...is an oncoming train, after all. <Sigh> I just KNEW I shouldn't have taken vacation.
Don't get me wrong, I had a great time. I unplugged completely from the 24hr news cycle. We went fishing, both fresh and offshore deep sea. We spent a day at Busch Gardens park in Tampa. We went down to the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, FL and actually made money! In addition, we went out to eat in two very nice restaurants (one Italian and the other a steakhouse). An entire week with no depressing news, no politics, nothing but good friends and good times. And then......
Let me get this straight. The usual swing vote, Justice Kennedy, surprised everyone with his vote aligning with the conservative wing of the Court. He even went so far as to claim that the ACA was unconstitutional in it's entirety! No one saw that coming. Then, in an even more startling development, "conservative" Chief Justice John Roberts engages in sophistry and semantic exercises to create a basis for the court to uphold the ACA by classifying it as a tax, not a mandate. (Which the majority ruled was an unconstitutional application of the Commerce Clause).
I should've stayed in Florida and buried myself deeper in the sand. Has the whole world gone crazy in the past seven days? How did the conservatives gain Kennedy and lose Roberts? No one is going to be surprised that I disagree vehemently with the ruling. It seems to me that Chief Justice Roberts went out of his way to re-interpret the structure of the ACA in order to find a basis for allowing the law to move forward.
Of course, Progressives are hailing the ruling as a "triumph of law over partisanship" and lauding Roberts as a hero (these are the same people who tried to prevent his confirmation by claiming, among other things, that Roberts was a "radical right-wing extremist" appointed by the evil George W. Bush). Presumably, they'd be just as willing to heap praises on him if the ruling had gone the other way? After all, Progressives are never motivated by partisanship or ideological beliefs; all they ever want is to simply see that the rule of law is upheld.
The traditional tendency of the Court to defer to congress notwithstanding, this measure fails on more than one point. The early majority decision was that the President and the Congress attempted to improperly use the Commerce Clause to support the concept of the individual mandate that every citizen had to buy insurance or be faced with a fine. Then, Chief Justice Roberts moved to side with the minority in finding that the measure was constitutional if the penalty for not purchasing health insurance was considered as a tax. In the decision, he wrote that regarding the penalty as a tax placed the measure within the scope of congressional authority to levy and collect taxes, thus making it constitutional.
This completely ignores the fact that the administration has argued for the last two years that it was NOT a tax, and that to interpret it as such was, to quote Obama to George Stephanopolous(sp?) "reaching" and "requiring people to be responsible for their own healthcare costs was most definitely not a tax". It's clear that if the ACA was offered to the people as semi-nationalized healthcare to be paid for by a huge new tax levy it would've been DOA. Instead, it was pushed through using a toxic combination of very questionable legislative procedures, intimidation and/or false promises (remember the promise that there would be "no federal payments for abortions"?) and de facto bribes such as the "Louisiana Purchase" & the "Cornhusker Kickback". Any of these should have been sufficient to end the bill's chances of ever becoming law.
Obama and the Democrat controlled congress knowingly perpetrated a fraud on the American people first when they promoted the bill as not being a tax; second, when they passed it through "reconciliation" instead of the usual legislative process; and finally, when they argued in their brief to the SCOTUS that it wasn't really a mandate, but a tax after all.
It's well established that, as a matter of law, contracts and agreements entered into under duress or as a result of misrepresentation or fraud on the part of one of the parties are to be held null and void and unenforceable. Apparently, it was either out of the scope of the consideration of the Court, or the petitioners neglected that possible avenue of legal challenge.
If we are to prevent this obscenity from becoming irreversible we need to accomplish 5 things:
1. Defeat Obama. If we don't win the election, the country loses.
2. Hold the House and take back the Senate. Repeal has no chance if Harry Reid is still in charge of the Senate and able to prevent any votes to repeal the ACA.
3. Stay in touch with our representatives after the election and make sure they follow through on their pre-election promises.
4. Change the leadership. We need to encourage the conservative members of the House and Senate to hold new elections and to elevate true conservative leaders, not the semi-Progressives we have now.
5. Finally, we need to keep on Romney and demand that he follow through on his many promises to "repeal Obamacare on Day One." If we let him revert to being a politician, he'll find "reasons" to keep much of the structure of the ACA in place. Giving out waivers to the states isn't nearly enough. As long as the structure remains in place, it's a continuing threat to individual liberty and freedom; an open door to encroachment by government into how we live our daily lives.