The International Writers Magazine: Comment + Readers Letters
Citizen Health Care
"Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market." - Henry E. Hudson of the Federal District Court in Richmond, Virginia 12/13/10
The new year will begin for the federal government in the courts, where the Health Care Law, derisively dubbed Obamacare, will be deconstructed and hammered about, as it should be. The most sweeping piece of federal legislation in half a century will go the way of Social Security and the Civil Rights Act, both boldly and unabashedly unconstitutional, and both challenged vehemently through the court system. It is the way of the Patriot Act, also ridiculously unconstitutional, details of which were roundly defeated in every court it entered for close to a decade now. This is precisely why when many readers of this space accused me of not being more outraged in print over its passing, I continued to retort, as I have when discussing the Health Care Law, that if it is truly illegal, then someone somewhere will take it the judicial route and curtail the madness.
Ending the madness, historically speaking, is a tougher chore.
The federal government, as any entity, whether structured by humans or selected by nature, is to expand its power, even as it is checked and balanced and corralled by federalist parameters. Since the time of the Whiskey Rebellion during George Washington's initial foray into the presidency to John Adams' Alien Sedition Act, followed by the expansion of powers under Andrew Jackson and through Abe Lincoln's Marshall Law, including decades of illegal conscription acts forcing young men to die against their will for the state, the New Deal, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Watergate and Iran-Contra, and now Obamacare, this is business as usual.
Ironically, this time it is a spate of Republican support to use the "evil activist judicial system" as a tool to repeal Obama's greatest political triumph. Both Judge Hudson and Virginia's attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II (joining a predictable 19 of 20 attorneys general) are Republican. A more political uprising there couldn't be, but it does not mean the motivation to challenge the law or the subsequent ruling is wrong. It is not.
Of course forcing citizens to buy something is unconstitutional, even under the aforementioned Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, giving congress all kinds of insane power to tax and shift infrastructure and kick you out of your home if a highway works better there. This was the conservative, libertarian and wholly out-of-step argument against forcing private business to serve minorities under the Civil Rights Act and mostly each step of the income tax boondoggle that has grown exponentially.
Hell, I have long argued that forcing drivers to purchase insurance in order to drive or even demand they be licensed is unconstitutional, as is setting speed limits and safety standards like seatbelts. These are complete and indisputable infringements on the freedoms to access a way of travel. The flimsy argument against mine is that no one needs to drive an automobile and that it is a privilege not a right. This is true, as it is something of a public service to keep the uninsured from running amok, causing those legally insured from having to monetarily rectify a situation born of "choice". Someone may rightfully choose not to be insured, but what does the state do when that individual comes in direct contact with those who are responsibly insured?
The state, I maintain, should back off. Let us handle it. Free market.
I have always believed much like other frontiersman that it is every sucker for himself. Period. This is freedom. Screw safety, regulation and goddamn commerce. Screw your neighbor and fuck unjust laws. Freedom.
'Tis the season, after all.
Shit, never mind mere whiny modes of "public service", matters of "health" have slowly but surely crept into the over-regulatory, behavioral arena for years now, from tobacco to alcohol taxes. Moreover, overreaching regulations on where one can imbibe to how much one can imbibe and what one can do when imbibing, which also runs into the questionably constitutional area of who the hell decides what is enough imbibing before operating an automobile. I can attest that tolerance is not a generality, but is treated as such. Or as I once soberly told a judge in a potential DWI jury duty jag I was summons to attend, I am a remarkably better and safer driver soused than jacked up on stress and caffeine while trying to juggle the morning paper, flip radio knobs and a operating a cell phone.
Why should the state or the government decide how much alcohol I can consume and not be able to operate a vehicle? It is specious and arbitrary and blatantly unconstitutional.
At least the Health Care Law, along with the other outlandishly restrictive laws dreamed up by congress over the decades, was debated, voted on and vetted through the press. The difference, if appears, that in the cases of The New Deal or Civil Rights there was a groundswell of public support, wherein hardly 40 percent of the electorate wanted anything to do with national health care. A good deal of those people drive drunk. Some are driving drunk right now.
'Tis the season, after all.
How about when un-elected officials in say the FCC decide what music, television or art is considered indecent. Decency laws are always bullshit, like drug laws, whether marijuana or steroids, which were demonized by lobbies and later ignored by scientific fact and drawn into more unjust laws.
So good luck to the Common Wealth of Virginia and the harangue of politics, for most laws are unconstitutional; whether state or federal, fiduciary or moral.
Everyone for themselves.
'Tis the season, after all.
© Dec 25th 2010
Jan 3rd 2011
Soon the reckoning will come for Republicans AND Democrats. (THE POLITICS OF THE TAX CUT -- Issue: 12/8/10) For the first time in any of our lifetimes (no one alive can recall it) we will have to buckle down and give back, take less, and sacrifice. Austerity will be the order of the day, and that day is nigh! Believe me, dearest columnist, your words will not only ring true - act or get out of the way - but the way the pendulum has swung once again right, after six years of a swing left, someone will have to answer for TARP and Bank Bailouts, an automotive industry bailout, and the insane build-ups to a broken military strategy and the Homeland Security boondoggle, of which I know you have railed against for about ten years now, not to mention the bankrupt Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and soon-to-be disastrous Health Care nightmare.
I know you have no interest to run for any office or put yourself in the quagmire of cable news nonsense, but yours is a voice of cold and impassionate reason that is needed in these times of syrupy overreaction and partisan bickering. People need to know they have become weak, lazy nationalist pigs and have waved the red white & blue until it has gone soft and broke.
Oh, there will be retribution, and the survivors will be the unlucky ones.
Bradley L. Simpson Sr.
I cannot figure you out, Campion. What the hell does this drivel stand for, if anything? Are you just nuts or mean or half out of it? I fear people actually take this seriously, like that fat goober Mormon, Glenn Beck or that snot-nosed wise-ass clown, Jon Stewart. Has every slice of commentary have to be fused with mayhem? Or maybe this is some kind of satirical jab at all that? I'm not sure. I am never sure. This whole Tax Cut column was so smarmy I was hardly able to finish it without throwing up. I am too confused to be infuriated.
Do us all a favor and please stop this and go back to the inhaling of cheap chemicals.
If the wealthy provide those jobs, then where have they been for all these years? I work for the unbelievably rich, and despite liking most of them personally, I have witnessed a major dwindling of jobs and a sharp lowering of wages for the last 5 years for the self employed. Why? Because they can and they know it.
So, while I struggle to hold onto my house, my healthcare, my phone (so I can do business), my tv, (so I can watch football) they spend their money on the most expensive Mercedes, and Andy Warhols. Trust me, the jobs are few, and the wage is meager.
The intended destruction of the middle class is complete. Yay for them!
I totally disagree - extending all of the tax cuts is absolutely NOT their only option.
Thank God you pointed out the obvious; this "change" in the liberal strategies of our president is forced and not coerced or debated or compromised. It is pure political survival. And what were the Republicans going to do, allow the tax hikes and not go in for this extended unemployment benefits and appear as if they are as heartless and clueless as advertised?
This is a sham, as all shams, as the original unpaid-for tax cuts were a sham. And do not be surprised, as you state, that the hypocritical assholes, which ran against the deadly deficit, continue to pile on the billions before they're said and done.
Good points, especially the one about the debt ceiling. I cannot wait to hear the steaming bullshit pouring from that lunatic Rand Paul when he has to go back and explain that move to the Fiscally Conservative Libertarians! Unleash Patty Buch and the dead Green Party goons on him! HA!
Republicans wiping out the deficit????? What a bunch of malarkey. Republicans took a surplus and exploded it into a deficit in the first place. It's like hiring a Catholic priest as a daycare monitor. What the fuck?
This is lovely! (LAST NIGHT THEY SHOT JOHN LENNON -- Issue: 12/15/10) A wonderful eulogy.
The finest piece I have read on Lennon in years. You captured the period and the man beautifully. Hard to believe you wrote it that night. What insight. Really great. I was moved and plan on keeping it and reading it on the anniversary each year. No one should forget. Ever.
With all due respect, The Beatles need to be chart toppers for another 1500 years before the "more popular than Jesus" thing holds water. When people are tortured for listening to The Jonas Brothers vs. The Beatles... scratch that. They've suffered enough already, haven't they?
Stands to reason you loved Lennon. Fucking Commie.
Pikers Alley 101
Thanks for reprinting the John Lennon column from back in 2000. I have come to your work only over the past few years and I feel that your best work is in celebrating the great lives of influential artists or your interviews with musical personalities. It is easy to tell you leave the mockery to the less interesting subjects like politics. Am I onto something? Tell us...NOW!
Honesty. That's what John Lennon always stood for. Even in his sillier and overly dramatic cause periods and his constant search for The Thing. It was that honesty, and how he paid for it, as all honesty is eventually rewarded (and I use the term sarcastically). Well done, sir. It is what I honor Lennon's memory for the most. The honesty. Anyone who can listen to "Plastic Ono Band" without coming away changed or inspired doesn't get Lennon. Apparently from these sentiments, you do.
Last Night They Shot John Lennon
Thirty Years Since the Music Died + Readers Responses