A blow to ObamaCare *UPDATED*

This just in:

Judge overturns much of Obama health care law as unconstitutional – AP 27 minutes ago via breakingnews.com

To the extent that anything is yet known, there’s a little more here:

The full text of the decision from Federal Judge Roger Vinson is not available yet, but according to reporters who’ve seen the decision, he’s ruled the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. The ruling favors of the 26 state attorney generals challenging the law. The judge ruled the individual mandate that requires all Americans to purchase health insurance invalid and, according to the decision, “because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void.”

UPDATE: Here’s the ruling. The question now is whether it is well reasoned.

UPDATE II:  Hallelujah!  It is well reasoned.  The first part of the opinion (correctly) dismisses the State’s contention that ObamaCare forces them into an impossibly costly Medicaid situation.  As the Court points out, Medicaid has always been a voluntary relationship between State and Feds.  The fact that the Feds made it more costly doesn’t change its voluntary nature.  In a way (although the Court doesn’t say this), the States are like drug addicts whose dealer has jacked up the price.  That’s just tough.

Of course, the gist of the opinion goes to the Constitutionality of the individual mandate, and Judge Vinson is, again, right on the money.  As the parties and the Court frame it, the question is whether the federal government exceeded its power under the Commerce Clause when it included the individual mandate in ObamaCare.  The mandate, as you recall, says that people must buy federally approved insurance or pay a fine. The Court neatly sums up the issue as follows:

At issue here, as in the other cases decided so far, is the assertion that the Commerce Clause can only reach individuals and entities engaged in an “activity”;and because the plaintiffs maintain that an individual’s failure to purchase health insurance is, almost by definition, “inactivity,” the individual mandate goes beyond the Commerce Clause and is unconstitutional. The defendants contend that activity is not required before Congress can exercise its Commerce Clause power, but that,even if it is required, not having insurance constitutes activity. The defendants also claim that the individual mandate is sustainable for the “second reason” that it falls within the Necessary and Proper Clause.

For me, as a conservative, to state the issue is to resolve the issue:  The federal government lacks the Constitutional power to coerce people into buying a product they may neither need nor want.  If the feds want to change that, they need to amend the Constitution.  Judge Vinson, however, doesn’t have the luxury of reaching this straightforward conclusion without carefully going through all of America’s federalist hoops, something that he does clearly and meticulously.

Judge Vinson starts his analysis by citing long-standing Supreme Court law limiting the feds’ power under the Commerce Clause to only three areas:  (1) regulating interstate commerce; (2) regulating intrastate activities that have an effect on interstate commerce; and (3) regulating activities that have a substantial relationship to interstate commerce.  It is the third category that comes into play here, because it is the most subjective and the broadest in application.

[Ack!  Gotta run.  I'll actually publish this and stop here, even though I've only reached page 21 of the Court's decision.  Anyone who wants to chime in, making this an interactive summary/analysis, should feel free to do so.]

UPDATE III:  Finished taking care of my mother, now taking care of my kids, so there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell that I’ll be able to finish reading the case today.  Fortunately, by this point in time, I don’t have to.  Other have waded in:

Power Line

Hot Air

Daniel Foster

Carrie Severino

The Heritage Foundation

Grace-Marie Turner

The Wall Street Journal

Strong Children

I was at my church this past weekend and was struck by the large number of college-graduate children that are now back living at home with their parents, out of work. The impression I have is that many of these kids still have no idea what they want to do with their lives. I get the sense that most pursued college degrees in either the soft social sciences (sociology, psychology, political science, environmental science), liberal arts (English, history) or hobby-arts (music, physical training), without any idea of what they planned to do with those degrees.

I largely blame their parents for this.

Meanwhile, I was at a professional meeting last week (I work in a technology-intensive industry) and heard over and over again, “we just can’t find any qualified new hires”). There are companies all over my industry looking to hire young talent. I had an executive with a large French company recently lament to me that he couldn’t find qualified American scientists, they were all from “China or India”.

I also watched a young adult professional give a PowerPoint presentation replete with misspellings and disconnected thoughts.
Where have we gone wrong in parenting and education in our society?

What do we need to do to build strong individuals and productive citizens?

Did you miss me?

Terry Trippany has once again proven himself a stellar web master.  The server went down big time and he, bless his heart, got it back and running again. Yay!

Since I know how to deal with interfaces, but have no understanding whatsoever of the hardware underneath, or of the way in which it works with the operating system, I’m always deeply impressed by his detective and repair skills.

Corrupt science and climate

After reading this excellent article, it’s clear that, even if there is anthropogenic global warming, we’ll never know, because agenda-driven “scientists” have so hopelessly corrupted the available data that scientific truth is impossible.  As it is, you all know that, while I’m an environmentalist (I believe we should cherish our environment as much as reasonably possible), I rigidly refuse to believe in anthropogenic global warming.  Back in 1992, Rush said AGW was a Leftist scam aimed at taking down capitalism, and events proved him to be absolutely right.

Democrat, Corruptocrat!

Democrats are the friends of big business, Conservatives are the friends of small business. Democrat government inevitably ratchets its way to corruptocracy.

If you don’t agree with this, can we at least agree that Democrats favor highly regulated economies and societies and conservatives don’t?

Let me explain with two examples.

1) The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story about how the EPA has decided that milk, because it contains 4% butterfat, should be regulated under the same environmental control standards as petroleum. Consequently, dairy farmers will have to file Federally approve emergency plans on how to deal with “oil spills” and such. Large dairies (some dairies in California milk 10,000 or more cows at a time) will probably be able to comply. Small dairies (goat and sheep milk farms, Vermont dairy producers etc. ) are just out of luck. I happen to know something about the dairy industry – it’s a highly politicized, highly subsidized industry that operates on very thin margins. I’m sure that they will come to an accommodation with the EPA and Federal Government…at a very steep price, politically and $-wise!

2) As it becomes increasingly clear the degree to which Obama Care really is a pig-in-a-poke, there is frantic activity to opt out of it. The numbers of entities that have received waivers from ObamaCare (other than Congress) magically rose from about 200 to 700+ immediately after the SOTU speech. Those entities are large companies and unions on the inside track. The way you get a waiver is to have a lobbyist obtain it on your behalf. Money exchanges hands. Large companies can afford this, small companies…out of luck! If ObamaCare is so great, why the rush by Congress, favored businesses and union to obtain waivers?

Increased regulation is inversely proportional to lobbying activity. The less regulation there is, the less the need to influence government. The more regulation, the more the need to petition the royal aristocracy at a heavy price. The need to petition our government for redress under regulations fostered by our government is a corrupting influence. If you lack influence and can’t make payment, you are out of the equation. Here in Chicagoland, we know all about this. Here is what happens:

Society sediments into three classes: a) an aristocratic Democrat nomenklatura that controls the regulatory and judiciary structures of society; b) a wealthy, economic class that can afford to exchange favors for regulatory exemptions and waivers…at a price; c) a lumpen proletariat, outside of the power structures, imprisoned into forced into regulatory straight-jackets (taxable prey…if you will) that they will never be able to escape unless willing to surrender at the price of their souls. It is this last class that pays the bills for the others. This isn’t new…despite its “progressive” tag, it’s a regression to 19th Century economic “shakedown” realities.

My entire career, I have been a champion of entrepreneurs and small companies. They are vital to our society and economy, as innovators, risk-takers and employers. I would hate to see this glorious period end as we slouch toward third-world corruptocracy.

I know that Democrats mouth have historically mouthed platitudes about looking after the “little guy”. I would like to think that only the truly moronic and armchair philosophers walled into their temples of abstract theory can fail to see how Orwellian and corrupting these platitudes are.

Have we as a nation arrived at a point where we can stop this from happening or is it inevitable? A Jewish relative once remarked that no Jew sleeps without two shoes under his bed stuffed with a roll of cash, in case of a quick getaway. I am starting to understand his point.

A profound difference between the Iranian protests and the current Egyptian uprising

When I was faced with troubling decisions in my life, I used to give myself a pep talk.  I’d tell myself that there were three things that could happen as a result of my decision:  things could get better, they could get worse, or they could remain the same.  So, I’d tell myself, there’s only a one third chance that my decision could have a bad outcome.  This simplistic way of looking at things ignored, of course, whether mine was a smart decision, that hewed in the direction of better-ness, or a dumb decision, that pretty much predicted the worst possible outcome.  The fact remained that there were indeed three possible outcomes.

That simplistic thinking is slightly useful right now.  Think back to the Iran protests.  I watched those protests with fascination, because I knew that, from my situation in America, things couldn’t get worse; they could only remain the same or get better.  (That is not true, of course, for the protesters, who could, and did, suffer terribly if/when the protest failed.)  I was cheering at a football game, comfortably aware that a bad outcome would disappointment me, but not hurt me; and very hopeful that things would get much better.

The same cannot be said about events in Egypt.  The situation there was bad for the Egyptians but (mostly) stable for the rest of the world, including Israel.  The greatest likelihood is that something very bad will happen there, probably involving the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah.  I therefore find the news reports, not fascinating, but very unnerving, veering into frightening.  The possibility of a good outcome — a democratic revolution — is extraordinarily small, especially with Jimmy Carter . . . uh, Barack Obama at the helm.  Yup, this is a time warp moment.  It’s 1979 all over again.

Family calls, but feel free to comment here about your take on the revolt and its potential outcomes.

Our troops *UPDATED*

Go to this post at Doug Ross’s site (a post that is kind enough to mention me), and look carefully at the picture of a clutch of US servicemen.  If you click on the picture, it takes you to an Ace post that doesn’t mention the picture, so I don’t know the story behind it.  Do any of you know the story?  Is the caption on the picture accurate?  If so, it’s a testament to human decency.

UPDATE:  Thanks to NavyOne, I can tell you that it’s the real deal.  (See the comments to the Blackfive post.)  If our troops don’t prevail, you can bet that the problem lies high up, at the top of the chain of command.  They’re not the problem.

The world would not be better off with Mohammed El-Baradei at Egypt’s helm

When I read news reports saying that Mohammed El-Baradei had shown up in Egypt as a potential “democratic” leader, I was confused.  Surely this couldn’t be the same El-Baradei who served for so long as the head of the IAEA?  I couldn’t find specifics within my own brain, and was too lazy to look around on the internet, but when I thought of that El-Baradei, I kept thinking of someone who lied about Iran’s nuclear program, and who was relentlessly hostile to America and Israel.

Sometimes my instincts are right on the money — he’s a bad dude, with a bad history.  Egypt will go from the Mubarak frying pan straight into the El-Baradei fire if the latter steps up to a leadership position.