That seems to be the import of the ruling by federal Judge Gladys Kessler in upholding the Obamacare mandate in a suit brought by a group of private plaintiffs in Mead v. Holder:
As previous Commerce Clause cases have all involved physical activity, as opposed to mental activity, i.e. decision-making, there is little judicial guidance on whether the latter falls within Congress’s power....
However, this Court finds the distinction, which Plaintiffs rely on heavily, to be of little significance. It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not “acting,” especially given the serious economic and health-related consequences to every individual of that choice. Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality.
Our thoughts are now actions. There literally is nothing the federal government cannot regulate provided there is even a hypothetical connection to the economy, even if the connection at most is in the future.
Our thoughts are now actions. Whoops, I already said that. I just can't get over it. The following sentence has now become a justification for regulating decision-making even where the decision is just to do nothing: "The Congress shall have power.... To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes"
I think I'm going to be ill. Which of course, is now subject to regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
More analysis by Aaron Worthing at Patterico, where Patrick Frey has decided to take a short break from blogging, which means he has decided not to engage in economic activity and thereby subjected himself to federal regulation.
And even more analysis at Volokh Conspiracy, where Orin Kerr has decided not to take a break from blogging, and thereby subjected himself to federal regulation.
The alternative to unions
MY COLLEAGUE asks an excellent question: if stronger private-sector unions aren’t in the cards in America, then what? What other force do progressives think might play the role unions played in the postwar era, providing greater negotiating power for the working and middle class, so that they can try to claw back some of the 52% of all US GDP growth from 1993-2008 captured by the top 1% of the income scale and organise politically for concerns like universal health insurance?
Greater negotiating power? The effect of unions, to the extent they are effective at all, is to make it harder for people to find work in particular areas. Unions try to raise wages above what they would otherwise be. Employers respond by trying to substitute capital for labor or more skilled workers for less skilled workers.
You want negotiating power? Get educated. Get a skill. What keeps wages up in a world of 7% unionization in the private sector is that I have alternatives. So stay in school and study something serious that has value alongside whatever else you’re interested in. Or study something interesting that has little market value. But if you do that, don’t complain about your low salary and lack of a union.
The bottom line–you don’t need a union to protect you from your employer. You need alternatives–you need to have a skill that more than one employer values. If you have no skills, you are in trouble and the union won’t help you either except at the expense of other workers.
Some of the money the top 1% captured (in parts of the financial sector, for example) was unearned and came at the expense of the rest of us. Most of it, I suspect, though this is an empirical question, benefited the rest of us. I’m thinking of Facebook execs, Google execs, Lebron James and Lady Gaga. They’ve done wonderfully well in the last 20 years because they have a very large market for their skills.
Stop whining about inequality, per se. If it bothers you, get to work, get a skill, start a business and tell your representatives to stop bailing out losers in the financial sector.
More NBC lies
The old lie about Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s daughter supposedly being killed in a 1986 raid ordered by then-President Reagan is back. Several stories in U.S. and foreign media about the turmoil in Libya have discussed Gaddafi’s rule in Libya, involvement in terrorism, and the time when we had a President, Ronald Reagan, who ordered military retaliation against pro-terrorist dictators.
On Monday’s NBC Nightly News, reporter Andrea Mitchell said Libya was “accused of bombing a Berlin nightclub frequented by U.S. soldiers” and that “Ronald Reagan retaliated, ordering an air strike against Gaddafi’s tent, accidentally killing his young daughter. Gaddafi escaped unharmed.”
Mitchell showed Gaddafi visiting someone in a hospital. Mitchell had also flashed a photo of Gaddafi standing next to a girl—the “daughter”—who looked about six or seven years old.
In fact, he had no daughter. It appears that Gaddafi “adopted” the girl after the strike in order to generate sympathy for himself after the raid. The phrase, “adopted daughter,” is the usual formulation that we found in reports about the raid. Mitchell omitted the “adopted” part.
Contrary to Mitchell’s claim about Libyan involvement in the nightclub bombing being just an accusation, John Koehler’s book, Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police, documents the Libyan role, with East German support, in the La Belle bombing in Berlin in April of 1986. Koehler says the East Germans were operating with the knowledge and approval of the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB.
Mitchell also neglected to note that the bombing killed two Americans and a Turkish woman and injured well over 200 persons, including 41 Americans.
But the alleged death of Gaddafi’s “daughter” was the worst part of the broadcast. The fact that stories about this alleged dead daughter are still appearing this many years later shows how easy it is to fool the major media.
As we noted in a 2004 column, “Back in 1986, before the bombing of Libya, Time magazine had carried a photograph of Gadhafi and ‘three of their sons’ but no daughter. After the raid, Time said that an 18-month-old girl, ‘reportedly’ his adopted daughter, had been killed. The New York Times reported that she was 15 months old. The Washington Post said she was a year old.”
So we have a girl, anywhere from a year to six or seven years old, allegedly being killed. The Libyan regime was probably the source of the various claims.
Former USA Today reporter Barbara Slavin, who was in Libya at the time, set the record straight. “His adopted daughter was not killed,” she told me. “An infant girl was killed. I actually saw her body. She was adopted posthumously by Gadhafi. She was not related to Gadhafi.”
Good doctors, bad doctors
The article below refers to the war on pain-relief specialists by the DEA. Doctors are an easier target for the DEA than actual drug runners. So those doctors are bad apparently. But the doctors handing out fraudulent sickness certificates at Wisconsin union rallies are heroes, apparently
Patient’s rights advocate Siobhan Reynolds is currently under criminal investigation simply for speaking out against the federal prosecutions of doctors accused of writing pain medication prescriptions the government claims have “no medical purpose.” Indeed, the government has demonstrated a propensity to pursue doctors across the country with criminal charges, often over a wide array of activities conveniently lumped into over-expansive accusations of fraud.
Imagine my surprise, then, when on camera and in daylight, doctors in Wisconsin have been writing fraudulent “excuses” for teachers who have been demonstrating at the state capitol over recent moves by the governor and the legislature to abolish collective bargaining for public-employee unions. (The teachers claim they were sick, which is why they were not in the classrooms.) Indeed, the doctors have not even tried to cover their actions. One observer quoted by the MacIver Institute, Christian Hartsock, said:
I asked this doctor what he was doing and he told me they were handing out excuses to people who were feeling sick due to emotional, mental or financial distress. They never performed an exam – he asked me how I was feeling today and I said I’m from California and I’m not used to the cold, so he handed me a note.
Other doctors held up signs offering to sign excuse notes for teachers. They not only signed their names but also included their Wisconsin medical license numbers, as required on a medical form. They seemed proud of what they are doing.
Nothing is being done about this open fraud so far, and I cannot say I am surprised. The Obama administration has been front and center in this whole protest, even helping to coordinate some activities. (The White House now is denying it played any role, but the tweets from Organizing for America and Brad Woodhouse, the Democratic Party communications director, paint a much different scene.)
The reason I make this point is that the teachers clearly have engaged in activities approved by the Obama administration, yet to be at the capitol without taking personal leave, the teachers have called in sick. Since they are not really sick, they are engaging in fraud, and therefore any doctor who knowingly writes an excuse note for someone he or she has not examined is writing medical document with “no medical purpose” — which violates federal criminal fraud statutes. The videotapes are evidence of federal crimes.
I will stop here and point out that I have written against these statutes for years, precisely because they are so expansive and so easily applied that any prosecutor wanting to get someone can do so without any problems. Levrenty Berias’s “Show me the man and I will find the crime” threat is now firmly established at the U.S. Department of Justice as a legal doctrine.
Even though these fraud statutes tend to be, well, fraudulent, they are applied against doctors every day. Last fall, I saw a childhood friend of more than 50 years sentenced to what in effect is a life term in federal prison for “writing prescriptions for which there was no medical purpose.” The DOJ is persecuting Siobhan Reynolds merely because she spoke out against similar prosecutions.
Yet here were have doctors on camera breaking the law — with impunity — purely for political reasons, and the Usual Suspects are not interested. The same people who will move heaven and earth to destroy the career and family of a well-respected doctor like William Hurwitz apparently don’t care that doctors are committing real fraud to help unionized teachers break the law.
So there we have it. Engage in behavior that this government considers to be politically acceptable and get a free pass to break the law. Everyone else gets to go to prison.
An interesting graphic
A conservative Jew is a bad Jew? "In addition to hitting women during their Wednesday protest, cameras caught another member of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union harassing an employee about his religion at a protest outside FreedomWorks’ Washington, D.C. offices. As employees engaged with the lively group of protesters, one stepped forward out of the crowd to point her finger, calling the male employee a “bad Jew.” [An unusual Jew, certainly .... Video at link]
Vicious Leftists: "On Wednesday, members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) took their labor union protests to the Washington, D.C. offices of FreedomWorks, a conservative activist organizations. One of the young conservatives at the scene was Tabitha Hale, a tea party activist, blogger and FreedomWorks employee. As Hale filmed a heated debate between one of her colleagues and a CWA union organizer, the man violently smacked Hale and her camera away. Fortunately, Hale was not seriously injured in the altercation."
The myth of corporate cash hoarding: "American nonfinancial corporations were 'sitting on' $1.93 trillion in liquid assets at the end of last year's third quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Board. This has become one of the most frequently echoed statistics, viewed as indisputable evidence that U.S. business leaders are unduly timid or evil. ... Like so many statistics used to score political points, this datum de jour has been totally misunderstood. The chorus of media outrage about supposedly excessive corporate cash reveals nothing about the financial health of any U.S. business. It simply reveals appalling ignorance of elementary accounting."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)