationale mixed in (“Having insurance is “good” for you! You will be ‘healthier” with preventative care!” even though there is no evidence that having insurance or wellness care keeps you from getting sick, but that’s another discussion) — and if they could have sold it as a tax credit, they would have! But no matter how many times Obama denies it when George Stephanopoulos reads the definition that is exactly what the mandate is – a tax. And our recourse if we don’t like the tax –as it has always been – is to vote out those who taxed us by misrepresentation.

And one other point — while I myself was shocked that Roberts would – in effect – rewrite the statute to get this result, I’m sick of people acting like the Court has never done something like this before. Mark Levin called the decision “lawless” (granted, I only saw the quote, I don’t listen to Levin, so that could be out of context), but bullshit on that. The SCOTUS is the highest court in the land – their decision *is* the law, whether you agree with it or not – in cannot, by definition, be “lawless.” Now, it certainly can be a case of the Court doing something it really had no legal basis to do, but again — not the first time! Brown v. Board of Education – the case that ended segregation in public schools – do you know the legal basis for the Court’s holding? Yeah, there is none. Heck, the “science” relied on by the Court about the beneficial effects of integrated class rooms didn’t have any real foundation. But most people are OK with that decision & don’t say that decision was “lawless” because we like it. Which kind of brings me back to the point I said I was going to “forget about” – people on the right after the decision sounding just like those on the left before the decision. But I will say these two things: (1) It was a genius move by Roberts because I couldn’t imagine him being able to uphold ObamaTAX without violating his judicial philosophy on the expansion of the Commerce Clause – he did *exactly* that, not only slapping ObamaTAX hard on the unconstitutional attempt to expand the power of the government via the Commerce Clause –he did it getting the liberal justices to *agree with him!* The flack after Citizens United the Court was getting? GONE. Obama’s ability to run as a “victim” against the Court who “stopped all the wonderful things Obama tried to do? GONE. As Eric Erickson put it: We’re all playing poker. Roberts is playing chess. (2) The decision is done — it’s the law– whining about it doesn’t change a damn thing. Roberts threw those who don’t like it a real slow, brightly colored ball to hit if we don’t like it: vote those who passed it out. And that, in my final lesson in civics for the day, is exactly how it has always worked if we don’t like a decision by the SCOTUS – get our elected representatives to legislatively “overrule” it.

Also, from our highly-esteemed WMCB:

That White Rose crap is a perfect picture of what the left has become. An authoritarian movement intent on de-legitimizing all opposition as subhuman, violent, and psychologically damaged. Then they attack in the most vicious, nasty ways I have ever seen in my life, because, see, conservatives are not actually human beings, they are a blight on humanity, so it’s ok.

The filth flowing out of the mouths of the left after this SCOTUS ruling has been breathtaking. N*gger and cunt and retard babies and shoving molotov cocktails up asses. Democratic OFFICIALS have felt free to spout off “bitches and motherfuckers.”

This is beyond policy now, for me. I have always been, and remain, a somewhat moderate centrist policy-wise. But that’s irrelevant now. Because the left in this country has demonstrated what they will do with power. No matter what liberal policies they espouse, no matter what they claim to believe, it’s all expendable if only they can grab some power and be lords of the fucking universe and crush underfoot any dissenters. What they are “about” is raw, naked power, that THEY and they alone get to exercise “for your own good.”

It’s not about policy for me. Not anymore. It’s about who I trust with power. And while I disagree with conservatives and libertarians on a lot of stuff, the worst they seem to want is leaving people alone more than I’d like. You know what? I can live wiith that, compromise with that, nudge that to provide a few more services, a lot easier than I can reason with a group of power – hungry haters who will sell out any principle and destroy all dissent to grab more power, “for the people.” I have seen them justify executive overreach, drone assassinations, abuse of legislative process, and everything else under the sun as “necessary” to “liberal” ends. They are for/against anything at all that advances their power.

Watch what they DO. It tells you who they are. At this point, I will fight tooth and nail to keep the left far, far away from power. They are juvenile, destructive, and high on their own superiority, convinced of their ability to create a perfect utopian society if they can only fucking eliminate the pesky obstacles who disagree. Not vote out. Not win the argument. ELIMINATE the very possibility of any counter-argument being made at all.

Are there a few assholes on the right who think that way as well? Sure. But it’s not the generally accepted view. On the left? It is the majority view anymore.

I’ve said before that I feel like the woman in the scary movie who’s been hiding in the closet with the trusted security guard. Only to see him peel off the mask and I realize with horror he’s the serial killer.

This isn’t about policy arguments. It’s about who I trust with power. And while I may find that the nimrods fleeing up and down the halls with me range from decent person to useless idiot, one thing is for certain. The security guard who pulled that mask back is a bigger danger than any of them.

At least now I know why there aren’t any more brilliant women in Congress. They’re all hanging out here!

About Woke Lola

Bitch, please.
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105 Responses to Comments of the Day: On Taxes, American History, and Power Sharing

  1. Lola-at-Large says:

    Good stuff here, folks. I’m glad for it. Much clearer thinking here than I can manage right now.

    • votermom says:

      Thanks Lola for FP’ing those comments.

    • angienc says:

      Thanks Lola! One thing I forgot to mention (no need to add it to the post, I’ll just say it here) about the genius Roberts decision — in effect, the holding is 7-2 slapping down the government’s argument via the Commerce Clause. It’s a point that is being overlooked, especially on the left, who are saying the “5-4” decision means the Court is “still too conservative.” Nope — 7 of 9 Justices agreed that the mandate is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      The last thread was getting full, and these comments needed to be FP, IMHO. Y’all are welcome. Thanks for the thanks!

    • cj says:

      Crazy on the left, crazy on the right; makes you appreciate the little pockets of sanity still standing.

  2. yttik says:

    Great post, Lola. It’s kind of funny, both the left and the right are freaking out over the SC ruling. The left gloated for a few hours yesterday, but now they’re like, “wait, WTF just happened?”

    People say they don’t want activists judges who legislate from the bench, but they lie because that’s exactly what they do want. Both the left and the right wants to SC to pick winners and losers, like they’re referees at some sort of corrupt political ballgame. That’s not what they’re there for.

    I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I almost always agree with the logic behind most SC decisions. I haven’t read every single one, but those I’ve researched are always well reasoned and based on the Constitution and kind of fascinating. The Obamatax ruling is especially interesting. As usual the media is trying to interpret it to Obama’s favor, but I really believe it was a very conservative ruling.

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      For the record, not my work. Angie and WMCB wrote these comments. I just recognize brilliance when I see it. I guess I’m a good editor. 🙂

    • angienc says:

      yttik — there is nothing wrong with you because every SCOTUS decision is well reasoned, based on the Constitution and –well, some are boring, but I’ll to with *most* being fascinating. The Justices are not idiots — you or I might not share a particular judicial philosophy of a specific Justice, but that doesn’t make them (or us) “stupid.”

      The problem is that most people don’t read the decisions — they are results oriented, so they look at the holding & go no further into the rationale behind it. They get their talking points about what the decision “means” from commentators, politicians, etc. & they run with that. Additionally, they cannot accept that 2 rational people (or 9 rational judges) can look at the same issue and see more than one side of it and, in fact, find support for that side. Again, it goes to being results-oriented — they want X outcome & refuse to believe any support for a Y outcome even exists. In the law, that is almost *never* the case. In fact, in law school for Moot Court the professors require students to write a brief arguing position X but do oral arguments arguing position Y for the specific purpose of training students to look at all sides of the argument and find legal support for each.

      And you are correct — most people do only see the Court as picking “winner and loser,” which is *not* what they are there for (and, in fact, is exactly what Roberts writes in his decision).

  3. Lola-at-Large says:

    BTW, in comments all over the web, when people post that they donated to Romney, an OFA troll comes along and says they just donated more than that amount to Obama. I recommend posting that you just donated EVEN MORE to Romney, even if you didn’t. That’s what I’m doing anyway. There’s more than one way to skin a skunk.

    • angienc says:

      Final tally as of Day 1 — and yes, Obama has “said” he raised money too, but hasn’t released numbers. BWAHAHAHAHA! To paraphrase Ari Fletcher yesterday: Romney is appealing the decision. Oral arguments with the American people start today.

      • Lola-at-Large says:

        Yesterday I said if Romney raised $2 million, the race really would be a dead heat. If he raised $4 million or more, landslide city. I am rarely wrong in my political predictions, ftr. I get the policy and minor stuff wrong sometimes, but I have had golden luck with predictions since my first election in 1992, when I sardonically replied to the election of Clinton with the observation: “It doesn’t matter; Americans will elect a Republican Congress in 2 years.”

    • angienc says:

      Free me from moderation, please!

  4. zaladonis says:

    I keep reading about how brilliant Roberts’ decision was but I don’t see genius at all, I see bullshit. It’s the same old deception and pretending that’s become the standard bearer for American identification and characterization and justification and belief. “If I pretend it’s so, it becomes so.” But it doesn’t, it’s just pretending.

    This is not a tax. I don’t care how many people label it brilliant to call a fine a tax, it’s not brilliant it’s just a lie.

    • angienc says:

      Of course, the concern troll zal, shows up. You know, I have to hand it to you, zal, you really are the smartest concern troll I’ve ever come across — unlike A B G you know how to post lots & lots of comments that seem very reasonable so that when you sprinkle in your concern trolling ones (as this one is — funny how it is totally the OFA line, huh?) people tend to give you the benefit of the doubt. But I’ve been on to you for a while now, and as I specifically said to over at John’s place — you are not allowed to ever comment on a post of mine. By the power of rational thought, I reject you & all your works.

      • zaladonis says:

        you are not allowed to ever comment on a post of mine.

        Who are you the Red Queen?

        • angienc says:

          I’m the one calling you out on your bullshit concern trolling, if you hadn’t noticed.

        • zaladonis says:

          You said I’m “not allowed” to comment on your posts.

          Who conferred upon you the power to determine who posts what where and in response to whom?

        • angienc says:

          *yawn* You don’t even know how obtuse & ridiculous you are.

        • zaladonis says:

          So you don’t have the authority to allow or not allow me to post, you’re just bullshitting. No doubt you think that’s brilliant.

          You have a real problem confusing bullshit with brilliance.

        • angienc says:

          Projection — the final tack of the concern troll.
          You *still* haven’t figured it out, nitwit. It’s actually kind of funny at this point. Unfortunately, I have an appointment, but I’ll BBL! xoxo

        • zaladonis says:

          Oh I figured it out, it’s not rocket science.

          You and Lola and your clique are trolls –she boasts about it and openly recruits for others to join you– and try to bully people like me who are honest and forthright. It works on most people, I see them shrink away, but not on me.

          You call Roberts’ decision brilliant because it’s as deceitful and manipulative as you are and you fancy yourself brilliant. You’re not.

        • WMCB says:

          *claps delightedly*. That’s very amusing! Dance some more for us, zaladonis! Hang on, let me get a drink first so I can settle in enjoy your show..

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          You and Lola and your clique are trolls –she boasts about it and openly recruits for others to join you– and try to bully people like me who are honest and forthright.

          Hahahahaha! Honest and forthright, good one. Look, Z, I didn’t pay you much mind, and often agreed with you on certain points, until you attacked me out of the blue. I didn’t do anything to deserve your ire, you just couldn’t tolerate that other people might have a different approach than you. You’re still obsessing about one post I wrote months ago, and still stalking me from thread to thread. You need your head checked, sweetie.

          The flack you get here and at JWS, you earned, start to finish. Now I do pick on you, and enjoy it, because I know first hand what letting that shit lie will do. When I’ve ignored character attacks before, and stalkers/obsessive types keep repeating it, people start to believe them. I’m not letting that happen with you. I’ll identify you for what you are, an obsessive authoritarian troll, every chance I get.

        • myiq2xu says:

          Who conferred upon you the power to determine who posts what where and in response to whom?

          Me. But Lola has the power to free your comments from moderation.

          If she wants to.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          😀 It took all the willpower I had today not to abuse my power and trash every comment it posted. But I did it. Because I’m fair.

        • myiq2xu says:

          Now moderation is the default. Unless somebody frees Zal’s comments, they rot in solitude.

        • angienc says:

          I’m back. And while I wouldn’t normally comment on your latest b.s. projection since you can’t respond, seeing as you took full advantage of posting about me when I gave you fair warning that I would *not* be here (that’s how you roll) I have to say: what’s sauce for the goose.
          As I told you at John’s place when you first came out equipped with the OFA talking points that the mandate wasn’t a “tax” — you don’t even know what a *tax* is, so you really should refrain from commenting on things about which you know nothing.
          Even if, for arguments sake, the mandate wasn’t a tax (although it *clearly* was as Lulu, yttik & others — not just me and my one woman bullying brigade — proved) it fucking is now and I’ve got a SCOTUS decision to prove it.

        • threewickets says:

          You guys run the site. But don’t see how clipping Zaladonis is different from RD’s response to WMCB and Mary. Different politics, sure. Echo chambers can get monotonous. Debate keeps everyone sharp.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          WMCB and Mary didn’t spend 75% of their time attacking other posters. They were banned or left TC because their ideas couldn’t be tolerated by people who like to police other people’s thoughts. If Z had left well enough alone and just said what he/she believed, he/she’d still have posting privileges. Remember, free speech does not apply to private entities. They can make their own rules.

        • angienc says:

          3W — I love you, but as Lola said, Zal has made many personal attacks against her, so this isn’t about shutting down *debate.* I didn’t really want her banned (but kisses to myiq) and I think it was pretty obvious when I said to her initially that “she wasn’t allowed to respond to my posts” that I was being facetious & merely telling her I didn’t take her seriously, but she had to be an ass about it, start personal attacks (especially on Lola who had nothing to do with it) because that is how she rolls. She wasn’t banned until that point — the personal attack point.

        • myiq2xu says:

          Zaladonis has not been banned, but for now her comments will be screened before they are posted.

        • zaladonis says:

          I didn’t attack you Lola, I said you’re a troll, which you said of yourself, boastfully, first. Trolling is all about deceit, which you also pointed out yourself, proudly, and I repeated that about you as well. That’s all. If you think my identifying you for what you, yourself, boast that you are is an attack, you might reconsider what you do. I consider nothing you or anybody else says about me, that’s true, an attack.

          I don’t post where I’m put in moderation; “time out” is for children and censorship is for authoritarians; if that’s the way y’all operate here, like Taylor Marsh and Riverdaughter, I’ll post elsewhere. Sites like TM and TC, and I guess here (though I’m surprised to see it’s so) eventually become as dull and stupid as every echo.

          Good luck to you all; got some great feisty strong personalities and smart minds, especially WMCB. I enjoyed reading and posting here. So long.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          I’m going to let you have your last word, Z, because I really am that fair, but also because I want to respond to it and show you exactly what you sacrificed by constantly attacking other commenters. Because you will lose it in other places if you do not rein in your self-righteousness and personality.

          First, yes you did attack me, and continue to every chance you get. It started out of the blue at JWS when in response to some comment I made you suggested that people shouldn’t even take me seriously because I had written about “trolling” before, and therefore was not honest. And you continued to harp on it for weeks, attacking me over and over in an attempt to smear my character and cause people to question my integrity. That is the very definition of attacking, and you got very obsessive about it. I do understand, it’s common in the summer for people to lose their sh!t. It’s also common for self-righteous people to fail to reflect on their own errors in thinking, so busy are they to indict others’ behaviors.

          It’s true, I had written a post talking about taking assumed names (btw, is Zal your real name? I doubt it. I suspect your first name is R***) and going to unfriendly blogs in order to leave comments designed to make members of the audience question their own assumptions, or the garbage coming out of the fingertips of the blogger in question. While I lie all the time online about who I am, I never lie about what I say. That’s a difference you can’t seem to wrap that judgmental mind of yours around. I am not adopting or promoting ideas I don’t believe it, I am parsing my words so that they are more acceptable to those who would be automatically hostile to them. That’s the beauty of having studied language for over 30 years: you get really good at understanding all the versatile ways it can be used.

          I’m not out to trick anybody with trolling, I’m out to make them think while protecting myself. You forget how much we lost in 2008 just by being ourselves. And you forget how much we lost by naively assuming that just being defensively honest was enough. It wasn’t. Honesty can also be employed offensively, and that’s what I do with my trolling. I am seeking to increase my numbers, not confuse people. That this is obvious to everyone who routinely comments at TCH except for you should alone make you at least question your judgment.

          But it’s too late now. While I can free your comments, I don’t have the power to remove the moderation feature placed on your name and account details. And I wouldn’t even if I did because you really do spend half your time expressing hostility for some of the smartest people on this blog. IF you could just manage to hold a conversation about what you think without resorting to attacking commenters, you would not be in this situation. It’s clear as a bell to most people here, and it’s criticism you have consistently received since I started noticing you. But that self-righteousness gets in the way of your self-reflection, and now here we are. What happened to you is a direct result of your behavior. Show us you can change, and Myiq might be willing to restore your privileges.

    • yttik says:

      I completely disagree. You know how many things are really a “tax,” but we insist on calling them a fee, a fine, a service? It’s like baffling the general public with BS. If it’s mandatory and you have to pay it to the Gov, don’t pee on my leg and try to tell me it’s raining. It’s a tax.

      If you read through the SC ruling, it’s actually very conservative. They have increased state’s rights, limited congressional powers, and put a cap on the commerce clause. They clearly indicate that it’s not their job to decide whether or not a tax is a good tax or a bad tax, but it is their job to define and limit congressional power. Congress has the right to tax and we have the right to vote them out of office, but congress does not have the right to mandate that we engage in commerce.

      • zaladonis says:

        A tax is a forced contribution to support government’s activities; a fine is a penalty for wrongdoing.

        Renaming a fine “tax” does not change what it is, it’s just wordplay; there’s nothing brilliant about saying “I borrowed that bike” when you stole it.

        • yttik says:

          The Gov plans to fund Obamacare with a “fine” on the uninsured. Since the Gov is demanding “a forced contribution to support government’s activities,” by your own definition it is a tax.

        • zaladonis says:

          If you want to believe a penalty is a tax, have at it. The Supreme Court just legitimized the nonsense of that so I’m not about to play round robin with it.

          For my part, the salient point is that this legislation is a disaster and now our President, Congress and Judicial System has made it law while the citizenry argues nonsense just like those corrupt lawmakers want.

        • Lulu says:

          Fees, fines, penalties are additional taxes. They are used to control and manipulate behavior. All lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and most of the public know this. Please stop.

        • WMCB says:

          while the citizenry argues nonsense just like those corrupt lawmakers want.

          You might be, but I’m not. I’m working on throwing the entire Democratic Party that foisted this shit on us out of office. Me and millions upon millions of others.

        • zaladonis says:

          All lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and most of the public know this.

          Lulu, all lawyers, public policy makers and the public do not “know” this.

          As brilliant as some think Roberts’ wordplay is, it’s not even original. Not even to the Affordable Care Act. Some, like angienc, have said using the word “tax” didn’t occur to anybody in the months of discussion about what the SC would do about Obamacare, but that’s not correct. Not only did it occur to a lot of people, a Judge wrote it into his decision, it was reported and challenged and some of us discussed it.

          ThinkProgress, reporting on a petition to bypass Judge Vinson’s decision that Congress doesn’t have the legal standing to legislate health care reform the way ACA is worded, wrote:

          Vinson’s opinion is absolutely awash with errors. One of his biggest mistakes is his claim that the provision of the ACA which requires most Americans to either carry insurance or pay slightly more income taxes somehow ceases to be a valid exercise of Congress’ power to “lay and collect taxes” because Congress did not use the word “tax.” Nothing in the Constitution requires Congress to use certain magic words to invoke its enumerated powers. And no precedent exists suggesting that a fully valid law somehow ceases to be constitutional because Congress gave it the wrong name.

          There is, among intelligent educated people, legitimate dispute about the use of the word “tax” in this capacity.

        • zaladonis says:

          WMCB, I hope you succeed at that. And I hope, unlike similar efforts in Egypt last year, you and those you’re working with have a plan for the next step if you accomplish your goal. In times like these, vacuums like that are quickly filled with whomever has the organization in place.

        • WMCB says:

          LMAO! ZOMG!!!! Having fewer Dems in office will be just like a revolution in a country with no history of western democracy!!!!

          There will be tanks in the streets! Chaos! Just like the failed Wisconsin recall, democracy will be DEEAAD!!!! The country will turn into Somalia under milquetoast moderate Mitt!!!


        • Lulu says:

          Oh God, quoting Think Progress back at me. LOL

        • votermom says:

          Frankly, no Dem in DC deserved to be re-elected based on their disgusting performance in office these past 4 years. The Dem party should just die.

        • angienc says:

          Some, like angienc, have said using the word “tax” didn’t occur to anybody in the months of discussion about what the SC would do about Obamacare,

          I *never* said that. I said no one thought that is what Roberts would do (i.e., that is the tack he would take). Everyone thought the mandate was going to be decided solely on the Commerce Clause & that Roberts was either going to “side” with the conservatives (if he could “get” Kennedy) OR he was going to “side” with the liberals (if he couldn’t “get” Kennedy). No one expected a Roberts/Breyer/Kagan with Ginsburt/Sotomayer concurring majority with Kennedy/Scalia/Thomas/Alito dissenting declaring the mandate unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause 7-2 and upholding it as a tax 5-4. Anyone who says differently *now* is full of shit.

      • I’m with you. Does it really matter what we call it — a fee, fine, tax, service — it’s all the same. The government is still getting money from us for payment to the government. The genius I see of Roberts (aside for setting Obama up) is him blowing this whole notion out of the water that the government can assign mere labels to confuse us little commoners. Pols have been doing it for a long time (for ever presumably when they came up with snappy word alternatives). We won’t increase your property taxes but now you must pay sanitation removal fees. What frickin’ difference does that make to your pocketbook? One thing the average American knows is when more money is required from their pocketbook. Especially Middle-America. They may get dazzled with big fancy words from smoozy pols but they get it when they see the $$$s have dwindled from their wallets.

        • angienc says:

          Exactly — do you think the next time a pol tries to put a “mandate” or a “fee” into a bill it will not be met by the opposition party with that’s nothing but a sleeper-tax! If you think they’ll ever — on either side — be able to sneak it through again, good luck with that.

  5. jeffhas says:

    Personally, I’m not certain about the ‘genius’ move…

    I kinda worry that he was motivated by the ‘threat’ of the electioneering that was gunning for the Supreme Court. To me that means the man was intimidated… if so, not exactly the quality I highly respect – especially in a CJ… and that it may have affected a ruling is horrifying… Hopefully it was a one-off inoculation from all future threats.

    I’ll wait and see how this actually plays out.

    • yttik says:

      “I kinda worry that he was motivated by the ‘threat’ of the electioneering that was gunning for the Supreme Court.”

      I don’t think SC justices are vulnerable like that. They have so much power and they can’t be voted out of office. They also can’t be promoted. They don’t have to please anybody and their jobs are not based on public opinion.

      I don’t know, when I read what Justice Roberts wrote he doesn’t sound like an intimidated man.

      • angienc says:

        ITA yttik. I read a comment at John’s place that put it well — the opinion is the most elegant flipping of middle finger I’ve ever seen. Roberts wrote an opinion that did not violate any of his core jurisprudential philosophy — getting 6 of 8 other Justices, including 2 liberal ones– to agree with those principles — *and* he managed to uphold ObamaTAX at the same time. The effect is to (1) make it clear, as you put it above, that it isn’t the Court’s job to “pick winners or losers” — we don’t like the policies our elected officials enacted, vote them out and (2) hoist Obama/OWS/etc on their own “politicized Court” petard.

        • Mary says:

          He sure exposed Obama et al’s bullsh*t about not raising taxes on Americans making less than $200,000, eh? This will be the largest tax raise in the history of the country, for the very “little people” he professes to care about.

          It’s complete bamboozling. Okey-dokey’ing. And The One has now been publicly exposed.

        • Angie, I love that “elegant flipping of the middle finger”. Roberts basically told us ‘if we don’t like taxation without representation’ then to vote the bastards out. How much more American of a message can you get? And right before Independence Day. How many Americans are going to think about this theme while the fireworks blow off? How many family picnics have ObamaTax as the subject of conversation? How many parades will feature flags that say “Don’t tread on me”?

    • votermom says:

      I tend to agree with you. I think it was a political decision to some extent – I think that if Roberts were not concerned about repercussions of some sort he would have just sided with the conservative judges and thrown the whole thing out.
      That said, I do think he was very clever in what he did do.

      • angienc says:

        One doesn’t preclude the other. The Chief Justice is in charge of administrative matters of the Court & he is, as Krauthammer put it, “the keeper of the Court’s prestige.” I don’t think Roberts caved into pressure because he isn’t running for re-election — so “politics” doesn’t apply here in the traditional sense. But a big motivation of Roberts was to stop the Obama/OWS talking b.s. about the Court. Think we don’t like basically being called racist? Neither does the Chief Justice. But the Obamacrats, as yttik states above, don’t understand the difference between jurisprudential ideology & politics and certainly don’t acknowledge that someone can have a good faith disagreement with them on an issue.
        And let me clarify here: the decision is genius not because I personally agree; the decision is genius because he did what not one single person thought he could do — he upheld ObamacareTAX without violating his jurisprudential philosophy on the Commerce Clause. Remember Pelosi & those idiots in the chattering classes were actually predicting he would side with the liberals expanding the Feds powers under Commerce Clause! He not only did not do that, he got the liberals to side with him curtailing the governments power under the Commerce Clause! That’s what he wanted — that is what he sees as important for the long-term that coincides with his jurisprudential philosophy — he doesn’t care about Obamacare in & of itself (and no, not because he hates Obama, but because the immediate result of a particular law is not how Justices view things — they worry about long term effects of their holdings). Roberts is the guy playing 11th dimensional chess. And now Obama is going to be stuck defending a law (Obamacare & what is in those 2700 pages) that he not only hasn’t read, but that he doesn’t even understand. An elegant middle finger, indeed.

        • votermom says:

          Roberts is the guy playing 11th dimensional chess

          Yup. I have to agree with that. Undeniably brilliant mind.

          I agree that he sees the attacks by Obama et al on SCOTUS as a threat to his court and this was indeed an elegant checkmate solution. (And for all we know there might have been pressure on his family or whatever – this is the Chicago machine).

        • angienc says:

          I agree that he sees the attacks by Obama et al on SCOTUS as a threat to his court and this was indeed an elegant checkmate solution. (And for all we know there might have been pressure on his family or whatever – this is the Chicago machine).

          And don’t forget — he did it by getting everything he really wanted in a 7-2 holding. Let the OFA scream about whether it is a tax or not; let the right scream about giving Congress “unlimited power to tax.” He doesn’t care about these petty debates — he wanted the Commerce Clause curtailed; he wanted to expand state’s rights. He got it. As yttik has pointed out several times — if you actually read the opinion, it is *very* conservative. That is why those saying he could have sided with Scalia/Kennedy/Alito/Thomas and gotten all that are missing here. Roberts succeeded in doing what he set out to do & he doesn’t have to worry about any bricks through his window.

        • gxm17 says:

          ITA. ObamaNation got pwnd. And they didn’t even realize it until the next day.

          The idiots over at Buzzflash are now calling Obamacare the “partial healthcare reform bill.” And Single Payer is just around the corner! As someone who genuinely cares about this issue, these asshats disgust me. Health insurance is not health care. Why is that so hard for so many people to understand? Not. The. Same. Thing.

        • jeffhas says:

          I certainly see the ‘elegant middle finger’ (emf) part of your analysis, I just think that it ‘looks’ like he had to come up with an emf because of the political threats directed at SC.

          I want the SC to make opinions based on the fact that they are lifetime appointees that owe no explanations or emf’s to anyone.

          I definitely see the ‘genius’ of the emf if it was designed to inoculate the court and the CJ for the balance of their term – that it will diffuse all political rancor directed at SC during the CJ’s term, that is BRILLIANT for sure – POLITICALLY brilliant – not apolitical SC brilliance…. IMO.

  6. DeniseVB says:

    I’m in awe of all the front pagers and commenters here. Thanks for the roundup Lola 🙂

  7. PiperMN says:

    Thank you for the informative explanation of the court decision and the new TAX. And thank you for calling bullshit on a certain migrating poster – I’ve for a long time thought that he was a troll but slightly better than most – it’s interesting that they can’t state their opinions without denigrating another poster or person expressing their thoughts/opinions.

  8. michelina51 says:

    z: before I was so rudely interrupted-crawdad just went poof when I was writing:

    Blue Cross and Blue shield was on TV-They’re HOME base is where I live-WNY-they specifically said that the Gov will Tax them and they in turn WILL impose a rate increas to cover the cost of the TAX—-don’t beleve me-go to 4—I’m sure the video is there———I didn’t catch it all, but I willwhen I get Home–blue Cross and Blue shield are NOT HAPPY about this ruling——FCS-How much MONEY is Friggen enough for all these companies

    • zaladonis says:

      You’re absolutely right – no amount of money is enough for them.

      In the 80s and 90s banks built the biggest most luxurious skyscrapers in our cities; today the newest biggest grandest buildings have United HealthCare and Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield proudly announcing their ownership. This is a disaster for our access to and quality of the health care we’ll receive, and I hear practically nobody talking about the nuts and bolts, only about brilliance and politics.

    • votermom says:

      Even if/when Obamatax gets repealed, I find it hard to believe they will lower their rates.

      • Lola-at-Large says:

        True story. And when employers cancel all insurance policies because the fines are cheaper, they will not raise your wages to replace what you lost.

      • WMCB says:

        Take insurance nationwide, disconnect it from employment, and make them COMPETE for policies. It won’t solve the whole problem, but it would help. It did wonders for car insurance, except in states where they disallowed national competition for business.

        • votermom says:

          I am totally for this solution.

        • WMCB says:

          Like I said, it’s not the whole solution. But if the voters of this country don’t want single payer at this time, then there is a LOT that could be done to at least make the system better.

          You realize that Obamacare has pretty much screwed getting the country behind any kind of single payer in the forseeable future, right?

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Which would be fine, if they were willing to compensate what they consider part of your pay–the benefits you receive–but they won’t. This is part of every new professional job I’ve had: A statement that says this is your monetary pay and these are your benefits, and your adjusted income/compensation thus equals X.

        • votermom says:

          Yup. Not just Obamacare – the whole admin has more people distrusting govt than ever before.

        • Yes WMCB. Doesn’t it have to do with the ruling re: Medicaid expansion? The main argument I heard that made sense to me about the transitional ease to single payer was expanding Medicare for all. But now the court said that states cannot be penalized by withholding funds if they refuse to add more persons to their Medicaid rolls. State A gets just as much money from the Fed as State B who does not add more persons. So the mechanism of getting the states to absorb costs has been ruled unconstitutional effectively, so whoever tries for Single-payer will have to create an entirely new mechanism — a super expanded Medicare that is controlled by the FED and not individual states. Who is gonna go for that?

        • angienc says:

          Yes — and throw in a “tax credit” for those who purchase insurance to boot! I’d sign on to that tomorrow. 😉

        • jeffhas says:

          This to me is the best solution I can find.

          It’s no coincidence you see those monolithic Ivory Towers in different locales/states of the country. They have built their Kingdom, dug their moats, and guard them with hostile crocodile lobbyists.

          Once you drug the gators, cross the moats and tear down the Tower Walls???… the Kingdoms will have to go to war against each other – and compete.

    • Locked-N-Loaded says:

      At least BCBS of WNY (western NY) is still a non-profit. They are not associated with any other BCBS. Their rates are still pretty reasonable and their headquarters in Rochester NY are not in some glorious building. The problem with healthcare began under Reagan, when they started switching to being for-profit companies.

  9. angienc says:

    I have to go to an appointment, but will BBL.

  10. WMCB says:

    Great comment, angie. I really don’t get the handwringing over the unlimited taxation part. Is this a minor expansion of and even twist on that? Yeah, sure. But it’s not like that boat hadn’t sailed long ago.

    I swear, I am so disgusted with all the money and power grabs by the federal govt, I am about ready to go full-on federalist libertarian and say that any of my beloved (and needed) social programs ought to just be worked on at the state level. Because every time we give these federal fuckers permission even to do GOOD things, they manage to fuck it up royally, not solve the problem, and line a lot of pockets in the process. They are corrupt to the core.

    And I am Sick. Of. This. Shit.

    • angienc says:

      Thank you WMCB. Of course, I totally co-sign your comment: brilliant as always. You often write things that I am feeling myself (but you put it oh, so well!) I agree, I’m about ready to go full-on federalist libertarian myself. We can’t trust any of them with *any* power. I, too, I suppose was a centrist-Dem (one of those evil, evil Clintonistas). I’ve always been more liberal socially but fiscally centrist, for sure. But I too am just Sick.Of.This.Shit. I want the Feds to stay out of my bedroom & stay out of my pocketbook.

      • WMCB says:

        I still think the federal govt is a better logical choice for many things. But only if done responsibly. And I’m about ready to despair of them EVER doing so. Not there yet, but if these fuckers keep this shit up, I might get there.

  11. DeniseVB says:

    As always, the antidote to “Debbie Downer” politics chat…..MOTUS !

    Enjoy 🙂

  12. insanelysane says:

    This is the main reason I hate hate Obamacare. 20% of every dollar will NOT BE GOING FOR ACTUAL HEALTHCARE. We will be buying the CEOs of big Health Insurance new yachts….

    • WMCB says:


    • Lola-at-Large says:

      I do love the end scene though. That’s how I’d handle it. Could you imagine if they passed this law in Washington DC? We wouldn’t have a deficit anymore if they did, considering all the potty mouths in office.

  13. myiq2xu says:

    Heckuva job, Brownie!

  14. myiq2xu says:

    For a fine to have deterrent value it has to exceed the cost of complying with the law.

    • WMCB says:

      It’s revenue for the federal govt, period. They will spend it on things that have bupkus to do with healthcare.

    • elliesmom says:

      There are places around here where a parking ticket costs less than the fee to park in legal lot. Lots of parking tickets. Lots of revenue for the city or town instead of the parking lot owners.

  15. DeniseVB says:

    Oh for “God’s” sake….can we now nip the left’s hatred for the wingnut evangelical right in the bud. How is this different?–abc-news-politics.html

    • angienc says:

      And to that I quote Penn Jillette:

      It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.

  16. votermom says:

    Palin on The Five – 1st question she says she sees both sides of “half-full half-empty” view of Robert’s decision:

  17. Lola-at-Large says:

    It’s finally starting to dawn on them….

  18. yttik says:

    I guess we should be really clear, it’s not “a tax,” it’s 21 new taxes, 12 of them on lower income families.

  19. angienc says:

    BTW — a little fun OT side note to the OFA talking point that it *isn’t* a tax because of legislative history (that is basically what they are saying even if they don’t know it — the first draft used the actual word “tax” which they seem to think is the only thing that *makes* something a “tax” not what it actually *does* in fact). Anyway, they claim Roberts didn’t look at the legislative history of the bill to see that the Dems rejected the “tax” and made it a “mandate” so that proves it isn’t a “tax” (again, thinking the word used defines it) and how wrong that was of him to do, because Scalia used legislative history in his dissent to find it wasn’t a tax. OK, long set up — here is the fun side note — Scalia has long, long said that legislative history is irrelevant and has no bearing on the Court’s interpretation and should “never be considered.” (He has actually written that exact thing). So I find it amusing that Scalia was forced to use legislative history to reach his decision contrary to a long-standing, stated principle of his to find it *not* a tax & that Roberts did what Scalia has long said should be done re: legislative history to find that it *is* a tax.
    LOL. I find that funny. YMMV.

  20. Lulu says:

    This thread is basically kaput so I will do a little bragging about this site, the authors, the commenters and the overall intelligence, thoughtfulness, diversity, and most of all humor of those who participate. We disagree often but with humor and goodwill. While often not exactly civil it is never nasty except when someone wants to hijack a thread. We are different, from different backgrounds, ages, sexes, professional backgrounds and regions. We do not view each other as stupid, maybe misinformed or lacking specific knowledge (that is me often) but never as someone who does not have the right to have an opinion or have views that have been shaped by life experiences.

  21. Glennmcgahee says:

    Interestingly it seems our Federal Gov’t. is on the ball taking care of us little people since yesterday I received this email from USA.Gov:
    “The Bankruptcy Process Explained” sent this bulletin at 06/29/2012 12:01 PM EDT
    How did they know?

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