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Supreme Court Resigns Duties, Tortures English Language to Save Obamacare

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“If only there was some branch of government designed to review legislative actions, thwarting the intentions of Congress if they conflict with the law… oh, wait, that branch does exist…”

 writes: In his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language, George Orwell observed that “the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” Today is Orwell’s birthday; it’s also the day the Supreme Court released its 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell, which preserves the Affordable Care Act at the expense of plain English.

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“The majority opinion explains away this blatant contradiction by expressing confidence that architects of the law intended something other than what they wrote—the opposite of it, in fact.”

The majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, ruled that the provision of the law mandating an “Exchange established by the State” should be interpreted to include an Exchange not established by any state, but instead by an agency of the federal government, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

[More – In Upholding Obamacare’s Subsidies, Justice Roberts Rewrites the Law—Again]

In his spot-on dissent, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia explains why this is an “impossible possibility”:

Justice Scalia testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal
Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.…

[Read the full text here, at Reason.com]

Faced with overwhelming confirmation that “Exchange established by the State” means what it looks like it means, the Court comes up with argument after feeble argument to support its contrary interpretation. None of its tries comes close to establishing the implausible conclusion that Congress used “by the State” to mean “by the State or not by the State.”

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The majority opinion explains away this blatant contradiction by expressing confidence that architects of the law intended something other than what they wrote—the opposite of it, in fact. Intent should trump plain English—even when the two directly oppose each other—writes Roberts, because the Court’s job is to defer to the will of lawmakers, and even contort logic to assist them, “if at all possible”: Read the rest of this entry »

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Democrats, Let’s Go To Our Happy Place

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 With Defeat Looming, Democrats Retreat Into Fantasy

editor-commen-deskOne of the unfortunate things about being addicted to reading news about politics is that it doesn’t take long to become overexposed to the parallel hypocrisy and predictable self-delusions of each side’s columnists and loyalist OP-ED writers. One longs for relief. One thing I like about The Federalist is their media coverage of media coverage. Media criticism and analysis isn’t exactly in short supply in the blogosphere, especially in the run-up to the 2014 election. But finding good sources of media commentary (about media commentary) that are revealing, on-target, and reliably entertaining isn’t easy. The Federalist delivers. Particularly when conducted at the savage keyboard of virtuoso ego-slayer Mollie Z. Hemingway. But you know who else has a good aim? . Here’s a sample of Harsanyi’s latest column, from which I borrow liberally in the following post. To enjoy the full text, go here.

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 writes: With prospects of Republicans recapturing the Senate a chilling reality—though certainly not a given—I’ve noticed a number of pundits, including, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, embrace some conventional self-soothing myths about our political situation. Each one means to reaffirm liberal intellectual and moral superiority and rationalize events that aren’t exactly going according to plan.

“Maybe Obamacare killed for decades the idea of big centralized governance? I find the prospect heartening.”

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It is inconceivable voters could be unhappy with Democrats’ recent body of work or the content of their message. A GOP victory will sit atop a mandate-free edifice of anxiety, hate, rage, and lies. “Republicans are conducting a campaign of atmospherics,” Robinson explains. “Be afraid, they tell voters. Be unhappy. Be angry.”

“Parties often fool themselves after setbacks.  The GOP will, as well. No doubt, we’ll soon have a barrage of post-election autopsies that will get to the heart of the matter. You know the drill…”

Is Robinson referring to the campaign to persuade voters that plutocrats have the ability to steal democracy by drilling into the collective subconscious of America and forcing all of us vote for Republicans? That kind of atmospheric? Or is he talking about the condom-thieving vote-stealing white men whose detestation of entire genders and races is so fervent that it leads them to a career in reactionary politics? You know the type. The kind of scum that still supports slavery. Or maybe, when Minnesota becomes a desert because we haven’t pumped enough subsidies into windmills conservatives will be happy? After all…

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 “Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if the Republicans win the Senate.” 

says the rational, idea-driven leader of the House Democrats.

“…what if people aren’t interested in being governed in such dramatic ways any longer? Maybe Americans are increasingly uncomfortable with the notion of politicians planning so much of their future.”

Sure, only one party has a laser-focus on the issues that matter.

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Only One Party Is Irrationally Rigid

In a recent POLITICO piece sifting through potential bipartisanship measures after the midterms, Norm Ornstein ascertains that trade policy (please retard your excitement) is the most feasible low-key legislation Washington can hope to pass, because Republican “activists will not go ballistic over a signing ceremony conducted by the Socialist Kenyan president.”

[You’re on the wrong side of history if you haven’t read Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, but you can order it from Amazon]

So biting! You hear this sort of thing often, of course. I’d say believing GOP obstinacy is driven exclusively by fantasies and bigotry is almost as inane as believing in a Manchurian candidate. But if you think there’s gridlock now, wait until Republicans are driving policy. Should Republicans win, I do look forward to a slew of Ornstein columns lamenting the Democrat minority’s filibustering and sabotage…

Read the rest of this entry »