Archive for June 29th, 2011
As most readers know, the Affordable Care Act is under sustained legal attack in at least four federal court districts. To this point, the decisions had all been by U.S . District Judges; interesting, but not authoritative.
Today, the first court of appeals decision was announced. While everyone thinks that ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of health care reform, unless and until the high court does, the federal court of appeals decisions are very important. And not just because the U.S. Supreme Court has to take those intermediate court decisions into account.
The Sixth Circuit out of the midwest ruled the Affordable Health Care Act constitutional today. A three judge panel – two Republican appointees and one Democrat appointee – found unanimously that the Commerce Clause empowered Congress to take the actions that it did. The 64-page opinion is straight up; there’s no legal games being played. The law is held up against precedent and found to be constitutional. It will be interesting to see how the opinions that are expected soon from panels in the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., and the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta are affected by their Sixth Circuit cousins.
But the first round goes to the rule of law.
Robert Parry argues that since the early 1990s, the Republican strategy for dealing with Democratic presidents has come the CIA manual on destabilization of foreign regimes. His premise:
Modern Republicans have a simple approach to politics when they are not in the White House: Make America as ungovernable as possible by using almost any means available, from challenging the legitimacy of opponents to spreading lies and disinformation to sabotaging the economy.
He holds up Nixon and Kissinger’s destablization and alleged assassination of Chile’s Salvadore Allende as an example:
Indeed, if one were to step back and assess this Republican approach, what you would see is something akin to how the CIA has destabilized target countries, especially those that seek to organize themselves in defiance of capitalist orthodoxy. To stop this spread of “socialism,” nearly anything goes. Take, for example, Chile in the early 1970s when socialist President Salvador Allende won an election and took steps aimed at improving the conditions of the country’s poor.
He points to the tactics on Clinton’s election, and the striking similarity to the Right’s tactics following Obama’s election. He points to the utter deference in the face of George W. Bush’s repeated catastrophic decisions. His conclusion:
The hard reality in the United States today is that the Republicans and the Right are now fully organized, armed with a potent propaganda machine and possessing an extraordinary political will. They are well-positioned to roll the U.S. economy off the cliff and blame the catastrophe on Obama.
it’s a long leap from the ability to vote as a block, as the Republicans in the House and the Senate usually do, to Machiavellian schemes lifted from the mind of Henry Kissinger. WC’s not prepared to go that far. It’s also a stretch to attribute every stone in the road for non-Repblicans as a giant conspiracy. The Democrats are perfectly capable of tossing rocks at their own house. But WC acknowledges the temptation to believe is there.