Posts Tagged ‘Commerce’
Morningland Dairy raided and another family business destroyed 01/25/13
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The FDA is notoriously prejudiced against raw dairy products, and if they personally are opposed to consuming them, fine! But what constitutional authority do they have to tell American citizens what they can and cannot eat and drink? Answer: NONE. With the government takeover of health care, however, you can rest assured that tyrannical attempts to control your diet will increase, not decrease.
The FDA, like so many other federal bureaucracies, has become a tyrannical, unelected, unaccountable apparatus for the Nanny State to rule over Americans instead of representing and serving them. Their goal is not to protect citizens from harming one another, but to protect us from our own choices by restricting them and making them for us. But this abuse of government power is not a victimless crime.
This small, family-armed dairy is the latest casualty in a long line of victims of government abuse and over-regulation. Will your business be next?
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Mo. — After a two and a half year legal battle, 15 tons of cheese made and aged near Mountain View was hauled to a dump. To fans of natural foods, it is monumental waste and over-regulation. To Missouri’s Milk Board, it’s merely protecting public health.
“I see the destruction of what my wife and I and family have worked to build,” said Joseph Dixon, owner ofMorningland Dairy.
Dixon and his family aren’t the only ones outraged by the trashing of about 30,000 pounds of cheese produced on the farm in Howell County.
[...] ”They really haven’t found anything, no sicknesses, no illnesses in 30 years. But it’s what-if. And in the United States of America, if what-if now wins, we have no country left,” Dixon said.
Both Howell County Court and the Missouri Court of Appeals sided with the milk board’s decision to destroy all the cheese.
“We asked for trial by jury; we were denied because it was a regulation, not a law. It wasn’t passed by congress,” said Dixon.
A couple of years ago, the Dixons still had hope of someday making cheese again and were milking daily, but now, the milking barn is empty because the dairy herd is gone.
“If I tried to start back up, it would cost so much to get it in the cooler, and then, if they find, quote, one thing they can complain about, one thing, I’m shut down again, and every bit of that has to be destroyed,” said Dixon.
The Milk Board shut down Morningland’s manufacturing operation and ordered all cheese at the facility embargoed on August 26, 2010 after receiving a report from the California Department of Food and Agriculture that Morningland cheese seized in a raid of the Rawesome food club in Venice, California in June 2010 had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes andStaphyloccocus aureus. Not a single block of cheese in the warehouse had the same batch number as the cheese seized in the Rawesome raid. A Milk Board inspector initially told Joe Dixon that he would only be shut down for a few days—but that changed when FDA stepped up their involvement in the case a short time later and pressured the Milk Board not to let Morningland resume their operations.
On October 1, 2010 the Milk Board sent the Dixons a letter requesting that they destroy the entire inventory of cheese at the facility; when the Dixons refused, the Milk Board filed a petition in the Circuit Court of Howell County to obtain an order for the destruction of the Morningland cheese.
After a two-day trial before Judge David Dunlop, the judge issued a decision on February 23, 2011 ordering the destruction of the cheese. Morningland appealed the decision but on September 27, 2012 the Court of Appeals sided with the Milk Board. A petition to the Missouri Supreme Court to hear the case was rejected onDecember 18, paving the way for the destruction of the cheese to take place.
Neither the Milk Board nor FDA ever tested any of the cheese stored at Morningland. FDA did take 100 environmental swabs at the facility, all of which tested negative for listeria. There was no accusation that any cheese Morningland produced had made anyone sick; there had never been any reported illness from the consumption of Morningland products in the thirty years the farmstead cheese operation had been in business.
The Morningland case was about FDA’s agenda to restrict access to raw dairy products with the eventual goal of banning them. The agency doesn’t hesitate in sacrificing a business like the Dixons’ in order to move its agenda along.
What message does this send to entrepreneurs who are considering starting their own business and creating jobs? Who wants to take the risk of running afoul of busybody bureaucrats with an ax to grind?
Our family has been without health insurance for three years. We simply couldn’t afford it. We’ve been paying out of pocket to see our naturopath or a private urgent care instead. Now we’re going to be forced into a government exchange, waiting on long waiting lists to see hurried doctors and receive substandard care. So much for “quality” and “choice.”
Tuesday night’s win in the presidential contest for President Obama was a win for ObamaCare, the president’s signature legislation from his first term. ObamaCare will now continue to be implemented.
This future means that we will continue to be faced with rising insurance premiums, as our current insurance expands to cover all patients regardless of pre-existing condition, age, or how many times they’ve already used the policy.
Insurance will continue to follow a one-size-fits all model, where it is easy to overuse but may not cover our latest expensive technology which offer more personalized solutions.
Federal regulations in the form of Medicare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board as well as ObamaCare’s many other committees will restrict my choices for my patients. I will have more patients with more red tape and less time to spend with them.
[...] Medical care will be shifted more and more to the hospital and medical center, which are more equipped to preserve their bottom line profits despite increasing federal regulations.
[...] Doctors will cherry-pick their patients, staying away from those who are too sick to allow them to apply for financial incentives.
[...] If the current economic climate continues, small businesses will be reluctant to add more employees and large businesses will prefer to pay the ObamaCare penalty than pay the increasing premiums.
More and more people will get their health insurances at the state exchanges, where taxes pay for federal stipends in states which have created their own exchanges.
We have to get rid of this thing before it decimates what good is left in our heavily regulated and government-controlled medical system.
There may be a debate over whether Obamacare’s individual mandate is a penalty or a tax, but there is no debate among doctors and their patients about the fact that Obamacare will be bad for America’s health.
The climate in my medical office is changing; my patients sense that a storm is coming. They are worried, and there is little I can do to reassure them. They are used to my office manager getting approvals for the CT scans, mammograms, PSAs, and MRIs I order, and they realize that many of these tests will no longer be covered by insurance once Obamacare’s committees — which look at so-called comparative-effectiveness research and review current guidelines — are through with them.
Last week, with the Fourth of July looming, I was able to get a quick CT scan to rule out appendicitis for one patient, and an ultrasound of the legs to quickly diagnose a blood clot for another. Tests like these — ordered solely on the basis of my medical intuition – may not be possible in a few years. Since in both cases the symptoms weren’t “textbook,” I would probably have had to appeal to some Kafkaesque committee, wasting precious time; in an extreme instance, this could even cost a patient his or her life.
My patients know that their premiums will be going up and that, paradoxically, they will be receiving less service for their money. This is what happens when more people enter the system and are covered with easy-to-overuse insurance. Patients who overuse services will ultimately crowd out legitimate use for the group, as more regulations are imposed by both public and private insurers to preserve their bottom lines. Unfortunately, this process jeopardizes the art of medicine and real medical treatments, as doctors are pressured to conform to guidelines and insurers refuse to cover creative solutions. Obamacare caters to the worried well by allowing anyone to use the insurance, whether he or she is sick or not, with lower co-pays and deductibles and therefore no incentive against overuse. My patients also realize that I will be paid less for seeing them — first by Medicare and Medicaid, and then the private insurers will follow suit. Patients anticipate longer waits in my office and less time to spend with me. No one is asking me any more when I will change my office carpet or paint the peeling walls.
My patients know that there is a doctor shortage, and that many of the doctors who are practicing medicine today are not accepting their insurance. They know that this reality applies to specialists as well as primary-care doctors. Nurse practitioners are well trained and have a focus on nutrition and prevention that many doctors lack, but my patients know they are not interchangeable with me.
Our favorite family MD is considering closing down her private practice and getting out for good, thanks to this monstrosity.
The Doctor Patient Medical Association Foundation conducted a faxed survey of random doctors in May 2012. In the survey, it is clearly delineated that the medical system as it is changing is discouraging doctors from practicing. 83% of the doctors said that current changes made them think about quitting, and 90% of them thought the path of the medical field currently was wrong.
They apparently feel that their Hippocratic oaths are being compromised; 61% of them feel that Hippocratic ethics are getting more difficult to practice, which is troubling, since one of the cardinal parts of the oath is the phrase “I will keep them from harm and injustice.”
85% of the doctors surveyed felt that the patient-physician relationship is declining. 37% of the doctors said they were just squeaking by, and 39% said things would get worse over the next five years.
The doctors were virtually unanimous that the government is at fault for medicine being on the wrong track, and feel that corporate medicine is trying to destroy private practice. The highest numbers ever recorded are opting out of Medicare and Medicaid. They feel the best way to attack the current problems is to restore autonomy, eliminate government involvement, increase patient responsibility and implement free market reforms.
Doctor Responds to Obamacare Supreme Court Ruling
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What young, aspiring medical student is going to want to go through all the sacrifice so they can end up as a harangued government employee?
This is the the kind of stuff that dehumanizes both patients and providers to the point that you end up with severe cases of criminal neglect, as is already happening in Britain’s socialist healthcare system.
The day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of ObamaCare, a friend called me. He’s an extremely dedicated, much-loved surgeon, and he was frustrated and livid in equal measure.
“I’ve actually had a lot of experience working in all different types of environments,” he began. “I’ve worked in a government-run socialized medical care system, and I saw the waste and inefficiency.
“The longer people worked in that system, the less work they wanted to do, because the more you wanted to do, the more they dumped on you. So after a while you stop doing it, because they’re not paying you to do more. Why should you do a difficult case, a difficult surgery that will take you hours and hours to do?
“You might start out wanting to do it, but after a while, you just run out of energy, because there’s no incentive. You’d have to be a superhuman being to continue to work in that system and not be worn down by it.
“Because nobody wanted to work, it would take an hour to turn over the surgical room. In my private practice now, it takes ten minutes.
“And I saw tremendous waste: closets of stuff that never got used. Nobody cared.
“Capitalism has completely transformed my sub-specialty. When I was in training, a common procedure that I do now took 40 minutes, and people needed a month of recovery. Now it takes 10 minutes, and people can go back to work almost immediately.
“And all these improvements were driven by the financial incentive. Capitalism has had a tremendously positive effect on patient care and outcome in my specialty.
“But when I go to meetings now, I see that there’s very little innovation going on. Everything’s being impacted by ObamaCare, which, among other things, raises taxes on medical devices.
“You know, doctors are people, and we’re being hammered on all sides here.
It’s the paperwork; it’s insurance; it’s transitioning to electronic medical records, so the government can get their mitts into your practice. It’s lawsuits; it’s rising overhead and decreasing compensation; it’s stress upon stress upon stress.
“And a lot of doctors are going to say, ‘Forget it. I don’t want to do this anymore.’ Guys that are 5 or 10 years older than me are just going to give up and walk away.
“Why should I be a slave to the government? You know, it used to be that doctors would do charity work at a charity hospital. Nobody wants to do it anymore, because we’re too overwhelmed.
“I work 60 to 70 hours a week, so how am I supposed to fight back against this? Most doctors don’t have the time to lobby their congressman or go to Washington. If you’re a doctor in the trenches, you’ve got a stressful job; you’ve got a family. You’re seeing the same number of patients and making half the income you used to make. People are litigious these days, so you’ve got to worry about lawsuits. When are you going to find time to lobby a politician?
“And the American Medical Association threw us all under the bus, even though only 18% of doctors belong to it. These people are ivory-tower academics, and they’re liberals. Most of them are in academic medicine; they get a salary with some sort of incentive bonus. They show up to work and go home. They’re not in the trenches like me, figuring out how to compete with other doctors and pay for malpractice insurance and how to hire four people I need to implement the electronic medical records and two people I need to deal with insurance.
“And as a doctor, I get it handed to me both ways. My taxes are raised, and my fees are lowered.
“You know, young people today who go to medical school — I don’t know what to tell them. You couldn’t pay me to go to medical school today. Some doctors are going to graduate with $500,000 in debt, and how are they going to make a living?
“You’re 32 or 33 years old by the time you finish your training; you’re married with little kids. You’ve been an apprentice for 16 years, and now you’re faced with socialized medicine. That’s the reality on the ground. How are you supposed to manage that?
Obama doesn’t even try to hide his disdain for the constitutional checks and balances and separation of powers.
If, as widely forecast, the Supreme Court votes down Obamacare on Thursday with Anthony Kennedy as the deciding vote, President Obama will likely shift his campaign strategy directly against the Supreme Court – and Kennedy in particular.
So far, President Obama, recognizing the respect in which the Supreme Court is held, has edged away from directly attacking the Supreme Court – although he did attack the Supreme Court directly during his 2010 State of the Union address over their Citizens United decision, and he recently and idiotically said it would be “unprecedented” for the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare. He has instead leveled his most direct criticism at Congress, which he says is holding up his agenda.
All that may change if Obamacare loses in the Supreme Court. He won’t attack the institution as a whole. Instead, he’ll do something truly unprecedented: he’ll attack Justice Kennedy.
Kennedy is the second-oldest justice on the Court, at age 75; he was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1988. There is a reasonable shot that Kennedy will retire during the next presidential term – although he could hang on until past his 80th birthday. Justice Ginsburg is 79 years old, and the Court’s most reliable liberal. She has been widely rumored to be suffering from health problems. And since Supreme Court appointments often become a ghoulish death watch, there is the possibility that she will step down within the next term as well.
That leaves the constituency of the Supreme Court very much in the air. If Kennedy steps down under Mitt Romney, the Court could become a 5-4 conservative majority; if Ginsburg has to step down for health reasons, that majority could become a whopping 6-3. For the first time in a century, an originalist-minded Supreme Court could be ruling on cases.
Any Christian who has truly studied the Biblical role of government and understands the difference between what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God should be able to answer this question.
Let’s think about whether all acts of Congress deserve our respect and obedience. Suppose Congress enacted a law — and the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional — requiring American families to attend church services at least three times a month. Should we obey such a law? Suppose Congress, acting under the Constitution’s commerce clause, enacted a law requiring motorists to get eight hours of sleep before driving on interstate highways. Its justification might be that drowsy motorists risk highway accidents and accidents affect interstate commerce. Suppose you were a jury member during the 1850s and a free person were on trial for assisting a runaway slave, in clear violation of the Fugitive Slave Act. Would you vote to convict and punish?
A moral person would find each one of those laws either morally repugnant or to be a clear violation of our Constitution. You say, “Williams, you’re wrong this time. In 1859, in Ableman v. Booth, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 constitutional.” That court decision, as well as some others in our past, makes my case. Moral people can’t rely solely on the courts to establish what’s right or wrong. Slavery is immoral; therefore, any laws that support slavery are also immoral. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions (is) a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”
Soon, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Obamacare, euphemistically titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. There is absolutely no constitutional authority for Congress to force any American to enter into a contract to buy any good or service. But if the court rules that Obamacare is constitutional, what should we do?
State governors and legislators ought to summon up the courage of our Founding Fathers in response to the 5th Congress’ Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. Led by Jefferson and James Madison, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 were drafted where legislatures took the position that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional. They said, “Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government … (and) whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.” The 10th Amendment to our Constitution supports that vision: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
In a word, if the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is constitutional, citizens should press their state governors and legislatures to nullify the law. You say, “Williams, the last time states got into this nullification business, it led to a war that cost 600,000 lives.” Two things are different this time. First, most Americans are against Obamacare, and secondly, I don’t believe that you could find a U.S. soldier who would follow a presidential order to descend on a state to round up or shoot down fellow Americans because they refuse to follow a congressional order to buy health insurance.
Mark Levin With Megyn Kelly on Judge Jerry Smith and Obama’s Threats to the SCOTUS
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President Barack Obama’s attack on the Supreme Court appeared to backfire Tuesday, when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order giving the Justice Department until noon Thursday to state whether the administration truly believes courts lack the authority to strike down mandates that they determine are unconstitutional.
On Monday, Obama said that striking down his signature healthcare legislation would be an “unprecedented, extraordinary step” and would demonstrate a lack of “judicial restraint” by the Supreme Court.
He also pointed out that the nine Supreme Court justices are unelected, suggesting that it would therefore be undemocratic for them to overturn Obamacare, which narrowly eked through Congress by a seven vote margin in the House of Representatives.
“This is liberals in shock over watching their side being demolished in oral arguments,” Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday, pointing out the courts have had the authority to strike down unconstitutional provisions for over 200 years. “And [they are] trying to bully the Supreme Court into ending up on their side in a case which they clearly had lost intellectually and logically.”
The order from the 5th Circuit for the Justice Department to clarify its position on judicial authority came during a separate challenge to Obamacare brought by physician-owned hospitals.
As a Justice Department lawyer began arguing the government’s case, Appeals Judge Jerry Smith interrupted the presentation to ask if the 5th Circuit Court had the legal authority to strike down a law it finds to be unconstitutional. CBS News reports that when the government lawyer answered affirmatively, the judge stated that it was not clear to “many of us” that the president agrees.
The three-judge panel then gave the Justice Department until noon Thursday to provide a three-page letter clarifying whether it believes courts have the authority to pass judgment on the constitutionality of laws.
“Clearly, Jerry Smith was upset by the president’s remarks and he has every right to demand clarification,” judicial expert Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice told Newsmax. “Obviously, he’s making a point as well as requesting clarification.
“But the president left himself open to that,” Levey added. “Of course the president doesn’t really believe the Supreme Court can’t strike down unconstitutional laws. But if the president’s going to say things like that to demagogue, then he is responsible for them.”
Many observers saw the president’s remarks as a clumsy attempt to “work the refs” and influence the court’s decision on his healthcare reforms. His challenge to the independent judiciary branch of government provoked widespread criticism from both sides of the aisle Tuesday.
Obama is behaving more like a dictator every day.
President Obama’s Rose Garden remarks yesterday on the Supreme Court are shameful, a blot on his presidency.
“Ultimately, I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,”
As a purported constitutional law lecturer, President Obama is fully aware that laws passed by democratically elected majorities (that’s how laws are made) are overturned by the Supreme Court on a regular basis. His claim of a sizable majority is false when it comes to the House, where the margin was very close. But the size of the majority has no relevance, nor does the fact that the law in question was passed on a purely partisan basis with no Republican votes make any difference either.
Because the Harvard-educated lawyer knows all this, the words “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” are lies.
“And I’d just remind conservative commentators that, for years, what we have heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism, or a lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”
This is willful redefinition of judicial activism, which refers to inventing new law from something other than the actual words of the Constitution. As Richard Viguerie and Mark. J. Fitzgibbons remind us, the Constitution is the law that governs the government. Laws are unconstitutional when they exceed the limitations placed on the government by the people, through the Constitution. The law restrains the government, as the civil and criminal codes govern us. Overturning a law on that basis is not activism, it is law enforcement. Overturning a law because of some imagined right discerned not in the text but in an invented doctrine such as a penumbra does count as judicial activism. Obama knows this.
I must conclude that the only reason why President Obama would so egregiously lie is to send a message to the Court that if it displeases him, he will appeal to the segments of the American public utterly ignorant of the Constitution and not really paying close attention to the news. And he will in effect tell them that the Court isn’t really legitimate. This is a Chicago-style “if they bring a knife, you bring a gun” threat.
The Justices know very well that they depend on consensus acceptance of their rulings. What if certain segments of society began to characterize the Court as illegitimate? The prospect of a president whipping up a segment of his base against the court’s authority is, to use Obama’s much-abused word, extraordinary. In the wake of liberal activist ruling, the talking heads always remind us that we must respect “the rule of law” when the Court invents law.
President Obama has made it his mission to wield the club against the other two branches of government in a manner unprecedented in American history. Yesterday, Obama, rejecting the heart of judicial review for purposes of his own power, stated, “I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” That, of course, is precisely what the Supreme Court does on a daily basis: it reviews acts of a democratically-elected Congress. The reason the justices are unelected is that they are supposed to be free of outside influences in defending and protecting the Constitution.
But for Obama, the Supreme Court is an obstacle to his own power. And so he goes to war with the Supreme Court. As I noted yesterday, this is nothing new for President Obama – in his 2010 State of the Union Address, he lied about the Supreme Court and attacked them as judicial activists for striking down campaign finance laws that violated the First Amendment. That prompted Justice Alito to mouth the words, “Not true.” But undercutting the authority of the Supreme Court in a setting where the justices had to sit and take it was just the beginning, apparently.
Obama is way outside his jurisdiction on this one. The Judicial Branch is accountable to the constitution itself. They don’t answer to the Legislative or Executive branches. Their job is to determine whether the law violates any of the unalienable rights or plain language of the constitution (which it clearly does), NOT whether it is popular with the tyranny of the majority!
President Obama, employing his strongest language to date on the Supreme Court review of the federal health care overhaul, cautioned the court Monday against overturning the law — while repeatedly saying he’s “confident” it will be upheld.
The president spoke at length about the case at a joint press conference with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. The president, adopting what he described as the language of conservatives who fret about judicial activism, questioned how an “unelected group of people” could overturn a law approved by Congress.
RB observes at Right Sphere, “Obama Taught Constitutional Law?”
I’m asking because in his comments today regarding the ObamaCare case before the Supreme Court, he said some things that would indicate he needs a refresher course.
“I am confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically-elected congress,” President Obama said at a White House event in the Rose Garden today.
Since when does any of that determine whether or not a law is constitutional or not? If Obama’s “logic” were to make any sense, no law – since it would require a “strong” majority in Congress to become one – would ever be overturned by the Supreme Court.
“I just remind conservative commentators that for years we have heard the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint. That an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example and I am pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step,” Obama said to the White House press.
So basically, “judicial activism” is the court doing its job in this case. Okay, Obama. Whatever you say, Demagogue in Chief.
“As I said, we are confident this will be over — this will be upheld. I am confident this will be upheld because it should be upheld. And again, that is not just my opinion. That is the opinion of a whole lot of constitutional law professors and academics and judges and lawyers who have examined this law, even if they’re not particularly sympathetic to this piece of legislation or my presidency,” he said.
Ah. I see. A “whole lot” of constitutional law professors, etc. is how we determine if a law is constitutional or not. What was he saying about “unelected” people again? Oh, right. He forgot that none of those people he is referring to were elected, either. But you know what else those “constitutional law professors” etc. haven’t gotten?
Nominations (or confirmations) to the Supreme Court.
The “strong majority” in Congress went 219-212 in the House, with 34 Democrats defecting. Not a single Republican in either chamber voted for it, and as Ace notes, the public itself has been steadfastly opposed to the law since day one. Against that backdrop, it’s an amazing show of balls by The One to dress this up as the Court somehow thwarting the people’s will. But even if O-Care really did have a “strong majority,” so what? The whole point of judicial review is to make sure that congressional majorities, strong or not, remain bound by their enumerated powers and the Bill of Rights. [...]
Don’t take this too seriously, though. This is just Obama laying the narrative groundwork for the benefit of all the non-lawyers watching at home who don’t know enough to fact check him. He wants to plant the idea that striking down the mandate would be the most unique, extraordinary, sensational, unbelievable, unprecedented decision in Supreme Court history evah so that, if it does happen, people will regard it as illegitimate and that’ll hopefully rally them to turn out in the fall. It’s a stump speech, in other words. Just a little more dishonest than usual.
Thomas Sowell explains the flimsy foundation of Obamacare’s claim to supposed constitutionality: an old court decision which wrongfully distorted the commerce clause to expand federal powers:
When a 1942 Supreme Court decision that most people never heard of makes the front page of the New York Times in 2012, you know something unusual is going on.
What makes that 1942 case — Wickard v. Filburn — important today is that it stretched the federal government’s power so far that the Obama administration is using it as an argument to claim before today’s Supreme Court it has the legal authority to impose ObamaCare mandates on individuals.
Roscoe Filburn was an Ohio farmer who grew some wheat to feed his family and some farm animals. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture fined him for growing more wheat than he was allowed to grow under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which was passed under Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce.
Filburn pointed out that his wheat wasn’t sold, so that it didn’t enter any commerce, interstate or otherwise. Therefore the federal government had no right to tell him how much wheat he grew on his own farm, and which never left his farm.
The 10th Amendment to the Constitution says that all powers not explicitly given to the federal government belong to the states or to the people. So you might think Filburn was right.
But the Supreme Court said otherwise. Even though the wheat on Filburn’s farm never entered the market, just the fact that “it supplies a need of the man who grew it which would otherwise be reflected by purchases in the open market” meant that it affected interstate commerce. So did the fact that the home-grown wheat could potentially enter the market.
The implications of this kind of reasoning reached far beyond farmers and wheat. Once it was established that the federal government could regulate not only interstate commerce itself, but anything with any potential effect on interstate commerce, the 10th Amendment’s limitations on the powers of the federal government virtually disappeared.
Over the years, “interstate commerce” became magic words to justify almost any expansion of the federal government’s power, in defiance of the 10th Amendment.
That is what the Obama administration is depending on to get today’s Supreme Court to uphold its power to tell people that they have to buy the particular health insurance specified by the federal government.
Which article of the constitution gives the federal government the right to tell citizens which foods they may or may not consume?
Hundreds of families in the state of Maryland have just seen their source of fresh, raw milk dry up thanks to the U.S. government. The Justice Department, at the urging of the Food and Drug Administration, convinced a federal judge to impose a permanent injunction on Pennsylvania Amish farmer Dan Allgyer prohibiting him from selling his milk to willing customers on the other side of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Although the injunction did not prohibit Allgyer from selling his milk in his home state, the farmer, tired of the stress and strain of fighting the feds, has decided to “shut down his farm altogether,” according to the Washington Times.
As The New American has previously reported, Allgyer was supplying milk to a private food-buying club in Maryland called Grassfed on the Hill. Selling raw milk is legal in Pennsylvania, but not in Maryland, which also prohibits other arrangements, such as cow sharing, whereby individuals may obtain the substance.
The FDA contends that the interstate sale of raw milk, which the agency considers thoroughly unsafe to consume despite the fact that over half the states allow raw milk sales, is illegal simply on the FDA’s own say-so. Thus, though no one had complained about Allgyer’s milk, which Grassfed on the Hill members have obtained for over six years, the FDA took it upon itself to launch a two-year investigation of Allgyer and the club, complete with undercover agents, straw purchases, and early-morning raids on Allgyer’s Rainbow Acres Farm.
On February 2, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Stengel, an appointee of President George W. Bush, acceded to the Justice Department’s request for a permanent injunction against Allgyer. Stengel rejected the arguments Allgyer offered in his own defense, including the fact that the arrangement between Allgyer and the club was a private contract. Stengel declared that the club members’ “cow share agreement” — they were actually leasing the cows through another organization — was “merely a subterfuge to create a transaction disguised as a sale of raw milk to consumers.” He even argued in a footnote that “the purchase of raw milk by one who traveled between states to obtain it, or traveled between states before consuming it or sharing it with friends or family members, implicates” interstate commerce and therefore is illegal — going even further than the FDA, which has said it won’t prosecute individuals for crossing state lines with raw milk for their own consumption.
While Stengel did not give the government everything it wanted in the injunction, he did ban Allgyer from selling his milk in Maryland and ordered him to “continuously display” this statement:
Daniel L. Allgyer and Rainbow Acres Farm [and/or any other entity or name by or through which Daniel L. Allgyer operates] will no longer introduce or deliver for introduction, or cause to be introduced and delivered for introduction, into interstate commerce, any unpasteurized milk or unpasteurized milk products. Selling or distributing Rainbow Acres Farm’s unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized milk products outside the state of Pennsylvania is prohibited by federal law.
In addition, the injunction states that if Allgyer is ever again found to be connected in any way with the sale of raw milk across state lines, he will be forced to cover the costs of the government’s investigation and prosecution of him.
It’s not difficult to see why Allgyer decided he was better off giving up dairy farming than trying to carry on with much of his customer base declared off-limits and the sword of Damocles hanging over his head. A statement issued by Karine Bouis-Towe of Grassfed on the Hill said as much:
Dan and Rachel Allgyer have determined that they will discontinue service to our group and close down the farm. Dan has served many of us for more than six years and he is very saddened to have to make this decision but the stress and strain that his family has been under for the past few years due to the case and now the decision has given them no other choice.
Needless to say, the situation has the club’s roughly 500 active members more than a little upset, although the Times notes that they “are wary of talking publicly, fearing the FDA will come after them.”
One who did speak to the paper on condition of anonymity observed: “I can’t believe in 2012 the federal government is raiding Amish farmers at gunpoint all over a basic human right to eat natural food. In Maryland, they force taxpayers to pay for abortions, but God forbid we want the same milk our grandparents drank.” (The FDA, for its part, maintains that individuals “do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”)
And the Left wonders why there are so few job creators left in this country?
So it’s “racist” to require ID for voting, but it’s OK to invade Americans’ privacy by tagging them with an ID that tracks their online activity?
President Obama is planning to hand the U.S. Commerce Department authority over a forthcoming cybersecurity effort to create an Internet ID for Americans, a White House official said here today.
It’s “the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government” to centralize efforts toward creating an “identity ecosystem” for the Internet, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said.
That news, first reported by CNET, effectively pushes the department to the forefront of the issue, beating out other potential candidates, including the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The move also is likely to please privacy and civil-liberties groups that have raised concerns in the past over the dual roles of police and intelligence agencies.
The announcement came at an event today at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, where U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Schmidt spoke.
The Obama administration is currently drafting what it’s calling the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which Locke said will be released by the president in the next few months. (An early version was publicly released last summer.)
“We are not talking about a national ID card,” Locke said at the Stanford event. “We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.”
The Commerce Department will be setting up a national program office to work on this project, Locke said.
Details about the “trusted identity” project are remarkably scarce. Last year’s announcement referenced a possible forthcoming smart card or digital certificate that would prove that online users are who they say they are. These digital IDs would be offered to consumers by online vendors for financial transactions.
Schmidt stressed today that anonymity and pseudonymity will remain possible on the Internet. “I don’t have to get a credential, if I don’t want to,” he said. There’s no chance that “a centralized database will emerge,” and “we need the private sector to lead the implementation of this,” he said.
Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology, who spoke later at the event, said any Internet ID must be created by the private sector–and also voluntary and competitive.
“The government cannot create that identity infrastructure,” Dempsey said. “If it tried to, it wouldn’t be trusted.”
“No chance” that “a centralized database will emerge?”
Yeah, well, Obama said we could keep our doctor with Obamacare, too, and we all know how THAT worked out.
Obama’s Unconstitutional Appointee Cordray: Congress Has Unlimited Power Over Any Area That Has ‘Incidental Effects on the Economy’
No wonder Obama loves this guy: he thinks the Commerce Clause gives the federal government unlimited power over any area which has “incidental effects on the economy.”
President Obama announced today that he was going to take a new step in the expansion of executive authority by recess appointing a head to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau despite the fact that the Senate isn’t actually in recess. This has, of course, spawned an angry backlash. However, the man that the President is appointing is relatively unknown.
His name is Richard Cordray and he has some interesting views on the limits of congressional power. Before losing his bid for reelection as Ohio’s Attorney General Cordray appeared on a program called Capitol Square. He was asked about his decision not to join Attorney Generals, including one democrat, in filing suit against Obamacare. The full interview can be seen herebut his answer to this question is most interesting:
Cordray essentially says that lawsuits against Obamacare are “frivolous” because courts have held, and Cordray seems to agree that, any legislation which has even “incidental effects on the economy” is a “valid exercise of congressional authority” because of the commerce clause. Now the surprising aspect of what Cordray says certainly isn’t that courts have held that the commerce clause basically negates the rest of the constitution. Some courts certainly have and very famously so.
The surprising aspect of what Cordray says isn’t even that someone would have to implicitly hold this extremely far left view of the commerce clause to justify the individual mandate.
No, the surprising aspect is that he said this at all. Most liberal politicians have better sense then to explicitly spell out the radical beliefs that make up the foundation of their political philosophy. Off the wall interpretations of the Constitution are generally disliked by average Americans when explained to them so bluntly.
Honestly, how many people in this country would agree that the Constitution views any legislation that has any effect on the economy, no matter how slight or round about, as a valid exercise of congressional authority? After all, what legislation wouldn’t fall under that standard? What human action, or in Obamacare’s case, inaction wouldn’t be under congress’s authority to impose its will upon?
Apparently, unlike most of us, when Richard Cordray gets to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution and reads “[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes” he takes that to mean any law that leads to even “incidental effects on the economy” is a “valid exercise of congressional authority”.
H/T Weasel Zippers
”Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.” Period. The “corporate personhood” argument is a farce. The 1st Amendment applies to both individuals and groups of individuals (non-profits, churches, clubs, corporations, unions, activist groups) alike. Apparently that’s just too much free speech for Statist Dems like Merkley to handle.
The problem isn’t the amount of “money in politics”. The problem is that politicians abuse unconstitutional powers that lobbyists want to buy (bailouts, subsidies, regulations favoring one industry or company over another, etc.). Even companies that revile the spoil system are forced to play the game because otherwise their competitors (who lobby for government favors) would overwhelm them.
Of course, the political class would rather restrict our constitutional rights than their own unconstitutional powers, and call it “reform”. They enjoy the unconstitutional powers that come with having a trough of taxpayer money and favors to attract attracts lobbyists (and campaign contributions).
Restrict government back to the original enumerated powers in the constitution, repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments, and the entire issue becomes moot.
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and six other Democrats charged Tuesday that modern political campaigns – and democracy itself – are threatened by a pair of “awful” Supreme Court decisions that can only be fixed by changing the U.S. Constitution itself.
The senators said during a news conference that adding a new provision to the Constitution is necessary if Congress wants to nullify a 1976 ruling that said campaign spending was the same as free speechand a 2010 ruling that removed all limits on campaign spending for special interests, corporations and labor unions.
“In the mid-70s the activist Supreme Court opened the flood gates to allow special interest money to flow into our elections by falsely equating money with speech,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said, referring to the case Buckley v Valeo.
That case was followed last year by Citizens United v Federal Election Commission which opened the way to a surge of campaign spending by corporations, interest groups and labor unions.
Schumer called Citizens United “Buckley on steroids – which really took the First Amendment to an illogical, almost anti-democratic extreme. These are awful decisions that need to be overturned.”
But to overturn them, the Constitution must be changed to explicitly give Congress the power to govern campaign spending. That authority has been diminished as a result of those two cases, the senators said.
The amendment aims to accomplish three goals. It would:
- Authorize Congress to regulate and limit the raising and spending of money for federal political campaigns and allow states to regulate such spending at their level;
- Include the authority to regulate and limit independent expenditures, such as those from Super PACs, made in support of or opposition to candidates;
- Not dictate any specific policies or regulations, but instead would allow Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that withstands constitutional challenges.Merkley said the flood of unregulated money into campaigns has given wealthy people and organization far too much power.
“It goes agains the very nature of democracy founded on one person, one vote,” he said at the news conference.