Statistics, Race-Baiting, And Lies

August 1, 2013

Immediately following the Not Guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, the hysterical editor-in-chief of ThinkProgress wrote a typically hysterical response. Also typical for TP, he got his facts all wrong.

The content of Six Million Trayvons: How The George Zimmerman Mindset Has Rigged The Justice System Against Young Black Men is nearly dwarfed by its title — just seven bullet point citing statistics that supposedly expose the ingrained racism of our police and courts. Yet this brief piece is brimming with inaccuracies, deceptions, and the vilest of race-bating innuendo.

This is more than just sloppy journalism. Writer and TP founder, Judd Legum, draws heavily on The New Jim Crow, a racist polemic by Michelle Alexander. Not only does the US justice system suffer from institutionalized racism, Alexander claims, there’s a vast conspiracy to replace Jim Crow laws with incarceration:

“Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to … engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination … are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”

Alexander’s argument runs something like this:
1. Jim Crow denied blacks the vote
2. A felon can’t vote
3. Blacks are much more likely to commit a felony than whites
4. Ergo: Convicting blacks for felonies = Jim Crow

This conversion from overt discriminatory laws to covert felonization was both stealthy and willful: “The new system had been developed and implemented swiftly, and it was largely invisible, even to people, like me, who spent most of their waking hours fighting for justice.” (Or just maybe, it’s “largely invisible” because it doesn’t exist!)

Legum attempts to substantiate Alexander’s conspiracy theory by deceptive presentation of crime statistics. Below, each point is addressed one-by-one.


1. A black male born in 2001 has a 32% chance of spending some portion of his life in prison. A white male born the same year has just a 6% chance. [Sentencing Project]

This 5.3:1 ratio correlates well with the 7:1 disparity in the commission of crimes, blacks vs. whites. It is not evidence per se of racism in the penal system.

Legum insinuates that police go out of their way to arrest more black perps than whites. But FBI reports on crime statistics show that, by race, arrest rates and the rates of commissions of crimes correlate extremely closely. (In 2011, whites were actually slightly more likely to be arrested for their violent crimes than were blacks.)

Similar findings first appeared in The Color of Crime (“TCOC”), a 1999 study that stirred great controversy because the authors were white supremacists. Though TCOC often overreached, especially when analyzing hate crimes and inter-racial crime, its presentation of crime-by-race data was accurate: blacks as a demographic do indeed commit crimes, especially violent crimes, at a far higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group.

Critics were reduced to the intentionally misleading — “[p]eople of color are disproportionately arrested, sentenced and incarcerated when compared to white people accused of similar offenses” — or the obtuse: one community leader rejected the FBI data on the grounds that it omitted “corporate crime” committed mostly by whites.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, while not objecting to the raw data, insisted that “socioeconomic factors including poverty, education, social status and urban residence account far better for criminal behavior than race.”

Nevertheless, the fact remains that blacks are more frequently incarcerated because blacks more frequently commit crimes.


2. In major American cities, as many as 80% of young African-American men have criminal records. [Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow]

That’s over 3x higher than the national average for adults. Where Alexander spots a racist conspiracy, The Southern Poverty Law Center finds socio-economic factors at play. Instead of pointing a finger at the legal system and its commensurate response to the high urban crime rate, shouldn’t we address the culture and environment that produce so many urban criminals?


3. African-Americans who use drugs are more than four times as likely to be incarcerated than whites who use drugs. African Americans constitute 14% of the population and 14% of monthly drug users. But African-Americans represent 34% of those arrested for a drug offense and 53% of those sentenced to prison for a drug offense. [American Bar Association]

Legum deceitfully compares drug use rates with drug arrest arrest rates, as most arrests are for drug sales. (FTR, in 2011, illicit drug use was 8.7% among whites, 10.0% among blacks.) Nor is any distinction made for the type of drug involved.

Blacks are 2 1/2 times more likely to belong to gangs as whites. A large percentage of those arrested for drug violations are gang members. Around 30% of crimes committed by gangs are related to drug sales, and often involve the use of a gun. Nearly half of all youth gang members are involved in street drug sales, greatly increasing their odds of being arrested.

Considerable disparity does exist in the severity of punishment received by black drug offenders vs. whites. But as the very ABA paper cited in the article concludes, this is not due to overt racism, rather “unanticipated consequences” of “ostensibly race-neutral policies.” Foremost is the poor “quality of defense counsel” available most black perps: “too often the lawyers who provide defense services are inexperienced, fail to maintain adequate client contact, and furnish services that are simply not competent.” Another key factor is the profusion of “drug laws that penalize drug offenses that take place within a certain distance of a school more harshly than other drug crimes.” As blacks are more likely to live in urban areas, “blacks convicted of a drug offense are subject to harsher penalties than whites committing a similar offense in a less-populated area.”

The ABA also found that

“[a]t the sentencing stage, low-income substance abusers are also disadvantaged compared to defendants with resources. Given the general shortage of treatment programs, a defendant who has private insurance to cover the cost of treatment is in a much better position to make an argument for a nonincarcerative sentence than one who depends on publicly funded treatment programs.”

Now, is that racist, or economic?


4. In seven states, African Americans constitute 80% or more of all drug offenders sent to prison. [Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow]

If you want to exaggerate the severity of a problem, just cherry-pick the data and pass it off as a new stat. Apparently, the overall 53% rate cited in #3 wasn’t quite awful enough for TP’s creative class, white-guilt self-flagellation.


5. Black students are three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers. One in five black boys receive an out-of-school suspension. Education Secretary Arne Duncan who commissioned the study, said “The undeniable truth is that the everyday education experience for too many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise.” [New York Times]

Nowhere in the NYT article or the Dept. of Education’s report is there a single, concrete piece of data showing racial bias, only innuendo. Comparing generic data, lumped together from every school district in America and for every offense regardless of type or severity, is statistically worthless.

Statements like “Black students are punished more harshly when committing the same offenses as white students” are meaningless when “same offense” is defined as ‘anything leading to a suspension.’

Despite Duncan’s inflammatory conjectures, the Christian Science Monitor notes that:

“One thing experts do agree on is that the causes for the discrepancies are complex. Some urban schools with the highest suspension and expulsion rates also have high populations of poor black students, a higher-than-average percentage of whom come from single parent families. Other studies have shown that children from such homes are more prone to disciplinary problems.”

The Education Dept. study, the Monitor reports, “also suggests that the problems are inherent in how American schools are set up, with the lowest paid and least experienced teachers most often working at poorer, urban schools with more discipline problems.” Once again, we encounter socio-economic factors, not racism.

A 2009 study of North Carolina public schools by Josh Kinsler confirms this. Firstly, Kinsler looked only at 6th and 9th graders, to reduce the effect of any ‘reputation bias’ among teachers & principles. He then compared punishment rates across schools, by type of infraction, and between whites and blacks in the same school. His findings are striking:

“Across schools, black 9th grade students receive 22% longer suspensions than white students when committing simple rule violations. This gap disappears entirely when black and white student suspensions are compared within schools…. Within schools, black and white students are equally likely to be suspended and receive similar suspension durations conditional on behavior and a host of other observable characteristics.”

The only racial bias Kinsler uncovered was unexpected: black principals tend to mete out harsher punishments than their white colleagues, especially in schools with large black student bodies.


6. Black youth who are referred to juvenile court are much more likely to be detained, referred to adult court or end up in adult prison than their white counterparts. Blacks represented 28% of juvenile arrests, 30% of referrals to juvenile court, 37% of the detained population, 35% of youth judicially waived to criminal court and 58% of youth admitted to state adult prison. [National Council on Crime And Delinquency]

Again, Legum neglects to mention any mitigating factors, leaving the reader to assume racism is at work. Yet the very paper cited, Justice For Some, admits:

“It is not clear whether this overrepresentation is the result of differential police policies and practices (targeting patrols in certain low-income neighborhoods, policies requiring immediate release to biological parents, group arrest procedures); location of offenses (African American youth using or selling drugs on street corners, White youth using or selling drugs in homes); different behavior by youth of color (whether they commit more crimes than White youth); different reactions of victims to offenses committed by White and youth of color (whether White victims of crimes disproportionately perceive the offenders to be youth of color); or racial bias within the justice system.”

The NCCD report presents data showing that blacks, 17% of the youth population, were responsible for 27.5% of all youth offenses but 45.6% of all violent crimes committed by youths. As a “growing number of states have adopted legislation to exclude certain serious crimes from the jurisdiction of juvenile court and send them directly to adult court”, one would expect black youths, given their greater prevalence for violent crimes, to be more often charged as adults. Youths committing violent crimes are also more likely to be referred to juvenile court instead of remanded to the custody of a relative.


7. The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid. [Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow]

This is the sort of moronic non-sequitur that passes for common sense among proglodytes. To imply that racism in the US is worse than it was under Apartheid is the height of insanity.

News flash: crime is always low in police states. Apartheid exerted blanket control over every aspect of the lives of South Africa’s blacks, with an unflinching, militarized police to enforce it. Note Legum won’t compare the US with today’s South Africa, where there’s 55 murders every day, and violent car-jackings are reaching epidemic proportions. Where the police — under a black president — have been re-militarized, and — under a black commissioner — face charges of widespread brutality.

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Blaming the Bogeyman

Unlike Legum’s deceptive bullet points, the real statistics show very little overt racial bias whatsoever in our justice system. What does exist is largely unintentional and linked to socio-economic status. These areas of unfairness must be addressed. But a crusade against the chimera of institutional racism is misinformed, misdirected, and counter-productive. While it may fuel the masochism of ThinkProgress fools, and help dung beetles like Alexander get published, it lets down the very people in whose name these social justice warriors ostensibly act.

In 1911 Booker T. Washington observed

“There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

A century later, a new generation are playing the same con game. Instead of attacking the real culprits — poverty, dysfunctional schools & families, a sub-culture that actively promotes crime & violence, the rise of gangs, half a century of flawed, failed social engineering — the race-baiters and their prog facilitators target bogeymen.

So long as groups like ThinkProgress continue to spout lies, charlatans like Alexander promulgate conspiracy theories, and demagogues like Jackson & Sharpton spread hate, the real causes of the problem will never be addressed.

(c) 2013 by Matt Cavanaugh. All rights reserved.


Parks And Wreck

April 29, 2013

The California state legislature is currently entertaining a bill that would make it legal for homeless people to live in city parks, sleep in parked cars, to cook, bathe and relieve themselves on public property, and to panhandle with impunity.

The Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act (AB 5), the brainchild of Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, is a monstrosity of run-on sentences, grandiose pronouncements, and baffling non sequiturs, all composed in a verbose, convoluted & euphemistic language that only superficially resembles English.  In and of itself, the composition of AB 5 shows why our nation is suffering slow strangulation by legislation.

The actual proposals and underlying intent of AB 5 are extremist, threaten to disrupt civic cohesiveness, erode the quality of life, and undermine the rule of law, while offering little of substance to the homeless.

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Homeless Haven

With their mild climates, profusion of charitable groups, and lax attitudes,  California’s cities prove hospitable to those who live permanently on the street.  Current PC conventions refer to such people as “the homeless”. In the past, they’ve been known as hobos, vagrants, or bums (derived from the German Bummler, or ‘drifter’, and akin to the Irish term ‘traveler’.)   “Homeless” was coined to elicit empathy by conjuring the image of otherwise respectable people & families temporarily displaced by bad fortune.   Homeless families, though, tend to avail themselves of shelters, and their average stay is three weeks — enough time for them to sort out their problem and arrange for a place to stay.

The vast majority of people living on the street do so on a permanent basis.  Most are addicts and/or mentally ill, some are runaways.  For various reasons, they decline offers of temporary shelter, and cannot or will not work toward finding a regular home.  Homelessness is their preferred state of existence. A surprising number of individuals and advocacy groups feel that weakening or abolishing vagrancy laws is an adequate solution to their problems.

Mental Diarrhea as Legislation

AB 5 begins — though it’s hard to say where or even whether Ammiano’s mental diarrhea has a beginning, middle or end — with the fallacious argument that, since California had unjust ordinances in the past (e.g. the so-called Ugly Laws prohibiting “people with ‘unsightly or disgusting’ disabilities to appear in public”), any ordinance that makes it hard to be a vagrant is also unjust. He notes that, while the California constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, disability, orientation etc., a person’s “housing status” is not covered.  If that was Ammiano’s real concern, a one-sentence bill adding the words “housing status” would have sufficed — and probably already been passed on a voice vote.

Next comes a litany of the mistreatments endured by the homeless, who’ve been denied:

  • “Housing and employment as a result of not having a fixed or residential mailing address“;
  • “The ability to make certain purchases or enter certain contests as a result of not having a fixed or residential mailing address….”  (No Publishers’ Clearing House for you!);
  • “Access to safe, clean restrooms, water, and hygienic supplies … especially with the proliferation of closures of public restrooms”;

And so on. Public shelters are chided for not properly respecting the “dignity” of lesbians, trans-people, pet owners, et al.  The lack of adequate mental health services is also mentioned in passing, but merits no specific provisions in the bill.

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The Privileged Underprivileged

Despite repetitious, long-winded assertions that new legislation is required to give the homeless equal protection under the law, AB 5 would actually afford vagrants special rights and immunities not enjoyed by the rest of us.  These would include the right to:

  • Remain in any public space “24 hours a day, seven days a week,” even after the “homed” must exit;
  • Stand, kneel, squat, sit, lie down or sleep indefinitely on benches, sidewalks, etc.;
  • Place or set down an unlimited quantity of personal possessions in public indefinitely;
  • Store scavenged goods on public property for reuse and recycling;
  • Representation by a public attorney for offenses & citations for which “homed” citizens do not receive free counsel;
  • Prepare and share food, bathe, and attend to personal hygiene in public.  The phrase “urinating in public” was struck in committee, but the broader provisions of the bill would still legalize it.  (It’s a bit amazing that in the midst of drafting AB 5, Ammiano forgot that humans also produce large quantities of feces.)

Civil servants, who on their own initiative allow the homeless to make use of public buildings or who distribute public supplies to them, would be immune from punishment.  Panhandling would also be decriminalized, on the grounds that the homeless have a “right to self-employment.”

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Parks and Wreck

Panhandling and vagrancy have long been banned by cities, for good reason: they are anti-social behaviors that make a city unpleasant to live in or to visit.

Panhandling is begging, often done in an aggressive, threatening manner, something I’ve personally experienced.  Traveling by BART to San Francisco one Friday night years ago, I exited onto a deserted Market Street and was immediately accosted by a panhandler.  He ignored my “sorry, no change on me”, got into my personal space and started demanding dollar bills.  I spent several, tense minutes staring him down, bracing for the fight he alluded to, before my ride showed up.  Had I been a tourist, instead of visiting a new girlfriend, I likely would have written off San Francisco for good.

Vagrancy defeats the entire purpose of public parks and other areas: to provide aesthetically-pleasing spaces to be shared and enjoyed by all.  Vagrants abuse and monopolize a public space by converting it into their private space, and in doing so, spoil its appeal and accessibility to others.

Yet, under AB 5, A city would be permitted to implement its local ordinances only if:

  1. Its county provides 24-hour “health and hygiene centers” for the homeless, and;
  2. The municipality does not lie within a federally-designated “area of concentrated unemployment or underemployment or an area of labor surplus”, and;
  3. “The public housing waiting list maintained by the county contains fewer than 50 persons.”

As the League of California Cities points out, all of these requirements are beyond the control of a city.  Further, “AB 5 would create costly mandates, blur the line between local jurisdiction authority, and undermine the local decision making process.”

Now, this might be Tom Ammiano’s way of indirectly pressuring for social reforms, but it sure is a dumbass way to run a government.

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The Beggars of Calcutta, California

Some on the Right would like to force vagrants to ‘take personal responsibility’ for themselves.  The thing is, they have taken personal responsibility, and living on the street was what they came up with!  These people are constitutionally incapable of doing better.  If a quadriplegic fell overboard, you wouldn’t shout, ‘it’s sink or swim, buddy!’

Science writer Malcolm Gladwell explored the case of one homeless man in Denver, a substance abuser with personality disorders, who after years of repeated run-ins with the police and visits to the ER, froze to death.  Gladwell ran the numbers on the cost of the public services expended on this one man, and discovered it would have been cheaper for the city to have given him an apartment and a full-time caretaker for life.

One might imagine such a ‘socialist’ approach appealing to Ammiano and his  ilk.  In truth, they are no different from the brahmins of Calcutta, perfectly fine with their lowest caste living in squalor.

A truly compassionate society would never consider permission to camp in parks a valid solution.  Instead, vagrants would be removed from public spaces and placed in shelters.  This would be compulsory, for the very act of choosing permanent homelessness indicates an incapacity to care or reason for oneself.  Rather than being tossed spare change to buy Night Train, these fellow human beings would receive — in addition to proper shelter and basic amenities — professional treatment, counseling, and support for their addictions, mental conditions, or familial issues.

AB 5 is not a real solution, and it’s certainly not compassionate. At best, it’s demagoguery; at worst, a plan to convert our precious parks and plazas into lawless refugee camps.  No sane society would contemplate such a step.

(c) 2013 by Matt Cavanaugh.  All rights reserved.


A Tale of Two Amendments

April 23, 2013

In West Virginia yesterday, a 14 year old junior high student, Jared Marcum, was ordered by a teacher to remove his t-shirt, which the teacher considered offensive.  Marcum refused, and attempted to explain to the teacher his right to wear said shirt.  His fellow students in the cafeteria stood on benches and tables and began chanting in support of Marcum.  The police were dispatched and Marcum arrested for “disrupting the school process.”  Here’s what he wore:

nra_shirt_cr

The school’s dress code prohibits

  • Clothing and accessories that display profanity, violence, discriminatory messages or sexually suggestive phrases;
  • Clothing that displays advertisements for any alcohol, tobacco, or drug product.

Mesh tops and dog collars are also (praise be!) banned.  But nothing about political statements or images of guns per se.
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That Offensive Bill of Rights

It’s impossible to know the full thought process behind the teacher’s action.  What we will be officially told is that he was merely using his discretion to prevent anyone from being offended, or from an argument or dispute arising.  The preposterous claim that Marcum “almost incited a riot” is a flimsy fig leaf, indeed.  It was the teacher’s response to the shirt, not the shirt itself, that sparked the raucous but harmless protest.

Two observations:

1) You can’t offend-proof the entire world.  There’ll always be somebody that’ll be butthurt by something  — a crucifix around someone’s neck might annoy a jew, while a “Jesus Never Existed” t-shirt is bound to steam a christian.  Does this teacher comes down equally hard on students who might offend Bengals fans by wearing a Steelers jersey?;

2) Marcum’s t-shirt was a simple affirmation of:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

(Please tell me this was not a Civics teacher!)

Marcum’s interpretation of the Second Amendment likely differs from that of the teacher, other students, and almost definitely me.  His support for the Bill of Rights, however, ought be shared by all of us, and his free exercise of speech not be abridged.
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Education or Indoctrination?

The Right complains that the majority of school teachers are liberals, and that they are indoctrinating their students.   The first is an irrefutable fact; the second, I always considered false conjecture.  I’m not so sure anymore. Last year, we heard the (yes, Civics) teacher wrongly tell her students that it was a federal crime to speak out against the president.  Now we have this.

When I was a schoolchild during the era of Nixon Ascendant, it was a comfort when a few of my teachers, always scrupulously neutral in front of the class, clandestinely whispered to me that they were against the war, too.  But, now that I think about it, there was subtle indoctrination as well.  I remember lectures on how wonderful the American Melting Pot was, and being led in song, us little suburban white kids swaying and holding hands with the little bused-in black kids as we belted out “We Shall Overcome”.

That message of accepting diversity and rejecting racism was the same I got at home (sans the singing and hand-holding.)   Isn’t that where those sorts of messages belong?  Did my elementary school teachers have the obligation or the right to countermand the message other classmates were receiving from their parents, that the coons and the spics were lazy, worthless, and to blame for everything?  Those are not rhetorical questions.
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The Care and Feeding of Your Free Speech Rights

The right to free speech is not absolute in all circumstances or at all times.  The courts have uniformly ruled that, so long as a citizen has access to the exercise of free speech in some areas, it can be limited in others, like a school.   Nor are things like slander, libel, or inciting a riot (for real) — or that most hackneyed of Civics teacher examples, shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre — covered under free speech.  Schools in particular also have a compelling reason to limit the extent of confrontational speech to deter bullying and disruption.

It’s a fine line between proscribing slurs or confrontational behavior, and imposing a cultural or political status quo.  For the greater part, the teachers of my youth did an exemplary job navigating that line.  There are alarming indicators that many of today’s teachers, along with progressives at large, have strayed far over the line.
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“It Is Known”

In George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones saga, the primitive Dothraki people confirm each statement, whether fact, lore, superstition, wives’ tale or wild rumor, with “it is known.”   Such unquestioning absolutism is rife among the more strident segment of the Progressive Left  (for whom I have coined the term “proglodyte”.)

In the minds of  proglodytes, “it is known” that their view on an host of issues, from gun control to abortion, from the meaning of gender to immigration, is established fact.  Proglodytes also view the world in black and white, with everything “We” believe as Good, and everything “They” believe as Evil.  This leads them to fallaciously attribute, for example, a solidity to their opinion that more gun control is a good thing (and should be taught?) on par with the solidity of the fact that Evolution is true, and that it, but not Intelligent Design or Creationism, should taught.

We cannot, nor should we, prevent teachers from ever influencing their students.  A good Civics teacher would be teaching Heller, and stimulate, not stifle, debate by asking his or her students to compare the opinion and dissent to their own interpretation of the Second Amendment.  In other words, to encourage them to think for themselves.
.

Anyone who espouses an idea must be willing to let that idea stand the test of debate and refutation.  They must be willing to entertain opposing arguments and to permit the expression of antithetical ideas.   The banning of a T-shirt may seem innocuous, but it is the first step down the slippery slope to fascism.


(c) 2013 by Matt Cavanaugh.  All rights reserved.


How obama Turned Liberals into Zombies

October 26, 2012

The Neo-Con Democrat
The spectacle of the presidential foreign policy debate, with the republican and democratic candidates stumbling over each other to agree on the use of drones, staying for another decade in Afghanistan, Gitmo and such, was proof once again that barack obama is no liberal.

In fact, obama’s policies of endless war, nation-building, and disregard for international law mark him as a neo-con. With his predilection for assassinations and indiscriminate bombings with mounting ‘collateral damage,’ obama has turned the United States into one of those ‘rogue nations’ our rhetoric execrates.

On the home front, obama has also proven himself no liberal. He readily signed extensions of the Patriot Act and FISA, thus denying us our Fourth Amendment rights and strengthening the surveillance state established by his mentor predecessor, Bush.  obama next took away our right to free assembly by signing the Trespass Law, then negated the Constitutional right of habeas corpus by signing into law the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA.  obama routinely ignores the Constitutional separation of powers, issuing executive orders that contravene the will of Congress, while brazenly ignoring the War Powers Act by starting wars at his fancy.  The obama administration has been the worst in history for punishing whistle-blowers.
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The Corporatist Lapdog
Many on the Right label obama a ‘socialist’, which is slanderous, considering obama’s domestic policy reveals him to be a corporatist lapdog. His greatest achievement, healthcare reform (sic), was in actuality a restructuring of the health insurance market, written by the insurance lobby to benefit the insurance lobby. Forty million Americans are still left without healthcare.

When the big banks were caught in a trillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme, obama railed loudly against the bankers, then slapped them across the wrist with a $12 million token fine. The much-heralded Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, established by obama crony Elizabeth Warren, has yet to indict a single malfeasor.

Candidate obama promised to ban lobbyists from working in his administration.  President obama has more lobbyists in his White House than any previous administration.

Large campaign bundlers found obama amenable to pulling strings to aid their businesses — for example: an FCC waiver allowing LightSquared to encroach on vital military GPS bandwidths; a billion dollar HHS contract to Siga for a useless vaccine.
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The Sham Green Economy
Vaingloriously, obama predicted his inauguration would be remembered as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”  Yet under obama, the environment has suffered greatly.

Following the disastrous BP oil spill, obama promised to place his “boot on the throat” of that reckless conglomerate, then allowed BP to get away nearly scot free.  Later, obama gave BP the go-ahead to drill in Alaska.

Since 2008, obama has breathlessly told us how he wants to expand “solar, and wind, and bio-diesel”,  and now brags about having doubled the electricity produced by renewables.  That sounds impressive, until you learn that solar and wind still provide a mere 3% our total energy. Four years on, and the US is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

obama’s grand(iose) “Green Energy Economy” turned out to be a boondoggle, a false front to hide kickbacks to obama’s biggest campaign donors. Real renewable solutions do exist to meet a majority of our energy needs, yet obama wasted billions of taxpayer money on Solyndra, Beacon, A123, and a dozen other sham companies that went bankrupt.

At the international climate conferences in Copenhagen and Rio, obama personally intervened to side with China and other major greenhouse gas producers to thwart efforts to curtail global warming, thus ensuring that the oceans will indeed keep rising.

At home, obama refused to implement EPA regulations on air quality.  To his credit, obama was against the XL pipeline before he was for it. To keep up with fellow republican, Mitt Romney, obama is now calling for rapid expansion of offshore drilling, mining of coal, and frakking.
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Letting Down the Common People
On the bread & butter economic positions that for a century defined liberalism in America, obama has let down working families time and time again.

His buyout of GM may have provided temporary relief, but it did nothing to address the endemic flaws in our auto industry. His continuation of TARP was nothing more than a cash bonus to bankers for losing risky bets.

As a candidate, obama promised to end the Bush tax cuts on the rich in his first hundred days. He stalled for two years, then promised to end them in 2011. He now promises to end them sometime in his second term. obama promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. Instead, he added another $5 trillion.

Other than endlessly repeating the words “roads and bridges and schools”, obama has offered no real plan to jump-start a stagnant economy. He amused himself by joking that all those “shovel-ready” projects he was going to fund “weren’t all that shovel-ready, after all.”

Only by heavy manipulation of workforce statistics has obama been able to claim he is finally a “net job creator.”  Two-third of those new jobs are low-wage. Household wealth has sunk 39%. Sixty percent of mortgages are under water.  One in five Americans still can’t find a job they can live on.  While unemployment soared, obama fiddled and diddled. His insipid “jobs bill” was a pastiche of hiring incentives and retraining programs already long proven ineffective. At best, it would have created a million jobs; independent analysts calculated it would have created practically none.

While ordinary Americans suffer, obama has been content to blame his inability to do more on the intransigence of Congress. Yet obama had no trouble working with both Dems and Gops to sign a slew of so-called “free trade” treaties that in truth expedite the off-shoring of hundreds of thousands of American jobs. obama has spent 50% more time on the golf links than in economic briefings.

obama promises to protect Social Security and Medicare.  Yet his “payroll tax cut” robbed S.S. of 16% of its funding. Had his putrid “jobs bill” passed, it would have cut S.S. funding by half, and gut Medicare with half a billion dollars in reckless cuts. To underwrite obamacare, $700 million will be taken from Medicare.
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The Zombie Left
Among the Left, all but the most severe kool-aid addicts admit that obama has been a major disappointment. Still, they plan on voting for him as the ‘lesser of two evils.’  ‘We must protect women’s rights’, they implore.  Are not the right to a speedy trial, to protection from illegal search and seizure, to due process, the rights of women as well?  So long as obama remains president, the Left condone unliberal affronts they would never tolerate from a republican president.

To assume that in a second term obama will suddenly ‘get it’, or miraculously change his nature, is folly. Things would get even worse. True, Romney’s plan to fix the economy will also fail. But obama’s bolloxes have ensured that the country will give the GOP a shot, if not now, then in 2016. Massachusetts survived one term of Romney; America can, too.

The Left, however, cannot survive four more years of obama. In service to obama, the Left now advocate jingoism in foreign policy, and a surveillance state at home. The Left now accept zero progress on jobs or economic fairness, and mutely watch as corporate criminals go unpunished. Thanks to obama, liberals and progressives have abandoned protecting the environment and the fight for universal healthcare. The Left are nothing but mindless zombies, so long as they remain under the sway of obama’s false promises and lies.
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Vote Like a True Liberal
Now is the time for all true liberals to do their duty. To stand up for liberal values by voting for a candidate that also stands up for liberal values. barack obama is not that candidate.

Jill Stein is a true liberal. Her New Green Deal is a comprehensive plan to revitalize the American economy and restore American liberties. Patterned on FDR’s successful programs, Stein’s New Green Deal is a bold yet eminently feasible solution to our pressing problems, a solution that relies on the best liberal principles.

On November 6th, vote as a true liberal. Say ‘enough!’ with the lesser-of-two-evils crap. Vote for Jill Stein.
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(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus. All rights reserved.


Elizabeth Warren’s Lies Catching Up With Her

September 28, 2012

Elizabeth Warren, Democrat candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, can’t shake free of unflattering revelations from her past.  First to be exposed was her unverified claim to be a Cherokee, which upset actual Cherokees and raised ethical questions.  Then came accusations from fellow academics that Warren had fudged data for a book, followed by the discovery that the former mortgage fraud czarina had herself made a tidy profit flipping foreclosed homes.  Now comes the shocking news that, not only did Warren represent a string of big businesses in cases against workers, she seems to have been practicing law for over a decade without a license.
_

Family Lore vs. Hard Evidence

The first setback to Warren’s maiden election campaign came in April, when it was revealed that she’d publicly listed herself for years as a “Person of Color”, specifically, a Cherokee. (See earlier post for details.)   Despite Warren’s insistence that the Cherokee controversy has been “put to rest” it keeps dogging her, partly because her opponent, Scott Brown, has made it a question of her character, partly because of Warren’s own bizarre compulsion to keep raising the subject.

Brown hit Warren on her false Cherokee claim in the first question of their first debate.  Warren insisted Harvard’s decision to hire her had nothing to do with her claim to minority status, yet refused to comply with Brown’s request for her to release her Harvard paperwork.   Brown and the debate moderator then moved on to other issues, but a few minutes later Warren felt the need to retell the thoroughly-debunked fable of her family’s claims to Cherokee and Delaware ancestry.

Not content to leave it be, Warren released a TV ad insisting yet again that the family lore she heard as child makes it OK for her to call herself a Native American.   This subject is not a winner for Warren, as: 1) exhaustive research by the Cherokee genealogist, Twila Barnes, has proven conclusively that Warren has zero native american ancestry;  2) even had Warren’s claim to 1/32 Cherokee blood been true, under federal law, that was not sufficient for her to claim minority status as a native american.
_

Underdog Champion or Hired Gun?

Warren’s claim to fame, which made her the darling of proglodytes, is as a champion of the underdog against avaricious corporations.  In the debate, Brown cast doubt on this image when he questioned Warren’s decision to represent Travelers Insurance in its 2009 attempt to avoid paying compensation to thousands of workers with asbestos poisoning.  Warren insisted that by representing Travelers (“it was an insurance company versus another insurance company” she later explained), she actually helped the poisoned workers by getting Travelers to set up a trust fund, which was better than nothing.  The settlement was later negated by the Supreme Court, leaving the victims with nothing.

Less clear is how Warren was aiding the downtrodden when she represented LTV Steel in 1995, when they attempted to renege on health & pension benefits to thousands of retired coal miners.

Warren has also served, in an advisory or litigating capacity, the following clients in their attempts to use Chapter 11 legalities to avoid liabilities for asbestos poisoning:

  • Kaiser Aluminum
  • Dow Chemical
  • Johns Manville
  • National Gypsum
  • Fuller Austin
  • Fairchild Aviation
  • Piper Aircraft
  • Babcock & Wilcox Company
  • Pittsburgh Coming Corporation
  • Owens Coming Corporation
  • Armstrong World Industries, Inc.
  • W.R. Grace & Company
  • G-1 Holdings, Inc.
  • United States Gypsum Corporation
  • Federal-Mogul Global, Inc.
  • North American Refractories Company

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Unlicensed Practice of the Law

All this scrutiny into Warren’s legal work (conducted primarily by the blog Legal Insurrection) has uncovered a potentially devastating blow to Warren’s Senate aspirations.  It now seems certain that Warren has been practicing law for years in Massachusetts without a license.  That’s a felony.

Warren admits she’s never passed the Mass. bar,  but insists it doesn’t matter as:  1) She’s never really practiced law in Mass, just “dabbled” a bit;  2) She maintains no law office in the state;  3) She’s never appeared in a Mass. court regarding Mass. law;  4) She’s a member of the TX and NJ bars.   All four statements are lies.

Warren has engaged in continuous practice

The long list of clients above, most from 2002 and discovered by chance, belie Warren’s claim of “dabbling.” Warren refuses to release a comprehensive list of clients, but her annual tax returns list six-figure earnings from legal work.

Warren has maintained a permanent law office

Warren insists she has no law office in Massachusetts.  Yet in amicus briefs to the Supreme Court, and in numerous other cases over the past decade where she was listed “of counsel”, Warren gave her Harvard address as the location of her law practice.  On her Texas bar file, she also lists Cambridge, MA, as the location of her practice.

Clearly, Warren’s lawyerly endeavors meets the State’s criteria of someone who “establish[es] an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law,” and who “hold[s] out to the public or otherwise represent that the lawyer is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction.”

Warren practiced law in Massachusetts

Legal Insurrection has uncovered Cadle Company v. Schlictmann, a 2007 appeal before in the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, involving a state lien law. Both plaintiff and defendant were from Massachusetts. Warren represented the defendant.

Warren held no active state bar memberships

In 2003, Warren affirmed to the Supreme Court that “I am a member of the bar of the States of Texas and New Jersey.”  Warren also listed her Texas and New Jersey bar memberships in a 2008 CV.

Trouble is, Warren’s Texas bar membership lapsed in 1992. Texas lists Warren as “inactive” and not permitted to practice law.   On September 11, 2012, Warren suddenly resigned from the New Jersey bar, effectively blocking searches into when her membership was last active. Warren claimed she was too busy with the campaign to keep up with the continuing education requirements, even though the NJ bar extends magnanimous waivers and extensions.

Surpisingly, in a recent radio interview, Warren laughingly revealed “I’ve been inactive in the New Jersey bar for a very, very long time.”  That’s two “very’s” and a “long”, which probably takes us back before 2002, when Warren represented at least ten clients in court, and submitted an amicus to the Supreme Court. Certainly 2009’s Travelers v. Bailey wasn’t “very, very long ago” at all.

That’s known as Unlicensed Practice of the Law, and the State of Massachusetts take a dim view of it:

“Whoever has been so removed and continues thereafter to practice law or to receive any fee for his services as an attorney at law rendered after such removal, or who holds himself out, or who represents or advertises himself as an attorney or counsellor at law, or whoever, not having been lawfully admitted to practice as an attorney at law, represents himself to be an attorney or counsellor at law, or to be lawfully qualified to practice in the courts of the commonwealth, by means of a sign, business card, letter head or otherwise, … shall be punished for a first offence by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months, and for a subsequent offence by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year.”

_

Scoundrel

We now have compelling and damning evidence that Elizabeth Warren is an hypocrite, a compulsive liar, a cheat, an impostor, a perjurer, and a felon.  In an earlier age, a person of Warren’s low character would have been labeled a ‘scoundrel.’  Today, she’s called a ‘progressive hero.’

But hey — Warren gave a speech on youtube that thrilled the proglodytes (they do love their demagoguery!)  So the Dem Machine in Chicago tapped her for the Mass. Senate race.  Like obama before her, the Dems didn’t give a hoot about a proper vetting.  And now, like with obama, the Dems reflexively defend their candidate, Warren, for truly indefensible conduct.

Elizabeth Warren is unfit to hold office.  (If justice be served, she’ll soon trade that hideous red blazer for an orange jumpsuit.)  No true liberal in Massachusetts, who values honesty and integrity, can vote for Warren with a clear conscience.  They must cast their ballot for either Socialist Laura Garza, independent Bill Cimbrilo, or, (gasp) Scott Brown.

And vote for Jill Stein for president.

Note: This article is greatly indebted to the findings presented by Legal Insurrection.


(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus.  All rights reserved.


That Steaming Manure Pile of Political Polling

July 26, 2012

As I sit down to write, I’ve just returned from shoveling manure at the barn.  Which makes me ideally qualified to comment on the latest NBC/WSJ poll, as it’s a stinking pile of horseshit, too.

Last week’s CBS/NYT poll sent a shudder through the obama-cult chattering class.  Showing a drop in Dear Leader’s approval/disapproval rating from an already anemic 42/46 to a ruinous 36/48, the CBS poll was generally perceived as indicative of the backdraft of obama’s decision to go nasty on Romney.

With the writing seemingly on the wall, obama’s sycophants braced for more bad news.  Would the upcoming NBC/WSJ poll confirm the worst?

_

Do You Believe in Miracles?

The progosphere gave a collective sigh of relief when a veritable miracle occurred yesterday.  The PRAVDA  MSNBC poll showed obama with a slim 49/48 approval advantage, and a comfortable 49/43 lead over Romney in the ubiquitous “if the election were held today…” question.

To get these stellar results, all NBC had to do was survey +11 Democrat/Lean over Republican/lean (a D/R/I of 46/35/19). In comparison, the D/R/I in the 2010 mid-terms was 35/35/29.  In 2008, D/R/I was 39/32/29.  Rasmussen currently estimates it at 34/35/31.

Let that sink in for a moment:  +11 Democrats yielded +6 support for obama.

_

Working Overtime at the Fudge Factory

With so much riding on this poll, NBC took no chances that it would turn out unfavorably for its employer, obama.  Across the board, segments preferential to obama were over-sampled:

Group                             NBC     USA

Bachelor’s                      24%    18%

Post-grad                       18%     10%

Union household          20%     17%

2008 BO/McCain          +9        +6

NBC’s population also comprised registered voters (RV), who consistently show greater preference for obama than “likely voters” (LV), which is a technical term used by pollsters when referring to those people who are likely to vote in the upcoming election.

As a hint to how likely NBC’s sample will find their way to a polling booth on November 6th, 12% didn’t vote in 2008.  Another 4% can’t remember who they voted for.

Yet everyone accepts NBC’s results with a straight face.  Real Clear Politics robotically plugs it into its influential RCP averages, alongside results from firms that survey “likely voters” (see above for definition), like Rasmussen and Quinnipiac, also the only two pollsters to weight party identity.

_

Just An Outlier

Ah, but Rasmussen is a “conservative polling outlet”, we are reminded by the completely neutral The Hill.  Its polls are just outliers that can be safely ignored.  Rasmussen has indeed received criticism in the past for missing the mark, particularly in 2010.  Its methodology for determining party identification has also been questioned.  Is Rasmussen fudging its results, or just applying a more sophisticated approach to gauge the current political waters?

obama lackeys, desperate for good news, struggle to interpret auguries contained in the plethora of conflicting polls. As a rule, they pounce on any poll favoring Dear Leader, while viciously lashing out at any negative results, and not just those from Rasmussen.

  • In May, at the height of its push of the “War Against Women” meme, OFA got all in a tizzy after a CBS poll showed Romney leading among women;
  • Kos refuses to believe that Romney is ahead!
  • This minor blogger’s reaction epitomizes proglodyte, head-in-the-sand approach: “The 36% favorability … just is too small to be believed”, she insists, pointing to contrary numbers from earlier (Dem-skewed) polls;
  • Over at the once regal, now tawdry, The New Republic, Nate Cohn assures the Faithful that the 6-pt. approvals drop in CBS’ poll “just wasn’t as bad as it might seem.”  How so? Because CBS “has consistently found Obama with lower favorability ratings.”  Which, of course, can’t be true of our beloved barry, so “those numbers were fairly meaningless”;
  • Little Ezra, WaPo wag and obama butt-monkey, has a sure-fire approach to sleeping at night:  “ignore individual polls” and trust in the RCP average, which shows obama with “a small but persistent lead of between two and six percentage points….”


In April, Mother Jones columnist, David Corn, attempted to wrap his big, ivy league-educated brain around the perplexities of the wildly fluctuating polls.

“[T]here is a fundamental dynamic to the race to consider: Many voters tend to like Obama but are disappointed [in] the economy. And many voters—perhaps some of the same voters—don’t like Mitt Romney … but they fancy the idea of a business-savvy Mr. Fix-It who can turn around the economy. Consequently, voters in the middle … will be tugged in opposite directions over the next five-and-a-half months, as they sort out conflicting impulses. Consequently, poll results will see-saw.”

Eureka! the genius Corn has solved the riddle of the shifting polls — those dullard voters who are not members of Phi Beta Kappa simply change their tiny minds from one day to the next.  Consequently, it has nothing to do with those wide anomalies in party affiliation from one poll to the next.

_

Comparing Apples to Oranges, and Kumquats and Lingonberries.

Such divination is impossible so long as assorted pollsters proffer results like the latest out of Michigan. Rasmussen has obama +6; Mitchell, Romney +1; and PPP, obama by a whopping +14!  In 2008, obama won Michigan 57/41 over McCain (+16).  PPP would have us believe that support for the Hopey-Changey One has remained virtually intact among Wolverines.

What’s behind the disparity?  Mitchell is a local firm about which I admittedly know very little.  Public Policy Polling (PPP) is an openly pro-Democratic shop.  Founded by a prog activist, and frequently working hand-in-hand with Daily Kos and SEIU, PPP readily admits it skews its samples.  It also relies on IVR, generally considered less accurate than live calls.

PPP cleverly varies its methods of distortion from poll to poll.  Usually, its Democrat proportion hovers in the mid-forties. Other times, it will increase union household representation three-fold.  As a favor to Kos, PPP notoriously found Scott Walker and Tom Barrett dead even just before the Wisconsin recall vote.  PPP always makes sure to issue one honest poll just before an election to substantiate its boast of accuracy.

In its recent Michigan survey, PPP had a D/R/I of 32/28/40 — only +4 Dem, in line with that state’s voter registration. But the high indy is odd.  Delve deeper into the crosstabs, and we find 31% of respondents described themselves as “moderate”.  Yet these moderates split 70/20 obama v. Romney.  Has PPP detected a silent groundswell of obama support not reflected in any other poll in the country, or is something fishy going on?

Many other pollsters release skewed results without bothering to weight the samples.  A May national poll by Reuters with a D/R/I of  47/38/15 (D +9) had obama up by +7.

Again:  +9 Dem yielded +7 obama.

On the whole, big media outlets polls consistently skew democratic, including, for reasons unknown, FOX.

Even without all the intentional distortion, it’s foolish to equate polls of RV with LV.  In the past, RV polls have averaged +2 to +4 support for Dems vs. LV.  RCP blends 24 Michigan polls for its latest average, which has obama +4.2:

  • The 15 surveys of 10,768 LV, yielded +1 obama;
  • The 9 surveys of  7,082 RV yielded +10 obama.

Of the nine RV polls, six were by PPP and two by NBC.

_

Why Serve Fudge?

Wouldn’t it be in the best interest of polling firms to produce the most accurate results possible?  It would if their only motivation was their reputation.  Hence, the results from the established firms all fall within a narrow range, and show a very close race with low approvals for both candidates.  But as we saw, places like PPP are in the bag, while others hire out to the highest bidder; MSNBC is nothing less than obama’s ministry of propaganda.

Falsely inflating obama’s support helps his campaign in a number of ways.  If approvals for Romney can be shown as weak, it bolsters OFA’s attempt to portray its opponent as unlikable.  And a recent Pew poll shows many voters still forming an impression of Romney.

That same Pew poll, however, revealed that 90% of voters feel they already know enough about obama to make up their mind  — and most find him unpalatable.  From these figures, analysts have extrapolated that “the president’s approval rating among undecided voters is languishing in the 20s.”

Which makes preventing despondency from infecting obama’s own base paramount.  Enthusiasm among Democrats is down 22% from 2008, while GOP enthusiasm is up 16%. (Yet another poll, this one by Gallup.)  Until news outlets like RCP get more discriminating, a smattering of outrageous polls will suffice to mask the crumbling of obama’s support.

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Call It What It Is

We now live in a fact-free society, where everyone feels they have the right to say whatever and believe whatever.  Enough is enough.  Next time you read or hear someone cite one of these ridiculous polls, speak out and call it what it is: ‘a load of horseshit!’


(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus.  All Rights Reserved.


Obama v. Marshall

April 6, 2012

According to barack obama, John Marshall, the greatest Chief Justice of all time, was a reckless, activist judge.

Professor obama Gives a Lecture

In a response to press corps questions about last month’s obamacare hearings, our erudite professor/president lashed out at the Supreme Court, in what many saw as a blatent attempt to influence its ruling, in the process embarrasing himself by making several patently false statements about our Constitution and the Judiciary Branch.

Sensing — or perhaps tipped off — that last Friday’s initial vote had gone against his eponymous health care law, obama whined that the High Court was on the verge of taking “what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” The boy genius went on to refer to our nation’s highest court as “an unelected group of people [who] would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”

Ignoring for the moment obama’s standard demogoguery (and, admittedly, calling a slim 7-vote victory as “a strong majority” is better than the Nancy Pelosi’s earlier description of a strict party-line vote as “bipartisan“), it’s important to emphasize the temerity of the president’s comments.  obama insinuated that the Judiciary never does, nor should it ever, overturn laws passed by the Legislative branch.

Activist Judges — Proglodyte Version

That’s a false meme which crops up among right-wingers and proglodytes alike whenever rulings don’t go their way.  As one dolt at The Atlantic wrote following the first ruling against obamacare, “contrary to what many Americans believe, our Constitution actually doesn’t provide for judicial review. The power of courts to invalidate state laws is perhaps implied in the text….”  I guess that’s true, if you count ‘something some Alexander Hamilton dude wrote in this obscure & irrelevant book, The Federalist Papers’, as “implied.”

The “general liberty of the people”, Hamilton argues in Federalist #78, “can be preserved in practice no other way than through” independent courts “whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.”

Hamilton rejects the claim “that the legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers” as unsupported by “any particular provisions in the Constitution.”  To suppose “that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their will to that of their constituents” makes no sense to Hamilton.

It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order … to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts.

obama and the jacobins also choose to ingore another important document.  Art. III, Sec. 1  of the U.S. Constitution, establishes “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordaind and establish” (94 of them at present, including the several that ruled on obamacare).

Art. III. Sec. 2’s provision that “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution,the Laws of the United States … under their authority”, including “controversies to which the United States shall be a Party….”

Faced with the prospect of a ruling he won’t like, our constitutional law professor-in-Chief simply wished away that part of the Constistution that actually provides for judicial review (albeit, not in so many words.)  And this is where the ghost of John Marshall needs to get medieval on obama’s scrawny ass.

Judicial Review — 209 Years Young

If you, non-Harvard-matriculated, non-constitutional-law-lecturing plebeians need to know of one Supreme Court case, it should be Marbury v. Madison (1803), when the Court first struck down a federal law, establishing forever more the principle of Judicial Review.

The great, acclaimed first Chief Justice, John Marshall, whose opinions are considered touchstones by all (legitimate) legal scholars, declared in Marbury v. Madison that it is “emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department, to say what the law is.”  Following the ruling, this principle became known as Judicial Review.  It’s pedantic semantics to argue that Judicial Review was only implied, simply because the 1803-vintage coinage didn’t appear in the 1788 text.

Since 1803, the Supreme court has used its power of judicial review to repeal  nearly a thousand state statutes, including (progs take note) Roe v. Wade. Another 160 acts of Congress, including 6 New Deal laws that overstepped the limits of the Commerce Clause, plus over 50 in the just the past three decades, have been struck down.  That’s about five a year — hardly “unprecedented.”

Homework Assignment … for the Professor

Alarmed by obama’s apparent direct challenge to Judicial Review, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered Eric Holder to respond in writing whether “the Department of Justice recognize[s] that federal courts have the authority in appropriate circumstances to strike federal statutes because of one or more constitutional infirmities.”

Holder complied by confirming that “the power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute” while insisting his bosses comments were “fully consistent” with that principle.

Following what must have been a crash refresher course on constitutional law, obama back-tracked on his comments:

The point I was making is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it’s precisely because of that extraordinary power that the Court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress. And so the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this….

They should have left it at that.  But White House spokesman Jay Carney  blurted out  that the president was specifically referring to “the precedent under the Commerce Clause” regarding a legislature’s ability to address “challenges to our national economy.”  Then the Harvard Law grad put his foot right back into his mouth:

We have not seen a court overturn a law that was passed by Congress on an economic issue, like health care, that I think most people would clearly consider commerce, a law like that has not been overturned at least since Lochner.  So we’re going back to the ’30s, pre-New Deal.

For the record, Lochner v. New York (1905)  predated the New Deal by three decades, is today considered largely irrelevant, and dealt with the Due Process Clause, not the Commerce Clause.

Real-life legal experts were quick to remind obama of U.S. v. Lopez (1995) and U.S. v. Morrison (2000), two quite recent Supreme Court cases where Congress was indeed found to have overstepped its Commerce Clause powers.  Both ruled that, even though a private act (packing a gun to school; beating up women; resp.) might have some aggregate effect on commerce, if not in itself commercial activity, it cannot be subject to regulation.

Calculated Ploy, or Emotional Outburst?

obama’s fractured-fairy tale version of Constitutional law may have been the first shot fired in a ploy to use the obamacare ruling in the election. Or, as fellow true liberal and political commentator, John Smart, surmised, “he lost his temper because he didn’t get his way.  That’s how narcissistic personalities act.”

Quite likely, the primary motive was to save the mandate by shifting a swing vote — Kennedy’s, most would guess.  But consider another possibility — the result obama was trying to influence was not a 5-4 in favor, but to avoid a 6-3 against.  Although the comments & questions of four leftist judges during the hearings mostly indicated support for the law, one line of questioning by Justice Sotomayor raised speculation.  “So … you’re answering affirmatively to my colleagues that have asked you the question, can the government force you into commerce,” she asked Verilli, the government’s attorney.  When he conceded that point, Sotomayor followed up rhetorically, “And there is no limit to that power.”  The need to establish a clear, limiting principle to the scope of Congress’ regulatory power — in this case, why insurance but not broccoli — was the central question on all nine justice’s minds.  It was the lack of clear limits that led courts nearly identical in philosophical spectrum as this one to rule in Lopez and Morrison.
Pols like James Carville believe obama can campaign successfully on a 5-4 loss, presenting it as part of the GOP crusade against ‘our values.’  Tacitly acknowledging that Republicans will control both houses come 2013, obama can offer himself as a ‘last line of defense’. The standard argument, that we need a Democrat in the White House to nominate new justices, will of course be made.  The fresh defeat of a law passed by Democrats contains more potency than the stale, vague threat to Roe, which three decades of conservative majorities on the Court have yet to repeal.

All these propaganda tools are seriously compromised were one of the four presumed ‘solid’ votes for the mandate to flip, especially an obama appointee.  Then the story line goes: ‘This guy devoted the entire first year of his term to getting this law passed,and now it’s wiped off the books.  He wasn’t smart enough to realize it had constitutional issues, nor could he even pick the right judge to uphold it.’

If obama did indeed learn that Sotomayor will rule against, it’s no wonder he lost his cool.

Do I Get My Single Payer Now?

Many progs, in sudden shock & disillusionment that the entire ACA may be overturned — not to mention fearing taunts by coworkers over their “Healthcare: Reformed!” coffee mug — desperately seek a silver lining.  If obamacare must be defeated, they reason, maybe it’s the first step to passing real healthcare reform: a single-payer system that covers absolutely everyone.  The more severely mentally ill believe losing before the Supreme Court was all along part of obama’s secret, multi-dimensional plan to implement single-payer.

Not so fast, gang.  Even assuming you somehow re-elect barry with Dem majorities in both houses while, barry’s simply not interested in single-payer.  In his impromptu teach-in he insisted that “in the absence of an individual mandate, you cannot have a mechanism to ensure that people with preexisting conditions can actually get health care.”   Yet, as Single Payer Action —  you, know, barry, those liberals who filed that amicus curiae brief arguing against your mandate — stated in said brief:

[T]he Government characterizes the provision as necessary to the effective regulation by Congress of the national healthcare market, but disregards the proven success of single payer systems currently operating in the United States…. Congress has already implemented successful single payer systems that provide universal coverage to certain subsets of the population, including Medicare … and the Veterans Health Administration….

No surprise that healthcare experts who supported a national single payer system were banned from testifying before Congress.

A Tough Sell

Whatever the vote, if obamacare is struck down in whole or part, it will make touting the president’s list of accomplishments a tough sell.  To rally ‘the base’, obama may well be forced to promise of single-payer in his second term.  The GOP can easily counter by spinning it: ‘We just got rid of the obamacare y’all hate; now he’s promising to do obamacare all over again!’

Even from people who’d hoped for any kind of healthcare reform, giving obama a mulligan may be too much to ask.  He was handed a ‘mandate’ and large majorities in Congress, and he screwed up.  Those ideal conditions will not be recreated.  When the ACA was first introduced in 2009, it was a major disappointment to those on the far Left.  Now, a failure of obama’s healthcare juggernaut  may bring those long-supressed resentments back to the surface.  Given the efficiency of obama’s propaganda machine, it’s easy to forget the stridency of the voices on the Left originally opposed to obamacare:

  • Democrats “lost the initiative the minute that our party jumped into bed with the insurance companies,” complained Dennis Kucinich.  “This bill represents a giveaway to the insurance industry”
  • “This is essentially the collapse of health care reform” lamented Howard Dean. “Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill [it.]“
  • “From what we know about the bill, it is worse than passing nothing, ” seethed Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, who found the bill “worse than passing nothing. If I wanted Joe Lieberman writing a health care bill, I would’ve voted for John McCain.”
  • Huffy Poo opined that the bill failed to pass “the first rule of medicine … ‘do no harm.'”

Even those obama slut-monkeys, MoveOn.org, protested outside the White House, issuing a press release complaining “[w]ithout a public option, it’s just a giveaway to the insurance companies, and it does nothing to control costs.”
While obama’s team eventually quelled dissent from the Left,  it has been unable to remedy overall discontent with obamacare.  The latest Gallup poll reported that only 20% of Americans, and just 37% of Democrats, thought the mandate was constitutional; that only 11% of swing state voters feel the law has helped their families; that 53/40, voters favored repeal of the law.  Of the 28 states that filed suits against the ACA, 12 went for obama in 2008.  And Scott Brown tells us all we need to know about how Massachusetts feel about obamacare.

This November, when trying to get out the vote, OFA may find itself fighting the resentment of otherwise dependable voters like this MoveOn member picketing outside the White House in 2009:

“To me, it’s the death of health care.  And that’s sad, because this was a real opportunity. I think people voted heavily Democratic because they wanted something done to solve the health care problem, and instead we’re just getting something that will benefit the insurance companies.”

(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus.  All rights reserved.


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