Weekly Musing 6-28-15
Days until the 2015 election: 128. Days until the 2016 election: 499.
Ted Cruz Wants To Be Able To Vote Out Supreme Court Justices
After calling the last day “some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is now calling for Supreme Court justices to face elections.
In a National Review op-ed published Friday, Cruz chastised the high court for its decisions to reject a major challenge to Obamacare and to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.
“Both decisions were judicial activism, plain and simple,” Cruz writes. “Both were lawless.”
To challenge that “judicial activism,” Cruz said he is proposing a constitutional amendment to require Supreme Court justices to face retention elections every eight years.
“The decisions that have deformed our constitutional order and have debased our culture are but symptoms of the disease of liberal judicial activism that has infected our judiciary,” Cruz writes. “A remedy is needed that will restore health to the sick man in our constitutional system. Rendering the justices directly accountable to the people would provide such a remedy.”
House bill would force the Supreme Court to enroll in ObamaCare
A House Republican on Thursday proposed forcing the Supreme Court justices and their staff to enroll in ObamaCare.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) said that his SCOTUScare Act would make all nine justices and their employees join the national healthcare law’s exchanges.
“As the Supreme Court continues to ignore the letter of the law, it’s important that these six individuals understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people,” he said.
“That’s why I introduced the SCOTUScare Act to require the Supreme Court and all of its employees to sign up for ObamaCare,” Babin said.
Top 9 Quotes From Scalia’s Scathing Dissent in King V. Burwell
Justice Antonin Scalia is known for his sharp wit and even sharper pen. He pulled no punches in his dissent today from the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell allowing the Obama administration to allow Obamacare subsidies to flow through the federal exchange.
Here are nine highlights:
The damaging doctrine of John Roberts
CONSERVATIVES are dismayed about the Supreme Court’s complicity in rewriting the Affordable Care Act — its ratification of the IRS’ disregard of the statute’s plain and purposeful language. But they have contributed to this outcome. Their decades of populist praise of judicial deference to the political branches has borne this sour fruit.
The court says the ACA’s stipulation that subsidies are to be administered by the IRS using exchanges “established by the state” should not be construed to mean what it says. Otherwise the law will not reach as far as it will if federal exchanges can administer subsidies in states that choose not to establish exchanges. The ACA’s legislative history, however, demonstrates that the subsidies were deliberately restricted to distribution through states’ exchanges in order to pressure the states into establishing their own exchanges.
The most durable damage from Thursday’s decision is not the perpetuation of the ACA, which can be undone by what created it — legislative action. The paramount injury is the court’s embrace of a duty to ratify and even facilitate lawless discretion exercised by administrative agencies and the executive branch generally.
The twisted logic of John Roberts’ ObamaCare ruling
The logic of the Supreme Court ruling upholding the latest challenge to Obamacare is simple: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not destroy them,” writes Chief Justice John Roberts in his 6-3 majority decision in the case of King v. Burwell. “If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”
This is obviously true — and patently ridiculous.
It’s true because of course the goal was to improve markets. It’s absurd because government policies often have the opposite effect of what is intended — and the moral and legal onus in such situations falls on those who advanced the policies in the first place, not those who attempt to undo them.
The ludicrousness of Roberts’ logic can be seen in this extreme thought experiment: Policies like Communism, National Socialism and fascism came into political being because their expostulators and advancers thought they were going to improve humankind.
It goes without saying that their theoretically good intentions should have nothing to do with how we judge the execution of the policies enacted in their name.
Or, to look at it another way, was George Bush right to invade Iraq simply because he meant well?
The Democrats’ Mythical Third Term Obstacle
Running for a third term surely imposes some disadvantage. Change is an alluring campaign slogan that allows the outs to promise something better without specifics. The incumbent party has a record to defend, and weak points can be hammered without considering whether the outcome of roads advocated by the other party but not taken would have been worse.
The takeaway from campaign history since 1951 is not that an incumbent party faces long odds in winning a third term. It is rather that campaigns matter. It is hard to imagine McCain prevailing in 2008 given unhappiness with the war in Iraq and the economic collapse under George W. Bush. Yet Humphrey almost won despite Johnson’s disastrous Vietnam escalation, and Ford almost won notwithstanding Watergate and his then-unpopular decision to pardon Nixon, the mastermind of the cover-up. George H.W. Bush won, in part, because he ran a much better campaign than did his rival, Michael Dukakis, and he successfully enlisted Reagan to advance his cause. Had Nixon (1960) and Gore (2000) won, as they should have, and/or Humphrey and Ford, as they could have, no one would be claiming that presidential candidates from a party that has won two in a row are disadvantaged.
Each race has its own dynamic and that for 2016 is yet unknown. The Democrats may not succeed in 2016, but seeking a third term is far from a deal-breaker.
State Legislative Scorecards
The incomparable hub of legislative and electoral data has hoovered up every possible state legislative scorecard they could find, from the Alaska Business Report Card to the Wyoming Liberty Index, and everything in between.
In total, they found 189, from 103 different organizations, with at least one in every state except Alabama. Fifty-two percent are from conservative groups, like Americans for Prosperity, while 37 percent are liberal and the remaining 11 percent come from ideologically neutral outfits. The most prolific group is the League of Conservation voters, which is active in 19 states, while Texas legislators are subject to the greatest scrutiny, with 17 scorecards focused on the Lone Star State. Click through for full details, including breakdowns by state and issue type, as well as direct links to each scorecard.
These 5 Facts Explain the Threat of Cyber Warfare
The disastrous hack of the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management is the tip of the iceberg.
America has spent decades and trillions of dollars building up the greatest military force the world has ever seen. But the biggest threat to national security these days comes from not from aircraft carriers or infantry divisions, but a computer with a simple Internet connection. That much became clear after the catastrophic hack—most likely by a foreign power—of sensitive federal employee data stored online. These 5 stats explain the evolution of cyber warfare, its astronomical costs and its increasingly important role in geopolitics.
Youngest Woman Ever Elected to Congress Introduces GOP to Millennials
The youngest woman ever elected to Congress wants to introduce her fellow Republicans to a positive, radically disruptive force in politics: her generation.
“In the private sector, we’ve disrupted entire industries to make sure they’re providing the best quality service to customers and the best products. We haven’t done that in Congress yet,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, from New York, said. “Hopefully, millennials in Congress will bring that spirit of bipartisan solutions to the table.”
The 30-year-old Harvard graduate is chairing a hearing for the Republican Policy Committee on Tuesday designed to educate GOP lawmakers about the challenges and opportunities of appealing to young Americans. “Millennials and the GOP: Learning from America’s Emerging Leaders to Shape Tomorrow’s Republican Agenda” is the first in what Stefanik envisions as a three-part series.
We Have Officially Reached Peak Leftism
A progressive panic attack begins as the Obama era wanes. If it seems to you that the Left has, collectively, lost its damned mind as the curtain rises on the last act of the Obama administration, you are not imagining things. Barack Obama has been extraordinarily successful in his desire to — what was that phrase? — fundamentally transform the country, but the metamorphosis is nonetheless a good deal less than his congregation wanted and expected. We may have gone from being up to our knees in welfare-statism to being up to our hips in it, and from having a bushel of banana-republic corruption and incompetence to having a bushel and a peck of it, but the United States of America remains, to the Left’s dismay, plainly recognizable as herself beneath the muck. Ergo, madness and rage. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420211/left-activist-peak-kevin-d-williamson
For those interested in playing games?!? Republicans Should Help Bernie Sanders to Weaken Hillary Republicans should support the Vermont socialist’s campaign to force Hillary left.
Support Bernie Sanders! This is a call to action for every Republican anxious to win back the White House in 2016. Bernie Sanders, the socialist U.S. senator from Vermont, is now surging in his quest to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. He is attracting media attention and large crowds, and is invigorated by a New Hampshire–primary poll showing him only 10 points behind frontrunner Hillary Clinton. After a GOP power player sent me a piece from left-leaning Salon headlined “Hillary Clinton is going to lose: She doesn’t even see the frustrated progressive wave that will nominate Bernie Sanders,” my heart went pitter-patter, beginning to sense an opportunity. But it was not until I saw a headline in The Hill warning that the “Sanders surge is becoming a bigger problem for Clinton,” accompanied by “It may be time for Hillary Clinton to take the challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders more seriously,” that I was truly motivated to join Team Bernie and rally my fellow Republicans to do the same. So I sent Bernie a donation and visited his campaign store, where my favorite bumper sticker was Vote for Bernie . . . you know you wanna!
A Better Way to Keep Score in Iowa
Every once in a while, a really good idea or new way of looking at things comes along that is worth replicating.
Early this month, J. Ann Selzer, president of Des Moines-based Selzer & Company and pollster for The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg News, offered up a better way of looking at the potential for support of the multitude of Republican presidential contenders. With at least 16 candidates and seven months to go, the race is not static, and simplistically focusing on the first-choice support levels for each candidate doesn’t work. So factoring in a second choice and the number who say they would consider supporting that candidate likely is a better way to look at it.
I agree 100% here: Libertarians Are Pro-Market, Not Pro-Business
I would argue…add conservatives…and your right on.
Libertarians have consistently attacked corporate welfare in all its forms, even criticizing a corporate tax system that finds some major companies with a negative effective tax rate. Libertarians, of course, would like to see all tax liabilities reduced quite significantly (preferably abolished), with much smaller government translating to fewer opportunities for insider intrigues and preferential treatment.
But as long as we have various governments picking our pockets, it is especially inequitable to allow the richest and most well-connected companies a free pass while we little people pay. As Illinois Policy Institute’s Hilary Gowins recently argued, “Good tax policy shouldn’t be restricted to select industries… [L]ower taxes should be applied across the board, not just to the politically connected.”
Politically “pro-business” too often means being cozy with corporate America, free market principles be damned. And while we can’t be very surprised when America’s corporate giants take the special favors offered them, the ties that bind big business and big government should make us skeptical of politicians’ carefully cultivated populist personae. Contrary to popular belief, libertarians can’t be blamed for a massive warfare-welfare state, riddled with corporate rent-seekers and legalized corruption. Indeed, this system is the very antithesis of what libertarianism prescribes politically and economically.
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