July 2nd, 2012

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Why I'm not as excited about Roberts "switch" on Healthcare Reform vote...

Don't get me wrong. I think that the healthcare reform decision was mostly correct and is great news for the millions of Americans who don't have insurance and the millions more who may in the future not have insurance, I just think many people are being too myopic in their view of this development. In short, I think that John Roberts may be crazy like a fox.

Obviously the conservative movement, led off the cliff as always by the tea party, have predictably responded to Roberts blasphemy with violent rage. I suppose they could be in on the gag, though more likely they just didn't get the memo and their limited intellect views Roberts as nothing but a betrayer who must be destroyed.

Below I will outline my reasons for thinking Roberts "crazy like a fox", and my fears about the implications/results of this vote. Feel free to disagree with me but do me the favor of actually listing your disagreements and don't simply post "you're wrong".

1) Obviously, Roberts is the Captain of the most partisan court in modern memory. This is the Court that gave us Citizens United and Citizens United 2 Montana Boogaloo. This is the Court that upheld the most heinous provision of the Arizona Immigration law (show me your papers). Roberts didn't just wake up one day and start caring about poor, uninsured people. He certainly didn't learn to love taxes. This makes me think there's more behind his vote than meets the eye.

2) Many people have said, and I for the most part agree, that Roberts was concerned with the reputation of the Court. However, what does that really mean? If he was really concerned with the legitimacy of the Court in the eyes of the public, there are many other decisions that he could have targeted (Citizens United, or at least the do-over of Citizens United in Montana, for example).

It worries me that he is going to use this one "liberal" decision to excuse dozens of partisan, conservative decisions that will change the course of government for the worse in our country. This one liberal decision could doom such important cases as Prop 8, the Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action not to mention future attempts to help the poor and tackle global warming. This one decision, sweet as it is, could haunt liberals in this country for years to come (especially if Romney wins *shudder* and creates a 6-3 conservative super majority on the Court).

3) Pay close attention to exactly how he "upheld" Obamacare. He didn't completely buy the Obama Administration word on the case and changed the justification from one involving the Commerce Clause to one deeming the Individual Mandate a "tax". This could be a very important distinction. Most obvious is the fact that this hands Roberts' masters in the GOP an easy attack against Obama (OMG, he's raising your taxes). This could very well be one of the reasons behind an eventual Romney victory (very hard to type that).

Less obvious but equally troubling, this distinction diminishes the Government's powers under the Commerce Clause and could quite possibly doom future efforts by Progressive Administrations to help the poor and address future crises.

As I said, feel free to disagree with me, try to talk me down if you wish, but don't resort to insults or simply say "you're wrong", I want to know why I'm wrong.

Republicans dodge question whether Romneycare was a tax


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[chessdev]  What's hilarious is that Romney touted the "benefits" he brought his state while governor...and yet, argues against a law BASED ON HIS template as "unconstitutional" and "harmful to the country".   The argument of 'its only 1 state' is just nonsense -- especially if people are going to argue "tax" or "constituitionality".

and it's even more interesting Republican's cant manage to call Romney's plan as a tax...even though Romney himself called it a tax...  in the middle of a call of taxes being evil...

Should be interesting how Republican's have to back a candidate who pretty much legislated everything they hate...

Si se puede

Rendering Unto Caesar: Varieties of Slavery

In the introduction to my observations on the Vatileaks affair I mentioned a transition into the adult world of slavery. One person took this as the topic of the posting. This got me thinking about the issue of slavery and how best to discuss it. I thought back to a time when slavery was mentioned in high school. The teacher asked the students what slavery is. One student answered that it means working without pay. The teacher affirmed this definition of the word.

During the Antebellum period in the US, a northern industrialist criticized the institution of chattel slavery on economic grounds. He claimed that he could hire an Irishman at a fraction of what it costs to retain a chattel laborer. His opposition was not based on humanity, but on inhumanity. He favored "free" labor because it could use a person up and discard him more efficiently than could the institution of chattel slavery. Marxists refer to this more efficient form of employment as "wage slavery."

We sometimes think of freedom as the opposite of slavery. Given certain conditions, freedom can be more brutal and degrading than an explicit master/slave relationship. Life for Irish industrial workers in the US during the nineteenth century was marginally free and substantially inhuman. Work was difficult and physically dangerous. Play tended to squander meager wages on alcohol, gambling, and prostitution. Old age was not pretty, when achievable.

The same forces that degraded the quality of life for the immigrant worker of yore continue to exist. There are people who work their fingers to the bone in order to eke out a meager subsistence. There are people who suffer a premature demise due to physical and emotional degradation. There are other people who profit from this kind of dehumanization. There are the economic cheerleaders who point to the opulence and declare it to be a wonderful boon.

The slavery that we do not see with our own eyes, or even speculate about, is perhaps the most pernicious. When I learned about the British bankers' club, I caught a glimpse of plush prison slavery. I imagined how empty life must be for a woman who lives in the isolated prison of opulence. Her husband used her as a baby maker and now pushes her into the hands of pharmacological bondage. The man of the house flies off to meetings at exotic locales where he indulges in exploitative pastimes. The woman of the house is stuck at home or at the garden club slowly rotting her brain with drugs and idle chitchat.

There are other kinds of slavery that can bend flaccid hair. The movie Second Skin shows the dark side of Internet game addiction. A mother lost a young son to suicide with he was online. This drove her to try to rescue game addicts without a clue of what she was doing. The ikon of her own spiritual bondage was prominently on display in her home.

There are people who are so slavishly obsessed with the artificial institution of sin that they incarcerate the minds of children with the straitjacket of fear. Collapse )

What experience do you have with slavery?

Links: Trailer for Second Skin (full upload).
Jumpy beasts

Aborted Fetus Disposal and your GOP Candidate

Good business is where you find it. - Dick Jones, OCP division president

Old Mitt appears to be continuing to haunt New Mitt with new information about Bain Capital's investment in a company called Stericycle, long hated by anti-abortion activists because the company's clients include abortion clinics - which means that it disposes of aborted fetuses.

Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded, invested $75 million in Stericycle in 1999, the Huffington Post reported. Stericycle later became a leader in the medical waste industry. But after the news broke, Bain Capital defended Romney, who publicly has pro-life views. Bain said that Romney left the firm in 1999, before the Stericycle deal took place. Bain representatives said that Romney had nothing to do with the Stericycle deal. 

Documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that Romney was "an active participant" in the deal, Mother Jones reported today. The documents obtained by Mother Jones show that Romney had signed some of the paperwork involved and had voting power over the Stericycle stock. 

So, Romney supporters, does this cause you any moral conflict that your candidate was profiting off of the Abortion Industry? Or is this another case like outsourcing American jobs to low-wage countries such as China, even though Romney has promised to get tough on outsourcing if he is elected president?