February 2, 2011

Lucid Links (020211, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Chuck Schumer, Constitutional ignoramus:

At the 1:09 mark:

We have three branches of government. We have a House, we have a Senate, and we have a President.

Heaven help us, the New York senator’s next election isn’t until 2016.


Term of the week: “Broccoli hypothetical.” From the ruling throwing out Obamacare:

Or, as discussed during oral argument, Congress could require that people buy and consume broccoli at regular intervals…Not only because the required purchases will positively impact interstate commerce, but also because people who eat healthier tend to be healthier, and are thus more productive and put less of a strain on the health care system.

Via Volokh (HT Professor Bainbridge via Instapundit):

The logic of the pro-health care mandate argument can justify virtually any mandate to purchase or do anything. This opens the door to the machinations of a extraordinarily large number of interest groups. It seem very likely that at least a few of them will figure out a way to take advantage of the opportunity. Even if I can’t figure out exactly how to do it, interest group leaders and other professional political strategists probably can.

… interest group influence played a role in pushing through the individual mandate (even in spite of widespread hostility to the idea), and could easily have a similar impact in enacting other purchase mandates in the future.

I would argue that it already has, assuming the Michelle Obama Food Police Act is taken to it illogical end. And it’s also obviously unconstitutional.

On a somewhat lighter note, you can bet that at least one former president would not be pleased if the broccoli hypothetical became real.


Absolutely correct, via Dan Miller at Pajamas Media:

Only one who simply doesn’t care about individual rights could read Judge Vinson’s decision and still believe the individual mandate is constitutional.

Indeed, which leads to this assessment (don’t worry, they won’t listen to me): It might be smarter for the left to fold its tent on this, if it concludes that it can’t win at the Supreme Court, or possibly even at the appellate level.

If it loses at the appellate level and the Supremes don’t take the case, such a rejection would be a stunning “Don’t bring that garbage in here” message. Given the strength of Judge Vinson’s arguments, you cannot rule out that possibility. The Supremes only agree to look at about 2% of appeals.

If it gets to the Supremes and fails, the ruling becomes settled law, and overcoming it becomes much more difficult in the future, requiring both a change in the makeup of the Supreme Court and a willingness to buck important precedent.

If the left leaves it alone and comes back in 10, 15, or 20 years to fight another day, the slate is relatively clean, and their chances of winning, if they continue to infest the courts with “living, breathing” inventers of rights and privileges that don’t exist in the Constitution and who think that considering foreign law is a good idea, they have a better chance.

Good thing they won’t listen.


Another try at tagging the Tea Partiers, conservatives, and George W. Bush with somehow encouraging a planned violent act falls on its face (here, here, here, here).

Except that such tagging attempts, especially when purveyed by the establishment press in the early moments of a breaking story, partially do work. They plant seeds of disinformation in the relatively disengaged, some of whom will buy the lie and won’t ever learn otherwise. This is irresponsible. in some cases, it seems far from accidental.


Gradually, customer complaints about attempts to meter Internet usage instead of charging flat or mostly flat rates are causing U.S. ISPs and telcos to respond. Such plans are still out there, but competition is driving them out, and if left alone, it probably will come close to eliminating them — unless the FCC does to us what Canada and its phone system are inflicting on customers there:

Like it or not, the Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved UBB for the incumbent carrier Bell Canada in September. Competitive ISPs, which connect to Canada’s top telco for last-mile copper connections to customers, will also be metered by Bell. Even though the CRTC gave these ISPs a 15 percent discount this month (TekSavvy asked for 50 percent), it’s still going to mean a real adjustment for consumers.

If I’m reading this right, there’s no meaningful telco competition in Canada. That isn’t the way it is here, unless the FCC’s net neutrality nannies effectively decide to prevent the telcos from competing against each other, in which case the only practical way to increase their top line might be to acquiesce to (or lobby for?) metered usage.

Metered usage would benefit relatively deep-pocketed media outlets, which tend to be on the establishment side, and would potentially hurt less well-funded alternative players. The guess here is that the Obama FCC would see that as a feature, not a bug.

Trouble in Romneyland (HT Hot Air)? We can hope:

In each of the traditional early states, top Romney supporters from the last campaign tell POLITICO that they’re hesitant to get behind the nearest thing the GOP has to a frontrunner. His difficulties are particularly acute in Iowa and South Carolina, where his former enthusiasts say they have not heard from him, believe he may be intent on downplaying the states in his second White House run and are openly flirting with his potential rivals.

There is talk Romney will skip Iowa. If so, that’s because the road to victory in the Hawkeye State goes through Des Moines talk-show host Steve Deace, who sees through the entire Romney sham.

That avoid-Iowa gambit didn’t work for Rudy Giuliani in 2007-2008. That Team Romney is even considering it tells you all you need to know about the genuineness of Mitt Romney’s alleged conservatism, and why sensible, constitution-loving conservatives should say: “Not This Mitt Again.”



  1. I thought for sure you’d link to the legislators in South Dakota who, in a brilliant political move, introduced a bill to require all state residents to buy a gun.

    It’s not that they believe everyone should be required by law to do so, they were just making a point about the individual mandate – and they picked an item that the left hates and demonizes.

    Too bad so many of the people commenting on the article just didn’t get it – but the analogy makes the point better, perhaps, than broccoli.

    Comment by Maggie — February 2, 2011 @ 8:32 am

  2. #1 Maggie, I saw that and was going to get to that. You did it for me.

    Here’s the link to the tongue-in-cheek effort: “Bill would require all S.D. citizens to buy a gun.”

    I wanted to look into something I vaguely recall, which is that there are a few U.S. towns which require every one (or all males, I don’t remember which) to own a firearm and know how to use it. That’s NOT the same as a purchase requirement, though.

    Comment by TBlumer — February 3, 2011 @ 8:44 am

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