Would losing the SCOTUS decision on the ACA be the worst thing?

by: Strummerson

Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 08:59:04 AM EDT

OK.  I'll answer my own question right off the bat.  Yes.  Losing would be horrendous.  It would be horrendous for us politically and policy-wise.  It would validate those on the right who claim the mantle of The Constitution (along with God, Reason, History, Morality, etc.).  If the mandate alone falls, the whole thing becomes an economic albatross.  

How do we maintain the prohibition on exclusion of pre-existing conditions without maintaining the economic participation of the healthy?  [A caveat to Clintonians here.  You were right 4 years ago.  HRC was right.  I never mixed it up on this issue, in part because it made me uncomfortable, though I cringe to acknowledge that it was not enough to admit at the time that Obama was wrong.  What's worse is that I think Obama knew even then that mandates were the key to economic viability.  So while some Obama supporters recoiled from Hillary Clinton as the professional politician who would say anything, as a caricature machiavel, she was the candidate bold enough to tell the controversial truth on this issue.  And this should be marked forever to her credit.]  And if the whole thing goes down, millions of Americans will lose their care and unfunded emergency services will continue to be a drain on the economy and the lack of preventive and timely care will exacerbate them.  One of Obama's 3 undersold signal accomplishments (the other being the auto industry and killing OBL, though we might add the draw down in Iraq and prevention of a 2nd great depression as well) will be turned into a defeat.

Strummerson :: Would losing the SCOTUS decision on the ACA be the worst thing?

But perhaps because it's possible (a law professor I spoke with this morning who clerked for Ginsburg thinks it's about 2-1 that it will be upheld) let's imagine how to turn this no longer unimaginable lemon into a huge ice-cold fountain of minty strawberry lemonade, served in big sugar-encrusted crystal goblets, maybe even with a shot of gin...

If it loses, we will be energized like almost never before.  Conservatives will lose credibility to gripe about "activist judges legislating from the bench."  Anyone who cares in the least about social policy and its economic benefits will no longer be able to remain passive or on the fence.  Getting a more progressive SCOTUS will be an unambiguous and urgent priority.  The alienated "Obama's a corporate shill and there's no difference between the parties" crowd will be silenced.  No longer will we receive the "Oh, yeah, I guess there's that" sigh from the purists.

And that energy will be fully channeled into a fight for a public health safety net, one that might lay the groundwork for a workable public option that will finally loosen the absurd tie between health care and employment.  Our argument will be:

"Fine.  Mandates are unconstitutional.  Congress can't force people to buy a good or service on the private market.  We tried the compromise designed by the Heritage Foundation.  It was pragmatic and patriotic of us and our President to do so.  But no one can argue that Congress does not hold the power to tax.  So the only option left beside telling the uninsured sick, impoverished, and unemployed to go suck earth (which is neither the Christian way nor consonant with our fundamental American commitment to equal opportunity) is to expand medicare to cover those folks and pay for it with a tax on all Americans.  It's the only way to get healthy people to pay into a necessity that they will ALL inevitably require at some point in the future."

Then perhaps large employers will look to that infrastructure and begin to support it.

It will be a longer slog.  And the outcome will be unmistakably uncertain.  But we'll have an unambiguous rationale for a critical issue.  They will have backed themselves into a corner.  

I know this may be a pipe dream.  But taking the long view...

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asdf (2.00 / 4)
a law professor I spoke with this morning who clerked for Ginsburg thinks it's about 2-1 that it will be upheld

I hope s/he's right. I dunno, we already know where Thomas is (what with his wife being a Bagger anti-Obamacare crusader). Friend of mine thinks Roberts will be looking for revenge after the SOTU call-out re: Citizens United. Alito, Saclia, puh-leeze. Do these guys care about the integrity of the institution...like, at all? Heard a poll on NPR on the way to the office this AM: 75% of American think the decision will be based on politics as opposed to the merits of the case (80% of self described independents).

The alienated "Obama's a corporate shill and there's no difference between the parties" crowd will be silenced.

Meh, nothing shuts them up. No known cure for ODS.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

food for thought... (2.00 / 5)
from a political perspective, a potential silver lining to SCOTUS strikedown:

Judges will deliberate over the next three days on a number of issues, including whether the insurance mandate can be challenged before taking effect in 2014 and if the coverage mandate is constitutional. The outcome of the case will have an important effect on Latino voters in the November presidential elections, as Hispanics are the largest ethnic group in the United States lacking health insurance. Some political analysts believe Latino voters could sway the election and, given a tendency to vote on issues rather than party affiliation, health care could be a key component of winning the Hispanic vote.

Latinos are among the most vulnerable groups when it comes to health care in the United States. In 2010-before the law went into effect-around one-third of Latinos had no health insurance, and 39 percent of Hispanic children lacked coverage. The same year, one in six Latinos under the age of 65 had a pre-existing condition. Currently, over half of Latinos between the ages of 18 and 44 do not have a doctor. Moreover, the recent economic crisis took a toll on Hispanics with coverage. An October 2011 survey of Latino voters found that over the past two years, 28 percent lost their health insurance, and 17 percent currently lack coverage. Over half of Latinos reported a rise in health-care costs last year.

The new law brought benefits to Latinos, who gained access to insurance and expanded coverage. In 2011, 6.1 million Hispanics received preventative coverage at no additional cost. Around 736,000 Latinos under 26 were able to stay on their family's insurance plan because of the law-the largest increase of any minority group. The clause forbidding lifetime caps on coverage benefited 11.8 million Hispanics. With the expansion of Medicaid and tax credits, an additional 9 million uninsured Latinos will become eligible for coverage.

Health care could be a critical issue among Hispanic voters, since over half favor keeping the law in place. Support among Latinos is on the rise, from 49 percent in March 2011 to 57 percent in January 2012. They overwhelmingly back much of the law, such as extended coverage for low-income Americans, tax credits for small businesses, and preventing insurance companies from denying coverage because of medical history. But a majority of Hispanics-59 percent, according to an October 2011 survey-reject the law's mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine. Still, Latinos tend to be less concerned about government intrusion, differing from some of the law's critics. "The majority of Latinos see government action on social issues like these in a favorable light," said Matt Barreto, an advisor for Hispanic political website Latino Decisions.


Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

I love our Latino sisters and brothers!!! (2.00 / 5)
And not just for all the incredible musics and literature.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
!!! (2.00 / 6)

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
I don't share your optimism. (2.00 / 7)
If it loses, we will be energized like almost never before.

I think having ACA overturned would cause those who hate it for various reasons, on both sides of the aisle, to gloat while shouting "single payer or nothing" until I want to smack 'em all upside the head.  Those who support it would likely wonder, "what's the point?"  And given the difficulty of retaking the House, much less holding onto the Senate, we won't get another chance for who knows how long.

Policy-wise it would be a disaster for those with pre-existing conditions.  What happens to them, anyway?  Can insurance companies just drop them?  Would they?

Saw via Twitter that some 85% of ABA members seem to think ACA will be upheld; Dr. Dean seems to think it will go down.  Me?  I'm already tired to folks parsing every word and question and answer.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

If its overturned (2.00 / 6)
I think having ACA overturned would cause those who hate it for various reasons, on both sides of the aisle, to gloat while shouting "single payer or nothing"

If this gets overturned, gotta think it kills single payer too.  

[ Parent ]
That was sort of my point with that. :) (2.00 / 4)
Nice to see you, btw.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
You too (2.00 / 4)
I dropped in, if I'm still scarce, it's cause work is incredibly busy.

Missed this place  

[ Parent ]
If this gets overturned, gotta think it kills single payer too. (2.00 / 1)
How so?

Probably the strongest Constitutional argument in favor of the Act is the one based on the Commerce Clause.  But there is room for debate as to whether the individual mandate exceeds Congressional power under the Commerce Clause.

By contrast, a single-payer system funded by taxes is Constitutionally bulletproof.  Congress's power to tax is virtually unlimited.  

If tax-funded Single Payer is unConstitutional, what does that say about Medicare?

Or are you saying that, if the Act goes down, passage of a Single-Payer Bill will not happen due to Republican obstructionism?

Or both?

[ Parent ]
The problem is (2.00 / 2)
we've totally failed to confront Republican demogoguery about freedom.  As long as the more politically engaged actually believe that universal coverage is one step away from a gulag archipelago, we're going to get nowhere.  

If the SCOTUS shoots down this law, it basically renders any obligatory public-private policy solutions illegal.  That includes the right's wet dream about privatizing social security.  Maybe something can still be done with regard to incentives, but nothing likely to do what is needed.  If it's struck down, there are two options.  Single payer.  Or go knock on Ron Paul's door.  My bet is the GOP like the latter.  And they will spin nightmares about totalitarian darkness to support it.  We've gotta debunk the nightmares and bogeymen.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
I have to think a SCOTUS this political (2.00 / 2)
would find a reason to strike down single payer- perhaps in that it essentially eliminates private businesses (insurance company), they'll find a reason.

[ Parent ]
Politically, I think it would be a disaster. (2.00 / 4)
If it is declared unconstitutional, it adds to the meme that President Obama has ignored or acted in an unconstitutional manner. Not a message you want to put out there during an election year. It will also add to the meme that President Obama is ineffective. This is supposed to be his most important achievement. If this goes badly then he'll take hits from all sides.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

Great diary (2.00 / 7)
Bonus points for the mea culpa to the Clintonites.  Super fierce!!! Okay, enough of that.

I think the closing point of the diary is extremely important in terms of the long-term implications.  The Heritage Foundation approach is not something unique to health care, it is typical of modern conservative solutions to almost every problem.  (When you can get them to propose solutions, that is.)  Bush's plan for private Social Security accounts was another example of the exact same type of market-based system.  What Paul Ryan wants to do to Medicare is the same thing.  Sometimes these conservative, market-based solutions have a public option (Bush's plan did; you could stay in traditional Social Security, kinda, if you ignored the fact that his plan would make it insolvent), and sometimes they don't.

But overturning the ACA would either mean that you simply can't enact one of these programs without a public option (because it's so goshdarned unconstitutional to make someone buy a product from a private company) or, even worse, you just can't have one of these market-based programs at all because you can't force people to enter the market if they don't want to.

No matter how retrograde the Court gets, single-payer is never going to be taken off the table, because that would require them to declare that Medicare is flat-out unconstitutional.  No matter what you think of John Roberts, that's not going to happen.  So when you strike down the ACA you basically declare that the major conservative alternatives to Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, leaving conservatives with an unpalatable political choice between "do nothing" and "abolish these popular programs altogether."

In the recent decision from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the mandate, Federalist Society darling Brett Kavanaugh noted this precise issue:

This case also counsels restraint because we may be on the leading edge of a shift in how the Federal Government goes about furnishing a social safety net for those who are old, poor, sick, or disabled and need help. The theory of the individual mandate in this law is that private entities will do better than government in providing certain social insurance and that mandates will work better than traditional regulatory taxes in prompting people to set aside money now to help pay for the assistance they might need later. Privatized social services combined with mandatory-purchase requirements of the kind employed in the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act might become a blueprint used by the Federal Government over the next generation to partially privatize the social safety net and government assistance programs and move, at least to some degree, away from the tax-and-government-benefit model that is common now. Courts naturally should be very careful before interfering with the elected Branches' determination to update how the National Government provides such assistance.

You see exactly what he's saying here, right?  "Danger here guys, danger... think about it before you take the entire conservative legislative model off the table..."

"Economics is not a morality play." -Paul Krugman

Privatization will destroy our society (2.00 / 9)
Schools, roads, prisons, medicare, medicaid, and social security are already on the auction block. Emergency services may soon follow. Public hospitals and libraries aren't exempt.

It's all about greed. It doesn't matter if people are worse off or if some of them die an early death as long as the greedy bastards can skim some off the trillions of dollars that go into those programs.

Look at private prisons. They make money off the misery of other people. They get higher profits if they can get more people locked up. Of course, they make more money if they can cut their food costs. They also make more money when they use prisoners as slave labor. But, that's a whole other issue. Despite all of these negatives, prison privatization is growing.

Don't for a second think they can't destroy both social security and medicare. Hillary was right. There is a vast right wing conspiracy. They have the intent to do it, they have the will to do it, and they have the power-base in place to achieve it. It's going to be one hell of a fight.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
BTW, (2.00 / 3)
are you the Steve M. from NMMNG?

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
No sir (2.00 / 3)

"Economics is not a morality play." -Paul Krugman

[ Parent ]
Reich (2.00 / 5)

To reiterate, I absolutely do NOT prefer losing in the SCOTUS.  I think it far more likely to be calamitous.  Just looking for a hypothetical silver lining if the cloud descends.  It's the case that Reich makes here.  Of course, RR is always better at policy than politics.  He's got the same political blind spot of most smart policy folks.  He assumes too much rationality, pragmatics, and long term thinking in popular opinion.

The future is unwritten

The problem is (2.00 / 4)
what's preventing them for going further and saying Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional It depends on how they rule if they overturn. If they rule that Congress doesn't have the authority to force Americans to buy into something, they could extend it to SS and Medicare "Congress can't force you to put money toward Medicare/SS" It would certainly kill a public option or Medicare for All.

Basically they'd be saying Americans have a right to not be insured. If that happens, then there's no chance we'll ever get universal health care in this country.

And it looks like that's what's going to happen.  

[ Parent ]
No one disputes Congress' power to tax (2.00 / 3)
The mandate is an attempt to get around a direct tax and serve mechanism.  It's all about appeasing the 'government hates freedom and government bureaucracies are inherently inefficient and yucky' crowd by engaging 'market forces.'  The problem is the constitutionality of mandating that individual citizens give their money directly to private companies for a service, not taxing individual citizens to pay for a government service.  Either there's a direct gov't mechanism for health service, funded like Social Security.  Congress could pass a law taxing us to create a fund that we could then draw from if we wanted broccoli (to borrow the infamous analogy of the other side).  This is undoubtedly constitutional.  A mandate requiring us to purchase broccoli from a supermarket would not be.  The former is also a hybrid mechanism that involves a private provider.  Like medicare.  That's why Reich goes there.  The government can tax us directly and allow us to sign up for medical services paid for out of that government fund.  But it involves a tax.  And in today's political culture, a tax is as easy to support as a pox.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Sure but is Social Security a tax? (2.00 / 3)
The people paying for it aren't getting it until they retire. This case could force a revisit of that.  

[ Parent ]
Yes, it functions as a payroll tax (2.00 / 3)
The money is taken directly from wages and then the benefit is disbursed directly to seniors.


Social security can only be undone legislatively, not through the judiciary.

Even if there were a case regarding the constitutionality of social security, and I don't believe there is, it would be unlikely to proceed given that the system has been in place and considered legal this long.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Sounds like its going to get struck down (2.00 / 2)

it'll come to kennedy... (2.00 / 4)
...as usual. the impression that the PPACA (or the madate at least) is in peril seems to be based on his pointed and skeptical sounding questions (he's seemingly always the swing vote). however, his last ? of the day was the most interesting i thought: sounded to me like he agreed with the SG's point that the young and uninsured have the biggest effect on rates/costs in a way that doesn't happen with respect to other industries (e.g. the broccoli trade, lulz).

this could mean that he may yet agree with the govt's position that the mandate and the application of 'Commerce Clause' power can be limited by the unique character of the health insurance industry.

end of june, we'll know.  i wonder what the O campaign has up it's sleeve for contingency...

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
Seems to me (2.00 / 5)
That it's the justices' job to ask pointed and skeptical questions of everyone who argues a case before them, to dig deep into the constitutional underpinnings, legal precedents, and real-world implications of the positions the parties are defending.  Probe, probe, test and probe, challenge and probe; why should I accept your arguments?

Naturally we'd like to see the justices' questions tipping their hands in our favor, especially those we perceive as the swing vote(s), but should we really expect the tea leaves to spell it all out plainly?  

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
There was some potential tipping (2.00 / 4)
The questions were much more pointed to the Gov't attorneys and they seemed much more resistant to their answers.  One would hope and expect that the skepticism would be leveled equally at the attorneys arguing for it to be struck down, the plaintiffs if you will.  The justices seem to have found their briefs more compelling to begin with.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
while i think questions from justices (2.00 / 4)
(save thomas, who's consistently mute), can provide a window into what opinions they may be forming after review of the briefs, i still think it's too hard to tell what the critical opinions may be (kennedy and/or roberts). i think even scalia has said that, while a relatively rare occurence, oral arguments have swayed him enough to change his mind (not that scalia will do that here -- no freaking way). so i don't know, isn't kennedy (and he's the guy to watch here AMIRITE?) sort of known for changing his mind subsequent to conference?  or during circulation of draft opinions?

there's certainly reason to worry, but i'mma hopemonger on this until june.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
According to Twitter the SG's performance today was abysmal. (2.00 / 5)
I think, however, it is pretty pointless to try to figure out how this is going.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

i dont think i'd call it abysmal (2.00 / 2)
the framing certainly makes for a steep climb though, or so it seems.  still, i'm just a dummy.  IANAL

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
According to Twitter the SG's performance today was abysmal. (2.00 / 2)
I think, however, it is pretty pointless to try to figure out how this is going.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

A friend I just emailed with (2.00 / 5)
says that Verrilli's performance was so shockingly poor, particularly given how good an appellate attorney he is, that it almost seemed intentional.  

He's not claiming it was at all, but it was that bad.  If it were, it would seem like the administration is actually taking the risky route to Reich's scenario of a strike down of the mandate in favor of fighting for a medicare for all replacement to keep the ACA viable.  I cannot and do not believe that this is what is happening (and neither does my friend).  And if I thought that the administration were capable of this, I'd be furious about the legislative adventurism.  7 dimensional chess player that he is, I don't see Obama taking this route.  I mean, I'd prefer medicare for all over a mandate.  Wouldn't we all?  But I wouldn't roll the dice on this.

But excluding Thomas (the clear ungettable vote) and Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan (who will uphold no matter what) he claims that all of the other 4 - Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Kennedy - have written opinions in the past that contain rationale indicating that they could view this law as well grounded in precedent.  He didn't have time to elaborate, but I don't doubt him for a second.  Voting to strike down would be politically over-determined for all of them.  If one of them votes to uphold, others might use that as cover.  But given today, he deems an 8-1 uphold now exceedingly unlikely.  Yet this is what he closed with:

"For now, don't panic.  Yes, it could go down, for sure.  But nothing that Kennedy or Roberts said today is different from what they'd say if they were going to vote to uphold."

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Interestingly, now that the freak-out was worn itself out (2.00 / 4)
the CW seems to be that it wasn't such a bad day after all.  That's not to say that I certainly hope the supporting briefs were up to snuff.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
CNN's toobin (0.00 / 0)
is saying this morning he thinks the mandate is a goner.  i'm not convinced yet.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
I always felt (2.00 / 5)
toward the end of the debate, the bill had gotten so toxic and so torn apart that the only reason anyone wanted to pass, including Obama, was the save face.

They never really tried to defend it or sell it as an achievement, the way they did other things, they just moved on.

I've never been so sure they see it as a major victory, just a Pyrrhic one with some good things to emphasize. Wouldn't be surprised if they just threw it aside as a lesson learned.

That said, I stand by my assertion that there will never be true universal healthcare in this country because of how our Constitution hamstrings the federal government's powers and our inability to have a decent conversation about taxes, social programs and taking care of each other. If it comes, it comes by the states. I'm surprised (I shouldn't be) that activists haven't figured this out yet and tried to fight this battle in the statehouses. Vermont already did it.

[ Parent ]
fwiw (2.00 / 1)
Conservatives emerged from Tuesday arguments with an air of confidence that the Supreme Court will hand them a victory and strike down the heart of "Obamacare," emboldened by the fact that swing Justices John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy sounded far from convinced that the law's requirement to buy insurance passes constitutional muster.

Forecasting the individual mandate's "imminent demise," The Washington Examiner's Conn Carroll declared Tuesday, "Today's oral argument makes it sound like the five conservative justice will find that there are limits to congressional power." Other conservatives were equally hopeful.

They might be getting punk'd.


Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

Roberts is a swing Justice? (2.00 / 1)
I mean, there's a real chance that if Kennedy upholds the mandate, Roberts will write the opinion.  But on almost any other issue, he's solidly in the ScaliAlito camp.  Thomas is another story altogether.  He's a roiling lake of wounded pride that manifests as a toxic stew of ingratitude, hypocrisy and arrogance.  Scalia has been quoted in reference to Thomas as saying "I'm an originalist, I'm not a wing-nut."  SOmething like that.  It's in Toobin's book The Nine, which is an awesome read.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
msm is suggestin he might be (0.00 / 0)
but I'm w/ you: He's "Scalito's Way"

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
Roberts make take the job more seriously than others (2.00 / 3)
in that he entered the court as its Chief Justice and not as a Associate first. Also, it seems like he doesn't want a 5-4 decision to further sully the reputation of the court under his term as a partisan machine.


[ Parent ]
he's mos def (2.00 / 2)
had a softer approach than the other fire-breathers, but his ideology is still equally as warped as thoscalito's is.  was talking to a friend about that yesterday, who wondered if maybe robert's was more a 'moderate'.

nah, i said, he's just being all chief justicy.  frontin'.

i do tend to think he may care more about the integrity of the institution than those other jackwagons.

also theory.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
Read this (2.00 / 1)

Then tell me Roberts is a moderate or a swing vote.  He may be the latter on this particular case, but...well...read Toobin's profile.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
I've told you neither of those. (2.00 / 1)
I don't believe he's a moderate, never have, and in this case I don't think he's a likely swing vote either (kennedy is the get).

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
Kennedy is always the get. (2.00 / 3)
People seemed surprised when Scalia was obviously skeptical of the Government's case.  Even I know, "well, duh!"  And apparently Ginsburg, Sotomayer, and Kagan did a better job of arguing the Government's case than the Government did.  Thomas, of course, is worthless.

I need to see if I can dig up something I read a bit ago that might (slim chance at best) put Alito in the "get" column.  He wrote an opinion that seems to indicate that he isn't a sure "overturn" vote.  My memory is dim on it but I'll see if I can dig around.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Didn't mean to direct that specifically at you Fog (2.00 / 2)
Sorry it came out that way.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
oh jeez, no worries (2.00 / 2)

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
You know just how (2.00 / 2)
to get to me!

Stay tuned.  But in a few weeks the demos will be ready for sharing.  I've got 6 tunes down.  Got a female vocalist coming in after Passover to help.  Then some tweaks and percussion arrangements.  2 more with just me singing.  And I'll be ready to make the public.  So far, all the ideas are working...

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
dude, that's exciting! (2.00 / 2)
can't wait to hear some!

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
And this is for you tonight (2.00 / 4)

Thanks Earl.  America's music owes you more than it knows.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
saw him live 3x (2.00 / 3)
and today...i'm especially glad i did.

I like drums, really, if they're under control.

--Earl Scruggs

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
I think someone had a good life. (2.00 / 3)
Thanks, Earl.

Amazing set. Who is that playing that silky-soft electric guitar after Steve Martin slayed that rif?

The guy on the mandolin isn't hiding just how much fun he's having, either. I played mandolin once (all night long in a cabin in North Carolina with a bunch of manic special forces guys armed with swords ;~). Easy instrument to carry a tune on, may have to get one now.

That is about as much fun as I have ever seen people having playing music. Beautiful moment captured from an epic life.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
here's the list (2.00 / 2)
Earl Scruggs, banjo - Glen Duncan, fiddle - Randy Scruggs, acoustic guitar - Steve Martin, 2nd banjo solo - Vince Gill, 1st electric guitar solo - Marty Stuart, mandolin - Gary Scruggs, harmonica - Albert Lee, 2nd electric guitar´╗┐ solo - Paul Shaffer, piano - Jerry Douglas, dobro - Leon Russell, organ - Glenn Worf, bass - Harry Stinson, drums

I sort of want to bludgeon Shaffer, but he does have respectable chops.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
some legendary pickers (2.00 / 1)
scruggs (obviously)

and omg, jerry douglas is butter.  he's pretty much perfect all the time, every time. cindy cashdollar is the only other dobro player who can drop my jaw the way douglas does.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
Gotta say (2.00 / 2)
Steve Martin has real chops.  Not the first time I've heard him play, so it's not surprising.  But he does so many things so well.  Even when I don't like something (Shopgirl anyone?) he's a model for following multiple interests.  Or maybe an anti-model.  Things might be in a different place for me if someone had pulled me aside 20 years ago and said "whaddya freaking think you're Steve Martin or something"?

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Yep, there's a world of achievement in that face. (2.00 / 2)
Contentment, comradeship, appreciation of the fine subtleties of being human.

You have to look into the faces of the folks playing this music and finding real human joy in life before aspersions are cast at "the Republican southern base". And remember, perhaps, that these same folks were the Democrat southern base about the time this film was shot.

We are all open to criticism for our theories or theologies and we all remain that wonderful thing called people. Maybe "rednecks and good ole boys" earn their ribbing for some things, but I treasure the time spent with many of those same rednecks because they are some damn good old boys by any measure.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
$50 (2.00 / 1)
for an a-style, but you get what you pay for: pretty junky, a notch above 'toy' quality and a bear to tune, but good enough for bang around.


markedly greater quality for a hunnert buck MOAR: http://www.americanmusical.com...

finally, for the dreamer: http://elderly.com/new_instrum...

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
reading is part of the job, no? (2.00 / 4)
Justice Antonin Scalia suggested many members of Congress might not have voted for the bill without the central provisions, and he said the court should not go through each and every page to sort out what stays and what goes.

"What happened to the Eighth Amendment?" Scalia asked, referring to the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. "You really expect us to go through 2,700 pages?"

Well, yes. I'll wait.

I don't like this guy.


Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

Two David Frum tweets (2.00 / 6)
The logic of the anti-ACA case is that the only way to meet social needs is by govt taxing and itself spending the money. Funny result

U kno what else isn't mentioned in the Constitution? An Air Force.

He also notes that the upshot of an anti-ACA decision is that Social Security is constitutional and private Social Security accounts (that GOP wet dream) are unconstitutional.

By working to render all hybrid market-gov't solutions to social policy conundrums unconstitutional, which the right is doing purely for political reasons and not principles at this point, they are pushing us toward an extreme dichotomy between actual socialism and steroidal liberalism (in the classic sense).  Is there drear really to render the US a military collective, where cooperation only extends to borders and defense?  Do they really want all 50 states to be linked only as members of NATO are?  Hell, we could simply put the interstate system under the auspices of the Army Corps of Engineers.

If that happens, I'm moving back to the People's Republic of Brooklyn.

The future is unwritten

Quite right (2.00 / 6)
This is the point I was making above.  This decision could basically destroy the Republican plan to phase out Social Security and Medicare through privatization.  Remember Paul Ryan's plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program, the one every Republican voted for?  True story, Ryan's plan is just Obamacare for seniors.  If the ACA is unconstitutional, so is the Ryan plan.

"Economics is not a morality play." -Paul Krugman

[ Parent ]
Curiously... (2.00 / 5)
And as has been well noted upthread, conservatives are on the horns of a dilemma here.  While the legal implications for market-based Republican solutions have been mentioned it would seem that if the ACA was struck down in toto Republicans would also clearly own the health care issue for decades; and not in a nice way.  Hard to imagine the industry not reverting immediately to past practices.  

I see where the Right, already anticipating this, has made an effort to endorse pre-existing condition and capped coverage policies but they have no legislative framework to make coherent law; especially with the constitutionality of their preferred "market based" solutions in doubt.

I think they have put themselves in quite a predicament, frankly.

[ Parent ]
Interestingly (2.00 / 6)
Frum also tweets about imagining an alternative universe in which SG Clement is arguing the constitutionality of mandates on behalf of a Romney administration.  He notes that conservatives loved Obamacare when it was Singaporecare.  It's all political.  They hate Obama so much, and crave power so much, that they are undermining any possibility of engaging the market in social policy.  

BUT, even if you brought me a crystal ball and showed me that this would lead to a single payer system in 10 years, it wouldn't help the sick and the dying in the mean time.  I'll take a win now over the pipe dream of a bigger win later, even if it's a prophecy.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Agreed (2.00 / 5)
Although the historical "law of unintended consequences" seems to be looming largely over whatever pastiche of ideology Luddite conservatism might emerge with once their signature policy issue evaporated.  The GOP is pretty close to offering "nothing" as an alternative and health care costs have been rising for a generation.

Would insurance companies immediately sever policies for people currently covered under the pre-existing condition and under-26 provisions?  I don't see why not.  It strikes me that some pretty broad sections of the American public might finally get to understand the implications of their indifference or hostility to Obamacare.  It's not like insurance costs are going to go down.

[ Parent ]
Seems... (2.00 / 3)
Ed Kilgore was already ahead of me yesterday:

Since conservatives cannot go back to what they were proposing just a few years ago-you know, a competitive system of private insurance options complemented by an individual purchasing mandate and federal regulation of coverage denials and rates-they may have problems responding to this scenario.

Sure, Republicans have their highly misleading pet rock proposals to hold down premiums-interstate insurance sales and "tort reform"-and a shriveled booby prize of an approach to extend health insurance to people who are routiney denied coverage-state-run "high-risk pools" that typically offer crappy coverage at astronomical rates. But all the focus on ObamaCare since 2009 has obscured the fact that most people who are not on Medicare pretty much do hate the health care status quo ante, and will expect both parties to propose new reforms.

Ed Kilgore - The "What Then" Debate Washington Monthly 28 Mar 12

I'm guessing that Republicans would have rather run against Obamacare in November then spend an election campaign proposing alternatives.

[ Parent ]
Since he's the only significant voice on the right (2.00 / 5)
responding to these implications, I am gonna continue to link to Frum.

Here's another piece he posted today entitled: "We're Still Stuck With Predatory Insurance Companies"


There's also "Supremes Won't Save GOP From Itself on Obamacare"


But let's be clear, just because it's bad for them, doesn't mean it's good for us.  It's bad.  If it goes down, millions of Americans will suffer, the democratic party will suffer politically, and potentially all of us will suffer economically.  Bad for the GOP in a different way.  Perhaps in a farther reaching and ideologically deeper way.  But that just means it's a lose lose lose lose situation.  And for those of us who still desire some sort of civil and pragmatic republic, even if we can't see it's possibility at the moment, it's devastating as it seems to foreclose the very structural compromises that might actually serve the needs of the American people.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Good Posts (2.00 / 5)
Can't but admire Frum a bit: in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king.  Interestingly Frum's gut and mine are aligned although I have no basis for the assumption, I just don't think the conservative justices have the cajones to overturn the ACA, not to mention open the door to unravelling seventy years of federal legislation based on the commerce clause.

And I'm guessing cooler heads among Republican thinkers are doubting the benefits of having facilitated such a stunning move; it advances the whole Tenther argument, to be sure, but I have a very strong hunch the GOP was cynically using Obamacare for partisan rabble-rousing, not opposing it on core belief.  If they were they are dumber than I've assumed.

[ Parent ]
Ironic... (2.00 / 5)
That of all the things we chose to do after achieving sole superpower status we turned our attention to our collective navels and are relitigating the agrarian republicanism of John C Calhoun.

[ Parent ]
word. (2.00 / 3)

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
More from Frum this morning (2.00 / 5)
For if this court heeds the Journal's advice, then Congress will confront a new legal reality when it next confronts the healthcare problem, as it surely will: The way to pass constitutional muster is for the federal government to claim more power-to tax rather than to mandate, to spend itself rather than regulate how private insurers spend. Such a policy truly would have frightening consequences for American liberty. And today's over-confident, all-or-nothing pseudo-conservatives are-like characters in some Greek tragedy-working blindly to face the outcome they should most abhor.

All correct.  Especially the "frightening consequences for American liberty" posed by a single payer system.  Those poor downtrodden Swedes and Danes and Britons and Germans suffering under the terrible yoke of their government doctors and gulag clinics.  "Go down, Moses."  And they have internalized their subjection to their tyrant physicians to the point that they don't even know what benighted drones they are...

The future is unwritten

Mixed bag. (2.00 / 5)
If the mandate is struck down, does the rest survive. If it does, it proably energize's the right (doesn't take a lot), maybe the left (if we are not to demoralized), the center is harder to figure. The realization that the GOP has no answers might lead them to move left. I like to think that the center is more able to understand the ramifications but I'm skeptical. As complicated as this is, even those of us paying attention struggle to grasp it all, a large part of the center might just tune out the whole health care disscussion.
  This issue really needs to be solve by both sides. The real crime of our hyper-partisanship is the inability of the "smart" people we elected to solve complicated issues. The fact that the Heritage Foundation helped build and support Romneycare is telling. Also if Obama was white, would the whole thing been and easier lift?
  Is Rush Limbaugh the anti-christ?

Maybe, maybe not (2.00 / 5)
Also if Obama was white, would the whole thing been and easier lift?

Maybe, but Clinton says otherwise. I do think his whole presidency would be easier because he would've won by a bigger margin. So much of what I hear and see if based in race and personality and not ideology. Stuff about how he acts, his "Swagger," he's a "celebresident and not a president." They take glee in watching the country go through hard times because it means "he's finished" Saw it during Deepwater Horizon, saw the hope that Hurricane Irene turned into his Katrina

But I saw racism in high school, maybe not as strong as other places, but I saw racism, and these people look and act toward Obama the way I saw people look and act toward the one black kid in school. Like he has no business being there and we need to get him out of our way, no matter who gets hurt in the process.

[ Parent ]
Breaking: Olbermann fired for being douchey (2.00 / 4)
Fanboys mourn and cry foul while everybody else silently nods.  

Just because they are posting on a progressive site doesn't make them progressives. - John Allen

They must be in full-throated mourning (2.00 / 3)
at the Great Orange Satan.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
[nodding] (2.00 / 3)

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
I wonder why that is compadre? (2.00 / 4)
I still relish the moment when our humble bone kicker managed to cause an Obermann meltdown.

It was that moment I ceased listening to a word he said.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
So sorry to have missed so many Mooq (2.00 / 5)
...in this cool conversation. If only strummerson had added an image,or edited an introductory para, this should so be the front page piece.

Until he does so, I'm just going to add a crazy image of my own (or rather one Stephen Fry has just posted)

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

Good Lord (2.00 / 3)
That's magnificent.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
The elephant is the only mammmal who cannot jump. (2.00 / 2)
Except for this one.


John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
To be fair (2.00 / 2)
...he/she is not really jumping, but bouncing.

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
Still, a pleasantly surprised elephant by any turn of phrase. (2.00 / 1)
Imagine how liberating it must be for an elephant to swim. Take a damn load off the peds and float...

No wonder some of their ancestors stayed in the water and grew fins.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Dumbo! (2.00 / 1)

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Peter or the elephant?! (2.00 / 2)

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Can't be Peter (2.00 / 2)
his ears are nowhere near big enough.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]

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