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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Russell Olson Loses on GOP Health Care Nullification...

...but acknowledges right to health care?

District 8 Senator Russell Olson and a handful of Republicans in Pierre seem to think they can pass state laws that trump federal law. Russ joined a crushed minority of conservative posers who voted this week for SB 137, a silly and superfluous little bill that read as follows:

Pursuant to the ninth and tenth amendments to the United States Constitution, any law made by Congress which interferes with the right of any person or entity to choose their personal physician, private health care systems or private health care coverage, or which imposes any penalty, tax, fee, or fine, of any type, for declining to purchase health care coverage or participate in any particular health care system or plan, is null and void within the state of South Dakota.

Never mind that, if such federal laws were unconstitutional, we wouldn't need a state law to negate them. Never mind that South Dakota can choose to ignore a federal health care law any more than we can ignore the Voting Rights Act or not hire black people. Never mind that no flavor of the federal health insurance reforms proposed in the past year would restrict anyone's ability to choose doctor, hospital, or insurance plan (in fact, a public option would increase our choices). Never mind that these Republicans seem perfectly comfortable with forcing everyone to buy insurance for their cars but not for their bodies and their children.

I note with interest that in acknowledging a right to choose a doctor, a hospital, and health coverage, Russ and bill sponsors Sen. Gordon Howie and Rep. Thomas Brunner appear to be acknowledging that we have a right to health care.

Of course, Russ and his wealthy Republican friends believe no such thing. Private insurers interfere with my purported right to choose my doctor by locking me into provider networks and charging me more if I seek care outside that network. SB 137 doesn't stop that. private insurers penalize when I decline to buy health insurance: when I come back a year later looking to buy in again, they'll slap me with a huge premium for not having continuous coverage, or deny me outright. SB 137 doesn't stop that.

Private insurance companies do much more to practically limit my exercise of the health care rights SB 137 enumerates. But Russ and the boys keep telling me my own government, run by my neighbors and me, is the greatest threat to my liberty.

Assurant is jacking my health premium 23%. President Obama wants to lower my premium and require private insurers to spend more of our money on actual health care. I have met the enemy, and he is not us.

Senator Olson, if you and your conservative friends really believe your own rhetoric about our right to access health care and insurance, you'll knock off the nullification nincompoopery and get on board with real federal health care reform.


  1. Never mind that there is not a shred of authority for the federal government to create a health care system, administer a health care system, create a charity or administer a charity. No amount of liberal dreaming, wishing or wanting will ever create that authority. Only a constitutional amendment can do that, and so far no one has even submitted a constitutional amendment for consideration that would authorize the federal government to create or administer a health care system or charity system.

    Until such an amendment is passed by congress and ratified IAW the requirements of Article V of the U.S. Constitution, any such plan (including the abomination being considered in congress) are flatly and completely ILLEGAL.

    They are an affront and offense to both the U.S. Constitution and the American way which respects the rights of the States, property rights, and personal responsibility.

    What an incredible shame that there are adult American citizens who simply do not understand the American system of government, or what it means to be an American.

  2. "What an incredible shame..." that Bob Ellis has to portray everyone who disagrees with him as misinformed and un-American. Sigh.

    But Bob's argument only reinforces my original point that SB 137 is superfluous posturing: if federal health care laws are unconstitutional, we don't need a South Dakota law to nullify them. The Roberts court should be up to the task, no?

    This constitutional argument is really a silly way to avoid talking about health care policy. You could just as easily read the 9th and 10th Amendment to argue the federal government has no authority to offer Medicare or Social Security: where's the outrage there?

    When they lose the policy debate, the desperate conservatives resort to play-acting patriotism. I'm not fooled. Neither was the majority of the state Senate.

  3. I don't "have to portray" you and any other constitutionally-contemptuous person as misinformed and un-American--you portray yourself thusly with your astonishingly ignorant and lawless prattle.

    Unfortunately because those who are running the federal government are of the same caliber as yourself, the states must spell out what real Americans understand instinctively. Unfortunately the obvious must always be spelled out in order to counter error.

    You may consider the U.S. Constitution "silly" but real Americans treasure that great document as the bulwark of our freedom.

    How totally pathetic that you so despise the freedom of your fellow Americans, our Constitution and our way of life. Unfortunately, you are too deluded and hostile to our way of life to even realize how reprehensible and offensive your attitude is.

  4. Again, we see Bob demonstrate how his side has so much more fun aping the explosive rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh than dealing with the actual issues. Forget evidence. Forget policy details. Just ignore reality (can anyone who listened to the debate over the Blog Control Acts really think I consider the Constitution "silly"?) and brand your opponents as evil, in the loudest, most extreme language you can muster. It's so much easier for Bob and his conservative friends to cling to their failing worldview when they can convince themselves that their opponents "despise freedom" and "our way of life." (Memo to Bob: I'm defending that same freedom and way of life. Health insurance reform will give us more freedom and all people more choices so they can enjoy their way of life longer and more happily.)

    Bob provides the perfect example of what I refer to as the rhetorical "singing in the shower": close the door, run the water loud, and bleat the Limbaugh song, just for the pleasure of hearing your own voice.

  5. Hey, you were the one who said "This constitutional argument is really a silly way to avoid talking about health care policy."

    I know this is very tough stuff for liberals to grasp, but the Constitution is first and foremost when we craft ANY policy. Only an enemy of the Constitution tries to ignore it, pretend it doesn't exist, or pervert it.

    Sadly, you don't have a clue what
    "evidence" is. Somehow you think anti-American Marxist ideas are "evidence" or that whining and sob stories are "evidence."

    The evidence is in the enumerated powers, i.e. Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. You should look them up some time. The evidence is in the Tenth Amendment; you should look it up sometime, too. The evidence is also in the Federalist Papers--an essential read for anyone who cares the slightest for our country and maintaining our freedom.

    And your claim to be "defending freedom" while you advocate unconstitutional policies that force Americans to surrender their property and their own decision-making authority is pathetic and laughable. Only in your liberal Orwellian universe does such egregious nonsense equate to "freedom."

    The founders were amazingly clear in both our official government documents and in the statements they made that things such as this move for socialized health care are un-American and illegal.

    Do us all a favor: educate yourself and start acting like an American, or go find one of the pre-existing socialist hell-holes around the world you admire so much and live there to leave Americans in peace.

  6. Boy, and people say I exaggerate....

    Bob, I said your argument is silly, not the Constitution. That couldn't be clearer. You could wipe your backside with a copy of the Constitution, and I could say "That stinks!" without indicting the document itself. And, to sustain that analogy, you're the one degrading the grand document by using it for your own improper purposes. You're like some of the policy debaters I see who want to limit their workload by tryign to win every debate with the same old generic disadvantages.

    But answer the question: if you think the Constitution wins your argument against health insurance reform, then why have you not called on Pierre to nullify Medicaid and Medicare, which, by your logic, are also not authorized functions of the federal government?

    And I am acting like an American. Again, you try to distract others from the issue by portraying your opponent as an outsider, someone who doesn't belong here... and that kind of exclusionary attitude is grossly unAmerican (and unChristian).

  7. You just can't help making a fool of yourself, can you? I suppose when you have no substantive evidence to support your contentions, that's the only method you have to continue your "defense."

    Anyone with the slightest ability to employ reason can see that when someone ignores, demeans, and perverts the Constitution, they think it is silly. Any person with the ability to employ logic realizes that when someone promotes policies that are antithetical to the Constitution and ignore its clear boundaries, they are an enemy of that Constitution.

    To answer your question, you're obviously not reading enough Dakota Voice (if you had, the repetition of my lessons on our form of government might just have gotten through even your deluded skull) because if you had, you'd know that I have countless tims denounced Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for the un-American, un-Constitutional programs they are.

    But when fresh threats to freedom and the Constitution arise--such as this government health care plan--one must deal with the fresh threats before one can move on to deal with past encroachments. One thing at a time, my socialist friend.

    I see you're still misled by that modern fallacy that Christian=mealy-mouthed acquiescence to evil. You might read some of Jesus' denunciations of those who attempt to mislead and propagate evil, as well as the denunciations of a number of his apostles. They make mine look pretty tame sometimes.

    Finally, it is really quite simple. An American loves the American way of life, American institutions, and perhaps most of all, the American Constitution. When one opposes the American way of life, American institutions, American values, and perhaps most of all, the American Constitution along with its freedom-protecting limitations on government, one can only be described as un-American.

    It isn't rocket science; even a liberal should be able to understand something this simple.

  8. I think that the exchange right here shows the difficulty for maintaining an online presence for a newspaper that encourages comments.

    It takes a great deal of time and energy.

    One of my friends was a prolific blogger on her business website until it became too time consuming to moderate comments from a unhappy competitor. Now she allows no comments at all and life is much simpler. On our website, we allow comments but I have to approve them first. In a business (newspaper), the employee that has to deal with the moderation of comments on hot-button issues could easily be overwhelmed...and someone still has to pay the salary.

  9. Hello Bob,

    I find your constitutional argument interesting from an academic standpoint. However, I think you and CAH are looking at it in two completely different ways.

    Your position is basically that the constitution doesn't specifically state that the government can establish a health care system, so we shouldn't even consider it. You do not take a position on whether government health care would be a net good or bad.

    CAH, says look, government already has health care programs and they are far more successful than private programs. Why not expand them to the masses. He is saying that first, your constitutional argument is null because it's not congruent with reality and secondly government health care is a net good.

    Also, why in your first post, last paragraph did you question CAH understanding of the consitution? We have thousands and thousands of people (lawyers) that are paid very well to interpret the constitution. It's a complicated document with many possible interpretations. His interpretation is different than yours.

    Now, if we are debating which interpretation of the constitution is correct, I would side with CAH. Your position is that medicare/Medicaid is OBVIOUSLY unconstitutional. If it is obvious and not up to legal interpretation, you should be able to trivially file claim and have it struck down. Why haven't you done this Bob?

    Seriously, claiming that anything to do with the constitution is obvious is not congruent with reality.

  10. Tony, your analysis of my position (and that of the Constitution) is close, but ultimately inaccurate.

    Our constitution is one that places limits on what government can do. It does so in order to protect our freedom. Article 1 Section 8 (also known as the enumerated powers) details specifically what the federal government CAN do; if it is not enumerated, the federal government has no authority to do it.

    Whether I thought government health care was a good idea or not (I KNOW it is an absolutely atrocious idea, both from understanding the dynamics of socialism and human nature, and from having lived under a government health care system for three years in England), the Constitution simply provides NO AUTHORITY WHATSOEVER for government to meddle in this area. The only way it could be empowered to do so would be to pass a constitutional amendment IAW Article 5 of the Constitution.

    As to why I questioned Cory's understanding of the Constitution? It is obvious that he is either utterly clueless concerning these basic, fundamental truths about our Constitution, or he thinks they are silly restraints that stand in the way of his dream of glorious socialist utopia, and should therefore be summarily ignored. It is not a matter of a "different understanding." The Constitution is crystal clear on these matters, the Federalist Papers add to that abundant clarity, and further statements by the founders leave no doubt whatsoever to these truths. One might as well claim their contention that the sun orbits the earth is a "different understanding."

    Unfortunately, since you side with Cory, who has made it clear that he is an enemy of the U.S. Constitution, you are as bereft of understanding and/or respect for our constitution is he is. That is truly sad.

    It's funny (and tragic) that things which are so amazingly clear to average Americans are somehow "complex" and "unclear" to liberals. But that is because they simply loathe reality and are desperate to find a way around it in pursuit of their foolish fantasies.

    It is quite clear that liberalism is what is incongruent with reality.

  11. Bob,

    Let's assume your postulation that medicare is a violation of the constitution. Further, let's assume that you are correct and that it is an obvious violation. So obvious in fact that only a small minority of liberals would still consider it valid.

    Why hasn't it been repealed if it's such an obvious violation?

    The Republicans had the house/senate/president in the bag for 8 years. I believe that they actually expanded it to include a drug prescription plan. Why didn't they repeal it?

    Are all of the members of congress/the president liberals? Was Bush a liberal?

  12. I suspect that the real intent of SB 137 was merely to make a statement, to the effect that a lot of people oppose the health-care reform bill(s) now working their way through Congress.

    Of course, a lot of people support the proposed health-care bill(s), too.

    Do we call SB 137 an example of "grandstanding"?

    I lack the legal expertise to come to any conclusions about the constitutionality of SB 137. I don't think it matters, really, seeing as it went down so hard.

  13. Tony,

    My postulation IS that Medicare is a violation of the Constitution. That is my postulation because it clearly IS a violation of the Constitution. Can you find a health care system or a system of charity authorized in Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution? I certainly can't. That makes it a clear violation of the Constitution.

    Why hasn't it been repealed? Because liberals have done a very effective job of (a) hijacking our Constitution under FDR and LBJ, and (b) creating several generations of pathetically ignorant Americans via our public education system and the "mainstream" media, and (c) pandering to the myopia and selfishness of those generations.

    Unfortunately many of those in our government who call themselves "Republicans" are only marginal Republicans, and some simply have no business being in the Republican Party in the first place. Yes, President George W. Bush had many liberal tendencies. He was not a complete liberal obviously, but would come down somewhere in the ballpark of a "marginal" Republican.

    There are many members of congress who understand the U.S. Constitution and take seriously their oath to uphold it. Unfortunately they are in the minority...but that will soon change.

    The open assault on the Constitution over the past year, coupled with an uprising of the American people, has resulted in an awareness of both the Constitution and of socialism that we have not seen in decades. An informed public is the most dangerous thing possible to the liberal agenda, and the American public as a whole is not nearly as ignorant as it was in 2008.

    The American people have plans for these usurpers of the Constitution in 2010. Regardless of what letter follows their name, we plan to see any liberal incumbent up for re-election removed from office and replaced with men and women who will keep their oath to the Constitution.

    After we solidify that return to American values by replacing our Marxist president in 2012 and adding to the number of oath-keepers in congress, we can seriously get down to the business of returning this nation to constitutional government...along with the greatness and freedom that are our heritage.

  14. Welcome to Planet Bob, where the Roberts court, with six Republican appointees and six Catholics, is a pack of godless liberals breaking their oath to the Constitution... right along with 23 South Dakota Senators of both parties who declared Russ and Gordie to be needlessly grandstanding.

  15. Bob-

    You seem to believe that there is a grand conspiracy out there against you. As a member of the liberal intelligentsia, I can assure you that no such conspiracy exists.

    We interpret things differently than you. No need to ascribe malice to where a simple difference of opinion is due.

  16. CAH: (can anyone who listened to the debate over the Blog Control Acts really think I consider the Constitution "silly"?)

    Nope. that doesn't mean you actually understand or apply it consistently. Just that you consider it really really important...sometimes...when it isn't getting in your way or protecting big business...or limiting federal laws you like.

  17. I'm really becoming convinced that you just aren't mature enough to understand things like freedom and the American way of life. The Constitution is very clear--so clear that simple farm folk of the 18th Century could grasp its meaning and intent.

    It could be that you are so drunk on socialism that you simply refuse to acknowledge these truths, and while I'm certain that plays a large role in your delusional propaganda, I still lean to simple immaturity.

    How sad for you and for anyone who comes within your sphere of influence--willing to throw away a noble heritage of freedom in exchange for the empty promises of liberalism and socialism.

  18. immature, drunk... epithets thrown to avoid answering the honest points made by man (father, husband, worker, etc.) as mature and sober as you, Bob.

    You see, Tony, Bob can't admit that a fellow citizen might come to a different conclusion about a point of law. To preserve his world view and whip up the troops, Bob must resort to Hitlerian heights of inflated rhetoric and portray even the slightest disagreement as a sign of treason, of evil, of the devil at work. Those who disagree must be the enemy, not worthy of rational conversation or compromise. That's how Bob tries to hold power... or at least imagine he has it. That's how he'll lead his little Tea party right into oblivion.

    Either that, or South Dakota's elderly voters will realize the Tea Party wants to eliminate Medicare and Social Security.

    By the way, Tony, I love your point about how if Bob is right, it should take one trivial lawsuit to get a court to negate Medicare. Brilliant! Now Bob must protray every judge and lawyer in the country as a deluded, immature, uneducated socialist traitor.

    And Roger, don't be a dork. I'm as committed to the Constitution as you are. As Tony said, we simply come to different conclusions, as do legal scholars much better trained than anyone in this conversation, about how to interpret that document.

  19. You simply can't abandon your childish love of socialism, can you, Cory? You simply can't face the horrifying truth that it is not a matter of "different conclusions." As I pointed out to Tony earlier, such a contention with regard to the Constitution and our way of life is so silly that you might as well claim that the belief that the sun orbits the earth is a "different conclusion."

    History is not on your side. Our founding documents are not on your side. The writings and statements are not on your side. The facts are not on your side. Reality is not on your side. You are like a naked, unarmed man shouting childishly down the barrel of an Abrams tank. If you can find the bravery within yourself, I invite you to read just a little of the wealth of information compiled here and educate yourself: http://www.dakotavoice.com/tag/constitution/

    Reality really sucks when you're wrong, doesn't it? It sucks even worse when you know it, and all you have to help you avoid that awful conclusion is "a different conclusion."

    Keep fooling yourself if you insist. But you aren't fooling real Americans. They see right through your socialist prattle, and they realize that one cannot oppose the Constitution and rightfully claim the mantle of someone who respects the Constitution, any more than someone who opposes fundamental American values while expecting people to be nice to him and allow himself to call himself a "good American" too.

    Someday you will be very sad to find that right and wrong aren't negotiable, that they aren't a matter of "different conclusions", and someday not far off, opponents of the American way of life like yourself will find yourselves sitting on the ash heap of discredited and despised ideas like the leaders of the former Soviet Union and the rest of the despots of the Eastern Bloc.

    You can admit you are wrong now and save yourself further embarrassment...or continue to cheer the emperor's new clothes and become even more of a silly laughing-stock. The choice is yours.

  20. (No, I will be a dork. I insist on it!)
    A morally consistent understanding of the constitution requires above average wisdom, not great experience and intellect. Those are only needed for the practical application of it (with considerations for precedence and social impact included that have nothing to do with actual constitutionality)
    Supreme Court decisions are frequently made 5-4, making it obvious that even if the court decisions were correct 100% of the time, at least 40% of the justices would be wrong in every such case. The intent of any of these misinterpreting Justices are no more malicious than Cory's, but the consequences are still destructive to the constitution, individual rights, and America. Yes, the Supreme court should have destroyed Social Security and Medicare when they were created. Those programs should have belonged to the states. The fact that they haven't doesn't validate the programs, it just means nobody is anxious to destroy their career to fight that dragon.

    Bob Ellis: You sound like a ridiculous Populist schmuck. Stop ranting please

  21. Roger, thank you for not sliding into the same denial of reality that Bob commits. I agree that understanding the Constitution requires a lot of "wisdom, experience, and intellect." I give it my best shot and probably still get some points wrong. Apparently, given so many split decisions on the Supreme Court, so do our finest legal minds. They do so not out of malice or desire to destroy America, but simply out of the inherent uncertainty of language.

    But I disagree that the absence of a legal challenge to Medicare is a result of simple career protection. Plenty of people have fought harder court cases. If Ellis's nullificatory argument was the slam dunk he claims it to be, smarter lawyers than we would already have found some wealthy conservative donors (just like the Citizens United folks did) and made a name for themselves running this case up the flagpole.

    The Constitutional argument is a sham, a generic nuke-war disad that allows the Glenn-Beck apers to say the same thing over and over and play patriot instead of policymaker.

  22. The Constitution does require wisdom to understand (which is essentially what I mean when I said yesterday that you are not mature enough to understand it), but it does not require great intellect. Common folk of the 18th Century had no problems understanding it.

    Unfortunately, the "complication" and "uncertainty" comes in when one tries to find a way to ignore it while claiming allegiance to it. Yes, it is indeed "complicated" to ignore something while claiming to respect it. Meanwhile, the language and intent of the Constitution are very clear to anyone who does not have an agenda to ignore it or get around it.

    Regrettably, our court system and too much of our government has been dominated by liberal elements for decades to have effected a repeal of Medicare, et al and a return to constitutional government (though that may be about to change, with the American electorate finally mad enough to get busy defending our Constitution). Even FDR needed his long years in office to pack enough fellow socialists in the Supreme Court to get his un-Constitutional programs passed (if you know anything of history, you will recall that the Supreme Court shot him down at every turn during his early years). The force of dependence created in those early years, coupled with a complacent mindset of "that's just the way it is" and "we can't do anything about it" (which liberals have energetically fostered) has kept that corrupt, un-Constitutional and un-American ponzi scheme in place...but that may change in the near future.

    How sad that you think the paramount concerns about our Constitution and the freedom-protections it affords are "a sham" and are "silly." What real Americans know and love as the chief defense of their freedoms, you only see as an obstacle to your glorious socialist revolution.

  23. Cory, you silly socialist, small government is the way to go.

    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others."

    So the government should not be able to make laws about every little thing. They shouldn't legislate who we marry or what teachers teach in science class....


    oops...msnbc...my socialist is showing..

  24. And of course the constitution is cut and dry. One interpretation. Like the Bible. Or Koran. Or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain's a racist, right?)

  25. Mike, So what are you saying about the Bible or Koran? That because people fail to agree on scripture, there is no absolute truth? By its nature there is a truth and whomever has it will look at scripture and the meanings will be of the finest cut and dry as cremation powder. Things are always unclear to the blind.
    The constitution is cut and dry once the essential ingredient of accepting the moral purpose of government conceived of by the framers. The wisdom I referred to is in large part the recognition that law does not change to comply with societies needs. The primary moral basis of government is not the common good, it is individual freedom. The instant the courts make decisions based on what is good for society they have failed. The instant the lawmaker crafts law for the betterment of society as opposed to protecting and promoting our freedom he has failed.
    You are absolutely correct that government should not have a word to say about marriage. It shouldn't even recognize it beyond a contractual agreement that would be anyone could make. Nor should the government even be concerned with any aspect of education beyond civics and history. The republic only requires a well informed electorate, not a highly employable one.

    CAH: The dragon I mean is more substantial than irrelevant campaign donations (that never really determine any elections anyway). To declare SS unconstitutional would require enforcing the enumeration of powers and reversing the broad interpretation of the interstate commerce clause. To do that would cripple the federal government's powers ripping apart entire Departments in an instant. I did get a chuckle over your comparison of that to corporate campaign money though, cute.

  26. I find it ironic that I left Glenn in the other room to come read Cory insulting him here

  27. Campaign donations are "irrelevant" and never really determine elections? Seriously, Roger?

    "Just as we saw with Patrick Hughes in Illinois if you can't compete with the big boys financially, you can't compete with the big boys, period. Perry and Hutchison have had the funds to saturate the airwaves and Medina hasn't, and that's why her name recognition was still under 50% on our final poll of the Texas race. These Republican insurgents may not need a ton of money to make some noise, but they do need a ton of money to actually win anything. Without the interference of the Club for Growth or some similarly deep pocketed group Medina never had a chance" [Tom Jensen, "Texas and the Tea Partiers," Public Policy Polling, 2010.03.02].

  28. Debra Medina actually had started to get traction and was at 24% in early February in a 3-way race for the Republican primary with Rick Perry at 39% at that time. Only a month earlier it had been about 7%. If she hadn't destroyed herself by outing herself as a 9-11 Truther there was a fair chance for her to have at least made it a tight race or even won. But failing that it is still another example of money flowing to the people who have a strong chance of winning, not the other way around.
    Nearly a thousand times since 1972 the same 2 candidates have run against each other in consecutive elections. The result of comparing the spending involved showed the loser could double his spending or the winner could cut it in half and only influence the numbers by 1% (Freakonomics)
    So money does have a little impact and for close elections that might be just enough to change everything, but if you only win by the skin of your teeth. I would say both candidates have legitimacy as the winner. Money didn't bring you the first 49.5% after all.


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