Results tagged ‘ Constitution ’

Great Scott! -or- Why I Support the Individual Mandate

The idea behind insurance is that you pay a premium and if things go pear-shaped, there’s a safety net there to catch you.  It may not pay everything but it will pay enough that you won’t be ruined.  This is true for vehicles, this is true for health care and this is true for the guy who got his crotch insured.

The thing about insurance is that it works best with larger economies of scale.  Sure, there are the one-off specialty policies for Bruce Springsteen’s voice or Tina Turner’s legs but the vast majority of insurance policies cover things like health care or vehicle damage.  The larger the pot, the lower your premium because the risk gets spread out.  That’s why Obama made the “individual mandate” the centerpiece of his health care legislation.

For me, this is the most frustrating aspect of the legal challenge to the legislation.  The main challenge lies in the interpretation of the Commerce clause of the Constitution but, like many clauses in the Constitution, this can and has been interpreted many different ways.  Pretty much it just depends on how the Court feels the day it votes. And if the court is feeling especially conservative the day it decides this portion of the case, the “individual mandate” disappears.

The problem with the mandate disappearing is that the young and the stupid who think that they are invincible no longer have any pressure to purchase insurance, shrinking the pot.  This has two effects.  Number one, the pot now contains a greater percentage of people with existing or possible health problems meaning the risk has gone up and the premiums along with it.  The second problem is that when one of these young and stupid people ends up in the hospital, the system is forced to eat the costs because they didn’t have insurance.  What that really means is that your premiums go up again because the cost of that hospital stay has to be payed by someone.

Like it or not, the law evolves.  Prohibition came and went.  The Dred Scott decision embarrassed the nation and then was rectified by the 14th Amendment.  The point is, it’s a living thing and has to be to cope with the realities of a new era.  Baseball did away with the dead ball era, expanded multiple times and even now finds ways to adapt to new conditions.  The law does the same as social mores change and our needs evolve.  Right now, we need a health insurance system that works and until you can show me a viable option, the individual mandate is the only realistic path.

The Court’s decision is still weeks away and the debate is not going to die out anytime soon.  I don’t expect the mandate to survive but as health care costs continue to spin out of control, that decision may end up coming back to haunt the Roberts’ Court like Dred Scott did Justice Taney.  Meanwhile, the rest of us might just have to check in with The Boss and see how we can go about insuring at least a body part or two.

-A

Pennsylvanian Taliban

Theocracy hasn’t worked so well as a system of government.  Putting aside the cozy politico-religious oligopolies of yesteryear (I’m looking at you, France, and you too, England), today we don’t have to look much further than Iran or Afghanistan to see that basing civil code on religious doctrine leads to a pretty unsavory state of events.  Which leads me to ask, how can anyone still be taking Rick Santorum seriously?

Make no mistake, when Santorum (the “man”, not the “frothy mixture“) says that he doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state, what he is really saying is that he thinks US law should be based on the ten commandments.  Maybe I’m dense but I don’t see how basing a system of government on the Bible is really all that different from basing a system of government on the Quran or on the Torah for that matter, both of which I’m pretty sure Mr. Santorum is against.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a fundamentalist is a fundamentalist is a fundamentalist.

Quite honestly, the only place I want to see the church governing anything is when it comes to the brewing of beer.  And when I say “governing,” I really only mean allowing monks to keep doing that voodoo that they do so well.  If beer can keep you alive while fasting for a month, it obviously has some sort of higher power.

The seperation of church and state exists for a reason and that’s to keep one single person from becoming both the church and the state.  What happens when one man becomes both?

He may be the most interesting man in the world but I don’t think I’m ready for him to be running America.

-A

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It’s time for THE FILIBUSTER to settle back in the Sunday slot at RSBS!   No matter what the query, send it to RSBSBlog@gmail.com and we’ll let you know what we think.

Fahrenheit Four Fifty O’Reilly

The right of free speech ingrained into the Constitution our freedom to say whatever stupid thing might pop into our heads.  In general, this is a good thing.  Within certain reasonable limits, we can express our opinions on everything from foreign affairs to Fanta soda.  It allows us to question whether or not the President of the United States is an American and then choose not to believe the facts when he presents his birth certificate.  It’s a powerful right, even if it tends to be wasted on people who seem to exercise it the most wantonly.

Luckily, it cuts both ways and occasionally leads to heart-warming images like this:

I wouldn’t say I’m generally in favor of book burning but I understand the sentiment.  One time while living overseas I received a package at my local post office.  Now, to release packages from the postal system in this country, you were required to pay by weight.  I didn’t have a lot of money but it was a package and I didn’t get a lot of them so I paid up.  The box was somewhat heavy and came from my grandma so I rushed home to open it up.  Imagine my surprise when I cut through the tape to find a bunch of Reader’s Digest magazines and Bible devotionals.  Not one of my better days, I can assure you.  And I’m pretty sure a few of those items went up in flames.

The point is, I can understand the need to burn something.  Like how I wanted to burn my 2011 Detroit Tigers’ team program when they finished rolling over so the Rangers could finish them off.  But instead I just use my Freedom of Speech and write about it.  Hey, it could be a collectible one day.  The writings of Bill O’Reilly?  Not so much.

-A

Defending Logic

“One man’s balk is another man’s strikeout.”
–Mr. Allen Krause, August 30, 2011

Um… what?!?

Look, I don’t know what they put in that Big Government Liberal Kool-Aid, but whatever it is, it has some major psychotropic side effects, because in the game of baseball I know and love, a balk is a balk and a strikeout is a strikeout.  The two are never interchangeable.  NEVER.

But mistakes seem to be pretty common when it comes to the work of my opinionated and oft Yes We Can-chanting colleague, Mr. Allen Krause.  In his gimpy and tired attempt to derail my Liberty-train party, he made several inaccurate claims whilst using pompous generalizations to try and hide the fact that our current two-party political system cares more about robbing you, ignoring you, and then guilting you into making it all seem okay with special buzzwords like “terror” and “patriotism” and “hope”.

Sorry.  I learned my lesson when my vote went to Obama, my taxes went up, my savings account lost its value and my buddies are still off fighting stupid, pointless wars.

At the time of this photo, Little Allen still believed in invisible sky daddies, gnomes and unicorns, so there is still hope.

Let’s see exactly what Mr. Krause had to say:

“Ron Paul isn’t a libertarian.  Ron Paul has a lot of libertarian positions but it’s like being vegetarian.  Once you eat a piece of meat, you can’t really claim to be a vegetarian anymore.”

I assure you, Mr. Krause: Ron Paul is a libertarian.  Just because he differs from his party line on some select issues doesn’t make him any less a representative of the movement as a whole.  Just like I’m sure there are gay Republicans and gun-owning Democrats, it ain’t all ones and zeroes, sir.  Don’t forget, your Detroit Tigers’ greatest player was a drunken racist womanizer.  Does that mean you support drunken racist womanizing? (Don’t answer that).

Also, we are not talking about anarchy here.  We are talking about limiting the federal government’s involvement in our lives, like the Constitution was meant to do.  You do remember that little thing called the Constitution, right?  You know Dr. Paul is an expert on the Constitution, right?  You know that your big government is sh***ing all over the Constitution, right?  Okay, just checking.

“Yes, the US bureaucracy is often unwieldy but it’s downright streamlined compared to most of our OECD friends.”

So, you’re saying that because there are countries still worse off than us that we shouldn’t complain about the terrible job ours is doing?  Tell that to the dying middle class who are out of work because some big government bed-sharing CEO wants to make an extra $500K on top of his $3 million salary.  Tell that to the folks paying $4.25 for a gallon of gas, the people who can barely afford groceries, who are meanwhile raped for 20% of their income in taxes to fund programs they’ll never benefit from.  The system is broke.  This system is BROKEN.  Time to fix it.

“Paul would have us close up our borders but it’s foreign trade that allows us all to have televisions in our home and computers at work for a fraction of what they would otherwise cost.”

Your claim is simply not true.  Not true at all.  Dr. Paul’s fiscal propositions heavily support a free market economy.  It’s sort of the bread and butter of the Libertarian economic plan.  But you do have a point in that Dr. Paul would have us pull out of some of the international arenas where we are mostly seen as an unwanted nuisance.  Why are we still in Iraq?  Why are we still in Afghanistan?  Why are we now focusing on Iran?!?!?

And don’t give me that terrorism mish-mash.  You know why those countries hate us so much?  They hate us because of our longstanding foreign policy which is to invade, overthrow and then set up puppet governments and act as dictators to protect our interests in oil.  That’s why they want to kill us.  Because we are interfering in their affairs and they don’t like it.  Heck, I don’t blame them.  If Canada invaded my home and forced me to watch hockey every day, I gather I’d be pretty willing to blow myself up to stop it too.

Let’s leave those people alone, protect our sovereignty as the United States of America and uphold the values and declarations of the Constitution — a document that aimed to distance itself from the heavy-handed inbred monarchy that troubled the people with excessive taxation and an intolerance for individual liberty!

And now, please enjoy this woman getting hit in the face with a foul ball.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

Real Men Read the Constitution

constitution.jpgWhether you like him or not, whether you agree with him or not, one thing can definitely be said about our President.  He has some cojones.  I don’t mean this in the pejorative sense, as in, “Where he does he get off saying that?”  No, I mean nothing but respect.  His stances may not always be popular but at least they reflect a sense of integrity and a fundamental understanding of the law.

Let’s start with sports.  The President is a White Sox fan and even though I don’t like the White Sox, I respect him for sticking by his guns.  When he showed up at Nationals Park to see the Sox during interleague play, he didn’t throw on the home team cap.  He wore a Sox cap, same as opening day.  In fact, one of my many issues with Bill Richardson during the primary campaign was his claim that he liked both the Red Sox and Yankees.  We all know that’s not possible.  Baseball law says so.  There’s none of that tomfoolery with Obama.

And when you get into what are often referred to as more “substantive” issues, Obama also rejects tomfoolery.  Like health care or “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.”  People may not like his stands but what he does is based on a firm understanding of the Constitution.

Which is why I’m also proud of the President’s stand on this ridiculous Ground Zero mosque kerfuffle.  Yes, I understand that the men who crashed those planes into the WTC claimed to be Muslim.  Timothy McVeigh claimed to be Christian.  Does that mean no churches should be built near where the Oklahoma City Federal Building stood?

You can argue that the President may not have chosen the best time to weigh in on the controversy.  But what you can’t argue is that the United States is a country built on the rule of law, the foundation of that law being the Constitution.  When the Constitution grants the freedom of religion, that’s not just the freedom to be Christian.  It’s the freedom to follow any religion or even no religion at all. 

Sometimes this freedom isn’t pretty, like when you’re dealing with Hare Krishnas at the airport or Moonies milling about in Central Park.  But it’s also the reason your mom and sisters don’t have to shave their heads and why we men don’t get in trouble for trimming our beards.  It’s sad that a public figure being willing to say this requires cojones.

-A

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